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* USA released three network promos featuring Neal and Peter from White Collar. I don’t know the characters from the other shows, but yay for more Neal and Peter!

* Some clueless pro writer posted a screed about why fanfic sucks. Old wank, I know, but it’s inspired some lovely counterarguments that have reminded me how wonderful fanfiction is, both the art form itself and the community around it. Here is a really lovely ode to fanfic from [info]pandarus.

* There’s this discussion going on in the feminist blogosphere about “Dude Music” and the comparative lack of respect female musicians and fans get. It’s incredibly interesting if you’re into rock music, and if you’re not it’s still very relevant, since it highlights a whole lot of the subtle ways that sexism works. I found it absolutely fascinating, because I’m definitely someone who grew up with a very male-dominated playlist–I’ve been working to understand why and to be a fan of more female musicians. Anyway, read the discussion in this order:

- I Went To Your Concert and There Was Nothing Going On, or, A Meditation on Dude Music

- The World At Large: How Privilege works in Rock Music

- The center and the margins, and butt hurtness

* Rare Film of Ronald Reagan, James Dean Unearthed. Is it wrong that I kinda wanted to read a slash version of this after I watched it?

* Bowie Dance Ride in NYC today. “Participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite Bowie character and pedal away, Ziggy Stardust–style.” Uh, seriously?

* Iron Man 2 tonight! I can’t wait. This whole Supernatural obsession was incredibly well-timed; it managed to prevent me from clicking any of the Iron Man 2 spoilers that have been all over my reading list this week. :)

* [personal profile] netweight recommended Conversational Winchester for Trolls by [info]eloise_bright and it is indeed awesome.

* I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge last night (exercise! fresh air!) and then went home and cooked a real dinner (roasted acorn stuffed with spinach cous cous and topped with toasted pine nuts). And then I sat down to watch Just One Episode of Supernatural. And… ended up watching four. So much for functioning like a sane person.

They were good! I enjoyed them. Maybe my previous feeling of disillusionment was just a fluke. Maybe by lowering my expectations I was better able to focus on what’s good. Maybe I was just saddened by the prospect of not staring at Jensen Ackles’ adorable freckles for the next two days, so I appreciated these episodes more.

My thoughts:

this is not actually about 4x11; it's about why I love the movie The Legend of Billie Jean )

this is actually about 4x12, and the worst line of dialog I've ever heard )

4x13 )

4x14 was really good! )

and another thing I like about Supernatural in general )

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* John Simm will be playing Hamlet! Apparently it will open in Sheffield in September. Hmmm… I’m planning to go to the Lymond gathering in Paris in October… September is close to October… and England is close to France…

* Why Strong Female Characters Are Bad for Women - Great article that gets at the heart of why Hollywood continues to fail at creating female characters.

* [info]bodlon on character death: “I object to being told that art is a democracy, or that writers are not allowed to make people sad [with] their stories, or that one reading of a text is the only reading of a text.” Fantastic post.

* This long-haired David Bowie picspam is so very, very pretty.

* A funeral for Internet Explorer 6. Web developers, rejoice!

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Hi Again…

Feb. 9th, 2010 06:25 pm
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http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2894

Um, hi. I’ve let myself get out of the habit of posting. Again. (Sorry.)

I actually have been reading my friendslist, though. (Some of you will have noticed totally random comments from me over the past few weeks/months.) *waves*

I miss being in fandom; I just don’t have much to talk about. Mostly I’m worrying about real life stuff: money, and possibly moving again, and my cats’ health, and work, and… it’s just depressing, really.

But I do have a few fannish thoughts on my mind! I have mostly been occupied with:

* David Bowie, of course. I’m up to Heathen, from 2002. It’s fantastic! I can’t believe it came so late in his career! The cover of “Cactus” is awesome, and “Everyone Says ‘Hi’” is very moving. I’m hesitant to listen to “Reality, though, because it’s the last one and (unless he comes out with something new *fingers crossed*) once I hear it, this whole Bowie odyssey will be over. *sniffle*

* I started watching White Collar. I haven’t watched a current American TV show in years; I guess I kind of missed the experience? I chose it for utterly shallow reasons: I saw the ad on the subway and thought the guy looked hot in a Brian Kinney way. (He is cute, but alas, nowhere near Brian Kinney.)

vague spoilers for White Collar )

* Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes really was awful, despite the fantastic chemistry between Downey and Jude Law, but the Iron Man 2 preview got me madly excited. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed the first one; I ended up rewatching it something like ten times in January.

vague spoilers for Iron Man )

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This letter written by 20-year-old David Bowie to his first American fan is pretty much the cutest thing ever.

(Well, I guess the surprised kitten is cuter.)

I’ve been having a hard time with Farscape fanfic (first step to making a story readable: Find: “half-breed”; Replace: “Scorpius”) but I’ve been enjoying vids. Particularly comedy vids, like this Scorpius/Braca one, or Scorpius as the Grinch. Man, I wish I’d been in the fandom when the show aired… I love it very much but there’s not really any kind of outlet for my enthusiasm. Active fandoms are a lot more fun.

Current Mood: dorky emoticon dorky

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Top 10 Bowie Songs:

These are my personal favorites, not which songs I think are “objectively best.” Sort of in order, but some are too close to call.

1. Station to Station
This song is dark, beautiful, complex, innovative, and disturbing. Its enveloping atmosphere and progression of emotions captures a sense of the search for life’s meaning, the fear of emptiness and hope for transcendence.

2. Ziggy Stardust
The perfect archetypal rock song for the perfect archetypal rock star.

3. Subterraneans
So beautiful, longing, and sad. Bowie’s a master at capturing this particular emotion; “Subterraneans” is the best example, although…

4. The Bewlay Brothers
Even the Bowie encyclopedia doesn’t seem to quite know what to make of this song’s enigmatic lyrics. Whatever it’s about, the vivid imagery and haunting music are eerie and sad, steeped in a nostalgia for something deeply precious and irrevocably lost. (Plus, Bowie deserves major props for turning that chipmunk vocal effect last seen in “The Laughing Gnome” into something effectively ominous here.)

5. “Heroes”
Specific and universal, ironic and yet deeply moving–”Heroes” is an epic contradiction of a song. (I already raved about it here.)

6. Always Crashing in the Same Car
So much emotion brews beneath the cool surface of this song. It is a mood, a musical landscape of numb disconnection.

7. Alternative Candidate
I can’t believe this jaunty and twisted outtake wasn’t even on the album!

8. Cygnet Committee
Perhaps a bit over the top, but I love the sincerity of this folk epic. Bowie’s impassioned criticism of the corruption of 1960s ideals is a reminder of the substance beneath his style.

9. My Death (July 3, 1973 live version)
This isn’t even a Bowie song, but it ranks in my top ten for the quality of the performance alone.

10. The Man Who Sold the World
Thanks to Nirvana, I grew up with this song; I still adore Kurt Cobain’s raw vocal performance. Bowie’s original is equally sad, with a detached performance that gives its emotion a more distant quality. The lyrics are among his early best.

(Runners up: Life on Mars?, Five Years, Moonage Daydream, Rock N Roll Suicide, Aladdin Sane, Sweet Thing/Candidate/Sweet Thing, Big Brother, Young Americans, Who Can I Be Now, Stay, Wild is the Wind, A New Career in a New Town, Neukoln, Ashes to Ashes, Ricochet, Loving the Alien, Jump They Say, Outside, I’m Afraid of Americans)

I know my descriptions tend to linger on the angsty aspects of the songs, but a lot what makes them so effective is Bowie’s irony, self-awareness, and sense of the absurd.

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Hi…

Sep. 21st, 2009 07:24 pm
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I haven’t been on LJ or DreamWidth for about two months. Um, did I miss anything?

I’m not sure if I’m coming back. I was basically forced off because my computer broke, but my computer has been working for a month now and… yeah. I’m really enjoying the free time that comes with not spending hours on journaling sites every day. I also think that removing myself from the obsessive lunacy of fandom has done wonders for my own sanity. :P

I miss you guys, though. I’m thinking of maybe trimming my reading list to just real people and checking in a couple times per week.

Part of it was post-Writercon burnout. Part is that I’m just kind of… done… with mainstream television. Canceling my cable TV was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I’m not even angry about the myriad ways TV sucks; I’m just not interested in spending time on it anymore.

I’ve been cooking every day, working on freelance projects, getting my finances in order, organizing my apartment, taking long walks around NYC, going to museums (the Neue Galerie is amazing), reading proper books (currently on The Power Broker about Robert Moses), and downloading lots of 1970s David Bowie goodies.

(Proof that I’ve drunk the Bowie Kool-Aid: the other day I found myself listening to the Young Americans album with unreserved adoration. I’ve also been watching a lot of interviews and was surprised to find that I really like David Bowie. When I got into his music, I really was not expecting to find him likable as a person. I respect his intelligence, hard work, self-awareness, and courage to take wild creative leaps.)

But part of the reason it’s foolish to post here is that you guys are not the appropriate audience for my thoughts on David Bowie. It is really starting to hit me that in my heart, I’m not a TV fan; I’m a music fan who happens to get into TV fandoms in the off periods when I can’t find music that engages me. I’m not sure what the appropriate venue is, though; music fandoms tend to center around message boards full of pedantic fanboys with whom I wouldn’t fit either. I think the best answer is probably just to go back to being a solitary fan.

The main reason I'm posting is to tell Cindergal that I am still watching Farscape as promised )

So... what have you all been up to?

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After Writercon, it feels like a total non-sequitur to launch right back into another long babble about David Bowie. I apologize to everyone who’s just friended me. But you know how it is when you’re in the grip of an obsession, right…?

So on to the Bowie talk.

Despite all my frustration about not being able to connect with Low, I have fallen head over heels for the song “Subterraneans.” I’ve been listening to it nonstop for a week. It captures this sense of time and place and distance and sadness and, just, the way Bowie’s lonely saxophone comes in at the end, wandering through the mist, reaching out and then fading away. It’s so beautiful and moving. I can’t explain it in words–you can listen to the song here.

I’m still reading Bowie books. I finished David Bowie’s Low (33 1/3) by Hugo Wilcken, which is absolutely fantastic. It’s exactly what I was wanting and not quite getting from Bowie in Berlin–an analysis of Low in relation to art and culture. Wilcken’s analysis is spot-on and interesting–he talks about Low as minimalism, its connections with German Expressionism, and about Bowie’s effort to remove narrative entirely. One of his best insights is that Low deliberately strips away the two things that were considered Bowie’s strengths: his words and his voice. His psychological analysis is less compelling, but I like how he talks about the album’s progression from the retreat into physical space (the first side’s references to hiding away in a room/bedroom) and then mental space (the second side’s nonverbal mindscapes).

He also talks a lot about how Bowie himself was already moving in an abstract direction–it’s not like Brian Eno swooped in and blessed Bowie with his ambient fairy dust or whatever. There’s a clear progression in Bowie’s work, starting from the linear narratives of his early folk songs (which probably culminates in the epic of Ziggy Stardust, although even by the Ziggy time the actual narrative was becoming ambiguous). Then the still very word-oriented “cut-ups” of the Diamond Dogs era (an idea taken from William Burroughs, in which Bowie would literally cut up his writings and paste words and phrases together in different combinations). It’s like he first tried to escape narrative convention with more and more layers of words and then with Low realized he could do it with many fewer words. The more I think about it, the more apparent it is that Low and Station to Station are two sides of the same coin. They have this same empty, disconnected, lonely core about the search for meaning and connection, but Station to Station’s surface is frantic and overwrought whereas Low’s is withdrawn and blank. And also, isn’t it a good thing that Bowie spent so long writing interminably epic narrative folk songs in relative obscurity, so that he was ready to explore more interesting experiments by the time he was famous?

I like that the book zeroes in on the work itself from an analytical point of view. It avoids long digressions about Bowie’s personal life and about which musicians played on what and which songs were released where. My only complaint is that the editing sucked. Wilcken uses the word “autistic” about forty times in a small 138 page book–yes, we got the point already. He’s also got a few factual errors and a couple of repeated phrases, but the overall work is so interesting that these flaws are easy to overlook. I’m really glad I read this–it’s helped me to understand and appreciate Low more than anything else so far.

I’m also reading Bowie: Loving The Alien by Christopher Sandford, which is absolute crap, on par with Alias David Bowie. It has Bowie “bursting into tears” in every other paragraph and alternates between describing him as an emotionally unstable lunatic and a scheming emotionless fascist. Its musical analysis is facile, it’s full of blatant factual errors, it treats all rumors as fact, it disregards everything Bowie says as agenda-driven but accepts as gospel the claims of bitter former acquaintances, and it’s just really offensive and gross. It’s clear that several of the better Bowie books are full of clarifications that are responses to this. (Thus the sense, when reading Strange Fascination, that I was missing half the story. I was, because it’s intentionally a sane reaction to the sensationalism of Loving the Alien and Alias David Bowie and probably a lot of other rumor-mongering crap.)

Current Mood: weird emoticon weird & weird emoticon weird & weird emoticon weird

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I am obsessing over the song “‘Heroes’” today. (Probably because I just read about it in Bowie in Berlin, and because it’s the best song from Bowie’s late 70s period.)

I am normally bored out of my mind when people talk about production techniques, but this one actually has a fascinating story behind it. It was recorded in this huge ballroom in West Berlin near the Wall that was built in the early 1900s and had been used for events during the Weimar Republic and later by the Nazis before being turned into a recording studio. It was much bigger than a normal studio and had a natural cavernous echoing effect, so Tony Visconti, the producer, figured out a way to put microphones around the room to capture Bowie’s voice as it reflected through the space. He also came up with this production innovation that I don’t entirely understand that means that some of the microphones didn’t start recording until Bowie’s voice reached a certain level, which meant that it could record correctly in one take as Bowie’s voice started out very low and calm and eventually rose to an epic wail. So when you’re hearing Bowie’s vocal, you’re not just hearing his voice but the sound of the room he’s in. I love this–I always realized he sounded unique on that song, but I didn’t know why. It’s not just some Pro Tools effect, it’s the sound of that place and all its history.

I’ve read so many interesting stories about this song. Like that Bowie waited until the very end to give it vocals and may have been planning to leave it as an instrumental (!). And that he apparently thought about it in advance but wrote the lyrics on the spot, recording as he went. And that the guitar virtuoso, Robert Fripp, basically got off a plane, walked into the studio travel-tired, played along to the songs without even hearing them first (having been instructed by Bowie to play the kind of messy improvisations that he’d never put on his own albums), and… that’s what they used on the album. And it sounds amazing!

The other thing that’s really fascinating about this song is that everyone seems to have a different opinion about how ironic it is. Some say that it’s a dark story about a couple deluding themselves about their doomed relationship, while others say it’s a straightforward anthem about individuals overcoming an oppressive society. I guess I’d fall in the middle and say that it starts out ironic but becomes powerfully sincere by the end. I think it’s about living in the moment–that the world is a mess and that we as individuals are a mess, that everything is transient and endings are inevitable, but that the great moments of connection and meaning in our lives somehow transcend that and achieve their own form of immortality because they are so meaningful to us.

But that’s the nifty thing about art; it means different things to different people. I mean, I almost think that the song was meant to be entirely ironic, but that it became inspirational because so many people saw it that way–the audience interpretation gave it another layer of meaning.

The song has a fascinating and sometimes contradictory mythology that adds even more layers. Bowie’s own marriage was crumbling–was it about him and Angela? (There are bits that seem to refer to him in 1977, drinking all the time and not knowing how to swim.) He’s also referenced stories and paintings it was supposedly inspired by (see Bowie in Berlin). And there’s the story of him seeing a pair of lovers meeting beneath the Berlin Wall from his position in the studio, either once or many times, who may have been Tony Visconti and backup singer Antonia Maass having an affair, and who may not have existed at all since it’s debatable whether you can even see the Wall from inside the studio. And then there’s the sense that it’s not really about anyone specific but is about the human impact of the Berlin Wall, of the aftereffects of WWII, of the Cold War. It simultaneously has a very specific feel of Berlin in 1977 and a very general sense of human beings caught up in the movement of history.

Anyway, if you have only heard the shortened single version, listen to the full version here. I’m sad that it took me so long to hear it.

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* David Bowie interviewed by a 17-year-old Cameron Crowe for Playboy in 1976

The thin line between madness and genius… or, holy shit, David Bowie was really fucking crazy.

* ThreadBared on why The Legend of Billie Jean was the best teen movie of the 80s

It’s so sad that this film has been mostly forgotten; it’s the perfect antidote to the conservatism of the John Hughes oeuvre. Plus, Helen Slater is awesome in it.

* I’m reading Bowie in Berlin by Thomas Jerome Seabrook. I’m not sure yet how I feel about this book. It relies almost entirely on recycled information from other sources, but it is quite useful for its intensive focus. It zeros in on Bowie’s Berlin years with an analysis of Bowie’s music and how it was impacted by his personal life and (to a lesser extent) by the location(s) and era. I think I’d enjoy more about the music’s position in relation to the mid/late 70s zeitgeist to balance the focus on the personal life of the creator–something more in the cultural studies realm.

The book spends a lot of time on the innovative production methods and how they went on to influence popular music (I remain amazed at what a huge influence Bowie’s had). The author is a bit of an arty snob, though–I keep imagining how annoying he would be to get into an argument with at a party–but he knows his stuff, and I’m enjoying reading his opinions even if I don’t always agree with him. (His quick dismissal of Ziggy Stardust and his pages of reveries about distorted drum sounds reveal that he’s a completely different type of music fan than I am!)

I don’t think I’ll ever love Low the way I love Station to Station. I respect it immensely as an artistic achievement and I enjoy listening to it, but it doesn’t move me as deeply–maybe my psyche is more attuned to the frantic turmoil of Station to Station than the reflective contemplation of Low. Low is more intellectual, more about atmosphere and mood, more detached. It’s Bowie coming down from the cocaine-fueled insanity of his previous few years, processing it, starting to heal. It’s like a snapshot of a pause, of the period where Bowie took a breath and dealt with himself. It’s fragmented and meandering and often very sad, but with a thread of hope running underneath, an indication that he’s already hit rock bottom and is slowly on his way back up.

It doesn’t help that I’m just so much of a verbal person–the lyrics on Low are incredibly sparse (only half the songs even have English words). I believe people when they tell me that the sound of Low is brilliant, but I don’t fully understand why. I try to listen to the instrumentals and appreciate the textures, the effects, the interactions of the various instruments, but my brain is just not built that way. I can’t focus on an instrumental–no matter how hard I try to force myself to concentrate, I catch myself making a shopping list or worrying about my cat within 30 seconds. To keep the thread, I need words.

And I love the words that are on Low–I love how fragmentary they are and how oddly yet perfectly they interweave with the music. I wouldn’t change anything about this album–I recognize that it’s brilliant–it’s just not brilliant in the way that best draws me personally in.

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I’ve been completely obsessed with Station to Station for the past few days. I adore it. I think I love it even more than Ziggy Stardust; I think it’s my favorite Bowie record.

I want to write a big long essay to explain why it moves me so powerfully, but I don’t have time (I’m trying to get a huge work project done before Writercon and, oh yeah, preparing for Writercon), so here’s a bunch of snippets I would have turned into an essay.

Notes scrawled on the back of a scrap paper while riding the subway:

Station to Station = search for transcendence
by articulating it so well it becomes itself transcendent

The search for transcendence (through love, religion, art…) is a recurring theme in Bowie’s work, explored through another lens in Ziggy Stardust (see this essay I did have time to write), but Station to Station is more impressionistic, less explicitly narrative.

In a proper essay, here would be bunch of quotes from Station to Station explaining how the songs tie in, although it’s fairly obvious anyway if you listen. The opening train sound, the title (stations as in traveling, but also stations of the cross), “searching and searching” and “what will I be believing and who will connect me with love?” and the (failed) attempt to connect of “Stay” and the entirety of “Word on a Wing” (idealization of religion as the answer) and “Wild is the Wind” (idealization of romantic love as the answer). The sense of desperate longing and underlying emptiness that pervades throughout, particularly in the vocals of “Word on a Wing” and “Wild is the Wind,” in direct contradiction to the lyrics.

Even the cover–Bowie as Newton from The Man Who Fell To Earth, entering the space ship to return home to his family, who function in the film as the perfect representation of home, love, happiness, purpose, meaning (and who are idealized, impossible to reach, and probably already dead).

Note scrawled slightly later:

there are realms of human experience that are inaccessible to language

Which 1) I think is a summary of something Bowie said in one of the DVDs I just watched, 2) explains why writing this essay is actually futile and makes me wonder why I feel compelled to explain everything that I find meaningful with inevitably inadequate words, and 3) is why Station to Station and music and art in general are important, because they express and communicate aspects of human experience that language can’t. (Here, have a link to a vaguely related NY Times article about how language shapes–and limits–perception.)

I also think that Station to Station affects me so much because the process of getting into the album required me to get past some of my prejudices and widen my own musical vistas.

This album connects and communicates on a level than words can’t convey. It has its own language; you can only understand by listening to it.

The two things that recently spurred me into obsessing even more about Station to Station are:

Bowie’s philosophy of love as explained in 1976, which you can see reflected in Station to Station, and which freaks me out because I totally agree with him:

This comes after a nifty performance of “Stay,” btw.

(I find this particularly surreal not only due to the random spaced-out Henry Winkler and the fact that it’s followed by a karate lesson but because Dinah Shore in mannerism and commentary is a dead ringer for my mother–it’s like my mom hopped into a TARDIS and went to 1976 to interview David Bowie.)

Bowie in 1999 explaining that the Station to Station era was the darkest period of his life and then performing “Word on a Wing”:

 

And on a completely shallow note … I’m sorry that his life sucked at the time, but the Thin White Duke was the hottest of Bowie’s personas. I could look at photos of him all day. I adore the minimalist/German Expressionist/film noir imagery… oh how I wish I could go back in time to one of those concerts!

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I watched two more Bowie DVDs: Black Tie White Noise (1993) and VH1 Storytellers (1999).

The thing is, Bowie as an older man is wise, funny, cultured, entertaining, charismatic, and… just not 1/10 as interesting as crazy fucked up genius 70s Bowie. You get the sense that he uses his charm and sense of humor to deflect his interviewers and avoid revealing anything particularly personal, whereas in the early years of his fame he was often quite passionate and sincere about whatever disturbing, odd, interesting things happened to be going on in his head.

(Or maybe he just grew up and mellowed out. *shrug*)

Black Tie White Noise )

VH1 Storytellers )

And in other news, Sean Bean has been cast as Ned Stark in HBO's adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire.

I'm... confused.

On the one hand, I love A Song of Ice and Fire and I love Sean Bean, so... yay!

But... but... Ned Stark? Does he have to be Ned Stark? Can he shave his head and be Tywin Lannister instead? Can we get him a TARDIS and have 30-year-old Sean Bean play Jaime Lannister? Ned Stark is a boring goody-two-shoes loser! Sean Bean is better than Ned Stark. Bean's whole schtick is being able to play dark, disturbing, complicated characters, the opposite of humorless honor-bound Ned. Does this mean they're going to change Ned? Because I don't want to have to like Ned Stark!

spoilers for ASOIAF )

And then there's the fact that I've always pictured Jaime Lannister as very similar to young Sean Bean (thanks to [personal profile] queenofthorns who helped get me into the series in the first place). Ned and Jaime are opposites and enemies, but if Sean Bean is Ned, then am I going to side with him or with Jaime? And how can I picture Jaime like Sean Bean if Ned is Sean Bean? And that's not even getting into the fact that Sean Bean is way too old to play Ned Stark!

And... and...

*does not compute*

*brain explodes*
Current Mood: confused emoticon confused & confused emoticon confused

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[info]jaydk was supposed to visit this weekend for the purpose of drinking red wine and watching the ends of Robin Hood and Torchwood (you understand why the wine would be a necessity). Alas, the MTA thwarted our plans: the L train wasn’t running and [info]jaydk didn’t want to deal with fighting to get on a sweltering, overcrowded, unbelievably slow shuttle bus. So we’ll save the bad TV for next weekend.

Dear MTA: I fucking hate you.

So, I stayed home and had a bit of a vampire-themed weekend. Netflix isn’t worth it when you keep the movies around for months, so I finally forced myself to watch The Hunger. This movie wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected it to be based on the abominable reviews. It’s visually stunning, just gorgeous. The reviews complain that it’s “style over substance,” but film is a visual medium and isn’t the ability to create such incredible images something to be lauded? Yes, it doesn’t lead you by the hand narratively (there are very few words in this film at all), but you can piece together the meaning based on the images. And you end up with something a lot more ambiguous and impressionistic when most of the meaning comes from images; it slips past the verbal part of your brain and gets into your subconscious in a way that’s more similar to music than to your typical movie. I wasn’t surprised to hear Tony Scott on the commentary saying that he was inspired by Nicolas Roeg.

more on The Hunger )

So, yeah. Don't watch this movie for the plot, just enjoy the pretty and you won't be disappointed.

Then I watched the first two episodes of True Blood, which... wait, people said The Hunger was just an excuse for softcore porn? 'Cause... yeah. But to be fair, True Blood wasn't awful or anything. Anna Paquin is immensely talented, several of the characters seem like they could be interesting (I'm initially drawn to Tara and Lafayette), the setting is incredibly well-done and intriguing, and the opening credits are awesome. It didn't blow me away, though, and in particular I can't figure out why everyone seems to thinks Bill, the vampire, is supposed to be hot. That guy is hideous. So far none of the characters are standing out as the type of OTC that would make me fannish, but I'll give it until the end of the first season to hook me.

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Seriously, this had me on the floor from laughter.

(If the embed doesn’t work, click here.)

Current Mood: amused emoticon amused

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Cracked Actor )

Ricochet )

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Last night I finished reading Bowie: The Pitt Report by Kenneth Pitt. I think this was the most interesting of the Bowie books I’ve read so far. Not the most informative–it only covers a couple of years in the late 60s before Bowie became famous–but fascinating because of the personalities involved and because the author knew Bowie so intimately.

In later years Pitt was criticized for being an ineffectual manager and for trying to turn Bowie into an “all-around light entertainer,” so much of the book is taken up with his attempts to refute that. He chronicles the work he did to promote Bowie in meticulous detail–industry people he contacted, letters and promos he sent, performances he organized. After reading this it’s impossible to deny that Pitt worked his ass off for Bowie–perhaps Pitt was looking in the wrong places, or perhaps Bowie’s work just wasn’t quite star-quality material yet. But what makes the story interesting is not so much the long lists of performance dates and industry contacts as the fact that Kenneth Pitt was clearly head over heels in love with David Bowie.

The Pitt Report )

Here is a quick round-up of the other Bowie books I've read so far:

Alias David Bowie )

Strange Fascination )

The Complete David Bowie )

Moonage Daydream: The Life & Times of Ziggy Stardust )

Originally published at rusty-halo.com. You can comment here or there.

rusty-halo.com

http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2849

I’m about as atheist you can get. The only thing that’s ever moved me in the same way that I hear other people talk about religion is music.

So it’s no wonder that David Bowie’s album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars grabbed me completely. Ziggy Stardust is rock ‘n’ roll as modern myth: rock ‘n’ roll as the religion of now.

Now that I’ve listened to Bowie’s entire 1970s oeuvre, I was going to write a post summarizing my thoughts on each album. But I realized I need to devote an entire post to Ziggy Stardust first, because there’s just so much to say about it.

Read more... )

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rusty-halo.com

http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2847

I’ve been hibernating. Sick for two weeks, tired, depressed. I canceled my cable TV to save money, which is actually good because it means I’m getting stuff done for SuperVegan and am reading books instead of watching Futurama reruns. And I can get Colbert, Stewart, and Rachel Maddow online for free, so there’s no reason to pay $70/month for cable. But it’s kind of depressing, anyway.

We’re going to be adding more cities to SuperVegan’s restaurant guide (right now it’s just NYC). So I’ve been very busy working on the programming for that. Of course, once the programming’s done we have to actually enter the data… um, any vegans out there want to volunteer? I guess the ideal is to get local people on the ground in each city to keep the information accurate and up-to-date, but I don’t know how feasible that’ll be. We’re having enough trouble keeping NYC up-to-date, and we all live here!

I read a couple of books. I finished Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander after leaving it half-read on a shelf for a year. I didn’t like it. Like Dunnett, it’s full of historically accurate jargon that’s difficult for a modern reader to parse; unlike Dunnett, the story and characters were just not compelling enough for me to want to put in the effort. I basically just finished it to get it out of the way. I bought more books in Forester’s Hornblower series instead; I found that one much more readable and the main character so much funnier (inadvertently) and more interesting.

I also read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book because I got a free copy at BEA. It was cute, although typical of Gaiman in that none of it really made sense. He tells stories on the level of metaphor, which is nice, but he doesn’t have the plots or logic to back them up. I always want to know hows and whys that he never provides. This isn’t really a criticism, because it’s a perfectly legitimate way of writing, it’s just not one that appeals to me personally. (I have the same problem with most Stephen King.)

I’m currently reading Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon, but it’s slow going. I’m only 50 pages in, but I just… so don’t care about dragons. I find them creepy and silly and unpleasant to read about, actually; it’s a credit to [info]grrm that I love A Song of Ice and Fire despite the dragons. (It probably helps that I was already totally into the story by the very late point that he finally introduced the dragons, and he slipped them in very slowly.) But I’ll try to finish this book; I want to give it a fair shot since I think the author is doing awesome things for fandom via her involvement with the OTW.

Oh yeah, and Writercon is still happening. Come hang out and talk about fanfic for a few days. It’ll be great.

Update on my continuing Bowie obsession: I skipped ahead 15 years after Scary Monsters and am now listening to 1. Outside. I’m just not quite ready to face 80s Bowie yet. Or Tin Machine. (I finished two Bowie bios and most of the encyclopedia and none of them had anything nice to say about Tin Machine.)

Thoughts on Bowie's Outside )
Current Mood: blah emoticon blah

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random

May. 19th, 2009 07:09 pm
rusty-halo.com

http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2845

* Hey, I’ve got two Dreamwidth invite codes. Nifty. Who wants one?

* a feminist complaint about the new Star Trek movie, with mild spoilers )

* Lots of Writercon stuff happening!



Are you coming to Writercon? Yes, I'm asking YOU. If you're involved in fanfic in any way--reader, writer, feedbacker, beta, comm mod, ficathon organizer--Writercon is for you. Think about attending--you can find out more info at Writercon.com or [livejournal.com profile] writercon or just ask me and I'd be glad to answer any questions you may have.

* Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) is awesome. It reminds me of the 80s music I listened to in high school. Which makes sense as it was released in ... 1980. Wow, man, it's like everything in my life is running in one big circle! *is a dork*

* I've been spending a lot of time reading Twitter. YEAH I DON'T KNOW, OKAY. It's addictive, though: behind the scenes snippets from Rachel Maddow, extra jokes from Stephen Colbert, a daily stream of adorkable geekery from Bowie's son Duncan Jones, fan wank from Trent Reznor, and of course all the latest NYC vegan news from SuperVegan... plus little life updates from various friends, past and present, RL and fannish. And I can read it all on my phone!

* Doctor Who finale SPOILERS )

* Picked up The Disorderly Knights to continue my re-read. I think what stopped me for a couple months there was that it was coming up on what is, to me, the most traumatizing character death of the series. But I got past it. (*sniffle*)

And, wow, glad I'm continuing, because I just hit a couple of my favorite lines of the entire series:

"I would give you my soul in a blackberry pie; and a knife to cut it with."
(p. 331, and I don't want to spoil which character says it)


and a longer scene, with mild spoilers for The Disorderly Knights )

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lulz

May. 15th, 2009 05:37 pm
rusty-halo.com

http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2844

The comments here contain a debate about who’s hotter, Barack Obama or David Bowie.

I love the Internet, you guys, seriously.

(It’s Bowie, of course. I’ll fight anyone who disagrees!)

Current Mood: amused emoticon amused

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random

May. 13th, 2009 07:01 pm
rusty-halo.com

http://rusty-halo.com/wordpress/?p=2841

* Come to SuperVegan’s 3rd birthday party! It’s tomorrow (Thursday) at ’sNice Brooklyn, with an afterparty at Lucky 13 bar. We will have free cake and beer. Details here.

* Apparently there’s going to be a Lymond-focused Dorothy Dunnett fan gathering in France in autumn 2010. Um, that sounds awesome. I need more details, obviously, but there’s plenty of time to save money and make plans. Maybe I can get my mom to go with me and split the costs now that I’ve hooked her on Dunnett. *hopes* (Also, [info]10zlaine, you seriously need to read the Lymond Chronicles so that we can do some Dunnett-related traveling someday! Look, audio books!)

* Marilyn Manson has an absinthe called “Mansinthe.” I tried to say “Mansinthe” aloud and couldn’t get it out without choking on laughter.

* A David Bowie/Mick Ronson picspam. I’ll be in my bunk.

I'm reading a creepy sensationalist Bowie bio and feeling annoyed at it )

* Album-wise, I've gotten up to Lodger. It's okay; I like "Look Back in Anger." Nothing after Station to Station has grabbed my interest the way the Ziggy-era stuff immediately did, though. I like Low intellectually and I think "Heroes" is a great song. But Station to Station is the last album that enthralled me on an emotional level. (The first is Hunky Dory, although bits of The Man Who Sold the World are amazing, and I like "Cygnet Committee" and "Space Oddity" from his 1969 album).

* I like how my interest in Bowie has led to a deeper understanding of the culture of rock music--the way concepts I always took for granted like "authenticity" and "selling out" grow from a particular ideology. Rock music was always an avenue for me to question the world around me, but I think it's also important for me to question it--many of its underpinnings are far more conservative than I'd considered.

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I blog about fannish things. Busy with work so don't update often. Mirrored at rusty-halo.com.

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