viernes, diciembre 22

BBC's "Gormenghast"

Oh by the way, Jeremy Scherer has joined the blog this week! (See list of contributors on the R of the page)

Oh wiki, you're the best: "The series is usually described as a fantasy work. However, there is no magic and no intelligent races other than humans, as is usual in high fantasy such as The Lord of the Rings. Another valid classification would be to place Gormenghast in the genre of the fantastic, with marked gothic and surrealist influences."

Thinking of the BBC Miniseries version of Neverwhere (see previous post) made me think of Gormenghast. I first heard about it because it starred you-know-who-mr-now-oh-so-famous-actor-dude. Despite and per usual I'm a sucker for silly costumes and castles. It's a great story - and the characters are SO animated, it's entertaining. I can't say much about the trilogy by Mervyn Peake, as I've never read them - but the mini-series is intriguing enough to add to your Netflix queue for sure.

Gormenghast's stories are so good they inspired some musics: Irmin Schmidt, founder of seminal German 'Krautrock' group Can has written an opera called Gormenghast, based on the novels, and a number of early songs by New Zealand rock group Split Enz were inspired by Peake's work, in addition to 'The Drowning Man' by The Cure.

Off topic: Word of the day - I just had to share.
flibbertigibbet \FLIB-ur-tee-jib-it\, noun:
A silly, flighty, or scatterbrained person, especially a pert young woman with such qualities.

jueves, diciembre 21

Neil Gaiman's "Stardust"

Thanks to Neil Gaiman's very own blog we discover photographs from the upcoming film based on his book, Stardust! Starring in the film is My So-Called Claire Danes, Michelle Pfiefer, Sienna Miller, Rupert Everett, etc etc... For those of you new to this - Gaiman is one of my ultra-fave authors who happens to delve in fanstasia. Now, before you throw the D&D/Star Trek card at me - let me give you the hand.

Gaiman is probably more known for creating the Sandman comics, of which I've never picked one up. Ever. His novels, however - are the epitome of hauntingly beautiful in their descriptive and distinct way. When he is writing about a secret underground society unbeknownst to the “normal” world (Neverwhere), or about ancient gods/devils/demons - he describes them as if he's seen them with his own eyes so descriptively and detailed that it's utterly convincing. I cite his being a graphic novelist to the reason why he's so damn good at trapping you inside a book (and not due to the fact that his dad is a prominent scientologist). What more could you want out of a novel? Buffy the Supernatural Slayer & Charmed Angel + other WB CW shows, nothin'!

They made a BBC Mini-series of Neverwhere in 1996 that actually came BEFORE the book, but it wasn’t nearly as good as the book. Wikipedia says it best, "For a book based on a TV series, it is considered to be surprisingly good, perhaps because it was written by Neil Gaiman himself, and might be described as an adaptation of the series as he would have preferred it, without the compromises required by budget restrictions and other factors." And dude, I know that everyone always says that the book is better than the movie– but this didn’t even come close. Though there are worse mini-series out there, if you came across the most poorly-written review of the book that would still be better than watching this. I bring this up because Stardust the movie better be great in their own right. I don't expect it to equal the book, however I'd like it to be acceptable the way Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter are to their fans.

I'm such a big Gaiman fan that I even bought Coraline, his children's novel. Yeah, it was a little too mild for my taste but I gave it to my assistant's daughter and she loved it so much, she wrote a book report about it and got an A. (For that I sent her a bunch of Chococat-Sanrio gifts - all geared towards inspiring her to write like pencils and stationary, et al.)

Anyway, yes yes admiration, inspiration blah blah blah but... did I mention that he's pretty cute for a nerdy author? I mean, if you're into a skinnier version of Chris Noth's Mr. Big character with an English accent. Disclaimer: He's not always ha-cha-cha-cha-cha. He's a freaking sci-fi novelist for crying out loud, and in some unflattering pictures - Yes, he needs a little product and better lighting. But trust: dude is cute.
PS) I can't believe I lived in Minneapolis for three years and NEVER even thought to try to stalk him in one way or another! Dunce indeed!

Okay, I am probably not getting you to jump out of your seats to interrupt your holiday practices to sit down with a dark sci-fantasy novel - but I can at least offer you an mp3 excerpt of one of his works, no?

[mp3] Nicholas was... [/mp3]
(it's a xmas card in exactly 100 words. 102 if you count the title)

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman wiki

miércoles, diciembre 20

Mika's "Grace Kelly"

Thanks to someone at Universal, whoever sent me Mika's 3 song EP because I love it! Here's the dude's story: I was born in lebanon and rasied in Paris and London, hopping from country to country like a footloose hippy with my four brothers and sisters.
Coming from different background to most I found no place at school and delved into music from an early age. I started writing songs as a kid, not because of grand ambitions but because it was an easy way to tell a story, a joke and often the truth. Tell the truth in a song and people are less pissed off than if you were to say it to their face.
I sent out my stories to anyone and everyone, not surprisingly I often got no reply. The further I got into music the more attention I was getting for my own song writing, I made a choice last year and decided to go for it.
'Life In Cartoon Motion' is my first record. It has a coming of age theme, and deals with my tranition from childhood to now. What's my sound? I guess it's in the writing. I apologuise in advance to the people whos stories and characters I have borrowed from. Remember, It's only a caricature.

Mika sounds like: "Think Beck via Queen and Elton John and a touch of Rufus W. Would love to blab about Harry Nillson but I fear no one will know what I'm talking about... but if you do, you'll know what I mean." Somehow they missed Madonna, Scissor Sisters, The Knife, Pet Shop Boys, and Soft Cell - most of all.

[mp3] Mika - Grace Kelly [/mp3]
This download is only good for the first 100 people.

But you could always watch it on YouTube if you miss out:

Mika performing "Grace Kelly" live with Jools Holland

From Interestingly, on "Grace Kelly" he touches upon the issue of his identity and what people either want or expect him to be. He sings, "I try to be like Grace Kelly. But all her looks were too sad. So I try a little Freddie. I've gone identity mad! (. . .) I could be anything you like." It seems like the last thing Mika want is to pigeonhole himself, whether it concerns his professional or private life.
Mika wrote "Grace Kelly" after he felt frustrated with record label executives that wanted him to change his sound to fit to the common pop mold. Mika refused and went his own way to write this song and a bunch of others. However, the label honchos came around and decided to sign Mika anyway after hearing the fabulous "Grace Kelly." How ironic.

martes, diciembre 19


Originally uploaded by Celestronica
Does Jimmy Kimmel even like Plus 44?

domingo, diciembre 17

Headless Historicals

John and I went to see Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" yesterday at the Fairfax Cinema. Like any other cheap seats, we had to deal with some sort of annoyance - and for this one it was white noise like that of Ryoji Ikeda - whom we actually both listen to. Despite the white noise drowning out some of the 12 sentences actually uttered in the movie, we joked that we were attending the screening where Ikeda remixed the soundtrack.

Because I was going to send John an email of a portrait of Marie Antoinette, I googled the name - and found this site where they customize and handcraft dolls of historical figures in the horrid ways they died! From Mata Hari to Jayne Mansfield, Julius Caesar to Anne Boleyn. Fantastic! I can't wait to see whom else they manufacture!

Oh and about the actual film... I don't know what to say. I liked looking at it, but I'm not quite sure what it conveyed. If it's simply that Coppola wanted to show how ridiculous and frilly life as a Queen at 19 might be, then that came across well. But I don't feel the need to ever see the movie again.

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