skygiants: Wendy from the Middleman making faces at Ida (neener neener)
Right before going to New York this past weekend, [personal profile] cinaed happened to toss me a link to Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator, a one-hour show that JUST HAPPENED to be running during the, like, 36 hours I was going to be in the city.

I was supposed to be meeting [personal profile] nextian for coffee during that part of the afternoon, so of course I immediately emailed her to ask if in addition to having coffee she would like to see Emily Dickinson and Edgar Allen Poe fight supernatural crime in a tiny black-box theater, and the rest was destiny.

Here is what you ought to know about Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator:

- Emily Dickinson is, of course, a brisk, competent, no-nonsense, Sherlock Holmesian detective who happens to investigate the paranormal, and also write poetry
 - the Holmesian adventure sense of the play is furthered by its framing as a write-up by her Watson
 - it is also unfortunately furthered by such unfortunate Victorian plot devices as "I disappeared into Chinatown, where I learned all about the Japanese kitsune!" oh ..... really ...............
 - it's worth noting that aside from dispelling ghosts by reciting her own poetry, Emily Dickinson also makes at least two Sailor Moon references that I caught
 - PROBABLY THERE WERE MORE, I'm not a Sailor Moon expert
- anyway Helen Hunt Jackson is Emily Dickinson's gay, gay Watson
- Helen Hunt Jackson's parents were, of course, tragically killed in a GHOST POSSESSION incident
- in a later scene, Helen Hunt Jackson and Henry David Thoreau chug beer out of red solo cups while Henry David Thor-bro advises her on the best way to confess her love to her boss, Emily Dickinson
- Edgar Allen Poe is Emily Dickinson's estranged mentor
- he is a dick
- he spends most of his time chugging whiskey from a flask and/or fighting ghosts with brass knuckles (Emily: "They're not even iron!" Edgar Allen Poe: "But they're so satisfying! >:D")
- in most of his scenes he has a tiny plastic raven attached to his shoulder
- the Fox Sisters make an appearance
- they are spirit rappers
- so of course they have a rap number
- this was the one thing that happened in the entire show that did not take me 100% by surprise and I felt very pleased with myself about it
- the villain is evil Walt Whitman
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman who is scheming to steal Edgar Allen Poe and/or Emily Dickinson's RAW SUPERNATURAL TALENT
- (it is their raw supernatural talent, you see, that allows some people to write such good poetry before their link with the supernatural overwhelms them and they inevitably lose all grip on reality)
- (unless you're Henry David Thor-bro, who is able to overcome this propensity with hard work and good clean living, as well as a lot of beer)
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman, for the record, is a breeches role
- evil talentless hack Walt Whitman spends most of the show lurking around the edges of the stage in a floofy poet shirt and leather pants, scheming with demons and laughing maniacally
- halfway through the show, after one particularly maniacal speech, [personal profile] nextian leaned over to me and hissed 'I KEEP FORGETTING SHE'S SUPPOSED TO BE SEXY EVIL WALT WHITMAN???'
- I feel like that about sums it up
 
So. I mean. Is it worth ten dollars and an hour of your time? ABSOLUTELY it is, why would you EVEN ask me that, purchase your tickets IMMEDIATELY.
skygiants: an Art Nouveau-style lady raises her hand uncomfortably (artistically unnerved)
All right, so, yes, AFTER SOME PEER PRESSURE FROM THE AUDIENCE AROUND HERE, [personal profile] obopolsk and I did ... in fact ... just get back from seeing Ethel Sings. ([personal profile] nextian: it was in the same place we saw 'Philosophy for Gangsters.' For the record. I'm sure you're shocked.)

And Ethel did, on occasion, sing! )

I mean, OK. The thing is. THE THING IS. I could often see what the playwright was getting towards. It was very well meant! I can understand why she wanted to connect the Rosenberg trial with incarceration-related injustices ongoing today! It would have been nice if it was more coherent, and I really do not think Goddess Muse Lorraine Hansberry was necessary for this, and admittedly for actual success I think it would probably have been necessary to cut out any and all references to Chicago. And also decide whether Ethel Rosenberg was a passionate martyr who died for her convictions, or an innocent housewife who didn't care about Communism and never did anything wrong to begin with, because, like ... that decision ... was not made ...

...but an attempt was made? An attempt was made. And I've just found out that ten percent of the ticket proceeds go to benefit The Rosenberg Fund for Children, and now I feel like a heel, so [personal profile] rymenhild, [personal profile] evewithanapple, since you offered charitable donations to get me to the show, I direct your attention there.
skygiants: Betty from Ugly Betty on her cell phone in front of a cab (betty on the go)
For the 29th, [personal profile] aquamirage asked me to write some feelings and thoughts of my choice about the great city of New York.

As Meredith knows all too well, I have a LOT of feelings and thoughts about the city of New York. Right now, New York City is home. That's not surprising; I've lived here for five years. Five years is long enough to not only know where all the neighborhoods are but really know a good chunk of them, long enough that if I ever moved away there would be at least two dozen places I needed to eat one last time, and long enough that when I get off the bus at 34th Street after being away for the weekend, I look at the grimy sidewalk and the hordes of people hurrying into the subway and think "wow, it feels good to be back!"

But, I mean, I didn't grow up in New York. I didn't even spend a lot of time here growing up. I came to New York with my parents as a kid, to see Broadway shows; when I was little, New York was theater and glamor. So that's part of it.

I spent a month at Columbia University for a summer program when I was in high school. I took creative writing classes, wrote bad poetry, paid for my own laundry, went to Battery Park on July 4th to see the fireworks, met my first boyfriend (well, second, but given that the first one lasted for three weeks, I feel okay not counting him). A year later, I spent three weeks interning for Asimov magazine in New York for my high school senior project. I took the spare bed in a family friend's apartment, took myself to the movies, and didn't worry about how much time I spent alone. New York was the first city in which I learned how to live by myself. So that's part of it, too.

I don't know -- what it boils down to, really, is that I've always known that I would live in New York, and I don't know why. I'm not particularly fast-paced or ambitious or in need of constant stimulation. There's no reason that the most overpriced, overblown, overdetermined city in the United States is the city that's always felt like home to me, but that's the way it is, folks. I love the hidden bits of history that New York never seems to value the way Boston and Philadelphia do; I love that every time you take a new route, you're bound to stumble over some weird store or piece of graffiti or bizarre performance art you've never seen before. I love the rats in the subway. (THEY ADD CHARACTER.) I love the incredibly dense mythology of the city, which encompasses the Newsies strike and 42nd Street and Mrs. Astor's Four Hundred and vaudeville and Tin Pan Alley and Harlem and Ellis Island and Riot Grrl and the 2nd Avenue Deli. I love Brooklyn, and I love Manhattan, and I'm even learning to properly appreciate Queens.

Someday -- maybe even someday soon, maybe even within the next year -- I may have to move away from New York, but I don't think the city's going to ever stop feeling like home, because in a weird way it always has felt like home.

New York is the only city I don't get lost in. I guess that about sums it up.
skygiants: a little girl spreads out arms and wings and beams up towards the sky (wings glee)
The playbill that we read described this weekend's musical production of The Tempest in Central Park -- starring Norm Lewis, several gifted professional comedians and singers, 250 or so New Yorkers from various community performance ensembles, and three taxi drivers -- as being inspired by the idea of a "community masque" from 1916 called Caliban by the Yellow Sands, which in turn was inspired by courtly masques of the sixteenth century, which for those unfamiliar mostly involved lots of music, dancing and pageantry strung together by a plot. There was also a lot of very earnest language about theater INVOLVING THE COMMUNITY and people SEEING THEMSELVES REFLECTED ONSTAGE which I will admit moved my heart, because YES.

Anyway, [personal profile] genarti and [personal profile] littledust and I looked at this description, and then we looked at the list of community groups that had been invited to participate, and said, "This is going to be either AMAZING or COMPLETELY INCOHERENT . . . and where the hell are they going to fit in the Taxi Driver's Union?"

Spoiler: IT WAS AMAZING )

I am so sorry that the show only lasted a weekend and so most of you will never get a chance to see it. But I so, so hope that they do as they implied they would and put on more shows like this one, which could have been totally incoherent and instead somehow came together in a glorious explosion of pageantry and joy and celebration of this city that I love and the people who live in it. Sometimes there is actually nothing better than two hundred people having the TIME OF THEIR LIVES onstage getting to showcase all the stuff they do awesomely well.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (ooooh)
So yesterday there was an earthquake apparently! EXCITING. I noticed absolutely nothing. My roommates promptly decided this was because I can't tell the difference between normal failing-to-keep-my-balance and earthquake-prompted-failing-to-keep-my-balance, which may well be absolutely true for all I know.

Much more actually exciting than the earthquake: yesterday [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat and I went to go see the BROADWAY-STYLE KOREAN MUSICAL Hero at Lincoln Center about legendary Korean freedom fighter An Chunggun ! Debi has done an amazing and detailed write-up which you should all go read. I will only tell you that the production began with a bunch of REVOLUTIONARIES dramatically cutting off their index fingers as a sign of their DEVOTION TO THE CAUSE (which is what lets you know it will be epic!) and included, among other things tailored to our interests:

- a ragtag group of bantery revolutionary misfits
- numerous amazing dance-fight-chase-sequences
- an intensely dedicated policeman in a black-and-red leather jacket and slicked-back pompadour of EVIL singing the Korean equivalent of "Stars"
- a scene in which a brusque and antisocial sniper finds himself, to his own horror, dancing about the power of his FEELINGS
- a courtesan spy assassin! who spends every single one of her songs singing about her love for her tragically dead Empress! (I am pretty sure they put that subplot in just for us)
skygiants: (wife of bath)
The other day, [livejournal.com profile] obopolsk and I, having failed in our attempt to land Shakespeare in the Park tickets, decided to expand our outdoor Shakespeare horizons and go check out New York Classical Theater's Henry V in Battery Park. Going in we knew nothing except that at some point the company planned to herd us all onto a ferry to Governor's Island, and . . . not gonna lie, in 90-some-degree heat, a free boat trip sounded really nice.

It turned out to be one of those productions that runs you around after the actors as they do their scenes in different places, which - it was fun! It was really fun! It was also pretty much what [livejournal.com profile] obopolsk ended up describing as the "Henry V Greatest Hits Exercise Video."

Parts of Henry V that were not, as far as we could tell, included anywhere in this production:
- the Chorus
- any mention of Falstaff
- the entire subplot about the assassination plot on Henry
- the scene with the French princess and her maid
- actually, any female characters at all except the French princess at the very end
- the subplot where Henry disguises himself to hang out with the troops and gets in a fight

Parts of Henry V that were in fact included in this production, some of which may not have been part of the original play:
- all of Henry's famous speeches, occasionally divorced of context
- every scene in which anyone could possibly find an excuse to speak in an outrrrrageous French accent
- every scene involving Comedy Welsh Nationalism
- the scene where the angry soldier with the glove comes looking for the soldier who got in a fight with him, who was actually the disguised Henry - somewhat inexplicably, since the entire rest of that subplot is no longer included
- a number of helpful speeches exhorting us, the audience, to disembark and set forth upon the shores of France upon this bold and noble enterprise IN A POLITE AND ORDERLY FASHION and with fierce mettle upon our countenance etc. etc.

In short, the entire experience was hugely entertaining and felt quite a lot like being in the middle of a Monty Python skit.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (ooooh)
A heads-up for those who were interested in Sleep No More: the word on the street (or in the fringe-NYC-theater newsletter in my inbox, whatever) is its run has been extended to September 5. FYI!
skygiants: (wife of bath)
New Yorkers! It is that time again - if you like a.) one-dollar-priced books and CDs and b.) basking in the knowledge that by self-indulgently shopping you are supporting an important service organization and doing a virtuous thing, it may be worth your while to check out the Housing Works Open Air Street Fair on Crosby Street tomorrow. I'll be there staffing all morning, so if you drop by come say hi!
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (ooooh)
Yesterday I spent my morning seeing Pirates 4 and my afternoon seeing Arcadia on Broadway, which did leave me somewhat worried that I was going to walk away with a case of cultural whiplash. It was however a highly enjoyable day and I have no complaints! I mean aside from the complaint I guess that Pirates 4 is not a good movie, but it was nonetheless a surprisingly enjoyable one.

Before I talk about that though let me quickly talk about Arcadia )

And NOW WE SWITCH MODES.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Franchise Extensions )
skygiants: Inspector Lunge from Monster, with text 'domo, sparkly horse' (the mind of a killer)
As I mentioned before, recently a bunch of us went to see Nixon in China!

[livejournal.com profile] gramarye, who knows the most about the history and politics, and [livejournal.com profile] sandrylene, who knows the most about the music, have already written up excellent reviews, and before you go any further you should read them:
Shannon the historian's review
Sandry the music major's review

But now that they have done that, I thought I might as well offer up my layman's-eye summary of the proceedings!

The short version: the experience was certainly interesting, but I think my main feelings throughout the show were a.) confusion and b.) GIANT CONTACT EMBARRASSMENT.

The long version, featuring the Nixons' inability to tell fact from fiction and too much demonstration of Mao's sex life )
skygiants: Koizumi Kyoko from Twentieth Century Boys making her signature SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED face (wtf is this)
As [livejournal.com profile] wickedtrue, [livejournal.com profile] innerbrat and I set off Saturday night to go see SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK (this title will forever be rendered in allcaps), this conversation was one that recurred a lot:

BECCA, THE EASILY ENTERTAINED: I still can't believe it's REAL. I still can't believe that SPIDER-MAN ON BROADWAY, DESIGNED BY JULIE TAYMOR, MUSIC BY BONO AND THE EDGE, is a thing that really exists!
FEATHER, THE ACTUALLY TRAINED IN THEATER: I'm warning you in advance that I am going to froth with rage a lot, and attempt to dive down to rescue the actors and stage managers from themselves, and you are going to have to restrain me. Okay? Okay.
DEBI, THE BLOODTHIRSTY: Guys? We're going to see a musical in which SOMEONE MIGHT DIE.

Well . . . nobody died! This is one thing at least that we can say for the show. The short version: the story made little sense, the music itself was often very pretty but not Broadway-ish, the lyrics were terrible, the aesthetics were spectacular but incoherent, and second act can be summed up as JULIE TAYMOR'S ID SAYS HELLO.

FOR THE DETAILED PLAY-BY-PLAY, READ ON. )
skygiants: Betty from Ugly Betty on her cell phone in front of a cab (betty on the go)
Checking another Completed Series off my list, I have now finished all eleven Easy Rawlins books. I try to keep a limit on how many multi-book series I read at one time, because otherwise I lose track and then forget everything that went on in the early books, but there's something really satisfying about finishing a lengthy and definitively-ended series - it feels like an accomplishment, even if the only thing actually accomplished is many hours curled up reading (which, as you know, is something I consider a TERRIBLE FATE.)

Anyway, the books. Little Scarlet is generally considered one of the best in the series, and takes place in the aftermath of the Watts riots; Cinnamon Kiss is more melodramatic and involves The Deadly Illness of Easy's Daughter, and also makes me laugh because it's the one where Easy spends a lot of time going "hippies! Man, that is SO WEIRD, what is UP with kids these days!"; Blonde Faith is the last one, no seriously guys, Walter Mosley is SICK OF WRITING THESE, and as a book is more interested in showing how the various characters have grown and changed over the course of the series than in the actual plot (which is totally fine by me.) And they have changed significantly, which is one of the things I'm always going to really respect about the books no matter what issues I may have with them. Over the course of the series, Easy turns from a young man to a middle-aged man, changes in the way he interacts with the world, attempts to fix his own flaws, acquires kids and watches them grow up; the abused and frightened teenaged girl becomes a confident real estate mogul, the fast-talking coward turns respectable, the speechless little boy becomes a capable man and starts a family. The forties become the sixties, and the world changes. Even the Chaotic Evil cheerfully consienceless killer starts to become philosophical. Very few mystery series, I think, are willing to actually make dramatic changes in their protagonist, and even fewer are willing to shake things up for their stock characters and their setting, the things that they know sell. But Walter Mosley is trying to do something different in these books, and it shows. I have issues with some things that happen, and sometimes they do fall back too much on some of the more problematic noir tropes; I'm never going to have a passionate love for them, but I'm glad I read them all the way through.

In other, non-literary news: this weekend I kidnapped [livejournal.com profile] genarti and [livejournal.com profile] saramily, with attendant Mr. [livejournal.com profile] saramily, for SRS BSNS WRITING DISCUSSION, bookstore-wandering, and a whole lot of eating (milkshake happy hour! Gourmet mac and cheese! Hordes of tiny cupcakes! These are the things I try only to indulge in when people come to visit me and I am trying to impress them, which is clearly why people should come visit me). As expected, it was THOROUGHLY EXCELLENT. I did spend approximately the whole weekend wheezing, but apparently ladyfest has left Gen and I so terrifyingly in sync that we even come down with independent head colds at the same time, so at least if the Emmys go home with the death plague they will have both of us to blame and not just one! Um. :D? This is also why I am working from home today, as my boss took one look at my tissues and ordered me and my germs out of the office. I am not really complaining.
skygiants: the aunts from Pushing Daisies reading and sipping wine on a couch (wine and books)
New Yorkers! This is your semi-annual reminder to go check out the Housing Works Open Air Book Fair, happening 10-6 today down at Crosby and Prince St. (if you take the R to Prince Street, you will undoubtedly be met by a helpful promotional person trying to shoo you towards the fair.)

TONS of books for a dollar! Vintage clothing! Music that I spent all last night hauling out equipment for and therefore you had better appreciate! I will be working there all afternoon doing Security, which sounds very official and will probably just entail checking receipts, so even if you plan to try very hard to resist the lure of cheap books you should stop by and say hi and get sucked in by the lure of cheap books. And so far it is a gorgeous sunny day despite dire predictions, and you get to feel warm and fuzzy for every dollar you spend because it all goes to benefit homeless New Yorkers with AIDS, so really, where is the bad? A: there is none.
skygiants: Cha Song Joo and Lee Su Hyun from Capital Scandal in a swing pose (got that swing)
For reasons that will be obvious to [livejournal.com profile] genarti and [livejournal.com profile] mercuriazs at the moment and will probably be obvious to the rest of you in a week or so, I have been thinking about dance lately. In which I babble about dance and am sulky about the world not tailoring itself to my wishes. )

And now that I have been pointlessly sulky at you all: hey, have an equally pointless icon meme! Stolen from just about everybody at this point. In which I do a pointless icon meme! )
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (eyebrows of inquiry)
Monday of this week saw me exhausted, cranky, and full of sorrow at having to leave Denver and all the amazing people there. Fortunately I happened to have an unread Georgette Heyer novel out from the library waiting for just such a time!

The Convenient Marriage turned out to be one of my less-favorite Heyers, which does not mean it didn't have me cracking up on the subway several times. The first two chapters are actually pretty brilliant, and go like this:

BEAUTIFUL HEROINE: Oh woe is me! The hero has decided to wed, and I must marry him to help my family out of our financial straights! Now I can never be with my TRUE LOVE.
HEROINE'S LITTLE SISTER: Don't worry! I have a PLAN.

HERO: Beautiful Heroine seems very pretty and I expect we'll be very happy.
HEROINE'S LITTLE SISTER: WHY HELLO THERE! I have come SECRETLY to your house to tell you that ACTUALLY I think it would be way more convenient for everyone if you marry me instead.
HERO: . . .
HEROINE'S LITTLE SISTER: I mean, if you are man enough to deal with my enormous Zachary Quinto eyebrows. And the stammer.
HERO: . . . not that this isn't all kind of adorable, but aren't you like twelve?
HEROINE'S LITTLE SISTER: Seventeen! That is totally legit for a Georgian romance. You can have affairs if you want, too, I actually kind of don't care.
HERO: I . . . okay?

HEROINE'S LITTLE SISTER: So actually I'm the heroine of this novel and my beautiful sister will never appear again, is everyone okay with that?

Alas, after this excellent beginning, the plot pretty much revolves around the hero's GREATEST ENEMY trying to create a Big Misunderstanding between our awkwardly married pair while the heroine frets about her husband's old mistress and gets a gambling problem, which as plots go is kind of annoying. (This is not to say that a heavy-eyebrowed, stammering heroine with a gambling problem is not awesome! But that imagined heroine deserves a better plotline than this one, which is about showing her how headstrong she is and how awesome her kind of jerktastic husband is.)

On the other hand, there are also some plot developments of GLORIOUS SPOILERS )

Also, I was totally rooting for the hero's long-suffering secretary, who was way too sane for this novel, to get together with the heroine's long-suffering middle sister, who was way too exasperated for this novel. I actually think the romance novel about them would have been twice as interesting as this one! And we could have kept all the hilarious side characters. And possibly even the wacky highwayman hijinks.

Speaking of romances that would be twice as interesting as the ones we're actually shown: last night I went to go see a production of As You Like It with [livejournal.com profile] obopolsk. It was a decent if lengthy production (with gorgeous music - I am actually really excited for that company's Tempest now, coming up next, since I suspect they will do a better job with eerie atmospheric than with straight-up comedy) but I came out of it with a desperate desire to know more about Celia and Oliver and their WACKY SURPRISE ROMANCE. Partly this is because that production's Oliver had amazing comic timing and ended up one of my cast favorites, but also, I mean, look, he is a murderous Unspecial Brother on the road to reform! She is the constantly facepalming villain's daughter who is possibly in love with her cousin! I WANT TO SEE HOW THIS HAPPENS.
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (ZOMG!!!!!!!)
I did not get a chance to post on the last book I read in 2009 while it was still 2009, because I was busy twirling my villainous moustache as I kidnapped [livejournal.com profile] genarti (and, for lesser periods of time, [livejournal.com profile] areyoumymemmy and [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild. Okay, technically I guess Rym kidnapped me. ANYWAY.) Sadly, all of the aforementioned have now escaped my clutches, so I am left bereft and alone with no way to cheer myself up except by babbling about hilarious 1850's-era urban sensationalism!

I picked up New York By Gas-Light while I was wandering through the history shelves in the Brooklyn library, because it promised me "the festivities of prostitution, the orgies of pauperism, the haunts of theft and murder, the scenes of drunkenness and beastly debauch, and all the sad realities that go to make up the lower stratum - the underground story - of life in New York!"

And yes, it delivered everything it promised. *_*

George G. Foster, the author, was apparently a well-known nineteenth-century sensationalist sketch reporter - sketch in more than one term, since, as the introduction gleefully points out, after spending a lot of time expostulating in his columns about the vice and corruption of the city, the guy was thrown in prison due to forging the signatures of famous actors on his dry-cleaning checks. And then committed bigamy. I was therefore predisposed to be entertained even before I actually got to the meat of the sketches, which can mostly be summed up as: Be careful! New York is full of PROSTITUTES! You can go to the theater if you want I guess. And maybe go have fun bowling! But be careful you don't get cheated out of your money, and also, PROSTITUTES.

Highlights of ridiculousness! Cut for length, hilarity, newsies, racism, sexism, and PROSTITUTES )

In seriousness, though, it was also pretty fascinating just to read about the geography of the city in the 1850's - whatever dubious accuracy of what Foster portrays as going on inside it - which was, of course, wildly different from the city of today, but retains some similarities. And oh, those rich bastards who live above Bleecker Street!

I am also going to be forever grateful that I read this book because the introduction introduced me to the existence of this glorious book from the same era, entitled The Quaker City: The Monks of Monk's Hall. Apparently it is basically like The Monk, but set in my hometown of Philadelphia! THE PATH BEFORE ME HAS BEEN PREPARED, I MUST ACQUIRE AND READ IT IMMEDIATELY. (Apparently the villain's name is DEVIL-BUG. BRB LAUGHING FOREVER.)
skygiants: Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle with Calcifer hovering over her hands (a life less ordinary)
YULETIDE! I got two incredibly fabulous Witch Week stories and I COULD NOT BE HAPPIER. :D :D :D

Which World is an futurefic where the characters regain their memories and get to actually choose what future they want and whether it has magic in it, which is right and necessary and fills me with glee. And it has Chrestomanci in! And Nirupam/Estelle, which is one of my secret dorky DWJ OTPs! The best part is that the ending fills me with ideas for like ten more fics, and if that is not an amazing Yuletide present I don't know what is.

It was the Halloween of his seventeenth year when Nirupam found the portal between worlds. This slight tear, this split in the landscape shimmered slightly, like things sometimes do on a hot summer's day. But it was not summer, it was nearly November, so Nirupam took notice.

Brush Contact is a heartbreakingly IC story about Estelle and Nirupam's first conversation - it shows us both how incredibly damaged these kids are, and how they try to cope, and the core of determination and anger that's underneath their quiet everyday frightened classroom selves. And it has all the darkness both dramatic and petty that's in the story, and all the complication, and it begins and ends with Estelle cataloguing escape routes and basically it is just amazing.

It was unusual to see Simon try to put down Nirupam in front of the class. For one thing, Nirupam was very tall; and for another, unlike Nan Pilgrim, he rarely said anything that anyone could jump on. But Simon obviously thought that he was on safe ground here. They'd all heard the story about Nirupam's family in India being witches. Probably some of the others' families were witches too, but people could at least claim to be sorry for British witches. They weren't sorry for foreign ones.

'How much is belladonna per pound?' giggled Brian Wentworth, happy that no one was picking on him for a change.

Nirupam said, 'Blood. Slavery. And murder,' in a voice that wobbled the smirks on Simon and Brian's faces. Theresa wrinkled her nose. Mr Crossley finally noticed they were talking and told everyone to shut up.

Estelle glanced at Nirupam. She wasn't used to hearing any of her classmates speak so clearly and deliberately about anything to do with witchcraft. Usually they giggled, like Simon or Theresa, or they got angrily silent, like Nan. Estelle usually joined the giggling, because she didn't want anyone to ask questions about her mum. But she'd sometimes wanted to yell that witchcraft was about imprisonment. And murder.


The server is pretty well shot, so I have decided not to try to read anything else for a bit, much as I am longing to dive into the archives. That will not be too hard, since pretty soon I am off for Chinese-buffet-and-Mel-Brooks-marathon, aka Most Classic Jewish Christmas ever, aka I Love New York City For Providing Me With These Things. I hope that all of you, those who are celebrating a holiday and those who aren't, have a marvelous day!
skygiants: Katara from Avatar: the Last Airbender; text 'just kicked butt' (katara kicks butt)
Some cool things for a Monday -

For New Yorkers: It's already August and I have not taken advantage of any free New York outdoor movies yet, which is a fact I am somewhat shamed by. The Bryant Park Film Festival is showing The Magnificent Seven next Monday and Brooklyn Bridge Park has Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on that Thursday; both of these are high up on my list of 'Great Movies I Should See Someday', so if anyone's interested, let me know! I also might go see Twilight in Central Park SHUT UP IT'S FREE AND HILARIOUS.

For Avatar fans: [livejournal.com profile] atla_ladyfest! Not everything for the fic/art exchange is up yet, but if you like Avatar and you like stories and art that focus on awesome ladies, seriously, go check it out! I told myself I was not going to rec anything specific until everything goes up in the interests of not spamming, and I will hold to that (but I am full of joy about the Hama-centric fic that was written for me, also the Azula story and both Yue stories are AMAZING, and and and!) but regardless, I get way too much joy even just from looking at the info page of the comm and seeing all the great female characters that are represented and thinking about all the amazing fics that could be written about all of them. SO MANY.

I am totally spoiled now; I want ladyfests for EVERYTHING. bsg_ladyfest! tutu_ladyfest! dw_ladyfest! YOU KNOW THEY WOULD ALL BE FABULOUS. Time to get on that, fandom!
skygiants: Princess Tutu, facing darkness with a green light in the distance (teach me to hear mermaids)
In case anyone was wondering, Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer last night = AWESOME.

I only actually saw about half the show because I was bartending the other half, but I could hear the whole thing really well. Highlights included Neil reading an as-yet-unpublished story about a CREEPY CREEPY LIVING STATUE that I refuse to believe was not influenced by a Certain Episode of Dr. Who, the two of them discussing Amanda's fondness for being naked and the suit that Neil bought off a drunk, and the book that got auctioned off for $1200, all proceeds going to Housing Works! (It is sort of amazingly exciting being at an auction when you actually have a vested interest because the money is For Your Organization, you get to cheer every time the prices goes up and do booty dances! Admittedly the beer may also have helped with that.)

It was actually on the way home, at midnight after the beer and some heavy lifting and no food since noon, that I finished Edward Kritzler's Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean. So I may not have the most coherent thoughts on it. But I am going to try anyways!

In short: entertaining but I have reservations )
skygiants: Chauvelin from the Scarlet Pimpernel looking enormously cranky (pissyface)
So last night I came home at 11:30 PM . . . and realized that I had left my apartment keys in my desk at work! :D! (:/)

Three calls to my roommate got absolutely no response, and lurking sketchily in the Dunkin' Donuts for an hour in hopes of seeing someone enter the building also yielded no results, so eventually I gave up and called my mom (Beccamom: mffzzwhatyessureyoucancomesleephe...*SNORE*) and then fought my way back through the subway system to her apartment. Fun self-awareness fact: normally I do not think of myself as particularly irritable, but apparently I am HAIR-TRIGGER when locked out of my apartment, as proven by all the times I passed by groups of cheerful girls letting out high-pitched shrieks of giggling at regular intervals and had to fight down the urge to DESTROY DESTROY. This is especially hypocritical considering all the times I have been that shrieking girl on the subway, as any of you who have had occasion to take a subway with me know. Anyway, now I am at work, in my mother's clothing, trying valiantly to feel human and like a productive member of society and actually do work instead of glaring across the city at my roommate, who forwarded a cheery e-mail to me this morning about swing-dancing in the park and made no mention of the messages I left on her phone last night going "WHERE ARE YOU WHERE ARE YOU WHERE ARE YOU." Because it is not really her fault that I am an idiot. (The most frustrating part was that I had actually been doing quite well at getting back into the groove of making myself write a page a day this whole week! And now my streak is broken.)


But you know what helps with feeling human and cheery and non-rageful (if not necessarily productive?) Canonical fanfic! I have been rereading some of the kid's books I have fond memories of when I was small, and they are both hilarious examples of self-insert fanfiction in the most literal sense.

Edward Eager's Knight's Castle is most blatant, and most awesome. It involves four cousins who find that their playset is magic and transports them to knight-fantasy-land in the middle of the night to have ADVENTURES. Moreover, they have just seen Ivanhoe, they have set up their playset with an Ivanhoe theme, and that means the whole book basically becomes hilarious Ivanhoe fanfic. (Fun fact: the only reason I know the plot of Ivanhoe at all is because of this book.) Seriously, you can run down a checklist of fanfic tropes. Also there's a Dark is Rising crossover. )

Anne Lindbergh's Travel Far, Pay No Fare is less hilariously fanfiction-y, but even more wish-fulfillment-y - the premise is that two soon-to-be-stepsiblings find a magic bookmark that lets them go into books! This was my childhood DREAM, guys. Awesomely, mostly they use it to go into YA books featuring Prominently Dead Pets and rescue them from being dead. (Including the canary in Little Women, which our teenaged-boy narrator protests loudly at having to visit until he gets a crush on Amy.) Also hilarious is the fact that the protagonist's mother is basically a Lurlene McDaniels Lite who writes books like "I Didn't Ask For Asthma."

SO BASICALLY, these books give me hope that really all you have to do to be a beloved YA author is write cracked-out self-insert fic about other books. In which case, I have totally found my career calling!

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