Tomorrow, Sunday 10/23, 9:30 pm EST, I welcome you to the Takarazuka Flashback Project’s next stream of converted VHS vintage takarazuka, Tango Argentina (Hanagumi 2000) and the revue Prestige (Tsukigumi, 1996). I'll try to open the stream a half hour early with some music or clips from other revues.
Contrary to what I originally believed, it does not feature tango in Argentina. No, it features an Argentinian immigrant (I think) dancing tango in Paris. Because he’s an artist, and all artists must live in Paris, obviously! Also it features characters angstily dancing their feelings about World War I and a happy ending.
Prestige starts out as a dignified revue, and then degenerates into delicious crack. I heavily endorse it.
There will also be a morning stream on Monday 10/24 at 10:30 am EST.
Everyone welcome! (Even if you don't know me or anything about Takarazuka.)
You can find the stream here: https://cytu.be/r/Flashback_Project , and you can check what times these are in your timezone at the Takarazuka stream schedule here: https://trello.com/b/zPKbMvay/streaming-s
She's second-billed, so I'll get to her in a minute. Top billing goes to Talbot as Wally Storm, a hotshot race car mechanic whose cool head with machines and hot luck with ladies provoke such jealousy from driver Bob Griffin (Gavin Gordon, sporting a mustache like a resting sneer) that, not content with getting Wally unjustly fired from his work on the cutting-edge "Sanford Special," he has to pull a Messala at their next meet and get himself killed in the crash that results from sneakily spiking his opponent's wheels at top speed. Because Griffin's confederate Curley Taylor (Bradley Page) presses charges, the accident goes to trial, and because Wally was known to have threatened Griffin—and knocked him down—the trial does not go his way, and because Red Hot Tires has never met a genre it can't immediately zoom out the other side of, next thing you know Wally is breaking out of prison with the help of his sidekick-in-chief Bud Keene (Karns, always a fast-talking treasure) and making a barn-burning career for himself under a false name in South America. Will an invitation to drive a Sanford car in the prestigious Memorial Day Races at Dayton tempt him back to the States? Are his friends still trying to clear his name and his enemies still trying to lock him up? Are there fifteen minutes left to wrap this film up in? Let's talk about Mary Astor.
When I described the character of Pat Sanford to nineweaving, she exclaimed at once, "It's Petrova!" Indeed, Astor would have made an excellent grown-up Petrova Fossil, short dark hair and all. Late in the film, a radio commentator introduces her as "the daughter of the famous racing car designer Martin Sanford and the only woman in the state who holds a racing mechanician's license," but the audience has known from her second scene that Pat's an engineer in her own right. She looks good in grease-stained white coveralls, up to her elbows in an engine of her own design. Her office has a drafting table full of blueprints, automotive concept art on the walls; she reads the latest invoices with a cigarette in her hand. Her rapport with Wally almost certainly stems from their shared interest in machines—Griffin fancies himself a rival for her affections, but since we never see him tinkering around in the garage with her, he hasn't got a chance. She knows about handling cars as well as building them, too; the announcer at the Legion Ascot Speedway may chauvinistically call her "the real prize for winning this preliminary event" as she briefly crowns the winner with the fancily laureled, athlete-ornamented silver helmet that is the trophy of the
I am also fond of Karns' Bud, a dependable but fidgety type who provides the B-plot with a running gag about his never-seen, increasingly unlikely girlfriend Maggie—he's always referring to her, but when pressed for details, the best he can come up with is "She's pretty and her name's Maggie!" Even guys who've known him for half a truck ride are skeptical, but he remains undeterred even after Wally calls him on it in the gentlest possible way, remarking wistfully in an Argentinian club that it "must be nice to have a girl, even if she's only in your imagination."2 His happy ending is a meet-cute straight out of The Importance of Being Earnest. She warns him that he'll be disappointed by her name; he snuggles his head into her shoulder like a contented cat on hearing it. I wish I could say more about Lyle Talbot as the fast-driving hero of this whole affair, but anyone who's going to compete with Roscoe Karns' double-take patter and Mary Astor's sheer awesomeness needs more than good eyebrows and a general air of go-getting nice guy to do it. He's not a hole in the screen, but I'm not sure what he brings to the part of Wally Storm that any other B-star couldn't have supplied; he was so much more interesting as the debatable romantic lead of She Had to Say Yes (1933) that I'm left wondering if he was better in character roles than straight heroes. Testing this hypothesis will give me an extra excuse to check out Three on a Match (1932), Ladies They Talk About (1933), and Mandalay (1934), anyway. He does have good chemistry with Astor. The comfortable way they hang out before the plot really kicks into gear did more to convince me of their romance than all his South American pining. I am probably still more charmed by all five minutes tops of Karns and Mary Treen.
The title of this post comes from Wally's signature song, which against all expectations turns out to provide a significant plot point. I'd say the movie's so short it doesn't have time for extraneous detail, but given the way it ricochets through genres and cliffhangers, that is manifestly untrue. It's a fun little actioner with a surprising streak of not-so-stealth feminism and I'd have written about it sooner if we hadn't had to deal with the Day without Internet and the Night without Electricity. This wild ride brought to you by my handy backers at Patreon.
1. As the latest model of Sanford Special is being pushed to the starting line, Bud says with some wryness, "Hope you ain't jittery, Miss Pat."–"Not any more than you are, Bud," she returns. He pulls a face, jerks a thumb at her side of the car: "That's funny. Wished I was in that seat." She grins at him just as she did at Johnny: "A better man than you is in this seat." Bud takes resigned hold of the wheel and sighs, "Wished a better man than me was in this one!" I understand that particular forking path would have rendered Wally entirely superfluous to the story's climax, but I'd have enjoyed it.
2. The most interesting thing to me about never-seen Maggie is the way Bud uses her not just to stay competitive with his friends' love lives, but as a kind of ventriloquism. In their very first scene together, Bud tells Wally, "That reminds me—I was talking to Maggie and she says you ought to be stepping out on your own hook. You ain't going to get anywhere being a mechanic for Griffin." It's good advice and quite true, but Bud couldn't say it for himself?
(How strange was it? So strange they made a tv movie about it!)
So! I have watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show remake tv movie, and I have OPINIONS. I liked the audience participation bits, would have honestly liked a few more, but I'M SORRY, THIS IS NOT A REMAKE.
Like, I mean, it is, but you'd assume a remake would have as intended audience, or at least part of it, people who were not familiar with the original. So, WHO WAS THE INTENDED AUDIENCE FOR THIS TV MOVIE? I mean, I know it's people like me, who either were or still are into RHPS, but there were parts that were so narrowly targeted that I felt like any broad appeal was gonna be lost. Because if it's anyone who has never seen RHPS before, being like "hm, I like Laverne Cox, I wonder what this thing is" or even "I am bored and this is on the tv", HOW DID THIS COME OFF? WERE THEY VERY CONFUSED?
Ah, the things that distract me.
Also that distracts me: as probably expected, considering that at one point in my life I had large portions of the original movie memorized, so while I'm not sure I noticed all the deviations, a lot of them were very noticeable. This is not necessarily bad. I legit laughed at loud at Columbia's "I hope it's not meatloaf again".
I did enjoy it! A lot! And sang along! But, yeah, I kept wondering what this was like for someone with no familiarity with RHPS. Remakes should stand on their own, no? But this was more a nice little nostalgia-fest and excuse to happily shout things at the screen (in a setting where shouting things at the screen is more than expected, it is basically required)
And nearly everyone seemed to be having a fun time with it, with the exception of Tim Curry, who seemed to be gritting his teeth and thinking of the paycheck.
Also of note: THE COSTUMES WERE AMAZING. Especially Frank's, good lord, that was some epic costuming, absolutely stunning and perfect.
So, yeah. I would probably not recommend this as someone's first experience with RHPS :P, but I had a good time.
136. Kai Ashante Wilson, A Taste of Honey. Tor.com Publishing, 2016. Copy via Tor.com.
Read for review for Tor.com. Really good.
137. Cassandra Khaw, Hammers on Bone. Tor.com Publishing, 2016. Copy via Tor.com.
Read for column. Surprisingly effective Lovecraftian noir.
138. Laurie Penny, Everything Belongs to the Future. Tor.com, 2016. Copy via Tor.com.
Read for column. Really good.
139. Becky Chambers, A Closed and Common Orbit. Hodder & Stoughton, 2016.
Excellent novel in the same universe as A Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, with a similar hopeful and comforting tone - though certain of its incidents are darker. Read for column. REALLY GOOD.
Claudia had been on top of a bookcase in his office that was about a foot below one of the several ceiling holes throughout the house (there's been a lot of rewiring over the years, and patching the holes has just never been much of a priority), and then she'd leaped up into the ceiling and disappeared.
(This after months of Claud showing interest in the ceiling hole in my office and getting held up so she could peer into the one by the light switch, and my vague worries about the largest hole in the house, semi-above the kitchen island. For some reason the hole she finally vanished into never occurred to us as a problem. *so much facepalm*)
I'm not entirely clear on how long it took us to get her down. We tried summoning her with treats and the noise of a crinklepuff toy and cracking open a can of food, and she sometimes came back to the hole she'd gone into, and other times peered down in the garage, but she seemed to be happy as a clam up there. We focused on a garage hole, since it was the largest one in the ground-level ceiling, and eventually scruloose was able to get hold of her after we tried opening the can of food.
Except then she freaked out and tried to flee deeper into the ceiling. And she's an escape artist, so she slid right out of his grip, and he caught her by a hind leg before she could quite disappear, and then he had to get as far into the ceiling space as possible to slowly drag her out. Emphasis on SLOWLY, because she was terrified and wriggling and latching onto everything she could with her front claws, and scruloose was balanced semi-precariously up off the floor while all this was going on. O_O
He did finally get her down (as you might guess from the fact that this post isn't incoherent textual shrieking). Over her protests and lashing tail, we brushed her a little and wiped her paws (and rubbed a damp cloth over her) in case anything nasty had gotten on her, and she ate a hefty portion of the food we'd opened, and accepted some treats. She's fine.
Through all of that, even when scruloose was pulling her down and she was scared and unhappy, she didn't leave him with a single scratch; the same was true when I was toting her upstairs and getting thwacked repeatedly with a very anxious (and grumpy) tail.
She was much less happy to find that scruloose kept the door of his office closed until after he went to the market today, and that he immediately sealed up that ceiling hole and several others; as soon as he opened the office back up she bolted in there and stared up at where "her" hole had been with great annoyance. She clearly made no connection between her grand adventure and its distressing conclusion.
Oh, my most excellent, overly-intrepid kitty.
I can't upload some of the older pics I'd like to include, so this one will have to do for now. I love this pic of her focusing with hobbity attention on her rare ice cream treat when we saw her this spring, such a joy it was to be there with her.
Walked around the local park with my family today and took a few fall-themed pics. I’m particularly happy with the way this mushroom turned out:
And of course, you’ve got to get a picture of the autumn foliage, right?
I’ve been spending a lot of time restoring old pictures after the hard drive mess of last month. One of the fun side effects is getting to see various old photos — not just people and places, either. For instance, here’s a bit of cover art I made for a short story that went up for sale on Fictionwise. This was back before Amazon started doing ebooks.
Speaking of cover art, here’s one that was actually published by Publish America (now America Star Books). They did eventually pull it and issue a different cover, but I saved it for arguments about whether or not writers should sign with Publish America.
I had some scans of old photos of me, too. Here’s one of me wearing glasses surprisingly similar to the ones I have now:
And then there’s this sketch Howard Tayler did of me at a convention a few years back, when I was doing all that cover posing…
I think that’s a good image to end on. (Though I suspect most of you would have preferred me to end on the previous one. Heh…)
A secret history of the truth about Hillary Clinton. (1980: "In consultation with the team of Illuminati, demons and robo-Hitlers who have been supervising Hillary Clinton’s progress thus far, her robotic shell is replaced with another, different one that does not wear glasses and is blonder. The people of Arkansas consider this an improvement, although they complain about its inability to bake.")
The best of #TrumpBookReport. ("It took Low Energy Harry Potter 7 books to defeat Voldermort. Sad! I would have beat him in the first book!")
Meanwhile, in Real News That Sounds Like A Joke:
"On Wednesday, Congress was so determined to pass a law to sue Saudi Arabia that it overrode President Barack Obama’s veto. But possible backlash against America had top Republican leaders looking for someone else to blame [September 30]. And they appear to have settled on Obama."
A Trump-vs-Clinton history matchup, comparing what the two were doing in various years.
Video after Pence's showing at the VP debate: "Trump never said that" intercut with times when Trump said that.
What I did have a deep familiarity with, having recently finished it, was Buffy the Vampire Slayer - which made for a very interesting follow-up media experience. Because more than 1980s movie and horror tropes, the proximity of the two codified a very specific pattern of supernatural fiction focusing on the exploitation of young girls and women.
Of young girls and women as dangerous beings with phenomenal powers, trained to be weapons for those who are indirectly responsible for their possession of their powers and can't access them directly, unwillingly fighting against supernatural forces without full knowledge of the scope and scale of that fight, who are denied full personhood by their trainers and keepers but find it instead granted and gifted by their peer group where they find themselves embraced and welcomed as who they are, even with the accompanying fear of everything they bring with them, both supernatural and otherwise.
It's not a one-to-one match by any means. I doubt it was done intentionally. It does make for something to consider, given how closely the parallels run. I'm certain there's more like this out there that I just haven't read or watched yet, just as I hope there's going to be at least a handful of peer-reviewed papers on this topic editing their citations now that they've got another TV show to write about.
( ...Where the tide ends? That's kind of like us. Divided but together. )
Graduate school! *hands*
I cooked today--or at least, I made homemade mayo using the Seriouseats recipe Kenji Lopez-Alt did. I'm really getting a kick out of this whole hand blender thing. WHAT SHALL I EMULSIFY NEXT?
Also, one of my housemates bought a couple of pyrex baking dishes, a 9x13 and an 8x8, and I'm really tempted to make either baked ziti or eruthros' carrot lembas. It would be nice to have breakfast squares! I don't like putting effort into breakfast.
Cooking is easy to think about, the cumulative exam slightly more difficult. And my quantum mechanics midterm? Ugh!
I am hoping that after this next week I'll have a little more breathing room to finish working on my rotation project and maybe even do some stuff for fun. Ahahahahaaa.
Our DM found out a few days ago that she had to unexpectedly be out of town this weekend, so it was looking like our weekly D&D game would have to be cancelled. Our bard decided that he wanted to try to run a oneshot instead, so that we could still play. Especially since we were supposed to have a new player joining our game this week. (His name is jetpack_monkey. Maybe some of you have heard of him?)
Anyway, our bard's name is Tuck. (The character, not the player.) So our temporary DM decided to run a oneshot called "Where the Fuck is Tuck?" in which our bard wandered off (which happens with alarming regularity, by the way) and we had to go try to find him. In the Feywild. Because when he wanders off, he really wanders off.
He did an amazing job, especially when you consider that less than two months ago he'd never played D&D in his life. He handled almost everything we threw at him, and the handful of things that would have made his job a lot more difficult didn't happen because his NPCs kept beating the DC of my spells. (The other characters tend to be the ones who rush in and start beating things over the head. Mine stays in the back and tries to cast things like Command or using Channel Divinity to use Turn Undead, which are great from the standpoint of ending fights quickly but not so helpful for a DM who wasn't expecting it.)
It was a lot of fun, overall. jetpack_monkey created a new character specifically for this game, considering we haven't met his actual character, and said character... was very obviously a creation of Nate's. In many, many ways. :-P
And now I'm ready for it to be Tuesday. Or Thursday. Or Friday. Any of those are good, since all three include D&D in some way. Because that is apparently my life at the moment. Work, D&D, fanfiction, and occasionally video games.
I just need to finish the game, so that I can start the Yuletide story.
The last time I was writing a game, I set myself a daily goal and just didn’t go to bed until I had managed it. I don’t think, under current circumstances, that that’s a viable option.