savageseraph: (Hope (by caras_galadhon))
( Oct. 31st, 2016 12:48 pm)
Dear Walking Dead,

As much as I hated you last week, as much as I was a hair away from telling you to fuck off because I had a better way to spend my Sunday nights, you come back with an episode like this? I don't know whether to love you or hate you. I think a bit of each.

It's Fruit Time! )

While I will probably never watch the first episode of this season ever again (except for the ending), this episode, like the one with Morgan and Eastman, is one that I’d like watch over and over and over again.
savageseraph: (Willow (by masquerademasks))
( Oct. 29th, 2016 11:50 pm)


Many years ago, [livejournal.com profile] foxrafer and [livejournal.com profile] stormatdusk started a fun tradition when they found out that [livejournal.com profile] shegollum had never been trick or treating. They decided that we could have our own virtual trick or treating. People who wanted to participate would post a picture of a door, and trick or treaters stopped by to knock on the doors (leave a comment) and get a treat of some kind. It could be a ficlet, a poem, a picture.

So if you’re inclined to trick or treat this year, leave a comment on this post, and (optionally) tell me what you’re dressed as. If you want to leave some notes about the sorts of candy you prefer (fandoms, characters, general prompt, question, etc,), I will do my best to provide a treat of some kind for your goody bag.

Because I always find myself busy in unplanned ways for the holiday, I’m putting up this post today with comments screened, so only I can see them. This gives me a little time to make some candy ahead of time so I can hand it out on the holiday. However, I’ll also repost on Halloween.

If you'd also like to participate in a fun and fantastic fandom holiday tradition, just post a door in your LJ and instructions to lure the unwary to your lair. Yes, it's okay to knock here even if you aren't posting yourself. The more the merrier!

Blessed Samhain and Happy Halloween!
savageseraph: (Evil (by aurorasfate))
( Oct. 28th, 2016 01:35 pm)
Dear Walking Dead,

I didn’t think it was going to happen with you. Not after so many seasons we spent together. Not after all the laughter and the tears. You made me worry a little, though, after how you ended last season. And now, after the first episode of this season, I’m just a little bit more worried.

Why Worry? )

There was a time when you would have realized things like that. When you would have known the power of the story you were telling. I’m not sure you realize those things anymore, and that worries me. Because, frankly, those are the reasons I came to love you, and without them, you’re going to be just a painful slog to the boneyard. Even though I like dark fictions, I need to have light or the darkness means nothing.
A week has gone by since Fox’s Rocky Horror remake, and in the first few days after the airing, I found myself liking it less and less. Fox’s continued pimping of the show, “Stream it online at Fox.com! Buy the soundtrack!” didn’t help much. So before moving on (and after watching the songs from the original on YouTube to cleanse my freak palette, my final thoughts on the remake…

The Costumes/Sets/Music
Taken from a purely visual perspective, the costumes and sets were pretty nice. Superficially, they should have worked. However, that’s precisely why they didn’t. They were too pretty. Too sparkly. Too bright. Too perfect. They cleaned up a movie that is, at its heart, not about mainstreaming or prettying things up, but about letting your freak flag fly.

The music didn’t escape this sanitizing and softening effect either. It often felt like Glee does Rocky Horror in the “pop”izing of the “rock”ier (pun intended) original soundtrack.

The Audience in the Theatre Device
Okay, I said I liked this last week, and if I put on my fan studies hat and look at representing audience and fans and pulling them into the narrative in a very literal way, I can still admit it’s clever. However, if I tilt my head and look at it from a different angle, like the costumes and sets, it misses the mark, the heart of the fan experience. In that, fans are participating, not simply performing. The audience was performing participation instead of participating. Which commodifies and somewhat invalidates the participation. It makes participation a job, not a calling.

The Band/Background Singers
Since I’m talking about performance, the band and background singers in Frank’s castle felt off in the way the audience in the theatre was off. They emphasize that what we (and by extension Brad and Janet) are watching is a performance. As such, it robs those scenes of tension and edge.

And yes, I realize the whole is a performance, but there’s a difference between watching a performance, and seeing actors perform. Between seeing an actor embody a role and seeing them perform a role. The latter, at least for me, pulls me out of the narrative.

Frank-n-Furter
The softening I mentioned in my first point is perhaps nowhere so apparent as it is in the character of Frank-n-Furter. I was not enamored of Cox’s performance. Her singing wasn’t great, and she often felt like she was off in her own little world vogue-ing her way through each scene without truly connecting with it or with her fellow actors.

She also decidedly lacked any of the edge of danger and menace and carnality that just oozed from Tim Curry’s Frank. Cox’s Frank takes a knife and stabs Eddie a few times before he takes a tumble out a window, disposing of the body. Curry’s Frank takes an axe to him and stands next to a small stream of blood that is running down from the body after Eddie bites the dust.

Because I never really saw Cox’s Frank as gleefully predatorially sexual as Curry’s scenes like the seductions of Brad and Janet and the “In Just Seven Days, I Can Make You a Man” song after Rocky was born came across as funny. I didn’t believe them. Not even in a comic sense.

At the heart of Curry’s dark magnetism and menace is the fact that despite the pearls and corset, despite the cosmetics and fishnet, he was an alpha male (of a sort). He was unhinged in delightful ways, but he was in command, used to others bowing to his desires. One could argue, this is one of the reasons Riff Raff wants to kill him rather than taking him home.

I’ve read articles weighing in on both sides of the issue of whether or not casting a trans woman as Frank was groundbreaking genius or a bad call that reinforces stereotypes that transwomen are men in drag. Whether it takes gender and sexual identity to new places or blurs the distinction between them and fetishism. There’s lots of cyber-ink spilled on either side, so feel free to Google and enjoy if you’re so inclined.

For me, having a woman play Frank made for some uncomfortable shifts in some scenes. The scene between Frank and Janet at the dinner party during the “You Better Wise Up, Janet Weiss” song where a woman is bitch-slapping another woman for making the moves on her man made me frown and feel uncomfortable.

And while one article went on about how wonderful and edgy it was to show a trans woman seducing a straight man, is that more transgressive than the original with a bisexual man with a straight man? And what does it say that the focus is on discussing the seduction scene with the man (Brad) versus the woman (Janet)?

The Sexy Factor
Perhaps this says too much about me, but I found the original Rocky Horror a hell of a sexy film. Tim Curry owns a lot of that, but so do the rest of the cast. I can honestly say, the only time in this film I thought, “Hmm, that’s kinda hot,” is when Brad was all done up in his gold corsetry for the floor show at the end of the film. Not even Adam Lambert (who I think would have made a better choice for Frank in terms of performance and singing) managed the sexy.

In looking back over what I’ve written, I think the single word that could best sum up how I feel about the Fox remake is superficial. It’s like the people producing this version understood what was happening at the surface level of the film, and they decided to upgrade those things, add more sparkles and lights, for their audience. In that, they did have some success.

However, their lack of deeper understanding about the film and why it resonates with its audience and why it endures was lost. It’s freaky, transgressive soul was hollowed out, mainstreamed. Lost. Rocky Horror should be something you watch at midnight in a theatre (or at home, unedited, on a movie channel), not in primetime on a major network.
Why am I watching Fox’s ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW remake? Why? It’s like my fingers ache to change the channel, but my eyes can’t look away. No, it’s not the trainwreck of NBC’s live musicals, but it’s not good either.

One thing that works well is framing the story as a movie being shown at a theatre and switching from being in the action to seeing it on the screen and seeing the audience interact with it. That was a nice touch. Reeve Carney (Riff Raff) has the strongest performance in terms of acting and singing, and Victoria Justice (Janet) is reasonably solid. Surprisingly, I didn’t love Adam Lambert, and Tim Curry’s frailness makes me sad, though given his stroke, it’s good to see him at all.

While the upgrades to the set and costume budgets are nice to look at, part of me craves the less polished and perfect look of the original. Also, I’m not keen on some of the musical changes, the “softening” (sound-wise) of the songs. They don’t feel like they have quite the punch and crispness of the original.

I’m usually not one to complain about camp, but it feels like the show is trying to out-camp the original in a way that makes the camp feel more like parody. That’s leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. In many parts, it seems like the actors are trying to imitate the original in terms of intonation and delivery, physicality, and that’s a losing battle, because they aren’t ever going to be the original cast.

The original movie cast doesn’t have anything to worry about their performances remaining the definitive ones. There’s often an odd sort of odd disconnect between the cast here. For example, in “Sweet Transvestite” Laverne Cox feels completely detached from everything and everyone around her. She might as well be in a room by herself for all the connection she makes. I also hated her performance of “Blue Skies.”

I want to watch the original so bad right now.
savageseraph: (Fae (by aurorasfate))
( Oct. 17th, 2016 08:10 pm)
Despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to go into a work week fully rested. Last night, I went to bed on time, and I fell asleep easily. I was deep into a pleasant dream of something that eludes me now that I’m awake, and the smoke detector in the bedroom let out a beep. Naturally, since it is a smoke detector, it’s not terribly subtle. About 15 seconds later, there was another beep. Then another.

Of course, it had to be the one right in the bedroom with me.

So I trudged out to grab the cleaner on a pole I have to dust around the crown molding, turned it upside down, and used it to hit the reset button. There were a string of angry beeps, and then I pushed it again. It came back fine, and all was well after that.

Well. Except for the fact the dog was freaked the fuck out and I was rudely jolted out of deep sleep and lamenting the fact I’d likely be up all night. I wasn’t, but that waking a few hours into the sleep cycle is throwing me off at work today.

I mentioned that I moved across the breezeway last month into a renovated apartment with laminate floors. My allergies like this. The dog most certainly does not. Last night, however, we discovered a new game.

I was lying on the floor playing with her, and I put my hands on her chest and gave her a shove, which sent her sliding across the floor. She looked startled for a moment, then charged me. I made much of her, then did it again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Naturally, I immediately have to tell my sister about this and say that Ripley and I have a new game. It’s called Risky Business, and I explain. She now thinks Ripley needs a tiny pair of underpants to wear as she’s sliding across the floor.
savageseraph: (Horns (by icon_goddess))
( Oct. 16th, 2016 02:58 pm)
I noticed [livejournal.com profile] verdande_mi posting about this, and I'm spreading the word. And the ADORABLE graphic. Because we don't want any sad ghosts in these parts.

Wednesday is the last presidential debate of the season. I’ve been pretty quiet about politics this season, even though there has been plenty to talk about. Since last fall, I’ve been submerged in the campaigns for both parties. I watched all the primary debates. I watched primary voting coverage. I watched both conventions, and I’m watching the presidential debates and the VP one.

I’m more than a bit horrified by this political cycle, and I’ve spent far too many hours trying to figure out how we got to this point. By that, I don’t mean trying to figure out the forces that have led to people being unsatisfied with government and politicians in general. That I understand.

What I don’t understand is the Trump phenomenon. That despite asking some people I know who are not just Republicans but Trump supporters. No one has been able to explain it to me so that I can understand.

During the Republican primary season, I have to confess I fell into the state of complacency that the party itself was in with respect to Trump. Given the horrifying things that came out of his mouth on a regular basis, I assumed there would be a magnificent flame out. I assumed he’d finally say something so reprehensible it would kill his campaign or that all the things would keep stacking up and he’d collapse under the weight of them. I’m guessing that’s why his Republican rivals didn’t do more aggressive opposition research on him. Like me, they didn’t take the threat seriously. Not until it was too late.

By that point, the only people left to challenge him were too far to the right to attract more moderate Republicans or too moderate to bring in the far-right base.

I was afraid of the inevitable pivot to build his support, but the Republican convention didn’t really do that. His behavior after the Democratic convention, the things he has said after, I’m not sure it’s in him to pivot. I don’t think his ego will allow it. And yet, despite attacking so many groups of people and so many individuals, despite his cavalier talk of sexual assault and women stepping forward to corroborate his “locker-room talk” was more than talk, despite not ever discussing policy or ideas in any terms more substantial than promising he has GREAT ideas that will do GREAT things to make America GREAT again, his base still believe in him. They’re proving right his assertion that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose a single vote.

Having said that, I’m not overly thrilled with the campaign that Clinton is running. Instead of focusing on fundraisers, I’d like to see her out more talking with people, and not just in battleground states. Despite strategic strikes in speeches and debates, in advertising, I want her to talk more about herself and her programs. The second debate was a shit show for both of them, and despite Michelle Obama’s motto, “When they go low, we go high,” I haven’t seen enough of people taking the high road in this election cycle.

I’m a Hillary supporter, and I’m with her despite her flaws, her issues with transparency and politicality. I’m looking forward to this week’s final debate, and I hope in it she refers more to real people and real problems in our country. I hope that she goes high and talks about positive things, challenging Trump when he challenges her on policy (which is unlikely to happen often) but pivoting away from issues that go low and avoiding being mired in trading personal barbs with him.

When my sister met the Clintons when they were the First Family, she said both Bill and Hillary were incredibly charismatic and charming, and I want to see more of that Hillary, the Hillary her friends and family, her constituents and colleagues, speak about. I want this campaign to pivot to ideas, to the future, to what is the best about us.
savageseraph: (Fizzgig)
( Oct. 16th, 2016 01:15 pm)
This week was a grind. Sitting here at the tail end of it, I wish I was feeling more rested, more prepared for the week ahead.

What make last week such a slog? One of our clients was at our headquarters doing an annual vendor review of us. I didn’t have to spend the week there, but I had chunks of time where I was sitting on a conference call, ready to answer any questions in my area that came up and needed to be addressed.

That would have made the week taxing enough. However, we also had guests from our company in the office for three days. We had a lunch with our team because we have a person retiring at year end. We had an office-wide lunch and meeting.

Naturally, I still had all my normal work going on at the same time.

Today, as I look at my calendar for next week, I thankfully have few meetings scheduled. That can change, but it shouldn’t change enough to be as soul crushing as last week.

And I’m looking forward to taking some time off at the end of the month. Yay for Halloweeny staycation!
Dear Yuletide Writer,

First, let me say that I'm so happy to have you writing something for me that I don't get to see every day but wish that I did. Thank you in advance for that!

I know that my prompts lean toward the slashy and the sexy. I like slash, het (though not vanilla het), and femslash. If you’re writing either het or femslash, I like strong, capable women who own their own strength, intellect, and desire. Of course, I like that in men too. I like BDSM, though more in terms of power dynamics and less in terms of highly ritualized behavior.

However, I love interesting and complex characters and good stories above all else. Even when it comes to the sexy, the sorts of stories I like best are the ones that really get inside the characters’ head, ones that go beyond the act itself and show how it impact the characters or their relationship. If you want to see the sorts of things I write (and like to read), I'm also Savageseraph over at the Archive of Our Own.


Some Things That Are DEFINITELY For Me )

Some Things That Are Not For Me )


And now, a bit about the fandoms I've requested for this Yuletide exchange.

Grimm RPF )

Lucifer (TV) )

The Magicians (TV) )

Sleeping Beauty )

Into the Badlands )

Deadpool )

Having said that, I read and write and enjoy lots and lots of things that aren't really represented in my fics, so I don't want you to feel boxed in. Write what you really love, what inspires you, and it will show in the fic. If you have any questions, you could bounce them off my writing partner caras_galadhon.

I'm sure I'll love what you make for me, and I'm already looking forward to reading it!

Barbara
savageseraph: (Voodoo)
( Oct. 6th, 2016 09:26 pm)
Some of you might remember the ongoing cable woes I experienced for 8 months in my old apartment. Service would drop. Over and over and over again. And the shitty company that services apartment complexes in my area would take anywhere from a few days to a week to get out to do things that fixed nothing. No one wanted to give me any credits for lost time either. DirecTV blamed the service company. The service company said I pay DirecTV, not them.

Finally, after a call of EXTREME rage with DirecTV, they gave me a year-long $20/month credit and $5 off HBO for a year.

I moved across the hall. The cable worked perfectly. For 12 days. Now, I'm back to the same bullshit. I'm watching a channel, and it will just switch to another one. Tuesday it was CNBC. I'm not sure what it was yesterday. Today it was home shopping shit and now a running non-stop infomercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

If I hit "Previous" to switch channels and then again to go back to what I want to watch, it will take me back. For 5 seconds to a few minutes. Then it starts again.

The fucking cable company can't come out until Monday. So I'm thinking I could be screwed when it comes to THE EXORCIST, college/pro football, and the presidential debate.

Right now I'm just SUPER SOUR about the whole thing.
savageseraph: (Merida)
( Oct. 4th, 2016 08:32 pm)
How did it get to be 8:30 PM? It feels like I just left work, but here we are, 3.5 hours later. I suppose grocery shopping (and putting away), cooking, walking the dog, wrestling with cable issues, and talking to my sis ate up time I like to use to relax and detox and unwind.

I forsee a long-ass Wednesday for me. *sigh*

Tonight, I was going to talk about GOTHAM and LUCIFER, the things that make me love Mondays. At least, Monday nights. GOTHAM is darkly lush visually, exceptionally well written, and exceptionally well acted. LUCIFER is a delicious blend of snappy dialogue and witty humor with a mythic story arc and compelling characters.

Right now, I'm just growling at my cable. My wrath upon DirecTV if I miss the VP debate tonight.
It’s Fall, and we all know what that means: new television shows. In the midst of all my moving chaos, I did manage to start watching a few new shows. I’m not equally excited about all of them, but there were definitely some pleasant surprises in the mix.

THE EXORCIST )

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR )

WESTWORLD )

Tomorrow, I’ll look at some returning favorite shows from last year. Because a season without geek TV talk is a sad season.
It’s that time again. Not only is it the 15th Anniversary of LORD OF THE RINGS, but it’s the 11th Annual Sons of Gondor Trick or Treat Exchange. If you still write LOTR or LOTrips fic or if you used to and you’d like to dip your toes back, we’d like to have you come and write with us.

The informational post for the exchange can be found here:

http://sons-of-gondor.livejournal.com/1149694.html#comments

And you can sign up here:

http://archiveofourown.org/collections/Sons_of_Gondor_Trick_or_Treat_Exchange_2016/signups/new

The deadline for signups is 10/2 at midnight Pacific time.
Hey all.

Wow. There are so many cobwebs here. I clearly need to do some cleaning. Spiffy things up for folks.

2016 has been kicking my ass. The major ass-kickery came from having to move. My apartment complex was bought by a new company and over the last two years they’ve been massively renovating apartments and jacking up the rent. As they do. So this summer I got the notice: move to a renovated unit or move.

While the renovated units are SUPER NICE, they were more than I wanted to pay. However, in looking at other places, other apartments weren’t that much cheaper and most had smaller floorplans. If I stayed, I could move right across the breezeway. I’d still be on the ground floor and still facing into a forested space. And only one family lived here post-renovation.

So I’ve been working on slowly packing and getting ready and then moving and cleaning. Moving makes me and the dog exceptionally anxious and though we are all moved, I’m surrounded by boxes. And boxes. And boxes.

My whole body hurts. I have bruises all over, and I’m feeling stretched and worn. I guess I’m in the bounce-back phase.

How is everyone? Good summers? Looking forward to fall?
Is it TIME yet?

*checks clock*

*taps foot*

*paces*

*shuffles papers on desk*

*pets dog*

*checks clock again*

Why isn't it time yet?


1456334456046.jpg
prince-summer-2015-press-photo-billboard-650.jpg


Today was my work-from-home day, and I had CNN on when they had a Breaking News alert about investigating a death at Prince's studio. My first thought is, "I wonder who is it and what happened." I didn't think, "It might be Prince."

It was Prince.

In my family, my sis is the bigger Prince fan. She has seen him in concert, an experience she said was phenomenal. Like Bowie, his art informed our young adulthood, my sis and I, and he stayed with us over the years. Her, perhaps, more than me.

2016 is turning into a cruel year for performing artists and those of us who were moved by their art.
savageseraph: (Abby_Cute)
( Mar. 25th, 2016 08:17 pm)
Two short lists to wrap up my musings about BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN.

Some Good Bits… )

Some Bad Bits… )
When considering the worst thing about BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN, the film gives viewers an embarrassment of riches to choose from. However, aside from the terribly unfortunate casting of Lex Luthor, the vast majority of the film’s ills could be mitigated or resolved by fixing one thing: the screenplay.

The Worst Thing is... )

However, after seeing the hot mess Zach Snyder made of this film, I don’t think that fans are going to be eager for a JUSTICE LEAGUE outing that he is helming. I know that I am not. While DC has done itself proud with its small-screen offerings: ARROW, FLASH, CONSTANTINE, and LUCIFER (I guess one could count SUPERGIRL and LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, but I’ve not been watching them.), their big-screen adaptations have been more uneven. With Marvel and the MCU being the gold standard in terms of superhero films, DC has to step up its game to compete with the Marvel powerhouse, and BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN was NOT the film they wanted to be the launch pad for their own DC Universe film line.
Do you wanna know the BEST thing about BATMAN vs. SUPERMAN?

The Best Thing is... )
.