bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
A year and a half ago, I fell for the villain in a music video on YouTube. Last night, I had a drink with him.

("Way to bury the lede," said [twitter.com profile] thisiskis when I told the story the long way around this morning. You get the highlights version.)

I took the bus to Manhattan for a 24-hour visit this weekend to see a fringe play imported from England because, as you may recall, this actor I liked, Jon Campling, was in it and it didn't sound like there would be another opportunity to see him in the U.S. in the foreseeable future.

The play itself, TRIPPIN, was better than expected. Quite funny and creative on a shoestring budget. I think the advertising doesn't do it justice. It's billed as "weekend warrior does a drug and meets some wacky characters," and it was that, with a side of privileged white male existential despair, but it was also a surprisingly cathartic journey into how a person can create or exacerbate their own deep unhappiness and try to self-medicate with substances or escapist media without getting at the root of the problem. Anxiety transforms into peace.

I'm so used to seeing embarrassing productions/TV/movies/performances for the sake of a particular actor or actress that this was a nice change of pace.

Afterwards [twitter.com profile] iggyw and I were hanging out in the empty lobby, where I was hoping for a photo op and autograph, when Jon's wife found us. We chatted until Jon appeared, and then, instead of a quick meet and greet, they totally invited us downstairs to the playhouse bar! I had been daydreaming about just such an outcome but wasn't sure I would be brave enough to ask for it. So I was on cloud nine for the next hour and a half as we talked about a bunch of different things and I got to look at his face some more. Much merriment and storytelling; I am once more thankful to extroverts for their seeming ease in keeping conversations lively among strangers. Iggy, who is less comfortable than I am about meeting performers, started out skeptical but ended up having a lovely time and agreeing that they were both super sweet.

And before we left, I did get that autograph and photo op. I had confessed my love for his villain roles starting with that abduction-themed Amber Run video, and he delighted me by feigning a kidnapping move while Iggy took our picture. <3

ignore this cut tag )

photographic evidence )

Totally worth the trip.

*

Thanks to [twitter.com profile] no_detective I also got to see a matinee of MENGELE, which I was more ambivalent about. It was neither as bad as it could have been nor as good. Lots of breathy, rapid-fire dialogue between "Mengele" and an avenging angel as they delved into his life and actions, with a few pauses to play video footage from the Holocaust and/or the Schindler's List movie. The performances were pretty strong, and I liked the attention paid to the conflicted attraction-repulsion some perpetrators felt for their victims, but there was nothing new or particularly insightful in its depiction of a war criminal justifying his behavior, and the structure of the play undercut any sort of catharsis.

Other weekend highlights included (1) being stopped by a fellow DS9 fan in a shop who liked my Terok Nor t-shirt and (2) food! Decent SoHo pizza with Iggy, a tea house on Bleecker I wish we could have spent more time lounging in before the play, an amazing kosher everything bagel with cream cheese around the corner from the hotel (Ess-a-Bagel, yummm), and brunch this morning with [twitter.com profile] thisiskis and [personal profile] coffeeandink. More wide-ranging fannish conversation, this time with scrambled eggs.

*

Back to work tomorrow. [livejournal.com profile] synn and I are, uh, supposed to fly to Orlando on Thursday to go to Harry Potter World. It still appears to be possible? We'll see.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Doing

Working a lot at work. Consequently, doing not a lot at home. My proposed promotion is still moving forward, although not approved yet. But I'm sad about feeling vaguely unwell so often. (No advice needed; docs have been consulted.) On the tail end of one of these periodic weeks of poor sleep, I had a gross dream about a manager in the office and had trouble looking at him yesterday. Then today my laptop died! Only I looked up the "symptoms" on my phone and fixed it via a method that indicated it was only an issue of built-up static charge, whew. We had an Arctic front sweep through last night; the same dry air made my lip split when I went to the library this afternoon.

Last weekend featured Boston fan brunch, always good, followed by fangirl movie night at [personal profile] thedeadparrot's, in this case Dune, for which [twitter.com profile] serenadestrong made a spectacular sand worm spice bread. On the downside, a friend moved away to NYC, and the whole weekend felt vaguely unreal because my ear was plugged for uninteresting reasons, so until these drops from CVS cleared it up I was half deaf and felt slightly feverish, maybe because I associate plugged-up ears with being sick.

...This is the kind of post people used to make fun of when they talked about the banality of blogging. I will stop complaining.


Vidding

No, wait, I will complain about one more thing, because it is upsetting me: Last Saturday YouTube blocked the Ancillary Justice trailer in the U.S. and Canada because of the DhakaBrakha audio snippets (although it's still up on Vimeo), and then last night Vimeo took down Starships! because of the Nicki Minaj song (although it's still up on YouTube) -- no warning, just down, with an email explanation of the copyright claim.

Things I have done:
- Emailed the OTW's legal team to see if they have experience helping vidders contest copyright claims for music rather than video clips
- Emailed the Vimeo support team to gripe about the sudden takedown and to request screen shots of the comments and last known view counts
- Asked vidding friends on Twitter for advice
- Added the YouTube link for Starships! to the biggest Tumblr post that's been circulating, although who knows if people will see it
- Begun preparing points to make in the appeals

I believe the book trailer has a better shot of being reinstated because it only uses a small portion of the full song and isn't competing with the original. Starships! I'm not super hopeful about, in the same way I haven't been hopeful about previous copyright matches for vids that got denied upon initial upload, and that sucks, because vids are clearly transformative works and I wish I could articulate how video clips transform the audio (rather than vice versa), or form a gestalt with it that the song wouldn't have done alone.

Meanwhile, I requested a song for Club Vivid and it got approved, although I'm not sure I can make it in time because of the scope of one of my Fandom Trumps Hate auction vids, which I am going to post about soon because I could use your help.


Reading

Those SF/F compendia. Also Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor. I liked Binti a lot and was pleased to learn of the sequel, which was also good, except for how it's a CLIFFHANGER, sigh.

Next up, The Dream-quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson, because the Nebula nominees were announced and some of the novellas looked interesting.


Watching

This week I got to see a performance of Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana featuring Amanda Plummer and James Earl Jones! More on that later, I think. We do not often get New York-caliber dramas in Boston, so that was a treat.

Also a bunch of random movies that I will not list exhaustively but that included 13th, just as powerful as advertised; some movies my sister and I used to watch all the time as kids but that I hadn't seen since then (Annie [1982] and The Neverending Story); Cloud Atlas, which was terrible in different ways from the book (the racebending makeup was creepy and wrongsighted); and Child 44, an action film that was utterly unremarkable except for its cast: Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Charles Dance, Noomi Rapace, Vincent Cassel and Fares Fares. It took place in Stalin-era Moscow and Volsk so of course they cast Brits, a Frenchman, a Swede and a Lebanese Swede and made them speak in "Russian" accents.

Want to see Get Out and Logan. My sister will be visiting next weekend and we plan to take care of at least one of those.


Listening

Stephen Thompson at NPR released this year's Austin 100, a batch of songs by artists he recommends ahead of SXSW. I usually find a handful of vid songs in these -- among the 2016 recs I found this year's Club Vivid song, the song I used for the Chris Hadfield vid, and the song I'm going to use for the Mary Sue vampire vid -- and am looking forward to this new collection.


Writing

Posts and emails, mostly. Did I mention that over Presidents' weekend I added some pages to some very old Mary Sue fics? It felt good to get words out and to extend those stories a little, even with the inevitable self-criticism over things like "Why did it take you all day to write two pages?" and "Why are you still thinking about teenage fantasies?"


Off to [livejournal.com profile] disgruntledowl's for dinner/movie. I made brownies. Before that, I made some mashed cauliflower. The apartment smells very confused.

Hope you are having good weekends.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Hwooof, that was a tough week, but this weekend was the best that's happened in a while, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

(It was just a trough of stress. Political stuff, work stuff, probably body chemistry stuff. I am finally getting started with seeing a therapist and then I missed an appointment because I was so discombobulated I thought it was the next day. I had never missed a doctor's appointment before. I felt so stupid until [personal profile] deelaundry said a kind thing that hadn't occurred to me: When I said, "I look like a flake," she countered with, "You look like someone who needs help." Self-compassion is a thing it would be nice to learn.)

The good stuff:

Socializing: In support of this year's goal to get together more often with friends I like to talk to and/or want to get to know better, a few of us went to a play yesterday and had a satisfying coffee shop chat afterwards, and then I accepted an unexpected invitation to another blossoming friend's low-key Superbowl dinner. All good.

The play was called Trans Scripts, a synthesis/melding of interviews with trans women from the US/UK/Aus. It was elegant, illuminating and well acted -- two cast members were particularly strong -- although I thought it faltered in a few spots when it shifted from "showing" through anecdotes to plain proselytizing. [personal profile] marginaliana wrote up some of her thoughts.

A phone conversation the previous night:
95-year-old grandpa: Oh! I didn't expect you to be home on a Saturday night. I thought you'd be out with your friends.
Me: No, I'm boring. Well, I'm going to see a play tomorrow, but it's a matinee.
Grandpa: Oh, yeah? What is it about?
Me, bracing myself: It's based on interviews with transgender women about their lives.
Grandpa: Oh. You know, there's this woman I know from the temple, who lives with another woman, and it turns out they're--what do you call it--lesbians? Lesbians?
Me: Mm-hm!
Grandpa: So that's very interesting! I just knew them as women from the temple, you know.
#NotAllGrandpas

Doing: Had a computer-free day Saturday involving a mall run, errands and two movies. In addition to some necessaries for work and winter weather, I treated myself to a grommet-studded cut-out shirt that I probably won't wear anywhere but at home and Club Vivid (because I am me) but love anyway.

Reading: Was delighted by Unbeatable Squirrel Girl vols 1-2: plucky, witty, metatextual, intertextual, often involved the defusing of supervillainy through psychology/sympathy rather than fisticuffs. The '80s horror of Paper Girls turns out to be not as much my aesthetic, although the introduction of overlapping timestreams in vol. 2 is getting interesting.

Watching: Saw Moonlight and Lion. Loved the first and really liked the second; cried through them both; my heart aches for Chiron. Hope to see I Am Not Your Negro and Hidden Figures this week. Catching up on what I missed in Dec-Jan when too much else was going on.

Vidding: I remain in the planning stages of the two auction vids, and am figuring out if I can make the multifandom Club Vivid vid I've been preparing since the fall or if it'll need to wait another year. I watched all the [community profile] festivids -- slim masterlist this year, half the usual total -- but haven't commented on any or recced any here because I'm afraid the gaps would give away what I made, and the thought of doing fake comments/recs to throw off the scent makes me tired. I'll probably just post the rec list after reveals.

Cooking: A pleasurable week is in store of chicken breast and goat cheese sandwiches for lunch and stuffed cabbage for dinner. Also, the supermarket was selling chocolate-covered banana chips, which I didn't know was a thing but I am all over it, mm. Banana chips were such a treat when I was a kid.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] deelaundry visited over the weekend! We drove to Connecticut to see Robert Sean Leonard in a stripped-down production of Camelot.

We had been braced for terrible and instead were entertained. RSL's English accent was perhaps the weakest part of the evening. Britney Coleman, who apparently once played Bellatrix Lestrange in "A Very Potter Musical," gave a strong Musical Theater performance as Guenevere. Having never seen nor heard Camelot beyond a song or two, Dee and I were both amused by the Gaston-like characterization of Lancelot and this production's choice to include a bare-chested bathing scene. Michael De Souza did a great job with line delivery and body language, perhaps further endeared to my heart by the fact that at times he looked like Anton Yelchin. As for how to describe Mordred (Patrick Andrews) when he appeared in Act Two in full campy glory... He wore sparkly black leggings and was basically Seth Green playing Ramsay Bolton.

Perhaps my favorite part was learning a little bit of the history of the Westport Country Playhouse, which has been putting on shows starring big names since the '40s. They had rows of -- what are they called, not ads, not playbills -- and pieces of the old theater on the first floor. The place just felt wondrously thick with decades of actors and patrons taking a summer breather outside (but not too far outside) New York City for some low-pressure theater. I stared a little too long at a photo of Keir Dullea and Blythe Danner in the play Butterflies are Free.

.

Later, Dee suggested we try this show Black Mirror that has been recommended around. We watched the first two episodes of the first season (the prime minister and the pig, and the TV/bikes/game show dystopia). Creative, well-realized, solidly written and acted, and super disturbing, wow. Took days to shake off some of the concepts and images. Rupert Everett's faux-"X Factor" judge in particular induced a surprising visceral fear/attraction response in me. If the camera had lingered on his face for another 15 seconds, I'm positive I would have had nightmares. But in an enjoyable way? I'm looking forward to watching more -- just not before bed.

.

Then I whisked down to DC for 48 hours for a work trip. Got to see a handful of dear friends and a former coworker, attended the conference that prompted the trip, and at said conference, eee, had half a drink with Jad Abumrad, co-host of Radiolab! I only flailed at him a little before we engaged in some career-, storytelling- and podcast-related chat. If I'd known he was going to be there I probably could have asked better questions, but it was still a real treat.

Tomorrow, back to work and regular life.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Have the morning off work on account of I'll be there until 11 p.m. tonight. So.

Writing

I'm worried about finishing both Yuletide stories in time. Have 2,700 words of treat #1 with a few scenes still to go. It was supposed to be sort of quick but I got bogged down in the beginning trying to make sure the emotional progression was set up properly. Treat #2 has about 1,000 words (that I wrote over the summer and haven't touched since) and will need many more than that. Just don't know if the amount of time carved out of evenings and weekends between now and Dec. 20/25 will be enough, especially taking into account my variable ability to focus these days. We get a week off work between Xmas and New Year's, which is great for working on Festivids but too late for Yuletide. :/

Watching

Saw the pilot of Jessica Jones and really enjoyed it. A+ will continue at some point.

Also saw the National Theatre Live recording of Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch and Ciaran Hinds. Many of the other cast members were flat or otherwise unremarkable, but they did a great job of conveying the meaning of the language and overall the production was not as bad as reviews had suggested. Gorgeous staging. Beautiful directorial choice for Ophelia's final exit; a clever and effective way to lend more weight to the moment given the limits of the script. Enjoyed the way audience members laughed at the dirty jokes and the gravedigger's literalism; some things never stop being funny.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Happy November. We have achieved sleet! I guess that means it's okay to turn on the heat today. It's not remarkably early in the season for a (second, btw) nor'easter, but it's odd to see snow falling while the trees are still mostly leafed.

Well, we'll see if roasting this tray of vegetables takes care of some of the chill in here.

While I have had a blast doing and seeing so many different things lately -- I checked the calendar and there were 18 out-of-the-ordinary events in a month where usually there are like two, yeesh -- it's a relief to be heading into a few days of nothing but work and gym class Tue-Wed-Thu. Then my mom's coming for a visit, followed by pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving busy-ness.

p.s. The Jeffrey Combs-as-Edgar Allan Poe play was enjoyable on Halloween night. More )
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Festivids assignment is great, yay. It's funny: After reading various Dear Festividder letters, I'd added one source to my initial list of offers, and that is what got matched. Also have locked down what I want to make as a treat. It's going to be hard, but I think worth an attempt.

.

Went to see the National Theatre Live recording of Frankenstein last night. What an absolute joy. Details )

.

It's going to be a Star Trekky weekend: Jeffrey Combs tonight, George Takei on Monday. \o/

Happy Halloween! Are you dressing up? Do you wish you were?
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
+
I want to am going to make a vidlet! It is from Powder, a movie I've been afraid to admit in fandom-public to liking. Just need to find a better song.

While researching music, came up with a fun idea for a multisource vid. Yay for being enthused about a vid idea. Doing research and gathering clips will take some time, though.

+/-
My college/Star Trek friend S. is leaving town on two weeks' notice. For good reasons, but still sad to lose him.

We hung out last night and watched the DS9 ep "The Quickening"; it seemed (in)appropriate, given current events. Now, this is the same friend who, during "Past Tense," spun a tale with me about how Sisko was pimping out Bashir in exchange for clothes and rations, and who is of course fully on board with Garak/Bashir. Last night he decided someone should write a slash story where Sloan continues to creep on Bashir by cut for inappropriateness involving stuffed animals ).

On Friday, before S. does his final packing, we'll get to see Jeffrey Combs (Weyoun, Brunt, Re-Animator, etc.) in a one-man show about Edgar Allan Poe. It got good reviews, so I'm looking forward to that.

+
Have you ever encountered the modern dance company Pilobolus? Saw them perform last night and they were spectacular.

details, with bonus male stripper bondage )

Such a fun evening.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
I dreamt a terrible dream about Voldemort ripping the side off a trailer where Harry, Hermione and Ron were hiding in a storm, and taunting Harry to come out into the driving rain and face him.

Then I fell back asleep and dreamt about sitting in John Hannah's lap while he kissed my neck.

And talking to Michael Dorn about the shows we'd acted in together, while Avery Brooks and the rest of the DS9 cast played Frisbee in a carnival field.

*shrug*



Last night at the Coolidge Corner Theater I got to see the filmed version of the play Skylight, written by David Hare and starring Carey Mulligan and Bill Nighy. I'd tried to get a last-minute ticket while we were in London this summer, but no dice. They filmed it a few nights later.

It was just as fabulous as anticipated. Stellar writing and acting. Compelling characters whose backgrounds and motivations and flaws and strengths complicate with each turn of the conversation. Who also symbolize without being reduced to symbols. Good quality recording, other than a few microphone blips like when Mulligan would tuck her hair behind her ear or how loud a pot of sautéing vegetables sounded depending on her angle to the stove.

I'd known it was about a young woman re-encountering an older man she'd had an affair with years earlier. I hadn't known it was more broadly about classism and sexism and terminal illness and cultural tensions between people who pursue business (Nighy's character) and people who pursue careers like teaching and social work (Mulligan's), and whether there can be reconciliation between them (embodied by Nighy's character's son, Edward, played by Matthew Beard). As Hare said in an interview onscreen during the intermission, it was relevant in the 90s when he wrote it on the heels of the Thatcher era, and it's relevant now after (or during?) a similar governmental attitude, there and here.

Turns out the play is coming to NYC in the spring with the same cast. Very much recommended if you're local. If I hadn't seen it last night, I'd go. While the film version of course lacked the vibrancy of attending a live performance, the irony was I was able to see the actors' faces and the details of the set more clearly than would be possible in an affordable theater seat.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
1.

Vid got done, cinco provided great beta services, and it will be showing at WisCon tomorrow night, so I should be able to post it here Saturday morning. Yay! I am looking forward to sharing it as well as to watching the enticing-looking vids that've been coming out of Vidukon and will be coming out of WisCon.

2.

Finished Fifty Shades Darker. Everything wrong with the first book was also wrong with this one (indecisiveness, controlling behavior, rapid mood swings, too-quick relationship progression, stupid catchphrases, dearth of kink, portrayal of dominance and sexual sadism as pathologies in search of cure, general bad writing, etc.), plus a few fun new flaws, and if I'd tried to document all its problems we would have been here all day. Instead, I powered through and have some follow-up notes for those who are interested—including some aspects that improved.

Getting to know you, preposterous villains, some kink, a moment of actual emotion, and more. )

3.

Went with a couple of friends to see Spank! The Musical last night, a Fifty Shades parody. My chest hurt from laughing after the first half. Parody, kink songs, Twilight and Batman ) The show got uncomfortable, however, when its depiction of author "E.B. Janet" made fun of adult women who write erotic fanfiction. Make fun of bad writing, yes. But make fun of middle-aged ladies who want to be horny and who have the power to do it to & take care of it themselves, not so much. Part of the discomfort probably stems from an insider vs. outsider reaction—it's more okay for fanfic authors to deride other fanfic authors(' work) than for someone outside the community to do it.

4.

Even though Fifty Shades Darker ended in a way where I don't feel the need to keep going—the cackling in the bushes was maybe supposed to be a cliffhanger, but whatever—the completist in me wants to just take Fifty Shades Freed on the plane tomorrow (am going to visit a friend for the holiday weekend) and get it done with. It's the same impulse that makes me keep watching TV shows for years after I've stopped enjoying them. I want to know how they end! Maybe they'll get better!

Either way, afterwards it's going to be nice to consume some high-quality media for a change. *eyes bookshelf and Netflix queue*
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (RSL neil window)
Speaking of ways to celebrate National Poetry Month, on Friday [livejournal.com profile] ellen_fremedon, [livejournal.com profile] recrudescence, new friend [livejournal.com profile] bloodygoodgirl and I went to see The Improvised Shakespeare Company, who'd popped over from Chicago for one night/two shows. Excellent times! The all-male troupe selects a title from suggestions thrown out by the audience and then spends 60 to 75 minutes improvising a complete play in quasi-Elizabethan English, often rhyming and sometimes even in meter, without props or costumes. Plus they incorporate tropes from Shakespeare, a bonus I hadn't been expecting; our play, "Bed of Thorns," featured mistaken identity, cross-dressing, a Polonius-like lecturing father, the wooing of a lady in a garden, a murder plot, a silly party song and a misplaced turkey. Also a servant named Humble and a pair of "Frenchmen" with Spanish names and exaggerated pan-European-into-Russian accents.

They joked, they punned, they clowned, they constructed impressive couplets on the fly, they broke for anachronistic asides at appropriate moments. Some managed to play two roles in the same scene. They cracked us and occasionally one another up. (It was fun to watch the troupe members on the sides of the stage laugh when they were watching their companions perform.) They sometimes struggled to finish lines or find rhymes, and rather than feeling awkward that was often made to be funny too, especially when other troupe members jumped in or when they chose something utterly ridiculous because it was the only phrase that fit. And what began in the prologue as a binary man/woman love story ended with one guy falling for another guy posing as a woman (even after learning he was not a woman) and what looked like it was going to be a happy FMM poly marriage. Then things took a sudden turn for the tragic and everybody died. Like, everybody. (Stabbings purposeful and accidental, suicide by tryptophan allergy, and a hanging with the intestines of one of the recently dead as they'd used up all the invisible daggers and swords. All within maybe two minutes.) Except the blind seer. He survived to deliver the moral.

I'd warn for spoilers, but as the lead troupe member (who sort of looked like Joseph Morgan from The Vampire Diaries) pointed out during the intro, we were treated to the world premiere -- "assuming a linear theory of time, that is" -- and also the only performance of "Bed of Thorns" the world will ever know.

Good times had by all. Just so impressive, creative and fun. No wonder [livejournal.com profile] bloodygoodgirl used to see them so often when she lived in Chicago. Recommended if they're ever in a town near you!
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
It's been a full month, I can certainly say that. Went to Florida, North Carolina and Georgia on separate trips, saw an excellent play, finished a couple of fics, read some books. Went to work. Squeezed in some social dates while I was home. Caught the earthquake but avoided the hurricane. (My family in NY didn't; one half still doesn't have power, while the other half almost lost their boat in storm surge high tide.)

Now I am back for the foreseeable future and committed to finishing at least one more line for Kink Bingo before the deadline hits and RL responsibilities kick back in. I wrote a fic for "held down" that ended up being more choking/breathplay or sex work, so that's on pause. The DS9 vid is back on the table, though, metaphorically speaking, and if it doesn't work, you're going to get a 50-image picspam, because I really like the fit for its square.

Re: books, I already talked about the Zelazny compilation, and may I also recommend a collection of New Yorker essays by Berton Roueché from the 1940s and '50s, called The Medical Detectives? I picked it up at Borders' fire sale and it's wonderful. They are diagnostic and epidemiological mystery stories… ) Fellow House fans might enjoy specific essays like "The Orange Man." I wonder how many essays in the rest of the book served as source material for cases on the show. ETA: Yep: the very next essay, "The Dead Mosquitoes," which I'd bet inspired the episode "Poison."

Re: play (Uncle Vanya at the Kennedy Center), Hugo Weaving was delightful, Richard Roxburgh as Vanya almost as much so, the dissonance between humor and everyday despair came together well at the end, and for the rest I'll direct you to [livejournal.com profile] alpheratz's review.

Also, a traditional Greek cabaret group called the Sophia Bilides Trio was playing the Millennium Stage as we walked to the theater, and it was glorious. Witness an example, only she had finger cymbals rather than a hammer dulcimer last week.

Re: this weekend's trip, there was a spa, which was a wonderful indulgence (massage! Jacuzzi! wine! buffet!), and also there was sushi and a lot of TV. I always end up watching shows at this friend's place that I've never or hardly ever attempted. This time it was episodes of The Closer, Necessary Roughness, Top Gear (U.S.), How the Earth Was Made, Leverage, Eureka, one or two others I'm already forgetting, and a couple of NCISes for old time's sake. They watch a lot of TV. Lately I've only been watching True Blood and catching up on House.

And then when I got back, the Vividcon DVDs were waiting along with a box of birthday goodies from [livejournal.com profile] synn. Hurrah.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Just back from a weekend in NY to visit my dad for Father's Day. Thanks to a happy coincidence of travel along with a little coordination, I was able to meet [livejournal.com profile] mer_duff too! She is totally lovely and fun, and aside from the blinding peek-a-boo sun and occasional surreality of having a conversation with the author of so many of the best House fics out there, whom I'd known online for 5 years but never met, while eating burritos, it was a fabulous afternoon.

We were able to catch a matinee of The Normal Heart, Larry Kramer's drama about the frustrations and disagreements tearing at the NYC gay and medical communities as AIDS emerged in the early '80s, as seen through the lens of one activist's experience. A deserving winner of three Tonys... )

*

Turns out D.C. isn't a total failure when it comes to theater. [livejournal.com profile] alpheratz and [livejournal.com profile] ellen_fremedon and I will be going to see Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving (!) in Uncle Vanya this summer. Very excited. There is also a run of Venus in Fur this month that I forgot about until this morning. Hm.

*

I brought Mark Twain's Letters from the Earth to read on the train. The beginning was all right, but he lost me somewhere in the Methuseleh diaries,* and the second half of the book didn't hold my interest. His essay lambasting James Fenimore Cooper's wasteful writing "style" cracked me up, though. Footnote says I need to check out How to Tell a Story.

*Biblical characters describing a baseball game: not really funny in the execution, for some reason, but maybe remarkable if it was among the first published examples of that kind of premise, in the same way you're supposed to appreciate Citizen Kane even though it's no longer thrilling because everyone has copied it? Not sure.

For the ride back, I picked up a book of essays by John McPhee because I should know more of what he's written. The first, titular one, "Silk Parachute," was short and eh, so I got worried, but then there were longer pieces about Cretaceous chalk and lacrosse (separately), and, seriously, putting those together with one I'd read a few years ago about roadkill in Georgia, I can concur with everyone who says that McPhee has a singular talent for making you want to know all about whatever he's set his sights on even if you had zero interest in it before. Plus the enviable New Yorker staff writer skill of making a 4,000-word article breeze right on through to the end.

*

Bend It is complete at 28,000 words, and praise can now be directed to a de-anoned [livejournal.com profile] butterflythread. I want to talk about it, but if I get started right now I will end up with a TMI meta about virginity fic, so I think I should just go write a TMI meta about virginity fic.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
As previously mentioned, [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry and I drove up to NYC this weekend to see Robert Sean Leonard in the play Born Yesterday and do a bit of sightseeing/friend- and family-visiting while we were there.

Saturday at the MoMA and comics store. )

Meeting RSL! )

About the play itself. )

To summarize, I agree with Charles Isherwood:

bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
I have not been watching the Oscars because I trekked (ha) over to Arlington with [livejournal.com profile] deelaundry, [personal profile] ellen_fremedon and [livejournal.com profile] greenygal to attend By Any Other Name: An Evening of Shakespeare in Klingon. This included Washington Shakespeare Company board president, linguist and Klingon inventor Mark Okrand giving an introductory talk about the origins and grammar of Klingon, followed by scenes from Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet in Elizabethan English and in "the original Klingon" (assisted by a literal translation), and Stephen Fry doing the whole Q&A in a Klingon headpiece.

Yes, I said Stephen Fry! Though not advertised on the original Groupon announcement or I would have mentioned it at the time, he was the guest of honor as part of a BBC series he's producing about language. Great fun to hear him deliver his two Klingon lines ("A hit! A palpable hit!"), although he hammed it up a bit too much, and he was eloquent as usual when people asked questions afterwards. He did fun caricatures of McCoy, Kirk, Picard and someone else I've already forgotten,* and mentioned a uni essay he'd done comparing Trek ethics to Nietzsche's argument that tragedy is a tension between the Apollonian and Dionysian ideals, with Spock and various planets the essence of logic in too pure a form and McCoy and various other planets the embodiment of emotion or violence taken too far, and Kirk as the perfect being, balancing between them.

*Mark Okrand's blink-and-you'll-miss-it impression of Christopher Lloyd beat them out, though.

Also I now have a bright red t-shirt with the Klingon empire sigil on the front and "Klingon Security" written across the back. I shall wear it to dance class, since I have been cultivating a reputation for having unusual t-shirts (see also: squid and Dark Mark).

And now, for bed.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
Reason #142 why my f-list is cool: One day last week, one person posted that the temperature with wind chill was -83.9 C/-119 F, and another person posted that it was 40 C/104 F.

.

After receiving some good news last Friday that I can't talk about yet except under friends-lock lest people at work see it, I had a nice weekend. The weather on Saturday was pitch-perfect spring, warm in the sun with a crisp breeze, so when my dad and I turned over the garden and planted peas, we didn't even need the jackets we'd worn outside. We had lemonade (mm; 1.5 c fresh-squeezed lemon juice to 5 c water to 1 c sugar = lip-smacking heaven in a pitcher) and barbequed burgers that night.

(On the official first day of spring yesterday, it sun-sleeted on us on the way home, and the wind blew in heavy gusts all night.)

Sunday morning I made some carrot ginger soup, which is a vivid orange and quite tasty, even if our hand puréer didn't quite purée all the bits of ginger and carrot. It's made of carrots, onion or leek, ginger, chicken broth and orange juice, all blended together, and good hot or cold. Yum.

Then it was off to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) to see Patrick Stewart in Macbeth with ten of the NYC fangirls crew. If it didn't have Patrick Stewart in it, it wouldn't be going to Broadway next... )

Afterwards, we had quick drinks around the corner, and [livejournal.com profile] barely_bean, [livejournal.com profile] krisdia and I stuck around for a lovely dinner in which we trashed discussed several SGA fics and compared multidisciplinary/integrated/honors programs from our college days, among other things.

.

I did finally watch the SGA season finale and liked it. I'm sure I'll have something to say about it eventually.

.

This week, A Helping Hand became my first fic to reach three pages of comments. Yay!

Then someone was looking for Substitute (a.k.a. the SGA PWP with the golf club) on [livejournal.com profile] sgastoryfinders. [livejournal.com profile] jadesfire2808 fortuitously linked to my website when she answered the call, so I was able to track page hits. Check out these statistics:

    - Three people followed the link back to my LJ and commented.*
    - There were 260 hits on that page on the website that day.**
    - Five to ten people went on to read my other two SGA fics. No comments on either of those.

I'm not complaining, not at all; those are thrilling numbers. I just think it's interesting to see another instance of the low comment-to-hit ratio, and wish again that LJ offered a unique-visitors counter.

*One of them asked, "Are you for real?" but I'm choosing to take that as a compliment, since it also said the story was hotter than it should've been.

**Actually, I'm surprised it got that many after the way the story sounded from the request.


.

Oh—and—very important question. Johnny Cash & John Denver singing "Country Roads": slashiest '70s country duet ever? I saw this recently on a John Denver PBS special and couldn't stop grinning at the way they were looking at each other while they sang. I did find it on YouTube for you (go to about 5:55 for the pre-song chat), but the picture quality's terrible; you can hardly make out their faces.

.

A happy Purim or Good Friday/early Easter to those of you who celebrate, happy spring break to those who are on them, happy long weekend to those who have one, happy birthday to [livejournal.com profile] kassrachel, and a very happy Friday to the rest.
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
In a twist of fate, or something, I only stayed for the first movie Friday night, Bes Vakit, and came home before Se, Jie (Lust, Caution)—"twist" because Se, Jie was the movie that made me want to sign up for the series to begin with. Even as I was walking from the center to the parking garage, part of me wanted to turn around and head back in. But I was really tired, and it was starting to snow, and it's a 40-minute drive home (not much in the grand scheme of things, but it's an unusual hike on Long Island to see a movie 25 miles away when you have everything you need in each town), and the movie wouldn't have ended until at least midnight, so I left. I'll just have to rent it, if I can find the uncut version. I watched SGA bleary-eyed when I got home and then slept 10 hours.

I enjoyed Bes Vakit (Times and Winds, Turkey, 2006, writ./dir. Reha Erdem), a.k.a. In Which Everyone Is Depressed Even Though The Country Around Them Is Beautiful. Read more... )


Saturday was the last astronomy lecture of the season, this time on the life cycles and classifications of the sun and stars. I remembered most of it from college—oh, fond memories of the 11-year butterfly sunspot cycle and main sequence diagram—but the lecturer was the best we'd had all "semester," and it was a pleasure listening to his presentation, which went along at a fine clip (for a change). Afterwards, it was clear and dark enough out to really focus on Saturn in the 14-inch telescope upstairs; that may have been the sharpest image of Saturn I've ever seen, even though it still looked like someone cut out a planet-and-ring shape in a piece of black cardboard and back-lit it. Two of the moons were visible, too. It was an especially nice treat after the bizarre cloud cover we'd seen on our way over a couple of hours earlier, when the sky had been clear to the south, brown to the north, and slate gray-blue straight ahead. When we parked, we had a sudden burst of snow in 39-degree weather with the sun shining brightly.


On Sunday, we went to see The Seafarer in the city. Much fun! We somehow landed front-row seats with same-day tickets, and so we found ourselves an arm's length from David Morse on many occasions, since the tiny coal stove was situated at stage right directly in front of us and it was his character's job to kneel down and keep it stoked. On several occasions, I could have reached out and poked him in the butt. Fortunately, I have well-developed impulse control.

Spoilers for a play? )


Dropped out of [livejournal.com profile] sga_genficathon, sigh. Still on board for [livejournal.com profile] wilson_fest, in theory, though Monday's deadline is looking highly unlikely. Then it's [livejournal.com profile] get_house_laid and [livejournal.com profile] remixredux08 in April. I think I've settled on the story I want to remix. Next step, deciding what to do with it.

Great Performances: James Taylor is on PBS. I think this was on in a Starbucks I went to with [livejournal.com profile] moonlash_cc in December, and I'm glad to have the chance to listen to it. He's showing a home video of the boy behind "Sweet Baby James" and making jokes about not liking kids.

Waiting for tomato-barley soup to cool and laundry to dry. Need to pack for Atlanta (which I just mistyped "Atlantis") tomorrow evening, since Thursday's Rock 'n' Roll and I'm leaving from work for the airport on Friday. Thank goodness for a half-day that day. It's like being hung with lead weights every day there lately.
bironic: Willow Rosenberg waving at The Bronze (hi willow)
Remix Redux signups are open! I tried it for the first time last year and had a wonderful experience, both in the remixing and in the being-remixed. I highly recommend it. It would be great to have more House people participate this year. *nudge nudge*

Hm. That does bring the total number of fics I have due by mid-April up to four (two House, one SGA, one TBA). Stay tuned for panicking.

Meanwhile, things are continuing to go well, if still pretty tightly packed. Last weekend my sister and I took our dad to see Young Frankenstein for his birthday, which he loved. Details... )

It's been a theater-full few months, and I'm really looking forward to what's coming up this month and in March: Patrick Stewart in Macbeth, Conor McPherson's The Seafarer (with Tritter!), and Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll a few days before it closes.

I've got most of my application in to Birthright Israel. I ended up going with the Holocaust-themed International March of the Living trip, which takes you to Poland as well as Israel. It's going to be fantastic -- if I get a slot. It's first-applied, first-considered, so we'll see. I'm hoping they'll take into account that this is the last year I qualify.

Have been doing beta work for people who were brave and industrious enough not to have backed out of [livejournal.com profile] house_bigbang. Trying to plan out fic, and taking notes for posts I may never write. Read Rock 'n' Roll. Went to a terrible astronomy lecture. Had a lovely brunch yesterday in a retro French café with [livejournal.com profile] scribblinlenore, [livejournal.com profile] pun and [livejournal.com profile] linaerys, in which many amusing topics were covered, from baseball history and Jeter/A-Rod RPF to cars to John Simm to our various works in progress to the line, "You pimped your mom into House slash?"

Not much else going on worth noting, except perhaps that Peanut Guy and I started carpooling today. We live something like three miles from each other; it's silly not to come in together as often as possible when gas prices are still rising and we're logging about 250 miles a week just to get to work and back.

In conclusion: Remix!

How are you?
 
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
A simple formula describes what it takes to get me to like a song: male tenor + acoustic guitar + minor chords. Bonus points for hand percussion and depressing lyrics. These aren't the only kinds of songs I like, but that formula is close to a guarantee. (Exceptions for Jack Johnson and John Mayer. *shudder*)

You get these because they're the only ones I have on hand at the moment:

Neighbour Boy by Janove Ottesen (alb. Francis' Lonely Nights), a Norwegian rocker-turned-singer-songwriter who wryly described this song as "fake bluegrass" because his mother didn't play guitar. I love this song so much -- the harmony in the second verse especially, the banjo, and the hints of flute at the end.

Eli the Barrow Boy by The Decemberists (alb. Picaresque). If you don't know this already, The Decemberists are fantastic. Most of their stuff is much peppier than this, if not any more uplifting, and it's all very intelligent (Stephen Colbert once described their music as "hyperliterate prog rock"). Colin Meloy's voice is unique and endearing, though it may be an acquired taste.

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. by Sufjan Stevens (alb. Illinoise). Never was there a prettier song about a serial killer.

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Mm. Homemade potato leek soup.

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Dreamt all sorts of LJ-filled dreams last night, the sort of half-sleep where you seem to wake after every REM cycle through the night thinking you're doing something that absolutely needs to get done. The first few involved beta-ing "Aftershocks" epilogue chapters with [livejournal.com profile] nightdog_barks and crew; then in a later one, the House con was going on, and [livejournal.com profile] daasgrrl and [livejournal.com profile] pwcorgigirl and I were hanging out at my "grandparents' house," which we were using as home base for the duration. A cow wandered in from the backyard, and I step-danced while holding its front hooves.

Hey, better that than last week, when my unconscious thought it'd be a lark to play movies in my head about my friend A. getting into a fatal car crash with her mother so horrific that when her father called to tell us about it, he told us not to eat anything before we came over because we'd throw up when we saw the photographs; and about Rodney hiding from zombie apocalypses (that one, at least, was explainable by a throwaway reference in one of the recent Nantucket 'verse fics); and about Sylvester Stallone getting most of the skin of his face and hands torn off by a guy wielding some kind of mace, and then taking his horribly mangled hands with the weapons still embedded in them and scraping them down the other guy's face despite the pain... But also there was one where a very masculine and reclining Al Pacino reeled me in for a kiss, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

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[livejournal.com profile] kassrachel has a beautiful post on fannish textual engagement as modern midrash.

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There are a lot of posts and story ideas swirling around in my head, and WsIP to finish, but still the brain-keyboard block to deal with. Let's try a couple of play reviews.

Friday: Humans Anonymous, by Kate Hewlett )

Saturday: Cry Havoc, by Tom Coash )

I was going to recommend this one to [livejournal.com profile] maddy_harrigan (the playwright is from New Haven) and [livejournal.com profile] catilinarian for the political conflict and tense, gay love story, but having seen it... Well, forewarned is forearmed, as they say, so if it's still playing when you make it over here, maybe you'll want to give it a try yourselves. Or not.

--------------

There was also Aaron Sorkin's The Farnsworth Invention last Saturday, but I'm reviewed-out for the moment and need to get back to work, so I'll just say it's worth a go, and the actor who plays Farnsworth is better than Hank Azaria (NBC/RCA president David Sarnoff), IMO, though Azaria's very good, and it's an interesting study in ferreting out the truth of history -- even recent history -- when you can't trust any of its narrators and some scenes are followed by declarations that none of the previous had actually happened.

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And can I just say, in anticipation of a What I Am Thankful For post, that I am so grateful to have LJ-turning-RL friends to go to these events with and squee and discuss and eat delicious food. ♥
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
So. "Lestat."

It has been more than a week since we went to see this latest tragedy of an adaptation of the Vampire Chronicles, and the details are fading as fast as Lestat's recollections of Heaven. Nonetheless it must be reviewed, so I'll do my best to recap the plot and highlight the most ridiculous, entertaining and dramatic moments for you adoring readers.

Where do I even start? )

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