lights out for the Dark Universe

Posted in Film, Popular Culture with tags , on November 8, 2017 by phanteana

although i have a background in Film Studies, i rarely go to the movie theater these days (unless it’s a second-run screening). my reasoning is a combination of financial (let’s face it, going to the movies isn’t cheap anymore… on top of that, if you’re going to pay $20 to talk/look at your phone while the film is showing, you might as well just stay home) and personal (a story has to really speak to me in order to grab my attention).

we’re still in 2017, but i saw a total of 4 new releases in the theater between February and September. that’s a rather low number, but i’m probably not alone; the offerings we’ve been getting over the years are remakes and franchises, and the repetition has caused most people to drop the multiplex to watch films on Amazon Prime for far less than they could if they got off the sofa.

despite the downturn in movie-attendance, there was an upswing for the Horror genre. once relegated to the Halloween season (plus the “dump” months of January & August), scary movies have conjured up a lot of success this year. it was even announced some time ago that a whole cinematic universe revolving around classic movie monsters was to be launched. unfortunately, that hasn’t exactly gone as planned* (The Mummy was not among the 4 films i saw this year, mostly because i’m just not into Tom Cruise flicks…except for the glory that is Legend). but the final nail hasn’t been hammered into the coffin just yet, so perhaps the Dark Universe will rise from its premature cutting room floor grave.

 

*while the writers at bloody-disgusting may not have liked Dracula Untold, i thought it was a wonderful film.

 

 

 

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there and back again?

Posted in Popular Culture with tags , , , on November 4, 2017 by phanteana

now that Halloween has come and gone, we now roll into the time of year where the Tolkien trailers start pouring in…oh, wait a minute…there aren’t anymore Middle-Earth films…or so i thought…

just when i thought i wouldn’t ever be making a return trip to my favorite fictional land, there comes news of a TV series in the works. in addition, the first images from behind-the-scenes of the upcoming Tolkien biopic have surfaced online. the latter will obviously be grounded in reality as opposed to fiction, but it will still be interesting to see the life of the author played out onscreen. as for the former…i’m trying really hard to be excited about this, but i’m also EXTREMELY nervous. it took decades for the films to materialize, from acquiring the rights up until post-production. everything was riding on the fate of a then-unknown director whose only claims to fame were splatter films and a ghostly comedy starring Alex P. Keaton. but as we all know, said director proved EVERYONE wrong…the same has yet to be said for what’s to come.

 

music to die for: the story of Goth in 33 songs

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 29, 2017 by phanteana

music lists compiled as a “history of [insert genre here]” are always interesting to read. some songs fit perfectly, while others appear to be a square peg in a round hole. the story of Goth has long been up for debate: who really started it, where did it begin, etc. these theories can go on for days in online discussion forums and on social media, and sometimes a resolution is nowhere in sight.

to join in the ongoing debate, Pitchfork put together “The Story Of Goth In 33 Songs” in an attempt to shed some light on the dark side of modern music. in addition, they conducted a phone interview with Peter Murphy, who is often viewed as one of Godfathers of Goth despite never fully aligning himself with the title. Murphy’s solo albums are less brooding than his work with Bauhaus and his two greatest influences were David Bowie and Iggy Pop (who were credited with inventing Glam Rock and Punk, respectively), but he never lost his eerie creative flair (thank goodness).

while i can’t say i’m familiar with the latter entries on the list (other than Fever Ray’s “If I Had A Heart“), the classics i know and love certainly reflect the story of Goth well. my only issue with this list is the lack of inclusion of “Paint In Black“, which is probably one of the best representations of Goth in its infancy (and paved the way for numerous covers by both Goth and non-Goth artists)…a job well done, Mick.

a rush and a push and the land is ours (to drive a bookmobile)

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , on October 25, 2017 by phanteana

the bookmobile is both loved and ridiculed. it brings the joys of reading to people who may not otherwise have access to a library, but it also is prone to parodies. regardless of opinion, it is an invention that has helped libraries gain wider appeal.

while bookmobiles are more commonly associated with suburban and rural areas where libraries are either few and far between, major urban areas are also embracing them. one such city is Los Angeles and if you’re familiar with the layout of L.A., then you know commuting relies heavily on driving…sure, you can get around on the bus or rail (or by bike) but the trips will take far longer (and the L.A. highways are notorious for their congestion, frequently dubbed “Carmageddon“). so why spend 45 minutes driving to a bookstore, when the books can come to you? that’s the idea behind Twenty Stories, an independent bookmobile operating out of a 1987 Chevy van. the founders are a millennial couple from New York who relocated to L.A. last year in search of a literary community. while both cities have a rich amount of writers and bookstores, New York is the polar opposite of Los Angeles when it comes to getting around: despite a round-the-clock public transit system (good), it’s unfortunately prone to overcrowding and intense delays (bad)…so while getting around without a car may be easier, it isn’t always faster. so perhaps Twenty Stories might consider expanding its services in the future, especially since the creators once dwelt in The City That Never Has A Train Running On Time.

 

days of black

Posted in Music with tags , on October 20, 2017 by phanteana

i live in a major US city that hosts a lot of popular musical acts on their tours. however, some of the artists i enjoy are European, and rarely cross shores whether it be for travel issues, financial matters, or simply just less of a fan base to perform to. while there are some folks who have the means to travel around the world to see their favorite musicians, others do not and unfortunately miss out on the experience. but again, it costs money to have fun these days.

one group that i’ve been a long-time admirer of is Amsterdam’s Clan Of Xymox. for over 30 years, they’ve cast a spell on listeners with dark & dance-able tunes. they’ve headlined some of the biggest festivals in Europe and South America, but finding a home with US audiences hasn’t been so easy; while the West Coast and the Southeast have welcomed the band with open arms (despite their lack of US appearances, they have played multiple one-off shows in Florida, Texas, and California), parts of the Northeast only contain smatterings of fans and obviously concerns of whether or not audiences will turn up certainly have held CoX back from playing places like New York & Boston (despite both being large cities with rich culture). but both these cities will finally have an opportunity once again to see Clan of Xymox next spring, as they tour the US for the first time in almost 20 years…happy days of black are here again.

unread, unread, unread

Posted in Art & Photography, Music with tags , , , , , , on October 13, 2017 by phanteana

since it’s Friday the 13th and all, it only makes sense to post something Halloween-related….but instead of bombarding y’all with Jason Voorhees memes, let’s talk about this monster of all coffee table books being (appropriately) released for pre-order on Halloween.

Bauhaus (specifically Peter Murphy) have been in my collection and my heart for decades. they are the band that started it all. without them, none of the artists they influenced would exist. i have seen Bauhaus as a collective twice during their resurrection, and separately (again, specifically Peter Murphy) on more occasions than i can count (most recently was the summer tour of Poptone and their re-imagined versions of some notable works). they may have long since called it quits, but the boys of Bauhaus* still know how to market themselves. well done, gentleman.

 

 

*i was at this performance…still seems like only yesterday, even though it was almost 20(!) years ago.

happy Electronic Records Day! (or, “must have missed that email”)

Posted in Library Science stuff, Techie Stuff with tags , , , on October 11, 2017 by phanteana