Archive for the Popular Culture Category

preaching for tomorrow, lacking for today (and the past few months)

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , on January 5, 2019 by phanteana

….aaaaand just like that, it’s a new year….which typically means posting best-of lists from the previous year (though that probably should have been done last week, er…year).

2018 certainly had no shortage of new and interesting music/film/books/etc. but to be perfectly honest, there were only a few standouts for me. i feel terrible for admitting this, but i STILL haven’t seen the new Suspiria. that whole “i’m in an immersive boot camp” thing doesn’t offer much of a work/life balance. but i’m currently on a break, as i’ll be transferring from Software Engineering to my school’s recently acquired UX/UI (at no charge, woo hoo!) course, so maybe i’ll squeeze in some time to watch it before the new program begins next month. i mentioned previous that Back-End Development was a problem for me. i discovered that UX/UI is something i’ve been unintentionally participating in my entire life (or at least, in the years that i’ve had internet access, which is a looooooong time). i find it enjoyable, plus it’s extremely compatible with my Library Science background. but more on that later…

most people who read this know i love music (or at least certain genres of it). in the past few years, my tastes have shifted from classic Goth to Progressive Metal (much to the dismay of some of my more Goth-leaning compatriots…i still love Peter Murphy, though, and always will). there were 3 albums released this year that captivated me:


Kobra and the Lotus, Prevail II

Calgary is jokingly referred to as “the Texas of Canada”.  but if you’re a relatively unknown band from there and are on an independent label, releasing a double album is no laughing matter. in fact, it’s serious business and for Kobra (yes, it’s her real name) and her band of mischief makers, it paid off. the companion piece to 2017’s Prevail I, this albums continues to accomplish the band’s goal, which is to connect people through music. they’ve definitely surpassed that mission.



TesseracT, Sonder 

to fanboys, a TesseracT is something in the Marvel flicks. to me, it’s an atmospheric outfit from England who take listeners on a journey through space and time. they’ve switched vocalists (formerly Ashe O’Hara, currently Daniel Tompkins) but that adds to the special effects, as each has their own unique style.



Last Union, Twelve

i actually discovered Italy’s Last Union 2 years ago when they released an unsigned, self-produced album titled Most Beautiful Day. what drew me in was a special guest vocalist on three of the album’s tracks: James LaBrie (as in THE James LaBrie). when an obscure band secures an iconic singer to duet with them, that signifies something special. now signed to a label, they’ve released an official version of MBD (re-titled Twelve) and are set for a bright future.



…now back to working on UX/UI projects while blasting these up-and-coming masterpieces.




cut from the cloth of greatness

Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , , on October 17, 2018 by phanteana

the 90’s were a transitional period in music: glitzy Hair Metal gave way to grimy Grunge, Faith-based singers crossed into Pop territory, Rap artists shed their party-time lyrics in favor of more politically-oriented content & Dinosaurs still roamed the airwaves decades after their big breaks. then, there was Alternative music: a library so vast it encompasses a multitude of genres (and this is only a fraction of it).

among the artists lumped into the Alternative category is Peter Murphy. anyone who has read this blog or knows me IRL is well aware of how devoted i am to him, & that despite forgetting my name (because famous people meet thousands of fans, so i don’t expect him to remember anyone’s name), he recognizes my face whenever he comes through my city and can recall little things here and there (he once complimented my haircut, and on a separate occasion asked me if i was still living in [name of section of city], but i had since moved to another section). his easy-going manner when talking to fans is just part of why i love him. i don’t view him as a celebrity, but rather as a (stunning looking) regular person who just happens to have been blessed with immense talent.

that immense talent landed ex-Bauhaus front man Murphy the honor of a Number 1 hit in 1990, as well as Billboard’s 9th Greatest Alternative Song of All Time (not too shabby), bringing him out of the shadows of Goth Rock & into the dorm rooms of Dr. Martens-wearing art majors (i was one, until i switched to Film Studies). that song, “Cuts You Up“, and its subsequent album Deep, stood apart from other artists receiving radio & MTV play with its moody violin, soul-searching lyrics, and its high-cheek-boned, bleached-blonde singer poised to perfection under the influence of David Bowie (the Godfather of Alternative Music). it was pre-Grunge, post-Glam…whatever you called it, it was a peak point for Modern music in 1990. although Murphy only cracked the US charts a total of 3 times in his 40-year career, “Cuts You Up” still reigns as a prominent piece of his catalog and brings back fond memories for those who remember it well…and considering Murphy is currently touring to mark Bauhaus’ ruby anniversary (and hopefully, that tour will make its way to the States), perhaps his signature song i due for a pop culture boost.


See the source image

a bearded Peter Murphy and his Bauhaus band-mate David J. Haskins still love their audience 40 years later 

keeping up with the Stokers

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on October 8, 2018 by phanteana

crazy rumors follow anyone and everyone, whether they’re in the spotlight or just your average citizen. if you happen to be a long-dead author whose most famous novel still leaves a mark (womp womp), then there’s bound to be some wacky secrets waiting to be unearthed.

Dracula is, of course, one of the most critically acclaimed stories ever written. published in 1897, it eventually went onto become required reading for English Lit classes and Goths everywhere. it also spawned tons of movies, television programs, and some very memorable songs (including “the one that started it all“- and this is only a fraction, as the original length is 9 and a 1/2 minutes long). but was it all fiction? not necessarily.

in a new interview with Dacre Stoker, the author’s great-grand-nephew, family history sheds some light on the dark figure that was Bram Stoker. Dacre, now 60, recounts how neighborhood kids would inquire if the Stokers would give them candy or drink their blood on Halloween. if you were a 12-year-old kid during the early 1970’s, there was always something weird about the street you lived on. but this morbid curiosity led the younger Stoker to piece together his heritage, resulting in a new book essentially described as a prequel to Dracula.

as for those pesky rumors about Stoker himself, they range from him being a closeted homosexual to promoting the book as a true story inspired by rampant tuberculosis (remember, this was the 19th century), as well as Stoker himself succumbing to syphilis (nope, kidney ailment). in addition, his son Noel (1879-1961) requested that his ashes be combined with his father’s. Bram also hinted at the possibility that vampires could exist, which is a belief that many people still carry in today’s society.

whatever people thought about Bram Stoker, one thing that’s certain is that his novel is still a bloody good read.



tanzen up a storm

Posted in Film, Popular Culture with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2018 by phanteana

the full Suspiria trailer premiered this morning, as promised by the insanely clever & ultra witty marketing team behind its Twitter account. now if y’all excuse me, i’m going to need a moment to recover…






…ok, back to work. but first, more iced tea.



Posted in Music, Popular Culture with tags , , , , on August 16, 2018 by phanteana

meeting someone with the same first & last name as you is fairly common. it can also be an exercise in mistaken identity, occasionally warranting awkward results- for example, if you share a name with a noted serial murdered or something like that. (no, i’m not talking about myself…y’all don’t even know my name, but i can tell you i’ve only found one other person with it and she is now deceased, soooo….kinda eerie).

other times, having a common name can be just plain funny…there’s this metal band called Killswitch Engage whose now-ex lead singer is named Howard Jones. anytime his name is mentioned, i immediately think of the OTHER Howard Jones– the adorably British New Wave singer/synthesizer wizard.

so why am i bringing up this totally random pop culture tidbit? it’s because the (non-British) Howard Jones joined his old band mates onstage in London last week & it circulated around various social media feeds. naturally, confusion regarding the two Howards poured in & folks had a good laugh. of course, it makes me wonder what it would be like if they ever collaborated…



See the source image



See the source image


they would make, um…interesting music together.

first and last and always

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , on August 11, 2018 by phanteana

by now, there’s a calendar day for just about everything imaginable (grilled cheese, anyone?). this past Thursday was National Book Lovers’ Day, which is a huge deal if you’re a librarian or avid reader. but this year, one book reached a very special milestone as it celebrated 50 years of enchanting readers young and old. since its publication in 1968, The Last Unicorn has become a beloved piece of fantasy literature right up there with Lord Of The Rings. if you were a kid during the 80’s, your introduction to it might have been the feature film* (which, coincidentally, was a product of the same guys who gave us the animated version of The Hobbit). there is the very distinct possibility the film might have terrified/saddened y’all with its heavily emotional imagery & dialogue. there is also the chance that you now know more songs by America than just “A Horse With No Name” (womp womp) because of the soundtrack.

regardless of how you came to meet the fabled unicorn, you know that this story is timeless and will remain in our hearts for another 50 years.


*perhaps someday, that long-rumored live-action remake will finally see the light of day.


the world wide weird of the New York Public Library

Posted in Library Science stuff, Popular Culture with tags , , , on July 23, 2018 by phanteana

the New York Public Library is a cultural institution to both residents and visitors of the city (and not just because it was featured in the opening scene of Ghostbusters). it houses more than 53 million items, which are spread out over 92 locations throughout its 5 major boroughs. among its collection include several items of literary paraphernalia that can best be described as “non-traditional”…you know, things like Walt Whitman’s hair or the lucky foot of Charles Dickens’ departed cat Bob (even back then, cats ruled the world…or just their owners).

if you happen to find yourself in the Big Apple, take a tour of NYPL’s Berg Library where you can see these and other weird objects on display (and maybe even a few ghosts).