Why Twitter is useful: someoene asked Vince Gilligan whose idea the fantastic Ozymandias promo for Breaking Bad had been, and he replied:


Shelley's "Ozymandias" came up a lot this season, as my writers and I are nerds who never see the sun... However, the idea of cutting the poem into a promo was the idea of the brilliant director Rian Johnson.


Thank you, Rian Johnson. In other Breaking Bad news, this article defending Skyler White is well-intentioned, but leaving entirely aside the obnoxious comments (seriously, don't read those, they make you despair of the human race, as comments about unpopular female characters sadly tend to do), this made me somewhat facepalm:

Article quote containing spoilers for the entire show )

Meanwhile, another article also made me rise my eyebrows: the sixteen worse things Walter White has done on Breaking Bad. Some of these are self evident, but how come the season 1 spoiler )makes the list and Walt's doing a season 5 spoilery thing ) do not? Also, if I read one more description of Gale as "the most innocent person of the show", I'll scream. The man was a spoilery thing for season 3 ) Being a clueless geek does not make one innocent. You know who is a good equivalent for Gale? Andrew Wells in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Andrew has that same geekness, crushing on a villain and believing himself to be in a comic book story. This does not, as the show makes very clear, negate his responsibility for theft, murder and attempted rape.

Lastly, and not related to Breaking Bad (since Walt didn't, as Jesse once wished he would, create robots): a very cool multifandom vid about A.I./Human interactions - If a machine. Lots of Sarah Connor Chronicles and Terminator footage, but also the Alien films and Prometheus as well as Battlestar Galactica.
selenak: (QuarkDax)
( Apr. 6th, 2013 07:02 pm)
You guys, I just stumbled across a beautiful Jadzia Dax vid:

Loosen up

It captures so much about Jadzia - to quote the vidder, her sense of fun; her relationships with Ben, Quark, a whole bunch of Klingons, a few Trills, some more Humans, Bajorans, and other aliens; and her exquisite skill at the game of tongo. My favourite Dax, though I like the others, too, but Jadzia Dax became my favourite female character in the Trekverse, full stop, any show. (Pace, Kira fans, I know she's awesome, and I honour her, but you can't decide whom you love best: it just happens. Also, Kira loved Dax, too. Would she have worn that Guinevere outfit for anyone else?)

In other news, I finished my [profile] rarewomen story and sent it off to be beta'd, which was a relief, because starting Monday I'm travelling again, which means doubtable time for storywriting. I wrote in a fandom I love dearly but haven't been writing any fanfic in yet, about a genuinenly obscure character (in fanfic terms), so it's probably going to be one of my lesser read stories. As for [community profile] queer_fest, I didn't claim any prompts this year because none really talked to me the way last year not just one but two did. And Remix doesn't seem to be happening, which means once this season of Once Upon A Time has fanished, I'll be hopefully able to write the Snow White story that's nibbling at me.
Tell me I'm not going to write pretentious meta on the three last Bond movies, using phrases like "fire and water imagery", "the queen and her champion" and how Vesper is Eurydike but Bond isn't Orpheus, he's Persephone while Felix Leiter, Camille in Quantum of Solace and Eve in Skyfall are fellow knights who are also reflections of who Bond is at the respective points and that the fact the later two are women fits with the change that making M one brought to the overall narrative. I mean. Bond movies! You don't write pretentious meta about Bond movies, self!

Meanwhile, have fifteen adorable and extremely funny minutes of Judi Dench, Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem getting interviewed by Graham Norton (no spoilers):



Representative excerpt:

Graham Norton: "So, Judi, there's a lot of you being in charge. You like that?"
Judi Dench: "You bet. I love keeping naughty boys in order."
Daniel Craig and Judi Dench: crack up and clutch each other in hysterics



****

Meanwhile, in the Renaissance:

The Borgias:

The Borgias video of my dreams was made, and it is called Savages. There they are, the family plus Giulia and Micheletto, in their messed up beautiful glory. Spoiliers for both seasons!
Bad news to wake up to: Michael O'Hare has died. What is it about the B5 cast and far too early mortality? Damn. I remember when some years ago people on my flist started to watch B5 and complained about Sinclair being Kirkian, and I was confused because I remembered him as the exact opposite, and then I did a rewatch and realised where the problem lay: the Sinclair I recalled is the one from about A Flagfull of Stars onwards, when the writing became adjusted to the actor. Very early Sinclair is written more in the action hero vein and O'Hare isn't good at it (while later Bruce Boxleitner will be), but what he is good at conveying is quiet thoughtfulness and gravitas, and later season 1 Sinclair has this. His best performance to me though remains his last as Sinclair: the War Without End two parter in season 3 where Sinclair's story comes to the end that is simultanously a beginning in one of the best and in retrospect utterly sense making plot twists I've seen. Now that the actor is gone, the scene that most haunts me is the one where Sinclair whispers "goodbye, Michael" in part I, and I would post that clip if I could find it on YouTube, which unfortunately I couldn't. There is such affection and sadness in O'Hare's voice that it believes anyone calling him wooden, and the knowledge he'll never see his friend again. I've never felt more like Michael Garibaldi.


***

You know, I think I'll stop watching Downton Abbey. I always thought that if something gives you more disgruntlement than viewing pleasure, it's time to get out rather than hang on and complain, and I might have reached that stage, with my inner Jacobin more alert than ever every second a member of the Crawley family is on screen. Spoilery grumblings to follow. ) The one thing of academic interest to me is that it occurred to me DA actually offers an answer to something I wondered last when marathoning The West Wing some years ago. Back then, I was reminded that while you get the occasional conservative characters written by liberal writers meant as sympathetic (you also get villains, but really, most of the Republicans showing up on WW weren't but were written as honorable and dedicated as our democratic regulars, notably Ainsley and The Better John McCain in the last season), I couldn't think of a liberal character meant as sympathetic and written by a conservative writer. Well, now I can, because Downton Abbey gave us Tom Branson the socialist (ex-) chauffeur, and Julian Fellowes, a conservative writer, assuredly means him to be sympathetic. Alas, this also shows up Fellowes' weaknesses like a writer like no one's business. I mean, I admit I was charmed by scenes that reminded me of a Likeadeuce story ), but the scene with Sybil when they're alone and he says something spoilery ) not only reminded me of how badly written Branson/Sybil was the last season but made me suspect Fellowes has no idea of how a working class boy/upper class girl relationship could possibly work beyond vague memories of having once watched Look Back In Anger. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Shirley McLaine, when actually given something to do, rose to the challenge and reminded me of having once attended a New Year's show she gave in Munich only a few years ago (singing, dancing, narrating, the stamina of the woman in her 70s is amazing), but I find the Dowager Duchess' quips are getting old and thus I really have no more reason to watch. Beyond spiting the snobbish reviewer from the Guardian some weeks ago, and that's not enough incentive. Life is short. On to other shows! I've heard great things about The Bletchley Circle.

****

Prometheus vid rec: Paradise (Comes At A Prize). Excellent vid focusing on Elizabeth Shaw, David, Holloway, Wayland and the creators. Creepiness, messed up family and created-creators relationships and assorted imagery abounds.
selenak: (Dragon by Roxicons)
( Jun. 17th, 2012 04:10 pm)
Harry Potter:

Hoping Machine : a beautiful vid, telling a story of death and love in a visually breathtaking and touching way.

Avengers:

The best primer on how to write (and how not to write) Loki ever . Should be made obligatory reading for anyone intending to write more than two sentences about him.
selenak: (Bruce and Tony by Corelite)
( Jun. 4th, 2012 07:12 pm)
Avengers stories I will never read but would love to:

1.) Loki makes a pass at Avenger X. X is not remotely impressed or flustered and turns Loki down. Loki makes a sarcastic comment about X' own killing record/ that of the other Avengers and hypocritical self righteousness etc.; Avenger X replies, sincerely, that Loki's death score and psycho teenager emotional make-up aren't the problem, it's just that X doesn't consider Loki remotely hot.

2.) Darcy, having resumed her studies of political science after the accidental stint with Jane Foster which was never meant to be permanent, gets offered a job with SHIELD/Stark Industries/other Avengers-related employment. Since said job has nothing to do with what she was studying and since she actually cares about her chosen field of study, she turns the offer down and never crosses paths with superheroes again other than reading about them in the newspapers. She does, however, end up heading a Think Tank.

3.) Phil Coulson is being far too professional to entertain a relationship with agents whose handler he is (read: Hawkeye and Black Widow); also, he's asexual and happy with it, as one or both of them find out when early on, not knowing him very well yet, they make a pass at him because that's the type of exploitative handler/agent situation they're used to.


And those are your Avengers comments for the day. Here are recs in other fandoms.

Pirates of the Carribean: A fine woman and an honorable man make peace. Excellent missing scene from Dead Man's Chest between Norrington and Elizabeth while they're both on board the Pearl.

Citizen Kane: The Union Forever. [personal profile] likeadeuce linked me to this CK vid, and an good one it is, too.
Travelling with various air planes and trains through Italy left me with time to read Lindsey Davis' newest novel, Master and God. Now Lindsey Davis is most famous for her series of Roman mysteries centered around one Marcus Didius Falco, but she also writes non-Falco historical novels, of which this, as far as I know, is the third. The first one, The Course of Honour, about Caenis, the slavegirl-going-freedwoman who starts out working for Antonia and ends up as Vespasian's life long lover, I enjoyed but fund it oddly dry for what is definitely an interesting subject. The second one, Rebels and Traitors, set during the English Civil War I loved until the last 40 pages or so, which was when the story took a turn that felt like an incredibly let down and very bizarre. But until then, it was everything I had hoped the tv series The Devil's Whore would be and wasn't, the story of an interesting determined woman making her way between parties during the Civil War, with characters from both sides written more dimensionally and sympathetically. Now, with Master and God she is back in the Rome of the Flavians again. If you know your history, this is what Domitian called himself - dominus et deus - and the book covers his reign, though the main characters are two more or less invented ones, Gaius Vinius Clodianus (spending most of the book as a Pretorian) and Flavia Lucilla (hairdresser and freedwoman of the Flavians). They're the archetypical Davis pairing of wise-cracking guy and no-nonsense, unimpressed woman, and this time around, the result is enjoyable throughout the novel, so I don't always buy the obstacles Davis throws in their path.

Now, the the third volume of what is one of my all time favourite trilogy of historical novels by Lion Feuchtwanger also deals with the reign of Domitian, and is a vivid and chilling depiction of a dictatorship written during the Third Reich which nonetheless manages to avoid making Domitian into a Hitler avatar (which means he's a far better drawn character than Feuchtwanger's deliberate Hitler avatar in another novel he wrote at the same time, The False Nero), so my standard of writing for this era was pretty high. Nonetheless, Lindsey Davis managed to convincingly present her own version. Domitian, like Caligula, Nero or Caracalla, became a byword for the mad, bad and dangerous to know type of emperor, though not having the obvious madness of Caligula or the theatricalness of Nero (which reminds me: in Naples they show up the remains of the theatre where Nero performed - th roughout an earthquake, no less, where he insisted the audience was to stay in order not to miss his performance), he doesn't get nearly as much fictional treatment. What surprised me is that Davis is subtle about him. As opposed to his appearance in her Falco novels, where he is already a villain during the reign of his father, her take on Domitian here is somewhat different; he starts out as a mixture of good and bad, and actually quite competent as an emperor, but the combination of paranoia, resentments from days past and absolute power with no more checks and balances combine to turn him and the Rome he rules more and more into a nightmare. Because these days inevitably I have the cinematic Marvelverse on the brain, it hit me that Davis' Domitian is in many ways Loki without the fannish woobie glasses, if, you know, Loki were to actually succeed/remain successful, aka how his uncontested rulership would turn out. Older brother (Titus) with military success, beloved by many, much closer to their father, father preferring same, while self is looked at as a sly schemer by social circle? Check. Traumatic event changing world view? (Domitian nearly gets roasted while his uncle is torn apart by the mob during the year of the four emperors.) Check. Short taste of rulership until Dad and Older Brother take it away again? (After Vespasian, still campaigning with Titus in Judea, is voted Emperor, 18 years old Domitian got to represent him in Rome until Vespasian was back in Italy.) And the narrative as well as Gaius Vinius isn't without sympathy for Domitian on that score, but it at no point excuses him for what he does therafter, and when Lucilla, who is an immensely adaptable survivor, finally says "whatever it takes, he has to be stopped", you're more than with her.

If I have one complaint, it's that Davis' auctorial voice, which is that of an Olympian, all-knowing narrator who occasionally points out that, for example, governor Trajan is going to end up as an emperor himself, is a bit of an odd choice, not least because such interjections are few and far; had she chosen to stick to the usual third person personal narrative, with no very occasional comments, it would have been just as effective. All in all: a good novel, and so far her best non-Falco one.


****

Speaking of avatars, history, fictionalisations of same and Marvelverse cross connections, Shakespeare's histories have been filmed yet again, and here's Tom Hiddleston as Hal and Jeremy Irons as Henry IV from Henry IV, Part I. Colour me amused that the clip they choose is Hal getting chewed out by his father, not, say, any of the many other scenes where Hal is being in control and having a go at Falstaff. Maybe I'm paranoid (though as Domitian would say, it's not paranoia if they're really after you), but imo the choice reflects the popularity of Hiddleston's most successful role. Anyway, here they are:



Incidentally, [profile] angevin2 will appreciate that the way with which Irons!Henry IV rants about the late cousin Richard's behaviour allows for all sorts of subtext.


****

Lastly, some links:


The Skins: a great multifandom vid about the various doppelgangers, clones and other selves haunting sci fi and fantasy. Creepy fun.


Avengers:

To shawarma or not to shawarma : Natasha’s still getting used to rubbing shoulders with living legends. One of the terrific results of The Avengers fandom post-movie release is that the film makes any combination of characters interacting interesting, and the resulting fanfic actually reflects that. Here, we get the combination of Natasha and Steve Rogers, with the rest of the ensemble making strong appearances as well.
selenak: (Borgias by Andrivete)
( Mar. 7th, 2012 07:58 am)
Johnny Cash & Rodrigo Borgia turn out to be a match made in, err, heaven:

Your own personal Jesus is a terrific Rodrigo-centric vid based on the tv show The Borgias. Reminding me of several reasons why adore it, one of which being that, never mind baroque masses sung in a Renaissance church, one key thing they get on this show is the whole Renaissance atmosphere, ruthless powerplay, corruption and faith all intermingled. (Thus Rodrigo sees no contradiction between considering himself a caring father (of a family he wasn't supposed to have to begin with) and using his children, between buying himself the papacy and considering himself genuinenly chosen by God and struggling to figure out what God wants from him.) Also: Rodrigo's relationships with his children, Julia, Vannozza and good old Giulio "Not Pope Yet" Rovere are all showcased very well.

The vid also reminds me that Jeremy Irons is an actor whom I have a completely different reaction to depending on how old he is. Back in the 80s, when he was young, he occasionally impressed me very much indeed (playing two screwed up twin gyneogologists for David Cronenberg comes to mind, and btw, I always loved that when he won the Oscar in the subsequent year for his role as Claus von Bülow, he thanked Cronenberg as much as whoever directed Reversal of Fortune), but I never liked his characters, let alone felt attracted towards them. Otoh current day, middle-aged-to-old (depending on the role) Jeremy Irons as, say, Leicester to Helen Mirren's Elizabeth or as Rodrigo Borgia? Gimme!
selenak: (Damages by Agsmith01)
( Jan. 10th, 2012 03:24 pm)
Ashes to Ashes/Torchwood:

Duty's to be done: you may recall me mentioning now and then how s2 of AtA made me long for a Torchwood crossover in which Gwen Cooper ends up in the Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes verse. Well, imagine my glee when I discovered someone wrote just this, and spendidly so! As one of three crossovers; I'm not familiar with the other two fandoms in question (Inspector Morse and Castle), but the AtA characters are drawn so well that I read and enjoyed them anyway. And Gwen in the AtA verse was just superb, and you must read it at once! (Comes complete with John Simm as Sam Tyler and as the Master related gag, of course.)


Damages:

Damage, a wonderfully intense vid about Patty and Ellen which I found via [personal profile] naraht.
I've stopped reviewing Dexter and will stop watching once this season is over, but may I say, apropos the latest ep: 1.) Bad idea, writers/producers. Really bad idea. And 2.) Most unrealistic therapist ever.

On to actual reviews and more enjoyable fandoms. First a vid rec: Virgin is a fantastic evocation of Antony, Vorenus, Rome and Rome.

Then upon reviewing films and plays dealing with characters' lives, how they approach their subjects, and whether or not a satisfying story is the result:

Miss Austen Regrets (Film, 2008) )

The Oxford Roof Climber's Rebellion (Play by Stephen Massicotte about T.E. Lawrence and Robert Graves, 2006) )
selenak: (Scarlett by Olde_fashioned)
( Mar. 25th, 2011 08:22 am)
Two more Elizabeth Taylor related quotes, one from this obituary:

She was a lovely actress and a better star. She embodied the excesses of Hollywood and she transcended them. In the end, the genius of her career was that she gave the world everything it wanted from a glamorous star, the excitement and drama, the diamonds and gossip, and she did it by refusing to become fame’s martyr.


And, somewhat apropos, here's a description of Elizabeth Taylor in the mid 70s meeting John Lennon, Elton John and David Bowie (whom she introduced to Lennon, with musical results). This could have gone quite wrong (what with John's nasty habit of putting people on pedestals and then kicking the pedestals away when the reality of them did not meet his impossibly high expectations), but it went splendidly. She was the queen, and he was her admiring subject. (Also I am amused that of the three rock stars present, it was Bowie whom she whisked away for a private audience. Good choice, Elizabeth.) John's recapitulating statement on her at the end of this excerpt from his girlfriend May Pang's memoirs, in a way, is the same thing the obituary quoted above says.


John was every excited. "I've never met Elizabeth," he said. "I'm dyin' to go."
The party took place in a lavish Beverly Hills mansion, and there was a large buffet table and a bar. John and I stood in one corner, searching for stars we had never seen in person before. While we looked over the crowd, everyone was busy staring at us. Even though John always liked to meet really famous people, he was still the most famous person in the room. We slowly made our way through the house, chatting with whoever approached us.
"Where's Elizabeth?" John asked. "I want to see Elizabeth."
Forty minutes after we arrived, Elizabeth Taylor sailed into the room. The party stopped dead while everyone turned to stare at her. There was a star! I was surprsed to see how small she was, because everything about her was larger than life. Her hair was teased up in an elaborate hairdo that towered over her head. Her extraordinary violet eyes were lined in thick beads ov violet eyeshadow. She made no concession to her weight and she was costumed in a paneled paisley dress, each panel in a different shade of pink. Around her neck she wore one huge diamond surrounded by a cluster of emeralds. She was dazzling.
Like teenage boys, John and Elton nervously approached her. She beamed when she saw them. "Oh," she said, "I'm so pleased to meet you." John and Elton responded to her genuine delight. They both did their best to amuse her. She laughed merrily at their lines and threw in a number of her own.
When David Bowie arrived, she seized his arm: "David, do you know John?"
"No, but I've always wanted to meet him." Bowie flashed his bright smile at John. There was a look of genuine admiration in his eyes. John, who found Bowie's music fascinating, was very cordial. David had great charm and was also funny. The dialogue began to flow even more quickly.
The group finally broke up, and David announced: "I've got to go. I've got to go." He turned to leave. Later in the evening we found him in deep conversation with Elizabeth Taylor on a couch in a deserted room at the back of the house. John and I stared at them. The screen goddess and the porcelain-faced, orange-haired rock star made a startling-looking couple. Yet, sitting there, gazing into each other's eyes, they seemed to be long-lost friends, sharing their most intimate secrets. "May, John, join us," Elizabeth called out when she spotted us, and we sat down beside them. In a few minutes all of the remaining guests had crowded into the little back room and once again we were surrounded by onlookers.
On the way home John and I talked about how much we had liked Elizabeth Taylor. "She's not rock'n roll," John said. "She's not like us. We get crazy as we get older. She's been trained to deal with things."


****

Being Human fanfic rec: The Opposite of Death, a coda to the s3 finale, near impossible to describe without spoilers. Very much about the three people I wanted to read about, though.


BTVS and AtS vid rec: Some Peace. Buffy, Angel, Darla, Willow, Spike, Faith, Wes, Gunn, Fred, Connor. My Jossverse love is strong, and the vid reminds me why.
selenak: (Guinevere by Reroutedreams)
( Feb. 5th, 2011 04:43 pm)
More halfamoon goodness:

BTVS:

Diamond Mind: brief but wonderful Anya vid.

Multifandom:

There's also the annual love thread for disliked female characters. Some personal favourites to share the love for:


Guinevere from Merlin. As the poster said, every time someone hates on Gwen, a fairy dies. Trufax.

Amy Gardner from West Wing.

Gwen Cooper from Torchwood.


Ana-Lucia Cortez from Lost. As [personal profile] londonkds once said, if Ana-Lucia had been Luis Cortez with the exact same storyline, fandom would have been all over him.

Lily Evans Potter.

Doctor Who:

Article about the portrayal of historical characters on Doctor Who. IMO the author is way too kind to both Victory of the Daleks the episode and Jolly Old Churchill, but that's a pet peeve of mine, and the article is still interesting to read. Am utterly unsurprised that Mark Gattis wanted "the Churchill from the war posters", btw. Oh, and this reminds me, what's this I hear about the writer of the worst of the three Sherlock episodes, aka the middle one, having received a DW episode assignment in season 6? Ah well. I suppose something has to balance the high expectations for the Neil Gaiman episode.

Finally, one of the most touching image of this last week:

http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lg0i0sYKUT1qam6r5o1_500.jpg

The protester went to the feet of the soldier and asked him to help protect them from Mubarak’s thugs and the soldier is crying because he said that he can’t because he was not given the orders to.
selenak: (Olivia Dunam by Zombie_Boogie)
( Dec. 20th, 2010 04:41 pm)
An excellent Fringe pimping post, on why one should watch the show.

Lord of the Rings:

The World is Changing, a wonderful vid using all three film versions. Reminds me of when the films started during this time of the year, each was a just before Christmas premiere, and how despite minor nitpicks and some disagreements with the source material I was swept away every time.

Two days ago Paul McCartney did a lunchtime gig to support the 100 Club in Oxford Street which is threatened by closure and, I hear, something of a London musical landmark. The internet being what it is various of of the songs he sang are online already, which is great since the club atmosphere is very different from the big stadium concerts. (Also because while the recent Saturday Night Live thing was funny, he wasn't at his vocal best there; he's definitely in fine form here.) A lot of banter with the audience, and below the cut are choice samples.

As we fell into the sun... )
Quote of the day: "If you could make the public understand that my father was not a jolly, jocose gentleman walking about the earth with a plum pudding and a bowl of punch you would greatly oblige me." Kate Perugini, nee Kate Dickens, to George Bernard Shaw about her father Charles.


Moving on to comics: Wil Wheaton blogs about favourite comic collections. His include Neil Gaiman's 1602 and Joss Whedon's run of Astonishing X-Men.

Fringe: Double Helix is an amazing look at Walter Bishop, vid-wise.

Back when an edition of Ted Hughes' Letters was published, I wrote a review. At the time, the BBC did a program with Richard Armitage reading excerpts of said letters, and he did a superb job. (Both because he's a good actor and because of their shared Yorkshire background, I thought the choice of him reading Ted Hughes was inspired.) What I only just found out is that you can download parts of the program at Armitage's website. The available excerpts include the letters he wrote to his sister Olwyn and to Sylvia Plath's mother Aurelia shortly after Sylvia killed herself. Someone put them on YouTube using footage of the film Sylvia. (I wasn't keen on said movie for various reasons, but okay.) But listen to Armitage's voice and the attempt by a young Hughes to phrase the unspeakable:

selenak: (Gwen by Redscharlach)
( Nov. 8th, 2010 03:41 pm)
Lost

Et in Arcadia ego: On Benjamin Linus and letting go. Spoilers for the entire show.

DS9:

I wish I was James Bond: which of course is the perfect song for a Julian Bashir vid.

Torchwood:

Gwen Day links: [personal profile] pocky_slash had the inspired idea to declare yesterday Gwen day and collect links for fanfiction, pic spams and meta about Gwen Cooper. As someone who came to love Gwen dearly in the course of the show, to the point where she's now my favourite character, I was thrilled to find those links.
Things to look forward to: Julie Taymor's take on The Tempest, starring Helen Mirren as a female version of Prospero. An interview was well as film clipses, and it looks like Taymor's gorgeous visual imagination is working wonders. Of course, a great director and a great actor do not guarantee a good Shakespeare movie - I'm not a fan of Prospero's Books, John Gielgud and his voice not withstanding - but I'm an optimist. Also, The Tempest is suc h layered play, open to so many interpretations. Helen Mirren in the interview I just linked observes that making Prospero Prospera removes the patriarchic subtext, but the colonial one is still possible. There's also the question of how much in control, or not, you play Propero in general; the most fascinating production of The Tempest I saw, three years ago in Stratford, with Patrick Stewart as Prospero, went against what I was used to before by presenting Prospero as a shaman driven half-mad by his exile, and the crucial scene with him and Ariel in which Ariel says were he human, he’d be moved to pity played this as a shattering realisation for Prospero, not something thoughtfully commented. I used to see Prospero as the anti-Lear, in control but at the end able to genuinenly give up power whereas Lear never is in control and only gives up the responsibility, not the niceties of power to begin with, but in that production they had a lot in common beyond being Shakesperean terrible old men. (My review is here.)

If Prospero is Prospera, a female magician who was overthrown by men (I assume the rest of the cast retains their gender) and now has her chance at revenge, but at the end works through to forgiveness – I’m really curious of how that will feel, text and subtext wise. Also how that will impact the relationship with Caliban (whose late mother Sycorax was a witch, after all) in performance.

Footnote I: in Birthday Letters, Ted Hughes in one poem casts his mother-in-law, Aurelia Plath, as a female Prospero. Can’t think of other examples.

Footnote II: Caliban's Hour by Tad Williams is one of the most frustrating retellings of the Tempest because I come pretty close to loving it. There are just two problems I have with it, and they are huge. On the plus side, it's a great and poetic Caliban pov, several years after the play, telling his story, and he's the hero there and Prospero the villain it's no simple black and white reversal; Prospero comes across as a fascinating ambiguous character. On the minus side, firstly there's the narrative frame - Caliban tells this story to Miranda after he found her again, ostensibly to kill her but really to make her understand what she and Prospero did to him. However, our author never gives her the chance to reply, which, given that the point of the tale where Miranda goes from treating Caliban as a playmate to treating him as a servant, as well as her later reaction to a certain event, is pretty crucial, is frustrating. (I have that problem with Sandor Marais' Burning Embers as well. Stories in which the narrator tells the story to demonstrate to his listener how much the listener has betrayed him/sucks/whatever, and in which the author never allows the listener a genuine reply just frustrate me.) Secondly, the solution of the story is a dea ex machina one via Miranda's daughter, and that made me think You've got to be kidding me in its glibness. So, Caliban's Hour = two thirds great, one third frustration.

Fannish links:

Marvelverse, movie edition:

Common Cause: in which Natasha, aka the Black Widow from Iron Man II meets Mystique post X3. I hated what X3 did to Mystique (among many other things) but [personal profile] likeadeuce is Rumpelstilskin and spins it into gold in this elegant Le Carré feeling tale of two women with a past, not via a fix-it but through character exploration.


Angel:

My boy builds coffins: a Connor vid, which is about the impact others have on him and he has on everyone else's fates as well as a character portrait. Reminds me again of why I was so gripped by his entire storyline.
On an awwwww note about them both, Patrick Stewart about David Tennant:



Here's hoping theatre (and tv, and cinema) producers listen. * ♥ them both in embarrassingly fangirlish fashion*


Also, another gem from the recent Vid Con:

Doctor Who: Take On Me: all the regenerations, all the companions. I so love vids that celebrate DW as a whole, Old and New Who alike (and manage to make the footage from so many different eras flow seamlessly into each other).
selenak: (The Future Queen by Kathyh)
( Aug. 11th, 2010 12:01 pm)
Here I was, philosophizing yet again that being unable to squee when most of your online friends do is as frustrating as squeeing about something they dislike (aproposes of my mixed response to Sherlock and Sherlock), and gloomily wondering "why am I always in a "yes, but..." mood about other people's loves of late, be it about Inception or Sherlock or about the fifth season of Doctor Who... when more results from the recent vid con as well as new fanfiction made me cheer as enthusiastically and wholeheartedly as I ever did. Hooray, as certain former members of a tv show production team are prone to say on their audio commentaries!

Merlin:

Make Something Good: not only is this a superb Guinevere character vid but it showcases Gwen as one of the creators of the future Camelot, but it does justice to her relationship with Merlin as well as with Arthur and their relationship with each other (and all the parallels and differences that involves), and manages to draw intriguing parallels between her relationships with Morgana and Lancelot respectively. I love it. This is my Gwen. (And my Merlin OT3, for that matter.)

Doctor Who:

My Shadow in the Sun: in which the canonical yet off screen pairing Elizabeth Tudor/ (Tenth) Doctor (I maintain this is is where the Moff got the idea for naming Liz Ten from) is given a splendid timey-wimey story, co-starring Donna, Amy and Eleven. As someone who loves everyone involved and loves historical fiction, this was like the best kind of fannish chocolate for me.

Multifandom:

Not squee but really thought inducing, a vid that is great meta on fandom, kink, violence and sexuality. Much of fandom loves their bloody, pretty, hurt men, the bloodier the better. Just how much, and where is the line, if there is one?: On the prowl.
You know, yesterday I caved and went from smiling benignly to exclaiming "YES!" re: world cup results. It was hard not to, walking through celebrations in Munich.

This was a week of cheer for me on a personal level as well, because seeing old stories of mine from different fandoms reccommended leaves this nice glow of "aww, this one is still read... and this one as well".

I shall now rec some new works myself:

Battlestar Galactica/ Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:

Satellite. This crossover was written for this year's Multiverse and provides an encounter between BSG's Laura Roslin and DS9's Kai Winn. I always thought that Winn and Roslin were very similar characters, if not the same one, only one written as the villain and one as the heroine of the story, and this story plays on that magnificently. Spoilers for the entire canon of both shows.

Sarah Connor Chronicles:

Raise it up: a great vid about the are-they-still?-children in SCC, all but Savannah soldiers in a war whether they want to be or not: Riley, Lauren, the Martin Bedells, Allison, Savannah and John himself. Stunning. Also reminds me that now that the film festival is over I need to finish my SCC rewatch.

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On a note of "things don't take place in a vaccuum": I'm not in SPN fandom, and I don't read the fanfiction, but it was impossible to miss what's been going on during the last months. I do, however, read Time Magazine on occasion, and Joel Stein recently published an article called My own private India which is, shall we say, a proof you don't have to be a fanfiction writer to behave in a spectacularly clueless and entitled way. He got got called on it by Kal Penn (who played Kutner in House) in a magnificent fashion.

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Back to more fun things. When Lennon Naked was broadcast, some of the reviews went through previous screen incarnations of any aspects of Beatles tales, and that's how I found out that Elizabeth Mitchell, who played Juliet on Lost, has played Linda McCartney in a tv version of her life. (Gary Bakewall, aka Richard Mayhew from Neverwhere, was Paul. He has played him as well in Backbeat, which makes me wonder whether there is such a thing as (ex)Beatles type casting, seeing that Ian Hart played John Lennon twice as well.) This made for a fleeting moment of imagining a really bizarre Lost crossover.

Something Lennon Naked by necessity of its focus could not cover was the origin story of one of my favourite songs, Hey Jude, but as the film covers the exact period I was reminded of it again. It's also a good example of how any work of art, or, if you prefer a less fancy term, any creative effort can be interpreted completely independent from authorial intention the moment it's done, which in the case of the interpretation I'm thinking of has a bittersweet irony. To recapitulate via quotes from the various horses' mouths:

Paul McCartney: "Hey Jude was a song which I originally thought of whilst driving my car out to visit Cynthia and Julian Lennon after John's divorce from them. We'd been very good friends for millions of yers and I thought it was a bit much for them suddenly to be personae non gratae and out of my life, so I decided to play them a visit and say, 'How are you doing? What's happening?' I was very used to writing songs oon my way out to Kenwood because I was usually going there to collaborate with John. This time I started with the idea 'Hey Jules', which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces. The adults may be fine but the kids... I always relate to their little brain spinning round in confusion, going, 'Did I do this? Was it me?' Guilt is such a terrible thing and I know it affects a lot of people and I think that aws the reason I went out. And I got this idea for a long, 'Hey Jude', and made up a few little things so I had the basic by the time I got there. I changed it to 'Jude' because I thought that sounded a bit better."

(This sympathy for Julian thing wasn't a one time only gesture. Quoth Julian Lennon: " "Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit—more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad." Case in point. They still seem to get along well. )

Of course, by the time Hey Jude entered the recording stage, the text had changed quite a bit; as with the majority of McCartney songs, romantic love had entered the picture with the line "you were made to/go out and get her". This led to none other than John Lennon - who was savagely critical about most of Paul's later stuff, but not of this song, which he always praised - to come up with the following interpretation (from the Playboy interviews shortly before his death):

"I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it... Yoko's just come into the picture. He's saying, 'Hey Jude" - "Hey John". I know I'm sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me. The words 'go out and get her' - subconsciously he was saying, 'Go ahead, leave me.' On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead. The angel in him was saying, 'Bless you'. The devil in him didn't like it at all because he didn't want to lose his partner."

And now for the actual song. Lots of people singing Hey Jude under the cut )
In short: Eccleston is great, the film has the tunnel vision of its subject, but isn't a hypocrite about it. Frustrating if you're interested in other people (including Yoko) as well as Lennon; even so, but nothing of the sort was advertised, so, fair enough.

More spoilery observations )

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Meanwhile, the non-classic Trek fandom continues to be creative:

TNG: Prisoner's Dilemma is a great Ro pov on her last meeting with Picard. The Preemptive Strike covers in many ways the same ground the later DS9 two-parter The Maquis does and in one respect does it better, because we care about Ro in a way we don't about Sisko's never before or after heard from old friend Carl Hudson. Also, Ro was the very first Bajoran on Trek, and Michelle Forbes rocks in the part. Go read (and rewatch)!

DS9: You've got a friend in me. Charming and endearing vid about Jake and Nog and their friendship through seven seasons. I love those boys, and so does this vid.
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