Friday, 28 June 2013

Witch on a flying table

Barlach's adaptation of Goethe's Walpurgisnacht scene
I really like woodcuts. Probably for the same reason I like lino cuts and why I doodle things with lots of lines. When I did my first lino cut tho I was less than impressed with the results. What I didn't realize is that you shouldn't really leave a lot of blank (uncarved) space in a cut because it just becomes a big blob of colour, when you print it, with no interesting details or texture.

Ok, enough of the art lesson and on to what you see to the left. This here is one of a series of woodcuts by Ernst Barlach, made back in the 1920s, to illustrate Goethe's Walpurgisnacht (Halloween) scene in Faust. I had no idea there was a Halloween scene in Faust! I'm not particularly familiar with the play except that it's a story about some guy who makes a deal with the Devil.

There are several woodcuts illustrating this scene but this is my favourite! It's a witch riding a flying table to, presumably, a Sabat on Halloween night. 

Monday, 24 June 2013

True Blood - a little tired?

Modern Portrait of a Vampire (by me)
The gang from True Blood is back and with the elimination of a few story lines at the end of last season things should be simpler now. Or not.

Is Bill a big, bad, vampire with a God complex? Is Sookie really going to lay off the supernatural love interests? Will Jessica be happier with Bill? Has Pam lost the bar? Is Sam going to be a parent to his shifter girlfriend's daughter? And what about those fairy babies? I'm sure they will factor into the story around the new guy, portrayed by Rutger Hauer. Who, frankly, is the one thing that WILL keep me tuning in (ok, maybe I still care a little bit about Eric...and Lafayette).

But can this infusion of new blood really help a story that is feeling somewhat tired? After all, all things must end. Even vampires.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Just back from the dead, are we?

The Returned. A new Scorsese movie? Nope. Maybe the title of this tv series in its native French will tell you more, Les Revenants. Yep. You got it. The returned in question are the dead. Inexplicably, a select few dead people, from one small alpine village, have just seemingly and miraculously returned to the land of the living. Not as zombies exactly but as definite pieces of the past.

It's an intriguing idea when you think of it. I mean, would you want the man you loved 10 years ago, who had committed suicide on your WEDDING DAY (!!) to suddenly reappear and want back into your life now? Now, after years of therapy and finally moving on and maybe finding someone else? Aside from the age difference that is. Speaking of age differences, what about having the twin sister you lost 4 years ago reappear as her 4 years younger self?  Or what about a mysterious little boy who shows up and starts insisting you are his fairy god mother? Wouldn't that make your life somewhat complicated? To say the least.

Most of the people I've 'lost' along the road of life are family members. And when I think about them coming back it's normally along the lines of a one night reunion, like Halloween night or Day of the Dead. They come back, you have a little party, a chat, catch up, and then, most importantly, they leave. I've never imagined them staying! That would just be too... difficult - for all concerned. I mean, my grandmother found the 1970s confusing and alienating, I can only imagine what she would make of the 21st century!

I admit to being very intrigued by the concept tho and like the Nordic Noir look and feel in this trailer. The cinematography was apparently influenced by one of my favourite contemporary photographers, Gregory Crewdson.  Unfortunately, I doubt I'll get a chance to see it :(

But, I did run across an article in Entertainment Weekly that seems to suggest an American version is on the horizon. Hmmmm....

(Read a short review of Les Revenants in The Telegraph).

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Dia de los Muertos on BBC

Really, really enjoyed this on the magic tv box the other night. Would love an opportunity to go see for myself how this Feast of the Dead looks, sounds, and tastes. The mole looks amazing!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County

Recently saw Stephen King and John Cougar Mellencamp interviewed on David Letterman about their collaboration on a musical. Yes, you read that right, a musical. It's been years in the making and I have to admit I am intrigued. Especially after hearing the story about where the idea came from.

It all stems from the 'haunted' cabin Mellencamp bought years ago.  Apparently, back in the 20s, two young brothers and a girl were having a good time one night when things went horribly awry. One brother attacked the other with a poker causing grievous bodily harm. They dragged him outside and then, going for help or maybe just high tailing it out of there, they got in a car and drove off. They then crashed the car and both died. Later, when the remains of the other brother were found, back at the cabin, it was headless -- the late night snack for some passing bear...or something.

And now the story, Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, is a musical. And a book. And an album. With LOTS of names you will recognize including T. Bone Burnett.

Read more about this project at the Huffington Post.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The World is Awash in Red

So, I'm having a rainy day. Which, believe me, is not that easy to do in a place where it is mostly sunny and currently...34 C -- heading straight to today's projected high of 37 C. How do you have a rainy day in a hot, stifling desert? Well, you close the drapes, get a snack, nudge up the AC, get another snack, drink lots of tea, while getting a snack, and watch the Season 3 premiere of AMC's The Killing.

And what a premiere. Despite the lack lustre conclusion of last season I was relieved to hear the show would be back. One of the many reasons I enjoy the show is the role the location's climate (Vancouver = Seattle) plays in the series. No really. The weather and climate are a whole character unto themselves. The overcast blue-grey tint in the air, the constant drizzle, and occasional looming fog add a certain quality of mystery and pine scented air a la Twin Peaks.

Obviously our story has moved on since the discovery of Rosie's murderer/s and we find our main characters leading happy, healthy, and successful lives one year on. Or so it would appear. Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) is no longer a detective but instead living on a small island, working at the local ferry service, jogging every day, and playing house with a co-worker. Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) has beat his drug addiction and is healthy, fit (yeah!) and about to take the Sergeant's exam. He even has a great new girlfriend, played by Jewel Staite (spot the reference to Firefly in their's hard to miss).

By the time these two finally meet up again we suspect not all is as it seems. Despite claiming to one another that they've quit smoking they are both soon lighting up. While Holder is doing well we suspect he's starting to spend too much time at work heading into the same obsessive behavior his ex-partner succumbed to. And Linden's walked away, no, hidden herself away, from a job she's good at but that she lets use up every bit of stamina and psychological well being she has (until she figures out how to achieve a balance she SHOULD hide).

But now Holder has brought her a case. And not just any case. It's one that he suspects may have a connection to the same investigation that caused Linden to have a nervous breakdown. She initially refuses to get involved but it's not long, as Holder rightly suspects, before she is pulled in. And the scene that tells you this will happen takes place in...a barn.

Out for a jog Linden takes shelter in the abandoned barn during a downpour. Waiting out the rain she looks around and notices the dead body of a starved cow. Sad. But then she sees another. And then another and another and another and another until finally we hear a low moaning and the camera shows us the one cow that is almost but not quite dead yet.

The scene is so horrific you know there's gotta be a reason. Initially I thought, ok, she's going to find out who the hell let a whole barn of cows starve to death and bring them to justice (the animal lover in me). But no, that's not the reason. The reason, swathed in layers of red, is revealed at the very end of the episode.

AAIEEIEIEIEIEIEIEIE!! I have to wait a week!?!

Oh yeah, and like thousands of others, last night I watched THE Game of Thrones episode everyone is talking about - The Red Wedding. I had read the book so knew (and was dreading) what was coming. Still, somehow they made it even more brutal. Nuff said. For some of the very angry reactions click here. Or check out Arya Stark's reaction