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Monday, August 21st, 2017 03:03 am
On the one hand, I feel that the most appropriate response to David Rudkin's Penda's Fen (1974) would have been a day in the Malverns and some cloud-watching à la Thomas Colpeper, JP. On the other, I was in Providence when I saw it, and I wasn't sure of the ancestral relationship of Edward Elgar to College Hill. I spent a lot of the last four days walking. That will have to suffice.

Penda's Fen is a 90-minute television play originally commissioned and broadcast as part of the BBC's Play for Today (1970–84); it was directed by Alan Clarke and I have wanted to see it ever since I discovered it somehow in the archives of the BFI in grad school. I finally got my chance Thursday afternoon in the auditorium of the Providence Public Library. It was screened on one of those small classroom projectors; there were about a dozen people in the audience besides me and some of them left or arrived partway through. What I could hear of the introduction seemed to be trying to champion it as a Lovecraftian film—I don't want to misrepresent someone who was mostly less audible than the air conditioning, but while I grant that it is a gloriously weird piece of cinema, if anything I think it's anti-Lovecraftian. Lovecraft's universe is fragile and deceptive, contaminable and contagious. The world that can be perceived is a shell over the world that is, one crack away from collapse into barbarism or madness or the abyss of time itself. Knowledge is a virus and you may well die of it. Your bloodline was compromised before you were born. The Other is always looking for a way in, and it finds one, and down into the dark we all go, unless we turn out to be the Other, in which case the dark is where we should have been all along. I don't have to alter the premise of Penda's Fen to make it resemble this template: a sheltered young man discovers that his ideas of both himself and his nation, from race and sexuality to family and religion, are soul-shakingly wrong. He is "mixed, mixed . . . nothing special, nothing pure." But where that revelation might have sent one of Lovecraft's protagonists careening into the void, Rudkin and Clarke offer an alternate path. Openly political, unashamedly Romantic, their vision affirms queerness, hybridity, and ambiguity as the true heart of England, the small, stubborn fire that the clear-cut forces of oppression—patriarchy, white supremacy, Christian supremacy—are always trying to snuff out. Salvation lies in the liminal spaces, the mixed and marginalized. This is a really cheering thesis to see so forcefully and hauntingly stated, especially since the film itself is less a pamphlet than a dark-and-bright dream of nuclear anxiety, sexual confusion, and folk almost-horror. Its language is Christian and pre-Christian, angels and demons and the echo of William Blake, but it is actually a lot like watching a version of the Bacchae where Pentheus, instead of breaking and being torn apart, shifts shape as suddenly as his cousin into the strange thing he was always meant to be. There is also psychogeography. And sympathetic magic. And Elgar. Anglophile Lovecraft may have longingly written "God Save the King!" but I don't know that he would have endorsed or even recognized the Englishness of Penda's Fen.

Stephen be secret, child be strange. )

The trouble with describing a film that treats its otherworld so matter-of-factly and its daily life with such an eye for the surreal is that the effort alone makes both of them sound more normal: I have to stress that while Penda's Fen is not in any plot sense difficult to follow, its constant shifting and eventual merging of registers is a lot like having someone else's hallucinations for an hour and a half. I suspect this was part of the reason for the walkouts, although I kind of feel that if you show up to the film track at a weird fiction convention, you should be prepared for something out of the ordinary to get into your head; I certainly expect what I saw in that library to stay in mine. It was messy, liberating, ambitious, and very beautiful. It left me hungry for sunsets on hills I've never climbed. It made me contemplate the sacred fires of my own country and who guards them now against the dark. Who is secret, strange, holy, and ungovernable. This dream brought to you by my mixed backers at Patreon.
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Monday, August 21st, 2017 06:52 am

Posted by ephemeralnewyork

Today’s it’s The Jane, a pricey boutique hotel a stone’s throw from the well-manicured Hudson River waterfront and the tourist-friendly nightspots of the Meatpacking District.

But a century ago this red brick fortress with the lighthouse-like tower (“whose light flashes a welcome up and down the river”) was the New York headquarters of the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Home and Institute.

This benevolent organization founded in 1828 was “one of a number of 19th century religious organizations concerned with improving the social and moral welfare of seamen throughout the U.S. and abroad,” explains this 2000 Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) report.

Built in 1908 on what was once a bustling stretch of docks teeming with ships, the building served as a hotel with amenities like a library, swimming pool, bowling alley, restaurant, lecture hall, and chapel, “an alternative to the waterfront ‘dives’ and sailors’ boardinghouses,” states the LPC.

The place has a rich history. After the Titanic sunk in 1912, surviving crew who arrived in New York on the Carpathia lodged there.

When the YMCA built a new seamen’s home on West 20th Street, the organization dedicated itself to providing free room and board to destitute sailors.

Closed in the 1940s, the beacon that shone from the lighthouse tower forever dimmed, it changed names and hands through the 2000s as a transient hotel. (It was the Riverview in the 1990s—as seen on the old-timey hotel sign on the facade).

The rooms once designed to resemble ship cabins may go for hundreds of dollars a night now (as opposed to 25 cents a night in 1908). Yet the building’s past as a seamen’s retreat still resonates, thanks to the lovely ornaments like anchors, rope, wreaths, and the heads of sea creatures.

Think of them as homages to a city that built its fortunes on its waterfront—as well as to the men who worked its docks and ships.

[Second image: NYPL]


Monday, August 21st, 2017 06:52 am

Posted by ephemeralnewyork

Remember subway payphones? If any still exist today, I can’t imagine they get much use—or that they actually work. Back before mobile phones, of course, they served their purpose.

The first public telephones appeared in New York City subway stations in 1911, according to Time magazine. What that contraption looked like I wish I knew.

But you can get something of an idea of it by looking at this 1932 photo of a payphone inside something of a phone booth at the former IND station on St. Nicholas Avenue and 155th Street.

[Photo: MCNY X2010.7.2.5359]


Monday, August 21st, 2017 06:52 am

Posted by ephemeralnewyork

Impressionist artist Edward Henry Potthast, born in Cincinnati in 1857, never married and had no children.

[“Coney Island,” 1910]

But this devoted painter who made art his entire life (he even died in his studio overlooking Central Park) seemed to find deep delight in depicting scenes of families, especially young mothers and children, enjoying the sand and surf at the city’s seaside pleasure outposts.

[“Summer Day, Brighton Beach” date unknown]

After studying art in Europe, Potthast permanently relocated to Manhattan in the 1890s, working as an illustrator for monthly publications such as Scribner’s and Harper’s while painting and exhibiting his own work.

[“Saturday Afternoon, Rockaway Beach” 1915]

He lived and worked at the Gainsborough, a building of artists’ studios on Central Park South that opened in 1908. “After his move to New York, Potthast made scenes of people enjoying leisurely holidays at the beach and rocky harbor views his specialty,” states this biography.

[“Manhattan Beach” date unknown]

Although he painted scenes of bright sunny skies and sparkling blue water in out-of-state locales in Massachusetts and Maine, “[s]uch was his love of the beach that, when he resided in New York, he would journey out on fair days to Coney Island or Far Rockaway with his easel, paintbox, and a few panels.”

[“Brighton Beach” date unknown]

While Coney Island and the Rockaways have been popular with painters since these resorts began attracting massive crowds in the late 19th century, Potthast’s beach scenes don’t resemble not the tawdry Coney Island of Reginald Marsh or the foreboding Coney of Alfred Henry Maurer.

[“Brighton Beach” date unknown]

Instead, they show the gentle and genteel side of the city’s beaches in the 1910s—vivid with color, activity, and a dreamy innocence that makes one wish they could be instantly transported there, away from the complexities of contemporary life.

[“Rockaway Beach” 1910]


Monday, August 21st, 2017 02:07 am
I just saw a request on a community called findthatbook, which I am pasting below. I don't remember if nonmembers can read posts, but they can't post. Since I know that a number of LGBTQ people read my blog, rather than link to there I told the OP I would ask here and pass the information on to them.




gay novel from the early 80s?

I recently remembered a book I last read in the early 80s, but can't recall the exact title (or author) - I *think* it was called something like The Stairs on Avenue C but googling that and some keywords like 'book' 'novel' or 'gay' got me nowhere. it was a paperback about a gay guy in New York City (who lived on Avenue C?); and I vaguely remember the cover illustration was a doubling-back staircase - I think the cover was greenish. It was definitely no masterpiece and I think relatively negatively slanted; I can't remember if the protagonist turned out to be a serial killer or died, but that's the sort of impression I have. it was early in my discovery of gay lit, and I was gulping down anything I could lay my hands upon. and now I'm vaguely curious about it but unable to gratify that curiosity.


anyone have any pointers for where I might look?
Monday, August 21st, 2017 01:36 pm
Last night, A nominated me to choose a movie to watch, so I picked Gedo Senki | Tales from Earthsea, a DVD I bought about a decade ago and then never actually watched.

Thoughts below the cut, with spoilers. )
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:57 pm
Well, someone reminded me that there was Superior Soap Opera material still on LJ, so I figured I should bring it over.
Prologue Post #1 )
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 11:53 pm
And then I accidentally watched four episodes. Now it's midnight and I still need to take a shower.

Whoops.
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 10:21 pm
Could've been better, could've been worse.

Finished A Civil Contract, noticed two rather painful lines in it that did not age well (re Blacks and Jews; one line each), otherwise quite entertained. Had to go looking up dates for the Battle of Waterloo (and what Rothschild did then!) to get spoilers, because I was in a state at what a character did.

Now I want to write virtually plotless relationship stories. -_-

https://twitter.com/libshipwreck/status/898214705403236355 is an amusing thread.

Havva Quote
f___ | "We're all villains in Nassau. Don't believe that because you're new, you're any different."
f___ says, “Pretty good tagline for the whole series, that.”
--regarding Black Sails


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )
Monday, August 21st, 2017 02:23 am
…Some weeks just not starting more ginormous WIPs is the real success, okay? I expended a lot of focus on absolutely positively not starting SEVERAL things this week (and… yep, that is definitely the only thing that was using up brain processing cycles this week at an unusual rate, YEP, TOTALLY).

Anyway. 

WIPs currently active: 5, because I bumped All Eternals Deck #2 off the list until I figure out what happens after the beginning.

Words written this week: 4,041

WIPs that got no words this week: 0

WIPs that did get words this week:

Codename: Aluminum Bastard (aka broken dick epic): 883, and I started writing Chapter 47 and then abruptly discovered where the floating point on the outline labeled [particular sex act redacted]? should go in the story, so. Whee!

Born in the Blood: 276, chugging along toward [more sex acts redacted]!!

Slavefic #6: 104. Okay, that looks bad? I’m at the point where I outlined things for this part of the series literally almost two years ago and now have to figure out how to hook them up with the stories that I’ve actually written, so there’s a bit of frantically-jury-rigging-a-round-CO2-filter-from-square-components going on. Hopefully none of which will be apparent from the end result. :)

Wildly Unmanageable Ace!Bitty Longfic: 661

Jack/Bitty angsty happy ending kidfic: 2,117

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Monday, August 21st, 2017 11:21 am
DCEU exchange was in and complete on time. I got an extension, I would have liked to write more. I might still add another chapter.

Rarepairings is written and posted, but is being re-drafted due to my not liking the way the current ending plays out.

Genex assignments have a couple of notes, but no actual words.

Just put my name down for Remix Madness. Unlikely as always, but we'll see. May or may not get involved.

Sedoretu Promptfest has a few couplets, but nothing concrete: this will probably fail, but I'd kind of like to try it all the same.

Haven't even looked at AU Exchange or Crossovering, and have given Franzi and Gecko's Friends Exchange a quick lookover but nothing more.

I haven't responded for marvel Bang: no time, no inspiration, no brain.

Otherwise I think it's quiet until Yuletide/Santa set of exchanges, which will pop up just as I've completed these...

Contemplating joining [community profile] wip_amnesty but not sure it's worth it. I mean, yes, the satisfaction of posting stories (and I have many many WIP), but I guess I can do that on AO3 and a few people will take a chance on reading it anyway...
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 08:36 pm
Five minutes into The Defenders and I'm bored. I have zero patience for fight scenes anymore.

Honestly I'm only here for Jessica Jones. (I DNF the JJ series because it hardcore triggered me, but I fell in love with her and I'm hoping I can enjoy her in this one without a panic attack.)
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 05:28 pm
Went on an overnight trip thing Fri-Sat.

We camped! In a tent! That I pitched! At the beach!!!

Back. Today am very tired, not feel great today; restaurants are dangerous.

Tomorrow is Eclipse Day. Need to go very early because everyone will be go place do thing!

Should repack car. Keep going flat instead. Flat cat. Mrrrr... zzzz...
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Sunday, August 20th, 2017 07:40 pm
38 -- name a popular anime you hate.

Nah. I don't hate the anime; I hate the fandoms.

39 -- is there an anime you wish was more popular?

Hmm... I feel like my usual flippant answers of Hyperspeed Grandoll and Tekkaman Blade II fit in here pretty nicely. David/Dead End smut I don't have to write myself? Yespls.

One more day and then I'll try to just, y'know, talk about anime on my own and hopefully, idk, better?
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 07:50 pm
The thing about not posting for a long time is, it makes it seem ever harder to post something again.

The thing -- well, a thing -- about the state of my native country is, it makes almost anything I could post about my day-to-day life seem picayune.

But my life is my life, and I live it day to day, and that, especially fannish aspects thereof, is what I generally write about here. So I'm going to try to do so again.

I went to VividCon, and it was great )

My lay chaplaincy had a sort of epilogue today )

Kayaking continues to be tremendous fun! )

My cat is hanging on, amazing our vet )

And we have another big trip coming up! )

thoughts (somewhat spoilery) on fannish TV: Orphan Black, Sense8, The Handmaid's Tale )

Aside from all this, I'm reading lots of light fanfic, lots of heavy stuff on Twitter (although I don't post much there either), and the occasional book. And now I'm going to wrap up this enormous post and go lie on the couch. My evening plan!
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 06:08 pm
Today is sunny and hot, ugh.  I made it out to water plants and pick a pepper for Doug's supper. 
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 02:01 pm
This poem is spillover from the March 7, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] kyleri, [livejournal.com profile] rix_scaedu, and [personal profile] sweet_sparrow. It also fills the "anxiety" square in my 3-1-17 card for the Disability Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings. It features prison inmates, group therapy, a show soup with some goat features including syndactyly and prey instincts, references to adaptive equipment, vulgar and intrusive talk, spitball leading to a prey reaction, refusal to apologize, speciesist language, discussion of disabilities, adoption issues, learning to compensate for a lost hand, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 05:55 pm
Is that Kai Cole's description of her marriage is AWFULLY FUCKING FAMILIAR and I'm going to take a xanax at bedtime tonight because I was ALREADY super fucking edgy and now I'm having great technicolor fucking flashbacks it's AWESOME.

So you know. Maybe don't bring it up with me in ANY WAY other than believing the victim right now, because my overidentification will decide that means you wouldn't/didn't believe ME. And that was honestly the longer term trauma in a lot of respects.
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 06:41 pm
I am home from NecronomiCon Providence. I hope to write out a real con report before I forget the details, but not right now.

All panels present and correct, including the one I thought I moderated badly; I was asked after that one if I taught for a living (not for years and not in the sense they were asking) and my impostor syndrome was confused. I probably short-circuited my own reading, but again, I sold a copy of Ghost Signs (2014) afterward, so it cannot have been a disaster. All program items in which I was involved were a lot of fun, including the podcast on which I had not originally been scheduled to appear. The Lovecraftian erotica was amazing.

People kept handing me things. A lime-green rubber tentacle, a bandanna for the Lovecraft Readathon, a CD of Bohren & der Club of Gore's Black Earth (2002), a first edition of C.L. Moore's Doomsday Morning (1957), DVDs of The Bat (1959) with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead and The Lodger (1944) with Laird Cregar, a fictitious vintage program for the HPLHS' The Call of Cthulhu (2005 1927), Andrew M. Reichert's Weird Luck Tales: Monsters (2017). I got the souvenir book as part of being on programming, ditto the lapel pin with its emblem of the leaf-eyed pyramid like something out of Gravity Falls. I bought the Dwight Frye cards, the Lovecraftian postcards, the Miskatonic University T-shirt with an Art Nouveau design instead of the usual university seal, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles' She Walks in Shadows (2015). I bought a birch-veneer screen print of two witch's cats by Liv Rainey-Smith as a present for my brother and his wife. I think I just picked up the fake vintage newspaper because of its headline "Has Science Gone Mad?!", but its supposed date is my birthday, forty-five years before I was born.

There was not enough seeing of people, but what there was was good. Late last night, I wrote three-quarters of a post on Penda's Fen (1974) that I did not manage to finish before having to check out this morning, so either I will finish it later tonight or I will sleep. Or both.

I am exhausted. Various parts of my body think I was trying to kill them and are now attempting to return the favor. It was worth the early mornings.
Sunday, August 20th, 2017 03:34 pm
Demands and Decisions
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 6 of 6
word count (story only): 1233


:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, the Mercedes story set, and the Road Trip arc, this is where Joshua's brain finally goes 'tilt,' but while there is tension, several good things develop as a result. ::


:: This story is sponsored by Callibr8, and she knows why! ::




“Your fellow officer seemed to treat it as a serious problem, as well. Will that be enough to instigate a change in leadership?” Il Dottore asked.

Joshua took a deeper breath than before, not quite sighing. “Almost certainly. The only question is how long it will take to name the next Chief.” He met the Italian's gaze. “Thank you. I don't feel like I'm going to shake out of my skin any longer.” He smiled, his shoulders tipping forward as he got ready to stand up.

The hand on his wrist tightened faintly. “Rest. There is more time to make plans, there is more time to help your son. Right now, simply be.”

“I've got a present for G stashed at the place where we stayed, called the Bird's Nest. It might be a good place for us to spend a few days, and hopefully Agent Tamsen can retrieve Isobel's mother, instead of taking Isobel away immediately… I'd feel so much more confident of their re-bonding that way, actually...” He trailed off, wistfully.
Read more... )