Tuesday, August 31, 2010

victorian sexual healing

After a little hiatus, I am a little hesitant to write a post about the Victorian-era movie Hysteria, starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Dancy, Jonathan Pryce, and Rupert Everett. The topic of this movie? According to Variety, this movie is about the invention of the vibrator:
Dancy and Pryce will star as doctors in London treating cases of hysteria, a condition said to be characterized at the time by a woman's irritability, anger or unexplained tears. Dancy's character and his best friend, portrayed by Everett, experiment with a new electrical device for treatment for the ailment. Gyllenhaal portrays the daughter of Pryce's character.
There is a lot to be said about the Victorians' attitudes towards sex, and I've read a few excellent books and essays on the topic, as well as discussed it in various classes. But I'm going to go the Victorian route and avoid talking about it. There is something else related to that most taboo of topics that I hope to discuss in detail later this week, and more than one sex post might be in bad taste. That, and I am no sexpert on the Victorian era. All I can really do is parrot what others have said who have actually studied the topic.

That being said, I would be interested in seeing this movie. I've always wondered why it was thought that relieving sexual tension would relieve the symptoms of "hysteria," that "weakness of the fairer sex."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

disney delves into steampunk...

... with a new vinylmation series devoted to the genre, according to the Disney Vinylmation blog.  An example of what the series may look like can be seen in the photo below:

image source: Disney Parks blog
 A few questions needed to be answered before I could fully grasp this news:

1) Why do the figurines look like they have a Mickey Mouse body?

Yes, this was my first question, and one I wanted answered more than anything else. True, Mickey Mouse is a recognizable trademark of Disney, the perfect idea for any sort of Disney collectible series, and one that seems to unify the collectibles on the website, no matter how different they were.  But I could not find the answer to this question on the website, at least until I found explanations for my other inquiries:

2) What is "vinylmation?"

According to the site's FAQ section:
Vinylmation™ is a fun and affordable collectible designer toy created by Disney Theme Park Merchandise. At its core, Vinylmation™ is about creative expression and the mysterious thrill of the chase.
That did not help much, as I had already figured out it had something to do with collectible figurines.  So I just went one down on the FAQs and found my next question:

3) "Where does the name Vinylmation" originate?"

The answer?
"Vinylmation" is a combination of the word "Animation," which is at the heart of The Walt Disney Company, and the word "Vinyl," which is the medium upon which creativity is expressed. Vinyl + Animation = Vinylmation™.

The current Vinylmation™ Figure form we use is shaped like Mickey Mouse but does not represent the "character" Mickey Mouse. In other words, we aren't "dressing up" Mickey Mouse to look like something. This form is seen as a blank three-dimensional canvas upon which our Disney artists can express creativity from many angles.
Bingo!

I must say, I am impressed with the idea now that I understand it.  Disney can make money off of a variety of creative figurine designs with one unifying feature to make them all relevant to one another.  That, and the fact that such a franchise as this one recognizes the steampunk genre is very promising for the future of the genre.

Now what if steampunk goes mainstream?

But I will leave such musings for another blog post, as its much bigger than Disney's announcement.

According to the Vinylmation blog, the steampunk series of figurines is slated to come out in early 2011.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

battle time!

Right now I'm too lazy and sick to post anything neo-Victorian.  That, and the following video is a pretty awesome clip of the battle reenactment that took place at Bushy Run Battlefield last weekend.  Besides, it's that battle reenactment which has made me too sick to post anything neo-Victorian in the first place.  Does that mean it's actually relevant to this blog? Hmmm...

Monday, August 9, 2010

battle over

The 247th Anniversary of the Battle of Bushy Run is finally over.

*exhale*

Only now do I realize how truly stressed out I have been over the past six weeks or so.  This weekend came and went, and suddenly I can breathe again.

What a terrific weekend.  Our battle reenactment at Bushy Run was a true success.  Record turnout and relatively smooth operations, with a few glitches that were, for the most part, readily remedied.  We had great media coverage too, especially in the Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Now I am taking a well-deserved break.

Monday, August 2, 2010

three in one deal

I came across three things relevant either to this blog or to my own person interests:

An animation by Edward Gorey for the introduction to PBS's Mystery! series; followed by an introduction by Vincent Price, the particular host of this particular film in the series; that film being "A Scandal in Bohemia," a Sherlock Holmes mystery.

Gorey's images don't look very Victorian- actually, most of the female characters wear dress that looks like it's more from the 1920s- but he has that nice, gothic, macabre connection to the late 19th century through default of most of his other illustrations, some of which I pointed out in a previous post.

So Vincent Price isn't quite neo-Victorian, but he did voice the great Professor Ratigan in The Great Mouse Detective, a take on Sherlock Holmes if he was in the mouse world.   And he talks a good deal about Sherlock Holmes, especially as a Victorian character.

Enjoy!