Monday, January 31, 2011

asylum tea

Last night I found this little note in my inbox just before turning my computer off for the evening:

ASYLUM TEA!!! Anyone who knows me knows that tea is pretty much the only flavored beverage I drink nowadays.  I am definitely going to purchase some at the concert next week.  I will have to make the recipe for EA's Funeral Biscuits to go with them...

As for the Shorty Awards, it's a shame now that I gave up on Twitter a few months ago.  Otherwise, EA would have my vote in the "music" category.  I'm not sure if I would have voted for her as an author- while The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls is, hands down, the best "modern" novel I've read for a long time ( EA certainly deserves a Shorty Award in "book design, layout and formatting") it certainly has a few things going against it, which I discuss in my review of that book in this blog post from February 2010.

As for the other categories, I think "fashion" would be a good one for her.  But what qualifies one for "metalillness"?

View the newsletter in its entirety here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

"you wanna battle me?"

I came across this music video last night, discovering in the process an Internet rapper's feud, Victorian style, between Professor Elemental, the eccentric pith helmet-wearing hip hop artist, and Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer:

Is Mr. B (who's more Edwardian than Victorian) truly cramping the Professor's style?

Professor Elemental explains to Carl Watkins at Guerrilla Geek the origins of the rivalry, as well as the rap battle that may or may not ensue from the challenge presented to Mr. B in Elemental's "Fighting Trousers" video:
GG: The new single is also a diss song that targets self-proclaimed “Gentleman Rhymer” Mr. B. What prompted you to write this song and why Mr. B?

PA: Over the last couple of years, I have hardly been able to do a gig without someone mistaking me for B or asking if I am going to battle him. People tell me he has been biting my style, ripping me off etc. Anyway, I am a hip hop emcee first and foremost and the way to settle things in hip hop is by way of a lyrical battle. Hence the song ‘Fighting Trousers’.

GG: Ideally, how would you like to resolve this feud? Would it be a freestyle battle to the death in front of a live audience? Also, may I suggest a stipulation that he shave his lip warmer if he loses?

PA: Yes! And if I lose I’ll do my gig wearing lederhosen. Oh hang on, I do that anyway. Yeah, I want a battle to the death, or at least until one of us starts to cry. I reckon we’ll make it happen early next year.

GG: Have you heard any response, either directly or indirectly, from Mr. B about the track?

PA: There have been a few promoters that want to put the battle on, but we don’t know if B is up for it yet. If there IS a battle, I will, as my grandma used to say, have his guts for garters.

GG: But you haven’t heard anything from Mr. B about a possible match up or musical rebuttal?

PA: Well, we are supposed to be meeting up to discuss it over tea.. but it’s not confirmed yet, I only hope it doesn’t end up in some kind of enormous Battenberg fight. (Editor’s note: a Battenberg is a light sponge cake with a pink and yellow checkered interior. It is covered in marzipan and looks delicious.)
Personally, I'm rooting for Professor Elemental.  Sorry Mr. B.  Not only does the Professor exude more Victorian characteristics--he also has an entire rap song dedicated to strong, black teas.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

rose city of steam

 image source: Neighborhood Notes.  
Mrs. (Mary Lou) Sullivan of Rose City SteamPunks, Local 23. 
Photo: Mrs. Sullivan

 Methinks that the city of Portland, OR, has potential to be the steampunk capital of America, at least according to this article from Neighborhood Notes, Portland's community news website.  It not only explains the concept of steampunk, but its growth in the Portland community, especially regarding the fashion scene.  Portlanders Mac McGowan, who ones SteamBaby, and Cass Mathieson of Cadaverous Lovely are both based in Portland.

image source: Cadaverous Lovely's Facebook page.
Photo by K. Lang Photography.
Also, the first steampunk film festival that has ever come to my attention- the Rose City Steampunk Film Festival will be held at the local Clinton Street Theater on February 13.  There will be steampunk merchants as well as films for the enthusiast to enjoy.  Two of the films to appear have been covered on this blog in the past year:

Brown Cup of Joy

And League of STEAM:

Monday, January 24, 2011

the 'unlaced' posse

I am home sick from work today, so I'm not feeling up to a big blog post.  But I do have two random pieces of news from my own personal experiences:
  1. The Millvale leg of Emilie Autumn's 2011 The Asylum Tour: The Door now officially has seven people associated in some way with Unlacing the Victorians who plan to be in attendance. The original plan involved three people- myself, my little sister Jordan, and my boyfriend Scott.  Kamy, a fan who I had met at the last concert, later told me that she's coming as well.  And that was it until last week.  In that time two of my high school friends and fellow goth event attendees, Christine and Holly, have decided to go when I was certain that they had bailed out on my invitation months ago.  And Scott's co-worker Steve has also expressed an interest in seeing the burlesque aspect of the show, so now he's coming along as well.  So now there's officially an Unlacing the Victorians posse, which presents to me so many devious possibilities for mankind...
  2. My friend Emily has also just informed me that her little brother, a senior in high school, wanted to cut a strap off an old purse of hers to make steampunk goggles. While Jonathon is much more avant-garde with subcultures than most kids in the small, non-diverse rural community from which I came, I am surprised that even he knew about steampunk.  Perhaps it is a sign that the subculture is becoming much more popular with our youth.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

at-ats attack with steam!

Gentlemen, behold! The Imperial Steam AT-AT!
image source: Light Sound Dimension
Thanks to Scott, who has introduced to me every single bit of Star Wars steampunk/steam technology related internet photos that I have posted on this blog thus far.

Friday, January 21, 2011

holmes in drag

A snowstorm has hit the Steel City and both of my roommates are currently out of town.  So I spent yesterday evening quietly, cleaning my apartment, reading, and surfing the web.  Oh, and watching Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes for probably the fifth time in one year.  That's actually a lot for me- I rarely see movies more than once.  I am still so blown away by its brilliance.

When the film ended I did a little research to see if there was any news on the promised sequel.  Yes, there is.  According to Entertainment Tonight, the second film, currently untitled, is currently being filmed and already has a premiere date set for December 16 of this year.

(*squeals in ridiculous excitement*)

Check out Robert Downey Jr.'s cross-dressing in this ET news clip:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

steaming it up in the rainy city

Winter making you feel stagnant and blue?  You can always steam things up a bit, at least if you're in Seattle, by partying like it's 1899 at the Steampunk Exhibition Ball this weekend:
image source: LiveJournal
Sponsored by the Center for Sex Positive Culture and held at the Museum of History and Industry, the Steampunk Exhibition Ball returns for a second year of neo-Victorian delights for all ssteampunkers or interested parties in the northwest.

For $30-$35, one can experience the talents of bands such as Miss Mamie Lavona the Exotic Mulatta and Her White Boy Band and Toy Box Trio, be mesmerized by the movements of the beautiful ladies of CopperClock Belly Dance, enjoy the sights of visual artist La Petite Mort, and learn the latest steampunk ballroom dances with the Seattle Clockwork Quadrille.

 Compete for such honors in the Beard and Moustache Competition as:
  • Genuine Beard or Moustache of the Most Impressive Grandeur: naturally grown and styled for impressive appearance or size
  • Best Augmentation: real hair or artificial; ribbons, gears and dynamos are all highly encouraged!
  • Most Splendid Incorporation into the Overall Artistic Vision of Manly Steampunkery: best compliments the outfit for overall steampunk look
Or, in the equally cutthroat Fabulous Hat Competition:
  • Most Fetching Hat: loveliest and aesthetically pleasing
  • Into the Aether: most defying of the laws of physics
  • Best Design for Mechanical Utility : engineered for function
  • Greatest Steampunk Hat: crowd favorite
 So grab your best pair of goggles, your favorite brand of absinthe, and your most decked-out clockwork outfit and get your groove on a la Captain Nemo.

As for me, I'll be in wet, gray Pittsburgh, ruing the day that I did not take up my uncle's offer to visit him in Seattle on this very weekend.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

neo-victorian goth explained

I just came across a very interesting an insightful article on The Ultimate Goth Guide about what, exactly, it means to be a Neo-Victorian Goth, versus being a Neo-Victorian.

According to Amy, the blogger of The Ultimate Goth Guide:
[Neo-Victorianism] often involves imitating Victorian behaviours or even re-enacting Victorian life, such as writing letters in formal prose with a fountain pen and exhanging calling cards
In other words, emulating aspects of a Victorian lifestyle.  And dressing more accurately Victorian.

But the Goth aspect of neo-Victorianism takes its own twist on looks, without necessarily incorporating it into a lifestyle, as Amy points out:
[Neo-Victorian Goth culture] is based upon aesthetics more than behaviours or affectations, like other subsets of Goth. It is often closely linked with the steampunk subculture (more on steampunk later) because, like steampunk, it combines historical elements with a modern or futuristic twist. It may also be linked with Lolita due to certain commonalities such as parasols and bloomers.

One should really read the entire article, as it greatly clarifies the difference between the two movements.  It discusses aspects of steampunk culture, neo-Victorian music, etc. that I commonly cover on this blog, the crazy Asylum girl persona of Emilie Autumn as an expression of the neo-Victorian Goth, and the general historical inaccuracy embraced by the subcultures involved.

Kudos for such a terrific article, Amy!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

political cartoons of the v-age

Thanks to Scott for sending me this link to a collection of political cartoons from Punch, a weekly Victorian magazine of humorous and satirical articles and illustrations.  While much of the satire may be lost upon the modern reader, The British Empire's Punch page has valuable descriptions for each cartoon explaining its importance and, therefore, its satirical and humorous intent.

Below is an example of one of the cartoons featured on the website, and one of the few I actually understood without having to read the description.  Nice pun:
image source: The British Empire

Friday, January 14, 2011

blood-suckers like it industrial

You know those ads on the sides of websites with flashing ads all around the perimeters?  When I saw the image of a Victorian cameo brooch flash across the image of one of the ads, I just had to click on it.  I was forwarded to Dracula's Clothing, a specialty clothing website started by Truls Stokka and Ida W. Thorsen.

Sounds like a pure goth clothing site, right?  Well, yes, as I explained in this blog post that I wrote one year ago.  It makes perfect sense, then, that Dracula's Clothing would offer our favorite kind of specialty clothing- STEAMPUNK! Such as this kick-ass Aviator corset:
image source: Dracula Clothing
This dress:
image source: Dracula Clothing
And this pocketwatch:
image source: Dracula Clothing
The prices for these pieces are listed in Euros.  Since I am hopeless as most conversions (and most math things in general), I am not sure how that really translates in U.S. dollars, but I am pretty sure that these pieces are expensive.  But these pieces look just amazing.

I strongly recommend giving Dracula Clothing a look if you have high-end steampunk fashion needs to meet.

Friday, January 7, 2011

riese update

image source: Riese's Facebook page
As my former roommate and self-proclaimed "husband" Candy pointed out to me today, there is a steampunk webseries called Riese.  My sister Leigh and I proceeded to point out to her that I have covered this topic on my blog in this post and this post.  But Candy's information reminded me of this series and brought me to a link that reveals the rest of the episodes.  I had only seen the first five when the series was pulled from the web during negotiations with Syfy, who has since picked up the series.  According to Wikipedia (the only place I could find information on the topic), Syfy began airing the series in its entirety on its website on October 26, 2010.

I did watch episodes 7-10 this morning as I got ready for work.  They had me pretty floored with the action, but the narration tended to get in the way and spoil things that the viewer could have figured out on their own with further viewing. 

That being said, I hope that these 10 episodes aren't the entire series.  Many questions are just starting to get answered, and the action is excellent.  I'm still not clear on much that happened, but that might be because it's been over one year since I saw the other Riese episodes, and I understand that there have been some edits.  So I'll have to devote my time to watching the entire series, from beginning to end, at some point soon. 

Click here for the complete, reedited 10-episodes of Riese: Kingdom Falling.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

new year- excuse to reinvent

Happy 2011 everyone!  I missed the New Year, probably the first I've missed in my life, due to the fact that I was sleeping off a very bad cold.  This dumb blonde managed to have a rather eventful holiday season that resulted in seven stitches and a few clashes that left her physically and emotionally drained.  Let's hope that the rough start doesn't mark a pattern of things to come in the year ahead.