Wednesday, February 29, 2012

bbc+modern sherlock=success once more

image source: TV Equals
In December 2010 I wrote a review of the BBC miniseries Sherlock, which places the iconic Victorian detective in a modern setting.  It was a skillfully written and executed endeavor that ended on a thrilling cliffhanger.

An additional three episodes aired on BBC in the fall of 2011, something which I could have taken or left.  Hence why, despite the fact that I was paces away from my office's TV during the second season's debut on American television (I don't have a TV at my apartment), I chose to finish up paperwork instead.

Over the past few weeks I have managed to watch the three episodes of the second season.  Well, BBC: Mostly well done.  *insert golf clap*

image source: The Guardian
I will start with the excellent points, hopefully without revealing too much to readers:
  • Irene Adler is a dominatrix by profession.  How oddly appropriate.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles rewritten to involve a genetic laboratory called Baskerville?  BLOODY BRILLIANT!
  • An incidental insertion of the infamous "deerstalker" cap that eventually makes it a "symbol" of the modern Sherlock Holmes that said Sherlock Holmes despises was a nice touch.  Very reminiscent of how Sidney Paget, one of the early illustrators of the original stories, accidentally made the deerstalker Holmes' icon by drawing him wearing it in one of his commissioned sketches of the detective to go along with the stories.
  • Pretty much the entire plot of the final episode, "The Reichenbach Fall."   Watch it to see what I mean- one of the most complicated and creative plots with such an unexpected, shocking and explosive twist of which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself  would have thoroughly approved.
  • Moriarty is absolutely bonkers in a way that is not sexy, not cool, and yet somehow still so enthralling to the viewer.  He's certainly ballsy, even willing to take risks that would endanger his own freedom or even existence in order to accomplish his goals, filling the role of a supervillain perfectly in that sense.  But he truly did find the best way to bring down Holmes- something from which Doyle's original Moriarty could certainly learn a few lessons.
image source: TV Rage
There are only three things that led to confusion or disappointment.  The first was the overall plot to "A Scandal in Belgravia."  It seemed to not have much logical sense to it, much like the plot of the recent Guy Ritchie movie Sherlock Holmes: a Game of Shadowsmore like lots of fast talking and information thrown quickly and illogically at the reader.  Not exactly an enjoyable experience.  I may have to rewatch this episode to ensure there was actually a comprehensible plot that tied all scenes of the episode together, as I'm not sure I understand how any sort of mystery was solved.

And BBC, regarding the resolution of season one's cliffhanger at the opening of season two, THAT WAS A REALLY CHEAP AND LAZY WAY TO DO IT!   I feel cheated of a good story ending.  The Sherlock writers and producers should be smacked.

Actually, the same could be said of the denouement of the last episode, "The Reichenbach Fall."  However, I am willing to see what the third season's opening will do to resolve that little mystery before making any further harsh judgments.

About "The Reichenbach Fall-" if the filmed scenes had just ended five minutes before the actual credits rolled, I would have considered the Sherlock Holmes series to have been an outstanding work of art and a total success on the part of the writers and the BBC.  As it actually ended, I am rather disappointed, but still consider that episode to be the best in the series thus far.

Overall, my recommendation is to watch the entire Sherlock series- all six episodes- and make your own judgments.  It certainly won't be a waste of your time.

To read my review of Sherlock Season One, click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"gotham by gaslight" gameplay video released

Going back to January's post about Gotham by Gaslight, the Victorian-era Batman game based on the iconic Dark Knight hunting down Jack the Ripper, there is actually an update.  Siliconera has revealed a leaked animation prototype of the game when it was under consideration for production in 2009 and 2010.

While this Victorian world is much cleaner than I expected and Batman's and the other character's movements don't seem to be all that smooth, one must keep in mind that this was certainly never meant to be a final product.  It's a little sad that there won't be a game like this in existence.

View the Victorian Gotham gameworld below:

Monday, February 27, 2012

sewing projects- bustle butt

Last Friday I finished my second steampunk sewing project- the tie-on "bustle" to match my brown skirt.

I got to try out the entire skirt ensemble this weekend at the Arsenal Bowling Lanes in Lawrenceville, where the Steel City Steam Society met to drink, bowl, meander, and get awkward looks from our fellow yinzers.

Considering the high amount of difficulty I had making sections of this bustle, overall I am very satisfied with how it turned out.  I don't think it's a good design for a bustle by any stretch of the imagination, but the project ended up just as the directions told me it would, which means that I can follow basic sewing directions and survive the four or five layers of ruffles and gathers that were incorporated into making this pain in the arse project.  Pun totally intended.  One of these layers literally took me four hours and experimenting with various kinds of thread before settling on a thin crocheting thread, which was the only thing thick enough to hold it all together.  

The "bustle" itself is not padded, a feature that I may have to change if I want to have more of a Victorian hump.  But it certainly did make my hips look wider and my corseted frame look slimmer:

And for your viewing pleasure, the "Bloody hell, another gutter ball!" pose.

More photos of the SCSS's bowling night can be seen at the SCSS blog courtesy of yours truly.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

plague rats

And now for something I completely forgot to show in my past two Emilie Autumn concert posts: the outfits that my sister Jordan and I wore as Plague Rats:

Isn't my little sister the most adorably sexy girl out there? I had no idea she could braid her beautiful long blonde hair so well!

My recent corset purchase proved to be quite successful.  I received the following reactions:
  • Scott loved it
  • My mother called me "Pippi Longstocking" and a cancan dancer.  As is almost always the case with my mom, I wasn't sure whether these comments were meant to be insults or compliments.  I was just happy that she seemed so excited to help Jordan dress like a Plague Rat.
  • I received a compliment from the guy selling merchandise about how awesome it looked and inquiries about whether I had made the outfit myself
  • According to Scott, I received a mix of looks from girls ranging from curiosity to dirty looks.  

The following photos are Jordan and I dancing to the corny closing music at the end of the concert.

On the way back home I had the displeasure of hearing my sister's half of a conversation between herself and her boyfriend.  He was, apparently, very upset with her choice of clothing for this concert, as he saw via a cell phone photo she snapped of herself and then sent to him.  In his opinion, she should not have dressed the way she did without him there.  Because she had dressed as she did without him there he was suspicious that her intentions were to pursue other guys.

I can see the boy's side for one reason: perhaps he didn't fully understand what the Emilie Autumn stage show consists of.  Since I am a protective older sister who also has a boyfriend who has never complained about me dressing "too slutty" to an event when he's not going to be in attendance, I have obvious biases against the boy's issues with Jordan's clothes.  But what do you readers think?  Can an "attached" young lady only dress provocatively when her boyfriend is around, or does such dress indicate that said attached lady is looking for a new boy toy when the current boy is not around?  Or does it indicate something else entirely?

Any thoughts?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

ea concert photos: feb 2012

A small selection of the nearly 150 photos I took during this concert:

Tour Bus


EA, the 4'o'clock songbird
Captain Maggot and Sexy Veronica
Yes, this is EA with what appears to be a blonde mohawk headdress
Restraining the patient in the golden wheelchair
Sword/bow play

I just love this shot.
Captain Maggot crowd-surfing

The Sexy Rat Game
The Sexy Rat Game
Contessa holding out a lantern from behind bars
Neo-Victorian Girl Power!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"fight like a girl!"

After last year's debacle of an Emilie Autumn concert- in which freezing temperatures combined with miserable companions resulted in a less than enjoyable experience- I wasn't feeling as excited as I have before past concerts to see EA and her Bloody Crumpets strut their stuff on stage.

I only asked two of the five of us who went last year if they wanted to come to this year's concert- the ever present boyfriend Scott, and my little sister Jordan.  They happily accepted.  We arrived at 7:10, waited in 40 degree temperatures for a short while, and were in the venue within 10 or 15 minutes.

A few interesting changes to Mr. Small's Theater should be noted here- the sale of food both outside and inside the venue for the pleasure of the concert-goers:

They sold Honey Badger Burgers!  Because Honey Badger don't give a shit.
They also changed their alcohol policy.  Only those who are of legal age can approach the bar, but they are now entrusted to take their drinks out of the "21 and Over"  area up to the stage if they so chose.  None of us were drinking (Scott doesn't drink, I've cut down my drinking to be almost nonexistence, and Jordan is not legal) so we did not take advantage of this new liberty.

I did, however, take advantage of the time before the concert to survey the band's merchandise.  I finally settled on this lovely EA t-shirt:

The concert started soon after the promised starting time, and I settled in with my little sister and my boyfriend to enjoy.

I must give Emilie Autumn much kudos for really cleaning up her stage show.  There was a marked difference in last night's performance from my first experience in December 2009 that was for the better, at least in my opinion.  The show seemed to be the perfect length of 1 hour and 45 minutes, songs transitioned beautifully into each other, and the stage show was very well choreographed.  The new stage setup of barred railing was perfectly suitable for the image of an Asylum while still including elements from the stage shows of the past two years such as the large clock and the cart of sweets and tea.

I also enjoyed most of the new songs from the upcoming F.L.A.G. album.  They had that nice industrial feel with their own Asylum influenced themes and lyrics.  It felt like I was watching a musical for EA's book The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, rather than songs inspired by such an Asylum (which is what many of the Opheliac set of songs actually are).

Regarding the crowd, there was yet again a rather different demographic.  Last year there were many more older attendees- some people who appeared to be in their late 30s, 40s, and even 50s.  The crowd this year seemed to be a good mix of 20 and 30 somethings, and an almost even mix of girls and guys.  Emilie Autumn even said at one point that it was amazing- there was almost no comprehensible demographic to the audience.  I have to agree- it seemed to be mostly people from a bunch of different subcultures, mostly those centering around the goth or industrial scene.

I had a terrific time.  Most of it had to do with the absence of two negative individuals who accompanied me last year, but to enjoy a mix of EA's old and new songs and stage show was such a pleasant surprise.  I even managed to catch some cupcake being chucked at the audience, so I got to have a snack mid-show as well.

Monday, February 20, 2012

teeny update

Tomorrow is the Emilie Autumn concert at Mr. Small's Theater!  While it will be an extremely busy day for me, it will be worth it to spend this year's concert with excellent friends.  And a great excuse to put on a corset and striped stockings!

In other news, I stole the video posted below from my friend Ruth at The Steel City Steam Society's blog.  While I am helping to blog there right now, all of my lame posts (under the moniker "Rose McGeady") are just copies of posts that can already be found on this blog.  Mostly because I'm lazy and no one from the group reads this blog anyway.  But check out the blog, especially if you're in the Pittsburgh area.  Ruth is trying to make it more of a go-to than the Facebook page for those who don't have Facebook.

Those crazy middle class Victorians and their incorrigible prudishness:

Friday, February 17, 2012

"the woman in black" trailer

Okay, so this film is actually more Edwardian than Victorian, but it looks to be a very suspenseful thriller.  Besides, it will show the world what Daniel Radcliffe can do in his post-Potter acting career:

I will definitely be going to see this one.  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

trailer for "abraham lincoln: vampire hunter"

As previously mentioned in this post from last March, the film version of Seth Grahame-Smith's novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be coming to theaters this June.  Here is the recently released trailer for your post V-Day enjoyment:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

courtship "tools" of the 19th century

In honor of Valentine's Day, let's take a look at a variety of items in the 19th century that was used to help courtship remain pure and innocent- or restrictive, depending on how one looks at it.

Note: I'm not sure who exactly wrote the article "Valentine's Day antiques reflect Victorian values," but it was either a Dr. Lori of the Discovery Channel show "Auction Kings" or Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson.  Either way, what I am about to discuss is taken mostly from the "Treatures" column of the Pocono Record.

The courting lamp

What, exactly, was it?
Resembling a typical oil lamp of the day, the courting lamp was enhanced with graduated markings on the glass to indicate minutes. The marks showed the amount of time left before the fuel source expired...Of course, the reasoning behind such a lamp was to keep track of two un-chaperoned lovers. As the fuel burned out and time grew short, the lovers would be warned of the impending darkness. When the fuel was gone and the light was extinguished, the young male suitor had better be on his way home!

 Here are some examples of courting lamps I have found on the web.  Where, exactly, are these markings of which the above mentioned article speaks?

image source: Writing in the Blackberry Patch
image source: Through My Back Door
The love seat

So you think you know what a love seat is, right?

Think again.
Victorian love seats had two sections presented in an elegant S-shape curved form. This allowed a couple to sit together but not too closely. As antiques reflect society, the love seat exemplifies the Victorian interest in a controlled courtship.
image source: One of a Kind Antiques
image source:  Lovely Unique Weddings
image source:
Hair "crafts"

Yes, Victorians made many trinkets, objects, and art pieces out of human hair.  According to the article:
Victorian women saved their hair in a small ceramic bowl with a hole in its top called a hair receiver. After accumulating a good amount of locks, the hair would be used to make a hair picture or bracelet. These hair crafts were the result of years of saving actual human hair.

Intricately woven hair crafts became love gifts from 1850 to 1910. Hair jewelry was used for sentimental remembrances and as gifts to loved ones. On Valentine's Day, women believed that giving their beloved a hair bracelet or hair watch fob would serve as a love charm and ensure a long and happy relationship.

One of the most popular and beloved antiques is the hair picture. These hair pictures were devotional objects coveted by families. One of the most common Victorian Valentines featured the symbolic rose or forget-me-not flowers made from hair locks of one's beloved....

[F]ramed hair pictures grew from love signs to memorials. Images made of hair related to the lover's lifestyle, occupation or hobbies including landscapes featuring family homesteads, anchors to symbolize a marine, or still-lifes of fruits or flowers symbolizing the bounty of love and long life.
The following items are, indeed, made out of human hair:

image source: Thread for Thought
image source: thisnext
image source:
You can read the entirety of the article "Valentine's Day antiques reflect Victorian values"  here.

The courting bench

While not mentioned in the article, I thought I would share a tidbit I learned while on a tour at the 19th century Edmondston-Alston House in Charleston, SC:

Apparently the "courting bench" was a long, rocking-chair like contraption that young lovers used to bend the rules about sitting near each other.  The young man would sit  at one end and the young lady at the other end, where they could converse at a "safe" distance.  But they could also "bounce" slightly down the rocking bench, eventually making their way closer and closer to each other.  If they were really lucky they might actually end up sitting next to each other.

While I am not sure this is the "correct" use for the bench, that is the story we were given at the Edmondston-Alston House.
image source: Carolina Joe
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

snowy days and steampunk ways

The 'Burgh was hit with blowing snow and below freezing temperatures this past weekend.  What is a girl to do?  Put on her ankle-length skirt over thick nylons and two other skirts, pop on an underbust corset over a blouse, and hit the town!  

Well, sort of.  All I managed to do in this outfit was cautiously drive to the South Side to visit Slacker, an alternative clothing store that sells corsets supplied by Black Hearts Clothing.  Black Hearts is a local retailer that sells corsets for very reasonable prices- about $40-$50 a pop.

After chatting with Cy, the proprietor of this clothing line who was working at Slacker that day, she found out that I have purchased two corsets previously from them (one of which you can see in this post).  Also discovering that I was a follower of the steampunk scene, she very generously gifted me with a brass and resin rose necklace:

In all fairness I did spend $80 while I was there specifically on Black Hearts items, but nevertheless it was a wonderful gesture, one that few businesses do anymore. 

Oh, and I also stopped at a local Roman Catholic church for Saturday evening mass, sans the corset.  I received lots of compliments on my hat in the parking lot!