Sunday, July 24, 2011
Saw this at Blockbuster and wondered why I hadn't heard of it before. I was planning on getting it through Netflix and writing a review of it here, but the reviews on Netflix were possibly the worst movie reviews I've ever read. So, I'd probably advise you not to waste money on it, although I'm still slightly curious as to how they actually treat the plot. Has anyone seen this?
Netflix's description: "Beauty and the Beast gets a grisly retelling in this phantasmagoric horror fable that begins when four young people crash their car deep in the forest and soon find themselves at the mercy of a human-beast hybrid with a gory agenda. The creature's motivations turn out to be more complex than simple bloodlust, but the terrified kids being stalked in the darkness only know that any one of them could be the next to die."
However, for a possibly awesome Beauty and the Beast movie in the works, I heard through Surlalune about a movie directed by Guillermo del Toro starring Emma Watson as Beauty. I literally let out a very loud gasp when I saw that post. Guillermo del Toro?? Writer and director of Pan's Labyrinth, and producer of one of my all-time favorite ghost stories, The Orphanage? And Emma Watson will be so much better than Vanessa Hudgens in Hollywood's last Beauty character, from Beastly...
Friday, July 22, 2011
By the way, I meant to post this a while ago and forgot, but for Midwesterners like myself, Peter Pan is showing in Chicago through August.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
The thing about mermaids that fascinates me is that, more than any other fairy tale creature or story, throughout history people have believed, or tried to make others believe, that mermaids really do exist. Modern scientists would scoff at this idea, and there's no actual evidence to support their existence despite the many hoaxes claiming to prove otherwise, as I referenced in my original post, Historical Evidence for Mermaids. However, Christopher Columbus himself claimed he saw a mermaid. Christopher Columbus! If he claimed he saw anything else, we'd believe him without question.
The book Incredible Mysteries and Legends of the Sea by Edward Rowe Snow includes several accounts of supposed mermaid sightings. Snow himself admits he doesn't believe they exist, but it's fun to entertain the idea. And after reading so many detailed accounts, one begins to wonder...
I included most of the sightings found in chapter 10 of the book. I left out some that had less details or were more confusing to me, and honestly, I got tired after typing out so many...so for your reading or skimming pleasure:
-November 16, 1822-British publication, The Mirror, listed ten different mermaid appearances on the sea
-1531-Merman caught in the Baltic and presented to King Sigismund of Poland
-1610-Captain John Whitbourne reported sighting a mermaid in the harbor of St. John's, Newfoundland.
-1614-John Smith saw a mermaid, swimming "with grace," having large eyes, finely shaped nose that was "somewhat short," and "well-formed ears that were rather too long." Also "long green hair imparted to her an original character by no means unattractive."...had begus to experience "the first effect of love" until he realized that from the waist down, she was a fish.
-1673-John Jocelyn reported that his friend, Mr. Miller, had sighted a merman in Maine's Casco Bay. The merman put a hand over one side of his canoe, threatening to capsize it. Miller chopped off the hand with a hatchet, and the merman disappeared into the water, "dyeing the water purple with its blood."
-1730-A French ship's crew spotten a merman off Newfoundland, for several hours. This account was signed by all in the crew who could write and sent to the Compte de Maurepas.
-Unknown year-Gloucester, Massachusetts-mermaid boarded a fishing craft, clinging to taffrail with one hand, which was amputated much like the story from 1673. The mermaid was supposed to have heaved a "human" sigh before disappearing. The men examined the hand and found it to be exactly like that of a human woman's.
-Early 18th century-mermaid sighted off Nantucket Island from passing vessal.
-Date not given-fishing boat off the island of Yell got a mermaid entangled in its lines. Mermaid was reported to be three feet long, the face, forehead, and neck short and resembling those of a monkey, the arms small and folded across the breast, the fingers distinct (not webbed), with a few stiff bristles on top of the head and extending down to the shoulders, which could be erected at depressed at pleasure. The lower, fish-like part of the body was smooth and grey. The creature offered no resistance, but uttered a low sound. When released, she dove perpendicularly into the sea. No gills were observed, nor fins on the back or belly. Tail like a dogfish, breasts and mouth and lips resembling human features.
-Eric Pontopildon, in his Natural History of Norway-about a mile from the coast of Denmark, near Landscrone, three sailors came upon what they thought was a dead body, but then moved and came nearer to them. The creature appeared like a strong-limbed old man with broad shoulders, with short curled black hair and a black beard, and from the body downward was pointed like a fish.
-May 1, 1714-Francois Valentyn, captain of a ship, came upon what he believed to be a shipwrecked person, but saw a man with a "monstrous long tail" that dove into the ocean.
-1758-Mermaid featured at a fair in St. Germains, France
-1775-Mermaid exhibited in London with three sets of fins
-1797-Schoolmaster Willian Munro of Thurso, Scotland spotted a mermaid combing its hair. Same mermaid supposedly spotted later in 1809 in the parish of Reay in Caithness, Scotland.
-1822-Captain Dodge announced after he sailed into Boston Harbor that he had captured a mermaid and put her on an island where he intended to educate her in human ways. He claimed he would return with her, but when he returned without her, he claimed she had died. This incident sparked a local interest in historical accounts of mermaids, including those from Pliny and Pausanias, Theodore Gaza, 1403 in Holland (a mermaid supposedly succesfully converted to human culture), 1554 in Poland, the 11th century in Sicily, in 1712 in the Dutch East Indies (a mermaid taken captive, 59 inches tall and with green hair, refused to associate with the natives and died). Captain Dodge returned with the body of the mermaid in a glass coffin (whoa, Snow White reference) and refused to let anyone remove her from the coffin. He later took the body with him and no one knows what happened to the mermaid. (This one I had to look up online. This is a scan of the New York Mirror from 1824 that mentions Captain Dodge and the mermaid on page 375. This newspaper clearly thinks the so-called mermaid body was a construction of other animal and child corpses.)
-Antarctic explorer James Weddell, in a book published in 1825, told of a sailor hearing a musical voice, and finding a human form with long green hair and a tail resembling that of a seal, who disappeared the moment she realized she was being watched.
-1834-writer Hugh Miller tells of John Reid, a "shrewd, sensible, calculating" man who heard singing and then spotted a mermaid with long yellow hair. He caught her and forced her to grant him three wishes-that neither he nor his friends should perish in the sea, that he should be fortunate in his undertakings, and that he should be married to the fair Helen, his beloved.
-1881-Dr. Karl Blind, in the Contemporary Review, tells of the habits of mermen and women of the British Isles, who wear seal skins as disguise, but shed them and act like humans on land. Any human who obtains the skin has power over the creature.
-August 11, 1812-Mr. Toupin of Exmouth, Scotland spotted a singing mermaid a mile from Exmouth bar, whose neck, back and loins were covered with feathers.
-April 15, 1814-merman and mermaid sighted by fishermen near Portgordon, Scotland
-1819-Mermaid spotted off the coast of Ireland, size of a girl about age 10, but with "a bosom as prominent as a girl of sixteen. She had long dark hair, and full dark eyes." Dove into the ocean with a scream when a man tried to shoot her.
-1834-brig Yankee Doodle came across party of merpeople off the Riding Rocks in the West Indies
-Date not given-merman in Epirus, Greece would come ashore and hide in order to catch women. He was caught, but did not eat in captivity and died
-1870-Man conversed with mermaid under a great cliff off the Bullers of Buchan, Scotland
Images #1 and 2 by Warwick Goble, #3 from here
Book description: "Once upon a time, in the olden days, heavy-set middle-aged men would congregate in their elitist clubs, sit in overstuffed leather chairs, smoke air-choking cigars, and pitch story ideas and plots to each other. Problem was, these stories, many of which found their way into the general social consciousness, reflected the way in which these men lived and saw their world: that is, the stories were sexist, discriminatory, unfair, culturally biased, and in general, demeaning to witches, animals, goblins, and fairies everywhere.
Finally, after centuries of these abusive tales, which have been handed down-unknowingly-from one male-biased generation to the next, James Finn Garner has taken it upon himself (that's right, yet another man) to enlighten and liberate these classic bedtime stories and retell them in a way that is much more in keeping with the society in which we live today."
An exerpt from Garner's take on Rapunzel:
"Now, this witch was very kindness-impaired. (This is not meant to imply that all, or even some, witches are that way, nor to deny this particular witch her right to express whatever disposition came naturally to her. Far from it, her disposition was without doubt due to many factors of her upbringing and socialization, which, unfortunately, must be omitted here in the interest of brevity.)...the witch took the child deep into the woods and imrisoned her in a tall tower, the symbolism of which should be obvious. There Rapunzel grew to wommonhood. The tower had no doors or stairs, but it did boast a single window at the top. The only way for anyone to get to the window was for Rapunzel to let down her long, luxurious hair and climb it to the top, the symbolism of which should also be obvious."
Also by James Finn Garner:Once Upon a More Enlightened Time: More Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Politically Correct Holiday Stories: For an Enlightened Yuletide Season
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
The story also ends with a friend of the main character's who marries a dog, hoping to get the same kind of surprise as his friend did-but he is only met with humiliation. So, the moral of the story is, don't marry a dog unless you know for sure she's secretly really hot.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Adult Beginner went to see ABT's version of Swan Lake, and even if you know the plot backwards and forwards it's a very funny read. But she also has some insights into the plot, such as Odile's character, included below, which is on everybody's mind thanks to Black Swan.
"Started thinking about Odile. Why is this considered the sexy bad girl role? The music is not giving me any evil cues like it does for Rothbart. It’s fun lively music. Perky. Maybe this is an issue of how old the music is? Like maybe it’s kinda dated? Like when you watch Jaws and you expect heavy horror movie music but other than the dahDuh shark music it’s kinda bouncy like, hey! Two dudes on a boat! It’s a fishin’ movie!
It feels more like Odile is the confident, triumphant counterpart to Odette’s downtrodden earnestness. Odile is a sassy-sassafras. Love it when she burns Siegfried, pulls her hand away before he can kiss it. Seems like the music and choreography and performance were all in agreement that she’s not the sensual dark creature a post Black Swan audience has come to expect.
And for that matter, what is Odile? Is she Rothbart’s daughter? If so, why is she beautiful while he’s a swamp monster? And does she live with him in the lake? Or does she live with her mom in Long Island City?
Did Rothbart call and say, “hello my Princess! I have a job for you, sweetie!”
Or did he create her? Is she like The Flesh from Doctor Who? Did he make this sassy, full, real person, just to fulfill this one purpose and then throw away?
Found myself really feeling for Odile."
Click through to read the whole thing!
The Mariinsky Ballet's Ulya Lopatkina (image from here) seems to be exuding the same playful vibe Adult Beginner sensed and not the "I will lead you down a dark road that ends in insanity and murder" vibe from Black Swan the movie. (I've mentioned it before, but I can hardly recommend Mercedes Lackey's book Black Swan enough as a fascinating look into Odile's character...)
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
"In 2006, Valerie O'Neil, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said that the logo is an image of a "twin-tailed siren". The logo has been significantly streamlined over the years. In the first version, which was based on a 17th-century "Norse" woodcut, the Starbucks siren was topless and had a fully visible double fish tail. The image also had a rough visual texture and has been likened to a melusine. In the second version, which was used from 1987–92, her breasts were covered by her flowing hair, but her navel was still visible, and the fish tail was cropped slightly. In the third version, used between 1992 and 2011, her navel and breasts are not visible at all, and only vestiges remain of the fish tails. The original "woodcut" logo has been moved to the Starbucks' Headquarters in Seattle."
Melusine-feminine water spirit