solarbird: (molly-oooooh)


THIS HOUSE IS FUCKING AMAZING.

GO WATCH THE VIDEO, THE STILLS DON’T DO IT JUSTICE.

This is The House that Calculus Built and it is wonderful. And though they aren’t using the word, it is brutalist as all fuck. Look at all that raw exposed concrete! Look at all that exposed bare metal and glass and stone. Look at all those repeating patterns and curved, plastic forms. Look at the exterior massed forms, particularly in the front. Look at WATER AS A GODDAMN DESIGN ELEMENT AND NOT DECORATION. (Again, watch the video at the link for that, and also look at the stairs inside the water I AM DYING here.)

FUCK YEAH BRUTALISM!

Seriously, this is what happens when you do brutalism the right way instead of as an excuse to throw up a bunker building on the cheap. I am crying a little it is so beautiful.


h/t Yvonne Pawtowski on Google+

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby


Looking for the Grammy Awards Long List nominee post? Thank you for listening, and for your consideration.

wat

Jun. 24th, 2015 08:58 pm
solarbird: (korra-fruck-out)
solarbird: (poor kitty!)

Skellington – one of my fiddlers from Bone Walker – was performing with her band, Pinniped, at Folklife and saw someone watercolour-painting her band at the show.

That artist turned out to be Ellen Eades, who was hammer dulcimer on the same project. They never met in studio, recording their tracks at completely different times, and Skellington only figured it out later, when she went searching for more of Ellen’s art online.

#150 player characters #millions of NPCs

Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (Default)
I've been thinking a little about Anna's post about Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron and about Black Widow as "love interest" and the "monster" comment and Disney/Marvel's rather hideous sexism in merchandising and trying to separate out all those bits and pieces into a coherent thought.

And I've got various things to say about various parts, but I think want to talk about this one tweet. It gets spoilery below here, so consider yourself warned now.

Read more... )
solarbird: (Default)
Wow, that's unexpected: I'm in a movie trailer! The film - a documentary - is called GTFO, and it's about sexism and misogyny in video game culture, something I've written about a lot.



I'm not in it for long; it's only a couple of seconds of footage, shot at PAX in Seattle in... 2013, I think. But it's specifically of me. I remember the game I was playing at the time, even if I'm not sure of the year; I don't remember the camera crew.

Anyway, here's an article in The New York Times about the documentary. Here's a review. I wonder how it did at SXSW?

Hat tip to Randy Mac Kay for pointing it out to me. Funny thing is, at first mention, I thought it was from a different movie, one that I do know I'm in. This film? I had no idea. SURPRISE!

Echoed from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

solarbird: (shego-rule?-you?)
You know you've been running a festival too long when you find you're reflexively doing crowd-counts at somebody's wedding.

It probably didn't help that they had The Heather Dale Band in for the show nuptials, but still. XD

(Hi Ben! Hi Heather! And congratulations to Naomi and Glenn!)
solarbird: (Default)
Roses and Ruin is a Leannan Sidhe album project. It's akin to Cracksman Betty in that it's single-day efforts, with only light production.

Unlike Cracksman Betty, it wasn't ever wrapped up. And Leannan Sidhe is coming over today to record the first new track for the project since... I don't even know. Quite a while!

It should be fun. It's my first recording session in, like, five months. How the hell did that happen? Oh, right, releasing a major album, that's right. It's apparently time to get back on that pony.

Which... okay, long-time fans might just remember a song I've performed about four times ever called "Getting Away with It." It's this massive sprawling monster, probably a bit self-indulgent, crazily complex, all that. It was supposed to be on Dick Tracy Must Die, but I couldn't get it to work like I knew it should.

Eventually I pretty much gave up on it, and it sat, half-forgotten, in the back of my lyrics books, my personal Don Quixote.

Then somebody asked me to play it after reading the lyrics at a Leannan Sidhe rehearsal. I had to struggle to remember how it even went, and I got the rhythm totally wrong in the verses, or did I, because in getting it so wrong, I think I see how I can get it to work.

I'm just glad I don't have to work with Charlton Heston to find out.

Anyway, best get this posted. No rest for the wicked, after all. MINIONS! SET UP THE MICS!

Echoed from Crime and the Blog of Evil.

solarbird: (Default)
Last call for the Secret Blog Discount sale! All pay things on Bandcamp - meaning all music, and both Free Court of Seattle novels in paperback - are 25% off with this checkout code which expires TODAY!

     happybird2015

But! There's a surprise sale on Amazon for author Angela Highland's other books. Carina Press didn't notify her, they just did it. So if you're interested in her other series - the Rebels of Adalonia novels - Valor of the Healer is a staggering 99¢ right now. G'wan, get it - at 99¢, it's not even really splurging.

Echoed from Crime and the Blog of Evil

solarbird: (Default)
Those of us who have been saying that 50 Shades of Grey is domestic abuse aren't talking about the - rather badly done, from what I'm being told - BDSM. We're talking about the psychotic emotional abuse that underlies the entire relationship.

This reviewer gets it.
I screwed up. I screwed up big time. I went into this film thinking it would be two hours of B-grade hilarity about bondage that I could make fun of. It was actually two hours of incredibly disturbing content about an emotionally abusive relationship that left me really, really shaken.

And now I’m embarrassed that I ever joked about it.

-- Rosie Reviews: 50 Shades of Grey
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

I’ve been thinking more about Google/YouTube’s new music streaming service terms – the ones that require your whole library, that require 320bps source, that require five year terms, and so on. I wrote about it last week, talking about how Google is letting the old labels dictate away crowdfunding rewards and the like.

But I’ve been doing more thinking since that. It’s been churning in my brain. And I’ve realised the five-year term, the 320bps requirement, and whole library thing have a combined intent.

And that intent is to take away literally every last music sale you might make. As in, every last music sale.

It’s not presented as such, of course. I think they want artists to think of it as radio that pays. But two of the big streaming service problems have been 1. quality (smaller concern) and 2. stability of material (huge concern). All the television streaming services, for example, have been plagued by shows getting yanked on and off and moving around. Customers find that annoying.

Meanwhile, you have the label involvement, discussed before. They were, from all reports, pretty tightly into this new set of terms. And one of the big problems for the labels the last several years has been the rise of indie artists. The crowdfunding/long-tail model has given indie artists something more to live on, ways to make money outside of the label ecosystem.

This solves both sets of “problems.” Think about it:

Google will have everything you do for five years, listen-anytime, at functionally CD quality. They’ll have everything, and they’ll have it first, at optimal quality. What’s that mean?

It means Google/YouTube Music service members will have no reason to buy any goddamn thing from any artist which is on the service. No more early-access advantages to entice crowdfunding backers. No more deep tracks on albums to discover. No more alt-takes, no more remixes, no more mailing-list exclusives – Google will have it all. Not exclusively, of course! But they’ll have it.

If I’m reading this right, then even if you hold out on them – you don’t upload some tracks, in violation of the agreement – if and when somebody else does, and they identify it as yours, they’ll add it to the service automatically. Tell me I’m wrong (even though I’m not) because that’s what this sounds like:

So even if you don’t explicitly deliver us every single song in your catalog if we have assets and they are fingerprinted by content ID to contain that music then it will be included to the subscription service…
        — Zoë Keating’s Google rep., in conversation with Zoë

Which means there’s no more reason to buy anything from you. No reason for anyone to deal with you at all.

Five years is a long time. There will be no long tail – at least, not for you. It’s all going to them. Five years is also plenty long enough to keep you locked in once you figure all this out. And five years is more than long enough to try to make this the new standard.

That’s the point of this whole contract. To take everything else away, and thereby, to reinstate a kind of 1971, one managed by making both unlimited internet distribution and piracy completely irrelevant.

I have to say – it’s brilliant. It end-runs around the post-scarcity environment entirely, by co-opting it. The pirates and illegal uploaders will make sure your entire catalogue is up there, even if you hold out, and it’ll be included whether you like it or not – it’s genius!

Meanwhile, they’re “giving the music away” so you can’t make any money on it, stopping you from being able to reward patrons and backers so you can’t make any money there either, and tossing you a sharecropper’s pittance in ad revenue as a reward. And even that is a pittance you can never hope to make on your own. You don’t – and can’t – have the numbers.

It’s a plan that takes away the entire internet/indie route as they understand it. It’s to make them – both the old labels and Google, in alliance – the only viable path. It’s a plan to make it so that once again, you have to go through them.

And we all know what that has always meant, don’t we?

Run. Run like hell.
 
 

Additional Reading:

  • #WeBelieveTheCellist
  •  


    This is Part Eleven of Music in the Post-Scarcity Environment, a series of essays about, well, what it says on the tin. In the digital era, duplication is essentially free and there are no natural supply constraints which support scarcity, and therefore, prices. What the hell does a recording musician do then?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (korra-excited)

    I saw a comment on Tumblr that this Korrasami ending was the ending we all wanted, but that we weren't emotionally ready for it. I think they're on to something; we did all want it, but we weren't ready for it, because we didn't think it could happen - it was our impossibility.

    But suddenly it actually happened, and the world changed, and we're all in a kind of shock from the emotional unreadiness. It's the best kind of emotional unreadiness, perhaps, but unreadiness nonetheless.

    I think that comment reveals a lot about why so many of us are reacting not just so strongly, but over so many days. We weren't ready for this; we couldn't be, because it was impossible. And all these many days of reaction are us emotionally processing that the world is suddenly new. Particularly for the adult fans, we're... catching up. We're playing forward this emotional release from all the years ago when all the straight kids got this sort of thing but we didn't, reeling it out to whatever point our adult lives are in now. That takes time. It may take a lot of time for some of us; it's as if a lot of very old metaphorical/emotional logjams across the many people of the fandom have been blown clear, and it's all cascading downstream.

    The poison wasn't just in Korra; it was in a lot of us, too.

    solarbird: (korra-excited)

    To celebrate Bone Walker‘s release to mastering and manufacturing today (preorder here), we’re posting some of the many creative things our friends and fans have told us about. These are things they do; check out this list of awesome. That’s an order.

    JEWELLERY:

    MUSIC AND WRITING:

    • Irfon-Kim Ahmad is the electronic madness behind RAMP Music, and he’s all about the trance and electronica. He also has a big Tumblr fandom, I’ve seen it. I suspect him of being a Cylon, but don’t tell him I said that.
    • Maria-Katriina Lehtinen really needs two entries in this list. First, she composes neo-baroque music and performs on the organ. She’s endlessly frustrated that the people at the cathedral in Vancouver won’t let her re-tune their organ to better frequencies. On top of that, she writes and makes stained-glass windows! But she doesn’t provide links. Take that, commercialism!
    • Angela Highland also writes as Angela Korra’ti, and writes books. Under the Highland name, she’s behind the high fantasy trilogy Rebels of Adalonia for Carina Press. Under the Korra’ti name, of course, the Free Court of Seattle. “Urban fantasy for the geekily and musically inclined, and I can guarantee you that you won’t find another urban fantasy series anywhere that features a Newfoundlander bouzouki-playing hero as the main lead, an Unseelie Elvis impersonator, and most importantly, a violin-playing heroine who’s a girl of color.” Find out everything at her professional website.
    • Elizabeth Barrette is a poet, and a working poet at that! She also writes books, of course. Penultimate Productions is the top of the fold, but a list of her books currently in print is here, and she provides writing and editing services. She actively posts on Livejournal, where she also posts scrapbooked poems.
    • Skellington is on the album! She’s lead fiddle on Kitsune at War. But her main band is Pinniped, a trad band who have a good bit of local traction. You should listen to her stuff!

    PERSONAL ITEMS AND CRAFTS:

    • JC Brazil is a maker of Glatta Papa body butters, lip balms, and moisturisers. “The hair pomade was created when I went through hospital hell and began losing my hair. It worked! Huzzah! When I met my boyfriend who is biracial, and now my husband, he couldn’t find anything natural to help him style his hair and didn’t smell like gummy bears. I offered him my pomade and he’s been using it ever since.”
    • Paula Milburn makes a huge range of items, and makes them available two different places – one place for fannish audiences, one for general audiences. The general-audience work lives at KraftyKatz Unique Handmade and Personalised Cards and Gifts, while the fannish-friendly projects live at 4K Kollections.

    CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES:

    • Sunnyjim makes All The Things, and seriously, she does, I’ve seen it. “The current obsession is Women’s High Heel Shoes. That’s right, I’m a cordwainer – a person who makes shoes. I also do art quilts, mosaics, stained glass, spinning and weaving, costuming, calligraphy, and the occasional oil painting. As they say at Weta Workshop: Be Creative, and Make Cool Stuff. (Yes, I have the t-shirt.)”

    FANAC AND CONVENTIONS:

    • Jen Kilmer helps make Conflikt, the Pacific Northwest Filk Music Convention – she’s chair and head of publications! Go buy a membership and attend, particularly since somebody cough will be having a big CD and book release show there.
    • Linda Wyatt does things with vintage Star Wars memorabilia, Topps cards, and other hockey cards from the 1960s and 1970s. Sadly she did not include a link where I could point you at samples.

    And, finally, of course, we make with the musics. I also have a history of illustration and other arty designy stuff and fandoms and houses and a fair bit of science!, but mostly these days it’s about the music.

    All of these creative people wrote up all this in their own words in comments. So go check out their arts! Maybe you’ll get inspired too.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (music)

    PAX Prime tickets went up for sale while I was on the road, and by the time I could stop and add myself to the queue, it was too late. Thanks to Anna, I still managed a couple of days of tickets at face value.

    This was the first time I’ve ever been nervous going to a PAX, mostly because of not just last year’s most recent round of crap (and before you ask, other than “I was here first, you fuckers,” here’s why I keep going) but because of the threatened protests by “men’s rights” misogynists.

    Thankfully – and typically – they were too disorganised and cowardly to actually do anything in public. I only saw one I could even identify – he wore a “men’s rights” organisation T-shirt with a long name which makes an anti-women acronym; their logo is the venus/woman symbol with a big international NO graphic over it. I have a picture, but I’m not posting it.

    But that wasn’t what the show was about; it was instead pretty awesome. I’m really disappointed I chose poorly on Saturday night and missed Abby Howard‘s feminism panel, her tweets made it sound excellent.

    The queues weren’t bad this year. From this picture, that sounds like a “lol what” moment, but seriously, they weren’t. For one thing, crowd control second only to Disney. For another, even when long, the whisked right along, it was really impressive.


    Welcome to Nerdvana

    The big game buzz post-show this year apparently ended up being Gigantic. That surprises me, honestly, because all the buzz I was hearing Saturday night was about Lichdom, which is a lot like “we really like the magical combat and look of Skyrim, let’s turn those up to 90 and drop most of the other stuff.” I played it; if that sounds good to you, then you want this game.


    Hadooooooooooooooken!

    Evolve’s booth drew a lot of attention, too. Mostly because of the Big Guy here. Paul and I ended up scrappin’ with it ’cause that’s just what happens.

    World of Tanks, as always, had a giant-ass tank. I’m pretty sure they bring in a bigger tank every year. Nothing will top the year they brought in an actual tank, but that had to be outside, so I get why they didn’t do that again. Plus there was this bioshock-ish angry bear next to the Gauntlet demo booth that I liked.

    I did not know Lenovo had a 27″ Windows tablet! They call it a tabletop, and it’s about the size of one. This is the first Windows Tablet that’s made me go “ooooooh, I do want that, but it’s $1500. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than a “surface,” so maybe in another couple of years it’ll even be doable. I’m not picturing it as a “tablet” of any sort, but damn, as an RPG add? I hung out at the Intel booth playing Risk against the computer for 45 minutes, that’s how cool it was.

    I didn’t take a photo, so I’m a bad person and should feel bad. But they had a picture on their website.

    Alienware has a new high-end gaming PC that looks spectacular. I mean honestly, this is one gorgeous beast. They say that the atypical shape helps cooling by eliminating dead airflow pockets.

    Frankly, I’m not convinced, particularly with the drive bay, and I’m nervous about the GPU bank. There are fans at each corner (or just offset) and I can see what they’re doing, and I’m… they know how to run airflow tests, I’m sure it works well enough. But even given that, the drive bay side smells like Bad Choices to me. And any other cooling options are kind of off the table, because of the shape. I think I want to like it more than I do.

    Also, holy crow, I actually won something in a drawing! I enter all the drawings, but of course, so does everyone, so usually I just get a T-shirt or something. Or a cape. Intel did capes two years ago, that was awesome. But this year I won a gaming headset! I may do a review later. You know how I talk about headsets and amp equipment aimed at consumers trying to “help” and being terrible for mixing? Definitely that category. On the other hand, the positioning of sounds in this headset is amazing. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s neat.

    Lots of cosplay! If I’d had a third day there I’d’ve had more pictures. But I liked Snow White playing Lara Croft, so I had to snap that, and a few others just needed photos even though I was running around so much.


    Snow White Plays Lara Croft


    Power Rangers!


    Game of Thrones – these looked better in person than in photo. Acting!


    The Best Ewok

    Paul and I went to concerts on Friday night, about which I felt kind of bad later, because I was also going to go to Shubzilla and Death*Star’s big concert block off-site, but I thought that was on Saturday so I didn’t. And then OOPS SAME TIME ;_; but well, that’s how PAX works.

    I wasn’t, I admit, into the Triforce Quartet that much – see, most of you people were Nintendo or Playstation people and are all up in the Zelda things, and some of us were SEGA!heads, and chasing rings with hedgehogs, and that’s just how we rolled. Still, they were good. Don’t get me wrong, they performed well and got a standing ovation – it’s just not my thing. But The Doubleclicks were definitely on, and in the last song they got Paul and Storm to join them a song early, and hilarity ensued. Those two groups together really multiply up the funny.

    LOOOOOOOT. I don’t have the assortment of T-shirts or the giant balloon Gauntlet spiked hammer when I took this photo, I don’t know what was wrong with me. But HEADSET! and SHOT GLASSES! One of which I didn’t even have to pay for!

    I also ran into some people I’d love to talk about and made some early possible arrangements for some other things I’d love to talk about that I can’t talk about, which is why not talking about them is all down at this end of the post because I can’t talk about them.

    But if any of it comes through, it’d be awesome. And it’s definitively related to music stuff I do. And it could be pretty epic. And that’s all I can say right now.

    I hate secrets. I’m so bad at them. But if they happen, these will be worth it. :D

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (ART-gonzo)

    We have a joint show this weekend! It’s at The Dreaming in Seattle, two sets, some Supervillain music, some Leannan Sidhe music, a few covers, it’ll be fun and awesome. Here’s the Facebook event page for the show.

    Print resolution version of the poster (which is jointly by Shanti and me) here, if you want to, oh, print things and post them places and stuff. That would be awesome.

    I may have stolen the circles in the poster design from another music graphic of the past. One hint: the reddish one should be blue if you want a more obvious match. You get a zillion music geek points if you can figure out the source. :D

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (molly-content)
    Shanti (fairly, I think) thought the previous background didn't fit her musical themes well, so she made another one.

    solarbird: (Default)


    It's not an official poster, but I stole a couple of elements, mostly Shanti's treated photos of herself, Jeri Lynn, and me.
    solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)

    Scarecrow Video has been a Seattle institution for many years. It started as a video rental store – and still is one – but it was owned by the kind of crazed film fanatics who run a business primarily as a way to build the biggest collection of things imaginable. The original owner was the sort of person who would fly on an hour’s notice to former Soviet republics on the rumour that he could get a SECAM videotape copy of a particular obscure Stalinist-era Belorussian film. And half the time, he’d return with it.

    Despite having one of the largest film collections in the world – possibly the largest in the world – video rental doesn’t cut it anymore, so they’re going non-profit. But that’s expensive, too, so they’re launching a Kickstarter to make it happen. Go help.

    I started renting from them when they were next to J&S Phonograph Needles in Roosevelt – yes that was a store for phonograph needles it didn’t make much sense then either – and remember when they moved to the U. District, on 50th and Roosevelt. They bought out what used to be the biggest Radio Shack ever, a multistory building with its own screening lounge and everything.


    This is a small fraction of their collection.

    It’s pretty damn cool, and it’d be a disaster to lose such a comprehensive film collection – particularly as it is actually available to the public. Even the exotic stuff can be rented and/or screened – they have multiformat players available, too. In some cases, they have one of only three to four copies of films still in existence, and you can see it. That’s the kind of collection this is.

    I’ve known one of the current owners for a long time; this project is a big deal for them, too. So go help them flip that switch to non-profit. As I write this, they’ve made 60% of goal in a day, thanks in no small part to The Onion‘s AV Club. Let’s see if we can’t get them there by tomorrow, eh?

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

    solarbird: (Lecturing)

    Just back from the first movie I’ve seen in months, Maleficent. I wanted to see this before it fell out of theatres, mostly because of the trailers with her wings, because yeah.

    Let’s talk about the good parts, first: Angelina Jolie is wonderful. It looks great. The green fire which is signatory to this version of the character was lovingly rendered and just felt right. The christening scene, reinterpreted here? Perfection. The later interactions of Aurora and Maleficent, ages, oh, 13ish to the end of the story resonated well, and just worked.

    But… while so many things are right, I can’t get past “pretty good” as a response. Not great. Merely pretty good. That’s because I just can’t get past the fact that in this film, too many things are too easy. I don’t mean physically easy, tho’ there is some of that; those parts are not so important. No, I mean emotionally easy.

    And from here on out, we’ll be heading deep into spoiler territory, so you have now been warned.

    Let’s start with our antagonist, King Steffan.

    Sharlto Copley plays Doctor then King Steffan well, given what he has to work with. But there isn’t enough meat in the part. There should be; all the bones are there. But Steffan’s arc is missing too many important, difficult notes.

    His needed to be both a more political story – it’s a very political tale, after all – and a story about ruined love. Okay, sure, there was never “one true love,” as the film fairly points out – but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t a kind of love there, and I think there was. And, well, betrayal of such things is a staple of royal histories. It’s entirely in theme.

    And so Steffan commits a great treachery, setting events in motion, becoming King Henry’s heir. But that sort of treachery – so personal a treachery – needs confronting. In the film, all we really get is a big fight scene.

    That’s letting him and the audience off easy, and it’s a failing. We in the audience need to know his self-justifications – how it was right for him to cut off and steal her wings, how it was right for him to seize the throne from a dying King Henry, how everything since then – the economic hardships, the battles – have proven how he and King Henry both were right to hate and desire the faerie lands.

    How it’s all self-defense. How it’s all her fault. Not his. Not King Henry’s. Her fault.

    Never his.

    We shouldn’t buy it, of course. We don’t need to believe it. We just need to believe he believes it – even if only by lying to himself so strenuously for so long. We needed Maleficent to confront his justifications, and deny them, laying the lies bare.

    We needed to see that, and we didn’t. Steffan’s descent into paranoia – see also, “uneasy rests the head that wears the crown” – played out well, but that’s not enough. We needed to get into his brain, and find him lacking.

    It also would’ve been nice to see some of this from Princess and then Queen Leah’s view. It’s clear that King Steffan’s isolation grows throughout the film; it would’ve been nice if we’d known some of that has come from Queen Leah’s knowing that something happened between him and Maleficent. Sure, she knows about the wings; that’s why he’s king. But there was more to it, more that he’s lying about, something both more and rotten. Something that makes her suspicious, then untrusting, then isolating.

    In short, his betrayal should ruin two potential loves. Ruined love already underlies the text; it should be a stronger undertheme, since it’s what unlocks his character. Love doesn’t have to be “one true love” to still be love; Steffan ruins it through betrayal for the sake of power, every time he acts.

    It would make a nice parallel to the the other easiness problem in the film: the too-easy relationship of Maleficent and Aurora.

    Maleficent’s affection for Aurora comes too quickly and too trivially, in film-time. Less so in story-time; it spans many years in character. But that’s not communicated well, and even in story-time, Maleficent’s saving Aurora’s life from the inept fairy trio’s overwhelming incompetence* mere days after cursing her to die.

    And it doesn’t resonate; it doesn’t work. Maleficent’s complex and multistage arc should be awesome – from young love, to betrayal and ruined love, to justified hate, to claiming her revenge… and then turning back from that, working through to regret, and to building an adult, parental love, and reclaiming her life for her own, from the wreckage wrought by Steffan.

    Most of the pieces are there, but… it’s hollow in the middle. We needed a better arc of her hate. The arc is set up nicely. The betrayal is agonising. And so, she cursed an innocent baby to “sleep like death” tragically on the cusp of adulthood, as per her symbolic death with the rending and theft of her wings, and we’re kind of on board with that. We can see how she gets there.

    So she can’t just step in and save Aurora over and over again without a good emotional reason, even if only to tell herself. Yes, it’s the turning point in her arc. Yes, from her own curse (irony!) she’s fated to love Princess Aurora in some form, as everyone who interacts with Aurora will come to love her, though not “true love” her. Maleficent is hoisted by her own petard here, and that’s fine.

    But as with Steffan, there are always rationalisations for things done. Steffan needs to rationalise his evil; Maleficent needs to rationalise her goodness, in symmetry.

    It could be simple – Aurora has to live to 16 so that Maleficent can see the curse she laid down become true, and watch King Steffan’s agony and failure to stop it. That’s a bit stock – a bit, heh, easy, really – but it’s a starting point.

    Saving infant Aurora is a critical change at a critical moment. We needed some emotional support for that, and we didn’t get it. I’m not looking for All! The! Angst! – I’m looking for more emotional struggle to sell me the progression of character. Maleficent initially needs to save Aurora out of hate and revenge, not out of “well, guess so.” “Might as well” is just too damned easy.

    Which is a damned shame.

    Still, pretty good. Not what it should’ve been, though. That always hurts; good and great are awesome, terrible is terrible, hilariously terrible is even better. They are what they are and could be. But the near-misses like this one… they hurt. Maleficent could’ve been brilliant. Instead, by letting characters and the audience off too easy, it was merely… pretty good.

    Not great. Pretty good.

    And that’s a damned shame.


    *: The three fairies were well too incompetent. It felt as though they were made even more spectacularly incompetent simply to provide more opportunities for Maleficent to step in and save Aurora. And again, that’s another case of letting things be Too Easy.

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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    solarbird: (korra-excited)

    As work progresses on Bone Walker, the Free Court of Seattle soundtrack album, the first book in the series goes on sale for 99¢ in eBook form. That’s a thing that just happened! It’s a direct-by-author push, which is awesome. You can order a special ultra-high-resolution retina-ready PDF version from Anna if you’re into that, too.

    The 99¢ sale price is good until the end of July, after which it goes back up to $4.99. YES IT’S 80% OFF RIGHT NOW. Obviously you’ll want the book that the soundtrack goes with, right? Of course you will. So go get it!

    Meanwhile, book one her other series – Valor of the Healer, first of the Rebels of Adalonia series – also just went on sale for 99¢. That’s a shorter-term sale, and the price is only good until the 19th, after which it goes back up to $2.99. So go ahead and grab both. Two for less than the price of one.

    Grabby hands! GRABBY HANDS!
     
     
    g̣̙̟ͪ́r̛̙͚̼͂ͅà̴͚̜͖͓̪̙̃͗̐ͦ̀̉ͬ͗b̻̰ͩ̀ͬ͐͒̿͞b͖̤̩̯̭͓̰̙̻̓̓͗͗̾̅̊́͞͠y̴͉ͥ͒͘͠ ̶̥̰̝ͥ̊͗ͥ͠ḩ̭̳͙̹͍̝ͪͬ̍̒ǎ̩̹̰̦͎̖̲̐̄̒̊͌ͣ̒͠n̝̖̟̼̟̮̣̅̈̔̓͛͛ͯ͘d̦̏̇̈́̏͊̊̈̄̚s̸̮͇̪̤͔͎̈́̋ͥ̔̏̀̚

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
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    solarbird: (ART-gonzo)

    It looks like a part number, but it’s actually a Burning Man art project my friend Fish is putting together. As in literally putting together, as in, he’s building it.

    You might remember Fishy and Attoparsec from the Harmonic Fire Pendula and other such fire-based endeavours. This time, it’s “what happens if you take a little handheld BB maze game and scale it up for bowling balls?”


    I’d say something like this.

    The Kickstarter project is just enough to fund the steel and a couple of other things. The rest, he’s paying for out of pocket.

    I can’t go to Burning Man ever, really, because reasons. Secret reasons. But I like backing strange art projects, particularly kinetic ones. Occasionally I get to see them in person even if I can’t go to their primary display point, and there are videos, which never hurts.

    He also has videos at the project page, of course.

    He’s not doing the ‘flexible funding’ thing, so he actually has to make goal, which means your individual support actually actively matters. So go give the project a look, and if you can, toss him a few bucks. I think it’ll probably be worth it for the tremendous racket it’ll make alone. CLANG clangaclangaclangaity CLANG clanga CLANG

    Mirrored from Crime and the Blog of Evil. Come check out our music at:
    Bandcamp (full album streaming) | Videos | iTunes | Amazon | CD Baby

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