About writing. And reading. And being published. Or not published. On working on being published. Tangents into the pop culture world to come. Especially about movies. And comic books. And movies from comic books.
Well... Christmas is over. Once again. Now you need a break, right?
Well, sit down with a cup of tea and a book about a tea kettle and get in some relaxation. I mean, you do only have a few days to catch a breath before the year changes and everything gets crazy again.
What better way to do that than with something that is completely not about Christmas Get it today while it's only $0.99!
Hopefully, by this point, you've already picked up your copy of Christmas on the Corner for a mere $0.99. If not, you still have time! I think... Maybe you have time. It's one of those countdown deals, so the price is going to go up to $1.99 at some point as it steadily progresses back to its normal cost. $1.99 is still 33% off, though, so it's still a great deal! If you didn't get your copy, yet, rush right over and grab it now! And merry Christmas to you!
Whether you've picked up Christmas or not -- and, if not, I have to wonder what kind of Grinch you are (I mean, it's Christmas, man!) -- today you can capture your own Christmas Angel... for FREE!
Um... Wait a minute... Scratch that bit about "Christmas" Angel. I think that implies a certain... hmm... I'm not certain what that implies, other than something that my Angels are not. Except that "do not be afraid" part when the Angels appear to the shepherds and they all lose control of their bladders. But, then, my Angels, also, are not going to tell you to not be afraid. I think they'd tell you to be very afraid and not care that you were.
At any rate, "Barachiel" is free! today, so you should, you know, click the link and get your copy.
Just be prepared for lots of violence, some sex (what can I say, Lilith shows up), and something not very conventional. But probably more true to actual Angel mythology.
Be on the lookout for more Angels to come your way during this holiday season.
"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, just like the ones I used to..."
Hold on a minute; white Christmases have never been a thing for me. However, that didn't stop me from dreaming about them when I was a kid. I mean, that's what we're taught as kids, right? It's not really Christmas unless it's a white... Hmm... You could go so many ways with that these days. BUT!
I'm talking about snow, here, and let's leave it at that.
Snow is not exactly common in Louisiana.
Imagine putting kids into a magic wish house around Christmas time in a place where it doesn't snow...
Oh, yeah, I did!
I even wrote it down and, starting today, it's on sale!
Which means you should go buy it. Look, I even gave you a link!
Now, it's true that this is technically a sequel to The House on the Corner, but I think it reads just fine as a stand alone. But I won't complain if you want to go get House, first, and give it a read just so you're all caught up when you get to Christmas.
Go pick up your 66% off copy of Christmas on the Cornertoday!
And, you know, help a guy out. Spread the news around. Or give it as a gift!
Wait, what? Opera review? It's a Wonderful Life is a movie, not an opera!
Don't worry; it's still a movie but, now, it's also an opera.
And, of movies that could be turned into operas, It's a Wonderful Life is, on many levels, the perfect choice. It's also a very daunting choice. I mean, the movie is beloved by so many people... It's a fine line to tread to reproduce something in another medium to the satisfaction of people who love it in its original medium and, yet, make it attractive to people who have no association with it. It's why adapting books can work so well. The percentage of readers is usually small enough that it doesn't matter if they like an adaptation or not. But taking a beloved movie, a movie that millions of people watch every year... Well, that's another story entirely.
And let's just get it out of the way:
I love It's a Wonderful Life, which has nothing to do with it being a Christmas movie (because, let's face it; it's not) and everything to do with loving Jimmy Stewart. And this isn't even my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie, just the one I've watched the most and the one that most people know him from. That said, I wouldn't want to be the one cast to fill his shoes in this operatic adaptation.
But before we get to that, does the opera make me want to partake of the source material? That's a much easier question to answer when you're not already familiar with the source material, just by the way. That said, I don't think the opera would have made me want to watch the movie if I hadn't already seen it. I could be wrong. However, we went to see this with a couple of friends who were both mostly unfamiliar with opera and had never seen the movie, and both of them said they felt like, now, they needed to see the movie. They both had a much greater positive reaction to the opera than I did, which could account for that, especially considering some of my lack of positive reaction came from places where I thought the adaptation was lacking.
The greatest area it was lacking was in its George Bailey. George was played by William Burden, who never felt George enough for me. In the movie, one of the main qualities about George is his enthusiasm, his excitement over all that he plans to do. That's really lacking in the opera and, instead, George comes off as seeming rather depressed through most of the opera, sad all the time. It gave the opera a melancholy feeling that the movie doesn't have. Being a story of hope, I think the melancholy dragged the opera down somewhat; at least, it did for me.
On the other hand, Andriana Chuchman really nailed Mary Hatch. She was a pleasure to watch and listen to.
On the other other hand, Rod Gilfry wasn't quite evil enough as Mr. Potter, though that probably wasn't his fault. He doesn't have enough stage time to let the audience know how despicable he is. We have to rely on George's pronouncement that Potter is like a fat spider in a web preying on everyone else as our measurement on how evil Potter is.
The music and singing were good but, overall, not very memorable. It never really soared, and it seems to me that there should have been opportunities for that. Then, again, I'm not a musician.
Then there's the stage...
SFO generally has great sets. You should know; I talk about them pretty much every time I do an opera review. But this one... Well, it was interesting and a great way to handle the first part of the story. The stage was full of doors floating out in space and was where the angels viewed George's life, where Clara (the angel sent to save George (rather than Clarence from the movie)) learns what she needs to know so that she can help George Bailey as he stands on the bridge ready to jump. And they had angels flying around the stage, too, which was really cool.
As they progressed through George's life, different doors would open and the actors would come out and act out the scenes of the important moments. It was really cool, like visions in space for the angels to watch.
The problem was that that was all there was. When they finally got up to "now" in the story and everything was progressing in the moment, the action was still happening in front of the doors. It made the ending seem less real than it should have. At least for me.
All of that said, I did enjoy the opera. It was good; it just wasn't great. And certainly not as great as I wanted it to be. It was something I was glad to see, but it's not an opera I'd go out of my way to see a second time. And, really, there's nothing wrong with that.
To say that Lovecraft was obsessed with dreams would be an understatement. I should probably do a count of how many of his stories have dreams as a main component, but I'm not going to do that. Someone else probably already has, anyway, and I'm not even going to look and see. Why? Because I just don't care. Generally speaking, Lovecraft's dream stuff is ludicrous. Yeah, you can probably tell I'm at the end of my patience with Lovecraft and his shit. Because his stuff was, on the whole, shit. And his writing didn't get better as he practiced. If anything, it got worse. Like with this story...
Granted, his career was cut short by his early death but after... some way too large amount of stories, you'd expect them to start improving. You'd expect some sort of variation or evolution or... SOMETHING! But, no, as with Tim Burton and his inability to quit putting Edward Scissorhands into every fucking movie he makes, Lovecraft seemed to have gotten stuck on one idea and just kept revolving around it and around it and around it. Not to mention the fact that "Cyclopean" is probably a word you never need to use more than once in your lifetime (unless you play Magic, because some the cards make use of the word), and Lovecraft used it ALL THE FUCKING TIME!
And, sheesh! Yes, I know that Edward Scissorhands is not literally in every one of Burton's movies, but, if you watch Burton end to end, I think you'll find he mostly keeps making that same movie over and over again. Mostly.
But I digress...
So, yeah, this book... Young man obsessed with oculty things moves into a house that was previously owned by a woman accused of being a witch. He starts having strange dreams... until all the evidence begins to show that they are not dreams at all, but he keeps telling himself they are. Basically, he ignores all the evidence and refuses to really do anything to stop what's happening, choosing to live in la-la land instead, until it's too late and people end up dead. Pretty typical Lovecraft.
Sounds kind of like Republicans, actually...
-- "I'm thinking fast thoughts; nothing's happening!"
Remember Fulcrum? Fulcrum was Ahsoka. But Fulcrum is also like 007, just a code name that gets passed around. So there's been a new Fulcrum since Ahsoka's... let's just call it a disappearance. We never did see the body, after all.
Generally speaking, Fulcrum is just a name that gets tossed out upon occasion as a reason for a particular mission. At least, that's how it's been since Ahsoka. But, this episode, our heroes come face to face with Fulcrum and, let's just say, it's a big surprise.
But I'm not going to tell you who it is.
Let's just say that this episode is a good example of tying in past events.
The only problem? Thrawn may already be onto Fulcrum. But we'll just have to see how that plays out.
Boy, that Thrawn just shows up at the most inconvenient of times!
-- "Come on; when have I asked you to trust me and it hasn't worked out?"
Oh, look! It's Hondo!
That's me in prepping this post before I've watched the episode. But, now, I have to go watch the episode because, look!, it's Hondo!
We always love a good Hondo episode.
I mean, an episode with Hondo is always good! Well, except for that one. But "that one" was clearly an aberration before they'd figured out what kind of character he was going to be.
And, no, that is not a use of the royal "we;" it's just an acknowledgement that everyone loves Hondo.
That should be a show: Everyone Loves Hondo. Or, maybe, Hondo's the Boss. Mad Hondo? Hmm... I think I like this game.
Completely aside from Hondo, this episode had the best moment of all of the Rebels episodes so far, possibly the best Star Wars moment ever. Okay, so that might be going a little too far, but both my son and I burst out laughing. It was great moment. And, no, I'm not going to tell you what happened, because you need to see it for yourself. And if you don't know what moment I'm talking about... well, there's no hope for you.
This is a very fun episode. It's a light heist sort of thing. The looting sort of heist with mild danger. No heavy themes or plot, just some fun theft. Or the desire for theft. But, hey, it's thefting from the Empire, so it's all good, right? Right!
And that's all I'm going to say. You should just watch the episode. Even if you have never seen another episode of Rebels or The Clone Wars. Sure, some of it will be lost on you, but I think it's fun enough that you won't care.
"I know that the two of you have had your past... conflagrations."
"I don't care what you have to offer; I'm not allowing... that on my ship."
"You are like family! Short... fragrant... family."