Monthly Archives: January 2011

On you huskies!

As I mentioned on Twitter, I’m at an undisclosed location in the icy tundra until February 9th. Don’t believe me? Wise. I’ve been known to fib. But here are some shots of life in the frosty wilds. Tundra reading list coming soon.

The view from my window

Snow falling on writer

The house where I'm staying (hidden in the stand of trees)

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Foxy Clockworks

(First, try saying “Foxy clockworks” three times fast.)

I’ve mentioned Michelle Harris of Once Lost Jewelry before, but she’s marvelous enough that she deserves further discussion. A lot of people are doing steampunk jewelry right now, but I think she’s doing it particularly well.

Here’s a shot of her booth from Renegade Craft Fair LA –>

Look closely and you’ll see the scarab brooch that I mentioned in my first Marvelous Items post.

Below is a shot of the fox pendant that I was also compelled to acquire.

 

 

Click on it to see all of the lovely details. You know you wanna.

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The Kitty Conundrum

The news that Anne Hathaway had been cast as Catwoman prompted me to take a look at the sleek-suited supervillain’s backstory.

(I don’t have strong feelings regarding Hathaway in the role. I loved her in “Rachel Getting Married,” hated her in Tim Burton’s “Alice” and didn’t much care for her in “The Devil Wears Prada.” I think she’s a lovely girl with serious dramatic chops and iffy comic timing. Not a popular view, I know.)

I was surprised at how many different backstories Catwoman has had: She’s been a prostitute, a mousy secretary and, no lie, “an amnesiac flight attendant.” Catwoman started out as just another villain, a (sexy) thief wielding a whip and her wiles to befuddle the Big Bat. Then the writers tried to justify her badgirl ways through an escalating series of traumas. (She survived a plane crash but her brain got muddled! She had an abusive boyfriend, an abusive husband, an abusive pimp! She was stuffed into a bag and drowned– like a cat, geddit?)

Origin stories for hero and villain alike are often loaded with disaster, misery, and death. After all, something big has to prompt one to put on a costume and wreak havoc on the world or right its wrongs. (Although, once upon a time, “I must have the world’s biggest diamond!” or “That diamond doesn’t belong to you!” seemed to be motivation enough.)

I think Catwoman’s origin stories are so muddled and disparate because she really does freak us out. She isn’t just sexy like your average villainess; she’s sexy in a very specific way– in a whip-cracking, black latex, fetish-focused way. Her “look” has meaning and resonance outside of the superhero universe in a way that other villains’ costumes do not. (I mean, purple suits and and monocles are not the stuff of nightmare and fantasy… unless you have a fear of being tacky or a Mr. Peanut fetish.) All badgirls wear high heels, but Catwoman’s high heels mean something else.

Maybe because she freaks us out, we try to declaw Catwoman. We turn her into an anti-hero instead of just letting her be a villain. For once, I’d like to see a Catwoman who doesn’t just titillate but genuinely terrifies, who gets to be really and truly, and, yes, even unrepentantly bad. I don’t know what Christopher Nolan has planned or what Hathaway will bring to the role, but I hope that, this time around, we get a Catwoman that’s more crouching tiger, less wounded kitten.

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Aaron Sorkin wants to believe

My post on my fancy new feather headdress will have to wait til Wednesday because I just watched part of the rebroadcast of the Golden Globes and I’m a little baffled by Aaron Sorkin’s acceptance speech. I mean, did it not seem a bit… I don’t know… delusional?

I wanted to say to Mark Zuckerberg, if you’re watching tonight, Rooney Mara’s character makes a prediction at the beginning of the movie, she was wrong. You turned out to be a great entrepreneur, a visionary and an altruist.”

In case you don’t remember the speech from The Social Network, here it is:

You are probably going to be a very successful computer person. But you’re going to go through life thinking that girls don’t like you because you’re a nerd. And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won’t be true. It’ll be because you’re an asshole.

So Sorkin says that Mara’s character got it wrong. Delightful. Except that Sorkin WROTE Mara’s speech AND he used the rest of the movie to prove her right. More importantly, he did this knowing everything about Zuckerberg that he knows today (altruism, steady girlfriend and all). I’m just not sure that it’s fair to poop all over someone’s reputation and then blame it on one of your characters.

But equally strange was Sorkin’s shout-out to his daughter:

Honey, look around, smart girls have more fun.”

Again, a delightful sentiment and one that I wholly endorse. But do the Golden Globes really exemplify this? Let’s take Sorkin’s advice and look around. What do we see? What do the cameras show us? Gorgeous men, craggy men, nerdy men, bald men– all surrounded by almost universally gorgeous, slender women. I love glamour. I love looking at pretty people in sparkly gowns and I have no problem with Halle Berry’s gams or the boobaliciousness of January Jones. But if there’s a message here, it’s definitely not “Study hard and join an improv group.”

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Brace Yourself!

Apparently, there’s some debate over the difference between braces and suspenders. All I can say is that these hold your pants up in style.

Designer: Steam Trunk Couture (I am fairly desperate for their Vellum Coat.) Please note the marvelous hardware (double click on the image to get a better look).

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Weekend reading: The Young, the Restless, and me

I like genre bouncing. Keeps me spry. On my list this weekend: A friend’s dystopian manuscript,  Donna Tartt’s THE SECRET HISTORY, and another friend’s “The Young & the Restless” script.

The dystopian is great and THE SECRET HISTORY is, thus far, amazing–  lulls you into a wingtip-wearing intellectual stupor, then rocks you to the core. But let’s talk about the Y&R spec because I know nothing about soaps and I found it totally fascinating.

1. Soaps have a very peculiar pace: Big revelations followed by incremental change. The plot moves so slowly that that it can seem like nothing is happening at all, but watch closely– every single scene advances the story. It’s like time lapse photography but with more adultery.

2. That slow crawl is tolerable because the stakes are so high. Something major is always hanging in the balance (a life, a marriage, the family business) and, even if the characters are just ordering pizza, the emotional pitch of a scene is always ratcheted up to somewhere between “omg” and “s*** is about to get crazy.”

Move the plot forward. Keep the stakes high. Good lessons from Genoa City.

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If you kiss me, I turn into a watch.

Picked up this ring by local designer Kiki at UniqueLA. She makes a lot of massive, marvelous, sparkly pieces and each is unique, but I instantly knew this was the ring for me. Frog, lily pad, and pond included.

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