shadowkat: (work/reading)
[personal profile] shadowkat
[Before going into the review, for those following the trials and tribulations of my air conditioning. After two sleepless nights, no, make that three, Super Installed new A/C and removed existing, broken A/C, which barely kept the room at 78 degrees at night. (Granted it could have been worse.) It's been between 26-32 C or 80-90 F the last few days, with 70-80 at night. ]

Finally finished reading The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher. This was published in the Fall of 2016, shortly before her untimely death. It is the last thing she wrote, and an interesting bookend to her writing career, which was heavily colored by insane celebrity status she achieved when she starred in a low budget sci-fi 1970s film entitled "Star Wars".

The book unlike her previous works is essentially about how Star Wars affected her life and changed it. And how she dealt with it. It's also about an ill-timed affair with a married co-star that she'd been infatuated with at the time. And how that threw her for a loop, considering her father had left her mother, along with his two young children via an affair with Elizabeth Taylor.

On a much larger scale, it's also about how the toxicity of our celebrity obsessed culture. And how starring in a little low-budget sci-fi film at the age of 19 can turn one's life upside down for good or ill.

I'm not sure if you are under the age of say, 46 or 47, you can completely understand the cultural phenomenon "Star Wars" is and was? And while Fisher attempts to explain this in her book, I'm wondering if you kinda had to be there? Not necessarily in Fisher, Hamil, and Ford's shoes, but around at the time, and cognizant of what was happening around you. Knowing that movies well weren't like that and this was a game-changer, a watershed moment in human history. A demonstration of just how certain advances in technology can change cinema forever. And a preview of what was to come.

Before Star Wars, the only film that had people lining up for it was possibly Gone With the Wind. And it wasn't around blocks. Star Wars created the term - "blockbuster", which Fisher describes as meaning a line that is broken up by blocks. It busts the blocks. The lines for Star Wars from the time it opened until roughly six or seven months later were around blocks. I remember my father driving us to two hours away to see it. We'd never done that before. It was different than anything we'd seen -- nothing was quite like it. George Lucas redefined the cinema experience with Star Wars, he'd created surround sound, special effects that no one had seen before, and incorporated robots, puppetry, and creatures in his film that weren't obviously humans in cheap makeup. You had space-cruisers rocketing through space shooting each other. Lucas had combined the popular action/adventure cinema tropes of the 1940s and 50s into one movie - he'd combined the Western with the WWII drama with the Swashbuckler. Watching Star Wars was like seeing an Errol Flynn flick, a John Wayne flick and a WWII James Garner flick all at once. And it was fun. Not scary, like most sci-fi films and television series had been, but fun. And not campy either.

Today, years later, the first film seems rather quaint, I suspect, and the special effects mediocre.
People have been perplexed by what they saw as wooden acting. Or the cheesy hair styles. But this was 1977. Back then, we had cheesy hair styles, and bell bottom pants. And well, special effects...were not as good as Star Wars.

Before Star Wars, sci-fi didn't do well at the movies. Mostly B movies. Before Star Wars, there weren't any blockbusters or event films, outside of maybe Gone with the Wind. (Wizard of OZ flopped.)
For years, Star Wars was the highest grossing film. And people could not wait for the second one.
It had a fandom to rival any fandom out there...and it had done something Doctor Who and Star Trek had yet to accomplish, it took sci-fi mainstream.

Fisher's book can broken up into three segments.

The first -- explains how she ended up in Star Wars.
She briefly details her audition, which she has just a vague recollection of. Apparently Brian De Palma and Lucas were doubling up their auditions. De Palma was auditioning for Carrie and Lucas for Star Wars. Lucas was the least talkative of the two. Fisher notes how this was not her first role in a film. At the age of 16, she was in Shampoo, as Lee Grant's promisicous daughter, who sleeps with Grant's lover, Warren Beatty. And prior to that she did her mother's shows. A high school drop out, due to going on tour or doing Broadway with Mom, Carrie ended up going to the Center for Performing Arts in England. And from there, auditioned for the role of Princess Leia. She notes how she practiced for her second audition with her friend Miguel Ferrar, the cousin of George Clooney, and son of Rosemary Clooney, who'd tried out for the Han Solo role. Then, Fisher goes on to explain how she ended up infatuated with Harrison Ford, and how they fell into bed together...resulting in an awkward, secretive, three month affair -- that up until now, no one knew about but Fisher and Ford.

This is prelude to the actual diaries...which make up the center section of the book, and are a bittersweet May-December romance between two actors, far from home, and in their first leading roles in what they believed at the time to be cult low budget sci-fi film that few people would see. (Because that's what sci-fi films were like in the 1970s, they were cult efforts that few people saw. No one expected this film to do well. How could they have known? The cast, with the exception of Alec Guiness, was unknowns, and even Guiness was hardly star power. And it was science fiction. Not to mention low-budget. Fisher and the cast were paid to scale, $500 a week. Flown economy class. And told to take care of their own accomodations.) When Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford had their affair they honestly didn't think it was a big deal. Fisher was infatuated with Ford. She never expected him to be interested in her, let alone kiss her, so when they end up in bed together, she finds herself starring at him and wondering, WTF? How in the heck did this happen? And where do we go from here?
She describes it in the book and in interviews afterwards as a three-month one-night stand, and a product of a location shoot. And insists that as far as she knows, Harrison hadn't done that with anyone else before or since. He, also, most likely regretted it later. He'd thought her more experienced than she actually was.

The diaries are well written, and touching. At various points, nineteen year old Fisher wonders why she tries to connect with others, if it's even possible to do so? She's introspective, flailing, and not sure of her own feelings. Is this love? How can it be? She barely knows him. Does he feel the same way about her? She asks, and gets nowhere. The most she gets is the conversation the two have on-screen in Empire Strikes Back, where she says "I love you" and he states, "I know". After reading the diaries...which unlike the rest of the book, are poetic and hopeful, I understood some of the odd interactions I've seen between Fisher and Ford in interviews and tribute specials. At the AFI - Fisher tells Ford during her tribute speech, "Harrison gets nervous every time I open my mouth and talk. He should be made aware as should you all, that my memory is foggy and sucks." Then later, "Harrison hates doing love scenes, okay maybe he just doesn't like doing them with me." And Ford's expression is exasperation and grumbling. I find that odd, since to my knowledge they hadn't really done any...but turns out they had, just behind the scenes.

If you read the diaries without the prelude, not sure they would make sense. They are bittersweet mainly due to what comes after. And touching in that the woman writing them fails to see her own brilliance and beauty, not to mention her compassion and insight into the human condition. What it is like to fall in love with someone who doesn't love you back or not as much as you love them. What it is like to be infatuated ...and awkward with a guy, tongue-tied. You can see why so many people fell in love with her. Yet in the book, she seems to think it was with Leia not her. And is rather confused.

Up until the final section, I'd thought this book was just about Fisher's affair with Ford, but no, it's about much more than that. The final section discusses fame and being the source or object of adoration...what it was like to have people come up to you on the street or at a convention, regale you with personnel stories about how you or rather the role you played in a film some 40 years ago, changed their lives. At first, she ate it up, wow, she thought, I'm in a movie people are flocking to see and is the biggest thing ever! Then, it overwhelmed her. They had promote the film. They thought it was a low-budget sci-fi film. I remember their promotional campaign. Ford, Hamil, and Fisher wandering about the country and the globe, from talk show to interview, touting a film that as Fisher puts it didn't require touting. Ford at first did most of the talking. None of them had ever done it before. At first, they thought they had to answer all their fan mail personally -- because they'd never received any before. And they all did it. Then realized no, you don't have to, that's what managers and public relations people do. As the years passed, Fisher was continuously thrown by her fame as Leia. And had a love-hate relationship with it.

spoilers and rather long, meta on fandom, Star Wars and Fisher )

for days this haze i'm in

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:20 pm
musesfool: text icon that says "go away you are tormenting my soul" (cheer up emo kid)
[personal profile] musesfool
I woke up this morning with an overwhelming sense of existential dread* after a seemingly endless dream of being lost at JFK, and also feeling seriously queasy.

I called out of work and went back to bed, and spent the day reading fic. And, oh yeah, got my period for the first time since May. Coincidence? I think not.

Sigh. Time to restart the menopause clock.

*as opposed to the normal level of existential dread that I've been feeling every morning since last November, which is bad, but doesn't usually prevent me from getting out of bed most days

***

This week seems to dragon

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:08 pm
flemmings: (Default)
[personal profile] flemmings
Time was, air quality alerts started in May and went on at regular intervals through to October. We rarely get them these days, a result I assume of closing coal-fired plants. But we had one today and I could feel the familiar burn in the throat. Haven't missed it at all.

Heat gives me apocalypsosis, so between North Korea and the DoJ having finally noted my existence for jury purposes, I'm feeling end of world and out of cope. Come Thursday I shall probably be able to deal with both, but for now I would welcome the G&T I do not have. What's the point of counting calories if we're all going to die, I think; and the point, as ever, remains that *I* may not die, or not soon enough, and in the meantime I would like my mobility back. Sigh.

How Are You? (in Haiku)

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:36 pm
jjhunter: A sheep with shaded glasses and a straw hat lies on its side; overhead floats the pun 'on the lamb' (as in baby sheep). (on the lamb)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Pick a thing or two that sums up how you're doing today, this week, in general, and tell me about it in the 5-7-5 syllables of a haiku. I will leave anonymous comments screened unless otherwise asked; feel free to use this to leave private comments if that's what you're most comfortable with.

=

Signal-boosting much appreciated!
jjhunter: Watercolor sketch of arranged diatoms as seen under microscope (diatomaceous tessellation)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Even Jellyfish Sleep
Do jellyfish dream of gelatinous sheep?

Ephrat Livni @ Quartz: Octlantis is a just-discovered underwater city engineered by octopuses
Gloomy octopus males seem to spend a great deal of time chasing each other out of dens.

Ed Yong @ the Atlantic: Octopuses Do Something Really Strange to Their Genes
It’s impossible to say if their prolific use of RNA editing is responsible for their alien intellect, but “that would definitely be my guess”

Greta Keenan @ New Scientist: Fish recorded singing dawn chorus on reefs just like birds
Nocturnal predatory fish use calls to stay together to hunt, while fish that are active during the day use sound to defend their territory.

Banner Arrived

Sep. 25th, 2017 04:30 pm
kevin_standlee: (WSFS Logo)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
The small WSFS Banner that we have been hanging from the front of the Business Meeting head table since the 2015 Worldcon commissioned it has made it "home" to Fernley. I didn't want to fold it because it would get creased, and the poster tube wouldn't fit with my luggage. (I was within a few grams of the limit as it was.) So I mailed it from Helsinki on August 16, paying €32.90. It arrived in Fernley today, 40 days later. I was starting to worry. Of course we don't need it until next August, but I did want it to get here.

Also in storage with me is the Gavel of WSFS until I can do something to make its storage box more obvious. One of the reasons I think we lost the previous gavel was that its storage box was too plain looking and it was lost in the clutter.
hollymath: (Default)
[personal profile] hollymath
Andrew has (extremely carefully and only after I said it was okay, having learned from last week's debacle!) opened the post from the Home Office and can confirm that it's my UK passport.

I'm not even happy or relieved yet. I'm so ground-down by the whole process that it still hasn't sunk in yet, even as I look at it with the lettering all shiny, next to me on the table, waiting to be taken upstairs and filed away into unobtrusive normality.
twistedchick: (autumn fox by Lanning)
[personal profile] twistedchick
More by Lillian Ross:

Workouts -- her interview with Robin Williams (I think 1989).

The symbol of all we possess -- the Miss America pageant, 1949.

Come in, Lassie -- Hollywood and the House UnAmerican Activities Committee (1948)

The shit-kickers of Madison Avenue. (1995)

***

The strange techtonic coincidences of the recent Mexican earthquakes.

The closing of the Dictionary of American Regional English.

The dying art of disagreement.

How many times does it need to be said? Puerto Rico is American. Now can we get going and fix things up for six million Americans dealing with water, low on food and without electricity for the foreseeable future? And here's how you can help. If you need to explain how badly the island was hit by Hurricane Maria, quote from this.

Lessons from Rolling Stone.

Throw the little old lady down the stairs! An interview with John Huston. (1952)

How did women fare in China's Communist revolution?

Will Mark Zuckerberg 'like' this column? Facebook, social media, Russians and the election.

How did marriage become a mark of privilege?

3 ways the Republican anti-health bill differs from previous anti-health efforts.

Remember Anthony Weiner, who not only couldn't keep it in his pants but felt he *had* to send phone photos of it to underage girls? He's going to prison for 21 months. An ignoble end to what once was a very promising political career.

Women need to rewrite/update the New York state constitution. Were women involved in writing the state constitution in your state? Or wherever you are?

Here's a soundtrack for this week

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:38 pm
drwex: (VNV)
[personal profile] drwex
Four full sets in here that you can pick and choose from. Like any other sets they're going to have better and worse parts and since they're mostly live, none of them is perfectly polished. I've tried to pick sets that have different styles to suit different moods and needs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ctN6DO9Wf4
Dmitriy Redko (AstroPilot) put out a nearly two-hour live psychill set last year. I confess I don't find a huge difference between psy-chill and psy-trance, if you know that style. This is not exactly downtempo, but it's airy, breathy, relaxing. Someone I played this for called it "floaty" music and I know what they mean. Good for destressing, or keeping your head down amid ongoing chatter.

https://soundcloud.com/thedolab/woogiewknd-pumpkin
Pumpkin uses a lot of what's good in Motown, rock, country (yes), and hip-hop from the last couple decades. Some of it is just sampled, some is updated and covered in the course of these two hours. It's fun to listen along and see what you can pick out. Some of it is really obvious (Paul Simon and Talking Heads, anyone?) and some of it is recognizable to people who listen to a lot of EDM (e.g. Zhu's "Faded"). Generally a lot of fun and keeping-you-going tempo without being overwhelming or hard-driving.

https://soundcloud.com/young-nrg-productions/nrg-live-show-uk-2years-w-dj-stex-feat-guest-mix-by-ale-tosses
NRG's live show also clocks in a bit over two hours, filled with tracks from other people and their own remixes. It's much more reggae, rap, bounce, and hip-hop than the previous two, featuring names like Defunk and Tribe Called Quest. The style is more scratch, electro, and breakbeats than my usual but I found it a nice contrast to what we've had so far.

https://soundcloud.com/markusschulz/transmissionasia2017
After featuring a good bit of Markus Schultz's work last time I went looking for a sense of what he's like live and found this, a 90-minute set he did earlier this year. This is a pretty straight-up club trance set, with mostly Schultz's own work on original tracks as well as remixes/mashes. High energy, high BPM even when he's using Sarah McLachlan.

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:16 pm
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
IF MY FUCKING PHONE IS IN ANOTHER FUCKING BOOT LOOP

ETA: OH GOOD

I meme therefore I am

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:26 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
Late start for work today because Nefer woke us both up complaining, and it turns out she's most likely got another UTI. We had to take her in to the vet, who could work us in this morning, luckily, so she's got a shot of antibiotics, a shot of painkiller, and a sample taken for culturing to figure out which bacteria it is. We've also locked her in the spare bedroom and bathroom with her own litterbox, food and water, and the microwavable heating pad to give her a few hours without Sora going YOU SMELL WEIRD AND ARE ACTING FUNNY I SHOULD TRY TO DRIVE YOU OUT OF THE PRIDE.

She didn't want to be locked up, but the painkiller is a morphine derivative and the vet assured us that life was going to get very good for her about an hour later, so I expect she's snoozing away in a sunbeam right now, content in the knowledge that she is now edging ahead of Sora for the title of Most Expensive Member of the Household.

Meme time!

What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be? )
malkingrey: ((default))
[personal profile] malkingrey
Because the people who want to control what the rest of us read just don’t ever stop.

(Confession time here. I’m a First Amendment purist, of the stripe which, if we were talking the Second Amendment instead of the First, would undoubtedly get me labeled a “free speech nut” and have the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms searching my house. And I regard with a cold and fishy eye the sort of statement that begins, “Of course I’m in favor of free speech, but….”)

Judging by the American Library Association’s Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016 list, children’s and young adult books tend to get hit the hardest — unsurprising, since everybody agrees that Protecting the Children is important, as is Molding Young Minds.

This year’s top ten list is mostly full of books that were challenged by people who wanted to protect the children from LBGTQ characters and issues. Presumably, they’re afraid that reading about such things will cause their offspring to “turn gay”, which is unlikely (as Mayor Jimmy Walker of New York observed about a censorship issue of an earlier day, “I have never yet heard of a girl being ruined by a book”) — or maybe they’re just afraid that said offspring will find validation in those books for something about themselves that they already know.

Support your local library, people. They’re fighting the good fight to keep books on the shelves for the readers who need them.

Reposted from my editorial blog.
lillibet: (pic#775945)
[personal profile] lillibet posting in [community profile] davis_square
What we wear, or used to wear, can be more than colors, patterns, and fabrics. They can be a time capsule, a scrapbook, to our most intimate memories. A dance. A birth. A funeral. All the coming-of-age insanity that defines us. From the mind that created When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, and based on the book by Ilene Beckerman, five women relive such moments through a series of monologues and ensemble pieces. They laugh and cry as they talk about childhood, high heels, motherhood, wedding dresses, cancer, surviving rape, and why we wear black.​

Bare Bones: Staged Readings at Theatre@First presents

Love, Loss and What I Wore
adapted by Nora & Delia Ephron
from the book by Ilene Beckerman
and directed by Santiago Rivas

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Thursday, September 28th at 8pm

UNITY SOMERVILLE
6 William Street at College Ave

FREE with suggested donation of $5

No reservations required.
Our performance space is not wheelchair accessible.

For more information, visit theatreatfirst.org.

story recs

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:43 am
alexseanchai: Blue and purple lightning (Default)
[personal profile] alexseanchai
Thanks to a recommendation from [personal profile] vass, I read Suradanna and the Sea by Rebecca Fraimow. It's beautiful and bittersweet and queer; I wouldn't call it a romance, but I don't know that I'd say it's not, either.

If you're up to reading stories about institutionalized child abuse with happy endings, this by [tumblr.com profile] caffeinewitchcraft and this follow-up by [tumblr.com profile] kelincihutan are stellar.

It is that time of year again

Sep. 25th, 2017 11:29 am
drwex: (Default)
[personal profile] drwex
Last week was Rosh Hashona. We had a fun and very geeky dinner with the family and metamours. And this Friday will be Yom Kippur.

As I do every year during this time I try to reflect on my behavior during the past year and to seek forgiveness for harms I have done to people I know. I'm opening anonymous comments on this post (assuming I've understood Dreamwidth's instructions for that) and invite you to contact me in any way you feel comfortable to tell me what I may have done and how I can make amends.

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