Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Traditions: The Nutcracker


Good Evening Guests!

How are you on this fine Tibb’s Eve? What’s Tibb’s Eve you ask, well it’s a Newfoundland thing. I’ve always called December 23rd the Eve of Christmas Eve but a few years back I learned it was also called Tibb’s Eve, you can learn more about it here.

I spent this evening watching The Nutcracker. Not just any Nutcracker, the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s version! I have talked about it here on the blog before but really I cannot sing the praises of this film loud enough! Compared to all the other ballet versions, this one is the best.

Not to say that all the others are worthless, certainly not! I’m just a sucker for the story of the Nutcracker. Like with Phantom of the Opera, I’ve tried my best to get my mitts on every version made.

Also, I was trilled to learn that this most treasured movie of mine is now available on iTunes for rent and download. I want to scream this from the rooftops. The movie was never released on DVD. There are a few used VHS tapes floating about on eBay and Amazon, but this iTunes download will be a real treat. Until I do get around to downloading it, I shall stick with the copy I have.

Speaking of my copy, it’s a VHS that was taped from TV, in 1990. 1990! 21 years old, almost as old as I am! I can’t believe it still works!

This year I was finally able to place a date on the year of the VHS by paying attention to the commercials. You should see the commercials on it, seriously, they’re brilliant! Yes, I’m the sort of person who will give up an hour of her life to watch old commercials on YouTube ^__^ It was a commercial for the film Havana (1990), announcing the date it would be in theaters. As well, there’s a commercial for Sports Illustrated which mentions the coming year, 1991. One less mystery in the world...

If you want to view the trailer for the film you can view it on iTunes, sorry I couldn’t get code to embed it here. What I do have for you is the trailer for the ballet. See, that’s the exciting thing about the movie. The designs, the dances, everything you see in the movie is still being used by the PNB in their yearly performances of the Nutcracker. Of course, there have been some changes, but still, the thought warms my heart.

The PNB YouTube channel not only posts trailers and clips of their performances but interviews with their dancers, like this one, On Being Peacock:

I admire this young woman so much! This is the role I dreamed of having as a child. When I was young, I would take several of my play skirts, layering and tucking them in such a way as to try and create a sort of tail for myself. Ended up being more of a bustle I suppose, an early sign of the lolita fashion to come perhaps? ^__^


Tomorrow I’ll be watching another VHS I have of the Nutcracker, and I may even re-watch the Care Bears Nutcracker Christmas Special ^__^ And tomorrow night, Christmas Eve, me and mom will be watching A Christmas Carol (1951) with Alistair Sims as Scrooge.

In other news, I must quickly note that it’s been snowing all this evening. The next few days are forecasted for snow as well. Perhaps I will get the white Christmas I wish for every year.

We get plenty of snow in Newfoundland, just not in December, mainly in the New Year. Oh yes, ask me in January and February if I’m enjoying the snow!

Stay Spooky,

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

My dear guests,

This was not my original post for tonight. My post talking about my birthday can wait. We have more important matters to attend to! The internet is all abuzz tonight with the newly released trailer for the first part of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

Here is the trailer,

Now that I’ve finally had a chance to re-watch this multiply times & calm down from all the excitement, let’s discuss the trailer. As always, leave your thoughts, comments & concerns down below in the comments section!

There’s plenty to geek out over in the trailer, isn’t there? There are familiar faces to squeal over, objects & places as well.

We see Ian Holm portraying an older Bilbo (Martin Freeman plays the younger role), as well as Elijah Woods returning as Frodo. Though, these are only small cameos, Frodo does not play a role in the story of The Hobbit. There’s Ian McKellen once again as Gandalf the Grey. We see Galadriel played once more by the beautiful Cate Blanchett. We get to see & hear Andy Serkis bring the character of Gollum to life once more. Be honest, we all freaked (in a good way, of course) out to hear him say "Precious" ^__^

There is Narsil, "the blade that was broken" & Bilbo’s sword which is given to Frodo in The Fellowship of the Ring, Sting. & displayed beautifully against the darkness of Gollum’s cave is the One Ring.

It’s great that there is so much familiarity in this trailer, there is a level of comfort to it, everything is as we left it, we are returning to the Shire, to Rivendell, to Middle-Earth. The level of familiarity I feel is very important with this story since there are so many new characters to be introduced, most of which whom the dwarves.
Speaking of dwarves, 2012 looks like it will be a very good year for them. You’ve got this film, along with the two Snow White films, each with seven dwarves in them, goodness, what a mess of dwarves! & did you note the “sexy dwarves” in this trailer? Fíli and Kíli I am referring to, though my dwarf crush is Ori <3

And then there’s a real treat, the song that the dwarves sing,

Far over the misty mountains cold

To dungeons deep and caverns old
The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

This is one of the many poems & songs that J. R. R. Tolkien wrote for his novels. For anyone who’s read The Hobbit or LOTR, you know what I’m talking about.

The first two lines are the beginning of the song, while the rest is the full seventh verse. There are ten verses in all.

For anyone’s that interested, here’s the whole song:

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

For ancient king and elvish lord
There many a gleaming golden hoard
They shaped and wrought, and light they caught
To hide in gems on hilt of sword.

On silver necklaces they strung
The flowering stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, in twisted wire
They meshed the light of moon and sun.

Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away, ere break of day,
To claim our long-forgotten gold.

Goblets they carved there for themselves
And harps of gold; where no man delves
There lay they long, and many a song
Was sung unheard by men or elves.

The pines were roaring on the height,
The winds were moaning in the night.
The fire was red, it flaming spread;
The trees like torches blazed with light.

The bells were ringing in the dale
And men looked up with faces pale;
The dragon’s ire more fierce than fire
Laid low their towers and houses frail.

The mountain smoked beneath the moon;
The dwarves, they heard the tramp of doom.
They fled their hall to dying fall
Beneath his feet, beneath the moon.

Far over the misty mountains grim
To dungeons deep and caverns dim
We must away, ere break of day,
To win our harps and gold from him!

It’s exciting to see that more of Professor Tolkien’s songs & poetry will make it into the movie. There is so much that was written for the books that were not able to be put into the films.

Something I must confess about my reading of the novel The Hobbit is that I can barely keep track of all the dwarves ^__^' In that way, I am concerned for the movie. However, from the trailer, & from the official production photos, we can see that the dwarves all look very different from each other, which is wonderful, & perhaps seeing them instead of reading we’ll all be able to keep track xD

I also confess that I prefer The Hobbit over The Lord of the Rings. A major reason being that it is easier to read because it is shorter, this has led me to reread it often. I very much enjoy the opening chapter of the novel
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."
It is a comforting book to me, like The Chronicles of Narnia. & though I dearly enjoyed LOTR, I have never reread it, though one day I’m sure I’ll get up my nerve to do so again.

What did you think of the trailer, are you excited for it? Are you a Tolkien fan, of the movies, of the books, or both?

Stay Spooky,

Monday, December 12, 2011

Un Monstre a Paris

A while ago an intriguing movie came up on my radar, an animated French film, Un Monstre a Paris.

I found out about the film through the art of one of my favorite artists, Abigail Larson. I’m always ridiculously excited when she posts new art on her Deviant Art page & I want everything in her etsy shop! xD

On her blog, she posted this beautiful piece inspired by the film

I just knew I had to learn more about this film!

On IMDB, the film is described as

"A 3D-animated movie set in Paris in the year 1910 and centered on a monster who lives in a garden and his love for a beautiful, young singer."

Wikipedia expands on this summary saying,

"The film is set in Paris, France, during the Seine flood of 1910. An experiment gone bad turns a flea into an anthropomorphic monster (Matthieu Chedid), who eventually meets and is hidden by Lucille (Vanessa Paradis), a singer at the cabaret L'Oiseau Rare, where he develops musical abilities."

Here is the trailer for the film

The film is directed by Bibo Bergeron, whose name you may or may not recognize, but perhaps you are familiar with his previous works, which include The Road to El Dorado & Shark Tale.

Interesting thing about Vanessa Paradis who voices Lucille in the film, the name didn’t ring a bell at first, but since 1998 she’s been in a relationship with Johnny Depp! Lucky gal ^^

Also, is anyone else seeing the Phantom of the Opera story elements here? The setting is Paris, there’s a beautiful singer, a frightening monster with musical abilities who has feelings for mentioned singer, & you even have a character named Raoul who has feelings for Lucille!

Yes, the Phantom elements alone make this a film that I need to see!

I do, however, worry for this film. It was released back in October of this year but didn’t fair so well at the box office. According to Wikipedia the budget for the film was € 28.22 million but after four weeks at the box office had only earned € 14.4 million, making back barely half its budget. But those are only two numbers that are not telling the whole story. It did say that was only in four weeks & didn’t say how many theatres it was open in. Also, not sure how much advertising was done for the film. As well, I’m not sure what kind of expectations there were for this film.

It has been hard to find out information on the film. There isn’t even a page for it on Rotten Tomatoes yet. & honestly, I’m scared to do too much poking around for reviews. There are all of four reviews listed for the film on IMDB, which I’m nervous to read. Unless I’m reading for a trusted review site, I’m always concerned about spoilers. That’s how Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland was ruined for me, bloody reviewers... If you must spoil the ending at least warn us you will do so! *cough* rant over...

Despite all this, I’m going to be keeping my eye out for this film & get my paws on it when I can. & I’ll be crossing my fingers & hoping that there will be subtitles rather than having the film dubbed in English.

Another thing that drew me to the movie was the music, which I will be discussing in a future blog post, stay tuned!

Stay Spooky,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pending Imaginarium STORYTIME by Nightwish

Hello dear guests!

This is a very quick post, it’s been very busy day, had an hour long interview that has to be redone because nothing was actually recorded! & there’s also a video project that needs to be finished tonight, EKK!!! But I really wanted to share this with you all!

One of my all time favorite bands, Nightwish, a symphonic metal from Finland, has released a new music video for their song Storytime. But this is just the start; a teasing video preceding the movie that is being made called Imaginarium.

There’s so much to be said about this song, the upcoming album, & the film, but there’s no time tonight!
Long story short: this song is bloody brilliant, I cannot wait for the film to be released, this is the new era of Nightwish, & for heaven’s sake get over Anette replacing Tarja as the lead singer.

So here’s the music video & the song lyrics!

It was the night before,
When all through the world,
No words, no dreams
Then one day,
A writer by a fire
Imagined all of Gaia
Took a journey into a child-man's heart...

A painter on the shore
Imagined all the world
Within a snowflake on his palm
Unframed by poetry
A canvas of awe
Planet Earth falling back into the stars

I am the voice of Never, Never Land
The innocence, the dreams of every man
I am the empty crib of Peter Pan,
A soaring kite against the blue, blue sky,
Every chimney, every moonlit sight
I am the story that will read you real,
Every memory that you hold dear

I am the journey,
I am the destination,
I am the home
The tale that reads you
A way to taste the night,
The elusive high
Follow the madness,
Alice you know once did

Imaginarium, a dream emporium!
Caress the tales
And they will dream you real
A storyteller's game,
Lips that intoxicate
The core of all life
Is a limitless chest of tales...

I am the voice of Never, Never Land
The innocence, the dreams of every man
I am the empty crib of Peter Pan,
A soaring kite against the blue, blue sky,
Every chimney, every moonlit sight
I am the story that will read you real,
Every memory that you hold dear

I am the voice of Never, Never Land
The innocence, the dreams of every man
Searching heavens for another earth...

I am the voice of Never, Never Land
The innocence, the dreams of every man
I am the empty crib of Peter Pan,
A soaring kite against the blue, blue sky,
Every chimney, every moonlit sight
I am the story that will read you real,
Every memory that you hold dear

Stay Spooky,

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember, Remember…

Bonfire night - Guy Fawkes burns!
Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, Treason, and Plot

Good evening dear guests! & Happy Bonfire Night!

This is a very late post, & it’s been a very lazy night. I went to see Anonymous this afternoon; there shall be a post about that later. But tonight has been a lazy night for everyone in the house. There was no fire in the fireplace for Bonfire Night sadly, but I don’t think anyone in the house was in the mood for it. I had not gotten my hopes up for it, the weather had not been forecasted to cooperate, had heard it was supposed to be very windy. Another night then, since those marshmallows will have to be eaten at some time or another!

Did anyone else attend a bonfire tonight? I hope you had a wonderful time & stayed safe! Or does anyone have any memories of the night they’d like to share?

Aside from having a fire of some sort, there are a few other things I enjoy doing on Bonfire Night.

My music for the evening is the Souling Song. Does anyone have any songs that they associate with the day? Kristen Lawrence’s “Souling Song (Samhain Version)” comes to mind for me, though the song is about Samhain, not bonfire night, but the two are tied together, in their own messy history. Bonfires were being lit this time of year long before Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up parliament.

There’s also an episode of The Wind in the Willows which in recent years, thanks to YouTube, I always watch, which is episode eleven of season four, “Remember, Remember” (1987).

Here’s part one

And part two

I simply adore this version of The Wind in the Willows! I can’t help myself; the stop-motion is enchanting, as are the characters. I adore Toad, silly as he is, Mole as well; he’s just too adorable with his beady little eyes!

& s’mores are a must for the night! Does anyone have anything different that they like to roast? & if you’re not a fan of s’mores, then perhaps you’d be interested in making this tasty treat that I discovered on flickr


For more information on Bonfire Night/Guy Fawkes Night, why not check out the Wikipedia page?

Stay Spooky,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Have You Heard of the Ghost of John?


Good evening, dear guests!

Have you heard of the contest that the talented Kristen Lawerance is having over on her blog?

She’s given her trick-o’-treaters permission to use her song “The Ghost of John” to make a YouTube vid. There will be three winners who will get signed copies of Ms. Lawerance’s CDs. The contest is all about YT views, not ratings or how fancy the video is, all about the views! The contest ends on the 25th.

And below is my video entry. I had a lot of fun making this video, and yes, I was being a good little procrastinator & putting off writing papers to edit the video ^^’ I used clips from Disney’s dark & largely unknown film The Black Cauldron (1985).

I would appreciate any clicks you give the video, though, considering how much this blog has been neglected, I feel odd asking for your help. You all owe me nothing, I on the other hand…

Or even better, check out Kristen’s website, or her YouTube channel

Halloween almost being upon us, her music is perfect for this time of year. I simply adore her approach to music:

“In December we pull out our Christmas CDs, but what do we pull out in October? Cheap, “spooky” sound effects and time-weary compilations?

I think Danny Elfman gave us some great stuff with his music for “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Corpse Bride,” and I love what he creates. But we need more! And I have my own style to give you.” ()

I whole heartedly agree. While there are certain Halloween themed songs I love dearly, there is no real equivalent (at least not that I have heard) to Christmas carols. Kristen is helping to change that *grins* Some of her songs are very cute like Flappy Bat, while others like The Souling Song are about the older Halloween tradition of Samhain.

So here’s my video, featuring “The Ghost of John”, & the lyrics are below

Have you heard of the Ghost of John?
Long, white bones and the rest all gone!
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?

John belongs in a quaint nightmare.
Wobbly jaw and a hollow glare!
Wouldn’t things look murky through sockets bare?

John is gone from feet to skull.
Pointy elbows and clavicle!
Wouldn’t it be harsh to hug John’s fossil?

John’s not sad; he has had his day.
Smile that’s fixed in a rigid way!
Wouldn’t frowning be hard when lips decay?

John once said, “I’ve lost my head!”
Empty thoughts top his spine instead.
Isn’t it the truth now that he is dead?

Stay Spooky,

Monday, September 5, 2011

Little Red Riding Hood

Music: George Fenton - The Company of Wolves soundtrack
Mood: Bashful

Little girls, this seems to say, never stop upon your way,
never trust a stranger friend, no-one knows how it will end.
As you're pretty, so be wise. Wolves may lurk in every guise.
Now, as then, it's simple truth, sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth.
Rosaleen, The Company of Wolves (1984)

I’ve seen these photos floating about tumblr for so long; it’s nice to finally know who to give credit to. These come from Rocio Montoya on flickr.

Stay Spooky,

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Friday the 13th

Mood: Sad Face
Music: Camille Saint-Saens - Le Carnaval des Animaux

Hello dear guests!

Oh yes, today is the dreaded Friday the 13th!

I can’t say that I’ve ever had anything bad happen to me on Friday the 13th. In particular, I’ve thought of it as being quite the opposite. I remember one such Friday the 13th when I was very young (maybe in grade 7, or even in grade 6), I got to attend a free concert, got late night sundaes from McDonald’s, & had a friend sleep over (which was always a big deal for me, it was not common to have friends sleep over, my mom felt that there needed to be a special occasion for such an event).

More importantly, I’m fascinated by the beliefs held about this day, well beliefs in general really. Notice I said beliefs not superstitions. As one folklore professor said:

“Superstition is a dirty word, don’t use it.”

I ask that you please do the same. The word superstition comes off as being such a negative word. It brings to mind what many would consider silly. & even if what someone believes is silly & irrational to you, it doesn’t matter, it’s still that person’s beliefs, so please, be respectful.

If you want to learn more about the beliefs surrounding this day, I suggest you check out the article on Snopes, Wikipedia as well. There was also this article today in the Vancouver Sun.

Aside from the beliefs about the day, the one thing that comes to mind when I hear Friday the 13th is the films.

Confession time, I’ve never seen the original Friday the 13th films. I did however see the remake, in theatres no less. Funny story that, going to see the film, it was actually a date, a first date, oh yes, it made for a very interesting date night After agreeing to go see the film, it suddenly occurred to me what I had actually agreed to. I kept thinking, “what have I gotten myself into?!” But thanks to a certain gentleman caller, it was very enjoyable & I wasn’t scared at all, well, not too much.

& sorry to those who may not have appreciated the above image of the iconic mask. How do you all feel about Jason? Is he frightening to you? If so, my apologies. Let me make up for it!

Oh come on, that’s cute & you know it!

In other Friday the 13th related spooky-cute-goodness is this clip from Ruby Gloom, showing you how to avoid bad luck:

There’s also a whole Friday the 13th themed episode of Ruby Gloom, Disaster Becomes You:

But if you ask me, the real nasty day of the year would be February, Monday the 13th

Mondays are, well, Mondays, need I say more? & February is such a dreary month. You’ve got the dreaded Singles Awareness Day (also known in some cultures as Valentine’s Day), & then there’s all the snow, except by this time, it’s all slushy & dirty, & the sidewalks aren’t cleared, & well, you get the point...

But luckily, February is very far away, so let’s not think anymore about, shall we?

Stay Spooky,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fairytale Tuesday: Night Fairy Fantasia

Mood: Hungry
Music: Oliver Wallance – “Bad Day at Skull Rock”

“Where do you live?”
“Second to the right, and then straight on till morning.”
“They put that on the letters?”
“Don’t get any letters.”
“But your mother gets letters.”
“Don’t have a mother.”
“No wonder you were crying.”
“I wasn’t crying about mothers. I was crying because I can’t get this shadow to stick. And I wasn’t crying.”

It’s been awhile, but I do believe I have fallen in love with a print, Alice and the Pirate’s Night Fairy Fantasia

As you may have guessed, the print is inspired by J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.

I couldn’t bring myself to resize any of the pictures, & risk some detail being missed. That’s one of the beauties of brand lolita items, the detail. They always fascinate me, the care, time, & effort that are put into these prints. They’re really works of art. & like any piece of great art, it costs a pretty penny That’s not a complaint though, I understand why brand is so expensive, & that’s okay with me. Besides even if I did have $186+ dollars to spend, I don’t think I’d buy it, I have no occasion to wear anything like this. But if I did… I’d go with the skirt, & of course in black

There’s also the necklace, which is very charming

It feels appropriate to make this post now, since I’m currently reading Peter Pan. Though I have seen countless movies, read the play, I had never read the novel in whole. It is one of the most enchanting books I have ever read. After finishing it I think I’ll revisit some of my favourite movie adaptations of the story.

What do you think of the print? Or if you’re not smitten with it, what’s your favorite retelling of Peter Pan?

Stay Spooky,

Friday, May 6, 2011

Freaky Friday: The Horse Spider

Hello and Happy Freaky Friday to you!

Today I want to share a piece of art that caught my eye one day when browsing tumblr. I have to give major props to this artist. I thought nothing could make a spider scarier. I was wrong. A spider made out of horse legs. That’s scarier.

Is it a spider horse or a horse spider? I cannot decide.

The piece is described as:
“An arachnid-like creature fabricated from horse legs… sighted at the hotel Drouot in Paris.”
Yeah, I’m not even sure what to make of this... thing I feel like this needs to find its way into a horror movie.

Another photo description added that the artist was Thomas Monin. After a quick Google search, I found that he’s a French artist. I cannot figure out too much about him. He is French so naturally his website would be in French. Google translator was not much help to me.

Here is a link to his website. I suggest browsing through the gallery

It says on the website the piece is called “Archival”
Object. 2003. Taxidermy. Dimensions about 220 x 200 x 110 cm. Eight legs of horses are naturalized assembled into a large spider stuck in his movement.
Beth Arnold has an article on her blog, Paris Art Market Buzz, columnist Paul Paradis got a chance to see the work in person back in 2009:
“A terrifying creature composed of 8 real horses’ legs resembling a tarantula crawling out of a scene from the Land of the Lost or an Edgar Allen Poe nightmare made me shiver as I wondered whether it was a chair or a sculpture, or whether it really mattered. The work, also by Monin was estimated at €7,800 - 8,800 and did not find a buyer.”
Hmm, wonder if this beauty is still for sale?

No I am certain that not even I could bear to be in the same room as this for long. This is one of those things that would surely come alive & kill you in your sleep.

Taxidermy is something I have mixed feelings about. When it is of the sort of animal I would not encounter in my daily life, say a giraffe, it does not bother me. But when it’s a dog, or even a kitten, it feels weird to look at. As long as the animals have died of natural causes before they are turned into art, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taxidermy. But then again, it is something that I do not know too much about.

How do you feel about taxidermy?

Stay Spooky,