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The Vehement Flame (1922) Margaret Deland

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1870s, Pittsburg. Maurice Curtis, 19 year old golden boy, full of hope and promise, shocks the world when he marries Eleanor, a shy old maid with a gorgeous singing voice, who is 39 years old. Both Eleanor’s plain spoken aunt, and Maurice’s guardians, the folksy and practical Mr. and Mrs. Houghton, worry that he has made a horrible mistake, but their daughter Edith, 10 years Maurice’s junior, thinks that anything Maurice does is amazing. Maurice and Eleanor are so in love, they think nothing can touch them.

Gradually things start to unravel. Eleanor is jealous of everyone, and unable to have a child. Maurice is fed up with her jealousy, and one night, just to ‘show her’, he ends up sleeping with a pretty ‘common’ girl named Lillie. Lillie gets pregnant, and as a son, who Maurice has to support, keeping it a secret from Eleanor, despite several people cautioning him to tell her.
He eventually does, about 10 years later. She forgives him, tries to get his son for him, but Lillie will not give her son up. Meanwhile, Edith, now 20, has fallen in love with Maurice, and Eleanor, in a fit of jealousy, inadvertently make Maurice realize that he too loves Edith.

Eleanor then tries to kill herself so that he will be free to marry Lillie. She doesn’t succeed, but dies of a lung infection. Maurice realizes that he can do more for Jacky as a benefactor with no ‘claim’ on him. Everyone is convinced that Maurice shouldn’t marry anyone, because who would want to be deal with his baby mama and illegitimate son, but Edith furiously makes a play for Maurice’s own happiness saying that she would marry him if he only asked. He admits his love for her after she tells him she knows how he feels about her, and they agree to marry…


I feel like there’s a lot to unpack in this book. The plot definitely didn’t go where I thought it would. According to the author's note, she came up with the story around 8 years prior, in 1914. It was pretty hard to get through – because a lot of it was about people who started out happy and in love and innocent becoming selfish and degraded and ashamed. The ‘vehement flame’ of the title is jealousy, and it motivates a lot of the action of the book. Eleanor’s jealousy is one of the main things that motivates the disintegration of their marriage. Her jealousy is personified by her dog Bingo, jealous of anyone who comes near his mistress, and another facet of jealousy is mirrored in Lillie, whose maternal jealousy makes her terrified of anyone who might try to take Jacky away from her. Maurice begins as a proponent of Truth – his coworkers call him G. Washington, and his moral degradation comes from having to keep the secret of Jacky from Eleanor. The other main proponent of truth is Edith, and she ends up as the one who can bring him happiness, in the end. No one is completely blamed for the mistakes they make, but everyone is held accountable. Everyone is agreed (even Eleanor, in the end) that Eleanor shouldn’t have married Maurice, because he was so young. The text is not kind to either Maurice, who is often unkind, or Eleanor, with her pathetic jealousy, although both are in a way redeemed by the end. It was a lot about mistakes and how people pay for them, about how jealousy kills love, what love really means, and whether everyone has the right to be happy…
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The Night of Temptation, by Victoria Cross (1914) note: 1914 edit gives copyright as 1912.
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18 years old Regina lives at the Rectory in a conventional country village with her parents, and her two older sisters. She spends most of her time in her 'enchanted garden', teaching herself, reading books in foreign languages, and painting. When the handsome, dashing Everest, a college friend of her Father's, comes to convalesce at their home after contracting yellow fever, their lives change forever. In the month he stays, they fall in love, and end up consummating their love in the 'enchanted garden'. Horrified that he has ruined her, he asks her to marry her. However, she refuses on the grounds that he is only asking her because he feels it is his duty. She tells him she will marry him later on, if he still feels the same way after returning to his life in London...

It reminds me a lot of Elynor Glyn’s novels – the same melodramatic plots, the hero and heroine who are abnormally good and beautiful, the purple prose, and the paragraphs and paragraphs of theories on men and women and love. I believe that Victoria Cross had many similarities to Glyn, being a British author of scandalous romances who had been writing since the mid-1900s. Whether or not she was a copycat of sorts, I don’t know.
I can see how this would have been a very scandalous book though, even in 1914.

- Regina is as intelligent and beautiful as she is because she was ‘born of love’, born from her mother’s affair with the man she loved. (Her children with her husband, by contrast, were ‘born of hate’.
- Regina and Everest sleep together within in the first month of meeting.
- She refuses to marry him when he asks, because he is only doing it out of a sense of honor.
- She spends the rest of the book living with him ‘in sin’ – indeed, when his sister tells her that she should leave Everest so he can marry his cousin Sybil, who will be a proper wife for him, Regina refuses to believe that a marriage without love is better than being in love without marriage.
- However, she decides not to marry him until she knows she can conceive his child.
- Everest falls in lust with Sybil, but tells Regina that it doesn’t mean anything or take away from his love for her at all.

All in all the book is also a social commentary of the superficial nature of English family life, and the hypocrisy of mixing worldly positions and religion, of love and marriage and how the two can be mutually exclusive, and the nature of men and women (and how both have a little of each in them.) He loves her for her intelligence, not only her beauty.

quotes )
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MARRIED? By Marjorie Benton Cooke (1921)
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Marcia Livingston is one of the most celebrated heiresses in New York City, but all her money and social success can’t substitute for a fulfilling life. Dennis Shawn is the manager of the Livingston’s ranch in New Mexico, and can find nothing in the world he loves as much as the ranch. The Judge, Marcia’s guardian and Dennis’ employer cooks up a plan to trick the two into a ‘marriage by proxy’, which he hopes will become real. Side characters include Marcia’s friend and employee Mary Jane, who helps the Judge with his scheme, and Williams and Chuck, a mysterious misogynist bachelor and a young Broadway actor, who work at the ranch. Chuck is my favorite.
This book was a very interesting set-up. It began by alternating the POV between two seemingly unconnected characters and settings: Marcia Livingston, a wealthy New York heiress, flitting restlessly from one pet project to another and never finishing anything, and Dennis Shawn, the practical 'man's man' Irish manager of a dude ranch in New Mexico, who loved nothing as well as the ranch. The two storylines continue to have nothing to do with each other - Marcia starts a theater school, and gets engaged out of boredom to a rich nitwit she's known forever, Shawn and his two friends foil a plot to kidnap him and get him to leave the ranch - until over halfway through the book. At this point Marcia and Shawn are drawn together by the Judge who loves them both like a son and daughter and plans with Marcia's friend/employee to trick them into a 'marriage by proxy', which they hope will become a real thing. (Spoiler: It does.) Eventually they learn to love each other, but not after Shawn has carried Marcia off to his cabin and forced her to learn to cook and fend for herself. Marcia is stubborn and headstrong, and has never had to do anything that she didn't want to do, but eventually the beauty of the wilderness makes her come around. (And a last minute medical emergency).

This book had a lot of similar themes to Gorgeous Girl, and it was written in the same 1920/1921 period. Multiple characters wish that Marcia would lose all her money so that she could learn how to work for a living,lamenting that Marcia has been spoiled by all her wealth, because she's never had to do anything that meant anything, and that she has the intelligence to become a 'real woman' as long as she could meet a 'real man'. Shawn promises to bring her out of her 'sham world' of money, artifice and vapidness into the 'real world' where people work hard and love harder.
Dennis shares a similarity to Steve O’Valley from the Gorgeous Girl. They are both the type of man referred to in the text as ‘Cave Men’, which seems to mean fond of hard work and earning their living, with no patience for rich, useless women like Beatrice or Marcia. The difference is that Marcia has the inner resources and strength of character to go with Steven and exchange her gorgeous life for something realer and more fulfilling, whereas Beatrice can’t or won’t.
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”quote” )
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In 2014, I made a resolution to read all of the out of copyright e-books I've amassed. This was number one.

The Gorgeous Girl, by Nalbro Bartley (1920)

Steven O'Valley is a self-made millionaire who has won his war fortune to earn the hand of Beatrice, the beautiful daughter of his billionaire former boss. Mary Faithful works as his office manager, motivated by her common sense and her unrequited love for him. Side characters include Trudy, a tough as nails flapper who boards at Mary's house and is determined to enter good society by any means necessary, and her boyfriend, the selfish and idiotic Gaylord who gets by on the good name of his once wealthy family.


Many books of the twenties are also treaties on the changing role of women at the time and this was no exception. The final conclusion was a bit unclear but it was a lot about the Gorgeous Girls, young rich girls raised to be unfit for anything but having a "good time" and the business women or "commercial nun" working hard and trying to hide their romantic longings.

But I liked the prose and the shifting POV. It was paced pretty well and I liked the characters too. I would definitely really Another book by this author.

I can't find a picture of the cover, but there were four fabulous illustrations inside.

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"The Gorgeous Girl had known only the most gorgeous side of life."

Quotes )

Contains spoilers, but let's be honest, most people aren't going to read this book anyway!
oritsu_luv: (Default)
So I just finished the sequel to The Raven Boys, which is called The Dream Thieves. It took me forever to finish it, because I started it, got halfway, didn't want to rush through it before I had to lend it to someone else, and then, when I got it back a month or so later, started reading it from the beginning. Then for a little while I forced myself to read only a chapter at a time, because I didn't want to it to be over. And then, just this morning, after not picking it up for two weeks or so because I couldn't bear to finish it, I sat down and finished the last 4 chapters or so.

I'm not sure if that was the best way to read it, but that's neither here nor there. I loved it. The twist - I'm not sure if it was a twist so much as an answer - when it came, made me stop, gasp, and whisper it outloud in delighted wonder. I feel like there were several answers in this book, a few which I was delightedly surprised by, and one which I'd been hoping for, but was slightly surprised (and gratified) to be right about.

I made some notes when I started reading it, and I'm just going to C&P them here:

Already loving it. Her way with words in the first chapter made me think that she may write better than anyone else I've read. Makes all those other books seems not quite literary enough. every sentence feels perfect.

So dense. I don't want it to end

Speaking of Maggie's writing, here's a recent post by her about writing that I really enjoyed:

ETA: And another one:
oritsu_luv: (the it girl)
I've been waiting for this album for 3 years. I'd say it deserves a track by track review.

The Cab's first album was released way back in 2008, and due to various factors beyond the band's control, their follow up album has taken 3 years to come out. It's only coming out now because the band left their label and paid for it's release out of their own pockets. Bravo to the boys for standing their ground and staying true to their hearts, and putting out the music they want to put out.

All of the waiting and drama aside, the Cab's first album is one of my favorite albums, so I'll be
happy if this album is even half as good.

Angel with a Shotgun.
Starts off with a heavenly chorus of kids. "I'm a soldier with a shotgun/fighting 'till the wars won/I don't care if Heaven won't take me back." It kind of reminds me of a younger, less posed Maroon 5 (who actually wrote a song with the Cab on this album.) There's a bit of grit in Singer's deliciously poppy voice, and it sounds great. "If love is what you need/a soldier I will be."

Temporary Bliss
This track leaked early, and I've been listening to it on repeat for months. This is everything I loved about the Cab on their first album, musically, vocally, thematically. "I'm your one and only/only when you're lonely/Baby why you callin' me?/Not another one night/tryin' to be your whole life."

This is the first single, but I haven't heard it until now. More medium tempo than I was expecting, it's kind of an acoustic R&B. It's not my favorite, so far. That said, it's very different from the first two songs, which tells me the Cab is going to go through a lot of genres, which I always appreciate.

As the title suggests, this is a ballad. Beautiful piano, and beautiful crystal falsetto. "I'm not perfect/but I swear I'm perfect for you." I found myself singing along by the end of the song.

Funky, sexy rock. I'm so proud that Alex can more than handle this kind of song now. His voice sounds great. I'm betting this is the one that Maroon 5 helped them right. "My heart may be missing/but my hands will make up for it."

Sweet vocals that remind me of old school 50s love songs for some reason, despite how pure pop they are. "Your eyes like a shot of whiskey/warm me up like a summer night"

La la la
A sing along chorus like vintage pop punk. Lyrically it reminds me of a more mature version of Zzzz from their first album. I love all the references to music, because it seems so natural for a musician to compare a beautiful girl to a symphony. (also, the fact that all of these beautiful compliments are belied by the fact that he thinks this girl could be his "favorite one night stand."

Her love is my religion
An upbeat medium tempo. I love songs that mix love and religion, especially love as religion.
"Cuz I see the scars and the freckles on her face/and I'm seeing God every time she says my name".

Another Me
Hard driving and bitter-sweet. This is the angry break up song, which somehow manages to have a beautiful and heart-wrenching bridge.

Grow up and Be Kids
I'm only on the first song and I already love this song. I wonder if this is the one that Pete helped write the lyrics to. It sounds like him. I can't even describe this song, it's
like...calypso funk? I just know I like it.

Lovesick Fool
Epic piano opening. Haunting and bittersweet melody. Lovely song.

Living Louder
This is the anthem. The one that makes you want to throw your head up and sing along, the one that makes your heart ache and your eyes burn, but in a happy way.Perfect ending to the album. "Cuz we're all just kids who grew up way too fast/yeah the good die young, but the great will always last/we're growing older/but we're all soldiers tonight."
oritsu_luv: (Default)
It's a great time to be a Big Bang fan. Luckily, over the past several months, I've become one.
And now Big Bang is back with a mini album after two years apart working on solo projects. So maybe I should rephrase that. It's a good time to be a new Big Bang fan, because you get all of the excitement and breathless anticipation without the 2 year long wait.

I was all over TOP and GD's double combo album they put out in December, but I feel like I came to that right as it was being released, I don't remember counting the days until it came out. So this was really my first experience waiting with a big Kpop release.

And let me say, they really know how to do it. For the past week, every day there's been a video teaser released each morning, and a batch of promo pics released each evening, heightening our excitement until we didn't think we could stand it anymore.

And now, the moment has arrived. The mini-album is out.


I have to admit, I don't think this is the best intro they've ever done. Maybe because I feel like we heard most of it with the teaser. Maybe because as an english speaker, I still think 'I'm fine thank you, and you?' is a silly thing to sing once let alone many times. Also, there's too much auto-tune. That said, I LOVE the actually singing,and also the spoken English bits other than the title line. Okay, actually, I think I love every part of it except that part. Hahah. (Only it took me way too long to figure out that they were spelling 'BIG BANG IS THE BEST'. That's what they're spelling, right?)


This is not a new track, it's a Korean version of the B-side from their last Japanese single, but since I haven't heard that, it's new to me. Even if I had heard it, I think I would have been psyched, because I'm really loving it. It caught me with G-dragon's opening shout of had me dancing in my seat from the first few beats, HEY! HO! HEY! HO! The vocals are that kind of bitter-sweet melody that I love so much. The chorus is so catchy! Hands up high, high and low! GD is a little too autotuned, I'm okay with it because he plays with auto-tune on his solo stuff a bit too. I can't tell Taeyang, Daesung and Baby Seungri apart yet. (I know, I'm a bad fan!) but I love their vocals in this.That deep growl of T.O.P! that prefixes TOP's raps will never fail to get me excited! (Even if he sounds weirdly like Lil'Wayne in this song? Enough with the auto-tune!)Love the Baby just 1 2 3 Gooooooo. (I think that's Taeyang). Love the end of 'Now put your hands up!', the way G-dragon and TOP's voices melt together as they shout. I just love everything about it. (Except the electric drumming/key change at 3:03, it hurts my ears - but then they get back to HEY, HO-ing, so it's all good).


The title track, which they'll be promoting. I already love it and I've only heard the first 15 seconds. The mellow sound, the clapping that sounds almost like rain until the cheers kick in, the way the juxtaposition somehow combines to get you really pumped up, even before G-dragon comes in to declare "It's such a beautiful night." It segues into GD's rap and TOP's rap (and how sexy does he sound on this song?) and it's really their song - until Taeyang starts up and makes me think it's his. It segues from the pumping, dancebeat into the soulful ending, only to explode again at the end.It finally mellows out until it ends with TOP declaring in his deepest most chocolatey tones, "It's a beautiful night. Good night."


The second song that's a Korean version of a Japanese b-side, which had fans accusing BB's label, YG, of trolling, after what was originally called a full album became a mini-album became 4 new songs and 2 Korean remakes of Japanese songs. Unlike 'hands up', I'm familiar with 'Somebody to love', because it's the b-side on my favorite of BB's Japanese singles. But I also love it, so I don't care if it's not new. TOP's rap is different, but he sounds SO hot and we get Two raps from him! My fav part is still GD's 'When I say somebody, you say to love!" Overall, I'm happy with the Korean version, and I think it really fits with the rest of the songs on here.


Immediately, this song songs totally different than any of the others. It's another song that really showcases GD (and also TOP). It's very clear, especially the singing vocals of Taeyang, Seungri and Daesung.


I've got expectations for this track, since it seems to be everyone fav. It starts out with a crackling static like an old record, and actual piano. The comes TOP's crackling deep voice, "I remember when you walked through that door, sat down in that chair, all the times we've shared..." The chorus is mostly falsetto, I'm going to assume that's GD, since his falsetto is legendary. Then we've got more of TOP's rapping. Then amazingly high falsetto. Is that GD? Damn.
Ah, here comes (maybe) Taeyang with some nice strong soulful vocals. And TOP 'Oh my god!'. And some kind of horns. Wow. So smooth and sultry.


Dec. 13th, 2011 10:43 pm
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Just saw the Tourist. Cy figured out the twist pretty early in, but it was still really enjoyable. I could definitely see how it was a throw back to films like To Catch a Thief. The elegance of the clothing and the locations, even some of the dialogue. And of course Angelina and Johnny Depp have such a leading man and leading lady presence. So much pretty on one screen.
oritsu_luv: (boylove)
Title: 由利先生は今日も上機嫌 (ミリオンコミックス) (Yuri-sensei is in a good humor today)
Author: 木下けい子 Keiko Kinoshita


Plot: Muguruma is a young editor in charge of mystery author Yuri Kyoichi, a man of great talent and selfish whims. Yuri-sensei sends Muguruma off for watermelon in the dead of winter, roasted sweet potatoes in the middle of summer, but Muguruma will go to any length so his respected sensei will finish his manuscript on time. Yuri-sensei loves to play with Muguruma, so when Muguruma realizes his feelings for the author go beyond respect, will he be able to tell if Yuri-sensei is playing with his heart?

Thoughts: I love Kinoshita Keiko's work - it always has this nice quiet feeling to it. It's very calming to read somehow. This series is especially so. It moves at a comfortably languid pace, with a cast you can count on one hand. Most scenes in fact star only Muguruma and Yuri-sensei, and sometimes sensei's cat, Heizou. There are no earth shattering plot developments, the biggest conflicts are whether Yuri-sensei will turn his novel by the deadline or what crazy errand he'll send poor Muguruma on this time. (And of course Muguruma's growing feelings for Yuri-sensei).
It has such a nice atmosphere to it. It takes place at some point after World War 2 (because Yuri-sensei was a young doctor during the war) and accordingly it has a very Japanese asthetic - the particular ideal of the writer who lives in a traditional style house and lounges around elegantly in a yukata, writing his avant-guard novels by hand with brush and ink. It really captures a very Japanese sense of summer, so much that it had me hoping that the sequel takes place in winter.
oritsu_luv: (Default)
- Tonight I watched 'Une Vieille Maitresse' (The Last Mistress),which is a French movie starring Asia Argento. I'd been wanting to see it for a while; it was pretty good. Beautiful stars, beautiful scenery and beautiful costumes. It was one of those movies about love and how obsessive and destructive it can be. You know the kind, when love basically ruins everyone's lives and makes them all miserable. For some reason this kind of movie is usually foreign and always a period piece. (Maybe always foreign - I just realized I was counting Cherie, but of course that was French originally...)

- This afternoon I finished my re-read of The House on Brooke Street. It was possibly even better the second time because 1)I was prepared for the dense prose and slowish pace, and the way things got referred to before they happen. Also 2) since I knew the twist, I could see all the hints. And yet, I forget the biggest part of the twist, so I was still blown away by that. What an amazing crafted novel. (The original (British) title is "Mr. Page and Mr.Clive". I'm not sure which I like better, since they both place the emphasis on different aspects of the book, and in a way, the House itself is mentioned so many times and is almost like a character in its own right.)ETA: I just checked my goodreads review, and was shocked to see that the first time I read this book was in 2007. I had no idea it was so long ago - it's amazing how much it stuck with me.
oritsu_luv: (bill)
My little review of Tokio Hotel's new album:

The album is different; it took me a real proper listen with just me and my headphones to really get into it, but now I really like it.

Tokio Hotel's first two albums were pretty much rock - a lot of stripped down guitars, plainer vocals. Pretty straightforward.

The new album tends more towards the pop side of things, even some 80s inspired tracks. That said, it also has a lot more types of songs on it, and definitely more instrumentation. Some of the songs remind me a little bit of AFI, and I've seen other people make the comparison as well. I can see Tokio Hotel going a similar route to AFI's current music in 5 or 10 years.

I know some people aren't so happy with the style in change but I think about it this way. The band has been performing the sames songs for years - some, like Monsoon, they've been performing since 2003! - and they're older - they just turned 20 - it makes sense they'd want to try something new.

It's more sophisticated, both musically and vocally. Bill uses more varied vocals - he's able to vary his singing style to fit different songs now. Interestingly, unlike the last album, where the English lyrics were for the most part direct (or at least thematic) translations of the German, many of the songs have entire different lyrical content in English and German.

Thematically, TH aren't the same dirty band of teenagers running through the streets looks for love and freedom. The record speaks of alienation (at times literally using the metaphor of aliens and outer space) and trying to connect with people, especially when so many people seem fake, and you may have put up walls to try to protect yourself from pain.

It's all very logical subject matter coming from a band whose members have been super stars for their entire teen years. But it also works because in this digital age, when we're all so connected, in many ways we've never been so disconnected.
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Last night Cy and I went to go see 'American Idiot', the new musical by the director of Spring Awakening, based on the Green Day's album of the same name. I felt so lucky to live in the town where the show is making its world premiere.

I went it not knowing what to expect beyond the basic plot outlined in the songs on the album: Boy named Jesus of Suburbia moves to the Big City, falls for Whatshername and also for a charismatic, but ultimately false idol, the drug dealing 'patron saint of denial', St. Jimmy.

The musical fleshes out the storyline, and gives Jesus (now renamed Johnny) two friends, Will and Tunny, and follows the three friends as they take their different paths, trying to find meaning and love in the midst of the rage and frustration of modern day life.

The three friends, twentysomethings stuck in the monotony of the suburban Jingletown plan to move to the big city to make a new life for themeselves. However, just as they're about to leave, Will's girlfriend tells him she's pregnant, so he stays behind with her. Johnny and Will head to the city, where Johnny falls in love with the punky Whatshername, and meets the charismatic drug dealer called St. Jimmy, who has legions of girls and boys swooning for him and his wares, which Johnny is quick to try. By contrast, Tunny is unable to find what he's looking for in the city, and ends up joining the army and going off to war. Meanwhile, Johnny falls deeper in love with Whatshername, and deeper into the thrall of St Jimmy and his drugs. Whatshername tries unsucessfully to get Johnny off the drugs, but the hold of St Jimmy and the drugs is too strong, and after being disappointed by him too many times, the furious Whatshername leaves Johnny. This turns out to the be the kick in the balls he needed to quit the drugs and start a 9 to 5. Soon after, St Jimmy kills himself with a wicked smile on his face. Back in Jingletown, Will's baby mama leaves him in frustration after trying to work things out, and finds herself another, apparently better guy. Tunny is wounded in the war, and at the hospital he meets an Extraordinary Girl, who nurses him back to health. The shows ends with the three friends reuniting as both Johnny and Tunny head home to Jingletown to start anew, wondering 'Is this the end? Or is it only the beginning?'

Seeing the old familiar Green Day songs in a new context was a lot of fun, and impressed upon me again just how good the songs are. They're dynamic and full of emotion, and the fact that most of the audience knows at least the most popular singles, if not every song sung, really helps to reinforce the universality of the themes and storyline.

I knew John Gallegher Jr. from his role as Moritz in Spring Awakening, and I thought he did a great job playing every boy Johnny, the Jesus of Suburbia, especially his frustration with things and his struggle to make sense of it all. Tony Vincent was perfect as St Jimmy, charismatic and dangerous and ultimately a coward, and he had an amazing voice (which incidentally, sounded the most like Billie Joe Armstrong's). Rebecca Naomi Jones, who played Whatshername, had a really great voice, and as the Extraordinary Girl, Christina Sajous put a lot of heart into her role as savior of Tunny. (And did some amazing wirework!) Also, an actor named Theo Stockman, who did the monologue in 'Holiday', among other solos, really stood out to me. I loved him!

There were a lot of similarities to Spring Awakening in terms of the way the set was done and all of that, and they made really effective use of hundreds of TVs all over the walls showing different images.

All in all the show was very well done, and really capture the desperation, frustration and passion of youth, and of the pop punk spirit.
oritsu_luv: (mattias)
If ”We Are In There, You Are Out Here”' was about growing up in a town you hate, and being jaded and not really caring about anything, "Enter Metropolis" is about leaving that town, finding love, both in the romantic and platonic sense, and really caring. About seizing the day, and all life has to offer. About hope and adventure.

I wouldn't go so far as to say the album is a'rock opera' type, but there are some songs that do tell a cohesive story, a story about living the town you grew up in and grew to hate, that small town that kept you from really enjoying your life, and especially, your youth, while you're still young enough to make the most of it and believe in all the promises of a big city.

Musically, the album is light years away from ”We Are In There, You Are Out Here”: the songs are more cohesive, more memorable, and mushc stronger, and Mattia's vocals have gotten so much better, as well.

Time to Leave starts us on our journey, as Mattias makes the decision to leave his home town. And I know it's time to leave/They gave their lives to me/I made songs about how much I disliked that place/It's time to leave. He's grown up in the small town, sheltered by the love of his parents, feeling oppressed by the morals and adults of the town, But now I'm free to do what I want/And now I'm free to think on my own, and he's off to live his life the way he wants to.

In Heat Mattias has claimed his birthright and realized, We belong only where we feel strong/Youth has taken the strength back. Not only that, but they used to tell himYouth is wasted on the young, but Tonight I'm all about proving them wrong. That's right, he's young and beautiful and he's going to make the most of it, with girls, and apparently, boys. (Hey boy, I'm gonna need you/Raunchy in this eagles nest)

Memories seems to be about him reconciling all his memories and the way he grew up, with the things he's learning in the city.Can't live my life through the memories/I will not be narrow-minded at all he claims, no, he declares,I will go down in history for all the things I've said and I have done/If I can find a way to love.

In the fierce Let Go of Your Love Mattias says good bye to an old girlfriend,I saw it coming/Like all the time/I saw it coming/And now you're not mine, and thinks about how he's wiser and happier now how, Moving to Metropolis/My time has come for tender He has the distance now to see all the things that were wrong with his old relationship, and his feelings for her are all gone. He's ready to move on and find something better.

Final Party of the 21st Century tells a narrative story of Mattias waking up after a night of heavy partying to a note, saying to meet at the gates of Metropolis. He walks outside to find chaos, and gradually the night comes back to him. As he makes his way through the wreckage, he meets a girl who tells him that the world may be ending You know last night might have been
The final party of the 21st century
She says. But as Mattias joins the groups of people, he finds rebirth in the destruction as he realizes, We feared to climb the walls at the gates to our future/But realised that it was only the fear we feared/Now it's us against the world It reiterates one of the other themes of the album, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The chorus Scream with us! Dance with us! he rushes of joy/Blinding lights… are perfect to sing along with a huge crowd at a show, and you can see just how pumped this song will get the crowd.

In the soaring, bittersweet Please Bring Me Back, Mattias begs to go back to his home town. Please bring me back to the town where I was born/to the town where I don't belong. Why in the world would he want to go back to that town? Because he's had his heart broken, and there, there's no one to adore/I won't belong to no one. But loving and getting his heart broken is all part of life, of growing up, part of the youth he can now enjoy because he's in the city. z

Revolution sees them literally fighting back against the oppression of adults and authority, the people who have lied to them. By a tyranny that holds us back
People we hate decides our future/It's time to fight back on/The ideology, which made us slaves/For once let the wind blow the way we want it

Heiress of Valentina is a reference to the beautiful, doomed drug addict of Go Go Valentina, telling of her (real or possibly metaphorical) daughter. There was once a mother who fell too deep/She left a little daughter for me to keep/She grew up to be a true princess of the street/A beauty caught by the ruthless destiny's creeps. Mattias watches over her, praying that she doesn't fall victim to the drugs as her mother did. Oh, little princess will you suffer from defeat? Or escape the needle and make me fall?. The song is sweet, and Mattias injects really love and adoration into his voice as he sings, Now, you can see her dancing/Oh my God it's beautiful

The rocking Get It Get It is one of my favorite songs on the CD. It reiterates what is one of main themes of the album, to Accept life's invitation, go on and/Get it, get it. Ifyou don't live your life, you'll end up regretting it. Otherwise, Mattias chides, Your soul Will sue
Your life when your body dies/Enjoy your youth!

Victim of the City finds the band attempting to save a friend who has fallen into a destructive pattern: He will party each and every day/until the world fades away. He hopes to fade away. You have to enjoy yourself, but, they warn, Life is not a party. The city is a place of opportunity, but it can also bring you down, like Valentina, if you're not careful. The band have grown, and are far away from the apathy of the first record, where they confessed, My best friend is lying there/He's messed up/And I don't care.

Finally, To Metropolis finds the album ending where it began, with Mattias declaring that
I will face fear tonight/I will face it tonight/Cause I am heading for my future/I'm going to Metropolis .

(note: the Danish edition has two bonus tracks as 9 and 10, but I haven't listened to them enough to comment yet.

note 2: Sorry there's so little about the musicality of the songs, I'm unable to listen to the CD as I write this review. Later I might add some more comments.)
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Duck, Duck Grey Goose opens the album, and provides a introduction to the band. It establishes the band's sound, which is rock with theatrical instrumentals. The song opens with bombastic violin sounds, like the soundtrack to a movie with a lot of drama. They lyrics set the tune for the album, and introduce the singer as a confident and saavy player who has the town and the girls of that town in his hands. ('I'm the king of this town/I'm sure you'll come around just wait till you see the crown/I hate to say I'm a pro at this game/but to throw the towel in now would put my name to shame') The chorus goes on the band (I'm sure all she saw was the waterfall of champagne/we make it rain all day every day).
The instrumental features crowd noise and a literal introduction ('Ladies and Gentlemen boys and girls, I present to you the one and only, Let's Get it!'), in keeping with the theatrical tone.

The song ends with the intro to Tell me How bad, which would be slightly more effective if now for the gap of dead air between the two songs. But that could just be how it plays on my iTunes.

Do not disturb (Tell me how bad) establishes a formula repeated in a few songs where the song opens with the refrain from the chorus (in this case, 'Tell me how bad') before sliding into the first verse. This song continues the persona from the last one, as the singer states, that he 'came to break necks and get in their beds', and that 'they all want to be number one on my team'. This song could be read as being about a groupie, because the girl 'comes to all my shows', but is definitely about a girl who has wanted the singer for a while, and he's finally delivering. (You say you're game, down for whatever whenever/Well today is your day/Games I don't play) As the title hints, the lyrics follow the couple to a hotel room, all the anticipation, and promise of what's to come. Once again, the bridge touts the band's prowess, in a line that the band has taken as their slogan, given it's place on their merch t-shirts. ('We're second best to noone.'), and again in the ending, which has some spoken word, 'Check your watch! Cuz it's our time now.')

Shoot for teams has more of a dirty guitar sound. The story changes throughout, at first glance, it's more of the same ('Do you got a man and does he know you won't be coming home tonight?') as it follows the singer picking up a girl and going off with her, but this is a one night stand that changes things ('it's safe to say that we won't be the same, no matter how hard you try, not even you can change the tide'). The singer has feelings for the girl, but she doesn't feel the same. The bridge takes the clock back a little, and tells succinctly just how things started ('things started getting hot and heavy in an instant/and I started thinking "Oh my god, she just might be the one."') and then goes to end the song on a melancholy note, with gentle music, 'Behind your eyes, you'll sleep with him tonight/Make up your mind baby girl, when are you mine?')

Maps is the closest the album gets to a ballad. It offers a glimpse of the real guy behind the frontman's persona, as it tells a familiar story of a band guy in love, and how hard it is to be on the road all the time. It's surprisingly tender, looking back on the relationship, how their time has gone so fast, and how the singer is trying his best to balance love and his dreams of making music. ('we'll make sacrifices, do what we do with hopes of something better. Cuz I don't wanna lose you, but girl I can't let this go.') Despite the refrain of 'I don't wanna be in love anymore/I can't stop but I don't wanna be in love anymore', it ends on a hopeful note (Girl I know we're gonna make it).

Circoc and Roll is the first new song, beginning with a melody guitar riff and a scream of 'Let's get it!'. (The frequent band shout outs never feel tired or overdone because the band seems so earnest and so confident.) The lyrics tell the story of a girl who is either cheating, or has the singer as one lover of many. ('oes he taste like me? Is the grass as green as you used to think?') This song is more straight up rock than the other tracks, but it ends with classical piano, a good lead in for the last track.

The chorus features crowd vocals and crowd noise and it's easy to imagine singing a lot ot this with the band at a show.

To catch a snipe, another new song, is the most theatrical of the album. It sounds a bit like if Let's Get It was trying to be Panic!At the Disco, but they handle it well. The lyrics tell a more literal story, and are more like narration, telling the story of a guy trying to make it in hollywood. ('Kill the lights' he screams/Watch me shine he sings/Ladidadad') It switched back and forth from first and third person, and finally establishes the singer as an ambitious rival. (He's hogging my spotlight. The song ends with operatic sounding chorus vocals, and the singer laughing in a maniacal fashion, fading into a tinkling piano sound, only to end in canned applause, a perfect close out to the album.

Others people's reviews:
oritsu_luv: (Default)
This was the first film written about Evelyn Nesbitt and Standford White, back in the 1940s.
The film suffers from a few problems, unavoidable because of 1)Evelyn being involved in the film, 2) Standford White still have living relatives, and 3) Being made in the 1940s.

This means that significant changes have been made to the story, and facts changed as well.

Standford White looks and acts like Cary Grant. So far, he's been nothing but careful and prudent, and it's implied the affair began thanks to Evelyn sneaking champagne. He's a debonair father figure, who feels guilty about his affair with Evelyn.

It makes it kind of come out of nowhere when she suddenly wants to forget and feels guilty about what happened with Standford (all in very veiled terms: when Harry chides her for her school girl crush, she says "It wasn't as innocent as all that." and he is enraged yelling "Don't tell me you were one of his girls!") because there was no real inpropriety involved with Standford, no dubious consent.

Instead, Standford's date rape of Evelyn becomes Harry's delusional fantasies. He spins it all 'He put something in your drink, he must have!" and Evelyn tearfully protests that it didn't happen that way. (The accusations all take place after her marriage. Also, they completely took out Harry's savage rape and beating of Evelyn in Europe.)

Evelyn says directly that she was never drugged, and never 'assaulted' by Standford. She tell hows Harry made her tell that story (inplying he made it up) over and over but we only see him doing it once.)

She tells Standford's wife that it's all made up by Harry's 'sick, twisted' mind, and that it was all her fault, not Stadford's, because she was in love with him.

However, Harry's crazy jealousy and suspicion of Standford - such as ordering Evelyn to refer to Standford as 'The Beast' or 'The B', especially if she should see him in NY, are exactly as they happened in real life.

The film ends very abruptly, also.

I'd love to see The Girl Cut in Two, the French movie inspired by the Standford White Murder that came out last year, but it's just come out on DVD, so our movie store doesn't have it yet.
oritsu_luv: (the it girl)
Last night Cy and I went to go see 500 Days of Summer. I really really liked it. I always love Joseph Gordon Levitz, and he was great. I thought they had great chemistry together. I really loved the way the movie was set up, counting the 500 days of the story out of order - it sort of reminded me of fic. (LOL) And the movie was stylized and quirky but in a way that worked; it didn't seem like it was trying to hard. Also, I LOVED Zoey Daschanel's wardrobe.

spoilers )

I decided that J.G.L looks a lot like Kame to me. He has that same kind of sharp, plain look. It's something in the mouth I think, too.




Today I discovered that I apparently I bought not a shirt, but a jumper (I refuse to call it a romper or got forbid, a onesie. Please, fashion industry, come up with a new name for this item of clothing, now that it is back in fashion. I refuse to call it something that babies wear. Holy infantilization, Batman!). I discovered this after I attempted (and succeeded) to put myself through one of the leg holes. I have no idea how I got it off again. It was touch and go for a while. >_< I 'll have to try it on again later and see if I still want it. I don't know if I can carry off a jumper.

Then the trolley never came so I walked 30 minutes to the office.


Jul. 16th, 2010 09:49 am
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Last night Cy and I went to go see the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

My thoughts )


Jul. 10th, 2010 10:16 am
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Last night Cy and I went to see Rancid play.

We got there 10 minutes after the show started, which meant we missed the beginning of Billy Talent. Sadness. I really like Billy Talent. It made me feel even more protective/affectionate because it was obvious that most of the audience didn't know who they were. Cy and I sung along and danced proudly.

Then came Rancid. It began with this big slideshow of old Rancid stuff, including a lot of stuff in Oakland. It was so cool to see Rancid in their hometown. The crowd was crazy, and they were obviously overjoyed to be home. Someone recced Rancid to people who were sad about Panic splitting, and I really understand that now, because (even though they have a new drummer now) Rancid seems very stable and unchanging. (probably because Tim and Lars look exactly the same as they did 10 years okay.) Lars had on this crazy two tone pants and shirt set where half of each was black and half was white. It looked like some J-rock outfit. XD

At one point Tim went over and put his arm around Lars as he sung, and it was just so sweet, like, that's what an old, solid friendship looks like.

Lars said, "In here, it doesn't matter if you're black or white, gay or straight, male or female, Catholic or Protestant, in here, the only religion is Punk Rock."


The audience was incredibly diverse, actually: people in their forties and fifties who've probably been following Rancid since the beginning, teenagers, even this kid who couldn't be more than 10 and was obviously at his first concert, all singing along. It was great.

Then we caught most of Rise Against. Tim talked to us about how we were all bonded together by a lot of punk rock (and giving a shit) and how we could always belong here.

At one point I looked out and saw Tim looking down as he sung, actually meeting eyes and singing TO people, and I thought "He's really LOOKING at the people in the audience." I always love that feeling you get when you realize that guy or girl on stage singing actually SEES you. I love artists who do that.

Three very different bands, but it was a lot of fun.

It's nice to like bands and have the confidence that they're really GOOD people.


Jun. 30th, 2010 08:57 am
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Last night I went to go see Cheri, based on the novel of the same name by Colette. (As well as the sequel La fin de Cheri.) It was very good - beautifully shot, gorgeous costumes, witty and heartbreaking dialogue, and the actors were superb. (Although I have to admit, Michelle Pfeiffer seemed to grow into the role as the movie went on. But by the end, she was wonderful.)

It was actually kind of depressing, even before the sucker punch ending that left the entire audience like this O_O

But it was one of those stories that is on one hand very entrenched in it's times (what mother would actively encourage her 19 year old son to have a love affair with a colleague of hers?) and one that is just as emotionally resonant as it was when it was written.

I definitely recommend it, although be advised that at times the pacing is slow. Not too slow for me, but too slow if you don't enjoy that kind of thing.
oritsu_luv: (Default)
Today I started reading 'Sunadokei' (lit. Hourglass) which is published in English as 'Sand Chronicles', by VIZ.

I'd been wanting to read it for a while, and waited until I could get the original Japanese to read it. I finally did and I'm glad I finally started. As a testament to the popularity of this story, it has been adapted as both a live action movie and a live action dorama.

After her parents divorce (her father had racked up huge debts and then taken off) An (Romanized as Ann in the English version) and her mother move in with her grandmother in the the small rural town where her mother grew up. Sunadokei follows An through her teenhood (volume one covers 12 - 14, two 15 -16 and then three is all 16) tracking her first loves and her friendships in the town.

So far it's a really well done series, and the first volume almost made me cry.

spoilers )

ETA: Just finished volume two!!

spoilers )

ETA 2: Finished volume 3!! I really love this series!


oritsu_luv: (Default)

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