Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Today's "23" headline

Yesterday I told a friend about the 23 Enigma and novelist Tom Robbins' habit of listening to the radio for the number 23 in a news headline before he'd get out of bed on a particularly bad day (makes you wonder what, exactly, constitutes a bad day for Robbins).

Anyway, I decided to start scoping for 23 headlines and here is one for today:
23 Retail Stores Closing.

I Wuz Tagged! Now You're It!

Chas Clifton over at Letters From Hardscrabble Creek tagged me, so how can I refuse?

It's this fun bookish meme I have seen but not tried yet.

Here is the challenge:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Because of the layout of the book (Metaphysical Media: The Occult Experience in Popular Culture by Emily Edwards), the fifth sentence spills over onto the following page. The next three sentences happen to be about one of my favorite films:

"With its 'once upon a time' opening, the film Chocolat (2000) seems to evoke a fairy-tale magic, but its sentiments are largely New Age. A single mother, Avienne (Juliette Binoche), arrives in a small French village to open up her chocolate shop during Lent, a season of soul-searching, repentance, and self-denial. Avienne uses an ancient Mayan recipe (unrefined cacao with a pinch of chili) to unlock hidden yearnings and reveal the destinies of the customers bold enough to enter a chocolate shop during Lent."

I tag Bo, John, Luna, Hecate, and Jade.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My favorite new film website...

A gent named Neil Young (but apparently not, you know, THAT Neil Young) has a lovely website of film reviews, essays and top ten lists that is simply divine. Check him out.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Okay, count me among the unrepentant ten percent...

This provocative article from cites a survey done by the Pew Foundation which says at least half of all Americans change religion from what they're raised with. One interesting finding quoted is that roughly ten percent of ALL Americans are ex-Catholics!

But no corresponding figures for what they are now.

Since the majority of pagans I know are actually ex-Catholics...hmmm...and since the article mentions a number of religious affiliations but does not mention paganism...

I am gonna go out on a limb here and say the study was not terribly interested in New Religious Movements.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Field of Clover

I finally saw this film over the weekend. It was surprisingly good. Normally I don't like horror films with big monsters but the nature of this beast was completely unexplained. The film had no interest in offering a reason for why it appeared, what it what, where it came from or why it was hell-bent on destroying New York City. I kind of liked that it was really just focused on a small group of people trying to survive.

One pretentious ass in front of us said loudly, just as the film ended and the opening credits began, "You've got to be kidding me!" Another kid on his way out of the theatre kept saying "I need closure!" But Todd and I thought it was great and that the ending was very satisfying. We wondered if the people complaining somehow missed the opening, where text on the screen makes it clear the video footage has been recovered from a location "formerly known as Central Park." I may have missed where some opening text actually said "Cloverfield" but I am guessing that is the current name for the area, after the apocalypse. Nice to know nature reclaimed the area after the decimation--it at least stayed green.

Great title.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Broken Love

Broken Love
Originally uploaded by Auntie P

I just thought this was a gorgeous photo, and suitable for the Valentine's Day week which inspires such feelings of ambivalence, memories of loves lost and gained, remembered and forgotten...

I love old cemeteries and tombstones, especially broken ones for some reason.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wolf love

Not sure I agree with this, but this website opines that the origin of Valentine's Day is actually the Roman festival Lupercalia.

I have heard numerous times that Imbolc is in fact derived from Lupercalia (my own coven includes an invocation of Pan and a ritualized mutual scourging the High Priest and the coveners), but not this conection...

(The image is a painting by Jon Foster.)

Steampunk Dreams

Dances of Vice was interesting. I'd love to check out their monthly event some time. This past weekend's 2-day festival was held in two venues. I attended the second night, and the space was problematic. It was huge with a gallery floor/balcony above the main one...but the gallery areas were so small and crowded, with vendor's tables and people, that it was a constant mash of people squeezing past each other. Since half the point of the event is the fabulous costumes, these conditions made it hard to be able to appreciate everyone's finery.

Plus, it was almost impossible to see the musical performers. The stage was not raised, making it impossible to see them from the first floor level unless you were in front of everyone else, and there was a huge cloth banner hanging from the ceiling, which also made it impossible to see them from the second floor balcony (again, unless you were in front). Rasputina was awesome, however, and thank goodness the sound system was excellent.

I saw some lovely vintage ensembles: Victorian, flapper, fetish, goth, and the odd fashion phenom known as Steampunk (for which there was a costume prize category, along with Best Victorian Lady/Gentleman, Best Fantasy, and others). The main components seem to be WWI doughboy-style jumpsuits or jodphurs, flight goggles and helmets, and anything looking like it might have once been part of a flying machine. I am not familiar with the comics or other ephemera which have spawned this movement, but it seems to fit in with the other demimonde looks very well. Rosanna and I wore vintage chinoiserie! The only examples of it I saw there, which was nice, as it is obviously pertinent to the period theme as we got approving nods from our fellow party-goers...and she got some nice compliments on hers, since it was a striking black on white design that stood out amidst the sea of dark colors...

Todd had a silk Chinese dressing gown to wear but opted not to, wanting to be warm in the cold weather...he was not alone in not getting "dressed up" but he did not stand out like some did, in their sloppy jeans and comfy shoes. At least he wore black and leather!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Lady, The Unicorn and the Apple

This weekend my sweetie and I are off to New York, to visit my friend Rosanna (with whom I visited the Cloisters in November), with whom we will attend the Dances of Vice festival with performances by several bands, including Rasputina! It will be lovely to visit Manhattan in late winter...especially since it has been warm this week. I hope there are still some lights in Central Park at Tavern on the Green...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Poems for the Endless Days of Winter

In honor of Imbolc, some February-themed poetry...May Brigid's powers of creativity light your way through the dormant cold weeks to come...

A Calendar of Sonnets (February)

Still lie the sheltering snows, undimmed and white;
And reigns the winter's pregnant silence still;
No sign of spring, save that the catkins fill,
And willow stems grow daily red and bright.
These are days when ancients held a rite
Of expiation for the old year's ill,
And prayer to purify the new year's will.

- Helen Hunt Jackson

A Year's Carols (February)

Wan February with weeping cheer,
Whose cold hand guides the youngling year
Down misty roads of mire and rime,
Before thy pale and fitful face
The shrill wind shifts the clouds apace
Through skies the morning scarce may climb.
Thine eyes are thick with heavy tears,
But lit with hopes that light the year's.

- Algernon Charles Swinburne

A Winter Piece

Come when the rains
Have glazed the snow and clothed the trees with ice,
While the slant sun of February pours
Into the bowers a flood of light. Approach!
The incrusted surface shall upbear thy steps
And the broad arching portals of the grove
Welcome thy entering.

- William Cullen Bryant

and one of my favorites...

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

- Wallace Stevens