strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

The Sunday Smooch: Lena Headey lovin’ July 29, 2007

Filed under: Sunday Smooch — andygrrrl @ 3:23 pm

Yeah, I’ve had a crush on Lena Headey for simply ages, ever since I saw Mrs. Dalloway.

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She’s perfect as Sally Seton, the object of Clarissa’s muddled and confused affections, smoking cigarettes and full of newfangled ideas. She gets naked too (on the way to the bath, but hey)! The kiss is played perfectly, just the right balance of sweetness and poignancy.

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The whole world might have turned upside down! The others disappeared; there she was alone with Sally.

And then Clarissa gets the bright idea to marry Richard Dalloway and spends the rest of her life wondering why she’s so bored.

I saw Headey next as Blanche Glover, Jennifer Ehle’s (swoon!) tragic lover in Possession.

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I’m actually jealous that she gets to pretend to be Jennifer Ehle’s lover, even though there’s no kissing. This is about as lovey as it gets:

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Jennifer Ehle’s character dumps her for self-involved poet Jeremy Northam (boo! hiss!), and Blanche pulls a Mary Wollstonecraft and drowns herself. As much as I hate the Tragic Lesbian stereotype, this was done pretty well. Although would it have killed them to have given us just an eensy smooch? I know A.S. Byatt would have had a conniption–she was so carefully coy about the nature of Blanche and Christabel’s relationship in the novel–but if they’re going to go all Hollywood on us anyway, cast Americans in the lead roles, why not a little kiss, huh?

So imagine how thrilled I was to hear that she was going to play Piper Perabo’s love interest in Imagine Me and You. There’s lots of kissing in this one:

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The boy gets dumped in this one! And nobody dies! There’s romantic rainstorms and declarations in the street!

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It’s a great date movie; don’t think about it too hard though, it’s a silly romantic comedy at the end of the day. And I think it’s about time we had our share of mindless romantic comedies.

(Kate Winslet, are you taking notes? I’ll be dealing with you next week).

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Here there be spoilers July 25, 2007

Filed under: books,myth — andygrrrl @ 10:50 am

Consider yourself warned (more…)

 

holy horcruxes July 22, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 3:42 pm

Back from my second viewing of Order of the Phoenix, and it just occured to me: living here is like being in a town entirely populated by Luna Lovegoods; it really is.

 

The Sunday Smooch

Filed under: books,dyke,movies,Sunday Smooch,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 9:56 am

Special Harry Potter Tribute Edition!

First up: Lesbo Vampire Smooching — Catharine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in The Hunger

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Shockingly enough, I have not seen this movie all the way through. I didn’t even get to the kissing! I rented it ages ago, during a college summer break, when I was still closeted to my family, so watching it involved alot of strategic planning and surreptitious viewing–we only have one TV in our house–so I’d watch a bit and switch it over to a sitcom whenever someone walked in. So, for various reasons, I never got to finish it. I will have to rectify that immediately.

And, because there is an appalling lack of crunchy dykes in the Potterverse, we’ll do Tara and Willow once more, with feeling:

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This episode always turns me into a puddle of mush.

Okay, that’s all for now, I gotta get back to the book, shit is seriously going down in Diagon Alley…!

 

quick ‘n’ dirty book blogging July 20, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 3:03 pm

Yes, in honor of Harry Potter. Yes, I am going to a release party tonight. Hey, I’ve never been to one before, I figure it’s my last chance.

So, here’s what I’ve been reading lately, in no particular order:

  • Good Omens — Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett.
  • I don’t know how two people write one book, but this one has the best of them both. Everything you’d expect from such a collaboration: witty as hell (pun intended), with a Monty Python sense of plotting, and characters with names like Anathema Device.

  • Marie Antoinette: The Journey — Antonia Frazier
  • Dude, it totally SUCKED to be the Queen of France. You get to stand there naked for a half an hour while the courtiers argue over who’s got precedence to hand you your underwear. You’re barely educated, married off at 14 to some complete dork you’ve never met, your entire existence not to mention the tenuous alliance of France and Austria rests on you producing an heir and a spare tout suite, oh, but your awkward boy husband refuses to sleep with you for seven years. Then you get scapegoated for all the ills of a government in which you have very little control. Yeah, she’s got the palaces and the fabulous clothes and the army of servants, but her entire life just crystalizes the position of women in patriarchy: royally fucked. The movie, by the way, is bizarre and wonderful.

  • The Priviledge of the Sword — Ellen Kushner
  • god, where was this book when I was 17? The third installment in the Swordspoint trilogy is rollicking good fun. Young, plucky heroine gets packed off to live with her mad uncle the Duke Tremontaine, who has her trained as a swordsman. Secrets, intrigue, debauchery, masked balls, a glamorous actress who entices the heroine (who has her eye on the Duke’s young manservant as well), duels, you name it. It’s like an Errol Flynn movie, if it were set in an alternate 18th century England where everybody is bisexual. Yum.

  • Still Life — A.S. Byatt
  • This would have been totally boring in anybody else’s hands, but Byatt somehow gets me interested in the artistic/existential crises of middle-class Brits in the 50s. Ambitious, brainy Frederica is the character that intrigues me most, she’s just itching for The Feminine Mystique to hit the book stores. As it is she forgoes a career in academia for life as a journalist. I’m looking forward to following her in the next three books about her family.

  • Fragile Things— Neil Gaiman
  • I know, I’m such a fangrrrl, but he never ceases to amaze me. Put it this way: I’d rather read a mediocre story by Neil Gaiman than a good story by someone else, because even his less-successful stuff is so original and intriguing. It’s hard to pick out my favorites from this collection; but I’ll go with “A Study in Emerald”, which blew me away. It’s Sherlock Holmes crossed with H.P. Lovecraft. No, really. And it works. Although I am a little distressed at the fact that I seem to be the only one who gets the twist at the end. “Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desire,” for the title alone, but it’s a cheeky take on genre fiction too.  “The Problem of Susan” is a stinging retort to C.S. Lewis’ treatment of his characters.  And any one who loved American Gods, like me, will enjoy “The Monarch of the Glen”, and finding out what Shadow’s up to now.

Still working on (and enjoying) the stories in Gigi; I wish I didn’t read French so slowly, but at least I can finally read it for real. I won’t be finishing it any time soon, however, because I get my copy of Deathly Hallows tomorrow!! So if there will be any blogging in the near future, it will probably be about you-know-who. Fair warning.

 

Recent adventures in the Great Outdoors July 19, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — andygrrrl @ 4:25 pm

(post title totally ripped off from Aphra)

Shocking, I know, but like far too many pagans I don’t get out much. Of course, this time of year, “getting out” means a bad sunburn and heat exhaustion in 100+ temperatures. But still, I’ve always been the cerebral type, more inclined to pick up a book in my spare time than go rock climbing.

So during my visit home I decided to stop being such a couch potato. Out here in the red desert, I’ve missed the rivers and woods and rolling hills of my native state. I wanted to get out as much as possible during my visit, soak it all up.

The first opportunity I had, I went to my favorite place, the state park near my parent’s home. When I was a child it was an enchanted forest, and those hiking trails could easily take me into the territory of cross-dressing wolves and cannibalistic old women. It’s still magical to me. It’s nothing special, in photogenic terms I guess–certainly not compared to the majestic panoramas of the Southwest–but that can be so overbearing, after a point. I didn’t realize how much I missed trees–seemingly endless acres of towering oaks and maples and hickory. I’ve learned to appreciate the stark, minimalist beauty out here, but I think at heart I’m fundamentally a forest dweller.  Endless skies and horizons make me anxious (I’m sure that says something about my psychology); I need the comforting, cradled feeling of hills and mountains.

And then I went spelunking.

Isn’t that just the best damn word in the entire world? Spelunking. So fun to say. I spelunked! With my Brazillian Sister; I went to Nearby Midwestern College Town, and she and her husband took me to a local cave, the entrance to a subterranean river. It goes for miles, underground, but you can only explore for about a hundred yards before the water deepens and you need gear–and experience!–to go further. But we wore headlamps and crawled all around, up into a little niche. I’ve never been in a real cave before; I was equal parts thrilled and terrified. I hate the dark, and it was of course pitch-black, and chilly, and damp. It was amazing too. And primeaval; so cold, compared to the humid warmth above, that it really struck me–can you imagine how freezing it must have been, being a prehistoric human during the Ice Age, that living in a cave seemed like a great idea? And so intensely ancient. Part of me wished I was alone, to sit and meditate. Caves are so important in mythology and pagan spirituality–the womb of Gaia, the yonic symbolism, the gates to the underworld, liminal spaces, sites of initiation and ritual.  And part of me was very glad I wasn’t alone; I was hardly prepared to go alone into the dark and deal with that kind of experience. As it was, I got thoroughly covered in mud (can’t remember the last time I had muddy elbows!) and had a great time.

Then, for the last few days of my visit, we went to the lake, me, my parents, and two sets of aunts and uncles. More trees and hills, half swallowed by the lake when they dammed the river in the 30s. I never realized how very wierd this lake is; the shore is essentially the tops of huge hills and low mountains, poking out of the water. There’s a whole town at the bottom, drowned to provide electricity to the region. It’s beautiful, all the same, despite the over-development and innumerable fish-and-ski boats droning past. Polluted as all get-out, I bet, but it was water. Lots of deep, cool water, which I’d always taken for granted before–there’s always been rivers and creeks and ponds and lakes, everywhere you turn practically, my whole life, until now. I just feel better, somehow, with water nearby.

So I floated on a raft all day long, reading Good Omens (the perfect antidote to Catholic relatives complaining about their kids not going to mass and not saving themselves until marriage and how divorce is selfish), luxuriating in not having anything to do. And then I got a nasty sunburn all down my front, and about ten bug bites on my ass, and decided that this whole nature thing is over-rated and I should become a Buddhist.

Flying back to the desert, I decided this place looks exactly like Mars, if Mars had suburban sprawl. The major airport is located in what I think of as Sci-Fi Metropolis, because it seems to be straight out of a Ray Bradbury novel. But, I realized, if it wasn’t for the humans, building on top of everything and insisting on golf courses in a land where there’s no such thing as grass, this place would be just as magical as home. It still is, in its laid-back psychedic way. It’s all Fire and Air, intensely elemental in a way that home isn’t. Which is why I find it so difficult adapting out here, I suppose. If you look at my natal chart, I’m all fire and air signs, Libra, Sagittarius, Leo; so I need a more Earthy, Water environment to help me feel balanced. I still don’t know why the Universe stuck me out here. Goddess has a funny sense of humor. But I’m certainly learning from this landscape.

 

The Sunday Smooch July 15, 2007

Filed under: dyke,life,Sunday Smooch,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 9:15 am

Okay, so everybody “knows” now. (did I mention that my mother has 10 siblings? And that I have 38 cousins, all of whom I know relatively well?) It’s been a long weekend.

I think this calls for some Willow and Tara.

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It’s kind of ironic that I owe the only depiction of witchy lesbians to a Straight White Male (not even the L Word, as far as I know, has decided to incorporate some cruncy Goddess-worshippers).