if you're reading this

Aug. 17th, 2017 08:28 am
tielan: (AVG - maria)
[personal profile] tielan
The world is a trash fire right now. And even if you stay out of the flames, the smoke is still pretty deadly.

Stay safe and don't forget to self-care.

(This may include limiting news intake and taking meds. By all means decide on what news intake you can handle, but from someone who lives with a med-taker, seriously, TAKE YOUR MEDS.)

like I need more bunnies

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:54 pm
tielan: Wonder Woman (WW - bracelets)
[personal profile] tielan
...I really want to write a Bruce/Diana/Lois/Clark sedoretu, dammit...

Or I want someone to write it for me. But I am not the kind of person that people write things for, so I end up writing it myself.
beatrice_otter: Vader and Leia (Vader and Leia)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
I bought a vid at the Vividcon Auction, from the lovely and talented [personal profile] grammarwoman! My music tastes are eclectic and nonstandard (basically, everything BUT modern popular pop/rock and modern country--it's not that I don't like them, it's that it all tends to blend together and sound the same), and I don't vid, which means there are a lot of songs that I think would make AWESOME fanvids that I know nobody will ever make, sigh.  (Okay, some of them might get made.  I'm actually surprised that nobody's done a Spock vid to The Logical Song by Supertramp, or a Goa'uld vid to Jeepers Creepers by Louis Armstrong.  Others ... I might think a werewolf vid to the old Big Band classic "Moonlight Becomes You So" would be hilarious, but I doubt anybody else would think it was funny enough to spend the time and effort to make, particularly given that it's a slow song and most vids are done to upbeat/fast songs.)

Anyway, I have a number vid ideas that will never get made if I don't pay someone else to do it, and so I'm always on the lookout for vid auctions featuring vidders offering those sources that I think would do a creditable job with the idea.  Which is how I bidded on (and ended up winning) [personal profile] grammarwoman's services to make a Star Wars fanvid to that old American Civil War hit, "That's What's the Matter."  And she did a really great job, and the vid is SO FUNNY.  You have to go see.

Title: That's What's the Matter
Source: Star Wars movies (Rogue One, Episodes IV-VII)
Music: "That's What's the Matter", Stephen Foster
Vid Download Link: 183 MB m4v file at Sendspace (If you'd like it in a different format, let me know.)

AO3 link.
DW link.

Summary: The Empire would have gotten away with it, too, if it hadn't been for those meddling Rebels and incompetent Imperial officers.
beatrice_otter: Me in red--face not shown (Default)
[personal profile] beatrice_otter
Every year, Uncanny Magazine does a special "Destroy Science Fiction!" issue. (Women Destroy Science Fiction! Queers Destroy Science Fiction! People of Color Destroy Science Fiction!") This year, it's "Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction!"

The issue itself isn't out yet, but many of the personal essays about disability and science fiction are available for free on the Kickstarter page. They're all good, and you should totally check them out.  Here are some of my faves:

K.C. Alexander, We Are Not Your Backstories:
Science fiction shapes generations—how we think, the way we act. It influences the careers we choose and our thirst for knowledge. It cautions against the worst of our impulses, and quietly teaches us empathy. Without knowing it, we are slowly acclimated to people and beliefs that live outside our rigid monocultures.
A.T. Greenblatt, The Stories We Find Ourselves In:
So, I'll let you in on a secret, the thing I've learned about having a life-long disability, the thing that lots of stories never quite grasp: The real trick, the true solution to a disability, is to find a balance between your abilities and your goals.
Michael Merriam, We Are Not Daredevil. Except When We Are Daredevil:
I live in this world. I can't toss my white cane aside when I need to spring into action: the cane goes with me everywhere. I travel around my city on public transportation. My other senses are not supernaturally sharper because I am blind. I simply pay better attention to those other senses. It's a learned skill. I live within my blindness every day, and I want to read about fictional characters who also live with and within their blindness.

 

Marissa Lingen, Malfunctioning Space Stations:
I have a major balance disorder. When I am awake and able to use all my senses, I can reason out the vertical. If you make me close my eyes, I can still get it to within about five degrees of the correct answer if I'm sitting still on a firm surface. If I’ve got a squishy surface, motion, or other things confusing my senses, doubtful. Asleep? All bets are off. I literally do not know which way is up.

Since I have read and written science fiction for decades, what my sleeping brain knows to do with this much disorientation is to process it into a malfunctioning space station. And so I dream. Occasionally my dreams veer into carnival rides, roller coasters, giant swooping swings. But that is someone else's genre. This is mine.

H. Ace Ratcliff, Nihil de Nobis, Sine Nobis:
I narrowly avoided the temptation to throw my Kindle and watch the book shatter into a million plastic pieces. If it had been a printed paperback, I’m positive I would be able to show you the dent in the wall. “For the record,” I tweeted out to the hashtags The Expanse was using, “you can be a fucking Valkyrie in a goddamn wheelchair.” I can assure you that any human with the wherewithal, sheer willpower, and pain tolerance to put her skeleton back into place on an hourly basis absolutely deserves a place in any mythological pantheon.
Day Al-Mohamed, The Stories We Tell and the Amazon Experiment:
As an example, I once asked a room full of authors what their response would be if I asked them to make the protagonist in their current Work-in-Progress a woman – most nodded, yesses were heard around the room. Then I asked if they could make their character a person of color – again, nods around the room. Then I asked if they would make the character disabled – silence. The discomfort was palpable. In theory diversity and disability was great to include in fiction but when it came to implementation, they couldn’t easily connect disability with their protagonist. They had trouble adjusting to the practical reality of disability existing outside of the boxes they knew. This is why 134 stories on Amazon could be broken down into five story categories.
Ada Hoffman, Everything Is True: A Non-Neurotypical Experience with Fiction:
When I read #ownvoices autistic characters, I often think the authors have had that same feeling. Many of these characters have devoted family, friends, romantic partners, even when the world at large is awful to them. Most of them first have to overcome a broken relationship with themselves. To learn to believe that they're worthy as they are.

With autistic characters written by NT authors, it often feels like everyone is tired of their shit from the start.

You don't have to be tough. People sometimes say things like, "If you can be discouraged from writing, you should be," and use that as a way to justify being unkind to people who are tender. I don't think it's meant as a cudgel against disabled people specifically, but it can function as one. If you doubt your abilities, if you are sometimes crushed, if you feel like an impostor—that's fine. It's normal. If only tough people wrote stories, then we'd only have their perspectives, and we would lose all the things other people—you—have to offer.
Haddayr Copley-Woods, Move Like You're From Thra, My People:
I was glad I didn’t have this unfortunate internalized disableism stilling my movements, but I didn’t know why I’d found it so easy to make the switch until I sat down with my little boys to watch The Dark Crystal, which I hadn’t watched in decades.

I didn’t know. It took my breath away. The reason why I am fine with moving like this, the reason I am fine with people staring and why I love myself this way, is because of The Dark Crystal.

 

The issue is more than fully funded, right now they're adding content left and right as more people pledge, and if they get to $45k (they're at $39,425 with 9 days left to go) they'll do a hardcopy of it for supporters pledging $50 or more.

ahahaha

Aug. 16th, 2017 08:52 am
tielan: (aussie aussie aussie)
[personal profile] tielan
Apparently I am more Australian than our Deputy Prime Minister, who has automatic NZ citizenship thanks to his parentage and some very flexible NZ citizenship laws.

In breathtaking irony, he's the kind of person who thinks people like me are "the problem with racism in Australia".

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

A clip by SBS Viceland played on this so hard, it was wonderful: A Message From Australians Who Look A Bit Foreign.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
King Porter Stomp

Jelly Roll Morton - "King Porter Stomp" 1924
Benny Goodman and his All Stars- "King Porter Stomp" 1935
Pat Williams- "King Porter Stomp" 1968
Manhattan Transfer - "Stomp of King Porter" 1997
Wynton Marsalis - "King Porter Stomp" 1999

Women in Jazz

Billie Holliday- "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Take the A Train"
Mary Lou Williams with Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy - "Mary's Idea"
Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swinging Seven - "Evil Gal Blues"
Terri Lyne Carrington - "Mosaic Triad"

Jazz as Concert Music

Miles Davis- "So What"
Charlie Parker - "Ornithology"
Thelonious Monk w. John Coltrane "Bye-Ya"
Dizzy Gillespie - "Salt Peanuts"

Modern Jazz

The Bad Plus- "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Esperanza Spalding - "Endangered Species"
Vijay Iyer - "Optimism"
Ikue Mori - "Invisible "Fingers"
Matana Roberts "Pov Piti" from Coin Coin vol. 1

(no subject)

Aug. 15th, 2017 05:00 pm
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Worldcon, as mentioned, was something of a mixed bag. Helsinki itself was great, but the con had ups and downs.

I got in Monday afternoon and spent the afternoon holed up in my hotel room torn between a strong desire to start exploring and a brutal jetlag exhaustion. Exhaustion won, but I managed to stay awake in a stupor long enough to knock myself into the right time zone for Tuesday.

Tuesday I went on a con-organized bike tour of Helsinki. Helsinki has a billion to one scale model of the solar system scattered through the city and we set out to go from the sun to Pluto. The total ride including getting to the sun and getting back to return the bikes was about 25 miles, by far the longest bike ride I've ever done, and it was amazing. The views of the city we got were stunning, the treasure hunt aspect of finding the planets was a lot of fun, and I got to meet a variety of Worldcon members who I stayed in touch with throughout the con.

Subsequently I took advantage of Helsinki's city bike program to borrow bikes for shorter trips, mostly to-and-from the hotel and the convention center. Helsinki is full of bike lanes and people seem to be using them quite a lot. My hotel was about a 3/4 mile walk to the con... not a walk I minded doing, but it was much faster doing it on bike.

Wednesday morning, worried about undercurrents of uncertainty about lines for registration, I got to the con early... and was in and out with my badge in five minutes. Registration: Well managed, never the problem, unlike at Loncon where lines to get badges were over an hour in length for quite a while. Left at odds until the con started in the afternoon, I schlepped down to central Helsinki, prowled the streets for a while admiring the architecture and the trees, visited the Ateneum national art gallery (Finnish art has such an unsettlingly beautiful aesthetic!) and got lunch at the only kosher restaurant in Finland.

Then I headed back to the con, caught the opening ceremony, and then spent a few hours failing to get into panels. It turns out this Worldcon got a lot more people than expected, than they had space for, and than they had programming for. Particularly on Wednesday and Thursday, if you wanted to get into panels, you had to show up most of an hour before the panel started and get on line. This meant that you basically had to alternate panels and queueuing rather than being able to go to a panel every hour. It was frustrating. As time developed, they added more programming space and repeated some popular panels, and at the same time, people got a better sense for how long to wait for a panel, so the lines got better, though it remained a challenge all weekend to ensure you actually got into panels you were interested in. This was frustrating even though I didn't really care all that much about missing most of the panels, because other people were and it made everyone's time management much more finicky. It was a lot harder to make plans to hang out with people when they needed to budget not just an hour for that panel they wanted to see, but also the hour before for line waiting. I got a lot of my hanging out with friends time at Worldcon done waiting on lines for panels I didn't even want to see, because it seemed like a better use of my time than waiting alone on lines for panels that sounded more interesting to me personally.

After a bit of line waiting, I went to the FFA meetup, which was a better use of my time. Things said under the seal of FFA meetup are protected by privilege, but it was fun to meet FFA people from all over the world and we hung out for several hours avoiding panels and then stayed on line together for an ultimately disappointing panel on Pirate Erotica.

Thursday I skipped the con in the morning and instead met [personal profile] ambyr and her friends for a tour of the Helsinki synagogue. In the afternoon, I missed the chance to attend a panel on Golems ([personal profile] ambyr reassured me it wasn't very good), caught a panel on the history of fandom that did the usual stuff about Worldcon I and the Exclusion Acts but then swung over to an interesting and somewhat novel survey of the early history of Nordic fandom, saw a disjointed but compelling panel on diaspora writing with Zen Cho, Ken Liu, Liu Cixin, and Israeli editor Ehud Maimon, listened to Jeff Vandermeer do an excellent job of interviewing Johanna Sinisalo and drawing out her literary themes and structures. Then I caught up with [personal profile] ambyr and her friend and we got on line for the clipping concert.

clipping was so great! Daveed Diggs has incredible charisma and the lyrics are so densely clever and so intensely science fictional both in the sense of being preoccupied with technology and in the sense of being about estrangement, to borrow the theme of the Worldcon academic track. There was, however, this to-be-expected tension between hip hop culture and SF fan culture at the concert, made even deeper by con staff's refusal to remove the chairs from the concert hall. Diggs encouraged everyone to make into aisles and non-chair laden spaces in order to dance, which we did, but that only reinforced the way the concert had been artificially limited in scale by an inappropriate venue. More hilariously, when Diggs asked the room "Who here's from Helsinki?" and got a couple of polite hands raised, he doubled over laughing and then said "Let me explain something to you: At a hip hop concert, when someone mentions the place you're from, you're expected to make noise at the top of your lungs." The very premise of a hip hop concert at an SF con in Helsinki seemed fundamentally culturally mismatched, but it was a spectacular show that I'm so grateful to have seen even in its weird context.


Friday morning, I did the Stroll with the Stars constitutional with Guest of Honor Walter John Williams and Lawrence Schoen, then attended the Business Meeting. After contentious debate, the business meeting ratified the unnamed Young Adult award and approved the name Lodestar pending reratification by San Jose.

After the Business Meeting I was pretty peopled out. I went back to my hotel room for lunch and then was so zombied out that I decided to skip going back to the con in favor of chilling out in my room watching sitcoms and cheesy action movies until the Hugo Awards.

The Hugo Awards were fun to attend, though the ceremony dragged on a tad too long because of the decision to include the awarding of the Seiun (Japanese fandom awards) and Atorox (Finnish fandom awards) as part of the ceremony. It was a nice thought to internationalize the ceremony but in practice it didn't really give those awards the attention they deserved and made the Hugos run long. N.K. Jemisin won the Best Novel Hugo again (well deserved IMO, it was the top of my ballot), Ursula Vernon gave a delightfully ridiculous speech about whale fall, and the Puppies weren't even really able to mar the joy of the ceremony at all this time.

Saturday morning, I once again attended the Stroll with the Stars, with the always entertaining Scott Edelman as the star. (Helsinki totally half-assed Stroll with the Stars, which is usually a favorite part of the con for me. Past Worldcons have gotten more than just a single 'star' for the walk, and have had locals to guide the walk to introduce visitors to parts of the city they otherwise might have missed. The walks in Chicago took us through parts of Grant Park and other highlights of downtown Chicago. In London we got some walks along the Thames. In Helsinki, in addition to getting far lower attendance, the organizers didn't even bother to go along with us on the walk, leaving a bunch of visitors to Helsinki to navigate on their own.) Then I went to the business meeting again, where the Best Series Hugo became a thing after much argument. I was pretty peopled out after this, too, so maybe 'peopled' out shouldn't be the term I use so much as 'angry at the world because of the business meeting', but I went to various panels all afternoon anyway, including a panel on Netflix Marvel shows that was largely dissecting the many, many problems with Iron Fist, a panel on the trend to more SF being translated into English, and a panel on the way digital distribution was potentially going to force the Hugos to rethink some of its categories, one of these days. I otherwise hung around the convention talking to people, skipped the masquerade but caught some of Sassafras's Norse eddas-themed halftime show, and then went back to my hotel for the night.

Sunday I did Stroll with the Stars a last time, met up with [personal profile] liv and [personal profile] jack for a far too short ten minutes, then headed to the airport to go home.


I met a lot of awesome people, had a great time in Helsinki, and there were some really cool things at the Con. But the lines were a serious damper on the fun and I hope future Worldcons will be able to do better at managing crowd sizes..

weekend and monday

Aug. 15th, 2017 08:36 am
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
[personal profile] tielan
I ended up staying home today as well. Sat in the sun. Snoozed for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Surfed the internet in the afternoon. Finished an assignment.

Read up quite a lot about Charlottesville and the responses from Christian leaders who haven't sold their soul to nationalism over evangelism:

Two from the Auburn Seminary:
Will Christian America Pick Up Its Cross?
Every word of every book in the scripture was written by a person who was colonized or under threat of colonization by empire. The good news of The Bible must be considered good news to the colonized!

What I Saw In Charlottesville
The courage of the clergy present inspired me. In public gatherings and in private conversations before Saturday, participating clergy were warned that there was a high possibility of suffering bodily harm. A group of clergy (pictured below) walked arm-in-arm into the very center of the storm, so to speak, delaying entry to the park as they stood, sang, and kneeled. (Lisa Sharon Harper shares her reflections here.) This symbolic act took a great deal of courage, and many who did so were spat on, subjected to slurs and insults, and exposed to tear gas. I hold them in the highest regard.


Even Tim Keller has something to say:
Race, The Gospel, and the Moment
First, Christians should look at the energized and emboldened white nationalism movement, and at its fascist slogans, and condemn it—full stop. No, “But on the other hand.”


--

In Australia, the government has decided to waste $122million (estimated) on a survey of whether same-sex marriage should be legal. It's a survey because it's non-binding and non-mandatory vote. (A 'plebiscite' is a non-binding, mandatory vote on a constitutional matter, and a 'referendum' is a binding, mandatory vote on a constitutional matter. Aren't you glad I told you?)

*facepalm*

The most godly Christian response to the whole situation that I have yet seen has been given by someone who wasn't even on my radar in Australian Christianity. But it encapsulates everything that I wanted to say about what's going on and how Christians are reacting/behaving.

Hey Christians, Watch Out For That Plebiscite

As per usual, it is advisable not to read the comments.

--

In 1939, I didn’t hear war coming. Now its thundering approach can’t be ignored... by Harry Leslie Smith, survivor and soldier of WWII.

--

I know most of you are here for the fic and the giggles, and I imagine that you're a little pissed off that I'm putting up links about politics and faith. Fair enough.

Truthfully, I'm just having a perfect storm of real-world issues relevant to my interests as a Christian, as an Australian-born Australian of Chinese descent, as the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants and refugees, and as a woman.

Mother of Exiles

Aug. 11th, 2017 05:22 pm
jadelennox: Wendy from the middleman: "I save the world in my own way." (middleman: wendy saving the world)
[personal profile] jadelennox
I wrote a poem. It is extremely fetid, alas. I was having some politics and genealogy angst I couldn't get out otherwise.

Mother of Exiles )
historical notes )

Now here's a good poem: "In Exile," by Emma Lazarus.

In Exile )

(no subject)

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:27 pm
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Vividcon in general was an amazing time. Highlights were pretty much as predicted- I had a lot of fun doing my jazz panel, which I've separately written up. Premieres was full of beautiful and smart vids. Club Vivid was wonderful, and dancing to my vid was a high I may never come down from. My Shabbos dinner was terrific, with the lovely company of [personal profile] kass, [personal profile] roga, [personal profile] bironic, and [personal profile] ride_4ever. Playing a half-orc bard in [personal profile] jetpack_monkey's D&D game was a blast. And hanging out with so many awesome fans and talking about vids and fandoms all weekend was wonderful. I'm really going to miss Vividcon after next year.


Favorite Vids from the con (but there were so many others beyond these that I liked)

-[personal profile] gwyn's Star Wars vid Battleflag, which jumps from era to era beautifully telling a story of fighting for what you believe in against great odds.

-[personal profile] cherry's Thor vid Monsters of the Cosmos, which okay, I HATE the Symphony of Science because I think it fetishizes science, stripping away all the hard work and controversy and pretends like science is something inherently and unambiguously beautiful, emerging from these lone genius scientists for whom the beauty of the cosmos just magically unfolds.

And I'm frustrated with Thor because of its science-as-magic ethos, which only rarely the movie lets Jane Foster do battle with.

So the idea that I love Monsters of the Cosmos astounds me, but it's such a brilliant mashup of different kinds of fake science, and the way it centers Jane's journey is wonderful. Like, in Thor I, Jane is searching for evidence of an Einstein-Rosen bridge, a theoretical mathematical model of the interaction of exotic particles and relativity. In finding that it's real, she instead of getting entangled in the physics finds herself entangled with the literal monsters of the cosmos. It's like she gets swallowed up by something that should have just been a metaphor, while the song is elliding the fact that the idea of monsters is just a metaphor. The song says "Truth is stranger than scifi," and this is the kind of line that in my opinion has no place in a serious conversation about science, but it's the world Jane inhabits!

It's such a brilliant combination and the timing and arrangement of the visuals is stunning.

-[personal profile] dar_vidder's Harry Potter vid "The Tale of the Three Brothers", part of a yet further extended set of Harry Potter vids to Fantasia that I have not had a chance to fully watch yet. But this piece is gorgeous and grounds the whole Harry Potter series in a saga that goes back much farther and reaches much deeper than Harry's experiences, centering Dumbledore as the man who digs up ancient and powerful magicks that end up exacting a heavy toll on the lost boys around him.

-[personal profile] pipsqueaky's Keanu Reeves multivid Incredible Thoughts, about all the deep thoughts that much be going on behind Keanu Reeves's blank face. Brilliantly hilarious.

-[personal profile] sisabet's New Girl vid Wake Me Up Before You Go Go because it lets Schmidt be a total douchebag and Cece be a total bitch and still takes them seriously and celebrates their undying love for each other.

-[personal profile] anoel's Star Wars vid Carry that Weight even though I'm not capable of coming up with the words to explain how amazing it is, how it celebrates Leia and Rey, and Carrie Fisher and Daisy Johnson, and appreciates how significant they are as focal points of female pride, and yet they also reflect a fundamental failure to center women's stories in the SF we consume. I love how the end of the vid widens the scope.

-[personal profile] sweetestdrain's Harry Potter vid Blackbird, which overlaps significantly with [personal profile] chaila's amazing "I am the one who will remember everything" in terms of source footage used, but which by moving more linearly presents the clear and stunning image of McGonagall as a woman on a mission.

-[personal profile] grammarwoman's Star Wars vid "That's What's the Matter" (not yet online that I can see), which uses a Union song from the US Civil War to snark at the Imperials so cleverly.

-[personal profile] bessyboo's Ghostbuster's vid Light 'Em Up from Club Vivid, for so much exciting Ghostbusting action.

-[personal profile] sisabet and [personal profile] trelkez's Thor vid "Tubthumping" (Not yet online that I can see), so delightfully over the top.

-[personal profile] jetpack_monkey's Wuxia multifandom vid Uptown Funk, capturing the tropes and the balletic joy of the genre.

-[personal profile] pi's multifandom older women vid Worth It, proving that writing this post in one sitting has exhausted me because I have lots of feels about this vid but nothing to say except Watch it.




Now I am in Helsinki for Worldcon. Worldcon is more of a mixed bag, but mostly I'm having a great time in Helsinki.
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
[personal profile] tielan
observations from a tipless restaurant (part 1)
A certain small number of very vocal men (and it was always men who were vocal about it) resented that we were not letting them try to exercise additional control over our team members. This was true even though compelling research has shown that servers do not adjust quality of service as a result of tips; instead the idea that the restaurant was not offering our servers up as objects of control, was heresy. For these people, the primary service they wanted from the restaurant was the opportunity to pay for favors from the server — much like the patron at a strip club pays the club for the opportunity to dangle bills in front a dancer for individual attention. The idea that a restaurant could legitimately want to be in a different business than a strip club, was not an idea these guests could countenance.
You should read through all the parts and the postscript, because it's really an insight into the American psyche as well as an exploration of the illogicity of tipping.

Now I want a study about tipping in Australia vs. tipping in America, what it means and how it operates in comparison to the things that he looked at in his article...

i hate work

Aug. 8th, 2017 10:24 am
tielan: Wonder Woman (Default)
[personal profile] tielan
I spent all of yesterday trying to debug a program that wasn't working the way it should - wasn't even getting me to the preliminary stage, after which i could do some code adjustments.

This morning, I realised that, because of the way the system is set up, the customer's buyer details may be different to the shipping destination details may be different from the billing department details, and the program that I've been trying to get working is trying to send an email to the billing department of a company which doesn't have an email address for that billing department, although the company itself has a contact email address...

Sometimes the job is sisyphean; sometimes it's just torturous. Either way, today is going to be long and unpleasant.
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Because I am perverse, I structured my vidding panel around the reasons why you shouldn't vid jazz music. I had come up with a pretty good list of reasons before the panel:


-unstructured 'songs', not necessarily verse-chorus-verse-chorus
-many different versions of songs, no 'canonical' expected version from audience
-audience not as familiar with the music as with pop songs
-vidder not as familiar with the music as with pop songs
-sounds old-fashioned
-Can be hard to follow the melody
-syncopation/swing makes tricky rhythms to cut to
-Songs often much longer than typical vids
-concern to be sensitive about jazz as an African-American music and avoiding racism/appropriation
-not a lot of female musicians visible in the genre/misogyny in the music


The audience agreed that yes, these were all good reasons not to vid to jazz. We considered adjourning the panel right there. Instead, I tried to play a variety of kinds of jazz music to illustrate some ideas I had about how to overcome these problems. I didn't manage to mention all of my ideas in the panel, so these notes will constitute both an attempt to summarize what we talked about at the panel and an attempt to restructure the panel retrospectively so that it conforms more closely to its platonic ideal form.


The first set of music I played was five version of Jelly Roll Morton's classic jazz melody "King Porter Stomp." Composed in honor of his friend and fellow pianist Porter King in the early 1900s and first recorded by Morton in the early 1920s in the infancy of recorded jazz music, "King Porter Stomp" has had long, long legs as a jazz standard.

The playlist was

Jelly Roll Morton - "King Porter Stomp" 1924
Benny Goodman and his All Stars- "King Porter Stomp" 1935
Pat Williams- "King Porter Stomp" 1968
Manhattan Transfer - "Stomp of King Porter" 1997
Wynton Marsalis - "King Porter Stomp" 1999

By looking longitudinally at one song, we get to see the way jazz reinvents itself while retaining its history. Goodman's version is considered historically important as the kickoff of the big band era, at a seminal Los Angeles concert that told the record companies that swing would sell. The subsequent recordings retain specific and calculated quotations of both the Goodman and Morton arrangements- the Williams recording opens with the exact piano riff from the Morton version, the Manhattan Transfer version uses the Goodman arrangement but interpolates lyrics relating the story of the creation of the Morton version, and the Marsalis version returns to the original Morton arrangement only with a more highly prominent trumpet part and better recording fidelity and .

I had intended to talk more about the recording technology and the history of jazz, as I think it's actually important to keep in mind since jazz's history overlaps almost exactly with the history of recorded music. Until the mid 1940s, jazz was recorded to wax, which was then laboriously transferred to a metal master for pressing to 78 rpm vinyl. The result was mono both in recording and playback: If you wanted to 'mix' different instruments you did so by literally rearranging the musicians with respect to the recording head, moving the horns to the back to keep them from drowning out quieter instruments and so on.

In the '40s, three technologies emerged in parallel that changed this: the electronic microphone allowed instruments to be recorded individually with different recording settings, magnetic tape allowed those recordings to be separately edited and mixed and overdubbed, and the LP allowed those recordings to be played back at a substantially higher fidelity. As a bonus, the LP gave musicians the choice of either writing multiple songs to fill a side, or for the first time recording songs longer than ~ 3 minutes. The technology changed the way jazz was performed once artists assimilated the new capabilities.

So if you are looking to use a jazz song from the '20s or '30s, one of your difficulties is that it's going to sound like shit, and it's specifically going to sound old fashioned, because that grainy, mono sound is what we think of when we think of old fashioned music. You have several ways of dealing with this. One is to embrace it. If you're vidding a 1920s fandom, or vidding something more modern that you want to sound old fashioned, then choosing something recorded to wax will give you the sound you're looking for. The other alternative is to look at recordings like the Marsalis recording- there are musicians today who are recording consciously nostalgic versions of classic jazz songs, with the latest and greatest new recording technology.


The other thing we pointed out about the set of "King Porter Stomp" covers is that the song is a dance song, with a straightforward 4:4 time signature, obvious and repeated jazz form, and a lot of elements that make it fairly unintimidating to vidders compared to a lot of jazz music. In the late '40s and into the '50s, jazz was transformed from primarily being a dance music to being as much a concert music for sitting and listening to as a dance music. The next set of music I played was a collection of jazz music from this period of transition, highlighting the new sounds coming into jazz: Trickier rhythms, stranger harmonies and dissonances, faster note patterns. Music not consistent enough to dance to, but music that relied on the individual voices of its lead practitioners to tell expressive, emotional stories through music.

The playlist was:

Miles Davis- "So What"
Charlie Parker - "Ornithology"
Thelonious Monk w. John Coltrane "Bye-Ya"
Dizzy Gillespie - "Salt Peanuts"

To counter comments from the audience about the difficulty of finding structure in these more musically complex pieces, I pointed to specific structures common in jazz music, like the precomposed call and response passage that opens "So What", a technique originating in jazz's history as a music inspired by African folk traditions, and a technique we'd come back to in the Modern Jazz playlist to follow. I also pointed to examples of improvisional structures such as 'trading fours', the technique of two soloists altenrately improvising four measures back and forth. I also pointed out that the classic AABA 32 bar pop song form and 12 bar blues song form don't go away in this concert jazz era, it's just that rather than repeating the melody each time, the chord progression is what's repeated, embellished and revoiced to suit the individuality of the soloists. Someone in the audience pointed out that this individuality of instrumental expression offers opportunities for vidders to associate particular instrumental parts with themes or characters.

It was particularly hard for me to cut these songs down to a minute or so, because their overall structures play out over the full scale of the song.


The next set I played was Women of Jazz, to present some female voices, both singers and instrumentalists, as a counter to the idea that jazz is this male-driven genre. Because I do think this is a problem for vidders, who are predominantly women. This set also let me revisit some genres and techniques otherwise not as well covered by my music choices- Ella Fitzgerald's song highlighted the use of vocalese or scat, a technique of singing nonsense syllables that offers tremendous potential value to vidders who are often thwarted by that one lyric that undermines our whole vid. "Take the A Train" is also the prototypical 32 bar song, and "Evil Gal Blues" is a prototypical blues, so it let me talk more about the importance of those song structures to jazz music, and to consider those structures if you need to cut down a song. Meanwhile, Mary Lou Williams let me bring in some more swing music that wasn't "KIng Porter Stomp", and Terri Lyne Carrington introduced listeners for the first time in the panel to contemporary jazz sounds.

The playlist was:

Billie Holliday- "They Can't Take That Away From Me"
Ella Fitzgerald - "Take the A Train"
Mary Lou Williams with Andy Kirk and his Twelve Clouds of Joy - "Mary's Idea"
Albinia Jones with Don Byas' Swinging Seven - "Evil Gal Blues"
Terri Lyne Carrington - "Mosaic Triad"


I concluded with a set of music from the last ten years or so, contemporary jazz in some of its multifarious forms.

The playlist was:

The Bad Plus- "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
Esperanza Spalding - "Endangered Species"
Vijay Iyer - "Optimism"
Ikue Mori - "Invisible "Fingers"
Matana Roberts "Pov Piti" from Coin Coin vol. 1

It's a bare sampler of the diversity of modern jazz, but it at least hints at all the directions jazz is heading in, use of electronics alongside acoustic instruments in Ikue Mori's music, use of rock and roll idioms in the music of Iyer and the Bad Plus, use of funk and soul idiom alongside jazz improv in Spalding's music, the incorporation of spoken elements in "Pov Piti" and the consciousness of modern political struggle. And I pointed out that the opening call and response between piano and bass in the Bad Plus "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is an almost explicit homage to Miles Davis's "So What", that no matter how much jazz pushes in new directions, what makes it jazz is its awareness of its history and its relentless reinterpretation of that history.

So I think the bottom line of the panel was that jazz is a terrible music to vid, but it's awesome music, and the more you learn about how jazz works, its context and its history and its structure, the easier it will be to overcome the inherent difficulties it presents to vidders. That's not necessarily an easy answer, there's no great and simple technique that solves all the problems, but different jazz music suffers from different problems, and in this way the diversity of jazz is a tremendous asset to vidders.

I will post a download link for all this music once I'm back at home after Worldcon.


Also, [personal profile] settiai posted notes on the jazz panel

In Helsinki!

Aug. 7th, 2017 04:51 pm
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Motherfucking time zones, how do they work?
tielan: (AVG - agents)
[personal profile] tielan
Ugh. Too many things to write, not even half enough time to do them...

Club Vivid Premiere!!!!!

Aug. 6th, 2017 01:32 am
seekingferret: Word balloon says "So I said to the guy: you never read the book yet you go online and talk about it as if--" (Default)
[personal profile] seekingferret
Title: Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing
Responsible for the lack of consistent title block from vid to vid: seekingferret
Vidder: seekingferret
Song: "Et Rekod" by Yakov Shwekey
Fandom: Um... all of them? Or at least 104 of them.
Content Notes: Warning: Might Lead to Mixed Dancing
Length: 4:16
Summary: All the Jews! All the Feelz!. The Jewish dance vid of my heart.
Premiered at: Club Vivid 2017
Thanks to: Oh, man, the list. First and foremost, thanks to [personal profile] sanguinity and [personal profile] ghost_lingering for so much support and helpful feedback. Thanks to [personal profile] kass for positive feedback when it was desperately needed. Thanks to J,L,L,T, and B for giving me the opportunity to watch people respond to the vid in person and see what was landing. Thanks to a different J and L for offering a round of specifically Jewish feedback. Thanks to [personal profile] thirdblindmouse for canon suggestions and source provision. Thanks to anyone who has listened to me babble about Jewish movies in the past year, which is most of the people I know, even if they didn't necessarily know the reason I was watching a particular movie or show.




(Download available through the Critical Commons website. Note that you have to get a free account.)

(also posted to youtube)

I have so much to say about the making of this vid and my feelings about all the characters and fandoms in it that it's honestly a little paralyzing. I've written thousands of words of reveal notes and I still have thousands of words to go, but here is the vid! I worked on this vid from October to May and I poured all my heart and all my soul and all my might into this vid. It feels so amazing to finally share it with the world. It was so amazing to dance to it at Vividcon, wearing my Soulless Golem T-shirt.

Song lyrics )

List of all fandoms, not quite in order )

The Tropes of Monte Cristo

Aug. 4th, 2017 10:10 pm
tielan: (LOL)
[personal profile] tielan
So, I've never read the book and I've never seen the movie.

A RL friend recently mentioned that she had just read the book prepatory to rewatching the 2002 movie. I mentioned that I'd never watched it. She proposed we get together for a movie night.

She came. We saw. We laughed our asses off.

It was hilarious.

I'm so glad I waited fifteen years to watch this because it would never have been as funny without fifteen years of fanfic, life, the universe, and tropes under my belt.

The overacting is superb, the story a perfect "Scriptwriting 101: the basics", and the complete dwama of it all made for a really good night of entertainment ever with a friend who'd read the book, knows the tropes, and is perfectly okay with me commenting on stuff as it happens, from guessing all the tropes, all the 'twists', commenting on the sheer ridiculousness of some of those choices. (That entrance via hot air balloon - complete with cloak swish - and then "Greetings"? The velvet robes in a sweathouse? The final fight scene in the wheatfield?)

It probably helped that my friend hadn't seen it in about fifteen years herself, and her adolescent self thought it was wonderful (probably like my adolescent self thought Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves was a great movie), while her adult self didn't really remember what had happened. But we had lots of fun watching and guessing and laughing, because half the time I couldn't remember the names and just ended up calling them "Revenge Jesus" and "Guy Pearce".

Anyway, that was a nice way to spend a Friday night...

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