gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
My friend Lara Parker has a new Dark Shadows novel, Wolf Moon Rising. I haven't read it yet, but loved her previous Dark Shadows book, The Salem Branch, which she was writing when we were both MFA students at Antioch. (As some of you know, I became a Dark Shadows freak because I went to Antioch with Lara, who played the witch Angelique on the show.)

She's in the midst of a book tour (dates on her website, linked above), and I was delighted to see that Dodie Bellamy (our teacher from Antioch) posted about her appearance at Borderlands in San Francisco. I especially liked what Dodie had to say about the treatment of genre writing and literary experimentation in MFA programs. (At Antioch I wrote experimental poetry and a vampire novel, so I know what she's talking about!...though fortunately I had teachers who got what I was trying to do.)
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, on a warmish day (while a Gilmore Girls rerun airs on SOAPnet and I mourn the cancellation of Bunheads). Though the weather hasn't been too broiling, we're having un-LA-like humidity, which I hate. I'm dreaming of autumn, though autumn weather doesn't usually show up in LA until the end of October.

I've been working on the Jo book and other writing projects, and tackling a massive weekend to-do list. Also I've been rewatching the Dark Shadows Ghost of Quentin Collins storyline, in which David and Amy become creepy possessed children à la The Turn of the Screw. Good times.

As usual, the weekend is just too darn short.
gwynnega: (Robert/Anna)
From [livejournal.com profile] handful_ofdust and others, the year-end fandom meme:

Your main fandom of the year?
General Hospital. At the beginning of the year it was unwatchable and probably a breath away from cancellation, but Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini have made it must-see TV (for the first time in well over a decade). I cannot describe how very fannish I feel about the presence of Anna Devane, Cesar Faison, Robert Scorpio, and Lucy Coe on my TV once more.

Your favorite film you watched this year?
Of the films I saw in a theater (not too many), probably The Avengers. Runner-up: Dark Shadows (though more for the experience of watching it in a theater full of hardcore fans than for the actual movie). Recently I rewatched Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist on cable a couple of times each and fell in love with them all over again (especially Rosemary's Baby).

Your favorite book read this year?
Contemporary novel: Delia Sherman's The Freedom Maze. Runners-up: Available Dark and Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand, and Blackout by Mira Grant.

Classic novel: The Bostonians by Henry James (which I spent many enjoyable months reading on dailylit.com).

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?
Music that came out this year: Theatre Is Evil by Amanda Palmer (especially "Do It With a Rock Star," "Massachusetts Avenue" and "Melody Dean").

I listened to a TON of 1970s music this year while revising the Jo book. According to last.fm, my top 2 most-played songs of the year were "Cracked Actor" by David Bowie and "Where To Now St. Peter?" by Elton John, and I'm not in the least surprised.

Your favorite TV show of the year?
General Hospital, hands down. Runner-up: Homeland, which delivered probably the best hour of TV I saw all year (though a few episodes later it nearly jumped the shark). (Also it must be said that I spent many hours this year rewatching Dark Shadows, and now that I own the complete boxed set, this will surely continue.)

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?
It took several episodes for me to warm to it, but I am getting quite fond of Nashville.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?
One Life To Live going off the air in January. (It may be back via Prospect Park next year, though I'll believe it when I see it.) Also Days of Our Lives starting out the year revitalized (especially with the hot, subtextual EJ/Will relationship) and then turning dull dull dull when the head writers got replaced. This season's Dexter was pretty disappointing, as well.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?
Ron Carlivati, maybe? He is certainly my fandom hero.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?
Anna Devane all the way!!

Your biggest squee moment of the year?
"Duke Lavery" turning out to be Faison in a Duke mask. Anna and Faison coming face to face for the first time since the early 90s. Robert melting off Faison's Duke face with fondue.

The most missed of your old fandoms?
I do miss the Buffy days (though back then the Buffyverse took over my brain to the extent that I could barely write anything but fanfic).

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?
Well, enough people seem to love Once Upon a Time (I only saw the first couple of episodes) that I want to give it another go.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?
Not to sound like a broken record, but...General Hospital's fiftieth anniversary, and all the cast returns that will likely ensue as part of the celebration.
gwynnega: (Default)
From [personal profile] handful_ofdust and others, the year-end fandom meme:

Your main fandom of the year?
General Hospital. At the beginning of the year it was unwatchable and probably a breath away from cancellation, but Ron Carlivati and Frank Valentini have made it must-see TV (for the first time in well over a decade). I cannot describe how very fannish I feel about the presence of Anna Devane, Cesar Faison, Robert Scorpio, and Lucy Coe on my TV once more.

Your favorite film you watched this year?
Of the films I saw in a theater (not too many), probably The Avengers. Runner-up: Dark Shadows (though more for the experience of watching it in a theater full of hardcore fans than for the actual movie). Recently I rewatched Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist on cable a couple of times each and fell in love with them all over again (especially Rosemary's Baby).

Your favorite book read this year?
Contemporary novel: Delia Sherman's The Freedom Maze. Runners-up: Available Dark and Radiant Days by Elizabeth Hand, and Blackout by Mira Grant.

Classic novel: The Bostonians by Henry James (which I spent many enjoyable months reading on dailylit.com).

Your favorite album or song to listen to this year?
Music that came out this year: Theatre Is Evil by Amanda Palmer (especially "Do It With a Rock Star," "Massachusetts Avenue" and "Melody Dean").

I listened to a TON of 1970s music this year while revising the Jo book. According to last.fm, my top 2 most-played songs of the year were "Cracked Actor" by David Bowie and "Where To Now St. Peter?" by Elton John, and I'm not in the least surprised.

Your favorite TV show of the year?
General Hospital, hands down. Runner-up: Homeland, which delivered probably the best hour of TV I saw all year (though a few episodes later it nearly jumped the shark). (Also it must be said that I spent many hours this year rewatching Dark Shadows, and now that I own the complete boxed set, this will surely continue.)

Your best new fandom discovery of the year?
It took several episodes for me to warm to it, but I am getting quite fond of Nashville.

Your biggest fandom disappointment of the year?
One Life To Live going off the air in January. (It may be back via Prospect Park next year, though I'll believe it when I see it.) Also Days of Our Lives starting out the year revitalized (especially with the hot, subtextual EJ/Will relationship) and then turning dull dull dull when the head writers got replaced. This season's Dexter was pretty disappointing, as well.

Your fandom boyfriend of the year?
Ron Carlivati, maybe? He is certainly my fandom hero.

Your fandom girlfriend of the year?
Anna Devane all the way!!

Your biggest squee moment of the year?
"Duke Lavery" turning out to be Faison in a Duke mask. Anna and Faison coming face to face for the first time since the early 90s. Robert melting off Faison's Duke face with fondue.

The most missed of your old fandoms?
I do miss the Buffy days (though back then the Buffyverse took over my brain to the extent that I could barely write anything but fanfic).

The fandom you haven't tried yet, but want to?
Well, enough people seem to love Once Upon a Time (I only saw the first couple of episodes) that I want to give it another go.

Your biggest fan anticipations for the coming year?
Not to sound like a broken record, but...General Hospital's fiftieth anniversary, and all the cast returns that will likely ensue as part of the celebration.
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
It is Monday afternoon, and I need more caffeine. (I don't think I had enough coffee this morning, but now I want more Darjeeling.)

Yesterday my friend Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott did a book signing at Dark Delicacies. Lara Parker was signing the gorgeous new editions of her Dark Shadows novels (which Tor has reissued to tie in with the new film), Angelique's Descent and The Salem Branch (the book she was writing when I met her at Antioch). Kathryn Leigh Scott was signing her new nonfiction book, Dark Shadows: Return to Collinwood. It was a fun event.

After which, I tried to race to the nearest movie theater that was playing The Avengers, but I didn't give myself enough time. So...I still haven't seen it. Maybe I'll get a chance before WisCon?

In any case, I am so looking forward to WisCon.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
Well, I still haven't seen The Avengers, but I have seen the new Dark Shadows film.

I had long looked forward to this film--until the first trailer came out, when I began to worry that this might be yet another charmless remake of a classic TV show. Many old-school fans were rubbed the wrong way by the jokiness of the trailers (and by some less-than-respectful comments from Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter). I had already purchased a ticket for a special screening for fans, and I wondered if it would devolve into a hate-fest, with disgruntled old-school fans booing. But the screening was at the Vista Theatre (five minutes from my apartment), so I couldn't very well not go--and I'm glad I did, so I could be won over along with, as far as I could tell, pretty much the whole audience of hardcore Dark Shadows fans.

Dark Shadows the movie is about 1000% better than I was expecting. The tone is just right--there is humor, but there is also depth. Johnny Depp's Barnabas is as complex as Jonathan Frid's, and he captures the essential pathos and fish-out-of-water discomfort (along with bloodlust, romantic yearning, and love of family) of the character. In fact most of the cast did a great job of making the characters their own. I particularly liked Chloe Moretz's hilariously sullen take on Carolyn Stoddard. spoiler ) Helena Bonham Carter almost made me forgive her snide comments with her marvelous performance as Dr. Julia Hoffman. (She may think the acting in the original Dark Shadows was "borderline bad"--but I think she channeled Grayson Hall!)

The only weak link was Eva Green as a very one-note Angelique the witch, with none of the layers or charisma Lara Parker brought to the role. (And okay, I may be biased because Lara Parker is a friend of mine, but still!)

The script did some unexpectedly witty things with canon. The TV show had often used the characters Victoria Winters and Maggie Evans interchangeably (with waitress Maggie ending up with Vicki's governess job when Vicki left the canvas), and I had assumed the film would simply include either Vicki or Maggie and drop the other. Instead, Maggie Evans uses "Victoria Winters" as an assumed name.

To my pleasant surprise (and relief) the film feels true to the spirit of Dark Shadows, and it has quite a bit of charm in its own right.

TV Guide (Michael Logan): The Scoop on Dark Shadows From Tim Burton, Helena Bonham-Carter and The Original Cast

NPR: 'Dark Shadows': The Birth Of The Modern TV Vampire

Dark Shadows News Page: Lara Parker On The Dark Shadows Movie
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I had no idea when I posted yesterday about the 45th anniversary of Jonathan Frid's first appearance on Dark Shadows that Frid had passed away. I just saw the news this morning:

Darks Shadows Star Jonathan Frid Dead at 87

So sad...but I'm glad I managed to see him at a couple of the Dark Shadows Festivals in Burbank in recent years.

ETA: MSNBC Frid obit

Kathryn Leigh Scott remembers Frid

ETA2: My friend Lara Parker remembers Frid
gwynnega: (Default)
Forty-five years ago today, Jonathan Frid made his first appearance as Barnabas Collins at the end of Dark Shadows episode 211:



I keep meaning to post about the upcoming Tim Burton/Johnny Depp Dark Shadows film. The trailers look beautiful but are way too jokey for my liking (akin to a trailer for a remake of Wuthering Heights in which Cathy runs through the moors calling "Heathcliff!"...and then the cartoon cat shows up and they start dancing to Barry White).

Maybe the movie will be great. Maybe it won't. Hopefully it will at least interest some new people in watching the original show, which I continue to adore.

weekend

Nov. 13th, 2011 08:44 pm
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I've been having a nice quiet weekend: working on the Jo book, making pumpkin bread (from Trader Joe's mix), watching The Producers (on TCM) for the first time in ages, reading issue #1 of the new Dark Shadows comic book (really excellent and character-driven), and watching Dexter.

Also doing Jo book research on such matters as: how would a woman best carry a concealed carbine?

Now to go watch The Good Wife...

WFC

Nov. 1st, 2011 09:21 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I had a lovely time at WFC. It was so great getting to hang out with friends and meet new friends. I managed to run into most (but not all!) of the people I wanted to see.

The open poetry reading organized by [profile] rose_lemberg was one of the best, most consistent poetry readings I've ever attended. Among the many participants were Rose, [profile] shweta_narayan, [personal profile] csecooney (reading her Rhysling-winning "The Sea King's Second Bride"), [profile] samhenderson, [profile] mer_moon, [personal profile] lnhammer, [personal profile] upstart_crow, and me.

My panel (When Does Genre Become Literature?) was a lot of fun, and mostly devoid of Genre Fiction Rules and Literary Fiction Sucks! rhetoric.

[profile] deliasherman had a book release party (complete with sweet tea and pralines) for The Freedom Maze, which I can't wait to read. At the party, [profile] ellen_kushner happened to introduce me to D. Lynn Smith, a writer who, like me, lives in SoCal--and then I discovered a couple of minutes later that she writes Dark Shadows audio dramas for Big Finish!

Neil Gaiman read a wonderful Sherlock Holmes story (a brand-new one, not "A Study in Emerald"). Among his various appearances at the con, I think my favorite was his conversation with Connie Willis, which was hilarious and inspiring. I also got to hear Peter S. Beagle read a short story ("Olfert Dapper's Day").

One not-so-good thing about the weekend was the hotel. Its sprawling set-up seemed to me inconvenient for a convention of this sort--but I've since found out that it has massive accessibility problems. I hope convention programmers will take this into account in the future.

WFC

Nov. 1st, 2011 09:17 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I had a lovely time at WFC. It was so great getting to hang out with friends and meet new friends. I managed to run into most (but not all!) of the people I wanted to see.

The open poetry reading organized by [livejournal.com profile] rose_lemberg was one of the best, most consistent poetry readings I've ever attended. Among the many participants were Rose, [livejournal.com profile] shweta_narayan, [livejournal.com profile] csecooney (reading her Rhysling-winning "The Sea King's Second Bride"), [livejournal.com profile] samhenderson, [livejournal.com profile] mer_moon, [livejournal.com profile] lnhammer, [livejournal.com profile] upstart_crow, and me.

My panel (When Does Genre Become Literature?) was a lot of fun, and mostly devoid of Genre Fiction Rules and Literary Fiction Sucks! rhetoric.

[livejournal.com profile] deliasherman had a book release party (complete with sweet tea and pralines) for The Freedom Maze, which I can't wait to read. At the party, [livejournal.com profile] ellen_kushner happened to introduce me to D. Lynn Smith, a writer who, like me, lives in SoCal--and then I discovered a couple of minutes later that she writes Dark Shadows audio dramas for Big Finish!

Neil Gaiman read a wonderful Sherlock Holmes story (a brand-new one, not "A Study in Emerald"). Among his various appearances at the con, I think my favorite was his conversation with Connie Willis, which was hilarious and inspiring. I also got to hear Peter S. Beagle read a short story ("Olfert Dapper's Day").

One not-so-good thing about the weekend was the hotel. Its sprawling set-up seemed to me inconvenient for a convention of this sort--but I've since found out that it has massive accessibility problems. I hope convention programmers will take this into account in the future.

weekend

Oct. 23rd, 2011 10:34 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I spent much of the weekend working on the Jo book, getting ready for WFC, reading the first half of The Wild Girls by Pat Murphy (loving it), re-watching Dark Shadows (John Karlen as freaked-out Willie Loomis is a joy to behold), and catching up on episodes of Revenge. (While ABC is hell-bent on destroying the last vestiges of their daytime serial dramas, they seem equally committed to fostering their nighttime ones, and Revenge is a very good one.)

This afternoon I went to Skylight Books for Kate Beaton's book signing. I was late to the event because I was endlessly circling, looking for parking, and when I finally got there, the place was way more packed than I'd expected. [profile] beatonna gave a great talk and showed slides (though I couldn't see 'em too well because of the crowd). I did manage to purchase Skylight's last copy of the Hark! A Vagrant book. I didn't try to get it signed, what with the crowd, but I did stop by Skylight's annex and bought Alice Bag's new memoir, Violence Girl.

I only have to go the office two days this week, what with WFC coming up!

weekend

Oct. 2nd, 2011 08:57 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
This weekend has just flown by. Today I went to the West Hollywood Book Fair, which was a lot of fun, though we've been having another blast of summer weather and I got too much sun. My friend Lara Parker did a panel with her fellow Dark Shadows actress Kathryn Leigh Scott, plus Julie Newmar; Dark Delicacies bookstore owner Del Howison moderated. It was great to get a chance to chat with Lara Parker, and I bought a copy of Kathryn Leigh Scott's new vampire novel, Dark Passages.

Also this weekend I worked a lot on the Jo book, and watched the Doctor Who finale (loved it) and the Dexter season opener. Next up, The Good Wife and Dirty Soap. Why is there so much good TV on Sunday nights all of a sudden?
gwynnega: (Default)
I've been having a nice quiet holiday weekend (aside from some fireworks exploding in the distance). I had brunch with [profile] tesserae_ at the Coffee Table yesterday, and I've been working on the Jo book and the imaginary friend story, lying around reading, etc.

I'm continuing to enjoy the hell out of my Dark Shadows rewatch. I've just finished the 1795 flashback episodes, and now Barnabas has put the bite on Vicki Winters to try to put her under his thrall and get her to forget everything that happened when she was time-travelling. It doesn't work, however, and in an episode written by the awesome Sam Hall, Barnabas summons his cousin Carolyn (who is under his power) away from her date with Tony.

Barnabas: Comfort me.

Carolyn: [lets Barnabas bite her neck]

Tony: [aghast, watching at the window]

Then, in the next scene, Tony confronts Carolyn, thinking he saw Barnabas kiss her neck.

Carolyn: No, it isn't like that!

Tony: Then you're in love with him?

Carolyn: He's my cousin!

Tony: Well, I'd always heard the idle rich were decadent.

Gwynne: Pretty racy for 1968!
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
It is Henna Day, and the henna is on my head. We're having gorgeous summer weather this weekend, though it's supposed to cool off again tomorrow. A bad headache ate part of my Saturday (I took Advil yesterday morning, went back to bed, and woke up at a quarter to one in the afternoon), but I have since worked on the Jo book, read a bunch of [personal profile] seanan_mcguire's terrific Late Eclipses, and continued my Dark Shadows rewatch. (Barnabas brought Josette back from the dead, but she Came Back Wrong!--i.e., disfigured from her fall from Widows' Hill--and he had to let her go be dead again.)

After I rinse out my hair, there will be more Jo book/Late Eclipses/Dark Shadows, plus a trip to Trader Joe's. Oh, and tonight, Upstairs Downstairs.

weekend

Feb. 6th, 2011 10:08 pm
gwynnega: (Jack/Siobhan balcony)
Didn't watch the Superbowl today, big surprise. I went to see True Grit, which I thoroughly enjoyed, watched some of the L&O marathon (one early episode featured one of the bank tellers from Dog Day Afternoon and David Groh) and some Dark Shadows (in which Barnabas shoots Angelique, who curses him with the Vampire Curse, whereupon a rather hilarious bat appears and bites him, whereupon Angelique turns out not to be dead after all but can't manage to uncurse Barnabas, oops!).

Also I've been working on the Jo book. I'd like to revise a chapter a week, but this weekend I've been working on two chapters simultaneously, which means I'm not quite done with either of 'em. I think the next chapter will go more quickly. I hope.
gwynnega: (coffee poisoninjest)
I had a lovely Coffee Table lunch with [profile] tesserae_ today. I ordered the special, because I was too curious not to: a mashed potato omelette (with bacon, green onions, and cheese). I don't think I'd have dared if I hadn't known how good the Coffee Table's mashed potatoes are--but the omelette was a taste sensation! I hope they make it again.

The weather continues to be ridiculously beautiful.

This evening I finished rewatching another Dark Shadows DVD, still in the 1795 storyline. This time around I discovered a hilarious/awesome continuity error: the ghost of Jeremiah Collins, killed in a duel, appears with his head almost completely wrapped in bandages (to hide the fact that Jeremiah is being played by an actor other than Anthony George, who'd already left the show after the duel sequence). This would be okay, except for the fact that Jeremiah didn't suffer a head wound in the duel! I love Dark Shadows...

weekend

Dec. 5th, 2010 10:03 pm
gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
My new favorite thing from Trader Joe's: their dried fruit Super Cranberry & Pomegranate Blend (with raspberries, cherries and black currants). Yum.

My three-day weekend zipped by. I did a fair bit of Jo book work (still working on the new first three chapters), plus read a bunch of Michael Swanwick's awesome and page-turney Bones of the Earth and (Jo book research) Daniel Burton-Rose's fascinating Guerrilla USA: The George Jackson Brigade and the Anticapitalist Underground of the 1970s.

Also I rewatched the beginning of the Dark Shadows 1795 storyline, which I adore. Fun to see my friend Lara Parker's first appearance on the show. I wanted to post that appearance here, but it doesn't seem to be on YouTube. However I did find this nifty fan tribute to the 1795 storyline. (Damn, I hope the Johnny Depp/Tim Burton Dark Shadows film is good.)

gwynnega: (books poisoninjest)
I'm drinking Rhysling and enjoying the tailend of my weekend. Today has included: noveling (revising and researching the Jo book), watching Dark Shadows (Julia Hoffman accidentally turns Barnabas into an old man, oh noes! and he must drink blood to look younger again, so lovestruck Julia volunteers, but Barnabas demurs and instead attacks Carolyn, who lets out a bloodcurdling scream), working on a poem, and watching Dexter and Sherlock.

I am enjoying the hell out of Sherlock, which, like the best Sherlock Holmes media, makes me fannish about Holmes all over again (and also makes me want to write a Holmes story, which I've wanted to do for many, many years).

Sherlock Holmes was probably my first fandom (unless you count the Oz books). I was aided and abetted by my father, who took me to a day-long Holmes conference at UCLA when I was maybe ten years old, who bought me the Annotated Sherlock Holmes and took me to meetings of the Noncanonical Calabashes. (I was the youngest member, probably by at least thirty years.) Christopher Lee gave a wonderful, witty talk at one of these meetings. Around the same time (sometime in the mid-70s?), I also saw Leonard Nimoy play Holmes in a theatrical production! I think the pre-teen Holmes geek I was would be glad to know I'm still having fannish Holmes moments...

yay

Aug. 27th, 2010 01:37 pm
gwynnega: (Default)
So [personal profile] burger_eater is doing a month of book giveaways to celebrate the release of his novel Game of Cages. One day he featured a book I just had to try to win: Barnabas Collins in a Funny Vein. That's right, a Barnabas Collins joke book, from 1969. By all accounts one of the worst joke books in the world! And...

I won the book! Hooray!! So now I can groan to such groaners as:

"Did Barnabas tell you abou the sexy ghost?
She wore a mini-sheet."

and

"I've heard that Barnabas is fond of RH-type blood jokes. Are you sure that he is?
I'm positive."

Thanks, [personal profile] burger_eater!!

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