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Entries tagged with “big ups corner

Last night Jesse and I went out and saw two local musical acts, the Gora Gora Orkestar and The Widow’s Bane. Both groups are completely fucking awesome and comprised of incredibly talented musicians. I was going to save this write-up until I’d finished the chapter I’m working on, but then I turned on my The Widow’s Bane album and was like, I need to write about these folks right now.

The Gora Gora Orkestar was the sort of opening act you wouldn’t mind being the main event. Holy shit. They had maybe ten or eleven people onstage, playing everything from an accordion (one of my all time favorites) to an antique flugelhorn. There was also an alto horn (!) and a euphonium (!!), as well as instruments no less pleasing for being more common, like a deliciously-noodly clarinet and an alto sax. Also a tuba. Yes! A visit to their MySpace, where you can hear them play, would be a waste of no one’s time. I think my favorite one up there is “Mundo Cocek,” which, I must say, for all it being a rad recording, is not a patch on how wonderful the Gora Gora were live. These folks are the jam. They reminded me quite a bit of my all-time-favorite band, A Hawk and a Hacksaw, who I saw in Denver last October. Woo! I am so totally stoked these folks are local, I plan on attending more shows in the future because if there’s one thing I love, it’s eclectic Balkan music. The super-neat thing about the Gora Gora is that their original compositions were very bit as good as the standards, so I can’t wait to see what all they do in the future.

Seeing the Gora Gora would’ve made my night by itself, but seeing The Widow’s Bane right elevated the experience from incredible to transcendental. These guys. I guess what I should warn people about right up front is that these dudes are pretty dangerous–they are, by their own admission, the Devil’s house band, all carnivorous zombies out to extract revenge upon the wives that murdered them and anyone else that gets in their way. So be careful. The violinist in particular, I’m told–a fellow by the name of Rictus Corpum–made a deal with the Dark Lord that turned his blushing bride into the violin he plays, “so he could control her whining, instead of the other way around.” Yeah. Again, eclectic instruments are always a good decision, and The Widow’s Bane had the aforementioned violin, an upright bass, an amplified acoustic guitar, an accordion (!), a glockenspiel (!!), and the drummer also played banjo. WHAT. Yes!

Their music is up for a listen on Google/lala and on their MySpace. Number one favorite of mine would be “Burns” which made me all misty-eyed when they played it last night. The MySpace has the advantage of containing tracks from their CD and two live recordings–one a video of them covering “Sixteen Tons” which they did last night, and also “The Wedding Song” which I hope is on their forthcoming album which I will buy the moment I hear it’s out. Geez. Joking aside, I adore how complete their stage personas are–the lead singer in particular takes his business of being a zombie-pirate-guitar-player really seriously, and nothing is more awesome than watching people who are into performing (and genuinely good at it) perform. The best thing about The Widow’s Bane is that I would go and see them do their stuff even if they weren’t spectacular musicians, because they have fantastic stage presence. Fortunately, however, they are a spectacle for the eyes, the ears, and the mind. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. What else can I say? Just, I suppose, that it makes me happy to know that since by every possible standard I’m up for damnation upon my death. . . and at least now I’m assured the music in Hell will be really fucking good.

Tomorrow the all-new Films of High Adventure will go up (I am having PTSD just writing the entry for this one), but for today, mellow out with Rainy Mood. Seriously, do yourself a favor. As a mood-lift or a writing aid, it’s amazing!

Personally, I’m enjoying the combo I’m rocking right now: rain + Aufs Lautenwerck, an album of Bach’s lute and harpsichord music. I’ve heard, via J.T. Glover, that the Goldberg Variations are also awesome.

A lot of awesome people are up on the British Fantasy Awards: in terms of novels, Jesse Bullington’s up for his debut The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, Jeff VanderMeer for Finch. Ann VanderMeer (Weird Tales) and Cat Rambo (Fantasy Magazine) are up for the Best Magazine category, and several Fantasy Magazine authors are up in the Best Short Story category! Yay, and congrats to all!

I’ve been quiet over here due to my recent concentration on personal projects (though watch for tomorrow’s Films of High Adventure installment, we’re reviewing Red Sonja!), but just for yuks, I’m posting this Daily Show clip.

I don’t usually watch the Daily Show, and I admit to being less amused than I used to be by Mr. Stewart’s zany mugging, but this. . . oh my. Perhaps it’s just that (like everyone else) I am occasionally spammed with dreadful, insane conservative propaganda “fair and balanced” email forwards which reek of the sort of paranoid hand-wringing Fox News’s “reporting” tends to inspire in certain segments of the American population espouse views different than my own, but this really made me smile.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Daily Show
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So, this show. It’s called Look Around You. I think anyone who has watched boring videos in science class will identify and be charmed. Check it out! It’s all up on YouTube.

The pilot, part one:

The thrilling conclusion:

There are more. Go check them out!

Marie Brennan has a wonderful post up at SF Novelist entitled Emasculation Not Required. It’s about gender in media, and how, unfortunately, in many male/female relationships presented in movies, TV, and books, the loss of the archetypal male protagonist who runs roughshod over the plot and gets the useless (but attractive) babe at the end has been replaced not by men and women working together as friends and equals, but instead it has been replaced by shrill women who assert their power over newly useless or dumb males.

This sucks, obviously. Brennan’s point is that this new trope does nothing to level the playing field and does everything to create frustration and annoyance on the part of women and men alike.

To wit: I love Princess Leia from the original Star Wars movies, but I always want her to. . . I dunno. Chill a little. Be the same bad-ass laser-gun-weilding bun-head (hell, be the same space-concubine on a leash) but at the same time, be less terrier-like, please! That said, Leia is infinitely preferable to Queen Backlash or whatever her name was in the new Star Wars movies. Queen Backlash is not, if I recall correctly, shrewish. . . but she also is critically deficient in moxie, so much so that she appears to die of sad, like some sort of weird throwback to Genji Monogatari or something.

We’ll see what happens with the Red Sonja remake in the works. I cannot imagine how that movie could be worse than the original, but I will be majorly disappointed if the new Sonja takes its cues from the original, which I believe was an hour and a half of:

Red Sonja: I don’t need a MAN to help me!

Not-Conan: Yes you do!

(She does)

Here’s hoping!

I know, I know, but I fucking love Gone with the Wind. I also love vampires, so maybe I just love glamorized, inherently exploitive relationships, especially when they’re costume dramas, OK?


Big ups to whoever made this.

I haven’t posted about food-related stuff for a while, so let’s get down to it. First, I want to give a shout-out (the “big ups corner” spot for the week) to Divvies, a company I just discovered because they had a big basket of their cookies at Whole Foods. They are completely awesome! I tried the choco-chip cookies, but I’mma try others next time I go back, to be sure. I really like their slogan: “made to share!” Friendly, and much appreciated I’m sure by anyone in an office or at a party who’s vegan or has egg, dairy, or peanut allergies. They make cookies, candy (chocolates, jawbreakers, and gummy stars, to name a few), and cupcakes. Check ’em out!

As for me, I haven’t been cooking as much variety as of late– mostly I just do rice and tofu and veggies for dinner these days– but I did make a kick-ass pizza the other night, with the cashew goat cheese I made during VeganMoFo, thinly sliced pears, black pepper, and some seitan browned with some shallots, and that was fucking delicious. That said, I actually bothered to document a food experiment last night (!) that eclipsed pretty much anything I’ve made of late. I got the base recipe here, after doing an internet search for seitan satay, but I modified it and used a different methodology, which I’ve outlined below:

Seitan Satay

1 large shallot or two small, peeled and cut into chunks

4 garlic cloves, ends cut off, maybe halved if you care to

2 tsp canola oil

Equivalent of 4 tsp ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

4 Tbs tamari

The juice of two limes

2 Tbs toasted sesame oil

4 Tbs agave nectar

2 Tbs siracha or other asian chili sauce (I use the kind with the rooster on it)

24 oz seitan, cut or torn into chunks (I used 2 boxes of the WestSoy kind from the supermarket)

Preheat oven to 45o degrees F. Take all ingredients except for seitan and throw into a blender, blend until smoothish. Put your seitan in a 9×13 baking dish (lasagna-style) in a single layer, then pour the slurm over everything. It will look like this:

At this point, let the seitan marinate for about 30-45 minutes as you make your rice (I used jasmine), and then bake it for about 15 minutes in the marinade– what I mean is just throw the whole thing in the oven and let it go. While it’s baking, make your vegetable. I made some green beans sauteed with minced garlic (about a teaspoon), 3 cloves of pressed garlic, toasted sesame oil, and salt and pepper:

Pull out the seitan, it should be bubbly and the exposed parts of the seitan should be browned and luscious. I plated everything together, rice, seitan on top, green beans off to the side, and for extra deliciousness I put some cilantro leaves on top, and I also added two condiments: a lime wedge for squeezing, and some peanut sauce out of a jar for adding a touch of peanutty sweetness. OMG.

I really can’t say enough about how utterly delicious this was– I struck gold with the original recipe (the marinade is delicious on its own) and the saucy-method pleased my curry-loving self. So today, wanting a redux of those flavors, I used my brand new To-Go Ware lunchbox and packed myself a feast. Layer one, rice and seitan:

Layer two, green beans. I used the dressing cup to hold my cilantro:

Ready go go:

And speaking of, it’s lunchtime! Posting all this has made me hungry.

So, Christmas. I will do a writeup tomorrow, and discuss more thoroughly the awesome (corset, wii, books, omg) but I just needed to post something immediately. For my Christmas present my homeslice Jesse commissioned an artist who goes by Moody Ferret to do what she does, which is to say draw up lush pictures of an anthropomorphic stoat named Neil, and I have to say. . .  you know what? There is nothing I can say that will do justice to this gift.


Fantasy Magazine now has an three-person interviewing team that I am incredibly proud to have working for us!

The first is Mr. TJ McIntyre, who was doing Author Spotlights for FM before and is remaining on board, much to my pleasure. TJ’s profile of Nicole Kornher-Stace goes up tomorrow.

The second is Ms. Jennifer Konieczny, who was slushing for FM (and helping out proofreading stories before they went up) when she applied for this position. I am very pleased to have her working in an expanded capacity for us, and Jennifer’s first profile will go up next Thursday, Dec. 24th.

The third is Mr. William Sullivan, a new face at Fantasy Magazine. A longtime reader of speculative fiction, William’s questions caught my attention and I’m sure they will prove to be interesting reading for future Author Spotlights. William’s first interview will go up Dec. 31st.

Congratulations to all!