So! Jesse tried all the cocktails that weren’t actually poisonous, and has decided that while he would like to send everyone a book, he must stick by the rules of the contest as stated and pick some winners. So he did. See below.
Jesse’s going to go to the post office on Wednesday, so before Wednesday morning you should email him your mailing address at Jesse(dot)Bullington[nospam]@gmail.com (remove the nospam; put in a dot for the dot, of course). Latecomers will probably be tolerated by him way more than they would if I was in charge, but I’m headed out of town so he has to do all the work.
So here’s what you’ve all been waiting for: Jesse’s “tasting notes,” plus acknowledgment of the winners! Read on….
The Enterprise of Death by Paracelsus: “This is poisonous, so I didn’t try it!”
Will Sherman’s Two Entries: “I didn’t have a dog skull, gay or otherwise (?), so I just didn’t try these. The Grossbart is pretty funny though.”
Awa’s Lament by Bryan Brunner: “This will put hair on the inside of your chest.”
The Soldier and the Witch by Selena Chambers: “My teeth! They might fall out from the sweet, but it’s soooo sweet.”
A Fool’s Gold by Andy R.: “The Herbsaint tames this Yellow Parrot admirably, and the gold dust classes it up!” RUNNER UP!
The Little Death by Matthew C.: “This is pretty good!” RUNNER UP!
The Hegel and the Manfried by John Gove: “Nicsh joerb, friend.” Then he fell over.
Crotch Rot by Kirsten Alene and Cameron Pierce: “GRAND PRIZE! Points awarded for filthiness of name, filthiness of color, and the fact that this one was the best tasting drink.”
The Bloody Necromancer by Gina G.: “Grape party! Pretty good.” RUNNER UP!
The Damned Sailor by Aaron Z.: “Another good cocktail with beer! This one didn’t punk me by exploding when I shook it either; I’m looking at YOU Kirsten Alene and Cameron.” RUNNER UP!
De Bloedig Biesbosch by Raechel D.: “My wife made a cocktail!”
So there you have it. Them. Whatever! I’m literally packing while writing this so Jesse will do a more gracious send-off to this contest later this week. Check his blog for followups. I’ll miss all of you, but keep your eyes peeled—I might pop in as I think the ebook of A Pretty Mouth is imminent (save some dollars, holiday shoppers!) and the Lovecraft eZine people tell me the December issue, featuring my tale “Herbert West in Love” is out on the 21st. Huzzah! Oh god I have so much to do I have to get off the internet.
Been a while since I did a publicity roundup for A Pretty Mouth! Things have been going great with the novel so far, and while (regrettably) I still haven’t been able to pin down when an ebook will be available for purchase I’ve heard my publisher is “working on it” for those of you waiting on a digital copy. I’ll make a big announcement when it happens as I know many people (other than myself) have expressed an interest in seeing the book in a digital format.
A delightful romp through the macabre and depraved, made all the more appealing by the author’s obvious enthusiasm and gleeful verve. … She has a fantastic tone that is equal parts horror and wonder, and she managed to capture my particular favorite flavor of corrupt degeneracy with flair and titillation. Spot on!
A PRETTY MOUTH is a book of sensual prose, telling dark, sexy stories. Yes, a mix of sex and horror. Not so much violence, but the creepy edge of horror. … there’s something exciting about the discovery as well as something deliciously disturbing about it. I recommend it highly.
Tanzer’s greatest asset is the sheer glee of her stories. She seems to be in it for the fun of it. And, because she is having fun, it is difficult not to have fun with her. … Ultimately, Tanzer takes a leap and I admire any writer who does. There is too much safe stuff on bookshelves. Tanzer’s wild collection, though, is not afraid to crash. Tanzer has a swagger of her own which shows in these stories and that, more than anything, is the drawing point for the book.
The legend says that Molly Tanzer was born on a starless night in the middle of a battlefield, and that when the sun rose, the ground was carpeted with detached limbs and excavated fundaments. In the middle of this lay a babe, swaddled in black satin, attended by leather-masked beasts with hands of stone and iron. As the sun flew high, reedy pipes wailed and the emissaries of a cult that had long awaited her arrival rode thither out of the east, and strange patterns formed in the dust in the sky.
Hell yes! He goes on to talk more about the collection:
Having said it already in more flowery format, I’ll now say simply that Molly Tanzer is the real deal. A Pretty Mouth is a weighty and strange collection, and one that promises to repay more than one reading. From adroit turns of phrase to morally complex characters to simply good stories, this book has much to offer.
I remain amazed by the response to my collection of weird dirty stories. It’s thrilling to have written something people seem to like, and doubly thrilling that people are taking it in the spirit in which it was intended.
I suppose what I might be getting at is that you could do worse than pick up my collection for the nerd/weirdo in your life for whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year… ahem.
Oh! And don’t forget, my Folly of the World giveaway contest is still going on! You have a few more days—weekend days if you catch my drift—to come up with an appropriate cocktail and try to win a copy of Jesse Bullington’s latest opus. Get thee to a liquor store! I’m working on mine, though I shan’t be formally entering the contest (I have a copy; I just like making the world a little more bubbly whenever I can), so you have no excuse. So far I’ve mixed Jesse two entries, though I shall not reveal which two. Both were good, though one was so strong Jesse described it, after a sip, as “putting hair on the inside of his chest.” A few new entries have made this an interesting race for the taste so you might should think long and hard before submitting. Or just mix a bunch of shit together on a lark and take your chances. There’s worse ways to spend an afternoon!
Giveaway time! Chill your cocktail glasses, get out your shakers, bar spoons, and bitters, because I’m hosting a cocktail-based giveaway for Jesse Bullington‘s The Folly of the World, his latest giant book about swords, historical boys kissing and killing in equal measures, scrappy ladies, and serious goddamn Intrigue. Capital letter Intrigue, no less!
I’ve read a few drafts of Folly, and it’s seriously great. I’m tickled to be hosting this event of the century on my blog—even if the reason it’s here and not on Jesse’s site (apart from my excellent mixology skills and better-stocked bar) is that he’s been unable to stop a recent influx of spam comments which would make the premise of this giveaway nigh impossible. Which come to think of it, is apropos: Folly has a lot to do with floods, and he’s receiving a flood of spam … you know what, never mind.
Backstory: I’ve been working on perfecting a cocktail for a while, but had two versions that I could neither (a) find a name for, nor (b) decide which was better. Then I wised up and realized that having designed two delicious cocktails was not really a problem at all. It was then that the title “The Heavenly Twins” for the two drinks damn near suggested itself. I mean, right? They’re fundamentally the same, but different in interesting and intriguing ways, plus it’s cool to have an honorary cocktail for all victories relating to A Pretty Mouth.
The Heavenly Twins
(Both cocktails use this base)
1 3/4 oz cognac
3/4 oz bourbon
3/4 oz coffee liqueur
Then you can pick your poison! For the Chocolate Cherry version, add 2 dashes Aztec Chocolate Bitters and serve with a cherry in the bottom of the glass. For the Orange, use 2 dashes orange bitters and sere with a tangerine twist floated on top.
The results of your labor will either be a dark, seductive, cocktail on the sweeter side, with a lovely frothy top from the Aztec Chocolate Bitters, or a brighter, crisper drink that has a heady citrus nose and a fetching appearance if served with a delicate sliver of tangerine peel. Either will charm anyone you’d like to charm, I assure you, just like the Calipash heirs and whatnot.
Anyways! Upon witnessing (and sampling) the above triumphs, Jesse got to musing what a cocktail inspired by his writing would be. He came up with “The Grossbart,” which is a complicated but flexible potent potable that requires first stealing all of someone’s finest liquors … and then mixing them together so they’re all ruined and filthy. Since that’s not so much a recipe as a method, below you can see a reenactment:
Funny, sure. But the problem is … I really like Jesse’s writing, and so I thought this proposed beverage didn’t do justice to his literary stylings. Also I won’t let him actually steal all my scotch and ruin it.
Thus, to celebrate the release of The Folly of the World I’m hosting this contest so that you, dear reader, can try to best Jesse’s “The Grossbart” and come up with something a little more delicious. If you wish to participate, for the next ten days you can post in the comments of this post a recipe for a cocktail based on Jesse’s writing. Out of all the submissions he will pick 1 winner and 3 runners-up. All winners will receive a copy of The Folly of the World; the grand prize will have some sort of extra goody.
1. All submissions must directly reflect in flavor or method a character or leitmotif from one of Jesse’s three books: The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart, The Enterprise of Death, or The Folly of the World. I’ve read ’em and he wrote ’em, so the more direct the association the better! Feel free to spice up your directions with references to his various works; open, abject flattery rarely goes unappreciated by writers, you know.
2. I have a modestly to well-stocked bar at my disposal, containing most common base-spirits and some fiddly liqueurs, bitters, and other bells and whistles. I’m willing to pick up some odder/uncommon ingredients but the likelihood that I’ll be able to perfectly reproduce your cocktail will be increased by your keeping the ingredient list sane. NB: Jesse has no dietary restrictions but he is allergic to beef, so if you get cheeky with Beef Jerky Flavored Tequila or something, you won’t actually get your cocktail tested. Also it would be disgusting, so there’s that.
3. All submissions must be sent in by 6 PM PST on December 10th 2012, which means you have two weekends and a lot of weeknights to test your recipe extensively. Winner will be announced on December 14th.
4. Winning recipes will be posted on this blog with a picture of the mixed cocktail and your method as you write it, so be prepared for fame.
Fanfic cocktails, my friends? Yes! Run out this afternoon and pick up your ingredients, spend some time working on your recipes, and send them my way! You can’t lose, because even if your drink doesn’t make it into the final three, you’ll be too schnookered to care.
Jesse linked me to this review of Running with the Pack, from prolific and awesome reviewer Nancy (AKA temporaryworlds on LJ) in which. . . OK, you know what? This is my first sale and my first review and so I’m going to selfishly pull out the pertinent quote and just put it up in all its glory:
“In Sheep’s Clothing” is a sci-fi/dystopian short story about the downfall of our society, and what happens after that. Reading this story reminded me a lot of “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson. The werewolf aspect is not obvious at first, but it’s done quite well. Tanzer has created a fantastic voice in “In Sheep’s Clothing,” and the twist at the end is really well done. If you’re going to only read one story in this collection, read this one. I think it’s my favorite. Five stars.
Tag this under “totally thrilled” because. . . well, OK. I mean, you read it.
Nancy reviews each and every story in the anthology and gives it an overall ranking of four and a half stars (which means, according to her system, “very enjoyable book. Any flaws were minimal and did not diminish enjoyment). I have to say, from what I’ve read so far, I have to agree. In particular, I have to say that Jeffrey Ford’s “The Beautiful Gelreesh” and Jesse Bullington’s “Blamed for Trying to Live” are worth the cover price alone.
I’ve been holding back on talking about RwtP until I finished the anthology, but I had to jump the gun as a result of this review and thus am certainly neglecting some worthy stories. But, uh, I couldn’t resist.
Well! News! OMG! “Films of High Adventure” has been picked up by Fantasy Magazine! Now, on the last Wednesday of each month, Jesse and I will run roughshod over the childhoods of many a film-watcher for the Fantasy audience. Our first go-round for FM will be Legend, so fear not, we will indeed deal with the devil soon enough. We’ll still be running the column weekly on our blogs, but our more fantasy-movie fodder will be over there, and our fantasy/sci-fi/adventure/whatever movies will be right here where you’re used to, save we’ll be doing this nonsense on Wednesdays to match up with the Fantasy slot. Anyways: ONWARD!
The Film: Tank Girl (1995)
Also Known As: Lori Petty, Lori Petty, Oh Lori Petty (2010)
Also AKA as: The Film that Ended Multiple Hollywood Careers (1995)
WHOSE RESPONSIBLE THIS??? Original comic book by Jamie Hewlett and Alan Martin, screenplay by Tedi Sarafian (the Christopher Lambert/David Arquette picture The Road Killers). Direction by Rachel Talalay, who has done nothing but television since—a waste of cinematic talent, as her previous two films, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Ghost in the Machine, were nothing short of. . . well, two films that got made in the early 90s. Tank Girl also marked the last real starring cinematic role for Lori Petty—surely it must be a coincidence that the director, screenwriter, and star didn’t work in pictures much after this. Awesome soundtrack by a mid-90s teenager’s compact disc collection—L7, Veruca Salt, Hole, Bush, Bjork, Belly (Molly still owns both albums to this day), Portishead, Stomp (!). Oh, and also Ice-T, Devo, Joan Jett, Iggy Pop, Isaac Hayes, and on and on and on—definitely from an era where the runtime of the soundtrack was roughly the same length as the movie itself. Not-at-all-hammy acting from Lori Petty (A League of Their Own), Malcolm McDowell (more of a Star Trek: Generations performance than A Clockwork Orange here), Ice-T (uh, Johnny Mnemonic, Law and Order: SVU), Iggy Pop as a pedophile listed in the credits as “Rat Face,” and an adorably earnest Naomi Watts (Mulholland Drive, I <3 Huckabees).
Quote: “Lock up your sons!”
Alternate quote: “What the hell is that?!” “I think it’s Cole Porter, sir.”
First viewing by Molly: Gawd. I saw a spot with Lori Petty on some crap morning news-lite program wherein she recounted how she got the part: she was, allegedly, sent the script but instead of calling to say she’d take the role she shaved her head and burst into the office of the casting director and screeched “I am Tank Girl!” I fell promptly in love. My parents, however, refused to take me to a rated-R movie in the theater, but the moment it came out on VHS I rented it, so, what? 1995? 1996? Better question: why do I remember this chain of events so vividly? Oh, because Tank Girl is, in all seriousness, probably the most influential film I saw as a teenager. Feel free to take from that what you will.
First viewing by Jesse: I missed it in theatres but ordered it on pay-per-view.
Most recent viewing by both: Two weeks ago.
Impact on Molly’s childhood development: Severe. As I said, this was probably number one for Teenage Molly. (Number one for Small Times Molly will be our first spot over at Fantasy Magazine, incidentally.) But anyways: this film—nay, to young Molly, this was no mere film, but a cinematic masterpiece. I was enchanted from the very first moments, when the credits open with stills from the comic book; the first lines where Lori Petty is riding a weird post-apocalyptic ox or something, omg. Rapture! Her punky, homemade style; her shaved head (which it took me until college to imitate, but I was not a bold teenager); her attitude! Her filthy mouth! Her willingness (and ability) to use her sexuality to defeat opponents! Her remorseless inclination to just straight-up murder bad dudes; her really bizarre relationship with Booga the kangaroo-man! I loved Jet Girl, too (in subsequent viewings Jet became not the dark horse in the running but the Star of the Show for me, incidentally); actually, I loved everything. To be perhaps too serious about this, it was a model of femininity I had not encountered previously, and it fucked my mind in the tender, loving way a sheltered 14-15 year old girl should have her mind fucked [Jesse says: . . . Jesse doesn’t really have anything to say to that, actually]. I actually watched it the first time in two separate viewings as I started it with my parents when I rented it; they turned it off with the quickness, but I finished it the next day and there was no turning back. Thus I became the lone champion of this film in high school (or perhaps the one person who’d seen it) and showed it to all my bestest friends (one friend and I had a Malcolm McDowell double-feature as she’d never seen A Clockwork Orange, either; another loved it so much that we both went dressed as Tank Girl for Halloween one year). I also, and I just now remembered this, used Tank Girl for an art project I had in like, maybe 8th grade, wherein I had to design a movie poster for an existing film. So, yeah.
Impact on Jesse’s childhood development: Moderate. It got me into Bjork and L7, and I was deeply in love with both Tank and Jet for some time afterward. I remember thinking there could have been more animation (I was that kind of youth).
Random youtube clip that hasn’t been taken down for copyright infringement:
Molly’s thoughts prior to re-watching: I was super-excited, as I always am when I dig this movie out of my closet or wherever it lives (yes, I own it on DVD). I had mentioned a few of my favorite parts to Jesse and his baffled “that happens?!” reaction made me happy because it was clear he’d be experiencing the wonder all over again for the first time.
Jesse’s thoughts prior to re-watching: Molly’s played the soundtrack on roadtrips before, so I knew that would be going on—“Army of Me” is still one of my favorite Bjork songs, so I knew it would have that going for it, at least. And hey, I remembered enjoying it, and between Malcolm McDowell gobbling scenery and Ice-T dressed up as a kangaroo monster I assumed it would be good for a dopey dose of camp shenanigans. I was also, truth be told, curious to see the objects of my teenage double-crush again.
Molly’s thoughts post-viewing: I vowed to be as critical as any other film we’ve done else with this movie, and I will, even though it is a rather bittersweet experience for me. I had very mixed feelings this time. I really can’t watch Tank Girl without part of me reverting to the utterly enchanted, socially-awkward, bespectacled, acne-riddled, shy, Pern-obsessed kid I was, and experiencing that sort of regression makes it difficult to be truly objective. But here it is: this movie is terrible. I understand more now why my parents turned it off, honestly. To young Molly, Tank Girl herself had a transgressive attitude and a bad-ass personality; as an adult, I am increasingly able to tear away the veil of childhood and realize that Tank’s personality is essentially a collection of one-liners and mid-90s outfits. Not that I don’t love one-liners and mid-90s outfits, but watching this movie these days leaves me wanting more—wanting to see what I saw as a kid. I type this, listening to the soundtrack (which has bridged the gap from CD to iTunes; in fact, it was one of the first I transferred over back in the day), getting, truth be told, a little sentimental. But as an adult, I see more of this movie’s flaws, I guess. Primary offense: the amount of attention the film pays to Tank’s physical body as an object of sexual desire works to strip her agency in certain ways; she is both subject and object, and while I believe that is OK for films to do, this film handles it badly most of the time. Counter-argument: I still harbor an unalloyed love of the scene (not on YouTube, unfortunately), where Tank is in the dressing room of Liquid Silver, the whorehouse, and a hologram is telling her how best to dress to be alluring to men. Tank, of course, ignores the advice to stroll out of the experience with a ton of earrings in her cartilage, wearing filthy combat boots and a slinky black negligee as a dress, holding a giant gun and smoking a cigarette whereupon she intones, “lock up your sons!” OMG. Secondary offences include, just to name a few, the sorta-kinda rape-revenge plot hovering around Jet (snooze), having Jet’s kangaroo love interest (an interesting statement in and of itself) make many sexually-inappropriate remarks and then actually hump her [Jesse says: seconded. I fucking hated that d-bag ‘roo, and not just cause he was macking on Jet], giving Tank a name (she doesn’t have one in the comic book, which I read so often it pretty much fell apart), other things.
But you know what? FUCK THAT NOISE. This film is awesome! I retract my earlier statement. Jesus! The scene where the adorable moppet uses her “danger ball” to send a host of spikes through Iggy Pop’s pedophile hands! The scene where Malcolm McDowell makes an unsatisfactory general walk across a floor filled with broken glass particles and then it is revealed HE HIMSELF IS BAREFOOT OMG HE IS SUCH A VILLIAN! The montage where Jet and Tank re-paint their vehicles to fit the mid-90s aesthetic of the film! The scene where Tank Girl tells the aforementioned moppet not to call people “butt smear” because “it’s not becoming; say asshole, or dickwad, instead”! The celebration sequence where the head kangaroo-dude (who is, incomprehensibly, a reincarnation of Jack Kerouac) plays the saxophone and recites the following poem:
Laugh, you butterfly
That dances in the mud
Laugh, you piece of dental floss
You burn, me toast.
Laugh, you pig that flies in the sky
With rainbow twinky fluid
And three litres of high-octane petrol.
AAAAHHHH! YES! YES! I AM TANK GIRL!
Jesse’s thoughts post-viewing: Welllll, this was one that didn’t hold up as much as I had hoped, and I doubt I’ll be able to match Molly’s enthusiastic response, but here goes. The plot, when it periodically pokes its head out of the sand, is terminally stupid—why does Malcolm McDowell do what he does? Why does anyone do what they do? Baffling. Perhaps it’s a good thing, then, that the plot spends most of the film hibernating and we are instead treated to a kaleidoscopic series of random episodes and inappropriate sexual humor (sample dialogue: “You gotta think about it like the first time you got laid. You gotta go: ‘Daddy, are you sure this is right?’”) As a kid I wanted more animation but upon re-watching it I think a good balance was struck between stills from the comic, live action footage, and the animated bits:
Director Talalay apparently did not get final cut—word on the desert is that the original cut didn’t have quite so much Tankgirl-as-sexual-object stuff, but the footage that’s there speaks for itself. There’s also no getting around the fact that the movie stars Lori Petty in full-on Lori Petty mode, and while I’m down with that some people will most certainly not be. Then there’s Ice-T in kangaroo makeup, which seems suitable punishment for his tricking me into watching the execrable Alyssa Milano vehicle Body Count—it had the same name as his metal band and starred the bastard, so I had every right to expect something more than a dull Alyssa Milano vehicle…right? Hey, say what you will about the ice man, he did good in New Jack City, though he was no Pookie.
Although I didn’t remember much of Tank Girl I at least knew what I was getting into—I cannot begin to imagine the effect it might have on someone who had made it to the year 2010 without being exposed. Incredulity would be a word that might come to mind. Perhaps the most damning element of the film is how good it could have been. I’m not really familiar with the source comic but given what’s on display here stylistically something could have been cobbled together plot-wise beyond the brain-dead chain of events that propels the action and offensive jokes. And this is coming from a fan of the Cannonball Run. Still, it has some amazing scenes and a fun atmosphere, and the exact dopey campiness I was anticipating. Plus it has Naomi Watts and Lori Petty changing outfits every two minutes, which is good news if you’re into crazy fashion or post-apocalyptic bombshells.
High Points: The costumes. The soundtrack.The willingness of the cast to participate in the silliest scenes imaginable. Case in point:
Final Verdict: 15-year old Molly votes this Best Film of the Millennium. 28-year old Jesse shakes his head and laments what could have been.
Next Week (Wednesday): Not sure yet. Feel free to make suggestions!