On Wednesday, there was no writing, but I did go out in the foul weather to return a mountain of books to the Woodward Library at Emory University, and to renew my borrowing privileges there. We wandered the stacks for a time. I picked up a biography of Angela Carter (Angela Carter: A Literary Life by Sarah Gamble; 2006), a volume of Diane Arbus (Revelations; 2003), and two volumes of Bruce Sterling's short fiction (Crystal Express and Visionary in Residence; 1986 and 2006). I've never read Bruce Sterling, other than his collaborations with William Gibson, but I'm hoping I will like his short fiction. I'm sure it's very good, but that's never a guarantee that I'll like something. Oh, and Spooky took out Beatrix Potter's The Fairy Caravan (1929), because it's nice to have something to read aloud late at night. I took the camera, for no particular reason, and snapped a few photographs (not very good ones), which are behind the cut:
One of nine numbered bronzes of James Joyce's death masks, cast from Paul Speck's original plaster at the Birmingham (UK) Bronze Foundary. I saw another of the nine at "Joyce's Tower" in Sandycove, Eire in April 1997.
Lingering autumn foliage.
More of same.
Movies: First off, Thursday night, we watched James Isaac's Skinwalkers (2006), hands-down one of the dullest movies I've seen in ages. We both actually napped during the thing. Two warring tribes of lycanthropes battle for possession of a child who can blah blah blah yeah whatever. As I have said before, there's no excuse for making a dull horror film. If it's clear that the film isn't going to be any good, a director could at least have the nerve to make an entertainingly bad film. Stan Winston supposedly did the unremarkable creature effects, but I'm not sure I believe it. Then, yesterday morning we made a 12:50 p.m. showing of Tim Burton's adaptation of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. These morningish films are a bitch to get to, but they really do cut down on the asshole-and-idiot factor in the audience. At any rate, Sweeney Todd is very probably Burton's best film ever, and it is certainly his best since Sleepy Hollow (1999) and Big Fish (2003), and pretty much excuses him for the abomination of Planet of the Apes (2001) and the near-misses of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Corpse Bride (2005). My complaints are essentially non-existent, though I do agree that "The Ballad of Sweeney Todd" should have been in there somewhere (probably over the end credits). This is a gleefully vicious and deliciously black film, and it actually manages to make the characters of Todd and Lovett even more "sympathetic" to me than they were already. It also took the rather saccharine understory of Anthony Hope and Johanna, toned it down, and made of it something that worked and did not distract from the central focus or tone of the story. The vocal performances are exquisite. There is genuinely nothing bad to be said about this film, at least not by me, and it goes on my "Best of 2007" list. Then, last night, we finally saw Luc Besson's Angel-A (2006), which was, itself, very nearly a perfect film. It might almost serve as the concluding third of a trilogy begun with Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire (1987) and Faraway, So Close! (1993). It isn't that, of course, as it's really its own thing, but one cannot help but recall Wenders. Angel-A is Besson at his best (as with Léon (1994), The Fifth Element (1997), and The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)), and it's a delightful film that manages to be simultaneously raunchy, hilarious, and sublimely beautiful. Truly, it spoils a body, getting two such perfect films in a single day.
Both stsisyphus and robyn_ma have asked for a mailing address, a "snail-mail" address as the kiddos used to say. That would be: Caitlín R. Kiernan, P.O. Box 5381, Atlanta, GA 31107.
scarletboi called yesterday, and apparently the Stiff Kitten T-shirts are selling quite well. Have a look. I will model one soon, perhaps.
Spooky has started the latest round of eBay, so do please see if there's anything that interests you.
A belated happy and/or blessed Solstice/Yule/Midwinter to all those who wish to be wished such. The worst is over, that dreadful longest night of the year, and now the days grow longer again. Otherwise, Happy frelling Cephalopodmas!