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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

June 2018

I didn't get up to a whole lot in June, since I have been steadily working on new collages for a Gallery1988 show in August and haven't had much free time. I did get a new tattoo though, and that was pretty darn exciting. I'll be posting again soon with more information about the upcoming show and some sneak peeks.



MOVIES

UPGRADE
I adore the work of screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell (although some of his recent work has been too scary for me to watch), so I was very excited to see his first foray into directing. Upgrade is great fun - it's a bloody nod to the tropes of the action/horror/sci-fi genres with the twists and turns that Whannell does so well. Plus, it contains an excellent Saw-style montage (a "Sawntage" if you will). While this is definitely not going to appeal to everyone, if you have liked any Whannell's other screenwriting ventures (Saw I & II, Dead Silence, Insidious, etc.) I would recommend Upgrade.

BOOKS 

Since my brain has been so hyper-engaged with art stuff, I've mostly been reading romance books to help me relax and cheer me up when I need a little bit of a stress break.

The premise: reluctantly famous rock star front man falls for a recovering addict who gave up his music career. It is total romance candy with angst and beautiful people smooching each other and I was SO INVESTED IN THIS BOOK. *sigh*

A modern, gender-swapped take on Sense and Sensibility that works a lot better than I expected. While the "main" romance seemed a bit underdeveloped, the characters and story were very well crafted and kept me engaged. 

These two books finish up Alisha Rai's Forbidden Hearts series, which I definitely recommend if you like modern romance stories. They have all of the ingredients of a good romance series: feuding families, forbidden entanglements, long simmering crushes, interesting protagonists, and plenty of steamy interludes. Wrong to Need You was probably my favorite of the bunch, but the whole series is worth reading. 

Wicked and the Wallflower is the first entry into Sarah MacLean's new Bareknuckle Bastards series and was a lot of fun to read. The hero is the bastard son of an evil duke, who makes a living as an ice merchant and not-so-secret crime lord (with a heart of gold, naturally) and smuggler. The heroine is a social pariah spinster who spends her time picking locks and sneaking out of the house. MacLean has mentioned recently that her writing style changed in the social and political wake of Trump's election and I have definitely noticed how important agency and enthusiastic consent has become in her books. There is never a sense of "she says no but she means yes" in these books. Both parties are vocal and clear about what they want and they take actions to achieve their goals. The book felt a smidge wobbly in places and rushed toward the end, but overall Wicked and The Wallflower was time well spent. 

This was my only non-romance selection in June and one of the reasons I dove so hard back into the comforting embrace of romance books. Because this one made me cry. A lot. The House of Impossible Beauties follows the fictionalized lives of the real-life House of Xtravaganza (included in the documentary Paris is Burning), a group of gay and trans youths creating their own family within the Harlem ball community. The members of Xtravaganza struggle through addiction, abuse, sex work, constant tragedies both big and small, and the rise of AIDS, all while trying to cling to hope and love and the possibility of a better life. It is a heartbreaking account of LGBTQA+ history and a really stark reminder of how a lot of things have changed and how some things have stayed the same.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May 2018



I spent a week relaxing lake-side in Canada and then the rest of the month working on drawings for an upcoming art show, so my May review blog is a little sparse. Except for the books section. I read A LOT of books at that lake. 




MOVIES

SOLO
This is literally the only new movie I watched in May, so it kind of makes the list by default. I actually quite liked this film, despite some uneven pacing and the fact that it takes a while to find its feet. It’s pretty formulaic and safe, but I think SOLO is a perfectly decent heist romp with fun characters and some good action bits. After the last two rather depressing entries into the SW franchise (and I did like The Last Jedi), I enjoyed having a bit of fluffy fun where the main goal was “complete the heist” not “save the universe AGAIN”.




BOOKS

A beautifully illustrated graphic novel about identity, love, and friendship that follows a young prince who secretly goes out at night as his fabulous alter-ego Lady Crystallia, and the seamstress who designs his gowns. I highly recommend this one. 💖

Space Opera combines two of my favorite things: space adventures and glam rock. This book is weird and clever and I already want to read it again. In the not too distant future, a group of semi-psychic blue flamingo/angler fish aliens makes first contact with Earth. In order to prove that humans are sentient and worthy of inclusion among the other space-faring life-forms, one Earth band must attend the Metagalactic Grand Prix, an extra-terrestrial talent competition that will determine the fate of humanity. This monumental task falls on the glittery shoulders of has-been glam-rock icon Decibel Jones and the one remaining member of his band The Absolute Zeroes. If the duo does well, humans will be accepted into the greater galactic community; if they fail, all human life will be exterminated. Space Opera combines the linear story of Decibel’s journey to the Grand Prix with the larger galactic history that surrounds the event, and is written in a flamboyant, funny style akin to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

A fun contemporary romance about a woman who gets trapped in an elevator with a charming doctor and agrees to be his date at an awkward wedding the next day. Perfect popcorn romance novel set-up right there.

My big discovery for this month was the historical romances of Cat Sebastian. In the course of about a week and a half I devoured every book this author has written. I really enjoyed the different characters and pairings: criminal + soldier; confidence man + eccentric scientist; disgraced rake + proper gentleman; sea captain + vicar; and Unmasked by the Marquess which features a nonbinary heroine. These books do all feature the kind of highly-awkward romance cover art that is like nails on my internal graphic design chalk board, so I was very happy to be able to read them on my kindle.


ART THINGS

I finally finished my Nerd Love series! All of the new and remaining originals are now available in my Etsy shop. Other than that, I've been working pretty steadily on prep-work for an upcoming group show at Gallery1988 (more info on that soon). 


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Nerd Love!



Two years ago I decided to start a project to motivate myself and practice collaging when I didn't have a looming deadline or when I was feeling blocked artistically. Then I decided this project had to be structured as an alphabet set because, of course I did, that's what I always do. So I set a goal to make 52 collages depicting two of my favorite nerdy characters for each letter of the alphabet. And voilà! Two years later I finally finished the dang thing. I have (yet another) list of additional Nerd Loves that didn't fit into the set, including some remaining Bioware companions that I feel bad about leaving out, so I'm sure I'll be making more in the future. But at least THIS set is complete.

All of the following new and re-listed collages are now available in my Etsy shop!

NEW PIECES

Kylo Ren (Star Wars)
Quint (Jaws)
Okoye (Black Panther)
Yuri (Yuri on Ice!!!)
Nux (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride)
Zorg (The Fifth Element)
T'Challa (Black Panther)
No-Face (Spirited Away)
Jamie Fraser (Outlander)
Morgana (Persona 5)
Bayek (Assassins Creed Origins)
Geralt (The Witcher)


OLDER PIECES THAT ARE ALSO AVAILABLE

Subject Delta (Bioshock)
Eren Yeager (Attack on Titan)
Nightcrawler (X-Men)
The Outsider (Dishonored)
Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored)
Hellboy (Hellboy)
Hawkgirl (DC Comics)
Wednesday (The Addams Family)
Shiro (Voltron)
Ashitaka (Princess Mononoke)
Tris Merigold (The Witcher)
Alyx Vance (Half-Life 2)
Furiosa (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Garnet (Steven Universe)
Pidge (Voltron)
Princess Bubblegum (Adventure Time)
Miaka Yuki (Fushigi Yuugi)
Jubilee (X-Men)