Friday, June 25, 2010

Dark Entries by Ian Rankin and Werther Dell'Edera.

John Constantine faces the demons of reality TV in this tight graphic noir from Vertigo Crime.

It’s pretty much accepted that, as a society, we’re all kind of ashamed of reality TV. Whether you guilty pleasure is keeping up with pretty wild real housewives or extreme top project makeover challenges, you’re watching. Maybe you claim to you watch it ironically, maybe you have to watch it to have something to talk about at work, or maybe your significant other “forces” you. Whatever your reasons, you’re still watching.

John Constantine might be the one man in the universe who actually doesn’t watch reality TV. His vices run more towards women, cigarettes and liquor. But when a reality TV producer breaks into his flat and offers him a fat wad of cash to investigate supernatural shenanigans on the set of a scripted reality show, he takes it, even though all of his instincts say not to. The show Dark Entries is part scavenger hunt and part-psychological experiment. The telegenic twenty something contestants are prepared for being scared while scouring a mysterious house for an unspecified prize. However, something else is terrorizing the kids, something not under the producer’s control. Posing as a contestant, it’s up to Constantine to figure out what is happening.

Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus

Let me state, straight up, that this is not the type of movie that I would normally seek out.

I ran across it the other day while I was helping out the circulation workroom.  It caught my eye (Hello, RDJ!) and since working in circ makes me think of college, I decided to check it out.

Back in my undergraduate days, I majored in Women’s Studies.  Diane Arbus, the subject of Fur, was a name that often came up in discussions.   Arbus was a photographer who is best known for her portraits of “deviant” groups – transvestites, circus performers, nudists.    She’s credited for pioneering a new spirit in documentary photography, empathizing with her subjects rather than displaying them.

She’s also an artist I have never really understood.   Although people who know a hell of a lot more about art photography than I do have said her photos are astounding, they never really struck me as anything more than voyeuristic .  

So – Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus.  I went into it with a little knowledge about the subject and not a whole lot of expectations.    I accept that this film is not a “biography” and that plenty of artistic liberty has been taken with Arbus’s life.    Since I only have the barest sense of Arbus’s history anyway, I was willing to separate this fantasy from the historical person.     Even with that caveat, I don’t think this film works very well. 

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

I've already told you about our (kid and myself) deep love for Percy Jackson and the Olympians.    Recently, kidlet has discovered and devoured The 39 Clues series.   So, there was really never any doubt that we were going to read his new series, The Kane Chronicles.   

And, Riordan has done it again, which is both the strength and weakness of The Red Pyramid.  

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stuff I Love: Daria

A week ago, I turned 35.  I know a lot of people see this as a milestone, but for me, it really wasn't.  

See, I work with teens, and this has the unusual effect of making me both old before my time and perpetually young.   Thirty five is an inconceivable age to your average 12 year old, so yes, I'm old.  However, part of being good at what I do is trying to understand and appreciate youth culture.  So, today I spent 45 minutes reading Failblog and Auto Complete Me while listening to bands from the Warped Tour.  At work.  

So, 35 was really just a number.  But, being 20 years away from 15 did make me think about my teen years.  

Like most people I know, I do not look back on high school fondly.  I was the fat girl.  The one with no friends.  The weirdo with a target on her back; resented by teachers for being a smart ass and disliked by peers for being smart.   But I survived high school, got to college and realized that "the best years of my life" were yet to come.  I learned that being a mouthy little bitch wasn't a bad thing, but I needed to pick my battles.  

In short, my "story arc" was a lot like Daria Morgendorffer's.  

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Movie Review -- The A-Team

Let me start by saying -- I didn't watch the original A-Team.

I was only allowed an hour of TV a week as a little girl, and 30 minutes a day as a teen.  And I can pretty much guarantee that the A-Team wouldn't have been appropriate viewing, in the eyes of Mom.   I think I saw half of one episode of the original show -- it had something to do with smuggling watermelons.

So, other than knowing the basic setup of the plot, and of course, that Mr. T pities fools, I had no prior knowledge of the characters or what the movie was "supposed" to be like.

So why, you may ask, did I go in the first place? I went because it was my hubby's birthday, and unlike me, Hubby is well versed in '80's TV.  He was pumped for this movie.

And, it was better than I thought it would be.    Lest that seem like damning with faint praise let me make it clear,  I went into this movie with one expectation -- that it was going to suck.  Hard. 

It didn't suck.  In fact, parts of it were downright fun.  Sometimes, particularly in the summer, all I want from a movie is cute boys and explosions.  This had both, so I was reasonably content.  

Wow -- It's been a while!

So -- I stopped posting here.

Why? Well, for one, my book!

That's right, I have a book coming out! Library Collections for Teens: Graphic Novels and Manga, by yours truly and my co-author, Kristin Fletcher-Spear.

I don't know exactly when it is coming out, but they want to start promoting it at ALA, and I've seen the preliminary cover design. So, it's almost a real live book that a real live author would write!

Also, it's summer. Now, to most, normal people, summer means kickin' back by the pool, reading books that aren't assigned, maybe a vacation or two.

Not for the teen librarian -- for us, summer means chaos, prizes, programming, unattended children, chaos, problem teens, summer reading lists, computer issues, and did I mention chaos?

I try to alleviate some of the stress by obsessive planning beforehand. It never works, but every year I try. However, neurotic prep-work cuts into blogging time.

And finally, my husband bought me Plants vs. Zombies. It would be rude not to play.

But now, I'm back, and you'll see more info from me regarding books, movies, crafts, websites and anything else that strikes my fancy.