bcholmes: (sawing for teens)

What am I watching, lately?

Penny Dreadful

Since the cancellation of Hannibal, Penny Dreadful has been my favourite show. Now it’s ended, too, and I am living in a universe made out of sad.

What’s it about? A group of characters in the 1890s — some are recognizable characters
from Victorian (and pre-Victorian) fiction, including Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Gray,
and others are unique creations, such as Vanessa Ives and Mr. Lyle — have bonded together to fight monsters. Not post-modern, broody monsters, but classic Victorian “separated from God”-style evil monsters. The first season is about vampires, and the second season is about witches, and then the third season returns to vampires. But there are some devils and werewolves and reanimated creatures thrown in along the way. There’s rather a lot of blood and rather a lot of sex, but I’m okay with that.

The show has a number of qualities that appeal to me. It’s dark, and intense. It has a writing style that I just find to be sublime. At times, I think I love it just because I enjoy watching
Vanessa Ives’ intense expressions. One of the things I particularly love is the show’s
willingness to take extended amounts of time just building a particular feel.

There’s a sequence at the end of the first episode of the second season that illustrates
this well. Vanessa, who is essentially the show’s long-suffering hero, is praying. The show
touches on religion frequently, and Vanessa’s faith is an important element of her
character: it’s really the only thing that gives her succour. But the scene cross-cuts
between Vanessa, and the second season’s primary villain, a satanic witch who is similarly
engaged in incantations. The two scenes cut back and forth, rising in intensity. It goes
on for minutes, an amazingly long time to take for a story beat that does absolutely
nothing to advance the plot. But it sets the mood. It’s just about setting the mood.

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Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: I poison you! (Circe Invidiosa)

In one of the early years that I attended WisCon — I want to say that this is something like 2003 — I proposed a panel: Trans Feminism. Aaron L. had volunteered to moderate, but the panel almost didn’t make it through the panel vetting process. Basically, not enough WisCon attendees expressed interest in the panel. I think the panel was saved fairly late in the process by Debbie, who agreed to be a panelist.

For a few years after that, I kind of thought to myself: “okay, there’s room for exactly this much transness at WisCon.” I thought, y’know, maybe a trans panel every few years. Maybe panels about speculative treatments of gender could include a token trans person. This much, I thought, but it’s unreasonable to expect more.

This past WisCon, I was thinking about the trans and genderqueer contingent. I was picking and choosing which of the several T/GQ panels I was gonna attend. And at times, I hung out in the trans and genderqueer safer space, now in its second year. And I think, “huh. I had such a meagre vision about what trans inclusiveness could look like at a place like WisCon.” I remember, for example, having thinky thoughts about a Fat is not the Enemy panel at WisCon in 2008: the thing I thought, then, was maybe the message of “love your body the way it is” sounds a bit suspect to my trans ears, but that thought was immediately followed with, “it’s a derailment (or at the very least, uninteresting to most attendees) to throw transness into this unrelated panel…”

Part of the way WisCon has changed over the years is that there’s just more trans folk at the con. There’s a trans/genderqueer posse. And more folk means that more trans/genderqueer content gets on the programming schedule. More consideration goes in to making the space welcoming. When the trans/genderqueer safer space was proposed, the con ran with it in a way that was amazing.

These changes are good. I like them; I support them; I’m glad for them. But a remaining problem is me. I think that I really need to own the idea of raising my expectations.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (comics code authority)

I’m continuing to pour a lot of my creative energy into comics. I’ve had a few things going on in that world.

Toronto Comics Volume 3 - smallFirst up, I’ve taken part in the third volume of Toronto Comics (the book seems to have dropped the “Anthology” part of the name). I wrote a story this year — “Lofty Aspirations” — but didn’t draw it. Instead, it was illustrated by Xan Grey, an amazingly talented artist, who’s been in the last two anthologies.

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Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (ndp)

It’s a pity that Stephen Lewis is so old; he’d be a great new leader of the party. I’m not a big fan of his wife’s transphobia, though.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (rob ford)

Today, the CBC called [Rob Ford] a “millionaire with a working-class attitude.” No. He was a millionaire who hated the poor. Like many other millionaires. If anything, Ford was a kind of Trump-lite, somehow seen as an “everyman” because he is so brave as to admit his bigotry publicly and proudly.

Certainly he did not support struggle of the working class, anti-union as he was. The CBC is correct that he became an “international celebrity for his drug and alcohol use while in office,” but he shouldn’t have been infamous for that reason. Rather, it should have been his treatment of women, people of colour, and the poor that brought him infamy.


He outright rejected the existence of homeless shelters, was overtly homophobic and racist, suggesting, in 2003, that Toronto be declared a “refugee-free zone.” Ford was charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his wife, Renata, in 2008 (though the charges were dropped), and in 2011 she reportedly placed a call to 911, with regard to a “verbal altercation” between herself and her husband.

“On the death of Rob Ford and mourning abusive men”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: I was just a brain in a jar (brain thoughts)

[Jessica Jones] was open and unapologetic about its character’s sexual encounters; Daredevil is painfully chaste—a kiss in a rainstorm is visualized as an adolescent, hearts-and-flowers fantasy, while a flashback scene of Matt making love to his college girlfriend, Elektra (Elodie Yung) consists almost entirely of shots of Elektra shaking her hair in circles. (This isn’t sex so much as a shampoo ad.)

“The Paradox of Daredevil, The Atlantic

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (comics)

Do any of my friends understand military uniforms? I’m especially interested in WW2-era US Army uniforms, for a comic project.

There are some details that I haven’t been able to make sense of and I’d love some insights.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: shadows moving faster than the eye (magic shadows)

Every year, I make a post about films I particularly enjoyed that year. This year seemed harder than most. Not a tonne of films particularly stand out, and I especially feel like I’m deriving much more enjoyment out of some of the really well-made TV shows lately. I was also really busy in September of this year, and didn’t manage to make it to the film festival, which is where I usually find one or two of my favourite films of the year.

Anyway, Here’s my go at a list of top 5 films.

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Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (comics)

Lettering Guide Do you ever have one of those days where you’re, like, “Y’know, I’m not sure I know where my lettering guide is. Has it been more than three years since I’ve used it?”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (two riders were approaching)


This could be the cover to Siobhan’s new album. Um, if she made music like Bruce Springsteen.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (two riders were approaching)

Did I mention the part about being in Ireland? Sio and I first talked about doing a trip to Ireland last year, and we put some plans in place.

Here’s Sio at Kilkenny Castle, in Kilkenny (You bastards!)

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Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (beret)

old-stock-vs-those-peopleI feel like there should be more talk around the fact that Canada’s current Prime Minister is using Lynton Crosby-designed phrases like “old stock Canadians” to pretty clearly say, “We’re the party of white Canadians and if diversity makes you afraid, vote for us.”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (two riders were approaching)

How does one determine the relative positions of planets of our solar system? Like, is there a website that I can look up that says, “On July 18th, 1992, Jupiter was here and Mars was over there”? Or something that has some starting positions on some known dates?

Like, this site seems to be able to tell me where each of the planets are (in a visual, but not data, way) in a two month window (one month on either side of today). What’s a good reference for something more comprehensive?

Hmmm… this site seems kinda good.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.


Sep. 3rd, 2015 08:47 pm
bcholmes: (comics)

The first volume of the Toronto Comics anthology has been nominated for a Gene Day Award for self-published (Canadian?) comic.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (run lola run)

“Could the doctors have made a mistake? Could I have accidentally been born a girl? I should’ve been born a boy. Can that happen?”

Jo describes this pivotal moment as “terrifying.”

“‘I have to be honest. I can’t lie.’ That’s what went through my head,” she tells me.

Jo’s reply to her child’s pressing question was simple: “Yes, that can happen.”

Her emotions were not so simple.

“That was the hardest part, trying to be supportive to your child and act like it’s no big deal and inside you’re exploding,” she says.

There’s a lengthy pause and then Jo says: “I’m sorry. I’m trying not to cry just talking about it now.”

Reflecting on that crucial conversation with Sophie, Jo says she was both “terrified for my child” and “very sad.”

“Back then I knew nothing about having a transgender child.

“I didn’t know where I was going to go from here, what was going to happen, what sort of life my child would have.

“Also, the idea of losing my only daughter, as well, was quite sad. I really wanted a daughter and all of a sudden I was going to have two sons,” Jo explains.

‘Mum, could the doctor have made a mistake?’

I suppose I understand that it’s considered a sign of progress that we’ve moved from “My child is a freak; I’m kicking the kid out!” to “I’m grieving to learn that my child isn’t cisgender. Oh, woe, for my shattered expectations.” But I’m already pretty tired of the new narrative.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: I was just a brain in a jar (brain thoughts)

There should be word for the exhilaration of a half-success coupled with the glowing disappointment of the half-failure, that two-sided coin.

— Claire Light, Sense8 and the Failure of Global Imagination”

Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: shadows moving faster than the eye (magic shadows)

boyMeetsGirlI noticed that Netflix had Boy Meets Girl on its list of recent additions and decided to check it out. It’s very indie and charming, but with occasional bits of dialog that were more awkward than I wanted.

There aren’t a ton of trans Rom Coms out there, but I suppose I’m thinking about it in terms of how solidly it constructs and/or adheres to a “trans story formula.” Perhaps one day I’ll write my autobiography in comic form and I’ll need to know the proper shape for such a story.

Take one trans woman. Well in to transition. Sporting the boyish name, Ricky. Ricky lives in a small town in Kentucky. That alone brings along a context. The townsfolk know who and what she it. We get flashbacks to conflict. But in the present, there’s… what? Uneasy peace? Mutual agreement to not mention the elephant in the room?

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Mirrored from Under the Beret.

bcholmes: (yes)

I’m reading my grandfather’s record of our 1985 trip to England/Scotland. 1985 was the year that I graduated from high school, and my grandparents and I, along with my grandfather’s brother, Jerry, and cousin Errol plus Errol’s wife Dorothy, took a trip together.

I had been eagerly anticipating this trip, it being my first international trip (excluding the States). I was also a total anglophile before this trip, but not afterward.

Here’s an entry from day 12, which appears to have started in Liverpool and ended in Bristol:

That night, [BC], Margaret and Don walked 3 blocks to a famous jazz bar, Dukes, for a drink, a look-see and listen to the jazz band there. It was great. (Jerry/Errol/Dorothy didn’t want to go — they missed out on a treat). Walking back 3 young girls are getting out of a black taxi cab, dress [sic] to kill and all with purple hair. [BC] likes them. Must be the hair.

Mirrored from Under the Beret.


bcholmes: (Default)
BC Holmes

August 2016

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