Posts Tagged ‘Valentines Day’

And so the second report came in this morning from Pole to Pole Publishing (see just below):  Thank you for sending “The Game” for Pole to Pole Publishing’s “Re-Launch,” anthology.  We appreciate the chance to read it, and have decided to accept “The Game” for inclusion in the anthology.  Your contract and additional information will be sent to you in a few weeks.  RE-LAUNCH, we’ll recall, is to be the science fiction half of Pole to Pole’s reprint dyad, with my story “The Game,” about an “on the beach” spaceman earning redemption, originally published in Britain’s HUB magazine on November 7 2007.  More will appear on both publications as it becomes known.

Then Sunday afternoon brought the Bloomington Writers Guild’s “First Sunday Prose Reading & Open Mic” (cf. January 7, et al.), this time in a County Library conference room as it continues to seek a new home, with featured readers Molly Gleeson, a one-time teacher of English in China, Saudi Arabia, and Japan now working as a writing tutor at a Bloomington community college reading her short story “House of Atreus”; international doctoral student Maureen Chinwe Onyeziri with a story about a young girl identified as a malevolent spirit, “Taming the Spirit,” followed by a brief memoir of a recent visit to her home in Nigeria; and local poet and fiction writer Cara Hohit with three short stories linked by a theme of intimacy, both old and new and both wanted and shunned.  My own contribution, third of six when it was time for the open mike segment, was a recent tale especially chosen for Valentine’s Day, “Home Is Where the Heart Is,” about a first meeting between a vampiress and a just-in-the-process-of-changing werewolf.


As we may know, the goth cat Triana, a.k.a. The Cat Formerly Known As Lucy Lu, takes her name from Triana Orpheus, the daughter of Dr. Byron Orpheus, necromancer and neighbor of Dr. “Rusty” Venture in THE VENTURE triana1BROS. cartoon series (see February 2).  But what more do we know of Triana’s namesake?  Fortunately we can find Ms Orpheus listed in “Goth Girls of Cartoons” by Miss Haps, on POPGOTHICA.BLOGSPOT.COM, among other goth ladies of ink and pigment translated to film and TV.  Many more, in fact — one must scroll down and down to the section “Extra Shadows” to find Triana herself.  And, yes, some of us may seem to have too much time on our hands on occasion.

But you know you’re curious yourself, so press here.

And why not, a little freebie for Valentine’s Day, in this case a portrait of Gloria Holden as DRACULA’S DAUGHTER, combined with a brief poem describing a scene that’s not in the movie.  Or in any vampire movie I’ve seen, come to think of it.



she loved blood
but she hated the clots, when she laughed
and they came out her nose

What could be better for Valentine’s Day than the romance of Dracula for Mina Murray as presented, with music, in French?  Well, maybe not quite — there’s still Jonathan Harker to be considered.  But see for yourself as of noonDracula  Entre L’Amour et La Mort this Valentine’s Day on blogger Susan H. Roddey’s all-day special  “Bloody Valentine” outing via S.H. RODDEY’S HAUNTED HEAD, a DVD review of  the opera DRACULA:  ENTRE L’AMOUR ET LA MORT (slightly updated for the occasion from its original appearance here on May 31, 2012), complete with a link to find words for the songs in English translation.

If you haven’t seen it, the opera that is, IMHO it’s worth looking out for.  As may be the review which can be found here.

It had to happen, and so here it is for Valentine’s Day courtesy of TOR.COM, “SFF Sexilostgirlser Than Fifty Shades of Grey” by Leah Schnelbach and Natalie Zutter.  Some books and authors may be familiar, some perhaps less so, but for brief descriptions (accompanied by links for exploring further and, perchance to buy for oneself) please to peruse . . . but recommended only for those who are 18 or over.

Hans Baldung - 1484-1545

Hans Baldung – 1484-1545

As we race past Candlemas (a.k.a. Groundhog Day) on our way to Valentine’s Day, what better than to share a movie recommendation.  And so this Thursday, February 6, a week and a day before Valentine’s Day itself, I have a guest film review scheduled to be on M. R. Gott’s WHERE THE DEAD FEAR TO TREAD.  That’s a week and a day for preparation, to obtain the DVD, to choose the lady or gentlemanfriend who most would appreciate seeing it with you, to have the ingredients for hot dark chocolate at the ready, perhaps with a splash of amaretto . . . you get the idea.  And which is the movie?

Hint #1:  Well, it’s not the first time readers here may have seen it reviewed, but it was a long, long time ago — and yet it’s one people still search for here from time to time according to WordPress statistics.  So maybe it’s time to refresh it anyway, in this case through a link to a new host blog and, hence, a new readership to boot.

Hint #2:  It’s French.

And for the rest . . . check back in three days.

No vampires or even zombies this time, but with Valentines Day still less than a week past, two films about romantic (sort of) dancing caught my attention.  Both are worth seeing, especially the first, the almost absurdist by the end of it VALENTINA’S TANGO — at least in my opinion.

Eddie, who wants to become a priest, says, “My father is dying, I’ve just learned my mother is a nymphomaniac, and I’ve given her an orgasm.”  (I’m quoting from memory, but words to that effect.)  Eddie’s brother Victor, whose aspirations are to make good in local organized crime, wants to marry a girl named Tina who puts up with him because it’s an excuse to hang around Eddie who she really loves.  Valentina, Eddie and Victor’s mom (not to be confused with Tina the girlfriend — pop’s name, incidentally, is Eduardo), is indeed what Eddie has just said, and moreover “gets off” fairly easily, notably when she’s dancing the tango.  She and pop, originally from South America, own a Los Angeles dance club ValentinasTangowhere they also perform exhibition dancing.  They’re very good.

This is a family that has denial problems.  And add one more element, Victor’s old girlfriend who doesn’t dump well, and what we have is VALENTINA’S TANGO, a film that’s both tragic and wildly comic, albeit running a bit toward confusion toward the end as we start to view events through the eyes of increasingly unreliable narrators.  One, in fact, ends up in a mental hospital — but others end up dead — and perhaps the nuttiest of them all continues on as a sardonic ghost (well, in a sense anyway).  Then add to that some great dance sequences (in my admittedly untutored opinion — others have complained that the dancing isn’t true Argentine style, but then the principals aren’t necessarily Argentinean either, identified only as from “South America”) along with good music.  I liked it myself as a movie that’s both realistic in a gritty, demimondainian sort of way, and surrealistic.

And don’t even ask about Hugo, the plastic bathtub duck.

The night after I watched this, I made a point to rewatch ASSASSINATION TANGO, a different sort of film but one also combining a true love of dance with a background of gritty lethality.  Here a hired hit man enjoys dancing as a family style leisure activity and, on a politically charged mission to Argentina takes advantage of unplanned for delays to brush up on the real spirit of the tango.  Weird, and not as much fun as VALENTINA’S TANGO (or as tragic either, rather it’s presented with a colder, get the job done sort of feeling), but partner enough that the two are now on the shelf together.

Then for a final two words re. VALENTINA’S TANGO there’s Valentina herself, played by Guillermina Quiroga who also served as the film’s choreographer:  muy exquisita.

Since this, the last day of our special ten-day Vampire Week, is also Valentines day, I’ll end with a short cautionary poem.  But first let’s go back to Day Six and its link to the “finalists” for the Horror Writers Association/Bram Stoker Family Estate sponsored Vampire Novel of the Century Award.  Are all bets in?  Would readers care for a little more time — we will recall that Anne Rice’s INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE (which by jury rules stood for the Lestat series in toto, Burne-Jones-le-Vampireremembering also that the main criterion is the influence a book or series has had on vampire and horror literature as a whole) came in second, to which I will add it did get one first place vote?  It is a question that I can personally say was taken quite seriously by those making the choice, all (with the possible exception of me ;-)) respected as experts in the field of horror, with the ultimate “winner” being chosen as first by three of the five panelists, second by the other two (with one saying afterward that it was really a tie with the one he put first), and the only one of the final six novels to be in the top three of all five jurors.

So the winner is (drum roll please) . . . to be found in the entry for April 2 2012, a report on the 2012 World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City (“at the Mountains of Madness”) where it was announced.  The key phrase to use is “On Vampires, Poetry, and Goth Belly Dance.”

And then from the sublime, a lagniappe of caution for Valentines Day as well as to close out Jolie Du Pre’s wonderful Vampire Bite Blog Hop (and click on its name here or else the Lady in the Nightie above to go to others who’re posting today!).  We’ve gone through ten days of vampiric aspects, in art, in music, in story, in legend, but suave and sexy as some vampires may be, that doesn’t mean necessarily that one should want to date one.  Thus the poem below, written earlier this month and published here for the first time, to remember when meeting that tall, dark stranger — you know, the one with the especially well-flossed teeth:



love may be forever
but when vampires plight their troth
heart’s blood lasts one night


Or, as I put it as writer of the introduction to TELLING TALES OF TERROR:  ESSAYS ON WRITING HORROR AND DARK FICTION (Ed. Kim Richards, Damnation Books, 2012, cf. January 7, et al. — and in which I also quote from the essay I cited in yesterday’s entry, the part you had to click on the link to Naomi Clark’s site to read):

“[D]on’t kiss the vampire and expect things to end well.”

Today, the next-to-last day of Vampire Week, we have a double-header.  First comes a post from last June 6, with a link to a guest blog I did on “Vampires vs. Werewolves” for British author Naomi Clark, a werewolf aficionado herself (at least in terms of her latest novella), who asked guests to explain which they liked better and why.  I, taking the vampires’ side (albeit ending by noting that in European folklore there may be less difference than people think), took the vampire100occasion to say a few things about VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), but I also include directions to a second poetry essay on VAMPS under “PAGES,” to the far right, that includes a few words about the history of vampires in literature and art in England.  The essay in turn, quoted as well in the blog for Ms. Clark, includes this passage:

“In 1897 British artist Philip Burne-Jones, having been dumped by the popular actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell, exhibited his latest picture depicting Campbell in what looks like a nightdress bending over the helpless, supine form of a young man in bed. He called it The Vampire. This inspired the artist’s cousin Rudyard Kipling to write a poem, ‘The Vampire,’ with these opening lines:

“A fool there was and he made his prayer
(Even as you and I!)
To a rag and a bone and a hank of hair
(We called her the woman who did not care),
But the fool he called her his lady fair
(Even as you and I!)

“The poem in turn inspired a play which became the 1915 movie A FOOL THERE WAS, starring Theda Bara, whose performance popularized the term ‘vamp’ for a sexually predatory female. That is, one who sucks the life, or the love, or the reputation, or honor, or riches from her victims just as the vampires of legend preyed on honest peasants.

“1897 was also the year Bram Stoker published DRACULA, about a more traditional, literal blood-sucking vampire, while Theda Bara’s likeness, in its turn, inspired artist and poet Marge Simon’s cover painting for VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE). . . .”

But for more, you’ll have to use the key phrase, “Vamps in England,” and then use the link to find it for yourself.

And there’s more, still, under “Vamps in England,” a July 5 entry detailing the visit of five “vamps” to the British Science Fiction Association.  The vamps in question are five vampire poems, all appearing in VAMPS (A RETROSPECTIVE), all of which, hopefully, will also be in the BSFA’s magazine VECTOR.  One in fact may be at the printer even now.  While Poetry Editor Charles Christian spoke of an issue for last October, things got delayed, but just over a week ago I received a PDF of the upcoming poetry pages, and featured is my own “California Vamp” (for more on which see, below, “Got to Call It a Super Sunday” for February 4).

So anyway, now you know the story behind the picture for the Vampire Bite Blog Hop below in the column at the far right.  (And for tomorrow. the last day of Vampire Week. . . ?)

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