Books »The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Pop Up Book for Adults Only

Well, it's certainly been a long journey tracking down The Naughty Nineties: A Saucy Pop Up Book for Adults Only; it's been fun though – I rediscovered The Curious Sofa and Peter Seymour's other saucy pop up about the 1920's.

This is the real deal though – theses are the boobs I remember seeing in the bathtub as a young girl. I've posted images over at RC.

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Posted on October 5, 2009

TV Shows »Frontier House

frontier houseIt's too bad PBS hasn't delved into the world of reality television more. Frontier House (inspired by a similarly conceived show about the 1900s over at the BBC) was a highly entertaining, insightful, and even educational. Three families were given acreage in Montana to live just as settlers did back in the 1880's. The goal was to be prepared for the coming winter by the end of the series – without cheating, Gordon Clune!

Like any good reality, there's a villain, and here Mr. Clune serves well, but in this relatively good-natured show, even the cheater finds himself better for growing closer to his family. Another family, the Glenns adapt to the harsh lifestyle easier, but their personal relationships are strained.

Available on DVD and Netflix, you'll find yourself more inthralled in the drama of making root cellars and cutting wood than you would ever expect. This is only second to Manor House in PBS's amazing series of historical reality shows.

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Posted on June 29, 2009

TV Shows »Tipping the Velvet

tipping the velvetIt's been years since I've seen Tipping the Velvet, but this lush and lusty saga is pretty unforgettable. Based on the debut novel by Sarah Waters of the same name, the BBC adaptation is in the capable hands of adaptation king Andrew Davies. Set in Victorian England, the story is a rambling and expansive look at lesbian life during the era.

Nan, a spirited young woman goes from poor oyster house wench to stage performer to kinky rent “boy”, to kept woman and more. She's played by Rachael Stirling, who may be better known to you as the lovely daughter of Diana Rigg.

Lots of great costumes and settings abound and an entire world that rarely makes it to the big or little screen comes alive in this acclaimed series that is available on DVD.

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Posted on June 22, 2009

Albums »3 Gymnopedies and Other Piano Works

erik satie 3 gymnopedies pascal rogeThey say that the music you listen to in the womb is most influential on your tastes as an adult. It was no bug surprise then to learn that my mom used to by Erik Satie before I was born. His most famous pieces Three Gymnopedies and Gnossiennes are performed here by Pascal Roge, a french classical musician whose website asks you to “dream with me”.

I used to listen to this soothing and unique album as a kid and have fond memories of the pink cover and the whimsical Joan Miro painting. Like Miro, Satie was a revolutionary artist. According to Wikipedia, “Over the years Satie would be described as a precursor of movements and styles as varied as Impressionism, neo-classicism, Dada, Surrealism, atonalism, minimalism, conceptual art, the Theatre of the Absurd, muzak, ambient music, multimedia art, etc.”

The other piano works are equally beautiful and interesting and the album is a soothing journey with one of France's finest composers and my favorite of his century.

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Posted on June 1, 2009

Books »The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective

The Suspicions of Mr. WhicherThe Suspicions of Mr Wicher is a true crime tale centered on the real life mysterious murder of a young boy. Like the JonBenet Ramsey case of its time, the crime mesmerized and rocked the nation. It was speculated about in the media and everyone within the home's walls was a suspect.

Mr. Wicher was a fairly renowned detective at a time when detectives were a new concept, seen as part supernatural genius, part shaman or – when the tides of popular sentiment turned against them – as voyeuristic intruders into the highly guarded personal lives of respected society.

The book is most interesting when it handles the crime itself and the suspicions, not only of Mr. Wicher, but the townsfolk and media. It's a bit less engaging in the latter bits that detail what happened to all the players. One son grows up to be a famous botanist, etc… I guess I'm living proof that the salacious intrigue of the evil men do is always most compelling, just as it was when this murder took place.

Unlike the similar crime in Boulder, this one has a conclusion and a confession, which is led up to with some suspense by Summerscale, whose short resume also includes a biography of an eccentric world-class speedboat racer and heiress (The Queen of Whale Cay).

This book is a perfect pair to this week's TV show, A Most Mysterious Murder.

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Posted on May 18, 2009