Friday, November 16, 2018


Great songs, star performance, ignite Bohemian Rhapsody

Movie biographies are tricky. But when the subject is the innovative rock group, Queen, there’s one thing we know absolutely — the soundtrack is going to be killer.

Fortunately, for the surviving members of Queen, the legacy of the legendary Freddie Mercury, and especially the audience, the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is more than just great music.

From the opening 20th Century Fox fanfare scorched out of an electric guitar to the ecstatic grand finale of "We Are The Champions" live onstage, this is a joyride for Queen fans.

Directed by Bryan Singer (he was replaced by Dexter Fletcher toward the end of production, but retains the credit), the movie falls into some of the pitfalls of telescoping events to fit the format. But it heroically depicts the Queen era (late'70s - early '80s), and the band's phenomenal creative energy and output.

Reel life: Malek (R) with the movie Queen
 Central is the dynamic performance of Rami Malek (TV's Mr. Robot) as Freddie Mercury. Speculation on who would play Freddie haunted this project for years, but in Malek, the filmmakers found an actor unorthodox enough to embody the singer's outsider persona, yet soulful enough to engage us in Freddie's lifelong quest to become himself. Did I mention he does his own singing?

The best scenes capture the band inventing itself from the solid musical grounding of guitarist Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and Freddie's audacious vocal orchestrations, and his desire to do "grand" things, and never repeat himself. The song, "Bohemian Rhapsody," makes no sense as narrative. Nobody has a clue what it's about. Nobody cares. The operatic, six-minute, style-shifting epic is something we get, intuitively, on a visceral level.

Which is how it was conceived, according to this move's delicious montage of the band crafting together the song's diverse bits, on Freddie's instinct alone.

Real-life Queen
The movie celebrates the appeal of Queen not to gay, straight, or neutral audiences, nor fans of any particular genre, but as "misfits playing to other misfits!" How inclusive can you get? "We Are the Champions" is an equal-opportunity anthem. No wonder this movie zoomed to the top of the box office its first weekend!
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Tuesday, November 6, 2018


Hey, friends and readers!

Look at this: my Beast: A Tale of Love and Revenge has placed at #4 on the list 9 Fantastic Novels for Fairy Tale Fans, over at Wiki ezvid!

This is a website devoted to cool stuff whose users and editors compile videos to celebrate their favorite things. Not only books, but food, clothing, electronics, toys —  you name it and this site has posted a video about it!

The video attached to the 9 Fantastic Novels list features an interesting, eclectic mix of vintage and more modern images.

I might have selected one or two additional images to illustrate Beast in the video. (In fact, I did! Check out my own compilation of graphics and illustrations that inspired my book, over on my Pinterest page for Beast.)

But I could not be more thrilled that my Beast, having dared to venture out of his lonely chateau, is winning friends and recognition out in the wider world!

I’m also pleased that they gave an additional shout-out to Alias Hook!

Thank you, Ezvid Wiki!

Friday, November 2, 2018


Which day exactly is Dia de Los Muertos?

Nov 1 is All Saints Day (which is why Oct 31 is All Hallows Eve), and Nov 2 is All Souls Day — everyone else. Are the Spirits of the Dead up and about on both days? When does the portal between our world and theirs open and close for another year?

I decided that midnight between the night of November 1 and the morning of November 2 was the most likely time for Spirits to be active.

A celebration held at my little at-home altar last night was meant to entice James' Spirit back to visit the land of the living with all the things he loved here — a plastic dinosaur, a toy robot, and a fossil from his childhood collection, his box of paints and his glove, a piece of bubble-gum, a crossword puzzle, and, of course, a bottle of bubbly!

Also, a little piece he made years ago for a local Dia de Los Muertos altar somewhere, in honor of his own grandmother — a photo of his teenage self and his Grandma Asch, in a frame he made citing all the ways she shaped his life, from making German Potato Salad to teaching him magic tricks.

I was hoping all this would be inducement enough for the Spirit of my Art Boy to linger here with me during the time allotted to him.

But I have to admit, I didn’t feel any particular disturbance in the Force overnight. He didn’t visit my dreams (not that I remember).

Maybe it’s all just a big story we make up to comfort ourselves in the face of unbearable loss. Maybe there isn't any way for James’ enormous Spirit to ever get back to me.

Or — maybe he never left.

In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the noble, dying warrior tells the woman he loves, “I would rather be a ghost by your side than enter the Kingdom of Heaven without you.”

Maybe it’s like that.