BTC: Cindy, Bert und der Pekingese von Baskerville

Morning, mein lieblings. Not that it looks much like morning out there, with the streetlamps still on at nearly 7am and a sky as cold and dark as Satan’s bunghole. The only sign of life in the street below my window: two scabby possums going at it atop a mildewed stack of phone books over by the garbage bins. Dunno what drugs they’re on, but I could really use some right about now. Stupid uncontrollable yawning. Stupid irrational mid-November mood slump. Stupid Seasonal Affective Disorder with its stupid, STUPID boohoo abbreviation. How is anyone supposed to take that name seriously, anyway? “Hey boss, sorry about my general nonproductivity, irritability and/or copious drooling… I haz TEH SAD.”

Guten Morgen. We’re German, we’re mod, we’re impassive, and inexplicably, we’ve changed Ozzie’s lyrics to reflect our deep admiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterful mystery story, The Hounds of the Baskerville. PS: Bert took the brown acid. Do not make direct eye contact.

Consider this week’s Better Than Coffee clip a kind of “could be worse” meditation. Judging by their sickly pallor and glazed eyes, phlegmatic-bordering-on-undead “dance moves” and seeming recalcitrance to the sainted spirit of Sabbath, I’m certain that Cindy, Bert and the rest of the Hits a Go Go kids are in far more desperate need of full spectrum light therapy than any of us. (Especially that one ‘luuded up little bitch with the unfortunate Friends-era Jennifer Anniston hairdo. Gah. What a dog!)

No, home-brewed coffee just ain’t cutting it today. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to catch one of those possums and gnaw the hot, steaming pineal gland right out of its face. Tschüss!

Town in Oregon Elects Genderqueer Mayor

Silverton, Oregon has just elected Stu Rasmussen for another term, making Stu America’s first openly genderqueer mayor. After the harsh disappointment over the passing of Prop 8 this is welcome news. What’s especially wonderful is the support Stu’s town offered during the transition, even though he was first elected as a traditional male.

“Obviously, it was shocking to them,” Stu told Good Morning America “We all kind of went through it together. It was pretty obvious I was making a change, it had to happen in my head. They were ready before I was.”

Good work, Oregon. I feel just a little bit better now.

Weekly Ad Uncoiling: Stayfree fax ad

And you thought those recruitment firm spam faxes were annoying. How’s this for some intrusive ambient advertising? Sancho BBDO in Bogotá, Colombia apparently compiled a large target list of non-menopausal business women, and faxed them this single sheet ad promoting Stayfree’s Ultra-Thin hygienic napkins. “Sally? You got a tampon fax. Where do you want it—your in-box (sorry)?”  Seriously what were these people thinking? Taking into account the maturity level of many “businessmen” I know, I see a lot childish red ink doodles and Dockers® with taped on protection and paper tampon blindfolds and…you get the idea. I guess this stunt does get across the selling point—thinness. But it does it at the risk of unprecedented office humiliation. (image via AdsOfTheWorld)

Someone Else’s Victory: Anti-Gay Legislation Passes

First they ignore you,
then they laugh at you,
then they fight you,
then you win.


(Thanks for that reminder, Jennifer.)

Frank Capley and his partner Joe Alfano hug as they hold signs during a same sex marriage demonstration October 15, 2007. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Twenty-four hours ago, like so many Americans, I was wandering the jubilant streets in a daze. Complete strangers cheered and danced together, wept and embraced. The tension we’d held in our bodies for untold years seemed to flood out through the soles of our feet and into the gutters. It was a historic night for everyone.

But the joyful tears have already evaporated on my cheeks. My heart is still breaking, because at this point, it looks like California’s Prop 8 will pass by a narrow 3-4 point margin. Prop 2 in Florida and Prop 102 in Arizona have been voted in as well. Once again, majority rule has demanded that we inject the most base and despicable kind of bigotry into our constitution.

Don’t get me wrong… those of us who supported Obama’s campaign have many reasons to rejoice right now, and we should. Keep dancing, keep hoping. Please know that I don’t mean to detract from everyone’s happiness today. But the success of three constitutional amendments written explicitly to deny two people who love each other equal rights and recognition under the law is devastating.

Many of you have already seen the footage I posted two weeks ago in Nadya’s Prop 8 thread after being assaulted by a group of Prop 8 demonstrators. Just in case you haven’t, I think it’s worth reposting. Be warned, the screams are deafening. You’ll want to turn the volume down:

The Face of Proposition 8 from Theremina on Vimeo.
Read my full account of the incident here, if you like. I’ll freely admit my bias, but this is not agitprop. Rest assured, their behavior was just as horrific in person.

In the weeks leading up to last night’s election, in my experience and that of millions more activists across the country, this was the true face of Proposition 8. If you can watch it and still insist there’s nothing inherently cruel, disturbing or divisive about the underlying motivations to ban same-sex marriage, forgive me, but I’m not open to discussing the matter further with you. It would be pointless. How could I ever reach affable agreement with anyone who insists on relegating gay Americans to second class citizenship?

Silver lining: the main reason supporters of a ban on same-sex marriage are kicking up such a row is that on some level, they realize they’re a dying breed. That sooner than later, this kind of litigation won’t be any more acceptable than the irrational mob rule endured by other minority groups in the past.

Traditionally and historically, the institution of marriage has been more about security and property than religion, or even love itself. Ironically –given the rage and denial of so many people who claim to follow the teachings of a loving and compassionate Christ– I dare say marriage is never more purely about acknowledging love than in this context. I know that if she were alive today, Mildred Loving would agree. Because keeping folks “separate but equal” never results in equality.

First FreakAngels Trade Paperback Available Now

A heads up to anyone with a hankering for some really fantastic “practical” steampunk worldbuilding and storytelling who isn’t yet familiar with FreakAngels: the first story arc of Warren Ellis and Paul Duffield’s groundbreaking webcomic has been collected in a scrumptious 144 page trade paperback. It’s available today in North America, and tomorrow in the UK and other territories. Meanwhile, all past installments of FreakAngels will remain online as a free serialized weekly. You can check them out, starting here.

Warren chatted with NEWSARAMA about his process:

As far as how it works: it’s the TV model. FreakAngels is free-to-air, but the eventual collected editions will cost money. I can watch pretty much any TV show I want, on the box or on the net, but for something I like, I’d rather have the complete DVD handy.

Makes sense, right? Go get some.

A Squeal of Joy in the Night

There will be many posts like this across the Web now and tomorrow and for weeks to come. This is just a minuscule speck of human experience, brought to you by the overwhelming pride I feel tonight. What I want to do is just say thank you. Thank you for restoring what little faith we dared to extend to our ailing country.

I spent tonight with my mother in a Russian restaurant, drinking pepper vodka and hoping. Trying to not think, trying to shake the jitters that woke me at 5am today and sent so many of us flying to the polls well before they opened. When the television showed us your power, it was almost instant – the tidal wave of joy. Just as I was saying I was afraid to believe it, the screaming started. Outside, on Santa Monica boulevard, right in the heart of boystown, people were cheering and car horns were going off in the most beautiful cacophony I’ve ever heard. Mom and I stepped outside to absorb it all, along with the cold night air. She turned to me in all that wind and noise to say: “Do you believe it now?”. I almost began to cry.

What happens next is uncertain. Whether Obama will come through, whether we will finally begin to heal – none of it is clear in this moment. All we do know is our fate has been changed profoundly. This was our chance to prove we have evolved and we didn’t blow it. So thank you – to everyone who cast aside their cynicism, to everyone who made their voice heard along with ours. History was made tonight and we can only hope our faith will be justified. Celebrate, people. You’ve earned that right today.

You can keep track of propositions’ progress here.

Grinning Through the Pain with Palmer’s “Oasis”

It’s a given: many of us will be prone to spontaneous fits of hysterical laughter and/or tears today. On that note, Amanda “Gams” Palmer has just released a grim-but-hilarious new music video promoting her solo album. Directed by longtime Dresden Dolls collaborator Michael Pope (a man who always manages to make micro-budget videos look like a million bucks), “Oasis” is a vicious little slice of tongue-in-cheek indie pop featuring Amanda as a ditzy teenage wastrel, producer Ben Folds as her stricken boyfriend, and various chums of Amanda’s as abortion clinic nurses and pro-life wingnuts. “Never again will you be able to see me get drunk, date-raped AND get an abortion ALL IN ONE VIDEO!”  Appropriately, she’s dedicating it to Sarah Palin.

Tour the Edison with Mother of London

Earlier this year, we showed you some image stills from a 360° virtual tour shoot of The Edison by panorama virtuoso Wil Pearson, populated with shady characters wearing the latest Mother of London designs. Now, the interactive panoramas are complete! Click here for two stunning views of The Edison.

I have to say, I give major props to The Edison for opening its doors to various influences beyond the typical bar crowd. The Edison could’ve easily stayed a high-end bar for Hollywood Douchebags and done just fine financially, but instead it has, ever since it opened its doors almost two years ago in February of 2007, invited performance freaks (Lucent Dossier), film geeks (for the Jules Verne Film Festival), belly dancers, photographers and musicians into its midst. I cannot think of any place so fancy that’s so inclusive anywhere else in the US. There really is no place on Earth like the Edison. If you’re in LA, don’t take it for granted. And if you’re not in LA, this panoramic tour will give you a chance to experience it like never before.

Will Pearson / Mother of London / Edison Virtual Tour

Snow White and the 7 Hot Guys: A Russian Fairy Tale

Yeah… in Russia we had none of that Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey shit. Penned by Pushkin in 1833, the Russian version of the classic fairy tale, morbidly titled “The Tale of the DEAD PRINCESS and the Seven Knights,” had the princess living with seven “lusty” bogatyrs. I’m sure that many a girl who grew up with this fairy tale thought to herself, “yep, this is how life should be.”

Scanned for your viewing please are some illustrations from my childhood copy of this tale – a well-worn hand-me-down originally printed in 1970 and bought for 18 kopeks (that’s 10¢), with gorgeous illustrations done in 1954 by Tamara Ufa.

There are many similarities between the Russian version (full translation of the poem here) and version that most of us grew up with, including the poisoned apple and the glass coffin. One of the most interesting differences is there’s no kiss, a far cry from the one of the earliest versions of the tale, in which the princess is actually raped and abandoned by the prince, only to be awoken by newborn children. In the Russian version, the grief-stricken prince simply throws himself onto the coffin, and the shattering  of the glass is what wakes the princess. Also, it’s interesting that the princess (or Tsarina, in Russian) doesn’t have a name. In fact, the only people in the story who have names are the Tsarina’s suitor, Prince Yelisei, and Smudge, the evil queen’s chambermaid.

There was also a 1951 cartoon by Ivan Ivanov-Vano, “patriarch of Soviet Animation”:

After the jump are some very dialup-unfriendly Tamara Ufa scans with captions from the translated Russian poem. Enjoy!

Tonight! Mer Performs With Dame Darcy

Art from Dame Darcy’s new book, Gasoline

That’s right my dearest squidlings, if you’re in San Francisco tonight, it’s your chance to see our own Meredith Yayanos perform a special set with the only living mermaid herself, Dame Darcy. Held at Isotope Comics, APE Aftermath is the one party you don’t want to miss, sure to thrill and inspire.

Comics legend, artist, author, doll-maker, celebrity, musician. Is there nothing the amazing Dame Darcy can’t do? The Isotope will be celebrating the launch of Darcy’s new book Gasoline and she will be enthralling the masses with a massive live pickin’ show on the Isotope’s world’s highest stage.

See it all for yourselves at 326 Fell Street, at Gough. The show is to begin at 7pm, so don’t delay!