Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sia's Videos

I have to admit it, when I first heard "Chandelier" it kind of got on my nerves. Then I really listened to the lyrics and I was like, "Ah, nice!"
I still didn't see the video until a month or two after it came out and I loved that even more. Of course, I was surrounded by people who "didn't get it" or thought it was weird. 
To quote Mr. Potato Head from Toy Story: "You uncultured swine!"

What people don't get is that this is called interpretive dancing. For those with the question marks hovering over their heads, I'll steal a quote from Wikipedia. "It seeks to translate human emotions, conditions, situations or fantasies into movement and dramatic expression, or else adapts traditional ethnic movements into more modern expressions."

The little girl dancing is in a flesh colored leotard. Apparently people freaked out about that. Why? Does it symbolize being naked? Probably. Is that really a bad thing? I don't think so.
Why must we always associate nudity in art as something sexual? Feeling naked can have a lot less to do with clothing and a lot more to do with vulnerability. 

I don't see a naked child running around acting all crazy. I see a lost soul. The trashy rooms are external conflict. The dance is her own internal conflict. She has to deal somehow.
I won't go into deep detail about what this video means to me because what I interpreted (There's that funny word again!) may be completely different than what you took away from it. I will mention that the last twenty seconds or so really hit home for me. The fake smiles and bowing at the door. Everything is fine here. Nothing to see.

Sia's newest video for the song "Elastic Heart" has the same little girl and Shia LaBeouf dancing with her. And once again all hell broke loose in the media. "It's pedophilia! He's too old to touch her! He must be a pedophile!"
I shake my head at you people. 

Once again, I won't say what I think the real meaning behind this video is but anyone who has working eyes can see that there is nothing sexual between these two. This video depicts a struggle. If she was being molested, why does she keep going back? How about we think outside the box (Oh no!) and see that he may represent like perhaps, I don't know, two sides of her own personality? 

I don't see why this rubbed people so wrong. There is such a thing as physical contact between a man and a child without it being sexual. I promise. The fact that people were so quick to cry out the word pedophile doesn't say anything about this video. 
It's a statement about our sad, sad society.

If you had some horrible experience in your past and this video reminds you of that, I'm sorry for you. But raising hell about a music video is not going to heal you. 
If I was in a horrible, traumatic car wreck, would I be upset every time I saw a car wreck on TV or the internet? Maybe, but would I raise a stink to the world about it and demand apologies for these scenes? No. I would learn to move on and get the hell over it. 

I'm actually sad that Sia apologized about "Elastic Heart". I wouldn't have. I don't have to explain my art to anyone. If you don't like it, move on.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Goodreads Community

I joined Goodreads in late 2013 because a friend suggested it to me. The idea of keeping track of what I've read, what I'm currently reading and all the many books I'd like to read, eventually, was appealing. And that was pretty much all I did on there for a while. I listed my own published works so people could check them out. If someone asked for a review of their book, that's where I'd post it. I had like maybe five friends for a long time. I joined a couple groups but I really didn't visit the site very frequently.

Recently, I figured hey, it's an entire community of readers and writers, I should really utilize this site to talk about books, make some friends and get some feedback on my own writing as well as help out some other writers.

So I started joining groups like mad. I put my two cents in many discussions. I offered to review some books. I offered to beta read some books. I asked for opinions on my own writings. I asked for reviews of my published works.

When it comes to Goodreads, what you have to understand is that it is just like every other social media site out there. No, it really is. You have some nice people who want to have discussions and make friends. You have people who just spam all over every post. You have jerks who have something negative to say to everyone. You have overly sensitive people who can't take criticism, even if it's meant to be helpful. 
It's basically Facebook, with books.

But though there is a lot of negativity and I often find myself frustrated, (I hate commenting on a thread repeatedly, trying to start a conversation, and everyone there just ignores me.) there is a wealth of knowledge to be had. 
If you want to know anything about a book - summary, author, reviews, ratings, sequels- this is where you should go. If you're looking for a local book club or looking to start one, this is where you should check first. If you're having writer's block and need a few fresh ideas, there are people who are willing to help you. So if you can get past the haters and trouble-making kids *shakes fist and grumbles* the site is quite rewarding.

All in all, I'm enjoying the experience. I've made some wonderful friends. I've had fun talking about books, movies, music, even Youtube videos. Hey, I even wrote some new poetry and short stories, and I haven't written a poem in years. 
Goodreads has been good to me. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Books That Should Be Movies Pt 2

This time I'll be discussing The Hero and The Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley and why I think they'd be excellent movies, if done right.
And of course, I'll tell you how NOT to do them.

As far as strong female characters in fantasy, Robin McKinley's females always please. Even when they are unsure of themselves or doubt their own motives, they shine through and I can never manage to put a book down once I start it without my own inner turmoil. Sometimes I just have to read the entire book through in one sitting.

I could really see these two books being made into two movies that coincide with each other even though the books can stand alone. I can picture Harry (the heroine from The Blue Sword) settling down one night with her children, trying to get them tucked in and quiet. They ask for a story and she decides to tell them all about the original owner of her sword, Gonturan, the blue sword that only a woman can wield. 
She weaves the tale of Lady Aerin, narrating a bit as we go back into Aerin's childhood. And so begins The Hero and The Crown.
I think Harry's character would be perfect to narrate the first movie in third person, then to narrate her own story in first person. And perhaps at one point in The Blue Sword, her husband Corlath can pop in and give a few words of his own about their adventures.

Now, because I'm a stickler for details here are a few things that SHOULD NOT be done with this movie because it would really take away from the story and ruin the entire experience.

Crappy Narrating:
Narrators are meant to give insight and clue the watchers into something that can't be expressed through visuals. Expressing a characters feelings, for example. But lately it seems that most YA-books-turned-movie have narrating at the beginning just to explain every detail of someone's past, their environment, how magic works, etc. This is completely unnecessary. 
As far as The Hero and The Crown, it is not necessary to go into detail explaining away kelar at the beginning, for example. It could be shown and hinted at by that horrid girl who teases Aerin for not having the Gift of kelar. This is a movie, use some visuals here. I always think it's better to assume that the members of your audience aren't all complete idiots and can actually figure things out without them being stated right from the get-go.

So, I know that someone is just itching to make the dragons and other creatures CG and I'm okay with that. I just can't stand when they do CG people in action scenes. Really, it looks like crap. Stop doing it. There's this thing called a blue screen and plenty of actors who can jump and run and fly in a harness.

Changing The Story:
I'm not an idiot, I know things must be adjusted for the big screen. Every detail and side story from a book isn't going to be slapped in there. My main concern is changing the direction of a story or trying to sell it as something it's not. Both of these books have plenty of great action scenes. They would make wonderful action movies, to be sure. But that isn't what they're really about. These stories are about two girls trying to find themselves and their place in a magical and confusing world. This should be the focus of any movies made.
I've said it once and I'll say it again, don't Eragon this shit.

Other than that, I think these two books would be excellent movies. Strong heroines in movies is in right now what with The Hunger Games trilogy and Divergent so, why not?