curious little beastie

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The reviewers, so far, seem to say that while Angelina Jolie kills it – slices, slaughters, and smears the blood on her lips – the rest of the film hits ukewarm. I’m inclined to agree, but that doesn’t matter overmuch. Less cartoonish scenery and sharper-drawn characters would have served the story well, but as long as Maleficent herself does justice to my beloved, everything else is immaterial. And she does. Oh hell, does she ever. Enough so that I sometimes wanted to whisk her out of this incongruous film and into a better realized one.

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Danica and I saw the very first showing in Vermont. We both wore fae, filmy dresses and posed with the poster, and I’ll keep that ticket stub as long as I live. Regardless of my personal feelings on many aspects of the film, I’ll be seeing it many more times: first with Josh, who’d had to work, then with pagan friends who’ve made me promise to accompany them, then maybe once with just me. I want to take in this story from every angle. I waited sixteen years for this.

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I’d hoped this latest addition to my tattoo crop would get me in for free. (In case this blurry close-up isn’t enough to go on, this is the back of my neck. Can we talk about what a beast neck tattoos are? It felt like all my baby hairs were being pulled and burned at once.)

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Things that stood out (I’ll keep them as spoiler-free as possible):

  • First and foremost, the film doesn’t quite know what it wants to be. It’s at its best when hewing to the simple yet utterly grimdark formula laid down by Grimm and co. The ancient story is rich enough without the window dressing of comic relief and random battles. Most scenes that don’t feature Maleficent read as extraneous out-of-genre bloat. Is my bias showing yet?
  • But seriously, Angelina Jolie is luscious. For her relatively few lines, she signs, seals, and delivers an entire character. She steals scenes with a raised eyebrow. I would gladly pay to see this whole feature boiled down to a one-woman show. It basically is, anyway. Hell, I’d pay just to sit in her icy presence and twiddle my thumbs.
  • Waaay too much CGI, but the cinematography is actually really lovely. Director Robert Stromberg was an Oscar-winning art director before making the switch, and it shows. I especially liked what he does with light – pivotal moments are often shown in silhouette against a darkening sky, which serves the fairy-tale element quite well.
  • “Maleficent” is revealed to be her real name. I’ve always considered it more of a title, assuming she was christened something less imposing. Nope – childhood scenes show a little horned girl answering to “Maleficent”. Come on, really? It means “doing evil or harm“. The idea of actually bestowing that upon an infant is frankly stupid, and it took me out of the film. If she’d been initially introduced as something else, and we got to see the evolution of the title as her evil powers grew stronger, that would have been brilliant.
  • This was seriously the most fetishtastic thing I have ever seen. I would love to see it recut as a trailer for a latex film. It would be too, too easy. Mal wears a straight-up catsuit at one point. (Anachronism: what’s that?) The line “I like you begging. Do it again” is also uttered. In a Disney film. Yeah, that happened.
  • Those goddamn fairies. One reviewer sniffed that the actresses in question should “fire their agents”. Truer words have rarely been spoken. Their CGI is less “otherworldy” than “uncanny valley”, and their bickering (which is all they do) adds zilch to the plot. For what it’s worth, said actresses didn’t do a bad job. I was a fan of Imelda Staunton before, and that hasn’t changed. But there’s only so much you can do with roles both a) poorly written and b) completely out of place in their film.
  • Did I mention that Angelina Jolie absolutely slays it? Maybe I’m not as straight as I think.

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it’s my goddamn birthday


I visited my ancestral stomping grounds for my 20th-birthday dinner. Sponge cake and homemade dumplings, which I’ve requested for the past, oh, twelve birthdays. Spend two hours making fifty dumplings, and they’re gone in twenty minutes. I could weep tears of soy sauce.





I wonder how one’s birth date affects one’s life. I grew up craving the semiotics of spring – lilacs, freshly mown lawns – at least in part because they meant I’d soon get cake and presents. What if I’d been born in midwinter? Would I crave snowdrifts? Would I be less inclined toward seasonal doldrums?







Today I’m getting my fourth tattoo! T-minus three hours.


Photo cred to my mom, who underwent major surgery on my behalf exactly 20 years ago!

why should algernon have all the fun?


How much more of a cliche could I possibly be? I suppose that when one defines oneself as being “alternative”, individuality can become as pathological as blending in might be to someone more “mainstream”. Everything I do must be original! No taking enjoyment in the banal! It’s a cage. If I aim to maximize happiness, then I think I’m just gonna be me. And flowers make me happy. In their presence – and that of ferrets and really excellent watermelon – I can almost understand the argument for intelligent design. Aaaalmost.

When you get dragged to a hardware store while your dad prices lawnmowers, the least you can do is smuggle your camera into the nursery and snap a few. All the while pretending you’re going to buy something, of course.








brightness, my old friend

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I’ve become a caricature of a style blogger. I’m twirling in grassy fields, using too many exclamation points, and browsing ModCloth at work – and I’m doing it all 100% unironically. I used to look on the unflinchingly twee with disdain. Where’s my old snark? Where’s the wryness that let everyone know exactly how jaded I am?

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I used to be Dark. Read: a brooding Hot Topic pessimist just a little too pagan for everyone else’s comfort. I never went so far as raccoon liner, but I came damn close. I had shucked off most of my gothic carapace by the time I started this blog, but elements of her remained: would I have posted shots like this a year ago? Would I have worn a dress whose only artistic merit was showing off my happiness?

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I never want to be a cliche. I’ve become known in the style blogosphere for my kooky concept shoots and commitment to storytelling, and I’m not about to become the stand-‘n’-pose type. But I am happy enough in my own self to fall back on it sometimes. Though I often want it, I don’t need adornment.

Pockets of me are still raw and complicated. And I am still a haunter, still a horror darling, still a troubadour of the supernatural. But I come to those things now because they are not me. Because I, down in my gut, am simple and calm and bright. My appreciation for the dark is less an ugly compulsion, more a deliberate seeking out.

If this is what SSRIs do to you, then I’d be positively saccharine on a higher dose.

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Photos by Danica. I think I’ll keep her. 😉

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in sheep’s clothing

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My friend Danica is seven inches shorter than I am, probably thirty pounds lighter, but she could take me down any day of the week. She is a tiny spitfire (and by that I mean she literally spits fire) in heels and pearls. We both revel in such contrasts. As I shot these photos of her, we talked about claiming feminine semiotics for our own ends: using lipstick, heels, and the art of the tease to broadcast power. Why leave them to those who’d oppress us?

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Brilliant brains in sizzling bodies. If you try to tell me one negates the other, I have nothing to say to you. (Save for my zillion screeds on the topic. But y’know.)

In other news, I really enjoyed being behind the camera for once! Danica makes a gorgeous model; I promised to take all photos of her for the rest of eternity. “Be careful what you wish for,” she said.

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There is, in fact, an establishment by that name. I hate everything.

Josh, our dear friend Bridget, and I spent Saturday and Sunday in New Hampshire’s greatest shame, visiting friends and perusing thrift stores for unsettling dolls. Oh, and hey – we ate dinner at a place with almost 20,000 likes on Facebook. Anything to help offset the embarrassment.

I wore simple (for me) clothes and did not brush my hair. No makeup but for lipstick, without which I feel far too naked. Sometimes my love of aesthetics feels too performative. I want to wear my clothes, not the other way around. God forbid I become so lashed to a particular version of myself that I can’t leave the house in something less than perfect. Seriously, no one in Manch-fucking-Vegas is going to notice my unpolished nails.


Bridget is less than patriotic.


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Singing or screaming? “Slay bells ring…”

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Not even by the same author.


Be still whatever passes for my heart!

for in this world i’m bound to ramble


I have always pledged affinity with magical beings. I love the heights of angelwings and the depths of Beelzebub and co. Merrily suspending disbelief, I hunt for ghosts at twilight and fairies in the morning: who cares if they’re “real”? Even the (probably) nonexistent has its own kind of truth. If you’re into Campbell and Jung and Eliade, our whole worlds spin out from our psyches anyway. There is great power in designing my own.



Usually I’m a witch, but today, yesterday, recently I’ve been fae. I am less a crone anchored to a tumultuous earth than a pixie on the wind. I am a neo-flapper wresting amusement from every corner of the world. I want to make a fool of this godforsaken planet and feel the oceans blush.











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First of all, my HAIR, you guys! My garish, overprocessed, completely me hair! My mom and I got ours professionally done for Mother’s Day. If I didn’t look 100% like a j-pop star before, I sure as hell do now – even though I do not know a single j-pop song and my musical taste runs more in this direction. And, my god, do little girls love me. At least three of them grin and point on my typical daily walk. I’m even cooler than Elsa.

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Now that I’ve gotten my cuteness out of the way, though, I’m about to get ranty on you. I took these photos yesterday on my front porch in the span of eight minutes. In that time, I fell prey to three honkings and two shouted remarks. You could make the case that the honks weren’t directed at me, that they were a mere exhortation of another driver or a signal to a cat in the road. But when you’ve spent twenty years existing while female, you kind of know. You know when it’s an accident and when it’s flirting and when it’s domination. I’d like to hope that it’s just misguided flirtation. I sympathize enough with the socially awkward to understand such things. But it’s not flirting when you pull up beside me on the sidewalk to scream in my face. And I wish I could call five times in eight minutes an exaggeration or an exception. Spoiler: it isn’t.

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I refuse to accept that a barrage of objectification must come standard with being female and feminine. This is what objectification really is. It’s not about sexualization. It’s not about consenting to perform in media that some find degrading. At its core, it’s about refusal to acknowledge humanity. You can absolutely model nude and do porn and perform burlesque in settings that affirm your humanity. But there’s no way that screaming at a pretty girl out your car window affirms anyone’s dignity. I’m left startled and shaken, and you’re left looking like Captain Asshole.

By all means appreciate me. Mentally undress me to your heart’s content. But the minute you decide that your desires are more important than my personal boundaries, you are no longer worth my time.

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Yell back. Flip them off. Don’t shut up. And, by god, don’t let it change who you are. I’ve known women to mute their personal styles for fear of the constant unwanted attention. I’ve seen people become paranoid, afraid to engage with any stranger at all. I refuse to do that. I will dress colorfully and I will be a sunny person who gives the benefit of the doubt, because that is who I am. Douchebags don’t change that. If I let them, they win.

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Still not asking for it.