The Phantom of The Opera (1990 – with Charles Dance!)

A recent Twitter discussion mentioned the 1990 ABC/Disney production of Phantom of the Opera. At mention of the name, a long-forgotten door blew open within the crumbling, decrepit Memory Palace of mind, and suddenly I was 12 again.

Confession: I’ve never cared much about the Andrew Lloyd Webber production, and this television series is why. It had everything a 12-year-old romantic’s seething, fevered heart could want: unrequited love, misunderstood romantic gestures, flowing poet shirts, sword fights, caves, capes, opera, and fantastic costumes. Yes, the Webber version has all that, but I saw this one first.

If you are already a fan or if you just like Charles Dance and want to check it out, it is uploaded to Youtube in two halves. I’ve embedded the first half below. The titles are in German, but the show is in English. I can’t recommend it highly enough – filmed in the actual Palais Garnier Opera House in Paris, with spectacular costumes and a beautiful, unique score by John Addison, it presents a romantic, tragic version of the Phantom and gives equal time to Christine’s journey as an ingenue singer. Although usually a more sedate villain (at least in recent years), Dance in the tv series is more physical – he leaps, runs, swordfights, climbs, and yet can still intimidate with his piercing eyes and tall frame. His Phantom is the best parts of the 20th century’s most famous Draculas – Bela Lugosi’s courtly manners and hypnotic menace combined with the tigerlike attacks and sexual charisma of Christopher Lee. Most actors have trouble projecting through masks – since most of Dance’s most memorable roles required him to be restrained to the point of frosty, a mask was almost the perfect counterbalance to negate his coldness – in Phantom, he’s warm, earnest, even silly or funny sometimes, and more likeable than ever.

For a deeper dive, please keep reading. There will be spoilers!

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Navigating Depression – A Sort of Helpful User’s Guide

Real Talk Time – I’ve been navigating depression since I was very, very young. This is a serious post and people who are averse to reading about mental health or who might experience triggering due to discussion of it are encouraged to check back another time. There will be mentions of suicidal ideations, emotional abuse, and other difficult subjects. Also, Harsh Language.

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Five Things I Want You to Know About Virago

Hello, friend!

If you’ve been following me on Twitter you’re aware that I’ve been reading chapters of my novel Virago as weekly podcast episodes, complete with character voices. I’ll be honest – I’m too afraid to actually look at metrics. Some people can handle that kind of data, but for me that way lies madness. A handful of individuals have provided some encouraging feedback, so that’ll have to be enough for now.

If you are not interested in listening, the complete novel will be available in print and eBook format from Amazon again later this year. I don’t know when because creativity in the time of quarantine is a strange and uncertain thing. But the book is done, I’m just cleaning it up.

Once all the chapters are available, I’m going to distribute them through Spotify. Somehow! Haven’t gotten that far yet.

So for now, here are five things that I want people to know about this book.

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Memory Lane – Catching Up with Some Old Work

Years ago, I used to do horror movie reviews during the month of October. Each week was themed, like Hellraiser week, Old Mansion Week, Halloween and The Kitchen Sink Week, etc.

Hello Dear Reader! It’s been a minute!

I’m attempting to reignite my enjoyment for blogging. I thought I might do that by getting back into the swing with HORROR MOVIE MONTH. This also presents an opportunity to introduce new friends and readers to my work. So if you’re new here, welcome! And if you’ve been around a while, thanks for stopping in and checking up!

Years ago, I used to do horror movie reviews during the month of October. Each week was themed, like Hellraiser week, Old Mansion Week, Halloween and The Kitchen Sink Week, etc. I’ll be reblogging some of those old reviews here for the remainder of October, and I’ll start it off with – drumroll – WEREBEASTS WEEK!

Please enjoy these oldies but goodies about people who are hairy, scary, and usually unfairly judged:

Werebeasts Week: Dog Soldiers (2002)

Werebeasts Week: Cat People (1942)

And while you’re reading those, I hope you’ll poke around and find something else to read and discuss. There’s so much here!

Jen in England 2018 – Part 3: Clotted Cream, Tiny Castles, and The End of the World.

Being American (from Florida, no less), anything over the age of a hundred impresses me. I was Home.

In 2018, Jen took her first ever trip outside the United States. She was lazy and never posted the rest of the trip, but it kind of worked out because she hit the mental wall recently and needed an escape, and figured that you do too. Please enjoy Part Three of this multi-part series chronicling her tale abroad, along with the requisite musings. Part One can be found here. Part Two can be found here. 

Note: The internet is full of posts by smart, photogenic people taking meticulously staged selfies at famous landmarks, so this travelogue is restricted to actual personal thoughts, including things I found fascinating and/or hilarious and VERY OCCASIONAL selfies. This entry contains terrifying staircases, clotted cream on scones, a tiny castle on an island, and the End of the World! 

How to Get Lost, Found, and Fed

The next leg of my trip took me from Oxford aaaaaalllll the way down Cornwall to Penzance. But first, I had to get lost in Puxton.

Like, REALLY lost.  The red dot is Puxton.

Leaving Oxford was hard – not just because I loved my Airbnb either. No, the reason it was so difficult was because I was undergoing HORRIFIC MENSTRUAL CRAMPING. Naturally, this made driving even more of a chore than the whole ‘left side with roundabouts’ thing.

Continue reading “Jen in England 2018 – Part 3: Clotted Cream, Tiny Castles, and The End of the World.”