sasha_feather: Amelie, white woman with dark hair, smiling cheerfully (Amelie)
Fiction:
Mission Child by Maureen McHugh

Non-Fiction:
Bayard Rustin: The Invisible Activist by Jacqueline Jaeger Houtman, Walter Naegle, and Michael G. Long

Comics and Graphic Novels:

The Infinite Wait and other stories by Julia Wertz
Seconds, by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Ms. Marvel volumes 1 and 2 by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
The Midas Flesh vol. 1 by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, Shelli Paroline, Steve Wands
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Saga, vol. 4 and 5 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
My breathing was crappy yesterday due to wildfire smoke coming in from the West. The sky was gray and hazy at 5 pm and the sun was orange. Today seems a bit better.

The internet still randomly cuts out on me, but the good news is the upstairs neighbor wants to share so at least it isn't costing us as much.

Trees are being cut down in our neighborhood; I think they are Ash trees, at risk from Emerald Ash borer.

Have a Teen Wolf Rec!

Electricity in the Contact by ladyblahblah

Derek/Stiles, Pretend Relationship, 27K.

One thing I loved about this story is that in their pretend relationship-- which is for the benefit of making Derek appear less vulnerable at a werewolf event-- Derek and Stile have safe words which they use to express their discomfort with something in front of others who are not in the loop. Then they go away in private and discuss the thing. It's a very healthy approach to a pretend relationship! Heh. I loved this story.

Spy

Jun. 18th, 2015 10:38 pm
sasha_feather: Cindi Mayweather (janelle monae) (Cindi Mayweather)
Really enjoyed "Spy" starring Melissa McCarthy and Miranda Hart (Chummy from Call the Midwife). See if if you can! Lots of women, massive Bechdel pass, very funny all the way through.

content notes: small things )

Movie notes

May. 4th, 2015 09:57 pm
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
I saw a bunch of movies last week!

Ex Machina - a science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence. This was quite thought-provoking and stylish, but emotionally I found it cold, creepy, and disturbing.

Woman in Gold - I loved this film and highly recommend it. Helen Mirren plays Maria Altmann, a woman living in LA who hires a young lawyer and friend of the family (Ryan Reynolds) to sue the Austrian government over paintings stolen by the Nazis during WWII. The foremost of these paintings is the titular Klimt. Maria's aunt was the model for the portrait, and her uncle commissioned it. Tatiana Maslany plays the younger Maria. This film has grace and humanity; it explores the Nazi's outright thefts, violence and indignities, and the later cultural appropriation of art by the Austrian people in a subtle and moving way.

Avengers Age of Ultron - my main complaint was that it was too long, clocking in at 2 hours 22 minutes, plus many previews. [personal profile] skygiants wrote this hilarious summary.

Older movies I watched on DVR:

Book of Eli - The premise of this movie was so ridiculous that it was hard to suspend my disbelief enough to care. Eli, played by Denzel Washington, is carrying the last copy in existence of a Bible, and he's trying to get it to a safe place. He's moving through a post-apocalyptic world, killing raiders and scrounging for food. Gary Oldman plays a villain who wants to get his hands on the book and use it for evil purposes. It's a stylish film, and kind of fun survival story, and Mila Kunis is enjoyable as his side kick. But the story would have made more sense if the MacGuffin were literally anything other than a Bible.

12 Years a Slave - I loved this film and thought about it a lot after seeing it. That said, I was happy to be able to fast-forward through a couple of violent scenes, and I found them to be gratuitous. One thing that works well in this film, for a modern audience, is that Solomon Northrup is an insider to his time and country but an outsider to Southern slave culture, so his experiences act as a bridge for the audience. His disorientation and bewilderment are incredibly effective ways of showing how ridiculous, brutal, and incomprehensible slavery is. Epps, played by Michael Fassbender, is so completely out of control that it's difficult to believe that he is functional, and yet his society not only tolerates his rages and dangerous behavior-- the society empowers him. All of society has to be complicit in slavery for this system to work. It makes no sense whatsoever, and yet it went on for hundreds of years; a society based upon terrorism. This film is incredibly effective at showing all of these things.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Consolidated notes on Queer movies that I've seen over the last six-ish years, as people seem to look for recs from time to time. Since I wrote these a while ago, some may no longer be on Netflix. Will edit this from time to time. Adding stars to ones I especially recommend.

52 movies )
sasha_feather: a fox curled up around a rabbitt (fox and rabbit)
Last night a friend and I re-watched "Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home", also known as "The One with the Whales".

Why this is a feminist film:

this post contains spoilers for a 1986 film )
sasha_feather: Black, white, and red image of woman with futuristic helmet (Sci Fi Woman)
First, previews:

Terminator: Genysis (or some other kind of misspelling). This. looks. awesome. On the one hand, how many movies can there be about trying to stop judgment day? On the other hand, who cares? I love this franchise and will definitely see this.

Avengers sequel: This looks pretty good. I may have made some squeaky noises at seeing these two trailers in a row. Marvel knows how to put a good trailer together, for sure.

The Lazarus Effect (Project?): a horror movie, thus I won't see it.

Ted 2. I was thinking, how did they manipulate Mark Wahlberg into making this film, but then I remembered that he has a bunch of shitty things in his past. This looks so, so, terrible.

Chappie. Another SF film that looks a bit like Short Circuit, but by the director of District 9. Probably will be violent. Hugh Jackman has weird hair in it.

spoilers maybe )

"Pride"

Jan. 15th, 2015 10:44 pm
sasha_feather: Moriary and his neck, Sherlock BBC (Moriarty)
I didn't do much today but it was a Twitter success day: re-tweeted by @Karnythia (29.8K followers) and Saladin Ahmed (24.1K Followers). If you care about that sort of thing. I used to have a locked twitter, so.

I watched the film "Pride" (2014) with some friends. I quite liked this film about a group of gay and lesbian activists in the UK who support striking miners. It's great to see a film about activists and politics; it reminded me a bit of "Milk" but was better because it focused on a group of people instead of one individual, and it focused on the politics and not on the drama of their relationships. It's a hopeful movie about the power of community activism.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Previews we saw today in front of "Big Hero 6":

Home. Looks like a Lilo and Stitch type movie, about an alien who doesn't fit in, and a black woman with a flying car; in other words awesome. We laughed a lot at the preview which is a good sign.

Minions. This looks cute and funny! The Minions themselves are unmarked gender, which is apparently "everyone is male," and that bothers me some. But the goofy, cute humor appeals.

Inside Out, from Pixar. This looks awful. The preview was sexist, annoying, and unfunny. Playing on base gender stereotypes and families being annoyed at each other is not fun.

Spongebob. I'll skip it.

A Lucas film offering with fairies; it looked dull.

--

Big Hero 6 was all-around wonderful. It was funny, beautiful, and moving. Highly recommended. There is an extra scene post-credits.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Sell Your Body to the Night by [archiveofourown.org profile] dsudis. Teen Wolf, Derek/Stiles, explicit, 121K words.

I've been thinking about this one for days since finishing it. Stiles becomes a runaway sex worker in San Francisco, living in poverty. I was utterly pulled in to Stile's emotional state, the way his world narrows down to the things he can cope with, and how he focuses in on his time with Derek because it is what makes life tolerable. This was a controlled, slow story that led the me expertly right where it wanted to go. Also there is a great water sports scene plus Laura Hale being awesome.

Some Legends are Told by elisera. Derek/Stiles/Lydia. AU. 23,921 words. explicit.

Lydia is in line to inherent the throne, and her country has been at war for many years. She takes charge and does things her own way. It is awesome. I enjoyed the way that the relationship between these three slowly develops. Also, it isn't only about their relationship-- they also have a war to fight and a country to run. The setting reminded me of some YA fantasy novels that I love (Kristen Cashore and Megan Whalen Turner books), and it was also great to read a story where Derek doesn't magically heal.

Games

Dec. 14th, 2014 02:16 pm
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Some games I've played recently

FTL (Faster than Light)

Love it. It's hard, but the difficulty keeps me playing.

The player controls a Federation ship staffed by humans and aliens, jumping between FTL beacons to explore the region and fight rebels and pirates. Hostile ships can destroy you, as can boarders and environmental hazards such as asteroid fields. You gather weapons, fuel, and scrap (money), buy things at stores, and upgrade the ship to do better. Progressing through the regions (levels), things get a bit harder until you reach level 8, where you have to fight the Rebel flagship. I played this game a bit obsessively until I finally beat the flagship, on easy setting, using the Engi cruiser ship. I like that there are different ships and settings-- this rewards multiple play-throughs. I like that the game is relatively easy to learn and has a science fiction setting. You can name your ship and staff anything you like.

Long Live the Queen

A visual Novel that I bought off steam at the recommendation of [profile] ribbonknight. You play a princess that is preparing to take over her Kingdom. You control what classes she takes, building skills that impact available decisions. You can also influence her mood by choosing activities. This is fun, low stress and has death achievements. It rewards multiple play-throughs because there are a lot of different things to unlock. I used some guides on Steam to figure out how to get a couple of achievements, because it was not intuitive to me. I also appreciate that the princess can have relationships with both men and women in this game.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Sherlock glass)
I really liked The Hospital Suite by John Porcellino, a graphic memoir focusing on the author's experiences with illnesses. He has mysterious and severe gut pain, which turns out to be a tumor (non cancerous) requiring surgery. He loses a lot of weight and has trouble gaining it back. Eventually, though natural and alternative medicine, he starts to feel better physically, but then his old problems with anxiety and OCD act up, causing problems with his marriage. There are some intense descriptions in here including self-harm, thoughts of suicide, OCD symptoms, and food issues, which some readers will no doubt want to avoid or approach with caution.

I loved the no-nonsense honesty of this book. Porcellino doesn't have a lot of regard for his doctors, who misdiagnose him and don't show him much compassion. He furthers his studies with Buddhism and finds comfort in koans. Especially stark for me were panels depicting experiences of pain and mental illness, successfully using simple line drawings to show tension and pain.

What I continually admire from graphic memoirists is their ability to be so forthright about their experiences. Body, mind, soul, relationships are laid out on the page for all to see. I wonder if the simple cartoon format works as a distancing mechanism for the author.

Highly recommended.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] jesse_the_k and I saw this together and we both really liked it.

Set at a Harvard stand in called Winchester, DWP focuses on 4 black students who are searching for their identities in a highly pressured environment. The houses that people live in feature prominently, as do the newspapers and satire publication. People's connections and activities have the inflated importance of the Ivy League environment. Race, class, and sexual orientation are addressed in a way that is natural to the characters and plot.

Samantha White, an activist and artist, runs for president of her house and wins unexpectedly. She becomes the de facto leader of the activist black students on campus, while struggling to find her own true voice and desires. She has a radio show called "Dear White People" and makes films.

Troy Fairbanks loses this election, to the disappointment of his father, the Dean of Students. Searching for something else to get involved in, he investigates the satirical publication Patische, (the not-Lampoon), which is run by the most entitled white boys on campus.

CoCo Conners wants to be a star and is willing to stir up trouble in order to catch the eye of a talent scout who is on campus. She is most definitely not an activist.

Lionel Higgins is a queer, geeky writer who doesn't fit in anywhere. He thinks about writing a story about Samantha, tries hanging out with the white journalism geeks, and ends up finding his place with the activists.

The villain of the piece is Kurt Fletcher, who heads up a fraternity and runs Pastiche. All of these people and threads come together when the fraternity throws a racist Halloween party.

There is a lot going on here but it's easy to follow, and easy to get drawn into these people's lives and dramas. They are realistic and sympathetic characters even when they sometimes make foolish choices. There are some very funny moments and some painful ones.

The experimentation and searching that people go through during college are familiar themes, and it's wonderful to see things like racism, homophobic bullying, etc, consciously explored through several characters' view points. Sure, everyone searches, but some people have more shit to deal with, and different people respond in different ways.

I hope this movie makes a ton of money and we get to see more like it.
sasha_feather: white woman in space suit (Astronaut)
Beginners (2010) R. Ewan MacGregor, Christopher Plummer, Melanie Laurent.

MacGregor plays Oliver, a 38-year-old graphic designer who has recently lost his father. In flashbacks and narration, we see his close relationship to his father, who came out publicly as gay at age 75. Now, in 2003, Oliver is struggling with grief, with the fact that his parents were never in love, and with his own relationships and feelings. Oliver falls for a woman named Anna. In flashbacks, his father falls for a younger man, played by Goran Visnjic, and gets involved with gay politics. The movie is engaging and told with sensitivity and emotional nuance. People at any age can be beginners at life and love.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
After reading [personal profile] thingswithwings' latest fic, Odd One Out, and relating a lot to Eliot in that story, I am idly wondering if I am perhaps aromantic.

It seems like a simple relationship style that would work for me.

There is a lot of upheaval going on in the world and in my community right now. Things are rapidly coming into hard focus. Sustained anger seems to be really working for me right now actually. *Imagines Eliot growling*
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Short-term 12

Recommended to me by [personal profile] jesse_the_k; this indie film is about a short-term care facility for foster kids. It's from the perspective of a young woman who works there, Grace, who is a survivor of abuse and spent time in foster care. She is dating a fellow employee, Mason. They and their fellow employees clearly care deeply about the kids they are working with, and there is a lot of inherent drama and reality in the situation. I loved the way this film focused on relationships and the struggle to express oneself after experiencing abuse and trauma. It is a quiet film that focuses on hope, while not shying away from reality. I think this would make a good TV series too! Content notes for: self-harm (on screen), discussions of incest, discussion of abortion, physical abuse.

The History of Future Folk: Anti-Rec

I thought I would love this: a silly comedy about a space alien whose plot to colonize Earth is foiled when he discovers music. Unfortunately, the writer, John Mitchell, is one of those people who apparently thinks that stalking is romantic. Don't watch it.

upsetting details )
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
I am enjoying watching "Longmire" on Netflix. I started watching for Katee Sackoff and Lou Diamond Phillips, who are great; they play a Deputy and a bar tender, respectively. The main character is Walt Longmire, the sheriff, and he's grown on me. He's portrayed as a man who has a lot of integrity and a deep respect for other people.

I like the beautiful Wyoming landscapes. I'm seeing more portrayal of Native American culture in this show than I have in a while. Some other cultures are also given representation-- Basque immigrants, Amish people, etc.

The man pain is a bit ridiculous at times. Walt's wife died, and he has issues with his daughter. There are times when Walt's daughter, Cady, seems like a plot device or an item for the men to bicker over.

In contrast, Vic (Katee Sackoff) gets to be her own person and is portrayed as a complex and normal person. She's married, and her husband is only occasionally around. Her love life isn't really at issue. It's just so refreshing.

I'm having my usual reservations about watching a show that is centered on murder. Not just crime, but a murder every episode. You'd think these people would start to get concerned considering they live in a rural county with, presumably, a fairly low population! One episode in season 2 seemed like it was going to be about preventing a murder--yay--but then someone got killed anyway. Sigh.

We, the audience, don't really see the ripples that such violence creates. It seems like the story is done once the killer is caught, which is the structure of murder mysteries. The story is most definitely not finished.

I would like to see more mysteries not involving murder or extreme violence. I would also like to see stories that explore the consequences of violence in communities, and how it ripples outwards.

One of the only portrayals I've seen of restorative justice is in a movie called "The Angels' Share", which is available on Netflix. The movie is an enjoyable tale about petty criminals trying to steal some valuable whiskey, earn some money, and start new lives for themselves.

Robbie, the main character, did some time for assault. He is trying to get his life on track and has a supportive girlfriend and new child. In the scene I'm thinking of, he is required to go to something called "talk back after serious crime".

In this scene we see Robbie's victim and the victim's parents confront Robbie. It is an emotional and complex scene, and I wish there were more models of this in media and life.
sasha_feather: Max from Dark Angel (Max from Dark Angel)
Cloudburst, 2011, starring Olympia Dukakis

A funny, great film about an old lesbian couple that have been together for nearly 30 years. Stella and Dot live together in a New England house, but when Dot gets hurt, Dot's granddaughter tries to put Dot in a nursing home. Stella busts her out and decides to drive them to Canada to get married. They pick up a hitch hiker along the way and have some adventures. There is lots of fun banter because Stella has a dirty sense of humor and good chemistry with Dot. Dot is blind and it's so refreshing to see realistic disability representation.

Content notes (here be spoilers):
notes )

Pit Stop, 2013

A sweet, slowly building film about getting over past relationships and moving on with life. It deals with the real complexity of gay relationships in a way that I loved, and dealt with working-class men in small-town Texas. I liked going into this movie not knowing who these people were and trying to figure out their relationships, so I don't want to give too much away. The movie's protagonists are Ernesto and Gabe, and each of them have pasts, attachments, and deep emotions that the viewer gets to see. Occasionally it looks a little low-budget in that the lighting and camera shots are bad, but overall it's well done. No content notes that I can think of.
sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
Some things I've been reading:

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. Really enjoyed this! Some of the comics were emotional, so I read it in short bits. The one about the toy parrot made me laugh so hard I gave myself a coughing fit. Some of these I had read before on the web; some are new material. The comics about depression are in here, and may be difficult for some readers.

Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh. I hated this a lot. The art and colors are gorgeous but the story was not for me at all. I don't need to read about dysfunctional lesbian relationships where the people seem like unhappy liars and then one of them dies. This is a love story?

Stand Fast in your Enchantments by [personal profile] devildoll. I loved this Teen Wolf story a lot! I just started reading TWoof even though I don't watch the show much-- I've really been enjoying fanfic and looking for new things to read, and this is what my friends are into. This Derek/Stiles story is largely about communication. At first Derek can't speak because he's trapped in wolf form, and then later because he's just bad at talking about his feelings, or bad at talking, and I can relate to that a lot (it seemed like/reminded me of selective mutism). Luckily, Stiles is a very good problem solver. This fic also keeps going after the point where a lot of stories would end, and I loved that-- it deals with the consequences of a traumatic event in their lives, the fallout, and they really have to live with the complexities of being in a relationship. It's not easy for Stiles and Derek, and the ending is earned. Totally excellent.
sasha_feather: Toph and Katara from avatar: the last airbender cartoon (Toph and Katara)
I recently finished 3 YA novels-- pretty darn good for me since I hardly ever read novels any more!

Inheritance by Malinda Lo. Not as good as the first book (Adaptation). This book couldn't quite decide if it wanted to be a relationship book or a thriller, and so the pacing felt off. It went slow, slow, slow, SUPER FAST, and then a whole bunch of fascinating stuff was packed into the afterward. I personally found the relationship stuff a bit boring, with the exception of Reese's friendship with Julian, which was an awesome queer friendship and very realistic. I liked the fast pace of the first book, and this time around I kept wondering where the story was going.

I appreciate this book for political reasons-- ie representation-- because the types of relationships portrayed here are just not seen very often in Sf/F or mainstream literature. Lo does really well with race, orientation and gender, and types of relationships. There was one use of "so OCD" language in this book which surprised me, and another instance where a person with a body difference (a deformed arm) was seen as being horrible. So, not the best on disability, which was disappointing since the first book had some cool embodiment things going on (Reese's body changing without her knowing what was going on, etc).

Overall, just kinda "meh" on this book. :/

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gibert Murdoch

Set in rural Wisconsin, this book is about DJ, who is running her family's dairy farm more or less by herself, because her dad is temporarily disabled. Her younger brother (who almost never talks) is her only help. This summer, quarterback Brian Nelson comes to the farm to help out and to "learn how to work".

The strength of this book is DJ's voice, the realism of the setting and people, and how DJ changes over time. She makes assumptions and mistakes, and she needs to learn to connect with people and talk about her problems. I really enjoyed this book, despite the football theme!

There is one scene of homophobia in the book. It didn't bother me much due to context-- ie, Reese is a dumb kid who has learned stupid messages, and that's what's being presented-- but it might bother other readers.

Half-World by Hiromi Goto

A beautiful, creepy tale about a 14-year-old girl, Melanie, who must venture into the Half-World, a place where the dead try to work out their traumas before they can join the spirit realm, in order to rescue her mother. She is tasked with trying to restore balance to the realms. I liked this story's focus on how one is only responsible for one's own choices, and how Melanie ultimately solves problems using courage and kindness. Melanie's guides are older women. Recommended.

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