Moments of escape can be moments of clarity!

"Oh, had I but followed the Arts"-William Shakespeare

Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's been Chronicled...It's not Pitch Black

My Reel for this week is 2013's RIDDICK: RULE THE DARK. Richard Riddick (Vin Diesel) is back. The guy everyone in the galaxy is after.
The latest installment continues the storylines from both PITCHBLACK & THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK.



RIDDICK's tenuous reign as leader of the Necromancer's is betrayed by those wishing his power. Dangling information about his homeland, he is tricked  and left on an abandoned, desolate, dangerous planet. He sends out a rescue beacon from a deserted outpost, not realizing he is also hailing bounty hunters anxious to collect the price on his head. Two separate teams land and must battle not only RIDDICK & each other, but also the creatures who own the planet's night hours.
RIDDICK:RULE THE DARK is everything you expect from the franchise. Vin Diesel is pumped, ferocious,pitiless & at times a little wooden in the acting department. The part is tailor made for him.
Matt Nable who plays BOSS JOHNS, the head of one of the bounty teams, adds depth to an otherwise formulaic story. Their are some cliche dynamics between the two teams, but some good stuff & unexpected humor.
Katee Sackhoff  plays DAHL, the only female on the teams. You know, the tough blond, kick ass...blah, blah. Pretty much a clone of her character on "BattleStar Galactica".
Which gets me on the subject of the lack of women of color in Sci-Fi & Fantasy movies..well really movies in general. I can count on one hand the Sci-Fi or Fantasy movies that have a Black woman in a lead or major role. Yes I know CHRONICLES had Thandie Newton & that was great, but merely a drop in the bucket. RIDDICK:RULE THE DARK went to the trouble of casting a Black woman, but within three minutes of coming on the screen, she was dead.
I have loved Sci-Fi since seeing "THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN" in 1971. I am a huge Sci-Fi, Fantasy fan. I love the action, fear inducing tension & gore. I am not interested in the sort of banal romance they throw in to entice women. 
Hollywood is really missing the mark, when they neglect women & minorities in Sci-Fi. 
RIDDICK had some really good moments, but we are into the 4th installment, let's get to great. I also don't want to believe that in the future , Black women are extinct. If we go by Hollywood movies...we already are.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Bits & Bobs

The Sweetheart of Summer is over. The coming of September always feels like a beginning & an ending at the same time. I've enjoyed the slower pace of the Summer months. Although their was no vacation for me this year, I still managed to carve out a little relaxation. I took a break from Theater, although I continued to hone my acting chops with Crowbait Club.  
It's been a Summer of songwriting, which I had moved away from for a time.
September it's back to school. I will be taking a few courses: The History of Architecture, Physical Theater & in January I will continue with my ASL course, with Medical Interpreting.
I spent the lions share of my Summer, reading. I read so much , that I think I could write a book review every week for five years & not have to read a new book. My bedroom has stacks of books on every available surface. Hopefully time will be kind and allow me to fill my heart & mind with every single one.
I recently finished John Sanford's "STORM PREY"
He has 24 books that contain the word Prey, it made me suspicious in an irrational way. STORM PREY is number 22. I was given it as a gift, so decided to try it.
I will usually give a book between 50 & 100 pages to grab me. After all life is short. STORM PREY hit early and hit hard.
The book continues with the recurring character of Detective Lucas Davenport & his wife , surgeon Weather Karkinnen. Dr. Karkinnen, unwittingly witnesses one of the players in a violent robbery at the Hospital where she is employed. The thieves are ruthless in their attempt to tie up all loose ends, including ant potential witnesses, but they have no idea that by pursuing Dr. Karkinnen, they will bring down the wrath of Lucas Davenport.
The thieves not only have to contend with Davenport, they must grapple with one another. STORM PREY is the poster child for the saying "No honor among thieves". This "easy" robbery becomes a violent struggle to determine who comes out on top and who will be left standing.
I read that the PREY novels, which started in 1998, run consecutively, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything. The book did make some references to prior events, but they weren't germane to the telling of the story.
All in all PREY was a fast-paced, easy read. Will I read some of other 22? I probably will.
I think my only criticism was the fact that some male (and female) writers, feel the need to dwell on the physical attributes of the female characters. I think John Sanford described Weather Karkinnen as "Blond & attractive" at least six times, while I still have no idea what Lucas Davenport looks like. Just a "What's up with that" moment.

Well, now onto what I've been listening to this Summer. I've had a chance to give a listen to some new artists. I tend to write down the names of artist that have been mentioned to me or I have read about, for later perusal.

One is Indian/Samoan artist Aaradhna:

Also Mali artist fatoumata diawara:
The list is long, so I shall continue, but you enjoy & spread the music. So much music...so little time