I was Happier not Knowing about “Body Horror”

Happy Halloween!  I’m not a big horror fan, so I’m not much of an expert on horror comics, which is certainly a rich and varied genre, but here is one awful little horror comic I sadly experienced first-hand.

The Enigma of Amigara Fault by Junji ItoCopyright Junji Ito

The Enigma of Amigara Fault is by Junji Ito, a sick, sick Japanese manga artist (seriously, if one of your genres is listed as “body horror“, you’re gross).  I think the reason I “liked” this comic as “much” as I did was that it’s more of a psychological drama than a *shudder* “body horror” gross-out comic; well, at least until that last page… : (

Hope you enjoy though!  You twisted sickos…

Never Ending Hurricane Season

In case you haven’t gotten enough about hurricanes lately, Randall Munroe of xkcd put the National Hurricane Center‘s late 2005 transmissions (the same hurricane season that brought you Katrina) in comic strip format, to show what happens at the NHC when hurricanes appear to defy any and all logical expectations.

xkcd Epsilon and ZetaCopyright Randall Munroe

Surprisingly interesting and even comical, and perhaps gives us all a newfound appreciation for the NHC‘s work?  Where better to get your Hurricane Sandy info after all…

Der Sturmy Weather Continues

Presumably I’ll still be locked up at home when this goes up, possibly internet-less, scraping cans of beans in order to survive the annual NYC Hurricane Season, so this seemed appropriate:

Frank Martin’s Der Sturm, streaming performance from Opera Today

Edmund Dulac The Tempest illustrationImage by Edmund Dulac

Frank Martin was a Swiss composer, and Der Sturm (ie, The Tempest), premiered in 1955, was his sole opera.  Opera Today features opera reviews from around the world, but they also have an amazingly diverse selection of full, free recordings of live opera performances (though they are streaming, meaning you need to stay internet-connected to listen).

Here’s the full German libretto, if you’re into that, and the multi-award winning Hyperion recording, if you’d like to support the many people it takes to make such a recording possible.

Britten. Pears. Michelangelo.

Continuing with the LGBT History Month theme today, here is a performance uniting composer Benjamin Britten with his life partner, the tenor Peter Pears performing Britten’s Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (from Tokyo in 1956!).

Here’s the link to Part 2.  The Foundation in charge of Britten’s legacy is actually called The Britten-Pears Foundation, showing how closely their life work and legacies are linked.

If it’s more Britten you’re looking for, remember you can hear his spooky chamber opera The Turn of the Screw in its entirety here.


 Not the Daughters of the American Revolution, but DAR! A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary.

Dar, Dyke with a Boyfriend

Copyright Erika Moen

To commemorate LGBT History Month (which I just remembered about), I thought I’d share Erika Moen‘s diary comic.  Though it ended in 2009, it did run for about 5 years so not a quick read, but an interesting one since it deals with her lesbian identity and her attraction (and eventual marriage) to a dude.  Here are some of her own recommendations, covering quirky sex stuff, queer identity politics, heartbreak, romance, employment, etcetera…

Check her website for more up-to-date information and, in another interesting case of a published webcomic, you can read  Bucko, a “comical murder-mystery” illustrated by Moen and written by Jeff Parker, in its entirety for free!

Stormy Weather Indeed…

This year’s NYC Horror Hurricane just snuck up on me, but of course thought turned instantly to Stormy Weather of another sort…

This 1933 recording of Harold Arlen‘s song by Ethel Waters, the song’s first interpreter, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame 70 years later, in 2003.  Here’s Youtube’s Ethel Waters playlist if this isn’t enough for you…

Also, looks like my viewing of The Tempest yesterday was eerily appropriate…

Stay safe and dry out there!

… Cyprus had Royalty?

Not very Halloweeny, but a rare enough offering that it shouldn’t be missed…  BBC Radio 3 has Gaetano Donizetti‘s 1844 opera Caterina Cornaro streaming for a week, here.

Now, who exactly is this Catherine Cornaro when she isn’t starring in a dramatized, Italianized, operatic account of her life?

Caterina Cornaro, by Gentile Bellini

Image by Gentile Bellini

Well, to whet your appetite:  she married at 14, to James II “The Bastard” of Cyprus, who died shortly after, leaving her acting regent, until her son was born, but then, oh WHOOPS, he died under, you guessed it, “suspicious circumstances”…  That being said, the opera seems to deal with totally unrelated, possibly made-up(?), events…  Donizetti had a thing for queens, but he was pretty big on fictionalizing too I guess.