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Imaginary Beasts is in trouble and we need you!  Please PM or email me at onyabear @ gmail if you can contribute a story our cover art to our “Sports” issue.  Thanks, and sorry for the delay~


Saw this with a co-worker at the end of a long work week (I’m now working 8-4 every weekday and 10-5 every Saturday, plus commuting time, which is why I haven’t been posting here much).  I thought it was going to be a stupid three-hour blockbuster, like Apocalypto or 10,000 B.C., and it was in a way, but it was also WAY weirder, so when Darren Aronfonsky’s name came up in the credits I was like oh yeah that explains it.  

The main thing that makes the movie weird is that it completely lacks the three-act structure of a modern blockbuster movie, or really any sense of cinematic pacing at all.  Many individual scenes do have a dramatic build, especially the ones that develop Russel Crowe/Noah’s puritanical zealotry*, but there was also a tendency after about the halfway point to try to wring maximum melodrama out of EVERY domestic scene, which leaves you-the-viewer with no sense of which scene is a “climax” and therefore no sense of when the movie is going to end.  

(After the Ark reaches land, presumably - but then the movie continues for another half an hour, RoTK style.)   

Spoilers behind the cut!

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Book #43: Utopia



cover art by stephanie folse


cradle by lucinda tang
landlocked by hacy morris
welcome to the vaticanny place by d.m. jewelle
talking heads by charlotte
utopia assignment by noah berlatsky


cardiff park by stephanie folse

Editor: sub_divided

It’s the beginning of an even-numbered month, and you know what that means… new issue of IB!

I personally think this is a strong issue, particularly because “no one writes” utopias anymore. We got a variety of moods and approaches, and (again IMO) all of the stories are worth your time… except maybe for the one I wrote to make up the issue count, you can skip that one.  :p Make sure you read all the way to the end!  And big ups to the contributors, as always.  



‘B.B.B (Big Baby Baby)’ by Dal★Shabet is my new jam.



Book #42: Animals



cover by brat farrar


a shaggy dog story by m%
the lives of animals by nijiiro sumi
fox and wolf by bratfarrar
the swallow outside 221b baker by k.l.


endless chase by brat farrar
kangaroos by noah berlatsky’s son

Editor: sub_divided

It’s up, it’s up!

The stories in this issue are a little bit sad, matching the cold weather outside.   The first one is very cute, though, and the last one is touching — *and* has a credible mystery plot! IT’S GREAT SO JUST READ IT, OKAY. 

Ahem. Fox and Wolf is the sequel to The King’s Daughter’s Wedding, in case you were wondering what became of the Princess and her loyal Fox. The Lives of Animals is a short, sweet mood piece.  

Lastly, there’s some art from the son of my editor at The Hooded Utilitarian.  Noah, if you’re reading this, send some web traffic our way, would you? 






2013: A T.O.P. odyssey…

Madeleine Lee: Four years ago, "Turn It Up" was left for dead, baking in the desert; now it returns, staggering, loopy and vengeful. The heavy beat and one-note chorus have warped and darkened into a drone. Fashion (Givenchy, McQueen) has aged into art (Basquiat, Kubrick), and the preening messages of seduction have dissolved into a cut-up that layers images of nuclear apocalypse against a recitation of the Korean alphabet in the space of a verse. In the end it’s more noise than signal, but the endless repetition of the title is true dada: an incantation against order, an excitation to an action that never arrives, and ultimately, its own obliteration.

[Read, comment and vote on The Singles Jukebox ]

Alternate blurb:How does one achieve eternal bliss? By saying dada. How does one become famous? By saying dada. With a noble gesture and delicate propriety. Till one goes crazy. Till one loses consciousness. How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, europeanised, enervated? By saying dada.”


That alternate blurb is amazing!  YOU’RE A GENIUS.  

(In other news, I haven’t been writing much for TSJ even when it’s been a song I know something about, but I made a special effort for T.O.P. Because, T.O.P.)  



Third Quarter Kpop 2013

What it says in the description.  Really quick playlist but it was easy to find songs to put in here - Kpop in 2013 got off to a slow start but there’s been a lot of great stuff out recently. RnB heavy, no surprises for anyone who follows the Kpop thread on ILX. But at least the playlist will spare your browser’s flash plugin from trying to load a million embedded videos all at once.  





the sarcasm in this post is almost touchable

I love the internet


(Source: iraffiruse)



The Bizarre World

In honor of the release of the music video for VIXX - Voodoo Doll (TW: self-harm)*, here’s something I’ve been working on for a while. From Youtube:

Inspired by SHINee’s “Everybody” (which does not however appear in this playlist), this is a collection of Kpop music videos about artificiality. 

Idol singers are humanoid robots (TVXQ “Humanoids”) who live on the other side of a screen, waiting for you to play with them (VIXX “Rock Ur Body”). They wish to be *the* perfect object of capitalist consumption, better than any real boyfriend because they are working harder than anyone to exactly resemble what you want (Boyfriend “Love Style”). In order to fulfill this ideal, they live in an artificial world of dressing rooms and runways, surrounded by makeup artists and European producers (Sistar “So Cool”). In this world of stage sets, everything is topsy-turvy (UKISS “Dora Dora”), and the idols are products, dolls - everything including their emotions is heavily commercialized (T-ara “Sexy Love”), reported and analyzed (SHINee “Breaking News”), and monitored and recorded (Big Bang “Monster”). They are puppets controlled by faceless music industry insiders (LEDApple “Let the Wind Blow”), every real emotion kept under a tight lid (EXO-K “Machine”) - all so these idols can better embody your ultimate fanfiction fantasy (Super Junior M “Break Down”). 

This follows from my article on Gangnam Style, where I wrote:

Psy’s Gangnam Style video isn’t just funny in ways that Americans recognize, e.g. the hot tub scene borrowed from Austin Powers. It’s also implicitly critical of “all flash no substance” celebrations of celebrity vanity/megalomania…

The difference between those [vain/megalomaniac] groups and Psy isn’t precisely hubris as Gangnam Style is, after translation into English, already plenty boastful. Rather, it’s a comment on artificiality: Psy’s video is set in the real world – albeit one full of celebrity cameos and action-movie stunt acting – while other groups save money by filming in constructed worlds made up of empty mansions, empty clubs and empty rooms; or else in the “real” Kpop world of stage lights and dressing rooms. And that’s if there is any nod to reality at all. In its purest form, Kpop features locations that aren’t just abstract and prone to disorienting lighting, but subject to no other logic but the logic of capitalist consumption…

Of course there’s a lot of self-awareness in the artificiality of these videos - in addition to being generally more economical, they sometimes also double, Lady Gaga-like, as commentary on their own artificiality. 

Lots of worlds, but this should also work as a playlist, obviously :p The songs in this mix are mostly bright, electronic, and futuristic. It’s a good mix for Getting Stuff Done - while you work, the electronically altered voices of the singers and energetic and varied electronic beats whir away efficiently in the background. 

*Like Everybody, “Voodoo Doll” isn’t actually in the playlist… unlike Everybody, it’s because I was pretty underwhelmed by the song (the video is another story: if VIXX’s young Korean fans thought On and On was too scary, I can’t imagine what they are making of this). It has blockbuster syndrome: all the best bits were already revealed in the trailers, and the whole doesn’t add up to more than the sum of its parts. It’s too bad, cause I really like VIXX, as cozily dysfunctional variety personalities if not for their music… ah well, maybe next time



Thoughts on Gravity…


So I finally saw Gravity in IMAX 3D today, and boy, it was an intense 90-minute thrill ride.  Oscars are surely waiting in the wings for the film’s visual effects and sound design teams.  And the cinematography just might be the best use of 3D cinematography (yes, even better than the superb Life of Pi).  I’m not biggest fan of Sandra Bullock (loved her in Speed and Demolition Man, and that was it), but her performance here is heartbreaking and stoic.  She will most certainly nab an Oscar nomination.  George Clooney is pretty good too, he’s back to his charming, wise-cracking self.

Spoiler observations after the break…

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More thoughts to come, but yeah what this person said. 

My big physics gripe was the same as my gripe from the Thor-escapes-the-cage scene in Avengers.  Parallel and perpendicular momentum blah blah blah. But that’s a quibble, really.  Stills from the movie don’t do justice to how good it looks in 3D, or to how emotionally affecting it is.  If you’re into space, survival horror, Sandra Bullock or first person shooters, do yourself a favor and go see it.