Justin Bieber

Chauvinism in Steampunk

Late last year, when an image of teenage pop star Justin Bieber wearing something of a steampunk outfit appeared online, the vast majority of steampunk fandom seemed appalled. For such an icon of contemporary pop culture (or lack thereof) as Justin Bieber to delve into the steampunk aesthetic was anathema to steampunks’ self image as defying the mainstream culture. Some said this marked the end of steampunk as an alternative culture altogether.

That in itself, our Marcus Rauchfuß observed, was evidence of steampunk having gone mainstream already.

“When a scene is truly underground,” he wrote, “new members are always welcome. People are excited about and very welcoming toward newcomers. The scene has to grow to a certain point for a style-police to emerge.”

Yet that has happened to steampunk. And it’s not something we can blame Justin Bieber for. Continue reading “Chauvinism in Steampunk”

Steampunk girl

There We Go Again: “The Radicalism of Steampunk”

While most steampunks generally support a revival of nineteenth-century aesthetics as a response to modern alienation, many don’t like to acknowledge that their attitudes could be considered ideological.

Indeed! The quote comes from the article “Leftists Constructs,” published in the recent issue of the progressive Overland magazine and written by steampunk blogger Diana M. Pho of Beyond Victoriana.

Notice the subtlety: “steampunk don’t like to acknowledge that their attitudes could be considered ideological.” Of course, Pho is here to tell us that they are, whatever we like it or not. Continue reading “There We Go Again: “The Radicalism of Steampunk””

Diesel City: Fiction Reveals Truths That Reality Obscures

Diesel City
Diesel City

From Paris with love arrived my copy of Stefan’s Diesel City today, a collection of his marvelous dieselpunk artwork supplemented with little blurbs of text that were translated for the English edition by none other than our friend Tome Wilson of the Dieselpunks community.

It’s hard to be objective for this review, because I’ve known Stefan and his work for so long and have even been involved a little in the making of the book.

Fortunately, there is little, if anything, to criticize about this volume. Dieselpunk fans will rejoice in the dozens of pictures collected in this book, some of which are familiar to those who know Stefan’s work, others are new. Continue reading “Diesel City: Fiction Reveals Truths That Reality Obscures”

Two Hours With Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn

My Week with Marilyn was released a while ago, but we didn’t have a chance to see it here in the Low Countries until a couple of weeks ago.

The film is a wonderful and nostalgic adventure for the likes of us who would rather the Golden Age of Hollywood never ended.

Michelle Williams is spectacular in the role of Monroe. The looks, costumes and makeup are fabulous. The entire “feel” of Marilyn is that of an escape from the visual effects extravaganzas of modern-day film making in favor of character and drama.

In this sense, it’s almost on par with The King’s Speech, although the plot is secondary here to experience. Story-wise, My Week With Marilyn is pretty predictable, but it’s touching all the same.

Continue reading “Two Hours With Marilyn”

J. Edgar Falls Short

J. Edgar

J. Edgar, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was released in the United States late last year, but we didn’t have a chance to see it here in Europe until last week.

The biopic about the former FBI director, directed by Clint Eastwood, is a great history piece but ultimately disappoints because there isn’t much of a storyline.

DiCaprio absolute submerges himself in the role and excels as “the most powerful man in America.” The costumes, the décor, the lighting all enforce a sense of nostalgia that should appeal to dieselpunk enthusiasts. The movie shows a lot of history, from the anarchist hysteria of the early twentieth century to the 1930s war on Crime to fears of communist subversion in the 1950s and 60s.

Continue reading “J. Edgar Falls Short”

Holmes, Watson Battle Moriarty in Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Guy Ritchie is at it again with his spectacular reimagination of the great detective. Robert Downey returns as the most outrageous version of Sherlock Holmes we’ve ever seen and Jude Law is impeccable as the loyal Dr Watson, who is again thrust into an adventure quite against his will.

There’ll be no spoilers in this review — that is to say, there’ll be no information that will spoil the movie experience but some tidbits of information about the plot, so if you’re puritanical about it, don’t read further!

Continue reading “Holmes, Watson Battle Moriarty in Game of Shadows”