Favorite Tracks: IAMX “Alive In New Light”

 

Latest Album “Alive in New Light” released in February 2018

A few of my favorite tracks and my album rating,

 

Stardust

 

Alive in New Light

 

Body Politics

 

Alina’s Album Rating: 5/5

Listen to IAMX “Alive in New Light

Favorite Tracks: The Glitch Mob “See Without Eyes”

Latest Album “See Without Eyes” was released in May 2018

A few of my favorite tracks from this album,

 

Take Me With You (feat. Arama)

 

Disintegrate Slowly

 

Go Light

 

Alina’s Album Rating: 3.5/5

Listen to The Glitch Mob’s “See Without Eyes

A Vampire Mockumentary: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)

 

What We Do in the Shadows” is a mockumentary film that takes the classic vampire tropes in horror and sheds a little bit of humorous light on them.

I recently watched this film for the first time (can’t believe that I haven’t seen it earlier considering my taste in movies) and I thought this film was amazing.

I am a big fan of the classic horror monsters such as Dracula, Nosferatu, Wolfman, Frankenstein, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon…just to name a few. And I loved that this film really pulled from the different classics.

There is a Dracula-esque character, Nosferatu, and the Victorian vampire (I am thinking like Louis from “Interview with the Vampire“). Not only did the creators pull from classic vampire tropes but new popular ones as well such as the young vampire bad boy and the pitting of vampires vs. werewolves which have become more prevalent in the last ten years.

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Nosferatu” (1922)  source: Flickr

A few key aspects that stood out to me while I was watching the film includes the use of the documentary style (acting as if vampires are real and giving them cultural credit), the relevance of the ending and how it critiques the “usual” endings in horror films and lastly the popular pairing of werewolves and vampires in a single story that has taken off since the infamous “Twilight” phenomena.

Talking about the cultural phenomena of vampires in the form of a documentary fits the trend in horror and suspense films of “found footage”. A popular style that really began to pick up with the “Blair Witch Project” (1999). It is refreshing and at the same time provides the audience with the “behind the scenes” look at vampires, making them more silly and relatable than I think audiences would care to admit.

It was great to watch vampires have to fight about chores and see them deal with the mess of murder. I appreciated the Master/Slave dynamic that was used in this film as well (the old concept of vampires having human slaves that take care of them in the daylight). I get the impression this little detail among others when it comes to the vampire tropes have been neglected in recent years.

Although this mockumentary provides a lot of laughs it doesn’t actively seek to paint vampires in the popular morally-conflicted-“good”-guy-who-kills-people light. There are no blurring of lines, the vampires in this film talk about killing and we see them kill brutally. We get glimpses of their terror (and love for torture) and can imagine just how horrible it would be to come across a vampire. Overall, great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants a laugh and isn’t repelled by vampires.

Side Notes: The special effects for transforming, flying, and werewolf stuff was not that bad. I was impressed by the quality and effort that was given in making these little details “good”.

Alina’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Bats

“What We Do in the Shadows” is available for free with AMAZON PRIME


 

Thank you for reading! I hope you will return in the future! Please follow or subscribe to read more of my work! 

-Alina

Favorite Tracks: The Wombats “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life”

Currently listening to The Wombats new album “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life“.

A few of my favorite tracks,

Lemon to a Knife Fight

Ice Cream

Turn

 

I highly recommend this album, The Wombats have kept it poppy and retained their own unique style even after all these years. It’s been amazing listening to The Wombats go from their 2007 album “Proudly Present…A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation” to this latest album. And I love being able to listen to them on the radio! Oh yay!

Alina’s Album Rating: 5/5

Listen to The Wombats “Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

“Dark Shadows” TV Series (1966-1971)

For the last couple of months I have been completely obsessed with the classic TV series “Dark Shadows” that originally ran from 1966 to 1971. I was skeptical of “Dark Shadows” at first since I was one of those people that went and saw Tim Burton’s revamped movie that came out in 2012. I remember having my hopes up pretty high that I might like this Burton movie but by the end of the film I was completely let down, rolling my eyes at the over-the-top silliness that I was witnessing. Now I have begun to think that the silliness may have been on purpose.

I decided to start watching the TV series after getting tired of re-watching my favorite shows on Netflix. What a ride! This show is a horror fueled soap opera that has too many plot lines to sum up in one sentence. So far I am on season four which involves some time travel (hahaha) but I plan on finishing the series in the next few weeks.

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Barnabas Collins  Photo Source: mentalfloss.com

Main Story Line

In the town of Collinsport, the Collins family is the oldest and probably the wealthiest with a family history that is unsettling and mysterious. The series starts when Barnabas Collins (a family member who was turned into a vampire at the turn of the 19th century) is released from his imprisonment (chained up coffin) with the help of Willie (a criminal of sorts with loose ties to the current Collins family). The first few episodes establish the Collins family, the current family members and characters that are key to the main story line.

Note: An interesting parallel that I noticed in the first season is the “Dracula-esque” vampire elements. Barnabas’s attire, history, and mannerisms all reflect the classic vampire icon Dracula played by Bela Lugosi in 1931. Just goes to show that the vampire’s traditional qualities were really cemented into popular culture.

Each episode is about 30 minutes long with anywhere from 3-5 minutes of introduction with the standard opening credits including an update from the latest episode. In these short episodes the mysteries of the Collins family and the evil-doings of Barnabas are slowly unraveled.

Image result for Dark Shadows original series

Characters:  Roger and Elizabeth Collins, Victoria Winters on Right    Photo Source: Streamline

The acting is usually over the top, and the camera work is not the greatest. I often noticed that the camera will jolt left or right suddenly when trying to follow characters moving around the room, or will even go out of focus sometimes. These aspects add to the series cheesy and campy feel, and while at first this drove me nuts now it keeps me laughing and on the lookout to notice these consistent mess ups.

WIKIPEDIA INFO ON DARK SHADOWS SERIES : SEASON BREAKDOWNS AND RECEPTION

Image result for why the camera work sucks in the original Dark shadows series

Character: Angelique   Photo Source: pinterest.com

Since I am not done with the series yet and I have become aware there are actually a few feature-length films that were released as well I might take my time deciding on a definitive rating. If anything I would say my rating will only be based on the plot structure and coherence of the main story.

If there are any fans of campy horrors films I would definitely recommend this series.

And if you are familiar with this show and you want to start up a convo or want me to talk about some aspect in particular to “Dark Shadows” leave your comments below!

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read my writing! If you would like to be notified when I post new stuff subscribe to my email list on the top right corner of the page. Please follow! 

-Alina

 

 

 

Currently Reading: Patti Smith, Hunter S. Thompson and Chuck Palahniuk

Hello!

I hope everyone is doing great! ~ I am at the tail end of my last semester and I have been reading like crazy. Last week was my spring break but unfortunately, I was sick the entire time. I spent a lot of time at home reading and started quite a few new books.

Here are my favorite books that I am currently reading.


 

Just Kids by Patti Smith

 

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goodreads.com

Originally published in 2010, Patti Smith recounts her relationship and friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe

In the late 1960’s Smith journeyed to New York to pursue her career as an artist. She quickly met Mapplethorpe and the two started their long and intimate relationship.

So far, I am about halfway through the book and I absolutely love it. I am a huge admirer of Mapplethorpe and Smith and I have always wanted to read this book.

 

Stranger Than Fiction by Chuck Palahniuk

 

amazon.com

 

This collection of non-fiction pieces were written by Chuck Palahniuk, the internationally known author of Fight Club. Chuck’s style and humor are at it’s best in these short essays which are centered around the unusual and perverse.

I love Chuck’s work, his style, voice, and choice of content. It is always refreshing to pick up a Palahniuk book, fiction or not, and be immersed in a world that bears all and doesn’t leave out the nasty details.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

 

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goodreads.com

I was inspired to read some Thompson the week before spring break. I used to read a few stories of his every once in a while when I was 18 but haven’t really since (at the same time I was into Naked Lunch and the work of Irvine Welsh and Bret Easton Ellis). I decided to pick up this book and reacquaint myself with the drug addict and talented writer. It’s funny, scary, disgusting, and absolutely horrific~I love it.

 


 

Thank you for reading my work!

-Alina

Currently Reading: Postmodernism, 1920s, and Fiction

This semester is pretty crazy for me as I am sure some of you have noticed I have not been posting as much because I have no time! My last semester is jam-packed and I’ve been reading a book a week alongside 200 pages of required reading for classes and writing up articles for my job at The Chrony.

Just to keep in touch,

Here is my current reading list (NOT including required reading for class)

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“Beyond Gatsby: How Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Writers of the 1920’s shaped American Culture” 

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“The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos”

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“Explaining Postmodernism by Stephen R.C. Hicks” 

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“Cinderella’s Big Score by Maria Raha” 

and still reading

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“Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Writing Fiction”

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“Dracula by Bram Stoker” (a regular ‘re-read’ of mine)

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“Frankenstein by Mary Shelley” (another regular ‘re-read’ of mine)


 

This is just a quick cap of what I am currently reading the real list is about 18 books.

I hope to have review posts finished within the next few weeks. The review posts will be on “Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Writing Fiction” and

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“Hemingway’s Paris: A User’s Guide by John Baxter” 

I read “Hemingway’s Paris” recently and found it to be extremely fascinating for its content and concise writing style.


 

Thank you to all my regular readers and followers for sticking with me! 

-Alina

What to Expect: Discussions and Book Reviews

Hello!

My last semester in college has now officially started and I am thrilled to be one step away from graduating. Because my workload is pretty heavy this semester my posts may seem sparse but I will not disappear completely.

What to Expect from me by the end of January and in February,

Book Reviews:

“Writers Gone Wild” by Bill Peschel

“Imaginations” by William Carlos Williams

“Gotham Writers’ Workshop: Writing Fiction”

Discussions:

I will be emphasizing on short short stories and fiction for the next few months due to my increasing interest in writing in both styles. If anyone has any suggestions or would like me to tackle a specific topic related to these styles please leave a comment below. I would love to have an online discussion on this topic and involve as many writers as possible.

Thank you to all my followers and regular readers that continue to stick with me and read my work! I am deeply grateful for your attention and dedication.

-Alina

 

Why I Write: Poetry #1

I want to play around a bit and start up a new series of posts that I plan on continuing into the New Year. I will call this series “Why I Write” and I will talk briefly about the various forms, styles, and interests that I have.

For this one, I want to open up a discussion on the never-ending question as to why people choose to write and/or read poetry. This will be a personal post, in that I will be pulling from my own experiences and background in writing poetry and maybe talk about where I’d like to go in the future.


 

Poetry #1: The Root of the Obsession

I did not get into Poetry until I was about 19 maybe 20 years old which was not that long ago for me. But in the span of the 4-5 years since then I have come a long way. I use to think that Poetry was some high-brow artistic form of writing that I would never be able to understand let alone write regardless of me already being an avid reader and dabbler in writing. This fear is not unknown to people who have been interested in Poetry and it is, in fact, a common trait. It is probably because of the literary history of Poetry and it’s importance to all civilizations in terms of culture and time that contribute to its somewhat intimidating prestige.

I was finally broken into poetry in one of my creative writing courses in 2011. In this course, I read Wittgenstein and Maggie Nelson among many others which finally cracked open the world of poetry and creative writing for me. Since then, I have never been the same and have found myself continually wanting to write and explore literature. In only a couple of years, my interests in literature led me to my routines today. I have read numerous books on writing, poetry, and fiction and have maintained a routine of writing for a minimum of one to two hours every day. What can I say about poetry, about writing?

If you love it, do it.

It’s worth it. I have discovered so much valuable knowledge and have worked hard to gain the experience that I have and hope to have in the future just from my unwavering love for writing poetry. It is the insatiable desire to learn, read, and write more that has led me to where I am now. It is humble times but it is a beginning of a future I hope is successful.

For me, I write because I feel like I need to and I would love to open up a discussion for other writers/bloggers and ask, why do you write? and when did it start to become something serious for you?

Please leave responses in the comments below. If you would like for me to write on a topic related to this let me know.


 

Thank you for reading my work! I hope you will return in the future! 

-Alina

Response to Jane Eyre and Discussion on Creating Complex Characters

 

Jane Eyre

photo source: goodreads.com

I recently finished reading for nth time Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte  (first published 1847) I find myself usually rereading this novel every winter out of habit. I love this novel for so many different reasons but the main one being that Jane is smart, witty and stands up for herself which should not be taken lightly. The novel is set in the early to mid 19th century and revolves around the story of Jane Eyre from her youth to adult years. Her life story is full of loneliness, pain, seclusion, and hardship. The main subject of the novel is the love story between Jane and Mr. Rochester, a man about twenty years her senior who hires Jane as a governess for a child he has taken into his home. Besides the love story, a plot which is full of drama and secrets, there are aspects of the novel that really stand out to me.

I am a Writer, obviously, and I do like to write in short fiction. Fiction is a genre that resounds with me on a creative level whenever I may have too many words for just poems. The issue of creating characters that are not one dimensional is one of the elements that I find myself occupied with the most. I have read multiple books with advice on how to create lifelike three-dimensional characters through writing and I found myself amazed (yet again) when reading Bronte’s writing the details and layers that she uses in making Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester so complex. A reoccurring theme in most of the books on fiction writing that I read is that adding complexities to your character (for instance a character that hates liars but in fact lies constantly) is one of the ways in which your character can come to life. A key piece of advice that keeps popping up for me now is also, “Show, don’t tell.” Which is a part of my writing that I have struggled with from the beginning.

How do I show readers through words what my character is like as a person? How do I do this through dialogue, action, and narration without making my writing feel forced?

I know this is not a new question and it is a possibility that whoever reads this post may be dealing with the same obstacles in their own writing. If so, I would love to read some comments on how you, as a writer, try to create complex lifelike characters, what books have you read? what advice have you heard?

As for me, here are a few books that I have read (or am reading) that have been invaluable in my constant learning to write regardless if its fiction, prose, or poetry.

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York’s Acclaimed Creative Writing School

 

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

 

 

photo source: amazon.com

Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

 

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by [King, Stephen]

photo source: amazon.com

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

 

I am constantly searching for more books about writing, how to write, and study literature. If anyone has any suggestions please leave them in a comment below! If you would like me to respond to a question about writing please also feel free to message me or leave the question in a comment below!

Thank you so much to all my readers (new and old) for taking time out of your day to read my writing! I hope you will return in the future!

-Alina