It opens in a silly mode, with a Kiev seminary about to let the students out for a holiday break. The students appear to be young men in their 20s – at least physically; mentally, they act a lot like boys in junior high. Lots of pranks and little respect for authority. The local town folk view the students, quite correctly, as an emergency on par with a small army invasion.
As the student mob gets further and further from Kiev, it splits and shrinks at every crossroad. Soon, we are left with a trio, the “philosopher” Khoma Brutus and his two friends. They, not too surprisingly, find themselves lost in the wilderness with night coming on. Coming across a farm, they pound on the gates until an old lady reluctantly agrees to give them shelter for the night, albeit in three separate resting places.
Brutus beds down on some hay in the barn, but doesn’t get to sleep very much. The old woman comes in and approaches him with an extremely suggestively leer. Brutus attempts to put her off from what he assumes our sexual advances. He’s in for a surprise, though. She hypnotizes him, climbs on his shoulders, forces him to run through the countryside – and then to fly above it! Yes, the wizened old crone who looks like a witch actually IS a witch.
After some time of this, the flight is interrupted (I think by a black cat crossing their path) and they fall to earth. Brutus picks up a stick and proceeds to cudgel the witch within an inch of her life. At which, the old crone transforms into a beautiful maiden, who continues to lie on the ground moaning. This is too much for Brutus, and he flees back to the seminary, even though holiday has just begun.
The seminary proves to be no refuge for him. A wealthy landowner (and patron of the seminary) sends word that his beautiful daughter is mysteriously ill and has specifically requested Brutus to say prayers over her for three nights. Brutus does NOT want to go along with this, but no one involved is interested in giving him any choice. So, a bunch of peasants from the farm head back with him, pausing along the way to spend a night in a pub and drink a lot of vodka. There is a LOT of vodka drunk in this movie. (Digression: It reminded me of an old storyteller meeting where one of our number was discussing the lessons she had learned from reading a tome of Russian folk tales. “In a Russian folktale, if you have lost everything you own in the world, the first thing you must do is get blind stinking drunk. Corollary: in Russia, vodka is cheaper than dirt.)
Arriving at the farm, Brutus finds that the aristocrat’s daughter looks suspiciously similar to the transformed which he beat up. Oh, and by the way, before he got here, she died. Not that that lets Brutus off the hook. The nobleman insists that he will pray three nights over her corpse in the nearby church. (As Kestrell says, one of the great things about the horror genre is that you can die early in the story, but still be a major character.) If Brutus complies with this demand, he will receive 1000 gold pieces; if he refuses, 1000 lashes. And to make doubly sure, he will be locked inside the church.
The first night arrives. The church has some beautiful artwork, but on the whole is fairly run down, with lots of cobwebs in the corners. It is also infested with cats, leading to a few well done literal cat-scares. But Brutus gets over his skittishness, lights a bunch of candles, sets up his Bible on the lectern, and begins to pray aloud.
He hasn’t been praying for very long before the lid flies off of the coffin, and the beautiful but pale-as-death woman sits up, in a manner presaging Michael Myers. Brutus is understandably terrified, but it transpires that he has learned a thing or two in the seminary. He very quickly draws a chalk circle about his lectern, and proceeds with his (panicked) prayers. The circle seems to protect him both physically and visually. The witch cannot see him, though she eventually tracks him down by touch – to the extent that she hits the invisible force field of the circle. She pounds upon it with all her might, but to no avail. Brutus prays and prays and prays, and at last the cock crows, the witch returns to her coffin, and the farmhands unlock the church.
Brutus doesn’t actually tell them what happened. Perhaps he’s worried they won’t believe him. Perhaps he’s worried that they’ll blame him for beating the witch in the first place. Probably, though, just doesn’t want them to think he’s scared. After all, he is a Cossack by blood, and Cossacks fear nothing! They DO, however, indulge in a great deal more vodka before going back for night two, as well as hiding a bottle in their robe.
The second night starts in a fairly similar fashion. Only this time, instead of getting out of her coffin, the witch levitates her coffin and rides around it. After a while, she even stands up in it, thus looking a bit like an undead Silver Surfer. She alternates between zooming around the church in dizzying circles, and RAMMING the chalk circle force field with the coffin. Brutus does a lot more gibbering then praying, but manages to hold out until cock-crow. The witch has tried to curse him, with partial success. He does not go blind, but his hair does turn instantly white.
On his way back to the farm, Brutus dons a goofy fur hat, so people don’t immediately realize what’s happened to him. On arrival, he demands music at once! A peasant pulls out a pipe, and Brutus begins to do a goofy Cossack dance, presumably to prove to himself how not-afraid he is. But his hat falls off, and all the peasantry are shocked to see his white hair.
For night three, the witch pulls out ALL the stops. If he can’t beat him alone, she’ll bring help. She summons forth disembodied gray arms that emerge from the walls and the floor. She summons vampires, werewolves, skeletons, ghouls, gargoyles and all manner of unpleasantries. The level of special-effects technology is not very advanced, but the artistry with which that tech is used is pretty great. As are the practical makeup effects; no two of the monsters are identical. This out-in-the-country church is not very big, and now it is FULL of revenants. But they still can’t break the protective circle.
At last, the witch decides to summon… VIY! Even the other monsters are scared when they hear his name! The thumps of his footsteps are audible as he approaches the church door. It opens, and he strides in – an immensely broad humanoid figure, with a huge head but no neck as such. Notably, his huge eyeballs are covered with enormous flaps of skin that reach down to his chin. “I cannot see anything. Lift up my eyebrows.” Two of the vampires do so. Brutus, against his better judgment, looks at Viy. When he sees Viy, Viy sees him, which apparently breaks the power of the circle. Monsters leap upon Brutus from all sides, burying him completely beneath them.
Sadly for them, however, the monsters are having so much fun that they lost track of time. The cock crows. The monsters flee for the windows, but mostly die half out of them. The witch reverts to her crone form, and lies back upon the altar, hopefully never to rise again. Since this is a RUSSIAN story, Brutus also fails to rise, having apparently died of fright.
That’s the main outline, though I’ve certainly left out a bunch of detail. There’s some great scenery, nifty historical costumes and scenes of peasant life. The lead actors are fantastic; even without subtitles I’m sure one could follow the plot from the action and facial expressions. And the final night has some virtuoso (if low-tech) effects work. Recommended.
⌈ Secret Post #3884 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
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Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 34 secrets from Secret Submission Post #555.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
The design was meant to be patriotic and comforting -- a kitten looking out from under a draped American flag. I can't fault the idea, though it's not to my taste.
However-- on a shirt? The kitten is all head and it's huge -- the size of a small leopard. And with the shading, it appears to be emerging from the wearer's chest, confidently searching for more food...
Not for the win. ewwww.
WARNING: This poem contains some controversial topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. In this poem, alter!Alex is Harley Quinn, a conflation which may bother some readers. It also features dimensional travel, impaired consent and mental functionality, forceful interventions to address an abusive relationship, vehement objections to well-meaning help, attempted assault, use of a previous name for constructive but nonconsensual purposes, allergies, reference to vigilante activity, reference to Quinn's past abusive relationship, communication failures, confusion, mixed signals, awkward family dynamics, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.
( Read more... )
Texas Tribune is partnering with ProPublica and NPR to explore the systemic reasons behind Texas’ rising maternal mortality rate. They need our help: Help us investigate why Texas moms are dying at alarming rates.
If you are a Texas woman who had severe pregnancy complications, or if you know a Texas woman who died after giving birth, we want to hear from you.
Quartz: Procter and Gamble’s new anti-racism ad is roiling white America. Not this member of white America, obviously, but yes, unfortunately.
The Nation: Historical Amnesia About Slavery Is a Tool of White Supremacy.
The Brookings Institute: Essay - THE WALL | The real costs of a barrier between the United States and Mexico.
NPR: All Songs 24/7 played songs for the North American Total Eclipse all day, meaning every song they own which has "sun" or "moon" in the title. I liked "When the Sun Come Up" by All My Exes Live In Texas, an Australian folk group. Their CD, "When We Fall" is now on my Wish List. Listen to Boundary Road from their first release. Their harmonies are so lush.
New York Times:
How to Take Care of Your Clothes. Maybe it will be useful to someone.
The Case for a Breakfast Feast. Breakfast is my favorite meal so I am all in favor of this advice.
LitHub: Sue Grafton from A to Z. Today is the publication date for Y is for Yesterday. I quit reading her series around V is for Vengeance, I think. I can't remember why. Maybe it's time for a reread.
Did you know that Rosemary Kirstein (The Steerswoman series) was a panelist at Reader Con? Well, now you do. From her blog: My Reading. It sounds like she's still working on books five and six which makes me so happy.
( More details with spoilers )
A very interesting article by Richard L. Hasen (a professor at the University of California at Irvine) and Hasen’s Los Angeles Times op-ed based on the paper; here’s an excerpt of the op-ed:
The rise of what we might call “cheap speech” [on the Internet] has … fundamentally altered both how we communicate and the nature of our politics, endangering the health of our democracy. The path back to a more normal political scene will not be easy.
In the old days, just a handful of TV networks controlled the airwaves, and newspapers served as gatekeepers for news and opinion content. A big debate back in the 1980s and earlier was how to enable free expression for those who did not own or work for a media company and wanted to get a message out.
In 1995, UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wrote a … Yale Law Journal article looking ahead to the coming Internet era. In “Cheap Speech and What It Will Do,” Volokh foresaw the rise of streaming music and video services such as Spotify and Netflix, the emergence of handheld tablets for reading books, the demise of classified advertising in the newspaper business, and more generally how technology would usher in radical new opportunities for readers, viewers and listeners to custom design what they read, saw and heard, while at the same time undermining the power of intermediaries including publishers and bookstore owners.
To Volokh, these changes were exciting and democratizing. But 22 years later, the picture of what the cheap-speech boom has wrought seems considerably darker. No doubt the Internet has dramatically lowered the costs of obtaining information and spurred the creation and consumption of content from radically diverse sources. Anyone with an idea can now get it out on Facebook, Twitter or any number of other sites accessible to anyone in the world with an Internet connection. And cheap speech has been a boon to those fighting oppressive regimes around the world, as truthful messages and relevant information can spread despite government censorship efforts.
Less positively, cheap speech has undermined mediating and stabilizing institutions of American democracy, including newspapers and political parties, with negative social and political consequences. …
As you might gather, there are things here I agree with and things I disagree with — but Hasen is one of the leading scholars of American election law and thus of speech and politics, and his work is much worth reading. (Note that Hasen’s law review article is a draft and may change by the time it’s published.)
Yesterday, Cordelia and I went downtown around noon and bought sandwiches. We took our time because we didn't need to be at the high school until 2:15. I didn't expect that part to take more than half an hour (and it didn't). I spent some time using up some of my Ingress inventory in hopes of clearing space for the things I'm supposed to have for the anomaly. I'm still short on a number of things, and Scott's behind me in that respect.
For about three hours yesterday, Ingress was giving 2.4 times the normal level of points for everything. After that until almost 4:30 this afternoon, they gave 1.7 times the points. Given that yesterday was the one day I was sure I'd be out of the house for a while and able to do Ingress, I was pleased.
We got to the high school about half an hour early, but they sent us on through. It wasn't actually crowded, and we managed everything pretty quickly. Cordelia now has a student ID and three very, very heavy textbooks (which they did not warn us we would need to take home with us). We got home a bit after 3:00, and I more or less fell over.
This morning, Cordelia and I went out for her annual doctor's appointment. That went well enough, but we found out that the dermatologist Cordelia's been seeing has left the practice, so we'll have to deal with someone else when we need to renew those prescriptions. They've still got two female doctors (and two male), so it won't be hard to get Cordelia in to see a woman as she prefers.
This was the much bigger cousin of the holiday barges that pootle up and down our Worcestershire canal. The main bulk of the hull served as the home of the bloke who ran the B&B. We were in the wheelhouse, overlooking the canal. The docks seem to serve as pretty much permanent moorings for the barges in this area. Each one had a small garden, and there was even a floating children’s play area.
It was surprisingly quiet given that the location is a mere 15 minute walk from Centraal Station. We could hear a distant roar of traffic, but mostly we heard the hangry cheeping of two adolescent coots and the occasional quack of a duck. We also found a great crested grebe nesting a few boats down. It was definitely brooding, as we never saw the nest unoccupied.
The nest itself was a rather wonderful construction, being a mix of urban rubbish and plant detritus, with a few hollyhocks artfully arranged around the edges. The grebe had two female mallard bodyguards, who immediately came to circle the nest at a careful distance, giving me the side-eye when I hopped down on to the dock from the pavement to take photos.
The barge proprietor tiptoed in every morning to leave us breakfast on the table next to the wheelhouse. It included a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, yoghurt, and hardboiled eggs nested in knitted cosies. Much as I wanted to sleep in, the prospect of getting that into my belly when I heard his footsteps got me out of bed pretty early both mornings. We received so much food at breakfast that we were able to make sandwiches from the bread and cheese to squirrel away for later. We ate these in the Vondelpark on the first day, and for supper on the second after the lunch at Rijks.
Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking around Amsterdam, we also indulged in a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a very belated birthday treat for me. We spent three and a half hours eating lunch at Rijks, which is next to the Rijksmuseum. The bloke had mentioned that it was my birthday when he made the booking. As a result, in addition to our pudding, I got a white chocolate candle with sorbet and a little message inside. We sampled both white and red wines, all by Dutch winemakers “from everywhere in the world” (e.g. New Zealand and South Africa).
Photos from Rijks behind the cut.
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don't throw away your eclipse glasses! mail them to Astronomers Without Borders, or deliver them to the nearest organization (most likely a local school) collecting them for AWB, so that students in South America and Africa can safely watch the next eclipse!
I've been seeing lots of butterflies today. There was a monarch around the barrel garden and various small butterflies when I was weeding.
5 things you’ll find in my bag: keys, work badge, wallet, iPad, glucose tablets
5 things you’ll find in my bedroom: kitty treats, glucose tablets on bedside table, zabuton/zafu cushions, stairs to the bed so kitties can jump up more easily (Harry is starting to need that), personal altar
5 things I’ve always wanted to do: go to China(done), go to Russia (nope), see an eclipse (done), do a huge USA and Canada road trip to see fannish friends (not yet!), watch a Lord of the Rings movie (done)
5 things that make me happy: kitties, talking to hanarobi, dancing, the smell of the ocean, meditating
5 things I’m currently into: Bahubali which is leading to other Indian movies and TV shows, going through my house and labeling stuff to start preparing for my move, Project Runway season 16, Indian soundtrack music, capri leggings
5 things on my to-do list: binge watch Game of Thrones for this season (it's getting harder to remain unspoiled lol), get a new Social Security card with my actual name on it rather than my married name from the 1970s, get the car a brake job, take books to the book drop-off location so I can continue culling, trim the shrubbery by the sidewalk or the homeowners association will be vexed with me (I actually like them to be vexed with me on account of they're assholes).
With the Preliminary Elections right around the corner, it is important for us to have an opportunity to talk to those who are vying for leadership positions in our community. Candidates for Mayor, Ward Alderman, Alderman at Large and School Committee have been invited to attend. There will be a short speaking portion beginning at 7:30 p.m. where confirmed candidates will be introduced.
For a complete list of confirmed candidates, please check our Facebook invitation, Follow us on Twitter (@Local1st) or Instagram (@SomervilleLocal1st).
For candidates, this event is not for the faint of heart. Unlike fundraisers, candidates will not be given an opportunity to address the crowd, but rather engage in face to face conversations with attendees throughout the evening. This ain’t your mama’s candidate night ;)
While this event is free to attend, Somerville Local First is asking for a $10 donation to support our work and mission in the City of Somerville. We strive to bring awareness to our locally-owned, independent businesses and artists and encourage everyone to shift their shopping to help sustain our local economy. To ensure space and food, please RSVP by emailing Courtney@SomervilleLocalFirst.org. It is my hope that residents take advantage of this opportunity for conversation with candidates because at the end of the day - all politics is local!
Executive Director | Somerville Local First
I nailed today's job interview, or else I've never nailed anything in my life. I want the position desperately. But they said they'd take "a few weeks" to decide. Siiigh.
On the upside, Mom was able to afford to pay someone to come in and drywall my kitchen and bathroom. So yes, everything there is now covered in drywall dust, but once I clean it off I get to paint and make things look actually inhabited.
• BBC1 "Strike" trailer and clips.
• Interview with Holliday Grainger, star of "Strike".
• Behind the Designs of the Bloomsbury 20th Anniversary House Editions.
Harry Potter – Actors and Movies:
• Robert Pattinson on "Good Times" Success and Career Highs .
• Happy Birthday Mark Williams!.
• Domhnall Gleeson: Actor, Writer... Drug Runner?.
Fantastic Beasts – Actors and Movies:
• Fantastic Beasts Sequel Rumored to be Filming at Hogwarts Corridors.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child:
• Five Things That "Cursed Child" did right.
• "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" London Production Open Hiring for Marketing Role.
• hogwarts365 are Looking for a co-mod for the Month of September.
• interhouse_fest Claiming is Open.
• dramione_remix Two Week Countdown.
Masterlists and Weekly Round-ups:
• hp_crossgenfest posted the Anonymous Masterlist for the 2017 hp-crossgenfest.
• mywitch recced three Severus fics.
• Oxford’s Beatrice Groves in Webinar with Potter Pundits Summer Schoo.
• Reasons to Talk About Viktor Krum.
General Fandom News:
• USE Quidditch Team finds Head Coach.
Please send your fandom news to the Daily Snitch.