Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I struggled to find a less cliched way to describe this clip, but I can't.

It's epic. It just is.

But before I share it, let me assure you that I'm working on something more fetish-related: a complicated (for me, with my paleolithic software, at least) photomanip that isn't quite ready yet. You're going to love it, but you might not get to see it before the weekend. Fortunately, there's this to enjoy in the meantime.

Let me give you a little setup. The reporter here is Anderson Cooper (a.k.a. "The Silver Fox" - no, I'm not making that up). He's extremely professional, and he's gay - something he's never come right out and said, because he'd rather be known as a reporter than a gay reporter, but he's gay. The guy he's interviewing here holds a statewide political office in Michigan (He also, IMO, looks and acts remarkably like Pee Wee Herman, but that's beside the point). This guy has been - there's no better way to describe it - stalking and harassing - a gay college student council member who, Pee Wee thinks, is an agent of Satan. Watch in awe as Anderson Cooper takes him apart piece by piece. It's like the Black Knight scene from The Holy Grail.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

These Are a Few of my Favorite Things: Supernatural Seduction

I've got a full goodie bag for you today, folks: photos, digitally manipulated images, and first-rate artwork, all depicting supernatural seducers and their prey.

Let's start with this fantastically creepy, evocative image from photographer Samuraj Grzes, one of my Model Mayhem finds (And speaking of that site, from now on I'm just going to use a generic blurb for MM images in these info-dump posts. It'll be a lot easier than pasting in all the individual links. Check the bottom of this post for the blurb).

Next up are an illustration from Luis Royo's Dead Moon (I have no idea what's going on here, but I like it!), a fairy reel by Frizzy Cube, and an I-don't-know-what-she-is-but-I'm-already-under-her-spell by Farhia.

Now here's a piece by Bethalynn Bajema, whom I profiled once before on this blog - and who requests that her work not be reposted without her permission, so please respect her wishes. Next is another painting by Luis Royo that's evocatively titled Kiss of the Fog, and finally a photo of V. Larsen by Porcelain Poet.

Below, left, is an image by MAD Designs that might make you wonder why I chose it for this post. Just click on the thumbnail image, then study the bottom half of the picture; you'll figure it out pretty quickly. This chick reminds me of a certain very scary character from Clive Barker's Weaveworld. Also on this row are a lovely ghost/vampire/zombie/who-knows-what by artist Arantza and an equally open-to-interpretation shot by Silversoul Photo.

Now here's Karenza modeling for Admirion, something-or-other cool from Imaginary Media, and an anonymous victim falling prey to Kirsty Mitchell's purple pollen trapdoor monster.

Finally, one more painting from Royo; a digital creation by Tiny Dragon Productions, and a Cthulhu-esque sorceress by Alice Duke, a.k.a. Melora.

***Unless otherwise noted (usually via link), all models, photographers, and digital artists in this post can be found on Model Mayhem.***

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

From "U" to "Z" by way of Frank Frazetta

I'm still sick, so I'll keep this brief - and hopefully enjoyable. Here are my two most recent photo finds. First up is Ulorin Vex (and Chesty Von Ellem) in a Frazetta-inspired piece by Allan Amato. You're welcome. :-)

Next, we have Zoetica Ebb showing how adorable she looks even without a stitch of makeup. She's currently promoting "No Makeup Week" on her blog and is setting the perfect example with her "androgynous street punk" look. I think I'll decline her invitation to join the festivities, but hats off to her and all the other gals who've sent in bare-faced photos.

Interestingly enough, at the same time Zoetica is encouraging her female readers to go cosmetics-free, she's touting the joys of makeup for men. And I have to say, looking at the pictures she shares, those are some mighty fine specimens of painted manhood...okay, well, aside from Devendra Banhart. Ewww. Why'd she have to sully her blog with his sorry ass? Oh, well, at least she made up for it with the picture of herself.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is that...corset

Pardon the brevity of this post, but I'm a little under the weather...which makes this an ideal time to fall back on a topic I came up with ages ago and have been waiting for the right moment to reveal. See, there's a company called Puimond that makes high-end corsets, and I've noticed variations of one Puimond design showing up on the tightly-cinched bodies of several of my favorite models. Have a look.

From left to right, on the top row, are Io (photographed by Ama Lea), Morgana (by Iberian Black Arts), and Darenzia (photographed by Nadya Lev).

Ulorin Vex gets a whole row to herself because she owns at least three of these corsets. From left to right, the photographers are Mike Tucker, Root of Silence, and Slingshot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You don't mind another post about Luis Royo, do you?

I thought not. ;-)

Behold the goddess now gracing my desktop with her presence. Her name is Ama-no-uzume, and she's a Japanese deity of the dawn. I kind of doubt she wielded a sword in the traditional myths, but who am I to complain?

What with one thing and another, I spent a lot of time this past weekend looking for new Luis Royo art and better versions of the pieces I collected before. The site I called the Royo motherlode is still there, and I still recommend it highly. However, I found some even better sources on my second go-around.

This site, for instance, has the biggest, best scans of images from most of Royo's book collections. It doesn't cover all his books, though; you'll have to go back to the "motherlode" site for that. But while the motherlode only samples each book, this new site gives you every. single. freaking. image. from that book. Plus, it gives you the names of the pictures in most cases. That's how I learned that the lovely lady above was a goddess.

Here's another good site that samples most (but not all) of Royo's books; and this site and this site offer Royo wallpapers. The problem with the wallpapers, though, is that the folks who made them basically just took a cookie cutter to Royo's paintings, trimming away all the bits that didn't fit within the borders of a computer monitor. Comparing their "desktops" with Royo's original, squarer images is like comparing a movie that's been reformatted for a TV screen with the original you saw on the big screen. I don't recommend it, and you'd better believe that when I made my desktop image of Ama-no-uzume, I didn't take a cookie cutter to her. Nope, I made sidebars from washed-out copies of the clouds in the painting. It took a little longer, but IMO it was totally worth the effort.

The three images above are from Dead Moon, Royo's retelling of the Romeo and Juliet story with a change of setting and a few interestting twists. For instance, I really doubt Friar Lawrence would have a legitimate reason to get Juliet naked before giving her the sleeping potion. And if the scans were in the right order and the right-hand picture above is near the end of the book, then Dead Moon might possibly end with its lovers not dead. But that's just a guess; I haven't read the book. I am insanely curious about it, though.

Now, is it just me, or does the model in the left-hand picture above look like Apnea? And does the woman in the right-hand picture above look like Nicotine? And the belly-tattooed gal on the left just below Ama-no-uzume - does she look like Meluxine? I'm curious to know whom Royo uses as his models. One of the scans I saw showed Liv Tyler and Steven Tyler posing for this painting, so I know Royo uses celebrities from time to time. And I'm sure he must use professional models almost all the time, so anything is possible. I'm curious. If anyone knows where I can find out more about the real people behind these pictures, drop me a comment or an e-mail.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The slave greets her Mistress

I have a number of models and photographers on Deviant Watch, and when I checked into Deviant Art just now, I found these two pictures - and these two alone - waiting in my in box. I think they make a lovely pair; don't you?

At left (and looking unusually stern) is Mosh, photographed by Allan Amato. At right is plastique in veins, shot by Silent Order. Be sure to notice her eyes.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: Love Like Winter

And so...another inspiration for The White Album that I had to wait until now to explain. Oh, I teased you right from the start with this video by AFI, and many of you guessed that Love Like Winter would be the title of the concluding segment (As a matter of fact, my first idea was to use LLW as the title for the whole trilogy, but that was before Jukebox told me he wanted each segment to be a separate story with its own title). What you didn't know until now was just how many ways this song influenced the trilogy's origins.

Watch the video again, if you like. Notice the images, and especially think about the lyrics. Listen to that talk about blood and biting and "drinking my war." Although the symbolism of drained color was part of my idea from the beginning, I did originally plan for a vampire that drank blood. Then, a little later, when I came up with the idea of Dalila's slaves posing like statues and dummies, the line "Press your lips to the sculptures and surely you'll stay" became eerily prescient.

Yeah, you knew the statue/dummy idea was mine, didn't you? ;-) Geoff Coen had the "Jukebox" stamp across his forehead, and the statues and dummies have the "thrall" stamp across theirs. Originally, I was going to take them even further into fetish territory and have Abby dressed in a full-body latex catsuit with goggles over her eyes. But just as we began to write the first mannequin scene, I realized it would be more powerful to have Abby wearing the dress Dalila used to seduce her. So no latex. Sorry. But you know what? I liked the dress idea so much that I don't even miss the alternative.

And you know what else? Even though the statues and dummies have that great big "thrall" stamp, Jukebox still managed to sneak his own signature onto them, too. I've said before that it's almost impossible to talk with J for very long and not have the conversation turn to Dr. Who. Now, I watched a lot of the show in college, myself (mostly Tom Baker, with a bit of Peter Davison and John Pertwee), and even though I don't watch it now, I'm still curious enough to read articles online - and to chat with Jukebox about current developments in the series.

So. Early on in our discussions, Jukebox started raving about the Weeping Angels. At first I thought he wanted to talk about them just because they were really cool monsters, but then I got curious enough to look them up online. I found some pics, some detailed descriptions of the episode in which they first appear, and eventually an extended video clip. By then it was hilariously apparent that where I was thinking mindless minions posed like art, Jukebox was thinking Weeping Angels. Take a look at the clip compilation below, and you'll see just how thoroughly "Blink" worked its way into "Love Like Winter."

And now, one last thing before I hit the "Publish" button. I understand that some people have the dark tone of The White Album. Hopefully, that doesn't apply to anyone reading this blog; I have to think that if you like my stuff well enough to follow me here, then you're not afraid of the dark. You might actually like it. You might even - and this is my fondest hope - appreciate the pathos of Carly's sacrifice. I think it's a much more powerful ending than if Carly and Abby had just ridden off into the sunset together.

As for those folks who always want fireworks and dancing Ewoks, all I can say is this: I've been posting on the EMCSA since 2002, long enough for regular readers to know my style and know how few of my stories have traditional happy endings. So if you're that scared of getting your feelings hurt, then why the hell do you keep reading my stuff? Go rent Twilight instead.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Behold the Metronomicon!

You might have seen the image at right before. On some of the loonier nodes of the web, it's paraded as proof that monsters live beneath whatever big city is in vogue with conspiracy theorists at the moment. In saner quadrants, debunkers will tell you it's just one in a series of photomanips created by Russian artist Alexey Andreev.

And yes, it is true that Andreev has a blog of his digital artwork, including a number of faux-tographs grouped together under the heading Metronomicon. But that doesn't mean the loonies are completely wrong. Maybe Andreev is a modern-day Abdul-Alhazred whose paranormal investigations drove him around the bend. Maybe the only way he can retain even a tenuous grip on sanity is by telling himself and the world that these photographs are just manips.

Suppose it happened this way. Exterminators in the deepest tunnels of a Russian subway discovered a cache of eggs, too large to be those of any ordinary spider. Unfortunately, their thin protective garments were no match for the adults and their stingers.

Acting on orders they felt no need to understand, the exterminators emptied the insecticide from their sprayers and replaced it with chemicals from their new owners' bodies. Then they trudged back to the upper levels of the station and began to spray. A mere whiff of venom was enough to conquer most wills, and there were hypodermics for the rest.

One by one, the stops along the route were taken over, and with them, everyone who passed through those stops. Now the spiders (and their even-stranger cousins) could operate in the open. The Metro riders didn't blink at the sight of a man-sized cocoon, or flinch at the insertion of any number of organic cables in any number of body parts. Cattle don't question their owners.

Eventually, the riders knelt before their monstrous overlords and received new orders: to carry eggs out into the rest of Europe and Asia - and then into the world at large. After all, their owners were hungry, and they couldn't eat all their slaves. That would leave no one to handle the manual labor.

Monday, September 6, 2010

just noodling around

I have plenty of other, more important things I could be doing right now; but when I found this interesting image of a sunspot on io9, I got...heh...inspired. So here you go.

Oh, and for the record, I really don't recommend doing a Google Image Search on the word eye all by itself. Yeah, you'll find some cool images, but you'll also some a few things that shouldn't be viewed on a full stomach. Just sayin.'

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Peek Beneath the Duct Tape: A Whiter Shade of Pale

So...A Whiter Shade of Pale has been online for almost a day now, but you might not have noticed because Simon posted this week's update early. He caught me off guard, too, which is why I'm a little late getting this Peek online. But here we go!

Now, at last, you have the answer to at least two riddles I've posed in this blog. The first is the solution to this post, in which I invited you to guess what three out of four pictures have in common.

Actor Jeffrey Combs was the obvious inspiration for the character of Geoff Coen; in fact, Dalila even teases him at one point by "misremembering" his last name as "Combs." Jukebox and I borrowed Amanda Palmer's dress from the center picture for Dalila to wear in seducing Abby (You haven't seen the last of that dress, either!). And of course, the Count was your big clue that the whole post was about my upcoming vampire collaboration with Jukebox - who, as he said in his own Behind the Music blog post, really didn't want our vampires to be traditionally vampiric. That was fine with me, since a certain sparkly blockbuster series has pretty much peed in the genre's pool, anyway. Check out the fantasy/SF section of any large bookstore these days, and practically half the books look like really awful vampire fiction (Half the rest, of course, look like really awful werewolf fiction).

But back to Combs/Coen for a moment. I'm sure you've realized by now that he's the character I had in mind when I said someone had a very obvious "Jukebox" stamp across the forehead. Combs is also the actor I hinted about when I said we'd specifically "cast" one player in our story before we even started writing. It's funny how he turned into such an obvious Jukebox character, considering how equal our input was in his creation.

Let me give you a taste of our collaborative process in action. The dialogue isn't exact, because it's been too long for me to remember everything we said, but this is the gist of the discussion leading to Geoff's creation:
Jukebox: I'd like to have a character who can tell Abby what Dalila is and warn Abby about her. Maybe she's some kind of supernatural detective.
Me: That sounds great, but let's use a man this time. Right now, all our main characters are women. He could be a Harry Dresden kind of guy, a street-smart vampire killer. Having Dalila take him down would show our readers just how powerful she really is.
Jukebox: No, I'm thinking he's just a bumbler who keeps trying and failing to kill Dalila: he uses a stake, but it just glances off her rib, etc. That will make the ending even more tragic.
Me: Oooh, perfect! And hey, if we're going that direction, then let's make him Jeffrey Combs! He always plays the best loonies. [One quick Google Image Search later]. Here, take a look at this picture. Isn't he perfect for the part?
Our whole collaboration was like that: constant back-and-forthing, pushing each other to higher levels of imagination. Every character, every scene, every sentence, is a combination of thrall and Jukebox - even the bits where you think it's all one of us or the other.

And now on to a couple of other sources of entertainment and inspiration. I promised you new pictures, and I try to keep my promises! So first, here are a few more potential Dalilas. My casting post to the contrary, I never really settled on a single mental image of Dalila; she's just too mutable by nature. Before, I used this picture from my collection because I couldn't leave her out, but Mela von Winter is no more "my" Dalila than any of the women below. They all have a certain look, though - a certain essential attitude that is part of my mental image of Dalila. Put all four of these pictures together, and you'll start to see what I think about her.

At left is Kitty Cosmo, photographed by Jennifer Garcia. Next is Ruby True, photographed (wearing Violaceous Latex) by Allan Amato. And on the right is Courtney Cruz, photographed by Michael Helms. Just pretend for a moment that Courtney's tattoos are body paint. ;-)

Now here's one more source of inspiration that I've been dying to share for ages. I just had to wait until enough of the White Album had been published for it to make sense to you. Quite some time ago, I ran across the work of Kimiko Yoshida, a Japanese/French photographer who's even more fascinated with the faceless/voiceless aspect of traditional brides than I am. She takes pictures of herself veiled, painted, and otherwise obscured, so that she becomes less of a person than an object of art. These are just a few of the images I've saved from her website. I chose them because they're most in line with my vision of The White Album, but the website has dozens more - some even tastier than these. Check her out.