If you’re lucky enough to have dodged the recent spate of mysterious streaming throttling happening in previously stream-happy homes across America, there’s some good shit on out there in streamtopia.
Devin O’Leary called The Returned (Les Revenants) "the best horror on TV in 2013" and he’s dying for season two. All eight episodes appeared in the streamoverse a couple of weeks ago, quietly and without fanfare, much like Camille’s return from the dead in episode one. In French with subtitles, but don’t worry, there are lots of pregnant pauses.
Last year we asked IF you used sex toys. This year we asked WHICH ONES? Due to space constraints in print, this precious data failed to make it into the feature’s final cut, but now the truth can be told: the vibrator is mightier than the dildo.
Not to disrespect the dildo, of course, which consistently ranks in the top three across all genders and preferences, but the good vibe is apparently more things to more people. Gay and bisexual male respondents were the only group in which the vibrator failed to rank as the most popular sex toy (trumped by both dildo and cock ring, but still a respectable third place). The ladies in the audience, on the other hand—gay, straight and in-between—gave the vibrator an overwhelming 80% and higher approval rating, with straight dudes also ranking it #1. (Clearly these guys know where the missus keeps her Hitachi Magic Wand.)
Gay, bi and straight men also appeared to agree that having a cock is a great reason to have a cock ring, as the #2 sex toy for boys remains consistent across all sexual preferences. That’s what I call solidarity, gentlemen.
You can draw your own conclusions from our rather unscientific poll, but one thing is for sure: for Alibi readers, sex time is tool time.
If only all of life was as simple as a data cloud with Sex Threesome looming large in the foreground. Maybe that’s what a future with everyone in the world wearing a Google Glass headset looks like. At least, that’s what it’ll look like in Albuquerque, according to our still-in-progress Second Annual Sex Survey.
Preliminary results from “My sexiest experience ever was …” reveal an interesting recurrence of key phrases from responses like “Successfully tying myself up for my boyfriend, so that when he came home he'd have a nice little surprise after a long day at work.” and “My boyfriend at the time wanted me to become more interested in video games. He told me he wanted me to play Dead Island while he performed oral sex on me.” The resulting cloud obviously only scratches the surface, but it’s clear some people really like their boyfriends.
And it came to pass in those days (January 2013 to be precise), that there went out a decree from the Weekly Alibi, that all of Albuquerque should be sexed. And all went to be sexed, every one into his (or her) own perversion or persuasion, the better to be counted thereby. And the Alibi looked upon the results of the census, and, behold, it was sexy; for the way of all flesh was not to be denied.
But unlike that dude with the white beard whose response to wickedness was, some might say, a little extreme with the water and the ark and all, the Alibi instead decreed that once again Albuquerque should be sexed. And lo, the Second Annual Alibi Sex Survey came to pass.
Yes, the time has come again to be counted. Top or bottom? Give or receive? Dildo, vibrator, nipple clamp? All of the above? We’re dying to know. Survey is open now until January 29. Results revealed to the eager public on February 6. Get cracking!
… so people would start talking about Metal Machine Music again. It’s hard to top Lester Bangs’ famous paean to MMM ( “If you ever thought feedback was the best thing that ever happened to the guitar, well, Lou just got rid of the guitars.”) but it’s awesome to see the closet fans coming out of the woodwork. Just like Lou planned it.
Fortunately, it’s possible once again to own a (simulated) quadrophonic edition and/or vinyl reissue (complete with locked groove so the fun never stops). Thank you, Mr. Reed! You may now come out from behind the curtain to thunderous applause.
Christian Ristow’s Hand of Man was a crowd-pleaser yesterday afternoon at the Albuquerque Mini-Maker Faire, both for the lucky folks who got to fuse their consciousness with a massive robotic hand and for the delighted onlookers. The experience was enhanced and made more apocalyptic by a threatening monsoon sweeping in from the east (which did not in fact hit the Faire). One thing’s for sure, when the kaijus do invade our planet from another dimension, we’re going to need this Ristow guy on our team.
Princess Mononoke, which got a spotty U.S. release to a handful of art houses and cineplexes back in 1999, is fortunately one of the Studio Ghibli films that have been making the rounds since early last year on newly-struck 35mm prints.
That’s right, on film. The fact that these are not being presented digitally is very specifically at the request of director Hayao Miyazaki who wanted them to be seen in a theater with light passing through them, film grain clearly perceivable, rather than reduced to a 1080p digital approximation. He’s a stickler as he goddamn well should be.
As with Miyazaki’s first feature, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, seeing Mononoke on the big screen in this country has been a rare event. Unlike more recent Ghibli films, which have received a solid marketing push from distributor Disney and Pixar frontman John Lasseter, Princess Mononoke was always an anomaly: a dark, not-so-family-friendly fantasy saga initially released by Disney subsidiary Miramax and rated PG-13. Its limited theatrical run was a disappointment to Disney, but was nevertheless something of a sleeper hit, playing to full houses in Albuquerque for weeks. I think I managed to see it four times at three different theaters. Then it vanished from U.S. theaters for 13 years.
Mononoke is one of the best fantasy films ever made. Its incredible attention to detail and earthy, naturalistic backdrops create a convincing secondary world in which the old gods are starting to fall before the might of the machine age. As Alibi reviewer Devin O’Leary pointed out in 1999, “The prevailing theme presented here is nothing less than mankind’s inevitable movement away from ancient, pastoral living to modern, industrial civilization.” That’s some heavy lifting for a cartoon, but this is no ordinary cartoon.
Clocking in at well over two hours, the scope of the film is awesome, its apocalyptic scenario rendered in broad strokes of violence and terror, tempered with quiet scenes of near-psychedelic mysticism. The iconic moment where protagonist Ashitaka first spots San (née Princess Mononoke), the wolf girl, sucking and spitting blood from the gunshot wound in her foster mother’s breast is one of the great visual shocks in cinema. The amorphous, Christ-like Forest Spirit (Shishigami in the original Japanese version) seems clearly patterned on the Great Prince of the Forest in Bambi (easily the best and most trippy of Disney’s animated features), yet the full effect as he appears in a distant glade is that something alien and magical is passing near, something truly from the realm of faerie—a high water mark hard to hit in any fantasy.
Devin again on Mononoke’s merits: “A carefully crafted script translation by Brit comic book writer Neil Gaiman (best known for his Sandman series) retains all of Miyazaki’s rich symbolism and historical context. The greatest testament to Miyazaki’s skill is that his characters never slip into easy caricature. For example: Had this film been made by Disney, Lady Eboshi [the antagonist] would have been portrayed as an evil, cartoonish shrew. Instead, she is a fully-faceted character—an admirably strong-willed woman who dreams of building a haven for the outcasts of feudal Japan. Ashitaka and Princess Mononoke are similarly portrayed as good people who frequently give in to their darker, baser urges.”
Princess Mononoke has never been available on Blu-ray, its 2000 DVD release is long out of print. Last summer I dragged my kids up to Santa Fe to catch a matinee when the CCA Cinematheque screened these same Ghibli prints, thinking that might have been my last chance. I’m happy Keif at the Guild (with some help from Mr. O’Leary) proved me wrong. But now this is possibly your last chance to see this film in glorious 35mm and I heartily recommend you do not miss it.
If you said “Jack who?” you might want to know George R.R. Martin once called him the greatest living science fiction writer and a master of fantasy “right up there with Tolkien.” That’s right, buddy, Tolkien. Unfortunately, as of Sunday, May 26, 2013, he no longer qualifies as living and will have to settle for merely being the greatest.
Carlo Rotella’s overview of Vance’s significance as a writer in The New York Times Magazine is probably the best thing I’ve ever read about him. I suggest you read it too. “The Eyes of the Overworld” (from the second Dying Earth book) is a prescient and deeply ironic metaphor for this avatar-obsessed virtual non-life we’re cultivating as a race of touchscreen and phone addicts. And this, 40 years before FaceBook. It’s also hilarious. Thank you, Jack Vance, for just being you.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the graphgasmographical data stream comes to a drippy end. Some things I learned about Burqueños: The vast majority have made out with strangers, yet haven’t caught a sexually-transmitted disease. Hmm. They also wouldn’t be caught dead smoking after sex. No surprise there, seeing how high “bad breath” scored on the turn-offs list. There’s a statistical dead heat on the importance of penis size and on having fooled around with a co-worker—so you may as well just flip a coin. The pro-anal-sex camp outnumbers the “once” or “never” camp by a healthy margin. But, more romantically, most people are not interested in an open relationship and would stick with their current partner for that one-last-shtup before the world ends—and furthermore, most have kept friendly with their ex-partners-in-crime. How warm and fuzzy.
So what does that say about Albuquerque? Promiscuous yet hygienic? Faithful yet forgiving? Free-thinking yet conservative? Who the hell knows? I’m just glad you’re all out there keeping things sexy for the rest of us. Let’s do it again sometime.
This installment tells us many things: Those who are satisfied are the largest voting bloc, but those who aren’t outnumber them. Sharing sex fantasies is more popular than not sharing them. A lot of people have experimented with an alternate gender sex partner, but most haven’t. Cybersex is way too out there for most Burqueños—we prefer phone sex even though it’s not 1995 anymore. And talking dirty is near-universally accepted as the lingua franca of the bedroom. In fact, it may be what binds us together as a race.
On a related note, when the term “Burqueños” is used, we really mean “the 1,405 people who took all or part of our survey, 486 of whom are 22-30 years old and most of whom (969) are under 40.” In case that wasn’t obvious, I mean.