The Candy Shop and Blood on My Name

I’ve been a longtime fan of Whitestone Motion Pictures based out of Atlanta. The short films they create are positively fabulous. Their films often have a beautiful retrofuturistic feel to them, and they are so well written and executed.

Recently, however, I’ve been a bad fan and hadn’t dropped by their website, and while I was looking the other direction, Whitestone came out with two amazing short films that you absolutely should not miss.

The first film is entitled The Candy Shop, and is a film initiative to help fight against child sex trafficking. It’s set during the depression, and therefore a Dieselpunk film by strict genre definitions, but it’s sure to appeal to Steampunks as well. Here’s the description for The Candy Shop:

Jimmy Balcom’s new job selling newspapers is a God-send to a kid working hard to help his family survive during the depression. But then Jimmy figures out what’s happening in the candy shop across the street. And he is confronted with a choice that no twelve-year-old should ever have to face. Giving his family a better life, or keeping his soul.

You can watch it below:

The second film came out just a few weeks ago, and is entitled Blood on My Name. This film is a short film musical narrative in the style of Americana folklore. Here’s the description:

On the run after a botched robbery, Erwin, who’s experienced a change in heart, tries to take advantage of a deal he’s made for himself and fellow thief Thomas. Instead he calls down the agents of a malevolent supernatural force who will hunt him to the ends of the earth rather than see him escape.

You can watch the full film here:

Be sure to also check out The Candy Shop and Blood on My Name pages at Whitestone for all sorts of goodies including a free download of the music, behind the scenes footage,  and a ton of other goodies.

Mantecoza

Mantecoza is an upcoming Steampunk webseries about an ordinary man whisked away from his average life an into the steam-driven world of Mantecoza. The series looks to be quite interesting and well produced, and their website finally went live this month.

Here’s the trailer for the series:

The first few episodes are currently getting the final touches put on them before they are released to the world. No set date for the release has yet been announced, but you can stay abreast on all the developments of Mantecoza by frequenting their newfangled website, subscribing to their Youtube channel and liking them on Facebook.

“Jersey Shore” Gone Wilde

My dear friend Mr. Jordan Bodewell of Sepiachord and Victorian Adventure Enthusiast told me about the topic of today’s post over tea a few days back. As he was listening to NPR, a story came on the air featuring what has to be one of the strangest mash-ups of all time:  Oscar Wilde and Jersey Shore.

Now, I’ve never seen an episode of Jersey Shore. I’ve lived very happily without a television for about six years now and have no interest in keeping up with episodic TV long enough to follow a plot line through to its conclusion. So, as a result, I can’t comment on the effectiveness by which Jersey Shore is recreated, but what I can say is that these are hilarious.

Check out Part One of this series below:

Wow. There’s four more where that came from, and if the popularity of these videos is any indication, there’s sure to be more.  Keep an eye on PlaybillVideo‘s channel if these videos pique your interest.

Slightly Steampunk: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Sequels

The 1968 musical film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a popular movie among Steampunks. Set in 1910’s, it features a magical flying car named for the strange noises the engine produces. It also has Dick Van Dyke, automatically making it a film worth viewing.

What most people don’t realize, however, is that the film is based loosely off the children’s book entitled, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car by Ian Fleming, the same man to give us James Bond.

According to an article from the Christian Science Monitor, the Fleming family has approved the release of three sequels to be written by novelist and screen writer Frank Cottrell Boyce. The first of these books is expected in November of this year and will be centered around the engine of the first Chitty Chitty Bang Bang finding its way into a family’s souped-up VW camper van.

Kids books or not, I’m excited about these sequels!

Slightly Steampunk: Inception in 60 seconds

Last summer, the film Inception hit theaters across the nation causing an upsurge in reports of bewilderment and confusion among moviegoers. Despite this, the film has generally been well received and continues to receive favorable reviews from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes.

As someone who doesn’t watch a lot of television in any form, I’ve never seen the film myself (I prefer novels to film anyway), but an abbreviated version of the full length film executed in a decidedly Victorian style was brought to my attention a few days ago. The execution of the art is really impressive… I love how the dreams are shown.

This film was the result of a competition by Jameson Whiskey in Germany to shoot a remake of a film within 60 seconds. To see more entries for the Done In Sixty Seconds Competition, head over to their YouTube channel.

Slightly Steampunk: Among the Spirits

If I were to tell you that there is a TV series in the works that is premised around the actual friendship between Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Harry Houdini, you’d probably be very interested. Perhaps even more so when I informed you that this series, Among the Spirits, is a fictional account of how the two teamed up to solve murders in 1920s New York.

Sounds pretty intriguing all the way around, if you ask me. With Doyle responsible for the creation of one of Steampunk’s most beloved characters, Sherlock Holmes, and Houdini as quite possibly the greatest escape artist of all time, the series has the potiential to appeal to both Steam and Dieselpunks alike.

Unfortunately, though, the series is being produced by SyFy. The negotiations to acquire Among the Spirits was announced in a recent article on deadline.com. While the premise sounds absolutely fascinating, I’ve lost almost all faith in SyFy’s ability to produce anything actually worth watching. And the article talks about “Steampunk technology” in the 1920’s… I swear I just had a tirade about the Steampunk/Dieselpunk line just last week.

Your better bet, until Syfy proves me wrong, is to track down the self-published graphic novel Among the Spirits by writers Steve Valentine and Paul Chart. My search to find a means to purchase the graphic novel, however, have been largely fruitless. If anyone finds it, please let me know, and I’ll update accordingly.

If you can’t find Among the Spirits, try tracking down Nevermore, a novel by William Hjortsberg with an eerily similar premise.

Slightly Steampunk: Victorian Inventions

I love my History degree. I sincerely do. When it comes to many things Steampunk, however, historical accuracy is of minimal concern to anyone. After all, there’s very little that’s punk about reenactment.

As Steampunks, history is there to inform, but to not to guide. It’s there to give us a grounding for an aesthetic, but not to make us yearn for the recreation of a time when people could be considered property, women couldn’t vote, and being LBGT meant imprisonment.

Some aspects of Victorian society, however, do play a larger and more influential role in today’s Steampunk. Themes of invention and mad science have undeniable historical roots and heavily permeate Steampunk culture and philosophy.

So much of our modern world was forged during the Victorian era. Some of the most influential inventions are featured in this  piece entitled Victorian Inventions, a part of the BBC’s series, Horrible Histories.

Horrible Histories does a great job of making our collective history laughable. Steampunks will be particularly interested in the piece on Victorian childhood, Victorian Beer, and British Things but there’s a whole wealth of historical topics set to music and mercilessly mocked that history buffs of all eras will find amusing.

Eye of the Storm

Today’s blog post features a fantastic video called Eye of the Storm by Ben Lovett.

Eye of the Storm was directed by directed by Christopher Alender, and is from Lovett’s debut album, Highway Collection. The album is set to be released on March 15th, 2011. To purchase the song, Eye of the Storm, please click here.

And to see an interesting video on the production of the Eye of the Storm’s music video, please see the second video clip below:

I’m looking forward to the release of this album. I’ve yet to hear it, but something tells me it might be good.

Slightly Steampunk: Sherlock

With the success of the 2009 Slightly Steampunk Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downy Jr. in the title role, it should come as no surprise that a number of Holmesian spinoffs have popped up in the last year or so.

The topic of tonight’s post is an especially outstanding result of this recent infatuation with the great detective, and while in no way Steampunk in its presentation, the source material is so fondly regarded by Steampunks themselves that I felt the production deserved some acknowledgment here.

PBS and the BBC’s retelling of the adventures of the great detective in a modern setting is a far cry from the Victorian England that we Steampunks love to revise, but because this is Sherlock Holmes, it’s sure to capture the interest of the Steampunk community. Thankfully, this newest incarnation of Holmes is blends enough of the new and the old to draw in old fans and still keep them entertained.

On 9 November 2010, all three 90 minute episodes were released to DVD, which you can purchase here. And for those of you who enjoyed Episode One of this series, you’ll be very glad to know that a sequel is already in the mix.

SteamCon II : Steamphunk Synchronic

Even though it’s been months since the end of Steamcon II, there’s still reports and material from the event still trickling in. Today’s blog post features a report done by N’Specter Phillips and Special Agent Cummings of Steamphunk Synchronic, an online magazine focusing on Steampunk events in the greater Northwest.

Ah, it brings back some wonderful memories! If you look closely, you can even see a tiny glimpse of me in the video! Many thanks to Veronique Chevalier, who brought this report to my attention.

Plans are, of course, already underway for this year’s Steamcon, Steamcon III- 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which will be held at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue.