What is this “Steampunk” of which you speak?

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Steampunk is an art form. An expression of those souls old at heart. Of all the arts in which it has manifested, it is quite possibly literature that receives the most attention. It utilizes late Victorian era aesthetics (Clockwork gears), fashion (top hats and bustle dresses), and general cultural influences, and superimposes it with futuristic technology. (And zombies. Sometimes zombies.) It is generally agreed that Jules Verne is the father of the Steampunk movement, as he was the most popular of those who mused on the future of technology while living in the prudent and picturesque 19thc. Some others who unknowingly contributed to this neo-victorian revival are H.G. Wells, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and, to some degree, Edgar Allen Poe (though less in a inter-species, time travelling hero sense as much as a dark literature way).

But ultimately, we must show rather than describe this phenomenon:

Etsy for accessories

Polyvore for entire ensembles

Barnes and Noble for literature (be sure to look into Arthur Slade’s “Hunchback Assignment” series, as well as “Monstrumologist” by Rick Yancy)

Pinterest is an excellent place to view artwork

You may be interested in films like “Around the world in 80 Days”, and “Treasure Planet”, which exhibit steampunk tendencies.

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So what do you think? is steampunk relevant? Beautiful? Atrocious? Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Let us know in the comments below.

P.S. We give due credit to Ted Dwayne for capturing the beautifully trippy photograph included in our post. We highly recommend checking into his other work!

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The most tragic stories EVER

These are the books that (while sometimes having significant literary value) threaten to bring one to tears.

*tears* *tears* *tears*

East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Tigerlily, by Jodi Lynn Andersen

1984 by George Orwell

Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte (it could be contested that this is not so much a tragedy, as story concerning the second generation ended on a pleasant note. However, it is traditionally regarded as a tragedy.)

Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare (did we even need to list this?)

Hamlet, by Shakespeare

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

anything written by Edgar Allen Poe

If you saw one of your favorites on the list, YOU’RE A FREAK.

P.S. We are freaks too, it’s ok. Are you a freak? Did we miss any sad literature?

He’s a freaking groundhog!

We have gathered today to bring before you the most shocking trial in American history.

 

There is a group of people- people like you and I, with beating patriotic hearts, who, being so grieved with a single fallacy from beloved Puxsatawny Phil are calling for a death sentence!

He’s a freaking groundhog! Nearly a century of fully accurate foretelling of the weather, and one single mistake causes a substantial amount of the population to lose faith. We find this entirely unjustifiable. Human meteorologists (who we find ill-named, as they so rarely deal with meteors) make fallible forecasts all the freaking time and no one tries to murder them.

 

Please sign our protest to end the violence. Puxsatawney deserves to live.

 

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 2 featuring The Avett Brothers

We have this week for your listening pleasure, the melodious country-minded tunes from the Avett Brothers. The band is made up (primarily) of Scott and Seth Avett, who began musically in their native North Carolina in the late nineties, releasing their first self-titled EP in 2000. Since then, they have released seven full-length albums, four EPs, and three full-length live albums. They maintain a rigorous touring schedule, and though they favor blue-grass, roots oriented venues, they can hardly be called run of the mill country singers!

“Murder in the City” has the innocence of a child’s lullaby, the wisdom of a psalm and the placid instrumentation of a folk song:

The charming reel-like strains of “Live and Die” will be stuck in your head for at least ten days. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Don’t you love that pretty banjo???

And like all self-respecting country driven artists, they have a good amount of sorrowful tunes:

Another favorite of mine, “Die Die Die”: the bridge of which sounds slightly Paul McCartney-ish, don’t you think?

So now, dear reader, how would YOU classify the Avett Brothers?

Newspeak (or, the destruction of words)

“We’re destroying words- scores of them, by the hundreds, everyday. We’re cutting down language to the bone…. It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words. Of course, the great wastage is in verbs and adjectives, but there are hundreds of nouns that can be got rid of as well. After all what justification is there for words that are opposites of other words? … If you have a word like “good”, what use if there for a word like “bad”? “Ungood” will do just as well.” Or again, if you want a stronger version of “good”, what sense is there in having a whole string of vague useless words like “excellent”, “splendid”, and the rest of them? “Plusgood” covers the meaning…”

This is an excerpt from George Orwell s dystopian novel “1984”. It features government neglect, extortion, unbelievable sorrows. But the scene above was the most grievous to me. It was spoke by a character named Syme, who works with the government (Ingsoc – English Socialism, or “Big Brother) to create a language for the new age. “Newspeak”. Efficient. TERRIFYING.

Our souls live in words. We cannot be defined by “good” and “ungood”. We are too complex. We are not “unsimple” , for that could mean “mystic”, “vague”, “reserved”, “introverted”, “condescending”, or any combination of them.

Language cannot die.

No art, no music could feed us if it were confine to such terms.

Language cannot die, we cannot allow it.

If we were not expressed, not loved or being shown love by language in art- we would be base, miserable creatures indeed.

74: The Hipster Music Digest, episode 1, featuring Birdy

Week one, we have for your listening pleasure, UK sensation Jasmine van den Bogaerde- known to most as “Birdy”. Though only sixteen years of age, Birdy has charted half a dozen singles, and even landed a spot on the killer* Hunger Games soundtrack last year. Birdy leans toward fullbodied piano, genre-defying jazz styled folk-pop, which is exceptionally suited to her soulful yet girlish voice. Adele for kids.

*pun fully intended

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnAfFpNKT_E

UPDATE:

Birdy has collaborated with british folk outfit Mumford and Sons to  produce track the track “Learn Me Right” for the pixar flim “Brave”.