Sunday, December 25, 2011

[AG:] Who, Hugo, and Holiday Wishes!

Greetings, programs!

A very Happy Christmas/Hanukah/New Year to you all! I'm writing to you now from sunny Milwaukee, WI where I have just opened all of my presents and am now sitting and watching BBC America (with a fez on) as the hours count down to the new episode of Doctor Who... like ya do on Christmas Day. I have been meaning to post for weeks but December got pretty hairy at the day job and so it hasn't been easy to get time to actually construct thoughts into sentencey-things on the blog. But anyway, I digress.

Last time you heard from us we were in Madison, WI for TeslaCon 2: 20,000 Leagues Beneath The Aether.  In case you missed it through Twitter, here are the two video blogs we filmed while at the con:

First video: Nov 19, 2011

Second video: Nov 20, 2011

I have to say, going to TeslaCon was the SINGLE GREATEST THING WE EVER DECIDED TO DO TOGETHER. A while back, sometime last year, we saw that Gail Carriger had announced on her blog/Twitter that she'd be appearing as guest of honor at TeslaCon 2, and so we did some poking around to see what the word was. Once we found out it was in Madison and not terribly expensive, we agreed to go. We marked the dates on our calendars and moved hell and high-water to get there. It was well worth the effort. We experienced steam punks of all walks of life and level of costuming ability, we listened in on intriguing panels (shout out to DJ Doctor Q for his wicked "steampunk in comics" panel!) and met fantabulous people (shout out to Krisin of Bionic Unicorn, Samantha of Blasphemina's Closet, Syntheia Finklepott and Kevin, the Airship Ambassador). We had delightful teatimes in the Tea Room and we danced like crazy at the official ball. Beyond all of the regular delights of a convention, TeslaCon is the brainchild of Lord Hastings Bobbins III (Eric Larson), the first steampunk immersion event of its kind. During the course of our weekend journey on the H.M.S. Trident we met the Aquilan Ambassador, saw the signing of a peace treaty, were attacked by the evil Doctor Proctocus, saw a fashion show, witnessed the kidnapping of dear Lady Bobbins (GOOD HEAVENS!) and discussed the prospects of next year's TeslaCon 3: A Trip To The Moon.

That's right. We're going to the FLIPPING moon next year.

If you're interested in conventions, steampunk, or just want to have a deuced good time, you should really consider buying a ticket and coming along for the ride next year. It's going to be so much bigger and grander than this year, and seeing how good this year was makes my brain rattle with the actual possibility of next year's con. This year's theme was inspired by Jules Verne, of course, but next year is a nod to Georges Mélies.... and SPEAKING of Georges Mélies....

...have you read "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" yet? Have you seen the movie? If you haven't read it, good luck tracking down a copy, because it's selling out like CRAZY now that the movie is in theatres. But definitely try to track it down, because it's a marvelous book and author Brian Selznick is totally innovative. It absolutely deserves the Caldecott Award it won. You should also go see the film, though. And although I'm usually very much against 3D movies -- headaches, you know -- this is one film I highly recommend you see in 3D if you can. It's just so beautifully done, and it's made to be seen in 3D. It's a love letter to Parisian urchins, clockwork automatons, and silent movies. It's incredibly well cast and gorgeously filmed. I spent most of the film hugging my knees and grinning joyfully because it's so damn beautiful.

Trailers are fun!

Aaaaaand while we're doing trailers... go ahead and watch The Hobbit trailer again. Because it's also flipping amazing.


In the meanwhile, wishing everyone a very happy holiday season... does anyone have their New Years Resolutions sorted out yet? The few thoughts I've had so far include the following: 
  1. Finish playing Pokémon: Black.
  2. Read more comics.
  3. Read more MARVEL comics (since I'm mostly DC).
  4. Play Arkham City (DUH).
  5. Continue writing and get a short story published.
  6. Go to more conventions.
...any thoughts? Oh, and by the by: AM and I got the green light to start writing our Doctor Who burlesque script for Gorilla Tango... Keep your eyes open for more on that this year!

Off to open more presents; my extended family has arrived. 

Live Long and Prosper, and huzzah!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tesla*Con (Post One: Thursday)'s late :/

HI all!!!

Alex here! So as you probably know from our tweets we're at Tesla Con 2 this weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Our posts are coming a bit late because SO much has happened in the last two days alone that we just needed a bit of time to process. Today we'll put up a video blog detailing what our first official day at the Con was like but while Aly gets ready I thought I would write a little pre con blog.

So after Aly and I arrived at the hotel in our Steambug! we settled into the hotel and decided we wanted to go out for drinks and sushi. Because, well, we're very posh like that. And as we are staying in a hotel further away from the Con (SO MUCH CHEAPER!) we didnt have any new friends to revel with. We got dressed up in our Pin-Up best, naturally, and headed to over to a cocktail bar downtown named Opus. Side note: On the way we passed a bar named Woofs which we will forever make fun of in a Midwestern dialect "Hey, Imma, Imma going over to Woofs. Ok?"  We settled at a table surrounded by pictures of old movie starlets and were promptly waited  upon my a handsome gentlemen in a bowtie. Sitting in the chichi bar surrounded by what could only be politicians and their mistresses (the bar is across the street from the capital) we had cheap sushi, chocolate fondue (which I spilled on my dress. That's why I wear black gentlemen!) and for me far two much champagne. Champagne is my natural nemesis; so welcoming and bubbly, so deceptively strong.

Tipsily we made our way back home. Popped on our vintage bathing suits (naturally) and sat in the hot tub giddily laughing until we were too tired to spa (as if). Back at the hotel I promptly passed out (instead of writing this blog) and Miss Aly finished her novel for NaNoWriMo!!! yay!!

It was a good, relaxing pre con day. And thank goodness for that cuz Friday was nuts!

Goodies: Here are our "passport" photos for the Con. It's an immersion con so we built characters. Here I am as Estella & Aly as Alice. We'll post some character blogs in the future!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

[AG & AM] Eleven Eleven Eleven: The Lady Nerds Hail the 11th Doctor!

[AG:] So, you’ve got your fez, jacket and bow tie ready to go for Friday? We do.

Yes, friends, this upcoming Veteran’s Day also coincides with a once-in-a-century numerical coincidence: the eleventh day of the eleventh month, on the eleventh year of this century. That’s a lotta ones! (Insert binary joke here.) But seriously, the internets are a-buzzin’ with fans of everyone’s favorite Time Lord prepping their cosplayin’ best for Friday in anticipation of what bloggers are calling Eleventh Doctor Day.

[AM:] Normally we don’t participate in silly internet life-memes* like “Change your Facebook status to what color your bra is in honor of (insert cause here)” or “Repost if you support (insert cause here)” or “Wear blue to (insert cause here)” because let’s face it they don’t really accomplish anything and are mostly annoying. We’re not saying support (insert cause here) is a bad thing, but mostly they are silly and ineffectual. (Though we both count May the 4th as a national holiday). That being said in light of recent news regarding the potential eminent departure of our beloved Eleventh Doctor we have come to view this day as a way to honor, remember and have fun.

[AG:] Join in by paying tribute to Matt Smith as the eleventh incarnation of the Doctor by wearing a fez, a bow tie, a tweed jacket, suspenders, or any combination of said items to work, to go out to the bar, or wherever you may be on Friday the 11th.

Tweet or email us pics of your Eleventh Doctor Day encounters and we’ll post them on the blog!

[AM:] P.S. For those of you who would like to point out that it is also Veteran’s Day and what we are doing is unpatriotic, etc., etc., there is no reason why we can’t support the Veterans and love our Doctor. My dad’s a Vet so lay off.

P.P.S. Binary jokes are always funny.

*We just made this word up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

[AG:] Ex Post Facto: Joining Fandom After 'The End'

Hey y'all! AG here with some thoughts on something that I hadn't even realized was such a big part of my life and my exploration of geekdom.

That's right. I've been doing it for years but hadn't really noticed until recently, and I know others do it too: say there's a show, or a series of books, which is a big deal while in syndication or in publication, and then it ends, and you haven't read or watched it at all. So you pick it up and settle in to watch from episode (or chapter) one, all the while others have already lived and experienced it all. And then, inexorably, you find yourself drowning in obsession and fandom while your friends are generally already standing on dry land on the other side, having forded the river successfully without their Connestoga wagons tipping or their oxen drowning.


Examples of Retroactive Fandom : I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy, a whole year after the final book ("Mockingjay") was released. I watched the first three seasons of Heroes before its fourth season was confirmed, which is a modified example, of course; and then season five was canceled, which was utterly devastating, don't get me started... Most recently, however, I was suckerpunched into watching the reboot of Battlestar Galactica (the giver of said suckerpunch was Miss Alex, of course, with help from a number of our friends) and that journey finally came to an end for me on Tuesday.

Those of you that have watched BSG know that when I say it was a "journey" I'm not kidding. I started watching it last winter but continued on and off until this month, because of other various life things that got in the way of me totally focusing on the survival politics of Galactica's crew and their toaster allies and enemies alike. Taking my time with the series did not lessen the impact of any of the incredible twists and turns along the way, especially those late in the game. I was floored. Totally floored. I'm still floored; my brain is still half-functioning because I'm trying to reconcile my worldview with the final reveal of the fourth season. I absolutely consider myself a fan now, despite the fact that I didn't join up till several years after the series ended. I loved how gritty it was, how unexpected it tended to be in spite of your tendency as a viewer to try and predict things before they happened. I loved the characters, the growing and changing relationships and interactions they all had, and even the religious subplot and mysterious undertones of the otherwise 'realistic' storylines (that is, realistic for a universe which precludes other planets than can support life and sentient artificial intelligence). It was fantastically written, in my opinion, and fantastically performed by a wonderful cast.

A lot of people might say that unless you watch a show in syndication, you're not a real 'fan' of a series, but it has been my experience mostly that nerds and geeks are more willing to allow latecomers into the fold, as long as those latecomers are fully versed in the canon and haven't skipped any details. AM has a favorite defense mantra, which goes something to the effect of "I didn't become a nerd till later in my life but it doesn't make me any less of a nerd than you." Where once the true test of a geek was how long one had been a fan of something, now it seems that there is more room for those who are young, or younger, or have only discovered certain things recently, but are fully committed to the fandom in spite of their tardiness. Another example: I am still in the process of watching The X-Files beginning to end, because I did not watch it in syndication (I was busy with DS9 and Voyager, kthx) but I consider myself totally invested in the series; X-Files is a passion for those who truly love it, and I absolutely love it. Again, I am taking my time finishing it -- I've still got season 8 and 9 left, and I'm terrified for it to end, even though I've seen both of the full-length movies. But that's all stuff for another day... I'm just saying.

My incredible cosmic Emily made this for me last Xmas. MADE IT. With puffy paint.

What I'm saying, really, I guess, is that experiencing a series ex post facto is still an experience, and that anyone who says it's "less" of an experience is absolutely wrong. All that matters is your personal experience and reaction to a show, a book, a movie. Whatever it is. If you love it, that's what counts. I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone I know who has already seen BSG (which is almost everyone) and kept the big surprises secret from me for all this time. It made a huge difference. I'm in Steven Moffat's camp, y'all: nobody really likes spoilers except people who have no true passion for storytelling. I would love to give my rabid thoughts about the end of BSG, but because the surprises were so fresh for me, I'd hate to throw anybody else under the bus, however unsuspecting. I'd also like to take this opportunity to say that I thought my dad made up the word "frak" as a cute alternative to the f-bomb. I grew up with him saying it, and subsequently have said it myself for years. Flash forward to the first episode of BSG -- I heard them saying it left and right and had a huge epiphany. My dad didn't invent "frak." Original!BSG did. And my dad loved original!BSG (as well as new!BSG). But that's the thing -- everything nerdy in my life goes back to the source: my father. He is the bringer of new things and the encourager of all that is geeky. Therefore, my dad is awesome.


So say we all.


Coming up soon: Reflections on prepping for conventions, costuming, and the Bristol Renaissance Faire (I know it was months ago, but I still have feelings about it!). ALSO: this Saturday, AM and I will be attending the fifth annual Doctor Whoniverse photoshoot in Chicago... expect pics! Currently reading "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom" by Cory Doctorow and watching the animated "Batman: Year One"... whee!

Monday, October 10, 2011

[AM] Tid Bits, Wonders & The Future

First off apologies for the lack of posts lately. This past week or so has been crazy busy and I just haven’t had time to write. On the plus side so MUCH has happened that I just have to share with an appreciative audience. So be warned, I’m gonna hit you with a lot of awesome. Right at your face.

  1. The Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque
As mentioned in my last post I’m a burlesque dance with a company known as Geek Girl Burlesque. I am currently directing and choreographing the Indiana Jones burlesque (Opening October 28th) & it has been a struggle. The girls have started calling it “The Little Show That Could”. Since it has been picked up it has gone through 1 director, 3 choreographers, 1 costumer & 1 photographer. Not to mention a complete script overhaul and missing almost two weeks of rehearsal. And yet every time someone quits (usually very last min.) it actually turns out for the better. The costumes look fantastic, the sare killer (if I do say so myself) & the girls are incredible. We have a lot of work left to do but I just couldn’t be happier. Get tickets here for this show & all others produced by GGB.

  1. Chicago Star Trek Convention 
 Again as stated in my last post I am apart of Boobs of Khan: A Star Trek Burlesque. I’m sure this has been mentioned somewhere on the site, but just to reiterate I’M A HUGE TREKKIE (& yes I say Trekkie, because I think Trekker sounds stupid ;) I’ve even got some ink to prove it.
I went to the convention with AG & her dad as well as another dancer in the show, Sadie Hotkins (Data). The Convention was small, but super fun. We got to talk to a bunch of fun nerds & even had some people and congratulate us on the show.  I talked to John de Lancie about My Little Pony & got him to sign “Friendship is Magic” John de Lancie on a photo. We passed out flyers, got some cool loot, talked to the Chicago TARDIS people, watched scenes from A Klingon Christmas Carol, & I have a potential D&D game now. But the real amazing thing is that Sadie Hotkins on a dare went up to Brent Spiner, gave him a flyer of our show and said “I play you. Only naked.” Needless to say he was a bit shocked, but after the initial confusion he was totally on board. As a coward I snuck up behind her and played a long too. Eventually we had Jonathon Frakes in on it too. He asked me who I played & when I said “Picard” he said “YEAH! Picard.” I didn't have the heart to tell him he wasn't in the show. They even offered to tip if we gave them a preview. It was awesome, surreal & creepy, but it made my life. 

  1. TeslaCon
AG & I have finally bought our tickets for Tesla Con & are beyond excited. We’re working on our costumes, which include Ivy & Alexia from Gail Carriger’s amazing book Soulless, some Weird Wild West, a sexy peacock & a lady who looks suspiciously like the Doctor, bow tie & all. Aly & I have never really attend a convention together (apart from the last Trek one) and I couldn’t be happier. We’re planning on launching a podcast there so stay tuned for all of that.

  1. BOOKS
I’ve been reading amazing books lately & thought you would like to check some out.

-Great Philosophers Who Failed At Love by Andrew Shaffer
-Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz
-Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences: Phoenix Rising by Tee Morris & Philippa Ballantine
-The Corpse Wore Pasties by Jonny Porkpie the Mayor of New York Burlesque
-Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (REVIEW COMING SOON)

Next on the List:
-Heartless by Gail Carriger
-Sin in Second City by Karen Abbot
-Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
-Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger
-Geek Girls Unite by Leslie Simon

& That’s pretty much that. I’ll get better at posting PROMISE.



Friday, September 30, 2011

[AG:] Books books books... and geeky future plans.

Greetings, programs!

So, here's the thing about us Lady Nerds.... we love to read. We both really really REALLY love to read. The only difference is that I read a little bit faster than AM does. I'm not bragging, it's just true. Well, I tend to read faster than most people. I tend to stockpile a bunch of books and basically wait for the right moment to just devour them all in one sitting. Well, several sittings. One sitting per book. Anyway. Some leftover books from my last frenzy are standouts that require some blog-time. So I'd like to take a few minutes to blurb about some fabulous reads I've hit on in recent months.


1. "Kraken" by China Miéville.  I picked this up several months back because the cover is sexy. There are two things that will get me to read your book: a great title, and a great cover. A great cover can make up for a so-so title or vice versa, but not always. "Kraken" has a fine title and a sexy cover. And the author is British. Like, hayyyyy. So I nabbed it and devoured it over a few days. It reads like a lovechild between Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere" and what I can only assume is H.P. Lovecraft. The London that Miéville presents is gritty and lush with the mysterious and arcane living among the mundane, who barely notice anything around them. The protagonist is a museum curator whose museum's prize specimen -- a huge dead squid -- gets stolen. That's right: stolen. Impossible you say? NOT IN LONDON, Y'ALL. Billy, the hero, gets sucked into a mysterious underworld of London full of cults which worship the squids as deities (cephalogods if you will) and finds out that there is much more surrounding his specimen than just scientific discoveries. Talkin' about ancient prophecies and shit. And all sorts of magic like all over the place, okay? A phenomenal cast of characters and an addictive narrative, "Kraken" is an excellent specimen of the weird and deliciously wild.

2. "Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel" by Pip Ballantine & Tee Morris
Somehow -- and I really don't recall how -- I noticed one day a while back that somebody named Tee Morris was following me on Twitter, so I followed him back. I noticed him mentioning someone named Pip a lot, so I followed her too, just for good measure. Figured out pretty quick that they were writers, which I thought, obviously, was cool, since I also write and their chosen genre (steampunk) is also of high interest to me. Luckily, the novel they co-wrote was released in May and I picked it up to see how good it would be. BOY. DID I EVER GET A SHOCK. This book is so brilliantly written (by two people no less! do you know how hard it is to write something with someone else on the same wavelength!?) and so full of humor and cleverness that I could scarcely sit still the whole time I was reading it. I squirmed with delight, I laughed aloud, I smirked, I gasped, I bit my lip in terror or in tension. The protagonists are Agent Eliza D. Braun (New Zealander by birth, explosives enthusiast by habit) and Wellington Thornhill Books, Esq. (archivist, homebody, and actually rather a good chap all around), two individuals in the employ of Her Majesty Queen Victoria's Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, which documents the strange and mysterious throughout the Empire. Braun is paired with Books as punishment for breaking a few rules, and the two of them end up leaving the Archives to track down some unsolved mysteries from Braun's past, much to the chagrin of the Ministry. The cases they crack, however, crack open something even larger -- much larger than either of them bargained for. Did I mention there will be a sequel? It's going to be delicious. Tee and Pip are two of the LOVELIEST people you could ever hope to meet by accident on the internet, and their work with "Phoenix Rising" is awe-inspiring and riotously good fun. (Also, if you check out the Ministry's website, you might notice their ongoing project Tales from the Archives podcasts... and you might notice that yours truly is listed as a Ministry agent and has a little role in one of the podcasts... ahem...)

3. "Geist" and its followup, "Spectyr" by Phillipa Ballantine. So, obviously, after reading and falling in love with the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, I had to check out Pip's other work. It's a series called "Books of the Order" and the first is called "Geist," the second being "Spectyr," and the other two books not yet released. Have I mentioned how much I hate/love being involved with a series while it's still in first production? I am so impatient when it comes to finding out what happens next. But anyway. So. "Geist" to me is more reminiscent of when I played the XBox game "Fable II": it's high(er) fantasy than your regular stuff, but it has a very complex and detailed world of its own, that doesn't quite fall into the usual notions of dragons and knights and all that. The heroine, Sorcha Faris, is a Deacon of the Order, a religious(ish) construct of men and women who pledge themselves to certain arts of magic that are meant to protect the realms from the geists, shades, spectyrs, spirits, and demonic forces that slip into this world from the Otherside, which is basically a land of the dead. There are Active Deacons, like Sorcha, who are all about brute force and combat, using their gauntlets and powerful runes to trap and fight geists, and there are Sensitives like her partner, Merrick Chambers, who in "Geist" replaces Sorcha's husband Kolya when he is injured in a skirmish. Sorcha is used to losing partners due to injury or weakness, but since her marriage has kind of crumbled, she's glad to have an excuse to leave town for a while with her new partner to kick some geist butt; she'd rather fight something than talk about feelings. Throw into the mix one Raed Rossin (Pretender to the throne, pirate captain, and bearer of a curse which transforms him into a giant, terrifying lion-like geistlord) and instead of a vacation, Sorcha's got a serious detour to crazytown. The detail in these books is phenomenal, and just when you think you've got a handle on something, something goes terribly wrong and you're shocked into reading another nine chapters before doing something productive with your life. They're absolutely fantastic reads!

4. "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. LOOK I KNOW I ALREADY WROTE ABOUT THIS BUT I HAVE TO WRITE ABOUT IT AGAIN BECAUSE I'VE READ IT THREE TIMES NOW AND IT'S STILL FREAKING AMAZING. If you haven't read it, you need to get on dat shit because it's beautiful. Totally and utterly beautiful. I'm totally one of those people where if there's too much hype I'll shy away from it for a while (coughTheHungerGamestrilogycoughcough) but this is one case where I believe the hype was deserved. So deserved. This book is a fine, delicately crafted, spun-sugar dessert of a dream of a story, and I'm totally in love with it. So just deal with it.

5. "Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti" by Genevieve Valentine. So, I read this back in June, way before "The Night Circus" had even started promotional stuff, which makes me wonder if there's a subconscious circus-thing-happening. In any case, "Mechanique" is such a fascinating ride. At first glance, it's a jumble of vignettes about a circus that's made of half-people, half-machines and travels about the outskirts of society, barely making a living. The mysterious goings-on within the circus are beautiful and terrifying, and just when you think the truth of the whole plot will be revealed, a second plot comes into play and throws the balance of the circus completely out of sync -- and lives may be the cost. Disorienting, fascinating, and lovely all at once, "Mechanique" is a chilling, memorable story which breaks boundaries of genre and expectation alike.

So there's five(ish) books for you to check out from yer local library (or Amazon or B&N, etc.) at your leisure. I'm currently reading a few more, which I'll blurb about here by and by. I wanted to also give a heads up that AM and I will be attending the Official Star Trek Convention tomorrow (happy 45th anniversary, Trekkies!) and even though celebrity sightings at cons are old hat to Miss Alex, I'm personally hoping for a chance to throw myself at John De Lancie (squee!).

Other upcoming brouhahas include the fifth annual Whoniverse Photoshoot somewhere in Chicago in October... we were flattered to be invited along for the fun. Current plans include to revive our Nine (AM) and Ten (moi) costumes from Halloween '10, and possibly some other fun... I may or may not have an itchin' to dress up like Idris from Neil Gaiman's episode "The Doctor's Wife" and I know for a fact AM wants to be Donna Noble/Catherine Tate when she grows up.... In November, we have our Big Event of the Year, that is, TeslaCon II in Madison, WI.... we are VERY VERY VERY excited for this and costumes are already being cobbled together. We're also trying to make plans to attend ChicagoTARDIS which is also in November, and which I also *JUST* discovered that ALEX KINGSTON (River Song) is going to frickin' be there..... SO OBVIOUSLY WE ARE GOING.

Anyway. That's all I've got for the moment. See y'all on Twitter!


Thursday, September 15, 2011

[AM:] Nerds....& BOOBS

Why hello there dear blog reader.

This is Alex, the other half of SC&N signing in for my first solo blog post. Clearly, as already demonstrated, I am not as literary as Miss Aly, but what I lack in narrative flow I make up for with humor and boobs.

Yes that’s right boobs. And not just any boobs my friend, oh no, but the ever coveted Nerdy Boobs. As mentioned in my bio I’m a burlesque dancer (Stella Cheeks) with a company here in Chicago known as Geek Girl Burlesque. Started a year ago by Ms. Pixy & Gorilla Tango Theatre our little company as exploded with geek themed burlesque shows. Our repertoire includes Boobs & Goombas: A Mario Burlesque, Fellowship of the Boobs: A D&D, LOTR, WOW Burlesque, A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque, the newly premiered Boobs of Khan: A Star Trek Burlesque. And keep an eye out for Indiana Jones & The Temple of Boobs directed by yours truly coming this fall.

Now this may read as a shill to entice you into buying tickets (and it sort of is..., but it is more about this amazing phenomenon happening all over the world: Nerds are becoming sexy. Of course some of you will scoff, “Nerds have always been sexy.” And while many of us have known this to be true it was not really a well known or accepted fact until recently. And I LOVE it.

I know many people, myself included, have been known to clamor and complain about our beloved geekdom being co-opted and often distorted by the mainstream and it’s hard not to snap the thick framed glasses off of the hipster wearing an “I heart Nerds” shirt ironically walking down the street, but for all the bros who attend the Iron Man midnight showing we the nerds are benefiting more and more.

As a girl who always teetered on the brink of popularity and geekiness it was always a battle trying to balance the two and I was often left denying my true self while trying to fit in. But now I wear my Doctor Who shirts with pride and show my Star Trek tattoo off every chance I get.

This is why I love our Geek Girl Burlesque. Not only are we attracting nerds who grew up watching Star Wars and playing D&D, but we are mixing them in with girls who just love burlesque and people who may have seen Star Wars only once, but “Hey, it could be fun.” We make sure to put in jokes about gelatinous cubes and power converters only the die hard fans will enjoy and the iconic buns (no pun intended) and red shirt deaths every person will be familiar with. Not to mention the ladies. The wonderfully funny, powerful and sexy ladies!

The wonderful thing about burlesque is it is a body positive, queer accepting, gender fuck loving, artful world in which creativity and humor are praised more than six packs and the perfect tan. We have real women, big & small, white and black, Pagan and Christian, and everything in between gracing our stage. Some are die hard nerds, some just like to get naked and some (ah hem) like showing off their Star Trek tattoo while wearing Starfleet emblems on her nipples.

So that’s my tangent. Nerds are sexy, I love boobs, Nerdy boobs are the best, I like acceptance and you should come see my show ;)

Resistance is futile.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

[AG] Book Review - "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern (available 9/15/11)

A circus in black and white. Mysterious in its arrival and departure, impossible in its design, incredible in its performances, the circus travels the world in the late 1800’s creating wonder and even obsession in its wake. From the moment the gates open at sundown on the first evening and the ceremonial bonfire at the heart of the tents is lit for the very first time in shocking rainbow flames, anyone who enters to visit the magic is smitten. Once you have seen the circus, it is said, you can never forget it, and you will always long to go back. For some, this longing is not so secret, and it is these dauntless fans which dress themselves to look like the circus: black and white, though each circus-lover adds a dash of bright crimson to the mix, the better to identify one another in a crowd. These fans are called “rêveurs,” which means dreamers, for the circus is called Le Cirque des Rêves: the circus of dreams.

I am proud to inform you that I am a rêveur.

Let me go back to the start of the Circus’ hold on me. Last spring, myself and my associate here at Something Cute and Nerdy (Alexis) went to the Chicago Public Library downtown to hear Neil Gaiman and Audrey Niffenegger sort of talk about writing but sort of talk about Gaiman’s book Neverwhere, which was selected for the One Book, One Chicago project at the time. During a Q&A portion of the evening, an audience member asked what books Neil had read recently that he liked and would suggest to his own readers. Neil mentioned several books that were older but that he considered favorites, and then he said simply that there was a book coming out in the fall called “The Night Circus” by a woman named Erin Morgenstern, and that it was one of the finest books he’d read in a very long time. He wouldn’t go into detail but he insisted that anyone and everyone would love it. Since that was a pretty strong recommendation from anyone, the fact that Neil Gaiman was the one giving the order made it doubly – possibly triply – so. I jotted down the book and author and tucked it away for later.

In July, I was coming in for a shift at my part time job at a chain bookstore on the north side of Chicago and on the table where we leave advanced copies of things not yet available for puchase I noticed a large, black paperback. Huge, really. Its cover was hidden by the letter from the publisher or agent or whomever, the letter which cheerfully requests that someone read the book and give it a review or talk it up to customers, etc. I put my things down to pick it up, curious what could be that big. The letter fell to reveal the cover of Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus” and I actually cried out in excitement and surprise.

It was like someone knew I wanted to read it and made sure I’d have a copy.

I took it home that night and within 48 hours had read the entirety of the novel, and within 72 hours had re-read parts that were particularly delicious and fascinating. I knew then that Neil Gaiman was right (as perhaps he tends to be) and that this book will be an incredible revelation once released. It is captivating beyond measure and the sensory details woven into every page are simply stunning.

“The Night Circus” tells the stories of many different people, but at the center of the novel are Celia Bowen, daughter of the great magician Prospero, and the orphan Marco, raised by a mysterious man in a gray suit, also a magician. Celia and Marco are raised with the knowledge that they are part of some kind of test or challenge, pitted against another individual, but it takes a long time before they meet one another, and even then, Celia does not yet know that Marco is her enemy. Along the way, people they are both acquainted with begin the construction of a fantastic circus which will travel the globe performing wonders like no circus ever before, and will live in the hearts and memories of its audiences for decades to come. The thing that many do not realize until much later, of course, is that Le Cirque des Rêves is built on real magic, and that Celia (their mysterious illusionist) and Marco (the circus manager’s assistant) are proficient in the unknown language of real magic and manipulation of the world around them. Their challenge is still unknown, and now the circus houses both of them, but no one can say where or how it will all end…

Exactly as the rêveurs follow the Cirque des Rêves across the world, I felt immediately as a reader that I would gladly read “The Night Circus” over and over again without ever tiring of it. It is impossibly chock-full of feelings, sights, and smells that are described with masterful detail and linger long after you’ve turned the page. The stories of each of the people involved in the inception of the Cirque des Rêves are as fascinating and mysterious as the circus itself, but truly the tales of Celia and Marco are the most incredible.

This is Erin Morgenstern’s first novel, and by all means I confidently say that she is a genius of the heart, and a true magician like her characters: the kind that simply reveals real magic where it is found and lets the reader decide if it’s an illusion or not. I am wholly in love with “The Night Circus” and know without hesitation that once it hits bookshelves on September 15 it will draw the rest of the world in until we are all wearing red scarves, red gloves, or red flowers on our lapel.

We are all rêveurs, and Erin Morgenstern has finally given us a place to call home with this incredible dreamscape of beauty and mystery.


The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is available September 15th, 2011. Pre-order it HERE!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

[AG&AM] Welcome to the realm of the Lady Nerds!

"Once upon a time in Chicago...

There were two lady nerds who had grown frustrated with the lack of opportunity to express their passions for games, comics, movies, TV shows, and books. They became so frustrated over time that so few people in their immediate vicinity genuinely understood or appreciated the vast myriad of their obsessions that they decided to band together and do what most overly passionate individuals do nowadays.... blog about it.

This is their story."

Our story, rather. Sorry, it's us. That intro was a bit much. Well, it's us. Alexis M. and Aly G. Here we are, Professional Lady Nerds. We like a lot of different things, and when I say 'like' I mean we REALLY like them. A lot. Much too much to be polite in general conversation. Hence the blog. We couldn't get by just pretending to blend in any longer. Apologies to those of you who are reading this because you're our friends; we know that on many occasions we have confused, frustrated, and possibly even insulted you. Please accept our apologies. It's become too much to bear, so we're hoping the blog will give us ample room to exercise our inclinations. The following is a basic rundown of what you can expect from us here at Something Cute and Nerdy:

  1. Book Reviews! We are two gals that f*@#ng LOVE to read. Multiple books at once, usually. Expect lots and lots of promotional blurbs and full reviews. If you're an author looking for some word-of-mouth assistance, shoot us an email or a tweet because we love reading new stuff, especially in the sci-fi/fantasy genre, ESPECIALLY steampunk. Also, AG reads super fast, so feedback is prompt.
  2. TV Show Recaps! Doctor Who especially, but anything currently airing and remotely nerdy is game. This category may also include discussions and reflections of past episodes of finished series (such as X-Files, Battlestar Galactica, old Trek, etc).
  3. Movie Reviews! Action flicks, sci-fi adventures, books-turned-movies, boardgames-turned-movies, chick flicks starring people you may recognize from nerdy shows or video games! YOU NAME IT!
  4. Music Suggestions and Reviews! Like book and movie reviews but less frequent. We're pretty loyal to Amanda Palmer, just sayin'...
  5. Photoshoots! Unnecessary and delightful! Look, we're both actors and we enjoy taking nice pictures, all right?
  6. Video Game Reviews! Again, self-explanatory and less frequent probably than book reviews. This may also include rants about really hard boss battles or qualms with the design. We don't play as many games as we used to, but we're on the outskirts of interest, so we might as well include it just in case.
  7. Hodgepodge! Theatre reviews, rants, observations, general discussion. Anything is game.
  8. Podcasts! In the future we would like to include podcasts and some video podcasts. We are hoping in a few months to begin adding these in after some experimentation, so be patient with us.

We're basically ready to mingle, so give us a shout if you want to see a review or discussion take place. We will be making appearances at some conventions as well, so keep us in mind if you've got something in the works!

Coming up this week (possibly): Book Reviews of "Kraken" by China Mieville, "Divergent" by Veronica Roth, "Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti" by Genevieve Valentine, and "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern [from AG]. Also reviews of "A Single Man" by Christopher Isherwood, "Shakespeare: World as Stage" by Bill Bryson, "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway, "Things We Think About Games" edited by Hindemarch and Tidball [from AM]. Hodgepodge post about Geek Girl Burlesque [AM].