Sunday, November 7, 2010

A rezday celebration for a Lionized Caledonian; a film that helps define "steampunk"?

Attended a delightful and festive 5th rezday celebration for Miss Kamilah Hauptmann, Vicereine of Caledon, put on by Miss Eva Belambi in Winterfell Anodyne. Terrific tuneage was spun by my favorite DJ, Miss Magdalena Kamenev; and Lady Kamilah entertained us greatly by displaying her various "looks" over the past five years, and then enticing a few select partiers to cavort with her on a dance pole spirited into the hall for the occasion. Mr. Jayleden Miles was one such cavortee; the thrill of this invitation apparently so overcame him that he crashed off the grid and sadly was not able to rematerialize for the rest of the party. Despite the great number of people who turned out, however, we had few other crashes, and a merry time was had by all.

Meanwhile, my typist has recently been amusing himself by re-watching a film from his childhood (in his timestream), by the title of "The Great Race." This movie, an attempt by director Blake Edwards to capture the essence of old-time movie comedies, is a big ol' shaggy-dog story with lots of slapstick, derring-do and homages to everything from Laurel and Hardy two-reelers to The Prisoner of Zenda. And it has a wonderful foursome of lead actors in the persons of Tony Curtis playing the immaculate hero; Natalie Wood playing the feisty femme fatale; Jack Lemmon playing the moustache-twirling villain; and Peter Falk the villain's dim-witted henchman. Further, between the four of them they have some of the most memorable one-liners and recurring gags in moviedom (just to give one example, Lemmon's repeated command to Falk to "press the button, Max," following by the former's howls of rage when the button inevitably backfires with disastrous results).

As I watched this movie with my typist, however, I couldn't help but be struck by how much its spirit reminded me of my favorite places in the SL Steamlands, especially Caledon. There were Victorian manners and mores; there was mad science, and a mad scientist, and things that went BEWM; there were adventures into frontiers and wildernesses where the order and culture of the towns gave way to pioneer practicalities; there were acts of heroism and villainy, swordfights and pie-fights; a little romance, and a lot of comedy; and stunning outfits for days and days. (Edith Head did the costume designs for the film--nuff said.)

I have had occasion, in various conversations in the Steamlands, to be drawn into discussions as to what is the nature of "steampunk" -- a perhaps futile line of discourse since defining such fast-changing terms of fashion can be like attempting to nail jello to the wall. But now, at least, the next time someone asks me my opinion of what constitutes steampunk, I can respond by saying "well, I dunno what it is for you, but as far as I'm concerned, this movie starts to cover the territory."

One problem, though: for the moment, I am now obsessed with the possibility of staging scenes from "The Great Race" within Caledon. Wonder how I'd look all in white, like Tony Curtis' character The Great Leslie? Now to find someone to play Jack Lemmon's Professor Fate.


  1. The race across Caledon for the RFL this summer was inspired by that very movie :)

  2. /me makes a mental note to see this movie!

  3. I'm pretty sure I saw that when I was younger...but I will have to make a point of watching it again!

  4. Mrs. Volare--oh that's right! I now remember you telling me that. Goodness knows I had enough technical difficulties completing that race to leave me feeling like the ill-fated Prof. Fate. And Miss Palabra, I highly recommend tracking this movie down through Netflix, which has it available for immediate viewing online.