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By Grace Ibrahim

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Bomb Girls is set at a munitions factory in Toronto, Canada in 1941. It follows the lives of four women as they struggle not only with problems in their private lives but also as they try to find their footing in a rapidly changing yet still male dominated world. All of them come with different reasons, some to support there husbands, brothers, and sons in a war they are fighting thousands of miles away. Some are running from their past looking for a place to start over and call home. And some are trying to escape the pressures of social constraints and expectations of the upper class. No matter what they came looking for all of them found the same thing sisterhood.

There are four main characters:

Lorna Corbett played by Meg Tilly is the Matron of Victory Munitions factory. Her job is to keep things running smoothly and safely. She has two sons in the war and a husband who was paralyzed in the first World War. The munitions factory is a way for Lorna to keep busy and support her family while spending less time dwelling on the strained relations and unspoken hurts that fill her home.

Jodi Balfour plays Gladys Witham, a socialite who finds herself caught between living the life she feels is right, and the life her parents have planned for her. Gladys feels very strongly that, everyone should do their part to help in the war effort, and after seeing a co-worker injured in the line of duty she decides to go work on the Munitions factory floor, leaving her cushy secretary job behind her. It takes her a long time to really be accepted as one of the girls but she becomes a strong voice of Justice in the plant and really brings the girls closer together as they fight against things like sexual harassment in the work place.

Kate Andrews, originally Marion Rowley, is a shy charming red head with a killer voice portrayed by Charlotte Hegele. Marion, aided by her mother, escapes from her abusive father and runs away to Toronto changing her name to Kate Andrews and getting a job at Victory Munitions. She lives in a boarding house, with several of the other girls, and is soon taken under the wing of Betty McRae. Kate is Naive to a fault, which leads to many misunderstandings and lands her, as well as others, in dangerous situations.

Ali Leibert plays Betty McRae, who is the inadvertent leader of the girls at Victory Munitions. She takes Kate under her wing, helping her to secure fake papers so her father cannot find her. All of the girls at the factory follow her lead, and it isn’t until she accepts Gladys that the rest of the girls start to open up to her as well. We don’t learn much about Betty’s past in the first season, what we do know is that she won’t, or can’t, return home no matter what. We are left with a cliff hanger for both Kate and Betty at the end of season one, as a misunderstanding between them leads Kate to be taken back by her father.

If all of that doesn’t make you want to check out this show, then the fans should! There is a surprisingly large and active fan base online for this show. Originally slated to be a 6 part mini series, Bomb Girls now has 18 episodes, and a movie in production, that will tie up the loose ends. The fans of this show fought hard, sending letters and petitions, to have it given a second season. I had not heard of Bomb Girls until Mandy asked me to review it, but I am so glad she did! I suggest it to everyone, and I am glad that it had such a loyal fan base! This show tells a great story of amazing women in a precarious time in history, and it deserves to have a spot light shown on it.  

By Grace Ibrahim and Mandy McGee

If you haven’t seen Safety Not Guaranteed, put it on your to watch list as soon as possible! It is destined to be a cult classic of the same caliber as Little Miss Sunshine and Across The Universe. Made by Big Beach (the producers of Little Miss Sunshine) in collaboration with Duplass Brothers Production and Film District. Production costs for the movie were reported to be around 750,000. However, after winning the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, then later opened in limited release, in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland it grossed around 4,000,000. Safety Not Guaranteed is a great story of three reporters who travel to a small town in Washington state to investigate and maybe interview the person behind an advertisement claiming to be looking for a time travel companion. The Advertisement states companion for time travel is wanted, you will get paid when you come back, bring your own weapons, safety not guaranteed.

What they find is a off beat but goodhearted, eccentric grocery store clerk, who’s plan is to go back in time to save the only girl he has ever loved. Safety Not Guaranteed is more about risks in love and life then time travel but it doesn’t take away from the original plot. The characters are likeable, some of them loveable and all of them relateable. It is the perfect movie to watch if you need of a geeky mood lift.

It stars Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, and Jake Johnson. It is directed by Colin Trevorrow, written by Derek Connolly with beautiful cinematography by (Seattle based) Ben Kasulke. There is also a special appearance from Seattle’s own Lynn Shelton as well. (I am mentioning those special people because I am from Seattle…-Mandy).

By Grace Ibrahim 

Cabbit is a quirky short film by Montana artist /animator Soogie. Illustrated with cross hatch art it has the same feel as the quaint old English children’s books. Cabbit tells the story of a animal spirit whom generally spends their day with friends, dancing and drinking tea till one day Cabbit has a bit of a run in with humans which in the end doesn’t turn out so well for the humans. At three minutes forty seconds there really is no reason not to take time out or your busy day for a bit of whimsical revenge on the human race. That at the very least Cabbit will leave to feeling nostalgic for the days of yore when earth spirits were all British, drank tea and wore tweed.

Go to the Official Website for Cabbit and show your support for independent art.

Cabbit from PROSPEKT on Vimeo.

By Mandy McGee

I launched Extollere into universe (or just here on Tumblr) in February 2012. It has been a great year for us full of wonderful reviews, random articles and interviews. I had the pleasure of bringing on two wonderful writers to help me start this project, Grace Ibrahim and Morgue Anne. I owe them a huge thanks for writing amazing things. Also to the few guest contributors over the past year, THANKYOUTHANKYOU!!! 

I complied the 15 most popular posts for 2012 by the number of views, not likes or comments. I have my favourites but the readers have spoke. 

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15. Pride Celebration with Anime! Our writer Grace Ibrahim loves anime and for Pride month found the gayest anime out there to review for you. Read the full review

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14. The handsome, talented and handsome Steampunk maker, Jake von Slatt makes it on the list. Check out some of the new things he has made and the things he has to say on his site. Read the interview

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13. Seattle erotic and fashion photographer, Gabino Mabablay has been up to amazing things since we last talked to him. Follow his tumblr for the most recent updates on his photo projects. He has had very sexy shoots (as usual) and just as beautiful as ever. I had him show his work at a club I curate art at and he (at no surprise) sold half the show with in the first week of it being up. Read the interview.

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12. The faboulous and beautiful, Andie DeRoux has been up to great things since the interview I did with her. She is still creating amazing art and having art shows. She is still modeling and has now taken to photograph models as well. Watch out for her in 2013. I am sure she has lots of great things in store for us. Read the interview.

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11. Steve Schiltz of the bands Longwave and Hurricane Bells has been traveling a lot over the last year. He sometimes tours with Blue October playing guitar and most recently has joined James Iha on stage. Another great and amazingly talented person to watch out for in 2013. Read the interview.

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10. 2012 was a good year for the band Caravan of Thieves. They had an album come out, which we reviewed, and toured the country. I didn’t have the chance to see them when they came through Seattle, but I hope to see them in 2013. Check out their music video and review in this post

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9. Actress, Brandy Kopp makes it to number 9. She appeared in the movie “Matt’s Chance” (the one I did still photos on) by Nicholas Geyney and will be in his next movie, “Unknown Son”. Read the interview

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8. The eccentric musician, Annie Hardy from Giant Drag, had a tough year and is slowly coming back out of her shell creatively. She tells all (she can) in the interview I had with her. We have stayed in touch and I will be helping her with her new music label, Full Psycho Records. Stay up to date with what goes on in the Full Psycho clan. Follow Full Psycho on twitter. Read the interview here.

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7. Director Nicholas Geyney was great to work with and get to know. I had a blast working on “Matt’s Chance”. I photographed the premiere and I loved the work the crew and cast did. He will be touring with it in 2013 with some of the cast and crew in tow. Look for it in your town as well as “The Unknown Son” when that comes out. Read the interview.

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6. I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Stevens, the creator of Diesel Sweeties and laughed my ass off (a lot). He is great! Read the interview.

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5. The Beautiful and talented model and actress, Kelly Polk makes it to number 5 most popular post. She just finished a short called “Honestly, Honestly” and she traveled around at the end of 2012. She is back in LA and I can’t wait to see what she does in 2013. I full recommend keeping up to date with her projects and buy her modeling pictures on her website. Read the interview.

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4. One of my favourite interviews of 2012 was with Jenna Busch. She is beautiful, talented and a GEEK! Since our interview she has been involved with a bunch of new projects, one including being the Stan Lee’s co-host on his web show “Cocktails with Stan”. I know she will have amazing things happening in 2013. You better keep up with her! Read the interview

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3. I am so pleased that Professor Elemental is one of the most popular posts on Extollere and it is one of my more recent posts. He was a hoot interviewing him. Definitely an entertainer to keep up to date with. Read the interview.

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2. It is no surprise that this article made it to one of the most popular posts of 2012. This was a fantastic post by Morgue Anne. Her letter to Geek men who put down Geek girls is only one of the many out there but it still needs to be read. We all need to speak up about issues such as this or nothing will ever change. I have read and seen tons of videos of responses to the “Fake Geek Girl” buzz. I am glad to have this on my site and be one of the most read. Please pass it around and chat about it. Shit like this needs to be dealt with. Read the article.

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1. I am so happy that the most read/watched post is the video interview Morgue Anne and I did with the ladies of Vaginal Fantasy Book Club. Felicia Day started this online book club with her lovely co-hosts (Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazbee and Bonnie Burton) in January of 2012 and it has been going strong since. We also learned a lot about technology failing you too. This video is better as audio but still a great interview. These ladies also are responsible for bringing fantasy/sci fi smut into my life. Read the post and watch the video.

Thank you for reading Extollere and I (along with my staff writers and contributors) look forward to bring you more articles, reviews and interviews in 2013!

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Leave It On The Floor is a musical set in the Los Angeles ball scene it tells the story of Brad, a kid who is looking for his place in the world. After being thrown out of the house when his mom finds out he is gay, he wonders the streets presumably for a few days trying to figure out what he is going to do any if he really is a loser his mom says he is. While contemplating his life in a convenience store a guy catches his eye and while flirting they mutually pick pocket each other.  Brad follows his temptress   down in to a club that turns out to be a drag queen ball competition.

There he learns the name of his temptress is name is Carter, he is fascinating by this world around him and drawn ever more to Carter as he watches him compete in the competition. Brad also meets another queen named Princess Eminence, who explains the scene and the way the houses who compete for titles against one another work. He offers to bring Brad in to the Eminence house which is kinda the house of misfits. His intentions are perhaps less then honorable now and then but he turns out to be a good friend and serves as much of the films comic relief.
The movie has it’s ups and downs, you see Brad struggle for acceptance in the house as well as some painful relationship mistakes between he and Carter. Even among the more established queens you see there is still a lot of self doubt and old wounds that they desperately try to hide behind the makeup.  Eventfully Brad is pushed to the brink of suicide by his own self loathing when he is the cause of an accident that kills one of his friends as well as having another run in with his mom. He is talked down from a ledge (literally) by Carter and from there with Carter’s forgiveness and support he finds his place among the queens. Overall the story is not bad if a bit over done it is made much better by the fact that is a musical and a comedy it is obviously not a high budget film and the end feels rushed. But overall I think it is worth giving it a chance if nothing out you will laugh and probably dance a bit! I would say it is best watched with good friends and good drinks.

Written By Grace Ibrahim

Chances are you haven’t heard of the band Beatnik Termites. I hadn’t either till a few weeks ago , but the Termites have been around 20 years garnering praise from fellow musicians and fans world wide alike. The Beatnik Termites started in 1987 with three college friends in Ohio, Pat Termite–Lead vocals and guitar, Reggie Silvestri-Drums, and Brian McCafferty-Vocals and bass. They were inspired by classic punk sounds, Doo-Wop, Surfer, and blends like barbershop and girl groups.

To me they sound very much like the Ramone’s meets cool 50’s music, in a kind of Doo-Wop punk, so it was love at first listen. They have twenty-six releases to date and though their line up has changed a few times (Currently consisting of Pat Termite and Ricky McArthur) their signature sound has stayed intact. They played with such bands as Green Day on the ground breaking “Dookie” tour which brought Pop-Punk to the world stage. However their first full tour was with Marky Ramone’s band The Intruders. Marky was so impressed that he asked Pat to co-author a song on Marky Ramone’s “The Answer To Your Problems” album, and Kurt Cobain listed Beatnik Termites as one of his favorite bands (this can be seen in the Cobain diaries that was released in the early 2000’s)

Their latest release ”Girl Crazy!” came out in 2003 and with 26 releases under their belt they have been ruling the underground punk scene for 20 years. I am hoping that I can drag these Beatnik Termites into the light of day and help them on the journey to their dream of having a Weird Al parody a song of theirs!

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Do you love beautiful men? Do you love beautiful women that are really men? Do you love breathtaking music and symphonic rock? If you answered yes to any of these questions do I have the music genre for you! Welcome to the magical world if Visual Kei or VK as it is referred to by fans.

VK seeks to blend a breathtaking and unique visuals with equally breathtaking and unique sounds. They do this remarkably well some of the most talented and beautiful musicians I have ever seen are part of the VK scene.

Visual Kei started in Japan about fifteen years ago from Japaneses rock bands like X-Japan and Buck-Tick. Over time more theatrics were added as well as makeup and dresses morphing VK into what it is today. So to introduce you to the scene cause I am rabid about getting converts to VK like a cult leader with cool-aide! So with out further adieu here are four bands you should check out.

Versailles Philharmonic Quintet

Stylized as Versailles after the french palace of the sun king Louise the XIV their costumes are fantastically well done. Every album they release has a story, and there fans are refereed to as descendants of the rose. Versailles is comprised of Kamijo on Vocals, Hizaki on Guitar, Teru on Guitar, Masashi on Bass and Yuki on Drums. Versailles latest album Rose was released at the beginning of July. This video Aristocratic Symphony I feel will give you a great taste of their music I hope you enjoy!

Matenrou Opera

Matenrou Opera which translates to Skyscraper Opera, formed in late 2006 and became active in 2007. I saw them live at AnimeUSA and they were amazing! Their show was high energy and they are so talented! I hope to see them again. They are on the Sherrow Artists society record label that is run by Kamijo of Versailles. They just went Major last year so they are still relatively unknown this is kinda nice as you can still meet them and take pictures etc. after shows. Matenrou Opera is Sono on Vocals, Ayame on Keyboards. Anzi on Guitar, Yo on Bass and Yu on Drums. This song Helios is a great intro to them I fully expect you to fall in love.

A(ACE)

A – Anonymous Confederate Ensemble stylized as A(ACE) Became active in 2008. Their characters are pirates! And there latest album Tales For the Abyss came out June 30th. A(ACE) is still a relatively new band so there is not much information to be found on them yet. They are currently conducting a European tour. The band members are Nimo on Vocals, Mucho Gracious on Guitar and Rookie Fiddler on Violin. This song Black Butterfly less pirate than they are now but no videos from there new album have been released yet.

Royz

Royz debuted in September 2008 and is currently touring Japan, not much is known of them in the west yet but there sound is good and I expect them to go far. Their line up is Subaru on Vocals, Kuina on Guitar, Kazuki on Guitar, Koudai on Bass and Tomoya on Drums, This song is called Ever.

Written by Grace Ibrahim

In honor of fourth of July I thought I would write about two things Americans love, scandals and presidents. So in true American fashion here is a list of presidents who have had affairs and there dirty details!

William Henry Harrison, President March 4-April 4 1841 William H. Harrison had an affair with one of his slaves named Dilsia and had six children by her. However when he was nominated for president he gave four of the children away to his brother who in turn sold them to a farmer in Georgia. His reason was a simple if dastardly one. “ he didn’t want any bastard slave children around” As horrible as this is the fates were watching over the children, and as poetic justice would have it his great-grandson was the famous black civil rights activist Walter Francis White who was president of the NAACP from 1931-1955

Abraham Lincoln President 1861-1865 Abraham Lincoln one of the best loved presidents may have had affairs with two men. The first was Joshua Fry Speed who Lincoln met as a young lawyer they became very close friends sharing a room and a bed for four years. This is not really solid evidence since it was not unusual for bachelor men to live that way in the 19th century as it saved money, and space. The other man David Dickerson was Lincolns body guard and companion between 1862-1863. It is said that they shared a bed every time Lincolns wife was away. The only other evidence is a poem that Lincoln wrote it was published in the book Life of Lincoln it goes…

“ For Reuben and Charles have married two girls,
But Billy has married a boy.
The girls he had tried on every side,
But none he could get to agree;
All was in vain, he went home again,
And since that he’s married to Natty”

James Garfield president March 4 1881 – Sept.19 1881 James Garfield had an affair in 1862 in New York city with Mrs. Calhoun. Not much is known about his affair with Mrs. Calhoun except that she was the wife of a department store owner. When his wife discovered the affair he sent word to Mrs. Calhoun asking that all his love letters to be returned to him. She did return the letters which he had immediately destroyed, though he does make reference to them in is journal as far as we know the affair ended when the letters were returned

Grover Cleveland President 1885-1889, 1893-1897 Grover Cleveland was known to have numerous affairs however the most famous was his affair with a widow named Maria Halpin. He met her in Buffalo, New York where he was a prominent lawyer at the time, he met Maria at the church they both attended. Their affair began in 1873 and in September of 1874 Maria Halpin gave birth to a son by Cleveland whom she named Oscar Folsom Cleveland clearly naming Grover as the father. Cleveland however had no desire to marry Maria and after his political career began to take off he saw her as a liability. After growing tired of providing for her and the baby he had Maria forcibly committed claiming she was an unfit mother and alcoholic he had his son Oscar sent to an orphanage. When the story came out during his second campaign many of the members of the opposition took up the chant “ Ma, ma wheres my pa?, Gone to the Whitehouse ha ha ha.”

Warren Harding: president1921-1923 Warren Harding is remembered as one of the most inept presidents and it is believed his wife poisoned him while he was in office. The official reports state he died of heart attack after suffering from food poisoning. Carrie Philips was Warrens first affair. After she threatened to come forward and ruin his political career she received 50,000 dollars and was relocated to Japan with her family. She also received monthly payments for her continued silence, not a bad deal as far as I am concerned! He continued to write Carrie Philips his letters finally coming to light in 1968 here is an excerpt “I love you more than all the world. Possession wholly imploring. Mid passion I am oftimes whirled, oftimes admire-adoring. Oh God! If fate would only give Us privilege to love and live!” Nan Britton was Harding second affair also lasting years. Nan eventually had a daughter by Harding whom she named Elizabeth Ann.

Franklin D. Roosevelt president 1933-1945 FDR had a 30 year affair with his wife’s secretary Lucy Page Mercer, he wrote letters to Lucy that Elinor eventually found. With evidence in hand Elinor asked FDR for a divorce. Not wanting a scandal to mar his time in the whitehouse FDR promised to break all ties with Lucy however he did not do so continuing to meet with her every time he traveled in the Washington,DC area, Lucy was with him at death bed till the moment Elinor arrived. FDR also has to more shorter affairs one with Princess Martha of Norway while she was visiting during World war II the other with Missy LeHand not much is known about either of these affairs.

Dwight D. Eisenhower President1953-1961 Eisenhower had an affair during WWII with his chauffeur/secretary Kay Summersby their affair took place overseas. Eisenhower asked General George Marshal for permission to divorce Mrs. Eisenhower so he could marry Kay the General denied his request. Though the affair ended once back on American soil he never forgot Kay.

John F. Kennedy President 1961-1963 Perhaps the best well known philandering president is JFK, more impressive that who he was with is how many he was with. There are five well known women that he had affairs with had Blaze Starr, Judith Exner, Marilyn Monroe, and Kim Novak. He was also known participated in threesomes, and other sexual deviations quite scandalous for his time. JFK kept had an 8th floor suit at mayflower hotel always on reserve for rendezvous with mistresses and hookers alike. One of the best well known incidents with JFK was during his Presidential race against Nixon. JFK inquired if there were any girls waiting for him before one of their debates, and an hour and a half before they were supposed to go on the air, Kennedy was in a hotel room with a hooker. However his most well known affair was with Marilyn Monroe which was laid bare before the country in her unforgettable performance of Happy Birthday Mr. President which she sang in front of his whole family!There was one more well known affair that he had it was with a woman who was suspected of being a German spy at the time, named Inga Arvad.

Lyndon B. Johnson president 1963 -1969 LBJ had two affairs the first was with a Alice Glass a newspaper magnate’s wife she encouraged her husband to use their paper as a platform to further Johnson’s campaign until they had a falling out over civil rights. Madeline Brown was LBJ’s second mistress she gave birth to son they named Stephen. His affair with Madeline lasted 21 years he had her set up in an apartment close by the Whitehouse so they could rendezvous at will. It is said he had many other women but none of these are documented and remain speculation.

Bill Clinton President 1993-2001 Bill Clinton is probably the first president you thought of when you saw this article, and though he is bringing up the rear of my article it not a lack of sexual prowess that lands him here! His best known exploit is of course with Monica Lewinsky who was then a 21 year old intern her blue spooge spotted dress is now legendary. His other well known exploits are with Gennifer Flowers, and Paula Jones. To me the real story here lies not in who our esteemed slick willy has been with but how many! Several state troopers from Arkansas have told stories of being assigned to help with his extra marital affairs while he was Governor his total of women is said to be above 100 and so for me he gets this fourth of July award for doing an astounding job of filling so many with his very own brand of patriotic pride.

Written by Grace Ibrahim

If you are interested in anime and LGBT themes then these might be for you. Read on to find out what Grace has to say about LGBT themed anime.

Maria+Holic (12 episodes finished airing in 2009)

Maria+Holic is a comedy that is set in an all girls high-school. Miyamae, Kanako is allergic to men she breaks out in hives if they even get to close! So she decides to go to an all girls high-school hoping to find the woman of her dreams she is assigned to share a room with a supper hot girl named Mariya, Shidou. Shidou is not however a kind friendly beautiful girl but a sadistic boy in drag who enjoys torturing Kanako and his twin sister Shizu who coincidentally attends a all boys school in drag!

As if all this isn’t stress enough on Kanako the most popular girl in school falls for her bringing down the hate of all the other girls on her head! This anime is a fun romp through high-school and will surly make you laugh no matter how you were feeling before!

Junjou Romantica (24 episodes aired in 2008)

Junjou Romantica tells the story of three couples using three story lines. Romantica tells the story of Usami, Akihiko and Takahashi, Misaki. Usami is a famous writer who takes in his best friends younger brother Misaki to help him with his college entrance exams and consequently falls in love with him the more time they spend together.

The second storyline Junjou Egoist tells the story of Kusama, Nowaki, (which means Typhoon) and Kamijou, Hiroki. Hiroki is a graduate student who has recently had his heart broken when he realizes the man he loves will never return his feelings. While he is sitting in a park crying a bottle rocket hits him in the head and out of the bushes comes Nowaki to collect the rocket and apologize. Thus Hiroki’s life is changed forever when just like the typhoon he is named for Nowaki blows into his life and shakes his world upside down.

The last story line is Junjou Terrorist and it tells the story of Miyagi, You and Takatsuki, Shinobu. Shinobu fell in love years ago with a man who saved him from some robbers only to be devastated and when he arrives at his sisters marriage meeting and finds out the man he loves (Miyagi, You) is his sisters fiance. Flash forward five years and You is now divorced from Shinobu’s sister and Shinobu decides it is time to make his move. So he comes back from studying abroad declares his love and moves in with You. Thus begins their adventures of misunderstandings falling in love and the problems created by family.

The stories told in Junjou Romantica will make you laugh and cry and cheer them all on it is a great story of true love no matter the gender or pressures of family and society.

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi (24 episodes aired in 2011)

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi is set in the same world as Junjou Romantica and the stories intersect here and there. Sekai also tells the story of three couples. First it tells the story of Takano, Masamune and Onedera, Ritsu. They dated in high school and both were in love with but as awkward high school romances go they break up due to a misunderstanding. So with out a word Ritsu leaves for Australia to study abroad ten years later after college he enters the work force only to find his new boss is Takano! Trouble ensues as Takano declares his love for Ritsu and thus our adventure starts.

The second couple is Mutou,Yukina, and Kisa, Shouta, Kisa looks really young but is in truth 30 he has never really had a serious relationship choosing to stick to one night stands rather than risk getting his heart broken. Kisa see’s Yukina working in a bookstore and falls in love with his good looks so he continually comes up with reasons to loiter in the bookstore eventually they start dating and through trial and tribulation Yukina teaches Kisa to love.

The third story is a love triangle between Hatori, Yoshiyuki and Yanase,Yuu who both are in love with Yoshino, Chiaki. Chiaki is a great manga artist but he is clueless at best when it comes to the feelings of real people. He has no idea of the love both Hatori and Yanase hold for him and the tension between them finally Hatori confesses and to his surprise Chiaki says yes though he hadn’t really thought it through and their road to happiness is fraught with misunderstanding and lack of communication.

This is a love conquers all sort of anime but it take a very realistic tone with it’s constant hard work that all parties must put in and the in securities we all deal with.

Antique Bakery (12 episodes aired in 2008)

Antique Baker is about a bakery and the men who work there. The owner Keiichiro, Tachibana who is the grandson of a financial tycoon and an elite business man. So every one is quite shocked when he suddenly leaves his job and decides to open a bakery especially since he hates all pastries and never eats them. The strangeness of it all only begins there! Working in is bakery is his body guard and former middle weight champion Kobayakawa, Chikage. Further more the world class pastier chef Keiichiro hires is known as the God of Gay! He has been fired or driven out of every previous job he has had because of the problem he creates as every guy around him seems to fall for him! All this wrapped on in a sweet pastry flavored with colorful characters and a dash of mystery this anime is a must see!

Fuyu No Semi (Winter Cicada ) (3 episodes aired in 2007)

Fuyu No Semi is set in the Edo period of Japan (1868-1912) is the story of two men who becomes friends as teacher and student and as there friendship grows so does their love for one another however they are torn apart by rebellion and duty as each must follow the path before him. Don’t look for a happy ending in this one, it is a story of love and survival in a desperate time. It is the kind of story that stays with you always.

Loveless (12 episodes aired in 2005)

Loveless tells the story of twelve year old Aoyagi, Ritsuka who is left with his mother who has lost her mind as his only family when his brother Seimei is suddenly killed. After transferring schools he meets Agatsuma, Soubi, while looking for clues to his brothers death. Soubi reveals that not only did he know Ritsuka’s brother Seimei they were partners in an on going battle where Soubi was the fighter and Seimei was the sacrifice. Since Seimei has died Ritsuka inherits Soubi as his fighter, himself (Ritsuka) becoming the new sacrifice. After Ritsuka learns his brother was murdered by a secret organization he decides to investigate this organization with Soubi help, and love as well as self discovery ensues along the way.

Simoun (26 episodes aired 2006)

One of the best anime of 2006 Simoun is a must see! It tell the story of the country of Simulicranm, a place where everyone is born female and when they turn 19 are given the opportunity to choose their gender. However only pairs of female priestesses can pilot the ancient flying machines known as Simoun. Shortly after a sudden attack on the country of Simulicram Areru is chosen to become a priestess and pilot she is paired with Neviril. Neviril is not interested in her new partner as her thoughts and heart still belong to her previous partner who was killed in combat when they tried to use a forbidden art. This is a really fun story of Love friendship and forgiveness.

Mnemosyne no Musume-tachi (6 episodes aired 2008)

Mnemosyne is a strange story of immortal women replete with bondage and torture I warn that it is not for the feint of heart. I also will say from my own experience that I wouldn’t watch it while sitting in an airport terminal it makes for an awkward situation! Asogi, Rin and Mimi have been alive for centuries and in 2011 they run a detective agency. The story covers 65 years of their adventures in various positions, though their true mission is to protect themselves and the the other immortal women as they try to solve the mystery of the tree of Yggdrasil. However along the way a man named Apos who is obsessed with Rin constantly interrupts their work kidnapping, killing or torturing Rin as he see’s fit!

Naked Youth (1 episode aired 2006)

Naked Youth is a short film running only ten minutes the art is amazing and what seems to be real backgrounds is actually carefully crafted CG animation. Let Naked Youth take you back to the spring to a time of exploration and wonder to a time of Magic and your first love.

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Flash Pulp is a podcast the broadcasts every Monday Wednesday and Friday and is done in the style of  1930’s and  40’s radio programs. Their tag-line is “A fiction podcast with a modern pulp twist,” and that really does cover it. They tell stories in three to ten minute segments in the style of old radio sci-fi and stories of the supernatural . I strongly suggest you check out Jabber part 1 and 2 a story of the supernatural! The music they use at the beginning and end of each segment really takes you back to the days of pill box hats, stockings and flapper dresses. They also have cool segments of geek news and horrible histories which is done by my good friend Gibraltar and is really very fun! So if you have some time at work or you are hanging out playing your favorite table top game with some pizza and root beer you should tune in to Flash Pulp. Make your geek night complete!

Flash Pulp Podcast

Written by Grace Ibrahim

I Am Ocilla written by Diane M. Graham can easily be read in a day at 242 pages. It is the sort of book that when you pick it up you can’t put it down and it melts in your mind like brain candy. The story is good, the characters are loveable, the book is well paced and does not drag on unnecessarily at any point. I am Ocilla tells the story of ten companions who set out at various points in the story to undue a curse that has been the torment of the world for five hundred years.

At the start of the book we meet Tiana, Rowan, and Ash who are on their way to rescue a girl locked in a prison. The girl who is battered, broken, and very near deaths door only knows one thing that she is Ocilla. Once rescued Ocilla and the others set out on a journey that is thick with magic and adventure, it is a journey of self discovery, and perhaps most of all it is a journey of forgiveness and understanding.

Ocilla and her companions travel through each realm starting with the fairy realm then subsequently on to the realms of the Giants, Elves, Gnomes, and Dragons. As they pass through each realm a prophecy must be fulfilled in order to journey on to the next region. At every point there is something that needs healed, some grievance that needs forgiveness, and always a little more of Ocilla’s convoluted past is reveled.

I am Ocilla is laced with Christ allegory’s like many good fantasy books I mention this because it is something I personally like to know going in. However it does not come across as preachy at any point, on the contrary it is gentle and well done. I would encourage you to read the book even if this genre does not generally appeal to you. I am Ocilla is truly a breath of fresh air, is very well written and the story caries you beautifully through this journey of love forgiveness and strength with Ocilla and her companions.

Buy I Am Ocilla

Written by Grace Ibrahim

Caravan of Thieves is a four piece steam-punk ensemble. Their sound is something akin to Abney Park meets the Beatles which doesn’t come out quite the way you would imagine. Fuzz and Carrie Sangiovanni started Caravan of Thieves as a husband and wife duo. In 2008 they added violinist Ben Dean and shortly after were joined by double bass player Brian Anderson. Their third release, The Funhouse, came out earlier this year. They wrote it amidst touring in the spring of 2011. The Funhouse has fifteen tracks, the two I liked best were number seven “Candy” and number nine “haunt me” which made me want to run through a park with a ray gun shooting butterflies. The Idea behind Caravan of Thieves was their desire to make music in a free form bohemian style. Music that could be presented anywhere allowing them to shirk off the fetters of “traditional” life such as unnecessary responsibility and structure. I think their music presents that very well. Most of the album meanders with out much of a feeling of purpose behind it, telling stories and prose as it goes along to a destination only the band has in mind. I recommend you listen to it and see where it takes you.

Check out their official site

Buy MP3s of The Funhouse

Written by Grace Ibrahim

“Hysteria” A British Romantic Comedy came out in 2011 was written by Stephen Dyer, Jonah Lisa Dyer, and Howard Gensler, Directed by Tanya Wexler. Starring Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhall, Jonathan Price, Felicity Jones, and Rupert Everett.

“Hysteria” tells the story of the invention of the vibrator. Doctor Mortimer Granville played by Hugh Dancy is a bright young doctor who shows much promise. The problem of course is that forward thinking people of science found it very hard to keep employed in the Victorian medical society, where blood letting was still the normal practice and how much blood you had on your apron and tools was a sign of how great a surgeon you were. Dr. Granville finds himself out of a job at every hospital in London and decided to try to take up an assistant position at a private practice. However with his reputation proceeding him and his long list of failed hospital tenure’s behind him he is hard put to find anyone to take him on. Finally he finds a position with Dr. Robert Dairymple an expert on female hysteria. Taking Doctor Grainville under his wing he teaches him the only known “treatment” for female hysteria vaginal stimulation which was supposed to help put the uterus in proper order. Thus treating the cause of female hysteria.

Dr. Dairymple has two daughters Emily and Charlotte, Emily played by Felicity Jones is the quintessential Victorian lady. Quite, proper, good at running the household, accomplished at piano, and completely unassuming. Conversely Charlotte played by Maggie Gyllenhall is outspoken, political, gregarious and well read in science and medical breakthroughs. She spends all her time at a house for the poor feeding people, treating them, teaching children who wouldn’t other wise get an education, and helping women get out of prostitution. Her father who strongly discourages her outrageous and “immoral” behavior and decides to shut down the poor house she runs.

At first Dr. Granville prefers the thoroughly properly English Emily to her “hysterical “sister Charlotte. However as time progresses our young Dr. Granville develops a problem in his had due to his demanding job of vaginal stimulation. After a customer complains and he looses his job he is desperate to find a way to be able to get back in Dr. Dairymple’s good graces. While playing around with an automatic feather duster invented by his friend Lord Edmund St. John-Smythe played by Rupert Everett. Dr. Granville finds the vibration that it creates soothes his cramped hand muscles considerably. From this comes the idea that they could build a small electric machine for vaginal stimulation thus providing a faster “treatment” for the women and avoiding hand cramps in the Doctors! Thus the birth of the vibrator!

The story continues with the arrest of Charlotte for trying to protect one of the women who help at the poor house from debt collectors sent by her father. Dr. Granville is asked to take the stand as an expert on hysteria and suggest she be sent to a state hospital for the criminally insane and where she will be sterilized. After much reflection Dr. Granville instead decides to defend her. Still found guilty she is sentenced to a month in prison and obviously Dr. Granville looses his position with Dr. Dairymple.

I will not ruin the ending for you however I will tell you that it really is a great ending! This is a great movie, I suggest watching it with friends so you have other people to laugh with. It the kind of movie you want to talk about your favorite parts and show to other friends. It has easily sailed on to my favorite movies list! I hope that all of you will enjoy it as much as my friend and I did!

Hysteria on IMDB

Written by Grace Ibrahim

The Tale of Genji is widely regarded as the fist novel ever written. It is well over thousand pages and has fifty four chapters. However I am only covering the abridged version in this review, which I suggest you read before deciding whether or not you want to take on this work in is entirety. This version was translated and edited by Royall Tyler who recently retired from teaching Japanese and Japanese Literature at the Australian National University.

The Tale of Genji however was written in Japan by Murasaki Shikibu, a lady of the Heian court. She was born around 973 AD and died probably in 1014. Murasaki was already known for her talent in poetry writing when she was called to serve the empress in 1006. The Tale of Genji was completed sometime between 1007-1008 while she was still serving at court.

The Tale of Genji tells the story of a prince born to an Intimate of the emperor. The hierarchy works like so, the emperor and his empress, after the empress was the Mistress of staff in theory she was a court official but she was really more like a junior wife. Then following those two are the consorts who are of noble birth, then after them came the intimates who are of low ranking noble birth or of common birth. The emperor did not have all these women due to enormous sexual appetite but more so because he was expected to make himself available to members of the upper aristocracy.

Genji our hero was born to an intimate who is an orphan an so has no family backing or political support. The emperor however is deeply devoted to her and longs to make Genji his heir apparent. However since he knows this is not possible he instead decides to remove Genji completely from the imperial family by giving him a surname (the imperial family has none) and appointing him as a senior government official.

Genji’s life is full of ups and downs and he eventually becomes the most powerful man in the kingdom however the story is less about this and more about the women he is involved with, who help shape him. From his mother in early childhood to the love of his life whom he raises as a daughter than later marries. Genji’s life though privileged is not without trial and error as a youth he makes many mistakes in love some of which are quite hilarious! He is described as “devastatingly handsome, charming and eloquent”. He also seems to posses unlimited material means eventually even that cannot protect him from the Kokiden consort she is the mother of the heir apparent and is Genji’s political enemy. She succeeds in forcing him in to self-exile when he is caught in bed with her little sister Oborozukiyo by her father! Genji then travels from Kyoto to Suma and since he is in disgrace he must leave his wife Murasaki whom he loves most in the world behind. After he is in the wilds languishing in misery over being separated from Murasaki he is almost killed in a great storm and starts to have strange dreams of supernatural beings and of his late father. However soon after the storms subside a eccentric and very wealthy man called the Akashi Novice arrives by boat to ask Genji to accompany him further up the shore to a his home. Genji goes with him and here we meet the Akashi Lady who is the daughter of the Akashi novice. When Genji is finally called back to the capitol from exile she is pregnant with his child. This child a girl will eventually become empress after the reign of Genji’s secret first born Reizei.

By the end of the book Genji has three children all by different mothers and all of whom go on to greatness. His first son whom he has with his stepmother empress Fujitsubo goes on to become emperor and his second son by his first wife Aoi goes on to be a court official. His daughter by the Akashi Lady goes on to become empress. During his daughter’s reign he receives the title of Grandfather of the emperor the highest title given to a commoner.

After Genji’s triumphant return from exile he is mainly concerned with power and beauty and though still tempted by several women he does not actually start any new relationships. His power and wealth grow to new heights but he is most concerned over Murasaki who is taken very ill and eventually dies leaving Genji now in his 50’s a shell of his former self. After Murasaki’s passing Genji retires to a temple and then dies roughly a year or two later. The last thirteen chapters pick up after a gap of about eight years after Genji’s passing and concern Genji’s grandson Prince Niou and his best friend and rival in love Kaoru these chapters cover there struggle to win the sister’s Oigimi and Naka no Kimi but this like much of the rest of the book also ends in tragedy.

Overall The tale of Genji is a great read and ranks in Japanese Literature on the level of Shakespeare, Homeric epics, Chaucer, and Proust’s Remembrance of things past, in the west.

Another version of the cover illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano.

Buy The Tale of Genji