This—and the fact that it’s essential for all the researching and paper writing I do—is why I love JSTOR. Because, honestly, who *doesn’t* have a celebrity crush on Jonathan Rhys Meyers? No, you do, you just need to watch Velvet Goldmine, as JSTOR commands.
Did anyone else watch NBC’s Dracula? I have a long-standing and oft-mocked celebrity crush on Jonathan Rhys Meyers* and therefore had to tune in. But man. Did they really re-imagine the OG of vampires as a sort of steampunk-downgraded-David-Bowie-as-Tesla-in-The Prestige-Emily-Thorne-Revenge-enthusiast? Because he’s Dracula. No need for schemes. Only need for blood.
Not lying - I’ll probably keep watching it because a). fun and b.) JRM but I’m in the mood for actual vampires, you know? Scary, blood thirsty, can’t-go-out-in-daylight-and-sparkle, evil vampires. To that end, I’m re-reading Stoker’s Dracula. I also started researching some of the vampire literary theory on JSTOR (just to liven it up a bit) and, lo, I was not disappointed.
The Homoerotic History of Dracula: “Stoker began writing Dracula one month after his friend, rival, and compatriot Oscar Wilde was convicted of the crime of sodomy…The two men had an intimate and varied history lasting for at least twenty years…Dracula explores Stoker’s fear and anxiety as a closeted homosexual man during Oscar Wilde’s trial.”
Stoker’s Response to the New Woman: “Accustomed to seeing themselves portrayed in literature as either angels or monsters, women may wonder why Dracula is the single male vampire in the novel while four of the five women characters are portrayed as vampires - aggressive, inhuman, wildly erotic, and motivated by an insatiable thirst for blood.”
Stay tuned this week for all things Halloween in the JSTOR archive. Tomorrow, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about The Exorcist (which I saw for the first time this weekend), and how, um. No.
*Please watch Velvet Goldmine, Bend it Like Beckham and season 1 of The Tudors and then tell me you disagree. Not before.
Longtime Detroit Metro Times writer Larry Gabriel did these oral history videos in 1989 for Detroit’s Graystone International Jazz Museum. There are 14 total. The Graystone no longer exits. According to Gabriel, of the 14 interviewees at best only 4 of them are alive — Charles Gabriel, Marcus Belgrave, Wendel Harrison and maybe Jimmy Wilkins who moved to Las Vegas years ago. For the uninitiated Ellariz Lucas was a saxophonist with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm all women big band during World War II. Thomas Beans Bowles was an A&R man for Motown. He composed Stevie Wonder’s harmonica solos on “Fingertips Part I & 2.” Lamonte Hamilton traveled in big bands during the 1940s. He played with Jay McShann. Earl Van Riper and Kenn Cox were pianists. Cox started Strata Records. Charles V. Moore was a trumpet player. Alma Smith played piano and vibes. These videos are currently sitting at Gabriel’s house, the reminders of a previous generation’s attempt at preserving Detroit music history. This is our legacy. If you feel as if Detroit music is part of your life and legacy too please consider participating in our Kickstarter and help make past preservation struggles accessible for those with ears to hear. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/detroitsound/detroit-sound-conservancy-oral-history-project
A writer or any artist can’t expect to be embraced by the people. I’ve done records where it seemed like no one listened to them. You write poetry books that maybe 50 people read. And you just keep doing your work because you have to, because it’s your calling.
But it’s beautiful to be embraced by the people.
Some people have said to me, “Well, don’t you think that kind of success spoils one as an artist? If you’re a punk rocker, you don’t want to have a hit record…”
And I say to them, “Fuck you!”
One does their work for the people. And the more people you can touch, the more wonderful it is. You don’t do your work and say, “I only want the cool people to read it.” You want everyone to be transported, or hopefully inspired by it.
When I was really young, William Burroughs told me, “Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work. And make the right choices and protect your work. And if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”
“I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.” - artist Georgia O’Keeffe
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life, and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” - aviator Amelia Earhart
“For too many centuries women have been being muses to artists. I wanted to be the muse, I wanted to be the wife of the the artist, but I was really trying to avoid the final issue — that I had to do the job myself.” - writer Anaïs Nin
As Sheryl Sandberg asks in her new book Lean In: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
For women especially, but also for all creators who are Outsiders in one way or another, that’s a powerful question.