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Tobias Slater works for White Mischief, a London-based group that now regularly curates steampunk parties and events for die-hard fans of rocket packs, wooden rayguns and compasses. “Every day I check my Facebook profile and find another two or three friend requests from neo-Victorian, brass-goggle-wearing folk, some sporting the most incredible moustaches (and that’s just the women!),” Slater wrote in an e-mail. Still, he predicts the aesthetic will remain niche. “Can steampunk cross over and become mass market like the original 1970s punk? No. Absolutely not. Whereas any suburban kid could be Johnny Rotten with a ripped T-shirt and a safety pin, the steampunk look takes a lot of time to recreate.” –“What’s with Steampunk?” Gary Moskowitz, More Intelligent Life
Midway through The Autobiography, production numbers are leavened with footage of dubious “human interest,” excerpted from the home movies Ceau?escu commissioned as “souvenirs” of his Black Sea holidays and Carpathian hunting trips. The first of these—a blast of richly saturated Kodachrome interrupting 90 minutes of black and white footage—preserves a casual volleyball game in which Ceau?escu is not only showboating but blatantly cheating. In subsequent candid moments, Nicolae and Elena are shown playing backgammon at the beach or driving through the snow, bundled up in matching, fur-trimmed white parkas. Perhaps I missed it but Ujic? provides no evidence of the scepter Ceau?escu was said to wield on state occasions. Still, the spectacle of Romania’s royal couple, costumed as though for the sleigh scene in a 1950s MGM musical, suggests in a small way the megalomania of Ceau?escu’s bulldozing central Bucharest to build a gargantuan presidential palace and parade boulevard. –“Tyrant with a Movie Camera,” J. Hoberman, The New York Review of Books
A side note about Danny Trejo: “That Guy” actor Danny Trejo shows up here, the reborn “El Scorpio” character from Predators 2, double-fisting machine guns and all. It’s no surprise to see him. Rodriguez has used him regularly, including in both Desperado and its sequel Once Upon a Time in Mexico, even despite Trejo’s character having died in the first film. It’s also no surprise to see him playing a character with no surname (Cuchillo). Since his 1995 star-making turn in Heat (in which he played a character named just “Trejo”), Trejo has had well over 100 roles, almost all as characters like Razor Charlie, Poacher, Scarface, Fred, Collins, Pierce, Vito, Jumpy, Slim, Machete, Pedro, El Jefe, Bob, Manny, El Patron, Cucuy, Raul, Papi, Harold, Rondo, Apache, Fury, Roy, Creek, Shady Chuck, Priest, Albert, Junk, El Chivo, Clint, Capone, Manolo, Perry, Barro, Captain Podrido, Mario, Esteban, Crazy Joe, Jimmy, and Tortuga. He has played a character with the one-word name “Hector” no fewer than five times. Brody’s character should have been killed early on with Trejo finishing out the film. Predator vs. Machete, a truly unique sequel. –“‘Predators’: Robert Rodriguez Gets to the Chopper,” Abe Sauer, The Awl
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Average number of sitcom laughs an American hears during a prime-time season:
Nielsen Media Research (N.Y.C.)/Jim Drake, Night Court (Tarzana, Calif.)/Harper's research
Czech and German deer still do not cross the Iron Curtain.
British economists correlated the happiness of a country’s population with its genetic resemblance to Danes.
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“I hope that after reading the following pages the leaders of the Y. M. C. A. will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.”