Curiosities // When the Sara is Away, the Brittany Will Play
October 25, 2023
Have you ever heard that old idiom, “while the Sara is away, the Brittany will play?” No? Oh, it’s very famous, I assure you! 😋
No no, I’m not ONLY playing while Sara is on her awesome vacation in Japan, but we did work REALLY hard to get as much of the Carterhaugh October stuff done before she left as we could, so I am trying to embrace the notion that I can play a little bit more too. I admit though, I’ve been feeling a little like… shouldn’t I be doing more?? (The answer, clearly, is NO CALM DOWN and NO YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE CONSTANTLY BUSY, but hey, grad school + capitalism = a lot of bad habits that are really hard to break.)
So what have I been doing to just play a bit? Well!
Reading: So I’m deep into Alexis Hall’s Mortal Follies, which is our Patreon book club pick for the month of November and it’s super fun. The plot’s maybe a little drawn out, and I kinda don’t love the main character (?), but I do love the Regency-but-with-magic-as-a-semi-everyday-thing world and having Puck of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream fame as the narrator couldn’t be more amusing if it tried. I also very much like the subtle “yeah, Alexis Hall definitely really is Puck banished to the human world” insinuations throughout and, given how illusive Hall is, I honestly wouldn’t be all that surprised! How he manages to stay so private in the world of the Internet baffles and impresses me.
I also just picked up Naomi Novik’s A Deadly Education, which Sara has been BEGGING me to read forever and was supposed to be my “read your best friend’s favorite book” for the summer reading challenge… but I never got to it. Which I feel terrible about. So I am going to read it after Mortal Follies!
Lastly, I re-read one of my favorite collections of folktales, The Rainbow People by Laurence Yep. The book is Yep’s retellings of a selection of a group of stories collected from Chinese-Americans during a 1930s WPA project. It’s one of the very first folklore collections I remember reading that wasn’t the Brothers Grimm, and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. I highly recommend it if you’ve never read it! It’s aimed at kids, so it’s a very fast read, but it’s excellently done. (As a side note, did any of you read Yep’s dragon series, which begins with Dragon of the Lost Sea? Those were also wonderful. Shimmer!)
Watching: Josh and I each picked a Halloween-y movie to watch last weekend – I picked Casper, because #formative, duh, and he picked Dracula 2000, which I’d actually never seen before and found surprisingly solid?? It has such bad reviews, but I think it made some pretty fun choices! I also laughed WAY more than I expected to. It’s worth a revisit if you can look past a little overacting!
Josh and I also started watching Dreamworks/Hulu’s new cartoon Fright Krewe, and it’s SO good?! I knew pretty much nothing going in, and I was so pleasantly surprised. The premise is that “[a]n ancient prophecy and a Voodoo Queen put misfit teens in charge of saving New Orleans from the biggest demonic threat it’s faced in almost two centuries,” but it’s basically like Scooby-Doo if the monsters were actually real and the characters were more developed.
What truly impresses me about it though is how much care and consideration went into depicting the eclectic variety of folkloric creatures and beliefs associated with New Orleans. I read an interview with the creators where they talked about how important it was to them to do this in a respectful way, and that they consulted real practitioners and believers, especially for elements such as the Haitian Vodou “Loa” spirits, which include well-known folkloric entities like Papa Legba and Maman Brigitte. The show also has vampires, of course, and the loup-garou (or “rougarou” as it’s commonly called in Cajun folklore), a kind of werewolf-like creature. I’m about halfway through the 10-episode season they just released, and thus far I’m super impressed. Check it out, you can steam it on Hulu or Peacock!
Listening: Josh and I also started listening to the podcast Faerie the other day, and while we’ve only gotten through about an episode and a half so far, it’s fun. I do have to turn off my folklorist brain a little bit (“ORIGINAL CINDERELLA”?! UGHHHHH *explodes*), but when I get past that it really seems like they’re setting up a fun and creepy little story. I love the interview style, and while the “Department” aspect of the whole thing feels maybe a little done, I think there’s potential. So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt and will keep listening….
Also, Barbie soundtrack. That is all.
What have you been reading/watching/listening to recently? Give me some recommendations in the comments!
P.S. Week #4 of our 5 Weeks of Halloween also dropped on Monday, and it’s a self-study version of our Haunted Art course!! It’s seriously one of my favorite courses we’ve done (and also I think the spookiest?) so click here to grab it at a great price (just scroll down to Week #4!)
P.P.S. You know how we’re giving away a DVD + Guidebook set of our Wondrium series, The Real History of Dracula, at the end of our 5 Weeks of Halloween? Well Wondrium itself is getting in on the action and currently has the series available to purchase for a HUGE discount! Only $20 to download and $25 to get the physical DVDs!? So if you can’t wait to see if you’ve won the prize, definitely consider taking them up on their offer :). This link should take you there directly, but just in case, the code is 210999 and should be good until October 30th at midnight!