September 6, 2013 |
Those thoroughly satiated with beach days and summer blonds can seek refuge of a darker sort in two new novels for young adults in which classic 19th century Gothic novels get a postmodern, post-punk makeover influenced by the aesthetic of their 20th century pop culture counterpart, Gothic rock. Australian poet and fantasy novelist Alison Croggon starts her novel "Black Spring" with the plot skeleton of Emily Brontë's "Wuthering Heights," then grafts on witches, wizards and a little contemporary feminist theory.
April 17, 2013 |
- The fireflies in this coastal Ontario town had begun to materialize over the estate's sprawling lawn. Inside a macabre-looking residence, the actors Famke Janssen and Bill Skarsgard slipped through elegant rooms and chilly corridors, a bone-creepy tableau that might be described as "The Addams Family" meets Guillermo del Toro. Her voice musical but no-nonsense, Janssen issued an order to Skarsgard; he responded by trying very hard to look aloof. The location for the production of "Hemlock Grove" - a piece of small-town American Gothic about a murder, a shady company and rampaging werewolves - was quaint, even archaic.
March 29, 2013 |
"The Accursed," an astonishing fever dream of a novel, sets loose specters from the beyond to prey on innocent and guilty alike. But are there any real innocents in the diseased society Oates so scathingly depicts? Making skillful use of gothic fiction's time-honored conventions - demon lovers, haunted houses, guilty secrets, murderous transformations, supernatural visitations - the author repeatedly connects these unearthly manifestations to moral rot in the real world, in this case the "claustrophobic little world of privilege and anxiety" that is Princeton, N.J., in 1905 and '06. The president of Princeton University is Woodrow Wilson, embroiled in a power struggle with a popular dean over his desire to curb the eating clubs that dominate the school's social life.
October 26, 2012 |
Twelve years after his death on tax day 2000, Edward Gorey - writer, illustrator, Victorian aesthete born half a century too late - has earned an adjective all his own: "Goreyesque. " The word is used, increasingly, to refer to anything that manages to be amusingly lugubrious, in an arch sort of way. In recent years, Gorey's eccentric shadow has only lengthened across pop culture, his influence apparent in Tim Burton's gothic whimsies; the Lemony Snicket books by Daniel Handler; the emergence of the Gorey tattoo as a hipster fad; crowds thronging to the traveling exhibition of his work, "Elegant Enigmas"; and the resurrection of out-of-print Gorey tales Three Gorey titles have just landed on bookstore shelves.
July 22, 2012 |
Christopher Houlihan's quixotic six-city, six-Louis-Vierne-organ-symphony tour reached the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Thursday and Friday nights. It commemorates the 75th anniversary of the day - June 2, 1937 - that the blind French composer dropped dead at the Notre-Dame de Paris organ, just as he was finishing his 1,750th recital. No one, other than the occasional organ freak, pays much attention anymore to these gloomily gothic "symphonies" for solo organ, written between 1895 and 1930.
April 30, 2012 |
ELDON, Iowa - Beth Howard sits at her kitchen table on a Sunday morning and pulls back the curtain to peer at a group of rosy-cheeked youths taking pictures on her front lawn. They pair off to stand side by side in the pose familiar to millions - the dour farmer with a pitchfork, the unsmiling woman beside him in front of the white house. No one notices the woman in flannel pajamas sitting inside. "People seldom know that people live here, much less that there's someone watching them from the other side of the curtain," says Howard, who rents the house made famous in Grant Wood's painting "American Gothic.