Posts Tagged ‘American Gods’

Uzume and Ms. Cosmetic – An American Gods Story

April 24, 2020

The strip club was fairly sparsely populated but it was that definitely the usual for a Thursday afternoon. Cigarette smoke hung in the air even though it had been banned from bars and restaurants years ago. There was also the smell of a little bit of cannabis in the air which was definitely not legal in Virginia. The owner did not really care about it. The place was out of the way enough that he got away with it. There was also the smell of stale beer. This was all mixed with the desperate and futile use of air freshener spray. There was the usual constant pulsing of music and the flashing of lights. Despite this, there was not much energy in the place either from the performers or their audience.

As the clock ticked over to one in the afternoon, the DJ roused himself and looked at his list. His face brightened as he saw the stripper scheduled for the next set. He flipped a switch and turned his microphone on.

“Gentlemen, please welcome to the stage the fabulous shining star of the Sunset Lounge,” the DJ said. “You know her, you love her, put your hands together for Suzie!”

He started to pump the music again, a sort of JPop and Trap blend that was high energy and very happy. A young Japanese woman took the stage like light and lightning personified. She moved fast and with a joy that shone like the sun. Unlike the other girls, she seemed to really like what she was doing. She brought the energy to the room and soon the small crowd was clapping, banging on tables, cheering her on, and, most importantly, showering the stage with money. Suzie took off her clothes without a shred of reluctance or embarrassment. She was a complete professional.

As her set was ending, Suzie noticed that a strange woman had sat down at one of the tables. The woman was staring intently less like she was watching a stripper and more like she was studying a painting or taking inventory in a shop. It only threw off Suzie for a moment but it unnerved her. She ended her set and went to the back. She threw on a robe and headed into the hallway to go get some tea. However, the strange woman was in the hallway. She was very angular and overly perfect and completely unreal. Suzie led the woman through the back door and out behind the dumpster.

“What do you want?” Suzie asked. “You’re one of those new gods, aren’t you?”

“I am,” the woman said. “You’re Uzume, no?”

Suzie shrugged but nodded. “Yes but I don’t trust you,” Suzie said. “I don’t want you here.”

“That was all Loki and Odin,” the woman said. “There is no real conflict between the old gods and the new gods.”

“Still, you creep me out,” Suzie said. “What’s your name?”

“We don’t really do names like you old gods,” the woman said. “You can call me Ms. Cosmetic.”

“I can guess what your goddess of,” Suzie said with a smirk. “What do you want from me?”

“I’m here in the spirit of new cooperation,” Ms. Cosmetic said. “If you are not returning across the sea with other old gods, I have a proposal for you.”

Suzie sighed and shrugged. “I don’t think I’ll like it,” she said. “but go on.”

“I could make you beautiful,” Ms. Cosmetic said. “I can make you glorious. I have connections with Media, we could make you a new global face. More than a supermodel. You would be a deity model.”

Suzie laughed and shook her head. “I’m not the goddess of beauty, I’m the goddess of laughter, happiness, and revelry,” she said. “This is all-natural and it’s going to stay that way.”

“Suit yourself,” Ms. Cosmetic said, clearly disappointed.

“No offense,” Suzie said. “but you’d be better suited going after car crash victims, burn victims, cancer survivors, and so many more people who really need you.”

“It’s a thought,” Ms. Cosmetic said. “Not much glory in all of that.”

“Suit yourself,” Suzie said with a laugh and a toss of her hair. She headed back inside to get ready for her next set.

Media Update 7/13/17

July 13, 2017


American Gods

I read the original novel American Gods a couple of years ago. Written by Neil Gaiman, it was a page turner that I found hard to put down each day. It is a fantastic tale of gods and monsters but a lot of it is hidden just below the surface. These are copies of the old gods who migrated to the Americas with immigrants (and slaves). No culture is off limits which is fascinating to me because from my first exposure, I was a super fan of mythology. The various pantheons, demigods, heroes, and creatures are the stories folks told each other to explain how the world works or to impart morals. That is not lost here as we meet these mysterious beings of power. In addition to all of that, it is the story of Americana and traveling through our country and seeing both the good and the bad. Seeing how people who used to rely on the old gods are dealing with their life. It is also about grief and finding your place in the world. At the same time, it is also about the new world clashing with old tradition. There is a lot going on but each episode is pretty simple, only letting slip a few clues as to what is actually happening so you can digest them and wait eagerly for more. Everything about the show is fantastic but the acting and the artistic direction stand out ahead of everything. I definitely recommend it.


Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I was nine years old when Beauty and the Beast came out and I imagine I saw it pretty close to that date. Disney’s version fo the story has been burned into my mind by now. Of course, like most people, my favorite part was Jerry Orbach’s charming performance as Lumiere. As I grew up, I realized what a special character Belle was. She was a strong, confident, and smart female lead at a time when kids really needed to see that. Sure there were others but she stands out among the original line of Disney Princesses. This version was every bit as fun as the original and then some. We mostly got the original movie but they added bits here and bits there that added more depth to the characters. Overall, they added about forty extra minutes which is a lot but it did not feel like too much. It made me feel like I knew the characters more than the original animated version. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens were stronger leads than the original not only thanks to good acting but more to work with. Supporting actors like Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Ian McKellen. Emma Thompson and Audra McDonald really helped as well. I definitely recommend this new version even if you missed the fully animated version.


Power Rangers (2017)

I was a big fan of the first few seasons of Power Rangers. I was an older kid but at that point, I was already a fan of Sailor Moon and Ronin Warriors so another show about young transforming fighters was welcome. The first seasons were goofy affairs with the rare dramatic moment outside of life or death battles. It was a great show to watch bad dubbing over a Japanese actress, costumed martial arts, and cool robot versus kaiju battles. My mom had to go on a waitlist to get us Power Ranger action figures for Christmas but I treasured them. This movie borrows cues from the original seasons but it also delves more into character like later seasons of Power Rangers (I’m thinking RPM). This movie is basically the Breakfast Club meets a superhero origin movie. We actually get a good long bit of the movie before the supernatural stuff starts happening. It was actually kind of refreshing to get a good hard look at our heroes before they become heroes. Instead of the original origin, we get to see the Rangers train up and bond as a team instead of all of them instantly being friends. It made the inevitable victory through teamwork all the sweeter. Throw in some fun supporting roles by Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader and Bryan Cranston and some shout outs to the original three seasons. By the way, Bryan Cranston did voiceover work for the original season of Power Rangers. I recommend it but it might not be up everybody’s alley.

Music of the Week:
From First To Last – Ride The Wings Of Pestilence

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Red Right Hand

Kimberly Korn – Bad Girl Good Boy

The Weeknd – I Feel It Coming ft. Daft Punk

Black Flag – Nervous Breakdown

Weekly Update:
– This week’s theme is “Transformation”
– I started watching iZombie Season 3
– I watched more Arrow Season 5
– I finished Flash Season 3
– I watched more Supergirl Season 2
– I finished Blue Bloods Season 8
– I watched more House of Cards Season 1


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