Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Dear Ursula (Women of the World Poetry Slam 2014)

The Little Mermaid (The Sea Witch) by Nadezhda Illarionova

In the Hans Christian Andersen tale the Sea Witch does, indeed, advise the Little Mermaid how to enchant the prince. Although the mermaid is beautiful and good hearted, she is naive in the ways of love and language. It's the Witch who tells her what to do when she cannot use her voice.

When the Little Mermaid visited the Sea Witch and was given advice, there was definitely an "ah ha!" moment for me as a girl. Although Princes culture wasn't as pervasive then as it is now, I still somehow had this idea of what an attractive fairy tale girl was like, and I knew I wasn't it. Of course, I loved Clever Kate, the princess who served her father Meat Without Salt and Tatterhood but I always felt unless I was being actively witty or daringly brave, there wasn't much going for me. The following passage opened my eyes to the fact that those weren't my only options:

“But if you take away my voice,” said the little mermaid, “what is left for me?”
“Your beautiful form, your graceful walk, and your expressive eyes; surely with these you can enchain a man’s heart. Well, have you lost your courage? Put out your little tongue that I may cut it off as my payment; then you shall have the powerful draught.”
“It shall be,” said the little mermaid.

You know what? It DOES take courage to put yourself out there this way. When you're not exactly princess-y, being confident in a culture of pretty-and-petite-rules is intimidating (seriously - I'm a size 2 to 3 and I feel like an overweight lump in LA! How ridiculous is that?). And this is one of the big things the Little Mermaid needed to learn. She had to mature and take charge of her whole self, and not rely on nature-given gifts.

When this descriptive scene from Andersen's story (see HERE to read the many details) was put on screen by Disney with a larger-than-life Ursula, shaking her, um, "head" at the naivety of the little Ariel, ("...BODY LANGUAGE! HA!") is it any wonder that Ursula resonated with so many? As I watched the movie, as a still-not-small-enough-or-pretty-enough girl, it was one of those moments that brought home to me, the fact that it wasn't ALL about beauty, perfect hair and a gorgeous (especially singing) voice. Ariel had a lot to learn, as do many pretty girls who have gotten by only on their looks (something we all have to contend with one way or another as we get older, looks or no looks).

Not only was she worldly-wise but she was confident and knew how to use her full body in all it's glory. I could easily see how such a character would illicit a cheer from full-figured girls. In Ursula's song, Poor Unfortunate Soul, she vividly demonstrates just how to use curves and wiles, while using her forceful presence to intimidate Ariel into doing exactly what she wants her to do right there and then.

When the Disney Dream Portraits series featured Queen Latifah as Ursula there was a strong rumble of approval from the internet and beyond, as the Sea Witch got even even higher notch on her sexy-icon status.

But then, a redesign:

In 2012 Ursula (Ursula!) got a princess-ish makeover and lost half her curves for the Disney Villains Designer collection doll line. (!!!)

I wasn't surprised to see outrage on the internet. I was right there with everyone. (See HERE, HERE and HERE for starters.) The redesign trend onDisney dolls and marketing images outrage, continues from character to character for various reasons (Merida, Mulan and even Snow White) but while Disney has responded (albeit, cagily) to the outrage over Merida (which, it should be noted, has people riled for similar reasons), I haven't found any response to the Ursula madness. That doesn't mean it's gone away though.

One poet, Melissa May, who always saw Ursula as somewhat of a personal hero, decided it was high time to air her outrage at the Women of the World Poetry Slam this year (2014) and it's one performance I think is worth seeing and listening to, despite a small amount a strong language. (FYI she placed 7th.)

Highlighted recently on UpWorthy, a website that is dedicated to bringing uplifting things to their readers and making the world a little bit of a better place, here's what they had to say about this:
Ursula (the sea witch from "The Little Mermaid") has always been considered a villain, but after listening to this, I'm thinking she's kiiiiiiind of a hero. To more people than you'd think. 
"Sure, Ariel had her itty-bitty seashell bikini, but Ursula "made back fat f*cking sexy." 
And we need more of that kind of bravery in pop culture, if you ask me.
(Transcript below*)
And it should be noted, Ursula herself would probably have something to say about this too, as in, speak up about things that matter to you, like this... because you can.

*In 2012, Disney released a line of villain dolls depicting Ursula, the classically full-figured Sea Witch from The Little Mermaid as a designer, couture, size zero.
From one rolling midsection and tameless will to another, my sweet Ursula — I cannot imagine the sick flip of your stomach, to see your image dissected, chins shaved waist cinched, your silhouette robbed of every ounce of delicious curve.
To find after two decades of existence that your evil was more worthy of preservation than the iconic body that held you, you — big lady, were the only Disney character who ever looked like me.

And while you may not have had the waist-line of a princess I'll be goddamned if you didn't have the swagger of a Queen.

The way you sashayed around your lair in full makeup black flamenco number cut so low in the back that your every twist and shimmy displayed the gorgeous tuck of your rolls.
You made back-fat look f*cking sexy.
You made living in this body a little less like a curse.
I wonder how they told you, did they sit you down over tea, delicately frosted cakes lining your chipped porcelain? Explain it as a marketing technique, a vehicle to make you more palatable to a culture that demands perfection?
I hope you crushed the f*cking teapot in the clench of your fist.
I hope you grew a thousand feet tall and drowned them in the whirlpool of your rage.
I wish I could have watched you suck the voices from their tiny, breakable throats.
But I know you wept, I know you licked the icing from each and every cake, I know you broke, like a slow burn.
Wasn't it enough that they made you a witch? That you were already beyond the bounds of their franchise royalty? They expected little girls to recoil from the wicked inside your laugh, when instead, they worshiped your honesty.
Ursula, I don't want you cut down into bite-sized pieces.
You weren't easy to swallow for a reason.
I want you larger than life, flaming red lips, black flamenco dress — I want the thick of your tentacles, your conjurer's hands, the jiggle of your ample bust. I want you dressed to the nines on a runway, I want every little girl to see a heroine in a size 24.
Ursula, Queen of the Ocean, you were never just a witch to me. You were perfect — every pound, every inch, every swell, perfect.
And I pity the poor, unfortunate soul who would dare paint you as anything less.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"Visualising Little Red Riding Hood" A Paper by Sarah Bonner - UPDATED LINKS (& additional excerpts)

Daughter by Kiki Smith 1999
Apparently the article that I originally posted on HERE has gone out of date where it was originally hosted but, after a reader recently asked for help, I've found it again HERE, complete with references. 

Here's my original note regarding the paper: 
This is a pretty fascinating exploration for anyone interested in fairy tales being interpreted in a visual medium. While academic in tone, it's still very readable and looks at everything from advertising and fashion to artistic renderings.

Visualising Little Red Riding Hood

Gérard Rancinan. Little Red Riding Hood, 2003
©Gerard Rancinan
In recent years contemporary artists have been appropriating and re-inventing traditional fairy tales. 

Subverting and interrogating received meanings, artists are challenging the traditional parameters of tales which convey ideas of gender role and racial identity. The fairy tale is being translated from literary text into visual culture. 

The artists recoding the tales address shifts in cultural attitude, engaging predominantly with issues of identity and discrimination.

Some additional excerpts:
The visual fairy tale has developed extensively in the twentieth century through advances in film and animation technologies. Improved technology has also led to wider dissemination of the fairy tale. The language and motifs of the tales are internalised within the culture, rendering fairy tales sophisticated communications devices that influence consumer trends, lifestyle choices and gender models. The translation from text to image relies on the repeated use of tropes particular to “Little Red Riding Hood.” The presence of the wolf and red hood is sufficient to identify the tale to the reader/viewer. Where the written text demands an investment of time and offers an accumulated meaning, the image, in contrast, imposes a direct communication: the presence of a red hood immediately identifies the tale to our cultural unconscious. The simplicity of these motifs belies the complex history and interpretation that lend the tale its meaning; and despite changing historical contexts, these tropes endure. One effect of fairy tales’ adoption by visual media is that their significance is underestimated: they are rendered invisible by their very ubiquity.  
The visual aspect of the literary fairy tale began with the inclusion of illustrations printed alongside the text. At this juncture a visual language was introduced to the tales. The broad print dissemination ensured the association and consumption of the accompanying image, effectively creating a visual language, a series of motifs immediately recognisable to the viewer. The illustrator’s selection of significant scenes has served to internalise the images in a collective unconscious to the extent that the images can exist without the text as reference.
And with regard to the image shown above:
Taking the traditional fairy tale, artists are reviewing and re-inventing the tales in both parody and critique. Gérard Rancinan, Paula Rego and Kiki Smith have all produced significant bodies of work referencing fairy tales, and all respond subversively to recent cultural pressures, particularly in relation to identity construction. In their work on “Little Red Riding Hood,” a dialogue about identity and discrimination engages viewers, challenging their experience of fairy tales and introducing cultural revelations. Rancinan’s interpretation of “Little Red Riding Hood” [Figure 1] engages with the literary tale and subverts its meaning. Surrounded by blood-spattered hanging sheets and dangling from a hook, Red Riding Hood is cast as a cross-dressing male ballet dancer watched by a wolf behind bars. The traditional tale echoes through the motifs, and Rancinan, through selection and inversion (female cast male, wild animal caged) renders meaning ambiguous. Referencing the violence of to this tale, Rancinan upsets the formulaic and saccharine fairy tales as offered by Disney. Rendered like a crime scene, Rancian’s image abandons the forest and suspends the ominous relationship between Red Riding Hood and the wolf against a backdrop of polythene sheeting. Barthes’ anxiety returns as questions outnumber answers. 
Kiki Smith. Daughter, 1999
And with regard to Kiki Smith's work:
Daughter (1999) is a four foot high sculpture of a girl wearing the tell-tale red cape and hood [Figure 8]. Despite the fact that she is immediately identifiable as Little Red Riding Hood, there remains an uncertainty as her face sprouts hair suggesting a morphing bestiality, invoking both the werewolf myth and the freakish bearded lady of the circus arena. In this work Smith undermines the clear cut definitions of wolf and girl as given in the literary tale, instead inviting the possibility of duality. 
By her difference Daughter is made a spectacle as something other. The viewer is challenged to accommodate and reconcile what we know of Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf. The opposites of predator and prey embodied in Daughter force the viewer to review their experience of the tale and, to an extent, themselves, recognising the equal presence of innocence and malignance. In this work the artist imagines that Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf have come together as outcasts and given birth to Daughter. Helaine Posner suggests that “their improbable offspring becomes the embodiment of male, female, and animal characteristics, the unique progeny of disparate beings” (10). In Daughter unification is found to challenge the parameters of good and evil predicated in the traditional Grimm tale.
There is MUCH more fascinating commentary to read so, if you haven't already, please do. 

As it gave me the option to embed, I am doing so below. Hope it's helpful!

Sleeping Beauty Needs Her Coffee...

by CassandreBolan
I, like most other people, have been unable to resist at least a few of those Zimbio questionnaires, including the ridiculous, yet enticing Which Disney Princess Are You? 

First of all, being in LA you are constantly reminded that even being average looking is below average here so.. let's just skip that part. I'm definitely not a chirpy-and-together morning person (I'm more "If you expect me to function in the AM, I'm going to need more than one cup of java..." kinda gal) and while 3 inch heels are great because I'm so short that wearing them stops people from patting me on the head (no touchy!), it's been so long since wearing a skirt they now feel downright unsafe in case I should ever need to wrangle a wild.. anything (happens here more often than you'd think). I've also never been exactly passive (fencing? kick boxing? archery? YES!) so I was completely expecting Merida, but no. Not even close. Instead,  my (first) answer - and I laughed out loud at this - was Aurora. Although nothing in the description sounded remotely like me, the last line, however, WAS a perfect fit.
"You're also always tired, but that's not your fault."
So very, very true.
Oh, but getting Maleficent for the villain quiz? That makes much more sense.
Thank Zimbio. You finally figured me out.

PS I'll have that coffee now please. Before my inner dragon gets out...

[Oh -and if you want to go do that quiz for yourself, (if you haven't yet gotten the princess you really WANTED to be..) the link is HERE. ;) ]

Note: By the way, doesn't Zimbio remind you of the word "bimbo"? Yet, I still can't resist... *headdesk* As a slight vindication, every time I've repeated this one, I've gotten Mulan. But you'll also notice I did the test again to get a different result... *double-headdesk*

Note for the fairy tale folk who are appalled/disappointed that I posted something so frivolous today: Have you noticed just how many people are talking about what a real fairy tale princess would do or what a real fairy tale hero does? And what about what a "kickass princess" from that time would really do, considering her upbringing and world view or why a person with superpowers (like a 13th fairy) would stoop to being so spiteful and what the repercussions of such an action would truly be? Right now, and specifically because of the upcoming Maleficent film, people are discussing human behavior and their own choices with fairy tales as the measuring stick. Best of all they're realizing fairy tales aren't as black 'n' white/happily-ever-easy as they originally thought. The popularity of these silly memes and quizzes on fairy tales themes (and there are a TON right now) are symptomatic of the larger conversation du jour happening in society. When you understand that these are signs of fairy tales circulating with more-than-average consideration in pop culture right now, it's something fairy tale folk can rightly get a little excited about. It's also an indication that now might be a good time to get involved in the conversation if you want to have any influence on the way it turns out. While watching history happen is exciting, being part of it, is even better. See you in the social media trenches!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Fairy Tale Fashion Shoot Retrospective: Annie Leibovitz & Grace Coddington's Wizard Of Oz

I have a very busy week this week so if I end up missing a bit of news, don't worry, it's only temporary! In the meantime, here's something I've had in my archive files for ages and never posted, but seeing as MGM's The Wizard Of Oz is having it's 75th anniversary is this year, and so much is happening on the Oz theme, I didn't think people would mind a little retro post.
It's a Twister
(with Actress Alba Clemente as Auntie Em and her husband,
Painter Francesco Clemente, as Uncle Henry)
"I love our December issues. We always mark the holidays with a fantastic, and fantastical, fashion portfolio; and this year Creative Director Grace Coddington has conspired with Annie Leibovitz to produce a stunningly dramatic spin on the Wizard of Oz. The project began in the summer, when Grace was captivated by the idea of a very specific look -- in her words, "Bonpoint for grown-ups" -- on the lovely Kiera Knightley. Grace got going, as tends to: instructing our top designers to make sweet Empire dresses that transitioned from nursery to cocktail; persuading artists such as Jasper Johns and Chuck Close to take part in the photographic pantomime."
- Anna Wintour's Letter from the Editor, December 2005 
(with Artist Kara Walker as Glinda the Good Witch
& the Penn State Marching Band)
Here, photographed by the always amazing Annie Leibovitz, is Keira Knightley in the role of Dorothy in various iconic scenes from The Wizard of Oz for December 2005 issue of Vogue Magazine.
If I Only Had a Brain
(with Painter Brice Marden as the Scarecrow)
Oil Me, Please
(with Painter John Currin as the Tin Man)
Oh, My!
(with Sculptor Jasper Johns as the Cowardly Lion)
I had collected them all to post together at some point, as most blogs and articles didn't seem to have the whole collection, but "news of the moment" just keeps happening with fairy tales these days (yay!) and I never got around to it.
Emerald City
(The Lion, Dorothy, The Tin Man, and The Scarecrow)
The Wonderful Things He Does
(with Painter and Photographer Chuck Close as the Wizard)
I wish I had some interview notes from Ms. Knightley or Ms. Leibovitz on the shoot, but in the absence of that, I've included a very short (and sadly low quality) video below, but I've also researched a little and included the supporting cast names and where they hail from to give you an idea of how wonderful a shoot this really is.
I'll Get You My Pretty
(with Artist Jeff Koons as the Winged Monkey)
Ding Dong!
(with Artist Kiki Smith as The Wicked Witch of the West)
It's nice to have it up for this year, though I think.
Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops
(Dorothy, Auntie Em, Uncle Henry)
Here's the quick behind-the-scene video:
From one blog entry (of many!) devoted to the amazing fashion shoot, this writer encapsulated what it was about this shoot that was so incredible at the time. It's not just the styling but just how many artists were involved (emphasis in bold is mine):
The Annie Leibovitz treatment of the L. Frank Baum novel turned film has never been so in vogue as when it appeared in the December 2005 issue of “Vogue.” This portfolio rocked the world and especially the “Art World.” Leibovitz is famous for her photo spreads and celebrity portraits but it is rare to almost non-existent for “A-List” artistic luminaries to be featured as stars in such a mass media venue. All the stops were pulled out for this one as Annie; such a prolific and passionate professional scores big.
Hope you enjoyed the little look back to 2005.  (I have to say, the white rose pattern on the white dress in the twister photos is just stunning.)

What are your favorite reinterpretations of Oz?

Note: the photo above was for the cover. As lovely as freesias are, I only wish it had been shot in one of California's famous poppy fields during spring to make the entire shoot perfect.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Philip Glass' Rescore of Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête" Performed Live to the Film in Santa Barbara This Wednesday

One of the most celebrated and unique works in Philip Glass’ recent career, his live interpretation of Jean Cocteau’s masterpieceLa Belle et la Bête is also his most deeply personal and romantic. For this production, Glass removed the film’s soundtrack and replaced it with his own musical score played live by the Philip Glass Ensemble. The dialogue is also performed live by the vocalists who are synchronized with the actors in the film. This mythical, lush and sweeping love story is a tale for the ages.
Oh wow. I would LOVE to see/hear this! Although Beauty and the Beast isn't my absolute favorite fairy tale of all time, and I pick and choose my opera viewing rather carefully, I'd go to this performance in a heartbeat. Cocteau's film is one of my absolute favorites ever (I have, I think four? five? slightly different presentations of it... and I can't get rid of a single one) and seeing/hearing the different score and vocal track, inspired by the film and made for the film, to match mood, action and dialogue and meant to be heard ONLY as you see the film (ie it's not supposed to be a separate work) and to hear it being played and sung LIVE? Well, that's just.. goose bump worthy.

From The Independent:
“No one had ever done this before: take a talking film, turn off the soundtrack, and create a new one from start to finish,” said Michael Riesman, who has been part of the project since its inception in 1995. He will conduct the Philip Glass Ensemble in a live performance of the score — accompanied by the film, of course — this Wednesday at the Granada Theatre. 
The film is the 1946 classic La belle et la bête, directed by Jean Cocteau — a genius whose work Glass found continually inspiring. As Riesman noted in a recent interview, the composer turned one Cocteau screenplay into a more conventional opera and another into a ballet/opera. For this one, he decided to overlay new music onto the ethereal imagery. 
“It was quite a complicated process,” Riesman recalled. “[After we received the first draft of the score] we found there were lots of problems. The bed of music was okay, but the vocal parts weren’t close enough [to the actors’ dialogue] to be convincing. I thought we needed to at least do as good a job as a badly dubbed film. The right person’s mouth had to be moving!
“Sometimes we shifted the vocal line; in other cases, we threw it back to Philip, who would totally rewrite the section. This went on for weeks. We were already in rehearsals, so it was pretty scary. Fresh pages were coming in daily.”
However hurried, the results were magnificent. In the New York Times, Allan Kozinn praised the way Glass’s music reflected the film’s “visual and atmospheric touches.” 
Here's a brief video explaining this new production (fresh cast, I believe), premiering this coming Wednesday at The Granada Theater:
Although Philip Glass will not be appearing with The Philip Glass Ensemble for this event in Santa Barbara at The Granada Theater, (at the University of Santa Barbara) Michael Riesman, who has led over one hundred live performances of the score to the film since 1995, will be conducting.
For more information and tickets, please see HERE.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Wonderful Reading Of Oz - Tonight (Friday, April 25th - Arizona USA)

The (rotten) Nome King (no 'G')

 The main write up (most transcribed from the above poster, the rest from HERE):
Night of Fairy Tales: A Wonderful Reading of Oz 
Friday, April 25, 20146-8 p.m. 
Come travel with us from Kansas to The Emerald City through film, art, music, and stories in an evening celebrating the 75th anniversary of the movie The Wizard of Oz.  This event features readings from L. Frank Baum’s wonderful Oz series, on which the movie was based.  Excerpts feature—of course—beloved Dorothy and her “meat dog,” as Toto’s referred to early on in this weird little book. And have you heard about Queen Zixi of Ix, the Patchwork Girl, King Rinkitink, and the Shaggy Man? They’re featured at Night of Fairy Tales too!
Readers include University of Arizona students and faculty.  Visual ephemera—and video commentaries from poets, actors, economists, and others—will accompany the readings.
Please join us for a Wonderful Reading of Oz and find yourself spellbound by Oz, as by poppies in a vast field. 
Dessert reception, games, and music will follow the reading at 7 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. 
Registration is strongly encouraged.
From Fairy Tale Review:

The Patchwork Girl & Woozy
Some of you may remember last year’s debut Night of Fairy Tales: A Very Grimm Reading. This year, we’re celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz film with a reading from the original books by L. Frank Baum, on which the movie was based. Excerpts feature–of course–beloved Dorothy and her “meat dog,” as Toto’s referred to early on in this weird little book. But have you heard about Queen Zixi of Ix, the Patchwork Girl, King Rinkitink, and the Shaggy Man? They’re featured atNight of Fairy Tales too! 
Local to Tucson, the event will take place tomorrow night (Friday, April 25th) at the UA Poetry Center and will feature readings by UA faculty and students, special guests Brent Hendricks and Timothy Schaffert, along with live music from the Greasy Light Orkestra, and food from Amelia Grey’s Cafe & Catering. 
As with last year’s event, we expect a magical evening, filled with wonderment and awe, but also some due seriousness and a critical look at the legacy of L. Frank Baum’s seminal Oz series.

William Butler Yeats, Briar Rose & Maleficent

From the new official Tumblr page, this is just fascinating. An extract from Yeat's famous "The Stolen Child" poem is posted, along with the above gentle gif. Here's the poem, under the heading "Magical World":

Magical World - Briar Rose

Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
with a faery, hand in hand,
for the world’s more full of
weeping than you can understand.

~William Butler Yeats
Now, I will never quite read that poem the same way again...

There's a lot to explore in the new Tumblr already, including things like this:
Magical World - Earth Tones
Heed the wild call of the faerie folk with rustic, animal-inspired accessories.
I'm really enjoying the layering of these reveals, showing the thought process behind the movie and behind the final impressions they wish you to have. It would appear the movie has more substance to it than first appears. *cheers*

Fairy tale bonus of the day:
Have you noticed who the writing credits for Maleficent are being credited to? Both The Grimm Brothers and Perrault are credited, along with a few others... It's pretty interesting.
If you go to the Maleficent IMDB page, you can click on each of the writers credited for more detail.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Maleficent Concept Art (Oh My... WantArtOfBookNOW!)

So... like it says: I really, reeeeally hope there's an "Art Of" book coming, with a ton of story information and LOTS of notes from screenwriter, Linda Woolverton (with John Lee Hancock), and creative inspiration-from-the-tale notes on the costumes and set design etc etc... you get the idea.
Fresh from the brand new, official Maleficent Tumblr, Evil Is the New Black, are five lovely new concept art images.
I have to say, I adore this giant tree-warthog thing carrying the antlered-ent thing (technical terms *eyeroll*)!
 Could this be a young Maleficent? She looks vulnerable here. And a little bit scary too.
 And is this Aurora along way from her castle? (I believe Maleficent's realm has been revisioned to be more in line with faery myth and legend by making her domain more forest-centric than stone and underground castle-like but we shall see.)

I like the parallel scene with Maleficent's at the head of the post as well. Nice.

OK. I'm ready. More please!

Waiting Impatiently For 'Maleficent'? Read A Book, Have A Cup of Villain Tea...

MALEFICENT BLEND*Smooth and velvety, with a glamourous sprinkling of rose petals.
This blend is elegant with just a hint of something murky, waiting to surface.
Note: All teas shown are by Adagio Teas, the number one tea site that creates teas with pop culture themes. There are TONS of blends and themes here! All version of Disney, of course, but also Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Princess Bride, Sherlock, Buffy, Game of Thrones, Rise of the Guardians, Wonderland, Once Upon A Time, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars, Grimm, Labyrinth, The Neverending Story, the Tolkien themed, Tales & Tea Leaves and a LOT more. Heck, there's even a Kate Crackernuts tea blend! (Be warned: it's a tea rabbit-hole!)

Fairy Tale Book Lists are popping up all over the place under the "While You Wait For Maleficent" banner.

Tropical and fruity, this blend
is reminiscent of the ocean, with
just hints of tanginess throughout.
It'd be very helpful if you were
to lose your voice. Not that there's
any reason that'd happen.
Ta da! This is one of those moments where fairy tale writers go - look! They're searching for us again! Not that readers have really stopped. For some time now fairy tale retellings - especially those with a little grit - have been in demand and now, if your book is currently on the shelves with the hashtag of #darkfairytale attached, there's a very good chance you will be making some extra sales this month.

A recent and decent one come from HuffPost HERE. It seemed for a while that fairy tale retelling lists had the same recommendations overall with only a slight variation between them according to the columnists taste. This list, however, has a much more variety - and many newer - books.

Specifically these are on the conflicted protagonist theme and I wasn't surprised to see Gregory Maguire's Wicked topping the list. I did, however, have the urge to give a little woot and fistpump on seeing Angela Carter's fairy tales in there. That will be an interesting fairy tale primer for the unsuspecting! Hopefully they'll fall in love and we'll have more fairy tale friends than ever.

There are NO SLEEPING BEAUTY RETELLINGS LISTED HERE! I wonder why? Or have we just not been as keen to rewrite her story in novel form as much as some others?
Dark, bold, with hints of cocoa, this blend reflects the night with perfection. Drinking it in the morning may provide difficulties, like a choir singing to try to stop you.
I can think of lots of short stories and some older Sleeping Beauty novels but not a whole lot recently (ie the last five to ten years)... Hm.

Here's the HuffPost list:

(Note, that at the link, there is a very brief summary of the book and why it's Maleficent-esque reading)

  • Wicked by Gregory Maguire
  • Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
  • Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes
  • The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Snow White Sorrow by Cameron Jace
  • The WoodCutter Sisters series by Alethea Kontis
  • The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
This blend is full of the scent
of apples and sugar, a very pleasant
combination in deed. There is just
something bitter in that of
aftertaste that may leave you suspicious.
My pick to add in the "Maleficent-like" vein would be Fairest of All by Serena Valentino. It tells a very similar story, of a hurt woman changing to a downright evil woman from the Queen's perspective so that makes it even more interesting to follow (plus the writing is simply stylized yet poetic and lovely, while the story, no matter the twists it takes, stays very true to the Disney movie).

What would you add to the list, considering people want a Maleficent-like story (according to what we know from the trailers etc so far anyway)?

* MALEFICENT BLEND:  ingredients & lore: blended with black tea, yunnan jig tea, cinnamon bark, ginger root, wuyi ensemble tea, natural blackberry flavor, cocoa nibs, blackberry leaves, natural chocolate flavor, natural cinnamon flavor
teas: mamboblackberrychocolate chai
accented with cocoa nibs and rose petals
steep at 212° for 3 mins

** URSULA BLEND: ingredients & lore: blended with yerba mate tea, pu erh tea, apple pieces, hibiscus flowers, rose hips, dried coconut, natural coconut flavor, natural mango flavor, marigold flowers, natural pineapple flavor, pineapple pieces, mango pieces, papaya flavor
teas: pu erh tahitipina coladamango mate
accented with ginger and hibiscus
steep at 195° for 4 mins

*** CHERNABOG BLEND:  ingredients & lore: blended with pu erh dante, pu erh tea, black tea, orange peels, cocoa nibs, natural chocolate flavor, blue cornflowers, natural orange flavor, natural caramel flavor, natural vanilla flavor
teas: pu erh chorangepu erh dante,tiger eye
steep at 212° for 4 mins

**** QUEEN OF HEARTS BLEND: ingredients & lore: blended with green tea, rose hips, hibiscus flowers, apple pieces, orange peels, natural wild cherry flavor, dried cherries, rose petals, natural orange flavor
teas: dewy cherryblood orangecherry green
accented with hibiscus
steep at 205° for 4 mins

***** EVIL QUEEN BLEND: ingredients & lore: blended with black tea, rooibos tea, apple pieces, cinnamon bark, natural caramel apple flavor, natural caramel flavor, natural apple flavor, natural cinnamon flavor
teas: candy applecaramelrooibos cinnamon apple
accented with aniseed
steep at 212° for 4 mins
Paint this tea as red as you want. With levels of cherry, blood orange, and hibiscus, the longer you brew it, the redder it becomes.