Elsinore is an adventure game set in the world of Shakespeare’s Hamlet - which places it, historically, in 16th century Denmark. Since we began work on
the project a year or so ago, I’ve shown the playtest build to family,
friends, and strangers alike. After they’re done playing, intermingled
with their feedback on gameplay, they often point to Ophelia and ask: Why is she black?
My answer is always the same: Why shouldn’t she be?
I mean, yes, there is a black bisexual hero. And a mad lesbian governess. And a half-Chinese genderqueer sky pirate. THERE IS ALSO A KRAKEN (which may or may not be queer). And an aethership. But the narrative is the real star of this show. Look at this blurb. Look at it.
A breathtaking tale of passion and adventure in the untamed skies!
Prosperity, 1863: a lawless skytown where varlets, chancers, and ne’er-do-wells risk everything to chase a fortune in the clouds, and where a Gaslight guttersnipe named Piccadilly is about to cheat the wrong man. This mistake will endanger his life … and his heart.
Thrill! As our hero battles dreadful kraken above Prosperity. Gasp! As the miracles of clockwork engineering allow a dead man to wreak his vengeance upon the living. Marvel! At the aerial escapades of the aethership, Shadowless.
Beware! The licentious and unchristian example set by the opium-addled navigatress, Miss Grey. Disapprove Strongly! Of the utter moral iniquity of the dastardly crime prince, Milord. Swoon! At the dashing skycaptain, Byron Kae. Swoon Again! At the tormented clergyman, Ruben Crowe.
This volume (available in print, and for the first time on mechanical book-reading devices) contains the complete original text of Piccadilly’s memoirs as first serialised in All the Year Round. Some passages may prove unsettling to unmarried gentlemen of a sensitive disposition.
Plus it’s only the first in a series! (Early next year there’ll be a whole collection of novelettes set in this world.) And it was written by the hilarious, brilliant, Lambda Literary Award nominated Alexis Hall (of Glitterland and Kate Kane: Paranormal Investigator fame)! And it’s on pre-sale for only $4.99 (or $13.59 if you prefer a paper copy with that gorgeous full jacket, or $16.79 if you want both)! Whaaaaaaat is not to love? :D
Daybreak in the Beury Building Penthouse, 2012. The National Bank of North Philadelphia - now commonly referred to as the Beury Building - is a National Register of Historic Places-listed building that has been abandoned since the early 1980s. Originally a lavish 11-story Art Deco bank tower, it was later converted for mixed-use, including a 3-story Penthouse on top, crowned by a pyramidal roof. The now-14-story building is the largest in North Philly, and the only significant Art Deco building left in the entire city. And yet, it has been left to rot for 30 years. Pictured here is the top floor of the Penthouse during the Blue Hour, when the first strains of daylight were lazily reaching the sky.
Reaching the Penthouse is another matter, and anything but lazy - the stairs are almost completely gone, and only a set of dodgy wooden planks separates the climber from a painful (or deadly) fall of between 1-4 stories. The building owners who commissioned me to photograph the tower for some “before renovation” photos advised me that I did not need to photograph this section as it was “inaccessible”. Of course, I “accessed” it. In the top image, a wide view of this floor, the glass of the windows long since broken out. In the center image, an individual viewing window. And in the bottom image, a detail of the view out the same window - whoever once lived here had a wonderful view of a once-affluent neighborhood, now dominated by liquor stores, pawn shops, and shady characters. This view was worth the sketchy climb.
My latest OOAK doll: Historical Snow White! I had so much fun making her, and I’m really proud of how she turned out. I gave her rooted eyelashes, the dress is completely hand sewn and beaded, and I gave her a traveling cloak like the cape she wears in the movie. She was made from crepe, crushed velvet, and satin. Other details I’m proud of are the Swarovski crystals used to represent the apples in the beading, the petticoat trimmed with lace, her hand beaded snood (hairnet), and her shoes, which I sanded down from the included pointy heels into a gentle curve with added bows.
I’m still trying to contact Shoomlah to see if it’s alright to sell this doll, but even if she says no I won’t mind because she’s so gorgeous.
Obviously, the design isn’t mine. The original drawing can be found here.
Egypt is the first place Ladybug really becomes known, and is also the birthplace of Chat Noir and their first partnership. The Egyptians see the kwamis as gifts/messengers from the gods. Chat is why the Egyptians grow to worship cats and the dung beetle (who says Ladybug’s forms can’t change?) they remain lifelong friends but marry different people. Ladybug’s miracle stones are still earrings.
Greece is next, Ladybug is born in Athens and finds freedom in her persona that women weren’t allowed at the time. The people believe they’re gods shapeshifting into various forms. This time, her miracle stones are in a pendant around her neck.
The duo meets in Rome next as rival gladiators, however when an akuma attacks they’re forced to work together and earn their freedom from the emperor at the time. This is the first time Chat Noir falls for Ladybug, and they’re both boys
The next 600 years or so are spent in the Middle Ages. Warring countries like France and Britain, a bit of Germany (a lot of female Chat Noirs, mostly female Ladybugs too - possibly Joan of Arc as one of them??) - Tikki and Plagg tire of the bloodshed and head to Asia and Africa instead.
The kwamis travel over to North America around the late 1400s and thus there are First Nations Ladybugs and Chat Noirs, who have an extreme attachment to their animal spirit.
Incan, Maya, Aztec ladybugs and chat noirs. Chat dies for their Ladybug each time
back over to France in time for the French Revolution, the first time a Ladybug falls for Chat. They don’t survive the revolution.
Victorian England, they fall for each other but arranged marriages (to their civilian selves) seemingly keep them apart until they put the pieces together. Chat Noir dies in childbirth and their child becomes the next Chat Noir
WWI and WW2 ladynoir, both male the first time, male and female in the next war, barely old enough to be considered not children
only one of them survives the Irish famine
Ladynoir freeing themselves from slavery and helping others do the same
heading back to America on the Titanic, neither of them survive
Tikki and Plagg have enough of America and go back to Europe
Poland first, and then work their way back to Egypt (die young) and then finally in France
Tikki sees Marinette for the first time when the girl is five years old and playing hopscotch, but stops, midgame, to avoid stepping on a ladybug, and knows she’s the one
Plagg sees Adrien three years later, the boy begging to his father to let him bring home a stray. He gets grounded for even suggesting it and the cat is given to a shelter, and Plagg knows he’s the one
The famous Giant Gap run of the even more famous North Fork American Wild and Scenic River is one of the most challenging runs in Northern California. Cliffs tower 2,000 feet above clear green streams smashing a path through rapids choked with boulders. Heaps of mine tailings and an old cabin ruin border the course of this roller coaster ride through the historic Mother Lode.