machinery of the stars

Sneaking Is Most Fun Without Warning Cassian Andor

Cassian Andor/ Reader

Words: 1,085

Summary: You feel as if you’re at fault when Cassian stops talking to you for a few days. Like any good Rebel, you spy on him to find out what he’s truly up to.

Prompt: “I know you’re following me; you’re not very quiet” - Cassian X Reader

Tagging: @kwaiky, @ly–canthrope, @attentionseekingprincess, @can-t-figure-it-out, @myfriendmagislit

Requested by: @miraclesabound

Author’s note: My true emo self shows in this title. This fic took a path paved by its own self like I didn’t plan for this to be so A1 quirky. Definitely isn’t the first time lemme tell ya.


Where is Cassian going all this time?

You used to talk to him during his “breaks” around the hangar but whenever you walk in, Cassian has one foot inside the temple. This happens for a few consecutive days and you wonder if you did something wrong. You try to track Cassian down to try and talk to him but he appears to have some sort of radar on you because whenever you think you’re about to make contact, Cassian diverts into a different, unauthorized path. You sigh into the air as you contemplate your previous interactions.

Keep reading

Science Aesthetics

I was feeling inspired last night, so I decided to make this purely for fun.

To the moon and back: Cold, dark nights clutching thermos flasks of hot coffee. Machinery whirring as telescopes trace a star across the sky. Intricate, geometric drawings of the celestial sphere. A messy bun and a NASA t-shirt. Filling in the logbook while punk rock blares in the background to keep you energised and awake. Pictures of nebulae and galaxies everywhere, because pretty space pictures is half the fun. Annoyed huffs every time someone mentions their star sign.

Natural Philosopher: Long, intellectual debates in coffee shops about mathematics, physics, philosophy. Chalkboards covered with equations and calculations in a precise, curving handwriting. That Eureka moment while deep in thought, expressed only with a small smile and a scribbled proof on the back of a serviette. Chaotic desks in front of bookshelves groaning with old textbooks. Antique lab equipment as functional decor.

Trust Me, I’m a Scientist”: Large computer screens running freshly-typed code. Neat lab books and PDFs of journal articles. The smell of whiteboard markers. Polished new equipment in a tangle of cables, hooked up to a digital oscilloscope. Exact amounts of chemicals in rows in metal shelves. Resting your feet up on the bench after a long day in the lab. The satisfying hum of your colleagues as they work on their experiments around you.   

Science Expedition: Dirt under your nails and a loosely-bound collection of field notes. Plant clippings carefully taken to be analysed back in the lab. Soft fur on tough, wild animals. The bitter smoke from eco-friendly firewood while you roast marshmallows and listen to a supervisor’s witty stories. Free-handing diagrams while looking through a microscope. Sketching flowers and that gorgeous ocean view from your last field trip. Reading Darwin on the bus home but falling asleep on your lab partner’s shoulder out of sheer exhaustion after the first three pages.

Life is a Science: Scrolling past an anti-vax facebook post and resisting the urge to burn down the internet. Shiny dissection kits and the sharp smell of formaldehyde. Making time to work out and pack a healthy lunch because your mind is sharpest when your body is well. Debunking the latest superfood fad with peer-reviewed journal articles. Making friends with some of the nicer med school kids in anatomy class. Colour-coded, neatly labelled diagrams and a thousand different terms memorised. Getting a double-helix DNA sculpture for your desk.      

What they show on TV isn’t real hacking: Rubbing your eyes after staring at a screen for five hours straight. Having a blank keyboard because all the letters are rubbed off already. Energy drinks in strange colours at strange hours. Being fluent in four different coding languages. Circuit boards and printouts. Ones and zeroes. Running jokes about turning everything off and on again. Rage-quitting when you realise you forgot a comma or a colon somewhere. Black screens with brightly coloured lines. The comforting click-click of fingertips tapping keys. Applying to intern at Google every three months because maybe they’ll take you this time. Writing a piece of code to do something simple just because.

“Tres destinos”

Remedios Varo

1956

The artist’s comments on the painting addressed to he brother, Dr. Rodrigo Varo:

Each of these three characters is peacefully doing what he wants to, oblivious to the others; but there is a complicated machine from which come pulleys that wind around them and make them move (they think they move freely). In turn the machine is propelled by a pulley connected to a star in the sky which moves the whole apparatus. The star represents the destiny of these people; and although they are not aware of it, their destinies are intertwined: one day their lives will cross.

Anakin and marginalized groups (p.1)

In Star Wars universe there is many groups seen as inferior by majority of people and who were opressed in various ways (lack of civil rights, harmful stereotypes or outright abuse and so on). The discrimination & marginalization touched especially Aliens during Empire’s regime, Clone Troopers during Clone Wars or droids, slaves & female Twi’lek in general.

I know that Anakin’s portrayal varied from one story to another (and no matter what, he is going to fall to Dark Side so his good nature will be twisted in awful way) but most of time he - especially as a boy / teenager - was mindful of those oppressed and marginalized by society, what I think comes from his personal life experiences (being born in slavery) and Shmi Skywalker’s influence (”Mom, you said that the biggest problem in the universe is no one helps each other”).

So let’s talk a bit about young Anakin’s attitude towards marginalized groups and how his point of view humanized some characters (what I already mentioned in context of Jango Fett)

side note: I’m not trying to write a complete analysis; I’m simply focusing on what caught my attenion while reading books & comics.


CLONES*


*I’m going to write soon more detailed analysis about Anakin’s relationship with clone troopers so right now I’m just talking about basic details I noticed in various sources:


The Great Army of Republic was made from clone troopers; a loyal, obiedent group of men who were created with simple purporse: to destroy Jedi to fight & save Republic. Despite their sacrifices, clones never had any civil right. No one asked them if they want fight at all and when clones deserted - or rebelled - they were punished (at best imprisonment or at worst, hunt down and killed).

The first weeks / months of cooperation between Jedi and the clone troopers weren’t really easy. Clones grew up with stories about great, powerful Jedi - their future generals and commanders, yet the first Battle of Geonosis (and following battles) proved that Jedi aren’t infallible. On other side, Jedi were, I guess, confused about “their” clone army. It took some time, before mutual trust and friendship among Jedi and clones was born. Anakin’s view of clone troopers evolved too.

During Clone Wars, Anakin was disturbed that clones have numbers instead of names. He started the whole “naming clones” thing. Anakin respected his subordinates and kept calling clone troopers by names/nicknames. Remember “Darkness on Umbara”? “Master Krell, this is Rex, my first in command. You won’t find a finer or more loyal trooper anywhere”. This is Rex, a man, not numbers. Not just a clone, but trooper in full meaning of the word. What contrasts with Pong Krell or Legends!Vos or vastness of “normal” people who saw clones more as equipment than soldiers, as imitation rather human beings. And clone troopers were quite aware of such dehumanized view; because of such treatment (and “education” from youth) they saw themselves like that too.

Looking how TCW!clone troopers liked to mark their armors & bodies - thus creating a visible diversity between themselves - I guess it’s fair to say that Anakin supported growing sense of individuality between clones. He encouraged them by using their names, by being respectful for them and treating clones like they should be treated - as real people whose life matters. Because of that Anakin gained not only respect but trust of his soldiers as well.

(I think it’s worth to mention that even as Vader, he was still fond of clone troopers from Clone Wars era  what doesn’t mean he wouldn’t kill them if there was a reason for doing so)


DROIDS

Droids were treated differently in various parts of galaxy. On many - if not on most planets, people used and exploited them without any second thought:

Droids are intelligent mechanical contraptions that are vital to the smooth operation of galactic society. Every day, millions of subservient automatons negotiate treaties, repair hyperdrives, cure plagues, incinerate garbage, nurse children, haul cargo, deliver messages, cook meals, and kill enemies. At the same time, droids are often ignored and unappraciated, treated as chattel by many owners and looked at with outright hostility by others (by The Essential Guide to Droids)


However droids may be intelligent, they were still just machines. There were places where droids weren’t welcome at all (like cantine in Mos Espa) or were seen as nothing more than just equipment; since Separatist used army of droids against Republic during Clone Wars, the common distrust & bias toward them only grew stronger. Even some of the positive characters weren’t immune to prejudice toward droids. Some didn’t consider them as equal of living beings while others made biased comments e.g.:

  • ”Shmi assured the droid. She placed a comforting hand on his shoulder, then quickly pulled it away, thinking that a perfectly silly gesture to offer to a walking box of wires.” or
  • “The droid ganged into the socket on his starflghter’s left wing whistled something that sounded suspiciously like a human apology. Obi-Wan’s frown deepened. R4-P17 had been spending too much time with Anakin’s eccentric astromech; it was picking up R2-D2’s bad habits.

There were also societies who shamed people with cybernetic prostheses, making them feel like they were less human because of their disability & need of use the cybernetic parts (and remember Obi-Wan? He’s more machine now than man. Twisted and evil. Yeah, like Anakin’s lost of limbs was the problem here…).

Keep reading

Economics of Tatooine

Tatooine first garnered Republican interest when the Czerka, and later the Corellian, Mining Corporations, attempted to extract the ores that could be found there. However, when the metal extracted was proven to be poor due to unexpected and unusual magnetic properties, the planet was abandoned by the corporation. The Republic abandoned the planet too, for all intents and purposes, which left a power-vacuum that the Hutts were eager to fill. The Hutts first used the planet as a transfer point in the Spice Triangle and the drug trade is still a significant source of wealth and influence for many of the locals on Tatooine. Drug wars are common and blaster fire is normal. In Anakin’s time, it was Jabba who was the uncrowned king of the spice trade and the hyperspace routes that were involved. (Just watch Star Wars: The Clone wars movie…)

Other major sources of revenue were the podraces, betting, the slave auctions, and the gladiator fights. Gardulla was, initially, the one who began the podraces and the fights on Tatooine. People came from all throughout the Outer Rim to see races like the Boonta Eve classic. Likewise, she also held fights in the arena near Mos Espa where she would have slaves fight other slaves with various vibro-weapons for the entertainment of the masses. Slave executions were a popular form of entertainment as well. To raise awareness of these events, she would often put slaves, of a species with inferior reflexes, she owned into a pod and bet on the likelihood of their survival. This is how Anakin’ s talents were discovered.

While the above were the most significant economic drives on Tatooine, there were other more legitimate imports and exports that existed on Tatooine, and were actually recognized by the Republic: These were agriculture, (not moisture farming, that was a major thing on Tatooine itself, but not the galaxy at large), and mining. In terms of agriculture, bantha breeding was the largest. Tatooine was one of several planets to breed the animals for the sake of selling their milk, ivory, and leather. Additionally, as krayt dragons would prey upon their livestock, killing those predators was an added bonus. Krayt dragon bone, ivory, skin, and especially pearls were very lucrative. Additionally, farmers would sell their crops, primarily, nuts, legumes, cacti fruit, and various roots. The sweetener egafa was also quite popular. In terms of mining, the sodium rich desert was mined and salt was, after bantha products, the most significant export on Tatooine. The most significant imports on Tatooine were meat, food, water, fuel, alcohol, and machinery.

Los Angeles Gothic

-Tourists, tourists everywhere. They are so lost. They ask for directions and do not stop, you scream, they are still asking you for directions. You scream, they still ask you for directions. Where is the hollywood sign they ask. They are covered in sunscreen it is dripping off them. Screaming, unending screaming.

-Traffic is terrible you say to a faceless co-worker, they agree. You hear car horns, lights flash, you realize you are in traffic right now. Traffic is all there is. You cannot remember a time you weren’t in traffic. The co-worker was a hallucination or was it? The traffic is testing you, you will not let it break you.

-Someone makes a joke about the drought. You laugh. It is a dry laugh. As dry as the state you live in. You laugh so hard you cry. There is no water in your eyes, only drought. Still they make jokes. The voices around you laugh, all of california is laughing it is a dry horrible thing.

-Your favorite place to eat is a hole in the wall taco place. You maintain it is the best taco place even though it is never in the same place twice. You do not find it, it finds you. It finds you during late nights when you think you are drowning in the city. When you can’t remember what trees look like. Then the smell of tacos drifts towards you. You forget trees and remember that here there is real mexican food, real flavors. You go and eat some.

-You stare into the night sky nostalgic for something you never had. You make a wish on a shooting star. It is a helicopter. You make a wish on another shooting star. It is a plane. You cannot remember if you have ever seen stars. The sky is filled with twisted machinery blinking eerily.

-Pavement covered in gum and skyscrapers climbing ever upwards and bricks grey from wear and bright colorful lights reflecting unnatural rainbows. Man’s folly was pride you think to yourself. You see someone pissing on a street corner.

-You think of moving, of walking until you reach the ocean. You look to the west and to the east. There is smog and in the distance mountains. You think of forests and rivers and cities that weren’t carved from man’s ingenuity and sheer force of will. You wonder what the world is like out there. You turn around, breathe deeply, and feel at home.

-There are homeless people everywhere. Bundles of rags, who you do not recognize as human until they move. They ask for change, beg for attention. They are ignored, avoided, shunned. You wonder what you could do to society to make them hate you that much. You give them change, leftovers, anything and they smile like you are the first sun after a long winter. But you do not know what winter is. And at the end of the day they will spend their nights under bridges in their rags.

-Graffiti spread across the city like a rash growing and growing, ever shifting. You admire a piece on your way to work it is gone when you are back. Replaced by something equally colorful and relevant. The paint shifts before your eyes, art is not stagnant they say. The tourists coo.

-It is raining. People are screaming. Why is water falling from the sky? Cars are crashing. Children are crying. Mother nature has become twisted, cats barking and dogs meowing. Corpses are coming back to life, they ask if the dodgers have won a world series yet. God is punishing us for our sins, we will be left to drown for some new Noah’s Ark. We will all drown oh god someone save us. Oh wait, it has stopped. That was pleasant.

Four have thrown in with us, a new master of Illusion, a psion who serves no gods but what they represent, one who seamlessly unites magic and machinery, and a far traveler from distant stars...

Originally posted by iamacidlake

A new illusionist has joined our ranks, a spellcaster whose power lies in the art of perception, their talents ranging from grand illusions that boggle the mind, to tiny shifts in appearance and movement that pull the eye away from the true deception at play. Be wary around illusionists, for even your own senses can be turned against you.


Originally posted by theinsanefruitloop-chan

Often mistaken for Paladins and Clerics, the Ardent is a breed of psion that is not powered by honing their psychic abilities, but rather by believing so strongly in the ideals that define them, they begin to forge that belief into true power. By taking the mantle of the ideals and concepts they believe most ardently, the Ardent becomes an agent of those very virtues and ideas, bypassing the divine entirely to what they represent.

Originally posted by joeymccormick

Magic. Technology. Artifice. Many are those who would seek to blend the disciplines, and perhaps the Mechromancer has come closer than any other. Where others study and build contraptions that fuse the branches of science and the arcane, the Mechromancer can perfect the art so well they can build warforged constructs and alter themselves accordingly. With their talents, they step ever closer to a singularity of magic and science…

Originally posted by spectre-

They have traveled far, and walked under the light of distant stars. These journeymen have learned much as go from world to world, and it is uncertain where their powers truly begin. Some say it comes from the light of the heavens, others say the void between galaxies. The truth may be far stranger. The Starfinder has come to ground with with the Collective, a herald of a much greater universe than we can imagine.

We here at the Collective welcome @we-are-illusionist, @we-are-ardent, @wearemechromancer, and @we-are-starfinder. With their inclusion, we now have only two spots left on our hundred member roster.

2

November 19, 1984

Prince’s Purple Reign

By Barbara Graustark

With a Hit LP and Movie, Rock’s Most Secretive and Sexy Cult Hero Grows into a Cultural Phenomenon


He glittered in a white sequined cape, ornately futuristic atop a bank of speakers in the darkened hall. Eerie synthesizer chords echoed through the arena, laser lights dappled the crowd and a garbled heavenly voice rumbled, “I’m confused.” And as confetti rained down, 19,000 fans at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena saw the song and spectacle of Prince Rogers Nelson. “Detroit,” he thundered, “I’ve come to play with you!”

For Prince, a playground is a place where the id runs free. Prince’s former manager once said that “his worst fear is being normal,” and even the singer’s friends admit that he’s weird. On one other point fans and critics alike can agree: At 26, the musical polymath, film star and stage stud is currently the hottest act in show business. One newspaper has even coined a word for the hysteria he generates: Princedemonia.

Prince’s ascendance began two years ago with his rhapsodic dance LP, 1999, which still rides the charts after 105 weeks. He followed that with a feature film, Purple Rain, that became a surprise summer hit. The film spawned a sound track, which he produced, arranged, composed—and made into the No. 1 album. Spinning off clones faster than a Cambridge lab, he transformed a jazz percussionist named Sheila Escovedo into the singing sex-pot Sheila E. and turned a former consort, Denise Matthews, a Pearl Drops tooth polish model, into Vanity, the leader of a camisole-clad girl group whose songs—written by Prince, of course—became dance-floor hits. 

Last week Prince and his band, the Revolution, hit the concert trail for the first time in two years. In Washington, D.C Prince-lovers gobbled up 130,000 tickets in less than 10 hours, prompting one reporter to crack, “Maybe those Jackson fellows could open for him when they finish their Victory tour." 

The comparisons with Michael are inevitable, since each is young, gifted, black—and a notorious recluse. Each has ignited, and united, black and white audiences with music that breaks down barriers among soul, funk and rock. But Prince’s risqué lyrics extolling the joy of sex go where no mainstream rocker has dared to go before. And while Michael is a man of mystery, Prince is a person of paradox. Consider the evidence.

Onstage, at his most outrageous, he has writhed atop a stack of speakers in nothing more than bikini briefs, leg warmers and a layer of sweat. Yet he covered up with a ‘30s-style tank suit when he went swimming at his hometown Y. He controls every facet of his career and his music, yet he’s too shy to face the press. He claims to speak "the truth” in his songs but early in his career lied to reporters about his name (he denied it was Nelson), his birth date (1958, which he pushed up to 1960) and even his racial heritage (he says he is “mixed” but his father says both parents are black).

He is a religious paradox as well. He gives thanks to God on his albums, yet his songs celebrate the pleasures of flesh, and the gospel he preaches is salvation by sex. In a song called Sister he even exploited the Big Daddy of all taboos: incest.

Who is this guy?

“The filthiest rock 'n’ roller ever to prance across the stage,” fumes Dan Peters, 33, a minister at the interdenominational Zion Christian Center in North St. Paul, Minn. For five years Dan and a brother have been kindling an antirock crusade by crisscrossing the country urging youngsters to destroy offending albums. At the moment the brothers are particularly incensed about a new song called Darling Nikki, in which Prince sings, “I am fine, fine because the Lord is coming soon.” “Kids come up to us and say, 'See, that shows he is a Christian,’ ” sputters Dan. “And I say, 'As far as we can tell from listening to the lyrics, his Lord is a penis.’ ”

Yet Prince’s songs, which include themes of lost love, politics and gun control, seem to mirror the concerns and anxieties of a sexually precocious, socially aware generation. “I guess if there’s a concept, it’s freedom—personal freedom—and the fact that we all have to do what we want to do,” Prince said of his music in my interview with him in 1981. A swaggering conqueror onstage, he seemed vulnerable in person, speaking in short, grudging bursts of words that nevertheless revealed more than he wanted me to know. Denying that he wanted to shock or outrage, he insisted, “I think I say exactly the way it is. I don’t particularly think what I sing about is so controversial. My albums deal with being loved and accepted. They deal with war. They deal with sex. When a girl can get birth control pills at age 12, she knows just about as much as I do. My mom had stuff in her room that I could sneak in and get…books, vibrators. I did it. I’m sure everybody does…It could be that I have a need to be different." 

The difference began in Minneapolis, where Prince was born to Mattie and John Nelson, who already had seven other children from previous marriages. He was christened Prince after his father, a jazz pianist whose stage name was Prince Rogers. He was a man whose musicianship—and possibly arrogance—Prince admired. His songs were different, "unique,” Prince said. “He doesn’t listen to any other music. I respect anybody who doesn’t try to copy other people." 

Prince had a large family but not much of a home. He and his father were never really close—"He found it hard to show emotion. I find that true of most men.” Prince considered himself and his sister “mistakes,” and after his parents’ divorce and his mother’s remarriage, he was passed from relative to relative. His last stop was the house of Bernadette Anderson, whose son André was a buddy and bandmate. Like his father, Prince “kept to himself,” Anderson recalls, working with André in a CETA youth program and acting the dutiful son. (He still remembers her on Mother’s Day, most recently with Lalique crystal.)

To André’s mother, he may have appeared quiet and shy. Inside, says a Minneapolitan who has known him since he was 16, he was “an emotional hand grenade capable of enormous visceral emotional swings…a volcano of emotion boiling under the surface.” His second cousin Charles Smith tells of the time he and the young Prince were riding on the freeway and a truck full of hooligans pelted their windshield with bottles. Smith, who was driving, wanted to flee but Prince refused to ignore that attack. “They made him so mad and scared,” Smith recalls, “he stepped down on my foot to speed up and hit them." 

During adolescence, Prince began finding his muse. In his basement bedroom he lingered over the vivid images he found in porn novels, using some of those images in songs. Embossed in 14-karat legend are tales he told early in his career about orgies at 13 with neighborhood girls. (In an interview that made everyone cringe, André boasted of wrapping girls up with duck tape.) But Charles Smith thinks such stories are sheer fantasy. "Everybody was basically scared of girls,” he concedes. “We talked a lot of mess." 

A musical omnivore, Prince learned to play a dozen instruments by ear. Chris Moon, an aspiring songwriter who discovered the prodigy, recalls that Prince spent long nights holed up in Moon’s small recording studio, patiently teaching himself to make his own demo tapes. He and Moon agreed to collaborate on a tune, and when the time came to record, Prince laid down guitar vocals, then offered to play keyboards. "This little kid with a huge Afro, he was pretty good,” Moon recalls. He was ready to call in a rhythm section when Prince asked, “Can I give it a shot?” Whereupon, says Moon, “He put down the bass guitar and I said, 'Go for it, Prince.’ So he ran over to the drums.” And Moon thought, “I’ve found the next Stevie Wonder.”

But the question was how to break a 5'3", black, 18-year-old musical dynamo. Prince’s first manager, Owen Husney, with his adman instincts, stoked the star-maker machinery by fudging Prince’s age and then dropping his last name to add to the mystery. Moon fueled the fires by writing lyrics full of sexy innuendo. “I thought, 'What’s the audience? Young girls.’ ” So the two wrote Soft and Wet. “The lines were pretty vague. But I thought the title would catch people’s ears." 

Prince’s first two LPs, with their sexy soul, established him with black audiences as a poetic prince of the libido. His third, Dirty Mind, at first seemed doomed to failure, with its X-rated lyrics and a cover of Prince stripped down to his bikini, and even Owen Husney complained that Prince had "taken a good marketing gimmick too far.”

But Prince’s bold sexuality touched a nerve in the hip pop culture, and white critics praised him for music that fused Jimi Hendrix-style guitar, disco thump and roboty synthesizers. Rolling Stone proclaimed him artist of the year in 1982, and on the strength of 1999’s three Top 10 hits, he was launched toward stardom.

In Purple Rain, Prince played the Kid—a name he is often called by his Minneapolis circle—a selfish, tormented, unreachable soul who fights to survive an unhappy home life and turns inward, refusing to share his emotional or creative life. Prince has described the film as an “emotional autobiography.” Says his keyboardist Matt Fink: “For the first two years that I worked with him, Prince never talked to any of us. Once he started talking about his life with his parents. He mentioned something about having a tough time. Then he suddenly realized what he was doing and clammed up. That was two and a half years ago. We never heard about his personal life again.”

Revolution guitarist Lisa Coleman calls Prince a “genius,” but others haven’t been so generous. Some people who have worked with Prince call him Ayatollah or Napoleon. Others says he is simply a perfectionist who demands only what he asks of himself. He drives his musicians hard, even fining them for showing up late to rehearsals. He dictates what they wear during his show and refuses to let them give interviews without his permission.

As an outlet for his other musical interests, he has created pop protégé bands like the Time and Vanity 6 (re-christened Apollonia 6). Like the title character in The Idolmaker, one of his favorite films, he taught his charges how to dress and move onstage and also provided them with royal treatment in the studio. He produces albums other than his own under the pseudonym the Starr Company.

But there are signs that his empire may be crumbling. Morris Day, the Time’s dapper front man, whose braggadocio performance in Purple Rain won kudos from critics, left to pursue a solo career. So did Prince’s former girlfriend, Vanity, a loss that friends say “left him brokenhearted.” Bernadette Anderson, whose son André is another defector from Prince’s band, says, “You either go along with Prince or not at all.”

“Friendship, real friendship, that’s all that counts,” Prince once said wistfully, admitting, “I would like to be a more loving person.” Keyboard player Wendy Melvoin of the Revolution believes that Prince is changing: “There’s a willingness to accept new things.” The title of his film, Purple Rain, may have symbolized what she calls “a new beginning. Purple, the sky at dawn; rain, the cleansing factor.” The song itself grew in a late-night jam session, with each band member contributing a lick, the first time Prince had let them share in creating his music. “I think the most important lesson he has learned is that people care about him,” says Lisa Coleman. “He did start out alone.”

Perhaps the quest was not just for stardom but also to belong. That would explain why the Kid continues to live in Minneapolis, where he has devised a social world with other like-minded rebels. Explains Lisa: “I grew up in my own room, making music and having philosophies I thought no one would ever share. That’s exactly the way Prince grew up, so we find solace in each other.”

With no special woman in his life (“He’s married to his music,” says Vanity), Prince roams his hometown haunts with friends like Sheila E. A typical evening consists of supper at Rudolf’s, a barbecue house where you find the kind of fan who still remembers the autograph Prince signed for her six years ago. “Love, God, Prince,” it said. He still turns to religion for guidance, and current protégée Apollonia remembers finding a Bible in her motel room “opened to a scripture that he wanted me to read.” (How he got into her room remains a mystery. “Maybe he picked the lock,” she jokes.) 

At heart, he’s a homebody, and he returns from evenings at the now famous First Avenue Club—usually alone—to his purple house with its pots of flowers and Marilyn Monroe posters. Late into the night he writes music and short stories with a purple pen on a purple pad that he carries about “like Walt Whitman,” says Wendy. Sometimes the Kid needs more. At least once he has slipped out of bed, jumped onto his bicycle and pedaled off—naked—into the Minneapolis dawn.

That prankish spirit reigns onstage, where His Royal Badness is at his hot, erotic best. “Do you want to take a bath with me?” he taunted the crowd last week during his concert’s show-stopper, stripping to his waist and climbing into an oversized elevated purple bathtub. Prince has tamed his sexual shtik; there’s no more necking with his female musicians. Gone too are the bikini briefs and his trademark, the pervert’s trench coat. What remains is enough to satisfy the most demanding fan: stiletto-heeled splits and leaps, wicked sonic screams and suggestive pelvic thrusts. After nearly two hours he gave his thanks with a melting grin that seemed to say that if the Kid had his way, he’d keep dancing until 1999. We’d ask him, but we know he wouldn’t talk.

New Jersey Gothic

there’s a field full of bright yellow school buses that stretches out past the horizon. in the morning sun, the dull metal rows reminds you of a graveyard.

your mother takes the train into new york. your father takes the train into new york, and then your brother. everyone takes the train into the city, but no one ever comes back.

you look out the window and see a deer. you blink, and there are three. the trees in the forest start to die, and  every time you look outside there are eyes watching you from between the branches.

at school, you hear screams from a neighboring classroom. your teacher says not to worry, it’s just the machinery backfiring.

you wish upon a shooting star at night, but there are no stars, only planes taking off. one night, the planes start to fall out of the sky.

local businesses start to dump chemicals into your water supply. the tap turns brown, but you drink from it anyway.

you walk past a dunkin donuts on your way to work. you go inside and order a small coffee, but the barista looks confused and says they don’t carry that product.

your mother cries at night, but she won’t tell you why. you go to comfort her, but when you turn the lights on you’re in an empty room.

The Red Star

It happened late at night.

Steve had just been sitting on the couch in the living room, working on a new sketch in his sketchbook by the dim light of his dusty lamp when he heard it. It was faint, but he heard it clearly. It sounded like crying.  Not full on sobbing, more like whimpering, just a sniffle here and there, and the strange sound of something scraping on metal. He went still for a moment, the tip of his pencil coming to a stop on the paper, and he listened, just to make sure he had been hearing it right. The sounds only grew louder.

Curiosity sparking in his mind, Steve left his things on the coffee table and followed the sound, tracking it down the hallway to the locked door of the room on the left. Bucky’s room. Putting his ear to the door, he was now 100% sure that the noises were coming from him. Now concerned, Steve knocked gently on the door, called out tentatively.

“Bucky?”

No answer. He tried again.

“Buck? You alright in there?”

This time, Bucky answered, though not to Steve. More to himself. It was like Steve wasn’t even there, wasn’t listening by the door.

“У меня есть , чтобы очистить его . Я должен очистить себя .” Steve heard Bucky muttering through his crying, followed by the screeching sound of metal against metal. The noise only made Steve more worried; his goal to get to Bucky was that much more important.

“Bucky!” Steve said in a more frantic voice, trying not to alarm him but at the same time he couldn’t help the bit of panic in his voice. “Bucky, please open this door, it’s Steve.”

“Я должен очистить себя . Очистите этот рычаг ….. это оружие …” Bucky’s muttering seemed to be getting a bit loud, a bit more crazed. He hadn’t heard Steve, and god, Steve was scared out of his mind that he couldn’t hear him at all. Not that he was choosing not to hear Steve, no, Steve feared something else was making him not hear Steve.

“Bucky, listen to me, you’re with me, Steve, you know me. You’re safe with me. Bucky…please!” Steve pleaded desperately, now trying to twist and turn the doorknob, but it was no use. Damn Stark and his stupid upgrades. “Bucky!”

By this point, Bucky’s muttering turned to shouting, his crying turned to sobbing, and the scraping noises were screaming throughout the apartment. By this point, it seemed like Bucky was gone, that he’d finally pushed the limit. By this point, Steve truly was desperate.

Backing up against the wall, Steve looked up and down the door, praying silently that his plan would work. “Bucky, I’m coming in!” He tried shouting through the chaos, but of course, Bucky didn’t hear him. Steve breathed deeply, angled his shoulder, and ran straight into the door, crashing right through it in an explosion of splintery wood. He looked around dark room and pinpointed his gaze on the figure sitting in the far corner, still crying and shouting and screeching as if Steve hadn’t broken down the door. As if the rest of the world wasn’t there.

Quickly, Steve bounded towards him, but when he got to a couple feet before him, he was stopped by the sharp point of a kitchen knife. Immediately, he put his hands up, and his fast beating heart started racing, trying to get out of his chest. And Bucky looked up, letting the moonlight hit his face.

He looked awful. His dark circles were more prominent and his hair was tangled, looking as if he had been grabbing and pulling at it again. His right hand was shaking, the knife it was holding was trembling, but Steve wasn’t looking at the knife. He was looking at Bucky. But BUcky wasn’t looking at him. He was staring, dazed, off into some unknown place past Steve’s shoulder. His mouthing was moving, forming words, but no sound escaped his lips. Only his ragged breathing filled the room. Steve gulped, and chose his next words carefully.

“Bucky…please look at me.”

There was only a scared glance and he instantly set his eyes back to the place on the ceiling. He was afraid, but of what? Steve looked him over, trying to see if there were any wounds on his body, and he stopped short when he saw Bucky’s left arm. There, on his shoulder where the red star had been, was completely destroyed. The metal plating with the red star on it covering the delicate machinery underneath had been pulled straight off, revealing the sparking tech underneath. The red star was lying by Bucky’s foot, dented and smashed and crushed beyond repair. His arm….his shoulder…now Steve knew why he had heard those scraping noises…Bucky had been stabbing the arm with the knife. More importantly, he had been trying to remove the red star, the symbol for what he had done, who he was. 

He was trying to clean himself, remove his past in this petty, desperate attempt to forget his history.

Steve walked forward, and the shaking knife was held up higher, a warning to not get any closer, but he just sat down when he got close enough to Bucky. Without saying a word, he reached out and touched the destroyed area by the dangerously sharp edges. Bucky finally looked at him, and Steve finally saw. He saw the vulnerable look in his eyes, the haunted stare silently asking for help, for anything to get him to escape this mad world.

Without saying a word, Steve takes the knife, and Bucky lets him. Without saying a word, he opens his arms. Bucky falls into them, shaking, crying out 70 years worth of pain.

They stay there for the rest of the night, the dented red star glinting wickedly in the moonlight a few feet away.

3

Sakurai’s Daily Screenshot - October 1, 2014

“This is the Orbital Gate stage. This is a Wii U version-exclusive stage reenacting Team Star Fox’s defense of the Orbital Gate from an Aparoid missile attack.

Missiles are launched towards the Orbital Gate! The force field shields the machinery for a while, and the missiles eventually get shot down by team Star Fox. Overall, this stage feels like a ride. It’s pretty hectic, so hold on tight!

The Arwings are passing through the gate!  And the fighters hop on for a free ride!!” - Masahiro Sakurai

Party at the Chapel Bar

House music blared through the Mediterranean atmosphere, the music was brought over from some famous DJ new in London, the artists were from France it was actually not bad, it wasn’t any of that odd machinery the pop stars would use, it was the sort of music you’d listen to at a gay lounge in Chelsea. 

The lights were lit in an intimate way and everyone who’s anybody was there, Dan Radcliffe was getting me a drink he’s such a sweet guy and funny, we go on a lot of walks together and talk, but not as much as we used to with him living over in the Village now in the States.

I flirted a bit with Johnny Depp before I excused myself onto the balcony holding a shrimp cocktail, I fed off of that while I watched models tongue their boyfriends. Everyone was trying to talk to me, either to bonk or to snog or to be in their new campaign or commercial or movie, even though I kept reiterating to talk to my agent (My Aunt Annette). When I had enough fresh air and dodged the vultures, Dan got me my drink a Cosmopolitan and I sat down on a lovely seat from Greek design with my legs crossed in my risque dress holding the drink elegantly as I lifted a brow elegantly and parted my lips to giggle at what Rupert Friend said, sipping my delightfully sweet and yummy drink finally enjoying the evening.

Hilton Als reviews Benedict Andrews’s current revival of Jean Genet’s “The Maids”:

“Andrews’s edge is borrowed; we’ve already seen his use of video cameras, stylized choreography, soundtracks featuring popular ‘underground’ music, clear glass walls, overstuffed sets, and so on, first in the work of the avant-garde Flemish director Ivo van Hove and then in shows staged by the American director Jay Scheib. These are theatre artists of note, with an interest in how classic material does and does not play in the contemporary world. Unlike van Hove and Scheib, though, Andrews is in thrall to the machinery of culture—stars and sets and the like—and his enthusiasm stops short of where it should really count: the script itself.”

Photograph by Stephanie Berger

Love and city lust

Wandering alleys and veined speak easy streets
spill into the beating thud of City epidermis,
known over and over for carrying old men and old women,      
children through time, 
riders on the industrial river Styx.
Nature’s ancient language speaks material worship, big business, and commercial copulation in the rat race night, strange initiation and ritual silence through the abyss of city unknown.
Thank god for artists,
Thank god for jazz, 
spilling through the rising chaos and coarse facade of concrete wilderness. 
The rising solo, eyes closed, inward gripping, soul wrenched in passionate repose promises salvation, promises hope. 
The vibration of life, the roar of engines and machines outside, pumping in the static race for the American dream, curate in motion, the dawning age of dreamers, burnt out on the hard sold lie.
Breached headlights, reaching through the rainy night, burn for the warm solace of home. 
Somewhere in the heart of that cold machinery, 
undying fire promises return to the stars, 
a ride for you and your love through the roadway to the hovering skyway above.

-Jerry Harris III