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Arty Farty Friday: Ai Weiwei, Without Fear or Favour

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I’ve done quite a few Arty Farty Friday posts in the past few months, loosely interpreting what art is.

I’ve tried to cover a variety of topics, from artists and their paintings and origami to fashion and documentary films.

Today I’d like to suggest a documentary film about Ai Weiwei, one of China’s best knows artist, who is also regarded as the one of the most dangerous public figures.

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His work don’t reach the highest prices at auction, but he has become the face of human rights struggles in China.

  His criticism of the authoritarian regime has resulted in prison time and a ban on traveling without official permission.

The Chinese officials certainly have a problem with Weiwei.

On the one hand he is kept under house arrest, on the other he is the most noticeable artists of his generation that cannot be erased so easily, if nothing else he’s the architect who designed the Beijing Bird’s Nest stadium.

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If you’d like to read more about Weiwei, I suggest a brilliant article at Smithsonian.com.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy Without Fear or Favour and remember that art isn’t only about beauty or subjective emotions.

Tipping the Velvet, Pride and Prejudice with “naughty bits”

Just a quick word of warning.

I will be writing about homosexual themes in this post.

If it’s not something that you are comfortable with, you should give it a miss.

Although I am straight, I wholeheartedly support gay rights and anyone who leaves homophobic comments will literally feel my wrath.

So, keep it clean and don’t be mean!

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Every time I researched more costume dramas that would be in the vein of North and South or Pride and Prejudice, I’d come across Tipping the Velvet.

That’s not surprising seeing that the script for  P&P and Tipping were written by the same screenwriter Andrew Davis, although he described the latter as P&P with naughty bits.

It ended up on my shortlist as a Benedict Cumberbatch project and I finally watched it during the summer.

Word of warning, Ben is in it for just a few minutes and he plays a misogynistic so-and-so who tries to bully his way into his girlfriends pants, so if he’s the only reason you want to watch this series, you’re going to be disappointed…

Anyway, I’m not sure what I thought this story was about, but it certainly was unexpected.

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The 2002 BBC mini series is based on a novel by the same title written by Sarah Waters.

Had I know the slang meaning of the expression “tipping the velvet” I would have been tipped off regarding the plot (if you’re curious click here).

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Nan (Rachael Stirling), an 18-year-old oyster girl leads a seemingly ordinary life until she sees Kitty Butler (Rosie Kennedy Keeley Hawes), a male impersonator and performer, serenading woman on stage.

When Nan moves to London to become Kitty’s dresser, their friendship evolves into love and they develop a passionate physical relationship.

Nan joins Kitty on stage and they both achieve success as a duo act of male impersonators.

Life seems perfect for the two women.

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Unfortunately, like with many love stories, betrayal follows and Nan finds herself alone, destitute and struggling to make ends meet.

Although Tipping the Velvet describes a lesbian relationship, the concept of love leaving you devastated and heartbroken is universal.

The themes that appear in this story can be disturbing and yet the writers and producers manage to install a healthy dose of humour to make even the most bleak or absurd circumstances watchable.

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In many ways this is a story of self-discovery, a picaresque plot which describes the lower-class protagonist struggling in an unfamiliar urban setting,  experiencing adventures that they can only survive (semi) unscathed from with the help of their wit.

It’s also a bildungsroman story, a cautionary tale about coming-of-age and the important lessons the protagonist learns along the way.

You can watch the series (three episodes) on YT with Spanish subtitles:

After you’ve watched all the episodes, I recommend you check out the French and Saunders treatment of the series.

This clip featured possibly the most creative lesbian sex scene ever 😉

I haven’t read Tipping the Velvet, but it got me interested in other Sarah Waters stories.

There are other books that have been turned into movies and TV mini-series, like Affinity, or Fingersmith, which I haven’t finished watching yet.

I hope you enjoy today’s recommendation.

Arty Farty Friday: What could you do with a sheet of paper?

Have you heard about The RA Silent Auction?

The response has been amazing, but we’re still looking for items that can be auctioned off, so if you would like to do so please leave info in comments and I shall email you!

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Last week I missed Arty Farty Friday, but I will certainly make it up to you today.

What could you do with a sheet of paper?

I’d either write a list on it (shopping, books, post ideas) or I’d use it as a wrapper for my old chewing gum.

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The documentary Between the Folds shows what amazing things others can create using a single sheet and a gift of folding.

This is not merely a documentary about origami, believe me, I made that mistake and was discouraged until I had nothing better to watch.

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This beautiful documentary shows folding paper as a means to create art, solve mathematical puzzles, but also as means to making scientific breakthroughs that can influence the way we live our lives.

I dare you to watch it and not be compelled to at least learn how to fold the most basic origami shapes!

Here’s an instruction on how to fold an origami crane:

Origami-Crane

Summer Heights High… say what now?!?

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You know how I always say I appreciate The Hobbit for introducing me to new stuff and gorgeous men like Aidan Turner and Dean O’Gorman.

I wrote a post on The Almighty Johnsons and let me tell you, we’ve caught up on all the episodes aired to date in NZ (season 3 episode 11) and we are raptured by it.

I can’t freakin’ wait for more and I’m already mourning the fact that it’ll be almost a year before season 4 airs.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, all of the episodes are conveniently available on YT

That’s another reason why I love NZ, they don’t go all huffy and puffy about protecting their shows. Hear that USA?

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While we were chin-wagging on the issue of the Johnson boys, I asked KatharineD, my specialist on all things Down Under, to recommend more goodies from this previously untapped but apparently delicious source.

One of the recs was Summer Heights High.

Here’s what Katherine had to say:

“For off beat comedy, there’s a very clever one called Summer Heights High- I read somewhere that Dawn French got hold of it and thought it was brilliant- well written satire”.

I’m always up for a good recommendation, so I decided to give it a try.

One hardly knows where to begin 😉

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Firstly, if you’re a fan of the British The Office, The Catherine Tate Show or Little Britain, this is a MUST!

Fair warning, it’s cheeky, edgy, definitely off-beat, there are naughty words and controversial topics raised.

The above description ticks all my boxes for a comedy series but then my sense of humour is a required taste…

Summer Heights High is an Australian television mockumentary (where fictional stories are presented as documentaries) series, written by and starring Chris Lilley.

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It follows the lives of pupils at an Australian public school, especially three characters, all played by Lilley, and a supporting cast, many of whom are non-actors.

There’s the megalomaniacal “Director of Performing Arts” Mr G, a self-absorbed, privileged “it girl”  Ja’mie King, and disobedient, vulgar Tongan student Jonah.

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The series manages to be wickedly funny, while at the same time it explores what life as a teenager in an Australian public school is like, raising issues such as social cliques, bullying, teenage slang, stereotyping, profanity, racism, and homophobia.

It’s not for everybody, but for me it’s a gem 🙂

All 8 episodes are available on YT:

On growing a pair and listing some smutty fanfic just cos…

As you know, I’ve been spending too much lots of time on Tumblr.

One of my favorite things to do is go through the fanfic published there, and I know I’m not the only one (high-five to my smutty friends…).

I had been meaning to write a post on different variations of The Hobbit fanfic, but truth be told, it’s not for the fainthearted and I couldn’t be bothered to deal with stuff.

I’m very happy that Jas decided to post her favorite Aidean, Bagginshield, and Durincest stories, risking getting an earful from one or two  high and mighty readers expressing their dissatisfaction, who will inevitably stop by.

I cowered away from posting my own list, feeling like I really didn’t want to rock the proverbial boat.

So, in essence, I’ve tried to support any fellow blogger whose freedom of expression was questioned, but I shied away from posting what I really wanted out of fear of having to deal with some people.

Time to right this wrong and grow a pair!

Here’s the place where I give you fair warning.

The themes of the stories may be disturbing to some.

These are erotic stories, real people fics, slash and general NSFW and smut galore!

If any of these things don’t appeal to you, please go on your merry way and I hope to see you back here some other time 🙂

Please PLEASE don’t leave comments about how you disapprove of these sorts of things as you got plenty of warning beforehand!

Firstly, remember that you can track the different tags on Tumblr:

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Bagginshield

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Here’s a list of different fanfics that have caught my eye.

I don’t really have the habit of saving things on my computer, so it’s hard to say if these are the best of the bunch.

I have added a link to the authors, so you can check out other stories of authors who have caught your eye.

Please feel free to add links to other fanfics that you’d like to share 🙂

My choices are a bit heavy on Kili + Fili for obvious reasons, so I tried to get a bit of Thorin in there too, just to balance things out.

I’m not going to categorise the fanfic and pass judgment as to how smutty they may be, some are PG-13 fluff, others are right down dirty, so just assume you’re clicking on filth most of the time 🙂

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Durincest fic:

 To Love Only Once

Author: shinigami714

Dwarves only love once, and Fili and Kili discover they are meant for each other. But still they are brothers, and struggle with that knowledge. Getting intimate is…difficult to say the least. Fili/Kili, incest, sex.

Even in Death

Author: shinigami714

Fili and Kili survive the final battle and look forward to spending their lives together. However Thorin and Dis have other plans for the two brothers, and they do not take the news well. Fili/Kili, angst, incest, character deaths.

Squared

Author: sospes

It’s Fili’s birthday and thanks to Radagast’s tricks he gets double of what he wants most.

Spun Gold

Author:

Part 1 of The Bath Time Tales, Kili + Fili

Carved Ebony

Author:

Part 2 of The Bath Time Tales, Kili + Fili

Kisses for Braids

Author:

Fili messes his hair up on purpose so he can have Kili fix it for him.

A Really Unexpected Journey

Author:

Kili + Fili + Thorin. Nuff said…

Marked by Fate

Author:

Kíli comes of age, and is difficult about the whole thing.

Brothers Be

Author: shinigami714

Fili and Kili hate each other with a passion and fight constantly as a result. Thorin, annoyed at their stupidity sends the brothers on a task with the hope that they will solve their issues.

Muffled

Author:

Kili + Fili  and how do you miss a group of trolls stroll on by and take a couple of horses?

Chocolate (aka BOOM Threesome)

Author:

The Rivendell elves, either because they are dicks or because they don’t know any better, give the dwarves provisions for their trip which include chocolate. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac to dwarves, but since it’s so scarce not many dwarves are aware of this fact. Fili and Kili, the two youngest and most inexperienced dwarves, think nothing of eating the chocolate and Thorin is the one who gets to deal with the repercussions.

The World is Ahead (But Tonight We Rest)

Author:

The Dwarves settle in for the night at Bag End. In which Thorin is long suffering, Kili is a devious brat and Fili isn’t quite sure why he puts up with him.

Waterfall

Author: Theresa

Fili and Kili wash themselves as Thorin walks in  on them…

When Three is Company

Author:

Bilbo settles into a strange new routine with Fili and Kili, but finds himself dwelling on the younger’s comments at the springs…

Thorin:

A Princely Reward Part 1: Thorin/Dwarf who found the Arkenstone

Author: wicked_thorin

King Thror, as in gratitude, let’s the dwarf who found the Arkenstone name his price.
He choses a night in bed with the dwarven prince.

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Bagginshield:

Your Name Like Ink on my Skin

Author:

While Thorin has a tea cup and a tiny, beautiful B on his wrist (that he keeps covered at all times), Bilbo’s wrist is completely unmarked. This causes tension and misunderstanding until Thorin catches Bilbo with his back unclothed.

Punishment (aka BILBO GETS KINKY)

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Bilbo lips off, and Thorin has to punish him…

A Hobbit’s Business

Author:

In Rivendell, Bilbo Baggins receives a golden necklace from a certain dwarf, thus causing him to learn much more about dwarven courtship than he’s ever bargained for. And as they soon realize, curiosity and worse has taken both sides, thus changing the very fabrics of their journey.

Recovery, Redemption and Romance

Author:

When Thorin is injured in the Battle of the Five Armies, Bilbo surprises everyone with his healing abilities.
Then as Erebor starts to rebuild he continues to surprise people with his knowledge and skills. On top of everything else that is occurring there is a dwarf king and a hobbit who might be trying to court one another without the other knowing – while their companions are either helpful or confusingly gleeful.

RPF (Real life fiction):

Smart in a Stupid Way

A PG-13 Richard Armitage + Lee Pace fic.

Please add links to other fanfics you enjoyed in comments 🙂

Click on images to be directed to the source.

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