Spring has arrived or, as Robin Williams aptly put it, "Spring is nature's way of saying, 'Let's party!'" You can see the grass thrusting out of the ground, flowers spreading their pollen so indiscriminately, and animals in heat putting out their scent. Many members of the animal kingdom use pheromones to signal their intent, to perpetuate their genetic code, or stated simply, to fuck. While there is some debate about the existence of human pheromones, most biologists say that if they exist, they really aren't that influential. Being human, if nature didn't provide, we provide for ourselves with Science! Chemistry, botany, zoology mixed together with creativity and an understanding of passion. Some of the best people in the perfume business who understand this mad dance of heady science and base desire are Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. It is in their Lupercalia release that they let their freak flag fly and have perfumes to attract the interest and inflame the passion of the object of your desire. What you do after that is your own affair but let me just say that sweat does intensify the effect.
(Widge's Note: Scott turned it in late and life fell on me and I made it more late. So it's on me. But regardless, some people want to celebrate Xmas year-round, so I guess this is for them. I celebrate Halloween year-round so I can't judge. Much. Weirdos.)
Yeah I know, the Christmas Black Phoenix post is late. First off, it does celebrate all of winter, not just Christmas and since's it's still winter, it's not really late. Second... yeah Krampus. Knowing it was that time again, I had scheduled a few days for our usual carnal extravaganza. The thing I didn't account for is Krampus' increased popularity. Krampus festivals have increased in the U.S. and of course there's the recent movie. So Krampus awareness is on a all-time high. It seems that with anthropomorphic representations, more belief doesn't just give them more power, it gives them more stamina, if you know what I mean. I knew with that special glint in his eye and the suggestive way he was flicking his tongue that I was in for a wild ride. He took me to places that I didn't know existed, it was like being on LSD and Viagra at the same thing. First he (WIDGE: this is where you can put something about having to edit my long winded and pornographic description because of length and you're a prude. Just kidding). Widge's Note: Nah, it's much funnier to leave your note in as it stands. So it took me a while longer to recover than from the usual cuts and bruises.
But I have recovered and I'm ready to tell you about Black Phoenix's Yule perfumes. Since I've been back in my right mind, I realize that Christmas has always been weird around here... I mean besides Krampus. When you can be out in shorts and a T-shirt on Christmas Day, your festive spirit can get a little confused. It always doesn't help that 'Christmas' items have been available on store selves since before Halloween. I'm not wanting a Burl Ives/Norman Rockwell fantasy, but maybe I want something with a bit more heft than the Steam Christmas game sale. Maybe that's why I like the Yule perfume lines, you can connect to different winter traditions and even experience the aroma of a winter wonderland. The perfumers manage to give us equal parts reverence for the season and a knowing sense of the ridiculous. So let us enter that landscape that Black Phoenix conjures with its quiet snow, decorated trees and the sound of sleigh bells in the distance.
The new Uber: uncomfortable seating but bypasses all the traffic...
Widge's Note: No idea what Scott's on about here, it's still twelve days until 3rd Halloween. Hope everybody is enjoying decorating their trees with black lights and a magnificent Cthulhu tree topper. Anyway, here's Scott.
I have something to admit. Halloween got away from me. Real life can be relentless. We've had like two or three actually cold days this fall in my part of Florida. I had assignments from a couple of programming courses so my nights were filled with Java not with ghosts and demons; I had a Mickee Faust Club show that ended on Halloween so my costumes were for stage not for a party. And right after I had a chest cold from Hell so I was somewhat occupied. The scariest thing I did was handle a massive prop burger made from dog food, sawdust, and... other things. Long story. But you-know-who helps keep that spirit going long after the Halloween candy on sale has been sold. That's right: Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. So come with me as we peruse the perfumes and keep Halloween going for a little while longer.
First up, we have the Walt Disney Short Films Collection on DVD and Blu-Ray. It has twelve animated shorts on it, ranging from 2000's "John Henry" to the recent "Frozen Fever." First, the good news. They're Disney animated shorts. They're that thing that, no matter how many times I go see a Disney film these days, I keep forgetting they're preceded by one of these. So, thanks to my goldfish-esque memory, it's a delightful surprise every time. Granted, your mileage may vary as to how these individual shorts play with you personally. The further good news is that these are the Blu-Ray debuts (as far as I can tell) for some of these, such as "Henry" and "Lorenzo." And because they're all recent animation, they look and sound fantastic in the hi-def format. The downside is that this has a number of repackaged shorts you probably own on previous releases, although if you're a short-form animation enthusiast, then getting the debuts will probably offset that. There are never enough extras for me, but in this case, you get a short animation featurette and super-brief intros on all of the films. Commentary tracks would have been most welcome. The brilliantly wrong "Runaway Brain" was, I had thought, supposed to be included as a BD debut, but it's instead a digital-only release.
'Does it hurt when you drink decaf?' 'Every time.'
Hugh Jackman is one badass individual. Not only has his Wolverine been too awesome for any of the movies he has featured in, but he sings, he dances, he produces and seems to be an all-around nice guy. Did you know he was a coffee achiever? I didn't. And I know you might be thinking: Widge, everybody likes coffee. Even the people who say they don't, it's just because they haven't found their coffee yet. And yes, dear friend, I agree with you. But Jackman is taking it to another level.
The question on everyone's lips is: when is HBO Now going to be released to everybody but Apple TV? The next question on everyone's lips is: how do you get someone to take a sip of what you're offering when the Internet is a damned firehose.
What one person can do, another can do...presumably. There's one way to find out: go to people who've apparently been able to do it and get answers from them. That's what Team Need Coffee members J.J. Hawkins and Aaron Fever want to do with their documentary Standing Out in the Crowd. Among the targets of their documentary: Prof. John Hodgman, Jonathan Coulton, Bill Corbett, some crazy zombie artist named Len Peralta, and Friend of Need Coffee Joseph Scrimshaw.
They need your help. Go check out [...]
Spring has finally arrived and with it signs of life: pollen everywhere, animals in heat, and people contemplating matters both romantic and carnal. And yes, people are always considering these matters to be sure, but it occurs with more frequency without the winter chill to distract everyone. There are many festivals to celebrate the return of vigor to the soil and to our loins. The ancient Roman festival Lupercalia comes to mind for some reason.
In this festival, priests would run around the city, striking women's hands with thongs made from sacrificial animals. This would somehow help women get pregent and ease their childbirth pain. (Don't ask me why, religion is confusing.) The festival also indirectly honors both Mars and Venus. Venus is obvious, with celebrants wanting fertility--which was a big selling point in the ancient Roman marriage market. Lupercalia also honors the she-wolf that suckled the twins Romulus and Remus--founders of Rome and sons of Mars. Mars and Venus had far more in common with each other than their modern interpretation--more yin and yang than opposing forces. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab explores this intertwining with their Ode to Venus and Ode to Mars. We expose these two below...and I think you will find it tantalizing.
[[ More This Way... ]]
The Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes, must be one of the most scrutinized characters in fiction. Appropriate for someone who excels in observation and analysis. Study of the residents of 221B Baker Street and dissecting their stories is known as the Sherlockian game or more simply The Great Game. People regularly debate the location of Watson's Afghan war wound (leg or shoulder) and Watson's first name (John or James). Many have tried to determine Sherlock's lineage, his university, and even his sexual preference. No detail is too minute for scrutiny. Since I have been writing about Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab a lot, something occurred to me. There seems to be a major aspect of speculation missing: what did Sherlock Holmes smell like?
Ah Christmas (or alternative winter festival of your choice) time. An occasion where all are united in that most special and glorious of emotions: Fear.
You thought I was going to say joy or happiness, didn't you? Now, joy is there, don't get me wrong. But if we are honest with ourselves, Christmas is almost as scary as Halloween. Think about it. As a kid, you were terrified that Santa would judge you as naughty and what's worse, now kids have to worry about that fucking Elf On A Shelf. Seriously, why don't they just make the Sugar CCTV Fairy? As an adult, you fear forgetting getting a gift for someone or getting the wrong gift. You're afraid of what the holiday season is doing to your bank balance and credit rating. You're afraid that your aunt will get drunk and try to molest you or your uncle will argue that Obama is a atheist Muslim lizard Illuminatus or whatever he picked up from talk radio.
As always, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab is here to help you embrace the festive fear instead of being overwhelmed by it with aromatic perfumes that will help you face your fears and permit it to pass over you and through you. Only you will remain. Well, you and the extra pounds would get from the Christmas spread but you can deal with that in the New Year. But at least you'll smell nice!
At dawn on November 1st, an explosion goes off in stores across America. Not a chemical or nuclear bomb: a festive bomb. Yes, retailers in their greed and desperation start those jingles and deck the aisles with holly, mistletoe, and every bit of Christmas crap their perverse consumer product researchers can envision. I don't care what the "official" story is, The Elf On The Shelf was imagined by a toy executive after a 72-hour Hunter S. Thompson-inspired drug and hooker binge. This holiday madness has overrun Thanksgiving or The Day Before Black Friday (or Mauve Thursday or whatever the hell it's called). It is only the dark occult power of Halloween that has stopped its advance. Speaking of Halloween, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab gives you the scented tools to grab a little territory from the Kringle-Industrial Complex. Follow us as we peruse the aromatic armory from Black Phoenix. Because Halloween is always in our hearts. It can also be in our noses.