Requiescat in Pace, Jay Lake


Jay Lake was a very nice man who wrote really well and got dealt a bad hand. Personally I think Mainspring is one of the most interesting books published in the last fifteen years, and I wish I could have read more books set in that universe. Towards the end, Jay had trouble reading print, which had to have been the final indignity. However we had sent him some Girl Genius comics, and he discovered that he could comfortably read comics. We’re glad he found that out. Better luck next time, Sir.

This weekend we are going to be the Artists in Residence at the Brass Screw Confederacy ( which is in scenic Port Townsend. They are billing themselves as a “Steampunk Hootenanny”, but rest assured that one does not have to be overly attached to either goats nor owls to have a good time.

Took the Experiments to see the play ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ the other day. It was their first taste of musical theatre, and they enjoyed it quite a bit.

Kaja and I got into a rather interesting discussion about it afterwards. She said that it was obviously written by an elitist East Coaster, as she felt there was a lot of mocking of the lower class. (I will say now that there are people who say that we don’t have ‘classism’ here in America. They are full of crap. It’s not as blatant as it is in England, say, but it totally exists, and the only people who say it doesn’t are politicians) I can see how she might see it that way, but I saw the play in its original run off–off Broadway in 1982. A lot of what she saw as classism, was, in the original production, merely mocking the at the time universal mores of the 1950’s. In 1982, the classic ’50’s was less than 30 years ago. Most of the theatre going audience lived through that time and easily remembered the fashions, household products and advertising slogans with which the show is peppered.

It’s now 22 years later. The ‘Fifties’ happened almost 60 years ago. Fashion has gone into a sort of free fall. Certainly there are distinctive fashions that are tied to a particular time, but these days, you can wear almost anything, so when Audrey, the female lead, talks about her outfits, we still laugh, but not because they’re an embarrassing reminder of what people were wearing a few years ago and possibly still have hanging in the back of your closet, but because it is a style that one sees in common usage amongst a certain subset of the lower class. Now I know that good art should age in such a way that newer audiences can still finds things about it that resonate with them, but I’m pretty darn sure this wasn’t something Menken & Ashman had in mind. Not really sure where to go with this, but I thought it a mildly interesting observation.