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Before television and the radio, and in an era of poorly-distributed literacy when the theatre was sometimes illegal (and always disreputable) you had to make your own fun.
Unless you were very very wealthy; then you could pay other people to make your fun for you!
A reading party might be one such thing, getting a new author to read their latest work of verse. It's causing quite a stir--some critics say it contains veiled criticisms of the King, while others say that no, it contains a satire on the Church, as cunningly hidden as it is blasphemous.
The dissolute Lord Barstead is always willing to fund such outrageous artists.
But what good is a shocking subversion of society's values without some Society to be scandalized? The gouty Squire and the parson are, naturally, invited. And that means vast quantities of rum punch and sherry. Also a nurse for the Squire's latest brat, as his lady wife is taking a rest cure.
And of course, an extra special guest, a scintillating conversationalist, duelist, and ex-privateer laden down with the wealth of the Carolinas. Here's Lord Flashheart! (Pirate Lord, 03635a.)
(There is, of course, a bitter rivalry between the Lords, and certainly both of them will be intriguing against the other.)
Oh, and of course the domestic staff is on hand. Who let that pig in, anyway?
In addition to several kegs of the controversial "tobacco" (the fame of which is sweeping the nation), Lord Flashheart has also brought a scientific curiosity, an exotic bird from Foreign Lands taken from a Dutch merchant vessel. He loudly and drunkenly proclaims it to be the ugliest [blasphemous oath] chicken he's ever seen.
All in all, an occasion that will be gossiped about for months to come.
The corpulent Squire, the Nurse, the Hog Maid, and the Man of Letters, as well as the tables and chairs and china, are from Eureka's Captive Audience. It's value for money. We've seen the Parson and the Socialites, along with Lord Barstead, before. They are from NorthStar 1672. Keen eyes will notice a certain Entrance, 77640, features prominently in the Barstead estate.
The scrubby Western desert. Early morning. The weather is clear, and Meyer Herrick, impresario and director has a FULL schedule.
Jimmy Ishikawa, cameraman and technician, makes sure the machinery is all running smoothly.
Grips and stagehands haul on setpieces for the first shoot of the day--a period epic of Egyptian palace intrigue.
Clapper and general assistant Eddie Green makes sure breakout star Clara Haroutian is prepared and familiar with her blocking.
And here's the Old Man himself, shouting as usual!
CUT! After several takes, Meyer is at least temporarily satisfied, and ready to shoot the next scene the studio needs, a bit of Greek tragedy. Once a darling of the limelight and the boards, Gordon Audifax is now a drunken has-been, taking a last shot at fame with the detested motion-pictures that stole his livelihood. Still a pro though!
And with that segment finally wrapped and in the can (after much hollering and greasepaint touch-ups) the great director moves on from Illuminating Art to the stuff that keeps the lights on at the studio: stock Westerns.
Rio Wilson and Miguel Alvarez trade squibs and quips that will later be written on title cards.
CUT! You dash-blanking dod-durned dunderheads! Props knew we needed a castle wall backdrop for the swashbuckling scene, where the blue blinking blanked blazes is it?!
Someone's gonna get fired so hard they won't never work in this town again!
Ah well, we make do. The show must go on! Change the schedule, we'll take five and shoot the soliloquy today instead of tomorrow. Close-up shot, Jimmy!
Aaand cut! That's going to be lunch. Check back in with Makeup after and we'll get through the rest of the dance number and the saloon scene!
More pix if you need:
This is an excellent pulp-era set; the old-timey camera is very detailed, and the spotlights can really swivel up and down. The director I wanted to look like a coarse, vulgar man with an unerring instinct for what audiences want to see, and I think the godawful check suit gets that across. Eddie and Jimmy have a lot of character in their postures and poses. Their presence immediately recontextualizes whatever scene is on display.
Rio and Miguel and one of the stagehands are from Murch's Pulp Figures; the other stagehand is Artizan's Mr. Price. They and Clara (Egyptian Priestess, 03506, without baboon as Herrik refuses to work with monkeys) have been featured before, some of the first figures I posted here in fact.
Gordon (Socrates, 50135) was painted so long ago I forget if I posted him separately or not.
Edward Dumond (02775) and Hasslefree's Maika vom Ostwald are more recent and may well show up again!
Patrick Keith's monocular Illyrians are delightful, and I've painted up a few of the stubby little fellas for my SPACEFUTURE setting. Then I came across Eureka's Creeps and knew they belonged to the same universe. I feel like the Creeps occupy about the same position in Illyrian evolution as particularly vile baboons do in ours.
A clutch of eggs? Not quite.
Horrible little spawn, all eye and mouth, work their way out of their buried larval stage.
The adults in the troop bark and yelp with excitement at this successful metamorphosis!
Some Little Creeps with Illyrians (incl. 50129, Scout) for comparison:
Oh great, the commotion has roused some of the underground beasts on this cycloptic world!
Gonna have to suit up to deal with this.
And here we see contact with Away Team Red of the Galacteers (feat. 50150, Betty)
These Little Creeps are just horrible disgusting brutes and I love them. All the danger and ravening hunger of a starved piranha, and all the boundless enthusiasm of an untrained puppy. They also come in Medium and Large, but I like the halfling size of these guys. Great canvases for eyeball practice, too! I may have to get a few more.
A return to the Weird West setting! These ladies are wonderful townsfolk, or suitable for magic-users or fancy rogues. The young lady in orange is from Eureka (one of their Hyde Park Hypostyle figures if memory serves), while the ones in yellow and pink are from Reaper's Victorians (80068. The Victorian gentleman is still in progress, on the back burner).
More angles, but the sun was not quite right
And a guest! 80065, the Physician.
Eureka has a line of "Boiler Suit Apes." In this line, there is a collection of cosmonaut APES IN SPACE. What, am I made of stone?! Of course I had to get them.
Uplifted apes are often used in the spacefuture as cheap, durable labor during the terraforming process--under the watchful eye of the Earth government, of course. Many work with bioengineered soil-tilling arthropods. Here are some scenes of a few of them overseeing the cultivation of a Neptunian moon. The gourdfruit trees are already coming along nicely.
There are some rumors that the Space Apes have an underground separatist movement, resentful of their proper status as second-class citizens, and that they might try claiming some of their exoplanetary habitats as their own birthright, bought with the sweat of their low, beetling brows and the strength of their hairy, hairy arms. But who would believe such wild tales of our loyal, friendly helpers?
Anyway, here's Taskforce Leader Aperella. A Charisma implant helps her keep her workers in line.
And the Stakhanovite albino neogorilla Bonzo. He has the strength of ten men and the work ethic of at least five! Look at those bared teeth. That's the smile of job satisfaction.
And here's Charlie. Always a curious fellow, that one. Chief Arthropod Wrangler. It's uncanny the way he can almost communicate with those buggers.
Meet Diana! Diana oversees the environmental controls. It's a little warmer than the humans like in here, Diana, and the humidity is off by about 10 percent! She's doing her best, though, bless her. Keep up the good work, Diana!
And last but certainly not least, Eddie. We've tried to get him to stop shambling, but old habits, you know! Eddie is a good worker, but did you know he actually failed his intelligence test? The psychologist administering it said the only way to score that low was to deliberately *try* to flunk! Poor, simple Eddie.
And here's the whole gang!
Wait--why do they have the emergency gauss rifles? And what's Cosmo doing here? W...What are you doing, fellows? ...Pals?
Edit: New arrival, Gordy!