¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


The Lovely Robots of Machinarium

I'm not much of a gamer, though I'll admit I've been sucked in more than once by an addictive puzzle game (ahem, Dr. Mario). But sometimes, a rare game comes along that's so lovely to look at, I just want to lose myself in the world of it. Machinarium is such a game.

The blogosphere has been gushing over this one since its mid-October release, so I'm not the first one to fall for it - you can read about it on my beloved Coilhouse, on Boing Boing, and countless game review sites. But the attention is well-deserved ~ it's a worthy play, my friends.

Within the first few moments of the game, I was smitten with my earnest little robot character. The quirky sound design and luminous, eerie soundtrack are enchanting. The point-and-click simplicity belies the game's depth, delightful intrigue, and humor.

But the the real magic of Machinarium is in the way it pulls you in to its entirely hand-drawn, gorgeously detailed, arcane world of decaying metal. You must slow to a snail's pace to enjoy the beauty of your surrounds, pull each lever and touch every gear to solve the sometimes maddening logic puzzles of all varieties...

An interview with Jakub Dvorsky, founder of Amanita, the Czechoslovakian company that makes the game, reveals that the company's fanciful first release, Samarost, was created as his thesis project in 2003. Like Machinarium, Samarost is a whimsical puzzle game, with every small action compelling a chain of Rube Goldberg-esque events.

I haven't even fully explored the rich post-apocalyptic environs of Machinarium, and already I'm feeling sad to finish it, reluctant to go back to the break-neck pace of my own world. For a chronically busy multi-tasker like myself, Machinarium is more than a diversion ~ it's a lovely respite. I highly recommend it.


CoutureLust: Blasphemina's Closet

I'd harbor a guess that many of my readers are familiar with the Lolita style. If not, meet Samantha Rei, proprietress of Blasphemina's Closet. Samantha takes the girlish ruffles and neo-Victorian sensibility of Lolita style and makes it sumptuously couture.

(Image: Photosynthetique)

She curates the annual Schoolgirls and Mobilesuitsfashion show, and her luxe creations can be seen at New York's Dances of Vice. And good news for dandies... she's got a men's line, too.

(Image: Fairytale Vegas)

Samantha is based in Minneapolis, and along with previous CoutureLust featuree Heather Luca of Scoundrelle's Keep and Megan Bishop of Apatico, founded the Libertine Asylum, a "society for the spread of fanciness, hedonism, indulgence and beauty." Ah, ladies after my own heart. Let's see what's behind the flounces in Blasphemina's Closet...

(Image: Photosynthetique)

How would you describe yourself and your style of work?

I generally stick to classic and gothic lolita. Lolita fashion is a style that gained popularity in Japan and has taken hold as a relevant subculture worldwide. It has a lot of basis in Victorian and Rococo fashion as well as certain other influences like stories, sweets and other subcultures.

Two of the best sites for info are Avant Gauche and Lolita Fashion.

(Image: Photosynthetique)

I also tend to do neo-Victorian and aristocrat menswear and for fun and friends, wa-lolita.

Where do you find inspiration?

Books and movies. Usually, whatever I'm reading at the time or movies I've been enthralled with each season inspire my next line. Music, too. I'm not really into sweet style, and since that's what's in right now, I don't tend to be inspired by the Japanese brands as much as I used to.

(Image: Aesthetic Alchemy)

This year, I've been inspired by Snow White as illustrated by Arthur Rackham (he's a HUGE inspiration in my life), Little Red Riding Hood, Josephine Bonaparte, story book villains, the poetry of John Wilmot, the films Gangs of New York and From Hell, Japanese illustrator Mihara Mitsukazu, regency era fashion plates, Valkyries, and as always, Alice in Wonderland.

(Find more links to Samantha's favorites at the end of the post.)

What do you do besides design amazing clothes?

I make fascinators and jewelry. I love that! It's one of those things where I do it in my spare time, then sell it later. I can spend time making one piece pretty. It's like meditation. Also, I love to read. If I'm not working, which is most hours of most days, I'm reading or watching crime shows.

(Image: Scoundrelle's Keep Imagery)

What was the most challenging piece you've designed / made?

I had to make five bridesmaid and one flower girl dress out of bright red dupioni silk. They all needed to look the same, but be made to fit each girl. It was very tough, because half the girls didn't actually live in town. I was working on this while finishing a piece for my best friend to wear at her wedding and her sister's bridesmaid dress, all had to be done that week because they were both getting married on the same day. That was stressful, but everyone was beautiful!

(Image: Photosynthetique)

What are three things that please you the most in the world?

Books, history and family.

How did you get your start making clothes?
My mother taught me to use a sewing machine when I was about 13 (early 1990s). I got into design shortly after that. I used to hand sew clothes for my Barbies for something to do. I didn't really "play Barbies" right. But I really got gung-ho into designing when I was in early high school. I started with my own clothes, then with practice styles, then made prom dresses for friends. The first year I did that, I made two dresses for friends for like $100 each. I was so proud! Shortly after beginning college, I started my Web site :)

(Image: Erin Nicole Johnson)

What piece of work are you most proud of?

It's a tie between showing my collection PULP at Dances of Vice in Spring of 2009 and a black and blue silk wedding dress I made for a Halloween wedding this year. I was so proud of that collection, I hadn't done a gothic line in ages and it looked so cohesive and elegant. And the wedding dress made the bride look radiant. I love creative clients who just let me go! I can't choose...

(Image: Photosynthetique)

Where can we find your line?
On the internet, at conventions (check out my ongoing con schedule for 2010!) and every once in a while in spots around Minneapolis.

List some of the top books, music, and movies that you've enjoyed recently...

Monster Blood Tattoo
Valiant:A Modern Tale of Faerie
Barnaby Grimes
A Lion Among Men
Seeing Redd
A Series of Unfortunate Events

Musical inspiration this year!
World Inferno
Rasputina (My favorite band since high school!)
Circus Contraption
Gogol Bordello
Amanda Palmer
Dr. Steel
Emilie Simon
The Builders and the Butchers

Gangs of New York
From Hell
The Libertine
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Moulin Rouge

Thanks so much, lovely Samantha! We'll be off down one of those fabulous interwebs rabbit holes now to find more inspiration from your links... just like Alice.

...Read the full interview...