Monday, May 27, 2013


So I've actually finished a few things in the last couple of days, so it's time to resume reviewing!

This is the first in Delaney's "Wardstone Chronicles" although it's not marked as such in the U.S. It's technically young adult lit, but that's OK with me; sometimes the YA market has the most solid examples of chiller writing that doesn't wallow in sex and gore. (Check out the works of John Bellairs if you don't believe me.)

This series also has something of a dissociative-identity disorder, as in the UK (where it was first published) it was simply called The Spook's Apprentice. Obviously, the word "spook" has certain connotations in the U.S., so they had to make it a bit more dramatic and palatable by calling the series "The Last Apprentice" and then throwing in new this case, Revenge of the Witch. However, it's a bit specious as the term "spook" is thrown about pretty freely in the text, although it has no racial implications.

Tom Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son, and as such can see ghosts, ghasts, and other supernatural beings. He's nominated to be the next apprentice of the Spook, who's a sort of freelance exorcist and supernatural troubleshooter, someone needed in their world but also a social outcast. Tom isn't sure about this, and about leaving his home farm, but his mother encourages him. He and the Spook set off across "the County", which is based on Lancashire in the UK, and appears to be in a sort of amorphous past era that could be anywhere from medieval to the early 19th century.

The Spook puts him through some tests to gauge his nerve, and educates him on what's involved in the job. The Spook keeps imprisoned witches in his garden, as it's too dangerous to kill them, and also teaches him about boggarts and ghouls and other charming denizens of the night. Tom also befriends an odd girl, Alice, who might be a witch...or just a trainee. And what are the strange requests she's making?

Revenge of the Witch is a good zesty read, a fun companion on a windy night. The characters are well-etched and the milieu is fascinating. It's hard to tell if this is meant to be a detached, separate fantasy world or a sort of twisted vision of England, and what the exact time period it's supposed to be. The chills are chilling, and while not overtly gruesome they're creepy enough. I had fun with this, and am looking forward to reading the others. (There's 11 books right now, with one coming out next month and another next year. And a movie in the works as well.)

Highly recommended, especially for the Junior Dusties out there.

Monday, May 20, 2013

May's Night Out at the Cinema!

It's a warm, wet night in May as we assemble yet again, catching up on the events in our lives, full of tales of the great finds we made in thrift shops and used book stores, experiences at concerts and shows, or just unexpected good times in museums or parks or any other place we found ourselves.

We finish up dinner and wander down the street to our favorite theater for another night at the movies...

First up is a 1911 bon-bon from George Melies, "Baron Munchausen's Dream."

And the main feature is the 1932 classic "The Most Dangerous Game," in all its glory.

The show's over, and we adjourn to the cafe down the street for a drink...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

D&C's DC: Elton Cemetery

The abandoned, neglected cemetery is something some folks think of with delight, something to explore, an adventure waiting to happen. It's either a great spot for sketching or a great spot for black magic rituals, and everything in between.

Recent, I visited Elton Cemetery, a forgotten burying ground that's the only remnant of the long-gone town of Triadelphia, which now lies drowned under the waters of the Triadelphia reservoir in Maryland.

 Elton Cemetery is small and decaying; I first visited it about 10-15 years ago and recall more stones standing than there are now. Go visit if you want to take some fun photos or some notes for a scene in your story.

Elton Cemetery is located in the Triadelphia Recreation Area. If you're in DC, take Georgia Avenue north, through Silver Spring, Wheaton, Olney, and Brookeville. (Brookeville is a charming village worth exploring; park the car on a side street and take a stroll.) Once you pass the intersection with New Hampshire Avenue (Rt 650), turn right on Triadelphia Lake Road (signs will point to the recreation area). The road goes sharply downhill to the boat ramp and parking for the recreation area; don't go there. Instead, just before it dips, there's a parking area on the right. Park there and follow the trail, which leads to Elton Cemetery.

You can also find it by taking Rt 97 south from I-70. If so, I still recommend going south to Brookeville to look around. Great area.
This abandoned garden store is along Georgia Ave, south of Elton Cemetery. I couldn't help but stop and take a photo.
This is one of those hidden areas of the U.S. that may disappear in future years...go visit if you can.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dust & Corruption Calendar for May 2013

May is a month of immense promise and huge frustration. It's the unofficial start of the summer holiday season, and you can't help but feel restless and yearning for some adventure. At the same time, you'll still have to deal with uneven weather, with blistering hot days one week and bone-freezing cold the next. And you still have school, and work. One thing I detest about Responsible Adulthood is no longer having three months off in summer.

As always, the Observatory in Brooklyn, NY, has a schedule of fascinating talks and workshops.

And Atlas Obscura always lists interesting things in different cities.

Saturdays: Speakeasy Saturdays continue at The Big Hunt; shows start at 9:00, and every Saturday is something different.

5/9 - Swami YoMahmi Presents: Star Trek vs. Star Wars! Burlesque, comedy, and sideshow, and should be a lot of fun. The Bier Baron, 1523 22nd St NW, Washington, DC. Doors 8pm, showtime 9pm; tix $10 at the door.

5/10 - Monster Movie Double Feature: Return of the Creepshow. Horror-themed burlesque and fun, hosted by Buster Britches, that devilish doyenne of the dark. Gallery 5, 200 W. Marshall St, Richmond, VA. Door 8pm, showtime 9pm. Tix $10 advance, $15 at the door; buy 'em here.

 5/10 - Tilted Torch: Celebritease. My pals at Tilted Torch pull off a fundraiser for the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend Legends Challenge, with an array of talent from DC, Richmond, and Baltimore. At the Bier Baron again. Doors 7:30, showtime 9:00. Tix $10 advance, $12 at the door.

5/11 - KNOCKOUTS! The VA vs. DC Tassel Tussle! Richmond's best square off against DC's finest. Who is the best? Hosted by Dev L. Ish and my pal Hot Todd Lincoln, and starring Cherokee Rose, Mourna Handful, The Red Huntress, Crickett, Deanna Danger, Moxie LaBouche, Melody Magpie, and The Muse. (I have to say, Melody Magpie cracks me up.) The Bier Baron, doors 7:00, showtime 9:00; tix $10 advance and $12 at the door.

5/17 - Burlesque Luau and Tropical Shindig! Valentine Candy Burlesque presents a tropical-themed show, with Reverend Valentine, Candy del Rio, Velvet Kensington, Kinikia LK, and hosted by Kittie Glitter. Chief Ike's Mambo Room, 1725 Columbia Rd NW, Washington, DC. Doors 8:30, showtime 9:00; tix $10.

5/18 - 2013 Gaithersburg Book Festival. I've been attending this every year, and always have a good time. Readings, authors,'s a book-fiend's paradise. My pal Garrett Peck will be giving a talk. 10am to 6pm, on the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall, Gaithersburg, MD. Admission free.

5/27 - Memorial Day in the U.S. Enjoy a picnic or something.

As always, if you know of something, let me know. Go out there and have fun!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Fifth Anniversary Musical Interlude!

It's Dust & Corruption's fifth anniversary! (OK, it was really last night, but I was working on another project and was completely distracted.)

In honor of the occasion, I'm going to share a song I've always been fond of..."With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm"!

Here's hoping for another five years!