January 12, 2015

Magical Changes...


Hear Ye, Hear Ye! This is an official proclamation to all our fans that Timeless Tales has formed an alliance with Once Upon a Blog! For many years, Gypsy at Once Upon a Blog has been faithfully serving her followers the most up-to-date fairytale news and soon we will be partnering up with OUAB as our official blog.



We've been planning this for nearly a year now and it's exciting to be so close to making it a reality. We are still working out a few details before the official switch, so stay tuned!

December 31, 2014

Happy 1 Year Anniversary to Timeless Tales

As the world rings in 2015, we here at Timeless Tales Magazine are lighting a candle to celebrate our first birthday. That's right, we published Issue #1 exactly one year ago. To celebrate, we are releasing a special 2nd Edition of Issue #1. Here's what's new:


  1. New Cover: Nothing major, but we did a little sprucing to the main cover. 
  2. The "Download as PDF" feature actually works now: All year, we've been trying to fix this bug and I think we've finally found a workaround. For those who don't know, each story used to fit on a single page, with a scrolling feature, but the scrolling didn't translate to the pdf and so the stories got cut off. We ended up getting rid of the scrolling feature, which means that your pdfs will now be complete.
  3. MORE Covers: We had such a positive response to all the custom covers we made for the Twelve Dancing Princesses issue that when we spruced up the main Puss and Boots cover, we decided to design individual covers for all the stories--these graphics take forever to create, so if you want the same treatment for Pandora's Box, be vocal about it...Tahlia may need the extra motivation.

Well, what do you think?! 







December 29, 2014

Our "Into the Woods" Review

Review written by Tahlia Kirk


Back when I was a freshman, I played an evil stepsister in my college's production of Into the Woods, so when I heard Disney was filming a movie version, I really was excited...well, excited and scared.




Sidenote: When I use "The Original" version of Into the Woods, I am referring to the recorded 1991 production with Bernadette Peters. There are several other stage versions, (like the 2012 version with Amy Adams) that are worth checking out, but the 1991 version is the famous one. 


For those of you who aren't familiar with Into the Woods or musicals in general, I think this movie is a fantastic introduction to both. By the audience's surprised laughter, I could tell that most of them weren't familiar with the musical, and it was a joy to vicariously experience the humor with them. On the surface level, the movie is witty and entertaining, with a vibrant cast all around. The movie totally nails the first act, but gets a little muddled in Act 2. The plot gets fragmented and the musical numbers slow--ending on somber note (compared to the original's peppy curtain closer). 




For fans of the musical, you'll be happy to hear that despite much controversy over songs being cut, I thought the Into the Woods movie content was quite faithful to the original. I won't go into the play-by-play of what was included/omitted, but as long as you aren't a purist, I think you'll be content. If your favorite moment or song was cut, I suspect there's a good chance they'll put them in the dvd's bonus features. For me, it was money well spent and I'm delighted that more people will be humming Sondheim's wonderful tunes this year. 




Sidenote #2: If you enjoy seeing musicals brought to film, be aware that Hollywood doesn't consider them a good investment. Many Broadway shows have flopped when filmed, even those that deserved to succeed. Possibly because fans with the stage version are often overly critical of the movie. So if you want to see...oh, let's say, Wicked, on screen, consider showing Hollywood that it's worth their money. Just a thought. 

EXTRA ANALYSIS (Spoilers below)

Let's just take a second to talk about Into the Woods' PG rating. Because it's rather unique considering that the trend seems to be taking "nice" fairytales and turning them dark and edgy (Snow White and the Huntsman, Maleficent, the Grimm tv show are all in the PG-13 range). 



So it's rather counter-culture for Disney to take an edgy musical and try to make it family friendly. Now, there's nothing particularly graphic about the original's violence or sexual content (well, except that overly anatomical wolf costume...*shudders*), but the potential was there. 

Instead of pushing the envelope, the movie zap away all innuendo. I mean, the lyrics are still there, but somehow Meryl Streep manages to sing her "You should see my nectarines" line without a single wink.

They also kept every single death or injury completely pristine (one tiny drop of blood to show that a toe has been cut off? Almost hilariously restrained). Now, this is not a complaint. Please don't take this as a rant against the Disney version of fairytales, because that's not my intention. However, I do wonder about the studio's motives on this one and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. 

The bottom line is that I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and hope it does well at the box office. It will definitely become a personal favorite of mine. 

P.S. If you want to read another review with a different focus, I recommend Amanda Davis' blog post about the movie: https://amandacdavis.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/how-they-made-into-the-woods-into-a-disney-movie-that-doesnt-suck/ 

December 23, 2014

Issue #4 Submission Announcement

Sharpen your pencils, writers! Timeless Tales will be accepting retellings of the Greek myth "Perseus and Medusa" February 8 through March 23, 2015. Go HERE for details. 


Also, I'm going to be ambitious and declare a publishing date for Issue #4 ahead of time: June 5, 2015. 

I've been experimenting with different lengths for our submission window, so this time, the window is shorter, but I'm announcing earlier in hopes that writers will have time to prepare their stories in advance. 

We'll be opening a poll soon for readers to vote for Issue #5's theme, so stay tuned! Any requests?

December 18, 2014

Book Review: A True Princess

Review of Diane Zahler's A True Princess
by Brogan Merrill


When three siblings leave home because their father won’t stand up to their wicked stepmother, you might be tempted to assume you’re reading a “Hansel and Gretel” retelling. This is how A True Princess begins, but author Diane Zahler has a surprise in store for readers: this is actually a “Princess and the Pea” retelling!

A True Princess comes up with a unique explanation for how anyone (royalty or not) could possibly feel a pea underneath a stack of mattresses. You see, in the land Zahler creates, royalty are genetically predisposed towards certain traits such as hypersensitivity and a lack of mental focus. So although our young protagonist, Lilia, has been raised as a servant, she’s a terrible cook and can’t go a day without breaking a dish. It’s not her fault—she’s actually a princess and can’t help it (I guess that’s a spoiler, but really, this plot point isn’t a big surprise). Most books choose to either portray nobility as majestic and wise OR shallow and useless, but this book treats them complexly.


If you’re looking for a fun middle-grade novel with modern sensibilities, you’re sure to enjoy A True Princess

December 9, 2014

Flight or Flop? Our Review of NBC's "Peter Pan"

(Review by Caroline Yu)

  “Off to Neverland!”  Peter Pan Live! aired on NBC last Thursday (12/04/2014) and left viewers thinking happy thoughts.

Ten points for sets.  The Darling house was vibrant and charming.  Outside the famous nursery window lay foggy London, complete with small houses creating the illusion the nursery was a second story room.  When Peter and the Darling children flew over London, those short rooftops made the children appear to be high in the starry sky.    
           
Equally impressive was NBC’s take on Neverland.  The ground of the adventure-crammed island was a painted map.  Island features included colorful flowers, bulky mushrooms, and greenery.  While a far cry from the setting of Barrie’s original stage play, the home under the ground had the chaotic feel you’d expect from a lair of motherless boys.
            
If any happy thought could lift you into the air, it would be a thought of Allison Williams (Peter).  Her performance was spot-on—animated yet believable.  Each facial expression seemed genuine, not to mention her stellar singing voice. 

In Disney’s film adaptation and the live action film featuring Jeremy Sumpter, Mr. Darling and Captain Hook are played (or voiced) by the same actor.  I believe that’s traditional.  NBC tried something new.  Christian Borle doubled as Smee and Mr. Darling.  He and Kelli O’Hara (Mrs. Darling) made a perfect couple. 

As for Wendy and the lost boys?  They didn’t look like kids.  Taylor Louderman (Wendy) and the lost boys were clearly teenagers.  Worse, the lost boys were teenagers donning real clothes.  Shouldn't they have worn leafy clothing or animal skins?  
Most disappointing was Christopher Walken's Hook.  Barrie’s play and novel portrayed Hook as a fierce villain, a worthy opponent to Peter Pan.  Though an established actor, Walken lacked the cool fierceness that makes Hook memorable.

Overall, the musical was a faithful adaptation, though certain musical numbers seemed jarring (caution: if you watched the program, “I’m Flying” might be flying around in your head for several days).  While I don’t remember the Mary Martin musical, Disney’s classic film proves songs can coordinate with, rather than disrupt, the plot.  If you’re familiar with the musical, the numbers may have felt more natural.

Like most adaptations, NBC failed to fully capture the conflict Peter’s eternal youth creates for Wendy.  Their challenging relationship and reluctant parting set Peter Pan apart from other “children’s stories.”  Of course, Barrie’s original works best convey Peter’s complexity and Wendy’s confusion.

NBC did hold onto the most famous scene in Barrie’s play: Tinker Bell’s near death, prevented by the clapping of believing children.  Like Barrie’s first audience, I clapped.  My husband (after a nudge) clapped too.


Despite a few pitfalls, NBC made a wonderful choice for their holiday musical.  There was a definite charm in seeing Peter Pan in its original form: a stage play, flight strings and all.  The musical and film adaptations attest to Peter’s timelessness.  His story cannot be outgrown.                  

November 16, 2014

New Features at Timeless Tales

Yesterday, we launched Timeless Tales Magazine's Issue #3. With it, we added a few new features to our website that I wanted to inform our readers about.

1. Pay With a Tweet: We're trying out a new system to attract more readers. It's called "Pay With a Tweet." 

This will keep Timeless Tales free, but require a tweet/facebook post about T.T. to get access to our stories. We played around with it and loved how crazy-simple it is. You should give it a try! 

2. Patreon: We rely on the donations of our readers to support Timeless Tales

With Patreon, we are able to offer our Patrons all sorts of goodies. With a donation of any amount, you can get the awesome professional-quality audio versions of all our stories. Stay tuned for even more awesome rewards. Click HERE to go check us out. 
  


November 15, 2014

Oh, and Don't Forget...

Just a quick reminder that we offer high quality audio versions of all our stories. They're exclusive to Timeless Tales Patrons, though. Want to know more? Check out our new Patreon page for full details (more on Patreon in tomorrow's newsletter).