Log in

No account? Create an account
Kendra's Damned Opinions
20 most recent entries

Date:2010-01-20 12:06
Subject:Speakeasy LARP in Chicago



A horrific LARP in one act.

Sunday, February 28
2:00-7:00 P.M.

Zhou B. Café
1029 W. 35th St.
Chicago, IL 60609


January 16th, 1920- At the stroke of midnight, America went dry.

Some thought prohibition would lead to a golden age.

Instead, prohibition made alcohol a black market commodity, slingshotting criminal organizations to unparalleled power, while lack of funding for prohibition enforcement led to a period of political and police corruption unequaled in American history.

Chicago, 1923- The city was divided by a sea of gangs- Irish gangs, Jewish gangs, and the ever-present Italian Mafia.

At the same time, there was a cultural renaissance in Chicago, a blossoming of culture and art that was only possible with the presence of an underground counterculture.

Women went uncorseted for the first time in two hundred years. Flappers came to symbolize sensuality, mystery, female power, and, of course, debauchery.

Orientalism was at its height. There was a widespread fascination with the alien, with Oriental and Egyptian fashion, and with the East as a metaphor for sexual and emotional freedom.

Jazz flourished. It was a form of music invented by Blacks- people viewed by scientists of the day as intrinsically primal, bestial, and sexual. It would not have been possible for Jazz to gain prominence in mainstream culture without the existence of speakeasies, places in which conventional morality was put aside.

Welcome to the Speakeasy.

Welcome to Alibi’s.

Date:2009-11-18 13:04

A full list of characters, setting background, and a brief system explanation are now up at http://bootleggers.pbworks.com.

Site and date still TBA.


1 comment | post a comment

Date:2009-11-14 15:37
Subject:Black Dossier Fans Beware

Overly zealous library staff:


1 comment | post a comment

Date:2009-11-13 12:02
Subject:New One-Shot in the Works

Kendra is now writing a new One-Shot set in a 1920's Chicago Speakeasy. Details to come, website at http://bootleggers.pbworks.com

8 comments | post a comment

Date:2009-01-01 09:49
Subject:Letter from Baja

This is the first night we’ve had internet since we started our journey.  Everything is just fine- the tourist trade is very slow this year due to all the turmoil at the border, but everything South of Ensenada has been extremely tranqilo.


We spent a lovely night at the San Diego Hostel USA.  It is in a converted whorehouse from gold rush days and is really splendid, full of shabby grandeur, homemade art, and make-your-own pancakes.  A room with a double bed rather than a bed in the dorms ran $60, which is darn cheap for a hotel in downtown San Diego, but fairly expensive as hostels go.


We got across the border with a minimum of fuss.  Nobody checked anything, though we did stop to get our tourist cards at the border.  Then we caught a $5 taxi over to the airport to pick up our rental car.


This is where things began to go seriously wrong.  It turned out that the credit/debit cards that had always functioned like a regular credit card were no good for renting a car in Mexico- only a standard credit card would do, which neither of us had.  We came within a hair’s breadth of being stranded in Tijuana and getting no farther South, but, after some debate, the highest manager decided that a credit/debit card would be OK if one of us had a balance in our account of over $1500, in case we decided to make off with their car.


I wish I could say I think this was a scam, but I actually think they thought *we* were really sketchy and took pity on us due to the fact that they have got to be hurting for sales this year.


However, they made us get the highest level of insurance, which brought our rental from being around $300 a week to around $450. ($900 total).  Oof.  Our car is a little mid nineties car called a Nissan Tsuru, which I don’t think they make in the US.  It is not all that great, but nor is it terrible.  I hope it doesn’t break down trying to get up into the mountains around San Ignacio- the slope was really, really steep on the way down into Santa Rosalia- I am more than a little afraid of the trip back up.


Blood money paid, we got on our way, a few hours later than we meant to.  Instead of spending our first night in San Quintin as we had planned, we only made it down to Ensenada.  We were a bit worried about that, since Ensenada has been a bit more violent than usual of late.  We saw no sign of trouble during the day- in fact John in particular was quite taken with the town.  However, that night we heard the car alarm going off in the motel lot.  John went charging down in nothing but boxers and a bunch of guys went running.  They had not actually been trying to break into our car, but into the SUV parked next to it.


We picked up some supply items in Ensenada- fuel for the Coleman stove, a cooler, etc.  By the time we got on the road it was 11 AM.  On the road we had our first roadside booth food, which was awesome.  In fact, we have yet to have non-awesome food- the moles and salsas are exceptional, and the little limes that are served with everything are exceptionally flavorful.


We made it to San Quintin that night.  I liked San Quintin quite a lot.  We could not figure out how to get to the hotel we had originally planned on- it was down a dirt road and our map was a bit perplexing to figure out in the dark.  Instead we stayed at a rather sad place- La Villa de San Quintin.  It was a big, brand new facility which turned out to have a gourmet restaurant, but was pitifully empty.  There were two other families staying there, both of them Mexican.  In fact, we encountered almost no other Gringos other than ex-pats until Mulege.


The Old Mill, the hotel we had planned to stay at, was right on the water, so we drove down there the next morning to sample, but found no Isognomon.  Instead we found out that the water was hypothermia inducing, much to John’s chagrin.  He got in for about 45 seconds and came out with chattering teeth.  Our antics attracted the attention of our first Gringo, a school teacher from San Diego who flew down to Baja with his girlfriend.  He suggested some collecting spots, including a fantastic place to camp on a sheltered beach down a dirt road near Punta Santa Rosalillita (50 miles or so North of Guerrero Negro).


It was an amazing place to camp.  The sky was so black that the milky way was clearly visible to the naked eye and each and every star could be discerned through binoculars.  We could see the nebula in Orion’s belt and all of the seven sisters.  However, the later it got, the more isolated we felt.  The only company we had were vehicles that would occasionally case out our deserted beach for no clear reason.  These vehicles seemed particularly menacing given how utterly remote we were- we had come down a literal maze of hazardous dirt roads to get there.  Slowly a fantasy was built, based on the Mad Max style anarchy and precarious solitude of our position.  We became more and more worried that the first truck that had passed had gone back for reinforcements, or that we were stuck in the middle of someone’s drug deal.  Both of us were getting worried but went to bed.  We were woken by headlights streaming into our tent.  Both of us readied ourselves with dive knives and maglights, ready to do battle, but there was a low murmur of conversation from the vehicle and it pulled out and moved on.  Later we were woken by what seemed to be footsteps on the tarp outside our tent.  (A stray dog.)  Thus the night passed, yet no sleep was had.


As it turned out, our remote beach was popular with surfers, and a couple of them had camped further down the beach.  So much for our bandito dreams.  In fact, everyone we talked to said that rural Mexico is as quiet as quiet can be, despite the turbulence to the North.


I need to go to bed, as we keep a 5:30 AM wakeup time.  Next time I will tell you of the wonders of Punta Abreojos and the Bahia de Ballenas, of our crossing of the Desierto Central, the fantastic pastry shop in the half-abandoned copper mining town of Santa Rosalia, and our arrival in Mulege.


Buenas noches y adios,



3 comments | post a comment

Date:2008-08-19 00:27

Haiku2 for buzzermccain
out of sight of his
neck echo advanced on him
murder in her late
Created by Grahame

post a comment

Date:2008-04-09 20:28
Subject:Been off for a while...

Hi, everyone. Catching up on reading LJ (somewhat).

Nothing particular to say, except:

It is with some chagrin that I note, going back through the fairly substantial body of work that is my poetry file, I realize that literally half of my poetic output of the past 15 years has been spurred by the following situation:

I want to have sex with someone, and cannot because:
A. It would be ethically wrong or profoundly stupid.
B. They don't want to.
C. I am chicken to find out if they want to.

Ah, the unrequited crush. Friend of poets everywhere. Now mind you, I did not say that it was the half of my poetry *worth keeping*...

Nonetheless, this is still sort of sad. Must write more poetry that does not reflect a bitter struggle with determinism/gonads.


5 comments | post a comment

Date:2008-02-09 18:22
Subject:Why, I am not sure.... but at least Marquez is one of my favorites.

You're Love in the Time of Cholera!

by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Like Odysseus in a work of Homer, you demonstrate undying loyalty by
sleeping with as many people as you possibly can. But in your heart you never give
consent! This creates a strange quandary of what love really means to you. On the
one hand, you've loved the same person your whole life, but on the other, your actions
barely speak to this fact. Whatever you do, stick to bottled water. The other stuff
could get you killed.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Not sure about the character reference....

post a comment

Date:2008-02-08 13:32
Subject:I got memed, and I am passing on the bug.

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line (unless the first line reveals the song title - spaces or ... notate title missing in the lyrics) from the first 30 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING! (But is anyone looking over your shoulder?)
Step 5: If you like the game, post your own

1. We can dance if we want to We can leave your friends behind
2. Seen the carnival at Rome, I had the women I had the booze
3. Homens, gosto de todos, dos morenos, dos mulatos
4. She painted a bullseye on my mind
5. Dreams (4X), I can’t feel your dreams, I can’t see you
6. When the sun goes down and the bads are back again the brothers come round
7. Well time is always money for the boys on XXXXXXX
8. The sun has fallen, and he lies in blood
9. I watch you like a cinematic masterpiece
10. I know you needed a friend
11. I’ve been XXXXXXXX XX XXXX for it seems like years
12. Tonight the moon is playing tricks again
13. Who knows how long I’ve loved you?
14. Take away your paper and pen, your stacks of money and your foolish grin, and go
15. (title), (title), The monument of granite sent a beam into my eye
16. I need room, Babe, Room to spread my wings
17. I've been really tryin', baby Tryin' to hold back this feelin' for so long
18. Phone me and Ill hang up, Sick and tired of being bubble gum chewed up
19. London calling, speak the slang now Boys say wha gwan? Girls say wha what?
20. You and me are a disease, and the germs are spreading
21. (title), sitting on the shelf, he is just a toy
22. There’s a little black spot on the sun today
23. Drive boy dog boy dirty numb angel boy
24. My true love said to me, “My mother won’t mind” (In my case, Jean Redpath)
25. Ooooooooooooh, And the sign said “Long haired freaky people need not apply”
26. What’s happenin’ C.C.? They still call it the White House, but that’s a temporary condition, too, can you dig it C.C.?
27. I had killed a man, a man who looked like me
28. If you want a lover, I’ll do anything you ask me to
29. I beat my machine, it’s a part of me, it’s inside of me
30. We do it cheap, hide our money in a heap, send it home and make ‘em study

I feel it must be confessed that I had to cheat a bit on this- I own too much classical, foreign language (ones I don't speak, so cannot transcribe) and dance music, which just did not work (Oooooooooooh *TITLE OF SONG* They (20X) *TITLE OF SONG*), so I had to hit shuffle about six times to get enough SONGS.

In other news: I got hit by a car the day before yesterday during a blizzard. I was wrapped to the gills and had no peripheral vision, he was on a cellphone. It hurt. I got knocked in a slush puddle. I bitched him out a bunch. Nothing is broken. I am sore and bruised.

20 comments | post a comment

Date:2008-01-23 20:04
Subject:The Saint Inspector

I felt this needed to be shared.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2008-01-18 01:09
Subject:The Devil's Due- Being a Game of Murder and Mayhem on the High Seas

Let it be known henceforth that there is a Game of Rare Device planned, and that the subject of this Game IS the deeds, both Brave and Bloody, of a most Notorious group of Pyrates.

Let it be further known that this Contrivance is the Plan of a Maid, call'd Kendra, self-styled Master of the Game.

Let it be further known that this game shall occur in good time, on a February Saturday, the 23rd of the aforementioned month.

Let it be further known that this Game be planned for the Hours of Daylight, beginning at One past the Meridian, so as not to cause any calamitous Occurrences with other Games.

Let it be further known that there is a wiki to be found at http://devilsdue.pbwiki.org/, and that this address contains divers strange and diverting Facts.

The favor of quick Reply is requested from those who may wish to play.

The Devil's Due is a convention-style game. There is a character list at the wiki. Folks who would like to play, send me your TOP THREE choices of character, and I will try to make sure you get one of them. If you have a really bangin' idea for a character, send me an e-mail at buzzermccain@gmail.com, and I'll see what I can do toward working it in or adapting one of the existing characters or adding a new one.

If we get tons more people interested than I expect (what with being a relative newcomer to the Chicago scene and all) I can expand this game pretty easily- it is adapted from an older game I ran some years back for around 30 people, so don't be afraid to spread the wiki and/or my e-mail to other folks you think might have an interest. I'll just scale up if necessary.

That's pretty much it. Just e-mail me with any questions.

The Devil's Due
Saturday, February 23rd
1-5:30 P.M.
UIC Student Center East Dance Studio

(This probably looks familiar to some folks- it is an update of my pirate game written a few years ago. However, it is substantially changed, so anyone who wants to make the trek up here will probably have a good time, even if you played in its predecessor. First come, first serve on the couch and futon, though.)

4 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-12-19 20:23

This is a kind of interesting gallery I stumbled upon while looking for pictures of Victorian opium smokers.


They are all pictures of Calcutta- particularly interesting is the gallery entitled "Calcutta 1945- an American military photograph album."

It is a really fascinating glimpse of India in the past- and is also interesting because it is a period Westerner's take on India, and the captions display some of his biases, while the pictures speak for themselves.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2007-12-15 15:39
Subject:Alas, no partyage for me.

Just letting folks know- I had told a couple of people that I was going to try to get today off and head down to B-ton for the Knightridge party.

Alas, work conspired against me...

So no party for Kendra.


2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-12-12 21:30
Subject:Gnome Quote of the Day

If poetry is in motion, I am the limerick.

1 comment | post a comment

Date:2007-12-11 17:21
Subject:Join Us for Another Exciting Episode

...in which our heroine learns that her aunt's (admittedly potentially racist) maxim that any street named after Martin Luther King will be dicey bears some merit in Chicago, and discovers that her boots need to be waterproofed.

post a comment

Date:2007-11-24 21:38
Subject:Intro story, for those who might be interested.

As my other game has, alas, kicked the bucket, I have joined, albeit reluctantly, a modern vamp game (Chicago White City- under new management, for those who may have heard less appealing accounts of it in the past. It is pretty fun, though it does make me break with my long-standing loathing for Vampire and the vampire-obsessed. Though, for the record, I still think vampire as a genre often leads to whiny emo-ness and/or black-hat revelry that I find equally distasteful.

I decided to recreate a character many of the Bloomington vamp players met briefly- Echo, whom I visited as for a single session- I came in as drydem's childe, if that's any help.

Echo communicates only through quotation, reprise, and fortune cookies. It is really hard. This is the intro story I wrote for her (as she is amnesiac, there was not too much I could do in the way of character background, since I prefer to be surprised by the STs rather than making up a bunch of stuff that my character doesn't know.)


EchoesCollapse )

6 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-11-24 21:19

Hello everyone- sorry I've been a bit behind posting.

Had a lovely Thanksgiving. In my much-divorced family, Thanksgiving is the holiday set aside for maternal relatives, and the Langhaar clan is a pretty tight one, largely because the Langhaars in this country can be counted on one hand. It is probably my family's most important holiday, and, delightfully, my mother was at it.

Due to work, lack of money, and her move to Arizona, it is also the first time I have seen my mother in the flesh for two years.

There are few Langhaars, but we host a large and motley group of unrelatives, many of them folks from other countries. This year there were my mom, my aunt Sally, and my cousin Kay representing for the fams (yes, that really is all of us, since my other maternal aunt and cousin are estranged from us), plus adopted family members Katie and Greg and their two adorable girls Sophie and Emma. Non-fams included Laura and Marcello (a brace of Aussies) and their two little boys Ryan and Aiden.

Langhaars can cook. By God we can cook. (Which is largely responsible for the avidity of the attendance of the non-fams. Once they get a taste, they come back every year, though we have suffered some attrition due to folks moving abroad in recent years.)

So this year there was turkey, stuffing, veg stuffing, gravy (veg and otherwise), sweet potatoes with rum and bananas, garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry-ginger sauce, creamed onions, spinach casserole, pumpkin flan with ginger whipped cream, and mushroom turnovers. Mmmmmm. I was particularly fond of the sweet potatoes, which were from a new recipe. Generally my aunt makes them, and they are too sweet to my taste, but this year my cuz took 'em over, and they were fabulous.

Emma and Sophie helped me make the mushroom turnovers, which was pretty cute, if less than entirely helpful.

Jeremiah, alas, was not with us, as he headed up to Buchanan,MI for his family's feast.

Anyway, I hope most of the rest of you had a good holiday with friends or family.


1 comment | post a comment

Date:2007-11-14 22:37

Lovage is the best thing ever.

Why was I not told?

9 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-11-08 19:21

Just showing how to do this.

2 comments | post a comment

Date:2007-10-14 16:36
Subject:Skirt completed!

Forgive the rather crappy quality of my web cam.

I am very proud, because this is the first thing I have made all by myself without a pattern. I look unexpectedly anime-ish, though. I am supposed to be punk. The wig may go.

Me for halloween:Collapse )

8 comments | post a comment

my journal