brni (brni) wrote,

A brief history

On April 28th, 1789, Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against William Bligh, Captain of HMAV Bounty. Bligh and those loyal to him were set free in the Bounty's launch, while Christian took the Bounty to the island of Tubuai, where they tried unsuccessfully to settle. Fleeing Tubuai, Christian set twenty of the men on shore in Tahiti to take their chances with the Royal Navy, and then set sail with eight crewmen, six Tahitian men, eleven Tahitian women and a baby. The landed at Pitcairn Island, 4.6 square kilometers of uninhabited but inhabitable land jutting up from the middle of the pacific ocean, in September of 1789 and decided that this is where they would hide. After unloading the everything of value from the Bounty, they burned and sank the ship, both to hide the evidence of their crime from the British and to keep anyone from escaping. In 1793, Pitcairn Island suffered its first war, in which nearly half the population (and nearly all the men) were killed.

The fascinating history of this remote island is detailed in Rasputina's most recent album, Oh Perilous World, and they played many of the songs in their recital Saturday night at the Dances of Vice Victorian Ball, along with a rousing rendition of Heart's Barracuda and a quietly moving Wish You Were Here.

My companion in vice for the evening was the inimitable Sir Jack, Earl of Grey. A delicious dreadlocked gentleman apparently flew in from Los Angeles for the sole purpose of photographing Jack. Digital photography has saved the contents of an entire silver mine last night.

Getting into the venue (Element, on E. Houston) proved to be a more of a challenge than expected, all due to an unfortunate choice of sorting algorithm: all guests had to be looked up by surname on a list that was sorted by timestamp of purchase. Ah, Computer, we do so worship thee. The second challenge was purchasing drinks. The minimum charge if using plastic was $50. That may seem excessive, but really it's only 4 drinks.

The show opened with fencing. Blades were drawn and the air was filled with the clash of steel. Very formal, this Victorian dueling thing, deeply bound in etiquette. I fear I'd fail utterly, inadvertently insulting people all around me, and looking incredulously at people as if they were insane should they slap me across the face with a glove.

But then, I have somewhat of a fetish for gloves, so perhaps the insults wouldn't have been so inadvertent as all that.

Oryx Incruentus was interesting, as a concept. One woman with a cello along with prerecorded sounds, some of which was musical. Didn't much resonate with me, but we had fun watching the Dante's Inferno silent movie in mirror image. After that, Desert Sin dancers performed, and then it was time for Nicki Jaine of the amazing collar bones and her musical saw. She played with a keyboardist (last time I saw her she played with a guitarist). Her set was unfortunately short, and consisted primarily of playing the saw, rather than her usual Dark Cabaret act.

Jack liked the next act, The Deadfly Ensemble, better than I did. Their theme of the evening was Nessy, and discussed the world's favorite monster at length, both in song and word. Many theories were offered, from the ordinary (she's a Plesiosaur), to the arcane (she's a Masonic conspiracy), to the nerdy (she has 200 Hit Points, but takes double damage from fire-based weapons). For Jack, the lead singer was reminiscent of a boy she used to know, but in high heels.

Earlier in the day, Linda's father had left a tragic-and-panicked-sounding voicemail on our machine. I gave him a call to make sure he was okay, and he was happy and cheerful on the phone with me. And he just kept talking, when I needed to get ready for the trek to NYC. I told him I needed to go, I was going to New York, to a concert.

“Oh, who are you going to see?”


“Oh, sounds Italian. I love Italian music. It really is music that moves you, you know? Like opera. Those foreigners can really hit them notes.”

Uh. Yup. Gotta go.

Rasputina was, of course, brilliant. Even if they didn't sing Italian Opera. At one point there were four women playing cello, and two backing vocalists. Melora was lovely and fantastic. I have no idea how one sings lead vocals and plays intricate cello parts simultaneously, but she succeeds. But scenically, Jonathon TeBeest, the drummer, wins. He is fascinatingly wild and elegant, with human hair braided into his very proper military jacket.

There are pictures, which are, alas, taken on an inadequate camera in inadequate lighting. I shall post those which are least lame once I get them off the camera and sorted through.

For those who have waited, with baited breath (so to speak), for a conclusion to the saga begun by Mister Fletcher Christian and his son, Thursday October Christian: today Pitcairn Island boasts a population of “about 50,” descendants of the original nine families that settled the island in 1789. Their Internet connection comes via the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory. If you are interested, domains in the .pn top level domain are available from the Official Pitcairn Islands web page.
Tags: music
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