Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – International Dieselpunk Day by Sarah Zama


Welcome to the next post from Sarah Zama and this week she explores the origins and the definitions of Dieselpunk… something I was not really familiar with but it certainly sounds fascinating. She posted this originally in 2015.

International Dieselpunk Day by Sarah Zama

12th November is International Dieselpunk Day. You can read last year’s celebration post on the Happy International Dieselpunk Day 2014 and how Larry Amyet jnr came up with the date on Dieselpunk forums.  And while you’re there, read Tome Wilson’s  celebrating post for 2013, because it says a lot about what dieselpunk is and is becoming.

International Dieselpunk Day Manifesto

The day is finally here! From the spark of a small discussion on Facebook arose a worldwide movement that turned into a wildfire. The idea was to set aside a day, a special day, for dieselpunks around the world to join together to celebrate this young and growing phenomenon we call Dieselpunk.

In Dieselpunk, we capture the sophistication and elegance of the fashion of the 1920s, 30s and 40s and then incorporate it with modern tastes.

Dieselpunks pays tribute to the Greatest Generation that sacrificed so much to save the world from Evil incarnate and we relish the liberty they gave us with the knowledge that freedom isn’t free.

In Dieselpunk, we revel in the technological, architectural and scientific achievements of that golden era that still shape our world today.

Dieselpunk remembers the pain and suffering of our ancestors who struggled against poverty, pestilence and famine from events such as the Spanish Flu, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl and we thereby draw strength from them to help us make it through the hard times that we experience.

In Dieselpunk, we find inspiration from leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt to help guide us in decisions that we must make that affect our personal and social lives.

Dieselpunks are realists and acknowledge the dark side of humanity by refusing to shy away from the despotism found in the Diesel Era such the resurgence of the Klan, the rise of totalitarian despots, and the growth of organized crime for we know the truth of the axiom that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.

In Dieselpunk, we find an appreciation of the beauty and artistic wonder of the Fine Arts through remembering the Diesel Era renaissance with its Golden Age of Motion Pictures, the Jazz Age, and Art Deco.

Therefore, this is our day for us to celebrate. Today is the day for us all to stand proud and declare to the world that we are dieselpunks!

I stumbled upon the term dieselpunk the first time a couple of years ago, I’m not sure how anymore. But I remember the moment I read the word I was fascinated with it. It talked of stories set in the same period I was writing and stories with clear speculative elements like mine. Finding a home for my story was so exciting I wanted to tell everybody on the writing community I was part of at the time… where I was told, calm down sister, your story isn’t dieselpunk.

It was sad, but I accepted it. This didn’t mean I put the question to rest, though. The fascination I still felt for dieselpunk spurred me to researching it and it didn’t take me long to stumble upon  Tome Wilson’s Dieselpunk Community which is possibly the biggest such community in the world. I discovered people writing and reading and otherwise enjoying this genre. I started reading those stories myself. And of course, I started trying to determine by myself whether what I was writing really wasn’t dieselpunk.

Dieselpunk is a very young genre. The awareness of it is truly very recent. And it’s true that, at this stage, it is mainly a visual genre. People is becoming acquainted with it through illustrations, films, and costumes, so maybe is natural that the ones involved in the definition of the genre are those not involved in visual arts, like writers and musicians.

It’s hard not to see a proximity between Dieselpunk and its bigger brother Steampunk. They are both ‘punk’ genres. They are near in terms of historical era. The inner workings of the genre dieselpunk cityare very similar. Personally, I think the differences are possibly more accentuated than the similarities, but this is just me. In fact, in spite of the brotherly antagonism between the two communities, some dieselpunks define the genre in relation with Steampunk: while technology in Steampunk is fueled by steam, technology in Dieselpunk is fueled by internal combustion – which I’m very sorry but sounds like an extremely unsatisfactory definition of the genre for me. Other authors, like  Charles A. Cornell, see Dieselpunk as mainly Retrofuturism.

Retrofuturism is the future as it would be seen from a specific point in time in the past. So, being Dieselpunk linked to the aesthetics, mores and events of the period between the very late 1910s to the very early 1950s, what we experience in these stories would be the future as seen from that standing point. If you think to the film Metropolis and its vision of the future with highways spanning among tall building and planes flying like cars in between them, that’s pretty much what it means. That was the actual vision of the future of a 1920s person. Retrofuturism envision the same kind of future by an author that actually knows what the future ended up being.

Retrofuturism is an adequate definition of Dieselpunk in my opinion – if we’re just talking SF dieselpunk. I just think there is more to the genre than that.

There’s one thing that’s very tricky about genre fiction, and I mean about any genre fiction: pinning down the aesthetics is a lot easier than pinning down the essence. This is the difference between good genre fiction and clichéd genre fiction in my opinion. And because genre needs aesthetics and stereotypes to be recognizable, you’ll understand how tricky this may become.

In his essay On Fairy Stories Tolkien argued that it isn’t enough for a story to contain magic to be considered fantasy. Magic should be a fundamental part of that story and world, it should be unconceivable for the reader to think to that world, those characters and that story without magic (it’s the theory of the green sun, if you have any familiarity with it). When the reader understands the story only with the inclusion of magic, that’s when a second reality is created, strong and convincing enough to challenge our own reality.

I wish to all genre lovers to find a definition for their favourite genre as strong as Tolkien’s for fantasy. I certainly hoped I could find one for Dieselpunk.

Then I stumbled upon the Diesel Powered Podcast, and if you are interested in the genre in the slightest I’ll sure recommend you go listening to it.  Jonny Della Rocca chat about dieselpunk with many different guests roughly on a weekly basis. Larry Amyet is often on the pod cast and I’ll say those are the best conversations (they certainly are my favourite). One of the first podcasts I listened to was dedicated to the definition of dieselpunk. Jonny and Larry both agree that dieselpunk presents two different characteristics: the setting, which is diesel era or diesel era inspired, and the punk element. But while Jonny argued that the punk element is fantasy, meant in the broadest possible way, Larry counnight skyscrapertered that considering the punk element just ‘fantasy’ is very reductive and it leaves out a lot of what can be considered (and it is considered) dieselpunk, including lifestylers like himself. What about – he argued – music? Won’t we considered electro-swing to be dieselpunk? Still there is no element in electro-swing that can be considered fantasy.

Larry suggested then that the punk element is actually something subversive. It can be fantasy, because fantasy is inherently subversive to reality, it can also be anything else that ends up questioning life and history as we know it. In the case of electro-swing, for example, we have music that isn’t mere imitation of the music from the 1940s-1950s, but it’s a reinvention of it. It sounds like swing, bands often play the visual element too, but this music is plaid with modern instruments and technology and with modern understanding of audience and themes. That’s the punk element. The element that disturbs ‘reality and history’ as we know it.

To me, this is a satisfactory definition of dieselpunk, a definition that leaves a lot of space to creativity and expression, a lot of space to the evolution of the genre itself. Dieselpunk is still a young fella, but I’m sure it will grow strong.

 

Give in to the Feeling (Sarah Zama) Banner

©Sarah Zama 2015.

About Sarah Zama

Sarah Zama was born in Isola della scala (Verona – Italy) where she still lives. She started writing at nine – blame it over her teacher’s effort to turn her students into readers – and in the 1990s she contributed steadily to magazines and independent publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a pause, in early 2010s she went back to writing with a new mindset. The internet allowed her to get in touch with fellow authors around the globe, hone her writing techniques in online workshops and finally find her home in the dieselpunk community.

Since 2010 she’s been working at a trilogy set in Chicago in 1926, historically as accurate as possible but also (as all her stories are) definitely fantasy. She’s currently seeking representation for the first book in the Ghost Trilogy, Ghostly Smell Around.
In 2016, her first book comes out, Give in to the Feeling.

She’s worked for QuiEdit, publisher and bookseller in Verona, for the last ten years.
She also maintain a blog, The Old Shelter, where she regularly blogs about the Roaring Twenties and anything dieselpunk.

Books by Sarah Zama available from Smashwords.

About Give in to the Feeling

EVEN IN SPARKLING JAZZ AGE CHICAGO, SPIRITS CAN TRICK YOU INTO BELIEVING THEY’RE MEN

When Susie comes to Jazz Age America, she knows her life will change. Back in China, spirits mingle in the mists of the rice fields and trick humans into believing they’re men so to steal their soul, and the expectations of a daughter are unimportant and ignore. Here in Chicago, Simon gives her the carefree life of the New American Woman, the freedom to dress daringly and do things once only reserved for men–drinking, smoking and dancing with strangers. It’s an exciting life and she considers the loyalty Simon demands of her a small price to pay.

Until she meets Blood.

Blood lets Susie speak her mind and listen to her heart. He commits himself to her and asks nothing in return. Through his eyes, Susie begins to see her loyalty to Simon as the bars around her “freedom”. But she knows Simon will never let her go.

Here in Chicago spirits can mingle in the smoke and jazz of speakeasies and trick humans into believing they’re men. They can still steal their soul. And if Susie doesn’t see the spirit behind the mask of the men fighting for her, she might lose much more than her freedom.

Buy the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611064

About The Frozen Maze – Free from Smashwords.

A historical short story with magic.

Germany, 1924. Ingeborg goes back to the family estate for the first time after her father died at war. She doesn’t think she still care for the place, but when the maze where she used to wander with her father is threatened to be taken down, she starts wondering whether the place is really evil, as her stepmother says, or if it’s the place of magic, as her father always told her

Download the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/737173

Connect to Sarah

Blog: www.theoldshelter.com
Websitehttp://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JazzFeathers
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jazzfeathers
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Theoldshelterdieselpunk
Pinterest: https://it.pinterest.com/jazzfeathers/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SarahZamaAuthor/

My thanks to Sarah for certainly educating me on Dieselpunk… fascinating Thanks for dropping in and we would love your feedback Thanks Sally

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Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Shameless, Selfish and Honest: the new breed of woman who dominated the XX Century by Sarah Zama


Welcome to another of Sarah Zama’s posts from her archives. This week a post from a series that she wrote in 2015 about the start of a new era for women. Apart from the evolving women’s movement for equality, it was also a time for women to adopt a new freer style and fashion. Meet the women of the Flapper era… pioneers.

Shameless, Selfish and Honest: the new breed of woman who dominated the XX Century by Sarah Zama

New Woman New Look 1 - Shameless Selfish and Honest

In many respect, the XX century started with WWI. It was a time that brought so much change in life and society and it can be said that WWI (the Great War, as it was called throughout the first half of the century) truly destroyed many ways of thinking and behaving that still belonged to the XIX century.

From its ashes, a new way of living and thinking was born and the 1920s – The Roaring Twenties as they were known in the US – was the first place where that change became apparent. Nowhere more so than on people’s personal life.

Gibson Girl

A Gibson Girl of the 1910s

Julia James, 1913 (British actress)Les Modes (Paris) November 1909The Way of a Woman (1919), Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff-Gordon was a leading British fashion designer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, best known as "Lucile", her professional name

A New Era

It didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t even happen during the four years of war. The way people perceived themselves and their lives had already started to change in the XIX century. People had long tried to gain control over their lives so to mould it in the way that most satisfied them. Middle class family were particularly sensitive to this matter. Already in the XIX century, these families had started using birth control (whatever it was available at the time) to become smaller units and to gain the time necessary to pursue personal goals. But at that time effective birth control was very limited, so couples had to resort to avoidance in order to limit births. This accounts for both the wide-spread practice of late marriages in the middle class and the Victorian obsession with avoiding any sexual thought or hint.

At the beginning of the XX century, contraception became more reliable, more common, and especially more widely accepted. Couples now had the means to decide when they wanted to have children and how many of them they wanted. This produced the hoped-for obligation-free time necessary to pursue personal aspirations. It also produced an unexpected effect, one that proved to be the biggest social earthquake the Western World had ever known.

The New Youth

The Squires family 1910.

The family, this most important staple of society, changed completely. Because families became smaller, all their members had more maneuvering space inside it, more quality time to spend with each other. Where the Victorian family – numerous as it tended to be – needed to be managed and so every member had – first and foremost – a role to perform, the new smaller family would afford to care about its few members. Relationships inside it hinged not on roles but on affection. And this cause an epochal change in the relationship between husband and wife and between parents and children.

Freed of the preoccupation of having children when they were still not ready for it, and given the possibility to plan when to have their children, couples could get together at a younger age, create a companionable relationship, get in the desired economical position and even finish pursuing an education before they actually build a family.
Having time for themselves allowed these couples to give more attention to the partner’s personality and desires, and when they had the children they wanted (rarely more than three), they could give these children the same kind of attention and affection.

Klotz Podolsky family formal portrait 1920s

Klotz Podolsky family formal portrait 1920s

These parents, who had sought their own personal fulfillment, were just as willing to give their children a chance to get their fulfillment before life started becoming demanding. They were willing to sustain the cost of child-rearing longer than any generation before them, thus affording their children to be young and free of adult responsibility for a longer time.
On the other hand, these children – who came of age in the 1920s – were willing to remain dependent from their parents for a longer time, which was a result of the desire to pursue their own desires as well as of the new affectionate family.

This is how the concept of youth as we conceive it today was born.

The New Woman

Where She Came From (The New Woman’s New Look Series)The new, affectionate family who planned their life and when to have their children brought about a huge changed especially in the life of women.

Up to this moment, intercourse with a man was likely to get a woman pregnant even when she (or they) didn’t want to. Especially in the Victorian Age, when the need to plan a family became relevant but the means to do it were still few and ineffective, a woman’s sexuality had simply been denied. Women were seen as pure and free from the sexual impulses that characterised men and were even expected not to take pleasure from sex.

When reliable contraception gave couples the possibility to have intercourse without a pregnancy, if they so decided, it was women who were liberated first and foremost. Now they could live their sexuality in a freer, more joyous way, not unlike men. Physical attraction as well as spiritual affinity became very important in the formation of couples.

Women were no more expected to be merely mothers, but companions, lovers, wives and mothers. The search for the perfect partner who would be a mate, but also a life companion, led to the practice of dating, that brought men and women together for a time without the pressure of marriage. This is where personal attraction became most important. On the part of women, this meant displaying their sexuality and sex-appeal in a free way that was – for the first time – socially acceptable.

In response to this, her social position also changed. Becoming a companion for her man, the New Woman needed to gain all the characteristics a shared life demanded, in everyday life as well as couple life. Men no more looked merely for a mother for their children, they also wanted a companion to share their life experience and women were ready to be just that.

Because the change was so shocking on the women’s side, we tend to think that’s the only change that happened.

We should remember that the shift in thinking and accepted social behaviour that allowed the New Woman to be born actually started with her parents. That the inner drive that moved the New Woman was the same for her male counterpart: expressing themselves freely, be free to do their own choices.

We should also remember that in spite of the great, sometimes loud controversy surrounding the New Woman, some of her behaviour were accepted by all women, including their mothers, and that their male counterparts accepted they behaviour because it matched young men’s behaviour and desires.

The New Woman wanted to be free to express herself, to choose a partner for her life, to pursue her desires both in terms of personal and career life. These were the same things young men wanted.

Anita PageFlapper Jane of the 1920s

Madge Bellamy in Summer Bachelors (1926) - Madge Bellamy was an American stage and film actress who was a popular leading lady in the 1920s and early 1930s. Her career declined in the sound era, and ended following a romantic scandal in the 1940s.Evelyn Brent - Born Mary Elizabeth Riggs in Tampa and known as Betty, she was a child of 10 when her mother Eleanor died, leaving her father Arthur to raise her alone. After moving to New York City as a teenager, her good looks brought modeling jobs that led to an opportunity to become involved in the still relatively new business of making motion pictures. She originally studied to be a teacher.Clara Bow - American motion-picture actress Clare Bow was a major box-office draw during the silent-film era, having starred in dozens of projectsBebe Daniels in Lovers in Quarantine (1925) - Bebe Daniels (January 14, 1901 – March 16, 1971) was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. She began her career in Hollywood during the silent film era as a child actress, became a star in musicals such as 42nd Street, and later gained further fame on radio and television in Britain. In a long career, Bebe Daniels appeared in 230 films.

Madge Bellamy, Evelyn Brent,Clara Bow and Bebe Daniels.

The New Look

The New Woman’s new look isn’t just the expression of a woman’s newfound freedom and it certainly isn’t just a matter of fashion. It’s the expression of a change that involved an entire society, regardless of gender and age.

In the way the body of the New Woman changed and the ways she used that body, we can trace values and behaviour of an entire society and age.

The New Woman's New Look Logo

Post Scriptum

I’m so excited! I’ve been promising this series for months, I know, but now here it is! It wasn’t an easy job and I’m still not done writing, but I so hope you people will enjoy the ride and find the wait worthwhile.

I really enjoyed researching this subject. It’s a lot more complex than people normally seem to think. I hope I’ll be able to pass on at least a hint of that complexity and of how what happened nearly one hundred years ago has shaped society as we know it today.

Enjoy the ride!

Other posts in the series.

The new woman appropriates the new makeup.

Flapper Jane goes shopping for makeup

Cut it and Bob it

The boyish look of the sexy vamp

©Sarah Zama 2015.

About Sarah Zama

Sarah Zama was born in Isola della scala (Verona – Italy) where she still lives. She started writing at nine – blame it over her teacher’s effort to turn her students into readers – and in the 1990s she contributed steadily to magazines and independent publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a pause, in early 2010s she went back to writing with a new mindset. The internet allowed her to get in touch with fellow authors around the globe, hone her writing techniques in online workshops and finally find her home in the dieselpunk community.

Since 2010 she’s been working at a trilogy set in Chicago in 1926, historically as accurate as possible but also (as all her stories are) definitely fantasy. She’s currently seeking representation for the first book in the Ghost Trilogy, Ghostly Smell Around.
In 2016, her first book comes out, Give in to the Feeling.

She’s worked for QuiEdit, publisher and bookseller in Verona, for the last ten years.
She also maintain a blog, The Old Shelter, where she regularly blogs about the Roaring Twenties and anything dieselpunk.

Books by Sarah Zama available from Smashwords.

About Give in to the Feeling

EVEN IN SPARKLING JAZZ AGE CHICAGO, SPIRITS CAN TRICK YOU INTO BELIEVING THEY’RE MEN

When Susie comes to Jazz Age America, she knows her life will change. Back in China, spirits mingle in the mists of the rice fields and trick humans into believing they’re men so to steal their soul, and the expectations of a daughter are unimportant and ignore. Here in Chicago, Simon gives her the carefree life of the New American Woman, the freedom to dress daringly and do things once only reserved for men–drinking, smoking and dancing with strangers. It’s an exciting life and she considers the loyalty Simon demands of her a small price to pay.

Until she meets Blood.

Blood lets Susie speak her mind and listen to her heart. He commits himself to her and asks nothing in return. Through his eyes, Susie begins to see her loyalty to Simon as the bars around her “freedom”. But she knows Simon will never let her go.

Here in Chicago spirits can mingle in the smoke and jazz of speakeasies and trick humans into believing they’re men. They can still steal their soul. And if Susie doesn’t see the spirit behind the mask of the men fighting for her, she might lose much more than her freedom.

Buy the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611064

About The Frozen Maze – Free from Smashwords.

A historical short story with magic.

Germany, 1924. Ingeborg goes back to the family estate for the first time after her father died at war. She doesn’t think she still care for the place, but when the maze where she used to wander with her father is threatened to be taken down, she starts wondering whether the place is really evil, as her stepmother says, or if it’s the place of magic, as her father always told her

Download the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/737173

Connect to Sarah

Blog: www.theoldshelter.com
Websitehttp://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/JazzFeathers
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/jazzfeathers
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+Theoldshelterdieselpunk
Pinterest: https://it.pinterest.com/jazzfeathers/
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/SarahZamaAuthor/

My thanks to Sarah for sharing this post about the fascinating era of the Flapper… I do suggest that you head over and check out other posts in this series. Thanks for dropping in and we would love your feedback Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Spooktacular Challenge – The devil and the Arena of Verona by Sarah Zama


Sarah Zama shares another post from her archives and this week although slightly out of season.. she explores the spooky which to be honest is good anytime of year.

Devil and the Arena of Verona by Sarah Zama

The Devil and the Arena of Verona - A legend says the Arena was built by the devil in just one night. It didn't turned well for him

Ed over at the Ed Mooney Photography has been running the Capturing History Challenge for several weeks – and if you never visited, you should do it right now! It is a weekly photo challenge for pictures of historic places taken by the participants, going up every Wednesday on Ed’s blog. I’ve taken part once (here’s were you can see the gallery with my Torre dei Lamberti) and plan to do so again, so when Ed came up with this idea for a Halloween special edition I just couldn’t resist.

The idea is to enter photos of historic sites with a spooky story or legend attached to them.
How cool is that?

Spooktacular Challenge 2015

Of course, given the subject of my trilogy, I went for a ghost story in my city – Verona – and would you imagine? I found NONE.

There are lots of ghost stories all over the province, usually attached to one or other of our many castles, but none, I repeat: none in Verona.

I mean, how’s that? We have the most famous story about lovers who took their lives for love, and no ghost? That’s just disgraceful! Although I’ll admit Ed might have a point when he tells me, “Maybe ghosts in Verona don’t like to show themselves.”

I just had to cope with that, right? But it wasn’t all bad, because this gave me the possibility to choose for the challenge one of my favourite places in Verona: the Arena.

Arena of Verona - Piazza BraThe Arena has stood here for some 2000 years, she’s an old lady with a lot of history.
She was probably built by emperor Augustus during the I century AD in the local Veronase pink marble and originally stood outside the city walls so to allow people from the country and near cities to enter it without entering Verona proper. But in 265 AD the threat of the barbarians prompted emperor Gallieno to build a curtain of walls around her too.

She’s an amphitheatre, the third in size in Italy after the Coliseum in Rome and the amphitheatre in Capua. Today, she can sit about 22.000 people. It appears it was almost 30.000 in her heydays.

Shaped as an ellipsis like all amphitheatres to allow a better acoustic, she’s 74 m. long on her long axis and 45 m. on her short axis. There’s a floor in the centre covered in packed dirt (the ‘harena’ as it was called by Romans) and – even if now they aren’t visible – there are still tunnels underneath the floor, which once allowed to operate machines for the games. The cavea is made up of 45 rings of steps, each about 45 cm. high, that act like seats. No, it isn’t particularly comfortable, believe me on that – though when you go see a show in the Arena you hardly care about it.

There used to be two outer rings of arches, but today only the inner one is still intact with its 72 arches. Of the outer ring, only a small fragment remains, what we Veronasi call The Wing – and that’s where the spooky part of the story comes in.

The legend

Wing of the Arena (outside)The Arena is an imposing building even today, so imagine what she must have looked like to Medieval people. They believed men couldn’t have built it.
In fact legend has it that there was once a nobleman who was accused of a horrible crime and sentenced to death. The day before his sentence was carried out, he promised that if his life was spared, he would build a beautiful theatre for the people of the city. He was told his life would have been spared if he could build that theatre in just one night.

Desperate, he cried in his cell and at night the devil appeared and promised he would build the theatre if the nobleman surrendered his soul to him – which the nobleman did did.
So an hoard of demons rose from the ground and started building the Arena. But when the nobleman saw them, he regretted his pact and started pray the Virgin Mary to save him, because he repented his former life.

Moved by his pledge, the Virgin Mary sent her angel to toll the morning bells before the sun rose. Surprised by the sound of the bell when it was still night, the demos fled, never completing the theatre, and because the pact wasn’t fulfilled on his part, the devil couldn’t claim the nobleman’s soul.

I agree, this legend doesn’t make much sense.

It actually looks like the outer ring still stood until 1183, when a earthquake badly damaged it. After that, the Arena was abandoned and used as a stone cave until about the XVII century, when she was restored and started being used for shows and public assemblies once more.

The Opera Season

Wing of the Arena (inside) cavea

In 1913 a Veronese tenor, Giovanni Zanatello, organised an opera show to celebrate 100 years from Giuseppe Verdi’s birth.

There’s another story here, and it may as well being a legend, though not spooky. Mr Zanatello wanted a majestic place for such an important celebration and of course he thought to the Arena. But he was unsure whether she was suitable for music and song, so he made an experiment. He stood in the middle of the floor with a piece of paper in his hands. A friend went up to the very last ring of seats. When Zanatello ripped the paper, his friend heard the sound perfectly from where he stood. The Arena passed the test.

The show which was enacted was the Aida, one of Verdi’s most lavish operas. It was on 10th Augost 1913, one of the most important events of the early 1900s, which called opera lovers from all around the world.

That was the beginning of one of the most renowned opera events still taking place today, probably the most important in an open theatre, attracting every year world-famous singers, directors and orchestra directs and scenographers. The Aida is still the queen of the season, the only show enacted every year.

But the opera isn’t the only music played in the Arena. In fact she’s a very popular location for rock stars (Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Jamiroquai, Eric Clapton have all performed there) and orchestra directors (Ennio Morricone gave a fantastic show a few years ago). In the last decade, rock operas have also been performed, The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Riccardo Cocciante being the first and most popular still today.
Seeing a show in the Arena is truly a magic experience… and not spooky at all.

Note

I have many favourite places in Verona, but the Arena is top of my list, which accounts for me having been carried away with my camera. And you are lucky because the day I went inside to get the photos of the cavea, they were dismantling the structures for the opera season and so the floor and the cavea looked pretty messy, when they usually look just pretty.

But hey, I might post again.

All photos ©SarahZama 2015

About Sarah Zama

Sarah Zama was born in Isola della scala (Verona – Italy) where she still lives. She started writing at nine – blame it over her teacher’s effort to turn her students into readers – and in the 1990s she contributed steadily to magazines and independent publishers on both sides of the Atlantic.

After a pause, in early 2010s she went back to writing with a new mindset. The internet allowed her to get in touch with fellow authors around the globe, hone her writing techniques in online workshops and finally find her home in the dieselpunk community.

Since 2010 she’s been working at a trilogy set in Chicago in 1926, historically as accurate as possible but also (as all her stories are) definitely fantasy. She’s currently seeking representation for the first book in the Ghost Trilogy, Ghostly Smell Around.
In 2016, her first book comes out, Give in to the Feeling.

She’s worked for QuiEdit, publisher and bookseller in Verona, for the last ten years.
She also maintain a blog, The Old Shelter, where she regularly blogs about the Roaring Twenties and anything dieselpunk.

Books by Sarah Zama available from Smashwords.

About Give in to the Feeling

EVEN IN SPARKLING JAZZ AGE CHICAGO, SPIRITS CAN TRICK YOU INTO BELIEVING THEY’RE MEN

When Susie comes to Jazz Age America, she knows her life will change. Back in China, spirits mingle in the mists of the rice fields and trick humans into believing they’re men so to steal their soul, and the expectations of a daughter are unimportant and ignore. Here in Chicago, Simon gives her the carefree life of the New American Woman, the freedom to dress daringly and do things once only reserved for men–drinking, smoking and dancing with strangers. It’s an exciting life and she considers the loyalty Simon demands of her a small price to pay.

Until she meets Blood.

Blood lets Susie speak her mind and listen to her heart. He commits himself to her and asks nothing in return. Through his eyes, Susie begins to see her loyalty to Simon as the bars around her “freedom”. But she knows Simon will never let her go.

Here in Chicago spirits can mingle in the smoke and jazz of speakeasies and trick humans into believing they’re men. They can still steal their soul. And if Susie doesn’t see the spirit behind the mask of the men fighting for her, she might lose much more than her freedom.

Buy the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/611064

About The Frozen Maze – Free from Smashwords.

A historical short story with magic.

Germany, 1924. Ingeborg goes back to the family estate for the first time after her father died at war. She doesn’t think she still care for the place, but when the maze where she used to wander with her father is threatened to be taken down, she starts wondering whether the place is really evil, as her stepmother says, or if it’s the place of magic, as her father always told her

Download the book from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/737173

Connect to Sarah

Blog: www.theoldshelter.com
Websitehttp://sarahzama.theoldshelter.com/
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My thanks to Sarah for sharing this post and the stunning photographs.. She will be back next Sunday with another post from her archives. It would be great if you could share and also follow Sarah on her blog and social media. Thanks Sally