Fluff Up Your Vagina Pillows: Portlandia S3 is Here!

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Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews, Television, Travel, Watching the Web

The Holidays have come and gone, my pretties. The gift cards have been defrayed with frightening speed and, for some of us, like Dr. Lucy and myself, Comic-Con is still a staggering seven months away. What’s a creative spirit to do in the grey bane of post-gifting, post-cocktail Winter? Prepare for Season 3 of Portlandia on IFC, of course. Get ready to get your Pacific Northwest-weird on, America!

 

 

From weird to Wired frames-of-reference, Primetime Emmy Awards-nominated and Gracie Allen Awards-winning Portlandia proffers an Übermodern vaudeville steeped in a homey and comforting grey and rainy respite of Northwestern coffee culture and smells just slightly of a musty vintage shop. Amidst a television culture of all-too-shiny, all-too-sparkly drama and desperate, hacky, wannabe comedy usually set in New York or L.A., Portlandia scratches an itch that one can only get from wearing the same rarely-cleaned, wool, REI sweater too many days in a row. (Apropos to NYC/LA: Producers, enough with where you live. We love landing at LAX and JFK, too; but there are other population centers across this vast country. Get out once in a while. Try San Diego, in fact. My Hotel del Coronado would make a sparkling backdrop for some such nonesuch.)

Depending on your sphere of comedy, Portlandia will range from side-splitting cackles to bemused snorts. Like an Anne Rice novel, a bottle of red or seasons 1-6 of Family Guy, even the worst of the bunch is still better than just about anything else in your purview. A hybrid of American and Canadian sketch comedy pacing, British story and character oddity, plus off-the-beaten-path travelogues, Portlandia serves up a grande porcelain cup of soy-frothed satire and schtick. Everything, from vegetarian dumpster dining, to hipper-than-thou thrift store clerks, to dog park etiquette, to gender-neutral booksellers, to Supa kawaii -Japan’s obsession with the super cute/super tiny- gets the snarky treatment. It’s a beautiful thing. Be ye a Renaissance Faire geek, a SciFi freak, a hippie poetess, a steampunk tinkerer (~ahem~ Dr. Lucy?), a vintage glam girl (Who, Moi?), a psychobilly crooner, a Jack White stalker or a power-lib Ivy Leaguer, Portlandia will tickle something on you, somewhere.

Special treats include the occasional, surprise guest star, including Patton Oswalt, Jim Gaffigan, Jack McBrayer, Penny Marshall and Jeff Goldblum.

Already a fan? All apologies for preaching to the non-denominational choir. If not? Acquaint yourself pronto with the locally-sourced, fair trade, dye-free, organic, vegan stylings of Arminsen & Brownstein, co-creators and -stars. Seasons 1 & 2 are available on Netflix Instant. You could also take a wee break from your pre-recycling activities of chipping the dried cheese off your pizza box and rinsing your Parmalat milk box and sample some tapas-sized clips of Portlandia here, courtesy of IFC. Have even more time because you quit your job and you’re makin’ jewelry now? Play at the whole site for a while and even take a tour of Portland with Kumail Nanjiani (frequent guest star) to find IRL inspirations for some of the show’s sketches … including America’s only all-vegan strip club! Colour me there!

So, get your Battlestar Galactica marathons out of the way, brew some Fair Trade Kopi Luwak Indonesian cat coffee and fluff up your vagina pillows … it’s time for Portlandia, Season 3!

“The modern world’s gone all off track, but you can escape it all in Portland. It’s the dream of the 1890s in Portland.”
-Portlandia, S2E5

S3 Premiere on IFC Friday, January 4 @ 10/9C

Starring: Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein

Executive Producer: Lorne Michaels

Director: Jonathan Krisel

Production company: Broadway Video Entertainment

Distribution: IFC, Netflix and Umbrella Entertainment

Writers: Fred Armisen, Carrie Brownstein, Jonathan Krisel, Karey Dornetto, Allison Silverman, Bill Oakley

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet

Good To Be A Gamer Podcast – Week of 09/30/2012

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Category : Featured, Game On, Good To Be A Gamer, Nintendo, PC, PS3, Wii, Xbox

Recorded 10/4/2012

Good To Be A Gamer is Available on iTunes! http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/good-to-be-a-gamer/id476489256
Good To Be A Gamer RSS Feed! http://goodtobeagamer.libsyn.com/rss

2012 Podcast Awards! http://www.podcastawards.com

NEWS
No Federal charges for 38 studios, but state charges pending. [GameSpot]
http://www.gamespot.com/news/no-federal-charges-for-38-studios-6397454

Cliff Bleszinski Departs Epic Games [Epic Games]
http://epicgames.com/community/2012/10/cliff-bleszinski-departs-epic/

2012 Presidential Coverage Goes Live with Xbox [Xbox Live’s Major Nelson’s Blog]
http://majornelson.com/2012/10/02/xbox-invites-you-to-be-a-part-of-the-first-ever-live-interactive-tv-presidential-debate/

Medal of Honor: Warfighter Open Beta Starts 10/5 [IGN]
http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/10/03/medal-of-honor-beta-details-revealed

Assassin’s Creed 3 Reveals First DLC, “Tyranny of King Washington” [Ubisoft, Assassin’s Creed]
http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/ac3/en-US/news/news_detail.aspx?c=tcm:19-66233&ct=tcm:6-231-32

Able Gamers Foundation Opens First Permanent Accessability Arcade [Joytiq]
http://www.joystiq.com/2012/10/03/ablegamers-foundation-to-open-first-permanent-accessibility-arc/

PSN is having a sale! [PlayStation Blog]
http://blog.us.playstation.com/2012/10/01/big-savings-buy-100-on-psn-in-october-get-20-psn-credit/

First Free-to-play Xbox 360 Game Releases [Games Industry]
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-10-04-xbox-live-gets-first-free-to-play-game

NBA Live 13 canceled just 6 days before planned release. [GameSpot]
http://www.gamespot.com/news/nba-live-13-canceled-six-days-before-planned-release-6397616

 

ITEMS OF INTEREST
Kickstarters must now disclose risk, amongst other new restrictions [GameSpot]
http://www.gamespot.com/news/kickstarter-projects-must-now-disclose-risks-6396976

Game Industry Legends: Ron Pardo [Games Industry]
http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2012-10-02-game-industry-legends-rob-pardo

Jake Solomon, Lead Designer of XCOM: Enemy Unknown goes Undercover to Sell his own game [2K Games YouTube Channel]
http://youtu.be/T1pyJxcETmc

Watch League of Legends World Championship Online [Twitch TV]
http://www.twitch.tv/

 

EVENTS
Game Developers Conference 2012
Austin, TX
October 9-11, 2012
http://www.gdconline.com/

New York Comic Con
New York, NY
October 11-14, 2012
http://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

The GeekMoms Podcast, Episode #31: Is Cosplay Normal?
http://www.wired.com/geekmom/2012/09/geekmoms-podcast-cosplay/

Follow NicoleWakelin on Twitter @NicoleWakelin
Follow Andrea Letamendi on Twitter @ArkhamAsylumDoc

Geek Girls Network
http://www.geekgirlsnetwork.com

Extra Life – Gaming for Charity
October 20, 2012
http://www.extra-life.org/

Dave’s Extra Life Profile – http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=32173
Dave’s TwitchTV Feed – http://www.twitch.tv/rainedrop184
Jessa’s Extra Life Profile – http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=37907
Andrew’s Extra Life Profile – http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=32996

 

CONTACT
Questions? Comments? We want to hear from you! Feel free to post a comment on the podcast entry at http://www.goodtobeageek.com, or email us at gamer@goodtobeageek.com. You can also email David at dlucier[at]goodtobeageek.com, email Jessa at jphillips[at]goodtobeageek.com.

Special thanks to Sterling for the use of his music in the podcast. Be sure to check out his Magnatune profile page (http://magnatune.com/artists/sterling) to learn more about him and discover more of his music.

Good To Be A Gamer is sponsored by Good To Be A Geek – let your geek run wild! Opinions expressed on Good To Be A Gamer are those of the hosts and/or guests and do not necessarily represent those of Good To Be A Geek. Good To Be A Geek is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

League of S.T.E.A.M. Targets Hannah & Dr. Lucy: How Rude!

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Category : E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Holiday, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

Kids,  I don’t get too much mail here at The Del. Being dead and all, who’s going to send Moi anything? With the exception of occasional postcards you good pips send me here at the Hotel del Coronado -keep ‘em coming, babies!- mail call is pretty quiet around The Del for yours truly.

Still, along with the odd postcard, and some of them are quite odd, especially those from Texas, I do get unexpected packages once in a blue moon. Today, I received a small, padded envelope with a CD in it. There was no note with it, no greeting, merely a crude marking on the CD itself which read, “Consider yourself warned”.

Jeepers creepers! The return address read only “League of S.T.E.A.M.“!

“Supernatural & Troublesome Ectoplasmic Apparition Management, indeed! How rude! I have a right mind to send them a very sternly written letter. However, I am even more of the mind that my online blathering has finally called too much attention to not only myself, but my dear friend Dr. Lucy. It seems to me, we’ve got some ghost hunting types here in the hotel and, what with Hallowe’en fast-approaching, my guess is these steampunk monster hunters are gearing up for Samhain Scandals! Well, they’ll never catch me! Ha ha!

This, btw, is what those real monsters sent me. Pay close attention after the 3:00-mark.
 

 
Damn it, Lucy! I know how much you enjoyed playing with that new EOS Canon Rebel. Still, didn’t I tell you that if we were going to go play at Comic-Con, that we had to lie low? Especially in the SyFy Press Room? As dear old dad, Dr. Harvey, would say, “Oi vey, Lucy!”.

Fortunately, I shall be out of town for the Holidays: home to good ol’ Beantown and spooky Salem, Mass for some Hallowe’en haunting about the Hawthorne Hotel; and, Lucy shall visit her dear Dr. Devorkian up in Napa this All Hallows’ Eve. Let’s see the League of S.T.E.A.M. find us now! (Oh. Wait. Damn it, Hannah!) Well, at least now the League shall have to dispatch their tiresome, hyper-weaponed gnats to New England and Northern California, as well as wherever else their ne’er-do-well activities take them here in Southern California. Shame on them, nettling and tweaking the likes of Lucy and Moi! Funny enough, now those half-portions in Ghost Adventurers and Ghost Hunters International don’t seem so bad.

I think I can take the mook in the visor, but what's with the giant wrenches? Jebus!

Monster hunters take note! Perchance, you are not aware of she with whom you dare to dance! I swing a mean cocktail bag, kittens!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jennypop.net

Adrianne Curry & RDJ Sightings, Johnny Depp & Seth Green MIA: SDCC 2012

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel, Uncategorized

“There’s an awful lot of weird, pasty people in here, myself included.” So went my recurring, silent observance throughout this year’s Comic-Con, striking oft as I flitted hither and thither through the San Diego Convention Center, like a frantic mosquito seeking an open window on a muggy, Malibu, summer’s day. The pastiness was not truly what struck me, nor was the definitive weirdness. The real oddity was, like in so many gatherings where we geeks gather en masse -Renaissance Faire, Disneyland-  the convergence of and shoulder-to-shoulder conditions pressed upon so many individuals not generally prone to mainstream socializing. Moi? I haven’t left my Hotel del Coronado much since 1934. Dr. Lucy, my ghostie cohort? 1904. Judging by the bevy of pale and malleable bodies endeavouring some severely awkward social interactivity, they’ve not left their abodes since 1904 either. (Need more than just one fat Slave Leia? Dr. Lucy’s Comic-Con 2012 Gallery of Oddities!)

No caption necessary. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

On the flip side, after the initial shock of being face-to-face with strangers on a trolley and crushed side boob-to-side boob with fat Batman at Starbucks, a comforting calm washes over one and the irony of being surrounded by two-hundred thousand other Earthlings hits.

San Diego Old Town Trolley ... all aboooard! Photo: JSDevore

Suddenly the looks, stares and comments are friendly and complimentary. Instead of thinking the standard, snarky, “Hey, mook. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”, I’m posing and flashing my Colgate smile and jack booted-gams left and right for anyone with a smartphone or a news camera. “Make sure you spell my name right!” becomes my de rigueur response, as opposed to my usual, “Grody”. (Yes, by the way, occasionally the more telekinetic of you live wires can actually see Lucy and me: Ghost Hunters types are quite adept. The stares and the infrared cameras do get to be a little boring after a while though. Costumed and fancy dress affairs tend to bring out more believers. Ergo, SDCC and Faire are perfect places for us to play without too much unwanted attention.)

Of course, once I hit the train each evening, my snark and sneers revived nicely, especially to a particularly forward sleazebag whose interest in my ruffled bloomers was creepy. Lowering my aluminum goggles down off my pith helmet and onto my face, now resembling Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, I gave the letch a hard stare à la Paddington Bear and, pulling my skirt tightly over my Victorian bloomers, I replied, “These are for the convention only.” and turned to watch the bay the rest of the way home. Thank goodness for Lucy; she handled him deftly and politely for both of us. Her Victorian manners are far more genteel than my Flapper Girl gums.

Disco vader, Boba Fett and Starbucks? Feels like a party! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Back at the Con though, and all those other wackadoo jelly beans in your personal space, a thumbs-up from a dapper Mad Hatter and a 360-spin from a vixen Catwoman to tell you how amazing your costume is, combined with all the other praise throughout the day, tells you you’re not quite the freak you so oft feel. When a chap from the L.A. Times chases you down for a snap, a fellow from the Houston Press says he’s been stalking you for thirty yards and wants to know more about whom designed your gear and a gorgeous Ruby Red Riding Hood compliments your corsetry, well, it makes for some strong self-esteem boosts. (Stalking though, sans costume, generally bad.)

Dude. Both your faces are looking in the wrong direction. Zowie! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Sure, it sounds needy, feeding on compliments greedily like a truffle pig zeroing in on the hunt. Still, when a trip to Trader Joe’s or even Nordstrom can be fraught with elbow nudges and snickers due to something as simple as a parasol or an oversized hat (No, I am not going to a wedding, the races or a funeral, thank you very much.) it’s nice to be in a venue, even if crushed like a pack of nematodes, and feel like part of the gang. Even if we usually don’t want to be part of any gang.

The only downside to the Con, if one can call it a downside, Dr. Lucy and I did have to field the query, “Now, who exactly are you supposed to be?” and then followed by, “Ah. Interesting. Now, what is steampunk?” Dr. Lucy had a great, if not lengthy description. Most tended to glaze over mid-description, but I liked it.

Think Jules Verne and Victorians and what their concepts of future technology would have been, utilizing the machinery and technology at their hands, in the 19th Century.

Blink, blink, the inquisitor would respond. I would then add succinctly:

Have you seen Sherlock Holmes, the newer versions with Robert Downey, Jr.?

Ahh! Yes, yes! Iron Man! Cool! they would exclaim, pleased with themselves. See, Lucy, people are obtuse, mostly. KISS, as the politicians say: Keep It Simple, Silly. Still not sure about this damn steampunk business? Keep a keen eye for steampunk stylings in BBCAmerica’s newest crime drama by Barry Levinson, Copper, set in 1864 NYC. Can’t wait ’til it airs August 19th? Find a bit more steampunk here.

Hannah & Lucy, Steampunk Chicks, Day 3 SDCC 2012 Photo: Eugene Powers, Whedonopolis.com

 

Steampunk. However you slice it. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

Hannah and Dr. Lucy, Steampunk Chicks, Day 1. Photo: Maria Stefanopoulos, IngeniousTravel.com

 

Why, Dr. Lucy! You'll give the boys heart flutters! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Admittedly, speaking for both Lucy and myself, we did feel a tad out of place at one point. The old pangs of being the only kid dressed up at school for Hallowe’en flooded back in waves. Fortunate enough to garner admittance into the SyFy Press Room, Lucy and I attended a Being Human roundtable interview.  With the exception of one chick in a hot pink anime wig, Lucy and I were the only ones dressed up in costume. Poor Sam Huntington, a.k.a. Being Human‘s Josh the werewolf, as he sat at our table, nearly had a cardiac event upon sight of Lucy’s corseted bosom, crushing a small, plastic water bottle to subdue his carnal desires. Good for you, Lucy. At 108 years young, you’ve still got it!

The rest of the press room was filled to the brim with black-bedecked, serious journalists. A few were freindly, but the odd looks were there. (Why they were surprised, I have no idea. It IS Comic-Con.) As is oft the case IRL, nervous attempts at jokes and small talk were met with long blinks. 

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

In the waning hours of Day 3 of the Con, as Lucy and I sat against a wall in the Meeting Halls catching our breath, a crowd piled up in front of us as they were held off by guest control, waiting for cross-traffic to pass: a ridiculous line for a Mythbusters panel. As I watched Hobbit feet and blistering stilletos shuffle by, I caught a good portion of a conversation as a lovely and petite blue-haired fairy and a somewhat beefy Harry Potter came to stand nearby us.

 

Pretty, pretty pixie. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

So, is it what you expected? Harry asked of his pretty pixie.

Ohmygod! So much more! I’m already planning next year’s costume! she clapped.

What’s your favourite part so far? Harry asked further.

She thought for a moment, then replied, Remember when we went to your Mom’s that time? ‘Member we stopped by before that Halloween party? We did the Alice in Wonderland thing?

Yeah. Your White Queen costume?

Yeah. Well, nobody here has looked at me even once the way your mom and sister did that night. It feels natural, just being here. It’s amazing.

Exactly. What she said. How was your Comic-Con experience?

 

 

Dr. Lucy winds up the Belle of the Con: Miss Kelli Mae, my personal fave! Photo: JSDevore

 

A rare moment of downtime. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Note: Whilst we did see Mark Hamill, Adrianne Curry (beyond hot), Parasol Protectorate author Gail Carriger and Robert Downey, Jr. (Very, very hot. Sherlock, indeed.), we did not see Seth Green or Johnny Depp. Be assured, this was not from a lack of effort. Seth Green was indeed there, visiting the Peanuts booth, participating in a Robot Chicken panel and making general happy mayhem of the grounds. My final effort, a lone Tweet, is recorded for Comic-Con history:

Jennifer S. Devore@JennyPopNet

Might as well seek w effort :D Is @sethgreen anywhere near aisle 1400 @Comic_Con ? Would love to say Ciao! #sdcc

 

No words. Too hot. Dig you, Mizz Curry! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

The honour is all mine, Miss Carriger: Parasol Protectorate Purveyor. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

Klingons. Not so tough IRL. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

Go ahead, try not to sing it. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography SDCC 2012

 

What did you get up to during Comic-Con 2012? Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Hannah fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet   jennypop.net   amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore 

Comic-Con Inside Buzz: SyFy’s Being Human, Season 3

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Category : Candid Conversations, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Reviews, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

Ciao, kittens! Well, San Diego Comic-Con 2012 is in the rear view mirror and I can tell you Dr. Lucy and I had a ridiculously swell time! Aside from the media barrage, celebrity sightings, celebrity rumours and the over-the-top Con bags (Why so big, guys? Why?), the people-watching and cosplay stole the show. Dr. Lucy, being the mechanical tinkerer she is, took nicely to an EOS Canon Digital Rebel XT and gave us a veritable Egyptian tomb of snaps, a gallery of which I shall post soon. Today, I bring you an insider’s look into SyFy‘s Being Human.

Natch, Being Human is right up my alley. As I am wont to do, I started with the U.K. version, then warmed to the U.S. iteration. Being Human U.S. is a strikingly spooky adaptation and, being a ghostie girl myself, it only makes sense that the beauteous, lead ghost Sally is my personal, vicarious fave. She’s far lovelier and more delicate than those mooks over at Ghost Adventurers, has a great pair of getaway sticks and is spades more genteel than those wheats running Ghost Hunters International. (Note to GHI: You don’t always have to be saying something in the dark. Silence is lovely sometimes and, moreover, we know you’re there.)

Meaghan Rath and Sam Huntington, SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Thanks to the good folks in the SyFy publicity office and press room, particularly Kelly and Blair, Dr. Lucy and I were afforded a brief, press roundtable with the stars of Being Human and their executive producer, Anna Fricke, prior to the Being Human panel discussion in the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Dr. Lucy snapped some pics and I had the opportunity to chat with Anna and the actors whom portray Sally, Aidan and Josh. Anna divulged no details about Season 3, which airs January 2013, but did offer some tantalizing teasers about where our supernatural friends are headed, come winter.

Sam Witwer, SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

“More levity”, “less dark” and “more solidarity” were E.P. Anna’s cornerstones of what’s to come. Season 2 went down some pretty dark roads indeed and the characters enacted some serious choices.

“Season 2 ended up being a very dark, crazy, bananas place where everybody had to make very life-threatening choices and decisions. Obviously, we have to see, did they get themselves out of those decisions?,” Anna offers.

Anna also admitted to more flashbacks.

“We always have flashback because we love to do the wardrobe! (laughter) It’s great to delve into the past to see where they’re coming from, what made them who they are today.”

Anna Fricke, E.P. Being Human U.S., SDCC 2012 SyFy Press Room Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

To continue, a very brief interview with Meaghan Rath, Sam Witwer and Sam Huntington:

 

GTBAG: Where do all the characters go this season, inwardly?

Sam Huntington (Josh): Aidan protecting Aidan. This is something we tackled this year. (laughter)

Sam Witwer (Aidan): There you go.

Sam Huntington (Josh): I think Josh’s primary goal this year on the show was to be, he’s the mother, you know? He wants to keep everyone safe. And he wants desperately to get everybody what they want. It’s uh, he’s needed to ask Aidan for a lot of help. That’s true. Because of his knowledge, because of his strength. It’s because of Josh’s newness as a supernatural being and his lack of knowledge. So uh, yeah , I think Josh has grown a tremendous amount. This season he really does come into his own, in a big way. Yeah. Yeah!

GTBAG: How do they progress? How do they grow together?

Sam Witwer (Aidan): We already know how they progress.

Sam Huntington (Josh): There’s no hope. (laughter) We have no hope.

Sam Witwer (Aidan): You know what’s great? We’ve really had a chance to collaborate with the writers this year. So, I can say with a good amount of certainty that its going exactly where I would have it. I, I love the direction it’s taking.  My character gets to be around people and that allows him to be awkward and allows him to be sad and also more dangerous considering what happened last year and it’s kind of a sweet spot for the character, in terms of him being interesting. And these two guys have so much new stuff to deal with it’s ridiculous, but we can’t tell you what.

Sam Huntington (Josh):  That’s the tricky thing. That’s because we were all left in such uh, you know, horrible, extreme situations last season it’s like, to say anything about what, the result of that.

Sam Witwer (Aidan): Yeah, it takes us a year and a half after the last season.

 

At that point, the kind yet efficient talent manager swept through and corralled the attractive trio to another table, all before Miss Meaghan could give her thoughts on Silly Sally’s forthcoming journey. What I did get, was a close-up of her smashing, heart heels!

Divine! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

What about Aidan and his coffin, some of you may wonder? Well, all Anna would tell me is this:

“Sam is such a fine actor. We don’t want to see him in a coffin for thirteen episodes.”

Hmmm.

Hannah & Dr. Lucy, a tad nervous pre-interview: Photo by Eugene Powers, Whedonopolis.com

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online? @JennyPopNet  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jennypop.net

Between the Covers: Dark Horse Comics at Comic-Con 2012

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Category : Comics, Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, San Diego Comic Con

It may be true that Hollywood has gradually taken over more and more space at San Diego Comic-Con with panels about the blockbusters in the works or the latest attempts to entertain our television viewing minds, but comics still reign. This is Comic-Con, after all.

One of the examples of comics creating a beacon on the convention floor, is Dark Horse Comics. This little indie publisher has made a big name for themselves over the last 25 years. With incredibly popular properties such as Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Creepy, Eerie, Hellboy, Game of Thrones, Blacksad and more, their following is well earned.

Dark Horse Comics took the opportunity at Comic-Con to share a bit of upcoming news. The team has been busy, putting writers and artists to work. The result will be a very good holiday season for comic lovers!

 

BRIAN WOOD TO WRITE A NEW STAR WARS SERIES!

Dark Horse is no stranger to the Star Wars universe, having published the comics for some time. Brian Wood is on board to write a new ongoing series that will take us back to the classic 1977 Star Wars universe audiences fell in love with! The new series will feature covers by Alex Ross. Rumors tells us you can expect to see the new series in January 2013.

Cover Art by Alex Ross | Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

HELLBOY IS BACK!

Perhaps you heard a rumor of Hellboy’s demise. Don’t you know no one really dies in comics? Dark Horse is bringing him back in a new series titled, Hellboy in Hell. The new series is just what it sounds like … Hellboy finds himself in the depths of hell and proceeds to do what he does best – kick a$$. Issue #1 hits shelves 12/5/2012!

Art by Mike Mignola | Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

LANCE HENRIKSEN’S TO HELL YOU RIDE!

Lance Henriksen is making his comic debut with To Hell You Ride! Who better to write a new horror series than a horror icon. He teams up with Joseph Maddrey for the story and Tom Mandrake’s art will grace the pages. To Hell You Ride shows us why sacred burial grounds should not be disturbed when a plague ravages a small town. Issue#1 hits shelves 12/12/2012!

Cover Art by Tom Mandrake Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics

 

You’re Having Fun Wrong: A Pale, SoCal Geek’s Summer Alternatives

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Category : Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

Some are born Geek, some achieve Geekness and others have Geekness thrust upon them. For those of us whom are verily Geek-at-Heart, we shall not be shedding the title as quickly as a West Hollywood hipster sheds his iPad the moment Apple bids him so. Whilst many will claim the title of Geek, as to be Nerd/Dork/Geek/Wonk is très chic, it is a bonkers-dangerous, double-edged sword, kittens. We may live blissfully in our own little, dorky biospheres; yet we are easy targets, like a wounded dolphin, or the only wheat dressed up like a pilgrim the Wednesday before school lets out for Thanksgiving Weekend.

We are Geek. Photo: San Diego Air and Space Museum archives

From sea to nerdy Cameron-submersible sea, forest to dorky Bigfoot forest, Skywalker Ranch and beyond the solar flares, this proudly pale populace has some serious ideas about what is fun and what is not. Summer can be a tough time for us, what with the sun, the outdoors and the prospect of a proper, dress-up holiday still months away. Never mind all that; we know what makes for real summer fun and with all due respect to the rest of you, to quote The Big Bang Theory‘s Dr. Sheldon Cooper, “You’re having fun wrong.”

Summer can be a bit of a free-radical situation for us: left to fend for ourselves amidst the plains and savannas of a deconstructed season, fighting against the harsh summer sun and the expected, traditional, normal, outdoor activities of the average, summer reveler. In adult-life, as in school, just because it’s summer, doesn’t mean the wedgies cease. In such situations, it is only natural to seek the like-minded. When the broad landscape is dotted with the frequently unavoidable herds of roaming, aggressive, beefy, sunny, beachy, geek-squashers it is often necessary for the more fragile, the proverbial 98-pound weaklings, to gather and move in clusters. The sand-kickers can’t get us all if we move as one.

If it is entirely plausible that you could spend a joyful afternoon at Peet’s Coffee having a serious debate about whether Han or Greedo shot first, you just might find the following summer alternatives to beach volleyball, backyard BBQs and 5K mud runs great fun indeed. I cannot advise on alternatives in your backyard, but as a Cali Girl, I will gladly walk you through some of my Golden State’s finest, oft air-conditioned, cerebral, summer dork attractions.

Xyon Koreen knows. Han DID shoot first. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography, SDCC 2K12

  • San Diego Comic-Con: Certainly a toss-up, as to whether this should take the number one or two spot. In the end, it had to be crowned as supreme. Comic-Con is Mecca for con geeks the world over, even the new breed of geek: the poseur. C-C has become the new Studio 54. Few at the 1970s, iconic, NYC discotheque probably actually loved disco. Today, it’s questionable how many Comic-Con attendees even read comic books, let alone have a passion for the medium. Still, decades after Richard Alf et al gifted the Geek World with Comic-Con and after all the poseurs have moved on, when The Big Bang Theory runs its course, the real fans will still faithfully flood the San Diego Convention Center each July, giving the San Diego Fire Marshal four sleepless nights every summer.
  • Disneyland: Like Salieri to Mozart or Sean Penn’s Emmet Ray to Django Reinhardt, were there no Comic-Con, Disney would clearly reign on this list. If you’re fortunate enough to have an annual passport, chances are good you can’t get enough of Star Tours and its fifty-some possible scenarios, The Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones, a Johnny Depp-frosted Pirates of the Caribbean and browsing ad nauseam the Capodimonte-laden glass shelves of Main Street’s Disneyana. We Disney devotees do enjoy the occasional, audible snort of derision at new attractions and additions and love to regale newbies and family first-timers with behind-the-scenes Park trivia (especially those of us whom worked there). Overall, it is our church of sorts and if you don’t like Goths, stay away mid-September through January, for The Nightmare Before Christmas overlay at The Haunted Mansion is really, honestly, to die for, kids.
  • Renaissance Pleasure Faire: This one’s the original, yon friends. It’s usually over before summer solstice hits, but you’ll find plenty of other faires up and down the state. Yet, prithee, this is the Hamlet of Renaissance festivals. Oft simply called “Southern” or “Ren Faire”, it’s been around since what feels like Queen Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Raleigh were playing footsies behind hogsheads and if you’re well-acquainted with Faire, then you know the tacit rules of conduct: no polyester, no real names, no Victorian Gary Oldmans from Dracula, keep your tongue in character and do not ask us if our costumes are hot. It’s almost always 100 degrees and, with the exception of our cleavages, we’re swathed head-to-toe in leather, velvet, suede and fur. What thinkst thou? Faire is no place for steampunk and there’s also an internal, heated and on-going debate about Captain Jack Sparrow, because he’s a “made-up pirate”. Of course, most of the pirate guilds are themselves comprised of made-up pirates. I give you geek.

Are you Faire enough? Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

  • Conan: Deserving of a Larry King suspenders & glasses/Arnold sausage snap combo-pantomime, this day trip can’t be beat, even by the Masturbating Bear. Whether you’re a lucky local of beautiful downtown Burbank or saving up your game tokens for a Golden State sojourn, a Conan taping is probably the second best taping you can attend in The Valley. Tickets are free, but the online lottery is hit ‘n miss. Still, if you can nail a date and don’t mind being in Burbank on a weekday, you’ll be better than just about everybody back home on the farm.
  • Huntington Library & Gardens: Word nerds, book geeks and art history-snarks, this is your perfect afternoon, except Tuesdays and only from 10:30-4:00 in the summer, 12-4 otherwise. Of course, if you want to miss traffic getting out of the Pasadena-area, you’d best try to be out of the parking lot by 2:30, 3:00 tops. Home to a Gutenberg Bible, an Ellesmere manuscript of The Canterbury Tales, scores of early-Shakespearean papers, Audubon folios and a selection of 18thC. French and English decorative arts that would make Sofia Coppola swoon, the quiet and hidden treasure of L.A. museums is clandestinely tucked away in upscale, residential San Marino, an old money suburb of Pasadena. If you’re drawn to English incunabula, powdered wigs, French Lace roses and think Joshua Reynold’s Sarah Siddons as Tragic Muse is just downright hot, then you’d better get going. Traffic will be a total nightmare in about forty minutes.

Clearly, because we are Geek, I rest assured many of you will disagree with my list, if only to dispute its hierarchy. Moreover, I expect others will rant and rail over omissions and inclusions. Please, do share. Like learning my Hotel Del ghostie cohort, Dr. Lucy is as bonkers for Carl Barks comic books as I am, it’s always a thrill to learn where more of my own kind, ghosts or non, roam at will, without threat or fear of a good swirly.

Abyssinia, cats!

 

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? jennypop.net @JennyPopNet

Hannah Hart’s Sweet San Diego Comic-Con Goody Giveaway

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Category : Anime, Comics, Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Movies, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel

All right, Boyzos and Betties, unless you’ve been slumped over a Pacific Beach bar for the last three months -Very possible in P.B.- you know Comic-Con is nigh and yours truly, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado, is headed there with proverbial bells on.  (Actually I’ll be donning ruffled, Victorian bloomers and a pith helmet: no real bells.) Whilst it may seem Dr. Lucy, my Hotel Del ghostie cohort and SDCC partner-in-crime, and I are going for a good old fashioned, G&T-fueled, steampunk, dress-up party, we’re really doing it all for you. Really.

Photo: ParkaBlogs

For all you mooks whom wanted to go, but couldn’t make it, either because you were unsuccessful in nicking a badge through the Con’s wonky, mad, digital dash for online purchases, or it was just never in the cards for you to get to America’s Finest City this summer, I shall be your big eyes and perky ears throughout Geek Mecca.

Directly from the San Diego Convention Center floor I shall be Tweeting and Facebooking only the choicest gossip and sweetest pics: hot Manga girls, celebrity sightings, bonkers cosplay, even that guy who absolutely should not be wearing Spandex. If it’s worthy, I shall cover it. If I’m lucky and can squeeze into a panel or two, I might even be able to get you some dishy goodness on the likes of Bob’s Burgers, The Walking Dead, Children’s Hospital, The Simpsons, True Blood, Spongebob Squarepants, American Dad, The Big Bang Theory, Vampire Diaries …  phew. You know what? Take a peek here at the full list of TV panels for 2012; just far too many to reference. If I could corner anyone for you, who would it be and what would you ask them? Tweet me @JennyPopNet or @GoodToBeAGeek and let me know; I’ll do my best!

Moi? I’ll have my eyes peeled for the likes of Seth MacFarlane (American Dad, Family Guy), Matt Groening (The Simpsons), Loren Bouchard (King of the Hill, Bob’s Burgers), Bill Amend (Foxtrot), Henry Winkler (Children’s Hospital, Happy Days, Arrested Development) and the entire Once Upon a Time cast and writers’ crew. Witness my love for Once here! Although, I do have to say that if the rumours are true, according to Variety, The Lone Ranger may be hosting a panel, possibly featuring Helena Bonham-Carter, Gore Verbinski and Johnny Depp … well, I think we all know the outcome if this happens. Dr. Lucy! Pack the smelling salts!

 

Best of all for you jelly beans, I’m giving up the goods! Not those goods, ya wet smacks. Con goods! Now, pay attention:

  • 2 Grand Prize Goodie Bags Incl. one official Comic-Con Souvenir Book, autographed by author Jennifer Susannah Devore on her article, That Other Jane: 100 Years of Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle, Heartbreaker , plus a collection of goodies from random floor vendors as well as some official Comic-Con Schwag  Bag contents. (Note: very few writers’ and artists’ work appear in each year’s book. Getting a signed one is a rare treat indeed. Keep yours mint; Jenny’s getting bigger by the day! Fan-wise, that is.)
  • 3 Goody Giveaways per convention day  A goody is one promotional item from random convention floor vendors. I don’t even know what these are, yet! I’ll be Tweeting them live from the floor. Trade shows and conventions are chock full of awesome tidbits ranging from coffee mugs and comic books to games and anime key chains. Who knows?!

Me! Me! I want a Jennifer Devore-signed Souvenir Book! Photo: ParkaBlogs

How to win? Easy Peasy! Just Tweet or FB the following during the SDCC dates of July 12th-July15th!

  • 2 Grand Prizes:
  1. One Facebook Fan: “Like” Savannah of Williamsburg on FB and post a quote from one of Jennifer Devore’s Savannah of Williamsburg books. (Don’t have a book? Get a free Kindle or Nook sample at Amazon and BN.com. Every quote gets you an entry!)
  2. One Twitter Pal: Follow @JennyPopNet and Tweet a short quote from any of Jennifer Devore’s Savannah of Williamsburg books.
  •  Daily Goody Giveaways: Follow @JennyPopNet with a Tweet containing  #SavannahofWilliamsburg and #SDCC, or “Like” Savannah of Williamsburg on Facebook and post a Comic-Con greeting on her wall!

Already a follower on Twitter? Already a Facebook fan? Sweet! Then all you have to do post a quote, Tweet a hashtag and wish Dr. Lucy and me luck on tracking down Johnny Depp! (Wish Johnny luck, come to think of it!)

Photo: Nico Genin

 

See what we shall endure for you? Well, you and Johnny. Photo: ParkaBlogs

Abyssinia at the Con, cats!

All prizes to be mailed out after SDCC. All winners shall be selected at random from qualified entries. In the event of any dispute whatsoever, I will be the final arbiter of final judgement under any circumstance. There is no cash value. As a condition of entry, entrants are expressly prohibited from making any claims whatsoever. No third party shall bear any responsibility whatsoever in relation to this promotion, including but not limited to syndicates, partners and affiliates. This contest is held solely by jennypop.net. This contest is held solely for fun. Have fun!

Hannah’s fave places to haunt online?

Jennypop.net, @JennyPopNet  amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and jenniferdevore.blogspot.com

ReedPOP, A Small Group Of People That Have The Magical Ability To Summon All Of The Awesomeness We Can Handle!

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Category : Candid Conversations, Conventions, Featured, Geek Out

I’ve attended more than my fair share of events and conventions.  I’ve been to horror conventions, fan expos, gaming cons, and thanks to my mother-in-law I’ve even been to a coin collecting convention.  Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been to a lot of comic cons.

Walking into a comic book convention is like stepping out of reality and stepping into a place between the TV channels, where the characters both real and cartoon alike all hang out with each other.  At any given comic con, it’s not uncommon to see Pikachu, Darth Vader, and Hellboy all in line waiting to meet Ash from Army of Darkness. There is absolutely no replacement for the way people feel when they’re in an atmosphere like this.  But how do these gatherings of nerd herds come to be?  Who would actually say, “Hey guys, let’s get, The Incredible Hulk, Jerry the King Lawler, Stan Lee, and Steve Buscemi in the same place and see who shows up?”  ReedPOP; that’s who.  Anyone who’s ever been to a ReedPOP event like the NEW YORK COMIC CON, C2E2 or Pax East, knows why they do it; because it’s mind blowing.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with ReedPOP goddess, (she actually said she’s called the Lead Content and Talent Manager, but I knew what she meant,) Kim Mueller, to discuss more about what goes in to the process of creating an annual geek Mecca. 

TJ: Can you describe what the company ReedPOP is?

Kim: We are owned by a company called Reed Exhibitions, which is the largest tradeshow company in the world, with between 400 – 700 events worldwide.   It’s insane how large this company is.  ReedPOP is the consumer arm of the business.   It’s meant for fans.  It’s not just business to business.  It all started with NEW YORK COMIC CON, and now we have six to eight shows and we’re growing every year.  It’s actually a very small group of us that put on these insanely large events.  They’re all for passionate fans, but from several different walks of life.  We just launched a Fantasy Football Festival that will be later this year.  We work with LucasFilm to do the Official Star Wars Celebration event.  We also run the PAX (Penny Arcade Expo) events.  There are two of those each year and we now also have PAX Dev, which is mostly going toward developers.  Then we have C2E2, which is Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, which is NEW YORK COMIC CON’s little sister show in the Midwest.  It [C2E2] has already grown massively in three years, and this year we just had 41,000 fans at the show, so it’s kind of a whirlwind.  ReedPOP is only actually about 20 people that run all of these different shows.

TJ: I can’t even imagine what your daily agenda must be.

Kim: Yeah, it’s crazy, but we have a lot of help, and we work with a lot of partners.  NEW YORK COMIC CON for example.   We couldn’t do what we do without people like Marvel, DC and Top Cow.   All of these people they’re such a big part of it, and we need their support to be a good show.

TJ: On your resume, how would you list your job and what it is that you do?

Kim: That is tough; I do so many different things.  My technical title is Lead Content and Talent Manager.  We used to be called the Programing Department, but then people thought that we worked with computers, and I know nothing about computers.  So, we changed it to focus on two different parts of our job, one being  guests.   We have guest outreach where we have to decide who we want to invite to the show.   Then we have to find ways to get to them, and reach out t and invite them to the show.  We have to coordinate all of their travel and make sure they know where they are going, that they have schedules.  NEW YORK COMIC CON has over 350 panels, screenings, and special events throughout the four days, so we have to decide what we want to do with all of those events. We take in all of the requests, and then schedule everything and coordinate all of those times and rooms and all of that information.  We put together a program guide that expresses all of that, and it has to go on the website.  So there is a long list of things that we have to do.   One of the things I specifically focus on more is studio relationships, and trying to make sure that as many TV and movie studios come to the show as possible, because that’s a big part of why a lot of the fans come.  Building relationships and making new connections and partnerships is a huge part of what we do.

TJ: You do a fantastic job.  Your events are epic.

Kim: Thank you! Thank You! We try.   We try really hard.

TJ: If you were going to explain to a fan what it is that you do, how would you put that into fanboy/fangirl terms?

Kim: Basically, I would say, “What is the coolest stuff that is out there right now, this moment?”  I try to bring it to the show.  We’re always looking at what the coolest thing is, whether it’s the newest video game coming out, or how we could get the Avengers to the show.

TJ: Now that we know what it is that you do, what would an event be like if there was no Kim Mueller; if there was no Content and Talent Manager?

Kim: Yeah, basically what you would have is the show floor.  So you would have all of the booths and vendors that are selling cool things like T-shirts and plush toys and all of that kind of stuff.  All of that would still exist.  I don’t touch any of that.   So If I wasn’t there, that’s what we would have.  That would be it, the show floor.   All of the stages, all of the panels, all of the screenings, all of the autographing, all of the guests that are there, and also Artist Alley for sure, like at NEW YORK COMIC CON and C2E2, I do a lot of that as well.   Basically it would be a show floor with people selling merchandise.

TJ: So, no Bruce Campbell?

Kim: Nope.

TJ: No Seth Green?

Kim: Nope, he wouldn’t be there either.

TJ: Wow, that’s quite a difference between NEW YORK COMIC CON with Kim and NEW YORK COMIC CON without Kim.

Kim: (Haha) Definitely.  The nice thing, though, is that we do have exhibitors that work closely with us to bring in guests.  Someone like Dark Horse for example, will have a project that they’re working on, so they would try to bring creators that are working on that project.  So, to some extent there would be some guests there but the majority of the guests and all of the content and panels technically would not exist if there was no content and talent team.

TJ: Having said all of that, and having described the caliber of people that you strive to bring in,  who have you worked around that you’ve had a hard time keeping your cool with?  Have you ever been star-struck?

Kim: Umm…this will sort of answer the question.   I think one person I had a hard time figuring out what to do with was  in 2009 or 2010.  I went in the green room to get Seth Green for his Robot Chicken panel and MacCaulay Culkin was in the room.   I was just like, “Hi…ummm…” I definitely had a moment of, “Wait.  What’s going on here?”  I was very confused.  I guess they’re close friends, so he must have come to the show with him.  I generally know who is going to be there, so I don’t get to star-struck because I can kind of prepare myself.  When I knew Mark Ruffalo was coming to NEW YORK COMIC CON [last year] I was really excited, but I knew he was coming so I was able to tell myself, “When you meet him, act cool.  It’s okay.”  But with someone like [MacCaulay], and you don’t expect it, and you just kind of run into someone, you’re like, “Oh…hi…uh…what do I do?”

TJ: That’s funny, I actually got to sit in on that panel.

Kim: Oh, really?

TJ: Yeah, I was pretty surprised to see MacCaulay there too!

Kim: You know, I just always associate MacCaulay Culkin with Home Alone, and I watch that movie every Thanksgiving to kick off my holiday season.  I was star-struck, but I think it was because I wasn’t expecting to see him.  Normally, I’m pretty good at keeping my cool and being normal around people like that.

TJ: What a fun story!

Kim: Yeah, I think so.

TJ: Have you ever had a guest that you knew you just HAD to get for a show but had a really hard time getting to them?

Kim: Yeah, that pretty much happens every show.  There are a few people that we want every year, or we go back and forth with, and it’s either that we can’t make it work with timing or scheduling.  So it’s probably several people each show that that happens with.

TJ: Has there ever been anyone that you have invited to the show, and thought, “If I had that to do over, I don’t think that person would be getting the invite?”

Kim: Yeah, there is usually one at every show that I feel that way about.  We’ve definitely had people who are supposed to be there for the fans and they’re grumpy, or they just sit there on their cell phones, and they don’t want to interact.  That’s what always makes me regret reaching out to someone and inviting them to the show.  The last thing you want is for people to be standing in line and waiting to meet someone, and they’re disappointed when they meet them.  That breaks my heart.  Usually there’s one or two that.   I feel like I regret it in the sense that I’m not happy with how they treat the fans and I’m not happy how the handle themselves in front of people.

TJ: That’s a pretty noble complaint.  So it’s not so much a personal issue, but you don’t like how they’re treating your fans.

Kim: Yeah, exactly.  Obviously some people don’t know how to treat us, in the sense that they don’t really understand what our job is, or what our role is, and who we are.   Honestly, I don’t care how they treat me.  I just care how they treat the fans.  I don’t care that behind the scenes they may yell at me, as long as they’re nice to people who they’re signing autographs for, or who are asking them questions in a panel.  Then I don’t care.  You can yell at me until the cows come home.

TJ: Soooo, I can quote you and say that Kim Mueller doesn’t mind being yelled at?

Kim: (Haha.) Uh oh, I don’t know about that.

TJ: What would you consider your greatest achievement at ReedPOP?  

Kim: It’s been about four and a half years now that I’ve been on the team.  I don’t know if there is a specific moment that I feel like is my greatest achievement.  I feel like every time I go to one of our shows, and I see people who are so excited to see some one that they’re crying, or they’re just having the best time and they’re really enjoying themselves,   and they’re in a panel, and they’re applauding, and they’re cheering.  That’s when I feel like I’ve really accomplished something and I feel super successful.  It happens so much during our events, I can’t think of specific moments.  It actually happens quite frequently, and that’s the reason that I like my job so much.

TJ: When people log on to twitter and go to @NYCCKim and look at your profile picture, who will they see you standing there by?

Kim: Chris Hemsworth.

TJ: Oh, yeah?

Kim: Yeah, right now my profile picture on twitter is of me and Chris Hemsworth, who was the nicest guy in the world, that I instantly fell in love with him the second that I met him.  I was so upset the he was married and, you know, he was a faithful nice guy who didn’t do anything bad and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I love you.”

TJ: So it was pretty exciting to meet Thor?

Kim: Oh, yes.

TJ: This year NEW YORK COMIC CON is going to be October 11th through the 14th.

Kim: Yes, it’s the same weekend.  It’s always the weekend after Columbus Day.

TJ: You already have some pretty amazing guests lined up.   You’ve got the chief Creative Officer of DC, Geoff Johns

Co-Publisher of DC Entertainment, Jim Lee, Creator of Hellboy, Mike Mignola, and I saw that Josh Gates of Destination Truth has been added to the websites list of guests…

Kim: Yes, Josh Gates has been announced and we have also announced that three day tickets are now on sale.

TJ: What kinds of tickets can you buy to attend NEW YORK COMIC CON?

Kim: Four day tickets which have been available now for about a month, now we have three day tickets available, and later in the summer we’ll put single day tickets on sale as well.

TJ: Great.  I know that you already have a lot of great guests lined up that you haven’t announced yet, but I can only imagine that you have an amazing list tucked away somewhere.  Who else can we look for this year?

Kim: I can’t say anything yet, but one thing I can say is, in the next couple of weeks we will be announcing some Marvel [Publishing] names.  Right now, we have only announced a couple of DC guys, and Mike Mignola who is Dark Horse, so we’ll have some Marvel people coming very shortly that will be announced.  And we definitely have some really cool TV stuff that’s already official and lined up, so it’s just a matter of time before we can announce it.  I can guarantee that people will be very happy with it.

TJ:  I’m really excited to see the rest of the lineup this year! I check the site one or two times a day!

Kim: Yeah, that’s the place to go if you want to stay up to date and get the latest news.

TJ: Now, for a non-convention question.  What do you think about cats?

Kim: (Haha.) What do I think about cats?  (Haha.)

TJ: Yeah, everything that I’ve researched and have seen online always has Kim Mueller and cats in the same sentence.

Kim: (Haha) yeah, I love cats.  I have a cat who is the cutest wildest little creature ever.   I love cats but I feel like the people who I work with have actually made me seem like I’m a much crazier cat lady that I actually am.  I have one cat and I love him, but beyond that, people always buy me cat books and they put up cat things in my cube at work.  I have all kinds of cat stuff all around me, but I swear none of it is stuff that I bought myself.  I mean, I am obsessed with cats, but not the way people think I am.

TJ: Okay.  I’ll believe you.

Kim: Well, maybe I am, a little bit.

TJ: Is there anything else you would like to say about NEW YORK COMIC CON and ReedPOP?

Kim: I would say that if anyone is checking out this interview, and they have ideas for guests or what they would like to see, whether it’s something traditional or if it’s something that’s completely out there, we’re always looking for suggestions.  We always want to hear from the fans, and how things went for them in previous years, and what they want to see this year, so I would just say that all of our contact information is on our website, and also on the ReedPOP website, so anytime anyone has any feedback or questions, or concerns or suggestions, we’re here and we love talking to people, and hearing what matters to them.

TJ: Thank you so much Kim, it’s been great talking to you.

Kim: No problem.

San Diego Comic-Con 2012: Tarzan, Peanuts and Cocktails with Boba and Darth

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Category : Comics, Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

Cheers, babies! It’s me, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado and it’s June! You know what that means? Summer is mere days away and San Diego Comic-Con is a mere month away!

If you think comic dorks can't party, you'd be wrong. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

If you think comic dorks can’t party, you’d be wrong. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

No one is more excited than yours truly … well, okay. I imagine there are some nibbling their fingernails a tad more than I. After all, part of the appeal of our Comic-Con is that it’s in glorious San Diego. I get to live here year round, kids, haunting my dilly of a Hotel Del. If you’re zinging your way here for the Con and it’s your first time in San Diego, we welcome you, one and all! Need some priceless, insider tips on all the SDCC how-tos? Check the SDCC Expert for Baby’s First Comic-Con.

Yep, ’tis no place in Cali quite like San Diego. Even the dearly departed Godfather of Comic Books, Richard Alf, knew that! Sunnier than San Francisco, cheaper than Santa Barbara, friendlier than L.A. and cleaner than Anaheim, why wouldn’t we welcome the world? Whilst you’re in town, may I heartily suggest Nerdcore Night at famed The Ruby Room in Hillcrest?

If you’re still looking for a hotel, I feel true pity, ya mooks. Whilst an average $560.00-$730.00/night seems lofty at my Hotel del Coronado, it’s a regal steal compared to some of the fleabag dumps near the airport: real slimy, 1-star m-m-m-motels charging upwards of $569.00/night during the week of SDCC!!! That should be criminal. It’s easily extortion and trust me, I lived in Beantown during Prohibition. I know all about mob behavior. If you have a room at all, huzzah for you!

Costume update, by the by: Dr. Lucy and I are pretty much all set. We’ve decided on a steampunk theme; she twisted my fragile ghost arms. She shall be the lovely and vivacious Lucy Westenra of Coppola’s Dracula. Moi? Lady Euphemia Greystoke of Stonington: traveller and archaeologist extraordinaire. I’ve found my 1920s, Cleopatra, chainmail headpiece and Lucy has been mending and modernizing some of her fine Victorian skirts. We are both in grave need of goggles, though. A very serious issue.

In celebration of the upcoming convention, I thought it would be fun to share an article from the 2010 Comic-Con Souvenir Book. Written by my pally Jennifer Susannah Devore, it’s a contemplative and philosophical look at Charles Schulz and the then-60th anniversary of Peanuts. (As a side note, Jenny’s just learned she’s being published once again in this year’s 2012 Souvenir Book with an retrospective of 100 years of Tarzan, Edgar Rice Burroughs and a nod to Dr. Jane Goodall … zowie, does that gorilla girl hold a grudge!

SDCC Souvenir Book, 2010

SDCC Souvenir Book, 2010

The First Beagle on the Moon

by Jennifer Susannah Devore

(Reprinted from the 2010 official Comic-Con Souvenir Book)

 

I think I could learn to love you, Judy, if your batting average was a little higher.

-”Just Keep Laughing”, pre-Peanuts Charles M. Schulz

Charles M. Schulz did not create a mere comic strip, a cast of characters to be listed on high school drama department playbills for eons to come; like all sustainable strips, the Writer-Artist-Creator gave us a neighborhood: a safe place where loyalty, security, friendship and a comfortable sense of continuity and familiarity are still unfailingly there for us. The Peanuts gang has been that other group of our friends, always ready to hang with us at a moment’s notice and at regularly scheduled mornings, especially Sundays. Similar to Shakespearean figures, the Peanuts gang has also been, as any psychologist with an ounce of humor and levity will tell you, a microcosm of humanity. A bevy of neuroses, borderline personalities, leaders and followers, Schulz, like the good Bard, nailed it all straight on the round-headed noggin. The psychology of Peanuts, not to drain the comic pool only to replace it with academia, pervades each and every “illustrated laughing square”.

No doubt, the young Schulz did not set out to create a controlled study of freckled subjects and lab beagles with sunglasses and tennis rackets; nevertheless, he did and you’d be hard-pressed to find a Psych 101 textbook without some reference to Charlie Brown’s martyrdom syndrome or Lucy’s narcissism. Blah, blah, blah, the kind reader may mock, but it is real humanity that is inherent in these characters. It is the nucleus of its success. The psychological endgame matters because in the beginning, and eventually that end, all creators start from the premises of what is known and, more importantly, what is felt.

If writer-artists give us some clue as to their failings, fears and fantasies within their oeuvres, then sports (baseball in particular) girls (darned, elusive redheads), loyalty and honor (Snoopy always comes through despite his egotism) were clearly on Sparky’s short-list. Charlie Brown’s undying dedication to his ball team, his tenacity and faith amidst rained-out games, Lucy’s “The sun was in my eyes”-excuses and dozing beagles-at-bat is a fortitude so many desire, yet oft do not posses.

The stomach-churning inner diatribes and teeth-grinding insecurity is thankfully, cathartically played out on-stage, as it were, in Charlie Brown’s (and Charlie Schulz’) quest for the affection of a little red-haired girl, even going so far as addressing the very adult, very 3-D distrust and heartache of jealousy, that love has been taken by a best friend: Linus, to wit, in It’s Valentine’s Day, Charlie Brown. Charles Schulz’ real-life and nonreciprocal marriage proposal marks the launching pad of Charlie Brown’s everlasting expedition of unrequited and, despondently, un-returned love.

The fear of not being accepted, of not belonging is universally shared, regardless of what the aesthetics and sartorial effects may try to loudly declare. Searching the mailbox for that proverbial Halloween party invitation, learning it was a mistake, then going anyway is a Trick-or-Treat bag fraught with snakes and evil clowns: What if I’m not on The List? What if I am on The List? Who will talk to me? What if I’m left all alone? What if they make fun of my costume?

The fear of not receiving a single Valentine in class, and in front of everybody no less, the dread of an empty mailbox and heart at Christmastime, the cold, autumnal loneliness of being the only one whom truly believes in the Great Pumpkin; these comic worries are so real that the chest-pounding is audible, the butterflies are so visceral we can only cringe and endure, waiting nervously for the certain, happy ending. Sadly, it is not always so certain, though. The ending of Snoopy, Come Home is so gut-wrenchingly awful that it is suffered through only because of our own, Charlie Browniest belief that everything will be okay. It is not, in the case of said film. There is no good outcome, there cannot be; everybody loses, big time. To that end, everybody has heart and soul that trudges forth no matter what. This is why we continue to love, adore and cherish our Peanuts gang.

Be it Snoopy’s devotion to Lila, the dying girl, in Snoopy, Come Home, Snoopy’s devotion to his supper dish, Linus’ unrelenting conviction for the Great Pumpkin and, deeper still, Sally’s dedication to Linus and his mission, it is all so human, so carbon-based. Family or friends, it matters not with Peanuts. As is often the case in real-time, digital worlds or the land of ink-and-watercolor, friends are often family, and family, good friends. The Browns and the Van Pelts are core, bound by blood; but that is not pivotal, being bound by blood. Snoopy and Woodstock, Charlie Brown and Linus, Peppermint Patty and Marcie, Lucy and herself, Schroeder and his Piano, Sally and her Easter shoes and her Sweet Baboo: these are the real bonds, the vital relationships that keep Peanuts going year after sixty years.

In the vein of a youthful William Shakespeare, Matt Groening or Seth MacFarlane whom all wrote of the communities they knew, the people and their foibles they shouldered through life, good and bad, lovely and horrid, Charles M. Schulz presented us with pencil and ink versions of ourselves: our ids, egos, superegos and alter egos. He gave us characters and friends upon whom we knew we could count through any rained out game, school exam or major holiday, even when It’s Presidents’ Day, Charlie Brown.

Above all, there is honor. Consider that, akin to so much great “children’s” literature, young-adult fiction, superhero tales, classic fairy tales, adapted fairy tales, graphic novels, comic strips and animated series there exists no ethical enforcement, save one’s own internal gauge and moral compass. It is universal, from Cinderella and Snow White to Snoopy and Spongebob Squarepants, that parents are either handily out-of-frame or conveniently ineffective; adults of any walk and educators of every sort are primarily a concept and rarely given a name, a face or, in Peanuts’ case, even a voice. Law enforcement is a rare impression lest it appears in an almost supernatural state of purity and perfection, like Scully and Mulder or Police Commissioner Gordon. The heroes cannot get away from themselves and must answer to their own merit of principle. There are no citations, no court dates, no weekend restrictions or media groundings. There is no law, no order, only the inner voice and scruples of the very good and, where it relates to our Peanuts, the very, very admirable and steadfast fraternity of fast and eternal friendship. The lasting appeal of Charlie Brown and Charles Schulz is that they are us. As Lucy states so wisely, “Charlie Brown, of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you’re the Charlie Browniest!”

The Charlies and we are in the vital and primitive hunt for love, camaraderie and faithfulness. They and we are scared to death that nothing will happen and equally so that everything will. The round-headed kid, the barber’s son and we are all optimistic to a fault, likened to Spongebob in our unending and Bikini Bottom-deep belief that everything and everyone will be just fine. They and we are all flawed superheroes, or at the very least, we strive to be.

(A special thanks to Gary Sassaman, Director of Print and Publications Comic-Con International: San Diego)

 

Abyssinia on the Con floor, cats!

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? JennyPop.net jenniferdevore.blogspot.com & @JennyPopNet

Huzzah! Gamer Girls’ Watering Hole: Nerdcore Night at The Ruby Room

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Featured, Game On, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Good To Be A Gamer, San Diego Comic Con, Television, Travel, Uncategorized

 ”This is a war they started and, by God, we’ll finish it.” -former Britsh P.M., Margaret Thatcher

NorCal Gamer Grrls: Touch Chicas. Photo: Gary Dev

Vulcan ears, steampunk corsets, film-accurate weaponry, hot gamer girls and hard-boiled hooch. Slosh it all into a legendary, San Diego fun zone and you’ve blended up a tangy, spicy, smoking hot extravaganza.  No, not Comic-Com, but that is coming soon, kittens. (BTW, yours truly will be on the floor and covering it live for the good folks here at GoodToBeAGeek! Costume? Still up in the air. Any ideas? I’ve narrowed it to Bellatrix Lestrange, Morticia Addams, Snow White or Ruby Red Riding Hood: the latter both of ABC’s Once Upon a Time. Drop a line here or @JennyPopNet and let me know which character you’d prefer!)

Speaking of Ruby Red, there’s a bonkers-wild nightclub right here in my own backyard, just moments from my haunt at the Hotel del Coronado. Welcome to The Ruby Room. Mis en scène amidst the ever active, far-too-hip-for-thou, Hillcrest crawl of downtown San Diego, The Ruby Room offers not only a hardcore, real drinking atmos, but also a nerdcore, real gaming atmos. Hang up your cloak and check your blasters; it’s The Ruby Room’s very own Nerdcore Night. It’s not Comic-Con, but it’s a damn fine tease.

As with many a social movement, Nerdcore Night was born out of a frustration of  social-marginalizing and a need for unity amongst a growing, yet still underestimated subculture of a subculture. The case in study? Gamer girls, oft maligned by the gamer boys they’ve so frequently pwned. Nerdcore Night was divined by Miss Aubree Miller, a partner in the eclectic  TheGamerGirls.com, a geek girl-oriented, lifestyle website encompassing more than the domain implies: music, entertainment, conventions, cosplay, art and design, fashion and so much more nerdy, girly goodness. The hook? These Gamer Girls are bonkers-hot!

Now, all you Modern Millies, riddle me this. Why call attention to such optics? Why feed today’s insensitive, insulting, brutal, throw-away, aesthetics machine? I’ve been fighting sexism since long before I died in 1934, and in Hollywood, to boot. Murder! That’s some serious skirt-chasing around the desk! From what I can tell, you contemporary chickadees carry a lot of huevos in your Louis bags. You know you’re red hot, no matter what mold you do or do not fit. You’ve got a confidence not seen since the Roaring Twenties ditched those Edwardian stuffed-shirts. You’ve got it in spades, and then some, and don’t seem to care a whit who likes it. So, why waste time proving something to that microband of worthless, useless, infantile, misogynist, insecure, fink gamers?

Lauded and gender neutrally-revered dorkettes like Katrina Hill, Adrienne Curry and Jill Pantozzi know they’re aces-beauteous. While mathematical, symmetrical beauty might be the first visual cue you get on these three, it’s definitely not the last thing you’ll remember about them. Amongst this geek girl triad exists an amalgam of journalists, writers, authors, models, TV personalities, comic book aficionados, film theorists, personal band-strategists, wicked WOW gamers, whip-smart businesswomen, fragile hearts, irreverent, humourous, kind, protective and loyal Earthlings. These  broads might understand and shrewdly calculate the value of their charms to bring in unique fans, readers and viewers; but similar to a Harvard or William & Mary legacy, just getting beyond the hallowed brick walls doesn’t cut it. Once they’re being scrutinized, these ladies have to deliver, from the brain as well as the hip.

Left to right: Katrina Hill, Action Chick; Jill Pantozzi, The Nerdy Bird & Adrienne Curry, Mistress of the Dorks Photo courtesy of Katrina Hill

 

Still, all you other dames, isn’t that quiet beauty of yours, the fact that you know you’re pretty, plus so much more, enough to carry yourself like royalty, no matter where you trod? Haven’t all you Millenium muffins come far enough by 2012 that proving you’re a looker to a bunch of greaseballs and strangers online doesn’t matter a hill of beans? Apparently not in the gaming world. Miller says this facet of technology and entertainment is still flush with “female gamers who feel animosity from male gamers.”

According to Miss Miller, in a May 2012 interview with Chad Deal for San Diego Reader, “Whenever a girl beats a guy over, say, Xbox live or whatever, a ton of messages immediately start piling in about how you must be a fat stoner loser chick to have beat them at a game. Boys are petty. We use actual female gamers on [TheGamerGirls.com] who are hot to prove these kinds of boys wrong. Honestly, girls just want gaming equality.” (Please, feel free to read the whole interview, Nerdcore Night – A Safe Place to Geek … but, come back, okay?!)

I don't think this is sanitary. Photo by Jason Anfinsen

 

 

 

 

Jessa Phillips, keen pally, hard-line gamer girl and editor-in-chief of GoodToBeAGeek.com follows and covers gaming passionately: most notably, her Good To Be A Gamer weekly podcast with fellow geek David Lucier. Miss Jessa has had wild experiences with sexism in the gaming world and is cuckoo for Nerdcore puffs. She digs the concept of a night where chicas can get together, talk shop, listen to some tuneage, drink and not worry about some rude boy in Singapore, Bangalore, Seattle or Sack-of-tomatoes slinging personal insults and misogynist hate like cream pies in a Laurel & Hardy flick. Jessa knows her stuff, so when some dude calls her a hack, he’d best step off unless he’s complementing her Hack n’ Slash gaming style.

Playing since Nintendo hit the shelves, Jessa is bonkers for first-person shooting (FPS) and not frightened off by the violence amidst her fave games which, according to her, “also incorporate some amazing world building and storytelling”: God of War, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Gears of War, Mass Effect, BioShock and Assassin’s Creed. Just because she’s a gamer patootie, she’d rather not be identified as such.

“I do not believe that women who play games need to be singled out as a specific market segment. Developers should not be making games aimed to draw in female gamers. We are, regardless of gender, gamers. The difference between me and another gamer is the games we play. That is all,” Jessa states.

Even so, she’s suffered from unwarranted sexism. Seemingly innocuous, when pre-ordering the original God of War, she was questioned and quizzed by the store clerk, certain she was buying for a man in her life, certain “a woman would shy away from the graphic violence and sexual mini-game this title promised.”  That was simple ignorance and most likely lacking any malice. Her first experience with down home, good old-fashioned, blatant sexism? Enter Call of Duty: Modern Warfare.

“I was not so naïve as to use a gamer tag that would immediately give away my gender. However, as soon as I spoke my gender was known and it was all over. I will admit, I am not the most skilled gamer, particularly when it comes to shooters. That being said, gameplay has never been my problem. The constant debasing verbal vomit some players spew at the idea that a woman is in their game. A woman can only bear so much trash talk and when she attempts to defend herself, is instantly label a b*tch which only furthers the issue. It is the targeted mean-spirited attitude towards female gamers in online multiplayer gaming that turned me away from the online space and into a single-player gamer.”

Jessa’s feeling a little better about online gaming as days go by; more women are entering the field of play and more men are even coming to the defense of women getting a verbal bullying. She also has a final bit of advice for the loser whom deigns to dis her during her next round, “So I get pwned by a better player, maybe even targeted due to my gender. I’m a big girl, I can take it. Being the man trashing a women who just pwned you with your friends standing by? Just makes you come off as weak.”

Again, don't mess with NorCal grrls. Photo: Gary Dev

Surprisingly, our very own Dr. Lucy is a rabid gamer girl and a dish, to boot. TGG, still looking for gamer models? Sure, she’s a Victorian gal at heart (died at The Del in 1904, in case you’re new here), but she shows up very nicely on camera, best with full-spectrum, infrared, HD cams. Full disclosure: sometimes she only appears as bright orbs … but, what a set of orbs!

Ever since D&D was gifted to RPGs in the 1970s, and then a later introduction to Mech Warriors she’s been a gaming, ghostie girl. Although she can’t always be seen, she can make a presence when she really wants to. Eventually, she moved on to Renaissance Faire; the men can be just as annoying, but her Old School ways fit in better there.

“I’m not into Resident Evil or the highly competitive shoot-em-up games like Halo or intensive online reality games like WOW,” Dr. Lucy confided to me by the hotel pool one night. “I do however still have my Super Nintendo and tons of ‘old school’ games like Mario Bros and every Zelda game ever made. That has to be my favorite platform game of all time. I have gotten a new platform like Wii just because the new Zelda game came out.” (Where does a Victorian ghost find such games, plus a Wii, my skeptical friends might wonder? Craigslist and BestBuy, of course.)”The games I play now are Zelda Skyward Sword, Heroes VI, and Civilization. The game I am saving up for now is Diablo III, and was just released this week!”

Whether it’s Faire, Zelda, Civilization or her long-ago, Victorian parlour games of Whist, Cribbage, Crambo or Hot Cockles, Lucy maintains boys will be boys.

“Heaven help anyone who ‘lets me win’ or gets all condescending!” she went on after yet another poolside-absinthe. “As for sexism, men ALWAYS think they know best and it does leak over into gaming. I find it entertaining when people who don’t know me try to categorize me. They usually get it wrong and reveal more about themselves in the process than they perceive about me. I know people need to stereotype others to a degree to feel comfortable so it makes me value those people who are capable of recognizing and appreciating people for who they are and those with the ability to recognize that all people evolve and are multifaceted.” Well, not all people, Lucy. Have you watched The Jersey Shore on your Kindle lately? Ick.

In the end, after all the womens’ studies, political hashing and academic posturing, Nerdcore Night is just damn good fun. Similar to Disneyland, Renaissance Faire, Comic-Con and FOX’s Animation Domination, it’s a few carefree hours to congregate with fellow goobs and let off some steampunk. Nerdcore Night is a girls’ night out and even though that seems a little dated in and of itself, it’s become a nice, universally nerdy haven. For, even though it started as an IRL meet-up for San Diego-close gamer chicks, it’s happily become an all-inclusive, guys and dolls, hipster doofus et al function: geeks, nerds, dweebs, gleeks, word nerds, orch dorks and so on. Hail dorks, well met! If you recall, I covered this pandemonium of geek culture previously, White & Nerdy checklist and all. Into which category do you fit?

Whatever you do call yourself, however or with whomever you identify, you’re welcome at The Ruby Room, any night of the week. Bring your hip game, though; Hillcrest ain’t Kansas and it ain’t Dr. Lucy’s weekly Hot Cockles … although, I imagine there’s a bit of that, not to mention some Squeak, Piggy, Squeak going on somewhere in the club.

By the by, for the rest of you cats whom tend to booze ‘n cavort sans cape and sword and just want a good Irish whiskey, Kentucky bourbon, I.P.A. or BOGO penny wells, The Ruby Room serves up a wide swath of divertissements: vintage burlesque –sadly, no Dita Von Teese, yet-, live bands, righteous DJs, art shows, charity functions, fashion soirées and themed karaoke nights. Whether you wield a French corset dagger or sport a slick set of Zildjian drumsticks in your back pocket, chances are excellent you’ll find a Ruby Room bash that suits you and your motley crew nicely. As the good folks at The Ruby Room humbly claim, “Not trying to be everything to everyone, but everything that is us.” Awww.

“Ladies don’t start fights, but we can finish ‘em.”  -Mlle. Marie Bonfamillle, The Aristocats

Destination: San Diego. Warp speed, Captain! Photo: Rabbot

 

Abyssinia, cats!

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? JennyPop.net , jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and @JennyPop

 

The Proper Deets:

@theRubyRoomSD

The Ruby Room

1271 University Ave.

Hillcrest, San Diego, CA 92103

619.299.7372

The Geek Shall Inherit The Earth . . . Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope Movie Review

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Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Movies, Reviews

As geeks and nerds, we are a passionate people. There are few more passionate than those who attend conventions. Each year, hundreds of thousands of us flock to convention centers, hotels, and college campuses around the world to surround ourselves with fellow geeks and nerds whose passion rivals our own. There are many that wonder why so many people attend pop culture conventions and why they have become so important.

The largest of these conventions, considered “geek mecca,” is San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) with more than 126,000 people in attendance in 2011 and badges for 2012 selling out within 90 minutes of registration’s opening. Morgan Spurlock (Director, Super Size Me, 30 Days), along with a dream team of geek media producers such as Stan Lee (Comic Creator, Spider-Man, Iron Man, X-men), Joss Whedon (Director, Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Serenity), Gill Champion (Executive Producer, POW!) and Harry Knowles (Head Geek, Ain’t It Cool News) combined forces to document the SDCC experience from the perspective of the geeks who live it, in an effort to find out what makes the con experience magical in the documentary, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope.

Graphic Credit: Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope

 The documentary crew consisted of at least 15 camera crews, compiling more than 400 hours of video to tell the story of five people headed to SDCC 2010, each with a particular mission. Camera crews began filming the subjects at home as they prepare to make their trek to SDCC and follows their experience throughout the 4 days at SDCC.
 

 

Holly Conrad, a costume designer and cosplayer, sets off for SDCC with her friends hoping to turn heads in the Masquerade. Their entry is inspired by the popular video game Mass Effect and features highly detailed costumes. The Masquerade is not all fun and games. While it is an entertaining event for those attending SDCC, the Masquerade offers Holly the opportunity to showcase her talents before industry professionals. A good showing will get her one step closer to her dream job as a costume designer for films and television.

Chuck Rozanski owns Mile High Comics, one of the largest comics dealer in the United States. The past few years, the comics industry has seen a decline in traditional comic sales. SDCC has grown bigger and bigger every year, drawing in more of the popular culture fans, while the comics audience wanes. Chuck and his crew pack up their comic treasures and set up shop in the dealer’s hall. Their mission is to survive. Can they make enough money to justify the expense of a presence at SDCC? Will it be enough to keep Mile High Comics open for business?

Skip Harvey, is a life-long geek. He is a bartender at a geek themed bar, but his true ambition is illustration. He packs his dreams and his art into a portfolio and embarks on SDCC with hopes of impressing fellow artists and publishers. He yearns to break into comics. Does he have what it takes to be discovered?

James Darling and Se Young Kang are two geeks who fell in love. Their mutual nerdery has kept them together and happy. So happy in fact, James has decided to propose. What better backdrop for a proposal than the extravaganza that is SDCC? The film follows the couple as James attempts to make the arrangements, all while keeping it a surprise. Will he be able to pull off an epic proposal in front of thousands?

Eric Henson is a family man and member of the United States Air Force with a longstanding love of comics. Another illustrator who timidly makes his way among the horde and subjects himself and his art to industry portfolio reviews. The weekend has one purpose, to serve as job interviews. He seeks to meet with comics publishers, hoping to make an impression that will leave the pros seeing the next great illustrator in him.

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a passion project from start to finish. I was lucky enough to attend a screening where Morgan Spurlock was in attendance. He spoke about meeting Stan Lee for the first time and how he himself was one of the geeks. While many of Spurlock’s other projects have been a bit more exposing and had many within the geek community worried, this documentary is all sentiment. In a way, the film is a love letter to geeks the world over … reassuring one another that there is a place for us all, where others understand the sometimes overwhelming fervor for nerd culture.

Woven among the story of the 5 attendees are “confessions” from other SDCC attendees. These are brief interviews with others, most in costume, talking about what is special about SDCC. Mixed in with the everyday folks are a few people you may have heard of, such as Kevin Smith, Eli Roth, Seth Rogan, and Olivia Wilde among other celebrities. There are several themes throughout these candid interviews: geeks have more power to influence than we think we do and Hollywood is growing wise which is why so many studios and corporations make it a point to have a presence at SDCC. Remember, “With great power comes great responsibility;” one of the major draws of SDCC is the sense of belonging it instills attendees with; and we are all fans.

There are a number of reviewers who have been giving Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope less than stellar reviews, accusing it of being too soft on any particular point to really find a following. As always, the mainstream media would paint the hardcore fans as freaks with little or no social skills. For my part, I believe one of the things this documentary does right is appeal to their targeted audience. Sure, the audience may be small in comparison to the number of “norms” that walk the earth. This film is not for everyone and it does not set itself up to be. It was not made to convert non-convention attendees or to convince anyone that cosplay is cool. It was made to salute those that fly their geek flag high and proud, even if we only get to do so for 4 days out of the year. In that respect, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is a success!

Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope is in select theaters now. Check your local theater for showtimes. The documentary is also available On Demand. For a listing of On Demand providers, visit the official website at http://www.comicconmovie.com. Look for the film to be released on DVD around July, just in time for SDCC 2012.

Psst, Kid. Wanna Write a Book? Authors, Writers & The Curious Rash of Social Media

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Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Literature, Travel

Ciao, kittens! Spring’s in full swing and all’s swell here at the Hotel Del. Dr. Lucy and I are in the early stages of prepping for Comic-Con. Costumes are the project du jour and Lucy’s going steampunk with a mad vengeance. It’s all Airship Pirates this and The Parasol Protectorate books that. Speaking of, Gail Carriger, authoress of said-books, will be a featured guest at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and Lucy’s just beside herself about it. Plus, she can’t tear herself away from shopping at Clockwork Couture and currently has her eye on a stunner of a bejeweled Onslow Octopus ring. Moi? I’ve got my peepers on a steampunk, octopus parasol. Even ghost chickadees need a pretty parasol. In addition, I’ve decided to go as Ruby/Red Riding Hood, the va-va-va-voom, sylvan vixen of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, of which you’ll recall my recent review. Looks like I need a quality red cloak and some huntsmen’s gloves. Luckily, I’ve already got a dandy Belgian sword.

 

Apropos to Comic-Con, my dear pally, Miss Jenny Devore, is wringing her hands awaiting word on a piece submitted to the fine editors at the official Comic-Con Souvenir Book: topic being the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan. Me Hannah, You Tarzan! Hubba hubba! Take a jungle hike, Jane. Leave your canteen and snake-bite kit, you’ll be fine without ‘em.

An accomplished author in her own right, Miss Jenny’s got some opinions about the publishing world and I got to thinking about her and all the other poor mooks out there writing, publishing and turning bloody blue as they scratch and claw, day-in and day-out, for someone, anyone to notice them. Natch, I pondered further, might the keen writers of eras gone by, say, Laura Ingalls Wilder or Beatrix Potter, thrill in the elixir of today’s social networking opportunities? Or, might they flounder and panic futilely to extricate themselves from the inescapable tar pits of literary masturbation and personal promotion.

In an episode of Little House on the Prairie the television series, Laura Ingalls, as a burgeoning writer, contributes to and wins an amateur writing contest. The prize? She gets her stories published by a big city publisher: St. Louis or New York, I don’t recall. The twist? She turns down the offer when she realizes the publishing pills want to jazz up her innocuous Ma and Pa tales. (Seems execs haven’t changed much over the years.) Walking away, her moxie and integrity intact, our pretty, perky and plain prairie protagonist eventually does earn a book deal and, thankfully for us, we have the Little House series of books today. Whilst her publisher and agent would sell her charm and tout her words around the country, Half-pint had to do her share, too. She wrote the books. That used to be the hard part. Were she writing today, her bloomers and corset would need a good starching to keep her steady on the course and stop her from doing a swan dive under Ma’s quilt, grabbing her fave stuffed bunny, Mr. Sniffles, and giving up altogether, ’cause today’s book business is brutal, babies.

Photo: Jo Naylor

Knowing a thing or two, about a thing or two where indie publishers and authors are concerned, not to mention those backed by traditional, big publishing houses, it’s clear to this ghostdame that your worldwide, 24/7, omnipresent, vlogging, blogging, iReporting, YouTubeing kind of social media and promo possibilities are the bane of the solitary writer. Around every proverbial corner there’s some slimy crumb bumping his gums about how the worthless and pathetic can be better writers. Nasty and hateful industry insiders, bored readers and armchair critics tell the aspiring schlubs regularly how they suck eggs. The need and ability to incessantly and shamelessly plug, ply, hawk, rationalize and apologize for one’s precious wares morphs the once-quiet and pensive writer into a mealy-mouthed carnival barker.

Now it seems to me most writers crave attention: needy little bastards. Whether or not they inherently have the ability to market their work to elicit that attention is another story. Miss Jenny did a number of book signings back East at good ol’ fashioned Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores, not to mention Borders and Waldenbooks shops. Remember those, kids? She was also a fixture in Colonial Williamsburg, schlepping her Savannah of Williamsburg books alongside more than few notable authors and historians. Jim Lehrer, Edward Cline, Dr. Phyllis Haislip and a gentleman whom is considered to be the worldwide authority on Thomas Jefferson, Dr. Alf Mapp, just to name a few.

With the exception of Jim Lehrer, being a tough bird to get close to, she spoke often with these folks and found many of them,  even those traditionally published by the big houses, spent as much time as she did booking appearances, wrangling events, scheduling book signings and even printing their own event signage. Want a real-life sob story? Here ya go.

One of these prolific authors waited nearly a year for royalty checks, was eventually sent a pittance check and then the publisher filed for reorganization, a.k.a. bankruptcy. Amazingly, the bankruptcy court forced him to return the wee check, dismissed the royalties owed altogether and allowed the publisher to keep the titles. Zowie! Talk about getting whacked with a bag of nickels by a bunch of goons.

To wit, some, but not the rightfully pissed off author in question, have dutifully joined the dance of the social networks to aid in their publishers’ quest for the almighty review, movie option and American dollar.

Photo: JSDevore

Come one, come all! See the Word Nerd! Careful, she's stark-raving mad!

 

For those whom deign to seek it, there exists more online advice and how-tos for the tentative scrivener than Spongebob Squarepants had excuses to put off writing his driving essay for Mrs. Puff. Countless editing fora, manuscript submission no-nos, insider agent tips, the psychology of cover art, character development webinars and marketing strategies up the wazoo flood not just the search engines, but the writer’s tenuous and wobbly noggin.  From what I know about the delicate genius, writing-by-committee is painful. Seek ye just a single, golden thread to pull one over the wall and kapowie! the poor, unsuspecting wordsmith is floored and buried with a dump truck of frayed, worthless bits of twine too short and thin to use anywhere.

Even Anne Rice –a moment of silent respect, please- comprehends the importance of Tweeting and Facebooking as she socializes and shares personal musings, liberal politics, current affairs, photos of her kitty, Little Prince Oberon, and, of course, updates of book signings and reviews. People of the Page, she dubs her fans and followers. Miss Jenny is an Anne devotee and thus, a Person of the Page.

Not only are Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Smashwords, SmartGirl, Blogger and the like literary campgrounds for amateur and professional writers alike, but the Wellborn of Wordsmithing have pitched their tents in cyberspace as well. Besides Anne, J.K. Rowling, Steve Martin, Peter Mayle, Bill Bryson, Brian Jacques, Sophie Kinsella, Gail Carriger and even Half-pint have succumbed.

 

I like to think Laura Ingalls Wilder, Beatrix Potter, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Dickens, Bram Stoker, Edgar Allen Poe, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Geoffrey Chaucer, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and Wm. Shakespeare -or Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton or Sir Robert Cecil or whomever it is we’re learning might have “been Shakespeare”- would have not shoved their work in our faces at every turn. I also like to think that some of them would have loved the idea of social media. You just know Mark Twain, HST and Ernest Hemingway would have delighted in followers, fans and friends, from afar, and would have certainly used the proverbial 140 to its pithiest and volatile best.

 

Ernest Hemingway Photo: FL State Archives

 

It’s a double-edged sword indeed, kittens. In my day, if you could write like F. Scott Fitzgerald and you were fortunate enough to get noticed or have the right connections, you could be a superstar. Just sit back, drink your scotch, holiday in Paris and let the industry professionals take on the lion’s share of the legwork. Being an author had caché because it was a rarity. It was a nearly impossible title to attain because one had to stand out in the crowd. Today, anyone may write, whether or not they can write. Of course, there lies an upside to the barrage of opportunity available online.

No need for Algonquin Roundtable connections anymore. Can’t get into the New Yorker cafe? No worries, dollface. You write it, you publish it, you sell it, you market it. Of course, there’s a lot of cut-rate writing out there; but there are a lot of great oeuvres, too, that we might have never seen without the Internet. The keys to the kingdom are no longer necessary and some of the unknown and worthy are busting through the front gates, pens blazing. The Internet, Amazon in particular, is like the Ellis Island of Bookland. Enter its turnstiles and leave the starched Old World with its stern Old Ways behind you. Opportunity beckons on every street corner, but, writer, beware … so do the scams, cheats, sure-things and a nasty, blistering rash if you’re not careful.

Lucy’s finding all kinds of goodies to buy at Clockwork and that got me thinking about another commercial marriage that might have flourished, but we’ll never know. See, if Laura Ingalls could be prone to Tweeting, Mrs. Harriet Olseon could certainly embrace the new culture easily, culling “friends” and patrons from the world over and redirecting them to her Joomla website: populated with goods from Olseon’s Mercantile as well as drop-ship, throw-away, plastic crap from Singapore and China. Nels, I’m pretty sure, would not have been allowed admin permissions.

By the way, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s current tweet @HalfPintIngalls: I know Almanzo is really into Morgan horses but… uh, should I be concerned that I found THIS in his stocking drawer?

I guess even Almanzo can’t be trusted online. What a fink!

 

Abyssinia, cats!

Hannah’s fave place to haunt online? www.jennypop.net and @JennyPopNet … ’cause we kinda have to. Murder!

At the Con: San Diego Comic Con with Tron: Legacy

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Category : Conventions, E-vents, Entertain Me, Movies, San Diego Comic Con

Comic Con. What an experience! Some go for the gaming, some for the cosplay, some for the comics, but I go for the tv and movie panels. For me this year, the most anticipated movie panel was for Tron: Legacy.

It was great starting the Con in the legendary Hall H, the largest venue at SDCC. The first panel (to my mind, the warm-up act I) was for the animated Megamind, and appearing on its behalf were Will Farrell, Tina Fey, and a cardboard cutout of Brad Pitt. The panel was fun and the clips gave us a chance to try out our True 3D glasses, which worked really well even though my seat was not the best. Good to know if you find yourself in a crowded 3D theater.

Next up, though, was what I had been waiting for . . . Tron: Legacy. The panel was moderated by Patton Oswalt, who was entertaining, and whose comment, “it’s been 27 years since the 1st Tron. Those who saw it in the theatre raise your walkers” has now been forgiven.

If you are concerned that TRON: Legacy is a remake, be at ease. It is, in fact, a sequel – a what-happens-next, although “next” is a few decades later. The inclusion of Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner should assuage any fears you may have. If, on the other hand, you never saw the original, get thee to Netflix immediately. TRON is a classic, made in the early days of video games and personal computers. It is interesting to note that, in spite of appearances, no computer animation was used in the making of that film; all animation was hand-drawn, including the “light” on the skinsuits.


The panel was comprised of Director, Joe Kosinski; Producers, Sean Bailey and Steven Lisberger (from the original TRON); and cast members Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Bruce Boxleitner.

One of the most interesting bits of info released was that this sequel will include the Jeff Bridges of today interacting with footage of Jeff Bridges at 35. Included in the new promotional clip, which premiered during the panel, was a brief moment with the 35-year-old Bridges, and it appears that in order to make the production appear seamless, they’ve superimposed footage of his face (from earlier footage) onto an actor in the current production. It will “be interesting to see how well this works in longer clips. As with all things TRON: Legacy, I’m hopeful.


Unlike the original, computer animation abounds in this sequel. Although, interestingly enough, the lights in the skinsuits are actually lights, not hand-animated or computer-generated. The look of the movie is, of course, nicely “tech-y.”  The use of True 3D really did add to the experience by drawing you into the environment. So, I would recommend seeing the film in that venue, if possible, or even better, in a newer IMAX theater.


One of the best question-and-answer exchanges of the panel was from a fan to Olivia Wilde (whose character’s motivations are as she says, “ambiguous”). She was asked by an apparently adolescent fanboy if working on a movie about video games made her more interested in video game players. Roars of laughter and cheers. But she replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and explained that she really had not played video games in years . . . not since Duck Hunt; but had started playing them again because of the movie and has become a big fan of the games and of the players. She went on to say that she loves Comic Con because the fans are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and intelligent. She is wise.

The last bit of news is that they are in discussions about re-releasing the original Tron in an “exciting new format.” Any guesses? No further info was available, but hopefully things will be nailed down shortly, to give everyone a chance to see that very excellent movie before the sequel is released.

The panel and the fans were equally excited about the new film, and I cannot wait. Mark your calendars for the US premiere on December 17.

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