Con Crud and The Comic-Con Blues: Hannah’s SDCC 2014 Wrap and Dr. Lucy’s Slideshow

Category : Comics, Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, San Diego Comic Con

“Normality” reigns once again: only the corset welts remain and, thankfully, those are fading fast. (Beach parties are never far off around here; always lurking in the shadows, like Homey the Clown with a sock full of nickels in a dark alley. Ka-pow! Guess what? You’re going to a luau, girl! Damn it. Where’s my parasol?)

Major contributor to Con Crud: the apres-show cocktail. Photo: JSDevore

Major contributor to Con Crud: the apres-show cocktail(s). Photo: JSDevore

Similar to Christmas or Hallowe’en, ’tis not just the actual week of San Diego Comic-Con that excites, ’tis the weeks of preparation and anticipation which makes the event all the sweeter. Planning travel itineraries, organizing in-town logistics, scheduling Meet-and-Geeks, making costumes and booth-lists, plus purchasing all the necessary goodies which accompany any upcoming fete is truly half the fun. Once the big day arrives, it’s a nonstop party rife with too much fun, too little sleep and oft a severe deviation from one’s usually healthy lifestyle: unless you’re Don Draper, a body does not need that many G&Ts in a week. In Con-speak, the condition is known as Con Crud, as in, “I’m so sorry, sweetie. I would love to meet you in Vegas for your birthday, but I still have a serious case of Con Crud.”

Even the best of Comicchanalian carousing must end: a.k.a. Comic-Con Blues. Again, like Christmas or Hallowe’en, when it’s all over, there remains naught but feelings of sadness, satiation and, in some cases, corset welts. Happily (or, sadly for some) there also remain photos! Thanks to our Dr. Lucy and her Canon EOS, we have a plethora of Poison Ivy and a wealth of Doctor Who, yet, oddly, a dearth of Darth. After you’ve scrolled through our slideshow here, find even more of Dr. Lucy’s snaps at Twisted Pair Photography: featuring photographic variety ranging from surfing and skateboarding to The Renaissance Faire, WonderCon Anaheim and, naturally San Diego Comic-Con.

Briefly, as promised amidst this year’s coverage for GoodToBeAGeek, a quick S/O to a few vendors of SDCC 2014. As longtime readers will already know, I love to treat myself at these things (all year-round, really) and help support artists as well as the economy, local or otherwise. After all, as I say, Mom can’t buy all our art; we need others! As tradition dictates, I like to highlight those Con vendors from whom I purchase. This year’s goodies came from the following:

  • Sighco (a.k.a. ArkhamBazaar): Lovecraftian Novelties & Other Weird Oddities: Poe and Lovecraft gear aplenty, mostly tees … mostly. (In fact, a very special raven led us there. Thank you, Dante! We love and miss you dearly!)
  • JefBot: The True Sci-Fi Adventures of a Nerd in Hollywood: Led by the head-bot himself, Jeff Schuetze, Jefbot is comic strip roman à clé of sorts: “a multigenre, multidimensional and multiethnic comic strip” following the adventures of a struggling actor/working graphics designer who is addicted to film, TV and gaming. IRL, Jeff and his cohort Joe are also the purveyors/artists of International Beatsro t-shirts, like “Mouthfuls of Madness Ramen House” and “Casa del Chalupacabra Restaurante y Cantina”. If you find yourself craving a bowl of Ramen overflowing with Cthulhu, seaweed and spring onions, Jefbot’s the right place.
  • The Bonebreakers (f/the artist known as “O”): Balls Deep: When Nobody’s Weird, the Weirdo is You: Artist and publishers of “The Bonebreakers” graphic novel. My purchase? A whimsical portrait of Mr. Moon! (A character who would fit well within my own Savannah of Williamsburg circle of friends!) Mr. Moon is a portly, Holmesian kitty in tweed with a calabash pipe, mutton chops and, what I surmise is, a churlish attitude tolerated strictly due to his preternatural brilliance. I believe he also harrumphs a great deal, especially when dealing with underlings. Mr. Moon patiently awaits framing and I thank O for his creation, as well as apologize for asking him to sign Mr. Moon on the back, then on the front of my print. (Bellatrix, btw, does not apologize. She’s quite mad, you know?)
The artist "O" signs author Jennifer Susannah Devore's Mr. Moon. SDCC 2014, photo: Twisted Pair Photography

The artist “O” signs author Jennifer Susannah Devore’s very own Mr. Moon. SDCC 2014. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Finally, if you’ve kept track (of course you have) … this girl’s Hellboy article was published in this year’s official SDCC Souvenir Book! That’s #4, kids! Fun times! Past years’ books included J.S. Devore articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.

SDCC 2014 Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Now, back to normal for this girl. SDCC is over; enough summer already. Where’s the damn light switch? Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Happy Dog Days of Summer! Miss Hannah Hart’s Fave Summer Flicks

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Movies

For some folks, summer can mean little more than warmer days, shorter nights and a de rigueur vacation: a pleasant yet slight change-up in the regular routine. This is particularly true for those of us inhabiting tropical climes. Born in Miami and raised in SoCal, where summer is not drastically different from the rest of the year, childhood summers notably signified no school, extra Disneyland and family holidays in Hawai’i, which in turn meant a month of guava juice, beachdays and new friends on Waikiki, dinners at Chuck’s Steakhouse and shopping for bark-cloth dresses and Hawaiian dolls at Liberty House and the Polynesian Cultural Center. (Mom was bonkers for all things Hawai’ian, including Daddy, born in Honolulu.) Summers as a child were glorious, but not all that varied from the rest of the year, south of L.A..

A wee Miss Hannah Hart, a.k.a. Jennifer S. Devore: quality father-daughter time, Hawaii c. 1975. Photo: JSDevore

A wee Hannah Hart, a.k.a. Jennifer S. Devore: quality father-daughter time, Hawaii c. 1975. Photo: JSDevore

Still, when everyday is postcard-perfect, it’s easy to grow blasé. So, fast-forward quite a few years, when we couldn’t take one more minute of our damned beautiful, sunshiny beaches, my husband and I picked up our three pets and moved to the East Coast for a very agreeable, wildly divergent change of pace. Both Californians, we never realized what we’d been missing! We spent a fabulous, expeditious six years living on the mid-Atlantic: Cape Charles and Williamsburg, VA. When I wasn’t researching, writing and marketing my Savannah of Williamsburg books, we were driving up and down the East Coast exploring every wee waterway, historic burgh and major metropolis.

Both Cape Charles and Williamsburg are popular destinations for Easterners and Southrons; nothing says summer like seeing license plates from every state up and down the 95 in Colonial Williamsburg parking lots! Add in the heavy, humid, sweet air of summer and Virginia may be simultaneously one of the most uncomfortable and beautiful summertime stations of all. Speaking strictly with regards to American summers, there is nothing so festive and rewarding as an East Coast summer. (Summers abroad? That’s another post. Ahhh, Nice is very nice indeed and the Alps are absolutely alluring.)

Summer actually means something back East: more than just School’s out!, higher electricity bills and frizzy, beach hair. Months of truly stifling winter can breed severe and depressing cabin fever which, thankfully, will always give way to a semi-satisfactory spring thaw. Tulips and daffodils popping through the snow are indeed a lovely egress from Mr. Frosty’s glassy grip; but it can still be damned cold, and oft snowy, through springtime. By the time summer rolls up the shore, folks are champing at the bit for warm days of comforting sunshine and carefree nights of fireflies and crickets. Fourth of July fireworks may traditionally celebrate our American Independence, but they also commemorate a new, deep breath of sweet and salty air. Devouring salt water taffy and sickly sweet pink lemonade, riding your bike on the boardwalk until ten at night, sleeping in until ten with nothing to do but put your bathing suit back on and find your friends down on the sand? This is summer, our American summer. San Diego and Huntington Beach this time of year are absolute barrels of sunny monkeys; but summers in Southampton, NY and Hilton Head, SC are treats you owe yourself, at least once.

Sure, summer’s not my fave season, with the exception of San Diego Comic-Con, of course! Anyone who’s been reading me for a while or knows me socially can verify that autumn is my real gig. Still, I like a good time, no matter what time of year. In fact, this year’s Summer Solstice found me in 100-degree weather, under a blazing sun (sunscreen ga-lore!) far from my beloved beach. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the clear, crisp chlorine of a fabulous family pool (a nice change from the salty surf hiding who-knows-what under the waves) and the cool, watermelon-and-mango, adult beverages which floated my way. Sure, it may not be Hallowe’en, but I can still have a blast! See, because I’m a Jazz-age designed, good time gal, I can do summer better than anyone, in my own, geeky way of course. Most likely, you’re having fun wrong. Of course, one fabulous thing about summer? Autumn is right around the corner … and then Christmas!

For once, frizzy beach hair helped me! My Bellatrix Lestrange at SDCC 2014 was easy-peasy! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

For once, my eternally frizzy beach hair did me a favour! Bellatrix Lestrange for SDCC 2014 was easy-peasy! Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Still, as long as the Dog Days summer are now here (generally early-July through mid-August when the star Sirius rises and sets with the sun, at least according to ancient civilizations), let’s stay in the spirit and, more importantly, stay cool! In addition to languid beachdays, Charlie Brown-styled summer camp, vacations abroad, Hawaiian getaways, cross-country road trips, midnight-sun Alaskan cruises and lighter wine choices, please accept my humble suggestions for fun summer flicks to help fill those long, lazy, air-conditioned, Dog Days of summer.

As a fave musician of mine, Jannie Funster of Texas sings, “Where are the girls on banana seat bicycles, the ones with no shoes on their feet?” Why, Miss Jannie, they’re in Laguna and Ocean City and Sandbridge and Bar Harbor! Happy Dog Days of Summer, everyone!

Oft posted on our beach. Best to stay inside and just watch "Jaws"! Photo: JSDevore

Oft posted on our beach. Best to stay inside and just watch “Jaws”! Photo: JSDevore

JennyPop’s Fave Summer Flicks

 

What About Bob?

Lilo and Stitch

Jaws

Muppet Treasure Island

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Dogtown and Z-Boys

Lords of Dogtown

Poirot: Evil Under the Sun

Poirot: Murder in Mesopotamia

Poirot: Death on the Nile

National Lampoon’s Vacation

National Lampoon’s European Vacation

A Year in Provence: Summer

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown!

Addams Family Values

Little Darlings

The Parent Trap (original)

 

What are your fave summer flicks? LMK @JennyPopNet

#summer #movies #favesummerflicks #summertime

JennyPop’s other Fave TV and Film Lists: Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas!

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Adrianne Curry Bullwhips Tigra Panty Offenders at SDCC 2014: Party’s Over, Kids.

3

Category : Candid Conversations, Conventions, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, San Diego Comic Con, Travel

San Diego’s annual invasion of dapper Doctor Whos, mysterious Batmen, chubby Lolitas and steampunk Poison Ivys has ceased; the marauders having retreated to their workaday lives and quiet homes, wherever those might be. (In fact, roughly fifty per cent of those homes are right here in San Diego, based on attendee registration info.) No one throws a Con quite like America’s Finest City and the financial handshake between Comic-Con International (CCI) and the City of San Diego is hearty, healthy and mutually-beneficial.

According to CelebrityNetWorth, San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) 2013 infused the local economy with approximately $163million; hotel reservations alone, some 40K, bring in nearly $30million alone. 2014′s figures are expected to be even more impressive. The crush of con-goers, as well as curious looky-loos, is a healthy boon to not only the city, but the Golden State, not nearly as golden as it was in its namesake, 1849 heydays. Perched on the edge of western civilization, California in currently in the pains of drought, immigration woes and incompetent, unfathomably wasteful, Sacramento politicians. If anyone needs a profitable, notable party, it’s California.

Of course, out of every notable party comes an obligatory fool, the dude who drinks too much and is best left on the cool, bathroom tile for the night. SDCC 2014 was no exception: a Zombie Walk Hit-and-Run; and the Tigra Panty Raiders. Also, out of any notable party gone nuts, there comes a hero: ours was #superherobadass Catwoman, a.k.a. Miss Adrianne Curry.

Where there’s Comic-Con, there are hot chicks; where there are hot chicks, there are boys; where there are boys, there is booze and, often, trouble.  Too much booze and testosterone makes for a sketchy situation. Even San Diego CBS8 field reporter Shawn Styles was nearly shaken to pieces by a rowdy, seemingly buzzed, buff group of Outlander promo models as he covered the Con from the always bar-soaked Gaslamp District. Leaving the safe confines of the San Diego Convention Center and venturing into the Gaslamp is risky, even on the best of Saturday nights, but all the more so in a Mardi Gras atmosphere and in costume. The Con floor might be a sardine-packed muddle of geekage, but it’s navigable and friendly. If something goes down in the Con, even just a drop-kicked smartphone, there’s always a Superman nearby to help!

Superman, author Jennifer Susannah Devore, SDCC, 2014, Bellatrix Lestrange

Safety, and gentlemen, abound inside the Con; Superman saved my phone! My hero! Photo: JSDevore

CCI has very clear rules about harassment; then again, so does the San Diego Police Department. Someone -naturally it was a zombie- chose not to heed those rules and attacked one Alicia Marie Bellanger, a.k.a. Tigra, in the Gaslamp District, well outside the Con.

Partial post from Alicia Marie‘s Facebook page:

YESTERDAY, myself, dressed as Tigra, was … in the super crowded San Diego Comic-Con International Gaslamp area taking photos with #SDCC peeps and fans. Some total A$$H0LE came up behind me and tried to stick his hands in my bottoms and then yanked my tail and pants down. I just freaked out, screamed trying to keep my bottoms up — but Adrianne Curry literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his ass. Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip — he had zombie blood on his face – got on her costume.  I have to thank #superherobadass “Catwoman” Adrianne Curry Poison Ivy Katrina and Todd for being such EPIC friends.

Clearly, the offenders were unfamiliar with masked #superherobadass Catwoman, Adrianne Curry.

Adrianne Curry, Alicia Marie Bellanger, SDCC, 2014, Tigra, Catwoman, Poison Ivy

L to R: Poison Ivy (Katrina), Catwoman (Adrianne Curry) and Tigra (Alicia Marie) Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

Adrianne Curry‘s Facebook reply:

I beat the shit out of his face with the butt of my whip …..which is a real bullwhip

As of this post, there is no update as to any pending arrests, or the condition, of Miss Bellanger’s attacker.

Even well-mannered zombies can fall prey to the bedlam of the Gaslamp. Amidst an otherwise well-organized Zombie Walk through the Gaslamp District, a hearing-impaired motorist, his car idling at a crossing area and waiting for the zombies to pass, eventually used his car as a zombieplow to escape the Walk, pushing through the crowd and knocking down a number of pedestrians: zombies and humans alike. Whilst some bystanders surmised he simply grew impatient, the driver later told police his small children  were frightened by the crowd and he, being hard-of-hearing, was confused. Video shows two rather big guys settling on the hood of his car and it was at this point he plowed through said-bedlam.

S.D.P.D. Officer David Stafford stated, “The car windshield was shattered by the crowd. The family was scared so the father drove forward again trying to get away from the angry crowd.’

In the end, three people suffered injuries; one of those leading to a hospital stay, the other two being of minor concern. The driver was not arrested and, thus far, no charges have been filed.

After quite a few years of covering SDCC for GoodToBeAGeek, my cohorts and I ventured into the Gaslamp a number of nights this Con. Most years have been spent either in the Convention Ctr. or the lobbies, patios and bars of the Hilton Bayfront and the Omni Hotel. The only exposure to the outside world being a short walk along Front Street to Santa Fe Depot in order to hop a train back to the calming balm of our wee beach burg. My takeaway? Unless you’re a frat boy at heart, stick to the hotels and Conv. Ctr. Traffic, booze and boys rule the Gaslamp night and for this oft socially awkward, pale and quiet geek girl, the crowds inside the Con are plenty of hustle-and-bustle for me.

SDCC 2014 was far more bonkers, it seems, than previous Cons. WonderCon, for all its discounted stigma as Comic-Con’s Little Sister, is a lovely and elegant tea party, comparatively. As I noted in my pre-Con post, Boobs Are Not Bunnies, CCI makes very clear their rules of conduct. Obviously, as Miss Bellanger noted further on her Facebook page, these rules are becoming more and more necessary:

Continuing post from Alicia Marie‘s Facebook page:

I was very VERY upset because as many times as I have attended #SDCC, I have never experienced this behavior. Just the day before, one of the Trek Bunnies, Amanda Orion) had to have a guy kicked out of the con for being lewd and disgusting and shoving his camera lens between our legs when 3 of us were walking out. This event is supposed to be a fun, light-hearted, exciting, and yes over the top time for everyone. That does not mean start disrespecting people and thinking you can act like an IDIOT just because they have a costume on.  

Then again, if you have #superherobadass Adrianne Curry by your side, have a drink, be safe and if someone does trifle with you, let Catwoman whip some butt!

Through all the absurdity of this year’s Con, it was still, as always, an absolute blast! Miss Bellanger summed it up perfectly:

%$^$-tards aside, it’s still the best time I have all year –
Right now, I am just thankful and happy I have friends that don’t even have to put a costume on to be superheroes.

SDCC, 2014, San Diego Comic-Con, Adrianne Curry, Catwoman

Adrianne Curry, a.k.a. #superherobadass, a.k.a. Catwoman. SDCC 2014 Photo: JSDevore

Well said, Tigra! Very well said! Cheers! Abyssinia next at WonderCon, kittens!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Let The Gates of Geekhalla Open: SDCC 2014 Commences

1

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

The Simpsons, SDCC, 2014, geek girl, girls

Always cute boys at SDCC! Mr. Burns is just Miss Hannah’s type! Photo: JSDevore

Aaaaaaand … awaytheygo! San Diego Comic-Con 2014 (July 24-27, 2014, San Diego Convention Ctr.) is officially commenced! Preview Night, Wednesday night’s unofficial kickoff for industry pros, press and others, has come and gone, and whilst crowds may not have peaked to the expected numbers for Friday and Saturday, the crush inside the San Diego Convention Center was as tightly packed and palpably amped as any Con day in recent recall. From the moment one stepped out of the steep, summer humidity and into the blessed, blasting air-conditioning of the Conv. Ctr., there was an energy one could feel through one’s soul, like the floor was made of millions of excitable tribbles. It was as though everyone there, from jaded industry pros to Baby’s First Comic-Con, was just happy, and amazed, to even be there.

Perchance it’s the year-over-year, burgeoning, Herculean task of even getting into the Con, but Preview Night 2014 transmitted a sensorial vibe of sheer joy and unabashed gratitude, like getting a governor’s stay-of-execution or realizing you don’t have to go to the family cabin for Thanksgiving this year. Every minute is a gift. Many a hardcore geek thought WonderCon Anaheim might be it for the year; actually getting into Comic-Con can be a gift from the Nordic gods, a badge to Valhalla.

If folks weren’t simply soaking up the warm and safe embrace of Geekhalla, they were dashing hither and thither, in the brief 6-9p window, to do their part for the economy. Many a vendor offers pre-Con deals, sales and “Preview Night Only” collector’s items. If you think the posh, petite, Asian girls gliding daintily across the marble floors of South Coast Plaza carry impossibly-huge Louis Vuitton and Chanel shopping bags, that’s nothing compared to the sweaty, pasty, peeking-tummy army of Comic Book Guys hefting gargantuan Hasbro and LEGO bags through the carpeted halls of SDCC. Either way, pretty Asian girl or tubby comic nerd … “get out the way, fool!” If there existed any semblance of personal space, it was only due to the fact that Preview Night is not a popular costume day: behold, Friday and Saturday! Wednesday night cosplay was mild, if notable at all. The number of folks in dress could be counted on two hands, if you’re a Simpson.

Now that SDCC 2014 is in gear, keep up the energy, folks! Keep doing your bits for the local economy, too! San Diego loves geeks: local and tourists! Spend freely in our bars, restaurants and shops; and tip generously! Most of all, be kind. Of all that body-crush and shoulder-bumping last night, in the Con and on the streets of the Gaslamp District, I received one, only one, “Excuse me!” It doesn’t hurt your vocal chords, take any time or cost a dime to say something nice when you nudge a fellow geek. Give a pleasant “Hello!” or “Thank you!” to the crossing guards around the Con, too! Armed with little more than a whistle and a smile, these folks have guest control at Disneyland levels! Thanks, guys!

Remember, Yours Truly was picked up by Rotten Tomatoes’ official SDCC 2014 Twitter feed and Dr. Lucy and I will covering all our Con shenanigans for GoodToBEAGeek. Come along with us @GoodToBeAGeek @JennyPopNet @Eslilay and @RottenTomatoes!

SDCC, 2014, Hellboy, Souvenir Book, Jennifer Susannah Devore

SDCC 2014 Souvenir Book: Hellboy’s 20th anniversary. Photo: JSDevore

Finally, if you’re keeping track … Yours Truly’s Hellboy article was published in this year’s official SDCC Souvenir Book! That’s #4, kids! Fun times! Past years’ books included J.S. Devore articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.

Abyssinia on the Con floor, cats!

 

San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Badge Quest: Victorious!

2

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

Holy moly, Hellboy!! This year was a close one! If you read my Adventures in WonderCon post, you will have noted the tint of sadness that came with realizing WonderCon Anaheim (WCA) was it for the year; the Comic-Con Badge Quest Slaughter of 2014 had left Dr. Lucy and myself emotionally exhausted and near expiration, with little hope of survival on the Con battlefield. Yet, like a Phoenix, rising from Arizona -wait, that doesn’t sound right- we mustered every cell of life that remained, gathered our courage and cerebral weaponry and … huzzah! With two weeks to spare, we parried and riposted our way into San Diego Comic-Con!

Dr. Lucy and I have had a pretty good run of not only getting into SDCC to cover it for geek-culture website GoodToBeAGeek, but also of Yours Truly getting into the accompanying Souvenir Book for a number of years. (Past years included articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.) This year’s submission is a piece on the 20th anniversary of Mike Mignola’s half-demon/half-Boy Scout, Hellboy. (Cloven-hooves crossed I get in the Book this year, too!)

  • Update: 23 July 2014: Yes, my Hellboy article did make it into the 2014 Souvenir Book!
Frank Cho artwork, Hellboy, SDCC

Hellboy artwork by Frank Cho

Still, as anyone will tell you, SDCC is becoming more and more difficult to permeate. Getting into the Con via standard, online badge purchase is a crap shoot; obtaining a Member ID is simple enough and getting in the online queue is equally non-taxing; getting to the front of the queue before every day sells out is a seemingly random, lottery-style mind%&*#. GoodToBeAGeek’s very own editor, Jessa Lynn Phillips, who one should note is closely tied-in with SyFy Channel’s upper-echelon, stated, “I don’t think I know anyone who got passes (other than panelists) for more than one day this year.”

To wit, not only is a badge purchase a shot in the dark, this year Comic-Con International (CCI) eliminated the ability to purchase 4-day badges. (Exception being if you purchased a Preview Night badge, for an extra fee, you can add an automatic 4-day pass.) The purpose, according to CCI, was to cut down on unused, precious badge space: folks buying all four days with the intention of only using one or two days. Further, the ability to purchase for friends (up to three plus yourself) during the pre-registration phase -which one can only enter if one attended the previous year- also limited those three friends to those whom attended the previous year. (Crikey! Getting a law degree has got to be simpler. Of course, based on some attorneys I know, it very well might be!)

Naturally, WCA was a blast and, for someone whom loves to play dress up, getting to don my Louise Belcher costume was fun enough in itself and enough to hold me over until Hallowe’en. Still, there had been a faint raincloud over my head as I read CCI’s Toucan Blog daily posts counting down to SDCC 2014.

I had worked my wee fingers to the bone massaging every contact, acquaintance and stranger I could. No one can say I didn’t try. I jiggled all the door handles; like Hillary trying to get into the White House. I even answered an ad on Craigslist to wear an M&M costume; and offered my scribing services for legit pro or press passes, only to be flagged. Apparently “honest-work for honest-comps” is offensive to the CL community; had I offered boudoir photos for scalped badges, I might have made “Best of Craigslist”. Besides the Badge Quest Slaughter, we here at GTBAG applied for press passes, only to be sliced and diced by CCI’s intensely perlustrative press wizards: You shall not [press] pass! I offered to man a booth at GoComics -sadly that contact was no longer with the organization- ; and I looked into volunteering anywhere there was a need within the Con, except the lavvies. One industry-insider advised with a pitiful shake of the head, “Volunteers was filled months ago. It goes almost as fast as the badge sale these days.”

In the end, neither the M&M suit nor a volunteer’s t-shirt was necessary. Happily, Lucy and I were fortunate enough to garner not just an enviable Saturday-pass, but the much-coveted Preview Night-pass! How, you may wonder, mouths collectively agape like codfish? Simple: intricate dealings in the Black Arts, magick of the Teutonic strain and a serendipitous, random spin of Lady Fortuna’s wheel.

Keep all this in mind next year, kids. SDCC online badge sales usually hit mid-February to mid-March. If you got in this year, use that pre-registration phase next year! If you don’t get a badge for 2015, try not to utter in disgust the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. It’s okay. You know, th-there’s always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that’s just as good. Excuse me. (Turns to cry)

The Big Bang Theory S7e14: "Convention Conundrum". Chuck Lorre Prod., Warner Bros. Prod.

The Big Bang Theory S7e14: “Convention Conundrum”. Chuck Lorre Prod., Warner Bros. Prod.

Take not ye Cons for granted! Each one seems to grow exponentially, year over year. Citing Events in America, a North American trade show and conference directory, SDCC 2014 augurs 130K attendees once again: a self-imposed, max. capacity. Only CES Int’l Las Vegas and New York Comic-Con (NYCC) will bring in more geekage per cubic sq. ft.: 150K and 133K, respectively. NYCC’s projected attendance is up from 117K last year.

As I wrote earlier this year of WCA, oft minimized and discounted as Comic-Con’s little sister, “Whether you get into SDCC or not, WC is fast-becoming a good time all her own and very possibly, depending on how things line up, just as high-maintenance.”

HelloKittyHellboy

Hello Kitty loves dress-up, too!

 

 

Follow  @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @Eslilay  for Con-floor Tweets and pix! #geek #SDCC

 

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

More Rum, Please: Summer Means Malkovich, Crossbones and Blackbeard

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Literature, Television, Travel

If summer calls for sans souci, seaside days of sun and sticky sand, then summer nights, especially Fridays, demand a touch of gold bling and a white linen blouse to accentuate that tan, plus just enough coconut rum to help lull you to sleep by the sound of lapping waves … but watch your back, and your neck. Blackbeard’s in town for the summer and not since Jaws has the beach looked more inviting, relaxing … and deadly.

Ocracoke Island, NC Photo: Casey Robertson

In a sea of fictionalized Blackbeards, the latest incarnation cavorts freely outside the traditional, Pyrate King design book. Clean-shaven (gone is his namesake beard tied with multiple bows of red and gunpowder fuses), bald and casually styled in island linens and sandals, casting off his trademark black velvet frock coats and leather bucket-top boots, NBC’s Blackbeard appears more Gob Bluth than Rob Zombie. A mesmerizing figure to start, John Malkovich (Shadow of the Vampire, Being John Malkovich, Dangerous Liaisons, The Portrait of a Lady) portrays the 18thC. pirate with a soothing deadliness that lures the viewer into a unsuspecting trance: his escalating diatribes seep forth with an almost musical, rhythmic, Eminem-cadence, like an unsuspecting frog in a warm pot of slowly boiling water. Before you, or the frog, realize what’s occurred, your kidney has been cut out; but Blackbeard has left you a lovely shrub glass of port to ease your dying moments.

Given to way too many police melodrama and hospital backdrops, broadcast television has bravely left the shore of predictability and NBC has joined the ranks of writers and producers currently exploring that century chock full of not just high theater, but some damn fine wardrobes. Turn, Sleepy Hollow, Salem (although 17thC.) and now Crossbones have all not only done their homework, rewarding writers and creators whom clearly have studied their Colonial American history, but have skillfully engaged a 21stC. audience barely capable of understanding the difference between Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Button. This engagement may be partially due to a sagacity on the part of casting agents.

Be they Founding Fathers like George Washington, philosophers like René Descartes or medieval authors like Geoffrey Chaucer, varying forms of media have forever presented us with whiskered old men; when, in fact, most of them were in the ascent and apex of their careers about the same time as many of us today: 20s-40s. FOX’s reiteration of Sleepy Hollow casts the beauteous, theatre-trained Englishman Tom Mison as the heretofore, nebbish Ichabod Crane; AMC’s Turn gives us the chiseled Ian Kahn as George Washington and now NBC’s Blackbeard is a far more contemporary, if not quite Chris Hemsworth, version than any who have come before him. Whilst the historical-figures are given to us, visually, as men with whom we can identify by today’s standards, there is no mistaking the sartorial and language cues of the period. The frock coats and cloaks are as billowy and majestic as the dialogue. Contractions, abbreviations and slang be damned, the King’s English is securely, blessedly in place here.

Just as Bauhaus furniture was a severe reaction to Victorian and Edwardian flourish, perchance, conversely, this 21stC. trend toward the 18thC. may very well be a flouncy reaction to today’s nonchalant, terribly casual yet, simultaneously, hyper-agitated, get-it-by-yesterday, 140-character, “WhereUB?” schlubby kind of modern lifestyle. Casual historians and professional researchers alike of the Colonial period already know what TV audiences are just now learning: the 18thC. is far more hip than you thought and a dash of formality, in language and dress, is desperately craved.

Blackbeard’s End. North Carolina

Crossbones writer Neil Cross (Luther, MI-5, Doctor Who) knows both sleek, crime drama and dazzling, costumed fantasy. His treatment of the notorious Blackbeard, living an alternate, 1729 existence on the secret isle of Santa Compana, wherein he was never slain in 1718 by Lt. Robert Maynard and the British Royal Navy, is a thoughtfully imagined life of a temporarily land-stalled pirate, seeking to steal a proprietary technology, a chronometer, that will have him back on the Spanish Main and on top of the world by summer’s end.

“I thought it was a excellent piece of writing,” said Malkovich of The Devil’s Dominion, episode 1. So taken with it, he agreed to the role of Edward Teach, a.k.a. historically as Blackbeard or Thatch, upon finishing the script, he said in a Reuters interview.

As with many a film and theatre fixture gracing the small-screen as of late, Malkovich commands your attention. As author Jennifer Susannah Devore wrote of Tom Mison in a review of FOX’s Sleepy Hollow, “Mison brings a decidedly non-telly flip-of-the-cape to primetime viewing.; so can it also be said of Malkovich in Crossbones.

Pleasingly, Crossbones also employs the considerable talents of Englishman Richard Coyle (Covert Affairs, Coupling, The Whistleblowers) as Dr. Thomas Lowe, posing as ship’s surgeon, serving as foil and nemesis of Blackbeard. “Ohhh, Geoffrey!”

If you find your summer lacking the proper amount of tropical sun, salty nights, Beach Bum Rum, silk-embroidered frock coats and Shakespearean-level dramaturgy, Friday nights on NBC, in a clandestine cove somewhere in the Caribbean is just the place to pile your purloined silver platter high with the spoils of privateering, pirateering and stagecraft that far excels the likes of standard, broadcast production.

Graphic courtesy of NBC Universal

Graphic courtesy of NBC Universal

Crossbones airs Fridays at 10/9c p.m. on NBC.

 

“Savannah of Williamsburg”‘s Cap’t. Maurice Bloodstone. Photo: Twisted Pair Photography

… and in case ye be needin’ a pirate chanty fer those summer nights …

The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates ... free for Kindle!

The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates … free for Kindle!

“Me Cup Is Broke!”

A pirate chanty from Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates, Virginia 1718

lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore

Blow me sails full! Blow on! Blow on!
Pour me ale full! Flow on! Flow on!
Me treasure be waitin’, me lady tried ‘scapin’,
Me gold chest it swells, soon we’ll all go to Hell!
Ye Caribbean Sea so hot it drains me wit!
DREAD! Me cup is broke and who will fix it?!

Be ye a musician? Record a fine tune of “Me Cup Is Broke!” and let us hear it @JennyPopNet or Savannah of Williamsburg’s Facebook Page!

#Crossbones #pirates #summer

The Jumonville Massacre: A “Savannah of Williamsburg” Book IV Excerpt

Category : Candid Conversations, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Literature

Today marks the 260th anniversary of the Jumonville Massacre. It also marks nearly as many years gone by since my pally, author Jennifer Susannah Devore, started writing Book IV in her Savannah of Williamsburg Series. Folks, she tells me this one is the most difficult one yet to scribe. Not only is this period of Colonial American history intricately spiderwebbed with FFV (First Families of Virginia: the Fairfaxes, the Randolphs, the Carters, the Byrds, the Washingtons et al) and all manner of their ensuing drama and personal conflicts, but 1754 is also a period of exponential growth in commerce, communication and westward expansion.

As Book IV in the planned, six-book, pre-Revolutionary series running 1705-1776, it also serves as a slight pivot wherein, like true colonials of the formative years of mid-18thC. America, characters begin to see varying ideals of life across the sea from The Crown. Whether royal power is dispensed via greedy royal governors like Gov. Robert Dinwiddie, or faceless judges of the Privy Council back in London, personal opinions and political ideologies are being formed. This is an arduous road to take with characters whom have always been only the very best of friends with little to worry about than fishing conditions on the James River, which bottle of wine to take to a hostess and whether or not a pink or a green hat should be worn for a spring garden party. Such is life, though. Folks grow up and, sometimes, especially during great turning points in history, disagree. Yes?

Savannah of Williamsburg's Master Dante Marcus Pritchen. Artwork/copyright: KIM, LLC

Savannah of Williamsburg’s Master Dante Marcus Pritchen. Artwork/copyright: KIM, LLC

History’s account of the Jumonville Massacre is whitewashed and glossed over so much so that it has come to be known romantically as the Jumonville Affair, to Americans and British anyway. Even the National Park Service (as the massacre occurred near what would become Fort Necessity, what is now in the Farmington, PA-area, and is now a national park) labels it “The Skirmish”. One particular “history” book describes the massacre as “A second expedition in 1754 led to bloodshed.” Jumonville is most oft characterized by one or two sentences with an airy flip of the wrist that says, “who knows what really happened?”. I do, and so does Savannah of Williamsburg. To be fair, PBS, as one might expect, has approached it with honesty and scholarship via their phenomenal series The War That Made America.

Jumonville is a deep, dark scar in our shared history, masked by the thick makeup of time. 22-year old George Washington’s first step onto the military stage is tripped by deceit, gullibility, naivete, youth, ambition and manipulation. Washington is played by not only those he thought confidants, but also his own vigorous itch to reach the next echelon of the gentry’s intimate infrastructure. The French have a different recounting of the Jumonville “affair”, of the slaughter in the woods; this is the tale I, and Our Dante Marcus Pritchen, intend to tell in Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington’s Folly and The French & Indian War, Virginia 1754.

So, for all you history geeks out there, as Book IV is still far from the publishing stage, Miss Jenny proffers the following excerpt to her long-suffering, long-patient readers waiting for the next title in the Savannah of Williamsburg Series of Books.

Excerpt from Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington’s Folly and The French & Indian War, Virginia 1754

by Jennifer Susannah Devore.

 

“Do you hear the owl, Ensign Jumonville?” Officer Druillong, though not superstitious, was aware his men might be less than rational about such things. “The men, they are sometimes wary of such omens,” he smiled.

L’hibou? The owl? Oui, je l’ecoute. I hear it. Not to worry. It is merely an owl. Crows are bad luck, magpies are bad luck, corvids are bad luck. I do not believe the owl brings bad luck. Maybe in America, though? You know a bit of the American culture, M’sieur Laforce.” he turned to his his other officer and compatriot. “Is the owl a harbinger of evil, here in America?”

“I do not think so, universally, Joseph.” He held up an index finger and added, “Although, I do know of a superstitious saying that comes from the British colonies in the South. From South Carolina, I think. I learn this from a trapper I once meet in Montreal; he learned this from a fur buyer for a French family in Charleston.” LaForce cleared his throat and looked upward for a moment, remembering the recitation properly.

When you hear the screech owl, honey, in the sweet gum tree, it’s a sign as sure as you’re born a death is bound to be,” he recited in his thick, French accent and ended with a bit of a chuckle, amused by the Southrons and their provincial ways.

Still, nobody else laughed or chuckled here in the officers’ tent; the misty, rain-soaked morning was just a little too creepy. All three officers then looked to the trees, set their cafes back on the wooden cabaret-tray, on top of the leather-trimmed trunk, and placed preparatory hands on their own firearms as a chill suddenly skittered up each man’s spine. Seeing nothing out of order, each man went back to his early-morning business, in silence, and ignored the hoots of M’sieur Owl. On the other side of the camp, cadets Remy St. Raphael and Xavier Moreau de Poirot went back to attending their cartridges and keeping a sharp eye for anything out of place.

Up on the cliffs, overlooking the glen, Washington stood anxiously, a young man, barely out of boyhood and ready for action. He looked back and forth amongst his Virginia militia. They looked ready, yet unsteady. These men were not trained for this; they were farmers, William & Mary dropouts and shopkeeps, not professional soldiers. It was akin to sending volunteer firemen into the raging mouth of a forest fire. Washington then turned his gaze to the troops with whom he shared this campaign: the British regulars, the professionals.

Captain Stephen’s men, about twenty in count, had arrived as silently as Tanaghrisson’s warriors and placed themselves just west of the glen, flanking the pit where the French obliviously set about their morning routine. Washington’s men had come up from the south, whilst the Indians were everywhere, and nowhere, all at once. As he squatted behind a rock, keeping his lithe, 6’2″ frame hidden from the French, Washington watched the contrasts between his Virginians and Stephen’s regulars. That was where he really wanted to be, in charge of a proper British army. This Virginia militia business was okay for a bit; but it wasn’t the stuff of gentlemen. Royal officers were gentlemen. Colonial lieutenants were simply chief rabble-rousers. Of course, he could have joined the Royal Navy straight away. Alas, there would be little to no opportunity to rise within those ranks. He may have had family connections; but so did every young man of note on either side of the Atlantic and they all wanted to be naval officers. Few wanted to rough the wilds of the colonies. If Washington could move along the French, secure some prime property with Governor Dinwiddie and the other Ohio Company landowners, he’d be certain to receive a commendation, a promotion and a grand step up the social ladder. He just needed to get through today.

Long ago young Washington lost sight of his Indians: the savviest group of this military triad, at least where the deep woods were concerned. Their numbers were small, maybe only ten, but a powerful ten they were. The Seneca, Iroquois and Delta warriors knew this area better than all of the Virginians and Britons put together. They certainly knew it better than young Dante, Washington’s official journaler.

 Commissioned to document all goings-on, Master Dante Marcus Pritchen was an adventurous tabby always on the lookout for an escapade and a good time and whom also called Williamsburg his home. He had jumped at the chance to be embedded with this expedition led by the equally adventurous Lt. Colonel George Washington. A country cat by nature whom lived in a rather comfortable tavern in the colonial capital city and who was descended from the cats of Julius Caesar’, Dante’s version of country was more suited to the life of a English country gentleman. These Ohio Country, dense woods were a little wet and wild for his druthers; but hearty he was and every bramble, bug and blister was nudged away with a sturdy spirit and not a small bit of cockalorum. Not a soldier by any stretch of the imagination, Dante was still a natural athlete, never a flabby and lazy tabby, if not altogether fit for a forest atmosphere. Accustomed to a fine meal, a decent glass of port and a quality bed of goose-down, he made the best of dining on stale bread, a ration of rum (not bad, that) and sleeping in a tree, which, by the morning, was wet with dew. If there was any test for Dante, it was wet fur in the morning.

For now, he shook a bit off his back legs, adjusted his scarlet-lace stock, smoothed his sleep-wrinkled blue frock coat and shot his , now-torn, lace cuffs. Just because he was camping, didn’t mean he had to look like an animal. Thinking back though, the blue-and-scarlet drawing room ensemble, even though capped with very expedition-appropriate, buckskin cloak and moccasins, might not have been the best choice of gear. Nevertheless, though many of the soldiers had openly mocked his dress and, whilst never uttering a word, Washington’s occasional side-long glance betrayed his bewilderment about clearly found it an odd selection, it had yet to impede his job. In fact, Dante had already filled two of his four journals with notes, reports and even some sketches. Nobody could have covered this expedition better and if any military embed was to get his work published in the Virginia Gazette, or, even more exciting, the London Times, it was Dante Marcus Pritchen, cub correspondent. With a final shake of dew off a back leg, he snatched a fresh journal and a dry quill and nib from his leather bag and began to scribe onto the first page. He always loved scratching his nib onto that first page. He surveyed the morning’s situation.

With the British on one side, Virginians on another and the Indians all around, the French would have neither a clue what was happening, nor a sliver of a way out; trapped like rats on a sinking ship. Maybe then they would heed King George’s polite requests to extricate from British lands.

Without warning, a single pop of ignited gunpowder cleaved the peaceful dawn, like a sharpened hatchet through brittle firewood. In a flash, chaos, screams and the smell of sulfur replaced the morning serenity, cricket-song and the musky scent of moss and wet earth. Before anyone in the French camp knew what was happening, dozens of men flooded into the hollow, like water flowing freely out of a pitcher and into a bowl. Indian warriors dropped from the trees like acorns as polished British redcoats and countrified Virginians poured into that same bowl, into the glen. Scattering this way and that, the regulars and Virginians blocked the only egress up and out of the glen. Armed Indians lined the cliffs like a row of stolid pickets. The French screams were sudden and surprised, ranging from soprano to deep baritone pitches. Remy turned toward the excited and terrified screams of his friend.

Au secours! Au secours!” Xavier pulled a piercing screech from his lungs, a last-ditch warning to Remy. “Les Anglais! Les Anglais! Les sauvages, mon ami! Les sauvages!” and he pointed to a warrior crouched on the cliff directly above where Remy stood.

 Remy looked upward in the direction of Xavier’s telltale finger. The sharp edge of a tomahawk was the last thing Remy saw. It was quick. Xavier had just enough time to pray his friend’s end was painless before he saw his own mortality at the edge of the same blade. Blessedly, it was instantaneous and painless for both of them.

Excerpt from Savannah of Williamsburg: Washington’s Folly and The French & Indian War, Virginia 1754 by Jennifer Susannah Devore. All rights reserved. Property of KIMedia, LLC. Excerpt may be shared digitally for entertainment,  non-commercial purposes only and may not be reprinted in analog format or sold in any format, digital, analog or otherwise.

 

@JennyPopNet #historygeek #Jumonville #GeorgeWashington

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

So Many Monkeys: SyFy Original Series “Helix”

1

Category : Candid Conversations, Entertain Me, Featured, Reviews, Television

No monkeys here. Too many monkeys here. Is that a monkey? Frozen monkey field. These are not the monkeys you’re looking for. Look, we’ve been at this over an hour and still no monkeys.

Helix, SyFy’s newest original series, is an experiment in extremes: viral containment, climate, human isolation and monkeys. Set in a cutting-edge research facility in the Arctic, Helix could easily be a next-generation, X-Files spin-off, picking up after any one of the Black Oil Mythology episodes, or even Scully and Mulder’s Alaskan exploits in “Ice” (S1e7).

It is safe to say, should you be an X-Phile, you will once again enjoy the glacial-blue light of Friday night, sci-fi-thriller TV. So, grab some snacks, zip up your Snuggy and leave a hand free; you’ll need it for your chocolate-covered frozen bananas and a handily-placed stun baton. It’s Helix time.

It makes sense. Steven Maeda (X-FilesLost) serves as Helix executive producer alongside Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: TNG ) and Lynda Obst (Contact, The Fisher King), as well as Jeffrey Reiner (Friday Night Lights, Trauma) and Brad Turner (24, Hawaii Five-O), both of whom direct episodes: “Pilot” (S1e1) and “Vector” (S1e2), respectively. “274″ (S1e3) is directed by Steven A. Adelson (Haven, Sanctuary).

Psychologists suggest the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. Naturally, Helix is bound to exhibit influence from so many involved, experienced and august, above-the-line raconteurs; Maeda’s past simply shines through the brightest, at least thus far in the series. SyFy tenderfoot and Helix creator/writer/co-executive producer Cameron Porsandeh finds himself very fortunate in his professional company.

Like many a thriller, our secretive, U.S. government provides unwitting and reluctant heroes plucked from deep within federal cubicle farms. This time, it’s the CDC; to boot, the protags, de rigueur, have a bevy of personal and interpersonal issues compiling their newly assumed duties. All this makes working in a lockdown facility full of sharp, shiny, metal instruments, and possibly run amok with infected monkeys, situated on an merciless, frozen tundra, if one could escape, extra fun.

Shot on-location in Montréal, Québec, including on a sound stage dubbed “The Freezer”, Helix effectively presents viable, unsettling, virtual feelings of claustrophobia and agoraphobia. Add what Maeda calls “an invisible villain”, and you’ve got fear and panic factory-sealed in an icy gift box.

“You can’t touch it. You can’t taste it. But it’s there,” Maeda added in a SyFy press call with Helix actress Kyra Zagorsky (Smallville, Soldiers of the Apocalypse) who plays the emotionally severe yet painfully professional Dr. Julia Walker.

Zagorsky concurred about the fictional virus:

  • This virus … it’s something that they’ve never seen and that, in itself, is quite frightening in a story because this is something that happens all the time, a real life epidemic scare, you know. I mean, I think there was just a couple reported cases this last week in Vancouver of some deaths of people passed away with H1N1. You know, it’s something that’s really out there for people.

At the Ilaria Corporation high-tech research facility, Arctic Biosystems, the true menace is neither simian nor even meteorological in form; although the agoraphobic nature of nothing but white death for leagues and leagues does present itself as its own, haranguing character.

Banking on mankind’s truest fears, like recurrences of the Black Death, Spanish Flu, Chernobyl and even the still-worrisome Fukushima Daiichi fallout, Helix writers, and actors, understand they are straddling a very fine line between fiction and reality. Audiences like to be scared by the likes of Paranormal Activity and Fire in the Sky because it feeds some primal need for adrenaline in our luxurious, SUV seat-heater, caramel double-latte, fingerless cashmere iPad-gloves, modern world. Audiences know ghosts and aliens won’t actually harm them, mostly. Yet, a mysterious illness, emerging out of nowhere, killing indiscriminately and painfully at a near 100% mortality rate whilst fueling its autonomous need to propagate? That’s not just terrifying, it’s possible.

Interviewing Helix actors Catherine Lemieux (Blue Violin, White House Down), who plays Dr. Doreen Boyle with a hard realism, and Mark Ghanimé (Soldiers of the Apocalypse, Emily Owens, M.D.), who brings a confident approachability to the role of Major Sergio Balleseros, I was afforded an opportunity to chat with them about the story devices of fear and hope, human nature and dealing with mankind’s paramount fear of the unknown.

  • Catherine Lemieux:   Wow. Wow. I think that that’s just a reflection of life really like life is a balance of those two things in a sense of fear and hope through that and of conquering the fears that we get. So I think that’s kind of like a true reflection, the show kind of reflects the balance of life that we all try to achieve. And we all have fears and we all have to face them in that sense. So it’s a very, very human experience in that. It also being a Sci-fi experience and having this disease be completely unknown and completely from out of this world maybe, who knows.
  • Mark Ghanimé:    Exactly what Catherine says, and also the fact that if you look at some of the characters as we develop the story in the season some of the infected – the people that get infected in the base there is – there is the fear and the hope that these people from the CDC can help them. And, I mean, that kind of – it’s a very important story line on the secondary and the guest star characters in the show. A lot of times you don’t see too too much of the fear and the hope on the surface of the hero characters. But, we have that support from the guest stars on our show. You really get to see what the true feelings are of these people in the space. And I think, yeah, it is exactly human nature.

Does Helix face a difficulty down the line, putting a fictive slant on such a sobering subject? Mark Ghanimé espoused the following:

  • We’ve echoed this a lot on our previous interviews. The fact that what we’re doing in this show is not fantastical, is not supernatural, is not beyond the reach of the real world I think that in itself lends a built-in fear in that it can happen. You look outside your door and those things can occur. And I think that itself is enough to put the fear of God into people. Yeah, for lack of a better term.

Catherine continued with the idea of character-identification, linking that sympathetic emotion of fear between actor and viewer.

  • The possibility, I think, of it – the possibility of any situation that’s on television or on film or what have you is definitely the link with the audience in that sense. If an audience member can identify and see themselves in this problem that these characters are having then you really do have a connection.

“The primary goal,” directs the CDC’s head of Special Pathogens, Dr. Alan Farragut, played sternly by Billy Campbell (The O.C., The 4400) “identify the pathogen.” Narvik is the mystery pathogen. Narvik is its name, killier black goo is its game. Whether you get strain-A or -B is when the game comes afoot and that is up to fate, and the writers: Cameron Porsandeh (Helix), Misha Green (Heroes, Sons of Anarchy), Keith Huff (House of Cards, Mad Men) and Ronald D. Moore (Caprica, Star Trek: First Contact). Moreover, climate conditions at Arctic Biosystems are so heinous they wreak havoc on helicopter mechanisms, making it futile to depend on, or even hope for, outside help, thus adding desperation and panic to fundamental fear and those oh-so-gelled, previous feelings of claustrophobia and agoraphobia everyone is experiencing, including the pathos-brimming rats and monkeys.

Fair warning to the squeamish and the animal-empathetic. Animal lovers might spend a good deal of each show watching through closed hands. Lab rats and monkeys make regular appearances in various stages of distress and infection. SFX, MUA, CGI and robotics they might be; still, the visuals are disturbing and one wonders how much animal suffering some viewers will stomach before switching over to a much-needed dose of happy and silly via Archer or Bob’s Burgers on Netflix? It would be funny if the animal testing was conducted at Springfield’s “Screaming Monkey Medical Research Facility”, as seen on The Simpsons episode “HOMR” (S12e9). Alas, it is not. Still, Catherine Lemieux assuaged the concern about the animals on-set, assuring viewers everyone is well-cared for, without a doubt.

  • I just wanted to point out that we also had a vet on set. And she was great. She’s somebody that I could use a total resource. Her name was (Ev) and I don’t know her last name. but I considered that such a gift from production to be able to speak to somebody who actually is a veterinarian and who deals with that on a day to day basis. So that was really, really a great help.

Do your contact make you wish you were dead?

At the end of the interview, I asked both Lemieux and Ghanimé about an ad for Ilaria’s Infinity contact lenses. How does it link to the untenable situation at Arctic Biosystems. The query was originally posited by, of all people, a Chair of Ophthalmology at U.C. Davis. The good doctor and I wondered if it could have something to do with the inhuman, silver eyes of Dr. Hatake (played astringently by Hiroyuki Sanada). The question was responded to with an immediate aaahhs and hmmms; one could almost hear them shifting in their seats as they pondered my question. All to no effect, though; Ghanimé’s answer was curt.

  • I have a huge answer. It’s a juicy one. Are you ready for this? No comment. We cannot talk about that … said with all humor of course.

New episodes of Helix air on SyFy, Fridays @10p/9c

Follow @JennyPopNet   #Helix

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Are Today’s Cartoons Loony and Cynical or Are We Just Square?

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Television

Could you imagine being a kid and meeting SpongeBob, if he were real? My mother and father would most likely warn you to stay away from that “strange kid.”

What does that say about today’s cartoon television shows? What has changed over the past 30-some years? Could it just be that we, as adults, are just out of touch with today’s cartoons, or has our society — and cartoons — grown a little more cynical and off the beaten path?

loonycartoons

According to KidsHealth, young children, ages 6 and younger, spend an average of two hours in front of a television screen, watching either daily cartoons or movies. That time doubles among kids ages 8 to 18. Consider the number of children using mobile devices every day has more than doubled in the past two years, and it would be easy to ascertain the influence of cartoons is much greater than it was when we were young. Personally, I did not have any mobile devices as a kid, much because none existed.

Now, comparing the likes of Spongebob Squarepants, Chowder and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack to 1980s and ’90s cartoons like Garfield and Friends, Thundercats and Care Bears may not be as bad of an experience as grandma would have with a Daft Punk concert; however, the takeaway from each experience could arguably be the same — not much.

 

Cartoons of Yesteryear Had More of a Moral Compass

Cartoons have traditionally aimed to not only entertain children, but to try and teach them something, be it a moral lesson or to encourage them to be more creative and active.

The Care Bears cartoon (1985-1988), for example, focused on being good to others and being honest. It helped children learn how to resolve differences and express their feelings. There were no off-the-wall antics, no farting noises or loud, destructive scenes. These elements are common in cartoons like Spongebob Squarepants and Chowder, which actually has an episode called “Famous Farts.” It would stand to argue that parents would like their children to learn more than the art of flatulence when watching cartoons. It is safe to say the 1980s and ’90s cartoons were, for the most part, fart-free.

Action cartoons 30 years ago, like G.I. Joe, Transformers, He-Man and Thundercats, also had a definitive line between good and evil and applied several lessons of what is right and wrong, along with the importance of teamwork to overcome adversity. These cartoons contained the essence of what we have come to know as heroes.

There’s no comparing the visual effects of cartoons 30 years ago to today’s cartoons. The advancement in animation and graphics have revolutionized how the common household television functions today. Perhaps that’s where our old cartoons stayed true; they weren’t saturated with noisy, action-saturated graphics. It’s like comparing an orchestra to a garage band.

For example, Ben10 (aired 2005-2008) centered around a typical boy who came upon an alien device which transformed him into various unearthly creatures with otherworldly powers, as the cartoon’s selling point. It’s comparable to Pokemon–the Rubix Cube of cartoons for adults today–in that numerous characters and high action compete for a child’s attention.

With 1980s and ’90s cartoons, the stories themselves captivated the minds of children, not the graphics and action. They were like an orchestra with simple, constructive tunes rather than the “garage band” type of cartoons you see today, where the louder and more obnoxious they are, seemingly, the more popular they get.

 

Beacons of Hope

Technology used in family life, on the other hand, is only moving forward. It is not uncommon for a family household to be equipped with a bundled service of technology, similar to what www.bundle.tv provides: feeding cable and high-speed Internet to the household. This, of course, provides access to an infinite plethora of games, shows and movies to every television, computer and mobile device under one roof. Thanks to technology like this, monitoring what children watch is something our parents can do with ease, compared to the past. There are ways of steering our children, especially our younger ones, toward more quality educational entertainment.

Not all cartoon shows today are bad. There are beacons of hope out there in the cartoon world. Two examples of cartoons with a moral compass are Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. Shows like Dora help younger children learn the basic knowledge of society, but go a step further, teaching viewers a new language (Spanish) while also entertaining them.

Paste Magazine considers Phineas and Ferb to be the best kids show on television, citing its relative plots to everyday life, its intrigue to viewers young and old, and its cleverness in humor. The show doesn’t oversell its characters; it keeps them honest and playful, yet mindful of each other and their parents. Its graphics are simple, yet colorful and never overbearing. It is because of shows like Dora the Explorer and Phineas and Ferb, there is a Care Bear still smiling somewhere.

 

About the Author

Ryan Harrison works for a pop culture magazine where he writes gossip about celebrities… shamelessly.

Jen in Pen … and Ink! Thank You, Mel Henze!

1

Category : Candid Conversations, Comics, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out

Honours come in many a form and fancy. Some strive for awards and trophies, some shoot for honorary mentions and notice. Mine, like many a dyed-in-the-wool geek is to be a cartoon character … and not via those cheesy, “Turn yourself into a superhero!” ads, the product being little more than a selfie morphed by mildly impressive Photoshopping.

No, a truly organic, artistic character is what I crave and not necessarily a Marvel-style superheroine (Although, I do envision a metal bustier, Manson boots and coal-black locks, tipped with poisonous scorpions, à la Blackbeard’s fuse-tipped curls, with which to sting villains, those being folks using “your” and “you’re” interchangeably, as well as those asking really dumb questions like, “I can never remember. Which was first? The Civil War or the Revolution?” Scorpions, dispatch with the obstuse! Away!”)

An honest to goodness Sunday funnies, cartoon character suits me raw-ther nicely. Well, my Fairy Godmother waved her wand and Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo! Unexpected and a true honour, this drawing was a thank-you from syndicated cartoonist Mel Henze, of GoComics new comic strip, Gentle Creatures. Weirdly, he nailed me with surprising accuracy! The parasol, the red shoes, the hat, sunglasses and flower! (Not the boobs, so much; but I love The Far Side approach to anatomy!)

An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

An honourable homage! Artwork: Mel Henze, image courtesy of J.S.Devore

I oft describe myself as Ken Burns, minus the funding. When something strikes my fancy, I write about it: Disneyland, Nordstrom, The Simpsons, Comic-Con, Colonial Williamsburg, Orange County, etc. Gentle Creatures struck my fancy and I wanted to write about it, where I scribe so often on geek culture, comics and animation: GoodToBeAGeek.com

Fortunate enough to interview Mr. Henze, I learned a great deal about his process, the maze and diligence that can lead to U.S. and international syndication and something called “panel-heaviness”. I met a wonderful little doggy named Jingles, a curious stinkbug named Cecil, learned not all rabbits are cute and cuddly and The Muppets’ King Prawn Pepe is on possible standby … for what, I’m not sure. Check back very soon for my full interview with Mr. Henze and his Gentle Creatures!

Thank you, Mr. Henze! Thank you for the introduction, to boot, Mr. Gene Willis @GoComics!

Star Wars, Steampunk and Smattering: San Diego Mini Maker Faire

Category : Conventions, Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Rants, Travel

Kittens, if the chilly, San Diego rain wasn’t a prompt to play indoors this December, the siren of invention, engineering,  technology and design was enough to lure a capacity-crowd of the curious to the first San Diego Mini Maker Faire. Ringing its knell from the warm beauty of the Spanish Mission-styled Del Mar Fairgrounds, this newest stop for the San Diego geek train proved bustling, hectic and promising. Besides, it’s Del Mar, kids! Even a permanent guest at the Hotel del Coronado needs a change of scenery once in a bit and this girl needs only an eighth of a reason to pop over “Where the Surf Meets the Turf”!

"In cosmological terms, S.D. Maker Faire was what is known as a big bang event." Photo: Jeff Kubina

“In cosmological terms … S.D. Mini Maker Faire was what is known as a big bang event.” Photo: Jeff Kubina

Billed as The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, Maker Faire is a congress of the imaginative and a place to share, and sell, ideas and wares. Known as the Maker Movement, this creative-following is gaining steam worldwide, with Faires staged from the Bay Area to New York, from Dublin to Rome, from Tokyo to Sydney. December 2K13 was San Diego’s initiation with its first ever, and hopefully annual, Mini Maker Faire. (Why Mini? Based on New York’s version, there is much room to grow.)

An all-ages gathering of tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors, Maker Faire worldwide is a cerebral wonderland for anyone with an imagination and the temerity to do something with it. Like a geeky cocktail party, minus the good booze (although some form of vile, domestic, beerwater was available at John Dillinger prices), the gathering is, as Maker Faire claims, a family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness … part science fair, part county fair, and part something entirely new.

Waiting in a very long, very slow, very wet line to enter San Diego’s first Faire, a talkative and cheerful USD student spoke authoritatively about the Bay Area venue, claiming it to be, with just a dash of good-natured condescension, “much bigger, way better and lots of actual symposia and lectures”. Fretting about the $12 entrance fee, wishing she had purchased the cheaper, $10 ticket online, she hoped San Diego’s effort would be worth it. Sizing up the hall’s exterior from under her fur-trimmed parka-hood, she sneered a bit and said with a twisted smile, “Kinda doubt it.”

Whilst the entry fee, plus $15 parking was relatively steep (Consider the Grand Dame of geek fests, San Diego Comic-Con, runs $12-$42/day) and the line was agonizingly slow (only two ticket windows), the cerebral and visual stimuli inside Bing Crosby Hall assuaged the lighter wallet and damp boots. Awaiting the rain- and line-weary crowds was a bevy of crafting booths, science experiments and technological demos, including a proverbial explosion in the popularity of 3-D printing: Yoda heads, TARDIS and Millennium Falcons proving the most popular products of the 3-D craze. The most inspiring, fascinating and useful of the 3-D buzz? Robohands: building appendages for those with hand anomalies, in mere hours! Don’t have $80K for a prosthetic? No worries. A set of blueprints and a 3-D printer (approx. $2K to purchase; a pittance to rent; maybe even one exists in your office) and you’ve got a hand by day’s end.

If one’s avocation, vocation or profession tends toward technology, real science, science-fiction or even steampunk, one would be pleased in the tightly-packed confines of the Faire. To boot, Comic-Con and WonderCon regulars would note some friendly faces on the periphery: San Diego Star Wars Society and San Diego R2-D2 Builders Club, to name a couple.

San Diego Star Wars Society: ask for Thomas! Photo: JSDevore

San Diego Star Wars Society: ask for Herr Thomas! Photo: JSDevore

San Diego Star Wars Society and San Diego R2-D2 Builders Club shared a space and, as one would expect of them, brought a fan’s enthusiasm to the franchises. SDSWS is like AA, for Star Wars geeks. If they put out a calendar, Tina Fey-as-Liz Lemon-as-Princess Leia-as-hologram would be their centerfold. Meet-ups are a way for fellow San Diego Star Wars freaks to gather and geek out over any and all things SW. From movie marathons to cosplay-and-props workshops, from collecting and gaming to convention field trips and even charitable events (notably Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation: Fighting Childhood Cancer, One Cup at a Time), the simple goal of this SoCal space sodality is to have a good time with like-minded dorks.

If Thomas, a kindly Swiss San Diegan manning the booth, is any indication of the folk you’ll meet at SDSWS, this coterie of Chewbacca connoisseurs would indeed be a pleasant diversion from the leagues of snarky, snippy, Star-savants out there, of both Wars and Trek. Welcoming, informative and inclusive, Thomas was anathema to so many Star Wars experts blitzing about the planet, propelled by their own hot air.  Smiling and eager to chat, hopeful to bring anyone into the fold, even the wholly uninitiated, Thomas offered no snorts of derision or condescending blinks when fielding even the simplest questions from children and adults alike. Enthusiastically, and with the slightest Teutonic accent, he shared the simple mission of SDSWS: “Come and join us to talk about Star Wars and have a good time!”

If the future isn’t your gig, but futuristic is, Gears & Roebuck: Rusty Junk Emporium and The San Diego Steampunk Community (including the Adventures of Drake & McTrowell: Perils in a Postulated Past) were on-hand, in very wee numbers, it should be noted, to hawk a few antique wares, tell some tall tales and share the collective mission of steampunkers worldwide: “We fight with invention, we fight with ingenuity. Full steam ahead! All aboard!” Our own Dr. Lucy, naturally was in Heaven; the gears in her own noggin whirring and ticking as she flitted between the two booths, trying on air-conditioned pith helmets and mechanized corsets, and testing the efficacy of thermometer-regulated moon backpacks and giant, sterling silver spoons for feeding her pet octopus Onslow, back at our Hotel Del.

Capt. D.D. Cumulus and Lady Opal Nightstream, I presume? Photo: JSDevore

Capt. D.D. Cumulus and Lady Opal Nightstream, I presume? Photo: JSDevore

Generally a well-read, sartorially-intense and whimsical crew, the Victorian votaries are tinkerers extraordinaire, taking cues from the likes of  Jules Verne to Bill Gates. Steampunk inspiration reaches back to Sir Charles Wheatstone and his stereoscopic imaging (predecessor to today’s 3-D imaging) and forward to Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. If you’ve yet to explore the world of steampunk, do acquaint yourself. If you’re already in the know, and living in San Diego, the San Diego Steampunk Community just might have the perfect, Phileas Foggesque, space-age tool to scratch that ruddy itch.

Will the Maker Faire make it to San Diego again next year? The Maker Movement is gaining traction in metropoli everywhere.  Judging by the Mars-level heat generated in this sardine-packed venue, it seems plumb stupid to not capitalize again on the funky, inventive and creative nature of San Diego folk. However, like Kim Kardashian’s jeans, the Bing Crosby Exhibition Hall was packed to the seams and ready to burst if anyone took a deep breath. My recommendation, promoters? Bigger jeans and maybe some air-conditioned pith helmets.

Air-conditioned pith helmet: a necessary device for any con! Photo: JSDevore

An air-conditioned pith helmet with every ticket! Photo: JSDevore

Full steam ahead! Ahoy! Abyssinia and Merrie Christmas!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

Follow @JennyPopNet #MakerFaire #StarWars #Steampunk

Switchmas Brings Cheer To Stupid Christmastown

1

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Holiday, Movies, Reviews

When is $750K a pittance? When it’s Hollywood-oriented and gets you a feature-length film, shot over sixty-days and employs no less than the formidable and jauntily avuncular Elliott Gould (M*A*S*H, Ocean’s Eleven, Friends). When do you say Mazel Tov? When that film blasts out of the holiday film gate like Seabiscuit on fire and ignites a dynamite line straight to Hanukkah and Christmas movie mainstays.

Switchmas (2012, Von Piglet Productions) is so ding-dang cheerful, so sweet, so good-natured, so family-friendly, so inclusive, so sprightly, so hopeful that one just might puke from its syrupy tinge, if it was not such a fun film. Switchmas is Disney-quality, without the Disney-dollars. Should you find your list of holiday flicks in need of an update, would it kill you to add Switchmas? It slots in beautifully with the other tent poles holding firm the genre: Elf, A Christmas Story, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Christmas Vacation et al.

Cheer up, Seth Cohen! It's an O.C. Christmukkah! Photo: TheChanel

Cheer up, Seth Cohen! It’s an O.C. Christmukkah! Photo: TheChanel

Mr. Gould, known lovingly to so many of us as Jack Geller, Ross & Monica’s dad, isn’t the only point-of-light in the Little Film That Could. David Deluise (Wizards of Waverly Place, Stargate-SG1) portrays Max Finkelstein, an optimistic auteur on the fringes of Hollywood and president of Finkelstein Films: “Making the World You Want To See”. Max believes he has everything but “a name” to catapult him to Woody Allenesque fame and respect. (If The Reindeer From Planet 9 can’t get him an Oscar, what can?) As Max tells a potential client (art imitates life here), “Believe me! You don’t need big money to make a movie with big heart!” When “a name” drops in his lap, Max gets the filmic opportunity of a lifetime. The name appears in the form of has-been, aging, bubble-gum starlet Jennifer Cameo, best-known for her role as Desperate Jane (played by Julianne Christie).

“I am Desperate Jane! I have fans and a blog and I am in control!”

The conflict? To optimize Ms. Cameo’s last gasp of stardom, Max must personally rip out and eat his own son’s heart.

“Its’ the Finkelstein Christmas tree!”

“Finkelsteins do not have Christmas trees.”

“Why not?”

“You know why! We’re Jewish!”

“Well do we have to be?”

“Ira!”

“I mean at Christmas?”

“You know what? Heritage, tradition, culture. Who needs it?”

Resistance is futile. Therein lies the rub. Little Ira J. Finkelstein wants nothing more than to celebrate Christmas. “He’s obsessed with The Christmas!” To assuage this desire, Max and Mama Rosie agree to take him to Aspen for Christmas, land of twinkle lights, snowy windowsills, hot cocoa and Louis Vuitton luggage. Then, Miss Cameo is attached to The Reindeer From Planet 9 and Aspen go bye-bye. “If this goes good, we can go to Aspen every year”. Instead, even after a heart-melting plea from Ira about promises and mishpucha, Mom and Dad ship him off, to where else? “Florida, for The Christmas”. Now, a holiday with the Flah-ri-dah grandparents includes a dream grampy: supportive, doting and effervescent Sam Finkelstein, played to freylech perfection by Elliott Gould.

In classic, Shakespearean-style though, during Ira’s layover at the airport, on his way to “stupid Florida”, he meets fellow holiday misanthrope Mikey Amato: a poor, Christian boy of newly-divorced parents who -wait for it- wants nothing more than to spend Christmas on a warm beach with some rich grandparents. Poor little shnook, he’s on his way to “stupid Christmastown” for a week of gift-giving, parade-going, snowman-building and cocoa-drinking with his gentle, gentile, WASPy cousins, who, fortunately, haven’t seen him in quite a while. Boom! A quick switch of some nerd glasses, an old parka, bangs brushed down and the convenient exposure that even Ira’s own grandparents haven’t seen him in quite a while either, and voilà! You’ve got The Switchmas. “That’s no Finkelstein! It’s a different kid! What, is he blind?!”

There’s even a pup. Any good holiday film has a dog. This little guy is Killer, a.k.a. Mistletoe: a big-headed, sweet-eyed pit bull who brings to mind The Little Rascals’ Petey.

To boot, if you happen to have a grandparent-Jonesing, Switchmas can assuage that, too. Mikey’s all too-foreign poolside, beachfront, grandparent-sojourn in The Sunshine State is a non-stop party of chocolate geld, fruity drinks, positive affirmations and socks-and-sandals. To this girl, it sounds equally perfect to my own Christmastown luxuries.

(Can we talk?) Raised in a beautifully festive Christmas household, as in Mom could teach Martha Stewart a thing or two, I was annually blessed with a pile of presents that would make Santa blush and enough hugs and kisses for a Strawberry Shortcake episode; it was a veritable embarrassment of riches that happily continues to this day. What did I lack, however? Grandparents. Always feeling I missed out on something grand in this respect, characters like Sam and Ruth Finkelstein bring a broad smile to my gentile pearlies. Moreover, my paternal great-grandparents and grandparents were Jewish, hailing from Vienna, Austria and, eventually, New York City (The Bronx and Long Island): Jakob & Irma Gerstl, and Rudi & Rosalyn Gerstle, respectively. Because I never got to know them, my noodle has compensated over the years with a special love for vintage handbags, antique jewelry, The Golden Girls, Agatha Christie novels and Queen Elizabeth II. (What is in Her Majesty’s purse, BTW? Did you notice she even has it next to her on the floor in the 4G Royal Portrait? Dying to know. I bet Werther’s Originals, a Waterman pen and a surplus of Irish-linen hankies.) As Angela philosophizes on The Office, “Some of us don’t have grandmothers. Some of us have to be our own grandmothers.”

Best of all, for those of us endlessly searching Netflix’ “Recently Added” queue for the unequaled, quintessentially ’90s TV-series Northern Exposure, the fair Cynthia Geary plays Libby Wilson, the beautifully-blonde auntie with the rosy, mountain-air glow who awaits her, fortunately, long-unseen nephew in Christmastown, WA. True, she is meant to look haggard and toiled, the overworked mom of three and neglected wife to an alcoholic, unemployed schmegegy of a dad; but the MUA failed here, folks. Despite the tousled locks and the persistent frown, Geary (Northern Exposure, Smoke Signals) looks as fresh-scrubbed and nature-girl beautiful as she did twenty-plus years ago as Shelly Tambo-Vincour in the wilds of Cicely, AK. (Apropos, Northern Exposure was shot on location in Roslyn, WA; Switchmas was shot in Leavenworth, WA and Seattle.)

As with any good film serving as part-morality play, there are a few direct lessons involved. Unaware of the notable, Jewish contributions to Christmas song and film? Pay close attention to Christmastown’s Santa Claus, Murray Lefkowitz. (This means you, Garrison Keillor.)

“A Jewish Santa?”

“Who else would work on Christmas?”

Fretting about the melding of Hanukkah and Christmas on the proverbial celluloid? Meh. Christmas is a mélange, a spiritual and pagan amalgam of millennia stewed in winter celebration, thanksgiving and festivity. The Christmas we know today was not celebrated until 4thC C.E., when Emperor Constantine defected from his pagan beliefs and essentially founded Christianity. He declared the 25th as the certifiable day of joy to coincide with the same time during which the ancient Babylonians, Romans, Celts and Norsemen had already been celebrating for eons, knowing full well he would not be able to stop them from said-jubilation and Bacchanalian endeavours.

In the end, I am a wordsmith; words mean something to me and are not to be tossed about hither and thither. Therefore, I refrain from the ignominy of such phrases as “government aid”, “literally starving” and, worst of all, “instant classic”. However, I am finding it sehr difficult to refrain from the latter. Switchmas might just be that, an instant classic. Only time will tell, and JennyPop’s annually-updated, recommended, Christmas-viewing list.

Abyssinia and Merry Christmas, Ira J. Finkelstein!

Because this stuff is important, especially if your name is listed:

Directed by

Sue Corcoran

Written by

Douglas Horn

Angie Louise

Sue Corcoran

Cast

David Deluise as Max Finkelstein

Elijah Nelson as Ira J. Finkelstein

Elliott Gould as Sam Finkelstein

Angela DiMarco as Rosie Finkelstein

Justin Howell as Mikey Amato

Cynthia Geary as Libby Wilson

Available via DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Instant Video

Follow @JennyPopNet #Christmasfilms #Switchmas

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

A Geek’s Thanksgiving: Thankful for TV, Tofurkey and Snoopy

Category : Entertain Me, Featured, Geek Out, Geek Rants, Holiday, Movies, Television

Kittens, I will admit this only once a year: San Diego is a bore, from Hallowe’en to New Year’s Day. Naturally, for we whom haunt the Hotel del Coronado, there is actually quite a bit to do here during the Holidays: ice skating by the sea, hot chocolate with peppermint schnapps at Babcock & Story, Christmas tree gazing, unique gift shopping and Victorian, holiday decor throughout every nook and cranny of our glorious, 125-year old resort. Still, and some of you, especially you wheats in the Midwest, might prefer this, the weather is predictably mild: average low of 54, high of 69 and 75% chance of sunshine. Sounds great, but growing up a Beantown gal, I need some autumn leaves, heavy rain and a reason to wear some amazing, vintage wool coats. The fam, Dr. Harvey, Mother Hildy and Big Bro Hugh are still in Boston; funny enough, they’d rather be here! (Fortunately, our own Dr. Lucy and I will be headed to San Francisco this Christmas for the annual Dickens Christmas Fair! Plenty of  rain, wool coats and, for our Dr. Lucy, lots of steampunk! Check back in December for a full report and, natch, a slideshow!)

Let this ghostdame tell you nothing is more glorious than an autumn day so perfect it is of filmic proportions: like the art department hand-painted every leaf the perfect shade of red, sprinkled Victorian window panes with the just the right amount of raindrops and yellow gels were placed on all the interior lighting, making a seaside coffeehouse more like Grandmama’s Gingerbread Kitchen, alive with the scents of espresso, cinnamon and nutmeg. This is generally best experienced in Annapolis, Boston or Williamsburg, not Southern California. Of course, there are a few things which make the Holidays a little more festive in swingin’ SoCal, and in those I partake happily and heavily.

PSL, Pumpkin Spice Love Photo: JSDevore

PSL, Pumpkin Spice Love Photo: JSDevore

Now, worshiping at the foamy foot of Starbucks, I await the legendary Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) all year long; yet, it’s all so short-lived, hidden behind the day-after-Halloween red-cup brigade. Design a Thanksgiving cup, Sbux, if you please: tobacco background with golden-yellow and brick-red swirls steaming up the cup, all topped with a turkey silhouette. Ahh, yesss. I can see it now. Well done, me!

In fact, it is somewhat odd, this Thanksgiving penchant of mine, considering the fact that I am a vegetarian (since about the age of fifteen … let’s see, that’s about 1905) and a Native American: 1/8 Choctaw … so, I may make all the “Feather, not dot” and “Casino, not convenience store” jokes I want. Oh, don’t get your p.c. panties in a proverbial bunch. I’ll bet there was a joke around some dinner table in Bangalore during Diwali that had the potential to offend me, had I known of it. Let’s all have a sense of humour, shall we?

Apropos to annoying political correctness, similar to Wednesday Addams in Addams Family Values or Bobby Hill in King of the Hill‘s “Spin the Choice” I have certainly been a teenaged, Thanksgiving pain-in-the-ass. As a young punk I oft protested the massacre of Native Americans, the buffalo and the turkeys, all from the courageous seat of a warm and comfortable, upper-middle-class dining room, free of any consequence other than eye-rolls served up alongside King’s Hawaiian rolls. These mild, semi-public assertions were usually manifested via either wardrobe choices (Ralph Lauren southwestern-motif dress, turquoise jewelry, fringed Frye boots), pouting and/or preaching (the year I went veggie), or making my own, authentic succotash (vile disaster). Of course, as the turkey goes, nothing has chilled my tenacity there. I have not partaken in a Thanksgiving turkey or ham since my early teens. To that end, I also will not break a wishbone; the concept makes me shudder.

In the end, I have happily come to realize that other people’s habits are not my concern and it is awfully pompous of me to declare anything at a family holiday, however glossy my hair may be that day. I eat my Tofurkey (Thanks, Mom!!) as others eat their trusting birds and large, baby-pink, farm animals with the suspected I.Q. of a human six-year old and we all share copious amounts of wine, candied yams, coffee, laughs and familial love.

For us vegetarians, Snoopy’s traditional Thanksgiving feast is even better than Tofurkey!

This is where I cease the obligatory “I am thankful for … ” liturgy. I am most thankful for the fact that I neither need nor care to share my deepest and most emotional Thanksgiving musings with a bunch of strangers. My beloveds and I already know the score and it need not be spake thusly.

Oh, wait a minute, I am thankful for one thing I feel I must share. I am Thankful, with a capital “T”, for Television, with a capital “T”! Well, television and film. To wit, as I hope I helped a few lost souls find their way through the Hallowe’en television mist, I humbly offer a Tofurkey platter piled high with moist and steamy media goodness. Happy Tofurkey Day, America!!

Poor little Geek Girl; she never had a chance. Photo: JSDevore

“I don’t think watching TV was the pilgrims’ original intent on Thanksgiving.”

-Diane Chambers, Cheers, “Thanksgiving Orphans”

 

  • Fave Thanksgiving TV Episodes!

King of the Hill “Spin the Choice”

Bob’s Burgers “An Indecent Thanksgiving Proposal”

The Big Bang Theory “The Thanksgiving Decoupling”

The Simpsons “Bart vs. Thanksgiving”

South Park “A History Channel Thanksgiving”

Frasier “A Lilith Thanksgiving”

Northern Exposure “Thanksgiving”

Little House on the Prairie “The Little House Years: Part I”

American Dad “There Will Be Bad Blood”

Outsourced “Temporary Monsanity”

Cheers “Thanksgiving Orphans”

Rugrats “The Turkey Who Came to Dinner”

Scrubs “My Day Off”

Seinfeld “The Mom and Pop Store”

The Bob Newhart Show “Over the River and Through the Woods”

WKRP in Cincinnati “Turkeys Away”

Friends Any Thanksgiving episode …

“The One With the Rumor”

“The One With All the Thanksgivings”

“The One With Chandler in a Box”

“The One With the Late Thanksgiving”

“The One With Rachel’s Other Sister”

“The One Where Ross Got High”

“The One Where Chandler Doesn’t Like Dogs”

“The One Where Underdog Gets Away”

“The One With the List”

“The One With the Football”

 

  • Fave Thanksgiving Films!

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Garfield’s Thanksgiving

Hannah and Her Sisters

Home for the Holidays

Martha Stewart Holidays: Classic Thanksgiving

An Old-fashioned Thanksgiving

Addams Family Values (“The Turkey Song”)

 

Did I forget anything, cats? Send me a Tweet @JennyPopNet!

Abyssinia, kids! See you at San Francisco’s Cow Palace for the Great Dickens Christmas Fair!

 

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online?

JennyPop.net  jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore