Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Blog March 2017


From my dear friend Robin Renee's blog, please join the blog march if you feel the same, and contact her at the email at the bottom of the post.

This is what's happening here and all over the web for the month of May. We are coming together to claim and reclaim the value of our ideas, truths, and inspirations. We are a diverse group including activists, artists, musicians, scientists, authors, spiritualists, atheists, health advocates, and general engaged citizens. Here are just a few of the Blog March participants: Rorie Kelly, Kevin Patterson, Diana Adams, Tom Limoncelli, and Pamela Means. I hope you'll check in, read along, comment, and share. As of this writing, there are still a few spots to fill along the way, so if you'd like to join in, get in touch ASAP!

Here is the original outreach:

Join the Blog March – Raising Voices for Freedom of Expression, Knowledge, and Information

There is so much to be angry and afraid about in the current political climate. Many people I know have been locked in a kind of emotional and political paralysis – Friends have been asking each other, “What can I do when there are so many points to fight and so much ground to defend? Where can I even start?” Pick a cause, start where you are with what you know, and give it whatever energy you’ve got has been the prevailing wisdom. The idea for Blog March came in a flash and I feel compelled to see it through.

Aside from the phone calling, letter writing, marching in the street and (of course) voting, I want to be part of the movement of insistence upon our full and honest voices – declaring the importance of art, science, creativity, clarity, and all of our lives, however alternative or marginalized. I want to be part of the movement of demanding truth and full information from and about our government. I stand up to insist upon the necessity for research and scientific knowledge and the unobscured dissemination of that information.

With those ideals in mind, will you participate in Blog March with me? All you need to do is to sign up for one day during the month of May to write a blog post. Write something honest. Write something that feels risky. Write something that needs to be said as a way of pushing back against a political trend that seeks to disregard, distort, and devalue so many. At the end of your blog post, you’ll share the link to the next day’s stop on the way, along with any info on how to support your favorite organizations or activists who work for freedom of expression, knowledge, and information.

Here are just a few ideas:

Write a rant.

Write a love poem.

Share some visual art or photography.

Write about the impact of protest and resistance - personal, cultural, political.

Address freedom of expression through the lens of race, class, economics, ability, sexual orientation, gender, or relationship design.

Discuss how you arrived at the political issue you are most compelled to address.

Talk about an important development in a scientific field that shouldn’t be missed.

Give us a roundup of writers, musicians, and/or artists you think should be seen and heard.

Write through the lens of your regular blog theme – pop culture, science and technology, spirituality, LGBTQ, personal essay, music, history, humor, etc.

Make us weep.

Make us laugh.

Write what you most need to express right now.

I know that 31 blog posts alone won’t change the world, but speaking up and speaking out is movement in the right direction.

Get in touch at BlogMarch2017@gmail.com. I am looking forward to your ideas!

Robin Renée

Friday, March 31, 2017

The Camden Comic Con 2017

Next Saturday, April 8th, 2017, the place to be will be Rutgers University in Camden NJ, because it's Camden Comic Con time. I've done my time at comics conventions in Philadelphia, New York, and Baltimore, and I've even gone to those sad little hotel ballroom comics shows, so you know I know this field, so let me tell you, the Camden Comic Con is the best.

Run by Bill Haas and Miranda Powell, among others, this show rules. This will be its fourth year, and my fourth year attending and participating. My partner in The GAR! Podcast, Ray Cornwall and I have been there every year recording during the show and witnessing the fun and the cool as it happens. This year we'll be doing the same, and even moderating a panel as well. In all my time podcasting and convention going, this event is my favorite. Besides our recording during the event, there is also a strong presence at the show of Biff Bam Pop! and the South Jersey Writers' Group. Look sharp!

You can find out more about the Camden Comic Con right here, or at their Facebook page and Twitter. Guests this year include Larry Hama, Fred Van Lente, Bryan J.L. Glass, Neil Vokes, Diana Leto, Mark Poulton, Dean Haspiel, and others. There will be panels, gaming, cosplay, and even food trucks. Did I mention that it's free? Yeah, baby, free!

You can hear the episodes of The GAR! Podcast recorded at the first three Camden Comic Cons right here.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Riverdale

The newest of the loosely based comic book shows debuted last week on the CW. One might say, don't they have enough of those over there already? And while DCTV mastermind Greg Berlanti is one of the executive producers, this isn't a DC Comics show, it's Archie Comics.

Now Archie and the gang have been translated to the small screen many many times, but only animation seems to stick, the live action attempts have flailed in the ratings and vanished. This time the showrunners have the characters and concepts solidly into the adult 21st century. Behind this is specifically Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa - the award winning writer from "Glee," "Big Love," the remakes of Carrie and The Town that Dreaded Sundown, dozens of comics, and one of the current heads of Archie Comics.

From the opening moments the first episode is very Lynch-ian, as if the intent was to do "Twin Peaks" rather than the Archies. Most of the characters are here, and well cast, but mood is very Blue Velvet and Shadow of a Doubt, a small town where innocence only hides darkness. The high school vibe borrows much from a "Beverly Hills 90210" feel, which is painful for us old folks as Luke Perry plays Archie's dad. Ooof. I'm old, but so is he.

Feeling old isn't the worst this show has to offer though. Before the opening credits even roll, we learn that Archie had a torrid summer sex encounter with Ms. Grundy. Yeah, they go there, but before you gouge your eyes out, this Grundy teacher is young and hot. Future episodes tempt us with Betty and Veronica kissing and Josie and the Pussycats doing a modern remake of "Sugar Sugar," I'm not sure which is the bigger outrage… I have to say I also kinda dug Jughead as the creepy loner/writer with the Silent Bob vibe.

All that said, the show is compelling and worth watching, especially for viewers out there cold turkeying for the new "Twin Peaks" and the lesser "Wayward Pines." However, other than a couple cool Easter eggs, and characters with the same names, there's not much here for Archie fans. I'll give a few more episodes. What did y'all think?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Arrow S05 E10: Who Are You?

First off I should mention that "Arrow," as well as "The Flash," "Legends of Tomorrow," "Supergirl," and a few other CW shows have all been renewed early. Although such an early renewal is unusual, what is really intriguing is that "Arrow" had originally been conceived as a five-year project. I guess the future really is wide open, at least in the Arrowverse.

We open as we left before the mid-winter finale, with Laurel alive greeting Oliver in the Arrowcave. Trust me, he's as shocked and disbelieving as we are. Laurel claims that at the time of her death, Sara rescued her and healed her with the technology of the Waverider. At first Oliver accepts it, then Felicity comes in, and so does she. That said, she can't help but wonder why the Legends can save Laurel but not Malone. That old devil time travel.

Considering however that there was no mention of these events in the previous night's episode of "DC's Legends of Tomorrow," I'm calling shenanigans. And if she's not Laurel, who is she? Prometheus? Laurel's 'resurrection party' is sparsely attended and the mood is a bit grim. Everyone is still upset by Artemis' betrayal, Prometheus still on the loose, and yes, Detective Malone's death at the hands of Green Arrow last episode. But of course, Felicity set the party up with only one intent - to get Laurel's DNA. Even if the rest of Team Arrow is drinking the Kool-Aid, Felicity is still in the job.

The DNA is a match. And just as Rory is joking with Felicity about evil twins, Felicity realizes that Laurel does have an evil twin. Before she can even mouth the words Black Siren, they're attacked by... guess who? The Black Siren. I love when comic book shows are comic booky. It just makes this fanboy right here squeee!

The Black Siren was freed from S.T.A.R. Labs by Prometheus. The video sent over by Cisco seems to indicate magic or teleportation as no alarms were triggered and they were in and out. But things aren't working out between Prometheus and the Black Siren. I guess Prometheus is not as cool a boss as Zoom. She arranges a meet at the Black Canary statue that goes awry, taking the statue with it. Broke my heart to see that.

Still Team Arrow apprehends her, and Oliver tries to interrogate her, to no avail. He can't separate her from her doppelgänger, and if can get redemption for his Laurel through her evil twin, he'll do it. Felicity however knows her ex's weaknesses and tries to compensate. Felicity hooks up the Siren unknowingly with tracking nanites and sets her free. Oliver is of course livid. In the meantime we get some nice interaction between Wild Dog and Mr. Terrific. Wish there was more of that.

The nanites lead the team to both Prometheus and the Black Siren. It was great seeing Overwatch in the field, despite alternately being bait and a target. And of course Prometheus got away again, although I'm not sure how. He had a chance to kill Green Arrow but seemed to sneak out the back in the middle of the fight.

The Bratva flashback continues to drag on, only brightening up when Talia al Ghul shows up. I love Talia, but I'm sorry, folks, after Damian Darhk (who continues to haunt the Legends of Tomorrow), I am all League of Assassins-ed out.

Also Oliver goes to Adrian Chase to defend Diggle, but while there he learns that the DA knows Malone was killed by Green Arrow being manipulated into thinking he was Prometheus. Chase does intercede on Diggle's behalf only to find the military is set on eliminating Diggle. Chase cleverly saves him, if only temporarily.

The stinger at the end of the episode fades in from Oliver swearing he'll find a replacement for the Black Canary, someone worthy of the mantle. We see a woman take out two bikers in a bar with a sonic scream. Really? Are there so many metahumans out there now that powers are repeating? And I say powers and metahumans because I don't see any tech here.

Next: Second Chances!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Mary Tyler Moore 1936-2017

Actress, icon, and star of television, stage, and film, Mary Tyler Moore, has passed away. She was 80. As long as I've been aware, she's always been there, whether it was reruns of "The Dick Van Dyke Show" or the Saturday night tradition of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," there's never been a time when she wasn't in my world, on my TV screen, or elsewhere. Recently I was diagnosed with diabetes, and there as well, she was a heroine for me, just as in the 1970s she was an icon for women all over the world.

I have seen every episode of the two above TV series, and loved most of them, their content impacting me to this day, sitcoms or not. The production company she co-founded with then-husband Grant Tinker, MTM Enterprises created some of the best television of the 1970s and 1980s, and I was a fan of those as well. I also really dug some of her failures, especially the short-lived and hilarious sitcom titled "Mary," which featured a pre-"Married with Children" Katey Sagal.

Mary also wrote books, starred on the stage, and on the big screen, notably in Ordinary People, and one of my guilty pleasures Flirting with Disaster. And who couldn't love her as a nun courted by Elvis Presley in Change of Habit? We have lost one of the great ones today, the woman who could truly turn the world on with her smile. You will be missed, Mary.