Monday, May 30, 2011

Circular bandsaws in flight? I see no possible way this can go wrong.

In further proof that human beings are beautiful, fucked-up, crazy people, a man named Joerg has made a slingshot that shoot circular saws.

It's this kind of can-do ingenuity that assures me the human race would totally survive a zombie apocalypse. Joerg will lead the way.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Star Wars takes over The New York Times

This is pretty freakin' rad:

Someone's done a mockup of the New York Times cover of Osama Bin Laden's death, except with a galactic spin.

I love the attention to details, down to the "Yoda" commenter who says, "Until body I see, believe it I will not." And the "Gearhutt" spammer!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New webcomic: UN/SAFE

Huzzah for a new webcomic! "UN/SAFE" is the story of the Punk and the Artist, and the line between art and humanity. It's based on a real performance piece by Marina Abramović called Rhythm 0, which you can read about here. If you've never checked out Abramovic's work, you totally should: the woman is intense. As outlandish as the events of UN/SAFE may seem, bear in mind that Abramović actually did this.

From the Wikipedia article:
Abramović had placed upon a table 72 objects that people were allowed to use (a sign informed them) in any way that they chose. Some of these were objects that could give pleasure, while others could be wielded to inflict pain, or to harm her. Among them were a rose, a feather, honey, a whip, scissors, a scalpel, a gun and a single bullet. For six hours the artist allowed the audience members to manipulate her body and actions.
o___O Crazy, huh? When I read about the performance, my immediate mental reaction was, well, check out the story and you'll see. This is my response to Rhythm 0, how I think I would have reacted if I had been there on that night in 1974.

The comic's illustrated by the lovely Audrey Weaverling and the brave Devin Mohr (my niece!). They did a fantabulous job, I must say. This one's a shorty, just 8 pages long--we did the first 4 pages as a kind of little teaser, with the rest to appear on May 1st. So watch for that!

OH MAN. Someone must be doing an art lecture on Abramovic right now, because this picture just popped up online:

That's a picture taking during the performance piece. You can see her bleeding and someone wrote on her stomach. Which FREAKS ME OUT, because I didn't see this picture before Audrey started drawing the project, and THIS is a panel from page 4 of the comic:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Stumptown Comics Fest 2011

This last weekend was Stumptown Comics Fest 2011. Unfortunately I only went for a few hours both days due to a nasty case of food poisoning; also, I must confess that I'm not a fan of the decision to move the con from the Doubletree Hotel to the Oregon Convention Center. The OCC felt too big and impersonal and showy, like holding a wedding in a football stadium.

At the same time I recognize the necessity of the move: the Doubletree was simply not big enough anymore. I feel like Stumptown has reached its awkward teenage years as a con, where its feet and head are huge but its limbs haven't quite filled in yet. Right now the Convention Center is way too big a space, and that really killed the energy of the con. Hopefully that'll change in a couple of years as the con continues to grow.

On the bright side, I did get to introduce my niece and her girlfriend to DAR! So there's that.

Lesbians: The Next Generation

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

WBC leads to to awesome charity drive.

This is the best reaction that I've yet seen to the presence of the Westboro Baptist Church (except for the awesome SDCC counter-protest):

Well-played, sir.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The good and the bad: Dragon Age and the Akira movie

The two Hawkes
First, the good news: Dragon Age II is out on a variety of platforms, and the RPG game is flying off the shelves. While the game's main plot is mostly pre-determined, following a whole lot of destiny hoo-ha, the player's choices can greatly affect their character's appearance, actions, and even their sexual orientation.

The game's creative team at Bioware have not only made it an option for the main character to be male or female,  as pictured to the right, but they've also made it possible for male Hawkes to flirt with male team members, and female to flirt with female, leading to in-game romances.

It's a first for mainstream gaming: while the Mass Effect series allowed players to choose the gender of their main character and had female-female romances, male-male options were noticeably verboten, which is unsurprising given the historical stereotype of gamers as being single young white men punching at buttons in the half-light of basements, munching on Cheetos. But times have changed. 40% of gamers are now women, and the average age of a gamer has risen to 35.

One could cynically brush off the move as Bioware's effort to capitalize on this new market and that's definitely part of it; but more than that, it seems to be based on a genuine desire to make the game more inclusive. When a player predictably complained on the Bioware forums with an eye-crossingly privileged post, lead writer David Gaider brought the smackdown in a truly enlightened way:

And if there is any doubt why such an opinion might be met with hostility, it has to do with privilege. You can write it off as "political correctness" if you wish, but the truth is that privilege always lies with the majority. They're so used to being catered to that they see the lack of catering as an imbalance. They don't see anything wrong with having things set up to suit them, what's everyone's fuss all about? That's the way it should be, any everyone else should be used to not getting what they want.
Freaking awesome.
On the less-awesome side, the script for a live-action version of the classic Akira has apparently been finished and been sent out to several actors for the parts of Kaneda and Tetsuo. Wanna guess what all of these actors have in common?
First person that steps in this joint saying that "it's about finding the best actor for the part, regardless of race" gets punched in the mouth.

Racebending's got a campaign up. Go check it out.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

NFL player is fluent in Netspeech.

For those of you who don't follow American football, the NFL is facing a lockout due to stalled negotiations between the players union and the NFL administrators over salary caps. Now, I don't care much about it either way--it's a bit like watching two high-end divorce lawyers squabble over who has to pick up the dinner check while the minimum-wage staff wait in vain for the table to open up--but I do have to comment on this bit of amazingness: Chris Cluwe, the punter for the Minnesota Vikings, has drawn helpful and humorous images to explain the situation from the players' perspectives.

The pictures are enough to get me on the players' side for the sake of comedy alone, but check out the top-right corner of the second picture!

*laughs forever*

When a player in the NFL is using it in common speech, that's when you know an Internet phrase has achieved cultural saturation and significance. Oxford Dictionary, get on this.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

I believe I'll have the ponytail....

Highly accurate if incomplete depictions of lesbian haircuts to the left, here. How they've overlooked dreads and/or the buzz cut is beyond me. Should read:

"the buzz cut"
Favored by Marines and dykes in on-the-go and fast-paced careers like mechanics and Jello wrestlers. Minimal effort required.

For the discerning feminist-bookstore dyke. The dreads can also double as scarves, and food storage containers. Minimal effort required.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Smashing your brains out with a wedge of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

Alert, Douglas Adams fans: I am on a quest. I grew up reading The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy -- or, well, listening avidly to the BBC recordings. At work I am prone to shrieking, "ALRIGHT YOU SCUM, YOU VERMIN. WHADDYA WANT TO DRINK?" at bar customers. I'm lucky I live in Portland and this kind of behavior is thought of as a local quirk; if I tried that in Texas I'd probably get shot.

But I digress. The point is, I'm currently searching for a good Earth-variant cocktail recipe for a Pangalactic Gargleblaster, i.e. the drink invented by Zaphod Beeblebrox, the effects of which are described in the subject line of this post.

This is how Douglas Adams describes a PG in the book:
1. Take the juice from one bottle of that Ol' Janx Spirit.
2. Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V.
3. Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
4. Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it.
5. Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qalactin Hypermint extract.
6. Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger.
7. Sprinkle Zamphuor.
8. Add an olive.
9. Drink . . . but . . . very carefully . . .
I've found several recipes online, but thus far they are either unsatisfactory or out of my reach. Many of them call for Everclear (in place of the Ol' Janx Spirit) but I don't have access to that; I was thinking that 151 would suffice, and that means I'd get to set it on fire, too. I feel like that could be a very important step.

The seawater, I was thinking of a mix of pineapple and sweet/sour mix. The mega-gin could be just plain gin, while Sprite or soda water could provide the bubbles of Fallian marsh gas. A float of Qalactin hypermint? I saw one recipe that called for creme de menthe, but given the other ingredients that sounds repulsive. Probably substitute a float of either Midori or Blue Curacao. The sprinkle of Zamphour could be grenadine.

I don't have any thoughts for the tooth of a Suntiger, other than to maybe soak an orange wedge in 151, light it on fire, too, and drop it in the drink.

So, my recipe would look like:

1 shot 151
1/2 shot gin
Float of Blue Curacao
Splash sprite
Splash pineapple juice
Splash sour mix
Pinch of grenadine
Orange wedge
Olive (?? I wouldn't, given that the rest of the recipe is pretty sweet-flavored, but the original from the book explicitly calls for it. Bleah. I hate olives.)

Pour 3/4 the shot of 151 into a cosmopolitan or a martini glass. Swirl it around. Light it on fire. Put the rest of the 151 in a small glass, drop the orange wedge in, and set it aside to soak.

Fill a mixer glass with ice. Pour in 1/2 shot of gin, sprite, pineapple juice, and sour. Shake well. Strain (carefully) into still-flaming 151. Pour 1/2 shot Blue Curacao over back of spoon. Garnish with the orange wedge, which will hopefully catch on fire when lit and (carefully) placed on rim. Olive???

Basically there's a lot of fire involved, which appeals to the pyro in my soul. I can't wait to try it out.

If anybody's got any suggestions, lemme know. Mixologists! Give me your mixers!

I wonder if anyone's ever done potty-training comic books...

By bluejeanus on livejournal.

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I'm Watching Now:

'Vampire Diaries,' Thursday 9 pm, CW. Yes, it's on the CW. Yes, the creator is Kevin Williamson of 'Dawson's Creek.' Yes, it's based on a YA horror novel series. Yes, it's another human-girl-falls-for-mysterious-and-pretty-stranger-who-turn-out-to-be-lacking-a-pulse in the vein (shut UP) of 'Twilight,' and was totally designed to bring in that crowd. (Shudder.) Yes, the first three episodes of the first season sucked BALLS. Like, MST3K levels of suck. There was a mysterious midday fog, guys. There was a creepy crow in a graveyard. It was painful.

So how the hell is this my favorite thing on TV right now? Let me count the ways:
  1. The female characters. Main character Elena, her witch friend Bonnie, ditzy-cheerleader-turned-badass-vampire-heroine Caroline, villainess Katherine, sherrif Liz...the list goes on. It's one of the only shows with a near-even gender balance, and each of these women are complex, interesting people who move the plot. I'm particularly fond of the friendship between Elena, Bonnie, and Caroline. Gail Simone recently bemoaned the lack of female friendships in media, and she's right. Girls are hardly ever shown just being friends with each other and when they are, they're usually talking about guys (which is why I do like the Bechdel Test, for all its flaws).
  2. The plotting. Shit goes DOWN. What other shows would spend a season developing, TVD whips through in the teaser of the season premiere. I haven't seen narrative development this tight since Aaron Sorkin gave up coke. (Or "gave up coke.")
  3. The cast. Nina Dobrev has to play two completely opposite characters--warm Elena and vicious Katherine, Paul Wesley somehow makes a vampire seem like a genuinely nice guy, Ian Somerhalder is deliciously psychotic as Damon, and their supporting cast includes David Anders, one of my Very Favorites. (Native Oregonian, represeeeeeeent!)
The show does have some color issues--except for Bonnie, every character of color has been killed off or turned out to be evil, or both; there's also this weird thing where every witch is a black person, and almost every black person is a witch, and that reeks of Magical Ethnic Person stereotyping--but for the strong female presence, I give this show a huge rec. Also, the creators say they're gonna be bringing on a gay character, which fixes my other complaint about the series.

'Southland,' Tuesday 10 pm, TNT. I'm not exactly sure how to explain how this show sets itself apart from the billion-and-one other police procedurals. Somehow it feels a lot more realistic, an impression that has been backed up by praise from current and ex-cops on message boards. It also has John Cooper. Oh, John Cooper, you fabulous gay ex-Marine badass supercop. How I love you so.

Bonus round: LYDIA ADAMS AND HER SHOTGUN OF GREAT MOTHERFUCKING JUSTICE. I love the fact that the two toughest cops on this show are a gay man and a short black woman.

'Justified,' Wednesday 10 pm, FX. I've already talked about this one, but I feel it deserves another mention because last episode had a) the return of Boyd Crowder, albeit briefly, and that always results in great scenes between he and Raylan, b) the return of sniper Tim (though they TOTALLY ripped off my favorite--and really, the only good--scene from the 2006 version of Miami vice) and c) Timothy Olyphant in a brown Henley. Hello, tall and lanky. A sad lack of Rachel, tho...and I do have to say, for all that it's set in the South this show is pretty damn white without my favorite marshal.

Shows that I'm missing while they're away:
'Sons of Anarchy.' Shakespeare on motorcycles, y'all. I'm just sayin'.
'Misfits.' Curse you, British television, and your horribly-short season lengths.
'Primeval.' Ditto.

Shows I'm watching and wish I weren't:
'Glee.' Ugh. Chris Colfer, why can't you be in something else?
'Hawaii 5-0.' IT WAS THE FANFIC, OKAY? Fandom tells me there's an emotionally-shut-down, guilt-ridden military man to be had, and I need something to tide me over until Primeval's Captain Becker comes back. Also, Grace Park in a bikini. I'm just saying, a girl has needs.

Shows I'm not watching and wish I'd picked up a long time ago because now I have no IDEA what the fuck is going on:
'Fringe,' because apparently there is nothing else sci-fi/fantasy/horror on TV right now. Except 'Supernatural,' and I am not diving into that one again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Drumming diary: Dazed & Confused, redux

Whoof, it's been a while. January was a lousy month from drum-playing--combination of personal loss and illness. I'm trying to get back up on the horse.

I did manage to figure out what was wrong with the "Dazed & Confused" tab that I found online: a measure in the first verse needed to be 9/8 instead of 12/8. It's gonna be hella interesting to count, as it switches from 12/8 and 52 bpm to 4/4 and 190 for the extended bridge.

Verse 1 = 16 measures
Chorus 2 = 2 measures
Verse 2 = 8 measures
Chorus 2 = 2 measures
Bridge 1 = 19 measures
Bridge 2 = 78 measures (this is the 190 bpm part, so it just FLIES)
Chorus 3 = 1 measure
Verse 3 = 8 measures
Chorus 4 = 2 measures
Outro = 7 measures

That second bridge is going to kick my ass. BUT IT'LL BE FUN.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Nestled in the warm embrace of cable, FX has become an unexpected source of gritty, high-quality dramas, a trend that began in 2002 with "The Shield." One of the most recent FX products is the series "Justified," which just started its second season on Wednesday nights.

Based on an Elmore Leonard story (and with Leonard on as executive producer), Justified follows the adventures of US Marshal Raylan Givens ("Deadwood" alum Timothy Olyphant, who was so great as Sherriff Bullock). In the first season Givens got shipped from the Miami office back to his native Kentucky following a shootout with a drug enforcer. Well, actually, it wasn't so much a shootout as an execution: Raylan walked up to the table, told the enforcer that he had thirty seconds to leave or Raylan would shoot him, then did just that when the dude tried to pull out his own gun.

Givens is a modern-day cowboy, with his steely eye, fast hand, and Stetson. Olyphant plays him with a deep well of barely-contained rage; in the first episode his ex-wife Winona (the great Natalie Zea) wryly and wearily tells him he's the angriest man she's ever known, and she ain't wrong. For her it's as exhausting as it is enticing, but for the viewer it's absolutely thrilling to sit there, waiting for this guy to go off again.

He's got ample opportunity for that, with the host of dangerous types waiting to welcome him back to the bosom of Kentucky. His father Arlo and former mining buddy Boyd Crowder are standouts; last season's arc dealt with the tangled web of meth that involved both those men. They've yet to make an appearance this season (besides a brief glimpse of Boyd) but we've already met the Big Bad for this year: Mags Bennett, a reefer-growing grocery store owner. When first we meet her she acts like a down-homesy little old lady (albeit with pot), but at the end of the episode she poisons a man in cold blood without dropping the aw-shucks veneer. The characters are always a strong point on this series, and I can't wait to see how the saga between Mz. Bennett and Raylan will play out.

The female characters are especially fun to watch, which is a delightful surprise given that it's essentially a modern-day cowboy story. The show's even managed to pass the Bechdel Test in more episodes than not. The premiere heavily featured Rachael Brooks (Erica Tazel), Raylan's fellow Marshal in the Kentucky office, who got a couple of great moments showing that she's just as much of a badass. I personally hope to see much more of Winona, Raylan's ex-wife: the two of them have crackling, rapid-fire chemistry.

If you've never caught the series, watch an episode and prepare to be sucked in by the sharp dialogue and interesting characters. And just because I'll use any excuse to post this clip, here's one of the greatest moments of Deadwood, or television, period.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Queer webcomics!

A recent convo on LJ led me to believe I should make a rec post for queer webcomics. So here. we. go.

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal. A cross-country journey of convenience between strangers is slowly turning into something else. SO. MUCH. LOVE. Double love for the non-white main character: Amal is so sweet and conflicted, a young man trying to figure things out and having to wrestle with an intersection of cultural, familial, and personal influences. TJ is still something of an enigma at this point but the crumbs that we've gotten -- his casual brushoff of the time he spent homeless broke my heart -- have kept me intrigued. There's a LOT of this posted, so set aside some time to catch up.

Rooster Tails. An autobiographical comic from a New Zealand transboy. I love how webcomics are opening up the world to all these different voices and personalities. Here's my favorite one:

DAR! An old standby and no longer being updated, but it's worth linking again just so everyone gets a chance to read it. Plus, Erika Moen is super-awesome! I've had the opportunity to meet her twice, and she was lovely both times. Oh, the benefits of living in Portland.

Teahouse. I don't usually go for yaoi, but this one is damn pretty. Also, sometimes you just want some SMUT, amirite? Me, I'm shipping Linneus/Argos. Crazy albinos with swords need love, too.

Oglaf. I'm counting this one as queer, but really, it's pretty much equal opportunity filth. My favorite is the queen. She's such a heinous bitch.

Alright, now show me yours! :D

The checkout stand: protecting your children from gay adoption and gynecologists

Last night I was wandering through Fred Meyer and trying to run my brother's heels over with my shopping cart, as one does. He's something of a novice at the whole shopping thing, which means he got the wrong size of petit sirloin beef containers first time around and then he guided his cart towards an actual cashier stand instead of heading for the cold, blessedly human-free embrace of the U-scan checkout.

As we pulled up to the conveyor belt, we entered the Great Tunnel of Candy and Magazines. It's literally impossible not to look around -- I'm sure there have been extensive studies that led to both the Tunnel's strategic placement and the graphic design of every single magazine cover -- so I did my requisite shuddering at the National Enquirer's obsession with celebrity bodies ("BEST AND WORST BEACH BODIES," with helpful arrows pointing out the cellulite), flipped off In Touch ("LINDSAY TELLS ALL: 'I'M DATING TOM HARDY'"; hard money says they've never met) and stared in vague horror at OK! ("TEEN MOM JENELLE -- BEATING HER MOM -- SMOKING POT -- LOSING HER BABY FOREVER!"; the exclamation point makes it extra-classy).

Then my gaze wandered over to Cosmopolitan and stopped. There was a little black plastic flap over the cover. It didn't say anything on it, but after the recent news about an Oklahoma grocery store that censored a US Weekly cover showing Elton John, his male partner, and their brand new baby boy (pictured to the right in all its non-shocking glory) I recognized a "family shield." Glancing around, I ascertained that yes, every other Cosmo in the store had been similarly covered up.

Pulling the family shield away, I examined the magazine cover for myself. Mila Kunis stared back at me. God, she's hot. She was fully-clothed, though, so unless they're trying to keep her scorching image from damaging the heterosexuality of women everywhere, that wasn't why the family shield had been brought in.

I took a look at the headlines. "BAD GIRL SEX: 75 VERY NAUGHTY MOVES TO TRY ON A MAN." Well, that's very forthright. The family shield didn't even go high enough to cover that headline, though. "MILA KUNIS: THE ATTITUDE THAT MAKES HER EFFORTLESSLY SEXY." Yeah, right, effortless -- I'm sure it was totally effortless for the 500 stylists, makeup artists, lighting technicians, blotters, fanners, and Photoshop designers who put this image together, let alone whatever crazy diet and exercise regime Ms. Kunis puts herself through in order to look like she does. "GREAT GUY, LAME SEX?" Hah, we can't have men questioning themselves, too, can we?

My bet's on the little one down in the left-hand corner, though: "8 THINGS YOU MUST TELL YOUR GYNO." Everything else is pretty standard fare for the Great Magazine Tunnel, and certainly not anywhere as disturbing as Teen Mom punching out her mother, smoking pot, and losing her kid. But giving women important advice about their vaginas? Whoa, nelly that is just as destructive to society as two happy gay men showing off the new baby they have taken into their home!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Extreme Planet Makeover

Here's an interesting tool for sci-fi writers: NASA's website has a fun little interactive tool that allows you to change the age of a planet, its distance from a star, the type of star it's orbiting, and so forth.

It's meant to be educational, but I can see how a writer might use it to construct new worlds. I built myself a lovely super-Earth, bathed in the red light of a Class M star about .38 AU away.

Mwahaha, I feel like God.

I call it Doliea 581 d. And yes, I am writing a story about it.

Next question becomes, what music do you listen to while you're playing God? Methinks some Sigur Ros would be more appropriate to world-building. Or maybe some Tchiakovsky.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What to do with Wonder Woman?

Jezebel contributor Charlie Jane Anders discusses why we haven't seen any Wonder Woman projects in a while here. According to hir (I'm not positive on Charlie's gender) it all comes down to her origin story:
Why did the Amazons suddenly decide to break their policy of isolation to send one of their warriors to America? Because the Nazis threatened the whole globe, even the Amazons' secret island. Why on Earth is Diana dressed in American flag panties and a giant eagle? Because of some Amazon mumbo jumbo — but mostly to show solidarity with her allies in the fight against the Nazis.

Thus it gets a little tricky to transport WW to modern times while still managing to explain the combo of "Amazon-in-a-wearable-American-flag" thing. Anders has some suggestions:

1) Give her an iceberg of her own. Keep her origin in World War II and show her fighting the Nazis, only to get swept forward into this new, bewildering era at the end of the movie or TV pilot. Maybe in the 21st century, the Amazons are mysteriously gone, and she has to figure out why.

2) Give her a new reason to go to America and dress like that. Preferably some huge, terrible threat that only an Amazon warrior can overcome. Not some vague touchy-feely thing like, "people are being mean to each other." But some monstrous foe. And maybe we need an outsider to come and remind us of what America can be.

I added my own in the comments: 3. The Amazons don't send a champion out into the world--maybe globalization, environmental issues, and the march of "progress" brings the world to them. Diana leaves the crumbling colony in search of aid. You could either say that once upon a time she fought Nazis, and she's come to America in the hopes of using her old war ties to help the Amazons; or maybe this is actually their First Contact experience, and they dressed her like that after carefully studying what little they could find about American pop culture and coming to the conclusion that a short miniskirt, plunging neckline, and American flag apparel would help her fit in just fine. (Possibly they caught Ke$sha's appearance on SNL.)

Any way they go, one hopes that WW won't just pop up and remind us of "what America can be"--maybe, one hopes, she'll be amazed at the great strides that have been made since the 1950's (i.e. for blacks, gays, and yes, women).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Next Batman villians cast - and I am wary

So the Hollywood press is now reporting that Anne Hathaway will be Selina Kyle and Tom Hardy will be Bane in Christopher Nolan's third and final entry in his "Batman" reboot.


This "Shortpacked!" script describes my
feelings on Frank Miller perfectly.

As you might expect, I'm a big fan of Kyle and I'm thrilled to see someone rescue her from the crap heap that was the Halle Berry movie. However -- given Nolan's issues with female characters and the fact that he's basing a lot of his reboot on the writings of Frank Miller, I'm a little bit concerned that he's just going to make it worse. Berry's Catwoman strapped on that ridiculous outfit and slogged through even more ridiculous dialogue, yes, but she also had a personality and a job that didn't revolve around her tits. Frank Miller's version famously erased her independent cat burglar/bounty hunter origins and turned her into a dominatrix prostitute.

Still, I'm willing to give Nolan the benefit of the doubt on Selina Kyle. Anne Hathaway doesn't seem like the prostitute type, so he could very well be going in a different direction. Let's hope so.

The casting of Tom Hardy -- who played the forger Eames in Nolan's "Inception" -- presents a different problem. Now, I like Hardy a lot and when he was rumored to be involved in the project I crossed all my fingers and toes that they'd get him signed. (Also, apparently once you've acted in one of Christopher Nolan's movies and have proven to not be a complete asshat, you're going to act in all ze movies. For some reason I find that utterly charming.)

Taken individually, the choice of Bane as the villian in the third and final (?) Nolan film also makes sense. Bane is known as the only man who "broke the Bat" after he cracked Batman's spine in 1993, an event that's recent enough in comic book history that 20-something year old comic fans will remember it from their childhood with nostalgia. Yet Bane has an intriguing gray-area morality that actually had him working with Batman at times -- just like Selina Kyle. If they go with that characterization for them both, it'd make for a very interesting setup.

One problem. Or, well, uno problemo.

Bane is explicitly Hispanic. He was born on the fictional South American island Republic of Santa Prisca. He wears a wrestler's mask.

Tom Hardy? Yeah, Tom Hardy's pretty damn white.

Whitewashed casting stopped being cool when M. Night Shamayalan pulled that shit. It's not even the first time Nolan's done this, either: I'll give him the whitewashing of Ra's al Ghul in "Batman Begins," because who wants to see an Arabic terrorist blowing up Gotham? But Eric Roberts and Tom Wilkinson were both pretty damn white to be playing Mafia bosses.

Mr. Nolan, I raise a skeptical eyebrow at you.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine publishes "The Demon and Sister Roberta"

My short story "The Demon and Sister Roberta" has been published in Issue 49 of Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine! Sweet. Here's a snippet:

She woke to find the demon there.

It was a woman -- or a girl, she barely looked eighteen -- with long, unruly black hair and surprisingly delicate features. She stood over Mr. Flats' bed, but her eyes were on Sister Roberta.

"Anybody ever tell you that you drool a lot in your sleep?" the demon asked. Mr. Flats didn't stir.

The Sister rose to her feet, quickly wiping the side of her mouth. She was not afraid. "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I command you to leave this man in peace

"Wow," said the demon. "Wow, are you serious with this?"

"Lord, have mercy -- "

"Oh my dog, you are serious." The demon sat down on the edge of the bed. The mattress bounced and Sister Roberta darted a glance at Mr. Flats, but he slept on peacefully.

You can buy a copy of the mag here. Please to be noting, it's published in Australia, so shipping might be a bit high. :/

2010 in Review: women and queers in the media

Apologies for the spotty updates lately: some dreadful events unfolded in my personal life. I'm all right, but it will take a while for things to get back to normal.

Award season is upon us, what better time to look back at what 2010 had to offer us in the way of diversity in media.

One year closer to the Mayans killing us all.
I think that's how that movie went.

The year started off promisingly, with Kathryn Bigelow taking home the Oscar for Best Director for the The Hurt Locker, something no woman had ever done before. I'm including a link to the video here just because I love to watch Barbara Streisand grind her teeth before finally making the announcement. Suck it Babs, you had your chance.

Before I go any further I also want to link to this flowchart, which put out this year.

Click for a larger version.

I lurve it.

You won't find Lisbeth Salander on that flowchart. That's because the prickly, bisexual, computer hacker heroine of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels defies your petty fucking flowchart. And she'll probably stab you with a bottle and ruin your credit for good measure. This year also brought us "Alice in Wonderland," "The Runaways," "Salt," "Easy A," "Black Swan," and "True Grit," all of which featured strong female heroines. "Let Me In" and "Kickass" deserve special notice: they focused on a man's emotional journey, but had strong female supporting characters who could really have carried their own films. Y'all already know my feelings on the women of "Inception" and Ree Dolly of "Winter's Bone." In all, a pretty damn good year for female characters.

However, there is still a huge dearth of queer representations in mainstream film. "Easy A" had that old trope of a "best gay" for the female lead; "Valentine's Day" included a gay male couple but then marginalized them in the film's advertisements and didn't even let them kiss onscreen. "The Runaways" did feature a lesbian relationship between the two female leads, as did "The Kids Are Alright," and "I Love You Phillip Morris" paired mainstream stars Ewan MacGregor and Jim Carrey as male lovers. But we also had Richard Chamberlain advising gay actors to stay in the closet for the sakes of their careers. And it's notable that all of the above roles were portrayed by straight actors and actresses, or at least no one who was out of the closet.

Things look rosier on the television side of things, especially for both queer representations and queer creators. For the first time since GLAAD began its Responsibility Index in 2005, all five major broadcast networks increased their representation of queer characters during the 2009-2010 TV season, with the CW leading the way. In the 2010-2011 TV season, queer characters represent about 3.9% of all characters on scripted TV series, when only three years ago that number hovered closer to 1%.

This was very apparent at the Golden Globes this last weekend. Glee, aka the "gayest show on television," took home several statuettes, with openly gay creator Ryan Murphy accepting for Best Show, recently-married lesbian Jane Lynch accepting the Best Supporting Actress globe, and the sweet little gay dude of my heaarrrrrrrrrrrt, Chris Colfer, making everyone cry with his Best Supporting Actor acceptance speech:

♥ He is my favorite. No apologies, deal wit' it. Colfer's also expressed interest in writing for film, which I hope he follows through on. We can clearly use some of that queer TV magic on the film screen.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Misfits: Like Heroes, minus the suck

Who's spent the last 24 hours watching all of Misfits on Youtube? Oh yeah, this girl. (Also: ALL OF MISFITS. IS ON YTUBE. Go watch before someone at the channel figures it out.)

Misfits is a British sci-fi TV series about a group of 20-something delinquents performing community service for minor offenses. They're a real collection of winners:
The heroes you deserve.
Curtis, an ex-sprinter obsessed with his former glory, was arrested for cocaine possession; Alisha, a party girl, got nailed for drunk driving; Nathan, the very definition of a cheeky Irishman, absurdly got nabbed for stealing some pick 'n' mix (British candies); Kelly, my favorite, punched out another girl for insulting her; and Simon, my other favorite, is a complete mental case who tried to burn somebody's house down.

Not the best candidates for becoming superheroes, you'd agree.

And yet that's exactly what happens when a freak electrical storm descends on London, causing the Misfits and other denizens to exhibit superpowers.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. Wasn't it a solar eclipse last time? But Misfits--so far--succeeds where Heroes failed, creating characters that (while highly imperfect) remain coherent and sympathetic...well, most of the time. The quintet react pretty much how you'd expect a super-powered twenty-something delinquents to react if suddenly given the ability to, say, mind-control other people into being sexually interested in them. The storyline reminds me a lot of Marvel's The Runaways, in that the super-powered team of youngsters has little interest in being at all heroic--excepting the geeky Simon--and usually act in their own self-interests first.

Kelly is, as I mentioned, my favorite. I love how her default problem-solving technique is HIT IT WITH SOMETHING HARD UNTIL IT STOPS MOVING. Which, come to think of it, all the Misfits have a problematic defense mechanism. Nathan's is to mock everyone in a hundred-yard radius, Alisha makes the problem worse, Curtis assumes that someone else will fix it, and Simon switches on his inner serial killer.

In fact, most of the series' plot involves them hiding the bodies of people that they've accidentally killed.

The series is filled with darkly hilarious moments like that, and also some profundity about what it means to be a young person trying to find your way in the world. But mostly it's a delightful sendup of the superhero ethos. With great power...comes great fuckups.