Monday, July 16, 2012

Live From Geek Mecca: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Day 4

Comic Con 2012: Leonard Xavier Schwartz blogs live from his final day at San Diego Comic Con 2012

Playwright and Screenwriter (Murder University) Leonard Xavier Schwartz live blogs from the final day of Comic Con 2012. Sharing his favorite and least favorite moments, Lenny recaps this years Comic Con and dwells on the true spirit of the comic geeks and movie nerds who call San Diego home for one long amazing weekend each year. Read Lenny's recap after the jump and stay tuned later this week for some comic, TV, movie and video game highlights from this years Con here on Dreaming Genius. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Live From Geek Mecca: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Day 3

Comic Con 2012Leonard Xavier Schwartz blogs live from Day 3 at San Diego Comic Con 2012

Playwright and Screenwriter (Murder University) Leonard Xavier Schwartz live blogs from the center of the geek universe during his third day at Comic Con 2012. His recap of Saturday's offerings, the biggest and most anticipated of the Comic Con weekend, include reactions from footage of Zack Snyder's new Superman movie, Del Toro's kaiju vs. robot opus Pacific Rim and Peter Jackson's Hobbit. As always Lenny bumps into a few celebrities along the way. Lenny also gripes about a plague festering over this years Comic Con and its implications on what he feels is the true meaning of the Con. He's like an unrestrained Jimmy Stewart in a George Lucas production of It's A Wonderful Life. Check out Saturday's blog diary after the jump and stay tuned for Lenny's wrap-up from Comic Con 2012 tomorrow here on Dreaming Genius.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Live From Geek Mecca: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Day 2

Comic Con 2012Leonard Xavier Schwartz blogs live from Day 2 at San Diego Comic Con 2012

Playwright and screenwriter (Murder University) Leonard Xavier Schwartz is back with his second day of coverage from Comic Con San Diego. His recap of Fridays festivities include everything from harassing Elijah Wood to checking out some footage of one of the most hotly anticipated Sci-Fi releases of the past decade; Neil Blomkamp's follow-up to District 9, Elysium. As always, Lenny doesn't hold back on the gory details and his no-holds-barred sense of humor. Check out Friday's blog diary after the jump and stay tuned for even more Comic Con coverage tomorrow here on Dreaming Genius.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Live From Geek Mecca: San Diego Comic Con 2012 Day 1

Comic Con 2012Leonard Xavier Schwartz blogs live from San Diego Comic Con 2012

As he did last year, acclaimed playwright and screenwriter (Murder University) Leonard Xavier Schwartz shares his uncensored musings from Nerd Mecca; Comic Con 2012. Live from San Diego, Lenny will keep us up to date on the day to days of the worlds biggest entertainment and media event. Mingling with some stars and comic creators, Lenny will sit through some of the most anticipated panels and weed through some of the crap to discover what movies, TV and comics we'll all be talking about in the next year. Stay tuned as Lenny shares his Comic Con experience with us over the next few days on Dreaming Genius.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Luke Chueh Bears All In New Art Book

Books: DG Editor Tony Nunes reviews The Art of Luke Chueh; Bearing the Unbearable

Titan Books in collaboration with Gallery 1988 have released an expansive collection of LA artist Luke Chueh’s works spanning from 2003-2009. The book, The Art of Luke Chueh; Bearing the Unbearable is a nearly 200 page collection full of color, life and complexity.

Gallery 1988 co-founder Jensen Karp (who we interviewed here) wrote the forward for Chueh’s collection. Both men are pioneers in LA’s currently booming underground art scene and in many ways owe much of their success to one another. In his forward Karp lovingly refers to Gallery 1988 as “the house that Luke Chueh built.” From the start of their professional relationship the two have successfully launched Chueh’s work from obscurity to that of a highly sought after visionary of pop art.

The label pop art doesn’t really suit Chueh’s work however. Chueh’s is an aesthetic of melancholy longing and the multilayered facades of existence. Using an ensemble of anthropomorphic and seemingly cutesy animal characters he tears apart any innocence of his subjects by inflicting them with biting insecurity and repeated inadequacy. In one of his commentaries in the book he refers to these insecurities as facade paintings. One piece featured in the book is called Inside Out, a representation of his most commonly portrayed white bear figure unveiling layers of mascot like costumes to reveal the trappings of identity.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Before Watchmen; A Debate on Change

Comics: DG Editor Tony Nunes ponders the pros and cons of DC Comics recently announced Before Watchmen.

Nothing is sacred. 

But is that really a bad thing?

Everything throughout history has been or will be changed, adapted, prequelized, sequelized, spun-off, rebooted or remade and will continue to be for as long as we create. 

Create, you ask? 

Like it or not, all of the above manipulations to one work or another do indeed require creativity. Sometimes the creativity injects new life into a work (see Oceans 11). Sometimes it adds little to the original work (see The Hangover 2). Sometimes it discredits or strips the work of its original appeal (see Star Wars Episode 1-3). So which category then will prequels to the greatest comic work of all time fall into?

DC announced last week that a new prequel series will be released to preface the characters from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons comic masterwork Watchmen. Dubbed Before Watchmen, the series is set to be a 34 issue run of seven separate titles written and drawn by different artists. Watchmen, a work that I, along with scores of others consider the Citizen Kane of comics is a title with one of the most devout fan bases. Loyalists sneer at any threat to alter the Watchmen world Moore and Gibbons created some 26 years ago. When Zack Snyder adapted the series into a movie in 2009, many fans threw up their hands and gave a mighty "harumph." Now, with DC's announcement of Before Watchmen, the interwebs are in an uproar with commentary both for, but mostly against the new series. 

But again I ask; Is this really such a bad thing?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Taschen Adds Edge and Art To Holiday Shopping

Books: Tony Nunes looks over Taschen's newest releases

Christmas is a mere two-weeks away, and if you’re anything like me, you haven’t bought a single gift.  In search of unique, creative gift ideas I’ve found you can never go wrong with a book.  Books come in every topic imaginable, but there’s one bookseller out there that are a cut above the rest.  You could call Taschen Books the Château Margaux of the printed page, an art house releasing some of the most beautiful and rare books on the market.  Taschen curates original works from artists and filmmakers, with each book becoming a one-of-a-kind gallery exhibit for the coffee table.  Art collectors and film fanatics alike turn to Taschen for inspiration, and their newest releases are some of their most inspiring yet.

For me, The Pedro Almodóvar Archives is the must have piece among Taschen’s new releases.  In the current world of cinematic mass-production, Almodóvar stands true as a beacon of originality.  One of the only remaining auteurs by the truest definition of the title, he has filmed some of the most provocative, colorful, raw, beautiful, and wondrous films out there.  The Taschen Archive collects never-before-published images straight from Almodóvar’s archives.  From personal pictures he took on-set, to vivid images from his films including All About My Mother, Talk To Her, Volver and his newest, The Skin I Live In, this retrospective of the Spanish director’s career also includes captions and texts written by Almodóvar himself solely for the book.  An added treat for collectors, the Archives includes a filmstrip from Volver taken from the directors own collection.  The Pedro Almodóvar Archives comes with a pretty heavy price tag, at $200 (sadly above my pay grade), but at 16.2 x 11.8 in., with 410 pages of vivid imagery, it’s a standout for any art collectors bookshelf.  For the daring and wealthy there’s even a limited Art Edition in a clamshell box that comes with a signed print for a cool grand.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dark Friday, A Day With Dark Horse Comics Newest

Comics: Tony Nunes reviews Dark Horse Comics newest titles

Yesterday was Black Friday, the day when people who don’t value their time wait in long lines at 4am to bum-rush retail stores and trample old-ladies just to save a few bucks. Cynical? You bet I am. There’s just something about the whole thing that turns me off. I’d much rather spend my post-Thanksgiving sitting back and relaxing with some movies, or a nice pile of comics. Segue.  

In order to avoid Black Friday like the plague it is, I devoted yesterday to reading some of the new graphic novel and trade paperbacks Dark Horse Comics are set to release over this holiday season. All five titles revel in the spirit of horror Dark Horse is known for. First, a visit to the post WWI vampire apocalypse in Mike Mignola’s Baltimore Volume 1: The Plague Ships, followed by more horror in B.R.P.D. Being Human and The Goon Volume 5: Wicked Inclinations, a visit to the Dark Side of the Force with Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command and some real life serial killer horror in Green River Killer: A True Detective Story.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Until Victory. The Challenges of Occupy Wall Street.

David Ferreria on the challenges of maintaining the Occupy Wall Street movement

Much has been made of the lack of demands put forth by Occupy Wall Street.  Even within the movement some have been dissatisfied by the inability and/or unwillingness of the horizontal body to formulate policy demands to address the severe grievances felt by society on multiple fronts.  However, at this stage, making such policy prescriptions without the leverage to have them implemented is unwise and harmful to the cause.  

The establishment media has forcefully demanded the movement put forth policy prescriptions.  They are attempting to bait the movement and its members into this fatal trap.  For if tomorrow Occupy Wall Street puts forth policy demands challenging Washington DC, those demands would be swiftly shot down by one or both parties.  It would be a decisive demonstration of the weakness of the movement at its earliest stages, before its full potential had been realized. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Dreaming Genius Television: Max Brooks

By Tony Nunes, Dreaming Genius co-editor

Max Brooks, author and zombie expert sits down with DGTV for a brief interview on the motivations behind his New York Times bestselling book, The Zombie Survival Guide.  Brooks, son of famous satirical filmmaker Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein), has cultivated a massive cult following based off of the popularity of the Survival Guide, a serious take on survival in a post-zombie-apocalypse world.  Brooks' second book, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War takes the zombie theme a step further, as discussed in the interview.  World War Z is currently in production as a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt and directed by Marc Forster (Monster's Ball). 

Brooks also developed portions of the Survival Guide into a graphic novel called Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks and has since worked again in the comic world on the series GI Joe: Hearts & Minds for IDW Publishing.  While Brooks was raised with the hilarious Mel Brooks as his father and Max himself worked as a writer for Saturday Night Live, he takes his zombie books very seriously.  Hear his motivation for the stories and learn a bit about zombie survival in this episode of DGTV.  Watch after the jump.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Alternative UK Citizenship Test

On the Guardian website today there is a sample test taken from David Cameron's newly updated 'Life in the UK' citizenship test. The test must be taken and passed by anyone seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK, or to get a British passport. As someone born in Wales to an English mother and Scottish father, I'd say I qualify overwhelmingly as 'British', yet I failed to meet the 75% score needed to pass, answering only 12 of 24 questions correctly. Not to worry though. We've put together this alternative test. By Steven Maclean.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Could Consumerist Pressure To Conform Have Fueled The Riots?

Schoolboy Conor Hamilton gives his perspective on the summer riots, peer pressure and consumerism.

I'm 15; I receive lectures on peer pressure nearly every week. We’re constantly told what it is and how it could affect us; despite the fact we live it most days of our life. We understand what it is and how it affects us, and also the benefits of going along with it every once and a while. It may not be a conscious understanding for every person, but every person my age understands it to some level. For those adults reading who’ve forgotten their previous understanding: peer pressure is the pressure to do things you would not normally do, in order to impress and prove your worth to the rest of the group.

I'm 15 years old, I watch television, listen to radio and surf the Internet nearly every week. I’m constantly being told what I could have, how it’s incredibly fashionable at the moment and how it could improve my life, despite the fact I just want to watch my programme, video or listen to the radio show. My generation is living in an increasingly materialistic world: we’re bombarded with images and adverts from a record breaking number of Freeview channels, being regarded as potential consumers by the companies, and stereotyped by men in suits who seemingly possess no imagination. This all leads to, while I hate to admit it, there is very much a sense in young society (7-18), of needing to have the latest and coolest things, in order to prove your worth to the rest of the group.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

'Harigate', Journalism And The Gift Of Reincarnation

DG co-editor Steven Maclean on 'Harigate' and journalism's nepotistic handicap.

When 'Harigate' first broke I was gutted. For a few years Johann Hari had been an inspiration to me for several reasons. First of all, I share many of his political positions, so was almost always onboard with the campaigns he championed. As well as that, despite having never met him, I liked him as a person and felt we had several similarities and traits in common, many of which I discerned from an interview he gave after receiving his now returned Orwell Prize. But most of all, Hari gave me hope. As a young man trying to forge a path into the world of journalism I saw Hari as a break from the norm, and a reminder that if you have talent, you can make it even if you aren't rich or well-connected.

The journalism industry is currently experiencing something of a 'perfect storm'. On top of the impact of the global economic crisis, the decline of print has been helped along by the emergence of new online media and free papers. Rather than increase opportunities, these new formats have led to less jobs - or less paid jobs - to go around. Media publications can't charge as much for advertising in the infinity of cyberspace as they could for the highly sought exclusivity of their ink and paper, meaning less money available with which to pay journalists. The Internet has also allowed anybody and everybody to set up their own independent publications - like this one - and the explosion of the blogosphere means more people are trying their hands at writing for an audience than ever before, all providing more competition for established publications to compete with. 

While the journalism industry stagnates, the trend in blogging and increased access to other media tools like YouTube and Final Cut has led to a surge in students reading degrees in journalism and media compared to most other subjects. Less jobs + plus more demand for them = far greater competition.

Look through the classifieds for journalism jobs and the prerequisite of "at least two years experience" will soon become seared onto your retinas; such a high demand for writing jobs means publications can afford to be picky and demand experience for their money. The journalism industry was already riddled with nepotism, and as newspaper readerships have declined experienced hacks have found themselves out of work, but, perhaps rightly, ahead of fresh faced graduates in the queue for column inches.

So where does this leave the rest of us?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Musings From Underground: Saki (H. H. Munro)

Ian Mole on the short story master. Illustrated by Harry Wareham.

“Put that bloody cigarette out!” Those were the last words of Hector Hugh Munro before he was shot dead by a sniper as he lay in a bomb crater in No Man’s Land on the Western Front in November 1916. Better known by his nom de plume of Saki he was, in my opinion, one of the most original, amusing and entertaining short story writers of the Twentieth Century.

The Best of Saki (published by Picador 0 330 247 328) is an unputdownable collection of forty-nine very short stories. In many of them the quaint genteel lives of upper middle-class Edwardian English folk are upset by the anarchic behaviour of a variety of miscreants including children, ladies who’ve lost their memories, domestic and wild animals and even creatures from the realms of mythology such as a werewolf and the god Pan himself. The rich dupes, who invariably come a cropper at the hands of these chaotic elements, spend their time taking tea, attending formal dinner parties at country houses and generally idling around. In a few extreme cases the tales end in death.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anarchy In The UK? Not If You Understand Anarchism

DG co-editor Steven Maclean on anarchism, the myths surrounding it, and what it really means.

What is an anarchist? Given nothing to go on other than post-riot newspaper headlines, you could be forgiven for thinking it’s someone prone to arson and looting. The Daily Telegraph went with “ANARCHY SPREADS”, the Daily Mail mixed things up a little adding the prefix ‘the’, The Sun simply exclaimed ‘ANARCHY’, while the Daily Star opted for the predictable ‘ANARCHY IN THE UK.

Aside from demonstrating the lack of diversity within the tabloid and right-wing press, these headlines do little to ease misconceptions about what is already a greatly misunderstood political philosophy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Police Response To Rioting Doesn't Add Up

Former soldier turned artist John Mc Dermott was the Old Bailey's Head of Security for eight years. As the court of public opinion into why the riots happened grows wider, he remains bewildered by what has taken place.

For eight challenging years I was Head of Security at the Old Bailey in London. The Old Bailey - just so you know - usually hears only the most serious of criminal cases. These include numerous Operation Trident cases: 'black on black' gun crime, together with Operation Trafalgar cases dealing with gang related murders and other crimes, often involving knives. There were times when more than half the 18 crowded courts within the building were simultaneously hearing such cases, and during my period at the OB we must have heard hundreds of them. What I remember most was the enormous security effort that went in to ensure these cases were heard to conclusion and without disruption. But that’s not all that sticks in my mind.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The 2011 Riots: A Call To Reason

Dreaming Genius co-editor Steven Maclean on the crisis spreading across the country. 

London is bracing itself for a fourth night of riots. Towns and cities all over the country are also now on alert as the unrest continues to spread. As it does, and with each day that passes, the narrative that this was just the actions of 'thugs' evaporates away. How wide spread must riots be before we admit they are symptomatic of a deeper injustice? How many 'thugs' must there be before we ask why our nation is overflowing with people inclined to this behaviour? And how much worse might things get?

Where I am in Walworth, south London, the Turkish supermarket across the road is at the centre of the shaken community. The owners have boarded up the front, but continue to allow people inside on a one-in-one-out basis. Outside, a queue of people eager to stock up ahead of returning home for the night discuss what has happened here. Nobody supports the rioters, but - unlike in the mainstream press - much of the talk is about what has led to this, and who, other than the rioters themselves, are to blame.

I ask one of the men who works in the shop if he are expecting more trouble tonight, "They're coming," he tells me. I wonder if he and his family who are working as well as guarding the store will stay when 'they' arrive? "I have no problem with them, they have no problem with us, It's the sport shops and chain stores they're after."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Daily Mail’s Liz Jones Killed My Baby

Blogger Alex Andreou is baffled by the Daily Mail's decision to send Liz Jones to Somalia

Liz Jones did not really kill my baby. It just felt appropriate to give this post a ridiculous headline which has absolutely zilch to do with its content, in the finest Daily Mail tradition. I don’t even have a child and Ms Jones has not, as far as I know, ever killed anyone.

Having said that, after reading her latest serving of tripe, I did bang my head on the desk very hard a number of times, so I may well have developed a slow and deadly subdural haematoma, driving to me to an early grave even as I type this.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Comic Con Recap: Telepresence Style

To cap off our week of San Diego Comic Con coverage, Dreaming Genius co-editor Tony Nunes teams up with Cinema Suicide editor Bryan White to recap this year's greatest hits. 

Every July it happens. Four days long, and bigger every year. An event that outshines all others. Like Jawas on a droid heap they converge. They come by way of TARDIS, Serenity, or Warthog from their homelands of Latveria, Winterfell, Krypton and all points south of Venusville. They are the truest of the true believers. As this army of believers unleash their Andúril swords and pokéballs they prime themselves for this four day battle with a gutteral scream to the cosmos. "Khannnnnnnnn!!!!"

Comic Con that is, the four day nerdosphere where comics, video games, television and movies converge into the core-demo (ages 18-34) raping media Transformer that it is. If you understood any of the references in that opening paragraph then chances are that you fall into that very demographic.

I’ve never attended San Diego Comic Con, thou I have (and will again in October) attended the also spectacular (though a bit less so) NY Comic Con. Being the geek that I am however, I track every announcement and bit of news leaving the Con. This year, myself and Cinema Suicide editor Bryan White have decided to put together a collection of our favorite chunks of Comic Con greatness from this years convention with a cross site sharing both here on Dreaming Genius as well as Cinema Suicide.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Live From Geek Mecca: San Diego Comic Con Days 3 & 4

Playwright Leonard Xavier Schwartz blogs from Comic Con San Diego International
On Days 3 and 4 of San Diego Comic Con International, Playwright Leonard Xavier Roberts Schwartz shares his unabashed joys and annoyances once again. If you missed day one and two of Lenny's travel log check them out here.
So I got up this morning at 2am to go to DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO to wait up for next years tickets.

You see, Comic Con has a new procedure for getting that caused a panic amongst the world. They decided to sell have the tickets to next years Con at this years seniority allowed. And you need a badge for THIS YEARS to buy NEXT years badge. Otherwise, unless you are a retailer or means you are not getting in. And being in the movie business isn't even a guarantee anymore.
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