Friday, September 30, 2011

Book Review - Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World

Today marks the release of a brand new book celebrating lady geeks of all kinds, Geek Girls Unite: How Fangirls, Bookworms, Indie Chicks, and Other Misfits Are Taking Over the World , by editor (and author, natch) Leslie Simon. The book takes an in depth look at six different type of Geek Girls; the Fangirl, Literary Geek, Film Geek, Music Geek, Funny-Girl Geek, and Domestic Goddess Geek, and a cursory look at a few more, including geeks of the Tech, Fashionista, Political, Retro and Athletic variety. The purpose is to inspire geek girls everywhere to be proud of who they are, gain insight in other areas fellow women are geeking out over, and feel motivated to seek out like minded women. Despite some quibbles I may have had with certain sections, ultimately, the book succeeds.

First off, the book is an incredibly easy read. Each section features a quiz (spoiler alert: the answer is always C. The quiz functions more as a learning tool, less an actual quiz, so don't be dismayed by this reveal), describes the type of girl, provides a history of the subject at hand and the role of women in the field, provides examples of women who exemplify that type of geek, a list of qualities that represent the opposite of who we are, a list of qualities that represents what we might be looking for in a mate, website suggestions, book suggestions, song suggestions, film suggestions, and more fun tidbits, specific to the type of girl being described like book club suggestions, a Fangirl lexicon, modern day ettiquette ideas and more. It's quick, fun, informative, and strewn with simple yet delightful illustrations.

While the descriptions of the various geek girls in the book can at times be extremely generic (literary geeks wear jeans! funny girls are snarky!), there remains enough truth for it to not be written off completely. The sections where Simon is writing about the topics she truly knows about feel deeply personal and interesting. Simon is a self professed Music Geek and the section on gals that share this quality reflects that fact well. I particularly appreciated the list of ground breaking and acclaimed female rock journalists. I had never heard of any of these women, but should have, considering the impact they have made on the music scene.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Fangirl section, I'm somewhat conflicted. It's spunky and fun and I'm honored to be mentioned as a web suggestion, but I can't help but think this type of Fangirl isn't me. If the geeky things described in this section represent the author's type of Fangirl, then more power to her. I just happened to be disappointed by a couple things. I've never had an affinity for Hello Kitty, which is presented as something true fangirls geek out about, and I don't give two shits about Twilight, which a whole section is dedicated to, although not necessarily in a positive light. The worst offense? Olivia Munn is listed in the important geeks section. Olivia "I'm not a geek but I play one on TV - literally" Munn. Gets a shout out right alongside the truly worthy Bonnie Burton and Felicia Day. I would hate for aspiring Fangirls to open up the book, see Olivia Munn's name, and think she is a shining example of Geekdom.

But for every section that attempted to describe me, yet fell short of nailing the details, like the Fangirl Geek or Film Geek (I just don't understand what makes Zooey Deschenal or Maggie Gyllenhaal "Film Geeks"), came a section on something I didn't know much about, but that interested me enough to take copious notes and plan on researching further. I learned that Baroque Pop is a term for a style of music I quite enjoy, and that Julian Casablancas (whom I love) is responsible for plucking Regina Spektor (whom I also love) from obscurity. I learned that Tina Fey lost her virginity at 24. I learned about a dating website for bookworms at  I learned about the "Church of Craft", Built by Wendy and the design style of Hollywood Regency. I learned about Girl Develop IT and am now desperately wishing for a Los Angeles chapter. Plus, any book that uses the word loquacious four times and gives a shout out to Kittens Inspired by Kittens is a book after my own heart. A high point is truly the website suggestions for each section, and I promise I'm not just saying that cause my own website made the cut. I can't wait to further explore these other areas of Geekdom and the bookmarks are a huge first step.

I'm glad a book is out there like this, saying it's okay to be a geek and making it fun. I wish it could have represented my type of geek a little bit more handily, but it's fun enough and accessible enough that I can definitely recommend it, especially as a gift for a girl, geek or not, with an open mind and willingness to expand her interests. But get it for a fellow geek girl, and you guys can read it together, complain about what Simon gets wrong, then learn more about what she gets right. Definitely one of the highlights of reading this book has been comparing notes with female friends on whether Jane Austen is given appropriate due or if the Domestic Goddess section should have put more of a focus on the culinary arts. And at the end of the day, that is precisely what this book is aiming to do. Get us chatting with other women, discover our friends' secret passions, or start a Geek Girls Guild and own our geekiness with pride. It's a sweet sentiment and an intention noble enough to let some mild pandering and ill advised choices (I repeat - Olivia Munn) slide.

Now if you don't mind, I have to check out The Style Rookie, order Sloane Crosley's How Did You Get This Number from Amazon, and look up when the next Renegade Craft Fair in Los Angeles is.

Geek Girls Unite
Author: Leslie Simon
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release Date: October 4th, 2011
Amazon Link See full post

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Ode to My New Obsession, Downton Abbey

For pretty much forevers, the things that I have become obsessed with, like when you get that feeling in your gut that you simply need *more*, have been television shows like Buffy or Battlestar, movies like The Matrix, Star Wars or Starship Troopers (there were a lot of intense film obsessions in Middle School...) comics like Y: The Last Man or Fables and Video Games like Fable 2 or Bioshock. Fangirl stuff, through and through. But recently, I've been introduced to a television show that appeals to a totally different side of my geekdom. The one who loves period drama. And that show is the 2011 Emmy winner for Best Mini Series, Downton Abbey.

It took me no time at all to get hooked on to the show, and once I started, I finished all of season one in two days and spent the next two days getting my hands on the episodes of season 2 that have just aired in Britain. Through downloading, yes. I'm not ashamed. I normally don't approve of illegal downloading, taking money away from the creatives involved and not participating in the numbers that will help keep certain shows on the air, but I do think there are exceptions and this is one of them. I am buying the season 2 blu-ray, no one has to worry about that. But I CANNOT wait until January to watch these. Are you kidding me?!!?! If someone was like, oh yeah, you know, Lost season whatever just started in Britain, we are getting in six months, I would be like STFU, illegal downloading now, bye.

Wait, comparing Downton Abbey to Lost? Am I crazy?! YES CRAZY FOR MATTHEW CRAWLEY. And Maggie Smith. And frankly, Julian Fellowes. This thing is so damn well written, that it's not just one couple or one mystery that keeps me coming back, it's anticipation of the writing itself. It's so unpredictable, and with each season lasting only 6-8 hours, the show moves. Fast. It began in 1912 and we're already at 1917. If there is a season 3, god willing, could a crossover with Boardwalk Empire be that out of the question? I'd like to see any of those folks encounter gorgeous revolutionary in the making, Lady Sybil. Ah, wishful thinking.

I actually find myself craving a sparring scene between Maggie Smith's Violet Grantham and Penelope Wilton's Isobel Crawley. Every exchange of theirs is like Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen had a baby and that baby was two old, brilliant women. The Countess of Grantham in particular is a fascinating character. While old fashioned in many ways, she has the sharpest mind of the bunch (helps us see where Lady Mary gets it) and is seemingly a Fangirl! She is the only character on the show to regularly reference things like The Lost World, HG Wells, The Wind and the Willows, Greek Drama and more. This is a woman with a lot of time on her hands and a love for science fiction, fantasy and plays. Perhaps her love of the written word in all of its forms explains her wit? In any event, I dig it.

Another fascinating element of this show for me is I care about every character and every storyline. The pacing is such that we never get bored and although we see character development happen quickly, it's still completely believable. Season two has already hinted at the slightest bit of redemption for the darstardly Thomas and Mrs O'Brien and I can't wait to see how their glimmers of having a heart play out. As if I wasn't rooting for Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley enough, Season 2's developments have made my heart ache with every scene they have together. There was a confession of love in the first episode of Season 2 that I had hoped we would see eventually that made me squee with delight and although it cannot be reciprocated for now, I'm curious to see how Fellowe's characters, as true to the time period and traditions as I've ever seen, will eventually deal with it. With World War I almost ending, change is coming, but will we get deep enough into reform to see certain traditions truly blown apart?

If you have been on the fence about watching this series, jump off that fence and then tear the fence down and then stomp all over it. It's like long form freaking Austen, people! The costumes, the production design, the acting, MY GOD, the acting. The weakest link is Elizabeth McGovern and she still does a fine job as the lone American of the bunch. As I watch, I have trouble believing these are actors. How is Mrs Patmore an actor, not a cook?! It doesn't make sense! And how is Mrs Hughes anything but the woman in charge of this house?! How is Lady Edith anything but the snake of a middle sister in the Grantham family?! How is Mr Bates anything but the crippled ex-soldier with a heart of gold?1 HOW?! IT"S NOT POSSISLBLEELLEE MATTHEW CRAWLEY IS REAL AHHHHHH!!!

Why is there a camera there?! Isn't it 1917?! AHH!

I've also noticed that every episode seems to have a subtle theme that is spoken aloud at some point. The one I can think of most readily is season two premiere's "War has a way of distinguishing between the things that matter and the things that don’t." But every episode has an overarching thesis that ties everything together nicely and makes each episode feel complete.

So what have we learned?
1. If you haven't watched Downton season one, watch it. It's on Netflix Instant Watch or I will lend you my blu-ray if I know you.
2. If you've seen Downton season one, and you need season two right now, feel free to ask me.
3. If you've seen every episode possible for humans not working on the show to have seen, OMG HOW GOOD IS IT?!?!
4. Matthew Crawley's eyes
5. OMG!
6. Jessica Brown Findlay is stunning and is going to be a star
7. Some of these things I didn't mention until we got to this list
8. So many accents on display in one hour! It's music to the ears!

Okay. All for now. End of Fangirling. SQUEE!

Hat Tip: @xoxogg, the reason why I started watching in the first place!!! See full post

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Celebrates 9th Season Premiere

Sunday night at a cathedral in downtown Los Angeles, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition celebrated the beginning of its ninth season with a party-meets-expo showcasing upwards of 60 brands, endless samples, food trucks, a dance floor, live music, a screening of the premiere episode, a raffle and more. Although a swag bag to hold all of the swag would have been nice, and I felt like I learned more about these brands than I did about the show, it was still a great evening. Any event that ends with me holding a giant bag of free coffee beans is an event that wins. Selection of photos below and even more can be found here.

More photos and highlights after the jump!

See full post

Monday, September 26, 2011

Pipeline's Maritime Merriment

Over the weekend, Pipeline Theatre Company premiered their new play Felix & the Diligence . It's an absurdly silly and fun show written by Colby Day and directed by Daniel Johnsen. Set on the Atlantic Ocean, against the backdrop of World War II, the play features a slew of ridiculous and comical characters thrown together under the guise of "high stakes cod fishing."

More about this seafaring show, after the jump!
See full post

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Taylor Lautner: Yay or Nay

Crossposted on and commissioned by

With Abduction coming out today, Taylor Lautner's first starring vehicle, we thought we should take this opportunity to evaluate the young actor's chances of making the jump from supporting cast member to leading man. Does he have what it takes or should he just stick to the sidelines? It's investigation time - Pros and Cons style.

The Cons

Lack of Acting Talent
The overarching problem with Lautner is the fact that he can't act. He tries to act. And occasionally is okay. But mostly, he is untrained, and not in that raw, interesting kind of way, but in the "doesn't know what he is doing at all even remotely" kind of way. The biggest offense and proof that he has no idea what is going on is that he is, and excuse the actorly term, CONSTANTLY off voice. The easiest way to spot a wannabe actor is when you notice what I call "gravely voice". It means the so called performer doesn't know how to warm up or use his voice, so he defaults to a gravely tone that is a combination of nerves and an attempt at naturalism. Taylor Lautner is so guilty of this, he was giving ME a sore throat during Abduction. Other "gravely voices" can be found hanging out on the CW. Lautner rarely feels honest, and always feels angsty-squinty. His default facial expression is smolder. And he has no idea how to listen, take his time with a moment, or allow something to truly happen on the inside, informing the choices he makes. He does what the script says and not very believably. Granted, the supposed acting lessons he took between Twilight films did make somewhat of a difference, but certainly not enough.

More after the jump

See full post

Abduction. Where to Even Begin.

If you know me, which some of you do, you know it is extremely rare that I dislike a movie. I can recognize its flaws and still enjoy it, still defend it, as I have done with many films and will continue to do, I'm sure, for a long time to come. But this week I saw a movie that is simply so incompetent, amateurish, laughable and a slew of other disparaging words, that nothing can redeem it. That film is called Abduction.

I originally sought out seeing this film to write something on Taylor Lautner's rise as an action star and whether or not he succeeded in his first big outing. I was never planning on seeing the film otherwise, based on the trailer it seemed to me like a potentially awesome film that would be ruined by Lautner's lack of an acting ability. But what I ended up seeing was so beyond atrocious, I couldn't just sit idly by and ignore it.

Where do I even begin. From the opening line of "Yeah baby" to my pages and pages of notes reading phrases like "How would he know that?" and "That makes no sense." and "Why would you do that??!!?!", this film is, frankly, a colossal failure. Five minutes into it, you know you're in for 106 minutes of lame dialogue and underdeveloped characters. 10 minutes into the film and Lautner has already spent a good amount of time with his shirt off. 15 minutes into the film, the best scene has already happened in which Jason Isaacs' Kevin trains Lautner's Nathan by essentially beating the crap out of him. It was a glimmer of hope that was quickly dashed away.

It's difficult to get into just how awful this movie is without revealing some key plot points, but trust me when I say that logic did not play a role in the script, filmmaking, or acting. There is no connective tissue between anything that happens. It feels like it was written by a thirteen year old who LOVES action movies but has no clue how to write one. So he tries and shows it to his mom and his mom says "Aw, this is great honey!" and so that thirteen year old calls Taylor Lautner's dad (Dan Lautner, a producer on Abduction) and is like "my mom said this script is great so you should make it." and so he did. No, this isn't the story of how the film got made, but it might as well be.

First, the plot. The story here, sure, makes enough sense as like, a log line. As one sentence. A sentence I can't say because it's all spoilers. But when it got fleshed out, everything went wrong. None of the reveals pack a punch or make much sense, and the biggest reveal of all is completely underwhelming and makes you feel like you've been along for this "ride" if one could even call it that, for no actual reason. It feels unresolved, emotionless and so absurd, I have to wonder if it was intentional as a secret way to undermine the action film as an institution and subvert Lautner's potential as an action star, because I see no other explanation for how something so comically illogical got greenlit.

The dialogue and exchanges between characters are even worse. So often it seemed like a character was saying something completely unprompted by what the other character just said to him. Like everyone was in his or her own movie making up their own "action movie" lines.

One of my favorite moments was when some very "important" exposition is thrown Nathan's way. And the next scene is Nathan explaining EXACTLY what we just heard, almost verbatim, to Lily Collins' Karen. Why. Why would you do that. Why would you have two scenes with the exact same exposition one right after the other. THIS IS CALLED POOR SCREENWRITING. There is also a moment where we see Nathan and Karen run into the woods. Then follows what we will call Scene W. After Scene W, a bunch of characters are talking about how Nathan and Karen are in the woods. So please tell me why Scene W is necessary. Scene W features Nathan and Karen in the woods. Karen says "hang on I have to catch my breath." So they stop running for about thirty seconds. She does not catch her breath. And then they keep running. That was a scene. A whole scene. It was foreshadowing nothing, it was following up on nothing, it was just pointless. And I laughed out loud.

Moments like these happen pretty consistently for the entirety of the film. It was a never-ending barrage of things that didn't make sense, whether small and subtly incompetent or glaringly over the top examples of idiocy, it was incessant.

And poor Lily Collins. She was just so damn boring. She and Lautner had no chemistry (although their wannabe porn stars make out scene tries *really* hard to make you think they do) and nothing about her jumped out at me at all. I know people like her, so I have to assume it's the movie's fault, not her own. I don't believe Tarsem Singh would cast his Snow White with an actress who was this bland.

So what does work? Jason Isaacs is the best part of the movie. Easily. Unfortunately, the potential with his character is wasted. When the film ended, my movie going buddy and I discussed what changes could have made the film actually work, and we both thought it would involve Isaacs in a larger role. I kinda wish they made the movie we discussed instead of the one they did. It might have actually been interesting or had some modicum of dynamic.

Also, and how is this for bizarre. I saw this movie intending for Lautner to be the worst part of an otherwise awesome action movie. But no. The movie around him was terrible, and although he was pretty terrible for the most part as well, I gotta say that when he is fighting, I dig it. The kid has some serious martial arts skills and the only times I enjoyed myself watching this film were during his all too few (Seriously) action scenes. I would have been thrilled to see a third less nonsense attempting to be a movie and a third more pure action, stretching his boundaries as a fighter and pushing him more in that direction. Lautner is not a leading man. But he is a damn good martial artist.

It physically hurts me to talk about this movie so I'm going to stop now. If you want to, you know, drink and go see a stupid movie and yell at the screen everytime something doesn't make sense, this may be your preferred weekend viewing. If you like things that are good and value your time, STAY AWAY. Looking forward to chatting personally with any of you that have seen this movie so we can go over every single moment that laughed in the face of logic and then kicked logic in the balls. See full post

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gunstringer: Proving Kinect May Not Be Useless After All

Crossposted and commissioned by Gaming Blend

Earlier this week marked the release of The Gunstringer, the first Kinect title from studio Twisted Pixel. The Austin-based company was looking to create a game that went past the casual nature of most Kinect titles and appeal more to the core players. As someone who has generally been unimpressed with how games have been using this motion technology, I was curious to see if one could actually break out of the box and hold my interest longer than five minutes. So did it? Let's break it down.

The basic concept of The Gunstringer is that we are participating in a puppet show starring the titular marionette with no name. The game opens following a woman into Austin's Paramount Theater as she takes her seat in a packed audience. The camera takes us back stage, where we see the actual, wooden puppet and follow it and its puppeteer through the hustle and bustle of opening night, and up on to the stage for the start of the game. From then on, there are occasional cuts to reaction shots of the audience to remind us where we are and provide a bit of comedy. Some have complained that this reminder completely takes them out of the game, but it didn't bother me in the slightest.

This charming concept lends itself extremely well to the Kinect because of how it figures in to gameplay. You use your left hand as if you were holding a marionette, lifting it to make the Gunstringer jump and moving it from side to side to make the Gunstringer, well, move from side to side. You use your right hand to engage in combat, whether it be with a gun, sword, flame thrower or fist. Knowing that you are "controlling a puppet" makes the idea of holding your hands out for 4 hours much more tolerable. The mere fact that logic is backing up the gameplay goes a loooong way.

Full review after the jump

See full post

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Highs and Lows of The 2011 Emmys

Another Emmys telecast has come and gone, once again filled with awkward presenters, repeat awards, an okay opening musical number, some emotional acceptance speeches and an inexplicable amount of promotion for Two and a Half Men.

Wait. One of those things is not like other.


Here are the highs and lows.

Jane Lynch
Aside from one bit that went completely over my head (see below. way below.), host Jane Lynch nailed every single joke during the Emmys telecast. Favorites in particular included her "gay agenda," exchange with the Mad Men group during the opening, and intro to the men of Entourage. Her musical number wasn't aces, but that wasn't her fault. Never offensive (which I don't actually mind, but still it was nice to not have that Awards-show-cringey-feeling for once) always hilarious, she was a fantastic pick.

Lea Michele
Meanwhile, a very different Glee actress didn't nail any joke, not the ones written for her, not her improvised one, nothing. To make things even more awkward, co-presenter Ian Somerhalder seemed pissed to be paired with her and when the teleprompted joke about actresses being divas came up, I know I was not the only one half expecting the camera to zoom in on Lea Michele herself. It certainly would have the saved the bit to have a moment of self effacing truth. What, being honest about yourself is good enough for Paula Abdul and Charlie Sheen, but not Lea Michele?

Lonely Island
It was utterly absurd and nothing about it was not fun. Plus, they freaked Bill Macy. Bill Macy! Love it.

The Emmytones
I feel AWFUL saying this because individually, all six of these actors (Zachary Levi, Cobie Smulders, Taraji P Hensen, Kate Flanney, Wilder Valmerema nd Joel McHale) are wonderful (Okay not Wilder Valderama so much), but together, they created a bit of a train wreck. Not because anyone did a bad job per se, but rather because the bit was completely unnecessary. It added nothing except for a few chuckles thanks to Cobie Smulder's facial expressions after LL Cool J popped in to rap. Jeff Winger would so not approve.

Comedians Presenting
The Jimmys wrastling, Sofia Vergara having fun with her accent, Melissa McCarthy & Amy Poehler bringing it as usual, and Hugh Laurie making dry material work prove that when you want people to bring the funny, you should ask the funny people. (Yes, Hugh Laurie is on House now, but you guys, Blackadder.)

Anyone Else Presenting
Or at least you know, if they don't know how to be funny, don't force them to try, okay? There is nothing worse than seeing someone crashing and burning on live television. Okay, there are lots of things worse than that, but still. There was way too much awkwardness on stage tonight. Poor Anna Torv not knowing how to react to David Boreanez going off script, Kerry Washington looking like she was about to die if someone didn't give her a sandwich....I know you'll get this presenter thing right one day, Emmys. One day.

More after the jump!

See full post

Leave Christina Hendrick's Breasts Alone: A Rant

Just happened to catch part of the local news just now doing a "wrap-up" on Emmy's fashion. I say wrap-up with quotes because no one appearing on the local news knows shit about shit, I've decided, based on this segment at least.

The woman who will henceforth known as Skinny Bitch Guest Correspondent had the audacity to place Christina Hendricks in the Worst Dressed category, not because the dress was ugly, not because the dress didn't fit her, not because she looked bad, but because she had too much cleavage. Seem like a reasonable criticism? Well, clearly you don't have large breasts or understand the mechanics of large breasts.

I get the criticism that some dresses may be in poor taste like the one Gwenyth Paltrow wore that one time. I don't need to tell you which dress I'm referring to, because we all remember it. It was a little trashy and had a lot of nip. I also get criticisms about, you know, a dress looking like a plastic cup with a bunch of holes in it like Juliana Margulies' was tonight, sure, yes, when your job is to critique fashion, I get shit like that.


For those of you still asking "But why does she need to have cleavage?", allow me to explain a little something to you. When you are born with large breasts, like I was, like Christina Hendricks was, like countless women are, the only way to NOT have cleavage is to cover them up completely. Is to wear a boatneck or turtleneck. Are you trying to say that because I am a D cup, I am forbidden from wearing a dress or shirt with a v neck?

A couple years ago, I got some shit from a male employer for "showing too much cleavage" at work. Was I wearing low cut tops? No. Sure, some were lower cut than others I wore, I guess, I own a lot of shirts. But I wasn't trying to be provocative. I wasn't trying to look sexy. I was wearing clothes. Clothes just like anyone else in the office. But because my breasts happened to be large, it was "distracting" and from then on, I had to make a point of trying to own more uncomfortably high necked shirts. Needless to say, he wasn't my boss for long.

But even if I understand having to dress extra conservatively for the workplace, this isn't going to the office. This is going to the Emmys. This is dressing to the nines to celebrate your hard work and the hard work of everyone else in your field. When you work in television, this is your party of the year, your time to go all out and look amazing. And you, Skinny Bitch Guest Correspondent, is saying that Christina Hendricks should have thought about how distracting her NATURALLY LARGE BREASTS BECAUSE SHE HAS NATURALLY LARGE BREASTS CAN I BE ANY CLEARER ABOUT THAT are and dressed more conservatively? Really? Julie Bowen and Heather Morris waere practically not wearing a front to their dresses, but oh, they're really skinny, so it's okay.

It's hard enough for me to find dresses that work with D breasts, let alone whatever Hendricks is sporting. Add to that her gorgeous slightly fuller figure than most Hollywood designers are regrettably not used to designing for, and you get someone who probably has a hard time finding the perfect thing to wear for these kinds of events. The size 0/A cup women she is surrounded by can more or less get away with wearing any sort of design they want. Hendricks has a harder time mostly because she needs major support for her chest. Her options are limited.

When you look at Hendricks' dress, it is in fact gorgeous and incredibly tasteful. As far as necklines go at this sort of thing, the dress isn't even *that* low cut. The only way for Hendricks to not have cleavage is to dress as she does on the show, and on her special night out, I think she should have the freedom to, you know, not dress like she is a secretary in a repressed 1962 environment. If *any* other woman had worn that dress, there would be no complaints.

It really bothers me that if Hendricks looks up anything relating to "fashion police" she will see one article after another (E! and AOL are guilty as well. EW thankfully understands what women are) saying she "needs to try a new look instead of this same old silhouette." or "it was just too much." To me, it sounds like a bunch of women intimidated by the confidence of a truly feminine woman, unafraid of her body, even if it doesn't fit the stupid mold the media wants it to fit and they want to make Christina feel bad about it and stop showing off her god-given assets, which she happens to pull off by doing nothing but wearing a pretty dress. Fuck em, Christina. Your breasts are beautiful, your body is beautiful, and you should wear whatever makes you comfortable and happy.

Oh, and be sure to head here for @eruditechick's thoughts on the matter, as well as some awesome photographic evidence See full post

Thursday, September 15, 2011

cARTel's Everybody Nose Working Actors in NY

Fearful of clowns? Or just plain annoyed by them? Me too. But I think it's time we stopped being so prejudice against such a misunderstood group (because they're not all John Wayne Gacy, Jr.). That's why this Friday night I'm seeing Everybody Nose Working Actors in NY, a show about a group of clowns trying to make it big in New York City.

cARTel, a LA based theatre company, is premiering their clown troupe in New York this Friday and Saturday. The show is an extension of the troupe's clown workshop, where actors create and develop their own miming clown persona. Set against the backdrop of a Broadway audition, this weekend's show will feature some brand new New York clowns. So come join me as we work together to get over our unnecessary fear and annoyance, by seeing cARTel's Everybody Nose Working Actors in NY.

Everybody Nose Working Actors in NY
September 16th & 17th, 9 PM
Yoga Agora
33-02 Broadway
2nd Floor
Queens, NY 11106
$7 presale, $10 at the door
(very limited seating, buy your tickets in advance) See full post

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

On The Scene: Raiders of the Lost Ark 30th Anniversary

Cross-posted on

One of my all time favorite movies and probably one of yours too, Raiders of the Lost Ark, screened in downtown Los Angeles last night to celebrate its 30th anniversary. I have an interesting past with Indiana Jones - in elementary school I watched Temple of Doom constantly, without even realizing, despite having seen them as a child, that there were other films in the series (blame TBS or its early 90s equivalent). Then shortly after graduating college, I finally experienced Raiders for the first time for real, on a big screen, at a theater my friend managed, where roughly ten of us watched, drank and yelled things at the screen like "Life magazine is for Nazis."

But last night was my first experience watching any Indiana Jones film with a packed crowd. It was my first experience with an audience laughing when I laughed, gasping when I gasped, and hiding their eyes in anticipation of what is to come right along with me. Watching the stunning print (being prepped for Blu-Ray release - more on that below) with an audience filled with fans, including those of the famous variety like Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright, Damon Lindelof, and minor characters from both Glee and Cougar Town (no, really), felt like a gift in many ways. And if the screening alone wasn't enough, on hand to discuss the film in a post-screening Q&A were Steven Spielberg and surprise guest Harrison Ford. Never before had the two talked about Raiders together in front of an audience, and we could tell it was as special for them to be doing this as it was for us to be witnessing it.

Geoff Boucher of the LA Times, the man responsible for the event, introduced Spielberg by going through a long list of his best films (sadly omitted? Two of my modern favorites, Catch Me If You Can and Minority Report), reminding us, as if re-watching Raiders of the Lost Ark didn't already, what a genius the man is that we were about to hear speak. What followed was a wonderful 45 minutes, filled with honestly, surprises, old stories, new stories and insightful thoughts on film and its industry. To find out how the infamous swordsman scene came to be, what the friendship between Spielberg and George Lucas is like, how Spielberg feels about Lucas changing Star Wars for Blu-Ray, Spielberg's favorite Indy films, details on the blu-rays for both Indy and ET, and a whole lot more, read on. Full transcript below.

On the beautiful print we had just watched,

Steven Spielberg: This is the best it's ever looked because in preparation for the eventual release on Blu-Ray (applause), we had to go and correct the print again and get the original negative out of the salt mines (laughter) and then we had to do the separations and basically, the files which were just amazing with all the technology today, without changing any of the movie materially, like we haven't removed anything (applause) we haven't added CGI...This is the movie that some of you may remember from 1981, looking at the age of the audience, most of you don't remember it from 1981 (laughter). But it is THE movie, it just looks so much better.

On the difference between Steven Spielberg before Raiders compared to after,

SS: Well before Raiders I needed a job because I just made 1941 and no one would hire me (laughter). Except George Lucas, my friend. So yeah, I needed the eggs, you know? And this was sort of right up my alley because I had been a tremendous fan of the B Movie Republic serials and certainly so was George Lucas, so when, you know, it's an old story, but maybe bears repeating, that I was in Hawaii with George cause he was terrified of the opening of Star Wars so he called me and said, do you want to go to Hawaii with me and we'll sit there and just build a lucky sand castle cause you know, Star Wars was about to open, this was May of 1977. It opened and it was a huge success. In those days you knew it was going to be a success when all the 10am shows were sold out and they were, across the entire nation, and George came back, more relieved than I had ever seen him and started planning his next opus and he brought me this concept he had to me called Raiders of the Lost Ark about this intrepid sort of gravedigger archeologist going after somewhat paranormal antiquities from all over the world and he did not have the story...but he had the genre, he had had the idea and the homage it would be to the B Republic material. Right away I was intrigued and we made this make this movie.

On his friendship (described as "best friends") with George Lucas,

SS: George doesn't do text or email ever, I've never received a text or email from George and he's never received one from me. He's a phoner you know, it's all over the telephone or it's in person. So it's either eyes on or it's a telephone call, but it's never texting...You know, you get a phone call and it's like here, (Spielberg slips into George Lucas impression) "Hey Steve. (laughter) What are you doing?" "Oh I'm just sort of sitting around working George, making ten pictures a year as a producer, what are you doing?" "Oh. I don't know." (laughter)...The thing with George, when George and I get on the telephone, I have to clear my morning or my afternoon because we talk for a long long time. The only person I've ever talked to at the length I talk to George, believe it or not, was Stanley Kubrick, back when we were friends in the 80s, but George, you know, we talk about everything, we talk about movies, his projects, my projects, we talk about our families and our friendship and it's an enduring friendship. I met George when he premiered THX at the Royce Hall UCLA/USC Film Festival in 1967 I think it was, so we've known each other for a long time.

Geoff Boucher: Do you ever talk about another Indiana Jones movie? (one audience member says WOO!)

SS: One person! One person wants to see another Indiana Jones movie. (laughter) The ONLY person in the audience

GB: It was Shia! (laughter)

SS: No, I think that was the only bridge we didn't burn because of Indy 4. We talk about it, yes. And we're hoping, we're hopeful. (lots of applause this time!)

More, including Harrison Ford making a surprise appearance, after the jump

See full post

Friday, September 9, 2011

Fringe Encore!

The New York City Fringe Festival's Encore Series starts today and runs through the 26th. During this time, you can catch a selection of some of the best shows from the Festival, including the winner of the FringeNYC Overall Excellence Award The More Loving One.

The More Loving One was one of the five ATFG recommended shows and we're thrilled that this amazing production received the Festival's top honor this year! A fantastically written and acted show, The More Loving One is a dark comedy about two relationships that are thrown off kilter after a scandalous sex trail. An honest, intimate, and moving portrayal of the difficulties of love and committed relationships, the play explores how just one argument can bring a slew of hidden thoughts and feelings to the surface.

Buy your tickets to this excellent show here.

The More Loving One

Sunday, September 11th @ 7:30pm
Wednesday, September 14th @ 9:00pm
Tuesday, September 20th @ 8:00pm
Thursday, September 22nd @ 9:30pm
Monday, September 26th @ 8:00pm

The SoHo Playhouse
15 Vandam Street
New York, NY 10013 See full post

Friday, September 2, 2011

September at the Movies

Cross-posted on and commissioned by

Yikes, August. YIKES. Surprising me at every turn (except Conan and 30 Minutes or Less. Sort of predicted those), August has turned into quite the bizarre month. With everything from genre films to comedies to 3D experiments bombing left and right, August is seeming like the worst time to release a movie about anything other then, what, evolution? One following the evolution of apes, the other of civil rights? Does it come down to "great reviews or bust?" And will September fare any better, as the shift away from Genre film and towards Drama begins? Let's take a look.

Looking for thrills, chills or loud noises?

Shark Night 3D (Sept 2)
The inevitably silly horror movie (not a bad thing) that tried winning over fans with a mechanical shark at July's Comic-Con, boasts a who's who of "Oh, that guy/girl! She/he was on that CW show!" in its cast, but unfortunately also comes with a PG-13 rating. How inappropriate can it really get without a hard R?

Am I Seeing It? I'd like to, but I wanted to see Pirahna 3D too and that sure as hell never happened. So. Probably not.

Contagion (Sept 9)
The latest from Steven Soderbergh, the trailers for which I have been avoiding like the plague (pun not intended, I swear), that stars just about everyone ever. Don't believe me? Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Bryan Cranston, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Lawrence Fishburne, Jennifer Ehle, John Hawkes, Sanaa Lathan, Elliot Gould and Demetri Martin. It's like New Years Eve, but about the end of the world [Insert joke about Lea Michele starring in a movie being just as apocolyptic]! Or about something else, I don't know, like I said, I'm avoiding the trailers and synopses. In any event, I suspect it shall be awesome.

Am I Seeing It? Yes. Opening weekend if possible.

Straw Dogs (Sept 16)
A remake of the beloved 1971 thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah, with James Marsden in the Dustin Hoffman role, that also stars Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgard and Walton Goggins. Okay, I'm sure Goggins has a small role, but I love him, so yeah, he gets fourth billing, damnit. No one thinks this remake was necessary, but there's always at least a small chance that it's good, right? So far the reviews I've heard range from "terrible" to "well-acted and intense", so who knows. The only thing I can guarantee is that Skarsgard makes everything better.

Am I seeing it? Let's be real. No.

Abduction (Sept 23)
Taylor Lautner isn't who he thinks he is, so busts some shit up and other crap. I honestly could not care less.

Am I seeing it? What do you think?

Killer Elite (Sept 23)
Jason Statham versus Clive Owen, who is holding Robert De Niro captive. Assassins! Guns! And for you Chuck fans out there, Yvonne Strahovski as a bonus!

Am I seeing it?
Considering I haven't yet seen a single Jason Statham movie, I think not. Gotta keep this trend going, it's too bizarre a bragging point. (I've seen Snatch, but that's not a Jason Statham "joint", you know?)

Dream House (Sept 30)
Yes, it's the movie where Daniel Craig and Rachel Weitz met & fell in love, but no, it's not a romance. Craig and Weitz play a couple who move into a new home, only to discover something terrible happened to the previous residents. I won't say anymore than that, and unless you want to be spoiled, you won't look for more details. You ESPECIALLY will not watch the stupid spoilery trailer.

Am I seeing it?
I was going to until the whole movie got spoiled for me in the trailer. So. No.

Looking for something a bit more on the dramatic side?

The Debt (Sept 2)
A nazi espionage thriller that takes place in the 60s and 90s, starring Helen Mirren, Tom Wilkenson, and Ciaran Hinds, as well as Jessica Chastain, Martin Csokas and Sam Worthington as their younger selves. I've heard rather good things, and I always likes me some spies and intrigue and Helen Mirren.

Am I seeing it? Yes, though not right away

Moneyball (Sept 23)
Brad Pitt. Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman and most importantly - Baseball! Its September release worries me as it definitely has certain implications when you start talking Oscar (i.e. the film may not quite good enough), but I'm still looking forward to it.

Am I seeing it? Yessss!

Machine Gun Preacher (Sept 23)
Not, I repeat NOT anything close to a Grindhouse film, despite what the title may lead you to believe. It's in fact the true story of a former drug dealer who found religion and fought to save Sudanese children from their unfortunate fate, starring Gerard Butler and directed by Marc Forster.

Am I seeing it? If I need to? For awards purposes? But it looks pretty not at all up my alley and kind of terrible. Gerard Butler being dramatic weirds me out.

50/50 (Sept 30)
Movies about someone who is dying are really hot and cold for me, as so often they seem to simply be a cheap plot device (I'm looking at you, Love and Other Drugs),  but this one has Joseph Gordon Levitt in it, is much more of a dramedy than drama, and some people whose opinions generally line up with mine are loving it.

Am I seeing it? Yes. In theaters, even if not opening weekend.

Take Shelter (Sept 30)
A must see if you're trying to see all 87 of Jessica Chastain's 2011 releases. Here, she plays wife to the brilliant Michael Shannon, who is having apocalyptic visions of an incoming storm and starts secretly building a shelter to protect them, before realizing that it may be him, not the storm, that warrants his family's concern. Won the International Critics Prize at Cannes

Will I be seeing it? Based on what I'm hearing about Michael Shannon's performance alone, yes

Looking to (maybe) laugh?

Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (Sept 9)
Two porn stars make an ugly son and the ugly son becomes a porn star. AUUGHH THIS SOUNDS LIKE A NIGHTMARE

Am I seeing it? Absolutely not

I Don't Know How She Does It (Sept 16)
Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Munn! What a duo! But Busy Philips is in there too and I love her. Anyway. There is a plot. Sort of. SJP plays a financial executive who also has a family and omg, I don't know how she does it! Get it? Does that count as a plot? But the screenplay is by Aline Brosh McKenna, who also brought us The Devil Wears Prada, 27 Dresses and Morning Glory, so as pointless as the film sounds, I'll probably like it anyway. And Christina Hendricks being in it doesn't hurt. But you can always get your Hendricks fix from Drive..... :)

Am I seeing it? In theaters? I mean, I did see Something Borrowed and 27 Dresses and Leap Year and Valentine's Day in theaters....but probably not. DVD/TBS however? Heeeeeellls yes.

What's Your Number (Sept 30)
A cute concept and a great cast with a script written by sitcom vets leads me to believe this Anna Faris comedy about a girl looking back on the last twenty men she's had relationships with, could actually be pretty great. And is it totally shallow to think Chris Evans looks exceptionally wonderful in the trailer?

Am I seeing it? Does "opening weekend" expose my love for romantic comedies too readily?

Looking to bring the kids?

Lion King 3D (Sept 16)
It's LION KING!!! RE-RELEASED!!! Who cares how you feel about 3D, it's effing Lion King! I watched the first four minutes in 3D at D23 and cried. Cried. Four minutes. I can't wait.

Am I seeing it? At the El Capitan and everything.

Dolphin Tale (Sept 23)
I don't even know what this is and you're making me look it up. Why? Why are you doing this? It's not even animated! It stars Harry Connick Jr as a doctor named Clay and a dolphin as a dolphin. Stop it.

Am I seeing it? I'm gonna go out on a limb and say no

Looking to discover something?

Apollo 18 (Sept 2)
Found footage in SPACE!! The reason why we never went back to the Moon, ooooh. I thought I was hearing great stuff for some reason, but it turns out it is supposedly awful. Yikes.

Am I seeing it? Not after hearing the universally horrible reviews

Warrior (Sept 9) favorite David Ehrlich described this film to me as "OH MY GOD TOM HARDY'S MUSCLES ARE EATING HIS BODY AND THREATENING TO BECOME A GLOBAL CONTAGION" and frankly, that's all I need to know. I'm sold.

Am I seeing it? Yup! Although perhaps not in theaters. There's only so many hours in the day.

Restless (Sept 16)
This new film from Gus Van Sant was poorly received at Cannes, but the premise is interesting enough. Mia Wasikowska plays a terminally ill girl who falls for a boy who likes going to funerals and is friends with the ghost of a Japanese kamikaze pilot.

Am I seeing it? Maybe. The bad reviews disappoint me, but the trailer still gets me. Seems like my kind of joint.

Tucker and Dale vs Evil (Sept 30)
The small horror comedy that made a splash at Comic-Con during the At the Drive In Panel, it stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Rabine as two hilbillies who get attacked by a band of preppy school kids while on vacation at their mountain cabin. The film is supposed to be bananas amazing and I can't wait. It's actually on VOD right now, but I say wait it out and give it some much deserved love in theaters if you can.

Am I seeing it? Absolutely. Opening weekend.

Looking for something unlike anything else?

Drive (Sept 16)
Just go see it. Don't ask questions. Don't look anything up. It stars Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan and is unlike anything you've seen before. Maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't, but I loved it and did I mention Albert Brooks plays the heavy and Ron Pearlman steals every scene he's in? Dooooo itttt.

Am I seeing it? Already did. Add it to your list immediately. See full post