Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Los Angeles! See American Reunion Early And Support A Good Cause

If you have been following All Things Fangirl for a while, you know we are huge supporters of the charity event Hell Walk, currently gearing up for the intense second installment. In the next couple weeks, we'll sit down with Josh Tate again and discuss the 2012 event, taking place on June 30th. In the meantime, I wanted to direct your attention to a screening of American Reunion happening in Westwood tomorrow night in support of Hell Walk 2012. If I wasn't covering the Jason Reitman Live Read that night, I would be there in a heartbeat, so I highly encourage all of you available fangirls in the Los Angeles area to head over there Thursday night and show your support in my stead! Oh and be sure to head here for more information on Hell Walk in the coming months!

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Best Finds of Wondercon 2012

As per tradition, here is our wrap up of the best finds on the Wondercon floor. As a Dealer's Room junkie, I always like seeing what I missed at various conventions, and enjoy providing that service for you readers as well.

Gaming Table
One of the absolute coolest booths on the entire floor, the gaming furniture created by Geek Chic is truly after my own heart. Each piece is individually made and can be custom fit for whatever type of geek you are. Need a place for your controllers to live? Done. Need a gaming table with a built in area for throwing dice? Easy! How about a simple way to organize your comics? Done! I mean, yes, these pieces cost between 2000 and 3000 dollars, but I JUST WANT ONE SO BAD. Oh man, the unnecessary items I will buy if and when I am a rich person. Beginning with a custom made table that makes playing Xbox and the Battlestar Galactica Board Game slightly more convenient for me. WOOT!

Nine more peaks at the best of the Wondercon floor after the jump!

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

16 Reasons to See Hunger Games This Weekend

Happy Hunger Games!

If you weren't one of the one million people who saw the film at midnight last night and are wrestling with whether or not to go this weekend, here are my 16 reasons why you should make a point to make the trek out to your local theater and catch the film as soon as possible.

Jennifer Lawrence

Not only is Jennifer Lawrence the perfect Katniss (I take back all my naysaying!) who nails her internal struggles, telling us everything we need to know with her eyes, but as a person, she is one of those rare gems we need more of in this industry. Self-effacing, real, honest and unafraid, she has the potential to become one of the definitive great actresses of the next generation and here is the film that will catapult her into stardom. Seeing the movie both supports her career, and grants you the pleasure of watching her embody the iconic Katniss Everdeen inside and out.

To support films with female leads

They say films with a female lead generally can't open, no matter how often the mysterious "they" may be proven wrong. So continue to support strong leading roles for women by throwing your weight behing Hunger Games.

Katniss is the role model young women need

Unlike the lead in a certain other young adult series cum film franchise, Katniss' purpose isn't to simply be with a man, but rather  protect her family and *all* of the people she loves. She is fueled by keeping her promises and doing what is right, via wit, reasoning, and courage, despite her fears and insecurities. She may be a teenage girl, somewhat broken by poverty & war, who at times makes irrational decisions, as you do, but ultimately, her heart is in the right place and she exhibits all the qualities of someone we actually root for and want to succeed. Please prefer Katniss over Bella, future daughter. I beg of you.


Author of the books and co-writer of the screenplay, Suzanne Collins, has been very open in talking about where her idea for Hunger Games came from. Yes, it all goes back to greek mythology ultimately, but the specifics came from flipping back and forth between war footage and reality television. Is the future we see in the Hunger Games really that much of a stretch? There are enough similarities in the world we see in the book and film to make it almost tangible, and thus all the more frightening. The series is ultimately about the awful truths of war, a war that is painted over, made to look pretty, disguised as something entertaining, as something necessary, as something we should be honored to be a part of. Collins does a great job of drawing us in, only to rip the rug out from under us. The film does a great job of beginning this journey at an extremely appropriate time in our history.

Josh Hutcherson

I doubted him. Boy did I doubt him. But that face! That sweet, expressive, totally in love face! Although I thought the character didn't get to do quite enough, I thought Hutcherson stepped up to the plate with gusto in order to nail what material he was given. The brief moment when he looks out the window and loses it while leaving District 12? The thoughts running through his head when he says he doesn't want to forget? The way he looks at Katniss ALL of the time?! Well done, Hutcherson. You have officially won me over.

To be a part of the conversation (potential spoiler alert)

I liked the movie. A lot. I also have some problems with it, namely the short shrift the Katniss/Peeta relationship gets. Not because I'm girling out and wanted a better makeout scene (but also, I am and I did), but because even though I understand certain areas had to be emphasized and other areas had to be deemphasized in order to properly set up the series' enormous tone shift of a final installment, putting Katniss' relationship with Peeta so far in the background takes away a lot of what the first book so wonderful and potentially harms the impact of certain events in book two and three. My ultimate theory is this will be fixed in book two, but, for those of who don't know what I'm talking about - don't you kind of want to? I want to debate! I want to see who feels similarly! Who agrees, who disagrees, who liked the movie and who didn't, and the long list of reasons why. If you don't see the movie, you will immediately be in the minority, especially if you are in the entertainment industry, and this is an *exciting* conversation to be able to partake in.

Maintains the integrity of the work

It's pretty rare that a movie so captures the tone and atmosphere of its source material the way Hunger Games does, and although it's not a word for word adaptation and many parts do get truncated, what the film gets right, it gets perfectly, and anything that is wrong seems to have a reasonable explanation. Everyone involved in the making of the film wouldn't have it any other way, and shouldn't we be supporting that when we can? The film was not dumbed down and did not placate to the Twilight audience. Quite the opposite in fact, as I mentioned above.

So you can tell Jeff Wells what's what

He said you can't trust female reviewers of the movie and that essentially the only right answer is that the film is stupid because it alters itself to be more appealing to teen girls. This is so far from the truth or sense of any kind, that it makes me want to scream. Scream with me, won't you?

Elizabeth Banks

Thank goodness Banks campaigned so damn hard for this role. She is perfection, bringing in roughly 95% of the laughs in the film with her overly enthusiastic and forgivably snippy line readings. There is an authenticity Banks brings to the role with ease that I can't image other actresses fans considered, such as Kristin Chenoweth, could bring to the table.

Maybe it'll make you rent/buy Battle Royale?

One can always hope, right? PS - if you *wanted*, you could buy your new blu-ray of Battle Royale right here :)


Okay, so this isn't really a reason to see the movie, but more a reason to buy the soundtrack. It's fantastic. Rock, appalachian, americana, alt-county, but all with a unifying sense of "We send our children into an arena to kill each other." Artists include personal favorites Low Anthem, The Civil Wars, Glen Hansard, The Secret Sisters and Arcade Fire, and that's just to name a few. Three of these songs play over the closing credits. So hey, that totally counts as a reason to see the movie after all! Huzzah!

Successful World Building

If you appreciate solid production design, costumes, hair, makeup, art direction and so on, you will get a huge kick out of Panem and everyone in it. The capitol is decked out in bright colors and outrageous accoutrements, each citizen a feast for the eyes. Meanwhile, District 12 represents the polar opposite, existing in seemingly another era, much more Appalacia of the 1800s then the flamboyantly variegated landscape of the distant future. While both areas are completely different, they still feel as though they exist in the same universe - not an easy feat. Overall, the movie is an undeniable treat for design junkies, however you may feel about any other part of it.

Caeser Flickerman

Stanley Tucci is aces in the role of Caeser Flickerman, completely encompassing what the "host" of the Hunger Games would really be like. He is a slightly more sinister Ryan Seacrest with blue hair and no apologies and watching Tucci have a ball with the role is a hoot.

Relate to the kids!

So I don't have kids or work with kids anymore, and frankly still kind of consider myself a kid, but if finding ways to relate to the youth is of importance to you, seeing Hunger Games will certainly help. Be the open parent that goes with your kids and discusses it afterward, or the hip parent that can impress your kids' friends with your insight and knowledge into their beloved franchise. Here is something you and your pre-teens/teens can enjoy together, that is potentially so important to them, that anything associated with it will create a long lasting and important memory.

It's even better the second time!

Anything that bothered me the first time melted away upon a second viewing, allowing me to truly dive in to the small, but crucial moments between Katniss and Peeta, and really take in every clue about how their relationship turns out post Hunger Games during the rushed ending. Once you're past the first viewing when you spend most of your time judging, you can settle in and let yourself absorb how solid the adaptation really is. But to get to a second time, there must be a first.

To be a part of the phenomenon

One million pre-sale tickets for a midnight show doesn't happen very often. As we've touched on, these ticket sales are for a film based on a book, written by a woman, with a *strong* female lead character, that doesn't compromise the ultimate point of the series or integrity of the story by dumbing it down for audiences, with an incredible soundtrack and spot on performances. Don't pass up the opportunity to see it during all of the excited fervor. Anticipation and quality rarely match up so heartily and it would be a shame to miss out on experiencing it properly. See full post

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Here Are a Few Of My Favorite Things: Wondercon 2012

Cross-posted on

This weekend, Wondercon headed south to Anaheim where fans braved a stupidly intense storm and ridiculous traffic all weekend for the chance to see their favorite writers, creators, publishers, actors, directors, artists and personalities and hopefully take home a few souvenirs. We were on the scene from start to finish and compiled a list of the best this Wondercon had to offer. Details on the best finds of the floor coming in the morning.

Girl Power
Something that really stood out to me during Wondercon, especially in the main ballroom on Saturday, was the hearty amount of female empowerment. During the Sound of my Voice panel, co-writer, co-producer, and co-star Brit Marling talked about being fed up with the bland and sterotypical roles she was being offered, and after realizing her choices were get a sex change or create her own work, she began writing and producing, and soon both Another Earth and Sound of my Voice were born. The extremely well spoken creator struck me immediately as a great role model for disheartened aspiring artists out there, as well as fangirls in general. And fun fact - the film had a female DP in Rachel Morrison! Later panels saw Charlize Theron taking a real ownership of her take no prisoners sass, insisting that Michael Fassbender smells like "musk and chillies with occasional mint thrown in", and telling a small child who asked a question a. if he was single and b. if he would call her when he broke up with his girlfriend, Kristin Stewart talking about how great it was to play a strong character, and while never being unwise enough to insult Twilight, definitely seemed to have appreciated playing such a different character, and Milla Jovovich (headling the first ever series to have five films with a female action lead in Resident Evil: Retribution) discussing her weapon collection and love of She-Ra and Thundercats. Not to mention Maggie Grace and Emma Stone representing their respective movies without their male co-stars present. I felt some sort of unexpected camaraderie with the women on stage during Wondercon's Saturday that I don't recall ever feeling before. And that's not even taking into account the multiple female artists and creators with spotlight panels all weekend long, including Renae De Liz (debuting Womanthology!), Rebekah Isaacs, Carol Lay, Fiona Staples, Felicia Day and Jane Espenson. Hooray for fangirls!

More after the jump

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Paleyfest 2012 - Vampire Diaries, How I Is Hearts You!

Saturday night at the Saban Theater in Los Angeles, The Vampire Diaries, now in its third season, returned to Paleyfest for the second time. During their 2010 appearance, the only actors who appeared were Nina Dobrev (Elena), Ian Somerhalder (Damon) and Paul Wesley (Stefan). This panel had not only the original trio, but Candice Accola (Caroline), Matt Davis (Alaric), and Kat Graham (Bonnie), plus showrunner Julie Plec.

Side note: I originally had no intention of attending The Vampire Diaries panel at Paleyfest, but then this little thing called wisdom teeth surgery happened. Since I'm 26 and was supposed to get them out, oh, 10 years ago, the recovery process took roughly three weeks. So how did I spend this time? I watched ALL of The Vampire Diaries, from start to finish, until I was completely caught up. I resisted for so long, believing there was no way it could be as good as I had been told, even though the people telling me this had great taste. I couldn't be happier that I finally gave in because HOLY CRAP do I love it. The show moves incredibly fast, yet no relationship or storyline ever feels rushed, the writing is smart, the actors are all incredibly talented and appealing, which I find is kind of rare on television lately, the mythology hits the most important tropes and diverges in the most interesting possible ways, and almost never is good and evil black and white - everyone exists in a shade of grey and we never know who to trust - or who is going to die. I highly recommend taking this show for a spin, especially if you have a history of being obsessed with vampire shows (ahem, Buffy).

So of course, with my newfound obsession coursing through my veins, I was ecstatic to accept an invite to the evening and revel in finally getting to see these actors interact with each other off screen. But first, we got to see Thursday's brand new episode, 1912, of course. Julie Plec asked us to keep the big reveals in the episode to ourselves, but I will say this - despite a serious lack of Caroline and Klaus, it's a huge episode, that moves the serial killer storyline into place as the next major arc of the season - and not in any way you could possibly see coming.

After the episode, moderator Debra Birnbaum brought out the panelists and after 10 minutes of episode discussion, which will stay private, as it was extremely spoilerific if you haven't seen the epyet, they jumped into the main part of the panel, which was simultaneously streaming online. What started as a normal panel session quickly degenerated (in the best way possible) into an almost free for all, with the actors taking the reigns away from the moderator and simply being as silly as possible, delving into long form jokes about, the casting couch, and fan fiction. Each actor came off in a very distinct way - Accola as friendly and upbeat, Wesley as intelligent and funny, Somerhalder as goofy and charming, Dobrev as shy, but expressive, Davis as delightfully strange, and Graham as reticent, but sweet & engaging if encouraged. The evening was so chock full of awesome moments, we decided to break them down for you into a list of highlights.

Lost References
Okay, fine, there was only one. On discussing whether Alaric would make it through the season, Somerhalder threw out, "Good luck, buddy, I've been killed on television before," which drew a hearty audience reaction.

Elena and…Alaric?
I'm not the only one who thinks Alaric and Elena have chemistry. When a potential love connection between Elijah and Elena was brought up, Plec responded, "I think Elijah has to get in line behind Alaric" and the audience went INSANE.  Wesley then brought up the movie The Guardian, Somerhalder noting "They made out." Plec brought up Matt Davis starting an Alaric/Elena campaign over Twitter, commenting that if that happened, it would be totally unacceptable, Dobrev agreeing that it would be inappropriate. But Somerhalder shot back, "and yet - fanTAStic! When the ratings slip…!" Later, when Birnbaum asked if Elena would ever end up with someone who wasn't a Salvator, Somerhalder offered "Hopefully Alaric."

Beginning a shipping campaign for Alaric and Elena isn't the only thing Matt Davis is doing on Twitter. Through his account @ernestoriley, Davis writes Vampire Diaries Fan Fiction. Really. He does. Remember how I said he was a little strange? Just recently he wrote a piece where Alaric gave Damon some advice, to wait on pursuing Elena until she had time to grow up and learn more about the world, like who John Lennon is, cause why would a 165 year old man want to date a naive 18 year old anyway? Truer words, Matt Davis. Truer words.

When Your Friend's Wife Plays Your Love Interest
Somerhalder told us a story about how when Davis found out Alaric was going to get a love interest this season, he was apparently over the moon, wondering who it would be, excited to get a love story like everyone else and for Alaric to "get some". And then of course, his love interest was cast with "his buddy's wife" (Torrey Devito, who plays Meredith, is married to Paul Wesley.) Somerhalder noted how horrified Davis was when he found out, and Wesley joked "HE'S horrified? Forget him!"

Real Life Coupledom
There were also plenty of glimpses into Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev's real life relationship during the almost ninety minute session. Somerhalder made a point to reference his relationship with Dobrev a couple times, first by making a joke about the women in his life torturing him before giving a glance at Dobrev, which can be found in gif-form here, and later by putting his jacket around her shoulders when he got cold. The audience went crazy both times, natch. Later, when Elena and Damon's evolving relationship came up, Plec noted, "Oh, [Damon] wanted to get in her pants from day one" to which Somerhalder replied "Who wouldn't?"

What Is To Come
This season Bonnie will be teaming up with Caroline a lot and will get a love interest that won't die! Or at least won't die yet. The love triangle may not come to THE head, but it will come to A head. Though if Dobrev had her way, Elena would travel abroad ("Gossip Girl did it!") to Italy and meet some non vampire Salvatores. But this season, "Maybe, she has a choice to make." We may also get to see a flashback of Elena's parents while they were still alive, and there was also a hint that not everyone is making it out out season three alive. On a lighter note, when the question was posed whether or not they would show off Kat Graham's voice in the future, perhaps with a drunken karaoke episode, Plec commented that everyone on the show is fairly musical, all the girls sing and back when David Anders was on the show, he played bongos, plus Plec obviously loves Once More With Feeling, and though she doesn't think they could pull off a musical episode, she would "LOVE a drunken karaoke night."

Riling Up The Audience
After Somerhalder joked about the show's low ratings, pissing off the loyal audience, Accola encouraged him to make it up to us by taking his shirt off, setting off perhaps the loudest I've ever heard an audience get outside of Hall H during a Twlight panel at Comic-Con. Note: He totally didn't follow through.

Industry Advice
Perhaps the coolest part of the entire panel was when an audience member asked about the experience of everyone on stage with getting yeses and nos, how they made it through the rejection, and any advice they can impart to the audience. What followed was a lengthy, fascinating discussion about the industry, including how Somerhalder bombed his network test so bad, he got a no, but Williamson fought for him to get a second chance, which led to him eventually getting the role. Somerhalder knew Damon was his and had to make it happen. Somerhalder, Wesley and Accola all offered great advice, Accola emphasizing positivity, with Wesley agreeing, "The single most important thing is believing in yourself." Accola also offered some extremely enlightened advice for aspiring artists "No doesn't mean never, it means not yet." Somerhalder reiterated the well known adage that luck is when opportunity meets preparation, so you as an artist must always be prepared so that when opportunity arises, you can grab it. He ended with "Every time you lose, you get better."
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

The World of Downton Abbey: A Companion Book Done Right

As any fan of the British sensation Downton Abbey will tell you, the idea of waiting a whole year for new episodes (or 6 months if you're okay with that whole illegal downloading thing) is unbearable. So what to do while we wait? HOW TO FILL THE GAP?! Sure, similarly themed shows can help, but that's not the kind of filler I'm talking about. When I finished Season 2, I just wanted MORE, more of the world, more of the characters, more of the costumes, more of the Dowager Countess saying badass things, and the list goes on. Even the DVD of season two only has a half hour of extras! So what is the answer?! HOW DO WE GET OUR FIX?!

Fear not! Solution! Though it was released at the end of last year, no American dared to lay their eyes on companion book, The World of Downton Abbey until this past week, when the second series, spoiled even on the cover, had come to an end. But now that we're all of us on the same page (at least until September, when suddenly places like tumblr and twitter become a hotbed for major spoilage) I highly recommend picking up this book to make the time between now and then easier and in the process, make yourself appreciate what Downton Abbey has accomplished even more.

This companion book, by writer, editor and niece of Julian Fellowes, Jessica Fellowes, is the real deal. This history textbook meets coffee table photo book meet meets art book meets featurette meets interview meets quote book clocks in at almost 300 delectable pages. Unlike some other books for review that have landed on my desk recently, The World of Downton Abbey finds the perfect balance between being chock full of information, yet a breeze to read. It is divided into nine chapters - Family Life, Society, Change, Life in Service, Style, House & Estate, Romance, War and Behind The Scenes, plus at the very end there is a complete cast list and recommended further reading. The pages are colorful, filled with sidebars, photos, quotes and more to keep the eye engaged as well as the mind. This also allows for the option to read every word of the entire book, or if you're a guest in someone's home, or showing it to a friend, the ability to flip through, reading just side bars, excerpts from the teleplays, and quotes, and still get a sense of what the book is trying to teach.

Details after the jump!

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Dear New Yorkers with ears: go to this show!

The phenomenal rock musician Damon Daunno will be performing this Monday night at Mercury Lounge in the LES. From his sweeping vocals to his great songwriting skills, everything about Daunno's music is fantastic. He regularly gets compared to Jeff Buckley--a comparison he's more than earned. Having had the pleasure of seeing him live a few times now, I highly recommend going to his upcoming show. At just $10 a ticket, it'll be a steal.

Damon Daunno
Mercury Lounge
Monday, March 12th

His EP is also available for download on iTunes so get on that deal as well! See full post

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Game Of Thrones Blu Ray Review: Easily A Must Own.

FINALLY. All of you non HBO subscribers out there who are sick of hearing about how awesome Game of Thrones is, without the ability to watch it, it is the dawn of a new era. An era where Game of Thrones Season one is out on DVD and all is right with the world. If you haven't seen the show yet, you may want to hold your horses now, as spoilers in this review are fairly inevitable - but heed these very important words: go buy or rent this blu-ray immediately and watch every episode. Don't walk, run. Don't drive, speed. Don't glide, fly. Don't take a mule, take a horse. I don't even KNOW WHAT I'm SAYING, just go WATCH IT.

For those of you who watched season one and are on the fence about picking up this Blu-Ray set? Well you can keep on reading and then your fate shall reveal itself. After the jump.

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Friday, March 2, 2012

leetUP 2012: Welcome, Nerd Art Party. It's About Time.

Last night marked the first ever leetUP, the brainchild of G4 creator Charles Hirschhorn, and Attack of the Show host Kevin Pereria, that could best be described as a "Nerd Carnival." The idea was to create a kind of mix of a convention with an art party, encouraging a bunch of nerds (and I include myself in the definition of "nerd," obviously) to get together, drink, mingle, play, and watch their favorite personalities podcast it out on stage. For those of you that couldn't attend, I thought I would lay out the evening for you.

leetUP was held at Club Nokia downtown. While the layout of the space was perfect for this kind of event and could clearly handle the ample A/V needs, there were some major drawbacks as well. For one, the drinks were MASSIVELY expensive. As in 8-12 bucks each for a tiny plastic cup of wine or liquor. I don't drink beer generally, but if I did, it was hardly the cheaper option. The only food available (I assume because those were the rules of the space) were the disgusting refrigerated options from Club Nokia itself. Plus the security was bizarrely tight (metal detectors? I have to take my jewelry off? Really?), I heard Ticketmaster, who sells tix for Club Nokia, had an insane service charge, our parking cost $25, and the line to pick up tickets was unreasonably long, with no separate entry for press. Still, none of this was the fault of the organizers or producers, so I don't mean this as a criticism of the event, but rather as an encouragement to find a more accommodating venue next year. 

But on to the good stuff, which was everything else. After the ticket takers, but before entering the space, there was a merch table set up with items being sold by any guests, DJs and sponsors. In retrospect, I really wish I had picked up one of the Tru Protection anti glare iPad screens and taken more of an in depth look at everything else offered. 

Inside the doors, to our right was a giant bar that struck us as rather space-shippy. A sign told us we could only have two drinks maximum, but we laughed at it and then had three. Unfortunately, 3 drinks for each of us ended up costing a hefty $66 bucks. That plus parking came out to $91, and for the people that bought tickets off on ticketmaster? Easily $150 bucks for two to attend and drink over the course of five hours. Again, not the fault of the producers, but eff you, Club Nokia.

In the center of the space was the giant general admission area, with a huge stage, balcony up top for VIPs, and huge lightboard. Around the perimeter were the various funzones. To the right, past the bar, was the gaming area. Here there were a bunch of wiis set up, and a classic arcade game section, where my +1 and I had a blast trying to get a handle on Burger Time. We died a lot. But had a damn good time doing it.

To the left of the bar was the step and repeat with a red carpet, a Media Hound booth, and a mini gallery of some awesome pieces from the ACME archives.  Any attendee could take their photo on the red carpet, which is always fun, and even cooler, Media Hound would put your photo on their website if you created your own personal movie playlist. Let me backtrack. Media Hound is a new service that tells you how you can access any movie or tv show instantly (legally of course) and at what cost. This would have been handy for my "How to watch all the academy award nominated movie" article a week back! My friend created a 90s Weekend Jam with all TV shows from SNICK and TGIF and the always wonderful @meli_molina came up with "Best original movies that have been or will be remade" - an idea that everyone at Media Hound loved and got lots of love over the course of the evening. There was a whiteboard up for writing ideas for playlists, and computers available for sifting through the playlists created earlier in the evening. 

The rest after the jump!
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