Friday, April 30, 2010

An awesome weekend full of awesome: Aw Yeah!

A couple of weekends ago was C2E2. I know I'm late writing this blog post but not as late as Carrie who is now waiting for me to post this before she films and posts her vlog recap.

I said to Carrie before C2E2 that I hoped we had as much fun as we kept saying we would have. Well, I think we had more fun than we could have imagined.


Our adventure began early Friday. Not super, but early enough. Paul was so excited that he was awake even early than me. I joked that he should have sat in the living room watching cartoons like he did when he woke up super early before his first day of camp.

Paul was wearing a Superman hoodie and I had my Wonder Woman tote bag, a guy asked us on the Red Line if we were going to the convention. We said yes. He was wearing a Hulk shirt (I believe) and said he was too. We got off sooner so we could meet Carrie. We then walked from our hotel to McCormick Place and learned that we would never do that again. It was nice and we got lots of steps on our pokewalkers but it was a little far and we were very unsure of where we were going. On our journey, we met a fellow con goer who had no clue where he was going either. Together we went through a door we shouldn't had which led us to a dead end. Then we went through another door that we should not have gone through and ended up on a loading dock. Eventually, we made it to the convention.

Day 1

Lots of swag. Our first stop was the DC booth where we got posters, comics, pins and temporary tattoos. I got a Wonder Woman tattoo that I wore on Saturday and a Tiny Titans Robin tattoo that I wore on Sunday.

I decided that this would be my day to browse. I vowed that I would buy the Yoshi slippers that I failed to buy last year at Wizard World. I searched but did not see any green ones just pink and light blue so I didn't end up buying them. I did buy a book called Chicks Dig Time Lords that contains essays written by female fans of Doctor Who. I also picked up some issues of Birds of Prey for 99 cents.

My lunch was overpriced because I bought from the carts in the cafe but it was good. Later, Paul discovered the vending machines so we didn't need to spend as much on pop. Also, he overheard someone talking about a McDonald's in McCormick Place. We would eat there three times over the course of the rest of the convention.

Paul and I went to Artist's Alley and got Patrick Gleason and Peter Tomasi to sign some of our Green Lantern stuff. Please note that we chose a couple issues to get signed rather than the entire run of Green Lantern Corps to get signed like the guy in front of us.

Paul went off to a panel and I watched Windy City Jedi perform some light saber battles. One of them was 12 years old and another one had a broken arm. Some of the fight choreography was pretty cool.

I stopped by Artists Alley again to get Art Baltazar and Franco to sign my Tiny Titans #25. The girl in front of me was getting a sketch and I learned that they charged a dollar a character for a sketch. I decided that I would come back for a sketch once I knew what I wanted. I vowed that I would return, I just didn't return that day.

I went to the Comics and Mythology panel. Gail Simone was on the panel and she talked about her work on Wonder Woman. When someone asked why other religious figures such as Greek gods appear in comics but Jesus never appears, one of the other guys on the panel said something about the comic book companies not wanting to violate Christianity or something. Gail Simone responded, "I think they should all be violated."

Kate arrived about the time the panel got out and she and I browsed some more. We got more swag from the DC booth and even went over to the Marvel booth.

We got dinner and I suggested heading over to the room where the Doctor Who screening was going to take place. Paul thought it was too early because there was still about an hour before it began. Since the show floor closed at 7 and we knew that the cafe area was going to flood with people, we headed over to the room. We were a little unsure of where we were going again so we followed the Seventh Doctor. Lots of people were lining up early. Some were dressed like the Doctor. Many had sonic screwdrivers. I came equipped with my plush Dalek that Kate knit me for my birthday. It was a big hit. I got my picture taken with the Doctor and the Doctor. The guy from BBC America took a picture with my Dalek.

Day 2

Carrie and I waited for a C2E2 bus that never came. About 8 Kitchen and Bath show buses passed us though. Carrie felt a little silly waiting for a bus on Michigan Avenue dressed up like Robin. I said, "People might think you're crazy now but once we get to the convention, people will think that you are awesome." I was wrong. She only had to wait until we got on the bus. About 90% of the people on the bus were going to C2E2. She received a couple compliments on her utility belt.

Once we got there, Carrie had to go volunteer. I got an iced green tea latte from Starbucks and saw Alex Segura in line and almost said, "Hey, I follow you on Twitter because Geoff Johns told me to," but the moment had past and I went on with my life. I met up with Paul and Kate and went to get Gail Simone's autograph. I love Gail Simone.

After eating lunch at the significantly cheaper than the McCormick Place food but slightly more expensive than a normal McDonald's McDonald's, Kate and I went to Celebrating Star Wars. I was hoping Carrie Fisher would be there but apparently she spent all weekend in a curtained off area on the show floor. It seemed kind of weird. I mean, how do I even know that Carrie Fisher was in there? They could have just been luring people in there to sacrifice to the comic gods. We'll never know.

Kate and I went to the "Do We Still Need a Women in Comics Panel?" panel. It was super boring.

Carrie and I stayed for the ItsJustSomeRandomGuy panel. There was this super fan kid that kept asking questions. The panel just kept going but Carrie and I left. We were tired.

Day 3

The convention started at 10 and I started the day by browsing a little bit. Geoff Johns was going to be signing at 11, but by the time I got over there at 10:30, the line had been capped. Paul and Josh managed to make it in line, although they were pretty far back. Instead, I got some Green Lantern stuff signed by Ethan Van Sciver. I also got him to sign Carrie's issue of Flash: Rebirth #1 that I had borrowed because I'm a good friend like that.

I met up with Carrie again and we went to the DC Town Hall. That was lots of fun because Dan Didio is awesome. When a kid in the audience said that he had to buy the Lantern rings on ebay, Jim Lee signed and/or sketched on a $20 bill and gave it to that kid. Carrie was so jealous.

I met up with Paul, Kate and Josh and then had to duck away to buy a birthday present for Paul. I bought him a CD by a band called the Browncoats from St. Louis. I felt it was worth for their cover of "The Hero of Canton."

We all headed over to the Flash and Green Lantern panel. As fun as the DC Town Hall was, the Flash and Green Lantern panel was so much more awesome. I could try to explain the awesomeness, but you just had to be there. Ian Sattler was hilarious. Geoff Johns is kind to children. Some random guy went to the Kitchen and Bath Show because he really likes stoves. A kid named William got to read part of Brightest Day #1 while sitting next to Geoff Johns. About Brightest Day #1, William said, "This is good." It was amazing. Someone asked Geoff Johns if he could spend a little bit more time signing autographs at the DC booth and he said he would just sign autographs right there after the panel. I got my stuff signed, got Carrie's Flash: Rebirth #1 signed and told Geoff Johns that I loved his Twitter. Carrie, who had accepted that she was not going to get anything signed by Geoff Johns because of the long lines, completely freaked out when she saw that I had gotten it signed for her. As soon as she recovered from that, Geoff Johns walked by and said he liked her Lantern ring necklace. She could not breath.

I went to the DC Kids: Aw Yeah panel. Now, I'm not a big fan of children, but these kids were adorable. The panel solidified my love for Tiny Titans. Dan Didio also informed me that there was a Blackest Night issue of Scooby Doo. It was issue #150. I took a pen out so I could write this down and I was not the only person who did.

I finished up my shopping and bought a Captain Mal necklace. I can't believe I have lived my life this long without owning a piece of jewelry with Nathan Fillion on it. With about half an hour left, Kate was waiting in line to get a sketch from Questionable Content and I decided to return to Art Baltazar and get a sketch. When Kate was finished, the entire posse came over and waited with me. Paul decided that he would get a Green Lantern sketch. As I was getting my sketch, I told Art Batlazar that I thought their panel was awesome. It took him about a minute to do the entire sketch of Speedy in sharpie and crayons. I took out my wallet to pay and he said not to worry about it. I know it would only have been a dollar but getting it for free made it so much more awesome. Aw yeah free sketch!

Overall, C2E2 was so much fun. I'm definitely going back next year. Probably for the whole weekend again. Now that C2e2 is over, it makes me want to go to PAX Prime. Any takers?

(Take that, Carrie! I got this post up a whole day before I said I would. Quit your slacking, slacker).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How I would make the Streamys better

The Streamys are on. Right now. As I start to write this. But I don't really care. But I do. I've been waiting for this for about 3 months. I should watch them for research for my paper on the web video industry, but this is quite possibly the worst awards show that I have ever watched. I've sat through the Emmys, Tonys, Oscars, Daytime Emmys, and the BAFTAs. But this might be the worst. Please allow me to explain.

First of all, I just finished stage managing/running the light board for a very small theatre production so I can understand the difficulty of getting a show to start on time and run smoothly. With that being said, if you tell me that something starts at 7:30, then I expect it to start at 7:30. I don't care if it only starts 3 minutes late, you did not say that it would start at 7:33. Also if you're going to start the awards show late, then start the live stream late. There was a good two minutes or so where there was no video but there was audio. Someone was asking someone else about cue cards. Yeah, we heard that.

Okay, about the actual awards ceremony itself. Was it necessary to start with a musical number? I love musical numbers. I really do. But that's an awards ceremony cliche. It's also unnecessary filler. And there was a lot of unnecessary filler. I saw plenty of filler and I didn't even watch the entire ceremony because I got so bored and annoyed. Asking people who don't watch web series what they thought about the Streamys was funny for about 2 seconds. Also, a host was probably unnecessary as well. These are all elements of traditional awards ceremonies like the Oscars and the Emmys. Aren't those the industries that are not as accepting as the web? Isn't that part of the reason that web series exist? The web video industry is a completely new industry. Why fall into the old patterns? Why even have an awards ceremony?

I'm not saying get rid of the awards all together, just the ceremony. Now, hear me out. Have an awards tweet-up instead. You can organize events all over the world (it is an international event after all) and invite fans as well as nominees. It would be difficult to coordinate all these events but it could be tons of fun and would get the awards out of Los Angeles. I mean there could still be an event there but just not only there. LA already gets the Oscars, the Emmys, and even the Daytime Emmys now, why does it need the Streamys too? Especially since the web video industry is not based solely out of LA. Or the US for that matter. Which leads me to...

The Bannen Way. Let's talk about The Bannen Way's inclusion as a nominee and its subsequent win. It was only eligible because they specifically made sure to release the first few episodes just in time to meet the deadline. I know that movies do this all the time to be eligible for Oscars: release a movie on Christmas in limited release just in time for awards season. I get it. It's nothing new. But remember what I said about old patterns? Also, geo-blocking. My understanding is that the Streamys are supposed to be international seeing as how it is organized by the International Academy of Web Television. By allowing shows only available in the US to be eligible makes it seem American. And Best Foreign Series? Again, makes it seem American and not international.

Back to the ceremony itself for a moment. What was with all those empty seats right in the front? Were there no seat fillers? Could you not tell people to move closer? It just made the ceremony look so pathetic. It looked like an awards ceremony that desperately wanted to be like the Oscars or the Emmys (while constantly reminding us that it is not the television or movie industries) but just could not measure up.

I think it's time to really change the entertainment industry. Not just do the exact same thing that tv and movies do. Show those industries what an awards show can be like. Be inclusive. Make it the can't miss party of the year.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lady Gaga Rant

I've heard people say that you either love Lady Gaga to the point of obsession or you hate her. Well, I'm in the middle. I don't love her. I don't hate her. I don't love to hate her. I don't hate to love her. But somehow, while being indifferent, I still have strong feelings about her and her music. I am passionate about my indifference towards her because I expect more from her. This is best explained through my official Lady Gaga rant:

First of all, I worship Freddie Mercury and Queen. Under Pressure is the greatest song ever. Fat Bottom Girls is brilliant and I adore Radio Ga Ga. So for Lady Gaga to have an allusion to Radio Ga Ga and Queen in her stage name actually turned me off at first. No one can ever be Freddie Mercury so why even try. By having Gaga in her name made me think she was trying to be like Freddie Mercury (which I still think but more on that later) and I would have none of that.

I finally softened towards her mostly due to Bad Romance. That song is just so gosh darn catchy. Bad Romance was everywhere and I was pretty okay with that. Lady Gaga was one of Barbara Walters 10 Most Fascinating People. Everyone was talking about Lady Gaga. Fine. I mean this type of thing happens every once in a while. Everyone talked about Britney Spears. Then we didn't. Then we did. For a while Miley Cyrus was everywhere. It happens. I can't blame everyone for overexposure.

Then came the Telephone music video. Before this I had known a couple people who were obsessed with Lady Gaga. For some reason, it was this music video when people started going crazy over Lady Gaga. And I just don't understand it. Whether I agree or not, I just don't see why lots of people are acting like Lady Gaga is the greatest pop star ever. I don't always agree with trends (like zebra print- what's with that) but I usually can understand them. I understand the Twilight obsession. I don't agree with it but I understand it. I just don't get the Lady Gaga obsession.

Her songs are admittedly superficial. Especially Telephone. The video does not make up for the song's lack of depth. Not that the song needs to have depth. Some songs don't and that's all right. But looking at Lady Gaga's inspiration and her obvious talent, why aren't we getting better music from her? Sure her over the top persona is enough to make her relevant now, but will it be enough to give her a place in music history.

Lady Gaga does not deny that she has many inspirations. In my opinion, she seems to draw inspiration from Freddie Mercury, David Bowie, Elton John, Madonna, and Cher among others. She has an over the top persona. She dresses in outrageous outfits. She can be so over the top and outrageously dressed because of these people that came before her. She also has the talent. But she lacks the depth that these other artists have or had. At least, at the moment. Not every song that these artists have released has been deep. I mean Fat Bottomed Girls is just a fun song. I acknowledge that not every song needs to raise philosophical questions. Well, here's a philosophical question for you: what does a song need to do to be memorable? I say it needs to have some depth or be way too fun or both. Give me something half as brilliant as Radio Ga Ga. I know you have it in you, Lady Gaga. You're getting there with Bad Romance.

Let's talk about irony. After the Telephone video came out, I stumbled upon a conversation in which Lady Gaga's irony was praised and a claim was made for a riot grrl tone to the video. Okay, first I need to comment on this riot grrl claim. Um... no. I'm way too young to have lived through the riot grrl movement. I was about 2 when that started. The people involved in this conversation were 2 years older than me. Honestly, I think what they really meant was Girl Power. I have a theory about people supporting Girl Power in a round about way by calling it riot grrl (which is an entirely different movement from the Girl Power movement) because they're too embarrassed to actually support Girl Power because it's too girly and not grrly enough, but I'll save that for another post. Anyway, I don't think the Telephone music video could be considered riot grrl because the song is superficial. If the song was about domestic violence and getting revenge for it rather than a song about not being able to answer your phone because you're on the dance floor with a drink in your hand, then it would be riot grrl, but alas it is a song about being on the dance floor with a drink in your hand so you can't answer your phone.

All right, on to the irony. I don't think product placement can ever be ironic. It may be intended to be ironic but if CocaCola is paying money so that their cans are used as curlers in Lady Gaga's hair, then it is not actually ironic. The prison guard on Plenty of Fish was random and unnecessary and probably cost Plenty of Fish a nice chunk of change.

Mama Cass said make your own kind of music. Now that's ironic because when she sings that it sounds like a song that Petula Clark, Judy Collins, or Dusty Springfield could have sung. Despite that actual irony, Mama Cass has a point. Why sing something that anyone else at this time could be singing? Everyone is doing dance hits or songs about partying now. Lady Gaga has obvious talent. I expect more. She can still write fun dance hits but give them more depth. Cher has done plenty of these. So, I leave you with this:

Slightly, off topic: Someone needs to remake Labyrinth with Lady Gaga as the Goblin Queen. How awesome would that be?