Culture

Sat
22
Nov

Kickstarter: Snape and the Marauders

Harry Potter fan film

It's hard to explain where fanaticism develops, but for anybody who has experienced it, they can commiserate on how it feels. They understand the planting of this seed and how it grows, burns, and consumes, driving people to follow something. When most people think of extremely passionate people, they automatically think of “nerds” or “geeks”. But, frankly speaking, everybody experiences fanaticism, whether it's being a football fan and buying a player's jersey or going to the shoe store three times a week for just “one more pair” of boots.

Thu
20
Nov

Does Presumption of Innocence Matter? Bill Cosby's Not-So-Sudden Problem

Bill Cosby

Jell-O Pudding. Fat Albert. Rape allegations. One of these things is not like the other -- one of these things just doesn't belong.

It might seem that these last few weeks have seen an outpouring of allegations against America's favorite dad, Bill Cosby. It might seem that way, but in truth this has been a rumor that's been simmering for a long time.

The fuse to these flare-ups appears to trace back to stand-up comic, Hannibal Buress. Well, not directly, because he picked it up from your average Google search, but he does bring up the allegations in his stand-up routine when he attacks Cosby's "smug old man" attitude toward modern black society. From that point on, one alleged victim after another has begun popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain.

Thu
13
Nov

The Box Office Boo Boo That Tanks Dumb and Dumber To

Dumb and Dumber To

A single scene can elevate a mediocre film into a great film. By the same token, a single scene can take a mediocre film and taint it to the point that it's all audiences will remember.

At this point, I'm thinking the Farrelly brothers have to still be debating whether or not it would be worth the cost to recall all the prints of DUMB AND DUMBER TO just to excise about thirty seconds -- little more than a cameo, really -- that drew groans from preview audiences.

Thu
30
Oct

Justin. B. Williams: The Day Walker Out of Ferguson

2.3.N PIMPIN feat Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C.

Justin B. Williams is a busy man these days. In addition to work he was already performing with his HI FIVE Community Development Corporation and his career in music as part of 23n PIMPIN featuring Day Walker and TheGIFT.I.C. he has also become a correspondent for the Allman in the Morning show on 97.1 FM, as well as Susie Moore's podcast, Q with a View.

What's propelled Williams -- a.k.a. The Day Walker -- into the spotlight is a combination of being the right person in the right place. In this case, the place happens to be Ferguson, Missouri, where The Day Walker has been in the thick of the peaceful protests, while working in cooperation with Emerson Electric to help revitalize Ferguson.

Sun
26
Oct

Dirty Dancing At The Fox Theatre Is A Dirty Shame

You'll have the time of your life at the Fabulous Fox!

“Dirty Dancing” is the quintessential chick flick. Patrick Swayze’s Johnny represented the archetypical bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks, while Jennifer Grey’s Baby was the wide-eyed ingénue whose heart could never be filled by the merely ordinary. The Fabulous Fox Theatre in St. Louis opened their 2014-2015 season with Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story on Stage, a rather unusual bit of phrasing that hides the truth of it: this show barely qualifies as musical theatre. 

Fri
24
Oct

Bye-Bye, Boo Boo: Sex Offender Concerns Cause TLC Cancellation

Sometimes, very rarely, I have my faith restored in the humanity of reality television show producers.

TLC, which has brought us such "learning" opportunities as 19 Kids and Counting, The Little Couple, and Breaking Amish has cancelled Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, a spinoff of Toddlers and Tiaras, which focused on the family of child pageant contestant, Alana Thompson, and some over-the-top redneckery and gross-out moments, replete with farts, poop jokes, almost-vomits, and things that make you want to bleach your mind.

Wed
22
Oct

McPike Mansion Focus of Dave Glover 2014 Halloween Tradition

The McPike Mansion in Alton, IL

Saint Louis is a town of quirks and traditions. We toast our ravioli. We warsh our cars before driving them down Route farty-far. We make little trick-or-treaters tell us jokes when they come to our door. And if we have a radio, we tune in Dave Glover on FM 97.1 for his annual Halloween show.

Dave's first Halloween show began on a lark, based off of his fondness for the Don Knotts classic film, "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken." And since St. Louis and the surrounding area is host to a plethora of historic haunts, he thought it would be fun to find some people who profess to be chickens and have them face their fears in a rumored haunted house.

Mon
20
Oct

Archon 38: Impressions from a First Time Attendee

Archon 38 is a science fiction convention that ran from October 3 through 5, 2014 at the Gateway Center in Collinsville, Illinois. I had intended on attending for at least two days, but unfortunately some personal matters prevented me from meeting that goal and I was only able to attend until mid-evening on October 3rd.  I was able; however, to draw some good impressions from the show and am excited to return for next year’s event, assuming my luck is a little more cooperative.

Wed
15
Oct

Chicks Dig Zombies

Walking Dead Preferred by Females over Males

Women prefer the walking dead at a rate of 62% over the 38% of males. Of course, we mean the AMC show The Walking Dead, not actual zombies (unless you're into the strong, silent type, who really is into you for your brains).

This statistic comes from the social analytics firm, StatSocial, which compiled the statistics based on Twitter data tracked from the week of October 7th through October 13th and a pool of 651,000 tweets. If you're a zombie on the prowl, look for a 25 to 34 year old woman in Texas (although New York City or Los Angeles would be your better bets).

For a breakdown on the numbers, check out the infographic below.

 

 

Tue
14
Oct

Rudders Chart Course to Science Fiction and Fantasy Haven

Rudderhaven Publications

Some people attend science fiction conventions to meet their favorite authors. Some go to see friends they haven't seen since the last convention. Some go to take in the sights and sounds, and some go to buy goodies not on display in regular stores.

And some people go to meet publishers, to network, to find a home for their next story. And if the wayward author is fortunate, he crosses paths with someone like Douglas Rudder, of RudderHaven Publications. That's what this author did, when attending this year's Archon 38. Here is Douglas and his family, discussing the goals of Rudderhaven Publications, and the anthology books they had currently with them -- as well as the anthologies planned for the future.

Mon
13
Oct

Archon 38 Keeping the Science in Science Fiction

The Robots of Archon

O'Fallon Robotics, Challenger Learning Center On Hand with Demonstrations

If your opinion of science fiction conventions is all robots and rockets... well, you're right. But it's not just fantasy costumes and panel discussions about which Doctor Who is the Doctor Who -- at least it is at Archon, the premiere science fiction convention for the St. Louis metro area, held annually in Collinsville, Illinois. Yes, your senses will be initially assaulted by a flood of steampunkers, furries, superheroes, and uber-fans. But after a few moments, you'll start to notice people who are more... oh, let's just risk it all and say "normal" clustered here and there among the crowd.

Among these islands of relative comfort, you will run into people like teenagers Dani Smith and Kaela Faragher, who represent the O'Fallon Robotics Team.

Fri
10
Oct

From Superheroes to Space Opera with Van Allen Plexico

Van Allen Plexico at Archon 38

I've bumped into author Van Allen Plexico at a couple of different venues we've shared, from past Archon conventions to Free Comic Book Day appearances. I even had the opportunity to co-host a panel with him at this year's Archon 38.

So it was an inevitable opportunity as well as an estimed privilege to corner him at his dealer's table this year to talk about just a few of the many books he's written, from superhero sagas like his Sentinels series to space opera and his latest science fiction venture, THE SHATTERING.

I'm still waiting for the day when Plexico collides all his worlds into one -- and issues a story about a superhero's journey through perilous outer space aliens in a quest to obtain prime tailgate space at an Auburn bowl game.

 

Thu
09
Oct

3D Printing Makes a Splash at Archon 38

3D Printed RJ Carter with HeroClix Batgirls for scale.

The concept of clicking a few buttons and having something made from nothing has been a staple of science fiction. And with the advent of 3D printing technology, we're one step closer to making one more fantasy a reality. With devices that print not only in plastic, but also metals, chocolate, and even cellular tissue, there's a bold new horizon out there waiting to be crossed.

But until we reach that point, let's have some fun with it. Representatives from EF Innovations were on hand at the Archon 38 science fiction convention in Collinsville, Illinois showing off their 3D scanning and printing techniques. It was the perfect market, with gamers on hand who couldn't resist the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind representations of their role-playing characters by dressing up, getting scanned, and being printed as a miniature or slightly-less-miniature version.

Tue
07
Oct

Cosplay Abounds at Archon 38

Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn at Archon 38

It's not a science fiction convention without a plethora of cosplay -- that fun time when you can let out your inner Halloween freak without it having to be Halloween. Fans from all over brought their favorite characters -- or events -- to life at the Archon 38 science fiction convention in Collinsville, IL, crowding the halls with steampunk, super heroes, monsters, princesses, and sometimes steampunk monster superhero princesses. It was imagination on display for one and all to admire (or, in some cases, cock an eyebrow).

Here is just a sampling of some of the many, many characters I ran into during my three days at the convention.

Doctor! DOCTOR! Whatever you do, don't blink until the TARDIS arrives!

Fri
12
Sep

Pardon Our Dust...

Thanks for coming by to visit us. We're busily sweeping up the place, buying new furniture, washing the windows, chasing out the rats, and doing everything we can to entice you to come back when we have our content up and ready. It's going to be soon.

Mon
07
Apr

What's Good About Cons? My Wizard World St. Louis Retrospective

I had the opportunity to go to my first ever Con. In particular, I went to the 2014 Wizard World Comic Con in St. Louis, Missouri. Hosted at the America’s Center convention center, this was to be my very first Con that I attended, and needless to say, I was completely stoked.

I went in with typical fanboy aspirations. Maybe I’d shake Lou Ferrigno’s massive hand. Perhaps I’d get to tell Burt Ward and Adam West how many hours of my life I’d lost in front of the TV at my grandparents watching old episodes of Batman. I’m not a huge fan of Dr. Who (I’ll tar and feather myself now, thanks), but I was definitely planning on meeting cult classic icon Bruce Campbell.

As I entered the cavernous space that is the America’s Center, I decided that first things needed to be first. I needed to see my good friend, the wonderfully talented Aaron Walther.

Sun
06
Apr

Wizard World St. Louis - April 5, 2014

Wizard World Saint Louis rolled into town yesterday and continues today thru tomorrow. I ventured into the fray this morning with plans to see as much as possible, and I was not disappointed. There is soooo much to see and do. The staff did a good job of keeping everyone organized and moving. The show appears twice as big as it was last year, this year using the floor of the Edward Jones Dome as the main area. With the huge list of artists, celebrities, vendors and events, they needed it.

Everyone from William Shatner to Matt Smith, Adam West and Burt Ward to Bruce Campbell… Every avenue of science fiction, comics, anime, cosplay and video games is represented here. I love coming to the shows to see it all.

Sat
20
Apr

Dr. Dina: The 4/20 411 on Medical Marijuana and Media Myths

Marijuana has been a plot device in film and television ever since the 1936 debut of "Reefer Madness" and on up through every Cheech and Chong film of the 70s.

Most recently, pot was the driving force between the multi-season Showtime series, Weeds, from Jenji Kohan. The series starred Mary-Louise Parker as the fictional Nancy Botwin, a suburban soccer mom and widow who turns to selling weed to make ends meet after the death of her husband. The adventures quickly escape suburbia and into the realm of Mexican drug cartels and DEA agents.

As fictional as Nancy Botwin is, the woman she was modeled on, known as Dr. Dina, is as real as they come. An outspoken advocate for medical marijuana as well as a force of nature, Dr. Dina spoke with The Trades to deliver "the straight dope," so to speak, on the American love/hate affair with weed.


Why is this an important issue to you, and how did that come about?

Thu
01
Mar

Andrew Breitbart: Walking Toward the Fire with Righteous Indignation

Andrew Breitbart

Update: March 1, 2012. At the age of 43, Andrew Breitbart has passed away of natural causes yet to be determined. It was barely less than a year ago I had the opportunity to interview the man who fearlessly confronted and challenged corruption in the government and the media.

It is with a sad and heavy heart that I update this interview with this information.

Working mostly behind the scenes, Andrew Breitbart has evolved into the face of New Media conservatism. With websites like BigGovernment and BigHollywood, and prepping a handful of other Big internet ventures, Breitbart rocketed to public attention when he rolled out James O'Keefe and Hannah Giles' video exposure of ACORN.

Thu
19
Jan

Nicole Weider: Countering Image Conscious with Image Conscience

Nicole Weider

Nicole Weider has a passion. A former fashion model, Weider has taken to the Internet with a message for young girls, urging them to reject the messages of promiscuity and unrealistic definitions of beauty. Through her website, Project: Inspired, Weider is not just reaching out to young teens -- she's waging a war on the top magazine in the industry: Cosmopolitan. Where most models would give their eye-teeth to be on the cover of the foundation of Kate White's masthead, Weider seeks to give the cover a different look -- from inside a plastic bag.

 


There have been several films in the past that follow the plot of "small town girl moves to Hollywood, discovers seedy life of vice." Movies like "Valley of the Dolls" come to mind. Did your real-life experience compare to these fictional representations?

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