Culture

Fri
09
Sep

John Kasich (R-Muggles) In Negative Campaign Against Harry Potter

John Kasich v Harry Potter

It seems that Republican Don Kasich was in a bookstore in New Hampshire recently, campaigning for Chris Sununu. Apparently Sununu must be running against Daniel Radcliffe -- odd, since Radcliffe is (a) British and (b) too young to hold office -- because Kasich took the opportunity to seemingly campaign against the actor based on his (rather old) declaration of atheism.

The statement came seemingly from nowhere (or did a library patron whisper a hushed Confundo?), and led into a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument that it might be behind Radcliffe "not taking off" in the movie industry -- you know, after 8 megablockbusters. See the video below and experience the discomfort of the patrons around him as he babbled.

Thu
08
Sep

Our Most Noble Ideas Given Substance: Star Trek Turns 50

Star Trek at 50

Critic’s Log 2476.5…I was six when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out. Talk about old, nobody calls a film based on a television show a “motion picture” anymore, and rightly so—who would pay $40 for a ticket, a bucket o’ popcorn and a bladder-buster sized Mr. Pibb to sit for two-plus hours to watch a picture that doesn’t move? You whippersnappers with your Technicolor and your special effects…ahem! I digress…My father took me to the Cross Keys Theatre in North St. Louis at that impressionable young age. I lasted about 10 minutes before I wanted nothing more to do with it. Not long afterwards Star Wars was re-released ahead of The Empire Strikes Back, and what a difference another six months to a year made! I was a fiend for anything to do with space stuff. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and this goofy old show my grandpa used to make me watch sometimes with this pointy eared dude with a lame haircut.

Thu
08
Sep

Star Trek @ 50 - Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

As I sat down to write this piece, I should say that I am much more of a Star Wars guy than a Star Trek guy.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think you have to be one or the other, but gun to my head, I would pick Star Wars every time.  So it might seem strange that I would want to honor Star Trek on it's 50th anniversary.   But, Star Trek still holds a very special place in my heart...

When I was a kid, I had a huge obsession with comic book writer Peter David (still do).  A friend of mine had given me a random issue of X-Factor as a birthday gift, and I was immediately hooked.  

Wed
31
Aug

Star Trek's Still As Relevant on The 50th Anniversary

Star Trek 50th Enterprise

by Dave Marinaccio

The 50th anniversary of the launch of Star Trek is this September. Fifty years after William Shatner made his first “captain’s log,” the power of Star Trek is felt across generations. Just this summer, the thirteenth Star Trek movie was released and has grossed over 231 million dollars to date. It’s pretty clear: Star Trek is here to stay.

So what is it about Star Trek that captures the hearts of millions of people, decade after decade?

Fri
19
Aug

Sarah Porter Is Pure Magic In Andrew Lloyd Webber's TELL ME ON A SUNDAY

Sarah Porter in New Line Theatre's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, Photo Credit: Jill Ritter-Lindberg/New Line Theatre

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I don’t typically enjoy sung-through musicals. I thought EVITA had all of the warmth and depth of Eva Perón’s Wikipedia page, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a grossly overrated love story with no characters to like much less love, and I’m highly allergic to CATS. There is, however, this one short little gem of Webber’s that is equally funny and heart-wrenching, hopeful and melancholy. The show is called TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, and while I can’t predict what day it is that you find yourself reading this, I can predict that you’ll find this one-woman show as heartfelt and surprisingly affecting as I did.

Mon
01
Aug

Sky's the Limit for Our August 2016 Bombshell!

Sky Song as Merida (Rick Currier Photography)

Our August 2016 Critical Blast Bombshell is relatively new to the art of Cosplay -- but it's apparently a natural talent for her. Sky Song is the second cosplayer to be featured as our Critical Blast Bombshell, and we're sure you'll be seeing more of her at conventions and across the Internet!

Sky exhibits all the qualities we look for in a Bombshell -- talent, commitment to the role, and the application of cosplay to community work, putting cosplay in a positive light to the rest of the world. If you're looking for a positive role model in cosplay -- look to the Sky.

Critical Blast Bombshell, August 2016

Sky Song

Fri
15
Jul

Online Clothing Retailer, Betabrand, Says: Pokemon GO Here!

Noticing a tremendous culture shift in store traffic, the San Francisco based clothing retailer, Betabrand, has transformed it's headquarters into a massive lure for Pokémon players.

Most businesses frown upon people loitering outside their store, but Betabrand is inviting them to do so and getting increased exposure in return.

According to Betabrand founder Chris Lindland, "By Tuesday, I'd already lost my staff's attention to the game, so if you can't beat Pokémon, join Pokémon."   By Thursday, the retailer rolled out a fan photo studio, refashioned its storefront, and turned its flagship into a magnet for gamers and bemused passersby.

Fri
15
Jul

There's a Pidgey on my Stickshift. Now What?

Pidgey on the Road

I use my smartphone when I'm driving. Sometimes I use it for GPS. Sometimes I use it to dictate a text. Sometimes I even use it to have a telephonic conversation. (I know, how very old school of me.)

Yesterday, I used a different form of GPS: the latest craze to sweep the world, POKEMON GO. I initially wanted just to see how many Pokestops I would drive by (Pokestops are places on the map where you can recharge your Pokeballs, so you can capture more Pokemon) and where all the gyms were. Plus, I just wanted to see the little guy on the map run at 65 miles per hour.

I passed a few Pokestops. They were also mile marker signs -- not places I would expect walking crews to pass while their on their quests to "catch 'em all." I didn't find many gyms near the Interstate, however, so that was a promising sign.

And then the phone buzzed. I didn't have an incoming call. I didn't have a text alert.

Thu
14
Jul

Pokémon GO Brings Triumph, Tragedy and Togetherness

Since the launch of the popular smartphone game, Pokémon GO, people everywhere have either caught Pokémon, or attitude for trying. Whether you're a player or patronizer, the game has had an impact on society. But has it been for the best?

We live in a time where technology has taken over a large part of society. Gone are the days where kids went outside and played for hours on end. Why bother when they can sit in front of a video game, computer or smart device?

Just plug in and the world is at their fingertips. Right?

Pokémon GO has gotten people out of the house and in front of other people once again. And sure, they still have their smartphones in-hand, but once again mankind is traveling in packs and on foot. Exploring the world around them in ways that many of us thought would never happen again.

Fri
01
Jul

Introducing Our Critical Blast Bombshell for July 2016: Lady J

LadyJ Cosplay Spidergirl Critical Blast Bombshell July 2016 Spidergirl

Starting today, Critical Blast is proud to introduce a new feature showcasing the art of cosplay: The Critical Blast Bombshell! Every month we will spotlight a cosplayer doing his or her best to bring our favorite heroes (or villains) to life.

This month, and inaugurating our new feature, we are privileged to present to you a cosplayer from Philadelphia, Lady J, who embodies the essence of cosplay both in imagination as well as in her career path and charity work.

Critical Blast Bombshell, July 2016

Lady J Cosplay

Sun
26
Jun

St. Louis Comicon Has Strong Debut, Room To Grow

Mighty Con presents S. Louis Comicon at the St. Charles Convention Center, June 18-19, 2016.

St. Louis has more than enough comic, anime, cosplay, sci-fi and fantasy geeks within its general market area to support a substantial pop culture convention or “comicon.” Yet we don’t have one, or at least we don’t really have one in the traditional sense. The Wizard Worlds conventions have run downtown for a few years now and some comic creators have said they’ve done okay there, but they are grossly overpriced for admission which grants you the privilege to hand over an even bigger wad of cash to the likes of T.J. Hooker, some random cannon fodder Jedi gal from one of the what-should-be-non-canon STAR WARS prequels, or some dude who got ate by one of THE WALKING DEAD three seasons ago.

Sat
18
Jun

Con-tamination is Con-tagious Fun!

Con-tamination Saint Louis 2016 convention horror sci-fi pop culture

Contamination, Saint Louis’ Horror, Sci Fi, Pop Culture convention returned this year in Fenton and runs Friday thru Sunday,  June 17, 18, 19.

C:\Users\User\Pictures\DVD Pictures\Con5.jpg

I must confess that although this show has been an annual event for several years, this was the first year I had heard of it.

Mon
06
Jun

Con-Tamination Returns to St. Louis for 2016

Con-tamination Saint Louis 2016 convention horror sci-fi pop culture

Saint Louis's premiere horror, sci-fi and pop culture convention, Con-Tamination, returns for another spine-tingling, hair-raising, jaw-dropping year, this June 17 through 19th at The Stratford Inn, 800 S. Highway Drive, Fenton, Mo 63026.

Among the many guests this year are BATTLESTAR GALACTICA original cast members Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), Richard Hatch (Apollo), Herbert Jefferson Jr. (Boomer), Anne Lockhart (Sheba) and Jack Stauffer (Bojay). They'll be joined by Gary Graham (STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, ALIEN NATION) and STAR TREK: ORIGINAL SERIES legend, The Gorn Commander (Bobby Clark).

Wrestling superstars Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Atomic Dog will be flexing muscle and signing autographs. Fans can also meet screen sirens Kayla Perkins, Kristina Klebe, and Seka in her last U.S. appearance.

Sun
05
Jun

New Line Theatre's ATOMIC Is The Bomb!

Jeffrey M. Wright and Zachary Allen Farmer in New Line Theatre's ATOMIC. Photo Credit Jill Ritter Lindberg

When I saw the lineup for the 25th Anniversary season of New Line Theatre, I immediately noted ATOMIC as the one that interested me the most. Why, you ask? I knew HEATHERS from the 1988 film, I knew AMERICAN IDIOT from Green Day’s music, and I knew TELL ME ON A SUNDAY from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s pedigree. ATOMIC I knew nothing about. Heck, this is only the fourth time anyone has ever staged this show, and the first in the Midwest. I assumed it would have something to do with bombs—maybe a rock opera about the Reagan years, or perhaps a declaration against nuclear power in favor of safer, greener, renewable forms of energy? As it turned out, it was a biography of one of the lost names of the Manhattan Project, presented as a moving and tense rock musical from Danny Ginges (book and lyrics), Philip Foxman (music and lyrics) and Andy Peterson (orchestrations).

Tue
31
May

Science Fiction: Women Readers are Coming Out

Casimir Bridge female lead protagonist SF

By Darren Beyer

Science fiction has been a traditionally male dominated genre—at least that’s what I’ve been led to believe over the years. One had to look no farther than the closest science fiction and fantasy convention to see a crowd dominated by males. Look to the shelves of your local Barnes & Noble or the top science fiction lists on Amazon to see stories with male protagonists catering to male readers. That’s why, when talking to my doctor, a woman doctor, about my newly released book, I was surprised about how the conversation went.

“You published a book? I’d love to read it.”

“I don’t know if you’d be interested,” I said. “It’s science fiction.”

“I love science fiction. In fact, I’m part of a women’s book club and we all love science fiction.”

Wait. What?

Thu
19
May

Geek Culture and Cosplay invade the Iron Room for an epic Comic Con party!

ACBC Iron Room Cosplay Contest

On Saturday, May 14, Geek Time Entertainment, Critical Blast and The Iron Room presented the First Annual Costume Party in Atlantic City!  The party served as a thrilling capstone for the day's events at ACBC Con.  Seriously, is there anything better than a cool party after an exhilarating day on the convention floor?

The winners always go home with an extra special smile, but just about everyone in attendance seemed to have a great time.  Here is a rundown of the winners:

Wed
18
May

Best of 2015 Awards

Critical Blast Best 2015 Awards

It's that time of year again -- time to take stock of last year's entertainment offerings and decide which was the best of the best (of the best, sir!) (Okay, who let Captain America in here?)

Last year Critical Blast let its readers choose the best among Movies, Television Shows, and Actors in each. This year, we've doubled our categories to include Novels and Comics (selecting the best Writer, Artist and Storyline) for the year.

We put forth nominees in each category (after much careful discussion, a few beers, and one chipped tooth), and presented those to you, our readers -- making sure we also let the readers nominate a write-in candidate that our staff, in its infinitessimal wisdom, might have overlooked.

Thu
05
May

ACBC Coverage: Get your Cosplay on at the First Annual Costume Party Saturday night May 14th

On Saturday, May 14 from 9 PM - Midnight, Critical Blast and Iron Room will present the First Annual Post-Con Costume Party in Atlantic City!  So, enjoy the day at ACBC then head over to the Iron Room!  

First off, let's talk money.  And we're talking a lot of money.  There are $1,100 in total cash prizes!  The event kicks off at 9 but judging begins at 10pm in a wide variety of categories.  

Want a breakdown, well check this out:

Wed
04
May

Ranking the Star Wars Movies: Worst to First

In a 'worst to first' ranking, I give unto you, the Star Wars movies ranked with nothing to quantify it other than my personal preference.

Episode I: The Phantom Menace - With a child actor who delivers dialogue as bland as the plot and an amphibious alien whose attempts at comedy relief are more distracting than anything else, The Phantom Menace is clearly the weakest of the franchise. Even the fast-paced intensity of the duel between Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Darth Maul can't save this movie from being the worst of the bunch.
When they retconned the force into bacteria, the magic was destroyed.

Tue
03
May

ATLANTIC CITY BOARDWALK CON (ACBC) returns for year two! Are you ready to get your con on?

ACBC Atlantic City Boardwalk Con 2016

I've regularly attended comic and sci-fi conventions, or whatever you want to call them these days, since the '80s.  Let me tell you, the experience has changed quite a bit in those decades.  In the past, cons were mostly a place to shop for merchandise, dress in costume, meet like-minded people, or schmooze comic creators.  Today, it's more about celebrity signings, video games, or movie and television panels.  Geeks have seemingly overwhelmed the Earth and every niche wants in on the con action.  Including more than comics and sci-fi means larger attendance for the shows, which is great in many ways.  Unfortunately, it also caused overcrowded convention floors, admission costs have skyrocketed, and worst of all, it's increasingly difficult to get tickets for huge shows like San Diego Comic Con or New York Comic Con.

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