Culture

Sun
01
Jan

Ring in the New Year with Our First 2017 Bombshell, Dallas Bryant!

Dallas Bryant as Ram from Re: Zero Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu

New York may have dropped thet ball, but not us here at Critical Blast. It's a national holiday, but we're still set to continue bringing out cosplayers who deserve to have a light shined on their creativity and hard work.

Fri
16
Dec

Weekend Blast - Escape Rooms

My Two Bits: Escape Rooms

I have a huge love for the “point and click” adventure video games that Lucasarts and Sierra put out in the 80’s and 90’s.  Space Quest, King’s Quest, Monkey Island, Sam and Max, Leisure Suit Larry, Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle and on and on.  The problem with these games were they tended to be short, and once you beat them, there wasn’t a lot of replay value to them.  Don’t get me wrong, I would still replay them even when I knew how to get through all the puzzles since many of them had great stories and a great sense of humor.

Fri
09
Dec

Weekend Blast - The Last Witness

My Two-Bits: The Last Witness

Pretty much my entire life, I have had a reading addiction.  It's not as dangerous to the body as a drug addiction, but it can get pretty rough on the wallet.  I have gotten better about using the library, but I still spend quite a bit on books.  The worst part of this addiction is when I really get into a series, and have to wait for the next book.  Dark Tower came close to killing me several times…6 years between books????  

Fri
02
Dec

Weekend Blast - YouTube Culture

My Two-Bits: YouTube Culture

As I close in on 40, I have discovered that I am starting to become a cranky old man.  When it comes to social media, I don’t wander too far out past Facebook or Twitter.  I don’t know the difference between Instagram, Vine, Snapchat, or Periscope.  And for the most part, I am fine with that.  

Thu
01
Dec

Ho Ho...Whoa! Our December Bombshell Aidan Jay is Truly Explosive!

December 2016 Bombshell Aidan Jay: Rapunzel

Tis the season for cosplay! Don't believe us? Visit any of your local department stores and take a look. There'll be elves all over the place, not to mention a saint! And just because they're not carrying bows, arrows and swords doesn't mean they're engaging in any less respected version of cosplay. Heck, they're even getting paid for it, so that's something to aspire to!

To round out the year, we wanted to set up a bombshell who would truly blow you away -- someone who would explode off your screen. And we believe we've found just the one to make the end of the year pop!

Our December Critical Blast Bombshell, Aidan Jay, demonstrated a range of cosplay capability, from the demure princes Rapunzel (inset left) to the wise-cracking explosives nut from OVERWATCH, Junkrat (below). Check her out below, then follow her social media connections.

Fri
18
Nov

Weekend Blast - November 18, 2016

Welcome to the preview of my new weekly entertainment column.  Weekend Blast will be your one-stop for all Critical Blast and entertainment news each Friday.  With the holiday next Friday, we aren't really debuting until December, but I put together this preview to get all the bugs out.  Enjoy!


First look at Arrowverse Crossover!

Thu
17
Nov

How Successful Has Comic Con Been in Las Vegas?

Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con

The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con is the one place for Nevada’s pop culture community to get together and bond with their fellow geek. What started out as a small little get together has been getting bigger and better every year, with this year drawing in a great crowd of passionate fans. But, this year there were a couple of pretty big changes that managed to mix it up. How does ALVCC compare to other conventions?

Tue
01
Nov

We Give Thanks For Cosplay: Meet November Bombshell, Jamie Krakover

Jamie Krakover as ARROW's Speedy -- an archer at the Arch!

Halloween 2016 is officially in our rearview mirror, but that doesn't mean that dressing up is out of vogue -- not for us, anyway! And that's something we can all be thankful for -- apropos, as November is the month we officially give thanks!

Our November Bombshell, Jamie Krakover, hails from the Midwest, and draws upon film and television for her cosplay inspirations. Whether she's battling the forces of a galactic empire or fighting crime in the streets (that's her Speedy to the left -- an archer at the Gateway Arch!), Jamie combines imagination and intellect to call forth positive female role models in her cosplay.

Critical Blast Bombshell, November 2016

Jamie Krakover

Mon
31
Oct

DC Comics Needs to Fix Harley Quinn for our Daughters

Since her introduction in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn's popularity has continued to skyrocket into cult status. What happens when that popularity spills over into the minds of young girls?

Known as the bubbly and villainous sidekick to the Joker, Harley Quinn was a seemingly harmless character back in the 90's when Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series was on every television after school. But back then it was clear she was a villain so it was easier to cope with. Nobody would want their child to aspire to be a villain. Eventually her likeness made the jump from cartoon to comic book.

Which is where DC began fleshing out her background and her popularity began to grow.

Fri
28
Oct

In Video Veritas: De-Rigging the System with James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe of Project Veritas

Oscar Wilde reportedly said that you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies. And when it comes to that incestuous Venn Diagram intersection of politics and mass media, there are perhaps few hated more than James O'Keefe, the modern master of guerilla journalism.

This past week, if you watch the news, he's getting harder and harder to ignore, having released a spate of videos capturing operatives within the Democratic party revealing secrets that have caused the rolling of both heads and eyes, depending on where and who you happen to be. But is there more to come? We spoke with the president of Project Veritas about his current operation, and what's next.

 

Mon
24
Oct

Jack Chick Leaves a Legacy of Controversy

Jack Chick October 23 2016

Confession is good for the soul, they say. It's also a religious expression. So this is a little of both.

I was raised in an Apostolic Pentecostal home. If you're unfamiliar with that, put your mental cursor on "snake handlers" and move it just a little to the left and you'll be in the vicinity. Morals were important, and that's a good thing -- but the morals (at that time in the organization's history) were often things that seemed up to the interpretation of those in charge, who knew better because they had divine connections. As such, it was an era of rock-and-roll record purging and exposure of backward masking in music. Pulpits were the fastest method of pushing pre-Internet memes such as KISS being an acronym for "Kings in Satan's Service" accompanied by tales of how the band would hold Satanic prayer rituals over each album's original pressing prior to mass production. Snopes did not exist.

Sat
01
Oct

Trick-or-Treat: For October Bombshell Desi-Rae Pense, Cosplay is All in the Game

Desi-Rae Pense October 2016 Critical Blast Bombshell

It's October, and as much as the summer months bring us conventions all over the world for cosplayers to strut their stuff in front of fans and foes alike, this is the month that it's really all about. Because with October comes the original cosplay event, Halloween!

So while you're preparing all the final tricks for this year's costumes, Critical Blast is happy to be bringing you a treat with the cosplay art of Desi-Rae Pense, an Arkansan transplant to California, who draws upon anime and online role-playing games as a source of inspiration for her outfits and props.

Critical Blast Bombshell, October 2016

Desi-Rae Pense

Mon
26
Sep

Reflection of the Times: Racially Charged Art Subject to Boycott at St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum

Star, Star, Star Press

If a piece of art offends someone, that's often a key indicator to the artist that he or she has done the job correctly.

Kelley Walker is trodding in the controversy-laden footsteps of Robert Mapplethorpe. Both use the medium of photography with a 'little something extra' added to it. But where Mapplethorpe gained notoriety for tackling religion as a subject with the infamous "Piss Christ," Walker focuses on a different subject -- race relations -- and the backlash is, quite probably, predictable, as his critics are calling for his body of work, "Direct Drive," to be removed from display at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

Yes, even in these enlightened post-millennial times, when we meet something we don't like we try to censor it.

Wed
14
Sep

Hastings is Going Out of Business!

Hastings going out of business

Video rental stores are nothing new, and as we have seen over the years they have all been dying out one by one due to the market and the sudden boom in video streaming apps we use today such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. But there was always that small store that stood around longer than the others and wasn't afraid to try something new and exciting.

Now, it's now it's no shock knowing this was eventually bound to happen, and I believe those of us who were fortunate enough to have had a local Hastings near us knew it was coming but hoped the day never did because we'd grown to love this store and all the entertaining content it provided for us. Hastings started off as a video and game rental company. As I child I spent many of my days in Hastings looking over the latest games that had arrived on the shelf, or to check back and see if anyone had returned a game I had been waiting to rent.

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

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