Culture on My Mind – DC FanDome and Justice League

Culture on My Mind
August 28, 2020

 

Last weekend saw teases of the future for DC Entertainment at DC FanDome. Effectively like Comic Con, but centered strictly on the worlds of DC Comics, FanDome covered the spectrum of comic books, movies, television, and video games. Another event is scheduled for September 12th.

Of course, this event came on the heels of mass layoffs at DC, including one-third of the company’s editorial staff and the majority of the crew at the DC Universe streaming service. The future of DC Entertainment seems to be the recently launched HBO Max service.

In particular, I am interested in the future of DC Entertainment on film, so the majority of the trailers I took in this weekend were from that front.

 

Wonder Woman 1984

The trailer that I enjoyed the most was the Wonder Woman 1984 preview. It is no secret that I absolutely loved the first Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot, including how it balanced the realities of war with the title character’s message of compassion and acceptance. This sequel was hit hard by the pandemic and has been rescheduled to October 2nd. I’m looking forward to seeing it in theaters if possible.

 

The Suicide Squad

I was also intrigued by the “roll call” teaser for The Suicide Squad. The first film with Amanda Waller’s team was overly encumbered by its own darkness. There were a lot of interesting moments, and I did love Margot Robbie’s interpretation of Harley Quinn, but the rest really felt like a slog through the swamp.

Enter James Gunn. His work on the Guardians of the Galaxy films for Marvel has stoked my excitement to see this one, as has the lineup of actors. Peter Capaldi had me interested when he mentioned having to lose his iconic hair for this role, and that’s going to be a hard one for me to process on screen.

I’m also reminded that I still need to see Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn).

 

The Batman

The next adventure of the Caped Crusader appears to be inspired by Batman: Year One. When this was announced, I was not particularly excited because I feel like Batman is done too often. Quite often, he’s done with too much emphasis on the vigilantism and fear, and not nearly enough on his technical and detective skills.

This version seems to be getting back to basics. I’m eager to see what comes of future previews when the movie is closer to completion.

 

Justice League: The Snyder Cut

The last big trailer is for a project that I’m not excited about.

I was not very familiar with Zack Snyder’s work prior to Man of Steel. The only film of his that I had seen was 300, and I despised it. While Man of Steel‘s vision of Superman was not what I expected from a Superman film, I still enjoyed it for the most part. It did not have a lot of humor, which is something that I expect from a Superman story, but it was also a “Superman Begins” tale. From his rise as a hero to the lessons learned from killing Zod, destroying massive amounts of real estate, and endangering the people he typically has sworn to protect to a fault, Man of Steel paved a good path forward for a vision of Superman in a post-9/11 world.

Unfortunately, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice did not capitalize on that. In fact, Dawn of Justice was a mess. It played with the dichotomy of how the modern public might see superheroes, ranging from gods to fear-inspiring menaces. It introduced a seasoned and jaded Batman who found a mission in putting Superman in his place by fencing in the Kryptonian’s scope. It introduced the meddling machinations of Lex Luthor who wreaked havoc by playing with forces that he didn’t understand. It also provided us a first look at Wonder Woman in this universe.

But Superman didn’t grow. He was just as aloof and dispassionate in this film as he was in his introductory piece, only gaining a sense of passion and duty toward the human race in the moments before his death (by an overpowered enemy that felt like a last-minute thought more than a natural progression). Meanwhile, Batman’s character was reduced to one of single-minded paranoia-driven reprisals. He did some detective work, which was nice, but that was offset by him becoming that which he swore to defeat by committing theft and murdering so many people in the course of two and a half hours.

Add in the convoluted political plot and the disjointed flashes of DC Comics lore that excited die-hards but confused general audiences – Batman’s visions of a post-apocalyptic world where a vengeful Superman reigns, a time-traveling Flash, and Lex’s remote-learning session with Steppenwolf about the Mother Boxes were true head-scratchers for my non-comics-versed family and friends – and you end up with a muddled experience. There was just too much to cover in the time allotted.

When Justice League came along, Joss Whedon (despite all of his recently-revealed faults) was a welcome addition. His impact on the screenplay was evident with the lighter mood and tone, leaving the story equipped to deal with heavy matters like conflicts within the fledgling team, resurrecting Superman, and saving the world from certain destruction. Barry Allen cracked wise, Bruce Wayne was a detective, and Superman was a caring and emotional paladin again. One of my favorite moments was Aquaman’s heartfelt lasso-induced testimonial.

It was a superhero film that I could cheer with again.

While the circumstances surrounding Snyder’s departure were tragic, Joss Whedon saved this film for me, with the minor sin of using the John Williams and Danny Elfman themes too much in hope of smashing the nostalgia button for fans.

Joss Whedon’s Justice League is why Zack Snyder’s four-hour-long version of this story is not compelling.

But don’t let Zack Snyder hear you talking that way about his magnum opus…

First, while I’m not a fan of Scott Mendelson, this shot was not necessary: Learn to take some criticism, bro.

Second, I definitely disagree with Snyder on his vision of “grownup” cinema. The difference between movies for kids and adults isn’t simply the injection of violence and nihilism. Adults understand humor and hope leagues more than Zack Snyder gives them credit.

 

Other FanDome DC film news

The Flash: Barry Allen has a new costume, the Flash will be time-traveling, and there is the promise of multiverse meddling with a tease of Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman.

Black Adam: I’m glad to see that this is still on the radar. I’m also glad to see (along with the portrayal in Stargirl) that the Justice Society of America is getting more love.

Aquaman 2: Director James Wan mentioned that this flick will be “a little bit more serious, a little bit more relevant to the world that we’re living in today”, which is good considering how superficial the first one was. Fun, but superficial.

Shazam: Fury of the Gods: I’m looking forward to this sequel. The first one was down-to-Earth wholesome comic book fun.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episodes XVI-XIX

Culture on My Mind
August 24, 2020

 

It’s been another busy set of weeks around these parts, including busy times at the day job and preparations for Dragon Con’s virtual panels. With some time simmering on the back burner, I’ve amassed another backlog of “can’t let it go” panels from the Classic Track Irregulars

On July 30th, the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics co-conspirators Gary and Joe opened their doors to the Ask Me Anything format.

 

Panel #17 made us wonder if, surely, they were joking as Gary and Joe invited the Earth Station One crew to talk about the 40th anniversary of the cult classic Airplane. Gary was joined by Mike Faber, Michael Gordon, Ashley Pauls, and Alex Autrey.

 

Panel #18 comes to us from the depths of the sea. On August 6th, Joe hosted Deanna Toxopeus, Alison Richards, Bobby Nash, and Jessa Phillips as they profess their love for SeaQuest DSV.

 

The nineteenth panel took a hard look at the reality of science fiction. In particular, how the genre has always been about politics and social issues. It’s not just a new theme.

This panel was Sue Kisenwether’s idea, and she gathered Bethany Kesler, James Palmer, Sherman Burris, Michael G. Williams, Joe, and Gary to discuss Star Trek, The Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, Deep Space Nine, and metric tons more about the genre that we love.

 

Gary and Joe have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, especially over Dragon Con. Stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Clone Stories After the Republic?

Culture on My Mind
August 7, 2020

 

This “can’t let it go” deals with Star Wars storytelling potential.

On July 13th, a new animated series was announced on the official Star Wars website. Following a group of clone troopers that debuted in the final season of The Clone Wars, the new series – Star Wars: The Bad Batch – will follow “the elite and experimental clones of the Bad Batch as they find their way in a rapidly changing galaxy in the immediate aftermath of the Clone War.” The squad is comprised of a unique squad of clones who vary genetically from their brothers in the regular clone army, but these unique skills make them formidable in combat. The series will highlight daring mercenary missions as they try to survive in the smoldering remains of the Republic and the rise of the Galactic Empire.

It sounds exciting, and the team of Lucasfilm animation veterans Dave Filoni, Athena Portillo, Brad Rau, Jennifer Corbett, Carrie Beck, and Josh Rimes tells me that the series has both a great pedigree and chance of success. I’ll be watching when it premieres.

But the announcement also made me think about the possibilities for storytelling surrounding the clone army and the rise of the Empire. For seven seasons and twelve years, we’ve been companions to these soldiers as they waged war across the galaxy. We’ve grown to love members of a clone army, each of which was given individual personalities and character through the artistry of Dee Bradley Baker and the show’s writing staff.

We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve loved, and we’ve lost. The clones were built with a singular purpose – to be cannon fodder that won a war by sheer numbers – but they became individuals along the way, and they’re in a unique position as the Republic that they dedicated their short lives to falls around them.

The clones were built to be disposable. They just murdered the Jedi under pre-programmed orders from Emperor Palpatine. How does that make them feel? Where do they go from there?

From Star Wars: Rebels, we know that Rex, Wolffe, and Gregor felt remorse about their actions in service of the nascent Empire and joined the growing rebellion as a result. But those three had their control chips removed and had full knowledge of how the Emperor manipulated their actions.

We got a better look at the emotional aftermath with Grey, a clone who was troubled by his thoughtless execution of Order 66. As told in the Kanan: The Last Padawan comic series, Grey tried to atone for his actions in the Jedi Purge by sacrificing himself to save Caleb Dume, padawan to Depa Billaba, the Jedi Master that Grey murdered under the influence of Order 66. Caleb Dume would later become Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars: Rebels.

Millions of clones were birthed in the Kaminoan pods for the war, and we only have one story of remorse from a trooper that didn’t have his chip removed. Meanwhile, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, anywhere between 10 to 30 percent of veterans have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since the Vietnam War.

The clone troopers were also programmed with an accelerated lifespan, entering the war at what seems to be the equivalent of 18-20 years old but aging to their 50s or 60s in the span of a couple of decades. The clones would often talk about retirement after the war, but such speculation was cut short by commanders as “idle chatter”.

The potential here is amazing, and it would serve as a touching coda to the Clone War. It would also serve as a vital touchstone to our own global reality, which great science fiction often does as a metaphor for the human condition.

For example:

  • What happened to the clones who stayed on as stormtroopers?
  • What happened when they were forced to retire from Imperial service?
  • What happened when they were replaced by non-clone soldiers? Was there a conflict?
  • Did any clones feel anger about their pre-programmed lives or role as disposable assets?
  • Did any clones feel anger about the years that were stolen by nature of their genetics?
  • Did other clones feel remorse from Order 66?
  • Did any clones try to make amends for the slaughter of the Jedi? Maybe even running a galactic underground railroad for any survivors?
  • Did any clones try to secret away Jedi artifacts, lightsabers, or kyber crystals to preserve that history?
  • Did any clones try to make amends for the oppression spreading throughout the galaxy, such as freeing slaves?
  • Did any clones experience PTSD? How was that managed in the Empire?
  • Did any clones actually retire directly after the war? Were there benefits, or were they abandoned?
  • Did any clones try to leverage their skills as mercenaries, bounty hunters, or bodyguards?
  • Did any clones try to make the most of their remaining years, such as running for political office, opening a shipping company, or even becoming an entertainer?
  • Did any clones try to tell their stories for posterity?
  • Did any clones try to start families, biological or otherwise?
  • Did any clones return to Kamino to try to rescue, save, or adopt any remaining clone children before the facilities were shut down (as mentioned in Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith)?
  • Were any clones (or their offspring) Force-sensitive? How did they manage that? On the run? As part of the Imperial Security Bureau to hunt down Force-sensitive children? As a Guardian of the Whills?
  • Did any clones, aside from Rex’s crew, join the rebellion or fight against the Empire?

That list is just scratching the surface.

We have millions of individual voices (thanks again, Dee Bradley Baker!) with the same face in a galactic pool of trillions upon trillions of citizens swamped in the uncertainty of political upheaval.

Lucasfilm, let’s tell their stories. Let’s do it in an anthology of some sort, be it prose or comics or even television. Let’s do in it a series of anthologies. Let’s do it with shares of the profits going to veteran support groups around the world.

Let us not forget this generation of our favorite animated heroes.

 

Star Wars: The Bad Batch will premiere on Disney+ in 2021.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con Special Edition

Culture on My Mind
July 31, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” comes on what should have been the opening day of Atlanta Comic Con, so it makes sense to cover a couple more classic sci-fi discussion panels broadcast from COVID quarantine bunkers.

At the end of June, Gary and Joe from the Dragon Con American Science Fiction Classics Track were joined by long-time friends Rick Klaw and Mark Finn for one of their patent-pending Roll-a-Panels. This classic roulette covers movies from 1990, 1995, and 2000, including Battlefield Earth, Tremors, Exorcist 3, Mortal Kombat, and 16 more things!

 

This topic was repeated for AtHomeCon (now CosmicHomeFest) 2020, rotating through a veritable plethora of pals including Michael Williams, Michael Nipp, Beverly Goldborg, and a cool lady named Erika.

 

One more panel for your consideration is Classic Sci-Fi Court, CosmicHomeFest Edition. When some stick in the mud tells you that a movie you like is bad, don’t take the law into your own hands. You take them to court! Join Gary and Joe with guest attorneys Rick Tetrault, Scott Matteson, and Branden K. Ushio.

 

Gary and Joe have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episodes XI-XIV

Culture on My Mind
July 24, 2020

 

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks on this end, so I have a backlog of “can’t let it go” panels from the Classic Track Irregulars!

At the end of June, the Irregulars tackled Russia. From Red Dawn to The Day After to Nikolai Volkoff, Russians were the go-to villain for everything in the ’80s, so Jonathan Williams, Darin Bush, Michael Williams, and Michael Bailey joined Joe and Gary to show that, in Soviet Russia, dystopian movies watch you.

 

Coming in at number twelve in the Quarantine Con lineup is a Mother’s Day celebration (only three months late) with a panel about cartoon moms! On this edition of American Sci-Fi Classic Track’s Quarantine Panels, they discussed mothers in animated series, from Hanna-Barbera to Disney and beyond. Because they didn’t want to have a whole panel of male idiots talking about motherhood, they recruited a real-life mother of one of the real-life Classic Track Irregulars with Bethany Kesler’s amazing mom Donya Kesler.

(Ms. Kesler is terrific and she should be on every podcast, forever.)

Gary and Joe are also joined by Kevin Eldridge.

 

Lucky number thirteen is a discussion of everyone’s favorite American redhead teenager: Archie Andrews. A group of hot dogs – Chris Cummins, Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Joe, and Gary – talks about Archie from the comics to cartoons to Jughead breakdancing to “Sugar Sugar.”

 

Last, but certainly not least, is Nancy Drew. Everyone’s favorite classic lady detective turns 90 this year, and Gary and Joe invited two fans to talk all about her. Join Jessica Nettles and Nadyne Neff as they discuss the books, the 1970s TV series, the movies, and the new show on The CW.

 

Yes, that is a lot of content for one week, but when you’re out of the loop for a couple of weeks, it kind of stacks up.

Gary and Joe have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episodes IX and X

Culture on My Mind
June 26, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” is yet another panel from the Classic Track Irregulars!

Well, really, two panels. And a bonus feature.

Still broadcasting from their respective socially distant quarantine bunkers, the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track panelists have returned. First, the panelists put their suits back on and swear under oath that Krull, Lost in Space, Doom, and Starship Troopers are okay to watch and enjoy. This week’s avocados at law are Sherman Burris, Kevin Eldridge, and Darin Bush.

As an added bonus feature, Classics Track co-directors Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel offer a blooper reel of sorts with the lost thirteen minutes from a crossed wire. This is what happens when you think you’re streaming live to Facebook, but the panel is broadcasting to YouTube instead.

Here are thirteen minutes of fun that were had when the panel thought everyone was watching.

The tenth entry in Quarantine Con is a celebration. It was Joe Crowe’s birthday, so Gary Mitchel and Dr. Scott Viguie arranged an Ask Me Anything party where the Classics Track’s fans could ask Joe… well… anything.

There’s even a surprise phone call from Joe’s mom! “Lord have mercy,” she says.

That’s a lot of content for a week, but if there’s one thing that a track dedicated to the entirety of science fiction media greater than ten years old understands, it’s an embarrassment of riches.

They have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Lessons from Short Circuit

Culture on My Mind
June 12, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” are a pair of favorite movies from my childhood.

I love the Short Circuit films.

Yeah, I said it. Both of the films are drenched in late ’80s cheese and dance around the lines between programming and life. I have no shame.

The first film, Short Circuit from 1986, focuses on a robot (designated Number 5) built for war that gets struck by lightning and develops a consciousness. Number 5 is voiced by Tim Blaney, who modern audiences would recognize as Frank the Pug from the Men in Black films and his puppeteering work over the last 35 years. The five war robots were programmed by two scientists, played by Steve Guttenberg and Fisher Stevens, and when Number 5 is struck by lightning, it inadvertently escapes the defense research facility and ends up in the care of Stephanie Speck, a food truck owner and animal lover played by Ally Sheedy.

The film also stars Austin Pendleton as the irritating president of the robotics corporation and G. W. Bailey doing what he does best as the head of security. It was directed by John Badham, who also brought us Saturday Night FeverDraculaBlue Thunder, and WarGames. Number 5 has a true sci-fi pedigree since he was designed by Syd Mead, the “visual futurist” famous for his work on Blade Runner and Tron.

Over the course of the film, Number 5 develops sentience and proves that he is alive, after which he chooses his own name: Johnny 5. It’s a fun and cute, but ultimately forgettable romp.

The sequel, Short Circuit 2, came out in 1988. Only Fisher Stevens and Tim Blaney made the jump to the second film, with a voice cameo from Ally Sheedy, and Kenneth Johnson – the TV sci-fi guy responsible for VThe Bionic WomanThe Incredible Hulk, and Alien Nation – picked up the directing duties.

The sequel finds the two original characters on the streets of New York City with a con-man (Michael McKean), a new love interest (Cynthia Gibb), and white-collar crime. This one is a bit more cringe-worthy in many aspects, but I enjoy the robot’s story and character a lot more, especially when he keeps two books (input) for special attention: Pinocchio and Frankenstein.

The film ends with the Be a Real Boy trope of granting the “other” American citizenship for their special efforts. It was the ’80s, gang, Cold War and all.

A third movie was developed by the studio, but there wasn’t enough interest.

 

All of the cheese and schmaltz aside, the biggest problem with these two films lies in cultural insensitivity. The sole human character that stars in both films – Ben Jabituya in Short Circuit, but Benjamin Jahveri in Short Circuit 2 – is a white man portraying an Indian man.

For background, the character was not intended to be Indian. Fisher Stevens initially had the role, but he was fired and replaced by Bronson Pinchot. When Perfect Strangers started, Pinchot left for the television and Stevens was rehired. When the character was changed to Indian descent, Stevens grew a beard, dyed his hair black, used contacts to change his eye color, and darken his skin with makeup.

In short, the film employed brownface to make the character work.

The effect was convincing among Indian moviegoers. As the urban legend goes, many believed that Fisher Stevens was actually Bollywood actor Javed Jaffrey. The resemblance is uncanny, particularly with the beard and round eyeglasses, but Jaffrey set the record straight soon after. Another fan who was confused, but for an entirely different reason, was comedian Aziz Ansari.

In 2015, Ansari published a piece in the New York Times discussing acting, race, and Hollywood. In it, he describes how he was amazed to see an Indian character as a film lead with a love interest.

Seeing an Indian character in a lead role had a powerful effect on me, but it was only as I got older that I realized what an anomaly it was. I rarely saw any Indians on TV or film, except for brief appearances as a cabdriver or a convenience store worker literally servicing white characters who were off to more interesting adventures. This made “Short Circuit 2” special. An Indian lead character? With a Caucasian love interest? In the 1980s? What’s going on here? A bold foray into diversity far ahead of its time?

Sadly, no.

He was devastated when he found out that Stevens used a culturally insensitive method to play a role. Brownface (and yellowface) are siblings to the practice of blackface, a practice that was popular in the 19th century. In the United States, it was used by white actors to portray blacks, and spread racial stereotypes that betrayed the true nature of slavery and society’s views on minorities. It was popular through the early 20th century, but has since become seen as offensive, disrespectful, and racist.

To that end, when Ansari found out the truth, he saw it as a mockery of his ethnicity. What amazed me, though, was how Ansari tracked down Stevens to talk with him about the role and the pain that it caused. The end result was something that we can all learn from.

After a long conversation, I can confirm Mr. Stevens is not a villain, but was, when he took the role, a well-intentioned if slightly misguided young actor who needed a job during a more culturally insensitive time.

It was 1987, Stevens needed work, and the world wasn’t nearly as culturally savvy as we are now. To his credit, as Ansari discovered, Stevens tried to make the portrayal as authentic as possible, including full immersion in the culture.

Through the discussion, Stevens grew to understand just how much the approach harmed the culture even though he put the work in to avoid playing his own minstrel show.

Go read the accounts by both Aziz Ansari and Fisher Stevens on their meeting. They’re quite enlightening.

 

The reason that I bring this up is because of my love for these films. I’m not Indian, but I understood where Ansari was coming from as I grew to understand the damage of blackface and similar practices. It threw my enjoyment of the movies into question. Does it make me a bad person to still love the film even though it contains these cultural misrepresentations?

Similarly, look at any of the classics that we still enjoy today, from Star Trek to the James Bond franchise. How do we square our fandom with the ideals that drove those shows, from subtle racism and jingoism to misogyny and beyond?

Ansari and Stevens came to the answer in their discussion, and it’s the same one that Sue Kisenwether, Gary Mitchel, Mike Faber and Michael Gordon, Michael Bailey, and so many others in our circles have talked about many times: It depends on the lenses that we use to analyze it. It’s okay to still enjoy classic Trek or Short Circuit as long we acknowledge the shortcomings of the time and how culture has evolved. We can still enjoy something, be critical of it, and acknowledge both the cultural impact and how we’ve evolved in the time since.

It wasn’t okay for Fisher Stevens to apply brownface for those films, but it was accepted. To that end, it is not acceptable now.

This is how we learn and grow as a human culture, and how we develop sensitivity and respect for each other.

 

Rumors have been about for a while about making another Short Circuit film, either as a sequel or a complete reboot. Aziz Ansari and Fisher Stevens agreed on how to make the character of Benjamin right going forward.

Without a doubt, the role should be played by someone of Indian descent.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episode VIII

Culture on My Mind
June 12, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” is yet another panel from the Classic Track Irregulars!

Broadcasting from their respective socially distant quarantine bunkers, the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track panelists have returned to talk about the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

But, not the Marvel Cinematic Universe that you know. Rather, the one that might have been.

Classics Track co-directors Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel are joined by Van Allen Plexico and Darin Bush to talk about what would have happened if we got the MCU in the 1970s!

As before, Joe and Gary will be hosting more of these, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episode VII

Culture on My Mind
June 8, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” is yet another panel from the Classic Track Irregulars!

Broadcasting from their respective socially distant quarantine bunkers, the Dragon Con American Sci-Fi Classics Track panelists have returned to talk about which classic vampires they would let near their necks.

Classics Track co-directors Joe Crowe and Gary Mitchel are joined by Jason De La Torre and Michael Williams to talk about vampires in ’80s and ’90s movies and TV. Lost Boys! Interview with a Vampire! Near Dark! Forever Knight!

More things like that!

As before, Joe and Gary will be hosting more of these, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

Culture on My Mind – The Floor is Lava?

Culture on My Mind
June 5, 2020

 

This week’s “can’t let it go” is a childhood game.

Last month, game designed, curator, and writer Holly Gramazio published an essay on her blog about the game The Floor is Lava. It’s really a fascinating read.

The game is pretty simple: Players chase each other around while never touching the floor or the ground. It’s usually played indoors, much to the chagrin of parents as kids are trouncing all over the furniture.

When Holly Gramazio was growing up, though, the floor was never lava. Quicksand, maybe, but never lava. So when she heard the general version of the game was about molten earth, she ran a social media poll of 3500 people and got some interesting results.

Especially regarding what the game is called and how it works in other countries.

Seriously, check it out: “The Floor” by Holly Gramazio

 

Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.