Tag: TV

Week of Geek: Halloween with Clowns, Classics and Cartoons…

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Hi again Geeklings!

First thing’s first; a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for our first ever Vaughan Fan Con.  There were some amazing cosplays and a whole lot of enthusiasm.  We had a great day last Saturday, and that was in no small part due to everyone who came, so THANK YOU!

Now, we’re about a week away from one of my all-time favorite holidays.  Yup, Halloween is nearly upon us.  *happy noises*  I love everything about this holiday.  The costumes.  The spookiness.  The fall weather.  The excuse to binge as much horror entertainment as possible.  All the pumpkin-related food.  All the candy.  That shivery, orange, red, yellow, fiery, spicy feeling that comes with it.  That sense that you’re continuing something ancient, something ironic (laughing in the face of our inevitable demise) and something awesome.  So much love!

I’ve written before on the Fandom of Horror.  This year I thought I’d bring up some new Pop Culture experiences I’ve had over this season thus far, to offer my humble suggestions to brighten your Halloween fun.

IT: Clowns are scary.  You know it.  I know it.  Everyone knows it.  There was a whole clown scare last year with people dressing up just to freak other people out.  And yet, we perpetuate this common belief that these heavily painted terrors are perfectly acceptable for kids birthday parties and other benign activities.  STOP THIS CLOWN AGENDA WE KNOW THE TRUTH!

Anyway, one of the biggest things out there brave enough to speak true about the terror of clowns is IT.  Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, there was a recent film adaptation that blew everyone away.  We have in the system one of the first adaptations, a miniseries released in 1990 starring the irreplaceable Tim Curry.  Sure, it looks a little dated by today’s standards but it’s still one of Curry’s most iconic performances and it still brings the scares.  If you weren’t scared of clowns before you will be after this.

Hammer Horror Films: After Universal Studios reigned supreme with their classic monsters, Hammer Films emerged from England with their own take on scary movies.  I watched one of their earliest films the other night and quite enjoyed it, so I’m passing the message on.  We’ve got a collection of their horror films in the system, and be sure to give this iconic version of Dracula starring Christopher Lee a try.  Get ready for shivers.

The Munsters: Switching gears from outright scary to funny with scary overtones, we’re going all the way back to 1960s sitcoms and the creepiest family since The Addams Family.  The Munsters were a typical extended family always up for wacky antics, except they were pretty much all monsters.  Dad Herman was a Frankenstein’s monster-type creature.  Mom Lily was a vampire, as was her father Grandpa Munster.  Lily and Herman’s son, Eddie, was a werewolf.  And then there was niece Marilyn, who was… human.  Totally normal.  One thing about each and every Munster is that they don’t see anything weird about themselves.  They assume everyone lives in haunted mansions and has kids who howl at the moon, which makes for fun misunderstandings.  But the bottom line, they’re quite endearing.  And it’s always fun to see how TV looked back in the day.

(P.S. I’m going as Lily Munster this year for Halloween.  So excited!)

Regular Show: One of Cartoon Network‘s weirder offerings (and that’s saying something), Regular Show is about anthropomorphic creatures who who live together and work at a park.  Despite the main characters being a blue jay and a raccoon, they are your typical slackers, much more interested in playing video games and goofing off.  And getting into misadventures involving zombies, aliens, ghosts, curses and food challenges.  It’s weird but it’s fun, and totally relatable if you’ve been in the workforce for longer than 2 seconds.  And the show goes nuts on it’s Halloween episodes, as the characters gather around and try to outdo themselves with scary stories.  There’s a DVD collection of some of their spookier episodes here.

How about you guys?  What are some things you can recommend for a chilling yet fun Halloween?  Post away or write it out on the WriteIt site.

And since no Halloween season is complete without Disney’s Haunted Mansion, here’s a clip from Disney XD featuring Star and Marco from Star vs the Forces of Evil.  Have fun, be safe, be spooky, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: VFC Fandom Countdown Part 5, Marvel and DC Throwdown

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Hi again Geeklings!  We’re up to Part 5 of our Fandom Countdown, gearing up for our first Fan Con just a week from Saturday!  Are you getting excited?  I’m getting excited!

This week I thought I’d talk about 2 franchises which are currently battling it out for domination in film theatres across the globe, but before that they’ve been going head to head in comic book stores for decades.  One was the undeniable ground breaker, first publishing their most iconic character all the way back in 1938.  The other, though they only had their first publication the following year, is considered the cooler counterpart, really taking off in the 1960s and 1970s and allowing the political and social upheavals of the day to influence their work.  And now, one has been a clear groundbreaker in creating the practice of a ‘Cinematic Universe’ and the other is working really hard to play catch up… not always succeeding.

Yup, Marvel and DC Comics, and unlike the self-imposed animosity between Star Wars and Star Trek fans, these two guys actually have a legit rivalry going on, and have ever since they’ve existed.

Both companies have gone through name changes, different management and ups and downs as far as sales, but each one has managed to stay relevant through the years, though it’s often been a struggle to adapt to changing times.  But the one thing about these two that I really want to highlight (’cause let’s face it, we’d be here all day if I tried to summarize the full history of both of these franchises) is their Cinematic Universes.

Starting in 2008 (almost 10 years ago, which just dawned on me) with the release of Iron Man, the still new Marvel Studios kicked off a new trend.  They decided to create what we now call a Cinematic Universe, or Shared Universe, where all of their subsequent movies share characters and plot points and all of them culminate into bigger stories.  And they’ve been so successful at this (both with fans and critics) that other movie studios want in on it too, and are rushing to create their own cinematic universes, DC included (Warner Bros is the studio that holds the rights to their characters).  After a couple of false starts, DC and Warner Bros kicked off the DCEU, or DC Extended Universe, with Man of SteelThey’ve still done well financially, but critics and fans alike have responded anywhere from ‘Meh’ to ‘SO ANGRY!’… at least until Wonder Woman came along, and hope was renewed once more with fans.  Ironic considering how long it took to get Wonder Woman on the big screen, with all the ‘Can a woman headline a superhero film?’ nonsense.  So proven now!

This November the two companies go head-to-head once again with Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League.

Has the trend in cinematic universes changed movies for the better or worse?  Will DC be able to pull themselves up dazzling heights?  Time will tell… but for someone like me, it’s plenty captivating to watch.

So I’ve got lists for the MCU, both their movies and their TV shows (which are connected too).

And here’s the DCEU…

And though it’s not tied into their film series, I’m going to include DC’s current crop of interconnected TV shows, commonly known as the Arrowverse, because they’re really good…

Final note; If I can get a little personal here (yup, Aunty Ali’s gettin’ nostalgic!), there was one time when Marvel and DC actually threw down in the comics.  It’s happened, but this time in particular was a moment that stood out for me.  In the spring of 1996, when I was 14 years old, Marvel and DC released a four-part crossover event that I bought religiously from the tiny convenience store a couple blocks from my high school.  The comic series is kind of obscure nowadays, but it’s always stuck with me.  Basically you’ve got two gods of two universes who want to pit their champions against each other, so you end up with a bunch of battles.  We’ve got Batman vs Captain America, Superman vs the Hulk, Wonder Woman vs Storm, Lobo vs Wolverine, Aquaman vs The Sub-Mariner, Flash vs Quicksilver, etc.  It blew my fragile, teenaged, burgeoning fangirl mind!

So where do you stand Geeklings?  Marvel?  DC?  Both?  Post away in the comments section.  To the surprise of probably no one, I like both.  Just like with Star Wars and Star Trek YOU CAN’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!  MY LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS!

Stay tuned for more Fan Con news, don’t forget about Unleash Your Story this Saturday, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: VFC Fandom Countdown Part 1, Star Trek Wars or Star Wars Treks?

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Hiya Geeklings!  Hope school’s going good so far.  Just gonna leave links for our volunteer programs here and for the Teen Writer’s Club here and Unleash Your Story here.  *wink*

Anyhoo, in just over 6 weeks Vaughan Public Libraries will host it’s first fandom convention we’re calling Vaughan Fan Con, a celebration of things geeky and how all those geeky things just mesh with libraries.  *massive fangirl squeal*

I’m thinking this is a great opportunity for us to spend the next few weeks going over fandoms.  What they are, what they mean, how they’ve impacted the world, etc.

Today, let’s talk about a couple of the big ones.  These two fan groups have often been pitted against each other for nerdy superiority for the last few decades.  But me, being the incurable optimist and peacemaker, I say thee nay!  I LOVE THEM BOTH!  YOU CAN’T MAKE ME CHOOSE!

Of course, I speak of Star Trek and Star Wars.

I think few would argue that any other two Sci Fi franchises have had as much of an impact on the genre as these two have.  Both have had big screen features (click here and here), television shows (here and here), books (here and here), comics (here and here), whole conventions dedicated just to them, etc, etc.  One takes place in our own potential future, where science and reason have won the day.  The other takes place in a galaxy far, far away and uses mystical elements in a classic battle of “good” and “evil”.  I’ve written ad nauseum about both, and you can click on those links to read a little more on each one.  But what I thought I’d talk about today is how they relate to each other, because there is a long and colorful history of Trekkers and Star Wars Fans (who don’t really have a fan name, at least not that I could find; go figure) and how they interact with each other.

For the record, Star Trek came first.  The first episode of the first TV series aired September 8, 1966.  The first Star Wars movie was released May 25, 1977.  And while Trek may have preceded Wars by a full 11 years, it is still endlessly debated over which one has had the bigger influence, which one has more quality over quantity and, frankly, which one is just better.  Debates can get heated, everything is compared (like which space ships are cooler, how the science works or doesn’t in each one, how the weapons stack up, and so on; even grammar), and some fans just cannot be moved on some points.

That’s the thing that always gets me; why it seems to be a completely acceptable thing that the two are not only mutually exclusive but are also adversarial towards each other.  When talking about Trek and Wars there’s almost always a ‘vs’ in there somewhere.  There are so many articles, videos and comments that reflect as such.

Again, I say thee nay!  I would like to submit that they are, in fact, 2 sides of the same coin.  Science and mysticism.  Pure Sci Fi, and Sci Fi mixed with Fantasy.  Our own potential future, and far off planets and stars.  Logic and passion.  What we can see and measure, and what we can feel.

Plus, they have SO MANY common elements.  Vulcans like logic and aren’t big on emotions.  The Jedi teach being unemotional and that strong emotions lead to the Dark Side.  Both franchises have their brash adventurers, their robots, their heroines, their science types, their wide-eyed noobs, their elegantly tactical villains, their rage buckets, their intergalactic drama.  They even share actors sometimes.

And the most important thing; both have tremendously passionate fans, with their own in-jokes, fan art, conventions, cosplay, websites and love, and boundaries are crossed far more often than anyone wants to admit.  It’s a beautiful thing.

So, a few reading and watching suggestions: There’s a great story in Geektastic about a Star Wars fan (cosplaying as a Jedi) and a Star Trek fan (cosplaying as a Klingon) liking each other ‘that way’, even though each of their friend groups aren’t keep on the other.  It’s full Romeo and Juliet territory.  There’s also a great short story by Rainbow Rowell about a Star Wars fan lining up for The Force Awakens, hoping to have the full waiting-in-line-for-days experience that previous Star Wars fans have had and finding it’s a little different this time around.  And I got lists, because of course I do…

So what do you think Geeklings?  Is one franchise superior?  Are they both awesome?  Post away in the comments or sound off on the Write It! website.

Stay tuned for more news and for more posts on fandoms, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Hogwarts, UA and other favorite fictional schools

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Hiya Geeklings!  Did you miss me?  I was up to my eyebrows in fandom pandemonium this last weekend *happy sigh*  Good times.

So, back to school.  Yay?  It is September, and along with the obligatory Pumpkin Spice shenanigans and pretty leaves, many people head back for a new school year this week.  And while school IRL can be a little… unexciting at times, there are many fictional, fantastical high schools in our favorite fandoms that many of us would genuinely look forward to going back to each September.  Here are few that come to mind…

Hogwarts: Of course this is on the list!  Harry Potter and friends spend several years over 7 books (and 8 films) in England’s seminal school for witches and wizards, learning all the spells and potions they need to take down dark lords.  Filled with ghosts, moving staircases and too many secrets to count, Hogwarts is ancient, mysterious and a true home to our heroes.

Starfleet Academy: The galaxy can be a dangerous place, what with unexplored locations, possibly hostile new species and many moral quandaries.  The men, women and everyone else who attend Starfleet Academy in San Francisco become as prepared as possible to face the final frontier head on.

UA High School: The #1 school for teens with superpowers, or ‘quirks’, to learn to become heroes.

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters: The other #1 school for teens with superpowers, specifically mutations that grant them said powers.  Where mutants are feared, hated and persecuted, the Xavier mansion proves not only a school to launch the next generations of X-Men but a safe-haven where different, outcast kids can be themselves.

Mystic Falls High School and Sunnydale High School: If you like your high school experiences with a side dish of vampires, try these two fine institutions.

Riverdale High School:  No matter which incarnation of Archie Andrews you like, there’s no question that Riverdale High is just as much a character in the story as any of its students.

Alola Pokemon School: For a library system with it’s own Pokemon League, I would be remiss to leave this fine school off the list.

Any schools you really love to visit in your imaginations?  Post away in the comments section!

BTW, did you know VPL is hosting it’s own sci fi/comic con next month?  Just gonna leave this link here and tell you to stay tuned for more news to come! *wink*  Also gotta give a shout out to the Teen Writer’s Club!  More details will be posted right here soon but for anyone who loves to write, or wants to get into writing, it’s a spot for you.  Check out my previous post on the subject of writing and sharpen those pencils!  (Or, you know, open your laptop and launch Microsoft Office or whatever.  21st century!)

Have a great start to the school year, stay tuned for more news, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Pride Month Part 4! Slash Fiction and Final Thoughts!

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Hi again Geeklings!

So June is almost over (can you believe it?) and this weekend Canada celebrates 150 years on July 1st.  So let’s wrap up Pride Month with the fourth and last part in my series on LGBTQ characters (Click for Parts 1, 2 and 3).  This time, however, we’re going to get a little unofficial.  We’re delving a bit into Slash fic.

What is that?  Well, let me throw a few terms at you.  “Shipping” in Fandom circles is when fans romantically match characters, regardless of if that match is canon or not.  If you write about, draw about, paint about, or just support a certain couple you “ship” them (you may hear the term OTP as well; that means One True Pairing, the couple you love above all others… though, let’s face it, you often can’t pick just one).  “Slash” is shipping where both of the shipped characters are guys; for two girls it’s often known as “Femslash”.  There are MANY famous slash pairings out there, often with mash-up names.  Very few of them are canon, but fans really want them to be and, honestly, they might as well be, considering the TON of fan art and fanfiction out there around them.  And on the rare occasion a ship DOES become canon… my gosh, that’s a happy day for fans!

Some examples of slash pairs include Destiel (Dean Winchester and Castiel from Supernatural), Johnlock (Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, and that’s one of the oldest slash pairings out there), Spirk (Captain Kirk and Commander Spock from Star Trek, and like many other things in fandom, slash as it’s known today really began with Trek, appearing in fanzines before the internet became a thing), Sterek (Mieczyslaw “Stiles” Stilinski and Derek Hale from Teen Wolf), and of course the ultimate question amongst Avengers fans; Stony or Stucky?  (Meaning, who should Captain America end up with?  Iron Man or Winter Soldier?)  A couple of examples of femslash pairs include Pangie (Peggy Carter and Angie Martinelli from Agent Carter), Allydia (another Teen Wolf pairing, this time between Allison Argent and Lydia Martin) and Korrasami (Korra and Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra), though that one actually became canon.

So why do we ship?  And why do we slash?  There are a lot of theories out there, but some of the ones I like the best is that it’s a way for young fans to explore romance; that it’s a way for LGBTQ fans to find representation in pop culture which, though getting a bit better, is still lacking; and it’s proof that there are many versions of love, and that who we’re attracted to can be hugely fluid, which is always a good thing to know and normalize.

So I encourage you guys to imagine the possibilities.  And I encourage you to share your fanfics on Write It!, ’cause we’d all like to read them.  Who are some of your favorite ships?  Post away in the comments section too (but no shipping wars; all ships are valid!).

So, some final thoughts; why did I write this series on LGBTQ characters, both canon and non?  Four posts covering four different formats featuring many orientations (gay, lesbian, bi, pan, ace, etc.) and many characters.  What heck?

Well, pop culture, and really any type of art we make, is a reflection of us; as a whole, as individuals, as a society, etc.  It represents our hopes and dreams, our problems, what we wish we could change and what we shouldn’t change for anything.  Our strengths, our flaws, and the many, many ways we go through the human experience.

And I wanted to take this month to highlight LGBTQ characters because, for some of us, we may find ourselves in a position where we know something might be up with us in regards to sex or romance or who we feel we should be or whatever, but we’re just not sure what it is.  And we may find ourselves in a position where we have absolutely no one to talk to about it.  Maybe, for whatever reason, your family or friends or community isn’t really all that open to talking about homosexuality or anything non-heteronormative.  Or maybe they are, but you’re too nervous or afraid to ask.  It could totally rock what you thought you knew about yourself.  Or maybe you don’t know what to ask.  It’s a process, let me tell you.

So it’s kinda nice when you can open a book or turn on a TV or sit in a movie theatre and see a character that makes you go “Huh.  That sounds or looks an awful lot like me.”  This is why representation in our culture is so important, for all types of people.  When you see someone like you it inspires you to be your true self.  Then when you are ready to ask some questions, to vocalize all of this, it’s helpful to envision that character, or even just to know that somebody, somewhere, created something that echoes what you’re feeling.  You are NOT alone, whether support comes from nearby or from a writer writing in Hollywood or somewhere.  And just the knowledge that you aren’t alone can be very powerful, regardless of where it comes from.

Stormpilot anyone?

So if you’d like to learn more, we have resources and we have links.  As library staff we encourage people to not to be afraid to ask questions.  Allow me to promote that here.

Thanks everybody.  Happy Pride!  Don’t forget about TSRC, and until next time, End of Line.

Oh yeah, and apparently this is a thing now 😉