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The news about Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm was shocking enough. The fact that Disney bought Lucasfilm in combination with the news of more Star Wars movies were enough to blow both Hurricane Sandy and the election off of social media.

Honestly, it's been a long time since I've been this shocked--maybe not since 9/11/01--because it seemingly came out of nowhere. Things at Lucasfilm have been shaking up the past couple of years with retirements, layoffs, Kathleen Kennedy taking over the company, and other stuff going on. But outside of the Lucasfilm inner circle nobody saw this coming. I honestly believed we would never see any more Star Wars movies so long as there were copyrights on the films!

But in piecing things together, it indicates that Lucasfilm being sold and new movies being made have been in the works for a while now. Why convert the existing movies to 3D and re-release them? To test out new technology and jazz up the masses for new films. The Disney conference call yesterday confirmed that Episodes VII-IX will be in 3D. So the remaining prequels will be out in 2013, Eps IV-VI will be out in 2014 I'll bet, and Episode VII drops in 2015. Pablo Hidalgo posted on the Official Star Wars blog yesterday that he'd known since June new movies were going to happen. The fact that anyone had plans on making new films and kept it secret this long is astonishing to me though it does explain the persistent rumors of new films and Joe Johnston casually dropping that he'd love to make a Boba Fett movie. Or why even two years ago, Mark Hamill was optimistic there would be further Star Wars adventures.

Regarding the Disney sale itself, I have believed for a long time that eventually Lucasfilm would be sold to a bigger company or studio. It's virtually impossible for a small entertainment company to survive on its own and Lucas can't expect his own children to run the company for him. I have also believed for a long time that of all of the entertainment/Hollywood outfits around, Disney would probably be the best home for Star Wars over the long term. However, I would never have expected a sale while Lucas was still alive. It indicates Lucas wants to make sure things are in good hands while he's still around and they are on his own terms.

Make no mistake. This changes everything. I don't say this as hyperbole. It's true. The Star Wars I've known since 1977, that you might have known since the '80s or '90s or '00s, depending on when you got into Star Wars, will never be the same again. I'm going to break it all down for you as to what I think the Disney acquisition means for new films, television, toys and licensing, books, comics, and fan culture. Of course I will also add my concerns, fears, and paranoia. I will also have a separate post on SW Prequel Appreciation Society on what it all means for the first half of the Skywalker Saga.

Cut For A Very Long Post )
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Not that I watch besides occasionally taking in episodes of "Cheaters," but G4 is dumping its geek culture/gaming programming and changing to a "lifestyle network" aimed at the "modern man." Others are calling it a "GQ" or "Esquire" channel. So it'll be the metrosexual answer to Spike.

Just to show that G4 is serious, it cancelled today its two flagship shows "X Play" and "Attack of the Show."

Yeah, I know, I'm broken up too. One less outlet for prequel bashing! God, I'm so sad...

(Actually I feel bad for the crew losing their jobs but that's about it.)
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This has been making the rounds on the internet but HuffPo had an article about the crazy rumors and fanboy rants appearing in old issues of "Starlog." Some of those rumors were actually true: there really was a collaboration with George Lucas and Steven Spielberg in the works ("Raiders of the Lost Ark") and Leonard Nimoy really was going to bail on appearing in a new Star Trek series, until the project turned into a feature film.

Some of the rants were from angry fans who didn't like "Star Trek The Motion Picture" and fans who thought Han Solo was being slated for execution (they should've forwarded their complaints to Harrison Ford).

Get ready for some LOLs, such as the idea of Vader seducing Leia (gah!) to get Luke and Han to join the Empire:
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10. “The World Is Not Enough”—Garbage: Wins the prize for most underrated Bond theme, mostly because it was attached to the Bond film with Denise Richards. Plus, Garbage wasn’t mainstream enough for Top 40 radio nor was Bond hip enough for Garbage’s ‘90s post-grunge alternative audience. Oh well.

9. “All Time High”—Rita Coolidge: The problem “Octopussy” had was you weren’t going to get a tune with the word, “Oc-to-PUSSYY!!!” on any radio station in 1983. So they had to go with a theme song that doesn’t refer to the film’s title, performed by '70s lite rock fave Rita Coolidge. I've heard it's also featured in the recent hit comedy "Ted."

8. “For Your Eyes Only”—Sheena Easton: Hot off of her big 1981 hit, “Morning Train,” I'm pretty sure Easton is the only theme songster to actually appear in the opening sequence. This might have had something do with the fact she was 20 at the time and cute. “For Your Eyes Only” became a top 10 hit and scored an Oscar nomination.

7. “Thunderball”—Tom Jones: Brought to you by a guy who has as much swagger as 007. Did you know Tom Jones fainted from that final note? Wow.

6. “Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me)”—Carly Simon: Even though this song was a big hit and it went on to win an Oscar nomination for Best Song, a lot of people don’t know it was from a James Bond movie unless they happen to be watching 1977’s “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

5. “Diamonds Are Forever”—Shirley Bassey: Bassey became the Bard of Bond after knocking it out of the park with “Goldfinger.” She also recorded a theme for “Thunderball” (that wasn’t used), “Moonraker,” and the breakaway production, “Never Say Never Again.” This one is almost as good as “Goldfinger.”

4. "A View To A Kill”—Duran Duran: I'm an old Durannie; how can I not love this song? The video gave the band the opportunity to ham it up as they often did, pretending to be spies. It was the last Bond theme to hit the Top 10 in the U.S. until Madonna's "Die Another Day" in 2002 and the only one to reach #1 on the charts.

3. “You Only Live Twice”—Nancy Sinatra: If there are only two Nancy Sinatra songs everybody knows, they are “These Boots Are Made For Walkin’” and this one. It fits the Asian adventures in the film and frankly, it’s pretty. Okay, Lana Del Rey, you need to record a cover of this song!

2. “Live And Let Die”—Paul McCartney and Wings: Another Best Original Song Oscar nominee. While John Lennon was singing about utopias in those early post-Beatle years, Paul McCartney was singing about kicking @$$, as a Bond theme no less. Sir Paul wins.

1. “Goldfinger”—Shirley Bassey: It’s everything a Bond theme needs to be. It’s over-the-top, unforgettable, and great accompaniment to the inevitable opening sequence with chicks and guns. This defined the Bond theme song and made it one of the films' selling points.
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On August 30,, a web site for WPLG 10 in South Florida (Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach) posted a slideshow of photos from Celebration VI with mocking captions like “here are thousands of men without a date." Several cosplayers and fans standing in line to see Mark Hamill were the most common targets (not to mention Hamill and Jake Lloyd). Not all of the captions were bad per se, but many were definitely beyond gentle humor and were quite insulting and mean. For some reason it took a few days for people to notice but when they did, hoo boy. Condemnations flew from all quarters of fandom, including from the 501st, Mandalorian Mercs, The, and Ashley Eckstein. Just to give you a taste, Geek Mom on has captured for posterity one of the captions: took down the post, reinstated it, then took it down again, reinstated it, then took it down again. When I saw it, there was no byline on the piece and no comment section. Gee, you think this might upset some people? The worst thing about it was a disclaimer of sorts at the end claiming the “author” (whoever that may be) was really a fan too. Somehow, I doubt that. They tried to respond as well with kind of a faux sorry-if-you're-offended apology but that was taken down too. Local 10 started scrubbing its Facebook page, then shut it down.

I’ll get straight to the point here. Local 10 owes an apology. There’s no way in hell Local 10 or any other so-called mainstream media site would have covered a gay pride event with mocking photos of participants. Anyone who had done the same thing on a slideshow of the Special Olympics would have been strung from the nearest tree. It doesn’t occur to anyone to post mocking photos of fans going to see a football, basketball, or baseball game. Yet fans like you and me remain targets.

Local 10 isn’t some fandom or media or geek culture blog where I’m not at all surprised some loser wants to show how cool he is by trashing other fans. It’s supposed to be a professional outfit where there’s supposed to be professional standards. Was there an editor home? Why laugh at attendees instead of focusing on the gal with the gorgeous meadow picnic gown she made herself or the cute kids in Ewok costumes?

The San Diego Union-Tribune and the local t.v. channels do not make fun of Comic Con attendees. EVER. They all know those wacky kids and crazy geeks dump craploads of money on our town every year. From what I've seen of the Orlando media coverage of Celebration, it was respectful.

Whoever went from Local 10 to Celebration IV did a lousy job representing the credibility of his news organization and said organization’s poor reaction to complaints doesn’t reflect on it very well either. Lucasfilm and Reed MUST get involved. The PR departments need to get on the horn with WPLG's management and insist on a full apology immediately. Local 10 violated what fans consider a safe space in order to expose people to ridicule. This was a hit job, not reporting the news or covering an event. If WPLG management does not apologize, then I think that Lucasfilm and Reed should deny them access to future events and interviews.

I found this meme on Facebook:

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Being an obstinate sort who waits for the movie then waits for it to stream through Apple Movies, I just saw the film over the weekend.

Overall, I thought it was pretty good and that was largely due to some strong casting. Gee, Lenny Kravitz can act! Having Woody Harrelson play himself? Great idea! You knew Rue was doomed the second you saw her, but the kid who played her did a great job. Overall though, Jennifer Lawrence sold the movie. Fans of the book initially complained she wasn't emaciated and sickly enough but Lawrence made you believe the character and empathize with her. Katniss is strong without being invincible (and none of that silly girl power stuff where a skinny actress takes out 6'2" 200 lb mountain of muscle with kung fu), tough without being cruel, and is-rarities of rarities--a kind, decent person in spite of her crummy circumstances. I also have to give props to the costume and makeup people because a glammed-up Katniss still doesn't look like glammed-up Jennifer Lawrence in real life.

The games themselves are profoundly disturbing. Not so much because it involves minors battling to the death. I spent five and a half years on juvenile crime after all. They're disturbing because supposedly sophisticated and advanced people seem to think it's great entertainment and it doesn't seem (from the movie, don't know about the book) that anyone has a problem with it. Even if it appears the game broadcast is willing to manipulate the players, which usually generates some kind of empathy or sympathy. It doesn't appear from the film that any one of the Lady Gaga lookalikes have any kind of second thoughts about the whole thing. What a bunch of sick freaks.

At various times you can tell the source material is a YA book. The dystopian set-up is rather basic and leaves a lot unexplained. Why put 12-18 year-olds in the games, and not say, males 18-35? It's because the book was written for 12-18 year-olds and this makes the main characters peers of the reader. Events at times are manipulated to miraculously help the characters, for example, changing the rules so that the dreaded Katniss vs. Peeta showdown never happens. Peeta consciously plays to the cameras, knowing it's crucial to survival but Katniss just has to be herself and voila, she's the girl to watch. I also can't believe people would put up with this nonsense for 75 years. No one tries to run away? Nobody quits the games? People would be crippling their sons and marrying off their daughters at 11 to save them from this sort of thing.

Still, it is a rather pointed metaphor for what happens to the fresh meat that comes to Hollywood. The games contestants are treated at first like American Idol competitors, dolled up in couture and chatting on live t.v. with Pandem's version of Ryan Seacrest. Then the brutality follows, leaving a trail of casualties, living fast and dying young.
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Awright, I sat through the premiere episode on 8/14. It is kind of what I thought it would be, the geek/nerd version of “Hoarders” or “Hoarding: Buried Alive” only without the sail rats, cockroaches, feral cats, and threats of condemnation if the place isn’t cleaned up in 24 hours.

As I’ve said before, hoarding is an extreme version of OCD. It is a mental illness. Nobody on the premiere episode of the show was nowhere near as bad as anyone I’ve seen on the hoarding shows. Fair enough. But there were a lot of things about the show that still rubbed me the wrong way.

The first episode featured Parker Publicity maven Consetta Parker and her husband with a house filled with Star Wars collectibles, then a guy in SoCal with a garage full of Catwoman stuff. In real life, Parker is the publicist for Rancho Obi-Wan, James Arnold Taylor, and Catherine Taber. Apparently she doesn’t mind taking her work home with her because her jaw-dropping, impressive collection literally fills every room of her house. There’s some talk about how there’s no more room and Consetta has to let some things go. I’m sure millions of Star Wars collectors were shouting at the t.v., “What about storage?! Why not get a bigger house???!!” Okay, so they live in NorCal and a bigger house often means you’d better have George Lucas’s bank account. But I didn’t hear if they have anything in storage or not, which might be a solution to clear some stuff out.

The other collector has a bitchy, angry wife who didn’t know he collected until it was too late and claims they don’t have money for their mortgage, so he has to sell his crap now.

It is true that some collectors get in over their heads financially. It is true that some collectors’ passion for stuff quickly overtakes the reality of how much space they have in their home. It is true that some collectors do a far better job of acquiring goodies than taking care of them and organizing them. The guy with the Catwoman and ‘70s toy collection seems to fall into that category. Heck, I have problems with that.

But the show seems to generalize unfairly and treats the collector as someone with a Problem. For instance, the Catwoman guy admitted to the show’s hostess that he didn’t tell his wife he collected prior to their marriage. The narrator then says that hiding a collection meant that it was an obsession. No, the guy actually gave his reason for not telling his wife…he was afraid she’d think he was uncool. A lot of people worry their hobbies might be a little left of center for others to understand, especially when it comes to things like comics, sf/f, etc.. Now this guy made a mistake by dating someone who obviously doesn’t share that interest and doesn’t seem at all receptive to it. Maybe he just felt like this was his only chance to land an attractive young woman. Or maybe the Mrs. was right and this guy is spending them into the poorhouse (she says they were four grand in the hole). Do they work? Are there other financial issues? I don’t think we got that info.

Consetta’s collection, as large as it was, was at least neat and orderly. She had a lot of really good stuff. Over her shoulder in several shots I saw a signed ROTS poster with several cast signatures…I could see Ewan McGregor’s signature, Hayden Christensen’s, etc.. The hostess twisted poor teary-eyed Consetta’s arm to ditch some loose vintage Ewok action figures, a lifesized General Rex statue, and other stuff. I didn’t catch everything that got sold since I went to bed before the show ended. But the hostess told Parker that Rex wasn’t “iconic” enough so she should part with him. Hey lady, she works with the Clone Wars peeps! Hellooo! And in 20 years, those 7-8 year olds watching Clone Wars now will look at Rex as iconic. Ugh. Where they had the auction to lighten Consetta’s load…Rancho Obi-Wan! And who now has possession of Captain Rex? Steve Sansweet! This was like going to a 12-step program run by Keith Richards, Charlie Sheen, and Courtney Love! LOL! Oh well, in case Consetta happens to be reading this, if you ever want to clear out that signed ROTS poster, call me…

Seriously though what disturbed me was that the collectors didn't seem to be happy. At least the people on "Hoarders" are happy once their homes are clean and they're able to live normally again. I think it's one thing if a collector realizes he's got to edit down his collection and is happy once things are manageable for him again. But I got the feeling people weren't entirely convinced.

Another issue I had was the hostess breaking down the value of the collection not in terms of what it means to the collector but in terms of potential monetary value. When you collect you have no idea if your stuff is going to be worth big bucks in the future or not and money should never be the reason to get into it. You should do it because you love it. And then these folks are forced to hand it over to dealers paying pennies on the dollar, so they'll resell it to a future "Collection Intervention" collector for a huge profit.

Geez, if my parents thought my Star Wars haul was worth $150,000, I'd have to hire a food taster...
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One of the great things about being on fandom's fringes is that I don't owe anybody anything and I can speak my mind.

After deciding to friend the Forcecast on Facebook, they debuted a new t-shirt design. The shirt looks nice enough but then later on they decided to post a couple of shots of the shirts being modeled.

Cut for big pix )
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The other night I saw an ad for an upcoming series on SyFy "Collection Intervention" and rolled my eyes. The show is about collectors who need to be publicly "set straight" due to their out-of-control hobby, or so it seems. The premiere episode is about somebody with a huge Star Wars collection. Oh wonderful.

I don't know the full circumstances behind this situation but the collection presented in those few seconds on t.v. was neat, organized, and clean. According to the show's press release, the collection spreads throughout the home. My answer to that is, it's only a problem if it's a problem, such as you're married to/shacking up with someone who doesn't share your enthusiasm (and that's your fault), you're hoarding not collecting, or your collecting is putting you into debt. Otherwise, who cares?

Moreover, it looks like SyFy's ripoff of "Hoarders," "Hoarding: Buried Alive," and "Animal Hoarding." Collectors should feel insulted they are being dumped in the same box as mentally-ill people who literally live in their poop and let rats run free over mammoth piles of trash. Fannish types get bad raps as it is. We don't need family members, colleagues, and friends to judge us as hoarders on top of everything else.

Why on Earth does SyFy want to do that to the demographic that supports its network?
lazypadawan: (pic#3355346)
When a few people on Twitter mentioned the sudden death of Galactic Drift's Racheal Ambrose (Stinson) last night, I was shocked. Ambrose contributed to the Fangirl Blog and I'd read some of her posts on her own site.

A short news piece on the collision that took her life is here:

In the internet world, it's strange to see people Tweeting or posting on Facebook and a short time later, someone jumps in and says, "So-and-so just died." I did not know Ms. Ambrose personally, only on a name/reputation basis. But she is the second person in my online orbit in less than four months who was lost to a car crash (the other person was on a non-fandom LiveJournal community). Or more to the point, a car crash caused by a moron. And I can't just say, "Wow, that's sad" and move on.

You see, in my job I encounter this scenario all too frequently. Someone no different from you and me is just going about his or her life: driving to school, driving home from work, going on a road trip, picking up the kids from soccer practice, etc.. Then along comes some drunk fool or a guy whacked out on coke or some dumb unlicensed teenager barreling down the street 90 mph and smashes into the victim's car, killing that person. Guns are a point of controversy all of the time, but the Department of Motor Vehicles hands out licenses to kill every day.

There are not a lot of details in the news story, but I can tell you that the local authorities will investigate to see if the collision was a mere accident or if there was a level of recklessness/carelessness that merits criminal charges. The hospital should have taken tests to see if there was intoxication. Even if the driver wasn't drunk or high, if he was speeding or just decided to blow through the intersection, he can and likely will be charged with vehicular manslaughter. He is also potentially liable for civil penalties.

I hope not to offend anyone but just as burglars break into your house to steal your laptop, dangerous drivers steal lives. However, unlike a laptop, you can't get a stolen life back or replace it, and it leaves a lot of collateral damage. My sympathies go out to Ms. Ambrose's husband, her family, and her friends. I've seen the pain of the families in their situation. But I also hope for justice. I'm going to try and keep an eye on this case.

Update: Here's the obituary....the funeral was held today 6/25:
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Star Wars needs to renounce geek culture.

That might strike you as a bit weird, as though I’m saying we need to cut ourselves off from oxygen or gravity. Isn’t Star Wars part of the geeky universe after all? How could it possibly divorce itself from the worlds of comics, collectibles, cons, and cosplaying? It just isn’t possible!

Well, I’m not saying Dark Horse needs to stop publishing and far be it from me to suggest I wouldn’t want a Star Wars presence at Comic Con. God forbid! But I’ve recently come to the conclusion that “geek” and “Star Wars” aren’t necessarily synonymous and indeed, they shouldn't be.

Sure, Star Wars was the first film marketed at Comic Con and it was marketed at Worldcon 1976 in Kansas City. But ultimately it has turned out to be an ill-fated partnership. It was geek culture that turned on the series and on Lucas. It dictated what fans and casual viewers alike are supposed to think about it. Because geek culture drives the media these days, the attacks on half the saga and on Lucas have been relentless and effective. (And regular moviegoers made ANH a hit, not the couple hundred people at Comic Con 1976.)

That isn’t to say Star Wars isn’t popular. But it’s popular with two kinds of people: loyal fans like me and Minivan Nation. Families with kids. The kind of people whose opinions aren’t as likely to be shaped by geek culture. Besides, regular moviegoers made Star Wars the megahit and cultural touchstone. Geeks create small devoted cults. The rest of the world picks the big winners.

But old habits die hard and it seems like up until the present, there’s a persistent need to try and keep Star Wars relevant among professed geeks. I think Lucasfilm is totally wasting its time with them.

For one thing, geeks are conformists of the worst kind. “Independent thought” doesn’t make you popular on geek sites. Voice a different opinion from "geek orthodoxy" and they will come down on you like a ton of bricks to punish you for your heresy. Why is that? I think it’s because there are a lot of very insecure people behind those oh-so-clever screennames. After a while it becomes learned behavior that if you deviate, others start to hate.

Geekdom is fickle and driven by hype. They are like the fair weather sports fans who only get on the bandwagon if the team’s heading to the Super Bowl or World Series. They like to be part of the cheering crowd of fellow geeks. They want to be where the cool kids are. Right before the Special Editions came out, there seemed to be an awful lot of Star Wars fans. I can also remember a lot of the same people who camped out for two months prior to TPM opening and went to see it several times over the summer quickly vamoosed once the backlash was underway. Why? Again, insecurity. On to the next hyped feature! These people often change their minds on what they consider cool or acceptable. They have lots of passion but they also have the attention span of that dog in “Up.” While looking at the Geek Mom blog on its Star Wars week, someone posted that Star Wars was as dated and kitschy as an Elvis impersonator. Yeah, those people are loyal!

Heroes die hard and almost never regain respect. When you’re on top in Geek World, you could be making Zeus clean your toilet on Mt. Olympus. Many geeks are not religious but geek heroes are as close as they will ever get to worshipping a god. But boy oh boy, displease your audience and you’ll fall further than Lucifer ever did. They take disappointment very personally and will never, ever forgive you for it.

Star Wars needs to establish itself independent of geek culture, a modern mythology accessible to everyone. If geek nation happens to like it, fine. If not, oh well. Disney has a large number of diehard fans and collectors, but they’re not necessarily part of geek culture. “The Wizard of Oz” continues to have a following after 73 years without the approval of Gizmodo, i09, and AICN. I don't have a plan on how to make it happen except to say instead of focusing on geeks, focus on everybody else.
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Recently, Rick McCallum sat down to a video interview with IGN. Topics discussed include the live action show (still plan to do it, still costs too much), a Star Wars theme park (not happening, bummer), Joe Johnston/fanboy nation's Boba Fett movie pipe dream, and George Lucas planning his next move. Sadly, nothing about AOTC 3D, I guess.

But bring up the mysterious "Star Wars 1313," the interview's suddenly over. As you might have seen elsewhere, Lucasfilm recently bought up a bunch of URLs having to do with "Star Wars 1313."

I do NOT think it's a Boba Fett movie, but as to what it is, you got me.
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Oh, those rascally expanded universe reading fans! They’ve gotten into a tussle again!

It all started when a gal posted that the books need to “star” more female characters that we’ll actually like. It’s a point that’s been made a zillion times over at Fangirl Blog though it’s not the only site to promote that opinion. Along comes “Chris” over at the popular EU Cantina who posts last Friday why he (I’m assuming it’s a “he” anyway) doesn’t think it’s necessary. The problem is he does so in a rather ham-fisted, illogical way even if he does have a few—and I mean few--valid points. If the line “Star Wars is...(apparently) aimed at young boys” doesn’t make your forehead meet your keyboard, then the line about books on Leia or Padmé would be “snoozers” will (though he'd reconsider if they were action books):

Look, bro...there have been plenty of snoozer books that weren’t about those characters. That’s why I hardly read the books anymore. And you can’t tell me that a book about the oddball political relationship between Palpatine and Padme wouldn’t be amazing if done with the same amount of skill as “Darth Plagueis.” You can’t tell me a book about Leia getting involved with the Alliance wouldn’t be great if done right. I have lamented many a time that Del Rey/Lucas Books have strangely left the prominent heroines of Star Wars on a shelf and not taken advantage of their potential. It didn’t help when they recently pulled the plug on the Nomi Sunrider book.

The response to Chris’s piece was enormous. Fangirl Blog, Club Jade, and others filed responses which is all fine and good. Never tell a gal she has no right to complain (same goes for “you’re being hysterical”). But I concur with Chris that what should matter first and foremost is the quality of the book. It didn’t bother me there were no prominent female characters in “Darth Plagueis.” So what? It was the best Star Wars novel in 20 years. Fangirl Blog seemed to blithely dismiss Chris’s arguments with “well, those characters do exist but since I don’t like them I’ll speak for all women and say women don’t like them.” Unless you’ve polled every woman interested in the subject, it’s a rather sweeping statement to make without anything to back it up.

What bugged was the criticism saying this is about “equality.” Am I seriously supposed to believe that I’m a lesser person in society because there aren’t enough Star Wars books starring female characters? This is supposed to keep me up at night? What annoys me about their not using Star Wars heroines in their book is that they’re leaving characters I’d rather read about on the shelf so they can publish novels about no-name Hutts. Maybe the real issue is that the publishing arm of the Star Wars license is making two assumptions about its readership: 1) most people who read Star Wars novels are male and 2) males are not interested in reading about women unless it’s “Leia’s Magical Bikini” or “Padmé’s Handmaiden Tickle Party,” topics that are too R-rated to touch. (I’ll also repeat my lamentation that they haven’t looked at the MASSIVE young women’s market.) Everybody though makes assumptions about their intended market. Sometimes they are accurate, sometimes they’re not. But it doesn’t have to do with “equality.”

Bugging me even more is the argument the books need “diversity.” I know “diversity” is one of those buzzwords that has been beaten into our heads for the past 30-40 years, but I don’t think every single possible group needs to be represented to validate either the books or the readers. Do we really want bean counters to ensure every Star Wars novel has an adequate number of homosexual Jawas with one kidney or transgendered Wookiees in wheelchairs? Where does it end?

But what bugged me the most were the people, mostly commenters, demanding EU Cantina dump Chris. I read his piece in its entirety. The column's arguments might be boneheaded, but he does have a right to be wrong. Attacking the guy with Kafkatrapping phrases like “white male privilege” or demanding his head because he just doesn’t agree with you is typical of what passes for discussion on the internet. One commenter even called the guy a "racist." THERE WAS NOTHING RACIST IN WHAT HE WROTE!! I do worry greatly the younger generation has no respect for the concept of free speech. They seem to think that if it bothers/offends them, it needs to be silenced (trolling notwithstanding). It's frightening, and a whole lot worse than a guy's silly column or the lack of chick power in a publishing line.
lazypadawan: (shatterpoint)
The Official Blog wasn't posting very often lately and then they post this:

"The Official Star Wars Blog is now on temporary hiatus as the Lucas Online team continues to explore new directions for New authors, new articles, and new points of view are in the works for the Blog that will cover the entire Star Wars experience. As with all changes undertaken on the website, we are closely examining feedback from past surveys and user actions on the site, and we want to hear from you. Feel free to let us know in the comments what you’d like to see the Official Star Wars Blog become."

There has definitely been something going on with what Lucasfilm is doing in regards to Star Wars, even with Clone Wars on the air. To wit:

1. Shuttering the Official Star Wars Fan Club (Hyperspace)

2. Steve Sansweet and book queen Sue Rostoni retiring (someone took Rostoni's place, while no one has taken Sansweet's)

3. Crummy redesign of that gives you way less than before

4. Shuttering the online store

5. Shuttering the blogs

Last year, there was the oddball May the 4th promo for the Blu-Rays. Then there was the gangbusters take-no-prisoners promo (not) of TPM 3D. There's been no news on if/when we'll see AOTC 3D. There was nothing on Celebration VI for a long time until Orange County, FL did a welcome video last week complete with the mayor dressed as Leia. Well, at least I'm glad the Orlando metropolitan area is happy we're coming to shower them with revenue! But where are the guest announcements, besides the hosts and stuff? There's been a little more info on Star Wars Weekends but that comes from the Mouse House.

My guess is they're running out of steam, running out of inspiration, and getting tired of the whole dang thing. Now that Lucas has declared himself retired, who knows what's going to happen now?

Star Wars is still popular. I'm sure DSWW will bring crowds. I'm sure about the same number of people will attend Celebration VI. Licensing is still making money even with a lot of competing product.

Still, I cannot shake the vibe there's something going on at the Presidio. If I'm wrong and you know what's going on there, let me know. If I'm right and you have inside skinny, send it via private message if you feel more comfortable that way.

Or feel free to post your own theory.
lazypadawan: (Default)
An enterprising band decided to make an amusing fanvid with their own song...bonus points for using all of the movies! I just hope they got Lucasfilm's permission:

Note: This video can be offensive to those who object to dancing Star Wars characters.
lazypadawan: (Default)
1992 not only marked my entry into the weird world of fan fiction, but also the convention culture.

I'd known about cons for years, mostly Star Trek cons, but had never gone to any. There was a small annual sf con in Miami when I lived there in the '80s but never went. The Star Wars 10th anniversary con was on the wrong side of the country while I was a high school senior. Comic Con was some far off legend...I never managed to visit out here when it was happening. When I was in college, my geeky friends made an annual pilgrimage to Archon in St. Louis:

The problem was Archon was at the time in the middle of summer, while I was back home in Florida.

Anyway, after graduation, I was living in Northern Virginia and while visiting a gaming/comics store in scenic Sterling, VA, I saw flyers for a now-defunct event called Castle Con. It was a mixed bag con, with no particular focus. The guy who ran the store, an amiable ol' hippie turned mountain man (he had great stories about working rock shows for the likes of The Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd back in the day), told me all about the con which was conveniently at a hotel located right by Dulles Airport. It was about 10 minutes from where I lived at the time.

So, in June 1992, I decided to go both Saturday and Sunday. It was HOT both days and my poor car overheated on the way there but I made it. Even though Castle Con was pretty small it was to me like entering an insane asylum and coming home at the same time. Sort of anyway. There was not a lot of emphasis on media but there was a lot of emphasis on live action roleplaying. There was a movie/video room and I did get the golden opportunity to meet the only surviving cast member of "Plan 9 From Outer Space." The guy was a trip. He was visiting relatives in Glen Burnie, MD and figured why not make a few extra bucks over the weekend while he was around. Other than that, there was lots of chaos, people watching, and perusing wares in the dealer room.

There were no Star Wars collectibles or tchotchkes on sale, which was a disappointment. But I found a lot of cool crafts. I ended up buying a pair of earrings I used for years afterwards and a black satin cloak that got a lot of use on Halloween. I think I might still have it. It was really cheap too, like 20 bucks from somebody who sewed the things herself! You can't find bargains like that anymore.

Other than that, I remember watching old episodes of "Land of the Lost" and some of ANH in the video/movie room, and going to a couple of panels. One was on mythology, using Joseph Campbell's work as a guide and the other was a creative writing panel where we got to critique other people's work (thankfully not mine).

Castle Con 1992 was my last Castle Con. Within a couple of years it relocated to Ohio and it must have ended sometime after that. It wasn't exactly my kind of party and I've been to much bigger shows since then. But cons were a part of my life ever since then...I've been to at least one con somewhere every year since then.
lazypadawan: (Default)
Okay, I'm not a fan of slash fan fiction. I don't write it, I don't read it, it has no appeal to me. I would not consider myself a slash scholar.

But then I saw this in an a new essay on fan fiction:

Star Trek provided examples of close male friendships (despite Kirk’s continual philandering and girl in every starport), and those friendships were transformed into K/S fiction in order to make this better future include the LGBT community (which, as of the 2009 Star Trek movie, this better future has still excluded).

No, no, no, no, nooooo.

If you care enough to track the history of slash fiction, I suggest the relevant chapters of "Enterprising Women" by Camille Bacon-Smith. There the author, who spent several years immersing herself in fan fic/zine culture, got to interview the fans who gave the world Kirk/Spock as well as slash based on "Starsky & Hutch" and "The Professionals." They weren't sitting around in 1975 saying to themselves, "You know what's missing from Star Trek? Gays! Quick, let's come up with some!" The rainbow flag-waving yay-diversity let's-be-inclusive mindset is recent. It began with mostly straight women who extrapolated from a friendship or what we'd now call a bromance an idealized romantic relationship. The reasons why fans like slash are complex and can vary from individual to individual. Obviously old school slash fans weren't opposed to or bothered by homosexuality but many of the more political ones saw what they were doing as more of a feminist statement than anything else. Personally, I think the way a lot of these shows were structured left female viewers searching for emotional connection and they found them among the male characters. Why? In order to keep the heroes insouciant and unattached, but to keep them manly, relationships with women were temporary and not terribly involved. The real lasting, emotional relationships were with the characters we all knew were coming back. Sometimes the chemistry comes from the "buddy" relationships instead of the "romantic" or sexual relationships set up on the show (said to be true of "Smallville," which some fans have called "Slashville" because of the chemistry between Lex Luthor and Clark Kent).

Things are different now and the only politics that come from slash are gay politics and some shows, like "Merlin," set up bromances on purpose. Last season, Guinevere was "banished" for several episodes. I would be shocked if NOBODY wrote slash about that show. But it's important to remember the world of 2012 wasn't the world of the mid '70s.
lazypadawan: (Default)
If you're a Trek fan and haven't heard about this yet, you'll keel over and die from excitement. A Trek convention set for London in October will feature all five t.v. captains on stage: William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Avery Brooks, Kate Mulgrew, and Scott Bakula. Oh sure, there will be loads of other Trek guests but undoubtedly this will be the big draw. Tickets go on sale April 30:

Thug Books

Apr. 16th, 2012 07:37 pm
lazypadawan: (wtf)
Remember in "Coming To America" the fast food restaurant that was a blatant ripoff of McDonald's?

On Twitter I found a link to a story about an unusual but similar phenomenon...people using Amazon's CreateSpace to make knockoffs of other books. For instance, there's a woman who "published" a book called "I Am The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." "Fifty Shades Of Grey" might have begun life as a Twilight fan fic, but now somebody has created the alternate universe of "Thirty-Five Shades Of Grey," featuring 15 fewer shades:

Always in search of a quick buck, I've come up with some thug titles of my own:

"Fifty Shades of Gay"—An AU of an AU fan fic where I just change the girl to a dude.

"The Hungry Games"—The exciting tale of fast food employees battling to be the best!

"Killing Lincoln, Vampire Hunter"—A supernatural tale of history, all meticulously researched by someone else.

"Heat, Spray, Glove"—Oven cleaning and self-discovery.

"Steve Jogs"—The incredible biography of a jogger, Steve.

"Lord of the Blingz"—A hip hop fantasy epic.

"Game Of Scones"—A gritty fantasy tale about baked goods and tea time treats.

If I were a pro author getting ripped off by these scamps, I'd be really upset. But as for the reader dumb enough to believe "Thirty Five Shades of Grey" is that book they've heard about, caveat emptor!

Update: I looked up "I Am The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" on Amazon and holy cow, what a scam. Idjits mixing this up with Stieg Larsson's book get the privilege of paying $75 (!!!) for crap like this:

"I will write upon your heart," God whispered to me "and place a tattoo therein, which will cause you to remember, although not openly. It will exist within the confines of your subconscious, detectable only to your soul."

"A tattoo?" I inquired.

"Written upon your heart." God confirmed.

A dragon tattoo.

Bwahahahahahaha! Good thing it wasn't something from WTF!

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