Tag: Culture

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Departure

They say the end is only the beginning. Today’s installment ends serialization of my ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth. On July 8, 2015, after my current commitment with Amazon KDP Select ends, the tome’s release into the public domain begins—as promised. I plan to make copies available here, from Bunny Bows Press, and most likely Smashwords. I am still working out final logistics. Free also means removing the book from Amazon, which doesn’t permit the option. I am exploring a one-cent alternative.

A week ago, I posted the last of the dozen profiles, in order of appearance: The Dark Knight, The Fighter, The Collectors, The AcademicThe Nerd Culturist, The Writer,The Bicyclists, The Heroine, The Time Lord, The Volunteer, The Vendor, and The Millennial

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Vendor

Serialization of my ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make The Greatest Show On Earth rapidly winds down. With today’s installment, three remain, before I release the 2013 tome into the public domain, on July 8, 2015, when my current commitment with Amazon KDP Select ends. The other profiles, in order of appearance: The Dark Knight, The Fighter, The Collectors, The AcademicThe Nerd Culturist, The Writer,The Bicyclists, The Heroine, The Time Lord, and The Volunteer.

I interviewed the last two Comic-Con 2013 attendees on the final day, for which tickets cost a little less and when San Diegan families flow into the conventions center. You can only really appreciate what the Con represents, as a cultural phenomenon, by mingling with the last-day crowds. 

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Flickr a Day 62: ‘To Breathe as One’

When making today’s selection, I chose culture over photography. The image isn’t representative of Mait Jüriado and his skills shooting portraits. The pic is one of 107 in his album “Estonian Song Celebration 2009“. He is from Suure-Jaani, Estonia, but lives in Tallinn, which is 149 kilometers north off the Gulf of Finland.

The amateur song festival takes place every five years, and the 2009 event marked the 25th celebration. Typically 25,000-30,000 singers perform, and there is an accompanying dance festival. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Nerd Culturist

Comic-Con’s contractual commitment to San Diego expires in 2016, and the event already entertains offers to move to another city. While conducting interviews during SDDC 2013 for Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth, I asked numerous attendees about relocation. Among them: Tauri Miller, whose profile appears in the ebook.

For whatever it’s worth, I favor keeping the Con in San Diego. While the convention center limits the number of participants to about 130,000 over four days, the city already is a tourist destination with all the right amenities, which include hotels and the Gaslamp Quarter. Getting in out and around (including the airport) is much easier than Los Angeles, by contrast. 

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Comic-Con Heroes: The Academic

My fourth installment of excerpts from ebook Comic-Con Heroes: The Fans Who Make the Greatest Show on Earth takes an interesting directional shift. So far we’ve met The Dark Knight, Medieval fighter, and twin-brother toy collectors. Would you believe there are people who study toys as a profession? Read on to see.

To recap: I attended San Diego Comic-Con 2013 with intention of profiling one-dozen among the 130,000 attendees. As SDCC 2015 approaches, I am posting 13 installments, after which the book will release into the public domain, on July 8, 2015, when my current commitment for Amazon KDP Select ends.

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Flickr a Day 5: ‘Style Over Speed’

At age 25, I begrudgingly got my driver’s license. How un-American, right? Or strange given I grew up in Northern Maine, where snow covers the ground seven months of the year. But anywhere I couldn’t walk, I biked. So it is with delight that today’s Flickr pic represents a bicycle enthusiast, and he has so many great photos posted (more than 26,000) choosing one is challenging. Self-titled “Style Over Speed” is by no means his best, not by any measure, but it’s such a poser I couldn’t resist.

Film director Mikael Colville-Andersen, who joined Flickr in August 2006, lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. His street photography is art. He writes: “Zakkatography is a state of mind. It’s a taste in your mouth, a warm fuzzy feeling. It’s groovy interior design shots, stunning architectural studies and it’s especially raw streetaciousness. Urban fragments with urban creatures. Zakkatography is your friend. Embrace it”. I will, and so should you! 

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Vinyl is Vogue

Four days before Christmas, my 20 year-old daughter texted: “Out of the `60s, `70s, and `80s, which was your favorite?” That question, her reason for asking (“been listening to lots of Beatles”), and presents’ preference (“just like vintage things, haha—and music”) led me to make a last-minute purchase: Crosley turntable, from Urban Outfitters for 20 percent off. I also grabbed The Beatles “White Album”, which will be returned December 26 for full refund.

Vinyl is vogue right now. Nielsen SoundScan’s midyear report put vinyl record sales at 4 million units, a 40-percent increase over the same time period in 2013. The pace remains fairly constant, with sales approaching 8 million for all 2014—259,000 units over Black Friday weekend, a 50-percent year-over-year increase. In a time when online music purchases are easy and selective, vinyl’s tactile experience of holding the disc and setting the needle to it feels authentic; more intimate.  In the not-so-distant future, some people will feel the same about caressing the printed page, when ebooks have displaced boundbacks like CDs did vinyl. 

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Syfy ‘Ascension’ Review

Not since (what was then) SciFi Channel televised the Battlestar Galactica miniseries in 2003 has science fiction storytelling been so good as Ascension, which aired last week. BSG changed the tone and tenure of speculative drama, that felt altogether more real in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Later watchers won’t feel the same about the miniseries or full seasons that followed. They’re beret of the shared context that amplified the emotional content.

Ascension’s showrunners smartly seek something similar, but playing reminiscent emotions rather than anger or fear. For aging Baby Boomers, and even their descendants, Ascension is a time tunnel to the early 1960s, perfectly preserved 51 years later. Pop! Let’s look inside the time capsule! i09 calls Ascension “Mad Men in Space”, and there’s something to that allusion. But unlike later Mad Men seasons, which carried the characters forward into the decade’s crises and conflicts, Ascension harkens a golden era of innocence before Civil Rights, Vietnam, war protests, hippies, political assassinations, or even the Beatles. 

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What the Hell is a Biter?

Not long ago, I considered myself still tapped into popular vernacular. I am a people and culture junkie, after all. But today, three barbers showed how clueless and out of touch is this 55 year-old man. I’m not sure which depresses more, the realization or confessing it.

My barber personalizes his workspace with Jack Daniels jars and other signature items described but I couldn’t see. Hey, he takes off my glasses to cut what little hair I have, and my vision blows without them. His coworker in the next chair complained about another guy who comes in to buy hair-cutting supplies and selfies in front of my barber’s chair space. The evidence is on Instagram. 

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Free Pussy Riot!

Punk rock roared across the globe as I started college in the late 1970s. Punkers protested their disco-loving, Baby Boomer siblings as much as “The Man”. UK punkers tapped into deep frustration among a younger population struggling for identity and future in face of global economic uncertainty.

Punk music then is much different than now. Then it was a lifestyle choice rooted in rebellion. Today, for bands like Green Day, punk, and all its garnishments, is fashionable. Mascara, colored hair, and tattoos are about fitting in to a larger, accepted social group. The real energy behind bands like the Sex Pistols is gone.

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Christmas Uncommon

There’s something wrong with American culture and emphasis on the individual. I got to thinking about it today when yet another neighbor dragged another dried-out Christmas into the common area and out into the back alley—this one spewing white spray-on fake snow to go with the pine needles.

I live in a small apartment complex—nine units and delightful common courtyard. Six of the units had Christmas trees this year, all live cut. (On Christmas Eve, we put up a 3-foot fake from Walgreens).