I will attempt to do the impossible and write a mostly spoiler-free review of season 1 of the Netflix original series, Stranger Things. Continue reading Stranger Things, season 1… or How I Miss The 80s
This article contains spoilers for the movie Suicide Squad. Read at your own peril.
I don’t know anymore. I really don’t. I’m officially middle aged, and am thus, by definition, “out of touch”. This means that I will never again understand what the kids are into, and I will never again have my finger on the pulse of pop culture or on “what’s cool”— if indeed I ever did! The fact that I put quotation marks around “what’s cool” is a sure sign that I’m now an old fuddy-duddy, as is my unironic use of “fuddy-duddy.”
People attend cons for a variety of reasons. Personally, I enjoy soaking in the atmosphere of the entire site – it really is electric – costumes, exploring the exhibition area, commissioning a piece of art from one of the many artists in the artist’s alley and of course, having the opportunity to meet the people behind my favourite movie and television characters. I have been waiting for a year, and the day is finally here! I donned my special “T-Shirt of the Day”, hopped on the 97 and headed out to the EY Centre!
First Up – Celebrity Vehicles
This year, three celebrity vehicles were in attendance:
- Supernatural’s 1967 Chev Impala (OMG what a car)
- Back to the Future’s 1984 Delorean
- Ghostbuster’s Ecto-1 – a 1959 Cadillac Ambulance
Next was a screening of the Canadian Animation Celebration sponsored by the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Did you know the OIF is the longest running animation festival in North America? The show was excellent! Highlights included:
Panel 1 – John De Lancie and René Auberjonois
The first panel of the day followed: 50 Years of Star Trek Q&A with John De Lancie and René Auberjonois. Both were gracious and good-natured with fans who for some reason asked the same question over and over again.
John De Lancie is known for portraying Q in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. I was surprised to learn he had roles in Charmed, Torchwood, Breaking Bad, Stargate SG-1, Battlestar Galactica (1979), Days of Our Lives, The Twilight Zone, Matlock and MacGyver, among others series. As a voice actor he has appeared in Batman: The Animated Series, Assassin’s Creed (video game) and in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
René Auberjonois is known for portraying Chief of Security Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Col. West in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) Clayton Endicott III on the comedy series Benson (1979), and as Paul Lewiston on Boston Legal. Recently he appeared in The Librarians. As a voice actor he has appeared in The Last Unicorn (1980)(The Skull), Superfriends (Desaad), Little Mermaid (1989)(Louis) and the video game Skylanders: Superchargers (Pomfrey).
A short interview with the two actors at the con can be found here.
Geek Universe Concert with the OVMF
Montreal’s L’Orchestre à Vents de Musiques de Films closed Day 1 out with an excellent concert. 50 musicians under the direction of conductor and arranger Jocelyn Leblanc took the audience through the soundtracks of video games, movies and television. The playlist included:
- Star Fox
- Zelda vs Final Fantasy
- Rey’s Theme
- Lando’s Theme (Bespin)
- Doctor Who
- I am the Doctor (11th Doctor)
- All the Strange Strange Creatures (David Tennant)
- Am I a Good Man? (Peter Capaldi)
- Star Trek (new)
- Our Shore (Fellowship of the Ring) Medely
- Zelda a link to the past
- Captain America – The First Avenger
- Game of Thrones
It was a wonderful way to wind up Day 1 of the Ottawa Comiccon – 2016 Edition.
Ottawa Comiccon is a popular culture convention held each May at Ottawa’s EY Centre. Since 2012, it has been a forum where people of all ages can gather to share their passions for science fiction, horror, anime, video games, tabletop games and comic books. Programs are wide ranging and consist of a variety of activities. This year’s event included:
- Celebrity Q & A, autograph, and photo sessions.
- A performance by Montreal’s OVMF Orchestra.
- Movie and documentary screenings.
- Panels on everything from acting and costuming to cultural studies.
- Improv, game shows and musical performances.
- Board game beta-testing and tournaments.
- An exhibition hall for artists, vendors and charity events.
Why is this a thing?
Simply put, it is a place where people go to be themselves. (Even if “themselves” means dressing up as Groot). It is a place for our inner child, and our children. To borrow from Mikey Neumann, these things we like were built into incredibly impactful slices of our lives. They remind us of the time we spent on the couch where we watched or read the very first thing that truly captured our imagination. We are reminded of all the time spent running round the back yard pretending to be characters in films, TV shows, books, games or comics. These things can surprise us and create in us such feelings, feelings that we carry with us in every moment of every day.
Why am I telling you this?
It was my cabbie.
My wife left for a business trip Saturday evening. I had to leave the con a little early to get home to see her off and put the boy to bed. A cab seemed prudent, given the OC Transpo commute time. I emerged from the building with several hundred people – half of whom were in costume of one kind or another. There was a single cab sitting at the taxi-stand out front. I climbed in with my backpack and con-bag, told him where we were headed and gratefully sat back in my seat. As we pulled out of the EY Centre’s driveway the driver asks, “So, what is going on here? Why is everyone dressed like this?” I stammered my way through an explanation. He had never heard of a pop-culture convention. Judging from the look on his face, I’m doubtful my explanation made things any clearer.
A Day in the Life – Ottawa Comiccon 2016
Over the next few days I propose to share a little of my experience at this year’s con. Maybe it will convince someone to attend one – at the very least I hope the photos are enjoyable!
(This is a spoiler-free review.)
Well this is awkward.
Earlier this week, I tweeted some not-so-nice things about Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder. For instance:
The Z-man had disappointed me too many times. Sure, 300 was a lot of fun, and its visuals were innovative at the time, sort of like a comic book come to life. Then came Watchmen, which was remarkably faithful to the look of its source material…. but not its feel. Continue reading Batman v Superman: Dawn of Okay
I started writing this article on June 9, 2015, but lost focus. I didn’t finish it until Jan 1, 2016! By then, the new season of Flash was already halfway done, and the second season of Agent Carter was about to start. Whatever.
These past few months, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the complete first seasons of two new entries to the skiffy TV world: The Flash, based on the DC comics character of the same name, and Agent Carter of S.H.I.E.L.D., based on one of the more minor characters of the expanded Marvel comics universe. Continue reading The Flash and Agent Carter: Doing Dramatic Irony Right
Yesterday afternoon, I was sitting in Fran’s restaurant on Shuter Street in Toronto, with my two good friends Ed Wong and Andrew Currie. I noticed a strange art piece –sculpture, I guess– on the wall. It reminded me of something. Continue reading Nimoy Memories
It’s no secret that I’m a comic book fan. But I’m a bigger fan of real science fiction; that is, fiction whose narrative necessarily depends upon a fanciful or not-yet-possible scientific element. I struggle with whether traditional superhero comic books qualify as science fiction, since mostly the sci-fi elements are an excuse for having extraordinary characters. Any other excuse can often suffice: magic, for instance. Continue reading Why Does DC Hate Gorillas?
The following is a review of the film Interstellar that is very rich with spoilers. If you have not seen the movie, and wish to do so, read at your peril.
Important opening statement: Interstellar is a very good movie. I enjoyed my time watching it, and feel that it is an excellent introduction to hard science fiction for the general public. I paid $20 for my IMAX ticket, and $5 for a bottle of water (I know, I know), and feel that I got my money’s worth. I would happily recommend it to anyone interested in spending an evening watching a well made film with a science fiction theme and mature, emotional overtones. Continue reading Review of Interstellar
This past week, I re-watched several seasons of Stargate SG1, including both direct-to-dvd movies, and a couple of episodes of Stargate Atlantis. Didn’t find the strength to watch any Stargate Universe, as that was my least favourite incarnation of the franchise. But my re-watch nevertheless brought back to me my intense sadness when SG1 was cancelled. I’m not sure why I miss this show so much, so I thought I’d write about it a bit. Continue reading Why I Miss Stargate