San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie: Who to Follow on Twitter (Tip #2)

In my last post, I focused on What to Bring With You Everyday to Comic-Con, which included your phone charger or extra battery. It’s very likely that you will be constantly on your phone, checking social media and posting to it in addition to the dozens of other activities smartphones can do nowadays. One of the best uses of your phone checking time during Comic-Con is to follow Comic-Con activity on Twitter through the hashtags #SDCC, #SDCC15, and #ComicCon2015. All of the companies who have booths or tables have a Twitter account and will be posting throughout the convention about giveaways, signings, special surprises, sales, and other announcements. This is your way to gain an advantage over other people who may not realize how to find out about these things. Aside from companies posting from their booths, however, you will also find information on the activities going on outside of Comic-Con in the surrounding areas. There are hundreds of simultaneous events happening during Comic-Con and there is always something to do. Additionally, many die-hard fans and convention veterans will also post their own tips or leads on things they’ve found out about, which can be infinitely useful. There are sometimes secret parties that pop-up last minute or random giveaways outside too. Last year I got a sweet Transformers fanny-pack when I was walking towards the Gaslamp District.

But, you may ask, how am I to know who to follow on Twitter to be in the know? Well my dear geeks, I have done most of the work for you already. I created a Twitter list under my account @LianaRosePhoto, with 80+ accounts you should check out during the con to stay in the know. I will be adding to it in the days and weeks to come as we get closer and closer to the week of Comic-Con. Please feel free to subscribe to it, share it with your friends, and tweet me with suggestions. Here’s the list in all it’s glory: https://twitter.com/LianaRosePhoto/lists/comic-con. I’d also love to know who will be there in July so please add me and I will add you back!

Check back next week for another useful tip for navigating Comic-Con as a newbie.

21 Days til Comic-Con!

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5 Fandom Friday: Favorite Fictional Fathers

Five Fandom Friday

First of all, can we talk about how the alliteration for this week’s 5 Fandom Friday is ridiculously off the charts?!  So many F words!! Five Fandom Friday: Favorite Fictional Fathers. Say that five times fast!

Anyway, this week’s prompt really made me think, specifically about what makes a good father. It’s Father’s Day next weekend of course and I think it’s important to let your Dad know he’s appreciated if he’s still alive or in your life. Dad’s tend to get a bad rap because of so many cases of neglect or abandonment or even worse stuff, so consider yourself lucky if you’ve got a great Dad who loves you. I’m one of those lucky few and also credit my Dad for my excellent taste in music, TV, film, and books. The fictional dads I chose below are specifically adoring of their daughters and also do everything they can for them, often at great risk to themselves.

Lord Eddard Stark of Winterfell

1. Lord Eddard Stark (Game of Thrones)

The Starks in general are loyal and honorable which has made them my favorite house in Game of Thrones. As Lord of Winterfell, Eddard is the pinnacle of morality and wants what’s best for his family and his house. He is a strong and noble leader and a great role model for his children. When Arya and Sansa are at odds with each other, he does whatever he can to help them make peace. He seems particularly fond of Arya, probably because she’s scrappy and tough and is not afraid to completely be herself. Eddard continuously encourages her and even hires a dancing teacher to teach her how to fence properly. He is a loving and supportive father, even to his bastard son, Jon Snow.

Ted Arroway in Contact

2. Ted Arroway (Contact)

Contact was one of my favorite movies as a child. I’ve always been fascinated by aliens and the possibility of life on other planets. I really liked the dynamic between Ted Arroway and his daughter Ellie in Contact. Ted shared his love of astronomy with her, which in turn fostered her own obsession with the stars. Though he died, her love for her father and desire to contact him again drove her ambition. The love of her father inspired Ellie’s whole life’s work.

beauty-and-beast-belle-father-dungeon

3. Maurice (Beauty & the Beast)

Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie and is one of the few where the main character’s father is actually around still. Belle and her father Maurice share a loving relationship where they both accept each other for who they are. Belle believes in her father and his inventions despite what everyone else thinks. She loves him so much she even sacrifices herself in order to save him so he can be free. Maurice in turn does everything he can to try and convince the townspeople that a beast really does live in the castle and is holding Belle. He becomes quite literally sick with worry over the thought of what the beast might be doing to her. Maurice is such a lovely character, we’re not only rooting for Belle and the beast to fall in love, but for Belle to be reunited with her father again.

danny tanner

4. Danny Tanner (Full House)

Danny Tanner is a widower who is left with three young girls to take care of. With the help of his brother-in-law Jesse, and best friend Joey, he manages to take care of and provide for his children. Danny was a good dad because he always tried to instill good habits and morals for his girls. He disciplined them sure, but always with love and in a manner that taught them a valuable lesson. Even without a mom for the girls, he always made sure they felt like one big happy family.

Jean Valjean - Hugh Jackman

5. Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)

Les Mis is truly one of the saddest and most beautiful musicals in existence. It also has one of the most powerfully moving father-daughter relationships I’ve ever come across. Jean Val Jean becomes a changed man when he adopts Cosette, and the most important thing in the world to him is her happiness. She is everything to him and he would do anything for her and to protect her. Even though he is wary of Marius, because he’s afraid Marius will take her away from him, he still does everything he can to ensure his safety because Cosette loves him. Just one listen to “Bring Him Home,” and you’ll understand how much this guy loves his daughter.

So what do you think? Yay or nay on these Dads? Who would you choose?

The Artist’s Way: First Artist Date of the Year

The Artist's Way bookI

When I first moved to Los Angeles, I had a hard time finding work and getting out on my own. I was depressed a lot of the time and often complained to my parents about how I felt blocked creatively. My Dad then sent me his copy of The Artist’s Way in order to nudge me along in gradually becoming unblocked. I began to do the weekly assignments, morning pages, and artist dates and finally found a semi-full time job that allowed me to move out of my aunt’s house and into an apartment with my boyfriend. However, I stopped doing the work and never completed all 12 chapters/steps of the program. Now I find myself in a similar situation and am once again turning to The Artist’s Way for support.

After committing to doing the morning pages about two weeks ago, I finally went on my first artist date yesterday. Btw, an artist date is a date you take yourself on in order to inspire and stimulate your creativity. So, I had a few books and DVDs I wanted to trade-in for some cash and decided to take myself on over to Amoeba Records in Hollywood. It’s one of my favorite places to spend time just browsing and I always have a great experience when I go. They ended up taking all six items I had, and gave me $1 for each so I came out with $6. It was certainly better than getting nothing at all for them. I had also decided that I would use all the money that I got from selling my boyfriend and I’s things for our trip to Comic-Con next month so we could have spending money for merch and food.

I also had a $4 credit from a previous trade-in so I decided to browse around for a while and see if I could find something good to take home with me. I don’t really use CDs anymore so I headed over to the used rock record section. I must have spent two whole hours going through the endless racks of old records looking for something that caught my eye and was under $4. While I was browsing I discovered that a band was sound checking at the stage they have in the middle of the store. I found out that the electronic band, Miami Horror was going to be playing a free show. I’ve heard of them, but wasn’t really familiar with their music so I was stoked to be able to watch them perform.

Miami Horror at Amoeba Records

 

While I watched Miami Horror I munched on the dark chocolate covered pretzels I bought at the Godiva store earlier when I was at the mall. Chocolate covered pretzels are one of my favorite snacks and Godiva’s are especially good. There’s nothing better than chocolate and good music.

Godiva Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels - Yum!

 

After going back and forth between a few records and even some cassette tapes. I finally settled on an Armenian dance LP for $1 and Crystal Antlers – Nothing is Real LP for $2.99. I was pretty shocked to find that Crystal Antlers record for so cheap. It was in one of the bins under the main stacks and was double wrapped. When I unwrapped it at home, I saw the original price sticker was still on there: $14.99! So score one for me, yay!

Records from Amoeba Artist Date

 

I really enjoyed this artist date because I felt like things just came together for me to make it a special and memorable experience. It definitely made me excited to make my artist dates spontaneous and free-spirited. Tune in next week to see where I go next!

 

San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie – What to Bring With You Everyday (Tip #1)

I cannot believe it, but we’re already only 29 days out from San Diego Comic-Con! This will be my 2nd year attending and I am beyond excited! Last year was pretty intense for me as a newbie and I admit being a little overwhelmed by everything, especially because I was there by myself for the first two days. This year I am taking a more relaxed approach, but will still prepare as much as I can. I am putting together a series of tips that will help if you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet who is open to ways you can improve your experience! Here’s tip #1:

What To Bring With You Everyday

  • A backpack – This should be a pretty good size, but not too bulky especially if your car isn’t nearby or you’re not staying within walking distance from the convention center. Make sure it’s comfortable on your back and has adjustable straps. I made the mistake of using the bag they give you on the floor, and my back was in pain by the second day.
  • Earplugs – Ok, you may not realize it, but the convention floor is noisy! There are thousands of people walking around talking to each other, music blaring, booths playing video clips or doing some sort of demo, announcements, etc. It can be really overwhelming especially if you’re an anxious person already. Earplugs can cancel out most of that noise and allow you to focus on yourself and your breathing so you don’t freak out like I did, lol. Earplugs are also great at night in the hotels when you’re trying to sleep!
  • A plastic water bottle – Ok believe me, I am all for reducing water bottle waste in landfills, but this is one time when I refuse to use a refillable water bottle from the store. Last year I brought my metal water bottle with me and it added so much weight to my backpack. You’ll be much better off just buying a normal sized water from the store and refilling it at a water fountain throughout the day because it hardly weighs anything even with 16 oz of water in it.
  • A good camera – Unless you’re a cosplay photographer or photojournalist, I don’t really recommend carrying around a heavy DSLR with multiple lenses everywhere. However, whatever comes to mind when I say “good camera,” bring it. It can be your iPhone or a consumer grade DSLR or a small point and shoot. There is just so much happening that you are going to want a good camera, especially if you plan to blog about your experience. A good camera is great too for those random celebrity sitings (I saw Kyle Gass from Tenacious D last year!). Don’t forget your charger, extra batteries, and memory cards too!
  • Business cards – Comic-Con is great for networking if you’re in the biz or want to be. You never know who you might meet! Last year I met a cameraman for IGN at a bar in the Gaslamp District, many bloggers and cosplayers, and a wide variety of people from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and promote yourself a bit!
  • Snacks – OK this one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little time you have to gather snacks together during a con. Buy all your snacks the day of preview night so you’re all stocked up for the week. Be sure to bring stuff high in protein and complex carbs. The best snacks are fruit, cut up veggies (with dip if you have a container to keep it in), protein or granola bars, nuts, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and beef jerky. These will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to walk multiple miles every day during the convention.
  • Your badge – Duh! But seriously don’t forget it! You’ll need it to get into special outside events as well as the actual convention center.
  • Phone charger or extra battery – Chances are you’ll be checking your phone a lot at Comic-Con. Using the official Comic-Con app, following the #SDCC tag on Twitter, posting photos to Instagram and status updates to Facebook, texting your friends, listening to music while you wait in 2+ hour lines. Your phone will most likely die before the end of the day so make sure you have a way to charge it.
  • Sharpie  or pen – To jot down notes, doodle while you’re bored, or for spur of the moment celebrity encounters or sightings.
  • Sunglasses – Cause July in San Diego is hot and sunny (for the most part) and some of the panel lines start outdoors.
  • Poster Tube – This is something I was lacking last year and really wish I had. There are so many free posters during conventions and the best way to keep them looking good is in a poster tube. The Nerdy Girlie mentioned she made one out of a wrapping paper tube. The FOX booth also usually gives them away at the start of each day.
  • Handheld mirror – Especially useful if you’re cosplaying. For checking your hair and makeup before a photo is taken, and there will be lots of photos taken!
  • Light sweater or hoodie – The convention center can get cold and the weather does get cooler at night in San Diego because it’s right on the water. Layering is a good idea so you can take off and put on as needed.
  • Comfy shoes – Cannot stress this one enough. You’ll be doing so much walking. The convention center has 2.6 million sq. ft. of facilities and outside events extend a couple miles from that in every direction.

What else am I missing? What are your must haves for Comic-Con this year?

5 Fandom Friday – Comic Book Characters Who Should Have Their Own TV Show/Movie

Five Fandom Friday

I love love love this week’s writing prompt for 5 Fandom Friday! There are a few comic book characters I have always wanted to see on the big screen (or small screen for that matter).

Anarky by DC Comics

1. Anarky (DC Comics)

Update: Check out my essay on Why Batman’s Anarky is More Relevant Than Ever.

Number one on my list has always been Anarky. I highly recommend checking him out via the graphic novel Batman: Anarky. He is one of the few comic book villains I actually feel has a just cause for doing what he does. He fights for the oppressed and wants to liberate the masses. The only thing that prevents him from being classified as a hero rather than a villain, is that he takes an extremist point of view that ultimately makes him no better than those he is trying to take down. He is quite similar to V from V for Vendetta except that he has extremely high intelligence and is just a child when he starts his vigilantism. I would love to see a film featuring Anarky especially considering the political climate as of late! Take note DC!!

Storm from Marvel's X-Men

2. Storm (Marvel)

One of my favorite female comic book heroes, Storm, is a badass and deserves her own spinoff film from the X-men movies. Of all the mutant’s powers, hers would be the ones I’d want to have. I like to think of Storm as a kind of mutant witch because she can control the weather and the energy of living things. I also love the fact that she’s a leader and has lead both the X-Men in Cyclops absence in addition to the underground Morlocks group. There’s actually a whole graphic novel about Storm’s involvement with the Morlocks called X-Men: Storm. I actually really hope to see the Morlocks in the next X-Men film. It is possible since the next film has Apocalypse and the Morlocks didn’t want to join Apocalypse and so were experimented on.

Johnny the Homicidal Maniac

3. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (Slave Labor Graphics)

Oh my dear, dear Nny. How I love thee. Johnny the Homicidal Maniac helped me get through some tough times in high school. His murderous rampages were an outlet for many a teenage angst that sometimes ventured into theoretical homicidal territory. True Johnny was pretty messed up, but his insights into people and life in general were actually quite poignant, albeit sad too. He was depressed a lot of the time, but his depression made me feel not as alone in mine. I also loved his delusions like the Psycho Doughboys and Nail Bunny. Johnen Vasquez who is the writer/illustrator of JTHM is also the creator of Invader Zim, so it’s not so far-fetched to hope for a Johnny cartoon sometime in the future. The Director’s Cut graphic novel was out of print for a while, but it’s available again on Amazon! I highly recommend it. I have the paperback version, but often consider getting the pretty hardcover version too.

Transmetropolitan Lust for Life

4. Spider Jerusalem (Vertigo)

I’m actually hoping for a series of Transmetropolitan movies or a TV show, so Spider Jerusalem would obviously be featured. If you haven’t read the Transmetropolitan series yet, I suggest you get your bum over to Amazon right now and pre-order the new collection, called Absolute Transmetropolitan, that’s coming out in a few weeks. Spider is actually based on writer Hunter S. Thompson. He lives in a cyber-punk universe complete with genetically modified humans who take traits from animals and other creatures, to tyrannical presidents, and crazed religious cults. Spider is just as doped up as the real Thompson, but also has two female sidekicks named Yelena and Channon. They all have a sort of love-hate relationship, but I think that’s pretty reasonable considering the times they live in. I’m always a fan of 1984-esque stories and this is by far one of the best ones out there.

Harley Quinn

5. Harley Quinn (DC Comics)

I feel like this is a no brainer considering how many Harley Quinns I see at conventions every year. Perhaps she’ll get her own film after The Suicide Squad is released, but that’s pending its’ questionable success. There really hasn’t been a whole lot of back story  on Harley Quinn, although I hear The New 52 does cover some of it in her feature issues. It’s quite surprising to me considering she’s sometimes referred to as the female Deadpool or even the Deadpool of the DC Universe. My only qualm is that a lot of people still consider her to just be the Joker’s girlfriend, when she is so much more than that. I think that says a lot about her co-dependency on Joker, which a lot of people can relate to. Personally I would love to delve more into her psyche and how humor became such a large part of her persona.

*Please note some of the links included in this post are Amazon affiliate links. If you do make a purchase via these links I  receive a small amount of compensation. A girl’s gotta eat, but I assure you these are all hand-picked products that I personally recommend!

My blog was nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award!

I was very pleased to find out yesterday that my blog was nominated for The Dragon’s Loyalty Award by Travelling In My Bookcase, a fellow tabletop gamer and avid book reading blogger! Thank you my dear!

Dragon's Loyalty Award

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just someone who follows and comments regularly. 

The rules for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award are:

1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3. You must share  7  things other bloggers may not know about you.
4. Nominate up to  15  bloggers for Dragon’s Loyalty Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5. Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

So my dear readers, here are seven juicy things you may not know about me:

1. I have absolutely no tattoos, but have 9 ear piercings and my nose is pierced. I usually only wear earrings in about 4 of the 9 ear piercings and have a tiny silver star in my nose at all times.

2. I don’t remember my first kiss or who it was with. I’m not sure what that says about me, but I guess it wasn’t very memorable. Oh well!

3. I named my first cat Sherlock after Sherlock Holmes…when I was six. My Dad was an English teacher and I loved the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. I’m still very much into mystery and am definitely a fan of the BBC series with Benedict Cumberbatch.

4. I really, really dislike and am kind of afraid of kangaroos. I get that it’s pretty much an irrational fear, but not if I came across one in the Australian outback! I think it’s their giant legs and tiny arms. It’s like a miniature T-Rex without the giant teeth and aggression. Plus what’s with their pouchy thing and their 3 VAGINAS?! Come on now…I can barely handle having one.

5. My first nerdy love was probably reading, followed by Star Trek: TNG. I am lucky and have highly educated parents with good taste.

6. I had a phase in high school where I was obsessed with Tinkerbell. I started a band with some friends and we called ourselves Tink & The Lost Boys.

7. If there were no health repercussions from it, I would eat pizza every single day. The more toppings the better.

Ok, so I have to nominate a bunch of people now. You’re all so awesome though!

1. The Nerds of Color
2. Metal and the Geek
3. Schtick & Substance
4. Giirl Gone Geek
5. Rebekka Lien
6. The Belle Jar
7. You Fancy Me Mad
8. De Pepi
9. How to Fan Girl
10. Geek and Prosper

Now be off and spread the love with more of your fellow bloggers! ❤

Countdown to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Hollywood

If you know me at all or have been following along with this blog, you probably know how much I love Harry Potter. You can imagine my excitement then when I received an email entitled “The Countdown to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter has begun!” Although Universal didn’t give an exact date, they’ve stated the WWoHP will open in Spring of 2016. So for those of us who really will be counting down, that’s potentially 9-10 months away!!! Or 303 days. Or 7,272 hours…You know. If we’re really counting…

While I have already been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando (before they built the add-ons with Diagon Alley and all that), I am still beyond excited to have Hogwarts practically in my backyard! Universal Hollywood is only 5 miles from me and I can see the construction driving down one of the main streets in Burbank!! I’m going to start saving up for a season pass because lord knows they’re going to jack up their prices once the WWoHP opens.

Here’s the official video released by Universal today at the IPW tradeshow in Orlando.

Btw, Quidditch inspired 3D goggle glasses?! I know I won’t be the only one who tries to pocket those…

Are you as excited as I am for more Harry Potter theme parks??

5 Fandom Friday – Fictional Characters I Most Identify With

Wow, so this was a difficult prompt for me. I really had to think about it and revisit a lot of my favorite books, TV shows, and films in order to remember my favorite characters as well as those I really related to. Digging deep into why I identify with these characters also taught me more about myself, which I found interesting. I think this has been my favorite 5 Fandom Friday yet.

Jane Lane from MTV's DariaMe cosplaying as Jane during Comic Con last year.

Jane Lane (Daria, MTV 1997-2001)

Daria was one of my favorite shows as a pre-teen /early teen. I remember watching it when I was in middle school and discussing episodes with my friends on the bus rides to school. I actually secretly wanted to be Quinn, but always knew I was more like Daria’s best friend Jane. Jane was super arty and down to earth like me. She was definitely more of an actual artist than I was, but I did paint, write, take photos, and play music. She was sarcastic like Daria, but still had a look on the bright side demeanor even when she was being pessimistic. She was hip and pretty, but an outsider, which I have always identified with. I think Jane would have been more of a social butterfly provided there were actually other intelligent hip people at the school besides Daria. I really liked both Daria and Jane because they weren’t afraid to be smart or smart-asses and recognized how dumb most people were. Yep, me and Jane would have been buds in real life. That’s me in the photo above cosplaying as Jane at Comic-Con last year!

Alex Mack

Alex Mack (The Secret World of Alex Mack, Nickelodeon 1994-1998)

Does anyone remember this show?! I loved 90’s Nickelodeon. I remember watching The Secret World of Alex Mack when I was at my Dad’s house in elementary school. If you don’t remember the show, Alex is almost hit by a truck from a chemical plant and is drenched in some sort of toxic sludge chemical. The accident gives her awesome powers like turning into a puddle of goo, telekinesis, and an electrical/heat charge. It was essentially the X-Men for tween girls. Alex Mack was a super hero and my role model for a while. I even dressed like her. I related to her because I always felt special and different. I was in gifted classes all through out school and was treated differently because of it. I liked to think my brain was my super power, but I wanted super powers like Alex had too. However, even though Alex had powers, she wasn’t a show off. She still stayed a regular kid and was even bullied by Jessica Alba’s character. I can definitely relate to that too although I didn’t experience bullying in the way that she did.

echo by francesca lia block

Echo (Echo by Francesca Lia Block, YA novel)

In high school, I was in a feminist club called Appreciating Women Everywhere. Our president, my lovely friend Kristyn, introduced me to Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. I became obsessed with Francesca Lia Block’s books after that, gobbling up as many as I possibly could. They were short young adult novels, but the writing was so beautiful and emotional. Her books touched me in a way that fiction never had before. I read Echo in either my sophomore or junior year of high school. There was so much I related to in that book. Echo had a beautiful hippie artist mother (like me!) and a dad that wasn’t really there for her. Her father is diagnosed with cancer and eventually dies. While both my parents were alive, they were divorced and my relationship with my Dad was pretty rocky. My mom had cancer when I was about eight years old so I definitely related to that aspect too. Echo has issues with the men in her life because of her relationship with her father. I think a lot of us women have dealt with that. She does fall for a boy named Storm, but their relationship wasn’t meant to be at the time. I too experienced that with a boy I met in middle school, who would come in and out of my life for the next ten years.

Ghost World

Enid Coleslaw (Ghost World, 2001)

I love Ghost World so much that I had a hard time choosing between Enid & Rebecca. I feel like I have qualities from both of them. I identify with Rebecca’s practicality and how she wants so bad to feel like a grown up. I couldn’t wait til I was 18 and could do what I wanted. However, I felt like I identified even more with Enid. She’s really into music, especially 70’s punk and obscure stuff like Indian surf rock. I totally dressed like her in high school and embraced my weirdness. But Enid also has another side to her. She is so afraid of conformity and ending up like her normal, boring classmates. She ends up clinging to Seymour (Steve Buscemi’s character) out of sheer boredom and and loneliness, in addition to the social experiment aspect of it. In the process though, she gets in way over her head and ends up hurting everyone around her. Most importantly she hurts her best friend, Rebecca, which is further complicated with their mutual affection for Josh. I too had a situation like that in high school where my best friend and I liked the same guy and it turned into a big horrible mess.

clementine eternal sunshine

Clementine Kruczynski (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004)

Eternal Sunshine is such an emotional roller coaster of a film, but it’s one of my favorites. It came out the year I graduated high school and what a year that was for me. I had been with my high school boyfriend for over three years, but had fallen in love with someone else while we were still together. Things got extremely messy as you can imagine and there were times when I wished I could have erased him from my memories completely. I love Clementine’s character because she is so free-spirited and fun, but I felt like that part of me was slowly dying along with my relationships with these two guys. At some point she discovers she has a mental illness and I also struggled with depression and anxiety through my teenage years. Luckily the film has a hopeful ending, which made me feel better about my own situation even if I wasn’t starting over with one of the men I loved.

What fictional characters do you identify with?

Movie Review – MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max

When my boyfriend, Justin, first showed me the trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, I admit I was a bit skeptical. Was this seriously going to just be one long car chase? Could a movie like that really have much of a story? I didn’t know much about Mad Max other than it was set in a post-apocalyptic setting in the desert. I hadn’t seen the other films and never played the video games. It also looked like Charlize Theron was the ONLY female character in it, which made me roll my eyes in exasperation. However, I decided to give the film a chance after hearing rave reviews from friends on Facebook and professional critics alike. I went on Sunday night with Justin to the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood to experience it in IMAX 3D.

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Um…so…HOLY SHIT you guys! Mad Max: Fury Road actually turned out to be a truly amazing cinematic experience. I was on the edge of my seat for pretty much the entire film and barely breathed during the heavy action sequences. I loved the creepy weirdo universe George Miller created, especially all the wacko jargon and character names. The bad guy is called Immortan Joe and totally looks like the evil clown from the Twisted Metal video games. He’s got this respirator thing with someone’s teeth on the front and wears clear body armor with badges and metals painted on. He is scary as hell! There are also all these young “war boys” that are basically bred to be his army and do all the dirty work like operate the insane pulley system in The Citadel and drive intense vehicles across the desert. Mad Max is actually captured by some of these dudes and used as a “blood bag” for the sick war boys who have radiation poisoning. I don’t really understand why Max and some of the other characters are healthy while most everyone else is really messed up or sick, but perhaps that’s explained in the early films.

While the majority of the film really was a giant car chase across the desert, the epicness of the action was actually incredibly riveting and original. There were some seriously crazy looking vehicles including one that carried a guy whose sole job it was to play the guitar! The Doof Warrior, as he’s called, is responsible for keeping Joe’s war boys motivated during battle in addition to contributing to the diagetic soundtrack of the film. I can’t think of anything more metal than that. Oh wait, add to that the fact that it’s a double headed guitar that’s also a flamethrower and now it can’t get more metal than that. Whenever the Doof appeared, he stole the show for sure, but the real star was Charlize Theron’s character, Imperator Furiosa.

Furiosa is one of Immortan Joe’s commanders, but she betrays him in order to free the five women he has kept as his wives for breeding. She leads him and his men in a wild car chase across the Wasteland as Joe tries to get back his wives, which he considers to be his property. At some point, however, you find out Furiosa had another motive in making this great escape. She wants to get back to The Green Place, which is where she’s originally from, and is a place completely ruled by women. Apparently, Joe snatched her and her mother from there when she was a little girl, but apparently her mom didn’t make it past the 3rd day. I kept wondering how that happened and what Joe even wanted them for. Was he planning on making Furiosa’s mom one of his wives? Or even making her one of his wives? If so, why does she now look like one of the war boys? Also, how did Furiosa lose her arm? This film leaves a lot of questions unanswered, but I suppose that’s so the sequels can fill it all in.

I keep hearing people call this a feminist film. While I don’t think feminism should be a dirty word, there is a little bit more going on here than just that. Mad Max: Fury Road is a social and historical commentary about the oppression of people in general and women more specifically. This film and the Mad Max universe, takes place post-civilization and post-apocalypse; we have no idea what civilization was like before then. Was it like it is now? Or were people more civilized? Did everyone have equal rights? The point I’m trying to make is that the Mad Max films show what it’s like to live in post-civilization when there are no real rules anymore and people are just trying to survive. Someone always comes to power in these situations because people need someone to rally behind who will make sure things get done. Very often, this person is corrupt because of their attraction to power. However, things might have been very different if another person had seized control of The Citadel, Gas Town, and Bullet Farm initially. A woman might have been more just in her position, but power can corrupt across any gender or race ( The example that comes to mind is President Coin from the Hunger Games).

What makes Immortan Joe a misogynist and likely a rapist too, is that he calls his five wives his property and most likely forces them to have sex with him in order to successfully breed a healthy heir. It seems to me in a post-civilized world where there is no real government or written law, property is in the eye of the beholder anyway and therefore could be taken at any time by anyone. Of course, women nor any person, is not property and should never be treated as such. This is essentially slavery and exploitive in many ways, and obviously no one wants to live like that. So, is it really a surprise then that the Five Wives want to escape from Joe and go someplace where there are only women?

I think what so many of these so called men’s rights guys are up in arms about is the fact that a woman actually saves the women in this film. She is the surprise superhero, and becomes the main protagonist, not their beloved Mad Max. I guess that can seem emasculating to some guys, but if you ask me, they couldn’t have been very comfortable in their masculinity to begin with. Sure Max helps them, as does Nux, but Furiosa would die to protect them all and nearly does in the end. However, I’d like to point out that she does becomes a damsel in distress herself and that Max (a man) has to save her, seeing as he’s a universal blood donor. She still had to rely on men to aid her and needed one to live.

Although the women are heading to The Green Place of Many Mothers, which is a matriarchy where no men are allowed, the women ultimately need the help of the men in order to survive. The mothers of the green place are nearly wiped out on their own, which was probably a combination of being snatched by men using them as breeders, fighting with other clans, and starvation. The point is that men and women need each other. THEY ARE EQUALS.  The dynamic on the War Rig with the wives, Furiosa, Max, and Nux is that of equality. Everyone has a job. Everyone is working together. The ones who know how to fight, fight. The ones who know how to fix things, fix things. It doesn’t matter their gender or age for that matter. Now tell me please, dear people of the internet, what is so horrible about that reality? These people have helped each other escape oppression and bring down an evil tyrant. The women are just as powerful as the men, especially given the circumstances. If men would just stop oppressing us and projecting outdated views on what women should and shouldn’t be doing, they’d get it.

Feminism is about equality. Yes there are militant feminists, as there are militant believers of every kind of theology, school of thought, and ism. Extremists are often louder and more media-worthy than their normal counterparts, but that’s why they’re called extremists. They are not the norm. I can’t wait to live in a world where men don’t mock or are surprised by kick ass women. How about supporting a fellow human being who is standing up for themselves and eliminating the injustices of the world? You’re a feminist if you can be unselfish for one moment and imagine yourself in another person’s shoes who may not be as privileged as you because of their sex, gender or sexual identity. Feminism is not a four letter word and we shouldn’t be afraid to call each other a feminist. Letting someone else tell you what you are is an acceptance of oppression.

So George Miller, I applaud you and your film for creating this dialogue between men and women about equality and feminism. It’s about time that a man wasn’t afraid to show a woman fighting on her own terms. Go see Mad Max: Fury Road!!

5 Fandom Friday – 5 Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done

Five Fandom Friday

Ok this week’s 5 Fandom Friday took a little bit of digging into the ol’ mind caves. My nerdiness goes wayyyyy back. I mean I was in gifted class from grades 3-12. I love science museums. And there are tons of things I can nerd out over. However, I chose to go with things that are still relevant for me today. It just so happened that they are also mostly pop culture related as well. Here are the 5 Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done:

Game Haus Cafe in Glendale, CA

5. I am a regular at a board game cafe.

Yes that’s right. This exists. Game Häus. A cafe devoted to playing board games. It’s one of my favorite places in all of Los Angeles and quite possibly the world…maybe. It is pretty incredible though. They have about 900 different games, from the classics like Monopoly and Scrabble to deck building card games and hardcore table top strategy games. It can be pretty overwhelming at first, but the guys who work there are all super helpful. If you just give them an idea of what kind of games you like, they will recommend a game for you, and it’s always a good time. It only costs $5 and you can play ALL DAY. Equally incredible is the delicious selection of food and drinks they offer. I am particularly fond of the cornmeal pizzas and their cafe lattes. If you have a sweet tooth, they also always have amazing cookies, cakes, and other naughty confectionaries. So yeah, you can find me there with my boyfriend at least twice a month.

Liana at the Renaissance Faire 2014

4. I have been going to Renaissance Faires religiously since I was 11.

I’m pretty sure I went to some even before the age of 11, but it all changed that year. That was the year my Mom and I actually worked at the Renaissance Faire. Well technically I couldn’t really “work” at the faire, I volunteered, but I was assigned to a shift just like people who were getting paid, so yeah. We were both beverage wenches. I served sodas and she served beer. We were stationed in different locations of course. I was with a bunch of teenagers, which I loved. Some of the vendors even gave me things for free, probably because I was such a cute kid. 😛 I ate giant pickles and enormous turkey legs. I watched the Washing Well Wenches and the Mud Show. I gaped at the fairies and the tree lady. I spoke in Olde English the best I could. It was all so magical and I loved every second of it. So, naturally, I went back every year. This was all in Florida, but I’ve continued the tradition here in California. This year, however, I couldn’t go so I did the next best thing; Medieval Times! I enjoyed a lovely surprise party there organized by my boyfriend and cheered on the blue knight with 15 of my friends and family. ❤

Justin and Liana Doctor Who Cosplay

3. I built a Tardis from scratch for my Halloween costume two years ago.

I really wish I had a better photo of it, but alas. My boyfriend, Justin, got me hooked on Doctor Who a few years ago so of course we had to dress up as the 11th Doctor and the Tardis for Halloween. I built my Tardis out of a cardboard box from Office Depot, spray painted it, made paper windows, made handles from straws, etc, etc. It was probably my favorite costume I’ve ever made. I wore it with galaxy print leggings and a Bad Wolf sign pinned to my chest. Unfortunately, the West Hollywood Halloween Parade pretty much destroyed it and I had to trash it shortly after. RIP sweet Tardis.

Me and Mom at the Wizarding World

2. I have regularly nerded out on Harry Potter with my mom…like a lot.

Yeah my mom is cool like that. She likes Harry Potter. She has read most of the books and seen all the movies. When the last few movies came out we went to see them with a Harry Potter cosplay group and dressed up. We went to Islands of Adventure the year after the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened. It was magical, OF COURSE. We ate in The Three Broomsticks, had Butterbeer, met the Hogwarts Express conductor, rode all the rides, etc, etc. Three years ago we went to London for the Olympics, but managed to squeeze in a few Harry Potter related activities including visiting Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station and the village of Lacock where they filmed parts of the first few films. My mom is awesome! Love you moo. 😀

severus snape and the marauders kickstarter poster

1. My boyfriend and I are making a Harry Potter fan film.

I recently posted a few images from a promotional photoshoot we did for our Harry Potter fan film entitled Severus Snape & The Marauders. We are in the post-production phase now, but we have been working on getting this film made for almost a year and a half now. During the Summer last year, we launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which failed. But, we didn’t give up and re-launched on Kickstarter in November. After a successful Harry Potter themed launch party, and the help of our large Facebook following, we managed to reach our goal in one week! We went into production in February and had one hell of time filming some pretty epic wizarding duels. This film has been a serious labor of love for Justin and I, but we are lucky enough to be surrounded by some pretty amazing people. Everyone involved loves Harry Potter just as much as we do and wants to see this film get made. If you’re curious, feel free to check out Justin’s previous Harry Potter fan film The Greater Good, which has nearly 3 million views on YouTube!