Archive for BSG

The Sissyboy’s Guide to the Galaxy

Posted in art & music, maps & mapping, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

I once took this film class on animation where the professor claimed that you can basically draw an enclosed blob around any two dots (eyes) and a “mouth” and the human brain will pretty much instantaneously recognize a face in it (go ‘head try it. Its also a great party trick!)

So now, I’m beginning to think that for map fetishists, such as myself, you can put, well not quite any, but a liberal range of random shapes (a torn tortilla, a nebulous nebula…) in front of our faces and we’ll tell you what recognizable mappage it evokes. Which was all an irrelevant preface to show off
the The North American Nebula:
n7000_1

You might be wondering how many clicks away from our Solar System (our solar system is called “the solar system”?! really, I think we’re overdue to rename it at this point), to this far off nebula. And honestly, I have no frakking idea. Oh, but hey, Patrick Stewart might…

BTDubbs, I was born dangerously close to St.Patrick’s Day and was disturbingly almost named “Patrick” (um, crazy immigrant parents… thought it might be “cute”?) but luckily came out twenty-one hours early enough to avoid living in this world as a black guy named “Patrick” with an insanely Irish surname. (My brother Brian was not quite as lucky, but also, in a Brian-ized America, he was never in quite as much danger).

Anyways, as I was saying, intergalactic expertise has never been as refined as the Beastie Boys or Patrick Stewart, so lets go have a look through our magical sci-fi cube and see what it reveals, shall we?

I was never quite a trekkie, but this “episode” makes me feel like maybe I just wasn’t exposed to the right stuff?

Now was that AWESOME or what?!
captainjamestkirkvv0
And are you bummed that BSG is ending for all eternity in like three days– or what? (I have little faith in a coherent 90 minute smooth landing of the chaos the writers have stirred up since January, but meh, we’ll see…)

I’m gonna go back to pretending to lead a productive life gay_uncle_mug(feh- birthdays, grad school, driving to North Carolina to be a good gay queer uncle), but I’ll keep up the spirit of this inane post with a little sum’in-sumpin for the sci-fi dykes. Right, cuz we’re all attracted to metallic breasts.

Another BTW, did you guys know that Venus is in retrograde?! Whichever side you fall on in the astronomy/ astrology divide, I’m just saying, somebodys gotta tell you these things.

Some days I wonder why God/Al Gore anyone invented the internet…

Catch ya on the flip,
Sunshine Superkilpatrickmahoganyfinneganface
Supernova!

sexy_robot
wait, is that a North Sea Nebula behind her??!

Advertisements

Who Will Botch the Watchmen?

Posted in art & music, comics, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

watchmen
I think I’m gonna claim the title fangrrl, cuz, frankly, I don’t fit in so well with the fanboy trope, and I think its a boringly constricting category. Not to mention the, um, social ‘stigmata’ (sic).

So, as the resident fangrrrl (is the use of three “r”s over doing it?), I’ve been anxious about this whole watchmen movie project since the first whispers I’d heard about it several years back. (Note, that if I was a proper fanboy, I would have glibly located my first encounter with watchmen movie rumors somewhere in the 90s). Over the past year, which is to say watchmen-babiesever since rumors started gaining some real traction, I’ve been monitoring pretty closely the ambitious, larger-than-life enterprise that megalomaniac director Zack Snyder so humbly agreed to do on the reasoning that ‘If I don’t make it myself, some other schmoe is gonna do it and they’ll definitely fuck it up’ (um, that a paraphrase, not a quote).

So here is a lesson. Its not a new one, but you may as well start noticing it in all the little places it sticks its nose: Capitalism, in its ceaseless voraciousness will always, always find a way to capture whatever prized morsel of art, aesthetic, experience, politic, artifact, nostalgia, wisdom, rarity, or mundane distraction you might just want to keep for yourself or your people, and spit it out as a consumable which could very well be vivacious or downright dreary.

oh, and if its a mainstream flick it’ll probably charge you ten quid just to witness whether its the former or the latter. Bottom line, capitalism is beginning to expose itself as a brutal natural enemy of fanboys. Or is that frenemy?

watchmen-minutemen

There were many failed attempts by less ambitious and even less plausible directors to bring Alan Moore’s graphic novel to the silver screen- but this isnt a fucking historiography! If I had a chance, early enough in the process to sit down to any of the potential directors (Captain Snyder inclusive), I’d pull up my chair, probably flip it around backwards so as not to too harshly disturb any lingering stereotypes they still have based on black people on TV in the 70s and 80s, and I’d say:


Listen up white boy, cuz i’m only gonna say this once!
Hey, so I just wanna make sure you get one fundamental thing before you royally FUBAR this whole endeavor. You don’t translate a graphic novel into a movie. Don’t fucking try to fool yourself. Its not a goddamn photo essay. The comic book medium is particularly evocative because its depicted in simple iconographic drawings which provide space for we, the readers, to graft our own texture and atmosphere to flesh out the 2-D world. Its not like a novella where we just conjure up whatever. Rather we all depart from the same visual referent, the same props and cues, the same facial expressions, but we add the sweat and the smells, the broader context beyond the four walls of the panel- indeed– the dimensions of time and space and imaginataion that transition us from one panel or page to the next. A book, though most people are familiar with the challenges of adapting it, does not demand that. Even a movie based on a serial comic book, a tad trepidatious in that you never know quite where to position the tenor on the campy-realistic spectrum, is more achievable, in that you just sort of abstract fundamental elements and tell a decent story with it and you can still escape with your life. A graphic novel is the worst most challenging hybrid of both. And thus, you cannot simply pretend that you are translating a “text” nor that you can just “distill” from an essence from a series of pictures. The Watchmen is an epic that is not to be fucked with, cuz you will surely fail.

but thats just me talking. lets hear from our panel of geeky white men:

Brian K Vaughan (genius behind Runaways and Y the Last Man, also a writer of Lost)
brian_k_vaughan
“I’ll go see it if it doesn’t feel like a betrayal of what Alan Moore wants. But its like making a stage play of Citizen Kane. I guess it could be OK, but why? The medium is the message.”

damn straight right.

John “I’m not a PC but I play one on TV” Hodgman (who, I might add had an amazing cameo on Battlestar Galactica a few weeks back getting Starbuck all riled up!)

john_hodgman
“The movie can be good as long as it appreciates that it has no reason to exist. And yet I think Watchmen deserves an homage, and I’m hopeful because Zack Snyder is making it”

how gracious. and our last expert?

Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy, duh?!)
joss_l
“its a comic book about pop culture as viewd through a comic book, so I didn’t see the point of making a movie. But I saw the trailer, and it looked phenomenal”

merh? phernerma-whoo?

And perhaps its only from the nadir of a project doomed to failure that it can aspire to the impossibility of success.

Now I get to be all nicey face and lavish praise on the perspicacious Zack Snyder. Cuz honestly, I think the Watchmen would have really really been a real fuck up if he wasn’t the directrix behind the film. There I said it. I full expect to enjoy the movie, in all its overdone sensational glory, even whilst I mutter intermittently about how such and such pithy element of the graphic novel REALLY ought to have been incorporated into the screenplay, and why the hell would he have overlooked that! …and the like.

Gosh, are you worn out by my drivel yet? Ready for some eye candy? Lets reflect on the ensemble of dystopian anti-heroes:

Dr. Manhattan

Probably the most impressive interpretation of the bunch. Thank christ our ever-present protector Al Gore they didn’t try to pull this off in the 90s. Can you imagine?! Strike that, can you imagine that Joel Silver who produced the Matrix wanted to make this movie (also back in the 90s) and wanted to cast fucking Governor Arnold fucking Schwarzeneger as J’onn John!!! His last name means “black nigger” *(see commentary below)? How did so many of you people vote this turd into office?

ahem, moving on.

Silk Spectre
meh, did they even bother give her the beauty mark on her cheek? possible botch. we’ll see…

Ozymandias
how do you botch casting a prick? they should do okay… I don’t know whats off about him. Maybe he could have been a tad “better looking” in an obnoxious cosmetic surgery kinda way? Hrm… no, thats not it…

the Comedian
Nailed it.

Nite Owl
ummm BOTCH! Nite Owl is NOT FUCKING BATMAN! Its a bloody spoof on batman. This guy doesn’t look old enough, impotent enough, insecure enough, or fucking have a beer with Norm from Cheers enough for a Watchmen adaptation. Botched! Fail!

Rorschach
Okay, here is something to work with. Tone down the fucking Christian Bale batman-grumble about 3 notches and it might be pretty fucking right on. There’s no way to tell of course cuz these shots are lifted directly from the graphic novel. One thing I will say though, is they’re doing some cool ass shit with his mask! Thats not your mamma’s 90s technology my friends!

Okay, this has been a long post. I hope it makes up for the radio silence that corresponded to my flu. 😦

I guess we’re all left with the question, Who Will Botch the Watchmen? I don’t think it will be the director, or the screenwriters, or even the costume folks. The portrayals by the actors themselves may very well determine the merit of this whole spectacle. IMHO, the movie truly ought to be a success, one that might be slightly perturbed by idiotic choices here or there, but these choices should not be so substantial that they take down the whole opera house. And I’m with the PC guy here, this movie has NO reason to exist.

Who wants to go see it with your favorite fangrrrl? (promise I won’t yammer during the movie)

The World is Yours to Savor Before Inevitable Capitalist Co-optation,
Sunshine Superfüry

Gender in the Vacuum of Space

Posted in politics, sci-fi with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 23, 2009 by Sunshine Superboy

bsg_recaps

Warning: there is a serious BSG spoiler toward the end of this post. If you care, don’t scroll down till you watch the new episode that aired Fri, Jan 16th, 2009.

image47
The continuation continues tonight. Just cuz I’m feeling a little vapid for my Battlestar Galactica post, I’m revisiting the issue, but like for real this time. Part of what fans like myself find compelling about BSG is that it actually IS that deep sometimes, and also offers, through the magic of television, a visualization (as sci-fi is wont to do) of a radically different world. With BSG, for example, we get to see on screen, in the flesh, women in real positions of power (not sidekicks or tokens), which, at a more fundamental level, can be a glimpse into our own world, where that power already exists all around us- after all, what is science fiction but the projection of our own cosmology just a few steps beyond the present moment? Here we are in 2009 and almost everything that Philip K. Dick, (or even Kurt Vonnegut for that matter) wrote about (aka “foretold”) has come to pass.

.not my homeboy.

.not my homeboy.

So about a year ago, I was in New Orleans visiting a friend and had all this gender stuff punch through in an interesting way. I was playing catch-up somewhere around the end of Season 2 or the beginning of Season 3 on her roommate’s BSG dvds, when out of nowhere my befuddled friend, who was in the kitchen, heard me shouting from the living room “Holyfuck this is SO intense!”

I was so overwhelmed that I had to pause the dvd and physically get up and walk to the kitchen just to release some nerves. It was right at a moment where Admiral Cain (a woman, and awesome butch lesbian at that!) had shown up outta the blue, immediately out-ranking Bill Adama who had worked more than a season to gain the trust of President Laura Roslin. Gender and power. It got crazier. Adama had just deployed Kara Thrace aka “Starbuck”, as his best fighter and most trusted maverick, to assassinate the cutthroat Admiral Cain (for the good of the fleet and all surviving humanity).

The tension on screen between the two heavy hitting women (Cain and Starbuck) was palpable, complex, and extremely fraught. But for the audience, seeing two women dominate the screen time, and the power plays of the plot was a whole other mind trip. It was good fun.

the black lady never botched the oath the way Justice Roberts did.

the black lady never botched the oath the way Justice Roberts did.

And this was wholly apart from the chief executive power of the fucking awesome female president, Laura Roslin (seen here being sworn in).

I guess you have to see the show to appreciate the depth of how gender is playing out in the post-apocalyptic vacuum of space. But it really does keep unfolding in brave and complex ways. Can I reveal one more spoiler? Caprica Pegasus Six? Gay (well, queer or at least bi or something). Admiral Cain? Hella Gay. n49517262446_1887And now Lieutenant Felix Gaeta? He’s the gay too! (Not that we didn’t see that coming since fracking season 1). So much gender and sexuality to muse about… let alone, questions of how to gender a cylon….

Here’s an excerpt from a 45-minute long Brown University interview with Mary McDonnell (who plays Laura Roslin). Its an opening reflection on gender in the fleet on the show.

Stephanie Nicora noted that Battlestar Galactica is superficially feminist, with women in charge — but this seems to be true more of the Cylons than of humanity. In fact, Rousseau’s notion of separate spheres seems to be entrenched in the show: Roslin is President, but she can’t do anything much without the support of Galactica — headed by Commander Bill Adama, a man. When Admiral Helena Cain arrives, a female military leader, both Roslin and Adama agree that she’s a dire threat. Roslin doesn’t even have control over her own body — no one asks her whether or not she wants the cure from Hera’s blood — and by extension she is forced to adopt a pro-life stance and ban abortion. Her question: as a feminist, what’s your interpretation of these narratives?

Post comments or just go head and vote on my first Black Maps poll.

So Say We All?
~Sunshine Superboy

ooooooh, and just for kicks and cylon invasion preparedness, check this fracking thing out:
how-to-spot-a-cylon