i'm headed to leakycon dallas!

Come See Me Talk about Fanfiction at Leakycon Dallas!

In an interesting development: I’ll be lecturing about the history of fanfiction at Leakycon Dallas! You can see the schedule for the whole convention here. I’ll be presenting at 10:15 AM on Saturday, August 10th. It’ll be fun, I promise–we’ll cover arguments people had in 1978 that changed how we organized fanfiction for decades, how the VHS tape helped fandom explode and anime reach America, and we will talk All. About. Zines.

I hope I see you there! And if you’re not already, follow me on Twitter so you can keep up with my con prep and what I get up to at the convention!

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REVIEW: Lumos by Harry and the Potters

If you weren’t involved in the height of Harry Potter’s thing in the late 2000s, you might find it weird that there was–and still is–a varied and vibrant musical genre called wrock, or wizard rock, entirely comprised of bands and artists making songs about the wizarding world. If you were involved, you are probably not surprised–and you’ve probably heard of Harry and the Potters.

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Hugo Finalists: Best Short Story

The Hugo Awards are an interesting set of awards. Decided by those who choose to attend or to support the operation of a given year’s World Science Fiction Convention, the Hugos are a blend of a popularity contest and an industry award, voted on by fans and professionals alike. Even though the award is essentially a popularity contest–to the point where it has been famously skewed by voters working towards a political agenda–it still has a lot of clout within the sci-fi community. Despite some ballot-rigging, the finalists, and doubly so the winners, tend to be a representation of the great things happening in sci-fi.

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Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Focusing on Family Drama

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is…well, to be honest, I don’t know if it can be called bad. I have an inherent interest in the wizarding world, and the film rewarded my interest, allowing me to dive into magical 1927 Paris and the intrigues and magics and creatures of that domain. It was a very, very low bar for me to be entertained by this film, and the film hit it, because of course it did. I would actually even go so far to say that I enjoyed it better than the first one. The first one was slow-paced, with uninteresting action and almost no color; The Crimes of Grindelwald is stuffed to the gills, and the action is beautiful and colorful. In short, it has things that make it good. It clears the basic tests it needs to clear.

Sadly, the reason I’m mentioning all these good qualities first is because the film has a lot of problems. A lot of them. Most of it is more spoilery, which I’ll go into after the cut, but if you don’t want to be spoiled, you should know that this film is a lot more aware of the legacy this film has, to tie into the Harry Potter saga and explain how this era led to the next. There’s some really interesting ideas in this film, but, ultimately, they are buried under layers of confusion, presumably because Warner Brothers still has three more movies to fill with this drama. However, it feels less like stage-setting for interesting story than it does someone taking the story threads and knotting them into oblivion. Wherever the story is intended to go, this film does not do a great job of making clear, and you’re going to have a lot of questions that don’t feel like they should be questions at all.

Got that? Let’s discuss the spoilers. Spoilers past this point, guys.

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Besame Cosmetics: A Review! (With Photos!)

I have a lowkey love of all things with a vintage aesthetic. I don’t really have the budget or chutzpah to go full vintage, full time–though many women are these days, to the point that there’s a full blown vintage-aesthetic subculture. My Instagram timeline has a lot of perfectly-coiffed women in immaculate outfits, and I draw inspiration from women who can actually wear hells for my own budget-friendly clothing style. But I also pay attention to what they wear on their face, and there’s a brand that’s mentioned again and again: Besame Cosmetics.

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How We Talk About Mary

I grew up with Bruce Springsteen. When my father was home from work trips, he would sit in his basement office, the “woah-oh-oh-oh-oh”s floating up the staircase into the living room. I don’t know if I can call myself a fan, exactly, because I don’t know if I can disentangle him from my dad, from how I look back at my childhood. Ironically, much of Springsteen’s music tackles the process of looking back on childhood from a complex present, so there’s a good number of his songs that reduce me to tears. Springsteens’s got an emotional shortcut to the angst (“angst”) of my white, suburban upbringing in America.

Janelle Monae’s music also reduces me to tears, but for very different reasons.

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Genuinely Fake: When Fans Make Parodies That Mean Something

(I’m going to go on a tangent about Star Trek. Bear with me.)

There’s been a complaint, recently, about the new Star Trek series, Star Trek: Discovery. Actually, there have been a lot of complaints, but one of the real head-scratchers has been that The Orville, the parody TV show created by Seth McFarlane, feels more “Star Trek” than Discovery. While Discovery is certainly a departure from the usual Trek formula, it seems…a bit much, to decide that the parody is the more “real” creation.

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Photosets: How fans are using Photoshop and screenshots to create a new art form on Tumblr

There’s a unique art form that blossomed on a unique social platform, spurred by the unique way fandom democratizes art. Photosets, edits, or photomanips–they go by all those names, and yet many other things do, too–rose as a way for fandom to express itself beyond the bounds of fanart or fanfiction, and the aesthetic sensibilities that have risen from them have had wide-ranging implications on fandom on Tumblr.

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Do We Own Our Own Stories?

I saw Blade Runner 2049 last night. It was beautiful; it was moving; it was such an inspiring second act to the first one that I feel compelled to re-examine my feelings for that particular film. Neither Blade Runner film feels compelled to make all of its themes explicit, but the thing I found myself thinking the most about after I left the theater was the nature of our stories, how they create our identity, and our ability to retain ownership of those stories.

(There are spoilers for the film beyond this point.)