Floridian Government Officials Says “Thank you” to Broadway

The annual musical award ceremony, The Tony’s, were held last night in New York City. In reaction to the mass shooting that (early) morning in Orlando, leaving at least fifty dead and another fifty injured, host James Corden (tv show star and the Baker from this year’s Disney release of “Into the Woods,”) dedicated the night to the honor of the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting. Many other actors, singers, and public figures showed their solidarity with the Orlando and LGBTQ community by donning silver ribbons and rainbow flag pins. “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda offered heartfelt words on the red carpet: “If art is what fights tragedy, if art is what fights the void, if art helps us makes sense of violence and random acts of cowardice and killing, then tonight is important.” The Company of Hamilton performed “The Battle of Yorktown” without the customary musket props out of respect to those killed by the AR-15.

The Mayors of Orlando and Orange county reached out in a video to thank the Broadway community for “standing with us in our time of great need.”

Star Trek Beyond Trailer #2 Locked on Baby Boomers + Millennials

The third movie in the latest Star Trek film franchise launched a new trailer yesterday. Star Trek Beyond won’t premier until late July this year, but it is already hooking in the Baby Boomer and Millennial target audiences.

 

All Phasers locked on Baby Boomers

In an interesting shift from the previous two movies, this trailer hints that the movie will focus on the relationship between Bones and Kirk, rather than the Sprik dynamic that climaxed in Into Darkness’s role-flip of the iconic Wrath of Khan character development scenes. The entire first minute of the two minute, twenty-four second trailer is devoted to two older characters advising the young Kirk. The opening dialogue between Bones and Kirk delves into the young captain’s struggle to live up to his father’s legacy. Kirk self-deprecatingly claims “I joined [Starfleet] on a dare” and Bones corrects him, “you joined to see if you could live up to [your father].” Bones continues to advise Kirk, and the next voice added to the dialogue is that of an older woman ( 64 year old, new-to-the-franchise Shohreh Aghdashloo,) who also counsels Kirk on the dangers of space.

Later in the trailer, Dr. McCoy appears again to impart wisdom to a junior. This time, Spock claims, “Fear of death is illogical,” and once again, Bones counters the younger’s position: “Fear of death is what keeps us alive.” Continue reading

“The Kiss” Viral Image Offers Commentary beyond the Shock Value

Photo-credit: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images via BBC Culture

Photo-credit: Petras Malukas/AFP/Getty Images via BBC Culture

A piece of street art from Vilnius, Lithuania has been hitting the internet hard this week. The image depicts expected Republican nominee for the US Presidency, Donald Trump, in an unblinking embrace with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  From the perspective of an artist from the former Soviet bloc, this depiction reflects a cautionary wariness of the future should  Trump be elected. Internationally, its viral popularity illustrates a new dimension to the transnational dialogues on homophobia, xenophobia, and “conservative politics.”

Read more about this image:
BBC Culture Article: “a closer look at the mural reveals a level of subtle political commentary that cuts against the superficial sensation” http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20160518-what-does-the-trumpputin-kiss-really-mean

Update: Terrorism in Europe

Less than a week after James Taylor’s Facebook cry for European solidarity against terrorism, we see another terrorist attack on European soil. This time it takes place in Brussels. This time we have social media mobilisation, hashtags, as well as visible shows of support from Downing Street to the Elysee Palace.

I, personally, have received information that the Turkish government has cracked down on its citizens’ reporting of terrorist attacks and that many people there are organizing and spreading information of how to post Facebook and other social media reports from foreign IPs. I’ve not seen reports of such nature in the Associated Press. If you see something, feel free to forward it to me.

 

Link: “Downing Street Raises Belgium flag and we tweet for Brussels, but where was this sympathy after Ankara? Our indifference is fuelling organisations like ISIS” http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/downing-street-raises-the-belgian-flag-and-we-tweet-for-brussels-but-where-was-this-sympathy-after-a6946271.html

Soc. Media Rallying Cry for Solidarity against ISIL Falls Flat

On Sunday, March 13th, Ankara was assaulted once again by a terrorist attack. This is the third high-casualty terrorist attack in the past five months, and many Turkish citizens are wondering why more people around the world aren’t rallying Ankara. In one Guardian editorial, the author asks, “Where was our “Je Suis” moment?”

 

This particular quote is from a call for European solidarity by British expat pianist James Taylor. His 400 word Facebook post “went viral,” and subsequently was picked up by not only the Guardian, but also Metro News, Huffington Post, and a slew of other web news sources. This post asked the European community, “It is very easy to look at terror attacks that happen in London, in New York, in Paris and feel pain and sadness for those victims, so why is it not the same for Ankara? “ However, Ankara does not have the soft power that London, New York, and Paris have over affluent nations.The global citizens Taylor is trying to reach have probably never heard Turkish pop song, seen a Turkish film, or read a book from a Turkish author. While the popular aphorism generally declares that “culture drives commerce,” in this case, culture also drives compassion, and there are not enough cultural ties to cash in on solidarity between people separated by a continent or an ocean. His poignant call for empathy fell on ears who already are overwhelmed with compassion fatigue and who see Turkey as “other” rather than “us”. Continue reading

“Snapshots of American Culture: Japanophilia and the Otaku” now on Amazon

Learn more about this subculture that lies in the intersection of internationalism and fan culture. Now available in paperback directly from the printer (and higher royalties to the author- https://www.createspace.com/5262447 ) and from Amazon ( link ).  In exchange for some promotional marketing, I’ve secured a 90-day exclusivity contract with Amazon for the ebook version, available here.

front cover

 

Book description: Why do we love Japanese culture? What inspires hundreds of thousands of Americans to travel to anime cons each year? What are cons? What role does fanfiction play for the anime-loving community? How does Japanese culture influence our own? Can we predict what stories will be popular both in the US and Japan? This book answers these questions and more, offering insight into this unique and trendsetting facet of American culture as our world enters into an era of global art exchange unrestricted by geography.

“Je suis Charlie” Lighting up USian Social Media

Captured from linked Tumblr post, original photo credit to London's Telegraph.

You probably remember in Fall of 2012 when the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) gained international notoriety for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed (including some illustrations of him nude).

Earlier today, three masked gunmen opened fire at this paper’s headquarters in Paris, killing a dozen people and wounding another eleven before speeding away.

According to Al Jazeera America, thousands of people all across Europe have gathered in major cities, holding vigils in solidarity for the lives lost to this terrorist act of violence.

Awareness in the US is also gaining momentum as social media posts on Twitter using the #JeSuisCharlie and #IamCharlie tags, as well as photos of the solidarity rallies coming across posts on tumblr. In the pictures, participants hold up lighted placards declaring that they are “not afraid,” while other groups hold up pens to signify their belief in freedom of expression.

Tumblr: http://roryinfinity8.tumblr.com/post/107449158568/the-gasoline-station-not-afraid-source-the

 

Al Jazeera America: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/1/7/je-suis-charlie.html

ABC news: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/je-suis-charlie-message-viral-paris-attack-28064199 

Captured from linked Tumblr post, original photo credit to London's Telegraph.

Italian PSA making waves on Tumblr

This anti-domestic violence (anti-violence against women) video is making its rounds on Tumblr and I expect to see it popping up on my Facebook soon. It’s stimulating a lot of discussion over why men shouldn’t hit women and exploring ways to eliminate the cause of domestic violence. Have a look for yourself:

Tumblr: http://verboden-toegang.tumblr.com/post/107339821148/what-happens-when-you-put-a-boy-in-front-of-a-girl

The latest, and final, chapter in the legal struggle for Sherlock

Many fan fiction writers have been following the legal efforts of a group of Sherlockians in their pursuit to publish an anthology of fanwork without paying the hefty fee the Estate of Arthur Conan Doyle alleged they were owed. The Supreme Court upheld their claim that the characters published in 1887 were outside of the 75 year copyright lockout. It is important to note that storylines and characters written after 1923 are stipulated to being still inside the copyright, and therefore not yet in the public domain.

Now the final chapter: The Court of Appeals has denied the Estate’s appeal of that decision.

More info/source: Free Sherlock blog November 2014: Petition Denied.