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An Open Letter to Jessica Blankenship from a Dragon Con attendee

I know I promised my year ends as my next post here. I assure you, they are coming. I’m also certain you are all tired of the open letter craze that was going around last year with Miley Cyrus, Sinnead O’Connor, and Amanda Palmer. Who are all terrible in their own right. Believe me, I was sick of it too, but this is something I need to get off my chest. It probably won’t change the intended recipient’s mind since she’s set on calling my people “weirdoes” and “Dragon*Condoms,” but at least I’ll feel better from it.

Hi Jessica.

You don’t know me, but we do have mutual… well, I guess “friends” is a word for it. They’re friends of mine, but I don’t know if they’re friends of yours anymore. Still, we’re only a few degrees apart from each other. Which could be potentially terrifying for you because you “have nothing in common with those Dragon*Con weirdos” beside a love of drinking, partying, screwing, and Nathan Fillion. But I don’t know your life as much as you don’t know mine, so I guess we’re square on that at least.

Now, I don’t think you’re a bad writer. I enjoyed your article on Women’s Issues for Creative Loafing and the writing for the 10 Of The Actual Best Things In Atlanta Because There Isn’t Even a Waffle House here was pretty fun when it wasn’t coming across as hypocritical or misinformed. Because first of all, there are two Waffle Houses in the downtown area alone and 16 within spitting distance of my address in the EAV.

Secondly, while Criminal Records is awesome (they’re my local comic book store as well as my local record store), it seems very weird you used a picture of their old storefront when they haven’t been on that location in Moreland in almost six years. I remember because I couldn’t go to Criminal the first month I moved to Atlanta in 2008 because they were moving around the corner to Euclid. There are MANY pictures of the Euclid storefront on Flickr if you search “Criminal Records Atlanta.” Why not use any of those?

Also, why go on about the best tofu scramble in Atlanta, but mention that you can still smoke at El Myr? I’m just curious.

Really though, let’s get to the dragon sized elephant in the room.

The #6 on your list was about how sneaking into Dragon Con is one of the best things about living in Atlanta. I know you said you weren’t attacking us, but the whole vibe of the blurb comes across as “I don’t get it, but hey, you do you. PS: I’m totally sneaking in anyway lol.”

First of all, the asterisk had to go away when the con finally dissolved Ed Kramer last year. So any press that refers to Dragon Con as “Dragon*Con” isn’t technically correct. I can’t really hold that one against you since that happened so close to the con and as a longtime con goer, I’m still getting used to it.

there are not “three hotels full of nerds getting more laid than their adolescent selves ever dreamed.” There are five plus the America’s Mart as of last year. Do you want to know why we have five hotels for the Con?

Because 50,000+ people attend this con every year.

I incorrectly stated 30,000+ in my Dragon Con Survival Guide, but mostly because that was the number just a few years ago. The point is that a LOT of people attend this con and it gets frustrating to get around the convention, even when it’s just people attending the con. Throw in people who come to be tourists and it gets even more annoying. Hence why there is security checking for badges and hotel key cards at all the entrances to the hotel. To cut down on crowding and harassment from non-paying attendees. If you somehow managed to sneak into this con in the past two years without paying, I want to know how you managed to do it without getting caught by security so I can report that weak spot.

It wasn’t just that though, it was the fact your whole bit about sneaking into Dragon Con and being a tourist followed the blurb about how much you hate it when people from outside of the city come and hangout on your precious bars on Edgewood during the weekend.

Now do you understand why some of us got so pissed off at you? There isn’t much of a difference between OTP-ers crowding your favorite bars and tourists coming to gawk at your while you’re trying to let loose at your favorite con. Maybe in sheer strength of numbers, but not in terms of having people that don’t really get it ruin your good time.

Plus, good luck trying to get into Trader Vic’s on Dragon Con Weekend.

If you really want to admire people at the con without paying, why not just people watch at a nearby restaurant or come see the Parade on Saturday morning instead of trying to sneak into the hotel and further crowd everything up? I swear, you’ll still get plenty to see. My Aunts Millie and Lisa have plenty of proof from their times just hanging out at the Durango Steakhouse after work on Friday. Including me leaving the con just to say hello.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

Like adopted niece, like adopted aunt.

But hey, if you ever decide to pay for a badge and come hang with us, we’re around. With plenty of booze to spare.

Sincerely Yours,

Ashley Leckwold

Blogger for Nerdophiles, Former Media Editor for Steampunk Chronicle, and Dragon Con attendee since 2006

PS: I apologize for the tenth grade mentality remark I made to you on Twitter. Your tweet got to me after a particularly rough day at work and I wasn’t particularly appreciative of your “Dragon*Condoms” remark. For what it’s worth, I agree with you about the view of the city from Freedom Parkway.

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Posted by on January 16, 2014 in General, Internet, Personal

 

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Of floating cats and the lights above Arby’s: Six reasons you should be listening to Welcome to Night Vale

If you spend any time on Tumblr besides looking at blogs like Skeletor Is Love (which is an amazing blog, by the way), you’ve probably seen a lot of people talking about something called Welcome to Night Vale. If you’re not in the know, you’re probably wondering why everyone is going on about perfect and beautiful Carlos, Intern Dana, an unapproachable dog park, or the lights above Arby’s, among other things. If you regularly listen to podcasts, you might be wondering where it came from and why it’s suddenly at the top of the most downloaded list.

Allow me, dear reader, to enlighten you.

See something, say nothing, and drink to forget.Welcome to Night Vale is a production by New York company/writing collective Commonplace Books. It’s a bi-monthly podcast that takes place in the fictional small desert town of Night Vale. Night Vale is like most small towns. Sleepy, full of a strange cast of characters, a strangely bureaucratic city government, and a small civilization living under lane 5 at the local bowling alley… Among other things…

Without giving too much away in the intro, here are six reasons why you should add this show to your podcast library.

1.) It’s NPR mixed Twin Peaks and Gravity Falls with a splash of Parks and RecreationWelcome to Night Vale is done in the style of a community radio show, with event listings, traffic reports, and commentary on local news. It would be kind of boring if it wasn’t for the fact that Night Vale is a town where all the dark and strange things happen. There’s a dog park in Night Vale that no one but the Hooded Figures are allowed to enter, a five headed dragon was arrested for insurance fraud and is interested in running for mayor, a sentient glow cloud is the head of the school board, and there’s a local old woman who has two angels named Erika living in her home. That’s all just the tip of the iceberg.

It could all be rather frightening too without our cool and collected host Cecil (played by New York actor Cecil Baldwin). With a smooth voice that could fit on any NPR show, Cecil makes the weird and spooky sound normal and rather fascinating. Of course, that doesn’t mean our host can’t get scared by station management, or show his love for a new in town scientist.

Which brings me to our second reason…

2.) Cecil is queer and it isn’t a big deal – In the first episode, Cecil talks about a team of scientists that have come into town to study the strangeness that occurs within Night Vale. The one that catches our dear narrator’s attention is Carlos, the lead scientist that Cecil describes as “beautiful,” “perfect” and that he “fell in love instantly.”

Cue the awwwws.

Over the next year, Carlos is often the subject of Cecil’s broadcasts and continually the object of Cecil’s affections. And it’s not a big deal. Cecil doesn’t struggle crushing on another man or lament if his crush is straight. He just continues crushing and being oblivious to what Carlos contacts him about for the next year. Station Management doesn’t seem to mind either, except when he’s getting off track and not giving enough of the news.

Plus, the year’s worth of buildup is paid off beautifully, even if it does punch you in the heart at first.

3.) Racism isn’t tolerated – Besides Carlos being described as dark-skinned and one of This isn't really related to anything. I just like the photo on the fanpage.Old Woman Josie’s angels being “black,” there’s really no physical descriptors or races given to any of the characters.

Well, minus one.

One of the characters that Cecil talks about regularly is the Apache Tracker, which Cecil is always quick to remind the listener that this guy is a white man wearing an offensive and inaccurate Native American headdress. No matter what he’s doing, Cecil always ends up using words like “jerk” and “asshole” when describing him. Even after an incident where he turns into an actual Apache by some force of magic, he’s still described as “a racist embarrassment.”

In a culture that’s always quick to defend people like that as expressing themselves versus appropriating something they don’t understand, it’s nice that a character like that is constantly called out on his bullshit.

Plus, the fancasts where Johnny Depp as Tonto is the Apache Tracker? Brilliant.

4.) The fandom is super creative – With a work that’s based in an audio medium that doesn’t have a lot of physical descriptors (because you’re supposed to know everyone in this town and already know what they look like), there’s a lot of opportunity for the imagination to run wild when imagining the world of Night Vale.

And oh, the fandom has.

Springing up from the Hannibal fandom during the hiatus, Welcome to Night Vale has gained a rabid and passionate fandom that creates beautiful art, amazing fan mixes and fan fiction, and headcanons that could blow your mind. It’s impossible to go into the Welcome To Night Vale tag on Tumblr without seeing something awesome.

As for my personal headcanons, Pawnee, IN and Gravity Falls, OR are sister cities, Carlos used to work for Aperture Science, Intern Dana is muslim, Old Woman Josie used to keep Zorp as a pet and Kevin from Desert Bluffs is one of the horrors from The Cabin In The Woods. You probably didn’t want to know that, but I felt like sharing anyway.

5.) The show is both funny and legitimately terrifying – While the show is presented as a community radio show, there are several parts of each broadcast that are extremely funny. The first one that comes to mind is the PSA about alligators in the first episode. Much of the humor resides in both Cecil’s deadpan and occasionally sarcastic delivery and just straight up dark humor. I guess you have to have a sense of humor when the most terrifying day of the year is Street Cleaning Day.

There are parts where the show does get extremely creepy and terrifying though. Cecil’s confrontation with Station Management and the two Sandstorm episodes genuinely made me feel creeped out and worried for our narrator. There’s a definite Lovecraftian influence on the series and thank the gods it came out in the creepy.

6.) It’s shining a light on a side of podcasting that usually isn’t seen – With some of the earliest forms of entertainment in the 20th century being radio serials, it’s surprising that there aren’t more podcasts that take a fictional spin.

Or at least, not ones that are well known.

Looking at the top 100 podcasts on iTunes, Night Vale seems to be the only one that seems to have a narrative. There are comedy podcasts, yes, but only two seem to be parodies of some sort. Most of the others are talk shows and most spots in the podcast lists are similar to that, but in their own genres. NPR takes a lot of that cake as well.

With a podcast that has a narrative, I hope that it can inspire others to do the same and for fans of the show to seek out podcasts that do as well. Because it really is a (currently) mostly unexplored avenue for fiction.

Well, not in this current time. Time travel is legal in Night Vale, y’know.

Always watching, always listening.

Convinced? Check out the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, and FeedBurner. For more, check out the WTNV page on Commonplace Books.

It’s a three-fer this week. Come back on Friday for a reflection on a comic I’m really into right now.

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2013 in Internet

 

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No Fooling: The Diary returns!

After many adventures across the aether that include getting involved with fire spinners, taking up the media editor reins at Steampunk Chronicle, zipping all over the east coast with The Extraordinary Contraptions, and the general tiredness that comes from that, I’m happy to announce that starting today, The Diary of a Dimension Hopper is back in business!

Did you miss me, friends? Because I missed you. And with all the fun that’s coming out this year in movies and music, I’d be remiss to stop writing the Diary. Plus, you might be hearing me on a podcast or two soon, but more on that when it happens.

I’m hoping to be on a MWF schedule, but I’ll be at least posting once a week on one of those designated days.

We’ll truly resume on Wednesday where I’ll reflect on the life of the recently broken up My Chemical Romance, but for now, let me give you the six songs I’m currently listening to over and over again.

1.) ‘The Phoenix’ by Fall Out Boy – The second single/opening song from their upcoming album Save Rock and Roll, Fall Out Boy is proving that they’re back with a vengeance. With intense instrumentation, Patrick Stump dialing it up on the vocals, and production from Butch Walker that brings out the best of it all, ‘The Phoenix’ is a driving track that has me foaming at the mouth to hear it live (which I will on June 2nd). Plus, the video for it brings back the weirdness I didn’t realize I missed during their four year hiatus mixed in with a fandom kink meme for good measure.

2.) ‘My Simple Pop Song’ by Professor Shyguy – I’ve known Professor Shyguy for almost two years through his band The Aeronauts, but I hadn’t had a chance to see his chiptune solo project live until this past weekend. Now my brain is filled with 8-bit music and his extremely clever and catchy lyrics. ‘My Simple Pop Song’ has been the main offender, with a precise breakdown of how a simple pop song that burrows its way into your head is composed. Kind of ironic, but I don’t mind. Mixed with some excellent dance moves, I can see why he calls himself “The poor nerd’s Justin Timberlake.”

3.) ‘Mirrors’ by Justin Timberlake – Speaking of Justin Timberlake! Now, I’ve been very bad in the fact I haven’t actually gotten a chance to listen to The 20/20 Experience yet. Sorry Justin! But the second single ‘Mirrors’ definitely surpassed ‘Suit and Tie’. ‘Suit and Tie’ is a little bit catchier, but ‘Mirrors’ just pulls at the heartstrings and shows why Justin Timberlake is one of the best voices in pop music right now. Plus, the video Target released of him performing the song with fans is really adorable.

4.) ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’ by Against Me! – Back on Election Day, I made a trip down to Athens with my friends BFT and Little Spoon to see Against Me! perform at the 40 Watt. It was an amazing show that opened with this song and just unleashed fury in the pit that I had to spend a few days recovering from. It’s been consistently stuck in my head since then, but there is sadly no recorded version out yet. I await patiently, opening guitar loop stuck in my head, and a review will happen when it does.

5.) ‘Slut Like You’ by Pink – A month ago, I had the chance to see Pink perform at Philips Arena with The Truth About Love tour. And to quote Rona Thorne, it was AMAZIIIIIING. The Truth About Love is already an amazing album, but getting to hear many of the songs live mixed with her theatrics was certainly a treat. While I may not have tickets yet, I know I’m going to see her again in December. There were plenty of catchy songs during that show that have been in rotation on my iPod, but the dirty  feminist power anthem ‘Slut Like You’ has been up there the most. Especially after the weekend I just had.

6.) ‘Bone China Cup’ by The Extraordinary Contraptions – Okay, I had to slip ONE April Fool in here. This was all Teodore’s idea! See what kind of Steampunk silliness you can spot here!

Until Wednesday, my friends…

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2013 in General, Internet, Music, Steampunk

 

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Even Punk Rockers Deserve Respect

Hello readers! Sorry for the lack of updates in the past month. I’m afraid that my blinders went on as I headed for the finish line of university. Which, by the way, ended up being a successful run.

As my formal return to my blog, I wanted to speak about something related to my Journalism degree and interests in music. It’s been a topic that’s been on my mind since Patrick Stump spoke candidly about his depression and lack of motivation brought on by disrespectful “fans” at his shows, but came back to the surface when Tom Gabel of Against Me! came out as Transgender, and that she will soon be adopting the name of Laura Jane Grace.

Now, maybe these two topics seem so far apart, especially with my own unfamiliarity with Against Me!, but both of these topics bring up issues of respect in both the fan community and in journalism.

Patrick’s issues seem to stem from some members of the Fall Out Boy fan community. It’s a problem that all the members of Fall Out Boy have been facing since the band went on hiatus, and it’s the fan community’s unwillingness to change. I can understand the frustration and wishing Fall Out Boy would get back together. I especially know what it’s like to not be happy with the direction the project is going. However, there’s a difference between not being happy with something, and constantly berating someone both online and at their shows.

I mean, seriously. What makes someone think it’s appropriate to pay $20-$50 for a show just to tell someone that you liked them better when they were fat? That’s not just terrible manners and general horribleness, that’s wasteful spending on top of it. And all because they think telling someone that they think he’s horrible now will send him back to the band he used to play in? Well, guess what? Patrick Stump is now reluctant to go back to music. How’s that for results?

I haven’t seen much terrible fan reaction from Against Me! fans about Tom, but there were plenty of reports that initially didn’t respect her pronoun preference that were later changed. The AP style guide dictates that a reporter has to respect what the person identifies as/presents themselves as, but shouldn’t that be obvious before something goes to print?

Of course, there will always be the people, journalists or not, who won’t respect gender pronouns and name changes and who will act like this will kill the band.

Friends, journalists and fans, I ask you to have some sense of respect when dealing with things like this. Whether they be someone you love creating music that might not be up to your standards, living as the gender they truly identify with, or whatever else it may be, you’re still dealing with a human being trying to live their life. A performer is not a robot, and you never know if your negative words are going to effect them or not. I’m not asking to be completely uncritical, but don’t be a dick about what you don’t like or don’t understand. And as a journalist, you have to be fair in your assessment.

And, of course, respectful of what someone is going through.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2012 in General, Internet, Music

 

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Hunger Games Month: The brilliant irony of Lionsgate’s marketing

On two different occasions, I’ve been witness to the same opinion by two different people who have no knowledge of each other. One is from my online friend Hunter, a high school student from Michigan, and the other from Ramona, my friend from my vocal class at Georgia State University. On two different occasions, I’ve witnessed these two talk about how ironic the marketing for this film has been. We have so much merchandise and hype for a movie about children who are forced into a battle to the death because they tried to feed their families. I do agree with them. It’s weird, it’s sick, and so very ironic to what Suzanne Collins was writing about.

It’s also kind of brilliant.

In this dimension, I specialize in public relations, which while it is not the same as marketing and advertising, has a lot of cross section with the two. It’s all about the public with these fields. Knowing how to relate to your public, knowing what it wants, and how to make it think about your product when it comes to their point of purchase.

Someone at Lionsgate was thinking right when they decided to assume the role of the Capitol. They must have known that there would be no other way marketing this film could work, and that the fans would eat it up so quickly.

And we did.

According to the Capitol, I’m a District 6 router. I’m one of many with a District Identification Pass (also one of many currently having problems trying to get my physical DIP). I’m one of many who waited eagerly to know who our tributes are, for the next clip from Capitol TV, for the next order from Seneca Crane or President Snow, for the next issue of Capitol Couture, for the next whatever thing coming directly from Lionsgate… er… The Capitol.

Is it totally ironic? Oh hell yes. We’ve pretty much bought into the Captiol in this process.

Is it totally one of the most clever and solid marketing techniques I’ve ever seen? You bet. By establishing themselves as The Capitol, Lionsgate has found a place that can totally be used again and again as the franchise grows. Just think ahead to what the marketing for Mockingjay will be like. We’ll get a chance to turn against Katniss Everdeen with this setup (and maybe be on her side with future growth). If Lionsgate does it right, we might get the propos as part of the deal!

But that’s all future right now.

Right now, I have to applaud Lionsgate. The buildup to The Hunger Games has been one of the most brilliant uses of both traditional and new media I have ever seen. They totally embraced the internet as part of their marketing and let the fans do as much work as their marketing department. As a result, we have a movie that even non-readers of the book are looking forward to.

I said some bad things about Lionsgate back in the day when Repo! The Genetic Opera was coming out, and I still stand by some of those things, but when Lionsgate markets, they go all out and it’s brilliant for everyone involved. Ironic merchandise and all.

I can’t wait to see where it goes when the fire catches…

Monday will be back on schedule with a rundown of what The Hunger Games is and isn’t. For now, I hope you all have a wonderful St. Patrick’s! Be safe, and Happy Hunger Games!

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Books, Film, Internet

 

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Six(-ish) Things to Look Forward to in 2012!

Just a final reminder that there are only a few hours left to donate to The Extraordinary Contraptions kickstarter! Help a Steampunk band pull off a massive victory if you haven’t yet!

So, 2011 was a pretty good year in media, but what do we have to look forward to in 2012? Well, a lot of things, really! I’m here to highlight just a few of those things! Starting with…

6.) Indecision 2012

Elections are a rough and terrible time for everyone. It’s a lot of mudflinging, drama, and statements so painful, you could cry. However, for every election year, there is a shining light.

And that is The Daily Show’s Indecision coverage.

While Jon Stewart and his crew have already had a hell of a time covering the candidates so far, it’s sure to kick off into high gear this year as the Republicans pick a candidate and the various campaigns really get rolling. For every painful moment, you can be sure that The Daily Show will be there to cover it.

5.) New albums from Janelle Monae, Murder By Death, Shovels and Rope, The Extraordinary Contraptions, etc.

The exciting thing for any New Year for me is how much good music comes out. This year is already shaping up to be pretty awesome with Murder By Death, Shovels and Rope, Frenchy and the Punk, and my very own The Extraordinary Contraptions set to release new albums that are sure to appeal to the retrofuture lover in all of us. Even better is that the retrofuture cyberpunk queen Janelle Monae is planning on releasing not one, but TWO albums in 2012! And of course, that’s only just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps we will see new albums from Mumford and Sons, Black Cards, and Muse! We’ll definitely be hearing new albums from VV Brown, Santigold, and Garbage. Hell, we might even find something new this year too and there is sure to be someone I missed! How can you not be excited?

4.) The League of S.T.E.A.M., Season 2! Coming soon to an Internet Browser near you!

After a very successful Kickstarter campaign, everyone’s favorite team of Steampunk Paranormal Investigators will be returning to your computer screens with new adventures! With a bigger cast and more gadgets to boot! And if you’ve seen either, you know that both are quite impressive! Of course, there’s still plenty of time to catch up on Season 1 before the next season starts!

3.) Archer (and hopefully The Venture Bros.) is coming back!

Archer season 3 is probably the earliest thing coming on this list. Picking up where ‘Heart of Archness’ left off, season 3 sees Ray Gillette permanently paralyzed and Sterling and Lana still stuck in their endless loop of feelings. And the first episode, ‘The Man From Jupiter’, has Mallory going out with Burt Reynolds, Archer’s very favorite actor. While time will tell how this season measures up, it’s already proving to be just as hilarious as the previous season.

As for The Venture Bros, not much is known about Season 5 so far. We know that Doc and Jackson have signed on for it, and that they’re writing. Hopefully though, we’ll see some new episodes this year. Or at least a hint of how this season is going. After how ‘Operation P.R.O.M.’ left off, it’s going to be a doozy of a season.

2.) The Avatar cycle continues with The Legend of Korra

While I still have yet to finish Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m still excited to finally meet Aang’s immediate successor in the Avatar cycle. She’s a headstrong, muscular waterbender from the Southern Tribe named Korra. The series is already setting out to be much darker than the previous series, with Korra being older and more trained than Aang and her main enemy being those who wish to eradicate the Element benders. Oh, did I mention that the series stars a tall, muscular Inuit woman? I’m sorry, I’m just really excited for an action series to have this kind of protagonist! And with each episode of A:TLA, my excitement for the future grows.

1.) Archery being popular thanks to Katniss Everdeen, Clint “Hawkeye” Barton, and Princess Merida

There is going to be a strangely coincidental trend in action heroes next year. In that three of them in highly publicized movies are going to rely on a bow and arrow as their preferred weapon. While Hawkeye will probably not be the main focus of The Avengers, he’ll still be a part of the team Marvel has been building up to since the release of Iron Man in 2008. As for our other two heroes, they’re both dynamic female characters. One character who values her family above all, and one who realizes her fate is not tied to marriage. Well, maybe that applies to Katniss too. Either way, not only will this hopefully lead to a spike in girls taking up archery lessons, but maybe it will lead to girls realizing they don’t need a Prince Charming. That they’re just fine without him. Either way, The Hunger Games and Brave are sure to be two shining examples of women in action adventure films.

 

Thank you so much for reading my blog so far. May your 2012 be joyous and wonderful!

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2012 in Film, Internet, Music, Steampunk, Television

 

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Liesel’s Yearly Favorites: Favorite Videos of 2011

Originally, this post was going to just be music videos, but then I started thinking of my favorite reviews and viral videos of the past year. So, why not review them all? This post will be split into three categories: Music, YouTube, and Reviews. Perhaps you’ve seen some of these, but hey… maybe not.

Six Favorite Music Videos

Honorable Mention: ‘House of Cards’ and ‘Dark Carnivale’ by Frenchy and the Punk

Have to give my friends Scott and Samantha credit. They know how to make fun videos that fit their sound and image perfectly. Steampunk mixed with a little dark fantasy, cabaret, and fairy dust. Both songs come from Happy Madness and are even more of a joy live.

6.) ‘Spotlight (Oh Nostalgia)’ – Patrick Stump

It’s sort of sad that this came out the same day as the ‘Born This Way’ video. While both songs carry the message of being yourself, Patrick’s comes across as a bit more genuine and uplifting. The video for the song enforces this, with real people (and one three legged dog) showing off their unique talents.

5.) ‘Summer of ’89’ – Butch Walker and the Black Widows

Butch Walker continues his 2011 theme of Nostalgia in this Shane Valdes directed video. While not as over the top as some of Valdes’ other videos, the video deliciously skewers tropes from the 80s hair metal that Walker grew up on. What really makes this video is a cameo from veteran actor Seymour Cassel as the very insistent video director. Valdes also directed a very post apocalyptic trailer for The Spade around the same time.

4.) ‘Otis’ – Jay-Z and Kanye West

As of writing this blog, I haven’t had a chance to listen to many tracks from the Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration Watch The Throne. However, I LOVE the video for ‘Otis’, the joyride of a track that samples ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ by Otis Redding. The video, which features the coolest (and most dangerous looking) ride and a blink and you’ll miss it cameo from Aziz Ansari, fits the track perfectly and makes it hard to frown after watching it.

3.) ‘Last Friday Night (TGIF)’ – Katy Perry

I didn’t want to like this video because… well… Katy Perry. I was pleasantly surprised though when the funny and dayglo video brought together icons of three generations to tell the story of a wild Friday night. Go Uncle Kenny!

2.) ‘You And I’ – Lady GaGa

There seemed to be some debate over whether this video was Steampunk or not. While it was some sort of Retrofuture, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this video was a Burton-esque insight on loving others and loving yourself. Though, I think that’s what it’s about. I was rather distracted by GaGa’s alter ego of Jo Calderone. Ooo la la, sir…

1.) ‘Ready To Go (Get Me Out of Mind)’ – Panic! at the Disco

I’m sure some people thought I would bring up that very Steampunk video of Panic!’s on this list. While I do still enjoy that video, it did not bring as much joy as this beautifully done, musical inspired video for Panic!’s follow up single. Along with bringing way less drama, it’s just extremely happy and makes me want to go dancing out in the street with my umbrella.

Six Favorite YouTube Videos

6.) ‘Woody Allen Jesus’ by Tim Minchin

A song written by Minchin just in time for the holiday season, it was sadly cut from The Jonathan Ross Show due to fear of people taking offense to the sacrilege. Lucky for us, the internet exists for this such a thing.

5.) ‘Just Glue Some Gears On It (And Call It Steampunk)’

I tend to try and stay out of the debate of what constitutes Steampunk, but I have to give Sir Reginald Pikedevant, Esq. some credit for creating a wonderful chap hop song for all of us who have ever searched ‘Steampunk’ on Etsy and facepalmed.

4.) 500 Miles of Doctor Who

Created for David Tennant and Russell T. Davies’ last Doctor Who cast party, this video surfaced on the internet earlier this year. Along with The Ballad of Russell and Julie, this video reminds us all of how awesome the Davies years could be. Unlike The Ballad of Russell and Julie, it does it in three and a half Proclaimers filled minutes.

3.) Kermit sings ‘Life’s A Happy Song’ with Bret McKenzie

I’ve expressed my love for The Muppets several times on this blog already, but only because it was so wonderful and sincere. Of course, in true Muppet fashion, Kermit took a few moments to sing with the songwriter. Like Paul Williams before him, Bret McKenzie was joined on the piano by everyone’s favorite frog to sing a happy song.

2.) Like PB’s Status!

Gotta give Yamino credit for this one. She managed to create one hilarious Adventure Time themed thank you video for AskSugarlessGum and taking audio from Miles Jai’s Like My Status rant video. I don’t know how many times I watched this video and laughed my ass off. About the time it gets to Weeabo Bubblegum, I lose it every time and it just continues until the very end with autotuned LSP.

1.) Multiculturalism Go Wrong

I don’t know what to say about this video besides this is what happens when you let Steampunks rewrite certain scenes from Kevin Smith movies. In particular, the first scene with Hooper X in Chasing Amy. You’ve been warned.

Six Favorite Reviews

6.) Music Movies – Phantom of the Paradise

While nothing major happens in this joint review between Paw and Elisa from the Nostalgia Chick’s crew, it shines a favorable spotlight on one of my favorite cult movies. Not to mention some light on a few of Brian DePalma’s influences.

5.) A Bunch of Reviewers – The Last Airbender

After starting Avatar: The Last Airbender (review coming soon), I can understand all the rage the internet has let loose against M. Night Shyamalan and his adaptation. The funniest, most rage filled one, however, has to be this one with Rollo T, Y Ruler of Time, Todd in the Shadows, JesuOtaku, and tons of cameos. Sure, there’s pain, but there’s also an excellent Aasif Mandvi impersonation from Y.

4.) Nostalgia Chick – TLC and the 90s

Oftentimes, it has been the Nostalgia Chick to remind us that music brings about just as much nostalgia as a TV show or movie. While the review starts off in usual Nostalgia Chick territory with a humorous look back on the career of her favorite childhood group, it ends up with an honest reflection from Lindsay Ellis over the death of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes back in 2002.

3.) Todd In The Shadows – ‘Sexy and I Know It’

While Channel Awesome’s most mysterious reviewer can tear apart a pop song with the best of them, it is very rare that he gets into true snob territory. That is, until this review. After giving up on this LMFAO song early, Kyle “Oancitizen” Kallgren convinces Todd to take a deeper look at the song. Quickly, the review turns into the most hilarious, hot aired filled analysis about a song about parading around with your shirt off ever to exist. Probably the only one, but who knows.

2.) Nostalgia Critic – Moulin Rouge!

Doug Walker has been involved in a lot of epic videos. Many of them within this past year. However, he certainly outdid himself in this review of Baz Lurhman’s 2001 movie musical. What easily could have been a scathing solo review becomes a 45 minute musical tribute to guilty pleasures with help from Rouge defenders Nostalgia Chick and brentalfloss.

1.) Brows Held High – The Man Who Fell To Earth

This video didn’t just make me start watching Brows Held High. It made me a fan of Kyle Kallgren for life. Set to the music of David Bowie, Kallgren sings his way through his usual high brow analysis of this 1976 science fiction. Except for some help during a musing set to ‘Dance Magic Dance’, he does this musical review solo, making it even more impressive.

Tomorrow, I will do my last reflection on 2011 by looking at my favorite things discovered this past year. Stay tuned!

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2011 in Internet, Music, Steampunk

 

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