8.22.2008

Attended Cory Doctorow MEETS DJ Spooky: A CBLDF Benefit Mashup


What can I say about the two creators who met last night to talk about things WAY over my head? It was mind-blowing. Both Cory Doctorow and Sir DJ Spooky were two of the most-learned men I’ve ever listened to, throwing around references on just about everything from the German music scene circa 1920 to governmental initiatives that I didn't even know existed. I was quite-literally blown away by their collective creative output and their top-notch computer-savvy knowledge.


Attending with good friend and co-creator of the small press comic DIVISION 18, Matt Bergin was my co-pilot for this strange trip. We were in awe of the accomplishments of these two seemingly young men: Doctorow being the former European director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and DJ Spooky able to negotiate with the Greek government to be allowed to play a remixed version of a controversial film at the Parthenon - amply modified with speakers to his liking of course.

How do they do it?


All of this was worth it of course, as ticket sales went to support the CBLDF (Comic Book Legal Defense Fund) which is an organization very much worth it. It was very cool of these two esteemed gentlemen to come together for this event, supporting the CBLDF, and talking directly to their fans.

Also, the very slick DJ Spooky treated the crowd to sample cds of his mixes which were handed out and encouraged to be shared. I’ve already loaned them to my friend Nancy who wanted to check them out. It’s all about sharing people…a theme of the evening.


Also, on the way out I picked up Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother, which I’d been meaning to read for a while now. I was planning on getting him to sign it, which would have been totally cool, but he seemed quite swamped by the crowd and it may have been a long while before he got to me. Not a problem, I enjoyed listening to him talk about computer freedoms and I can’t wait to read the book in its pure unsigned state.

A good time was had by all and I was sad to have missed the after party where the aforementioned DJ did his business.

If there is one song that amplifies all the lessons I learned at this event, it's Corey Hart from the 1980s hit, Never Surrender:

Just a little more time is all we're asking for

Cause just a little more time could open closing doors

Just a little uncertainty can bring you down

And nobody wants to know you now

And nobody wants to show you how

So if you're lost and on your own

You can never surrender...

8.21.2008

Attended Jeff Somers reading at KGB Bar



Last night I attended a reading as part of the KGB Bar's Fantastic Fiction series by Orbit author Jeff Somers.

I met the author last year while attending World Fantasy Con in Saratoga last Fall. He was friendly and we chatted about Jae Lee cover art (something a comics fan like me couldn't miss). I grabbed the trade paperback copy of Electric Church and sadly threw it on my 'to be read' shelf where it sat for a while. Almost a year later, knowing this reading was coming up, I finally picked up the book and started reading it - and I'm really enjoying it. I was mad at myself for letting it sit around as this is the type of science fiction I could really get into. Here's a quick layout of the story.

In a future world where great wars, riots and a global unification has occurred leaving a huge gap between the very rich and the dirt poor, a street smart killer-for-hire survives by the seat of his pants. People's life spans don't last long in this harsh future and a powerful religious organization promises eternal existence but something doesn't sit right with Avery Cates. Chaos ensues.
[Back to the reading]
Weak cell phone camera in hand, I snagged a spot against the door in the back of the small but crowded room. My co-pilot and pal Jon was able to purchase a copy of Jeff's first book The Electric Church for himself, and a copy of Jeff's newest The Digital Plague for me before the reading began.

Jeff chose to read from a short story he had written, a hysterical and fantastical rendition of his eerie New Jersey upbringing and life of crime and adventure. He put on a good show and the crowd really seemed to enjoy it. [Apologies on poor picture quality, although it does evoke a bit of ambiance, wouldn't you say?]


After the applause and a bit of conversation with some industry friends from Orbit and Tor, we moved along to grab some sushi at one of my favorite places down on the East Side at Takahachi. It was a good night indeed.

I am not finished with The Electric Church, but now with his new book in hand, I'm psyched to get to the end so I can jump right into the next one. If you're looking for a futuristic tale of gun slinging and survival, I recommend you pick it up. I can almost see the main character Avery, in digital form, in a videogame in the near future, looking for weapons and technology to survive in the blasted landscape that is Old New York.
[update]
I've added a link to Jeff's blog on my blog role located on the right. Check out his witty banter here [for those too lazy to look right]

8.13.2008

Attended Clone Wars screening.


Last night I was invited to a screening of Star Wars: The Clone Wars by friend and current SFBC editor, Rome Quezada (thanks, man!). We arrived just in time as the green Lucasfilm logo was upon the big screen and quickly found two empty seats.

Then the action started and it didn't stop until the movie was over. Fun, fun, fun. I kept thinking about my two godsons and how much they would enjoy it (both being around four-years-old). There were Clone troopers, Separatist droids and of course Jedi battle it out scene after scene with the screen illuminated by bright blue and red blaster fire and good old light sabers.

The story is mainly of someone kidnapping Jabba the Hutt's son and each side trying to find and rescue him, realizing the importance of being in the Hutt's favor as they control the Outer Rim territories. There is also a sub-plot of young Anakin taking on a Padawan named Ahsoka. Their relationship is playful as the normally reckless Anakin shifts into the teacher position.


I must admit, when my adult [nerd] sensibilities kicked in, some little things bothered me. Mainly it was the idea that all this activity, battle, etc. occurs on the far off, obscure planet of Tatooine, therefore making it NOT the best secret location for an old Obi-Wan to become a hermit, OR a good locale to hide Luke Skywalker from his father (they didn't even change his name). And I have an entire droids issue, as R2D2 and 3P0 were in many locations that later seemed strange to them...it just doesn't always jive. But that's another story.

If you go in to see this film, looking to have fun, than that is what you will have, because it was just that. This definitely makes me want to go back and watch the Clone Wars cartoons that I mostly missed as well as read up on my Clone Wars comics. And in my eyes, any film that makes someone want to go off and read is a good thing.

8.06.2008

That's Crom...


I wanted to post a picture of one of the other exclusive action figures I picked up at SDCC, and it is the Conan: The Barbarian figure from Neca Toys. Soon Neca will be coming out with two statues in the likeness of Arnold from Conan: The Barbarian, and in honor of these two forthcoming releases, they decided to release a “bronzed” version of the “War Paint” Conan in action figure size. It is plastic, and the bronzing effect is pretty impressive. As a collector of action figures, I do wish he was a bit more articulate, ok, I mean playable, but this figure only moves at the wrist and his neck swivels. He belongs on a shelf.
[Edit. note, approp. movie line: "It belongs in a museum!"]

Anyway, this Conan figure was impossible to resist being a fantasy fan, as well as a kid who grew up watching the original Conan: The Barbarian movie over and over again. The opening scene of the sword being forged as well as the attack on the village is still one of my favorite film opening scenes...ever! I felt this figure deserved a place in the stuffy office of this sf&f editor [geek] along with all my other stuff [toys].


I also wanted to share mostly for my friends who weren’t able to make it out to San Diego. And I wanted to show this to a writer friend of mine, as I have an extra Conan figure, and I know he wants it. As we said, just yesterday, “there is always room for more Conan in my life.”

Here’s to remembering what is best in life:

“To crush your enemies, and see them driven before you. And to hear the lamentations of the women.” - Conan