Octavia E. Butler

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Tomorrow on what would have been Octavia Butler’s 70th birthday, The Huntington Library is hosting the Octavia E. Butler Studies: Convergence of an Expanding Field.  In honor of the conference.  Here is a link to fascinating factoids about Ms. Butler:

https://theportalist.com/15-fascinating-facts-about-octavia-butler

I love B sci fi movies and I love the fact that a terrible movie help inspired a notable career.

“At 12, Butler saw Devil Girl from Mars (1954) on TV, a movie about a Martian woman sent to Earth to capture human males and replenish her own planet’s dwindling male population. Butler knew she could write better sci-fi, and would later say the movie inspired her first forays into fiction”

For information on the conference here

Musings

Have I become numb to violence? I’m not sure. Maybe numb isn’t the right word. Normally, when we [the United States] have another mass shooting, I hop on board of the “let’s review of gun control laws” train. But not this time. There is something fundamentally wrong in our society. We, as a whole, do not know how to process feelings; how to deal with opposing views, etc. There is a blasé attitude that we have about violence and that’s frightening.

Where is all of this anger coming from? As a society, we have to decide what we value and see if the ideals we hold up are leading to this uptick in violence. Do we admire superficial and meaningless traits? It seems that we fall apart when we as individuals don’t reach this achieve this meaningless goals?

My thoughts are unfocused but I needed to jot down some random notions.

Captain America: Civil War 

First thoughts: I absolutely loved it. The Captain America movies continue to raise the bar for all Marvel — nay all Superhero movies. Civil War has an allstar cast, a tight plot and great action sequences. The Russo brothers did it again! Civil War is everything that Age of Ultron wanted to be and much much more.  Full review will be posted at GeeksAtTheMovies.com 

Nerd thoughts 

April has been a month of finding inspiration in unexpected places. First, Beyonce dropped Lemonade. I’ve never given Beyonce much notice until now but her last few songs have been interesting. Her growth has an artist as resonated with me as I grow as a person. Having your own agency and discovering your own strength and power is a timeless message. Second, Patty Smith. Patty! Patty. Patty. You are a relevation. Yesterday, your discussion/performance piece about Robert Maplethoroe was everything. Your message about the work being the thing that mattered struck a cord with me. One never knows how one’s work will be perceived or received but that should distract from you as an individual putting in the work in whatever medium you’re working in.  I can wait to see what messages that May has in store for me. 

Nerd Thoughts

Between graduate school and work, I have less and less time for my nerd activities. But I’m craving out time to go to the Long Beach Comic Expo this weekend and WonderCon next month. In order to be my authentic self, I need to reveal in nerd activities on a regular basis. 

Nerd Thoughts – Filmmakers that I used to love

It pains me to say this but the I am putting the Wachowski Siblings on the same shelf as M. Night Shyamalan and Tim Burton – I won’t waste my time and money on your projects again.  Let me back up a bit and explain this shelf.  I use this space for artist that I used to love but for whatever reason, I no longer connect with their work.  M. Night Shyamalan was the first on the shelf. When M. Night broke out with “The Sixth Sense”, I thought we – the film world – had an exciting new voice in the Suspense/Thriller genre.  I believe that Unbreakable was a little hick up and he would be back on track any minute. I enjoyed his next film Signs but began to notice a pattern – that his films needed a “shocking” twist. But these twists were shocking but very predictable.  After seeing the trailers for “The Village”, “Lady In the Water” and “The Happening” I believed that M. Night needed an intervention.  Maybe instead of directing his own work, he need to break out and work with other writers.  I am still waiting for that to happen.

My issue with Tim Burton is a little more complicated.  I really love Tim Burton.  He creates these fantastical worlds that are really like no others. My issue with Tim boils down to his frequent collaborations with Johnny Depp.  In the beginning, they created some of my favorite works from the ’90s “Edward Scisscorhands”, “Ed Wood”, “Sleepy Hollow.” By the early ’00s the magic was gone,  works like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Alice in Wonderland” appeared to show both artist coasting on past ideas.  [Side Note, I haven’t see any either movie and these observations are based on the trailers alone.] While previous films seemed whimsical and color, these newer films were garish and way over the top.  It appeared that the director and actor brought out the worst traits in each other.  A friend convinced me to see “Dark Shadows”, while the movie looked great, the plot was tedious and uninspired.  While, I have occasionally like Burton films [e.g. “Big Fish” and  “Corpse Bride”], other writers were driving force behind the story.

Back to the Wachowski Siblings, “The Matrix” changed the movie game! But since then, I’m going to be generous and say there that their career has been spotty.  I watched the obligatory Matrix sequels. The “Speed Racer” trailer gave me a migraine. Honestly, I found “Cloud Atlas” intriguing but it was faulty. The Wachowski Siblings are fantastic and building worlds and visual images but character and plot development is a major weakness. “Jupiter Ascending” was a mess.  I suspect that the movie was way too long and that the editing of the film made it incomprehensible.  The movie was beautiful but the “plot” was paper thin. So, now we get to the final straw “Sense8.” When this project was first announced, I was super excited because J. Michael Straczynski teamed up with the Siblings to build this world.  I’m four episodes in and I still have no idea what this show is about. I’m official done.  I would let the beautiful of your work fool me again.  I need four friends to vet your work before I ever see anything else by the Wachowskis.

Movie Trailer Review – Ant Man

I LOVE Paul Rudd.  He is one of the few actors that can make me laugh. But my love for him can’t get me excited about this film. The buzz on it has been great so far calling it one of the best superheroes films.  I don’t know if I am just burnt out of comic book movies but I have absolutely no interested in seeing Ant Man. I watch the trailers and read articles and think why. Why should I go see this movie? There is nothing compelling about the film beyond Paul Rudd. I’ve seen all but one of the Marvel films (Ed Norton as the Hulk – just not buying it) but I am going to sit this one out.

Nerd Thoughts – Work Life Balance

Last fall, when I decided to go back to school and pursue my Masters in Justice Studies, I didn’t realize how much of my nerdy life would suffer.  I enrolled in a school on a whim.  I decided that I need a big change and graduate school would be it. I had plans for this blog and my movie blog — Geeks At the Movies. I was recruiting contributors and had plans to start a podcast and all of that came to a screeching halt when my first class started.  I have no regrets about going back to school; I am doing something that I have wanted to do for years. Social Justice has always been my calling and the events of the past two years ignited me to make a professional change. But, I miss my nerdy life and nerdy friends.  I haven’t been to a Con in well over a year. My desire to start reading comic books and graphic novels has been shelved along with all of my reading for pleasure. I know that it isn’t for ever but today I am grieving for the need to put by nerdy pursuits on the back burner.