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

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Art Alert – Celebration of Sisters and Aging

If you are in the New York Area, MOMA has a great new exhibit. A group of sisters have taken a photo every year for the past forty years in the same order. In addition to be a fascinating art project, it’s a wonderful family heirloom.

Photographer captures 4 sisters over 40 years in 40 portraits

It started as a family photograph. It blossomed into an annual rite of passage.
A collection of 40 portraits of four sisters, taken over 40 years, is being recognized as a testament to the aging process, as well as a celebration of sisterhood. Continued here

MOMA

Zócalo Public Square : Video – When Science and Science Fiction Collide

Tuesday night, Zocalo Public Square hosted a conversation lead by Annalee Newiz with Lawrence Krauss and Neal Stephenson regarding science, science fiction and optimism. While the evening was a “light” discussion of these topics, it was a fascinating evening.

The important takeaways for me are science and technology are not the same thing. People, including me, always think of the two as one in the same but the goals of science are not necessarily the pushing technology forward. Science is a very creative field were the ideas or sometimes more important than the outcomes. In Krauss’ opinion. Science is far more imaginative than science fiction. The human mind cannot reach the endless potential of reality. I’m not sure if I agree with the last point. We know so little about the human brain that there is no to quantify its potential.

Luckily for us Zocalo records its events. And post them online. Please enjoy the lively conversation at the link below.

Zócalo Public Square :: Video Archive.

Can Science Fiction Revolutionize Science – A Zocalo event

I am fortunate to live in the LA area where a lot of diverse events occur every day of the week. Tonight, there is a discussion on whether Science Fiction Revolutionize Science with Neal Stephenson and Lawrence Krauss at MOCA. Check back tomorrow for my recap of the event.

Until then, read Lawrence Krauss’s forward from the new anthology Hieroglyp at Zocalo Public Square:

Science fiction shares with science a most important driver: a fascination with the possibilities of existence. As a theoretical physicist, my motivation for studying the universe has always been the wonder of what might be possible rather than what is practical. This makes me particularly sympathetic to the challenges facing science fiction writers. After all, perhaps the most significant difference between science and science fiction is that the former explores what is possible in our universe, and the latter what might be possible in any universe.

Continue Here

Luc Besson – The Professional

In advance of the release of “Lucy” by Luc Besson on July 25, American Cinematheque is screening some of his better known works.

July 18th at the Egyptian at 7:30

A double feature of The Professional and La Femme Nikita

July 20th at the Egyptian at 7:30

A double feature of The Fifth Element and Subway

Leading up to a special screening of Lucy with a Q&A afterwards with Luc Besson.

Check out Cherry Davis interview with Luc Besson at Wondercon 2014.

For more information, check out the American Cinematheque.

Nerds About Town – EMP Museum

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If you in Seattle check out the Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic at the EMP Museum

From The Wizard of Oz and The Princess Bride to Harry Potter and Snow White and the Huntsman, Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic invites audiences on a fantastical journey to unearth the inspiration behind this genre’s most magnificent creations.

Theatre Nerd – Shen Yun

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For years, I have wanted to see Shen Yun. The dance troupe travels constantly and always performs in the LA area during the beginning of the year.

I am a fan of Classical Chinese music and dance. The dancers always seem so otherworldly with their grace and movements which are so unlike Euro- American ones that I am accustomed to.

Last Saturday, I splurged and purchased an orchestra seat and sat down waiting to be captivated for two hours. Let me tell you, I was EXTREMELY disappointed in the production.

I’m a traditional kind of nerd and if I going to see a dance performance, I like the performers to just dance. The dance itself should speak for itself.

Image how surprised I was, when the narrators step onto the stage after the first performance. The show was entitled Heaven and Earth and it examined life in China over the last five thousand years. So, having narrators set up each scene really disrupt the flow of the evening. In addition to the dancers, the audience had the opportunity to listen to opera singers. I didn’t realize until the performers came out to take there bows that there were two different singers. Ooopsie

China is an ethnically diverse and the show include many folk dances from the Qiang, Mongolian, Hmong and other dances from across the region.

All I can say is do your research before you purchase tickets to me. I generally say “oh this looks good lets check it out.” With the philosophy I’ve seen a lot of great shows with the occasion clunker in there. Shen Yun was definitely a clunker.

Nerd Alert, Nerd Alert

Do you have some free time over the next 11 weeks? Then I’ve found a great project for you!

The University of Michigan is offering the following great course.

Fantasy and Science Fiction: The Human Mind, Our Modern World

We understand the world — and our selves — through stories. Then some of those hopes and fears become the world.

“Fantasy is a key term both in psychology and in the art and artifice of humanity. The things we make, including our stories, reflect, serve, and often shape our needs and desires. We see this everywhere from fairy tale to kiddie lit to myth; from “Cinderella” to Alice in Wonderland to Superman; from building a fort as a child to building ideal, planned cities as whole societies. Fantasy in ways both entertaining and practical serves our persistent needs and desires and illuminates the human mind. Fantasy expresses itself in many ways, from the comfort we feel in the godlike powers of a fairy godmother to the seductive unease we feel confronting Dracula” Continued Here

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas…

… and catch “Santa Claus Conquers The Martians” this Thursday, December 5, in theaters across the country. The stars of RiffTrax – Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett are back and ready to elevate this film with their classic snark.

SCCM Still

“The Martians kidnap Santa because there is nobody on Mars to give their children presents.” (IMDB)

For tickets click here