Denver Comic Con

Punching Through a Crystal Wall

Remember that Doctor Who episode, where he was trapped in the nightmare loop? The way he escaped was, each time he got to the end/his death, he punched a thick glass (or rock crystal?) wall, just once, with his bare fist. Turns out that he ends up going through that time loop so many times, that he eventually punches through the thick crystal wall completely. Think of how many millions of times you’d have to punch with a bare fist, to get through a rock wall several feet thick. But he succeeds, and it sets him free.

My life lately has run up against that thick layer of crystal, or so it feels: beautiful, but holding me in a loop. I’m punching it with my bare fist, though, over and over, and will persist until it gives way. Problem is, I also have to rely on others to add their punches to mine, and so am also being forced to wait. I spent a long while musing about this last night: I’m stalled, and it’s frustrating, as I am powerless to move these other people into action. And so I wait.

But here’s the stuff I am indeed actively doing–these things may be interesting to you, lovely lurkers, so here goes:

Wisdom From Everything was a remarkable production, and my scenes of violence were carried out beautifully. This production closes on the 26th, so those of you lurkers who are local, don’t miss it.

My initial writings on the topic of Problematic Female Badasses in lit and pop culture are slowly, painfully, becoming a book. Page 23, the academic branch of Denver Comic Con, has accepted it as part of their panel presentations, and so I will be talking about this project and my 7 Tropes live in front of a roomful of geeks this June. Will I be the catalyst for Gamergate 2.0? Time will tell…

Also this summer, I’ll be trekking back to Longmont to teach the teenaged ballerinas how to fake punch each other in the face, drag each other around by their hairpinned buns, and etc. One of the highlights of that is when they learn the face slam. The initial teaching of it is slamming the face into the floor, but some tutued girl always gets the idea to slam her partner’s face into the ballet barre, which is just such a delightful thing to witness.

Sooner than that, though: Blue Dime Cabaret is having our first show at Full Cycle on April 7th. It’s a bike shop, coffee shop, and bar over on Pearl Street where Penny Lane used to be. This is going to be a really fun show: we’ve got comedians, burlesque, burlesque on roller skates, and an opera singer. I’ll be jiggling my sparkles in a 1920s Charleston inspired burlesque bit that I actually need to finish choreographing… anyway, we’ve also been picked to perform in this summer’s Boulder Fringe Fest, too, so this’ll be a fun way to see how these variety shows will turn out. If you’re local, do come see us, and tip generously. I need the money.

I’ll let you know how Goth Prom goes, too. I have a rather ’80s inspired outfit to honor my early days of gothiness. But anyway.

These are the punches I’m throwing these days. What punches are you throwing into your walls? Add them in the comments, if you’d like to share. Of course, there’s a reason I call you all “lovely lurkers…”

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Denver Comic Con is Nigh

It’s so nigh, you guys. It’s nigh enough that it should be named Bill (I’ll wait….)

And yes indeedy, I certainly am presenting my famous The Fight Is The Story spiel on a panel. This year, the academic branch of DCC (called Page 23) has added me to a panel called “Smackdowns and Superheroes: Fighting the Good Fight in Comics, TV Shows, and Video Games.” Right?! I’m on a panel that totally fits w my topic! 

So the Smackdowns panel is Saturday of Comic Con (that would be July 1st), at 5pm. I’m the fourth of four presenters, so hopefully I’ll have a nice robust audience left for my bit. I will no doubt be walking around Friday as well though, and maybe even Sunday, so beyond coming to see me talk about the importance of The Actor’s Rules in narrative, and physical storytelling, and how awesome lightsabers are, and how terrible the fight in Phantom Menace is, buy me a DCC beer and have a conversation (I believe this year’s specialty beer is called “I Am Brewt”). See you there, and soon!

Not that I’m on a break now or anything…

…but the peeps that are finished with their semesters, I have finished as well. Finally. As I said, lots and lots and lots (and lots) of research papers. I just might (might, mind you) have a half a handle on the new 8th edition of MLA format at this point. Might.

18582290_10155432990898028_6479972419694655595_nWhat else is on my plate? Well, I presented at the Teaching and Learning With Technology conference over at Front Range yesterday, which was pretty fun. Had a good, inquisitive audience that had more questions afterwards and cornered me at other sessions and stuff too. It was called “Video Killed the Paper Star” and covered a few innovative ways that assigning videos to students in lieu of papers can be a fruitful endeavor. I may do a little mini-article about it here, so stay tuned. Anyway, got to share a bunch of those grammar videos you’ve seen here, and some old reading responses in video form, especially Nate’s old ones from Advanced Stage Combat back in the day. His were so creative and thoughtful and it made me miss all you Stage Combat Club guys: Nate and Scott and Nick and Chris, Paul, and Geri, and the others that came in and out…(sniff)…

I also went to the opera recently with The S.O. and I was amused to find that I knew exactly where all those swords were from, and mused that they all needed a little coaching as far as handling them went (fight scenes though there were none). I also was shocked at the rust that has somehow coated my Schmooze Nozzle, which I guess goes to show that if you don’t use it, you lose it. So I’m polishing my charisma these days. If you run into me, force me to give you an  elevator pitch or something, would ya? Help me get back in shape.

Writing wise, I’m still doing stuff for YourBoulder.com, mainly their weekend round up thingies. It’s a fun gig, and a paid one, so I’m happy about that. The other blog I’m writing with The S.O. is also a very fulfilling project–it’s a style of personal writing I’m not super familiar with, but the pieces there are really, really good. It’s nice to have a quasi-journalling habit again, and him being such a good writer himself, it’s also nice to have a high bar to have to live up to. Write up to. You know what I mean…

Now I do have one breath before the new wave of stuff begins. During that deep breath, I will still be working closely with DU folks on their Capstones, and also working with a new batch of Regis peeps too: Children’s Lit, Editing Fiction, and Editing Non-Fiction is on my platter there.

After I take the breath, it’ll be time for summer at FRCC (two Comp 1 courses) and at Boulder_FringeMetro (an online Staging Cultures class). It’ll also be time for the first summer theatrical gigs to begin: early June I’ll be dancing with Boulder Burlesque, mid-June I may be dancing with Bronze Fox Burlesque, and late June is Denver Comic Con, where I will be presenting The Fight is the Story again, but I’ll keep you up on those things when we get closer to time. After that, I’ve got stage combat at the LDT and burlesque at the Fringe Fest to look forward to, amidst who knows indeed what else will pop up.

So there you go: the update on the workload. Now back to it.

They’re all the Same Man: panel review #8

they may be all the same man, but they’re not all the same companion…


I dipped my face into a few other Page 23 offerings at DCC, lovely lurkers, but didn’t stay long enough to really give you anything juicy. Other than that very good academic paper on Harley Quinn….

The last proper panel I witnessed at the con was called “The Women of Doctor Who,” and was a celebrity talky thing with Jenna Coleman and Alex Kingston. Very fun stuff, in that every single person in that room (including the two actors onstage and the host) all acted like total fangirls of the show.

Details? Meh, that’s not really the highlight of the panel. It was more the interaction of the audience and the celebrities, and the hundreds-strong fond nostalgia of the show as it used to be, with them on it. One of the last questions asked was (of course) Who is your favorite Doctor?

There was a pause, as both women attempted to respond diplomatically without dissing Smith, Capaldi, Tennant, or indeed any one of the wonderful Doctor portrayals who had come before them (whom they, personally, had never worked with. Through fifty years of television). 

Finally, Kingston responded, in her low, purring River Song voice, “They’re all the same man.”

Applause.

The Fight is the Story v.3.1: panel review #7

me fielding q & a after my lecture was concluded.


I was ecstatic to not only be added to Page 23‘s roster of panels, but as a solo presentation to the DCC proper list as well. My “lecture” called The Fight Is The Story found its full fledged glory on Sunday morning, with a healthy sized audience to enjoy it (especially so since I was booked parallel to a 50th anniversary of Star Trek panel).

I went over (as I usually do) the concept of Objective, Tactics, and Obstacles that we all learned in acting school, and then discussed my Genrification system of fight style classification, showing several clips to illustrate same. In retrospect, methinks I will stick to the first bit only in future iterations of this panel, and spend the time Roger-Ebert-ing clips to illustrate the concept. I just think it’d be more streamlined and a bit more in keeping with its title if I do so.

Anyway it was AWESOME and I do hope they include me in their rosters (both) next year again.

Nerding Out Via PowerPoint: panel review #6

I had no pic from this panel, so please to enjoy this from the mob at the Artists’ Alley. Now where’s my Snapericot ale??


Now I’m adjunct faculty for a living, lovely lurkers, so I perforce have little to no money for even the things I need, let alone any extras. This is why I’m not a huge con-goer in general, and my glib reply to those who ask if I cosplay is, “it cos too much to play.” /rimshot/ In fact, I only go to DCC because I get free admission, being a presenter. So. I’m asking you the following bc I don’t have the con frequenter’s experience behind me:

Is it just a normal con thing, for panels to be concocted from groups of fangirls-and-boys, instead of experts? It just seems… Well to me it seems odd that you have all these celebrity appearances and how-to type things from some experts (especially at DCC, where Pop Culture Classroom is such a central part), but are panels other than that just….geeks geeking out?

The panel called Worlds of Moffatt was a pretty fun premise: it was set up as an expose or overview, if you will, of the shows that Stephen Moffatt headed, besides Doctor Who (well they had a little of that too). So that was cool, in that we had exposure to and clips from stuff we may not have heard of, like Jekyll and Coupling and etc. 

But

Sigh

I mean all it was was a group of nerds nerding out about their thing with a PowerPoint and all of us watching. Which to me does not constitute a panel. 

But then like I said I don’t really know much about cons.

Vikings and Sheep: panel review #5

I want to hear the off color jokes about vikings and sheep that were not suitable for the audience that afternoon…


Cary Elwes is quite simply one of the loveliest humans on the planet. The Spotlight on Cary Elwes was so worth the huge Saturday line.

Exhibit A: his delightful stories about especially Princess Bride, but also all his work. Why? Hilarious stories about Andre the Giant’s giant farts, and his darling impressions of everyone he worked with. Some were even accurate as well as funny. (Yes, I do own his memoir about Princess Bride, called As You Wish. Haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.)

Exhibit B: his propensity for hugging most people that asked him questions, especially if they were women or girls who seemed nervous.

Exhibit C: his habit of asking, and repeating, each person’s name as they approached w a question. Made sure he “introduced himself” to each one before proceeding. Class.

Exhibit D: self-deprecation without being insincere or cloying. When asked which was his favorite movie he’s ever worked on, he couldn’t answer because he seriously felt thankful to be working, an actor w a career, and expressed true gratitude at each project, the good and the bad.

What a guy.

(Btw; what the heck accent is that?? Welsh? English but he’s lived in the States for a really long time? Hm? Somebody?)

I Don’t Wanna Play Riker: panel review #3

Spiner discussed being offered the role of Riker as well as Data, something I did not know…


Boy, Brent Spiner is just a delightfully snarky, entertaining presenter, ain’t he? I had a great time seeing Friday’s Spotlight on Brent Spiner panel (more of a celebrity interview type event than a panel per se). It was really cool to see him and to hear about his work, both Trekkian and beyond…

One very lovely moment happened when the noise from the other big theatre recurred often enough in the beginning that he asked the host who was next door. She replied, “Garrett Wang” (another Star Trek actor). He rolled his eyes and moaned, “Oh, great…” garnering much laughter from his audience.

Then Wang himself runs in onstage real quick, almost genuflects to Spiner, apologizes to him and asks him to forgive those from his audience coming in late to Spiner’s–it wasn’t their fault, etc….very cute moment. After Wang leaves, Spiner says “I don’t know him.” 

One thing he did say which surprised me was about how easy it was to play Data, because he pretty much had free reign, in that there was no such thing as “Oh, a robot would never do THAT”…something that never occurred to me, acting-wise. 

From Pajamas to God: panel #2 review

when asked why they liked their job, one said she liked going to work in her pajamas. The next actor talked about how much he thanks God for his work. The next actor then said, “Wow, we just went from pajamas to God.”


I’ve been interested in voice acting for a long time, lovely lurkers (don’t ask me why I’ve never gotten involved in that particular branch of theatrical arts, bc you know I’d be awesome at it), and so imagine my delight when a panel came up later on Friday at DCC that featured voice actors from things we all know. The panel was called “Meet the Actors Behind the Voices.”

The panel began with the assembled actors reading a little script concocted for them for the event. It was a little scene of superheroes and a gung ho hopeful sidekick talking in a green room. It was…okay.

They then progressed to talking about their careers and answering audience questions, and I have to say that across the board, I did not attend one panel where the audience Q&A was unbearable. I don’t know that I heard one drawn out non-question the whole weekend. Anyway,

It was really neato to see these folks, hear them at work, and hear them talk about their work. And as DCC is centered around Pop Culture Classroom, thereby themed around kids and young geeks, I’m sure this panel inspired the up and comers in the audience even more than they did me.

Closing note: What’s up with Andrea Libman’s chipmunk voice? The woman has made a career out of squeaking…

The Fight is the Story v. 3.0: panel #1 review

the big blue bear greets all the geeks


Day One of Denver Comic Con was lovely–what a good way to nerd out for a weekend. Hereby is the first of several recounts of my panel experiences at this year’s con.

Noon on Friday was the first panel I enjoyed. I enjoyed it because I was on it–the panel was called: “From Aquaman to Zatanna: using comic books in the classroom.”

Oddly, neither one of us presenters on the panel really focused on that topic. I modified what is now my 3rd annual Fight is the Story presentation to adhere more to fit under that aegis, but….yeah. Well, the small audience left by the time I presented were very into it, and we had some good conversations surrounding especially the inefficacy of the big lightsaber fight at the end of Episode 1. 

Star Wars Episode 1, you guys. You know the one I mean. The one where there’s no reason for the fight to be happening, the one where nobody is trying to do anything to anyone else? That one.

As a closing note: what is it about academia that makes for people reading their scholarly papers aloud, verbatim, instead of presenting them in an engaging manner? I know what you’re thinking: “But Jenn, not everybody is theatrically trained like you. In fact, very few are.” Yeah, that’s true, but….yeah.