Posts tagged Guest Post

Guest Blogger: Interview with John Deryl from Overturn

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Guest Post/Interview conducted by Chelsee Yee.  Yee is a marketing intern with Overturn. She is a sophomore at Seattle University majoring in Journalism, with an additional interest in Criminal Justice. She enjoys reading Stephen King novels and watching horror flicks on the weekends.

 

Chelsee Yee: How do you manage playing the multi-role of being the director, producer, actor,
screenwriter, and composer for Overturn? It seems like a difficult and stressful task to
accomplish. Do you have a secret to facing this challenge?

John Deryl: There is no secret. But there is something very important. It is a real passion. My passion is to
make Overturn a high quality project. That is why I do so many different jobs. Every day I face
many challenges, but I know that eventually I will win because only I can limit myself. Other
people, no matter what they say or think, do not really influence my decisions. I do not like to
waste time on something cheap or trivial, and being the leading actor, screenwriter, director,
producer, and composer helps me control every aspect of the series and make sure that it
satisfies my demands for high quality.

CY: What can fans expect from Season 2? How does it compare to Season 1? How many
more seasons will Overturn run for?

JD: Overturn is unpredictable. There will be many surprises in Season 2. Undoubtedly, fans will
feel the same captivating atmosphere from Season 1, but in the new season, Overturn changes
dramatically. New characters, unexpected plot turns, beautiful fighting scenes and much
more will absorb them deeper into the world of our story. As for the number of seasons, I can’t
tell you exactly how many of them we will create. But I can say that the concept of Overturn is
so global that the series will have a multitude of subsequent seasons.

CY: Overturn holds the title of being “the first international sci-fi mystery web series.” Do
you plan on using other languages or subtitles in your show?

JD: Yes, our show is unique for having a cast and crew from different countries. We are using
other languages in it as well. For example, in the first season, Philippa Peter who plays Lisha,
spoke some phrases in one of the Nigerian languages. In Season 2, our audience will hear
Russian. Of course, we are planning to dub the show in other languages. We currently have
subtitles available for the audience. By the way, our fans help us a lot. They volunteer their
time to translate subtitles into their own languages, so that people of their countries can
watch the show on our website.

CY: As the cast and crew are all representatives of different countries, have their been any
language barriers or obstacles on set?

JD: Good question! There have been many quite amusing situations. A big part of our crew
is Russian speaking since we are filming in Ukraine, but many of our actors do not speak
Russian. Sometimes they cannot understand each other, but eventually, somehow they are
able to cooperate and listen to each other. By the way, I can open a big secret! One of our
leading actors, Konstantin Gerasimuk who plays the Servant, is Ukrainian. He does not know
English at all, but in the second season, you will see many scenes where he does speak English.
It is not a voice-over! Our crew is amazed! We translate his lines into Russian. He understands
their meaning, memorizes English lines and without knowing the language speaks them. He
looks like a person who knows English! It is magic!

CY: How did you come up with Christopher Gabriel’s character? Do you relate to him in
many ways? How would you overcome the fear he faces?

JD: I look at Christopher as a part of the story. He is deeply connected with everything in the
world of Overturn. As the show goes forward, the audience will realize how logical his life is
in the context of the story. I can understand his feelings of being not apt to this society. He is
deeply honest and vulnerable, but in this society people like him suffer because of the lie and
cold they see everywhere. Ordinary people use those things to protect themselves, but he is
far from being ordinary, so he cannot do the same thing. He is a mystery to others because
his inner world is very rich. On the other hand, he really has his inner fears which have deep
roots. I would say you cannot overcome your fears, but you can use them. By that, I mean you
have to face your fears. There is no other way.

CY: The caption for the show is, “His dreams are the key to the answer.” Do answers usually
come to you in dreams? How much trust and dependence can we really have with our
dreams?

JD: Sometimes answers or at least clues come to me in dreams. It does not happen very often, but
when it does, I am glad. As for trust and dependence, I think everyone has to decide on their
own.

CY: Are there any other side projects that you are participating in? If not, do you plan on
creating another web series?

JD: Currently, Overturn is my only project, but I have done other things in the past as well. Those
have been parts on film, TV, and stage. I am not planning on creating another web series right
now, but I am always open to well-developed, high quality projects.

CY: What has been the best experience so far in filming Overturn?

JD: I think the best experience happened last Tuesday when we were shooting in Feofania Park.
It is one of the many beautiful places in Kiev, the city where we are filming Overturn. The
atmosphere of the place was so calm and different from that of the city. There was no wind
and everything was foggy, so the whole crew felt like they were in another world. It was a
magical place and magical moment, and we filmed two charming scenes. Those kinds of
moments make you want to keep going no matter what!

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Disney Princesses Come of Age

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Guest post written by T. Johnson. T. Johnson is a blogger, au pair, and part-time tutor who has been obsessed with science fiction and comics since roughly first grade. One of her life`s big revelations was discovering Wonder Woman comics-another milestone was starting to read the works of Heinlein and Aldous Huxley. She has always been convinced that girls can be as truly nerdy as any fanboy.

 

Recent re-screenings of several Disney films has got me thinkng about the “Disney princess” phenomenon. As animation fanatics and a majority of parents know, Disney Studios made a bunch of movies with female heroines over a fifty-odd year time span. Most of them were based on fairy or folk tales, so the heroine was usually a “princess,” even if she started out disguised as something else. The “princess” movies remain hugely popular with audiences. They were re-mastered in handsome DVD and Blu-ray box sets, inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes and were responsible for the “princess party,” that staple of little girl birthday celebrations.

The films have their detractors, however. Most of the critical vollies aimed at them have come from feminist thought. Critics complain that Disney has placed images of women in a time capsule, portraying them as passive victims waiting to be rescued, as debutantes dreaming only of their prince. They cite the 1950 film Cinderella as a prime offender: sweet-natured girl is pushed around by her stepsisters, remains sweet despite doing all the housework, then is rewarded for being a doormat by a fairy godmother who enables her to attend a ball and meet a prince.

Admittedly, Cinderella is not big on my list either. I don`t really agree, though, that all of these films present terrible images of women. I think there are some redeeming qualities in the princess film canon. I`ll discuss just a few of the movies in this post, specifically those which present heroines who are fully fleshed out as people. Quick note: I`d love to include the warrior-princess film Mulan here, but I don`t feel justified in talking about it since it`s one of the few Disney animation flicks I have not seen.

Image Courtesy of coloringweb.com

Consider Snow White of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). As she scrubs the palace steps in a tattered dress and wooden shoes, SW sings a song about wishing and hoping for the one she loves. But there`s a lot more to her than waiting around. When her wicked stepmother/queen decides to have her killed, she must fend for herself in a dark forest. She`s obviously scared, but doesn`t give up, pressing onward despite mysterious sounds and logs that resemble alligators. Snow White shows similiar courage when she meets the dwarves. This is a girl who`s never been away from home before, but she readily adapts to a group whose culture she`s totally unfamiliar with.

Instead of judging or mocking the dwarves, she befriends them. And yes, she does the housework. But one should keep in mind that the original Snow White story was told in the 1400s, a time when housework involved a lot of manual labor and the skills needed for tasks like spinning and washing clothing by hand. The dwarf fraternity respects her for pitching in, and she respects and likes them (I remember thinking as a child that they were way more interesting as people than the Prince)! Snow White displays a lot of sense and independent thinking, not to mention a genuine kindness for both animals and people.

Looking at later Disney movies makes one wonder what became of heroines like Snow White. Maybe, like characters played by Bette Davis and Katherine Hepburn in the 30s and early 40s, she was shelved due to cultural reasons. After World War 2, real-life women often had to quit the jobs they obtained while men were away, leading to a quasi-Victorian idealization of the home and traditional femininity. Hollywood seemed to reinforce this by producing few films with strong female leads, and during the fifties, Disney followed suit. After the likable but maudlin Cinderella, we got characters like Wendy of Peter Pan (1953-sweet and bright, but hung up on Peter) and Briar Rose of 1959`s Sleeping Beauty (sweet and hard-working, has to be awakened by a prince). This is not to say that fifties Disney cartoons were total fiascos- they were well animated and ahead of their time- but strong heroines were not a huge priority here.

Gradually, times changed and so did the Disney empire. After several financial upheavals in the 70s, animated films began to emerge from the studio again in the mid-80s. “Princess” characters were beginning to be written in a different way, a prime example being Belle of Beauty and the Beast (1991). Belle, the daughter of a small-town inventor, is sweet-natured and hard-working like many a Disney girl. Unlike them, she seeks knowledge through reading and dreams of leaving her home and having adventures. And she`s not afraid of the ferocious-seeming Beast: when he orders her to come to dinner, she refuses until he issues a civil invitation. They gradually come to know each other as equals. The troubling issue here is the whole conceit of the Beast keeping her captive in his castle. This is how the original story went, but I can also see why some commentators read Belle warming to him as a form of Stockholm syndrome.

On the other hand, she does try to escape at one point in order to check on her father, and this makes Beast realize that he can`t merely keep her as a pet. Belle is a fully realized character who is intriguing as well as pretty. She does change clothes more than other Disney princesses, but hey, she is living in a palace with well-equipped closets-why not? And she has the courage to try and rescue her father from the creepy village folk by herself, not waiting for Beast or any of his servants to accompany her.

The Princess and the Frog (2009) has a female lead who is more than able to carry the film. This princess is merely dressed as one for Mardi Gras-she`s actually an industrious waitress named Tiana, a fine cook who is saving money for her own restaurant. She becomes involved with the lazy and conceited Prince Naveen only because he`s been turned into a frog and requests her help. Kissing him turns her into a frog as well, so the pair must hit a Louisiana swamp in search of a voodoo priestess who can transform them back. Tiana is totally uninterested in Naveen at first, considering him hopelessly hedonistic. But the two bond as they journey through the swamp, and the prince is evantually ready to embrace work and give up his player-like ways for Tiana.

Throughout the film, Tiana`s ditzy friend Lottie epitomizes the stereotypical “princess” viewpoint, in contrast to the former`s practical ways. When read the old Frog Prince story as children, Lottie sighs in contentment, while Tiana exclaims, “No way am I kissin` no frog, no matter what!” You`ve got to love a girl who`s that feisty from childhood up. She also has a strong sense of morality. The evil Dr. Facilier offers to make her human again if she surrenders a charm- trouble is, he`ll use the charm to facilitate his takeover of New Orleans. Tiana refuses, vowing to “stay in the swamp forever”, rather than aid the voodoo dark side. All ends well, but with a twist: though Tiana and Naveen become restored to humanity, they achieve her dream of opening a restaurant, instead of looking for a kingdom to luxuriate in. Good film, great heroine-finally, an action princess! Yes, there`s still a prince, but the relationship dynamic is totally different. We see the pair get to know each other as people, not just become infatuated.

Disney cartoon features have become more progressive in terms of female heroes. It`s certainly true that they lagged behind the women and girls of anime for a few decades- compare any pre-eighties Disney heroine to Millenium Actress or Princess Mononoke- but they`re genuinely losing the passive princess mindset. Now that the studio is supposedly still going to do some hand-drawn animation as well as CGI, why not research some girl power-friendly storylines? How about a remake of The Black Cauldron with more emphasis on feisty heroine Eilonwy? Or a retelling of the Artemis or Amazons myths? Future generations of girls are waiting to see their own adventures in animation- they want to protect the castle, not just clean its courtyard.

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Lights, Camera, ACTIONFEST!

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A guest post by Jack Eagen

 

This year I had the opportunity to attend ActionFest. I didn’t just get to go as a film-goer, but I volunteered myself to what turned out to be a surprisingly amazing experience. I have not had so much fun at a film festival ever. I genuinely believe that this is a unique film festival that rivals to entertain patrons more than any other. I heard about the event when a friend mentioned he was going. A film festival fan, he had purchased a package to see every single film. I asked what was playing and discovered that some of my favorite film makers had projects playing. Namely, Takashi Miike, and Jackie Chan. The festival included a stunt show on Sunday. As I represent a production company, including a stunt and fight choreographer, Billy “Wylde” Wolcott, I emailed the people listed as being the organizers. I received a quick response and was please to get Robert Bradley and his Ghost Town Gun Fighters involved. Billy was able to participate and I got to work with John Cann, who was in charge of supplying the stunts. He brought his one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, crash bag completing two jumps, one downtown at the ARCADE as a pre-show buzz builder. He brought his air ramp and was set on fire by Buddy Joe Hooker.  They included motor cross stunt bikers that came with their own ramp, doing jumps forty feet up, in front of the Carolina Theater front marque. There was a martial arts exhibition from Ho Sin Sool Dojang, Traditional Martial Arts Center, and to my excitement my friends from Robert Bradleys Gun Fighters kicked the entire show off with a classic Wild West show comedy bit. Robert Bradley himself did an impressive death roll back on pavement and the under taker to one to the keaster.

The highlights this year at the screening was the winner of best film, A Lonely Place to Die, and the new Film by Miike, 13 Assassins. Lonely was an excellent twist on a climber story, by a British director (Julian Gilbey) and company. I had a chance to speak with Gilbey and he was kind enough to discuss some of the difficulties he had. He mentioned they shot on the RED One camera, and that some of their most expensive shots were entirely due to a safety cable crossing in front of the lead actresses face during key moment. They digitally removed the cable, hence the cost increase on their shots. The final product is a triumph for any director on the independent scene.

Colin Geddes and Peter Kuplowsky are doing a fantastic job, and can use all the volunteers they can get. Colin is an organizer from the Toronto Film Festival, and his experience is paying off. Peter not only ran a tight ship but I appreciated that when he spoke before the final screening, 13 Assassins, he mentioned Gozu, a not often referenced film by Miike. A sign that he is a true fan, and film lover. With guys running the show that have such a personal connection with the screenings, the festival is about love for the films. This is a festival about fun. Something often lacking in film festivals.

Because ActionFest is focused towards the Action, it seems to draw out some interesting visitors. Chuck Norris came to the first year, and it was gonna be tough to top that this year. Buddy Joe Hooker, Stunt Man Legend, stepped in to fill the shoes with no problem. Again, this is a good sign because people who are Action Buffs, or Film Fanatics know the name Buddy Joe Hooker. The easiest way to explain is to say he one of the members of Stunts Unlimited, he holds the record for the most rolls in a vehicle (22), and most recently infamous was his driving in Death Proof by Quinton Tarantino. Listing out everything else about him would take forever, but I seriously recommend anyone who claims to love film to make sure they know these names.

The Life Time Achievement award this year went to Russel Towery, who absolutely deserved it. He was the stunt stand in on all the Robo Cop films, a Fight Choreographer on the Pirates of Caribbean films and Machete, but mostly he was a very nice guy that was extremely approachable. Other visitors included the fighter choreographer for Troy and Sherlock Holmes, Michael Jai White who played Spawn and Black Dynamite, and Larnell Stovall who is the fight choreographer for Bunraku and the newest in the Mortal Combat films. All three of which where on a panel with guest writer, specialist, film consultant, Kung Fu “know it all” Ric Meyers, who was attending the festival to promote his new film and book “Films of Fury”. Ric was also someone who I got the chance to talk with on multiple occasions. Besides knowing more about the history of Asia, Martial Arts, Martial Arts Film, and Kung Fu than anyone I have ever met, he is also a brilliant writer. I bought a copy of his book and can’t put it down

If that isn’t enough, when I was talking with him about the difficulties of getting so much important information into a 2 hour movie when the book is over three hundred pages, I mentioned a DVD I have watched many times. I got it in a bundle with something else, which I can’t recall.  It is called The Art of Action. It is hosted by Samuel L. Jackson, and until Films of Fury, I have never seen a more in-depth and enlightening review of the history of Kung Fu films. It has wonderful interviews that opened up to many interesting details that never seem to get covered in film school history classes. Turns out that was one of Ric’s first attempts to getting this information out in front of the public. He was a consultant on that very same DVD. The new film, Films of Fury, is as Ric described it, an attempt to do something more entertaining for an audience that might have no interest in Kung Fu films, but also to more respectfully cover some of the most important topics. Ric Meyers seemed fairly pleased with the screening, which he pointed out he had not yet seen. Previously they had shown him a rough cut of the film which he hadn’t been ecstatic with. It is a long, complicated topic to try and cover in front of an audience with an increasingly short attention span.

Mostly, I would say that this festival is the little, big secret. It is a big idea and they are just getting started. The turnout seems small compared to the massive space they cover, opening the parking lot up for the stunt show. I expect the word will pass quickly and the turnout will expand exponentially over the following years. The theater is wonderful and although the Carolina is not positioned close to the downtown area, it really is the perfect space. Besides having a layout including a good VIP room and concessions including alcohol, they also have a private parking lot that allows them to meet all safety and zoning needs. This is very important when you are setting people on fire and throwing them off platforms over 35 feet up. I will definitely see you all there next year and those who missed out this year, don’t stress, ActionFest is here to stay.

 

Jack Eagen, Story Teller

Image Courtesy of StarWars.com

Skin-Showing Ladies of Clone Wars

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Guest post written by T. Johnson.  T. Johnson is a blogger, au pair, and part-time tutor who has been obsessed with science fiction and comics since roughly first grade. One of her life`s big revelations was discovering Wonder Woman comics-another milestone was  starting to read the works of Heinlein and Aldous Huxley. She has always been convinced  that girls can be as truly nerdy as any fanboy.

A blog post on Wired.com assets that the female characters of Cartoon Network`s Clone Wars are “over-sexualized” by their “scanty” attire, especially Jedi apprentice Ahsoka Tano and the older mentor Aayla Secura. The author admittedly makes a good case for this in some ways. Male Jedis of Clone Wars tend to wear long monk-like robes and/or practical cropped pants. Ahsoka and Aayla do wear somewhat less.

Image Courtesy of StarWars.com

But I`m not sure if their clothing can be construed as scanty in the extreme. Consider Ahsoka`s costume: it consists of a leather halter top worn wth a short brown skirt and leggings. I never thought of it as particularly sexy or revealing. This is reinforced by the fact that AT is a character who is concerned with becoming a better Jedi, not dancing in a cantina. We usually see her in full-on action scenes, running,leaping, and wielding her light saber.

In fact, most costumes worn by comic book heroines are far more “scanty” (gasp)! Look at the stuff foisted on Supergirl. Everyone draws her with her navel front and center,regardless of what kind of shirt she wears. She and cousin Power Girl (to name but two examples) are also renowned for their amazing displays of cleavage. Marvel`s Emma Frost always sheds her snow-white or gray cloak to expose a white sports bra and miles of shapely legs. Next to these fan-boy favorites, Aayla and Ahsoka look amazingly modest.

Now, I’m no prude – showing skin (male and female) in comics and cartoons is a long-held tradition. Male heroes have always dressed to show off their chest and leg muscles, even in the fashion-conservative 40`s and 50`s. I’m sure many straight and gay folks enjoyed seeing them this way, and I do as well. But it`s interesting that no one worries about, say, Anakin Skywalker`s pants “over-sexualizing” him. This is something that is applied far more to female characters, as if they are somehow more vulnerable-even if they have good light saber skills or super strength. In fact, fretting about their attire sometimes seems to be a politically correct put-down.

A few months ago, the artists who draw Clone Wars modified Ahsoka Tano`s costume. She`s now wearing a long brown tunic and gray pants-like leggings (funny how this trouser option has never gone away, even in fiction). I`m not sure if fans will take her more seriously with covered legs. She never had much of a problem fighting in her other attire. It remains to be seen whether Aayla will suddenly cover her cleavage with a high-necked blouse. As noted above, I guess I did not notice clothing implications because I was far more interested in these women as valid people. Whether they rock short skirts or full body armor, the women of Clone Wars are competent and powerful.

 

A portion of this post can also be found at Nerd Society.

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Editorial Piece: Pulling Threads and Spinning Yarns

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While participating in the Dexter ARG, I was fortunate enough to meet Michael Andersen from ARGNet.  When I started this blog with all of the wonderful fellow Nerds in Babeland, I intended for this to be a place where female nerds can write about their passions (however nerdy or un-nerdy they may be).  Well, as has been made obvious, one of my new-found passions is Alternate Reality Gaming, and I asked Michael to talk about his own thoughts on ARGs.  I know, I know, he’s not a woman (shock!) but I think it’s okay for us to have our occasional male guest writer.  Thank you, Michael!

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There’s a secret world out there, existing just outside the bounds of your perception. Most people go through their entire lives without realizing this fact. But if you’re smart enough, talented enough, or just plain lucky enough, you might join the select few who can recognize the signs and peel back a layer of reality to see what lies beneath.

This is a popular theme in science fiction and fantasy: you’ll find it in Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and The Matrix. There’s something eerily compelling about story worlds that could easily coexist with our own. Press a few bricks in the right order, walk down the wrong alley one night, or follow a few cryptic instructions on your computer screen, and your life will be forever changed. It’s also a recurring theme in alternate reality games (ARGs), a form of entertainment that superimposes a new set of rules over reality by peppering the real world with story fragments using a wide range of media and artifacts. I write about this kind of storytelling at ARGNet, and worked together with a handful of Nerds in Babeland contributors to explore the Dexter universe as we tried to hunt down a serial killer.

After a few years of following alternate reality games, I have become adept at recognizing loose threads in the fabric of reality. Pay enough attention, and you’ll discover the fantastic hiding in plain sight. You might even find yourself hiding clues to a secret world of your own. So what do I mean by loose threads in the fabric of reality? See for yourself, through a series of photographs I took in search of stories hidden in plain sight.

Sometimes, the underlying story is an enigma. Consider this fine fellow as an example: I found him in the middle of the road at the corner of Euclid and Mayfield, mere blocks from my law school in Cleveland. Intrigued, I kept my eyes peeled, and discovered he had compatriots scattered across the city: indeed, the Stickman is a national phenomenon, with sightings in locations from Portland to Washington DC. What secrets do these hidden men hide?

Other times, the secret is more straightforward, offering a chance at adventure. On a trip to Baltimore, I paid a visit to the Peabody Library, touchingly described by one visitor as the “closest I’ve seen to Hog-warts!” in the Institute’s guestbook. Just outside the building, a street map featured the following correspondence:

If I stayed in town for an additional day, what exciting adventure might have presented itself? Would I encounter the source of the message, or another curious soul like myself?

Nonchalance created The Jejune Institute to address these questions through an elaborate alternate reality game using San Francisco as a stage to hide puzzles in plain sight. Workers in the Business District likely pass a metal ring soldered to the sidewalk bearing the name “QUINCY” every day without giving it a second glance…but for those of us who entered the Jejune Institute lobby at 580 California Street, Suite #1607, it stands out in stark relief as an introduction into a world of cults and conspiracies.

It may seem a bit daft to obsessively seek out meaning in the countless unexplained curiosities you encounter and summarily discount on a daily basis. But those selfsame threads serve as portals into fantastic worlds that lie just beneath the surface of our own.

At the risk of coopting the expression of a Chicago-based graffiti artist with a knack for the comedic: if I ever start to lose this sense of wonder at these untold stories hidden in plain sight?

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Review: Passing by Nella Larsen

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I have avoided writing book reviews for most of my life. Even when assigned to do so in school, I would try to figure out a different plan of attack. How could I possibly describe a book that has been written by someone else? The way sentences flow together, the chosen words, the character descriptions. The author has already said anything that I would want to say, and in a more pleasing tone.

When I was asked to write a guest post, it was suggested that I do a book review because of my self-proclaimed bibliophile status. My mind swam with the possibilities. Do I take on a book that has just been released? An old favorite that I curl up with on a rainy day? A book that no one has ever heard of?

I decided to talk about one of my favorite books: Passing, by Nella Larsen. Although my usual reads include crime dramas, science fiction, graphic novels or supernatural topics, Passing is none of the above. It is simply an example of some of the best writing to come out of the Harlem Renaissance.

Security. Was it just a word? If not, then was it only by the sacrifice of other things, happiness, love, or some wild ecstasy that she had never known, that it could be obtained? (Passing, 107)

Passing tells the story of two strikingly similar women who lead two very different lives. Concentrating on the issue of skin color, Larsen recounts the experiences of two biracial women living in New York in the early 1900’s. She explores a topic that has not been readily undertaken. Many refuse to believe that racism can exist between members of the same race. Larsen examines race, sexuality, identity, and class differences in this riveting novel.

In the past, African Americans with lighter skin tones would pass as a white person for many different reasons. This novel is set during a time period where African Americans still encountered restrictions because of their skin color. One of the women, Irene, chose to remain in the African American community, despite her fair skin. She has a peaceful, normal life with her family. Her friend Clare Kendry took the dangerous, exciting route. She chose to pass for a white woman in white society. She believed that the societal benefits outweigh the extremely dangerous risks. Irene, however, values security and safety above all else. The most important aspect of her life is the wellbeing of her family. Although Irene ‘passes’ when it is necessary, she prefers to remain in her comfort zone. Both women value security, and they each make significant sacrifices, taking a different approach to obtain what they need in their lives. The demand for assimilation and constant racism that these women encounter makes this an intriguing topic to explore.

This book is a fantastic read for many reasons. It opens up an area of life that many of us have never experienced. I cannot imagine living in a society where you would be cast out because of the color of your skin. Clare’s husband detests African Americans, and she would surely be in mortal danger if he discovered her secret. Personifying the definition of impermanence, Clare floats from one place to the next without ever getting attached. Somehow, she finds the security she craves in the unpredictability of her life.

Written in 1929, this book still rings true today. While we hope that racism is a thing of the past, it still stands strong in many areas of the world. Passing splits the topic of racism wide open, and allows us all to personally experience its horror.

The Birth of a Hashtag, a Nickname and a Movement

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So it all began rather innocently as many great things in history do. ;D

It was the early morning hours of Thursday, October 7th, 2010, and I was getting ready to settle in for a marathon overnighter listening to David Tennant on The Christian O’Connell Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio (UK). I casually began to ask my tweeps on Twitter who was present (I wanted to know who I was going to spend the morning with) and people began to tweet me replies. Slowly, we grew to a dozen (myself included) and at that point I decided to stop counting people. A dozen David Tennant fangirls sounded like a good round number. =)
@seduff_asked for suggestions as to what we should call ourselves in trying to get ourselves a shout-out and I made two suggestions. I honestly can’t recall the first one but the second one was #absolutedtfangirls. It had a double meaning which I really liked – devout David Tennant fangirls and David Tennant fangirls staying up/getting up early to listen to Absolute Radio. I didn’t think seduff or anyone else would really like it that much. Soon several people agreed and the hashtag for our David Tennant Twitter party (the ‘party’ term coming from @tardis_tara) officially became #absolutedtfangirls.
I reluctantly decided to listen to @seduff_ and sent an e-mail into the station. I didn’t want to take the time to write up something intelligent (LOL) only to have it overlooked like every other time I’ve written in to ANY show/site but what the hell! I even went so far as to make my e-mail fangirlie & cheeky and provided them with my actual city location because it wasn’t like anyone would ever read that information on air. Boy, was I wrong!
Around the same time, the Heart Fm show which would include an interview with David, had begun and although I was supposed to be recording it I ended up going back and forth between both radio shows. BIG mistake!
As I was listening to Heart Fm, I decided to save my e-mail for posterity since it was a site-based submission and once I had sent it there was no way of retrieving it. I posted it through twit longer and at about the same time I did that I began to see tweets pop up on my timeline that read “He mentioned us!” “He read my e-mail!” and then I came across a ‘Congratulations!’ tweet sent my way. Congratulations? I was truly confused and thought maybe someone was congratulating me for having had the nerve to send in the e-mail I’d just sent.
By this time, I had switched back over to Absolute Radio just in time to hear the end of @tardis_tara ON THE SHOW! She was telling her story about meeting David in New Mexico while she was an extra in the upcoming remake of Fright Night and described her brand spankin’ new Doctor Who tattoo only to have an awkward silence linger from Christian’s end. I was laughing so hard that I tweeted I was pmsl at Christian. <—- Remember this tweet; it will up again later. =D
During Tara’s on air appearance, more congratulations came my way and by now it was clear I had missed something big on Absolute Radio! I felt really dumb but had to ask if my e-mail had been read on air and in came the “Yes, they did! Right before Tara!” tweets. I was crushed. It had been my one shot at on air radio fame (LOL) and I had actually MISSED it! I felt like a loser! The loser feelings didn’t last long though as I quickly began to recall exactly what I had typed in the e-mail! =O I was now completely embarrassed!
The #AbsoluteDTfangirls around the globe have joined up for a twitter party to await the coming of the Time God on Christian’s kick ass breakfast show!
Sunday can’t come soon enough and we look forward to Decoy Bride as well as the epic Fright Night where, basically, Peter Vincent is the hero! OHH YESS!
Love, McFangirl =D
P.S. When the hell is Tennant gonna do a shirtless photoshoot?! We’re begging you, David!”
I was feeling really awkward & disappointed that I had missed out on my own 2 seconds of fame and would have to wait hours to listen to it when @seduff_ tweeted a link to a partial audio recording of Christian reading several of our party’s e-mails including mine and tardis_tara’s interview. I tried not to listen for as long as I could and finally gave in. I was horrified & thrilled all at the same time and learned that I had forced Christian to get his sidekick, Richie, to google ‘Decoy Bride‘ because they didn’t even know what it was. That was too funny!
As I was finishing up the audio clip, I was shocked to see Christian’s Twitter av sitting in my @ replies feed. It was indeed a tweet from Christian, alright and it read:

I was surprised but will admit it felt really great to know Christian had taken the time to click ‘reply’ on one of my goodness-knows-how-many dorky tweets that morning to send a tweet-out (??? is that what Twitter shout-outs are called? LOL!) to all of us AND me! …But MCFANDANGO girl? WTF? That was both hilarious and troubling all at the same time.
As you can see, the tweet got several retweets and then everyone started calling me mcfandango girl. *palm face* While it was amazing a radio celebrity had made up a nickname for me it got really old really quickly and within five minutes, I tweeted that whomever chose to call me that again would get bitten. Several people decided to disregard the ‘warning’ but no, I didn’t actually get a chance to bite anyone. Darn. ;P
The seemingly never-ending waiting went on and then FINALLY David showed up. The interview was awesome and near the end Christian asked David to give the #absolutedtfangirls a shout-out prompted by a tweet (and several retweets) from @tiddytennant which he did, sort of… in his David kinda way. He didn’t get the name quite right and no thanks to Christian, erroneously sent it out only to those of us in the U. S., bless his little heart!
The entire experience was awesome and I’ll never forget it. I think it really brought a lot of us closer together in our Tennant fandom. =) I’m looking forward to the Tennant/O’Connell “Dream Team” getting back together sometime before the end of the year to bring us all together once again for another ‘David Tennant Twitter Party’.
Thanks to the tweets, retweets and the on air ‘advertising’ the #absolutedtfangirls hashtag got out there and now all Tennant fangirls refer to themselves as such making Twitter lists, using the term on their blogs & websites, and aiding in spreading it even further. I’m very proud & happy that the hashtag got out there and that so many fans the world over have embraced it. It really means a lot to me but I have seduff to thank for asking the initial question that prompted my hashtag answer.
While girls may forever call themselves #absolutedtfangirls this post is dedicated to our DT dozen who will always, in my mind, be THE original #absolutedtfangirls (in random order):
@hypocritter, @vincents_biatch, @MOTDS6690, @JenLeigh82, @TenSuitConverse, @GojyoChan, @beth_evers, @GallifreyNative, @TARDIS_Tara, @seduff_, @BeatlesWhoMuser, and me, @mcfangirl.
Addendum:
Now for the tweet about me pmsl at Christian: About 3 days after the radio show aired, I pulled up Christian’s tweet to snag and save for all of time (heheh) when, for the first time, it occurred to me to click on the ‘in reply to mcfangirl’ link on the bottom of the tweet and to my surprise and one finaly time – embarrassment – Christian hadn’t just grabbed one of the tweets I’d sent him and clicked reply, he had actually gone to my profile page and then clicked the link to reply to this tweet:

AWKward! LOL!
I leave you with one last pretty cool story:
On Saturday, October 9th, 2010, David was on Graham Norton’s radio show and Graham read an e-mail from a fangirl who wrote that the #absolutedtfangirls said, “Hello!”. Graham asked David, “Do you know them?” to which David replied, “Not personally but I’ve heard it [the term] before.”.
Clearly, he remembered us!
I can now die happily as the #absolutedtfangirl! ;D
**An extra special thank you to @seduff_ for her amazing work on the logo featured at the top. You can see more of her work here.**

Doctor Who: The Complete Specials (The Next Doctor / Planet of the Dead / The Waters of Mars / The End of Time Parts 1 and 2)

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