It is 1980, the morning of May 21. School is almost over for the year. I feel the first erratic twitches of puberty grunting through my adrenal glands. More important than any of that, though, more important than girls or grades or how to get better with either of them, is the fact that May 21 is the official release date of The Empire Strikes Back.
And I am ready.
IDW’s re-release of The X-Files Classics series is about to reach its conclusion, with the final set of collated issues of The X-Files comic book being set to drop in just over a month. The first few volumes revealed a lot about the time in which the comic was made—mid-’90s Todd Macfarlane-esque splash pages abound—but also about the inventiveness and creativity which permeated the greatest seasons of the television show. In addition, the comic featured its own mythology, revealing shady Pentagon connections, crystal helmets, and hinting at the alien powers that Fox Mulder, among others, would wield in later seasons of the television show.
There are also some missteps. It seemed impossible to accurately draw poor Gillian Anderson’s face in 1995, her glorious visage distorted or squashed depending on the panel one happens to view. Much like the TV show, it was likely that the creators were up against real deadlines, turning out the product as quickly as possible to capitalize on the exponential success of the show.
Given that the comic book is, in essence, a microcosm of the show, it seems like we are more than overdue a proper reevaluation of the television show and films.
In a break from my normal oeuvre, a couple of weeks ago I went with my other half to see the “supergroup” (a term I am perhaps exaggerating here) McBusted, formed of McFly and Busted, both of whom enjoyed success in the UK a decade ago. Whilst I knew what I would expect as to the venue (faceless stadium) and the clientele (a mix of tweens and 30-somethings reliving their student days), what really stood out to me was the way in which this concert exemplified the current mass-music scene in the UK.
New this week on Popshifter: Brad reviews yet another Scream Factory reissue, this time it’s The Burning; Jeff finishes up this month’s Waxing Nostalgic Cover Albums series with Replicants’ eponymous album; Paul informs critics that being average is not worse than being bad; John pays tribute to The Olivia Tremor Control’s Bill Doss; I embrace the post-punk transvestite stylings of The Garden on their new album The Life And Times Of A Paperclip; and enjoy a lot of good movies new on home video and in theaters: Trance, Kiss of the Damned, The Last Will and Testament of Rosalind Leigh, and Berberian Sound Studio.
With geek culture becoming more and more prominent, there is a lot of discussion, both online and IRL, about convention etiquette. The topics range from how to act around celebrity guests, to when to take pictures, to how to respond to sexual harassment at conventions. But I’m here to tell you that conventions you aren’t even attending may deserve more respect than you’re giving them.
Because, you see, I don’t care whether you can afford to go to my convention.
I should explain. The convention that I work on gives 100 percent of its proceeds to charity, unlike most fan-based conventions and corporate conventions, which may include philanthropy but which operate mainly as businesses. We may not have world-famous celebrity guests, but food and lodging are included in the ticket price (with varying rates for day trips and one-night stays, of course). And yet, despite our charitable purpose, it feels like we can’t even mention our event in public without someone complaining about how expensive it is.
New this week on Popshifter: Jeff praises The Armoury Show’s “gorgeously slick cathedral Goth with strangely danceable grooves” in the Cherry Red reissue of Waiting For The Floods; Danny calls the new Meat Puppets album, Rat Farm, “the band’s most playful and diverse offering since 1985″; Melissa B. laments the passing of George Jones in her review of the CD reissues of George Jones Country and You’ve Still Got A Place In My Heart; I describe the “geographic grandeur” of the full-length, self-titled debut from Big Black Delta; describe how no-budget, sci-fi flick Manborg “comes from the heart”; explain the “nuanced, complicated” joys of A Royal Affair; congratulate Melvins on their excellent album of covers, Everybody Loves Sausages; and get excited and photo-happy about the upcoming Vicki Berndt art show in Los Angeles.
Whatever I watch on my iPad has better resolution and color than the television I grew up with. Note the number of choices one has by just searching on “television” in the app store.
With Big Data making big news for Netflix, I’m hoping that more Americans ditch cable for streaming television. I’ve received several questions from readers of this column asking why I think streaming services are so much better, and why I advocate throwing over cable completely for Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and the rest of our new media overlords. There are lots of reasons we should throw away the current model of cable and satellite subscription services.
Here I’ll list my top five; if you really need more reasons than these, you’re either a Comcast employee or use your television as a tool for self inflicted pain.
Inside Llewyn Davis
New this week on Popshifter: Paul takes Men’s Rights Advocates to task in his article on Women in Gaming and tells tales of pro wrestling redemptions; Chelsea loves Lady Lamb the Beekeeper’s first full-length album RiPLEY PINE; I fawn over new releases from Parenthetical Girls, Dawn McCarthy & Bonnie “Prince” Billy, and Iceage, share the latest from Big Black Delta, and review French Horn Rebellion’s newest EP Love Is Dangerous; and Hanna admires both the humor and scientific methods found in The Marriage of True Minds from Matmos.
By Paul Casey
John Walker, the co-editor of video game website Rock, Paper, Shotgun has written something rather good about women in video games, and the ongoing obfuscation from “male rights activists” (MRAs). You should read it, as it is one of the best recent bits on the most important issue in video games of the last year, and probably 2013, too. Walker raises some interesting points from his perspective working on Rock, Paper, Shotgun:
“What’s interesting about the nature of the MRAs is that they take this behaviour, and whether consciously or not, subvert it. So when they encounter an article describing a negative treatment or depiction of women, they adopt the agenda-driven irrational response: because you have written this you don’t care about men’s issues. Not because they believe that, but rather because it proves the fastest route to diverting attention away from, and derailing discussion of, sexism or misogyny. The real goal, of course, is to prevent the discussion of such matters.”
As Walker points out, this can be seen as a tactical move to frustrate any attempts to make progress on issues they for some reason or other can’t stomach. Over the past year there have been some shameful acts of intimidation and stupidity from various sectors of the “videogame community” towards women who dare have an opinion on their representation. It is also fairly common, though, to find deep confusion when a man takes interest in the same issues.
Kiss of the Damned (full poster)
New this week on Popshifter: I reveal a behind-the-scenes video on the making of the upcoming What The Brothers Sang album by Dawn McCarthy and Bonnie “Prince” Billy and weigh in on Suede’s new single and video; Paul praises Spotify but has stern advice for Prince; Cait has the scoop on the terrific new Omnivore Recordings George Jones United Artists singles compilation; and Elizabeth reassures us we can still call television “television.”