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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

File this one under Wednesday weird. The #1 trending topic on Twitter is currently “Melania” after a video and comparison photo shots convinced wide swaths of the Internet that Trump had employed a Melania doppelganger. The conspiracy fast became a meme, and the rest is history.

First, Twitter lit up about this video. You have to admit that as we zoom in on Melania, her nose looks different, as does her fringe of hair—and her vigorous nodding to Trump’s words. It was made weirder by Trump saying “My wife Melania, who happens to be right here.” For those who really got into this thing whole-heartedly, I think it’s demonstrative of how out-there Trump behaves on an everyday basis that nothing he or his family does would surprise us anymore. We’d totally be down for believing he swapped in a spare Melania look-alike for a photo op.

While portions of the Internet took this very seriously and broke down comparisons to the microscopic level, others had more fun memeing and hamming it up.

Let’s all simmer down, folks. Camera angles can play tricks:

But personally, I’m going with this take:

Anyway, given the terrible things Donald Trump has done just today, like deny he was rude to the widow of a fallen soldier (hmm, who should we believe, Donald Trump or the soldier’s mother?), and never follow up on the promise of fundraising $25,000 for the family of another lost soldier, we shouldn’t be distracted by this silliness (or so focused on picking apart a woman’s appearance). Still, #FakeMelania was too much of a moment in cultural history not to record. Everyone really needs a break, don’t we?

  • Twitter says they’re going to institute new rules for handling abuse on their network. Oh, sorry, that banshee-like sound you just heard was my incredulous, hysterical laughter. (via Wired)
  • So who’s been watching Mindhunter??? OMG how I’ve missed Anna Torv. Also, this is cool:

  • The cast of Halloweentown, reunited. (via Buzzfeed)
  • Director Guillermo Del Toro doesn’t mince words about Hollywood’s toxic culture: “The people with money are assholes.” (via THR)
  • French women have their own “me too”-esque hashtag, only it’s #BalanceTonPorc (“expose your pig”) (via Time)
  • Is my wife Hayley Atwell’s presence in Georgia a possible hint that she could be filming there for the Avengers? Please? Peggy please? (via Comicbook.com)

You made it halfway through the week! Hooray! So what’d you see today?

(image: screengrab)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

Director Marianna Palka has taken a loaded word and a batshit premise and managed to create a feminist satire that seems to be as insightful and incisive as it is funny and weird. Check out the trailer for her new film, Bitch, above!

This dark comedy tells the story of a woman (played by Palka) who is so overwhelmed by her life as a mother and wife that she becomes an actual bitcha female dog. Her cheating husband (Jason Ritter) and their kids then have to navigate life without her, clueless about all the physical and emotional labor they heaped upon her day in and day out, completely taking her for granted.

The film’s title is a divisive word in feminist circles. I happen to be in the camp that believes that the word can be reclaimed and be empowering depending on context and usage. There are others who see the word as demeaning in all contexts and prefer it never be used with regard to women. At Sundance this year, Palka explained her take on the word and why she chose it as a title:

“I think because there’s such a power in the word, and I think that the word actually means so much to so many people. I think that it’s obviously sometimes misused as a word and a term. I always think there’s another way to talk about someone. If you want to call them that, you should call them something else. You could say that they’re being assertive.”

Bitch arrives in theaters November 10th. Will you be checking it out?

(via The Muse, image: Youtube)

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

As Ava DuVernay reminded us when she spoke at the Hammer Museum Gala earlier this week, “good guys” do exist. As rife as Hollywood is with terrible, horrifying examples of manhood, there are also those who genuinely and wholeheartedly embrace their role in doing better and furthering the cause of gender equality. I needed to take a minute to acknowledge them here; to remind myself that the world isn’t a complete shit-show.

We’ve already heard today about Kevin Smith putting his money where his mouth is and donating all future royalties from any films of his produced/distributed by the Weinsteins (which is a lot of films) to Women in Film. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, we’re also hearing about Channing Tatum stopping development of his film adaptation of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, which was in development with The Weinstein Company.

A post shared by Channing Tatum (@channingtatum) on

My hope is that more people in Hollywood take things like a company’s record re: abuses against women into account before deciding whether or not to work with them in the first place. And if new information comes to light, they do what Tatum and his producing partner, Reid Carolin, have done: take their business elsewhere.

In addition to those men in Hollywood who are fighting on the business front, there are those who are working toward changing the culture of masculinity by really examining it and redefining what it means. I’ve been following Justin Baldoni’s work for a while now, at first because I’m a huge fan of Jane the Virgin (he plays Rafael), but shortly thereafter because I’ve learned that he is extremely passionate about using his craft and his platform to better the world around him.

His production company, Wayfarer Entertainment, exists not only to create content, but to engage in social justice and change, primarily in the realm of homelessness, but for other causes, too. One of those productions is a show called Man Enough.

I’ve been getting glimpses of the making of the show as it’s progressed via Baldoni’s Instagram, and it seems like a really cool idea. It’s a dinner party-style conversation show with a rotating cast of male participants who will be gathering to have honest conversations about what masculinity is, and can be.

Far from being an MRA-style bro-fest, Man Enough will gather men with all different experiences and relationships to gender in order to perpetuate a masculinity that isn’t about destruction and pain, but rather, one that allows the space for vulnerability and growth. Says Baldoni, “There is no shortage of men, I can tell you right now, that want to be at that table and have that conversation even in this town, believe it or not, because men are ready to talk, men are ready to open up, men are tired of the way things have been.”

The Hollywood Reporter announced that the show’s rotating cast includes Matt McGorry (How to Get Away With Murder), Derek Hough (Dancing With the Stars), Javier Munoz (Hamilton), comedian Bassem Youssef, spoken word artist Prince Ea, transgender activist Aydian Dowling, and former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

The fact that they’re including not only straight, white, and cis perspectives on masculinity, but those of men of color, queer men, and trans men gives me a lot of hope that the conversations they have will actually be valuable, and hopefully inspire similar conversations among men who watch.

Man Enough premieres online on November 28th at wearemanenough.com.

Lastly, I’ve been heartened to see men outside the Hollywood environment begin to have conversations on social media via hashtags like #ItWasMe and #HowIWillChange, taking responsibility for all the ways, big and small, in which they have individually perpetuated rape culture and sexism while vowing to do better.

I hope that this conversation leads to real, concrete action, and that this action continues. Sexism can’t be dismantled without men’s participation, and it gives me hope to see that there are men out there that see the dismantling of sexism as something that will benefit them much more than any “power” they have under this oppressive system.

(image: Wayfarer Entertainment)

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The Basilisk Murders: Now Out!

Oct. 18th, 2017 09:02 pm
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Posted by Andrew Hickey

My new novel The Basilisk Murders is now out in hardback from Lulu, and in paperback and ebook from Amazon (UK) (US). Those of you with Kindle Unlimited or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library can read it for free — and if you *don’t* have those, you can sign up for a thirty-day free trial for Kindle Unlimited and read it for free anyway — and I’ll still get paid (though you’re more than welcome to buy a copy rather than read it free if you want to make sure you can keep it). Patreon backers should be receiving their free copies soon.

For those who haven’t seen me talk about this book, here’s the blurb:

“Was this going to be the end? I wondered as I sprinted down yet another flight of stairs. Was I going to get caught, and get killed, by a geek serial killer?”

When Sarah arrives at a tech conference she’s meant to be covering for her magazine, she thinks it’ll be a few days away from her marriage problems on a tropical island. Instead, she’s surrounded by sleazy men who want to build a computer God, thousands of miles from home and her wife. She hates where she is, and the people who are around her.

But when someone starts killing those people off, Sarah has to investigate. What is the Basilisk? Who is committing the murders? Why is everyone talking about blackmail? And why is everyone drinking fish?

Surrounded by Russian billionaires, gropey bloggers, alt-right computer scientists, and philosophy professors, can Sarah solve the murders and win back her wife before the Singularity? And can she do it without having to deal with her racist ex-girlfriend?

Part cozy mystery, part technothriller, part biting satire, The Basilisk Murders is a hilarious, gripping, story of irrational rationality, staying kind in a hostile world, and building a better sandcastle.

the: (cindy lou whom)
[personal profile] the posting in [community profile] fandom_icons

180+ (ongoing) THE GIFTED HERE.

also features elektra & colleen
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Posted by Princess Weekes

For weeks, my best friend kept coming up to me saying that I had to—I absolutely had to—read Spinning. I was promised a bucketful of tears and a heart full of queer feelings; that is exactly what I was given after reading Spinning by cartoonist Tillie Walden.

In Tillie Walden’s graphic memoir (published on September 12), ten years of her life are recounted, in which her mornings and nights are consumed by competitive figure skating. Initially, the structure, the intensity, and the competition are things that give Tillie comfort, a steadiness until her family decided to move from New Jersey to Texas. It is there that Tillie’s world begins to change, the routines she’s set up for herself slowly fade away, and the emotional needs she requires are more than ice-skating can provide.

What I find so powerful about Spinning from a narrative perspective is the honesty with which the author tells her story. While Tillie is our protagonist, we’re allowed to see her selfishness, her ambition, and her almost elitist behavior with the other girls, and recognize them as faults. Her parents are shown to be caring and distant. The emotional vulnerability is also clear as she recounts feelings of longing for both emotional love and romantic love. My absolute favorite panel is when she recounts the first time she knew she was attracted to women.

“I never ignored the fact that I was attracted to them. I had known I was gay since I was 5. Now I was almost 12. A teacher’s aide had shown me how to hold your sleeve when you put your jacket on. I still remember her hands on my shoulders. I didn’t have a word to describe it yet, but in that moment I knew.”

While Spinning is not about coming out, Tillie doesn’t need to go through a crisis to know she’s gay either (yay!), but her falling in love and infatuation with other women while she’s closeted only helps to illustrate how not acknowledging that part of herself to others keeps her in a box that’s getting smaller by the minute.

Being young and gay is still hard, despite how many strides we have taken as a society. Homophobia is all around us, and just because people don’t stigmatize women as much for holding hands and even kissing, that doesn’t mean everyone’s suddenly OK with lesbians. Coming out means risking relationships and hearing a lot of “I like you—but not like that” comments from same-sex friends.

Ice skating is shown for the physically and emotionally intense experience that it is, with one scene in particular with some busybody parents that made me want to find each one of them and shake them for shaming a child. It also provides this binary between Tillie, who in her everyday life is very tomboyish in her appearance, to the hyper-glamorized world of ice skating, where you have to wear a full face of makeup to then go sweat, and are punished for showing a bra-strap or panty-line, despite having to do spins and kicks. But Tillie is drawn to it and to women who managed to meld into that world in the seamless way she cannot.

As a work of art, Spinning excels at using shadows, darkness, and whitespace to illustrate Tillie’s joys, fears, and loneliness. Not to mention her athleticism and that of the other skaters.

When we call for a diversity of queer voices, Spinning is emblematic of why that call is there. There are so many stories to tell in so many ways that until we see them, it’s hard to believe it never existed before. Tillie’s story is about a young woman trying to get to a place in her life where she can be whole without compromising the pieces of herself that mean the most. As an artist, a lesbian, and ultimately, as a woman on the verge of self-truth.

Spinning is beautiful and brilliant so yes, you might want to prepare yourself for the feels.

(images: First Second Books)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

As Legendary Pictures gears up for production on the film adaptation of Detective Pikachu, rumors are starting to fly about the big names they have in mind for the title role. That Hashtag Show reports that Legendary’s top choices to voice Detective Pikachu are Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds, Mark Wahlberg, and…Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Unfortunately for the studio, none of the four have even agreed to meet about the role – yet!

The internet might be disappointed by this list, since Danny Devito has been its most memed suggestion, but I am honestly so entertained by the idea of Hugh Jackman or The Rock voicing a goddamn Pikachu. I hope Jackman would go full Logan, growling all his lines while playing a bouncy yellow fantasy creature. The Rock could just be the Rock, doing his thing, and I would enjoy it.

The Detective Pikachu movie will be based on the Japanese Great Detective Pikachu video game, whose trailer you can see below. The game centers on a talking Pikachu who isn’t as skilled a fighter as most Pikachu, but more than makes up for it with his career as a talking, crime-solving master detective. When he finally meets a human boy who can understand what he’s saying, they team up to solve Pokémon-related mysteries.

Detective Pikachu is scheduled to being shooting in January 2018, with Rob Letterman (Shark Tale, Monsters vs. Aliens) set to direct. I think Hugh Jackman and The Rock are pretty awesome suggestions, but who would you like to see voice Detective Pikachu? Viola Davis doing her Amanda Waller voice? Mark Hamill? Tara Strong? Hit me with your best suggestions!

(Via IGN; image via screengrab of the Detective Pikachu trailer)

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What Is a Problematic Fave?

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:56 pm
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Posted by Clare McBride

Much like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart and obscenity, we know a problematic fave when we see it, but actually nailing down a specific definition can be hard.

Overuse of a word always runs the risk of devaluing it, which makes exercises like the first question at New York Comic-Con’s “Let’s Talk About Our Problematic Faves” useful in recentering and refreshing the concept. Moderated by Diana M. Pho and featuring panelists Lara Elena Donnelly, Terence Taylor, and Mark Oshiro, I was pleasantly surprised by both the delightful panelists—go follow Taylor on Twitter right now, you will not regret it—and the introduction to affect theory it provided.

But first, the definition of a problematic fave. While I do agree with Taylor’s baseline definition that a problematic fave is something you have to recommend with a caveat—such as noting that Lovecraft is a big ol’ racist when recommending At the Mountains of Madness—Donnelly provided the best explanation by way of metaphor. Specifically, the metaphor of ice cream. Ice cream is delicious and easy to love, but eating ice cream all the time will leave you malnourished. This doesn’t mean you can’t have ice cream, of course, you just have to be upfront about what it is and incorporate it into a diverse diet.

Which, when it comes to geek media, is easier said than done. You only have to look at the uproar surrounding the gender and racial diversity in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ghostbusters to see what happens when you try to add to a classic by expanding on it, and it only gets worse when it comes to media criticism. How do we account for these kinds of reactions?

Two words: affect theory. To explain, Pho introduced us to the work of theorist Sara Ahmed—specifically, her essay “Happy Objects,” collected in her 2010 book, The Promise of Happiness. In it, Ahmed posits that there are objects that make us happy. (They affect us, hence the name of the theory.)

When people organize themselves around those objects, they create “affective communities”—or, in this case, fandoms. Fandoms, at a base level, are connected by fans commonly recognizing a piece of media as good or enjoyable. Not only does it makes us happy, it can form a major part of our identities. I mean, just look at how House sorting has seeped so far into mainstream culture. (I’m a Hufflepuff for life, by the way.)

So when someone comes along and points out its flaws—an “affect alien,” per Ahmed—we can feel threatened. Ahmed uses the stereotype of the “feminist killjoy” as an example of this. It’s not just someone yucking on your yum. Someone else being unable to find happiness in your happy object, especially for unassailable reasons like, say, “this story says terrible things about women,” can feel like a commentary on your own enjoyment of it. That your happy object is completely unworthy or that you’re wrong or a bad person to enjoy it all. To go back to Donnelly’s metaphor, you feel like you’re not allowed to eat ice cream and that you’re a bad person for even wanting it at all.

But the thing is, many “affect aliens” aren’t aliens at all, but other members of the fandom the “aggravated” parties have had the privilege to ignore in the past. Affective communities have rapidly expanded in the age of tumblr, as the previous barriers to entry for fandom have all but vanished and the social media platforms we perform fan labor on do not allow us to build curated communities of fans. (The loss of community building and moderation as a skillset in fandom is another post for another time.)

As a result, fandom is now less homogenous and members have much more access to each each other, even if their perspectives on their shared happy object are totally different. This is why ship wars seem so much more common now; when you’re all working in the same tag, you have to deal with people who ship something you don’t like all the time.

The petty kneejerk impulse is to point the finger at the seeming affect alien and tell them they’re wrong and that their inability to derive happiness from your happy object is a personal failure—the slave bikini is actually empowering or shipping Zutara makes you a bad person. I’ve had that impulse, you’ve had that impulse, we’ve all had that impulse. But it’s important to not indulge that impulse in order to actually engage with your problematic fave in a meaningful and useful way. We and the media we consume will never change if we dismiss criticism or problematic media out of hand.

ha(Although, of course, this doesn’t mean that you are obligated to consume media you find offensive, don’t like, or doesn’t like you. Catch you never, C. S. Lewis.)

We all love things that are problematic. The way to deal with it, though, is to be able to step back and have a nuanced conversation about its pros and cons. For instance, I find empowerment in the queer characters on Gotham, but I’m also very upfront about how awful that show (and, to be honest, the entire Batman universe) is about mental illness. We live in very polarizing times, but both of those things can be true.

I am, at the end of the day, a ride or die reader response theorist (tl;dr: meaning is generated whenever a reader engages with a text, which means that everything is subjective), but I find affect theory a really interesting thing to add to my fandom framework toolkit. It explains why we behave the way we do when it comes to our problematic faves. And once that’s quantified and defined, we can understand it and improve.

(images: Warner Bros., Clare McBride)

Clare McBride was raised on the Internet by a Nintendo 64 and reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is as good of an explanation as any. She is a contributing editor at the Hugo Award-winning Lady Business and SYFY Fangrrls. Find her at Twitter @omnivoreal

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Posted by Teresa Jusino

It’s very easy to look at someone like Harvey Weinstein and see a monster. The decades-long history of abuses makes that crystal clear. But make no mistake, it isn’t only “monsters” we have to worry about when it comes to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and the systematic sexism that plagues the entertainment industry.

Earlier today in Variety, I read a piece by TV critic Maureen Ryan, where she talked about her sexual assault at the hands of a TV executive at an entertainment industry event that broke her a couple of years ago, making her question whether or not she wanted to stay anywhere near television. Aside from the vulnerability of her account, she also stresses the point that the man that did this to her was the boyfriend of someone she knew. He had a lot of friends. He was well-liked. In other words, he seemed like a “normal” guy.

He didn’t seem like a monster.

Yesterday, Amanda Segel, an executive producer of The Mist (which was produced by The Weinstein Company for Spike), came forward with allegations of sexual harassment against Bob Weinstein. Here, in a nutshell, is what she says happened:

  • In June 2016, Weinstein invited Segel out to dinner, which she accepted, hoping to build their professional relationship on The Mist. When it became clear his interest in her was romantic, she politely declined.
  • After that “no,” Weinstein proceeded to email her wanting to “be friends.” She made it clear that they would indeed just be friends, and that she was not interested in dating him.
  • According to Variety, “Segel asserts that during this period Bob Weinstein invited her to a house he’d rented in Malibu for a party. When he called Segel to tell her the address of the house, she gathered that it was not a party but an invitation for the two of them to be alone. She did not attend.”
  • He continued to ask Segel out to dinner between June and August, “joking at times that he was her boss and could fire her if she didn’t agree.” Once, she agreed to go to dinner with him, but brought Mist Executive Producer and writer Christian Torpe along with her. “Weinstein was clearly unhappy with Torpe’s presence at the dinner, according to Segel.”

Eventually, his harassment stopped, but then the angry outbursts started over work things, where he’d yell at her for things that were outside of her control. Eventually, she pursued legal action, and as it stands now, she still works on The Mist, ” but arrangements were made that she was never to be in the same room as Weinstein or on telephone calls with him, an agreement that was honored by Weinstein. It was also agreed that TWC would let Segel out of its option to keep her on the show if it was picked up for a second season.”

Did you find yourself saying during any of that, especially the early stuff, “I mean, that doesn’t seem that bad,” or “At least he’s not his brother,” or “Plenty of guys keep trying. What’s the harm?”

As Segel herself told Variety, ” ‘No’ should be enough. After ‘no,’ anybody who has asked you out should just move on. Bob kept referring to me that he wanted to have a friendship. He didn’t want a friendship. He wanted more than that. My hope is that ‘no’ is enough from now on.”

What’s interesting is that Weinstein is both the product and an architect of the very sexist industry that helps perpetuate the idea that “persistence” is a positive trait when applied to men and their dating lives.

Countless films and television shows (many of them starring Andie MacDowell, for some reason, as you’ll see in the Cracked video by Daniel O’Brien below) portray the trope where a guy asks a girl out, gets turned down, then proceeds to engage in all manner of manipulation and harassment to “win her affections,” which is then rewarded by her “breaking down” and accepting a date.

There are “persistent” women in film, too. They’re usually the stars of horror movies or thrillers. Only “persistent” men get framed as cute. “Persistent” women are a sign that “bitches be crazy.” And desperate.

Through pop culture, as well as through our real-life culture, men are taught to “be persistent” when pursuing women. They are taught to “not give up,” to “not take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Meanwhile, women are conditioned, too. You can’t have systemic sexism without conditioning people on both sides of the gender divide (and everyone in between). Women are taught that when they are pursued, they are valued. They are taught that men have to “work for it,” and so we shouldn’t be too quick to say yes, lest we look “easy.”

Because straight men want sex with women, but God forbid women want it in return! No, it has to be begrudging. It has to be allowed, rather than desired. It has to be “earned” and “conquered,” not simply given.

We’ve heard the word “predator” in relation to men like Harvey Weinstein, but it could just as easily apply to any man who doesn’t attempt to shuck off his sexist conditioning. Because all men are taught to be predators, and all women are taught to be prey, if not by the people most directly in our lives, then by the culture around us.

And women are taught that there’s special power in this. That by virtue of having the “power” to say no, that this actually makes them more powerful than men, those “poor saps” who are guided by their libidos. Women are apparently the ones “really” in control.

First of all, men are never told that “the right to say no” is some kind of special power. It’s just, a thing that is expected. Because people have the inherent right to say yes or no to things they want or don’t want. So, the fact that the “right to say no” when it comes to sex is sold to women as some kind of special feature on womanhood is absurd.

Secondly, this might actually be true, were it not for the fact that when women do exercise their right to say no, it’s rarely as simple as that. At its most harmless, a rejected man might scoff, and walk away offended, saying something along the lines of I didn’t actually think you looked good anyway. At worst, a man might commit an act of violence against the woman who dared say no to him and his “charms.”

And between those two extremes are the men who pull a Weinstein: making her life miserable over time, lording power over her, making her work life difficult. Death by a thousand paper cuts.

There is no true power if your ultimate decision, whether positive or negative, isn’t taken seriously and accepted.

And yet, despite the fact that “saying no” comes with the constant underlying threat of going horribly wrong at any time, women are taught to “play hard to get.” As not-fun as that might be for them, it keeps the game “fun” for men, because men “like the chase.” And of course, keeping things fun for straight men is all that matters in this life. So, we’re taught to see this dispensation and withholding of sex as powerful so that we do it. We’re taught to enjoy that “power.”

Is it any wonder, then, that men don’t take no for an answer. That men don’t believe women, period. After all, if “no” really means “yes” or “try harder” when it comes to sex, what else are women lying about?

These most recent allegations against a Weinstein brother aren’t sad because they’re coming out of the same disgraced Hollywood company (though that’s part of it). They’re sad because they reflect something that’s more prevalent than even the Harvey Weinsteins of the world: they guys who think that if they just try hard enough, they’ll “land” the woman of their dreams.

Because women are things to be earned and collected like trophies, or else animals to be hunted and mounted on the walls, not people.

(image: Paul Smith/Shutterstock)

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Posted by Sam Riedel

You might know Ashley Eckstein as the voice of Ahsoka on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but these days, she lends her voice to the company she founded: Her Universe, designers of quality apparel for geeky women. Last year, then-TMS editors Carolyn Cox and Sam Riedel tested Her Universe’s first line of activewear; this year, we sent Sam to New York Comic-Con to talk with Ashley about her forthcoming memoir, It’s Your Universe, and what’s next on her radar.

Ashley Eckstein: I was so touched that you guys would actually test it out. That’s what I wanted. I want to hear real feedback. That was our first Marvel, right?

TMS: I think so. Was it your first activewear?

Yeah, because I remember you wore the Captain America? That was the first line. So. Yeah I mean obviously Kohls, we work closely with them and they do activewear already. I wanted to learn and we’re still learning. We’ve done two lines since and I’m very critical and nitpicky and I want to hear how can we improve.

I remember when we were doing that video. That was relatively early in my transition for me, so I was kind of nervous about wearing stuff that was that tight and—not revealing exactly, but like, “how explicit are we going to be here with the contouring?” But I felt a lot more comfortable in that than I was expecting. I think that sort of comfort for a diverse array of body types is one of the things that has become a selling point for Her Universe in general. Was that one of your intentions going in?

It was definitely one of my intentions going in. And it’s also one of my intentions with Her Universe in general for any of our lines. I’m actually a pretty modest dresser and modest person, and I tend to design for—if I don’t feel comfortable in it, I probably won’t design it because I wear a lot of our clothes, too. I don’t know; I just want everyone to feel comfortable. I don’t want it to be too revealing or too tight or too short—I want you to be able to wear it for all different events and all throughout the day. So it is something that I was conscious of and I wanted it to be something that you could truly work out in, you know, true performance wear and not something that was just for show.

So we’re constantly learning. I mean, not every piece is perfect; I’ll be the first to tell you that. We just got a Loki sports bra in that, I have to be honest, it looks really cool on, [but] I haven’t worked out in it yet. There’s there’s a lot of straps going on because it looks like Loki, so I’m still figuring out how functional it is. It looks I feel like if Loki—

Were to do any form of exercise?

Yes. It looks like something that like, a lady Loki would wear working out. Does that make sense? And that’s what we try to do with all of our clothes—it’s inspired by the character, and if this character were to design a fashion line with us, what would it look like? So we’ll see. We don’t always achieve the what I call the “unicorn design” that’s just perfect—perfect fit, perfect function, perfect design—but we always try.

I’m curious as to how you decide which properties and which franchises to go after. But I’m also curious as to how you choose what kinds of pieces to put in those lines—you mentioned that it’s very much informed by what would this character wear, what their sensibilities would be. Which of those comes first? You know—”we need to do something with a bunch of jackets, what can we look for for that” or is it the other way around? 

I would say it actually changes with every line. It depends on the character. You know, sometimes the character is more prone to a certain type of look. For example, Loki—everyone knows his cape. So I said we have to do a cape blazer. So sometimes the character and their costume very much dictate the look. Like the pleather jacket—you know, Loki is known for his leather. So it’s like, “well, we need to have a pleather jacket in there.” But sometimes it’s the fashion trends. Sometimes we’ll very much go on what’s on trend in fashion, and just put the fandom onto that. You know, like activewear—that was one thing that was on trend in the active world and then let’s add the fandom onto the popular silhouette. So I think it varies per collection. Which is exciting because it’s always something new.

But I do think one thing I try to focus on and pride ourselves on is the property comes first. So for example, with Wonder Woman, we worked with Jesse Thaxton, who won our fashion show at [San Diego] Comic-Con [2016], right? And she wanted to design something with the sword that goes down Wonder Woman’s back. And we didn’t necessarily have a tank top already designed that could have a sword down the back, but we said that’s the right thing to do for this property. So we designed a brand new tank top silhouette that have a sword on the back. We’ve never done anything like that before. So the character and the property—we always try to stay true [to it]. That comes first.

Is it difficult to trace both what’s on trend and what’s popular fandom-wise? That seems like a couple of balls that are really difficult to keep in the air at the same time.

Yes it is! And you know, sometimes they work well together and sometimes they don’t at all. So to me, since we’re a licensed company, the property and the character have to come first. I’m not going to force a trend on a property where it doesn’t make sense. So in a perfect world I think especially the more we venture into fashion, if the two make sense together, that’s great. For Leia, puffy vests are in style—well, it’s about time that we do the Leia Hoth puffy vest. When trends and the franchise can come together, great, but if it doesn’t, I’m not going to force it.

I want to touch on what you announced [Thursday]—I think you’d said that you were writing a book before, but that it’s going to be coming out through Disney Book Group. You mentioned that writing a book was something that you had said that you were never ever going to do. What was that final push that got you to do it?

Well, I just—I didn’t feel that I had it in me. Whenever I went to write something, I would start to write what I thought was going to maybe be even a chapter of a book, and it ended up being an essay. So I just thought, “Well hey, this is not a talent I have. I’m not cut out for it.” And so when I was talking with Disney, we were just brainstorming ideas. They asked me about my story and I said, “Well, I don’t feel that my story warrants a memoir or anything, but I’m so proud and grateful for what Disney taught me and what Disney inspired me to do, because I truly feel like without Disney, I wouldn’t be here. Disney taught me how to make my dreams come true. So if I can share my story, but at the same time share the advice and the inspiration behind my story and why I believed that any of this was possible thanks to Disney truthfully”—and this is coming from me. Disney did not come to me and ask me to write this; I asked Disney if I could do this. I’m so grateful for it. I said, “If you’ll let me write that book, then I would love to write that book. But I don’t feel like I can necessarily write the whole book.”

They said, “Oh no, don’t worry, we will find you the right author that can do this with you.”

They introduced me to Stacy Kravetz, and she’s written a couple of other books and inspirational books for girls. So we immediately started talking and sharing my story with her. What she was able to do for me—I realized this was the part that I just could never get past: the structure of the book. I didn’t understand how I could structure a book. So after several conversations she helped me build the structure of a book. But then I realized, I really wanted to be in my voice. And if I want this in my voice, I gotta write this. So when you have a deadline—I don’t like to let anybody down. If I give you my word and I commit to something, I will not let you down. And I’d already given my word! I realized I had no choice. Obviously I had the help from Stacey, I would write a chapter and send it to her. “How does this sound?” And I have an amazing editor at Disney that I worked with as well. So definitely a team, definitely a group effort. But those are my words, this is truly what I wrote, because I wanted it to be in my voice. I’m grateful for it. Without this experience, I would still be sitting here telling you I could never write a book. And now I’m actually like, “What are we going to do next? I believe I can do it!” I mean really, if you think you can’t do something, let this be a lesson: you can.

I do want to actually thank Oreos, though. And Chef Boyardee. I’m so embarrassed to admit that. And Lucky Charms. And Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I had a moment where I literally cried on my couch because I realized I had thousands upon thousands of words to write. And I didn’t know what to do. So after I cried a little bit, then I went to the grocery store and I reverted back to childhood. I got Chef Boyardee ravioli. Mint Oreos. Lucky Charms and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. And I locked myself in my apartment and literally wrote nonstop for five days straight. I mean, I ate more than just those things. But that’s basically what fueled me. So I would like to think Oreos for getting me through that tough time. [laughs]

That’s that’s a hell of a sugar rush to give you that boost through.

I don’t know if that’s the best lesson as I’m giving advice. Say “eat a bunch of Oreos and you can write a book.”

What lesson do you want the tweens and teens that are going to read this—if there’s one big takeaway that they get from this book, what do you want it to be?

I mean the biggest lesson is truly, your dreams can come true. But there’s so many other lessons in how to get there in the book. Oh my goodness. You know. I think—and this is what I shared [Thursday]—I broke it down into steps, and that’s what I realized after looking back—sometimes things seem overwhelming. You see a dream and it just seems so overwhelming you don’t know where to start. So oftentimes you don’t. You just stop. And I hope I can prove that by breaking it down into steps and taking the advice and following the process—and again this is just my advice, this is just my opinion, I’m not saying that this is exactly what you should do, because everyone’s journey is different. But I hope that after reading it they realize that if you kind of take it one step at a time, that the impossible becomes possible. And that if you can dream it, you can do it.

It’s also going to be a very interactive book—that was actually one thing I didn’t say up there. I keep journals all the time. I don’t write in them like a diary. My journal looks like a map, like honestly a mess—if you opened it up you’d be like, “What is this?” But I’m constantly jotting down quotes or thoughts or ideas or lists. I make a lot of lists. So I kind of set the book up as like my journal, and so it’s going to be very interactive. So as the reader goes through it, I’m going to have prompts and I’m going to ask the reader to fill out the lists and do the prompts. I hope that it becomes a tool and an interactive piece that by the end of the book—I want the reader to know at the end of the book that the dreams that they wish can and do come true.

As we’re recording this, we can see the the Loki collection and the Sailor Moon behind you—is there your white whale that you’re still chasing? Do you want to do a collection of something, is there a burning desire—?

I will tell you there is an upcoming announcement that we’ll have soon where I’m getting to expand the brand in a way that is a dream come true, and it’s something we’ve been working hard on. I think for me … This is my dream come true, this is truly genuinely what I believe and feel. So many people think, “Oh, you’re being paid to say this.” No, this is a dream for me. This is what I’ve wanted my whole life. If I could work with Disney, for Disney, the rest of my life, I’d be so happy. The opportunity and the door with Disney opened up in a big way last year, and so we’re expanding in ways aside from just the book. But to me, it’s about the messaging. I’m so grateful for the inspiration that Disney gave me, and I am especially passionate about kids and tweens, because that’s the age where I feel like you can really change the course of someone’s life. So through this book and through other opportunities, I have the opportunity to speak to this newer generation. So I’m very excited about that.

I hope we can continue to to do more and grow more, especially in this fandom niche of the market, because Star Wars and Marvel [have] grown so much. Especially—when Ahsoka came out, I mean it was shocking. First of all, Star Wars was a boys’ property. But second of all, she was so inspirational, and she changed an entire generation of Star Wars fans. And now it’s so exciting to live in a time with Rey and Jyn and all of these—you know, Hera, Sabine, all these strong characters, so it’s an exciting time to be working with Star Wars and Marvel and Disney. And I have to say it’s not just Disney—it was a dream come true to be able to work with DC and Warner Brothers this year with Wonder Woman, we’ll be doing more with [her]. I feel like we’re just scratching the surface in fandom and with these amazing characters. So to be able to do more with them—not only fashion but whether it be publishing or even entertainment—I hope to do more, and continue to get these stories and these characters out there.

Sam Riedel is a former Contributor Coordinator and social media editor at The Mary Sue; for the purposes of anthropological inquiry, she’s all woman, baby. Her work has lately been published by Bitch Media, Vice, and The Establishment. Follow her on Twitter @SamusMcQueen for red hot pro wrestling takes and irregular selfies.

(images: Sam Riedel)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

Hilary Swank has joined the cast of I Am Mother, a new science fiction film from Australia. It’s being produced by a smaller, indie studio, but Swank’s casting brings some big-name recognition to the project. She joins Clara Rugaard (Still Star-Crossed), Luke Hawker (the Krampus from Krampus) and Tahlia Sturzaker.

Below is the film’s summary, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter:

I Am Mother portrays a teenage girl (Rugaard) raised underground by a robot mother designed to repopulate the earth following an extinction event. Their unique bond is threatened when a blood-drenched stranger, played by Swank, is taken in by the teen, only to find herself at odds with her gear-and-piston parent. Overnight, the stranger casts doubt on Mother’s claims about the outside world and begins to unravel the fabric of their insular family. Unsure whom to trust, the girl begins to probe into Mother’s dubious nature and uncovers the truth of her greater mission.”

The movie will be directed by first-time director Grant Sputore from a script by Michael Lloyd Green.

Now, as long as this doesn’t morph into some weird libertarian fable about the danger of the nanny state – always a depressing possibility – this sounds like a pretty awesome premise for some women-centered science fiction. Badass women busting each other out of bunkers turned out super well for Mad Max: Fury Road, so here’s hoping.

Given all the cool concepts they’re pushing forward with, Hollywood seems pretty enamored with science fiction at the moment. From auteur French films about prisoners in space to the adaptation of The Martian author Andy Weir’s Artemis, they’re throwing it all at the wall. Given the advances in CGI and the appetite for superhero movies, I’m not surprised that studios are taking advantage of the genre, but I’m curious how they’ll all perform in a more crowded market – and, perhaps more importantly for their success, how new, original properties like I Am Mother will be marketed in an era where studios seem so invested in licensed, franchise-building movies.

(Via Variety and The Hollywood Reporter; image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

A new Justice League poster is born and I have Many Thoughts.

As Comicbook.com notes, “the promotional materials for Justice League are lightening up (literally and figuratively),” as DC/Warner Bros. seem keen to leave behind “the somber, gritty tone of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v Superman for a more colorful and heroic representation of DC Comics.” I am alllllllllll for this kind of promotional push and realignment, as it were, of our heroes. Feast your eyes:

First of all, the poster really does catch the eye with dynamic colors—not the brooding gloom of some previous DC outings. I also find it very interesting that The Flash is now rather front and center, but I’m not surprised: according to reports from early screenings, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen has been consistently testing as the audience’s favorite member of the League, so it would make sense if some of the marketing starts to shift in his direction (gotta sell all that future Flash merch!).

Wonder Woman is prominently placed (if we were reading this poster like a book, she’d be the first one “read”), and I have to say that I’m loving that Diana isn’t posed sexily—she looks fierce and determined as hell. Emphasis is on her strong arm, gauntlet and sword rather than her chest! Hoorah!

And DC seems rightfully proud of Aquaman’s reimagined badass costume, since we see a lot of it displayed here (I appreciate the splashes of water surrounding him in case anyone was confused). We’re also getting a ton of detail into Cyborg’s mechanized body. I’m psyched for Ray Fisher’s Vic Stone, and can’t wait to see that electronic eye in the flesh, as it were. To me, the least impressive pose here is Batman’s, who looks like he’s up for a brief sparring round at the neighborhood boxing gym.

If you contrast this poster to earlier marketing we’ve seen from JL, and especially in contrast with the dark palettes and sense of looming angst that marked, say, Batman v Superman, it’s evident that DC is definitely trying to suggest a lighter and more fun approach with Justice League. A lighter tone was also reportedly behind many of Joss Whedon’s reshoots for the movie.

What’re your thoughts on the new poster? Speak to me in the comments.

(via Comicbook.com, image: DC/Warner Bros.)

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Aquaman by Razzah (almost SFW)

Oct. 19th, 2017 06:06 am
mific: (Aquaman)
[personal profile] mific posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Aquaman/DCU
Characters: Aquaman
Content Notes/Warnings: bare pecs and a delicious happy trail, so use your judgement about where to open it!
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: Razzah on DA
Why this piece is awesome: Almost all the Aquaman art I'll be reccing is from after the current Momoa incarnation came out, but some, like this, date from the casting announcement before we got to see what costume DC were planning. I like the various fusions of old Aquaman details with the artists' imaginations that result, and this is a good example. It's also as hot as hell - wait for the pic to load then click through for the close up - it's worth it! (Those eyes, the pecs, the hairy belly, ulp). 
Link: Aquaman
lucifuge5: (Mikeyway :))
[personal profile] lucifuge5 posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: Bandom (My Chemical Romance and Electric Century)

Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Mikey Way

Content Notes/Warnings: N/A

Medium: Digital art

Artist on DW/LJ: N/A

Artist Website/Gallery: [tumblr.com profile] tcustodisart

Why this piece is awesome: Because [tumblr.com profile] tcustodisart is THE artist to check out if you're a fan of Mikeyway. Their site is filled to the brims with Mikeyway throughout the MCR eras and beyond.

Deer Eyes is a good example of how well this artist can depict Mikeyway's occasionally haunting yet always sharp gaze. Surrounded by darker hues, your eyes can't help but focus on this Mikeyway: a little awkward and a little friendly. If anything, the doodle style enhances the overall vibe.

Link: Deer Eyes
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Posted by Kylie Cheung

On Saturday, the organizers of the Women’s March issued a statement apologizing for the “hurt and confusion” caused by their announcement that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would headline the upcoming Women’s Convention, taking place October 27–29 in Detroit, MI.

‘‘We are sorry we caused hurt and confusion for so many of you this week,’’ the Women’s March said in a series of tweets. They added, ‘‘We acknowledge the announcement about Senator Sanders gave the impression he is occupying a central role at the convention. (He is not.)’’

You see, Sanders is very much male in a society where far too many brilliant women are overlooked for platforms and opportunities to represent themselves—to tell their own stories as women instead of having their stories told by men—which was just one reason why the decision by the Women’s March organizers didn’t sit too well with feminists. Other critics also argued that Sanders’ harsh character attacks on Hillary Clinton, which painted the painfully stereotypical image of a dishonest, deceitful woman during the primaries, laid the groundwork for Clinton’s defeat in the general election.

But the harm that Sanders has done to the Democratic party is farther reaching than some petty internal conflict in the 2016 primaries. In particular, his time in the limelight has drastically impacted the Democratic party’s outlook on women, people of color, and all Americans of marginalized identities, and the importance of fighting for their rights. Don’t get me wrong when I say I’m grateful for Sanders’ contributions to the Democratic party’s 2016 platform, re: universal health care, marijuana legalization, a $15 minimum wage, and Palestine. But someone who’s spent the past year unapologetically leading a crusade against the concept of “identity politics” has no place at a convention to unite intersectional feminists in a contentious, dangerous political climate such as this.

While Sanders’ anti-identity politics crusade picked up in the wake of the Democratic party’s devastating general election defeat, from the start, his ultimate message was that nothing was a bigger, more urgent threat to Americans than the country’s broken economy and corrupt political establishment. According to this message, socialism was the cure-all: All the other, innumerable identity-based problems, ranging from racial and anti-LGBTQ discrimination to increasingly inaccessible abortion, would immediately cease to exist. In many ways, whether or not it was his intention, Sanders’ rhetoric convinced his supporters that “identity politics” are nothing but a distraction from “real issues.” And, as Sanders himself might say, “let me be very clear”: in those supporters’ eyes, women’s issues are not real issues.

That 12 percent of Sanders’ supporters went on to vote for Trump in the general election also shows the extend of the damage done by his message of all-consuming, unquestioning hatred for the “establishment”—without even clearly explaining just what the establishment really is. In their eyes, largely because of Sanders’ preaching, the debate was establishment vs. anti-establishment to the death—not of progress vs. bigotry, of feminism vs. patriarchy.

To Sanders’ feisty faction of “Bernie Bros,” the sociopolitical oppression shouldered by women, the LGBTQ community, and people of color to this day is purportedly a thing of the past, and those who continue to harp on continued discrimination are simply being whiny, annoying “social justice warriors.”

The reality, of course, is that over the past five years alone, marginalized Americans continue to face all sorts of challenges, old and new. In many states, gay and trans people can be fired or evicted solely for their orientation or gender identity. Racially charged police violence continues to claim black lives at staggering rates. And across the country, especially in rural areas, hundreds of restrictions on abortion enacted just within the past few years have decimated access to safe, legal abortion, shutting down clinics by the dozen and outright banning different, safe forms of the procedure.

Surely, regulations on Wall Street and a higher minimum wage would help all of the aforementioned groups, given the often intersectional nature of social and economic issues. But the point is that there’s great harm in talking about “identity politics” like they’re unimportant issues, when often, as with abortion rights and the institutionalized racism behind mass incarceration, they can be life and death matters.

And speaking of abortion rights, over the past year, Sanders ranked among prominent Democrats including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, California Gov. Jerry Brown, and DNC chair Tom Perez, who opened their arms to “pro-life” Democrats, stating the DNC should get behind them and offer them funding. The idea behind this was typical Sanders-speak: Economic issues unite, while petty, irrelevant “social” issues do nothing but divide.

“I think you just can’t exclude people who disagree with us on one issue,” Sanders said of his decision to support the Nebraska mayoral candidate in April. Pelosi, Perez, and Brown would come out with similar statements shortly after.

At a time in which the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world, when the federal and the vast majority of state governments would like to see Planned Parenthood defunded, it’s shocking that anyone could be so dismissive of abortion rights, so willing to cheaply negotiate away women’s human rights. It’s unlikely that a Democratic candidate could win Republican voters just by flip-flopping on one, singular issue; the real way to win voters is to win over those who historically have records of sitting out elections, many of whom are progressives. Clearly, this isn’t about winning back seats as Sanders says it is, as much as it is about sending the message that the party has “matured” post-2016 election, and now sees what’s really important (read: not women’s rights issues.)

For a while, the idea that abortion is a human right and GOP lawmakers’ fetishization of fetuses has no place in forcing women to give birth seemed widely accepted among the left. It wasn’t until the whole “identity politics have divided America, etc.” argument became the glamorous, prototypical Democratic argument that it is, today, that abortion rights suddenly became something to shrug at and compromise on. And it wasn’t until Sanders that the Democratic party altered its direction exclusively to shy from identity-based issues.

It’s important to note that this tension in the party is fundamentally one of privilege. If Sanders and his legions of Bernie Bros would rather rant about Democratic socialism to women than listen to their voices, perhaps that’s because many of them have never experienced the same identity-based oppression, but nevertheless feel confident in their authority to claim that identity politics are meaningless.

In his latest book, We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates tackles the phenomenon of politicians on both sides of the aisle disregarding on what they deem “identity politics,” and offered one starkly disappointing episode involving Sanders and a woman running to be the second Latina senator in U.S. history.

“It is not good enough for someone to say, ‘I’m a woman! Vote for me!’ No, that’s not good enough,” Sanders said. “One of the struggles that you’re going to be seeing in the Democratic Party is whether we go beyond identity politics.”

His suggestion that female candidates are trying to gain advantage in proudly declaring their gender in a male-dominated political sphere—or that candidates of color are attempting to gain advantage in declaring their race in a predominantly white political sphere—with nothing else of substance to offer, is equal parts offensive and ridiculous. If we all really believed that being part of a marginalized identity made winning elections any easier, then we’d really need someone to explain the demographics of our Congress to us. It’s absurd that Sanders believes that this is new information he’s imparting on people who have been made well aware by life that being part of a marginalized group isn’t an advantage.

As for that last part about going “beyond identity politics,”—boy, do I have questions. Namely, what is beyond identity politics? I can’t think of anything other than the right’s beloved colorblind society, and if that’s what Sanders has convinced his fellow Democrats is the best path forward, then they’d better be prepared for intersectional feminists to fight back. And in the meantime, here’s to hoping Sanders is confronted about this at the Women’s Convention.

(image: Crush Rush / Shutterstock.com)

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Posted by Marykate Jasper

Trump’s third try at a travel ban has been temporarily, partially blocked by a federal judge in Hawaii. According to Politico, Judge Derrick Watson placed a temporary injunction on the ban, writing in his decision that it was plagued by “internal incoherencies that markedly undermine its stated ‘national security’ rationale.” As a result, Watson blocked the implementation of all the order’s directives except for those affecting travelers from North Korea and the relatives of government officials from Venezuela. These two restrictions, according to officials, “will take effect as planned on Wednesday.”

Watson is the same judge who blocked the second travel ban, and he was still deeply unimpressed by the Trump administration’s “rationale” in this third draft. In his judgment, he wrote that Trump falls short of the requirements placed upon by the president’s constitutional power to ban foreign nationals: the president must “find[] that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.

Watson points out that Trump’s administration has presented no evidence that the entry of the people they banned would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States” – in part because the administration is sketchily hiding its supposed rationale from the court.

In the presidential proclamation itself, Trump claims that the banned countries were singled out after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted an extensive review of information management and security practices across the world. However, they refused to share the report that wrote up their findings. “The explanation for how the Administration settled on the list of eight countries is obscured,” Watson wrote. “While the September 15, 2017 DHS report cited in [the executive order] might offer some insight, the Government objected to the Court’s consideration or even viewing of that classified report, making it impossible to know.”

Without that report, the travel ban must stand on its own – and it doesn’t. “Numerous countries fail to meet one or more of the global baseline criteria described in [the executive order],” Watson wrote, “yet are not included in the ban…Moreover, [the ban’s] individualized country findings make no effort to explain why some types of visitors from a particular country are banned, while others are not.”

For example, Watson cites the order’s treatment of Libya: “describing Libya as having ‘significant inadequacies in its identity-management protocols’ and therefore deserving of a ban on all tourist and business visitors, but without discussing why student visitors did not meet the same fate.”

(My suspicion: It’s because the Trump administration knows banned students look incredibly sympathetic on the nightly news, and their offers of admission constitute a legitimate connection to a U.S. institution.)

Lastly, Watson determined that there is sufficient evidence that this order could cause serious harm. “Plaintiffs [i.e. those suing to stop the ban] identify a multitude of harms that are not compensable with monetary damages and that are irreparable—among them, prolonged separation from family members,” Watson concluded. “Defendants [the Trump administration], on the other hand, are not likely harmed by having to adhere to immigration procedures that have been in place for years—that is, by maintaining the status quo.”

I’m glad that visas will be processed as usual for now, but we can only hope that the Supreme Court will destroy this poisonous ban once and for all.

(Via Politico; image via Shutterstock)

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Posted by Princess Weekes

The monuments we raise up for historical people, living and dead, are important because they represent the values and ideals for which we stand for as a people and country. Unfortunately, not every monument we create or building we name best represents our country, especially when it comes to the Confederacy. Despite how some protestors feel about the changing tide when it comes to removing Confederate landmarks, we are already too far behind in correcting these errors. Thankfully, one school in Jackson, Mississippi is making progress.

Mississippi Today reported that Davis IB Elementary School PTA president Janelle Jefferson, announced to the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees, Tuesday night that the community voted to change the school’s name to Barack Obama Magnet IB Elementary School. Instate upgrade. The school’s original name comes from Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

Jefferson told the board, “Jefferson Davis, although infamous in his own right, would probably not be too happy about a diverse school promoting the education of the very individuals he fought to keep enslaved being named after him”

During the 2016-17 school year, the student population was 96 percent black, so it is not a surprise that they might not think that Davis is the best representation for their community.

Students from each class were able to give presentations on the name they most preferred. “They could relate to Barack Obama because of his achievements, because he looks like them,” Jefferson said.

The new name will not go into effect until the 2018-19 school year, but it is something to look forward to in the coming year!

(via Daily Beast, image: Shuttersock.com )

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

“You gave a teenager a weaponized super-suit. Am I the only one who thinks this is weird?” —Superman

The folks over at How It Should Have Ended finally set their sites on this summer’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, a fun movie that I think we can agree also had its share of flaws. “After you guys submitted over 30 thousand script ideas we did our best to whittle it down to the most manageable batch of scenes. I think about 5,000 of you submitted the ‘language’ joke and the ‘because I’m Batman’ line,” HiSHE wrote on the video’s description.

Here they take us through some of the most head-scratching scenes, providing alterna-versions based on tongue-in-cheek logic rather than the need for big set pieces. Hooray for crowdsourced and funny fixes.

What if, say, Spidey had just popped into the bottom of the Washington Monument rather than try to scale the thing and get in from the top? What if Karen, the A.I. in his super-suit, had helped with more accurate calculations? What if Peter had just shut down the Vulture when he confronted him in the car before the dance? What if Happy Hogan had actually made sure his fancy plane full of ridiculously expensive and important materials was properly guarded? What if Superman and Batman were to take Iron Man to task over his recruitment of a minor? And what if Peter were to be confronted by the ghosts of Spider-man past and future? These questions, and many more, are addressed above.

(I also love how they’ve managed to depict Tom Holland’s features so well, and the exaggerated ‘New Yawk’ accent he sports sometimes here.)

“Being replaced sucks. It sucks a whole lot.”

Can we agree this is a scene we never expected to see but that we are now better and more content people for having seen it?

(via How It Should Have Ended, images: screengrabs)

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Posted by Charline Jao

The hashtag #MeToo, a space for survivors of sexual harassment and violence, has not slowed down, with more than 825,000 uses since Sunday. It has also since spawned a series of reactions, such as #HowIWillChange and #ThisIsWhy.

Many, TMS included, first cited Alyssa Milano as the origin of the hashtag. It has since come out that while Milano played a huge part in amplifying the message of #MeToo, activist Tarana Burke started a Me Too movement more than a decade ago. Milano tweeted out her support for Burke’s work when she learned about the fact:

Burke, the program director of Girls for Gender Equity, spoke to Mic about Me Too and its emphasis on empathy. The activist said that the women speaking out is “what community looks like when people support each other and survivors are really the only ones who truly understand other survivors and I think that’s been one of the most wonderful things to come out of the hashtag blooming.”

She also speaks to those who might feel hesitant to participate in Me Too because they “feel like their stories aren’t as important or aren’t important enough to say ‘Me Too.'”

“I’d like to talk about the spectrum of gender-based violence,” says Burke, “Gender-based violence starts on end with sexual harassment and runs the gamut to murder. And so, there’s no story that’s unimportant, there’s no person whose experiences shouldn’t be validated. There’s nobody who can’t express or disclose what has happened to them, and that everybody is important.”

“So I say to those women you can stand up and talk about it. There’s somebody else who’s had your very experience who doesn’t want to talk about it who you might help when they hear, ‘Oh, that’s exactly what happened to me.’ Tell your story if you feel compelled to tell it because not only will it help someone else, it will help you.”

Burke and her daughter Kaia then talk about the conversations they have had, both of them being survivors. It’s by no means an easy dialogue to have or works that’s easy to do, but these two show how powerful and important it is for survivors to know they are not alone.

“It’s a massive movement,” says Burke, “I just hope that we don’t stop talking about it when the hashtag dies down.”

(via mic, image: screencap)

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Doctor Who Magazine: 518

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:33 pm
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Latest from the news site: Issue 518 of Doctor Who Magazine has an exclusive interview with Tenth...
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Posted by Princess Weekes

As was brought up yesterday by fellow Mary Sue writer, Teresa Jusino, now that the seedy-disgusting nature of Hollywood has been “exposed” to the mainstream the questions is how do we move forward? What now? All the people who have stepped up to condemn Harvey Weinstein, how will they truly work to create and build progress? Well Kevin Smith, one of the earliest male voices to disown Weinstein, has put his money where his mouth is in the most important way.

On his podcast, Hollywood Babble-On, Smith said that he will be donating all his future The Weinstein Company Residuals to the non-profit, Women in Film. WIF works to advocate and advance the careers of women working in film, television and all media/digital industries.

During the podcast, at around 84 minutes in, Smith began to speak on the Weinstein scandal.

“My entire career is tied up with the man. It’s been a weird fucking week. I just wanted to make some fucking movies, that’s it. That’s why I came, that’s why I made Clerks. And no fucking movie is worth all this. Like, my entire career, fuck it, take it. It’s wrapped up in something really fucking horrible.”

I know that we shouldn’t always heap unwarranted amount of praise onto allies for doing what allies are supposed to do, but I’m going to commend Smith because he is doing something many people in Hollywood can not. He is putting people, specifically women, before his career and acknowledging that the movies, the money, the fame are not worth the cost in human trauma that has been inflicted upon these women. Also, if TWC does fold, Smith says that he will donate $2,000 a month for the rest of his life to WIF.

During the live-performance someone from the audience shouted out that it wasn’t Smith’s fault to which he masterfully responded:

I’m not looking for sympathy. I know it’s not my fault, but I didn’t fucking help. Because I sat out there talking about this man like he was a hero, like he was my friend, like he was my father and shit like that, and he changed my fucking life. And I showed other people, like, ‘You can dream, and you can make stuff, and this man will put it out.’ I was singing praises of somebody that I didn’t fucking know. I didn’t know the man that they keep talking about in the press. Clearly he exists, but that man never showed himself to me. It all hurts, and it didn’t happen to me, but it all hurts. So I feel like there are so many people that we know of now, and maybe even more, that were made to do horrible things to make their dreams come true and maybe didn’t even get to touch the dreams; this fucking dude chased them away.

And now, hopefully, because of Smith’s donation and backing a woman can be supported in this industry without fear of being sexually assaulted or harassed as a way to move forward towards their dreams.

(via Bleeding Cool, image: Miramax)

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Posted by Suman Kanchan

David Tennant has been looking back on his time with Doctor Who as part of an exclusive interview in this month's edition of Doctor Who Magazine.

The actor played the Tenth Doctor between 2005-2010, before returning for a special appearance alongside fellow Doctors Matt Smith and John Hurt in 2013's 50th anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor.

On his feelings towards the show today, Tennant says:
“I always feel fond towards it. I always feel like it’s a happy place to be. Obviously a day like this brings it all back a little more keenly, but it’s always a very fond thing to return to, the world of Doctor Who. It’s always very welcoming, and friendly, and familiar. I suppose I don’t feel detached enough from it to feel sentimental, really. Maybe if I’d been completely banished from it for ten years...?

"But of course it never quite goes away, does it? There’s no escaping it, nor would I want to, really.

"Because Doctor Who sort of runs through my life like a stick of rock. It’s sort of always bubbling under, and you know it always will.”
Tennant also reflects on one of his lines in the anniversary special - 'never cruel or cowardly' - describing it as a 'mission statement' for the Doctor:
“We can all have mottos that we live by; it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re entirely faithful to them. It can be who you aspire to be. It doesn’t mean you can’t be inconsistent sometimes. That’s what makes any character and any person interesting – their inconsistencies, the little flaws in the weft of their character.

I don’t know if the Doctor always needs to be consistent to that, but I think broadly speaking he is. At least, he tries.”
Tennant was speaking to the magazine ahead of next month's release of a brand new set of audio adventures from Big Finish. The new audios will also see the return of Billie Piper, who says of reprising her role as companion Rose Tyler:
“It’s like when you hang out with an old friend who you haven’t seen for years, and then loads of stuff has happened between you, but it’s sort of just like you’re immediately there again. I love it.”

As well as the usual news, previews, reviews and competitions, this month's issue of Doctor Who Magazine also features:
  • Sylvester McCoy Interview: The second part of our interview with Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy reflects back on Doctor Who's 50th anniversary and looks forward to the show’s future.
  • Matt Lucas Interview: DWM chats to Matt Lucas about his new autobiography Little Me: My Life from A-Z which he wrote while playing Nardole in the latest series of Doctor Who.
  • Camille Coduri Interview: Camille Coduri’s Jackie Tyler joins the Doctor and Rose for The Tenth Doctor Adventures: Volume Two.
  • White Witch of Devil's End: We find out how a project to make a DVD sequel to the classic 1971 TV story The Dæmons came about.
  • TARDIS Shed Of The Year: DWM meets Paul Foden, the man who recently appeared on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year with his TARDIS-replica shed.
  • MatildusThere’s a brand-new comic strip adventure for the Doctor and Bill in Matildus; a one-parter written and illustrated by Scott Gray.
  • The Time Team: The Time Team continues its mission to watch every episode of Doctor Who with 2012’s The Rebel Flesh.

Doctor Who Magazine #518 will be on sale from tomorrow - Thursday 19th October - priced £5.99.

[Source: Doctor Who/DWM]
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Posted by Marykate Jasper

#metoo – big queenly thanks to @tracelysette & @violadavis posting this so i felt brave enough to!

A post shared by ilana glazer (@ilanusglazer) on

Inspired by Viola Davis’s and Trace Lysette’s #MeToo posts, Broad City star and co-showrunner Ilana Glazer posted one of her own. In the post, Glazer shared that she has been sexually harassed “countless times,” whether she was working as a waitress or as a showrunner. She was even sexually harassed by “a creepyass doctor just last year and filed a complaint with NYC.”

However, when she was harassed as a showrunner, she had the power to hold the men who did it accountable. The post continued: “I’ve fired a couple dudes — one background actor and one sound guy. i was asked “are you sure?” hm okay yeah lemme think a sec– YEAH I’M FUCKING SURE. cuz getting sexually harassed seems to be a constant, but having the opportunity to do something about it is rare.”

First off, “YEAH I’M FUCKING SURE.” The anthem of every woman who’s been asked if she’s sure was really harassed or assaulted.

Second, I appreciate how this post celebrates the badassery of being able to fire your harasser while acknowledging how rare that opportunity is. When women are pressured to be brave or speak out against their harassers, the power dynamic often gets lost in discussion – but the abusers often have so much more power. A 2003 study found that 75% of employees (of any gender) who reported their sexual harassment were retaliated against in the workplace. And women who do speak up can often find that their harassers still don’t face any consequences. (See: the women who accused Donald Trump, only to see him elected president.)

And this power dynamic is just one of the many reasons why we need more women running things behind the scenes: in the director’s chair, as producers, as head writers, etc. Women can and do sexually harass their employees, and they’re not immune to the abuse that power invites. Eradicating rape culture is going to require a far more radical cultural shift than the hiring of more women. However, it’d definitely be a whole lot harder to make a successful career as a misogynist creep if you faced getting fired from every other job by a female boss – instead of enabled at 90% of those jobs by a male one.

We definitely need a world where even the least powerful women don’t have to worry about being harassed. But we also need a world where, when harassment occurs, “the opportunity to do something about it” doesn’t fall so overwhelmingly to men.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter; image: Lane Savage and Comedy Central)

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Posted by Dan Van Winkle

We’ll have to wait the remaining, excruciating two months for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to know whether it feels as much like the Empire Strikes Back of the current trilogy as it seems, but the superficial similarities are enough for some fun for now. Check out this recut footage from ESB made to fit together like the new Last Jedi trailer.

As interesting as it is to see how well this works, it’s also a demonstration of how much more dramatic Last Jedi manages to feel than heavy middle installment of the original trilogy, at least from what we’ve seen so far. On the other hand, what I was really hoping to see while watching this was a show of how easy it is to create misleading connections in trailer footage.

I fully expected it to end with Vader extending his hand to Luke much like Kylo and Rey at the end of the Last Jedi trailer, which I can’t bring myself to believe is anything more than misdirection—even if he really is trying to convince her to join him, much like ol’ grandpa Skywalker in Empire, and like he already tried to do once.

(via /Film, image: Lucasfilm)

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Posted by Charline Jao

UnREAL just dropped a trailer and air date for season 3, and show’s behind-the-scenes look at reality television looks as vicious as ever. While the second season was met with some mixed reviews, notably in the show’s stumbles in trying to talk about race, the third season turns back to the show’s strong point—the relationship between Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer’s Rachel and Quinn. The difference this time is the addition of another formidable female player.

The trailer gives us a look at Caitlin Fitzgerald as Serena, the Bachelorette character whose wits and cleverness will be hard for producers Rachel and Quinn to manipulate. She’s smart; we can’t handle her the same way,” says Rachel. Freddie Stroma as season 1’s Adam is making a return as well, no doubt with some resentment about the whole being-left-at-the-altar thing. Fights, shirtlessness, and manipulation ensue. Oh, and someone’s man-bun gets cut off.

Screenrant also points out that this season includes quite a few female directors, including Zimmer herself, Gertrude Shapiro, Hanelle M. Culpepper, and Sheree Folkson. It’s good to hear that a show about women making television is as committed to putting them behind the camera.

UnREAL returns February 26th, are you going to be tuning in?

(via Buzzfeed, image: screencap)

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Posted by Susan Hewitt

Doctor Who Magazine Issue 518 is out this week and they have an exclusive interview with David Tennant, Billie Piper and Camille Coduri.  But that’s not all that is in the huge edition of DWM.    Matt Lucas chats about his upcoming autobiography and the second half of DWM’s interview with the Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy is also in this week’s publication.

“An audio recording’s very different to filming a bit of TV – but the vibe is the same, and the characters are the same.” (David Tennant)

Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 518 - David Tennant Interview Sneak Peak
Doctor Who Magazine – Issue 518 – David Tennant Interview Sneak Peak

“It’s like when you hang out with an old friend who you haven’t seen for years, and then loads of stuff has happened between you, but it’s sort of just like you’re immediately there again. I love it.” (Billie Piper)

Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 518 - Billie Piper Interview Sneak Peak
Doctor Who Magazine – Issue 518 – Billie Piper Interview Sneak Peak

In case you have been hiding under a rock, David Tennant and Billie Piper have been back in the studio recording a new set of Tenth Doctor audio adventures for Big Finish.  But that isn’t all of Big Finish’s Tenth Doctor tales.  Camille Coduri has her own story with Handy, the metacrisis Doctor in Pete’s world.  Thanks to Big Finish we know get to find out about the human Doctor and what’s he been up to on Pete’s world.

Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 518 - Jackie Tyler Big Finish Stories - Sneak Peak
Doctor Who Magazine – Issue 518 – Jackie Tyler Big Finish Stories – Sneak Peak



We talk to Matt Lucas about his new autobiography, which he wrote while playing Nardole in the latest series of Doctor Who.


Camille Coduri, who played Jackie Tyler, tells us what it’s like to be reunited with David Tennant and Billie Piper for more Doctor Who audio adventures.


In the second part of our interview, Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy reflects on Doctor Who’s 50th anniversary and looks forward to the show’s future.


We meet the people behind a DVD sequel to the classic 1971 story The Dæmons.


An interview with Paul Foden, the fan whose home-made TARDIS recently appeared on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces: Shed of the Year.

Doctor Who Magazine - Issue 518 - Box of Delights- Sneak Peak
Doctor Who Magazine – Issue 518 – Box of Delights- Sneak Peak


A brand-new comic strip adventure for the Doctor and Bill in Matildus, written and illustrated by Scott Gray.


The Time Team continues its mission to watch every episode of Doctor Who with 2012’s The Rebel Flesh.


Previews, book and audio reviews, news, the Watcher’s column, prize-winning competitions and much, much more!


Doctor Who Magazine 518 is on sale from Thursday 19 October, price £5.99.

The post Sneak Peak of Doctor Who Magazine Issue 518 appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by CultBox Editor

Doctor Who is heading back to cinemas – but only in America so far…

Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who swansong, Twice Upon A Time, is set to screen on BBC One on Christmas Day. The special, penned by Steven Moffat, will star Capaldi, David Bradley, Mark Gatiss and, of course, Jodie Whittaker.

In the UK, the 50th anniversary special – Day Of The Doctor – and Capaldi’s debut in Deep Breath both got cinema releases in addition to their TV transmission. This time, though, it’s over in America where you’ll be able to see Twice Upon A Time on the big screen.

It’s been revealed that for one day only – December 27th – you’ll be able to see the Doctor Who Christmas special on the big screen, with two extra bonus pieces that go behind the scenes of the show.

At this stage, it’s unclear if a UK release will follow too. We’ll keep you posted, of course…


The post Doctor Who: Twice Upon A Time getting a cinema release – but only in the US so far… appeared first on CultBox.

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Posted by CultBox Editor

An interesting fan theory has emerged regarding Mark Gatiss’ role in the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, Twice Upon A Time. So interesting, in fact, that here we are relating it to you good self.

We’re not averse to coming up with a theory ourselves, from time to time, but we’ve probably never cooked up anything quite as well researched as Tumblr-ite Bazingaholmes98 (great name), who thinks they’ve cracked the part Gatiss will be playing.

The train of thought all started from Gatiss’ line in the teaser for Peter Capaldi and Steven Moffat’s swansong episode, where he comments that “These police boxes are awfully interesting, aren’t they?”

See, look, it’s right there.

Those who know the history of these uniquely British pieces of kit will happily tell you they were based on a 1929 design by a man called Gilbert Mackenzie-Trench – a fellow who, as our intrepid internet sleuth points out, bears no little resemblance to the physical appearance of Gatiss’ character. What’s more, Mr Mackenzie-Trench served in the army during WWI, which we know to be at least one of the settings for the story.

Should the theory be on the mark, and Gatiss be playing the man who would go on to create the design of the object the TARDIS disguises itself as, it would create the kind of paradox loved by time travel stories. Specifically, the possibility that the creator of the police box was inspired by seeing one of his own designs from the future. It’s a nice history lesson, too.

We’ll have more on Twice Upon A Time over the coming weeks, we’re sure.

You can visit Banzingaholmes’ site and read their theory for yourselves.


Over on the Twitters, there’s already some conjecture about the theory since it has been reported by the Radio Times… But we thought it was worth repeating.

The post An interesting theory emerges regarding Mark Gatiss’ role in Doctor Who’s Christmas Special appeared first on CultBox.

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

The reason this compilation works so well is that within the context of their episodes, the scenes make perfect sense to the storyline. Cut up and scrambled around, however … I can’t stop grinning. Come, start your morning off right.

YouTuber Sorenova, who pieced this video together, must really know their Next Generation. Here is a range of incidents that seem intentionally hilarious but were often from serious-minded episodes. They come from a wide span of The Next Generation‘s seasons, and as you watch you’ll often remember the episode in question and how intense it was—but here, it looks like outtakes from a comedy show. And of course, some of these set-ups were intentionally light-hearted and funny, demonstrating the campy episodes every Trek engages in at some point.

Here are some of my favorites in case you can’t watch the video right now, presented totally out of context:

Counselor Troi is made out of cake.


This screengrab of Q is probably the finest screengrab I’ve ever grabbed.

I’m not sure quite where to begin.

Really y’all the episode where Dr. Crusher is in love with a space ghost is vastly underrated.

And of course, the greatest love story never fully told.

“tag urself im Q eating taking a hearty bite out of a spring onion,” Sorenova wrote in the video’s comments. I’m Q staring adoringly at Jean-Luc Picard, naturally.

(images: screengrabs)

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Posted by Suzanne VW

With some classic episodes lost or missing, Doctor Who has become some sort of a television legend. Not every show has its own Indiana Jones travelling the world looking for tapes of the missing episodes! Reconstruction works based on audio and stills also gave a scent of “lost treasure” to Doctor Who.

But as many have pointed out, it’s not enough. Fans want closure. They want the serials to be complete one way or another. When Power of the Daleks came out last year, it was very interesting to see classic and modern Whovian share a bond over an animated serial. Animation might very well be the solution to all those heartbroken Whovians, who dream to see their favourite TV show complete.

While an animated series might feel like a dream come true, let’s not forget that money rules our society. Animation works cost a lot of time and money and it seems clear to me that the BBC has no intention in pulling the resources to animate each and every missing episodes.

The way I see it, it’s all about “give to get”. Give us an animated series and we will happily buy not one but two versions so that you get money out of it. I still remember the marketing success of Power of the Daleks. Issuing two DVDs, one in black and white and then, a few months later, a colourised version, was as bold as it was insulting. This was clearly a way to get twice the money on one single serial! For once, I considered myself lucky to be colour-blind as I saved money on the colourised version…! Some forgiving Whovians claimed that it was a way to get funding for future animated episodes…

With the news of Shada being completed with animated sequences to fill in the gaps, who isn’t tempted to think that way too? Providing that Shada encounters the same success Power of the Daleks did then we might get another animated version of a missing serial.

As I’m writing those lines, this feels like emotional blackmail… “Buy the DVDs or we don’t give you closure.”

I would rather believe that Whovians infiltrated the Doctor Who department at the BBC and have the power to make animated versions happen. Sure thing, there would be commercial and financial expectations, but at least we would look up to those powerful Whovians and support them. Mind you, I would even buy the colourised version of Power of the Daleks if that was the case!

As romantic as this all sounds, let’s just be realistic and enjoy what we get. We are getting Shada and this is one happy news that we should cherish before thinking about what will come next.
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Posted by veritypodcast

It’s time to slow down and get a bit reflective. Inspired by Peter Capaldi’s “farewell tour” at New York Comic Con, Deb, Lynne, and Tansy take a thoughtful look back at Peter Capaldi’s tenure. We discuss the impact he’s had on the show, his legacy and examine his character arc as the 12th Doctor. Sure, we know he has one more story before the serious postmortem’s begin, but we’d rather do this while we can still smile!

What do you think Peter has brought to the role and, more importantly, what do you think his imprint will be on the show? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!


Also covered:

Bonus link:
The amazing Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia

Download or listen now (runtime 1:20:42) 

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Posted by Matthew Rabjohns

For episode two of this Early Adventures series, we have the full blown science adventure already in progress.

What’s always clear with the Early Adventures is just how superbly closely they mimic the of the mid-Sixties! The tone of season four is threaded throughout ‘The Outliers’, enhancing a superb story in its own right. The score is particularly effective; the sound design is of the usual rugged and superb Big Finish standard.

Ben on a Boat

One of the biggest attractions of this story has to be that Ben finally showing off his boating skills. Though introduced as a sailor, he never really got the chance to show off his abilities. It’s great when any character gets to display a key moment from their character’s history! Elliot Chapman’s pitch perfect take on Ben is exemplary and a great memorial to the late Michael Craze. His bouncing off Anneke Wills and Frazer Hines is always enjoyable to listen to.

Nostalgia Goggles

Another good piece of nostalgia is the Doctor using the Examiner’s badge from ‘Power of the Daleks’ to great effect. Plus the nostalgic touch is the mining of Argonite, first heard in ‘The Space Pirates’ in 1969! Writer Simon Guerrier uses these to great effect. The nostalgia isn’t suffocating, just lovable treats for the dedicated fans.

Waters of Meteor

The story builds the tension and the sense of claustrophobia is really well conveyed. There is something wrong with the water on the asteroid the TARDIS has landed on. The Doctor and his crew have to delve beyond petty beaurocracy and a rather stubborn man to get to the bottom of things. Once again, Frazer Hines injects his usual gusto into his channelling of Patrick Troughton. Troughton had such a distinctive voice that getting it wrong could have thrown the listener off. So Hines is a major factor in the success of these Early Adventures. Not to mention his sustained chemistry, in either character, with Anneke Wills as Polly.

Irma Gobb

The cast of the story are all well chosen. Particularly Matilda Ziegler, of ‘Mr Bean’ fame, whose character here is about as far away from Irma Gobb as its possible to get! She delivers a superb performance as Chatura Sharma. Alastair Petrie is also highly robust as Tipple.

The Outliers

The Outliers also boasts some very effective cliffhangers. Every element combines to make a very strong story not only for Ben but for every single character. This story has been perfectly directed as ever by Big Finish stalwart Lisa Bowerman.


Yet again, another Big Finish Early Adventures hit. Simon Guerrier is one of Big Finish’s most dependable writers. ‘The Outliers’ is a gripping example of his talent with the Second Doctor.

Blogtor Rating – 10/10

‘The Outliers’ is available to buy now from the Big Finish website.


This title was released in October 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until November 30th 2017, and on general sale after this date.

The TARDIS takes the Doctor, Ben, Polly and Jamie to a flooded underground town on an alien world. The streets are empty. The houses are bare. Not a trace of life.

The miners working here are vanishing. And it isn’t long before the time-travellers are suspected of being responsible for the disappearances. But even the authorities haven’t fully realised the scale of the problem.

There’s something else on this world. Something dragging people away. And it won’t stop until it’s taken them all.

Written By: Simon Guerrier
Directed By: Lisa Bowerman


Anneke Wills (Polly Wright/Narrator), Frazer Hines (Jamie McCrimmon/The Doctor), Elliot Chapman (Ben Jackson), Alistair Petrie (Richard Tipple), Debbie Chazen (Dr Goro), Matilda Ziegler (Chatura Sharma)

Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

The post REVIEW: The Outliers is a Strong Story with Dependable Talent appeared first on Blogtor Who.

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Posted by Charline Jao

In July 2016, Maia Weinstock of MIT News proposed a “Women of NASA” LEGO set on LEGO Ideas, a platform for fans to submit ideas for new sets. After getting around 10,000 votes, demonstrating a clear demand for figures of pioneering women, “Women of NASA” will be hitting shelves next month.

Weinstock writes:

“In all realms of science, engineering, and technology, pioneering women have historically been underappreciated for their often groundbreaking work. We have also seen that when girls and women are given more encouragement in the STEM fields, they become more likely to pursue careers in these areas.

With this project, I wanted to spotlight a fantastic group of women who have made seminal contributions to NASA history. My dream would be to know that the first human on Mars — or an engineer or computer scientist who helped her get there — played with the LEGO Women of NASA as a child and was inspired to pursue a STEM career as a result.”

Not only does “Women of NASA” features minifigures of astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, and computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, each also comes with a special backdrop (seen above) like a Hubble Space Telescope or Hamilton’s famous stack of Apollo Guidance Computer source code. The Ride/Jemison shuttle also separates into its three stages!

The detail in each figure is also phenomenal, with Ride in a “1983-era training flight suit,” Jemison in a “1992-era space shuttle flight suit,” Roman “as her 1959 likeness,” and “a circa-1959 Margaret Hamilton.” I’ve love to have one of these sitting on my desk, watching over me and giving me bursts of inspiration whenever I see them.

A small bummer about the set lies in the fact that the original proposal included Katherine Johnson, NASA researcher and one of the subjects of the critically-acclaimed Hidden Figures. However, while this omission is disappointing it comes out of respect for Johnson–Gizmodo spoke to a company representative who said “we need to obtain approval from all key people, which was not possible in this case. We naturally fully respect this decision.”

The kit becomes available November 1st for $24.99, so start preparing your holiday presents. What other women do you want to see as LEGO figures? You can submit them here and learn more about the Women of Nasa set here!

(via Business Insider, image: LEGO Ideas)

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Posted by Charline Jao

We couldn’t be more excited that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is finally back on television with its incredible wittiness, emotional gut-punches, and too-real songs like “Let’s Generalize About Men” (AKA the song version of every group chat I am in). The show’s songs always use different musical genres in hilarious and appropriate ways, from Irish drinking songs to faux-empowerment girl anthems, to more traditional musical theater.

In a new song from the upcoming episode shared on Cracked, (Rachel Bloom is herself a Cracked-alum) we see secret-Canadian Tim played by Michael McMillian realize that his wife has been faking orgasms and secretly using a vibrator in the bathroom after sex. “That was no electric toothbrush,” he sings, “No facial scrub device.”

Oh, and it’s in a tune that’s a clear homage to “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” from Les Misérables. Yes, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has taken one of the saddest emotional songs from one of the saddest Broadway shows and made it “The Song for Men Who Can’t Please Women.” Is this going to be the episode where Bloom pushes the envelope to use the word “clitoris” on network television?

This isn’t the first time that the show has references Les Mis, as “Flooded with Justice” was a pitch-perfect parody of “Do You Hear the People Sing.” I love you Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Please never change.

(via Cracked, image: screencap)

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The Blood is the Life for 18-10-2017

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
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Posted by Susan Hewitt

This week’s episode from Twisted Showcase is all about time.

And it is only fitting that it stars Sarah Louise Madison, who played a Weeping Angel in Doctor Who. Madison’s character, Kelly, is one half of a young couple; in love and ready to get married. Little does she know that her intended has aged into an old man overnight.

Robert (Stephen Aintree) make up the other half of this duo. He knocks at Kelly’s door confused and disorientated. He has no idea why he is so much older, where has the time gone or if he should stay with his love. The two try to figure out whether they can have a life together. But something is awry as a continuous buzzing sound disorients the viewer.  It is only at the conclusion of the episode that the source of the noise becomes apparent

‘When Time Catches Up’ was written by Robin Bell and Rhys Jones, the writer-creators of Twisted Showcase. It’s a situation where everything is off-balance. The low camera angles and disorienting lighting clues the audience in that there’s something wrong. Just when the audience begins to figure out what it is, a sharp twist takes us down a psychological nightmare.

Sarah Louise Madison’s portrayed a strangely detached and unemotional young woman. She barely seems to react to her aged boyfriend, which is shared with the audience since we don’t get to see their relationship before Robert is aged up. Meanwhile Stephen Aintree captured the grief of lost youth and the confusion of age wonderfully. Though we don’t have much of a yardstick by which to measure their previous relationship, their odd behaviours hint at a lack of realism in the situation. This comes to a head in a well executed twist that gives Madison the chance to give a really unnerving performance.

‘When Time Catches Up’ is another is another quirky short from Twisted Showcase. Though some sound balancing issues marred the first half, the eerie performance by the cast gives it a spooky edge that fits the tone.

Twisted Showcase run a series of horror and sci-fi short films, including ‘Be My Head’ starring Gareth David-Lloyd. For more, check out their website

The post REVIEW: Twisted Showcase – When Time Catches Up appeared first on Blogtor Who.

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 12:59 am
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I've been looking at a page on wild foods, and I am a bit worried about their standards.

It keeps saying things like 'edible' and then you scroll down and it mentions don't eat too much because of the cyanide.

(no subject)

Oct. 17th, 2017 11:32 pm
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[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
today cleaner day was achieved successfully
but last night I'd had like two hours sleep
so i just did that and some sleep this afternoon.
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Posted by Teresa Jusino

We’ve read the scandalous news stories, the op-eds, and the think-pieces (we’ve even written some). We’ve stood in solidarity with those who’ve told their stories, and we’ve vowed that, despite the fact that Hollywood has been a hostile place toward women basically since its inception, that this time is different. This time, we’re actually going to do something about this. So, what is Hollywood doing?

Dealing With the Immediate Problem of Harassment and Assault

At the same Elle Women in Hollywood event where Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Lawrence shared their stories of Hollywood abuses, powerhouse producer (and keeper of the Star Wars keys) Kathleen Kennedy proposed action.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Kennedy’s remarks not only named and condemned Harvey Weinstein, but she also used her time to talk about what she sees as a possible proposed solution. She said, “For the past few days, I’ve been in discussions with friends and colleagues, and I want to use my few moments of speaking tonight to offer a proposal. The organizations that constitute the American film industry — the studios, the unions, the guilds and the talent agencies — should immediately convene a commission charged with the task of developing new, industry-wide protections against sexual harassment and abuse.”

This is necessary because, as she put it, “Predators must come to feel that they can’t count on power or wealth or fame to shield them from the consequences of their actions. But sexual harassment of women and men, predation, rape and the misogyny that is the context for this inhumanity will continue unless there is a decisive, industry-wide, institutional response that legislates change rather than hopes for it to happen.”

What gives me hope in her proposed solution is not only the fact that it would include members of all the organizations that make up the entertainment industry, so that they can cross-pollinate ideas and ensure that they’re all on the same page and on the side of those who report, but also that Kennedy proposes that “The commission should be composed of specialists in labor and management practices, lawyers and legal scholars, sociologists, psychologists, feminist activists and theorists, as well as people who work in film and television.”

I’m glad that it isn’t just the voices of those within the entertainment industry that will be heard, but also objective voices from outside the industry that can provide perspective, insight, and solutions that might not occur to them otherwise. I really hope something like this is formed, and that Kennedy remains active in it. We need the women of the Hollywood establishment to step up and lead this fight from their positions of power.

Combatting the Systemic Sexism and Injustice Through Increased Opportunity. 

Director, writer, and actor Cathryn Michon wrote an open letter in The Huffington Post to Bob Weinstein, the other Weinstein of The Weinstein Company and Harvey’s brother, giving him what might basically be the only way he can “save [his] soul and your company.”

Michon proposes that TWC, from now on, exclusively hire female directors “for every film, TV or web project you make.” She explains:

“Part of why your brother was so successful at being such a monster is because the power structure in this town is extremely patriarchal. Nowhere is this more evident than in the most powerful job in town, that of directing, where women only helm 7 percent of feature films.

Creating an entire company where overnight the power structure has changed would both cleanse your soul and make you a lot of money.

I don’t mean hire more women directors, I mean hire nothing but women directors, no exceptions. All ladies all the time.

It’s both your reparation and your key to profit.”

She then goes into the facts and figures that are readily available, but often just as readily ignored, about how women actually do make money at the box office. My only qualm with her letter is that she emphasizes the fact that TWC may have to take chances on “untested” female directors the way the Weinsteins once took chances on untested directors like Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. This is true. However, equally true is that there are plenty of experienced, mid-career female directors who’ve just…stopped getting hired as male colleagues leapfrog over them. Hire those women first and perhaps we’ll be onto something.

Then again, Bob Weinstein is allegedly the “nice guy” version of his brother as far as sexual harassment and sexism go. When will men learn that “persistence” in going after women is just a nice way of saying “stalking,” and that once you get turned down, you should move on with your life, and leave it to the woman to circle back if she decides she’s changed her mind? All of this contributes to a culture that allows these abuses to exist.

But TWC isn’t the only company that can or should do this. Any company can decide to only hire female directors for the foreseeable future. And for those who would rush to cry “reverse sexism,” think about the fact that most production companies and studios have been hiring nothing but male directors year in and year out for as long as Hollywood has existed. Just because it’s not “official policy” doesn’t mean it’s not real. If you didn’t speak out about inequality for all that time, I’ll kindly ask you to shut your yapper if one or two companies decide to make this a mandate.

In this vein, there are also groups like Women in Media, Cinefemme, Seed & Spark, The Directors List, and others that prioritize getting women work and getting inclusive stories told. The only way men won’t hold most of the power in Hollywood is if women are making an equal share of the decisions and helming an equal number of the projects being made.

No Longer Staying Silent

As women in Hollywood attempt to enact solutions that will lead to systemic change, the one weapon they already have begun to wield is their voices. The days of being too afraid to say something for fear of reprisal are over. Well, if not quite over, then women are learning how to better navigate the risks so that they can speak up.

In addition to speaking up individually, they’re also speaking up collectively. Will you be in the L.A. area in November? If so, join The Feminist Majority Foundation in conjunction with Civican and We For She in marching to Take Back the Workplace on November 12th!

Obviously, there are more workplaces than just Hollywood. We cover that, because we’re a pop culture site, but women obviously deal with sexual harassment and assault everywhere. What solutions have you seen in your workplaces, whatever they may be? How are you taking concrete action toward change? We’d love to hear about it!

(image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

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Posted by Princess Weekes

Nothing says joy like watching Astronauts play with a fidget spinner IN SPACE.  NASA sent their astronauts on the International Space Station the “it” toy of 2017 and they, of course, showed off their skills on the internet. NASA’s Randy Bresnik (@AstroKomrade),  NASA’s Joseph Acaba (@AstroAcaba), and Paolo Nespoli (@Astro_Paolo) perform impressive forward and backward summersaults with their fidget spinner.

“A fidget spinner in space! How long does it spin? I’m not sure, but it’s a great way to experiment with Newton’s laws of motion!” Bresnik posted on Twitter.

NASA Johnson wrote on the YouTube video post, “Allowing the fidget spinner to float reduces the bearing friction by permitting the rate of the central ring and outer spinner to equalize, and the whole thing spins as a unit.” Science is awesome. (via Space)

  • SyFy Wire has a fun article about the co-creator of the iconic Japanese monster/anti-hero/hero Godzilla, Ishiro Honda. (via Syfy Wire)
  • Two-time Oscar Winner, Hilary Swank, is going the sci-fi route in her upcoming movie I Am Mother about a new generation of humans raised by a robot called “Mother,” until Swank’s character arrives and throws everything into chaos. (via Variety)
  • Nicole Silverberg gives dudes some helpful advice on how to not be the worst in their day-to-day interactions with women in the workplace. Save this next to the Samantha Bee dick PSA in your bookmarks gentlemen. (via The Guardian)
  • Okay, so there is going to be a Mamma Mia! Sequel…but Cher is going to be in it and that makes everything just a lot better. (via Jezebel)

What caught your eye today?

(image: Youtube/Tumblr)


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