ComicCon-ing: Jason Momoa Returns to Wizard World New Orleans

We have been huge fans of Jason Mamoa for a long time. We met him in 2012 at small con in Galveston when most people only knew him from Game of Thrones.  He was charming and genuinely stoked to meet his fans.  Fast forward to 2018 Wizard World New Orleans. He is now a superstar and still charming and genuinely stoked to meet his fans.

If the Aquaman international intake is  an indicator of domestic box office appeal, he will be an even bigger draw this January at Wizard World New Orleans 2019. Of course, Momoa has had roles in Baywatch and Stargate: Atlantas before he became Kahl Drago in Game of Thrones. 

Joining Momoa at Wizard World is a large section of the Outlander cast, Mike Coulter and Simone Missick from Luke Cage and Mads Mikkelsen of Doctor Strange and  Rogue One.

The first event scheduled on the 2019 Wizard World calendar, New Orleans show hours are Friday, January 4, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, January 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult.

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StarWars-ing: Warwick Davis Set to Host the Celebration Stage at Star Wars Celebration 2019

Star Wars Celebration will be here before we know it. We are so excited about attending panels, meeting celebrity guests and authors, and sharing our love for all things Star Wars with our friends – ones that we have known
for a long time and ones that we made at previous celebrations.

One familiar face at Celebration will be Warwick Davis. Mr. Davis will be hosting the Celebration Stage – the main stage- in Chicago. He will be interviewing some of the biggest stars of the saga and maybe will be in charge of giving us some incredible announcements. We attended quite a few panels he hosted at Celebration 2017. Being such a vital part of Star Wars itself, he knows the saga and what it takes to bring the magic of Star Wars to us. This knowledge allows him to go beyond the standard convention questions and helps the audience (which let’s face it, is pretty knowledgeable) learn more about the saga. Plus, he is incredibly charming and hilarious so he can make any panel entertaining.

Star Wars Celebration Chicago will take place April 11-15 at McCormick Place. Visit StarWarsCelebration.com for tickets and more info!

Listening: Why I Love Sad Music

It doesn’t matter if we all die – One Hundred Years by The Cure

One day I was playing some sad music in class. A student, whose wit is a sharp as a knife, asked me if I go to a this band’s concert is crying required or highly recommended. He doesn’t know this, but he instantly became my favorite student that day. It also made me think about why I often find myself listening to sad music.

If you have been reading this blog, you know that I have started to open up about my issues with anxiety and depression. People that know the kind of music I listen to think often that the music puts me in a depressed mode.

That’s not how it works.

The quote above comes from The Cure’s album Pornography. Many have called it the most depressing record ever made. It may be. The existential angst in that first line is a thesis statement for the album, and that mood goes all the way through the record up until the last lines:

I must fight this sickness
Find a cure
I must fight this sickness

The album always makes me feel better. Not because of those last three lines, even though they have become a motto. It’s because all those thoughts I have when my conditions are extremely cloudy are echoed here. Robert Smith doesn’t hold back in singing the darkest images his psyche can come up with. When I listen to it, I realize I’m not alone. I also understand Smith went on to write Lovesong, Friday I’m in Love, Mint Car, and Untitled. He is not permanently producing morose art.

They told us our gods would outlive us/But they lied – Distant Sky by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.

Nick Cave lost his son. Losing a child is as traumatic an experience as one can have. We all have our stories of trauma, of a loved one taken too soon or too violently. When Cave sings that lyric, you can hear his voice break. It should be painful, but I don’t listen to it that way. I hear a man holding on to his grief because he has to. That grief is what keeps those we love alive when they are gone. In the documentary that went along with the album, Cave explains his rubber band theory. When we lose someone, it does get better. It always does. By getting better, he says we move on and move further away from the grief. However, there are moments – such as birthdays, anniversaries – that snap us back to that moment when the grief comes back. He doesn’t say it in a way that sounds morbid or morose. He says in a way that the sadness we feel comes from the happiness that those people brought to our lives.

I’m sobbing and eating eggs again – Crow Pt 2 by Mount Eerie.

Crow Pt 2 is my favorite song of 2018. It makes me cry, at this particular line, every single time. Phil Elverum lost his wife to cancer not long after the birth of their daughter. He explored his grief on two amazing albums as memoirs, A Crow Looked at Me (2017) and Now Only (2018). Again, if you follow this blog, you might wonder as to why I listen to something that nearly happened to me. God only knows what would have happened if my wife had not said to take her to the ER on the sixth day of our daughter’s life. This album doesn’t make me think about what could have happened. It makes me think about what did happen. It makes my heart full to know my girls are with me. It makes me realize how precious life is and how fortunate I am. When you suffer from depression, this is the reminders you need. Luckily for Elverum, he found happiness again. He secretly married Michelle Williams (who has had her own very public, very traumatic tragedy happen to her) earlier this year. Working through his grief in such a public way probably opened his eyes to the possibilities of life and love again. In fact, while his albums are about his lost love, the details of the records are filled with imagery of the living particularly in nature and in his little girl.

Hopelessly fighting devil futility – Untitled by The Cure

Nothing describes fighting depression better than this lyric from The Cure. Much like my sister’s Type I Diabetes, my depression will probably never be cured. It’s not a mindset. It’s chemical. This line has been my motto for life. No matter how hard it gets, no matter dark my skies become, I will fight. This is why I went public with my depression. If you are in physical pain, you act. You apply ice, take Tylenol, or, if it is bad enough, you see a doctor. The same should be said for mental pain. For me, listening to music is my Tylenol. While happy tunes are okay, listening to sad music is my extra strength painkillers. It becomes a cathartic experience. It reminds me I’m not alone. Not in just the way that singer is going through it as well, but also that there are other fans like me out there listening to these songs feeling the same way.

Shall we beat this or celebrate it? “All of Me Wants All of You” by Sufjan Stevens

When people form a community of sadness, we often end up smiling just as much as we cry. Nick Cave and Mount Eerie both toured on the albums in which they worked out their grief. Both were successful tours. Same with Sufjan Steven’s Carrie and Lowell album and tour in which explored the loss of his estranged mother. I was at the Sufjan show in New Orleans for that tour. The audience all sat and inhaled the show. We weren’t truly observers. We were participants all dealing with our own trauma. The rubber band brought us back; however, because it was communal, the snap was not as tight and jolting. We knew we were all suffering, but at the same time we were celebrating. We were celebrating the fact that we are here. We can tell our stories and the stories of our loved ones.

We didn’t know each other, but we were there for each other.

That’s what the power of art is.

ComicCon-ing: Can’t Wait for Wizard World New Orleans!

We love going to Wizard World New Orleans. Its a great con and great for the city.  Even last year, when Mrs. Nola Nerd Couple was in the throes of extreme nausea due to the baby, we had a great time.

In fact, baby even got to take a picture with the late great Stan Lee!
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This year, we will be back at full strength. We will also have baby in tow for her first Wizard World.

Of the celebrity guests, we are most looking forward to meeting Mads Mikkelsen.  I’m a huge Bond fan and he is one of the best and most memorable villains. He also is a major part of our favorite fandom – Star Wars. We have a Rogue One poster with Felicity Jones and having her cinematic father on there will be an amazing addition.  (You can see our previous celebrity guests spotlights here and here).

We are really looking forward to meeting Michelle Hirstus and picking up some of her books in the JuJu The Good VooDoo for the baby. If artist Neal Adams is doing a panel, we will be there. We have met him at a previous Wizard World and he is full of great stories. I also am looking forward to meeting Arvell Jones (“Black Panther”) and Michael Golden (“Spider-Man”).

We would love to attend the Cosplay contest and just marvel at the creativity of our local cosplayers (and those that travel to the con as well!)

And, of course, we can’t wait to have some of Wild Bill’s Olde Fashioned Soda Pop!

New Orleans show hours are Friday, January 4, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday, January 5, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday, January 6, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Kids 10 and under are admitted free with paid adult. You can purchase tickets here.

 

StarWars-ing: Links

Do you need a huge Star Wars book that goes deep into how Star Wars was created? Well, we do. The Star Wars Archives produced by Taschen comes out on December 15. It will have art from Ralph McQuarrie and tons of photographs from the original trilogy. It does come with a hefty price tag!

Disney has posted the first images of Millennium Falcon in their upcoming park “Star Wars: Galaxy Edge.” The new park opens up in Disneyland in 2019 and Disney World in 2019.

If you look at the IMDB page for The Mandalorian, not only does it list Pedro Pascal as the title character, but it also has Gina Carano and Nick Nolte in the cast.  StarWars.com announced today that Giancarlo Esposito, Emily Swallow, Carl Weathers, and Omid Abtahi have also joined the class.

Star Wars-ing: Luke Had Every Reason To Quit

Walking out of the theaters for The Last Jedi, I was disappointed.  I thought the film was overlong. Canto Bright didn’t feel right to me for numerous reasons. Poe’s character became too cocky and didn’t really have the moment of reckoning for his actions.

I did enjoy the way the story treated Kylo and Rey.

And, I needed Luke to have the story he did.

Too many people think Luke is a hero that is a perfect knight. I don’t. He can’t be. Too much happened to him:

  • the only parents he has ever known are burned alive because he decided to buy that droid.
  • on his way to see a princess, he finds the planet destroyed
  • he rescues the princess, but only to find the mentor he had been searching for his entire life dead right in front of his eyes
  • he blows up the Death Star. Now, this is a heroic action, but it also brings about a significant loss of life and he probably knows not everyone on the ship is not evil.
  • his second mentor tells him saving his friends lives is the worse thing he can do giving him an impossible choice.
  • finds out the guy that killed his first mentor is his father.  Not only that, but he now knows that his parents and mentors have lied to him.
  • he finds out a girl he kissed his sister
  • watches his second mentor die
  • can only save his father by offering himself up for sacrifice which in turn ends up saving, and killing his father.
  • failing Ben Solo

It is incredible that he doesn’t go to the dark side.  His PTSD has PTSD. He has every reason to give up. He is a good man, but good men can only take so much.

This is not unfamiliar in hero stories. All heroes have moments of doubt and failure.  Jesus has the garden. Luke has Ahch-To.

What makes Luke a hero is that he doesn’t stay on Ahch-To (ok, well he does, but…). He chooses to act.  Answering the call to action, even when you have lost faith, is a hero’s action.  However, while I do think Luke has had a crisis of faith, he hasn’t lost hope. Rey, who has nothing but faith, has inspired Luke. Rey is not a Mary-Sue; she is a true believer. Luke has always struggled with faith (again see above as to why), but he finally sees the why he should have faith in the force.

Hope exists. He saw a new hope in Rey. He can continue and complete, as much as any character in Star Wars can, the hero’s journey.

 

Fandom-ing: Thirteen and History

Note: We have only watched up to episode 7 of season 11. 

Two of the episodes of the eleventh season of Doctor Who have focused on historical events.  One was quite a big event that involved the person at the epicenter of it.  The other was a big event but looked at how it affected the people history often forgets.

Rosa, about Rosa Parks, did a good job but I wish it could have been better. Having time travelers, especially ones that are not US citizens, look at how segregation was enforced could have given the writers a lot chances to look at the absurdities and horrors of racism.  It came close especially in the scenes with Ryan, but it never truly reached the realm of terrifying. Having Graham being the cause of the protest also was problematic, but luckily they didn’t focus on it as much.

The Demons of the Punjab fared a lot better in that it decided to get really small. The event was about the partition of India, but it was really about four people living in the area. For an hour show, it handled the radicalization of one of the characters really well.  Also, making the characters part of Yasmin’s family gave us a personal window into the world. The aliens were indeed scary until we found out more about them. This hour is everything Doctor Who can and should be.