In blackest night…

Kilowog and Hal Jordan
Green Lantern: the Animated Series

On Thursday, 10 November 2011, Janice and I had dinner at the Acropolis restaurant in Needham, Massachusetts. The next evening, we settled in for the usual night of animation and genre television. We enjoyed Cartoon Network’s premiere of Green Lantern: the Animated Series, which combines Bruce Timm’s streamlined style from his superb 1990s shows with computer animation similar to that in Star Wars: Clone Wars.

I thought that it was smart of GL:tAS‘s producers to focus on Hal Jordan’s missions against the murderous Red Lanterns in deep space rather than on his origin story, which was recently covered in the live-action movie and First Flight DVD. The previews of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation were also fun, with a Wallace & Gromit-like short and another of the chibi Teen Titans. The level of violence in GL:tAS was greater than in some superhero shows, but as with Clone Wars, it’s necessary for the military space opera.

Speaking of Clone Wars, I think the darkening tone befits a war that began with idealism and ended with critically weakened democracies, much like World War I. On a related note, famed comic book creator Frank Miller lobbed a rhetorical grenade into debate around the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements. I don’t deny that there have been difficulties with latter’s focus and safety, but I also believe that questioning economic fairness is no less patriotic than fighting terrorism. Science fiction author David Brin posted a strong retort, and I wish that both liberals and conservatives alike would strive harder to stay civil.

On a lighter note, I’m still impressed with the gradual world building in ThunderCats and belated insights into the superheroes in Young Justice. Chuck and Fringe have been experimenting with some role swaps this season, and Grimm reminds me not just of the fantasy Fables or Once Upon a Time, but also the late Pushing Daisies.

After raking leaves on Saturday, we ate at the Texas Road House, whose Dallas filet steak I enjoyed. I also liked Masterpiece: Contemporary’s Page Eight, an all-star musing on British national security and bureaucracy (not unlike Homeland). On Sunday, Janice and I attended a performance of works by Bach, Respighi, Haydn, and Brahms by the Rivers Symphony Orchestra at Christ Church in Needham.

18 November 2009: Convention and concert report

I’m sorry that I haven’t blogged much in the past week or so — I’ve been busy with the usual round of work (for which I went to a trade show), gaming, genre TV, and seasonal events. I’ve also raked numerous bags of autumn leaves. On Saturday, 7 November 2009, Janice and I went into Boston for the Christmas Craft Festival at the World Trade Center. We didn’t buy lots of arts and crafts, just foodstuffs.

We got turned around a few times while trying to get to the Compleat Strategist, but we managed to eventually visit that game store and Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We enjoyed a late lunch at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage, one of the best places for hamburgers in the area, and walked around the book shops of Harvard Square, which we try to get to quarterly.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, we returned downtown for the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) and Star Wars in Concert. Janice and I stayed overnight at the Courtyard by Marriott Tremont, which hosted the genre entertainment convention. The ballrooms at that venue were adequate in size, but the hallways and elevators were a bit crowded.

We caught the tail end of the session featuring Corin Nemec, star of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Stargate SG1, as well as the career retrospective of character James Hong, who has worked in movies for more than 50 years! Hong was funny, doing impressions and mentioning his numerous roles in films such as Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Mulan, and Kung Fu Panda.

Janice and I had lunch at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery before taking the
train to meet former co-worker Ken G. and his girlfriend Kahmmie at the Boston
Garden. Star Wars in Concert was excellent, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a large screen showing clips from all six movies, and even lasers and pyrotechnics.

We had difficulty choosing whether to focus on the talented and precise musicians
or on the well-organized vignettes introduced by C3P0 himself, Anthony Daniels.
On the way into the arena, we gazed at some props and costumes from the two
trilogies, as well as people in costume. I was pleased to see many children (some waving toy lightsabers) in the audience and to see that George Lucas’ space opera lives on.

We then returned to the hotel, grabbing dinner at the International Burger Bar before attending more convention sessions. Unfortunately, because of the concert’s timing, we missed the guest of honor, Star Trek and Mission Impossible‘s Leonard Nimoy. Still, we did get to see Gareth David-Lloyd from Torchwood because his room was on our floor! In addition to the usual aging male fans of comic books and old television shows, there were younger, often female anime and horror enthusiasts, multiple generations of Star Trek fans, and people in outlandish costumes.

I was impressed by the number and variety of panels at the NEFX. That evening, Janice and I sat in on sessions about technology (and “technobabble“) in Star Trek, steampunk media (about which I hope to blog more soon), and archaeology in science fiction. The steampunk sessions were led by comic book author Everett Soares and the fun troupe “the Penny Dreadfuls.”

On Sunday, Nov. 15, we went to the knowledgeable Paul Gavins’ panel on “suitmation” vs. computer-generated imagery in kaiju (giant monster) movies. We also picked up a few elements of steampunk garb at the dealers’ room. I’m looking forward to visiting the Super MegaFest and the “Harry Potter” exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science in the coming weeks!