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A community school – a selective school – a school that embraces reading – LOVE IT and LOVE the kids.
Kids from everywhere – they understand ‘Elephants Have Wings’ – where we’re all different but part of the same humanity.
Thankyou for the beautiful email I received from a student after my talks at Sefton:-
It’s amazing to have a compassionate author coming into Sefton, and talking about the hard journey of a writer, making us understand what it is to be a writer, that being a writer doesn’t mean being famous, being rich, e.t.c.
I also would like to say, even though you probably have heard this a million times, your books, especially Butterflies (my favourite) and That’s Why I Wrote this Song (2nd favourite), have touched my heart, and inspired me.
It taught me to be empathetic, looking at different sides of a challenge, and also to trust and give second chances.
It was beautifully written, and I admire the way you plunge into you writing with commitment and passion, and being the character, making the story authentic. I understand it is hard to being a published author, which is why I love and admire you so much, and you are quite easy to talk to, like a friend.
Here’s a question from me: If you are friends with an author’s book, are you friends with the author?
My answer: YOU ARE MY FRIEND!
The post I Love Sefton High School appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.
I’m pleased to announce that our wildebeest time-lapse video has been commended in the new time-lapse category of the prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition.
I have edited a new version of this footage, which you can view below:
The scenes shown in this footage are among the most awe-inspiring I have ever witnessed! We found that time-lapse was the only medium that allowed us to convey the magnitude of the migration. This footage was shot over five days in Northern Serengeti, Tanzania. It shows the migrating wildebeest crossing the Mara River while moving south into Tanzania from Kenya.
The Serengeti Ecosystem supports 1.5 million wildebeest. These wildebeest are forced to migrate around a 40,000 square kilometre area in order to find fresh grazing pastures. The migration is full of danger and hardship for these resilient creatures. Thirst, hunger, exhaustion, predation and the Mara River are just some of the challenges they must face.
You can read more about this project in my free ebook: My Top Ten Wildlife Experiences.
“I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all...
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My visual summary re. musings about Life. There’s a bit that could be noted about tango dancing & eating sorbet, but this covers the basics.
My son and I are instant fans. We have taken to making fan art in our spare time. Shown here are Peppermint Butler & Cinnamon Bun (who always seems to be melting?)
Rachel Brooks from the L. Perkins Agency is looking for fun picture books in addition to novels.
A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between October 17 – October 23 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Yesterday, Warner Bros. confirmed that the first “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” film will be directed by David Yates, who directed the final four Harry Potter films. Producers David Heyman and Lionel Wigram, and screenwriter Steve Kloves will also be back for “Fantastic Beasts.”
As reported previously the films will be a trilogy, with release dates in 2016, 2018, and 2020.
You can read more here.
We reviewed MUDBLOODS, a documentary about the UCLA Bruins Quidditch team and their dream of competing in the 2011 Quidditch World Cup in NYC. It was a pretty great film. Today, MUDBLOODS is officially available to the world, with a digital release available at mudbloodsmovie.com. We recently had the chance to do a Q&A with the director of MUDBLOODS, Farzad Sangari. Without further adieu, here are his answers to all of our pressing questions:
1) How do you think the Quidditch scene differs from other subcultures?
Sub-cultures in general have a lot in common because they are isolated as being different or “other” than mainstream culture. I think what makes quidditch unique however is that the Harry Potter series is such a recognizable part of mainstream culture. Everybody knows what is, or at the very least has heard about it. They might not know what quidditch is, but they know where it came from and that immediately affects their view of it – either positively or negatively. I found there wasn’t much middle ground. I think what differentiates the quidditch scene is that in the face of this cultural phenomenon, they are looking to distinguish themselves as something distinct. Added on top of that is the fact that they are also fighting for legitimacy as a sport within the sporting world. In the end, I think the quidditch sub-culture, like any group that is marginalized, labeled and misunderstood, deserves a chance to be presented in a true and honest way.
2) What challenges did you face as an outsider trying to capture this form of fan culture?
I think another thing that makes quidditch unique is how open and inviting the people associated with it are. They actively desire to share quidditch with anyone who is interested because they know they’ve created something special. Being an outsider was something I was initially very concerned about because I didn’t want the players, organizers and fans to feel like I was coming at it with any pre-determined agenda. That’s happened to them in the past, which makes how open and inviting they continue to be even more revealing about their character. However, once the people I met understood where I was coming from, I developed such strong relationships with them that there were no issues in terms of access.
3) What was it like making the film, knowing there was a very real chance that the Bruins wouldn’t win the World Cup?
This was the first time a good number of west coast teams went to the World Cup, so there was definitely a risk that the team might not do well. We didn’t really know what would happen. Nobody knew, but that’s what made it exciting. We also got lucky in who the team was matched up against and how dramatic the games were. If this wasn’t a documentary, and UCLA played the teams they ended up playing, and the results ended up the way they did, I think it would actually feel fake. But the fact that it was real made the journey that much more incredible.
4) Similarly, how do you think the narrative of defeat and perseverance in the face of loss speaks to the greater quality of Quidditch?
One of the things that most impressed me about quidditch was the level of sportsmanship I observed not just on each team, but between the teams. All the teams are part of this larger community so they share a level of understanding with each other that supersedes the outcome. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to win because they very clearly do, and they are willing to sacrifice themselves for their teammates in remarkable ways. Yet, because of the idiosyncratic nature of the game, and also I think because of its connection to Harry Potter, there’s a strong level of respect even amongst the teams that play the hardest against each other. In terms of dealing specifically with defeat, I think the UCLA team (and I think this stems from the way Tom Marks, their captain, ran the team) provides a wonderful example of how sports approached in this manner can shape your life in positive and meaningful ways.
5) What has the reception to the title of the film been like?
Overall the reception to the title has been positive especially among quidditch players who are very self-aware and approach their sport with as much humor as competitiveness. I understand that some fans of the series have expressed concern about the title. They are as passionate and protective about the series as quidditch players are about their sport because both of these things have had a profound impact on their lives. However, it’s important to note that while the series and the sport are connected, they are also distinct. Moreover, if you watch the film, you will see right away that we are not using “mudblood” in its original, derogatory tone. It is being adapted to fit the needs of this film in a new context in the same way that this group of brash yet imaginative individuals have adapted a fictional game based on magical elements into a new, real-life sport.
6) Any funny stories from filming/behind the scenes?
One thing that was an inside joke for us as we were shooting in New York is that the location of the World Cup, Randall’s Island, is a place with a lot of athletic fields that also hosts large outdoor events and concerts. Yet the island also happens to be the home of a massive sewage treatment plant as well as a psychiatric hospital. Both of these are very near the fields where they held the tournament. We thought this (especially the psychiatric hospital) was an amusing backdrop for an event where thousands of spectators came to watch hundreds of quidditch players run around on broomsticks. I tried to put as many shots of the hospital into the film as I could.
7) Was everybody with the Bruins/IQA cool about the idea of doing the documentary? Were there any fears of misrepresentation?
I think I answered this with question #2 … but overall the team was very cool. This is because of the way Tom brought us in. We essentially became part of the team. We were at every practice, scrimmage, and event they had, so by the time we went to New York with them, the team had already accepted us as part of the group.
8) Anything you wish could have made it into the film but had to be cut?
We actually have some extra content available at mudbloodsmovie.com of things we could not fit into the movie for a variety of reasons. My personal favorite is the Wizards With Attitude clip. This is a little more background on the wizard rap group in the film.
9) You obviously spent a huge amount of time on this film. So after everything, how has Quidditch, and perhaps the greater Harry Potter fandom even, changed the way you view the world? Has it?
This experience has had a big impact on me personally. I was exceedingly impressed by the passion I witnessed from everyone involved in the film. This includes quidditch players, organizers and fans of both the sport and of Harry Potter. All of the people I met shared a willingness not only to commit themselves to what they cared deeply about, but to do so openly and without reservation. It’s easy to be moved and inspired by people with that kind of confidence.
10) I heard Harry and the Potters playing in the background of the film a few times. Did you actually get a chance to see them play at all, or was this pure happenstance?
This was more by happenstance. There was a stage at World Cup V and we did shoot some stuff from the performers who attended; however, my shooting partner, Jason Knutzen, and I were primarily focused on getting everything we could from the three storylines we were following; the team, Alex and Katie.
We’d like to thank Mr. Sangari for taking the time to answer all of our questions. You can learn more about the film at mudbloodsmovie.com.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, NYCC '14
, Top News
, agent carter
, Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D.
, Clark Gregg
, Jeff loeb
, Ming-Na Wen
, Add a tag
By Edie Nugent
The cast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Photo Credit: ABC.Marvel Studios
If the response from the fans at NYCC is anything to go by, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. should delight viewers with “Face My Enemy,” the fourth episode of season two. Nearly 3,000 people lined up in advance of the Friday night screening to obtain bracelets allowing them to get an early look at the episode which airs tonight at 9pm on ABC. Once the doors closed to the exhibition hall, it wasn’t long before Jeff Loeb-Marvel’s Head of Television-stepped onto the stage. The fan response to the Eisner-award winning writer was warm, with extended applause from the crowd.
Loeb seemed genuinely excited to introduce the NYCC exclusive premiere of the episode, explaining that around the Marvel offices the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. franchise is referred to as “The Mothership.” When he expressed how proud he was that the show made it to a second season-something the show’s lackluster first season ratings in no way guaranteed-the cheering reached its’ zenith.
Loeb took full advantage of the atmosphere, saying “one of the things I hope that you learn about season one is, let’s put it this way: anyone can be Hydra.” Loeb opened his button-down shirt to reveal a Hydra logo-tee underneath. The audience booed and moaned, but their disapproval was short-lived. Actor Clark Gregg quickly jumped on stage and began yanking at Loeb’s shirt in disgust. The booing quickly turned to cheering as fans jumped to their feet to give the man who portrays fan-favorite Agent Coulson a standing ovation. Some even stood on their chairs and began a sweeping chant of “Coulson! Coulson!”
Gregg appeared to be humbled by the adulation. Loeb agreed with the response, saying: “the reason why we are here, the reason why there is an Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. is because of the extraordinary talent of our friend Clark Gregg.” The actor shouted: “It’s good to be alive!” Whether he was speaking of his resurrection in Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D., his adoring fan base, or both was unclear. Gregg went on to thank his fans for sending emails and messages in support of his character following Agent Coulson’s death in Marvel’s The Avengers (2012).
Gregg revealed that when Loeb announced he’d be attending NYCC, Gregg begged to tag along. He explained that the announcement from “Jeff and Joss” that Coulson “wasn’t quite dead” was made at NYCC two years earlier, giving him a special feeling about the con. Gregg continued: “I love New York, I love this con…and my feelings have only gotten warmer because this is where I was resurrected.”
Gregg playfully teased Loeb for his Hydra t-shirt, prompting Loeb to offer to “make it up” to Gregg by showing “Face My Enemy” in its entirety to the crowd. As the episode played, the eager audience seemed to embrace the story at every turn, applauding when Agents May (Ming-Na Wen) and Coulson appeared on-screen. The episode continues SHEILD’s efforts to understand the strange carvings that both deceased Agent Garrett (Bill Paxton) and Agent Coulson created following their exposure to GH-325-the mysterious drug that brought Coulson back to life.
The audience reaction was one of deep emotional investment, by turns exuberant, amused, and-near the end of the episode-shocked. When Gregg and Loeb returned to the stage following the end credits, Loeb noted the crowd’s reaction and said: “I have to thank you, Clark and I were sitting back stage and your response to that was just extraordinary.” He also gave a shout-out to veteran television writer Drew Greenberg, of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville fame, who penned the episode.
Gregg pestered Loeb further, asking “can we show them something from Agent Carter?” The resounding cheers spurred Loeb to comment that the series, had only begun shooting earlier that week. Agent Carter follows the life of Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), founder of S.H.E.I.L.D, last seen in Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Solider (2014). Gregg then produced a CD allegedly containing some of the shows early footage. Moments later a short clip appeared on screen, which found Carter partnering with Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), inventor, father of Iron Man Tony Stark & founder of Stark Industries. The teaser also saw Carter’s introduction to Edwin Jarvis (James D’Arcy), butler to the Stark family and inspiration for Tony’s Starks’ invention of J.A.R.V.I.S. Artificial Intelligence.
“Face My Enemy” premieres tonight, but fans will have to wait until January 2015 to see the premiere of Agent Carter. While the audience reaction to the early footage was overwhelmingly positive, whether Marvel Television can keep fans engaged and tuning into both of their S.H.E.I.L.D-based shows remains to be seen.
By: Susanne Gervay
Blog: Susanne Gervay's Blog
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, ACT Writers Centre
, Australian National Library
, Gina Newton
, Irma Gold
, Lina Silva
, Pauline Deeves
, SCBWI Australia East and New Zealand
, Suzanne Kiraly
, Tania McCartney
, Tracey Hawkings
, Add a tag
5.00 am early start – dragging myself out of bed – even chicken was squawking.
5.30 am – destination our capital city – hop in the BOOTIE-MOBILE – also known as my car.
Sun shining, car purring, radio on as I drive out of Sydney into the countryside with yellow fields of sunflowers and baa-ing sheep, eventually along Lake George to spring lined streets of Canberra - It’s glorious being a writer on the road.
First stop ACT State Library to a packed group of enthusiastic kids writing about – Werewolves, Wizards & Writers.
Next stop, Poppy’s Cafe at the National War Memorial listening to bagpipes while discussing everything with SCBWI Coordinator for ACT/Camberra – author Tracey Hawkings.
Then it’s the SCBWI Event at the ACT Writers Centre with the dynamic SCBWI ACT crowd – including authors Tania McCartney, Irma Gold (brilliant short story writer), best selling author Gina Newton, historical author Pauline Deeves, script writer Lina Silva and other committed authors and illustrators. It was great fun , great nibbles, great enthusiasm for creating story.
Saturday was brilliant – the ACT Writers Centre at Gorman House is old world with a lilac lined courtyard and Saturday markets and music – and I had the pleasure of running a short story course with some extraordinary writers.
Caught up with Suzanne Kiraly at Tilley’s Cafe where we talked writing and about the Literature festival Suzanne is organising 28 Feb next year – it’ll be brilliant.
Drove home through fields and sunshine.
Can’t wait to visit Canberra again.
The post Love being a Writer in Canberra! appeared first on Susanne Gervay's Blog.
Demo reel of the Sacred Geo show (produced by the Runway Vigilantes troupe in Taos…I am at this point, a long-distance vicarious member!) There are a few snippets of geometrical animations I made in the background…need to still post full versions of those soon, but for now, here’s a taste.
Readers may recall that the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London will be receiving its first permanent addition since it opened in 2012. This addition will focus on the Dark Arts and includes an expansion of Malfoy Manor, a model of Nagini, props from Borgin and Burkes, and a model of Umbridge’s office along with her costumes:
Previously not much more than a fireplace, the Malfoy Mansion set has had a serious revamp. The huge fireplace is lit up, with two vast chandeliers casting shadows over a number of unpleasant additions. Suspended above the table is the film’s model of Charity Burbage, the unlucky Hogwarts professor (uncanny, down to the ladders in the foot of her tights) while poised by the Death Eaters is the huge model of Voldemort’s snake, Nagini, which Bohanna and his team made specially for the exhibit.
The original latex Nagini had deteriorated, and this new model is made of hardier stuff: urethane skin and foam. “Basically what you have in your sofa cushions,” says Bohanna, “so it’s soft and easy to pose.”
The Dark Arts exhibit, like the wider tour, is a real show of imagination, creativity and talent. The Horcruxes, items where Voldemort stored parts of his soul, are displayed in a well-locked cabinet. As with many Potter props, huge numbers had to be made: 40 lockets, for example. “Jonathan, who made them, only thought he’d be making two or three. He ended up spending five months,” says Bohanna.
Stunts and close-ups present different requirements: the display version of the basilisk fang used to destroy Tom Riddle’s notebook is a rubberised one designed not to hurt if you accidentally stab yourself with it.
You can read more about the new additions here. The Dark Arts expansion opens on October 14th.
by Edie Nugent
AMC’s The Walking Dead panel was packed nearly past capacity on Saturday afternoon at NYCC. When the 3500 floor seats of the main stage hall were filled, fans stood along the sides of the room-shunning available balcony seating to be that much closer to their favorite TV stars. The panel was moderated by Talking Dead host and perennial fanboy Chris Hardwick who was red-faced with excitement as he introduced an exclusive clip showing the first few minutes of the season five premiere. Hardwick was joined by Greg Nicotero, director of the season five premiere, showrunner Scott Gimple, executive producer Gale Anne Hurd and executive producer and series creator Robert Kirkman.
Season five picked up right where season four left off, with Rick and the remaining survivors of his group being held prisoner in a boxcar inside the Terminus compound. They are ripping their clothes apart, fashioning weapons out of belt buckles and shoe laces. The group hears movement outside of the container, and all assume defensive positions near its entrance. Suddenly, the boxcar opens from above and a cannister is dropped inside leaking knockout gas. After succumbing to the fumes, the group awakens to find themselves bound and are made to kneel before a draining sink used for livestock slaughter. Terminus, it seems, is indeed a colony of cannibals.
The clip ended abruptly, and Hardwick remarked how much fun is was to listen to the shocked audience reaction live, joking: “we should get together as a group and watch it every week.” Director Greg Nicotero remarked that, as someone who has directed several premiere episodes of Walking Dead, it was nice to continue the momentum of the end of last season into the beginning of season five. He also mentioned he wanted to make the season opener “super intense…I’ve seen it ten times, and I still get chills.”
Hardwick asked Gimple if season five might unlock more of the backstories of the group- finding out more about who they were before the zombie apocalypse. Gimple said to expect to discover about the more recent past of the characters, “in some very deep ways, we’re also going to play with time a bit.”
Kirkman teased that there are “a lot of big moments from the comic book series that will be pulled into the show this season…we’re still going to be changing things up a bit…I think it’s safe to say this season is going to follow the comics much closer than we have in the past.”
When asked to describe the season in a few words, Hurd replied: “Kick-ass, utterly relentless, and totally heart-breaking.” She went on to announce that the second half of season five will premiere on February 8th, 2015.
Hardwick then brought out the cast one by one. The applause, screams and cheers that went up throughout the main stage hall were deafening. Present for the panel were: Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Steven Yeun (Glenn), Lauren Cohan (Maggie), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Melissa McBride (Carol), Chad Coleman (Tyrese), Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha) and Norman Reedus (Daryl).
Hardwick began his series of cast questions by addressing Lincoln: “We finally at the end of last season saw the transformative moment when Rick came back.” Lincoln agreed, saying “I think you meet a man very much at the peak of his powers. I mean, he just bit a guys’ throat out. I think it’s safe to say I’ve been listening to a lot of Prodigy and death metal.”
When Hardwick asked Yuen where his character was emotionally following the events of season four, Yuen explained that Glenn “woke up in a prison with all his loved ones gone. He has a moment to himself and says: ‘eff this-I’m going to go find everybody’ and he treks out and finds everybody.” Co-star Lauren Cohan added: “the amazing thing at the end of season four is that we found each other,” looking at Yuen, “ I felt like he was a soldier coming back from war.” Yuen asserted that he felt Cohan’s Maggie was “equally a soldier.” She went on to say that the next step for Maggie would be to find her sister Beth, and “keep everyone fortified.”
Michael Cudlitz emphasized that every character in the world of The Walking Dead has suffered massive loss: “so what we’re dealing with day after day is dealing with loss on top of loss” and that the supportive, safe environment the cast and crew create is essential to making those performances “ring true.”
Gurira thanked Kirkman and Gimple for imbuing her character Michonne with an “unapologetic strength to her, and you see that with a lot of the women characters on this show, which is really exciting.” She added that she felt Michonne’s strength hadn’t shifted through the events of the show, but rather but had gone through a transition because of her relationships with the group.
The deep, emotional connections the actors had with their characters was especially clear as McBride spoke of her experience playing Carol, saying “it’s something I’m so proud of, and for the character it’s been something I never saw coming, and I think I’m going to cry-because I love her.” Her eyes filled with tears, prompting Reedus to walk down the panel to hand her a tissue.
“Without the children, where is our future?” Coleman asked, explaining how his character Tyrese and Carol had gone through such a terrible experience in attempting to protect Lizzie, Micah and baby Judith in season four. “He’s hurting tremendously,” he added, saying that he felt Tyrese had forgive Carol for her decision to kill Lizzie after she murdered Mika-but that Carol was “on shaky ground.”
Martin-Green was proud of what she felt were “the prevailing messages being taught on a show like this, of hope and survival and family and love-making it through adversity.” These themes were especially resonant to her now, she said, as she is pregnant with her first child-due in January.
“A lot of times when Daryl has been killing things, he’s been crying while he’s doing it,” Reedus said, speaking to Hardwick about how his character had opened up over the previous season. “We really feel connected to these characters and feel connected to each other-we really care about each other-so teetering on that line of being ferocious and being vulnerable-it’s a real teeter-totter. Everything feels really real.”
It was clearly also “really real” to the thousands of fans in attendance-some of whom were moved to share their feelings with the cast during the fan Q&A portion of the panel. One such fan, Michael, told the of how he was badly injured while coming to the aid of a neighbor who was being attacked. He told the panel that the strength of the shows characters had helped him to have the courage to move forward in his life and recovery. Cohan was visibly moved hearing his story as was Guira who addressed the fan directly, saying: “to know that there’s any sort of message we’re conveying that gives you hope and courage-it makes it unbearable how wonderful it is to do what we do-to know that it resonates to you and emboldens you is really a blessing to us. You are the true survivor.”
2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winners
The Nobel Peace prize is a very important award given to particular people anywhere in the world who have worked to promote peace and understanding among nations. The prize is a HUGE honor and it is worth over $1 million! In the past, the prize has gone to famous presidents like Americans Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, and South Africans F.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. Organizations can win the award, too. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won for its work to help the environment. And Doctors Without Borders won for its work to take care of sick people around the world.
The 2014 award was announced this week. It is being given to two people and one is a 17-year-old girl! She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize recipient ever. Talk about Kid Power! Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi are the winners this year for “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Satyarthi is an Indian children’s rights activist. He campaigns to help poor children who are forced to work as slaves in factories, to get them out of the factories and into school. Believe it or not, there are children who have to leave their parents to go work all day long in faraway factories. They never even have the chance to learn how to read much less borrow a book from a beautiful library. According to the Bachpan Bachao Andolan website (“Save the Childhood Movement” in English), Satyarthi has set up schools and rescued thousands of children out of this slavery.
Malala has also campaigned to help all children go to school. You may have heard of her since she was in the news a lot a couple of years ago. She was writing a blog about living under the Taliban in Pakistan, especially how they didn’t want girls to go to school. Malala went to school anyway and continued speaking out against the Taliban. The Taliban actually tried to kill her, but she survived and continues to speak out for girls’ right to go to school and get an education. How brave!
So you see it doesn’t matter how young you are. YOU can change the world! Leave a Comment and let us know how you’re inspired to make a difference!
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Baby Groot
, guardians of the galaxy
, Breaking News
, No Comics Content
, NYCC '14
, Top Comics
, Top News
, Add a tag
By Alexander Jones
There has been a lot of hullabaloo on Marvel Studios not capitalizing on the ‘Grooting’ phenomena that has been sweeping the internet. This is in reference to the Guardians of the Galaxy character Groot dancing behind Drax the Destroyer a.k.a. actor Dave Batista’s back during the end credits of the film. In the meantime, the seedy underbelly of the arts & crafts internet websites, such as Etsy, have been taking advantage of the merchandising hole left by the lack of an official Marvel figure. Even internet videos containing cast members of the film like Michael Rooker (Yondu) and Dave Batista can be viewed reenacting the ‘Grooting’ moment. The figure was made by Marvel Entertainment and KIDdesigns, and the news broke via Mashable. Included with the figure, is a tiny speaker which allows fans listen to an alternate version of Jackson 5‘s I Want you Back, in order to get the full ‘Grooting’ experience. Each toy will set your wallet back by a light $14.99. Look for the figure on store shelves Christmas day, and be slightly angry that the toy’s arms don’t move! Also, make sure you keep this toy away from any talking Raccoons, in fear they might strike up an unlikely friendship!
Check out this video featuring Groot ‘Grooting': http://bcove.me/6p15csky
It’s been 48 years since the iconic Batman television series first aired. Adam West, the man behind the cowl, was at the New York Comic Con on Friday afternoon promoting the new television box set and Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham video game that will available for purchase on Tuesday, Nov. 11. The footage has been digitally re-mastered and available in its entirety except for the full length motion picture.
Here are five things I found interesting during the West’s victory lap:
From East to West: Apparently, West was friends with the legendary Bruce Lee. “Bruce Lee and I were friends. We used to surf together out on the beach, strangely enough. Bruce was a very quiet, introspective guy, and he was a dream to work with because he did everything that was required and more.”
Adam West never auditioned for the role: “They seen a commercial for a film I had done before I went to Europe to film some spaghetti westerns. When I got back, my agent said they want to see me at Fox and ABC because they saw something I did that they liked, and I didn’t know what it was. I went out and read the pilot script by Lorenzo Semple Jr. I thought it was brilliant and insanely funny, and I said “I’ll do it.” I knew they wanted me, but they tested others to give me a little fright.”
Julie was his favorite Catwoman: West gave some mad respect to the late great Frank Gorshin. West admitted that his favorite arch-nemesis was Gorshin’s Riddler. There were three actresses that play Catwoman but the stunning Julie Newmar had a special place in his heart. “It has to be Julie because I worked with her first and the most. She promised to date me when she got out of jail. Time off and good behavior.”
Gray Ghost in the works? “I enjoyed the Gray Ghost. There’s some talk about doing it as a series. People ask me about that a lot, and Family Guy.”
Money talks… Someone from Guinness World Records was in the crowd, and she asked Mayor West how did he feel about breaking the record for most screen appearances as Batman and if he would like to break any more records. West signed and said “The highest paid.”
A short list of tweets from the past week of interest to teens and the library staff that work with them.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between October 10 – October 16 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
Our favorite author, J.K. Rowling, made another visit to twitter–her first since the finale of the Scottish Referendum. Her first tweet was to let us, her fan base, know that she was busy working on many projects, including a novel and a screenplay. It is safe to assume that the screen play is her first script as a screen writer for The Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series. The novel….well, that left fans guessing a little more. We already know that Ms. Rowling has an unlimited amount of Comoran Strike mystery novels planned, and a publishing pattern of one mystery novel a year seems to be emerging. However, noticing how her fans seem to be captivated by analyzing her tweets, Jo thought she’d play the game with us, and leave more cryptic, teasing tweets for her fan base to riddle out while she was working away. The temptation of playing games seems to be more powerful than the urge to continue work; take a look:
Those in the YALSA community would probably have no trouble agreeing with the statement that teen services in libraries could benefit from broader support from the library community and beyond. In an effort to help advance library services for and with teens, YALSA and its Future of Teens & Libraries Taskforce have submitted a grant proposal via a competitive challenge organized by the Knight Foundation. If funded, the project would help libraries improve their overall teen program by providing them with free tools and resources to incorporate connected learning into their existing services. In order for this to have a chance at getting funded, the proposal needs to get a significant number of ‘applauds’ and comments from visitors to the site. We encourage you to ‘applaud’ the proposal and/or leave a comment, but also to take a moment to share this link out with your library networks, advocates and colleagues and ask them to leave a comment or give us some applause as well. The post is open to comments and applause until Oct. 21st, so timing is limited! Thank you for all that you do to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and careers. The great work that you do makes a difference in so many lives, and together we can have an even bigger impact!
Fantastic charity — the ‘Smile Train’…providing free cleft palate surgeries.
Planet Argon hosted this Draw-a-Thon fundraising event last Friday…I got assigned the description “a greyhound with a teeny saddle and jockey”. The event is closed, but here’s the link for anyone wanting to donate, ongoing..
I have played Quidditch. Yes indeed. At LeakyCon 2014, I put a broom between my legs and played Chaser in the LeakyCon vs. Harry Potter Alliance Quidditch match. I understood the concept of Quidditch before that point. I had a vague idea of the rules. But until I played in that grueling 20 minute match, I had absolutely no idea how much physical exertion is involved in the game.
Quidditch is a marathon sport. You don’t stop ’til you drop, or until someone catches the snitch, and playing the game myself gave me so much more respect for those who do it professionally. And so imagine my delight when I was given the opportunity to screen the upcoming documentary MUDBLOODS, which follows the saga of the UCLA Bruins Quidditch team and their dream of playing in the 2011 Quidditch World Cup in New York City.
I had a lot of thoughts about what the film would or could be like going in, and I was very pleasantly surprised by the end. MUDBLOODS is not a perfect film, but it does manage to capture the visceral thrill of the sport, and help outside audiences to understand just exactly what something like this can mean to people.
First, let’s talk about the name. I still can’t decide whether I like it or not. To an outsider, the word Mudblood has no connotation at all, it means nothing- certainly not something associated with wizards, sports, or wizardly sports. For us magical types, it has a decidedly unsavory note- being, by definition, a slur based around blood purity. In the context of the film, it makes some sense- the people involved in this sport are people from a non-magical background bringing something magical to life. But that conveniently ignores that the term ‘Muggleborn’ is the correct way to refer to people with magic that have no wizarding parentage.
This is but one of many parts of the film where the filmmakers struggle with their outsiders’ perspective, and it really is one of the main flaws of the movie, as far as I’m concerned. The film, and by extension some of the people who play Quidditch, cannot decide whether they are nerds for playing a sport on broomstick or not, and whether they should be proud or ashamed of this. And so the film takes the pride and shame in equal measure- focusing on the frustrations of the players and the IQA to be taken seriously by other athletes- but also giving attention to the caring and supportive community that surrounds the sport, where players don’t judge each other and are proud to be who they are.
I’ve seen documentaries about Potter before. We Are Wizards focuses on the Potter phenomenon at large and was directed by somebody also from the outside, seeking to understand the cultural power of the Potter universe. It was fantastic. Similarly, The Wizard Rockumentary was a documentary focusing solely on the fandom-specific wonder of wizard rock. It was made by fans and for fans, and also captured an excellent and unique angle. So I’ve seen this done before. And in both cases, the filmmakers handled the subject well. In The Wizard Rockumentary, it was with the loving reverence of fans. In We Are Wizards, it was with the respect and admiration of an outsider seeking to understand. I’m not sure that MUDBLOODS aspires to the respect of these two films in its tone, and it may be because the people involved in the film are not so unified as our wonderful fandom.
Quidditch players come from all over, with lovers of the books and people who had never so much as watched one of the movies both taking part in the sport. This jives with the official stance of the IQA, which is that Quidditch is separate and distinct from the rest of the Potter world. Of course this is a tenuous line to walk, because Quidditch as a sport owes its very existence to the books that J.K. Rowling wrote. But then there are also legal considerations, as well as that fierce desire to be legitimized in the athletic world, that perhaps go a ways to explain this arms-length approach.
MUDBLOODS attempts to offset this by bringing in Katie Aiani, a Harry Potter super-fan who speaks at length about her love of the books and what they have meant to her. These scenes are frankly out of place and awkward in terms of pacing. While it is nice to have more context provided to the greater Potter phenomenon, Aiati’s personal anecdotes do very little to make members of the fandom feel connected with the film, and equally little to bridge the gap between outside audiences and the larger phenomenon. Given that the IQA does exist slightly adjacent (but by no means separate) from the fandom, this connection could have been better integrated than a passing reference to conventions, musicals, and wizard rock. And no offense to Ms. Aiati, but I think a better choice would have been to talk to the players who have fandom connections.
So the voice of the film is a bit stunted, but the narrative is mostly strong. It’s divided into two streams, with one following Captain Tom Marks and his team, the UCLA Bruins, in their goal to raise enough money to travel to NYC and play in the World Cup, and the other following IQA founder Alex Benepe as he makes preparations for the 2011 World Cup, and then oversees it as it happens. The narrative works mostly well- particularly the UCLA story. This is mostly thanks to the narrative focus on the enigmatic Mr. Marks, who is a strong leader for the team, and a true focal point for the film to revolve around. Through his efforts captaining, he has a strong underdog team that stands a good chance in the World Cup. Thanks to his leadership efforts, the team manages to fundraise enough money to allow them to travel to New York.
This is where the film truly shines. The narrative is about the journey, the people, and their dream. The UCLA team are a varied bunch, but all have a true love for the sport and really demonstrate this throughout the film. Mr. Marks, in particular, motivates and inspires his team in ways that other sports would be envious to have.
The narrative does kind of taper out on the IQA side, though. There is some mild drama before the World Cup that ultimately leads nowhere and is never brought up again. The footage shot during the World Cup mostly consists of following Benepe around as he oversees things and gives interviews. Benepe is best described as delightfully eccentric, but the segments of the film devoted to him fall flat because there’s no narrative, no drama. Undoubtedly there could be an entire documentary devoted to the Quidditch World Cup, and MUDBLOODS sometimes feels like its aspiring to take that spot. But ultimately it massively underdelivers on that front, always returning to its central narrative of UCLA, leaving these IQA segments feeling like out of place filler.
Speaking of out of place filler- there’s plenty of it. It spans everything from the rap careers of some of the UCLA players, to Katie Aiani’s wand for her future child, and Alex Benepe driving around in a golf cart pointing out the Ford Anglia parked on the grounds of the World Cup. The film clocks in at an hour and 25 minutes, but if you actually removed all of the extraneous scenes that ultimately don’t serve the narrative, the film would probably clock in closer to an hour. Maybe less. Again, the desire to be taken seriously- in this case to have a feature length film- overrides the best choice: vigorous editing to have a higher-quality film. The story of UCLA is extremely compelling, and so it’s disappointing that it didn’t just get more footage, perhaps more back story about the team and how it was founded, instead of these half-baked attempts to broaden the scope of the film.
The film also suffers from a few other wonky aspects- the animation, for example. There are animated overlays and interludes, and the art is goofy and light-hearted, a lot like Quidditch. But it’s also pretty sloppy and poorly drawn, which, in longer segments, really detracts from the legitimacy of the film. It ends up looking like the work of a 12 year with Macromedia Flash back in the early aughts. I feel like the animation really could have benefited from the skills of somebody like Domics, who is nothing if not light-hearted and goofy, but also a very good animator.
The film really hits its stride once the World Cup begins, however, around the 40 minute mark. The tension flares, as UCLA really does have a good team, but favorites Middlebury quickly crush them in one of the pool round matches. The whole tournament is really well paced, and features some truly excellent cinematography throughout the various matches. The film also manages to find strong emotional notes in both wins and losses. I won’t give away the ending, but ultimately MUDBLOODS was never about winning. Quidditch as a sport is overwhelmingly positive and supportive, and this really does translate to a remarkable atmosphere and relationship between the teams. They all compete incredibly fiercely (Quidditch is a rough sport, and some of the hard tackles caught on film will make you wince in sympathy), but are just as fierce in their admiration for each other, in victory and in defeat.
And if there’s one thing MUDBLOODS really, really nails, it’s the way Quidditch, like all things Potter, brings people together and unites them under a spirit of non-judgmental community. The UCLA Bruins, by the end of the film, seem much more like a family than just a team, and it makes it that much more inspiring to watch them go and put their dreams on the line together. And while they well and truly are dedicated athletes, this quote from Captain Tom Marks really sums up the beauty of it all- “We can’t lose the fact that we’re running around on damn broomsticks. That’s the truth of this. We’re playing Quidditch.”
Here’s to that. Despite its faults, MUDBLOODS is an exciting and heartwarming film, and definitely recommended for Potter fans. The film is coming out October 14th, and will be available online at Mudbloodsmovie.com, and if you use the code LEAKY, you can get $1 off the price of admission. Not bad, right? After you’ve watched the film, leave your thoughts in the comments! I really want to know what other people think of this one.
New PotterCast! It’s not about those dang tweets of JKRowling’s – that’s coming soon. While we wait to tear apart that bit of juicy Fantastic Beasts news, we have a very special episode about an organization we haven’t discussed in detail in seven years here on PotterCast. Seven years! Insane. The HPA has been flourishing in that time and now has become a global organization that turns fans into heroes.
Learn about how the organization has been changing the world, how fans are becoming heroes, and how you can help right now by going to EqualityFTW.org and getting some kick-ass stuff.
We also talk about Emma Watson at the UN, the future of the Leaky Cauldron and PotterCast…and more! Special host Paul DeGeorge joins in, and we hear from several more members of the HPA!
Update your iTunes feed (which you can subscribe to at this link) or download the episode right here! And, we’ll be back with another episode very soon!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year — we hope to see you tomorrow night at the Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards ceremony (omg, what to wear?!) and on Saturday for the Mind the Gaps: Books for All Young Readers colloquium. Let the swag-bag stuffing begin!
The post HBAS is coming. appeared first on The Horn Book.
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Logo project, more coming along soon — there’s talk of an animated fish-mobile delivering roasted coffee beans! Super fun.