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Beyond the Con #7

Beyond the Con #7

Beyond the Con #7

15th May 2018

Well its already Mid May 2018, just a few weeks away from the very middle of one of the busiest and chaotic years popculture has seen.
Netflix and other streaming services like Hulu are fast cementing themselves as the new players in entertainment.

Not just plucky upstarts but clearly here to stay and creators are now looking to them to fund their next project or save it when a traditional network swings the axe.
With the last few weeks being a flurry of cancellations of even quite popular shows the importance of Netflix etc will only grow and I will keep you posted on what gets picked up and what goes quietly into the dying night..

For now though its onto our regular segment, the Heroes and Zeroes of the last fortnight or so. It has been a bumper crop this time around so im going to run through all the nominees at a swifter pace than usual and then have one crowned the biggest douchebag or greatest hero of all!

They will hold that honour for time immemorial or at least until next weeks edition hits the presses!

“Heroes”!

Bill Murray swings and hits!

The 67yr old comedy legend and actor took time out of his busy schedule to participate in whats becoming a massive trend, a gender reveal ceremony.
People are constantly coming up with more creative ways to announce the gender of their unborn child, from burnouts with the tyre smoke being pink or blue to balloon releases and confetti explosions.

Well this couple somehow scored a coup and managed to rope in Bill Murray to pick his favourite driver and tee off at one of the more picturesque holes in St. Augustine, Florida in front of a huge crowd of friends and family. As soon as his club hit the ball it was vapourised into a cloud of blue powder and the celebrations ensued.
Is there anything this guy won’t do to help brighten up peoples lives?

Austin Perine helps the homeless!

There are two 4 yr olds battling it out this week and this little fella from Alabama does all he can to bring warmth, cheer and most importantly FOOD to the homeless in his neighbourhood.
“Once Austin learned some people are homeless — and some are hungry — he launched this caped crusade. He told his mum and dad that he wanted all his allowance and money they would spend on toys to go toward chicken sandwiches instead.

After he gives out each sandwich, he gives each person a bit of advice. “Don’t forget to show love,” he tells them, and most do, immediately.
Raymont Baugh says this kid gives him hope. Everyone who meets Austin leaves with hope. That’s why, with any luck, someday “President Austin” won’t be a superhero anymore, he’ll just be a president.”

Mark Hamill hits up hospitals AND schools to help tomorrows heroes.

When this ageing Jedi knight isn’t visiting sick kids in hospital or saving the galaxy he is helping support grass roots organisations like the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI).
NAI is a rigorous, seven-year pre-college enrichment program designed to prepare students from poorer areas in South and East Los Angeles for university and if they knuckle down and get the right grades provide them with full scholarships.

The NAI program, has graduated 990 students since 1997. Almost 400 have gone on to attend USC.

Hamill, wearing a dark, almost Jedi-like suit, was marched on campus in the custody of a phalanx of stormtroopers and Darth Vader recently as part of a graduation ceremony for students in the program.
He has been a long time supporter and fund-raiser for the program and his own daughter Chelsea graduated at USC.

May the force be with him for using his fame to give back to the community rather than just collect cheques from Disney like so many of his fellow actors.

The Rock goes on a prom Rampage!

Katie Kelzenberg asked Dwayne Johnson an important question via twitter last week: “Will you ROCK it with me at prom?
In a magnanimous gesture he reached out and sent her a personalised video not just thanking her for the ‘promposal’ but going to the effort of renting out her local theatre so her and 300 of her friends could watch his latest film ‘Rampage’ with an unlimited supply of popcorn, drinks and snacks.

He couldn’t attend in person due to filming commitments in Hawaii (what a life!) but he sure went above and beyond even when he had to turn her down!

Anyone who has or is about to open up their own little library!

Kicked off in America by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks its such an obvious idea its almost shocking it hasn’t been around longer. While most urban centres have libraries which are an essential part of any modern society, sometimes people find it hard to make the trip all the way into town to visit the full sized book depository.

Well as of a few years ago more and more people are cottoning  onto the idea of opening their own little libraries. It’s become such a popular trend that you can now jump on a website and find a bookshelf close to you. Not for profit but definitely for enriching local communities, these free to borrow from hotspots for learning and culture come in a variety of colours, designs and have a wide collection of genres and authors to choose from.

With the internet and streaming media so prevalent these days its heartwarming to see a more traditional form of entertainment still thriving and so many people willing to put so much of their time and energy into providing access to that medium.
Check out the site yourself, you might be surprised to see how close your nearest ‘library’ really is!

Hero No 1

Michael DeMasi Jr saves his twin brothers

This 4yr old little legend just has to take home the prize for the biggest hero of the day, donating bone marrow to save his younger twin brothers. The 4 month old boys suffer from a genetic condition called Chronic Granulomatous Disease (CGD), an immune disease in which the immune system does not work properly, meaning even a common cold could become life-threatening.
When doctors confirmed he was a donor match there was no hesitation from the plucky little guy!

“His mother had told him that he was going to be “a real-life superhero,” and the small boy who loves Captain America as well as Spider-Man, Batman and Superman seemed excited to join their ranks.
The nurse told him that she was going to give him some “giggle juice” and he would go to sleep, his mother recalled.
The Post: “Can you tell me what you did for your baby brothers?”
Michael: “I saved them because I’m a superhero!”
The Post: “How did you do that?”
Michael: “Bone marrow!”

What a true champion. I just want him to have nothing but all the toys in the world and no more surgeries for the rest of his life.

 

Zeroes

Twitch for shutting down the ‘Linus Tech Tips’ channel for no apparent reason

At the end of April the guys behind the long running and very popular ( 663k followers) Tech channel ‘Linus Tech Tips‘ lost all their videos they had been hosting on Twitch thanks to a DMCA take down notice.

The copyright claim is confusing as none of their content contains anything belonging to other creators and they are unable to dispute the claim. They basically had to re-upload everything to Youtube and start from scratch over there. GG Twitch

Jeremy Lam for bullying a highschooler because she wore a dress he didn’t like.

Okay so he wasn’t the only twitter user to harass the teenager over her choice of dress for prom but he pops up as one of the first in every article I could find and once the snowball got rolling it was hard to stop.

Thankfully the support she got was just as fierce and Keziah Ginger Daum stayed strong and didnt back down over her innocent celebration of one of the most important nights of her youth. Eventually the issue went viral and media outlets all over the globe jumped onto the bandwagon.

 

It even made it to China where there was overwhelming support for her fashion choice and in some peoples eyes a vindication that her intentions were nothing other than love for the colour and style of the outfit.
While white-washing and black face are becoming hot button topics in the media and cosplay these days this was far from something that needed to be condemed on a high schoolers personal social media page.

She says she will happily wear it again someday and more power to her!

 

Whoever stole the Mk1 Ironman suit!

Like a plot ripped from the pages of a Marvel comic, somebody has stolen the original Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. It was a screen used costume worth over half a million dollars.

The hunt is on for the villain who did it, the real-life caper unfolding when workers at a Pacoima, California warehouse noticed the pricey bit of Stark tech had gone missing.
Lets hope SHIELD or whatever real life agency is tasked with the mission finds this ‘dangerous tech’ soon!

Calin Mateias for taking down World of Warcraft Servers

A 38-year-old Romanian man is going to do a year in US federal prison for launching a series of DDoS attacks against World of Warcraft in 2010. Calin Mateias unleashed his digital fury after getting into a beef with other players.

Mateias’ attack was “motivated by a juvenile desire to win the game. Angered by a player he regularly competed against, the defendant determined to defeat his WoW opponents by interrupting the game’s server so they could not access the game,” according to a defence sentencing memorandum.

“Between February and September 2010, typically in connection with in-game disputes with other players, Mateias launched DDoS attacks on World of Warcraft servers in Europe,” the agency said. “Mateias’ DDoS attacks caused World of Warcraft servers to crash and prevented some paying customers from accessing the game.”

Mateias was indicted for the crime in 2011 following an investigation by the FBI, but was only extradited to the US to face justice last year. He’s been in custody since November 20, 2017. He agreed to plead guilty to a single count of intentional damage to a protected computer; in exchange, the US government agreed to drop separate charges related to an attempted hack and robbery of Ingram Micro in 2004.
Along with the one-year prison sentence, he’s also already paid $50,000 in restitution to Blizzard to cover the cost of defending against his attacks.

Lets hope this sore loser has learnt his lesson and will take his lumps while eating humble pie next time he gets ‘pwned’ when online gaming. That is once he gets out of federal prison..
and now finally the worst Zero of them all, it probably should have been Calin but hell, he got his punishment and some.

Zero Number 1

Mohmmad Zogh for scaring the crap out of shoppers in Tehran

Okay so the spokesperson for The Owj Arts and Media Organisation probably isn’t the one who organised the stunt but he is the only name we have other than the director (Ebrahim Hatamikia) of the movie they were promoting (“Damascus Time”).

His doubling down in defending the outrageous prank is worthy of ‘Zero’ inclusion though. Comparing the ‘The Walking Dead’ PR campaign which included actors dressed as zombies behind glass doors and on bus advertising to the storming of a busy shopping centre by apparently armed to the teeth terrorists was a stretch too far even for this open minded writer.
In the videos they are clearly seen behaving in an aggressive manner, at one stage in the food court they are seen knocking food off tables and yelling at diners and shreiking warcries typical of ISIS or DAESH fighters.

One angry father runs over and bravely takes them to task for their lack of concern for how many children and shoppers might not be aware its a stunt and be traumatised by their actions.
Sure, they got a few smiling selfies with the few people who ‘got it’ but in this day and age running into a busy shopping mall festooned with grenades and toting AK 47’s is probably the last thing you want to do if you want to 1. Promote anything and 2. Stay Alive.
Local authorities had no idea what was happening and the actors were very lucky they got out of there in one piece!

SHOWBIZ NEWS!

The Simpsons become the longest running show ever

The creator of the “Simpsons,” which recently became the longest running scripted primetime series with its 636th episode, still doesn’t care about the criticism of his most stereotypical character, the Indian Kwik-E-Mart owner Apu Nahasapeemapetilon.

Matt Groening told reporters “I’m proud of what we do on the show. And I think it’s a time in our culture where people love to pretend they’re offended.”

The controversy came into the spotlight with Hari Kondabolu’s 2017 documentary “The Problem With Apu,” which highlighted the shopkeeper’s over-the-top accent and mannerisms
Last week, Hank Azaria, who voices Apu on the cartoon, said that “the idea that anyone young or old, past or present, is being bullied based on Apu really makes me sad.”
“I think the most important thing is to listen to Indian people and their experience with it. I really want to see Indian, South Asian writers in the writers room … including how (Apu) is voiced or not voiced. I’m perfectly willing to step aside. It just feels like the right thing to do to me.”

So it looks like the voice artist is a little more open to accepting criticism of the way the character leans into some stereotypes but as long as Mr Groening is around the show will stick to its guns.
It’s been a long time since I have watched the show and from all reports its lost its edge, now being routinely referred to as ‘Zombie Simpsons’.

The wear and tear obvious in the voices of the characters, the repetition of the storylines and lack of relevance in popular culture. Less obvious to anyone born after the nineties but for someone who grew up when it was the biggest show in the world its sad to see its decline.

Still it draws a steady paycheck for hundreds of employees and entertains millions of fans so even if it doesn’t reach the heights it used to it still has a role to play and will clearly be on our screens for a few more years yet.

 

Academy Expels Cosby and Polanski

The #metoo movement finally took some scalps in one of the oldest and most resistant to change organisations in Hollywood. Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski have now all been stripped of their membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the group that runs the Oscars).

While Harvey lost his in October last year the other two are more recent expulsions and their removal along with Kevin Spaceys from the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences delivers the final nail in the coffin for the most notorious old men of Hollywood.
Whether any of them will be able to stage a Mel Gibson like comeback remains to be seen but given the current climate being a lot less forgiving of sexual predators than it used to be that seems pretty unlikely.

Peppa Pig BANNED in China!

Cartoon icon Peppa Pig has been banned from a China after being deemed a subversive icon.
Yes, really. Peppa Pig.
More than 30,000 videos of the popular kids’ character have been removed from the app Douyin alongside the hashtag #PeppaPig, the state-run Global Times claims.
Why?

Well, the cartoon has proven wildly popular among Chinese children ever since it launched in the country in 2015, but its downfall was that it also gained traction among adults and made its way into countercultural memes.
Peppa Pig is not the only western children’s character to be censored in China, with Winnie the Pooh ‘blacklisted’ last year after comparisons between the iconic bear and President Xi Jinping.
So if you are a popular childrens show in China please cross your fingers and hope none your characters start getting used to poke fun at the government. You will quickly find yourself disappearing like half of our favourite characters in a recent Marvel movie ..

 Renewed for 2018

The biggest news in this space was the unexpected cancellation then salvation of one of the most popular comedies on TV right now. “Brooklyn 99will return next year for a sixth season after NBC stepped into rescue it from the gaping maw of television oblivion.

Though not rating as high as it could due to constantly being shuffled around to different time slots the show consistently garners praise for its diverse cast and ability to embrace sensitive topics with respect and humour.Hopefully in a stable new home the ratings climb to where they belong and we get a few more solid gold years of the gang keeping the 99th precinct safe but more importantly, very funny.

Another show that was saved from the brink was the Lethal Weapon series with a recasting of the sidekick. Sean William Scott, best known for playing the randy Stifler in 1999 comedy American Pie, will replace Clayne Crawford as Damon Wayans’ co-star in the series.

 

Clayne was fired after repeated claims of sexual misconduct and harrassment were made by different women on the set, in the past with all the millions invested in the production this might have been swept under the rug but thankfully thats no longer acceptable and he was moved on.

Last but not least is a blast from the past but a breath of fresh air all the same, classic comedy duo ‘Bill and Ted’ actors Keanu Reeves and Alex Winter will reunite for another adventure almost 30 years after the first film was released.

They must battle the unravelling of time and space itself unless they and their fully grown daughters go on an adventure and come up with the greatest song of all time.
It will be interesting to see how much they update the characters given all the time thats gone by since their last outing, hopefully the writing is just as tight and punchy as ever.

Cancelled Content

Designated Surivior with Keifer Sutherland has bit the dust…I guess the title was a little optimistic. Scorpion with Robert Patrick about a hi-tech group of agents taking down terrorists can save the world but apparently not their ratings drop.

Lucifer is a hit with the girls and many tears are being shed about the demise of Fox’s popular fantasy series based on the Neil Gaiman graphic novels of the same name.
Tom Ellis is the charismatic star and is overwhelmed by the support of his fans who have started a social media movement called #SaveLucifer which if enough noise is made in the space should point to Netflix or Hulu giving it a second chance.At only three seasons so far the writers and show runner have said they have many more stories to tell so fingers crossed they get to tell them.

Finally there is a personal favourite and darling of many true sci-fi fans, The Expanse!
Syfy’s The Expanse will end its run on the network after the Season 3 finale airs in early July.
According to Deadline, Syfy will not renew the space drama for a fourth season, but Alcon Television Group will shop the series to other potential buyers, so there is hope for fans wishing to see more of the series!
Based on the popular science fiction novels written by James S.A. Corey, there are 7 books in the series with the 8th title coming out later this year, so there is definitely more story left to tell.

The Alcon Group, who finances the series, responded to the news of the cancelation:
“We are very disappointed the show will not be returning to Syfy. We respect Syfy’s decision to end this partnership, but given the commercial and critical success of the show, we fully plan to pursue other opportunities for this terrific and original IP.”

I like their confidence and am crossing all fingers and toes that someone does pick it up but given the middling ratings so far, it doesn’t matter how passionate the hardcore fans are, without the numbers to justify the millions a fourth season would cost it looks like it will go the way of ‘Firefly’
Three seasons and a movie anyone?

Local Events you SHOULD check out!

There are two this wknd and both should be considered a worthy choice whether you’re a cosplayer or just a fan of really awesome days out.
The Blacktown Medieval Fair goes over both days with people coming from all over the coountry to compete in Jousting and other re-enactment competitions. Fans of fantasy and anything related to the middle age will have a ball.
Comic Gong in the Southern NSW town of Wollongong is a long held favourite small cosplay and comic convention but is one day only, the 19th of May. If you’re a hardcore fan you will do both, anyone that does please let us know. You are our kind of people!

For now thats all the news we have, see you in a week!

-Patrick

 

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