Dr. Z
I spent the weekend wallowing in horror–channel surfing through classic camp to SyFy CGI.  One of the most painful was  House on Haunted Hill (1959)–supposedly the film that cemented Vincent Price’s career.  I am not enough of an aficionado to know how accurate that claim is. I ended the weekend with Thirteen Ghosts (a remake).  Both are ghost stories–but they are not in the same genre.  They are not the same type of movie.

Haunted Hill and its genre (1950 ghost horror flicks) parallels the dystopian films–like Terminator.  It is as if the directors and more importantly the audiences (money) return to some genres as if they are therapy patients working through an issue.

Robert W
Priice was doing quite a bit of horror films before then though, but House on Haunted Hill was the breakout role of Vincent Price’s career acting in the horror genre.Frame watching that film in a 1959 world instead of a 2014 world. Horror didn’t really work the same way in the ’50s than it does now or even in the ’70s and ’80s. It was in a way the Blair Witch of it’s time. It was supposed to get you hyped up without showing you too much. Continue reading Horror?

Free Comic Book Day: May 2

Dr. Z
Just a reminder.  Free Comic Book Day is this weekend–the first Saturday in May.

It is an event–as cheesy as it may sound–a cultural event.

Last year, I had a great time standing outside of Half Price Used Books, going through cases of discounted comics.  The buyers were chatting, comparing findings, and offering advice.  (Nobody spotted me as the poser that I am.)  It was fun lingering, eavesdropping.   Lingering, though, was not tolerated.  I was expected and cajoled into participating.

Standing around paper boxes crammed with old comic books, I was a part of a community–excited to share its culture.


Leadership, Professional Development, and Anakin Skywalker

Back in ’77, watching Obi-Wan fall to Darth Vadar horrified me.  At fourteen years old, I saw in Obi-Wan my grandfather, my father, Msgr. Garcia.  I saw all of the father figures in my life being pulled down by the faceless forces of evil surrounding me.

Lucas cannot select actors.  His plots struggle.  He undermines his own genius. (The list continues.)  But he knows his archetypes. And he taps into them, mining us for the symbols lurking deep in the recesses of our shared unconscious.  I was shaken because the film captured the struggle of my world.

Years later, after having seen the prequels, after having studied literary theory, after having endured countless battles as a padawan, a Sith Lord, a Jedi Master, and a Greedo, I see the other side of the archetype. Continue reading Leadership, Professional Development, and Anakin Skywalker

Daredevil and Netflix

Dr. Z
Daredevil has never caught my interest.  Granted my knowledge of comics is passing–at best.  I rely on Robert and Zimm for background information and the Suburban Prof for reading lists.  Regardless, Daredevil has never seemed that interesting despite a clever premise and a sort of cool outfit.

Zimm, though, has been bugging me to watch the new Daredevil series on Netflix.  So to keep the peace, I pulled it up while sending out emails.

Some of the scenes are cliche, tired–in particular the office exchanges could have been cut and pasted from any Law and Order episode.  But the fight scenes define the show; they are when the series is at its best.

In one, the camera follows Daredevil down a hall.  We follow him down the hall.  But we stay in the hall as the battle moves from one room to the next.  Thugs fly through doorways; file drawers are thrown by unseen combatants.  We wait and watch almost afraid to move.  In another, we crane our necks from the back seat of a car to see what is going on.  Like Kurosawa or Tarantino, the director has made us a part of the story.  We are in the film.

Unlike Flash or Arrow or even Batman, Daredevil is not performing for us.  In fact, we are in his way, interlopers,  seeing what is not meant to be seen.

The Hulk

Comics as Literature Continues
Dr. Z
Zimm pointed out the similarities between the Hulk and Hyde.  Both deal with the doctor being overtaken by repressed emotions.  Both are products of scientific experimentation.  What I think is interesting is the repression.  According to Jung, a shadow becomes more powerful the more it is repressed (Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea Trilogy).

Hyde is a shadow of Victorian society.  He assaults women and is vulnerable to bullets.  But Hulk?  Does he represent the degree of repression of his culture?  If he is the shadow of the scientific Banner, then the repression is kind of intense.

Robert W
The resemblance between Banner/Hulk and Jekyll/Hyde is intentional. Stan Lee is on record saying that he was trying to create a modern Jekyll/Hyde. Continue reading The Hulk

Bikes and Education

Dr. Z
I follow various bicycle sites on Instagram.  In some ways it is mi culpa for not making a ride when I am feeling a bit too lazy, reinforcing my poser persona as a cyclist.  Really, though, it is pure and simple lust. Bikeporn.

Hand Built BicycleA few weeks back, a builder, Julie Ann Pedalino, posted an image of one of the most beautiful bikes I have ever seen. Yet, she describes herself as an “apprentice framebuilder.” She uses Instagram to document various stages of her builds and the techniques she employs.   I began following her posts–a major score for my poser status.

The techie pictures are nowhere near as glorious as the shot of that finished build, but watching her explore and develop her skills as a craftsman (apologies for the sexist language) is fascinating.

Her most recent post of a simple steel ring served as a quiet reminder.  “My sample didn’t come out quite as I’d hoped, but it was super fun to check out the anodizing factory.  Good r&d is never a waste of time!”

Her message echoes Brother Totten. Dr. Rechtien, Father Lopez–the voice of an artisan, a philosopher, a rhetorician, a clinical psychologist reminding me of the struggle and joy of growth, of becoming educated.

Education is not about knowing the right answers–a fetish that testing has ingrained in our students, faculty, and administrators.  The wrong answers are as important as the right ones.  Education is about the pursuit.

(Moralizing aside, I still prefer the picture of the over-the-top beautiful bike.)Hand Built Bicycle