The Fictionals – Five Year Anniversary

Culture, Lifestyle

November 11, 2015

Ladies and Germs… for those of you living in Vancouver who have never been to see Improv Against Humanity, you’re missing out on one of the joys of life.

Improv Against Humanity, or IAH for those in the know, was created by the improv group the Fictionals. The Fictionals started out with Show Us Your Wits, which was an improv and burlesque mashup hosted by the former Mermaid Cafe. Since then they have expanded to a cast of 12 players, and perform regularly at Cafe Deux Soleils and, of course, at the Rio Theatre. IAH is by no means for the faint of heart – if you are easily offended by, well, *anything*, you will definitely want to give this show a pass. But if you’re the type to experience a hearty belly laugh at the idea of watching a scene inspired by two midgets $#!^ing in a bucket, then this is the show for you!

The Fictionals Comedy Co.

And who can believe that the Fictionals have been around for FIVE YEARS? Happy Birthday, Fictionals! To celebrate, you should join us at their 5th Anniversary celebration – they’re bringing cake! Mmmm… cake.

IAH Five Year Anniversary Poster

If you plan to attend, I highly recommend purchasing tickets in advance. It is almost always a sell-out show, so those who buy tickets the night of are often left disappointed. And remember that if you arrange for will-call tickets, you MUST be there by 7:30 or else the tickets are released back into the wild.

See you there…

Read article


The Warcraft Movie: Not Just a Video Game Movie


November 7, 2015


Yesterday was a good day for movie trailers. While there is much excitement over the international Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer (and rightfully so), my fangirl squee has been reserved for the full Warcraft trailer. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this ever since the movie was announced, and it did not disappoint. Well, okay, if I’m being honest, maybe it did a little. For some reason, the voices sound… off to me. Travis Fimmel basically sounds like he’s come right off the set of Vikings, and the modulation on the voices of the Orcs seems a little much. Maybe I’m just in a weird mood today, I don’t know… but it threw me more than I was expecting. Visually however, it is absolutely stunning.

Whenever I talk about being excited for Warcraft, one of the first questions that people invariably ask me, is “do you play?,” and they seem surprised when I answer “no,” (I mean, sure, I played Warcraft I and II back in the day, but they, like most of high school, are nothing but distant memories). So the natural follow up question to that answer is, “why are you excited about a video game movie when you don’t play the video game?,” And I have an answer for that.

See, I’m a child of the 80’s. I basically grew up on fantasy movies and I miss them. I miss them a lot. The only real high[1] fantasy movies that we’ve had recently have been set in Middle Earth – and I can’t wait to see something from someone other than Peter Jackson. I don’t think of Warcraft as being a video game movie, I think of it as being the start of what could be an epic fantasy movie franchise. And that is why it is important that it do well – so we can have more. We’re currently in an era of superhero films, and while I absolutely enjoy those movies wholeheartedly, I want creatures again; I want to see worlds other than our own. I want to once again let my imagination run wild, to see a movie where anything is possible.


See this? I miss this.


The problem with most fantasy movies set in our own world is that there is still a nationalistic theme that runs through them (i.e., the Avengers are very much American) rather than dealing with larger issues that affect humanity as a whole. In contrast, the benefit of fantasy movies is that you don’t associate characters as being American, or British, or Russian. Instead, they are simply… human (or Orc, as the case may be). That means that the story can focus on issues that are central to everyone on the planet, regardless of where one grew up. They are often used as metaphors that in turn can help us deal with the complexities of reality. In many ways, fantasy movies instill a sense of hope – that when the odds are against us, heroes can still stand up and do the right thing. That we can choose to be better[2]. Fantasy also differs greatly from science fiction works, in that science fiction is grounded in reality. Science fiction, in essence, could happen, and is often used as a commentary on where our society is headed (which is why we are overburdened with dystopic science fiction at the moment). Science fiction often hits far too close to home.

Why is fantasy important? Fantasy is an escape. Fantasy takes us away from our world and our troubles and puts us somewhere else. It awakens our sense of wonder and magic and brings us back to the way we felt when we were kids, when our imaginations had no limits. Fantasy movies are filled with whimsy, a grown up version of kids pretending that a cardboard box is a giant castle.

So don’t look at Warcraft as a video game movie. It’s a fantasy movie, pure and simple. And THAT is why this movie needs to do well. So we can have more. Not just more Warcraft; but more opportunities to play make-believe. Even just for a few hours.



[1] I consider high fantasy to be anything set in another world. The Harry Potter franchise would be an example of middle fantasy – fantastic elements, but still set in our own “reality.”

[2] I have to be careful here, or else this is going to turn into a rant about how we need Star Trek back on the air. Which is finally happening.

Read article


San Diego – Day the First


July 9, 2015

First of all, thank you to the weather gods so far! The weather at home has been so ridiculously warm that Southern California feels positively temperate. I mean, sure, I’m still sweating like a pig, but I don’t notice as much, you know? And it’s a con… at some point you just have to stop caring about being gross and disgusting and just go with it.

20150709_152756Where to start? Thursday is probably the quietest day of the con, but with the seemingly endless sea of humanity everywhere, you wouldn’t know it. I shake my fist at everyone who thinks it is a good idea to try and drive a car anywhere near the convention centre. Seriously people, what *are* you thinking?

So, a brief recap…

SDCC wouldn’t be complete without protesters. I’m not exactly sure how enjoying comics / television/ movies / anime means that we’re going to burn in a pit of eternal torment, but I’m not about to poke the bear and ask the question. I’ve got better things to do with my time. But the presence of protesters means that there will be people there to counter the protesters, and they’re pretty much guaranteed to be full of win. Like this dude.

20150709_115607And how awesome is NerdHQ this year? The answer of course, is full of awesome. Especially the nerdunteers. Shout out to all the NerdHQrew! I was lucky enough to attend the William Shatner panel, which I have a feeling might end up being the highlight of my convention. I mean, come on, you can’t top lap sitting! I don’t think that is what this guy was expecting when he got to ask the first question.


Overall, the venue this year is a little smaller, which returns things to a slightly more intimate feeling. It is more reminiscent of the first two years, before they took over Petco. There are some gaming areas, and Star Wars Battlefront has a pretty big presence. And come on, where else can you happen to capture a picture of Batman on a snow speeder? 20150709_152425The dance area is pretty small, so I’m going to have to turn up early to get my groove on. The Nerd Machine dance parties are always the place to be. Just remember to stay hydrated folks! And the presence of food trucks outside means snacks aren’t far away.

20150709_123814I wanted to check out Nerdist’s Conival, but MTV has a thing going on in Petco as well, and there was a massive line trying to get in. Hoping to get over there tomorrow morning.

Until then, I’m resting my dancing feet!

Read article


NerdHQ 2015 – Why is it awesome?


July 2, 2015

NERD_HQ_LOGO_050815-1024x806Let’s face it – SDCC has become a frenzy. From trying to get passes, to crossing every possible appendage for luck in the hotel lottery, to then waiting in seemingly endless lines once you get in  – SDCC has probably caused more than a few stress ulcers. And this is what worries me about the state of SDCC… it is becoming all too much. As the years creep on, the idea of camping out on the pavement for hours seems entirely unappealing. Getting into a popular panel at SDCC is becoming the domain of the young, and perhaps a few older folks who don’t have bad backs or creaky knees. Having started going to SDCC at a time when you could still walk up to the door to buy a ticket, the sense of family I used to feel when attending just doesn’t seem to be there anymore; it’s now just a sea of humanity, which is probably part of the reason why so many off site events have been popping up. Nerdist and Geek & Sundry have expanded their presence this year, and I’m definitely looking forward to checking them out… but the place to be remains the Nerd Machine’s NerdHQ.

For those of you who don’t follow all the events around SDCC, NerdHQ is not affiliated with SDCC and remains a separate event. This year, it is being held at the New Children’s Museum, and features “exclusive gaming and tech activations”, as well as the ever popular dance parties. But the best part of NerdHQ are the panels. NerdHQ boasts the “Conversations for a Cause”; intimate celeb panels, where all the money raised goes towards supporting Operation Smile. So why go wait in line for hours to see the cast of Orphan Black or Supernatural, when you can buy a ticket for a reserved seat and see them in a room with less than 300 other people? It’s a win win all around.

Now, I’m not going to pretend that getting into a panel at NerdHQ is an easy, stress free task. Announced panels went on sale this morning, every 15 minutes. Demand far, FAR exceeded supply. Gone are the days when 6 minutes was considered a fast sellout. Now, if you don’t refresh at just the right millisecond, you’re SOL. And as everyone who had a ticket in their cart that then disappeared can attest to – it can be a bit of a gut wrenching experience. But for those lucky enough to get a panel ticket (or 2, or 8), you’re in for a helluva ride. And for those not able to get a panel ticket, this year, IGN is streaming all the panels live!


The one thing that is especially present at NerdHQ is the sense of community that permeates the entire event. We’re one big giant nerd family – and I don’t think anything demonstrates it more than those who pay it forward. At the second NerdHQ, I was at the first Nathan Fillion panel where he started to auction things off. One girl was desperate for an item, but kept being outbid and didn’t have the funds to go higher. The entire audience banded together to raise money for her to buy a T-shirt – a true act of fellow nerd love. And last year… she paid it forward. At one of the Nathan panels, she used the exact same amount she had received previously to purchase an item for someone else in the audience. I may have gotten a few sniffles in that moment. And I don’t think any other event could dream of getting such awesome and dedicated volunteers as those who run NerdHQ, as the event would NOT happen without them. Last year, not only were many volunteers treated to a round of drinks afterwards by attendees who just wanted express their appreciation, but many were stopped on the street or in elevators by people who just wanted to say “thank you”. And THAT is one of the purest expressions of nerd love that I’ll think you’ll find.


Will I be there with bells on again this year? Absolutely. Ok, so not *literally*… bells are noisy. But I got a ticket to see William Shatner, so my convention is pretty much made. I mean really, WILLIAM. Freaking. SHATNER. In a room that seats around 200 folks. I don’t think it gets better than that!

Read article


Go See Mad Max: Fury Road


May 17, 2015

First of all, I should come clear. I’m not a Mad Max aficionado. I haven’t actually seen the originals (*gasp! horror!*). Well, I’ve seen bits and pieces of them over the years, but I don’t think I’ve ever sat and watched them through from start to finish. Or if I did, it was so long ago that I have no recollection of it. So basically, I went in to this movie knowing the basic pop culture aspects of Mad Max, but with no attachment to the character, and no list of things that “must” be in a Mad Max movie.

So,where do I begin? How about…


I don’t think that would be a particularly helpful approach, but I do have to start thinking about how many different words I can come up with for “fabulous”.

Mad Max: Fury Road is the straight up gold standard for action movies. Most “action” movies usually involve a whole lotta plot and exposition, interspersed with bits of action sequences here and there. Mad Max however, is pretty much one giant action sequence – two hours of high speed, explosive car chases. I bet the dialogue itself could probably fit on a dozen pages – aside from one scene, I think the most Tom Hardy had to remember was “my name is Max”.  And yet, for a movie that is in-your-face-action and almost nothing else, it doesn’t get tiring. The two hours actually passes fairly quickly. It is all handled so beautifully, and the way George Miller cuts things together, you can actually *watch* the action scenes. I find that with so many movies these days, the cuts are so fast that you never truly get the scope of that is going on. Although, admittedly, after two hours of watching vehicles speed through the desert and crash into one another, I had to catch my lead foot a few times on the drive home.

The one thing that is making the news these days (mainly because of the response from the MRA douchebags) is that Mad Max is a feminist movie. And if it hadn’t been brought to my attention, I would not have walked out of that movie thinking “man, that was a brilliant piece of feminist filmmaking”. Maybe I like to live in my world where a woman is able to kick ass and take names without it being a big deal. Maybe I just refuse to think that our society has sunk so low that a movie where women are allowed to be something other than eye candy is something to be remarked upon.  But now that I think about it, almost any of the characters in the movie could have been gender swapped, and it the story would have played out in the same way. And I think that is awesome.

I sincerely hope that this movie does well enough at the box office to justify a sequel, but on something like a $150 million budget, it has a ways to go. So this is my way of saying GET OUT THERE AND SEE IT NOW! And be prepared to have your mind blown for two hours straight.

Read article


The Vancouver Fringe Presents: Charlie Ross – One Man Star Wars Trilogy


February 18, 2015

There is a reason why all three of Charlie Ross’ shows at this year’s “The Fringe Presents” sold out… and that is because Charlie Ross is awesome.


Read article


Evangeline Lilly – Arts Matter Series


January 13, 2015

Evangeline Lilly photoPromoLove supporting the arts? Love Evangeline Lilly? Love watching kids be adorable? Then pop by the Chief Sepass Theatre in Fort Langley on Thursday, January 15th to enjoy all three things… at the same time! (more…)

Read article


On Death’s Door: Plague of the Zombie Syndrome [Review]


October 14, 2014

Following Laura Sutherland’s interview with Zombie Syndrome creator Andy Thompson, we sent both Laura and Amanda Miller out to catch the opening week to get each of their thoughts on the show’s third incarnation, On Death’s Door.


Read article


Outlander: Why Should We Be Watching?

Books & Writing, Showcase

October 13, 2014

Last night marked the Canadian airing of the mid-season finale of Outlander – a full two weeks and a day behind the US airdate (Seriously Showcase, what is up? You need to rectify that situation. We can’t avoid social media for two weeks.) And in a case of WTF programming, Starz isn’t bringing it back for the second half of the season until April, making for a tortuous six month wait – because Outlander has quickly become my favourite show on television. And everyone out there who hasn’t seen it should take the opportunity to catch up on anything and everything relating to this beautiful production… so that I’m not enduring the pain of separation alone. (more…)

Read article