Category Archives: Arts and Entertainment

Weekend at the Gorge 2016 pt.1

   After a few drafts of this blog post, and seeing it grow longer with each revision, I came to the decision to keep with The Gorge tradition and break it up into 3 separate posts over 3 separate nights. I promise, it all makes sense in the end. Or the beginning… Or maybe it won’t. Who knows…

Pt. 1: Prologue 
   It was the summer of 2004. I was freshly 21, single, and more than ready to mingle. 

   Dating was something that never came easy for me; despite my best efforts with women I usually found myself in that awkward space between romance and the friend zone that I often referred to as ‘dating purgatory’. Living in a small New England town of about 6,000, dating was already a difficult endeavor, as everyone already knew each other’s history, to the Norman Rockwell detail. 

   At that time in my life I discovered two things: 1) it was extremely easy to cross this magical, undefined, and ever changing line of what was considered appropriate conduct as regards to where these ‘relationships’ stood at any given moment, and 2) when said line was crossed, women got extremely pissed off. 

   One such confusing incident happened that summer at the fabled Green River in my Western Massachusetts hometown. This girl that I had been spending a considerable amount of time with, we’ll call her Jane, and I took a picnic down to the river. It was a perfect Berkshire day; we ate, drank, swam, and took a nap in the sunshine. I awoke to Jane using my chest as a pillow. All seemed good in the world. 

   At that moment a group of our friends showed up, which woke Jane from her slumber. They obviously assumed that things had progressed beyond where they actually had, which for some reason greatly angered Jane (I later found out that it was because she had a big unrequited thing for one of our friends that had shown up).

   After that day Jane refused to even talk to me. Not knowing what was going on in her head at the time left me at quite a loss. I absolutely hate having unfinished business in my life, but I could see no rhyme or reason as to why she was acting the way she was. So, I did what every rational guy in 2004 would do: I went to our local record store and bought her a cd. 

   One of the things that had originally connected Jane and I was my newly found love of the Dave Matthews Band, so I picked up their freshly released live album that had been recorded at The Gorge, wrote a little note blanketly apologizing for whatever it was that may have upset her, and delivered it to her at work. This apparently helped, because while nothing ever happened between us, we are still good friends to this day. 

   The one thing that I got out of it all, and the reason for that story, was that buying that album introduced me to Heaven’s Amphitheater, The Gorge, and set me on a mission to someday make the trek to Washington state for what had been dubbed ‘LaborDave Weekend’ by the fans; a 4 day event of camping and concerts that ended the Dave Matthews Band Summer Tour every year. 

   As it does, life got in the way. Every year it seemed there was some new excuse as to why I couldn’t make the pilgrimage to the west coast. 

   Fast forward 12 years. Dave Matthews Band announces that they are taking the year after their 25th anniversary tour off from the road, and I’m in Denver, which is literally 8 hours to the closest venue of the tour. My summer schedule was so jam packed between work and a travel wedding, that I wasn’t going to be able to take time off to make the trip to any of the midsummer shows that I wanted to. If there was ever a year that I wanted a trip to The Gorge to work out, this was it! I set myself to work on every angle I could think of. I was set to try my damnedest to make this trip work out!

——TBC——

Review: Beyond the Ice Limit

   I finally finished Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s newest offering, ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’, the existence of which, as far as I know, was initially confirmed in an interview that I did with the authors a few years ago regarding their novel ‘White Fire’. 

   ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’, while a double sequel (in that it is not only a direct sequel to 2001’s ‘The Ice Limit’, but also holds the title as the newest entry in their ongoing ‘Gideon Crew’ series), does an amazing job setting itself as a standalone read. Knowing the backstories of the characters would definitely help make a faster bond with them, but overall the book does a good job of making those connections independently. 

   As always, Preston and Child craft a story that touches on multiple genres, without feeling confused about itself. ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’ captures the mood of the most Crichtonesq scifi-techno-thrillers, while weaving in details that echo the most clinical of Robin Cook novels, doing all this in an environment that could very happily reside on pages penned by Tom Clancy.    

   If you’re into action, adventure, excitement, or anything else that a Jedi doesn’t crave, then snag a copy of ‘Beyond the Ice Limit’ wherever books or ebooks are sold. If you’re too cheap for that, support your local library and find a copy there!

   

Update!

   It’s definitely been a while since I’ve last checked in here. Obviously, life hasn’t stopped for me. On the contrary, it has barreled forward like a freight train, leaving little time or ambition to work on one of the few things that actually brings joy to me: writing. 

   Not to say that I haven’t been exercising any creative muscles over the last months. Back in the spring I actually had a weekly radio show with my friend Steven Nathan, which was an amazing outlet. It was kind of like writing, but with the ability to cover multiple topics in a free form environment, without the self imposed scruples of editing that hit me when I write. The show was very off the cuff, and allowed me a chance to practice more free flow thinking. 

   That ended about a month ago, when our show was unceremoniously pulled from the air for what I can only surmise was a misunderstanding that was never even brought to our attention. We are currently taking a few weeks off and are planning on bringing the show back with a vengeance, in podcast format. I’ll definitely keep everyone updated on when that’ll be back on track. 

   Now, though, it’s time to take that experience and apply it back where I belong: here. Buckle up, I’m back!

Denver Comicon Weekend ’16

First Comicon 
   Things worked out perfectly that not only was I going to be in town for the week of the Denver Comicon, but that I was also able to secure entry fairly last minute to be able to cover the event. 

    As a comic book/sci fi/fantasy nerd, Comicon has always been a bucket list item for me. Somehow I had always been in the wrong city at the wrong time for me to be able to attend one. I mean, grown people getting to dress up in costumes and celebrate all the wonders of nerdom without it having to be Halloween and without having to have a kid in tow? Sign me up!

   Denver Comicon was set up as a three day event with all kinds of celebrity speakers, discussion panels, vendors and artists, and all sorts of other activities all jammed into the halls, meeting rooms, and auditoriums of the Colorado Convention Center. It was so last minute when I found out that I was going that I wasn’t able to request any exclusive interviews with any of the celebrity speakers, so I planned my first day so it would be taken up by testing the waters and making a strategy for the rest of the weekend. I arrived in the afternoon so as not to get caught up in the opening rush and give all the rabid fans a chance to settle down a bit. In all honesty, I had no idea what to expect, so I just strapped on my boots and dove right in.   

   The convention center was packed. Everywhere I looked costumes people from every fandom or milling around, conversing, taking pictures, and generally seeming to be having a good time. I made my way through the words of always making mental notes on things that I wanted to stop and take time to look at closer. 

   I was honestly overwhelmed. After a few hours of walking around and taking in the sights I had a pretty good sense as to what I would do the next two days. Knowing it was set to be a long weekend, I headed back to my car and went back to get a good night’s rest.

En Garde!

Day 2: Undercover 
   For the second day, I dusted off my Jedi robes that I had purchased for my niece’s birthday party. I had a few friends who were going as well, so we all met up at the light rail station instead of driving. 

   We garnered far fewer side eyes than I thought we would, being that we were traveling in our costumes. Then again, I have seen some of the characters that ride Denver public transportation on the daily. 

   The train dropped us off directly outside the front door of the convention center. Not having to find parking was a huge bonus, so the day already felt like it was off to a great start. We entered the building and got to work straight away. 

   Day 2 I used as my interview day. My friend Danny and I spent countless hours walking around getting short interviews with attendees for my radio show, The Reset. We had the ultimate conversation starter, being that I was dressed as a Jedi and he was dressed as a red shirt from Star Trek. We met all sorts of interesting people, and even ran into some of our other friends that we had no idea were there. Beyond the basic questions of ‘who are you cosplaying’, ‘have you ever been to a Con before’, and the such, the one question that I really wanted to know was “What does Comicon mean to you?” The question seem to really hit home with a lot of people, in the answers that we got were very diverse. Some said they enjoyed the “second Halloween” aspect of it, some were there geeking out on the celebrity panels, others there for the memorabilia. The one that really got me was the response from a 20-something girl dressed as an elf. She told me that Comicon was the one place where she actually felt she fit it. She said that she had been to a number of Comicons across the country throughout the years and it always felt like coming home. She viewed them as her family reunions, Christmas, 4th of July, and Thanksgiving all rolled into one weekend. That same sentiment was echoed through a lot of people but no one else articulated it quite like she did.

   After a long and grueling day of pounding the pavement, we headed back to the train. I felt that I had gained quite an insight on the heartbeat of Comicon, but I was really looking forward to spending the next day just browsing around and taking it in a tourist fashion.

Interdimensional Peace Treaties 

Day 3: The Finer Things 
   For my third day I wore the most comfortable clothes I owned and paired them with the most comfortable sneakers as well. The endless was walking around while wearing boots had really gotten to me, so I was looking forward to at least a semblance of comfort. 

   The first place that I went after arriving was to the vendor area. I noticed that the days crowd seems bursar than the previous two days. It seemed as if Sunday was more of a leisurely crowd, comparatively. 

   The vendor area was a giant room with row after row of tables set up with everything from prop replicas to paintings to actual comic books. 

I spent a couple of hours combing the aisles, wishing that I had it in this amount of money to be able to spend on all of the I spent a couple of hours combing the aisles, wishing that I had and in less amount of money to be able to spend on all of the cool stuff that I was seeing. 

   To end the day I found a room that was doing a Jeopardy style trivia game. Seeing it is a good opportunity to rest, I took a seat at the back of the room. My true nerd colors showed as I knew 95% of the answers to the questions. 

   I left the building knowing that I had only scratched the surface on what was Comicon. I was already planning my next year’s foray, hoping that the stars would align again and allow me to be able to make a return. 

For exclusive interviews with Comicon attendees check out my radio show The Reset! Follow the link below to see how to listen worldwide!

www.facebook.com/theresetradio
Much thanks again to Jason at Dstreet PR for the last minute accommodation!

‘Pendergast’ Novels Finally Making Their Way to the Screen 

Honestly, this is some of the most exciting news that I’ve read in a very, very long time.

The Hollywood Reporter just posted an exclusive that The Walking Dead producer Gale Anne Hurd has been hired by Spike TV to adapt Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s best-selling book series in to a scripted series, to be written by John McLaughlin (Black Swan), who along with Hurd will Executive Produce the series.

The show is set to be titled, Pendergast, and season one is reported to follow the titular Special Agent of the FBI, as he investigates a present-day crime that mimics a century-old mystery. The plot sounds very akin to that of Preston & Child’s ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, which started a continuing story arc that has spanned over 14 years and 13 novels.

Preston & Child’s first novel, Relic, was adapted for the big screen back in 1997 and garnished mixed to negative reviews. Special Agent Pendergast made his first appearance in the novel version, but his part was cut from the film, a mistake that this new series can hopefully rectify. Paramount, the film’s distributor, has held the rights to the character since the 90’s, and still do, so they will also be working with Hurd and Spike TV on the project.

Personally, having been a huge fan of the series since the beginning, I see a huge opportunity for a series here. The film version of The Relic did the novel no justice, and it’s about time that these characters were given a proper chance to shine. The existing stories have been well written, and lend themselves perfectly to the pacing of a television series. My biggest hope is that the producers collaborate with Preston & Child when doing the writing. The last few years have seen a number of successful adaptations, including Game of Thrones and Hurd’s own project, The Walking Dead. Both of these series worked very closely with the creators of the characters, and while there have been departures from the original stories, they have both maintained a compelling story that stays true to the original concept.

There’s no word yet on a projected release date, but you can be sure that I’ll pass on any information that I find! In the meantime, head over to http://www.prestonchild.com/ and get caught up on the novels before the series hits!

 

Update: Douglas Preston has confirmed his and Lincoln Child’s involvement via their facebook account!