Nostalgia

Walking Dead SDCC Proposal“There’s this deep level of sentimentality drawing back to the time they were first introduced to that film, character, story, or whatever. When they think on it, when they reflect on it, it brings up all these positive feelings and memories, and even that initial connection to what drew them there. That first sparked their excitement about that thing. Actually, psychologists have looked at nostalgia and they have found that nostalgia brings up not just positive feelings, but can raise our self esteem, our self value, and even kind of allow us to re-experience the connection with others, so it has that kind of social impact, as well!”  -Dr. Andrea Letamendi from the Ghost Busters fan documentary GhostHeads

Speaking on this subject: this photo on the left means a lot to me. Pictured is me from 2011, posing at the SDCC Walking Dead photo opp booth. The other photos are of being proposed to at the same Convention, but in the year 2016, yet still at the Walking Dead photo opp booth. I discovered The Walking Dead at SDCC 2010, which was also the year and event I met my fiancee, so this meant a lot to me. Thanks to everyone who has wished us well.

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Nerd Persecution

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 7.23.47 PMThings have taken an odd turn in the world of being a nerd (geek? whatever your preference). I’ve noticed some negativity and hostility towards our ilk.

First, I had an R2D2 Mickey Mouse pair of ears from Disney that I was wearing in the Tampa Airport a few months back, along with my R2D2 carry on roller luggage. I got a lot of compliments during my travels, HOWEVER, a bro-type dude with a Yankees cap, designer clothes and a Louis Vuitton bag looked at me, laughed and said “does that light up?” pointing to the bag.

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Star Wars Chick Essentials

My desk at work proves I like me some Star Wars

My desk at work proves I like me some Star Wars

A while back, you may recall I wrote about my visit to Disneyland and chronicled the fun Stars Wars stuff to do and buy there (the blog is here). I mentioned the Star Wars Zip Satchel by Dooney & Bourke that is exclusive to the Disney parks and how it was a little pricey for me. Well, my boyfriend’s stepmom randomly sent it to me as a gift! I am still shocked and so happy about it.

In honor of this gift, I wanted to do a little blog post about some great items that fellow Star Wars loving gals like me can look into (there are also some items that can work for dudes who are into the franchise as well – no worries). Whether The Force Awakens is your first experience with the franchise and you want to learn more, or you love the whole thing and just want to dive deeper into the fandom, here’s some info for you, past going to signature Star Wars events or the upcoming San Diego Comic Con:

CLOTHING & BAGS:

  • The Zip Satchel above is available from the Disney Store online and this particular design of my bag, as well as a beautiful black leather “Dark Side” theme with red trim, can be viewed at this link. Prices range from $108 to $298, and they are peppered among the other D&B Disney bags here (FYI – they also have an Avengers design and Haunted Mansion, which is a cult favorite ride at both parks)
  • Are the D&B bags are a little pricey? No worries! ThinkGeek has these beautiful R2D2 and Boba Fett purses for $50 here. Target has cool tote bags, backpacks and luggage that range from $15 upwards here. BoxLunch also has some sick looking backpacks and messenger bags for around $65 here.
  • Clothing – The aforementioned Disney store has lots of Star Wars clothes of all varieties, as well as Target, but you can also check out Etsy for truly unique items (including bags plus more items) and more typical vendors like JC Penney, Hot Topic, ThinkGeek, Kohls (as evidenced by Chewbacca Mom), and Her Universe (the lightsaber skirt is crazy!)

SONGS FOR YOUR iTUNES LIBRARY:

  • “Yellow Laser Beams” by MC Frontalot
  • “A New Hope” by Blink182
  • “The Saga Begins” by Weird Al

SUPPLEMENTARY FILMS TO WATCH:

  • Fan Boys – This fictional film follows the journey of some friends who travel across the country to break into Skywalker Ranch (George Lucas’ compound) to get their terminally ill friend to see the yet-to-be-released installment of Star Wars.
  • The People vs George Lucas – Just like how our parents aren’t perfect, neither is the father of Star Wars, Mr. George Lucas. The film is presented as a law case where what he has done to his own franchise is examined, for the good and bad parts.
  • Star Wait – This is a hilarious and raw documentary that examines a group of die hard fans who follow a tradition to camp out to wait for tickets to be the first people to see Star Wars at Graumans Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA.
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Blink Ink

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 5.52.38 PMI love when bands and celebrities are proud of their fan’s tattoos. With everything Blink182 has been through in the past couple of decades, it’s nice to see the fan base going strong.

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Coldplay Concert Proposals

Designed by%2FforDid you see the viral story of the man proposing to his girlfriend during the song “Fix You” at a recent Coldplay show? Most likely. You can see one person’s video of the event HERE and while it is sweet, this is actually a phenomena at Coldplay shows!

In fact, this is not the first time someone has done a proposal during the song “Fix You” at a Coldplay show! Check out this well-synchronized proposal to the song from a 2012 show HERE

Want a proposal during the song “Yellow”? HERE is one in London recently. “Magic,” perhaps? HERE is one in Manchester on the band’s recent tour.

The best part? Chris Martin isn’t just putting on an artistic front when he sings these iconic love songs. The lead singer of Coldplay is a sucker for romance, and has been involved in fans proposing to each other at his band’s shows for years! HERE‘s one from as far back as 2010 in Newcastle, and HERE‘s a recent one from April in Brazil!

Congrats to all the fans who have gotten, and likely will, get engaged at a Coldplay show! Here’s a fun question – where did you get engaged and was it pop culture related? Or if you have not been engaged yet, what would be your dream engagement scenario? Share this on social media and leave some comments!

 

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The Taking of an Idol

sorrow-1228329_1920The passing of Christina Grimmie was very traumatic in the pop culture world, and I wanted to write about it sooner, but given the devastating Pulse Nightclub massacre that happened in the very same town the very same weekend, I didn’t want to diminish all of the lives lost by focusing on only one tragic event that took place in Orlando last week. I feel now hopefully is an appropriate time to speak on this issue, and I wish all of the victims to rest in peace, as well as their friends and families to eventually find comfort.

Christina was a contestant on the hit talent show “The Voice” and even before that, she had a great degree of YouTube fame from her inspiring words, her humor, and more importantly, her amazing singing voice. She loved meeting her fans, as shown in this moving memorial video one of her fans made, and she was gunned down after a concert when she was meeting fans. Her final tweet to the world encouraged people to come see her show with another band called Before You Exit (related note: eerie coincidence that this is their band name and we are speaking about words said before our demise) and meet her afterwards, which has again brought about the topic of social media’s role in celebrity safety.

Photo credit: @therealgrimmie Twitter account

Photo credit: @therealgrimmie Twitter account

“Creators really do have a more significant connection with their communities than in other media,” Hank Green, who co-founded VidCon, a convention for the YouTube community, said of Christina’s murder. “That closeness can be an asset in that fans are more likely to understand the humanity of a creator, or it can be a liability if a fan begins to have delusions of a more significant relationship than exists.”

“The contract that celebrities have created with their fans online – that they can have limited access to their private lives – doesn’t translate well to reality, where the admiring public doesn’t seem to understand that the rules are different,” Elisabeth Sherman of the RollingStone writes, which resonated with me. It’s true, as she said, that “even celebrities need space.” It has been discussed that Christina’s shooter Kevin Loibl was an obsessed fan and that his perception that Christina was “ignoring him” led him to his actions.

This topic of public figures being gunned down for their views or what they do, which creates lovers and haters passionate enough to take them down, has been a long-standing topic in pop culture for decades. Eminem even rapped about it in his hit song “Kill You”, singing to the public “I’ma be another rapper dead for popping off at the mouth with [expletive] I shouldn’t have said.”

Not to get political, but I feel there is sadly no concrete answer to how we can stop shootings, be it of public figures or mass incidents with many people. People have been murdering each other for centuries with whatever weapon is at their disposable. You can hire security and check people’s bags, but a person can still be overpowered. You can try to lawfully take away a person’s guns, but there will still be people who can purchase them on the black market and hide them. You can promote to your children the idea of tolerating others and then blame pop culture sources like music or video games for teaching violence, but people will make their own decisions.

I am a huge advocate of fandoms being respected, as well as respectful. My life has changed because I’ve been able to go to these conventions, concerts and similar public events to not only meet public figures, but other fans. I also realize highly public events like this aren’t just attended by fansmy video of the Westboro Baptist Church protesting San Diego Comic Con in 2010 is pretty popular and the incident is a topic of conversation, to this day.

I am going to San Diego Comic Con again this year and with so many messed up things happening at these large events  that can be targeted by terror groups, am I scared to go? Yes. With any big event, I am very aware of my surroundings because as much as I want to have fun, I also want to be safe. But I’m still going to be there among the thousands of fellow fans who look to this event year after year as a secular salvation from their daily lives. To be with like-minded people and maybe meet some of our idols.

All we can do with this life we are given is to not avoid it and be scared to be in a public place we equate with enjoyment and community- we are best to just respect others, be vigilant, and try to learn from our history. Be kind to someone you know is struggling, and if you know something is not right with a person, say something. You may just save lives.

Here are some examples of other public figures who have been taken away from us due to gun violence:

Selena – AKA Selena Quintanilla-Perez, was shot by Yolanda Saldivar in 1995. Yolanda was a fan of a genre of music called Tejano (popular music from Mexican-American artists from regions of Texas), so she tried once to be the President of a fan club branch for a different Tejano artist before giving up and pursuing Selena’s fan club. She eventually finagled her way into Selena’s inner circle to have more responsibilities with her brand, but when it was discovered she was embezzling money, they fired her. When Selena finally was able to get Yolanda to agree to hand over financial records she was pursuing and met her in a fairly public place to get them, she was instead presented with a death via gun shot wounds from Yolanda. Selena was 23.

Tupac – While not shot by a fan, that we can gather since the shooter or shooters have never been found, the famous rapper was in a convoy of other vehicles on the Las Vegas strip after attending a boxing match. Despite no presence of social media and no cell phones at this time period, the celebrity had enough of a status that he was easily found and pursued by the killer(s) in a very public setting. He once said of the controversy his works created – “I just wanted to rap about things that affected young black males. When I said that, I didn’t know that I was gonna tie myself down to…be the media’s kicking post for young black males. I just figured since I lived that life I could do that, I could rap about that.” He died in 1996 at the age of 25.

Political Idols –  President John F. Kennedy AKA JFK, while not a pop star, was a beloved public figure. As is a common phenomena, the adoring public would love to come to see the President arrive in their town when they were coming to some sort of public function. It was in November of 1963, on a trip to Dallas Texas for political purposes, that JFK was assassinated by a gunshot while riding in a very open and very heavily attended motorcade, waving to the public. Lee Harvey Oswald was accepted to be the killer, but was gunned down himself before he was officially convicted. In a similarly tragic story, JFK’s brother Robert F. Kennedy, AKA Bobby Kennedy, ran for President in 1968 and had a very successful campaign. It was at an event after winning the California Primary, while he was shaking hands of supporters at the Ambassador Hotel, that he was gunned down in the hotel’s kitchen by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan. Martin Luther King Jr., a very famous figure in politics through his activism and the struggle of racism, was also killed by gunshot at the Loraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee. It was widely known that MLK frequented this establishment a lot, which may have lead to his demise. It is fitting to MLK’s legacy that this motel is now a civil rights museum.

John Lennon – Perhaps one of the most well-known instances of a fan killing their idol, John Lennon’s life was taken in 1980 at the very steps of where he lived. Many knew that John Lennon, formerly of The Beatles, lived in a luxury NYC residence called The Dakota. Fans would gather there and often be rewarded with Lennon autographs. Mark David Chapman had waited outside The Dakota since the morning, got an autograph and photo with the artist in the late afternoon, waited even longer for him to return from the recording studio that night,  then shot him around the same spot he happily met the artist earlier. The infamous quote about John’s generous attitude toward his fans is haunting to this day – “People come and ask for autographs, or say ‘Hi’, but they don’t bug you.”

 

 

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Disneyland Diary

I recently paid a visit to Disneyland. I feel very lucky that I live less than two hours away (pending the ever-changing Southern California traffic) from the Happiest Place on Earth. Since my last few visits have been during the Halloween Season, I thought it would be cool to visit right before they end the Season of the Force Star Wars theme period, so here are some eye candy goodies for you all:

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

From the get-go, I saw this awesome gal with this cool denim vest covered in Disney pins. This was a recurring theme throughout the day – the fans of the Disney parks have unique ways of displaying, and trading, their pins. She even had a tote bag that was covered in pins, as well!

The Star Wars fans were definitely out in full force (pun intended?) and they were for sure taking advantage of the tail end of the Season of the Force events going on. Even when waiting in line for a tram from the Mickey and Friends parking structure, we got inadvertently cut in line by a guy wearing a cool shirt with patterns from the space fight scenes from the franchise and a gal with lightsabers in her hair. They turned out to be pretty nice, too, so I couldn’t be too mad they shuffled their way in front of us.

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

Next, I saw some truly amazing Star Wars merchandise in the gift shop attached to Star Tours, which will sadly (but allegedly) be closed and re-themed in 2018. This Dooney & Bourke bag is the Zip Satchel, comes with an attachable shoulder strap, and is made of real leather. The patterns on all the bags will be different for each bag, but have the same concept. The bag is a good size – I can fit my iPad 2 with a pretty thick keyboard case, my wallet, two glasses cases, and a zip pouch with my external hard drive in it. Worth $300 when you factor in the taxes and shipping costs, if you don’t buy it in the park? Meh, I’ll wait until I see more of these used/cheaper on either eBay or one of the Disney D&B group pages later in time.

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

Photo by Amanda Rosenblatt

A really fun fan encounter I had that I wish I had enough video storage on my memory card was truly awesome. While waiting to meet Chewbacca at the Launch Bay, I caught a glimpse of a girl’s leg tattoo that looked like a Storm Trooper surrounded by flowers. I talked to them and it turns out, it was a group of friends who traveled to Disneyland together and all got Star Wars themed tattoos. Because it was rather dark in the Launch Bay, even with the flash, I couldn’t grab the best quality photos, but I did like this dude’s Sailor Jerry inspired tattoo the best, so I wanted to share it.

Photo by Brad Acevedo

Photo by Brad Acevedo

The rest of the day was pretty great. Chewbacca tried to teach me Wookie (VIDEO HERE), we saw a kid beam Darth Vader in his junk (VIDEO HERE) & when we left, we saw this AMAZING custom Star Wars car in the parking lot. It will be so great when Star Wars Land will be open in a few years, but if you want to see some construction going on, check out a glimpse in this video HERE.

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