‘Logan’ Has Arrived, Domino Joins ‘Deadpool 2’, and New Stars For ‘Star Wars’ [Nerd Girl Corner]

Hey, y’all!

Your girl is back — and it didn’t even take me a whole month, either. See, I’m trying to do right by you all…

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In any event, I have some cool nerdy news for you all and some of it has me all kinds of excited. Are you ready to head into the Nerd Girl Corner with me?

you-ready

Leh go…  Continue reading

My Undying, Unflinching Love Affair With Disney’s Gargoyles

So I recently wrote a post for BlackGirlNerds.com about my love affair with Gargoyles and well, I decided that I should post it here as well … just in case some of you guys are hardcore fans.

I can’t deny it. I am a girl who is hopelessly in love with the cartoons of the ‘90s. These shows probably sculpted quite a bit of the geekiness that I’ve come to embrace in my life, but no show has possibly affected me more than Disney’s Gargoyles. When the show debuted in 1994, the opening score immediately drew me in (and to this day I still hum it). It was dark, scary, and (as I continued to watch) more than what met the eye.

If you’re not familiar with this amazingly awesome show, then you should be ashamed of yourself. But just to bring you up to speed, Gargoyles followed a clan of nocturnal creatures aka gargoyles that turned to stone by day and were warriors by night. After being betrayed by the humans they swore to protect, the clan was placed under a magical spell that turned them entirely to stone. A millennia later, billionaire David Xanatos (voiced by Jonathan Frakes) purchased their Scotland home and implanted them on his New York City skyscraper, where the spell was broken and they’re brought back to life. Tell me that doesn’t sound like a hot ass show to you?

From bottom left to right: Bronx, Hudson, Goliath, Broadway, Brooklyn, and Lexington (bottom center)
But it gets better.

The gargoyles, led by Goliath (voiced by actor Keith David), must now adapt to their new surroundings and they make a new friend in the process — police detective Elisa Maza (voiced by Salli Richardson) who in turn becomes their human guardian. Initially the show starts off with billionaire Xanatos trying to “befriend” the gargoyles for his own schemes of world domination, but later the show gets layered with the ever growing yet low-key attraction between Goliath and Elisa. It was obvious these two loved each other, but couldn’t be together because they were two different species. I mean, who didn’t hear Keith’s voice and melt instantly, right? But it gets better when Demona, Goliath’s former lover, came on the scene. Not only was she one hell of a villainess with her plot for human genocide, she was especially hateful towards Elisa for being the new object of Goliath’s affection. This ultimately made her hate towards humans richer. Oh — Demona was also Goliath’s baby mama. Yeah.

Much later we learned that some of the gargoyle eggs were saved before the horrifying betrayal (seen in the opening credits) and one of them is Goliath and Demona’s daughter, Angela. She joined the clan (which up until this point was strictly male), and tensions rose almost instantly between Broadway and Brooklyn. Broadway ultimately won Angela’s heart, but that led Brooklyn down a dark path for a while and boy wasn’t it one hell of plot line.

The show would weave Celtic lore and Norse mythology with characters from Shakespearean plays and — no lie — prepared me for college lit and history classes. As a child, I wasn’t attune to everything that was going on, but there were some things that I could truly appreciate. For instance, Elisa Maza was probably the first bi-racial cartoon character I had seen on TV. Being the daughter of an Amerindian father & African-American mother meant the world to me because we were finally seeing a real representation of the people who reside in NYC — multi-ethnic. We saw that Elisa had a brother and a sister and they were all different colors: her brother was a dark-skinned, while her sister was a little lighter with curly hair. And as for the police chief? She was a Latina named Chavez. Realism was on this show, whether you liked it or not.

Gargoyles exposed its viewers to different cultures; in one episode we learned of Anansi the Spider in Nigeria, and the legend of the black panther (or jaguar — I don’t know my felines that well) while on another episode we met Coyote the Trickster and understood his role in Native-American mythology. We saw King Arthur in his tomb on Avalon and the purported “aliens” that came to Easter Island. I learned the Oden was missing an eye before I watched Thor and met Macbeth before reading the play in high school. To sum it all up, this show had everything for me. There was action, history, magic, myth, love, and it was wrapped up so beautifully, that it effortlessly caused me to want to know all these “nerdy” things. This show was the beginning of my “blerdy” journey, if you will. I will admit, I didn’t keep up with the show during its final run in 1997. By then, the show moved from weekday afternoons to Saturday mornings which was a major bummer. It was only showing once a week AND on the day I was allowed to sleep late.

Trying to catch up with it was a task and I couldn’t keep up. When I heard it was cancelled, I was so upset, but the show lives on in me forever … obviously. I intend to find the Gargoyles DVD on Amazon, buy them, and have my own children watch them (when I have children, that is). Now excuse me, while I hum the theme song to sleep and imagine Goliath roaring into the night’s sky.

– See more at: http://blackgirlnerdy.blogspot.com/2013/07/my-undying-unflinching-love-for-disneys.html#sthash.c55PTPqz.dpuf

I am currently contemplating my next post … which will more than likely be cartoon related, as I really do miss the cartoons of my childhood.

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: 80’s Music

MY GUILTY POP PLEASURE: 80S MUSIC

By 
Written By: Afiya Augustine

Your browser may not support display of this image.To continue on the theme of “music,” I will admit to a guilty pop pleasure that I’ve gotten (and still get) a lot of slack for from family members, friends and even a few co-workers. So here it is:  I absolutely, without a doubt, love 80’s Pop. And I don’t mean the classics that artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, or Whitney Houston turned out in the decade of my birth that everyone in the world knows and has on their iPods for good measure. I also don’t mean that I listen to these songs ever so often. When I say I love 80’s Pop, I’m saying that I listen to it maybe every day, as much as I possibly can and actually actively search for more songs to upload to my mp3 player.
I love everything about 80’s pop and sometimes curse my mother for not having me sooner than she did so I could’ve been alive and functioning in the 80’s to hear all this music first hand (though I doubt that would’ve happened, living in the West Indies and all…). I listen to the hits of known legends like Joan Jet and the Blackhearts, Bon Jovi and then the more obscure bands like English Beat (who’s hit ‘Tenderness’ is the end song for the movie ‘Clueless’), Whitesnake, Haircut 100, Psychedelic Furs, Kajagoogoo and the list goes on… 
The problem that lies with my great love of 80’s pop (in all its glorious aged beauty) is that I live in 2011. Music has made brilliant strides with regards to technology and sound since the 80’s and the 80’s definitely had its share of setbacks.  Most notably, the era of bad hair movements including dripping jerry curls, and super teased mountain volume. Having no color coordination was all the rage, and wearing dresses with shoulder pads, puffy shoulders and tacky bubble dresses made of a fabric that makes me cringe at the sound of it. The AIDs and crack epidemic made its break into the world and people were living in over-indulgent lifestyles.
And of course, in the year 2011, 80’s Pop isn’t relevant unless someone does a cover of it (enter Rihanna’s sampling of ‘Tainted Love’ and Flo Rida’s ‘Right Round’  cover/sample of Dead or Alive’s mega hit). 
You can imagine the stares and weird faces I get when I’m driving to the supermarket and I’m blasting Billy Ocean’s ‘Suddenly’ of DeBarge’s ‘All This Love’ with the windows down. According to society, only those who were old enough to appreciate said music should be reveling in its magic, not a 20-something like me who was still on breast-milk when these songs were in their prime. But guess what? I honestly don’t care much for music generated for my generation. Most of today’s rap songs are bragging rights and some of the pop songs of the last five years or so have become billboard ads for gregarious lifestyles that I can’t afford. It’s over-sexed and over priced and I’m not impressed. Popular music now is literally a popularity contest and I’m only interested if a beat or instrumental composition is audibly entertaining. Other than that, I can care less.
I appreciate 80’s Pop for the fun and funky lyrics. Granted, some of it didn’t make much sense, but the focus was on the music and the people it was reaching out to, without a deep-rooted agenda to push something. And as for the music videos, they all told stories…which is something dozen of artists have forgotten to do when releasing singles these days. When I watch Lionel Richie’s  ‘Hello,’ I’m not only singing along but seeing his confusion to get the girl he wants with just the simple start of the word ‘hello.’  And while people make fun of the hair, style and the (in my opinion AWESOME) music, it is all relevant. As “corny, lame and aged” the 80’s may seem, the style is definitely making a reappearance in fashion and some of the songs are coming back with new (albeit not that much better) covers in the current day. I don’t care what anyone says, 80’s pop music is le best.

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

My Guilty Pop Pleasure: K-Pop

WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE
“My Guilty Pop Pleasure” is an ongoing effort on the XHIBIT P blog to openly address some of the internal conflicts and contradictions that we often feel towards our love for pop culture. If you’d like to be a guest contributor, please contact us.

K-Pop boy band, BIGBANG

That’s right, you read correctly. My guilty pop pleasure is Korean Pop, otherwise known as K-Pop. Now looking at me – a black girl from the West Indies, raised in the notorious rap borough of Brooklyn- you would not think that I would have a thing for music from another part of the world, in another language no less, but I do. I’ll tell you how it all started: one night while watching a mini-marathon of Degrassi (another guilty pleasure for another time) on the N, I stumbled upon the music video for K-Pop Princess BoA. The name of the song was “Eat You Up,” and I was immediately intrigued. She could sing, dance and had style. After a while, however, she disappeared and I have yet to see the video on T.V. again.
BoA “Eat You Up” video:
Months later I stumbled on a copy of The Village Voice, with Jin Young Park, a mega mogul in the Korean entertainment industry on the cover. I have to tell you, I was excited to see this, as I was intrigued by BoA and I wanted to learn more about the culture of K-Pop. The article talked about him trying to launch some of his artists in the states and hoping that he could get them to cross-over into the American music industry. I found his intentions commendable, but I wasn’t too happy with some of the training methods that were going down. It seemed to me that these artists were being manufactured as Asian Hip-Hop knock offs, trained by hip-hop choreographers and enduring singing lessons requiring them to learn English and listen to nothing but Beyonce, Usher, Mariah, Alicia Keys and Keisha Cole. When I told my friends about this, some of them were not pleased.
“Can’t we have something that is genuinely ours?” They demanded. One girl said that she detested the fact that artists feel the need to use hip-hop and R&B culture as a means to break into the industry, using “I can’t stand when [non-blacks] use what is typified as ‘black music,’ to get ahead. These Asians are doing the same thing.” While I tried to tell her that music knows no boundaries, I had to admit that she had a point. I watched videos of some boy bands singing Boys II Men, wearing baggy pants with backward caps, rapping Jay-Z and it left a jarring taste in the mouth.
Years later while mindlessly going through my tumblr dashboard, a girl I knew had a video of a Korean guy dancing. I asked who it was and she (being the K-Pop junkie that she is) pointed me in the right direction, full on with band names, music videos, and some of her favorite songs. And I must admit that while I felt like I was looking at hip-hop through an altered mirror, I found that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. The lyrics (mostly in Korean) are tamer than anything that’s being produced in Hip-hop and R&R at the moment and the beats are infectious. When I walk home from work listening to it on my MP3 player, all I hear and feel is the music. And while they do “borrow” a lot of Hip-Hop and R&B to draw in audience and influence listeners, one thing I HAVE to stress is that they’ve embraced something outside of their own (as I’ve been told) rigid culture and made it their own. I now find it a compliment that Koreans look to ‘black’ music culture and want to be a part of it. Groups like 2NE1 and BigBang have taken elements of hip-hop culture along with other pop culture elements and have dominated the pop charts in Korea and quite a few slots in my MP3 player.

Xhibit P: My Guilty Pop Pleasure: RuPaul’s Drag Race

My Guilty Pop Pleasure: RuPaul’s Drag Race

WRITTEN BY AFIYA AUGUSTINE

Posted by Patrice Peck on 7/22/11 • Categorized as Blog,Celebrities,Television
I will admit it. For a person who believes reality TV is the end of civilization as we know it, I take much pleasure in watchingRuPaul’s Drag Race just as much as the budding drag queen living in the West Village does. While many may laugh and cringe as the thought of the show, this show has some truly fine points.

First, let’s explore the premise of the show: RuPaul and his panel of judges find men across the country who either live their lives or have livelihoods consisting of female impersonation who want to vie for the chance to be a Drag Superstar. The men arrive to the show, and are given work spaces filled with all knick-knacks possible to complete a daunting task every episode. Of course, throughout the season, feuds are ignited and some cat fights ensue. There are tearful breakdowns, and full-on verbal assaults laced with so much wit or shade (as the queens call it), that I think I’d be really scared to ever encounter a gay man on a bad day. At the end of each show, the two weakest showgirls must lip-synch for their lives with RuPaul giving his famous warning “Don’t F*ck It Up.” The lights dim and the competitors go at it, usually incorporating tons of finger-waving, hair flicking, vogue dancing and sometimes wig-pulling, gymnastic tumbling and split-tricks.

At the same time, I refuse to believe in reality TV, nonetheless support it. I consider reality TV absolutely nothing short of mindless television. It’s a cheap shot at getting the public to tune in for stations to get ratings without any real work. While some claim to be doing something “that’s never been seen/done before,” others are just paying people to act stupid in front of a camera. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad when only a handful of shows were on the air. Then, it seemed like either studios were giving up on writers or writers were trying to make a quick buck because we got tons of craptastic shows. Now it’s almost as though television is heavily polluted with nothing but cameras tailing people wherever they go, setting the bar of American entertainment at an all time low. It seems to me that every reality TV show consists of drunken parties, unnecessarily staged drama, and talentless hacks that chirp all over the place talking about nothing that’ll ever matter to me, but with RuPaul, I am weak at the knees.

Why do I enjoy it so, you ask? First and foremost, it’s RuPaul! He’s the only black man who can pull off a dress and everyone in the world loves him. As a matter of fact, he’s the only black man in the world that I think people prefer to see in a pair of stilettos rocking a frock. Secondly, unlike Tyra’s America’s Next Top Model, I must say that this show is a testament to the creativity that is locked within a human being. The transformations that some of these men undergo in order to become their female persona is nothing short of talent. It’s amazing to see what make-up, wigs and duct-tape can do the man’s body to make him look like a woman. There have been a few times while watching the show with a male companion, I was told “I would’ve gotten caught out there…he looks like a real female.” The costumes, jewelry, hairstyles and runway walks make the women on Top Model look like little girls walking in their mothers’ high-heels.

The part that I most admire about the show is that for one, it’s giving gay men an outlet that they’ve never had before. Not only do they get a place to do what they do best, they are free of judgment or heckling as they would in their hometown for being homosexual males and/or female impersonators. Some of these men share their stories with the audience and it’s really endearing. Some come from homes where their parents accepting their gay lifestyle, while others were thrown out, disowned, living on the streets on the brink of suicide until someone came to them and showed how drag could make them feel better about themselves. These female alter-egos are a visual representation of their courage and determination. And as a female, it’s slightly endearing to know that a man can feel strong…while dressed as a woman albeit…in a weird way. Though we live in a homophobic society, I enjoy reveling in a show that gives the gay community something to look to and give them confidence in knowing they can live as they please and enjoy their life to the fullest. And as a woman, you can pick up a few helpful hints on how to look just that much better.