Thursday, May 7, 2009

Week of Geek

The Geektastic week has finally come to a close. That there’s a picture of eyes we used to practice our focus skills at my puppetry class last week. I hadn’t had a chance to post it earlier, but I wanted to make sure I got it up there. I don’t think puppetry has a reputation of being “geeky” necessarily, but it is a performance convention that tends to attract a large audience of people with very specialized knowledge of the topic, which links somehow to my idea of geekdom. Perhaps Simon Pegg has said it best:

“Geek is just a dirty word for enthusiast.”

In any case, it’s cool image, and so I posted it. So there!

Wednesday was the second (or first, if you really can’t get behind the puppetry argument) day of my Geektastic week, wherein NASH went out to see Wolverine together in the afternoon. This was an especially cathartic thing for me, as it was a few hours after having finished my conference presentation and was meant to be majorly de-stressing. Max melted butter and brought it in a plastic container to pour on our popcorn, as the British movie theaters don’t seem to have caught on to the trend of pouring melted butter—A LOT of melted butter—onto your movie popcorn and the goodness that comes with such gluttony. To any British readers, this will seem absurd (and to my mother, a health nut, this will seem especially disgusting), but to any warm-blooded American reading this, you will understand the necessity of “liquid gold,” as Heidi has coined it, on popcorn in a movie theater situation, just as you will understand the necessity of KFCs to offer biscuits and mashed potatoes with gravy! But there was Max, showing off that American ingenuity: making things happen when otherwise they wouldn’t.

What a shame the movie was so bad.

I won’t go into it, just in case there are people who are actually looking forward to seeing it, but it definitely took a lot of liberties, the dialogue was WAY hokey at times, and some things just did not make sense. The movie also could not stand alone in any way, and was totally dependent on the other X-Men movies' existence in order to justify it at all--thus leading me to believe that this would have made a fine DVD extra, but why pay 8GBP for it? At least there was butter and Hugh Jackman's upper torso, and the understanding that I am through with research conference presentations, hopefully forever.

But Three Mile Island? Come on!

Friday marked the second event of my geek-themed week, wherein I caught the London run of Waiting for Godot, a production currently touring England with a pretty ridiculous cast in tow. Simon Callow is a gem as Pozzo, but the reason this production supports the theme of the week is because the two leads, Didi and Gogo were played by none other than Professor X and Magneto respectively. Oh that's right: Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen together, on stage, playing off eachother's antics. This was a geeky experience two-fold. For obvious reasons, this is comic book geeky, given these actors' portrayal of two of the most iconic comic characters in the Marvel Universe. Secondly, it was theatrically geeky: here were two of the greatest actors of their generation, foundation stones of the RSC's reputation, and artists who I've not only dreamed about working with but about being on some level (yes, sometimes I think about being a man--but only for all of the parts!). Seeing them doing their work live, and sharing the stage, was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm so thankful I had it.

"How do we act so well?"

Tuesday of this week brought another puppetry class. Again, not necessarily falling into the definition of "mainstream geek," but in keeping with my earlier paragraph, I'm highlighting it again. That evening I worked with three other students to create a praying mantis-like puppet named Albert out of newspaper. Albert was pretty awesome, and if I can get my hands on some of the pictures taken of him, I'll throw some up here post-haste.

The final day of the Week of Geek took place today at midnight. Heidi and I headed down to Southbank to see Star Trek at the BFI IMAX. If you're wondering, yes: there was melted butter brought into the theater. But this time, our condiment didn't have to salvage the experience: the movie was AWESOME. Good writing, good acting, good design, nice special effects (although the vastness of the IMAX screen made some of the battle sequences too overwhelming to really understand visually). I had been really worried that it would suck, as JJ Abrams had admitted to not really being a fan of the show in an interview at some point, and that the writers on the project had no Trek lineage: neither of them had written for any of the franchise's many series. But it turned out great, and they built something into the narrative (no spoilers here!) that essentially cleaned the slate for them completely, thus reviving the timeline. I've heard some fans were upset about the goodness of the movie, because the film was actually able to make this story appealing to a mainstream audience, an audience that didn't need the "privileged" knowledge to understand what was going on in the film. I see their point, but I do think it's kind of ridiculous: at the end of the day, the chance of being able to talk about Star Trek to more people and not be openly mocked, and being able to share with people a mythology that is so dear to my heart is more valuable to me than being a keeper of knowledge. Also, there's a greater chance that this will revive the franchise, and with that will come more films and possibly more television shows, and perhaps, someday, if I'm a good girl and if I work very hard and hold on tight to my dreams, I will finally fulfill that childhood goal of being in an episode of Star Trek. Patrick Stewart doesn't even have to be on set, I just want to say that I've done that. Overall, this movie is great fun for anyone with an imagination and I highly recommend it, and not solely because of its Trek-based merits. And it was a great and appropriate way to end the week.

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