Forrest J Ackerman, Dead at 92 POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 6, 2008
This happened at the worst conceivable time for yours truly to do any justice to this man's deserving obit. I will not be able to write anything coherent until next week's issue, but I'm in debt to Matt and Mike for not only making this sad event known to me, but being able to post something right away in their columns about it.
DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS Samuel Catalino, Dec. 5, 53 yrs. John Petrey, Dec. 6, 45 yrs. Jake Tipton, Dec. 14, 18 yrs. Jesus Christ, Dec. 25, 2008 yrs Drew Reiber, Dec. 29, 30 yrs.
I had put PCR "to bed" for the week, then put myself to bed for the precious few hours of sleep (very few) I was going to get before the weekend's always brutal work schedule. I was completely in a coma when I received a long-distance call from Maine. On the line was old friend and PCR columnist Matt Drinnenberg. After a brief exchange of greetings, he asked, "So, did you hear about Forry?" My heart skipped a beat as I considered what was about to be revealed.
Put simply, Forrest J Ackerman, co-counder of Famous Monster of Filmland Magazine and life-long inspiration to all fanboy/collectors eveywhere, was dead at the age of 92.
To say Forry was a seminal influence on my personal fandom would be an understatement. Since childhood, I'd read and collected Famous Monsters, as had most film and monster fans. He, along with Marvel Comics guru Stan Lee, formed the model for what fan publishing was all about, and in fact, the very e-zine you're reading now exists in its present form primarily because of them.
According to the radio, Forry died of heart failure late Thursday night following a recent bout with pneumonia (from which he'd apparently recovered). I will expound more thoroughly on my memories of Forrest J Ackerman, including my personal meetings and experiences with him, in next week's PCR.
Bettie Page Hospitalized With Pneumonia POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 6, 2008
One of the most iconic "pin-up girls" from the '50s and early '60s, fan favorite, Bettie Page, 85, has been hospitalized with pneumonia in LA.
Her page-boy hairstyle and sparkling smile adorned thousands of posters and print ads, and her influence continues to be felt. She has been the subject of countless articles and her image influenced many comic book artists (The Rocketeer's Dave Stevens, in particular). Rarely seen, Ms. Page has lived in seclusion for decades.
We will be monitoring this situation closely and wish Bettie Page a speedy recovery.
Attention All PCR Writers: End of the Year Issues Coming Up POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 3, 2008
As you all know -- or should know by now -- the last two weeks of the year are reserved for recollection, reflection, and, if desired, prognostication. Although your column can always be about whatever strikes your fancy any given week, a recap of the year is our usual theme. The PCR covers it for two weeks as I expect many of you will be out of town or otherwise unavailable either one or both weeks, so do what you can for your final column(s) of the year.
FYI: The upcoming PCR 2009 Homepage may not look all that drastically different (except for some fine-tuning, I've become comfortable with this style, including the newer, more blog-like front page), but the upgrades should dramatically enhance the functionality to the writers. Form will follow function regarding the individual columns: the new coding will necessitate some design modifications, but again, there shouldn't be anything that makes you wonder where you are January 1st (well, outside of a hangover from New Year's, haha).
Josh Sullivan's Cross-Country Adventure POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 3, 2008
A very dear friend I haven't seen nearly enough of this past year or so, St. Pete-based punk artist Josh Sullivan, 27, is embarking on a remarkable journey: Starting in January, he is traveling the country, staying at different people's homes for one week and writing up his adventures in a paper 'zine called Fifty-Two Friends. Presumably, the prospects for residence are culled from his massive email correspondence network, fan club, MySpace, etc.
Josh has published comics fanzines since his high school days. He has been featured frequently in local magazines and spotlighted in Creative Loafing. His ska band, Can't Do It, acquired quite a following. He was one of the first guests on Nolan Radio back in 2004.
Josh is selling off all his remaining art and wordly possessions in anticipation of this endeavor. (So I guess for one year on the road, he'll be essentially homeless). Each 'zine will be available by individual subscription, or may be purchased in advance weeks or months ahead of time.
As of this writing, I understand there are still a few open "slots" to fill in Josh's 2009 itinerary. For more info on this project, or to see if you can participate, see his website at http://www.myspace.com/fiftytwofriends.
I sincerely wish Josh the best of luck and a safe journey in the year ahead.
Brent Harvey Needs Your Super Bowl Vote POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 3, 2008
I don't usually spotlight or promote any "Vote For ME!"-in-whatever-contest type messages, as their self-serving nature normally turns me off. They can use the Message Board for that. This one, however, is a little different.
Bay-area actor Brent Harvey is one of the top local filmmaker talents and is one of those special few who is in a position to put Tampa on the "film scene" map nationally.
Here it is, plain and simple: Doritos put up a challenge to young filmmakers. Make the best 30-second Doritos commercial you can, and if it wins, they will play it during the Super Bowl. It's viewers choice, meaning the people vote for their favorite. Voting doesn't open until January 5, 2009 and continues until January 25, 2009. By rules each person gets one vote per 24 hours, which means 20 votes per person.
I previewed the two commercials Brent entered, and think they have a great chance at winning. NOTE: AOL users may have problems getting these to open in their browser (I did), but Firefox displayed them with no problem. Here they are:
Check 'em out, and if you like them like I did, cast a vote for Brent on voting day. It would be a blast to see a Tampa-based film play during the Super Bowl!
Our Wacky World News POSTED BY NOLAN B. CANOVA, DECEMBER 3, 2008
Bush Expresses Remorse
During the recent Charles Gibson interview with George W. Bush, Bush expressed his biggest regrets regarding his two-term presidency.
Predictably, the economic downturn was high in his thoughts. Harmed 401K's and massive job losses are something that severely cost him standing: he has already earned the lowest approval ratings in history.
More interestingly, his regret at acting on bad intelligence regarding the storing of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, and the subsequent invasion. When Charles Gibson asked the obvious follow-up question if he would have ordered the U.S.-led invasion if intelligence reports had accurately indicated that Saddam did not have the weapons, Bush replied: "You know, that's an interesting question. That is a do-over that I can't do. It's hard for me to speculate."
WTF...?? Hard to speculate? You'd think his advisors would've prompted him with advice ahead of time on how to answer the most obvious question he could've been asked! His reluctance to be specific will only spur more conspiracy theories that he didn't care what the intelligence had to say, he was going to invade Iraq however he could. Hope he's happy now. Oh wait, he's not.
Obama Birth Certificate Back in the News
OK, the basic conspiracy theory is that President-Elect Barack Obama was not born in the United States of America, specifically Hawaii, but in Kenya, Africa, making him ineligible for the office of President. The U.S. Constitution makes it clear that only a "natural-born citizen" (not "naturalized") may apply for president. The birth certificate displayed by the Obama camp up to now is something called a "Certificate of Live Birth", allowed by Hawaii law if the birth occurred in a foreign land, but the parents are homestead residents of Hawaii. Something like that.
Allegedly, there is evidence that Obama's mother bore him in Kenya, but waited until she returned to Hawaii before registering him. His late grandmother is on tape saying she witnessed his birth in Kenya. Obama refuses to let inquirers examine his "real" birth certificate. The list goes on and on.
The problem is what do we do if this is true? Reverse the election? Does Biden become president? Or do we change the Constitution in an emergency session? (Hey, Arnold, track that one!) According to Snopes.com (the fact-finder website), some of this has to do with interpreting what the Constitution means by "natural born" and that similar situations have come up before.
The U.S Supreme Court is due to review the case brought by Leo Donofrio Friday, December 5th. Long-time readers may remember attorney Phillip Berg's similar case was thrown out as frivolous by a lower court, but that is being appealed.
New Mental Disorder: The Truman Syndrome
The old paranoid-schizophrenic malady where a person thinks his family has been replaced by strangers---or actors---and is being tracked by secret cameras and microphones has been upgraded recently to a new catagory: "The Truman Syndrome", after the main character in the movie The Truman Show, where Truman (played by Jim Carrey) turns out to be the unwitting star of a reality show he doesn't know he's on; all his friends and family are actors, and his whole life has been televised.
One man showed up at FBI headquarters and asked to be taken off their surveillance devices and cancel the reality show he was on. Another man considered suicide because he couldn't figure out who to contact to get off the "reality show" he was on!
One of my main subjects of ongoing study is the effect pop culture has on society and vice-versa. For example, I stopped worrying long ago whether we had aliens in UFOs traversing our skies, instead focusing on why people believe in them and the accompanying gov't conspiracy to cover it all up. There's a corresponding relationship to how much and to what extent such material is covered in the media, how it's portrayed on TV and the movies, etc.
Vulnerable people, already suffering with mental/emotional problems, are very impressionable. Older reades will no doubt remember how many people thought they were possessed afer viewing The Exorcist. Nobody wanted to go swimming after JAWS (OK, count me as one of them, haha). I remember the story of one young man in the '70s committed to an asylum because he couldn't stop doing Steve Martin's "wild-and-crazy-guy" character!!
Now, none of this is intended to mean there are NO conspiracies! There certainly are. Right now I'm late for a meeting with the Illuminati over this Obama birth certificate thing.....