Culture

Tue
01
Nov

We Give Thanks For Cosplay: Meet November Bombshell, Jamie Krakover

Jamie Krakover as ARROW's Speedy -- an archer at the Arch!

Halloween 2016 is officially in our rearview mirror, but that doesn't mean that dressing up is out of vogue -- not for us, anyway! And that's something we can all be thankful for -- apropos, as November is the month we officially give thanks!

Our November Bombshell, Jamie Krakover, hails from the Midwest, and draws upon film and television for her cosplay inspirations. Whether she's battling the forces of a galactic empire or fighting crime in the streets (that's her Speedy to the left -- an archer at the Gateway Arch!), Jamie combines imagination and intellect to call forth positive female role models in her cosplay.

Critical Blast Bombshell, November 2016

Jamie Krakover

Mon
31
Oct

DC Comics Needs to Fix Harley Quinn for our Daughters

Since her introduction in Batman: The Animated Series, Harley Quinn's popularity has continued to skyrocket into cult status. What happens when that popularity spills over into the minds of young girls?

Known as the bubbly and villainous sidekick to the Joker, Harley Quinn was a seemingly harmless character back in the 90's when Bruce Timm's Batman: The Animated Series was on every television after school. But back then it was clear she was a villain so it was easier to cope with. Nobody would want their child to aspire to be a villain. Eventually her likeness made the jump from cartoon to comic book.

Which is where DC began fleshing out her background and her popularity began to grow.

Fri
28
Oct

In Video Veritas: De-Rigging the System with James O'Keefe

James O'Keefe of Project Veritas

Oscar Wilde reportedly said that you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies. And when it comes to that incestuous Venn Diagram intersection of politics and mass media, there are perhaps few hated more than James O'Keefe, the modern master of guerilla journalism.

This past week, if you watch the news, he's getting harder and harder to ignore, having released a spate of videos capturing operatives within the Democratic party revealing secrets that have caused the rolling of both heads and eyes, depending on where and who you happen to be. But is there more to come? We spoke with the president of Project Veritas about his current operation, and what's next.

 

Mon
24
Oct

Jack Chick Leaves a Legacy of Controversy

Jack Chick October 23 2016

Confession is good for the soul, they say. It's also a religious expression. So this is a little of both.

I was raised in an Apostolic Pentecostal home. If you're unfamiliar with that, put your mental cursor on "snake handlers" and move it just a little to the left and you'll be in the vicinity. Morals were important, and that's a good thing -- but the morals (at that time in the organization's history) were often things that seemed up to the interpretation of those in charge, who knew better because they had divine connections. As such, it was an era of rock-and-roll record purging and exposure of backward masking in music. Pulpits were the fastest method of pushing pre-Internet memes such as KISS being an acronym for "Kings in Satan's Service" accompanied by tales of how the band would hold Satanic prayer rituals over each album's original pressing prior to mass production. Snopes did not exist.

Sat
01
Oct

Trick-or-Treat: For October Bombshell Desi-Rae Pense, Cosplay is All in the Game

Desi-Rae Pense October 2016 Critical Blast Bombshell

It's October, and as much as the summer months bring us conventions all over the world for cosplayers to strut their stuff in front of fans and foes alike, this is the month that it's really all about. Because with October comes the original cosplay event, Halloween!

So while you're preparing all the final tricks for this year's costumes, Critical Blast is happy to be bringing you a treat with the cosplay art of Desi-Rae Pense, an Arkansan transplant to California, who draws upon anime and online role-playing games as a source of inspiration for her outfits and props.

Critical Blast Bombshell, October 2016

Desi-Rae Pense

Mon
26
Sep

Reflection of the Times: Racially Charged Art Subject to Boycott at St. Louis Contemporary Art Museum

Star, Star, Star Press

If a piece of art offends someone, that's often a key indicator to the artist that he or she has done the job correctly.

Kelley Walker is trodding in the controversy-laden footsteps of Robert Mapplethorpe. Both use the medium of photography with a 'little something extra' added to it. But where Mapplethorpe gained notoriety for tackling religion as a subject with the infamous "Piss Christ," Walker focuses on a different subject -- race relations -- and the backlash is, quite probably, predictable, as his critics are calling for his body of work, "Direct Drive," to be removed from display at the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis.

Yes, even in these enlightened post-millennial times, when we meet something we don't like we try to censor it.

Wed
14
Sep

Hastings is Going Out of Business!

Hastings going out of business

Video rental stores are nothing new, and as we have seen over the years they have all been dying out one by one due to the market and the sudden boom in video streaming apps we use today such as Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and more. But there was always that small store that stood around longer than the others and wasn't afraid to try something new and exciting.

Now, it's now it's no shock knowing this was eventually bound to happen, and I believe those of us who were fortunate enough to have had a local Hastings near us knew it was coming but hoped the day never did because we'd grown to love this store and all the entertaining content it provided for us. Hastings started off as a video and game rental company. As I child I spent many of my days in Hastings looking over the latest games that had arrived on the shelf, or to check back and see if anyone had returned a game I had been waiting to rent.

Fri
09
Sep

John Kasich (R-Muggles) In Negative Campaign Against Harry Potter

John Kasich v Harry Potter

It seems that Republican Don Kasich was in a bookstore in New Hampshire recently, campaigning for Chris Sununu. Apparently Sununu must be running against Daniel Radcliffe -- odd, since Radcliffe is (a) British and (b) too young to hold office -- because Kasich took the opportunity to seemingly campaign against the actor based on his (rather old) declaration of atheism.

The statement came seemingly from nowhere (or did a library patron whisper a hushed Confundo?), and led into a post hoc ergo propter hoc argument that it might be behind Radcliffe "not taking off" in the movie industry -- you know, after 8 megablockbusters. See the video below and experience the discomfort of the patrons around him as he babbled.

Thu
08
Sep

Our Most Noble Ideas Given Substance: Star Trek Turns 50

Star Trek at 50

Critic’s Log 2476.5…I was six when Star Trek: The Motion Picture came out. Talk about old, nobody calls a film based on a television show a “motion picture” anymore, and rightly so—who would pay $40 for a ticket, a bucket o’ popcorn and a bladder-buster sized Mr. Pibb to sit for two-plus hours to watch a picture that doesn’t move? You whippersnappers with your Technicolor and your special effects…ahem! I digress…My father took me to the Cross Keys Theatre in North St. Louis at that impressionable young age. I lasted about 10 minutes before I wanted nothing more to do with it. Not long afterwards Star Wars was re-released ahead of The Empire Strikes Back, and what a difference another six months to a year made! I was a fiend for anything to do with space stuff. Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica, and this goofy old show my grandpa used to make me watch sometimes with this pointy eared dude with a lame haircut.

Thu
08
Sep

Star Trek @ 50 - Happy Birthday, Star Trek!

As I sat down to write this piece, I should say that I am much more of a Star Wars guy than a Star Trek guy.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think you have to be one or the other, but gun to my head, I would pick Star Wars every time.  So it might seem strange that I would want to honor Star Trek on it's 50th anniversary.   But, Star Trek still holds a very special place in my heart...

When I was a kid, I had a huge obsession with comic book writer Peter David (still do).  A friend of mine had given me a random issue of X-Factor as a birthday gift, and I was immediately hooked.  

Wed
31
Aug

Star Trek's Still As Relevant on The 50th Anniversary

Star Trek 50th Enterprise

by Dave Marinaccio

The 50th anniversary of the launch of Star Trek is this September. Fifty years after William Shatner made his first “captain’s log,” the power of Star Trek is felt across generations. Just this summer, the thirteenth Star Trek movie was released and has grossed over 231 million dollars to date. It’s pretty clear: Star Trek is here to stay.

So what is it about Star Trek that captures the hearts of millions of people, decade after decade?

Fri
19
Aug

Sarah Porter Is Pure Magic In Andrew Lloyd Webber's TELL ME ON A SUNDAY

Sarah Porter in New Line Theatre's production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, Photo Credit: Jill Ritter-Lindberg/New Line Theatre

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a big fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber. I don’t typically enjoy sung-through musicals. I thought EVITA had all of the warmth and depth of Eva Perón’s Wikipedia page, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a grossly overrated love story with no characters to like much less love, and I’m highly allergic to CATS. There is, however, this one short little gem of Webber’s that is equally funny and heart-wrenching, hopeful and melancholy. The show is called TELL ME ON A SUNDAY, and while I can’t predict what day it is that you find yourself reading this, I can predict that you’ll find this one-woman show as heartfelt and surprisingly affecting as I did.

Mon
01
Aug

Sky's the Limit for Our August 2016 Bombshell!

Sky Song as Merida (Rick Currier Photography)

Our August 2016 Critical Blast Bombshell is relatively new to the art of Cosplay -- but it's apparently a natural talent for her. Sky Song is the second cosplayer to be featured as our Critical Blast Bombshell, and we're sure you'll be seeing more of her at conventions and across the Internet!

Sky exhibits all the qualities we look for in a Bombshell -- talent, commitment to the role, and the application of cosplay to community work, putting cosplay in a positive light to the rest of the world. If you're looking for a positive role model in cosplay -- look to the Sky.

Critical Blast Bombshell, August 2016

Sky Song

Fri
15
Jul

Online Clothing Retailer, Betabrand, Says: Pokemon GO Here!

Noticing a tremendous culture shift in store traffic, the San Francisco based clothing retailer, Betabrand, has transformed it's headquarters into a massive lure for Pokémon players.

Most businesses frown upon people loitering outside their store, but Betabrand is inviting them to do so and getting increased exposure in return.

According to Betabrand founder Chris Lindland, "By Tuesday, I'd already lost my staff's attention to the game, so if you can't beat Pokémon, join Pokémon."   By Thursday, the retailer rolled out a fan photo studio, refashioned its storefront, and turned its flagship into a magnet for gamers and bemused passersby.

Fri
15
Jul

There's a Pidgey on my Stickshift. Now What?

Pidgey on the Road

I use my smartphone when I'm driving. Sometimes I use it for GPS. Sometimes I use it to dictate a text. Sometimes I even use it to have a telephonic conversation. (I know, how very old school of me.)

Yesterday, I used a different form of GPS: the latest craze to sweep the world, POKEMON GO. I initially wanted just to see how many Pokestops I would drive by (Pokestops are places on the map where you can recharge your Pokeballs, so you can capture more Pokemon) and where all the gyms were. Plus, I just wanted to see the little guy on the map run at 65 miles per hour.

I passed a few Pokestops. They were also mile marker signs -- not places I would expect walking crews to pass while their on their quests to "catch 'em all." I didn't find many gyms near the Interstate, however, so that was a promising sign.

And then the phone buzzed. I didn't have an incoming call. I didn't have a text alert.

Thu
14
Jul

Pokémon GO Brings Triumph, Tragedy and Togetherness

Since the launch of the popular smartphone game, Pokémon GO, people everywhere have either caught Pokémon, or attitude for trying. Whether you're a player or patronizer, the game has had an impact on society. But has it been for the best?

We live in a time where technology has taken over a large part of society. Gone are the days where kids went outside and played for hours on end. Why bother when they can sit in front of a video game, computer or smart device?

Just plug in and the world is at their fingertips. Right?

Pokémon GO has gotten people out of the house and in front of other people once again. And sure, they still have their smartphones in-hand, but once again mankind is traveling in packs and on foot. Exploring the world around them in ways that many of us thought would never happen again.

Fri
01
Jul

Introducing Our Critical Blast Bombshell for July 2016: Lady J

LadyJ Cosplay Spidergirl Critical Blast Bombshell July 2016 Spidergirl

Starting today, Critical Blast is proud to introduce a new feature showcasing the art of cosplay: The Critical Blast Bombshell! Every month we will spotlight a cosplayer doing his or her best to bring our favorite heroes (or villains) to life.

This month, and inaugurating our new feature, we are privileged to present to you a cosplayer from Philadelphia, Lady J, who embodies the essence of cosplay both in imagination as well as in her career path and charity work.

Critical Blast Bombshell, July 2016

Lady J Cosplay

Sun
26
Jun

St. Louis Comicon Has Strong Debut, Room To Grow

Mighty Con presents S. Louis Comicon at the St. Charles Convention Center, June 18-19, 2016.

St. Louis has more than enough comic, anime, cosplay, sci-fi and fantasy geeks within its general market area to support a substantial pop culture convention or “comicon.” Yet we don’t have one, or at least we don’t really have one in the traditional sense. The Wizard Worlds conventions have run downtown for a few years now and some comic creators have said they’ve done okay there, but they are grossly overpriced for admission which grants you the privilege to hand over an even bigger wad of cash to the likes of T.J. Hooker, some random cannon fodder Jedi gal from one of the what-should-be-non-canon STAR WARS prequels, or some dude who got ate by one of THE WALKING DEAD three seasons ago.

Sat
18
Jun

Con-tamination is Con-tagious Fun!

Con-tamination Saint Louis 2016 convention horror sci-fi pop culture

Contamination, Saint Louis’ Horror, Sci Fi, Pop Culture convention returned this year in Fenton and runs Friday thru Sunday,  June 17, 18, 19.

C:\Users\User\Pictures\DVD Pictures\Con5.jpg

I must confess that although this show has been an annual event for several years, this was the first year I had heard of it.

Mon
06
Jun

Con-Tamination Returns to St. Louis for 2016

Con-tamination Saint Louis 2016 convention horror sci-fi pop culture

Saint Louis's premiere horror, sci-fi and pop culture convention, Con-Tamination, returns for another spine-tingling, hair-raising, jaw-dropping year, this June 17 through 19th at The Stratford Inn, 800 S. Highway Drive, Fenton, Mo 63026.

Among the many guests this year are BATTLESTAR GALACTICA original cast members Dirk Benedict (Starbuck), Richard Hatch (Apollo), Herbert Jefferson Jr. (Boomer), Anne Lockhart (Sheba) and Jack Stauffer (Bojay). They'll be joined by Gary Graham (STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE, ALIEN NATION) and STAR TREK: ORIGINAL SERIES legend, The Gorn Commander (Bobby Clark).

Wrestling superstars Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Atomic Dog will be flexing muscle and signing autographs. Fans can also meet screen sirens Kayla Perkins, Kristina Klebe, and Seka in her last U.S. appearance.

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