Culture

Tue
07
Jul

SDCC 2015 Survival Guide

SDCC 2015 Guide Click Communications
PR stuff. We get it. Some of it, we ignore, some of it we use.
 
And sometimes it's just too good not to share with our readers. Like this San Diego Comic-Con Survival Guide from our friends at Click Communications. Enjoy!

 

Mon
06
Jul

(Duck) Call for Charity

Duck Commander Duck Dynasty Charity Duck Calls Jase Robertson Sadie Robertson Si Robertson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (July 1, 2015) – Call it the duck days of summer, the time when it’s 90 degrees outside and still four months away from hunting season. The Robertson family has come up with a way to chase away those summer blues and benefit deserving charities as well.

Tue
23
Jun

Coco Pops! Conan O'Brien Immortalized in Vinyl for SDCC

Funko Pops Conan OBrien Coco Pops Critical Blast

Last night on TBS's CONANConan O'Brien announced that he is going to be immortalized with a set of four Pop! Vinyl figures to be available this July, when CONAN will become the first-ever late-night show to broadcast from San Diego during Comic-Con® International. Created for TBS byFunko, the figure designs include "Conan O'Brien," "Batman Conan," "Zombie Conan" and"Conan's Monster."

Check out Conan's announcement from last night's show:
teamcoco.com/video/pop-conan-figures-are-coming

Wed
17
Jun

The St. Louis Cardinals versus the Houston Astros versus the FBI? Say it ain't so!

June 16, 2015: The Cardinals are investigated by the FBI for allegedly hacking the Astros' proprietary database.

Despite the formal declarations of Jeb Bush and Donald Trump announcing their bids for the Republican presidential nomination, the continued handwringing over a white woman running an NAACP office—and doing a good job running it from what I understand—the continued tensions in the Ukraine and St. Louis’ own struggle with violence and an out-of-control homicide rate that is doing wonders for tourism, the big news in this town today was, of course, the St. Louis Cardinals. More specifically, it was the news that they are being investigated by the FBI for hacking the Houston Astros proprietary database.

Thu
11
Jun

Disturbance in the Force: Sir Christopher Lee Passes at 93

Christopher Lee 1922 2015 Critical Blast Star Wars Lord of the Rings Hammer Dracula

Dracula. Fu Manchu. Saruman. Count Dooku.

Christopher Lee portrayed these and countless other notable characters in his decades spanning career, sending chills up our spines with creepfests like THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH. Those who've been around a while will always see him as Dracula, a role he portrayed in several of the classic Hammer horror films, or as the evil Chinese crime lord, Fu Manchu.  Millennials will more likely remember him for his role as Saruman in Peter Jackson's LORD OF THE RINGS films, or as Count Dooku in the later STAR WARS films.

The actor passed away last Sunday, according to The Guardian, of "respiratory problems and heart failure." He celebrated his 93rd birthday two months ago.

Tue
26
May

Should we DoACBC?: Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention in Review

Atlantic City Boardwalk Convention Cosplay Comics

I’m a Jersey girl, through and through, born, raised and passionate. I defend my state like it’s my job. I love that we are right in-between everything. NYC is right there, a quick jaunt up the Turnpike leads to Philly, we have mountain, beaches, farms, and cities. Everything you could possible imagine within a few hours. But the issue that arises from being so close is sometimes we get left out. NYCC is a huge convention in the Javits Center and Wizard World Philly has been popular for all of my adult life, in fact it’s where my romance with my husband blossomed, but I digress. My point is the one thing New Jersey doesn’t have is our own BIG con. We have plenty of little shows, like Chiller Theater and Monster-Mania, that are great and attract some awesome celebrities, but they aren’t comic conventions. ACBC strives to make that right.

Sun
24
May

Wizard World Casts Spell of Mediocrity on Saint Louis

Wizard World Saint Louis 2015 Critical Blast

I have been to all three of the Wizard World Comicons here in Saint Louis, and I have mixed emotions about this one. The second year was better than the previous. I know not every year can always be better and at best it is all subjective anyway. Still, since this was only the 3rd time for the event here in St Louie, I was expecting it to be at least as good and as star studded as the others.

It seemed, though, as the year progressed leading up to this weekend, that the talent that was being signed, while good, was not up to the caliber of the previous two years. Again, I know this is all subjective but compared to who I saw was going to appear at the other WW Comicons throughout the country, the show here in Saint Louis was not getting those who I consider A-Listers. Maybe because this year it was being held on Memorial Day weekend and everyone had plans? I don’t know.

Wed
20
May

Toying with Monsters: The Art of Kris Mobley

Kris Mobley Critical Blast

One of the things we love to do at Critical Blast is provide a platform for artists who haven't had much exposure -- the people you haven't heard of yet, but the people you'll likely hear of in the future.

One of those people is Kris Mobley, who's taken a unique approach to the subjects who sit for his portraits. They're monsters. And Mobley toys with them.

Fortunately for Mobley, these monsters are plastic figures. Let's find out what's behind all that.

 

It's not unusual for graphic artists to do portraits of classic monsters, but you're approach is to use the toy versions of them as models -- and retain the toy appearance. What drove this decision, and why the REMCO models as opposed to items like the Aurora model kits?

 

Fri
15
May

StarVista's Ed Sullivan Collection is a Really Big Shew!

Ed Sullivan Show DVD

There’s a good portion of America these days that probably hasn’t heard of Ed Sullivan or his variety show and thus don't know just how popular and important it was to the people of the US and to the careers of the performers who now occupy the status of legend in the entertainment industry.

Then there’s a good portion of us who were too young to remember THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW when it was on because we were too young by the time it wound down in 1971.

But there is still a sizable number of Americans who remember the show because they tuned in every week to see it. Those, dear reader, are the luckiest of all… because they got to see Elvis, the Beatles and so many more before all the rest of us.

Now, thanks to StarVista Entertainment, the rest of us can count ourselves lucky too. This 6-DVD set spans the entire run of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, showcasing many of the talents that performed on it through the years.

Fri
15
May

The Thrill is Gone: B.B. King Passes at 89

BB King Blues Legend Obituary Critical Blast

The angel choir just got a whole lot sweeter Thursday night. Legendary blues guitarist Riley B. King -- "Blues Boy" King, and better known as B.B. King -- passed away in his Las Vegas home while undergoing home hospice care for dehydration.

King's particular guitar style and soulful voice were instrumental in elevating the blues genre into the mainstream. Together, he and his trusty Gibson ES-355 went on to produce more than forty albums, including "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere," "There is Always One More Time," and the unforgettable "Lucille," named after the moniker he gave his guitar after rescuing it from a burning bar in Twist, Arkansas, caused by a fight by two men over a girl named Lucille.

Twitter today is overflowing with tribute posts from musicians of all genres, a testament to the influence the man had on all of music.

BB King Tributes Twitter

Thu
14
May

Chuck and Jeffster Strike Back: The Soundtrack

Chuck Tim Jones Jeffster Soundtrack TV Nerd Herd

If you weren’t lucky enough to get swept up in Chuck the first time around, you truly missed something unique. I got caught in the tidal wave at the very last scene of season two. My husband was watching the show and I was on my way through the living room. I stopped, watched the lead character, Chuck, do this thing where he looked at his bad guys, had some sort of flash, then did crazy, flipping kung fu. I remember looking at my husband and saying, “That was cool. Does he always do that?” To which he laughed and said, “Not like that!” I didn’t realize until I watched the seasons and caught up for myself that that scene was an awesome ending to season two. It truly only takes one scene to pull the viewer in. It’s a show made with passion that bleeds through to the audience.

Wed
13
May

Round and Round the Carousel Ink

Like many females my age, the search for interesting, reasonably-priced leggings has become an epic quest. There aren’t a ton of options and the ones you run across are outrageously priced. As I googled and re-googled my search, I started becoming discouraged. I’m not a typical girl, I don’t follow trends and generally wear black shirts so I don’t have to figure out how things match. Yea, that kind of person. But when I started seeing these leggings popping up, I realized this was a perfectly comfortable, yet stylish way of flying my geek pride colors. I could wear these to work with a long sweater and get away with it. Oh, the exciting possibilities! My first thought when I saw the generally accepted prices were I could probably make these myself. I’m just that type of person.

Wed
13
May

TeeFury Leggings - Argyle Rocks!

TeeFury started offering leggings a few weeks ago. I have tons of TeeFury shirts and have watched them expand like a rabbit family over the last year or so. Their original, simple concept is a winning one. If you've never bought a shirt from TeeFury, the idea is most shirts are only offered for that day and are designed by fans. Many times the shirts are cross-geekdom and completely irresistable. As an added bonus, the price is perfect. A standard size shirt is $11 and shipping is usually only a few bucks. For less than $20, you have these cleverly designed shirts that are unique and rare. Then they started expanding their merchandise by offering Women’s and Toddler sizes. More recently, TeeFury starting offering custom sneakers, posters and, the aforementioned, leggings.

Mon
11
May

Lego Dimensions to include Doctor Who, Portal, Simpsons, Scooby Doo, and more!

LEGO Dimensions Doctor Who Scooby Doo Simpsons Critical Blast

From Comic Book Resources:

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment trumpeted its “toy-to-life” console game LEGO Dimensions last month, it promised “a lot more” properties would join the likes of DC Comics, The Lord of the Rings and Back to the Future at launch. Thanks to a leak, we now know at least some of them — including Doctor Who, Portal 2, Jurassic World and The Simpsons.

Similar in approach to the popular Skylanders and Disney Infinity, LEGO Dimensions will enable players to purchase LEGO sets that they’ll build into characters, vehicles and devices that can be introduced into the game with the Toy Pad. They’ll be able to mix and match characters and objects from a range of properties, changing and expanding gameplay.

Sat
09
May

Critical Blast Best Actor in a Film of 2014: Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton Birdman Best Actor 2014 Critical Blast

For my generation, Christopher Reeve will always be the best Superman, and Michael Keaton will always be the best Batman. Taking on an iconic superhero role always runs the risk of stereotyping the actor, but Michael Keaton had already made a name for himself before donning the cape and cowl, with a string of comedies like JOHNNY DANGEROUSLY, MR. MOM, and BEETLEJUICE, contrasted with incredible dramatic performances in shows like CLEAN AND SOBER and, later, PACIFIC HEIGHTS.

As Riggan Thomson, the lead character of BIRDMAN (subtitled THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE OF IGNORANCE), Keaton portrays a washed-up actor, best known for having played the titular superhero, Birdman. While Keaton may have had some experience to draw on for part of this, he's never been "washed up" and has kept busy his entire career. With BIRDMAN, Keaton delivers a disturbing performance of a man mocked by his past and taking incredible risks to redeem his status, even if it takes suicide.

Fri
08
May

Critical Blast Best Actor in a TV Series of 2014: Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage Game of Thrones Tyrion Lannister Best Actor Television Series 2014 Critical Blast

Peter Dinklage's star has been on the rise for a number of years now, but it certainly began shining its brightest when he took on the role of Tyrion Lannister in the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's sword and sorcery epic novel series, GAME OF THRONES. The series features a wide cast of characters (and rumor has it you should never get too attached to any of them), but it was Dinklage and his portrayal of Tyrion that captured the hearts and minds of fans, as reflected in the votes for this category.

According to Hollywood legend, Martin had no other actor in mind for the part of Tyrion, and no other auditions were held for the role; there was no one else to be considered but Dinklage. Whether that's true or just an interesting bit of filmmaking apocrypha, what ultimately matters is that Dinklage brings the wit and wisdom, the comedy and tragedy, of this character to a level that resonates with fans.

Thu
07
May

"Thoroughly Modern Millie" Is Thoroughly Entertaining

Thoroughly Modern Millie runs through May 10 at the Kirkwood Community Center

I was recently invited to see Thoroughly Modern Millie at the Robert G. Reim Theatre in the Kirkwood Community Center. Millie, based on the 1967 film of the same name, was a hit on Broadway, winning a number of Tony Awards including Best Musical in 2002. I have always enjoyed works based on the 1920s, from art deco architecture aand design to the lavish lifestyles depicted in books like F. Scott Fitgerald's "The Great Gatsby." I had no idea what to expect from this show, but I had a hunch I'd enjoy it. I was right!

Fri
01
May

Heathen, a Kickstarter Graphic Novel You Need To See

Heathen by Natasha Alterici -- Back it on Kickstarter!

I love to browse Kickstarter for cool new inventions, clever board games and exciting graphic novels. Recently I came across Heathena new graphic novel project from Oklahoma-based artist Natasha Alterici. After reading the synopsis, I immediately backed her project. I then contacted Natasha to learn more about the project, her interest in comic books, and herself. 

Tell me a little about yourself and how you came to be doing a Kickstarter for this graphic novel project? What drew you, no pun intended, to the comic medium? And who are done of your artistic influences? Your style on Heathen reminds me of Ashley Wood, which isn't a bad thing!

Thu
26
Mar

Kinky Boots Is A Sexy Kick To Close The Fox Broadway Season

Steven Booth and Darius Harper in Kinky Boots, through 4/5/15 at the Fox. Photo credit: Matthew Murphy

The 2014-2015 US Bank Broadway Series at the Fabulous Fox Theatre come so to a close with the dazzling musical Kinky Boots. Based on a true story and the 2005 movie of the same name, the Harvey Fierstein (book) and Cyndi Lauper (score) was the darling of the 2013 Tony Awards, winning Best Musical, Best Original Score (Lauper is the first woman in history to win the Tony as a solo female composer), Best Choreography (Jerry Mitchell), Best Orchestrations (Stephen Oremus), Best Sound Design (John Shivers) and Best Lead Actor (Billy Porter). It was also nominated in 7 other categories. That’s quite an accomplishment, and it’s well deserved. Kinky Boots is a sharp, sparkly story of acceptance in the tradition of Hairspray, featuring performances that will stay with the Fox faithful all summer.

Sat
28
Feb

The Million Dollar Quartet Returns To Rock The Fox Theatre

The Million Dollar Quartet runs Feb 27 - Mar 1 at the Fox Theatre in St. Louis.

Some critics will scoff at The Million Dollar Quartet for its thin plot and light conflicts. If you see a review of this show somewhere that does exactly that, you should quit reading those critics because clearly they didn’t get it. This is a show based on actual events in which there wasn’t any real conflict. In fact, what conflict there is in this show is probably somewhat inflated if not outright fabricated. Every musical need not be as densely plotted as Rent or as elaborately staged as Warhorse. Sometimes a simple brick backdrop and four talented actors and musicians recreating a magical alignment of budding stars is all you need to keep the audience’s toes a-tappin’ until they raise the roof during the grand finale.

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