Our latest Pic of the Week is the lovely and talented actor Ezra Miller, who turns 25 today! Ezra has starred in, among other things, the films Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and the upcoming Justice League.
Odd as it may sound, I remember where I was for every first episode of a new Star Trek TV series (well, most of them). It is unclear why they are so clearly emblazoned in my mind, like they were some sort of national event, but there you go. I was reminded of this minor bit of mental trivia while watching the premiere of the latest show in the franchise, Star Trek Discovery. More on that later.
Our latest Pic of the Week is actor John Cho, currently starring in the movie Columbus. I saw it last weekend, and thoroughly enjoyed the film. Great acting, directing and music score. You should definitely check it out.
Years ago, in my teens, I wrote a very short story that was just some characters talking. Some of the talk concerned events they were expecting to occur in the future. It could have served as the prologue or first chapter of a book, but I was content to let it stand on its own. When it was done, I let a few friends and family read it. Their reactions were all the same: Where's the rest of it? This isn't a complete story, Matt! Interestingly enough, I've had similar reactions to some recent movies and TV shows, though critical reaction for them has been (mostly) full of praise.
(What follows are spoilers for the works to be discussed)
The latest CU Pride Fest will occur this weekend, September 15th - 17th, in downtown Champaign. Undertaken by the UP Center of Champaign County, along with countless volunteers, Pride Fest is a celebration of the LGBTQ identity. As we approach this year's event, it hit home, more than ever this year for some reason, how important occasions such as this are.
First, one might wonder why there is pride in something like sexual orientation, or gender fluidity, especially when it has been argued that people are born this way? Why, indeed. For some, that question will never have an adequate answer. For those more open-minded and empathetic, they can understand that pride comes from the condition of having been a marginalized minority.
Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender has often come with a stigma attached. And that's putting it mildly. Bullying, harassment, mental and emotional damage, legal inequality, and even death have been part & parcel with one being open about…
National tragedies that occur during one's conscious lifetime always seem to gave greater impact than those that are often referred to as historical. This isn't some great revelation. Living through a tragedy, bearing witness to it, lends a deeper resonance to it in our hearts and minds. Such is the case for the September 11th terrorist attacks. Many of us, myself included, were alive and aware when they happened. It makes today's anniversary even more poignant.
December 7th, 1941 holds obvious significance as the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the United States into World War II. And yet, while I take note of and respect the observance of its anniversary, there is a sense of disconnect. It is a date in history. I have no emotional reference point for it, other than the general feelings conjured up when thinking what it must have been like to live through it, and for all that followed. On a personal level, September 11th is different.
When the finale for Twin Peaks The Return (ostensibly the third season of the program) was over this past Sunday night, I immediately felt ripped-off, unsatisfied, and that the time spent watching the show over the summer had been a waste. Thankfully, during the intervening days, and after lots of conversations about it with the spouse and in online forums, I have come to better appreciate the way things ended. I'm still not on board with it 100%, though.
Without getting into the weeds as to everything that happened during the finale, the show managed to wrap-up several plot threads during the first-half (Part 17), then turned around and launched things in a different direction during the second-half (Part 18). While tangentially related to what had come before, Part 18 could almost stand alone as its own show, with a different look and feel than the previous 17 episodes, and about a third of the cast. It was, upon first viewing, quite jarring. It was also, most definitely, a Dav…