Sunday, April 21, 2013

I heart (the idea) of Fan Fiction

Creative people (at least nerdy ones like myself) love to think about what could happen:
  • What if Harry Potter hung up his wand and became an accountant?
  • What if Tintin and Sherlock Holmes teamed up?
  • (Warning: Game of Thrones Spoiler) What if Eddard "Ned" Stark lived?
  • What if Hellboy actually brought about the apocalypse?
  • What if Superman ACTUALLY fought the Hulk? (answer: Because Superman can move at the speed of light, he pulverizes the Hulk via 1,000,000 punches in less than a second)
But no matter how great our ideas may be, the various franchises will never work together or shell out enough money to make these dreams a reality. And so the seemingly brilliant thoughts remain in our head, or forgotten.

Enter Fan Fiction. It combines the endless creativity of the internet with... the varying quality of the internet. It's a growing subculture. Fan Fiction gets a shout out in They Might Be Giants new song "He's Loco." Some truly terrible stories become memes. And the Vampire Diary's cast even read some of their favorites on tape.

One of the leading sites I've found out about recently is Some creative entries include a story about Calvin and Hobbes' Spaceman Spiff, new plots for the play Wicked, or even alternative paths for the 1990's classic video game character Parappa the Rapper. Check it out and read a few. Just beware: Given the collective sick mind of humanity, some of even the most beloved characters are occasionally put into...  adult situations (ewww).

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The elusive GoldenVoice - organizer of Coachella Music Fest

On NPR today there was a story about the mayor of Indio California, where the famous (and yet I've never heard of it) Coachella music fest has been held for more than a decade. The music fest brings tens of millions of dollars to the economy, and the mayor was trying to levy a tax on tickets to held city finances. The organizers refused and threatened to move if the tax wasn't repealed. An agreement was struck - it ended amicably.

But the part I was interested in was when the NPR host was referencing the festival's promoter - GoldenVoice - refused to comment on the story and was in fact "secretive." So that's interesting. I tried to Google this group and had a hell of a time finding out anything. And when I weeded out Ted Williams, the homeless guy with the "Golden Voice," there was even less.

The wikipedia page for the group doesn't exist. Rather, if you search for it you get the page for AEG Live which says:

Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Live is a live entertainment promotion subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group. It is the world's second largest live show promoter.[1] [2]

That's it. One line. No mention of the festival at all. And certainly you'd expect more from a festival that rakes in $60 million, and while it is in the news, too. It definitely seems reasonable to wonder if this information was behind actively deleted. There's not much you can get from AEG's website either. Fortunately, Wikipedia has the magic of transparency, so you can see past versions of the page. This is a tedious process, and a lot of the pages are gobbledegook. But a few are intelligible, like this one:

Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Live is a subsidiary of Anschutz Entertainment Group.
AEG and AEG Live own, manage and/or book events for the following, among others.

And then lists dozens of locations in the U.S. and many more in Turkey, the UK, Australia, China, even India. OK, so it's a list of their business holdings. Certainly nothing scandalous about that. Unless, perhaps, you are trying to portray yourself as a homegrown, friendly and approachable organization, and not an multinational concert Goliath. The whole thing is strange.

A little Googling about AEG Live is quite damning - they're being taken to court in connection with the death of Michael Jackson and are being sued for $40 Billion. That's not a bad reason to be covert, I suppose.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gotta be the future

TV and movies have done a good job of creating passable (or even great) versions of fantastic fictional environments. You've got Lord of the Rings world, Oz, Pandora, the Marvel and DC universes, and lots more. Period movies have been great for a while, from the "Ten Commandments," "Cleopatra," "Pride and Prejudice," etc.

But there's one gaping hole: the far future. And I don't mean flying cars. And "Planet of the Apes" doesn't count. I mean the FAR future, thousands or millions of years, where humanity has fundamentally changed to the point where we are hardly recognizable. Much farther ahead than "Terminator 2" (or 3), 2001, "The Fifth Element" or "Star Trek / Wars."

The end of "AI" is more like what I'm talking about. In Sandman a character goes so far in the future that humans are eight feet tall, transparent, and fueled entirely by photosynthesis. Some science fiction stories I've read have genetically enhanced humans with regenerative powers who can leap from orbit and survive by eating stone. Another had these things called "cornucopia machines" that can basically create matter. Or living bioships that are artificially intelligent. Or a time when people can upload their intelligences into computers, and copy themselves endlessly.

Yes, I know it would be prohibitively expensive to film things like this. But a guy can dream...