Book review: My Kid Brother’s Band a/k/a The Beatles!

My Kid Brother’s Band, aka The Beatles!
By Louise Harrison
Published by Acclaim Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-938905-52-0
Review copy sent by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

I first saw Louise Harrison at this year’s Fest for Beatles Fans in Rye, N.Y. She spoke about her brother George with so much love and affection that I decided I had to read her book to learn more about the man we Beatles fans call The Quiet Beatle, but she called her little brother. I was half expecting a puff piece making George look more angelic than was humanly possible, like another Harrison bio I read (see my earlier review, “Here Comes the Sun: The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison” by Joshua M. Greene). Instead, I found an honest, in-depth history of the author’s life during World War II as well as before and after her little brother became famous.
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Book review: Here Comes the Sun. The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison

Here Comes the Sun. The Spiritual and Musical Journey of George Harrison
By Joshua M. Greene
Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2006
ISBN-13:9780470127803
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

Let me say right from the beginning: I loved this book! Despite the obvious proselytizing on behalf of the Hindu religion—what used to be known as Krishna Consciousness here in the States—Joshua M. Greene, writer and producer for PBS and the Disney Channel (he also wrote “Justice at Dachau” and “Witness: Voices from the Holocaust”, which was made into a PBS-TV documentary), has written a tender, loving account of the life of George Harrison, before and after the Beatles, and how his faith in Krishna helped him to overcome all the emotional and financial setbacks in his life, ultimately allowing him to die with grace after losing his battle with brain cancer.
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – a con in review

From the suburb to the city, AnimeNEXT starts it’s new life in a larger venue, the Atlantic City Convention Center. Much larger than the Garden State, it has room for the growing number of attendees. This year, I know many have decided not to trek it out to East coast’s own city of temptations, but they missed out on an exciting weekend of music, fashion, anime and fun.

Headlining guests is the creator of Black Lagoon, Hiroe Rei-sensei, seiyuu Matsui Naoko-san and Producer/Director Daichi Akitaro-san (Fruits Basket). TRIGGER Wakabayashi Hiromi and Koyama Shigeto returns third year in a row with Inferno Cop’s own designer Amemiya Akira-san. Stateside guests includes voice actors Richard Epcar, Todd Haberkorn, Bill Rogers, Marc Swint and more. Mint Neko is will be on the show floor with his latest from Japan along with a fashion show by Vedetta Marie. AnimeNEXT is also happy to celebrate ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D’s 10th Anniversary at AC with a Friday concert along with ZAQ’s live on Sunday. Also returning to AnimeNEXT is the World Cosplay Summit finals with the chosen winners going to compete in the 2016 WCS in Nagoya, Japan!

Atlantic City…here is AnimeNEXT!
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – Masquerade and WCS USA Finals

Since the masquerade and the autograph signing was at the same time, I was late in heading to the Main Events hall. It started a bit late since when I arrived, they were only on the 6th performance. This masquerade is special since aside from the usual main performances, it also housed the World Cosplay Summit US finals where Team USA will be chosen to compete in Japan this year. Go Team USA!


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AnimeNEXT 2016 – Sekai Project panel

Publishing Manager Evan Pago hosted the Sekai Project panel. He opened by noting that everyone who worked with Sekai Project started working with other parts of the industry. He shared his love for Idolmaster and noted that all who work in the company need to like Idolmaster. A bit of history, founded in 2013 by a group of anime fans and headed by Raymound Qian and Chris Ling. Met in a restaurant and decided that the industry can be alot better since there was very little overseas fan representation from and to Japan. Their main goal is to make sure that visual novels get a shot in the US as well as show Japan that there is a viable market overseas. Also, Sekai Project would like to give smaller Japanese creators a chance to market their games overseas.
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – TRIGGER Inferno Cop panel

From left to right, designer Koyama Shigeto, animator director Amemiya Akira and director Wakabayashi Hiromi on the laptop. Wakabayashi Hiromi-san hosted the panel, led the questions and provided a plethora of information to the fans. First, he commented that he was surprised at the immense reception and crowd which showed up to the panel. (Considerably, since the room was packed with people lined up on the sides and standing in the back.) He continued by stating that due to this visit to New York/New Jersey, Amemiya-san made a new episode for Inferno Cop that he will be showing at this panel. He added that it was Amemiya-san’s first time overseas.
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AnimeNEXT 2016 – ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D concert

With a mixture of rock, rap and high energy beats, ROOKiEZ is PUNK’D returns to take Anime Next by storm, gracing the first con night with a live concert that shook the masses. The concert opened first with ‘In My World’, the ending to Ao no Exorcist which got the crowd jumping to the awesome rhythm of the guitar and drums. Vocalist SHiNNOSUKE stood middle of the stage with his guitar with RYOTA at the left and drummer in the middle back of the stage. Support guitarist KAT stood at the right.
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Anime Expo 2016 Cosplay

Some of the more, um, artistic effects in these photos are my camera acting up.

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Book review: Dark Money

Dark Money
By Jane Mayer
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN: 978-0-7352-1033-2
Review copy provided by reviewer

Review by KM Warner

By now it’s well known that Charles and David Koch have been very busy in distributing substantial amounts of money in support of right wing causes. What wasn’t well known before the publication of Jane Mayer’s meticulously researched book Dark Money The Hidden Agenda of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right was that they and similarly minded economic libertarians have been embarked on a forty-year effort to remake the American economic, political and cultural system in their own image through the strategic establishment of tax-deductible philanthropic organizations that are little more than fronts for the funders’ business interests.
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Katsucon 2016 – a con in review

The focus of Katsucon has it’s share of panels and guests but the highlight has to be the cosplay which takes over the Gaylord National Resort during Valentine’s weekend. Next to the harbor, the Atrium, the gazebo, hallways and lobby, cosplay shoots take place at all hours celebrating the fun, the intricacies of the craft and the artistry of photography. The location and relaxed feel of the convention draws fans from across the nation with special international guests and attendees like our favorites from Canada. Hit the link for photos from the weekend, a few panels, the masquerade and some of the best cosplays of the East coast.
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Katsucon 2016 – Funimation Panel

A special video of their online streaming catalogue was shown with a variety of series including fan favorite Dragon Ball. The streaming service plans include a sub-pass which gives subscribers to all subtitled content for $4.99 including simulataneous. The All Access pass gives fans access to everything on the site including special convention-only events and subscriber forums as well as contests. The 14 day trial expanded to 30 days for a limited amount of time. The service is available on many devices and there will be a mobile app for the ios and android. Rojas added that there the service is on the PS3 and PS4 as well as Xbox One and 360. McKinney adds that new apps are on the way.
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Katsucon 2016 – Masquerade

The hosts were the same as last year, Frank and Sadie Doyle from the graphic novel, ‘Thrilling Adventure Hour’ with a mix of characters to surprise the audience. The ‘ding’ from the clinking glasses was a small brick joke from last year and there were other interesting scenarios to keep us laughing.
You can catch the entire thing on TheFansPOV on youtube.
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Katsucon 2016 – Vertical Panel

The panel discussion opened with Ed sharing about the history of the company which began in 2003 in New York. Many of the fans shared their love of Osamu Tezuka which Vertical published quite a few manga from. Ed prompted that many of the titles chosen for Vertical releases are not simply the popular ones from Japan, but those unique even in their respective genres that brings different perspectives to readers. “Shaking the foundations” is a good description for the types of books which Vertical chooses.
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WonderCon 2016 Cosplay

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Book review: Sadistic Pattern, by Michael J. Molloy

SadisticPatternBookSadistic Pattern
by Michael J. Molloy
Published By: Gypsy Shadow Publishing, 2015
ISBN: 13: 978-1619502758
Review copy sent by author

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

It’s been said by the philosopher George Santayana that “those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it”. I think that saying should be amended to “those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it”. Such is the case with Professor Roger Lavoie, the central character of this new suspense novel by Michael Malloy, whose previous novel, “The Diamond Man”, gave us a look at love and baseball. Now branching out from romance to suspense, Mr. Malloy has given us a study of one man’s slow descent into madness as events from his past repeat themselves in the present.
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NYCC 2015 – a con in review

The biggest comic industry convention on the East coast, New York Comic Con expanded their 3 day convention to a 4 day, rivaling SDCC in content (though thankfully, not in size.) However, the highlight of the convention is not just the comic and movie guests. Sponsored by Viz, the biggest Japanime guest of the weekend was Naruto creator, Kishimoto, Masashi-sensei along with the voice of the title character, Takeuchi Junko-san. The events of the weekend is with Kishimoto-sensei being part of Super Week, making appearances at the Apple Store, signing at Kinokuniya, Barnes & Noble along with his panels at NYCC. All of this in celebration to the end of the series, the Boruto movie AND Naruto’s birthday! Dattebayo indeed!
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NYCC 2015 – Boruto: Naruto the Movie

The MC noted that the guests will only appear if the audience was hyped up. There was no need to hype up the audience even more when merely saying their names threw the fans into a frenzy. With the announcement of Takeuchi Junko and Kishimoto Masahi-sensei to the stage, everyone stood up and applauded.
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NYCC 2015 – Vertical Panel

Ed noted that since he has a full panel presentation for us, we probably won’t have time for Q&A. Since there was still time before the official starting, he decided to open the floor up for some questions.

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