Book review: Ruth’s Journey

Title: “Ruth’s Journey: The Authorized Novel of Mammy from Margaret Mitchell’s ‘GONE WITH THE WIND’”
By Donald McCaig
Published By: Atria Books, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4516-4353-4
Review copy provided by publisher

Review written by Ida Vega-Landow

From the man who gave us “Rhett Butler’s People”, a version of “Gone With The Wind” written from Rhett Butler’s point of view, the creative mind of Donald McCaig has given us a plausible backstory for the faithful Mammy, Scarlet O’Hara’s beloved black nurse, who raised her and her two sisters. She was also mammy to Scarlett’s mother Ellen Robillard and her two sisters. But she wasn’t always the big, black slave woman in charge of a white woman’s babies.
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Book review: The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green

The Completely Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green
By Eric Orner
Published by Northwest Press
ISBN 978-1928720826
Review copy provided by the publisher (Thanks, Zan!)

Review by Ginger Mayerson

I liked The Mostly Unfabulous Social Life of Ethan Green comics. I remember enjoying reading them in the 80s, but I’m not sure where I was reading them. The legendary, and greatly missed, Funny Times comics newspaper? I don’t know, I just don’t know. What don’t remember from that time was how many of these comics were about the AIDS epidemic or pandemic, I guess is what it finally ended up being called.
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Book review: The Lost Tribe of Coney Island

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island
By Claire Prentice
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by arrangement with Amazon Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-544-26228-7
Review copy purchased by reviewer

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

One of the advantages to living in Brooklyn, only a short subway ride away from Coney Island, is that you get to be a frequent visitor to the Coney Island Museum, located right above the Freak Bar on Mermaid Avenue, where they show movies on Saturday nights in the summertime (classics and B-movies, plus cinema suitable for MST3K fans). They also have private shows and book signings. One of these was held in December 2014, where a charming lady named Claire Prentice debuted her new book, “The Lost Tribe of Coney Island”. Being familiar with the Freak Show around the corner from the Freak Bar, I thought this book was about another of the curious peoples exhibited there. So I coaxed my husband to buy me a copy as an early Christmas present.
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Katsucon 2015 – a con in review

Going back one month ago, Katsucon hit the Gaylord National Resort for another weekend of cosplay and Japanime fun. I put cosplay on the forefront, because for an East coast con, the venue draws cosplayers from across the nation and even other parts of the world. With the backdrop of the enclosed Gaylord resort, cosplayers come in their best to showcase their talents. This year’s cosplay idols were Yaya Han, Svetlana “Kammui” Quindt from Germany and Giada Robin from Italy who is also one of the judges for the Masquerade. Besides cosplay, there is a plethora of guests from the industry including voice talents Christopher and Greg Ayres, Vincent Corazza, Robbie Daymond, Cherami Leigh and Christina Vee amongst others, webcomic and artists, Gina Biggs, Starpower Michael T. and Garth G., Chalk Twins Devon and Levi and many, many more. Cultural speakers Charles Dunbar, Katriel Paige, Nilo Holbrook and others lead us into intense discussions while the punk rock band Uzuhi hits us with their music. Along with a formal ball, charity auction, nightly raves and an awesome masquerade, we have a weekend full of memories. And during Valentine’s weekend…it has it’s share of sweet surprises.
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Katsucon 2015 – Working in the Anime Industry

The MCs were Brand Manager Victoria Holden aka. SailorBee who works with the producers to create content as well as keep the Voice of the site consistent, software engineer Evan Minto who builds the interface for users as well as manages the Korean drama sister site, writer for Anigamers and OtakuUSA as well as Brandon Lee aka Superscience who is also a software engineers focusing on the background functionality of the site, highlighting is work on the Crunchyroll store as well as the Korean site.
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Katsucon 2015 – Masquerade

The MCs were Frank and Sadie Doyle from the graphic novel, ‘Thrilling Adventure Hour’. Despite not understanding the fandom of the MCs, they were still entertaining, funny and the delay in the clinking of the glasses became a running joke that were still funny at the end. The jokes were not overdone despite it’s simplicity and we got to enjoy the show. You can catch the entire thing on TheFansPOV on youtube.
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Katsucon 2015 – Aniplex of America Panel

EJ Rivera, Aniplex Marketing started the panel with the usual Aniplex audience pic later featured on the Facebook page. He then started the panel by blasting a reel of action packed scenes from various Aniplex titles. He ran down the usual agenda of panel events starting with streaming titles, releases, new announcements with Q&A and raffles to close things up.
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Katsucon 2015 – Funimation Panel

It looked like more of the same as the day before with several repeats in videos. There were some different promo vids though and there were of course the new announcements which were always interesting. ^_^
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Katsucon 2015 – Sailor Moon Panel

Senior Manager of animation marketing, Charlene Ingram was hosting the panel with sparkles and glitter. She introduced the voice actors onto the stage starting with the voice of Sailor Venus, Cherami Leigh with Amanda Miller as Sailor Jupiter and Christina Vee for Sailor Mars. Complete with a rose throw clip, Robbie Daymond for Tuxedo Mask stepped the stage.


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Katsucon 2015 – Funimation Previews

Due to technical difficulties, the panel started 15 minutes late. The Convention Manager of Funimation, Tara McKinney and the Fan Engagement Coordinator (awesome job title) Timothy Johnson jumped straight into previews that are available currently.
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Otakon 2014 – a con in review

Otakon returns to the Baltimore Convention Center and Inner Harbor for another crazy fun weekend from August 8-10. Last year was their 20th year celebration and the schedule reflected that with special guests, events and the like. This year was not to be outdone. With the weekend surrounding the premiere of Kill la Kill and Sailor Moon, Aniplex and Viz took over the anime weekend with their voice actors and industry guests. For Kill la Kill, there is Christine Cabanos, Carrie Keranen, Erica Mendez and David Vincent. For Sailor Moon, we have Robbie Daymond and Stephanie Sheh for the new cast and the legendary voice actors of the original series: Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin and John Stocker. There is also the famed Dante Basco, Wendee Lee and Tony Oliver amongst others. From Japan we have producer Kashiwada Shinichiro, director Katabuchi Sunao, mangaka Kozaki Yusuke, seiyuu Hayami Saori, game designer Ishii Jiro and animator Matsubara Hidenori…but that doesn’t end there. Otakon staff honoree Masao Maruyama returns to speak about his new projects with MAPPA, as well as producer and musician Yura Hiroaki in attendence. Musical guests are Altima and Yoshiki of X Japan. Otakon is the last stop on Yoshiki’s classical tour and his piano concert will close the weekend. Throw in two sumo wrestlers, Kelly Gneiting and Yama and we have a weekend that we won’t soon forget! It’s chaos central here on in!
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Otakon 2014 – Yoshiki in Concert

Baltimore was the final leg of Yoshiki’s classical tour, a rare performance apart from X Japan. The concert opened with the Miracle video showcasing moments from X Japan concerts and clips from his classical tour. Truly, the video is a wonderful intro into the depth, the heart and the man that is Yoshiki. Scenes of high energy drumming with the band juxtaposed against melodies on the piano. At first glance, they may seem different, but truly, the music is connected as the same soul composed both. As Yoshiki mentioned in the press conference, the melodies came first and whether or not the lyrics are there, the meaning behind the piece will flow through. That is what everyone is waiting to experience. Yoshiki’s music in it’s purest form.
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Otakon 2014 – Hallcosplay and Masquerade

After a delay, the masquerade event began. We had the usual host and his jokes were alot better than previous years…at least that’s how I feel. The event opened with the Hallcosplay entries which had quite a bit of variety and wonderful detailing.

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Otakon 2014 – Linda Ballantyne, Katie Griffin and John Stocker Q&A

No moderator was needed as John Stocker, Linda Ballantyne and Katie Griffin took over the panel with hilarious anecdotes, experiences of recording and changes in the industry.

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Otakon 2014 – Yoshiki Press Conference

The Press Conference was held in the Hilton on August 9 at 2pm. Yoshiki spoke in English while Pata (guitarist) and Heath (bassist) spoke in a mix of English and mostly Japanese.

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Otakon 2014 – Hayami Saori Q&A panel

The staff got us pumped up by throwing out anime titles that Hayami-san were featured in starting with Oreimo, Sword Art Online and Ano Hana. As if we needed any more encouragement as the cheers were loud as Hayami-san stepped onstage in what I remember to be a light colored kimono.

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Otakon 2014 – Katabuchi Sunao Q&A

The host introduced Katabuchi-san of the fame Mai Mai Miracle which garnered a full English BD/DVD release via support on Kickstarter. (Note, beside the pledges with gifts from wallpapers to collectors editions, there was even a $10,000 prize pledge which included airfare to Japan, 3 days hotel, a day tour of the sites featured in the film with Katabuchi-san and staff. Unfortunately, no one took them up on that special once in a lifetime tour.)

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Book review: The Church of Mercy

Church of MercyThe Church of Mercy
By Pope Francis
Published by Loyola Press, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-8294-4170-3
Review copy provided by publisher

Review by Ida Vega-Landow

This slender philosophical book is a collection of speeches by Pope Francis, dating from April to November 2013. My impression of the former Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergolio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, is that he is a good, kind man with a genuine faith in God, and a genuine interest in the welfare of the poor, not just in saving their souls, but their bodies as well. He proves this in Part Eight, Chapter 30 of his book, “The Cult of the God of Money”, in which he deplores the wastefulness of this throwaway culture of ours and the rampant consumerism that leads to so much waste: “This culture of waste has also made us insensitive to wasting and throwing out excess foodstuffs, which is especially condemnable when, in every part of the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families suffer hunger and malnutrition…Let us remember well, however, that whenever food is thrown out, it is as if it were stolen from the table of the poor, from the hungry!” Continue reading

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