Weekly Roundups:
August 2021

August 2, 2021

Anomia (desinged by Andrew Innes, 2010)

Bushido Blade (1997)

I can't speak to the story mode, but the multiplayer mode is absolutely riveting. It's very much a "Just one more! ...Just one more!" kind of game. And god do I love its look and sound.

"GLBT? LGBT? LGBTQIA+? What's in a Name?" (Elizabeth Drescher on Medium, 2016)

Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders (dir. Naokatsu Tsuda, 2014-2015)

I finished Stardust Crusaders, also widely known as Part 3, this week. In general I've loved what I've seen in Jojo, but Part 3 is packed with great characters, dynamics, development, tension, humor and, of course, style. I was really floored by the last few episodes in particular, and I honestly can't imagine that I'll like any of the later parts more than I liked this one!

Robert Maronpot's sand-under-microscope photography

"Porter Robinson Interview: 'My Greatest Desire is to Feel Understood'" (Peter Robinson for Pop Justice, 2020)

ureshii! (goreshit, 2010)

"What Will Happen to My Music Library When Spotify Dies?" (Joe Pinkser for The Atlantic, 2021)

August 9, 2021

Blair Witch (dir. Adam Wingard, 2016)

I hadn't rewatched this since I saw it in theaters back in 2016. I was really delighted rewatching it -- much of it feels like everything about the original Blair Witch Project (which I also adore!) turned up to 11. It's way scarier than I remembered, too.

"Photos Capturing the Defiant Spirit of the '90s Rave Scene" (Vinca Peterson and Huck staff on Huck, 2021)

Writeup on Vinca Peterson's work.

Raves and Riots (Vinca Peterson, 2021) exhibit info and gallery on Edel Assanti website

"Saving Hideaki Anno's Legendary DAICON III Isn't Going As Planned" (Alicia Haddick for Polygon, 2021)

I remember seeing the announcement that Femboy Films would not be able to move forward with the release of its DAICON III remaster. Truly infurirating and distressing moment in media preservation -- and in the preservation of something so important, too. As the article notes, DAICON III marks the beginning of Gainax (which created Evangelion!) and "a time when high-profile events" like the Nihon SF Takai convention it was made for "were shifting public perceptions of anime from an underground subculture and a junk medium for children into a legitimate part of Japanese popular culture." It has understandably become an icon of doujin culture. And blocking the preservation of the film goes againstthe original spirit of its creation, too. As Haddick puts it,

What is remastering DAICON III if not a celebration of a shared love of otaku culture, just like the original film? When DAICON Film created the original DAICON III, the group created it through passion, not rules. Many of its key creators took this to heart, with Anno showing in all his subsequent work a willingness to push the boundaries and rules of the mediums he worked with. Like DAICON Film before them, Femboy Films hoped to celebrate a medium it loves. A fan-produced remaster recaptures the same spirit that brought this film into existence in the first place.

I wish desperately that Gainax had turned a blind eye. I understand they can't rerelease and preserve it themselves due to copyright law, but preventing anyone else from preserving it feels cruel.

August 16, 2021

"Alaska Native Identity 'Weighs Heavily' On Friends and a Future" (Meghan Sullivan for Indian Country Today, 2021)

Castle Cyberskull

Very neat website that captures that old web vibe. I never get sick of this shit, honestly.

Club Nintendo Archives

Archives of the Club Nintendo magazine! I haven't had a chance to pick through these all yet, but I'm very excited they exist.

Election (dir. Alexander Payne, 1999)

"Photos Capturing The Blissful Hedonism of '90s Rave Culture" (Joseph Marczynski for Huck Magazine, 2021)

Writeup on Tony Davis's work.

The reaction Davis [the photographer] treasures the most is triggering flashbacks to this period of freedom. "They see themselves – they've had time to pause, thirty years of working in a job, having kids and everything else, and that one picture has taken them back. This picture is how they felt."

"So What Exactly is 'Blood Quantum'?" (Kat Chow and Elizabeth Rule for NPR, 2018)

"'This is Going to Change the World'" (Dan Kois for Slate, 2021)

A story about the attitudes around technology in the era of the old web and its shift into the "new" web, and how that technology actually fared. Most optimism, it seems, was misplaced:

"All these fantasies that ran through your head, and all these amazing breakthroughs that were going to revolutionize the world, are now in front of you," James Bottorff said. "But it didn't eliminate combustion engines. It didn't do half the things that people were speculating on the board."

Certainly the story of the Segway illustrates this misplaced optimism. And yet, in its own way, it also demonstrates just how powerful one piece of tech was -- the internet, and how much it was already changing the world with its ability to rapidly spread information. As the author puts it,

the leak had a lot to do with [...] how little we all understood about what the internet was about to become [...] Once upon a time, it wouldn't have mattered if a bunch of book scouts and their friends knew about this book proposal. But all of a sudden sharing leapt the bounds of the real world and went online. The internet was transforming—into the all-encompassing, media-eating, real-world-changing monster we know now—but we were transforming too, collapsing the boundaries between the online and the real so that it would eventually become just about impossible to distinguish between the two.

This story is also just plain old juicy. I was skeptical that an article about the Segway could be this good, but here we are.

"'This is Really Scary': Kids Struggle with Long Covid" (Pam Belluck for The New York Times, 2021)

My heart really goes out to these kids. I'm all too familiar with how much being stuck with mysterious, debilitating fatigue can be, especially so young when you can't help but feel that it's weak of you to be sick, that kids don't get sick like that, that you're just overreacting. It sometimes feels hard to talk about this stuff because abled folks like to use our struggles to make being disabled seem like a horrible, pitiful fate, like our lives aren't worth living, dehumanizing us, but… sometimes living with disability is frustrating and scary and alienating. I am so, so sad for how many people are going through that right now or will be going through it soon because of COVID. I hope they know they're not alone.

"Travel Back to the New York Rave Scene of the 90s with Colpa Press' New Publication" (Ayla Angelos for It's Nice That, 2020)

Writeup on Luca Antonucci and David Kasprzak's new publication Rave Flyers 1990-1995 Volume 2.

August 23, 2021

"The Cognitive Dissonance of America: Writing Through the Terror of Trumpland" (Brian Castleberry for Lithub, 2021)

Castleberry explores the realm of fictional stories and characters through the lens of the fictions within reality that shape our lives.

These issues have only further formalized my understanding of what part fiction (the literary genre—not the sort of political fictions I've been talking about) can play in this struggle over reality and power. I've grown more aware of how people are predominantly shaped by narratives and often by misconceptions, and that we almost always act out of a sense that we're doing the right thing, no matter how vile.

"Fandom's Biggest Controversy: The Story of Proshippers vs Antis" (Sarah Z, 2021)

Excellent breakdown of the most contentious topic in modern fandom. Sarah Z always delivers on fandom history and analysis. This has actually been on my mind a lot lately, too. I've always thought that fictional depictions that romanticize or otherwise irresponsibly depict fucked up shit like "noncon" (a less conspicuous fandom word for fetishized rape), incest, etc. are, well... fucked up, and I stand by that. Fictions affects what we think and feel, affects our perception of things in reality even though we know that what we're seeing isn't reality. But I've also grown weary of jump folks on "my" side treating any depiction of fucked up shit as inherently bad regardless of what it says about those bad things, if it's exploitative, etc. I do think we should be allowed to make messy, dark art -- just not art that makes truly evil stuff seem okay.

"Fascinating Cases of Lost Media - Cartoons, Movies, Video Games, & More!" (PatMac, 2021)

"The Messy History of Emily Dickinson's Black Cake Recipe" (Reina Gattuso for Atlas Obscura, 2021)

This article explores the complexity of historical figures in our imaginations in the way that Emily Dickinson's reality was erased -- "her passion, her queerness" and how she and her work benefited from violent colonialism and racism. An interesting peek into Victorian gayness and insightful look into how historical figures become flattened, purified versions of themselves in our heads that I think is worth reading. Yet it has an intriguing flaw that allows it to almost prove its own point -- even as it attempts to discuss such flattening, it makes the nasty, complex pieces of the story, the privilege and exploitation, feel almost like an afterthought.

Resident Evil (dir. Paul W. S. Anderson, 2002)

This movie doesn't seem very well liked, but I am always so delighted to watch it. It captures that early Resident Evil feel so well and I love so much about it. Its sets and the way they're shot. The music. The monsters. The way it transforms the original story. Alice. And of course, its goofiness. If only the other movies were this good and this Resident Evil.

"Secrets of the Two Unknown Van Gogh Sunflowers" (Martin Bailey for The Art Newspaper, 2021)

Update on the DAICON III remaster

A very happy update on a story I included in last week's roundup! Femboy Films reveals that they cancelled the upcoming release of their DAICON III restoration because "an official restoration is, in fact, in progress by the original members of DAICON FILM using better film masters than we [at Femboy Films] have" and "hope to release the remastered films themselves"!

I am so glad that we were all wrong about Gainax blocking the rerelease of an important film they won't preserve themselves. Sometimes good things happen in the world of media preservation, even if we have all become used to bad news.

"Young American Jews Have Reached a Tipping Point With Israel" (Marisa Kabas for Rolling Stone, 2021)

"SSBB OoT Demo any% Speedrun in 4:38" (Savestate, 2021)

"SSBB OoT Demo Defeat Ganon Speedrun in 4:56" (Savestate, 2021)

Decorative Beanie Baby Inch gif