Tag Archives: geek

Editorial | RegularJOE, and why I like him

The first time I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt was not Third Rock from the Sun.  It was Inception.  Since then, and especially over the last couple of years, he’s done a lot of stuff  that has caught my eye… and always in a good way.   It’s appropriate that I mention the first time I saw Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or JGL, as he’s lovingly called by his fans—Joseph Golden Rabbit on reddit), because last week, he introduced the world to his new show HitRECord on TV.  Its first episode was about firsts.

The glasses are a not-so-subtle reminder that he’s a geek just like us

Joe’s geek status seems to have originated organically.  His good friend Zooey Deschanel says that when she first met Joe, he was “Very intellectual. Very, very serious and very intense… you would say something, and he would go, ‘What do you mean by that?’ Not a word went unexamined, you know?”  Now, he’s much more open, friendly, and able to express himself freely; and that is also something he admires in others (such as his older brother Dan, who passed away in 2010).

JGL seems to be enthusiastic about everything that he helps create.  I think it is inherently geeky that he is so in love with what he does and shares.  His big box office hits may make him a well known and wealthy man, but he seems incredibly grounded—even drives a 2005 Honda.    His passion appears to actually be about what he does, rather than about making money by doing things.  He has given multiple interviews in which he declaims the idea of “celebrities” and the culture that makes their words and actions more important than those of other people.  On the internet, he goes by “RegularJOE” or “hitRECordJoe,” to put emphasis on his work rather than his status.

Joe believes that the media plays a large—perhaps too large—role in forming public opinion about the way the world is and should be.  “My mom and dad brought me up to question dominant cultural gender roles,” he says at one point.  The “old media,” as he calls it, is on its way out.  Thanks to the connectivity now afforded by the internet, a new type of media is forming in which artists can connect directly with their audience without the Hollywood song-and-dance.

He’s able to geek out about the same types of things that his fans are passionate about.  “Movies are something I care deeply about,” he says, in an interview about Dark Knight Rises, “Often times in our culture, movies are thought of as something more disposable, a bit of entertainment.  That’s not how I feel about them; and it’s great to be a part of something where people aren’t just looking at is as some piece of disposable entertainment but as something that means a lot.”

Now, after his directorial debut with Don Jon, he’s putting his efforts into a new form of art:  HitRECord.  For the past few years, Joe has been working on a project that is now hosted on hitrecord.org.  Creators of all forms of media—singers and songwriters, artists and animators, even just people with fantastic speaking voices—come together to make collaborative pieces.  Now, for the first time, some of these pieces will be on a television show hosted by Joseph Gordon-Levitt himself.

regularJOEJoe seems to have a unique way of reaching out to connect to his fans, and it shows in this project.  It is hard to comprehend how a young man who has acting for the public’s entertainment is able to empathize so perfectly with those who love his work.  Somehow he always does the right thing—like right now, when he released the first episode of his new show HitRECord on TV a week early to his internet fandom, and announced it with an AMA on reddit.  (You can check out the AMA here and the show here).  His sincerity and zeal are obvious—this type of public relations cannot be taught.  Unsurprisingly, this appeal resulted in an enormous response from his fans.  It seems to have worked, because HitRECord on TV has already been picked up for a second season—still a couple of days ahead of its January 18th premier.

It is rare for me to speak so glowingly of anyone—especially a celebrity—but I just really like this guy. I like his down-to-earth style. I like his grasp on social media, and his ability to advertise without appearing to advertise.  I really, really love his enthusiasm for his life and his art.  I’m excited to see what else Joseph Golden Rabbit and his brave new world of media has to show us and wish him the best in all of his endeavors.


Filed under Editorial, Geek Life

The Road Less Traveled

One of the things I love most about science fiction and fantasy is the franchises. Sure there are great standalone stories but some of the greatest stories are part of large franchises. Between films, television episodes, books, comics and more, there is often more material than fans can take in.  Star Trek is a prime example of this. There are so many things that fans can get into. If people want to cosplay they have five TV series and twelve motion pictures full of characters to choose from, with hundreds if not thousands of possible costume ideas. It’s a geek’s dream come true.

But if these major franchises are a geek’s dream come true, then why are there those geeks who latch on to franchises that don’t have this overwhelming back catalog of material from which to pull.  Are they mentally ill? Do they not know that there are much greater treasure troves out there from which to fulfill their geek fantasies? In my humble (or perhaps not so humble) opinion I actually think there is something very commendable about these folks and their attachment to these “lesser” franchises. They are willing to go out there and show off what they love even when there isn’t quite as much of it.

Let's be honest, how many cosplayer's costumes require a car?

Let’s be honest, how many cosplayer’s costumes require a car?

I think my favorite example of this is the fan base for Ghostbusters. With only two movies and a handful of comics, there isn’t a whole lot to work with, yet Ghostbuster fans are some of the most dedicated fans I’ve met. Not only do they carry around homemade proton packs, which require considerable amounts of time and effort to put together properly, but any self-respecting Ghostbusters group must have their own Ecto-1. That’s right, these people have to have their own custom car. That is way more of an investment than a set of stormtrooper armor or a red shirt costume. And not only do they have these cars, but they insist that everything be absolutely perfect on both the costumes and the car. I’ve even heard a story of one Ghostbusters fan that stayed overnight at his job at a print shop so he could print out a full sized Vigo painting. He barely got any sleep because he was constantly checking it to ensure that Vigo printed correctly. Now that is some serious devotion.

An entire night, just for this.

An entire night, just for this.

Not only is it commendable that these fans show such devotion to things they love, but in many ways it’s also quite difficult. If I really feel like it, I can cover the entirety of the Firefly universe in under a day. This includes the show, movie and comics.  To be honest, there are only so many conversations that can be had about the same fourteen episodes—and far too many of them revolve around the show being cancelled too early or about bringing it back. But this doesn’t stop us from having the conversations. This repetition is not just restricted to conversations. Take The Fifth Element for example. I’ve gone to numerous conventions and seen people dressed up as all the various characters from the film, in varying degrees of success. The real difficulty is doing it the best you can and adding your own little touches to the costumes. What can you do to make yourself stand out from the throngs of other bottle red heads in thermal bandages? Maybe you adopt the character’s persona. Maybe you make sure that your costume is as accurate as possible.

It took longer to crop this picture than to find all these cosplayers on Google.

It took longer to crop this picture than to find all these cosplayers on Google.

So what is a fan to do? I would have to say that a fan must be true to themselves. There is no need to jump on the Star Trek or Star Wars bandwagons just because there is more material to work with. Some of the most impressive costumes I have seen and most interesting conversations I have had revolve around the smaller arenas of fandom. The most important thing is to be true to yourself and just have fun.  After all, if you’re not enjoying your leisure activities, then they just aren’t worth it.

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Filed under Andrew Hales, Geek Life

Editorial | Seek the Geek!

Sitting here on the bunk in my “new” dorm room makes me feel very, very young.  It’s a very unusual thing to live on my own for so many years, only to find myself sharing a room with two other people in a self-contained ecosystem where the organism highest on the food chain usually wears shorts and a hoodie.

2013-08-23 09.42.59

Home sweet home?

From the moment I stepped foot on the campus of William & Mary, I knew this was the place for me.  That feeling was cemented even further in the few short days that I’ve been here, because everyone (and I do mean everyone) here is a geek like me!

My first encounter with my roommate involved a stack of graphic novels with vectoring interests.  She is a dance major, but likes Marvel and is interested in some of the smaller, creator-owned comics.

Next was a statuesque, blond transfer student who was talking about the girly things she was doing to prepare for her wedding.  She wore sundresses and high heels and sprinkled her conversations liberally with references to Game of Thrones.  We spent a fifteen minute walk to the Campus Center discussing the character development of Edrick Storm, and GRR Martin’s reasons for leaving him out of the HBO show.

Then was the ice-breaker game that my group of new students played to learn each other’s names and interests.  Students announced one fact about themselves and then everyone else who shared that quality or experience (such as breaking a bone, or loving cats) would trade places until someone was caught out and had to start the whole thing over.  “My name is Tracy, and I cosplay,” I announced and only one other person stepped into the center with me.  My crestfallen face lasted less than a second as instantly almost everyone in the circle began to ask what my characters were and which conventions I attend.  I received high fives all around.  When the hubbub died down, we asked the foreign exchange student who had switched places with me what he had cosplayed.  Without skipping a beat, he shrugged nonchalantly and said, “The green power ranger, of course.”

Apparently this is how they cosplay in the Netherlands.

Wherever I go on this campus, my geek status is welcomed with open arms.  Other students who look as though they would fit into categories that do not seem to jive with geekhood, such as prep or jock, still share my love of words, memes, video games, comics, or sci fi.

The moral of my short tale is twofold.  First, seek out the company of other geeks—the sense of acceptance is unbelievably warm and fuzzy.  Second, and please forgive my triteness, never judge a book by its cover.  I’m excited to be here and excited to share some of my experiences with all of you, our wonderful readers.  In the meantime, I’ve got an early morning registration appointment.

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Filed under Editorial, Tracy Gronewold

Around the Web August 16, 2013

This week Popular Science has given us a fun infographic about the evolution of the geek. Aside from being interesting and mildly amusing it also gives us an origin of the word geek.


I bet this guy knows the origin of geek.

If geeks used to bite the heads off chickens, what does that make Ozzy after the incident with the bat?

Speaking of rock stars, apparently KISS has purchased an arena football team. I am nearly speechless on this one. While Gene Simmons has a pretty sharp business mind, somehow I don’t think the football going public is going to get on board with this one.

I have a hard time seeing this man running a sports franchise.

I have a hard time seeing this man running a sports franchise.

I get the feeling this will go the way of the XFL.

Next up is a deleted scene from season 3 of Game of Thrones. Turns out that Grand Maester Pycelle is much less of an old fool than he looks.

Not that we didn’t already know he wasn’t on the level, but the change in personality was more than a little startling.

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Filed under Around the Web