June 20, 2014

The World That I See: Reads and Listens #18


This is the week of book signings for friends of mine here in St. Louis. Last night, the great Traci Angel appeared at Left Bank Books to talk about her book The Scars of Project 459. It chronicles the environmental devastation caused by the explosion of tourism at the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. I picked up my copy last night and can’t wait to read it. If you’re curious to learn more about the book, you should check out these articles in the St. Louis Post Dispatch and St. Louis Magazine (where Traci was the managing editor years ago). You can also check out the website for the book to order a copy.

Tonight, I’ll be going back to Left Bank Books to hear my old friend Joe Stange speak about his book Good Beer Guide Belgium. There will also be a free beer tasting at the event, which means I’ll be there when the doors open. Craft beers are really taking off here in St. Louis and around the country, so this is a must read if you’re interested in that topic. I’m looking forward to trying a lot of new beers after I pick up the book tonight. I may not be traveling to Belgium anytime soon, so this title will be a substitute.


We now return to my regularly scheduled links post. Here are some other interesting blogs that are definitely worth your time:

I’m a fan of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Steve Honeywell at 1001 Plus finally caught up with it on the recommendation of Nick Jobe at Your Face. Instead of writing a normal review, Steve posted a lengthy text conversation with Nick that showed two very different takes on the movie. I’m more inclined to fall on Nick’s side of this discussion, but I can see Steve’s points. It’s an entertaining way to dissect a film and should be a must-read no matter where your opinion lies of this Edgar Wright movie.

Roger Ebert’s birthday was Wednesday, so it was time to again revisit his greatness. On Rogerebert.com, they posted a brief yet intriguing conversation between Ebert and David Stratton about film criticism. It’s from 1988, yet the topics remain very relevant today. It doesn’t dig too far, but Ebert’s outlook on reviewing movies more than 25 years ago strikes a chord with my feelings on the topic.


The big news in the theme park world is the preview of the new Diagon Alley section at Universal Orlando. The official opening to the public is July 8, but some lucky folks were able to take a look behind the curtain. The spotlight attraction is Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, and the early reports are incredible. Robert Niles at the Theme Park Insider gave his first impressions yesterday, and while there were a few glitches, the technology sounds amazing. I’ll be curious to see the attendance bump that follows the most anticipated opening in Orlando since the first Harry Potter land.

Over at The Dissolve, Tasha Robinson digs into many “strong female characters” that still fall victim to similar tropes in movies. She cites the “Trinity Syndrome” where even the most kick-ass women still much be identified by their connections to men. There are a lot of examples of the “hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene”. Robinson makes a convincing case in the engaging piece, which talks about the limitations even with characters that appear powerful on the surface. Tasha closes her thoughts in this way:

So maybe all the questions can boil down to this: Looking at a so-called Strong Female Character, would you—the writer, the director, the actor, the viewer—want to be her? Not want to prove you’re better than her, or to have her praise you or acknowledge your superiority. Action movies are all about wish-fulfillment. Does she fulfill any wishes for herself, rather than for other characters? When female characters are routinely ‘strong’ enough to manage that, maybe they’ll make the ‘Strong Female Characters’ term meaningful enough that it isn’t so often said sarcastically.

4 comments:

  1. Nice link offs to some very interesting articles, especially the one on strong women in cinema! I'm also intrigued by this Potter ride, which looks quite impressive. I love these posts from you. I look forward to them every Friday!

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    1. Thanks so much! I'm glad to hear that you're enjoying these posts! That whole entire Harry Potter area looks amazing. I went to their first section, and it was amazing. This appears to be on another level.

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  2. I wasn't the biggest Harry Potter fan (even though I still liked the series, just not a diehard) but I really want to visit Wizarding World/Diagon Alley! It seems very well produced and fun.

    That Dissolve article is really great. It's incredible that writers find it so hard to accomplish this.

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    1. Jess, I think that area (and a lot of Universal's recent additions) would be fun even if you're not a huge fan of the movies. I do think that Potter fans will lose it, though. With the Dissolve article, I think Tasha Robinson really hits the nail on the head. Sad but true.

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