UPCOMING & PAST 2014 Excitement in the world of Pop-Culture Spectrum

While much of 2014 has been quite slow and quiet over here at PCS, the upcoming year promises lots of upcoming news, articles and reviews (including of some of the exciting happenings of 2014 so far)

MoCCAFest is coming up on April 5-6th and should be another amazing show. Last year the Society of Illustrators took over and turned this show upside down and re-energized it. This year should be no different especially with lessons from last year learned.

In May I have quite a bit of excitement as I head to Easton, PA for the premiere of season 14 of CHIKARA. This sold out event is the indy wrestling mecca of 2014 and should be the start of excellence. It actually kicks off when the films The Ashes of CHIKARA launches world wide on April 9th, as advertised in many comics recently.

A week later is Book Expo America and the new addition to the event BookCon.  This should be another amazing event and this year some of my favorite celebs will be there.

Upcoming reviews include:
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.
Earthward by Bryan Q. Miller and Marcio Takara
i like you: the movie (directed by Fritz Donnelly)
A look at Telltale’s FABLES and The Walking Dead: Season 2
Fountain and SCOPE art fair 2014
and much more!

The Gentleman, Hustler, Rounder, and Moneymaker: Influencing Pop Culture and Poker

How has  poker influenced the pop culture as a whole?

With the heavy influence of mass media, popular culture or pop culture has affected our everyday lives. These are ideas, images, perspectives, and phenomena that embody society. From gentlemen to online phenomena, here are some people, fiction and non-fiction, who made their mark on pop culture.

The Gentleman Player: Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens or {Mark Twain} has heavily influenced pop culture through his wit and humor. Who could forget his great classics like “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” “The Prince and the Pauper,” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” Aside from writing, he was also an avid poker player. Since he grew up along the river banks of the Mighty Mississippi, Mark was exposed to this card game and grew fond of it. In his book “Life on the Mississippi”, he told the story of four robbers who planned to outwit and rob a farmer in a poker match. However, the farmer proved to be a wiser opponent and defeated them in at their own game. Although, Mark Twain always showed his disgust towards professional gamblers in his stories, he hailed the regular card players. He believed that a player should always be a gentleman, who showed control, moderation, and propriety in every game.



The Hustler and Mutant: Gambit

Known as the “Le Diable Blanc” (The White Devil), Gambit is one of the X-Men’s most famous characters. His Cajun-inspired humor, good looks, and hypnotic charm earned him the 65th spot on IGN’s Top 100 Comic Book Heroes of All Time. Aside from his card-throwing skills and ability to turn them into kinetically-charged weapons, Gambit is also known for his table-hustling skills. In the movie X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was mentioned that he always hustled the Three Mile Prison’s guards in card games. After escaping prison, he made his way to back-alley casinos, bars, and underground poker matches to make a living. Gambit also made his appearance on several video games like the “Marvel vs. Capcom series,” “X-men vs. Street Fighter,” and “X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse.”

Building a Cult Hit: Rounders

With the growing popularity of Texas Hold’em and the other poker games, Miramax Films asked John Dahl to direct a film about this card game. In 1998, the film “Rounders,” starring Matt Damon, Edward Norton, and John Malkovich, the story revolves around two friends; Mike McDermott (Matt Damon) and Lester Murphy (Edward Norton) who makes the rounds around New York City to raise enough money to pay off their debt. Eventually, he beats Teddy KGB (played by John Malkovich) and settles their debt. The movie ends with Mike heading towards Vegas to play at the WSOP (World Series of Poker) Main Event. Vanessa Rousso, a professional poker player revealed that the movie captured the true energy and tension of the game. According to her, it’s the best poker movie ever made.

An Online Phenomenon: Chris Moneymaker

With only $39 as his investment, he turned the world around as he won the $2.5 million pot at the 2003 World Series of Poker Main Event. Called the Moneymaker Effect, Chris is credited for kick-starting the poker revolution, and reintroducing it to the masses. His story also influenced the likes of Kara Scott, an active member of team partypoker, who became the first woman to cash-in on both the 2008 and 2009 WSOP Main Events. With the combination of skill and luck, he made it possible for anyone to play poker.

Nerd Notes for March 21, 2012 (Mostly Video Games Edition)

The Act: An upcoming iPhone and Mac game which is basically an interactive 2D cartoon.  Sort of like I’d say Dragon’s Lair but at a much higher level of gaming and style of humor.  Having better animation than Don Bluth would be asking too much, but The Act still looks like some high quality fun.

Katawa Shoujo: A Free Interactive Visual Novel based in bishojo, it had it’s birth in 4Chan of all places.  It’s for a really niche market, but that a joke became a real project with good art and music after 5 years is amazing and, it’s free, so don’t complain.

YESTERDAY from Pendulo Studios: Most known for entertaining, funny and highly adventurous modern point n click games with awesome cartoon graphics, Pendulo goes a new route of horror and suspense.  It’s still a point n click and uses their usual art style, but it should be an interesting twist.  Pendulo, Daedelic and Click Shake are the three best companies doing the point n click except for of course Double Fine who will be making hopefully the next big adventure game.

Drew Wise – Pixel Artist:  An excellent artist who also makes greatly designed shirts based mostly in video games but with some pop-culture too.  His Beetlejuice shirt design it awesome.  I’m done with shirts after my Remus and Liam shirt and my eventual DFA shirt (and any shirts I might get as promos at a Comic-Con), but you should get it.

Jón Kristinsson-PointnClicking: Inspired by Double Fine’s return to adventure game making, this artist started doing quality pieces based on his favorite classics.

High Vaultage:  Simple controls, but awesome cute pixel graphics, cute music and addictive.

Jason Boyer: Great artist who dabbles in design, illustration, animation, pixel art and games.

Nerd Notes 3/12/2012

While it’s nice that Microsoft still offers Movie Maker 2.6 for folks who don’t like or need a more refined software than the dumbed down Windows Live Movie Maker, it’s not the same thing as Vista Movie Maker a free program only available through Vista.  That software will work on a Windows 7 machine and luckily Techbliss is offering it.

When “Clerks 2” came out William Garvey, composer and writer of the Q Lazzarus hit track “Goodbye Horses” made famous in “Silence of the Lambs” did a remix for the film, this more uppy, happy, transcendant version was never released, but again in a turn of luck, William Garvey put it on his website for the world.

Edward Pun, an artist at Sucker Punch Productions, makers/creators of the video games Sly Fox &  inFAMOUS edits a collection of comics by other Sucker Punch artists called ATOMIC LEAD , they include work by Dev Madan, former DC artist and co-creator of Young Heroes in Love and artist on the Sly Fox comic produced in 2004.

In The Darkness II video game there is a short film featured on a TV, they show the entire flick, but you can’t zoom into it, something about the movie felt like it was something they borrowed from elsewhere and I was correct.  It’s called The Other Gods, a short silent film desigbed and sold as if it’s from the 20’s, except it was made in the aughties. (The Other Gods)

There’s quite a few OZ films coming out in 2012 including the animated Dorothy of OZ and a prequel starring James Franco, but another is a Sequel/Reimaging from BBC Films called Dorothy and The Witches of OZ which borrows from the concepts of other modern retellings such as the Wonderland miniseries and Once Upon A Time.

The live action trailer for video game SLEEPING DOGS the formerly titled True Crime-Hong Kong,  is really a quality production,  I’m as excited about this game as I have been since day one of its existence and through it’s troubled turmoil life cycle.

Here’s a video of Paul Williams in full “Planet of The Apes” make-up and costume from a Tonight Show with Johnny Carson episode (via Rock* games)

No trailer or website exists from Billy Bob Thorton’s Jayne Mansfield’s Car, but between the cast, plot and it being a Thorton flick, I’m quite excited as it’s been 11 years since Billy Bob wrote/directed.

Something Else by Dried Brains is an example of simple Flash cartoons that can be high quality and hilarious are alive and well.

If you like indie musicians, ukulele and The Beatles, I have the website/project for you.  Some of my favorite indie folks and friends have been involved in this one including Bree Sharp, Alyson Greenfield, Andrew Vladeck and many more.

I’m not sold on HTML 5 but this scrollable comic called SOUL REAPER is a good example of what can be done.

Nerd Notes for 02/08/2012

All long form essays & reviews are still perculating in their individual cauldrons, and will soon be ready for worldwide consumption.  In the mean time here’s some tender vittles or Nerd Notes.

– Former child actor Brian Bonsall has finally done a full re-emergence with his various music projects he’s been developing in Colorado the last few years.   It’s all really awesome pop-punk and each band sounds great.  Worth more than a listen, but a whole playthrough.

– One of my new favorite blogs is Gourmet Gaming as it combines a lot of my favorites, video games, recipes and food photography.  Brilliant project and with refinement it’d be a cool addition to something like G4 or in the very least Gametrailers.com as a vidcast.

– I haven’t personally bought or downloaded the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad App David’s Diary, but an interactive book based on the works of David Sedaris in which he had first hand assistance in developing still calls to me to read and play.

– I don’t know how accurate How Secure Is My Password actually is, but it’s really fun to play with.

– Cartoonist Ward Sutton, well known to readers to of The Village Voice,  TV Guide and/or The Onion has been doing awesome comic book like reviews for Barnes N Noble for awhile now, but as it has really reached steam, I thought it’d best to mention Drawn To Read, especially when his Wikipedia doesn’t even.

BOY is the newest film by New Zealand’s Academy award nominated writer/director/actor Taikka Waititi and has already garnered many nominations and festival awards.  It’s coming to America soon and looks absolutely fantastic.

Nerd Notes for 02/01/2012

Over at my Livejournal I used to take various links I found and collate them all into a collection that I called “Nerd Notes”.  These links could contain anything from videogames to wrestling to movie trailers to news articles.  I have decided that it was an excellent concept and am migrating it now for use at Pop-Culture Spectrum.  This is just the first up many to come and allow me to relay lots of information in short bursts instead of full fledged reviews or articles when something may warrant it, but would take up ample time before getting the product information out there.


AGS Bake Sale: A collection of fully cooked to perfection games built inside of AGS and bundled for charity, it is available for $1.50 or more based on your choice of donation to Child’s Play.  If you are familiar with the Humble Bundle this is very similar but allows you to play games that are completely exclusive to this pack.  I have played portions of 9 Months In, Red Volition, Indiana Rodent and Abner so far and they are all excellent and worth the price.

Nurse Quest: This free pixel based point and click adventure developed by Robot Lizard for Adult Swim Games is hilarious, crafty and well constructed.  It isn’t a time waster though, so be ready to sit down for a good half hour to hour to enjoy the hilarity.

Da New Guys: Back in 2004 Chris Burton put out an AGS game built around an imaginary wrestling federation and a team known as “Da New Guys”.  It was a critical success and Burton also made a short animated feature with the characters called “For The Winnings” in Blender.  Announcement came of a game sequel but they were continually delayed.  Finally in 2012, Morton teams up with Wadjet Eye Games for “Day Of The Jackass”.  A demo is available.


Sumo Cyco:  Canadian sweetheart and former pop rock darling Skye Sweetnam first became a totally different type of artist with her colloberation “Action” recorded with Tim Armstrong and the bulk of her album, Sound Soldier, but the project she began in 2009 has started to become fully unleashed with 4 very disturbing videos and a sound one would never think that the girl who sang “Billy S.” would lead a band that covered Oingo Boingo along with some really hard metalesque rock..

All-American Rejects first official single “Beekeeper’s Daughter” off the forthcoming studio album “Kids on The Street” is available on iTunes.  I’ll be waiting for the entire album myself and hope that the entire project is a worthy successor to the phenomenal When The World Comes Down

A Stream of Paul McCartney’s forthcoming Kisses On The Bottom, a collection of old standards covered in only the way Sir Paul could.


Jon Adams excellent Truth Serum had a tenth anniversary and posted a new strip, guest pin-ups and a cool contest in celebration.

Finally a list of books I plan to read and review in the very near future:
Fun & Games + Hell & Gone by Duane Swierczynski
Snitch by Booker T. Mattison
WinterTown by Stephen Emond

I shall also being doing an over of all 22 issues of the Marvel comic Agents of Atlas + the Gorillia-Man miniseries written by Jeff Parker.

An overview of the new iPod/iPhone/iPad App and web series Totally Amp’ed is also planned.

A Gaggle of Outdated but Still Relevant Links

First up the band OK Go did an awesome cover version of The Muppets Theme song and then did an Official video for it with The Muppets to promote the special Green Album which is full of official cover versions of some of Jim Henson’s greatest hits.

I don’t care about this one, BUT, hey the trailer for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance is LIVE.

Here’s a Teaser Trailer for the next PIXAR flick BRAVE which is about Irish legends and hot redhead as the hero, looks a bit Dreamworks Animation than PIXAR I feel.

Trailers for books are getting really crazy. I’ve seen a few impressive ones before, but this is the biggest movie trailer like one yet, well more like a TV series trailer, but still. It’s for a fantasy action series called The Black Prism.

Book promotions have become so crazy they made a FACEBOOK game for the Eragorn series.

Here’s an article all about Alice Cooper’s new album and teaming up with Ke$ha, plus a preview.

I’m not sure how to use this movie collection software, but it’s free.

Best Music Video EVER, starring Patton Oswalt, directed by WFMU radio’s Tom Scharpling, great article and then the video.

For your interest and curiosity, New York Comic Con Show Specials and Exclusives.

Been watching this hilarious show called KIDS REACT on Youtube. They have 27 episodes so far. They have some really funny and cool kids on this, all the same kids each week, so you really get to learn about the kids as they react to popular things in the world.
The same production company also put together this fake SAVED BY THE BELL game, where you click through different videos based on a choice you make, sort of like Choose Your Own Adventure.

Nerd Notes (Music, Comics and Movies!) 8-09-2011

Some of these I’m “late to the party” but that doesn’t make them any less insignificant or worthy of mention still.

New 303H! single/video for the song “ROBOT” from their forthcoming album.

Interview and video link for the Drew Barrymore’s directed music video “Our Deal” by The Best Coast starring Alia Shawkat, Miranda Cosgrove, Tyler Posey, Donald Glover and Chloe Moretz

The Wrong Ferrarri, a movie made by and starring songwriter Adam Green, with appearances by Macauley Culkin, Alia Shawkat, Jeffrey Lewis, Corey Kennedy, and many more people you might know.

A 20th Anniversary Tribute Album to Nirvana’s “Nevermind” put together by SPIN with tracks by Meat Puppets, Butch Walker, Vaselines, Amanda Palmer and more. Some really great stuff on this one.

Jim Lawson, comic artist most famous for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles after Laird & Eastman, has posted the sequel to his excellent dinosaur comic PALEO (which is in my drawers somewhere) as a blog/webcomic.

Good casual point and click mystery game based on TNT’s Rizolli & Isles.

Now some Movie Trailers!

TWIXT: Francis Ford Copolla’s newest with Val Kilmer in the lead, as a horror novelist studying a murder mystery.

TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY: The first feature film adaptation of the John Le Carre’s “classic” starring Gary Oldman, Colin Firth,

RESURRECT DEAD-THE MYSTERY OF THE TOYNBEE TILES: Fascinating documentary of a truly compelling subject.

Nerd Notes (Video Edition for July 11th, 2011)

Back when The O.C. was on the air all the comic work was drawn by Eric Wight who went on to draw other great things.   He also worked on animated version of the comic, called Atomic County.  I don’t know if it ever aired on TV but TheWB.com has it available now and can be seen from part 1 at the link above.

I was upset to discover that the next DLC for L.A Noire titled “Reefer Madness” is not inspired in any way by the original movie or much more awesome rock opera, but it still looks pretty cool and I already paid for it so I’ll be playing it anyways.

I’ve been loving Billboard’s Mash-Up Mondays for a long time and their most recent one is just killer, James Blunt covers Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”, and kills it, it really needs to be heard.  Proof that even if you hate the original, the song is much better than you realize if performed by someone else with a different style.

I’m surprised that other than the Hatchet films, a slasher about a huge freak killing people can get mainstream release or at least iTunes trailers presententation, but here it is… CREATURE.  Which has Sid Haig, so there you go… anything with Sid Haig, especially after The Devil’s Rejects is gold.

Things That Are Awesome

-The full length version of the Punky Brewster theme song aka “Everytime I Turn Around” written and performed by Gary Portnoy. He was offering it on his website, but I think since he got iTunes to carry it, he moved it there. It’s worth the $1 for something so obscure and yet awesome.

-While trying to remember where I found the theme song sitting on my computer I came across this fake opener for a fake 1980’s TV show. I can’t seem to find much info about it, but it seems it was a wedding gift from writer/producer Chris McKenna to his bethrored writer/producer Sally Bradford (or at least that’s what I THINK from what I can discern). He tried making a theme song that sounds like something Portnoy would write and it looks like a show that would exist back when. Actually it looks like if Punky Brewster ended up with a single Black Man and his nerdy, fat son (or more, what if Punky Brewster found Cleveland Brown before he moved out of Rhode Island, but after his wife died). He called it “That’s Corky!”

Franklin & Bash continues to rock as it comes into its third episode. Mark-Paul Gosselear and Breckin Myer match up so well together and the writing is just superb. I’m still hoping that if the show lasts long enough we get a special episode where they confront Macauley Culkin and Seth Green.

– I tried out two drinks on Tuesday when we passed a gourmet/special indie food item store in Williamsburg. Both were amazing. One was Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola, which seems to been around forever, but was new to me. Another was Beyond Kombucha, which is based in Queens. There’s another Kombucha company in NYC and I actually like them a bit better, but I can’t find the website. They can be found at Smorgasburg on Saturday’s and at Fulton Stall Market on the South Sea Streetport on Sunday’s.