You may have read in the New York Times that Pal-for-Life Glen Weldon and I gave a “sparsely attended” talk about the origins and legacy of 2001: A Space Odyssey at the National Air and Space Museum on Saturday night. An official talk. Inside the museum. We weren’t just accosting passersby on Independence Ave. and bloviating at them or anything like that. Heaven forfend!
The event was a Yuri’s Night party hosted by the website/nightlife concern Brightest Young Things. There were bars, DJs, silent discos, and lots of people in costume.
Ready Player One was showing in the Lockheed-Martin IMAX theater right after Glen and I finished, so I thought it would be thematically sympatico with that film for me to challenge our audience, sparse or otherwise, with some low-stakes nerd trivia pertinent to 2001. Those who answered one of these questions correctly after raising their hands and being called upon—this is not ‘Nam, there are rules—won a free copy of the September 2016 issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian (where I was then and still remain employed as an editor) featuring my cover story on the 50th anniversary of Star Trek. The cover should have said Warp Corps, and I apologize again for the fact that it does not. I lost that fight. It’s been two goddamn years and I’m still not over it.
Anyway, here are my trivia questions.
My fanboyish impulses mostly come out whenever there’s a new ALIEN. Mostly.
I tried not to splash too much corrosive blood on the deck in my dissection of Alien: Covenant.
My NPR review of what is probably the second-most-review-proof movie of the year after Captain America: Civil War (which I reviewed) is here.
Nichelle Nichols, William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, and James Doohan in “Mirror, Mirror,” which first aired Oct. 6, 1967. (CBS Consumer Products/Star Trek Archive)
Brent Spiner in the “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
Leonard Nimoy and Jill Ireland in the 1967 Original Series episode “This Side of Paradise,” wherein the rational half-Vulcan Mr. Spock finds love while under the influence of a strange plant. (CBS Consumer Products/Star Trek Archive)
Kirstie Alley and Leonard Nimoy in 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
Zachary Quinto in 2013’s “Star Trek into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount)
Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto in 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” (Kimberly French / Paramount)
John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Simon Pegg in 2016’s “Star Trek Beyond.” (Kimberly French / Paramount)
Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana in 2013’s “Star Trek into Darkness.” (Zade Rosenthal / Paramount)
The U.S.S. Enterprise studio model in 1965. (CBS Consumer Products / Star Trek Archive)
The September issue of Air & Space / Smithsonian, featuring the cover story I desperately wanted to call Warp Corps — because it’s about a corps of people whom Star Trek has inspired and influenced, you see — is now on sale at the National Air and Space Museum (both locations, on the National Mall and at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Virginia) as well as at Barnes & Noble stores and the digital retailer of your choice. You can read the feature here. Also, I’d love it if you would come buy a copy of the magazine from me for a paltry one-time fee $6.99 at the Museum during its three-day celebration of Star Trek‘s 50th anniversary. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 8 — the evening the Original Series episode “The Man Trap” was first broadcast on NBC. Continue reading
Posted in movies, sci-fi, science, TV
Tagged Gene Roddenberry, James B. Garvin, Justin Lin, Marc Okrand, Margaret Weitekamp, Simon Pegg, Smithsonian Air & Space, Star Trek
The barely-screened-for critics Independence Day: Resurgence is not by any stretch a good movie, but neither was Independence Day, a film I saw at least twice and possibly three times during the grim summer of 1996. I’d even go so far as to say I enjoyed this barely-coherent follow-up a little more. Here’s my alien autopsy, for the Village Voice.
The Future, 1992. It wasn’t the “Alien 3” we wanted, but maybe it was the “Alien” 3 we needed?
In 2012’s “Skyfall,” Sam Mendes undid the reboot 007 had gotten in “Casino Royale.” Sort of.
“Batman: The Movie!” ’66! (Emphasis! Mine!) Canon, or Not Canon?
“Superman III,” 1983. Never happened, per Bryan Singer, which is a shame.
“Well, everyone knows Ripley died on Fiornia-161. What this ALIEN movie presupposes is… maybe she didn’t?”
I have a long, long “Exposition” essay up at The Dissolve today inspired by (uncertain) reports that District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming Alien movie may be a ret-con scenario that undoes the events of 1992’s Alien-little-three, or Alien Cubed – anyway, the one where Ripley died. The piece is about retconning in fiction in general, and why it doesn’t much impair my ability or inclination to suspend my disbelief at all.
If you’re quite comfortable in your chair, and you’re stout of heart and nerdy of temperament… Onward!
Posted in movies, sci-fi
Tagged ALIEN, ALIEN 3, Aliens, David Fincher, James Bond, Michael Biehn, Neill Blomkamp, Sigourney Weaver, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, The Dissolve, The Terminator, Vincent Ward, William Gibson, Wreckage and Rage, X-Men
Baby Universe No. 7,001 isn’t like the others.
If this summer’s crop of megabudget blockbusters aren’t floating your barge, perhaps you’ll take to heart my unequivocal endorsement
of Baby Universe,
the whimsical and yet nourishing sci-fi puppet show now at Studio Theatre that achieves grand scale via modest means.
The piece is a co-production of Nordland Visual Theatre and Wakka Wakka, the same consortium that did Fabrik, a similarly dark and ambitious, not-necessarily-for-kids puppet play I saw in New York five years ago. These groups are really good at coming up with unlikely material that suits their chosen medium perfectly; it’s hard to imagine what the live-action version of these shows would look like. Anyway, Baby Universe is in town through July 14.