Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ultimate Nerd Day

Nerd culture, which I’ve celebrated all month long on this blog and will cap off today by rewatching the month’s four big nerd film releases, has different tiers, if I may deploy something akin to Marxist class analysis.

•There are “low” nerd-culture manifestations such as the performance of the ongoing, episodic play/variety show Rev. Jen’s Really Cool Neighborhood that I saw Wednesday night. Don’t get me wrong, Lower East Side comedienne/performance artist/author Rev. Jen is always at least Vulcan-fabulous in her fake elf ears — and dressed for a 60s time travel sketch this week looked downright Romulan-fabulous — but I honestly think some of the performers or open-mic participants surrounding her have real mental illnesses or heroin habits, possibly both. I counted myself lucky to be seated safely in the fourth row between a chihuahua and a friend dressed as a homicidal nun (it’s fascinating to me, by the way, how dogs can tell when things are weird, even in a perpetually-weird environment like New York: chihuahua “Rev. Jen Jr.” barked like crazy at a burly dancing man in a unicorn mask and at a crowd meant to be Salem witch-hunters menacing the human Rev. Jen — and I recall that when Ali Kokmen and I carried the suit of armor I bought from Chris Whitten up the East Side years ago, at least one dog looked startled).

•There are “mainstream” nerd-culture manifestations, like the movies mentioned above, next month’s second attempt at a Hulk movie, and the July batch, as plentiful as May’s but darker (making it a month in which the Dark Nerd Returns, you might say): Hancock (which may have even more comedic potential than the ads let on, reportedly being a rather dark and perverse depiction of a superhero who just doesn’t care about looking good), Dark Knight (which should perhaps be accompanied by a comic book depicting the late Heath Ledger battling the late Brandon Lee from The Crow), Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and against all odds a second X-Files movie, which David Duchovny once told me in a bar would have nothing to do with aliens, just before Reason’s Nick Gillespie got him to autograph a napkin addressed to “piece of shit.”

•There are “high” nerd-culture manifestations, like that exhibit of superhero-based fashion and art at the Met — fittingly, pointed out to me by someone who has a certain friend, a past Lolita Bar debater (who shall remain nameless) who was struck by how “dirty” our Lolita crowd looked — just imagine the debater’s reaction if we had Rev. Jen’s “low-nerd” pals in our crowd every time.

On the mainstream-nerd front, though, some parting thoughts about other upcoming films:

•I had my doubts from the get-go about the new M. Knight Shyamalan thriller The Happening — the hippie title, the laughably vague “people are dying everywhere” premise, and now the clincher — TV ads ominously intoning that “the director of The Sixth Sense and Signs brings you: his first R-rated film.” That sounds more like an ad for another Harold and Kumar movie. Are R-rated films a rarity now? Did Shyamalan write that ad himself — while insane and too powerful to be stopped, like George Lucas (whose older works I’ll briefly skim this morning, just to cover all my nerd bases)?

•Some doubters — I’m not naming any names — have said Watchmen could only be successfully adapted in miniseries form, but reports like this make it sound more and more like it virtually is being adapted as a miniseries, given all the extra material accompanying next year’s film. I am getting downright optimistic.

•In other news, I’m pleased that DarkHorizons also makes it sound as though next year’s Terminator movie, set in 2018 amidst the post-apocalyptic cyborg war, will really focus on that time period (as opposed to the present), with only a dash of time travel, rather than the other way around as previous films in the series have — this is progress! Brutal, metallic progress! Also, the hot lead singer of Garbage will play a recurring character on the Terminator TV show next season.

(But will the heroes in the TV show prevent the events in the movies from happening, that’s the really interesting question, one that pits one half of the franchise against the other, in a way. It’s sort of like if there were a Clone Wars cartoon series in which time-traveling Jedi had a real chance of preventing Darth Vader from being created — but I’m through with watching new Star Wars material, by the way. Enough already.)

And in conclusion, for those wishing to pursue further research on nerdism and nerdistry, I leave you with this intriguing tidbit I haven’t looked into any further:

Claudia Christian, who of course portrayed a bisexual, Russian, telepathic space station commander on Babylon 5, wrote her first published fiction, a story called “Revenge Is a Bitch to Swallow,” in a 2007 issue of the erotic comic book Forbidden Love — which I have not seen and do not own. But someone out there probably does, lurking in the shadows.

All right, I’ll end the Month of the Nerd on a slightly higher note than that: As it happens, my Arkansas legislator friend Dan Greenberg is giving a speech about the future today to some of the best kind of nerds, tech college students he’s inspiring, in part with jokes about the science vs. sorcery elements of this month’s nerd movies. Tradition and the future, together. That’s beautiful.

And the future of this blog brings…shorter entries for June — I’m exhausted.

1 comment:

Shawn Levasseur said...

“But will the heroes in the TV show prevent the events in the movies from happening, that’s the really interesting question, one that pits one half of the franchise against the other”

They already negated Terminator 3 in the series. (Though acknowledging a few facts revealed during the film)