Snapshots 118 Freeway Granada Hills

Here are 11 developments of interest to fans.

(1) A new Batman? OMG! Or maybe not. Josh Gad says all that really needs to be said about this internet-shaking development in his piece for USA Today:

Yesterday, I came out of my bunker after being in seclusion for five days. With nothing but mace, a half gallon of water and a butter knife, I ventured outside to witness the apocalypse. To my surprise, the world looked surprisingly similar to the way I left it. The storefronts were still intact. Cars were not on fire. Miley Cyrus was continuing to go through her “transformation.” Whether by some miracle or just good old-fashioned divine intervention, everyone from the prairies of the Midwest to the coasts of the Far East, survived the worst potential crisis since the Cuban Missile Crisis: the decision to make Benjamin Géza Affleck-Boldt, aka Ben Affleck, the next Batman.

(2) Playing StarCraft can boost problem solving and creative thinking abilities according to a study reported in the Wall Street Journal —

Participants in the research were assigned to one of three groups. Two groups engaged in different versions of StarCraft, where players fight for control of a territory, and a third played The Sims, a slower-paced game where users manage a simulated household. Each played video games for roughly an hour a day for six to eight weeks.

Researchers found that in subsequent psychological tests, volunteers who played the most complex version of StarCraft were the quickest and most accurate in their responses.

StarCraft can require players to recall multiple fact sets simultaneously to make quick adjustments, particularly in early base-building strategy decisions and in high-intensity confrontations. Professional players can engage in hundreds of actions per minute as they decide where to build and expand and what their opponents may do in response.

Sounds great. Now tell me, what’s the real-life payoff? Producing optimum widget-makers? Quicker cold callers for boiler room businesses? There’s an answer they can work on in the next study.

(3) Wait! Maybe they’ll make perfect employees for the burgeoning drone industry. The Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International’s annual gathering at the Washington Convention Center brought together 8,000 participants from 40 different countries.

Most delegates said they were focused on generating new business from unmanned technology systems, promoting diverse use on farms, firefighting and law enforcement, security and surveillance.

The industry got a huge boost when the Federal Aviation Administration said last year it would allow drones to join civilian airspace once a regulatory framework was in place.

Up to 10,000 unmanned craft could be flying in U.S. airspace within five years.

(4) Forty years ago – on August 17, 1974 – the Rocky Horror Show was transplanted to Broadway. Lots of photos and clips here, spanning the show’s history from Tim Curry to Glee.

Yes, indeed, there is something unmistakably unique and oddly alluring about the tale of two all-American teens on the day of their nuptials who come upon a castle straight out of Hammer horror – complete with the far-out cast of characters contained within; many of them actually coming from another universe entirely (as we eventually come to find out) – and proceed to go on a journey testing limits probably neither one of them were ever aware even existed; moral, sexual and even planetary.

(5) Joss Whedon is constantly dropping reminders that he’s a trufan at heart. Like this complaint about the ending of Empire Strikes Back in an interview with Entertainment Weekly:

“Well, it’s not an ending,” Whedon explained about the 1980 film, which had a cliffhanger leading into the next entry of the series, Return of the Jedi. “It’s a Come Back Next Week, or in three years. And that upsets me. I go to movies expecting to have a whole experience. If I want a movie that doesn’t end I’ll go to a French movie. That’s a betrayal of trust to me. A movie has to be complete within itself, it can’t just build off the first one or play variations.”

(6) On Ray Bradbury’s 92nd birthday Mental Floss listed 10 things you should know about the legendary sf writer.

1. Most teenagers get a first job sacking groceries or slinging burgers. At the age of 14, Ray Bradbury got himself a job writing for George Burns and Gracie Allen’s radio show.

“I went down on Figueroa Street in front of the Figueroa Playhouse,” Bradbury said. “I saw George Burns outside the front of the theater. I went up to him and said, ‘Mr. Burns, you got your broadcast tonight don’t you?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘You don’t have an audience in there do you?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Will you take me in and let me be your audience?’ So he took me in and put me in the front row, and the curtain went up, and I was in the audience for Burns and Allen. I went every Wednesday for the broadcast and then I wrote shows and gave them to George Burns. They only used one—but they did use it, it was for the end of the show.”

(7) Many journalists have visited the LASFS over the decades and tried their level best to describe it based on the alternately earnest, self-aggrandizing and just plain wacky stuff people unload on them in the course of an evening. Ariane Lange’s article for Buzzfeed is by far the best ever because she decided to report about that experience itself, thereby creating a much richer portrait of the club’s characters.

The head librarian’s name Warren Johnson, but here he is Whisky (“If you’re gonna spell Whisky, make sure you spell it the Scotch way without the ‘e,’” Pincus told me in the library). Later that night, Whisky poured out glasses of beer for the people hanging around his desk in the library.

Johnson explained that taking the library position was strategic. “I’ll never get dragged into (higher office),” he said, facing president Poliner.

(8) General Mills has announced the return of its legendary Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy cereals after decades in hiatus. Reports io9 —

This Halloween, both cereals will be on-sale alongside the traditional cereal monsters Count Chocula, Franken Berry and Boo Berry.

Fruit Brute, a Froot Loop-y cereal with fake-lime-flavored fake-marshmallows, was discontinued back in 1983. It was replaced five years later by Yummy Mummy, which was almost exactly the same thing but with fake-vanilla-flavored fake-marshmallows, and whose curse was lifted from the cereal aisle in 1993.

(9) Trekcetera is the newest attraction in Vulcan, Alberta. Opened this month, it displays original Star Trek costumes, props and set pieces.

Vulcan has come a long way since it hosted its first Trek convention in 1992 and tickets were sold by the town’s funeral director —

It was all so new that people who wanted to buy tickets had to call Wisener — at the funeral home. He remembers answering the phone and often being greeted by “this big silence on the other end.”

Now known as “Spock Days,” the convention is the time of year when you might see Klingons walking down Vulcan’s streets — “other than that, we’re quite normal,” Dirks said. The festival also allows the town’s one hotel and two motels to lure guests with creative amenities, such as a “deluxe intergalactic breakfast!”

In 1995, officials unveiled the “Star Ship FX6-1995-A,” a 9-foot tall, 5-ton replica of the USS Enterprise, near the town’s entrance. Three years later, the Vulcan Tourism & Trek Station — a tourist information center shaped like a spaceship — opened its doors to the public.

Vulcan was declared the Official Star Trek Capital of Canada in 2009.

(10) They’ll be showing 35 classic 3-D movies at World 3-D Expo III

Actress Piper Laurie (Hud), Lea Thompson (Back To The Future), Barbara Rush (Peyton Place) and producer Walter Mirisch (the Pink Panther films) are among guests scheduled to attend The World 3-D Film Expo III, September 6-15, 2013, at the historic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The ten-day festival will pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of what many film historians regard as the “Golden Age” of 3-D. The Opening Night Screening of John Wayne’s only 3-D movie Hondo on Friday, September 6th will feature a Guest Q&A with Wayne’s daughter-in-law, Gretchen Wayne of Batjac Productions, about the restoration of the film.

I never knew John Wayne made a 3-D film!

(11) And we’ll close on a Worldcon-themed item… about Susan and Jeff Stringer, a match made in the masquerade followed by a professional career in costuming.

People come to the shop from all over the Southeast to make sure to have unique and well-made costumes. Susan sews most of them herself. She and Jeff have won several awards for grand master costuming.

“I was engaged to someone before I met my husband and I had wanted to do a Beauty and the Beast pair of costumes for a science fiction convention, but he would have none of it. He said, ‘I don’t dress up’ and I thought, ‘Well, this is not going to last’,” Susan laughs.

In 1986, when she met her husband Jeff, he liked the idea so Susan made the costumes and they wore them to ‘Worldcon’ – the World Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta. Worldcon is one of the biggest science fiction conventions held for over 71 years and giving the illustrious ‘Hugo’ award.

The Stringers won ‘best in class’ for novice that year, as that was the first Worldcon they had attended.

[Thanks for these stories goes out to Steven H Silver, John King Tarpinian, Martin Morse Wooster, David Klaus, James H. Burns and Andrew Porter.]

Update 08/28/2013:

6 thoughts on “Snapshots 118 Freeway Granada Hills

  1. When Tim Burton was named director and Michael Kaeton was given the Batman roles, all kinds of Bat crap was being written.The major thinking was “He’s only done a Pee Wee Hermam\n Movie”.Or that Keaton was just wrong for ther role. I can infer here my “wait and see” view? Still, Ben Affleck will have the largest Bat Butt, judging from his long red underwear role as Daredevil.

  2. Yes… I remember all of the ‘Mr. Mom’ comments about Keaton… and then the movie was a lot better than anyone was expecting from all the teardown.

    That said, I remember recently re-watching the Batman film and being surprised at how static the fight scenes were. Action really has changed from what it used to be, in movies.

  3. Mike: the piece on LASFS was very entertaining. But William was Rotsler’s MIDDLE name? I had NO idea the man’s real name was Charles W. Rotsler!

  4. Joss Whedon was referring to the ending of “The Empire Strikes Back”, not “Return of the Jedi”.

    I recall talking to George Lucas in the office about said ending while we were working on the film, asking if the film needed to end with some sort of “ta-dah!” moment. He said to me “It’s the second act of an opera.”

  5. It’s bizarre how hard I had to look to find the mistake you corrected. I’m saying to myself, “Yes, of course, Whedon made that perfectly clear, what’s the problem?” The part of my brain that understood Whedon doesn’t seem to have been the part in charge of my typing fingers…

  6. It’s not paradise, or even representative of the totality of Los Angeles area s.f. fandom — there were a lot of genuine fans who were going to the con-of-the-month club which existed all over L. A. during the late ’70s/early ’80s who never attended a LASFS meeting.

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