Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Importance of The Legend of Korra and She-Ra

Audiovisual representation on children shows is always important, I have to say you know who you are when you are younger, sometimes it can take longer to realize who you are but at the moment you do, you know it's fine to be queer, is part of your identity and you are your own special creation and that's something no one can't take away from you.

The problematic goes on how the evolution of representation in cartoons came to be, because the prime time media set stereotypes on the community, i.e. SOAP and Billy Crystal back in 1977 and in 43 years we finally got two action oriented shows, that is child friendly and sport in a positive matter relationship between same sex individuals but also on how straight characters interact with the queer setting and the results are fantastic because it expose a positive light in which civilization didn't collapsed because two characters are in love are the same sex and even so shows trans and non binary characters as well.

The two shows I am mentioning are the Legend of Korra and She-Ra & Princesses of Power importance relays on how much a positive impact can be generated in the youth but also adults who watch these shows and feel represented by.

These two shows especially within women demographics are a ground breaking point, because on prime time media there hasn't been something as that before but with the reboot of She-Ra, it took everything tgo a whole new level because everything on the show is just phenomenal within the the LGBTQ+ but also it empowers women with strong role model and breaks the dynamics that an action show can be lead by a women and deal also with complex topics that mirror our world versus the animated universe.

Let's think towards the 80's and 90's cartoons all of them followed the same precepts on tropes: there were no relationships or little relationships at all, there was no queer representation, there was only good guys versus bad guys and that was essentially it, adding occasional musical numbers, David the Gnome was probably an exception back in the day and still because there aren't shows were the main character is an elder individual and there is a teaching about respecting nature,

If you are straight and cis, you probably will think that we don't need to put identity politics in cartoons, reality is you had swalled bullshit propaganda that deny identities of people like me, we were there in the 80's , 90's and is refreshing to see something that is so different from the same shows and formulas that were exposed back in the 80's, 80's and 2000's. Yes, there were shows as Mission Hill and somewhat The Simpsons who showed same sex couples, but on my memory it was Mission Hill with Gus and Wally that on an honest level show a functional elderly gay couple who weren't a pastiche of what is to be in a same sex relationship.

It's incredible to think that only in a lapse of 20 year queer characters are the ones being the leads on shows and Korra even being the lead her orientation wasn't openly spoke or shown, but even with Korra there was a four year gap to have a full representation within She-Ra; you are maybe thinking about Marceline and Princess Bubblegum? Even if they were there they were side characters, which happens with Steven Universe, it was Steven the main character and even if there was a deep background towards the Crystal Gems they were relegated on the background much of the time.

Which is why She-Ra is important, because it gives representation to the youth (as well the adults) that they aren't alone and there is a vocabulary to what they are feeling, but also within these two shows they set an example that action shows can be led by women but with She-Ra was it exceptional is since episode one there is a clear representation of the dynamics within lesbian, pansexual, bisexual, asexual female characters in the show and that hasn't been seen in any other cartoon.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Metro Con and How you Can Grow Beyond your Founder

Opening Ceremonies 2019
This weekend would had been Metro Con last year, but Metro Con this year would had been held on the 11th to the 14th of July but due COVID-19 the event got cancelled and even if it was a low punch, we understand the circumstances and there is always one in the future that I can always go.

Metro Con for me is my first convention ever, I went to the conventions when I was 32 years old, I went because a former friend who knew I followed certain Youtuber, so she asked me to go with her and I said OK, I was mesmerized by the convention as it was my first event ever but that's a story for another day.

Aggretsuko Cosplayers
I find the story of Metro Con fascinating because there are plenty of activities, great cosplayers, the vendor's hall is a little bit small and the merchandise is not that varied but still you can find cute things and there is not a big artist alley but the soul of the convention are the cosplayers. A lot of the people that go are super creative with their cosplays, and is just fascinating to take photos but also to see what the cosplayers will do every year.

Continuing with the convention cases, this example goes with the San Japan case I exposed not long ago in which the founder got involved in a problem because he got exposed saying racist commentaries about guests followed by an empty excuse on Facebook in which he said he only followed whatever the attendees want.

The aspect on this case is what Metro Con did to linger out of the founder's image after he got arrested for statutory rape on 2009, which several reports indicated that over the years he was in to predatory practices before being arrested and subjected to register as such.

Looking at old articles, one from Anime News Network when the problem happened, the current CEO and Owner Alex Craddock "Roy Harms is our CEO, and a very close friend of mine. I trust him with my life, my dreams, and my 4-year-old child, and so would anyone else that has ever met the man." He continues,

"An arrest does not mean a conviction to or admittance of the crime being charged. In this particular situation there is one thing required for an arrest to be made, and that is a claim."

A problem with that statement, is that people seems to had forgotten about it, but even so Alex kept part of the promise that he made in the public statement 11 years ago and made the event family friendly over the years, and there hasn't been any sights of Roy inside Metro Con but that doesn't mean he still active.

Another problem and Alex statement is that Roy was convicted but not incarcerated, a quick search on the Florida Database he is still there, he got registered and he still subject to visitations from the county, but the problem is that even with visitation Roy was still present outside of Metro Con, such as 2017 in Holiday Matsuri and Omni Expo around 2016, even his Linkdn profile marks him as active on public events as a Trade Show Consultant which is somewhat hypocritical that he has still somewhat of a controlled access to a computer but there is no way to find if he is active on social media, but even a small search around Twiiter pop results about his doings being a sexual predator.


Now, what really happened that people essentially forgot about this scandal? The answer is no, people who are familiar with the development of Metro Con and have been going through the years they still speak about this incident, and people who are newer but get well positioned within the convention scene they also know it, I learned from a friend who has been going there from 12 years and it chilled my spine because is somewhat of an open secret.

But, the operations and how the event is promoted has essentially distanced from the era of Roy Harms, which from the information I had found under the tutelage of Alex has been positive and more fan oriented events had been placed inside the convention, but also they had brought people that are meaningful and varied within the guest spectrum over the years up to the point that as time pass by, there is not too much mentioning of Roy Harms at all that he was ever the person who founded Metro Con.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

A Short Letter to Someone I Admired

Hello Person I Admired;

I rewrote the original one at least 5 times, I ended up placing on my drafts again, I decided to go for a new shorter one. I wish you the best, I am not angry at you or any others, I do not harbor any hard feelings except for disappointment because my pleas were ignored to the people who made my online time a living hell, I know your brother wants to talk to me, but my heart after two years of other people being toxic to me it really gave me a sour taste and I honestly don't know if I can talk to him on any time soon or anyone else for now, I had enough bullying from too many people and abuse that I can't simply to listen yet, to listen to a speech someone close to you also gave me "but we can be friends, all of us, this is the place for the ones who are out", my heart is broken but if you reads this, I am OK, just OK and nothing else.

No, we all can't be friends, there are plenty of people who hate me for who I am and they let me know I am a worthless as a piece of shit daily.

I already unsub you, cancelled my Patreon (it was a dollar at the end but it was something), placed all the merch I got in the closet so is far away from me, requested friends in common to unfriend me and I explained the reasons, same I essentially unsub from everything related to you within friends and family content, is been 72 hours and I haven't received any message which has been the longest some of the anonymous accounts had been sending me, I already deleted them because honestly there is no more pain I can take from the one I been getting in person by racist and homophobic individuals as well the one I had to endure online for the last 2 years.

They won, whoever is behind, whoever are behind those accounts that harassed me and other people, they won; I am gone. It was a good 11+ years, but as any fandom I guess it was my time to say farewell.

I am still going to Metro on 2021, but I am not going to be near your events or near you, you won't even know I am there, same with my panels, my co-host already agree she will speak for me if they get approved and I will be wearing masks, and any dialogue from my side will be pre-recorded. Also I deleted your number out of respect of privacy and I hope you have deleted everything from my side, I was a lucky fan who lasted a long time and probably a pen pal.

I rewrote this letter at least seven times in the last five days, I hold no hard feelings as I said before, just myself being human, I know you won't read this letter because I am just a number of the 1.3 million people who follow you, I said goodbye on one of your videos as I knew you weren't going to reply on any other way or reply at all, but I wanted to make it more honestly that's why I wrote here.

You are wondering why I didn't saved any screen caps or conversation, or accounts? Because at the end is not worth especially when some people were toxic on plain sight. I am not going to write anything else, I am happy that I was able to say farewell more properly to people I was friends with opposite when I left Colombia.

To your brother, he is a gentle soul, and seems to be a decent person, same as your mother.

I know you won't read this, but I wish you the best Person I Admired, I hope your original album does well, as well the adoption process, I hope there is peace and that there is always love and Metal forever. I am not writing anything else, they won and I am happy as I said before to be able to say farewell. I hope one day our paths cross in a better light.

2 Corinthians 13:11, Farewell
Gustavo

Thursday, July 2, 2020

The Murder of Norman Fry

Norman Fry circa 1977
Lately, I been regaining a lot of energy to write again, cold cases were my favorites whenever I was working as one in Colombia on the short time I did it after and during college, what sparked my interest was the murder of Rolando Perez (Link is in Spanish but there is always the option of Google Translate) because the case between Rolando and Norman have some similarities, there is a discrepancy in the police report and there is a possibility the investigation didn't went further because of homophobia on the Gainesville Police Department back in 1978 which is similar what happened to Rolando on 2007 when he got murder in Cartagena - Colombia.

The only two reports of the case (as of 7/2/2020 I am going to try to get a copy of the file, if is still available) are a small synopsis of his case on Cold Cases Copy and a copy on The Independent Florida Alligator, which on two websites I took the liberty of getting a copy of each in case they will get deleted by a random act of destiny.

To start we are going to go with the short police copy that is on the cold cases website:

Norman Fry
#78-41569

On Tuesday, November 14, 1978 at 9:00 am the body of Norman Fry, a 38 year old white male, was found at his residence of 3444 NW 10 Ave. by his 4 year old son. The victim was known to be homosexual and unemployed at the time. He had recently been employed at UF. The victim’s vehicle, a 1973 yellow Pinto was taken at the time of the murder as well as a foreign stamp collection, a pocket knife and an ace bandage. The vehicle was located a month later near 1300 SW 16 Ave. The son indicated that they picked up a hitchhiker or two, one of which had blond hair, and brought him to their home. He said he saw the hitchhiker going through his father’s clothing at home and he took his grandfather’s pocket knife. The victim had last been seen by the babysitter that evening when he picked up his son.
The problematic part of the police report and this is the reason I believe the case was left cold because police didn't see it as worth due his orientation, it involves that the agents coached the wife of Matt Fry, Bess Fry to not say murder on any declaration which itself that should be an opening to reopen the case because of discrimination and lack of handling on the victim.

Re-tracing the steps of Norman, is a little bit problematic after 42 years; the only information that is placed with a match is that he worked on University of Florida but he seems he got fired on a few weeks prior his murder, the problem goes that the cause of murder don't coincide - the Assistant State Attorney of that time Billy Malphurs, - couldn't specify the real cause of death, as he contradicts his testimony if it was an external injury versus internal trauma - police report also contradict everything on the piece of information versus the external investigation, the son of Norman mentioned they were two hitchhikers while in the report says it was maybe only one (I hope I can have access to this public records of his examiner and information on the murder scene, even if 41 years ago it was denied to the two journalist who were investigating)

Now another part of the contradiction involves on what really happened that night of November 14th of 1978, we have to organize the story as there are two perspectives on this story one is that Norman was murder when he was cruising for escorts which is the version the police gave, now the second perspective is based on Norman's son Matt, which was roughly four and mention the description of the individuals.

On the two versions the only aspect of the report that is equal are the items that were stolen, which with the few pieces of information we can assume the killers were in Norman's house before and knew what they wanted, I highly doubt they were hustlers because if Norman was living a double life he wouldn't take them to his house, and he wouldn't risk his reputation even if there is some sort of liberal mindset in Gainesville, he wouldn't be as reckless knowing there are plenty of hotels even when the city was developing back in the 1970's.

Instead the two perpetrators probably were Norman's students, as they knew what they were looking, probably they were tutor by him and let them come to his house as a symbol of good faith, they knew where he kept his key, they neighbors trusted them and they didn't suspect anything strange, and they knew where he kept his possessions as well his son trust them

I suspect the ordinarily public report has the identity of the murders, because they had to be familiar with the area and they didn't went to far which I firmly believe where some of his students or former students that were looking for a tutor. Part of my questioning on this murder if is University of Florida still has some of the records from 41 years ago that could say and make public why he got fired from his position? Any list of students that fit with the characteristics Norman's son gave in case the police doesn't want to release the records.

Why I am saying this? Because if it was someone else, people who were more familiar with the city or at least knew how to drive, they would had planned their strike carefully and not in such a reckless behavior, part of my hypotethis is also funadmente that the murderers had ties with wealthy family in the North Florida area and their parents pay for the police silence but also to avoid the records being released, and if money was a factor that would explain why the coroner didn't say anything on any interview towards Norman's topic.

The other part that I believe is a cover but also part to discriminate against him, is to mention that he was gay and that he was looking for sex outside; I know the historical setting and that Stonewall was relative recently within the last decade but the story that is given in the cold cases section and the few prints of newspapers doesn't match and I think his killers could be still alive.


Friday, June 5, 2020

San Japan - The Dark Side of the Anime Conventions

Proz Twitter


So, let's talk about the side of the conventions and we are going to start with San Japan, recently as this week a Tweet by the convention's founder Dave Henkin, which the tweet itself is self explanatory and what he thinks about POC in the entertainment industry and his behavior is super common within the anime and comic book convention scene, something I learned in the 4 years I been assisting to them but not many people talk about it openly, think about a dirty little secret - comic cons and anime cons, tend to be somewhat of safe heavens but also they tend to be extremely racists, fat shaming places just to name a few -

Let's start checking his Tweet, he compared POC entertainers to sexual predators and assholes divas, what does that say about the policies of San Japan towards guests? POC are not welcome but it gets worse checking on the guest list from 2008 to the present POC representation is minimal, there is a lot of light skinned guests there, and guests that are white passing, but honestly i couldn't find any black individuals at all with the exception of the Hispanic guests who were light skinned in their vast majority and a the Japanese guests that are invited.

This is problematic, because the Tweet of Dave (Proz) is 100% accurate, as the founder of the convention he has secured to place guests that would be pleasing to his eye and it will give credibility to his tweet that San Japan is not welcome to anyone that is dark skinned. Hence he said sexual predators and assholes divas, referring to black men and women. It's disgusting, but an eye opener that behavior like this is finally getting attention.

Now we need to speak about the excuse, you wonder why I do not edit names? Because he left it open to the public, is not even an excuse, is a series of words that show him on how a pathetic excuse of a human he is, how dare he say  "To a tweet that was recently circulating: I am an idiot. I was trying to express frustration with the difficulty of marketing POC guests to large sections of the fandom that request the same milquetoast celebrities that are already at every other show.
I realize I speak from a position of privilege as a white man and vow to be a better ally in the future. I'm sorry."

You Dave use your privilege as a national white American, or a Karen-excuse to justify why you are such an asshole, but is even worse the people who defend you and agreeing you were "anxious" you are a racist, for not admitting your own fault and tried to blame to the con attendees, and I can assure you, is not difficult to market African-American cosplayers and entertainers but you don't have the balls to admit that you don't want them on your convention.

I am going to assume you tried to say Dream Convention, as the "convention who specialize in POC" but you couldn't even remember the name or at least Google it proper and refer to them with their name, which your actions are taking echo within the convention scene because it does mimic a lot of Metro Con around 2013 but that will be the topic on another entry.

I honestly hope if there is any Youtuber and Voice Actors who read this, any artist who booked with them who boycott San Japan, if the board of directors don't remove a racist person that as the helm of the convention because it's problematic making his behavior and pathethic excuse the new normal, because within how the social weather is going we need to implement measures to punish any racist individual and don't accept any excuse without repercussions. 


Sunday, May 3, 2020

The Importance of Steven Universe

The show wasn't perfect, but it became a milestone within the line-up of Cartoon Network as essentially it had somewhat developed characters that reached the LGBTQA demographics but also didn't showed them withing the classical cliche type, but I am not going in to a deep analysis as much of the points I am writing they were already wrote by many other people.

The importance of Steven Universe relies that for the first time in Cartoon Network there was this show created by a non-binary person, it set a fictional group of superheroes that were agender and queer as you can get, it explored loss and grief, it explored happiness between same sex couple and abuse, the list can go for a while but to make it concrete it explore topics that aren't common with children's cartoon but still using metaphorical elements which is one of the reason the show became popular with adults alike.

I am not going to bash the show, the show wasn't perfect but it exposed the vision of Rebecca Sugar  and that's important enough, I am not going to say how the show could be written because that would be a fallacy as I am not a critic or anything, just some random guy with too much time on his hands; I am not going to say how the show could be perfect through some idilic fantasy where toxicity doesn't exist because in the "real world" we are complex humans that talking beyond your feelings and thinking everyone react the same way as you is just childish.

We have to think "how we as members of a vast communities as well the allies, could give representations to the demographics that are in risk but also to the children and teens that need it" and after Adventure Time where there were hints about Marceline and Bonibell relationship, Steven Universe was open and frank since the beginning.

My only two issues with the show itself were the sparsity between episodes and how the story doesn't connect on occasions, but overall I never really minded either because as I said before is just a children's show and myself being an adult is not to critic the show unless it expose something inappropriate but rather find a way to support the youth of the community and their development, knowing that beyond representation there are allies everywhere because beyond the queerness of most of the characters Steven itself was represented as straight and he supported everyone.

Beyond that, I never minded the show it was fun to watch and it was cute, it gives me hope towards any more LGBTQA representation in a children's network as within time people will have representation, representation matters because it gives exposure and it can empower individuals but also as a race of storytellers the impact of a medium as television or web series can help a lot people to know they aren't alone and how to face life, because life is far more complex than a kumbaya bonfire and stories as the one from Steven Universe can help future generations.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Conquer: A Tribute to Skillet by Caleb Hyles


Why do I enjoy cover artists? There are so many reasons, one of them I love to see different interpretations of songs that I know but also on a more deeper meaning it let me discover new musicians and vocalists over a period of time and see how they develop, my finding over the years with Caleb Hyles has been one of the most interesting cases because 11 years ago I wouldn’t imagine in my life that was it was a silly channel between two brothers eventually it would evolve into one of the most popular content creators.

Conquer a Tribute to Skillet is a really cool product, a different reinterpretation of some of the songs but at the same time it does keep the essence, is a cool album because if you are a listener that is looking for new vocalist and musicians you can have a six degrees of separation and find new talents such as Aruvn, Lollia, Jonathan Young (who is already well established) and SixteeninMono who form part of the line-up.

A fantastic thing about the album is that even if you as a listener are not in to Christian Rock, you can still enjoy it, it goes on the same vein as Evanescence that has an appeal to the masses on a pop culture level because of the hard beats sounds but lyrics that can reach a general public; now that I mentioned that I didn’t had a clue who Skillet were until about six years ago, when people at work used to describe me who was Skillet I thought they were talking about a brand of cooking appliances until by random effects of the destiny they are a band.

The production of the album is quite fantastic, gorgeous and energetic and melancholic, it’s almost as a spiritual journey through life and pain, to find there is room to growth and find comfort in the hands of the Lord. There is always something I noticed within years of following different indie artists through the years, each one of them has their own unique sound, not only on their voices on instruments, is almost as a trademark where you can identify the artist by the selection of background instrumentalization but also due vocal techniques.

Let’s just focus on this album, the album has a reflection of Caleb’s sounds on instrumentalization, sounds that reflect his concerts that are filled with high energy routines but also melodic and more mellow themes, concerts that can make you unite with the other public and join the Hyles Hype Crew; but is not only the high energy of the instrument, the different collaborations there are in the album with Jonathan Young that add an incredible dose of Metal and brotherly bond, it’s not only a one or two songs they are two acts that have such an amazing chemistry together that even with their own personal accomplishments they create synergy to bring two fandoms into one.

There are so many little things on the album that reflect Caleb personal journey into the world of entertainment but also his grown as an artist, you have to understand this is a journey and an evolution of more than 10 years, from the Rock Band days, to the silly videos he and his brother Josh created on their parents living room along with other friends, to the first anime covers such as Vampire Knight, to the fan dubs of different anime’s with several of their friends to eventually becoming his own channel with CalebCovers, From the Dark to As Eyes Go Blind  and eventually the Peace, Love and Metal Community.

Is a process, that has turned him in to a brand of his own and I do not believe this is the culmination but rather a beginning of one of the superstars of the world of music, if you want to purchase the album hit here and it will redirect you to his iTunes store page that will redirect you to the Conquer: A Skillet Tribute Album.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Reaction Videos are Cheap

If any of my friends read this, I want to apologize in advance but I can't stand reaction videos of any kind, I am not alone. I am not talking to reacting to Nintendo Directs only, but essentially unboxing videos, testing make-up, reacting to a trailer, etc, anything that is just a mere form or cheap marketing to obtain popularity based on your reactions even if they look fake.

We can think on the direct marketing perspective, based on product testing to understand the satisfaction with a product i.e. there can be a video made based on how a certain type of make up behaves and the content creator can give their opinion after an organized script to let the potential users and customers know what are your experiences based on your test and product demo; instead of going and make a video that you look unorganized and make the Nintendo 64 child a more serious salesman of an outdated product.

Probably the reason reaction videos are so popular it lies on the primitive aspect we encompass as human and great primates, we can think of  mirror neurons and mirror behavior, we gain pleasure by watching someone else reacting to an X situation that can mirror our own experiences and probably (again) is one reason people seek on those videos, because they feel empathy.

As we mentioned before, we have to understand there are different reaction videos and the concept itself can be used to show products as well cultural scenarios as the tasting of food and places, the concept can be used to sell travel plans but also to educate people on the different cultures that are beyond their cul-de-sac's and how they influence their daily habits of food as well clothing; but the concept gets lost instead of sitting with content that is easy to digest and almost forgettable.

There is one Youtuber I admire, I know their name through a friend, they are quite knowledgeable towards gaming itself, but they centered their content exclusively on reaction videos, and going through their list on Youtube to see their statistic I saw only their reaction videos are the ones that get the most views. Over time I saw that their original content and even let's play content has less views than the reaction videos and I found interesting on how they switched from original content to almost solely let's play and reaction videos to try to stay somewhat relevant.

Is almost a death sentence to any creator, why? Because you are setting your popularity on your looks to create reaction videos and probably after any potential audience see too many of your videos you are going to be on a popularity limbo because reaction videos don't contain any replay values, reaction videos are just mere extension of entertainment segments viewers can watch it once and there is no reason to repeat it them because they don't contain any informational value.

Even so, there is a moment when viewers can see how fake the videos involving reaction turn to be, if you don't have a marketing plan and you set yourself as a brand crying and screaming because of the new game is coming up, it can be difficult to take you seriously whenever you want to diversify your portfolio within your content, people aren't going to take you seriously enough to know you can create something wonderful but also people tend to be greedy and their modes and habits change over time.

Reaction videos at the end are forgettable, as a product per-se in 10 years they will be forgettable, they don't even contain meme content as the Nintendo 64 kid that can be used on the popular culture, instead the reaction videos are a cheap way to bring people which on a long term won't even be as active, they relegate original content on the side and honestly they don't contribute to anything original or new but instead clutter the space of whatever could bring something interesting to content creation.