Opening this weekend is the 12th Star Trek movie (and 2nd for J.J. Abrams) Star Trek Into Darkness. It’s no small feat for Abrams, to take a movie franchise that was on it’s last legs (save for the die hard fans) and make it something that is once again exciting and fun.
Look, I love the franchise, it was my subsititute best friend as a kid while I waiting patiently for Star Wars to get it’s rear into gear… and when the SW franchise was seemingly over, Star Trek TNG became a regular watchable treat. I enjoyed the shows and the movies, but I also began seeing the end of the road. As the actors got older (Next Generation actors too) and they tried to keep squeezing themselves into outfits and do movies that still required sci fi action, I knew that something had to change. As much as I loved the old actors, I would rather have them burn out early than watch them get older and worse for wear as they pulled out yet another lackluster movie that none of my friends would want to watch with me.
Then J.J. Abrams came, he did something I would never have had the guts to do, and recasted all the beloved characters… and it worked. Using Star Wars themes and visceral images, he made Star Trek what it should be. Now don’t get me wrong, ST was already good, but like SW sometimes it needed saving from it’s creator, and Trek’s creator has been dead for some time.
If there is a problem with Into Darkness, it’s not the story or the fact that it’s not canon (Abram’s established altered timeline lets the purists have their Trek while he explores this new one) It’s that this movie at times may be too dark. I wondered that in various times as Kirk and crew went on a manhunt to kill for revenge, (something Roddenberry would certainly never have written) and Starfleet is caught up in a plan to go to war with another species. It is a far cry to the original premise of mankind learning it’s lesson from war and being a peaceful race.
Despite that, it’s got everything I want in a science fiction movie. Explosions, a great climax, and a chick in her underwear. This movie (and it’s 2009 counterpart) suceeds in doing what other Star Trek movies have failed to do. It grabs the casual movie fans attention. You don’t need to have seen the other 11 movies to get what is going on here, and even more so, you can whole heartedly enjoy the movie when you do see it.
Will there be people who don’t like it? Sure. There always are. But I submit that for the purists’ beloved franchise to survive, it needs this update and it needs this director. Seeing the Enterprise soaring through the screen leaving a cosmic vapor light trail when going into warp is a treat, and one that should be witnessed in a full theater rather than an empty one.
Here is Day 3 from OMBG’s wandering Camera
The first cool thing that happened was we synced up with Ethan Minsker of the Antagonist Art Movement and he came over to the OMBG studio home to shoot some footage for an upcoming film project. Ethan and the Antagonist crew have been very inspirational the past few days just like our German friends Boris, Karla and Stohead. They have shared their stories and experiences with us and have given us the inspiration we need for those dark days when it seems like we should just quit. I can’t thank them enough for their inspiration and it was a treat to be on the other side of the microphone for once as he explained our story is just as interesting as anyone else’s
Soon afterwards Crispy and Rubio showed up and we were able to interview everyone about their role as artists and the film “The Dolls Of Lisbon”
After that, we went downtown where Ethan did a quick workshop with us teaching stop action animation with a camera…
Then we caught ALL AGES at the Golden Gecko
Then headed over to VIP to catch up with our buds from WHEN WE RULED H TOWN
watched Wackford Squeers play at the Golden Gecko…
and Something Called Nothing…
There is a lot going on at VTXIFF, here’s OMBG’s wandering camera
First we went to the Stout City Luchadores recording session
And we stuck around for Joe Reyna’s session
We finished up in time to catch Joe Reyna at Cinema Under The Stars
Then we walked over to the Welder Center to meet Rutger Hauer who gave us lots of insight on indie films and his roles over the years.
Then stayed for the Q&A of Il Futuro
Grabbed a bite at Tasty’s Tacos…
Then headed over to Cinema Under The Stars
and capped the night off at the insanely crowded Roundball Afterparty…
The Film Fest has a lot going on, so we strapped the camera to Timothy Danger and let him chronicle his way around town
For us the festivities started early as we showed up to the Antagonist Mural behind the Children’s Musuem. They were making great progress…
Then we walked over to The Golden Gecko where we watched Ted Riederer from Never Records record local poet Michael McClanahan and cut the poems immediately to vinyl. The process was amazing and beautiful to watch.
When it was close to showtime, we went over to the art exhibit at the Welder Center to check out stuff from Avlo, Stohead, and Jake Ramirez
Then headed over to the Cinema Under The Stars to catch Kevin Gant
Then stayed for the screening of Never Records you aren’t listening…
And despite the cold, the movie was so great we stayed for the Q&A
We capped off the night by heading over to the Femme Fatale Short program, specifically to catch Beth’s film AVE D, and the Q&A, this locally made short brought down the house.
Making their way to the Victoria TX Independent Film Fest is Les Sales Cons, a French based comedic hip hop group invited to Texas to perform at the Roundball afterparty on Friday April 5th at the Golden Gecko. Les Sales Cons is a featured artist on the Roundball soundtrack and their performance is being recorded live as part of the festival’s many unique activities that incorpate festival goers with not just film, but music and art to engage participants.
Les Sales Cons took time out to talk with Timothy Danger of OMBG about the group and coming to the film fest.
TD: Let’s talk band history. How did you guys form?
LS: It’s a very old story…
The band formed because we don’t have anything else to do… (laugh)
It was the time when everybody in the world did rap, and also in a very easy way especially in France.
So we decide to create a rap band against rap and to do it in a easier way by bringing the old manner of rapping (I mean with real topics of society and a different flow) but in a real sarcastic and a critical way.
So the band born more or less like a joke.
All members of the band are musicians, Mac Traitre is guitarist and La Note is Bassist and percussionist, so we want to have a first concert to know what the impact could be on our city.
And surprisingly, it worked… People started to talk about us and to spread the word that a new white trash rap band was born. So we kept on until now and also we succeed in bringing our instruments we play live on stage and to give a real comical way (stand up way) to our show (in French).
TD: Tell us about your songwriting process. Humor seems to play a big part in your video, is that something you do to stay different from others?
LS: Absolutely YES, we wanted to be serious on such subjects and to say the reality in a such manner but always by trying to be funny and extravagant…
In fact as you know when you’re talking a joke you have to be serious instead of laughing, if not the joke doesn’t work.
So we play between the 1st and the second degree and sometimes people wonder if we are serious or not when they listen our songs…
TD: The motto “We rap out loud what nobody is thinking” is an interesting one, what are some of the themes or topics you tackle with your songs?
LS: The topics are based on true events, or they born from a frustration that could be sexual or financial or political. Basically the very first topics were about sex (like “Nichons” or “Par le cul y a moyen?”), and other texts were made by automatic writing (Rien d’Utile), but now we also tackle with other subjects like cannibalism, suicide, politics, consumption, discrimination, society…
TD: Do you think your music is a good way to get your point across and maybe get others to agree, or do you think you just do it for personal satisfaction?
LS: We don’t care if people are agree or not on what we say, we just do it for fun and we want that our audience has fun too.
It’s like to say “Stop thinking for a moment, stop being serious for a while, and have some fun with us and people around you”.
Our point is maybe to say to people, think what you want and say what you want, don’t be afraid of what you are.
TD: Will this be your first time in the United States or Texas? What are you most looking forward to?
LS: Yes, first time ever, so we’re very exited to be in the USA and especially in Texas.
The most we’re looking forward is fun, guns, food and bitcheeeeeees (laughs)
Seriously we’re happy to do that concert in Victoria, and to see what could be our impact on an American audience, but all our songs are in French, so we will see.
TD:How is the music scene where you are at? What’s the most memorable thing that has happened to you there?
LS: Well, we live in Strasbourg (the European capital because of its European institutions) in France, it’s a very little town with about 200 000 people in the downtown and 500 000 with the surroundings.
But even if it’s not too big, the music scene is very eclectic. You can find 3 main places for doing shows and also we have the biggest Zenith (it’s like the biggest place to do shows) in France.
But the city is a very cultural one with a lot of young people, because of the universities, and you can do show also in bars.
The most memorable things that happened to us, we thought about 3 things.
The first was in Strasbourg when we’re playing a song (Nichons or Tous des cons, we don’t remember), there was a girl in the public who started to cry and to throw a plastic glass full of beer to us on stage and she was screaming “why do you say that? Why do you say that?” It was very funny, but we never understood her reaction, because we don’t want to hurt anybody in our songs…
The second one was always in Strasbourg when for the first time we bring on stage 2 girls for dancing with us and get undressed, but also our instruments (guitar, bass and percussions played by the two Mcs) and we also buy some confetti tubes for the show. It was few days before Christmas and all the people were costumed and at the end of our show a good part of the people get on stage and ended the show with us. It was a really good mess. We enjoy a lot that show.
The third one happened in a little village called Landsberg always in France, when the band was very young and not so known. We play in a little bar with no stage and with about 30-50 peoples in front of us. And the amazing part was that all the peoples knew almost all of our songs and they song with us all along. It was very surprising.
TD: What are the best ways for people here in the US to find your music?
LS: You can use Deezer to find out our music or also reverbnation.com/lessalescons or myspace.com/lessalescons.
We’ve done 3 video clips that are on youtube: Rien d’Utile, Dans nos filets, and La Grande Bouffe. And also a promotional one for our album “Mettez-vous des claques!” (Slap yourselves in the face!)
But the best is on facebook “Sales Cons”.
Our label based on Toulouse failed, so we have a lot of CDs to sell, and facebook it’s the best way for us to do that. So if you’re interested send a PM to us
TD: What are your future plans for after the film festival?
LS: Nowadays we’re all juggling with jobs and side projects, and also because the label failed, we’re asking to ourselves if we have to keep on or not.
We have also ideas for a new album, lyrics are made and also some of the music, so we are open to all propositions…
MUST COME DOWN screens Friday April 5 at 6pm
Acknowledging our addiction to video games, pop culture and surreal humor, we here at OMBG have been fans of the popular web series “Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin?” for a while now. The series, created by the sibling duo Anthony and Ashly Burch uses sibling rivalry, social themes, and poop jokes all wrapped up in a video game package.
Ashly’s portrayal of herself in the series comes off as manic, off kilter, and quick on the draw makes for very funny comedy.
So when we saw the trailer for “Must Come Down” it took us a second to register the familiar face. Doing a little homework, we discovered Ashly Burch isn’t just a wisecracking video game addict, but a writer, actress, and singer with a lot of stuff going on.
Even better, we found out she was going to be in Victoria TX for the Victoria TX Independent Film Fest, so we decided to reach out to her before she got here to scratch the surface on this very funny lady…
TD: We first heard about you by “HAWP”, from what I understand it was originally just skits you and your brother started making. Did you ever expect it to take off the way it did?
AB: We really didn’t, we were just messing around and Anthony was trying to learn how to use his camera. We didn’t realize that people would respond to it as much as they did. But of course we’re really happy it panned out like it did.
TD: You maintain a terrific blog called “How Games Saved My Life” which publishes testimonies from gamers and pushes the positive elements of gaming. As a social issue, do you find it is getting more accepted in the mainstream, also do you feel it has peaked or will ever peak and run it’s course?
AB: The more time that goes on, the more games become embedded in our culture, and I think that’s a trend that’s only going to continue. It’s slowly becoming a pastime that isn’t met with raised eyebrows or pre-conceived notions. The more people that play games, the less they’ll be used as a scapegoat for societies ills.
TD: You also did a study called “Gender Redemption” focusing on the female responses to male centered roles and narratives in games. As a female gamer and enthusiast, did you find anything new or unexpected from all the data you collected from various women gamers?
AB: The female experience of the game fell a bit more within gendered lines than I anticipated. The participants were almost all exclusively morally noble in the game, and they enjoyed exploring the scenery on horseback and progressing the narrative, as opposed to engaging in more aggressive, and thus more typically masculine activities, like killing NPCs, setting things on fire, etc. It was a really interesting discovery and helped me develop my own views on gender.
TD: Your role as Holly in “Must Come Down” seems to be a 20 something girl in a critical and messed up time in her life, very unlike your comedic portrayal of yourseld in HAWP, was that a stretch for you?
AB: No, not at all. Holly and Ash are very different characters, but I can see pieces of me in each of them. It’s just a matter of accessing those things.
TD: How has the response been to the movie?
AB: It’s been very positive. People seem to really relate to Holly and Ashley, and the strange aimless feelings they’re working through over the course of the film.
TD: You are also a voice actress, with most recently a credit in Borderlands 2. How does the voice acting experience differ from camera work?
AB: I really like voice acting, because it gives you opportunities to play characters that you wouldn’t necessarily be suited for in a theatrical context. I don’t think I could pull off a 13-year-old on camera, but my voice can. I would never be cast as a soldier in a live action film, but I was able to lend my voice to Reid in Aliens: Colonial Marines. Of course, there are pros and cons to both forms of acting. All the physical nuances of a live action performance are lost when you’re voice acting, and, except for certain rare cases, you don’t get to act against anyone when you’re performing vocally, which is a big draw and a large part of the fun of a live action shoot.
TD: What projects do you have coming up?
AB: I’m currently in the Game of Thrones parody web series School of Thrones — the last episode airs on March 24th, right before the new season of GoT starts. There’s also some voice work that I can’t talk about unfortunately, but you’ll know when it comes out!
TD: I have to ask. What are you playing now, and what games are you excited for?
AB: Haha, I’m currently playing Binding of Isaac, Spelunky and SimCity and I’m really excited for Battleblock Theater and Bioshock Infinite.
TD: Where can people online go to keep up with you?
AB: I’m most active on twitter (heyashwp) and you can also catch me on facebook and instagram (instagram.com/ashlyburch)