Monthly Archives: June 2012

#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries Finale Edition

Guys, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play closes this Sunday (boo!) If you haven’t gotten your tickets yet get them here!

For our last blog post, here is the fourth installment of our #WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries vlog series, thanks for following along! If you missed ’em, here’s Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3.

Without further ado:

Meet Nik: She’s just a happy person in general who likes lighthearted pop culture that makes her dance. Also, we think she might have a little crush on Johnny Depp. Not bad antidotes for the grim apocalypse, eh?

 

Bubble Bubble:

So this guy didn’t share his name, but we’re gonna nickname him Bubble Bubble. Let’s hope his friends last through the apocalypse with him ’cause they would create a whole new awesome level of Glee.

 

Nietzsche:

This philosopher got deep with us…real deep. He’s totally ready for the apocalypse.

 

Meet Johnny: If the world were to end tomorrow, Johnny might not survive ’cause he’s a big chicken. Seriously, we’re not kidding. He might turn into a chicken.

 

~Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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A Very Electric Connectivity Round-Up

Unfortunately, electricity could not be avoided in the creation of this blog post.

People check out the post-electric scene with our installation, A Post-Electric World: Viewpoints from Visual Artists

Check out how our Nostalgia Reference Board has done over the past few weeks!

People start to break off and find their own references besides the example!

It is too easy to loop any cultural reference back to The Simpsons.

Patrons think hard about how many connections/references have been made to Pygmalion.

A patron adds her thoughts to the board!

Patrons riff off of the example… not what we expected, but still totally cool.

Total. Reference. Explosion.

 

~ Melanie Harker, Connectivity Associate

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#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries: Round 3

Happy Friday Mammoths! If you’ve been following us on our blog and social media, you’ll know that we’ve created a “vlog” series called “Pop Culture Diaries.” We asked Woolly staff and patrons what piece of pop culture they remember most and what they couldn’t live without if the world were to end—here’s the responses from Episode 1 and Episode 2.

For Round 3:

Meet Bob, he is the master of his domain and his favorite sitcom and yada yada yada…

 

Meet Christina, Christina’s not dumb. She knows what she would need to survive after the apocalypse. Yeah. YEAH-AH. Who wouldn’t want a little Jim Carrey to brighten the rest of your days?

 

Meet Jason, he could be the number 2 guy for Dunder Mifflin’s number 2 guy. If the world ends tomorrow, we’ll have a paper shrine to Dwight Schrute.

 

Meet John, his rhymes would make the apocalypse a little bit brighter. We could probably use some of his wisdom too.

 

~Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Inside the Comic-con and Tales of Nerdery

Zac with Sesame Street Characters

I’m the resident nerd at Woolly Mammoth and I’m proud of it. It’s a component of who I am and how I relate to the world. As a participant in the culture of fandom I can provide you with a unique perspective into what it means to be a fan of a television show that was cancelled in 1994, (18 years ago). This summer marked the 25th anniversary of that show’s premiere and ten years since the last Star Trek: The Next Generation movie ran in theatres. This summer I attended the Phoenix Comic-con in order to participate in that 25th anniversary celebration and perhaps also to figure out what motivates us nerds.

Why do people choose to be fans of things like Star Trek, Buffy, or Thundercats? Specifically, why do they choose to express themselves in such odd ways at conventions? I actually had the opportunity to ask numerous people that exact question as I walked the floor at the Phoenix Comic-con.

“Why are you dressed up like Liono from the Thundercats?… no really, why?”

“Why are you sitting in line for the 25th anniversary Star Trek: The Next Generation panel four hours before it starts?”

“Why are you attending the con?”

Universally the answer I was given to these questions was simple, they felt a connection to these characters, stories, and the experience at the convention helped them to celebrate those feelings. Generally speaking fans enjoy making connections with their icons because it validates their celebration of those characters and stories. Dressing up and attending conventions justifies the time spent watching and talking about these materials at length. But there’s more to it than that…

As I sat in the convention hall awaiting the start of the Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Panel with Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner, and Wil Wheaton I kept asking myself why I was there, and why I’d chosen to attend this particular panel. In the course of considering my own motivations I kept coming back to one answer: Love. It’s crazy… I know… but I love that show. I really love those characters. I respect them. They represent an ideal of how life should be, and what we as humanity should aspire to become in our future, and generally they inspire me to be a better person. Star Trek: The Next Generation and the characters played by those actors are a part of who I am. Their struggles, successes and failures, heart breaks and love stories—they’re my stories.  They’re the stories that tie fans together and give us common ground.

During the Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary panel, one of the audience members asked the actors who their heroes are and their answers are less important to the context of this blog post than the question itself. “Who are YOUR heroes?” implies that they are OUR heroes. That alone illustrates the role fandom plays in people’s lives.

We nerds, geeks and fanboys (and girls) choose to celebrate our love of these characters by participating in conventions, panels, and photo-ops with the people who made these shows possible. We obsess over the details of these shows to further our understanding of them and in doing so develop a greater appreciation for the material in question.

If you need any better illustration to help understand the relationship between fans and their heroes simply look at a catalogue of photo-op pictures of fans with their favorite actors and celebrities from their favorite shows. Look at the faces of the fans. The actors understand this relationship better than any of us—they pose for these pictures because they know that for their fans it’s important, it’s meaningful, and that whether they intended to or not, they impacted all of these people’s lives.

On the last day of the Phoenix Comic-con I got to meet Morgan Gendel, the writer of my all time favorite episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, ‘The Inner Light’. At Mr. Gendel’s table he was selling signed copies of his original script and a replica of the prop flute played by Captain Picard during that episode. I kid you not, I spent $100 on a tin whistle, $50 on a signed copy of a poorly bound script, and the thing I valued most from that experience was shaking Mr. Gendel’s hand and telling him how much I appreciated his work on that episode. The fact that the episode went on to win a Hugo Award is of little consequence. It was important to me and I chose to celebrate that by buying everything Morgan Gendel was selling at his booth, I attended his panel on the episode, and I will never forget getting the opportunity I got to shake his hand and say thank you, and I meant it.

At the end of the day we are all fans of something and we celebrate that passion in different ways. Fandom is usually portrayed by fans of science fictions, fantasy, comic books, and other general nerdery. I tell you now that we, the nerds, readily admit to our fandom. We celebrate our nerdiness and in the spirit of Woolly’s current show, Mr. Burns, a post electric play, I can honestly tell you that if the lights went out tomorrow I would be a member of the Star Trek troupe… and I wouldn’t need to buy lines.

My last stop of the Con was at the booth of Phil Ortiz, one of the original cartoonists who drew for The Simpsons during the first few seasons. As part of his booth he was drawing portraits of attendees and “Simpsonizing” people for a nominal fee. I told him about the show at Woolly, and he proceeded to draw me with Mr. Burns looking over my shoulder. As a note on the popularity of Mr. Ortiz’s booth I can tell you that the line was quite long, and people were being turned away near the end. The Simpsons has been on the air for 23 years and their fans are still excited about the show. Check out my Simpsons portait below.

~Zacory Boatright, Director of Business Development

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#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries: PWYC Style!

You might have seen last week the first of our #WoollyBurns “vlog” series Pop Culture Diaries. We asked Woolly staff and patrons what piece of pop culture they remember most and what they couldn’t live without.

Today’s videos come to you from the Pay-What-You-Can line for Mr. Burns, a post-electric play. Without further ado:

Meet Audrey: She’s equipped to outlive you during the apocalypse ’cause she’s got tips from the Tribal Council.

 

Meet Meghan: Her talents don’t include whistling, but if it came down to the wire, she would need to learn.

 

Meet Emily: See who her reality TV cooking hero is. He’s an Original with a lot of spice. ALLEZ CUISINE!

 

Meet Ryan: So he wouldn’t remember The Simpsons during the apocalypse, which we think is crazy talk. He is obsessed with another cartoon, mmkay. He does a pretty good impression though…we’ll give him that.

 

~Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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#WoollyBurns Pop Culture Diaries

For Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, Woolly has created a Vlog of Pop Culture Memories. We asked Woolly staff and patrons what piece of pop culture they remember most and what they couldn’t live without.

Here’s Melanie – Listen to her beautiful pipes as she recalls pop songs she loves. See if you can get away with having this catchy tune stuck in your head the rest of the day.

 

Here’s Timmy – Remember the days of young James Van Der Beek and puppy love in Capeside, Massachusetts…”I don’t wanna wait for our lives to be overrrr”

 

Cameron – see what piece of pop culture he connected with when he was just a wee mammoth.

 

~ Noel Edwards, Marketing and Communications Assistant

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Guide to Apocalyptic Categorization

I feel I need to apologize to my readers. Two weeks ago I wrote a Post-Apocalyptic Survival Guide for the Woolly Mammoth Blog that I now feel failed to provide much of the critical information necessary for preparing to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. I was negligent in addressing the critical question for any apocalyptic readiness preparations, “What kind of apocalypse will you need to survive?” So as my personally imposed act of penance, I present you with my “Guide to Apocalyptic Categorization”

A Nuclear Apocalypse – While movies like The Day After may just seem like cold war paranoia today, there are still approximately 19,000 nuclear weapons in the world today. That combined with the growing concern with the safety of the world’s 430 plus nuclear power plants and all of a sudden Brendan Fraser’s family in Blast from the Past doesn’t seem so crazy for building their own personal fallout shelter. While reactors in power plants don’t explode with anywhere near the kind of destructive force of a nuclear warhead, they can have long term impacts on the habitability of the surrounding environment when things go wrong. I haven’t seen Chernobyl Diaries yet, but I assume it as a good documentary source of information about how the environment around the famous Ukrainian power plant was impacted by the 1986 accident.
Probability: Based on the prevalence of nuclear material on our planet—both in weapon and power plant forms—and all the 1960s PSAs I have been watching lately I would say that a Nuclear Apocalypse is Medium Probability.
Survivability: Depends. If you are under a desk, High. For those not taken out by an initial blast, who also manage to avoid Acute Radiation Syndrome, I would rate survival chances at Medium to Medium-Low. Being prepared to enter a lawless economy based on bartering and violence with other survivors can however increase your chance of survival.

A Technological Apocalypse – Robots are everywhere these days. They build our cars, vacuum our floors, and arrange our train travel. Now it may just be my personal grudge with Julie the Amtrak Robot, but I have a feeling that robots may not be happy with cheerfully serving man forever, and I am not alone in my thinking. Between Skynet and the Matrix it is pretty clear that machines becoming self aware can only lead to bad things for humanity. And robots are just one of the many technologies in development today that could one day wreak havoc for us humans. Pick up just about any Michael Crichton book you will soon be plagued by the constant fear that somewhere scientists are making deadly uncontrollable nanobots or cloning dinos.
Probability: Now that we are making robots whose sole purpose for existing is geriatric care I am going to give this one a High Probability.
Survival: Very Low, unless your name is John Connor.

A Pathological Apocalypse – First came Bird Flu, then came Swine Flu, then finally came the Super Flu. Ok so no Super Flu yet, but it may be on its way. As if the diseases naturally occurring in the real world were not terrifying enough, authors like Stephen King have to scare us with the possibility of manmade super diseases breaking free from their research laboratories and ravaging society. While mankind’s ability to tolerate some of these pathogens may save us from a War of the Worlds style alien invasion, anyone who has seen Outbreak or knows about the very real disease that inspired the film knows there is much more to fear from these microscopic predators.
Probability: Medium. The more you know about what they keep around for research at the CDC the more paranoid you will become.
Survival: Medium to High. We have done it before. The Plague, Ebola, and Spanish Flu all did a lot of damage but humanity survived. Immunity, early detection, quarantine zone, these are all words that make me feel a little safer. Just hope you are not neighbors with Patient Zero and you have a decent shot at living through it.

A Zombie Apocalypse – Often related to the Pathological Apocalypse in films like 28 Days Later, zombies due merit their own category. Sometimes the cause of a zombie outbreak is a deadly virus but other times it is supernatural like in Evil Dead. Now we can add another item to the list of terrors that can cause someone to become a zombie, Bath Salts. Not the kind you put in your tub, but the drug similar to LSD that reportedly caused a Florida man to start eating another man’s face and made him oblivious to being shot by police officers.
Probability: Very High, since it’s already happening.
Survival: Depends on if you count being a zombie as surviving or not.

Other possible causes of an apocalypse include: Meteors, Super Volcanoes, Alien Invasions, Drastic Climate Change, God, and Dragons. But in most of those situations we are all pretty much doomed beyond possible redemption so there is not much you can do to prepare.

~Cameron Huppertz, Literary Assistant

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