Monday, 29 October 2018

Coming soon: Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. at ExCel London

Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. London ExCel

Sometimes I feel like a complete kid with this site. I received a press release about Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. which will land in London in November 2018, and it is the most exciting news in the world, ever!

Following a hugely successful run in New York, Seoul, Paris, Singapore, Beijing, Taipei and Las Vegas, where it has set up a permanent exhibition, the Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. immersive attraction will run for a strictly limited time at ExCel London and bookings are now open for 30 November 2018 to 31 March 2019. See the Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. website for more details.

I’ll be going along to a sneak preview on 29 November and will tell you all about it. In the meantime, read the release below to learn more about how to get your Marvel fix.

Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

This highly anticipated multi-room experience offers fans of all ages the opportunity to delve into the super-workings and backstory of each member of The Avengers as they train to become an agent of the S.T.A.T.I.O.N.

Marvel's Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. Captain America
S.T.A.T.I.O.N. is an acronym for Science Training and Tactical Intelligence Operative Network, where guests will step inside the popular films and become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe storyline, whether trying to lift Thor’s hammer or taking a sneaky peak at Bruce Banners Lab.

As part of their training, fans will get the opportunity to interact with props and characters straight from the big screen.

Highlights include:

  • The Thor Observatory – dedicated to Thor Odinson, King of Asgard and son of Odin. Test your worthiness by attempting to lift Thor’s hammer, Mjölnir, view Thor’s outfits and study the universe and its current parameters using NASA’s EYE on the exoplanets program.
  • Check out Captain America’s personnel file and explore the cutting-edge science that made Steve Rogers into Captain America.
  • Iron Man Engineering Bay – trainee agents have the chance to not only get up close and personal with Iron Man’s iconic suits of armour but also experience what simulated flight inside the suit would be like.
  • Ever wondered what Bruce Banner’s Lab looks like? Explore the Bio Lab transformation of Dr Banners superior brain as he morphs into The Hulk.

In a world first, and keeping up with the ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe, London’s Marvel’s Avengers Station experience includes never before seen character displays on Black Panther, The Wasp, and Thanos.

The experience has provided a super-powered dose of science and technology by NASA to enhance the authenticity of the experience and pique visitors' interest in real-world science and technology. With comprehensive educational materials available for teachers, plus supporting materials created by Quantum Victoria, it is a thrilling learning experience for high school kids to follow STEM pathways by amplifying the scientific themes and characters that are core to Marvel’s storytelling.

Marvel’s Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N. debuts a huge collection of Avengers movie-based props and interactive technology for a strictly limited time in London’s ExCel between November and March 2019.

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Friday, 26 October 2018

Listen: Mackenzie Shivers returns with "Believe"

Mackenzie Shivers

It’s that time of year again; the clocks fell back last night and winter is definitely on the way. If I’m honest, I’m relieved. We had an incredible long, hot summer but I’m looking forward to slowing down for a while and taking stock of where life is taking me. This is the time for hot cups of tea, warm blankets and days filled with books and socks. Or for lying on the sofa, listening to music and whiling away the afternoon. One song I can’t stop listening to at the moment is “Believe” by Mackenzie Shivers.

“Believe” is a deceptively simple arrangement, comprised of just Mackenzie’s beautiful vocals, piano and strings by Sarah Elizabeth Haines. In her interview with Vents Magazine, Mackenzie explains that she wrote it following the passing of her brother-in-law some years ago but that following the 2016 presidential election, “the song took on a new meaning to me … It felt bigger than my own personal story. Music is powerful in that way; it transcends one specific event”.

I agree. Listening to “Believe” makes me think of hope and redemption but it also warns of what is important to us in the dark times the world is going through at the moment. It is the perfect accompaniment for moments of introspection.

RIYL

It seems impossible that it’s only been two years since I discovered Mackenzie Shivers and her Living In My Head EP. Her music always stops me in my tracks and sends me into spirals of euphoric recall and thoughtfulness. In my endless search for music that truly moves me, I believe in Mackenzie Shivers. If you like Aoife O’Donovan, Olivia Chaney, Joni Mitchell, Florence and the Machine, PJ Harvey, Bat for Lashes or Kate Bush, you’ll love Mackenzie Shivers.

Listen

New album + Pledge Music Campaign

“Believe” is the first single from the upcoming album The Unkindness, Mackenzie’s first studio album since Neverland (2014). The album is due out on 8 February 2019 and Mackenzie Shivers is running a Pledge Music campaign to give fans the chance to access music and exclusive merchandise first. From just $15 to access the Digital Download, there is a package to suit every price.

Pledge Music logo

Pledge Music and other similar sites give fans a chance to support independent music and to hear what they most want to hear. We’ve all heard of bands who have been lead astray by what record companies think fans want to hear and individual patronage is the way of the future.


Links: Twitter | Facebook | Soundcloud | Official Website | Pledge Music
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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Author Jack Croxall on Celebrity Culture

Win Butler - Arcade Fire

Long time readers of this blog will be familiar with Jack Croxall, author of one of my favourite novels Wye. Today, Jack has kindly offered to share his thoughts on Celebrity Culture.


”Celebrity culture” is getting more and more troubling

A few weeks ago I saw a somewhat alarming conversation on my Twitter feed. Several people were discussing who they thought should run for next American president, and every single suggestion or hopeful prediction was a celebrity. No senators, governors, lawyers or anything like that, it was all completely politically inexperienced singers, actors and TV stars. Now, to be fair, no legitimate career choice should automatically discount an individual from running for office. The presidency is currently occupied by a reality TV personality after all. But I still found the conversation troubling.

You might have heard about that infamous study; 54% of sixteen-year-olds polled want to be “a celebrity” when they grow up. Of course, some people become celebrities because they’re incredible musicians, captains of industry or because they achieve some spectacular feat. But, with the rise of people being famous for being famous, you can bet that some people – young and old – simply want to emulate that. Now, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with wanting to be well-known or appreciated. We all like it when our social media posts get lots of likes, we all like it when someone says something nice about us. But the position of “celebrity” as the pinnacle of achievement, the most desirable life outcome, that’s surely a questionable state of affairs, right?

A product engineer friend of mine once complained to me that celebrity endorsement is far more important than the build, functionality or quality of a given product in terms of it becoming a manufacturing industry success. And, sadly, I think similar things can be said for lots of other sectors as well. Consider the film industry. I have lost count of the times I have burst out laughing during a film because of the terrible accent a completely miscast actor has used in a main part. Usually, this is because the actor in question is a “big name” and the film benefits from having a famous face on the poster, regardless of whether they are right or wrong for the role. Even earlier in a movie’s lifecycle, the quality of a script is frequently a decision maker’s secondary concern compared to whether or not said script has a famous actor already attached to it.

I should say, however, that this at least demonstrates talented, creative people using the power of celebrity to try and get their work out there. Additionally, many celebrities use their fame for good, to raise awareness of important issues or to endorse charities. But, sadly, I don’t think that these are the objectives of many people who want to be famous. I think a worrying amount of people want to be famous because they see it as a way to be rich and idolised without having to do anything. And, personally, I find the idea that our society has instilled a desire to be famous and rich without the want or need for achievement pretty disturbing. As a final note, I want to share another conversation I’ve recently been made aware of. A talented local journalist recently had her first article published in a major national newspaper. It was a big deal for her and, rightly so, she posted the achievement and article on her social media pages. An old school friend got in contact with her and asked how she had done it because she wants to be “rich and famous”. The journalist explained about her degree, her blogging and her networking, to which the school friend’s response was “Sounds like hard work, I’d rather just find a sugar daddy.” Wow.

Jack Croxall Landscape Photo

Jack Croxall is an author, screenwriter and blogger living in Nottinghamshire.

Twitter | Site/blog | Books

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Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Film Review: The Hate U Give (2018) ★★★★★

Amandla Stenberg and Algee Smith in The Hate U Give (2018)

Two teenagers in a car, discussing their shared past and a future that only one of them will get to see. They don’t know it yet but tonight everything will change when they are pulled over by a policeman and one of them is killed. This is the premise of Angie Thomas’s astonishing debut The Hate U Give which comes to the big screen this week care of 20th Century Fox.

Having read the novel and given it a five star review, I knew that the film wasn’t going to be easy to watch but was nevertheless unprepared for the emotional onslaught. This is a powerful film with superb performances and a damning indictment on poverty, underprivileged communities and drug culture.

Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) plays Starr Carter, a young girl whose life is turned upside down when she witnesses the murder of her childhood friend Khalil (Algee Smith). It was interesting to see the portrayal of how Starr handles her two separate identities as a privileged student in a mostly white prep school and a Jordan-obsessed teen in a poor, mostly black neighbourhood. Director George Tillman Jr is already seeing wins and nominations for awards but I predict that Stenberg will soon see Best Actress nominations because she gave an Oscar-worthy performance.

Stenberg was supported by a strong cast, most notably Regina Hall and Russell Hornsby (Grimm) who played her parents Lisa and Maverick Carter. Lamar Johnson gave a standout performance as Starr’s half-brother Seven and I was delighted to see KJ Apa (Archie, Riverdale) in his role as Starr’s boyfriend Chris.

Amandla Stenberg and K.J. Apa in The Hate U Give (2018)

There was so much in the novel relating to the lives and personalities of the people around Starr and in the end, it was impossible that the film could have tackled all of that material. Nevertheless, the plot in the film doesn’t deviate too much from the book, except at the very end. One of the surprising aspects of Angie Thomas’s novel was how abruptly it ended and I can imagine that this wouldn’t have translated well to film. To this end, there is a scene featuring Starr’s brother Sekani (played by TJ Wright) which wasn’t in the book and there is an epilogue of sorts which was also new to the film. Ultimately, I think these deviations were necessary and helped the film in its resolution of the main themes.

The Hate U Give maintains the tone of Angie Thomas’s book and I am thrilled that it was brought to film by such a talented cast and crew. It is a challenging and difficult film and one that has remained in the forefront of my mind for days after viewing. One scene which stands out to me was where Starr’s uncle Carlos (Common) tries to explain what goes through the mind of a policeman during a traffic stop and the anxiety, fears and thoughts that go through their minds as they try to interpret the actions of those in the car. I appreciated the attempt to tell both sides of the story and as Algee Smith said in his interview with blackamericaweb.com, it is a real fear but “unfortunately when you’re Black, it’s just a bigger fear”.

I give The Hate U Give a superb five out of five stars and, like the book, recommend that absolutely everybody watch it.

★★★★★

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© 2005 - Mandy Southgate | Addicted to Media

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