Spotlight

Interviews with the many talented, interesting folks in and around Minnesota geek communities. Let’s shine a spotlight on them!

Minnesota-Born Writer Marisa Tam on Creating Stories for The Blacklist

Marisa Tam was born and raised in the Twin Cities and graduated from the University of Minnesota before heading out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in TV writing. She completed UCLA’s inaugural Professional Program in TV Writing and was later selected for the 2015 CAPE New Writers Fellowship and the 2015–2016 class of NBC’s Writers on the Verge. She is now in her second season as a writer for The Blacklist, starring James Spader and Megan Boone....

Are Zombies and Gore Your Horror of Choice? Meet Minnesota Comic Writer Steve Vold

When I met Steve Vold at the MCBA Fall ComiCon, he thrust a copy of Zombie B.C. into my hands and told me, “I hope you don’t mind gore or violence.” Little did Steve know that one of my all-time favorite video games is Gears of War, which involves chainsawing Locust creatures in half. Leafing through the first couple pages of his comic, the gore was quite apparent in each of the panels. But even without his warning, I...

Minnesota-Born Travis Milloy Brings Thoughtful Sci Fi to the Screen

Science fiction encompasses a broad range of stories. From blockbuster space adventures and transforming robots to more cerebral cautionary tales that hold a mirror to the path we as a society currently walk, the genre appears limitless in its potential. Writer and director Travis Milloy, a Minnesota native, is trying his hand at the latter with his latest project, Infinity Chamber, out in limited theaters today and coming to Amazon and iTunes on September 26. The film tells the story...

Minnesota’s Magic the Amateuring Podcasters Spill on Turning Their Love of Magic into a Full-Time Venture

Trailblazers. Entrepreneurs. Pioneers. Generally, these types of traits assigned to people indicate a certain amount of premeditation. But what if you’re in the middle of your groove before you truly know you’re setting a trend? What if you’re humble Minnesotans, content to eat doughnuts and graciously answer a fledgling reporter’s questions—even though you’re two of the biggest names in the worldwide Magic: The Gathering community today? Well, then you would most likely be Meghan Wolff and Maria Bartholdi. These...

Minneapolis’s LGBT Redneck Amanda Costner Talks Surf Ninjas, Garth Brooks, and Redneck Repurposing

On a recent Saturday night, I found myself in the basement of Spring Street Tavern at Comedy Club Underground, waiting for the show to start. Amanda Costner, also known as LGBT Redneck, was hosting a live comedy show to celebrate the release of her first album. Free album download cards were scattered across the tables, and the crowd was markedly different from what you might expect at a comedy show: predominantly female and over 20. Amanda’s friends promptly kicked...

Going in Depth with Chris Jordan and Minnesota’s Thriving Independent Wrestling Scene

It’s amusing to me that in this day and age when geeks are accepted in the mainstream, when comic-book movies rule the box office, when television is riddled with science fiction and superhero-based shows, and when novels by fantasy writers frequently hit the New York Times bestseller lists, there is one word that is still whispered about in fandoms. That word is wrestling. Professional wrestling has been around far longer than you or me, but many consider it a...

Minnesota Playwright and Poet Saymoukda Vongsay Is the Refugenius You’re Looking For

It is tricky to think of qualifiers in which to present Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay. It isn’t that there aren’t many exceptional things about her to point out (there are), and it isn’t that her résumé couldn’t trigger a midlife crisis for some of the most accomplished on the arts scene (it could). The tricky part is figuring out an order in which to present them. How about we start with sparkly stuff first—the attention grabbers, the “oooh-ahhh” stuff? Like, say, oh, that Saymoukda Vongsay’s work has been presented by the Smithsonian,...

Astronomical Adventure: An Interview With Æthernaut’s Neal Skorpen

Thanks to the Internet, web comics are unlimited. Publishing comics has become easier, and I personally read a bunch of different series weekly. One I was introduced to recently was Æthernaut. Author Neal Skorpen contacted me through the Minnesota Comics Creators Facebook group, and I was immediately interested: astronomy is a science that I find completely enthralling because of how much we know and how much is unknown. I slowly immersed myself in Æthernaut, which is wildly different from our world. Briefly, its world...

Doing the Time Warp with Minneapolis’s Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadow Cast

The Rocky Horror Picture Show holds the distinct honor of being the longest-running theatrical release in film history, a phenomenon likely no one saw coming when it first debuted in 1975. Rocky‘s staying power can undoubtedly be attributed to audience participation and shadow casts—the groups of actors who perform the entire movie in front of the screen, complete with props, costumes, and rapid improvisation. Audience members also dance along to the Time Warp, throw objects around the theater (when allowed and...

MN Writer T. Aaron Cisco on Bringing Ideas to Life the Long Way Around

T. Aaron Cisco in a local writer, filmmaker and geek trivia maven. His latest novella, Teleportality, was brought to my attention, and given our mutual experiences with both prose and film I thought it would be a great opportunity to do some digging into life as a multimedia indie author. Teleportality packs a lot into its thin covers, much more so than many novels three times its size. Unsurprisingly, this short interview also has much to unpack, and I...
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