Spotlight

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

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...

Art and Insults: Meet Carr Hagerman of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Jousting, turkey legs, wax hands, kings, queens, and all-around shenanigans—those are a few things that may come to mind when you think of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. For Carr Hagerman, best known to fairgoers as the foul-mouthed Rat Catcher who roams the grounds and insults visitors, those are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his time with the festival. Carr can be tough to get a hold of this time of year, so I was very pleased to get...

Minnesota’s Christopher Jones Draws Everything from Superheroes to Time Lords

Christopher Jones is a Minnesota-based comic artist and illustrator who has worked on a multitude of different comics and books, including properties from Young Justice to The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to Doctor Who: The Third Doctor. Due to his having worked on a few things that I am a fan of, I was pretty pumped when he graciously took some time out of his day to answer a few of my questions. Philip Coler (TCG): For people who don’t...

Meet Phil Juliano, the Creator of the Nostalgic Time-Traveling Comic You Should Be Reading

Comic strips like Garfield and Calvin and Hobbes were a huge part of my childhood. I grew up with the Star Tribune and reading the comics on Sundays, and I still love them. More recently, I learned about Best in Show by Minnesota illustrator Phil Juliano, a comic about a man who is able to go back in time. He chooses to relive his childhood, adding to his massive Star Wars collection in the process, together with his sidekick dog to...

Deep in the Shadows of the Dark Crystal: J. M. Lee on Writing New Canon for a Cult Favorite

The Dark Crystal, like many fan favorites and cult films, has a fairly rough history. Not appreciated all that much in the wake of Star Wars, the film was either too original or too derivative (depending on which critic you asked). Despite this, love for it has lived on in the people who did see the film in its original release or have discovered it on DVD or through revival screenings. However, over the last couple years, Penguin Random...

Briana Lawrence and Jessica Walsh Bring You Fantasy Set in Minnesota

In a lot of ways, Briana Lawrence and Jessica Walsh are living the fandom dream. They met on an old-school mailing list and struck up a friendship, then more than a friendship, based on a mutual love of role-playing and fanfiction. Eventually, this evolved into telling stories not just for themselves but also for the many people they meet at conventions around the world. Now, many novels later, they’ve released the second book in their Hunters series—Beneath the Chapter,...
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