PODCAST – EP05 – Because of Buffy

Buffy-the-vampire-slayer

a.k.a. AhhhJossJossJoss

shona and tomShona and Tom recently recordedat The Vampire Ball – a convention to celebrate the worlds and works of Joss Whedon.

The dynamic duo take a moment to discuss and reflect upon the show that started it all (for us lot anyhoo!) – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

After successfully identifying themselves as Willow and Xander (well duh guys, seriously!); the pair look at how this show changed their lives for the better; the cult of Whedon theme song (no really) and kitten poker as well as much much more!

Mobile Link

buffy full cast

Shona also mentioned my Buffy story (which you can read about HERE) which got me to thinking  (a dangerous pastime, I know!). So many of my con family have come together directly as a result of this oft derided and under-rated TV series.

What’s your ‘Because of Buffy‘ story?

We’d love to hear from you – how your life has changed ‘because of Buffy‘ – in big ways or small. If you’ve blogged or vlogged or podcast about it, let me know and I’ll get all linky with it!

what would buffy do

QUICK CHAT with Magda Apanowicz

Recently, the delightful Magda and I chatted about her upcoming SF project on Indiegogo – OmniWorld (have a listen here, if you wish!).


She’s nearly always smiling or laughing in person!

While I had her on the line, it seemed only right that we have a little catch up about her life, work and hobbies. We only had a few moments but still managed to fit in snippets about a ton of stuff including putting the final touches on Continuum’s final season and how hard it is to say goodbye to such awesome characters; learning accents (for roles mostly!); The Green Inferno – finally released after sitting in limbo for some time and cooking as a hobby.

Then we discover why people shouldn’t podcast while hungry as we sort of descend into food worship – PRO TIP there, lads!

[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/play/4ghj8i/CultFix-Magda-catchup.mp3]

Also, Magda has agreed to be a CultFix Special Correspondent (like our very good friend Reed Diamond) – so hopefully we’ll be hearing more about her adventures soon!

magda

The Green Inferno Trailer

[youtube https://youtu.be/FcpYPu9M3bw]

CULTURALLY FIXATED

MINI-INTERVIEW – Magda Apanowicz talks about OmniWorld

Recently I came across a tweet promoting an Indiegogo project called –

OmniWorld – The Movie

When tragedy strikes a couple leaving one of them in a coma, the other is presented with the technology to reconnect the two lovers, but at what cost?

I was intrigued by the idea and, when I read further, realised that Culturally Fixated friend Magda Apanowicz is set to star!

magda eh

Naturally I asked her to share some behind the scenes info with us. We only had a ten minute chat but – as you imagine from two talkers – cover A LOT of ground.

omniworld

We chat about why Maggie Werning (the director) chose Indiegogo and what it’s like raising funds for a film this way.

Magda also gives us a basic run down of the plot and what it was in particular that drew her to the project. We then have a bit of a natter about science fiction; the role that technology plays in our lives and the impact of this upon us as individuals but also as a society and species.

Magda chats about pushing the boundaries within storytelling and acting. And then the two of us get deep and meaningful (read a bit paranoid) about the prospect of a real life Elysium; about the importance of human connection and harmony with technology.

As always, it’s a true pleasure nattering with Magda – she’s so genuine and funny and awesome.

This project is still raising funds for another week or so. If this sounds like something you’d like to support, head over to THIS page on Indigogo for contribution details!

Directed and written by: Maggie Werning

CULTURALLY FIXATED



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RE-WATCH – Buffy – A History of Viewing

Well, this has been the summer of the re-watch and no mistake. On top of our regular viewing…and one or two new shows, we’ve demolished Supernatural, Dollhouse, Game of Thrones, Cold Case, The Last Ship* (unwillingly on my behalf) and himself is currently introducing me to Northern Exposure – one of his favourites from the early 90’s (loving it, for the record).

It’s been a ton of fun. Last week however, I felt … weird. It’s probably a symptom of my on-going unintentional long-term rejection of sleep but I’ve found myself out of balance and out of touch with myself.

Clearly I needed a sort of psychic restorative. A pick me up for the soul if you will.

Enter from stage right – BUFFY.

Ever since 1992 when I piled into a cinema to profess my undying love for Luke Perry; I’ve loved Buffy. Now, I realise that the film isn’t…a natural Oscar contender. There are some seriously hokey scenes; totally daft dialogue; the clothes; some of the cheesiest vampires ever captured on celluloid and I can’t express my gratitude enough that they ditched the ‘I can sense vampires with my womb’ concept for the series – nevertheless; Buffy was a kick-ass heroine faced with the same crazy making world as me. What’s not to adore?

buffy film gif

It wasn’t until 1998 that I caught my first episode of the tv Buffy (‘The Pack’). Zimbabwean TV – the ZBC – had hit a relatively successful patch, but it was usually a few years (or decades) after something had aired in the US or UK before it reached our one-channel set. So those classmates with links to SABC (the South African broadcaster) or satellites were pretty much responsible for our cultural growth. A friend brought in a video recorded from the telly which was passed around my friend group.

buffy someone who cares

It was just so exciting for me to have SFF set for teens that wasn’t Star Trek. With a female lead, the same age as me. Who wore normal (if pretty stylish) outfits and had a mom and friends and classes and also MONSTERS! WITCHES! DEMONS! I must have watched that episode a dozen times, familiarizing myself with Willow, Xander and Giles. I didn’t head bang to the theme song though. That came later I recall!

There were other things going on at the time that probably helped my fixation develop. Around that time, my family decided to return to Ireland after a 7 years absence. I was just 16 and not a particularly mature one at that. Though I adored my family, I was leaving my home. It was a really disruptive period and though it was obviously a transitional one that resulted in many wonderful opportunities and relationships; it was tough on all of us.

buffy just a girl 2

We were barely back a week before I caught a re-run of the first season of Buffy on telly. To say that I clung to this one minimal link with the past reeeealllly understates my ability to over-think. Buffy in that moment became a constant for me. Something that was just mine and connected the two places I had called home at that point. After all, she had just moved and was starting over again too.

School in Ireland turned out to be like school anywhere. That first week though, was hilariously awful. Long practiced at walking around with one foot in my mouth; my ability to say the worst possible thing at the least opportune moment seemed to have magnified. It became clear that I would NEVER make any friends, that leaving Zimbabwe had been a HUGE mistake and my only chances at happiness were now GONE.**

buffy failure

Of course, this misery was short lived. I made a friend, then another until after a while, Ireland started to feel like a different sort of home. This process was greatly aided by my wonderful friend @Lainibop. She and I are very different people that just clicked. To this day, she is my heart and best self.

She also…had Sky. That meant that she got Buffy a half a million years before anyone else – and full episodes, not the butchered half hour/cancelled for snooker every second week as it seemed to be on terrestrial telly . The second that she learned how much the show meant to me, she recorded every episode of Buffy (and later Angel) for me to watch with her at weekends.

For four years.

What a friend, eh! She barely even knew me – it’s just who she is.

I really do Red

I really do Red

During that period, I settled in (good), cut my hair (not good), made some amazing life long friends (very good) and developed a crippling back condition (well, duh, does that sounds like a good?).

When I headed off to Leeds for uni, I carried with me my teddy George, a guitar and a rucksack, with my Buffy season 1 & 2 DVD box sets wrapped up in clothes (I actually bought the DVD’s in Ireland for uni – at this point I did not actually have access to a DVD player. Or a TV. At the time, that seemed quite normal – now I look back in awe and wonder at my little dork self!). For the most part, moving to the UK was terrific. There were ups and downs but at 19, I was more prepared for that. And at least I got away for uni – the poor old Buffster had to stick by the hellmouth…

And when things got rough, I just hid behind my Buffy…

Buffy continued to play a significant role in my life. During our ‘getting to know you’ wooing phase, himself and I watched the first 4 seasons in the course of a week (*eyes tear up with emotion*) – my first TV binge with a *boy*.

And then I grew up and left such silly obsessions behind me.

buffy grown up

Riiiight.

When Dollhouse aired, I finally cracked twitter and made some amazing friends from all over the world, with only one known common interest. Amazing! One of these friends convinced me to attend a convention (which I’ve blogged about before); thus opening a whole new aspect of fandom and friendship to me. Being a part of this world has been hugely positive for me – I’ve gained so much confidence in myself and in my passions.

Another twitter found friend – take a bow @FixatedOn – taught me about podcasting. He made me feel like what I had to say was interesting and funny, especially because it was niche, not despite that. Those two worlds collided beautifully when a Whedon guest at a convention gamely decided to record a podcast with me – you’re the best Reed.

buffy life lessons

Heck, Buffy is on my CV under interests and twice an interviewer has brought it up and we’ve ended up having a mini-geek-out, which is all sorts of cool.

No TV show can take the credit (or the blame) for me being the person that I am. The people in my life; the places that I’ve lived – these are what have shaped me. These are what I strive to emulate and live up to.

However, Buffy has been a uniquely placed marker for the different periods in my life. She has been a friend; a guide and sometimes a cautionary tale. We’ve laughed and cried and cringed together; sharing in successes and commiserating in our mistakes. And somehow found our respective places in the world***

buffy what would buffy do

*I’m pretty sure that I’ve forgotten a few here but in the interests of not outing myself as a utter tv addict; let’s ignore that right now.

**I can almost look back and laugh at the earnest drama queen tendencies of my teenage self…but it still stings just a little! Ooof, 16 was a HARD age!

***Which to be honest was tougher for me…I’m not fictional!

buffy i wear the cheese

INTERVIEW – with Aaron Douglas

cult fixCulturally Fixated got to Chat with The Chief!!!

Culturally Fixated is delighted to welcome actor, writer and story teller

AARON DOUGLAS

Aaron douglas 02

Instantly recognisable within SciFi circles for his breakout portrayal of Chief Galen Tyrol on the re-imaged Battlestar Galactica and countless guest appearances on Dark Angel, Stargate, Reaper, Eureka and iZombie (to name but a few); Aaron Douglas has been appearing on our screens in a variety of roles on our favourite shows and films since the early 2000’s.

***LANGUAGE***

We swear. Nothing too profane or anything.

***SPOILERS***

We *RUIN* practically every show that we mention – especially Battlestar Galactica. I’m pretty restrained, naturally, but Aaron is a shocker!

During our chat we brought up so many different topics, it’s hard to know where to begin! We started at the beginning of Aaron’s journey as an actor; studying at the William B Davis Centre (X Files alum); playing every manner of law enforcement officer; the benefits of being Canadian (or at least within working distance of Vancouver) and his recent appearances online (check out his model building with Adam Savage on Tested HERE).

aaron douglas 01

Selfie from Inva5ion 2015

We then wandered into the realm of conventions, science fiction and fans; the ramping up of violence and sex on TV and breaking away from Network TV rules. There’s a run through of various shows and films that Aaron has worked on from The Strain to iZombie to The Returned to Catwoman, X Men – with his drawing out Lucky Seven as an especially great experience.

Then onto Battlestar Galactica and what it’s meant to Aaron. Related to that we tackled the questions he were asked via twitter:

  • we  speculate about the Chief’s real ending on BSG
  • on his acting process
  • the realisation that the Chief was one of the Final Five
  • Shelf Life with Yuri Lowenthal and dressing up as a mountie
  • The best setting for Belgian waffles

Then there’s this weird interlude where he literally held stuff up to the camera. It’s truly compelling radio. 😛

Eventually we worked our way around to his other talents – he’s had 2 stories published in an anthology and has a few more on the way; also, that screenplay that he’s completed – before he disclosed his Secret Story Circles with voice acting superstar Tom Kane at Cons.

So it was a great conversation, if not necessarily following a strictly speaking coherent format of any sort whatsoever. I hope you enjoy!

[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/web/kdrnhq/InterviewwiththeChief-AaronDouglas.mp3]
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REWATCH – The sun is shining – let’s binge watch TV!!

So, as you know, I recently attended an Invasion convention (which I blogged about HERE) and clearly it has reignited my love for binge watching TV sessions.

Last week, himself and I immersed ourselves in a Game of Thrones marathon – every episode from the beginning.

Actually, I think it’s better watched this way. Every season feels like an oldie style film* and it’s impressive how well the various story lines overlap, while remaining autonomous. The exception that proves the rule being the ham-fisted stand-alone shambles that was the Sand Snakes (heck, I’d throw in Dorne as a whole) in the most recent series.

you win or you die

Himself and I thankfully share a number of favourites – from characters (DRAGONS!!!, Arya, Tyrion, Jaime, Cerci, Brienne, Varys) to pairings (platonic and otherwise – Tyrion and ANYONE, Jaime and Brienne, The Hound and Arya) and a number of loathings (Joffrey, Littlefinger, Ramsey, The Boltons and – recent addition – Stannis). And as an ardent resident Know-It-All; I’ve particularly enjoyed being able to fill in additional bits and pieces from the A Song of Ice and Fire series of books (and thank the skies for online wiki sites!).

Of course the highlights were probably exactly what you’d expect.

dragons

Dragons. winter is coming

Most of season one was just superb. The amount of subtle scene setting and world building was phenomenal and of a far greater scale than I’ve seen in a long time. While violent and explicit; every scene felt as though it was building to a greater whole – not something that we’ve felt across all the series. Adding to the ‘real’ feel of the show are the intergenerational stories. While not all of the cast match the ages as depicted in the books (which I don’t have an issue with. The books are the books; the show is a different reflection of them.), a real effort has been made to show characters of all ages. It’s been such a novelty especially if one is a regular viewer of US network shows which seem to strickly hire hotties from the 18-35 age range. Or CW which seems to near exclusively cast hotties of roughly 20-25 years!

where are my dragons

We were less enamoured with season 2, though still glued to the screen. Sadly, Daenerys growth and development was squandered a touch as it all degenerated into her screeching ‘where are my dragons’ for episodes at a time. Though to be fair, these scenes seemed less grating and fewer in number than when we originally watched them – residual resentment might be playing a part here – I’ll let you know in 5 years if I get over it. The pace certainly picked up though and where we were given a lot of time to get to know characters in season 1; this time round, the viewer was expected to hit the ground running and keep up. The Tyrion and Arya arcs were pretty awesome. Watching a disguised Arya serve under Tywin Lannister for example was a particular highpoint. While poor old Jon Snow  learning all the things he doesn’t know from the wildling Ygritte was just such a crowd pleaser in our house at least.

you know nothing jon snow

Dragons. dragon 01

I love season 3 – take a bow Jamie and Brienne and the brilliantly realised Kingslayer redemptive arc and of course the much lauded Red Wedding – but I can’t deny that it drags for me. The Theon story took far too long to sort itself out while Tyrion took to his books rather than…you know…the cool stuff from last season. Even Daenerys doesn’t excite as much as I’d hoped though she was all fabulous and victorious. Yes, yes, I know the Red Wedding was just spectacularly gruesome and fabulous and Does Not Disappoint but overall this season just fell flat for me.

red wedding

Season 4 pulled it all back together again and introduced some brilliant characters. However, it’s becoming difficult to care too much about the new crop since few of them seem to have much staying power. One bitten…then raped, burned, dismembered and/or dragged bloody and broken across a stable yard floor; twice shy.

purple wedding

Season 5 has been the most uneven so far but with some epic high’s! Himself must have watched the final scenes of episode 9 at least 4 or 5 times now – he finds it that compelling! I’ll say more no doubt once the finale has aired and I’m less worried about spoiling anyone!

Dragons.dragon 02

So far, Game of Thrones is one of the few shows that seems to be going from strength to strength and is just as enjoyable during a rewatch (and possibly a little bit more). Well worth the withdrawal pangs that we’ve experienced since.
dragon 06Next up is Dollhouse.

dollhouse

*FUN FACTS – Gone with the Wind (1939) runs for just under 4 hours including intermission. The Satin Slipper (1985) is 6 hours and 50 minutes long. Meanwhile the three Lord of the Rings (2001 – 2003) films run for a mere 11 hours and 20 minutes, which almost looks as though it wasn’t even trying. 

GEEK – My Top Three Conventions!

Convention Rankings

I’ve written about my love of the convention scene many times before (and have a mini-guide for newbies – HERE). I thought that it might be fun to try and rank the cons that I’ve attended, especially as I’ve just had the most amazingly chilled and fun weekend.

Photo of Sandeep Parikh's Instagram

Photo of Sandeep Parikh’s Instagram

3. Inva5ion

I’m hoping to blog about this in greater detail so shall just cover the highlights.

This was a small con, roughly 150 attendees. Almost every person there was both a con and Starfury regular so every event from autographs to photos to mini meet and greets ran so smoothly, so cheerfully that it was just a pleasure to be part of it.

Of course there are those I’m especially close to – including my friend-the-author Owen Elgie – and it was lovely to be able to catch up face to face.

The guests were just wonderful. All but one – Jena Malone – were Starfury regulars so knew exactly what to expect. Robin Thorsen, Sandeep Parikh (Culturally Fixated friends) and Aaron Douglas partied every night till the last attendee dropped As does Paul Blackthorne – who was equally engaging, if somewhat less present on the dancefloor! Jena Malone was the most down to earth unaffected person, with 20 years worth of biz stories to share, as well as a wealth of knowledge and experiences that was just fascinating. This was her first convention and she seemed to take it like a fish to water – hopefully we’ll see her again soon!

My frist con with Cider by Grant Gowdy

Photo by Grant Gowdy

2. Echo 2

My first ever convention. I was introduced to the con scene by a wonderful friend who made sure that I met all the ‘con regulars’ (and the somewhat less flattering term alert – said in LOVE) and ‘con ho’s’.

Instantly, I felt as though I had found my people, my home away from home.

The attendees were fantastic – so welcoming and friendly. The guests couldn’t have hung out with us more and seemed just as geeky about the show as we were. I met Reed Diamond – my first podcast ‘superstar guest star’ and now a true friend.

The beginning of an amazing few years for me started the moment I first tweeted @Cidergirli.

joss whedon at serenity forever

SQUEE

 

1. Serenity Forever

Oh hi there Joss. What’s that? You fancy a dance.

No brainer!!!!

Check out this ARTICLE written by a mate of mine – @RoelVeldhuyzen for details about the night Joss Whedon crashed a Starfury Convention.

My friends were predictably fantastic. The guests were amazing. Both Magda Apanowicz and Lean Cairns have subsequently podcast with me and are just incredible women. Aaron Douglas is not capable of letting a party die. He just WON’T allow it. Jonathan Woodward and communion are just the most amazing combination and every con is better for it. Jewel Staite and Sean Maher are as close friends as a fangirl like me could have hoped of and knew each other so well they were constantly interrupting and finishing one another’s anecdotes. Also…they brought a friend who dances like a fiend.

I’m in a photo with Joss Whedon. I got to see him dance. AND THEN I SPOKE WITH HIM FOR A MOMENT.

Just…epic!

INTERVIEW – Chat with Magda Apanowicz

So, maintaining my tradition (of a year ago *ahem*), I am officially calling in 2015 with a Canadian.

Last year it was the delightful Leah Cairns (who I will absolutely be bringing back for a chat!)…this year, Culturally Fixated  is joined by the equally fabulous and hilarious

Magda Apanowicz

Magda - Kyle xy

Andy Jenson – Kyle XY

Where to start!! There’s something about Magda that made it just *IMPOSSIBLE* for me to stay in interview mode – she’s that sort of person that I immediately started chatting to as though we were life long friends!

We discuss Christmas and her two Christmas TVM for Scifi (I refuse to call them siffy) – Snowmageddon and the 12 Disasters of Christmas.

Then we took a meander down ‘genera’ lane and chat about the appeal of Sci Fi and the huge emotions and stories that can be told. Kyle XY, Caprica, Caontinuum, Battlestar Galactica – it’s so wonderful to find an actor that loves ‘my’ shows as much as I do.

Magda - Caprica

Lacy Rand – Caprica

Oh, and did I mention she’s a Buffy fan. There’s a point where you can almost hear us swoon across two different continents over Spike…that is to say James Masters.

We cast a quick eye over two of her recent (released if not shot recently) films – A Reason and The Green Inferno and Magda compares the mediums of TV and film to  come round to a favourite medium for telling stories.

We briefly touch upon some of her hobbies outside of acting – including travelling and both her Canadian and Polish roots. Finally we chat about the upcoming year!

magda - continuum - gif

Kicking ass as Emily – Continuum

***LANGUAGE***

We swear. No two ways about it. I mean, we’ve not vulgar, heaven forfend…just passionate people with expressive vocabularies…
***SPOILERS***
We *RUIN* practically every show that we mention – especially Caprica, Continuum (up to season 3) and discuss in detail the atrocious ending of Kyle XY. Aspects of Battlestar Galactica.
[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/web/hkb3wx/CultFixS04EP05-InterviewwithMagdaApanowicz.mp3]

Some of the music that we both love!

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Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil 

INTERVIEW – Reed Diamond – Christmas Special the Second

Once again Culturally Fixated is joined by our Special Correspondent in LA to celebrate Christmas!!

Welcome back to the fabulous, the funny, the festive

REED DIAMOND

daniel whitehall gifWhat a chat!! We cover all sorts of everything – we dove straight in and began discussing Marvel, comics, Agents of SHIELD and Reed’s reunion with Jed Whedon, Mo Tancharoen and Dichen Lachman. From there – it was a hectic head first trip down the rabbit hole as we covered Rossum, Hydra, the spectrum of TV villains and the parallels of the fictional and real world.

Then onto Reed’s insanely busy 2014 – from Wayward Pines to the final season of Franklin and Bash, to working with Malcolm McDowell and his first foray in comedy (on TV anyway), then onto State of Affairs and back again.

REED DIAMOND

as Daniel Whitehall

All the while joined by Monkey (an actual magical monkey) and Donald (the inebriated and obscenely snobby elf). Daniel Whitehall – yup, heartless evil Nazi Hydra leader – even serenaded us with a chilling rendition of Jingle Bells.

Oh and I taught Reed how *not* to say Nollaig Shona (Merry Christmas in Irish).

***LANGUAGE***
We’ve very good. Practically not offensive at all.
***SPOILERS***
Agents of SHIELD. We ruin the living daylights out of the first half of the second season.
And the end part of the first.
Oh, we also assume that everyone is up to speed on Dollhouse and Much Ado About Nothing. Because why wouldn’t you be?
[audio http://culturallyfixated.podbean.com/mf/web/mr574p/ReedDiamond-ChristmasSpecial.mp3]

 

Say hi to Reed on Twitter. Don’t be shy – he’s delightful – @ReedDiamond

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Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil
xmas card 1

More Conversations with Reed Diamond

INTERVIEW – with Sandeep Parikh!

Cult Fix Season 4, Episode 4 – Interview with Sandeep Parikh

SandeepParikh

As a Christmas treat, Cult Fix (me!) was joined by the charming, multi-talented and funny Sandeep Parikh!

Unfortunately the first three minutes of the recording went completely bonkers – it sounded as though we were under water for some strange reason. Then, without any rhyme or reason, it all played beautifully. Weird!!

Sandeep and I had a great chat about all sorts of everything. It’s so delightful when you just get into a conversation flow, you know?

Particular highlights for me included discussing the art of being funny – or learning how to take comedy seriously; his favourite film (and the resultant fan boy moment).

Obviously we also chatted about his work on network TV (The Crazy Ones and Community) as well as his online performances (The Guild, Legends of Neil).

zaboo

We also discussed how improv has influenced his work; the balancing act of writing, directing and acting and the importance of working with and creating a community of similarly minded creative folks.

There’s also a little glimpse into what 2015 has in store both for Sandeep and Effing Funny

Say hi to Sandeep on twitter – @SandeepParikh

***LANGUAGE***

We’ve very good. Practically not offensive at all.
Nevertheless, those of an especially sensitive nature might want to brace themselves.
Subscribe to Culturally Fixated on iTunes!
Fancy more of our inane chatter? You’ll find us on twitter as @SteveCult and @Drneevil