L.A. events

Oct. 10, 2014 | 12:55 p.m.

IndieCade pushes gaming industry buttons by promoting alternatives

THE PLAYER Gaming culture today stands at a crossroads. Games are regularly being studied and critiqued as the cultural force they’ve long claimed to be, and some in the community aren’t reacting well, to put it mildly, to the newfound microscope. Those attempting to intellectualize the medium — “social justice warriors,” as they’ve been labeled by their online disparagers — are portrayed as destroying all that’s been great about the medium, namely obscene violence, scantily clad women and the idea that games are for play and not social commentary. Granted, interactive entertainment is still a relatively young medium and therefore one not immune to struggling with issues of maturity. But credit the annual IndieCade festival, now in its seventh year this weekend in Culver City, for its part in slowly leading the community into adulthood. IndieCade has long been a […]
July 06, 2014 | 1:37 p.m.

Japanese ambassador of cute joins cosplayers at AX

Kimura U, the Ambassador of Kawaii and the Ambassador of Cute. (Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)
“My name is Kimura U, and I am the most pink creator of the world.” Walking the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center on Thursday during Anime Expo, Kimura U — wearing chunky pink platform heels, a pink leather jacket, pink tights, a pink frilly dress and ombre hair that faded from light purple to light pink — surprisingly fit in among a group of 200,000 attendees often eager to stand out through their apparel. But unlike the thousands of cosplayers dressed as characters, it’s Kimura U’s job to dress this way: She’s the Japanese ambassador of kawaii, a.k.a. the ambassador of cute. Appointed by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the position in 2009, U travels the world to promote Japanese culture abroad, specifically Harajuku fashion, a type of fashion based on trends in the Harajuku district […]
May 31, 2014 | 9:58 p.m.

Joe Dante talks ‘Gremlins,’ movie magic at Hero Complex Film Festival

Joe Dante reflects on the process of making "Gremlins" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival (Anne Cusack/LA Times)
The beloved horror-comedy “Gremlins” might be turning 30 this year, but at a late afternoon screening at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival in Hollywood, the film proved it can still cast a spell over viewers. Not that director Joe Dante ever expected it to become such a cultural touchstone. “I was amazed,” Dante said Saturday. “You never know if anybody’s going to be on your wavelength.” Produced by Steven Spielberg with a script from Chris Columbus, the 1984 film, which starred Zach Galligan and Phoebe Cates, introduced moviegoers to the race of adorable creatures known as mogwai — and their far more devious counterparts. The story centers on the pandemonium that springs up in a small town after Galligan’s Billy inadvertently breaks the three cardinal rules for caring for his mogwai Gizmo (voiced by Howie Mandel) and ends up unleashing […]
May 31, 2014 | 9:48 p.m.

‘How to Train Your Dragon 2′ stars, director visit Hero Complex Film Fest

Dean DeBlois, Jay Baruchel and America Ferrera discuss the making of "How to Train Your Dragon 2" at the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival. (Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times)
After a preview screening of “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ that kicked off Day 2 of the fifth annual Hero Complex Film Festival at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, Jay Baruchel waxed effusive about how much the role of Hiccup, the young Viking who bucks tradition, has meant to him. “You can spend your whole life acting and never get to do something this cool,” said Baruchel, who was joined on stage by joined by costar America Ferrera and Dean DeBlois, who wrote and directed the anticipated follow-up to 2010’s “How to Train Your Dragon.” The new film is due to arrive in theaters June 13. Describing the role as his favorite that he’s ever played, Baruchel said Hiccup’s journey and growth through his teen years in the new movie raised a universal question: “How do you reconcile […]
Dec. 08, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

‘Marvels & Monsters’ exhibit explores comics’ portrayal of Asians

Marvels & Monsters exhibit (featured image)
With his slit-like eyes, spiky nails and Fu Manchu mustache, this Chinese mastermind’s appearance was about as subtle as his name — the Yellow Claw. Evil, exotic and bent on ruling the world, he made his debut in 1956, looming ominously on an Atlas Comics cover as a headline gasped, “Who … or what … is he??!” The Claw belongs to a “rogues’ gallery” of characters featured in an exhibition looking at Asians and Asian Americans in almost half a century of American comic books. The show, drawn from the collection of sci-fi writer William F. Wu, is visiting the Japanese American National Museum through Feb. 9. “Marvels & Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986” examines eight main archetypes: the Alien, the Brain, the Brute, the Guru, the Kamikaze, the Lotus Blossom, the Manipulator and the Temptress. “The […]
Nov. 12, 2013 | 1:05 p.m.

WonderCon 2014: Comic convention returning to Anaheim April 18-20

WonderCon is returning to Anaheim for a third year in 2014. The pop culture expo is slated for April 18-20. WonderCon is run by the organizers of San Diego’s Comic-Con International, which announced the WonderCon dates on its blog Tuesday morning, and is in many ways a smaller version of that mega-convention. More than 56,000 sci-fi, fantasy, horror and comics fans and professionals descended on Anaheim for this year’s event, which offered panel discussions for blockbuster films, popular television shows and comics creators, not to mention portfolio reviews for aspiring professionals, book signings, a cosplay masquerade, video game demonstrations and geek-friendly shopping on the convention floor. Next year’s expo, to be held over Easter weekend, marks WonderCon’s third engagement at the Anaheim Convention Center after renovations and scheduling conflicts at San Francisco’s Moscone Center forced the convention from its Bay […]
Nov. 04, 2013 | 9:22 a.m.

‘Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug’ fan celebration: Watch it live at 2 p.m.

J.R.R. Tolkien fans who can’t attend today’s global celebration for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” can watch the satellite transmission right here on Hero Complex, using the live stream video below. The event is set for 2 p.m. PST, with director Peter Jackson and several cast members gathering at satellite-linked theaters in Los Angeles, New York, London and Wellington, New Zealand, to screen scenes from the Dec. 13 release and answer questions in front of a live audience. Audiences in Brussels, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Paris, Rome, Toronto, Hamburg, Germany; and Sydney, Australia will be able to buy tickets to watch the scenes and interviews live in theaters, and the event also will be streamed live online, in the video below, though with an edited version of the scenes from the film. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper will host the […]
Oct. 30, 2013 | 11:52 a.m.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze brings sci-fi, fantasy, comics fans to L.A.

Stan Lee's Comikaze (featured image)
Tens of thousands of sci-fi, fantasy and comics enthusiasts, many in costume, are expected to take over the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend for Stan Lee’s Comikaze. The homegrown pop culture expo kicks off Friday, bringing a slate of panels, screenings, game tournaments, merchants and guest speakers from the genre entertainment world to downtown Los Angeles. Comikaze, now in its third year, began as a passion project for Regina Carpinelli, currently chief executive of Comikaze Entertainment, and her siblings. “It’s been our family tradition for nearly 20 years — and I’m the only girl — that the one thing we all agree on is we all loved San Diego Comic-Con,” Carpinelli said. “A couple of years ago, when they had their online ticket process change, we couldn’t get tickets. We were terribly bummed…. We thought, ‘There needs to be […]
Aug. 21, 2013 | 11:47 a.m.

Exclusive: Stan Lee serenades Geekie Awards with ‘geek hymn’

Stan Lee Geekie Awards (featured image)
Stan Lee brought his singing voice to the Geekie Awards. Lee, who received lifetime achievement honors at the inaugural event Sunday, serenaded the audience at Hollywood’s Avalon Hotel with an ode to geekdom. “I’m very thrilled to get this whatever the hell it is,” Lee said, accepting the trophy — a blue phaser he promptly tucked in his waistband. “I was thinking to myself, you probably want a speech…. I have written a geek hymn, and since I have a captive audience, it’s a song.” Then, to the tune of “Yankee Doodle,” Lee sang: “Let us praise those who are geeks / And pity those who aren’t. / We’re a very special clique. / All else is just abhorrent. / Only geeks know what is in – / That’s why we’re so admired. / You could hear geeks speak all […]
July 05, 2013 | 2:29 p.m.

Cosplay parade in full swing at Anime Expo 2013

Princesses, warriors, robots and all manner of fantastical creatures poured through the doors of the Los Angeles Convention Center Friday morning for the second day of the 22nd annual Anime Expo, a celebration of Japanese cartoons and comic books that includes gaming, comics, concerts, fashion shows, lectures and more. More than 50,000 people are expected to turn up for the weekend event — most of them dressed as a favorite character or in trendy Japanese fashions, and ready to pose for photographers. High school senior Allison Martin was the subject of a number of shots Friday — clad as Princess Euphemia from “Code Geass,” she wore a long, elegantly styled pink wig and a white ball gown. “It’s sort of like I really hope no one from my school sees me here,” said Martin with a nervous laugh. “I don’t […]
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