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Welcome to Night Vale

Welcome to Night Vale

Aug 29

“Your existence is not impossible, but it’s also not very likely… Welcome to Night Vale.”

A question has been floating around a lot lately, you may even have asked it yourself: “What’s Night Vale?”

As you may or may not have heard; Welcome To Night Vale is a twice-weekly Podcast from commonplace books. The show, written by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, seemed to appear mysteriously and suddenly, much like the dog park mentioned in it’s pilot episode, and settled into the number one podcast position on iTunes.

Set in the fictional desert town of Night Vale, it gives the listener twenty to thirty minutes of community radio news, presented with the sonorous voice of Cecil Baldwin for whom the main character is named, and with the eerie music of Disparition setting the mood throughout. However, Night Vale is no regular town, as the events described seem more like horror story plots than anything; ranging from a glowing cloud that rains dead animals on the town, to a five headed dragon on the run for insurance fraud, to a cat hovering in the men’s bathroom.

[Image Credit: lowlighter]

The sudden popularity of the podcast seems to have a connection to its discovery on tumblr by fan communities. Roughly a week after fanart for it first started appearing from popular fandom artists, the podcast reached its peak on iTunes, which just goes to show the power of word of mouth when it comes to tumblr.

And it’s popularity isn’t surprising, not only because of the quality of the program. The show also lends itself quite well to fan creativity. With only minimal physical descriptions, artists can let their imaginations run wild on how to interpret the town’s many curiosities. Cecil alone has had many varying visual representations from fans, including several different racial appearances, tattoos, extra eyes, tentacles, or some combination of all those elements.

Another significantly positive element of the show that would account for its popularity is the fact that it has a canonically queer protagonist. Not only that but this is done without any particular stereotyping or drama or even directly labelling it. Indeed, Cecil’s incredibly obvious crush and budding relationship with the scientist Carlos (who we are frequently told has perfect hair) is not treated as anything overly significant, to the contrary it is one of the few normal things in the otherwise bizarre universe of the show.

And fans noticed: many cite the relationship as a reason to start listening to the show, with good reason as hearing Cecil’s normally deep radio voice rise in pitch and lower in eloquence when discussing Carlos is both endearing and entertaining. The lack of comment on this within the show is refreshing; that one character likes the other is simply accepted (and it’s not as if social issues don’t exist in the Night Vale universe, as Cecil frequently calls out a white character who wears appropriative Native American costumes for being offensive and racist – you know, like Eddie’s previous discussion on cultural appropriation).

[Image Credit: thelilnan]

Fanworks for the podcast include the usual fanfiction and fanart, but also range from cosplays and fanmixes to fandom tea blends. Due to the fact that the podcast runs entirely from fan donations and t-shirt sales many fans create commissions and offer their designs to the shows creators to help support the program. The creators of the show have made it clear that they have no issue with fan-produced creations of a non-commercial nature and most fans agree that this is entirely reasonable. There is a very amiable interaction between the show’s creators and it’s fans in general. Occasionally the show will perform live episodes and there is news of a Night Vale book.

[Image Credit: alizabug]

The free podcast actually has over a year long backlog of episodes for listeners to go through and is available through iTunes or the commonplace books website. There’s also a Twitter with original tweets that exactly match the show’s surreal, ominous, and often hilarious tone.

 

This post is kindly brought to you by Talya. She’s a 21 year old, Melbourne based, ex-animation student, a lover of good fiction, fandom meta, and terrible movies. She also enjoys drawing and rambling on tumblr. You can see more of her awesomeness here.

There’s a Facebook Group for Us

There’s a Facebook Group for Us

Jun 16

gay-geeks-facebook-group-join

Want a community where you can chatter away about gay and geeky things? Well you can most certainly comment on our posts (and we’ll definitely reply!) but you can also go to Facebook to find a more forum-type discussion.

The group is closed, so even if you’re in the closet with family on Facebook, they won’t see that you’re a part of this group and won’t see anything you post there.

It’s a chance to be free, and be yourself.

There are some pretty on-top-of-it moderators so it’s (mostly) quite PG and generally there are some great discussions.

Of course, there will always be posts you don’t like, things you don’t really want to see – but that happens on your wall too. Just take the good, ignore the bad. That’s how I do it and I’m loving it! :)

Unfortunately, it does seem that there’s more of a skew towards gay men, but there’s no restriction for it to be male-only. So, ladies, if you’re gay, and you’re geeky, jump in, join in, and let’s bring some gender balance to this group.

Join the Gay Geeks Faceboook group!

Google+ is my Mistress

Google+ is my Mistress

Mar 15

Gay Geek - Google+ is my mistress

I’ve stopped using my Instagram…I miss it a little bit. He always gives me a fun time. Alas, it is like Twitter for me – I’m off it, on it – they’re my social network fun buddies (if you get my drift).

Facebook is the partner I’ve committed to. He certainly wasn’t my first: my first true love was Xanga. But I realized that blogs just weren’t what I needed for that kind of…release. I mean, she was perfect at the time, all sexy and complicated. My friends all loved her too. But it just wasn’t right.

When Facebook came along, well, he stole all our hearts, didn’t he? He was just so affable, so modern and unique. He even managed to seduce the MySpace users, leaving that poor sod bound and broken.

Then Google+ walked into my life. He was just…a god to me. He seemed to have everything I wanted. But I’ve been with Facebook so long. He’s caught me in his webbed network. I just don’t know how to leave him.

So I flirt with Google+, when Facebook isn’t looking. For awhile I threw it in Facebook’s face, you know, made it obvious I liked Google+ better. I hoped my friends would see that Google+ was the way for me. But Facebook has stolen their loyalty and if I break up with him now, I lose my social circles. Google+ keeps telling me he’s got new circles for me to join, but I would miss my old ones.

I mean, in the end, Facebook couldn’t really care less about what I do. He has his own set of lovers. I’m so insignificant to him. But I need him. I need him because he has such a grip on my social life. He fuels it. Google+ constantly wants me to break up with Facebook, always dropping hints. I can’t do it though. He knows all my friends. If I break up with Facebook, I’ll…I’ll be an outcast.

It’s just, so much drama. I can’t stand it but…but I’m entangled now. So when I can’t take it anymore, I go to Twitter, go to Instagram. I go to get away from it all. They give me such sweet serenity, if just for the night.

[Image Credit]

Having Trouble With Your Google+ Profile?

Having Trouble With Your Google+ Profile?

Mar 12

Google+ recently changed their profile image sizes and stuff. These guys released templates to help you adjust things as you see fit. It certainly helped us update our Google+ page!

Just the numbers: The smallest your new Google+ cover can be is 480×270 pixels, while the larges it can be is 2120×1192 pixels.

Google+ Cover 100%

100% size template

Google+ Cover Photo

70% size template

Google+ Cover Image 50%

50% size template

Google+ Cover Image 25%

25% size template

How to use these?

  1. Download the Google+ cover photo template you’d like to use from the links above.
  2. Open the file and insert your own photo using your favourite photo editing program.
  3. Save it.
  4. Upload the photo to your Google+ page as your cover photo.

And if all that sounds too confusing for you, try out the step-by-step to crop your cover photo.

Good luck! Let us know if you have any problems adjusting your image sizes. Us gay geeks are the best kind to help you: we’re geek smart and we’ve got a fabulous disposition. ;)

[Google Plus Cover Photo]

 

New Old Star Trek Communication?

New Old Star Trek Communication?

Feb 12

Now I’ve never seen old Star Trek, but it’s fantastic to know that they are still giving fans a show/having fun with their show. Check out these Twitter conversations: they make you squee and your heart feel fuzzy.

It all started with William Shatner on January 3rd… and from then on the awesomeness just kept on rolling. The gallery should be in order, however it is jumpy because I haven’t put the whole conversation up.

Oh and Buzz Aldrin has now become a boss in my eyes.

1

The selection is proudly brought you by The Canadian Space Agency There are many more pieces of conversation, just visit their website :D

{Image Credits: Canadian Space Agency}

Interview: Ashe Rhyder

Interview: Ashe Rhyder

Feb 07

An example of Ashe Ryder's amazing genre-bending work

Today’s interview is with artist Ashe Rhyder, whose long-running webcomic ‘Roommates’ takes a wide range of your favourite characters from novels, games, movies and musicals and puts them together under the question: What would happen if these characters lived together in a modern day apartment block? The result, in short, is awesome.

 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ashe Rhyder, and I draw a lot. I’m predominantly self-taught as an artist, and I’ve been learning for many, many years. Still am, to be honest.

What do you do?
Mostly, I draw. Sometimes I write. Under the right conditions, I’ll attempt to paint.

Do you have a secret non-artist alter-ego?
I have a secret alter-ego, but art is in my blood and breath, and nothing I do will take me very far from it.

Have you always wanted to write comics?
Write comics, make movies, tell stories… some version of these things, yes. I’ve always wanted to share stories and images.

Your long-running webcomic ‘Roommates’ takes characters from a variety of texts and places them together in a contemporary apartment complex – when did you start this comic, and why?
Way back in uni, I had a bunch of characters from various projects cluttering up my brain. A fun thing to do with them in the down time was to try and figure out how they would interact if they ever happened to meet. The logical place to set this kind of interaction was a bar, because if there was one thing any of them had in common, it was Trouble With Their Romantic Partner (Except Javert, who’s a bit of an odd duck…). Alcohol and commiseration seemed like the most reasonable setting. I would draw these short comics and share them with my friends, and we’d all laugh and come up with terribly embarrassing but amusing things to happen to them later. One of my friends suggested I post the comics on DA, and so I did, and it just sort of snowballed from there.

How do you decide what characters make the cut?
95% of the time if a character appears, it’s because they’re my favorite. Almost always, the first character to appear out of any given source is my favorite of the whole. I’ve taken suggestions or requests a few times, usually because they fit some storyline that’s planned or because I really like that character or series and just hadn’t thought about adding them yet.

Do you have any plans for projects involving your own original characters, or is it the fandom life for you?
I’ve got a number of original projects running in the background, but I doubt I’ll ever abandon fandom entirely. It influences far too much of my life.

The content of the comic has gotten darker and the story lines much more involved over the years – has there been a conscious line of decision making behind this evolution, or is it something which has happened naturally, say by the nature of the characters you choose, or as your real-world interests have changed?
A little bit of both, really. The characters themselves lend themselves well to darker stories, since they are, essentially, tragedies. I’m also inclined to run characters through the wringer. The light-hearted and comedic episodes of Roommates are more of a conscious addition than any of the darker parts.

How much of your own experience do you feel has an effect on your art?
Of my own, very little. The majority of experiences that affect my art come from other people. I find them in stories, both real and fictional, and in other peoples’ artwork. I learn by studying tutorials and pulling bits and pieces of other artist’s styles; one artist’s rendition of a nose, another artist’s application of color, the way a third uses line weight to suggest shadow. The comic is a pretty accurate metaphor: it pulls from many places, and so do I.

Why do you think people connect to your work?
I think maybe because the stories, at heart, are about making mistakes and moving on from that. The majority of the cast are villains and anti-heroes. People get attached to characters like this for any number of reasons, but let’s face it; those characters are usually defined by their flaws. These guys are going to mess up. They’re going to lose their temper, say the wrong thing, act on the wrong feeling, and generally screw things up. We all identify with that.

In the comic, these characters are given an opportunity to move past the mistakes that almost always destroyed them in their original stories. I think that’s something everyone wants, really: to be told that even the worst mistake of their life isn’t the end of the road, and that there’s a chance that the person they are tomorrow will be better than the one they were today.

Before the Internet, fan comics were published in fanzines and the like – do you feel like ‘Roommates’ could have happened if you’d grown up without the Internet?
The Internet was actually the one of the places where I discovered other people liked the same things I did, so I’m not sure the comic would have made it without digital intervention. I certainly never made the connections offline that would have allowed for it. I may have still drawn a few of comics, but a lot of my work never makes it outside the confines of whatever book in which it’s been originally drawn or written. It certainly would never have lasted this long, or gotten as complicated.

You post the comic on DeviantART – why this website?
At the time, I was already using DA to show some other work, so it was pretty much a matter of convenience. It displayed the way I wanted with limited fuss. I’m not particularly patient with computers, so coming up with my own site was out of the question.

What are you looking forward to in 2013? (films/ books/ life/ career/ weather)
There’s a Discworld convention in 2013… and the new Hobbit movie. And Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing. I’m hoping for pleasant, sunny days, but also for the full spectrum of interesting (but not dangerous) weather.

In the style of Steven Moffat, can you give us three words as a sneak preview of what to expect in this year’s story arcs?
King. Changeling. If.

Do you have any final words of wisdom for our readers?
Strive. Fight for the ending you want. You are not alone. There are others out there who want the same things you do, who can connect with you and understand you, even if no one currently around you does. There are things you may have to learn. Learn them. There are places you may have to go. Go there. There are things that may scare you. Be scared. Take a deep breath. Face them anyway. There are times you will fail. It happens. Get back up. Strive.

 

You can read ‘Roommates’ here, and check out the associated tumblr page here.

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