Tuesday, June 5, 2018

What I learned about General William Tecumseh Sherman from playing him in "Honorable Distinction"

So I just got through the two days of performances of "Honorable distinction," A play by Kenya Cagle directed by Michele Hawkins Jones at the Mount Pisgah Baptist Church. This play was about the Black experience in the American Civil War, focusing on the 54th Massachusetts infantry regiment and the community from which it came.

I played harmonica in the two-person orchestra (the other guy was the keyboard player, with Ivanhoe Gadapaille sitting in on a couple of numbers on guitar), portrayed a Rebel singing "The Bonnie Blue Flag" and fighting in a battle, and, most importantly, had the role of General William Tecumseh Sherman in one scene with General U. S. Grant and president Abraham Lincoln.''

I didn't have much time in my schedule to do a thorough research job on the man, but I did what I could, and found out the answers to things I had never thought to ask about Bill Sherman the Civil War.

He came from a broken home and married his stepsister.

He had a mental breakdown at the beginning of the war.

His racial attitudes were a product of their time.
He was a brilliant strategic logistician.

He was very practical in his handling of Atlanta civilians.

The march from Atlanta to Savannah was an audible.

He came up with what we now refer to as "40 Acres and a Mule."

Now, I would love to, and  intended to, elaborate on each of these things, but my life is too busy right now. I may revisit this some time in the future, but if you would like to elaborate o n each of these things, feel free to do so in the comments section below.

Thanks! Onward and Upward! The Union Forever!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

I am going to try something...

I have a few projects that have been waiting for me to do those last steps needed to call them complete:

Return to Pennsic
American Knights 2015
American Knights 2018
Captain Marvel Culture

The trouble is that when I try to find the time to do them, I wind up checking email, visiting Facebook, monitoring my YouTube video stats, editing some other little video, or doing some other thing that will bring momentary, instant satisfaction, but is of dubious value towards those three projects.

Oh yeah, and there is always "someone wrong on the Internet" (I now hate Quora).

So here is my plan:

I have two short videos in the que for me to finish and post to YouTube. I have two blog posts about the upcoming "Captain Marvel" and "SHAZAM!" movies that need to be finished and posted. I have some upcoming events that I need to promote.

I will get this done in the coming week or stop working on them.

I will stop posting and commenting and "liking" on Facebook.

I will stop counter-trolling the HEMA snobs on IMCF and Battle of the Nations videos on YouTube.

I will stop correcting everybody who gets something wrong about one or more Captain Marvels on...just about everything.

I will continue posting promos of upcoming events, and sending birthday greetings every morning, but that's it.

Everything else I do on the computer will be in the service of completing or getting to an as-yet unrealized level of completion of the three projects listed above.

I may even cancel a scheduled or potential engagement to get something done.

So bear with me, friends and fans. This is going to be big.

Captain Z

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Big Apple Comic Con this weekend, and Captain Z is ALL OVER it!

Hi friends and fans! Captain Zorikh here with two pieces of news, one big and immediate, the other big, but with a slightly longer time frame.
As many of you may have noticed  (considering the makeup of this list) the Big Apple Comic Con is coming up this weekend. And yes, yours Truly will be a big part of it again!
This year I will be managing the panel room programming, hosting one discussion panel, and hosting not just one, but TWO costume contests!
The Big Apple Comic Con will be held this Saturday and Sunday, April 14 - 15 at the Penn Plaza Pavilion at 401 7th Ave (corner of 33rd St). The panel room (https://www.facebook.com/events/334166707092351/) will be in the basement of the venue, in the Globetrotter Room. WE have a great selection of discussion panels, celebrity Q&A's a live podcast about the Avengers, and more!
My panel will be with the famous writer Peter David about his career and his Captain Marvel, Genis-Vell, the third longest-running and most underappreciated of all Captain Marvels. I am sure this discussion will reveal some remarkable insights into society, culture, and the comic book business, as that Captain Marvel serieswas remarkable in its highlighting of those issues.
The two costume contests will be significant. On Saturday at 5:30 PM I will be hosting the first-ever BIG APPLE CON COSPLAY CHAMPIONSHIP (https://www.facebook.com/events/188081085254195/) ! This will be a contest of costuming excellence with the following judges:
Lua Stardust (Suicide Girls, cosplay celebrity)
Emma Pool (up-and-coming cosplay hero)
Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
Jennifer Cihi (Sailor Moon)
Then on Saturday will be the traditional CAPTAIN ZORIKH'S PEOPLE'S COSTUME CONTEST (https://www.facebook.com/events/439547243142497/), the Most Fun Costume Contest on the East Coast, where costume builders and wearers and the people who love them can connect and appreciate each other. The contest will be judged by the patented "Captain Z Applause-O-Meter," and there will be plenty of amazing prizes for all!
The leading prize sponsors for these contests are Halloween Adventure Costume Shop, Forbidden Planet, Artist & Craftsmen Supply, and Midtown Comics.
And of course, the Big Apple Comic Con will have 100's of dealer tables, scores of celebrities and comics creators, including both living legends and future superstars. and lots of other surprises!
I hope to see you there!
The other news is that once again, I will be making another video documentary of the USA Knights at the International Medieval Combat Federation World Championships! This will be done with the assistance of Brad Blackmon, an award-wining TV professional who also happens to be a fighting member of the USA team!
I will have more details on that very soon, but for now, you can learn more abotu the project and help get it under way by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/usaknights2018video and looking over the special "perks" we have lined up this time around!
So, as always Watch This Space for more details, and...
Onward and Upward!

PS: On Friday, April 20, at 8 PM, he TV channel and website Viceland will be broadcasting "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure," and I will be appearing in a hosted feature during the breaks! You can see me ALL OVER this little promo for it... https://www.viceland.com/en_us/video/jake-loves-movies-bill-and-teds-excellent-adventure/5ac672f5f1cdb329aa7c9fa1

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I learned medieval stuff this weekend!

On Saturday, February 10th, 2018, The East Kingdom of the Society for Creative Anachronism held it's annual Arts & Sciences and Bardic Championship the Crown Province of Ostgardr (the greater NYC area). This event gives folks the opportunity to showcase their work in making things and historical research.

I learned so much at this event! I have been in the SCA for about 30 years and while I do my share of research and making things, I have never dedicated myself to a specific project or discipline to the degree and focus that the top levels of this competition do. The remarkable thing about doing this kind of research is that not only do you learn how a thing was done, you can learn why a thing was done, you can learn how a thing fit into a culture, you can appreciate the journey that humans have made in culture and technology.

I learned that "bowed cotton" is fluffier than cotton batting, and that sewing your gambeson pattern pieces as a pillow and beginning the quilting in the middle is a thing that can be done and can benefit your final product. Also that if you make a sample piece of your quilted garment, you can calculate the reduction in measurement of the pattern pieces that happens during quilting so that you know how much to over-size the piece when cutting it.

I learned that people carried wax tablets on which to write things, either they wrote temporary things meant to be erased later, like grocery lists, or else the tablet was turned over to a scribe to copy down in ink, then erased. This meant that some folks carried three, or five, or even ten tablets on which to write things, like business deals or tax assessments. This made me wonder if there were medieval "copy shops," in which scribes worked and one could deliver one's wax tablets to be trans-"scribed."

I learned that papercutting is an art in just about every culture with paper. A fellow at the event is researching evidence that the creative art of papercutting traveled with the technology of papermaking itself as it traveled from culture to culture. Of course, as each culture had different paper (the Chinese had rice, the Germans had wood pulp, and the Aztecs had tree bark), each had different tools to cut the paper (knives, scissors, and chisels, respectively). Multiple layers of different colored paper an also be used for different effects.

I learned that Welsh breadmaking did not involve a lot of wheat flour until late in the medieval period, so bread baked in the 1100's in Wales may have used oat flour, but it seems to be difficult to recreate a recipe and baking technique for bread used in a particular Welsh festival feast without it, using only ingredients that could have been found there then.

Putting all this together, it made me think of a story in which a fellow went to a tailor to have a new gambeson made, and the tailor wrote down his measurements on a wax tablet. He took the tablet to a scribe, who wrote it down on a small piece of parchment. This parchment was lost, however, and found by a papercutter, who used it to cut a design in celebration of the Welsh festival coming up.

I look forward to learning more!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Captain Zorikh at Wicked Faire this weekend!

Hi Friends! Happy new year to all of you! Every single one! Let's make it a great one together!
This year is starting off with a bang for me. This coming weekend I am returning to the wicked Faire at the Hayatt Regency in Princeton, NJ, where I will be making music and screening video!
AS has become tradition, the Time Travelling Bard will be singing songs and telling stories covering everything from Cyborgs to cowboys, from viking ships to railroads, from the War Between the States to a Galaxy Far Far Away, most often with tongue firmly in cheek, twinkle flashing in eye, and head lost in the clouds! This will happen Friday night at 11:30 PM.

Then on Saturday at 3:30 PM, for the first time ever, the documentary "Return to Pennsic" will be screened for the public in its completed form! There will be a Q&A afterwards about the making of this project and what it means.
Finally, at 1:30 PM on Friday. I will be hosting the Three Chord Monte Open Jam! This is a jam session that happened spontaneously at the Steampunk Worlds Fair last year and was so much fun we will be doing it again! basically it means we will play every song we can, and some songs we shouldn't, with a 1-4-5, three chord arrangement. That means if you know any one of those three notes, you have a one in three chance of playing the right one at the right time!
So come on down, it will be a blast!

And yes, I know there has been some drama in the organization, and for those who are involved in any part of it, it is a serious matter. But this event has been, for a lot of us, a wonderful, amazing, fun way to hang out with like-minded people and share a culture we love in an environment where we can be who and what we are and what we want to be without judgements and with appreciation.
In addition to me, there will be lots of amazing, fantastic, spectacular entertainments, activities, and vendors, and there are some rooms still available at the hotel. The parties can be epic, and the memories will last forever!

I hope to see you there!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Why This Mid-Winter Holiday is Important

It is that time of year again.

That's right, this is when I say something about this day and its impact on what we do this day, every year.

About two thousand-some-odd years ago, someone may or may not have been born who, in his 33 or 34 year life span, inspired stories that inspired events that (long story short) created the world in which we live today. At one point, someone even decided to count the years from the assumed year of his birth. Somewhere in there the observed date of his birth was moved to coincide with a mid-winter holiday, and here we are.

In time, the traditions surrounding the celebrations of his birth became entwined with the traditions of the mid-winter holidays wherever it was celebrated, until now we have this crazy hodge-podge melange of traditions filling our houses and bringing people together. On top of that, other religions and cultures have made their holidays of the season more culturally impactful, and other traditions of the season have even been created in answer to this. And in addition, the traditions around this season have become the greatest engine for consumption and economic activity in history (maybe. It sure feels that way. Someone else can do the math).

But more important than all this is the fact that, despite the economic impact, despite the lack of connection in the popular imagination with the sources of the many traditions that have been integrated into today's festivities, in spite of the fact that there are some who specifically have different traditions in this season, there is one through-line in all of it.

This is the time when we all are culturally obliged to forget our differences. We are encouraged to come together and be nice to each other.

If only we had more opportunities like that.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Poetry in the Age of Trump: The 7 Words the CDC Can't Say.

The following poem is in response to the news item covered in these reports:
Word ban at CDC includes 'vulnerable,' 'fetus,' 'transgender'
Holy fracking shit and piss. What the actual fuck is this?
Disease control requires words of precision,
Regardless of whether they are above the president's derision.
If "diversity" is not a thing you can say,
What is you need a variety of foods in a day?
"Entitlements" exist, for rich and for poor,
They won't go away just for wishing they were no more.
"Transgender" is a thing, I know several of them.
Believe it or not, there are things we can learn from them.
"Science-based" and "evidence-based" now has to go through community standards?
What if the community is wrong, you bastards.
If you cannot use the word "fetus,"
Tell me what is coming out of that woman's anus?
"Vulnerable" is maybe the most important word
The CDC can say, of all those that are heard.
Diseases attack, they prey and they kill.
They need controlling, or we all will be ill.
We are all vulnerable, some more than others,
And targeting is necessary to protect fathers, children, mothers.
So if someone is at risk, why should you not say
What means exactly that every single day?

My gosh and my god what are they thinking?
What are they smoking, what are they drinking?
Does everyone really need something to hate?
We are all going to die, sooner or late.
If someone is trying to help us live longer,
Shouldn't we be trying to make their work stronger?

Now if you don't trust "science," consider this:
How do they analyze what's in your piss?
Do you like cell phones, watches, and cars?
Do you like to take airplanes to travel far?
Do you like rayon and nylon and plastic and glue?
Do you like Vibram soles on the bottom of your shoe?
The device you read this on, do you like it well?
Did you grow up with Atari or toys from Mattel?
Does your camera take pictures, either digital or film?
Do you wear bifocals, use lotion on your skin?
Do you take medicine for a headache or cold?
Do you take a pill for an erection when you get old?
All those are things science has done for you.
But don't just trust me, you know this is true.

So if you don't like science, go live in a tent
Without central heating, air, or a vent.
Don't bother with soap, eat whatever you choose,
And there won't be a single tool you can use.
If after all that, you still will not give
A dollar to science that helps people live,
Then get out of that office you moved into not long ago,
Get on your feet and walk to Mar-A-Lago.

So if you want to go to the moon, you and VP Pence,
There's only one way to do it: It's called SCIENCE!

Now if you think you have something to say,
Say it in verse. Here, that is the way.