Marbles & Ready Player One

This past Sunday, I spoke at Marbles Museum here in Raleigh.  It was in conjunction with a showing of the new movie Ready Player One and it was in tandem with the esteemed Dr Cashman.  We were both speaking about the themes in Ready Player One, a tale about a young hero raised on 1980s culture who has to fight to save his world.

Dr Cashman spoke about 1980s art and culture and what helped to make it so unique (and did a wonderful job, especially the Name-That-Tune sequence).  From there, I dove into discussing just why corporate art exploded in the 1980s and how it helped to transform the world, but in very unexpected ways.

Continue reading “Marbles & Ready Player One”


Con Job

Attending conventions as a guest is a very different experience from attending them recreationally.  That probably comes as no surprise, but some fans seemed shocked by the amount of work that goes into working a convention.  Work, and expense.

I’ve been doing conventions since 2002 (the first MAGFest, as I will tell anyone who will listen).  In the intervening sixteen years, I’ve truly lost count of the number of conventions I’ve done.  I have my staples (MAGFest, Anime Mid-Atlantic, Katsucon in more recent years), but I’ve also done some one-time appearances at places like Otacon and WorldCon.  I have yet to make it to DragonCon but it’s on the to-do list.  Given what I have heard about working DragonCon, I must confess it isn’t a priority. Continue reading “Con Job”

Katsucon 2018

                Katsucon is the Valiant Comics of US conventions.

                Not as famous as Comic-Con or Dragon-Con (the Marvel and DC comics of this analogy), Katsucon has and is quietly building the sort of convention brand that is synonymous with excellence.  Beginning back in the mid-1990s, Katsu is an anime convention that now resides in Washington DC, living and thriving in the famous Gaylord Hotel (stop giggling) in National Harbor.  A three-day event during which anime and Japanese culture in general are celebrated, it has become one of the major cornerstones of not just the anime community but of fandom in general.  It is a mainstay of many major headlining celebrities and the famous Katsucon Gazebo even has its own Twitter account.  If you’ve never been to Katsucon, it is something to look to remedy.  It is an amazing event with some of the best guests, panels, cosplay, and community of any convention today. Continue reading “Katsucon 2018”


Good morning, all!  Short update this week because A) it’s my week off and I’m trying to let my brain and my typing muscles rest and B) this weekend is Katsucon.

I will be in National Harbor this weekend, giving a variety of presentations as part of the Japanese Cultural Institute, an intellectuals’ track for Katsucon.  What presentations, you ask?

2:30pm – Transformers: Differences between the American and Japanese series
(what happens if you throw logic, reason, and physics out the window?)
5:30pm – How the Meiji Era helped create the modern world
(you owe 15% of your modern lexicon to Jigoro Kano)
8:30pm – The History of the Japanese-American Interment Camps of World War II
(it breaks my heart how this panel gets more topical with each passing year)

10:00am – Intro to Martial Arts for Kids
(parents welcome if kid is prepared to vouch for them)
11:30am – Intro to Martial Arts
(kids welcome; it’s the same class, only with less giggling)
7:30pm – Legendary Swords of Japan
(less history and more oral tradition, but it has a Donald Faison cameo, so that’s something)
9:00pm – A Brief Biography of Miyamoto Musashi
(see how many times I can say ‘drunk’, ‘murder’, and ‘asshole’ in a one-hour panel)

10:30am – Myths and Misconceptions of the Martial Arts
(Get some background on the Horse Stance, Chi Sao, and why the samurai carried guns)

Of course, I will also be promoting all of my books, so come by the table and say hello.  See you there!