The only reason Keir Hansen really wants the ability to time travel is to be able to get to all the content the geek community creates in a single day. A web dork and hack pixel-pusher by day, all spare hours are devoted to absorbing film and television, reading and writing sci-fi, a smattering of gaming, unlicensed attempts at mixology, culinary adventures, and novice cat wrangling.
He was once accused of being a "Jack of all trades", but that sounded too much like actual work, and the accuser has since been sacked. His particular passions include Whovianism (classic and new), the complete works of Douglas Adams, and anyone who offers a free sample of wine and/or chocolate, even when unmarked white vans are involved. (It's okay. He can run really quickly.)

Podcasts: Gallifrey Public Radio

Episode 22: The Transformative Power of Fandom

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Transformational fandom is a frequently misunderstood, sometimes maligned part of fandom which seeks to build upon an appreciated franchise to fans’ own purposes. Marginalized individuals within that set — particularly women, POC, and queer fans — are more likely to be categorized as ‘transformational fans’ as a result of their efforts to try and make a space for themselves within that subject or franchise. Transformational fandom isn’t without its problems, but it is often unfairly attacked because it challenges the status quo, and is practiced by groups that are in and of themselves easy to attack, or are often subject to retaliation on any number of matters because of their very group affiliation. Where is the space within the fuller fandom for these appreciators of franchises who seek to do more than collect, quantify, or curate their beloved content? Are they seeking to disrupt more ‘traditional’ fans, or steal control away from the creators, or are they looking to find (or secure) representation within the universe they equally adore? This week, we are thrilled to welcome Alyssa to our co-host chair, joining Keir in discussions of this and all upcoming fandom-inclusion and community conversations on In Defense Of. Welcome her with us, and please leave some feedback (and iTunes reviews) to let us know how the dynamic sounds!


Episode 21: Geek Weddings

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“Mawwage. Mawwage is wot bwings us togeder today. Mawwage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.” If the quote means anything to you, congratulations, it’s a gold chip in your geek card. But would you actually want it recited at your wedding ceremony? Would you consider going a step farther, and having the entire ceremony done in a Princess Bride theme? Your best man decked out as a swashbuckling Spaniard? Perhaps the dance floor at the reception laced with a few flame spurts and an occasional ROUS? As we’ve discussed on numerous episodes of the podcast, geek culture is becoming not only more mainstream in and of itself, but socially acceptable in more environments, from the social scenes to the workplace. If that’s the case, is the wedding altar equally ready for geekery? (Photo credit: Anna Sirianni.) Related Links: The Offbeat Bride Pinterest: Geeky Wedding Ideas


Episode 20: Hamil-maniacs

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Give yourself the hypothetical indulgence of time travel, for a
moment. Send yourself back roughly eight years, and imagine that
you have an idea to develop a musical, with a hip-hop score, cast
with a predominantly non-Caucasian company, that centers around a
pivotal point in American history during the post-Revolutionary
War. Your main character? Not a president, nor a decorated war
hero…not even a romanticized spymaster or infamous traitor. Your
titular hero is the first Secretary of the Treasury. Sounds
thrilling, right? Well, actually…
Back in 2008, librettist, lyricist, and composer Lin-Manuel
Miranda was riding high in the theatrical scope on the successes of
‘In the Heights’, when he started reading a Hamilton biography
while vacationing. The life, energy and passions of the American
forefather spoke so clearly to him that he immediately set to work
on the libretto and lyrics for what we now know as ‘Hamilton’, the
Broadway musical that is seeing such an immense success that the
run is effectively sold out for the foreseeable future.
The show has
passionate fans who immerse themselves in the music, the history,
the accuracies and inaccuracies of the text, and the characters;
the vast majority of whom have never seen the production. Schools
have developed entire curricula around the show. Devoted followers
put on tribute performances in public parks. People just wanting to
be on the lottery for held tickets grew in such massive crowds that
the “Ham4Ham” process had to relocated online for public
safety.
Where does this massive fanaticism develop from, and what
‘perfect storm’ of successful craft, timely message, and breadth of
audience came together to make Hamilton such an unstoppable
force?
With thanks to our guests Joy Piedmont (of Inquiring
Joy), Deb Stanish (of Verity!
and Uncanny
Magazine), and Alyssa Franke (of Whovian
Feminism), we discuss the musical itself, and its devoutly
committed fan base…whom we’re now dubbing HAMSTERS.
(Sorry we’re not sorry. We’re included in it, anyway.)


Episode 19: Taking Graphic Novels Seriously

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It’s simply not fair to anyone involved that, to this day, if you mention the reading of graphic novels to a random cross-section of people, a large number of them (if not a majority) will simply assume that you’ve said that you read oversized comic books. End of statement; move on. The discouraging result of this assumption is that, in many cases, the idea of “comic entertainment” couldn’t be farther from the intent, and in addition to the story material, to generalize the artwork into something of cartoonish categorization does a huge disservice to some of the incredible artistry, and literary merit, demonstrated in some of these publications.
So how do we dispel these preconceptions? As we always do here on IDO — by breaking down prejudice by educating the common opinion.
In this episode, we’re fortunate enough to be joined once again by podcasters Neil and Lauren, both of the Gonna Geek Network.


Episode 18: What, That Again?

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Spin the wheel at the Apple trailers site, search YouTube for teasers on upcoming film releases or TV premieres, or glance over the top few articles on entertainment sites like EW or Variety, and odds are very good that you’ll come across more than a handful of mentions regarding reboots, reinterpretations, revisits, reimaginations, or re-something-or-others of another work that has been produced in the past.
The more pretentious critics will argue that the industry has lost its creativity, that clearly this is a sign that “there is nothing new under the sun”, or that shameless cash-grabs by production houses are suppressing original works because of risk on return. Is there something to be said for these reworks that gives them the same credibility, and objective critique, as new creations — or even their own predecessors?
We’re joined this session by Kim Rogers of Head Over Feels, and writer/director/producer Jeff Richards, to discuss the rationale, risks, and rewards of returning to familiar source material.
Referenced Links:

107 Movie Remakes Currently “In the Works”
The Semantics Behind “Reboots”, “Remakes”, and Related Terms


Episode 17: My Ears, My Choice

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In a musical landscape where there are more subcategories and collaborative projects that bridge musical genres than ever before, it’s exceedingly difficult to try and pigeon-hole our musical tastes into succinctly-defined boundaries. That said, we still know the nature of “us vs. them”, and the speed at which someone can come under fire for having a Nickelback ringtone, or more recently, perhaps tapping their toe along with the Coldplay halftime show during the Superbowl.
Where do these divisions come from, in something as personal as musical tastes? What are the origins of these preferences in the first place, that may lead anyone to feel so strongly about their predilections that they cannot see (hear?) the preferences of others with the same degree of acceptance?
Joined by guests Neil Klompas (@neilisntwitty) and DX Ferris (@dxferris), we look at the nature of music preferences, where they originate, and if/when to respectfully recommend new music.
Our Personal Music Recommendations:

Keir:

Zero7 (richly orchestrated brit downtempo/chill): https://www.facebook.com/Zero7 
NERO (thematic dubstep): http://live.thisisnero.com/ 
Puscifer (experimental, slightly irreverent rock): https://puscifer.com/ 
Deep Banana Blackout (New England-based funk soul): http://deepbananablackout.net/ 
Elsiane (downtempo jazz electronica duo): http://www.elsiane.com/ 
The Anchor (Denver based metal, with female scream vocalist Linzey Rae): https://theanchor.bandcamp.com/ 
Mark Erelli (Boston-originated folk americana): http://www.markerelli.com 

Ferris:

Mr. Gnome (co-ed duo): https://mrgnome.bandcamp.com/
Sound of Urchin (fun, funny, furious, dynamic, rocking rock): http://soundofurchin.com
Patternbased (instrumental, evocative, cinematic): https://patternbased.bandcamp.com 
Nicholas Megalis (creative force of nature and Vine superstar): https://nicholasmegalis.bandcamp.com/
The Visit (über atmospheric string/vocal music that is dark and heavy, and while it’s not metal, it’s popular with metal people): https://thevisit1.bandcamp.com/
Donnie Iris & the Cruisers (the man, the myth, the legend): https://open.spotify.com/artist/4kveDT8ylFciq1mdeYcIvw
Emmet Swimming, “Wake” LP (great alt-rock from 90s): https://open.spotify.com/album/40aRN3Bt8am6oRr41TDqh5
The Clarks, “Let It Go” LP (timeless feel-good blue-collar rock from Pittsburgh): https://open.spotify.com/album/3vMzOSfO7nnGco89F0Exva
My Spotify public mixes link (something for all occasions, from rage to Christmas, riff-centric Bowie tunes to pure joy): https://open.spotify.com/user/dxferris

Neil:

Nina Simone (the high priestess of soul): http://www.ninasimone.com/ 
Thievery Corporation (chillout, trip-hop producers): http://www.thieverycorporation.com/ 
Temple of the Dog (the birthplace of Seattle alt-rock): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeljERyqY96cpaFcjBRPabg 
Saint-Germain-des-Prés Café (wide ranging nu-jazz & downtempo compilations): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Germain-des-Pr%C3%A9s_Caf%C3%A9 


Episode 16: Controversial Creators

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Imagine you were part of a book club that sought to expose members to new authors. Each iteration, you’d be handed a title, and you’d dive into it with no knowledge of the writer’s background or their other body of work. Consider a book that the club circulates that captures you as a reader. You might even seek out other titles they’ve written, really becoming an appreciated or admired author.
Now at some later point, you find out that this author has social, political, or moral views that completely differ from your own — possibly even to an offensive degree. Perhaps they’ve done something you consider reprehensible, or even criminal. Can you still appreciate their writing? Can you continue to seek out their books, effectively giving them your money to acquire their stories, knowing the type of person they are?
While this is a single, rather escalated hypothetical scenario, it’s my no means unusual or even uncommon, particularly if you also include television, film, music, or any art form. So is there a line to be drawn, and if so, where?
Referenced Material:

“A Case for Hate Speech” — Jonathan Rauch
“Loving the Art, But Not the Artist” — Carrie Brownstein, NPR
“How Do You Solve a Problem Like Woody Allen” — Peggy Drexler, Time


Episode 15: Why Not YA Fiction?

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From the ubiquitous appeal of the Harry Potter series, to the rocketing career trajectories of authors like Rick Riordan, Kate DiCamillo and John Green, we are at a point in popular culture where the stories and series that would categorically be branded as “young adult” fiction are more widely known and discussed among all age groups that are the more conventional “adult” titles.
Is this because of some simplification of the average reader’s efforts? Is there some surreptitious effort by the publishing industry to market to two demographics with a single genre of literature? Or is the zeitgeist of the present-day reader attuned to these youth-labeled titles and tales for less conspiratorial, more wholly appreciative reasons?
Joined this week by librarian, book reviewer and technology integrator Joy Piedmont, we look at “young adult” literature as an isolated category, and why its appeal transcends this target audience.

Joy Piedmont on Goodreads
Joy Piedmont (@InquiringJoy) on Twitter
Someday My Printz Will Come – SLJ’s Printz Award speculation blog, co-written by Joy

Related Links:

ALA: The 2015 List of Best Fiction for Young Adults
The ALA Announcement for 2016 Youth Media Award Winners

Noted areas of interest in YA literature, from Joy’s recommendations:

YA: A Category for the Masses. But What About Teens? – SLJ Article 11/3/15
Hardcover to paperback makeovers: 6 ya changes to consider – Cover design in YA (one of many posts Kelly Jensen does on the topic).
Adult Books 4 Teens – A School Library Journal Blog
ALA Youth Media Awards to know (that aren’t the big three)

Edwards Award – A lifetime achievement award for a YA author. This year, David Levithan won. A good starting point to find amazing YA authors with large bodies of work.
Morris Award – Honors a debut author writing for teens. Kind of the opposite of the Edwards. Get in on the ground floor with promising talent.
Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre, Stonewall, Schneider – For African-American authors, books that honor the Latino/a experience, books that honor the LGBT experience, and books that portray disability. Great resource for excellent diverse titles.

We Need Diverse Books – Forgot to mention, but people in the children’s and YA lit world have been leading this awareness campaign for more books by and featuring people of color. Another reason why kidlit people are awesome.
Some book recommendations:

Contemporary realism – I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
Romance – Anything by Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han
Science Fiction – The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey, Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Fantasy – The Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Mystery/Thriller – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Nonfiction – Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin
Historical Fiction – The Diviners by Libba Bray (okay, this one’s a cheat because it’s fantasy, scifi, horror, and romance too), Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein


Episode 14: Loving Bad Film, Part 2: Intentional Disasters

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Earthquakes and dinosaurs. Time-traveling dictators and mutated sharks. Homicidal snow tires and bubble-wrap aliens. There’s enough love in the world for the poignant art films of the intellectual community, as well as the ultra-campy, miniscule budget or ultra-absurd film deviants that actually aim to be awful…right?
In the second of our “Loving Bad Film” installments, we look at those releases that don’t even attempt to have such time and resource-intensive characteristics like ‘plots’, ‘budgets’, or heaven forbid, ‘acting skills’. Who needs them, when you have David Hasselhoff battling a 45-foot rabid dino-skunk with a cyber-chainsaw from the year 2137? Seriously.
We’re fortunate enough to be joined by the two creative minds and opinionated entertainment insights of Kim Rogers and Sage Young of the fantastic blog Head Over Feels, a online resource that you probably know far better than this one — and if not, you obviously should!


Episode 13: Loving Bad Film, Part 1 – So Bad, It’s Good

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In a world…where the best laid plans of producers and directors often go awry…
We’ve all come across some form of entertainment or art that, despite all the best intentions of the creators and artists involved, completely fails to deliver. In the cinematic scope, there are dozens of ways that a film could be an absolute disaster, from technical shortfalls, to budget constraints that force visible shortcuts, to a shoddy scripts and horrific acting.
What some may not always be so ready to admit to is a strange affection for some of these complete disasters — an odd magnetism that draws a select number of viewers in with a fervor that makes ‘cult classics’ of them. These fans of failures will step forward as staunch defenders of their ugly darlings, and we’re giving them the stage to step up and profess their love for the ‘laudable flawed’.
We’re joined once again by guests Lauren and Wil — shameless bad film defenders!
Referenced Material:

Bustle: The Best YA Books of 2015
Bad Movies – “A Website to the Detriment of Good Film”
We Hate Movies (Podcast)
How Did This Get Made? (Podcast)

Guest Links:

Crimson Comet (Podcast)
Starling Tribune (Podcast)