This Week's Guest: DJ Kirkland
Now I don't mean to alarm you but there are evil forces within and without, teaming up to take you down. I'm referring of course to the cruel collaboration between our outer critics and our inner saboteur. DJ Kirkland was an accomplished artist in grad school when some cruel comments from an instructor took up residence in his brain, persuading him to give up on his passions and his dreams. But fortunately, he was able to pull himself out of a years-long spiral, thanks in part to the inspiring power of some very pretty guardians.
By the way, I'm moderating the panel at the upcoming GaymerX convention. It's called "Playing with Pride," and it'll be a one of a kind forum to hear people from very different sectors of the game industry share their experiences as queer fans and creators. Today's guest, DJ, will be on the panel, along with the wonderful Tanya DePass from I Need Diverse Games and Lauren Comp, a producer who works on same-sex romances. It's on Saturday, October 1 at 2pm at GaymerX. If you're in the San Jose area, I hope you can join us for a fun, enlightening conversation.
And if you can't make it to GaymerX on October 2nd, sign up for updates at PlayingWithPride.com and we'll let you know when you can see the panel online.
This Week's Recommendation: House
Thanks again to DJ for joining me. I'm so excited that he's working a book with Oni Press and I cannot wait to see his work on Black Mage.
But until then, if DJ's love of Sailor Moon has but you in the mood for some schoolgirls and magic from Japan, allow me to recommend the movie House. It's kind of the anti-Sailor Moon: instead of having magic powers and defeating evil, the un-magical girls in House are easily dispatched by evil forces.
The premise of the film is fairly standard haunted-house: a group of high school students trapped in a house in the country with a sinister old woman and a cat that can both open and close doors. There are entertaining ghosts and decapitations and gore and floating heads, as well as my favorite horror trope, a skeleton dancing on strings.
And while the girls are the main characters of the film, it's the villain who's the real treat. No spoilers, but head boss in this movie is having a ball. She's eating eyeballs, floating through the rafters, plunging the girls into a pool of blood, and at every moment she is loving her life.
Last year around Halloween I wrote about gay men's affection for witches, from Ursula to Hermione Gingold. You have never seen a more delighted witch than you will in this film, a strangely compelling aspirational villainess for whom you are solidly rooting by the time the last girl is lamented.
Villains and enemies and saboteurs can't exist by themselves -- they need victims to keep them entertained. At least one victim, but preferably a whole team. And in their tormenting, the bad guys become as much of the team as anyone else, assuming a role in the mayhem alongside their prey. On a well-balanced team, everyone does their job in harmony, but every now and then you get a situation like House, where one person decides they're just taking over, and get out of the way, because this show belongs to them now.
In real life, that's a miserable situation to be in, and you're best off extracting yourself from the team as fast as possible. But in a movie, it's so much fun to sit back and watch just how bloody things can get.