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Monthly Archives: April 2014

This regular feature on The Shared Universe is intended to act as a tour guide of the Bay Area by following the adventures of our most recent New York City transplant.  If an issue of Daredevil features any notable landmarks I’ll pull them out and provide some context for readers unfamiliar with this region of the country. Previous entries in this series:

This month’s issue doesn’t feature any visual landmarks, but there are a handful of locations mentioned in a news report at the start of the issue.


First Stop: War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco’s opera house is home to both the San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. The building began construction in 1927 and was completed in 1932. It’s considered one of the last structures in the country to use the neo-classical architectural style of Beaux-Arts. Matt Murdock would likely feel right at home in the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House. Columbia University, where Murdock attended law school, was designed using the Beaux-Arts style. Additionally, Grand Central Terminal in New York City is likely one of the most notable uses of Beaux-Arts in the United States.

The Opera House is one of four venues that make-up the San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center. The name of the series of building was intended to commemorate all of those who served during the First World War global conflict. Since that time the name has come to have a greater meaning. In 1951, the opera house was the site of the signing of the Treaty of San Francisco officially marking the end of hostilities with Japan. Across the courtyard from the opera house is the Veterans Building which was the site of the signing of the first United Nations charter in 1945.

Second Stop: Pier 39

If you’ve been a tourist in San Francisco there’s a high probability you ended up at Pier 39. This is where the infamous California Sea Lions have come to roost since they started a migration from Seal Rock in the late-80s. The pier has a clear view of the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz. Pier 39 is also home to the Marine Mammal Center and the Aquarium of the Bay. You’ll also find two stories of family-focused shopping and entertainment.

Third Stop: Golden Gate Park

*checks watch* There is much to write about Golden Gate Park. So much. I’ve only lived in the Bay Area for little more than a year and I keep finding out new things about the park. I could spend multiple entries writing about all of the treasures tucked away in the Park’s 1,017-acres. Instead, I’m going to cheat and direct you to wikipedia. However, I will make one loose additional connection between Golden Gate Park and the most recent issue of Daredevil: Owls. It appears that Chris Samnee and Mark Waid are directing Daredevil toward a confrontation with the minor crime-lord the Owl. Golden Gate Park has become well-known, in these parts at least, for housing a family of Great Horned Owls. You can see a lengthy video of these owls below. I have no videos of Owl the crime-lord roosting in Golden Gate Park, because he’s a comic book character.

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sfiff57The 57th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival* starts on April 24 with more than 100 films spanning two weeks. The more than 100 films screening at SFIFF captures the whole gamut of film genres from documentaries to dramas to the downright creepy. This post is mostly interested in the latter. Below you’ll find five films from this year’s film festival that will leave cinephiles with either pounding pulses or pondering brains.

Borgman Netherlands

Wednesday, April 30 | 9 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki
Monday, May 5 | 9 p.m. | New People Cinema

Most reviews of Borgman suggest the film is a home invasion story at it’s heart. Before you roll your eyes and mumble something about “home invasion” movies having run their course take a moment and reflect on You’re Next. Most horror film fans tend to agree that You’re Next, which screened at last year’s SFIFF, took the subgenre and managed to squeeze rewarding fresh life out of it. Everything I’ve read about Alex van Warmerdam’s dark horror/comedy seem to suggest it does the same. Jordon Hoffman wrote for “What works wonderfully, however, is the unease of not knowing just who, if anyone, deserves our sympathy in this story. The infiltrators are all so charismatically nonchalant (and well dressed) that it is hard not to cheer them on, but as the body-count of innocents unlucky enough to get in the way of their scheme increases, the “Funny Games” fourth-wall break isn’t even required.”

Coherence USA

Friday, April 25 | 9:45 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki
Tuesday, April 29 | 9:45 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki

Coherence is an indie sci-fi flick that comes to SFIFF riding on a wave of buzz created at last year’s Fantastic Fest. Reviews for this film are spoiler heavy, so I won’t be linking out for this one, but the festival guide describes it as “delightfully weird and brain-busting.” If you wanted to have a loose theme for your festival  viewing experience Coherence would act well as a bridge between Borgman and The Double.

The Double UK

Saturday, April 26 | 1 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki
Tuesday, April 29 | 9:15 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki

The Double, based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella of the same name, follows mundane office worker Simon James as he copes with the sudden appearance of an out-going and well-liked doppelganger of himself. Fans of  Terry Gilliam’s kingdom of schizophrenic alienation will feel right at home while taking in Richard Ayoade’s sophomore effort. While the film has been received with considerable praise where there is negative criticism it mostly relates to Ayoade’s dependence on his influences. Considering the source material this criticism seems appropriate. Dostoyevsky scholars see The Double as the important juncture where the author was still under the shadow of his influences, but also showing the signs of his personal voice.

History of Fear Germany/France

Wednesday, April 30 | 7 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki
Friday, May 2 | 9 p.m. | New People Cinema
Wednesday, May 7 | 8:45 p.m. | BAM/PFA

History of Fear provides a different sense of paranoia and anxiety than The Double. While The Double offers an object of paranoia for the audience History of Fear goes the opposite direction. The audience is only granted vague suggestions of what’s creating the air of anxiety in a Buenos Aires suburb. It’s the sort of storytelling that isn’t well-suited for mass consumption, but, as The Hollywood Reporter‘s Boyd van Hoeij writes, “is the kind of feature that requires an active investment from its audience, making this more suited to festivals.”

The Sacrament USA

Saturday, April 26 | 11:45 p.m. |Sundance Kabuki
Monday, April 28 | 9 p.m. | Sundance Kabuki

I won’t lie, You’re Next was one of my favorite films of 2013, so it brings me some pleasure to reference it twice in this post. Fun trivia: In You’re Next the character Tariq, who takes a cross bolt to the head during dinner, was played by The Sacrament director Ti West. This year West brings to the festival a horror film that takes many of its queues from the Jamestown Massacre…maybe?  Using the “found footage” technique the film follows  ambitious Vice reporters as they travels to the Eden Parish commune where all isn’t as it seems…or is it?  I don’t know the answers to these questions…or do I?

* disclosure: this author is a seasonal employee of the San Francisco Film Society

The Lucas Cultural Arts Museum, once a leading candidate for a coveted spot in The Presidio of San Francisco, may be heading to Chicago. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has begun pulling out all of the stops to convince the Star Wars director that the Windy City is the right place for the proposed cutting edge multimedia arts museum.

For more than two years the Presidio Trust considered proposals on what should be built as the gateway building between Chrissy Field and the Presidio’s Main Post. The Trust wants a project that would continue the mission to make the Presidio self-sufficient by attracting tourism while staying true to the natural beauty of the military base turned National Park.

The February 3 press conference where the Presidio Trust rejected all three proposals that had been in contention for more than two years was a surprise. It came one week after a public meeting where the organization had laid out the process for how it would spend the next few months deliberating.

During the process Lucas had said Chicago would be an option if the Presidio Trust shot down his pledge to spend $700 million of his personal finances to build and endow the museum. That suggestion now seems to be completely in play as Chicago has given civic leaders one month to find an “accessible” space for the Lucas collection.

In comments made to the Chicago Sun Times it’s already clear that Chicago understands what Lucas was bringing to the table better than the Presidio Trust ever did. Task force co-chair Gillian Darlow told the newspaper, “when you look at George Lucas’ career and interests, he’s a man who has broken boundaries and discovered and invented things people didn’t think of before. This museum is bound to capture that and be a museum like no other. There aren’t museums looking at digital art and the art of storytelling like this. It’s a fantastic opportunity for Chicago.”

However, Chicago isn’t the only city hoping to be considered for the project. Oakland is hoping to be considered for the project. Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan wrote a letter to Lucas suggesting the city’s Kaiser Convention Center would be appropriate and Oakland-native MC Hammer has suggested putting it near Jack London Square. Oakland could provide a perfect backdrop for the museum as an urban myth has long touted the cargo cranes of the Port of Oakland as being the inspiration for the design of the Star Wars AT-ATs.

The Presidio Trust has suggested to Lucas that there may be other sites in the Presidio where his museum may be a good fit. Lucas spokesman David Perry said they’d consider other options in the Presidio, but that they’d also start looking into options being offered by other cities.

The end of this week will see the kick-off for the Oakland Museum of California’s SuperAwesome: Giant Robot and Art exhibit (read more here). To coincide with the show David Choe has painted a mural. Below is a time lapse captured by Giant Robot.

The always affable Nick Dragotta, who’s currently blowing minds dragottaillustrating East of West, will be signing at Escapist Comics on Saturday. Dragotta will be making his in-store appearance on April 12 at 3 p.m. Escapist, located at 3090 Claremont Street in Berkeley, will have a copies of East of West issues with blank covers on hand for those who desire  illustrations.

Wednesday saw the second East of West trade drop in comic shops across these United States.

While we’re talking about signings it’s worth reminding readers that Darick Robertson will be scrawling his name and pictures on funny books at Two Cats, 320 Portal Avenue in San Francisco, on April 13 at 3 p.m.



The 20th anniversary of the Asian-American pop arts and culture magazine Giant Robot is coming to the Oakland Museum of California in the form of a three month long exhibit. To kick off the exhibit the museum and magazine will be hosting a “preview” party on April 18 which will feature music, food, art and much more. As part of the exhibit Giant Robot will be unveiling a series of little robots customized by some of the finest artists working today. Chicago artist Jeremiah Ketner has posted a preview of his robot on his blog.

If you’re a member of OMCA an exclusive preview starts at 3 p.m. with the public preview starting at 7 p.m. SuperAwesome: The Art of Giant Robot coincides with the exhibit  Vinyl: The Sound and Culture of Records. In addition to robots there will be an Oakland record swap sponsored by Record Store Day and Amoeba Records.

You’ll also find custom robots by the following artists: Aaron Brown, Spanky Stokes, Mark Nagata, Katsuya Terada, Gary Ham, Julie West, Jason Limon, Okkle, Reactor 88, Stasia Burrington, Junko Mizuno, Yukinori Dehara, Bert Gatchalian, Kano, Mari Inukai, Jay222, Scott Wilkowski, Yoskay Yamamoto, Edwin Ushiro, Jeni Yang, Dril One, Valley Dweller, and Scott Tolleson.

Jeremiah Ketner's Giant Robot

Jeremiah Ketner’s Giant Robot

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

Wonder Woman is going to be performing at Yoshi’s in San Francisco! Well, sort of. Lynda Carter, who popularized Wonder Woman in the live action television series, will be performing at Yoshi’s on April 9 and 10 with her All-Star Band. Music was one of Carter’s first passions before being crowned Miss World USA and eventually taking the Wonder Woman role in the 70s. Carter released an album in 1978 and it would be 30 years before she dropped a second. That second album, At Last, reached number 10 on Billboard’s Jazz charts. Carter is currently touring in support of her fourth album which will be released this April. The Bay Area Reporter recently interviewed Carter and discussed her relationship with San Francisco and music.

Lynda Carter and her All-Star Band
April 9 and 10, 2014
510 Embaracadero West
San Francisco, CA
Purchase tickets at the Yoshi’s website

Oh right. Spider-Man once had six arms. That happened.

Oh right. Spider-Man once had six arms. That happened.

Contrary to the possible misrepresentation of Sony Co-Chair Amy Pascal’s comments, an expanding Universe based solely around Spider-Man has a great deal of potential. Yes, there is a risk of Spideyverse exhaustion (although the reboot being so successful in spite of it being less than five years after the Raimi trilogy suggests otherwise), but I believe Pascal was suggesting Spiderverse-based films that don’t necessarily include Spider-Man. Unfortunately, with superhero films, we’re locked into the blockbuster mentality. That’s why I think Sony may be the best bet when it comes to breaking open a larger Spider-Man Universe. Sony has shown by continuing franchises like Resident Evil and Underworld that they’re  comfortable with their subsidiaries occasionally turning a profit of less than $100 million. This is where I see many of the Spideyverse spin-off films falling. Again, this all comes down to who has the rights to the below characters.

(note: this is part two in a series exploring why we don’t need the X-Men and Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. See part one here.)

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