Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category

MY 20 FAVORITE ALBUMS

Doolittle by PixiesBack in the old days, you’d invite a friend over and they could peruse your CD shelf, quietly nodding to your choices. I guess people still have CD (and record) collections, but almost everything I have is now stored within the near-infinite, intangible bytes of my iPod. If I could pull my favorites and put them on the shelf, here they are.

I made one of these lists for Facebook a few years ago. And I think another such list is hiding in the vast archives of this blog.

My mood changes, so do my preferences, but some albums stay at number 1. Hello again, Doolittle, my old friend.

Feel free to post your own list or debate my impeccable musical tastes in the comments section.

All links go to Spotify–unless I couldn’t find the album.

20. Fox Confessor Brings the Flood by Neko Case
Favorite song: “Fox Confessor Brings the Flood”

For me, this is Neko Case at her best – wistful, haunting, melodic.

19. From A Basement On The Hill by Elliott Smith
Favorite song: “King’s Crossing”

This album hit me hard. Like all great works, it holds together by a string, but it still holds.

Read more

SPEAKING AT THE SMU WOMEN’S SYMPOSIUM

Wonder Woman taller than SupermanTomorrow, I’m speaking at SMU’s 49th Annual Women’s Symposium. My 30-minute talk will be about the historical and social impact of women superheroes, from Wonder Woman to Emily Edison. In particular, my jumping off point is this letter to Lego from 7-year-old Charlotte Benjamin. What I will try to say in 30-minutes, she says much more concisely (and eloquently) in just a few words:

“Let them go on adventures and have fun. OK!?! Thank you.”

Comic book writers, take note. It’s all right there. Let them go on adventures and have fun.

In honor of Wonder Woman and my presentation, I want to share something I wrote that never got published. Smart Pop Books, a few years ago, was considering a Wonder Woman anthology to accompany a possible Joss Whedon helmed Wonder Woman movie. Of course, we all know what happened there. I wrote the first part of my essay, working title: “Wonder Woman and Superman in Conversation: The Gender Gap in DC’s New Frontier,” and then stopped when the DC movie fell through. So, the excerpt below is unpolished and unfinished, but some good ideas exist in there somewhere. Feel free to read and look for them. Read more

ME AND HUFFINGTON POST

Last year, I wrote and performed a story as part of the Oral Fixation series. Now it’s available on Huffington Post.

For those of you who want “all the dirt” on my divorce, it’s here. Kinda. Original title was “One Request Before You Leave: How a road trip, the Beatles, and a motel in Missouri made me a better ex-husband.” But long titles are pretentious and don’t work for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, so it’s been shortened to a more respectable “How a Road Trip Set to a Beatles Soundtrack Made Me a Better Ex-Husband.” Either way.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oral-fixation/how-a-road-trip-set-to-a_b_4747794.html

I’ve received a lot of positive responses from people, both friends and strangers. I’m glad that my story (mine and Melissa’s, actually) has been able to connect with others and their own experiences. What more could a writer want? I believe in good divorces–amicable partings, where parents can remain not just “friendly” but friends, and they can work together in the best interest of their child. Thank you Melissa for your blessing on this story and, the one thing that wasn’t really mentioned, how you played such a huge role in supporting me with your patience and kindness during that difficult time.

And thank you to Oral Fixation creator/director/editor Nicole Stewart for the opportunity. Between this and Lyndsay Knecht’s behind the scenes story for KERA’s Art&Seek, we’ve gotten about as much mileage (pun intended) as one could ever hope for from a single performance. Now that it’s on YouTube, I wish I wouldn’t have shaved my beard at that time. Yes, I look strange to myself without a beard. That’s my only complaint. I should have grabbed a fake beard from the prop room.

“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” — Ernest Hemingway

REVIEW OF MOVIE, MAN OF STEEL

I saw MAN OF STEEL last night. This was the summer movie I was most looking forward to (more than THOR, WOLVERINE, or IRON MAN), and I really enjoyed it. Yes, Richard Donner made a better “Superman movie” that was more faithful to the original mythos. With Donner, we get Krypton, Smallville, and Metropolis, Lois and Lex and Jimmy Olsen. We get gags with glasses and alter egos. But if you treat MAN OF STEEL like an “Ultimate universe” (an edgier, reimagined and updated version of a superhero universe… with more goatees), then you can set your checklist aside and just enjoy the film. And I did.

SPOILERS abound. Read more

FIVE CRAZY SUGGESTIONS FOR THE 12TH DOCTOR

Dear BBC and Steve Moffat, do not take me too seriously.

Now that Matt Smith is leaving Doctor Who, fans are making their suggestions/predictions for a new Doctor. My daughter is in the camp that wants the first girl Doctor. She is also adamant that if it’s “someone old” she will stop watching. I explained to her that she loved Chris Eccleston, and then David Tennant, and then Matt Smith–and she will come to like the 12th Doctor as well, whoever it may be. Give ‘em a chance. All the same, she’s still saying “no geezers allowed.”

Doctor Who is a great show because it is fearlessly odd and imaginative. I want to be surprised, and confused, and amazed every time I watch. Whovians don’t think outside the box; they envision the box as being infinitely bigger on the inside. So if anything is possible, I have a few thoughts on the next Doctor to surprise, confuse, and amaze fans who have come to expect anything. Read more

FANTASTIC FOUR SKETCHBOOK

Happy birthday to me! Since 2004, I’ve been collecting art at the various conventions I’ve attended–all for my Fantastic Four sketchbook. It’s about time I uploaded everything.

Here it is: thatdavidhopkins.com/fantastic-four-sketchbook/

I have some great pieces in here from Josh Howard, J.E. Smith, Cal Slayton, Christine Norrie, Nick Derington, Andy MacDonald, Alejandro Garza, Christopher Mitten, Steve Rolston, Paul Chadwick, Kazu Kibuishi, Chuck Wojtkiewicz, George Perez, Robbi Rodriguez, Brock Rizy, Scott Kurtz, Kevin Steele, Chris Medellin, Tone Rodriguez, Chris Moreno, Michael Lark, Skottie Young, Chad Thomas, Benjamin Hall, Lea Hernandez, Brent Schoonover, Paul Milligan, Jake Ekiss, and Robert Wilson IV.

Thank you for offering your time and talent.

CLAPPING AT THE END OF SONGS

I want to expand on something I said to April two nights ago.

We drove to Lafayette, Louisiana, for our friend Leah’s we-totally-got-married party (weekend via Instagram). Last November, Leah and Josh were married in a civil ceremony. I saw photographic evidence. It was simple, elegant, and beautiful. Then this past weekend, they hosted a Cajun dance party at the Blue Moon Saloon, inviting friends and family to celebrate the happy union. There was crawfish. There was beer. There was an incredible band Feufollet.

At one point in the evening, April and I sat on a bench, watching everyone dance. One older couple, who clearly took dance lessons, glided around the floor. Leah’s sister and brother-in-law bopped around in a way that reminded me of this. Leah and Josh spun around in the center. It was a sweet moment.

I thought about Mark Twain’s “The Lowest Animal,” a scathing critique on the human condition, where he lists all the unique atrocities no other animal except humans commit. (Yes, I think about Twain in random places.) Then I leaned over to April and said: Read more

THE DOCTOR VS THE OTHER TWO

“Nobody important? Blimey, that’s amazing. Did you know in nine hundred years of time and space, I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before?” — the 11th Doctor, A Christmas Carol (as seen on Vimeo)

On Fanboy Radio last Sunday, the subject of DOCTOR WHO came up and I mentioned that I actually love DOCTOR WHO more than STAR WARS or STAR TREK. It’s one of those things that you say and you realize it’s true after you say it. Of course, I just started watching the BBC series a few months ago. I came late to the party. But yes, I can honesty say that I care more about it than the other two sci-fi/fantasy franchises that loom so large in geek culture.

I’m not trying to sway you from your own personal favorite. It’s all very subjective. I mean, with the promise of new STAR WARS films and the reboot of STAR TREK, there’s a lot for fans to get excited about. All three of these franchises do a good job of mixing the genres–adventure, fantasy, comedy, romance, and social commentary. At their best, they offer a complete dramatic experience. Read more

FIVE REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD DATE A READER

the-big-read-logoOriginally posted on the Big Read Dallas blog:

I must confess. I’ve always wanted to write for a women’s magazine, something where I get to make a list, overuse the second person “you,” and offer crazy relationship advice. (Also on my bucket list: I’d like to write about abs for Men’s Health. This is especially humorous if you’ve seen me in person.) These women’s magazines are so intriguing and mysterious to me. As long as I’ve been married, I’ve seen these suspicious periodicals around the house—promising better relationships and a better life. Many of the articles are conveniently organized as numbered lists, 23 reasons, 42 ways, 6 secrets, 59 tips, 200 hints, and so on. Something about listing gives the advice an air of false authority. Plus, the writer speaks directly to YOU, like a friend. (You know?) It’s a sneaky game they play, and I want to join in on the fun.

What relationship advice could I possibly offer? Like my abs, my interpersonal wisdom is mostly non-existent. That’s not to say I don’t have a bit of keen insight. I do, and here it is: As a final criterion in finding that special someone, you should exclusively date readers. You should only consider long-term relationships with a reader. And if you must procreate, do so with a reader. Continue Reading…

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