Animation About Women In Animation

As they have in so many fields, ladies have long struggled for the respect and recognition they’re due in the world of animation. The nature of animation means few creators get the spotlight to begin with, but the less in-depth histories of the art form don’t tend to include a lot of women’s names. Women have certainly been part of the history of animation from its earliest days, but their contributions are given far too little attention.

Fortunately, there have been efforts to correct this. One recent highlight was the 2015 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which made women in animation one of its themes for the year. Evidence of the theme could be seen in the very first all-women jury for the festival and the following series of shorts promoting both the festival and the work of five ladies who made major contributions to the art form. These beautiful shorts were created by students at the internationally renowned Gobelins school in France and depict fanciful versions of these amazing women’s lives and careers. Since these gorgeous shorts are more fantasy than biography and the few lines at the end only provide a bit of background (for those of you who can read French), I’ve added short bios of the ladies featured in the shorts should you want to learn more.
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The Ladies of Comicazi Present: An Insider’s Guide to Boston- Part 2

Last week The Red Menace and Tiny Doom gave you a geek-based roundup of things to do in Boston proper while you are in town for Boston Comic Con.  This week, we encourage you to seek out adventure and explore a little farther.  Jump on the MBTA Red Line (you can do this at South Station) and head across the Charles River to the Cambridge/Somerville area (you may recall this train ride from Good Will Hunting). Here you will find lots of comic shops, universities, and “squares” like Central Square, Harvard Square, Davis Square, Union Square…. you get the picture.  Just think of a square as a concentrated place with a lot of cool stuff.  While not all squares are created equal, we will direct you to fun and MBTA accessible ones.

Pro Tip- Do not even think about trying to park your car in Harvard Yard.

Comics, Books, and Games

Comicazi
407 Highland Avenue, Somerville

Toys

Photo Credit: Comicazi Facebook

(Davis Square) Clearly, we feel strongly that Comicazi is one of the best comic shops in the area – it’s our base of operations, after all. But in all sincerity, we’ve been to many shops around the country – even the world, and Comicazi remains one of the best we’ve seen. Partly it’s due to the space, which is able to accommodate a robust selection of trade paper backs, traditional comics, games, and toys and still have room for events. Partly it’s due to the fact that staff are wonderfully helpful, willing to find what you need, make special orders if they need to, or chat about something you’re curious about. But mostly it’s due to the amazing, inclusive community of people who work and shop there. Any time you drop by there’s an opportunity for a meaningful conversation about the books, toys, and games we love so much – and that’s pretty darned special.

Hub Comics
19 Bow Street, Somerville, MA

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Photo credit: Hub Comics website

(Union Square) Hub takes a bookstore style approach to organizing their comics, organizing by genre to help you find what you love, or explore new areas.  But what really makes Hub unique is how they engage with the local comic artist community, which is thriving in Somerville.  To tap into this Hub often arranges themed art shows, including the Batman themed “Dark Knight on a Dark Night”, and the recent “She Can Do It” show which highlighted women superheros. While Hub is not located directly on a T line (that’s the subway) it is still accessible via public transport.  Check out their “Directions” page for details.

Pandemonium
4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge

pandemonium(Central Square) Around for nearly a quarter of a century, Pandemonium is one of the best places for science fiction fans we’ve ever seen. They carry a unique and detailed selection of books and magazines – the latter being the part the really turned the head of one of the writers of this blog. There are so many terrific sci-fi short stories out there, but they’re often only available in magazines and journals that your typical bookstore doesn’t seem to carry. Luckily, Pandemonium is far from your typical bookstore. They also have a very comprehensive selection of games and space for gaming, and they organize some wonderful events in Central Square, including Geek Central and the Game of Thrones dinner we wrote about way back when.


The Million Year Picnic

99 Mount Auburn St (downstairs), Cambridge

Million Year Picnic front window

Photo Credit: Sonam V. via Yelp

(Harvard Square) –  Though located pretty close to the heart of Harvard Square,The Million Year Picnic is a bit tucked away.  But that can be pretty nice if you are looking to browse through the myriad books they stock.  And The Million Year Picnic is a store that fits a big selection of books into a not overly big space. The selection can make it feel bigger than it is, so it’s kinda like the T.A.R.D.I.S of comic book stores, but maybe a bit more cozy.  If you can’t find what you are looking for, ask the staff, they are happy to help.  I think if you asked around, area fans would say this store feels the most old-school, which makes sense since it’s been around since the 70s’.  That’s a pretty great feat in comic shop ownership!

 

 

Museums/Other Interests:

Harvard Museum of Natural History
26 Oxford St., Cambridge MA

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Photo credit: hmnh.harvard.edu

(Harvard Square) Take the Red Line to the Harvard stop, stroll through Harvard Yard and head to the Museum of Natural History.  Here you can see the famous glass flowers, tons of taxidermied animals, skeletons, and the geological gallery with lots of minerals and gems.  There are other museums on campus too including the Peabody Museum of Archeology and Ethnology.  It’s great as well, but if you are on a time crunch, the Natural History Museum is the Ladies’ favorite.

Tip: Non-Harvard students get a discount, so bring your ID.  If you have a Harvard ID, you and a guest can go for free.

 

DeCordova Museum
51 Sandy Pond Road, Lincoln

Whoops

Photo credit: The Red Menace

You’ll need a car for this one – it’s a bit outside of the city in Lincoln, MA. It’s well worth the trip, however, if you do have vehicle access. It’s The Red Menace’s favorite art museum, and always exhibits innovative and exciting contemporary art. Even better, the grounds of the museum are a 30 acre sculpture park, allowing for a surreal stroll in the sun or a picnic under a tree covered in glass eyes. As an added bonus, the DeCordova is just up the street from Walden Pond – visitors looking to really stretch their legs and get some time out in nature to recover from the con could easily do both in one day.

 

 

 

 

MIT Museum
265 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge

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Photo credit: MIT Museum web page

(Central Square)  Like we said, squares and universities.  While you are on this side of the river you might want to check out the other well known Cambridge based university, especially if you are into science, math, and all things technology.  The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has a museum that highlights all these things.  You can see exhibits on robots and artificial intelligence, holography, and even a collection of nautical models that outline the history of ship building.

 

 

 

Edward Gorey House
8 Strawberry Lane, Yarmouth Port, MA

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Photo credit: Tiny Doom

This is another one you will need a car for. If you every watched Mystery! on PBS or have read The Gashlycrumb Tinies, then you’re familiar with Edward Gorey’s work.  The Edward Gorey House is actually a home Gorey lived in that was converted to a small museum after his death in 2000.  While you tour Gorey’s home, you get a chance not only to see his work, but to learn more about is passion for animal welfare.  Keep your eyes open and be sure to participate in the scavenger hunt which has you seeking out homages to all the Gashlycrumb Tinies hidden in the home and on the grounds. Note: The Edward Gorey House is on Cape Cod so don’t even attempt trying to go on weekend, unless you love sitting in hours of traffic.

 

Food

Finding food on this side of the River is much easier.  Each of the squares have great places to eat and we are tossing out a few of our faves (with varied price points).

Machu Picchu Charcoal Chicken and Grill
25 Union Square, Somerville– (Union Square)  Made the trek to Hub Comics and looking for a bite to eat? Just down the street is this little restaurant, home to some of the best grilled chicken you’ll ever have. There are actually two Machu Picchu Peruvian restaurants in the square – this is the more casual location, while its sister spot across the street is more fine dining – but the chicken is outrageously good with perfectly crisp, salty skin atop tender, perfectly seasoned meat. The prices are also ridiculously good – $10 will get you half a chicken, fries, and a salad. Try the chicha morada, a purple corn drink, along with your meal.

Pepe Bocca
414 Highland Avenue, Somerville – (Davis Square) Located right across the street from Comicazi, this Italian specialty grocery also has a fantastic assortment of sandwiches, pizza, and other treats to eat at their tables or out in the square. The focus is on the house-made breads and baked goods, but the arancini, egg plant parm, and other entrees are just as good – and the prices are quite reasonable.

Crema Cafe
27 Brattle St., Cambridge MA – (Harvard Square) If  you are in Harvard square and you are looking for a cafe that is not Starbucks check out Crema Cafe. Here you will find high quality coffee, lattes, lemonade, and the bakery selection is top notch.  They also offer up super good soups, salads, and sandwiches.  Be sure to ask about the homemade sweet potato chips!

West Side Lounge
1680 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge – (Harvard Square)  While Harvard Square is the closest T stop, West Side Lounge is actually located a few blocks outside the square, down Massachusetts (Mass) Ave.  This makes it a little less packed, and a little more neighborhoody.  It’s open for dinner and brunch and is a favorite with us Ladies for the seasonal cocktail menu and the cozy menu.  The Beetle Juice sounds strange, but it’s delicious and lovely.  Entrees are less than $20, and do NOT leave without having some Parmesan truffle fries.
Tip- Location wise, this would be a good place for dinner after visiting the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

We hope you found this guide handy.  If you have questions, please ask either in the comics or tweet us at @TinyDoomLoC, or @EMMcGrath.  Even better, come visit us at the Bad Kids Press table at Boston Comic Con.  We love living here and want to help you love it too!

One more thing before you go.  The Ladies are going to be giving away a 1-day pass to Boston Comic Con!  The contest will happen on our Facebook page so please Like us there for more details.

The Ladies of Comicazi Present: An Insider’s Guide to Boston- Part 1

Howdy True Believers! As you probably know, at the end of the month Boston Comic Con will be in full swing. Once a fairly small showcase of local shops and talent, the Con is now a major event, drawing attendees from around the East Coast and the country with an impressive selection of guests and vendors.

Since so many folks will be visiting our fair city for the first time, Tiny Doom and I thought it would be fun to put together a list of our favorite Boston attractions – restaurants, museums, and of course, comic shops for you to visit. This week we’ll focus on spots you can find both around the Seaport World Trade Center, where the con is held, and in other parts of Boston proper. Next week we’ll post some spots farther afield for those of you who either have a bit more time in our fabulous metropolis – or for you local readers who are looking for something new to visit.

So, the Seaport! This is an up and coming neighborhood – formerly a wasteland of wharves and factories, it’s now one of the hottest properties in the city. That means there’s plenty of options for food and great sites to explore once you’ve had your fill of comics culture. We’ll start off with eats, because no one wants to live on convention hall food – do they?

 

RESTAURANTS

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Photo credit: Hub Nightlife

Lucky’s Lounge
355 Congress St, Boston, MA

The first thing you should know about Lucky’s is that it’s basically unmarked (no outside signage), so pay attention to your map or GPS.  This is all part of the Rat Pack/speak easy vibe they have going on.  Given this, it’s not a bright and airy place.  It’s dark, subterranean, and may remind you of your grandparents’ downstairs.  None of these are bad things, but if you are hoping for patio dining after being at the Con all day, this isn’t your spot.  That said, if you are looking to settle in with pals, drink cocktails, and partake in food that may be a bit splurgy for your diet, this is one of the better spots in the Seaport.  When Tiny Doom went on her Mac and Cheese tour of 2014, this spot scored very well.  For this area Lucky’s would be considered “moderately priced” and the portions are ample. If you are going on a weekend, make reservations, and be aware that this place gets PACKED.

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Netflix Hidden Gem: Puella Magi Madoka Magica

Ok, let me stop you right now.  If you don’t care for anime, you might want to stop here and check out any previous posts you might have missed or come back next week.  I am not saying that I don’t want you here, because you know how I feel about you, but the truth is that anime and manga can kinda be a tough topic for the the Ladies of Comicazi (some of us are more for it than others), so I will understand if you would rather look at these cute pictures instead.  No really, I get it.  Anime isn’t for everyone.  And this can be particularly true when we are talking about anime that involve underage girls running around in very short skirts.

Madoka

Cue the Magical Girls.

So, everyone who wants to be here is still here?  Wonderful, let’s do this thing.

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Muppet Ladies: The Muppet Trivia 5 Wrap-Up

MT 2015 Wuzzy

Hard as it may be to believe, there really have been five Muppet Trivias at Comicazi over the years, hosted by different combinations of Ladies. The very first one was a Red Menace project, and the rest of us have taken on various hosting and organizing duties through the years. It’s always a lot of work, but it’s also a ton of fun and it remains my favorite of the events we put together.

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Another write up on why Mad Max: Fury Road is Important

 This post contains spoilers for Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Avengers: Age of Ultron.
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Look who this image is focused on.

So many people have written about Mad Max: Fury Road that I almost feel stupid doing it at this point.  I’m not sure I have much new to add to the collective conversation.  But as this is very much in The Ladies’ wheelhouse, it feels like I should at least try.
 

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Three Things – Sci-Fi Edition

By now you know that we like to do our reviews and recommendations in threes around here – besides being a nice, neat number, it gives you a few choices – you might not love one comic, but another might be right up your alley. Today I’m reviewing three totally different media with sci-fi themes, so if you’d rather listen to or watch your stories than read ’em, I’ve got you covered! If you don’t like science fiction, I don’t think I can help you.  Continue reading

Muppet Trivia FAQ Starring Q and A

As you may have noticed if you’ve been keeping up with the blog or following the Ladies on social media, Muppet Trivia is almost here! But perhaps you have unanswered questions about Muppet Trivia. Maybe there are things you need to know before you decide to join us for an amazing night of Muppet themed fun. Maybe you’re afraid to ask (though I assure you, we’re all very approachable).

Well never fear! We’ve got the answers to all your Muppet Trivia questions and we’ve brought in two very special guests to bring them to you. You know them, you see them every day, and we’re pretty sure they’re two of your twenty-six most favorite letters of the alphabet. Let’s hear it for Q and A!

The letter Q and the letter A

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Honorary Lady of Comicazi: Caitlin Doughty

While pop culture, literature, and the media are the main focus on this site, we also take opportunities to call out a little attention to woman who are out in the world doing amazing things. So this week, I’d like to spotlight my newest hero, Caitin Doughty: mortician, author, creator of the YouTube series Ask a Mortician and founder of the website Order of the Good Death.

Doughty

Caitlin Doughty has a vision to change the world, and that vision includes lots and lots of dead bodies. Now, before I scare you away from reading my post this week, Doughty’s Ask a Mortician YouTube series takes an honest look at death and what happens to our physical remains after we shed this mortal coil. In a culture in which we often try to remove ourselves as much as possible from death and what it looks like, Doughty answers real questions about how a body decomposes, death rituals around the world, and offers alternatives to what many of us consider a traditional funeral.

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Movie/Event Review: I Am Big Bird

Caroll Spinney with Mr Snuffleupagus on the Sesame Street set

Sometimes, Snuffy gets confused about whether Big Bird is real.

Muppets have always been important to me. Like most kids born in the 70s or later, I grew up on Sesame Street. I can remember watching The Muppet Show at my grandparents house back when I was too young to understand a lot of it. As I explained in my origin story, I first met two out of three of the Ladies at Muppet Trivia, which is coming back in less than two  weeks. And my first solo post for blog was about the ill-fated Henson project Little Muppet Monsters. (Speaking of which some new information on why the show failed has surfaced since I wrote about it. Apparently, Marvel Productions hadn’t completed the animated segments for most of the episodes of the show, leaving the majority of the season half finished and unairable. CBS decided to air a second episode of Muppet Babies in the timeslot. The ratings were way better than those for Little Muppet Monsters and the show’s fate was sealed. Anyway…)  My love for things Muppet has waned and waxed over the years, but it’s always been there. Continue reading