Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2229th Distribution,
LASFS Meeting No. 3677, January 31, 2008.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
Telephone: hospital(818) 763-8247; personal (818) 506-3159 * eMail:firstname.lastname@example.org
|Denvention 3 in 2008!||Anticipation in 2009!||Salamander Press #2712|
Last Tuesday, Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital sent me to Valley Presbyterian Hospital to have an electrocardiogram made. This apparently is an annual checkup; I had to go for one about a year ago. This year, it took only about half the time, and I did not have to strip to my waist and lie on a gurney with electrodes attached all over me. They were able to do it while I sat in my wheelchair with just my shirt pulled up, with only a few electrodes and some kind of scanner pressed to key body parts. When I commented on this, the medical technician said, "New improved equipment," and gestured toward last year's bigger ECG machine in a corner. Hooray for medical advances.
That was not the only new equipment that impressed me. I was taken to VPH & back in a medical transport van that had an onboard navigator giving driving directions in a language I did not recognize. Since GSCCH was using an Armenian medical transport service last year, I asked the driver if the navigator was giving directions in Armenian. "No. Russian." I wonder how many languages onboard navigators come programmed in?
I did not attend last week's LASFS meeting because it was raining heavily on Thursday afternoon and was supposed to continue through the weekend. My sister Sherrill said it would be safer to skip the meeting than to hope for a lull in the rain at the right moment to rush to Freehafer Hall, and maybe be faced with a new downpour at the time to return to the hospital. Sherry went to the meeting briefly to get my copy of Apa L, which she brought me the next day. She reported that Burbank Blvd. was flooded, with water halfway up the driveway into the LASFS parking spaces, and that there were only about 15 attendees at the meeting. It does not sound like I missed much; certainly not enough to get both Sherry & me drenched loading me & my wheelchair into her minivan in heavy rain.
I was probably even more fortunate compared to the furry fans going to Further Confusion 2008 in San Jose starting last Thursday. Fans from Southern California used to fly to San Jose, but ever since air-flight security got so rigorous after 9/11/01, particularly for fans carrying large paintings or lots of packages of books & fanzines for sale at the con, they have been driving there. I described my scenic road trips with furry artist David Bliss up Interstate 5 through central California in January 2003 & 2004 here in Apa L. Fans who counted on driving this year, though, may have found it impractical at the last minute; judging from Roz Gibson's livejournal, at least:
Monday, Jan. 21: Saturday and Sunday were spent running around getting last minute stuff done for the con. All that remains to do now is mat the artwork, which I'll be doing today. A new thing to worry about is the weather. We're supposed to have a series of winter storms this week, which includes snow down to 2000 feet. Since the trip up north goes through a 4000 foot mountain pass, if it's snowing Thursday I will need to take the 101 north instead, which I really don't want to do because the traffic is worse on the 101, and it takes longer.
Wednesday, Jan. 23: It's been raining all week, and tomorrow morning I'll need to choose which route to take north. I really don't want to take the 101 because it'll add a couple hours to the trip, and traffic is often very bad on it. But if I gamble wrong and take the 5, only to find the Grapevine closed due to snow, then I'm fucked. *worry.*
Thursday, Jan. 24: 10 AM Thursday. Pouring rain in Santa Clarita. The Grapevine is closed due to snow. The 14 is closed due to snnow, as is the connecting route off the 14 to the 5 by Bakersfield. The only route left to us is the 101 north. Pray to whatever diety you believe in that the 101 doesn't flood out or close due to an accident.
If we make it to San Jose I will post a note to the effect.
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For a little over two years before my stroke, I wrote two monthly columns for Newtype USA, the thickest (200 pages), fanciest and glossiest American anime magazine. It started in November 2002 and has been a licensed American edition of Japan's biggest and most popular anime magazine, so it has had access to all of Newtype's color graphics and anime-industry-insider information. Each sealed issue included a special "free" anime DVD, so it has been popular with fans despite its $9.95 cover price (increasing to $12.98 at the beginning of 2005). I no longer have access to my 2003 ˇRR! issues (when are they going to be scanned & posted?), but I think I remember saying that circulation quadrupled from 30,000 to 120,000 copies by the end of its first year. The current circulation at the higher price is estimated at about half that.
That is history now. AD Vision, the publisher, has recently announced that the February 2008 issue will be Newtype USA's last. All of the anime news networks are reporting this, but Lesley Aeschliman, the Anime Editor of BellaOnline, "The Voice of Women", has what may be the most knowledgeable analysis:
A.D. Vision (ADV) has contacted their advertising partners to let them know that the February 2008 issue of Newtype USA is the last edition of the magazine. When subscribers of Newtype USA have inquired about the status of their subscription, they have received an e-mail stating that the company will be launching a new magazine in March. The new magazine is called PiQ, and it will cover anime, manga, video games, and other aspects of pop culture.
Current Newtype USA subscribers will have their remaining issues fulfilled at a two-to-one ratio. This means that subscribers will get double the number of magazines remaining in their subscription. However, if current Newtype USA subscribers don't want to receive the new magazine, they can contact A.D. Vision and opt out at any time. This information has been confirmed by Gary Steinman, Newtype USA's Editor-in-Chief.
After initially being linked to Digital Manga, A.D. Vision launched Newtype USA at Anime Expo 2002 with issue 0. The first regular issue of Newtype USA was the November 2002 issue. After including issue 0 and the February 2008 issue of the magazine, 65 issues of Newtype USA have been published.
A.D. Vision licensed Newtype USA from Kadokawa Shoten, the publisher of the original Newtype Magazine. In Japan, Newtype has been in publication since 1985, with its first issue released in March 1985. The original magazine is named after the Newtype evolution of humans in Gundam. Newtype USA's circulation is estimated to be around 50,000 to 70,000 copies per month.
It has been pointed out by some Newtype USA subscribers that Geneon Entertainment had advertised quite heavily in the magazine. So there is speculation by some fans on the internet that Geneon Entertainment's ceasing to distribute anime in the United States has helped to bring about A.D. Vision's decision to shut down Newtype USA.
In my opinion, the loss of a publication such as Newtype USA has the potential to deal a major blow to the anime industry in the United States. While A.D. Vision's replacement publication, PiQ, will still cover anime, I suspect that it will not cover the genre to the same extent that Newtype USA had. When you combine this development with Geneon Entertainment's ceasing to distribute anime in the U.S., it is definitely a sign that the American anime industry is changing. Whether or not these changes will be good in the long run remains to be seen.
Geneon USA has been one of the major anime producers, under that name since 2003 and as Pioneer Entertainment (USA) since 1993, which has included practically the entire history of anime on video and DVD in America. It was the Japanese producer or rights-holder of many of the anime titles like Akira licensed by Streamline Pictures (where I worked for over ten years) in the early 1990s, and it took over those titles itself after Streamline's licenses expired. Many of the most popular anime titles shown at Cinema Anime and the C/FO over the past fifteen years have been Geneon USA releases: Adventures of the Mini-Goddesses, Chobits, Gate Keepers, Haibane Renmei, Heat Guy J, Hellsing, Last Exile, Samurai Champloo, Serial Experiments Lain, Tenchi Muyo!, Trigun, Vandread, and many others. Geneon's announcement that it was withdrawing from anime production and marketing in North America at the end of 2007, followed by AD Vision's announcement that it was cutting back severely on its Anime Network all-anime cable TV channel at the beginning of 2008, were traumatic enough to American fans. The cessation now of Newtype USA, which will doubtlessly save AD Vision a hefty licensing fee but may cut any replacement magazine off from the Japanese Newtype's beautiful graphics resources, has got panicked fans speculating about the collapse of the American anime industry. (Many have worried for some time that the market has been overextended. See my column on manga in Comics Buyer's Guide #1600, January 2005, just before my stroke; I would have pointed with alarm at the anime market as well if I had had time.)
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I was busy last weekend e.mailing the press release announcing the opening of nominations for the 2007 Ursa Major Awards. So far the announcement has appeared as a news report on the Science Fiction Awards Watch website, and as a WikiFur News story (below). LASFen are encouraged to nominate, too.
News: 2007 Ursa Major Award nominations open
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from WikiFur News
January 25, 2008
Nominations for the 2007 Ursa Major Awards are now open. The awards celebrate the best anthropomorphic art and literature first published during a particular year.
. Motion Picture
. Dramatic Short Work or Series
. Short Fiction
. Other Literary Work
. Comic Book
. Comic Strip
. Published Illustration
The awards are selected through a two-stage process of nomination and voting. Members of the public send in up to five nominations in each of the ten categories. The top nominations in each category are then presented for a public vote.
Many nominations are likely to come from the Recommended Anthropomorphics List, which has been built up through prior suggestions; however, inclusion on the list is not necessary nor sufficient for a work to be nominated.
Nominations close on February 28, and will be tallied between March 1 and March 14. The final ballot will be announced on March 15 and voting will take place until April 20. All those who sent in nominations will receive ballots; those who did not nominate but wish to vote may request a ballot.
The ballots will be counted, the trophies made, and the results will be announced at the award presentations in Columbus, Ohio at Morphicon 2008, scheduled for May 16-18.
The awards are sponsored by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which has expanded its board of directors to include representatives from the world's largest furry conventions over the course of 2007.
. 2006 Ursa Major Award winners announced
. Califur 2007 schedule finalized, including the Ursa Major Awards
. 2006 Ursa Major Awards voting is now open
. Last week for Ursa Major 2006 nominations
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
Cover - (Gold) What are those two yellow lines hiding behind the musical night sky?
De Jueves #1567 - (Moffatts) Alvin and the Chipmunks seems to be a blockbuster popular favorite - it has grossed $198,813,230 in the six weeks that it has been out - but it got mostly horrible reviews; only 23% favorable on the Rotten Tomatoes.com tally. And that's counting reviews like "Could've been a lot worse; it's a singing chipmunk movie, for Pete's sake." (L.A. Daily News) as favorable. Patton Oswalt, the voice of Rémy in Ratatouille, said on his blog in December, "ALVIN AND THE CHIMPMUNKS is a blatant, soulless, money-grab -- the only reason it even got MADE was because there was an family-movie-shaped-hole in the release schedule. Oddly enough, both Brian Posehn and I were offered the part of Ian, the agent. We both threw the script across the room in disgust. David Cross caught it." I was wondering if I should bother to even see it for free if ASIFA-Hollywood got a screening of it, but it has been categorized as a live-action rather than an animated film so it was never offered to ASIFA. ## Yes, I am right-handed. Or I was right-handed; I guess that I am left-handed by default now. ## According to the legends, Tyl Eulenspiegel moved frequently among the courts of the lesser nobility because he wore out his welcomes fast, avoiding the courts of any whom he had ridiculed, but steered clear of royalty because their courts were too high profile. His stock-in-trade was burlesquing the rivals of whatever local lord's court he was in at the time, as well as peasants and cripples who were fair game. The rivals of kings were other kings and the highest nobility, and it was unhealthy to make fun of them. Keeping a politically low profile helps explain why there is no hard evidence that Eulenspiegel really existed, unlike the slightly-later (allegedly born the year Eulenspiegel allegedly died) Dick Whittington who is in plenty of 14th-15th century documents as the first merchant-commoner to serve as Lord Mayor of London, for over 25 years (1397-1423).
Vanamonde #765 - (Hertz) I have been unable to find out if that photograph of Einstein sticking out his tongue was published in newspapers when it was taken, but if Einstein himself used it as a greeting card, that would explain how copies of it got around and, by implication, that Einstein did not feel insulted by it.
Somebody's Nipple Went Spung And I Was Deafened - (Cantor) As far as I know, Tender is LeVine, the murder mystery by Andrew Bergman in which PI Jack LeVine is hired to find and free kidnap victim Arturo Toscanini, exists only as a 2001 novel; it has never been filmed. But it does not have a "science-fictional feel" to it; it is just alternate history.
I Evade Venators - (Gold) My LASFS history says in boldface, [Note: It is a LASFS tradition that Forrest J Ackerman's name is deliberately spelled without a period after his middle initial.] So there should be no excuse for editors to assume the omission of the period is a typo and to add one.
Oh, All Right!!! - (Lembke) The New York Times is wrong. "Iraq's original banner" was three horizontal stripes of black, white and green, with a red trapezoid with two seven-pointed white stars for the Arabs and Kurds at the hoist (1921 to 1959). The red-white-black striped flag with three green stars on the white stripe was adopted in 1963 by the revolutionary Pan-Arab government that stated specifically that the three green stars were for the planned merger of Iraq, Egypt and Syria into a United Arab Republic (which was already the official name of Egypt), to match the flag then official in Egypt and Syria (and still in Syria today) but with only two stars. That union never came about. The meaning of the three stars to stand for the Ba'ath party ideals was first proclaimed by Saddam Hussein after the Gulf War in 1991, when he added "Allahu akbar" between the three stars in his own handwriting to make Iraq invincible in any future wars. I can understand getting rid of the stars because their significance is meaningless today under either symbolism, but to call the flag without them "Iraq's original banner" shows a false "sense of continuous national identity" that I find hard to believe of the Iraqi Parliament.