Tag Archives: Lifestyle

Devolver Digital Films To Distribute Doc on Couchsurfing, ONE COUCH AT A TIME


There’s a good chance you’ve at least heard of couchsurfing. It’s actually a pretty old concept used by college students, tourists, and all sorts of artists and bohemians. You stay on a friend’s couch temporarily, maybe a day or so. And then, depending on your plans, you move on to another couch. It’s that free-spirited act of sharing that has evolved over time. Consider the Occupy movement and all the questions it has helped raise. We have reason to question plenty, don’t we? We are forced to even question things that seem so fundamental. Can we continue as we’re going in our capitalist society? That’s something we’ll talk more about. For now, let’s consider couchsurfing and sharing in general. That’s what filmmaker Alexandra Liss does in her new documentary, ONE COUCH AT A TIME, which is being distributed by Devolver Digital Films.

ONE COUCH AT AT TIME is an eye-opening documentary that will take you places you may have not fully considered. I look forward to viewing this in full. It already speaks to me on many levels. I am a firm believer in sharing what you have, seeking out help when you need it, and not being bashful of making new connections with your fellow human beings. My graphic novel, ALICE IN NEW YORK, is about the wonders and magic that are possible when you put your trust in the right places and allow yourself to have an adventure. Interestingly enough, that book will be published thanks to crowdfunding. There’s really no limit to what you can do and this documentary helps to demonstrate that.

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Filed under Crowdfunding, Documentaries, Sharing Movement, Travel

Seattle Tattoo Expo 2013: A Weekend of Ink, Mystery, and the Unspoken Energy that Emerges


A tattoo artist deals with people’s desires and dreams. So do bartenders and cab drivers and let’s not forget therapists, agents, and attorneys and all manner of other good souls servicing a wide spectrum of humanity. People have needs, wishes, and frustrations. People seek answers, release, and resolution. Often they seek out the tattoo artist for more than any form of body art could ever fully satisfy. The seeker and the tattoo artist, in unspoken agreement, realize this and still they meet and arrange together a new portal toward that most elusive of goals, pure happiness. It’s at an event like the Seattle Tattoo Expo, held this last weekend at the Seattle Center, where all that unspoken energy comes to the fore and gains finer articulation by the very fact there is so much of it gathered in one spot.


If I were to compare a tattoo convention with a comics convention, I’d say there is a certain amount of a fish-out-of-water sensation that both vendors must contend with. You’re not at your home base anymore whether it’s a tattoo parlor or a comics shop. And both of those environments have their own special vibes that are not going to be totally recreated on a convention floor. What you get instead is the next best thing. That is what you get from this tattoo expo, the next best thing to actually being at the parlor. The Seattle Tattoo Expo was created by world famous tattoo artist Damon Conklin. His shop, Super Genius, leads the way in hospitality at the expo. Tattoos are a very personal thing but Damon Conklin and his crew of talented tattoo artists will break the ice. I got to chat a bit with Colin, who is an apprentice at Super Genius, and he was very friendly and in the moment which is great since, truth be told, tattoos are a personal thing.


What’s great about being at the expo is the opportunity to immerse yourself in the tattoo culture. You can walk in with your whole body tatted up or with no tattoo and it’s all good. But you can feel that special bond that is shared by those that are fully into tats. It can’t be made up. Either you’re really into tattoos and show them off proudly or you’re not–or you fall somewhere in between. If you’ve long admired tattoos but only from a distance, then actually coming down to the expo could be very rewarding. There’s a benefit for everyone, for those who are new to the scene as well as for all the attendees who have years of experience.


Many people aren’t going to ponder over the mysterious world of tattoos. A fair amount of people are just going to dive in and get one. That would be a mistake. That’s where bad tattoos come from. It’s a fevered form of thinking when all those impulses suddenly rise to the surface and you act way before you’ve fully thought it through. Did you really mean to get a star tattoo? Well, nothing wrong with that but is that really what you meant to do? That particular star, on that particular place, instead of stepping back, maybe concluding that this could wait? All is not lost. These days, tattoo removal is within reach. In fact, there was a tattoo removal booth at the expo. It’s not a perfect process. Mistakes will be made along the way but it’s sure nice when you can avoid them. But mistakes are human and there are plenty of humans. It just makes those who get it right look that much better.




What does it take to get it right? You get to see a lot of that at the expo. Whatever it is you are seeking, it doesn’t matter if it’s a tattoo or going to college or whatever your goal, you will find that you need to take the time to get it right.

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Filed under Damon Conklin, Lowbrow Art, pop culture, Seattle, Seattle Tattoo Expo, Super Genius Tattoo Parlor, Tattoos

Lady Gaga Supports Marina Abramovic Institute


Lady Gaga is a significant artist so when she supports a cause, it’s worthy of attention. The press and hype we live with can often blur what is actually going on. In this recent news, Lady Gaga is supporting the creation of the Marina Abramovic Institute. Marina Abramovic is an artist who primarily works with the body. She has created some profound work over the years that has led to her current goal of a permanent space to explore her work and to support others with similar work.

The creation of the Marina Abramovic Institute is the subject of a fundraising campaign at Kickstarter (ends August 25) which you can learn about here.

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Filed under Art, Comics, Kickstarter, Lady Gaga, Marina Abramovic

Fashion: Star-Spangled Flâneurs: Converse x Ace Hotel Pro Leather Sneakers


Comics Grinder is always on the lookout for something that’s a cut above and worth a shoutout in the world of pop culture, fashion, and all points in between. Consider this item just released by our friends at Ace Hotel: Special Limited Edition Ace Hotel Converse Pro Leather High Tops. It’s got style, comfort, and will get you first in line this summer and beyond.

More details follow from Ace Hotel:

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To Catfish Or Not To Catfish: Manti Te’o and CATFISH, The Movie and TV Show

Catfish Movie 2010

There used to be two “Catfish” groups: those who had never heard of the 2010 movie, or the MTV show it inspired; and those hip to the whole thing. And now, there’s people getting up to speed since the Manti Te’o catfish caper. This review will assume little to no prior knowledge of the movie or even the term, “catfish,” although we’ve already reached the tipping point on this one. All you need to know is that a “catfish” is someone trolling the net pretending to be someone else and that this movie has the distinction of coining the term. With the success of the MTV show, more has been added to the core definition that sort of confuses the issue. Such is the life of a word.

The movie, and it’s TV version, seem to offer a new vantage point on the ills of virtual reality and, who knows, may spark some soul-searching. To catfish or not to catfish? That is the question many people have dealt with and some have chosen to partake in the twisted game of deception and self-delusion. That’s the serious theme to consider and not lose sight of in comparison to the controversy over whether “Catfish” is a documentary or a hoax itself. Nev Schulman is the star of this movie and plays the role of a naive guy (or plays himself) and gets caught up in an online romance until we get to the big twist. Just like our celebrated sports hero, Notre Dame’s star linebacker, Manti Te’o, this is supposed to be the story of a young man falling prey to an elaborate hoax. It’s interesting how Notre Dame’s athletic director, Jack Swarbrick, referenced this movie in trying to explain the current Manti Te’o story. Is Swarbrick some sort of mumblecore film buff? Not so much.

The movie, for what it is, is well done. It now feels like something that couldn’t possibly happen today. However, the MTV show would beg to differ. Here is where we start to enter spoiler territory so beware. The pitch during the original run of “Catfish” was that you were better off knowing as little as possible about it before viewing. At this point, the opposite may hold true. Should you bother to see it after the premise has now become common knowledge and we’ve moved on to a TV show? Yes, it is worth the ride. After viewing it, you may likely come away wondering if this was all set up. The good thing about that, is that it adds something if you go on to watch the MTV show, also featuring Nev Schulman, because on that show, it really does feel like we’re nabbing internet trolls.

Nev Schulman goes from catfish victim to host of his own show helping potential catfish victims. Same idea as the movie, we go on a journey to confront the alleged online lover. It does feel authentic even if it could just as easily be a new and improved version of “The Jerry Springer Show,” which dosen’t even try to hide being staged. In the case of MTV’s offering, Nev really appears to be into getting to the truth. And the victims appear to lack enough common sense to be the real deal. In one case, the red flag is that the girl in question does not own a cell phone. “How is that even possible?” asks Nev, “That’s like saying you don’t own a pair of pants!” When the troll is revealed, it is a nervous young man who looks so ashamed as to be cringeworthy. He admits to pretending to be as many as a hundred other persons. And he admits that he feels better hiding behind his sexy avatar. It rings true and it seems to elevate the show to serving a public service. Maybe it is.

In 2008, when the movie was made, Nev, his brother Rel, and a friend, Henry Joost, decided to document a year in the life of Nev Schulman. (Both Rel and Henry have directed for the “Paranormal Activity” franchise.) That is what we keep hearing, at first, that this is a movie about Nev, which already seems a little suspicious. Unless this is a dramatization, which it does not claim to be, the three of them were all at the right place at the right time when a very strange thing started to happen to Nev. It is stated in the film that Nev was getting his photographs published in “The New York Sun” and that it caught the eye of a little girl prodigy, in Michigan, who started mailing him paintings inspired by his work. Look here and you’ll get a sense that “The New York Sun” was a rather obscure newspaper. So, how does it come to the attention of an 8-year-old in Michigan let alone much of anyone else outside of a select New York demographic? This is something that Nev does not question. In fact, when interviewed recently by New York Magazine, Nev reveals that, at that time in his life, he had dropped out of Sarah Lawrence and was shooting videos of bar mitzvahs to make a living. This is a pretty important aspect of his life not even mentioned in what is supposed to be a detailed account of Nev’s activities.

Nev’s friendship with the little girl, Abby, leads him to talk to her mom, Angela, on the phone. And that ultimately leads to his getting to know Abby’s older, and sexy, half-sister, Megan. Finally, one fateful night, Nev gets to talk to Megan on the phone, all neatly documented for our viewing pleasure, and he finds himself smitten. An online romance, and cautionary tale, has begun, complete with endless texting. Nev, to his credit, is a very likable sort but his range of emotional expression leaves much to be desired. There is little variance between love-struck Nev, stressed-out Nev, angry Nev, or concerned Nev. It all seems to settle down to one prevailing version: stressed-out Nev. Either the guy prefers to be left alone or he’s not a very compelling actor. That aside, and that’s a lot to set aside, if you let yourself, this movie can hook you in. There is absolutely no level of suspense to match, or even compare, to Hitchcock but you still want to know what the devil is going on.

You get to the point that you know that it is very unlikely that Nev is speaking with the woman he thinks he’s speaking with. It’s not as scary a moment as it should be and where you will want to shift gears to speculation over whether the documentary is real or not. That’s what will make this more entertaining, especially when you reach the part where Nev confronts the person who is supposed to be Megan. Again, this is the ulimtate spoiler alert if you’re totally new. We discover, to no one’s surprise, that sexy Megan has actually been Angela, Abby’s mom, all along. And the real life Angela is not the exotic creature Nev was led to believe. The real Angela is not glamorous. And to make matters more complicated, she appears stuck in a loveless marriage caretaking two developmentally disabled stepsons. This is the trickiest part of all. You feel you must conclude that this documentary is legit or how could Nev stoop so low as to exploit two developmentally disabled men? Perhaps, Nev and Angela are legitimate up to a point. They found a way to make art out of their respective lives and don’t see it as having crossed a line.

Finally, here is the take away. Where the heck did the term “catfish” come from anyway? This is the grace note that also appears to tip the hand of the filmmakers. In one of the final scenes, Vince, Angela’s unsavory husband, demonstrates some near poetic eloquence. As if lost in lofty thought, Vince offers up to Nev a brief history of the fishing industry in order to put Angela’s actions into perspective. He describes how carp were a potentially profitable import to China except for the damage they suffered on the long trip. The solution was to pack a few catfish with the carp and this kept the carp moving, agile and fresh. “Sometimes,” Vince concluded, “that is what society needs, a catfish to keep it guessing.” Was this something that Nev and his crew just happend upon or was it staged? Perhaps the filmmakers were attempting to have Vince explain how the film’s means justified its end.

Visit the official CATFISH website.


Filed under Documentaries, Movie Reviews, movies, MTV, mumblecore


During Comic-Con 2012, I had the pleasure of being in the company of the talented Clare Kramer, known for many things including her role as the villain, Glory, on “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” It seems we’ve ended up with some video technical difficulties so I will provide you with a magazine style observation of our meeting. It was one of those things that you can’t anticipate. I had been contacted regarding my interest in doing an interview and, after some back and forth messaging, I found myself part of the interviews Clare was doing on a pedicab around San Diego. Clare was doing the interviews. I was the only one interviewing Clare! One moment, I am searching through a sea of mingling people and then suddenly I’m seated with a member of the Hollywood in crowd who has left her footprint on pop culture and is now embarking on a new pop culture venture, a website dedicated to all things geek, GeekNation.com.

I should mention here that I was more than a little self-conscious. I’m not the Hollywood glamour type. I’m just a guy, I thought. I mean, I’m not one extreme or another. I am neither freak nor jock. I’m more the bookish type. My role model is Dick Cavett, for those who have long memories or care about pop history. Anyway, I’m a guy who actually toils away writing and drawing comics. I do stuff like this. I think I do it well, if I do say so myself. And I’ve gone on to take my unique experience as an artist and cartoonist and have also become a commentator on comics and pop culture. I’ve written about comics and pop culture for about seven years now. I gravitate towards quality wherever I find it, be it in the most obscure self-published mini comic or an offbeat graphic novel that deserves a shout out. I spend too much time indoors reading.

But I try to mix it up too. That’s how I ended up crossing paths with Clare Kramer. Honestly, I’d never heard of Clare Kramer before Comic-Con! I am certianly glad to know her, or know about her, now. Hey, her success did not fall on my radar. So, when I got the chance to interview her, I did my research and got caught up in her prestigous education in drama. After reading that she’d gone to NYU and acted in some serious stage plays, I guess I was thinking of conducting the interview with her like I was James Lipton, host of “Inside The Actors Studio” on Bravo. I’m not James Lipton so I shouldn’t have even tried that route.

Clare saved the day by simply being herself. I think she did a beautiful job of staying on point when she described GeekNation.com and the many shows you will find within the site that focus on various aspects of the geek lifestyle, be it “Doctor Who” or even just focusing on a geek connoisseur’s love of beer. It’s all there at GeekNation.com.

The bottom line is that Clare comes across as a fun-loving and sincere person. When I asked her if she’d had a chance to keep up with “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” comics published by Dark Horse Comics, she immediately said yes, and described in detail story arcs from “Season 8.” And when I asked her about her Comic-Con experience so far on that Saturday afternoon, she spoke with great admiration about geting to walk the convention floor at the beginning of the Con and getting to meet up with friends and then went into detail about panels she’d been on. Suffice it to say, it was a delightful exchange between us after she kept me from drifting off into platitudes about the actor’s life.

And then the ride was suddenly over and I was back on my own amid the sea of mingling people and wondering about what had just happened.

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Filed under Clare Kramer, Comic-Con 2012, Entertainment, movies, pop culture

SQUIDS from The Game Bakers

We’re always up for a new game, aren’t we? And we like our games to have style, don’t we? Here is news about “Squids,” something that should fit the bill from the Paris studio of The Game Bakers.

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DC Entertainment Releases New VERTIGO App

Writer Bill Willingham, of FABLES fame, now provides us with FAIREST, with a whole new batch of adventures:

New York Times best-selling, award-winning creator Bill Willingham presents a new series starring the female FABLES. Balancing horror, humor and adventure, FAIREST explores the secret histories of Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Thumbelina, Snow White, Rose Red and others.
The first 6 issue arc follows the misadventures of Briar Rose after she is stolen away by the goblin army in FABLES #107. Fan-favorite artist Phil Jimenez (WONDER WOMAN, THE INVISIBLES) returns to Vertigo to pencil the opening storyline. Award-winning cover artist Adam Hughes (WONDER WOMAN, BATGIRL) provides covers, starting with a wraparound cover on issue #1.
Future arcs will be written by 2011 Arthur C. Clarke winner Lauren Beukes with art by Inaki Miranda, and iZOMBIE scribe Chris Roberson with art by Shawn McManus! And remember: They may be beautiful, but there will be blood.

You can download on the same day it releases on the new dedicated app for VERTIGO COMICS! And that’s not all, there are benefits to using that handy app. Details follow:

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Filed under Comics, DC Comics, Vertigo

DALE & THOMAS Have Got You Covered for Holiday Care Packages

Comics Grinder loves a good snack and we are amazed with the wide variety of goodies coming from Dale and Thomas Popcorn.  A new care package from Dale and Thomas arrived at Comics Grinder headquarters  and it has us in a very good mood. “Chocolate n Caramel” got our taste buds all excited. It brought to mind a seasonal favorite from Starbucks, their famous “Salted Caramel Mocha.”

Then we got a nibble of “White Chocolate n Peanut Butter” and this was utterly delicious. The way the two distinctive flavors of white chocolate and peanut butter blended with the popcorn was a joy. With each new bite, we were greeted by an unexpected sensation of peanut butter tucked under a drizzle of white chocolate.

“Southwest Cheddar Chipolte” proved to be a wonderful switch to something savory. It has a little kick to it but nothing we wouldn’t expect from a mild salsa. It had us thinking that this popcorn treat would easily make a welcome replacement to our regular chips and salsa. Now, we’re not going to totally replace our chips and salsa but we will be giving this popcorn more of our attention.

An all-time classic not to be forgot: “Dale and Thomas Kettlecorn!” Yes, the name says it all. If you’re looking for good old-fashioned kettle corn, then why not the best? This stuff will melt in your mouth. It’s the good stuff. Like all Dale and Thomas products, it’s fresh and delicious and it’s kettlecorn!

This brings us to full circle because the last two remaining treats could be looked at as a splitting of the first combination of chocolate and caramel. Why not focus on each flavor separately? “Dale’s Caramel” has an alluring name and it turns out it lives up to it. When you want to keep it basic and enjoy a perfect blend of salty and sweet, this is the way to go. And then there’s “Twice-As-Nice Chocolate DrizzleCorn,” which, as you would be correct to believe, it another deliciously awesome, “twice-as-nice,” treat.

You simply can’t go wrong with Dale & Thomas and this is one of the best times to share the popcorn joy! There is such a selection of holiday packages to choose from on the Dale & Thomas Web site. You have everything from handy little gifts as stocking stuffers to an impressive selection of packages based on themes and taste buds! And this from the editor and your host: “I see a lot of movies and read a lot of comics and I can’t think of a better movie or reading snack than Dale and Thomas Popcorn. It’s a great all-around snack.”


Filed under Dale and Thomas Popcorn, Food, movies, popcorn

EvolutionMan Has The Answer For Man Nails, Man Skin and More

When Ben Affleck grew out his hair, the entertainment press dubbed the hair covering his forehead, “man bangs.” They couldn’t just be bangs. And the same thing happens when a male celeb is seen with a bag. Instantly, that becomes a “man bag.” If it’s sandals on men, they become “man sandals” which doesn’t even make any sense.  And it goes on. Just add “man” to about anything that has a guy treating himself to the finer things in life. “Manzilian,” anyone? Speaking for us guys, I believe we’re more than mere man skin.

Men will do whatever they want anyway. If we want to take care of ourselves, we will, because guys have evolved. That’s what leads us to an exciting new line of men’s skincare and grooming products, EvolutionMan.

The founder of EvolutionMan is Marco Berardini, a celebrity groomer whose clients include Patrick Dempsey, LeBron James and supermodel, Marissa Miller. His line of products are used by other celebrity groomers like Sonia Lee who gets stars like Neil Patrick Harris and Anthony Hopkins red carpet ready.

Visit the EvolutionMan Web site and you’ll find an assortment of skincare products to make you look and feel great. “Wash & Buff,” for instance, won the award for best face scrub in Men’s Health Magazine. And EvolutionMan products are packed with natural ingredients that make your skin more attractive and healthy.

Here at Comics Grinder, we’re all about style and taste. We just received a goodie bag from EvolutionMan and we thought we’d share with you what we found.

PURE BLING – We’ll start with the latest addition to the EvolutionMan line: nail polish for men. Again, no need to call this “man nail polish,” unless you really have to. With “Pure Bling,” a guy can test drive nail polish since this is simply a clear varnish, boosted with vitamins. All it does is provide a guy with more healthy and attractive nails. What could be better? I’ve found it to be just fine. My nails look and feel great and I have gotten compliments on them. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Maybe next time I’ll try a color.

CLEANSE & SHAVE, WASH & BUFF AND MOISTURE PROTECT — Yes, this could be your daily regimen. You “Cleanse & Shave” to get that close and refreshing shave. Follow this up with “Wash & Buff” to get rid of dead skin cells and reinvigorate your skin. And then complete the process with “Moisture Protect” to add moisture and protect yourself from UV rays with its SPF 20.

REVITALIZE EYE GEL – You could take things one step further and give your eyes a bit of a lift with “Revitalize Eye Gel.” Just a little dab under both eyes to give you a more refreshed look and up things in a more balanced and healthy place.

LIP BALM – And any guy should have some lip balm handy. Too many guys go around sporting dry and cracked skin in such a prominent place on the face.

That said, all guys should do themselves a favor and check out what EvolutionMan has to offer them. I am inspired by EvolutionMan and you guys will be too.

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Lifestyle, Men, pop culture, Style, Taste