Oct 2011 31

by A.J. Focht

As if subjecting the demonstrators at #OccupyDenver to the horrors of hypothermia by refusing to allow them to erect shelter against the recent snow and harsh Colorado nights wasn’t bad enough, during the march held on Saturday October 29, the police used unnecessary force on the otherwise peaceful assembly.

Local Denver activist, @EisMC2 a.k.a Emmi Einstein spoke with SuicideGirls and gave us an account of the events of that day:

The march attracted upwards of 2,000 people to the Capitol at Civic Center Park. While the rally marched, Emmi and others stayed back at the #Occupy site to make sure things were running smoothly. She noticed early on that there were many more cops than the usual one or two that roam the park. When a SWAT team started to assemble, the group used the distraction to rebuild their camp. As the cops massed, Emmi noted one was filming the event .

After those on the march had returned to the park, the rally took a turn for the worse. Police moved into the park en mass, driving their motorcycles directly through the crowds. One police motorcyclist drove through a crowd of protestors, hitting one identified as Frank Roper. Roper shoved the bike in a fit of anger. The officer responded by chasing Roper down, tackling him, and proceeding to split his face in two. This is the event that seemed to trigger widescale police brutality on Saturday, and it was all caught on tape by a woman wanting to be known as Pinky Disaster – see video below.

That incident may have served as a catalyst, but it is clear from the video that police were moving in before it occurred. Law enforcement agencies, dressed in riot gear, were forcing their way through the protestors in unnecessarily large numbers. The officer whose bike was shoved could have just continued on, but he instead dismounted and proceeded to brutalize Roper until he required hospital attention; causing the subsequent disastrous chain of events.

[Image of police using pepper spray courtesy of]

Police admitted using Mace and firing pepper balls; protestors claim they were being hit with rubber bullets as well, and many witnessed police using excessive force with batons. Emmi watched things escalate quickly, even witnessing one man being choked by an officer while pinned to the ground. Some of the more terrifying reports include pregnant women getting pepper sprayed, and a kid (possibly identified as a 21-year-old who was filming the event) who was shot out of a tree by several projectiles (pepper balls or rubber bullets). Emmi herself – a 5’2” 95lb female – was pepper sprayed and beaten with a baton by a cop she identified by the badge #05100.

[Photo by Emmi: A Denver protester after he’d been shot in the face by police]

Many of the police on duty did not feel it was necessary to use such force, and instead attempted to keep things as peaceable as possible. Unconfirmed reports also surfaced online that two Denver police officers quit their jobs because of the attacks, and an unidentified source within #OccupyDenver said they witnessed one officer walking away from the riot line in tears saying he wouldn’t do it anymore.

The police made a big deal out of gearing up and loading the tear gas guns, but they never fired. Instead, they moved into the occupants’ encampment with gas masks and tore it down. Numerous #OccupyDenver protestors were arrested at this point as they tried to salvage anything from police grasp. All of the tents, the kitchen, the protest signs, and much more were taken by the police and tossed into a city dump truck.

The excessive force used on the protestors only kindled their spirits. After being down to under a dozen bodies staying on site 24/7, over fifty people stayed through the night on Saturday. And donations quickly came in to help make up for the movement’s losses. Unfortunately, despite donations of tents, occupants are still being forced to sleep without shelter.

Following the events on Saturday, the #OccupyDenver group held a sunset candlelight vigil on Sunday evening. The peaceful event was a collective stand against the violence of the previous night, and served as a chance to refocus the group back on the socioeconomic goals of the #OccupyWallStreet movement as a whole.

More images can be found at

Oct 2011 29

by A.J. Focht

#Occupy protestors across the US are standing their ground as police and politicians do their best to drive them out. Out at the #OccupyDenver protest, the demonstrators remain unwavering despite the efforts of law enforcement agencies and Colorado’s bitter fall cold.

Following Denver’s first winter storm of the year on Wednesday, daily nighttime temperatures are consistently below freezing. The six inches of snow that accumulated wasn’t enough to defeat the #OccupyDenver crowd however. After a few protestors were admitted to the hospital for hypothermia, the group found a nearby indoor location where many of them can stay. Only a handful of steadfast activists are remaining in the park through freezing nights.

The cold isn’t the only adversary #OccupyDenver has faced. Local law enforcement refuses to allow the group to erect shelters, even going as far as to tear down an igloo that was made as a last attempt at protection against arctic weather. The food service station, dubbed the “Thunderdome” has been torn down several times; last time I checked they were on Thunderdome 4. With increasing aggressiveness on each raid, fears rise that the next police action will mirror what happened in Oakland.

[Police use weather as a weapon and pull down #OccupyDenver’s IGLOO!!]

The #OccupyDenver crowd has held several rallies. The last one was held on Saturday October 22, 2011 and attracted between 2,000 and 2,500 according to the police. The resistance continues, and more events are planned for this weekend. The cold has caused their general numbers to dwindle, but the consistent and persistent rallies ensure that they won’t be defeated.

#Occupy protests across the nation are accepting donations to help keep the movement strong. #OccupyDenver has sent out an urgent call to everyone who can help by bringing warm clothes, gear (including sleeping bags and tarps), and anything else that will help them combat the elements (hot drinks, hand warmers, etc.). The group keeps an up-to-date list of needs and requests at, along with any updates on the event. If you want to join them, they are currently occupying Civic Center Park, in front of the Capitol Building. Finally, if you can’t make it down to support them, you can always call Denver Mayor Hancock at 720-865-9000 and add your voice to the collective.

No matter the brutal police violence in Oakland or the harsh nights of Colorado, the #Occupy movement is here to stay. Until the voice of the 99% is heard, and the 1% stop using their money to corrupt our government, the #Occupy movement will stand strong.

Images courtesy of
Huge gratitude to EisMC2 for her assistance with this post.

Oct 2011 27

by A.J. Focht

Joss Whedon is no mere mortal in need of rest and relaxation. After wrapping up The Avengers, Whedon used his month long vacation to do a secret shooting of an adaptation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece Much Ado About Nothing

JOSS WHEDON: Well, it’s not a bit secret that I’ve done these [Shakespeare] readings before, and I always had a vague notion of shooting Much Ado. But I didn’t really have a take on it. And then, for some reason, I kinda sorta did. As we were finishing The Avengers in New York, my wife and I were planning our vacation for our 20th anniversary. And she said, “Let’s not take the vacation. Make a movie instead.” I was like, “I’m not even sure if I can adapt the script, cast the movie, and prep it in a month.” And she was like, “Well, that’s your vacation time, so you do it.” And so I did.

Source EW

Starring several members of the Whedonverse, the cast includes: Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof (Angel), and Fran Kranz (Dollhouse), amongst others. Shooting the film in only twelve days, the entire cast managed to keep the project secret until it was announced via a press release.

Whedon isn’t the only one moving past The Avengers in a hurry. Marvel has announced several superhero sequels for 2013. All the usual suspects are present: Iron Man 3, Thor 2, Captain America 2, and the long rumored Ant-Man is still on the list.

With three exceedingly mediocre movies based on The Punisher, it’s surprising to hear that he’s getting another chance, this time on TV. If anything could make this situation more shaky, Fox has purchased the rights to the series. Odds are it will either be fantastic and immediately get cancelled, or it’s going to be another agonizing hour of prime time that they’ll keep around for years to come.

Mark Hamill tweeted his goodbye to voice acting as the Joker after Arkham City was released. The goodbyes weren’t so final as he quickly reneged on his statement when asked about an adaption of the graphic novel The Killing Joke. After his confirmation he’d come back for such a project, a fan movement started to get the project in motion.

Zombies survive another year. After only two episodes this season, The Walking Dead has been renewed for a third season by AMC.

With so many other interesting TV series popping up, is it surprising to learn that Stephen King’s The Dark Tower has gone from film to television? Producer Brian Gazer reports that the series has been picked up by HBO. There is still the possibility of a movie, but they intend to ‘do it right.’

For those Star Wars fans not heart broken by the series being rereleased in 3D, the trailer for Episode I has made it online (though it was subsequently pulled from YouTube by Fox).

Moving onto more exciting sci-fi movies, Ender’s Game the movie has received an official release date of March 15, 2013. The film is still over a year out, but after a long rollercoaster ride of the project being off and on, it’s great to see a solid date.

First they released the sneakers from the Back to the Future movies, then they announced the rerelease of the DeLorean. As if in an attempt to make Back to the Future’s timeline absolutely correct, development of a real hoverboard is underway. The board currently needs a rail to guide it, but they have two years to fix that.

Pulling one straight from the Disney playbook, Warner Bros. will pull all Harry Potter DVD titles off the shelves on December 29, 2011; this includes the soon to be released Deathly Hallow Part 2. If you haven’t finished your collection, now is your chance. Who knows when Warner Bros. will release the films back into circulation? I’m betting no less than ten years.

Not the most shocking news, but Rockstar has officially announced Grand Theft Auto V. The preview will be released on November 2. I’m hoping they change things up a bit, perhaps a female protagonist?

On a final note, massive video game convention Blizzcon 2011 has come and passed. Several major announcements were made for World of Warcraft, including the introduction of the first neutral race, Pandaren. Most impressively, it looks like Blizzard plans on releasing three games next year, the expansions for World of Warcraft , Starcraft, and Diablo III.

Oct 2011 19

by A.J. Focht

Last weekend New York Comic Con was the focus of most of the geek world. This was a chance for DC Comics to address questions concerning the New 52, especially concerns surrounding Batman continuity. But the most anticipated panel of all was The Avengers panel. Several of the actors were in attendance, and the audience got to see exclusive footage including some which featured the Hulk.

Speaking of the Hulk, there are new updates with regards to the upcoming The Incredible Hulk TV series. Directors Guilermo del Toro and David Eick will be attempting to keep the television Hulk as close to the Hulk from The Avengers as possible. Just another example of Marvel solidifying their continuity, and trying to make us forget Edward Norton in the process.

Out of all the superhero news this last week, none was as exciting as the prospects of Batman joining #OccupyWallStreet. Shooting is about to move to New York City, and the cast members have been told scenes could include shots of the protests. I’m not sure what plan Christopher Nolan has for capturing the #OWS action in the film, but I’m excited by the possibilities.

One last note on the caped crusader, Batman: Arkham City was released days ago, and it’s receiving some of the highest reviews of the year. I therefore wouldn’t be surprised to see Game Of The Year come down to Arkham City and Gears of War 3.

Even the real life superheroes made news this last week. Phoenix Jones, leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, was publicly unmasked after facing assault charges. It looks like our real life superhero is going through some classic comic story lines, but that won’t stop him from making his patrols.

Some terrible things are happening in a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars 3D posters have been released. The poster lists Episode I 3D as premiering February 10, 2012. As an amusing twist, George Lucas showed up at the 2011 Scream Awards as Darth Vader was giving him a little roast.

On the Star Trek frontier, a new attempt to get Star Trek back on TV is in the works, but not by who you’d think. Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, is ready to leave the Griffin family fold and pick up his phaser. After seven years of Family Guy, MacFarlane wants to move on and thinks a Star Trek reboot could be his next step.

Thor 2 officially has signed new director, Patty Jenkins. The big players from the original cast will also be back, including Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, and Anthony Hopkins.

We’re going back to the future, or at least we’ll have the potential to in the new DeLoreans coming in 2013. The DeLorean Motor Company and electric car company Epic EV are rereleasing Back to the Future‘s classic vehicle as a fully electric car, flux capacitors not included.

Finally, the zombies just keep invading. The Walking Dead killed the competition and topped ratings on Sunday with 7.3 million viewers. So it would make sense that another zombie themed TV show will soon be taking a bite out of prime time. Zombieland creators are working on a zombie sitcom. Unfortunately, they are looking to air on FOX, which instantly makes me hesitant.

Oct 2011 12

by A.J. Focht

The official Avengers trailer was finally released this week. Attached to the previews of Real Steal, it offers everything we wanted and more. All of the Avengers are showcased in the preview, providing the perfect teaser for the upcoming movie.

The Wolverine may end up with two separate cuts. In a recent interview with Hugh Jackman, he discussed the interest in making an R-rated Wolverine movie. A possible compromise that is being floated is the idea of releasing a PG-13 version of film, so as to not exclude the younger fans, in addition to the R-rated cut we all want to see.

Queen of the webisode, Felicia Day’s most recent project, Dragon Age: Redemption, is now live. It’s a brilliant webseries placed in the Dragon Age RPG universe. Felicia Day’s character, Tallis, is an elven assassin hired to capture an apostate mage. Along with the release of the webseries, a new DLC was released for Dragon Age 2 also featuring Tallis.


Oct 2011 05

by A.J. Focht

The entire line of DC’s New 52 has hit stores. The fan response to the reboot has been phenomenal, though all of the comics have received very diverse reviews. Almost every comic in the New 52 has been both praised and bashed. Most have gained a following, and a couple have already gained infamy, while very few have slipped under the radar altogether.

Several of the more obscure comics however pulled in great reviews, such as All-Star Western and I, Vampire. All-Star Western explores Gotham City during its founding through the eyes of Jonah Hex, while I, Vampire introduced a new vampire threat to the DC universe. One of the biggest surprises was Justice League Dark which already has built a strong following. Even more shocking were the positive responses to the sexy stripper-adorned title Voodoo — from the many of the same people who bashed the overt raunch of Catwoman and Starfire.


Sep 2011 28

by A.J. Focht

Before the final batch of DC’s New 52 hit stores, every issue had officially sold out at the distribution level. The order for a second printing of all 52 titles was given before the latest batch had even gone on sale. Justice League #1 remains the best selling comic of the year. Nearly a dozen comics have sold over 100,000, while Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 have broken 200,000.

This last batch of the New 52 garnered quite a bit of controversy. Most of the comics once again met with mixed reviews. The big names all held up: Batman #1 was fantastic, and Wonder Woman #1 gained quite a bit of positive attention for a change. Some of the other DC females also caused quite a stir – specifically there has been a lot of outrage about Catwoman #1 and Starfire from Red Hood and the Outlaws #1.

Catwoman was a very sexually driven piece, ending with a splash page of Batman and Catwoman mid-intercourse. Some have called it amazing and artful, most are calling it an attack on feminism and females in comics. More outrage came from Red Hood because Starfire was changed into a busty nymphomaniac with little regard for individual humans, a major change from her past character. I enjoyed Catwoman, and sit on the artful side of the argument. I also highly enjoyed Red Hood, but I’m not sure how approving I am of Starfire’s changes. Hopefully they will be part of what has been promised to be explained in issue #2.