Author Archives: Jon

Animal Crossing’s Gender-Neutral World


Image result for electronic entertainment expo 2019

Image result for electronic entertainment expo 2019

Image result for electronic entertainment expo 2019

So other than pride month, another major event happened in the entertainment industry – the 2019 Entertainment Electronic Expo, also known as E3.  E3 is the big celebration where cutting-edge video games are introduced.  Video game hardware, titles, and everything in between are presented by the biggest gaming companies all across the world.  Companies like Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Activision, Alienware, and many others attend the special event to drop their latest entertaining product or service.

One interesting title that is making a comeback in the future takes place in an area that involves human beings and animals coming together in the village, taking place in real time.  Better yet, you could even say they are CROSSING with each other.  The latest series that will be dropping a new game is… Animal Crossing.

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizon

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizon

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizon

Brace yourself folks – Animal Crossing: New Horizons is coming to the Nintendo Switch!  This new installment takes your villager to a deserted island, all thanks to Tom Nook’s vacation package.  Just like the previous series, you roam around interacting with other animals in the game.  Players decorate their own house through furniture they buy or find within the area.  As you collect more money in the game, you can use that to purchases things (even a bigger home!).  Animal Crossing: New Horizons will be released on March 20th, 2020.

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizon

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizon

Here’s where it gets interesting – Animal Crossing: New Horizons will allow you to choose gender-neutral hairstyles.  Both facial hair and hairstyles are gender-free to customize your villager.  Other than that, Players can also choose their own skin tone as well.  Even better, the Nintendo Switch will also allow you to change up your character any time you want.  This will be the first game in the Animal Crossing series that allows for that much flexibility in character customization.

Image result for Animal Crossing Gamecube

Image result for Animal Crossing

Image result for Animal Crossing City Folk

This is quite an interesting and coincidental PR miracle for the Animal Crossing series.  Animal Crossing first came out on the GameCube in April 14th, 2001.  Six more Animal Crossing games have been released over the last eighteen years.  Providing more flexibility with customizing your character will be a really interesting feature for players alike.

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizons

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizons

But this PR miracle becomes more than just another unique element in the game.  Nintendo is really keeping up with these modern times with the gender-neutral hairstyles for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.  Gender has become a completely unique concept for many people, which is making a major impact within the video game world.  Modern gamers want things like gender-neutral hairstyles in nostalgic franchises like Animal Crossing.

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizons

And ironically enough, this news was released during the middle of Pride Month.  LGBT gamers will be thrilled to have more customization options in the next Animal Crossing installment.  This is the kind of gaming features that will attract a wider range of audiences.

Image result for Animal Crossing New Horizons

With that, Nintendo was real smart to incorporate gender-neutral hairstyles for Animal Crossing: New Horizons.  Gamers all across the world will be able to create the villager that reflects their true self.

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POSE Season 2 Premiere (Vogue, ACT UP)


Image result for POSE Season 2

Image result for POSE Season 2

We are in the middle of June, which means that Ryan Murphy’s other series POSE is in full swing.  Season two premiered last week, with the story turning even darker.  As dark as the story gets, the ballroom culture thrives further than ever.

Image result for Pose Season 2 Pray Tell

Just like last season, POSE touches up on familiar events that happened in the past.  Whether they be big or small, they had a major impact in shaping America as it is today.  Two interesting references popped up during the season premiere.

Today, it’s time to go a bit deeper into these elements:
Madonna ‘Vogue’

Image result for Madonna Vogue

Image result for Madonna Vogue

Image result for Ballroom Vogue

Madonna released her famous song ‘Vogue’ back in March 27th, 1990.  It was the music video she released that truly helped her make a major splash in the world.  Interestingly enough, Madonna’s inspiration was through vogue dancers and choreographers Luis Xtravaganza as well as Jose Gutierez Xtravaganza of the Harlem ‘House Ball’ Community.  She was introduced to ‘vogueing’ at the Sound Factory Club in New York City.

Image result for Pose Season 2

That Madonna hype was a major element within the season premiere. Blanca was of many characters excited to see the ballroom culture becoming more mainstream over time.  Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ skyrocketed in popularity, showcasing a whole new world of dance to audiences worldwide.

ACT UP

Image result for POSE Season 2

Image result for Pose Season 2

Pray Tell attends yet another funeral of someone who passed away from HIV/AIDS.  Nurse Judy Kubrak takes Pray Tell to attend his first meeting with the group ACT UP.  He eventually joins hundreds of others in an ACT UP Protest at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Image result for ACT UP

Image result for ACT UP

ACT UP is short for AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.  It is an international grassroots political group that was founded in March 1987.  Their motto was ‘Silence = Death’, which was how the episode ended.

Image result for ACT UP Stop the Church

Image result for ACT UP Stop the Church

The episode also referenced the infamous ‘Stop the Church’ incident at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.  On December 10th, 1989, over 4,500 protesters gathered outside a mass at the cathedral to protest the Cardinal’s public views on homosexuality.  A total of one-hundred and eleven protesters were arrested that day.

Image result for Madonna Vogue

Image result for ACT UP Stop the Church

All of this was referenced in the very first episode.  It has only been one episode so far and various elements from the real world are already coming into play.  Two major trends in history, Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ and ‘Stop the Church’, were woven together within season two of POSE.

Image result for POSE Season 2

That’s all for today’s discussion on season two of POSE.  Another episode premieres tonight, which means more colorful references will be discussed within the story.

Tales of the City/Tales of the City (Reboot)


Image result for Netflix Tales of the City

Image result for Netflix Tales of the City

Merely a few days after Pride Week ended in Boston, I finished up Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City on Netflix.  Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City was a heartwarming adventure in the colorful home known as 28 Barbary Lane.  Mary Ann Singleton, Anna Madrigal, Michael, Dede, Brian, and many other familiar residents all returned to the place to reunite yet again.  Twenty-three years later and many things still haven’t changed since.

Image result for Tales of the City 1993

Image result for Netflix Tales of the City

Interestingly enough, there were many similarities between the original Tales of the City miniseries and the Netflix adaptation.  Some are rather obvious while others will need a keen eye to spot them.  If you haven’t discovered them, don’t worry – MakeSandcastlesNotWar has you covered on the tidbits within both series.

So let’s go through the round of these intriguing coincidences within Tales of the City:

Characters

Image result for Tales of the City 1993

Image result for Netflix Tales of the City

Tales of the City came with the familiar characters – Mary Ann Singleton, Michael, Dede, Anna Madrigal, and Brian.  The actors/actresses from the original series returned their respective roles.  These include Laura Linney, Barbara Garrick, Olympia Dukakis, and Paul Gross.  Mouse was still in the story, but was instead played by Murray Bartlett.

Armistead Maupin Cameo

Image result for Tales of the City Armistead Maupin 1993

Speaking of characters, Armistead Maupin appears in a scene in BOTH the original and Netflix adaptation.  In the original series, there is a scene where Brian and Michael are sunbathing outside of the house.  Look closely and you can see Armistead Maupin in the window typewriting.

Image result for Tales of the City Armistead Maupin

For the Netflix version, Armistead can be spotted in episode seven titled ‘Next Level Shit’.  He is in the front row during the wedding scene.  One famous writer appears as a cameo in both of the series.

Storyline

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Image result for Michael Tolliver Lives

Image result for Tales of the City Novel

Just like the original series back in 1993, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City stems from Armistead Maupin’s novels.  The Netflix adaptation takes familiar concepts from novels such as Michael Tolliver Lives and Mary Ann in Autumn.  Over twenty-five years since the original version aired and the new version still takes elements from the literature series.

Those were a few intriguing similarities between Tales of the City and Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City.  Two brilliant series that have connecting ties within one another.  Not only did Armistead Maupin write the novels, but he also appeared as a guest cameo in the TV miniseries as well.  This was one of those instances where the Netflix adaptation series came out absolutely amazing.