Thursday, September 25, 2008

Once More, With Feeling!

No, it's not going to be a post about the Buffy musical episode, as much as I enjoy that! Rather, this is a post to remind everyone out there that the next class is quickly approaching! This one will expand beyond just Whedon (yes, I feel an ever-so-faint sense of betrayal) to use other shows as well in order to explore what it means to be human.

Large topic, so many shows will be used to provide examples. One area that science fiction does such a nice job of exploring is really looking hard at the question, "What does it mean to be human?" In addition, some of the best explorations of that question have come through non-human characters. (Interestingly enough, Whedon's most "sci-fic" show, Firefly, contains no non-human characters - it's a 'verse without aliens.) We'll take a look at shows such as Star Trek, Doctor Who, Battlestar Galactica, as well as some Whedon offerings.

The local paper just ran an article about the class - thanks for commenting, Tucker! - with information about joining the class. You can read it here. The cost is low ($40 gets you six weeks), the class will be a blast (based on past performances; your actual experience may vary) and I look forward to seeing you there! Please - right now, I've been told that enrollment is very low, so if you are itnerested, please call the continuing education department at (704) 484-4015 and sign up. Tell your friends and bring 'em along!

Grr. Arrgh.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Signing Off for Now!

As you may know, I maintain this blog for Whedon purposes - here's where I post regarding classes, conferences, and so on. The next class is in the fall and SLAYAGE has concluded, so I won't be posting here for the remainder of the summer. I will, however, be posting over at my other, more general, blog. You can reach that here. Visit me there and decide which of these is my secret identity!

To keep you in the mood, my first post over there since returning from Arkadelphia sort of straddles the line - I went to the Charlotte "Can't Stop the Serenity" event last night (got home early this morning) and I'll be writing about that. Good times, great cause!

See you soon - and watch the "Dollhouse" trailer! Interesting times are ahead . . .

Monday, June 9, 2008

Arkansas, Day 3

The conference has wound down - which is always an occasion for melancholy. Conferences like this (not all of them, I can assure you) result in some very strong bonds between attendees that last far beyond the span of the conference itself. I will not attempt to recap every session I attended - it would make for a very long post, although if you're interested in particular papers and responses, I'd be happy to assist. Keep in mind that I was only able to attend a fraction of the sessions, since three or four sessions ran simultaneously.

However, mention has to be made of Janine Basinger's keynote address yesterday morning. Prof. Basinger teaches film at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and has been both a mentor and friend to Joss Whedon for 20+ years. She shared a number of insights and stories with a rapt audience and I'll admit to being a touch star-struck. She's sharp as a blade, yet quite approachable. You get the distinct feeling she not only does not suffer fools gladly, but is quite willing to have them eviscerated. And one of Whedon's great ongoing regrets is that he was unable to take her "The Four Directors" class - a sore point he apparently continues to bring up in discussions with her.

Stacey Abbott and Janet Halfyard both gave astonishingly strong presentations and no, it wasn't just because they had clips! Scholarship plus enthusiasm - that's the secret! Further, the "Mr. Pointy" award for best paper given at this conference was justly awarded to Cynthea Masson who presented on the oft-misunderstood episode "The Girl in Question." It's now on my "must rewatch" list. (By the way, the "Mr. Pointy" award is one of those rare academic awards that is not a plaque. Indeed, Cynthea may have a difficult time should she unwisely attempt to put it in her carry-on luggage!)

It's been a great time - my own paper on Doyle (presented in conjunction with musicologist Janet Halfyard's wonderful paper on the Orpheus myth and how Buffy manages to be both Orpheus and Eurydice; savior and saved; hero and heroine) was very well received, although questions were scant. It was the final day - people are a bit tired by then. The "Buffy Bookers" session was lovely and (for me) wonderfully circular. Two years ago, I was in the audience puzzling over how these people managed to get published. Now I was at the front of the room, wondering just which of those eager, bright-eyed folks out there was me two years back.

The circle not only continues, children, it becomes wider.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Arkansas, Day 2

Just a few observations from the second day of SLAYAGE here at Henderson State University, as it's late and I need to review my paper one more time before I turn in. I'm always a touch nervous about running too long in my presentations, so I need to look it over again and fret a little.

1. I love it here! These are truly wonderfully generous, intelligent, passionate people. Put us all together and you can't help but both have fun and get at least some glimmers of inspiration.
2. Rhonda Wilcox just sees things differently. She took an episode that I enjoy and have often thought is brilliant in its structure ("Conversations with Dead People" from Season 7, if you're interested) and shows you patterns and links that you never saw before. She does this so effortlessly that you want to throw yourself under a train. But then she's so generous towards the work of other people that you decide to stick around - besides, if you threw yourself under a train, it'd make quite a mess and she'd probably insist on cleaning it up.
3. Chinese fortune cookies that contain gems like this one that I got in my lunch today: "You will be the mast of all you survey." Not "master," but "mast." I still don't know what that one means. Smooth sailing, perhaps?
4. Matthew Pateman gets major points for (1) having Buffy and Angel cutouts in his office, (2) having his picture taken with said cutouts, and (3) presenting one of the most articulate answers to the question, "You study what?" that I've heard to date. And it's not just the English accent - his arguments are well thought out, humorous, and dead-on accurate.
5. It's great to be here. At most conferences, once the sessions are over for the day, attendees break off and head out to dinner, then maybe hit a club or just disappear into their rooms. I came home from dinner tonight (Arkansas BBQ - let us not speak of it. I grew up in mighty fine Carolina pig country and admit to being biased.) to find most attendees gathered around the lobby television. Yep, watching Buffy. Together.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Arkansas, Day 1

I'm at the third biennial SLAYAGE conference, which is three days devoted to the academic discussion of all things Joss Whedon. While many people - both in and out of academia - have a hard time taking this field of study seriously, news of the conference did get picked up on both the Associated Press and CNN. Maybe as a bit of a "fluff freak show" sort of story, but any publicity is good publicity, right?

As Buffy would say, "Whatever." We're doing good work and, being a fan of the concept that the truth is where you find it, I say our job is just to keep on crying in the wilderness.

Actually, my job is to do a bit more than that. I'm a "superchair" at this conference, which basically means that I go around to various sessions and make sure all the speakers have arrived and that the room is suitable for the discussion that's about to take place. So far, so good. It's quite a change for me - I missed the first SLAYAGE conference and, at the last one two years ago, I was a shy, wallflower academic who was too introverted to even present a paper. Now my book's on the shelf in the college bookstore, I've seen more than a couple of people with copies tucked under their arms, and I'm not only presenting, I'm helping smooth the way for others to do so.

I'll get into specifics about what I've seen and heard here tomorrow - it's late and the whole show starts again early tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thanks and I'll Be Back Soon!

Thanks so much for joining me here on this blog! Don't worry; it's not going away, but I am taking a little time off from the academic side of things for a few weeks.

The book launch went fantastically well; thanks for asking. It was a lot of fun (and also a little nerve-wracking, if we're telling the truth to each other. And we are, aren't we?), but now that the book has launched and is (hopefully) flying under her own power, I'm going to take a little time to just breathe.

I'll be back soon, though. There's lots to discuss. Dollhouse is coming up this fall and Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog is in the works. There are new books coming out - check out this one, for example - and there will always be more to talk about.

And you can always visit me over at my other Web-house. Just follow the link.

Signing off just for a little while. I think I'm gonna go fly a kite.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Countdown to Launch!

. . . book launch, that is! I’ve just gotten confirmation that my book will have its official launch on Monday, April 14. Please – if your schedule allows it, join me at CCC for this event. (C'mon, you know your taxes will be done by then!) The shindig will begin at 7 p.m. in the Keeter Auditorium where I’ll talk a little bit about the project and why popular culture is worthy of serious examination in the first place. I’ll discuss a bit from the book - and where else can you go to talk about vampires on a Monday night in Shelby? Also, a reception will follow. Hopefully, strawberries will be involved for any Kaylee fans out there and it is my sincere hope that no malevolent Chumash spirits will crash the party.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and, if you ask nicely, I’ll sign your purchase. Heck, I’ll do that if you ask harshly! But please take Giles’ advice and do not speak Latin in front of the books.

Again, mark your calendars! Monday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in the Keeter Auditorium at CCC. Tell your friends and better yet, bring them along!

Monday, March 24, 2008

San Francisco, Part Three

Today was my sightseeing day and I had a good time with my “wind down” time. The end of a conference is a strange thing – it’s odd to see the suddenly empty ballrooms that had been bustling with people and the buzz of ideas. But wow! it’s been a good time.

The sightseeing trip I was a little apprehensive about – I’m not a “bus tour” sort of person and I knew this was going to be a bit of “15 minutes – get your pictures. Now quick! Back on the bus!” but I also knew it was going to be a good way to get a solid overview of the city.

I drew an extraordinary bus driver/guide. Larry is a native San Franciscan and obviously loves the city. We got history, colorful anecdotes, and a soundtrack! Including “Magical Mystery Tour,” “If You’re Going to San Francisco,” “I Left My Heart,” and others. We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks (not the set for the old David Lynch series) for city views, and the City Hall which featured a farmer’s market (I got free slices of sweet, crisp Asian pears!). I saw the Buena Vista, where Irish coffee was introduced; Union Square; a street full of fancy shops that I had no desire to actually go into; the gates to Chinatown and the crowds inside; the Russian Orthodox church; houses in a variety of Victorian styles (Italianate, Stick, Queen Anne, and even Edwardian – I can almost tell them apart now); the no-longer-commercial piers; Golden Gate Park (where the fortune cookie was invented!); and the Castro district – the Village People’s “YMCA” was the soundtrack and Larry pointed out, “Ohh, look! Straight people!” I learned the difference between a “trolley” (runs on electricity, whether a streetcar or a bus) and a “cable car” (no electricity – runs on a street level belt). I saw the Presidio, which is now in development as private land – you can rent the houses, or set up offices there. I saw the Pacific Ocean and the remains of opulent houses that were built/rebuilt after the devastation of the 1906 earthquake. Oh, and I found out that you have to go about a half-hour away to find a Wal-Mart in San Francisco – this is a town of small businesses; not big box stores.

It was a good tour.

Later, I roused myself to go out for a last walk around the city. I wanted to stroll around the Yerba Buena Gardens which are about a block away from the hotel. There’s a striking MLK memorial that involves waterfalls and the quote from Amos about letting “justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.” It was a beautiful day and the park was full of families and kids enjoying themselves. The Garden is full of kid-friendly places, including a carousel, a park, a skating rink and I had a great time just gawking around.

But it’s time to go home.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

San Francisco, Part Two

Yesterday was a different sort of day – there were no panels that I felt compelled to join, so I decided to walk the book tables, drop off the copies of my paper for the fundraising table (the money goes to fund graduate student travel scholarships), and sightsee a bit. After picking up a jacket (I’ve been lucky with the weather here, but it can change on a dime), I double-checked my map and went out to find Grace Cathedral – I decided I had a better chance of having some private time to enjoy it then rather than at today's Easter Sunday services. It felt good to be out walking in the sunshine in this city and I think I get bonus points for tackling the unending steepness of California Street - maybe I should’ve taken a cable car! Grace itself is a marvel – it’s an Episcopal cathedral, but it very accepting of all faiths and all communities. I was particularly moved by the AIDS Interfaith Chapel. I walked the interior labyrinth, which is an idea borrowed from Chartres Cathedral; as you walk, you contemplate. It's a very calming thing to do, I must say.

The finale of the conference was a showing of Blade Runner followed by a raffle (with some VERY generous prizes, I should add!) - the movie was great – it was the director’s cut, which means the voice-overs were gone, as is the final scene of Deckard and Rachel soaring off toward a new life wherever it is. It really is an astonishingly good film that does what all good science fiction does – ask the big questions. In this case, the central question is “What does it mean to be human?” It also addresses some big questions about the relationship and responsibilities of creator/created. Oh, and the raffle was fun. Even if you didn’t win anything (I did), you don’t leave unhappy as there is a scramble at the end to do some judicious horse-trading to wind up with things you really wanted. Packing tomorrow could be interesting . . .

Saturday, March 22, 2008

San Francisco, Part One

I meant to post more often, but there’s this perverse inverse relationship between the “niceness” level of a hotel and the possibility you have to pay for Internet. And since I’ve been attending so many panels, it didn’t make sense until today.

I moved over to the conference hotel on Wednesday. Due to a glitch in my registration (it got sorted out), I missed the panels, so I spent some time exploring my neighborhood, which is SoMA (South of Market). I wanted to soak up some of the atmosphere of this magnificent city, which is very different from where I live – much more cosmopolitan (ohhh, look! Skyscrapers!) and far more “green” – nearly every restaurant proudly announces that they recycle or the menu has suggestions for how diners can reduce their impact on the environment; that sort of thing.

One of the highlights of my mapless walking tour was visiting the California Historical Society which is hosting an exhibit on the role of the Chinese people in California – a subject never covered in my Southern seasoned history classes. Enough to make you shake your head at the sheer inhumanity of mankind. The Chinese were welcome so long as they “kept their place” as cheap, docile labor, but whoo-boy! how that changed when they began making demands for such things as dignity and a living wage.

I had dinner with the two San Franciscans I had met in the customs line in Istanbul – they’re not popular culture folks; just wanted to show off their town. We had dinner at a tapas place (think a dinner made up of appetizers), which is also something I can’t do at home.

On Thursday, I dove into the panels. Since my work centers on Joss Whedon, I was looking through the phone book sized program for panels that focused there – I was surprised to see some scheduling conflicts. Whedon is no longer the “exclusive property” of the science fiction and fantasy area, so I had to make a few heart-breaking decisions, since I have yet to figure out how to be in two places at once. I don’t discount panels that don’t deal with Whedon, however. Science fiction and fantasy in general are genres that are willing to tackle the question “What if?” instead of being so tied down to realism – one of the reasons the storytelling can be so very creative. It’s come a long way from ray guns and silver minidresses.

Actually, one of my highlights was a Doctor Who grouping that discussed the older production values and strength of storytelling versus the shinier new version and what, if anything, got lost in translation. (Personally, I agree with the presenter – there’s an undeniable charm in some of the older, rubber-suited-bad-guy episodes. Amazing things can happen when you have to be creative!) Another focused on the single-minded focus of human couch potatoes on constant entertainment as being a Dalek-like trait.

Outside of that panel, I heard presentations on Battlestar Galactica that addressed genocide and human agency (as opposed to being so outside human experience as to be “monstrous”), President Roslin’s cancer as a disability and different views on that element of her character. I heard discussion on the role of Stars Hollow in Gilmore Girls as both advancing and deconstructing the myths of the American Dream. Some great stuff on The Sopranos and the view of women - whoa! the Emmy tribute will make you shake your head when you juxtapose the lyrics being sung with the images being shown! And there was an especially nice presentation on the portrayal of sex and gender in sci-fi television.

I presented my paper Friday morning – it went well and I was pleased to be chairing a panel that was so well attended. Rabb and Richardson’s work is always a highlight and, as area chair, Tanya provided a draw for the session as well. Her work centers on fans-as-activists, which is a very interesting topic. Why do fans adopt the cause of their favorite celebrities? How much impact do these actions have?

I stayed for the Harry Potter panel which followed ours. Wilcox’s work on the film version of Azkaban and especially the director’s use of mirror images throughout the film to represent different perspectives and stages of maturation got me to thinking.

Then the “true” conference began. Honestly, much of the best of a conference occurs between sessions – that’s when the honesty starts about what’s been going on, what directions our work is going in, what roadblocks we’re running into and so on. A gaggle of us wound up having lunch at a very civilized tea lounge called Samovar. Far beyond simple orange pekoe, I had a tea that had been aged in bamboo and promised to lift “the dark shroud of oppression” or something like that. It was very strong and smoky, almost earthy-tasting. It was very relaxing to sit and chat and not rush and fret. A quartet of us then went sightseeing down to Fisherman’s Wharf where we meandered around, getting snapshots of the piers and boats and the Golden Gate Bridge. We wound up at Ghirardelli Square, where we bought chocolate for souvenirs and sensuously ate gigantic chocolate-dipped strawberries. We rode the streetcars to get there and back and had a whale of a good time just being in this marvelous city on a dazzling day. A larger group of us had dinner at John’s Grill, a very masculine restaurant that was featured in The Maltese Falcon. (That explains the picture.) They have a replica of the famed bird upstairs – they had one of the originals from the film, but it was stolen last year. It’s bigger than you’d think, so no one snuck it out under a coat.

I’m sorry this is so long, but it’s the first chance I’ve had. Subsequent entries will be shorter and more readable, I’m sure!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In the Shadow of the Golden Gate!

I arrived last night for the national conference - no exciting stories to tell about the trip out here, which is just the way I like it. Let me explain a little about the conference - this is quite a large one. I don't have a count yet on the number of presenters, attendees, or panels, but the conference program itself is quite hefty. The academic study of popular culture spun off of the American culture movement back in the late 60s/early 70s. The spin-off was led by scholars who were frustrated with the lack of attention being paid to contemporary events. As it has been put, "Redundant presentations on Melville, Whitman, and Poe were followed by more redundant presentations on Melville, Whitman, and Poe." (I'm paraphrasing, but that's about it.) The two areas of study eventually made their peace and have held joint conferences for decades - the first joint national conference was held in 1971.

It's a smorgasbord here. Panels are devoted to just about any aspect of American life you can think of - baseball, Chicano writing, using popular culture in the classroom, rhetoric, history, the role food plays in our lives, and everything in between.

San Francisco is a city that has a special place in the heart and history of America - Mark Twain first used that nom de plume here, Jacks London and Kerouac lived and wrote here, Chinatown provides a peek into a culture very different from my own, Blade Runner and Vertigo were both set here (at very different times, of course). By the way, the movie version of Blade Runner switched the setting to Los Angeles; I don' t know why but I bet someone here can tell me!

More later - I need to check in.

Friday, March 14, 2008

All Good Things . . .

(like Firefly) must come to an end. But please - check out this site and you can download Firefly in all of its too-short-lived glory for free. Just promise me you'll watch the episodes in order. Here's the shooting script for "Out of Gas" to get you started!

Thus we end our six-week examination of how Whedon portrays families in his shows. We've barely scratched the surface, but we at least scratched!

We saw biological families that were loving and strong. We saw biological families that tried to keep certain members of the family cramped and small. We saw parents sacrifice themselves for their children and "parents" who weren't linked to their "children" by DNA at all. We saw families that chose each other (and we sometimes wondered why). We saw that "family," however you define it, is something we all need and that sometimes, we can only find it by going out to seek it. But that you never, ever want to be totally alone, so it's a bad idea to send your family away.

Thank you for joining the class! I hope you got something positive out of the experience - I know I did! Thank you for sharing my unbridled joy at finishing the book (you haven't forgotten about the book, have you?) and please - continue to check out this blog. I'll be posting from the National Popular Culture Association conference in San Francisco next week. I expect it to be quite interesting! Oh, and remember that I should be speaking at CCC about popular culture, faith, Whedon and a few other things on the evening of April 14. Details to follow, but I'd love to have you in the audience!

Thank you and please, let me know what subjects would interest you in a future class!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Yeah, But She's OUR Witch

Sadly, we're approaching the end of our six-week exploration of family and how that concept is depicted in Whedon's shows. Last week, we took a look at "Safe" from the short-lived FIREFLY. (Remember, we wrap up with another episode from that show next week - I think you're going to like it!) Here's a link to the shooting script for the episode.

We all had a lot to say about how you determine who your family is - blood might have something to say about it, but behavior seems to carry more weight than DNA. We saw a true family breaking bread together and deciding that some people are worth risking your neck for, even if you're not entirely sure about them sometimes. River's right - "Daddy" does come to take the siblings back home; it's just that "Daddy" is an exasperated, short-tempered, rough-tongued, ex-soldier rather than the calculating dandy who headed an earlier family.

Life can be a funny thing, can't it?

As I've said before, FIREFLY is an extraordinary series. Perhaps being under the constant threat of cancellation made everyone strive to make the show shine more brightly. Should you be interested in obtaining your very own copy, you can find a set and still have money in your pocket to celebrate your acquisition. Try here. Or maybe here. (You may need to refresh the links.)

Next week, we have to wrap things up. I hope you've had some fun looking at television in a different way and maybe we'll get together and try this again in the fall. Let's talk about what themes you'd like to explore next time.

Thank you all for being part of the class and for sharing my joy about the book project! Actually, the Tuesday after the class ends, I'm off to San Francisco to present at the National Popular Culture Association about the episode we watched this week. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Room Alert!

After discussing the situation with college representatives, we've been moved to a different room for the remaining two weeks - it's smaller, but we'll be able to get the room properly darkened to watch the episodes and the sound should also be better.

So I'll see you Thursday in Room 1098 - it's one of the conference rooms by the main reception desk - to begin our discussion of FIREFLY.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Unsettling Lullaby

Last night, we concluded the ANGEL section of our class by watching the Season Three episode "Lullaby." Here's a link to the transcript.

We discussed the depths parents are willing to go to for their children, such as Holtz's single-minded willingness to commit evil acts in what he sees as the furtherance of a good goal. He has lost all focus beyond gaining revenge - in this, he has a few echoes with the story of Medea, who was willing to murder her own children to hurt their father, Jason, who had abandoned them. I've included a link to the story. We also saw the transformation of Darla, who sacrifices herself so her child can be born and she can hold onto the idea that she did manage to love something, at least once.

For the next two weeks (our last sessions), we move into the world of FIREFLY. No vampires here, but plenty to discuss regarding families. If you're trying to find a tag for the show, "science fiction" is probably your best bet, as the show involves space travel and is set in the future. But it's unlike any science fiction you've ever seen - there are no aliens, just humans with all of our good and bad traits. It's an ensemble show, so there are nine (count them - NINE) main characters to get acquainted with. I've included a link here that does a nice job of outlining the parameters of the show.

And - just for fun - I've included a link to a quiz so you can determine which character you most closely resemble!

I'll keep you posted on the room situation if I hear anything.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Finding Home

Last night, we left BUFFY behind and began our exploration of ANGEL with the Season Three episode "Fredless." There was much there to talk about, including how parents and children relate, how finding where you belong often involves letting go of where you think you belong, and the importance of a well-accessorized toaster. I've included a link to the transcript of the episode here.

Also - just for fun - included a link to an earlier episode in which Lorne (at Angel's behest) returns to his home dimension and talks with his family. You'll quickly see why our Liberace-ish Host left what was then home for the bright lights of L.A. Look in the background for his brother Numfar - that's Joss Whedon. (The "Dance of Joy" was performed to celebrate Lorne's unexplained disappearance.) You really need sound on your computer to get the full effect.

Next week, we'll be examining fathers and sons. You see, later in Season Three, Angel discovers that, against all odds, he's a father. (Vampires can "sire" other vampires, but they can't have children.) How will this change his life? The lives of those around him, who are suddenly faced with the reality that a tiny little life relies on them totally? Not to mention, how to you baby-proof an arsenal?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Moving Onward

Sorry - this is a few days later than I had wanted it to be, but I spent the weekend commuting up to Davidson to attend a Shakespeare symposium and that meant a few things here fell by the wayside.

On Valentine's Day, we viewed and discussed the Season Five Buffy episode "Family," which explores the intersection of blood family and chosen family, with some interesting ideas on family beliefs and legends thrown in as well. This week, we move on to Angel and there's been a change of plans. As I was reviewing the episode I'd chosen for this week, it occurred to me that it is part of a multi-episode arc and it was going to be very difficult to set up properly in our limited time frame. So I'm skipping ahead to the Season Three episode "Fredless" instead. If you'll follow this link, you'll go to the Buffyworld site, where you can access the transcript of the episode. In class, I'll catch you up to speed, then we'll watch and discuss the episode in terms of parent/child relationships, leaving home and finding it again.

See you Thursday!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Ritual Sacrifice - and Pie

Last night, we began what will be a six-week journey through Joss Whedon's explorations and portrayals of family. As we saw in our first episode, "Pangs," families can be messy, dysfunctional, squabbling mobs - and that just describes the heroes of the piece!

I've added some links here that may be useful to you. First, a summary of the episode. Next, a summary of next week's episode (the lovely Season Five "Family"). I encourage you to check out the Website - you'll find all sorts of information about each episode, including a summary and transcript. I've included a link at the top of the blog over on the right.

Here's a link to the Jess Battis text on chosen families in Whedon's work.

And here's a link to an academic Whedon bibliography. Fair warning: it's long and involved, because so many scholars are interested in Whedon's work. I'll work to put together a shorter one that only focuses on the book-length publications, but this should keep you occupied in the meantime. Feel free to play around - put in a search term like "Pangs" and see who has written what about our first episode, for example.

Next week - we look at "created" family vs. "blood" family. Is one better than the other? Does carrying similar DNA create a relationship that must be honored, regardless of anything else? Or are we free to choose who we call "family"?
Remember that we meet in the Global Studies Room in the Rose Library!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Next Week!

Our next class begins next Thursday! I'm not sure about the room yet - it'll be best to check in at the main desk in the Jack Hunt Campus Center when you arrive Thursday night. Class will follow our usual format of a quick overview of characters and themes, followed by watching the episode. We'll then take a brief break, then come back for what is sure to be a spirited discussion about how families are portrayed in the work of Joss Whedon.

This go-round, we'll be moving beyond BUFFY to include ANGEL and FIREFLY. Each episode will get our attention for two weeks. We'll start with the BtVS episodes "Pangs" (Season 4) and "Family" (Season 5). Then we'll move on to the world of ANGEL and focus on "Through the Looking Glass" (Season 2) and "Fredless" (Season 3). Finally, we'll wrap up with a look at Whedon in space with "Safe" and "Out of Gas" (alas, both from Season 1, as FIREFLY only got about half a season - trust me, you'll wish there was more!)

Please - tell your friends! There's plenty of room left. See you there!

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Just a couple of reminders - the next Whedon class begins on Thursday, Feb. 7. The six-week course will run through Thursday, March 13 with each session meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. We'll be exploring just what makes a group of people a "family" in this class, which will utilize examples from Whedon's shows Buffy, Angel and Firefly. Familiarity with the shows is nice, but not necessary.

If you've been wanting to show your skeptic friends/family members what all the fuss is about, this might be the class you've been waiting for! Contact the Continuing Education department at Cleveland Community College to register. They can be reached at (704) 484-5324.

In other Whedon news, please indulge me for a moment - I have to crow about this. McFarland has included my upcoming text on faith and Whedon in their Spring catalog (I'm also available for pre-order on Amazon! Go on, follow the links!) The text is slated for a June release and has no bearing whatsoever on the upcoming course - I just was thrilled at seeing another concrete step happening in this l-o-n-g process!

See you in class!