Monday, January 31, 2011
At the Slamdance Film Festival, L-R: producer Theodore James, Red Voltage, Zimmer, director Michael Barnett, Insignis, Asylum
PARK CITY PRIZE
-Park City, Utah
By all accounts Superheroes, a documentary on Real Life Superheroes, was a slammin' success at the Slamdance Film Festival last week. Demand to see the film was so high, that a last minute third showing of the film was booked. The last time this happened, I'm being told, was at 2005's Slamdance, where dance happy fans demanded a third showing of Mad Hot Ballroom.
On hand to promote the show were Zimmer, of Brooklyn, Mr. Xtreme (from San Diego- see previous post), and several members of the Black Monday Society, a team based in Salt Lake City.
The film generated a fair amount of media attention at the festival and won the "Theatrical Release Award." I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but it seems likely the film will have at least a limited theatrical release. Updates will be shared here.
If you missed it, Heroes in the Night did a brief Q and A with Superheroes producer Theodore James before the fest HERE.
Also, you can see an interview on FOX 13 with Zimmer and director Michael Barnett here: http://www.fox13now.com/videobeta/?watchId=9fa7cf0a-bde3-4cae-af27-e1deda2ab6a0
Clearly, Zimmer is less than amused with the reporter's uninformed, goofball antics.
MILWAUKEE SUPERHEROES FRENCH FAMOUS
If you followed the blog over the summer you might recall the story of Pierre-Elie de Pibrac, a French photojournalist who spent months traveling sea to shining sea to meet and photograph Real Life Superheroes. One of his stops was here in Milwaukee, where he hung out at Heroes in the Night World Headquarters, did photo shoots with The Watchman and Blackbird, and witnessed the insanity of the Riverwest 24 bicycle race.
He recently had some of his work featured in a magazine called Toulouse, which you can see on his blog here:
In addition to The Watchman and Blackbird, the spread also features photos of DC's Guardian, Master Legend, Life, and Hellpool.
Pierre-Elie tells me he is working on a large gallery show in June and possible other media. A superhero gallery show on a summer night in Paris? Ooh la la!
SUPERBOWL CITY SUPERHEROES
-Green Bay, Wisconsin
And speaking of Wisconsin superheroes, there is a new crew just a couple hours north of Milwaukee in "Title Town," aka Green Bay. Green Bay is currently going nuts over their hometown legends, The Packers, who will be throwing down at the Superbowl on Sunday.
The group of four heroes, I'm being told, consists of The Ant, Broadway Bruiser, Black Dragon (not to be confused with Red Dragon or Blue Dragon) and a female who has adopted the temporary moniker of S.A.M. (Surface to Air Missle)- they call themselves the Wisconsin Avengers. No photos have emerged yet, but the city is within close proximity which makes a Milwaukee/ Green Bay crossover story arc inevitable.
One of our favorite superhero related websites around here is Zack Levine's Superhero Law site, where he deconstructs comic book characters and looks at how their lives would be accessed by the judicial system. After a hiatus, Zack has been posting new material, including an analysis of the new NBC show The Cape, and an examination of the legal pitfalls of superhero minors.
Zack was interviewed on this blog last year, and you can find it HERE.
-Tea Krulos reporting
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Mr. Xtreme has his giant eyeballs looking out for the Chula Vista Groper
Mr. Xtreme, of San Diego, spent a couple days last week at the Slamdance film festivel, helping promote the documentary film Superheroes, which follows him and other Real Life Superheroes around the country. (See write up HERE)
Upon returning home, he and his team, the Xtreme Justice League, set their sights on trying to track down a horny handed assailant know as the "Chula Vista Groper." (The group also includes Urban Avenger, who was profiled recently HERE) The group is currently patrolling and canvassing the area the attacks took place with flyers of a police sketch of the groper, who has been terrorizing women in Chula Vista for 4 months.
A report on the effort can be found at CBS Channel 8, San Diego at the link below.
***UPDATE: Fox 5 of San Diego also ran a piece on this:
And on NEWS 10:
The three reports have differences, yet are similar in tone.
Operates out of: Seattle
Group affiliation: Rain City Superhero Movement
Weapons: Carries a wooden sword (called a bokken)
Activities: Patrols, hand outs, spreads info on missing children
Quote: "The reason I chose red is because it's the color of my kurtka and the rest of my fight gear. Also, red has a significance between me and my friends. The reason I chose the dragon is a little more private...but it is a symbol that the same friends and I carry."
Author's notes: Red Dragon has developed into a figure that has become an ambassador between his group, the Rain City Superheroes, and the larger RLSH movement. He also recently appeared next to his team mates Phoenix Jones and Buster Doe on a Good Morning America segment (HERE) and more media will appear in the near future.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Operates out of: Toronto, Canada
Name origin: "Spin is Dutch for spider."
Activities: Hand outs, patrols
Quote: "Most of my work I do around the downtown core. I ask around for info if there are any wanted suspects for police cases in Toronto and hand out flyers for crime stoppers. I work special cases if asked also."
Author's notes: YouTube videos of Spin in action on the streets of Toronto can be found at his page HERE.
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
The Superheroes poster, created by Peter Tangen, features RLSHs (L-R): Dark Guardian, Zimmer, Z, Mr. Xtreme, Zetaman, TSAF, and Superhero.
Superheroes is a documentary film about Real Life Superheroes by director Michael Barnett and producer Theodore James. Heroes in the Night readers will also no doubt recognize the name Peter Tangen, who served as consulting producer and designed the movie poster for the film. The documentary crew traveled around the country to shoot footage of RLSHs in action in New York City, Florida, Salt Lake City, Portland, Oregon, San Diego, and several other cities.
Superheroes is set to premier this Friday (Jan. 21) at the Slamdance Film Festival, which is hosted in Park City, Utah, and was founded in the mid 90's as an alternative to Sundance.
Just eight documentaries were selected from thousands of submissions, and Superheroes made the cut. Heroes in the Night got the scoop from producer Theodore James in a Q and A session conducted by e-mail, which follows.
TEA KRULOS: What was the "selling point" for you wanting to be producer of this film? Was there a defining moment where you were like, ok, let's do this?
THEODORE JAMES: For me, it was the topic alone. I found it astonishing that real life superheroes existed and that there really had not been a definitive documentary done on them. After a few weeks of researching and conducting pre-interviews I knew that there was a great story out there waiting to be told.
TK: Did your perception of your subject matter evolve over the process of making the film? If so- how?
TJ: My perception of the real life superheroes did change over the process of making the film. I realized that most of them were truly dedicated to helping others, regardless the outcome to themselves. They are a group of incredibly selfless individuals working everyday to make the world a better place.
Members of the New York Initiative, (L-R) Zimmer, Lucid, TSAF, and Z, in a scene from SUPERHEROES, which world premieres at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival.
Photo courtesy of Superheroes movie.
(Note: If you'd like to read more about the New York Initiative, I wrote a cover story for the New York Press on them in July, which you can read HERE.)
TK: Any favorite/ least favorite moments of the making of the film?
TJ: There were a few difficulties we encountered while making the film. The first was gaining the trust of the community, which took months.
The second was travel. RLSH exist in every major city in the U.S. and we shot in over 15 of them, sometimes returning many times to certain areas, going on patrols in crime ridden neighborhoods and doing community outreach near skid rows and homeless enclaves.
The third major difficulty was technical. We shot this film on the Canon 5D. This is a still camera that just so happens to shoot beautiful video and we repurposed it for our needs before the industry had developed any technical support to assist us in making this camera cine capable.
TK: If someone you knew, a friend or co-worker, told you they wanted to become a superhero, what advice would you give them?
TJ: If they wanted to become a crime fighting RLSH, I'd advise them to do a lot of training. Combating criminals is not something the inexperienced should undertake.
Excelsior! Comic book icon, Stan Lee, in a scene from SUPERHEROES; a documentary film by Michael Barnett; photo courtesy Superheroes movie.
TK: What message do you hope the audience takes away from Superheroes?
TJ: We hope that the audience, after watching the film, will realize how truly dedicated these Real Life Superheroes are, eccentricities and all, to making the world a better place and to affect other people to get involved in their own communities to help and inspire change.
The film's website can be found at www.superheroesthemovie.com
Life, a Real life Superhero of New York City, helps out in a scene from SUPERHEROES; Photo courtesy of Superheroes movie.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
From WEEKEND UPDATE segment-
SETH MYERS: A man in Seattle who calls himself Phoenix Jones and dresses up in a homemade superhero costume while fighting crime had his nose broken in a fight. So it seems evil has found Phoenix Jones' only weakness... weakness.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Which of the following media outlets has contacted Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos over the last week?
A. America's Got Talent
B. The Wall Street Journal
C. Japanese Public Television
D. British documentary developer that does stuff for the BBC, ITV, and Channel 4
F. Manager of development of a company that produces shows like Super Nanny, The Marriage Ref, and Who Do You Think You Are?
G. Some guy from a LA production company that wants to make a reality TV show
H. Some guy from a Pennsylvania company that wants to make a reality TV show (or documentary)
I. A German magazine called VIEW.
J. ALL OF THE ABOVE
The answer, of course, is J.
You might think this is great news for me, but it's not. Only one or two of the people on that list were actually interested in talking to me about me and my book (and no, sadly one of them wasn't America's Got Talent.)
The rest were hoping I could hook them up, or teach them the secret RLSH handshake or key card that would get them in- but most of all they wanted me to put them in contact with Phoenix Jones. Or if not Jones, someone near him, or a proxy in a rubber suit. And if you think that is a long, strange list, consider that word on the street is that inquires to Jones himself is probably close to ten times that.
I've just been forwarding these on and helping people when I can. Whatever.
My shrewd but sensible roommate, though, reminds me I have a book I need to promote. She thinks I'm being used.
"Krulos, every time any of these people ask you anything, mention your book. Don't talk about any other topic, answer every question with a tie in to your book," She told me sternly yesterday.
In the long run any sort of media with the RLSH is good for me and my book, Heroes in The Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement. But I agree- I have put a lot of work writing this, so it is annoying when someone first hears about RLSH at 9AM this morning, does a Google search, and then decides you- Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos- needs to do them a favor at 10AM instead of doing any research or work themselves.
So, to all you various media types, reality show developers, news agencies,and game show hosts- sure, we can talk. Drop me a line ( email@example.com )- but be prepared to talk about my book- Heroes in the Night. That's Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement.
Now, I'm off to practice my tap dancing for my America's Got Talent audition.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Operates out of: San Diego, CA
Group affiliation: Xtreme Justice League
Activities: Night crime patrols, hand outs
Equipment: Flashlights, handcuffs, marbles, multi-tools, pepper spray, rescue knife, stun gun, zip ties
Quote: "Primarily I am a crime fighter but I believe in helping out wherever and whenever I possibly can. The world cannot change if we do not contribute somewhere. The mask means nothing if the man behind it does not act." -from Urban Avenger's Real Life Superheroes wiki page
Author's note: You can see video patrol logs of Urban Avenger here: http://www.youtube.com/user/UrbanAvengerRLSH
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Phoenix Jones: Riding the crest of a media wave
Heroes in the Night is back from holiday break and I hope everyone had a decent one. Over the last couple weeks, there has been a lot of buzz in Seattle about Phoenix Jones and his group, the Rain City Superhero Movement.
Reports chronicle how he stopped a would be car jacker (TPM Muckracker picked up the story HERE and linked to the interview I did with Phoenix Jones HERE, which has led to a huge increase in traffic and some sort of debate in the comments section)- his team member Red Dragon confronted a Seattle bus pervert (story HERE) and most recently a confrontation which led to Phoenix Jones suffering from a broken nose (story HERE). Phoenix Jones, Red Dragon, and Buster Doe even made a recent appearance on Good Morning America, and the car jacker story got picked up on CNN.
Yes, Seattle is crazy for Mr. Jones and company, but not all the media has been positive. Heraldnet.com suggests that "Fake hero likely fake, officials say" in an article HERE.
And frustrated blogger Paul Constant is sick of hearing about it. He posted an entry on the Seattle Stranger's "Slog" titled "Please Stop Writing About Real Life Superheroes." In the write up (HERE)addressed "Dear Bloggers" he says:
I'm done writing about them, and you should be, too. Here's why:
Like 9/11 Truthers they're attention whores who will stop at nothing to get a couple inches of print, or a few seconds of air time. Every time I write about RLSs, I get tons of e-mails from other RLSs playing up inter-hero squabbles like penny-ante pro wrestlers, begging for me to write the "real story," which happens to be their story.
They're doing this for the attention. What they really want is to be adored, the way people adore comic book superheroes. But if they can't be adored, they'll take a snarky, condescending glance from the media, too.
"attention seeking," third reference:
And then after the attention fades, they try to figure out how to grab the spotlight again
I do understand Mr. Constant's frustration. There have been a lot of sloppy write ups over the last couple weeks about Phoenix Jones. Some of these reports are giving information that hasn't been verified. Reporting on something without evidence is lazy journalism that will bite you in the ass and/or make you look like a sucker.
However, making a blanket statement about RLSH all being "attention whores" is not accurate either. Why? Because it only applies to the ones who are actually attention whores. There is at least some percentage who have not sought out media attention and have even turned down media requests, or have been very selective on media. For instance, after I wrote an article for the New York Press about the New York Initiative, there was a bombardment of media requests- local news, reality shows, possible documentaries, German public radio- all of which were rejected by the NYI.
I routinely get e-mails from media outlets around the country asking if I know any local RLSH in their area. I always pass the info on. A Toronto news outlet recently asked me to hook them up, but the Toronto RLSH weren't interested. An Idaho news source was looking for locals, but the Idaho RLSH weren't interested. I've encountered a couple RLSH who weren't even interested in talking to yours truly! There are many RLSH that are only known to me via forums or from having met and not through media exposure.
Other RLSH have accepted media requests, but have not sought it out.
Point: A group of people can not be dismissed as "attention whores" if some percentage of the group does not seek attention or actively denies media requests.