How Giant Ferris Wheels Will Change The World [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe...

Who doesn’t love a spin on a Ferris wheel? How about taking a ride high above the skylines of two popular American cities? A small Ferris wheel building boom is underway and the skylines of New York and Las Vegas could be in for a major change. While both projects have been on the table for years; our lagging economy has pushed back their opening dates. Recent developments have given them both a major step forward, reigniting hopes of taking tourists high in the air. I must admit, I get a little nervous about riding the super high wheels. I feel much safer on the ones with enclosed carriages. The one at Six Flags Great Adventure, and another on the amusement pier at Wildwood (both in New Jersey), are a little bigger than I can handle. When I was a kid, you couldn’t get me on one. I still shudder at the thought of riding one at some of the shady carnivals, but I’m more than happy to climb aboard the greatest of them all – The Wonder Wheel on Coney Island. Since the London Eye became a major tourist draw after opening in 2000, some US developers have added the wheels as a perk to some high profile construction jobs. Just a short train ride outside of Manhattan, is the new Meadowlands Sports complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey, currently home to the New York Giants and New York Jets. As part of the redevelopment of the area, along with the new stadium, came construction of the IZOD Center (a concert venue and arena) and the Xanadu Meadowlands (a giant shopping mall.) The stadium and the arena opened to much fanfare in both 2010 and 2009 respectively. But, the mall that is a...

Forever Friday: Oprah! Oprah! Oprah!

As a nerdy black feminist, how do I feel about The Princess and the Frog, Disney’s first African-American princess movie? CAN’T WAIT! CAN’T WAIT! CAN’T WAIT! So that confessed, I just about lost my ish when I learned that my goddess — I mean my queen — I mean my Oprah has signed on to play the princess’s mom. This almost makes up for the toothless firefly and the lack of color on the soundtrack. Randy Newman (who, in all fairness, I love) is doing 6 songs, and Dr. John is also said to be on the soundtrack. I have a feeling they will soon announce that New Orlean’s son, Harry Connick Jr., will sing a few ditties, too, then act surprised when black people (like me) get mad that Disney’s first animated movie about black people has no songs written by black people or sung by black people outside of the cast. “What?!?! Nobody said anything when we tapped Elton John for The Lion King!” I’m still going to see it, though. My inner-little girl won’t let be get political about this. Hakuna Matada. Thanks to Stereohyped for the heads up on this story. Check out the teaser trailer after the...

The Secret Life Of a Nerd Girl: Beginning Transition

. A blogumn by Gudrun Cram-Drach* An animate creature great and small Welcome to Secret Life of a Nerd Girl. I am said nerd girl and, today I’ll let you know where I’m coming from, and next time, perhaps, where I’m going. When I was 18, I moved to New York City for art school. After a decade-long fruitless pursuit of a career path (see my unpublished works), I decided it was ok to leave my beloved metropolis. I made the only lateral move you can make from New York: To LA. I’d always wanted to study animation (though before then, not as much as I’d wanted to live in New York) so within the year I relocated to Santa Clarita. I lived in a beige condo with a carport and a pool and drove my 1988 Ford everywhere. I only had eyes for my new school, CalArts. There is a rumor that CalArts alumnus Tim Burton based Edward Scissorhands on Santa Clarita. A world of gossiping faceless suburbo-bots with a magical house on the hill full of freakish wonder. The real story is, in 1960 Walt and Roy Disney had the idea to teach visual and performing arts under one roof. They merged the Chouinard Art Institute (the school that had trained some of Disney’s best draftsmen) and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music, and by 1970, poof, the house on the hill. There are now two animation departments, Character Animation, created as a training farm for the studios, and the one with the fine arts approach, Experimental Animation. The way I’ve always understood it, Walt asked our founder Jules Engel (who was still there when I started in 2002 but has since passed away) to create the experimental department to siphon off...