Sydney, Australia
Sydney, Australia

The Land Down Under might be far off, but that doesn’t keep it from keeping up with the times, which are as geek-friendly as they have ever been. Whether science is your mistress, design is your inner demon, or pop culture is your god, Sydney has much to offer apart from the regular sightseeing. So here are a couple of choice locations, categorized by interest, and may the odds get you there favorably soon!

Guest Post by Tara Djoric 

THE MANGA FAN

Chinese Garden of Friendship by Matt Chan
Chinese Garden of Friendship by Matt Chan

The Chinese Garden of Friendship is not your average botanical garden. This venue is the unlikely spot of tranquility, located near Darling Harbour. The entry fee is $6, but once in, and armed with a fresh haul of manga, one could spend the whole day here, chilling by koi ponds and discovering secret passageways. The Teahouse within will keep you satiated with tea and dim sum, so why would you ever leave?

THE DESIGNER/POP CULTURE KNOW-IT-ALL

One of Sydney’s biggest attractions is The Powerhouse Museum, a huge contemporary museum in the city sweetheart – Darling Harbour. The Powerhouse caters to visitors of all ages and interests, in a non-cheesy way. Techies get their computer science exhibitions, star-gazers get amazing astronomy exhibitions (to go along with their visit to the 19th Sydney Observatory), designers can choose between photography, history of advertising, costumes, media, design… whatever their passion. But the Powerhouse runs on its blockbuster exhibits – these temporary showcases focus on pop culture, and have in the past carried entire sets from fandom franchises such as The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars. They have also displayed truly beautiful exhibits about Princess Diana, Faberge, and pop culture royalty – real and honorary. You know what else the Powerhouse has that is cool? Interactive workshops. They are usually meant for kids, but as an adult, I feel like I have the right to attend a metalworking workshop in an actual museum.

tumblr_inline_ndphr6Uo3b1qaui8k

A few months ago, I came across the artwork of Petite-Madame, in the form of a Bucky Barnes Instagram account.

“This is awesome!” thought I, “but who is this mysterious and talented person?”

Petite-Madame, self-taught artist from Paris, professional illustrator, and self-proclaimed fan, is changing the way fandom looks and art and pushing the boundaries of artistic expression.

 The artist’s unique perspective on fandom compelled me connect with her in hopes of getting some insight into why and how she does what she does. The following discussion on art and social media is insightful and telling, while her commitment to creating fanart, a medium meant to help audiences understand and explore the characters we love, is commendable. If you haven’t checked out her MOL journal or Bucky art, please do. The links can be found below.

***

The Collectiva Diva: Your use of art and social media, particularly the Bucky Barnes Instagram account, intrigues me. What is it about Bucky that fits this particular content (Instagram) so well? 

Petite-Madame: I find it rather funny that a super secret spy who’s described in the The Winter Soldier movie as “a ghost” could have as a main mode of expression an Instagram account where he shares his everyday life with his boyfriend Steve, his work problems, or what he ate for dinner. Superheroes are supposed to have secret identities (even if in the Marvel movies everybody knows that Tony Stark is Iron Man and Captain America has his own exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum) so, exposing Bucky’s life on a public medium such as Instagram is delightfully absurd, precisely because of this contradiction.

tumblr_n9hm7sgzbH1qabacto3_1280

Also, it is very interesting to explore art wise because I have a lot of fun as an artist, trying to emulate an Instagram account and creating fake pictures of food and people in their natural environment; cooking or doing their laundry. I can play with the depth of field, the frame, the intensity of the blurs, the subjectivity of the point of view and of course, my weapon of choice, colors!

The 3rd reason is far more pragmatic: posting a drawing with a short caption on Instagram and Tumblr requires FAR less work than a 1500 word fic and the complex drawings of Journal of a Man of Letters (JOAMOL). Launching the Bucky equivalent of JOAMOL would be impossible for me or I would have to win the lottery and leave my job for good!

Title: Building From the Ground Up (3-part series) with podfic

Author: EmilianaDarling (gif art is hers, too)

Pairing: James “Bucky” Barnes/Steve Rogers

Word Count: 55,681

Warnings: Period-typical homophobia, period-typical racism, period-typical sexism, stalking, mental instability, brief graphic violence

Premise

Author Summaries:

 (Part 1) You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To

tumblr_inline_n667fr5CVp1qhqb9q

“What about you, Barnes?” asks Dugan. The sound of his voice brings Bucky back to the present, dredges him out of memories of a beat-up little apartment with sunlight streaming in through the windows. “Got yourself a girl waiting for you back home?”

There’s an answer on the tip of his tongue, one that he’ll deliver with a cocky grin and a half-laugh and a little shake of his head. But Bucky is exhausted and hungry and so sore it hurts to move, and one of the guys in their platoon fucking died yesterday. His mouth tastes like iodine water and his feet hurt and none of it’s going to get better any time soon, and all at once Bucky misses Steve so badly he can barely see straight.

“Yeah,” Bucky declares abruptly, the word escaping from his mouth before he fully realizes what he’s saying. “Yeah, I do.”

[This fic presents a self-contained story that can easily be read on its own. If desired, however, it can also be read as a prequel to “Reconstruction Site” and “Amidst the Rubble”. It takes place chronologically first but was written third.]

There are several reasons that I blog anonymously. I like the freedom, I like knowing that the Diva and I built our readership without relying on the “click-throughs” of FB friends, but the biggest reason is one I haven’t written about on here. I come from a conservative Christian culture, and it’s the kind of conservative culture which would sooner judge me for my interests in popular culture than make an attempt to understand the importance of why I write what I write, or even why fandom itself is a significant part of our society and history.

Before I continue, it’s necessary for me to say that, while I no longer actively participate in organized religion, I have faith, I have beliefs, and I judge no one for theirs. This blog post is merely the venting of the frustration I feel when I try to build a bridge between my conservative past and my pop culture savvy present.

Via reactiongifs

This past weekend, I overheard a conversation between two family members that unnerved me. Out of respect to my family, I shall not repeat verbatim what was said, but the gist of it was that these two persons were of the opinion that the writers of Hollywood could not possibly be good religious people, because they have made a living from writing.