Published: 2,000 years of this Sicilian thing

The Godfather. Labeled for reuse on Google Image Search.

2,000 Years Of This Sicilian Thing: Watching The Godfather Epic
Paste Magazine – 7 Feb. 2016
Article link | http://bit.ly/1QQGtKl

I’ve been terrible about updating stuff here, but it’s been a couple months since I got published again. I’ll link more soon.

Who doesn’t love The Godfather? The 424-minute (!) edit of it did nothing to diminish my admiration for this gorgeously-shot, deep meditation on family and immigration and totally killing the shit out of people who disagree with you or even just look at you the wrong way one time. It was a grueling affair finishing it in one sitting, of course, but now it’s behind me and I have this awesome article as a souvenir.

Published: “In The Shadow of Narcos”

Fiesta en la Comuna

A festival of colors and culture in Medellín, Colombia’s Comuna 13. | Kenneth Lowe, Oct. 2015


In The Shadow of Narcos
Paste Magazine – 18 Dec. 2015
Article link | http://bit.ly/1S8L4fF

I’m particularly proud to unveil my latest byline, which I proudly share with my friend Alvaro Márquez Arango of BlacSuan fame. This was a long and a hard one, but we made it to the end, got what we needed, and told our story.

Colombia is a beautiful country coping with a lot of anger and sadness, but the new generation is ready to lay that aside and embrace a peaceful future. I hope to be back there soon to write more about the next page of in the story of its history.

I’m published in Paste

The The Glienicke Bridge between West and East Berlin, the “Bridge of Spies” from the film. | David Stanley, 1987, labeled for reuse by Google Image Search, 21 Nov. 2015

Paste Magazine – 20 Nov. 2015
Article link | http://bit.ly/1N0nObW

It’s been a while, but I’m back in the freelance game with an essay/review/article for Paste Magazine, one of my favorite places for entertainment news. There are a lot of great writers on Paste and I’m happy to be among them for the first time. I’ve got other things in the works for them coming up, which should hopefully be on before too long. Check out the article. It’s nice to finally be able to write (semi-)professionally about my family’s experiences. It’s too bad that I do so at a time when another terrorized and misunderstood population is trying so desperately to do the same thing my own family did 50 years ago: Get the hell out of an awful situation and into a safe, free country.

Autumn descends on me

Autumn is my favorite time of year, and it finally got a little cooler out so it actually feels like it. At some point, the leaves will turn if the temperature keeps dipping the way it does at night.

Right now I want to finish Long September, but I also want to maintain the focus necessary to finish a damn rpg in RPG Maker. Ideas compete in my head for dominance. I want to do something interesting, but I don’t want it to take forever. And sadly, that just isn’t how it works.

I have also been chipping away at two hopeless battles. One is Diablo III. The other is my student loans.

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Chaos, Honor and Metal Gears: On the unique failure of video game narratives

Snake, maybe

Solid Snake. Or maybe Big Boss. | Labeled for noncommercial reuse by Google Image Search, 11 July 2015.

As I continue with Long September, my novel, and continue to await word from my employment of whether the fiscal cliff we have found ourselves plunging over will mean I won’t be paid until we un-plunge ourselves, I blow off steam by playing old video games and listening to the Wu Tang Clan. Last night’s success was the defeat of a truly ancient foe of mine: Metal Gear Solid. As in 1, as in ©1998 by Konami Computer Entertainment Japan for the PlayStation. Yes, I am OG (original genome).

Whenever I boot up a truly old game, something of the original experience is lost, and I don’t just mean because I’m playing it on a backwards-compatible PlayStation 2 hooked up to a high-def television that doesn’t give any fucks about its aspect ratio and anti-aliasing. This time, what was lost was any sense of awe I had about the story. Come with me on this sad journey as I talk about how a tale that once held me enraptured has become something I mash the “X” button to skip. (more…)

We need to talk about Max

image

Mad Max: Fury Road promotional poster. Displayed under Fair Use.

You’ve already read reviews of Mad Max: Fury Road. I’ve seen it twice now and the repeat viewing was actually better. Simply put, it’s one of the best action movies I’ve seen in so long that I had to actually think about how long it’s been.

Everything about that action has already been said, but from a writing standpoint, it’s also a brilliantly solid film, executed with style and reasoned choices, yet totally unique.

Action movies these days have no weight. Superhero films have taken over and, since we know nobody is going to die, we don’t care. Max challenges the sterile CGI of today’s films, but it also takes writers to task. Here are a few spoilery things Fury Road did way better than other films.
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Speak of the Bronson

Death_wish_movie_poster

Charles Bronson in “Death Wish.” Promotional poster image. | Courtesy of Wikipedia.org. This image is displayed under Fair Use.

 

The AV Club must have heard of my recent squawking about Death Wish, because they just hit the full series with the sledgehammer of a close reading. And of course, they did better than I did. Check it out.

Ken Plays Outlaws, Part Two

I’m still yakking about Outlaws, which still stands the test of time as #2 in the Top Two Western Video Games That Have Ever Been Made. Seriously, game industry, I’m pretty sure people would buy more of these. This video does a quick tour of Levels 1 and 2 and sums up Level 3 with the words “Ah, fuck, a train level.”

“Problematic,” and The Ignorance Of It

Funeral car

A train coach based on Abraham Lincoln’s funeral car is restored in Springfield, Ill. for the sesquicentennial of his death. | May 2015, Kenneth Lowe

 

So, I had originally meant to post about why Westerns are generally a funny thing for a guy like me to like. I’d also like to tie it in a bit to some of the distressing stuff I hear from the modern fandom these days, and by that I mean the white guys who I grew up identifying with.

You’ve read about Gamergate and you possibly also heard about how some misogynists hijacked the Hugo Awards because they didn’t like that some women justifiably won a bunch of them last year. The controversy has become way too politicized for bizarre reasons. If you go read Breitbart’s site, you’ll find conservative guys claiming that feminists hate games and if you go to Gawker, you’ll be convinced all Gamergaters are not-so-secret rapists. Even one of the online comics I read at The Escapist Magazine treats the subject lightly, while the site itself, if you look, advertises the works of Vox Day, the fellow who is in a sense behind the great Hugo heist, and who blogs about how gay marriage is bad and insists that a bakery taking backlash for refusing a gay couple a cake is an attack on religious liberty.

How is all this tied in to Outlaws and Westerns? Bear with me. (more…)

I don’t know why this didn’t post before…

I distinctly remember composing and publishing an entire goddamn blog post about the video below, talking about how my love for Westerns is a perfect example of how you can legitimately use the word “problematic,” because I know plenty of people who insist that art doesn’t ever have subtext Ken, why do you need to take this away from me?!!?!!!?! But it does, but I still love Spaghetti Westerns anyway, so have a video about one of the only two mainstream games that were “Westerns” and were worth a damn.

But it didn’t post, is my point, and I have no idea why (and neither does WordPress, infuriatingly). Oh well.