Nerd Alert

Fair warning, this week’s “Nerd Alert” is a bit of a long one, so you might want to make sure you have some coffee or tea at hand before diving into the links below! They also cover a pretty good gamut of topics, from popular franchises to a potentially budding one to an old, I would say “nerdy,” art form. As always, I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend! 

CoverGirl via BuzzFeed
CoverGirl via BuzzFeed

1. Several days ago, I learned from a friend on Facebook that CoverGirl was releasing a makeup collection inspired by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and it was easily the most exciting news I had received all week! Part of this was because I’m a complete sucker for movie tie-ins, but also because it reignited that part of me that wanted to be a movie makeup artist when I was younger. I had loved collecting books from makeup artists about their techniques and experimenting with different colors, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve begun using a color palette that’s full of neutrals. These lipsticks seemed destined to help me shake things up!

As with most things concerning Star Wars, the collection is divided between the light and dark sides of the Force. In addition to the six lipstick colors, there are three shades of nail polish, and 10 mascaras – though the main difference between the mascaras seems to be whether or not they are waterproof and which movie quote is on the side of the tube. You can see the full gallery of products here on Nerdist and some of the looks makeup artist Pat McGrath created using them on CoverGirl’s Star Wars Tumblr page. Enjoy!


2/3. In other Star Wars: The Force Awakens news, Entertainment Weekly’s “Fall Movie Preview” hit newsstands this week, but luckily, most of the articles are also up on the Web! First, there is a long piece with director J.J. Abrams and others discussing the question that drew them into the project and what is next for the galaxy far, far away. Then, there is a look at the movie’s villain, Kylo Ren. While Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan don’t reveal much about the character, the hints that they do give were enough to give this blogger chills! Both articles are by Anthony Breznican and are really excellent reads, so you should definitely check them out!

E.B. Rhee/The Garden short film
E.B. Rhee/The Garden short film

4. As you may know, I am a big fan of post-apocalyptic novels. While this seems a little counterintuitive sometimes, especially since these stories typically involve the end of the world as we know it, I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of “what comes next?,” and enjoy thinking about how I would react if placed in that kind of situation (My answer? Not the first to die, but not the final survivor either). Thanks to Jamieson Cox over at The Verge, we may have a glimpse of the next big post-apocalyptic franchise – E.B. Rhee’s The Garden. According to Cox, it took only three days for Rhee’s six-minute short, “a reimagining of John Milton’s Paradise Lost set against the backdrop of a decaying sun,” to be picked up by a major studio.

Though the story will need to be fleshed out for one full-length feature film, let alone any sequels, Cox notes that: “It makes up for its lack of length with visual flair and a balance between fantasy and realism that’s tough to strike. The ostensible villains of The Garden are cartoonish, but they’re also menacing. It’s hard for an expensive feature to pull that off, much less a short thrown together with a little cash and pro bono labor. The Garden also manages to strike some resonant emotional notes, which is commendable given it’s selling studios an idea rather than a bunch of developed characters.” Consider me intrigued!

Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.

5. As with some of the previous links featured here on “Nerd Alert,” this next one was first published nearly a year ago, but only recently came to my attention. Like many kids growing up in the late 1990s/early 2000s, Harry Potter was my first experience with big-time fandoms. I went to midnight release parties, was lucky enough to be in London for the movie premiere of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and even worked the final release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. For the most part, I thought the castings of the characters for the films were spot on and there was no one I hated more than Dolores Umbridge, played by Imelda Staunton.

For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Umbridge is a half-blood witch and bureaucrat who eventually became a High Inquisitor and Headmistress at Hogwarts. In those roles, she ensured that any Educational Decrees issued by the Ministry of Magic were enforced and usually did so through cruel and abusive means. She was, in a word, awful – even more so than some of the other villains in the books. Over at Tickld, a guy named Coffeeman explains why: with Umbridge, it’s personal.

Joan Sallas/Sternberg Press via IPR
Joan Sallas/Sternberg Press

6. Okay, that last link was a little depressing/intense, so as Monty Python says: “And now, for something completely different…” With that, I bring you the history of napkin folding! Alright, I know this link is a little out of left-field, but as someone who has tried to fancily fold napkins in the past and ended up settling for tufts pulled through napkin rings, I was really intrigued by this story from National Public Radio. According to Charlotte Birnbaum and Joan Sallas, who co-created a book on the history of napkin art called The Beauty of the Fold, starched linens were once pleated to create large centerpieces featuring real or mythical animals, trees, and even a castle or a fountain. And at weddings, guests received personal napkins that were shaped to reflect them. Needless to say, I don’t think many people have the time, inclination, or money to pull off such an elaborate tablescape today, but it’s still interesting to see how a current table-side afterthought was once a fancy centerpiece.

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