Posts Tagged ‘gotham’

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The Name is Malone, Matches Malone. Occupation: Thug

January 13, 2015

batman-undercover-as-matches-malone-in-cattales-the-neighborhood

Batman is Matches Malone, gone deep undercover with the Irish Mob in Hell’s Kitchen in Cat-Tales: The Neighborhood.

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Fools and Drama Queens, As Wrong About Gotham as They Are About Selina…

September 29, 2014

Those not expecting to buy a bridge in Gotham tonight are invited to peruse a Catwoman origin worthy of the character and meet a Selina Kyle with the class and background to make her Batman and Bruce Wayne’s equal.

“Characters come alive, and when you’ve read them, you’ll never read Batman the same way again… and you’ll understand that the comics (and movies) truly do have Catwoman all wrong.”

“Short few paragraphs brilliatly illustrate why this Catwoman is the real one and the rest are cheap imitations. She’s brilliant, ferocious, is not afraid of anyone, but is sharp enough to accurately assess everyone, including Batman, and handle them accordingly.”

“I’ve rarely come across an author that is capable of consistently delivering such pathos and insight into characters and through the lens of the minds eye, insight into ourselves.”

Yes, Cat-Tales fans, I was going to save this announcement but Cattitude will be the next audio book read by Caroline Sharp and when you hear this sample, you will see (hear) why I couldn’t wait to share.

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Sponsored by the Wayne Foundation (Uh-oh)

June 20, 2014

Made possible by a generous grant from the Wayne Foundation… If there is a formula of words that practically guarantees Zany Hijinx shall ensue, that’s the phrase.

The newest addition to the Cat-Tales scenes gallery takes its inspiration from the Gala Re-Opening of the Gotham Museum of Modern Art, and as readers of the important Book 4 tale will recall, portents did not lie.  Who remembers all the players depicted here?

Bruce and Selina in opening-at-the-moma

Opening at the MoMA from Deja vu All Over Again

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Gotham: It wasn’t hell.

May 28, 2014
Gotham: It wasn't Hell

It wasn’t Hell; only fools and drama queens throw that word around about a place like Gotham. It was worse, in a way, because it was manmade. There wasn’t any timeless malevolence behind it all, it was just… what human beings can descend to when they let themselves forget they can be heroes. ~ Cattitude

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Only in Gotham: I’ll have Batman Straight Up, and Put Him in a Dirty Glass

May 9, 2014

A quick follow up on that Gotham blog a few months back.

I’ve said for a long time – since the Fashion Week Riot of 2012, I believe – that if you’re writing stories of Gotham City and you never get Batman out of those grimy alleys, you’re not doing it right.  New York is a tapestry of the unimaginably funky, a kaleidoscope of the creatively unbelievable, and a ragout of the eclectically weird.  It’s fine to have the perv in the subway, the banger urinating in the alley and the homeless guy on 14th Street, but if that’s all you’ve got, damnit man, you’ve got no business calling yourself a writer, because you’re walking past THE BEST PARTS to show us crap we’ve seen a thousand times before.

If you’re not in the city,  don’t despair.   Open a new tab on your browser and Like a l’il ol Facebook page called Humans of New York.  You’ll find it a revelation.

If you are in the city, get your coat.  This watering hole in the NoMad Hotel in Chelsea is having more fun with Batman than you are, and we need to fix that.

Only in Gotham: Ordering Cocktails via Batman Tarot Cards

Only in Gotham: Ordering Cocktails via Batman Tarot Cards

Ordering via pop icon tarot card.  Our favorite vigilante represents Dark, that makes sense.  I have no idea what Pammy’s supposed to represent.  Natural?  (There aren’t a lot of unnatural alcohols, are there?) Grassy?  Green?  Flowery?  The only thing that makes any sense for a cocktail is fruity, and you wouldn’t use her for that.  I say we go find out.  Who’s with me?

Only in Gotham: Pac Man Dumplings at Red Farm

Only in Gotham: Pac Man Dumplings at Red Farm

Only in Gotham: Taxis on 5th

Only in Gotham: Dior Renovating

Only in Gotham: Dior Renovating

 

 

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Gotham “To me, it’s like a great woman”

March 25, 2014

I was talking to someone the other day who really loved Mahmoud, the cab driver introduced in the later chapters of Inside an Enigma.  He wanted to talk about Gotham in Cat-Tales, how the city rises to become a character in some stories and, in others, its ordinary citizens like Mahmoud or Clair Sabana in NMK Inc can upstage the established Rogues they interact with.  As one who aspired to write Batman, he wanted some tips on crafting a Gotham that had those qualities, that was a character in itself and would generate those unique individuals an audience could connect with as something more than crime fodder.

In the course of the same visit, I was flicking the dials and came across Anthony Bourdain eating dim sum in Brooklyn.  It was great:  Brooklyn, not Chinatown, and as Bourdain was contrasting the well-behaved crowd with the atmosphere of a dim sum seating in Hong Kong, an older woman tired of waiting got up to take the prized dumplings she wanted off a cart.  After that, Tony’s tour of the outer boroughs took him to an African restaurant in the Bronx and the proprietor talked about how difficult it was to bring over the people who knew how to do the kind of cooking he required and how expensive it was to get them the education they needed.  By this point, my friend was leaning forward towards the TV, elbows on his knees, absorbing every word.  And I thought “Okay, he can do this.”  Because that’s the part of being a writer that comes before stringing words together.  It’s being drawn to people and their stories.

Okay, so, my personal tips for writing Gotham and Gothamites:

A Gotham View of the World

A Gothamite’s View of the World

* THE MOST IMPORTANT STARTING PLACE:  Discard any idea from DC Comics that Gotham and New York are separate places or that Metropolis is an East Coast city that’s nearby.  What makes New York the uber-city it is is that it is the center of the universe for so many different fields and that makes it a nexus of an incredible cross-section of humanity in all its diversity.  There cannot be another Wall Street right across the river, another center of publishing, of advertising, of fashion, of theatre, of art, of news and broadcasting, another cluster of embassies around the U.N., etc etc.   Try to make New York, Gotham and Metropolis sister cities and you diminish all three.  Decide right now: Gotham is New York, Metropolis is a time zone away in what we call Chicago, and NEVER LOOK BACK.

* If you have no personal experience with New York, or perhaps a just few days as a tourist, do not despair.  You can pick up a fair amount of texture from movies and television, but you have to be smart in what you choose to mine for details.

NO: Friends or Seinfeld.  That is not New York.  That is LA-New York, and it burns.  Sitcoms in general: Mad About You, Will and Grace, How I Met Your Mother, should probably be viewed as an alternate universe.  Things may have the same name and general shape, but before you approach the guy in the red cape, you should figure out if it’s Superman or Bizarro.

PROCEED WITH CAUTION: these works hit a single non-representative note.  They can only be used in moderation with many other sources to round things out:

  • Seven – This is pretty much Frank Miller’s New York and Hell would be an improvement. If this is your notion of NY, I know what your Batman story is going to be – “Gotham as Mordor”  – and I’m not going near it.  For balance and penance I recommend…
  • Sex and the City – To call this a rarified view of the city is like calling a Christie’s auction of a Mickey Mantle rookie card a rarified view of baseball.  Yes, there’s stuff like the Paris Theatre on 48th Street, but you can get that from Annie Hall.  If you must mine this silly show, I recommend sticking with the first season or two before it became a vehicle for Sarah Jessica Parker’s ego, and fast forward anything referencing $400 shoes.  Even so, Gossip Girl is probably a better choice. (And honestly, if you want an insight into new restaurants, shopping, clubs and events to dress up for, I’d forget fiction altogether and go with Zagat, Yelp and Gotham Magazine.)
  • Cruel Intentions, Tootsie, When Harry Met Sally, Serendipity, Crocodile Dundee, Big, Ghost Busters, Fame, Kramer versus Kramer, The Devil’s Advocate, Wall Street/Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps, One Fine Day  – all display a different New York, a movie New York that is a very small slice  of the real thing.  The more of those slices you consider, the more well-rounded your Gotham will be.
    Everyone has their own cutoff for how old a movie can be to serve the purpose.  I think we can all agree Breakfast at Tiffany doesn’t make the cut, but some people my age can stretch to Midnight Cowboy and Dog Day Afternoon.  I’m not one of them.
  • Real Housewives of New York City – there’s actually nothing to be gained here.  I just put it on the list as additional punishment for the Miller crowd.
  • For Reality TV options that do have something to offer (albeit in that one-note capacity that should be taken with many, many others) I would look to the specific episodes or specific segments of Travel Chanel’s programs that feature NY locations.  From Rachel Ray’s $40-a-Day to the myriad of “Paradise” show that cover its pizza, steak houses and chips shops, these can be seriously out of date for real life vacation planning, but they’re handy for a writer wanting some local flavor.

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Woody Allen's Manhattan, 1979

“I love the city in an emotional, irrational way, like loving your mother or your father even though they’re a drunk or a thief. I’ve loved the city my whole life — to me, it’s like a great woman.” ~Woody Allen

  • Woody Allen movies – the gold standard for New York movie making.  Manhattan Murder Mystery might be a little dated, but it’s not like the 21 Club has changed much.  Crimes and Misdemeanors, Hannah and Her Sisters, Husbands and Wives and even the universally loathed Anything Else have something to offer for the New York watcher.  (You watch enough Woody Allen movies, you start to notice weird things.  For some reason, Central Park almost always means exposition.)  New York Stories, though Woody only did one part of the trilogy, obviously tops the list.
  • As Good As It Gets – If this flick had nothing to offer but the contrast between Melvin’s Manhattan and Carol’s Brooklyn, it would be on the list.  It has much more.
  • Castle Seasons 1 & 2 – Even though this series is filmed in LA like my first category of no-nos, the early seasons went out of their way to bring an authentic New York flavor.  Unlike most shows set in the Big Apple, it touched a lot of different subcultures rather than just icons and geography.  The later seasons are still very enjoyable, but as the show’s focus changed over time, it lost its edge making the most of the NYC setting, IMO.
  • Law and Order, Law and Order Criminal Intent – Both series get around the city and get into its subcultures and niches.  Because it’s actually filmed there, it also gets into its neighborhoods better than LA-based competitors like Castle.  The main drawback is simply that it’s been around so long.  On any given weekend, 3 channels have marathons running and no formula can stand up to such saturation. Remember why you’re watching.
  • Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations – Tony keeps it real.  Whether it’s the aforementioned Outer Boroughs episode, the segment on Street Food, secret chef enclaves, or the New York segment of a report on Mexican immigrants in the food service industry, I’ve rarely seen Bourdain touch on a New York story that he didn’t nail.

What are your favorite TV and movie New Yorks?  Comment here or tweet me.

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Capes and Bats Long Video Trailer

March 1, 2011

Remember those Marvel “What If” Comics.  Well…
What if Dracula came to Gotham?
What if he wants Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Catwoman for his brides?
What if… Vampire Joker

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