Arts & Culture

The Fan Art That Made Me Watch Stranger Things

As an unabashed scaredy cat, I willingly admit that I had reservations about watching the “thrilling” Netflix original series, Stranger Things. And while I knew the series was inspired by Spielberg’s PG movies, do you remember how much scarier PG movies were in the 80s?! So I hid from my needling Netflix suggestions.

But that didn’t stop Stranger Things from infiltrating my social media channels. Scrolling through Instagram I was snared by the charming illustrations of Laura Manfre, who I recently started following.

 

I liked this post without realizing it had anything to do with that creepy show I was intent on avoiding. I do like cute dresses and Eggo waffles! *Especially* when I was a eleven. How did you know?

 

Next, I assumed this was a portrait of a dear friend of Laura’s. That Barb certainly has a flair for fashion, doesn’t she? So retro!

 

It wasn’t until I scrolled back through Laura’s feed for more of these delightful illustrations, that I began questioning the context. A walkie talkie? Christmas lights? Headwear? What could these things possibly have in common?

STRANGER THINGS.

That’s when I knew, I had to watch.

If you haven’t watched Stranger Things yet because you’re afraid it might be too scary, put some Eggo waffles in the toaster and get ready for a treat. Maybe just leave the lights on . . . especially if they’re Christmas lights.

 

Follow @laura_manfre on Instagram. She posts lots of pictures of her cats, which would be another good thing to look at if you’re a scaredy cat like me and need some help falling asleep after watching Stranger Things!

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Arts & Culture

I Locked Myself in a Cinema All Night

At noon on Sunday, March 13, a crowd of bleary-eyed locals poured out of the Del Mar theatre into downtown Santa Cruz. This group wasn’t merely under the influence of marijuana — although, that can’t be ruled out — it had been inside the theatre since midnight the night before.

Not only did we pay $25 to forgo sleep and watch six movies in a row, we did so without knowing any of the movies’ titles.

“Why?” you may ask. For the glory.

An hour before the Santa Cruz Secret Film festival was set to begin at midnight, the power went out. Thanks to El Niño, the Del Mar theatre and the downtown block it inhabits had gone dark.

Nonetheless, dedicated film nerds formed a line to get into the theatre. One block over, closed businesses sparkled ostentatiously with garish lights. Chilly without a jacket, damp from the rain and tired after my road trip to Death Valley, I was less than ecstatic about the prospect of a 12 hour movie marathon. So I was a little miffed when the power went back on. I’m no humbug though, I joined in the collective cheers.

For years I have wanted to check the Secret Film Festival off my Santa Cruz to-do list, but it had never seemed feasible until this year. Is there ever really an ideal time to pull an all nighter though?

I am not exaggerating when I say sleep is my number one priority. Even so, I was able to make it through all of the movies, taking a brief, purposeful nap during a film I did not care to watch (Tales of Tales). Unfortunately, it was still going when I woke up. Those who stayed up through it said it was not unlike a dream in that you had no idea what was happening and in the end it didn’t matter.

Luckily, most of what I saw was really great and inspired me to write this post! Here are my reviews organized under the following headers: “Must See,” “Probably Want to See,” and “Must Miss.”

Must See

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

If you have ever wished Rambo was a comedy…

Therapy for a Vampire

If you hate Stephenie Meyer but love Freud…

Probably Want to See

Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

If you grew up watching Spielberg and tried making movies of your own as a kid…

Operation Avalanche

If you want to see how Canadian film students think the 1969 moon landing was faked…

Confetti of the Mind

If you like the following short film, and want to see more by Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo…

Must Miss

Tales of Tales

Unless you’re a Dungeon Master, like my friend Steven…


I offer these hard won insights so that you may use your time more wisely, perhaps, than I did. I still maintain, it was worth it for the glory!

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