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CULTURE TO GO


;Genki geeks

;;Anime Festival Orlando VIII

www.animefestivalorlando.com

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;;It doesn't really hit me until I am in the ladies room. There's just me, a ninja and a girl that looks like Alice in Wonderland combing her bobbed blue wig. A "normal" has crashed Anime Festival Orlando VIII (Aug. 3-5 at the Wyndham Orlando Resort). After 10 minutes of standing in the line to get my passes, I know that I'm not in Kansas anymore. There were anime costumes as far as the eye could see, peppered with Harry Potters and storm troopers.

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;For the most part, I spent most of my time at AFO learning convention lingo like "glomping" (tackling/hugging someone … an activity banned from this year's convention) and the terms for guy-on-guy and girl-on-girl porn ("YAOI" and "yuri," respectively). I'll never forget my first experience with "con funk" – the odor nerds emit after hours spent sweating in their elaborate costumes. One of the rules specified in the program states, "Please observe proper hygiene during the convention. Bathe at least once a day. Deodorant/antiperspirant is also strongly recommended." After a few hours there, I could smell why this rule was so important.

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;My first stop was the dealer room where everything anime was up for sale – from seriously dangerous-looking weapons to anime porn to Japanese food. I even sat in on a couple of the many panels offered. My favorite by far was "Anime That Doesn't Suck," hosted by Joey Snackpants, a popular anime blogger. Basically I learned that if there are big robots, it's good stuff. Anything else is crap. I also sat in on "A Conversation With Chris Sabat," a voice actor most famous for his work in the Dragon Ball series, and learned the funnier and more interesting aspects of voice acting.

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;"Honestly it freaks me out that anyone knows who any voice actors are," Sabat told the crowd. "I never cared who voiced the Smurfs." Which brings up a good point – why do we care? Why do hundreds of kids and adults go all out and flock to conventions such as this? I like the way one convention-goer put it: "These are all the kids that get made fun of at school. There, they get laughed at for what they do, but here they're cool just like everyone else."

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;You really have to admire people who are so secure. I think I'm coming back next year. Does anyone know where I can buy a robot costume? (Oh, and "genki" in Japanese means "happy.")

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; — Lauren Palermo

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;;Whorish streak

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Californication
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Premieres 10:30 p.m. Monday
;Showtime
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www.sho.com

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;;Midway through the opening episode of Californication, David Duchovny's character, the aptly named Hank Moody, sums up what makes this comedy so appealing: "I'm disgusted with my life and myself," he says, "but I'm not unhappy about that."

;;Hank ought to be miserable. And he is. His biggest problem: He feels pressure to come up with a new book that'll top the success of his best-seller, God Hates Us All (which was turned into a treacly Tom Cruise–Katie Holmes movie and renamed Crazy Little Thing Called Love). Hank not only suffers from writer's block, but his ex-girlfriend can barely tolerate him and their 12-year-old daughter is rapidly discovering sex and drugs. All this makes Hank self-destructive enough to do and say things he knows he shouldn't, but he does them anyway.

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;Rather than wallow, though, he fills his life with gallows humor and loads of sex. The debut episode includes three sexual encounters with smokin' hot women and lots of frank discussions. (If you're ever on a downward spiral, opt for this as the way to go.) Still, even though his character's life is headed down the toilet, Duchovny takes on the juicy role with a gleeful smile, backed by a charming, low-key cast. British actress Natascha McElhone, in particular, does a terrific job Hank's long- ;suffering ex-girlfriend and mother of his child. She's never shrill, no matter how exasperating Hank is, and you can imagine how their previous love transformed into love/hate.

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;Hank doesn't plan to experience much happiness and that's OK for him – and OK with us, as his misery is our entertainment.

; arts@orlandoweekly.com

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