Nestled against the Hudson River at the far end of the Tappan Zee Bridge lies the small hamlet of Tarrytown. A quiet village, it has a large history, most notably as the setting for the classic story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Though these days, Sleepy Hollow is its own entity, having broken apart from Tarrytown in 1996. Why is any of this relevant? Because it’s one of literature’s most famous towns and is the perfect spot for a Halloween getaway.
Recently I spent a weekend in Tarrytown. Well, Irvington to be exact but it’s yet another town dedicated to the memory of Washington Irving, the writer of Sleepy Hollow as well as Rip Van Winkle. In case it wasn’t obvious, Irvington is named after Washington Irving, and a statue of Rip Van Winkle sits outside of the town hall in honor of him.
Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow both offer a number of attractions for spook seekers, a few of which I was able to experience for myself. On Saturday, my wife, our friends and I visited the Van Cortlandt Manor in Croton-on-Hudson, an area slightly north of Sleepy Hollow, for the Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze. Featuring massive displays of carved pumpkins amazingly posed and lit, the Blaze was definitely a sight. One of the first things we saw was a rendering of the Tappan Zee Bridge, all in pumpkins, dubbed the Pumpkin Zee Bridge. Things only got better from there.
A Jurassic Park, a Circus Train, even a Pumpkin Planetarium featuring shooting stars and supernovas are bound to astonish even the most jaded visitor. After all, they wowed me and I’m mostly anhedonic.
Following up the Jack O’Lantern Blaze, we visited the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery to join one of their many walking tours. We signed up for “Murder and Mayhem,” an evening walking tour. They provided us with kerosene lanterns to light our way and brought us around to some of the creepier plots in the cemetery.
A few of the stops included a woman who was dubbed “the wickedest woman in New York,” the victims of what was called “the Sleepy Hollow Massacre” and Leona Helmsley. It was a two-hour tour, so definitely worth the price of admission given everything that we saw.
Oh, and we also made a stop at the cross that was used by the Ramones for their Pet Sematary music video.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get many decent pictures, what with the pitch darkness and everything, but the few I did snap came out pretty good (I think, at least).
There are many other attractions (is attractions the right word for the graves of famous dead people?) hidden in the cemetery, like Washington Irving’s plot (duh), Andrew Carnegie’s resting place and the William Rockefeller mausoleum. The cemetery also allows free, self-guided tours so you can visit during the day and check out the sights without fear of running into the Headless Horseman.
Just kidding. The Headless Horseman shows up during the day, too.
That’s all that we had time to experience while in Sleepy Hollow but there’s plenty of other things to check out. Like the Horseman’s Hollow, a haunted house event that takes place in the historic Phillipsburg Manor. Though I wanted to experience Horseman’s Hollow, I was outvoted by my travelling companions so I had to make do with taking pictures of the effigies hanging in the parking lot. If you’re into haunted houses and being scared out of your gourd, check out the Hollow. (In fact, let me know how it is, too!)
Do also visit the Headless Horsemen monuments right across the street. The marble carving is an elegant tribute to the classic tale but the iron statue in the middle of the roadway is an amazing sight. Believe it or not, we almost missed it when we visited the area during the day. (No, I have no idea how we overlooked something so large.)
There’s also Sunnyside, a tour of Washington Irving’s home. The tour features a number of artworks inspired by The Legend of Sleepy Hollow as well as a look at the space where Irving wrote his famous stories. Sunnyside is named after the town as it was called during Irving’s day.
You can also check out a short performance of the Legend in the Old Dutch Church, which is a spit and a stone’s throw from the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. Tickets for the show are $25 and it only lasts for about 45 minutes. Not having seen it myself, I can’t say the cost is justified, but I’d think any kind of live performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is worth it, especially during the Halloween season.
Even though I only experienced a fraction of what Sleepy Hollow boasts, I still had a great time. All in all, the town is a great choice for a spooky, Halloween filled getaway, second only to Salem, MA. If you’re looking for an inexpensive jaunt out of town and want to fill it with as many family-friendly creeps as you can, Spooky Hollow is a great choice. But you may need to plan on next year; it’s a little close to Halloween to go now.
Well, it’s finally October, the season of cooler weather, colorful trees and pumpkin spice. It’s also the time to watch scary movies in the lead up to Halloween, and there’s no shortage of choices when it comes to horror. But with all of the Freddys and Jasons and Sammi Currs out there, is there room in a Halloween movie marathon for a film that doesn’t contain buckets of blood? If Good Day is any indication, the answer to that is “yes.”
I first got the chance to see Good Day at the Kew Gardens Festival of Cinema in Queens, NY. I was invited to the screening by the movie’s director, Louie Cortes, and felt compelled to check it out. I’d only seen the trailer for the film and really didn’t know too much about it before I went in. What I saw, however, was much different than I imagined.
Written by Christine Clark and Cortes, Good Day follows the lives of six twenty-somethings in New York City. Much like Pulp Fiction and 2 Days In the Valley, their paths intersect in some meaningful way as they all converge on the same Halloween party. Unlike Pulp Fiction and 2 Days In the Valley, Good Day is a wholesome yet funny look at the gamut of emotions they’re struggling with. Depression, loneliness, loss of a family member, and the fear of a stagnating career. All of these themes are relatable to the audience, which makes the characters feel like real people. They express their emotions and feelings, sometimes in overly verbose ways, but at the end of it, viewers can easily understand their plight.
The film does all of this in a highly engaging and hilarious way. This was probably the most surprising thing about the movie because there isn’t the slightest hint of comedy in the trailer. Watching that, I assumed Good Day was a coming of age melodrama that happened to be set around Halloween. To be fair, though, that trailer was cut well as it didn’t set any expectations for the humor and may have worked in its favor as Good Day was recently nominated for “Best Comedy Feature” at the Alternative Film Festival.
Though the film didn’t win “Best Comedy,” it did walk away with the award for “Best Cast,” which was most deserved. The cast was one of the finer parts of the film. Though Good Day featured no big name stars, most everyone has a great on-screen presence, despite the one or two stilted performances,
The film focuses on Sam M, played by Christopher Poultney. Sam has a strong self confidence which borderlines on arrogance and is forced to reevaluate himself after he meets a girl who doesn’t reciprocate the interest he feels. His storyline comes to a head when he meets Lisa (Kaelin Birkenhead). Lisa displays a hardened exterior to the world despite having a very caring heart. The audience learns this early in the film when Lisa is shaken to hear that her grandfather, whom she’d never had a relationship with, had died.
The film is rounded out with other great characters, such as Lydia, played by Samantha Quintana, a small-town girl who moved to New York for the right reasons but with the wrong motivation and is struggling to find her place. Then there’s Matt (Michael Ryan Assip), Sam’s best friend who dreams of becoming the next great horror movie writer a la George Romero but lacks the focus to finish a screenplay. Though his performance was rocky at first, Matt quickly became one of my favorite characters in the movie, helped along by Assip’s great comedic timing.
Good Day is not a perfect film, however. It is plagued by a number of technical issues, most notably the sound in some areas. A few of the shots feel cramped and claustrophobic, which is likely due to the indie nature of the movie and the need to shoot in any place that feels authentic regardless of size. These things are easy to overlook, though, through the director’s deft cinematography. Cortes has a way of framing his shots that’s simple yet intriguing and makes the movie fun to watch.
As of writing this, Good Day has yet to find a distributor, meaning that it’s unlikely to get a wide release, either in theaters or streaming. There is some good news, though. If you are local to New York, Good Day will be screened for free on October 23rd at the Queen’s Court in Astoria. The film will be shown alongside two surprise short films. The event is BYOB and candy will be supplied so if you’re interested, be sure to check out their Facebook page for more info.
Overall, Good Day is a poignant look at the real issues young people face and the ways in which they cope. It’s the kind of movie that can easily fit into an annual Halloween screening, a welcome break from the horror films and slasher flicks that most people watch every October. Hopefully Good Day will find a distribution deal soon so more people can enjoy it. Given its newly found status as an award winning film, the chances of that seem higher.
It’s that time of year again! No, not Halloween (though that is sneaking up on us faster that I realize). I’m talking about New York Comic Con time! Though not as prolific as San Diego Comic Con, NYCC is the East Coast’s biggest comic and media convention, boasting hundreds of exhibitors and tens of thousands of attendees.
Just like its West Coast counterpart, NYCC attracts countless collectors and, as such, has become a haven for exclusive merchandise. This is where Funko comes in. Over the summer we showed you all of Funko’s SDCC exclusives, the Pop!s, Dorbz, Rides and Vnyls that were only available at the con. Luckily, they’re bringing a pretty strong game to New York Comic Con as well.
Since they’re revealing all of their exclusives in waves so make sure to check back often as we update to see everything you can expect to find at NYCC.
Our Sub Cultured team is gearing up for New York Comic-Con, and we want you to join us in a more interactive kind of game — an NYCC Instagram challenge! It’s like a scavenger hunt meets photography. Take a photo that falls under one of the prompts, post it to Instagram, and use the hashtag #NYCCSC to join in!
Want to play along but worried you wont remember all the prompts? Easy! This image is conveniently square, so save and upload this photo to Instagram to serve as your handy dandy reference guide — and encourage others to take photos, too! Make sure you caption your photos with #NYCCSC, and don’t feel bad if you miss one of the prompts. There’s so much to do at NYCC and we want to make sure you remember it! Happy hunting!
Recent #NYCCSC Posts!
For some of us, ReedPOP’s New York Comic Con is like Christmas: there’s jolly folks you only get to see once a year, everyone is in a festive spirit, and there are scores of gifts to purchase (mainly for ourselves!). It’s an absolute blast for those craving a huge convention akin to the geek Mecca that is San Diego Comic Con, but much more comic oriented. This convention is an immersive and inclusive experience that aims to bring the energy, passion and color of the entire universe of popular culture to every corner of NYC.
This year boasts big names from Marvel and DC, including writers Amy Reeder, Scott Snyder, and artists Marjorie Liu, and Humberto Ramos, among many more, even manga creator Masashi Kishimoto in his first trip to the USA (Naruto). Topping our list are also creators Brian K. Vaughan (Saga, We Stand Guard, and new work Paper Girls), Annie Wu (Black Canary), Charles Soule (basically everything at Marvel) and Marguerite Bennett (Bombshells, and basically is writing amazing things at every publisher).
If you’re not interested in the floppy, stapled pages of comics, there’s still tons for you to enjoy, such as panels ranging from screenings of upcoming shows, to the round table fun with the cast of Once Upon A Time, to what you can expect in the coming year from Funimation, Capcom, and more!
Maybe your tastes run more toward the art of cosplay? No worries, you have the chance to be among a sea of fellow cosplayers, and show off the long hours put into the labor of love that is cosplay. Just make sure to find us so we can take your photo!!
Lastly, who can forget the stars lovingly sitting behind tables signing each of their fan’s loved items? NYCC is bringing an armful of our favorite stars and there’s also a huge roster of voice actors from your favorite cartoons, and in some cases, actors who hit you right in the nostalgia.
NYCC rolls into the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on October 8th and runs until October 11th. Grab your tickets while you still can, from the official convention website or get your buns to the downtown Midtown Comics location to buy tickets while they still have them! We hope to see you in New York, and if you’re so inclined, join in our fun with our upcoming NYCC Instagram challenge!
Max here for a BEA2015 roundup!
I flew solo at this year’s BookExpo last week from May 27th to the 29th at the Javits Center in NYC. New York City dwellers, you must have legs of steel because wow it’s always a doozy. This is my third year at the Expo, and as such I went in with my usual expectations of what I was familiar with, and while I found what I was looking for, I also came away with a few surprises.
This year the show was seemingly as large as ever but also at the same time felt smaller than previous years. This was most likely due to the giant China pavilion, an entire area clad in white with stunning minimalist bamboo planters dedicated to this year’s Guest of Honor which appeared to take up more space than usual. Unlike other showcase pavilions from the previous two years China was very enthusiastic with their own journalists and a flurry of presentations and small talks which often garnered media attention. I just don’t remember other pavilions being that busy the last two years.
Unfortunately a handful of presses and stands that had been there the first two years I’ve attended that I was always keen visit did not attend or receive spots this year. While that was disappointing, a lot of my favorite publishing haunts were there for me to peruse for you.
Marvel for instance featured a panel presentation on their current record breaking new Star Wars line of comics (the best selling comics in the last twenty years, like wow) and shared the forthcoming reissues of the original movie to comic adaptations from the 70s to 80s in trade form as well as a brand new printing with updated artwork. They showcased their current series like Kanan – The Last Padawan (which has ties to the hit cartoon series Rebels) and minis such as Princess Leia and talked about their forthcoming mini Lando.
Outside of panels I was on the hunt for Sub-cultured #goodbooks to showcase on our twitter; amazing books, comics or series that stood out and you should keep an eye out for. I was also intent to find out “What makes a good book (for you)” asking any who was willing to share their personal opinions, which luckily a handful of people obliged and you’ll get to see their responses soon.
Sam Gayton’s forthcoming American printing of his children’s novel Lilliput from Peachtree Press
Hexed comic series by Michael Alan Nelson from Boom!
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz, Symphony For The City of the Dead by M.T. Anderson, Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll all from Candlewick Press
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland Decoded by David Day from Penguin Random House Canada
Painted Skies by by Carolyn Mallory and Amei Zhao from Inhabit Media (an Inuit-owned publishing company with a fantastic, brilliant line of books)
Red by Jacky Colliss Harvey and Atlas of Cursed Places: A Travel Guide to Dangerous and Mysterious Destinations by Olivier Le Carrer from Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Fearsome Creatures of The Lumberwoods by Hal Johnson and Tom Mead and Some Very Interesting Cats Perhaps You Weren’t Aware Of by Doogie Horner from Workman
The Good Dog by Todd Kessler (co-creator and director of Blues Clues!) and Jennifer Gray Olsen from Greenleaf Book Group Press
The picture books of Jenni Desmond from Blue Apple Books
Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Herbert Leupin and There’s a Little Black Spot on the Sun Today by Sven Volker from NorthSouth
Artbooks of artists Lorenzo Mattotti and Ana Juan from Logos Edizioni
The many offerings of Nobrow and Imelda & The Goblin King by Briony May Smith from Flying Eye Books
Windmill Dragons by David Nytra and Little Nemo: Big New Dreams from Toon Books
And even more. There are many exciting forthcoming books I can’t wait to talk more about!
The China pavilion yielded two more #goodbooks. I was captivated by a booth made up of mostly students from the Colleges of Art & Design, Humanities and Tea Culture at Zhejiang A & F University in Lin’an City, Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province in China. They were there promoting tea culture and were there with their dean, Wang Xufeng, whose book The Stories of Tea from Homa & Sekey Books was my first #goodbooks pick from the pavilion. The entire group was extremely nice and while there, the students performed 10 tea ceremonies including Confucian and Buddhist versions. Afterwards I got to interview Wang Xufeng herself which I’ll be returning to in it’s own #goodbooks feature on her book and the school.
My second find was a beautifully illustrated retelling of Wang Shifu‘s Chinese classic romance, The Story of The Western Wing (traditional Chinese: 西廂記; simplified Chinese: 西厢记; pinyin: xīxiāngjì; Wade–Giles: Hsi-hsiang-chi) (also known as West Chamber) by 20th century painter and illustrator Wang Shuhui from People’s Fine Arts Publishing House. Wang Shuhui was extremely popular as an illustrator during the 1950s and 60’s for the very same publisher. I was graciously given a copy of the lushly illustrated book and will designate Wang Shuhui as my first forthcoming “Artist Spotlight” column artist, a new venture where I’ll explore and showcase the art of artists both past and present.
In all it was an extremely fruitful venture, and I can’t wait to share everything with you more. Stay tuned!