Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes Recap

***This is post is sponsored by Feld Entertainment and The Summit Group. We were provided tickets for the show in exchange for our thoughts about the show. All thoughts in this post are our own.***

Two of the biggest teams in the Marvel Universe join forces to take down Loki and his band of villains as they are on the hunt for the mystical Wand of Watoomb. The hunt starts aboard Yondu’s ship, the Eclector, as he and his team of Ravagers have recently recovered the wand for The Collector. Nebula is sent by Loki to retrieve the wand from Yondu with an army of Chitauri soldiers by her side.  A fight ensues and just as Nebula is about to retrieve the wand, Star-Lord drops in along with the other Guardians of the Galaxy to retrieve the wand and take it back to the Nova Corp. After a lengthy battle, Nebula grabs the wand and vanishes from the battle. The Guardians must now travel to Knowhere to use another mystical artifact to find Nebula and the wand.

Cut to New York, the Green Goblin has conducted one of his biggest heists along side Black Cat, Rhino, Electro, and Lizard. It’s up to Spider-Man to battle this team of villains with his Spidey wit and skills. While in the midst of battle, Green Goblin shoots some explosive pumpkins toward Spider-Man but they are not normal explosive pumpkins. These pumpkins contain a poisonous nerve gas that overpowers the web slinger. Just before Green Goblin takes down his arch-nemesis, Captain America, Black Widow, Wasp, Black Panther, Iron Man and Thor come to Spidey’s aid. The villains are no match for the likes of the Avengers and the battle is easily won by our heroes. After the battle, Doctor Strange appears and asks for the help of the Avengers in recovering the Wand of Watoomb. With the help of Bruce Banner, they calculate where Nebula will appear next. The Avengers split into two teams and head off to K’un-Lun and to the Savage Land. Will the heroes be able to track down Nebula and stop Loki from achieving his master plan of Universal domination? You have to see the show to find out.

Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes is a spectacle not to be missed. If you are a fan of the comics, movies, and cartoons, you will enjoy this all-new original story that brings together some of our favorite Marvel heroes and villains. While the show is action packed with explosions, fighting, and motor cycle stunts, it is also beautiful in that it integrates aerial silk dancing, fire spinning, and more. Be on the lookout while the Guardians are in The Collector’s museum. You might see some familiar faces in the collection. The performs play to a soundtrack and the voices of the characters are voices of the actors from the Disney XD Marvel cartoons. J (6) absolutely loved the show and wishes we could see every performance that is happening in SLC. My wife and I (both in our 30s) also loved the show. There was cheering from all age groups in the audience. Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes truly has something that everyone will enjoy.

We had the opportunity to talk to some of the people behind the scenes of Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes and those interviews will be up on the Geek Parenting Podcast very soon. Tickets for Marvel Universe Live! Age of Heroes start at $20 and go up to $75, the SLC leg of the show goes from now until October 1, so click here to get your tickets today, and join the world of wonder and magic that only the Marvel Universe can bring.

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Avengers Assemble, Guardians Come Together!

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My Very Own “Awesome Mix”

If you follow our social media feeds, you know that J and I are all about Guardians of the Galaxy. J has cosplayed as Rocket Raccoon one day of almost all conventions that we’ve attended. We watched Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 1 ten times before the premier of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, and J has even curated his own “Awesome Mix” with his iPad on my Spotify account. To celebrate the digital release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, I was asked to create an “Awesome Mix” of songs that have shaped my life and have inspired me.

This playlist was hard for me to make because there are so many songs that have shaped my life. When I was a kid, I wanted a career in the industry as either a rock star or a talent scout for a record label. My parents raised us on every genre of music they could from country to rock and everything in between. We listened to show tunes, classical, mariachi, and banda. They had their favorites, but they wanted my brothers and I to develop our own taste in music. My playlist started as my top 10 favorite songs, it then stretched to 20 songs, and finally rounded out to a cool 30 songs.

I would like to think that after Peter listened to Awesome Mix Vol 1,  Meredith (his mother) sat down with him and explained her reasons for putting those specific songs on her mix. And, she probably would have done the same with Awesome Mix Vol 2 had she survived her cancer. So, like any parent wanting to share something they love, please click here to listen to the playlist and read along while I explain why I chose the songs for “James’ Awesome Mix”.

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  1. Superstition by Stevie Wonder: Superstition gets me to that place. Any time I’m feeling like something can’t be done, I turn on this track and just let the arrangement go straight to my veins. I always feel like I can accomplish anything after listening to this song.
  2. La Bamba by Ritchie Valens: Ritchie Valens was an inspiration for me as a young latino wanting to be a musician. He showed that at times when the racial divide was so great, a young latino man could cross a racial barrier and be successful.
  3. Rapper’s Delight by The Sugarhill Gang: I’ve always loved Rapper’s Delight, but it became a special song in my life. I didn’t always have the greatest relationship with my step mom, and that was always on me. She always tried to make a connection, but I would just put up a wall. Long story short, those walls came down and my step mom and I have a great relationship. This song is on my mix because this is her jam.
  4. Oye Como Va by Carlos Santana: Carlos Santana, what can I say? Santana has been a major inspiration in me wanting to play guitar. This man is pure skill and I couldn’t have a mix without a Santana song.
  5. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix: One of the most influential guitarist of all time. Jimi broke down walls with his experimental sounds. Purple Haze was the first Jimi Hendrix song I learned how play on the guitar
  6. Spanish Caravan by The Doors: My oldest brother introduced me to The Doors. I immediately fell in love with Jim Morrison’s lyric style and with the music. Spanish Caravan is one of my favorite Doors song and had to be on my mix.
  7. Sunshine of Your Love by Cream: In my opinion, Sunshine of Your Love is one of the best rock songs in the history of music. Its simplistic melody and guitar riff brings you in and the rhythm just gets you to that special place.
  8. Come Together by The Beatles: The Beatles played quite often in our home when I was a kid. I remember my dad’s love for The Beatles music. He would turn on the music and just lose himself in the music. He’d sit in his chair and just close his eyes and I remember wanting to be just like him. So when I got a job, i bought a stereo with a record player, some headphones and a Beatles album and would just lose myself like I saw him do years earlier.
  9. Careless Whisper by George Michael: Carless Whisper is one of those songs that I never knew what it was about as a kid. I just loved the saxophone and melody. As an adult I love the song because of the passion of the lyrics, but I still love that saxophone.
  10. Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters: Under the Boardwalk was the first song I had the opportunity of singing a solo for when I was in my middle school “jazz choir”. Listening to this song takes me back to a time when I knew that I could face my own fears.
  11. Runnin’ Down a Dream by Tom Petty: Like “Superstition”, this song makes me feel like I can do anything. The rhythm makes you want to move and the lyrics inspire me to work hard on whatever project I’m working on.
  12. Yakety Yak by The Coasters: The Coasters were a fun group. They had imaginative songs and fun melodies. We would listen to The Coasters a lot on weekends when we were doing house work. Yakety Yak was one of those songs that reminded us that we could have fun while doing chores.
  13. Africa by Toto: I have so many memories of me just singing this song at the tops of our lungs. For me, Africa is a song that reminds me to not take myself seriously and always be ready to drop whatever you’re doing and start singing whenever this song comes on.
  14. Strutter by KISS: This is another song inspired by my dad. My dad was a huge KISS fan, he made KISS costumes for us one Halloween, and it was one of my favorite Halloweens ever. The first concert my dad took me to was a KISS concert in 1993. This one is for you dad!
  15. Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen: You can’t have an “Awesome Mix” without Queen. One of the most influential groups of the 70s and 80s needs to be represented on this mix. While Bohemian Rhapsody, We Are the Champions, and Another One Bites the Dust are fantastic songs, I have always been drawn to Crazy Little Thing Called Love.
  16. The Cisco Kid by War: This is another song that would play often while we were doing chores. My grandpa used to watch reruns of The Cisco Kid when he was babysitting my brothers and I, and the 1994 remake movie with Jimmy Smits and Cheech Marin was our family movie, next to Three Amigos.
  17. Heartland by George Strait: I grew up in the Colorado farm town known as Sterling. Before we got our first Wal-Mart your choice of employment was fast food or farm hand. This song reminds me of home. My mom is a big George Strait fan and when my parents were going through their divorce, I was pretty sure he was going to be my step dad. This one is for you mom!
  18. Lithium by Nirvana: Growing up in a farm town and not really feeling like I fit in was rough. Losing myself in Nirvana’s music made me discover that it was okay to not fit in and that everyone had struggles they were dealing with.
  19. Basket Case by Green Day: i firmly believe that I would not be the person I am today without Green Day’s influence. While other kids were getting invited to parties, I was in my room with headphones listening to Green Day and playing along on my guitar. You’re probably thinking, “how sad”, but honestly I look at it as a god send. I wasn’t out getting in trouble, and I wasn’t sad.
  20. Girl’s Not Grey by AFI: It took me a while to really get into AFI. I started listening to them when I joined a band the summer going into my senior year of high school. I loved the guitar riffs and would try similar things in our music.
  21. Soco Amaretto Lime by Brand New: The soundtrack to my senior year. This song reminds me of when I started getting invited to parties with kids in my grade. One of the funnest times I had at school was playing this song at the school talent show with one of my best childhood friends. Sterling High School Class of 2004, this one is for you.
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  22. Papercut by Linkin Park
  23. Numb by Linkin Park
  24. Leave Out All the Rest by Linkin Park
  25. One More Light by Linkin Park
    I have Linkin Park grouped together because of the importance of their music in my life. Like other people, I’ve dealt with depression and suicidal thoughts in my life. One of those bouts of depressions came around the same time I discovered Linkin Park. Their songs spoke to me in a way that music never really did up to that point. I always saw music as speaking to me, and this was the first time that I felt like music was speaking for me. Chester was singing and screaming things that I wanted to say but that I didn’t have the courage to say. Linkin Park’s music was a life changer and I don’t know if I would have come out of some of those dark times without their music. Thank you Linkin Park. My heart is broken from the loss of Chester Bennington, but I think it’s a wake up call that we need to make sure that if we are feeling low that there is a way out. Please talk with friends and family. We can’t keep things inside anymore. If you need someone to talk to, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.             ______________________________________________________________
  26. Amie by Damien Rice: As I grew in my age, I found a love for acoustic music. Damien Rice’s music is so amazing. If I ever feel nerves rising, I can sit with my guitar, play some Damien Rice songs and just feel the tensions of the day melt away.
  27. Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: All of the songs from Once are amazing and that story reminds me of my young dreams of wanting to be a musician. This song reminds me to keep following my dreams, even if circumstances change.
  28. A Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz: This song helps to try and see the beauty in heartache. It has helped me get through the pain of losing my grandfather a week before my son was born. There is a beauty in looking at your situation and just stating, “we’re still here.”
  29. Ain’t No Sunshine by Bill Withers: The soul of this song is amazingly inspirational. The harsh reality of the lyrics taught me that life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows and that we have to make our own sunshine.
  30. I Caught Fire by The Used: My wife and I got married when we were pretty young. We were both fans of The Used when we were dating, and this became “our song.’ Whenever I listen to this song, it reminds me of the spouse I want to be, because my wife deserves every feeling this song shares. My partner in life and love, this one is for you.

There you have it! My very own “Awesome Mix” has been fully explained. I hope you enjoy the playlist and the peek into my life as you are listening to the music and reading this post. What would your “Awesome Mix” look like? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is now available on Digital and will be available on 4K/BluRay/DVD on August 22. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language, and brief suggestive content.

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***Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and I was compensated for creating a playlist and writing this post. I chose all the songs for the playlist and all the thoughts in the explanations are my own.***

Disneyland or Bust!!

Hello! My name is James. I am 30 years old, and I have never been to Disneyland. I’ve always wanted to go, but life would always have a way of seeing me not being able to make the trip. My wife has also never been to Disneyland, and neither has our 5 year old son J. That will end soon. We’ve decided that we don’t want our son to live the Disneyland-less childhood that we had.

We (along with a group of friends) will be carpooling down from SLC, and we will be staying at an AirBnB near the park. We also will be celebrating my 31st birthday at Disneyland (insert childlike squeaks of joy). I have been talking with friends, who have been to Disneyland, pretty much non-stop and I still have no plan for how we are really going to spend our time at Disneyland.

One of my friends and Geek Parenting Podcast co-hosts, Dr. Sarah, gave me a book to read with J and my wife so we can try to make a plan but all looking through that book has done is leave me with more questions about how we are going to fit it all into a few days!

My level of excitement is off the charts right now. I have been wanting to go to a Disney park for about 25 years, and J has been asking to go since Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out. You only go to Disneyland for the first time once in your life. Thinking about the fact that the first time we go to Disneyland as a family will also be the first time any of us get to go to Disneyland, almost brings a tears to my eyes.

It reminds me of when J and I got to see Mark Hamill at Salt Lake Comic Con. Mark Hamill was almost finished with his 45 minute panel, and tears started rolling down my cheeks. J loves Star Wars just as much as I do, and we got to experience Mark Hamill at Salt Lake Comic Con together. If that made me cry, then Day 1 at Disneyland is going to be mostly tears (I hope tissues aren’t too expensive).

So now that I’ve told you all how easy it is to make me cry, I need your help. Those of you who’ve been to Disneyland, what should be on our “must see” list? What are some of the things you do to prepare for such an amazing trip? What costumes should J wear? Let me know by commenting here, or you can tell me on Facebook or Twitter. Also make sure you are watching the Facebook page, we will probably live stream J’s reaction to the news. 

Affordable Kid Cosplay

When I bought our first tickets to Salt Lake Comic Con, I immediately wanted to make J a cosplay for the weekend. I started looking through forums and I started getting nervous seeing how much money people spent on their cosplays and how much sewing, soldering, glueing, designing, etc went into each cosplay. I remember thinking that I would never be able to make cosplays because I didn’t have the technical or artistic skills to do it. If you want to make your kids cosplay but are afraid of costs or worried about you skill set, here are some tips to help you make affordable kid cosplays.

1. Start with simple outfits.:

Don’t make “functional Iron Man” your kid’s first cosplay. Maybe something like a Star Trek character, A blue, yellow, or red shirt (maybe not the red one), a patch ($8 from 8bit Spock on Etsy), some heat ‘n bond, black pants, black shoes and you are done.

2. Pop some tags:

Instead of going to the fabric store and spending $50-$100 on fabric, become a “frequent shopper” at your local thrift shop. All J’s cosplays have components that came from our local shops. if you go this route, you have to get a little creative from time to time.

3. Practice makes…okay:

If you have never sewed anything in your life, start. Rip up some old shirts and try to sew them back together. Do it over and over again until you feel like you are ready to sew a cosplay together.

4. Don’t be afraid to use Heat ‘n Bond or fabric glue:

If you fee like you’re sewing skills aren’t improving, don’t be afraid to use fabric adhesives to stick your fabrics together. It cuts your build time down, and even holds your fabric together if you want to sew it later.

5. Don’t build clunky cosplays:

If you are building a clunky cosplay, you will slowly make the transition from parent to prop holder. Keep it light and keep it small.

6. Don’t compare your builds to other cosplayers:

Whether it’s your 1st or your 30th build, your cosplay will be unique. Your build style will be different from every other cosplayer who may be cosplaying as the same character. Love your build for what it is…AMAZING!!!

7. Wait for Halloween costumes to go on clearance:

If you are feeling like nothing is working with your builds, don’t be afraid of store bought costumes. Sure there are some contests you won’t be able to enter, but kid cosplay is all about your kids just having fun.

The thing to remember is that no matter what you do, your kids will love it (well depending on their age). Have fun and start making some cosplays!!!

Comicbook Wednesday 02-18-15

It’s that time again! Here’s what J and I will be reading this week. Looks like it’s Marvel week for us.

All New Captain America #4

©Marvel

©Marvel

I am loving this New Cap storyline. Think of this as Marvel’s Batman Beyond. An older Steve Rodgers is helping Sam Wilson/Falcon/Captain America from behind the scenes. It’s a little much for J, but I could see this being a favorite of older kids I would say 10 would probably be the youngest.

All New Captain America: Fear Him #3

©Marvel

©Marvel

Cap found where Nomad was being held. With the help of some kids, Nomad escaped Scarecrow’s clutches. Now Cap and Nomad are stuck on a Subway train car with a tunnel filled with teens gassed by Scarecrow. How will Cap and Nomad escape and still save these kids?

Marvel Universe Guardians of the Galaxy #1

©Marvel

©Marvel

Want to get a sneak peek at what is coming to Disney XD later this year? Then make sure you check out this four part GotG mini-series. We are getting our copy today!

Legendary Star Lord #9

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©Marvel

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde are now together with plans of stealing the Black Vortex from Mr Knife aka Peter’s Father. Will they succeed even if though they were followed by one of Knife’s Slaughter Squad members?

Ms Marvel #12

©Marvel

©Marvel

Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel) has taken down the Inventor and his creator is behind bars. A year’s worth of missing persons cases solved in one night. What’s next for this Ms Marvel? With some parental editing, this series is a great one for kids, especially young girls.

Rocket Raccoon #8

©Marvel

©Marvel

Groot is on the brink of death. Rocket and Jink are on their way to find an antidote to the venom that is killing Groot. To save Groot they are going to have to battle a giant monster without the aid of Rocket’s massive gun. Will they get the antidote and make it back before Groot succumbs to the venom?

No More Bullying

GotG Bullying

©Marvel 2015

Of all my fears as a parent, one of my biggest fears is that my son grows up to become a bully. As a parent I try to teach how not to be a bully and to stand up for those being bullied, but you never know if those teachings will hold when that time comes. All you can do is hope that your child remembers what you’ve taught them and they make the right decisions.

In my life, I have been bullied, helped someone who was being bullied, and sadly became a bully myself. I have since apologized to those that I have bullied and hope that they were able to forgive me for my past actions.

When I was bullied I remember hating myself for being different. I found myself hiding who I really was more and more each day. I wanted to be liked, so I feel like I changed my personality entirely to be the kid who was liked by everyone. I feel like that personality has followed me into adulthood and now I fear that it could be something that I could pass on to J.

Something I have learned from being a bully is that it’s not the “strong” bullying the “weak”, but the “weak” bullying someone to make themselves look “strong”. I’ve come to the realization that those who are bullied are the strong ones and the reason they are being bullied is because the bully is jealous of who the one being bullied is.

As someone who has helped other people being bullied, I’ve learned that it feels so much better standing up for your fellow human being rather than tearing them down. I learned that I felt better as a person surrounding myself with “outsiders” and being myself instead of forcing myself to fit in with the “cool kids”.

So how do we teach our kids all the aspects of bullying? Thankfully, there are tons of resources out there that parents can use to help teach their kids about the consequences of bullying. Lucky for us, I didn’t even have to step foot out of Black Cat Comics (our local comicbook store) to find a great resource that I think will really speak to J. The amazing people over at Marvel released Avengers: No More Bullying on January 7th of this year and it is a comicbook that I think everyone with kids should have.

Avengers: No More Bullying explores three different story lines where characters deal with being bullied, helping those being bullied, and how one overcomes bullying. I apologize for not being a great reviewer, but this is a comicbook that parents should read and discuss with their kids. Together we can eradicate bullying, but we need to work together.

From Boy to Raccoon: How I Turned J into Rocket

Building a costume for your children can be tough work. It can be more economical than purchasing an outfit, but it is harder. Especially if you have never sewed in your life. I had the idea to build a Rocket Raccoon outfit for my son when a local convention said that there would be a Guardians of the Galaxy photo booth at the con.

photo op

When you build a comic book character costume for your child, you have to decide which version to use. Many characters have multiple comic versions plus there’s movie and television versions as well. Once I figured out which version looked easiest for my skill level, I started looking for the separate pieces at all the surrounding thrift shops.

The first thing I needed was a jacket, and after searching for a navy colored peacoat for half a day, I decided to just make something that looked like Rocket’s coat. I bought a navy colored turtleneck, some red t-shirts, and some gold buttons.

My first step was to cut out a square outline. I used Heat ‘n Bond to attach the square outline to the turtleneck, and after it was secure I sewed around the edges to keep it secure. The next step was sewing the buttons onto the turtleneck. After the buttons, I had to cut into the trim of the shirt to make it look more like a jacket. I saw that Rocket had red trim around the bottom of his coat, so I had to cut the trim off of a red t-shirt and sew it onto the trim of the turtleneck to give it that Rocket look.

Rocket Shirt

Next on my list was the pants. Simple enough all I had to do was find a pair of 3T navy colored sweat pants. I found a pair at the first store I went to. After purchasing the pants J and I went out to a local frontier shop and bought a raccoon tail. Once we got home I sewed the tail to the butt of J’s pants.  I tried to make it look lively by gluing a wire into the tail, but the glue wouldn’t stick. I eventually sewed the tail in a way that made it look lively. For shoes he just wore a pair of sandals, and we were done with our first attempt at Rocket.

pants with tail

The day before the convention J and I were in the kid’s section at Barnes and Nobel and I saw a Guardians of the Galaxy book that came with a Rocket Raccoon paper mask and I thought it would be perfect for the con. All together our first attempt at Rocket had only cost me $9.

Rocket 1

We went to the con and people loved J’s little outfit. We got our GotG picture and met some amazing people. While at the con we ran into a guy dressed as Deadpool (J loves Deadpool) and we got a picture with him too. Fast forward a few month and we run into this guy again except he is dressed as Spider-Man for a video shoot. After the video shoot we finally introduced ourselves and we talked about J’s outfit. He said that he wanted to add onto what I had started.

Rocket and Deadpool

A few weeks later Kannon (Deadpool/Spiderman) and I started messaging each other about the outfit. We talked about getting the new Rocket mask that Hasbro released and furring it up, about making little furry feet and getting some red gloves. We met in person so Kannon could get measurements, and then I handed over J’s costume pants so Kannon could match fur and we went our separate ways so he could work on J’s outfit. A few weeks later, Kannon and I met up at a pre registration event for Salt Lake Comic Con and he showed us what he had been up to with J’s outfit. He furred up the mask and made it more of a helmet, made a bigger more lively tail, brought some red gloves, and made some furry shoes. And for that he only charged me $30 so in all I spent under $40 for an amazing Rocket Raccoon outfit.

Here is Kannon’s account of everything he did to help make J’s costume one of the best Rocket costumes I have ever seen:

I started by buying the Rocket Raccoon mask from Toys-R-Us. I then looked up all the reference photos of Rocket that I could for the pattern of the fur. I went with a blend of the movie Rocket, and the classic comic one. I then got some white and brown faux fur pieces from Joann’s. Using scissors, hot glue, and the reference photos, I cut and glued the fur onto the face, making sure the mouth and ears still moved. I added a flap under the chin and on the back of the head, to cover the whole head. The feet were a child’s pair of dress shoes, with a Velcro strap. I cut and glued the fur onto them, keeping the strap free to make them easy to put on. The tail was a wire coat hanger, bent into a curl, then covered in a full piece of the fabric. I then used fabric paint to do the black stripes, then sewed it onto the pants. The gloves were a kid’s pair I found at [the local thrift shop], turned inside out.”

Rocket 2

I am so happy with how everything turned out. People were stopping J every 5 to 10 feet at Salt Lake Comic Con to ask for his picture and he was loving the attention. It’s hard to believe that something that started as a 7 day project turned into something this amazing, and for so little money. So before you go and buy your child a costume for Halloween or comic book conventions, why not look into making the costume yourself?

J in costume