Tag Archives: Los Angeles

New Web Series Coming Soon! Aliens! Monsters! Heroes!

Robert Diaz Leroy

Web series are all the rage now and it’s hard to keep up with all the good stuff out there. Here at SciFi Latino I like to highlight those genre productions involving Latinos, and this week one very interesting press release came my way with geeky goodness and Latino participation. Richard Hays and Robert Diaz LeRoy of Last Ronin Entertainment are producing and distributing seven weekly web series.  

Their first web series, Crime Scene X, will be released on September 24th. According to the press release, the story revolves around “the strange partnership of Jonathon Moon, a late night radio talk show host known as the Prince of the Paranormal, and Tony Rustic, a hard-boiled L.A. detective as they pursue an extraterrestrial serial killer.” CSX stars Frank Piciullo as Moon and Jeff Prewitt as Tony Rustic.  

The next series, Kronikles, will also be built around Moon’s radio show and  will launch in early October. Five more web series featuring Moon characters are being produced for later in 2010 and early 2011. These include AKA: Monster Bill, a series about a veteran monster hunter; Sue Sayer, a series about a teenaged psychic; and The Legend of Two Snakes, a series about a Native American who becomes both a serial killer and a super hero after being bitten by rattlesnakes.  

Last Ronin Entertainment is the brainchild of Robert Diaz LeRoy, who directs and co-writes the seven web series (and also stars as the enigmatic shape-shifting  character ‘Two Snakes’) and Richard Hays, creator of Jonathon Moon, and producer and co-writer of the seven shows.  They will diversify their offerings with novels and graphic novels based on the web series’ characters, feature films, television specials and more. “I’m not sure that anyone has really tried this, but Robert and I believe in the model and are very pleased with the product. The important thing to us is to keep raising the bar as far as production value and quality of story and character while keeping the shows affordable,” Hays said. “It’s quite a challenge.”  

Robert Diaz LeRoy’s ethnic background is Mexican and Native American (Tohono O’odham). He is a writer, director, and actor whose movies have played and garnered awards around the world. According to his bio, “his influences began with childhood days interacting with his medicine man great-uncle on the Yuma reservation, to ranch hand, railroad car welder, commercial artist, painter, downhill mountain-bike racer, college instructor, undercover researcher and Demonstrative Evidence expert in the reconstruction of capital crime murder cases working on behalf of the accused.” Besides the web series, Diaz LeRoy is in post production for the 1950s sci-fi film Countdown 2 Zero which he wrote and directed.  

Where to watch: Crime Scene X will debut on Koldcast.tv and several other sites. Enjoy the trailer here:  

 

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Gods Don’t Need Sex Tapes to be Popular in ‘Smoking Mirror Blues’ (Book Review)

tezcatlipocaWhat would happen if the Aztec god of trickery Tezcatlipoca were to appear in our world? How would he gain power? By going viral of course. This is the premise of the novel Smoking Mirror Blues, written by Ernest Hogan.

Set in Los Angeles, the story begins when Chicano virtual reality game designer Beto Orozco uses bio-nanochip technology to revolutionize religion and bring an AI god to life. He appropriates this technology created by Mexican friend Xochitl Echaurren, originally for use in belief system research. Things go terribly wrong in Beto’s weird science experiment and he winds up possessed by Tezcatlipoca. Meanwhile in Mexico, Xochitl is hounded by monotheist fanatics due to her god-creating program.

During the ‘Dead Daze’ celebration, where permissiveness and violence are the norm and the mediasphere is always watching, Tezcatlipoca or ‘Smokey’ as he is nicknamed, finds fertile ground to begin his reign of chaos. Smokey topples a gang leader, and as the gang’s new boss, he has direct access to its corporate sponsors. In this world, corporations have adopted gangs and integrated them into LA society. Previously the gang’s main job was to patrol their turf for people who didn’t have their sponsors’ latest apparel- a type of aggressive Fashion Police. With Smokey at their head, the gang members become unwitting minions of a malicious god. The gang helps Smokey gain followers for his hypnotic music and personality cult, while hopped up on the drug of choice ‘Fun.’ ‘Smoking Mirror Blues’ is the name of Tezcatlipoca’s hypnotic song set to dominate the world via mediasphere.

Besides AI technology, the author presents a future LA where races are mixed and celebrated. The author calls it a ‘recombocultural trimili world’. You can easily switch races and alter your appearance through cosmetic technology. Other interesting technologies in the book are robotic guard dogs, a Toshiba sonic immobilizer, and a tranquilizer-infused ‘Peace Foam’ used for crowd control.

Ultimately the story is about how Smokey manipulates peoples’ desires and the media to gain power. The book Smoking Mirror Blues, just like Tezcatlipoca, is a bit chaotic. It constantly shifts from one point of view to the next, even of secondary characters. The style is literary shaky cam. Some people might like this, but I must admit that shaky cam makes me nauseous. There are also constant plot interruptions: hallucinations, news station coverage, explicit sex scenes, detailed travel time, and the monotheist cult’s surveillance. I would have preferred a more focused story. Still, I enjoyed the futuristic technology and the idea of an Aztec god running amok in modern times. Also, Smoking Mirror Blues really brings the diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation of the characters.

UPDATE August 8, 2010: There is a great interview with Ernest Hogan over at ‘La Bloga’ about his background and other works.

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The Raven, Futuristic Film Set in Los Angeles (Sci-Fi Short)

Beautifully shot shorts on a budget are quite popular these days. The web is buzzing with this new short directed by Peruvian Ricardo de Montreuil  and written by de Montreuil and Antonio Pérez. Their budget was all of $5,000. Set in 2074, the film shows Chris Black (played by Víctor López), a young man of mysterious powers persecuted by the LAPD. The Raven short is based on a trilogy written by de Montreuil which he hopes to film one day. Click here for a look. For more information on this film, go to their official Facebook page.

UPDATE 7/17/10: Latino Review reports“Mark Wahlberg is in talks to star and produce the feature version of THE RAVEN at Universal with Montreuil directing! Screenwriter Justin Marks is penning the script.” I have mixed feelings about this.  It’s great for de Montreuil, but if Wahlberg is the star, then we missed out on the opportunity of a Latino lead like the one in the short. Not saying that it has to be the same actor, and I do like Mark Wahlberg, but…  slightly disappointed here for what could have been. Still, if these ‘talks’ go through, congratulations are in order for de Montreuil and his original crew for a job well done.

UPDATE 7/19/10: Cinema Blend and other sources confirm Mark Wahlberg is already developing the script, and will star in the movie.

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