Friday, December 30, 2011
AKA: Bauhinia Heroine aka Hong Kong Flower
Operates out of: Beijing, China
Group affiliation: None
Activities: Homeless outreach
Namesake: The bauhinia is the flower of Hong Kong, which Beijing Bauhinia gives out as a calling card.
Inspiration: The 1965 Hong Kong film Black Rose.
Quote: "Although I haven't solved the problem, at least I've caught the attention of citizens and government officials. That was my goal, and besides it's done more than some of the all-talking-no-action government officials."
Author's notes: A mysterious masked woman who aids the poor in Beijing has become a legend in China with 20,000 online followers and it looks like a possible Hong Kong movie version of her life is being produced. I'll be looking into this story further, but meanwhile check out more photos and articles on the Beijing Bauhinia here:
Monday, December 26, 2011
The Black Monday Society-- photo by Jim Wilson- The New York Times
Heroes in the Night was supposed to be on holiday hiatus, but an exciting day of news bumps- somewhat unexpected- has led me to post an update on today's news.
Top of the list is a front page story in today's New York Times, which features a quote from Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos. The story is titled "Crusaders Take Page, and Outfits, From Comics," by Kirk Johnson. Follow the link on the title, the website also has a video that accompanies the article.
The article mostly focuses on a Salt Lake City team called the Black Monday Society. I did meet one of the BMS members- Professor Midnight- at the HOPE 2011 event in San Diego. I've also written about the current BMS leader, Red Voltage (including a lengthy entry on the BMS change of leadership HERE)
I had a phone interview with Kirk Johnson and we talked about a great many things, including "early prototypes" of the RLSH. One of the early prototypes I cited was Terrifica (see an interview I did with her HERE), and that is what he ran with.
The Times article led to me getting an offer to appear on a news radio show on KCBS in San Francisco, so I did a brief 5 minutes or so with them, answering a few typical questions. I also did an e-mail Q and A with la Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, for an upcoming edition.
Hey, I'll take it!
This blog will return in its usual format the first week of 2012...Happy New Year!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
The Challengers outside of Fuel. Photo by Lacy Landre- Third Coast Digest.
The Challengers volunteered for a couple of holiday missions over the last few weeks. Their annual toy drive took place again this year outside of the Fuel Cafe here in Milwaukee (right in my neighborhood, Riverwest)where they took donations of toys and art supplies to be divvied up between two charities, the Gingerbread House and the Meta House.
The Gingerbread House is in nearby Washington County and provides toys to low income families who can't afford to buy gifts.
The Meta House is right down the street from me in Riverwest and is a rehab program for women and their families. They are always in need of art supplies for their art therapy programs.
Challengers The Watchman, Crimson Crusader, Night Vision, and Blackbird as well as Watchman heirs apparent Wonder Boy and Guardian Girl were on hand to collect donations. Things were slower this year compared to last year. We were not able to get the media placement like we did last season and--I don't know--times are hard.
Still, we did get some donations and these were delivered to Gingerbread House by The Watchman and to the Meta House by Blackbird and myself.
The Challengers helping out the Veterans for Peace. Photo by Gary Porter, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Something interesting that came out of the event was meeting a man named Terry who works with a group called Veterans for Peace. He was very interested in what the guys were doing and invited them to an event Monday night.
The event, at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, was a sort of unloading party. Fifty volunteers, including firefighters, veterans, and others unloaded and stacked a donation of 350 cases of food for the Veterans for Peace Food Pantry. Blackbird, Crimson Crusader, and Night Vision joined the human assembly line to help stock the food. The 484th Army Band played Christmas carols as the volunteers worked. The RLSH had a good reception and already are talking with Terry about more ways they can work with Veterans for Peace.
No matter what you celebrate (even if it is the maniacal Real Life Supervillain holiday Ubermas) I wish you all a happy holiday season. I will have a short holiday hiatus myself, but expect a new blog post the first week of January.
GINGERBREAD HOUSE: www.volunteernow.net/vc_no_menu_gingerbread.shtml
META HOUSE: www.metahouse.org
VETERANS FOR PEACE: www.milwaukeevfp.org
Friday, December 16, 2011
Photo by Lacy Landre
Operates out of: Milwaukee, WI
Team affiliation: The Challengers
Activities: Night patrols, charity events
Author's notes: Night Vision is a local RLSH I've met up with a couple times now, once on patrol and once at a Christmas charity event last week. He got inspired to get involved after he found out that his friend was none other than the mysterious Milwaukee RLSH known as Blackbird.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO NEWSPAPER PORTRAYS BAY AREA RLSH AS NAIVE, RACIST
Heroes of the Night, of course, is the source that broke the story of the arrest of The Ray, a young member of the Pacific Protectorate who was arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest in early November. I got the info from a call from Pacific Protectorate leader Motor-Mouth the day after the arrest and updated with news over the following week.
Now a cover story for the SF Weekly has reported not only on the sensational aspects of the arrest of The Ray but has also featured a number of embarrassing quotes from him on the topic of race and crime. The portrayal by writer Lauren Smiley offers The Ray as either (at best) a naive person with an immature view of race and society or (at worst) a racist in a dangerous situation.
I have not had very much communication with The Ray, just a couple very brief e-mails. I am sure he doesn't view himself as a racist, but that doesn't take the quote-marks off of those quotes. I've read (via online speculation of course) that this writer had it out for The Ray- she wanted to shoot and tag him from the get go.
I highly doubt it. It is entirely possible she started the story with best intentions but changed the tune when The Ray started saying "colored" this and "stereotype" that. If someone says stuff like that, it is pretty hard to ignore and reporting it is part of her job.
My only complaint, really, is that there is too much personal information divulged- The Ray's real name, the names of his parents, his dad's business, where they live, where he works- there is no appreciation to privacy to a subject who has brought you in and given you a good story. If someone reads this wants to find The Ray to prove something they now have got a huge lead.
If I were you, Ray, I would lay low.
You can read the article here:
And I would like to hear what you think in the comments section.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Operates out of: Melbourne, Australia
Team affiliation: The Fauna Fighters
Activities: Animal rights activism
Quote: "We're just everyday people, no better than anyone else, with a love of animals, the environment, a desire to better our community and a flair for the theatrical."
Author's notes: The Fauna Fighters caught my eye because of their wonderfully unique and Australian personas. The Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger (actually a marsupial), was declared extinct in the 1930s. Many sightings, however, add to the legend that the species still exists in small numbers deep in the forests of Tasmania. The flying fox family, the genus pteropus, consists of the largest bats in the world. Several flying fox species that call Australia home are on the endangered species list.
The Fauna Fighters do not call themselves "Real Life Super Heroes" but say that the concept was an inspiration to them. They have called themselves "eco-vigilantes," "costumed activists" and "Watchmen of the Animal Kingdom." Their goal is to help find lost pets, collect supplies for animal shelters, raise awareness of animal habitats and "fighting the disgraceful practice of puppy farming and animal testing."
For example, in the video posted below, the duo speaks out against impulse buying of pets over the holidays.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Editor's note- I'm continuing my own annual tradition of helping my local RLSHs by writing a press release for their holiday charity mission.
This year they are again collecting toys and art supplies for two great charities- The Gingerbread House in Washington County and the Meta House right here in my neighborhood, Riverwest. Press release follows.
The term “Real Life Super Heroes” (or RLSH) describes an international movement or subculture of people who adopt their own costumed personas and head out to try to make their communities a better place. For some this is charity or humanitarian efforts. Others use the concept as a platform for activism. And some choose to actively crime fight.
Milwaukee has its own team of RLSH- The Challengers. Much of the team growth has occurred over the last year. The founding member is The Watchman, who operated as Milwaukee's sole superhero for a few years, but is now joined by his team- Blackbird, Crimson Crusader, Charade, Night Vision, and Electron (of Madison).
The team has done charity events, handed out supplies to the homeless, and done a crime watching program similar to a neighborhood block watch (although in superhero gear).
This year, the team is continuing The Watchman's annual tradition of collecting toys and art supplies for a couple of charities- The Gingerbread House, of Washington County, provides toys to low income families. Meta House is a rehab program for mothers and their children located in Riverwest. In addition to toys, Meta House has cited a need for art supplies for their art rehab programs.
On Saturday, December 10, The Challengers will be in person in front of the Fuel Café (818 E. Center Street) from 10AM-3PM collecting donations. They are looking for (new) toys, art supplies, board games, or cash (which will be used to buy additional supplies). Donations will be delivered in person to the two charities the following week.
They aren't saving the world from killer aliens or battling escaped supervillains from Arkham Asylum, but here is an opportunity to meet some superheroes and help out some local charities.
At a glance:
WHAT: The Challenger’s charity toy drive
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 10AM-4PM
WHERE: Fuel Café, 818 E. Center Street
Milwaukee's team of “Real Life Super Heroes,” The Challengers, is working to collect toys, art supplies, and money for two charities- the Gingerbread House in West Bend and the Meta House in Riverwest.
For more information or to set up an interview with the The Challengers, contact:
Contact: Tea Krulos
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Operates out of: Minneapolis, MN
Group affiliation: Great Lakes Alliance
Activities: Patrols, charity events
Favorite quote: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
Author's notes: I met Arctic Knight on a trip to Minneapolis over the weekend and saw Razorhawk and Geist again- I've met those guys several times in the past. I didn't get to talk much, but was amazed to find that the Arctic Knight was taller than me (I'm 6'5!)