Indie cinema’s bad boy who blasted his way into the mainstream movie scene as Marvel‘s billionaire playboy genius Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr is the cool kid that everyone in the playground wants to hang out with. As generous as he is suave and apparently limitlessly talented, there are people out there who would give a lot just to hang out with him for one day. But, with a new fundraising initiative aiming to raise money for Random Act Funding, the charity co-founded by Robert and Susan Downey, you now have the opportunity to spend a day with the actor on the set of the next Avengers movie. (more…)


One of the unique things about the filming of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was its dedication to share the experience with fans, and give a little something back at the same time charity-wise speaking. The Star Wars: Force for Change campaign raised over $10 million dollars for UNICEF through various promotions, notably the auctioning of a cameo role in The Force Awakens, and tickets to the Hollywood premiere of the movie. Now, not coincidentally on the same day as Episode VII’s home video release, Force for Change is kicking off a month-long effort to raise even more money, up to $1 million in matching funds to assist various charities. (more…)


The charity website Omaze has done some, pardon the pun, pretty o-mazing things with Hollywood over the last few years in their drive for giving back to both individual communities and the global environment.  The group has recently started working with the stars of the upcoming film Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice to not only raise money for a good cause, but also to give fans a chance at a once-in-a-lifetime experience. (more…)


I’ve never been to Los Angeles, but I take it that running into a Stormtrooper along Hollywood Blvd. is no big thing. It’s probably also no big deal to run into a celebrity either. How about this though, a celebrity in Stormtrooper armor, and more than that, one of the stars of Star Wars in Stormtrooper armor, offering you a chance to go to the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and meet the stars? No, this is not a Charlie Kaufman movie, this is the latest video for the Omaze campaign, Star Wars: Force for Change. (more…)


One of the first comic books I owned as a Spider-Man adventure that doubled as a powerful lesson about drug abuse and just saying no. Even in the regular comic books, there were public service messages amongst the action and the ads, like a particular Colgate ad I remember that featured Captain America teaming up with an anthropomorphized toothbrush and toothpaste to fight tooth decay. Lesson learned. Comics have the power to do more than be movie franchise fodder, and every now and then we remember that. To wit, Marvel is teaming up with the Children’s Hearing Institute of New York to create two brand new superheroes who can save the world while being hearing impaired: Sapheara and The Blue Ear. (more…)


It’s not unheard of for movies stars to “accidentally” take home some mementos from the set of their film, so when Chris Pratt, star of the at-this-point-all-but-guaranteed blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, recently revealed that he had sticky fingers before leaving the set of the Marvel Studios film, it didn’t come a surprise. The thing that was a little surprising though was Pratt’s stated reason for stuffing his suitcase with some extra stuff from the London set of Guardians, and it wasn’t about collecting fond memories or stuff his closet for a future Ebay auction. (more…)


In this past week’s Episode (“The Mountain and the Viper”), Tyrion Lannister relayed a story to his brother Jaime about their cousin, Orson Lannister*. Orson was a simple boy, dropped on his head and left mentally handicapped, who delighted in smashing beetles in the garden. The speech served for some fans as not only a commentary on the relentless cruelty the people of Westeros face on a day-to-day basis, but also a critique of the seemingly heartless nature of George R.R. Martin’s storytelling. For those folks, Orson was a stand-in for Martin — a God-like simpleton avatar the show’s creators made up to analyze the writer’s barbaric death-dealing. And now, thanks to the glory of crowd-funding, fans can donate to Martin’s favorite charities for a chance at becoming a “Martyr”. In short, $20,000 will earn you a place in an upcoming Song of Ice and Fire novel, where you can become one of these beetles Martin gleefully smashes with a rock. (more…)

Heifer Weekend 2013 11 May 0973

Ah, it’s the holidays, the season for a great number of excessive activities. This is the time of year when I drink excessively, eat excessively (you know, more than usual), shop excessively, burn electricity excessively (my Christmas light setup is a bit extravagant), watch holiday themed specials excessively and commit any number of other very excessive acts of fun and festivity. All of that makes me think, though, usually right around this time, that it would also be a good idea to give excessively, and not just to my family and friends. For me, charity is an important part of the holiday season, and while there are any number of very worthy charity options no matter where you live (children’s toy drives, homeless shelters, food banks, etc.), it’s always nice when you can add a somewhat nerdy spin to your charitable donations. That’s why I’m so happy that Worldbuilders, a charity founded by bestselling The Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss (the bearded gentleman up there holding that adorable creature), exists.



I don’t get to report on nerd news this awesomely adorable nearly often enough:

Miles is 5 years old and suffers from leukemia. His one wish in his difficult life is to be Batman. So the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the city of San Francisco, CA–and numerous other individuals and businesses–have banded together like a Justice League of charity and good will. And on November 15, Miles will get his wish.