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The cast of Tick, Tick… Boom! on Rent and queer culture

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Andrew Garfield and Alexandra Shipp in Netflix’s Tick, Tick... Boom!

Andrew Garfield and Alexandra Shipp in Netflix’s Tick, Tick… Boom!
Photo: Macall Polay/Netflix

Netflix’s new movie Tick, Tick… Boom! might be a lot of things—Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut, Andrew Garfield’s best performance to date, and a biopic of Rent creator Jonathan Larson, just to name a few—but it’s also a look at how the AIDS epidemic was beginning to ravage New York’s gay community in the early ‘90s and how the opportunities afforded queer people weren’t—and in some case still aren’t—equitable to those available to straight-presenting individuals.

It’s something that the film’s Alexandra Shipp and Robin de Jesús recognize keenly. Both out themselves, Shipp and de Jesús connected with Larson’s work on a personal level, as they tell us in the video below.

De Jesús says his role as Larson’s best friend, Michael, meant that he “got to wrap my people in a history that had erased them.” He continues, “The HIV epidemic and the AIDS epidemic did so much to the Puerto Rican community in the Bronx and all over New York City, and there’s not a lot of history about that. Even just putting me in that narrative in that period is reinstating us into history.”

Shipp called out gay misogyny and gay racism in our chat, saying, “We’re a subculture, but we’re a product of our societies.”

De Jesús lauded, “the amount of lesbians who took care of gay men in their last days,” saying, “I don’t know any story that’s ever taken on that narrative at all.” Shipp agreed, saying, “We see articles and there are books about it, but there’s no real conversation about how the community really helps each other. We had to! No one else was doing it.”

We also talked about another project de Jesús has done with a bit of a cult following: the 2003 movie Camp, in which the actor played a student at a Broadway camp that was also named Michael. “It was pure in its devotion to musical theater,” says de Jesús, noting, “the way everyone was just obsessed with it was also pure in a sense…It was just like sheer joy and excitement. That is what we are. That’s what’s inside all of us theater nerds, right? And other cultures of nerds as well.”

De Jesús contends, though, that “What Tick, Tick… Boom! is experiencing in terms of success and backing and love from the community and from power is what Camp deserved.”

Tick, Tick… Boom! is on Netflix now. You can check out our review of the movie here and, if you’re feeling nostalgic, you can also read our original 2003 review of the movie Camp right here, as well.

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Covid: South Africa's president calls for lifting of Omicron travel bans – BBC News

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Covid: South Africa’s president calls for lifting of Omicron travel bans  BBC News

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‘Diablo 4’ release date, delay, trailer, and classes for Blizzard’s dungeon-crawler

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Following the underwhelming unveiling of Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018, many believed Blizzard announced Diablo 4 early to win players back. It’s clear Diablo 4 was early in development, as there wasn’t much to show when it was revealed at BlizzCon 2019. Since then, Blizzard has been careful to not promise a release date for the dungeon crawler, as its development has been slow and seemingly rocky, especially given the atrocities going on at the studio. Still, Diablo 4 is shaping up to be an excellent game, with lots to look forward to. But what do we know about the upcoming dungeon-crawler RPG?

When is the Diablo 4 release date?

Diablo 4 is still under development. Activision Blizzard

Diablo 4 was announced at BlizzCon 2019 without even a vague release date window. In February 2021, Activision-Blizzard’s CFO Dennis Durkin said that Diablo 4 was not part of the company’s outlook for the next fiscal year, indicating it wouldn’t be ready by 2021.

Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham told Game Informer back in 2019 that the fourth entry of the series is still in its early stages of development. “While we’ve been working on Diablo 4 for several years, we still have a ways to go,” he said.

“So we do want to set proper expectations. It’s a big, beautiful, contiguous open world. It’s packed full of creatures. It’s really grounded in the quests and the content that are an order of magnitude beyond anything we’ve done before.” Adham refused to even give a rough timeline of when Diablo fans could expect another update.

Diablo 2 was released in 2001, and Blizzard made fans wait until 2012 for Diablo 3, so it’s clear that the company is in no rush to push out Diablo 4. Plus, there’s good reason to believe that Blizzard wants to make sure Diablo 4 is as close to flawless as possible after the disastrous announcement of the mobile game Diablo Immortal at BlizzCon 2018, which upset many of the game’s long-time fans.

In November 2021, Blizzard announced on an earnings call that more time would be needed for the team to realize its vision for Diablo 4, pushing it to 2023 at the earliest.

Is there a Diablo 4 trailer?

Yes. There are multiple, actually. Blizzard has released a cinematic trailer and a sneak peek at a portion of Diablo 4’s gameplay.

The cinematic announcement not only revealed the main antagonist, but it showed the type of dark and blood-soaked inferno gamers will be battling through.

The gameplay trailer showed off a surprising amount of detail for a game that’s most likely still years away. Blizzard highlighted three types of character classes gamers will be able to play with and some early portions of the game’s campaign.

We also got a look at the Rogue class that will be implemented into the final version of the game. You can check that out in the trailer above.

What are the Diablo 4 platforms?

Blizzard confirmed that Diablo 4 will be playable on PC, as well as both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, during its BlizzCon 2019 announcement. With how far off the game seems to be, don’t be surprised if it also ends up coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Neither of those consoles had been revealed when Diablo 4 was announced, which was most likely the reason why Blizzard only mentioned current-gen gaming systems. Oddly enough, Blizzard has yet to confirm a PS5 or Xbox Series X edition.

What playable classes have been confirmed for Diablo 4?

The Diablo 4 gameplay trailer revealed three classes that will be playable when the game eventually launches: Barbarians, Sorceresses, and Druids.

  • Barbarian: The Barbarian will be a melee-combat specialist with an emphasis on survivability and explosive, close-quarters damage. These warriors can dual-wield devastating weapons and use “warcries” to temporarily send them into a frenzy.
  • Sorceress: The Sorceress will be a ranged spellcaster who harnesses the elements to freeze opponents in place and then blast them with fireballs. She’ll be most deadly at long-range where she can safely cast her destructive spells.
  • Druid: The Druid is a hybrid melee brawler with shape-shifting and summoning abilities. He calls upon nature to imbue him with feral strength and can deal massive elemental damage.

From left to right. The Barbarian, Sorceress, and Druid.Blizzard Entertainment

What other classes could be added to Diablo 4?

If we take the aforementioned classes as a hint to what other character types will be included in Diablo 4, it appears that Blizzard wants to refine all of the classes from Diablo 2.

After the Diablo 2: Lords of Destruction expansion, the game had a total of seven playable classes: Amazon, Necromancer, Barbarian, Sorceress, Paladin, Druid, and Assassin.

Blizzard seems to be heavily inspired by Diablo 2’s class list, but the company could end up creating an all-new class or reusing a few from Diablo 3, like the Monk or Demon Hunter.

What bosses will you fight in Diablo 4?

Lilith will be your main adversary as you trudge through the corpse-riddled world of Diablo 4. She’s a reimagined Succubus queen from Diablo 2 that was summoned using blood magic in the Diablo 4 story trailer.

We don’t know much about what kind of unholy powers she’ll wield, but she’ll be in control of the demonic forces you’ll fight in the majority of the upcoming dungeon crawler.

That’s one long flesh cape, Lilith.Blizzard Entertainment

Will there be microtransactions in Diablo 4?

Diablo 4 will have microtransactions, but it’s unclear what players will be able to pay for exactly.

Lead game designer Joe Shely told Twitch streamer Quin69 that the game will have cosmetic microtransactions, but he was vague enough to make it seem like Blizzard might take them a step further.

Diablo 4 will be available as a base game, and … we’re going to have expansions,” Shely said. “You also will be able to acquire cosmetics in the game.”

Will there be Diablo 4 PVP be added?

Diablo has traditionally been a co-op game for a majority of the franchise’s history, but Blizzard said that it was looking into player-versus-player areas that gamers could travel to in-game. Lead systems designer David Kim told GameSpot how he envisioned that coming together.

“Currently, we are planning on having specific areas of the world where you can choose to PVP if you want to, and the other thing is, we are also exploring some PVP modes that would work really well in Diablo,” Kim said. “So the goal is, we want to have that mixed [player-versus-environment] and PVP type of experience, because everyone knows the PvE, killing swarms of monsters, that’s where kind of the core fun of Diablo is at. We haven’t found something that we really love yet, but once we do, of course, we’re going to tell everyone about it.”

When will we learn more about Diablo 4?

Blizzard Entertainment has consistently kept fans updated with quarterly blog post updates for Diablo 4 since its reveal, but fans are still eager to get a new trailer and in-depth at the whole game.

Given the situation at Activision Blizzard right now, the company has more pressing matters to attend to than doubling down on game development, so it decided to pause planning for BlizzCon 2022, which is where it usually holds its reveals.

Assuming the event does come back, you can probably expect to find out more information about Diablo 4.

Diablo 4 is currently in development.

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AIIMS Chief makes worrying statement on vaccine efficacy

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With over 30 mutations, the new COVID-19 variant called Omicron has already been declared a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Now, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria has noted a worrying possibility of the new variant.

As per Dr Guleria, the Omicron variant’s exceptionally high number of mutations in the spike protein means that the strain can potentially develop an ‘immune-escape mechanism’. Therefore, the AIIMS chief opines, the efficacy of vaccines against the varant will need be be critically examined.

The spike protein if the part of the virus that enabled it to penetrate a host cell and also is being the strain’s transmissibility and infectiousness. Talking to news agency PTI, Dr Guleria said, “The new variant of coronavirus reportedly has got more than 30 mutations at the spike protein region and therefore has the potential of developing immune-escape mechanisms. As most vaccines (work by) forming antibodies against the spike protein, so many mutations at the spike protein region may lead to a decreased efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.”

He said that the efficacy of all vaccines, including those currently being administered in India, needs to be “critically” evaluated. He further added that data on the Omicron variant’s transmissibility, virulence and immune-escape will determine the future course of action.

The new variant is being closely monitored by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG). The Omicron variant has not yet been detected in India, as per officials.

The AIIMS chief stressed on the need to stay vigilant as well as ensuring aggressive surveillance for international travel. He was quoted as saying, “Also, we must ask everyone to religiously follow COVID-appropriate behavior and not let their guards down. Also, it has to be ensured that people get both the doses of vaccine and those who have not yet taken the jab are encouraged to come forward to take it.”

First reported from South Africa and Botswana, the Omicron COVID-19 variant has since been detected in Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel, Germany, Italy and Netherlands. After being first reported on November 24, the variant was desinated by the WHO as a ‘variant of concern’ (VOC) on Friday, November 26.

Meanwhile, the central government urged all states and UTs in India to thorough screening and test all international travelers from South Africa, Botswana and Hong Kong.

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