Fashion Friday :: little princess of questionable choices.

18 Aug

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Pro: Chibi-usa loves her Hotaru.

Con: Chibi-usa also has loved, romantically, her father and a horse-man.

Whatever. She could grow up okay, maybe.

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Hearts! Chibi-usa is a little Valentine child. Up to Parisienne Sweater, Banned at ModCloth.

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And pink. Yes. Expect the Best Pleated Midi Skirt in Magenta, ModCloth.

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Little flat shoes ’cause she’s smol or whatever. Footwear of Gait Importance Flat, B.A.I.T at ModCloth.

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And, y’know, Valentines need lace. Or something. Ankle socks are kinda Loli-style. Just You and Eyelet Socks in White, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Theatre Thursday :: our thoughts on Fun Home

18 Aug

So we saw this a couple of weeks ago, oops, we’ve just been busy and flighty and forgetful. But it was so lovely! If you’ll remember, I did read Fun Home last year, and found it meaningful and interesting and all that, but being a musical nerd I did mostly pick it up because, in addition to admiring the author, I wanted to be prepared for whenever the musical was eventually available to me.

I will preface this by saying that I was disappointed that by virtue of seeing it at the Fifth Avenue, the staging had to be altered from the way it was staged in the videos I’ve seen of the Broadway production, all in the round and fluid and all. It was still very well-executed, set pieces and walls moving in and out as needed, being utilized in unique and versatile ways, but I love weird staging. Oh well. Touring casts just don’t get weird staging most of the time.

That said, it was a very solid show, with a truly excellent and well-rounded cast. I was delighted to notice that the young-man-in-several-roles was one of my original cast Spring Awakening babies, Robi now Robert Hager; I don’t have any particular memories of him because he was a swing and I never actually saw him in any other capacity but he was part of that time so I smiled. Kate Shindle, as Adult Alison, was so very solid (hers is a name I’ve heard for years but never had a terrible lot of context for, so it was nice to finally be introduced). The kids were all fantastic, too. Everyone was just very good, and everyone had moments to shine. That was nice.

But more than the quality of the performances, the experience of the production was fascinating, much in the same way that the Tegan and Sara concert last fall or the Hayley Kiyoko concert this spring were fascinating. Maybe it’s just that there are so few cultural experiences that are so obviously Sapphic-coded, so few things that are so clearly For Girls Who Like Girls, but there’s always this weird charge in the air when the audience is comprised of not just Girls Who Like Girls. Hayley mostly had those, and Tegan and Sara had a lot of them, but at the same time you could pretty much spot the Uncomfortable Heteros, the ones who somehow didn’t realize that they were walking into a bunch of songs about ladyqueerness. At least one couple at Fun Home flat-out got up and walked out of the theater after the sex scene (and honestly, it was heavy petting at most, minimal nudity, no pornographic noises, not even any visible humping), and every time there was Gay Content there was a feeling of tangible awkwardness from at least part of the crowd.

It’s tricky, because as a ladyqueer person myself part of me wants to normalize Sapphic stories in the mainstream of culture, wants to make it so this weirdness evaporates. But part of me also wants to be able to experience these few singularly Girls Who Like Girls-themed things surrounded by only Girls Who Like Girls, to avoid even the threat of weirdness. Either way, I guess the hypothetical end result is the same, no weirdness, but I’m going to stick it out and support ladyqueer content no matter what.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: on Delta Rae live

14 Aug

Again.

So way back when, when my mother and I saw these guys perform at a casino that they didn’t really seem to understand but whatever they still brought it, I seem to remember tweeting soon after that seeing them perform live was one of the closest things (the closest thing?) I’ve had to a religious experience. I cannot find this tweet because it’s very old, but I remember it, and I remembered it at the concert specifically because Brittany told a story about how, while she and her brothers had friends raised Christian, they were “raised confused” but did attend churches sometimes and find themselves moved by the woman who led the music programs. They wrote a song about it, after which Elizabeth made some joke about how they, perhaps, made the audience find some religion. Or something like that. It was similar enough to my original thought that I noticed it, is the point.

Because — yeah, pretty much. I grew up going to church and had a weird churchy phase in high school and sure I’d like to believe in some greater power but also religion makes me really nervous as it’s presented so it’s not really a thing I connect with that much. But what they were talking about, what that particular song captured, and what I feel most explicitly at really good live music events but especially specifically these times I’ve seen Delta Rae, is this kind of euphoria and awe about the world and this glorious audio experience just washing over people. Me, specifically.

Like, I don’t think I can actually fully articulate how intense of a joybuzz I get at a Delta Rae show. I’m not sure what it is about them, exactly, that makes it so noticeable, because I have a great time at the concerts I see and most of the musicals. I could make you a list of songs that have sent electricity up my spine (“Defying Gravity,” “Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise),” “Superboy and the Invisible Girl”; “Love Interruption” by Jack White, “Go Away My Lover” by Elizabeth and the Catapult, “The Night Comes” by Eisley; it goes on and on) but for some reason the second Delta Rae comes onstage I’m just… turned up to eleven for the entire show.

By the time they came on we, drift partner and I (she was largely new to their music but indulging me), found ourselves in the venue’s balcony area (it’s still very close, and given the tall, gross men who pushed in front of us while we were standing on the floor who I would very much like to shame but do not know the names of so I can’t, that’s how angry they made me, it was preferable and the view was much better). We were still behind a thin row of people, sort of sitting/leaning on a bench along the wall, but through a series of odd contortions I had a perfect view of the side of the side of the stage that Eric and Brittany, mostly, were on, and that was enough for me.

The fact that this show was in an actual venue meant that I had no compunction about getting physically, full-body-stim, into the music. Before I felt like I had to sit politely. No such thing here. I was pretty constantly moving, just slightly during slower songs, adamantly during the showstoppers. (Oops. By showstoppers I largely mean the intense crazy-eyed songs Brittany does lead on. They didn’t do some of my favorites this time, no “I Will Never Die” and still no “Fire,” but we of course got “Bottom of the River” – more on that in a bit – and there was a new song, a “cautionary tale,” called “Hitch a Ride,” that achieved that same intensity, among others.) And god, I was sweating buckets but I was having the most blissful time.

Maybe it’s the fact that all of them are constantly so into the performance. Maybe that’s what sucks me in. Maybe it’s the way that Brittany and Elizabeth are so constantly on, dancing and keeping time and singing at each other and climbing on the box they put at the front of the stage and everything. Maybe it’s the harmonies. I’m a giant sucker for harmonies.

Whatever it is, these guys put on a show like no other and it hits me just the right way. This time ’round they prefaced “Bottom of the River” with a scintillating remix-of-sorts of “I Put a Spell On You,” which then got threaded through their own song too, and it was somehow so brilliant that I was probably actually vibrating.

Also they kept talking about positivity and love and supporting people no matter their xyz differences including who they love. And they’re doing this thing where they give free tickets to teachers/school professionals and the winner this time was nominated by her wife and they mentioned that. And we ladyqueers up in the balcony squealed, “Oh, that’s nice!” It’s always nice to feel accepted, especially when you’re on an adrenaline high from beautiful music flooding your senses.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Spoiler Alert Saturday :: our thoughts on Atomic Blonde

12 Aug

Damn, guys. I’m sorry. It’s been incredibly busy lately, and I’m just going to leave it that and move along.

Now, if you’re here you probably know all the reasons you might not like this movie. All of those are valid. But we went anyway, because we wanted to watch Charlize Theron kill guys. And of course, that’s the #1 reason that you could, in fact, like this movie. Here’s five others.

  1. The aesthetic. It’s a comic book movie (though a lesser-known comic, one I’d not heard of) and that’s pretty clear from a lot of the visual layout. The hotel room in particular is a total illustration.
  2. Charlize’s character Lorraine also has an incredibly satisfyingly cohesive and interesting wardrobe that has its themes (black and white and maybe red) without being too reliant on the 80s setting.
  3. There is a very good amount of girlkissing. Yes, this doesn’t end well. No, we’re not excusing that, and yes, we look forward to a movie where Sofia Boutella gets to be happy without being painted to look like a space alien. But there’s girlkissing (and girlsex!) that didn’t feel entirely male-gazey. They’re actually cute and converse and cuddle.
  4. Bad things happen to the men that deserve it. Pretty much all of them.
  5. Bill Skarsgard’s Merkel was oddly charming, and I’m not just saying that out of Skarsgard bias, because I didn’t actually connect the dots of who he was until the end. I just liked the character.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Things in Print Thursday :: monthly big queer book review [Otherbound]

27 Jul

Jumping right into July’s big queer book since June’s entries were posted so late.

Otherbound is the first novel by Corinne Duyvis, author of my much-loved On the Edge of Gone. Corinne Duyvis is queer and autistic and runs Disability in Kidlit online, and as I knew from the other novel there is a significant commitment to diversity! I wasn’t sure how that was going to pan out in Otherbound because it’s largely in a fantasy setting (where diversity is always… interesting) but never fear, there’s plenty to be found.

There are two protagonists to this story, whose points of view alternate: Nolan, a Mexican-American teenage boy in present-day Arizona (his father and sister also study Nahuatl, a native Aztec language), and Amara, a teenage servant girl in the fantasy-world Dunelands. Nolan has the ability to slip into Amara’s world and consciousness, which everyone around him perceives as epileptic seizures, and he also uses a prosthetic after losing part of one of his legs in a “seizure”-related accident; Amara is a healing servant, which means that her magical ability to heal is exploited to aid the princess she serves (who suffers from a curse that makes her essentially able to be killed by the slightest injury, which is of itself a chronic problem), and like all servants in her world her tongue was cut because they’re not permitted to speak, which means she communicates in sign language. Additionally, the princess, Cilla, is explicitly characterized as being not a white person (the terms used are all fantastical because of the world, but she’d be played – hopefully – by a dark-skinned black girl in a screen adaptation) and a large number of the other characters are as well. So, A+ right out of the gate.

And much like the story deals with physical diversity without fussing (Nolan’s disabilities are prominent, but because they affect his life and his family, and Amara is consciously aware that she signs instead of speaking, but the only one to characterize them as DIsabled People is a villain) it also deals with the b-word. Bisexuality! I don’t actually remember if it says the word in the text of the novel but it did win an award for bisexual rep and that’s on the back cover, so there’s no denying it. Amara is attracted to both male and female characters, and though there is some contention given the individual characters, there’s none regarding her orientation; there are also no explicit love triangles, which is a relief.

The actual story is compelling; the Dunelands are, as could be expected, fraught with peril, and both Amara and Nolan-in-Amara have to navigate all manner of surprises. The few big plot reveals can’t be spoiled without, well, spoiling things entirely; what can be said is that the action is heavily focused on the second half of the story. In order to familiarize the reader with these parallel worlds, the first few chapters are very slice-of-life, which isn’t bad but bears mention. The magic is specific but not so complicated one can’t wrap one’s head around it, and the parameters of the universe are understandable once explained.

I will also say, though – I kept sort of expecting something gross to come of a teenage boy being sometimes in a teenage girl’s body. It didn’t, really. There’s mention of some voyeurism, which once she realizes Amara is understandably upset about, but the narrative is refreshingly respectful. (I’m sure this is because the author isn’t male; I’m not saying it’s impossible for men to write female protagonists but it is much more likely to get sketchy fast.)

Overall, a good go! I like Duyvis’ other work better, probably because I relate to it more closely, but this was very entertaining and in parts compelling enough that I abandoned my daily page limit to find out what happened next.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Television Tuesday :: a devil’s bargain?

25 Jul

Spoilers for Game of Thrones weeks one and two ahead.

You guys, I really want to maintain my passion for this canon. I’m sure you know that. For the most part the first two episodes have been perfectly fine! Sure there’s been a fair bit of “yes, but…”

  • Jon (Kit Harington) and Sansa (Sophie Turner) coexist and have some modicum of mutual respect for each other, and he gave her leadership credentials while he was away on business, but also they disagree openly and at least once per episode and the potential conflict between them is a major talking point of what’s to come.
  • Sansa and Jon have both essentially told Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) to bugger off, but he still hasn’t.
  • Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) is there, supporting the hell out of Sansa, but she hasn’t actually done all that much (nor have the circumstances of Brienne’s last scene in s6 been discussed, which isn’t that big of a deal but should probably happen at some point in some context).
  • Lyanna (Bella Ramsey) has been kicking everyone’s asses verbally, but I really want to see her take up arms dammit.
  • Arya (Maisie Williams) had a very nice moment with some Lannister-military randoms, but one of them was Ed Sheeran and I am opposed to that on principle.
  • Arya also ran into her direwolf Nymeria, but Nymeria is a damn wolf and wanted to stay in the Riverlands doing wolf stuff. Arya understood this, but it was still sad.
  • Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) has people around her and that’s really cool, but nobody seems to be 100% on the same page of how to handle things.
  • Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) and Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel) had an absolutely beautiful love scene that was honestly revolutionary and I’m kind of shocked it even happened because it was so beautiful and also given the particulars it was not really like love scenes on anything, but now I’m worried about both of them because of it.
  • Euron (Pilou Asbaek) is more like he is in the books, but that means he’s actually the worst terrible curse word and has already done things that rank him with being as heinous as Ramsey Bolton. Things that are so heinous I didn’t even watch them, just read about them because I am bloody furious. Expect, by season’s end, an essay on the mishandling of my Dornish babes. Because Anger is happening.
  • We’ve finally seen the alliance between Dany, Yara (Gemma Whelan), Ellaria (Indira Varma), and Olenna (Diana Rigg), and while contentious in part (as mentioned above) it’s a bunch of badass ladies being badass, but we’re only two episodes in and everything has already gone to hell for them.
  • Yara and Ellaria kissed, but now they are both at assface Euron’s mercy.
  • Obara (Keisha Castle-Hughes), Nymeria (Jessica Henwick), and Tyene (Rosabell Laurenti Sellers) had an actual scene with lines and conversation and sister banter and the actresses have such a good dynamic with each other even though I wish they’d get to show the non-banter aspect of their sisterhood too, but Obara and Nym are now dead and Tyene is also at assface’s mercy. Did I mention how mad I am?

It’s a devil’s bargain. You get some things and have to give up others. You’re so happy about beautiful things but then Euron exists. Etcetera.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Something to Tell You

17 Jul

This new HAIM release is a couple weeks old but whatever here I am.

“Want You Back.” HAIM has the magical ability to sound exactly like they’re from the 1980s but not in an electronic way but also not in a cheesy. Or the early 90s. This reminds me of music that would be on the soundtrack of the Baby-sitters’ Club movie. That was the 90s but whatever. It’s kind of the 80s-90s. I saw the video for this song already and it’s cute too. HAIM is not a band that necessarily evokes deep reactions in me but I enjoy them.

“Nothing’s Wrong.” It’s like nostalgia but it can’t be nostalgia because this is brand new to me. I don’t mind this contradiction. It works. It also means everything has this like, vaguely cheerful air even when it’s not necessarily a cheerful song (as here).

“Little of Your Love.” This is just… cute. It also sounds not unlike something that would be on the end of a Care Bears movie. That’s a compliment.

“Ready for You.” There’s all these cute little slides they do with their voices that just further the aesthetic. HAIM is just very aesthetic. Very… “friendship is magic” honestly. It grooves and cheers and it’s generally good.

“Something to Tell You.” This is warm. Kind of a musical security blanket. It’s absolutely not dark or melancholy.

“You Never Knew.” Like, I think you could look at these titles and expect something much more introspectively sad than it really is. It’s really not tonally sad at all.

“Kept Me Crying.” This one is sad to start, but it can’t even keep the melancholy up. It sounds more like a fuck you anthem, tonally. Fuck you anthems are important. I think it’s the harmonies that sound the most Baby-sitters’ Club. I’m only just someone you call when it’s late enough to forget.” Ergo, fuck off! But cheerfully.

“Found It In Silence.” “Thought he was a modest man who could put me back together again, tried so hard to read his mind through his eyes” this… sums up so much for me? I don’t think this is what they intended at all, but that lyric absolutely smacks of women (fictional and real) who try to create men to love out of lumps of mediocre man-clay.

“Walking Away.” This feels precocious and I’m not sure why. That’s not bad. It’s cute. That’s just the feeling I’m getting.

“Right Now.” This is sweeping and orchestral in parts. This sounds like the love song performed by a pop star in a Disney cartoon from the 90s.

“Night So Long.” This is so far the most melancholy of the songs but it’s still melancholy in a very 80s pop way. Like the sad song in a Disney cartoon from the 90s.

–your fangirl heroine.

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