Fashion Friday :: disaster queen, I’m going to call her now.

13 Apr

Nehelenia

Nehelenia is a big, overdramatic mess of a woman. She’s not my favorite big bad on the show by any means but she does have some aesthetic.

comfort

This is a hard look to recreate though, because it’s mostly just nonsense. What I’m taking away from this is: cream and green, and Nehelenia likes to emphasize her boobs. Comfort and Charisma Lace Bralette in Ivory, ModCloth.

breathtaking

This is a classic and I will use it forever. Breathtaking Tiger Lilies Skirt in Clover, ModCloth.

that's what

Sure. That’s What You Glitz T-Strap Heel, ModCloth.

curves

It’s like the moons on her jewelry but facing the other direction but still, close enough. Curves a Purpose Pendant Necklace, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Kate Nash live (and Yesterday Was Forever)

9 Apr

I’ll be doing this one like the recent First Aid Kit post because the album was released last week and I also saw her show last week and, really, that’s a much more visceral experience to discuss.

First of all: I’ve literally been into Kate Nash’s music for ten years. That’s a long freaking time. I’ve obviously been into other artists for that long or longer, and I’ve seen many of them live, but this was something I’ve been waiting virtually ten years to do. That only really hit me when we were actually at the show and I was kind of awestruck. Teenage me liked Kate Nash because teenage me liked cute quirky sarcastic British girls who played the piano and wrote interesting lyrics. Teenage me also had a massive crush on Kate Nash, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.

Then I got a little older. I noticed things like how Kate Nash sang about friendship and feminism but also, you know, maybe romantic stuff with girls sometimes. (Could she be…? Could she like…? WAS SHE A BISEXUAL WOMAN JUST LIKE I HAD REALIZED SUBSEQUENTLY THAT I WAS? I remember listening to “Sister” for the first time and being just awestruck but not entirely believing my luck until I saw the music video which, indeed, featured her and another girl. I also remember this because I posted a link to that video, in full joyousness, on tumblr – the very day before my now-wife first admitted her feelings to me. Neither of us came from having had bad love experiences with other girls, but both of us were rather gun-shy, and the timing of me linking a video that’s essentially about that same thing… well, it sticks out in my mind for obvious reasons.)

She also sang, not incidentally, about mental health stuff, and that was another thing I was learning about myself actually right around the time I first got into her music. It’s not rare for artists to sing about mental health, but it’s rare for cute pop songs to be so openly about mental health that they literally say the words “mental health” in them more than once. (Multiple songs off the new album address this particular topic, among them “Life In Pink” – which was even more delightful live, incidentally, and which I relate to almost absurdly – and “Musical Theatre” – which she straight-up said at the show was about how it feels inside her head sometimes, and which also feels very familiar.)

Basically this was something I’d been needing for a very long time, and I finally had it. Our opening act was one Miya Folick, who reminded us that riot grrl is not dead. Mad guitar riffing, plus she has an amazing voice that she was doing that cool Corin Tucker-y soprano-on-top-of-punk thing with constantly. She was also… I can’t find sources discussing her sexuality for suresies, but she seemed quite, y’know, not hetero. Fine by me!

Kate herself came out like a beautiful drama queen. Her all-girl band jammed through “Play” before she actually skipped onstage, at which point we got the beginning of “Foundations” and it was so ecstatic. There were a lot of Made of Bricks songs, which surprised me; she’d done the ten-year anniversary tour last year, so I guess they were still fresh in the repertoire, but I was delighted, make no mistake. Being as that was her first album it’s the one I first fell head-over-heels for, it was great to hear so much of it live. (I wasn’t really expecting “Merry Happy,” so when we eventually got it I kind of lost my shit; I’m not sure why that’s my favorite track from that album, but it just is and I was delighted.)

We got a fair bit of My Best Friend is You, though not nearly as much Girl Talk as I’d have wanted; we did get “Fri-End?” and “Sister,” though, and the latter was pretty much my number one want. There was also a lot of stuff from her new album, obviously, and “Agenda” from her last EP (god, I love that track). And all in all it was a joyous time.

And she kept talking about how we had to love ourselves, and if we didn’t want to say we were awesome yet we could just tell ourselves she said we were, so there, and things like that. Basically she’s awesome and I will shout it from the rooftops.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Expectations

2 Apr

It’s hard to believe this is actually Hayley Kiyoko’s first full album, but it is.

“Expectations (Overture).” The theatre nerd in me loves when normals start albums with overtures. It just… sets up a mood. It’s very good.

“Feelings.” I obviously heard this song the day the video came out months ago, but it’s just perfect. It’s literally a song, as drift partner puts it, about how happily gay Hayley Kiyoko is. It’s a happy song about being Sapphic, you guys. It’s a jaunty little tune about loving being a woman who loves women. The world needs Hayley Kiyoko and she is a gift and blessing. Also, this song is really catchy and really true: “I overcommunicate and feel too much, I just complicate it when I say too much” is basically the cliched rallying call of the Sapphic person, who are stereotypically very, well, full of feelings.

“What I Need.” Featuring someone called Kehlani. So far this is also catchy, but then Hayley is really good at catchy. This is about a different Sapphic trope: one partner is more committed to the relationship than the other, possibly because of the second person’s anxiety about being Sapphic, and the first partner just… well, would like the other to get with it. Offers sympathy, but there’s only so much they can do. Etc.

“Sleepover.” I’ve been listening to this song since its video was released even more months ago, and it’s… a third Sapphic trope. The girl who’s in love with her best friend but doesn’t have these feelings reciprocated. She just really wants what she wants, but she’d rather have what she has than nothing at all. Having literally been in this situation before myself, #relatable. This one is a slower jam, but it’s got a lot of soul and dynamic nonetheless.

“Mercy / Gatekeeper.” There’s a trancey vibe to this. “When the city sleeps” she sings, and indeed this song feels like that proverbial urban rumble that’s meant to always be happening lowkey in large cities. I feel like this is probably constantly going on in any large city at any given time of night, which… well, introspection is kind of another Sapphic trope, so. Then it segues neatly into something that feels more like the city when it’s awake, which makes perfect sense. “Nobody can poison my feelings if they’re never revealed.” Wow rude? “Don’t let me die with my soul in the air, don’t let me die when there’s nobody here” wowwwww rude.

“Under the Blue / Take Me In.” I’m kind of spacing out to this, it’s very dreamy, but I mean that in the best of ways. And then this one segues into something that’s much more of a jam, echoing earlier musical themes and lyrics! This is really a pretty masterful piece of work, Hayley.

“Curious.” And I’ve also been listening to this one a lot. It’s yet another Sapphic trope: the more committed partner being frustrated by the other one’s indecisive, well, what presents as bicuriosity of sorts. That’s why the title is so damn clever because Hayley is curious if her potential gf is up for it.

“xx.” An interlude! That’s fun.

“Wanna Be Missed.” This is just a song of longing. It’s overtly Sapphic but come on, we all know this feel!

“He’ll Never Love You (HNLY).” The frustrated Sapphic: frustrated with their object of desire’s frustration, the object of desire’s being interested but also stuck on a guy who, well. This is catchy as hell. Drift partner gave this a listen before I did and said there was one song that “is angry Skimmons/anti-FS-y.” I think I found the thing, I’m just saying.

“Palm Dreams.” This is just sort of cheery, even if it’s not entirely actually that. “California, just a bad dream, I will hang around until you want me.” That’s cute. Her music is really very West Coast. And this one segues into instrumental introspection too! That’s nice.

“Molecules.” Holy… shit… “Pale lies of my heart, everything got shattered in the dark. Tried to be evolved, does it really matter at all?” This one also has streaks of angry Skimmons. Angry because life is mean, fyi, not angry at each other. Angsty Skimmons, more like. Which… yeah. Also, it uses science words like “molecules”and “cells” which obviously tags it. Augh.

“Let It Be.” This one was prereleased a little while ago and therefore I’ve heard it before, but mm, it’s so good. And now in light of the track before this it’s a really nice balance. Counterpoint. Sometimes life is mean but look, here, come on, here I am, let’s be gay. “Can’t imitate us it’s breaking my bones, heart up in chaos that keeps me alone, wasted the beautiful all on my own, I’m making a new home.” Hayley is sometimes referred to as lesbian Jesus and, yes. Yes.

–your fangirl heroine.

Theatre Thursday :: our thoughts on Hamilton

29 Mar

(Mostly drift partner’s thoughts, honestly.)

As y’all know, I (fangirl heroine) got on the Hamilton train a reasonable while ago. The thing is, Hamilton is fantastic and I love it, but I also know that it’s not really for me, entirely, and that’s okay. I’m fine with that. It’s important that it is what it is, and I’m still so thrilled that we got to go, like holy damn. I definitely saw people getting up during the show and like, if you really have to go to the bathroom that is what it is, but also, you got to see freaking Hamilton you should sit your ass down and enjoy it for the sake of everyone who doesn’t get to do that themselves.

I (drift partner) am nothing if not a contrarian, so it took me months to get around to listening to Hamilton for the first time. I still think In the Heights is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s better musical, if less universally appealing. That being said, I absolutely understand why Hamilton has become a phenomenon, and it’s deserved. Hamilton is a great musical, and it being so popular doesn’t negate that. (That being said, I have some thoughts on the Hamilton fandom and how so much of it is white people, but I won’t get into that right now.)

We saw the Philip Tour cast, dedicated to the memory of Philip Hamilton. It’s pointless for me (and me) to review the musical itself, because of course it’s great, but here are some thoughts on this cast and production in particular:

  • Marcus Choi was cast as George Washington in late 2017, and I heard about it in late January. I don’t always have feelings about Asian people getting cast in huge roles, but this felt weirdly “big” to me, so I was really hoping that I’d get to see him as Washington. Luckily, I did! I don’t have a lot of thoughts or feelings on Washington as portrayed by Christopher Jackson on the OBCR, but I really loved Choi as the General. I’m not sure if it was personal bias, but I felt like he “popped” a lot more for me, and I got genuinely emotional during “One Last Time.” I also liked his voice more than Jackson’s – Jackson has a nice voice, but Choi’s voice came across as more dynamic and expressive to me. Even if the rest of the cast had been duds (they aren’t, of course), Choi would have made the show for me.
  • Shoba Narayan as Eliza had big shoes to fill, because I adore Phillipa Soo, but she definitely met my expectations. Her performance of “Burn” gave me chills, and you could tell that she was putting everything she had into the “Stay Alive” reprise. Also, I (your fangirl heroine) am not often a crier where fiction is concerned, you know this about me, but when she was belting out her verses in the finale I seriously choked/welled up, she was killing it so hard. I’m honestly struggling to remember the last time I got chills that hard (not to say I don’t get chills often during musicals, but) because she was absolutely transcendent. She and Joseph Morales had great chemistry, and I loved watching them together. Soo will always be my favorite Eliza, but Narayan was a highlight of this show.
  • Speaking of Joseph Morales, I found his take on Alexander really interesting. Lin-Manuel Miranda is completely incapable of even a little bit of chill or of coming across as anything but painfully sincere, even if he’s trying to play a flirt. His Alexander has so! many! feelings! all the time! Whereas Morales’ Hamilton came across as a bit more of a bro – not in a bad way, but he was a little more cocksure and he played some of the jokey asides in a way that came across as more wink-wink than the one on the OBCR. It was cool to see someone’s interpretation of a character that I’m so familiar with that was so different.
  • Nyla Sostre was delightfully hammy as Peggy Schuyler (this is important because Peggy is comedy gold) and absolutely stole the show every second she was onstage as Maria. It was actually sort of funny watching her with Morales, who was playing up the “feelings what are those” dudebro thing, while Sostre was having EVERY FEELING EVERYWHERE.
  • I found Nik Walker’s Burr mostly pleasant, although I don’t know what happened but “Wait For It” was weirdly understated. I was a bit disappointed because that’s my favorite song, but he was fine in every other song, so oh well, it may have just been the one off song. “Dear Theodosia” was gorgeous, and he and Morales sounded wonderful together. I think there was a sinister/purposeful undertone missing that Leslie Odom Jr. puts into the OBCR, but Walker is a great singer and I can definitely see what he brings to this role.
  • Fergie L. Philippe was another person who was absolutely chewing all the scenery he could whenever he was onscreen, and he was a delight. His Hercules Mulligan was a powerhouse (as he should be), and his James Madison was just the right combination of bully-bro and legitimate political threat.
  • Daveed Diggs is a hard act to follow, but Kyle Scatliffe absolutely killed it as Lafayette and Jefferson. He was doing a very silly French accent, as is appropriate, and dancing all over the stage and having a blast. I love it when I can tell that actors really love their job, and he definitely does. (I will say that it’s good that I knew the lyrics so well, because the silly French accent does make it a bit hard to enunciate words.)
  • Groff is a really hard act to follow, but Jon Patrick Walker was clearly having the time of his life as King George. Of course, the audience lost their shit every time he came onstage, and he ate it up. He was a little more simpering and nasal than Groff, which actually worked better for this production, I think.
  • There were some cool staging details that I didn’t know about because I’ve only listened to the album.
    • Eliza literally burning the letters onstage during “Burn” is a great visual touch, although I was a little anxious about the fire (I’m sure it’s fine, my anxiety is just exacerbated by fire).
    • I didn’t realize King George is there during “The Reynolds Pamphlet,” dancing around like a loon, and honestly, that just made what was already one of my favorite songs that much better.
    • I also didn’t know that Maria/Peggy’s actress is in the background/chorus of so many songs, but she is (I could tell because of the red dress). That was a fun little visual game for me.
    • I (your fangirl heroine) am the bar wench, as you know. This has always been my thing and it always will be, and so when there was a chorus girl tending bar during “My Shot” (and one of the white girls no less, so I didn’t feel bad about appropriating) my mom leaned over, nudged me, and whispered “That’s you.” Of course it was, and of course I wound up watching her through the ensemble numbers for the rest of the show. I’m not a hundred percent sure which cast member she was, but she was a lot of fun to watch. I mean, they all were, but, you know. That’s me.
  • I (drift partner) expected to cry a lot more than I did, which is fine because I hate crying in public. I did a bit during “History Has Its Eyes on You” because I had some feelings about Asian-Americans being badass and stuff, though.

–your fangirl heroines.

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Fashion Friday :: I thought she was the youngest!!!

23 Mar

pallapalla

This still freaks me out. PallaPalla acts like the baby of the group. The fact that she isn’t is really, really weird.

classic panache

We’re starting with a cute dress, the silhouette of which is very vintage and dollyish since those are her thing. See, it’s got a collar like her necklace, right? That’s good. Classic Panache Fit and Flare Dress.

warm

This is pattern/texture mixing but that seems appropriate and whimsical. Warm Wonderland Knit Tights in Navy, ModCloth.

toe-tap 2

This does mean the outfit is predominantly darker blue than the original, but the vibe is still there. Toe-Tapping Turns Velvet Flat, ModCloth.

mod myself

And damned if these aren’t perfect. Mod Myself Clear Earrings, ModCloth.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on I’ll Be Your Girl

19 Mar

Hello my dearest Decemberists! I’m ready.

“Once In My Life.” “Oh for once in my, oh for once in my life, could just something go, could just something go right” I know that feel buddy. This has a sort of 80s jam to it, and/or driving into the sunset at the end of a dramedy film. Oh, there’s the river! What river? The river. You know. The one that’s going to be in 50% of Decemberists songs.

“Cutting Stone.” This also has some 80s, although it’s and/or D&D and/or Thor: Ragnarok. I’m so glad they’ve never lost their weird. This feels classic them but also fresh and weird and new and… yes. I’m going to be jamming to this.

“Severed.” Holy shit the synth is just +++ each track. I mean this as a compliment, it’s fun and I can jam to this super a lot. This is neat because it’s a distinct era of Decemberists songs, with the synth and the 80s, but it’s all still cohesive. That riffing! The weird vocabulary! “I was born to a jackal, I was born in a whiteout, gonna smother you all till I choke you” that’s just… a lyric nobody else would be putting in a song. But this song is still upbeat enough that I could imagine it getting airplay in quasi-normal places, because people don’t always listen to words as hard as I do.

“Starwatcher.” Odds this is going to be useful to me? Pretty good. Just given the general tendencies of what I’m into. There’s stars, there’s poison, there’s almost military drumming, there’s “hold, hold, hold your ground” yeah this is right up my alley.

“Tripping Along.” This is more the cutesy (secretly dirty) side of these guys, which is also pretty classic. And dying in your arms, that’s pretty normal here. I like the Decemberists because I like oddball old-fashioned word choices and sentiments and also lingering passages of “da-da-da” type syllables. The kind of stuff that feels like it could hypnotize you but in a good way.

“Your Ghost.” Well, we’re getting straight to it. This is some vintage perfection. “And when you close your eyes I’ll still materialize” kill me this is so much delight.

“Everything Is Awful.” Ah, yes, a classic. This is a #mood although not necessarily mine at the moment but it’s definitely someone’s.

“Sucker’s Prayer.” Also probably #mood. It’s so cheerful but it’s about, y’know. Definitely not cheerful things. It’s the Decemberists so you can probably guess what that not cheerful thing is. Hint: it involves bodies of water. “I wanna love somebody but I don’t know how.

“We All Die Young.” Pulling not a punch, I see! So chipper but yet so dire. That’s kind of #aesthetic, too, as is “screaming from the back of the room.”

“Rusalka, Rusalka / Wild Rushes.” “All that you are is a star on the water” that really hits. Not too hard, but it makes an impact. A rusalka, incidentally, is a water nymph. Are you surprised? I’m not. It’s also an opera by Dvořák, so that’s just some extra Weird High Culture. “My river bride, drag me down take me away” see the thing too is that it makes me smile when the Decemberists make so many songs about dramatic things that happen re: water and death and mystical shit because they have such a running theme but it’s never actually repetitive. This slips into something a little warmer, but it’s still cohesive and folksy and just… good.

“I’ll Be Your Girl.” Awwww. This is plaintive and simple and sweet and a good happy little conclusion. We need more songs that sound like they’re being accompanied by the bubble music in Disney California Adventures. “And you never need a guy to guide you” same.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Fashion Friday :: this one is femme.

16 Mar

cerecere

CereCere is the girly one because she is pink and flowers. Also when she dresses up as a civilian she looks like she’s going to the cyberpunk version of fancy British horse racing.

chiffon

For the fancy vibe. Chiffon Blouse With Bow-Detailed Collar in Pink, ModCloth.

tiered

The ruffles are like flowers and the color is a flower! There. Tiered Ruffle Pencil Skirt in Marigold, ModCloth.

put in

Holy crap these are also pink and flowers. Put In Your Lace Socks in Pink, ModCloth.

freshly

And these! Freshly-Picked Finesse Earrings, ModCloth.

flawless

I’m changing the shoes to gold because I like these a lot. Flawless Footfalls Mid Heel in Metallic Gold.

–your fangirl heroine.

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