Tag Archives: rent

Fictional Friday :: 5 f/f ships around me before I started seeking f/f ships.

10 Feb

In chronological order.

5. Carol and Susan (Jane Tibbett and Jessica Hecht, Friends)
So I never really gave these two any actual thought. But Friends was always on when I was a kid, it seemed like, and my parents were never shy about what was going on. In fact, when an acquaintance of the family came out my parents explained it as “you know, like Carol and Susan on Friends.” And I said..

4. Haruka and Michiru (Sailor Moon)
“Yeah, I know, like Sailor Uranus and Sailor Neptune. I read about them on the internet.” I’m sure I’ve told this story before, but I learned how to internet via Sailor Moon fansites (terrible ones, black Times New Roman on white backgrounds, or worse, Angelfire or Geocites pages with pixelated star backgrounds) and I knew all about the lesbians in Sailor Moon before they came to the US. And were “cousins.” “Mom, this is dumb,” I said. “They clearly are not cousins.” And my mom shrugged and nodded. America?

3. Columbia and Magenta (Little Nell and Patricia Quinn, The Rocky Horror Picture Show)
This was a little different, because these two? They were already in relationships. Columbia was sort of in two of them. But yet, there they were playing voyeur (another thing I learned about from this movie) in their jammies and rolling all over on top of each other. And hey, if boys were kissing boys, girls could be kissing girls! Everyone was kissing everyone in that movie. And even though Magenta’s incest brother accidentally lasered Columbia to death at the end of the movie, they were still more fun to write about for me than Columbia and Frank (since he was, you know, an asshole bordering on emotionally abusive to her) or Columbia and Eddie (he was fine, and clearly she liked him, but it was just really hard for me to get into it, for reasons that are now clear to me).

2. Mary Elizabeth and Alice (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Later that same school year as I discovered Rocky Horror, I chanced on a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Not only did I fall hopelessly in love with its protagonist Charlie, as I’ve before said, I was delighted by the overlap of it including Rocky Horror as a frequent plot point. It never said who played most of the characters in their shadowcast, but I assumed that as the other girls, Mary Elizabeth played Magenta and Alice played Columbia. As a result, I shipped them. I had very little reason to, but I did.

1. Maureen and Joanne (Rent)
And then I saw Rent that following summer, and there were Maureen and Joanne, and they weren’t the happiest all the time but suddenly I was on my way to Officially Starting To Wonder About Myself.

–your fangirl heroine.

i20have20run20out20of20fucks20to20give

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Fictional Friday :: the essential me (a list)

10 Oct

A meme on tumblr that was going around this week featured the question “if someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?” and I was reflecting on it and I realized I somehow hadn’t even included Sailor Moon, which meant that this list needed to be condensed into a top ten to include that.  Because I’ve somehow never made this list, and that blows my mind.

Yes, all of these pretty well overlap with my Ultimate Favorites, but it’s more than that.  There’s a lot of my personal history tied up in all of these things.  There are other things I love as intensely, but that aren’t quite as me, or don’t have as much history behind them.  My interest in all of these items predates this blog, which is to say they’ve all been in my life for at least four years minimally and have maintained their importance.

So.

  1. Watch: Sailor Moon.
  2. Listen to (or watch): Spring Awakening.
  3. Watch: Almost Famous.
  4. Read: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  5. Watch: Kill Bill.
  6. Listen to: Eisley.
  7. Watch: Deadwood.
  8. Listen to (or watch): Rent.
  9. Watch: Dollhouse.
  10. Read: Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

–your fangirl heroine.

heh

Theatre Thursday :: a very quick note regarding Rent.

22 Aug

As I’ve doubtless mentioned before, I was basically a baby when I first saw Rent.  And it grew into being Quite The Thing for my friends, somewhat in the months leading up to the film (I saw it on stage for the first time about a year before the film was released, so there was plenty of time to get a buzz going amongst my peers, many of them unrepentant musical nerds like myself) and definitely in the months after the film.  At the time, we were a bunch of babies, really.  We were a bunch of middle-class kids in the lower grades of an upper-middle-class high school, most of us white, most of us not really wanting for anything.  (I’m not the only one of my larger friendgroup who wound up being some stripe of queer, but at the time none of us were out; I definitely hit on how this affected me back in my ages-ago essay about Maureen, but I won’t presume to speak for any of the others.)

We were all also, to one degree or another, really freaking in love with this musical, and I don’t know, maybe it’s just that rock musicals were how my friends did “edgy.”  But I’ve realized recently that while Rent was formative entertainment for me, it was also one of those things that ruined me for other things.  It set a bunch of standards for things that other media has yet to meet.  It did a bunch of beautiful things that I look for and want everywhere.

  • Eight main characters.  Such racial representation: only three of them are white.
  • As such, every present tense canonical romantic relationship is interracial.  (Roger and Mimi?  Check.  Collins and Angel?  Check.  Maureen and Joanne?  Check.  Benny and Mimi?  Check.)
  • Regarding romantic representation: heterosexual relationship, check.  Male homosexual relationship, check.  Female homosexual relationship, check.
  • A variety of social backgrounds.  A variety of personalities.  A variety of artistic temperaments.  Etcetera.
  • And yet despite these things, despite the fact that these characters argued and scuffled and disagreed often, big giant endearing found family.

I am spoiled.  That’s all there is to it.

–your fangirl heroine.

Music Monday :: the fanmix yourself meme

3 Feb

So there’s a meme going around tumblr to fanmix yourself.  There are categories you’re supposed to fill, and I decided it might be a fun exercise; I was thinking about doing it all with showtunes or all with Eisley songs (there are still predictably two of each), but ultimately decided just to go with instinct.  It’s not unlike my somewhat-disjointed “time of year” mixes that I used to make in high school, really.  And has a couple of the same tracks.  And many of the same tracks as my actual fanmixes.

Categories in italics, with strikeouts and parentheses to modify.

o1.) a song you’d kick zombie ass to during the apocalypse

“Problem,” Natalia Kills

o2.) a song you’ve heard live

“Me and My Shadow,” M. Ward

o3.) a song that reminds you of (one of) your favorite fictional character(s)

“In My City,” Ellie Goulding

o4.) a song that was (one of) your middle school/high school anthem(s)

“La Vie Boheme,” Rent

o5.) a song that reminds you of your best friend

“Save My Soul,” Eisley

o6.) a song that would play in the movie trailer of your life

“Artificial Nocturne,” Metric

o7.) a song that reminds you of somewhere

“Morning Comes,” Delta Rae

o8.) a favorite song from last year

“Hey Doreen,” Lucius

o9.) a song with a color in the title

“Indigo Eyes,” the Ditty Bops

1o.) a song that would be your own country’s national anthem feels sometimes like a personal manifesto, ish, maybe

“All Talk,” Kate Nash

11.) a song by an artist you’re not-so-secretly crushing on

“Go Away My Lover,” Elizabeth and the Catapult

12.) a song that reminds you of your favorite a season

“I Had Me a Girl,” the Civil Wars

13.) a song you play when you need to go on a crying jag just feel like being really sad

“Those You’ve Known,” Spring Awakening

14.) a song you’d like to kiss to (maybe?)

“Love Interruption,” Jack White

15.) a song with lyrics you’d like to tattoo on yourself (maybe?)

“I Could Be There for You,” Eisley

At 8tracks.

–your fangirl heroine.

trying not to laugh

Theatre Thursday :: examples of the musical theatre Bechdel Test? (M-Z)

23 May

Same rules as last week.

Mamma Mia! by… ABBA: a lot of the songs by a lot of women.
Marie Christine by Michael John LaChiusa: “Way Back to Paradise,” sung by Marie and Lisette, “Lover Bring Me Summer,” sung by Olivia and Grace.
The Music Man by Meredith Wilson: “Pickalittle (Talk-a-Little),” sung by Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn, Maud Dunlop, Ethel Toffelmier, Alma Hix, Mrs. Squires and the ladies of River City.*
The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber: “Angel of Music,” sung by Meg and Christine.
Rent by Jonathan Larson: “Take Me or Leave Me,” sung by Maureen and Joanne.
Repo! The Genetic Opera by Zdunich and Smith: “Chase the Morning,” sung by Mag, Shilo, and Marni.
The Sound of Music by Rogers and Hammerstein: “Maria,” sung by Sister Berthe, Sister Sophia, Sister Margaretta, and the Mother Abbess.
Spring Awakening by Sheik and Sater: “The Dark I Know Well,” sung by Martha and Ilse.*
Thoroughly Modern Millie by Tesori and Scanlan: “How the Other Half Lives,” sung by Millie and Miss Dorothy.
[title of show] by Bowen and Bell: “What Kind of Girl is She?” and “Secondary Characters,” sung by Susan and Heidi.
West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein: “America,” sung by Anita, Rosalia and the Shark girls.
Wicked: “What is This Feeling?,” “One Short Day,” “Defying Gravity,” and “For Good,” all sung by Elphaba and G(a)linda (with various accompaniment).*
The Wild Party by Michael John LaChiusa: “Best Friend,” sung by Queenie and Kate.
Wonderful Town by Comden and Green: “Ohio,” sung by Ruth and Eileen.
Xanadu by Lynne and Ferrar: “Strange Magic,” sung by Melpomene, Calliope and Kira.

–your fangirl heroine.

nonchalant liquor consumption

Theatre Thursday :: platonic friendships and Broadway musicals

24 Jan

I figured, well, romance or at least sexual tension is usually involved in musicals, but sometimes, like I mentioned with Wicked, there is a platonic relationship that is also important (or as in the case of Wicked, definitely more important).  So I thought I’d take a look at that.  I’ve got the longest-running musicals open in another tab, and I’m just going through it non-scientifically and listing friendships in musicals I am somewhat familiar with.

  • Les Mis has the barricade boys, they’re buddies.
  • Phantom has Christine and Meg, for the duration of a song anyway.  They don’t interact that much after that, but they do have “Angel of Music,” and that counts for something?
  • I suppose you can count Simba and Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King?
  • Some of the dancers (Bobby and Sheila, Paul and Morales) in A Chorus Line are friends.
  • I suppose the household objects befriend Belle in Beauty and the Beast?
  • Rent is definitely about friendships!  I mean, I know you can find people on the internet who ship just about every combination of these characters, and there are definitely romantic plots, but I’d argue that, for example, Mark and Roger as a friendship is of close to equal significance as Mimi and Roger as a romantic relationship.
  • Wicked is getting listed here, too, because really.  Wicked, despite its love (triangle) plot, is actually the greatest platonic (well, textually – I am of the internet, I know there are extrapolators) love story in musical theatre history.
  • The characters in Grease are allegedly friends.  They’re kind of crummy friends, because they’re always making fun of each other for showing characteristics that go against the grain of the group, but technically, they’re friends.  I guess.
  • If you’re talking about friendships amongst blood family, Fiddler has some of that with the sisters probably.
  • I guess I should also take the time to awkwardly mention Rocky Horror, where nobody is friends really, but if you squint Columbia and Magenta are.  (And there is also subtext here, yep.)
  • Hairspray has a lot of friends!  Tracy is friends with Penny, she’s friends with Seaweed and his sister and mom, etcetera.
  • The Avenue Q characters are such good friends that they raise money to buy one of them a monster school!
  • And Spring Awakening is not on this list, because it is not one of the 32 longest-running musicals, but I am going to mention it anyway, because while Melchior/Wendla is important to the plot, definitely, Melchior and Moritz as buddies is also super-important.  And though you only get the girls being buddies in/before “My Junk,” really, my friends and I definitely extrapolated a lot more cute sweet platonic ladyfriendship out of their little group.

Also interesting to note is that aside from Wicked and Fiddler where they’re sisters and I suppose Hairspray to an extent, most of the ladyfriendships are largely extrapolated out of only one scene.  Hm.

–your fangirl heroine.

funny stories with ribcages

Theatre Thursday :: no way can I be what I’m not [an analysis of Maureen Johnson]

11 Oct

(That mostly focuses on sexuality.)

(The above is Ava Gaudet, because she was my first Maureen.)

So I think it’s high time to try and explain my Maureen Johnson feelings.  Because you know what?  They’ve always been there.  The first time I saw Rent, it was the national tour when I was thirteen; my mom leaned over to me during “Over the Moon” and whispered “Yeah, this is you.”  Because my casting-myself habit has been a habit since I was… well, really since I was in grade school and divvied out the Sailor Scouts between literally everyone I was friends with, actually.  But that’s beside the point.

Anyway, I’m not sure if my mom regretted that proclamation; certainly, she turned pink when Maureen’s pants came down (this was back in the day when we still pretended I could be in stage productions, so in her defense, she may have been thinking about me actually doing that IRL and gotten embarrassed thusly).  But it was too late.  I’d latched onto Maureen, and there was no turning back.

Maureen is, without a doubt, the most straightforwardly extroverted character I’ve ever latched onto.  I mean, she is a super extrovert.  In a lot of ways, I’m not really like Maureen, but she’s the kind of woman I love to play or consider playing or dress up as.  Which, as I’ve mentioned, is a thing I did.  Because my friends and I were so cool we dressed up for the premiere of the Rent movie.

It is here that I feel compelled to disclaim that yes, I know that Maureen is not always a great person.  She is a massive flirt (which, like I said, I’m not really like Maureen that much), really a bit histrionic, not always super-sensitive to the feelings of others, not always apologetic about her own behavior.  But Maureen is also not always a terrible person.  Maureen does love her friends, even if this is sometimes overshadowed by the way that she loves things that might put her in the spotlight – that being a more dominant desire.  Maureen is, somewhere deep inside, a relatively caring person.  She just sort of sucks at expressing it.

Maureen is not the best at relationships.  She is someone who, in my estimation, is very flirty, to the point of causing problems; she isn’t super-comfortable with commitment and she doesn’t know how sometimes how to not be manipulative toward people.  But while I wouldn’t call Maureen a role model really in any regard, she definitely did something important in my relatively young life that I appreciate her for.

I think it’s at this point that I should explain that I’ve never read Maureen as someone who was a closeted lesbian, then only ever ladies after Joanne.  That’s a thing that can be true of some people.  Yes, Willow Rosenberg is/was a lesbian.  There is no question about it.  Kinsey 5, maybe.  And Wikipedia classes Dakota of Planet Terror as bisexual, though I’d say that I always got at least a pretty heavily lady-leaning vibe off of her also.  But Maureen?  Nope, Maureen as I read her has always been bisexual.  Actually very possibly pansexual.  The only people you hear about her flirting with after she’s with Joanne are women, but that’s because they’re instances that take place at lesbian clubs.

She was closeted when she was with Mark, yes, but I… don’t know.  She seems like the kind of person who is, in theory, attracted to all sorts of people, female or male or anything in between.  Not because she is a raging tramp – I used to read Rent fanfiction when I was younger, and that did seem to be the way Maureen was written sometimes, as someone who just LOL CANNOT HELP MYSELF MUST BOINK EVERYTHING (though, uhm… more on that in a second) – but because sometimes people are attracted to a wide, wide range of people.

I stopped watching Glee in the middle of last season, because I just could not do it anymore, but at least as far as I remember, Brittany is relevant to this discussion.  Brittany is a bisexual (pansexual?) fictional character, but it wasn’t just fanfiction writers who treated her like someone who just LOL ALL THE SEX I’M SO SILLY, it was the writer writers.  And this is the thing about Rent that I think spoiled me a little: yes, quite a deal is made of Maureen having left Mark for Joanne.  But do you ever hear Mark calling Maureen a slut or a tramp or some gross synonym?  Nope.  And sure, there’s a little “oh, she left me for a woman, this is weird,” but he’d probably be going “oh, she left me for this other guy, this is weird” if he and the other guy happened to be in the room at the same time.

Even if Maureen was a lesbian, which would be totally cool (the only person who ever says she is is Mark’s mom on the voicemail, and that, well, I get the feeling Mark’s mom would be the kind of person who would go “whoops, she’s dating a girl, automatically lesbian” without considering the possibilities of bisexuality or anything) and I would be good with it and maybe I just read her as bisexual (possibly/probably lady-leaning bisexual, Kinsey 4 maybe) because there was a part of me that really wanted her to be for personal reasons, even if it took me a little while to come around to said reasons, the thing I love is that none of the characters really make a deal of “oh, lesbian.”  The characters make somewhat of a deal of “oh, Maureen is a flirt,” but not because she is a lesbian.  She has always been a flirt.  She was a flirt when she dated Mark, she is a flirt when she is dating Joanne, she is just a flirt.  People do not equate, or at least I’ve never read it as anyone equating, her sexuality with promiscuity.  She is promiscuous because she is promiscuous, and that has nothing to do with who she is promiscuous with.  (And the Wikipedia list of bisexual fictional characters says that yes, promiscuity and “driving her lovers insane” are negative bisexual stereotypes, but nobody attributes them thusly, instead seeing them as “personal flaws.”  Because lots of people, regardless of orientation, have those flaws and that’s just how it is.)

Maureen was really the first time I saw someone in theater or film or whatever who was bisexual, not counting Rocky Horror, where everyone was doing everyone.  And that was, whether or not I knew it when I was thirteen, kind of a big deal.  There are bisexual characters in things.  There are plenty, though I haven’t seen anything close to everything that may have a bisexual character in it.  But when I try to make lists of them, in things that I am familiar with, it comes up pretty short.  Sure, I can think of plenty of characters I read as bisexual; see the aforementioned Dany/Doreah discussion, for example, and nobody can convince me otherwise.  But I always find myself coming up short when making lists based in explicit canon.  And a lot of the time I make those lists, I just end up obsessing about how Glee didn’t really do it right with Brittany all the time, and I get cranky and have to stop.

Maybe this is why I still hold Maureen fairly dear: yes, she had a lot of the aforementioned personal flaws, some of which pertained to sex, but her orientation was never one of them.  Which was, and still is, refreshing and welcome.  So hey, thank you, Jonathan Larson.  (Also, plus bonus points for the fact that Maureen and Joanne were an interracial couple and nobody mentioned it in the slightest, really.)

–your fangirl heroine.