2016 Pop Culture Thank Yous

2016 was a rough year, for like, Earth. We lost some of our brightest lights, politics took a terrifying turn towards the horrific, and all kinds of other small defeats.

But, as I said back in November, the thing we do here is point to the light, so I’m going to list out the pop culture stuff I was really grateful for this year:

  • The Women of The DCEU: Neither Batman V Superman nor Suicide Squad were particularly great, but they gave us Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. And for this we should be grateful, because all three of these women seem like, uber psyched about these characters and are approaching them with integrity and joy. Next stop Gotham Sirens. (Please cast Christina Hendricks as Ivy.) Well, Wonder Woman first, but also Gotham Sirens.
  • The Hamilton Mixtape: Should speak for itself, but it’s unrelentingly good. Reuniting Ashanti and Ja-Rule ALONE makes it noteworthy, but each version of each song, plus the new songs are all perfect. “Wrote My Way Out,” has probably my favorite verse that Lin-Manuel has ever written. (Though Sonny’s solo in “96,000” is up there too.)
  • Kate McKinnon: Between her Emmy win, Ghostbusters and all of the really stellar work she did as Hilary Clinton and well, everything else on SNL (and possibly Office Christmas Party, I haven’t yet seen it.) I think this is going to be the year that comedy nerds look back on as her real rise. And she deserves it, because she’s incredible.
  •  This Is Us: The most emotionally manipulative show ever made and I don’t care. It’s wonderful. Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia make me cry every week. The Pearsons are stepping up to the plate to replace the Walkers and the Bravermans and they are doing an incredible job.
  • R+L=J is canon.
  • Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life: Was it everything we’d all always wanted? Nope. Did it bring Lorelai and Luke to a satisfying conclusions? Yes. Was Team Logan decimated? Uh huh. Should we check in again in a few years? If it is Amy Sherman-Palladino’s will. Should Rory’s baby be a boy? You bet! Should she name him Richard? Duh! Will she and Jess end up together raising said baby? Sure hope so. Will Jess occasionally take a worried Richard’s face in his hands and say, “You are my son, and I love you,” making everyone cry? Everybody watch This Is Us.
  • Tom Holland as Spider-Man
  • Westworld and Westworld theorizing. The character of Maeve on Westworld, the refusal to backtrack on brilliant storytelling in Westworld, the character of Teddy on Westworld, Ed Harris’s performance on Westworld, Anthony Hopkins’s performance on Westworld. 
  • Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, specifically the joke about Seal’s vague history with wolves. I want to know more about this Lonely Island.
  • Legends Of Tomorrow: The show’s slow start and the fact that they managed to make Vandal Savage (one of my favorite DC Baddies) boring caused me to hit pause on it. But when I decided to commit it was so very worth it, and Season 2 is such a complete delight. (Though lack of Leonard Snart is *inahles dramatically* let’s say, mmm, disappointing.) It’s hard to lose me on a show who’s premise is, “Pretty people on a time machine chase bad guys, wear period outfits and kick ass.” It’s brought some of the best parts of Arrow over with it, in Sara and Ray and now Malcolm Merlyn. (Put Thea and Dig on Waverider, and I’d say Arrow ceases having a need to exist. Felicity can go to The Flash.) (I’m kidding, Diggle would never time travel.)
  • The West Wing Weekly, which gave me a framework to revisit one of my favorite shows without rushing through it. That The West Wing holds up so well is also nice to see.
  • Zootopia and Moana are both. Thanks Disney, for bringing so much back. You know, animals that make you cry and spunky teen heroines
  • Deadpool. Deadpool’s marketing campaign. Deadpool’s R rating. Deadpool’s GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS. ‘Tis a good time to be a nerd friends.
  • Donald Glover is going to be Lando Calrissian. While this isn’t going to happen for two more years, I feel this is an important victory for me personally, as I talked about it to an obnoxious degree.
  • A return to form from Once Upon A Time. It’s not as good as season 1, but it’s at least very good. The new characters are engaging, the story feels low it has stakes. I’m thrilled about it.

There’s more stuff but that’s what’s jumping out at me

Next week I’ll write up movie season, and look at 2017. I think we’ve got some fun ahead of us.

The Next Step

Hey everyone!

So for the past month or so I’ve been dropping vague hints about a big life change that might affect things around here, and I can finally talk about it (sort of) specifically.

I’m starting a new job! (HOORAY!)

I’m leaving the company where I’ve been for the past two and half years and step into a position with a lot more responsibility in a completely different industry, that I happen to know more about and am much more interested in. (Double HOORAY!).

Because of this I don’t know what things are going to look like over here.

I’ll definitely finish out Movie Season and recapping Once &will continue and the Defenders rewatch project. As for everything else, it depends on what my life looks like. I may scale back to 3 days a week posting, I don’t know.

It does start later in the morning than my current job, which could help me keep up to date.

I don’t know, we’ll see, but I’m excited!!!

I’m going to see Fantastic Beasts today, and the review will be up Monday, tomorrow is a Daredevil day, and there’s no Once this week. (This all works out swimmingly!) Then there’s Moana and Rogue One and we wrap up Movie Season. (I might go for Edge of Seventeen as well…)

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: SPOOOKY

Still sick, but I’m back at work! (Have been for a few days). But Halloween is coming. (Not Hallo-Reenie, I mean, that’s coming too, but Halloween first…) So, I’ve got my stuff together for Halloween and Hallo-Reenie (kind of), and here’s some other stuff that’s fixated me lately, through my cold medicine and coughy haze.

  • I’m running in my first 10K on Saturday! I hope I don’t have an asthma attack from the coughing. But really, I’m excited, I’m excited to run, I’m excited to get my time in to Disney for the big run in February, I bought new shoes. (Well, my parents bought them for me, as a Birthday present. I can’t afford good running shoes.
  • Westworld, but we covered that. But seriously, IT’S SO GOOD!
  • A thing I can’t really write about here because of jinxing and also life, but seriously it could be a big deal for me and cause huge changes around here. (Or possibly not, I know I sound vague but I mean, it’s complicated.)
  • My usual podcasts deciding to talk about Ghosts! Seriously y’all, I love ghost stories. I believe in ghosts, and I love hearing people talk about ghosts. The past few weeks both This Is Rad and We Got This covered ghost things. Kyle, Matt, Natalie and frenemy Adam Murray chatted about the paranormal and Mark and Hal debated whether ghosts were real, Mark, for sure, Hal, not ruling it out but probably not. (I’m with Mark.)
  • My Halloween costume. I’d initially planned on wearing the dress version of my Poe costume, but then one thing led to another and I’m dressing as a ghost. This is the first time I’m not leaning cute or badass for Halloween and I’m pretty excited about it. I mean, it’s still a cute ghost, but it’s new territory for me. I can’t wait to share pics.

So that’s what I’ve got. I feel like this year has snuck up on me in a lot of ways, but also, I’ve been very organized? It’s complicated, I guess, but overall, I have a lot going on and I’m very excited for the things that are coming up.

 

Back to The Con: New York Comic Con 2016

I haven’t gotten to watch Once Upon A Time yet, so I definitely couldn’t write a recap, so I’m going to talk about New York Comic Con instead!

GET ON BOARD!

Anyway, as I walked into the Javits Center on Thursday, I got a little nervous. Not for any really reason. My costume was great, (I’d already gotten some compliments on line.) I knew I wasn’t going to any panels that day, and I know my way around that building without much trouble.

But, I’ve grown accustomed to smaller cons, with one show floor and a few panel rooms. And NYCC is big, it’s sprawling and crowded and loud and so much fun, but just massive. So I started slow, with a lap around once of my top 10 happiest places, The Artist’s Alley at New York Comic Con.

Most cons I’ve gone to have an artist’s alley, usually one lane of the show floor, dedicated to the work of comic book artists, where they can sell their own books, sketches, and more often than not, prints of their fan art. But NYCC dedicates an entire building to artist’s alley and it’s just phenomenal. After that I was fortified and I did my shopping and wandering, went to a DC Meetup, and enjoyed my day.

That night Aless and grabbed dinner, went back to my hotel and watched The Dark Knight and drank wine, which is frankly the best night I’ve had in a while. (And I’ve had some good ones lately!)

Kristi came late on Thursday and Friday morning, decked out in our Star Wars best, we walked to The Javits, waiting in line for two hours, and began our day. I’d warned Kristi about the general overwhelming feeling I’d had, but she took it way more in stride than I did, which helped calm me down. We walked and shopped for most of the day, but did manage to hit both the Vertigo comics panel (where Kristi learned of the magic that is Scott Snyder’s love for comic books.) and the Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary panel, (where we all learned of the magic that is Greg Rucka’s love for Wonder Woman.)

We did some meeting up with the wonderful Lora & Melvin (follow Lora’s Tumblr, y’all! She’s the greatest!)

Kristi and I then went to dinner and hit up Bowlmor lanes for the Sonic Boombox after party, which got a little crazy but was overall fun.

I insisted on an early wake up on Saturday because A) I was NOT waiting outside for 2 hours again, and B) I really wanted to see the Iron Fist panel, so I knew we needed to get checked in for that. We did get in. The rest of the day was fun, we saw the panel for The Great Wall, which looks really interesting, if a little bit odd. (So much focus on Matt Damon, when it seems like the movie isn’t actually about him at all? But whatever, I got to be in a room with a man who I’ve had a crush on since I was 11, so that was pretty cool.) More wandering, more friend meet ups. (Aless wound up working at the con, this is not my story to tell, but it’s riveting!)

Anyway, the most important part, Netflix Present’s Marvel’s Iron Fist, or whatever the unwieldy title of that panel was. Which in reality was, “Let’s talk about Luke Cage for 10 minutes, Iron Fist for like 15, The Punisher for a bit and then BURN THIS CONVENTION TO THE GROUND WITH NEWS ABOUT THE DEFENDERS.”

OK, in reality, I was less excited about Iron Fist than I’ve been about the other Marvel Netflix shows, but now I am very excited about it. The action looks great, Finn Jones’s energy is wonderful, unlike Charlie Cox’s brooding or Kristen Ritter’s saracasm or Mike Colter’s stoicism, Jones is like a spring. Tightly wound, and bouncy. I think it’s going to be great. AND HOLY CRAP THE FIGHTS. We saw two Danny Rand fights and one Colleen Wing fights. All were spectacular. All aboard for March 17. (I will not be watching until the 18th. St. Patrick’s day is not for binging…well, not for binging on television shows.)

But seeing the whole Defenders cast on stage, that made my heart leap. A few things. Charlie Cox is a tiny, adorable man, and Kristen Ritter and Mike Coulter are giants. Finn Jones appears to be normal sized. Also, I do wonder how these four will get together. I mean, if I’m recalling correctly they’re not in the best shape. (I do need to rewatch the shows at a reasonable pace I think…) Matt is currently friendless in Hell’s Kitchen with The Hand about to resurrect his girlfriend to be the ultimate weapon of destruction, Luke is on his way to prison, and Jessica…is actually in OK shape, I mean, for Jessica. She got a new door, and she beat Kilgrave. So, I guess she has it together. Again, for Jessica.

BUT HOW ARE THEY GOING TO DEFEAT SIGOURNEY WEAVER???

Yeah, it’s kind of impossible to describe how it felt when they announced and brought Sigourney Weaver out on stage. People literally began chanting “Holy Shit.” I’m sure there were tears. (I did not cry, as it was not Star Wars related, and we all know that it’s only Star Wars marketing materials that make me cry. Marvel doesn’t quite do it.) And then that was it. They sent us home.

Sunday was a bit calmer. Kristi went home. I went to the Women of Marvel Panel and the Sailor Moon Panel, again, I saw friends, shopped a bit and came home.

I’m still processing this experience, still getting my pictures together and really riding high. Whenever I go to a Con, and whenever I see the group of friends I saw this weekend I’m reminded of a few years ago when I first met them and realized that I needed to make some changes in my social life. I realized it was much better to only see my friends sometimes and genuinely feel good about those relationships, than to have something to do every weekend and be miserable. I only hang out with Lora, Melvin, Jessica and Alex a couple of times a year, but it’s always fun, it’s always interesting and I always feel good, if tired at the end of it. This extended into the way I socialize by making sure I spend time with names any readers are no doubt familiar with by now. Proximity and constant contact are no longer necessary to my friendships, just that the time we do get to be together is quality. So I want to thank all those people for that.

I also have some other stuff going on in life right now, that if it works out will probably lead to a cut back here. (It’s good stuff…really good, I promise!)

 

Things I’m Obsessed With Right Now: Indian Summer

Summer seems to be finally breaking and I’m thrilled about that. I love fall and here’s a bunch of the stuff that I’m using to wait out the heat, so we get to the time of year of tights, sweaters and boots. (I’ve already started with boots though…)

Anyway, here we go:

  • Gilmore Guys: I mean obviously, but I’ve been listening to it like crazy, not at the expense of my other podcasts, but a whole lot.
  • “Nobody’s Crying” a song by Sutton Foster about her divorce from Christian Borle. It’s on her solo album Wish. It’s melancholy and heartbreaking and perfect, and I’ve loved it for a while, but Crystan and I listened to it while we were driving into the city on Saturday and my love for it has sprung anew. Listen to it, I swear you won’t be disappointed.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena…WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHOW? I should explain, despite a long list of anime that friends I love and trust have recommended to me, I decided instead to dive into this one because, “The Mary Sue says that it heavily inspired Steven Universe.” As I have previously noted, I will do just about anything The Mary Sue tells me to, so I clicked it on Hulu and now I’m sucked in when I should finally be watching Stranger Things or at least Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood like everyone I know told me to. And yet now I’m sucked into this weird anime about sword fighting and lesbians and incest where everything might just be happening inside of the characters heads or whatever. But it’s fantastic and I love it and I think Utena might be my new favorite protagonist in anything (Sorry Korra.) Mostly because I love a passive protagonist. (Sup Harry Potter?) And Utena doesn’t really do anything except wear a totally stylish blazer and get dragged along by the plot. I’ll do a full post about it when I finish, but it’s taking up a lot of my time and brain power.
  • My friend Lora’s daily closet cosplays! She’s putting me to shame you guys! Check out her Tumblr and Instagram (@dailycasualcosplay)!
  • Party Planning! I made the facebook event for my birthday party this year and I’m really excited about it. My costume is done, which means I can focus on the other fun stuff, liked themed food and drinks, decorations, and entertainment options! I’m really excited about it.
  • Comic Con planning. I’m so organized that I’m worried I’m missing something. But I’m going to just let it go. (LET IT GOOOO…)

So that’s what I’m doing right now. See you tomorrow with more stuff!

What’s Up Gillies???

Thank God for Crystan.

I’ve written before about how grateful I am that my friend Crystan is in my life. Aside from shaping one of my defining life choices in a big way, she’s also my tether to more mainstream pop culture. When I feel like I’m lost in a sea of super heroes and space operas, there’s Crystan, ready to pull me back to shore with talk of Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Broadway Musicals. (None of these things, by the way, are explicitly UN-nerdy, but they’re on a slightly different track.)

So when she suggested that we check out the Gilmore Guys live show this past Saturday, I knew it was exactly what I needed to kick off fall. A season for which Gilmore Girls always felt very appropriate. (Fall also always makes me want to watch Gossip Girl, I’m not sure why…)

Gilmore Guys is probably the funnest podcast ever. It’s hosts Kevin Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe are insightgul, earnest and hilarious, they find guests who both love and understand the show, as well as can be critical about it. Overall the whole experience is a delight, and I wish I had given it a chance sooner, but I’m working my way through it now, and I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.

Saturday’s live show was energetic and fun, and relentlessly positive, even though it was about a crappy season 7 episode. (UGH season 7!) Special guest Mara Wilson (!!!!) vibed with the guys and analyzed, kindly, this not that great episode of television.

I should not that when Mara Wilson stepped on stage, I almost cried. I adore her, and have since I was kid, (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and that Miracle of 34th Street remake, yo!) and her writing in the past few years has always been awesome. Plus she’s The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your House on Welcome To Nightvale, so you know, win!

Overall it was a very fun night, and I’m deeply grateful to have a friend who finds this sort of thing to do.

And who’ll sit in the car with me on the way there crying along to a Sutton Foster song…but that’s a different story entirely…

What’s Been Going On and What’s Next

I have a lot going on right now. It is most of it good. The past few weeks I’ve felt strangely overwhelmed and over the past few days, I’ve felt myself finally relax and get it together.

But I’m still really busy, and it’s all in the best way. BUT, here’s some of the stuff that went on in August:

My company’s version of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown went up. It was incredible. The whole experience reminded me why I love theater, why I take part in theater and the power that this medium has to make me friends.

That same weekend, I went to go see a Paul McCartney concert. The show was insanely special, and I have that checked off my bucket list now, “See a Beatle perform” Done.

Then I went to go see Cats, which I wrote about already. But again with the reaffirming of theater as a part of the soup that is stuff I love.

Then my brother moved to South Carolina. I’m thrilled for him, this is something that he’s wanted for a very long time, but it’s also something that kicked me in the gut emotionally and made me realize that I’m stuck in a bit of a holding pattern…that I just don’t have time to break right now.

After Cats, came Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert, which really reminded me what I love about so many things. Everyone I saw this concert with was family, and I am SO lucky to have the family that I do. A family that’s willing to laugh and sing and dance and drink and who get along. But I also got to watch Miranda Lambert just, kick ass and take names. I’m working through a piece now about women in country music and anger.

THEN I was down the shore, which is always someone of my favorite days. THEN Juli and Dom got married. And now I’m back at work.

Coming up in the next few weeks?

Tomorrow I fly out to Austin for the weekend. The weekend after that I’m going to a cosplay party in the city with Aless, and then to Renn Faire, and then to see a live taping of the Gilmore Guys podcast with Crystan. The weekend after that I’m driving down to see Chrissy and Glen’s house for the first time and then we’re going the Pennsylvania Renn Faire (with a big old group of people including newlywed Juli!)

Then I finally have a break. This is all GREAT stuff. I’m really excited about all of it, but it’s also, a bit on the overwhelming side. But we’re gonna get there.