Tony Time!

This year I’m trying something new. I’m building a thread on Twitter with thoughts and reactions as the show goes. It’s much more suited for that. Here, I’m writing more in-depth thoughts and ideas as we go. I’ll post the link to the Twitter thread at the end in case you want to read it.

Musical-wise, I’m pulling for The Band’s Visit in every category it’s nominated in. It looks so amazing!

Play-wise, I’m really behind Angels in America in every category it’s nominated in. I’ve never seen it, but I know what it’s about and it’s so important and brilliant.

And, of course, I’m cheering for any and all Hamilton alum!

I really liked the opening. Two pianos. Talking about not winning. And including ensemble members…not just including them, featuring them! Ensemble gets overlooked too much! Great way to open the show.

Maybe it’s because of the research I’m doing, maybe not, but watching that Mean Girls performance didn’t wow me. It felt like I was watching a combination of typical Broadway choreography with some exposition and a lot of repetition. I wasn’t wowed. I was almost bored. The thing that caught my attention was the guy’s Alyssa Edwards t-shirt.

I love the #TonyDreaming. I wish I could post something to it, but I was on stage crew in high school, so until the last show, you didn’t see me. Also, I’m not Tony dreaming. I’m just enjoying being an audience member.

I’m wondering what has contributed to this being the best attended Broadway season in history. It’s not just what’s on right now. Although I’m sure Harry PotterSpongeBob, and Mean Girls are helping. It would be interesting to look at the trends leading up to this year and the shows that are bringing in new audiences, like Hamilton. I guess it’s something else to look at for my dissertation.

I really hope my one professor is watching the Tonys right now! The Parkland students are getting so much love. And then they go and sing “Seasons of Love”. They are some amazing human beings! …Oh, and my one professor is working on something that looks at the ways students were using music during March For Our Lives events.

I have to admit, Frozen looks much better than I thought it would. Then again, Disney has a good track record of turning its animated musicals into Broadway musicals. My only problem with that performance is it was another medley. I understand you want to include some of your most iconic songs. But Hamilton did two songs that go together in the show. Why not just stick with that? I want to see an entire song, not parts of one and parts of another.

Okay. I thought  Once on This Island was being performed from Circle in the Square theater. Damn. They did a great job recreating their stage on the Tony’s stage. Wow. And how are they not nominated for more? And they won!!!!!!!!!

I love that The Band’s Visit is not only bringing more diversity to Broadway, but they’re bringing the message of inclusion, of peace. Ari’el Satchel said in his acceptance speech that they didn’t think they would get to portray their ethnicity on stage. Now they get to do a musical about a group of Arabs taken in by Israelis for a night. I hope they win.

To me, the winners of Best Play/Musical should not just go to the best production, but to the production that brings something new to Broadway as well as making a statement about something. That’s why I’ve been rooting for Angels in America (which is know is a revival, but still so important!) and The Band’s Visit. The other nominees for Best Musical are based off of something from TV or a movie. Nothing new. But The Band’s Visit is new and has a wonderful message of the power of music. Angels in America is the most Tony-nominated play in Broadway history. It tackles topics that we still don’t talk about enough today. I am so glad Angels won. Now to wait and see if The Band’s Visit can win, too.

So, deNiro said “I’m gonna say one thing, fuck Trump!” I’m guessing CBS is on a delay for just these occasions. But I’m glad he said it and I’m glad other people are sharing what he said.

YES!!!! The Band’s Visit won!!!! I have faith in the system! I really was worried one of the others would win because they are adapted from already popular works. I don’t know why. “We are far more alike than different.”

So, The Band’s Visit won 10 Tony Awards! Angels in America won 3! Now to somehow see them!

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Settling in for the summer

Life has been quite complicated lately. The first week of May was finals week. The end of my first year as a Ph. D. student. I didn’t write the best papers for my classes, but they were good enough to get me Bs. It took me almost another week to get caught up on my grading. But, my students didn’t seem to hold it against me too much. I got some of the best feedback I’ve ever gotten. Even their problems and critiques were useful, not just “it sucked”. I am so happy and grateful to have had this class. They really helped me to become a better instructor.

The weekend after grades were due was Marcon. It was so nice to get to see my friends again, go to panels, and be on panels. I’m starting to realize that my attitude is keeping people from approaching me in costume. I don’t know how to change that. It’s who I am. But as much as I am an introvert, I do like getting compliments and recognized when in costume. I put a lot of work into the whole thing, from the clothing to the props to the make-up. But if it doesn’t seem like I want to be approached, no one will. I need to be more aware of it when I can. Lets face it, sometimes you have ten minutes to get all the way across the con –  which is a very long distance at DragonCon. Sometimes you can’t be stopped.

Anyway. After Marcon, summer semester began. Well, the first term of summer semester. We have two terms over summer, two six-week classes that contain all the information of a 15-week class. In order to get caught up with where I should be, I’m taking one class each term. My first class is online, and it’s a split undergrad/grad student class. That is the more interesting aspect of it, not being online. Grad students have different readings and different responsibilities. Thankfully, because of my two theory classes and International Popular Culture, it’s going over topics I’m already very familiar with. It’s from a slightly different angle, but similar enough that I’m not too stressed over it.

At the beginning of the month, my dad moved to New Hampshire. It’s a very good move for him. He didn’t need to take any furniture with him, so I got to take some things off his hands. We now have a dining room table, the old microwave hutch (which is at least 20 years old, probably more) that is now our bar, one of the end-tables that my parents have had since before I was born, and an almost 20-year-old wood futon frame. The futon is in my room, patiently awaiting the spring mattress to arrive so I can finally properly use it to stretch out on and study on.

But those weren’t the only things he couldn’t take with him. He couldn’t take Harry. We have had Harry almost his entire life. He’ll be 15 at the end of July. But between his age and the fact that he’s black, we knew that he wouldn’t last if my dad took him to the local humane society. He’d be high on the list to go if they needed more space. We’ve been taking care of him until Saturday. He hadn’t adapted well to being here, and we just can’t take care of him properly right now. So I drove him to Columbus to a no-kill shelter. They couldn’t take him. They had no space, but, more importantly, they couldn’t have taken him even if they did. He’s never been to the vet. Without vet records, they couldn’t take him. The lady there said that at his age, the best thing would be to have him put down. He’s perfectly healthy, as far as we can tell, for a cat his age. Why would I do that? So after a breakdown in the car, I decided to take him to Columbus Humane. But they require you to make an appointment to surrender a pet, and charge more than I can afford right now.

So I changed plans. I found Marion Area Humane Society and headed there. I felt bad because it wasn’t cool out yesterday, and he had been in the carrier for over an hour at that point. But he seemed to be okay. We got to MAHS and I started to break down again. He had been part of the family for almost 15 years. They had space for him. As they processed his information and mine, I talked with one of the volunteers. She said that they get people looking for older cats sometimes. More importantly, she told me that they are a no-kill shelter! He is going to be taken care of for the rest of his life. I am completely fine with MAHS being his home for that time. They are going to take care of him. Last night I had to fight the urge to check on him behind the futon – where he had made his home. I miss him, but he’s going to be fine!

Remember, always take your pets to the vet. You never know what will happen to you. They may have to go to a shelter, and vet records are required by some before they will take your pet in.

Well, that went longer than I thought it would. I’ll just leave this here and get back to working on the paper and presentation I need to have ready for CPAC and my summer watchlist.

Flabbergasted Queen!

Flabbergasted. That is the right word for how I am feeling right now. I watched the trailer for Bohemian Rhapsody.

O.M.G.

So, I have been a fan of Queen since I discovered their song “Princes of the Universe” was the theme song for Highlander: The Series. Because of that I bought Greatest Hits III. From there I slowly expanded my library to include Greatest Hits and Classic Queen. Then I got to college and found early file sharing sites. Since then I’ve bought every Queen album. I have both DVDs of music videos, the Wembly Stadium concert, and Queen on Fire Live at the Bowl. It is safe to say that I am a Queen fan despite not finding out about the band – outside of “We Will Rock You” and “Another One Bites the Dust” – until years after Freddie was gone.

The casting on this movie looks amazing! Gwilym Lee looks and sounds so much like a young Brian May… And Freddie. Rami Malek looks exactly like him so many times during that trailer! And it looks like they’re not shying away from disagreements and showing the whole story. I can’t wait!!!!

Am I being punished?

Around the time we started the whole moving process, and the whole me driving 2.5 hours every day, my service indicator went on. I needed to start working on going in for an oil change. But between the moving and my forgetful/procrastination-prone brain, I didn’t. Slowly I watched as the percentage went down from 15% to 10% to 5% to a flashing 0. Then it starts flashing every mile you go past that. I’m over 5000 now.

Every time I would go on to try and make an appointment at my nearby dealership, the next available day for appointments was two weeks away. I realize now that I should have just made an appointment the first time I saw that. I could have always cancelled it if I got in before then. But I didn’t. I would just say to myself, “I’ll get in before then,” and forget to go in.

Then the moving started in earnest. I was making trips to Columbus as well as up to campus regularly. The trips back from Columbus had my car filled with our stuff. All the while my miles keep going up. I was trying to balance teaching and being a student and moving. I didn’t have time to sit around and wait for them to work on my car. I kept coming up with excuses.

This weekend I finally decided to get moving. I went to the nearby dealership, hoping to get a walk-in spot and get things taken care of. They aren’t open on Saturdays. I knew Honda as a company is not open on Sundays, but this dealership isn’t open on Saturdays. I should have known. I had checked their site often enough. So I did very minimal driving yesterday with the intention of going to the one near campus today. I get over to them and the first appointment they have today is 4:15p. I’ve got a meeting at 4p. That won’t work.

So I made an appointment for tomorrow. But I have to drive home and back. Another hundred or so miles.

I feel like I’m getting punished for not going in when I should have back when the light first went on.

I’m going to try the dealership at home tonight. If I’m lucky, they can fit me in…or not. They close at 5p. I guess I’m going to have to drive back up tomorrow. Why can’t I simply get my car taken care of?

How am I going to do this?

Last Thursday night, we dropped off the keys to the first place we have been able to call home. The place we have been living in for almost 8 years. He slipped the envelope with the keys in the slot at the rental office, got back in my car filled with the last of our things, and we drove off for the last time. It was a bittersweet moment. I’m getting a little teary thinking about it. We left our first home. We headed to our new home.

Since I finished my master’s degree, we decided that we cannot keep only seeing each other on the weekends. But he’s still working in Columbus and all of my business is in BG. So we found a new place in between. It’s bigger than the last place – 3 bedrooms instead of 2, and 1000 square feet instead of 700 – and it has vaulted ceilings in the living room, dining room, and kitchen. It is on the third floor, which is taking some getting used to. Although moving helped with that. But we don’t have to worry about upstairs neighbors, and heat does rise.

It’s been nice so far. I’ve been here for over a month now as we slowly brought things up. It’s allowed me to not only be closer to school and get used to the drive, but it’s given me time to get my room/office set up and functioning so I can actually get work done at home. It felt like things had been for the past two years: on my own during the week, home on the weekends. It also allowed me to get things unpacked as I could, keeping things somewhat organized so we can find things later.

It was really useful when we moved the furniture in. We put the couch, TV stand, and TV in the living room no problem. We were able to actually sit down in the living room! We had dinner while watching Leverage. Or at least I watched as much as I could while eating and then came in here to get work done. One of those things I had to adjust to, not being alone anymore.

Honestly, that, not the stacks of boxes everywhere, is what has taken the most adjustment. Not being alone anymore. I’ve become used to being able to make what I want for dinner when I am hungry. I’ve become used to being alone and having no interruptions – aside from my phone. I’ve become used to being the only one here during the week.

It doesn’t help that there’s so much to unpack, go through, decide what’s being kept and what’s getting tossed, and finding somewhere to put things. Unfortunately in the last frenzied week of moving, the living room became the dumping ground for everything that we didn’t already have a space for. Now I make dinner and we retreat to our desks, because they’re the only place where each of us can sit down and have a flat surface to put things on.

During all of this I still have to teach class three days a week, take class three days a week, hold my office hours, drive 2.5 hours a day, and get reading done for class. Why did I think we could move while I was taking/teaching class? Why didn’t we just wait until Spring Break to get the move actually done, giving us 2 months to get everything packed and ready to go in a couple of trips in a truck? It would have allowed us to get everything properly packed and labeled. It would have allowed us to properly go through everything and only move what was being kept. It would have let me keep going to class last week.

If I can just get through the rest of this week and next week, I’ve got all of Spring Break. All of Spring Break to get caught up on my reading. All of Spring Break to get my students’ assignment graded. All of Spring Break to start going through the boxes of stuff. All of Spring Break to get things put away or thrown out. All of Spring Break to recover. But I have to get there first.

How am I going to do this?

 

Grammy’s reactions

I decided to watch the Grammy’s tonight. It was this or constantly posting on Facebook. This won.

Kendrick Lamar. …. just DAMN.

Lady Gaga. No one warned me I’d need tissues!

Yay, Alessia Cara! I don’t know anything of hers but her cover of “How Far I’ll Go”, but it’s awesome!

This says everything, IMO:

Okay, I need to check out Childish Gambino.

This shows how little I know. I didn’t know that was the name of the album he was up for. Very appropriate title. On multiple levels, many of which I am no aware of.

Yes! P!nk! ASL!!!! I love her even more now!!

Subway Car-pool Karaoke!!!

Cardi B and Bruno Mars are giving me 90s flashbacks in good ways!

QUEEN!!! QUEEN GOT A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD!!!

Love the dig at the phones blocking the view. Who has their phone out at the Grammys?! Put it away and just be there! It’s being shown live on CBS.

I can’t remember which friend said it on Facebook, but they’re right. That is Santana’s “Maria Maria” below “Wild Thoughts”. But it’s too distracting. I keep thinking of “Maria Maria”.

Damn it. “Tears in Heaven”? Where are those tissues?
Seriously, though. It’s touching to have this tribute to the music fans who died.

Preach, Janelle! Preach! Time’s up!

Yes girl! “Immigrants, we get the job done”!!!!

I would listen to John Legend read Fire and Fury. But…that is just beautiful!

P-Lo! (aka, Patti Lupone) …wow.

I love that they keep playing “Despacito” before commercial breaks!

Thank you, Logic. That was a beautiful speech and it took courage and strength to say it. Thank you.

Okay. Back to studying…well, maybe dinner first, then studying.

Good News/Bad News time!

On Friday I got a call I had been hoping to get but never thought I would. They needed someone to teach Intro to Popular Culture this semester! I had the weekend to get things ready, which wasn’t hard since I had the class half planned already. So I now have a job, an office, and I’m teaching the class one more time! Which adds to my three class load. So that’s the good news/bad news. Good news: I’ve got a job teaching! Bad news: less time to blog here. So, basically back to the usual around here. Hehehe.

The Next Chapter, aka 2018

While I have technically been an American Culture Studies (ACS) Ph. D. student for a semester, now I really feel like it. I am really looking forward to starting this new chapter of my life. And a new chapter it will be.

I’m going to be taking three classes this semester. Back to full time student!! I’ve got Geneology of American Culture, Critical Approaches in Film Studies, and Global Popular Music. This is going to be so much fun! The first class is required for all ACS students, MA and Ph. D. The second is required for the Media concentration in the Ph. D. program. The third is my choice for the Media track. I am really looking forward to having more than one class. Hopefully I’ll do better at getting the readings done and being able to contribute consistently in class. I’ve been working on it.

We are also working on moving closer to school. Which means no more long drives – especially since I’ll be in class three days a week. We’re trying to find a bigger place as well. More changes. More new. More excitement.

I’m going to be going to BroadwayCon in a few weeks. I’ll also be seeing Hamilton, again, the night before. Then, of course, there’s Marcon in May and DragonCon in September. I’m hoping to be attending/presenting at 3 conferences this semester, 1 over the summer, and 1 in the fall. At two of those conferences, I’ll be presenting chapters of my thesis. I’m hoping to get useful feedback on how to better expand/explain/polish the information. And the rest are looking deeper at topics I’ve written about before. Conferences are a great way to figure out if you’re headed in the right direction, or if you’re just indulging your own interests. So far, it’s been the former. I hope I continue that way.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take 2 classes over the summer. That way when I take my 3 classes in the fall, I’ll be almost caught up. One of my fall classes is one that I should technically have taken this semester, but was told by the professor who teaches it that I could put it off a year so I could focus on Theory and getting the comps passed.

It’s going to be a year of seeing old friends, making new; making new professional connections; adding more to my knowledge bank, and putting it all to use; and so much more that I don’t know about. This is going to be a great year!

Reflections on 2017

Well, the year is almost over. It’s that time of year when we take the time to look back and think about what has happened over the past 365 days. For me, it has been quite the rollercoaster.

Mostly it has been focused around school and classes. I started out the year with a rough draft of one chapter of my thesis done.  A thesis that needed to be completed, approved by my committee, and uploaded by April. Yeah, no pressure at all. But I also was taking a class about the superhero genre in comic books. Yay! I was also studying so I could pass the two parts of the comprehensive exam I would be retaking so I could graduate in the spring. All while continuing to serve as the president of the student organization for Popular Culture scholars and helping to organize our yearly academic conference. There was just a little stress going on.

I buckled down and got my thesis finished. Is it the final product? No. But it is a thesis that satisfied my committee, which was the most important part at the time. Hopefully, I’ll be able to start picking away at revising and expanding it so it does reach that final product and I can start looking at getting it published. I went to another graduate student run conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. I got to present my paper on “my descent into Hamilton fandom” and make new friends. I presented my first paper on the intentional representation of Deafness in comics at the Ray Browne Conference on Cultural and Critical Studies, which I had quite the hand in organizing and it went off successfully!

I managed to pass one part of the comps, but still failed the other. I was given one last chance to pass it, and managed to fail again. The bottom dropped away from me. I had worked so hard to get my thesis finished and I wasn’t going to be graduating? How would I start in the fall as a Ph.D. student? I could not take another year off. I had taken so much time off already, I wanted to keep the knowledge coming in. Things finally settled and the fall was laid out for me: I would retake the entire comprehensive exam again in the fall (all three parts), I would also start the American Culture Studies Ph. D. program, I would be able to continue in the spring providing I passed the comps in their entirety. In order to prepare for the comps, it was suggested that I only take 1 class in the fall: theory. I also worked with a wonderful professor over the summer to better prepare for the comps.

Still, I was crushed. I wasn’t graduating with the rest of my cohort, my friends. I had to pass this exam that has been kicking my ass repeatedly in order to graduate and continue my studies. I wouldn’t have a job on campus since I was only part-time. Also, it made sense to simply live at home and just drive up for class once a week. That was great for my budget and for being at home with the hubby. But it also meant only seeing my new cohort/classmates/friends once a week. It sucked.

But as the semester went on, things got better. I gave successful presentations at CPAC and MPCA. I finally passed the comprehensive exams and graduated a few weeks ago. I successfully completed my first semester as a Ph. D. student. I have begun a new research project that I can continue to pick away at in addition to my dissertation work, and has been suggested as the topic of my dissertation, if I didn’t already have one.

There were also the more leisure-fun times. Soon after the year started, I had my adventure in NYC. I went to my first (the second ever) BroadwayCon! I got to be in the same room as so many talented legends, learn so much about Broadway, both in front of and behind the scenes, and enjoy being with fellow fans. And, thanks to giving in to an impulse, I finally went to see Hamilton. It is an experience I will never forget. To really experience the show, you need to see it performed. It truly is a combination of music, acting, choreography, staging, lighting, words… Knowing only one aspect does not paint the entire picture.

Which is part of why I went and saw it in Chicago in September. That and gathering more observations on the audience and the performance. It was completely different and completely the same. That cast has really made it their own. I only wish I could see the tour’s Angelica company in LA.

I had so much fun being on panels and just being at Marcon in May. I got three new costumes together for DragonCon in September. If only I had taken the time to make sure the one fit before calling it finished I could have worn all three! I had a blast at DragonCon, making more friends/professional connections. I even managed to amaze someone that a scholar they highly respect – with very good reason – was on my thesis committee. I watched many cool movies (including seeing Star Wars twice!), and even went to see Doctor Who: Twice Upon a Time in the theater. I have met many new people and made many new friends. I have added many books to my shelves – both academic and for fun. I have added so much to my knowledge bank. I have so much more to learn.

I am grateful for all my experiences this year, from the very exciting to the extremely depressing. I am looking forward to everything that next year is bringing. But I’ll save that for another post. For now, thank you 2017 for quite the ride. Bring it on, 2018!

Total Tomboy!

After graduation, I found myself with some spending money. In my cathartic spending spree, I finally indulged in a site I have known about for a while, but haven’t had to funds to shop at: TomboyX.

TomboyX

They have all kinds of bras and underwear – from bikini to boxer briefs – in a variety of colors and prints. Their products have wide, no-roll bands, are eco-friendly, are made in factories where workers are paid a living wage, and they are QUILTBAG friendly/supportive.

My order arrived today. I figured I would order a decent amount of undies – mostly boy shorts with a few 4.5″ trunks to see what the difference is in fit – and a couple of racerback bras. Guys, I’m in love. As soon as I felt the band on the bra I had to put it on. I’ve had trouble with bra bands rolling up on me. And these are not cheap cotton bras either. This one stays put. And it’s so comfortable, I only kind of notice I have it on.

After that I had to try on some boy shorts. Seriously, these may be the best undies I have ever worn. They don’t dig in. They don’t even hint at trying to ride up. They are so comfy! I’m looking forward to trying on the trunks, but I am so happy with the boy shorts. I can’t wait to buy more and really start replacing my underwear with them. They have a new very loyal customer!

This post is in no way sponsored by TomboyX. Just a very happy customer who wants to make sure others know of this great site. But if they ever want it to be, I’d be very happy to!