I've haven't written much and I disappeared off the internet. Where have I been? Why did I leave? Let's start with why I'm writing this post.
The Billfold is shutting down in a week and I'm gutted. It was my happy safe place on the internet. I was open about money and my life in a way I'm not with people in person. It was the one website I checked multiple times a day just for the comments.
I had the privilege of attending the Night Before Our Stars-a one night promotional event on June 5. The event included an early showing of the film (at 5:30pm instead of midnight), a poster, a bracelet, and a live q&a after the film.
It was really cool but also strange seeing the movie with so many other people who also loved the book because I found reading the book and watching the vlogbrothers videos such a individual activity. Seeing the magnitude of this film was overwhelming. I didn't realize so many people knew we (as in nerdfightaria and hank and john and the book) existed.
"You just look like you with the volume turned up"
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell is a young adult novel set in 1986. It follows the story of two 16 year old teenagers as they fall in love for the first time. Each chapter alternates points of view. Eleanor has frizzy red hair and is a bit overweight. She is mercilessly bullied by the other students in school and by her step dad. Park is a half Korean student who is grappling with identity and parental expectations.
*originally written March 1, 2013
I've been struggling with how to define success. I have human goals of being happy and content with my life. I want to be able to support myself. But I feel this overriding pressure that I should be willing to do anything to be successful, even if it means sacrificing myself.
In school I was taught success is having a stable and steady job, a house with a white picket fence in the suburbs and 2 kids, a boy and a girl. To be successful you need to be active and be productive I was told. Being productive meant going to an office and sitting at a desk working a set number of hours and coming home. Now there is nothing wrong with this American dream but why is it the only dream?
*written Feb 12, 2013 ***SPOILERS***
"If anything I think I’m too smart and too sensitive too like, not crazy."
Episode 5 in season 2 of Girls is beautifully poignant and perfect. It could be a stand alone 30 minute short film exploring what everyone desires: happiness. Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham) sleeps with a married doctor and gets a glimpse into what she could have.
Monday's episode of Becoming Youtube caused quite a stir online. Becoming Youtube is a 12 part documentary series about this new phenomena of online vloggers. This weeks episode discussed women on youtube and whether or not gender affected your success. Watch here. My response video here.
"I'm bored, so bored"
Liz and Dick is a 2012 Lifetime film that spans 30 years of Elizabeth Taylor's life from divorcing her fourth husband Eddie Fisher to meeting, marrying, divorcing, and remarrying Richard Burton. Lindsay Lohan plays Elizabeth Taylor and Grant Bowler portrays Richard Burton.
As someone who didn't know much about Elizabeth Taylor, I found the film very hard to follow. I knew she had several marriages and was an important actress in film history but the film did not give enough background information.
The film begins in the middle of shootingCleopatra. There were no title cards or introductions, you were just dropped into the middle of the action. I thought I had accidentally skipped the first 20 minutes of the film, but I had not.
No one is introduced. Because of the media surrounding the film, I knew that Lindsay Lohan is portraying Elizabeth Taylor and Grant Bowler is portraying Richard Burton but the film never explains who Richard is. He is an actor on a film set but the audience does not know what happened right before that to cause Richard to have an affair with Elizabeth. There is no chemistry between these two actors, making the stakes of Elizabeth leaving her husband and Richard leaving his wife feel unimportant.
I did not feel anything towards the characters or their situation. For instance, their accountant keeps telling the couple that they are having financial issues but we as the audience never see the ramifications of the financial issues. They keep spending money and taking fancy vacations with no repercussions.
Lindsay as Elizabeth never ages. Her wigs change but her face stays the same. I didn't believe her playing Elizabeth at 29 nor did I believe her in her 60s. Because she never ages, I had trouble following the timeline of events as the film spans 30 years.
In between each major event is Elizabeth and Richard sitting in director's chairs in a black box commenting on what has transpired on screen. You'd think that these comments would help fill in plot holes and give background information but it is more of a rehashing of what we just saw. For instance, Elizabeth tries to kill herself to get Richard's attention. Cut to the black box and she says that she was upset that Richard wouldn't leave his wife for her. As the audience, we already understood that. Happy people don't try to commit suicide.
"Home is behind you, the world is ahead." Gandalf
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien is a 1937 children's fantasy novel following the adventure of hobbit Bilbo Baggins and a group of dwarves as they try to reclaim Lonely Mountain and its treasure from Smaug the dragon. Peter Jackson directs all 3 parts of the trilogy (originally 2 parts but the studio expanded to 3 films after filming had wrapped) and all 3 Lord of the Rings films, also based on Tolkien's novels. The films were shot in New Zealand in 266 days (average film shoot is 30 days). As of today, the film has grossed almost $700 million worldwide
Nick Jonas is taking over the title role of J. Pierrepont Finch in How to Succeed in Business. Nick is best known as one of the Jonas Brothers but got his start on Broadway in Les Miserables and Beauty in the Beast. The musical tells the story of Finch, a window washer that schemes his way to the top of the World Wide Wicked Corporation. Nick Jonas is replacing Darren Criss, famous for playing Blaine on Glee. The revival of the show, originally starred Daniel Radcliffe (in case you’ve been living in a dungeon for years he played Harry Potter).
Spring Awakening is a technical triumph. I was skeptical if Manny Prieto could successfully pull of production designing the show (designing the set, lights and costumes) especially when one understands the limits of the Massman. I was happily proven wrong. Everything was beautifully done and you could tell that talented designers worked on the show. Read more about the show and my interview with Manny here.
The lighting design, over set design, helps tell the story. Manny used simple lighting for the dialogue scenes, but when the musical numbers began, the Massman transformed into this hyper-reality full of saturated colors, adding to the emotional impact of each song. To achieve this effect, he used a ton of LED lights. As part of the set, there are trusses lining the edge of the stage. When the music starts, they are lit from below, creating an otherworldly feel and look. The show has two spotlights, unheard of for the Massman.
The show has a seven piece band, which means they are going to be loud. Kelsi Halverson (sound designer) live sound mixes the eight microphones during the musical numbers. I know this may not sound unusual, but remember that this is a student produced show in a small theater completely independent of the School of Theater. Live mixing of shows is usually reserved for the spring musical in the 500 seat Bing Theater.
Mark Suennen did a superb job as music director. The band was another character in the show. None of the instruments over powered the other but blended in perfect harmony. When you remember that this a student produced show, it is impressive that they have a seven piece band.
The costumes were perfect. You could tell that they spent time designing the costumes and didn’t just pull from the actors’ closet. Each piece fit the actors perfectly because Manny Prieto and Hannah Kim either made the pieces or tailored the bought garments. They surprisingly had a lot of white clothing (you try to avoid white on stage and in film because it’s so bright and hard to control).
SPOILER ALERT: Wendla says “My entire life, I’ve never felt anything.” This show forces you to emotionally feel something from the heart wrenching song “The Dark I Know Well” when Martha (played by Liz Cowell) confesses that her father beats her to “Totally Fucked” when Melchoir (played by Kyle McLaughlin) is blamed for Moritz’s death and expelled from school. The entire cast didn’t shy away from the sensitive subject matters from Loren Ramos (Hanschen) masturbating on stage during “My Junk” to Kyle McLaughlin (Melchoir) and Jenna Bamberger (Wendla) sleeping together during “I Believe.” Sophomore Madelyne Heyman directed the 16 member cast.
*Article originally post here