Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Spring Awakening, or How I'm in love with Mr Sheik

(Duncan Sheik's) Spring Awakening

The one name you need to know about this show is: Duncan Shiek, who's responsible for the music and orchestration (for those of you unlearnéd folks, he's the guy responsible for the hit Barely Breathing, look it up - it's probably on your iTunes)
That said, original cast members Leah Michele and Jonathan Groff were amazing and supported by a spirited and spunky supporting cast, including Blake Bashoff as Moritz.

Because, where else do you see rape, masturbation, homosexuality, revolution, child-beating and suicide treated in a musical setting? Based on the German play of the same name by Frank Wedekind, Steven Sater's book and lyrics treads the fine line between the fatalistic and hopeless tone of the material and the rock-and-roll feel of the music. Telling the story of a group of teenagers whose parents and teachers have kept them in the dark regarding faith and sexuality, Spring Awakening is a wonderful experience, as the audience follows Wendla, Melchior, Ilse and Moritz try and deal with their lives, their bodies, their lusts, their hopes. Melchior puts it best in All That's Known:

All they say
Is “Trust in what is written”
Wars are made
And somehow that is wisdom

Thought is suspect
And money is their idol
And nothing is okay unless it’s scripted in their Bible

But I know
There’s so much more to find
Just in looking through myself, and not at them

There were so many things I loved about this show I don't think I'd be able to list 'em all, but watch me try:
- It's a B*** of a living. Watch it. Love it. Buy it. Listen to it intensely. Over and over again.

- The lighting and set design. So minimal and yet so sophisticated (loved me the blue light that changed the colour of their outfits... even if it was "magic" to the 11 year old behind me); I particularly loved the 'swing-like' staging of the Wendla-Melchior sex scene (yes, it contains partial nudity) and the fact that the show so easily goes from Realism to full-on spectacle, with hand-held mikes that the boys carry in their jacket pockets, that makes the show feel as much of a concert as it is a musical play.
- I love ALL the songs and all the lyrics, but I enjoy the 'Word of your body' song (and its reprise) because it so perfectly captures the way violence and sex mingle in the show:
(From the reprise - the 'boy on boy' version):

Come, cream away the bliss
Travel the world within my lips
Fondle the pearl of your distant dreams
Haven’t you heard the word of your body?

O, you’re gonna be wounded
O, you’re gonna be my wound
O, you’re gonna bruise too
O, I’m gonna be your bruise

Overall Grade: A+

Monday, April 28, 2008

Young Frankenstein, or How it's a Star-Studded Show!

Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein

Roger Bart - who most of you might remember from playing a certain Bree-obsessed pharmacist in Desperate Housewives here is hysterical as the Mel Brooks-ean Young Frankenstein (pronounced Frankens-teen!)
Sutton Foster - who doesn't a lovable spritzy talented young blonde bombshell who rocks the German accent?
Megan Mullally - Ms Mullally plays Elizabeth like a madcap drunken 1940s socialite... So yes, she pretty much plays a redheaded singing version of Karen Walker! And that's kind of awesome.
Andrea Martin - Aunt Voula sings!
Christopher Fitzgerald - The original Boq from Wicked blew me off with his hilarious portrayal of Igor ("What hump?")
(and Shuler Hensley who wasn't there on Thursday)

Because when do you get a chance to see such an array of talent gathered together in a multi-million production driven by comedy, puns and amazing special effects, makeup and sets in a slightly longer-than-it-should production which still entertains and leaves you humming along? Okay... don't answer that. But as a spectacle and as a Mel Brooks production Young Frankenstein delivers: the Puttin' on the Ritz Franken-style choreography was pretty fun and while the comedy is at time too Mel Brooks-ean... well, for some people (such as myself) that's not really a bad thing. I tend to love overindulgent productions. Is this one for the Broadway history books á la The Producers? Probably not, but it was "good fun"(especially the first act, which bristles with good comedy and great numbers).

- Any and every moment Megan is on stage: Deep Love (oh the puns!) and Please Don't Touch Me (oh the applicability in real life) were highlights for me.
- Roll in ze Hay. Check it out:

- Fitzgerald in the role of Igor: so cooky, so funny, so hump-ey, so cuddly and talented!

Overall Grade: B+

Her Lyrics Don't Lie, or How Shaki teaches you to bring 'im back

You know how I love my 'Series' - so adding to the Everything I Learned I Learned from Animation, and my Seeing Double Series, I'm adding a Shakira-based mini-series called 'Her Lyrics Don't Lie'

"Come Back!" Edition:
Because while Madonna wants to save the World in 4 Minutes and Rihanna wants you to Shut Up and Drive, Shaki knows what's best...

vuelve, vuelve
vuelve, vuelve

que mi vida se desliza por un cano
que mis pies de estar
parados tienen callos
que no se como decirte que
te extrano
y ya en estas he pasado
mas de un ano
Vuelve (Pies Descalzos)

Yo quiero que vuelvas
Que te estan reclamando
Mis labios que hace tiempo no besas
Yo quiero que regreses
Ya ves que hasta mis manos
De tanto no tocarte me duelen me duelen
Que Vuelves (Donde Estan Los Ladrones?)

Y aunque me haga la invencible
Lo fatal lo imprescindible
Es que vuelvas a mi, vuelvas a mi, vuelve...
El dolor es sofocante
Y ahora todo lo importante
Es que vuelvas a mi, vuelvas a mi, vuelve...
No me tortures así
Lo Imprescindible (Fijacion Oral Vol 1)

Friday, April 25, 2008

The Dark Knight, or How I can't wait!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tom Lenk, or How Whedonesque keeps me informed

True, my all-time favourite Buffyverse character is Anya [insert lame maiden name here] Jenkins: no one can beat Emma Caulfield's deadpan delivery of pop culturally illiterate and genuinely sincere (albeit cruel) lines. If you don't believe me, watch The Body (S5) again: true, SMG is amazing in it and Joss puts some of his best directing skills to work, but the Anya monologue is brilliant in Caulfield's hands; and for lighter fare, look at Selfless (S7) for Caulfield's range - from an alienated waif, to a vengeful demon, to an inhumane capitalist, to a heartbroken human...

BUT if anyone gets close (and I'm sure a couple of more episodes and Anya would have had a tough competitor) it's Tom Lenk's portrayal of Geek Andrew (see Jane Espenson's hysterical episode Storyteller from S7 for a hell of a time!) Which is why I loved that they were paired off by Season 7: the pop culturatti and the pop ingenue (And yes, I'm still looking for that comic-book one-shot where they're together again!) While I have no idea what Emma is doing at the moment (I must resign myself I guess, to staring at my Anya action figures: I have 2!) it seems Tom's talent is all over the place (or so do the recent posts on Whedonesque suggest).

Take a look at Tom's singing talents:

And read about his various projects in this interview (from which I took this wonderful geek-chic pic of my favourite Nerd... even if, as he tells us in the interview, he's not one himself).

What caught my eye in the interview:

Now most of your live comedy is obviously based out in LA. Do you ever plan on expanding your domain, bringing your shows on the road to other cities?

You know what, I keep promising that I will go to New York, but I never do. I get paranoid because I'm lazy and don't feel like doing publicity to get people to come to the show, so I never know when I am in a foreign land, like New York, how I would spread the word. I'd hate to put together a show and then have the audience be empty, so I guess if enough people were like "we'll come and see the show" then I'll do it.

Tom: I'll come! I know that only fills one seat in your audience... but I'm sure I could bully er... a person or two... and that's like 3 people! Pretty-please?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Hard Candy, or How I Only Got 4 Words to Review this CD

How does one go about reviewing Madonna's new CD? I could go into great detail about every song, or I could take a page out of Madge's (song)book and make it a bit more interesting. Madonna may only have 4 minutes to save the world, but I only have 4 words to review every song. Let's see if I can make it make sense:

Hard Candy (2008)

Candy Shop
I'll be your one-stop candy-store
Raw Sugar; Good Beat!

4 Minutes
We only got 4 minutes to save the world
JT + Timbaland + Madonna = Hot

Give it 2 Me
No need to catch my breath
Gay Rave, Party On!

You know I feel it in my heartbeat
Electro-funk - beat-tastic.

Miles Away
I guess we’re at our best when we're miles away
Breathy repetitive echo loop.

She's Not Me
She doesn't have my name
Hilarious lyrics::funky song.

Can't get my head around it
Wanna dance - love it!

Beat Goes On
On and on, on the beat goes
Great cardio song, no?

Dance 2night
Let the music pull you through it
Will't grow on me?

Spanish Lesson
Entiendo means I get it
Oh Madge, no mas...

Devil Wouldn't Recognize You
You hide your sadness behind your smile

'Over and Over': Next!

Treat me like a curse
Frozen throwback, mellow sound.

Sugar High - Diabetic Rush!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Viva Hollywood, or How Homophobia is Alive and Well

And then people ask me why I am so vehemently opposed to Traditional Latin American values (read: machismo, homophobia, heteronormativity, etc. - which I agree, aren't exclusively part of the Southern part of this continent, but I grew up with them, so I take their portrayals, especially in the Latin American medium par excellence the Telenovela quite to heart).

Maybe it's because these sort of things happen (on tv nonetheless!)... and are condoned. Here was a perfect chance for a breakthrough: I have to applaud the fact that the show thought it could use with a same-sex scene, but instead of exploring (or full-on repudiating) Vinci's homophobia and using it as a pedagogical tool for its (I'm assuming, mostly Latino) viewership, the show - in all Reality TV beauty, turns it into petty emotional and unwarranted drama. Please notice how never does anyone in the show target the blatant homophobia but instead everyone in the show focuses on 'the nature of acting' and whats-his-face's ideas of being an "actor" (which, undoubtedly includes being in magazines - god how I it angers me that shows like this find ways to at once exploit and create 15-minutes-of-fame-crazed wannabe-performers).

[Thanks for The Film Experience for the Video]

NYCC Hotties, or How (Hot) Men Make the World Go Round: NPH

Tis true, Ladies and Gentleman I have seen Barney Stinson IN PERSON! (And again, for better pics go check out POP COLONY - she has the (much) better camera!)
And it was legen... wait for it...

... dary!

Not only is he a laugh in person, but it was great to see the love from the fans (yes, someone did actually yell "Lengendary!" at least once during the panel...) from an actor who makes me double over with laughter every Monday Night on... (shudders) CBS. But we won't hold that against him.

NYCC Hotties, or How (Hot) Men Make the World Go Round: NARNIA

So while the pics show that I need to get a new camera some time soon (for better pics you might wanna check POP COLONY) I think we can still say with no need for elaboration that the Narnia boys at the Saturday morning NYCC Panel were fan-frack-ing-tastic!

And yes, we got the new trailer (it looks good, even if I'm not a big CS Lewis fan), we got great anecdotes from the set (who else is excited about Peter's horse stunt?), and had a treat following along these Brit's repartee! All in 30 mins!

NYCC or How I'm Seeing Double

One of the reasons I love Comic Cons are the people.

Take a look:

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Her Lyrics Don't Lie, or How Shaki teaches you to metaphorize

You know how I love my 'Series' - so adding to the Everything I Learned I Learned from Animation, and my Seeing Double Series, I'm adding a Shakira-based mini-series called 'Her Lyrics Don't Lie'

"Metaphors" Edition:
Because while Beyonce might Check on It and Fergie might just go 'Oh Shit!' Shaki plays with language...

I'll leave again
Cuz I've been waiting in vain
But you're so in love with yourself
If I say my heart is sore
Sounds like a cheap metaphor
So I won't repeat it no more
Poem to a Horse (Laundry Service)

I've cried a thousand storms
I've blown away the clouds
The heartbeat of the sun is racing mine
And listen how
My heart is waiting
The Day and the Time (Oral Fixation Vol 2)

I used to sing the saddest songs
And while in the meantime roaches used to climb my door
Falling back down to the floor
I used to read survival guides
When my world was full of seven legged cats
But here a I am with eight more lives
Ready for the Good Times (Laundry Service)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Rather Difficult Font Game, or How, Yes, I'm a Geek in more ways than one...

I love fonts. Anyone who's seen any of my posters, my handouts - heck! even any of my academic papers, knows that I love fooling around with fonts. I think of it as dressing up letters in different outfits: would you wear the same thing to a Middlemarch paper than you would to an End of Year Potluck poster? Exactly.

Which is why I kind of had a fangasm when I encountered (don't ask why... I just randomly got there, okay?) to The Rather Difficult Font Game, and while I didn't do quite as well as I should have, I still had a good time wasting my evening away trying to beat my highest score (24/34)...

How well do you know your Serifs?

[pssst! Can you find the A Blog Next Door draped in the suggestively titled 'Group Sex' font? How about the BSG or the Star Wars font? The Chinese Takeaway font? - all found on]

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or How Everything I Know I Learnt from Animation

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Edition
Because who doesn't love turtles?

This post was inspired mainly by this. To quote the Rutgers university paper, the Daily Targum: "More than 700 students relived a favorite childhood television series last night as they dressed as Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael or Donatello in a successful attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."
I was just glad to see I wasn't alone in still reminiscing about those turtles - so much I even supported my girl Sarah Michelle Gellar last year and saw TMNT in theaters! And it was good. And so I give you:

Top 8 Things I Learnt from the TMNT

1. You can survive on just Pizza - and hey, when you're growing up someone has to tell you this. Add that to the fact that I now live within Papa John's delivery route and you have one happy camper.
2. Turtles are cool. But you know what's cooler? Mutant turtles! And you know what's cooler than that? Mutant NINJA Turtles!
3. It taught me about Japanese weaponry. How else was I suppose to learn about Katanas, Bo staffs, nunchakus and sai daggers? Exactly.
4. Purple is code for 'the smartest one of the group.' So if you see me wearing a lot of lavender, blame/thank Donatello... and okay, maybe Shredder. But can you blame me? Look at those arms!
5. Stay away from angst/angry Hockey-Mask wearing, Hockey-Stick wielding New Yorkers. Life Lessons, I tell you. Life Lessons.
6. Brains are dangerous. I mean, that was what I supposed to take away from Krag... right? Or maybe it was a more Cartesian proposition: the mind needs its body or else it'll be corrupted? I could buy that.
Girls in yellow-jumpsuits (whether or not they're voiced by SMG) are ass-kickers. This was of course only strengthened by that Uma-Quentin creation in Kill Bill, and one has to wonder whether Quentin was not only harkening back to Game of Death but also to Ms O'Neil.
8. "Cowabunga" is a word. Bart might have given me "Ay Carumba" but I do appreciate the TMNT by giving me Australian slang that, according to wikipedia is an
expression of surprise or amazement, often followed by "man"
Example: Cowabunga man! I love me some TMNT!

Check out past "Everything I Know..."

Pixar Edition
Lilo & Sticth
The Smurfs
Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Friday, April 11, 2008

Who's Afraid of Michael? Or How That's What Survivor Milf's said

Reason # 14979 why we should all love NBC Thursdays. They are a lesson in Post-Modernism. Remember, in a post-MTV world, we don't call it copying it anymore...

We call it "Pastiche" when the original idea is elevated and evoked.
Or just simply "Parody" when the original idea is downgraded and mocked.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Her Lyrics Don't Lie, or How Shaki teaches you how to live

You know how I love my 'Series' - so adding to the Everything I Learned I Learned from Animation, and my Seeing Double Series, I'm adding a Shakira-based mini-series called 'Her Lyrics Don't Lie'

"I love you" Edition:
Because while Janet wants to Rock Wit You and Mariah wants you to Touch her Body, Shaki keeps it real (in 3 languages btw!)

y fue por ti que escribi mas
de 100 canciones
y hasta perdone tus
y conoci mas de mil formas de besar
y fue por ti que descrubi
lo que es amar
lo que es amar...
Antologia (Pies Descalzos)

Eres mi desliz, mi pais feliz
Mi primavera,
Mi escalera al cielo, si
Si hablo demasiado
No dejes de lado
Que nadie mas te amara asi
Como lo hago... yo
No Creo (Donde Estan Los Ladrones)

You're the one I need
The way back home is always long
But if you're close to me I'm holding on
You're the one I need
My real life has just begun
Cause there's nothing like your smile made of sun
The One (Laundry Service)

Quand tu, quand tu me prends dans tes bras
Quand je regarde dans tes yeux
Je vois que Dieu existe
C' est pas dur croire
En Tus Pupilas (Fijacion Oral Vol 1)

Hope it isn't too late
To say "I love you"
Hope it isn't too late to say
That without you this place looks like London
It rains every day
Don't you know it, babe
I'm only half a body
Without your embrace
Your Embrace (Oral Fixation Vol 2)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bra Boys, or How I couldn't make this up even if I wanted to

Bra Boys.
And no, it is not a fan-made youtube video starring amateur actors trying to make it to Funny or Die by monologuing about being boys while wearing bras... though it should be. Instead, "Bra Boys is a film about the cultural evolution of the inner-Sydney beachside suburb of Maroubra and the social struggle of its youth - the tattoed and much maligned surf community known as the Bra Boys."
This is where I ask myself (in horribly offensive, albeit funny Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oy! Oy! Oy! slang): what kind of baby-stealing dingoes do these Yobbos think they are? And are 'up the duff' Sheilas to be held responsible for what happens down under, g'day mate?
Either way, I couldn't look away from the poster as I passed by it this morning. But, what lured me in? Was it...
...the seemingly ironic title in horrible ghetto-fab font that belongs in an E! Reality TV show?
...the fact that it is narrated by Russel Crowe? Guess his PR people gave up on playing down his rough image after A Good Year?
...the horrible tagline "Blood is thicker than water"? Which in my world can only mean that a vampire will be involved.
...or the fact that from the head down, the guy in the middle is kinda hot? In a Miami/LA Ink sort of way.
Also... where is Matthew Mac-on-a-hey-hey? This seems right up his alley.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Anya Jenkins, or How Happy (Belated) Birthday Emma!

I don't talk to people much. I mean, I talk to them, but they don't talk to me, except to say that, "your questions are irksome," and, "perhaps you should take your furs and your literal interpretations to the other side of the river."
- Anya, BTVS "Selfless"

Sunday, April 6, 2008

4 Minutes to Save the Frakking World, or How Life is Good!

Madonna and JT saving the world in what has become my favourite video of the year
Starbuck coming back, a shaven Baltar and the rest of the BSG crew back... all in one weekend?! 

Re: Madonna's 4 Minutes video. Random Thoughts Edition.
I love the choreography (especially the grocery store/moving conveyor belt bit) so much I can only try and do it justice with my half-haphazard attempts at emulating it in front of my laptop screen.
I know I'm echoing pretty much everyone alive when I say this but: what the heck do I need to do to look as good as Madonna does?
Is it me or was anyone else reminded of that other Madonna-late 90s/early 00s icon video (Me Against the Music)? Maybe it's just the intricate labyrinthian feel to it, as well as its emphasis on choreography and sexual tension... or maybe I'm just insane.
How does Mariah Carey have more Billboard #1s than Madonna? THAT was actually my recurring thought as I kept watching this video - mainly because I kept comparing it to Touch My Body... no comparison. Full Stop.

Re: The Return of Battlestar Galactica. Random Thoughts Edition.
Is anyone left who doesn't feel that this is indeed, one of TV's finest?
I'm so happy Baltar got the shaven treatment - as I see as this season's 'Let's get Jamie back to being thin' decision. And I applaud it.
Starbuck vs Roslin? I would not want to be in the middle of that confrontation. Too bad we didn't get to see that in an Unfinished Busines-style boxing match...
Welcome Back! I missed you guys! - with a gleeful smile, what was on my mind through the entire episode.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pop Music, Post Human, or How It's all Po-Mo Ho-Mo to me!

I know I joked about how Rihanna is the Post-Human version of Beyonce in an earlier post... but as some commentators mentioned, she's just the result of Pop Music. Which led me to ask:

Is Pop Music inherently Post-Human?

Janet needs feedback and goes all Haraway on us:

Britney breaks the ice invoking animation (my favourite brand of trans/post-humanism):

Madonna saves the world (because yes, Ecological and Environmental issues are post-human!):

And we could go back to the early '00s:

Vintage Pop Diva Po-Hu moment - Kylie comes (and clones) into your world (Gondry-style!):

Vintage Boy Band Po-Hu moment - BSB are larger than life (cyborgs anyone?):


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Banner Next Door, or How It's Time for a Change!

Time for a banner change (see above, and/or refresh) - but to bid the old one good-bye, let's go down Memory Lane:

Kate Winslet was spotlit in my Watch Out For (as did Charlie Kauffman, the master-mind behind the movie featured), and she also got her own post.
Wicked... even though I listen to the soundtrack on loop and love the book I'm still working on watching it (damn you grad student budget!) and yet there's been a lot of love for Pushing Daisies (co-starring Original Glinda Kristin Chenoweth) and Enchanted (co-starring Original Elphaba Idina Menzel )
Gabo's Hundred Years - a nod to Latin American Lit, it got its fair share of (overhyped) posts on Love in the Time of Cholera
BKV's Runaways (which I love, despite Joss's run delayed release dates...) got a 'hate' post mainly due to my lack of love for Ramos' take on the kids, so for an 'I love Runaways' post go over to POP COLONY and read my 'I'd tap that fictional ass' post.
Belle and her Beast got their own post not that long ago in my 'Everything I Learned, I Learned from Animation' series. Standing in for Disney... well that just yields my all-time favourite post: Queer Disney Villains!
Natalie... sigh. That's all the intro she needs, right? That said, I am lacking in good Natalie posts.
BKV's Yorick? Even though we bid him goodbye in January, we still have tons of posts to leaf through to remember him.
Shakira: She got that one post on Love in the Time of Cholera, but expect more soon.
Jamie and the BSG crew: one measly post? I blame it on the fact that they've been off the air for the duration of this blog...
Ms Davis - I think she's just there to prepare me for bumpy nights ahead.
It may be Nicole, but it's Baz who I was going for when I picked the Satine pic: How appropriate then that they made it to the same Watch Out For post!
Barthes - true I talk a lot about theory (Queer Theory, re:blogs, Visual Theory), but it's no surprise Barthes showed up in one of the most obscure posts ever (Academic Biopic posters... = geek!)
And last... but certainly not least (as it beats out every other post-topic in this blog!) is Ms Buffy Summers. See posts on: the Man himself, all about Buffy Season 8, a review of a certain Ms Gellar film and even a plethora of posts on Ms Hannigan's new vehicle How I Met Your Mother

What made the new banner?
Emma in Kushner's HBO adaptation of his epic gay play(s), an Enchanted James (courtesy of David Kawena), James Jean-ean umbrella art, Chabon's superhero novel, Lee and Anna pushing daisies, NBC's favourite couple, a Devilish Meryl, a naked Barney, a H(ot)&M(adonna), an astonishing couple, Pixarian birds, a streetcar desiring Marlon and of course, a Jo Chen fab non-Buffy Buffy.