Winona Ryder :: Top 10 Tuesday

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Winona Ryder :: Top 10 Tuesday

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10. Mina Murray/Elisabeta
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

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Dinner with Dracula

9. Beth
1969 (1988)

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Trailer

8. Kim
Edward Scissorhands (1990)

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Edward’s snow

7. Veronica 
Heathers (1988)

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Veronica and JD meet

6. Joyce Byers
Stranger Things (2016)

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Joyce and Jonathan

5. Susanna
Girl, Interrupted (1999)

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Borderline personality disorder

4. Charlotte Flax
Mermaids (1990)

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My life, my way

3. Jo March
Little Women (1994)

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Ending

2. Lydia Deetz
Beetlejuice (1988)

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Strange and unusual

1. Lelaina Pierce
Reality Bites (1994)

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You and me and five bucks

My Weekly Top 10 :: Week of August 29, 2016

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My Weekly Top 10 :: Week of August 29, 2016

1. Roadies 

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Shelli and Bill

To be honest, the show had me at the initial trailer and early marketing, I mean Cameron Crowe gets me in a very personal way, especially when his storytelling incorporates music (like Almost Famous, and now Roadies), and then Winnie Holzman, too, the woman responsible for my second favorite television series of all time, the short-lived My So-Called Life, oh, and J.J. Abrams, too – I was destined to fall hard for the show. All that said, I ended up falling harder than I expected, and wound up at the end of this first season (please renew, Showtime) caring about everyone of the regular characters on the show, and even some of the one-episode guests – oh ,and the music, I discovered some new favorites along the way, and enjoyed many already-favorites. My favorites on the show – Bill and Shelli (relate to both of them so much), Christopher House and Milo – but really, I loved everyone – Staten House Band forever.

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Christopher House

2. Lucius

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Lucius

One of the bands I discovered thanks to Roadies is Lucius. Though I’d heard their music before, it had been on the peripheral, or in the background, but after when they guest starred, and performed, on Roadies I really heard them for the first time. I can’t seem to get enough of their music lately, and have found myself devouring their albums; “Dusty Trails” is my current favorite, that song just digs in under my skin and stays.

Dusty Trails (live) :: Lucius

3. Road Regrets :: Dan Mangan

“And Robbie likes his country tunes,
it’s never been the lens that I see through,
but I guess driving for a week or two,
puts words in your mouth

So find dodge,
and then get out of it,
it’s about as country as I get,
so you ain’t living ’til you’re living it –
not dead ’til you die.”

Sometimes I hear a song that I feel so deeply, so internally, a song I relate to so much that I wish I’d written it. From the “on the road” element (girls with gypsy souls really get what a road regret is), to the music tie in (“so find dodge and then get out of it”), to the notion of escaping, and living, and dying – all of it, I just feel so fucking much. And, I can’t stop listening to this song right now.

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Dan Mangan

4. “Remy” Playlist

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Arly Jover, who I would cast as Remy if I was casting my novel

I’ve been back to working on my vampire/post-apocalyptic/speculative fiction novel (and will be using an excerpt for my final creative piece in the horror/speculative fiction class I am taking), Inbetween Days (working title), and have been listening to the playlist I made for the lead character/reluctant hero, Remy, while I’ve been writing. Music is forever my muse, and this playlist, with 97 Remy-centric songs, is really doing it for me.

Listen to Remy here.Listen to Remy here

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Arly Jover (my “Remy”)

5. Black Mirror
“Be Right Back”
Season 2: Episode 1

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Domhnall Gleeson & Hayley Atwell

“Be Right Back” is my favorite of the Black Mirror series, and this past Tuesday, in my American Horror Story and Speculative Fiction class, we watched the episode. Though I’d remembered Gleeson vividly, I’d forgotten that Hayley Atwell was in it, too. This one hit so much harder than the first time I saw it, and the tears fell more than once as the episode played, which is probably part to do with my current emotional state, and the way loss and death and grief and love have been top of mind for me, especially when trying to sort out how to deal with the memory of someone I love who is not of this earth any more – irregardless of the way the episode stung this time, it still is my favorite.

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Hayley Atwell

6. Paper Girls

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Paper Girls

My most recent favorite comic series, quite possibly my most favorite of all-time, Paper Girls presents a story with teenage female heroes out saving the world, on bikes, the bikes they usually use for their paper route. The series starts in the 80’s, and has that real 80’s immersive feeling that “Stranger Things” has, along with a bit of that friends against the world (think Goonies and Stand By Me and ET). There is a time travel element happening, too, which makes me love it even more – I really recommend series, Brian K. Vaughan is brilliant.

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7. Kelly Vivanco’s art

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“Mooring” by Kelly Vivanco

Music has always been a muse to my writing, a given perhaps considering how much music means to me, but it isn’t music alone that motivates and triggers plot bunnies and imaginative crafting, visual art has always held a significant key in helping to unlock story in me. Kelly Vivanco’s art has been, and still is, one of my writing muses – so many poems and stories and characters have been inspired by her paintings, as well as a ton of personal reflection. This one above (“Moorings”) is one of my all-time favorites, and always brings to mind the journey of self, and the realization that there are multiple selves within us, and that sometimes it takes a journey to make peace with our varying sides, and sometimes they need to work together to get to where you are trying to go – at least that’s what it sparks in me.

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“Space Within” by Kelly Vivanco

8. Issac Gracie

Terrified (live):: Issac Gracie

Issac Gracie showed up on my Spotify Monday Discovery playlist and I was drawn in, and blown away, immediately. His voice reminds me of the first time I heard Jeff Buckley sing, and his lyrics cut me like Elliott Smith did. I am terribly sad that I missed him by like one week when he was at the Hotel Cafe (discovered him the week after, I won’t miss him again). He is definitely one to watch, and listen to (side note: one of his songs was used in an episode of Roadies).

Last Words (live) :: Issac Gracie

9. Now, Voyager (1942)

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Now, Voyager, Bette Davis

I’ve been on a Bette Davis kick as of late, and was happy to see Now, Voyager featured on a recent Bette Davis day on TCM. This one was always my favorite, and still remains top of my Bette Davis film list. Not ever part of the story holds up, but the emotional heft, the connections, the self esteem struggles, and the tragic love story still slay me (oh, and that double cigarette lighting thing, too…*sigh*).

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Now, Voyager, Bette Davis and Paul Henreid

10. “Kia and Gio” by Daniel José Older

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Illustrated by Goni Montes

I’ve had the opportunity to read so many fantastic horror and speculative fiction stories during this summer quarter, in the American Horror Story literature class I have been a part of. One of my favorites we read was the short story, “Kia and Gio”, written by Daniel José Older, who also spoke to our class via Skype about diversity in the genre of horror/speculative fiction/science fiction and also about the writing world, and his life as a writer. I want to know so much more about Kia and Gio (Kia especially) and what happens next in that magical botánica.

You can read the story for yourself here.

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Daniel Jose Older

 

Stranger Things :: Barbara “Barb” Holland

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Stranger Things (2016)
Created by The Duffer Brothers

I fell hard and fast for the Netflix Original Series, “Stranger Things”, and broke my anti-binge policy to binge the hell out of it. I just couldn’t help myself. It was a near perfect show, to me, and I have yet to be able to shake it. So, to keep it still going, in some way, I am going to do a character-by-character post, starting with the TREMENDOUS female characters – cheers to shows who feature such strong and complex females.

Beware – there will be spoilers here.

Barbara Holland
played by Shannon Purser

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Barbara “Barb” Holland is only in five episodes (per IMDB, though it felt like less), and is not in very many scenes, though, in spite of that, she has caused quite a stir online, and offline. She’s been the subject of street art and fan art, and many a conversation and hashtag (check the tags #justiceforbarb and #Barbisbetterthanallofyou). She is Nancy’s best friend and confidante, and is second to Mike in the mysterious disappearing into the “Upside Down”.

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Everything about Barb felt familiar to me from the first time I saw her on-screen. She dresses and has her hair almost exactly as I did my freshman year of high school, and is even built a bit like I was. She has a quiet strength that emanates off of her, and has a lot of heart, especially when it comes to Nancy. Barb has a bit of that “goodie-goodie” image about her, the same image that Nancy has, but seems to be trying to step out of. But Barb is no pushover, she speaks her mind, and is loyal, possibly to a fault.

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I would argue that if developed more, we would learn that Barb has feelings beyond friendship for Nancy. I would love to see a queer character explored from an 80’s perspective, if my intuitions of Barb are true.

Maybe in Season 2.

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Oh, yeah, I know they found her body, with a snake slithering through her mouth. But, I have theories about the “Upside Down”, and the notions of life and death. I do think, given time down there life is transformed, and much like worm-spewing, “resurrected” Mike, I think it’s quite possible that Barb will return.

I also think that Eleven knew that Will and Barb were lost to the world, at least in the way people would have known them before. But, I don’t think they are necessarily dead, nor alive – I think they are something in-between. Even in the picture above, Barb almost seems to be preserved, in a state of almost frozen, perhaps in a state of evolution.

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Barb was the one story line I feel was lost along the way, and is actually my only real complaint about the show. No one, including the police, seemed bothered by her disappearance. Where do they assume she went? As I just said to a friend of mine, I’d love to think she ran off with Duran Duran, or to join The Bangles, but there is no way that she would have just run away with no real reason.

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Nancy seemed genuinely concerned, so much so that she rebelled against her parents and her boyfriend in order to go looking or Barb. She even crawled into that nasty tree to find her. So, when Barb is found, why did we not see a later reaction from the town, or at least from Nancy. As much as I appreciated the moment where Nancy gave Jonathan the camera, I wanted a moment of her remembering Barb.

Barb deserved more, and knowing what we know on Nancy, she would have memorialized her in some way. She went after a monster to seek vengeance, and to (hopefully) save her friend. She would have done something to remember her by.

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Long live Barb! We love you!

Roadies :: Episode 2 :: “What Would Phil Do?”

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Roadies (2016)
Episode 2 :: “What would Phil do?”

What would Phil do, and how do you replace a “legend” like Phil? Poor Bill, his name might rhyme with Phil, but he isn’t Phil, and the harder he tries the more it seems to not work at all for him. His anxiety is palpable, and makes it all the more difficult, and yet he doesn’t seem to be able to ask for help. This plays out so believable to me, at reflects even more on the family dynamic that goes on within the Staton-House Band crew.

Meanwhile, shenanigans are afoot with games of hide and go seek with equipment, and Dirty Sanchez-ing Mr. Potato Head. Is this really the work of The Head And The Heart? With the openers possibly villains, and leaving the tour, who will come to take their place?

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Hurrah for Reignwolf (who oh my stars I never knew before and BLEW ME AWAY) who come to the rescue, but oh no, for one night only!

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So, the opening bands will be like Murphy Brown’s assistants then? Ever changing? I’m digging that, especially since it means more musical guests every week! With that, and the “Song of the Day” to look forward to, I’m even MORE in love with this show.

Speaking of the “Song of the Day”, this week’s was “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on but the Rent” by Gwen Guthrie.

Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ on but the Rent :: Gwen Guthrie

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Kelly Ann still doesn’t have a nickname, but Reg does (Double D, as in Douchebag Dawson). Kelly Ann does have some significant moments though. One is a bit of a “meet-cute” with Reg (yes, I see what’s going on here…what’s to come) over grits, and the other is a unexpected moment of enlightenment with Christopher from Staton-House Band when they have a conversation about raisins (yes, raisins).

“The grape was already perfect and shouldn’t be changed…raisins are not always the answer.” ~ Kelly Ann

It was great to see more of Christopher, and to glimpse a bit of his relationship with Bill (not the best, if being sent to clean the bathroom is any indication). I hope we get to see more of the band in upcoming episodes.

Speaking of Christopher, he’s taking to doing this finger-kiss thing that the crew finds unsavory. Bill is to speak to him about it, but can’t seem to do it (cue again the moment between Christopher and Bill), but in the end the finger-kiss wins it seems, as the fans have adopted it, and are using it to show their Staton-House love.

Long live the finger-kiss!

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Reg has a moment of redemption when its revealed that the WWPD (What Would Phil Do) tee shirts were his doing, though they do meet an untimely end when Shelli uses them to sop up the overflowing toilet.

Oh, and the music in the episode? Brilliant, as usual. My favorites being Reignwolf “Are You Satisfied?” and The Replacements “Talent Show”.

Are You Satisfied? :: Reignwolf

Talent Show :: The Replacements

Yay for Winnie Holzman who wrote this episode.

My wishes for next episodes? More of Christopher and the rest of the Staton House band, more of Donna, more of Wes and Kelly Ann’s past (and can I please have a Wes-presso?) and just more of this show that I’ve fallen so in love with.

If you aren’t watching yet, what the hell are you waiting for? Go now go, there’s time to catch up before Sunday!

Roadies (2016)

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Roadies (2016)

…but the music is good, and you meet some great people.” ~ Shelli

Created by Cameron Crowe (his first foray into TV), withe the help of Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life) and J. J. Abrams, comes a show about the unsung heroes of live music – the roadies and the production team behind every show and every tour. It is about family, about relationships, about passion, about obsession and fandom, about life in all its ups and downs, and about music. I have been looking forward to this series since I first saw the trailer, and have been anxiously counting the days. The pilot is available to stream and/or watch via on demand – but I’d recommend watching it on Cameron Crowe’s website – here.

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Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE music in a passionate, obsessive, like blood and oxygen kind of way. I also LOVE live music, as there is really nothing like the experience of standing in a venue, whether big or small, whether indoor or outdoor, whether no opener or festival, and being there in the music, experiencing it in-person. There is nothing quite like it in this life, at all, to me.

Over the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to see multiple shows by favorites artists/bands of mine and one of the things I’ve discovered through the experience is the people who make it happen – the tour managers, the roadies, the merch booth crew, the everyone that make the actual show happen. I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk to some of these people, and they are incredible, and they love music like I do. They remind me of my years working in record stores and make me miss being that immersed in music in a working capacity (though it is what fuels me writing about music and keeping this blog going).

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But, I digress, “Roadie” – it is all that live music experience, all that passion and heart and blood and sweat and oxygen – that I love about music and concerts. And yes, there is drama, and characters, and family, and problems, and MUSIC. It is pretty much everything I love rolled up in a show, and I am already so in love.

There are shades of “Almost Famous” here, as well as Crowe’s other film, “Jerry Maguire”. I see pieces of “My So-Called Life” in some of the characters, as well as that behind-the-scenes meets fast-paced dialogue of Aaron Sorkin’s “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”. The writing is stellar, the characters already complex and interesting and layered. There are strong female roles – hurrah for Carla Gugino and Imogen Poots. There are interesting (relative) newcomers like Machine Gun Kelly, Christopher Backus and Tanc Sade, and some recognizable actors that I’m glad to see in something like this – like Luke Wilson (who I’ve always loved) and Luis Guzman.

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There are actual bands and musicians making appearances, too (The Head And The Heart in the pilot) and the show features a “song of the day” (see why I LOVE it?). The pilot’s song of the day was Frightened Rabbit’s “I Wish I Was Sober”, which made its way on to today’s 5 Music Obsessions list.

Kelly Ann summed it up, more than once, in the pilot when she talked about loving the music. She reminds me of some wonderful mix of Penny Lane and William Miller, which reflects more of the way I love music, that kind of combination. I’m already wanting to go back, watch it again, and write out all my favorite quotes (and yes, I may just do that later).

Episode 101 (Pilot)

I don’t want to spoil too much of the pilot, but I encourage you to go watch it and find out why I’ve just fallen head over heels over heart for “Roadies”. I hope you will, too.

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I thought we were safe but I was wrong :: SOTD

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“Sometimes I wish I was blind.
I thought I saw,
a whole lot more,
than this.”

The Book Song (1992) :: Frente!

“The Book Song” was one of my favorite tracks off of one of my favorite TV show soundtracks, “My So-Called Life”. I played that soundtrack to death, both the official one, and the unofficial one that made its way through the fandom (and mailing list) that I once was an active part of.

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Frente! was one of those 90’s bands that I came to know through mix tape exchanges. Their cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “Labour of Love”, and this song – “The Book Song” — often made their way into the tape track lists.

Though, I cannot quite recall the scene this song played over on the show, “The Book Song” does bring back the memories of falling in love with the show, and being a part of such an amazing community as the one I found among the fans of the show. Some of my best friends came out of that time in my life.

Listening today to the song, I’m realizing how sad it is. It is very much a break-up song, and not just a break-up, but a broken heart/disappointed in love kind of song. Those last two lines (quoted above) really lay a punch, and resonate in that place we all have where we’ve been let down by love before.

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Frente! are an Australian band which originally formed in 1989. The original line-up consisted of Simon Austin on guitar and backing vocals, Angie Hart on lead vocals, Tim O’Connor on bass guitar (later replaced by Bill McDonald), and Mark Picton on drums (later replaced by Alastair Barden, then by Pete Luscombe).

In August 1991 they issued their debut extended play,Whirled, which included the track, “Labour of Love”. In March 1992 they released a second EP, Clunk, with its featured track, “Ordinary Angels”, which peaked at # 3 on the ARIA Singles Chart.

It was followed in October by “accidently Kelly Street” (unintentional misprint of “Accidentally Kelly Street” was retained) which reached No. 4. Their debut album, “Marvin the Album”, issued in November, peaked at No. 5 on the ARIA Albums Chart. “Labour of Love” was released as an EP outside of Australasia in 1994 as a CD single with a cover version of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” included.

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“My So-Called Life” Soundtrack, from Atlantic Records, originally released on August 25, 1994, then re-released on January 24, 1995.

My Weekly Top 10 :: Week of July 20, 2015

My Weekly Top 10 :: Week of July 20, 2015

1. Book pages

14Though I do read books via my iPad, and “read” via my ears on my daily commute via Audible.com, there is something so intimate and sensory fulfilling in reading a book with paper pages and ink text. I’ve taken to snapping pictures of pages I’m on while reading, and I would love if more people did the same. I’d love to see what everyone is reading right now from books bought at a local bookstore, borrowed from a friend, or checked-out at the library (the photos are from a borrowed copy of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton).

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2. Rent 

16This week I had the chance to catch Plan-B Entertainment’s great production of a favorite musical of mine, Rent, at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills. The cast was brilliant, especially the actors playing Mark (Andrew Wade) and Roger (Jonah Ho ‘Okano). The theater was relatively small, our seats were great, and the tickets were no more than a movie ticket would be, which made spending a Wednesday evening with live theater even better (I’d love to see more from this production team).

173. Eurythmics

Who’s That Girl? :: Eurythmics

I’ve been on an Eurythmics kick this weekend, playing a few of their albums while I read my current book and one of my magazine subscriptions. I took a break to watch some of their classic videos, too, like the one above (can you name some of the cameos from some of the 80’s musical celebrities in the video? I spy Bananarama and Marilyn), and below (why the creepy ventriloquist dummy?). Oh my stars, Annie Lennox is so stunning.

Love is a Stranger :: Eurythmics

4. Scream (the TV series)

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I was apprehensive as it is an MTV show (though I did enjoy the first season of Awkward), and sometimes TV versions of movies/movie franchises are lackluster, but this one is a fun ride. Full of satire and Meta moments, as the movies were, and clever in its writing and pacing, this one was a happy surprise. Fits perfect in that hot Summer nights when horror (especially of the campy variety) just feels like the great choice, reminiscent of Summer vacation sleepovers or trips to the drive-in.

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5. LOST Re-watch 

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Tuesdays and Thursdays are Podcast days during my commute back-and-forth from work, and I have quite a variety that I choose from, some weekly favorites, and others ones I will check-in with monthly. A new discovery coincides with my own TV re-watch – the LOST Re-watch Podcast. I’m enjoying the banter and the differing views, especially when someone on their panel is watching for the first time; the whole experience is like doing a re-watch with other people, something that a re-watch generally doesn’t provide.

Lost (Pilot moment)

6. The Killing

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The Killing has been my weekly show for months and months now, something I look forward to every Thursday afternoon on my lunch hour. It is coming to a close as I find myself in the midst of the significantly shorter Season 1. I’m going to be so sad when it finishes, and I am going to miss Holder and Linden so much.

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7. Vnyl

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I signed-up for vnyl, a monthly vinyl record subscription, after a co-worker of mine tried it out and loved it. It is awesome, and so much fun, getting three hand curated albums in the mail every month. You sign up and give them links to some of your social media (including discogs, where you can catalog your entire vinyl collection), answer some questions about your music taste, and each month your three albums are chosen with your taste and collection in mind (oh, and you get to pick a new theme, called a “vibe”, every month, too).

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8. Pines by Blake Crouch (Audio Book)

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I was enjoying the Summer event series, Wayward Pines (that is until the finale – ugh) and thought I’d start listening to the audio books. So far, I’m enjoying the first book and will probably listen to the other three. Although there is no mystery now that I’ve seen the show, I’m enjoying the writing style and the pacing, and the way they are unfolding the reveals.

Part 1 of the audio book

9. Born on the FM Waves of the Heart :: Against Me! featuring Tegan Quin

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This is my most played song this week, by far. It’s been a favorite for a long time, but I hadn’t listened to it, or the New Wave album in awhile, but after listening to a Nerdist Podcast interview with Laura Jane Grace I got in the mood. I love Tegan (from Tegan and Sara) in this song, too – such a fantastic duet.

2410. Living with Jigsaw

Living With Jigsaw by HandleBarMustacheLand

Because this made me laugh!

My-So Called Life Re-Watch :: Pilot :: “You’re so beautiful, it hurts to look at you.”

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The first time I heard about My-So Called Life I was sitting out on the front porch of the house I grew up in, smoking a Marlboro Light and reading an issue of Entertainment Weekly. I had moved back home with my two year old daughter, after my relationship with her father fell apart, and my attempt to make it on my own hit a big bump in the road. I felt like a failure, more than a little lost, and as close to being a confused adolescent as I had been since being an adolescent. I was twenty-five and definitely in the throes of a self-indulgent crisis (they call them a quarter-century crisis now, don’t they? But they did not have a name for it then), and Angela Chase was just what I needed.

There was an article in the issue I read, an interview with creator Winnie Holzman, if I remember correctly. I recall her talking about the music, about how her teenage daughter helped her with it, and how it was a real look at what its like to be that age, the age of the high school experience, and how even when you are older we all feel connected to that time in our lives, as if we are indelibly marked by it. I was always a sucker for stories about adolescence (still am), perhaps because I felt mine had been so broken, or maybe because its true, that we are forever marked by that time in our lives. Maybe experiencing it vicariously, through fictional characters and plot lines, we get to time travel back, we get a do-over, of sorts, free of any real consequence, or heartbreak.

I waited for the premiere, and even though it ran against a show I enjoyed, I turned it on to watch. I lay on a fold out sofa bed in the room that was once my brother’s (he’d traded up to my parents’ old room, and my mom had taken mine) and was completely taken in by all of it. Angela, Rayanne, the hair dye, the boy who leaned well (oh Jordan Catalano), the inner dialogue, the Let’s Bolt night, the shoe trading, the cab drive home, the moments in the hallways and at the dinner table, and on the sidewalk, I honestly could not get over how it all made me feel.

So, hear I am, twenty-something years later, turning on the pilot again, an episode of a show I have watched so many times. This is the start of a writing project about the show, about the experience of re-watching it, about all the ways it still makes me feel, the memories it unlatches and sets free, about the music and the moments and the dialogue I’ve quoted so much, and about me, and my relationship with the show. This will be self-indulgent. This will be without any set format. This will most likely be random and all over the place, but I think it will be fun, and hopefully an interesting read, or perhaps a complete disaster, much like life, and a lot like being a teenager.

Let’s do this. Let’s “go now go“.

Episode 1: Pilot
Written by Winnie Holzman
Directed by Scott Winant
Originally aired August 25, 1994

German title: “Im Disco-Fieber” (Disco Fever)
French title: “Ma nouvelle Amie” (My New friend)

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The show starts with Angela, sans the red (or, Crimson Glow) hair that she will become known for, and Rayanne running around a downtown area, asking money from strangers, but mostly just laughing and being friends. There is something so intrinsically real about their friendship, about the moments we see of it, about how it seems like they are both almost in love with each other, because new friendships can be like that. I love how true to female friendship this show is from the very start, and how complex Rayanne and Angela’s relationship is.

School is a battlefield for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. ‘Cause she wasn’t just talking about my hair. She was talking about my life.” ~ Angela

My twelve year old daughter came in while I started to watch and sat down next to me to watch, too. She asked if I ever had friends like Rayanne and Rickie, and I said yes, though not at the same time. I definitely had my Rickie, and then later, a Rayanne. They both changed who I was, or helped me to change who I was.

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Angela is trying to be someone else. At times, she seems to be trying too hard. Its funny, because Patty seems to be trying to hard, too. It is an interesting contrast between mother and daughter, and makes for some truly cringe worthy moments, especially Patty’s reaction to Angela’s hair, and to meeting Rickie and Rayanne for the first time. When she stumbles over her words saying that she’s leaving, well not the house, but the room, it is as awkward as when Angela is in the bathroom at school, with Rickie and Rayanne, and the second bell rings, and she tries to excuse herself, but not looked too bothered to do so. Its this moment that shows no matter what age we are, we are all trying hard to be something, and often that trying is awkward and overly-intentional, and clumsy.

Patty, oh how I used to despise her. At twenty-five, living at home again, I wanted someone to blame for my failures. It was easy to blame my mother for things, some of them deserved, some of them not at all. Now, I see Patty with a sympathetic eye. I feel for her, sometimes uncomfortably so, like when Patty stops herself and notices she is saying things she never wanted to say, things her own mother said. I have been there, frozen in shock and horror at the words coming out of my mouth that echo my own mother’s. Moments when I see the dividing line widen between myself and my kids. Its hard. I feel Patty’s marriage issues, too. She’s the breadwinner, something I know only too well, and the resentment is there, right under the surface, and it hurts to look at.

But, back to Angela. Enter Jordan Catalano, leaning against lockers and closing his eyes, well, when he isn’t busy putting eye drops in them. Its funny that we never see Jordan smoke pot, but it is obvious that we are to see him as a stoner. Later we see him popping breath mints, too. I remember when my oldest daughter was in high school and the moment when I noticed she was suddenly never without eye drops and breath mints, a sure sign that she was smoking pot. It was so obvious, and I remember wondering three things – what I should say to her, how it was that my mom never knew when I was doing things like smoking pot, and how on earth did I become the mom who notices her kid is up to stuff, and not the kid who was up to stuff? Its a staggering moment as a parent, and as an adult.

But, back to Jordan, I look at him and I can’t help but remember my own Jordan, and how whether I knew him or not, or even knew what to say to him, or even whether he knew I existed, I did want sex, or a conversation, preferably both, though probably more of the latter. Conversation and kisses, and maybe the rest, too, after awhile. I had so many dreamed up scenarios, so many songs that reminded me of him, so many things that I obsessed over, like his green sweater and the way he smelled, and the way the left side of his mouth went up just a little higher than the right when he smiled. He didn’t lean great, but his smile could knock the wind out of me. He had lockers near mine and I would catch myself staring at him, longingly, more than I would ever admit (though my best friends knew, and noticed).

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Sharon and Angela, oh how that one hurts. At first, Sharon seems so, I don’t know, I want to say annoying, but I’m not sure that’s fair. I suppose we see her the way Angela is starting to see her, through Angela’s lens. Sharon represents that part of Angela that Angela wants to shed, and because of that Sharon is destined to be left behind. I remember doing it. I had these new friends who seemed to get me more, and get what I was into more, and get who I wanted to be more. They were in color and more alive, and they had that undefinable something that I craved. It was never about what my old friends didn’t have, or anything they did. That conversation in the bathroom when Angela tells Sharon that it isn’t any one thing, that was exactly it, it was not one thing, it was not anything, but it was everything, all the same.

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That scene in the bathroom is painful to watch. It is so intimate and real and raw. There is so much pain, and so much unsaid, and this growing gap between two girls who obviously still care deeply, but just as deeply do not understand each other anymore, or completely grasp what is happening. I always wonder who Jody Barsch is, and what happened between Jody and Rayanne. Was Angela part of a Rayanne pattern, or was the insinuation just a way of Sharon throwing hurt at Angela because she is hurting? As I mentioned before, the show is so great at illustrating the complexities of female friendship.

Why couldn’t Angela be friends with Sharon, and with Rickie and Rayanne? Why couldn’t I stay friends with my old group of friends, and the new ones I chose over them when I was in High School? For me, I know I just could not comprehend how I could change with these people who knew this version of me that I wanted rid of. As I grew older though I began to realize that real friends let you change, they change too, and you can weather that together. It isn’t easy, and at that age, when I was fifteen and sixteen, well it seemed impossible.

Things were getting to me. Just how people are. How they always expect you to be a certain way. Even your best friend.” ~ Angela

Were you ever an Angela in that scenario? Were you ever a Sharon?

“…it hurts to look at you.”

The entire Let’s Bolt part of the episode, from Angela’s conversation with Brian before she’s picked up, to the entire waiting for Tino poriton (my favorite moments from the episode) mean so much to me. I love the pieces of conversations, random and inconsequential, yet meaning so much in that moment. Angela and Rayanne comparing feet and trading shoes (the traded shoes working as a pinnacle character moment later when Angela trips in Rayanne’s shoes and tells Brian they aren’t hers, just like Rayanne’s life really isn’t one she fits into either), and the differences in the three of their responses of what to say before having sex with someone, it all is so perfect. Then when everything gets too real. I can feel the knot in my stomach twist and that panicky feeling in my chest, recalling my own moments in life when flirtations at first felt so powerful and free, and then suddenly a shift happening, when things started to turn into more than I thought I could deal with. It is so hard being a teenage girl. There are so many consequences that can come fast and furiously, and that you may not be able to control the outcome of. I want to jump in the screen and defend them both.

I wonder what would have happened if Angela hadn’t been there. What if it had just been Rickie and Rayanne? How many times had she left him to go off with guys? How often had she blacked out? When she says “Rickie don’t mind” it breaks my heart, because its so obvious that he does mind, but feels as powerless as they all are. Wilson Cruz plays this moment so understated. He is brilliant as Rickie. They are all so perfect in these scenes. They are all so beautiful it hurts to look at them.

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Towards the end, after Angela sees her Dad, Graham, with another woman, and after she is dropped off by the Police Officer who doesn’t knock on her door, she has this moment with her Patty that does me in. The Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. playing in the background isn’t even necessary because I hurt while I watch this scene, even more now as a Mother of two daughters, one past the teen years, and one nearing them. Again, there is so much said, and unsaid here, all of it making the scene so powerful. The show also does one hell of a job showing how complicated a Mother and Daughter’s relationship is. The pilot shows so many sides of it, from Angela first saying she can’t look at Patty without wanting to stab her repeatedly, to Angela coming to her for comfort and safety, and falling asleep in her arms. It is so hard to be a teenage girl, and it is so hard to be the Mother of a teenage girl.

Everybody Hurts :: R.E.M.

The end comes along in the form of the day after. They’ve all survived with stories to tell, and change from the experience showing on their skin, and changing who they are in small ways. I love the brief conversation Angela has with Jordan, when he asks if she’s out on bail. Oh, and I forgot to mention before, that moment when Jordan sees Angela being put in the Police car and calls her name out. That smile on Angela’s face, so happy despite what else is happening because you just know she is thinking “HE knows MY name!” I know I’d be thinking that, too.

And then the three are reunited in the halls, Rickie, Rayanne and Angela. Rayanne is of course telling the story with embellished details that she probably doesn’t remember, and painting it in big, bold, colorful strokes that is so much of who she is. She looks to Angela to confirm that they “had a time“, and yes, Angela agrees, they certainly did have a time.

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Details I noticed this time around: Rayanne going through the prescription bottles while Angela is rinsing her hair in the bathroom sink at Angela’s house. How hard Danielle vies for everyone’s attention, and how much they all ignore her (what will her teenage rebellion look like?). How Angela has dirt on her face after falling in the mud. You can see it when she’s sitting in the dark living room talking to Jordan about what day it feels like. I love the detail, that she doesn’t look perfect after falling in the mud, the way she looks like you’d expect her to.

Favorite moment: “Rickie, who has cuter feet?” ~ Rayanne

Least favorite moment: “Oh, look at me, I’m way cool. I’m off with my way cool friends to sniff floor wax.” ~ Brian (oh Brian, why do you say that? Sniff floor wax? Really? It is so cringe worthy it “hurts” to hear).

“We did. We had a time.”

Just for one day :: Under the Covers

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Heroes :: Peter Gabriel

And you, you can be mean,
and I, I’ll drink all the time.
‘Cause we’re lovers,
and that is a fact.
Yes we’re lovers,
and that is that
.”

Out of nowhere this cover hit me and I have been searching for it ever since. It was playing in the background in my car on Sirius/XM’s Spectrum station whilst I had a coworker in my car. We were discussing movies, or some such things (usually movies though) and I heard a line in this cover that stopped me mid-sentence. David Bowie’s Heroes is one of my all-time favorite songs, and I’ve honestly never heard a cover of it that I liked, utnil now. This is gorgeous and lush and incredibly cinematic. From the first line that Peter sings I feel chills chase up and down my arms and spine, and that emotional rush that makes me feel like I may start crying at any moment. This is heartbreaking and beautiful, and I am taken by it.

This apparently came out in 2010, on his cover album Scratch My Back. How did I miss it?

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Heroes was originally written by David Bowie and Brian Eno in 1977. The song was produced by Bowie and Tony Visconti, and it was released both as a single and as the title track of the album Heroes. It has been described as a product of Bowie’s fertile “Berlin” period, telling a tale of the life in the city and two lovers who come together in the shadow of the “Wall of Shame“. While not a huge hit in the UK or US at the time, Heroes has gone on to become one of Bowie’s signature songs and is well known today for its appearance in numerous advertisements. It has been cited as Bowie’s second most covered song after Rebel Rebel.

The title of the song is a reference to the 1975 track “Hero” by the German band Neu!, whom Bowie and Eno admired. It was one of the early tracks recorded during the Heroes album sessions, but remained an instrumental until towards the end of production.

Producer Tony Visconti took credit for inspiring the image of the lovers kissing “by the wall“, when he and backing vocalist Antonia Maaß embraced in front of Bowie as he looked out of the Hansa Studio window. Bowie’s habit in the period following the song’s release was to say that the protagonists were based on an anonymous young couple but Visconti, who was married to Mary Hopkin at the time, contends that Bowie was protecting him and his affair with Maaß. Bowie confirmed this in 2003.

The song was released in a variety of languages and lengths. In contrast to the variety of audio versions, the video (see below), directed by Stanley Dorfman, was a stark and simple affair, with Bowie performing the song in what appears to be a single take with multiple cameras, swaying his body in front of a spotlight that created a monotone and near-silhouette effect.

Despite a large promotional push, including Bowie’s first live Top of the Pops appearance since 1973, Heroes only reached # 24 in the UK charts, and failed to make the US Billboard Hot 100. In Italy, although the song was certified gold by the Federation of the Italian Music Industry.

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In this past season’s American Horror Story: Freakshow, the character of Elsa Mars, played by Jessica Lange, performed Heroes during the story, and her character’s, end. The performance and filming was a direct nod to David Bowie’s video (see below), with the lighting and her posing and movements, and even the costuming.

Elsa Mars (Jessica Lang) performs Heroes for her ending, the second Bowie song she sang in the show (the other, Life On Mars)

Though nothing,
nothing will keep us together,
we can beat them,
for ever and ever.

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Do you have a favorite David Bowie cover song? Do you have a favorite cover of Heroes? What do you think of these?

Heroes :: David Bowie

As Seen On TV :: American Horror Story: Freakshow :: “Massacres and Matinees”

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As Seen On T.V. :: American Horror Story: Freakshow – “Monsters Among Us” :: Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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This photo is so full of foreshadowing, and shadows, from the second episode of American Horror Story: Freakshow “Massacres and Matinees

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My thoughts in three sentences (There be Spoilers):

Just like with the first episode I ended up watching this one twice, the second time ending the episode in tears because the Meep storyline just breaks me. There are moments when the heartbreak of society and people with differences is so hard on me, causing me to feel this mash-up of anger and sadness, and there are so many moments in this where I was overwhelmed with that crossroads of feelings, at the diner, with Meep, and with Jimmy in all his failed heroic attempts (Evan Peters plays the dark and doomed hero so well). The scene with the Fiona Apple cover version, with Dot singing, was such a send-off to Baz Luhrmann, who I know Ryan Murphy credits as inspiration for how he is using music this season, for me, a fan of both Baz and Ryan, I wholeheartedly approve.

Dot (with Bette as back-up) sings about being a “Criminal

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