A British Musical Theatre Person™ who loves and writes about identity, the arts, and popular culture sometimes all at once!
People Who Told the World My Business
Lately, my mental health hasn't been great. The change in weather, a career stagnation, maybe both, but either way I'm not feeling great. Instead of wallowing in this, I've decided to examine media that I've consumed (and still do consume) in the context of my own feelings. A kind of media-analysis-as-therapy kind of way.
Musing on the Muses
If you’re a fan of Disney’s Hercules, you’ve seen these five women in action. They are the Muses, a collection of goddesses of the arts. The daughters of Greek God, Zeus and the Titaness Mnemosyne, there were originally nine of them, each embodying a different aspect of the creative arts. Calliope (Epic Poetry), Clio (History), Euterpe (Flutes and Lyric Poetry), Thalia (Comedy), Melopmene (tragedy), Terpsichore (dance), Erato (love poetry), Polyphymnia (sacred poetry) and Urania (astronomy) all inspired the creation of art through their own songs, dances, writing, music, and mime. They were invoked at the start of epic poems and tales like The Illiad or The Odyssey to have the storyteller exist a vessel that the muses could work through to successfully tell the tales of these heroes.
'RuPaul's Drag Race'(ism)
A lot has been said about the racism in the fanbase of RuPaul's Drag Race. Queens have spoken out against racist abuse from the fans, and spoken out against the racism within the shows practises. But I feel like conversations need to become focused and really hold the show (and by proxy, RuPaul) accountable for its treatment of black people, and black culture.
'Rent' Live: A Review
Rent was a fairly obvious choice for a live broadcast. The musical has fans across the world, covering generations of musical theatre fans. The show has been on Off-Broadway, Broadway, the West End, toured around the world, and we all seem to know someone who did the show (sometimes at a disturbingly young age). However, Fox's live broadcast of Rent faced issues that affected the general production.
Warning: This Post Is Problematic
2018 was the year that I heard the word "problematic" more times than I ever had before in my whole entire life. It was a good year for the word "offensive" too. They become catch all terms to describe a piece of media, a public persona, or any pop culture phenomenon that wasn't exactly progressive by today's standards. This lead to a rise of people declaring things as cancelled straight up.
The Problem with Problems
Queer digital magazine INTO recently published an article critiquing Ariana Grande's latest music video. With a title like "Ariana Grande's 'Thank U, Next' Music Video Is Surprisingly Anti-Queer" I expected an examination on what could go wrong when media that is 20 years old is shown in a modern context. I would have enjoyed that. That would have been fun.
The Twunk, The Interview, and The Closet
I'll be honest. 2018 was the year that I realised that Shawn Mendes was actually a singer. All I knew about him beforehand was that he is cute, and that he has some effeminate mannerisms. Both things are fine, and they've also contributed to the way that queer male audiences engage with him. From very graphic expressions of attraction, to using gifs of him as a way of expressing one's own queerness, Mendes became a rather popular figure on Gay Twitter. However, due to these things, speculations about his sexuality were quite common. On one hand, I understand the mindset between seeing similarities between oneself and a public figure and assuming there is something shared about your identity. I also understand the desire for visible queer representation, especially in popular music.
'Fantastic Beasts' and the Problematic Politics of J.K. Rowling
I would like to preface this by saying that I like the Harry Potter franchise. I am part of the generation that grew up with the books and the characters. I remember my older brother warning me about Hermione's name and telling me how it was pronounced (I was all ready to call her Her-me-own). I remember the twists, turns, and shocks that came with reading the books. I still feel betrayed that we didn't get the Full Veela Extravaganza in the movie adaption of Goblet of Fire. I don't even like to say the M word (you all know the one). I am in no way someone that wants to hate on the franchise just to hate it.
'Dreamgirls' 2017: A Review
We are currently in an era where adaptations are a constant in conversations about musical theatre. Whether it is the returning trend of television adaptations of popular musicals, or general musings on the impact of new musicals being based on popular movies (I can't lie, I am super excited about Mean Girls), adaptations are a pretty big thing now.
An Open Letter to Pewdiepie
Dear Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg, or (as those willing to entertain or indulge your nonsense call you), “Pewdiepie,” This isn’t the first time you’ve done something… morally questionable, whether it’s taking advantage of poor people of colour under the guise of entertainment or making so many jokes about Nazis, you literally have to make a point to say that you’ll stop after the events of Charlottesville. Your history with race relations isn’t the best, to say the least. I could go into how using the premise of “comedy” to perpetuate destructive ideology is a weak defense, to say the least, but that’s another clown for another circus.
Dear Musical Theatre Fans...
I didn't particularly want to write this. I love musical theatre, I am a textbook musical theatre boy. I am currently listening to Sondheim as I type this. But sometimes you musical theatre fans drive me up the wall. To quote the show in question, "ya'll could REALLY drive a person crazy."