Illustration ©  Kenny Leoncito

Illustration © Kenny Leoncito

Playing Referee In Catholicism Vs. Queerness

Content Note: References to religious and internalized homophobia

When I finally found the words to ask [my friend] about it, both of us nineteen and sitting outside an Airbnb because he had come out to his devoutly Christian parents the night before and had been asked not to come home for the weekend to give them space to think, his answer had been simple: But isn’t religion for us in the end? Doesn’t that make it just a little bit personal?

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Illustration ©  Victor Martins

Illustration © Victor Martins

Parents Didn’t Give Me The Sex Talk — Fanfiction Did

Fandom is safe. An ironic claim, perhaps, considering all the toxicity that comes part and parcel with such a melting pot of different identities, views and backgrounds, all with no governing body to moderate activity — but as far as being a person of a marginalized identity goes, fandom is safe because it is more often than not the only choice available that does not require more commitment and more vulnerability for which one might ever be ready.

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Background photo ©  Jan Antonin Kolar  on  Unsplash

Background photo © Jan Antonin Kolar on Unsplash

Tumblr and the Fight Against Nipples

Content Notes: brief references to child pornography, misogyny, homophobia, and transphobia.

Last November, in response to the discovery of child pornography within the site, the Tumblr app was taken off the Apple App Store. Shortly afterwards, Tumblr released a new set of guidelines to be implemented from December 17th, 2018 onwards, which bans all sexual content ranging from a kiss to any semblance of nudity to porn. A more long-term No Nut November, if you will. It seems the site had gotten attached enough to consciously choose — after years of every possible fandom drama and porn bot persistence imaginable — to finally, finally, finally self-destruct.

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Wake up to the Cartoon Revolution

What I learned from ComiCon is this: we never really forget the things we love as children. These superheroes are our first role models, and these fantasy worlds are often our first encounters with the beauty of fiction. There will always be emotional attachment to something, even if we deny it, because at one point we’ve wanted to be Spiderman or, like those girls, have been inspired by the kind of female character Sailor Jupiter is. We’re shaped by our childhood experiences, and that includes the things we watch. It’s a well-grounded emotional attachment, and that’s why, when shows like Digimon and Sailor Moon get reboots and sequels, people are more than happy to gob it all up.

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Hamilton is reshaping Broadway’s history

In light of the recent release of Oscar nominations and the backlash that followed against the lack of diversity (yet again), Hamilton serves as an example of just how misled all the excuses and justifications Hollywood has attempted to scavenge in response are. Hollywood is particularly fond of the “no one will watch it” excuse, the notion that somehow a diverse cast won’t attract as broad an audience as a white cast would. Though musicals are in many ways different from the film industry, Hamilton nonetheless begs to differ.

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The new Spring Awakening is 👌🏼

Deaf characters are introduced into the story this time around, and for a musical where communication is a key theme, it opens up the show for a different kind of in-depth exploration. It cuts open the musical everyone had gotten to know and love, and bares its bones not just to the audience but especially to the musical theatre community. ASL is a constant part of the choreography for Spring Awakening, and each actor uses ASL, whether or not they’re singing, speaking or signing. The spotlight is on the deaf actors for majority of the production, all of whom are accompanied by separate actors doing the singing and speaking off-stage. The entire cast works together to make Spring Awakening what it is, may it be teaching the hearing cast members ASL or working their way around with non-verbal cues between songs, and the effect is a musical that is enchanting in its own right, with or without the music.

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Uncanny X-Men ends with a bang

In this case, the significance truly lies in the X-Men franchise’s decision to take one of its fan favourites, instead of just as easily creating a new one, and explore issues of sexual orientation using a character that’s been a familiar face to the comic book community for decades. Hints have been around in the X-Men universe long before April’s All-New X-Men issue: Iceman apparently having to deal with bigotry in the family, his love interests implying a fluidity in his romantic and sexual orientations. And it’s nice to know that Marvel did not shy away from the controversy that’s sure to follow this reveal, and instead hammered the revelation home without room for half-hearted implications and unfortunate queer-baiting. It’s adding a new layer to a character that’s been dear to fans from the beginning that really makes a difference. In doing so, Marvel also peels back some of its history to make room for significant representation of the LGBTQ+ community. With this revelation, Marvel brings down the walls that the stereotypes of the action genre have built, and reminds all its LGBTQ+ readers that the comic book community is no less accessible to them than other forms of entertainment and pop culture are.

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Grease: Live disappoints

Unfortunately, all the things that FOX seemed to take pride in with their take on a televised musical — the celebrity-studded cast, the songs specifically composed for this adaptation, the interaction with the live audience, the set design split across the Warner Bros. Studios — are also the same things that ultimately ruined Grease: Live for me.

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[REVIEW] Daughter — Not To Disappear

Where If You Leave was soft and somber even at its most emotional, Not To Disappear abandons the listless loneliness and replaces it with a more blatant desperation. The new dynamic brings the album somewhere as gritty as the indie folk genre can allow it to go. This second album works with themes of nostalgia and memory, is more reflective than cathartic, and while previous songs were hazy and dreamy, Not To Disappear feels grounded. The music is still solemn, still hardly ever above a whisper, but somehow louder and more defined.

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[REVIEW] Nothing Much To Do

Multiple elements of the original Shakespeare play are brilliantly present in the narrative, smoothly transitioned into the world of teenage woes and impressively far from being anachronistic. It’s obvious that The Candle Wasters have closely studied the material they’re working with, from clever allusions to specific lines in Much Ado About Nothing to cheeky references to other Shakespeare plays passed off as offhand remarks. Combined with an amazing cast and extremely well written dialogue, this easily makes Nothing Much To Do my new favourite literary adaptation on YouTube.

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Gothic horror is back

While many contemporary directors have interwoven Gothic elements into more modern storylines (a shining example of which is Kubrick’s The Shining,) the true core of the genre lies in its Romantic origins: damsels in distress, mysterious Victorian mansions, vampires and the mist-covered countryside. Romanticism was about stimulating its audience with something different, something wildly bizarre in comparison to the rigid Classical norms of the time. Rather than idealize fear, as is the common misconception, the Romantic and Gothic genres instead redesigned it in such a way that it could be embraced.

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[REVIEW] The Little Prince (2015)

I love Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince, and it might be my longstanding loyalty to the original story speaking here, but the one flaw of the film for me is that its original plotline fell short of where it really needed to be. Instead of growing into whatever they were trying to prove with the added story, the film reiterates the same monotonous mantras from Saint-Exupery despite blatantly being determined to distinguish itself. The moral of the story became something repetitive and not unlike anything we’ve ever heard before, and the repetition became something that bordered on ridiculous. It stripped away the emotional brilliance that could have been maintained if handled carefully, and while all was not lost at the end of the day, the rescue can only be credited to Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey’s beautiful score. Osborne’s The Little Prince is a movie targeted towards children, but for a film that preaches about the importance of childlike imagination, it severely underestimates their capability to understand subtle thematic messages in what was otherwise a lovely film. It beats you over the head with the same message, explicitly stated through the little girl, and while nice at first, it was something the second half of the film could have done away with, or at least managed better.

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[REVIEW] Firewatch will set your world alight

Firewatch makes for a great experience largely thanks to the environment it immerses the player in — the woods look shockingly realistic no matter which route you take, and the dialogue is brilliant and satisfying to the very last syllable. While the ending leaves much to be desired, it’s a quick little game that’s relaxing and escapist in its own charming right, and for that, it deserves a play.

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TWIN PEAKS IS (ALMOST) BACK

Twin Peaks revolved around the murder of high school student Laura Palmer, whose death starts a chain sequence of events that becomes the catalyst for the show’s main storyline. As with many of director David Lynch’s works, the show does not adhere to norms of any particular genre. The show, all at once, contains supernatural factors and surrealist elements, underlined with both melodrama and humour. It achieved cult movie status over the years that followed its second season, and has become widely considered a television classic.

25 years later, co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost are bringing the series back for a new season. 

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[REVIEW] Life is Strange

The teenage aspect is strong and constant, and it’s nice to see that playing through Max actually feels like being in the mind of a teenage girl. She’s not perfect, and when you are making choices through her, you get to truly experience the uncertainty and frustration that would come if you were to make those same choices in real life. Some of the conversations throughout the game feel stilted and nuanced, but the emotional undercurrent remains present in the implications that grow stronger as more is revealed of the central characters.

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[REVIEW] Macbeth (2015)

If I had to describe the film in one word it would be desolate. The film begins in the silence of a haunting funeral, and while a battle cry eventually breaks the startling quiet, the monotony is never quite shaken off. For most of the movie, lines are murmured under breaths, sound effects are scarce and background music far in between, and the end result produces scenes eerily reminiscent of the earliest days of Soviet Montage. With scenes flashing by — shots of the three witches, brief flashes of the apparitions — without a single note or word in the background, Macbeth is almost suffocating in its dark and dismal emptiness as the strange sombre mood is maintained to the very end.

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