Beyonce and Jay-Z’s On the Run II Tour was Really Heteronormative

Over the weekend I got the chance to see the one and only Beyonce perform in Chicago. Oh and Jay-Z was there, too. But what started as a chance to tick an item off my bucket list turned into a full-blown gender theory extravaganza.

If you’ve been living under a Beyonce-less rock for the past several years, Bey and Jay have been through some shit. Despite their best efforts to be private, rumors about their relationship have swirled and they have confirmed such events as Jay-Z’s affair, Beyonce’s miscarriage, and an altercation between Jay and Beyonce’s sister, Solange.

All of this has been made all the more interesting by the fact that Beyonce and Jay-Z are known for portraying their personal lives through their music. Between Beyonce’s Lemonade album and Jay-Z’s 4:44, we’ve been given some facts about what’s happened between the couple, but the two have mostly just opened a Pandora’s box of questions – most notably “Who is Becky with the Good Hair?”

So, when the Soldier Field stadium concert turned personal (showing footage of the two with their children, renewing their vows, etc.) I wasn’t surprised. This tour seemed as good a time as any to show Beyonce and Jay-Z’s unity as a couple and to prove they’ve moved past their turbulent past. And hey, good for them! They’ve been married for 10 years and have three small children, I’m glad they’ve worked through their shit.

What bothered me is the super heteronormative way they showed the strength of their marriage: Beyonce playing the demure wifey while Jay portrayed the unavailable tough guy. Beyonce stayed on stage for some of Jay-Z’s songs to stand a little behind him and mouth the words, a couple of her songs consisted of her looking lovingly into Jay-Z’s eyes while he looked kind of annoyed, Jay-Z had several opportunities to perform full-length songs while Beyonce’s were often cut off and mashed up. In the video portion of the performance, Beyonce was chased in the headlights of an oncoming car while Jay-Z was punching guys in backroom bars.

Let me be clear: I have no qualms with Beyonce and Jay-Z being happy in their relationship and using this tour to show everyone “This is Real Love” – a message that was projected throughout the concert. That’s great! But it felt like they chose to portray their relationship as “real” by fitting into the recognizable roles of heteropatriarchy.

Not only is this reliance on patriarchal gender roles generally a bummer, it also runs counterintuitive to Beyonce’s feminist brand: Who Run the World (Girls), ***Flawless, and Formation have become anthems and mainstream touchstones of feminism. Even the moments of feminism she did inject into this tour felt half-hearted: they were short snippets of the songs instead of cacophonous dance numbers like we’ve seen in the past. She had fewer dancers, less choreography, and Jay-Z was noticeably absent from any song claiming feminist roots.

 

 

It definitely felt like Beyonce had to dull her shine and water down her message to fit into the role of the supportive wife and the happy mother. Now, I didn’t go to the original On the Run tour, so perhaps this gendered wedded bliss is a reference back to that, but even if it is, Beyonce has come into her own as a performer since 2014 and the tour should reflect that, right? Her famous Black Panther Super Bowl performance, her ethereal Grammy’s number, and Bey-chella have all happened in the last 4 years. Beyonce is obviously the superior performer, so it was strange to see her take a backseat, especially when Jay-Z isn’t particularly known for his show stopping stadium numbers.

All this to say: as much as I was awed by the talent of both Beyonce and Jay-Z, I was disappointed at the way these dynamic and unique performers fell into such predictable gendered roles. I had hoped after watching the Apeshit video that we would see a power couple on stage, two equals who know their strengths and aren’t afraid to let the other shine. But we got googly eyed Beyonce and macho grouch Jay-Z, instead. Maybe third times the charm?

[Top photo from ET, center photo by NME, bottom photo from NYT.]

For more of my thoughts on pop culture, check out: Is Slow Instagram becoming a thing?, my guesses as to who the next Bachelor will be, and 5 books you should add to your summer reading list.

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Becca’s Bachelorette Recap + Who Will Be the Next Bachelor?

Becca standing in a white dress in front of the ocean

We did it, people! We made it to the end of Becca’s season of The Bachelorette. And let me tell you, it was… pretty boring. What courteous and respectful way will Becca let this guy down? What sub-par board of tourism paid them enough this season? Which square headed white dude will she choose?! Riveting stuff.

Unfortunately, in the end, Becca ended up with Garrett “I didn’t mean to like those memes” Yrigoyen and Blake cried into a towel on national television. It wasn’t the happy ending I was hoping for Becca, but, as much as I have a thing for Blake’s capable arms, I’m not sure he would have been a good choice in the end either. He really showed his insecurity and I wanted to swaddle him more than marry him. I think Becca was stuck between a rock and a bigoted place and she chose the guy with the red flag she didn’t know about.

Becca and Garrett kissing in front of a minivan

Speaking of red flags, I was sure they were going to give some vague apology for Garrett’s online behavior, so color me surprised when they addressed Garrett’s meme-gate in length on After the Final Rose. The apology was pretty lame, though: “he didn’t mean it” and he “never meant to offend anyone” are not really excuses for liking a lot of bigoted and racist posts. As much as I’m sure he’s “grown as a person”, I still don’t trust a 29-year-old man who thinks the survivor of a school shooting was a crisis actor.

Garrett’s meme scandal is particularly frustrating when put in context of the other contestants: runner-up Blake was a survivor of a school shooting himself and spoke publicly about it on the show and second runner-up Jason supported his gay brother on Men Tell All saying “love is love is love”. Not to mention Becca’s pretty public liberal views – she’s an outspoken Hillary supporter and has supported Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March publicly, too.

At the end of the day, though, if Becca is happy taking on that emotional labor in her relationship that’s her decision. Lord knows she’s a much more patient and understanding lady that I am. I just think the whole situation speaks to the politically neutral nature of the show and how that’s back firing more and more often for them. When your show’s audience is primarily liberal millennial women, it’s hard to champion a guy like Garrett and his views. This came up a lot during Rachel Lindsay’s season – who could forget when systemic racism was explained on Men Tell All – and I think politics is going to creep in more and more each season. In 2018, you can’t ignore the enormous political divide in this country and even Bachelor Nation isn’t safe.

Becca holding a sign that says "Keep your Politics Away from my Lady Bits"

But moving on: other than Garrett’s closely monitored Instagram account and Lincoln’s conspicuous absence from Men Tell All, there was just not a whole lot of excitement this season. Luckily for Bachelor Nation, there’s always another “most dramatic season ever” to look forward to. And they wasted no time with last night’s premiere of Bachelor In Paradise.

I boycotted BIP last season after their ridiculous we-don’t-want-to-get-sued speech about consent on the show, but have been lured back in with an all-star cast and a limit on contestants’ alcohol consumption. With lots of recent Bachelor alums including hometown hero Grocery Joe and villain power couple Jordan and Krystal, I have a feeling we’ll make up for the drama we didn’t get on Becca’s season. (I didn’t watch the premiere last night cause I have a LIFE, but I’ll post on Instagram when I do). I’m also excited just to get to know people more – Who are you taxidermy Kendall? What’s Eric Bigger been doing all year? Is Leo’s hair full of secrets?

The Bachelor in Paradise 2018 Cast

But the real question everyone wants the answer to is: Who will be the next Bachelor? And oh, do I have theories. But first, let’s talk a little bit about how they make this decision.

A lot of things can affect the selection of the next Bachelor or Bachelorette. I listened to an interview with ABC’s head of Alternative Programming, Robert Mills, recently where he spoke a little about this process and he touched on several things that they take into consideration when choosing a bachelor or bachelorette:

  • Relevance – Has this person been on the show recently? Have they stayed active in Bachelor Nation? Rachel Lindsay is a great example of this since she had just been on the most recent season of The Bachelor and was still very much on Bachelor Nation’s radar.
  • Story – Are we rooting for them? Do they have a great back story or did something really dramatic and devastating happen to them? Becca wasn’t an obvious choice for Bachelorette until she got dumped by Arie – then suddenly her story of redemption made her a perfect candidate.
  • Personality – Can they carry an entire show? This is why someone like Grocery Joe, although beloved by the public, could not be the Bachelor. He’s too quiet and wouldn’t open up enough.
  • Different from past seasons – Are they a different type of lead than the last Bachelor or Bachelorette? Juan Pablo wasn’t a natural choice for Bachelor, but after Sean Lowe’s pretty chaste season the franchise needed a little shaking up.

Keeping all the above criteria in mind, I’ve laid out 8 pretty agreed upon candidates for Bachelor. Obviously there are more and I have a feeling Paradise is going to play a role in who is chosen, but as of right now these are the people on the radar of Bachelor Nation. Let’s bring in the (world’s most crudely made) bracket…

Who Will Be the Next Bachelor Bracket

The Contenders:

  1. Wills. The most GIFable contestant ever and can pull off a romphim. Who wouldn’t marry him (besides Becca obviously)? He has a strong base rooting for him, but I think he’s ultimately too reserved to carry the whole show.
  2. Grocery Store Joe. An unexpected fan favorite. The world just couldn’t let Joe go after his night one exit this season, but I think Paradise is as far as he’ll go. He isn’t the most talkative of the bunch and I think would just pick some girl on the first night saying “she seems nice”.
  3. Eric Bigger. I think Eric has a really good chance of making a comeback. He’s on Paradise this season, he had a good story on Rachel’s season, and has a LOT of abs. I would not be mad to see an Eric season.
  4. Colton. As much as Colton has all the qualities of a great bachelor, I think he shot himself in the foot with the Tia drama, especially now that he’s on Paradise. I just don’t think audiences would believe he’s ready for love again after all of it.
  5. Blake. Sweet baby Blake. I love him and he’s a fan favorite, but I don’t think he has the emotional wherewithal to be the Bachelor. He also said something about Becca being “the only bachelorette” he’d ever want, so my guess is he’s a no go.
  6. Peter Krause. Ah yes, a mystical unicorn Peter Krause season… Will we get it? Probably not. Can I still dream about it? Definitely yes.
  7. Jason. I think they have a real winner in Jason. Top 3, but we still don’t know that much about him. Charismatic, believes in “the process”, and had a super classy exit this season. Barring anyone from Paradise stealing the show, I think it’ll be Jason.
  8. Connor. We didn’t get to know Connor too well this season, but he’s on Paradise and had a strong contingent of fans once they saw how hot he was in glasses. I think he has the potential to really shine on Paradise so we’ll see.

As of right now, I think it’ll be Jason – I think he’s a good candidate and I would definitely watch that season. I doubt they’ll pull another Arie, where they choose a lead no one knows, so I think it’ll definitely be someone we recognize. But I think we need to watch Paradise for clues – I wouldn’t be surprised if someone’s storyline from there carries over either.

So there you have it. More of my feelings about the Bachelorette than you ever wanted to read. If you’re looking for more of my pop culture ramblings, check out: what I thought about The Proposal, a theory I have about Instagram, and why I’m glad Mean Girls didn’t win at this year’s Tony Awards.

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Is Slow Instagram Becoming a Thing?

Crusty french bread in baskets

In the world of social media, everything is instant: instant sharing, instant shopping, instant gratification. But is there a movement emerging on social media to slow things down – is Slow Instagram becoming a thing?

So, what does it mean for Instagram to be “slow”? I stole the term from Slow TV, a type of long-form television popular in Norway that shows ordinary events like train rides or knitting circles in their entirety. Slow TV is often of “marathon length” – a single ‘episode’ might go on for 8 or 9 hours – and it typically features ambient and almost ASMR sounds.

Slow Instagram isn’t an exact translation of Slow TV, but it shares some of the same tenants:

  • Long-form. Slow Instagram is typically much longer than average content on a certain platform (the way 8 hours is an eternity on TV, 5 minutes is a century on Instagram Stories). It also often takes place in real-time so there’s no editing or changing camera angles.
  • First-person. This applies mainly to Instagram stories, but by and large you won’t see someone talking to the camera. The story puts you in the place of the viewer.
  • With no discernable plot. Instagram today is all about telling bite sized stories, but Slow Instagram plays with the opposite. Walking through a meadow, making a salad, mixing paints are all very Slow Instagram. They might be part of a larger story or world the account creates, but the content itself is pretty pointless.
  • Very little #SponCon. Slow Instagram exists (for the most part) outside of sponsored content and brand affiliation. It creates content for the purpose of creating content.

The first account that inspired this idea was Jamie Beck’s @annstreetstudio where she documents her life as an artist in Provence. In a world of #ootd’s and in-your-face content, her account feels subdued and quotidian. Obviously her photos are of fantastical proportions – they look more like paintings than photos – but her subject matter is often every day objects, including herself, elevated into pieces of art.

But it’s her Instagram stories that really define Slow Instagram for me: a five-minute story of putting together a still life, ten photos in a row of flowers in a field, close up shots of items at the local brocante, a video of a baker pull baguettes from the oven.

This isn’t the glitzy, over-filtered Instagram we’ve come to expect; her stories require patience and a desire to slow down. Her stories examine beautiful, everyday things closely and for a long time – and I think that’s the key to Slow Instagram. It’s bring you into a slower state of mind that is uncommon in the instant gratification world of social media.

Plates of food in front of open windows

Another related account is @chateaugudanes, a chateau being renovated in France that features fresco renovations and tableaus of fruit in front of open windows. The account shares finds from the antique market and slow pours of sauce over food. Beck even stayed here recently, which was a Slow Instagram wet dream.

But Slow Instagram isn’t exclusively reserved for those in France, it can appear anywhere and on accounts that aren’t traditionally Slow. American Ballet Theatre (@abtofficial) sometimes shares long Stories of their rehearsals, animal Instagrams like @coogi.boogie share videos of real-time doggy mischief, fashion bloggers like @somethingnavy Instagram live their children playing.

There are elements of Slow Instagram everywhere and, honestly, it gives me hope that we still crave quiet moments and everyday joys in a fast-paced world. Slow Instagram reminds us to examine the items and experiences in our lives with a closer lens. Instead feeling the pangs of jealousy at other’s lives, Slow Instagram urges us to find the extraordinary in our everyday – we just have to have patience.

[Top photo by Jamie Beck of @annstreetstudio and bottom photo by @chateauduganes.]

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I Watched The Proposal So You Don’t Have To

Contestants Standing on the Stage of ABC's The Proposal

If you’ve seen any episode of this season’s The Bachelorette then you’ve also seen about one billion ads for ABC’s new show, The Proposal. If you haven’t (and you’re lucky), here’s the premise: a mystery bachelor (or bachelorette as we’ll see next week) sits in a box and judges a ten-person beauty pageant and picks one of them to propose to at the end of the hour.

It sounds bad, right? Well, that’s because it is. And not in the “so bad it’s good” way. I’ll get into the specifics on why exactly that is in a little bit, but to truly understand how long the producers have been sitting on this shitty idea we have to take a little journey back to the turn of the century…

Contestants Standing on the Stage of ABC's The Proposal

A Reality TV History Lesson:

Despite claims that “nothing like this has ever aired on television”, this show is actually not that new. In fact, Mike Fleiss, creator of The Proposal and The Bachelor, produced an eerily similar show back in 2000 called Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire? This was a one-time special featuring a well-off bachelor, 50 women, and a 2-hour block of air time. And the premise was basically the same: Mr. Moneybags judges a pageant and chooses one woman of the 50 to marry on live TV.

Despite booming viewership, the show ended, well… badly. Critics tore it apart as a moral travesty and it turned out Mr. Moneybags was a known domestic abuser, which didn’t go down so well with audiences. The show was never revived as a result, but The Proposal doesn’t seem so far off.

There are obvious differences between the two: The Proposal is serialized, the mystery bachelor/ette isn’t a millionaire (probably), and it’s more ambiguous about the promise of a proposal at the end of the episode. But so much is similar that obviously Mike Fleiss just waited until America sucked enough to run this idea by us again.

(All of this information is from Amy Kaufman’s book, Bachelor Nation, by the way. Highly recommend it if you care about this sort of stuff.)

Contestants Standing on the Stage of ABC's The Proposal

But enough of the history of the show and onto the episode itself. Clearly it’s terrible. I love some great trash, but this isn’t even good enough. It’s just boring trash. For me, it doesn’t work for several reasons:

  1. There’s no story. Shows like The Bachelor only work because they tell a story and you’re rooting for someone based on their personality or situation, even if it’s not real. The Proposal misses all of that – it happens so fast, you don’t care who anyone is, and it’s hard to even remember the mystery suitor’s name. There’s nothing for an audience to connect to.

 

  1. The pageant style is too generic. Not only are people given just 30 seconds to answer questions, but they’re doing it in front of a live studio audience. It’s obvious these are just like normal people, so they’re nervous! The sound bites are rushed and generic (I was waiting for someone to wish for world peace) or they just don’t say anything at all. The whole thing is cringey and predictable and there’s really no opportunity to show their personality. Miss America at least has a talent competition!

 

  1. The proposal is not shocking. Maybe it was shocking to watch people get married on TV back in 2000, but now we see people do it all the time and we know that the vast majority of these relationships don’t last. So when the proposal rolled around it was just so clear it wasn’t real and they were just going to pawn the ring off to some stagehand afterwards. The whole proposal is just so unshocking that it really pulls the rug out from the premise of the show for me. Like we all know it’s a joke, so why even do it?

 

  1. Mike just kind of sucked. This one is pretty episode specific, but let’s be honest: Mike was the worst. He immediately axed any woman with a visible personality. By the time he got down to the top 4 he had sent home an Olympic weightlifter, multiple author/life coaches, and the woman who did the Wakanda Forever arms. The only woman he kept that had come out with a quirk was the baton twirling neuropsychologist, but she got axed as soon as she revealed she didn’t want children. Boooooooo.

 

Will I watch next week? Probably, but that’s not a very high compliment lol. I’m mostly curious to see how they treat the male contestants (bet you right now there is a talent portion and no swimwear competition). But after that I just can’t imagine the show will be interesting.

All this to say: The Proposal is all the worst parts of The Bachelor condensed into an hour. The objectification of women, the erasure of their intelligence and education, the reliance on female vulnerability to get good ratings. And it doesn’t even have any of the great drama, villains, or fantasy of The Bachelor franchise. It’s just sort of boring and awkward.

The women seemed cool, though, and way too good for this Mike guy. I hope they were all just sitting backstage drinking margaritas, befriending each other, and talking about their accomplishments. I’d definitely watch that show.

 

[Photos from TV Insider and Pop Sugar]

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5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

Bachelor Nation by Amy Kaufman

For: Fans of the Franchise and Reality TV Buffs

I’m a pretty recent fan of The Bachelor shows – I watched my first full season last summer – but have become 100% invested in the franchise ever since. So, of course, I pounced on this book when it came out. It’s so gossipy and fun and definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. But it still asks some good questions: Why are feminists so into The Bachelor? Do the producers go to far? How does no one get STDs while on the show?? It’s a super quick read so it’s perfect to bring along for a long weekend or a plane ride.

 

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

For: My White Friends

This book is definitely the heaviest on this list, but it’s also the most important book I’ve read in years. It breaks down the facts about how and why the number of black people in prisons and jails across the United States vastly out weighs the number of white people. It’s a bit on the academic side so prepare to hunker down through some chapters, but it includes some stunning statistics and breaks down how politics (i.e. The War on Drugs, the Supreme Court, etc.) have hit urban black communities especially hard. If you’re upset with what’s happening in America right now and want to get educated, read this.

 

Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

For: Romance Lovers (and Fans of the Film)

I notoriously do NOT like things that are super hyped, so I was skeptical when it came to Call Me By Your Name. Then fast forward to me bawling openly on a plane while watching the movie and falling totally in love with it. My friend Aoife sent me the book soon after and it’s equally as beautiful and heartbreaking. It’s a quick and steamy read with an ending that’s slightly different than the movie, so I recommend it even if you’ve seen it a million times.

 

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult

For: The Beach Reader

This is actually the first Jodi Picoult book I’ve ever read and I definitely get the craze now. I was sucked into this one right away and read the whole thing in a few days. I won’t lie, it started to drag towards the end and didn’t quite pack the punch I was looking for, but I would still recommend it as a beach read all the same. Engaging without being too intense and a good dose of mystery and romance. Looking forward to reading another one of her books soon.

 

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

For: Feminists and Short Story Lovers

I don’t typically go for short story collections since I tend to like a more cohesive story, but this one was recommended to me so many times I finally caved. I’m so glad I did because it’s amazing. It’s tough to read at times since so many of the stories deal with violence against women and toxic gender roles (so if you’re triggered by that stuff, I would skip this one), but Machado’s stories linger with you and completely defy your expectations. Definitely recommend.

 

Check out some of my other book reviews: Everything I Never Told You, Year of Yes, Big Little Lies, and Modern Lovers.

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My Favorite Summer Beers, the Leggings I Bought at 4am, and the Latest Feminist Hashtag

Pink Flowers Covered in Rain Drops

Happy weekend, everyone! I have to say it’s been a mix of a week: I hung out with my nephew and have some fun new blog projects in the works, but the job search was particularly tough this week. It’s so hard not to get your hopes up sometimes! So, this weekend I’m planning on letting myself relax, crying and watching season 2 of Queer Eye, and reminding myself that I’m a smart and competent human.

Also, quick reminder that its Fathers Day this weekend! My dad is out of town, but I’ll be babysitting for my brother so he can get a little break from dad duty in order to celebrate. And if you’re in Chicago, stay cool this weekend! It’s supposed to be in the 90s 😱

Here are some bits from around the web, if you’re looking for a little weekend reading:

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Props to Haim for firing their manager after finding out a male artist was being paid TEN times as much to play at the same festival. (via my brother)

I ordered these leggings in a bout of insomnia the other day lol.  They’re made from recycled water bottles in ethical factories and come in beautiful colors like powder blue and cherry red. Here’s to hoping they’re as good as they looked at 4 in the morning!

Everything you ever wanted to do on a date when a guy won’t shut the hell up. (via old theater friend Annabelle Attanasio)

Running this messy 5K with my mom this weekend!

Loved this post on making friends as an adult. It’s so hard! I’ve definitely had the most success reaching out to old friends on social media, meeting people through mutual friends, and talking to people in line! It can be awkward at first, but it’s totally worth it.

In case you need a Tonys inspired laugh: Cher playing every part of West Side Story. 😂 (Also, check out this week’s blog post for some awesome shows in Chicago, if you’re looking for something to do this weekend.)

Been really into fruit beers lately: this grapefruit radler and this watermelon wheat beer are my faves.

Really interesting examination of society’s love for ‘dead girl’ crime narratives written by a former professor of mine, if you’re into true crime. (via Dr Clare Clark)

Have you been following the #ImmodestWomen hashtag?

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[Photo from last year’s trip to Japan.]

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Why I’m Glad Mean Girls Didn’t Win at the Tony Awards (+ 5 Diverse Shows to see in Chicago)

Chicago Theatre Sign

Chicago Theatre Sign

Sunday night was the Tony Awards and like any dutiful former high school theater kid, I tucked in for a night of Broadway production numbers, random movie stars who have taken to the stage, and too many white men winning in every category. And with shows like Mean Girls and Spongebob Squarepants among the most nominated, I didn’t think this year would be any different.

So, color me surprised when The Band’s Visit, a musical about Egyptian musicians who end up lost in the Israeli desert, was the clear winner of the night with 10 awards including best new musical. Once on This Island, a Caribbean musical based on a Rosa Guy novel, also took home a Tony for for best musical revival beating out traditional favorites My Fair Lady and Carousel. And a female-directed revival of Angels in America took home best revival of a play and two acting awards.

The acceptance speeches didn’t disappoint either: Lindsay Mendez spoke about being told to change her last name to Matthews because there was no way she would get work with a Mexican last name. Ari’el Stachel revealed he used to avoid events with his parents because he didn’t want to show his Middle Eastern roots. Tony Shalhoub thanked his Lebanese parents who immigrated through Ellis Island just miles from the Tonys stage.

These were the successes and stories that needed to be lifted up that night. I love Mean Girls and Tina Fey as much as the next suburban white girl from Illinois and I don’t doubt the quality of the production, but it isn’t relevant in the way these other stories are. Spongebob Squarepants will still rake in the dough (even though it looks awful) without a Tony award to it’s name because it’s already famous and accessible.

But The Band’s Visit could have easily been overlooked. Performers like Mendez and Stachel could have lost out like so many incredibly talented actors of color before them. So, I was glad to see the Tonys stepping up and shining a light on diversity in ways that other awards shows haven’t over the years.

Could they have done even better? For sure. The cast of Once on this Island and Summer: The Donna Summer Musical certainly could have been shown more love. In fact, Summer wasn’t even nominated for best musical at all. A lot of white, British people took home awards for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which was a bummer. Not to mention the production teams of most of the shows were predominately white across the board.

Of course there is always room for more diversity and theater is notorious for excluding people of color, but, to me, it’s progress to see shows like Mean Girls and My Fair Lady stay on the sidelines. I never would have thought to see The Band’s Visit before the Tonys, but now I’m googling when it’s coming to Chicago (no plans yet). Like it or not, there’s power behind awards like the Tonys and I’m glad to see it being used for good.

Goodman Theatre Chicago

So, in the spirit of the Tonys I’ve rounded up some shows here in Chicago that look excellent and feature diverse stories and casts…

Father Comes Home from the Wars (at the Goodman until 6/24)

With an incredible cast of black actors, a New York director, and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks (who I love) this looks like an amazing piece. It closes at the end of the month, so get tickets while you still can.

The Color Purple (National Tour at the Auditorium Theater 7/17-23)

The Tony-winning classic comes to Chicago at one of my favorite theaters in the city. I’ve actually never seen The Color Purple and tickets are super reasonably priced, so this one’s on my list!

Mies Julie (Victory Gardens until 6/24)

An adaptation of the classic Miss Julie, this version takes place in post-Apartheid South Africa and deals with questions of race, ancestry, and power. Tickets are pricey on this one, but it sounds incredible.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (at Lookingglass Theater until 8/19)

Starring a diverse cast of Chicago regulars, Lookingglass reimagines the literary classic. I’ve seen several shows here over the years and am always amazed at how they completely transform popular stories. I’m getting tickets to this pronto.

Guards at the Taj (at Steppenwolf until 7/22)

This intimate show about two imperial guards at India’s Taj Mahal is getting great reviews. Steppenwolf really excels at bringing diverse stories to the stage so I have no doubt this is well done.

Are you seeing anything soon that you’re excited about? I’d love to add to this list. I haven’t really done theater since college, but watching the Tonys always gets me excited to see some amazing theater. Happy Thursday, friends!

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Weekend Vibes // The Week of April 6

Happy Friday, all! This weekend I plan on (hopefully) doing a lot of yoga and drinking a big glass of wine. I’ve been sick for the better part of this week, but I think I’m finally on the up. I’ve slept at least 11 hours every night and have made it through 2 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in the last 3 days, so I think that’s been helping… Still not 100% but I’m starting to get cabin fever, especially after making my ‘take walks every morning’ resolution this month. Don’t want to push myself too hard, but I think leaving the apartment might be the best medicine at this point.

Here are some things from around the interwebs this week, if you’re into it…

 

In this week’s edition of Excellent Things From Twitter:

Eying these simple white dresses for Spring: terry and sleeveless. Plus, they’re ethically produced and one is on sale.

Mean Girls is finally getting the musical treatment. I’m usually pretty skeptical about these things, but I have hope for this one with Tina Fey on the book and her husband, Jeff Richmond, writing the music. Also lol at the article trying to explain why Mean Girls is such a phenomenon.

Thinking of seeing Isle of Dogs this weekend – my family has been Wes Anderson fans for ages. How cool are all the little dog puppets they made for the movie?

This 101-year-old Hollywood starlet is suing for her unrealistic portrayal in a recent docudrama. In an age of movies based on real events, how much say do people get in the way they are portrayed on screen? Interested to see how this case turns out.

Love this no nonsense take on this generation of fad diets. I think it also reveals how little we really know about how modern food production affects out health.

The healthcare IT side of my brain can’t help but cringe at Facebook trying to access patient data. Lol at how they are comforting us by saying it would be anonymous, but then they’ll just cross reference it and match it to Facebook users anyway. Data privacy is such a myth these days 😪

Given my Grey’s Anatomy kick these days  I’m excited to see Sandra Oh is back in a series for BBC America. “Part spy drama, part serial killer thriller, part absurdist comedy” – sounds good to me!

Excited to listen to Cardi B’s new album all weekend! It hasn’t even been out for 24 hours and it’s already gone gold. She is the queen.

A Philly friend who teaches yoga posted this on Facebook recently and it’s so disheartening to see big corporations with the ability to destroy small businesses like this. We put so much emphasis on “being authentic” but only when it doesn’t conflict with corporations’ interests. Food for thought.

 

That’s all for today, folks! And shameless plug to check out my other posts from this week: my resolutions for April are up and there’s a loooong guide to all things Madison, Wisconsin that I’m pretty proud of so check that out, too! Have a great weekend!

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Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 30

It’s been a big week! I officially moved out of Madison on Tuesday and am (almost) unpacked here in Chicago. Woooo! I’m so happy I did my Marie Kondo-ing at the beginning of the year because even after all that I still felt like I had too much crap to haul around. I’m also super grateful to my fam for all their help this week – I seriously could not have done any of this without them. Now, all that’s left is to unpack a few more suitcases, move a few more boxes into storage, and figure out what the hell I’m doing with my life 😬 But no pressure, right?

Anyway, here are a few bits from around the web if you’re in a reading mood…

 

Friday feels.

I got a last minute ticket to Thursday’s Blackhawks game and it turned out being a pretty incredible story: 36-year-old accountant Scott Foster get called up to be goalie for the Hawks in the last period and he totally crushed it! We were all chanting his name and cheering each time he made a save. It was so fun to see someone have their moment.

If women’s products were advertised like Old Spice. “Anything is possible when you smell like a vengeful sea witch and embrace your own rage.”

I watched Call Me By Your Name on the plane home from SF and I’m obsessed with it. Not a lot of things live up to the hype for me, but this one completely does. And I totally get the Timothee Chalamet obsession now, too. A friend sent me the book and I’m flying through it. So good.

Theater geek meme.

A pretty compelling argument to bring back Neopets (and create other safe spaces on the internet for girls to express themselves).

Devastated at the verdict of this case in Ireland this week, but feeling hopeful at the national response and the #IBelieveHer movement that’s come out of it.I got a little emotional seeing the turnout in Dublin at the rally this week and I believe there are more rallies this weekend, too, if you’re in Ireland.

I know I’m pretty behind the times on this one, but very into the Kendrick Lamar & SZA song from the Black Panther soundtrack.

Also, shameless plug to check out my San Francisco recap from earlier this week if you’re heading out there anytime soon!

That’s it for me this week! I don’t have a lot of on the agenda for the weekend – I’ll be celebrating Easter on Sunday with the family and might check out a few workout studios around town, too. I’m trying to detox a little bit after all the revelry from the last month. Wish me luck! And have a good one!

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Weekend Vibes // The Week of March 16

Hey friends! First of all I want to say thank you for all the messages about yesterday’s post – I was pretty nervous about putting all that out there, but the support I’ve gotten has helped me keep everything in perspective. You guys are so great 😭

In other news, I’m actually writing this from San Francisco! After a hungover flight this morning (don’t book an early flight the day after your birthday, folks) and sleeping for most of the way, I feel like an actual human again and am just waiting for my friend Megan’s flight to get in. Then we’re off for a week of adventures with our longtime bestie, Haley! I totally think a girls’ weekend will do a world of good – plus, I’ve never really vacationed with friends before and I think it’ll be a blast! I’ll be updating my Instagram regularly, if you’re interested.

Here are a few things that have been on my mind this week…

I’ve been following the Repeal the 8th campaign in Ireland pretty closely (it’s the campaign to legalize abortion in Ireland) so I was psyched to see the Don’t Stop Repealin’ podcast, which gives regular updates on the campaign and interview key people involved. It’s also a great resource if you’re looking for ways to get involved!

I’m embarrassingly excited to read this book about The Bachelor lol. Keeping my eyes peeled at the airport bookstores to pick up a copy.

The not-so-subtle toxic masculinity of man caves.

Have never felt more proud of the younger generation than I did on #NationalWalkoutDay. It was both powerful and so disheartening to see literal children have to protest to protect their lives. This protest sign really hit me. 

Also, this article from Teen Vogue is an important reminder that Black teens have been demanding gun reform for years with little public empathy. It’s amazing to see this new movement gain momentum, but it comes on the back of so much unrecognized work by Black teenagers.

All of this really hit home when I went to see a friend at Northwestern on Wednesday just hours after their terrifying swatting incident. No one was hurt because it luckily ended up being a hoax, but the fear is still so real. I never again want to get a text from a friend saying we might have to cancel drinks because of an active shooter. This country…

On a lighter note, we did a little celebrating last night at Demera, an awesome Ethiopian restaurant, and then headed across the street to The Green Mill jazz club for my birthday. Big thanks to my brother for putting it all together – it was so fun and low key, while still feeling really special! Definitely recommend both spots for a friends dinner or a date night.

And that’s all for me this week – now I’m off to grab a big glass of wine and kick off this weekend! If you have any San Fran recommendations send them my way. Have a good one, friends!

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