Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Dance Academy

dad

G’Day, mates! That’s me addressing you in the same slang they use on Dance Academy. Although now that I think about it, I don’t recall anyone saying that at all throughout the show. Anyways, if you didn’t catch that, this show is from Australia. If you’re in need of a program to watch this summer that isn’t too ‘involved’ like Breaking Bad or The Wire, this is the perfect show for you. As a bonus, each episode is 30 minutes, and there are only 3 seasons (which are all on Netflix Instant), so you don’t even have to worry about catching up before a new season starts!

As I mentioned in a post about my Summer To Do List a few months ago, my friend Ana was pushing me for MONTHS to watch DA, and I finally did. And following my tendency to get obsessed with TV shows, this show followed suit. If you like teen centered programs like Degrassi or loved the great 2000 film Center Stage, you will most likely get just as obsessed with DA as I am, and here’s why.

What It’s About

Dance Academy is mainly narrated by 15-year-old Tara Webster who is a newly accepted first year student at the National Academy of Dance in Sydney. The series follows her and her fellow dancer pals as they deal with teen romance, rivalries and the pressures of being at a highly competitive dance academy. You know, pretty much everyone’s usual upbringing Down Under.

Reasons to Watch

Aussie Aussie Aussie! (Oi! Oi! Oi!)

Most of the show takes place inside the Dance Academy itself, but there’s a lot of scenes that show Sydney and the surrounding areas. I’ve never been to Australia, but it’s always been one of the places on my ‘bucket list’, and watching this show just makes me want to go there more/temporarily fill my Aussie desires. Not to mention, it’s just *cooler* watching a show that’s not American, you know what I mean? I found myself wanting to watch episodes just so I could go back to ‘Sydney’ every night. It’s like when you watch Friday Night Lights and just want to go Dillon, Texas for an hour or two. I mean, I don’t make it a habit of yearning to go to Texas on a daily basis, outside of the context of FNL/Austin.

Coming of Age Storylines

Screenshot 2014-07-25 15.06.56

If you’re a product of the 90s like we are, you grew up with shows like Saved by the Bell, Full House, Boy Meets World, everything on SNICK etc. But you know how there’s a difference between Saved by the Bell and Boy Meets World? Saved by the Bell was a Saturday morning show where it was about sleeping over in a mall to get U2 tickets, while Boy Meets world was the TGIF show where Mr. Feeny would teach you a life lesson at the end of every episode. Dance Academy is more of the latter. While I can’t exactly relate to it like I did with SBTB or BMW when I was a tween, I imagine DA has the same effect of kids these days.

The show touches on a lot of different subjects throughout all 65 episodes that normal teens go through. All the kids come from different backgrounds – Tara is a naive girl from the bush (aka what ‘country’ is to us Americans), Sammy’s a Jewish kid whose dad disapproves of his dancing, Abigail, the daughter of a dance teacher, is a perfectionist whose only goal is to make it into the company, Kat comes from a super famous ballet family, and Christian is a troubled kid whose mom died and dad was absent most of his life and is in the Academy basically so he doesn’t get into trouble with the ‘bad crowd’. Together, they tackle themes of friendships, romance, jealousy, revenge, death, divorce, even eating disorders (come on, this IS a show about dancers), and don’t do it in a way that is tacky, insensitive, or too in your face. The fact that DA has won the Australian equivalent of the Emmy for Best Most Outstanding Children’s Program TWICE should say it all.

The Gays

On paper, Dance Academy is a show for teens. It’s only in recent years that we’ve seen more family friendly shows incorporate gay characters, so it’s refreshing to see a show in Australia featuring a fairly prominent storyline that involves a gay (well, at least bi) character in Sammy. Without giving too much away, Sammy is faced with trying to figure out what these feelings he has for boys mean, and if he can be comfortable admitting those feelings to his friends and family. There’s also Ollie, who is not your ‘stereotypical’ gay dancer type, and he addresses his sexuality in such a nonchalant way that I almost  didn’t notice he was coming out when he first talked about it. These two provide public figures that teens and younger kids can see on TV and realize that people don’t have to be reduced down to their sexuality, but that they’re just ‘Sammy’ and ‘Ollie’. Deal with it.

The Dancing, duh

I mean the show IS called Dance Academy, so there better be good dancing, right? What I appreciate about this show is that they clearly picked young people who were dancers first and foremost, then actors. I’ll admit, the acting isn’t Oscar worthy or anything, but you have to hand it to every single one of them for their dancing ability. It was hard to narrow three seasons of dancing into a sample platter for y’all, but I tried my best! PS: I would suggest not clicking on YouTube & just watching the embedded videos in case you’ll accidentally see a major spoiler!!

*Note: the video below is from the final scene of the entire series – it doesn’t give anything away, but JIC you don’t like any type of spoiler like me!*

If you guys watch DA or have watched it before, let me know what you think!!!

ICYMI: The Comic-Con Exodus

Over the years, Comic-Con has become the Coachella of the summer, especially for the people of Los Angeles. Whether it be because you’re a fan or if you’re working it, it seems as if all of Hollywood heads down the 5 to the land of 100,000 geeks.

Comic-Con: Not Just For Nerds Anymore

When the first Comic-Con launched in San Diego in 1970, it was only attended by about 100 fans. It was originally founded to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy films and TV shows. The featured guests included a science-fiction book collector and a comic book artist. Since then, Comic-Con has turned into a pop culture mecca across almost all genres, including horror, animation, video games and more. 150,000 people are expected to show-up (would be my personal hell) this year. Is it because there are more comic book fans than ever or because Comic-Con has become the ‘it’ place to be?

my friend was forced to go to comic-con by her bf a few years ago and she said it was hot, sweaty, it smelled and way too many people in a close proximity. she goes every year – to enjoy san diego while everyone else is at the convention.

There was a time when Comic-Con was thought of to be the place where geeks gather – which, let’s be honest is still true to an extent – but over the years, geek culture has become cool, and all zeitgeisty. I mean the fact that the most popular films over the past decade or so have been superhero films says it all. The kids who were once made fun of for reading comic books aren’t nerds – they’re the ones who know most about current pop culture.

And this particularly reflects at Comic-Con, where it’s become the ‘go-to’ place for celebrities over the past few years. If you want buzz for your TV show or movie, you better go to Comic-Con. All of the major studios get a couple hours to show off their upcoming movies and last year, director Zack Snyder made an unannounced appearance at the Warner Bros. panel to reveal that his Man of Steel sequel would feature Batman. Obviously, since then so much hype has been made about who they would cast as Batman, and even more of a fuss was made when they announced Ben Affleck would become Batfleck.

On the TV side, the cast of Veronica Mars went down to San Diego for a panel in Hall H, the biggest venue with over 6,000 seats. It was the first time the cast and creator Rob Thomas came together in front of the public since they smashed the Kickstarter records, and they debuted the first (mini) trailer for the film. Thanks to technology and social media, people live-blogged, live-tweeted, live-Facebooked etc. the event and the conversation about Veronica Mars reached beyond the 6,000+ people in Hall H – it went all around the world. This is the kind of publicity and buzz entertainment bosses and marketers hope for when they send their casts to Comic-Con, and it’s exactly why the convention has gone beyond traditional comic books (although those folks are definitely prominent throughout the weekend as well).


Like I previously mentioned, Comic-Con is essentially the Coachella of the summer, because it seems like everyone leaves town to go hang out in the desert.


The Coachella Exodus

For two weeks in Los Angeles, all you will hear is whether people are going to Coachella or not. It’s literally a mass hipster exodus out of the city, and everyone heads out to the middle of nowhere in Indio, California. For $300 a ticket, you can stand out in the hot desert, drink, do drugs, spot celebs, and wear ridiculous outfits, all while watching the best of indie bands play at various stages. And I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t really not it existed before I moved to LA, or that in general the festival just got more popular, but it is a big deal out here. Like all over your Facebook and Twitter feeds type thing.

I’ve never been, nor do I ever want to, unless it’s free and I would be guaranteed a spot in an air conditioned tent with real bathrooms. I’m making all my assumptions based on photos and videos I’ve seen in the past, but the idea of being that close to sweaty annoying people is my worst nightmare, but I commend the people who can put up with that sort of thing.

And by people, I mean there is definitely a certain type of crowd that goes to Coachella. You have your hardcore hipster types that actually want to see all the bands playing there. Then you have these people:

These people are REAL. Paying $800 for a VIP ticket to see “GOTyah” is absurd, but people do it. But in all fairness, the Coachella lineup reads like a list of names that come up on one of those online band name generators, so you’d have to be pretty legit to know a lot of them. In fact, take this quiz and see if you’re worthy enough to head to Coachella. Unfortunately I got a 0 – “Listens to the Radio”. Well, I guess it’s fate that me and Coachella are never meant to be…

Saturday Spotlight: Making It Weird

Some people want to be just like everyone else. Those people are not very interesting to write about. We’d rather write about the weird aunt, the internet people who make memes of a baby, kids who go to weird summer camps, nerds and non-nerds letting it all out at Comic-Con, and oddballs who decorate their houses all crazy. And honestly, wouldn’t you rather read about those folks than normal people who do boring things in an average way?


The Weird Aunt’s Guide To Car Trip Games

Old-School Rapping

Imagination.

 

Reality.

So maybe a lady in a shirtdress and two little boys aren’t the most authentic rap trio, but it helps pass the time if you’re with kids who are old enough to know what rhyming is. There’s a few ways to do it – have them give you one line then you come up with the rhyme to follow it, or maybe decide on a topic then just roll with it. We are big fans of the old-school classics: spelling things (the trick is to add the words “to the” between the letters, guys), making others repeat things (when I say ___ you say ___!), and commanding people to put their hands in the air.

Whatever, it’s better than the license plate game.


#Prince George Memes #Better Than Your Faves


 

Camp Cookies + Sangria: Fake Letters From Real (Weird) Summer Camps

High Explosives Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Explosives camp is the bomb! That is a joke that all of the cool kids at explosives camp like to make.

We get to stay in tents for the rest of camp! Also there are no cabins anymore.

I think my bunkmate forged parts of his moral character application.

Please send burn salve.

Love,

(Name)

P.S.: Please don’t worry if my face doesn’t look all-the-way the same when I get home.

Ninja Camp

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

[sneaky silence]

[more silence]

[KARATE CHOP! Knives!]

Love,

(name)


Comic-Con: Not Just For Nerds Anymore

When the first Comic-Con launched in San Diego in 1970, it was only attended by about 100 fans. It was originally founded to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy films and TV shows. The featured guests included a science-fiction book collector and a comic book artist. Since then, Comic-Con has turned into a pop culture mecca across almost all genres, including horror, animation, video games and more. 150,000 people are expected to show-up (would be my personal hell) this year. Is it because there are more comic book fans than ever or because Comic-Con has become the ‘it’ place to be?

my friend was forced to go to comic-con by her bf a few years ago and she said it was hot, sweaty, it smelled and way too many people in a close proximity. she goes every year – to enjoy san diego while everyone else is at the convention.

Whether you’re heading to Comic-Con among the throngs of people or following the action in the privacy of your own home, here are a few panels/events to keep an eye on as the buzz gets buzzier.

Thursday, July 24th

Community

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie!!! It’s coming back y’all. Just when you thought they were out, they come back like Starburns from the dead. Speaking of which, he’ll be there, along with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and executive producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna. While I’m glad it’s rightfully receiving its sixth season, it’ll be interesting to hear where they’ll take the storyline and if the show being on Yahoo will effect it at all.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Just in time for the sequel which premieres on July 30th, the cast, including Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Judah Friedlander will be on hand to talk about ANOTHER tornado made of sharks. (P.S. we’re liveblogging it, so be prepared)


 

Design Spy: Crazy Decorating Styles You See At Open Houses

Mormon Mommy Blogger

I’ve written before about my fascination with Mormon Mommy Bloggers, mostly for their effortless ability to do what I cannot: to exist as a generally appealing person who is also a lady. The Mormon Mommy Blogger decor style can be practiced by anyone — even if you aren’t Mormon, even if you aren’t a mommy. You need a bright and cheerful color combo, bird appliques, stripes and chevron, and tons of shit from Etsy. Just go to Etsy on a day – any day at all – hit up the homepage when they feature items that go together, and buy it. Then go to Anthro and buy a bunch of their stuff too. Most items you get will have the word “whimsy” or “tribal” in the description, which makes sense because you are part of the most whimsical tribe of all (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Instructions Included

Some people aren’t able to get through their daily life without signage telling them what to do and where. They may forget to Live, Laugh, and Love if it isn’t written down somewhere. In the kitchen, there is a big sign that says “EAT.” Over the bed: “DREAM”, or, for more whimsical people (but not, like, Mormon-whimsical) “Always kiss me goodnight.” In the family room: “FAMILY.” I’m sort of surprised their bathroom wall doesn’t proclaim “POOP” in Helvetica.

I might do this in my house, but I’ll make it a little more realistic. Kitchen: “REGRET.” Bedroom: “Always spend a half-hour deciding what to fall asleep to on Netflix.” Family room: “DVR.”

Design Spy: Crazy Decorating Styles You See At Open Houses

When my parents put the family home on the market during my freshman year of high school, they knew it was going to be a tough sell. The location could best be described as “drug dealer-adjacent.” The neighborhood even had a nickname – and not a cute New York-y one like LoMoFi or The Fishmonger District. No, it was called The Fatal Crescent, because if there was one thing we loved in the inner city, it was comedic nods to Mesopotamia. They knew that everything had to look amazing during the open house. They almost got it right, until they forgot to remove the laminated Mets poster that covered the buckling section of the wall in the attic bedroom. [I think it somehow explains a lot about me that all of my childhood posters were laminated. NO I CANNOT GET A GRIP. Getting a grip isn’t an option when you’re raised to painstakingly laminate Rose and Jack’s party in third class.] Imagine our dismay to come home and find that a prospective homebuyer had taken down the poster to get a closer look. I mean, God. That shit was loadbearing.

 

Through attending weekly open houses as a homebuyer, I’ve learned that my parents weren’t alone: a lot of folks just can’t get it together. So, as I get increasingly weary of comparing square footage and furnace attributes (who in the fresh hell has OIL HEAT?), I’m taking an almost anthropological interest in home decor instead. Sure, every family is different – some of them cover their buckling walls with Yankees posters, which may not even be laminated – but I’ve noticed some common decor styles:

 

Mormon Mommy Blogger

I’ve written before about my fascination with Mormon Mommy Bloggers, mostly for their effortless ability to do what I cannot: to exist as a generally appealing person who is also a lady. The Mormon Mommy Blogger decor style can be practiced by anyone — even if you aren’t Mormon, even if you aren’t a mommy. You need a bright and cheerful color combo, bird appliques, stripes and chevron, and tons of shit from Etsy. Just go to Etsy on a day – any day at all – hit up the homepage when they feature items that go together, and buy it. Then go to Anthro and buy a bunch of their stuff too. Most items you get will have the word “whimsy” or “tribal” in the description, which makes sense because you are part of the most whimsical tribe of all (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).

Instructions Included

Some people aren’t able to get through their daily life without signage telling them what to do and where. They may forget to Live, Laugh, and Love if it isn’t written down somewhere. In the kitchen, there is a big sign that says “EAT.” Over the bed: “DREAM”, or, for more whimsical people (but not, like, Mormon-whimsical) “Always kiss me goodnight.” In the family room: “FAMILY.” I’m sort of surprised their bathroom wall doesn’t proclaim “POOP” in Helvetica.

I might do this in my house, but I’ll make it a little more realistic. Kitchen: “REGRET.” Bedroom: “Always spend a half-hour deciding what to fall asleep to on Netflix.” Family room: “DVR.”

Page 104 of the Spring 2011 Pottery Barn Catalog

Decorating comes naturally to some people – and to others, The Pottery Barn catalog comes quarterly. Close enough. These folks will buy a coffee table, and also buy the exact flat bowl, weird twine ball, and candlestick holder that appear with it in the catalog. These houses look nice, but I’d like to see what these people do if you give them an off-book vase or picture.

Mid-20s pastiche

No, not the 1920s, though I wouldn’t mind seeing a few more art-deco homes. I’m talking about being over the age of 25 and having never bought furniture on purpose. These people have the plaid couch from their college house, the IKEA desk from their first apartment, the weird rococo chair from their nana’s den, and the dining room table that their parents replaced. I’ll admit that my furniture comes from all kinds of sources, but I make an effort to paint or upholster things so that it all goes together. Mid-20s Pastiche is more of a stylistic melting pot.

The ‘Car Interior’ Interior

I’ve been to a few houses that are very clearly Men’s Houses By Men Who Would Like You To Know They Are Men. Walls are painted a carseat gray. Accents are in some shade of red. There might be black bedding. There’s definitely chrome, and possibly framed car photos. The homeowner definitely uses some sort of hair wax. Ladies, if a gentleman brings you back to a house like this, it’s always okay to make an excuse to leave, because otherwise you might get killed. I don’t know why, but this style sets off my creep-o-meter.

I enjoy being a girl!

This is the female analog to the car interior style – in fact, the houses in these two styles are essentially the adult version of the Barbie/Hot Wheels Happy Meals. You can expect the following: Animal print. Hot pink. Wine glasses with maribou on them. Wall art celebrating martinis. Some sort of artistic depiction of shoes.

This woman doesn’t have a tinted black and white poster print of little girls she doesn’t know with caption “girls just want to have fun!”… but she did in college. There’s a very real possibility that she was in a sorority, but make no mistake — not all sorority alums are like this. She knows exactly which Sex And The City character she and her friends are (she’s “a Charlotte,” but probably more like a Season 1 Shoshanna.)

The Feral Child’s Keeper

This goes beyond babyprooofing – these people are actually afraid of their children. Every surface below six feet is completely devoid of ornamentation. Furniture is bolted to the walls. Bills are stored in something you have to lock. Crayons and markers change locations as soon as kids figure out where they’re stored in case they do some rogue wall coloring. Furniture is covered in sheets (“the one time we took off the sheets Emma-Lynn spilled a gallon of chocolate milk on it”). Floors are covered in dropcloths (“sometimes Ayden trails paint behind him – house paint.” Ayden is a baby). Light switches have duct tape over them (“otherwise Kayler likes to play with the lights” Kayler is over the age of 7). The kitchen has a lock on it. Everything has a lock on it. These people cannot have nice things because their children will ruin nice things (their children are not Mormon). I picture parents setting up the Frozen DVD then slowly backing slowly out of the room, occasionally opening the door a crack to throw in bags of fruit snacks then slamming it so the feral children don’t nip at them.

The Collector

Hummels. Camels. Precious Moments. Lladro. Bells. Teaspoons. Ashton-Drake plates. Madame Alexander dolls. Tchotchkes representing the land of your ancestors, even though they immigrated in the 19th century. These people never met one of something that they wouldn’t rather have 30 of. On the plus: they’re probably super easy to buy Christmas and Birthday presents for.

Crockpot Method

As in: Set It And Forget it! These people decorated their house one time, in the past. These are the best houses to go to because you feel like you’ve entered a time capsule or a living history museum. The classic crockpot house has 60s or 70s decor – big yellow flowered wallpaper, shag carpeting, avocado appliances, a bathroom fit for one of the Pink Ladies. But as more baby boomers move out of the houses they raised their kids in, sometimes you see an 80s or 90s house, with Laura Ashley curtains, light pine tv cabinets, and geese or ducks wearing bonnets.

 

All The World’s A Stage

This house looks awesome. The decor is current but not so trendy that you can’t see living there. It’s natural enough that it doesn’t look like a catalog page. But look closer – is that plastic lettuce in the kitchen? Yep – the house has been staged.

Comic-Con: Not Just For Nerds Anymore

When the first Comic-Con launched in San Diego in 1970, it was only attended by about 100 fans. It was originally founded to showcase comic books and science fiction/fantasy films and TV shows. The featured guests included a science-fiction book collector and a comic book artist. Since then, Comic-Con has turned into a pop culture mecca across almost all genres, including horror, animation, video games and more. 150,000 people are expected to show-up (would be my personal hell) this year. Is it because there are more comic book fans than ever or because Comic-Con has become the ‘it’ place to be?

my friend was forced to go to comic-con by her bf a few years ago and she said it was hot, sweaty, it smelled and way too many people in a close proximity. she goes every year – to enjoy san diego while everyone else is at the convention.

There was a time when Comic-Con was thought of to be the place where geeks gather – which, let’s be honest is still true to an extent – but over the years, geek culture has become cool, and all zeitgeisty. I mean the fact that the most popular films over the past decade or so have been superhero films says it all. The kids who were once made fun of for reading comic books aren’t nerds – they’re the ones who know most about current pop culture.

And this particularly reflects at Comic-Con, where it’s become the ‘go-to’ place for celebrities over the past few years. If you want buzz for your TV show or movie, you better go to Comic-Con. All of the major studios get a couple hours to show off their upcoming movies and last year, director Zack Snyder made an unannounced appearance at the Warner Bros. panel to reveal that his Man of Steel sequel would feature Batman. Obviously, since then so much hype has been made about who they would cast as Batman, and even more of a fuss was made when they announced Ben Affleck would become Batfleck.

On the TV side, the cast of Veronica Mars went down to San Diego for a panel in Hall H, the biggest venue with over 6,000 seats. It was the first time the cast and creator Rob Thomas came together in front of the public since they smashed the Kickstarter records, and they debuted the first (mini) trailer for the film. Thanks to technology and social media, people live-blogged, live-tweeted, live-Facebooked etc. the event and the conversation about Veronica Mars reached beyond the 6,000+ people in Hall H – it went all around the world. This is the kind of publicity and buzz entertainment bosses and marketers hope for when they send their casts to Comic-Con, and it’s exactly why the convention has gone beyond traditional comic books (although those folks are definitely prominent throughout the weekend as well).

Whether you’re heading to Comic-Con among the throngs of people or following the action in the privacy of your own home, here are a few panels/events to keep an eye on as the buzz gets buzzier.

Thursday, July 24th

The Giver

Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, and Odeya Rush, director Phillip Noyce, and author Lois Lowry are scheduled to attend, but this is Meryl Streep’s perfect opportunity to show up to Comic-Con and blow everyone’s minds. Also, this will give the cast and director a good chance to defend themselves against everyone that hates the trailer.

Community

#SixSeasonsAndAMovie!!! It’s coming back y’all. Just when you thought they were out, they come back like Starburns from the dead. Speaking of which, he’ll be there, along with Joel McHale, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash and executive producers Dan Harmon and Chris McKenna. While I’m glad it’s rightfully receiving its sixth season, it’ll be interesting to hear where they’ll take the storyline and if the show being on Yahoo will effect it at all.

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Just in time for the sequel which premieres on July 30th, the cast, including Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and Judah Friedlander will be on hand to talk about ANOTHER tornado made of sharks. (P.S. we’re liveblogging it, so be prepared)

Goosebumps

Yes, that Goosebumps. Jack Black stars as R.L. Stine, whose crazy scary creatures are brought to life by his teenage neighbor, played by Scandal first kid Dylan Minnette. Chances are they’ll release some kind of clip or something but will the posters ever be as good as the covers?

Pixels

Finally, a movie of Adam Sandler’s that doesn’t sound stupid or sexist! In this movie, aliens mistake satellite feeds of classic arcade video games like Space Invaders and Centipede as a declaration of war and attack Earth using the same eight-bit characters and strategies. The U.S. President (Kevin James) hires a group of former arcade prodigies including Adam SAndler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad to combat the aliens. Color me intrigued.

Friday, July 25th

Mike Tyson Mysteries

Mike Tyson has a cartoon. He stars in a cartoon where he solves mysteries. His co-star is Jim Rash from Community. I don’t even really like animated series but the fact that Mike Tyson is a *voice over actor* is hilarious.

Orphan Black

An hour in which the cast, executive producers Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and the fans in attendance praise Tatiana Maslany and let out their frustrations over the fact she was snubbed yet again this year at the Emmys.

Horns

Daniel Radcliffe wears horns in this movie. He was supposed to come for HP & The Deathly Hallows, but couldn’t because of scheduling, so hopefully this year will mark his long-awaited debut at the Con. It’s like the mothership is calling him home. The movie’s about DanRad’s character who grows devil horns after his town is convinced he murdered his girlfriend. You know, the usual overdone storyline.

Saturday, July 26th

Fight Club: From Page to Screen and Beyond

Author Chuck Palahniuk recently announced that he’s finally writing that sequel to the first book, a mere 18 years after it was released. That sequel is appropriately coming in the form of a 10-issue comic book series, and he will no doubt talk about it at the panel. The movie’s director, David Fincher will be on hand and I’m guessing the chance of Brat Pitt or Edward Norton showing up is slim to none.

Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. has three major films on the docket, including Jupiter Ascending (Channing Tatum being all heroic with Mila Kunis), Mad Max: Fury Road (Charlize Theron looking like a badass) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (honestly had no idea there were still more Hobbit movies in the making). Of course there might be a surprise or two – perhaps Zack Snyder will show up like last year, but this time with the cast of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Batfleck, everyone. Just want to keep saying Batfleck.

Marvel Studios

I’m going to be honest with you guys – I haven’t seen The Avengers. Add that to my list of pop culture blind spots. Of course it’s like one of the best-selling films of all time, but I’m immune to it, apparently. The follow-up, Avengers: Age of Ultron doesn’t come out until next May, but there’s sure to be something teased at Comic-Con. Of course Marvel will make its last-minute push for Guardians of the Galaxy, which opens next weekend (not like they’ll need it). I’m just looking forward to more Chris Pratt interviews, and maybe more french braiding.

Sunday, July 27th

Batkid: The Film

Get your tissues out again. The San Francisco kid who stole our hearts is back at the centre of a project of an Indiegogo campaign, and the filmmakers behind the documentary will be on hand to talk about the movie (and probs ask for money).

Random notes: Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox will also give presentations, and panels from the Sin City sequel and Outlander TV series will be held. There might be unexpected previews for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar and the new Jurassic Park too. Also, super geeks will rejoice in seeing Benedict Cumberbatch at his first ever Comic-Con. Keep your clothes on, ladies. And men.

Camp Cookies + Sangria: Fake Letters From Real (Weird) Summer Camps

When I was a kid, letters to home were a big part of my summer camp dream. It seemed so quaint – like I would be an old-timey soldier or a traveler with one of those brown suitcases that’s covered in stickers. Okay, maybe you’re not a very cool kid if the fun part of summer camp is the writing exercises.

Last week, we brought you a list of weird summer camps that real parents actually send their children to. Because Camp Cookies + Sangria is all about wish fulfillment, today I’m living out my childhood dream and creating some letters for kids from these camps to send home. Hop on over to the other post if you’ve forgotten the insanity. Then just fill in the blanks, send to your parents, and get back to your adventures!

 

High Explosives Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Explosives camp is the bomb! That is a joke that all of the cool kids at explosives camp like to make.

We get to stay in tents for the rest of camp! Also there are no cabins anymore.

I think my bunkmate forged parts of his moral character application.

Please send burn salve.

Love,

(Name)

P.S.: Please don’t worry if my face doesn’t look all-the-way the same when I get home.

Ninja Camp

 

Dear Mom and Dad,

[sneaky silence]

[more silence]

[KARATE CHOP! Knives!]

Love,

(name)

Fantasy Battle Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

I had to go to a second confession today because I keep calling my roommate a hobbit.

I make my confirmation at the end of camp! Waiting for approval to use Gollum as my confirmation name.

I have to go get ready for my jousting tourney before Second Dinner.

Love,

(name)

P.S. Does the Lead Gandalf wizard robe guy know that I’m Jewish, or…

Plantation Farm Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

Remember how, in history, if a person was told that they were going to one place, but ended up at a plantation doing work instead, it usually wasn’t awesome?

Not cool, guys. This is obviously not fashion camp.

Oh, and thanks for the care package, but everything got confiscated because none of it was organic.

I did start taking care of a really cool goat, though! I haven’t seen it yet today.

For lunch today, we are having pizza.

For dinner, we’re having goat.

I hate you,

(name)

 

Zombie Camp

Dear Mom and Dad,

I know my theater professors told me that any job can lead to great things, but maybe playing the undead at zombie camp isn’t the right role for me.

It’s hard to immerse myself in lurching technique and grunting when I’m reacting so badly to the zombie makeup. I have a weird rash on literally everything.

They make us eat “brains” at the mess hall, and I’m not sure what it is, but I’m not ready to say that it’s NOT brains. The bug juice also might be bug juice.

Close-range nerf guns really do hurt.

Love,

(name)

P.S.: I’ve been thinking about that talk we had about having “something to fall back on” if acting doesn’t work out.

Equestrian Teen Tour Of Russia

Dear Mom and Dad,

So it turns out that Russia is not the best place for an equestrian teen. Or, like, a person in general. I can’t wait to cantor back to the United States! Next year please remember that my first preference was the Equestrian Teen Tour of France, and my second preference was getting a summer job like a normal freaking teenager.

Been getting really into the Romanovs.

Love,

(Name)

#Prince George Memes #Better Than Your Faves

Exactly one year ago today, a lot of creeps from around the world were on Baby Watch, staring at a hospital in England, waiting for a couple to come out to debut their new kid. Of course, because it was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the future king, it wasn’t as creepy. Today we celebrate his first birthday, and a year of adorable public appearances from Prince George. It’s hard to believe that this tiny tot:

Is now this overall-wearing sorta ginge (?!) walking babe amongst us plebs.

That’s right. I said plebs. Plebeians. The commonfolk. Let’s be real, none of us (unless you’re a member of the royal family reading this right now, in which case – ‘what up’) are worthy enough to be in Prince George’s presence, let alone look at photos of him. This is precisely why the plebs of the internet are my heroes. Who would have ever imagined that some pedestrians would be able to turn Prince Geezy’s public appearances into memes that will forever make me laugh and swoon at the same time? In honor of his royal highness’ landmark birthday, here are some of my favorite Prince George memes the internet wizards have made since his birth last year. Enjoy. And happy birthday baby!!

The Weird Aunt’s Guide To Car Trip Games

It’s my belief that every child should have that one weird aunt. You know, the one who will illustrate the kids’ stories about LeBron James, buy ill-advised potentially dangerous Christmas gifts, and laugh at the kids’ butt jokes. This is important, because it teaches kids that silliness doesn’t stop when you become an adult.  [Parents don't get to be quite as silly because they're the ones who have to make sure the children don't get lost, injure themselves or make butt jokes.]

However, being the weird aunt isn’t so fun when you’re in a car with kids (unless they’re the kids who have those portable DVD players or you’re an adult with a portable DVD player). In fact, I believe car rides with kids are the primary form of transportation between Dante’s circles of hell.

Between driving my local nephews around and being wedged between carseats in my parents’ van for out-of-town trips, I’ve finally got it somewhat worked out: if I’m the one driving, it’s better to run the show than it is to leave the kids to their own devices — unless the devices are electronic, then have at it kiddos! Here are a few of the weird games we do that don’t entirely suck. You could probably use these with adults, as well. Hey, sometimes we all get a little fussy in the car.

Old-School Rapping

Imagination.

 

Reality.

So maybe a lady in a shirtdress and two little boys aren’t the most authentic rap trio, but it helps pass the time if you’re with kids who are old enough to know what rhyming is. There’s a few ways to do it – have them give you one line then you come up with the rhyme to follow it, or maybe decide on a topic then just roll with it. We are big fans of the old-school classics: spelling things (the trick is to add the words “to the” between the letters, guys), making others repeat things (when I say ___ you say ___!), and commanding people to put their hands in the air.

Whatever, it’s better than the license plate game.

The Rhyming Game

Similar to the above, but makes no pretense of being music. They give you a silly sentence, you rhyme it, and you go back and forth creating a story or poem.

The Question Game

This one is such a hit with little guys! Everything you say has to be a question, and the first person to make a statement instead of a question loses.

Okay. I’ll admit it. I have taught them most of the parts of the drinking game Kings. I might be the worst person ever.

Gently mocking annoying drivers

Is it hard to keep from swearing at bad drivers when you have kids in the car? Oh, no no no. You just have to gently mock them instead. Actually, this is what I do when I’m driving by myself too. You pick the type of voice that goes with their car and have at it.

Dumb, Slow voice: Hi, I’m Bob. I have a truck. This is my truck. It can go in any lane! It can go in every lane. Go, truck! Go!

Heavy vocal fry: I’m soo busy. Ohmygod. Ew. Stop siiiiigns? Are for poor people. Gross.

Silly Voice Contest

… which brings us to the silly voice contest. Everybody picks a different silly voice and a persona to go with it, and sticks with it until somebody breaks. It’s not really a “contest” because seriously, everybody wins here. Or loses, depending on your tolerance for bits that go on way to long.

World’s Worst Trifle

When you’ve run out of drinking games to teach to children, start using Friends episodes instead. I know you all remember the beef trifle, and this is a game along those lines. Everyone adds a different layer to create the world’s worst combination of flavors and textures imaginable. I suppose you could make this some sort of educational memory game by going in alphabetical order and repeating all the other layers before adding a new one but I’m obviously not trying to make things too classy here.

Songs In The Style Of…

Whatever’s on the radio, you have to sing it in the style of somebody else. Iggy Azalea in the style of Kidz Bop? One Direction in the style of Blues Traveler? Miley Cyrus in the style of a 1920s lady at a speakeasy? Actually, my nieces and nephews don’t do this, but they do have to listen to me do it – and to be honest, those are all things I sang by myself on the way to work this week alone. Sometimes the adult should get to have fun too.

 

ICYMI: When I Met Harry and Sally

It’s hard to believe, but this week marked 25 years since When Harry Met Sally was first released in the theaters. And only one month since the first time I ever watched it…

Pros & Cons of Watching When Harry Meets Sally 25 Years Too Late

Last month, I went to an outdoor screening of When Harry Met Sally. And believe it or not - it was my first time EVER seeing the movie. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in.

So going into my first viewing of WHMS, I had an inkling I would like it – I just didn’t realize I would like it THAT much. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. I even looked up how much it would be on Amazon that same night. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed it, but I finally realized after viewing it why it had become such an important film in movie history – the story is timeless. At its core, WHMS is a movie questioning whether or not men and women can stay friends and never turn into lovers. That wasn’t just a problem in the 1980s, but it’s obviously still a question that’s asked today. And despite the fact WHMS is timeless, it’s not entirely “timeless”, as in, it’s been 25 years (to this day) since it was released, and there are still things that change over time. So here’s a few pros and cons I noted while watching this iconic movie for the very first time.

PRO: A youthful Meg Ryan

I think the first movie I ever saw Meg Ryan in was Sleepless in Seattle, which was made only four years after WHMS. But I don’t remember her ever looking as young as she did in this movie. I mean look at the youth! Look at the glow! She’s practically a baby acting out adult themes! It’s amazing that we can forever look back at this movie and seen the exact moment when she became a bonafide movie star.

CON: Meg Ryan’s face now

meg-ryan-billy-crystal-when-harry-met-sally-rftr

Well. Here she is. This picture was taken in April. Now 53, Meg is…  still sporting a cute blonde ‘do.

PRO: Still feeling hopeful for a love that lasts a lifetime

But how cute are these couples. Fun fact: they’re all real couples telling their real stories. Director Rob Reiner got the idea when he was talking to his producing friend’s dad and said, “Mr. Horn, how did you meet your wife?” Mr. Horn lit up and told Rob his story. And Mr. Horn is actually the very first guy featured in the set of interviews alongside his wife. *swoon*

CON: Wondering where the old couples are now

Okay sorry to be the downer here, but like, this movie was made 25 years ago, right? And these cute couples are old. Like they had already been married for about 50 years, old. I’m not (completely) delusional to realize that some of these folks might not be with us anymore and that makes me really sad.


Seeing When Harry Met Sally checks a movie off my ‘Movies to watch in my lifetime’ list. But there are some that I’ve never seen and never want to. Here are some classic movies that I’ve never seen and are my pop culture blind spots.


I’m Just Not That Into You: Pop Culture Blind Spots

One of my favorite pop culture sites, Vulture, recently posted an article about their staff’s “Pop Culture Blind Spots.” Basically, this is a term coined for people who usually tout their knowledge of entertainment, but have those few shameful gaping holes that the rest of the world has been privy to – except you.

Here is my list of blind spots, that I fully own up to, and will probably never rectify any time soon.

Star Wars

I feel like for most people, correct me if I’m wrong, the Star Wars franchise was something they grew up with, a movie tradition passed down generation to generation. But I grew up as a first generation offspring of Filipino immigrants. I think they were stuck somewhere in the 1950s/60s because I remember watching The Lawrence Welk Show every weekend and listening to the Oldies station on the radio. Needless to say, I was never ‘shown’ Star Wars. But in all honesty, I have no interest. Like most of the things on the list, I can tell you the main characters, perhaps a plot point or two, but if you start talking to me about death stars and the force or something, I will most definitely tune you out.

Lord of the Rings

Gay Gandalf FTW

In 6th grade, we were required to read The Hobbit. That is the closest I’ve ever gotten to Lord of the Rings. I don’t remember being really into Frodo and his gang then, and I certainly am not as an adult. But like, Sir Ian McKellen played like a gay Dumbledore-like guy, right?

Pirates of the Caribbean

One time at a party in my high school years, I remember that one of the movies was playing (I was really cool back then). It’s not like everyone was forced to watch it, it was one of those things that it was on in the background while everyone mingled and ate cool ranch Doritos. I tried focusing my attention on it for like 10 minutes but lost interest. Sorry Johnny Depp. I’m just not that into you. The ride at Disneyland is pretty dope though, I’ll give you that.

Godfather/Scarface/etc.

I’d consider watching Scarface if he attacked people with a banjo

In the same vein as Star Wars being a tradition thing, I also did not see any of those gangster type movies. This blind spot also has a lot to do with the fact that I hate anything with a lot of violence in it, so it bodes well that I haven’t seen these.

Tarantino films

oh my god what is happening here

Continuing with the theme of ‘Traci hates gruesome violence,’ I have never seen any of Quentin Tarantino’s films except Inglorious Basterds. I thought I’d give that a try because a couple of my friends loved it, and Brad Pitt AND BJ Novak were both in it. I watched it on a Saturday and it literally took me all day because I either couldn’t bear to watch it, walked away, or fell asleep. The violence and brutality was wayyy too much for me, and just confirmed the fact that I am not the target demographic for any of his films.

What are some of your pop culture blind spots?

 

Saturday Spotlight: Everybody Rise!

I’m honestly still bummed about Elaine Stritch. But I’m also amazed: how many times, when you hear that someone died at the age of 89, do you react by thinking “well, that’s just not fair!” Her age didn’t seem to matter. At an age when some folks knit and watch The Price Is Right all day (and maybe we shouldn’t put an age on that behavior because it sounds pretty appealing to me, to be honest), she was a stage and TV star. It definitely makes you want to get out there and do stuff – Everybody Rise!, you know?

What we do, of course, is write stuff. Here’s what we had for you this week:


 

Broad City: A Toast to Elaine Stritch

We lost a good one yesterday, folks. Elaine Stritch – actress, singer, and the ultimate performer – passed away at the young age of 89. Or at least that’s what she made it seem like, anyways.

Elaine was known for her brutal honesty. Her salty candor. Her tart tongue. Her brassiness (is that even a word?). Her refusal to wear pants. Her unwavering ability to tell it like it is and not apologize for it. She was the absolute definition of a broad (in the best way possible). Elaine was what a lot of women, and men too, I imagine, wished they had the courage to be. She was fearless and she was truthful, classy yet not, and admirable all at the same time. A true legend and icon that will never be matched in our lifetimes.


 

Throwback Thursday: Pappy Drewitt

Ah, Pappy Drewitt. If you were born in the 90s, maybe you can still hear the song: Pappy, Pappy Drewitt, he drew Pappyland. And you too can do it, if you’re in Pappyland!

But I wouldn’t know, because I was born in the 80s. Young enough to watch children’s TV in the 90s, but old enough to watch it mockingly, I remember singing something more like “Crappy, Crappy Drewitt, he blew Crappyland. And you too can do it, if urine Crappyland!”

If you wonder why millennials like things ironically, I direct you to the (relative) success of the T.L.C. show Pappyland. Except for children under the age of 5, none of us were watching it in earnest. We were watching it to exercise our budding comedic sensibilities, like a fawn first learning to walk. Pappy Drewitt is probably the cultural moment that confirmed that we are truly The Shittiest Generation.

Pappyland was a children’s art show about a kindly elderly man who lives in a fantasy world that he drew himself, possibly an allegory about how those with Alzheimer’s connect with the very young, possibly an attempt to teach children about the joys of self-expression. It was a tender gift from TLC to the children of the world – literally. The opening sequence actually says “Dedicated To Children Around The World.” And the shitty children around the world said “ha, it rhymes with Crappyland!” and tore it to shreds.

80s Babies, I’m back for round two.

pappy4

Even though I hate-watched Pappy Drewitt, I still always secretly wished he would say my name when he greeted children through the screen. He never did, because those bitches were always named Jessica.

Pappy Drewitt is a soulless children’s show: like Barney without all of the children. Or Mr. Rogers without the gentile middle-class lifestyle (I think Pappy is Appalachian?). Or Sesame Street without virtually everything likeable about Sesame Street.

They’re obviously trying – there are puppets, which is sort of the minimum baseline effort you have to make in children’s t.v. – but there’s not a surly Oscar or a childlike Elmo in sight. Instead, the Pappy puppets are all indistinguishable idiots. There’s an idiot bear, a dumb-bitch girl flower, and this one stupid bird.


 

Camp Cookies + Sangria: Weird Summer Camps Parents Send Their Kids To

As part of our summer series, we’re taking you beloved readers to internet camp. Both of us were deprived of going to cool camps (like the space camp Nickelodeon sends you to when you win Double Dare), so we’re making up for it as adults. This week, we’re taking a look at the camps that are a little odd. The ones in which parents are so desperate to give their kids to strangers that they’ll pay any amount of dough to get rid of them for a week or two.

High Explosives Camp

Rolla, Missouri

Explosives Camp is held at Missouri University of Science and Technology, where high school students can get a “hands-on experience” with explosives. The students are of course educated on the proper ways to handle and detonate various explosives, but the big hurrah comes at the end of the camp when they basically get to blow alll the shit up. Campers setup and shot a fireworks display, which includes high explosives, blasting agents, rock blasting and demolition. In case you’re wondering, campers must be at least 16 years old, and a background check is done on all applicants to “ensure good moral character and ethical standing”. AKA no crazypants.

Ninja Camp

New York

According to the Ninja Camp USA website, they are an “Intensive Ninja Fantasy Camp allowing Adults & Kids to experience the life and training of the Great Shinobi (Ninja’s) of Japan.” IDEK what that means, but what I’m taking this as is adults giving kids knives to pretend they’re ninjas. Just so we’re clear.


 

Playlist Of The Month: Summer Jams

Boom Clap – Charlie XCX

Like most people, I became familiar with this song from The Fault in Our Stars soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs on the album, but this one has the perfect feel of young love and makes me want to let down my hair and slowly sway back and forth on a rooftop patio during a cookout.

Water Fountain – Tune Yards

So, here’s the deal with this year’s “songs of the summer.” Every song that seems like a contender also feels like it’s been out forever. It just doesn’t feel like a “summer jam” if I listened to it while driving through snow four months ago. So, most of my picks will be jams that for whatever reason haven’t made it to top 40 radio yet. First up: this song that is more of an earworm than half of the creatures featured on Animal Planet’s Monsters Inside Me.


 

Pros & Cons of Watching When Harry Meets Sally 25 Years Too Late

Last month, I went to an outdoor screening of When Harry Met Sally. And believe it or not - it was my first time EVER seeing the movie. I’ll give you a minute to let that sink in. I kind of have a pop culture blind spot to a lot of classic films (I’m more of a TV person, if you couldn’t tell), and this is one of them. It’s particularly odd when I tell people this, because some of my favorite movies are of the rom-com genre, like Love Actually and Notting Hill #NoShame So going into my first viewing of WHMS, I had an inkling I would like it – I just didn’t realize I would like it THAT much. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. I even looked up how much it would be on Amazon that same night. There are so many reasons why I enjoyed it, but I finally realized after viewing it why it had become such an important film in movie history – the story is timeless. At its core, WHMS is a movie questioning whether or not men and women can stay friends and never turn into lovers. That wasn’t just a problem in the 1980s, but it’s obviously still a question that’s asked today. And despite the fact WHMS is timeless, it’s not entirely “timeless”, as in, it’s been 25 years (to this day) since it was released, and there are still things that change over time. So here’s a few pros and cons I noted while watching this iconic movie for the very first time.

PRO: A youthful Meg Ryan

I think the first movie I ever saw Meg Ryan in was Sleepless in Seattle, which was made only four years after WHMS. But I don’t remember her ever looking as young as she did in this movie. I mean look at the youth! Look at the glow! She’s practically a baby acting out adult themes! It’s amazing that we can forever look back at this movie and seen the exact moment when she became a bonafide movie star.

CON: Meg Ryan’s face now

meg-ryan-billy-crystal-when-harry-met-sally-rftr

Well. Here she is. This picture was taken in April. Now 53, Meg is…  still sporting a cute blonde ‘do.