Comic-Con Round-Up From Someone Who Didn’t Go To Comic-Con

Another year, another Comic-Con down. This year, like every other year, I did not attend. I’m not saying that in a way that I wish I could have gone (see: last year when I accidentally planned a trip to visit my friend in San Diego during Comic-Con weekend and it was insane seeing it from just the outside), but in the sense that I would be interested in approx, 2 panels. I’m just fine watching it all happen from afar and online like the rest of the world.

Thankfully for the Internet, we can get up-to-the second updates on the things we ARE interested in, and read the latest news on who’s the newest member of the Marvel Universe while we’re out and about, critique trailers for movies in the privacy of our own homes, and judge all the cosplays from far away. In saying that, here are some of MY main takeaways from this year’s Comic-Con, featuring some geekiness and nerdom of my own.

Everything Orphan Black

This season 4 blooper reel

I WANT MORE KRYSTAL! AND HELENA!

A behind-the-scenes look at the cast rapping

I’m a sucker for casts that truly look like they’re getting along IRL. This is one of them.

Typical Clone Improv

If you get Scott Aukerman to moderate the OB panel knowing full well Tat is a great improvisor, you best take advantage of it.

Kristin Chenoweth joins American Gods

I don’t even care about American Gods, all I care about is Kristin Chenoweth and how cute she is and how excited the fans were to see her. I am happy for everyone looking forward to watching this series.

Arrow Cast Comes For Rory O’Malley

I don’t watch Arrow, but I do watch (?) Hamilton. Obviously. STARS – THEY’RE JUST LIKE US!

Henry Cavill Joins The ‘Let’s See If I Can Walk Around Comic-Con With A Costume And Not Get Noticed’ Celebrity Club

If anything, this just proves Will Smith is as nice as he seems, amirite?

Kirk and Dean Plot Against Taylor Doose

Can anyone tell me who this fanboy is?? #starshollow #sdcc

A photo posted by Sean Gunn (@thejudgegunn) on

Yes, Supernatural is STILL on TV. And not just reruns.

The Black Panther Cast Assembles

I don’t know anything about Black Panther except the fact some of my favorite people are in it and that’s good enough for me. The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira was officially introduced as a cast member at the weekend, joining the movie’s star Chadwick Boseman, my boo Michael B. Jordan, ethereal goddess Lupita Nyong’o and bad ass director Ryan Coogler. Speaking of Danai and Lupita…

Marvel Women Show Who’s Bo$$

These ladies join the Marvel Universe which already includes a bunch of bad ass women, all seen here at Comic-Con. I mean look at that army of ladies. It’s a testament of how if given the opportunity to shine, females deserve leading roles as much as men, and it’s not just so they can make bank at the box office (which they certainly will), but because it stands for much more than a comic book movie adaptation. The cast of Black Panther and all the Marvel ladies is proof that representation is important in the media, and shouldn’t be overlooked.

I know someone who had to go to Comic-Con for work and she shared this touching post on Facebook that pretty much sums up why Marvel’s panel is maybe the most important to come out of the convention:

“This year, I watched a group of girls dressed like the Ghostbusters, with tremendously kick-ass homemade costumes and props be stopped for photos nearly every 15 feet. I watched the faces of little girls light up when they saw them. And I watched them excitedly turn to their groups and point them out. And I passed a guy dressed as Finn, who looked so much like John Boyega that I did a triple take. And I watched a Dad take a photo of that Finn with his son. After the photo was taken, the little boy started to cry. The Dad asked why, and he replied, “he looks just like me!””

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what you missed at Comic-Con.

What ‘Cats’ Characters Are Probably Like, Based On Their Names

Can Jellicles? We’ll find out next week, when the Cats revival either winds Broadway up like a ball of yarn … or coughs up a big ‘ol hairball.

Cats is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1981 musical based on T.S. Eliot’s book about cat poems. Turn that sentence over in your head a bit. Theater-goers WENT IN FOR THIS. In the early 90s my mom took my three older siblings to Cats on Broadway and left me at home. The tales of the amazing theater experience convinced me that the stage was a place where anything can happen – I mean, Rum Tum Tugger himself stroked my brother (or something. I don’t exactly know because I wasn’t invited).  I exacted my revenge by making my siblings attend dozens of my plays and musicals over the following years, most of which were not good. The cast recording was a constant in our car and kitchen, and in first grade I could sing you verse after verse about the “heavyside layer,” which I don’t remember but was probably cat death? When I was 6 I finally saw the national touring company. In a bit of family lore, my father walked into the lobby during intermission with a bemused expression, shaking his head. “I don’t get it,” he said.

Now I’m a full-grown adult, and to be quite honest, I don’t get it either. My memories of actors Fosse-dancing while wearing giant carpet suits have faded into the mist just like the memories that one sad cat sang about. I remember snippets of songs and the feeling of something magical happening on stage, but I look at the list of characters and musical numbers and none of it makes sense to me. In the spirit of the new Cats production, here’s what the kitty characters are probably like, based on their weird names alone.

Mungojerrie

Okay, so this has to be a racist minstrel-y caricature from the 1930s,  yet also still a cat.

Rumpleteazer

You know how in really old movies they couldn’t say someone was gay so they’d use all these weird euphemisms instead? That.

Like, (and here you have to do a voice like you’re from an early talkie): “he’s a confirmed bachelor and a real rumpleteazer.”

Jennyanydots

Neighborhood snob thinks she’s cute.

Grizabella

Meth Gabriella.

Need further clarification? OK Take whatever Gabriella means to you:

Then make it meth:

Gus the Theatre Cat

This really old guy who hangs around a bar in the theater district and when people start talking about Hamilton, he chimes in with stories about, like, the original run of Company. Very into Sondheim. Sits with one foot propped up on his knee. Wears that one kind of hat. (I’m visualizing a cat Harold Prince.)

Mr. Mistoffelees

 

A pretentious college professor who wears jackets with suede patches on the elbows.

Rum Tum Tugger

Oh, goodness. Like a tubby booze uncle. And not the fun one, but the one where you’re just praying that no hot-button topics come up when he’s around because you know it’s going to be awful. Says stuff he knows you disagree with because he’s trying to start an argument, then keeps badgering you when you don’t react. A superfan of a failing NFL franchise, but all he does is complain about it.

Jellicle Cats

Sneaky assholes.

When I was a kid, my grandmother said she didn’t like cats because you could feel their bones squirming under their skin (which is also how I visualized myself as a scrawny, not-put-together child). That’s what jellicle cats are. You pick them up and their skin just slinks over their bones until they’ve wriggled out of your arms.

Bombalurina

That neighbor you had as a child who was Italian or Cuban, wore a housecoat, and her main things were obsessively sweeping her front steps and tending the marigolds around her Bathtub Madonna.

(Author’s note: describes roughly 10% of my childhood neighbors.)

Old Deuteronomy

The gruff, wizened old neighbor who was actually a cool writer in the 1960s and who teaches the protagonist, a teenaged white boy, about the world, the pen and himself.
Except the cat version of that.

Skimbleshanks

Eugene from Grease. Neville Longbottom. Samuel ‘Screech’ Powers. All those guys on Big Bang Theory. The geeks on Freaks and Geeks. Steve Urkel. Skimbleshanks.

Macavity

One of those lacrosse bros who has gone by his last name for so long that you can never remember what his first name was. (It’s Brent. Or Shane. Or Bryce.)

Quaxo

A third-tier sidekick who appears in one of the less-good chapters of Don Quixote or The Canterbury Tales or Pilgrim’s Progress, and then Jo March used it as a reference and you never understood it until you read the source book in college.

Bustopher

A cat rapper. Began his career as a kitten, when he was known as Lil Bustopher.

By the way, the characters’ full name in the musical is Bustopher Jones and his first album as an adult act was called The Bustopher Jones EP.

Jellylorum

False. This isn’t a name. It’s one of those weird, but non-fatal, things that can happen when a baby is brand new. “He’s mostly healthy, they just want to keep him in the hospital for the few days because he has jellylorum.”

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So You’re Seeing A Hamilton Understudy*? I’m Jealous.

You’ve been anticipating the day for months. You paid a significant amount of money to be in the room where it happens and see the most talked about musical in years. It’s won Tonys and a Grammy and other countless theater awards – the creator literally was named a genius for the masterpiece – then the day finally comes. And it’s July 10th. Or basically any day after July 10th. You missed the original Broadway cast by a day.

In the span of a week, four of Hamilton’s principal stars, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Phillipa Soo and Daveed Diggs all took their final bow while Renee Elise Goldsberry also announced she’d be leaving this fall. All of them departed to pursue other opportunities and legitimately take a break. Are you one of the people upset about this? Well apparently you’re not alone.

And while I guess I expected there to be some backlash, I didn’t expect to see this headline the other day:

First of all, this isn’t a review – Samantha Tomaszewski wrote an article for the New York Post (established none other by the bastard, orphan, son of a whore Alexander Hamilton) in which audience members from the first post-Lin & co. spouted off their frustration on missing the original Broadway cast by a day.

“I’m extremely disappointed because I really want to see Lin-Manuel Miranda. It’s like going to see a band you like but they get someone else to be the lead singer. You’re not really getting what you originally paid for.” Ok, Kiara.

Ashley and Matt from Florida paid $500 each for orchestra seats in December, and were also disappointed. “When we found out…  it was a little heartbreaking. We considered selling them but figured we would be at a loss because no one would want to pay as much to see the show without Lin.”

These two quotes are the most negative ones in the article. Neither said it was a “total letdown”. I guess Samantha took a page out of A. Ham’s book of dramatized writing.

But to play Devil’s Advocate, I get it though. I will pay to see shows only because someone famous that iI love is in it. I just went to a concert version of West Side Story solely because Jeremy Jordan and Angelica Schuyler-to-be Karen Olivo were starring in it. Sorry, I’ll pick up those names I just dropped. Had it been people I wasn’t interested in, I wouldn’t have paid money to see a 1957 musical that’s been done a million. But Hamilton is different.

Molly & I are seeing Hamilton in October (#Hamtober) and my mother recently asked me, “Isn’t the guy who wrote the show leaving?” (loose translation from Tagalog). I said yes, but that seeing Lin wasn’t the only reason I bought the tickets. Would I love to have seen Lin in the role he created? Yes. Would it have been amazing to see Leslie and Daveed and maybe Renee in the parts they won Tonys for? Of course. But Hamilton is a musical that transcends the people who are in it. Obviously stellar writing needs a stellar vessel to act it out, but if you have a story and score as good as Hamilton, the actors playing the parts are almost secondary. If you’re mad you’re not seeing Lin, you’re missing the point.

Second, you have to remember most of these cast members have been with the show a long time. Just because Hamilton has received acclaim over the past year and more so in the past few months with all its awards, it doesn’t mean the actors just started their respective runs. For starters, Lin has been working on the show for SEVEN YEARS. And in 2013, when it was titled The Hamilton Mixtape, Daveed, Leslie and Chris Jackson assumed their roles of Lafayette/Jefferson, Aaron Burr, and George Washington respectively, in a workshop production at Vassar.

Lin and Chris Jackson at the 2013 Hamilton Mixtape workshop at Vassar

By 2015, the show became the Hamilton it is now (for the most part), and debuted Off-Broadway at the Public Theater. That version picked up all the remaining Original Broadway Cast members, including Renee, Phillipa, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Anthony Ramos and Oak Onaodowan. A lot of the ensemble members have also been in the company since the Public, and in case you’re a pedestrian Broadway fan strictly because of Hamilton, these folks do 8 shows a week. That’s more times than there are days in the week. And it’s the same show over and over again. Lest us forget that this is also a physically and emotionally demanding show. While some might think otherwise, doing a full on production for 3 hours, sometimes twice in one day, it can be draining. You try dying twice in one day as Laurens/Phillip. Four deaths if you’re doing a matinee.

Third, and probably most importantly, put faith in the casting directors for the show. They’re the ones who picked out the OBC in the first place, and they’re responsible for the current bench on Hamilton is way, way, deep. We touched on it during #HamilWeek when discussing the ensemble members/swings – these are people who have had leading roles in shows Wicked and Rent. They’re not just timid backup singers. They’re integral cogs to the entire Hamilton machine and often times know more than one role.

Actually, let’s back up a bit. *Understudy = every person that steps into a leading role. The actors filling in while parts like Lafyette/Jefferson are being recast have been around the block a few hundred times.

There are three types of cast members you need to get to know:

Understudy: Regular performing members of the cast (usually ensemble members) who also cover other roles for when the regular actors are on vacation or can’t perform at the last minute. Hamxample: Ensemble member Carleigh Bettiol is an understudy for Eliza, while other ensemble members like Sydney James Harcourt and Austin Smith both understudy Burr and Washington, among others. A tweaked version to this is a Stand-By, like Alysha Deslorieux, whose job is to just understudy the three principal female roles of Eliza, Angelica and Peggy/Maria.

Alternate: An actor scheduled to play a role for a set number of performances per week. Hamxample: Javier Munoz (current A.Ham/#Javilton) was Lin’s alternate on Sunday afternoons, and 2 shows a week toward the end of his run.

Swing: Swings understudy ensemble tracks, and possibly principal roles, which is the case for Hamilton. Hamxample: The ultimate swing is Andrew Chappelle, who covers Lafayette/Jefferson, Madison/Mulligan, Laurens/Phillip, Burr, King George, and all the male ensemble tracks (I believe).

Anyway, all this to say, these stand-bys and alternates and swings whose name appear on the little insert of your Playbill aren’t just randos. They’re talented folks who have worked hard to memorize MULTIPLE roles. Sure, they’re not who you’re accustomed to per the soundtrack, but you’ve already listened to that a million times. What about hearing it in a while new way? It might even make you see the show differently. These are people who bring a freshness to the role and new excitement, since they don’t do it every single night. It’s part of the magic of live theatre. With a different cast of multiple possibilities, it’s truly a new show every time, not to mention the actors’ performances vary depending on the audience’s energy and reactions as well.

Much like everyone else who has tickets for the rest of the show’s run, we’re not going to see the OBC in its full version, and I’m okay with that. You should be too. I remember seeing Wicked on Broadway a little over a year and a half after it premiered, and although it was sans Idina and Kristin, it starred Tony nominee Jennifer Laura Thompson as Glinda and vocal gymnast Shoshana Bean as Elphaba and I was still in awe. So much so that I legit cried 90% of the time. The music, story and outstanding performances all were stellar, and made me forget I wasn’t seeing the OBC.

We as theatergoers owe it to these actors to respect their craft, as corny as that may sound. The “understudies” already have the added pressure of proving to the audience that they’re worthy, so why add fuel to the fire? Imagine you had a friend in the chorus of a Broadway show, and they suddenly get called up to play the leading role for that night’s performance. You wouldn’t complain. You wouldn’t compare them to how good the regular actor is. You’d be proud and support them, because you know they have so much talent to share that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to.

So to Kiara and Ashley and Matt – I am jealous of you. I am jealous you got to see these standbys/swings/understudies/alternates take center stage. I am jealous you are even seeing the show at all. And I’m sure there are millions more who are jealous too. I hope you get what you paid for.

Playlist of the Month: YouTube Superstars

Back in the early 2000s, we thought American Idol was going to change the way artists broke into the music business. It seemed so democratic – WE could pick the next singing sensation instead of waiting for music execs to tell us! We didn’t see the bigger change on the horizon. Since YouTube was founded in 2005, anybody with a camera and an internet connection can exhibit their talent to a potential audience of millions. The result: some of today’s top artists first gained worldwide exposure without even leaving their living rooms. With a mix of signed musicians and the more internet-famous, here are some of the best YouTube-made artists (*that we actually know about – there’s a whole YouTube culture out there and frankly, we’re not hip to it).

Traci’s Picks

Karmin

Amy and Nick met while attending Berklee and posted covers of songs on YouTube, including this one of Look at Me Now by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes. Busta Rhymes, who’s known for his mile a minute raps. And she clearly kills it. It went viral and even caught the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who brought them on her show and all the exposure led them to a record deal. Their Look at Me Now vid has over 101 million views and they went on to find success with their subsequent album, including my jam off their Hello album – Brokenhearted. Not brokenhearted – Amy and Nick. They got married earlier this year.

Troye Sivan

If you don’t know who Troye Sivan, just ask your 20 year old cousin or intern at work. Troye is 21, which means he grew up posting covers of himself singing on YouTube, and he soon transitioned to being a vlogger, which is how he helped accrue his over 4 million subscribers and more than 243 million views. One of his vids even won him a Teen Choice Award. For real. A few years ago, he made a coming out video which gained a lot of traction, and next thing you know, he was named one of the 25 Most Influential Teens by Time magazine. He focused back on music and last year he released his first full studio album, with electropop jams like Wild and Youth. Seriously, y’all – he’s kind of a big deal.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Ok, so Carly found fame in Canada before this video went viral (see: Canadian Idol, third place season five), but she became a worldwide sensation after Justin Bieber posted this “star-studded” lip sync video. Not only is Ashley Tisdale in it, but Jelena stans were going crazy that their fave couple was showing off publicly. As we all know, Call Me Maybe became THE song of the summer, and one of the greatest pop hits of this decade. And now Carly Rae is a Pop Queen, and if you disagree, I implore you to listen to her latest album, E•MO•TION in its entirety and dare to argue with me afterwards.

Lennon and Maisy

We wrote about Lennon and Maisy when this blog was just a baby, because we were two of the millions of people who fell in love with these siblings’ covers on YouTube. Their videos also caught the attention of the folks over at Nashville (the show) and they moved to Nashville (the city) to star in the series, which they’ve been recurring characters for the past four seasons. And their harmonies are as on point as ever.

Justin Bieber

We all know Bieber’s story. I thought he was cute when I first saw these vids years ago. Then he went through some troubling times, and if we’re being honest, now I’m a Belieber. Sorry is still my boo, and you can’t convince me otherwise. Also, if you want to feel some emotions (no matter your views on Bieber), here’s Usher surprising the crowd at JB’s recent Atlanta tour to sing U Got It Bad.

Molly’s Picks

Postmodern Jukebox

Before YouTube, people performing covers – even creative, beautifully arranged covers – were confined mostly to open mike nights or coffeehouse gigs. Now a wider audience can see that covers aren’t just someone else’s song: they’re a way to reimagine lyrics and melody to create something completely new. Enter Postmodern Jukebox. Their tagline is “today’s hits, yesterday” and they perform modern, popular songs in a way they might have sounded at a juke joint 60 years ago.

Chloe and Halle

They’ve been dubbed the “first superstars of the Beyonce Generation” – gaining fame on YouTube, landing a guest spot on Ellen, visiting the White House and ultimately appearing in Lemonade and performing at the BET Awards. These sisters are also talented, sweet, and the recipients of some seriously top-shelf genes. Nice generation, B.

Alessia Cara

Before Alessia’s ‘can’t I just stay home’ anthem (Here) was all over the airwaves, she made her name performing YouTube covers from her Canadian home. In just a few years she went from this one cover of Sweater Weather that everyone was sharing to supporting Coldplay on tour and winning a Juno.

Leroy Sanchez

Couldn’t resist going Double YouTube on this one. Leroy Sanchez is a YouTuber from Spain, and while he usually sings in English, Bieber’s Sorry sounds even better in Spanish.

Nick Pitera

Like Postmodern Jukebox, I like that this artist offers something that you wouldn’t hear on the radio. Namely: covering both the male and female parts in songs in a way that’s almost superhuman. It’s almost impossible to listen to one of his medleys without smiling. Guys. He even covered that song from Home Alone and Adele’s Hello in three octaves.

It’s a Love Story, Baby Just Say ‘What The Fuck Is Happening?’

Can we talk about Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston for a sec? Or like, for this entire post? Great.

What’s up with Hiddleswift tho?

Ever since May, fans, gossip mongers and lookie-loos have been fascinated by their whirlwind romance. They’ve lit’rally gone all over the world together in the span of about a month, which is why it’s starting to get a little suspicious. There are a lot of theories floating around out there, mostly that this relationship is all for publicity. Or for their “craft”. And I’m starting to believe it too.

To support this, here’s a timeline of their “romance” and reasons why this whole Hiddleswift Love Story is the ultimate Taylor Troll.

May 2nd • New York City • Met Gala

Taylor (who as of May 2nd, we thought was still dating Calvin Harris) was spotted dancing to T.I.’s classic Bring Em Out with rando Tom Hiddleston. It’s the Met Gala, after all. Rando celebs co-mingling is the norm. They weren’t dancing up on each other, it seemed friendly. They were later spotted at the Boom Boom Room chatting it up all night.

TAYLOR SWIFT & TOM HIDDLESTON GETTING DOWN #MET #DANCE #FUNFUN #PRINCE #NYC #tomhiddleston

A video posted by Carlos Souza (@carlossouza1311) on

Evidence of Trolling:
  • Where is Calvin? Taylor was a co-chair of this year’s Met Gala, which means she “hosted” it along with Anna Wintour and others. She wasn’t just a guest, it was a big night for her too. Calvin was MIA.
  • The person who posted this video that circulated throughout the Interwebs is Carlos Souza, Valentino’s brand ambassador. He’s also been described as a “PR Genius” for the fashion brand.

June 14th • Watch Hill, Rhode Island • Taylor’s Oceanside Mansion

A little over a month after the Met Gala, when most of us had even forgotten they had a dance-off, photos of Taylor and Tom surfaced of them talking along the rocks near her Rhode Island home. And making out and taking selfies. Taylor and Calvin Harris had just confirmed their break up weeks earlier.

Evidence of Trolling:
  • After years of being ridiculed for dating multiple guys in her early 20s, Taylor laid low when she started dating Calvin Harris last year. They were introduced to each other by Ellie Goulding at an awards show in February, and it wasn’t until March that they were spotted at a concert together in Nashville. They weren’t even photographed holding hands in Los Angeles until May, the same month she brought him along as her date to the Billboard Music Awards, where they only kissed each other on the CHEEK. Note that those last couple were in LA (where paps are everywhere) and at an awards show, which is obvs broadcast around the world. What I’m saying here is – Taylor’s Rhode Island home isn’t usually swarmed with paparazzi. Unless it’s July 4th (more on that later). The fact that there are snappers at all is questionable. On top of that, it doesn’t make sense she would be outside making out and holding hands and selfie taking with Tom seemingly out of nowhere just weeks after breaking up with Calvin. They couldn’t keep it on the DL inside her mansion?

June 21st • Nashville, Tennessee • Selena Gomez’s concert

Taylor flies down south to her adopted hometown of Nashville, where they take in her BFF Selena’s concert. And they *CAN’T KEEP THEIR HANDS TO THEMSELVES*.

Taylor na turnê de Selena esta noite #RevivalTourNashville 💜 #selenagomez #selena #gomez #selenator #revival #revivaltour

A video posted by Selena Gomez Brasil (@divaselena) on

Evidence of Trolling:
  • When Taylor first started dating Calvin Harris, they were first spotted at Kenny Chesney’s concert in Nashville. Coincidence?
  • However, they weren’t dancing all on top of each other. Hiddleswift is all about the dancing, apparently. At least they’ve found a common interest.

June 23rd • Nashville, Tennessee • Meet The Parents

It’s been a sold two weeks, so why NOT introduce Tom to her parents? They also went on a double date with Holly Williams and her husband – Holly is the granddaughter of Hank Williams, who Tom played in the biopic I Saw The Light. He became close with the whole Williams family while making the movie. Of course they would hang out with the world’s favorite country-turned-pop star (remember when Taylor was a ‘country star’?).

Evidence of Trolling:
  • No, but really, why so quick to meet her parents???

June 24th • Suffolk, England • Meet the Parents (British Style)

Because things weren’t fast enough, Tom and Taylor went across the pond to continue their tour of love by going to his native England to meet his mom.

Evidence of Trolling:
  • Again, why are they so out in the public? Where there are obviously paparazzi following them?

June 27th • Rome, Italy • Audrey Hepburn & Gregory Peck Visit The Colosseum

Evidence of Trolling:
  • Lit’rally every single picture looks set up. Taylor’s dressed like she’s in the Lizzie McGuire Movie sequel and Tom is her Gordo.
  • THERE IS SO MUCH PDA SO OUT IN THE OPEN. WHAT WOULD THE GLADIATORS SAY??

July 3rd • Watch Hill, Rhode Island • Taylor’s Ocean

Taylor’s annual July 4th bash at her Rhode Island mansion was back on, this time with more squad members and a new beau.

Evidence of Trolling:

July 4th • Watch Hill, Rhode Island •#Taymerica

They celebrated America’s independence by sliding down a giant inflatable slide and becoming Instagram official.

🇺🇸

A photo posted by Britany LaManna (@britmaack) on

Pretty cool runnings

A photo posted by Cara Delevingne (@caradelevingne) on

Evidence of Trolling:
  • I still don’t understand how Tom’s fitting in with this #squad.
  • Why is Taylor the only one sitting the other way next to Blake and her other BFF?

July 6th to 8th • Various Airports • First Class

After an All-American weekend, they left Rhode Island on Wednesday, made a pit stop in Los Angeles and through the magic of time, landed in Sydney, Australia Friday morning.

Evidence of Trolling:
  •  She followed him He invited her to Australia where he’s filming the new Thor movie. Australia’s quite a long ways away from America. It’s not like if they got into a fight, she could be back home in 30 minutes. She’s Taylor Swift, not a wizard.

July 9th • Gold Coast, Australia • Dinner Date

Because Hiddles gots to eat.

Evidence of Trolling:
  • What exactly is Taylor doing while he’s filming Thor??? Writing songs? Everyone get ready for some tracks featuring digeridoos in the background.

July 10th • Gold Coast, Australia • This Is Why You Don’t Go On Jogs

Tom tried to go undercover while jogging out on the streets of Queensland.

Evidence of Trolling:
  • Are paparazzi really that bad in Australia that they were following his every step on his jog? Or did someone give them a tip? And why is he giving any sort of answer to the reporter at all?

July 11th • South Brisbane, Australia • Philanthropy

Ah, THIS is what Taylor’s been doing.

Evidence of Trolling:
  • I’m not going to shit on her for this. These kids are happy.

July 13th • Internet • Drag City

Y’all. Shit. Went. Down. Wednesday. TBH, I started this post before SongwritingGate happened. So this kind of takes everything to a whole new level. Can we put this in a nutshell? Let’s try.

  • Turns out Taylor wrote Calvin’s song This Is What You Came For ft. Rihanna. She did a demo on her phone, sent it to Calvin while they were still dating, and he decided to use it. They recorded a full demo, but Taylor used the pseudonym Nils Sjoberg, and they both agreed to not promote the track together as the ‘Taylor + Calvin song’ and keep it on the DL. She also reportedly did some backing vocals, but again, wasn’t credited.
  • Calvin later did an interview with Ryan Seacrest promoting the song, saying that he “can’t see (a collaboration) happening” with Taylor. Some say this was the catalyst for their demise.
  • On Wednesday, Calvin went IN on Taylor on Twitter, which I will copy & paste JIC it’s all deleted: “And she sings on a little bit of it too Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual… I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym… Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though 🤔 … I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do…

Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one…God bless everyone have a beautiful day.

  • AND THEN – KATY ‘BAD BLOOD’ PERRY THREW THE BEST SHADE IN THE HISTORY OF TREES.

FOLLOWED BY A RETWEET OF A POST SHE SENT LAST YEAR

Evidence of Trolling:
  • I mean. Now, what is happening?

July 14th • Australia • He Speaks

“The truth is that Taylor Swift and I are together, and we’re very happy. Thanks for asking. That’s the truth. It’s not a publicity stunt.” Tom to The Hollywood Reporter

Evidence of Trolling:

Alright team. Them’s the facts. Tom’s latest comments aside, I still think the whole thing is a little fishy. Pre-SongwritingGate, I was inclined to believe the conspiracy theories that their romance has all been just for show. That it’s one huge piece of performance art and Taylor’s attempt at a Lemonade-style piece. That she’s quite literally acting out her Blank Space and Wildest Dreams music videos IRL.

The evidence above and show here and here give the theories that it’s all for show compelling arguments, which I’m willing to believe. What I cannot get myself to believe is that Taylor moved so quickly after her breakup. She and Calvin dated for 15 months and about 3 weeks later, she’s going non-stop with another guy? I’m not saying a real relationship isn’t possible, it just seems fishy to me.

And again, why all the cameras??! I get she’s one of the most famous people in the world, but per her track from 1989 – SHE KNOWS PLACES. She doesn’t have to be out and about. Also, here’s a little insider scoop – celebrities/their people call paparazzi to tip them off and let them know where they’ll be to knowingly get a “candid” pic published for all the world to see. It isn’t all by chance. Those English beach shots and Roman Holiday excursion reek of just that. Also, have I mentioned Tom is in talks to become the next James Bond? Because he is. Is Taylor singing the song for the new Bond movie and this has all been videotaped for the music video?

However, in post-SongwritingGate world, I’m starting to think Calvin may have fucked up her entire plan. He went rogue. Nils was supposed to be a secret. Not anymore. Then Katy stepped in with her GIF and the story became even bigger. Meanwhile, Rihanna is probably hiding out with Drake somewhere hoping she’s not dragged into this more than she already is. Anyways, if Calvin didn’t go rogue, is this all part of her master plan? Those tweets make him seem like a lover scorned, which leads me to believe the answer is no. Will we ever find out the truth?

In the words of a wise 2015 sage, “Time, the ultimate truth teller”.

 

Things I’m Willing To Believe About Pokemon Go

My social media platforms took a weird turn this weekend. One minute, it was all racism, gun violence and Hamilton, and seemingly out of nowhere it became SQUIRTLE! MEWTOO! GOTTA CATCH EM ALL! Was there some kind of a 1998 time warp? I can’t have been the only person who didn’t have advance notice of Pokemon Go and has been struggling to put it all together piece by piece.

Let’s be clear: I think Pokemon Go is great! It gets people outside, smiling and walking and talking to friends and strangers. Dogs get exercise. Neighborhoods are explored. Everyone’s talking about the same thing (which is one of my favorite things about social media phenomena, generally). I also have no clue what’s going on. And since I’ve been getting messages that my iPhone storage is almost full for the past two weeks, I won’t find out until I get all of my photos on a cloud and cull my iTunes library.

Usually we reserve Things I’m Willing To Believe About posts for dreamy leading men (see: Ben Affleck, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda), or else one-time DNC candidates (hey, Lincoln Chafee). But since we know so few actual facts about Pokemon Go, it seemed like fictional facts are the way to go. Here are some things we’re willing to believe about it:

Pokemon Go was developed as a secret initiative of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program. 

THANKS OBAMA. (No, really – thanks!)

“Rare” Pokemons are in really dangerous spots. Or, like, in a cemetery at night.
Dozens of Pokemon Go! players broke into an abandoned subway bed for a “PokeRave.”

Over 10 players were hospitalized with overdose symptoms but curiously, no evidence of drug use was found.

Developers are currently working on Benevolent Mode

Time for you to go to sleep? A coveted Pokemon appears in your bed. When you have to get up, there’s one by your coffee machine. A trail of Pokemon will appear, like moving targets, until you have completed your step goal for the day. You can even set Pokemon to appear at your nana’s nursing home – so you visit more – or at a local farmer’s market if you’re trying to eat more greens. A new Pokemon will appear around the corner from your workplace or home after you’ve finished a work assignment or homework. Have some iffy moles? There’s a Scyther at your dermatologist’s office.

Pokemon Go works better if you walk really slowly and stop dead in the middle of crowded sidewalks.

 

I don’t know, I’m just basing this on youths I’ve been stuck behind on my way to and from work.

The creators are so proud of Rattata

So, so proud that they put them EVERYWHERE. It’s like when god made rats: clearly pretty pleased with himself, since those jerks will survive anywhere.

Pokemon Go has been used in a successful sting to round up criminals with outstanding warrants

“Hey Kevin, there’s a Zapdos at the precinct, let’s go!”

Don’t do it, Kevin. There’s a 6-month prison term at the precinct.

There’s a Bulbasaur onstage during the duel in Hamilton.

Audiences feel that, if anything, it enhances the experience.

The “Churches are Pokegyms” thing was meant to be social commentary.

I don’t know, something about how we worship physical fitness, or a protest against churches’ tax-free status, probably.

Or one of these guys is really into church and is trying to get people into it. Not sure.

Pokemon Go Urban Legends already exist.

The Charizard was flying from INSIDE THE HOUSE.

When she got out of the car, Ash’s fingernails were scraping against the roof of the car.

He turned around to the backseat, and the Pikachu he had picked up had vanished. He went up to the nearest door. “Oh, Pikachu? He died in 1999,” the old woman said.

Pokemon Go has an internal conscience

Why else would it have caught so many people cheating, according to headlines I saw but didn’t click on? Also it has all of your secrets, so don’t piss it off.

You still have to look both ways

If you’re crossing the street, you still have to look both ways. If you’re driving, you still can’t play a game at the same time. Like I said, I haven’t played the game yet, but I’ve seen it blamed for injuries on the news and I’m almost positive you can’t walk out into traffic when you’re playing.

 

Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Difficult People

Tomorrow the second season of Hulu’s Difficult People premieres which means you have 24 hours or less to catch up (or at least start the first season if you haven’t already). If you haven’t heard of it, let me introduce you to a show about the most ridiculous human beings who you love and dislike greatly at the same time.

Basic Plot

As best friends living in New York City, Billy and Julie’s typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situations.

It’s obviously not high concept, so it’s nothing like your Orphan Blacks or Mr. Robots. Think of it like Will & Grace meets… a less boring version of Seinfeld? But you know what else isn’t high concept? The reasons why you should start watching and catch up to ALL 8 EPISODES FROM THE FIRST SEASON (!) just in time for season two.

Queen Amy Poehler Is Responsible For This Gem

If you trust Queen Poehler’s comedic chops, then you should probably at least give this show a try. Game recognize game, ya feel me? Amy is an executive producer of the show, and had known both Billy and Julie pre-Difficult People. She obviously had known Billy from Parks and Rec, and Julie was a performer at UCB, the improv company Amy co-founded. We know Amy has already hit it out of the ballpark as an executive producer of Broad City, and while I admittedly don’t think Difficult People is as strong as Abbi & Ilana’s masterpiece, Amy still stands behind the show 100%. So I do too. She’s said of Difficult People, “I would binge-watch the shit out of this show if I weren’t involved with it.”

For A Dollar…

Billy Eichner first came into the comedy world with a Funny or Die webseries called Billy on the Street, which eventually led to his TV show on TruTV. At some point during his TV show, he got hired as the boisterous (and not too far off from his Billy on the Street character) Craig Middlebrooks on Parks and Rec. His alter ego Billy on Difficult People is somewhere in between Billy on the Street and Billy Eichner IRL, but all equally hilarious.

Hulu’s 30 Rock of Cameos

The recurring characters on the show are worth it alone – Gabourey Sidibe as a waitress at the restaurant Billy works at, Rachel Dratch as a customer at said restaurant, and the glorious Andrea Martin as Julie’s psychologist mother. Then there’s the season one guest stars who you are pleased to see come across your screen, such as a weird Seth Meyers and magician Kate McKinnon. For the second season, they got some pretty heavy hitters, including Tina Fey and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Need I say more?

Pop Culture Refs

I love a good pop culture reference. It’s 90% of my daily conversation. There are enough pop culture references in Difficult People that would rival Gilmore Girls. And Gilmore Girls had literal booklets in their DVD sets explaining what all the refs were. Julie (a Real Housewives of New York recapper – a job she really had for Vulture) and Billy (an aspiring actor) are the same, and their interactions with each other are based on their love for celebrities. At one point, Julie tells Billy at an Oscars party, “There was a small earthquake in L.A., but don’t worry: Emmy Rossum is fine.” I mean, thank GOD.

Your Emotions On Screen

One point of contention not all people may enjoy about the show is that Billy and Julie aren’t afraid to speak their minds and ruffle some feathers. They are at times brash, a little too honest, but entirely self-aware. Is this a good thing? Who knows. Is it what you’re probably thinking inside but too afraid to say outloud? Yes.

Questions, Comments, Concerns: Christian Mingle – The Movie

There’s a Christian Mingle movie, and it’s on Netflix. It stars Lacey Chabert (Claudia Salinger, Gretchen Weiners) as Gwyneth, a vaguely (but not seriously) Christian lady who joins Christian Mingle. That’s all you need to know. I watched it so you don’t have to, and here are my questions, comments and concerns:

Comment: I have nothing against Christians. Or Mingling.

Where “mingling” = online dating, if it appeals to you. Mingling in the sense of making small talk at networking events? Now that I have some problems with.

Concern: But as a movie?
Comment: Lacey Chabert used to have a bible next to her bed.

Which is to say: I have a weird memory of an article or blurb about Lacey Chabert in a Christian teen magazine in the late 90s/ early 2000s. She has a bible next to her bed. Or did as a teen. According to this magazine my friend had.

Question: Is this a fictional movie that the characters are watching in Saved?

Because that’s how I’m approaching it.

Comment: Voiceover: “I found him. With a capitol H.”
Question: Is this an AU fic about a 30-year-old Gretchen Weiners?

Because that’s also how I’m approaching it.

Comment: When Europeans talk about American teeth, they’re talking about Lacey Chabert’s teeth.

That’s not shade. Her teeth are pretty.

Comment: Gwyneth’s friend group = (L-R) a girl from a Disney Channel Original Movie who wants to do modern dance but her mom won’t let her, a blonde woman who was friends with Mindy on .5 seasons of The Mindy Project, Gretchen, and an indie singer from the early 2010s.

Concern: The general portrayal of single women is NOOOOOOO.

It’s fine to want a relationship, but this whole competing with female friends to get engaged first / seeming like a sad sack because you’re – gasp! – 30 years old and single (even though you have a nice apartment, some kind of job where your office is shabby chic, and a nice friend group) / judging your still-single friends thing feels like if a 50-year-old Christian man were trying to write my life and got it all wrong.

It’s like a movie through the lens of how your aunts probably see you.

Concern: The Sassy Black Secretary is WHYYYYYYY.

Not the actress – she’s fine – but the trope.

Comment: Oh hey, Sandy Ryerson from Glee. Fancy seeing you here.
Comment: Voiceover: “At this point, I’m like God, this is Gwyneth Payton calling, and if you are out there, um, help?!”
Comment: Gretchen Gwyneth is stalked by Christian Mingle commercials.

(Non-shady moment: I know of at least 3 couples who met on a Catholic dating site, so if it’s your thing go for it.)

Comment: In her CM profile, Gretchen inputs her church’s name as “God’s House.”

… Which, if it’s a joke about someone who doesn’t go to church making up the name of something that sounds churchy, is funny.

Good work, Christian Mingle: The Movie. Made me chuckle.

Question: If Gretchen isn’t into church/Jesus/etc, why doesn’t she just join literally any other dating site?

 

Question: Why are people so concerned about nicknames for two-syllable names?

The Christian Mingler asks Gwyneth what people call her. I flashed back to every time one of my siblings or cousins or friends has a baby  and some uncle type always asks what you’ll call them. For a two-syllable name. Which takes like a second to say.

Comment: The Christian Mingler is written to be a Jake Lacy type.
Question: Is Jake Lacy a type yet?
Comment: Gretchen is wearing crucifix earrings to her Christian Mingle date.

HAHAHAHA. Got me again, Christian Mingle: The Movie.

Question: Is the set design of the Bible Study friend’s house a joke?

It’s full of framed inspirational posters with waterfalls and Bible quotes and a throw pillow that definitely says Jesus on it. Really feeling the Saved vibes here.

Questions: Do Christians love skinny scarves and coffee?

Or just in this movie?

Comment: This church is all wrong.

Not theologically or whatever! In terms of design.

Safe to guess that these people aren’t Catholic. The decor of the Church says, if not Catholic, at least mainline protestant – Anglican or Lutheran, probs, based on the Jesus on the crucifix (vs a bare cross). But the overall rhetoric the church people use says nondenominational evangelical.

I guess I’m saying I was surprised to see Gretchen walk into an Episcopal-looking church and not a megachurch with lyrics on screens and a worship band and a smoothie bar.

Comment: All these people are awful.

Gretchen, faking a dating profile? Awful. The Christian Mingler’s skeptical WASP mom? Awful. The people Gretchen works with except for the Sassy Secretary? Awful. Gretchen’s friends who scoff at her outfits AND at Meryl Streep? Awful. Only the Christian Mingler himself is okay.

Comment: Everyone at this rancho is dressed like they’re at one of those camps where they send Christian youths to get them back on the straight and narrow or whatever.
Question: Why does Mexico need mission trips?

It’s like 95% Christian. Unless they don’t mean evangelizing. But what else is Gretchen fit to do?

I’m almost positive they explained this while I wasn’t paying attention. It’s my fault, not the movie.

(Ed. note: there was a hurricane.)

Comment: They’re painting a church. Sister Act did it better.

That’s not really a fair comparison. The only movie as good as Sister Act is Sister Act II: Back In The Habit.

Question: What is having this white lady read from a bible, then having a Mexican lady translate, accomplishing that having a Mexican lady read the bible wouldn’t?

Is it because she’s glowing with the white lady love of Christ?

Concern: The white lady’s “good” Spanish almost makes me want to lose all Christian charity.
Comment: Voice over:  “they know, I know they know, they know I know they know,” paraphrased, but way less funny than it was on Friends.
Comment: The Christian Mingler hands Gretchen her copy of Christianity for Dummies that was found under her bed. He presents it like a mom who just found a bong in her teen’s room.
Question: Isn’t Christianity for Dummies already a thing? Isn’t that just the Bible?

Not calling anyone who reads it DUMB I just mean all the stuff is in there.

Besides, what’s so bad about Christianity for Dummies? Gretchen says she was baptized and grew up with church and now she’s trying to learn more about it – see “all these people are awful,” above.

Question: Also does anyone read For Dummies books anymore?

The whole internet is a for dummies guide already, for free.

Comment: Count the broken commandments in this movie.

I’ll start: bearing false witness against thy neighbor.

Comment: Don’t worry, the secretary goes to a storefront church with good music.
Concern: Gretchen has a creepy haunted doll baby in her apartment. And a murky gray painting of disembodied hands.

Is this what they think interior design of the unchurched looks like?

Question: HOW IS GRETCHEN USEFUL IN MEXICO. HOW.

A little boy tells Gretchen to go to the church – a Spanish 101 query, if that – and she needs him to repeat it slowly in English. #UglyAmerican

She Loves Me, She Really Loves Me

Last week, history was made when the musical revival of She Loves Me became the first ever Broadway show to be live streamed on the Internet. Through BroadwayHD, fans from all over the world could tune in to watch Laura Benanti hit those high notes and Chuck from Chuck sing. Period. And if you missed it, you still have a couple more days to catch it on demand before it goes away on Thursday, July 7th, which is a few days before it closes in New York.

For $9.99 you can watch She Loves Me in the comfort of your own home, which is what I did the other day and let me tell you it was worth every PayPal penny. Sometimes classic musicals like this show aren’t as enjoyable to me (I just saw 42nd Street for the first time and it’s unsurprisingly (?) anti-feminist?). However, I am pleased to report that She Loves Me is a delightful musical that deserves all the acclaim it’s receiving. Is it the same as being in The Room Where It Happens™ and seeing Jane Krakowski to the splits IRL? Obviously not. Nothing can ever compare to live theatre, but this is the best alternative for folks like me who will never get the chance to see the show in its current production live.

So if you’re reading this before July 7th, I recommend taking a peak of what you’re in for then enjoy the show on BroadwayHD – this sounds like a sponsored post but *bible*, it’s not. If you’re reading this after the 7th, here’s some highlights of what you missed.

On The Verge of Being Catfished

She Loves Me is a 1963 musical based on the play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László – which is why the show takes place in Budapest. Surprisingly enough, it takes place in a Parfumerie where employees Georg and Amalia are constantly at odds. Separately, they are secretly part of a Lonely Hearts Club letter exchange, and they’ve each found love with an anonymous pen pal. Unbeknowst to them, they are in love with each other!

Does this seem like a Catfish waiting for to happen? Absolutely. Amalia doesn’t even know her romantic pen pal’s name. She lit’rally says, “I couldn’t love him better if I knew his name.” Come on. NEV?? WHERE YOU AT? If this wasn’t a musical made in 1963, I definitely would’ve thought Georg was going to be a 16-year-old insecure Reddit user whose Friday night prank turned spiraled out of control.

Also, if this plot sounds familiar it’s because You’ve Got Mail and the 1940 movie The Shop Around the Corner are both based on Parfumerie.

Let Me Borrow That Top

Every single item of clothing worn on stage was to die for. I love the classy era of 1930s fashion, and costume designer Jeff Mahshie did an outstanding job lit’rally from head to toe. The menswear was exquisite but it was all the women’s fashions that had me gagging.

Let Me Be Your Star

17-year-old Nicholas Barasch plays 17-year-old Arpad Laszlo, so it’s really a stretch for him. Arpad is a delivery boy who aims to be a clerk at the Parfumerie and Nick does a great job selling it. This kid is goin’ places, I tell ya.

The Set Design That Beat Hamilton

I am such a sucker for Art Deco, and this set design is so freaking dreamy. The show begins with the outside of the store, and it literally opens up to the inside of the Parfumerie, and that’s pretty much it. There are some other small set pieces that roll in, but the store is the main event. The inside of the shop is so intricate and somehow cozy – it brings you back to the time where you would have to go to a specialty store like this just to buy perfume. For you kids out there, it’s like if the perfume counter at Macy’s had its own store front. These days, the only stand-alone perfume stores are at the mall with a really bored guy trying to pedal gift sets of Britney Spears’ Curious.

Customers Are The Worst

“I’m an idiot. At least I’m an idiot with a job!” 

Amalia and Georg work with a fella named Ladislav Sipos, who is easily my favorite character. His big number is called Perspective, which is basically a lesson in customer service. The lesson being ‘The customer is always right, so shut up and be grateful you have a job’. It is amazing. He serves as Georg’s confidant and provides comic relief throughout the show and Michael McGrath is great in the role. The version of Perspective above is from the 1993 revival by Lee Wilkof, but you’ll get the picture.

Girl Power

Meanwhile, Jane Krakowski is also an employee of the shop, and besides the fact her main motivation is finding love with a man, her character of Ilona is a great representative of Girl Power. She has a thing with her charming co-worker Steven Kodaly, played by the equally charming and talented Gavin Creel. There’s an entire scene where he hits on her and gets her to go out with him and she goes into the splits, and when she finally agrees, he cancels their date in favor of a different date. Ilona is not having it and her song I Resolve is all about not letting a man do that to her ever again. In 1963, this number was probably more powerful than it is now, but it’s still a great example of trusting your “feminine intuition” and not letting a man take advantage of you and bring you down. Ilona eventually finds love and it turns into that Date Auction episode of Saved by the Bell where Lisa Turtle pretends to be a snobby intellectual to go out with the cute smart guy.

Plot Twist!

I don’t want to ruin the entire show for you if you plan on watching it, but just know that as predictable as some of these older musicals can be, I did NOT see one storyline coming, which involves the shop owner, Mr. Maraczek. It may involve another lesson on gun safety.

Zachary Levi y’all

Zachary Levi is the best! For real! Fun fact: this role was originally going to be played by Ted Mosby aka Josh Radnor, who played Georg in the 2011 concert verison of She Loves Me. He had to pull out, and Zach took his place, but turned out for the best because Zach does such an exceptional job at playing this charming, lovesick guy.

Laura Benanti y’all

She Loves Me is the perfect fit for Laura Benanti (who we previously professed our love for), since she is the ultimate soprano. Her voice suits Amalia’s to a tee, and she is so good she makes it look effortless.

Zachary Levi and Laura Benanti y’all

If you’ve seen You’ve Got Mail, or basically any romantic comedy ever made, you can guess who She Loves Me ends. I lit’rally said outloud, ‘I’m into this” re: Amalia and Georg’s blossoming relationship, and I stand by that. These two need to do another musical ASAP.

July 4th American-Themed Founding Fathers Costume Party!

Happy Independence Day! Ever since I was a kid, I’ve spent the first weeks of summer looking forward to July 4th, when I would have a classic American cookout, eat some kind of a dessert that uses strawberries and blueberries to replicate the American flag, enjoy the fireworks and play some good old-fashioned picnic games watch Revolutionary War documentaries on the History Channel. Although complaining about America is a tradition as old as the Declaration of Independence – and of course the U.S. of A. does have its problems – take a moment today to compare our country to some places across the globe: we have freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, free, compulsory public education, and public parks and libraries open to anybody who wants to explore and learn. If that doesn’t make you want to chant U-S-A, U-S-A, nothing will.

But you don’t have to be from the United States to celebrate on the 4th of July – face it, no matter where you live, you’ve been exposed to American culture. So if you’re celebrating from overseas, here are some tips to throw a great American-Themed party (psst – Americans can do it, too!). My favorite parts: the name tags with names of American icons like Betsy Ross and Alexander Hamilton, the map where you try to fill in the names of the 50 states (no peeking!), and the mad libs approach to classic American speeches and songs like the Gettysburg Address and Oh, Susannah.

There’s always the issue of what to wear, though, and on July 4th I think the rule of the day is to be as cheesy and red, white and blue as possible. Think: whatever the summery, patriotic version of a Christmas sweater, you should wear that. We do have a few guidelines – the dos and don’ts of patriotic wear – if you don’t want to cross the line all the way into star-spangled Speedos.

However, if you’ve been inspired by Hamilton or by your once-a-year viewing of The Patriot, maybe you’ll want to get your all-American fashion inspiration from the founding fathers. Don’t worry, we’ve written a guide to founding father fashion too! Get out the tricorn caps, Yankee Doodle boys and girls. They probably won’t be the weirdest thing you’ll see somebody wear today.

One of our favorite pictures from the American-themed party post was a party in Poland where the hosts played the movie Pocahontas on the TV. We have some film recommendations in the party guide – American genres like baseball movies, war stuff, and Tom Cruise – but if you need a few more, here are some movies that make me love America.

Another age-old American tradition is losing to European and Latin American teams in soccer(/football). With the Olympics coming up, I should mention that our U.S. national teams are very good and I have high hopes! But during the last World Cup, we wrote a list of American things to do to get over the World Cup loss. The activities work just as well as a way to celebrate America!

Whether you’re an American celebrating the land of your birth, residence or citizenship, or a non-American trying your best to put up with us, we hope you have a spectacular July 4th! May all your hats be three-cornered, your parties American-themed, and your Solo Cups red.