One weekend in early January, my friends and I scheduled tickets to Cats. I wish I could tell you which was more surreal: the dizzying, floaty, uncanny valley CGI depicting sleek furry bodies with conspicuously humanoid faces, hands, and feet (yep, we got the “everyone still has human hands” cut), or the haze of bushfire smoke (blowing in from the fires on the coast and national parks of New South Wales) filling the mall and the orange-tinged sky looming overhead, making it impossible to tell what time of day it was.
We were safe from the devastating fires (and still are, fingers crossed – things seemed to have calmed down overall with changing weather conditions and a lot of hard work) but were feeling their aftereffects billow around us. And, like many locals, we had taken refuge in an air-conditioned building, to take distraction from the stress of everything for a couple of hours… with dancing cats with human hands, who sometimes wore shoes and looked way more naked than if they’d been wearing nothing at all. How’d they manage that? Why was Rebel Wilson’s character like that? Why did Judi Dench stare directly into my soul in the final song?? Who was I before this film??
It would be poetic to say that this nightmarish weirdness, survived and shared with friends and loved ones, has set the tone for 2020, but the truth is I really hope things improve. The weather and the stories have been better since, so as always I’m surging forward with optimism.
On the blog:
A Big Ol’ Pile of Book Recommendations (2019) – my favourite things I read last year, through manga, novels, and nonfiction!
A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2019) – my favourite series I watched last year, through fantasy, coming-of-age stories, and rom-coms!
Cool web content:
A conversation about video game literacy, and how we learn the quirks and instincts of games – and how something that seems so natural to people with a lot of practice can be as baffling as, well, learning a new form of literacy (a study I find particularly funny given that I’ve recently started trying to play Skyrim and have a lot of the same grievances as the new player in this video. But I’m having fun and learning!!).
My fam and I recently watched the new Netflix/BBC “adaptation” of Dracula, penned by our very favourite screen team Steven Moffatt and Mark Gatiss. It was certainly an experience, and it was certainly time to rewatch one of our favourite video essays afterwards.
The New Little Women Makes Space for Jo’s Queerness – the release of a new adaptation of the iconic novel has introduced me to approximately 150 years of shipping discourse, and, most interesting among it, many readers who hold the idea of Jo March Not Being Heterosexual close to their heart. This article covers nicely how the movie’s tweaking of the original ending leaves room for that interpretation to flourish, and pays homage to Louisa May Alcott along the way.
Hoshiai no Sora/Stars Align: A Story About Corporate Betrayal, but Also a Lot More – a rundown of what exactly happened with the production of Stars Align, as well as a celebration of the series’ many strengths and unique efforts in terms of storytelling and animation.
“Why would I close the door to a queer person?” LGBTQ Fantasy Comes of Age – a great piece about the increasing rise of queer speculative fiction (particularly fiction that imagines worlds where being queer Just Isn’t a Big Deal), with interviews from authors who are part of the movement.
How Eizouken Embraces the Messy Thrill of Storytelling! – Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! is all about making art, and this piece looks at the creative process within the creative process and what makes it so authentic and fun. (I’m loving this show, by the way – do expect quite a number of words about it from me soon)
American Dirt is a Problem. So What’s the Solution? – a neat rundown of the conversation surrounding a recent “white lady writes racial stereotypes, earns squillions from publishing industry” controversy, and how it’s a pertinent example of how we should systematically give writers of colour the opportunity to tell their own stories rather than presuming the default “mainstream” audience is white and uninterested.
Disability Tropes to Watch Out For – a thread detailing a lot of the harmful narrative conventions that surround disabled characters, often penned and approved by abled writers.
And of course, once again, it was premiere review season!What are you guys looking forward to watching?
Bonus: this is the new best Twitter account
Take care everyone, in these strange and trying times, and I’ll see you again soon!
2 responses to “Summertime Weirdness: January ’20 Roundup”
True story. I once used all of my internet data because I wanted to continue watching the “Sherlock is Garbage and Here is Why” video on my way to work (30min walking distance across campus).
I hope the situation continues to improve and here is to February!
I’m glad you and your loved ones are safe! I’ve been worrying about various peeps I know on the other side of the ocean. At least this anime season and those weird humanoid cats can give you a distraction.