“Viva Forever!”…also known as THE SPICE GIRLS MUSICAL!!!

Although I was technically born in the 80s (1989!), I grew up in the 1990s and the core majority of my childhood was spent watching Nickelodeon, collecting stickers in my Sanrio sticker book, reading Baby-Sitters Club/Harry Potter, and obsessing over Titanic and a fabulous girl group known as the Spice Girls.

My love for Titanic has waned (partly because of Leo not aging as nicely as we’d all hoped), but my love for the Spice Girls has always remained. I think most kids who spent their elementary school years in the late 90s can attest to the power Victoria, Emma, Geri, Mel B, and Mel C had over us. Who didn’t play Spice Girls on the playground? Spice Girls lollipops were treasures to us bearing a special sticker, hopefully with the letter you needed to complete the world “SPICE.” Sometimes the teacher was kind enough to play some kid’s “Spice World” CD in class. Platform shoes were so trendy. Everyone had a favorite Spice Girl (mine was Baby), even if you weren’t a fan. And the movie to watch back in the 3rd grade was Spice World. Most importantly, the Spice Girls embodied friendship and “GIRL POWER!” I cannot stress how important those two ideals are to have, especially as young girls growing up. Sure, there were probably skeptics who scoffed at the idea of these fabulous ladies preaching “Girl Power!” but I can tell you that it definitely influenced many of my classmates as we paraded around the playground, held up the V sign, and shouted the phrase at anyone who stood in our way.

Like most major pop acts, the hype had to die down eventually and I still remember how shocked I was when I found out that Geri left the group. Things really weren’t the same afterwards, but at least the Spice Girls knew when it was time to end things. They did reunite in 2008 for a tour (I’m still sad that I didn’t get tickets to see them…thank you, finals), but got together for the first time since then to launch their musical, Viva Forever! As someone who watched Jersey Boys three times (yeah, not sure what I was thinking) and enjoyed Mamma Mia (the film version), I am so excited about this news. This musical will probably be the closest thing I get to seeing the Spice Girls in concert. I’m almost positive the tears will flow freely if/when I watch it, no matter what the story’s like. Judging from this video though, it definitely seems like a tearjerker.

A story about friendship and a mother and a daughter? Definitely bringing tissues with me.

Review: “Brave”

I was lucky enough to catch a free screening of “Brave” on Monday and was excited to finally see a Pixar film with a female protagonist. These past few years, Pixar has become the breadwinner in the Disney/Pixar partnership and have put out films that are consistently lauded and top Best Films of the Year lists. However, can you believe up until now they haven’t had a female lead? Even my favorite Pixar film, “Up,” lacks a substantial female character. As a child of the 90s, I grew up watching a lot of the Disney Princess films and while there’s nothing wrong with them (I think most of my friends know how much I love Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Mulan), they always ended with the princess finding true love (even though Mulan was a badass and saved the entire country, there just had to be a love story with Shang). I think a lot of people were excited to see what Pixar would do with a female protagonist because the animation studio has always produced innovative films for all ages. Now that I’ve seen “Brave,” I can say that I hope Pixar continues to put out films with more females.

I walked into this movie not knowing much about it, having not seen the trailer, and only vaguely hearing about the controversy surrounding the director debacle, and though I enjoyed it for what it was, I walked out wishing for something more. One of my favorite things about Pixar films is that they cater to both children and adults. Sure, it’s a stunningly animated film with cute characters, but underneath it all a Pixar film manages to present a story with a deeper meaning. Finding Nemo was about the relationship between a father and son. Wall-E was about the dangers the Earth faced if humans continued to live the way they do. Up was about learning to move past the difficulties life presented you with and go on any sort of adventure, big or small. At the heart of it, Brave is about the relationship between a mother and a daughter and how to learn and accept one another.

I don’t want to go too much into the plot because I’d hate to spoil it for anyone, but I do wish that Pixar had done more with the mother/daughter relationship. It felt a bit rushed for me and a part of me wonders if the story would’ve had a different tone had Brenda Chapman stayed on as director. I mean, does a male director really understand the bond between a mother and a daughter? I think that is what bothered me the most throughout the film. Although I thought the animation was stunning at times (particularly the landscape shots), I will admit that my first reaction to seeing Brave ads was that it looked like a DreamWorks film. It lacked a bit of the Pixar charm and I feel awful for saying this because I really want this film to succeed and show Disney/Pixar that female led films are profitable and are worth the time to make them.

Again, I really enjoyed Brave and encourage everyone to see it. It’s very cute and funny and has great animation. I am excited that this generation has a female Disney character to look up to and Merida is a fantastic choice. However, there was just something missing in this film and so I can only say it was good, not great.

In Which I Come Back From My Blogging Hiatus to Write About One Direction

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post for this blog, so it’s not much of a surprise that I would come back and write about the one thing that’s been preoccupying my time (other than whining and crying about finding a job) since I last posted.

That’s right. I am one of them. I am a victim of One Direction Infection (I can’t decide if it’s a better name than Bieber Fever). I have succumbed to these five charming kids and their catchy music. They’ve somehow climbed to the number 4 position on my Top Listened Artists on Last.fm and guess what? I am not ashamed to admit it either.

So before I start to blab about what makes One Direction so great – or beautiful – I will describe just what I experienced when I had the fortune of seeing them last week in Oakland.

I had no ticket and subsequently no hope the night before the concert and felt despair, misery, and all sorts of feelings that I probably shouldn’t have felt regarding 1D as a 22-year old college graduate. However, after watching the videos from the San Jose concert the night before I knew I had to at least try to get a ticket. I had heard that several people have managed to get last minute tickets at the box office just hours before the show and because I really have nothing going on in my life, there was no excuse. I knew that I would hate myself more for not trying, than not managing to get a ticket at the box office. Luckily, my friend Samantha is as much of a victim of One Direction Infection as I am so we both decided we would risk our sanity and our hearing to see Harry, Zayn, Liam, Niall, and Louis in concert.

That morning, my friend Amy called me to tell me that a girl sitting near her on the Amtrak train and had seen 1D in San Jose the night before and had essentially stalked them throughout the city to catch a glimpse of them. She managed to meet Niall and was proudly sharing her accomplishments with her fellow passengers. I took this as a sign that the universe was blessing my decision to try to see 1D. An hour later, however, I discovered that BART (the subway/train) was not running to Oakland from San Francisco because of a massive fire that had occurred the night before. Now here was a sign as any that the universe did NOT want me to go. I kept an eye on the news and prayed to Jesus Payne that things would be working by the time we would leave for Oakland.

Fortunately for us, everything was running soon enough and we were on our way to the Paramount Theater. Once we got there, one of the first things we witnessed was a group of teenage girls standing at a street corner, shrieking at something across the street. Already I was witnessing the One Direction Fangirls in action. Now, if you are unfamiliar with this fandom, here a few things that you may or may not want to know:

• One Direction fans cling onto inside jokes like they’re dying in the freezing Atlantic Ocean and all they have is a plank of wood to lie down on. Carrots, spoons, the phrase, “Vas Happening?,” cats, shamrocks/anything relating to Irish culture, and a pigeon named Kevin are just some of the things fans like to bring up all the time to prove that they are in the know of all things 1D. Not only are these things old and unfunny a year and a half later, they’ve also become the bane of One Direction’s existence. Unfortunately, their fans aren’t as quick to pick up on the fact that no one in the band cares about these things anymore.

• Homophobia, racism, and sexism run rampant in this fandom, particularly on Tumblr and Twitter. I try my best to stay out of these parts of the fandom, except to find a cute picture or gif, but occasionally you will see a post or Tweet that will make you lose hope in future generations. I don’t know if it’s because these websites give people anonymity and a large platform to spew garbage, but I do not recall coming across anything similar to this when I was younger and listened to Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney, etc. Of course, not all 1D fans are like this and there are many Tumblrs/blogs that call out fans on their stupidity and ignorance.

• One Direction fans enjoy obsessing over ANYONE in contact with the band. This is a fandom that has somehow created a fan name dedicated to the baby of their hairdresser, as well as a fake Twitter for her, just because a few of the guys have taken pictures with her. They also enjoy worshipping their security guards, girlfriends, and live band.

• One Direction fans will not let anything stop them to see the guys or anyone slightly connected to them. Traffic, large security guards, laws…nope, not one of these things will prevent them from getting that picture or video.

• One Direction fans scream at anything and scream very, very loud.

Now, with that knowledge, you might be able to better picture what I witnessed and how I felt. I watched as these girls shrieked at what turned out to be Paul, One Direction’s bodyguard, across the street and then run into the street/traffic just so they could get a picture with him. Cars had to stop midway just so these girls could run across. Clearly, I had no idea what I was getting into. Thank God I had Samantha with me because I don’t know how I would’ve survived all of this by myself.

As we waited in line for tickets at the box office, we witnessed several things that would make that day memorable.

• A girl dressed as a carrot and when I say, “dressed,” I mean she was wearing an orange bed sheet.

• We were in line behind a mother and father who were accompanying their children and talked to the parents more than any of the other fans.

• Theater staff looked liked they hated their lives and really, who could blame them. They had hundreds of teenage girls running around, screaming, and ignoring any rules and instructions.

• Things got heated when a group of moms cut the line after theater staff tried to get things sorted between those who were picking up tickets (Will-Call) and those who didn’t have tickets (Box Office). The mom in front of us began yelling at them to get out of the line and that they should know better as mothers. We were glad she was there because she was basically shouting everything we were too scared to say.

• The line was next to where the tour buses were parked and there were fans on the top of the parking lot across the street so they could catch a glimpse of anyone coming out of the buses. This led to frequent screams and stampedes. At one point Niall and Zayn came out and chaos ensued as a bunch of fans began crowing around the barricade that blocked off the tour buses. The lines that security worked so hard to form (essentially the line that we were in) disintegrated, but we did our hardest to stay in line. Things got hectic several times and the girl behind us in line had a bloody foot after getting stepped on.

Those were just a few things that made those couple of hours before the show memorable. Once 7:30pm rolled around, we began to wait to see if there were any extra tickets left. The moms who cut the line were the first in got tickets, as well as the group of girls ahead of us. Finally around 8pm, we got our tickets and they were great seats (Row E in the center orchestra)! We practically sprinted in and got to catch the last part of Olly Murs’s set. So that is my BIG TIP from this entire experience: Try to get last minute tickets at the Box Office. It’s worth the couple of hours wait because you can probably get better seats than those on StubHub/Craigslist and at face value!

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

The show was so good. I’m very happy I took the risk and went to see One Direction because, honestly, they have been the only thing making me happy these past few months. I have had a rough time since moving back home because of the soul-crushing experience known as job hunting and just general unhappiness. Their videos, interviews, and American take over have given me something to look forward to and cheer me up, as sad as they may be. It’s quite funny, because I remember feeling calm right before they come on and as soon as their introduction video began playing, it’s as though I regressed ten years and became a middle school girl again. “OMG they’re coming out in 1 minute!” “OMG only 30 seconds!” “OMG 5…4…3…2…1!”

I’m going to get a big fangirl-y here so feel free to skip this paragraph if you’d like, but oh…my…god. They are perfect in real life. Zayn Malik is literally stunning and I could not believe this perfect person was maybe less than 10 feet away from me. Harry Styles was intensely staring at everyone in the front and I can finally understand what people mean when they say he’s very charming and very charismatic. Niall Horan has amazing stage presence and very fun to watch. Louis Tomlinson, well all you need to know is DAT ASS. My favorite is Liam Payne and I just want to weep when I think about how I was so close to Jesus.

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

Credit: joesmuchbetter.tumblr.com

The Up All Night show is the same production they’ve been touring since January of this year. The only things they change up is the Twitter Q&A, the pranks during Harry’s solo in “What Makes You Beautiful”, and the occasional cute interactions between members. The Twitter Q&A at this show wasn’t very exciting, except for a question asking them to yodel. Someone did ask them to rap battle, but Zayn and Louis failed to deliver even after being put on the spotlight. During Harry’s solo, Liam and Louis put a pair of undies on Harry’s head and after Harry finished singing he flung the undies at the crowd, only for it to fly back and land on him again. And if there’s one more thing you need to know about One Direction (props to you if you have read this far), it’s that they aren’t shy about showing affection towards one another. It’s one of the refreshing things about them as a pop act and Tumblr is filled with gifs and pictures documenting each and every one of these moments. I will spare you more details about the concert and instead link to some of the videos from the night.

This blog post ended up being much longer than I intended, but I guess I had more to say about the entire night than I thought! Now if you’re still interested in learning more about these charming lads, I will direct you to a few of the videos and songs that convinced me to become a fan.

“One Thing” Acoustic
+“One Thing” MV
La Boite Interview
Alan Carr Interviews 1 and 2
One Direction Being Dirty Minded
and this just came out recently, but it’s FANTASTIC! “The Adventureous Adventures of One Direction”