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Weaponized Music

The other day Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now by Starship came on the radio and it got me thinking about the associations we form with certain songs. In this particular case, it made me realize that ever since seeing The Skeleton Twins, whenever I hear it now all I can see is Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig dancing on living room furniture. Associations are powerful. Even if we already have a personal history with a song, a television show or a movie can utilize it in such a way that it wipes out all previous associations. Here are 5 examples of television scenes that took songs I already knew and completely re-wrote what my brain feels when I hear them. I’m sure you all have plenty of these so feel free to share them in the comments!

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Goodbye to You (Tabula Rasa)

Michelle Branch was big in the early 2000’s. I wasn’t particularly a huge fan but Goodbye to You was catchy. It didn’t evoke any emotion in me but I thought it was a cute pop song. Then someone who worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer said to themselves (I’m assuming), “How I can make it so that any time a Buffy fan hears this song it feels like their heart is being pulled out of their chest?? ...wait, I KNOW!” The result was this scene. Never have I ever been able to hear this song in the 17 (17?? JESUS.) years since without thinking of Giles abandoning his surrogate daughter to return to England, Willow and Tara’s heart-shredding breakup scene, and Buffy’s profound loneliness leading her to make a truly self-destructive choice. Thanks, Tabula Rasa.

 

Supernatural: Do You Love Me (The End)

I know, I know. Carry On My Wayward Son. Eye of the Tiger. Heat of the Moment. The Holy Trinity of songs that Supernatural has co-opted and now might as well own. But everyone knows those! Those are too easy. So I thought about another really great one that hasn’t been talked about as much. The only music my mom and I could agree on while I was growing up was oldies, so I heard this song A LOT. But SPN used it in such an awesome and unexpected way (in one of its best episodes of all time) that now this is what the song is to me. Running from Croatoans (SPN’s version of zombies) and getting rescued by a bunch of post-apocalyptic soldiers. Who knew this song could be so fucking badass?? Well Ben Edlund, I guess.

 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Just a Friend (Dennis and Dee go on Welfare)

Oh boy is this show a multiple offender for song associations, usually hilarious and sometimes awful. There were so many to choose from. Motownphilly, Vacation, Jessie's Girl (OH MY GOD THIS ONE), I Can’t Wait, Hollaback Girl, Take My Breath Away, Pretty Woman, Runaway Train... the list goes on and on. In the end I went with this one because it was the first of the many songs the show would use to create ridiculous new associations in my head. Dennis and Dee’s failed attempt to go on welfare and their subsequent crack addiction was one of the funniest things the show has done and now, goddamn it, a song I have always loved makes me think of these two assholes getting day-drunk and thinking they could play the system so that they never had to work again. The end when they turn the song up while Mac yells at them cracks me up every time. These goddamn assholes.

 

Black Mirror’s San Junipero: Heaven is a Place on Earth

I almost want to tell you not to watch this video if you have not seen the episode because this scene is so moving and profound if you have, but if you haven’t then it’s just sort of cute. The first time I watched San Junipero this scene made me weep. And a previously boppy, fun 80’s song now makes me tear-up thinking about a love story between two women that a television show developed beautifully, and that WAS ACTUALLY ALLOWED TO END HAPPILY. It was a bittersweet story overall but the ending was uplifting and glorious. And the choice of this song was perfection. If you have not seen it, please head over to Netflix and fix that.

 

Sense8: What’s Up (What's Going On?)

This 4Non-Blondes song now forever belongs to this show in my mind, and after Linda Perry showed up to the premiere of the series finale at the ArcLight theater in Hollywood and let the audience join her onstage to sing along with it, it belongs to the fans as well. I’ve mentioned previously that whenever all of the Sense8s appear in the same scene it is the best thing 100% of the time, and this is no exception. These pockets of joy in the show were always so well-placed and carried the audience through the tougher times. I used to like What’s Up because it reminded me of the 90’s, now I love it because it brings me actual joy remembering this scene (P.S. Kala and Wolfgang forever).

So, what song associations have been created, altered, or ruined for you by television??

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Did Someone Say GAMES????

Ahh, here we are talking about gaming again. I swear, WakandaCon is right up my alley.

And if you are going to WakandaCon tomorrow, you better bring your snacks and energy drinks, cause you about to game ALL WEEKEND!!

That's right, WakandaCon is hosting a gaming tournament all weekend. The WakandaCon site says:

We're excited to partner with I Play Games! to bring head-to-head video gaming to Wakandacon! I Play Games! was founded in 2009 by experienced video game promoter and tournament organizer Kevin Fair. Playing video games at home with friends and family was a favorite hobby for Kevin, and so bringing the joy of video game entertainment to greater video game community was a natural fit.

WHO'S GOING TO THIS??? And if you're not, pretend you're going for a second. Comment below and tell me your console and what game YOU think you can kick my ass in, if we were in this tournament together 🙂

 

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: The Shuri Project

I don't care what you think. Shuri IS an official Disney princess. And after Tiana, she is now my favorite Disney Princess.

(For those of you who don't get the connection: Disney owns Marvel >>Black Panther is a Marvel Film>> which is owned by Disney>>Shuri is a princess>> And therefore, she's a Disney princess. Square up).

Black Panther not only put a female character who was smart, funny, and royal, she was also a Pretty Big Deal Kinda Scientist. Homegirl was creating technology that we could only dream of. The best part? She did it all without playing up the whole "nerd girl" stereotype.

Little girls all over the globe watched Shuri in awe and wanted to be just like her. Some probably even abandoned their Barbie Jeeps and Townhouses for lab coats and beakers. While at times I forget that Shuri is a fictional character, that didn't lessen the impact that she has made on millions of women and girls everywhere.

WakandaCon has a panel for just that. The Shuri Project by Henry Williams Love foundation is a summer program for girls who want to be just like Shuri. It's six weeks long for ages 8 to 12. In this mentoring program, they teach tech skills while also giving the girls a big self-esteem boost.

They gonna do a live demo of a website they've built. These babies are our future. You gotta support them.

I actually can't wait to hear more about The Shuri Project and how their website demo goes. What do you think of Princess Shuri and the impact she has on young girls today? Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Games as Social Justice

I don't think I ever stopped hearing the barrage of comments "oh, do you play games? aren't you a little too old for that? isn't that a waste of time" blah blah blah

Normal people have a lot of opinions, hahaha.

Not that I ever paused my game long enough to take them seriously. But of course, when that damn swatting incident happened, gamers everywhere got a bad rap. But as all Geeky Girls know, gaming can be used for good.

WakandaCon is having a panel called Games as Social Justice. This panel will take place Friday, August 3rd at 6 pm. Hosted by Kenyatta Forbes, this panel will prove that gamers are more than how we are depicted in the media. The panel description is as follows:

This panel brings together experts in the social justice and gaming to discuss the impact gaming has on raising awareness, changing behavior, or other inequalities. How might gaming be a tool for social, political, and cultural change? Join the conversation with these panelists as they share their work and take questions from the audience.

My prediction is that they will discuss different kinds of gaming that can work as social justice tools. Maybe streaming on Twitch will work better with PC gamers and a different outlet would work for tabletop gamers. If you're headed to this panel, comment and tell us what you think. And if you're not, comment anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts on how social justice and gaming can work together as one.

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Queerkanda Celebrates Black LGBT Community

I look straight on the outside, but my true sexuality can be described as "IDK????" and you know what? That's perfectly fine with me.

Because of this, I understand the importance of queer spaces not just in general, but even more so in the Black community. There's something so refreshing to be around folks who understand your struggles, your life experiences, and who are open and accepting of your sexual identity.

That's why I really commend WakandaCon for having the panel Queerkanda. Hosted by Eris Eady, the panel is described as, "A conversation about the impact of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression on blackness both stateside and abroad." This panel is going to have a huge impact on those attending. Not only through showing them support, but giving them the tools to make the LGBTQIA+ community even stronger.

 

I am so excited to see what discussions will take place at this panel. What would YOU want to talk about at this panel? Leave us a comment below and it may be a great conversation starter!

Geeky Girl’s Guide to WakandaCon: Do Your Own Stunts

See, I tend to do all of my own stunts, just usually by accident. Tripping, usually over just air, I end up in a contorted position. Upon survival, I jump up, bend my knees, hands in the air and shout "Superstar!"

While I am not formally trained in stunts, I am a lifetime member of The Clumsy and Unfortunate.

Thanks to this panel at WakandaCon, I don't have to be.

It's right around the corner though! Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th, WakandaCon will take place at the Hilton Downtown in Chicago, IL. And if Wakanda can't be real, this is the next best thing.

Another panel I need to talk to you about is the Jabari Stunt Workshop with Mark Willis. Willis was in Black Panther as a Jabari Warrior and he is M'Baku level fine, uh I mean, performed a lot of the stunts in the film. He's now taking the stunts and fight choreography used in Black Panther and teaching it to y'all, so we can all be bad-asses together!

Black Panther BTS photos CR: Courtesy of Winston Duke

This panel is happening this Friday, August 3rd at 5 pm. So if you're going to WakandaCon, comment here and tell everyone if you're going to this panel.

Geeky Girls Guide to WakandaCon: T’Challa vs. Killmonger Panel

Wakanda is just around the corner guys! If you are in the Chicago area, WakandaCon is taking place Friday, August 3rd through Sunday, August 5th. The convention is taking place at the Hilton Downtown hotel.

One of the panels that you definitely need to attend if you (like me) have been discussing the differences between T'Challa and Killmonger since February is T'Challa Vs. Killmonger: Exploring the Differences between the Diaspora and the African-American Experience.

This panel is hosted by Carla M. Kupe-Arion, Esq and takes place Saturday at 11:00 am. Below is the panel description:

"The dynamics between T'Challa and Killmonger depicted in Black Panther brought to the forefront a phenomenon that usually occurs in private circles or sometimes in academia: Oppression Olympics between African-born or Africans and American-born or "rooted" Black people. The differences in reactions to the movie have reignited a discussion this panel seeks to have.

Exploring the impact of the two different histories and systems that have and are still impacting all Black people will be the panel's starting point in order to highlight differences but also focus on the similarities between narratives and what we can do as we create new ones, a new history."

So who out there is going to WakandaCon? Do you plan on going to this panel? What kinds of question do you have for Carla? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

Inside Briana Buckmaster’s Album Launch Party for Begin

Briana's Album Cover

I am a Supernatural fan that lives within striking distance of Los Angeles. As such, I feel fortunate. The local Supernatural cast members like to create cool opportunities for us to come together.  I have attended a book reading by Misha Collins, an album release party by Louden Swain, and a charity walk with Lauren Tom and Osric Chau.  I am deeply appreciative. That being said, I don’t drive out to Los Angeles on weeknights. I’m 42 years old and I need my eight hours of sleep. Jesus Christ could show up in Culver City on a Monday doing a water walking demonstration and I’d be like…meh. I’ll watch the livestream. However, last night was an exception. Last night’s was Briana Buckmaster’s first solo show in support of her first album, Begin.

Briana plays Sheriff Donna Hanscum on Supernatural, and is one of the driving forces behind the Wayward AF fan movement.  Wayward AF is a movement that encourages fans (women fans in particular have championed the movement) to value themselves, express themselves, and work towards their dreams. So I wanted to be there when Briana made one of her dreams come to life. And it helped that I knew from her Supernatural convention performances that her genre is my jam. So after work, I made the trek from the Inland Empire to The Hotel Café in Hollywood.

Spending the evening with Briana onstage and with my Supernatural family in the audience, turned out to be a great decision. Briana’s voice and stage presence were incredible. The songs were well chosen. The Station Breaks opened for her and accompanied her, and they were on point. The cherry on top? The mood of the crowd was all love.

Let’s start with Briana’s stage presence. If you have never met Briana, here’s the best way I can describe it:

Briana Buckmaster is the kind of woman that reminds you of your lady queerness.  She walks into the room, and you’re like…oh right. I’m super queer. Briana has swagger. She has that confident, comfortable in her own skin, grownass woman swagger. Combine that with her huge heart and irreverent sense of humor, and you have a potent combination of outrageously sexy. When my straight sister Michele saw Briana for the first time in real life at a Supernatural convention, she messaged me something like “Holy Lord I’m in love with Briana Buckmaster. Wait am I gay?”

If you only know Briana as Donna Hanscum, it might take you by surprise at first. Donna Hanscum is an endearingly sweet and goofy character, but she was not meant to be sexy. That is evident in her first episode in season 9, called The Purge.  When we meet Donna, her confidence has just taken a hit. She is still smarting from being dumped by a boyfriend who was critical of her weight. She runs into the boys at a spa where she is taking part in a weight loss program. Now, Briana is a very thin woman by our mortal standards, but you know, Hollywood. Fast forward to season 13 in the Wayward Sisters episode, the show has let some of that sexy badassery shine through. When Sheriff Hanscum pulls up in her pickup truck to save the day in jeans and a pony tail carrying a cache of weapons, a wink, and a smile, gay women and suddenly introspective straight women everywhere swooned.

But regardless of what you have seen on screen, nothing really prepares you for full strength Briana. She’s a force of nature.  That makes her a charismatic stage presence, which is a big part of what makes a live show a success. Her voice is also outstanding. Singing one or two songs sporadically at Supernatural conventions is one thing. Doing an entire set and being able to carry the show is another thing. And Briana, with a little help from her friends, did just that.

Briana has a bluesy voice that is powerful and vulnerable. She calls it a ‘whiskey voice’. Think Alannah Myles crossed with Bonnie Raitt. I’m no Rolling Stone reviewer, but they would probably categorize her as ‘blue eyed soul’.

Briana opened with the scorching, “Do I Move You”, which was originally written and performed by Nina Simone. Bold move. Nina Simone is one of the greatest musical artists of our time, and there is risk inherent in covering someone like that. We’ve all watched those singing competitions where perfectly talented singers try an iconic song by an iconic performer and everyone just feels let down at the end. Briana avoided that pitfall by not trying to copy Nina Simone. She tweaked the song and made it her own. She pulled the straps off of her shoulders to riotous applause, and poured her entire self into a mischievous and spirited version of the song. It was a great choice to warm up the crowd.

From there, the show was consistently engaging and filled with songs that reached out and grabbed you. Better Than That, written by Suzanne Santo, was one of the standouts of the night. It was the kind of song that makes you ache and remember falling in love. During that entire number, the audience was eating out of the palm of Briana’s hand.

Olive Branch, a duet written by and performed with Rob Benedict, was another special one. Rob plays the prophet Chuck / God on Supernatural. He is a musician’s musician, having performed for over twenty years with his indie rock band Louden Swain.  He can write, arrange, produce, play multiple instruments, sing his ass off, and perform like a boss. He is the real deal, and Olive Branch is a folksy, catchy as hell song. We were all stomping our feet and having a great time.

Briana did another duet later, but this time with Jason Manns. Jason is a solo artist, member of Station Breaks, and producer of Briana’s album. Briana explained onstage that she had felt the album needed a nineties power ballad duet.  And that is what Have a Little Faith in Me was, which means it was a soaring crowd pleaser.

Another noteworthy performance was “How Will I Know”, originally performed by Whitney Houston. Again, when you cover legends like Whitney Houston and Nina Simone, it is critical that you don’t try to copy their arrangements or styles. Briana’s arrangement of “How Will I Know” was a yearning ballad. It was bittersweet and moving, and did its own beautiful thing.

And rounding it all off was the uplifting feeling of being in an audience that is plain old happy to be together.  Notable Supernatural family that came out to support Briana included Kim Rhodes, Ruthie O’Connell, Gil McKinney, and Bobo Berens. It was heartwarming to see the friendships that have formed among the cast members. It also felt good that our fandom has played such a critical part in something this special.

I think it is safe to say that Briana’s album was born at Supernatural conventions. Supernatural conventions typically consist of two nights of music: karaoke night on Friday, and a Louden Swain concert on a Saturday.  Cast members show up to sing with the fans on Fridays and to sing with Louden Swain on Saturdays. Our riotous support has resulted in several cast members saying that they have recaptured or refocused on their love of music.  Also, they get to share their love of music with each other and meet the experienced and generous musicians of Louden Swain. Undoubtedly the enthusiastic fan support of Briana’s singing paired with Rob Benedict/Louden Swain’s generosity of spirit, encouraged Briana to record an album. She started a Kickstarter to support the album and it was funded in twenty hours. It eventually took in over double its original goal of $20k.  We all got to accomplish something beautiful together. What is better than that?

The last song featured Briana with Station Breaks singing a rousing rendition of the Beatles ‘Come Together’.  People had arms around one another, and were shouting the lyrics together.

So congratulations to Briana on a fantastic album and to Briana and Station Breaks for a damn good show.  And congratulations to the Supernatural fandom for helping will something wonderful into existence by sheer enthusiasm and showing up for one another. I know we have a lot more to look forward to from Briana as a singer.  I for one, can’t wait. You can buy her album ‘Begin’ on cdbaby, itunes, amazon, and pretty much everywhere else you buy your music. You can find Briana on twitter here.

And to talk fandom with me, join me on my closed Facebook group for Supernatural and Wayward Sister’s fans or catch me on our podcast, Geeky Girls Night In.  I’m also on twitter shouting about Supernatural among other geeky stuff.

If you are going to San Diego Comic Con this week, check out my Supernatural fan guide as well.

Photo from Briana's Kickstarter for Begin

 

 

Words Mean Things, But (Sincere) Apologies Do Too: My Thoughts on Justin McClure

Here are some things you need to know about me:

  • I am married to a white man
  • We have a biracial child together
  • I don't owe you a goddamn explanation for either

I say this because I often get "why would you date a white guy" and no. No. No, sir. I don't owe you shit.

When I was 12 years old, I told myself I would marry someone who loves Buffy The Vampire Slayer as much as I do. After dating a short while, I found out this dude was literally in the Buffy fan club. Wedding bells rang almost immediately.

Saying that to say, interracial couples are always under scrutiny. It doesn't matter how alike you are or that your SO, who happens to be white, was the only one holding your hand in the hospital, your relationship only exists because somewhere deep down you hate black men so much.

It's exhausting to hear that shit.

So looking at the McClures, it was refreshing. They had such real conversations, such love for each other and their children that you couldn't help but be inspired by it.

So hearing that Daddy McClure said some racist shit in the past was disappointing. It hurt because I looked up to this couple. I enjoyed watching them interact with their children in a healthy manner

But watching his apology affirmed my faith in humanity. Watch the full video here

I am a strict believer in apology form. There will be no fauxpologies on my watch. This is what I did NOT hear in Justin's apology

  • "I'm sorry if..."
  • "I'm sorry but..."
  • "I have three black children so..."

Those statements would have been red flags for me, but the structure of his apology felt sincere because:

  • He owned up to those statements
  • He recognized the impact of those statements
  • He apologized to his wife for hurting and embarrassing her
  • He talked to his children as another way of showing accountability
  • He recognized that this apology may not be enough for some people, without mocking or belittling them.

I think if you still refuse to support these YouTubers after this, that's fair. This post isn't to sway your opinion. This post is to make you aware of apologies when they are sincere. In my honest opinion, nothing about Justin's apology screamed "A PR PERSON WROTE THIS" to me. Instead, after watching him be vulnerable on camera so many times, it not only felt sincere, it felt authentic to who he was.

I usually watch The McClure Twins in order to understand parenting more. But this apology video actually taught me that marriages aren't perfect, and interracial marriages have their own set of daily battles. But with the right two people, they can win those battles each day.

You know who can't apologize for shit? Roseanne.

Tell me your thoughts on Justin McClure and what you feel is a sincere apology. Drop a comment below.

 

Geeky Mom Review: Nerdy Baby Stuff from Omas Goodies

Disclaimer: I reached out to the ladies of Oma Goodies to see if they would let me try their product in exchange for my honest review. I wasn't paid for this, so, uh, yeah. Honesty and whatnot.

The people want to know, "what's the point of you reviewing geeky baby stuff for geeky mommies?"

Well, I will give you two scenarios.

  1. Maybe you're a first-time Geeky Mom. You can't wait to show off your Death Star shaped belly and plan to use your maternity leave browsing cute baby stuff on Etsy. The reality is: you'll be too full of love, overwhelmed, sleep deprived, and maybe a little smelly (cause let's face it, showers are a world-class luxury those first few months) to even have the energy to open a browser. So wouldn't it be nice if your old pal Quinzel tested it out for you? That could buy you a precious 30 minutes of sleep.
  2. Or let's say you don't have kids. And you want to buy things for your friends that are as useful as they are adorable. Unfortunately, sometimes you just get one or the other. And how the heck would you know for sure when you don't have any babies to test it on?

One look through Omas Goodies Etsy shop and you will be wishing for septuplets, cause you will want to dress all of your offspring in their adorable geeky baby wear.

The pattern I got was Minions and it was awfully cute. The stitching on all of the items was very professionally done. The opposite side of the fabric was absorbent and soft.

So if you're looking for cute fandom stuff. You're in the right place. But, like how we question all cute things, is it useful?

Because here's the thing, your baby is going to spit up A LOT. Then they are going to drool A LOT MORE. So you would get lucky if your cutesy nerdy baby stuff lasted through one photo. Again, not the case with Oma's Goodies. This stuff is useful annnndd cute 🙂

The burp cloth is the perfect size while the bib is a little small triangle shape. At first, I was a bit worried about that, but as it turns out, it was perfect.

The material on the back of the burp cloth and bib remind me of those ShamWow commercials because I'm telling you, it gets up everything. There was a pretty epic spit up that somehow missed the bib completely and ended up on the floor. I was able to soak it all up just using the bib!

Lastly, this tie is just darn cute. It ended up in Bby-8's mouth several times, so I'm just going to take that as he loves it too.

So if you're a mom or buying a gift for a mom, Omas Goodies is the way to go. Not only is it cute and useful, their prices are really affordable. I am probably going to return myself and get the Star Wars set.

Check out Omas Goodies Facebook page and also their Etsy shop. And if you're a new mom reading this, for the love of Pete, hand that baby off and get some sleep.

 

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