Third Time’s A Charm – Be Our Guest NYC

The incredible Captain Awkward,an advice writer who I’ve been following for the past few years, has stated that when attempting to meet new friends as an adult you should find a recurring event that sparks your interest and go three times, no matter what. Three times, decide if it’s right for you, if you fit in.

Back in June, I got a Facebook notification, in the “events near you” section for “Be Our Guest: A Disney DJ Night,” the even was taking place that Friday, and the event description appealed to me, an evening where a bunch of people wore costumes and drank and sang along and danced to Disney music.

Yes, I couldn’t have designed a better evening myself. I texted Aless and asked if she wanted to come, she gave a hearty “OF COURSE” and we went. We had an absolute ball, talked to some great people, haunted a diner until 5 am and stumbled back to Aless’s apartment at 6 giggling.

It was incredible. In September, I went back. Aless was back in Colombia visiting her mother, but I thought about that 3 times thing, and I bought the ticket and went by myself this time. It was, again, unreal. I was immediately surrounded by people I felt connected to. I sang and danced and again, found myself in a diner at five in the morning laughing about everything and nothing.

This past weekend, I got my third shot. I laced myself into my black Ariel As A Human Corset, I hopped on a late train, and walked into the Gramercy Theater on 23rd Street and danced and sang my face off and had just, the absolute best time. (Aless came again this round).

Trying to explain why this event has gotten so inside of me is tough. It’s just a strange intersection of things that I really love. The cosplay and Disney songs are nice trappings, but what I really love about it is communal. It’s the part that gets me sitting in a diner talking to new friends until 5 in the morning. The part that I lost a lot of when I outgrew a group of friends. Getting a taste of that, even if it’s only one night every few months is nourishing. 

So anyway, I’m in on this event now, I’ve found people I care for very much there, and I hope to be as much of a regular there as I can. I’m also going to try to hang out with the people I’ve met there in other spaces. But even if those friendships never quite make it past the late night disco fries and milk shakes stage, I’m grateful for it.

She Used To Be Mine

Last night I was curled up on the couch reading Maybe You Should See Someone by Lori Gotlieb (I’m not going to review the book, but OMG READ IT! So good!) eating a salad and I got caught up on my podcasts for the week.

I had a few thoughts, I could get myself set up with CBS All Access and watch Picard something I’d been looking forward to all week. Or I could throw some music on, and hold to my, “trying to watch less TV” plan which I’d failed miserably at this week. (I watched so much TNG in prep!) So instead I flipped on my phone to music and scanned, looking for a radio station or playlist.

And then I remembered I hadn’t listened to Kristin Chenoweth’s For The Girls an album she released in the summer. (I had listened to the duet version of “I Will Always Love You” with Dolly Parton from the album, because HELLO????) I searched her name and clicked it on. The book is about therapy and the ways we change and don’t. And I realized while a lot of writers I know did big “Decade Wrap Ups” and I didn’t.

At the time I didn’t have the bandwith but then I started thinking about the girl I was in 2010, and the woman I am now. I’m proud of who I am and the life I’ve built, but there are days when I miss her. The girl who never could have waited six months to listen to an album where her favorite soprano sings songs written by women.  Who would have talked about what the decade behind had meant to her.

But then I remembered how afraid she was. Of everything. Of her talent and ideas and interests, her body, her sexuality, her illness.

And then I’m so grateful for the past ten years. For finishing school and my time in Brooklyn and Tom Foolery and The Plaza and Comic Con and The Desk Jobs and Disney World and Marina and Montclair and Therapy and Meds and Yoga. And I’m grateful to myself, for realizing who I am rules. That I’m fun, that saying “I’m not feeling up to it” will not make the people I care about abandon me or hate me, that I can bond with people even when our superficial stuff isn’t the same. That you can outgrow people while still wishing them well, while others will grow with you and both things are beautiful and normal.

I also want to hug that girl, I want to tell her it isn’t going to look how she thinks but it’s still going to be wonderful. That she won’t have the wedding, house or kids she wanted (yet) but she’ll have dancing until dawn with the people she loves and a space that’s just hers and a wall full of smiling snapshots.

It’s been a nice ten years, is my point, and I’m happy to have grown up.

On Dating, Nerd Men & Adulting

I’ve dipped my toe back into the dating pool of late. It’s been mostly fun, and I’m enjoying meeting and chatting with new people.

I have decided on something though.

I don’t think I want to date guys who identify as “nerds” in their 30’s anymore. It’s proven exhausting.

Like, if you have nerdy hobbies, that’s awesome! So do I! (Obviously…) But if the first thing about yourself is “I’m a nerd/gamer/comics enthusiast,” I just don’t think it’ll work for me anymore.

I’m sooo not interested in a 30 minute long lecture about why the last few seasons of Game Of Thrones “don’t count” because it’s not George RR Martin’s vision. (I mean, I shut this down, with MOTHER FUCKING ZOMBIE ICE DRAGON MAN!) Or how I just “didn’t get” Batman V Superman. (I assure you, I got it. I just found it terribly dull.) Or how, “Rick And Morty is so funny and smart and how have you not watched it yet?” (Well, I never really connected to Harmon’s writing and humor on Community, so I decided not to watch his other stuff.)

It’s not that I don’t like having those conversations, exactly, it’s just, not important to me when I’m looking for a partner anymore. I don’t want to marry, settle down and have children with a man who’s going to try to convince me of his opinion every time we encounter media.

Because like, if you’re going to be with me, there’s going to be a lot of media consumption, and I’m going to have opinions on it. As are you. And a conversation is one thing…but man, when I acknowledge your point of view and explain mine and then you repeat yours…that’s not conversation, that’s you saying your opinion of a subjective thing is correct and mine isn’t.

Seriously, recently had this conversation.

Me: BvS had some interesting ideas in theory that mostly turned out kind of jumbled and dull in execution.

Guy: BUT SNYDER WAS TELLING A MYTHIC STORY ABOUT GODS AND MEN AND CONSEQUENCES IT SHOULD BE HEAVIER THAN LIKE ANT-MAN OR WHATEVER.

Me: Right, and I get that was the intent, but the movie is just really boring. Also, Ant-Man rules.

Guy: But it wasn’t boring because of Frank Miller and Nolan and and…

I tuned him out at this point because really? Say what you want about Miller’s work (Can be sloppy, ill-defined and kinda fascist) but boring is never an adjective for it. And Nolan’s Bat-movies are great but they’ll never be my favorite version of the character. (Dini and Timm exist) (Also Scott Snyder).

I’ve never met a dude who liked nerdy things but didn’t self identify as nerd who lectured me like this. When these guys talk about Game Of Thrones with me, we talk about the storylines we like and don’t. We talk about Jon Snow’s true identity and what that means for Daenerys. When they ask me about Infinity War they don’t immediately say being sad after that movie is stupid because “everyone is coming back anyway.” (YES I AM AWARE BUT IT WAS VERY INTENSE AND I HAVE FEELINGS AND I UNDERSTAND HOW SERIALIZED FICTION WORKS THANK YOU!) They talk about the cool action scenes and how great Strange and Stark were together.

In the past few months I’ve thought and dealt a lot with “nerd” and “fan” being a cornerstone of my identity. And it just doesn’t feel like enough anymore. I’m not magically going to change my interests, but I’ve come to find that if someone likes Harry Potter isn’t enough reason to want to spend time with them, and certainly not enough to build a life on.

It clicked especially for me when I read Ready Player One, (So, thanks, Ernest Cline, I guess? Your crappy book helped me realize something about myself) and mainly, that people had been telling me I would love it for years. I had kind of an existential crisis. “Is this what people think of me? That I’m just thoughtlessly regurgitating trivia?” Of course they weren’t, they were thinking, “Reenie likes pop culture trivia and action adventure stories. This book sure has those things, I bet she’d like it!” And to be fair, if I’d just sort of stumbled on the book without the hype, that’s likely what I’d have thought too.

I don’t know what my point is exactly, just that as I grow as a person and as I look for a partner, I’ve realized my criteria has been kind of shallow and has lead to some less than fun experiences.

So we’re trying to be more open. We’ll see how it goes.

The Book Thief and The Value Of Light In The Darkness

Guys, I’m not gonna sugar coat it.

Things kind of suck out there right now. Just all over. Shit’s terrible. On a big scary level.

And I was thinking about this yesterday, as a couple of personal setbacks pushed me into a pretty dire state of mind, I had a major, “am I allowed to be happy about something so small as, Incredibles 2 apparently being awesome or the incredible Yankee game that I’m watching?”

And then I remembered The Book Thief and I smiled.

The Book Thief, more so, really embodies the idea that life, in all it’s little joys and weirdness, is worth living, even in the darkest of times.

Seriously, I’m not saying the book is cheery by any means, it’s literally narrated by Death and deals with early days of the Nazis in Germany and the Holocaust in brutal fashion. It’s super dark. But it’s also beautiful. It tells the story of a young orphan girl named Leisel, who is adopted by an older childless couple, (V Anne Of Green Gables) and her new father’s love of reading stories to her. The title comes from her habit of stealing books off the bonfire piles in the town square.

They also happen to be hiding a young Jewish man in their basement.

Anyway, the thing that’s interesting about the book is that it’s about life, and Leisel, and her parents are living their lives in this horror show, but they’re living. There are small triumphs and sunny days, and joyful stories and deep deep love.

It’s a wonderful book and I’m really glad I thought of it while I sat at my desk and tried not cry yesterday. (Seriously, folks it was a shitty day…) Because we should all keep up the good fight, in big and small ways, but it’s also OK to dance while the music is playing and get lost in a fairytale.

And I think I needed to remember that. So, you know, just sending light and love out. Wishing you all the best. Keep fighting, even if all you can do is steal books off bonfires and declare Jesse Owens your hero.

Meet Me Tonight In Atlantic City

If you’re a comic con person, I can’t recommend getting your butt to a con in Atlantic City hard enough, FOR THE PARTIES ALONE these weekends are worth it.

This past weekend Aless, Kristi and I hit up Garden State Comic Fest: Atlantic City. While it will never ever live up to my gone to soon ACBC, it was a good substitute.

Also, frankly, I just love that town. Every time I go I have a massively awesome time. My first trip to Atlantic City was when I was ten, and we stayed at the Trump Taj Mahal with some family friends, and it was a weekend of bowling, and swimming in an indoor pool and singing Spice Girls songs. It’s a deeply fond memory for me.

The next time I went I was 18 because my friend Constantine was in the touring production of Hairspray and it was playing at Harrah’s. There’s even less for an incoming college freshman to do in the city than a 10 year old kid, but we went to the spa and saw the show and generally enjoyed the ambiance.

My first I can actually participate in it trip came about five years ago (Jeeeeeezzzz) when Juli, Chrissy and I did a quick overnight at the Showboat, which also featured dinner at Margaritaville, dancing our faces off at Boogie Nights at the Trop and a late night room service meal of cheese fries and milkshakes.

Then I found ACBC and well, there have been a few other trips in between as well. This trip, I was back at the Showboat (also the scene of an epic Coheed concert with the sibs!)

Anyway, this is not meant to be a tourism ad for Atlantic City, though seriously, I would do that too. I love that town. Anyway, the con itself was really fun, pretty standard small con, with light cosplay, a few big name guests, and lots of independent press. There was one of the best post con parties we’ve ever been to (This time with 0 sexual harassment! WEEE!) and some pretty epic hangovers.

But it was after the drive home, while Aless and I sat at my apartment eating Chinese food and rewatching Young Justice and planning our next con adventure (Terrificon, in Connecticut in August!) that I realized how really lucky I am to have my friends. Fandom was so lonely for me for so long, and now there’s this epic group of women around me who enthusiastically go to a Johnny Rockets to take pictures while in Riverdale Cosplay (More on that tomorrow!), and sing along loudly to [title of show] on a roadtrip, and say snarky things about teen superheroes who we love with all our hearts. (Except Young Justice!Roy Harper, we don’t love him, because UGH!)

I found my people, and it’s so deeply rewarding.

There Are Other Worlds Than These

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell, which way to Never never land?

Emerald City’s gone to hell, since the Wizard blew off his command.

On the street you hear the voices, lost children, crocodiles.

But you’re not into making choices, Wicked Witches, poppy fields or men behind the curtain.

Tiger lilies, ruby slippers, clock is ticking that’s for certain. – “30/90”, Tick, Tick…Boom, by Jonathan Larson

Because of my foray into The Dark Tower (I’m through The Wastelands now, and it’s amazing, and I love it, and I remember the face of my father.) I’ve been thinking about other worlds in fiction.

I’m not talking about other planets, or even alternate realities. So that leaves out things like Mirror Worlds and Bizzarro Worlds, and even realms like Middle Earth, or Westeros or Tortall.

I’m talking about other worlds, that exist in some space near or in our own, and you access them through some sort of magic. I’m talking about your Narnia, your Wonderland, your Neverland, your Oz.

While I’m not sure if there strange desert world of Roland The Gunslinger is actually another world, and not a far flung future of our own, (NO SPOILERS! I’ve been spending the month restraining myself from Googling more about this series because I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW UNTIL I KNOW!) for the moment I’m treating it as someplace else.

Mainly I’ve been thinking about how you view those worlds as an adult, as opposed to as a child. The lyrics I posted above are from Tick Tick…BOOM, and are technically about anxiety about turning 30, which also, coming, and also, GAH trying so hard not to think about…although if in the next 6 years I can create something as indelliably awesome as Jonathan Larson did with Rent I think I’d be OK…I mean, not the dying at 35, without ever SEEING my creation completed part, but the writing something as resonant as Rent part. So much art about aging anxiety is about the destruction of childhood, and the wish expressed in “30/90” is to trade Oz for Neverland, as if one imploded and the other is just there waiting.

“Go on then,” Jake, the young boy who becomes the closest companion of Roland, says as he falls to his death in The Gunslinger, “there are other worlds than these.” Maybe there’s something about 30 that makes me want to seek out new worlds, or giving up on seeing them altogether, but this year has me being really introspective and kind of wishing I was someplace else. This is a general feeling, not one that I plan to act on and since the places I’m dwelling on don’t really exist, they aren’t really an option.

Emerald City’s gone to hell, since the wizard blew off his command.

 

 

Single Girl Stories: NYCC Post Party Grossness

One of the things I’ve been trying to do lately is put myself out there more dude-wise. As in, I am trying to go out and talk to dudes, which might lead to dating. It is…not always super fun, but can lead to fun stories. This story is less “fun” and “awful” and “not the worst thing that could have happened, but seriously this is the shit we deal with on the regular.”

So, two weeks removed from this story, I feel OK telling it. While at one of the post parties for NYCC, a pair of men began engaging in conversation with Kristi and I. Since we had the attention of the bartender already, they asked if we could please order for them, and they’d cover our already ordered beers.
This seemed a fair trade, so we said sure, and started chatting. One of said men sort of managed to isolate me. Not completely, Kristi was still right next to me, but we had our backs to one another. This will come into play later because it became WAYYYY harder to signal to her.
About, let’s say 5 minutes, into our interaction, this man stated (I want it clear that it was a STATEMENT, not a question) that we were going to go back to his hotel room. I laughed and shook my head, assuring him that it would not be happening, as one night stands and casual sex are not my thing. He asked why, I shrugged saying just not my scene. Seriously I gave him every chance to get out of this situation without being a creep. Cue ten minutes of crap about how a one night stand doesn’t have to “casual,” because of intense feelings or something. Once again, I said I wasn’t interested.
I managed to open up the stance so that i was now talking to both him and his friend and Kristi. This conversation went way better, was more Comic Con and fandom focused. The only thing that tarred it was that the guy kept trying to touch me and I kept stepping away. Eventually, I suggested checking out one of the other spaces (this was a big midtown club, with multiple bar areas). Kristi, bless her, took the hint, took my hand and we sprinted upstairs. Unfortunately, the guys followed us, but Kristi was now clued in to the grossness. The nice one (as we called him) had to excuse himself to get on a train back to Jersey (his kid had a football game the next morning that he wanted to get back to, the sketchy dude then mocked him for this, seriously.) and as such we all walked back downstairs.
I had resigned myself to this being my night, dodging this guy who wouldn’t stop touching me and pressuring me to go home with him, and I was really REALLY bummed out about it, because aside from GROSS, post comic con parties are among my favorite things about going to comic cons. When we got downstairs, I announced that I needed to pee, and we ran to the bathroom. We then went to yet a third bar area, where we were for the rest of the night. Finally, an hour after he’d propositioned me and I’d said I wasn’t interested, I’d managed to shake the guy.
Once there, we really enjoyed ourselves. Oh, AND we wound up dancing with two guys for most of the night, one of whom, when Kristi said she was married, respectfully backed off, saying he’d had fun dancing with her, but had come out looking to meet girls, so he was going to move on. Understandable.
So, the moral of this story? Be like the cool dudes we danced with, not like the sketchy one who bought me a beer. Also, everything, even getting hit on by a dude you’ve repeatedly said no to, is better when you’ve got a friend who’s just going to drag to the dance floor eventually anyway.

What’s Up Gillies???

Thank God for Crystan.

I’ve written before about how grateful I am that my friend Crystan is in my life. Aside from shaping one of my defining life choices in a big way, she’s also my tether to more mainstream pop culture. When I feel like I’m lost in a sea of super heroes and space operas, there’s Crystan, ready to pull me back to shore with talk of Shonda Rhimes, Aaron Sorkin and Broadway Musicals. (None of these things, by the way, are explicitly UN-nerdy, but they’re on a slightly different track.)

So when she suggested that we check out the Gilmore Guys live show this past Saturday, I knew it was exactly what I needed to kick off fall. A season for which Gilmore Girls always felt very appropriate. (Fall also always makes me want to watch Gossip Girl, I’m not sure why…)

Gilmore Guys is probably the funnest podcast ever. It’s hosts Kevin Porter and Demi Adejuyigbe are insightgul, earnest and hilarious, they find guests who both love and understand the show, as well as can be critical about it. Overall the whole experience is a delight, and I wish I had given it a chance sooner, but I’m working my way through it now, and I’m just trying to enjoy the ride.

Saturday’s live show was energetic and fun, and relentlessly positive, even though it was about a crappy season 7 episode. (UGH season 7!) Special guest Mara Wilson (!!!!) vibed with the guys and analyzed, kindly, this not that great episode of television.

I should not that when Mara Wilson stepped on stage, I almost cried. I adore her, and have since I was kid, (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and that Miracle of 34th Street remake, yo!) and her writing in the past few years has always been awesome. Plus she’s The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your House on Welcome To Nightvale, so you know, win!

Overall it was a very fun night, and I’m deeply grateful to have a friend who finds this sort of thing to do.

And who’ll sit in the car with me on the way there crying along to a Sutton Foster song…but that’s a different story entirely…

What’s Been Going On and What’s Next

I have a lot going on right now. It is most of it good. The past few weeks I’ve felt strangely overwhelmed and over the past few days, I’ve felt myself finally relax and get it together.

But I’m still really busy, and it’s all in the best way. BUT, here’s some of the stuff that went on in August:

My company’s version of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown went up. It was incredible. The whole experience reminded me why I love theater, why I take part in theater and the power that this medium has to make me friends.

That same weekend, I went to go see a Paul McCartney concert. The show was insanely special, and I have that checked off my bucket list now, “See a Beatle perform” Done.

Then I went to go see Cats, which I wrote about already. But again with the reaffirming of theater as a part of the soup that is stuff I love.

Then my brother moved to South Carolina. I’m thrilled for him, this is something that he’s wanted for a very long time, but it’s also something that kicked me in the gut emotionally and made me realize that I’m stuck in a bit of a holding pattern…that I just don’t have time to break right now.

After Cats, came Kenny Chesney and Miranda Lambert, which really reminded me what I love about so many things. Everyone I saw this concert with was family, and I am SO lucky to have the family that I do. A family that’s willing to laugh and sing and dance and drink and who get along. But I also got to watch Miranda Lambert just, kick ass and take names. I’m working through a piece now about women in country music and anger.

THEN I was down the shore, which is always someone of my favorite days. THEN Juli and Dom got married. And now I’m back at work.

Coming up in the next few weeks?

Tomorrow I fly out to Austin for the weekend. The weekend after that I’m going to a cosplay party in the city with Aless, and then to Renn Faire, and then to see a live taping of the Gilmore Guys podcast with Crystan. The weekend after that I’m driving down to see Chrissy and Glen’s house for the first time and then we’re going the Pennsylvania Renn Faire (with a big old group of people including newlywed Juli!)

Then I finally have a break. This is all GREAT stuff. I’m really excited about all of it, but it’s also, a bit on the overwhelming side. But we’re gonna get there.

Schedule Problems

My schedule is royally messed up this week. The One Tree Hill post is not ready, and I made the decision to get caught up on The Flash rather than watch anything else, so my schedule is kind of messed up.

I’ll still do Sailor Moon tomorrow, and One Tree Hill will most likely go up on Friday, and hopefully I can pick momentum up back on that train. (been watching episodes again and I do love them. I was just resting on the huge lead I’d gotten and it caught up with me.)

I of course hadn’t taken into account that I’m going into my busy season of life at the moment, and now that Kristi is on board, Con Season will be even crazier, since she just went and bought tickets and photo ops for Philly so there’s no backing out now. (This is good, I was waffling like crazy on whether or not to go, so now I’m going, 2 days.)

Anyway, I don’t regret getting caught up on The Flash, because I do this thing where I forget how good that show is, and then it’s like “Oh yeah, The Flash is the best superhero show on TV…” the end of the season has been, funny, had decent action, and so much heart that it was worth burning my schedule to the ground to get on board. (Also, my stuff is starting to clog the DVR again, and that’s how I lost track of Legends of Tomorrow, although I’m told that isn’t much of a loss…) I still have to get caught up on Scandal and Arrow and Agents, but luckily I have a bunch of time this weekend to do just that (and get back on the OTH horse.)

I’m also hoping to get to see The Nice Guys this weekend. (Yes, that I’m diving into Con season will not distract from movie season, it’s just, movie season seems to be gearing up more slowly…also, I still need to see The Jungle Book and Keanu, which aren’t even Movie Season Qualified as they came out before the spring Marvel movie. I know that these rules are arbitrary and I made them up but they give me structure, so yeah, that’s the deal.

So, that’s why you’re not reading about the Tree Hill gang today. You’ll read about them on Friday. Sorry.