The Teresa Jusino Experience

Create Like An Activist

Tag: pop culture (Page 1 of 2)

NEW AT BEACON: "ANNOUNCEMENT: New Feature at Pop Goes Teresa" (and FREE TRIALS)!

There’s a new feature up at my Pop Goes Teresa column at Beacon where you can talk TV with me and fellow Beacon readers! (not to mention a special offer below!)

EXCERPT:

Starting later today (with Gotham), I’ll be posting discussions in the Updates section of my profile (subscribers will be emailed whenever a new discussion posts). They’ll go up the day after each show airs every week, and I’ll start each discussion thread with a topic or a question to get ‘er going. This way, you can stop by and discuss the current episodes with me and your fellow Beacon readers! Look for [SHOW TITLE IN CAPS]: [Title] [date] in the list of discussions, and keep coming back to join in the chat about the shows you love! 

If you want to check out the full list of shows I’ll be writing about, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

And if you’ve been thinking about subscribing to Beacon, but you’re not sure if you’ll like it, HAVE I GOT GOOD NEWS FOR YOU! Email me at theteresajusinoexperience[at]gmail[dot]com with “BEACON TRIAL” in the subject line, and I’ll have Beacon send you a free trial to the site! If you like what the other Beacon writers and I do and think we add at least $5.00 a month’s worth of value to your life, you can subscribe after the trial! (And hey, it’d be nice if you subscribe specifically to me so that I can go on doing the work I do. Don’t worry, you’d still have access to the whole site!)

Happy reading, everyone!

NEW AT BEACON: Fall TV 2014-15: Newbies – Week of 9/22

Amy Landecker and Jeffrey Tambor in a scene from Transparent.

Last week was a bit wonky for me schedule-wise, so I didn’t get my usual Beacon post up, so I’ll be pulling triple duty this week! I’m trying to write about all the show premieres this week – both new and returning shows – that I’m watching and giving you my two cents! So here’s my sum-up of last week’s offerings! Shows include Gotham, Black-ish, How to Get Away With Murder, and Transparent! (You can expect my take on last week’s returning shows and this week’s offerings later this week!)

EXCERPT:

The last time I laughed this hard at a comedy pilot was for New Girl, and I think the reasons why I laughed so hard then are the same as why I laughed now. These characters and the way they view and experience the world felt very familiar to me. I’m not Black, but I am Latina, so I’m no stranger to having grown up in a minority culture, valuing that while also valuing mainstream success, and what a delicate balance that is. Creator Kenya Barris captures all the nuance of that balancing act with humor and kindness. There is so much love in this show, and though many of the jokes are very pointed, it’s never coming from an angry or malicious place, and it’s really the first show I’ve ever watched that captures that balancing act this accurately (if anyone has any other recommendations, let me know below!). The characters are also a lot of fun – I can’t wait to see more of “Pops” (Lawrence Fishburne plays him like a gruff teddy bear), and the kids are as nuanced as the adults.

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

 

NEW AT BEACON: "Joan Rivers: Unapologetic"

I write a pop culture column over at Beacon. So it would be remiss of me to not talk about the passing of one of pop culture’s loudest satirists, the inimitable Joan Rivers.

EXCERPT: 

I’ve spent most of my life not a huge Joan Rivers fan. 

I know, I’m not supposed to say that now that she’s passed away (she died yesterday at the age of 81), but considering how outspoken and brash she was throughout her career, I’m sure she wouldn’t begrudge me the opportunity to speak my mind. 

Her jokes always seemed a bit dated to me – women either being sluts, or “not being able to catch husbands,” etc – and I found the way she tended to laugh between each joke, as if she wanted to fill in just in case no one in the audience found her funny, a bit grating. People of my generation have known of Joan Rivers’ existence for our entire lives. However, unlike Robin Williams, she rarely appeared in a context that we were allowed to enjoy as children, so we didn’t “grow up” with her in the same way. Her stand-up was either on late-night talk shows, which we couldn’t stay up and watch, or it was on cable, where it was allowed to be as raunchy as she could make it, and we weren’t allowed to watch. So, unless we were specifically interested in pursuing comedy as a career, my generation primarily grew up knowing Joan Rivers as That Annoying Woman on Awards Show Red Carpets Who Doesn’t Have Her Facts Straight and Is Embarrassing Us All. We grew up with parodies of Joan Rivers, and very often, Rivers seemed like a parody of herself. 

And this is a horrible shame. 

It wasn’t until I watched the brilliant documentary about her life and career,Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (IFC, 2010), that I truly began to understand just how much she contributed to comedy, to show business, and to feminism.

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

NEW AT BEACON: "Why Robin Williams?"

It was pretty inevitable, as it was the biggest pop culture story this week. This week at Pop Goes Teresa, I talk about the passing of Robin Williams.

EXCERPT: 

When the news broke about Robin Williams’ tragic suicide, I wanted to write about it immediately – but I didn’t know what to say. Then everyone started writing about it, and there suddenly didn’t seem like there was anything left to say. From people being more open about their own depression and encouraging those battling with it to seek help, to Williams’ wife, Susan Schneider, revealing that Williams was also suffering from the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease, to O Captain! My Captain! and Genie tributes popping up everywhere, it seemed like all the bases were covered. 

What interested me most, though, was not only the size of the outpouring of love and grief after his death, but that a lot of it seemed to come from people of or around my generation. Had it been any other performer in his or her 60s who passed away, I’m not sure the reaction would’ve been the same. It would’ve been understandable if we had a similar reaction to the deaths of people like Heath Ledger or Brittany Murphy, contemporaries who left us way too soon (and might have gotten us thinking about our own mortalities); or legends like Lauren Bacall, who actually passed away three days after Williams at the age of 89, and whose career spanned from Hollywood’s Golden Age to the present. 

So, why Robin Williams?

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! Starting at only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

NEW AT BEACON: "Pop Goes Teresa Goes to Comic-Con!"

First San Diego selfie of the week.

First San Diego selfie of the week.

I’ve just arrived in San Diego, and am about to get caught up in San Diego Comic-Con craziness. For the next four days (and three nights), I’ll be running around checking out geeky offerings, going to panels and screenings, interviewing creators…and maybe sneaking in a party or two! Plus, I’ll be having my epic first meeting with Janice Orlando (of FanFlail fame – she and I go all the way back to Caprica fandom, but have never met in person…until now!), and catching up with other folks I know whom I usually only get to see at conventions. I’m very much looking forward to it!

And I’ll be writing about my shenanigans EXCLUSIVELY at Beacon!

EXCERPT: 

1) Every morning, I will post my schedule for the day – what panels I hope to check out, what interviews I’ll be doing, what events I’m scheduled to take part in, etc, so that you have an idea what to expect to hear about in the coming days. I’ll be using the “Discussions” section for this, but my posts will be emailed straight to you if you’re a Pop Goes Teresa subscriber!

2) Every evening before bed, I will post a Comic-Con Diary that will sum up, in brief, what I did, how I felt, and my overall impressions of the SDCC for the day.

3) You can keep up with my shenanigans as they happen by following me on Twitter! I’ll be posting observations/exciting news using the hashtag #TeresaSDCC.

4) Starting Monday, I’ll be writing a new article EVERY DAY about something Comic-Con related: announcements, projects, reviews, the event itself…and of course, these will all be examined through the Pop Goes Teresa lens you’ve come to know and love!

That’s right! I won’t be writing about my Comic-Con experience here at the blog AT ALL. So, if you want to keep up with Comic-Con through MY eyes, CLICK HERE to get to my article and subscribe to me at Beacon! For only $5/month, you can have access to my coverage of SDCC, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists covering all the topics you care about!

See you on the con floor! 🙂

NEW AT BEACON: "All About That Bass: White Girls and Booty"

This week’s Pop Goes Teresa column over at Beacon actually talks about pop music. Or rather, one particular pop song that my pals Maighread, Jason, and Alison turned me onto.

I discuss Meghan Trainor’s debut single, All About That Bass and how, while it’s a great song, it throws women – particularly skinny women and Women of Color – under the bus.

But it’s still so damn catchy!

EXCERPT:

But even just looking at the photos above – Miley Cyrus during a performance of We Can’t Stop; Lily Allen in her video for Hard Out Here; and now Meghan Trainor’s video for All About That Bass – you can see that even in videos created by white women trying to make a positive statement, black women are being used. Sure there are other white women in the videos, too, but they’re not the ones being grabbed. They’re not the ones being used as visual aids. They aren’t asked to be props in addition to being performers. 

And yes, in the case of someone like Lily Allen, she’s doing something like this to speak out about how wrong it is that this gets done. I get it. But you know that by doing stuff like this, you’re just making it happen more, right? And it’s hard for me to respect a message coming from the Mileys and Lilys and Meghans of the world when they aren’t even willing to bear skin and get grabbed in the same way in their own videos, staying above the demeaning treatment while attempting to comment on it.

Actually, scratch that – of the three examples above, Miley Cyrus is the most balanced! In the We Can’t Stop video, she does grab black women’s asses, but they also slap her ass. What’s more, she grabs other white women and lets them grab her. And also, there are scantily-clad people on both ends of the gender spectrum. Really, she just wants people to live, love, and say who and what they want to. Point: Miley Cyrus. (At least on the video. That live performance was another story…)

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access Pop Goes Teresa, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

NEW AT BEACON: "The Angel of Verdun: Nuanced Female Characters"

Posts once a week at Beacon. That’s how I wanna roll. 🙂

Anyway, here’s the latest at my pop culture column over there. It’s about the difference between “Strong Female Characters” and “Nuanced Female Characters” and why I think Rita Vratasky (Emily Blunt) in Edge of Tomorrow is a great example of the kind of female character we should be clamoring to see in films.

EXCERPT: 

I hate the phrase Strong Female Character

“Strong Female Character” carries with it a judgement that I don’t think its users intend. After all, what does “strong” mean? Does it mean physically strong (and so, are we defining strength according to stereotypically male criteria)? Does it mean emotionally strong (and so, does this mean that if a woman cries, falls in love, or protects her children she’s not strong)? Does it mean assertive and ambitious (and so, can more average women not be “strong characters?” And how do we square that with the fact that, with male protagonists, the Hero’s Journey is often defined by his starting out as an ineffectual schlub who grows into leadership. Was he not a “strong character” until the very end)? 

My preferred phrase – and what I think most people mean when they say “Strong Female Character” – is Nuanced Female Character.

What those who want gender parity in pop culture want in their female characters is complexity. We want them to be more than girlfriends, doormats, or prizes to be won. We want them to have their own inner lives and goals in the stories we watch. Even if they’re not the protagonists, we want them to be fully-realized people, not caricatures. We want them to have strengths and flaws. We want them to have, or at least want and earn, agency. Most of all, we want them to have a reason to be in the story that doesn’t boil down to: Plot Device.

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

THE LEMON LOUNGE IS HERE!

lemon lounge

You’ve heard me talking about my involvement in Cindy Jenkins’ new web show, The Lemon Lounge, which attempts to match theater-goers (as well as people who don’t usually go to the theater) with shows they’ll love, here at The Experience.

Well now, EPISODE ONE IS UP and ready for your viewing pleasure. It’s about Pop Culture on Stage, so it makes sense that I would be the episode’s co-host. 🙂 In it, Cindy, Jacquetta Szathmari, Lemuel H. Thornton III, and I discuss our favorite pop culture-related shows currently being performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival!

If you love theater, my smiling face, or BOTH, set aside 20 minutes and check out this awesome new talk show that attempts to bring the theater scene in L.A. to YOU!

NEW AT BEACON: "NOAH PART 3: Where Is the Good In All This?"

It’s taken me forever – mostly because I was out of town for a month, and spent a month playing catch-up on various things in my life – but I’ve finally posted the third and final part in my discussion of the film Noah over at Beacon. I hope it was worth the wait!

In this final part, I discuss the thing I liked most about Noah, particularly now in light of stuff like the shooting committed by Elliot Rodger at USCB: the examination of gender, and gender roles.

EXCERPT:

We watch as Ham jealously eyes his brother and Ila’s interactions, wanting the same for himself. It’s understandable for a young person to want a partner, and as a woman with plenty of experience in being single while watching everyone around me pair up, I felt this kid’s pain! The trouble with Ham was that he had somehow gotten it into his head that Being a Man = Having a Wife and Fathering Children, which is a narrow definition. 

As he builds The Ark, Noah (Russell Crowe) gives Ham tasks for which he is to be responsible, including the greatest task of all – caring for the animals. The whole point of The Ark is to allow Creation to go on after the flood, so ensuring the safety of everything on The Ark is extremely important, requiring a high level of maturity and responsibility. Some might say that Noah would only bestow this responsibility on a mature adult – aka (if you’re male) A Man. Yet Ham is so preoccupied with Finding a Wife that he dismisses this great responsibility, runs off to try and find a wife, and when he can’t bring the girl he finds onto The Ark with him, he sabotages his father’s endeavor, allowing an interloper onto the boat (Tubal Cain, played by Ray Winstone), causing all sorts of problems, and eventually being so ashamed that he leaves his family once they do get back onto dry land.

Yet, as we’re seeing all this through Noah’s eyes, we know that Ham has it all wrong. That Real Men aren’t defined by the women they bed or the children they conceive. They’re defined by what they protect and cultivate. They’re defined not by destruction, but by growth. This is an amazing, appropriate, and necessary message in this day and age, when gender roles are shifting and feminism has caused many men to question what their “job” is now. It’s the same as its always been. Protect, create, cultivate. 

If you want to read and comment on my full post, you’ll have to subscribe to my work over at Beacon! For only $5/month, you’ll be able to access all my pop culture criticism, as well as the work of 100+ other journalists writing about the topics you care about. Check it out! Once there, please click the “Worth It” button on the bottom of my article! (That is, if you actually like what I’ve written.)

Thanks! 🙂

LAST DAY TO SUBSCRIBE!

For the past couple of weeks you’ve heard me talk about my Beacon campaign – you know, where I’m asking you to subscribe to my pop culture criticism over at this great site that features 100+ independent journalists from all over the world writing about the topics that are important to you. The one where for only $5/month you can subscribe to me AND have access to those great writers.

The one where I need to come to the table with 50 subscribers in order to land the gig? Yeah, that one. 🙂

I know for a fact that more than 50 people read me. The question is, are there 50 people out there willing to spend $5/month to do so? I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that there are! And if you’ve been thinking about it, or are on the fence, TODAY IS THE DAY TO TAKE ACTION! 

As of right now, you have 21 hours to subscribe in order to bring my Pop Goes Teresa column to life over at Beacon. Already, forty-one amazing, supportive, wonderful readers have subscribed – saving money on their subscriptions in the process! Now, I only need 9 more people to make this happen.

Can you be one of those nine? Thank you SO MUCH. I look forward to having some awesome conversation about pop culture with you at Beacon!

That link again: http://www.beaconreader.com/projects/pop-goes-teresa

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