As has been widely publicized over the last few days by every media outlet you can imagine, Jason Collins has officially come out as the first openly gay NBA player. I wouldn’t argue that this isn’t a huge step for LGBTQ people everywhere, but it brings the question to mind of why exactly is it such a big deal? Of course there’s the fact that it brings a great deal of visibility to the LGBTQ lifestyle. It definitely helps to defy the rumors that being unique in your sexuality means your life isn’t perfectly normal, there’s no denying that either. But aside from the ideas that arise when celebrities come out, what impact does it have on us as regular people?
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UW-Madison’s extremely talented all-male acappella group Fundamentally Sound held their spring performance this weekend and it was, by far, one of the most crowd-pleasing shows I’ve ever attended. The theme, “As Seen on TV,” provided some great comedy between acts, but of course the music outshone everything else. With a diverse set that some groups could only dream of, Fundamentally Sound rocked Music Hall. The 16-member group that enjoys “long walks on the beach and a good mani/pedi” let their personalities shine through their performance and their infomercials.
Some celebrities are great people. They’re brave, they stand up for what they believe in and they use their status to help those who can’t help themselves. Unfortunately, we are rarely given a glimpse into this side of Hollywood because media publications are so incredibly focused on eye-catching headliners and trash news. I will admit that I do love some good celebrity gossip, but it’s really sad that we can’t look past the gossip sometimes and just tell a great story.
It is hard to be positive in the world we live in. While I could give a thousand examples of the destruction of our society and all the horrible things that happen in our world, that’s not the point. As I’m sure you all know, tragedy reigned over the Boston Marathon Monday. There’s no need to go into details here, but if you are unaware, two explosions occurred near the finish line of the marathon killing three people and seriously injuring upwards of 175, according to the New York Daily News. While this is a horrifying event, as are any and all tragedies of this nature, it makes me wonder how we’re supposed to keep going and leading normal lives in the wake of all the dangers in our world.
With a slightly unconventional subject matter, “Speech & Debate,” a play by Stephen Karam performed last weekend by The Undergraduate Theater Association, was an impressive actualization of the troubles adolescents find themselves confronting on the grounds of their identity and place in the world. Featuring a cast of only four and a minimal set, this show tells the tale of three unlikely classmates joining together for a multitude of reasons, finding themselves in the process.
Kanopy Dance presented “Antigone” this past weekend at the Overture Center for the Arts. The show featured five main pieces. This first act was composed of pieces choreographed by members of Kanopy’s company and their current guest artist Maureen Janson, while the second act brought back two pieces choreographed by the Kanopy Dance directors, Robert E. Cleary and Lisa Andrea Thurrell.
I recently read an article in the State Press entitled, “‘Mawwiage’: The nightmare within a nightmare” written by a good friend of mine, Peter Northfelt, about the current arguments in the Supreme Court of the United States regarding Proposition 8 and DOMA. With the knowledge that this friend is very politically savvy and pro-LGBTQ, I was very excited to read his commentary. Unfortunately, I was both slightly offended and very confused about his argument. The article discussed a concept suggesting LGBTQ people should not want to get married because the institution of marriage is so corrupted in our society today. I have a number of problems with this commentary, most important being it’s really missing the whole point of these events, and that makes me wonder how many other people see the world in the same way.
As far as the Internet goes, I’d say I’m a more-than-average user. On my iPhone, you can catch me checking all of my social media, uploading pictures, downloading music and iMessaging. On my computer, you can catch me doing all of these things simultaneously, while also doing them on my phone. Social media has launched, landed and taken over our society, and I have to say that I’m a big fan. While I understand being “plugged in” all the time is obnoxious and scary for some, I also know thousands of great connections have been made online. From experience, I can say online friendships are worth a try. If I told my mother 10 years ago that I had met my best friend on a blogging website, she would have warned me that “she” was actually a 64-year-old “he” who wanted to tempt me with free candy and take me away. She also probably would have asked me why I was blogging at eight years old, but that’s another topic for another day. Thankfully, meeting people online has not only become more convenient, but it’s also a lot less taboo than it was a decade ago. Before we could be connected in a thousand different ways to a person, we had no idea who was really on the other end of the Wi-Fi (or the hardwire, depending how far back you really want to take this one). Now I consider it a daily event to talk to people I’ve met on the Internet, some of whom I’ve never actually met in person. I know for some people this whole concept is still really shocking, but as the saying goes, everything gets better after the first time. At some point, you get used to the concept and just accept that sometimes the people who understand you best aren’t always your next-door neighbors. There’s always a site that solidifies this fact for people and if you haven’t found it yet, chances are you’re a sociable person who enjoys spending time with others instead of in bed at 3 a.m. on a Friday night. For me, and I’m sure for at least a handful of others, it was Tumblr. To anyone who lives under a rock, Tumblr is a blogging website that takes over your life (Note: the sarcasm isn’t as heavy as it may seem). Much like in our everyday lives, there are two kinds of users—passive and active. Passive bloggers tend to use Tumblr as another way to procrastinate; they reblog pictures of pretty sunsets or maybe a nice poem and a cup of tea every other week when they’re avoiding that economics homework deadline. This is a serious over exaggeration, but my focus isn’t on these people. Then there are people like me, the active bloggers. Tumblr is a community where I have met my closest group of friends, some of whom live where I do, and some of whom live across the world. The first time I made a friend on the Internet, I was terrified. I didn’t want to tell anybody because I didn’t want them to assume I was talking to the previously mentioned 64-year-old man with the Snickers. I didn’t have the courage to tell them I knew it wasn’t this unnamed predator because I had spent seven hours on Skype, video chatting with a complete stranger. That friendship turned out to be one of the greatest I’ve ever had and I still speak to that friend very often. From there, I took charge and made bonds. I messaged people who seemed interesting and had the same ideas I did. I’ve met people across the country and the world because of Tumblr, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of them in person too. I speak to my Internet friends on a daily basis, probably more than I speak to my mom. The concept of meeting on the Internet is so different from meeting in person. On the Internet, you can be anybody you want. Hiding behind a screen, even with Skype, is a strange experience, but one that can be so worthwhile. People meet online every single day, and it’s so easy to become one of them. I think it’s so much easier to talk to people over the Internet because you can express yourself however you want. And no, that’s not me giving permission to anybody to be somebody they aren’t (this isn’t Catfish, kids). Everybody should make an online friend at some point, if only to tell somebody yes, you have a friend in Australia and yes, she likes cats. It can be scary, but you never know who you could befriend that could change your life in a positive way. If you’re lucky, maybe you’ll meet a person who turns your world right-side up. Maybe you’ll marry them. How can you know if you never try? Please send all feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier” is a once in a lifetime experience. A satire on science fiction, this show captures some of the best moments in sci-fi history and turns them into hilarious jokes and commentary on pop culture. The show is presented by InterMission Theatre, a theatre started by sophomores Quinn Elmer and Nicholas Connors at the start of the 2012 fall semester. The two began writing “Space Voyage” when they were still in high school and finally committed to the project and their vision this year.
It’s a rare occasion that I’m left speechless at the theater, but the production of “Mary Poppins” currently showing at the Overture Center completely blew me away. This show follows the classic story, originally written as childrens’ books by P.L. Travers, about a whimsical British nanny put in charge of two troublesome children, George and Jane Banks.
The always-popular “Mary Poppins” is making an appearance at Madison’s Overture Center this week. The show features everyone’s favorite scenes and songs as well as an incredibly talented live cast. I had the pleasure of speaking with Kerry Conte, who plays the vivacious, feministic Winifred Banks. Conte told me a little about her personal performance history, as well as some great comments about the upcoming show.
I’m a huge fan of award show season. In ranking the months of the year, I’d say February might actually be near the top, thanks to all of the award shows. Of course I love the glitz and glamor of Hollywood; I love seeing all my favorite celebrities looking their best and I do indulge in the extremely materialistic viewing of the red carpet. What I love most about award show season, though, is that the people who have spent their year working all hours of the day and night—prepping for roles, editing film and sound, writing phenomenal scripts and screenplays ,and doing everything else Hollywood does—finally get the recognition they deserve. I think it’s normal to enjoy watching the shows for the award content, but the host and the media surrounding it seriously affect the disposition of the show.
It’s a rare occasion that I support spamming a tag on Twitter. It gets annoying when looking for something specific (ie: Hillary Clinton’s confirmation of her candidacy in 2016) and all you see are people clogging up the tag with useless conversation and their opinions, which most of the time nobody actually cares about. However, there are certain occasions when trolling a tag is completely appropriate. As a good example, let’s discuss my personal favorite Twitter hashtag ever: #INeedMasculismBecause.
The Overture Center’s performance of West Side Story brought new life to the token Broadway show.
Valentine’s Day—the one day a year when we’re all expected to spend exceptionally long amounts of time with people we don’t always like and pretend to be interested in things we really don’t care about. Dudes: You have to go through all that trouble to prove that you really do like your partner, despite their abnormally boring stories and obnoxious snoring. Ladies: We spend weeks trying to find the perfect outfit and hours waiting by the door for flowers and chocolate to show that yes, we have somebody special in our lives and we are going to flaunt it. We all make ourselves up on this one special day as though an entire relationship rests on a silly Hallmark holiday. However, I will admit that I’ve been in just about every stage of a relationship on Valentine’s Day:
In a hilarious take on the traditional Christmas show, Broom Street Theater’s production of “Tales for Another Millennium” is a comedic work of art. Written as the third and final installment in the “Tales” trilogy, Brian Wild finally closes his 15-year project with the final journey of Jesus and company. Even without the context of the first two installments of the trilogy—“Tales for a Millennium” (1997) and “Tales for a New Millennium” (2002)—the show still makes plenty of sense and follows a very individual storyline.
“The Cradle Will Rock,” a fantastically produced show put on by University Theater, managed to carry a comedic tone while still addressing the serious theme of the fall of Wall Street during the Great Depression. The story takes place during the late 1930s in Steeltown, USA. It jumps between the present and past lives of those in the justly named “Liberty Committee,” the Committee’s leader, Mr. Mister, and those who are affected by Mister’s great wealth and power—beginning with Moll, the “hooker with the heart of gold,” who’s just trying to make a decent living in hard times.
“Brilliantly original” is the first phrase that comes to mind when watching Broom Street Theater’s production of “Seeking Flight.” A play written by Joan Broadman and directed by Malissa Lamont and Heather Renken, the show displays the complexity of decision making and how the choices we make can ultimately set us free.