Sunday, May 29, 2016

What if the Bachelorette was in a wheelchair?

--> how do I say this confidently without coming off as  “that girl”? Oh well,  here goes.... The Bachelorette is back and I am really excited about it. [Tangent: I have had a very hot/cold relationship with this reality show. When it first hit the air, I was on board. I cried at Trista and Ryan’s wedding, and not so quietly lusted after Andrew Firestone. Then after a few seasons, my passport to #BachelorNation definitely got unstamped for years (I know nothing of Juan Pablo or Prince Farming). I got really sick of watching the franchise exploit women (and some men), making us as a sex (and really a human species as a whole) look not so great. Catty love-hungry size 2’s for miles and miles…it got tiresome. Then with the dawn of Kaitlyn Bristowe, I got shaken from my pretension, and decided to say "F#*k it" and jump back into that oversexed hot tub with both feet…and I’ve never looked back. It's the best! Why did I try to fight my love for those years.] After watching the shit show that was premiere, aka the dawn of Jojo, I had a random thought. [Tangent: Besides wondering how it is possible for one woman to look so stunning in champagne tones. It's just not fair.] Why has there never been a dating show contestant in a wheelchair?

 Truly, this would be a great curve ball for such a tenured series [Tangent: So much better than bringing Jake Pavelka back as a surprise guest. Ugh. Him again?] and the perfect way to prove that a chick in a wheelchair chair is super dateable.  However, there are definitely some kinks in the premise.

If you put out a casting call for potential suitors for a wheelchair Bachelorette, you're get a slurry of weird fetishists [Tangent: You know...the kinds that are finding this blog for some ungodly reason by searching "sexy girl in wheelchair diaper." Hi weirdos! ]. As intiguingly cringeworthy one gal vs 20 creeps sounds theoretically, the element of surprise is going to be way more enticing to producers. They just wouldn't tell them beforehand, because we all know springing disability on someone is ALWAYS a good idea. 

Can you imagine the limo pulling up...a ramp flipping down and out rolling me? Twitter would likely combust with equal parts shock and misplaced pity? I'm sure the letters W-T-F would be so overused that those buttons may cease to work on keyboards across the nation. 

Better yet the initial reactions from the suitors seeing their future fiancee for the first time would be worth it. Awkwardly figuring out how to maneuver a hug and realizing their line "Are your legs tired? Because you've been running through my mind all day." might not work best in this particular scenario. Here's my best approximation of their faces- trying to stifle confusion while trying to come off open-minded and camera ready.

As much as I hate to admit it- the dates may not be exactly what you are used to seeing in the prime time dating reality universe. Even though I am semi-pro at wistfully staring off into the distance, navigating a sandy beach to do so is probably not the greatest idea, and I'll wager that those rugged cliffs they always seem to be jumping off of (whilst holding hands) are not exactly ADA compliant. [Tangent: It would be nice for me to point out now that these things are insanely cheesy and unrealistic for uprights as well.] There would likely be a lot of dates consisting of eating tacos and watching Netflix, which honestly seems more easy to recreate once the show is over.

Just thinking about the various "what if's" in this hypothetical only further draws attention to the extremely cookie cutter nature of the show. I mean they have yet to have a black bachelor or bachelorette or a plus-sized one...hell they haven't even had a red head make it very far in the competition, so I guess I shouldn't hold my breath until my awkward dream becomes a reality. [Tangent: And we all know a similar show will probably show up on the TLC fall schedule...because as we who watch trash TV know, they have no shame.] Thankfully I didn't wait on Chris Harrison to come calling to find my other half.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Netflix (and Amazon) Documentary Hits and Misses Vol. 18 (May 2016)

Recently Netflix and Amazon added a crap ton of new docs and seriously it has been a spoils of riches. Instead of giving in and watching something that has been gathering dust bunnies in my queue, I have been voraciously hoarding new titles: Some great...some not. Plus, I'm in between binge series, so tell me what I need to watch next! [Tangent: I just finished Difficult People on Hulu last night, so will take suggestions on my next must-see.]

Miss Representation (Netflix)- B+/A-
This is a movie that I probably watched some version of in my media studies classes in college. It focuses a lot on how skewed portrayals of women are in TV Music and Movies and how that can skew our perceptions and carry them into our own lives. It also shows how underrepresented women truly are. I know that sounds generic, and not maybe "new info", but I consider myself pretty educated on these matters and was still taken aback by a lot of the statistics. The whole doc is well-constructed and compelling for men and women. [Tangent: I really can't stand when things hide under the guise of feminism and are just anti-men propaganda, but this film states that we are all somewhat to blame for stereotyping.]

Nintendo Quest (Amazon Prime Streaming)- A
Okay. This movie is definitely not for everyone. However, I have a superhuman sense of nostalgia and I enjoy any doc based on a challenge [Tangent: Some of my favorites are My Date with Drew and Craigslist Joe.], so a movie about some nerdy  Canadians trying to compile all 676 original Nintendo games in 30 days with no Internet help is a perfect fit.  I watched it with my collector and completist boyfriend and enjoyed it. Maybe it's because I could see Jamie doing something life this. Sure, my family only had maybe 4 NES games in the late 80's, but I still loved seeing all the titles and learning about them. I truly started to root for this guy and get mad at the adversaries he met along the way!
I am Road Comic (Netflix)- C+
My problem with this one is the same issue I have with a lot of docs featuring comics, they just aren't as funny as you hope.  [Tangent: I know that's not completely fair to hold them to a different standard than you would the Lisa Lings and Morgan Spurlocks of the world..but it happens!] If they have a lot of heart or are informative or compelling, you trade that element for the belly laughs [Tangent: You see that in amazing nonfiction like Tig or Sleepwalk with Me.] The concept was a good one: follow the everyday life of a touring comedian, but unfortunately it has been done...and done better. I would recommend you watch The Comedians of Comedy or SuperHigh Me instead and get that feel in a more entertaining package. I will give it kudos though for getting some funny insights from Nikki Glaser, TJ Miller, Pete Holmes, Judah Friedlander and Doug Benson...but it needed more focus.

Addicted to Sexting (Netflix)- D-
This one was the worst. I thought it would go one of two routes: funny and light or like a 20/20 expose. Either of these options I am 100% down for.  It was neither. It was like they assembled this mishmash of sexting pundints and talking heads, and they were all awful- from the "comedians" to the porns. [Tangent: There was an older woman in a floppy hat that I can only assume wandered in off the street because she was offered free coffee and donuts in exchange for her commentary about nudie text messages.]  It was somewhere between a Cinemax after 11 PM series and something they would show in a health class. Like trying really hard to be informative, sexy and funny and succeeding in none of these arenas. I couldn't even finish it.

A Ballerina Tale (Netflix)- A

My only complaint with this documentary is that I wish I went into it knowing nothing about Misty Copeland, but I have seen her profiled and interviewed on several programs; so it was less new info and more just broadening the scope. Even if you are not hugely interested in ballet [Tangent: I mean...I have seen Center Stage 42x, but that hardly makes me an expert.], I think it's fascinating. Misty is the first black ballet principle dancer for a major company (not only in the US...but anywhere in the world). It seems baffling that so many niche past times take so long to be fully inclusive. It's a very easy watch and Misty is so damned likeable that you will be overjoyed that she is broadening the white WASP-y world of ballet. 

That Gal Who Was in that Thing (Netflix)- C

 After I just discussed a great woman-centric doc in Miss Representation, I am gonna make a controversial statement- this documentary was not as good as the male equivalent That Guy Who Was in that Thing. [Tangent: That's not sexism...those are the facts.] I'm not sure if it's because I saw the other first (and the idea was novel) or because half of the women featured in this movie about character actors have played a TV role (on a popular show) for over 5 years. Paget Brewster was a lead character on Criminal Minds for years and the mom from 7th Heaven was one of the other women profiled. In the original doc, it focused more, or at least it seemed, on actors who played bit roles in movie and TV and had for years, to the point where they looked familiar, yet hard to place.

So what next? 

I love the messages I get at all hours with your thoughts and recommendations! 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Wild West Comedy Fest and how not to act during a comedy show

In the past, I have been extremely excited about the Wild West Comedy Fest, which has been rolling through Nashville  during May for the last couple years. Maybe it's my early 20s crush on founder Vince Vaughn [Tangent: DO NOT JUDGE ME!] or the fact that I really enjoy live comedy- but it's definitely something I look forward to year after year. [Tangent: You can read my enthusiastic post from last year here.] This year was weird. I felt like there wasn't as much publicity around the event, which was apparent because the tickets I did get were either half price or completely free through last minute online promotions. Shows that were amazing, and rightfully should have sold out simply didn't...which makes me fear for the future of this event.

We ended getting $10 tickets for Trump vs. Bernie (a faux debate between the James Adomian as Bernie Sanders and Anthony Atamanuik as Donald Trump). This was highly entertaining and hilarious if you have any vested interest in the election and watching the bat shit crazy of it all unfold. If it is coming to your city the go see it, or you can watch a version of it online here. Bonus, the guys were super nice and came out to meet and greet after.

 We also got free tix to TJ Miller [Tangent: Erlich is basically my favorite part of Silicon Valley and I love anytime he is on any podcast, so it was something I didn't want to miss.] He was awesomely weird and dark and nihilist, and I laughed incredibly hard throughout...despite the fact that the audience around us clearly had never been out in public before. [As is the norm when I go to any public gathering, I spend the majority of the time getting distracted by peers in the audience acting a fool, so thus most of this post is going to be dedicated to the details of their behavior. Apologies in advance to TJ Miller, who is now forever partially obscured with the distractions I witnessed.]

Sometimes, disability seating means you sit pressed against the stage and lose sight of what everyone else is doing so you can immerse yourself in a performance. At TPAC, that is generally not the case. I am usually seated in the back by the ushers, but the view of the stage raised above tall people, so no complaints on that end. It just generally means I am directly behind people who are unaware that they have witnesses to their awfulness. Such was the case Saturday night.

The following events unfolded in the row in front of us in the span of an hour, whilst a person was displaying a talent, which they were paid for, onstage.

  1. The group of four played musical chairs and got up every 5-10 minutes in varied pairs of two to get more drinks (or use the rest room or go smoke or do cross fit....or whatever the hell was happening in the lobby that seemed to keep beckoning them!) Though the were on the end of the row, it still often involved multiple people in their group standing up to accommodate and an usher flashing a flashlight to the doorway.
  2. When new drinks were brought into the mix, there was a coordinated celebration [EVERY TIME!!] and shout whisper of "cheers" across the group. One would think, "How many overpriced theater drinks does one go through in such a short period?" My guess is at least 3-4 apiece and their enthusiasm for this ritual did not wane.
  3. The gent on the aisle texted for at least half of the show.  When not reading or sending texts, he was scrolling through old messages or checking his Facebook page. [Tangent: He must run the social media for a Fortune 500 company or have a sick family member in the hospital on life support.]
  4. At one point, the mystery texter on the other end sent a video and the considerate gent played it....volume on. He then realized that this might be declasse, so he instead lowered the volume and enlarged the video.   [Tangent: I think this is not really an improvement and more just a lateral move on the "dick move" scale, but I commend him for trying to modify his behavior in some capacity.]
I was so irritated. I can't comprehend why people would go to the trouble of parking downtown on a Saturday night or even just putting pants on for that matter...if you were going to not give a shit. Am I just old and crotchety now? 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I've got a new dumb tumblr .... Yelp to the Max

"I'll tumblr for ya....I'll tumblr for ya...I'll tumblr for ya...I'll tumblr for yaaaaaa"

Much to the annoyance of everyone around me, the above is pretty much what always came to mind when people mentioned tumblr [Tangent: For a person who does social media for a living, I am more or less a moron when it comes to so many sites and apps. Ex: Last week I was schooled by a group of middle schoolers during my career week presentation for my friend Kristine. Apparently I am going about social media all wrong. Snapchat is where it's at and Facebook is for lame old people (like me apparently).]  I never understood it..or how you used it...or why the site itself felt the need to exclude necessary vowels a la a vanity license plate.

I mean I do have a tumblr account and my neglect of it seemed wasteful so I thought: Surely, I should fill it with something either incredible or incredibly dumb. I thought there was no time like the present to manifest destiny that pocket of URL space. The idea came to me while listening to an old episode of the Go Bayside podcast. After a phone call to my friend Ryan, we decided to go halfsies on Yelp to the Max, which is exactly what it sounds like: fake yelp reviews for the fictitious and horribly- run technicolor dining establishment from Saved By the Bell. See...clearly we decided to go incredibly dumb rather than incredible...but we are excited none the less about our completely brilliant/stupid concept.

I picked Ryan to help me write them because his knowledge of SBTB is as pathetic as he has a lot of social media experience and he has minor celebrity on tumblr. [Tangent: Lest we forget that time a gay porn tumblr payed homage to his  Halloween costume. That story will never get old. Or that time he took a picture of a bear dog and it confused the internet for at least 24 hours.] It's such a new fun hobby! 

There are just way too many times The Max has proved to be a terrible restaurant for anyone not a part of the Zack Morris posse. Ex: Can you imagine trying to enjoy a milkshake while a telethon or a dance contest is taking place? What if yelp existed back then and people used it to share their distaste with a magician run teen hangout? 

 We've only posted about 6 but we are enjoying it so far. If dumb wastes of time are your bread and butter, check us out on tumblr, follow us on twitter and instagram (where we are @yelptothemax). And if you have ideas, send them to me on FB or twitter.

Oh and don't worry...I am still doing actual blogging and writing, too...but everyone needs a dumb distraction! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Center for Puppetry Arts: My Muppet Dreams Come True

Because I suck at getting to the point efficiently, I'm still catching up on Atlanta posts, so just in case you are bored to tears- look on the bright side- this blog is filled with puppets and better yet...MUPPETS! So unless you suffer from pupaphobia, I don't see how you couldn't be interested. [Tangent: Rest assured this is my last ATL post, so then we will move on to something else.]

As soon as we picked Atlanta as our last minute road trip destination, The Center for Puppetry Arts was immediately on our radar. [Tangent: I remembered reading about it in this post on my friend Rae's blog, and I was intrigued.] THIS. PLACE. WAS. AMAZING! The website seriously doesn't do it, or the new Jim Henson installation justice. [Tangent: I guess it's good that our expectations were minimal, but seriously this place blew us away! We loved it, and were smiling like jerks from the moment we opened the door. It's now in the lead for the hotly contested title of : Kimmie's happy place! Exhibit A: Look at my face when I "met" Rolf.]

As we entered the place, a busload of children was leaving. Thank god. I really didn't need a gaggle of kindergartners harshing my puppet buzz. The museum has a ton of fanciful daily shows and lectures, but to be real, marionettes in action make me a wee bit uncomfortable, so we opted to just check out the exhibits on our own. [Tangent: And if you've watched too many episodes of Twilight Zone or read too many Goosebumps books, and you have an irrational fear of being murdered in your sleep by a ventriloquist's dummy- some of the items in the "Puppets of the world exhibit" might be a little unsettling. But you'll love it, just be forewarned!]

Because we went on a weekday morning when there was basically no one else there, we could feel comfortable posing ridiculously with the features we felt moved to do so with. [Example: If there is a giant puppet of Scar from the Lion King Musical, you're not gonna pass by're gonna cower in fear alongside it, right? Same goes for seeing Madame in person, you're gonna impersonate her.]  

We were also allowed to completely monopolize the nice tour guide volunteer, aka the "puppet master," who was a repository of puppet facts and the history behind a lot of the pieces. His day is the epitome of Life goals.[Tangent: I now realize I was probably really obnoxious. Based on the fact that I have seen the docs I Am Big Bird and Being Elmo, I've obviously deluded myself into thinking I am an expert, so I was sharing facts with the guide with far too much authority. Clearly I should have stayed in my lane. Hindsight is 20/20.]

I guess in my mind I expected the non-Henson portion to be a little ho-hum, but the unexpected diversity blew me away. Sure, they had ancient puppets that looked like horrifying burn victims and cool marionettes from the Howdy Doody days of TV, but there were also claymation and shadow puppetry. [Tangent: Little known fact, my boyfriend is a big fan of shadow puppets, and not a sunny patch on the wall goes unvisited by a barking dog or Abe Lincoln head in his presence.]
I will admit though that going through the entry to The World of Jim Henson was one of the most exciting thing I've done in years (sad as that may be); I felt like Charlie Bucket going through the gate to Wonka's factory. [Tangent: Also, it's forever astounding how much Jamie resembles of course I had to get a side by side of addition to a shot of me losing my damn mind, while Miss Piggy looks on at me judgmentally. ] We also got to get within inches of pieces of our childhood. I was the world's biggest Sesame Street fan (I had the lunch box and stayed home from Pre-School to watch Maria get married.) so seeing one of the actual big birds was surreal!

They had various rooms: One devoted to the Muppet Show, one for Sesame Street, one with interactive exhibit of how episodes are shot, a room for Dark Crystal/Labyrinth and a room set up as a mock-up of Henson's studio. I literally giggled with delight when I went into a room filled with Fraggles and artifacts from Emmett Otter's Jug Band- two staples of my youth.
the muppet posing with the "9" is the only existing Roosevelt Franklin- one of the rarest and most controversial muppets

Then as we left and bid adieu to our muppet friends, we had the option to leave a post-it note on the you can see 99% of them are Bowie tributes. 
If you were a Muppet, what Muppet would you be? 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Last Week I was no different than Kurt Russell leaving a Walgreens

I have gotten super delinquent in my blogging. Life has been crazed. [Tangent: To put this into a early 90's country music metaphor, this blog is the devoted trucker's wife left behind by me, a guy off driving an 18 wheeler for weeks at a time.]  Luckily two things that begged to be delved into in my life perfectly dovetailed together in their utter randomness. Now to explain the bizarre title of this post:

Last week, something happened that threw me for a loop. I was waiting at a crosswalk near downtown with my boss who happens also in a chair. It's a high traffic area and a hot day so we were lamenting how long it was taking for the little "walk" man to change from orange to white. Across the street, there was a woman holding an armful of takeout food and a drink. At one point she set it down, and my boss and I kinda made a comment that she was making herself comfortable because the light was taking so long. WRONG! She then pulled out her phone and as we crossed the street filmed us....and not even hiding brazenly, two-handed eye-level paparazzi-style filming us rolling right towards her. SO AWKWARD. Here is me using my dusty art minor to reenact it via half-assed stick figure drawings:
As we brushed past her, she rubber necked to catch us going past her and uttered, "You girls make me feel strong." guess.  [Tangent: Now I may write a mean streak of "what I should have said theater" style articles and blogs. This one even became syndicated. But in reality, when put on the spot, I panic and all that intellect inside me devolves into panic and maybe a stink eye at the very most. My boss felt the same...she leads lectures on disability etiquette and even she was so caught off guard that she felt confused on how to react so just rolled past her. ] Will we go viral for crossing the street to head back to our office?  

This incident made me realize that I am no different than Kurt Russell at a Walgreen's.. And that woman breaking her neck to take unauthorized video is me. OK, that's a weird sentence without any context so let me rewind. 

While we were in Atlanta last month for a mini road trip, we hopped into a Walgreen's near downtown to pick up a few things we forgot to pack. As we were starting up the car to depart, a man walked right next to the handicapped space and Jamie nonchalantly said, "That guy kinda looks like Kurt Russell." Because he is one of my mature gentleman crushes, and his likeness is ingrained on my consciousness, I immediately squealed, "That IS Kurt Russell!!!' 

We couldn't leave.  I had to be sure. The Internet is my best friend, so I immediately googled "Kurt Russell + Atlanta" and verified that he was in town filming the sequel to Guardians of The Galaxy!  We considered going in and attempting to brush hands while reaching for TP or a bag of Nice! gummy snacks [Tangent: Even though I know Mr. Russell would spring for the Haribo. He can afford that luxury.], but we just stayed in the car like pansies and hypothesized about his purchases and pretended everyone else entering and exiting was also a celebrity, based on who they kinda looked like. As he emerged like a butterfly from a drugstore chrysalis, I snapped this picture of him. 

 I felt a shred of guilt staking him out and posting a picture to social media (and now to this blog) without his consent. Then after that run-in with the lookie-lou on 21st Avenue when I was with my boss, I felt even worse. I tried to tell myself that he is friggin' Kurt Russell and getting his photo taken at a Walgreen's is an regular as the Sunday paper, but it temporarily made me feel heaps of guilt. 

My only consolation was considering the context behind the actions. Mine was "AHHHH! Kurt Russell...I love him!! No one will believe me! How cool is this!??!" and this lady was likely more like "AHHH!!! Look at this cuteness. Wheelchair people out in the wild!!" Life is weird.
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