Dames Nation, We Bring You A Bossy Spotlight!
Get ready to rev your nerdy engines for
Dame Sophie's love affair with WITCH, PLEASE.
As longtime readers know, I love a lot of podcasts. A LOT. One of my favorite shows is one I’ve only been listening to since the summer, Witch, Please.
Allow me to pitch this show to you: It’s an intersectional feminist critique of the Harry Potter world (books & films & in some cases, games) by Canadian scholars. With puns & witchy sound effects. When I first learned about it, my immediate thoughts were:
Where has this been all my life?
Why am I not listening to all episodes SIMULTANEOUSLY, RIGHT NOW?
I feel like many of our beloved Dames Nationals will relate.
So, Hannah and Marcelle are scholars at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, who decided to make a public project of their planned joint reread of the Harry Potter books. Longtime readers know my affection for both/and (enforced either/or is garbage), and my favorite aspect of the show is how Marcelle & Hannah both take the Harry Potter world very seriouslyandnever shy away from cracking wise. This is a show with both academic terms I occasionally need to look up, and a ton of hooty owl sound effects. And puns. Glorious puns.
Fred Astaire speaks my truth.
If you’re intrigued (and I hope you are!), you canbegin at the beginning(always a very good place to start). You can also start with theirlatest episode, a beautifully edited audio montage featuring snippets of nearly every previous episode. OR, and this is my most highly recommended way to start, you can go forEpisode Lambda, a public lecture Hannah & Marcelle delivered at Nerd Nite Edmonton, which does a lovely job of capturing their style and philosophy. Did I mention yet that following the show (as well as the hosts individually)on Twitteris a pure delight? It is, and not just because they thank all their listeners by name in each episode.
Another deep-dive Harry Potter podcast was just fully funded on Kickstarter, so even when Witch, Please concludes its original run, you’ll have more loving critiques to look forward to (but I also hope Hannah & Marcelle have more brilliant analysis up their sleeves for the future)!
The true Heir of Gryffindor.
How Much Dame Margaret is TOO MUCH Dame Margaret?
THERE IS NO SUCH THING, which is why you’ll clearly want to listen to her on ALL THREE podcasts upon which she appeared this week. First up, she returned to her Home Away From Home, Pop Culture Happy Hour, where she discussed The Mindy Project and romantic comedies as a genre -- what’s happened to them since their boom in the 90s? What do we make of this wave of anti-”rom com” love stories that we’re receiving on TV? And just how hard can Audie Cornish make Margaret laugh with one perfectly delivered burn on Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up? ONLY BY LISTENING CAN YOU FIND OUT!
In addition, Dame M. paid a visit to Bellwether Friends, the podcast run by #DamesPals Anna and Alene, to talk girl groups throughout history, AND take two audio quizzes done ~~in the style of Extra Hot Great.~~ It was delightful, DAME SOPHIE even said so on Facebook, so you know it’s true.
And finally, as with every week, an episode of Appointment Television was released but, IF IT’S NOT TOOTING HER OWN HORN TOO MUCH, Dame Margaret feels that our discussion of love triangles and “hating the one they’re with” is one of our better chats to date, and well worth Dames Nation’s time. Even if, to Dame M.’s DEEP CHAGRIN, we went through the whole segment without once touching upon the utter loathsomeness of Fitz from Scandal. Plus, Andrew drinks ½ a bottle of Pinot by Titus, a feat of #WineStuntery that will continue in next week’s episode, where we will ALSO be sorting Jane the Virgin characters into their Hogwarts Houses. SO you know, get in while the getting’s good. [Ed note: I thought this was an active editorial choice & I applaud it, for he is worthless & vile. -- Sophie, former SCANDAL viewer]
Dame Sophie’s Slightly Abbreviated Choicest Links of the Week:
File under: Makes Dame Sophie Want To Smash Things, But We All Know She Won’t, Because She’s Been Socialized Not To: surprise, when women cry at work, they are unhinged emotional wrecks, but when men do it, we perceive them as being in touch with their emotions. I rarely have any desire to be a professional manager, but this is one of a handful of issues that makes me want to Boss Everyone (oh, hey). Crying because you’re genuinely sad, stressed, or overwhelmed is FINE. Crying is part of a process of dealing with stressful situations, it can help you get over the hump of those situations, and most of all: it is normal. (Now, if you’re crying to get people to bend to your will, you are a monster, but I have seen actual adults do that zero times in the workplace. From what I have seen, manipulative jerks are usually way more subtle or way more outrageous than that.) Also, crying is way less terrible for the emotional well-being of your coworkers than stomping around, throwing things, and yelling (behaviors men are also not stigmatized for doing & should have been socialized out of doing in toddlerhood). Everyone, if something is going shittily at the office, go ahead, shed a tear! Just do it! Tell a friend to do the same & create a mutual non-shaming pact for it. If we all cry once in a while, it will cease to be a big deal. In conclusion, it’s all right to cry!
Long, long ago, I visited my friend Karen in Boston & she put a VHS tape in the player (I told you it was a long time ago) and said, “you have to see this.” THIS was Heavy Metal Parking Lot, which The Concourse correctly classifies as The Citizen Kane of Wasted Teenage Metalness. Some thoughts on reading this oral history of how the meandering 15-minute film was made and became a favorite of roadies & their rockers nationwide: 1) So quotable. 2) Teens have changed approximately 0% since the early 1980s (one ventures to guess, ever). 3) There’s a Wooderson (or two) in every pre-show parking lot.
Finally, Magic Realism Bot on Twitter is my everything this week. Highlighted for me by my sister Charlotte, and I know they don’t NEED a push, since they have like 24k followers, but you guys. It’s so charming. I put them on my Daily Reads list just to ensure an extra dose of literary sunshine in my regular scroll.
Lo, this bot is perfect.
Margaret’s Top 2-5, Depending on How You Count It:
Little-known fact: Margaret’s last name is Hooper, which is also what the H. in my name stands for. I feel this justifies the nearly cosmic level of “IT ME” I feel every time she is on screen and speaking.
So, I was lucky enough this week to come across two A++++ profiles of completely baller ladies, both from The Washington Post. First, fellow West Wing fanatics! Remember Carol, C.J. Cregg’s hyper-competent assistant? In an almost unbearably charming turn of events, Melissa Fitzgerald, the actor who portrayed her, has left acting, and actually gotten a West Wing-y Washington job advocating for veterans. So that’s Cool Washinton Lady #1. Cool Washington lady #2? Alice Roosevelt Longworth, of course, whose 1974 profile has been mouldering in my tabs for a week or two, ever since it was featured in #DamesFav newsletter, A Woman to Know. But GUESS WHAT? Its time languishing in no way diminished its immense charm! Read it, and delight in it immediately! Don’t make my mistake.
You know who ELSE has some great profiles of ladies this week? BUZZFEED, that’s who! Namely, these two long reads: the first, on the stunning pop ascendency of #Damesfavs Tegan & Sara, following years of being overlooked in the indie music scene. The second (and arguably even more gripping) is on Karyn Kusama, a Hollywood director who went from the darling of Sundance in 2000 to being nearly unemployed in 2014, and how her extremely well-reviewed new feature, The Invitation is putting her back on the map. This profile is fascinating and does a lot to lay bare the way imbedded sexism and racism keep promising directors who are neither white nor male from receiving the Colin Treverow treatment.
And if that all isn’t grim enough for you, here’s a study on just exactly how often female characters actually get to speak in 8,000 movies. All of which makes films like Tangerine, which we livetweeted last week (THANK YOU ALL FOR COMING), that much more special: It’s one of the 18% of films where both the primary lead and secondary lead are women. It’s also REALLY GREAT, on Netflix, and a cool 86 minutes long soooooo if you happened to miss our livetweet, hie yourself to Netflix, and quick!
This Week in Hamilton
The economics of Hamilton are endlessly fascinating. Put together who’s making what and how the marketing of the show really matters with this profile of Jeffrey Seller, the producer who’s invested in lightning in a bottle twice now with Rent and Hamilton, and a breakdown of earnings percentages from the show & show-adjacent revenue streams. Possibly influenced by these reports, producers of the show are sharing more of those profits with cast members, yay!
There’s been a whole slew of pieces on The Problems With Hamilton and we can’t help but think that editors and reporters were inspired to follow up on Ben Coleman’s Let’s Argue About Hamilton! in these very pixels just a few weeks ago. We wish more of these concern trolling thinkpieces were as good as Ben's explication of the issues at hand. Can we take a moment to remember that it’s historical fanfiction? (h/t #DamesPal Carli) Cripes, we know! We know Wolf Hall is not perfectly accurate in all its facts, either!
Groff left the show after a triumphant run as King George III, and before he went, he appeared on The Tonight Show, where he charmed us all nearly unto death by making Jimmy an honorary member of the Order of the Garter and telling a hilarious backstage story about the time he finally got Lin to break on stage.
Get ready for some tears, y’all! Lin went to Columbia University to accept the Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History (a niche field, but STILL), and they busted out A.Ham’s final letter to Eliza. We know. WE KNOW. Chris Jackson & Anthony Ramos sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Mets’ home opener vs Dame S’ vestigially beloved Phillies, and we nearly died from the melted butter perfection of their harmonies. Finally, the Rockefeller Foundation-funded Ed4Ham program started this week. The first 1300 of 20,000 NYC public school students saw the show and participated in a special half-day of discussions and musical performances of their own for just $10 each. Your Dames are wiping away a large number of tears thinking about how formative the performing arts were in their own educations & so happy these kids are getting such an incredible experience. We’re never going to win any singing competitions, but BY GOD, we will sha-la-la along with enthusiasm when called upon to do so. And frequently when we’re not called upon, too.
And! Lin’s book came out (and was out of stock almost immediately)! What a spectacular piece of book-making! Dame S’s copy arrived on Tuesday and she’s been working her butt off to get to vacation next week so she can take a deep dive into its beauty & charms.
We conclude with a note that Dame M is visiting Dame S this weekend, so you can look forward to a few unbearably cute joint selfies & a fair number of ridiculous tweets from the two of us. We’ll kick it off with some loving GIF-based trolling because Dame M is on a train down to Philadelphia & Dame S is doing the final edit of this newsletter, muahahahaha.
BEHOLD, attempted heart-and-loin murder. You’re all welcome