The Book Of Mormon

Over spring break, I had the opportunity to see The Book of Mormon live in New York City. To put it simply, the whole musical was pure genius. The whole show was hilarious, the choreography incredible, and the singing even more so.

However, despite how much I loved the show, I’m surprised that it’s even still on Broadway. I could easily say it’s one of the most controversial shows to exist, yet somehow, it’s not that controversial. In fact, according to some people I’ve talked to, Kinky Boots is more controversial simply because of the cross dressing, completely ignoring the fact that the Book of Mormon was offensive to just about every race, religion, and sexuality.

I could tell that the whole musical is basically satirical to the Mormon Religion, but in the progressive society we live in, I’m still trying to ponder how the Book of Mormon has not been shut down by Twitter and Instagram activists alike. Either people don’t watch Broadway shows enough, or it isn’t seen as a problem, even though one Tweet intended to be a joke could be interpreted wrong and ruin someone’s life.

Now, I’m going to dive into an overly, probably unnecessary, analysis of the whole musical and the music included.

For those who haven’t seen the musical yet, it follows the story of two young Mormons who travel to Uganda to convert the people there to the Mormon religion. The musical basically mocks the Mormon religion, but also uses offensive stereotypes of other races and sexualities to get their point across.

This whole analysis isn’t me criticizing the musical. In fact, it was probably one of the best musicals I’ve ever seen besides Hamilton or Aladdin, but I’m just genuinely trying to figure out how this musical hasn’t caused more controversy.

But then I realized the answer, and it’s because the entirety of the show is mocking the extremities of the Mormon faith and being entirely satirical of it. Maybe everyone who’s seen it and every critic who’s analyzed it has realized that that is the whole purpose of the show, and everyone who buys a ticket is ready to either be offended or be entertained on a whole new level.

First, let’s talk about the song “Hasa Diga Eebowa,” a song the citizens of Uganda sing when the two Mormons travel to the town for the first time.

To translate just the song title, it’s saying “F**K You God,” and that alone should’ve caused uproar to some of the people watching it, however it ended up just causing the whole audience to burst into laughter.

But the reason is that there were these people in Uganda suffering from hunger, a corrupt government, and many other issues (not to forget all the stereotypes of third world countries in Africa they mentioned), and there were these two guys trying to sugarcoat their troubles and convert them to their religion. That was saying that all their problems would go away if they followed the word of the book. Maybe that’s a flaw of all religions alike, that problems won’t just go away with a little bit of optimism. The song was criticizing that idea, but in a way that made it capturing and hilarious.

Photo Credit: popejoypresents.com

 

Next song, is “Turn It Off” which was basically a song about a little trick they had to turn off their emotions or “bad” thoughts, one of these, including homosexuality. Now that’s homophobic isn’t it? Was that the intention of the writers, or was it, yet again, being satirical about the faith? Were they criticizing the fact that the religion that preached to be good, was being bad to people who didn’t fit their standards? They weren’t necessarily being homophobic, but they were using examples of homophobia to shine light on the issues that came with the faith.

Next, was “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” which was my favorite song in the whole show. Basically, Elder Price broke rule seventy-two and was now having a nightmare where he was sent into Hell for eternity. There’s the fact that he was in Hell with Hitler, Genghis Khan, and Jeffrey Dahmer, but he thought he was the most evil of them all. Now, that’s being critical of the ridiculous expectations of Mormons and rules they have to follow. The fact that one little bad act was sinful, and left them believing that they were sinful at the same level as some of the most evil people in history, that’s ridiculous. Now, this example in the show is definitely hyperbole, but it’s still a real problem addressed even if it’s to a much lesser extreme.

Those are just a few examples, but how is this show that’s so insulting still so widely accepted as only comical?

Maybe it’s because it’s so hilarious that people don’t really care, or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a musical meant to be mocking and not actually real life, but isn’t the point of the show to mock the actualities of the religion’s extremities?

I don’t know the definite answer, I’m still trying to figure it out, but for now I’ll keep listening to the songs and continue to analyze this show one too many times.

 

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A Series of Unfortunate Events Season 2

Just this past Friday, March 30, A Series of Unfortunate Events season two arrived with gusto. Streaming on titan platform Netflix, season two has expanded from eight episodes to ten and takes the views up through book nine.

Photo Credit: variety.com

This season sees the introduction of the two remaining Quagmire triplets, a swagger filled Nathan Fillion stepping into the role of Jacques Snicket, and a wonderful, fourth wall breaking, sense of self awareness that shows of this nature often lack.

While yes it does follow a predictable plot line, which was a problem many had with the first season: bad guardian –> something terrible –> Baudelaires escape. The beauty of this repetitive and predictable plot line though is it allows actors like Neil Patrick Harris (Count Olaf) and Nathan Fillon (Jacques Snicket) to really work their roles and have fun doing so, which is reflected as fully realized and sharp characters.

Photo Credit: syfy.com

The plot, instead of taking front and center like most shows/movies, takes a backseat to an incredibly immersive and rich world. Instead of trying to turn darkly fantastical source material into highly approachable comic realism (e.g. Marvel Comics), the plot champions a wonderful sort of self-realized, almost escapist fantasy that is unafraid to hit viewers in the face with a strong message of: This is our world, not yours.

With this world also comes the introduction of the highly secretive and, thus far, very vague secret society of VFD as the Baudelaires chase after red herring after red herring (ha).

Photo Credit: screenrant.com

This season is wonderful and keeps the Baudelaires on the move, it maintains the spirit of the books and the first season with dexterity, and manages newly introduced plot lines with ease. I recommend this show so highly it and I are probably in space. Go watch it.

Now I may be a bit biased by the fact that I get to see one of my all time favorite series on screen, if one is in the mood for a more comprehensive look at season two (spoiler warning) there is one here.

26/1

I wanted to cause damage.

 

I wanted to feel something, anything other than alone.

I wanted to live hope, to have tangible hope.

I wanted to have hope that I wasn’t dead

so I aimed to maim instead.

I wanted it to stop.

To know you’re just like me.

Photo Credit: threadless.com

I wanted the world to stop,

 

I wanted a chance to crack open the hearts that didn’t want me

and scar them. To see the same hurts on them as on mine.

I wanted to crack open every ribcage until I found you:

the heart that beats with mine.

I wanted to break those that are perfect to feel for

just a moment

perfection between my two hands.

But time didn’t stop, I can’t hear your heart.

Everyone goes on smiling, band-aiding each other’s hearts while I try to wash the blood off my hands.

I feel like bleeding out.

The only damage I can cause is to the heart in my hands.

The one that fell out of my own chest.

Why, Disney, Why?

A couple of days ago it was announced that the release date for the live action Mulan was pushed back yet again to Spring of 2020.

Photo Credit: weibo.com

Meanwhile other movies have been pushed up and newly announced, now I can’t say what is going on behind the scenes at Disney or what is going on with any part of the Mulan-in-the-making, however I can say that from where I’m sitting I’m angry.

I’m not angry at production, corporate, actors, etc. I am a general type of angry that I will have to wait two more years to see my favorite Disney “princess” back on the big screen (admittedly, I watch the cartoon version almost monthly {life is stressful}).

Photo Credit: ew.com

Why, Disney, why? I understand the importance of Avengers: Infinity War but I want to see an Asian-woman-led movie. Which I will get courtesy of Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians (GO CONSTANCE!), but it’s not Mulan.

My heart hurts and child-me feels a little bit like I was offered matcha ice cream only to find out it was a heaping scoop of wasabi, but oh well. I guess I’ll have to wait two more years to see Liu Yifei (who I will, until further notice, imagine is me) kicking some major Hun a*s and saving China.

What I Learned From The 100

Photo Credit: PureFandom.com

In January, I got the chance to miss three days of school and head up to Vancouver to watch the production of my favorite tv show, The 100. Now I probably know what a lot of people were thinking: this girl went on vacation to meet Bob Morley? Actually, yes, but while I did get to meet my favorite actors, eat sixty five dollar filet mignon, and find out so many spoilers for the show – and no, I’m not sharing – I also learned so much about the filming industry that I didn’t know before.

    1. A one minute scene that seems so well put together takes hours to be made. Literally, one small scene, and it won’t even be the entirety of it. I went to the outside set for one day, and they filmed the same scene for hours, and when I left they were still filming the same scene. It was absolutely fascinating how they did it. They filmed from every angle with multiple cameras. They’d have the same actor repeat the same line a hundred times just to capture a different detail of their face from a different angle from multiple cameras.
    2. The CW has the weirdest rules. For starters, actors could say any cuss word known to mankind, but they aren’t allowed to say the Lord’s name in vein. Also, actors aren’t allowed to show side boob in the shows. At all. So, basically the dresses lots of actresses wear at movie premiers would not be allowed on any of the tv shows from The CW we know and love.
    3. They usually don’t rehearse. Apparently they get their lines, have fifteen minutes of their own time to figure it out, and then get in front of a camera. That’s a part of the reason why there are so many bloopers, and so many retakes of several scenes. Their rehearsal is the filming.
    4. The camera makes people look bigger than they actually are. Not fatter, just bigger. When I met the actors, they were so much smaller than I expected, because they were a fourth of the size of what they look like on screen. They weren’t short or tall specifically, just tiny. It was definitely not what I expected.

I’m pretty sure that I learned a lot more things from that trip that I couldn’t have ever learned inside of a classroom, but that’s what I remember off the top of my head.

What a Year So Far.

Life is moving fast. 2017 was a historic year for Asian representation in America.

Photo Credit: allkp
Photo Credit: chinafilminsider.com/

Last year Liu Yifei was cast as Mulan, Kelly Marie Tran became the first Asian American lead in a Star Wars movie, Bangtan Sonyeondan – better known as BTS – became the very first K-artist, besides PSY, to ever win a Billboard Music Award and the first K-group to ever perform at the American Music Awards and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. BTS also continue to break their own records in the Billboard standings and seem to only be growing in popularity.

Photo Credit: billboard.com

Only a month into 2018 Asian representation is looking up and just a couple of days ago BTS again made history as the first K-group and second K-artist ever to earn a RIAA Gold CertificationRIAA Gold Certification for their remix of their son “Mic Drop” with Japanese American DJ Steve Aoki and rapper Desiigner; and just today (February 4) Chinese Canadian singer Kris Wu became the first Chinese Artist to ever preform at the Superbowl Half-Time Show.

Photo Credit: nerdist.com

These examples are just a couple of the milestones that have been met in just a short amount of time. Hopefully these two events this year, and several from late last year, are indicative of how the rest of this year, and the future, will go on the Asian/ East Asian Representation front.

glass cage

Off the stem the brittle petals fall,

Life is a dying flower,

Trapped inside a glass case.

Passersby see the light, but

Don’t stay for the brown,

Vile stench that comes with darkness.

When the moon rises,

The petals wilt,

But they don’t

Fall,

Just yet.

When the sun rises,

It brightens the ground,

The earth,

That was once home

To the glass-encased

Flower.

Photo Credit: giphy.com

Sparkling eyes see

The red passion

Laced within the leaves,

The sweet water rolling

In delicious beads.

They see the rich beauty

That stems behind the glass.

They see the butterfly,

Flapping its symmetrical wings,

Landing gracefully to feed.

They don’t,

However,

See the cocoon,

Broken and

Left to die because

Something beautiful could no longer

Stay ugly.

The owner forgets

To lift the glass,

And finds a wilting

Shell of a beautiful creature.

Entombed by the warm,

Glowing morning light,

The dead petals lay.

The beautiful day

Overshadows

The cold death of night.

But not to worry,

The petals will

Lift off the ground.

They will grow into

a new flower.

Passersby don’t remember

The red being that bright

The last time.

They don’t see the death.

The owner discards of

The brown petals;

The trash its new home.

Winter still comes,

Though.

The new flower still wilts,

Though.

The case still kills,

Though.

The sweet water

Ceases

To roll,

Though.

The second flower

Is but

A beautiful picture

Taken before destruction.

We all know that

The red, hot passion

Still dies with the last petal,

Though.