Podcasts & Radio

The Podcasts You Should Be Listening To

Man listening to podcast via headphones

Or: The Podcasts You Should Be Listening To: A Starter Pack.

There are very, very many podcasts available to listen to on the web and while I’ve been listening to podcasts for a few years – I only listen to two religiously. Why? To me, the majority of podcasts either seem too heavy (which there is nothing wrong with) or too bland (which, I’m sure, is riveting to someone else).

I used to listen to Z100’s Elvis Duran and the Morning Show on my drive into the office when I worked in Staten Island until 2015 when I started a new job in Manhattan. Since early 2015 I have barely listened to radio (public transportation and the iHeartRadio app was a combination that would have made my cellular data plan suffer), and listening to iHeartRadio’s Elvis Duran Replay Channel at work didn’t really cut it. I wished I could download and play or pause whenever I needed to, and at that time Elvis didn’t offer a podcast version of the show (I only just found out that there’s been a podcast version of the show available since March 2017). But I still wanted something similar to the Morning Show and I was determined to find something I’d be interested in. Enter RuPaul:

RuPaul: What’s The Tee? with Michelle Visage

While What’s The Tee? doesn’t really come close to filling my Elvis Duran and the Morning Show void, it’s definitely one of my favorite podcasts. The format of the show is very different: RuPaul Charles and Michelle Visage (usually, but not always) sit down and interview notable personalities but it doesn’t feel like an interview at all. It sort of just feels like RuPaul and Michelle are just sitting at a kitchen table and a friend of theirs just happens to stop by for a chat – and you’re just a fly on the wall.

RuPaul knows that his audience spans many age ranges, but he still is aware that he and Michelle have very young fans who could benefit from the knowledge of who guests are and what they have contributed to our world. These people aren’t necessarily gay icons or established (though that certainly helps) – RuPaul treats them all the same and asks each what knowledge they could impart on his young listeners.

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Personal

10 Things I Loved About 2017

As the ball was dropping on New Year’s Eve, I had one hope for 2018: Please be better than 2017. It seems like everybody had a terrible year, and I was including myself in that. Sure: Last year did have some great moments, but some events and situations had me so grateful for 2017’s demise.

In truth, I had been putting off writing this post because I really didn’t want to take a stroll through 2017. But I am oh so glad that I did because it turns out that I had a bang-up year. A huge smile crept across my face as I was scrolling through photos on my phone. ‘This couldn’t have happened last year,’ I thought to myself. But the timestamps can’t lie.

Was I really putting this much stock in what I perceived as all of the negatives that came along with 2017? Indeed, I had been. ‘For 2018, I can’t let this happen again,’ I demanded of myself. So to help make sure I don’t forget how good 2017 had been to me, here’s a list of the things I loved about the year.

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Personal

A Fresh Start

Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

I should explain. About a year ago, after having been mostly M.I.A. for two years, I shared an update on my personal life and what I had been up to during that time. This update was intended to be my turning point; I’d made it my New Year’s Resolution to have a more active online presence (blog more often, add more designs to my Society6 shop, that sort of thing). Oh, how I should have known! New Year’s Resolutions NEVER come true!

This time, however, I’m back and ready to commit. Right after Christmas (but still during my vacation), I decided to leave Tumblr and – after careful deliberation – host my own WordPress blog. Then began the arduous process of migrating, updating styles, tags, and categories to my new blog’s home and URL. While Tumblr had served it’s purpose (for over 6 years!), it just felt like it was the wrong place for me to host a focused blog. Despite spending that many years at Tumblr, I never really found my niche as a blogger so I’ve decided I’m going to be strict about maintaining an overall theme here. I’m officially branding this little corner of the web as my personal lifestyle blog with some emphasis on the topics I’m most interested in: Entertainment & Tech.

Since I would no longer be blogging on Tumblr, it only made sense to move my portfolio to another platform. I decided to go with Adobe Portfolio, since it’s included as part of my Adobe Creative Cloud plan. While there are definitely things I don’t love about the platform, it’s still rather new, so I’m going to be staying there for now. If you’re interested in the new updates I’ve made, it’s now up and running here.

Forget resolutions! I do actually care about running this blog, updating my shop, and having a social media presence. I’m sticking with it, this time. Hold me to that!

Music Video

Heaven

Heaven is one of my favorite songs from Troye Sivan’s album, Blue Neighborhood, in part because it features the fabulous Betty Who, but because of it’s message. It can be incredibly difficult to understand and accept your sexual orientation, and coming out is not an easy process. As gay people, we experience two realities. One of love and acceptance, where we know deep down in our core that what we feel is true. And another reality where we are simply misunderstood, and told that our lives are wrong or dirty. A reality where fighting for equal rights – and acceptance – is a necessity. I think Troye expresses that thought in this song and video, while also bringing religion into it.

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Personal

Changes

Considering it’s been two years since my last real entry, I’d say that I’m long overdue for an update on my life. So here goes:

2015

In March of 2015, I accepted an offer to work as a graphic designer for an engineering firm in Manhattan. This job has reignited a spark in me that I thought had been extinguished long ago: my love for design. While I’ve worked as a designer in some capacity over the past few years, it isn’t something I’ve really pursued. The bulk of my work for this company is designing book covers – which is what I’d like to continue focusing on throughout my career (though it’s wise to be well-rounded).

Two months later, I did something I had wanted to do for exactly 15 years: I saw S Club 7 in concert. Only I had to go to London in order to do it. Oh, and I MET THEM.

Okay, so here’s the story: I fell in love with the British pop group S Club 7 when their second television series, S Club 7 in L.A., aired on Fox Family (now Freeform). I taped their marathons on VHS (oh yes), ran fan-sites for them, and made a lot of graphics featuring them. So when the Bring it All Back 2015 UK Reunion Tour was officially announced, I told my Andy that I was interested in going. After waiting a few seconds for him to process that, I told him I was definitely going to go. Once that sunk in, I asked if he would come with me. And once he picked his jaw up off of the floor, we booked our vacation to London (his first, my second).

We ended up renting a cozy flat from a lovely married gay couple, and booked mini adventures all around the city (and Wales, for the Doctor Who Experience). And of course, because I was seeing my pre-teen obsession in concert after waiting many years I purchased a VIP ticket – and met them! They were so nice (and beautiful) in person, and the show was everything I had expected it would be. I’m already itching to go back!

Later in the year, I decided to start selling designs on Society6. Unfortunately, I began to neglect it shortly after – but I plan on creating more for myself this year so expect my shop to be more active this year. The main event, however, of that summer was my venture into real estate with Andy. We attended many open houses – and fell in love and had our hearts broken – and began to embrace the inevitability of having to rent short-term until we found something. Only then did we stumble upon a charming pre-war building in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

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Personal

She knows my name!

Two very good friends of mine went to Disney recently and met the best princess ever, Princess Ariel. Shortly after, they sent me this.

I flipped out.

Movies

Into The Woods

Disney’s getting a little dark. No, I’m not referring to the measles outbreak but rather the screen adaptation of musical Into The Woods.

via Disney's Into The Woods Official Tumblr

source: intothewoodsmovie.tumblr.com

My parents took Andy and I to see it two weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. So much so, in fact, that I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack. “On The Steps of the Palace,” available above to stream from Spotify, is sung beautifully by Anna Kendrick and is one of my favorites from the soundtrack.

Having no prior knowledge of the musical might have contributed to my enjoying Disney’s adaptation so much, or so the critics would have me believe. However, I think that Rob Marshall revitalized James Lapine and Stephen Sondheim’s musical for an entirely new audience perfectly.

Let me start off by saying that I’m a big fan of Meryl Streep. My mom and I occasionally have “Meryl Nights” where we share dinner over an old (or new!) DVD starring Streep. So I was excited to see her play a witch and, well, sing. Despite what others seem to think, I like her singing voice and thought it was one of the best parts of Mamma Mia! I was not disappointed by her performance – as an actress and a singer – in this. Her songs are actually played on my Spotify much more than Anna Kendrick’s.

I was captivated by the entire cast, with the glaring exception of Johnny Depp. His song is my least favorite (I usually skip it), and his performance was boring. The child molestation theme of the performance, while sufficiently creepy and potentially construed from Sondheim’s lyrics, clashes with the entire feel of the film. Depp’s screen time is so minimal that it is forgettable, and more importantly, over before you know it.

It also must be acknowledged that Daniel Huttlestone was fantastic in this. He won audiences over with his performance in Les Misérables, and he shined in Into The Woods as well. Lilla Crawford was great, too, though I couldn’t put my finger on why I found her a little annoying until I looked her up after the film. She was the title role in Broadway’s revival of Annie a few years back. Annie, like any of the little girls that play the Welch’s girls are mind-numbingly irritating.

The film itself, when stripped of the fantasy environment, is an exploration of the desires and the demons we find in adulthood. Disney, of course, was really the only choice for such a story. However, the dark themes of the original show were not left in the dark in this adaptation: we explore death, mutilation, stealing, and infidelity. But no fear, we also witness love and have comedic elements such as the narcissistic princes.

In terms of the story, well-known stereotypes and fairytales collide: Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and more. It’s at the very least, a fun outing, but I believe that a lot of people would be interested in this music that might win Emily Blunt her second Golden Globe (it’s her fourth nomination)!

Find tickets at Fandango. And if seeing it at a Regal Entertainment Group theater, definitely join their Crown Club: it’s 100% worth it.

Personal

A Look Back

The late Marina Keegan helped me come to a paramount realization about my life this year: it really is just beginning. Let me explain. I was reading her essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, and this paragraph very nearly leapt off the page to strike me awake from my miserable slumber:

But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30. I plan on having fun when I’m old. Any notion of THE BEST years comes from clichéd “should haves…” “if I’d…” “wish I’d…”

I’d better start from the beginning.

You see, I graduated from college and was thrust into a cold and pitiful economy. Like many of my peers, I struggled to find secure and promising employment but eventually was welcomed (with open arms) into the retail industry. It didn’t take long for me to go numb (literally – I worked in the temperature controlled rooms where perishable food is stored) and fall prey to the misguided notion that this was the top of the line for me.

2014 is when that all changed. I was granted the opportunity to turn my passions into two part-time jobs. Then a few months later, thanks to Marina’s words of wisdom, I accepted my first full-time job.

Marina Keegan is the reason I worked harder this year. For that, I will be forever in her debt. So to honor her and all that she’s helped me achieve, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on what a great year 2014 was.

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