Oh, My Pop Culture Jesus: Jesus Christ Superstar 2012 Live Arena Tour Review

A scene from Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice @ O2 Arena, London. (Opening 20-09-12) ©Tristram Kenton 09/12 (3 Raveley Street, LONDON NW5 2HX TEL 0207 267 5550  Mob 07973 617 355)email: tristram@tristramkenton.comThere are two things people know about me, even if they don’t know me very well. One, I love Jesus, and two, I love musicals. If you put those two things together you will usually make something I supremely enjoy. And while Jesus Christ Superstar is by no means perfect, theologically speaking, it is one of my favorite Jesus-themed musicals. However, I have sadly never seen the show live (other than high school versions), and many of the other movie versions of Jesus Christ Superstar were sadly lacking. Each version had certain strengths but each also failed at what I thought was the musical’s biggest strength: putting Christ in a modern setting. However, the 2012 Live Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar does set the story in the modern day, and furthermore, does a great job at portraying Jesus as a social justice activist.

The 1973 version had a bunch of hippies drive out to the desert to reenact Christ’s story, which… why? I really think this would have been a lot better if they had just retold the story of Jesus, but set it during the seventies. But no, we got hippies in the desert acting out the story as if performing a play. And things got really uncomfortable when it seemed like they had actually killed Jesus. Since the show is staged as if a bunch of random people go out to perform the story of Christ, it came off particularly weird at the end when all the actors leave on the bus but the actor playing Jesus remains on the cross. In the context of the movie it looks like these people actually crucified the person playing Jesus and left him there, which is both creepy and weird. Then there was the 2000 Jesus Christ Superstar, which was all over the place, time period-wise. Jesus still looked like a seventies hippie, the apostles looked like they walked straight out of the eighties, Mary Magdalene dressed like Mimi from RENT, and the Pharisees and Roman soldiers looked like something out of a futuristic dystopia. It was a mess. Anything else good about that version was lost due to the extremely confusing mix of aesthetics.

You might think this is a silly thing to linger on, especially from a theological perspective. Why would showing Jesus in a modern day perspective be so important? Shouldn’t I be more concerned with how the musical portrays Jesus and the Biblical narrative of Christ? Well, yeah, and I am concerned about that, but Jesus Christ Superstar—just by virtue of how the music and lyrics are written—is in the unique position to show Christ in the modern day. And for a believer like me, that is extremely important. One of the main things I do at my job is try to help people understand how Christ’s radical message of love is still relevant today. For me and many others, Christ wasn’t just a nice guy, but a reformer with a radical message. People today try to claim that Christ’s message supports their beliefs, but more often than not, our pop culture, and even many practicing Christians, ignore Christ’s message of social justice. This 2012 Live Arena Tour of Jesus Christ Superstar does not ignore Christ’s social justice message. Rather, it sets Christ in a modern-day setting and shows him combating the powers that be of the time.

Continue reading

Lady Geek Girl’s Wishlist for Season 5 of Teen Wolf

Teen-Wolf-season-5-logo-888x456Teen Wolf is coming back at the end of June and I am very excited! Last season, like most seasons of Teen Wolf, was good, bad, and problematic. Every year I hope it will get a little better and every year I’m sadly a little disappointed. Now don’t get me wrong; Teen Wolf is not at the level of Supernatural, which I watched despite the fact that I almost constantly wanted to bang my head against a wall. But Teen Wolf has its own set of problems. Despite the diverse cast, Teen Wolf still tends to portray minorities poorly (or they’re just murdered). The women tend to be portrayed decently, and are usually not just love interests, but they do have a problem with ending up dead far more often than the men. There are many problematic, ableist tones in the show, which seem to just get worse instead of getting better. And don’t get me started on the show having a token gay character, which shouldn’t even be an issue considering there have been at least four gay characters on the show. Then there is the constantly rotating cast that makes it difficult for any good writer to construct a decent plot, especially when your main characters leave every other season. I can already foresee a lot of issues in the upcoming season, but my fingers are crossed that the good parts can be salvaged.

So instead of focusing on everything that could go wrong, I decided to think about what I hope will happen in the upcoming season of Teen Wolf.

Continue reading

The New Deadpool Movie Might Be More Inclusive Than You Think

Deadpool is going to be in a movie and it sounds like it’s actually going to be good! No, seriously; this is not an April Fool’s joke.

pic via The Mary Sue

pic via The Mary Sue

I am a huge fan of Deadpool. I love the way he breaks the fourth wall, I love that he is a character that pokes fun at comic books while still being a part of the Marvel Universe (basically he’s not just a straight up parody), and I love that Deadpool is actually a really complex character. Deadpool is pansexual, which means if his character is portrayed correctly we will have a pansexual character as the lead in a movie. Furthermore, Deadpool is a disabled character with a severe physical disfigurement and major PTSD. Yeah, though many of Deadpool’s comics are wacky and hilarious, he has a lot more depth than many people give him credit for. So let’s talk about this and how, if done well, Deadpool could make for a really fantastic movie, not just by comic book movie standards but by intersectional feminist standards.

Trigger warning for mentions of sexual abuse after the cut.

Continue reading

I Grieve with Thee: A Tribute to Intersectional Feminist & Geek Icon Leonard Nimoy

Star Trek is probably one of the first nerdy shows that I ever experienced. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t watching the Star Trek original series (TOS). I remember, specifically, asking my father why Spock wasn’t captain instead of Kirk. It was probably very obvious from my father’s perspective that I had a little bit of a crush on the dashing and mysterious Vulcan as a child. But mostly I remember when I was a little older, sitting at the dinner table with my mother, and she would tell me all she knew about Star Trek. Like me, my mother was fascinated with the Vulcans, and Spock in particular. She told me about little details she loved seeing in the TV shows and the movies, and she would tell me about the stories in the Trek novels she had read that expanded on Spock’s past and on Vulcan culture. My mom recently passed away this past October after a terrible battle with breast cancer. She was a big nerd like me and she is probably at least partly the reason I am taking the recent death of Leonard Nimoy so hard.

leonard nimoy spockIt seems silly, I guess, to truly grieve over the death of a man that I have never, and will never, know. But when I heard about Leonard Nimoy’s passing at work, I felt nearly overwhelmed with grief. His character had felt like a part of my family. Star Trek and Spock were some of the primary ways that I developed a relationship with my mother, and I recently started re-watching TOS in order to feel some connection with my mother again. So for me, his death is extremely personal.

My personal feelings aside, that is the not the only reason I want to honor Leonard Nimoy today. There are many celebrities out there that we, as geeks, love, but sadly we know the celebrities we love are not always the best people.Though I don’t know if Nimoy was perfect (none of us are, really) in many ways Leonard Nimoy was probably one of best examples of an intersectional feminist in our geek culture. It’s his great advocacy for all human rights that I want to honor today.

Continue reading

Web Crush Wednesday: Kat Blaque

One of the people I enjoy on YouTube never spoke up about a recent scandal concerning jokes about sexual assault (made by her now boyfriend), and as a result, I’ve been seeking out new things to watch to mend this tear in my heart. While YouTube, as a platform, has cultivated some of the most problematic people and cultures on the internet, it’s also a fantastic source for information and discovering people who may have gone through similar experiences as yourself. For me, my web crush fits into the former—as I don’t share many of her defining traits—but I believe for many, and hopefully some of our readers here as well, Kat Blaque offers a voice to a minority that is spoken over more often than not.

web crush wednesdays Continue reading

Lady Geek Girl & Friends’ Best of the Blog Saturdays

Hiatus Spongebob Pic SaturdayWe’re still on hiatus until January 6th. Happy New Year, everyone, and we’ll be back soon!

Sexualized Saturdays: A Genderqueer Take on Slash Fanfiction. Pan reflects on their experience with slash fanfiction.

As a genderqueer person I’m fairly certain that my own experience with slash fanfiction differs somewhat from the norm. Only recently have I begun reflecting on how formative both writing and reading fanfiction was at a time in my life when I felt isolated and frustrated by my own seemingly incongruous feelings. Knowing now that there are a surprising number of people for whom the gender binary doesn’t hold true, I like to think that for some small portion of the fan community fanfiction has been an important tool for self-discovery, as it was for me.

Sexualized Saturdays: Teen Wolf and the Turmoils of Male Puberty. Pisces talks about how the cis male werewolf experience is analogous to the cis male puberty experience.

Lycanthropy also serves as a metaphor for the inherent state of physical transition and transformation that is a defining part of puberty. For most able-bodied, non-chronically ill people, puberty is the first time we actively feel out of control of our bodies (potty training notwithstanding). The changes are sudden, violent, bizarre; simple changes in height are nothing compared to the fundamental, irreversible changes to the character and nature of our bodies that happen during puberty. It’s rooted in the same basis that makes all body horror so terrifying—the involuntary changing of and lack of control over the body.

Continue reading

Five Characters that Lady Geek Girl Wishes Were Pansexual

pansexual pride flagDecember 8th was Pansexual Pride Day and as a proud pansexual myself, I wanted to mark the occasion by talking about pansexuality in geekdom. Except… there isn’t much pansexual representation in geekdom, and I’ve already written about the few characters who have been identified as pansexual. Gay and lesbian characters are still barely represented in all of pop culture, and bisexual and transgender characters rarely, if ever, grace our sphere of geekdom. So while it’s not much of a surprise that other lesser known sexualities are not represented, it’s always nice to dream of a day when more queer characters will exist in our media. Today, I decided to pick five characters that I would love to see come out as pansexual. Just to clarify, these are characters I wish would end up being pansexual. This does not mean that I think they necessarily are pansexual or are presented as pansexual.

Without further ado, here, in no particular order, are five characters I wish were pansexual.

Continue reading