Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Angel and the Queer God in Rent

The musical Rent is probably not one that many people associate with Christianity—or with any religion, for that matter. There are only a few irreverent mentions of religion in some of the song lyrics, and if you have seen the play (not the movie) there is a brief scene where a priest yells at Collins for not being able to pay for Angel’s burial and uses the term “queer” to insult him. This seems pretty bleak from the religious end, but to me Rent actually has some amazing Christian themes. The basic message of the musical is to love everyone and to take care of the poor, vulnerable, and outcast in our society. Well, that’s basic Catholic Social Teaching right there. Sure, the religious institutions in Rent (and in real life) don’t always live up that message, but our small band of artists try to. In particular, they are shown how to love and live their lives by Angel. Angel is central to this story and the Christian themes of the musical, as they basically act as a Christ figure who leads the others through their actions. In this way we get an important story not just for queer people, but particularly for queer Christians. In this post, I will be referring to Angel with gender neutral pronouns since the characters refer to Angel with with both masculine and feminine pronouns and it’s not clear how specifically Angel identifies.

Angel

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Supergirl: A Feminist Superhero TV Show that Soared into My Heart

I was excited for the Supergirl TV show since I saw the trailer for it, but I will confess to still being anxious about the show simply because writers tend to be hit and miss when it comes to female superheroes. So it was with both excitement and anxiety that I turned on the TV to watch Supergirl. While there were a few issues, overall I was really happy about the first episode, and I’m interested to see where the series is going.

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Noodle’s Killjoys Season 1 Review: Bounty Hunters in Space!

killjoys-teamThese days I try to limit the number of shows I watch, but it’s summer, most of the shows I watch are on hiatus, and a friend was gushing over this new show about bounty hunters in space called Killjoys. So, I decided to give it a shot. The pilot got me hooked. The first season just concluded and it was a fun and feels-inducing romp, introducing characters with mysterious pasts and setting up conspiracies.

Spoilers for the first season of Killjoys below.

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Trailer Tuesdays: Deadpool

Do I really need to talk about how awesome and in character everything in this trailer is? Probably not, but I am going to anyway! And admittedly, while I am extremely excited for this movie I am still a little worried about one thing in particular.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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