Aja Romano is a longtime writer of fanfiction, fandom reporter for the Daily Dot, and a "slash expert" for The Backlot's Shipping News. She is also the Submissions Editor for Big Bang Press (@bb_press). We are currently hosting a Kickstarter for our first 3 novels! Please consider backing us and supporting fandom-based publishing!
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December 9, 2013
johnlocked-on-the-doctor asked: Hey! Was it you that posted a huge post about why fanfiction's important? I remember reading it and liking it, but forgot to reblog and of course in my next ff defence-rant I wanted to use it but couldn't. If not, do you know who did? Thanks a lot :)
Since leaving Japan, her awareness of her Japanese identity has sharpened. “Living in the United States, I’ve come to appreciate how rationality helped society to develop. At the same time, I also find it beautiful that Japanese culture has a lot more ambiguity, subtleties, and grayness. There’s much that is not said and there are many ways to express one thing. In Japanese, there are so many subtle ways to describe the color black. You find that ambiguity in human emotions. There are a lot of emotions that can’t be explained, or have no reasons.” Arguably, that situated her to have a unique interpretation of her characters. “I grew up with Japanese cinema, poems, and novels that expressed grayness in emotions so well that I do wonder if this side of my culture is one of the reasons I am standing here today [as an actress], even with my imperfect English.”
Hey, Tumblr, since i ranted about musical theatre on twitter earlier this morning, i thought i’d share. I got into a discussion with Cimness after indulging one of my favorite rants, which is about how the art form known as the American Musical Theatre, which struggled for over half a century to evolve into the pinnacle it achieved with Stephen Sondheim, now effectively barely exists on Broadway (except in the form of the Disney musical, which is something of a different beast). Instead, the “organic” musical, in which songs and libretto work together to narratively advance the plot, has been replaced by musical revues, variety shows, and adaptations of pre-existing films that have superimposed musical numbers added into them as a throwback to the early vaudevillian roots of the musical.
On the Town is my favorite example of a vintage musical that tells its story on three levels. Music by a young Leonard Bernstein, libretto by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and choreography/direction by Jerome Robbins: this is the ultimate collaborative theatre dream team, so naturally they wrote a giant witty love song to New York. And they also wrote one of the most witty, beautiful, and athletic musicals ever written. On the Town is rarely performed because it contains so much dancing and is largely considered the greatest dance musical of all time. (Ethan Mordden devotes a whole chapter to it in his look at the Broadway musical in the 40’s, which is one of many reasons why Ethan Mordden and I are soulmates).
People always talk about it as a dance musical but it’s also one of the most beautiful scores ever written. If I were making a top 5 list of favorite songs, this song, “Lonely Town,” combined with its full extended dance sequence (which is what you get here in the concert performance following the applause break) would be my #1. When those violins swell so does my heart. Every time.
This is why I can’t let musical theatre go. You can’t produce art like this if you’re only packaging and selling a ready-made ‘insert big dance number here’ formula. You have to let the story tell itself. This is a song about being lost in a big city and feeling so alone but still so alive, and it’s as vivid and real and earnest a portrait of New York and the souls that beat here as you get from the Great Gatsby or any other classic depiction of this city. And it works on three levels: beautiful music, haunting lyrics, and dance (this is the only example i can find on YouTube of a version of the dance sequence, but you get the idea). On the Town is a literal triple-threat, one of the most remarkable creative collaborations the stage has ever seen. All of its moving parts work together to tell you a story.
Of course the bottom line is that we don’t have these kinds of musicals anymore because they continually flop. Neither Assassins nor Floyd Collins managed to make it to Broadway despite now being seen as landmarks of the genre. And, I mean, not to be all hipster about it, but I still do more or less completely agree with John LaChiusa that moden musicals are “faux” musicals—not because they’re bad or unenjoyable, because many of them are fun and well-done, but because structurally they have *de-evolved* the musical from the integrated format that On the Town is an early example of. It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have those musicals; it just means that for musical theatre to survive, we need to have more than this. Not all organic musicals are failures. Somewhere out there is this decade’s Rent, this decade’s Spring Awakening, this decade’s Hedwig. And somewhere out there is this decade’s Floyd Collins, this decade’s Marie Christine—the unabashed commercial flops that elevate the genre. I realize that this is a conversation that musical theatre veterans have been having internally for a decade plus, during which commercial adaptations have basically sustained the great white way. But it hasn’t stopped being less true. It hasn’t stopped making me feel less wistful for shows that tell stories, rather than repackage them. It hasn’t stopped making me appreciate shows like On the Town, that for all their flaws still managed to do it all and say so much onstage—so much that seems to currently go unsaid or get lost in the noise of yet another built-in showstopper.
tom hardy, despite the fact that you are an unbelievable actor, you are completely incapable of not wearing your own emotions on your face once you step off the sound stage, and seriously what is going on with you lately, STOP IT I LOVE YOU PLEASE START LOOKING HAPPIER / LESS EXHAUSTED/PERENNIALLY PERPLEXED AND POSSIBLY SADDENED AND BEWILDERED BY YOUR OWN LIFE :(((((