Mind Over Moon

Archive for the ‘The Next Big Thing’ Category

August 24th, 2013 by Moonie

Orange You Glad? A Pop Culture Win for Intersectional Feminism


In a post Sex and the City world, many iterations of female leads have stormed our televisions and cinema, covering a tour-de-force of hilarious and raw subject matter. There’s the cringe worthy realities of Tina Fey’s brilliantly written and acted Mean Girls, to the next phase of life in girl-dom, the role of Bridesmaids, to the uncomfortably honest lives of the leads in Lena Dunham’s Girls. All of these female driven plots, however, have something in common: they all depict lily white, upper middle class trials and tribulations, from Manolo Blahniks to parents funding their post graduate rent in Brooklyn. Let’s be real: this isn’t even close to accessible for all women.

A new female led dramatic comedy, however, is gaining mainstream traction, and it isn’t what we’re used to seeing. Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s latest original programming, is a series about one woman’s brief foray into drug running and subsequent time served. This show stands out for it’s ability to finally (FINALLY!) demonstrate an intersectional portrayal of women. The primary setting is the prison, and the show often delves deeply into the lives of fellow inmates, which include blacks, latinas, and even a feisty Russian, of all ages.

Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman, does a fine job of portraying the timid, white upper middle class protagonist who in an alternate universe could have been friends with the Bridesmaids characters, or an older version of Marnie from HBO’s Girls. However, despite being the lead, Piper’s generally mousy demeanor facilitates the need for bold acting to support her. The ensemble does not disappoint. Piper’s fellow inmates are often hilarious, and always poignant amidst their struggles. Stand out performances include Laverne Cox, who plays transsexual Sophia, and is a real life transgender woman and activist. Also there’s Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne aka “Crazy Eyes”, whose performance is a truly enlightened take on mental illness.

Orange is the New Black is the first major win for intersectional feminism in mainstream pop culture. The irony is that it took a jailhouse setting to finally inject some color, literally and figuratively, into strong female leads. While this fact may seem unsettling, the show does an appropriate job of highlighting the inmates’ lives prior to jail, and humanizes the circumstances leading to their incarcerations. Additionally, the prison setting is offered as something of a great equalizer for these women of varying backgrounds. On the outside many of them function in differing cultural and socioeconomic environments, whereas in prison they are often forced to pool their resources against misogynist guards and substandard living conditions. As inmates, they are all wearing bland, state issued prison uniforms. This lack of materialism means we as an audience get to know these women for their personalities. Viewers are forced to critique the characters based on their words, a privilege rarely afforded to female characters.

Episodes include controversial and seldom covered topics ranging from homosexuality, race, age, class, and even patriarchal oppression through the eyes of this diverse cast. One episode centers around elections for inmate liaisons to the prison authority, except each candidate is elected based on race, by their own racial group. Another highlights the struggles of a poor, white, uneducated woman who clings to her religious convictions, racism, and homophobia, despite backlash from the more diverse and liberal prisoners.

Some argue that the show is another portrayal of racial and classist stereotypes: a transgender woman prioritizes her Hormone Replacement Therapy over her family, a Hispanic woman goes to jail for her drug dealing boyfriend, a black woman campaigns for fried chicken. Where stereotypes exist, however, there is also defiance: that same black woman is fluent in the law library, a homeless drug addict plans to pay back the people from which she stole, the aforementioned transgender woman befriends a nun. Orange is the New Black is not simply cut and dry stereotypes; the characters are far more dynamic, and more importantly, their perspectives are made accessible to those that cannot relate. Injecting these story lines in an easily attainable, mainstream show captures the very spirit of intersectionalism.

It is apparent that women have many hurdles yet to jump before female led casts become as ubiquitous as those of our male counterparts. But it is a testament to our boundless potential that these gritty female leads are literally locked in cages, relegated to a confined space and stripped of their clothes and makeup, only for audiences to realize how utterly beautiful, poignant, and entertaining they can be. We have not yet been released, but there is no doubt that Orange is the New Black is shaving time off our sentence.

October 25th, 2012 by Moonie

Whatchu know about wearing a wolf on your noggin?

I have been eager to post on this fella here, mostly because ever since the day his steezy stuntin’ self arrived on my radar, I have been bursting at the seams to tell the whole world about him. Luckily, he inspires this in many folks as last week his debut album with (awesome) producer Ryan Lewis went to #1 on iTunes as well as #2 on the Billboard charts… oh, and did I mention he isn’t signed?

I waited, however, because I wanted to give the album, The Heist, a thorough listen before I fully endorsed him. The video above, to his single Thrift Shop, is exceptional through and through. But we live in a world where we are in constant danger of experiencing anti climactic hype over someone who is simply a one-hit-wonder.

Fortunately, I believe our boy Macklemore is here to stay. His raps are irreverent, often topical, and always astute observations, even when the subject matter is trite. I always feel like he is talking right to me.

Conveniently, I have provided you with the link to buy his album on iTunes. That’s right, I said buy it. It is $11.99 for the deluxe version (that’s cheap), and this isn’t some label lackey. This guy posted a top notch brand, and successfully marketed it himself. He deserves whatever cut he is getting from this album, and I hope it’s a lot.

Special thank you to Rusty for opening me up to this musical influence that has brought me great joy since. HT

August 22nd, 2012 by Moonie

A soon to be overplayed (but good) jam

QUICK! Everyone enjoy this song before the radio kills it.

August 20th, 2012 by Moonie

Hayley Warnham – Ironic Pop Art

Hayley Warnham

The other day I stumbled upon Hayley Warnham, a talented young digital artist. I love the way she injects pop art illustration and color into dated imagery.  I love the ironic futurism and somewhat absurdist visions her work gives me. So apparently she was accepted into The Royal College of Art in London to pursue her Masters in Visual Communication, which, by the way, is A BIG DEAL. The thing is, financially it would be difficult for her to attend. Conveniently she set up a donation fund in case anyone else of copious means is inspired by her art. Looking forward to seeing more from her. It may be quite some time from now, but I’m calling it, Hayley Warnham is the next big thing.


August 17th, 2012 by Moonie

What Up Iggy Azalea

iggy azalea

Today I was introduced to my new favorite person that I have never met. This is Iggy Azalea, a female rapper from Australia(?!). At first I was dumbfounded, then as I listened my reaction turned to intrigue, followed shortly thereafter with sheer elation. Let it be known, this gal is the next big thing.

August 14th, 2012 by Moonie

Honeygrow: Touch Screen Salads!


In between classes the other day I noticed the new trendy, minimalist looking food joint was finally open. I had watched them build it over the months, the signs were all in muted greens and thin fonts, so I knew it was going to be some kind of healthy schtick. Ever the salad eating dieter, my interest was piqued. Turns out the place is called Honeygrow and it did not disappoint. It’s basically a Saladworks with a highly customizable touch screen. I tried the Eos salad [pictured left], which is basically like a greek salad. It was delish. I do love me some Saladworks, but I’m happy to have another salad option in town. And if you don’t live in Philly, trust me, this shiz is the next big thing. They also have Stirfry and Smoothies. Can I get a collective.. yuuuuhhhhhmm: