Tag Archives: heroes

30 Before 30: Go to a Live Taping

24 May

In my 30th year of life, I’m attempting to do 29 new things. Full List Here. All Bucket List Adventures Here.

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I’ve been wanting to do this for years! But it’s not as easy to score tickets to these shows as one might think. The tickets themselves are free and are often snatched up by tourists. Over the years, I’ve tried to get tickets to the Tonight Show, to the Daily Show, to the Colbert Report, and of course, to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. All to no avail. It seemed such a fruitless endeavor that I kind of gave up.

As far as television goes, other than the occasional Netflix binge (currently obsessed with “Jane the Virgin”), the only shows I watch on a weekly basis are “Walking Dead” and “Last Week Tonight.” But I recently added a third show to my weekly, lazy tv time: “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”

I was interested by the first late night show hosted by a woman. (Really? It took till 2016 for that to happen?) But I already had my hands full with number-one-love-of-my-life-John-Oliver. I wasn’t looking for any more political satire in my life. Go women and all, but do we really need another one of these shows?

Yes, yes we do. While she tackles major issues like the presidential election and the Syrian refugee crisis, she doesn’t shy away from dedicating major chunks of her show to women’s issues. Abortion laws, fraudulent pregnancy centers, unprocessed rape kits. She makes my feminist heart pitter-patter.

So I added my name to a list of hopefuls for tickets to the show, not expecting to ever get a call. But a couple weeks later, on a Monday morning, I got a phone call from someone who works for the show. They had a bunch of cancellations and had tickets available. I dragged my friend Lauren with me, and we went to the live-taping.

It was quite unglamorous, although I didn’t expect it to be much. We sat in a holding room with about a hundred other people, until we were ushered into the studio. After 30 minutes or so, Samantha Bee came out to greet everyone and answer a couple of questions. She also introduced some personal friends she had in the audience including her father and her gynecologist. Of course she would invite her gynecologist. Of course she would.

Once the show got underway, it was a bit odd, to be cued on when to clap, and to watch most of the pre-recorded show off a screen. But I was starstruck to be in the same room as that tiny, feminist bastion of hope in her signature blazer and high heels. In between taping and setting up for the next segment, a DJ played “Bad Girls” by MIA, as Samantha Bee danced around while assistants fixed her hair. What. A. Boss.

Conversations with Maya Angelou Edited by Jeffrey M. Elliot

8 Jun

mayaWhat an incredible woman. My associations with Maya Angelou where formulated in high school when, like so many others of my generation, I read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.” I remember liking it, but like so many books forced upon me in high school, I don’t remember too much about it, or her, other than the basics. She was raised in the South during segregation, she was raped by her mother’s boyfriend, and she had her son at the age of 16. She went on to become a symbol of Black female strength and was even named Poet Laureate during the Clinton Administration, becoming the first poet since Robert Frost to read at the presidential inauguration.

A+ for that book report. But reading these interviews about Maya Angelou made me want to re-read “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and perhaps to go back and read all those other books I rushed through in high school so I could finish my Calculus homework.

I knew she was a poet and an author. I did not know that she was a playwright, a screenwriter, a director, an actress, and a dancer. That she had been nominated for Tonys and was the first black woman to write and direct her own film. She worked along Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X during the Civil Rights Movement. Fluent in seven languages, she also was a master at cooking regional African cuisines that she learned while teaching in Ghana. All this from a woman who never went to college, who worked as a madam and a stripper. She seemed to always push forward, pick herself up and accept any challenge presented to her.

These interviews with her felt like How to Live Life 101. So much zest for living, always striving to write better, and looking for ways to influence and improve the world around her. So many gems to quote, like…

“What do you mean, do I consider myself a feminist? I am a feminist. I’ve been a female for a long time now. I’d be stupid not to be on my own side.”

or

“I want to know more- not intellectually- to know more so I can be a better human being, to be an honest, courageous, funny and loving human being. That’s what I want to be – and I blow it 86 times a day. My hope is to cut it down to 70.”

This book spans her thoughts on racism in America, the plight of white women vs. the plight of black women, motherhood, creativity, how to write, travel, and how to be happy. From page 1 to page 240, I was gripped by her unwavering love of life.

“Living life fully, fiercely, devotedly, makes you much more able to accept other people who are doing the same. All we’re trying to do is to get from birth to death. And you can’t fail. Even if you only live five minutes, you have succeeded…But it seems to me that life loves the liver.”

Phenomenal woman, indeed.

Night of a Thousand Stevies

15 May

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I was planning on spending the Friday night in. I had a flight the next day and wanted to pack and rest up. My friend Jan, however, was texting me earlier in the week and convinced me to go to an event with her. It was called “Night of a Thousand Stevies,” and I had no clue what I was getting myself into.

Jan is a HUGE Stevie Nicks fan. She adores the twirl, the bohemian occult draw. I liked Stevie Nicks enough. I mean, doesn’t every woman find “Landslide” poignant? And I had listened to “Dreams” on repeat when going through a break-up years ago, until the sting of the loss subsumed into the clang of Stevie’s tambourine. But I wasn’t a huge fan and found myself unsure why I was dragging myself out for an all-night, Stevie Nick’s themed, mystery event.

I dressed myself up as Stevie as I could. Red flowing skirt, black sheer sweater with sleeves that covered most of my fingers, long charm necklace, hoop earrings, and feathers in my hair. I thought I’d feel silly, but I actually felt amazing, thinking I should start dressing like a wayward gypsy more often. I had downloaded some Stevie Nicks music while out with my softball team earlier in the week and on my train ride to Irving Plaza for this strange event I had signed up for, I listened. “Silver Springs,” “Edge of Seventeen,” “Gold Dust Woman.” How had I missed this? These songs are incredible, and her songwriting is on point.

“Rulers make bad lovers. Better put your kingdom up for sale.”

She’s incredible.

Jan and I

Jan and I

We get to the event and start to see the thousand Stevies. People in top hats, black corsets, tambourines with ribbons, fake owls, long capes. Everyone dressed in some form of an inspired Stevie ensemble. So many twirl-offs. I had no idea that twirling could be such an art.

Up in the balcony, we managed to score a prime viewing spot of the stage where a variety of bands and artists came out to perform odes to Stevie. We saw straight-forward tribute bands, look-alikes who just wanted to dance and twirl, drag queens who came out with giant dove wings and glowing orb moons. My favorite was a troupe of ballerinas who danced en pointe to a choreographed routine of “Carousel” while dressed like Stevies in tutus.

I was struck by the idea of Stevie Nicks and her career. She was different than many women in music during her day, an original concept and style that she created and stuck to. And to back it up, she wrote beautiful songs with so much honesty and vulnerability. Now she lays claim to a cult of weirdos who get together once a year to emulate and bond over her music. She inspired me to be less afraid to lay my heart bare in my writing, to find my own way and style. If anything, that night I joined the cult of weirdos in worshiping the amazing Stevie.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks obsessed with her music, bouncing from song to song and listening to them on repeat. I can’t get enough of her. My latest song on repeat is “Leather and Lace”

“You’re saying I’m fragile. I try not to be. I search only for something I can’t see. I have my own life, and I am stronger than you know.”

Twirl on, Stevie. Twirl on.