A recurring occurrence in my life is my curious habit of watching popular performers without actually realizing how well known they are. The first time this happened, my cousin’s then-boyfriend-now-husband who worked at Carnegie Hall took the entire family to a performance by some foreign bass-baritone opera singer guy. The entire performance was amazing, but I didn’t realize the significance of the evening until I went home and Googled the singer’s name. For the record, the name on the program was Bryn Terfel, who I later found out was a rising star in the opera world and is now one of the biggest names in the business.
Recently, on a much less wider but no less important and enjoyable scale, I had the pleasure of attending the G.L.O.C. Mixer this past Saturday, which included so many wonderful and, to a young woman just starting to find her own place in the world and in the big city, inspiring performances. One of the great performances of the afternoon, of which there were many, was a little set by comedic singing and songwriting duo the Reformed Whores.
Their video response to a certain radio “talents” recent comments has recently gone viral across the interwebs, and with good reason. Singers Marie Cecile Anderson and Katy Frame are witty writers, great performers, and all around wonderful musicians, and I’ll definitely be marking their next NYC-area performance down in my calendar.
The Avengers and the X-Men may be coming to blows very soon, but who cares about that when there’s a wedding to plan? Marvel released this teaser on Facebook and Tumblr today, leaving X-Fans with another plot to speculate over.
Astonishing X-Men #51. June 2012.
Written by MARJORIE LIU
Pencils by MIKE PERKINS
Cover by DUSTIN WEAVER
ON SALE JUNE 2012
If I was the betting kind of girl, I’d say Northstar and his boyfriend Kyle will be tying the knot, considering Jean-Paul’s place on Liu’s Astonishing team and his being only member in a committed long term relationship. If it is them, this is a great step forward for lesbian and gay characters in mainstream comics, especially if Marvel continues to actively promote it.However, if my thoughts on the couple in question are correct, this will not be the first wedding featuring a gay superhero in mainstream comics. That honor goes to Apollo and Midnighter, who were married in Wildstorm’s The Authority series (issue #24). No matter who it is, I’m definitely looking forward to it. Marjorie Liu is one of my favorite writers in comics at the moment, and her run on Astonishing promises to be very good. Not to mention the potential for drama centered around the service, as no fictional wedding can go down without a problem.
Before you read this review, let it be known that this is very spoilery for the book itself! If you prefer to experience things without knowing anything that will happen, do not read on. But if you like spoilers like I do, then please read on!
Ned has a special power. He can bring people back to life just by touching them. However, if he touches them again, he returns them to their dead state. If he doesn’t touch them again, a person in a vaguely determined area around him will die in their place within a short amount of time. This is the premise of short-lived tv series “Pushing Daisies,” all of which is explained in the first five minutes of the show by narrator Jim Dale (who many will remember as the voice of the US versions of the Harry Potter audiobooks), so it’s not actually very spoilery.
Quirky and fun, ‘Pushing Daisies’ is also surprisingly dark in tone, but the show is so stylized that it pulls it off. For example, the body of the protagonist’s dog is shown flying weightlessly through the air after being hit by a truck, but moments later the protagonist brings said puppy back to life. (Plot Hole: How could Ned go so long without touching his dog again? Wouldn’t someone notice? Yes, I am That Person when you’re watching movies or TV shows.)
The pilot, or ‘Pie-lette’, clips along at a fast pace, stringing along different plot points that will no doubt be continued and built upon in future episodes. The premise of the whole show offers so much potential for future episodes, between the unusual and tragic romance between Chuck and Ned, the everyday goings on at the ‘Pie Hole,’ and the solving of crimes using Ned’s special power. What I really enjoyed about this first episode was how it reveled in the little everyday happenings of life, like the wrong hand touch of Chuck’s aunt by Ned. I find that many TV shows today often brush over the trivial little details about life, but as evidenced in the pilot episode of Pushing Daisies, showing those little moments enriches a series and its characters even more.
The show satirizes the entire “Will they, won’t they” plot point which runs rampant in entertainment today, which is a welcome change to the usual state of romance in television (I’m looking at you, Bones and House.) I also enjoy the fact that Ned is a pie-maker; baking is normally seen as a feminine task, and yet Ned is unapologetic in his and actually enjoys the process of creating the perfect pie. However, the show also focuses on the ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl‘ trope, epitomized by Chuck, which I dislike for all of the reasons stated in the video linked there.
If nothing else mentioned in this review intrigues you, check out this show for the colors. Pushing Daisies’ ‘Pie-lette’ is gorgeous: bright, vibrant, perfectly fitting the quirky murky fun of the series. Aesthetically, it’s rooted in the fifties, with hints of the seventies peeking through every once in a while.
Of course, creative endeavors that stray outside the norm tend not to last very long (see: Joss Whedon’s much lamented Firefly), and Pushing Daisies only lasted only two seasons beyond the pilot episode. I’ll definitely be adding the rest of the series onto my watching list.