Fandom Lenses

Life as viewed through silliness, Fandom as seen through Reality


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“Fading through the door into Summer…”: The Monkees in Tulsa

689A Midsummer’s Night with the Monkees, Tulsa, OK, August 3, 2013

Here let me set down a tale of what I am almost certain will be my last Monkees concert ever.  It’s long, but I think in part that’s because, while I’m ready to move on from the intense interest I’ve had in the guys over the past year, part of me still doesn’t want this dreamlike season of my life to end.

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Kissing your posters goodnight: Robotic Seals, Paula Deen, and other Constructed Role Models.

FL Kissing Posters Goodnight CoverOk Folks, let’s set the wayback machine to a typical bedtime in suburban “Pleasant Valley”, Oklahoma circa early 1988.

The 11 year old fangirl who will be calling herself “Camille” in another decade or so has done her typical slapdash job on math homework while spinning More of the Monkees with a Tiffany chaser. She followed that up by devouring the latest Lurlene McDaniel  feel good novel about childhood terminal illness with the speed and reflective nuance of your average wood chipper.  Another day of 5th grade nerdiness and social isolation awaits her, and her Dad’s overdue for a seizure to boot. Before turning out the lights, the girl stands on her bed to reach the 36×24 orange poster that looms over the room, surrounded by other pinups and photos. Under her lips as she kisses four times, the poster feels both slippery from the coating and a little sticky from the dozens of good night kisses before that one. She turns out the light and as she drifts off, she once again wonders why, exactly, life is worth living. She mopes for a few minutes, and then she remembers. Whether on TV, in the songs they sang, or in what little she knows of their real lives, the guys on her wall never gave up, even when they screwed up or the whole world was against them. And somehow things had gotten much better for each of them. If they didn’t quit, then she couldn’t quit either. Holding on to that truth (or at least what she believes is the truth), she drifts off to sleep.

In that way, 24 hours at a time until the moment a year or so later when I abruptly outgrew both that dark space and (for almost 10 years) those 4 guys, I always decided not to quit. And somehow things got much better for me too. But here’s you’re a question to bake your noodle (if I didn’t still ponder it at times, would I be writing a pop culture blog?)—was it, as I believed at the time, really the Monkees (or any of my other early celebrity loves) who saved me from my depression, or was I motivated by four half-real (if even that) symbolic constructions that lived rent-free in my head? If the latter, didn’t I really just save myself?

…It depends.

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“It was easy then to know what was fair…”: Reviewing Monkee Business by Eric Lefcowitz

(February 2014: Read my Open Letter to Eric Lefcowitz here)

Ok, Ok, my initial gobsmacked reaction on Tumblr, where I compared Davy Jones to Fredo Corleone, was a trifle overblown. But not much.

Monkee Biz Cover

The new closing chapters of Eric Lefcowitz’s Monkee Business present a series of events that clarifies all the seeming contradictions and confusion in the demise of the final Threekees 1.0 tour in 2011, as well as the birth of Threekees 2.0 and the 2012 Gazpacho tour. There are two big bits of news here. I’ve been something of a cynic about Davy Jones for a good long time (read: 15-ish years), but the first of Lefcowitz’s claims damn near broke my heart.  The second bombshell, while it may be startling, is completely of a piece with Davy’s behavior in the 80s, 90s, and beyond. Neither of these bits of news is terribly pretty, and I am left with something of a bad taste in my mouth. However, I decided long ago that I would accept and embrace the real story of my once and future favorite band, even the parts that make me queasy. Monkee fans, and especially Davy fans, you might want to grab your TUMS. This will be a long ride.

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On “Owning” Celebrities (or, May I never be as famous as Charlaine Harris)

3kees2point0

First, go off and read this piece in today’s Mary Sue. The comments are actually good too, as of about noon anyway. The TL;DR, some fen are threatening suicide because their favorite southern vampire series is ending and they’re concerned the imaginary heroine might not end up with the right imaginary vampire. (I assume vampire anyways—Anne Rice ruined me for all later vampire fiction, including most of her Post-Queen of the Damned work.*)

Now I know I’ve ranted on this point time and time again here and on Tumblr, because it’s a pet peeve, and it’s come up a LOT over the past year in my Once and Future Fandom. In fact, instead of my usual opening “celebrities don’t owe us diddly squat” rant, I’ll just paste in this 1,100-ish word picture from the Monkees Confessions tumblr that puts it all rather more clearly than I’ve managed to in the last 8-ish months of grumbling about this topic.

OK, is everyone clear on my opinion at this point? Good. Let’s move on to some new ground. Continue reading


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How to survive a celebrity meet and greet: Part 1 (Breakfast)

meet and greet cover picHey all! I’m experimenting with multi-part series this week, and today’s the first of a three-part post on the art of the meet and greet. After kicking off with a little cultural theory of the fan/celeb “relationship”, I’ll follow up with a little exploration of what it might feel like to be at the receiving end of the star gaze, and provide some practical tips for navigating a planned or spontaneous Meet and Greet without losing your dignity or earning a restraining order–the sort of guide I wish I’d had as I stood in line to meet my first celebrity, many, many years ago. I hope you enjoy! Continue reading


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Zen and the art of being a “huge fan”

OMG! Roses read my Tumblr!
OMG…Roses…read…my…Tumblr…

Assuming you don’t humiliate yourself with a derpy social misstep, It’s always a cool moment when someone you geeked out over respect acknowledges your existence, Like the time Iain Lee and I had a brief heated argument conversation  about library fines a while back, or when I got a twitter mention from a Podcast that outranks Kevin Smith. 😉 I had one of those Squee Moments right around New Year’s, when I was followed on Tumblr by TGWTG Producer Emerita PushingUpRoses. I found her via her snark-a-licious reviews of the Christmas Special, Head, and 33 1/3 Revolutions per Monkee, and then stayed to check out her let’s plays of sundry 90s PC games. (She’s a far better LPer than Doug “Nostalgia Critic” Walker was, though that ain’t saying much 😉 ). I reblogged her farewell video on  tumblr, and got a follow in return! I thanked her in a private message, trying to keep the “You Like me! You really Like me!” geeksqueeing to a minimum. Then she replied as you see above.

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My Favorite Podcasts: Never Gets Old and Nerdist (Part 1 of 2)

My Favorite PodcastsI run hot and cold on podcasts. I go through phases where I subscribe to a dozen of them for my commutes and repetitive work tasks, and other times where I don’t listen at all, opting instead for music or good ol’ NPR. I’m not sure if it’s burnout from both news (increasingly depressing/infuriating) and my playlists (repetitive, but I lack time to take on new artists), but right now I’m very into podcasts. There are four that I’m listening to pretty regularly at the moment, and I highly recommend them to anyone with an interest. I’ll cover two of them today, and the other two on Thursday. Continue reading


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“But what you have seen you must believe…”(The Monkees, November 17, 2012)

Rhino

 

Fair warning, this baby’s about 3000 words. If you want something more succinct and less subjective, I heartily recommend Dave Swanson’s review for Ultimate Classic Rock, which utterly nails the vibe of the evening. If you’re up for a longer, stranger trip, click onward. That said, I think I need to back up a bit first for my bias disclaimer. Not much though, just 15 years. 😉

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Gazpacho, Grief, and Gratitude

Once upon a time (2000), in a land (yahoogroup) called Long_Title, there lived four Frodis Femmes.

There was Cin, the ringleader, and Mich, the warrior, and Camille, the mystic (and your humble author), and Anissa, the sweetheart. The four of us had our own quirks and damage from various geek girl adolescent traumas, but beyond all odds we were brought together by a shared affection for a half-forgotten 60s boy band. We wrote fanfiction and went to concerts together and snarked on the guys’ eccentricities mercilessly (though always from a place of love). More importantly we became friends despite (or perhaps because of) our wildly divergent personalities.

But life, as it has a way of doing, got in the way after a few years as early-20s gave way to mid-20s. While we all stayed friends, we drifted apart a bit as we chased our own personal and romantic dreams. There were marriages and graduate degrees and careers to be created, and I like to think that each of us drew strength and writing skills from our time as postmodern self-aware Mary Sue kickers of fanfic villain butts as we figured out how to be heroes to ourselves.

That said, there’s a difference between growing stronger and growing harder. For reasons I’ll skip, I spent my whole life driven to be a success. Not to achieve fame or fortune, but to develop my talents to their utmost in the service of others, to make sure my life mattered. In service of that goal, I became a librarian. Then I wrote a scholarly paper. And then that paper was selected to be presented at a conference in Cleveland—the geographic center of the other Frodis Femmes. (I live a few states away).

There were a few tentative plans to meet up while I was in town, but nothing definite. And then, the week before my trip, my life went chaotic. While most of the issues had been sorted by the time I arrived in Cleveland, I was a basket case and there were still a few balls up in the air. Between that and the fact that logistics had never been finalized, I/we cancelled the meetup. It was an awkward time for all of us, and there’d be other chances, after all. At least, that’s what I told myself at the time.

Fast forward a couple years, to early 2012. For obvious reasons, the four of us started talking more in early march, and there was some tentative discussion of going to a Shoe Suede Blues show later in the year. Anissa was particularly enthusiastic. I didn’t commit one way or the other, as I was well into my Ph.D and didn’t know if more important things to my career would be going on.

On May 12, 2012, Anissa died in her sleep at the age of 36. As an occasionally wise man once said; “Boy, Dumbass me”.

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