We’ve lent our canvas to multitalented artist and illustrator, Kendra Dandy. Drawing direct inspiration from the vibrant colors and playful nature of the ‘60s, Kendra’s imaginative illustrations are featured in a unique collection across Vans footwear, apparel and accessories. We just had to learn more about the Philadelphia based artist and find out what inspires her cheeky, smile-inducing patterns.
Aaaaaaaaaaaand a shipper was born. This was the scene that did it for me. I think I watched it about six times over. At least. And the next morning, I bought “Vienna” and basically listened to it on repeat. It remains my fave Ashes song. The song plays a big role in making this scene so special – from the impact of the bullet, to Gene stepping slow-mo through the falling glass in his cowboy boots with a look of dogged determination. From the line “A man in the dark in a picture frame, so mystic and soulful…” as the clown of death hovers over Alex, to the synthetic strings and vocals soaring as Gene bursts through the door, to the schwep (I don’t know how to describe that) sound when her eyes open on him about to give her the kiss of life. I don’t know how they accomplished it or if it was just a fortunate accident but the flutter of her eyelashes is perfectly in sync with the beat of the music as she takes him in, tries to figure out what’s happening. That beat, the underlying pulse that echos throughout the song deftly illustrates both the restarting of Alex’s heart and the pounding of Gene’s as he tries to revive her, as she comes to, as she touches him, looks up at him, panic turning into something else entirely.
As @it-is-bugs pointed out recently, this is the same song that plays when Alex enters this reality and now it plays as she almost leaves it. The main refrain “This means nothing to me…” initially reflected Alex’s lostness in 1981. But here, it reflects Gene’s stoic denial of concern and care. He’ll admit to lust as he rips opens her shirt but he won’t admit he cares about this woman or how much. He won’t admit, not even to himself, how her loss might affect him. Nor will he admit, after her little Sleeping Beauty moment breaks, to being affected by her proximity, her touch, her gaze, her breath, the nutty ramblings he’s gotten so used to. So he cracks wise, true to Gene Hunt form. Though I will note, that when he does, he doesn’t pull back. He sort of settles over her like the protective angel that he is, one arm draped over her body and one around her face, hand cupping her curly hair and concussed head.
This scene, while it delivers a typical romantic rescue trope, delivers it with a twist. The rescue, which is traditionally about male heroism, male strength and protection and, let’s face it, the male gaze, gets overturned when Alex’s eyes open. Gene is suddenly seen, enacting his heroism, enacting his desire. He is seen in a moment he wasn’t expecting to be, in a moment she was supposed to be vulnerable and he was supposed to be strong. But she’s seen him vulnerable, caught him caring. His heart is showing and for several moments he seems incapable of tucking it away again. For several moments, he looks like a deer caught in the headlights. More overwhelming in him than the need to conceal, which does eventually kick in, is his relief at her survival. I am again going to use the word “rapt” here because nothing else quite describes the look of utter absorption that occurs on Gene’s face whenever his Bolly manages to side-step danger. The big heroic male with his wheels and his gun and his boots and his sexy, dramatic entrance is instantly reduced to a pile of goo under the direct, untroubled gaze of the woman he loves.
And this is what I love about season 1 (one of the things). For me, it is a far more ironic text. It can be read two ways – as a viewer, you get to both enjoy this romantic trope and enjoy it being overturned, interrupted. You can bask in the romance of it all and at the same time laugh at it, laugh at these ridiculous constructions of “helpless woman” and “heroic man” that do not come close to encapsulating the complex characters of Alex Drake and Gene Hunt, both of whom are helpless and heroic. Both need to be saved by the other and both are stripped back to their vulnerable core in the wordless, breathless moment in which their eyes connect and breaths mingle in a near-kiss. Like the scene in the vault of a few episodes back, the sexual content of the scene is overt. Yet, beneath it is more covert, complex emotion. Emotion that does not get resolved, emotion that lingers at the end of the episode as they head out of CID headquarters. Gene is clearly wanting to resolve both the sexual and emotional issues that arose from the rescue (though again, he will only admit to the former). But he gets cock-blocked by a little kid and, of course, Evan.
Evan, whose presence is also with them in the vault, is indicative of Alex’s shifting allegiances throughout s1. Whenever she becomes dissatisfied with her cop family, Alex runs to Evan or her mother for assurance or advice. Whenever she becomes disillusioned by her family’s imperfection and lies, she returns to her CID tribe, the people who share her values, practices and instincts. She is still in the process of letting go of her family, of learning that, in this world, her family actually consists of three Northern bastards – one bullish, one misogynistic, one nervous (cautious) but all sweet in their own ways – and a sassy Essex chick with loads of potential. Alex is still learning that, in this life, the main man in her life, the one who will protect and support her, isn’t Evan, but Gene. She doesn’t figure it out in this episode, the reveal of Gene in her bed, in her dreams, coming one moment too late. She won’t totally understand this, accept it until the final episode when she sees him take the hand of her younger self. She won’t totally commit to occupying her place as Mummy Bear in her new, adopted family until the final scene of this fantastic opening series.
Through a feminist lens: Disney Channel's "K.C. Undercover"
In case you were wondering, the reason why you probably haven’t heard of K.C. Undercover is because it’s the newest show on…Disney Channel. Why, you may ask, am I reviewing a show on Disney Channel? Do I - dare I say it - watch Disney Channel?! In one word, yes. It’s a problem. But that’s a conversation for another day.
I’ve taken a particular interest in K.C. due to it being not only a show with a female lead who (literally) kicks butt, but also the only Disney show centered on a family of color since Wizards of Waverly Place and the only Disney show centered on a black family since That’s So Raven. Though the pilot hasn’t officially aired, I was able to watch it early on the Watch Disney app (yep, I have that on my iPhone; no shame). So, without further ado, here are some of my thoughts on the K.C. pilot.
Yes, that’s Zendaya. If you haven’t listened to her debut album, DO IT.
To my surprise, K.C. isn’t riddled with stereotypes about black families (unlike every Tyler Perry comedy). The family is upper-middle-class, made up of two employed parents, a mother and father, both accountants; an older daughter; and a younger son - in other words, pretty much like every other (cough cough white) family on Disney Channel. Well, except that they’re secretly spies. NBD. Most of all, I’m happy that the predominantly privileged, white producers over at Disney Channel didn’t try to incorporate their strange interpretation of “urban slang” into the script.
K.C., the daughter, attends a predominantly white high school, but that hasn’t been dealt with explicitly yet. In the first episode, the only POC outside of her family with whom she has prolonged interaction is a rival black male teen spy. They find themselves instantly attracted to each other, which makes me wonder if Disney decided to choose a black character for K.C.’s first love interest in order to further diversify the cast, or if they assumed that of course a black girl would be attracted to a black guy. In any case, black women on TV are often romantically paired with white men (Annalise and Sam in How to Get Away with Murder, Olivia and Fitz in Scandal, etc.), and it’s great to see Disney creating black characters outside of K.C.’s immediate family.
This is the rival spy. Sadly, we probably won’t see too much more of him.
Feminism & gender stereotypes
K.C.’s parents invite her to join their spy missions because she’s a frickin’ genius. Actually, though. She’s a perfect student, does robotics for fun, and apparently fitted her family’s house with solar panels. The fact that Disney made K.C. a girl in STEM is the coolest thing ever, IMO; if anyone needs an extra push into math and science, it’s the preteen girls watching Disney Channel.
Oh, and did I mention that K.C. is a black belt in karate? The show opens with an epic showdown between her and an adult spy dude, and obviously she kicks his ass…in a sexy evening gown and heels, no less.
Basically, K.C. is Disney Channel’s best female role model: brave, super good at math, physically tough, and hella assertive.
Whoops, time to run - gotta go be a supermodelsuperspy.
On the other hand, K.C.’s best friend Marisa is her polar opposite: a super party girl who does badly in school and cares only about boys and clothes. (This isn’t a surprise; Disney Channel is riddled with girls like this.) The show’s heteronormativity issues start with Marisa, who tries desperately to get K.C. to act more like a stereotypical girl. When K.C. finally decides to attend a school dance (secretly because she needs to spy on the hot teen spy dude), Marisa grabs a bunch of dresses and cries, “It’s a girl!”, as if a) girls need to be interested in feminine pursuits like fashion, and b) ONLY girls can get excited for dressing up. However, K.C. basically rolls her eyes at this reaction, encouraging the audience to do the same.
Nerdy vs. popular
Traditionally, Disney Channel has treated academically-motivated kids with disdain. If a character studies hard and gets stellar grades, they’re usually ridiculed by their peers (see Farkle and his nerd buddies in Girl Meets World, Ravi in Jessie, and Kevin Covais’ character on Good Luck Charlie, just to name a few examples). Fortunately, Disney flips the script in K.C. - even though K.C. can be socially awkward like most Disney nerds, she gains confidence in herself and learns how to embrace her inner goddess, attracting her crush, making the “popular” girls jealous with her beauty, and breaking into an impressive tango routine at the school dance.
Yep, this what Disney Channel nerds usually look like. Nice sweater, bro.
Marisa, the kind of character who we’re supposed to look up to on Disney Channel shows, instead comes across as pretty silly. (Disney REALLY wants make this idea blatantly clear for viewers, even giving Marisa the line, “Studying: bad. Partying: good!”) The one issue I have with the show’s portrayal of Marisa is what I call “slut-shaming lite”: even though you never see her even kissing a guy, and nobody directly calls her out for her boy obsession, it’s obvious that we’re not supposed to take her too seriously. In one scene, she comes into a room with a guy for some “alone time,” and once she sees K.C. and the other teen spy in the room, she leaves to give them privacy, prompting the spy dude to joke that Marisa must not be very good at school. Why, spy dude? Are girls not allowed to party and be smart, huh?!
Weight & disability
When K.C. is in the school cafeteria, she sits next to a fat girl in a wheelchair who’s sitting alone, assuming that the girl is probably lonely. Suddenly, a bunch of the “popular” girls storm in and sit with the girl, who had been reserving their seats, and the girl starts bitching out K.C. for stereotyping people with disabilities. In one fell swoop, Disney Channel tackles the pervasive assumptions that kids who are fat and/or have a disability are outcasts and that all people with disabilities are “nice.” Even though typecasting the overweight girl as the brassy/sassy fat chick - popularized in contemporary film by Rebel Wilson & Melissa McCarthy - was a little disappointing, the show’s representation (and humanization!) of people with disabilities made my heart swell three sizes (too late for a Christmas reference?).
HOW IS DECEMBER ALREADY OVER?!
Aaaaaand that’s it. Usually I wouldn’t recommend Disney Channel shows to anyone (seriously), but so far, K.C. Undercover is pretty entertaining, and it’s exactly what the current white-washed Disney Channel needs. I’m not sure if the show will have staying power, since the writing and plot aren’t spectacular, but honestly, as long as it outlasts goddamn Dog with a Blog, I’ll be happy.
P.S. The (awesome) theme song for the show should drop on January 15. You can check out a preview of it in the show’s promo.
There was an article circulating with what the author called the Realities of Cosplay. And they were in general pretty inaccurate. Y'know like having to be pretty or that it has to cost an arm and a leg. Those came across as one guy venting his frustration and y'know, whatever. But there are some realities of cosplay that I do think people should be aware of.
Let me start by saying, this is a great hobby. I love it and I think everyone should try it at least once regardless of your age, gender, skin color, body type etc. Cosplay is a hobby about love and if you love what you’re doing then these harsh realities won’t matter much to you.
1. Some of us (cosplayers) can be jerks.
You would think that for a community made up of people that have spent a good chunk of their lives being ostracized we’d be a more unified people. But we, like all social groups, have a few bad apples that are just jerks. They’ll criticize your costume. They’ll exclude you. They’ll gossip and start all manner of drama that you thought you left at High School. We have elitists. We have snobs. We have controlling people. We have gossipers. We have two faced individuals.
And this isn’t because they’re cosplayers. It’s just who they are as people. And as the Cosplay Community gets bigger, you’re going to see a bigger percentage.. It’s how any social collective is and Cosplay is no exception.
2. The internet can be a cold, cruel place.
Look, I’m a thin white girl. It would be easy for me to tell you to completely disregard skin tone, body type, height, gender, etc and just cosplay who you want. But I won’t. It’s not because I think you shouldn’t because frankly I believe the opposite. It’s because I’m not the one that would have to deal with any resulting consequences. The internet is a dark, cruel place that uses a shield of anonymity to hide behind as people proceed to rip in to you bit by bit. I don’t feel like I have the right to tell you to just endure that anyways. That’s for you to decide.
That said, I’m not going to discourage someone from doing so. I have a friend who is a curvy lady with dark skin wanting to cosplay as Azula. Her idea and I think that’s just awesome. Chick is sassy and I think she could rock Azula. It was her idea. It’s her desire. Some of the internet won’t like that but she doesn’t give a crap. And that’s why she’s awesome. But she’s also very confident. She’s bold. And she doesn’t take any crap from anyone. She’s comfortable with herself and who she is and that’s what really makes the difference here. Whether or not you decide you are there or not is completely up to you.
The internet has all kinds of crap to sling at you. Make sure you are ready to withstand it. You’ll have people you never met standing behind you to support you but at the end of the day, you’re the one that gets to decide if you want to. And if you don’t, that’s okay too. You don’t have anything to prove to anyone. Confidence is part of the costume too.
3. There’s a good chance someone else has done your costume. And they’ve done it better.
I have this other friend. Wonderful chick. She’s talented. She’s determined. She has a good eye for things. She’ll start on a costume and then look up reference pictures only to see someone has already done it and it’s amazing. And then she gets discouraged and stressed and suddenly it’s a competition. “I will never be as good as ____ in mine.”
Unless you are actually competing, don’t worry about how well someone else has done a costume. Don’t let it discourage you. Don’t let it stress you out. Cosplay isn’t about being the best of that character. It’s about love. Love for the character. Love for what you do. Love for the people you do it for. Don’t worry about that super awesome cosplayer over there. Yeah they’re amazing but even if you think your costume looks like crap now, you still have room to improve. Your last costume was probably better than the one before it.
4. All costumes have a high cost
I’m not just talking money. There’s a saying among cosplay commissioners. Cheap, Fast, or Good. Pick two. What this means is you will either have to pay extra money, extra time, or sacrifice quality.,
Not all costs are financial. Sure you could make an incredible buster blade with cardboard and paper mache but it’s going to take a lot of time and a lot of skill. Sometimes the cost is not getting any sleep. Sometimes the cost is not getting to wear that costume to the convention because it wasn’t done in time. Sometimes it’s injuries like hot glue burns or cuts from exacto blades.
And even in a more literal sense. You get what you pay for. If you pay 75 dollars for a Lulu costume from FFX, I can go ahead and tell you: It’s not going to be very accurate. The material is going to suck. It’s probably going to fall apart. The cost there is quality.
5. Your mental, physical, and financial well being are more important than cosplay.
Let me say that again: Your mental, physical, and financial well being are more important than cosplay. If you are neglecting one of these things, you need to stop, sort that out, and then go back to cosplay. And don’t let cosplay affect any of these.
Don’t bind your chest with Duct tape to get it super flat. Don’t stay up for three days before the con to finish your costume. Don’t spend your rent money on worbla. Be responsible. Be an adult. Look after yourself and if you’re okay then you can go on with the hobby. I’ll often see the phrase ‘Cosplay is life’
NO IT ISN’T
And if that is life for you, back up and try to get things in order. Find some support. Talk to someone you trust. There is no costume…no prize. No convention. Nothing that is worth harming either of those three aspects of your life. You, a human being, are more valuable than any hobby. Take care of yourself first and then deal with any costume things.
Anyways that’s my version of the 5 harsh truths of cosplay. Please understand that I love cosplay and despite these facts, it’s still something I feel is worth doing.
Request from huntpraysupernatural: “Heeyyy!! I love your imagine adn your writings I ADORE THEM!! Could you pleeaseee write a dean x reader based on the 200th episode where Marie ships them together and in the later Chuck books they’re a couple? They both feel the same way but they won’t confess it? Can she please be a bad ass hunter sassy no chick flick moments type? Pretty Please?”
First off, thank you again for the compliment! I’m glad you’re loving my writing, I love writing them! Second, I had a BLAST writing this one!!!! It took all of my self control not to rewrite the whole episode, but I was able to pull my self back. I hope I did a good job! Enjoy!
(And this gif doesn;t really have anything do to with the one shot, it’s just my favorite part of the whole episode. XD)
Blurb?? Nice but sassy and witty chick and Harry tries to get her to fall for him but she won't for a while until harry does something really romantic. <3
Harry was at his wits end, he thought he was going to go completely bonkers soon.
He was ass over feet for you and you knew it, anyone within a 50 mile radius knew it, but he didn’t even care who knew or who called him whipped or what they thought about it, he wanted you in his life and that was that. He knew he could be for you, and he knew damn well that you were good for him; you weren’t even dating but already you’d caused him to see the world differently, made him want to do more, do better.
You got along famously. Every time the two of you spent time together there was nothing but laughter and familiarity and hours going by with a flutter of your long lashes and yet his heart still ached when he had to leave your presence. He loved your humor, your intelligence and your bright eyes, the way he could tell you anything and it would never change the way you looked at him.
The way he saw it there was only one thing wrong with this picture: you didn’t want to be with him.
The first time he’d asked you out, he admits he was drunk and most likely didn’t make the best case for himself, but it didn’t make him feel better when you just about laughed him out of town. The second time he tried a different tactic (besides being sober this time), and played it off as a group gathering, but he should have known better than to think you’d fall for that, not when everyone else he mentioned would be there was going with their significant other.
“Nice try,” you’d said, an attractive but slightly condescending smile on your face as you’d patted his arm like he was a kid before heading off.
The third time he threw all his pride to the wind and let his desperation show, and that turned out to be the most devastating attempt yet.
“What is your problem, huh, Styles?” He’d blinked in surprise, mouth dropping open in dismay. You looked half amused and half exasperated, your hands propped up on your hips. “Getting bored? You can’t find anyone else to drag around Hollywood?” Harry had completely deflated, his heart seizing; didn’t you know him better than that?
It took thirteen days of moping before Lou had finally heaved a long suffering sigh and put down her blow dryer to ask him what was up. It took some prodding but he’d finally come out with it, spilling out the whole story in one miserable, mumbled speech.
He’d expected sympathy, maybe even a hug and a ‘there’s other fish in the sea’, but what he’d gotten was a laugh and a 'you really are dense sometimes you know that?’
So that’s how he came to be here in front of your door, fidgeting nervously and this close to bailing. With Lou’s less than subtle guidance, he’d come to see his fatal flaw in attempting to woo you: all this time he’d been throwing himself at you with hearts in his eyes, convinced that you were the one for him, but he’d been over-eager, he’d never given you the opportunity to see that he wasn’t just trying to capture your heart. He wanted to give you his as well. He couldn’t blame you for thinking all he wanted was someone new on his arm, not when he’d done nothing to show you otherwise.
He rings your doorbell and he hears a soft thud and the loud, affronted mew of your cat, before you’re cursing and quickly pattering your way to the door. It makes him smile and puts him at ease a little, allowing him to smooth the worry out of his face before you open the door and stare confusedly up at him.
“Happy birthday,” he tells you before you can even speak, his voice soft because you look so pretty and perfect that it almost takes his breath away, and then he stretches out his arms to hand you a box.
“Oh, jeez, Harry….” You take the box in hand, eyeing it before you glance back up at him, your face unreadable. “I…you didn’t have to do this.” Harry shrugs, swallowing the lump of nerves in his throat.
“Didn’t want you to think I forgot.” He steps inside when you invite him in, following you to the living room, and tucks his hands behind his back to watch you carefully pick apart the wrapping paper, and the look on your face when you see what’s inside the box is worth everything. “It’s a-”
“A Magic Mandy doll.” There’s nothing other than awe in your voice, holding it up and examining it. “H-how did you…?”
“I remember you told me about how you lost yours when you were a kid, and it broke your little heart,” he looks down suddenly, a bit cowed by the intensity in your stare, and he wonders now if he maybe overstepped a boundary. “I know it’s not the same but, I guess, I guess I just thought that-”
And Harry can’t talk anymore, because you’ve thrown yourself into his arms and crashed your mouth to his so hard that your teeth collide a little, but that small tinge of pain is completely forgotten because when his arms come around you it’s the most natural thing in the world to him.
“Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you so much,” you’re crying a little into his neck, holding onto him tighter than he would’ve thought possible for you, but it feels good. It feels amazing.
“I didn’t do this just to make you go out with me,” he blurts, and you pull back to look at him with glistening eyes. “I did it because I wanted to. Because…because I think you deserve everything nice in the world."
You smile up at him, brilliantly, your soft fingertips brushing his cheek, and that point he doesn’t even care if he gets a date, or another kiss. He’s made you happy, he’s shown you a little bit of his heart and how you’ve wiggled your way into it, and that’s fine with him.