Monday, May 8, 2017

Biblical, Shakespearean, and Other Themes in "Heathers"

Let's celebrate my half birthday by sharing my first analytical blog essay in months! :D

For the past few weeks, I have been on a "Heathers" kick. Heathers was a teen movie in 1988 starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater and it was remade as an Off-Broadway musical in 2014. I watched this YouTube video one Sunday morning, heard "Dead Girl Walking", liked it, looked it up along with the rest of the musical, and the rest was history.

I had heard about the musical when it came out, but still didn't really think that much about it. Although, I will give its Twitter account credit for being the one Broadway musical account to follow me. ;)

I never really knew what "Heathers" was about, hence my current interest to now delve more into it. All I knew was that it is about a clique of girls all with the name Heather and that this teenage bad boy tries to kill everybody. I always sensed the dark tone, but now I have more of an understanding of the story in general.

For example, I never knew that Ryder's character wasn't named Heather. I always thought that she was the fourth Heather or something. However, high school senior Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder in the movie, Barrett Wilbert Weed in the musical) is a teenage nobody who longs for life in elementary school when all of her classmates got along with each other. She hooks up with the awful popular girls, the Heathers (Heather Chandler, the Queen Bee, Heather Duke, the bitchy second-in-command, and Heather McNamara, the one that tags along and has some deep issues of her own), in order to avoid being targeted by the bullies. She becomes attracted to new kid Jason "J.D." Dean (Christian Slater in the movie, Ryan McCartan in the musical) when he is the only one strong enough to stand up to the bullies and wishes for him to protect her. The two develop a sort of flirtation and end up accidentally-on-purpose murdering the mean kids for revenge and framing the homicides as suicides to alleviate the blame, thus launching a whole teen suicide awareness campaign at their Westerburg High School. From this, Veronica's life starts to spiral out of control as J.D.'s true dark colors are revealed and he gets more and more determined to purge the bullies in order to sanctify society.

There are some themes in this plot that I believe are worth noticing, so let's dive right in! :) Incidentally, although I will be talking about both the film and the musical, I'll be going by the musical more. They made some changes from the film for the stage version and I feel more familiar with the latter.

Beware of spoilers and adult language!!!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

I'm Still Here!!!

Hey friends! You might be wondering where my blog posts have been. Well, as I have said in this blog post, once I get busy professionally, I can't really focus as much on this blog. However, that being said, this blog is still a priority that I keep thinking about. I have blog posts to finish and share (especially this year's Women's History Month project, which is almost finished but yet behind...I'm working on it!) plus other things I want to accomplish, so I just wanted to let you know that I'm still here! :) April has been a pretty busy month for me, for I recently started a new freelancing position that has been keeping me hard at work, so I am extremely grateful for that. It's just a matter of me managing my time better and using my free time to work on this blog.

So, there you have it! :)

-Stef :)

Monday, March 27, 2017

Stef's Female Friendships - My Early Childhood Family Friends: Mom and Ea, and Cyndi

Let's kick off the final week of Women's History Month with my female friendship series. I'll start this year's series off with the first two women in my life, my mom Lucille and my Aunt Ea, or simply, Ea. Her real name is Maria, but as a kid I struggled to say it, so my Grandma Mary suggested that it be shortened to just "Ea" and it stuck. I still call her that to this day and now my teenage cousin, her nephew Michael, the son of the late Veronica "Roni," calls her the same.

l-r: Ea, Me, and Mom
My Mom and Ea are sisters and are both 100% Italian American, so they definitely contributed to my Italian culture pride. FYI, I'm not Italian at all on my father's side, hence my last name.

My mom is entirely the best. I love her so much. I mean, sure like any mother and daughter (especially Italian American ones) we have our disagreements, but we have such a wonderful relationship. I'm an only child, so I tend to hang out with my parents a lot and my mom and I share mutual interests. She enjoys going to see theater and movies with me and lately we've been coloring and exercising together. Another favorite mother/daughter activity we enjoy is going out to eat for appetizers and Coors Light beer lol. I am so grateful to have such a great mom. She's my best friend and we're constantly laughing together. Quite frequently we are mistaken for sisters (she loves that lol). She is always there for me and is alway proud of my writing and encouraging me to heighten my self-esteem. I love her so very much and my friends love her too.

Then there is who I call my second mom, my Aunt Ea. Ea was my designated babysitter along with my two grandmothers before they passed away, so I have plenty of memories with her. Where do I start? lol

When I was a child, she was my built in playmate, often taking part in homemade plays with me. She often says that even though I no longer really play with toys anymore, now she can spend time with me in other ways. Normally when I talk or blog about Paper Mill Playhouse shows, I see them with her. See? There is clearly a theme. No matter what the age, we often go out to eat together. lol Sometimes we even cook together. :)

Ea watched me grow up and was always there for birthdays and other big events. I may call her my second mom, but she is also my official godmother, assigned at my Baptism, so therefore she makes sure to instill Catholic teachings into Michael (her godson) and myself consistently. Her house is also my second home. My family has dinner there (it always smells good) and I sometimes sleep over there too. I attribute to Ea plenty of lifetime recollections. I love her. :)

Cyndi (on the left) and I at my miniature dachshund
Jeffrey's birthday party that I threw for him. lol
Because I grew up an only child and only have male cousins (Michael on my mom's side, Chuckie and Jimmy on my dad's), I did not really have any female relationships my age during my initial years of life. Then I remembered that Cyndi, my neighbor, was there to fill that void. Cyndi herself has two older brothers and became, I guess you could say, my surrogate sister.

When my parents moved in, they befriended the couple across the street. Eventually both my mom and Cyndi's mom were expecting at the same time. Cyndi was born in late August and then I came around early November. Cyndi's father said that we could hang out until we eventually made our own friends and we did just that. It was easy to hang out because we lived right across the street from each other. She would come over my house and I would go over hers, but most of the time our conversations consisted of us shouting at each other from our opposite lawns. :P

Cyndi's father's prediction ultimately came true. We went our separate ways as we got older, her becoming an athlete and me becoming the artsy fartsy you know and love. However, we still talk. :) We still live in the same houses, greet each other, and chat about our professional lives and her latest activities with Pokemon Go and roller derby.

Despite our differing interests, it's nice to have her there. :)

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious) Stef's Female Friendships Women's History Month Project

This Women's History Month I am going to do something extra special. For my series "Real Influential Women Role Models (Real and Fictitious)" in the past, I have written about fictional female characters and the occasional celebrities and historical figures who I feel exhibit characteristics of the strong woman. I also spotlighted several female TV show cast of characters that compose the nature of their particular shows. Now I am planning something completely different.

This Women's History Month, I decided to write blog posts focusing on the various groups of women who have shaped me, from family members to friendships I have made during my different stages of life. I've noticed that I have individual groups of friends that each has its own title depending on our friendship's theme. So throughout this month (the plan is weekly), I am going to share stories about my friends and how they have each contributed to my life and continue to do so. :)

I'm very excited about these heartwarming installments. Stay tuned!

Happy Women's History Month! :D

(Edit: These might take a while longer because I'm realizing that I may want to include some more photos that I need to find, but I will do my best to deliver these throughout the month, even if it may go into April.)

(Edit: March 16, 11:30 AM: I might save all of these for the final two weeks of March. :) )

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Stef's "So Good You Can't Put It Down" Book Reviews: Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge

LOL! Finally!

2016 was my first year participating in a Goodreads Challenge. Determined, I originally planned on reading 12 books this year, one for each month. However, seeing that I probably wouldn't accomplish this amount, I shortened it to eight books this year. Baby steps.

I did manage to read some whole books, but at the end of the year I was still behind. However, I also dabbled and started some other books, so to me, as long as a still read something, it still counts regardless if I completed them or not. I'll probably consider them my 2017 books too when I actually finish some of them. :P

For a lot of the books I read, I use My Bibliofile: A Reading Journal for Book Lovers to record my thoughts along the process. My father gave me this for Christmas one year and it is one of the best gifts I have ever received! Some books I do not include in this because I want to save pages in it and want to dedicate my entries to books I know I am into and want to finish. I think I might use some of the notes I took in this so I can remember what I thought of these books better. :P

So here are the books I read in 2016! :D