Crossover Event 2: Harlots on Hulu

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In our second Crossover Event, Kate sits down with Lanie Lopez, host of the True Crime Fan Club Podcast, to talk about the Hulu Original show: Harlots. Set in the 18th century, the show provides a commentary on feminism, femininity, agency, and motherhood all through the eyes of the harlots of Great Britain. Written and directed by women, Harlots serves as a look into the lives of women often forgotten or pushed aside and tells their story through their perspective and how they find their power and identity in a world that would strip them of them. They recap the season, give our predictions for season 2, and applaud the show-runners for paying attention to race when many other period-dramas ignore it. Sit back, drop 20 quid in the bowl, and listen to their takes on this phenomenal show.

Where to find Lanie

twitter: @tcfcpod | facebook: /tcfcpodcast| instagram: @tcfcpodcast
truecrimefanclub.com

For an individual recap of each episode, check out Kate’s reviews here.
(the remaining episode reviews will be posted by 7/25)

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Who Should You Cosplay as?

No, this isn’t one of those blogs. I’m not here to tell anyone they CAN’T cosplay a specific character because of their age, sex, body shape, skin color, etc. At the end of the day, you can cosplay whoever you want to as long as you have fun!

Instead, this post is about how I determine if I have the means to cosplay a character. That’s right, I said means. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of characters I want to cosplay as. But, between time, money, and skill, I can only make so many cosplays each year. So, here’s the thought process I go through to determine if I should cosplay a character.

How much do I like the character?

This one is obvious. Do you love the character? I’ve had plenty of instances where I’ve wanted to cosplay a character but only because someone said I should. Other times, someone has badgered me into making a cosplay for a cosplay group. So, in the end, I only did so because I wanted to feel included. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the characters I cosplayed at these times. But, I didn’t love them. Now that I’m older and need to budget my money, I can’t really make a cosplay on a whim. Nowadays, the characters that I do decide to cosplay are those that I feel a special connection with. They’re usually role models; they are the sort of people I want to be; they empower me. You need to decide for yourself who you should cosplay; but I recommend cosplaying only those characters you feel a strong connection with. You’re more likely to put more effort into it anyways.

Do I have to wear a wig?

I HATE WIGS. IF I HAVE TO WEAR ONE OF THOSE SHITTY THINGS, I AIN’T GONNA DO IT. NO WAY.

I’ve worn a wig once… Never. Again.

How complex are we talkin’?

Complexity is an important factor. If your skills aren’t up to par, you may become disheartened when trying to tackle a complex costume. It’s important to have fun while making a costume so, if the costume-making process is stressing you out, it probably isn’t worth it. A complex costume can also be a hindrance to your wallet. This can mean needing to buy more foam (for armor) or more fabric than what you’re used to (if you aren’t a beginner). There’s been plenty of times when I’ve tackled a complex costume and have needed to wait multiple paychecks to finish it.

What type of armor is it?

Let’s be honest, if I’m making a cosplay there’s armor needing to be made. So, when it comes to armor, you need to consider what type of armor you’re trying to emulate and what materials you will need. Certain types of armor are easier to create with EVA foam. Others, not so much. Leather and armor that lack geometric patterns are a breeze to do with foam. But, when it’s easier to use more expensive materials, such as Worbla, I back off. It just isn’t worth it to me to spend a lot of money on more expensive materials when I’m only creating costumes for fun.

That bod~

I don’t really think about this one too much. Most of the people I’ve cosplayed come in one flavor: Masculine, tall, and muscular. If you learn one thing about me, know that I satisfy none of those categories. I just tend to like these characters. Sue me.

If you don’t think your body type is correct, there are plenty of ways to alter your body shape. For example, if the character you’re trying to portray is more muscular or broader than you are, and is wearing armor, it’s easy to make yourself larger by padding the armor. Hence why I don’t really pay attention to my body shape when considering cosplays (‘cause 90% of my cosplays deal with armor).

But, as a precautionary tale, you may want to consider your body shape more than I do. I’ve had many a friend who hand-made a tight and/or revealing costume for it to end up in the back of their closets once they were finished. Despite all the hard work they put into their costume, they couldn’t wear it because of their own insecurities with their bodies. Now, everyone has insecurities. I get it. But, it’s so sad that they put so much hard work into making something for it to never see the light of day. So, if you are considering cosplaying a character whose body shape doesn’t quite match your own, please be aware of your timidities before you put so much work and money into something you may never wear.

Not to sound like a broken record, but, ultimately, who you do or do not cosplay is up to you. Having fun is the most important part of cosplay. Don’t let anyone tell you different. Good luck!

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Episode 26: Shark Week Matters

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In it’s 29th year, Shark Week has become a pop culture institution. this week, Matt leads the crew through the history of the longest television programming event in history. From it’s roots as a way to raise awareness about shark conservation and teach the Jaws generations the facts about sharks,  to Andy Samberg, docufictions, and the road back to teaching viewers about science and the large under water world of sharks. We welcome shark-lover Kelley from the Murder Dictionary podcast as our special guest. Since this is about Shark Week, Matt drops some shark fun facts throughout the show and showcases how we became a culture that fears shark, when really, we should be protecting them. You know you should live every week like it’s Shark Week, but why tho?

Shownotes

A special thanks to Kelley from
Make sure you check out the Murder Dictionary Podcast
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Vin Diesel playing with Street Sharks

 

Shark Week footage of a Great White breaching the surface

 

 

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Spider-Man: Homecoming Spoiler Review

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After 2 Spider-Man film franchises, Marvel finally has the screen rights to bring their flagship character, into their cinematic universe. The BWT crew talks about the good, the great, and the amazing acting skills of Tom Holland and Michael Keaton. Kate and Matt mention the differences between the web-head they love and the Ultimates version brought to life. Adrian breaks down the importance of a younger Spider-Man but they all agree that Tom Holland was born to be your friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.

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‘Harlots’ Episode 6: Recap

There are two main points this episode: The lengths a mothers will go to in order to protect her children and what happens when the child in question isn’t important. It is about mothers episode but it is also an episode that perfectly highlights the fact that the show-runners could have ignored race, but, they chose not to ignore it. In too many period drama, the writers and directors do not  include characters of color in the main or supporting cast and excuse themselves by claiming “history.” When they are included, often there is no sense of the terrible struggle these characters would have endured. But in Harlots, the importance of women is highlighted by also including small discussions of race. Charlotte has turmoil in her life but it will not be the same as Harriet’s and Daniel Marney may be a harlot but he will never endure the same things as William. This episode sets the stage for the next to and is vital to finally getting resolution to our characters and having them become grounded in themselves and their relationships (except Lucy — I don’t like Lucy).

—– Spoilers Below —–

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Lucy Wells (Eloise Smyth)

Lucy Wells: Again, it is made clear that whoring is not a job that Lucy is good at nor one that she wants — I said this last episode but it is still the focus of Lucy’s arc. In this episode I think we are supposed to feel for her, have empathy for her position. But her constant antagonizing of the other women in the boarding house paints her as the perpetual brat, incapable of respecting the women in the job that she does not have the stomach to perform. In a way, I feel that this highlights her trouble with prostitution and is her outlet, but it is very off-putting and raising walls between me and the untouchable Lucy. In the opening we see that the other women in the house are frustrated that Lucy can’t take even one client, but Wells won’t hear it. Instead of being forced to take Lord Fallon, Mama Wells is open to the possibility of letting Sir George (Charlotte’s patron) buy her instead. When he comes to take her, and spite Charlotte in the process, Lucy will not have sex with him. As the scene looks to be a rape much like Charlotte’s Lucy stabs him. After the fighting William and Margaret rush up to help. Neither will believe that Sir George did not hurt her and William takes Lucy away to console her.

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Margaret Wells (Samantha Morton)

Margaret Wells: After paying attempting to pay off her debt to Lennox we see Margaret talking with Mags. We learn that the women escaped Quigley’s house and vowed to  run boards where the women earn and keep their money and are not held captives. While Mags is harboring Emily Lacy, Quigley remains in the dark of her whereabouts. Mags uses their vow to ask Margaret for help but receives silent agreement. But, when your daughter kills your other daughter’s patron, choices have to be made. After Margaret rushes in to see Sir George stabbed, she makes the call to not send Kitty for surgeon. She lets him bleed out, or at least tries to. When Quigley shows up unannounced and certain that Lacey is there, Margaret struggles to keep the dying Sir George a secret. Knowing that Quigley will be unrelenting in her pursuit of Lacey, she makes the decision to save her daughter from murder and stops waiting for him to die. She strangles him. With Quigley’s scouts still posted outside the Greek Street house, she calls Mags (whose very adapt to disposing of bodies — I need more of her story) to help and in the same take goes to Quigley and gives up Lacey. To protect her daughter, Mama Wells has betrayed her oldest friend, fought with her husband, had him dispose of a body, and has turned into a Quigley-esque figure.

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William North (Danny Sapani)

William North: I haven’t included men in my recaps because they have largely been background characters reacting to the women in the story. In this episode we see the importance of William in the lives of the Wells women. Beyond this, his story is told in small part and we get to know him as a character more than we get to know any of the other men in the series. When he is first shown in the episode we see him with Harriet, as she fears that her children are doomed to slavery. Here we learn that he was never slave but born a free Englishman but vows to be an advocate for Harriet to his wife in order to help her children know the same freedom. However, when he brings up helping Harriet, Margaret reminds him that they still need to pay their debts to the Lennox son. When we see him next, he and Margaret are with Lennox says that he will not sit near William as he is not a man. William asserts that he will sit where he pleases and Margaret supports him. She doesn’t turn on him to preserve the payment of her debt but as Lennox begin to argue and it becomes clear that William will not bow to Lennox the payment falls through, leaving the relationship soured further. When he apologizes to Margaret, she doesn’t accept it. The willingness of Mama Wells to stand by him even is a testament to their relationship. When Lucy stabs Sir George, it is her Pa that comes to save her, who consoles her. There is no tension between Lucy and William, as if he was the unwanted step-father, instead, their emotional connection is genuine and he is her father. When Margaret comes to him before she kills Sir George, he is shaken, fearful of what will come upon her instead of fetching the surgeon to save him. Surprisingly, William is comfortable trusting the law, insomuch as to escape the mortal sin of murder. But after Margaret kills him, William does what he needs to do and protects her, disposing of the body.

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Lydia Quigley (Lesley Manville)

Lydia Quigley: Having promised the Spartans a girl to kill, Quigley begins to conspire to find Emily Lacey and offer her as the girl. This would be to cement her relationship with the crooked judge and position her at the same level as the Spartans that seek to rule and subjugate the women that she steals for them. Aside from kidnapping Emily Lacey to gain vengence for her son’s attempted murder, Dame Death does little this episode. But she is very open with Mags’ girls when she abducts Lacey, letting them know that it was Wells who turned on them.

©Monumental Television

Amelia (Jordon Stevens), Florence Scanwell (Dorothy Atkinson)

Amelia & Florence Scanwell: I will be talking about them together, as this is the first episode where they are not in opposition or fear of each other. Instead of doing as Quigley in fears that she will spill her secret, Mama Scanwell breaks down and tells her daughter about her past. She explains that she was a harlot in the “worst” way and that her blindness was God’s punishment (chances are she has syphilis, so not entirely wrong). Upon hearing this, it seems pretty clear that the confession of her past has alleviated at least some of the shame Amelia feels for being in love with a woman. After the confession, it’s clear that Florence is more than just a street preacher focused on yelling about Hell in front of whore-houses.  She is instead a woman who is haunted by her past and uses that shame to “save” others, but in her own shame she wasn’t able to preach forgiveness because she had not felt it herself. With Amelia’s forgiveness, will her outlook change? But as one secret is removed from Quigley’s arsenal, we learn that she has more. Amelia’s kiss at Hades night is in play now, we’ll have to see how it’s used.

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Harriet Lennox (Pippa Bennet Warner)

Harriet Lennox: Harriet’s first scene this episode is her holding a pound. She explains that she has never had her own money. With her children taken, her money is the only hope she has. With her children seen as property, money is the only way she can save them. This is the reality. Where Mama Wells must sell her daughter into patronage to a man, Harriet struggles to keep her children from the slavery she knew. Lennox shows to the house and informs her that they are available for purchase but only for a couple of days. He and the children will be leaving to Virginia. When Harriet hears it she pleads and when William shows with money attempting to buy the children, Lennox refuses. It is not clear if he will even accept an offer for them, as he seems revel in Harriet’s pain, seeing it as payback for his father leaving abandoning his mother on her deathbed.

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Charlotte Wells (Jessica Brown Findlay)

Charlotte Wells: She wants to leave. Charlotte meets up with Daniel Marney and they plan their escape. They Plan their escape by heading to Sir George’s house to collect her “wages” from the man who kicked her out. They are stopped by Haxby and after an exchange they leave. After they leave, Charlotte and Marney have sex. And she explains that she wasn’t sure how to do it, she wan’t sure what it meant, and that for the first time it wasn’t for work. Marney explains that there is no money in the room. Charlotte’s life is hopeful, but we know Sir George is dead and Charlotte will be the number one suspect.

Some of the side moments: Fanny heads to see the doctor and insists on an abortion as the boarding house will force her out. The doctor informs her that it’s too late and that the child is almost born.

**All photos courtesy of Hulu. Harlots is available for streaming the first 5 episodes, with new episodes posted every Wednesday on Hulu**

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Episode 25: True Crime Matters…But Why Tho?

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**We talk about murder & sexual assault this episode, it is not a detailed recounting of crime, but we thought you should know the topics involved — The BWT? Crew**

True Crime is everywhere. Netflix has been producing original documentaries, podcasts are debuted daily, and Zac Efron is about to bring Ted Bundy to life in a new movie. This week, we tackle a genre that makes some uncomfortable and empowers others: True Crime. Kate brings us through the fact that we have always been obsessed with true crime and why, with help from Brianna from the Murder Dictionary Podcast. We talk about the community that has been built around it, the influence of real life serial killers on our pop culture horror creations, it’s majority female audience, and how learning about heinous crimes helps listeners and readers of the genre cope with their anxieties.

Shownotes

A special thanks to Brianna fro
Make sure you check out the Murder Dictionary Podcast
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From Kate:
If you’ve been keeping up with me on twitter then you know that are many issues surrounding the podcast My Favorite Murder and their dismissal of their POC fans. This was recorded before this happened. I talk about the true crime community in a very positive light and plan on addressing the negative in the future.

Think we missed something? Send us an email, a tweet, or a Facebook comment! Matt will makes sure to cover it on The Other Side of the Wormhole! The side-show that talks about all the things we wanted to say and just couldn’t fit into the episode.

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RTX Austin 2017 Recap

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Kate and Matt went to their first Rooster Teeth Expo in Austin July 7-9th. They got to experience the fandom around Rooster Teeth hits like RWBY and Red VS Blue and the communities that have formed around Achievement Hunter, FunHaus, Kinda Funny and more! They take you through the cosplay, the charities, the community, the exclusive RTX 2017 content, and the massive line that ate RTX day 1. If you went to RTX Austin 2017, let us know what you thought about the convention!

Shownotes

For images of the event, including cosplay, check it out on our events page!

Cosplay
Impact Props
Website | YouTube | Facebook

The 405th Infantry Division
Website

Prop Makers Coalition
Shinka Studios
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr

CuteMonster Props
Twitter | Etsy

Hyperhylian Props
Facebook | Etsy

NipahDUBS
Facebook | Twitter | Store | Website

*Prop-makers and cosplayers who were at the booth with available cards on day 2*

Charities
1Up On Cancer
Website | Twitch Facebook |Twitter
How to get involved — Newsletter | Start a Charity Stream | Donate

The Able Gamers Charity
Website | Twitter | Instagram | Twitch | Facebook
How to get involved — Donate

Extra Life
Website | Twitch | Facebook | Twitter
How to get involved — Become an Extra Lifer | Join your local guild

SideQuest
Website | Twitter | Facebook
How to get involved — Donate

The Web Around
Website | Order One Now | Twitter | YouTube | Facebook

Awesome People Who Made Our Experience Everything!
Dr. Patricia Todd
Website
WKU Streaming Survey (link to come)

Kiraeyl
Twitch | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube
Get Involved with Twitch Nashville here

DelacroixPlays
Twitch| Twitter

And a special shout out to Elvis and Brian!

Get Involved with Twitch Texas here

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My hype has never been intense for COCO

The Book of Life came out in 2014 and I wrote a blog about why you should watch that awesome movie instead of Disney Pixar’s Coco. However, as more information has come out, I’ve found myself conflicted. On one hand, here is a movie being put out by Disney that has a little brown boy as a lead, the voice cast is is all Latinx, and it has the chance to increase Latinx visibility in a time where we are often the target of aggression in the political and private spheres.

But on the other hand, I seem to be one of the few people who didn’t post articles on Twitter celebrating it’s news and actually got in an argument in the thread of the Geeks of Color post because I will not forget that Disney tried to copyright “Dia de los Muertos.” I was told that this is small and they ended up backtracking, and because of all this I should put my faith in Disney to bring Coco to life. But why? Name the last time you witnessed Mexicans in the spotlight of popular culture? Did the appropriation of Chola fashion the Day of the Dead parade in the most recent Bond movie come to mind, Gloria from Modern Family (I love her but still)? They should have. By and large, there is very little visibility for Latinx fans of pop culture, and when we do get stories representing us, we are almost always immigrants, hyper-sexual, and/or played by actors who have changed their names to fit be read as white by casting directors and fans alike. (Of course there exceptions like Jane (Jane the Virgin), Gus (The Strain), Cassian (Rogue One)) Sure we have Salma, Diego, Penelope, and some of the same names you hear all the time. But when it comes to how people see us, we’re always the immigrant.

Although I love seeing Dia de los Muertos in the main stream, its detachment from its strong emotional and cultural meaning in Mexican and Mexican-American’s lives is removed, packaged, and worn as costumes. Although I’m excited for Coco, it is again a tale someone in a small plain village in some part of Mexico who experiences the Land of the Dead. While this film can show the importance of the holiday to audience members of non-Mexican descent, it still casts the holiday as something other. We are still poor, plain, and not American.

Apparently the director Lee Unkrich spent time in Mexico researching the movie — he’s white by the way, so that the script he wrote was “authentic.” This is yet another problem for me. To write about such an emotion series of days and concept, why not hire a Mexican or Mexican American writer? That’s what made The Book of Life‘s story so special. Although Disney casted all Latinx voice actors and The Book of Life did not, the story being told through those actors is still a story told from the outside looking in. Lee wrote a dog into the script that isn’t a chihuahua, but instead a dog once revered by the Aztecs: the Xoloitzcuintle (or Xolo for short). Beyond this, it seems heavily influenced if not linked directly to the way the Mexican directed, written, and animated The Book of Life, I mentioned above. A boy told not to play music resists his family to pick up the guitar and then winds up exploring the land of the dead. The similarities are initially shocking.

 

In my last year in academia I gave a lecture on Mexican American traditions to a class of majority white students in Texas. The professor I was filling in for gave me the reading he assigned and I was taken aback that the site of study for Dia was San Antonio and yet it was explained as an immigrant celebration. We have always been here. Not every Mexican-American immigrated to the US and in places like Texas and California we have long traditions that are worked into the very fabric of our cities. Not because Mexican immigrants came and changed the landscape but because Native Texans (Mexicans and indigenous tribes) created the landscape. So to see yet another character that is removed from this idea I was sad.

Articles and tweets have been made about how Coco is what we need in the time of Trump where Mexican-Americans and other Latinx communities are disparaged regualarly. It was highlighted that we need a “love letter to Mexico.” But we don’t. We need a love letter to the Mexican-American experience that is not only shaped by immigration but also through a detachment from Mexico, a love letter to Spanglish and Tex-Mex food, a love letter to being too brown for the majority of Americans and yet too American for the groups we are lumped into.

The movie is scheduled to release on November 22 in the US and it may be great. But I won’t be hyped, I won’t forget what the studio has done, who has written it, or what it reinforces. We are more than Dia de los Muertos. We have always been here. and I am hoping Coco succeeds so that we can have studios telling our stories beyond this and as a part of the fabric of America as opposed to a culture entirely removed.

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Episode 24: Spider-Man Matters…But Why Tho?

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This week talk about the face of Marvel Comics and the most internationally lucrative heroes: Spider-Man. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Peter Parker’s alter ego first appeared in 1962 and has been spinning webs and saving New York ever since. From comic book, video game, big screen, and public service campaigns, Spidey has been every where and chances are you know at least a little of his story. We track the success of the character in history and ultimately talk about the literal universe that has been created around him, with characters like Spider-Gwen, Miles Morales, and Silk keeping the legacy going. As we work through the But Why Thos, we realize quickly that what makes Spidey, well super, is Peter Parker, and his success is deeply rooted in the ability of audiences to easily relate to the character.

Think we missed something? Send us an email, a tweet, or a Facebook comment! Matt will makes sure to cover it on The Other Side of the Wormhole! The side-show that talks about all the things we wanted to say and just couldn’t fit into the episode.

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Episode 23: Transformers Matters…But Why Tho?

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This week, Adrian brings us through the 30 year history of Transformers. It all started a Japanese-American joint venture for a line of Hasbro toys and transformed into one of the most beloved and marketable franchises of the last quarter-century. As a Marvel/Disney property, the crew dives into the possibilities for crossovers and talk about how the Transformers-verse merging with Disney’s other properties have spawned some awesome comic-book cameos and lines of action figures. Adrian also brings us through how Transformers aren’t just robots in disguise but are really among the first sentient robots, with their own stories to tell. And last but not least, we talk about how in spite of bad critic reviews, Micheal Bay’s film adaptations have smashed the box-office and become a touch-stone for a new generation of fans.

Shownotes

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Think we missed something? Send us an email, a tweet, or a Facebook comment! Matt will makes sure to cover it on The Other Side of the Wormhole! The side-show that talks about all the things we wanted to say and just couldn’t fit into the episode.

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