Friday, September 29, 2017

Project Runway: Two by Two

I usually try to give "Project Runway" the benefit of the doubt on the shenanigans. But the episode ends with to be continued.  They have done this before.  Decided it was too hard to tell in a team of two where the failure lay, and so sent both designers back to the workroom for a short head to head face off, and then sent one home.  I'm going to confess I had secretly hoped that they would send both Shawn and Claire home, but the judges seem to be working on the theory that one of them might be talented enough to stay., Normally I would be on board with that, but at this point I don't think "Project Runway" is in charge of breaking their co-dependency.  
So, yeah, no closure here.  
The challenge is a bunch of misdirects that boil down to the designers are assigned fabric in groups of two to create an outfit for JC Penney inspired by menswear but for women. They are working in teams, but not fabric teams, so must select another designer to work with.  So, Kentaro and Brandon, Ayana and Michael, Margarita and Batani, Kenya and Amy, and Shawn and Claire.  I know that last one shocked you.  Ayana and Michael end up safe, so we spend very little time with them and will have to assume they enjoyed working together.  Kentaro and Brandon are in their brotherhood zone and Michael slyly mentions that they seemed to ignore everything Tim said to them so he hopes they get so confident they end up falling flat.  
Margarita and Batani and Amy and Kenya both have troubled partnerships.  As do Shawn and Claire.  Amy says she went into this thinking well, Kenya's been more successful than I so, I can learn from her, and then gets really nervous when Kenya is spending time on something they are trying as a back up idea rather than focusing on the primary garments and starts to realize partway through that she should have taken more ownership and then is trying to change the dynamics on the fly and so they start runway day a little snippy with each other.  It's really hard to shift on the fly and Amy and Kenya both realize that they are not working well together but are trying to figure out in limited time how to address this.  
Margarita and Batani have distinct styles and Batani is asking a lot of questions and I suspect - through my expert ability to assume things based on highly edited footage - that it's partly a question difference.  If you are a person who doesn't ask a lot of does this go here, how would I do this questions, you can sometimes interpret working with people who externally process a lot as them needing a lot of help.  Sometimes they do. And sometimes they were just asking as they thought it through in their head and if you just let them go, they figure it out.  But Margarita was trying to be the best teammate and kept jumping in, and we see very little interview with Batani so she didn't seem bothered by it, but also maybe didn't need it.  
Shawn and Claire are reaching that hour ten in the backseat of the car level of sniping.  Claire appears to possibly be trying to pull back a bit, and not jump in to help her sister on every little thing.  She says at the beginning of the episode that she's been in the bottom twice now and really needs to evaluate.  And in sisterly fashion Shawn says, I have too.  Totally ignoring that she was in the top in the last episode with a pair of pants her sister made for her.  (I do get that the sibling thing makes it very very hard to let your sibling claim a thing that you have also experienced, and first!  But whew.)  
Top is Kentaro and Brandon with hoodie mix and match separates that are pretty much the exact blend of what you would have expected of them.  Margarita and Batani are also there with a shirt dress and a fancier dress with sailoresque buttons.  Margarita wins with her asymmetric shirt dress.  
Kenya and Amy are in the bottom with a demin pantsuit with an asymmetric scoop neckline that is an attempt to make it modern and just makes it look more strange.  The other outfit has a top with a necktie and pants.  Both are a little blah but well made.  In Kenya's defense, while I wouldn't buy this outfit, it is right in line with the other things she has been making.  Just in a less interesting fabric.  
Shawn and Claire, you will be shocked to learn, created a sweatshirt inspired thing and a T-shirt inspired thing.  Shawn had Liris, one of the larger models and was very nervous that she would get called out for making crappy things for a curvy girl again, so made a sweatshirt inspired dress, with a ribbon along the edge that, let's face it, looked a lot like the sweatshirt dress Claire was in the bottom for last week.  Claire made a t-shirt that was two fabrics.  And then made a thing that looked like two sleeves sewn together and wanted to do it as a boob tie until Tim stepped in.  Then as a waist tie.  Kentaro suggested hip tie which was better and helped disguised that the jeans they made were ill fitting in the rear area.  (Their poor models say that knowing they are working with the twins, they were happy their outfits were done.) 
So Heidi announces the head to head challenge and, then the dreaded to be continued.  

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. This article about how ungrateful is the new uppity in reference to black Americans who try to bring light to injustice was fascinating. 
2. Kelly Faircloth has been out there writing great and thoughtful things about romance, so, while I am a little biased, I think this interview with Alisha Rai is more of the same. 
3. With all the other things going on, it's also banned books week.  This report from last year looked at a common reason that books get challenged - representing a diverse or marginalized perspective

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Baltimore Book Festival

I went up for the final day of the Baltimore Book Festival on Sunday.  I tent hopped a lot, but started with Daniel Jose Older in the Literary Salon. He read from Shadowshaper, Shadowhouse Fall (one of my favorite scenes to be quite honest, where Izzy raps) and also from the Bone Street Rumba series.  During the Q&A he discussed the idea that all stories make a statement about the world they exist in, and that writers will give you twenty tricks for setting, character building, pacing, and every other aspect of their writing and yet some will try to tell you they don't know how their characters ended up being all white, or all straight, or all cis, or all abled, it just happened. He also spoke about how writers can become better listeners instead of combative listeners, and that would ultimately help them writer better stories.  
I zipped over to the Maryland Romance Writers tent and caught part of the improv plotting panel with Christi Barth, Alexa Jacobs, Lea Nolan, L. Penelope, Maya Rodale, and Mia Sosa. They got a lot of audience participation to plot this novel on the fly. 
It was followed by the diverse and own voices panel with Andie J. Christopher, Pintip Dunn, Dawn Ibanez, LaQuette, J.L. Lora, Harper Miller, and Mia Sosa.  They talked about writing the worlds they saw, writing people they hadn't seen enough of in fiction, and writing the world their kids were seeing. 
I hopped over to the Enoch Pratt Free Library Children's Stage where they had Carole Boston Weatherford, Renee Watson, and Ronald L. Smith talking about their latest books.  Weatherford's was a picture book, Watson's was a YA, and Smith's was a  middle grade so the books were very different but the moderator did a nice job of trying to cover each author well.  
Back at the romance tent, the historical authors discussed how accurate you needed to be in your writing.  Authors Laura Kamoie, Sarah MacLean, Maya Rodale, Joanna Shupe, and E. Elizabeth Watson participated. Ultimately they agreed it was a balance as you want to create the world accurately but also remember that your audience is modern. 
I then went to see Jason Reynolds at the Children's Stage where he talked both about Patina and the Miles Morales series.  For Patina he said he grew up with girls who weren't necessarily flippy skirt girls, and he felt that was underrepresented in kid lit.  And that he watched as the girls he grew up with were asked to take on household responsibilities way earlier than their brothers or other boys on the block and he wanted to look at that.  He also mentioned that having been handed a comics franchise as a novelist was interesting, because comics writers are used to doling out information over a much larger period of time, and often reboot so there were things that he, coming from a novelist background felt were plot holes that had never been filled in, that he had to figure out explanations for.  
In the romance tent I caught the end of the paranormal and fantasy panel with authors Dawn Ibanez, Lea Nolan, Andy Palmer, and L. Penelope.
I'm really lucky to live so near so many book festivals and it was a lot of fun. 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Take A Knee and the NFL

So the NFL has placed themselves in an unenviable position.  As you may have heard, our president - who happens to also have been an aspiring NFL team owner at one point in his life, and when that failed was part of the short-lived USFL, and I'm just going to keep mentioning how incredibly relevant the 30 for 30 documentary "Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" has remained - but the president, who is not an uninterested party when it comes to the financial success of the NFL, even if we did agree that presidents should be commenting on private business, which we also don't - called the players who have been taking a knee during the flag display - a misogynistic term for being unpatriotic and suggested they should be fired. 
As a result, a large number of players, owners, and coaches either took a knee, or locked arms, or stood in the ramp, or didn't come out of the locker room this weekend.  And, you know what? Now the NFL has made everyone mad. Plenty of people had already quit, myself included, for the blackballing of Colin Kaepernick, for the CTE issues, for the racist team names, for the constant sweeping under the rug of domestic violence.  I can't speak for everyone, but I'm guessing most of those people did not tune back in this week.  And, if my twitter and Facebook are a reliable indicator (they are not) some more people quit this week because they were mad about the increased protests.  
And so now the NFL is in a place where they cannot make everyone happy, and it really looks like they are beyond the wishy washy players are able to do whatever they want that's peaceful, since it's clearly untrue and also not making any side sufficiently appeased to change their behavior.  I still love football. It's a fascinating sport.  I still have a football sized hole in my heart. But there are so many things I can do with my time, and at this rate, it doesn't look like the current NFL owners or commissioner have any plan to address anything, they are hoping it all goes away. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

"Native Gardens" at Arena Stage

I went to see "Native Gardens" at Arena Stage and it was, as hinted at in the program, both a welcome respite and a funny way to examine some current issues.  The playwright Karen Zacarias also wrote "Destiny of Desire" and while this show was, shall we say, a little more traditionally structured, there were some similar themes and basically, I am in for Zacarias's stuff.  The play was a co-production with the Cincinnati Playhouse and so debuted there last year, where I suspect some of the incredibly specific DC lines needed a little more context, there was nothing so DC, that you would lose the plot but subtleties that were richer if you had the DC knowledge to get them. 
There are four named characters in the play, an older white couple who have lived in this historic neighborhood for years and Frank is very proud of his garden.  The younger, newer, Latinx couple next door (I'm shorthanding here, there's a very robust discussion of the changing terminology appropriate for both Tania and Pablo, especially as Pablo is a Chilean immigrant and Tania is from New Mexico) moves into a house that had been rental property for years and is a bit of a fixer upper.  Pablo, trying to impress his new law firm co-workers invites them all over for a party.  Tania, who is a doctoral student and is also pregnant has not been planning to get the house or the yard visitor ready so quickly, but they decide the yard is possible, and a new fence is an important piece of this, and well, this leads to discussions of class, generational differences, cultural differences, political differences, and also the differences in types of gardening, the more natural indigenous plant approach, or the pesticide laden regimented flowers approach.  
There were many moments of laughter, of sucked in breaths or ooohs as a line dug a character deeper into trouble or seemed incredibly on point.  There are no act breaks, which meant the epilogue provided with the cast speaking directly to the audience after the final emotional moment, wrapped up some loose ends nicely.  
So, now let's get to the DC stuff.  I don't believe the specific neighborhood they are in is referenced directly, only that it's an old historic neighborhood, and that at one point there is mentioned that woo-woo organic gardening would be more appropriate in Navy Yard, or Petworth, that they could have a chicken coop in Takoma Park if they wanted. Frank at one point mentions working for the Agency, in an ominous way that leads, in my opinion to one of the best laughs of the evening, so I won't explain further.  There was one point where there is discussion of DC fence laws, and one of my fellow audience members recited the regulation along with the characters, so I'm guessing that that part was very familiar to those who have had to get fence permits. They all have what transplants (which all four characters are) would consider very DC jobs - PhD student, lawyer, defense contractor, and well, retired agency employee.  At one point Tania comes out into the backyard with an Ice Cream Jubilee pint, which was a delightfully specific prop.  
The cast was almost all new to Arena Stage, and it seems DC theater, but they were wonderful and had a great time. 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Project Runway: Models are Clients

This one was hard. Heidi came out to tell the designers their next challenge and in a completely natural and not at all staged entirely for the cameras moment, a producer interrupts to tell Heidi that Tim is blowing up Heidi's phone with selfies.  So, basically, the designers discover the models are their clients this week and they will need to come up with a non-work outfit for their model that also selfies well.  
There's an interesting shift in the way that Shawn and Claire are edited this week.  I generally think you get what you get when you sign up for a reality competition show, but I feel like the producers aren't as settled on their proposed viewpoint of Shawn and Claire so the fingerprints are a little more obvious.  We're distilling 2-3 days into an hour, and even eliminating the time that they are sleeping that's still a lot.  But this week, a few of the designers note that it is less that Shawn and Claire help each other a lot and more that Shawn asks Claire for help and critique a lot.  
Kenya, who is feeling very unsettled after Tim suggests that the matching vest and pants on her slim model might make one think stringbean, says she doesn't have a sister on the show she can ask.  She appears to get some help from Amy, but a lot of it seems to be the some look at this and tell me I'm not crazy help, which we all need sometimes.  But Kenya did hit on an important point.  The designers can help each other.  But arriving with someone who has to go to Thansksgiving dinner with you is different.  It's much easier to ask them.  And also, much harder to say no.  
I discovered when I became a telecommuter no one wandered by my desk and saw me muttering at the screen and asked if I needed help.  I couldn't stop by someone's cube after I got more tea from the break room.  I had to actually call, or email, and say, I can't figure this out.  Alternatively you often find people start asking you questions when you become a person who reliably understands things, but there are days when the things I've actually been tasked with have to take priority over assisting fellow co-workers hit their own deadlines.  It's a tricky balance - for Shawn, for Claire, and for others who are thinking well I'd be done by now if someone had fixed my pants for me. 
While Brendan makes very much the same thing, he is safe but we're going to mention that Samantha, in that careful tone one adopts when one is simply saying something, notes that his is a look that references Rey in "Star Wars" and that kind of nerd chic...will provide a lot of clients for him.  Also, because so many (3) models have confessed crushes on Brendan the producers ask him if he has crushes and he says, I have a girlfriend. 
One to the top and bottom.  Shawn is in the top, with a ruffled crop top and cropped pants.  It is a better tailored version of what she's been doing (and yeah her sister made the pants) and it looks good.  
Kentaro is paired up with his model who knows Japanese and he created an awesome Japanese inspired yet modern outfit that pairs a folded crop top (there were a lot of crop tops, folks) over an architectural skirt and pants that just looks great both still and walking. 
Kenya is in the top.  The green vest was cropped enough to tone down the dalmatian-esque print of the top, and the petal necked top, and slim pants are beautifully made. 
Claire is in the bottom for an oversized sweatshirt that she says is paired with tailored shorts but who can tell, because they are so short the models butt cheeks are showing.  She knew they'd want color so stuck a teal ribbon along the zipper.  Nina is basically like I have seen this too many times, and it's boring, next. 
Margarita went all in on her model's vision for a 90's esque bomber jacket, baggy pants, and crop top.  She seems to realize on the runway that she is not in the top so mentions that she had concerns but really wanted to please her model, which was a complete surprise to her model.  (We get the first and hopefully not last models backroom, and trust me, this came up.) I'd argue surprising your model on the runway is not good protocol when she returns next week. 
Samantha is in the bottom for a better made version of what she made last week, but it's again black over a pattern so most of the detail is lost in still and in motion.  She is wearing a version of it herself that of course shines in gold, so they tell her she keeps outshining what she made, which I'm sure is partly time, but I think she was also trying to do a more runway version, and thought that meant black. 
Tim makes sure the judges know that Claire did Shawn's pants and while they have concerns, they mostly feel like if Claire hurts herself for Shawn's success, well, that's a lesson.
In what I thought had to be a misdirect, they judges say they think Margarita has more things to show them and Samantha doesn't right now. Bye Samantha, I enjoyed you a lot. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. It's been a week for natural disasters.  I recognize that power outages are part of it, but my morning news talked more about Hurricane Maria yesterday than today, so just a reminder that these things go on and sometimes people are too busy digging out of the rubble, or tending to basic things, to do the on the spot reports you might be used to.  I think there will be more resources as people get ready, and no I have not forgotten the earthquake in Mexico City, or the other floods and disasters in other parts of the world.  This ABC post has some recommendations for Mexico as does this one from Bustle
2. A deaf man was killed by police after he failed to follow their verbal instructions. Neighbors who witnessed it were trying to alert police that he was deaf. 
3. This story behind the story of the greatest recipe comment of all time is intriguing and, dare I say it, delicious. 

Monday, September 18, 2017

Co-workers vs. Team Members

In light of even more news, I want to talk about this.  Look, I can't speak for ESPN or Jemele Hill or Michael Smith or anyone else there.  But, I am someone who's been listening to them since the "His and Hers" days.  They have talked a lot about how team solidarity can work or not work.  It's a thing that comes up when you cover team sports.  In sport, as in other jobs - let's face it, there is a complex relationship where you have teams that change and go, and front office changes, and you can decide, I want to play with you, or in this place, or not.  I was just discussing with someone that when my office decided to make us all telecommuters, I had to decide.  That wasn't the place that I had signed up for.  I went and talked to my manager about what were my options.  And I made the decision to stay since the other trappings of my co-workers, and the work I did each day remained essentially the same. 
Hill and Smith have talked about how the team that they created for "His and Hers" was them.  It wasn't any male sportscaster and any female sportscaster.  There could be guests, they weren't tied together for life, but if things shook out some way, they were not going to try to create the same thing with someone else.  Anything they did with someone else was different.  I'm not suggesting that's the only way or the right way to operate.  I'm suggesting that in a lot of employment situations, we are encouraged to think of our teammates as interchangeable cogs who operate distinctly, who get paid, promoted, and chastised distinctly.  And that's why unionizing, or things like actors on the same show gathering up to get paid the same across the board still are viewed as outliers.  Everyone's got bills to pay and that's not a small thing. We can't all afford to quit, or lose a paycheck.  But there are times where you might be willing too.  And having had the conversation with your team ahead of time, means you're ready when they show up and say, so, how about tonight we have you guys instead? 
This doesn't just apply to jobs themselves.  There are times, there are always times when management asks for something that doesn't feel right.  Sometimes you can address this as individuals.  And sometimes consulting with your team and presenting a united front can be more effective.  This is easier to do, if you've already talked to your co-workers.  
Again, I don't know what ESPN management was thinking.  But it seems like they were trying to let this blow over by removing her from eyes, which of course would have sent the message that the political figures should have a say in who talks about sports on TV.  Or talks about anything on TV.  And let's not forget, all of this is because a black woman called a person who has aligned themselves with white supremacists a white supremacist. We have seen way more free speech defense for literally every person who used an abusive or racist slur.  But we're still pretending calling racists racist is the real racism.  And it isn't. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Project Runway - Good And Evil Short Version

My computer ate my post and I was simply too sad to try to recreate my brilliance.  So, we're doing a bullet point version. 
-Shawn and Claire, aka the twins were on separate "sides" this week and I noted they did not do a combined mannequin interview, leading me to suspect the producers had been spreading out one over multiple episodes.  They still have essentially the same style, Shawn just used leather and Claire used crappy gauze so Shawn was safe and Claire was on the bottom. 
-Margarita went into a tizzy over having a large model and then it was fine. 
-Samantha fell into the classic trap of being the person who felt the most connected to the challenge and then bought bad fabric that meant her outfit just looked like an interesting idea gone wrong. Hope she rebounds. 
-Kenya on the other hand rebounded and ended up in the top. 
-Michael stayed in the top with awesomeness.  And feathers.  
-Brandon stayed in the top with something that looked like week one crossed with last week, aka, nicely made but boring.  He won.  The judges said branch out now.  We'll see if they mean it. 
-Aaron, who I had thought was coasting had just a major crisis of time management or fabric or both and sent down the runway a mess that looked worse that any of the Santino specials where he glues and stapled crap over the parts he hadn't finished and was badly hemmed at literally every hem and the strap broke so the model was holding the dress onto her boob with her arm.  
-They thrilled audience members and scared the designers breaking out the "one or more designers will go home" and then sent only Aaron.  We are now at the point where I cannot imagine one of the twins not going home next week, but we shall see.  

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. I was looking for kids books about consent for a friend and found this list. We tend to think of consent as to big a topic for kids since we have linked it to sexual activity, but the idea that your body is yours and that means you get to decide who hugs you even if they are an adult, that you should ask before touching classmates, is really part of the bigger idea of teaching kids that they are their own person and not something that can start too soon. 
2. I have a complicated relationship with the TV show "Younger" but one of the things it does that you don't even realize is unusual until studies like this remind you, it feature five female characters at different life stages who are not in competition with each other, but have different priorities. There are still so many kinds of characters shows usually only have one of, so you never get to see contrasts.  Anyway, here's the latest numbers on women in television
3. I'm down to one sports podcast these days, but it is SC6, from the team that brought you "His and Hers" aka Jemele Hill and Michael Smith.  It was always disingenuous to imagine that sports exist outside of race and politics.  It has become more so as players protest, as players find themselves victims of police brutality, to mention a few recent examples.  So, the idea that Jemele Hill is apologizing for creating controversy when stating on her personal platform (aka Twitter) that the president is a white supremacist, is a little ridiculous.  The president is endorsed by white supremacists, this isn't a reach or stretch or even really an opinion. And Jemele and co-hosts Michael's willingness to discuss things that directly affect the players and coaches they are covering is exactly why they are my sports podcast of choice.  And the idea that our president thinks he gets to decide who gets to be on TV is, well, that's why we're in this mess.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma

As always, be careful and do your normal due diligence for charities or fundraising.  And possibly more so with Irma, this is going to be a long term recovery.  Some of these islands won't even have power back for several months, rebuilding the rest of the infrastructure will take longer.
Tobias Buckell gathered a good list of resources here

Friday, September 08, 2017

Project Runway: Heidi is Your Client

In what has become a "Project Runway" tradition, Heidi's latest fashion venture, is this week's challenge. And the designers get the chance to make sleepwear. And paint fabric. The twins continue to make minimal effort to operate as separate entities, even though once again, Shawn gets in front of the judges, this time in the top, for what in my humble opinion was very pretty, but incredibly expected silver pajama set. Michael continues the "Project Runway" tradition of making something Chrysler building-esque, in this case a very cute nightie that ended up on the right side of the line of different but still looked like you wouldn't die trying to sleep in it.  Heidi mentioned middle of the night bathroom trips several times, but some of these outfits had bow and shoulder details that I felt sure would be a pain to sleep in, but most of those ended up safe, so back to those that got the full judging. Kentaro also ended up in the top for a gorgeous outfit that really benefited from the paint and dye treatment it had been given.
In the bottom we had Kenya, who had struggled, her paint treatment looked bad and she knew it so she got in a funk that she didn't really get herself out of and the outfit wasn't quite done and it showed.  Her saving grace at this point was, as Nina said, this is a lot of great ideas, rather then a lot of boring ideas.  (And yeah, that thinking did not work in Kudzanai's favor last week.) Aaron and Deyonte both made outfits that were boring. Deyonte seemed to be counting on the big reveal that the sleep top could be untucked (what?) and was longer than expected to be interesting.  Instead it meant the outfit looked bunchy (and his poor model that had to be uncomfortable) when tucked in, and frumpy when untucked. Aaron's suffered from a change in drape due to the painting he had done to the fabric, so it was more of a good idea gone wrong, or at least an okay idea. Hopefully Deyonte will get home to see his baby born, or at least be able to skype from the secret eliminated designer villa.

Thursday, September 07, 2017

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece looks at the lack of middle ground in the fight for equality.
2. I enjoyed the Mosaic theater's performance of "Charm" so am thrilled to discover it's getting a New York run.  Go see it!
3. Libba Bray spoke about the news that a female "Lord of the Flies" was in the works.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

National Book Fest 2017

I had a disrupted morning so it was somewhat fortunate for me that many of the earlier guests at National Book Festival were authors I had seen in prior years.  I spent much of the day in the Teens room, starting with Marie Lu who talked about writing fantasy and tried to answer several fan questions without giving away too many spoilers.  (One questioner literally squeed at her answer about the relationship between two characters, which was adorable.) Then there was a YA romance panel with Melissa de la Cruz, Nicola Yoon, and Sandhya Menon. (I apologize I retained none of the names of interviewers from the Washington Post on these panels.) They talked about the inspirations for their latest, the research, and the importance of seeing relationships that looked like theirs in print.  Since de la Cruz's latest is based on a well known real life couple, there was a question about making it your own.  All the authors said it will happen organically, and often in revision as you make more and more of your own authorial choices, so just let yourself write. 
I grabbed lunch and then came back to one of the Children's areas, where Ellen Oh and Meg Medina were talking about the We Need Diverse Books anthology.  They took a pic with the audience to share with Kwame Alexander who was supposed to join them but had to cancel. They talked about inspirations for the story and forewords. And Meg Medina is working on a longer version.  They got lots of questions about favorites.  
I expected that the room with Roxane Gay would be packed (it was, not everyone made it in) so I went to see John Scalzi in Thrillers and Fantasy.  He read some shorts and giggled as he made things hard for his sign language interpreter.  He took questions from the audience, which were often exceedingly specific, as befitting the sci-fi fantasy fan base. 
Then back in Teens, Angie Thomas spoke about the inspiration for her book.  There were some interesting questions from the audience both about movie casting and the choice to have Starr date interracially. Thomas said some of the movie casting actually happened before she had finished writing the character descriptions, and only been announced later, so she understood that some people might feel that Starr doesn't look how they imagined, but the movie team had cast someone who was passionate about the things that Starr is passionate about and she felt that would come through onscreen.  As for Chris, Thomas said, that honestly, that was an authorial choice based on how to make things harder for her character.  She also had talked with her interviewer about Haley and how Haley was representative of a lot of people who are big activists, but have failed to be intersectional in their thinking. 
After that was the poetry slam, and let me tell you.  There were teens from Louisiana, Minnesota, Indiana, and DC.  They did not reveal their origins until after so we couldn't be biased.  I encourage you to seek out the video when the Library of Congress posts it.  They had to incorporate writing or books or school into the first round.  The second round was free for all.  And they covered depression, suicide, academic expectations, post election fears, eating disorders, sexual assault, white privilege, and a host of things.  There were many appreciative snaps and occasionally just dead silence as the audience processed a pointed line.  As is often the case, the pieces the got more personal, that addressed something the author felt, rather than addressed the entire world, were often more affecting.  But, there were no duds, only gradations of awesome.  And I have to tell you, watching the room murmur and go fannish because the Librarian of Congress stopped in, was a sight to behold. 

Friday, September 01, 2017

Project Runway: Fabric, Music and Innovation

Even though I remind myself that the first few elimination hardly matter as far as order it's starting to get hard.  But this week they had fabric and a pretty broad product placement theme that basically boiled down to dreams and dance.  These are the kind of challenges many designers struggle with because when you can do anything, well, what would you do?  Oh, right, the other designers are still not fans of the twins who talk constantly to each other.  (I really get that it's still likely barely w week they've all been together, but these two are doing nothing to endear themselves to others.  Michael and Margarita are speaking Spanish with each other.  I suspect some of the designers are still letting the calm, well, you have chosen a path, go all out Tim critique, to mean this is amazing, rather than, I see that this is the fabric you have keep on keeping on.  So, Kudzanai, who has decided safe is boring has picked a riot of colors and accessories.  Shawn snarks to the mannequins that when has that ever gone well, and sure.  The judges are not often fans of over adornment on top of a riot of colors, but it also, Shawn, wasn't a boring white wrap top that looks like the same thing that ended you in the bottom week 1. Margarita on the other hand, has just started her top - which is white, but has ruched sleeves and her sketch for the bottom indicates to Tim that while she's thinking Bomba style, her sketch says Bomba costume.  
She refines the plan for the skirt and flips the top, so that it has a tie front, which only works because she has a model with a minimal chest, but she does and the end result ends her in the top. Kudzanai is not so lucky.  
We are also still in the place where there are so many that some really good stuff, and in my opinion, some pretty boring stuff ended up safe. Amanda and Kenya made freaking amazing outfits and well, that's what happens when there are too many good things. 
Deyonte proved Tim's adage that bad outfits start at mood by picking a chartreuse lace that he struggled with (including getting a needle in his finger) and the outfit in the end looked messy, unfinished, and badly proportioned.  I honestly think they saved him because he won before so they think this might be an aberration.  (It might be.)
Kentaro picked black, and his outfit was well made, but the concept of lace skirt, ballet-esque stop was as boring as Deyonte's.  It was, as they said, the most obvious thing you can do when given a dance theme, was make something that looked kind of like a girl in a leotard and a tutu. 
Batani's outfit is amazing and you can see she has giving up the boring dress ways, and honestly, I'm mad this wasn't her second win.  
Brandon's outfit is beautifully tailored and really nice, but man, that puts two whiteish outfits in the top with Batani's awesome riot of color and I would wear Batani's so I am biased, but Brandon did make a fun outfit.
Kudzanai's really was kind of a mess.  There are many things attached and tacked on, and the base garment also doesn't look intentional, so the adornments look like they are there to distract you from the construction.  I still was personally more interested in what he would design for us, than I was in Deyonte, but I'm not on the show. Bye, Kudzani, I wish you well.