she liked Imaginary Men best of all


Leave a comment

Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016: Websites and Apps Edition

fangirling-post-4Welcome Fangirls to our latest edition of The Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016 where today TV Recappers Anonymous blogger Julie Kushner and I will share the things that make us Fangirl the most on the Internet and on our smartypantsphones. If you’re looking to catch up on our pics for TV, movies, music and podcasts then go take a look and we’ll be here ready with our latest picks! (content is cross-posted at TV Recappers).

Amy’s Picks

Website: As I mentioned in the last post about my podcast pick You Must Remember This, I am a huge fan of classic Hollywood. About two years ago I stumbled upon Anne Helen Petersen a bonafide “Doctor of Gossip” who had a series called “Scandals of Classic Hollywood” (and wrote a book of the same name) I was stunned to find out that one could actually get a doctorate studying and writing about celebrities! I WOULD HAVE DONE THAT!! Well, likely not as academia was not my thing. So thank goodness AHP exists and that she left teaching to become Senior Culture Writer at Buzzfeed. I love her work because she writes with depth about celebrity and how it works, why we consume it. She explores what our pop culture fascinations actually reflect about us as a society. And her writing is accessible so complex concepts become easier to swallow when seeing them through her lens.

Montgomery Clift

Ridiculously pretty Montgomery Clift

Now with her Buzzfeed gig she has expanded her topics to politics and social issues and those are all well researched and written as well. No clickbait here with AHP! Luckily she is still exploring modern celebrity and giving weight to topics that non-celebrity obsessed people would call shallow. Her recent coverage of the Brangelina divorce was no gossipy piece of fluff but a decade-in-the-making essay on the evolution of Angelina Jolie’s public persona and masterful use of publicity throughout the course of the couple’s high profile relationship. She validates our celebrity fascinations and after I read her pieces I always feel a little bit smarter. Recommended reads: Tiger Beat Goes On, The Trouble with “It” Girls.

App: There is just so. damn. much. TV to watch these days and too many ways to watch it. Sometimes just finding what platform is streaming the latest show the Internet is demanding you MUST WATCH RIGHT NOW can take a lot of time that would be better spent on watching TV. Enter a delightful app called Fan TV available for iPhone and Android. Just do a search for what you want to watch and it will tell you where it is streaming for both free and pay, or if it is only available through traditional viewing methods. My only complaint about it is that it can’t be a feature on my Roku so I could just click on it and then go right to my searched show to begin watching (I believe this falls under the category “First World Problems”!).

Julie’s Picks

Website: I’ll be honest, I have no clue how exactly I ended up on Refinery 29’s mailing list. I tend to do a lot of my shopping online, so, perhaps, it related to one of my recent purchases. Or maybe it was a related article I clicked on by accent. Perhaps, a friend recommended me. All I know is that the first time the column / e-magazine appeared in my inbox, I was seconds away from sentencing it to the permanent Spam Zone. My finger waited hovering anxiously over the unsubscribe button. And then, for whatever reason, I decided to read.

Words can’t describe how much Refinery29 has made my life in the past few months. I learn everything from Refinery29. Article topics range from hair coloring and styling tips, to fall fashion trends, to diet and workout advice, to political, celebrity and news items, to what’s the best vibrator for you based on your Zodiac sign. (Mine, apparently is the kind you wear inside your underwear, and maneuver via external remote control. Who knew?) Regardless of topic, all the articles are well-written, interesting, insightful, and, let’s face it, make my dorky ass, way cooler and in the know about top trends and goings on than I was before I got on the list.

The good news though, is that you don’t have to get on Refinery29’s mailing list to read their articles. Save space in your inbox and find them at www.refinery29.com. I promise you won’t regret it!

App: Did you ever read those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books as a kid? If you did, did you find that you enjoyed the freedom to dictate what happened in your own story, but find that enjoyment limited by the fact that the main character in the book neither looked, nor acted, nor spoke anything like you. And his or her options consisted of things you would never ever consider doing in real life?

julie-app-1

Welcome to Episodes, a free app you can download to your phone that allows you to Choose Your Own Adventure throughout thousands of episodic stories in which you’d actually ENJOY being a character. Some of the stories feature characters you already know; like, Mean Girls: Senior Year and Sorority Rush, in which your character battles against the iconic Regina George, and befriends Cady, Damien and Janis; or the Demi Lovato: Path to Fame Concert series, where you are a young up and coming starlet who landed a surprise spot on the established songstress’ tour bus.

However, Episodes also features and promotes the work of new up and coming writers, providing them with a new and unique visual medium through which to promote their works, and reach readers they might not have a chance to access otherwise. Though the choices you get to make will vary drastically from story to story (and some choices cost money, but I’ll never choose those, on principal), my favorite Episodes, by far, are the ones that allow you to design your own avatar. The choices you get to make toward crafting your character’s visual appearance actually go a long way toward helping yojulie-app-2u, as the reader, to visualize yourself in the story. And that visualization process is enhanced when the story allows you to select your character’s wardrobe at key points throughout the book. Some of the threads you get are pretty sweet too! Check me out! I’ll be damned if this avatar doesn’t look exactly like me! Well…close enough.

Stay tuned next week for our final installment…books!

For more check out Amy’s book The Fangirl Files: True Tales and Tips from the Fandom Frontlines and Julie’s novels on Amazon.


Leave a comment

Doctor of Gossip

A few weeks ago I made a discovery. An awesome, fascinating, is-this-real-life? discovery. That discovery is named Anne Helen Petersen. “Who is Anne Helen Petersen?” you may ask – well let me tell you – she is my new idol. She is a doctor…of GOSSIP!! Not just gossip but CELEBRITY GOSSIP!! Only one of my favorite things ever!!

Me making my new discovery (reactiongifs.com)

I have a bachelor’s degree from a fancy college and that’s about all the academia I could handle. However, if someone had ever said to me in my youth, “Oh you like gossiping about celebrities and critiquing pop culture? Well you can get a doctorate in that” I may have done that very thing! People think gossiping about celebrities is frivolous but doing it with a PhD? Well that’s a prestigious career my friend.

Since this amazing, time-sucking, enthralling discovery I have been combing the internet for her work like the extremely focused lady I am. Thankfully she is very prolific online writing for Hairpin and Buzzfeed (where her piece on the birth of TMZ contains a fascinating backstory on the demise of the old Hollywood studio system and rise of the celebrity gossip industry.) And she’s just published a book about classic Hollywood scandals!!

So speaking of that, I LOVE OLD HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS!! I have been obsessively reading her pieces on Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty and, oh god the Hedy Lamarr one is just insane (you know, just your typical beautiful rich girl becomes poor, stars in the most provocative movie of the early 20th century, marries a millionaire Nazi who locks her in a castle, then escapes to Hollywood to become a movie star and six husbands and several shoplifting charges later is discovered to hold the patent for the technology that is the basis for the cell phones we all use today story. YOUR MOVE JENNIFER LAWRENCE.)

I love Petersen’s writing because it is accessible and not so stuffy academic that a few lines in you get bored because you don’t know what the hell the author is talking about. In this interview she explains her background in Cultural Studies (again, why did I not know I could study this stuff?? Career Development Office FAIL!) and why it’s valuable to study pop culture and be able to present it in an intellectual manner but without the requirement that you already have a PhD to understand it.

Her writing is smart, funny and very “chummy” as in she feels like your girlfriend who is gossiping with you about cute famous boys of all eras which, Hey Anne! I do that all the time! I love Cary Grant movies, Hollywood glamour and handsome dead actors. We should be besties 🙂

SO HANDSOME!

SO HANDSOME!

But let’s get back to the old scandals for a moment because they are often far more fascinating (and crazy) than anything that happens in today’s celebrity realm. Brad leaves Jen for Angelina. Snooze! That is nothing compared to the Elizabeth Taylor-Eddie Fisher-Debbie Reynolds-Richard Burton square of sex, cheating, death, alcoholism and really enormous jewels! (and guess who wrote about it?) Or one of my personal favorites after reading two Frank Sinatra bios earlier this year – the Ava Gardner and Frank Saga that involved adultery, affairs, abortions, suicide attempts, bullfighters (!!!) and one of the best things I have ever EVER heard in my life – per Ava herself from her bath as Frank stormed out after a fight:

Okay! If that’s the way you want it. I’m leaving. And if you want to know where I am, I’m in Palm Springs, fucking Lana Turner.

YOUR MOVE CHANNING TATUM.

(from Giphy.com)

And if old timey movie stars behaving badly isn’t your thing, Petersen writes about current celebrities weaving together pop culture and feminist theorystarlets and classicism and a topic that consumes us all as a nation: Taylor Swift’s love life! It’s all so interesting and explores celebrity in ways that often get ignored in our fast-moving-social-media world. She is basically what I aspire to be if I had any drive to be further educated and the ambition to be paid for thinking/talking/writing about things I love for a living. Hence, why she is my idol.

You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and I’ll just be over here reading all her stuff – probably when I should be working at my job or on my life (which is why I do NOT have a PhD in Celebrity Gossip!)