Welcome Fangirls, to our latest edition of The Fangirls Fall Guide to 2016! Today, my talented pal Amy from Imaginary Men.Net and I will share the things that make us Fangirl most on the Internet and our smartypantsphones. If you’re looking to catch up on our picks for TV, movies, music and podcasts, then go ahead and check those out now! We’ll be right here waiting for you, and ready with our latest picks! (content is cross-posted at Imaginary Men.Net).
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.
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”!).
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 accident. 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 mailing 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 so, did you enjoy 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, acted, or spoke anything like you. Not to mention the fact that his or her “life choices” consisted of things you would never ever consider doing in real life?
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 rising starlet who landed a surprise spot on the established songstress’ tour bus.
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 both 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 you, 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.