Six Inches Forward and Holding Nothing Back: Why HEDWIG is My New Favorite

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I would like to preface by saying that this is not a review. Reviews are balanced, constructive, and unbiased. This is none of those things. This is my extremely unbalanced account of how I completely fell in love with Hedwig … Continue reading

The Real World: Austin (Minus the Drinking, Partying, and Pretty Much Everything Else)

“I’m in this weird place because I went from being around all my friends all the time to working 9-5 and being tired everyday and having zero social life.”

This statement is usually met with a small laugh, a not so subtle eye roll, or a hearty “welcome to the real world!”

Speaking of, I’ve officially been in the so-called “real world” for a month now. And it is an awkward, adjustment-required place. I’ve traded pregaming for early bedtimes, late night Whataburger for early evening lunch packing, sorority tanks and Nike shorts for pencil skirts and blazers (though, if I’m being honest, the sorostitute getup makes a return appearance everyday after 5 PM).

So far, I’ve hit almost every cliché in the book. I’ve scoffed and/or laugh at a paycheck I initially thought was great but that ended up going towards more taxes than I ever thought possible. I’ve naively apartment hunted, underestimated my budget, abandoned every intention of trying to be social and/or fit by crashing at 8:00 pm, and I’ve milked Dad’s payroll for about as long as I’ve can.

When I was younger and wanted to do something, buy something, or experience something that was dangerous, inappropriate, or just against my mother’s wishes, I was greeted with ever-popular phrase, “Well, when you are working and paying for things yourself, you can do that.” Working and paying for things yourself always sounded a mystical, far-away time that was talked about but that I would never actually experience.

And BAM- here I am, looking at my checking account, ready to turn back time and follow every single one of mom’s rules in exchange for some of that cold hard cash.

Alright, so I’m a bit overdramatic. Maybe even a tad (tad) on the bratty and spoiled side. Honestly, the idea that I’m a real-life, working and functioning adult is still a bit lost on me. I’m half convinced (and half wishing) that come August I’ll be reunited with my friends and resume a life of minimal studying and maximum fun. Instead, I’m fully convinced that come August I’ll be moved in to my new “big girl” apartment, living off my own, hard-earned paycheck, and trying to balance working out, having a social life, and sleeping all among a 40 hour work week.

No matter how many Buzzfeed quizzes I take that tell me otherwise, vent sessions I have with my family about this newfound traffic, or 8:00 PM bedtimes I welcome; I am a grown up. I have more freedom than I will ever have, I’m completely and utterly in charge of what I do, what I buy, and where I go, I have full support of my parents and sister (who, by the way, I will finally have in the same city as me (read: blessing for me, curse for her)), and I’m in the place I’ve been preparing for for the past 22 years.

And despite the shock, THAT place is a pretty awesome place to be.

The ‘Other Plans’ Work Life Had in Store For Me

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 (according to my Timehop), my newest tweet read: “Just got to sit in and watch the @KPRCLocal2 11AM live newscast in the studio! Can’t wait until I’m behind the desk one day! #internship.”

Thursday, June 13th, 2013 (according to my memory), I was in the third week of my editorial internship at Broadway.com in New York City, convinced I was ready to pick up and move across the country to pursue a destined career in entertainment news.

Today, Friday, June 13th, 2014, I’m not sitting behind a news desk or covering the opening night of a Broadway production. I’m sitting here, at my parent’s house, days away from starting my first full time job…in public relations.

Wait what? Public Relations?! But you just said…

…yeah, I did, but turns out I was wrong.

We’ve all heard the expression, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” We’ve listened, laughed, and even remained a bit skeptical of this thought-provoking but better-suited-for-Pinterest quote while continuing on, what we think, is our destined trajectory. For me, this trajectory led to the anchor desk. Life moved it to the marketing office.

In the years leading up to college, I was warned I would want to change my major. “College freshmen change their major an average of three times,” others told me, “so what you think you want may not be what you actually pursue.” I took this advice with a grain of salt. I was given a lot of worthwhile, valuable advice in college (still getting used to that being in the past tense…), but regarding my major, I was spot on from day one (from 7th grade, to be specific) with graduating with a degree in journalism. And countless journalism courses, hundreds of hours spent at Texas Student Television, and three internships later, I was still dead set on both graduating and pursuing a career in journalism.

And then the fourth internship came along.

You always hear about the right internship. The one you’ll inevitably find and fall in love with, the one you remember most about your time in college, or the one that landed you your first job. But, unless it’s absolutely catastrophic and/or the source of some hilarious work stories, you rarely hear about the wrong internship. Finding the right job is dependent on finding that right internship.

But my experience depended on finding those wrong ones.

I loved every single internship I had. Two straight up, newsroom gigs, one summer adventure on Broadway, and a semester delving into public relations adorn my resume, and all four helped me land the full time job I start next week. I enjoyed shadowing reporters, turning packages, appearing on camera to introduce stories, and practicing anchoring a top 10 news market broadcast, but there’s a reason I’m not doing that on Tuesday. That reason? Unbeknownst to me at the time, an internship I thoroughly succeeded at was that wrong internship. Why? I found something I love even more, thanks to my marketing internship at Austin’s Long Center. I found somewhere I could implement my degree, apply my journalism skill set, and go beyond the scope of the newsroom while still utilizing my love of broadcast. My newsroom and PR internships were worthwhile; both were educational, both were enjoyable, and both produced a successful, skilled product (me). But one internship: the PR one, the right one, showed me that the other: the newsroom one, was indeed the wrong one…for me. It didn’t matter that my degree, resume and work experience reflected a trajectory towards the newsroom (though that route would have been the easier one). What now mattered was the challenge of taking that degree, resume, and work experience, and selling those unique skills in a new field.

It’s not necessarily about what you’re talented at, what you think you should do, or even what you’ve dedicated your entire college career to doing. It’s about what you want to do, every day, for the majority of your career, and if it takes one or two “wrong” internships to determine that? That’s a pretty small and valuable price to pay.

Here’s to the real world. And here’s to June 13th, 2015’s social media post reflecting on a fantastic year.

-Wendi

The Full Time Job of Finding a Job: A (Temporary) Breath of Fresh Air

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Landing a job in public relations isn’t an easy feat (heck- landing a job at all these days is hard, ya’ll). From social media presence to networking, there are some huge aspects that can help (or hurt) you in the … Continue reading

Stepping into Giuliana’s Shoes: My Night Interviewing Tomorrow’s Broadway Stars

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Being a broadcast journalism major has opened several doors for me over the past few years. What started as shadowing reporters in the field during a local news internship quickly evolved into flagging down Laura Osnes and Patina Miller on … Continue reading

From Screen to Stage, and That’s About It

Over two-dozen Broadway shows premiere during the 2013-2014 season. Among them are The Bridges of Madison County, Rocky, Aladdin and Big Fish. Sound familiar? Out of nearly twenty-five new musicals, over a fourth have been seen before, in the movie theatre. Translating a Hollywood script onto the stage is risky. Some musicals prove extremely successful; The Lion King stands as the fourth longest-running Broadway musical. Others, however, close in as little as three weeks. As more Broadway marquees display familiar, well-known titles, theatregoers wonder if the Great White Way will stay a haven for creative, new work, or simply copy and paste entertaining, yet recycled, favorites.

Though imitative, familiar stories sell tickets. An inexperienced theatregoer is more likely to buy tickets to The Lion King than to If/Then. The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, and Cinderella get a reluctant foot in the door. The shows are great, don’t get me wrong. Cinderella‘s score is classic, The Lion King is brought to life in an incredible manner, and Mamma Mia! is a fun, laugh out loud musical that has audiences singing along and on their feet night after night. But the best part about these musicals? That patron, who would otherwise not even attend a Broadway show, is now a theatre fan. Consequently, he or she may reach out of his or her comfort zone and see If/Then, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, or Lady Day next time. Headlining superstars such as Idina Menzel, Neil Patrick Harris, and Audra McDonald don’t hurt, either. Returning patrons keep the often- struggling Broadway economy thriving, and make it possible for producers to stage original shows.

Musicals inspired by books, plays, and films are not uncommon. Seeing a wave of films on the stage does not necessarily mean the beginning of the end for vibrant Broadway theatre. Kiss Me Kate, Hands on a Hardbody, and 42nd Street are just some of hundreds of shows with unoriginal beginnings. A Broadway production inspired by a little-known documentary, however, vastly differs from Legally Blonde: The Musical, nearly a carbon copy of the Hollywood script, with new songs inserted to appeal to the Broadway stage. While it gets patrons in seats, it also stomps on unprecedented future hits. A big-budget show based on the Hollywood smash, Rocky, is much more likely to receive backers than a brand new, completely innovative show. Unfortunately, the novelty also suffers when a movie repackages itself and presents itself as new, for nearly $85 a ticket.

Whether audiences better receive musical movies remains a toss up. Newsies- one of my favorite musicals- and Once emerged as box office successes, and continue to sell out. Sometimes, however, stories become lost in translation. Catch Me if You Can and Ghost: The Musical closed after five months. The highly anticipated Big Fish closed in under four weeks. Despite these responses, however, the bright lights of Broadway have always encouraged expression. Whether from a familiar movie plot, or a never-before-seen production, it is important to keep live theatre alive and audiences in seats- no matter the origin of the script.

How ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Met its Demise

I’ve seen every episode of Friends. Twice. Three times. I can quote each episode backwards and forwards, name an episode from overhearing it in the next room, and still laugh-out-loud at jokes I’ve heard way too many times…

…but I never watched one single episode live during its 10-year-run.

Thanks to Nick at Nite and TBS, odds are that when I turn on my television, Friends is playing. If an episode ended with a gasp-worthy cliffhanger, it didn’t matter- the next episode would play after the commercial break. I watched the episodes out of order, several times, and never had to wait for a storyline to tie up or to find out the fate of a character.

For better or for worse, this has not been the case with the 9 season long How I Met Your Mother.

How I Met Your Mother changed the rules of the average sitcom. First off, it’s a love story told in reverse. Technically, we never had to wonder if Ted was going to end up OK. We knew- from literally the first second of the pilot- that Ted would be fine. We saw his kids, we heard his voice, and we heard him begin to tell the story of how he found his true love.

Did we still worry? Yes. Did we still think, in the back of our minds that he would end up with Robin? Yes. Did we curse when he broke up or got back together with certain characters, even though we knew all of those women were simply red herrings? Definitely.

Which is why this show is amazing. Despite knowing the ending, we still got so wrapped up in the present, that we totally forgot we already knew (some of) the future.

HIMYM changed the rules in other ways, too. Despite its alleged “racy” references (which I found not only hilarious but genius), the show remained a “family” comedy. Ted, Robin, Marshall, Lily and Barney aren’t just characters on a run-of-the-mill weekly sitcom; they’re real people. They make mistakes, they openly discuss smoking “sandwiches,” they sing catchy songs about hooking up, and they engage in silly, meaningless fights. They drunk call their exes, lose their jobs, and face the consequences. Find me one avid HIMYM fan that doesn’t want a spot at the booth in MacClaren’s.

And despite its billing as a “comedy,” many episodes were anything but. Parents were lost; significant others were cheated on; a potential terminal illness was alluded to (more on that later). It took the element of surprise and milked it. And when the element of surprise reeled its ugly head, I had to wait. Wait to see what would happen, wait to laugh or cry, and test my patience each and every (well, some more than others) week. Even though we may have shed a tear or two or even yelled at our television sets, we remembered those episodes, didn’t we?

All good things must come to an end, and in HIMYM’s case, it comes about a season too late. Dragging an entire season out over the course of one week, well, failed. What I hoped would be several flashbacks and even more flash forwards turned out to be nothing but somewhat stupid, time-filling plot lines with the occasional revelation or clue that would keep me hooked.

So tonight, the game-changing comedy comes to an end. Whether it’s an epic, smart end like its previous seasons, or a cop-out, unfunny mess like its current season has been the question of the hour.

*Spoiler Alert*

And, Craig Thomas and Carter Bays finally gave us the flash-forwards we’ve been not so patiently waiting for all season long. The first half presented the biggest potential red herring. A few episodes back, it was subtly hinted at that the Mother suffered from a tragic, terminal illness that has Ted in tears. It was placed there, no warning or explanation, for fans to run wild. Tonight, halfway through the episode, we learned Barney and Robin had divorced. The kicker? We spent an entire season dragging out a wedding weekend that would ultimately end in failure. Hmmm. Now, with a Mother potentially dying in the near future, leaving Ted single, and Robin single and regretfully wishing she’d end up with Ted- the theory we’ve been promised would never happen from episode one may very well end the series.

I mean, HIMYM has been subject to many fan theories. This one, however, was nipped in the bud in the pilot. Robin is Aunt Robin. She’s not mom, she’s not stepmom, she’s Aunt Robin.

And Ted, who has talked about true love and marriage the entire series, makes it to 2019, with two kids, still not married. This guy has been the advocate of marriage for 9 seasons. Robin and Barney, two perpetually single people, tied the not (albeit unsuccessfully, but still). Now we learn that the hopeless romantic of the group can’t find time for the one thing he’s been waiting for his entire life? Okay, that’s believable.

One thing that is believable? Barney Stinson, after sleeping with who knows how many women, got one pregnant. Good job, Craig and Carter, one thing you made realistic.

49 minutes in and we haven’t found out much. Well, that’s not necessarily true. Barney has a child, Marshall got his judgeship, and Ted is about to get married after 7 years (not getting over that one). Robin is completely detached from the group and a very young Penny doesn’t even know her (so how we get from that to Aunt Robin has to be a pretty interesting- and fast at this point- story). Am I completely impressed yet? No. Am I hoping this episode presses fast forward and gets to the good parts stat? Hell yes.

Had the episode ended at 55 minutes, I would have been okay, I could have been happy. Ted and the Mother (Tracy, we finally learned) shared an amazing moment in the rain, under the iconic yellow umbrella. They’re funny, charming, cute together, and we see Ted finally getting the ending we’ve wanted him to have since 2005. But then, Ted made the reference to the Mother getting sick, and I began to feel sick as well. As the final scene played out, and Ted broke the fourth wall to conclude his story, a small part of me wanted Tracy to appear behind him and give us all a reassuring glimpse into the future.

The alternative? The Mother is dead. The theory at the back of my mind that I hoped and prayed was just a red herring wasn’t, and the previous red herring of Aunt Robin wasn’t either. The worst part is that the creators filmed the children’s reaction during season two. They’ve known this ending for 7 years (as long as it took for Ted to get married, mind you), and I’m so disappointed. Because Craig Thomas and Carter Bays don’t know their fans as well as they think we do. The love story we’ve been rooting for nine years is no more, and the love story we put to rest in the pilot is just beginning. Smart and funny? Not so much. A complete cop-out? Absolutely.

At least we have old season reruns. And at least I didn’t have to sit through Two Broke Girls afterwards.

 

VIDEO: Sunday Morning Lineup

Today marks my mom’s 52nd birthday (Happy birthday, Mom!), and, knowing me, I couldn’t let it pass without a birthday video. After both my dad’s and sister’s videos back in November, I wanted to do something different and unique, and found it with the Susan Birthday Network. Sit back, relax, and turn on the television for some favorite TV hits featuring my mother (and, subsequently, the rest of my family).

-Wendi

VIDEO: Jimmy Kimmel: The Alleged Cure for Senioritus

It’s mid-February of my senior year and the inevitable has happened: senioritis has kicked in, and in full force. Instead of catching up on assigned readings, I’m applying for jobs. When there’s a project I really need to get started on, there’s also a movie on television that my friends and I just have to watch. And when I have a test Thursday, I’m sitting here updating my blog. But, if procrastinating and finding anything and everything to do but my homework keeps me from dwelling on the scary and unknown future (which my mother kindly reminded me is about 90 days away- not even touching that one), I’ll take it.

The one place my enthusiasm has skyrocketed has been at my internship. As a marketing intern for the Long Center for the Performing Arts, I’m once again thrust into the world of both journalism and theatre, and I absolutely love it. Writing press releases and updating social media pales to what I also get to do; let my creativity and imagination run wild. I’m taking my video editing skills and my love of performing arts to market shows and sell events- a complete 180 of my Broadway.com internship (day-to-day job wise, definitely love both). While the broadcast journalism major in me knows how to report on a story, gather interviews, and produce news worthy content, I’m now taking the knowledge of a reporter to experience the other side…public relations.

Oh, and I also get to meet celebrities like Jimmy Kimmel. Did I forget to mention that?

The late night comedian will broadcast his show from Austin’s very own Long Center during South by Southwest. To promote his show, he visited the Long Center to do a press junket- and I was part of the action. Check out the promotional video I created- and be on the look out for more videos as I milk every second of my awesome (and last!) internship.

-Wendi

VIDEO: London Baby!

I couldn’t let my family travel to Europe without documenting it to have forever and ever, right? Enjoy my newest video blog(s)!

-Wendi