07/17/2015

Mid-year pop culture report

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I once said that if my life had a major, it would definitely be “Obscure Hyper-niche Fan Cultures on the Internet,” so I’m not sure if I’m a good authority on general fandemonium. Yours truly has been unabashedly buried deep in One Direction obsession since May — okay, maybe a little abashedly — but I’m going to attempt impartiality here. Introducing a glimpse of what 2015 looks like so far, as far as popular culture is concerned.

Television

There are a lot of new shows and I’m so disappointed in myself that I’ve fallen way behind on all of them, too many to list. However, it’s important to recognize that Netflix, once just a humble on-demand Internet streaming media provider, has been slaying us all with their original programs. This year alone, we’ve seen the likes of Marvel’s Daredevil, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Sense8, and subsequent seasons of hits like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

In case you haven’t been keeping up with the Kardashians, Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner also came out as a trans woman, and Kourtney split up with Scott Disick six months after the birth of their third child.

Forevermore ended (launching yet another patok love team, LizQuen), and a reboot of Pangako Sa’yo is currently on air, led by KathNiel. (But really, people, watch it for Jodi Sta. Maria and Ian Veneracion, let’s be honest.) I am left to wonder why the universe seems to keep pushing Diego Loyzaga.

Music

Justin Bieber was mercilessly roasted on Comedy Central, voluntarily, and he solved a Rubik’s Cube in a car with James Corden.

Truth be told, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “E•MO•TION” has been the only release this year that I have apparently deemed worthy of repeat plays. Is it because I’m trash? Probably. But it’s seriously a great album that I will purchase once it’s been officially released outside Japan.

The Internet’s been particularly noisy in the realm of music videos — buzz inescapable even by me. There was the much-hyped and teased MV for Taylor Swift’s Bad Blood, featuring a never-ending cameo train of badass ladies. I’m withholding my opinions on it, but if you loved it, then that’s great.

Madonna followed it up with B*tch I’m Madonna, which is truthfully but a lukewarm blip on our collective radar, because Rihanna kind of (figuratively?) shot us in the face shortly thereafter with B*tch Better Have My Money, a story of violence and of sending an effective message to your negligent accountant.

Personally, I really enjoyed Carly Rae Jepsen’s I Really Like You video, even if Tom Hanks is strangely atrocious at lip-synching.

Films

The films that I saw over and over on my Tumblr dashboard this year are undoubtedly Kingsman: The Secret Service, Avengers: Age of Ultron (for obvious reasons, and also because people hate Joss Whedon now all of a sudden?), Mad Max: Fury Road (bless), Jurassic World (mostly because of Chris Pratt and that zookeeper meme).

That Thing Called Tadhana was also a huge blockbuster hit, but if I hear “hugot” one more time, I just might choke someone.

Art

For the first time since 1964, the Philippines returned to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. The Philippines Pavilion is curated by Patrick D. Flores, featuring works by Manuel Conde, Carlos Francisco, Manny Montelibano and Jose Tence Ruiz. Exhibits are on display from May 9 to Nov. 22, 2015.

Books & Literature

Coinciding with the release of Grey, a new 50 Shades installment told from the perspective of creepy perv Christian Grey, E.L. James held a Twitter Q&A that was all sorts of inspiring, proving that the Internet can be a good place. (Hint: search #AskELJames and read through the tweets.)

YouTube

The biggest YouTube news, I think, is Ingrid Nilsen, one of the most femme big-name beauty vloggers, coming out as a lesbian, but that’s just me.

We recently had the first YouTube FanFest here in Manila, and tons of fans went wild for UK-based vloggers Caspar Lee, Joe Sugg and Oli White, going as far as waiting for them at the airport and camping at the lobby of the Marriott, where the trio was staying.

There’s also been the continuing trend of YouTubers releasing books that carried on from last year, so it might be time to rethink your career path in writing if you’ve wanted to publish a book all your life.

Your Faves Being Your Faves

Seeing your favorite famous people, post #SCOTUS ruling on same sex marriage in the US, as happy allies is a definite highlight. #LoveWins

One Direction

I mean, I said I’d try impartiality, but here we are. 2015 has been a big year for the “biggest boy band in the world,” the biggest bomb being Zayn Malik leaving the group mid-tour. What began as a temporary leave snowballed into him actually leaving the group.

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” cried many a Directioner. I’m only personally relieved it happened before I ever really liked them, so the blow was not as huge for me, the cut not as deep. It’s only been over a hundred days, but Zayn has managed to leak two songs (a cover and an original), despite a two-year ban outlined in his previous contracts.

The group’s currently on the North American leg of their “On the Road Again Tour,” and Zayn was living it up at Paris Fashion Week, blinding the city of love with his beautiful face and newly bleached hair fuzz. One Direction’s fifth album is expected to drop later this year.

And we’re done. Mostly. Thank you for indulging my pitiful attempt at being impartial, though to be honest, making this list has me excited for what’s in store for the next half of the year.

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