Archive | August, 2021

How Modern Society Warps Our Perception of Self: Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino

25 Aug

If you’ve been around for say, more than a decade, then you may have noticed that our world and the way we interact with each other and with ourselves has changed drastically over a relatively short period of time. In my case, I knew a time before computers were a household item, but began using them as I became an adolescent. I grew up online, addicted to blogs and instant messaging. Just a few years later, we were introduced to social media and smartphones and now spend an alarming amount of our time online and in constant communication with the entire world. Everything we do online is watched, whether it be by friends, by strangers around the world or by corporations and governments. Try as we may, we can never truly be off-the-grid. Sometimes I wonder, how does this constant vigilance affect our personalities? When I came across Trick Mirror, I knew I had to read it, since I had been contemplating this new world we now live in and how it has affected the way we communicate, express and see ourselves.

Trick Mirror is a collection of essays written by Jia Tolentino, an American writer and editor. This book is a cultural comment on how today’s society warps our perceptions of self. The topics covered by the essays span from social media’s hold on us, to her experience on a reality show as a teenager, from the connection between drugs & religion, to how weddings have evolved into their modern (horrifying?) forms today.

I particularly enjoyed the first and last essays (“The I in Internet” and “I Thee Dread” respectively), and I must be honest: if this weren’t a library book, I would have highlighted and underlined almost every other passage. So, if you’re the type of person who also likes to do that, fear not. In addition to physical copies, we have plenty of digital copies available on eBCCLS and eLibraryNJ. You can use ebooks to highlight your favorite passages!

Written by:
Samantha Evaristo
Library Assistant, Grand St. Branch

LGBTQ Comedies through the Decades: Torch Song Trilogy, But I’m a Cheerleader, and GBF

18 Aug

August is LGBTQ Pride Month in Hoboken and as in June we have lots to celebrate as we look back on the struggles that have been overcome and the many accomplishments of the LGBTQ community.  For this post I wanted to look at three movies that use humor as a way to engage audiences, poke fun at stereotypes, and show the ridiculousness of certain theories/practices.

Torch Song Trilogy (1988)
Torch Song Trilogy is a comedy-drama adaption by Harvey Fierstein of his award winning play.  The film stars Fierstein, Anne Bancroft, and Matthew Broderick.  Torch Song Trilogy is set over three distinct time periods as it follows the life and loves of a witty NYC drag queen & torch song singer as he copes with his ex-lover, his mother and adjusting to life with his adoptive teenage son.  The film and play shed light on issues like gay adoption before they were commonly widely discussed.  Available to borrow from BCCLS Libraries.

In honor of Hoboken’s Pride Month, the Hoboken Public Library, will present a staged reading of the Tony Award-winning comedy/ drama on Saturday, August 28 at 3:00 pm.  The cast features Broadway, Film and TV actors Sidney Myer, Michael Stever, Logann Grayce and Hoboken’s own Florence Pape who will perform this funny and sometimes intense staged reading. Registration is required and seating is limited.

Also for Hoboken’s Pride, singer and musician Andrew Schwarz will present a solo concert titled “EltonJohnish” on Saturday, August 21 at 2:00 pm in the Church Square Park Gazebo.

But I’m a Cheerleader (2000)
Netflix recently came out with a documentary, Pray Away, about the “conversion therapy” movement, but for a fictionalized subversive take on the movement bridging the 90’s and 00’s,  there was But I’m a Cheerleader.  Popular teen, Megan (Natasha Lyonne) loves cheerleading, however, her parents are suspicious that despite Megan’s protests that she might be a lesbian.  They send her off to a summer camp that promises to have her acting more “straight.”  Of course things don’t go as planned when Megan meets the intriguing Graham played by Clea Duvall.  Although the film from 2000, is a lot of campy fun, there is a seriousness to the fact that real people were pushed into harmful “conversion therapy” which still persisted into the early millennium. Available to stream from Kanopy and on DVD and Blu-Ray from BCCLS Libraries.

GBF (2014)
GBF in the mid 10’s, sought to skewer stereotypes of what it means to be gay including the token gay best friend character that had sprung up over the years as the needed accessory for any fashionable straight woman.  Two gay NJ teens: Brent (Paul Iacono), who wants to be outed as a road to popularity and another Tanner (Michael J. Willett), who would prefer to stay closeted, find their roles reversed.  Coincidentally Natasha Lyonne also stars in the film as a teacher. Although LGBTQ rights have come a long way, high school and growing up are never easy.  In the spirit of Mean Girls and Clueless, GBF pokes fun at being both a modern gay and straight teen.  Available to stream from Hoopla.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Information and Digital Services

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