Thursday, August 16, 2018

All The Things I Loved About Crazy Rich Asians

*An overwhelming sense of Asian American pride you'll get from watching the film if you're Asian American
*Seeing white people watch the film and actually caring about your story
*How badass the opening scene is
*Ronny Chieng from The Daily Show as Edison Cheng
*Henry Golding and Constance Wu in the wedding scene
*The feels
*All the hot Asian men
*Astrid Leong (my favorite character from the books) & Gemma Chan
*Again, the overwhelming sense of pride you'll get from watching it if you're Asian
*Just how beautiful the film is
*The last scene in the end credits and its hinting of a sequel
*Oh I forgot about Kina Grannis' surprise appearance as the wedding singer!

Friday, August 10, 2018

Beyoncé and a Lesson on Accessibility: OTR II Review

On July 27, I went to see Beyoncé and Jay-Z on their OTR II tour at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. I thought about buying tickets when the tour was announced but wasn’t convinced until I saw Beyoncé perform at Coachella. I also didn’t want to go alone, but after Coachella, I had to go, so I bought a ticket for my sister as well. It was only fair since she bought my Reputation ticket.

Because of my moderately low income, I bought the cheapest tickets available. I don’t have a choice. This has been my strategy since I started buying any type of ticket. As a result, I fail to ignore the location of the seat in relation to the stage for concert tickets and the departure times for airplane tickets, which has caused some stress in the past, but when I bought my OTR tickets, I thought I did good: “$50 for Beyoncé AND Jay-Z?! What a steal!” Little did I know, how much these billionaires had swindled me because my seats, for lack of a better word, sucked.

Two weeks earlier at the Taylor Swift concert, my sister and I had scouted our OTR II seats and thought they would be nicer than our Reputation seats because well, we’d actually get a seat, as opposed to standing room only.

As a result, we were in positive spirits when we sat in our seats for OTR. We were even closer to the stage than last time. That all changed when opening acts, Chloe x Halle came on, and we couldn’t understand a word they were saying, which was really disappointing because I think they’re really talented and wanted to hear their music. Yet, my sister and I were still optimistic: “Okay, maybe their sound engineers just suck, but Beyoncé and Jay-Z, they’re experienced veterans, so they’re going to sound awesome.” We were wrong because I couldn’t understand a word Jay-Z said throughout the entire concert. I only understood Beyoncé because I was more familiar with her songs (I thought Jay would sing more songs from his most recent album, 4:44, which was the only album I had listened of his, but he only sung “The Story of OJ” from it. They also didn’t sing any songs from Everything is Love except for “Apeshit”).

We couldn’t understand anything because all the speakers were frontwards facing, and according to my sister, sound waves travel in straight lines, so our positioning for Taylor Swift, while farther, was better because we were facing the stage.

To make matters even worse, we couldn’t even enjoy the visual show because we couldn’t see anything. We didn’t see them enter the stage because they entered at the center of the stage, which was blocked off by the screens, which were also all frontward facing and partially covered by speakers. As a result, we didn’t even get a clear look of the exclusive images of the Carter family during Beyoncé’s performance of “Perfect” (My favorite moment of the night even though I could never love a man the way Beyoncé loves Jay-Z. I also enjoyed “****** in Paris” and “Apeshit” aka the Jay-Z songs I was familiar with. Everything else I couldn't understand or I had already seen from Coachella i.e. it wasn’t anything new).

Taylor Swift’s screens were curved for those on the flanks of the stadium (see below).

Alas, my sister and I weren’t the only disappointed ones at FedEx Field on July 27. Our whole section was silent for the majority of the night. The party next to us even left before the concert was over. I had wanted to get there early so we could see the opening acts and get the most of our $50 tickets, but the whole experience was a bust.

Together, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are worth a billion dollars. There is no reason why they can’t afford to make their stages, screens, and speakers curved so everyone in attendance can hear and see. This is what accessibility is: providing an equitable experience for all. If celebrities really cared about their fans, then they would do this, but all they care about is maximizing their profits, so they can provide better lives for themselves, not us. Otherwise, why would bad concert seats exist? They don’t care about us, which is why we need to stop worshipping them. While we may not have the same talents as Beyoncé and Jay-Z, we have the same capability to improve ourselves and make the world a better place for others. That’s the message I took from this concert: how to make the world a more equitable and accessible place for all.

TL;DR: OTR II sucked. We couldn’t hear or see anything, and they didn’t even play any new songs. Celebrities are cancelled because they have the money to do something about this inaccessibility, yet they choose not to. Also, if these artists really cared about us, then they would end their concerts before public transportation stops running, so everyone can get home in a safe and timely manner, but they don’t, so we try not get trampled as we fight for a spot on the last Metro [1] and wait two hours to haul an affordable Uber home. [2]

[1] OTR II was on the weekend so the Metro was still open when the concert ended.

[2] Taylor Swift’s concert was on a Tuesday so the Metro was closed when the concert ended. The whole transportation situation was a mess. First, we had no idea what direction the Uber pick up zone was. Once we eventually got to the pick up zone, we had to wait at least two hours for the surge to go down from $80 to its normal price of $15. Then, the stadium staff wanted the Uber drivers to park and then call their customers, but this was not clearly communicated, as the drivers wanted us to meet them where they were in the pick up line. As a result, there was a lot of yelling and annoyance. Thankfully, our Uber driver wasn’t difficult and getting a ride home was the only blip in our Reputation experience. I wish I could say the same thing about our OTR II experience.

P.S. Jay-Z wore a headband. It was cute.