Series Review – Girlboss

girlboss-jacket

Girlboss is about twentysomething misfit Sophia and how she builds her vintage clothing business, Nasty Gal. While building her business, she has to deal with a hernia, unsatisfied customers, neglected friends and other vintage sellers who disagree with her methods. The show is full of colourful characters and fantastic fashion.

From the beginning the main character, Sophia, is insufferable. She walks over everyone else to have her own way, acts like she knows absolutely everything and expects others to be endeared by her quirks. Her best friend, Annie, is not much more likeable. This made the first couple of episodes hard to get through. And yet, there was something about the show that made me keep watching.

The story was intriguing enough and the aesthetic fantastic. Watching Sophia go through all that vintage clothing, while well-dressed herself, inspired me to go back to my favourite thrift shops and experiment more with my own style myself. Also, to get my bangs cut again. And go to San Francisco.

girlboss-computer

Her entrepreneurship was very inspiring too. She’s not a girl you expect to succeed, but she turns out to be highly resourceful. She actively solves problems and is shown to have good business sense. Together with showing her vulnerability, she becomes a lot more likeable over the course of the series. In the final episodes I was happy to see her succeed with her business and really felt for her when she was unexpectedly betrayed.

Unfortunately, only snippets of the building of her company are shown. Most of the storyline seems to be about Sophia’s personal life, her relationships and struggles (unlike what the trailer suggests). I would have liked to see more about the business side of it. The best episodes are the ones which center on some facet of Nasty Gal, like ‘Ladyshopper99’ in which Sophia goes through every resource to satisfy a disgruntled customer. The ones which are more about Sophia’s relationships, like ‘Top 8’ and ‘The Trip’, I could have done without.

girlboss-shane

The humour in the series is here and there. Sometimes it’s hilarious, like in the dialogue or in the portrayal of certain characters. Other times it completely misses the mark. In the already mentioned ‘Top 8’ for example; I kept waiting for those outlandish flashbacks to become funny, but they never did.

It was inconsistent in tone too. The text messages and sales popping up on the screen, to name some, seemed out of place. Those didn’t fit with the rest of the tone/aesthetic the series was going for. In ‘Vintage Fashion Forum’ the incorporation of the internet was brilliant though. I loved how they showed the interaction between the characters on the forum and in the chatroom.

If you like stories about female entrepreneurs, vintage fashion and Wes Anderson type humour, give Girlboss a shot. Even if you don’t love the main character, you may find yourself binge-watching it late into the night.

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the end of penny dreadful?!

(spoilers ahead)

Episode 309
Josh Hartnett as Ethan and Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). – Photo: Patrick Redmond/SHOWTIME – Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_1579

when i innocently logged into netflix today to watch the new episode of penny dreadful, i had no idea what was in store for me. i thought it was just another episode of the week. it seemed like there were still some more episodes in store, counting them by number. of course, looking at what last week’s episode had set up, i should have suspected something. suddenly there was a big climax and the dreadful words ‘The End’.

it took a while to process.

however, now that i have gained some distance, i have to admit that it was a spectacular finale. i’m sad that i don’t have an episode to watch forward to next week & that vanessa died though. vanessa died! what! i was considering possible deaths for almost all the other characters (really crossing my fingers for frankenstein), but vanessa! i did not see that coming at all. it does make sense, but it did seem like a very bleak ending. earth has nothing but suffering in store, so better to take an early train to heaven. the religious thinking behind it is so typically 19th century; fascinating in such an otherwise modern show.

penny-dreadful-season-3-finale-creature

speaking of that big plot point, the scene in which it played out is done fantastically. the way ethan goes up the stairs, all the candles, vanessa in the white dress, the prayer at the end, & the acting of both of them… wow. the aftermath, in which the other characters grieve for her, is also beautiful. it’s the little things, like how frankenstein hugs ethan before he leaves. aww. in a sidenote, that hug was also one of those things that redeemed frankenstein a bit. he was such a jackass this season.

there are so many cinematographic things that i could praise in these two last episodes. london covered in fog. the woman singing to her child integrated with the edited opening credits. our heroes entering the slaughterhouse. dorian in his empty room flooded with light. the burial. the creature reciting the poem at the end. so many things. this whole season was on a much higher level than the previous ones. i loved all the new characters too. catriona hartdegen, oh my god. her character is slightly anachronistic, but so fabulous. i love her intelligence, attitude, & how she saves so many male characters at some point. dr. seward is also badass. inventive interpretation of the dr. seward of bram stoker’s dracula. i love how many more coloured people there are this season too. of course they had to do something after killing off the one black character, but i choose to see it in a more positive light.

as for the storylines of the other characters, they were wrapped up nicely. i was glad to see the vulnerability & change in lily. brute strength aside, she becomes a much stronger character towards the end. we also got to see a new side of dorian, though he of course goes back to how he always was. fitting for his character. the creature has a predictable sad ending. however, it was interesting to see how he deals with it.

penny-dreadful-season-3-finale-dorian

frankenstein i have already touched upon. this season he was significantly more monstrous than his ‘monsters’. he pissed me off more with each episode. yes, he was devastated by all that had happened, but that is no excuse. in the second to last episode he finally recognised how wrong he had been, in another beautiful scene with lily. & then he is reunited with our heroes, just in time. interesting how he then immediately seems to become more heroic himself. it does seem that it was his isolation more than anything that led him down that dark, dark road. anyway, his clumsy way of fighting later provides some chuckles in that otherwise dire situation. luckily he has miss hartdegen to save him.

& then there are ethan & sir malcolm. it is touching when ethan calls sir malcolm ‘father’. even for the viewer it is comforting that, though vanessa died, they still have each other. vanessa! before the episode had ended, i already thought there was no way they could go forward from here. penny dreadful is vanessa’s show after all. it’s good that they ended with this season. the plotline of vanessa eternally being hunted by some demon/the devil was already getting stale in this one. looking at it as a whole i did love it though. it had its faults, & it had jackass frankenstein, but it is definitely worth a re-watch. the whole of the show is. it is so complex, centered around loveable, intriguing characters, & an aesthetic delight. i do think this show will stay one of my all-time favourites.

live music review – rolo tomassi, the fall of troy + chon

or, a love letter to eva spence

picture taken from rolo tomassi's facebook page
picture taken from rolo tomassi’s facebook page

last night i saw rolo tomassi for the third time this year. the fall of troy were headlining & chon opened. the show was in the club dynamo. rolo tomassi was the band i was there for, & also the only i was familiar with, so this review will mostly be focused on them.

i will start with chon. they’re an instrumental band from san diego. even before they said where they were from i thought i could hear their home state in the music. their show was pretty nice. after a while i thought their music all sounded the same though. not my cup of tea, but a surprisingly large amount of the crowd got really into it. a lot of people were banging their heads like it was much more intense music & a couple of them even ballroom-danced a little.

after chon we had to wait half an hour for rolo tomassi to start. standing at the front & watching how they set up & the minutes crawl by could make one very impatient, haha. & once they finally started, it was one big explosion. the band has so much infectious energy. there were also a lot more enthusiastic fans up front than the last two times i saw them. & the vocalist, eva spence… she is quickly becoming one of my favourite vocalists & biggest inspirations. her performance is utterly captivating. she doesn’t just sing, but puts her whole body into it. she is almost constantly jumping or dancing around the stage, shifting between a ferocious beast & an elegant lady. & then when she’s talking in-between songs, or you speak to her off stage, she is so sweet & cute. & she also makes things like hair ties & adorable pillows, which i couldn’t afford, which they sell at the merch stand. god, i love her.

…to go back to the band & performance, the other members were also amazing; it’s just that i pay the closest attention to vocalists because i’m learning to sing myself. i would love to become a vocalist like eva at some point. anyway. the band mostly played songs off their brilliant new album, grievances, starting with ‘funereal’ & ending with ‘stage knives’. i think my favourite of the songs they played is ‘opalescent’. the build-up of that song sounds amazing how they play it live. i experienced it three times now & it gave me goosebumps every time. unfortunately, since they were not the main act they had a pretty short set. still well worth the trip to eindhoven though.

the fall of troy also gave a great show. i hadn’t heard their music before, & i didn’t entirely love it, but their show itself was great. they also gave a very passionate performance. the crowd went wild. from the front to the back people were banging their heads & jumping & singing & screaming. at least half of them were constantly moshing. on a sidenote, i thought it was interesting how many different people there were at the show. quite a variety in age, gender, race, & fashion preferences. it was nice to see. i’ve noticed that in general mathcore seems to attract a more varied audience than other -core bands. also bands that have at least one member who is not a white male.

overall, i had a great time last night. if you like any of the bands mentioned, i would highly recommend checking them out live.