A few days ago I decided it would be fun to add one more reading challenge to my list for 2016. Since there have been so many Peter Pan retellings released in the past couple of years, I decided to challenge myself to read one Peter Pan retelling per month in 2016 (and of course I had to create a fun graphic to go along with it to outline my year!). Unlike the other 2016 Reading Challenges that I’ve signed up for, this is one that I created for myself. Anyone is welcome to join in for fun but it’s more of an impulsive challenge than an officially hosted one. Some of the books listed below will be rereads for me which I can also count toward the reread challenge. I’ve been wanting to revisit the Peter and the Starcathers series again so I chose to start those in my birthday month!
Buy the books!
January –Wendy Darling: A Novel
February – Unhooked
April – Second Star
May – Never Never
June – Peter Pan (Puffin Chalk)
July – Peter and the Starcatchers
October – Tiger Lily
November – Hook’s Revenge, Book 1 Hook’s Revenge
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting. This week I’m choosing Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell. I think anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while probably knows how much I love Peter Pan so this week’s choice should come as no surprise. The book follows a girl named Gwen and her best friend Olivia who get kidnapped and whisked away to Neverland. The lines between good and evil are seriously blurred and the girls need to find a way home and decide whether Peter or Hook is the right character to trust. Plus there’s a pirate ship on the cover. Insta-preorder. You can preorder your own copy on Amazon!
For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home—all because her mother believes that monsters are hunting them. Now these delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. The only saving grace is her best friend, Olivia, who’s coming with them for the summer.
But when Gwen and Olivia are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and taken to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey, Gwen realizes her mom might have been sane all along.
The world Gwen finds herself in is called Neverland, yet it’s nothing like the stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through her fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the roguish young pirate who promises to keep her safe.
With time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But will she be able to save Neverland without losing herself? (via Goodreads)
Yesterday while surfing the internet I came across the cutest Disney Christmas artwork by Dylan Bonner and I knew I had to share them here! He took Disney characters and drew them in scenes of popular Christmas films which is basically my dream mash up. Of course Home Alone Rapunzel and Elf Ariel, and Polar Express Peter Pan are my three favorites!
Here is one my first 5 Fandom Friday catch up posts in video form! Also I am a dork but as I suspected, it was really fun to answer one of these topics in video form! I think I will be doing more of them this way in the future. You can view all of the September topics on Megan’s blog and I’ll be posting our October topics much later this month! Let me know if you have any topic suggestions!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly anticipating. This week I’m choosing Never Never by Brianna Shrum. I’m always game for ANYTHING Peter Pan but Brianna Shrum’s upcoming Never Never is one of those retellings that really piqued my interest because it explores a childhood friendship between Captain Hook, a boy who wants nothing more than to grow up, and Peter Pan, a boy determined to remain a child as long as possible. Peter convinces James to accompany him to Neverland and once they’ve spent time there, Peter will not allow him to leave which is how their infamous rivalry begins. I’m also completely in love with the book’s cover and all of it’s Peter Pan Easter eggs. The clouds in the sky are in the shape of a skull and crossbones, the top right of the cover displays the navigation to Neverland (2nd star to the right and straight on til morning), and the title N resembles Peter Pan’s hat and the feather he received from Tiger Lily. Plus Brianna Shrum’s name is bookended by hooks. I want it nowwwww!
James Hook is a child who only wants to grow up.
When he meets Peter Pan, a boy who loves to pretend and is intent on never becoming a man, James decides he could try being a child—at least briefly. James joins Peter Pan on a holiday to Neverland, a place of adventure created by children’s dreams, but Neverland is not for the faint of heart. Soon James finds himself longing for home, determined that he is destined to be a man. But Peter refuses to take him back, leaving James trapped in a world just beyond the one he loves. A world where children are to never grow up.
But grow up he does.
And thus begins the epic adventure of a Lost Boy and a Pirate.
This story isn’t about Peter Pan; it’s about the boy whose life he stole. It’s about a man in a world that hates men. It’s about the feared Captain James Hook and his passionate quest to kill the Pan, an impossible feat in a magical land where everyone loves Peter Pan.
Except one. (via Goodreads)
The eternal Peter Pan fan in me is kicking myself for not reading Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson earlier but I’m so happy to have enjoyed my time with this story these past few days. I decided to read Tiger Lily right before my birthday because Andrew had purchased tickets to take me to see Finding Neverland on Broadway and I wanted to get into the Peter Pan spirit. Tiger Lily is a YA novel inspired by J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and it’s told entirely from Tinker Bell’s point of view. It tells Tiger Lily’s story and it captures the relationship between Peter Pan and she prior to Wendy Darling arriving in Neverland and essentially ruining everything between them, but it is so much more than just that.
Tiger Lily examines relationships such as those between family, communities, enemies and the stuggle to identify oneself in addition to the romance. Tinker Bell becomes fascinated by Tiger Lily once she realizes what an atypical girl she is and begins following her around and conveying her observances to the reader. She narrates Tiger Lily’s relationship with Tick Tok, the head of the Sky Eaters tribe, which is simultaneously complicated and easy. Tick Tok is Tiger Lily’s father figure and because she was taken in as the tribe leaders daughter, the people in her community tolerate her but she never truly fits in. This is why Tiger Lily ends up finding herself when she meets Peter and his Lost Boys. Peter doesn’t show up until much later in the stotry after we truly have a handle on Tiger Lily’s sense of character.
I loved the traditionally swapped gender norms between Tiger Lily and Tick Tok. Tiger Lily is described as masculine and seemingly unfeeling, especially in comparison to Wendy Darling, while Tick Tok has longer hair and tends to wear dresses. Later in the book, there is a huge issue that the town faces with Tick Tok after an outsider points out his feminitiy and it’s explored so well. I was nearly in tears during that part and I don’t want to give it away but trust me, it’s powerful.
There are less magical elements present in Anderson’s novel than there are in the classic Peter Pan tale but it really worked for the story she told. There are still mermaids and fairies and I love the character development she provides for Tinker Bell. It helps explain why Tinker Bell resents Wendy so much and how she and Peter’s interactions began. Anderson reworked all of the characters to be slightly older than they are in the traditional tale and it allowed for an emotional comig of age story documenting the challenges one faces when transitioning from young adulthood into adulthood.
Final Thoughts: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson is an emotional coming of age story that draws inspiration from Peter Pan focusing on Tiger Lily’s journey from young adulthood into adulthood. The story is narrated by Tinker Bell who struggles to make sense of the complicated relationships Tiger Lily has in her life. The book is rife with body image, societal and social issues and the end results will be impactful. Expect less magic in Neverland and more magic in the nuances and relationships that make characters human.
Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.
Peter is unlike anyone she’s ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland’s inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything—her family, her future—to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she’s always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.
With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Peaches comes a magical and bewitching story of the romance between a fearless heroine and the boy who wouldn’t grow up. (via Goodreads)
Writing this post has caused me to start thinking about the next time I’ll be able to hop on a plane to Florida to visit Kristin and go to Disney and Harry Potter World<3 We always have so much fun when we’re together and I think a visit is long overdue!
1) Hogwarts Castle Ride @ Universal – Just being in Harry Potter world is a big enough treat, but going on the Hogwarts Castle ride and seeing Hogwarts in such great detail is an absolute dream come true! The only part I don’t love is the spiders!
2) Star Tours @ Disney World – This is my favorite of any theme park ride and anytime I’m at Disney, I beeline for Star Tours. I love feeling like I’m actually in space. I haven’t ever been lucky enough to be the rebel yet, but I’m hopeful that it’ll happen one day!
3) Indiana Jones ride @ Disneyland – I wish this ride was also at Disney World because Florida is way more convenient to get to than California.
4) Peter Pan’s Flight @ Disney – While Disney’s Peter Pan is my least favorite interpretation of J.M Barrie’s play, I do really love the ride! It’s so exciting to see all the characters and be taken through Neverland.
5) Spider-Man ride @ Universal – I love all the easter eggs in this ride! Even when you’re just waiting on the line, you pass by Ben Ulrich’s office among others. I tend to prefer simulated rides because I’m a big baby when it comes to roller coasters not even because of the speed and drops but because I just imagine how bad it could be if the ride breaks. Which actually happened on this ride and I was terrified while Kristin just laughed at me and talked about how the ride was actually exciting for once. She’s quite the daredevil.
PAST & UPCOMING TOPICS
Since Funko pop figures are released in collections, I thought it was only fair to group my favorites into collections. I had a serious Funko addiction when they first started being released and I have more of them than any one person needs but I only brought a small portion of them with me when I moved. Here are the ones I love the most from my collection!
Helmeted Loki (I was SO happy a new version of this one was released for Thor: The Dark World)
Princess Bubblegum and Marceline
All of my Disney Funkos! Especially hipster Ariel and my Beauty & the Beast ones <3
Robocop and Rocketeer
PAST & UPCOMING TOPICS
I had been looking forward to watching Peter Pan Live! since it was announced (despite the train wreck that was The Sound of Music Live last year) because J.M. Barrie’s classic tale is one of my absolute favorites. Many people don’t realize it, but Peter Pan was actually a play first performed in 1904 (although it’s the 1954 version that most people are familiar with) before it was novelized in 1911 as Peter and Wendy. I’ve loved almost every iteration I’ve seen and read so I couldn’t resist clearing my schedule to absorb more Peter Pan lore in Allison Williams’ version, even if I was very wary of how the end result would turn out.
Since I’m always drawn to things by aesthetics, the first thing I was to discuss is the fashion in the NBC production and how it is SO perfect. I LOVE Peter Pan’s layered ensemble which is paired with forest green faux leather crop leggings. The black mesh undershirt is reminiscent of a net that pirates while they’re out at sea. The lace up kelly green tunic which was belted at the hips with a deep brown worn looking leather perfectly complemented it and I love how Peter was accessorized with matching brown leather wristbands. (One pet peeve which has nothing do with the actual fashion but did involve shoes – Peter jumps on Wendy’s bed while donning his footwear which would totally make me FREAK OUT.) Hook’s red velvet bell sleeve and black lace trimmed coat with gold detailing is beautiful but his pants were belted a little too high for my taste. However, his black blouse and fold over boots were spot on. I also enjoyed Wendy’s white nightgown which had a blue pattern and was belted with a blue ribbon, even though I did not enjoy Wendy herself. All of the supporting characters were perfectly dressed with the exception of the Lost Boys who looked more like they were on their way to a prep school (SO MANY CRESTED BLAZERS AND STRIPES).
Next up, the performances. Allison Williams totally killed it as Peter Pan. I loved her playful interpretation of the character which was magnified by her facial expressions, boyish mannerisms, and overall charm. On the other hand, Wendy (played by Taylor Louderman), annoyed me to no end. She was too anxious and bug eyed and I think they should’ve either cast a younger actress or done her makeup differently because her acting and look made her seem like a 30 year old who stopped maturing at 13. There are almost no words for Christopher Walken as Captain Hook who I’m pretty sure was hired as a wildcard to keep things interesting. I think his tango and swordfight with Peter were some of the most gloriously awful moments in the whole production. Walken clearly did not memorize his lines and was being fed lines throughout the play (maybe from a teleprompter? He kept looking down as though he were reading). His lack of effort in acting out the character made him one of the silliest and most fun actors to watch. Traditionally, the actor who plays Mr. Darling usually plays Captain Hook as well, but I Walken could not handle another part so instead Mr. Darling was played by Christian Borle who also played Mr. Smee. He did a wonderful job in both roles, no doubt due to his previous experience in theater (he even won a Tony for playing Black Stache in the off-Broadway production of Peter and the Starcatcher!). Tiger Lily was played by Alanna Saunders (who is actually of Cherokee descent) and she did a fine job but her tribe looked like tan versions of the creatures from James Cameron’s Avatar. Kelli O’Hara played Mrs. Darling and her signing voice is so incredible. Minnie Driver was an excellent older Wendy who narrated throughout the play. I truly wish her daughter in the last scene had played Wendy instead of Louderman though. She had much ,ore energy and I imagine she would’ve done a much better job acting out the part. Oh, and without question, the best casting in the production was the Darlings’ dog, Nana.
Lastly, the set design, music, Tinker Bell and Tick-Tock! The Darling’s house is GORGEOUS. It looks exactly like a live action recreation of Disney version. The clock in the distance, the windowsill, and the beds were crafted fantastically. I would love to have the opportunity to stand in there for just a few minutes! The set of Neverland was some kind of strange mash up of Oz meets Wonderland meets Dr. Seuss. It was very colorful and imaginative, although it didn’t really fit the feel of the play, but the Jolly Roger was like a dream pirate ship. The music was so much fun to sing and hum along to and the songs were all performed very well, especially ‘Never Grow Up.’ Allison Williams’ vocals are so fitting for Peter Pan. I’m saddened that NBC chose to use a CGI version of Tinker Bell instead of the traditional blinking flashlight, but I understand their desire to experiment in a way that hasn’t been done before. Speaking of experiments, one that had gone awry is the psychedelic version of Tick-Tock the crocodile. I’m not sure why he’s tie dyed shades of blue and purple and I don’t think I’m even interested in finding out the answer.
Overall, I enjoyed the production as it was very loyal to the original stage versions despite the Shazam ads and the hashtag to #SaveTinkerBell (although Allison Williams TOTALLY sold the bit where she urged us all to CLAP!). (And for people complaining about the wires, you know it was a live production and people can’t actually fly [as far as we know], right?) Peter Pan Live! has a strong introduction but I don’t believe I would be eager to re-watch some scenes from the second half of the show. One of the best things to come out of Peter Pan Live! is a slew of new articles outlining interesting facts and timelines about Peter, hilarious tweets about the performace, and some Hook gifs/memes which I’ve took the liberty of inserting into my post.
-Allison Williams As Peter Pan
-Christopher Walken’s Tango
-“Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning.”
-Christopher Walken’s Random Gutteral Cooing During Commercial Breaks
-Captain Hook & Peter Pan’s Lackluster Sword Fight
-Peter Pan Screaming That He’s An Avenger
-Cookie the Pirate
-ALL THE COSTUMES
-ALL THE MUSIC
19 Things You May Not Know About Peter Pan The Musical – via Mental Floss
Peter Pan Syndrome: A Timeline of All Things Neverland – via Vulture
Why Is Peter Pan Usually Played By A Woman – via Slate
Did you watch / were you able to endure Peter Pan Live? What did you think? NBC has already announced that they’ll be continuing the tradition and putting on The Music Man Live in 2015! FOX is also jumping aboard the live production train and has announced Grease for 2015!
This past week has felt like a breath of fresh air as my social life took a turn for the best. It all started on Monday night when Andrew, Taylor and I gathered in the living room to watch the premiere of Gotham. We’re all usually so busy that it can become hard to coordinate at times, so I really revel in the moments I get to spend with my best friends and boyfriend. Even though we all had other obligations – Taylor has been busy as a bee spending just about every minute in our apartment working on cosplay for NYCC, Andrew has been hard at work creating this beautiful print series of Elsa (Frozen), Spike (Cowboy Bebop) and Link (Legend of Zelda), and I am forever with a laptop in front of me and tea in hand blogging for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink and SuperSpaceChick – we managed to come together for the hour. I only wish I had had the time to make these Batman chips. I’m planning on baking them for the finale instead. Another blogger friend Travis made some for his premiere party along with Joker Juice which looked super fun! I really enjoyed the first episode and I can’t wait to see what direction Gotham is going to take. My only issue with it was that there were so many villains and characters crammed into the first episode, but since it’s a pilot, I think FOX deserves some slack for that. I would rather see a more in depth look at several characters than short bits of too many. For instance, give us more Montoya!
On Thursday night, after what had felt like forever (but was probably about a month) of dying to see The Boxtrolls, Andrew and I satisfied my desire. We would see The Boxtrolls movie poster advertisement in literally every subway station in NYC. It felt like torture! So when the night finally arrived, I could not have been more excited. Before the movies, I went to the grocery store to pick up some Halloween candy to snack on, and I happened upon those Pumpkin Spice Oreo’s I’ve been eager to try! So here are my brief reviews of each: 1) The Boxtrolls – The movie was adorable and well worth the wait. I loved the animation style and the story was so charming. I hadn’t realized that so many actors I love voiced the characters (despite seeing the poster every day, good job Kristin), but Ben Kingsely, Richard Ayode, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were all wonderful choices. The Boxtrolls are the cutest creatures and Andrew and I have been imitating some of their motions ever since we saw it. If you’re interested in animation, you’ll especially enjoy the ending that’s played while the credits are rolling, but that’s all I’ll say about that, and 2) The Oreos – Pumpkin Spice Oreo’s are like autumn in your mouth. It might just be me, but I felt like the cookie part tasted more like a graham cracker and sandwiched in between was a glorious pumpkin spice cream. They’re just the right amount of sweet and pumpkin. They’re now officially my second favorite Oreo flavor thus far, the first being Cookie Dough and the third being Birthday Cake.
Friday night, Andrew and I met up with Marlene for a catch up dinner at Beecher’s. Beecher’s is a delicious grilled cheese place in the Flatiron District and I’d only ever been there once before. It was the perfect evening. We sat around our table and each of us recounted our tales of the times we met Neil Gaiman. We also chatted about tumblr, (Marlene works there, how cool is that?!), I made each of them promise to read The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss because it’s been recommended to me for ages and ever since I picked it up I’ve been captivated with Kvothe’s story, and just internet silliness in general. After dinner, Andrew and I went back to my apartment (where Taylor was still working on cosplay) and my brother Bob and Andrew’s co-worker Ben came over for a board game night and all the pumpkin flavored desserts you can imagine. We played a new game I had just gotten called Cosmic Encounter and it was SO much fun. It was recommended to me by Josh Houchin and I am so glad I listened to his suggestion. The game initially seemed really complicated (poor Andrew read us about 11 pages of instructions for 1.5 hours before we could actually play), but once the game started it was much simpler and way more quick paced than we though it would be. Basically, you pick an alien race, and then spend the rest of the game trying to be the first person to colonize 5 planets. Your pieces are spaceships which you use to attack other players with along with attack cards after choosing a Destiny card. Alliances are formed, and there are plenty of other cards which keep the game interesting. I definitely suggest playing if you have the chance! Oh, and my Peter Pan teapot came in the mail!
Saturday was probably the most relaxing day of my week. I woke up late (board games had kept us up well past 4 AM) and spent the morning/early afternoon baking Bee & Puppycat cupcakes. I also spent a good portion of the day watching Birds of Prey with Andrew and Taylor (again, while all three of us worked on blogging, art, and cosplay respectively). I hadn’t ever watched the Birds of Prey series while it was on television but I really loved what I saw. Keeping in mind it was made in the early 2000’s and the soundtrack, clothing, and filming style were VERY reminiscent of the time. For instance, there was some Michelle Branch music and it didn’t feel dissimilar to watching an episode of Dawson’s Creek except our protagonists had super powers and fought crime. Oh, and Aunt Becky from Full House played Dinah Lance’s mother, the OG Black Canary. My favorite part of the Birds of Prey DVDs were the animated shorts of the webseries Gotham Girls featuring Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Catwoman and Batgirl. They were super cute. Later I took so more photos for my next Outfit of the Day post on Wednesday which I’m pretty excited to share! Then Andrew and I headed to my brother’s apartment to celebrate his birthday. We spent hours chatting and drinking before heading to a bar in Williamsburg that my brother claimed was right off the L train (lies), but nonetheless, it was a lovely evening that turned into another really late night.
The next morning it was much more difficult to wake up but I was too excited to attend my first Medieval Festival to skip it in favor of Arrow and Parks & Recreation (because the last season is finally on Netflix!) Under different circumstances, I think the Medieval Festival would’ve been a lot of fun. I say this because according to our calendars it is officially autumn, but the sun decided to radiate heat at 81 degrees yesterday as if it were reverting back to summer. On top of that, the event was held at Fort Tyron Park by the Cloisters on 190th street and it was not the easiest location to get to. We went on a Hobbit style journey down several blocks and climbed about 150 steps and walked some more before finally hitting our destination. Combine all that with the fact that we were probably still dehydrated from the night before and quite honestly, it was not the best of conditions. Although, it was really interesting to see men jousting, women playing instruments, and a man welding metal. I would love to attend a Ren Faire in the near future when it’s cooler and I’m fully hydrated. Then Andrew and I went back to his apartment and spent the better part of the day eating pizza, French fries, pumpkin macarons, and pumpkin cheesecake, and drinking chai tea. We did get to watch more Arrow and Parks & Rec, but we spent a good deal of the evening playing Donkey Kong Country 3. I’m 94% completed with the game (after having beat it numerous times in my childhood), and I had been trying to get this one darn bonus coin so I could unlock the next level in the secret world for more time than my mind could handle.
Lastly, I’ll be recapping some blog things! Two of the most exhilarating things I did blogwise this week were publishing my first Outfit of the Day post, and announcing 5 Fandom Fridays With SuperSpaceChick & The Nerdy Girlie. We received such a warm reception via Twitter from other bloggers within the network and we were just so pleased with the positive reaction. I’ve already written a few of my 5 Fandom Friday posts because I can hardly wait to share them with the world! And here are a few of my favorite things I wrote for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink: