Tag Archives: review

Table For Two: Dreams Of A Life, Or The Tragic Mulatto Spinster Goes To The Movies

By Tami Winfrey Harris and Andrea Plaid

JoyceVincent

From the joycevincent.com, a website set up by Dreams of a Life filmmaker Carol Morley

Dreams Of A Life, the 2011 “drama-documentary” about the life and death of Joyce Carol Vincent, a mixed-race woman of color found in her London flat in 2003 three years after she died, definitely made our race and gender antennae go up, mostly because we were so angry over the disrespectful depiction of Vincent by people who claimed to have known her. Keep the “people who claimed to know her” in mind as we drop in on this Table for Two…

Andrea: The race/gender axis gets really weird with this film, at least to me…

Tami: At first watch, it seems like the film and Joyce’s friends created a lot of drama around this woman’s life because they couldn’t sit with her death–and thJoyce-vincent-007e idea that sometimes pretty, young people die. They are inclined to portray her as a tragic figure, but some of the  evidence of her tragic downfall (Joyce working as a “cleaner,” i. e. maid) is ridiculous. What truly bothers me is that they continually paint her as “lonely and sad” when there is no evidence that she ever expressed those things. I don’t think people would talk about a young single man that way–even one who died alone in his apartment.

Andrea: Because they can’t believe that “one of their own” is a house cleaner. Paging Janelle Monae…

But it’s the “tragic mulatto” narrative to me. That she couldn’t find love in the black or white communities in the UK that’s so bent.

Tami: And there is lots of exoticizing about her rare beauty that men couldn’t resist. And “re-enactments” of her moping, stumbling around her apartment, and looking forlornly out of windows. It is as if any near-40-year-old woman living alone in a city must be tragic.

Andrea: We hear next to nothing of substance in Joyce’s own words. Instead, there are a lot of people who were supposed to be close to her–folks who you’d think would notice that she was missing for three years–who project a story onto her. And then the fact that she’s 37–the Tragic Mulatto Spinster. I was like, “Really, y’all?”

Tami: That is the perfect title for this documentary.

Continue reading

The Walking Dead Recap 3.9: “The Suicide King”

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

TWD_TR_309_0810_0447

The Walking Dead has returned! Huzzah! It takes quite a fan base for a TV show to come back in awards season. Competing with The Grammys, I made a night of channel flipping between my live-tweeting duties and undead counter programming: Bruno Mars crooning to zombies groaning; watching Rick’s sanity slip a little more to Jennifer Lopez’s slipping taste; witnessing Andrea’s desire for normalcy result in a huge case of denial (willfully ignoring fish tanks full of zombie heads?) to… nope. There’s really nothing like Andrea’s thought process.

Note: The Walking Dead Roundtable will be slightly different from now on: If you’ve read our Scandal roundtables, you’ll be familiar with the setup: each week, a Racialicious denizen will provide an episode summary the day after the newest episode airs. For The Walking Dead, that day will be Mondays. Then, on Friday a longer roundtable discussion of the episode is posted hosted by moi, Joe, accompanied by a circle of insightful fans.

So, now there will be two Walking Dead posts, or 2x the zombie fun.

Recap for The Walking Dead Episode 3.9: “The Suicide King” appears under the cut!

Continue reading

Introducing The Scandal Recap and Roundtable

by Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

822x

Every week, your resident entertainment buffs (that is to say…Kendra James and I) will recap the plot of Scandal. Then, the following Thursday morning, we will invite some Racialicious friends in for an in-depth discussion of the previous episode’s events, their implications, and thoughts of what’s to come.

MAJOR Plot Spoilers for Scandal 2.10, “One for the Dog,” after the jump. You’ve been warned…

Continue reading

The Walking Dead Roundtable 3.6: “Hounded”

Hosted By Fashion and Entertainment Editor Joseph Lamour

In this week’s Walking Dead, we see Michonne proving why she’s so badass, yet again; we are reminded why Merle is oh so creepy; and we are shown, yet again, that Andrea is not thinking clearly enough in a world where people drag around dead bodies on leashes, keep their decaying loved ones in barns, and men shoot their best friends in the face to protect them from everyone. Carly Mitchell, Kiki Smith, and Jeannie Chan join me to analyze the whos, whats, and whys of this zombie world we see this week.

*I’ll let River Song say what we don’t want in the comments this time:

Continue reading

Why I Still Watch Lost

By Guest Contributor Bao Phi, originally published at the Star Tribune’s Your Voices Blog

(Thanks to Katie Leo, Darren Lee, Jasmine Tang, Charlotte Karem Albrecht, and Phil Yu, who proof-read and offered edits, thoughts and arguments for this entry, and a big shout out to Tatiana, Thuyet, Sajin, Lisa, Juliana, Jasmine, Darren, and the rest of our beloved people of color Lost Twin Cities viewing crew)

For much of my adult life, I didn’t watch television.  Except for the Simpsons and X-Files, I had not been a big fan of television since my early addictions to Robotech, Reading Rainbow, and Transformers.  I missed out on shows that a lot of my peers seemed to be into, like Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince.   Mostly because I didn’t have time to dedicate myself to a weekly viewing schedule, and I hated the idea of missing an episode if I did happen to fall in love with a series.  Added to this my growing unease with the lack of, or problematic depictions of, Asian and Asian Americans in media, and television became a pop culture blind spot I was more than willing to have.

With the invention of the DVD and being able to rent series from the video store, I began to rent shows and see what I had been missing.  One show that was getting considerable buzz in the Asian American community was Lost.  Until I started hearing murmurs from my peers about the show, I had dismissed it as that show about being stranded on an island starring that hobbit from Lord of the Rings.  But some very impassioned community members kept arguing about how great the writing was, the fantastic premise, and above all, the nuanced characters played by Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim. Despite all the positive buzz, I couldn’t quite believe it.

Asian Americans have good reason to be skeptical, when it comes to representation in film and television.  You either get racially displaced (see this great post on Racialicious regading whites cast as Asian: and that’s just the tip of the iceberg)  or, if Asians are portrayed at all, it’s usually as a male martial arts villain/punching dummy for a Caucasian hero, or a female victim in need of love and being saved from her war-torn homeland/her oppressive patriarchal culture by a white knight.  Pun intended.  Even in shows like E.R., where you’d think since it was based in Chicago hospitals that there’d be lots of Asians, there were just a token one or two.  You know those online quizzes where you answer a series of questions and it tells you what character you’d be on a television show or movie?  I don’t take those quizzes, because usually “Asian delivery boy #2” is not one of the outcomes.

What’s especially perplexing is the failure of American media, mainstream and alternative, to mention issues of race and representation when it comes to Asians.  As a person who reads pop culture reviews from Roger Ebert to the Onion’s AV Club to local papers such as the Star Tribune or City Pages, seldom have I found any American reviewer or commentator, regardless of race or gender, mention issues of representation when it comes to Asians and Asian Americans. From movies like The Painted Veil where Asians are relegated to mere backdrop, to films like Rambo and The Last Samurai where a white hero is inserted to save/slaughter Asians, to pop culture blockbuster shows like Battlestar Gallactica with its loaded and problematic Asian female character, to films like 21 and Avatar: the Last Airbender, where Asians are outright replaced by whites, one cannot find many instances where reviewers and commentators think race regarding Asians and Asian Americans is worth mentioning or discussing.

Continue reading