Gimme Kimmy Schmidt’s Fuchsia Lip!

kimmy schmidt

Posted by Lacroix

HOF is proud to welcome another fab contributor, Lacroix of Lacroix the Beauty Blog to give us tips on recreating looks from our favorite shows!

Gimme. Kimmy. Schmidt. Spring. Lip. (say that 3 times fast).

After managing to wind down to 7 tv shows this season (Broad City, Mindy, Sleepy Hollow, New Girl, Empire, Fresh Off the Boat, Blackish, Better Call Saul, Helix), I finally gave into adding yet another show onto my queue. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I burned through Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt this past weekend.

kimmy schmidt head nod
I’m sure you heard about Unbreakable in some way, shape or form. Whether it be Kimmy’s disdain for velcro or your colleague at work who bursts out with “PINOT NOIR” at the desk next to you…oh wait – that’s me.

kimmy streets

These streets have me like…

The blatant display of Spring in every aspect of the show is so aptly illuminated through Kimmy’s style, from her canary yellow cardigan and peter-pan collared shirts to her matching fuchsia pants and lip look.

While Titus Andromedon’s radiance can be achieved naturally (my confidence shines when it’s at least 60 degrees), I need/want Kimmy’s fuchsia lipcolor now!

I did some research, and here are some lipsticks that I recommend:

MAC Cosmetics Lipstick – Flat Out Fabulous

mac fuchsia

Described as a “matte bright plum.”

Chanel Rouge – Coco Jean (454)

chanel fuchsia

Described as “Deep Fuchsia”

Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes – Faint For Fuchsia

maybelline fuchsia

The colors presented are mere suggestions, in no way shape or form do we profit from the links provided to the product. Feels tested and approved!

“How’d you like to live with Uncle John?” – Gallifrey One 2015, Part 3

gally tardisPosted by Kelly

Just before we left for Los Angeles, Sage sent us the following gif. Caption? “Us by day three.” Accuracy? Astounding.

Con life is a commitment. If you don’t throw your body and soul into it, you’re not doing it right. This is as true for guests as it is for attendees, because while we were “Uptown Funk”-ing you up to the bitter end on Saturday night, John Barrowman was stuck in a bathtub. If he could wake up the next day and command an auditorium full of Whovians, we could certainly get out of bed to watch him. So we did. And when we turned on the television, Burn Gorman was there. You know you’re at Gally when real life is better than your dreams.

Every Christmas is “Last Christmas”

Our day began with “Last Christmas” playing in the big auditorium, which was a nice way to ease gradually into the morning with DEBILITATING FEELS OH HELP CLARA’S OLD BUT SHE’LL NEVER LOOK ANY DIFFERENT TO THE DOCTOR. IT’S TOO EARLY FOR THIS.

“Mummy on the Orient Express” live commentary 

New honorary member of our club Jamie Mathieson took the mic first for a live commentary on his rollicking, Agatha Christie-inspired train adventure, also known as Sage’s entire bucket list. He was moderated by Who’s 50 author Robert Smith?, who stepped up and knocked it out of the park when writing partner (and, yes, one-time Head Over Feels guest contributor) Graeme Burk came down with a cold. (Feel better, Graeme!) Our sparkling kaffeeklatsch conversation with Jamie obviously helped him prepare to discuss the episode, because he hit on a lot of the same points, but with added shippiness.

  • Jamie on the Doctor and Clara’s early conversation in the corridor (but really any scene): “They said there was gonna be no flirting, but you look at this, and it’s sizzling.”
  • He didn’t specify in the script that Clara would wake up on that beach so far from the TARDIS, but obviously the Doctor carried her until he found the perfect spot.
  • Clara’s “I love you” was also not scripted toward the Doctor, so we can thank the director for that glorious moment of tension, and we can thank Kim for asking about it at the kaffeeklatsch in the first place.

In conclusion, Jamie Mathieson is one of us, Jenna and Peter know exactly what they’re doing, the directors ship it, get on this literal space train.

An interview with John Barrowman

We were already girding our loins for Barrowman’s arrival when we saw his tweets.

No objections.

For all of Barrowman’s panel antics, our official theme song courtesy of Eve Myles and Burn Gorman, and the rest of our final day at Gally, head on over to The TV Mouse!

“Have fun! Get drunk! Kiss boys!” – Gallifrey One 2015, Part 2

Barrowman Grope

“I’m going to have to grab them.”

Posted by Kim

Well, two out of three ain’t bad.  Unless you count being groped by John Barrowman, which we very much do.

After turning in (read: passing out as soon as we queued up “Galentine’s Day” on Sage’s computer) at a decent hour on Friday night, we woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to take on Saturday.  Note to future Gally attendees: you may feel pressure to stay up until the wee hours of the morning (many DO every single night of the con) but don’t be afraid to go to sleep.  Seriously, the minute I made peace with the fact that it was okay to go to bed, the happier I was.

After I spent a couple of hours studying the schedule when Gally released it a few weeks before the convention, it turned out that Saturday was our lightest day when it came to official panels and interviews. (Me in an email: By no means do you have to do everything I say but I’m pretty certain this is what everyone will want to do. #Monica)  But that’s the wonderful thing about this con: even when you DON’T go to panels, there is an abundance of things to do.

We took advantage of our free morning to both mentally prepare ourselves for our photo-op with John Barrowman and to make the rounds of the autograph tables.  The great thing about the autograph tables, as opposed to photo-ops, is that you get the chance to have an actual conversation with them.  Our first stop was the LOVELY Naoko Mori.  We caught Naoko when she didn’t have a line at her table, which lead to us being able to chat with her for as long as we wanted.  We congratulated her on unbuttoning her pants in the middle of her interview on Friday (“Guys, I had to.”) and commiserated about the weather on the East Coast, regaling her with the story of our dramatic race to LA the previous year (it never gets old).  Sage promised to make a shrine for Tosh when she visits Cardiff later this year prompting Naoko to once again throw shade at the Torchwood-ian devotion to Ianto.  (I genuinely wish that we had audio of the way she would say “Iantoooooooooooooooo.”)  She signed Sage’s photo with a “Saaaaaaaage”, so clearly she knows how Paul McGann pronounces Sage’s name.  As we said goodbye, Naoko chirped some incredibly sage advice, proving that she really knows what cons are all about.  “Have fun! Get drunk! Kiss boys!”  WE’RE DOING OUR BEST, GURL, BELIEVE ME.

Eve Myles Burn Gorman Gally 2015

These two were thick as thieves all weekend.

Next, we moved on to Eve Myles’ table, where naturally we did some flailing over her work in season two of Broadchurch (SHE IS SO GOOD ON IT).  Strangely, we did not ask her things like “Tell us EXACTLY how David Tennant smells” (HOW? We are failures).  Instead, we spent most of our time gushing over James D’Arcy, who had been confusing/enticing us on a weekly basis with his dual performances as the shady Lee Ashworth on Broadchurch and the bumblingly adorable Jarvis on Agent Carter.  She assured us that he is a delightful man and also thanked us for reminding her to watch Agent Carter.  Our work is never done.   She signed the Torchwood cast 8x10s by putting a halo over Gwen’s head and WANTING to draw devil horns on Jack (she also commented that Naoko’s signing of Sage’s name looked like “sausage”), so essentially, she’s a perfect human being and we want to be best friends with her.

Then it was onto the table belonging to our official con crush (aka the “Paul McGann Award”), Burn Gorman.  This is why the Torchwood trio is perfect: Burn unknowingly landed the punchline to the joke unknowingly set up by Naoko.  As Sage handed him her picture, he also read the way Naoko had drawn out writing her name.  “Eve said it looked like she wrote ‘sausage’ instead of ‘Sage’,” Sage said.  “Well, you know—” Burn began.  “Oh no, this is boring.” “TELL US,” we shouted, and it’s a testament to his character that Burn did not flinch.  “We’re anglophiles, we promise we won’t be bored,” Sage implored.  “Well, we DO put sage in our sausages, so it’s very fitting,” he said bashfully, earning our love for life.   After that, we geeked out about theatre with him, as he’s been living in New York while shooting Forever (and to THINK I quit watching, sigh) and seeing a good amount of shows.  Sage continued her campaign to get every Whovian actor to do New York Theatre, while I commented on his somewhat unconventional casting as Bill Sikes in Oliver! on the West End.  “Yeah, Cameron (as in McIntosh) wanted to go a whole different direction with the show and about halfway through changed his mind.  I did bulk up quite a bit for that part though.”  Then I told him that I had played Nancy in high school, and his response was “Of course you did!  Look at you!”.  I may have to get that compliment etched on my tombstone.

Lastly, it was off to Hurricane Barrowman’s line. We got to the table right as he was taking this picture. His assistant made fun of him because his tummy was hanging out…to which he retorted “HOW DARE YOU!  I DON’T HAVE A TUMMY!  IT’S FLAT!!” Because of course. We listened as he started composing his tweet, pondering exactly what to say. He settled on “I have a really long one but I want it longer.” Then *I* said, you should hashtag it “RibbonWhore”. He laughed and did that very thing. And proceeded to do so the rest of the weekend. You’re welcome, America.  As he was signing for us, we showed him the picture we took with him at NYCC 2013 (the infamous BOOBIES picture) and warned him that we had a photo-op coming later and we needed to top it.  He studied the picture and said “I might just have to grab them.” CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.  We did our requisite flailing about Arrow (with John’s assistant pointing out Sage’s “Bitch with Wi-Fi” shirt to him) and told John we would see him for our photo-op.  And boy, did we.

John Barrowman Gallifrey One 2015


We’ve said it before, but the photo-ops are quick and dirty.  There are a LOT of people to go through in a limited amount of time, so you have to go into your photo knowing EXACTLY what you want to do, be it something ridiculous or just having a good snuggle.  We highly advise that when it comes to John Barrowman, you do something fun…because he’ll do everything short of kissing you.  Gillian’s Lady Ten flashed him.  Shannon wrapped her Fourth Doctor Scarf around him.  Obviously Sage and I went for the boob and pec grab (with John being smart enough to change his expression to be different in our two pictures).  He simply said “Turn around” to Michelle and then grabbed her boobs.  And Kelly?  Well she just said “Do whatever you want, John.”  He replied with “Give me your leg,” and that’s how Kelly’s picture became the cover of a bodice-ripping romance novel.  Where do we go from this collage, you guys?  Only down.


Post Barrowman Glow.

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“Stand still and welcome to Doctor Who.” – Gallifrey One 2015, Part 1

doctor who drunk ten

Posted by Sage

Disney may think they’ve got that “happiest place on Earth” business on lock, but allow me to disagree. I see your long lines and $8 ice cream bars and I raise you 3.5 FULL DAYS of programming; 3600 Whovian compatriots; and one healthy grope by John Scot Barrowman. This…is Gallifrey One.

gally 1 group

Gally support team! From left: me, Gillian, Kim, Kelly (bottom), Michelle (top), Shannon.

Last year was a milestone: this blog’s first trip to the con, which is America’s largest Who-fest. But this year was our first SECOND trip, significant because of what was the same. The LAX Marriott lobby was just as we left it (except for the Starbucks finally accepting gift cards – IMPORTANT); we already knew how to best tackle the schedule and the floor plan; and – this is the raddest part – we were reunited with so many fandom friends. Gally is going to feel more and more like home every year; and I pity anyone who would dare try to stand between us and our annual pilgrimage.

There’s almost too much to report, so we’ve again joined forces with Kelly of The TV Mouse to bring you OT3 coverage of the convention. (For more goodies, make sure to hit up our Instagram feed. It gets a serious workout at cons, because cosplay. Cosplay everywhere.) Ready for a run-down of Thursday and Friday? Then Al-to-the-friggin’-lons-y.

Thursday Night:

Ice Cream Social/Lobby Con:

We learned many things – about snow, about airports, about ourselves – in last year’s mid-blizzard dash to Gally 1. The most important lesson? LEAVE A BUFFER DAY. The east coasters of our party peaced out of sub-zero NYC early Wednesday morning, leaving us plenty of time to get to LA, buy all the boxed wine, house some Griddle pancakes, have a ladies night on the town, and settle in to our home base, all before the convention even started. By the time the first official Lobby Con rolled around, we were well-rested and even tan-lined. (Side effect of sunbathing next to Doctor Who producers – a thing that happens at Gally.)

gally valentine's

“Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m not your boyfriend.”

What IS a Lobby Con? I’m glad you asked. Lobby Con is an amorphous group hang. It’s anywhere and everywhere (not just limited to the lobby, as you might assume); anything that’s unstructured fan-ish chill time can safely be called Lobby Con. Lobby Con is where you and yours make yourselves available to reunite with old friends, meet new ones, and exchange Gally’s most valuable currency: badge ribbons. Thursday is a veritable feeding frenzy for badge ribbons, since most attendees have a bag or two of freshly printed ones burning holes in their pockets. (And maybe some Twelfth Doctor valentines.) Word to potential future Gallifreyans: ORDER THEM. Ribbons are not an inner-circle kind of deal; if you come without any to trade, I guarantee you will regret it. Decide on your content (most are graced with Doctor Who quotes, but it’s not unusual to receive a few with Torchwood, Sherlock, or even Firefly references) and use RibbonsGalore to lay out the badge ribbon of your dreams. With your own shinies to exchange, you’ll end up with a train as long as the Fourth Doctor’s scarf. (Another piece of advice: bring duct tape to reinforce those suckers!) By the way, shout out to the LAX Marriott for so many things, but especially for being so cool about hundreds of costumed weirdos taking over their common space, often until dawn. You the illest.

gally 1 ribbons

On night 1, Lobby Con spills over into a new-ish Gally tradition: the ice cream social. There are few better ways to meet your social media buddies IRL than over some free dessert.

gally 1 ice cream social


Strengthened by our chocolate chip and sprinkles, we resolved ourselves to brave the karaoke room. Always a mistake. Despite signing up early in the night, we spent much of the evening lolling around on the conference room floor, waiting for our song and watching the same table of locals sing over and over again. For such an inclusive con, the karaoke room is a clique-y anomaly. And our frustration over the reliable shenanigans had a negative effect on Gillian and my duet of “Take Me or Leave Me.” (Yep, it was the “frustration.” I’m going with that.)

What makes this all bearable? CON CUPS. Gally is about as family-friendly a con as you can get; and by no means will anyone who’s not imbibing be laughed out of the hotel. But if you do choose to booze, bring your own. (I recommend the Trader Joe’s boxed red – affordable and tasty.) We were unable to snag a room in the actual Gally hotel, so each night before we left the Embassy Suites across the street, we filled up our plastic mason jar sippy cups from CommuniCon (THANK YOU BRITTLES) with that sweet nectar. Alternatives are the lobby sports bar for a decent list of draft beers; or the limited selection at the Marriott’s pop-up bars. Both can be pricey. An alternative alternative is to make nice with the major league Gallifreyans, who never travel without a full bar set-up. (They’re real and they’re spectacular.)


team not dead


ALL THE COFFEE, ’cause it’s the first full day of Gally 1!

Impossible Girl cosplay day!

That Impossible Girl swag.

Your OT3 bloggers were up and at ’em early on Friday to get a decent spot in the Kaffeeklatsch line. Kaffeeklatsches are otherwise known as “Are You Shitting Me?” sessions (by me alone), because they are included with your badge and give you intimate access to some of the coolest creative people at the convention. (Are you shitting me?) The programming track takes place in the Marriott board room; attendees can sign up to join an hour-long roundtable chat with the guest of their choice. (Plus, sign up as an alternative for another.) The attendance is limited to twelve people, so the experience is rich and unique. Our #1 choice was to be in the room with series 8 writers Jamie Mathieson (“Mummy on the Orient Express”, “Flatline”) and Peter Harness (“Kill the Moon.”) Unfortunately, Peter fell ill before Gally and had to cancel, so he was spared our grilling over an episode that put the “problem” in “problematic.” (You get off easy this time, Harness. Hope you got well soon though, kisses.) Our spots secured in Jamie’s sesh, I also opted to list as an alternate for the conversation with Arwel Wyn Jones, only the imagination behind the entire visual identity of Modern Who and Sherlock. More on that later.

radio free skaro gally

Morning Sessions:

From there, we took spots in the Main Ballroom for the welcome session, “Good Morning Gallifrey One.” Organizer Shaun Lyons took the stage to say hey, pre-preemptively thank the guests, and tease some “changes” to next year’s ticket process. (GULP.) That led nicely into the Radio Free Skaro panel, where the popular podcasters chatted with Jamie, writer Phil Ford (“Into the Dalek”), special effects supervisor Danny Hargraeves, and more. Some highlights:


Jaime and Phil

  • Phil and Jamie spoke about attacking their scripts without the benefit of Twelfth Doctor casting knowledge. After a few drafts, Moffatt hinted to Jamie that the new guy would be a bit of a grump and slightly older, so – as anyone would – he started to write for Gregory House.
  • Peter Capaldi hung out on set even on days that he wasn’t working. He’s so excited to be our Doctor, you guys.
  • Danny is well aware that he has the “coolest job in the world.” Though maybe Peter would fight him on that.
  • Danny made everyone feel the feelings when he told us that during the filming of “End of Time,” the set was cleared for an hour so that David Tennant could privately welcome Matt Smith to the TARDIS. Oh, to be a fly on the round things.
  • Matt Smith’s first job as the last of the Time Lords was to not die. Danny set up the console room explosions and then gave him the directive that had to be this post’s title: “Just stand still, and welcome to Doctor Who.”
  • To no one’s surprise, the drunken giraffe is a klutz. “Matt Smith broke everything. You would give him a cup of tea and he would break it.”
  • Capaldi was the one to suggest the jelly baby line in “Mummy.” He is truly the chosen one.


“The Impossible Girl” Panel

clara oswald panel

Let’s talk about Clara, man.

Kim and Kelly were panelists for this session, joining Nerdist’s Kyle Anderson, Karen Park, and star moderator/Verity Deb Stanish. The topic was Miss Oswald, who is about to become the longest serving modern companion. She’s a polarizing figure in the fandom because she (gasp) dares exercise her free will, without permission and with varying results. Most of the panel agreed that her complexity makes her a compelling character; the dreaded “U” word raised its ugly head. The theme of the conversation became: Is Clara Oswald “unlikable?” What does that word even mean? And if she is, by that definition, why should we care?

  • Let me say (with considerable bias that you should ignore) that Kim and Kelly were persuasive and articulate up on that dais, even when the conversation’s tone got a little dicey. Whether you believe that Clara takes advantage of the Doctor or nah (though how a human takes advantage of a 1200 god-like being you’ll have to explain to me), that relationship should absolutely not be compared to one of physical and emotional abuse.
  • After that comparison was made, a guy in the front row suggested that blood was visibly coming out of Kim’s ears, which is entirely possible.
  • Kyle put the main reason for my newly re-invigorated love of this show into words by comparing the “plot twist” who traveled in the TARDIS in series 7B to the living, breathing human we got to know in series 8.
  • Kim postulated that Clara is so hurt by the Doctor abandoning her in “Kill the Moon” because she chose to stand by him while he pressed the button in “Day of the Doctor.”
  • Karen did have a point that much of the room agreed with when she protested that Clara and Danny’s relationship was never quite believable. I lean towards Kelly’s interpretation of it, which is that Clara assigned more meaning to that relationship than it really deserved so that she could claim a grip on her “real life.”
  • Kim talked about what being a teacher tells us about who Clara Oswald actually is. This occupation ties in with her identity like being a nanny absolutely didn’t. (Remember how Amy Pond was a MODEL? Sigh.)
  • When asked by an audience member why the Doctor continues to forgive and help Clara after she “betrays” him, Kelly drops the mic with, “I never know why, I only know who.”
  • I’m impressed at how calm Kim was when answering the audience member who asked if anyone on the panel ships the Doctor and Clara. (“And see me after for fan video recommendations.”) I’m also impressed with me, Whouffaldi Patient Zero of our friends group, for trapping you all in my web.


Clara drama continued throughout the weekend. More on that from Kelly and Kim. A preview: we get heated defending a lady’s right to be the main character in her own life story.

Ladies Love Clara Oswald

Ladies Love Clara Oswald

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“A Wry Sense of Humor” – Paul McGann at LI Who 2

Sadly, he did not do this in our interview.

Posted by Kim

When we attended Long Island Who 2 last month, I was lucky enough to get a press badge and had the pleasure of interviewing several of the VIPs attending the convention.  Okay, I demanded to have a press badge.  LUCKILY.  The co-Headliner of the convention with Sixth Doctor Colin Baker was Eighth Doctor (and certified Head Over Feels Crush) Paul McGann.  As Sage was unable to attend the Press Sessions, I got Paul all to myself for eight minutes and he proved to be as delightful one-on-one as he is entertaining a room of thousands (if not more so, cause all of that charisma is directed SOLELY at you).  Over the course of our all-too-brief time together, Paul and I discussed spoiler culture (he hates them, proving he is a perfect human), female Time Lords (he is PRO Female Doctor, you guys!), and the glory of the word “wry”.  Read on!

(And then congratulate me for not spontaneously bursting into flame during the interview.)

Paul settles in with a steaming cup of Tea because, of course.

Kim: I’m Kim, by the way.

Paul: Hello, Kim. I’m Paul. (He shakes my hand and it’s perfect.  Not to hard, not too soft.  Also, he uses both hands, so really, it’s a hand GRASP. )

Kim: I was at Gally and obviously you talked a lot about “Night of The Doctor” there…can you talk about how hard it was to keep that a secret from everyone else?

Paul: Well, it’s actually this week last year.

Kim: I know! Happy Anniversary!

Paul: It was released on my birthday, that’s how I know. This time last year we were still…what…2 or 3 days away from seeing it, but having to keep it a secret.  For some of us it was easier than others.  I know for me…all I had to do was not tell anyone! That’s the simple thing.

Kim: Were people trying to get it out of you by asking if you were going to do something?

Paul: All the time, All the time! Though looking back now not surprisingly…there were already leaks and fragments of things appearing on Twitter and social media.  People were posting little bits of dialogue which were DEADLY accurate.  There were photographs…we KNEW that somebody out there had fragments of it, pieces of it…or the whole thing.  It’s kind of disconcerting, I don’t really understand it.

Kim: I HATE spoilers!

Paul: I don’t understand the spirit of it! I don’t get it. I would NEVER do that. It’s like with records…it’s easy for technicians who’ve got copies of things, for them to leak them.  Things are getting transported around.  Just think about the stacks of people who might work on a thing that’s only six minutes long.  There’s visuals, there’s special effects, people have copies of it on their hard drives.  It’s a shame.  The REAL shame, I think, is that it becomes more and more difficult in this age…

Kim: (completing his sentence, so we’re basically married) To surprise people!

Paul: Yeah, to surprise people!  Even to keep and fashion a cliffhanger worth the name [of Doctor Who] because SOMEONE’S going to spill the beans.  Even with the conflict in scheduling and the transmission across the Atlantic has made it difficult…

Kim: For Americans. (Again, married.)

Paul: Yes! (imitating fans) “No, I KNOW you’ve seen it, don’t tell me, don’t tell me, don’t tell me!”

Kim: Are you caught up with Doctor Who so I don’t spoil YOU?

Paul: I watched the latest one, yes.

Kim: While the episode was filming, there were pictures of the Cybermen ALL OVER the internet.  It would have been so much more of a surprise because there were all these subtle hints throughout the episode OF the Cybermen (Paul “mmmms” in agreement the whole time).  Anyway, what do you think about the twist of the Master coming back, especially since your Doctor faced him as well.  Now the Master is a woman! What do you think about that?

Paul: I think it’s…kinda cool. (*whispers*) I really like it. I’m real fond of, particularly at these conventions, and when we meet the fans and everyone is singing the praises of Doctor Who and the nature of the stories and the latitude and the luxury that you’re accorded. It’s limitless almost, the variations of things.  When you’re at the helm like Steven Moffat is presently, you can do whatever you like.  The BEAUTY of it is you’re playing with time, you’re playing with all sorts of different changes.  And then you’ve got the novels, which are almost like alternative histories.  And you have the radio plays which have their own flavor. It’s as BIG as that. I was amazed, though I probably shouldn’t have been, when I looked online, cause it’s caused some people to become TERRIBLY upset and CONFUSED [by the Master being a woman] and have mixed feelings.  Blimey! (Yes, he ACTUALLY said that.) Of course, I was one of those who rather thought they missed the trick by not making the Doctor a female this last time.  Inevitably, it will happen.

Paul was very Pro-Moffat, despite his actions in the Fiveish Doctors.

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“Are you paying attention?” – The Imitation Game and Benedict Cumberbatch at 92Y

benedict cumberbatch imitation game

Posted by Sage

“He’s the only person who had the power to forgive, in my mind, and he can’t. Because we destroyed him.”

That’s Benedict Cumberbatch on stage at the 92Y Sunday evening, responding to an audience question about the Queen’s 2013 pardon of World War II codebreaker Alan Turing and whether or not it was “too little, too late.”

benedict cumberbatch 92y

The Imitation Game is a fictionalized account of a victory that became a deep national shame. And Benedict is earning Oscar buzz for his portrayal of a brilliant man whose work saved millions of lives before institutionalized homophobia and fear took his legacy and his life. “His photo should be on the covers of textbooks,” Benedict told us. “Not just Maths, but History books.” It’s not, though. And most students won’t hear from their teachers how Alan Turing’s brilliance managed to crack the Nazi’s code and cut the war short by at least two years. Or how the “universal machines” he envisioned and built would become commonly known as “computers.” I first heard of Turing on a This American Life episode that aired right around the famously tardy pardon of his conviction for “indecency,” and like Cumberbatch, I was thunderstuck by the fact that his was not a household name. An “aching need to serve his legacy,” Benedict called the draw he felt to the project. All that Oscar stuff is a bonus.

benedict cumberbatch imitation

The screenplay for The Imitation Game was a first time feature by screenwriter Graham Moore and sat on the top of the famous “Black List” – an industry-voted survey of the most promising undeveloped scripts out there. Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (Headhunters) joined the newbie writer to make up an unlikely team to churn out a Best Picture frontrunner. Soon after, Benedict was on board or, in his words, “On board with the idea of being on board.” His Skype chat with Tyldum was followed by an in-person meeting, and soon enough, director and star were in “a beautiful marriage, really.” Don’t say “marriage” in front of your fans yet, Ben. We’re still adjusting. (But seriously, mazel.)

imitation game interrogation

The film is a pretty accessible one – its boldness is focused on portraying Turing as he was, without being particularly concerned that the audience will like him. The story is told, as moderator Annette Insdorf described, “in concentric circles.” Three eras of Turing’s life are layered on top of each other and we move between them steadily. In reverse chronological order, they are: his arrest and interrogation in 1951; his application and acceptance into MI6 and his work at Bletchley Park; and finally, a formative year at school with his best and only friend Christopher. The title of this post is the first line in the film – it’s Turing speaking to his interrogator – and the narration is snippets from their interview. “I have an aesthetic nervousness about voiceovers,” Benedict told us. And I’m with him – more often than not, they are evidence of laziness. Very rarely, they’re Goodfellas. Benedict softened to this one because it’s used sparingly, and because it’s actually dialogue in disguise.

benedict cumberbatch 92y

Beyond the jumps in time, character takes precedence over fancy filmmaker showboating. Benedict credits Tyldum’s steady hand for saving the film “from potential cliches.” In other hands, Turing’s story could have been milked for melodrama. Instead, the director lets the twists and turns of his life dictate The Imitation Game‘s shifts in genre. Benedict has significant experience portraying socially awkward genius; some of his lines in this film could fit comfortably into a Sherlock script. There’s a lot of humor in the movie and even in Turing himself. Early on, he meets with Commander Denniston (Charles Dance – what up, Tywin Lannister?), the old-school military heavy of the piece, for the most disastrous interview that’s ever resulted in an offer. You can’t tell where his inability to read social cues ends and his delight in throwing this blowhard off-base begins. Turing has difficulty working in a team (his first successful project is to go above Denniston’s head to Winston Churchill and get his superior fired), and his co-workers react to him with a mixture of annoyance, amusement and fear. One of my favorite scenes involves Turing trying to make nice with Hugh (Matthew Goode – still fine), John (Allen Leech – still Branson), and Peter (Matthew Beard) by bringing them apples, explaining why he’s bringing them apples, and then telling them a joke he’d memorized. They come to be very protective of him and their support ensures that he can continue his work to solve the Germans’ Enigma machine. And Mark Strong steals all his scenes as Stewart Menzies, a spy who clearly delights in his man-of-mystery persona. On the other hand, The Imitation Game is a thriller. Strong’s character tells Turing early on that British soldiers are dying at a rate of three per the length of their short conversation and that urgency persists through the rest of the film. Turing describes the Bletchley project as a war against the passage of time rather than a war against the enemy. The Germans change the settings on their encoder each day, so every midnight means that the previous day’s work is essentially meaningless. If I remember correctly, we don’t see the face of a single German soldier throughout the movie. But see an abundance of clock faces and ticking hands.

benedict kiera imitation game

Platonic though it is, the richest central relationship of the movie is the one between Turing and Joan Clarke, a mathematics student who served as the only female codebreaker in MI6 and my new life hero. Let it never be said that I don’t change my mind. It took me years to get all the fuss about Keira Knightley, and I still think she used to confuse looking petulant with acting. But between this and her role in Begin Again, she has me eating crow this year. There’s a lack of vanity and self-consciousness in her acting, and I think aging out of the ingenue category has a lot to do with it. It’s Joan who convinces Turing that he’s made stronger by having allies. And it’s Joan who completely accepts his otherness. One of the benefits of his overly analytic mind is that he doesn’t see hers – or at least why her gender should have any effect on what she can accomplish. They understand each other and they make each other better. I wish we’d had a chance to hear Benedict talk about how he and Keira found that relationship, but…you’ll see.

Before I tell you more about the Q&A, I have to mention Alex Lawther, the young actor who played Alan Turing during his school days. Benedict called him “the real discovery” of the film and it’s a phenomenal performance. He doesn’t look particularly like Benedict Cumberbatch (TV Mouse Kelly: “No one looks like Benedict Cumberbatch), but he mimics him like a champ. In emotional moments (and trust me, he’s got emotional moments…Turing doesn’t name his machine after Christopher for nothing), Lawther’s mouth trembles and works, like he’s tasting every bit of heartbreak and disappointment that’s coming for him.

Unfortunately, the experience of seeing this work and hearing the artist talk about it afterwards was marred by some brazen rudeness by the patrons of the 92nd Street Y. As Benedict and the moderator were speaking, droves of audience members had no qualms about loudly collecting their things, crawling over their neighbors, and making their way to the exits. The house staff did nothing to curb this behavior or to minimize its effect on other patrons. I had been concerned that my fellow Cumberbitches (I’m owning that term, deal with it) would react to him in a way that was…inappropriate to the setting. However, fans were perfectly behaved and engaged. Many of their hands were still raised with questions when the discussion was abruptly cut short. The situation was so bad that Benedict himself made a self-deprecating comment. I sent a lengthy email to the venue’s customer service email (because of course I did) and got a reply that thanked me for my feedback and hoped I’d come again soon. I guess this is how we treat people now. But I don’t want to end this post on a massive downer, so here…look upon him again:

benedict cumberbatch imitation game 92y

Tidbits from the Q&A:

  • Benedict started to explain, in detail, the cell mutations that Turing was studying at the time of his death and must have seen the overwhelmed looks on our faces: “I’ll keep it simple, because trust me, I am quite simple.”
  • Eddie Redmayne came up, as Benedict also played Stephen Hawking once upon a time. He had nothing but praise for the actor he described as a dear friend. “Everything he does is profoundly investigated and realized.”
  • He talked about feminism for a while and I may have cried tears of joy.
  • Moderator: *mentions that screenwriter is also a novelist who wrote a book called The Sherlockian.*
    Benedict: “Yeaaaaaaaah….” (He was just sheepish because he hadn’t read it yet.)
  • Benedict sees this film not just as a biopic, but “something we can carry forward.” Alan Turing was broken down by “the very democracy he had saved,” thanks to judgement and fear mongering. And those concepts have yet to go out of style. However: “Prejudice in any form cannot be excused.”

Are you looking forward to The Imitation Game, readers? And what are we gonna do if Ben wins an Oscar?

“Soul of the Fandom” – CommuniCon 3

community celebration

Posted by Kim and Sage

The lead up to the third officially unofficial gathering of Community fanatics and the creatives who love them filled me with trepidation. Don’t get me wrong – I was counting the seconds until I’d be reunited and, in many cases, united for the first time with members of this small internet army. But despite watching the show since Jeff Winger hastily put together a “study group” to get into Britta Perry’s pants, I didn’t know if I’d quite meet the super-fan requirements for CommuniCon. It’s common knowledge that Kim is the Greendale authority in our partnership, and my casual live-tweeting has nothing on the hours and hours she’s spent promoting the show. What if I couldn’t hang? Cue Hulu and a mainlined, full-series rewatch.

I shouldn’t have worried. (Zero regrets for that marathon though.) CommuniCon isn’t about some established fan hierarchy. It’s the Greendale of cons, free of standards judgement. You love the show? Well then, you’re already accepted.


Let me back up for the benefit of the n00bs. CommuniCon is a fan-run convention created to celebrate and support Community. Like last year’s, CommuniCon 3 was held at the Embassy Suites in Glendale, CA. (And the hotel will hopefully will remain its home, because we’re now thoroughly spoiled by the nightly open bar.) Organizer and dear HOF friend Gillian Morshedi packs the itinerary with panels and meet & greets. Other features include a mini-Artists Alley to assist you in emptying your wallet; the full-size DARSIT, available for photo ops; and even a game station where you can Journey to the Center of Hawkthorne, 8-bit style. Basically, it’s a Communie playground.

We escaped rainy New York City and landed in sunny California the Friday morning of the con. Thanks to the careful pre-planning of the abundance of Monicas in our hotel room, we quickly rounded up Communies from a handful of different terminals and headed out to Glendale together. (Shout out to the SuperShuttle and the family we rode with. Sorry we talked about the finer points of the Mindy backdoor episode the entire ride.) After the obligatory In-N-Out meal and gas station wine run, our first show-related act as a unified fandom was to take on a Community trivia that just happened to fall on the same weekend. I was ready to back out when I learned that the cafe hosting us didn’t have a liquor license. (Whoever heard of a dry trivia? That’s on par with a dry wedding. Why do you hate your friends?) But Kim had already sorted us neatly into cars (Monica), so fine.

Team Precocious Little Bitches reporting for duty.

Team Precocious Little Bitches reporting for duty.

Precocious Little Bitches wasn’t just a name, it was an attitude.  Being a trivia host myself, I firmly believe a) that the job of the host isn’t to show off his own obscure knowledge but to facilitate fun-times and friendly competition, and b) that anyone who carefully watches a show should do reasonably well on that show’s trivia, even if they don’t spend their spare time scouring the IMDB pages of anyone who’s ever been involved with it. So maybe we were a little vocal about calling bullshit on a whole round on the cast’s various connections to obscure horror movies. While our wife-friends trounced the rest of the competition and walked away with some extra-rare crew hoodies, we were given prizes by the hosts, I swear to god,  just for complaining. (Those guys were total sports.) “Don’t be so negative!” you might say. But I didn’t get this Joel McHale-signed “Modern Warfare” script for being a positive person, so.

modern warfare talk about luck

CommuniCon officially kicked off the next morning. When we hit registration to get our badges, we were each handed a swag bag from Yahoo Screen. The streaming service saved the show after its cancellation by NBC and has already been treating Community like the asset it is. From SDCC to NYCC and all the internet in between, we’ve seen Yahoo reaching Community fans and would-be fans where they live – the nerdiest reaches of the culture. It almost goes without saying that NBC never showed its network-y face at any CommuniCon event. Yahoo Screen was there with us all weekend, recording panels, engaging with the fandom, and making sure we all had our official Greendale student IDs.

Also there all weekend: CON RIBBONS. We borrowed stole this idea from Gallifrey One and it’s a keeper. Dozens of CommuniCon attendees jumped on board and had their pre-ordered ribbons ready to trade. A few of our favorites:

  • “It’s like a thought with another thought’s hat on.”
  • “Oh, the Koog approves! That’s a five!”
  • “Lava Joust?”
  • “Technically Jeff, you ARE about to get screwed in the biology room.” (Kim’s)
  • “How long does peyote last? Just…asking for a friend.” (Mine)

After welcoming everyone, Gillian played for us what Kim and I consider our contribution to the con. The week before we left for LA, we saw Danny Pudi in the original musical Found Off-Broadway. We caught up with him at the stage door and talked showtunes and Community for a good while. He was so jazzed to hear that we were going to the Con and graciously (nay, enthusiastically) recording a greeting for us to take with us. He wants you all to know that he loves you a lot, and that musicals are more exhausting than sitcoms.

communicon no small parts

Vicki, Garrett and Dean Spreck

The very first panel of the con was a fan favorite: No Small Parts. The Community universe reaches far beyond the Greendale 7, and this hour gave us the chance to find out what it’s like to be a guest star, a recurring character, or even a stand-in. Our panelists were Erik Charles Nielsen (Garrett), Danielle Kaplowitz (Vicki), Brisco Diggs (Black Hitler and Donald’s stand-in), Jordan Black (Dean Spreck), Brady Novak (Richie), Dominik Musiol (Pavel), Deanna Moore (Alison Brie’s stand-in/photo double), and Ben Zelevansky (Postman).  We learned the Jordan doesn’t exactly watch the show – how very City College of him (“I told you I was going to come off as an asshole. You can relax, I already know.”); that Dominic spent 2.5 hours pouring water over Danny Pudi’s head to create Abed’s romantic ’80s movie moment; and that Deanna’s favorite moment on the show was getting to act with Alison Orphan Black-style in the Darkest Timeline episode. The actors hung way longer than they were supposed to in order to sign and take photos for everyone who wanted to meet them. The Meet & Greet line uncovered a few more revelations: my favorites being that Ben also played the ranger who asks to see Ron Swanson’s permit for roasting an entire pig in a park (“This just says, ‘I can do what I want.'”) and that this very blog is one of the top 10 Google results for Erik’s name. (It’s cool, Erik. We all Google ourselves from time to time. Also, IF YOU ARE READING THIS, HI. YOU ARE GREAT.) You can watch the entire conversation online at Yahoo Screen (our favorite streaming service EVER) even though Charley Koontz (Neil) is making that CSI money now and is too famous for us.

communicon no small parts collage

At any given break, you could find us buying up Artists Alley. My own haul included a gorgeous set of paintball postcards, a PayDean button, framed Brittabot print, and an activity book and one-of-a-kind commission from THE Julieta Colas. My only request was “something Jeff/Britta” and THIS is what she handed me.

communicon julieta jeff britta


From small parts to smaller on the outside telephone boxes, we rolled right into the Inspector Spacetime panel. Travis Richey and the gang were there to clue us in to their progress on the crowd-funded Untitled Motion Picture About a Space Traveler Who Can Also Travel Through Time. Honestly, the work so far looks impressive and expensive. The Spacetime team were adamant that they approach their Inspector spin-offs as high-quality standalone stories. And that’s why they were able to court Star Trek‘s Robert Picardo and Seventh Doctor Sylvester McCoy, both of whom contributed painfully adorable videos to the fundraising campaign. Check those sweet old motherfuckers and the rest of the panel here.

inspector spacetime panel communicon

darsit wives communicon

DARSIT poses at the ready.

Since the Inspector’s panel led right into the annual CommuniCon costume contest, I should mention that Kim, myself, and our friends Mary and the Shannons had been, for the entire day, in full “Geothermal Escapism” mode. When the floor is hot lava, there’s nothing to do but Mad Max it out. We’d been plotting cosplay domination remotely for months. And even though we lost our Abed, we made quite the BAMF study group when we were finally together. (Kim: I was the first member of our group to make an appearance on the con floor that morning, and BOY did I make an entrance.  Everyone was lined up to register, and I was one of the first cosplayers there, so I was met with raucous applause.  “WELCOME TO SHIRLEY ISLAND BITCHES!” I declared, because all I need in life is for people to applaud me where ever I go.)

communicon modern warfare cosplay

To those looking to achieve my Britta hair: Sleep in foam spiral rollers, stick a thousand bobbie pins into your skull, and attack that shit with an entire can of hairspray.

Because Kim has fancy staff privileges, she had also had intel on a couple of surprise judges. Gillian Jacobs and Yvette Nicole Brown became three-time CommuniCon veterans that weekend and we love them for it. They both thanked us all for staying so passionate and Yahoo Screen for believing in the show. And Yvette went on to assure us (to huge applause) that even though her family concerns prevent her from being a part of the cast, she will always be a part of the family, on social media and everywhere else. After bemoaning the lack of Shirley cosplayers last year, Yvette geeked out over Kim’s Shirley Island outfit in the green room (Kim: I had tweeted Yvette a picture of my costume earlier in the day (as I was super proud of it)and she flipped out over it.  I popped into the green room not long after she and Gillian arrived, and Yvette FREAKED OUT over seeing my costume in person.  “It’s YOU!!” she exclaimed.  “THIS is how you cosplay!  You have just made my life today!”  She also offered her condolences to the teddy bear I had beheaded the night before to make my scepter. Honestly, I don’t know how I didn’t burst into tears.)  Because people listen to Yvette Nicole Brown (and also because she made no bones about being a biased judge),  there was also small parade of Shirleys in the costume contest finals. (Glinda Shirley, Sam Jackson Shirley, Security Shirley, etc.) So well done on all of us for making Yvette feel loved and appreciated.

Shirley and Shirley

Shirley and Shirley

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“Are You Drunk Already?” – NYCC 2014, Day 2



Posted by Kim and Sage


We’re running on little to no sleep. We’re already planning the yoga/massages/full on spinal realignment we’ll be getting after this thing is over. And Kim clued me in yesterday to a handy little tip: preemptively pop the Advil. Your lower back will thank you. Those concrete Javits center floors are unforgiving.  (Kim checked her iPhone fitness tracker last night and it showed that we walked 6.8 miles yesterday.  No wonder our feet hurt.)

But I took the subway into the city in full Peter Quill cosplay yesterday morning while everyone else was commuting in for work, so who can complain? Comic Con is a marathon, not a sprint. And we’ll sleep when we’re dead. DAY TWO.

– Entry was considerably more organized on Friday morning, so points for improvement. Without a main stage panel on our must-list, we were spared the Queue Hall lines for a day. Instead, Kelly (the TV Mouse), Kim, and I walked the floor, pretending to look at merch but actually mentally preparing to be in the presence of Gillian Anderson, whose autograph session we were heading to later. We failed.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

We did snag this variant cover of the FIRST Sleepy Hollow comic ever though.

– We’d all wracked our brains to come up with the perfect item for Gillian to sign. The price of the autograph usually includes a nice glossy photo for those who haven’t come with anything from home. And of course Gillian’s table had some gorgeous shots (including my personal favorite: Bedelia and her wine), but glossy 8×10’s are for amateurs. Kelly brought a “Mulder, It’s Me” print; Kim brought a gorgeous Mulder and Scully fan art; and I brought the “I Want To Believe” poster I’ve had since I was 14 years old. It was literally the first thing I ever ordered from the internet.

We are not ready/worthy.

We are not ready/worthy.

– She looked stunning, obviously, and was poised, relaxed, and friendly. Rules are strict about photos in the autograph line, but that’s alright. We each had our moment. Kim told Gillian about the X-Files license plate she had in college; I told her she was fabulous in Streetcar (AS IF SHE DOESN’T KNOW) and asked her if they were bringing it to New York (“We’re trying!”) But new X-Files convert Kelly maybe won this session. Because Gillian signed her “Mulder, it’s me.” print like so:

Mulder, it’s me.



Gillian Anderson

By the way, if you haven’t checked out Kelly’s “Times Mulder and Scully Should Have Made Out This Week” posts, you must. I’ve been eagerly anticipating them every week, because I enjoy watching my friends fall apart in real time over the ship-of-all-ships.

– The temporary barricades in the Javits are the opposite of sturdy, so they hit the ground all the time. (And everyone cheers, like in high school when people dropped chairs in the cafeteria.) Anyway, a showboater tried to swoop under the barricade to join Gillian’s line. As soon as he grabbed the pole, it went down and so did he. Apparently Gillian’s response was “Are you drunk already?”, which Kelly and Kim failed to tell me until the end of the day. We are no longer speaking.


– Then it was back to the floor. Thursday was busier than ever this year, but Friday felt like the real kick-off of the Con. The Exhibitors hall was packed with cosplayers, us among them. Kim got lots of love for her “Fires of Pompeii Donna Noble” (and should seriously consider going red for a while); Kelly was a screen-accurate River Song; and, going rogue and deviating from the Who theme, I went for a femme-y Star Lord. It’s ironic, because neither Donna nor River would stand for any of Peter’s nonsense. Imagine River and Star Lord in the same room though. The flirting. The galaxy can’t even handle them right now.


– And now, a Day 2 cosplay photo dump!



If you've failed this city, look out.

If you’ve failed this city, look out.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.

Tragedy strikes NYCC.


Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

Consider this my missed connections post, because I think this Chris Pratt lookalike and I need to get married yesterday.

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi's dragon and she said, "Yes. Because you asked." #cosplayisnotconsent

One of the little boys in the picture asked to touch Khaleesi’s dragon and she said, “Yes. Because you asked.” #cosplayisnotconsent



An excellent Bob Belcher

An excellent Bob Belcher

– After a refuel in the food truck lot (yesterday, Greek), we went searching for The Mary Sue lounge. I’d gotten the scoop from a Mary Sue editor that the lounge was relatively chill and not at all busy, unlike the Press Lounge which is a little more frantic this year. It’s kind of a heavenly respite. There are bean bag chairs, charging stations, a reading nook, free wi-fi, and CRAFTS.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

Let me tell you how soothing it was to just sit and color for 15 minutes.

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