If there's one thing that could be said of our modern era, it's that nothing exists in isolation.

One could even say that nothing goes in just one direction anymore—instead, things are moving in multiple directions, operating in loops, often meeting at crossroads. For a long time, at least in the music industry, things appeared to be stratified, separated by genre, linear visions, and arbitrary categories. Rock artists toured with rock artists; indie stars opened for indie stars. Patrician music lovers looked down on pop-lovers, and pop-lovers bullied indieheads. Success could be purchased with a record deal and marked by a position on a top chart. Gender was divided between a man and a woman. Feminism was disconnected from race and class.

Times are changing. Pop, like fashion, has become fluid and multidimensional. Elton John can collaborate with Young Thug. Lady Gaga can ricochet from electronica to folk and back. Harry Styles has become a bisexual icon and a truly great songwriter, capable of drawing from multiple genres to create nuanced and political pop music.

And now he's going on tour with Jenny Lewis, Koffee, and King Princess. They'll all be opening for him on different stops on his 2020 "Love on Tour" tour, which will begin in April.


A little background: Jenny Lewis is an iconic songwriter who fronted the band Rilo Kiley before creating a body of intensely powerful solo work. Koffee is a singer-songwriter, rapper, and musician from Jamaica who's generated a huge amount of buzz in a short time by putting a fresh and experimental spin on reggae. King Princess is a dream pop star who may or may not be capitalizing on queer aesthetics but still embodies an inspiringly out and proud image.

Styles' choice of openers is brilliant because it brings together so many different devoted and passionate fan-bases. Queer fans will relish the chance to dance along to King Princess, while indie traditionalists and older millennials will come for Jenny Lewis, and Gen-Z fans of cutting-edge music will show up for Koffee. All these musicians are bound together by one common thread: Their music is really, really good. And isn't that what matters in the end?

Rilo Kiley - A Better Son/Daughter www.youtube.com


King Princess - 1950 www.youtube.com


Koffee - Toast (Official Video) www.youtube.com

Unfortunately, the existing tickets sold out with stunning speed and cost an exorbitant amount of money, sadly prohibiting many of Styles' fans from enjoying the experience. (Many of them feel scammed). If Styles were to truly embrace the ethos of his commitment to breaking down all genres and boundaries, he'd make his concerts free, but alas, one can only dream... Until then, let us keep listening to our descriptively titled crossover Spotify playlists (shoutout to "Creamy" and "Pollen"), saying "okay" to Boomers who insist that there are only two genders, checking Co-Star for evidence of discernible meaning, and praying for the day when everything and everyone will truly be free.

Harry Styles - Sign of the Times (Video) www.youtube.com

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2020 is on fire.

From the COVID-19 pandemic to the racist police epidemic to freaking murder hornets, let's just throw 2020 out. Yes, the entire year.

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This Haunts Me: Shaggy as Sebastian in "The Little Mermaid LIVE!"

Who forgot his claws? Was it you, Shaggy?!

ABC13 Houston

Today's greatest threats to civil society may be climate change, the 2020 presidential election, and live versions of Disney musicals.

Despite the combination of curiosity, nostalgia, and skepticism that keeps viewers tuning in to ABC's live productions of musicals, it's not like we like them. Are we entertained? Surely, but for all the wrong reasons. When The Little Mermaid Live! aired last night, Twitter was interested in how the 1989 beloved classic would be staged before an audience. After all, it's been 30 years since songwriters Alan Menken and Howard Ashman gave the world "Part of Your World," "Kiss the Girl," and "Under the Sea."


What aired was a bogus bastardization of Broadway musical numbers, creepy puppeteering, and a watch party of the original animation, as the "live" musical was a disjointed mix of animated clips and live performances. Even with Queen Latifah breathing life into the production with a sonorous performance as Ursula and a decent, if pitchy, showing from 18-year-old Auli'i Cravahlo (Moana), ABC's constant commercial breaks advertising the upcoming Disney+ streaming platform made it clear that the whole production was just "the most expensive Disney+ ad" made to date.

But above all, what cannot be unseen is Shaggy's role as Sebastian. Yes, the officious, suck-up crab and side kick who represented every nerdy teacher's pet who tried to sit with the popular kids in the cafeteria but ended up a tattle tale by recess. Most notable about his performance as the iconic crab was the fact that Shaggy, rather than matching the staging and rest of the cast's costumes, simply wore red pants and a red, boxy faux leather jacket. Some viewers saw Michael Jackson from Thriller ghost-walking along the bottom of the sea and haunting Ariel, while others saw Shaggy doing a good job playing Sebastian if Sebastian were a 51-year-old philandering reggae singer.

Queen Latifah strutted across the stage with full tentacles, Cravahlo was rendered immobile by Ariel's fish tale for whole scenes, and, oh yeah, children dressed in full red crab costumes scuttled across the stage during John Stamos' harlequin rendition of Chef Louis's "Les Poissons." But Shaggy apparently got a pass.



To be clear, ABC's resident costume guy, Robert Mills, came to his own defense. (Apparently his title is "senior vice president of alternate series, specials, and late-night," but realistically, all we know him as is "the crab costume guy" now). Mills tweeted, "For those wondering, Shaggy wore crab claws in early rehearsals and it looked ridiculous." Then he answered public demand by tweeting a photo of Shaggy wearing the claws behind scenes, closing the loop of the masochism and cartoonish hellscape that is modern entertainment on ABC.

What's worse than Sean Spicer, Trump's former Press Secretary and traitor to the American public, being cast on ABC's Dancing with the Stars? Sean Spicer remaining on Dancing with the Stars because of Trump's encouragement to get his 66.5 million Twitter followers to keep voting for him. And you know what's worse than that? Shaggy cast as Michael Jackson playing Shaggy as Sebastian.