Arden is an introvert kid growing up in a strict Catholic orphanage during the 1960s. After joining the choir to boost his chances of getting adopted he is so insecure about his voice that he just pretends to sing during practice.
With the arrival of Mr. Stevens, the new music teacher, his farce is discovered but instead pf punishment he gets support from his new mentor. As Arden becomes more confident with his singing, a friendship is formed.
But a stern Mother Superior notices changes in Arden´s behaviour and, concerned with his attachment to the teacher, breaks them apart. Abandoned once more in his life, Arden will struggle to find his own voice.
Part Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, part Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, Adam Silvera’s debut More Happy Than Not confronts race, class, and sexuality during one charged near-future summer in the Bronx.
In the months after his father’s suicide, it’s been tough for sixteen-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again—but he’s still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he’s slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely.
When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron’s crew notices, and they’re not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can’t deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can’t stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute’s revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is.
More Happy Than Not is, in the simplest interpretation, a novel of self-acceptance, a description that surely attaches to 90 percent of all young adult fiction ever written. But it also tells us something else: that misery, while it is always available to be romanticized (and, of course, romanticizing misery remains a default position for countless 15-year-olds), is at the same time something that cannot be disposed of.
That sounds as if it might lead to trite messaging along the lines of “All that makes us suffer makes us stronger.” But what Silvera is saying is different, and profound: Hardship should always be kept close, so that we know happiness when we find it.
Over the last decade we started seeing more cartoons trying to appeal to kids and adults alike. Disney’s Star vs. The Forces of Evil is no exception to this trend.
It follows Princess Star Butterfly from Mewni, a planet in an alternate dimension. In order to train her magic properly, her parents send her to Earth (because it’s ‘less dangerous’ there). She becomes the foreign exchange student living with Marco, a human boy, and his family. Throughout the course of the show, Marco learns about Star’s magic and life on Mewni. He becomes her ally in driving away evil forces that seek to destroy Star’s family and the Kingdom of Mewni.
Season 4 of of the show premiered earlier this month. In the first episode, Star, Marco, and Star’s father River Butterfly attempt to find Queen Moon, who mysteriously vanished. In their searching, they come across a local play parodying Mewni’s royal family. They are momentarily convinced that the actor playing Queen Moon was, in fact, the real queen.
We soon discover they are wrong, and that the actor (a man in drag) just has really awesome makeup skills. Marco is the one most impressed by this. ‘I’m not the real Queen Moon,’ the actor, Eric, tells the group after taking off his wig. ‘I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier, I was trying not to break character.’
While Star and River cry over being ‘so close’ to finding Queen Moon, Marco, mouth agape says, ‘Oh my gosh’ as he approaches Eric. ‘You have a gift,’ Marco exclaims with a smile. ‘This is the most flawless contouring I’ve ever seen,’ he continues, rubbing Eric’s face.
‘I used my new illuminizer to highlight my cheekbones,’ Eric gleefully replies. ‘Sometimes Turdina likes to highlight with glitter,’ Marco responds, referencing his own princess character from an earlier season.
‘I like to use glitter on my eyelids to make them pop,’ Eric remarks. ‘Sometimes I’ll put a little bronzer on and then blend it with my…,’ Marco begins before being cut off by a distraught Star.
Although this is not the first time we’ve seen queer representation in Star vs. The Forces of Evil, this short scene couldn’t come at a better time. There is a rising popularity of drag kids, like Desmond is Amazing, who are becoming famous drag queens in their own right. Other famous drag kids include Violet Vixen and Lactatia.
There is also a huge interest across the United States in Drag Queen Story Time, where professional drag queens come to public libraries, community centres, and bookstores to read storybooks to kids. One recent Drag Queen Story Time event in San Francisco had an estimated 500 attendees.
With the rising normalisation of and interest in drag culture, it’s great that Star vs. The Forces of Evil did its part in referencing this phenomenon.
Artist and filmmaker Matt Lambert splits his time between London and Berlin, creating dark and twisted works. The title for his is film, Heile Gänsje (translated Heal, Goose), is taken from an old German song in which the mother sings rather ominously ‘don’t worry child as in 100 years we will all be dead’.
Presented as a youth portrait of kinds, Heile Gänsje has a “fragmented and abstract narrative built around the subtle sensations experienced through deconstructing oneself and allowing the primal and visceral in.” With a soundtrack from artists such as Patrick Wolf, Le1f and Black Cracker and proving to be as sensual as it is sinister.