It’s World Poetry Day, So Here Are Five Awesome Women Whose Spoken Word Will Leave You Wanting More

Spoken word poet Kai Davis in performance

Today is World Poetry Day, and while poetry as a genre isn’t necessarily doing the booming business it used to, it still has a beloved place in the world, especially as mostly young, mostly female poets take one of the world’s oldest art forms and filter it through a modern lens.

There are, of course, those who publish poetry traditionally, usually through chapbooks produced by small presses, and if you’re thinking about checking some out, I’d recommend the talented Luiza Flynn-Goodlett, whose book Unseasonable Weather just came out this year from Dancing Girl Press.

There’s also the popular poet and Instagram presence, Rupi Kaur, who’s turned her social media feeds into art, using beautiful images to back up her equally beautiful words.

However, the thing that will really cause me to go down a YouTube rabbit hole of epic proportions is spoken word poetry. That said, here are five of my favorite performances from female spoken word artists I love:

Kai Davis: “Fuck I Look Like!”
This amped screed against assumptions demonstrates that whether it’s coming from outside your community, or from within it, having people tell you who you should or shouldn’t be is not okay. For more work and info, check out her website.

Sarah Kay: “B”
Kay has been performing since she was a wee tyke, hanging out at places like the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC when she was way too young, but the poetry muse called her, and she answered. This one’s an oldie, but a goodie, featuring advice she’d give to her future daughter. Check out her website HERE.

Sierra Demulder: “Paper Dolls”
In this fierce piece, Demulder analyzes the narratives we are constantly fed regarding how women “should” talk about their own sexual assaults. For more of her work, visit HERE.

Yellow Rage: “Listen, Asshole”
This one’s from Def Poetry Jam. Remember that show? I miss it. Anyway, Michelle Myers and Catzie Vilayphonh make up the spoken word duo Yellow Rage, proving once and for all that Asian women are not here to be submissive to anybody. Keep up with them over HERE.

Vanessa Hidary: “The Hebrew Mamita”
And I’ll close out with another one from the Def Poetry Jam archives. Vanessa Hidary brings the diversity of all the cultures she grew up around into her work, but make no mistake, she is a proud Sephardic Jew. This piece talks about the all-too-common “compliment,” You don’t look Jewish.

Do you have any favorite spoken word videos? Share them below! And Happy World Poetry Day!

(image: Kai Davis)

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Things We Saw Today: Infinity War Writers See Thanos as a Combination of the MCU’s Best Villains

Josh Brolin in Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

With Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Erik Killmonger in Black Panther, the MCU has raised the bar for villains. Which is why, despite how excited I am for Infinity War, there is still a lot of nervousness about how good Thanos is going to be as a big bad. He has been hyped up for so long and throughout so many movies that it could either be amazing or … just above Steppenwolf. It looks like the writers are thinking about Thanos’ role as a baddie in the true sense that every villain is the hero of their own story.

Screenwriter Stephen McFeely notes, according to Screenrant, that the bad guy is usually “a foil for the development of the hero” but Infinity War will flop that trope: “Our heroes are foils for the villain, whose story we need to tell at large.”

To Markus and McFeely, the MCU’s best villains to date are Loki and Jessica Jones‘s Kilgrave. In part, McFeely suggests, these two characters shine because they’re given a great deal of screen time. The viewers get to know the villains as intimately as the heroes, to care passionately about what happens to them. David Tennant’s Kilgrave is as much the star of Jessica Jones Season 1 as Krysten Ritter’s hero. In just the same way, Infinity War will devote a lot of screen time to Thanos himself. It will reveal the Mad Titan in all his glory, and take the time to develop him as a character.

The prospect that Thanos is going to be given time to really be his own character is good news and it’s a necessary writing move because we know the rest of the cast pretty well, but we don’t know Thanos. So let’s see, just a month left to go! Where will Thanos rank in the end? (via, Screenrant)

  • Netflix has gotten the rights to the YA series by Jenny Han called To All the Boys I’ve Ever Loved which I’m totally excited for. I adore this series and I’m excited about the potential Asian representation in the series since the main character is Asian. Lana Condor, who is Vietnamese-American has been cast as the lead role.  “The story follows Lara Jean Song Covey, whose love life goes from imaginary to out of control when the love letters for every boy she’s ever loved — five in all — are mysteriously mailed out.” (via Variety)
  • Kristin Davis, also known as SATC MVP Charlotte York has endorsed co-host Cynthia Nixon’s run for governor of New York City. Best Friends stick together. (via Hello Giggles)
  • Chrissy Metz, one-third of the Big Three from This is Us, had a really beautiful and personal interview with People magazine in which she discussed her stepfather’s abusive behavior, especially concerning her weight. “My body seemed to offend him, but he couldn’t help but stare, especially when I was eating. He joked about putting a lock on the refrigerator. We had lived with a lack of food for so long that when it was there, I felt like I had to eat it before it disappeared. Food was my only happiness.” (via People)
  • Frank Oz has some concern about the way Disney is treating the muppets. He spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about his concerns about the organization “As much as Disney loves The Muppets and wants the best for The Muppets — and they truly believe they can do it — they don’t get it.” (via The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Not that you need any more reasons to love M’Baku or Winston Duke, but here you go just in case you were having a sad Wednesday.

(image: Marvel/Disney)

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Stranger Things‘ Millie Bobby Brown and Gaten Matarazzo Back-Up Fan Stood-Up on His Own Birthday

It seems to be a thing for parents and older relatives to post pictures of their jilted children when no one shows up to their birthday parties. Remember this mom? Well, a couple of days ago, a loving and very protective sister posted the above tweet about the fact that no one showed up to her eight-year-old brother’s Stranger Things-themed party. But now, he may have booked some high-profile guests for next year.

Aaron Alambat had a pretty sweet set-up for his birthday. As you can see in the photos above, there was a Stranger Things-branded cake, Christmas lights around the words Happy Birthday, “Demigorgon Blood” punch. And OMG, I totally would’ve gone if I was invited just for that FOOD SPREAD, WHAT?! And the little dude was all decked out in a shirt that read “The World is Turning Upside Down,” and gave his best Eleven face for the camera.

Yet none of his friends showed up.

His sister Ayen was not happy, but she made sure to show that she and the fam were there for Aaron:

This being the Internet, supportive tweets from commiserating nerds made the story go viral. This caught the attention of two of the Stranger Things cast members. First, Eleven herself reached out:

And if you click through to the thread, you’ll see that Ayen, and Aaron, understandably freaked out. Stranger Things‘ Dustin, Gaten Matarazzo, didn’t wanna be left out, so he chimed in, too:

Even Barb (Shannon Purser) and Mike and Nancy’s mom (Cara Buono) sent along good wishes:

So, it’s all good. If none of his classmates want to go to his ninth birthday party, it seems as though Aaron will still be able to round up a quality group of folks for some chocolate pudding and a D&D campaign.

(image: Netflix)

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Serena Williams, One of the Greatest Athletes of All Time, Is Out Here Debating the Avatar: The Last Airbender Mythos

Serena Williams plays tennis at the 2017 Australian Open. Source: Shutterstock

Sometimes, for a few shining moments, Twitter isn’t a nightmarescape, and it actually fulfills its best purpose: bringing everyone a little closer together. Tennis superstar Serena Williams recently posted one of her pressing questions about the mythology and world-building of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, and she was ended up actively discussing it with her followers.

Users quickly chimed in with their own theories as to how the two origin stories from Last Airbender and Korra could be reconciled. And Williams, delightfully, answered back with her own counterpoints.

As The AV Club noted, Williams has been a longtime fan of both series, and actually had a small guest appearance as the prison guard Ming on Avatar: The Last Airbender and a female sage on The Legend of Korra. 

Here at TMS, we often point out that nerds, fans, and geeks don’t just look one way, or have one type of personality. Fandom is wonderfully diverse and strange, and it includes thousands of people who don’t fit the media’s “nerd” archetype. And one of those people, a big ol’ Avatar nerd, just happens to be a historically talented professional tennis player.

(via The AV Club; image: Shutterstock)

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Henry Cavill Posted a Memorial Tribute to His Mustache


A post shared by Henry Cavill (@henrycavill) on

Ever since Justice League came out, Henry Cavill’s Mission Impossible: Fallout mustache has lived in infamy as the cause of some wonky CGI. Cavill was contractually obligated to grow the mustache for his Mission: Impossible role, but Justice League production lasted far longer than expected due to the extensive reshoots. Paramount refused to let him shave the ‘stache to accommodate a clean-shaven Superman for Justice League, and so it had to be removed digitally.

The effects generally looked fine in the movie, but there were some notably atrocious exceptions:

Cavill, however, has been having a lot of fun with his now-infamous mustache. He’s decked out his Instagram photos with tags like #FrostStache or #KingStache, and he even posted a letter from his mustache to his followers on the day of the Mission Impossible Fallout trailer: “Henry is now actually in bed, it is a school night after all. Being his moustache however, I require no sleep (or food). So I have taken it upon myself to address you, my lovers and my haters to announce this exciting event! The first trailer is here, my glorious debut! Bathe in my bristly glow! Marvel at my contours and yes, be allured you who are facially able, for our time has come. From the pages of history we shall charge forth and rule the world once more and I shall be your king!”

And so, given his obvious affectation for the mustache, it makes sense that Cavill posted a “Shaved But Not Forgotten” video to remember it. “Don’t be alarmed,” he tells his followers. “It’s me, Henry Cavill … I know, it’s hard to recognize me without Kingstache. Sometimes, I even have trouble recognizing myself.”

“It’s hard for me to admit, but this is not CGI. He’s really gone. I can tell you this, though: I will remember him, always.”

Thanks to the Justice League CGI, so will we all.

(Featured image: screengrab)

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Things We Saw Today: Dorkly Gives a Fascinating Look at How Censorship Crafted Batman: The Animated Series

Batman: The Animated Series (1992)

For many of us youths, Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS) and the DCAU of cartoons that spawned out of it: Superman: TAS, Static Shock, The Zelda ProjectJustice League, etc., are some of our favorites. Over at Dorkly, author Tristan Cooper crafts an engaging piece about how censorship influenced the things that BTAS was able to do and how the restraints put on them by the industry lead to some creative ways around that good ol’ cartoon violence. Some of the more interesting changes Cooper touches on include the adding of seatbelts in scenes with cars (click it or ticket) and the change in framing Barbara Gordon’s fall in that infamous Killing Joke-inspired episode where Batgirl dies after a fall. It’s a great read. (via Dorkly)

  • Carrie Fisher’s memory lives on and The Last Jedi, for better or for worse, will stand as a lasting memory to Carrie Fisher, with the film having some of the last footage of her before her death.  That is reason enough to pick up the Blu-Ray. (via SyFy Wire)
  • Well, until we get that Snyder cut, Justice League is so far the DCU’s lowest-grossing film. As a fan of the series and these characters, I can say that this is not a victory, and I hope that something will be done, soon, to fix this mess. (via i09)
  • Today in ‘humans suck, do better,’ the last male northern white rhino has died. Right now the only hope to save the species in some way is through IVF with one of the two female northern white rhinos or a female southern white rhino to at least allow some of the genes to live on.  (via AP)

How are you guys celebrating the first day of Spring aka the end of Pisces season? Time for Aries to rise!

(Image: Warner Bros.)

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Ivanka Trump Cosplayed as a Vape Juice Scientist as If That’s Something the Internet Wouldn’t Immediately Turn Into a Million Memes

ivanka trump science infrastructure week memes vape juice

It’s Infrastructure Week in Washington again, which, in political terms, means Donald Trump tweets about “WITCH HUNTS” while his daughter Ivanka gives the world new meme material. If there’s something more to Infrastructure Week, we have yet to see it.

This week, Ivanka travelled to a job training and science facility in Waukee, Iowa. There, she participated in a number of experiments. Or she had her photo taken while basically cosplaying a scientist. Whichever way you want to look at it.

As she put on her goggles, she even said “I can’t promise that I’ll get this right, but at least we’ll look the part, right?” Which pretty much sums up her entire role at the White House, doesn’t it?

Apparently, what she was doing in the picture was testing levels of nicotine in vape juice, which just adds an extra level of bizarro onto this. The internet has responded swiftly, with caption contests, memes, and general mockery.

Ivanka’s dress-up time is all the more insidious when you think about in the context of her father’s views on pretty much anything STEM-related. He has proposed massive cuts to the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Office of Science at the Department of Energy, just to name a few. His administration is run by climate change skeptics. The very infrastructure plan Ivanka was supporting with this trip–part of a plan which has been called “all adjectives and no math”–has pretty much no chance of making it through Congress.

So well done, Ivanka. You did a great job “looking the part” while serving as the face for an administration that doesn’t give a shit about those students or their vape juice.

(image: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

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Does This Spider-Man: Homecoming Easter Egg Reveal a Big Plot Point About Thor in Infinity War?

Thor in Infinity War

[Potential Infinity War spoilers via wild speculation!]

Thanks to director Joe Russo’s interview last week, we already know that Thor’s going to have one of the biggest arcs in Marvel’s upcoming upend-the-toybox-and-make-all-the-action-figures-fight Infinity War. Did this sneaky Spider-Man: Homecoming Easter egg already tell us how Thor could help defeat Thanos?

In the post-Ultron period, Thor was the only Avenger doing, y’know, his job by looking for the Infinity Stones, rather than getting into fights in airport parking lots and arming child soldiers. He’s coming into Infinity War as a renewed fan favorite, having just starred in Thor: Ragnarok, easily one of the top three films of the entire Marvel franchise. (Fight me on this.)

It makes sense that he’d have a significant part to play this time around. Still, Thor was always something of an afterthought in the first two Avengers films, mostly there to antagonize his brother and wear super soft sweaters. Even Russo admitted that Thor “hasn’t been at the forefront of other Avengers movies.”

So what’s so special about Thor’s character in Infinity War?

For one thing, he’s got a new weapon. Studio concept art and the various toys released by Hasbro and Funko Pop show Thor with a brand-new axe to replace his hammer Mjolnir, which his sister destroyed in Ragnarok. Marketing materials have since identified the axe as Stormbreaker, a weapon with a comics history of its own.

Originally wielded by a Thor comics character named Beta Ray Bill in the ’80s, Stormbreaker is a dwarf-forged weapon that Odin imbued with magical powers after Bill beat Thor in battle. (Like everything in the comics, it’s a long story.) Thor’s new Stormbreaker is likely a combination of several different mythic weapons found in Marvel canon.


In the latest Infinity War trailer, we briefly see Thor using his newfound lightning power somewhere in space, with Groot and Rocket Raccoon.

Fans (and that LEGO set) think that the three of them travel to Nidavellir, the realm of the dwarves, to have Stormbreaker made. (The handle of Stormbreaker even suspiciously resembles Groot’s wood, which likely means Thor has succeeded in bonding with the grumpy teenage Groot.)

But if we’re using comics canon to help foreshadow Thor’s role in Infinity War, there’s another item of power that could be even more important: Megingjord, the Enchanted Belt of Strength.

Drawn from Norse mythology (“megingjörð” literally translates to “Power Belt” in Old Norse), Megingjord doubles Thor’s strength. Its appearance has varied over the years, from a simple leather sash, to a gold prizefighter’s belt, to more of an over-the-shoulder crossbody studded look.

Granted, Megingjord has only made a few dozen appearances in the fifty years of Thor comics. But when it does show up, it’s always to help Thor defeat his most powerful foes … including frigging Thanos:

Bad. Ass. (Thor vol 2: 25, 2000)

Now, let’s check out that Hasbro Thor toy again … specifically its waist:

That sure looks like a belt to me! Contrast it to the other Hasbro figure from Infinity War, which seems to represent a Thor earlier in the movie (wielding Heimdall’s sword instead of Stormbreaker, only one eye). No belt.

The best part is, we know that this relatively obscure bit of Asgardian swag exists in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, thanks to a throwaway comment by Happy Hogan in Spider-man: Homecoming.

Loading up the Quinjet on Moving Day, when Happy lists the items that still have to be transported to the new Avengers compound upstate, he names Thor’s belt alongside the Hulkbuster armor and a prototype for Cap’s new shield. Happy mangles trying to pronounce “Megingjord,” before giving up and calling it “Thor’s magic belt.”

This could have just been a winking nod to comics fans, but it feels pretty big getting named like that—especially considering the Megingjord hasn’t appeared in the MCU before. Suddenly Thor has a magic belt in the mix, mentioned in the same breath as other objects that will figure into Infinity War.

Based on the Infinity War trailers, we already know that Tony’s Hulkbuster armor shows up in the film. We also know Cap’s getting a new shield, although it’s much more likely to be Wakandan design than StarkTech. And we know from Entertainment Weekly‘s set visit that Thor makes it back to Earth eventually, where he might grab that accessory Tony’s been keeping safe for him.

Given all that, as well as Thor’s major role in Infinity War, who’s to say “The Meging- the meg- the m- Thor’s magic belt” won’t be the secret weapon the Avengers and their allies need to finally take down Thanos? 

I guess that would finally make Thor … the strongest Avenger.

In all seriousness, considering that Thor is quite likely going to witness the slaughter of his people (and maybe his brother) at Thanos’ hands, it would be fitting if Thor got to deliver a final, decisive blow—for Asgard.

(images: Marvel)

Lauren Henry is a writer and a PhD candidate in Modern French history focusing on colonialism, migration and identity formation. Ask her about France or soccer. 

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What Is Truly the “Most Ambitious Crossover Event in History”?

Screengrab of Episode 1 of Netflix's

In the leadup to Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, one thing has been pretty darn clear: this was a seriously demanding movie for the creative team. From the daunting size of the cast, to the formidable scope of a movie with multiple worlds, Infinity War stands to be the culmination of the company’s entire shared-universe project, which spans dozens of films. That’s a whole lot of pressure, and however you feel about the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in general, it’s undeniably ambitious

But the internet, as it is wont to do, immediately started deflating that ambition with their own tongue-in-cheek proposals for the “most ambitious crossover” ever. From The Simpsons to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Space Jam, the Twitterverse had plenty of memorable crossovers to put forward for the crown.

So what would be your suggestions for the world’s “most ambitious crossover event,” TMS readers? I will accept answers that are earnest, absurd, and/or a mixture of both.

(Featured image: Netflix)

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Genius Fanmade Trailer Recreates Infinity War Shot-For-Shot

A team of Malaysian college students recreated the new Avengers: Infinity War trailer to a T, and I gotta say, I enjoyed this even more than the original.

You have to admire the creative ways that the students found to duplicate Infinity War‘s big battle sequences and lavish special effects (I think my favorite substitution is holding up plates in place of Doctor Strange and Wong’s magic).

What makes this work particularly well is the commitment to the bit. Everyone looks deadly serious and throws themselves into their “role,” even for just a few seconds. And the editing is spot-on. It can’t have been easy to match each scene up with the trailer’s original so seamlessly.

This fannish masterpiece got a lot of attention quickly and has racked up almost 3 million views and 70,000+ retweets. I’m sure this endorsement by the Russos didn’t hurt:

Aiman Sany, who posted the video, was quick to respond, but it seems that he’s too busy with his studies to consider a career at Marvel.

Of course, as far as we know there’s no Avengers 5 on the horizon, though the Russos are also directing the as-yet-untitled Avengers 4, which will hopefully resurrect everyone who died in Infinity War in one giant retcon (this is my coping mechanism to deal with the tragedies in store for us in Infinity War). But by the time a potential Avengers 5 rolls around, maybe Aiman & team will be ready to give it a go.

This was so fun that even actual Infinity War actors wanted to get in on the plate-wielding action.

Don’t let these kids slip through your fingers, Marvel.

(via, image: screengrab/Marvel)

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