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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays-Week 1-Hedwig and the Angry Inch

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I confess, i didn't get a chance to rewatch it this weekend. I first discovered this musical through a friend who had the original cast recording on CD and I was blown away. So much so that I was actually skeptical when I heard they were making a movie until I heard that it was all of the original people who were doing the movie. This musical began life when John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig) met Stephen Trask on an airplane. Eventually they would write the musical together, with Mitchell providing the characters and story, and Trask and his queer-punk band Cheater providing the music (and lyrics I believe). And though it is Cheater who appears in the film, the music heard is actually performed by Girls Against Boys.

The Hedwig character is based on a prostitute who lived in the same trailer park as JCM, who was an Army brat. He used to hang out with her and she would tell him stories until a "date" would show up at the door and he would have to slip out the back. The song Wicked Little Town was written in Grinnell, Iowa (not far from me) while the New Yorker Trask was visiting a friend who taught at a college there.

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I'm curious if anyone watched this for the first time. I own it now and have watched it a few times at home by myself, but the first time I saw this was with a group of friends at a screening full of theater nerds. Since then, I try to see it whenever it's at Alamo Drafthouse (especially because they usually have a Hedwig cover band play after the movie). It's one of those movies that's just more fun when it's with a group.

 

Also, Hedwig is starting a national tour tomorrow with the 2014 revival cast (except Darren Criss will be Hedwig, since that cast has had, like, 5 different Hedwigs). It's not coming to Austin, sadly, but it's coming a lot of other places!

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I haven't gotten the chance to watch this yet, but it will be my first time. I'm very excited!

 

The tour is coming to Dallas and I really really want to see it!

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I was waiting on company to watch this with, but they bailed so I didn't get to watch it until this morning. I can definitely see how it would work as a "group-watch" thing. As it was, watching it at 4 AM this morning, I really did like it. The band scenes really brought back memories of my crappy punk band and playing to a crowd of, like, two disinterested people. :)

 

It's still sort of marinating in my brain for the moment, so I'll probably have more to say later (also more time). I won't spoil it here since people are still trying to find time to watch it, but I loved that ending shot! It was goddamn perfect! Frankly, I'm kind of regretting renting it instead of just buying it. Oh, well...

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I haven't seen it before either. My wife's a fellow musical theatre nerd so she's excited to participate in Musical Mondays by proxy. Will try to fit it in tonight, maybe. Looking forward to it!

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I think you guys will enjoy it!

 

I'd say I had a rather interesting viewing experience since I ended up watching Hedwig in between viewings of The Lobster. And, oddly enough (or maybe not), I found them to be interesting companion pieces. Throughout the movie, Hedwig finds herself struggling with Love as a Platonic Ideal. Basically, if finding Love means to find the other half of yourself, what does this mean if you feel that you are incomplete or like an "Other?"

 

"I must find my other half, but is it a he, or a she? What does this person look like? Identical to me? Or somehow complementary? Does my other half have what I don't? Did he get the looks? The luck? Were we really separated forcibly, or did he just run off with the good stuff? Or did I? Will this person embarrass me? What about sex? Is that how we put ourselves back together again? Or can two people...actually become one...again?

 

I just that this was really interesting when contrasted with how the world in The Lobster is obsessed with finding only the complimentary aspects (no matter how insignificant) when pairing off couples and doesn't even consider complementary personalities.

 

I don't know if any of that makes sense. I'm not sure if I'm explaining myself very well...I may just be tired :)

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You guys, what if Hansel never woke up from his surgery and the entire movie is a Jacob's Ladder situation?

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HAHA! SPOILERS:

 

Question to ponder: Is Hedwig truly a "her." I consider a trans woman to be female, but for Hansel it was merely a means to escape communist East Berlin. And at the end of the story, he is Hansel again.

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HAHA! SPOILERS:

 

Question to ponder: Is Hedwig truly a "her." I consider a trans woman to be female, but for Hansel it was merely a means to escape communist East Berlin. And at the end of the story, he is Hansel again.

 

Without sounding too pretentious (too late), I think at the end of the movie she is neither a he or she, Hedwig or Hansel. She unabashedly accepts herself as the person she is and that's all that matters.

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Without sounding too pretentious (too late), I think at the end of the movie she is neither a he or she, Hedwig or Hansel. She unabashedly accepts herself as the person she is and that's all that matters.

 

Interesting. I thought at the end, she was both Hedwig and Hansel. Two halves become one, like the song Origin of Love. She wonders about her other half earlier in the movie. She thinks it's another person, but I think her other half was just a different part of her. You might even say Tommy Gnosis was also Hedwig, since he was a persona that she created.

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Without sounding too pretentious (too late), I think at the end of the movie she is neither a he or she, Hedwig or Hansel. She unabashedly accepts herself as the person she is and that's all that matters.

I rewatched it a month ago or so (I double-featured it with Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which is a fucking amazing combo), and this was kind of how I felt about it. I've seen Hedwig a bunch of times, but this was the first time I had that interpretation. I think she's neither and both at the same time. Like tomspanks said, she's both halves of the whole.

 

I think it's a really interesting movie for that reason because it's one of the first that's embraced the idea of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary. Hedwig doesn't have to be one or the other because she's somewhere between, and she (a term I only continue using for convenience because Hedwig/Hansel presents as female for most of the film) ultimately learns to accept both her femininity and her masculinty.

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Interesting. I thought at the end, she was both Hedwig and Hansel. Two halves become one, like the song Origin of Love. She wonders about her other half earlier in the movie. She thinks it's another person, but I think her other half was just a different part of her. You might even say Tommy Gnosis was also Hedwig, since he was a persona that she created.

 

I'm sorry. I don't think I was clear. Yes, she is definitely one complete being. I just don't think--in response to Judas' question--that at the end, if you were to ask her, that she would say that she identifies as either male or female. If you asked she would probably say, "I'm Hedwig" or whatever name she comes up with for herself.

 

I think at the end, when she tears off her "Hedwig" persona, it's her birthing herself into a new "Other."

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I'm getting all emotional just reading these. I can't explain the deep connection I feel for this movie, except just to say that I do. Interesting fact: the final song Midnight Radio was written for the movie because the final song in the play was either copyrighted or just didn't have the necessary punch to end the movie [not going to look it up], but I think it's my favorite song in the movie. I agree with you guys about finding her other half. She found that she had he Good Stuff all along.

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I'm getting all emotional just reading these. I can't explain the deep connection I feel for this movie, except just to say that I do. Interesting fact: the final song Midnight Radio was written for the movie because the final song in the play was either copyrighted or just didn't have the necessary punch to end the movie [not going to look it up], but I think it's my favorite song in the movie. I agree with you guys about finding her other half. She found that she had he Good Stuff all along.

 

100%

 

By the way, my favorite song...

 

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I'm getting all emotional just reading these. I can't explain the deep connection I feel for this movie, except just to say that I do. Interesting fact: the final song Midnight Radio was written for the movie because the final song in the play was either copyrighted or just didn't have the necessary punch to end the movie [not going to look it up], but I think it's my favorite song in the movie. I agree with you guys about finding her other half. She found that she had he Good Stuff all along.

 

I saw the revival and Midnight Radio was the final song of the play. I'm glad they incorporated it into the revival because it's a great song.

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I just wanted to say that this was my favorite line:

 

Tommy: Have you...Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

 

Hedwig: No, but I...I love his work.

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Something that I wish the movie mentioned is that Hedwig and Yitzhak were married. Hedwig met Yitzhak in Crotia, where he was a very talented drag queen. A bit too talented for Hedwig's ego. Yitzhak asked Hedwig to take him with her. Hedwig obliged, on the condition that Yitzhak never put on a wig, ie, give up performing as a drag queen. If this had been explained in the movie, I think the ending would've had more of an impact - when Hedwig gives the wig to Yitzhak.

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Something that I wish the movie mentioned is that Hedwig and Yitzhak were married. Hedwig met Yitzhak in Crotia, where he was a very talented drag queen. A bit too talented for Hedwig's ego. Yitzhak asked Hedwig to take him with her. Hedwig obliged, on the condition that Yitzhak never put on a wig, ie, give up performing as a drag queen. If this had been explained in the movie, I think the ending would've had more of an impact - when Hedwig gives the wig to Yitzhak.

 

Oh man, I'm gonna cry. I never knew that.

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I just wanted to say that this was my favorite line:

 

Tommy: Have you...Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?

 

Hedwig: No, but I...I love his work.

That's a really good one.

 

But the car wash bit will never not make me laugh.

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That's a really good one.

 

But the car wash bit will never not make me laugh.

 

Sugar Daddy might be my favorite song in the movie. I'd love to be in the seat that got the carwash [JCM "carwashed" the same seat every night no matter who was in it].

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Sugar Daddy might be my favorite song in the movie. I'd love to be in the seat that got the carwash [JCM "carwashed" the same seat every night no matter who was in it].

Yeah, one of my friends actually got to see it when JCM was in it. He's the one that introduced me to the movie, and he told me that JCM did it to an audience member. That's so fantastic.

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My favorite lines are the stuff about the fur coat "What poor unfortunate creature had to die for you to wear that?" And also, this movie is where I learned never to put a bra in a dryer.

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