FRIDAY OPEN THREAD: Down The Rabbit Hole

Hello Autostraddle readers!!! How are you doing? How’s summer? How’s Cancer season? Anybody out there with summertime SAD working through some shit? Because I am! And I see you!!!

My week’s been banana for a variety of reasons, and I’ve been feeling very raw. But, I’ve gotten out of bed each day, I’ve read something cool each day, I’ve been drinking water…so it’s not all bad. It’s never all bad, you know? Anyway, when I’m feeling blue, my favorite thing is going down a rabbit hole of Youtube videos, specifically, a bunch of different musical theatre performances? I figured this week, we could all talk about our weird internet obsessions: what do you get into when you need a break from real life? Are you secretly obsessed with videos from the University of Michigan musical theatre department from 2004-2008? Do you read fan fiction that’s not about fictional characters? Do you start by looking up a random person on Wikipedia and then end up learning about particle physics somehow? Do you spend an hour watching the same video of a song Marceline sang on Adventure Time that made you cry? What rabbit holes are your favorite? Do you remember StumbleUpon??? Tell me all your secrets.

And because I can’t ask you to share all your secrets without sharing a few of my own, I’m gonna share my top five Youtube videos from this week. I would be lying if I said that I watched any of these videos fewer than ten times this week. And to be honest, I probably watch them ten times a day. Familiarity is comforting okay?!

  • Bon Appétit “Kids Try” videos: hilarious children trying new foods? Braver than all the troops.

  • Eleven year old videos of musical theatre majors from a school I didn’t go to? Sign me tf up!

  • This twenty minute video of songs Marceline from Adventure Time has sung

  • This Youtube series where musical theatre performer Natalie Weiss breaks down riffing for all us regulars.

  • Finally, this video of 2018 Tony Award Winner Lindsay Mendez belting her face off. I have watched this video at least twice a day since the beginning of July.

Okay cornhusks, have a slamming weekend. I can’t wait to read about all the weird stuff you do on the internet! I also can’t wait to hear about your weeks, your pets, your plants, your trials and tribulations, your joys, and your life in general! You’re all so stinking cool and weird and interesting and honestly, I’m dying to know more. See you in the comments!


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Alaina is a 20-something working on a PhD in Performance as Public Practice. They are a mom to three cats, they listen to a lot of NPR and musicals, and they spend a lot of time on Pinterest lusting over studio apartments. They are actively trying to build A Brand on twitter @alainamonts. One day, they will be First Lady of the United States.

Al(aina) has written 191 articles for us.

70 Comments

  1. My favorite Lindsay Mendez rendition of a Kerrigan-Lowdermilk song is “Avalanche”

    Since you’re a fan of the 2007 class of UMich MT, I’m going to assume you’ve watched “The Battery’s Down” several times (or at least once).

    I really enjoy watching “What Would You Do?” videos on Youtube. I question my taste sometimes.

    • ooh, i LOVE her singing avalance! and i LOVE the battery’s down! i’ve watched it…too many times. I just re-started submissions only this week also.

      rachel, i can always count on your for that good niche musical theatre loving!

  2. I have a bad habit of falling down all sorts of weird research rabbit holes lately. I’m writing NCIS:LA fanfic and try to be at least a bit realistic in my writing of the city. So I’ve had to look up bookshops and diners from the 80s, as well as Hawai’ian wedding resorts, the Russian-Finnish border, Landstuhl and Ramstein bases, flight times between various places and luxury hotels in London.

      • There’s a Finnish TV series on Netflix called “Bordertown” that’s set right near the Russian-Finnish border if anyone’s looking to burrow further down that particular rabbit hole. No queer characters, but there’s a badass former Russian FSB agent named Lena Jaakkola.

      • Well, they go to Russia for cases a lot in the show and in this particular ep they have to escape after breaking someone out of prison, but none of that is shown in the episode and I’m doing a tag to it, so had to do research on how they would escape Russia covertly. I also basically stole the idea of going via Finland from an episode of OG NCIS. It’s actually quite an interesting thing to research!

  3. Okay. 1) Have you ever heard Lindsay Mendez sing “Pretty Funny” from Dogfight by Pasek and Paul because it is FUCKING LIFE CHANGING AND YOU WILL CRY SO HARD.

    2) Yes musical theater videos always. I could watch clips of Sutton Foster for literally ever. That rehearsal video of Anything Goes on repeat for infinity.

    3) My new rabbit hole is true crime/murder podcasts/the Golden State Killer situation? Which I got into because this insanely cute girl I went out with on our first (soon to be second!) date was like “Have you ever listened to My Favorite Murder? There is this bananas case that just got solved… I think you’d find it interesting…” and I was like NO BUT I WILL JUMP DOWN THIS RABBIT HOLE IMMEIDATELY! You know. As you do. Anyway it’s fascinating and also terrifying on many levels but she’s really really cute so

  4. My recent internet rabbit holes have mostly featured the Otamatone and/or bill wurtz, which I can excuse as relevant to the research project I’m working on right now

    the biggest time suck in my life right now is definitely the L word, which I started last week and currently am on season 4 of. I have so many feelings about it haha. I’m still mad they killed Dana and took Shay away from Shane,,,, also I really really wish there was like a way I could somehow get myself on to the reboot, so I spent a lot of time daydreaming about that life

    my favorite otamatone video by far is definitely this one:

    he dressed them up as the village people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! watch this and tell me it didn’t brighten your day.

  5. Wait omg my friend group is currently infatuated with the Bon Appetit youtube channel, but ESPECIALLY Claire Saffitz, the curmudgeon-of-center pastry chef who HAND MAKES gourmet versions of like, skittles and cheetos and shit. SHE IS PERFECT.

  6. Way too many times I’ve been down the wiki rabbit hole. Sometimes it ends at me being back to my high school’s wiki page looking to see if any one I went to school with has been added(no one new last I checked). I am also lightly into the rabbit hole of youtubers who one could argue are car hoarders rather than collectors. One guy I watch has like 45 cars and other owns like 2-3 of those custom Dominos car. He bought them legally from salvage auctions, but Domino’s isn’t too happy he own the cars and then restored it with the oven, but not their logo of course. Thankfully, so far youtube algo hasn’t lead me astray to racist, or conspiracy pages, which I’ve been reading is a thing for some even after watching one video game or lgbtq related video.

    How is everyone’s week going? I spent my Sunday at the beach alone in public beach, that is in front of million dollar Malibu homes. It was really nice as I got to see at least 5 beach goers hanging out with their cute dogs. Plus, a dude and his wife told me they liked my swimming then he had the confused face look when I replied(been working on my femme voice). I want to confuse cis-het people so that’s always a bonus there. On another note a woman I messaged on OKC back in February earlier in the week replied to me, which was a nice surprise. I think we maybe meeting up next week. I hope others who have messaged someone cute on OKC have the same luck!

    Water housing is cracked so no in water images, but the sky was a clear blue.

    Thank you for viewing and reading my thread. Have a positive & cool weekend!

    • Any tips on working on your femme voice, other than just constant hard work and tired vocal cords all the bloody time?

      Er, asking for, er, a cisbi femme “friend” who keeps being called “Monsieur” on the phone. 😇

      • I just keep practicing, but when I was 19-20 I use to get mistaken for a women over the phone and get a bit confused and angry(was really trying too hard to fit in cis-het world). lol There are youtube video that has good tips. lol

      • I have a friend who is a speech-language pathologist with some expertise in voice therapy for transgender adults. Would people like me to approach her about writing an article for the site? Editors, yes/no? Even if y’all want it I have no idea how soon it might happen, I know she is super-busy.

  7. I don’t really do deep dives, or, rather, I do them in the daytime and justify them as research for freelance pitches. “And exactly what evidence is there that sports bras work? Oh, hello JSTOR…” “How common is gender dysphoria amongst cis people anyway?”

    When I need a *real* break, I rewatch Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the fifty-eleventh time.

    I also spend an inordinate amount of time of searching for etymologies, but that’s usually triggered by something external.

    • Ahm. I actually have a habit of writing down random things I want to look up during the day when I can’t do it, and using my list as a Rabbit-Hole Starter Kit for when I feel a need to procrastinate/ vegetate/ etc.
      I normally start off with a specific question, generally historical things to do with a writing project, but I always end up looking – with a deep, if temporary, interest – at the driest things. Like earlier this week I started looking into 6th century English pottery, got sidetracked, and embarked on a quest to learn about different types of copper ore deposits and the geological processes that lead to their formation…? Also, weird, arcane details of historical and ongoing traditional bookbinding techniques. Also, the evolutionary relationships among different reptiles.
      I feel like such a nerd, like normal people have rabbit-holes in youtube, and I’m just sitting here transfixed by JSTOR, reading about the most utterly arbitrary things. I’m finding this thread very affirming 😊

      On a random open thread note, my ex-gf is apparently trying to make a horror movie. Don’t know if this is actually going to get made or not, but we’ll see…

  8. my favorite weird internet thing right now is the #SoftEggContent i’ve managed to cultivate in my instagram stories. it’s weird and sexual and gay and perfect, don’t @ me.

    ps: love you a lot al. <3

  9. i picked up the art of ooo again last week because i decided i want to make video games? (its connected im sure) but i was like, i can’t properly appreciate this until i catch up on adventure time, so i spent last week going through three seasons and basically crying the entire time and now ive felt at a real loss? so im gonna reread the art of ooo, attempt to do storyboarding/writing for this gothic novel game jam im v excited about (which means i have over 100+ tabs in my onetab ready to go w advice in the forms of articles, videos, twitter/mastodon accounts etc. about narrative writing, visual novels, interactive fiction, diversity in games, all that jazz, some coding so i can pretend im doing what im supposed to be doing), and also

    wait i also wanted to say thank yoou for the videos because ya boi LOVES musical theatre and marceline and these are added into the rotation of what i need to sit down and appreciate immediately

    okay and i have fUCK i just remembered i have a submission due sunday so ill open that also did you know firefox has this new thing called sideview??? so you can have one tab open on the left side and follow you through all your other tabs as those become mobile view???? ITS A GAMECHANGER my google drive has been following me reminding me of all the work i need to do and like someone who obviously has their life together i am ignoring it

    i can answer the question im back my rabbit holes are usually:
    musical theatre so rewatching tony performances reading librettos listening to audios watching recordings and then plotting how ill get to see all my favorite shows then calming down and watching crying to next to normal or wicked until its time to repeat

    writing im talking what apps do i need to try now? what prompts are we going for? what contests am i going to enter that i have no business entering? like one of these lead me to getting a scholarship for a writing workshop w crystal valentine later this month (?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????? I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) so like its good but im also like do i write or do i just convince everyone that i write?

    twitter, tumblr, mastodon, netflix, and hulu help me go down these rabbit holes cause i just be clicking on shit all the time like OF COURSE I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW and then i look up and havent eaten in 27 hours and am wondering who turned on the sun so bright

    unrelated, my sister came to a basketball game with me this week (she hates basketball but she wanted to spend time with me) and called me by my pronouns??? and called me sib??? i was trying not to like cry but like i did a little also we were like four rows away from the court????? amazing

    • okay alexis i ALSO watched the last three seasons of adventure time in a week, and i had a fucking TIME. the storyline with susan??? jfc my tender tender heart!!!

      also this sideview feature feels like…it’s dangerous, but amazing

  10. UuUuUgh yes, I’ve got that summertime SADness. Fell into a weird ~rabbit hole of the past~ lately because everything’s retrograde AND it’s cncr szn, but the good news is that this involved revisiting one of my very favorite Brendon Urie/Ryan Ross fics on account of Brendon officially coming out as Pansexual! at the Disco, so that was pleasantly nostalgic. It’s called “Take Center Stage And Step Up to Save The Last Dance (He Was A Sk8er Boi)” and it’s less ridiculous than it sounds.

  11. I just moved to a new place where I know no one, so every week I google “things to do this weekend” to try to find a thing to do. This week, I discovered that the “Most Wuthering Heights Day Ever” is on Saturday, which I’ve never heard of before. I’ve spent the whole week watching (and rewatching, and rewatching, and rewatching) videos from past MWHDE and the original video that inspired it:

  12. My biggest YouTube rabbit hole is music videos. It starts out all innocent, like, oh let me just watch this new Beyoncé video. Then before I know it I’m watching Fifth Harmony “Work from Home” for the hundredth time. (If you’ve never seen it, it’s the worst/greatest music video ever made.)

    I also enjoy old Tony Awards performances and assorted other musical theater-related clips, and anything featuring Kate McKinnon.

  13. My Youtube viewing habits are kinda weird. I watch a lot of grocery hauls and I like to see what people have in their fridge and/or pantry! I also watch a lot of Dollar Tree hauls. Oh and those videos where it’s fashion or beauty trends from the 1920s-today.

  14. I have home and work rabbit holes…

    Since you’ve mentionned JSTOR… I’ll divulge my nerdy rabbit hole at work involves any of our online databases I have to check (I work in a university library), as well as Google scholar, Scopus or our own library “discovery service” ; I search for terms inspired by Autostraddle, like… Autostraddle (!), boi, asexuality, they/them, transgender*, vaginismus, BDSM, orgasm, sex toys, lesbians and aging, you-name-it ! I’ve found out a lot, and also very little, about some topics, which in itself says a lot. Those scholars are way behind.

    My other rabbit hole is music videos on youtube, I open up a window and just let it stream, starting with someone like Judy Garland or Betty Carter, quite startling at times when the stream catches up with my previous faves like The Ramones, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Muna, Chris(tine), never a dull moment.

    And as work winds down, I dive into Autostraddle, and I dive in again when I get home. That’s my reward for the day. A sweet endorphin rush. Happy chemicals all around !

  15. I also am partial to youtube rabbit holes, can’t resist music at all. The only thing when in rabbit hole mood/mode that got me to put the internets away and sleep is taking pictures of the music suggestion that looked interesting so I could get back to it later.

    Things I love are finding stuff of genres I’d never otherwise encounter like Turkish club music from the 70’s or post-punk music beyond just Bauhaus, Sisters of Mercy etc.
    I think how I ended up in Turkish club music was a rabbit hole that started with Sephardic folk songs.

    FKA twigs led me down a rabbit hole to Sevdaliza

    SEVDALIZA – HUMAN

    SCHWEFEL – METROPOLIS

    Deadliest rabbithole from me is TV Tropes, my music addiction pales in comparison to what happens when I’m on TV Tropes because then I want to learn more about the character or piece of media and then I’ve got a million tabs open and meta thoughts about them I can’t do anything with.

    No one in my life to face to face share meta thoughts and discuss them or uh online either…now that I think of it.

  16. In addition to my L Word bingewatching, these two girls came home with us today!!! We were deciding between Tegan and Sara and Gertrude and Alice for their names, and ended up going with Gertrude and Alice, so introducing Gertrude and Alice to the Straddler world!!

  17. My brain created another character this week, the process was like this

    The end result is a 25th Dynasty Egyptian vampire living in a post earth humanity world and loving it most of the time. In life she was a priestess of the hours which means she was basically an astronomer. She loves science,fashion and sex toys.
    Is probably chaotic neutral, but the chaotic is subtle.
    Made it so far into the future by having no ambitions for power thereby flying under the radar and decades long “depression naps”.
    She has a ship named Napata and probably charted some hyperlanes with drones she designed and programmed.

  18. My biggest rabbit hole is using last.fm, Spotify etc. to discover new music. I’ve been going pretty hard on that recently; I seem to have gained everyone’s trust to control the music at work drinks (which I am pretty proud of but also find hilarious considering that a lot of the stuff I listen to is quite obscure/extreme) so I have been working on some playlists that I can use.

    General update is that I have a new manager finally (someone in my team has been acting the past six months) and she seems really nice so far. Not sure how good she’ll be with the work yet; she’s quite young and hasn’t worked in policy proper before, but my GM backs her and he does seem to have pretty good judgement.

  19. Wow that riffing video is v cool.Makes me want to watch more vocal exploration videos.

    Not really a rabbit hole but I just saw Food Flirts where the sisters visited Provincetown MA and it is a very gay place. Those ladies are hillarious too. I hope to see more lively older women in shows in future, cause we all gonna be old someday too! And I’m sick of the youth narrative as being the most desirable all the time…ya know? Sure we’re probably hottest when we’re younger but most of our life is lived out past the tender age of 25. 🙂

    Anyway I’m working on gardening today and then next week I’m going to see The Arcade Fire. Yay! My fav song rn is Creature Comfort.

    Well, I hope everyone has a great day! Bye!!

  20. food. Cooking. Anything really And weirdly enough luthier vids. On how to repair and build acoustic instruments.

    One time I searched for a vid on how to sharpen an ax. Ax sharpening lead to homesteading and primitive life survival now I have a lot of frontier life vids that pop up.

    Another time I searched how to replace The rear brakes on my Blueberry (my car) and now i get all sorts of mechanic vids popping up.

  21. I logged onto tumblr for the first time in about three years because Heather Hogan said there was Elastigirl plus Evelyn (Hevelyn) fanfic on there. I spent like an hour today looking at The Incredibles fanart??????? Which, as a person who has not engaged in fandom culture at all for years, is pretty off brand? The internet is a weird place.

  22. When I was younger, I had these things that I would call “JSTOR parties,” typically on Friday nights, when I would log into my alum access of JSTOR and just learn about new things. Right now, though, I’m doing a lot of research on nymph worship in Greece because I’m about to write a novel about nymphs and secret societies — so I’ve also got a bunch of used books now about Ancient Greek magic and incantations and all of that. It’s gonna be fun.

    Most of my Internet dives are about Classics, actually. 😅 But I’m also a librarian, so I really enjoy getting questions about new things that I can look up.

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