Disney Odyssey #33 – How Many Colors Does The Wind Have, Anyway?

When it comes to historical accuracy, our next stop on the Disney Odyssey is definitely near the top of the list… that is, the list of films which took TONS of liberties with historical fact and real culture. Even so, it’s arguably one of the best portrayals of Native Americans in Disney canon, let alone in film history at large. Let that sink in for a second. Bottom line? We need more representation of cultures written and enacted by members of those cultures themselves. Representation matters.

That being said… it’s near and dear to our hearts for various reasons and we knew we needed to bring in an expert on historical weaponry… since we don’t have an expert on indigenous peoples of the Virginias circa 1600. That expert happens to be Katie Kowbel, a historical reenactor and a drama teacher that we know through the ren faire. She was thrilled to join us, and offer her truthbombs about musketry and How Reloading Works.

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The Film: Pocahontas (1995)

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Disney Odyssey #24 – We’ll Always Be Friends Forever, Won’t We? WON’T WE?!

Not going to lie, this is one I’ve been dreading a little bit. Pop culture and my foggy childhood memory tells me that The Fox and the Hound is simultaneously one of the most adorable and the most gut-wrenchingly sad Disney movies of all time. Possibly one of the saddest movies ever – although TIME thinks Dumbo and Bambi are sadder. Children all over the world have shed tears over this precious friendship between a foundling baby fox and a wrinkly puppy – and the struggle of love in the face of prejudice. And hunters with guns, too. 

Right? That sounds about right, doesn’t it…?

To cope, we invited our good friends Mel and James over to cry with us while we watched this tragedy unfold. Aaaaand they brought their corgi, Oliver!

Oliver, Mel, and James!

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The Film: The Fox and the Hound (1981)

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Disney Odyssey #5 – 10/10 Woodland Creatures are Affected by Aloof Dad Syndrome

The Fella and I made chicken tacos and watched the next installment (although we seriously contemplated venison or bison instead of chicken) the other night to much fond remembrance of woodland frolicking and the simple joys of baby animals. Before I get started, all joking aside, I love this movie. I have always loved this movie since I was a wee bairn. The sass in these Disney Odyssey posts comes from a place of love and respect for the Great and Bountiful Empire of the Mouse, not from disgust as it might seem. Please bear that in mind as we move forward with the Odyssey and know that my love for this is real.

The Movie: Bambi (1942)

The Facts: 

  • Based on Austrian novel “Bambi: A Life in the Woods” by Felix Salten. Fun fact: I actually found this book at a used book store when I was a kid and read it… I loved it. But then, I was hellbent on growing up to be a woodland creature of some kind, so anything that already put me in those shoes worked in my favor.
  • Because the novel was Austrian, the deer were originally roe deer instead of white-tailed deer, but Disney changed it so that the deer would be American instead of European.
  • The film won three Oscars: Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Song (for “Love Is A Song”)
  • It’s ranked #3 on the top ten best animated films of all time. Guess what the others on that list are, then click here to check your answers!
  • While they were working on the film, the animators and crew would say “Man is in the forest” as code for “Walt Disney is in the building and coming down the hallway right this second.”

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Top Ten Tuesday: Dat Badger State (ya der hey)

Hi folks!

I’m trying out a thing where I do some themed blog posts. In previous blog incarnations, I’ve had a hard time keeping up with content and this time I’m shooting to plan way ahead so I don’t run out of things to say so quickly. That being said, here’s my first go at Top Ten Tuesday with… drumroll please…. WISCONSIN STUFF! I thought I’d start with the basics, since I’m currently at home taking care of my Dad while my Mom is in surgery.

I have lived in Chicago for the last seven…wait… nine? Nine years? Crap. But I was born in Milwaukee, WI, and proud of it. Here’s ten things (in no particular order) that I freaking love about the Badger State.

1.) Frozen Custard. Gilles Frozen Custard opened on Bluemound Road in 1938, and is the oldest custard stand in Wisconsin. It’s my personal favorite, since my parents’ house is within walking distance, but other quality choices include Kopp’s, Oscar’s, Leon’s, Robert’s, and of course, the bigger chain of Culvers. Gilles and Kopp’s are my custard stands of choice, though. Each stand has enormous, flat burgers, incredible custard, shakes and malts, and a rotating Flavor of the Day (or two, or three). Sometimes, when I’m homesick, I’ll check the FotD for both stands online just to see what I’m missing out on.

2.) Summer sausage. Okay. I know this is also about food. But. SUMMER SAUSAGE, guys. Usingers Beef Summer Sausage is the absolute best. It’s good by itself, it’s good with salty crackers, it’s good on a sandwich with sharp cheddar cheese, mayo, and mustard. I’m just saying. Gotta get some.

3.) Irish Fest. Milwaukee is known for being the City of Festivals. Starting with Summerfest, the summer months in Milwaukee are filled with weekend after weekend of music and cultural festivals at the Henry W. Maier Festival Park right on the lakeshore downtown. Milwaukee Irish Fest happens the third weekend in August every year, and is the world’s largest Irish music and heritage festival. I’m a little biased; for several years in middle/high school I sang in the Milwaukee Irish Fest Choir, and it was a hugely formative experience for me. Irish Fest is a big ol’ party with incredible food, booze, live music, and history packed to the brim. It’s where all the craic (Gaelic for ‘fun times’) is!

4.) Milwaukee Rep. The Milwaukee Repertory Theatre is an outstanding example of regional theatre with quality design, quality venues, and fantastic performances each and every time. Founded in 1954, the Rep produces an 11-play season in a three-theatre venue in downtown Milwaukee. I grew up going on field trips to see various productions there, and it was their high-quality productions and charismatic performances which inspired me to go on to study theatre myself. Also, I love their annual Christmas Carol more than the Goodman’s in Chicago. So there!

5.)Milwaukee Public Museum. Another quality place for all ages to visit and wander! The Streets of Old Milwaukee and the European Village are filled with dioramas of homes from 33 different European cultures that fed into the early settlement of Milwaukee, everything from Irish to Lithuanian to Swiss. It is so cool to look inside the windows and see the clothes, toys, tools, utensils, and furniture from different cultures. The rest of the museum is full of more incredible dioramas and historical details from every continent on the planet. It’s a gigantic game of eye spy that never gets old for me.

6.) Yeah, yeah, okay, fine, Door County. Door County is picturesque, quiet, full of delicious wine, delicious fudge, quaint shopping, and relaxing lakeside inns, B&Bs, cottages, etc. It’s for retired folks and affluent people who can afford a house ‘up North’. But those folks ain’t wrong; it’s lovely at different times of year (I like the fall) and it’s certainly romantic. Also the Peninsula Players is up there – check out some more great regional theatre!

7.) Sprecher. HOME OF THE GREATEST ROOT BEER IN THE WORLD. I refuse to accept any substitutes. No really, it’s my favorite root beer and I don’t like anyone else’s recipe. Founded in 1985, Sprecher also makes a variety of amazing beers and a ton of delicious gourmet sodas! Taking the tour of their brewery in Glendale, WI gets you a couple of free beer tastings at the end, and unlimited soda tastings!!! There’s also a cute ‘beer garden’ with foodstuffs and appropriately German music.

8.) Milwaukee County Zoo. I love this Zoo! Many very happy hours have been spent wandering this park. We went all the time when we were kids, and we still like to go once in a while to enjoy the sunshine and check out the amazing animals. The zoo is awesome to hit up in the winter, too – the animals are strangely more active when there’s less folks in the park.

9.) The House on the Rock. (The website doesn’t do it justice!) Hard to describe, even harder to forget. If you haven’t been to the House on the Rock, you need to go. It’s a bucket list type thing, unless you are near enough to go multiple times – I recommend going a couple of times if you can. There is always more there than you think, and you can spend hours upon hours wandering your first time. It is a stunning collection of weird and eccentric things, a highly unique experience. The House is part architectural wonder, part museum, part abandoned circus. For the uninitiated, check out Neil Gaiman’s novel “American Gods” and prepare for your mind to be blown.

10.) NATURE. So this one time in high school, our earth science teacher took us on a field trip to the Kettle Moraine (that open, sloping part of Wisconsin where the glaciers used to be during the ice age) and we literally ran around in nature all day. It was the best day of high school. Wisconsin’s natural beauty is exquisite, especially in spring and summer. I’m a sucker for fields of wildflowers, pastures of cows and sheep and horses, old barns and farmhouses. I love the occasional wetland reserves and the lush forests. Rural Wisconsin: it’s more fun than other rural Midwestern states!

MAJESTIC AS HECK

-Aly