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Viewing Public: Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”

– PRIDE MONTH 2020 –

She was a mess by the time the credits rolled: cheeks glistening with tears, hair falling down from her brow in messy strands, her hands dampened by futile attempts to wipe her face clean. The presto from the opening of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons played on, and the three on the couch, gripping each other tightly, sobbed to see a woman they’d grown to adore over the past two hours be brought to such grief.

Dania reached for the tissues, and found the box missing.

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Saint Joan: Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “Ms. Blakk For President”

As she walked over the confetti-coated floor of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s upstairs theater, Dania felt caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one side of her –– rather, on either side of her, while they sat on a couch during the performance –– were Eleanor and Gwen, who were excitedly violating the “100 Yard Rule” to praise the performance before they had left the building. They had joined every whoop and holler that evening, each chant of “LICK BUSH IN ’92” and “MARSHA P,” each numb silence when the story’s parallels to 2019 were abundantly clear.

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Out Looking Fierce: Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook”

“You know, honestly, I thought it would be scarier,” Gwen said, gripping an empty bowl of popcorn. “What did you think?”

Dania, meanwhile, gripped the arms of the couch, her nails just starting to break the fabric. “Did we have to watch it at night?” she whimpered.

Gwen brushed this off. “It’s creepy, sure. But it’s more unsettling than anything I’m actually going to be afraid of.”

“Don’t be a tool, Gwen,” Eleanor said, her hand on Dania’s shoulder. “Just because you’re all unfazed by horror movies…”

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Just Starting Out: Brianna Lei’s “Butterfly Soup”

The screen faded to white, but quickly returned on a still shot of the four main girls yelling at each other. Playful smiles filled the screen – from everyone but Noelle, of course – as the dialogue changed to address the player directly.

You know how during metamorphosis, inside the chrysalis…” Gwen began.

“I’m doing the voice of Diya!” Eleanor interrupted. “Get your own character.”

“I have Noelle!” Gwen said. “Sorry, I thought it was still her.”

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