Hello and welcome to This Week in Fandom, the OTW’s roundup of things that are happening! We made our budget post last week (in advance of our successful membership drive – thanks again, everyone!) and so this TWIF will be bringing you fandom content from the last two weeks.
First up, musical theatre fans received a treat this week when a myriad of Hollywood and Broadway stars teamed up to celebrate Stephen Sondheim. The veteran musical theatre composer just turned 90, and actors including Beanie Feldstein, Jake Gyllenhaal and Meryl Streep got together (virtually!) to offer tribute by performing some of his better- (and indeed lesser-)known songs in a charity concert. After a slightly bumpy start (and who hasn’t endured their fair share of technological hiccups over the past few weeks?) the event was a two-and-a-half hour triumph and is now available on YouTube for your home entertainment.
Meanwhile the OTW popped up in a rather unexpected place as Forbes writer Deniz Çam ventured into the world of fanfiction. Noting the rise in traffic seen by the AO3 as countries over the world lock down (‘Visits are on pace for 1.5 billion [in a month], 60% higher than April 2019’), Çam speaks to fanfiction consumers, writers, academics and the OTW ourselves to paint a picture of the ways in which fan communities have been sustaining their members through the crisis. One interviewee ‘has increased her fanfiction reading from two hours a week to almost six hours day’. We know we can relate…
A few weeks ago, we mentioned that many people have been turning to Animal Crossing as a fun distraction to keep them busy at home. In an article on CBR this week, journalist Samantha Puc reports that Nintendo is struggling to quash fans’ enthusiasm for shipping two of the game’s characters, Flick and CJ. In an apparent effort to put an end to this fan behaviour, the games company updated the show’s official companion guide to assert that the pair are ‘roommates and business partners’. But you can’t sink a good ship so easily and as Puc notes, online rumours and theories continue to fly. ‘It’s unlikely shippers will stop believing these two are together’ any time soon.
And finally, an interesting article on Inverse about ‘What Sports Fans Can Learn from Nerd Culture in the Age of Coronavirus’. As Emma Betuel writes, sports fans around the world are struggling with the cancellation of the games, leagues and competitions that they regularly follow, missing out on the social opportunities, camaraderie, and adrenaline boost that sports fandom brings. The piece is interesting just in general from a fandom perspective but also for the comparison Betuel and her interviewee Paul Booth, a fan studies academic, draw with the fans of TV series (like Booth’s specialist subject, Firefly) that go off air but manage to sustain a lively fandom nevertheless. ‘This ability to be creative and continue to engage with other fans may be especially useful to sports fans,’ Betuel writes. We’ll be keeping an eye on the sports fandom tags on AO3!
So that’s it for this week! What have you all been watching in lockdown? Have you found yourselves, like Rachael D on Mugglenet, turning to old favourite fandoms to get you through? Or maybe you’ve discovered something new that you love! Let us know in the comments!