My Inspirations: Armin Van Buuren

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Who is Armin Van Buuren?

Armin Van Buuren is a music producer and DJ, best known for playing uplifting and progressive trance. He hosts a weekly show, A State Of Trance, which is available on his website and Spotify. His show reaches over 20 million fans in 26 countries.

Armin is one of the most successful DJ’s in the world, having earned the number one title on DJ Magazine’s Top 100 DJ’s for five years in a row. He is one of only four trance artists to ever have been nominated for a grammy award for best dance recording.

Armin has released five albums of his own music, the first being released in 2003 and the most recent in 2013. Each album has been progressively more successful; his third album entered the charts at #1, and his latest album is widely known and recognized in more than just dance music communities.

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How did I discover Armin?

Much like David Pakman, I discovered Armin through the iTunes podcast suggestions. His show, which is normally about 2-2 1/2 hours is condensed each week to a 20 minute segment that’s shared on iTunes. I’ve had a growing interest in serious dance music since watching Brian feel the beat in Babylon on Queer As Folk. Armin, though his show, has shown me the real definition of Trance Music, and what makes a Trance Song beautiful.

I also know Armin through several of the albums produced by his record label, Armada Music. Armada Music has it’s own podcast, and several imprint labels. One of the series that Armada Music produces is “50 Trance Tunes” which has released 35 compilation albums to date. I found the series on iTunes when the 9th compilation had been released and have been listening ever since.

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How does Armin inspire me?

Music is one of the most important things in my life. My music library is more valuable than anything else I own (in my opinion), and it’s the heart of why I insist on having a 128 GB iPhone – so I can put each and every song (Over 7,750 songs!) right at my fingertips. Armin is a master of this craft: music.

To me, Armin’s music is art. It invokes nearly every different kind of emotion I’m capable of feeling, it can both energize me, it can calm and soothe me, it can keep me focused, and so much more. For anyone to create something that can conjure so much from me, and move me so strongly, that’s the true essence of an artist.

Another aspect I like about Armin is that he is the center of his universe. He’s won several awards, is a household name when it comes to dance music, and is the one spinning the music at the famed land of Ibiza that Brian references in QAF, and plenty of others refer to as “the ultimate party destination.” Armin is the root of why I see Ibiza as a vacation world that I one day hope to visit.

Another one of Armin’s strengths: he’s well connected. Between his show and his music label, he knows just about anyone who’s had an interest in creating any type of trance or dance music in their life. He has featured hundreds (if not thousands) of different artists on his show, and has produced hundreds more. What RuPaul is to the Drag world, Armin is to the world of dance music.

While I have no desire to make my own music, I one day want to be as polished in something as Armin is in trance music. This concept parallels a theme I’ve talked about on here quite often, hence the phrase “master of one’s craft.” On a micro level, Armin knows how to arrange music for an album or show, and I’ve used that skill to arrange my music library into playlists that best represent my life and what’s important to me.

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Thanks Armin, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Will Truman & Karen Walker

Eric McCormack as Will Truman on “Will & Grace.” Courtesy photo

Who is Will Truman?

Will Truman is one of the titular characters on the sitcom, Will & Grace. Will is a lawyer, and best friend to Grace Adler, hence the title of the show. Will is often portrayed on the show as the most mature character in the group. Although he occasionally seems distant and aloof, He prefers to appear uninvolved in the problems of others, being hesitant to make himself vulnerable. However, there have been many times when Will has shown his sensitive side, often going to great lengths to protect those he loves. In one particularly salient instance, Will was willing to throw away his chances of becoming a senior partner at his law firm in order to take care of his then emotionally devestated boyfriend, Vince. Will often comes off as the strong one, not wanting to get sentimental or show his insecurities, but can’t help but show it when he gets his feelings hurt. For example, in one episode, having returned from a prolonged absence, Will fears that Jack has replaced him as Grace’s best friend. Will eventually admits his insecurity to Grace, who in turn reconfirms Will’s importance in her life.

Will is another one of the most iconic gay characters of all time. There’s a running joke between many gay men and their best female friends that “every Will needs his Grace” because of his friendship with Grace on the show.

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How does Will inspire me?

I see Will as professional, mature, and responsible. He embodies all the qualities in a man that I am striving to become. He is a successful lawyer, having worked for a major New York City firm. He is very knowledgeable about a wide variety of things, and in particular is able to care for all of his friends and provide them with what they need.

More broadly speaking, Will is the character who is really in control of the universe of the show. He is the one to pick up the messes that Grace gets herself into, and often reminding her about an easier or better way to do something. He is the one who financially takes care of Jack, and finds ways to get Jack to better himself in life. As Karen’s attorney, he handles her legal situations. Though hundreds of comedic sketches, he is essentially the stage manager for his friends.

On the other side of that coin, Will on a few occasions shows his vulnerable side. Just like how his friends rely on him to keep life stable, he relies on them to keep him stable. He vents to Grace about his relationship problems, Grace gives him advice on how to dress and how he should spend his time. Karen is practically half his paycheck, if not more. Jack has continuously given Will pointers on how to be a better gay man.

While Brian is my sexual gay male role model, Will is the more professional gay male role model for me. Will is where I want to be a few more years down the road.

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Who is Karen Walker?

Karen is one of the two supporting characters in Will & Grace. She is Grace’s assistant, though she hardly does any actual work for Grace’s business. Karen is the most popular comical character on the show, with many of the show’s quotes coming from her.

With her staff and help, Karen is deliberately patronizing, referring to them solely by their title both in conversation and to their face: “Driver,” “Butler,” “Private Detective,” “Pharmacist,” “Back-Up Pharmacist,” et cetera, even when they are doing other jobs (“Cook sometimes cleans, Cleaner sometimes cooks, Driver sometimes provides an alibi…”). This rude tone is not limited to her employees, as she looks down on or openly mocks most people she meets, even her friends. Karen is often cruel to her staff at home, training them to run when she enters a room. Other times she chews them out, but somehow this comes across as an act of affection. When she talks to people she often calls them “honey”.

Sometimes Karen unintentionally reveals to her friends a softer side that is carefully hidden. In one such incident, Karen’s husband has a heart attack and may die. Karen discovers that her friends have placed a bet to see who can get her to cry first, so she elaborately punishes each of them by leading them on to think she might break down in their presence. In the end, she has an actual breakdown over the incident, which Grace stumbles in on and consoles her during. Another episode sees Karen and Jack in her mansion with her refusing to let him enter ‘the forbidden room’. When Jack finally gains access he discovers it is a nursery which Karen had prepared during a pregnancy scare in an earlier season. Although she agrees to change the room into a liquor storage room, she quickly changes her mind and the audience sees her stony facade crumble.

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How does Karen inspire me?

Karen is probably the most abstract and fictional character that I draw inspiration from. The most realistic thing about her that I directly relate to is her control over the things in her world. She knows how to manipulate (a Slytherin quality!), and get what she needs out of just about anyone.

What most people enjoy about Karen is her humor. Karen is funny. Karen is the most quoted character on the show, and even I try out some of her one liners in my own life from time to time, just like how I quote Sabrina. Like Bianca Del Rio, Karen epitomizes the kind of humor I prefer to use in my own life.

One of the running gags about Karen is her drinking. She’s even used the phrase, “I’d suck the alcohol out of a deodorant stick, so I’m the wrong girl to ask!” which hints at how much she really does drink. I can relate to nearly all of the drinking jokes Karen uses, and this is the root of why I refer to my own homes as bars, such as The L & BJ Lounge or The Blue Mountain Saloon. Karen is the type of person I see myself as when I do get drunk.

On a deeper level, I do fall into a category of person who is incredibly likely to have a drinking problem: gay, had a parent with an alcohol problem (though mine fixed his before I was born), high stress level, lower self esteem, and a few other factors. Because of this, I am very aware of how easy it would be to fall into that trap, and I monitor myself carefully just in case. Watching Karen control her alcohol (albeit in a humorous way) has helped me to control my own alcohol consumption.

Thank You, Will & Karen for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

Source for Will’s bio.

Source for Karen’s bio.

My Inspirations: The Tie Guy

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This is my third post about a person who I have no identifying photos of. Although this time, this is a real person.

Who is The Tie Guy?

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The Tie Guy is a gentleman who runs a Tumblr blog about menswear and men’s fashion. He also runs an Instagram and a Twitter, but his Tumblr is the most active. His primary website can be found here.

I don’t have an actual biography of The Tie Guy, but in my mind he is a mens fashionista. The advice he gives on his Tumblr is what I would expect to hear out of the mouth of Tim Gunn or Bob Mackie.

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The Tie Guy is always on top of how to dress with style. He’s not about having “the hottest men’s fashion” per se, but rather using what you have to work best for you. Followers regularly post fashion questions to him and he gives his personal opinion, often with visual demonstrations.

How did I discover The Tie Guy?

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Earlier this year I made a conscious choice to get more out of my Tumblr experience and find things on that network that matter to me and hold my interest. Before I went to college for the first time, I had little to no interest in having a fashion and style standard. I was a simple jeans and a t-shirt type of guy. As I spent some time seeing more of the world beyond my childhood bedroom, I started noticing that I was dressing like a teenager, and it was time to start looking more like my own age. It was also time to start developing a look that I could feel confident wearing. Nice clothes weren’t just about job interviews, they were meant to be a part of everyday life.

My sartorial journey began with GQ magazine, and branched out into Details magazine. From there, I got advice from someone who worked in a clothing store. This led to getting my copy of The Details Men’s Style Manual, which gave me a true baseline to start looking at clothes and how to wear them properly.

I hit a flatline as I dropped out of school and needed to stablise myself. Working in a restaurant where nice clothes were part of the uniform helped re-ignite my interest in looking more like an adult again.

While browsing on Tumblr, one of the suggestions was The Tie Guy’s blog. I really liked what I was seeing, and put his Tumblr into my RSS reader, so I wouldn’t miss a single post.

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How does The Tie Guy inspire me?

Over the course of several months of watching all the different style pictures on his blog, I started to piece together what I wanted to look like, and what types of sartorial would work best for me. I continue to use the Style Manual as a compliment to The Tie Guy’s blog.

Once in a rare while, the Tie Guy will post a picture of himself showing off his amazing sense of style, but you have to be watching closely for it.

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The Tie Guy has been instrumental in helping me evolve my own sense of style and how to use it. My next step is to start investing in good clothes and wearing them regularly, breaking all of my old habits. I’ve started with the local Van Huesen store, and plan to branch out once I have a baseline wardrobe.

Just like how Cecil has no actual description, and Kinsey will never be officially portrayed by an actress, I have a mental picture of what The Tie Guy looks like in my head. Johannes Huebel is considered one of the most stylish men in the world, and in my mind, that’s who I see when I think of The Tie Guy.

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What has The Tie Guy taught me?

My re-ignited interest in fashion was solidified because of my interest in RuPaul’s Drag Race. Now, Drag Race had a women’s fashion element to it, but I was particularly inspired by the fashion choices of two of the winners of the show – Chad Michaels and Raja. Both of their styles were particularly powerful and often jaw dropping on the runway, and I want to one day be like that, but in men’s clothing.

The (no longer being updated) website Drag official has a wonderful article on what is “drag.”

That being said, I do not define “my drag” by it’s traditional definition: men wearing women’s clothing. I consider the high quality menswear displayed by not only The Tie Guy, but the other menswear blogs to be what I define as “my drag.” Like how Drag Queens portray a character and “aspire to be that character” (i.e. Chad Michaels is a Cher impersonator), the images of what the The Tie Guy presents, is what I am working on eventually trying to emulate. I show this by adding the tag “my drag” to each of my sartorial re-blogs on Tumblr. A feed for that can be found here.

For example, a traditional Drag Queen could make a post about a new pair of heels they found or saw online and loved. A recent Tumblr re-blog of mine was the following:

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I consider the above to be beautiful shoes and wish I had them for myself.

By buying and wearing what I consider to be “my drag” I plan to show myself some love, and gain confidence in myself. Basically, The Tie Guy is the evolution on what Latrice Royale taught me. On the professional side, I’ll be dressing for the job I want, not the job I have. On the personal side, I plan to eventually dress to show my love and respect for myself, and not just as a simple way to cover my body.

Even beyond menswear, there’s plenty of grooming advice that I’ve tried out and learned from. This Buzzfeed list has become the base that I am working myself up to, and The Tie Guy’s sartorial advice fits with it perfectly. While Don and Charlie have given me a baseline for how a gentleman should act, The Tie Guy shows me how a gentleman should look, even down to how he should smell.

Thank you, Tie Guy, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Elle Woods & Kate Spencer

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Who is Elle Woods?

Elle is the main character in the movie, Legally Blonde. Legally Blonde is one of two movies that I turn to in my difficult times because no matter what, these movies always cheer me up and make me happy.

Elle is an attractive blonde sorority girl from California. After her long term relationship ends because her boyfriend decides he wants a girl who is “more serious” and “less blonde” she set out to go to Harvard Law School to win him back.

Although she comes off as little more than the stereotypical “Paris Hilton” knockoff, it’s shown that even before she went to Harvard she demonstrates a strong intellect, even if much of it is related to fashion and merchandising. She knows down to the little details – such as the difference between brand name toilet paper and generic toilet paper, and a tiny detail about perms is what wins her the biggest case in the movie.

Over the course of the movie (which was originally a book!), Elle matures and expands herself out of her own comfort zone. In doing this, she saves the reputation and lives of people who she cares about. She encourages the nail stylist Paulette to get the courage to connect with the guy she’s attracted to. Elle shows the girl who becomes her best friend that first impressions aren’t always accurate, and Elle learns to believe in herself, no matter what.

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The biggest piece of Elle that I takeaway is that Elle spends the movie making the best of herself. She goes from sorority president to fully established lawyer. In the process she learns about what’s important to her, and fights to defend it.

Like Elle as she starts her journey at Harvard, I have often felt that I was the “newbie.” I had two growth spurts at my first college (one in theater and one in Business), but both eventually fizzled out. I plan to take CCV and UVM by storm, much like how Elle did to Harvard by the end.

Elle is very well versed in the things that she is passionate about. I can say the same thing for myself – many times I’ve given technology coaching, relationships talk, and gone on about TV shows I love with all my heart. Even this blog has turned into a discussion about people I’m passionate about.

Elle is the kind of person I am striving to be in my present time.

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Who is Kate Spencer?

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Kate is one of the main characters in the movie John Tucker Must DieJohn Tucker Must Die is the second movie I turn to in difficult times.

Kate starts off as a wallflower, who travels from town to town her entire life because her mother is constantly cycling through relationships with different men.

She is brought into the center of the action when it’s exposed that John Tucker is dating three different girls and they all discover each other. While in detention, Kate talks to them and and they unite together to destroy John’s reputation.

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How does Kate inspire me?

John Tucker is the second movie that I always turn to as a comfort. I was first drawn to the movie because of Jesse Metcalfe, who was my first celebrity crush after coming out. As I transitioned to Parkside, I felt exactly like Kate during my first few weeks – invisible and “the new kid.”

Over the course of the movie, Kate develops a friendship with the three girls who unite to destroy John, and she grows into her own person. By the end of the movie she’s no longer an unknown and has the confidence to be herself for the first time. She also learns quite a bit about what it means to be in a relationship, since she has to fake being in one with John for half the movie. Kate also stands up and becomes a leader in the process.

Because Jesse Metcalfe was my first celebrity crush, and much of my exposure to him was through this movie, Kate’s journey in the movie helped me gain confidence in myself after having come out. I identify with Kate’s sense of isolation at the movie’s start, and just like how Kate matures over the story, I feel myself maturing more as I take on more challenges, such as going back to school.

From a different perspective, Kate has a few things she’s shown me about dating by demonstrating what not to do. Kate’s relationship with John was fake, whereas Sakura/Rose and Sabrina have real relationships to learn from. I have learned about things not to do with/to others by seeing Kate trick John in the film. I have often wondered what Dan Savage would have said to the four girls if they would have called him for advice on John.

Thanks Elle & Kate, for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Sabrina Spellman

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Who is Sabrina Spellman?

Sabrina Spellman is the titular character in the series Sabrina The Teenage Witch. For the context of this post, I’m referring to Melissa Joan Hart’s portrayal of the character on the live-action sitcom.

Sabrina discovers that she is a “half-witch” through her father who is a pure witch who married Sabrina’s mortal mother, but left her after Sabrina was born. The TV series starts on the day Sabrina discovers this, which happens to be her sixteenth birthday. The series takes her through high school and college, and through living on her own and ending with her marriage.

During each episode Sabrina learns something about her magical powers, about the relationships she has with friends and family, how she handles romantic relationships, and how that all fits together in her life.

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(Source for the following)

Sabrina is typically a very out-going, amiable, and genuinely caring person. She looks out and stands up for her friends Jenny and Valerie whenever the cheerleaders, particulararly Libby, would insult or be condecending towards them, while simultaneously taking slurs and insults herself.

One of Sabrina’s most prominent personailty traits is her quick wit. She’s a playful smart aleck and seems to always have a clever pun or funny comeback up her sleeve. Some of which get her into more trouble then she’s already in.

She is, for the most part, very level-headed and clever although some of her ideas when it comes to using magic often land her in trouble, which often leads her to panic in some cases.

Sabrina is very socially aware and will often speak out against unfair treatment of injustices against those around her. Her often bubbly personality can occasionally be annoying to some around her, which she realizes when Valerie begins turning into her exact duplicate in the third season and when both Roxie and her cynical boss Annie comment on her consistent cheeriness. She has also been characterized as a complete busybody at frequent times, having a habit of butting into the lives of those around her.

Sabrina’s two catchphrases throughout the entire run of the show are “Woo-hoo!” and “Gotta go!” She gets made fun of a few times because of her constant use of these phrases.

She is a very loyal friend and for the most part, is liked by those around her. She has a very good relationship with both her fellow-students, friends, and many of her teachers such as Mrs. Quick and Mr. Pool. However, because of her magical nature and resulting odd behavior, she is often scrutinized by some, such as Libby and Mr. Kraft. However at the end of the day, Sabrina is a down-to-earth, caring, passionate individual who only wants to do what’s right.

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How did I discover Sabrina Spellman?

I discovered Sabrina when I was in middle school and the TV show aired just after the shows I would watch right after school. One day when it came on, I decided to give it a chance and was hooked instantly. The series ended on TV just as I was starting to embark on my own journey to adulthood like Sabrina does throughout the course of the series.

How does Sabrina inspire me?

Sabrina represents the kind of person who I want to be to others. Being bubbly and caring (like Sakura) are two things I feel people tend to see in me first. I’ve emulated Sabrina in multiple aspects throughout the course of my life. In high school, I hid the fact that I am gay just like how Sabrina is constantly having to hide the fact that she’s a witch.

In college and beyond, I used Sabrina’s interactions and relationships with her friends and family as a measuring stick for how I should interact with the people in my life. She cares deeply about others, and does everything in her power to help out wherever she can in her friend’s lives. For the longest time, I had a busybody trait very similar to hers.

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In addition to emulating her personality, I frequently use one of her two famous catchphrases regularly. “Woo-hoo!” is typically my positive reaction to things offline.

Sabrina discovers over the course of the series that she was meant to be a journalist. It starts with her working at her high school paper, becoming editor, going into journalism as a major in college, and finally getting a job in the field. Sabrina was the first person/character to spark my interest in the journalism field, which has since evolved a great deal since the show first aired.

After Sabrina started my interest, it grew through my passion and interest in social media, matured through years of loyally reading my RSS feed, and was sharpened by a friend of mine going into the field professionally. I also had some journalism inspiration in watching The David Pakman Show. As I transitioned to Vermont, going into the journalism field has been my primary motivation for going back to school.

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Over the course of the series, Sabrina has three long term relationships. Each one brings Sabrina different experiences and helps her grow more as a person until she finally discovers who she is meant to spend the rest of her life and fall in love with. Sabrina is my third role model for relationships, in addition to Sakura and Rose.

Two quotes from the series finale have particularly stuck with me:

  • “Love doesn’t have any guarantees.”
  • “Never think that ‘almost’ is good enough for you.”

Both of these quotes have shaped how I feel about romance and relationships. As someone who is constantly striving for perfection, I’ve made the mental mistake of expecting guarantees from falling in love.

The other quote is my reasoning for holding myself to a high standard in relationships. I’ve seen what happened to  Sabrina when she was going to settle for “almost” and I never want to do that myself. For that reason, I’ve been crafting a list of exactly what I’m looking for.

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Whenever I re-watch the series, I still find myself trying to “be” the Sabrina on the final season in the series. The song, “Running” by No Doubt was used as the final song in the show, and I plan to use it in my own wedding someday.

Thank you Sabrina, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Henry Drummond

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Who is Henry Drummond?

Henry Drummond is one of the two main characters in the stage play, Inherit The Wind. Drummond is the fictional version of the real lawyer Clarence Darrow. Inherit The Wind is the dramatized version of the Scopes “Monkey Trial” that took place in 1925. Darrow/Drummond represented a teacher who was fired for teaching evolution in a public school, which was against the law at the time.

Drummond starts out as a considered “villain” of the play – being an atheist/agnostic in a predominantly Christian town, fighting for the right to teach evolution, which was referred to by the citizens as “eviloution.” As he shows how down-to-earth he is, he gains the respect of the town and manages to restore the dignity of the teacher who was humiliated and practically tortured at the beginning of the show.

Drummond is also very intellectual. He raises deep questions about the Bible and religion in general, many of which have inspired discussions all over the world about what faith means to many people.

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How did I discover Drummond?

I first came to know Drummond in my freshman year of high school, when my english class read Inherit The Wind during class, with each student getting a different part to read. My teacher thought I would be best as Drummond, and thus in reading the part, my inspiration began.

How does Drummond inspire me?

I was raised a Methodist Christian, of which I shed any connection to in 2006 after I left for college. Drummond is a self-identified agnostic, but he has a working knowledge of the Bible – he had to use it as the only way to prove that evolution exists at one point in the show. This shows that even though Drummond doesn’t have the belief and/or faith in the stories of the book, he still can learn from it and shows that the Bible itself can be used for good. The title of the play comes from the specific Bible verse Drummond quotes at the end of the show, and his rival, Brady, quotes towards the beginning of the show:

Proverbs 11:29 KJV: “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind, and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.”

This quote has stuck with me ever since I first read it to my classmates over a decade ago. Drummond uses this verse to demonstrate why the characters that turned against their own families and friends suffered great losses during the show.

Quoting from CliffNotes:

Lawrence and Lee (the play’s authors) used Proverb 11:29 in two other instances in the play. In Act II, Scene 1, Reverend Brown gives a fire-and-brimstone sermon at a prayer meeting held on the courthouse lawn. He becomes overzealous in condemning Cates, and when his daughter asks him to stop, he asks for retribution for her also. Brady intervenes because he is concerned he will lose the support of the townspeople. The advice he gives to Reverend Brown is the wisdom of Solomon in the Book of Proverbs, “He that troubleth his own house . . . shall inherit the wind.” Brown has caused trouble in his own house by condemning his daughter and will, ultimately, “inherit the wind,” when Rachel leaves him.

The second time Lawrence and Lee use Proverb 11:29 is in Act III. Hornbeck comments that when Brady recited Proverb 11:29 to Reverend Brown, he was in fact ” . . . delivering his own obituary.” Brady “inherited the wind”: He died as a result of his actions. He made a mistake believing he was infallible.

The community members cause trouble for themselves because they create a circus-like atmosphere during the trial and in so doing, draw worldwide attention to their narrow-minded views. They “inherited the wind” because, like the townspeople of Dayton after the Scopes trial, their reputation remained that of the stereotypical “ignorant Southern town.”

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Drummond was my first exposure to thoughts and beliefs outside of the Christian Church. He was the first person/character I met that was not-Christian identified, and he had me wondering what it was like. While I was never abused in my original church, my first pastor was very aggressive and strict. When I was in eighth grade, that pastor and I had a very heated disagreement, and ever since that day I’ve had a distrust of religion. Reading about various other crimes committed by people in the name of Christianity made me further question the very concept of it.

Now don’t get me wrong – I don’t believe all Christians are bad by any stretch of the imagination. Just like how I was told that the devil “perverts” things and makes them bad, I feel that there are many people out there “perverting” the concept of Christianity.

My point with all of this, is that Drummond was the spark that led to my skepticism. While I was at Parkside, I discovered Unitarian Universalism, a faith and belief system that I feel is right for me. Drummond raises questions about life, and I do the same.

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Drummond stands up for what he felt was the right thing, and that’s a value that I’ve had engrained in me since I was first taught about it by the Power Rangers.

Drummond also taught me the famous phrase, “All that glitters is not gold” in this scene:

On a much grander scale, Inherit The Wind was the play that led to my interest in theater. By reading it in english class, I went on to get involved with my high school drama club, which led to being a theater major at Parkside, which led to my work at Sunset Playhouse. To this day, being the Stage Manager for Inherit The Wind at Sunset Playhouse is one of my proudest accomplishments.

Thanks Drummond, for being an inspiration!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

My Inspirations: Chad Michaels & Raja

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Who is Chad Michaels?

Chad’s Michaels is the runner up of the fourth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and the winner of Drag Race All Stars. Chad is first and foremost a Cher impersonator. Chad has admitted that she has invested so much into her impersonation, that she has Cher to thank for just about everything in her life.

Chad was referred to during the course of Drag Race as “momma” since Chad was a mentor figure to the other contestants during season four. One of Chad’s famous quotes from the show is “I’m a professional.” Chad exudes what it means to take one’s craft professionally. Chad knows down to the most insignificant details how to impersonate Cher in a realistic fashion, and has talked about that while on the show.

chad-michaels

How does Chad inspire me?

I try to embody the phrase “I’m a professional.” I have made mistakes in my life, but they have contributed to my knowledge, and I’m a better person for having made them. Chad also admits that she’s made bad choices, and has talked about them. Chad has gone through plastic surgery to look more like Cher, in turn contributing to perfecting Chad’s craft. Just like how Latrice has gotten up and went on to greatness, so has Chad.

Chad is also a perfectionist. I’ve dealt with trying to always be 100% perfect as well, so I see that part of me in Chad when I saw her on TV. At work, I beat myself up mentally if even a single thing goes wrong or is out of place. Over the course of the show, Chad (like Bianca) was looked at as a yardstick of how strong one needed to be in the field of Drag to last on Drag Race. Also like Bianca, Chad was a mentor figure to many of the other contestants. Sharon Needles, who went on to win, learned a thing or two from Chad during their time filming together.

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Who is Raja?

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Raja’s is the winner of the third season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Raja is also the make-up artist for the fourth through twelfth cycles of America’s Next Top Model. Raja has done the make-up for  Dita von Teese, Pamela Anderson, Paulina Porizkova, Iman, Tyra Banks, Twiggy, and most famously for Adam Lambert.

Raja described herself on Drag Race as “a model, uber stylish, doing stuff that Gaga was doing before Gaga even knew about it.” When she walked in the work room for the first time, she stunned everyone else with her look. In turn, they all underestimated her and she went on to win the season.

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How does Raja inspire me?

Much like Chad, Raja is a very serious professional. Having worked with widely known, A-list celebrities, Raja sets high expectations for herself. Nearly all of my exposure to Raja has been through Drag Race, which shapes Raja’s influence over me.

Over the course of the show, Raja was constantly raising the bar and outdoing herself in her style and presentations. Raja was always pulling out unexpected looks, and was described as editorial.

To that end, I seek to exude similar traits myself. Raja is versatile, showing looks in many different genres, and plenty of different styles. I like to diversify myself professionally as well. I know about more than one position at my current job, and have studied many different aspects of both theater and business. Raja knows how to command attention and execute her craft with perfection.

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The biggest takeaway I get from Raja is working on perfecting my own style. Raja has been in the industry long enough that while she is always learning and improving, she has perfected her own style and knows how to execute it. I am still a complete novice when it comes to fashion, but I have people who are teaching me how to better myself specific to menswear.

"Rupaul's Drag Race" Season 5 Finale, Reunion & Coronation Taping

What does it mean to “Master One’s Craft?”

Many of my other blog posts link to this post for this reason. Chad and Raja are the prime examples of the phrase, “mastering one’s craft” in my opinion. Ever since I started school, from Kindergarten all the up through my college years, the whole point was to find some skill or talent or interest, and constantly strive to perfect yourself in that aspect. In my eyes, Kai is the perfect Beyblader. Charlie Epps is the perfect mathematician. The Tie Guy executes perfect men’s fashion sense. Armin Van Buuren is the perfect DJ. So on, and so on, and so on.

Chad and Raja are important to me because I want to be as talented in something as they are in the art of Drag. I haven’t found exactly what that is yet, but every day I get one small step closer to finding it.

Thanks Chad Michaels and Raja, for being inspirations!

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie