Comedian Sarah Crisman offers political commentary and pop culture essays punctuated by instrumental hip-hop.
Written and produced by Sarah Crisman. Theme music and engineering by Graham Richards (BMI). Music by G Koop and O-man (RM Moods and Colors, BMI) featuring Taylor Eigsti. For licensing information contact Rob@gkoop.com or visit GKoopandOman.com.
For more stories, podcasts, and video episodes visit crismanshow.com.
Special thanks to Dr Bethany Poston.
A parallel interpretation of Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake” music video with events unfolding in my own life.
Since moving to California, I find myself listening to a lot of Katy Perry. For years I have followed her career with a fascination generally reserved for mirrors and her majesty, the Queen. I miss my best friend, Bethany, and I don’t really have any California girl friends yet. I wind up alone quite a bit, inflicting dance parties on my step-dogs in an effort to girl up my new home. Do you know how frustrating it is to live in San Francisco without your Gays? They don’t come around every day, you know. Spectacular friendships like that take time to cultivate. On top of which,the cross-country move triggered my debilitating social anxiety disorder. What I’m trying to say is I spend more time at home watching Katy Perry videos than I do going out around people. I am developing a keen understanding of California culture. I see myself in her miniature films, in particular, “Wide Awake.”
After going through the looking glass, Katy arrives before an eerie labyrinth. Reflecting on my own life, I look at the gothic maze and see my emotional transition to California. Beyond the dark walls lies a sunlit hill. As soon as she enters, the walls begin closing in on her — only, rather than be crushed, Katy draws on her inner-strength and summons the same kind of golden pyrotechnics we saw in her “Firework” video and that I have seen in dreams and meditation for years. Sparks shoot from her hands and her heart, specifically. Imagery I’ve seen dance across my fantasies for years — brilliant flames igniting from my own hands and heart.. The walls retreat. This, my friends, is what a panic attack feels like. In fact, if it weren’t for my daily devotion to meditation and Katy Perry, I would be in a constant state of panic.
The walls part, revealing Katy as her Former Self — Kiddie Perry, if you will. Kiddie Perry helps guide her grown-up self through her perilous voyage — and even helps save her with a commanding stomp. Never underestimate the power of nostalgia.
While trapped in a mirror of paparazzi, Katy’s fantasy world begins to crumble behind her. She pushes through the glass in time but is left debilitated, confined to a wheelchair and unable to defend herself. Kiddie Perry steps up in swift defense, abolishing the critical minotaurs standing in her way. Katy wakes up and they make a run for the end of the labyrinth. The walls peel away to reveal a dazzle of sunlight now chasing the darkness to reveal a lush green landscape not unlike the valley I live in today.
The Katies Perry high five and share a hug. True to many meditations, Katy’s guide places a keepsake in her doppelganger’s hand as they part ways. In this case, a butterfly signifying her innocence and bravery. The gift is meant to impart the wisdom of the journey together. To remember how far you have come and what you learned along the way. It is a souvenir of possibility.
The final scene pans out from the butterfly in Katy’s open hand. She is back in her dressing room, this time backstage before a show. Here we have an internal representation of the most powerful moment from her documentary, Part of Me. Her marriage to Russell Brand fell to pieces over the course of this film. It is gut-wrenching, especially considering we love Russell Brand as much as we love Katy Perry. There is a reason Royals shouldn’t split. Katy is weeping in her makeup chair and removes her wedding ring. At this point in the 3D movie theater, Bethany and I humiliate my son with our emotional display. We cannot keep it together. But my younger self, Katy Perry, can. Thousands of Brazilians are waiting to see her. She pulls it together and is lifted on stage. The arena fills with love.
When I feel defeated and frightened, I listen to Katy Perry. I remember her strength. I remember my own. I pull it together and lift myself to the stage.