Fandom 101: Hamilton

Fandom 101 at The Hub

On Sunday, June 12, theater lovers around the country will tune in to watch the Tony Awards. Leading the field with a record sixteen nominations is Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s groundbreaking hip-hop musical about the life of Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton. Combining historically accurate language with modern vernacular, staging critical decisions about the formation of the American nation as rap battles, and making history accessible in a whole new way, Hamilton has already garnered critical acclaim, racking up a Pulitzer Prize for Drama, a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album, and two Drama League Awards for the 2015-2016 Broadway season.

Hamilton Cast

Not only are critics raving about Hamilton; it’s attracted a broad audience both on- and off-Broadway. Since its 2015 off-Broadway opening, more than 400,000 people have seen it, and only about a quarter of those are from New York. Tickets are sold out through the end of this year. The cast album has gone platinum and, since its release in April, Hamilton: The Revolution, the book containing the show’s libretto with Miranda’s annotations and commentary by Jeremy McCarter, has sold out its first and second printings. Despite the lack of tickets, a devoted fandom has sprung up around the show.

What’s making the story of the ten-dollar founding father so popular? Continue reading Fandom 101: Hamilton

Fandom 101: The Raven Cycle

Art Print from Maggie Stiefvater's Society 6 Page

Art Print from Maggie Stiefvater’s Society 6 Page

If you’ve been anywhere near Tumblr, you have probably encountered the always growing fandom for Maggie Stiefvater’s young adult fantasy series The Raven Cycle. Particularly in the weeks leading up to the release date (today!) of The Raven King, the last book in the series, the originally small fandom has grown astronomically.

If you haven’t read the books you might be confused to say the least about what the series is actually about. The official description of the first book in the series The Raven Boys is:

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them–until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn’t believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Continue reading Fandom 101: The Raven Cycle

Fandom 101: One Direction

After five years, more than 50,000,000 (yes, that is 50 million) albums sold, and 325 headlining shows played, it is probably fair to say you’ve encountered One Direction at some point. Maybe you, like me, have been to a show or two . Maybe you’ve heard someone talking about it at the library. Or maybe you’ve just seen the headlines while you tried to catch up on pop culture news. Believe me, 2015 and 2016 have definitely seen some headlines. “Zayn Malik Leaves One Direction,” “Different Directions for One Direction,” so-and-so signed a solo contract, someone else is in the studio rapping.

You may be wondering why you need to know about them if they are on hiatus. You’re busy, you’ve got other trends to keep up with, I get that. But did you know that on January 27th, Louis Tomlinson (1/4th of One Direction) tweeted a picture of himself with his 6-day-old son? Within 20 minutes, “Freddie” was trending on Twitter. 1,652 pieces of One Direction fanfiction were published on popular fanworks site Archive of Our Own (also known as AO3) over a period of just four weeks in January 2016. Those four weeks came after the hiatus, after the last promotional appearance, after the last of the new music had been released. The One Direction fandom is huge, it spans platforms, and it is as alive as ever.

fandom 101 one direction

Let’s start with the basics. One Direction, also known as 1D, started on U.K. reality show X-Factor in 2010. Five teenage boys auditioned for the show and got through the first round only to find out they didn’t have what it takes to make it as solo artists. Tears were shed. Dreams were crushed.


When production asked Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Liam Payne, Louis Tomlinson, and Harry Styles back on stage, the boys remember Harry saying it was because Simon wanted to make them cry because it would make good television. Instead he offered them a second chance at their dream. They could continue in the show, but only as a group. A boy band.

What followed was a fever dream of bad performances and terrible outfit choices, but people were captivated. By the time One Direction were eliminated, in third place, the crowds of fans waiting outside had become so large the boys needed security to escort them through and people worldwide were declaring their love for the band on Twitter and tumblr. One Direction went global before they had even recorded a single. They had a tumultuous five years of stadium tours, multi-platinum albums, and famous girlfriends, and then, in 2015, the departure of Zayn, the announcement of the hiatus, impending fatherhood for Louis, and rumors of solo plans for Harry and Liam. Zayn and Louis got into a tiff on Twitter, and Zayn signed to RCA and began working on an album for a 2016 release. This is, in the broadest strokes, the history of 1D. Continue reading Fandom 101: One Direction

Fandom 101: Agent Carter

Whether you are a Marvel fan or not, you may well have heard about the ABC TV show Agent Carter. Peggy Carter originally appeared in comics as early as 1966, when she was shown as Captain America’s (aka Steve Roger’s) love interest, and she similarly appeared as Steve’s foil in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first Captain America movie in 2011. Based on the popularity of Hayley Atwell’s embodiment of the character in that movie, Marvel decided to develop a series following her exploits after World War II, which debuted in January of 2015. Originally conceived of as a one-time miniseries, the show proved popular with fans (and particularly on Tumblr) and is returning tonight for its second season in large part due to this fan support.

Fandom 101 at The Hub

Whew! So that is the 30 second summary of Peggy Carter as a character, but what are some of the reasons why she has captured the imagination of Marvel fans? Well, there are several reasons. Peggy is a great character who is strong and faces period-accurate professional discrimination and sexism throughout her exploits but still manages to persevere. She cannot only hold her own in a physical altercation, but is also skilled at facing down colleagues who belittle her abilities or doubt that a woman can make a difference. She is always ready with the perfect bon mot or cutting rejoinder, perhaps most famously when she responded to her colleagues’ doubts about her by saying: “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” Particularly as played by Hayley Atwell, this makes Peggy Carter a relatable and yet inspiring figure.

Agent Carter with text saying “I know my value. Anyone else’s opinion doesn’t really matter.” Continue reading Fandom 101: Agent Carter

Fandom 101: YouTube Musicians

Fandom 101 at The Hub

I think we can all agree that YouTube is so popular because it fosters a sense of community and togetherness that sometimes feels unprecedented and impossible. Since its arrival on the scene in 2005, YouTube has made it possible for anyone to create an account and post original content, making it easier to disseminate information and connect with like-minded viewers than ever before. It’s the perfect site for entertainment, hosting content relating to gaming, fashion, news, comedy, education, and more.

YouTube also has the peculiar reputation of being able to launch talented content creators into stardom…and ultimately a lucrative career. In particular, talented musicians can connect with and grow their fan bases, offer insight into their creation processes, and receive immediate feedback that shapes their music. In some cases, viewers financially support the music creation process, leading to album releases and tour dates for their favorite stars.

Many musicians begin by producing cover videos, in which they play music, often popular, that has already been created. They may do a straight cover or switch up the arrangement and add their own flair. Musicians typically grow their fan bases through a range of covers, anything from movie themes to pop songs to video game arrangements. Then they often move on to producing their own original music. Continue reading Fandom 101: YouTube Musicians

Fandom 101: Youtube Celebrities

Fandom 101 at The Hub

How many times have you walked by your library’s bank of computers and seen teens laughing hysterically at Youtube clips? Have you ever passed a group of teens huddling over a phone watching someone commentating a video game? Do you hear the words Nerdfighters or Brofist but you don’t know what that means? Wonder no more; it’s just Youtube celebrities.

Youtube is free and easily accessible with a mobile device so many teens watch Youtube more than TV.  Because of this, popular Youtubers have become mainstream and have even attained celebrity status.  You’ll find Youtube celebrities in commercials and movies and you’ll also find them at library/book conventions.  You might even see their face or slogans on t-shirts and other merchandise.  Who are these Youtube celebrities and why are they so popular?

Pewdiepie-Swedish Youtube with over 39 million followers.

pewdiepiePewdiepie to date has the most Youtube subscribers. (A subscriber is someone who follows a particular channel and receives email updates of that channel’s new videos.)  Pewdiepie’s channel originally featured the Youtuber making comments as he played horror-based video games.  His channel now features a daily vlog and animated videos.  Pewdiepie ends many of his videos with a brofist which is simply a fist bump. Pewdiepie has a new book and has been a guest on Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Continue reading Fandom 101: Youtube Celebrities

Fandom 101: The Doctor is In

Don’t Blink.

Wibbly wobbly- timey wimey.

Bow ties are cool.

It’s bigger on the inside.

Fantastic! Allons-y! Geronimo!

Fandom 101 at The Hub

For the uninitiated, those phrases and words mean little to nothing. To the Whovian Fandom, fans of the British television series Doctor Who, they mean a whole lot. Doctor Who (never Dr. Who!) has been a phenomenon for over fifty years, and with each new Doctor a whole new generation of fans is born. To date there have been 13 different Doctors (if you include the War Doctor, who only appeared in the 50th anniversary special in 2013 and was played by Sir John Hurt). They are all the same person, though- a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who regenerates every few seasons instead of dying. Though he keeps the memories of his past incarnations, every Doctor is a slightly different man, with a different way of dressing, connecting to his companions, and even reacting to the universe around him, and every Whovian has their favorite.

whovians are

Chances are, if you’re a Whovian, you did just that!

Continue reading Fandom 101: The Doctor is In

Fandom 101: K-pop and K-drama

YALSA-bk is a listserv with lively discussions among librarians, educators, and beyond about all things YA lit. Sometimes one listserv member will ask a question of the group and others will provide feedback. This post is a compilation of responses for one such request.

Staying up with trends and interests of teen patrons is crucial to providing up-to-date collections and developing programs that will capture the attention of a teen audience. While teens are a great resources and will likely be happy to discuss their latest obsession at length, it’s also helpful to consult other resources to get a primer on a trend. Here at The Hub, we want to make it easier, so we’re introducing our Fandom 101 series.

Fandom 101 at The HubA recent request on the YALSA-bk listserv caught my attention because it was asking for resources that would serve as an introduction to K-pop and K-drama for library staff who were unfamiliar with the culture and genre surrounding Korean music and movies but had teens in their library who were enthusiastic fans and wanted to start a club devoted to all things K-pop. These are some resources helpful members of the YA and library communities suggested as places to begin. Thanks for sharing your expertise!

Kpop CC image via Flickr User Republic of Korea
Kpop CC image via Flickr User Republic of Korea


Recently, The New York Times reported on the wild popularity of South Korean culture, known as hallyu, or the “Korean wave.” So this isn’t an isolated phenomenon. For more information in K-pop and K-drama, check out: Continue reading Fandom 101: K-pop and K-drama