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thinking about how much I miss Howard Ashman, must be a day ending in Y

Honestly I saw someone the other day talking about all the influences in Beauty and the Beast of Howard’s awareness of how quickly his time was running out re: his struggle with AIDS, and they brought up the petals falling off the rose, and how it was a time marker, and like.

I’m not over this idea. I’ve been thinking about it on a daily basis for like a month now, and I just.

For one, it strongly echoes the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who created several works inspired by and exploring themes and his reactions surrounding the AIDS-related death of his partner, Ross Laycock, very particularly “Untitled” (Placebo) and “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers)

For two, I mean, I’m never over Howard’s loss or the palpable longing for more and fear of the inevitable approaching unknown that rings through his compositions, notably “Part of Your World” and many of the songs of Beauty and the Beast, and this is just…even more tangible.

For three, there’s a hope and almost fantastical longing present in the symbolism of the rose (and its echo of Felix’s art): The hope of renewal. The hope of something more, something else, whether it’s an afterlife or a healing or even just the end to the epidemic that was ravaging and gutting their (our) community and their lives. Felix’s instructions for his art installations allow for the candy in Placebo to be replenished, for the batteries in Perfect Lovers to be replaced, for the maintenance of his lightbulb pieces by replacing any burned-out bulbs. The last petal of the rose falls, the Beast dies…and then is transformed into the prince, into a human, into someone who is no longer being counted down. The rose is gone, and with it, the curse that it represented. The beast is free; he is no longer its prisoner.

And idk, I can’t really look that thought fully in the face without crying. 

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