This article is featured in the 2020 Commencement special issue.
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This article is featured in the 2020 Commencement special issue.
This term, theater students and faculty faced an unforeseen challenge when the College switched to remote learning. For some students, months of preparation and practice were put to the test as they scrambled to adapt to performing their projects remotely.
Have you ever wondered how museums acquire new pieces and organize exhibits? Since 2002, the Hood Museum of Art has worked to include students in the curatorial process, giving them a behind-the-scenes look into the museum through its Museum Collecting 101 program. The program is offered one term each year to students of all grades and majors, and provides the opportunity for students to select a work — typically a photograph — that the Hood will purchase.
Varsity, a five-person indie pop band from Chicago, has solidified its place in the genre of indie pop with its new album, “Fine Forever.” Composed of lead singer Stef Smith, guitarists Dylan Weschler and Pat Stanton, bassist Paul Stolz and drummer Jake Stolz, Varsity released “Fine Forever” on May 29 through independent record label Run For Cover Records. While the album’s self-aware lyrics touch on themes such as loneliness and heartbreak, the cheerful instrumentals infuse their songs with an optimistic quality. In “Fine Forever,” Varsity layers complex anecdotes with upbeat indie-pop sounds to stress a message of positivity amid the difficulties of life.
The Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted its annual Arts at Dartmouth Awards ceremony on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate exceptional student work in the theater, music, studio art and film and media studies departments. While the ceremony typically takes place in Spaulding Auditorium, this year’s event was livestreamed via YouTube to accommodate the remote nature of the term.
Anyone who recommends watching two movies a day gives good advice, at least in my book. One of those people is filmmaker Lana Wilson, who recently directed the Taylor Swift documentary “Miss Americana.” The film debuted at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is now streaming on Netflix.
While many people disregard old objects, Mary Pedicini ’19 finds a new meaning for them through her sculptures. As one of five interns selected by the studio art department, she has spent the past year working as a teaching assistant and helping faculty prepare for classes. From her life-size honors thesis project to her philosophical exhibition at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, Pedicini has developed a distinct style of creating sculptures out of found objects during her time at Dartmouth.
Charli XCX’s latest album “how i’m feeling now,” released on May 15, is her most conceptually cohesive and emotionally vulnerable album yet. Created entirely during the COVID-19 lockdown, the album portrays the loneliness, fear and hope that she has encountered while isolated from the world.
In a genre as old as folk, it can be hard for anything to stand out against the large body of work comprising the genre’s canon. Artists like Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon cultivated the sound that became associated with folk singer-songwriters in the middle of the 20th century. While the sounds they played were by definition based on earlier American musical styles, these artists sounded novel and each presented a unique brand of folk. In recent years, however, artists like Ed Sheeran have figured out how to soullessly manufacture the singer-songwriter formula by repeating the same tired sound again and again. Faced with a barrage of mediocre music, modern folk singer-songwriters have been forced to innovate in an attempt to stand out.
Forced to stay at home amid lockdowns across the nation, several Dartmouth students have been inspired to pick up a new hobby and use art, in its many forms, as a creative outlet. For many, art has been a beneficial tool for stress relief, taking a break from the news and bridging the gap in interpersonal connection created by social distancing.
Last Thursday, former Women in Business member Tyné Angela Freeman ’17 MALS ’19 shared her experiences as an independent artist in the music industry in a Zoom event held by WIB.
On May 1, Netflix released Alice Wu’s “The Half of It,” a film that follows Ellie Chu (Leah Lewis) as she navigates love and personal identity as an Asian American teenager. “The Half of It” transforms the common teen romance narrative into a funny, relatable and heartwarming work of art by pushing the boundaries of representation in mainstream romantic comedies.
Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes released their latest project, “What Kinda Music,” through the jazz label Blue Note Records on April 24. Their collaboration is an experimental album combining the upbeat, polished chords and production of Misch with the jazzier, more experimentally inclined sound of the drummer Dayes. “What Kinda Music” is Misch’s first project since his 2018 album “Geography” and is also Dayes’ first album release since 2017. “What Kinda Music” is exactly what the name implies — a genre-defying album, incorporating the best of both Misch and Dayes. It’s a project that’s part electronica, part jazz and part hip-hop. Dayes’ experimental inventiveness melds with Misch’s catchy chords and pitch-perfect voice (and a well-rounded range of featured artists) to create an original UK sound.
The Hopkins Center for the Arts has continued its Hop to Broadway series virtually with an April 29 conversation featuring “Oklahoma!” star Ali Stroker, hosted by theater professor and “Oklahoma!” choreographer John Heginbotham. Stroker, who plays Ado Annie in Daniel Fish’s revival of “Oklahoma!,” shared her perspective on theatrical connection through virtual platforms and the expressive power of song.
On April 10, Netflix released Alan Yang’s “Tigertail,” a film inspired by the experiences of Yang’s father that follows the life of Pin-Jui (Tzi Ma), a Taiwanese-American immigrant. Despite a few flaws, “Tigertail” shares a touching, authentic and relatable story about the Asian-American immigrant experience.
Even after we emerge from quarantine, our interaction with museums and the arts will likely be influenced by social distancing, according to Hood Museum of Art director John Stomberg. Last Wednesday, Stomberg’s virtual gallery talk titled “Mediated Authenticity: Art and Experience Now” provided a window into our new way of interacting with museums and by extension, with art itself.
Singing over Zoom is not easy, and neither is coordinating a virtual dance routine or orchestral performance. However, many of Dartmouth’s performing arts groups still meet and rehearse weekly, even though the thing they rely on most — performing — is no longer possible.
Last Thursday, jazz trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and four members of his Rivers of Sound orchestra performed together live from multiple locations for the Hopkins Center for the Arts’s first online concert through its new program, Hop@Home. ElSaffar and the entire 17-member orchestra were originally scheduled to perform at the Hop this spring. The in-person concert has been rescheduled for 2021.
Every 20 years, like clockwork, American culture repeats itself. This does not mean that the same exact trends are recycled in an endless loop. Rather, after about 20 years, outdated culture becomes “retro,” and nostalgia for past decades shapes new styles and artwork. The 1970s had “Happy Days,” and the 1990s had “That ’70s Show.” In a more abstract sense, the infatuation with the glamorous lifestyles of the fabulously wealthy in the 1980s inspired reality television and “Gossip Girl” in the 2000s. As we enter the 2020s, the music stylings of the early aughts are making a comeback. Artists like Charli XCX and Slayyyter evoke Britney Spears-style pop, while Poppy and Grimes both recently released music that is heavily reminiscent of nu metal.
As a wave of states introduced abortion restrictions last year, abortion rights have increasingly come under fire. Now, in the age of COVID-19 — with abortions deemed non-essential in some states — the right to choose is especially pertinent. With this in mind, “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” a movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and can now be purchased on Amazon Prime, is even more timely than it would’ve been just two months ago.