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The Silkroad Ensemble was at its best during the encore of its performance last night at Spaulding Auditorium. Opening with a fiery solo from pipa player Wu Man, the piece turned into a rollicking caper which used every instrument in Silkroad’s arsenal, from the thumping tabla to the breathy shakuhachi. Founder and world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, standing while he played, bobbed up and down with a smile on his face. In other words, it wasn’t your ordinary concert.
The critically acclaimed “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” received a second wave of attention during Oscar season last month. In the wake of a generally positive initial reception, “Three Billboards” received backlash as the Oscars drew closer because of the way the film seems to redeem Jason Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell, who won an Oscar for his performance), a violent and racist police officer. But upon a critical reevaluation of the film’s complicated message, it’s clear that “Three Billboards” doesn’t redeem Dixon. No character, protagonist or not, can be seen as completely good in the first place. That’s precisely what director and writer Martin McDonagh articulates through his emotional, dramatic and painfully realistic film — human nature and personal relationships can’t be seen inblack and white. McDonagh’s captivating and thoughtful “Three Billboards” shows that the definition of what is right and wrong is a circumstantial, biased blur, and that no person can truly be redeemed.
In a performance entitled “Trigger Warning” on Tuesday night in Brace Commons, powerful poetry duo Mother Tongue made one thing clear from the beginning: They will not remain in the margins. These poets — Rachel McKibbens, 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion, and Dominique Christina, twice a winner of the same contest — aren’t performers who beat around the bush. They come at the bush head-on, with equal parts confidence and vulnerability.
There is a scene in the middle of Duncan Jones’ newest film “Mute” that is so ugly, so needlessly perverse and repugnant, that I couldn’t help but wonder if it was some sort of endurance test for the audience. I wouldn’t have been shocked if the film’s end credits had been replaced by a video-game-like graphic reading, “Congratulations! You managed to watch this dumpster fire without puking! You win a prize!”
“Pitch Perfect” screenwriter Kay Cannon made a splash at the South by Southwest Film Festival when she became the first female director to premiere an R-rated comedy with her film “Blockers.” With the teen comedy — Cannon’s directorial debut — hitting theaters Friday, the Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted an advance screening of the film over the weekend, giving Dartmouth the opportunity to view the teen drama a week before it hits theaters. “Blockers” strikes a balance between social commentary, raunchiness and dry humor, managing to get laughs out of diverse audience while posing some important questions about gender, sex, youth and family.
Shortly after the curtains opened, South African instrumentals and the voices of Dada Masilo’s dancers overtook the first notes of Adolphe Adam’s original composition for “Giselle.” The dancers were splayed and widely stanced in silhouette against a gray-green William Kentridge illustration of South African marshland. This was not “Giselle” as we know it, but a new, lively and vibrating work.
At first glance, the pottery pieces displayed in the Hood Downtown’s spring exhibition, “Sin-ying Ho: Past Forward” seem to adhere to the traditional image of Chinese ceramics: round white porcelain vases decorated with ornate imperial blue designs. Upon closer inspection, surprisingly modern images of icons such as Barbie, Wonder Woman, Starbucks and John Lennon pop out at the viewer. By combining the old and the new, Ho captures the chaotic beauty of the contradictions within global society and brings the art form of ceramics into the modern era.
In creating a new visual identity for Dartmouth, designers faced a difficult challenge: balance tradition and history with modernity and adaptability, and convey all this clearly to the eye. The result was a new logo, wordmark and color palette — but perhaps unsurprisingly, not everyone is a fan.
S-Town, a podcast released in March 2017and hosted by “This American Life” producer Brian Reed begins as a true crime story. The direction of the podcast, which is produced by the company behind “Serial” and “This American Life”, soon shifts to become a complex character study and modern Southern gothic tale of an eccentric, brilliant and troubled man named John B. McLemore, who is a resident of Woodstock, Alabama.
Jack White has doubtless had an illustrious musical career, catapulting into fame as the front man of The White Stripes and subsequently founding The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather. White has spent the last few years brandishing his talents as a solo artist, producing the widely acclaimed records “Blunderbuss” in 2012 and “Lazaretto” in 2014, both of which debuted at the top of the Billboard 200. But White’s newest album “Boarding House Reach,” released last Friday, is a convoluted imbroglio that mashes unwanted sounds and time signatures together and provides few redeemable moments.
According to Rotten Tomatoes, 2018’s “Tomb Raider” is the best reviewed video game film adaptation … ever. Given that it has a modest 50 percent critical approval rating, I’d argue that says more about the infamously abysmal quality of such adaptations than it does about anything else. Video game films are notorious for their ability to trip and fall over the exceedingly low bar set by so many generic Hollywood blockbusters.
Dear Paul Thomas Anderson,
“Voices,” an annual original production performed, written and directed by self-identified Dartmouth women, will conclude this year’s lineup of V-February events tonight at 7 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium. Students who participate in “Voices” can choose to submit a story anonymously or not, perform an original piece or perform one of the submitted stories in a showcase designed to empower women and non-binary students to celebrate the diversity of their experiences at Dartmouth and beyond.
Talented students performing diverse song selections will be featured in the Dartmouth Idol Finals tonight at 8 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. Directed by Walt Cunningham and hosted by Aaron Cheese ’18 and Harrison Perkins ’18, Dartmouth Idol is a vocal competition that has become a tradition at the College, celebrating its 11th year. On Friday, the six Dartmouth Idol Finalists to perform are Kate Budney ’21, Matthew Haughey ’21, Soomin Kim ’20, Eni Oyeleye ’20, Connor Regan ’18 and Caroline Smith ’21. They were selected after the Dartmouth Idol Semifinals on Feb. 2.
A pioneer in the theater department, Will Maresco ’19 deviates from the typical Dartmouth theater major track, finding his passion in stage design. Participating in countless school productions, Maresco has cultivated an expansive repertoire of skills that span from sound design to lighting.
This weekend, the theater department will present this winter term’s student production “Proof.” Originally written by David Auburn, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work, the play is directed by Louisa Auerbach ’20 and stars Claire Feuille ’18, Macguinness Galinson ’21, Tess McGuinness ’18 and theater professor James Rice. Covering themes of loss, mental illness and gender inequality, the play follows McGuinness as Catherine, the daughter of lauded mathematician Robert, played by Rice, after she loses her father and attempts to live up to his legacy as a mathematical genius and inherits his struggle with mental illness. After a mathematical proof that Catherine claims to have wrote is discovered in one of her father’s notebooks, her love interest Hal and her sister Claire refuse to believe her as Catherine struggles to prove her authorship.
Tonight, the Hopkins Center for the Arts will host the world premiere of “Qyrq Qyz” (“Forty Girls”), a multimedia reanimation of a Central Asian epic that recounts the epic of a young woman, Gulayim, who defends her homeland against foreign invaders alongside 40 other female warriors. The work is a creative collaboration between two artists from Uzbekistan, filmmaker Saodat Ismailova and composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky, who combine oral poetry, live music and film to construct a multisensory revitalization of the epic narrative.
It’s hard not to ask what the best film of 2017 was, given that the 90th Academy Awards are less than a week away. But if you’re like me, it’s also surprisingly difficult to settle on a definitive answer. About a year ago, I reviewed “Moonlight” and called it the rare, transcendent cinematic experience that I’m lucky to have even once a year. “Moonlight,” to be clear, was precisely that film for 2016. Yet I had no such similar experience in 2017.
Although 2018 is just starting, there have already been many times this year that I’ve found myself wondering if I am living in a twisted dystopia. It seems that many have made the parallel between the harrowing state of affairs in George Orwell’s “1984” and the current state of politics. Since President Donald Trump’s advisor Kellyanne Conway used the politically charged words “alternative facts,” sales of the 20th-century novel spiked drastically. The term is eerily reminiscent of “newspeak,” a means by which the omnipotent Inner Party of Orwell’s novel prohibits unorthodox political thought. This fall, the Dartmouth theater department investigated the relevance of Orwell’s prophetic dystopia to today’s reality in the play “1984,” which opened on Feb. 16 and finished its run Sunday night.
If you’ve been out of the obscure and cultish garage punk loop, you have probably never heard of the indie rock band Superchunk. Formed in 1989 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Superchunk exploded onto the counterculture scene of the early ’90s, producing seven albums over the course of the decade. The group took a brief hiatus soon after the turn of the millennium, eventually producing only two albums between 2002 and 2014. After releasing its tenth album, “I Hate Music” in 2013, Superchunk returned last Friday with the politically charged and triumphantly subversive album “What a Time To Be Alive.” At a time when punk music seems to be increasingly dwarfed by the allure of hip-hop and electronic music, “What a Time to Be Alive” is a collection of catchy and energetic songs that simultaneously presents a commercially agreeable message and returns to the genre’s roots in counterculture. Moreover, it’s a visceral and sincere reaction to our country’s recent escapades.