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Taylor Swift. The name of one of America’s most successful musicians conjures up images of cowgirl boots, sparkly dresses, Twitter feuds and boyfriends. Often the mere mention of Swift induces a chorus of eyerolls or sighs of disgust. Very rarely do conversations about Swift mention her enormous success as a musician, including the fact that her most recent album “Lover” became 2019’s best-selling record in just a week. A common critique I hear of Swift’s work is that her music is too sophomoric, too girly and hyper-focused on relationships — according to Swift in a recent Rolling Stone article, the media has long since decided she was a “a boy-crazy man-eater.” And it’s true to a certain extent; the success of “Lover” demonstrates that Swift’s strength is highly rooted in her ability to write and compose songs based on love.
Starting this Friday, the Hopkins Center will be showing advanced screenings of six films from the acclaimed Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, beginning with “Ford v Ferrari” and ending with “The Climb” on Sept. 26. Every year, Telluride at Dartmouth presents an opportunity to see much-anticipated films months before they come to theaters.
When word broke that Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Goldfinch” would be adapted into a movie last year, I sighed and dreaded the worst. There is something sacred that is destroyed when a much-beloved novel makes its on-screen debut. Movie adaptations of novels rarely do their written counterparts justice. Instead, they bury them in piles of scathing reviews and Rotten Tomato ratings that sully not only the film’s reputation but also that of the novel (for example, “The Hunger Games”). Similarly, while “The Goldfinch” as a film failed miserably in recreating the vivid characters and atmosphere of Tartt’s imagination, it partly redeemed itself by creating a standalone experience that did not feel derivative of the novel and managed to preserve the novel’s enduring beauty.
Alumnus and musician Zach Plante ’18 has taken his passion for music coast to coast and is set to release his first extended play record with the band Pass By Catastrophe on Sept. 27. Plante, who plays bass, guitar and piano in Pass By Catastrophe, is accompanied by Dexter Simpson, Max Kilberg and Sam Silverman. The band produces rock, indie rock and pop rock that is, according to Plante, reminiscent of the past but with a new modern twist.
In his two books “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power” and “C-Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy,” English and creative writing professor Jeff Sharlet takes deep dives into the political influence of the Christian organization known as “The Fellowship” or “The Family” both within and beyond the U.S.
In the Drake-produced HBO series “Euphoria,” Generation Z is diagnosed and deified. Drawing attention to teen sex lives, drug abuse, family troubles and identity crises, “Euphoria” defines a generation by its most dramatic manifestations. The show’s narrator, lead and Gen Z translator Rue Bennett, played by former Disney Channel star Zendaya, is a biracial teenager struggling with drug addiction and the loss of her father. Self-aware yet unstable, Rue is the ultimate unreliable narrator. Rather than offering her audience righteous honesty or a critic’s presumed purity, Rue makes a show of the archival and analytical process. Just as drugs allow her to edit and enhance her own experience and perception, Rue, as narrator, takes liberties in her storytelling and invites us to trip alongside her. Through her constant battles with relapse, she teaches us what it means to actively recover and revise oneself. In doing so, she suggests that she is, in fact, a representative of her generation — those young adults born in the late ’90s and early 2000s who’ve been shaped by a constant surveillance and demand for self-narration. Where this generation is concerned, “Euphoria” argues that the revision of society and self is, perhaps, Gen Z’s birthright.
This isn’t necessarily something I’m proud of, but over the past few weeks, I have joined a group of my friends to hate-watch “The Bachelorette.” Together, we screamed at the screen, laughed at the absurdity of limo exits and cringed at the corny pickup lines. It was a ritual that I enjoyed for the community aspect of it; the television show just happened to be there. However, it became increasingly evident to me that the popular “romantic” and long-running reality T.V. show’s portrayal of gender dynamics is extremely concerning, as it celebrates contestants disrespecting boundaries and using violence and deceit in the pursuit of love.
The epilogue to “Negro Swan” explores feelings of anxiety — about growing up, relationships and feeling isolated — in a series of feature-filled vignettes.
“Amazing Grace,” the 2018 movie about the two days spent recording Aretha Franklin’s bestselling live album of the same name, showed at the Hopkins Center for the Arts last weekend. The movie is a true feat, resurrecting footage taken at the event in 1972 but unavailable until now due to technical problems in which video failed to sync with the sound. Finally, in this incredible film, we are able to see the Queen of Soul perform her album “Amazing Grace” at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles.
On Fourth of July weekend, I powered up my laptop, logged into Netflix and clicked on the big, bright banner advertising the release of “Stranger Things 3.” My expectations were low. After a lackluster second season, I missed the excitement that surrounded the series when it first premiered — back when the #ImWithBarb campaign trended on social media, memes about Eleven’s name went viral and Eggo waffles surged in sales. I wanted the third season of the sci-fi-horror series to bring the same magic it had created with its 2016 launch. One weekend-long Netflix binge later, I am confident that the magic of “Stranger Things” has finally returned to Hawkins in what may be its best season yet.
Typically, disappointment has shaped my experience with horror movies. I watch them expecting to be scared and they wind up making me laugh more than some top-billed comedies. Incohesive plots, stupid characters and cliché twists are far too prevalent in most commercially successful horror films. I wish I could say this spring’s latest horror film, “Ma” was any different, but the most credit I can give the film is for its self-awareness — “Ma” knows just how campy it is.
Tonight, Saturday and Sunday “Humans” by Circa will be showing at the Moore Theater at the Hopkins Center. Circa is a world-renowned Australian circus troupe that pushes the boundaries of contemporary circus performance. According to Hop publicity coordinator Rebecca Bailey, Circa’s “Humans” promises to deliver awe-inspiring stunts, innovative choreography, and most importantly, compelling human emotion.
On June 14, Iranian-Swedish singer-songwriter Snoh Aalegra released a new song, “Find Someone Like You,” in anticipation of her sophomore album coming in August, “-Ugh, those feels again.”
The first set of Hood Museum senior interns in the newly-renovated museum have set a precedent for inclusion and innovation within the space. Besides the two Native American Art interns, who collaborated on creating an entire gallery, the six members of the Class of 2019 and one member of the Class of 2020 who participated in the internship program each put together their own exhibit or “Space for Dialogue” within an individual specialty.
At this point, it’s no secret that the eighth and final season of “Game of Thrones” was extremely polarizing. The mileage of fans and critics varied, but the general consensus seems to be that the final three episodes torched what has quite possibly become the most popular TV series of all time. Showrunners David Benioff ’92 and D.B. Weiss resolved the show’s two major plot threads by essentially splitting these last six episodes into two mini-seasons; whereas episodes one through three feature the long-awaited confrontation with the White Walkers, episodes four through six cover the subsequent power struggle over the Iron Throne, the seat of power in the story’s fictional Seven Kingdoms. While the first arc was generally well received, it’s the baffling storytelling in the second that will haunt “Game of Thrones” forever.
Music is the art of collaboration, and no one knows this better than Lila McKenna ’20, who started working with the musical duo Nextlife this past fall. Consisting of Max Fuster ’21 and Henry Phipps ’21, Nextlife formed during Fuster and Phipps’ freshman fall when the pair met and bonded over their shared love for music. Their song “Be Better,” featuring McKenna, reached 100,000 listeners on Spotify since it was released last year. The trio also recently released their new single “Glide” on all major musical platforms. Since their collaboration, the trio said that they have challenged each other as artists and have created music that resonates with listeners.
We have all seen it: a huge sensation, a star burning brightly and boldly. But then, the star crashes down, never to resurface except in commercials for yogurt and the occasional magazine shot that boasts a collection of “Hollywood Has-Beens: Where Are They Now?” Beautiful poetry, films and plays have been written on the idea that there is an upper limit to the number of stars our world can worship and, thus, some must fall. But not Beyoncé. Never Beyoncé.
BDSM is a topic of fascination that has been rising bit by bit outside of the shadow of stigma in recent years. With videos like Buzzfeed’s “Couples Try Bondage For The First Time,” released two years ago, and “I Became A Dominatrix To Control My Anxiety,” released just a year and a half after — with plenty of other tangentially related videos in between — it’s clear that BDSM is no longer something people are ashamed of talking about. If anything, kinky has become cool, and there’s a large market of people who want to know more.
It’s a recurring theme in discussions amongst Vampire Weekend fans that their albums correspond to seasons. Their self-titled debut album, full of perky strings and New England imagery, is reminiscent of a collegiate fall. Their sophomore effort, “Contra,” with its bright synths and upbeat tempos, brings to mind a sunny summer day. And “Modern Vampires of the City,” their third album, is the definition of wintry, with its black and white cover and its existential, morbid themes.