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Review: Laura Marling's 'Song for Our Daughter' boasts compelling storytelling, dynamic instrumentation

(05/14/20 6:10am)

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.


Art in quarantine: Students turn to creative expression to reduce stress, occupy time

(05/14/20 6:10am)

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. 



‘The Half of It’ is a beautifully bold stroke and the love story we’ve been longing for

(05/11/20 7:00am)

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.


Review: 'What Kinda Music' is a creative triumph

(05/07/20 6:10am)

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.


Hop to Broadway: Live with Ali Stroker

(05/07/20 6:10am)

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.



Hood Museum’s virtual gallery talk explores limitations of the virtual artistic experience

(05/04/20 8:23am)

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.


Dartmouth performing arts groups get creative with virtual rehearsals, projects

(04/30/20 6:10am)

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. 


Amir ElSaffar’s Live Living Room Concert: Expanding the boundaries of performance in an age of social distancing

(04/27/20 7:05am)

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.


Review: 'Sawayama' is musically fascinating, but falls short of greatness

(04/27/20 7:00am)

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.


Review: 'Never Rarely Sometimes Always' is a slow burn that highlights a sad reality

(04/24/20 6:10am)

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. 


Virtual museum tours provide substitute for in-person visits

(04/23/20 6:10am)

Virtual tours of national parks, Instagram Live concerts from celebrities and Broadway shows streaming online are all examples of the new forms of entertainment people have been consuming since the country went on lockdown. Among these options, the virtual museum tour offers an experience that is both self-directed and artistic. 24/7, 365 days a year, you can see selections from some of the world’s best museums from your home, either through a program of the museum’s own or through an offshoot of the all-seeing Google.


Fiona Apple returns with complex lyrics and a minimalist style in 'Fetch the Bolt Cutters'

(04/20/20 7:00am)

After eight long years, 1990s teenage pop sensation turned reclusive savant Fiona Apple has released her fifth album, “Fetch the Bolt Cutters.” As longtime fans know, Apple’s album release schedule is erratic; she has only released five albums since her 1996 debut “Tidal,” which she released when she was 18 years old. Apple’s prodigious talents as a writer are apparent even on her first album, but her teenage immaturity and naivete are also obvious. While the 90-word title of her second album, often shortened to “When the Pawn …,” initially annoyed fans and critics when it debuted in 1999, the complex, jazzy instrumentals and tremendous lyrical improvement won over most listeners. A protracted dispute with her label created a six-year gap before the release of Apple’s third album, “Extraordinary Machine,” in 2005, which introduced full orchestration behind her music.


Review: 'Pandemic' provides an informative but unfocused account of combating deadly viruses

(04/16/20 2:57pm)

The Netflix docuseries “Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak” offers six episodes to binge-watch during self-isolation. If you have already seen the drama of Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” and Wolfgang Petersen’s “Outbreak” or are searching for a documentary perspective, “Pandemic” may be the show for you. Following the lives of doctors in the U.S., Asia and Africa as they combat flu viruses, the show reveals the challenges of preventing a deadly outbreak of influenza. Although “Pandemic” is flawed in its false advertising and dwells too long on its depiction of doctors’ personal lives, it still presents an overall interesting and accurate account of influenza epidemics and pandemics.


Hopkins Center introduces Hop@Home

(04/16/20 6:10am)

The Hopkins Center for the Arts has canceled or postponed all live events through May 31 in response to the global spread of COVID-19. Rather than shuttering its doors completely, however, the Hop has introduced “Hop@Home” — a new project aimed at creating “a virtual stage that brings our adventurous artistry and creative community to your living room,” according to a statement from Hop director Mary Lou Aleskie.


Hood Museum experiments with virtual learning

(04/13/20 7:05am)

Although the online nature of this term poses a significant obstacle in the Hood Museum’s core functionality — enabling people to interact with art — the museum staff see a silver lining in the chance to appreciate art in a new way. One of the biggest challenges this term was ensuring that people can still observe the art and witness “the power of the shared experience,” according to Hood Museum director John Stomberg. 



Review: 'Better Call Saul' remains a masterclass in dramatic storytelling

(04/09/20 6:10am)

It’s been so long since the explosive conclusion of “Breaking Bad” in 2013 that “Better Call Saul” — the 2015 prequel spinoff created by “Breaking Bad” masterminds Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould — feels like its own show. And I’ll admit, I was wary of its ability to stand out from its predecessor, most of all because Saul Goodman, the smooth-talking, comb-over-sporting strip mall lawyer played with electricity and heart by Bob Odenkirk, was largely a one-note side piece in the original show. A skeevy lawyer who helps criminals hide their money and avoid jail time — end of story. It didn’t seem substantive enough for its own show, and it seemed like “Better Call Saul” would be doomed to the spin-off junk pile in the wasteland of failed TV shows. But I had faith in Gilligan and Gould, so I approached “Better Call Saul” with tepid hope. Now, five years and almost five complete seasons later — the fifth season is currently underway — part of me loves “Saul” even more than “Breaking Bad.”




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