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Everyone loves bad films. We may pretend not to or try to justify this preference, but at the end of the day, we all have at least one guilty pleasure film. Of course, the very notion of a “bad film” is contentious because no method of film criticism has the capacity to be purely objective. That being said, I still contend that everyone has the tendency to love films that we personally deem to be “bad” but elicit a distinct sense of enjoyment in us nonetheless.
This past January, Toro y Moi (also known as Chaz Bear) released his sixth album, “Outer Peace.” Inspired by the electronic dance music of Daft Punk and Wally Badarou’s synthpop, “Outer Peace” is a breezy 10 tracks, spanning just over 30 minutes. As a whole, the album is very easy to listen to — the tracks are generally composed of low-fi, low energy, yet upbeat beats and melodies — and none of them are longer than four minutes. On the surface, Toro y Moi has produced a fun, and at times quirky, album full of hits that can be played at a wide range of events, whether it be at a party that’s about to hit its peak or at a study table that needs a pick-me-up. A deeper dive into the album with closer listening, though, reveals that Toro y Moi has also subtly inputted his own little touches of tongue-in-cheek ironic flair and his sense of pessimistic disillusionment to which millennials and Gen Zers can definitely relate.
Native Americans and museums have historically had a tenuous relationship which is tied to the root of both what museums are meant to do and how much Native “art” over the years has made it into museums. I am by no means an expert, but I will attempt to provide some context on this subject. I am Tlingit, a tribe native to southeastern Alaska. I am Raven moiety from the Ganaxteidi clan. My Tlingit name is Andaxjoon. I am a beginning student of my language, which I have tried to use in this piece, though English grammar has been applied to some of them for the purposes of the article. Some items created by Tlingit people are in possession of the Hood Museum of Art, and thus, I will mostly be using those as examples in this article because they are the items on which I have the most authority to speak. As another disclaimer, in terms of my own community, I am no cultural authority. My thoughts on these subjects are in a constant state of growth and development. Thus, this column will not just be a reflection on the Native American collection at the Hood but also a reflection on my own evolving relationship with that collection.
In his essay “What is Digital Cinema?” media theorist Lev Manovich notes that cinema ultimately began with animation. Magic lanterns, phenakistoscopes, zootropes. They all relied, in a sense, on a form of hand-drawn animation. Whereas many of his fellow theorists posit that cinema is the “art of the index,” defined by its ability to record reality, Manovich contends that its very origins position cinema as “the art of motion.” Thus, for Manovich, the dominance of computer-generated imagery animation in “live-action” films in recent years is not some existential threat to the very essence of film but rather the medium returning to its roots.
Spring 2019 artist-in-residence Daniel Kojo Schrade, a professor of art at Hampshire College who has exhibited all over the globe, is offering Dartmouth students, faculty, staff and community members an extremely fresh show in the Jaffe-Friede Gallery this term. Schrade painted 80 percent of the works on display for his newest series, “:listenings.”
It’s midterms week, I’m currently in season for my sport and I don’t have enough pairs of shorts for the good weather that’s finally arrived. Needless to say, I am stressed. To remedy this, I decided to do what any good student does and procrastinate by going to see a movie to take my mind off my work for a few hours. Fortunately for me, the Nugget was screening “Shazam!,” which proved to be the perfect two-hour distraction I was looking for.
The Fab Five, the beloved group of queer men on the Netflix series “Queer Eye,” are back for their third season in Kansas City, MO — more sparkly and delightful than ever. After two seasons of makeovers in Atlanta, GA, the group hones in on the Heartland of America. Filled with stunning transformations, heartwarming moments and plenty of “yaass girl”s, the third season entertains with its bright, feel-good plot and humor.
This spring, English and creative writing professor Joshua Bennett is teaching ENGL 53.29/AAAS 35.50; “Introduction to African American Environmental Thought: The Black Outdoors.” Bennett said that his work as a poet and a professor of the class both relate to his interest in preservation and spreading awareness.His course seeks to bring light to the vast artistic and ecological life of the African American literary canon as well as their lived experiences in the outdoors. Bennett has a fascination with black literature and poetics, especially in relation to environmental and animality studies.
As “Game of Thrones” begins its eighth and final season this Sunday, a retrospective examining of the show’s legacy feels inevitable. After all, “Game of Thrones” was never just a popular TV show; its astonishing critical and commercial success has only been matched by the countless think pieces about the show’s impact on the television industry, its approach to adapting George R. R. Martin’s nigh-unadaptable “A Song of Ice and Fire” series and its many, many controversies. Indeed, considering the immense cultural ripple effect of “Game of Thrones,” it’s not shocking that both the show and its legacy are a bundle of interwoven contradictions and paradoxes. Just as the show has been praised for its nuanced female characters, critique of fascist despotism and perceived allegory about the dangers of climate change, it has also rightfully received vociferous criticism, particularly for its often-reckless depiction of sexual violence.
The first-year seminar ENGL 53.10: “Immigrant Women Writing in America” provides students with the opportunity to reflect on their own experiences through film, novels, short stories and poetry. English professor Melissa Zeiger offers the class to all students, but caters the literary content of the first-year seminar toward the goal of helping first-year students establish their skills as writers and find their bearings in their new college environment. The class studies a combination of media, including film and written work from immigrant women writers who recount their experiences in the United States. While the students study the stories of renowned writers, they are also encouraged to reflect upon their own experiences with immigration and how immigration has shaped their environments.“Immigrant Women Writing in America” consolidates written and visual works that touch upon themes of race, familial relations and sexuality.
“Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders is a luminary novel depicting a single night of grief. Set in a graveyard where Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, is buried, the story follows Lincoln’s visits to the tomb where several ghosts discuss their lives and their deaths. The novel is narrated by these ghosts who all occupy a purgatory-like existence called, after the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, “the bardo.” The ghosts in the bardo have all decided to stay between the living and the dead for a host of reasons. For instance, one of them, a preacher, knows he will go to hell if he leaves the bardo. The most common reason for staying, however, is that most of the ghosts are convinced that they are simply “sick” and set to eventually return to the realm of the living. For Willie, the choice between leaving for heaven or staying in the bardo is only complicated by his father’s return to his tomb. While the other ghosts try to convince Willie to leave — for the bardo is a complicated place where the young often go crazy — he desires nothing more than to stay with his father.
This spring is the inaugural term for the class “Intro to UI/UX Design I” with professor Lorie Loeb. According to Loeb, the class, which is open exclusively to first- and second- year students, focuses on creating meaningful, accessible and beautiful interfaces for technology. The class, which requires no previous experiences, uses elements of human-centered design, graphic design and design with digital tools. As the first part in a two-class sequence, students are expected to take “Intro to UI/UX Design II” in the following summer, fall or winter terms in order to apply their skills in the DALI lab as a designer.
In my review for HBO’s “The Inventor,” I wrote about the varying necessities of documentary art, focusing on the balance between pure recording and critical analysis. I acknowledged that some documentaries only require the deft eye of observance, while others, such as “The Inventor,” need an extra layer of insight and analysis to fully succeed. Todd Douglas Miller’s extraordinary new documentary “Apollo 11” succeeds with such simplicity as a documentary entirely composed of recorded moments and devoid of any analytical imposition. As such a work of art, it is a marvelous testament to the sheer power of observance, carried not by narrative or analysis but rather by the awe and wonder of what it captures on camera.
On Wednesday, Grammy-nominated Jazz singer Jazzmeia Horn will be performing at the Hopkins Center of the Arts at 7 p.m. in Spaulding Auditorium. With her impressive vocal chops and irresistible stage presence, Horn’s performance promises to be memorable.
HBO’s new documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley” chronicles the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur whose company, Theranos, claimed to revolutionize the world of blood testing. Spurred by an intense desire for wealth and fame, Holmes devised a way to carry out complex blood tests — the sorts that usually require an uncomfortable venous draw — with only a drop of blood obtained through a finger prick. The problem she and her company encountered, though, was that they simply couldn’t get the process to work. Terrified of failure and obsessed with her own legend, Holmes lied and connived to keep Theranos afloat, deliberately misrepresenting the abilities of her company. “The Inventor” dutifully tracks these events with straightforward documentary reporting, but it fails to fully delve into the fascinating character of Elizabeth Holmes or her web of deceit, resulting in a film that lacks intrigue and coherence.
Netflix has been a boon for stand-up comedians these past few years, offering an enormous platform for artists whose work would have been a little more difficult to find for our generation of instant streamers. I fell into the rabbit hole of stand-up around the same time I started my Netflix subscription, which means for a while, I hadn’t done much else but listen to the upteenth comedian give a self-deprecating monologue.
“The Umbrella Academy” is probably one of the most off-putting shows on Netflix. It opens with a scene at a pool in Russia, in which a teenager spontaneously gives birth in the pool after giving a potential suitor a peck on the cheek, setting the stage for the chaos that ensues.
It’s been a while since I’ve been as excited to see a movie as I was to see “Us,” the new film directed, written and produced by Jordan Peele. Like millions of people, I was blown away by how unexpectedly good Peele’s 2017 film “Get Out” was, so I came in to “Us” with high expectations, looking for something just as thought-provoking and well-constructed. While I don’t think that “Us” has “Get Out” beat, I still think it’s a fantastic, smart film that should be watched by everyone looking to walk out of a movie theater all giddy — like you used to before everything became a reboot or a third sequel in a franchise. I enjoyed it so much that I gladly paid to see it twice this past weekend.
“Triple Frontier” dropped on Netflix earlier this month with little advertisement but has since exploded into an online sensation. However, I think that the film’s high ratings can be attributed to the hype from its attractive, star-studded cast rather than the quality of the film itself.