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Ever since filmmaker and critic François Truffaut published his 1954 essay “A Certain Tendency of French Cinema,” auteur theory has played a prominent role in both film theory and film criticism. Put simply, Truffaut and his contemporaries contended that directors were the true authors of their films. I remain wary of auteur theory because of its pernicious tendency to devalue the accomplishments of the many artists who collaborate with a director during the making of a film. Yet Wes Anderson seems to exist for the sole sake of being an exception.
Saturday’s World Music Percussion Ensemble performance was an important one for director Hafiz Shabazz — his 108th and final concert before retiring after more than 30 years as director. And for Shabazz, it was fitting that the performance was intended for children. Parents and grandparents filled the audience of the HopStop family show, crowding together on the floor with kids on their laps — but not for long. Soon, the kids were up and dancing to the energetic rhythms of Shabazz’s group.
The weather cleared up just in time for the 2018 Dartmouth Powwow to take place on the Green, putting the celebration of Native American arts and culture front and center on campus. This year’s powwow brought a diverse array of Native American creativity to Hanover, representing singers, drummers, dancers and artisans from communities across the United States.
Björk, Jethro Tull and Jimmy McHugh. Flute, vocoder and acoustic bass. To say that this Saturday’s Barbary Coast Jazz Ensemble show is eclectic would be an understatement. The ensemble’s nine graduating seniors each selected their own pieces for the Coast’s senior feature show, and the resulting lineup is a cocktail of jazz and rock, much of it arranged by the performers themselves.
This past weekend, "Citrus," an original choreopoem by studio art major Celeste Jennings '18, was staged at the Bentley Theater at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. "Citrus," which was produced by the theater department, details the struggles of black women in America from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day.
A disembodied voice purred across the empty stage and runway, “You can’t see me, just hear me and know everything is beautiful.” Thus began Transform, a talent and fashion show put on in honor of Pride Week. Everything was indeed “beautiful” as an impressive array of student talent and spirit electrified the stage throughout the night.
As “Avengers: Infinity War” continues to dominate cinemas, it’s worth taking a moment to look back at the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Just as the story of “Infinity War” positions itself as a culmination of the 18 films that have come before, its commercial success, as the fastest film to reach $1 billion at the global box office, reflects how the franchise has morphed into a cultural juggernaut in a mere ten years.
Adolescent angst is so pervasive that it’s almost a cliché. Adults everywhere roll their eyes in condescending disdain and chalk outbursts up to “hormones.” For decades, the alienating dismissiveness of exactly this kind of eye-roll has turned younger generations — from the Ramones to Green Day — to music as an outlet for their ignored feelings. It becomes a cycle: more angsty music, more eye rolls, more angsty music ... you get the picture. From the origins of punk in the ’70s and ’80s to the grunge of the early ’90s and right up through Taylor Swift, the path is well-trodden. Much of it, I’d readily admit, deserves the weary scorn and eye-rolls.
Director Louis Burkot has led the Glee Club in dozens of performances since he came to the College in 1981. At this Sunday’s show, the final concert before his retirement as director, the ensemble will send him off with a host of Glee Club standards.
Arati Gangadharan ’18 was nervous when she joined Raaz, Dartmouth’s South Asian dance team. Although she had 15 years of training in Bharatanatyam and Mohiniattam, classical forms of dance that are thousands of years old, Raaz also performs styles like Bhangra and hip-hop that are outside the classical canon. But after four years with the team, Gangadharan has been able to successfully blend her classical skills with the less familiar dance forms.
A group of freshmen walk into a fraternity basement on a Friday night in search of a game of pong or a dance party. They are successful in that pursuit, but they also stumble upon something surprising: art.
Last Thursday, cellist Seth Parker Woods and Dartmouth music professor Spencer Topel performed their work “Iced Bodies,” a piece about the Black Lives Matter movement that falls between the line of a musical performance and an art installation. In “Iced Bodies,” Woods played a cello made of black-dyed ice, alternating from holding the cello upright to lying it down in front of him, and from caressing the cello with the metal fingertips of his gloves to chipping away at the cello using tools such as a metal bow, a screwdriver and a chisel. With each movement, microphones embedded inside the cello picked up the acoustic sounds that Woods created while Topel processed them at the sound board and diffused them across glass panels suspended around the gallery.
What is “Avengers: Infinity War,” exactly? Technically, it is both the 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well as the third film in the Avengers film series. More 19th, it is the first film in a two-part, back-to-back epic conclusion to the Avengers series, which means it is inherently setting up the audience for “Avengers Four.” Most of all, though, “Infinity War” is meant to make good on the 10-year-old promise that we would one day get to see all the heroes in the MCU battle its greatest villain, Thanos, an iron-willed titan with visions of deathly grandeur. Thanos is in pursuit of six Infinity Stones, which when combined with his magical Infinity Gauntlet will give him the power to eradicate half of all life in the universe (Thanos reasons that resources are limited, so his solution for overpopulation is indiscriminate genocide). Now it’s up to the combined forces of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy to stop him.
Dartmouth professor and best-selling novelist Alexander Chee’s new book “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” is a collection of 16 nonfiction essays. The language is beautiful, the subject matter variegated and the insight profound. The essays are ordered chronologically, tracing Chee’s life through personally and politically transformative moments. While “How to Write an Autobiographical Novel” follows Chee’s journey as a writer, the book also details Chee’s many roles as student, cater-waiter, activist, gardener, lover, friend and teacher. In writing about his own selfhood, Chee explores large-scale political issues: the AIDS epidemic, the Iraq War, the 2016 presidential election. This book is a deep dive into Chee’s craft, a political thinkpiece, a memoir and a call to action.
Informed in part by the interest of students in his course Music 45.04, “Changing the World with Music,” professor of music William Cheng has been sharing his lecture “Loud Music Trial: His Music Was Not A Weapon” at colleges around the country. On Monday, Cheng brought the talk to Dartmouth, sharing the story of the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Jordan Davis. Seventeen-year-old Davis was shot in Florida by Michael Dunn, a 47-year-old white man who claimed that Davis’ “loud rap music” constituted a threat to his life. Cheng’s talk is primarily interested in the subsequent trial and political organizing that occurred in the wake of Jordan’s death, and its proceeds are donated to the Jordan Davis Foundation.
In celebration of Earth Week, the Hopkins Center for the Arts hosted an exhibition curated by the Dartmouth ECO Reps, a presentation of student art that blended artistic design and environmental activism. “Garbáge: An Artistic Wasteland” featured works incorporating trash as a primary medium and theme, examining global struggles with pollution and waste management.
In Kayleen Schaefer’s “Text Me When You Get Home,” released Feb. 6, the infamous words of parting friends are made into the foundation for a broader dialogue about the nature of women’s friendships, on screen and off. Taking the American media and patriarchy to task, Schaefer challenges the ways in which the history of considering women physically, emotionally and mentally inferior to men undermines their relationships to themselves and each other.
Leslie Odom Jr. left the Broadway phenomenon “Hamilton” more than a year ago, but his Saturday night performance at the Hopkins Center for the Arts proved that there is far more to the Tony-winning actor than his portrayal of Aaron Burr.