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February 26, 2024

To watch and watch for: Week of Dec. 3

By TIMOTHY MCSHEA | December 3, 2023



This week’s picks include the latest Studio Ghibli film from Hayao Miyazaki, The Boy and the Heron, a historical mystery novel called The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon, the Pink Friday 2 sequel album from award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj and the Peabody Symphony Orchestra performing Vivaldi, Liszt and Brahms at Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall. 

In the second to last week of the semester, there will be many arts performances left and right, as multiple groups vie for your limited attention. At Peabody Institute, there were too many department and individual recitals to list out — not only is the end of the semester approaching for Peabody students, meaning many end-of-semester performances, but the holiday season has encouraged performances from choirs and small ensembles alike. I encourage you to look through the Hub to find the perfect performance to calm you down before finals consume your mental state.

Besides Hopkins events, several great movies are coming out. The Boy and the Heron is sure to be a feel-good Studio Ghibli movie, but if you want a more kooky, live-action film, then I would highly recommend Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos — it’s an interesting twist on a classic tale. 

If you’re like me and music is the only way to soothe your stressed-out brain, then I’d recommend you check out Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday 2, or Tate McRae’s second studio album, Think Later. If you’re looking for a book that isn’t for class, The Frozen River by Ariel Lawhon looks like a fantastic historical mystery novel for some end-of-the-semester reading.

This will be the last “To watch and watch for” of the semester, so we thank you greatly for your readership. It’s been a great year for art, and (pending a bit of slowdown from the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike) we’re hoping for a great 2024! 

To watch…

Fat Rascal, performed by Stavros Halkias — Dec. 5

This Baltimore comedian takes the stage for his first stand-up Netflix special, discussing things ranging from tech culture to air travel (perhaps he’s the new Seinfeld).

The Boy and the Heron, directed by Hayao Miyazaki — Dec. 8

Loosely based on the 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino of the same name, this animated Studio Ghibli “big fantastical film” follows a young boy as he discovers an abandoned town with a talking grey heron. This will possibly be the last feature-length project from famed director Hayao Miyazaki, so don’t miss out!

Poor Things, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos — Dec. 8

Alasdair Gray, played by Emma Stone, is a Victorian woman who has been rudely resurrected from her attempted suicide by a mad scientist. This black comedy steampunk film is full of eccentric, gripping cinematography and a deep sensibility to female self-discovery.

To read…

The Frozen River, by Ariel Lawhon — Dec. 5

New York Times bestselling author Ariel Lawhon comes out with another historical fiction novel about the 1789 great freeze of the Kennebec River in Maine. Stumbling on a man suffocated by the ice, Martha Ballard begins to uncover a town-wide conspiracy.

Yours for the Taking, by Gabrielle Korn — Dec. 5

Set in the year 2050, Yours for the Taking follows the billionaire women’s rights advocate Jacqueline Millender, who is the director of the Manhattan branch of The Inside Project. This organization builds weather-safe structures as safe havens from the disastrous effects of climate change. Through multiple interweaving storylines, Gabriella Korn criticizes white corporate feminism and shows its effects on social relationships.

Heartstopper: Volume 5, by Alice Oseman — Dec. 7

Heartopper #5 is an LGBTQ+ graphic novel about two boys, Nick and Charlie, who fall in love and struggle to navigate their secret relationship, dreading how college life might tear them apart.

To listen…

Pink Friday 2, by Nicki Minaj — Dec. 8

This will be Grammy Award-winning rapper Nicki Minaj’s fifth studio album and sequel to her 2010 long play Pink Friday. Living up to the original will be tough, as it’s often cited as one of her best. After a five-year hiatus, though, it’ll be exciting just to have a new solo project.

Think Later, by Tate McRae — Dec. 8

This is only the second studio album from the Canadian singer and dancer Tate McRae, and it has been making the charts already. At 52 million monthly listeners on Spotify, she has catapulted herself into fame. With the dance-pop single “exes” already surpassing 30 million streams, Think Later is poised to be a commercial showstopper.

Live events…

T&S Holiday Presentation: "Printing on the Ice: Early Modern Frost Fair Ephemera at Johns Hopkins" at Evergreen Museum & Library — Dec. 8, 4–6 p.m.

As part of the T&S Holiday Celebration, Earle Havens, director of the Stern Center, will talk about ephemeral art during winter at Hopkins. To RSVP, email Daniel McClurkin at

Peabody Renaissance Ensemble at the Church of the Redeemer — Dec. 8, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

The Peabody Renaissance Ensemble presents: "Renaissance and Sephardic Music to Drive the Cold Winter Away." The event will be held at the Church of the Redeemer at 5603 N Charles St.

Peabody Symphony Orchestra at Miriam A. Friedberg Concert Hall — Dec. 9, 7:30–9:30 p.m.

Conducted by Joseph Young, Robert Rearden and Wei-Ping Chou will be playing the French Horn through Antonio Vivaldi’s Concerto in F Major, RV 538; Franz Liszt’s Les Préludes, Symphonic Poem No.3; and Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, Op. 98 in E Minor.

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