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April 21, 2024

To watch and watch for: Week of March 3

By TIMOTHY MCSHEA | March 3, 2024



This week’s picks include Pokémon Horizons: The Series, released by TV Tokyo, The House of Hidden Meanings by Rupaul, Eternal Sunshine by Ariana Grande and a VR Exhibit, titled “War Up Close” at the JHU-MICA Film Centre. 

The list curated for this week was not easy. The truth is, after the postponements — caused by actors’ and writers’ strikes in 2023 — have finally ended, we’re getting a surge of new content, and not only in the “To watch...” category. Ariana Grande’s new album, for example, would have been released much later had she not had a break from filming Wicked (2024). The dark fantasy film Damsel, originally set to be released in October 2023, was pushed back alongside five other films due to the strikes.

All I mentioned prior about the Hollywood strikes obviously has no effect on the live events for this week, but nonetheless, it is spring, and Baltimore is always full of artistic live events and exhibitions. It isn’t all just for leisure, though.

The virtual reality exhibition, “War Up Close,” curated by Mykola Omelchenko, uses real footage of the devastation caused by the war in Ukraine, immersing you in the most real virtual representation possible.

Our section is called Arts & Entertainment for a reason. Escapism can be beneficial, especially for those of us with looming midterms and essay deadlines. And yet, art’s goal is neither simply to escape nor simply to entertain. Sometimes the most powerful effect of art is its forceful attitude: When presented face-to-face with the realities of the world, we can’t seem to look away. For those who seek to escape, as well as those who seek the real, here are the Arts & Entertainment section’s weekly picks.

To watch…

Pokémon Horizons: The Series, released by TV Tokyo — March 7 

The Pokemon series continues without the original main character, Ash (though one of the new main characters, Roy, sounds very similar). This time the main goal is — you guessed it — to become the best of the best, and the quest for discovery (of the world and oneself) is a more openly stated theme. In its U.S. debut, this series will definitely test the longevity of the Pokémon TV show format. Will it follow the same formula, or try something new? 

Damsel, directed by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo — March 8 

This dark fantasy film follows Princess Elodie, played by Millie Bobby Brown, who agrees to marry a prince, only to discover his family's intention to sacrifice her. In order to repay a long-standing debt, Elodie is trapped within a cave to contend with a fire-breathing dragon.

Love Lies Bleeding, directed by Rose Glass — March 8

Set in the ‘80s, this romantic thriller features Kristen Stewart as Lou, a reclusive gym manager who fights for her aspirations as a competitive bodybuilder while being held back by the criminal operations of her family. Pairing the gritty nature of Glass’ plot with the poppy, ‘80s aesthetic makes for a thrilling portrayal of lust, violence and painful ambition.

To read...

Baby X, by Kira Peikoff — March 5

As technology continues to advance, the future reality Peikoff envisions — where a scientist can create an egg or sperm from any person’s cells — forces unsettling contemplation. Celebrity singer Trace Thorne is Peikoff’s first imagined victim. Targeted by the Vault, a black market site devoted to stealing DNA, Thorne is forced to face the potential of unwanted biological children. So, he hires a security guard, Ember Ryan, for some much-needed backup.

The Great Divide, by Cristina Henríquez — March 5

In this creative nonfiction novel, Cristina Henríquez follows the many intersecting residents of Panama during the construction of the Panama Canal. Through the unsung lives of activists, fishmongers, laborers, journalists, neighbors, doctors and soothsayers, the novel attempts to shed light on the true history of the canal’s construction and how the native people were affected.

The House of Hidden Meanings, by RuPaul — March 6

The famed drag performer and pop culture icon, RuPaul, shares the most meaningful and intimate details of his past: his childhood in a broken home as a Black, poor, queer boy in San Diego as well as his rise to generational stardom. He recounts his complex relationships both as a child and as an adult in the punk and drag scenes of Atlanta and New York.

To listen...

Eternal Sunshine, by Ariana Grande — March 8

In Grande’s upcoming seventh studio album, the pop icon is reassessing her image. The only released single for the LP so far “yes, and?” features a house-inspired throwback beat reminiscent of Beyoncé’s 2023 album Renaissance, but with a soothing interlude that is similar to Grande’s past work. As Grande stated in a recent interview, Eternal Sunshine will be “kind of a concept album,” with “different heightened pieces of the same story, of the same experience.”

Visions, by Norah Jones — March 8

Visions will be the ninth studio album by Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Norah Jones. In relation to the title, Jones stated in a press release that the majority of ideas present on the album “came in the middle of the night or in that moment right before sleep.” Continuing, she stated that the lead single. “Running,” was “one of them where you’re half asleep and kind of jolted awake.” In the liminal space between dream and reality, we’ll gladly immerse ourselves in Jones’ Visions.

VULTURES 2, by Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign — March 8

Back in January, West posted a production schedule that indicated the collaborative project between Ty Dolla $ign and himself, which would include three separate volumes, on his Instagram story. Although the schedule has the second volume slated for this Friday — and the first volume was surprisingly released on time — I am personally skeptical of this release date. However, the new album contains certain songs West has teased in the past that were not included in Vultures 1, most prominently “EVERYBODY” and “UNLOCK,” so there may be some songs that are ready for release. Whether West has been producing enough extra tracks behind the scenes, though, remains to be seen.

Live events...

VR Exhibit: “War Up Close” at JHU-MICA Film Centre — March 4 at 4 p.m.

For a four-hour window, this free event will allow participants to see the war-torn areas of Ukraine up close, confronting themselves with the harsh reality of war and its consequences. Using 360° panoramic photos, drone footage and 3D modeling, artist Mykola Omelchenko curates an experience replicating reality to devastating effect.

The Love Hard Tour: Keyshia Cole, Trey Songz and more at CFG Bank Arena — March 8 at 8 p.m.

The Love Hard Tour features R&B icons from the early 2000s up to the present. The lineup is headlined by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Keyshia Cole and multi-platinum-selling R&B singer Trey Songz and also includes singers Jaheim and K. Michelle. Doors open at 7 p.m. Check the linked website for ticket pricing.

Mark Padmore and Mitsuko Uchida Concert at Shriver Hall — March 10 at 5:30 p.m.

In their Baltimore debut, tenor Mark Padmore and pianist Mitsuko Uchida will perform Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise,” a stirring song cycle full of existential themes. The renowned performers will hold a Pre-Concert Talk at 4:30 p.m. before the performance. Tickets are $46 but staff and faculty have a 15% discount and Hopkins students have free admission.

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