Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 23, 2024

To watch and watch for: Week of April 21

By TIMOTHY MCSHEA | April 21, 2024



This week’s picks include Challengers, a film featuring Zendaya and directed by Luca Guadagnino, Real Americans, a novel by Rachel Khong, St. Vincent’s newest LP, All Born Screaming and “Sound of Nature,” a live musical performance and exhibition at George Peabody Library as part of the “In the Stacks” concert series. 

I recently read a short story by Ted Thompson for my Intermediate Fiction course called “The Electric Slide.” The narrator of this story deals with random bouts of dementia, which he experiences as something akin to time travel — one night he’s in his first year of college, the next morning he wakes up years later, struggling to graduate while his peers have already gotten their diplomas and started their careers. 

I bring this story up because it’s similar to how I feel about this semester. A lot of things have changed in my life — as happens to everyone, over any extended period of time — but I still have this odd feeling, like I fell asleep after my intersession trip and woke up at the end of the semester, writing this final “To watch and watch for” for the semester, thinking over all the things I could have done differently.

For me, art and writing as an ambition, a career path, can only go so far. I have aspirations that fuel me day to day and pull me out of the malaise I just mentioned, but when these thoughts return, the only thing I can do is consume the art around me and hope something sticks. I know these ideas seem pessimistic, but they are real feelings, ones I hope many of you can relate to. 

And there is hope to what I’m talking about as well. Because if you are feeling homesick or regretful about your semester, your year or your academic career as a whole, then there is, and will always be, art. The following selections, although they aren’t all timeless, prove that some of our experiences can be made into something objective and separate from ourselves.

Please enjoy our final picks for the Spring 2024 semester!

To watch…

Challengers, directed by Luca Guadagnino — April 26

Former tennis prodigy Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), who retired after a knee injury, is married to a struggling professional tennis champion. Tashi plots a comeback for her husband until his final opponent in a championship match is his former best friend and Tashi’s former lover.

Boy Kills World, directed by Moritz Mohr — April 26

Moritz Mohr’s directorial debut is an action thriller film which follows Boy (Bill Skarsgård), a deaf man with a wild imagination, who goes on a wild campaign to avenge his family.

My Next Guest with David Letterman and John Mulaney, directed by Michael Steed — April 30

David Letterman’s current talk show is focused on long-form conversation, with such guests as Billie Eilish, Will Smith and Cardi B. This latest episode features comedian John Mulaney, who recently made headlines for his return to comedy after he took time off for drug addiction treatment.

To read…

Real Americans, by Rachel Khong — April 30

From the award-winning author of Goodbye, Vitamin, Rachel Khong’s newest novel covers American identity through three generations of a single family, from Y2K to the 2020s. The plot line interrogates questions of nature versus nurture: Are our identities true to ourselves or created by society?

Darling Girls, by Sally Hepworth — April 23

Three girls, Jessica, Norah and Alicia, are raised by a loving foster mother, Miss Fairchild, on an isolated farming estate and are given retribution for their shared loss with a loving childhood. But Miss Fairchild is stricter and more unpredictable than she seems, and the three escape out of desperation. When a body is found under the home years later, the three of them are interrogated. Are they innocent, or should they be treated as suspects?

Ocean's Godori, by Elaine U. Cho — April 23

Ocean Yoon is a descendant of the haenyeo, Jeju Island’s beloved female divers, and she’s gotten on the bad side of the Alliance, Korea’s solar system-dominating space agency. When her close and important friend Teo is framed for murder, Ocean is thrown into an action-packed journey full of conspiracy and intergalactic warfare.

To listen…

All Born Screaming, by St. Vincent — April 26

In her upcoming seventh studio album, St. Vincent will further develop her “sonic vocabulary” with industrial rock and pop influences. She will also be going on a North American tour with the album from May through September.

Hyperdrama, by Justice — April 26

This will be the fourth studio album by French electronic music duo Justice and the first LP in seven years, following Woman back in 2016. The album will oscillate between “pure electronic music and pure disco” and features two collaborations with psychedelic rock producer Tame Impala.

Fu##in’ Up, by Neil Young and Crazy Horse — April 26

Famed singer-songwriter Neil Young of Buffalo Springfield and the American rock band Crazy Horse collaborate on an album that’s just as old as it is new, riding the momentum of the Crazy Horse fandom. Though a limited edition physical vinyl was made available on Saturday, the album will be up on streaming platforms this Friday, April 26. 

Live events…

Randall Scarlata & Gilbert Kalish: Die schöne Müllerin at Hopkins Bloomberg Center — April 24 at 12:30 p.m. 

Associate Professor of Voice and acclaimed baritone Randall Scarlata, accompanied by pianist and Peabody Medal recipient Gilbert Kalish, performs Franz Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin. 

In the Stacks: Sounds of Nature at George Peabody Library — April 24 at 6 p.m.

In the next event as part of the “In the Stacks” concert series, Peabody faculty guitarist Sean Brennan and lyrical soprano Natanya Sheva Washer (Peabody graduate, ‘17) will perform in the beautiful George Peabody Library. The performance will explore themes of nature, featuring works by Florence Price, Kaija Saariaho, William Grant Still, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Pauline Viardot, accompanied by vividly illustrated books from the library’s collection. This event is free, but registration is required.

Peabody Graduate Jazz Ensemble at Hopkins Bloomberg Center — April 26 at 12:30 p.m.

The newly formed Graduate Jazz Ensemble features Peabody graduate students in Jazz Studies. Tickets are free, available online, and the event will be livestreamed.

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