Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
October 28, 2021

Arts & Entertainment



New Sylvia Plath short story published

Sylvia Plath died in 1963, and yet her writing has lived on. Plath’s poetry collection Ariel was published two years after her death, establishing her as an icon in 20th century poetry. But Ariel does not contain the only material written by Plath published posthumously — far from it. More poetry followed in the ‘70s, and as interest in the poet grew, her private letters and journals followed. 


COURTESY OF COLE DOUGLASS
Mecca Verdell performs at the Black Heritage Celebration last Friday.

Black Heritage Celebration opens with local poets

The highlight of the opening ceremony for the Black Heritage Celebration on Friday, Feb. 1 was undoubtedly the poetry, though the conversation was lively and the hot chocolate provided some much needed warmth as well. To kickoff its year-round initiative to celebrate African-American history and culture, the Office of Multicultural Affairs invited a group of incredibly talented poets to read their work and reflect on the experiences of people of color in the United States. Through their unique voices and powerful poems, the three women who read crafted an experience that was equal parts thought-provoking and heart-breaking, and their performances formed a strong cornerstone for the rest of the event series.


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Natalia Dyer stars as Coco in Netflix’s new movie Velvet Buzzsaw.

Velvet Buzzsaw fails to fit into comedy or horror

Velvet Buzzsaw, the latest comedy-horror film to air on Netflix, is a savage jab at the modern art community’s apparent descent into depravity. While an elevator pitch for the film sounds great — art comes to life and torments those who have let their greed exploit art — Velvet Buzzsaw turned out to be a nearly two-hour comedy-horror feature berating the culture surrounding modern art with no laugh-out-loud comedy and no hide-under-the-covers horror.


Mike Krol’s new Power Chords is a bit one-note

You guys remember rock? The genre in which shirtless singers wear tight leather pants, do copious amount of drugs and are unabashedly cool? Rock has somewhat faded from the mainstream consciousness, but the music is far from dead. Last week, singer/songwriter Mike Krol, released one of the best rock records of this year: Power Chords. The project is loud, brash and still somehow grippingly tender.


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Toro y Moi combines the genres of pop and electronic with his conceptual EP.

Artist Toro y Moi releases a celestial-feeling EP

Toro y Moi’s most recent album, released on Jan. 18, radiates just what we all need: Outer Peace. A chillwave genius and a talented graphic designer, Toro y Moi (also known as Chazwick Bradley Bundick) has incorporated his experimental brilliance in the 10 track LP. The 2019 album follows after almost a decade since the start of his professional music career when he released his debut album Causers of This in 2010. 


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James Blake’s new album Assume Form showcases his new Los Angeles style

James Blake assumes new form with Assume Form

James Blake makes good music. He’s been making good music for a long time. His first track, released back in 2009, “Air and Lack Thereof,” was a slapping dance song that he made in his bedroom. Since then the quiet, London-based producer dropped three fantastic albums, won the Mercury Prize and became one of the most sought after song writers, collaborating with pop icons such as Kanye West, Beyoncé and Frank Ocean. Blake is known for being your favorite artist’s favorite artist.


Netflix and Hulu’s Fyre docs offer contrasts

Almost immediately after their respective releases, documentaries Fyre Fraud and Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened quickly attained a level of memetic popularity almost on the level of the titular music festival itself. Hulu’s decision to release Fyre Fraud the day before Netflix’s Fyre was slated to release quickly grabbed the internet’s attention, and the subsequent sniping between the two streaming platforms made the whole conflict even more enticing.



Richard Goldschmidt/ CC BY-3.0
Actress Sandra Bullock shines in the lead role of new Netflix movie Birdbox

Bird Box does not live up to the expectations of its meme form

Bird Box, a post-apocalyptic Netflix original starring Sandra Bullock, suffered an unfortunate fate that seems to befall more and more projects everyday: It became popular as a meme before it was respected as a film. Based off a relatively successful novel of the same name by Josh Malerman, the film set out with high hopes that were met with mediocre critic reviews. However, because of its massive internet popularity, the film did very well amongst Netflix users, and its 15 minutes of fame undoubtedly brought Bird Box the success it needed. 


Courtesy of Rudy Malcom
Roxane Gay discussed her opinions on race and privilege at Loyola on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Author Roxane Gay speaks at Loyola for MLK, Jr., Convocation

Anyone who knows me knows that Roxane Gay is my favorite writer. She sits atop the list of people I would invite to a fantasy dinner party, followed by Serena Williams and Jaden Smith. I sometimes wonder about the nature of her oft-subtweeted nemesis. And I’ve now heard her live more than any of my favorite musical acts — which is to say, twice.


Thank You, Dad probes Jonestown cult

While there have always been individuals who idolize prominent criminals of the past and present, the fascination with cult leaders and other violent people from the 20th century has become more and more mainstream. This increase in popularity has been greatly aided by the focus that pop culture has placed on the crimes of the past. Netflix specials are made about strings of murders that are over a decade old; television shows have entire seasons focused on the rise of a cult in today’s social climate; and internet shows explore unsolved mysteries from the past century. 


Gage Skidmore/CC by-SA 2.0
Shameik Moore at SDCC 2018 discussing his role as Miles in the successful “Into the Spider-Verse.”

Into the Spider-Verse breaks Marvel’s usual mold

After years of putting out cookie-cutter superhero movies, Marvel finally brings its audience something new with their latest animated hit, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Despite making yet another Spider-Man movie, the writers of Into the Spider-Verse somehow deliver a superhero movie unlike any other. 


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The 1975’s new album release A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships propels them forward.

The 1975’s new album: emotionally honest and musically mature

The most fitting word that represents The 1975’s new album, A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships, is one that the band explicitly uses in a song title: sincerity. Put simply, the record is sincerity in the form of a vast assortment of sounds that fit together peculiarly well. A Brief Inquiry distinctly shows The 1975’s maturation: It is the band’s first major release after frontman Matty Healy’s stint in rehab for heroin addiction.



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Peabody Ballroom Experience’s event showed Kiki, which first premiered at Sundance Film Festival.

Documentary Kiki highlights the ballroom scene in Baltimore

When Pose began airing earlier this year, it brought the ballroom culture — an underground pageant system for members of the LGBTQ community — into the mainstream consciousness like never before. For many, including myself, the show serves as an introduction to the history of the ballroom scene and the LGBTQ community that brought it to life.


Winner of Cannes Film Festival reaches Netflix

Happy as Lazzaro, translated from the Italian title, Lazzaro Felice, won Best Screenplay at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. On Friday, Nov. 30, seven months after its European debut, the film, directed by Italian director Alice Rohrwacher, finally came to Netflix. The film was not only listed as a critic’s pick in the New York Times but was also the topic of conversation for Vox’s weekly Cinemastream column. 


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JID’s sophomore album Dicaprio 2 leaves him with room for improvement.

Hip-Hop artist J.I.D.’s new album Dicaprio 2 sounds effortless

When talking about the fastest rising stars in the hip-hop scene, most people go straight to trap artists in Atlanta, such as Playboi Carti and Lil Yachty, or the SoundCloud phenomenons of South Florida, like Lil Pump and Kodak Black. These figures have dominated hip hop recently, with mantras of prescription drug use, face tattoos and general teenage angst. New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica called it hip hop’s punk movement — a sort of rebellion against traditional rap culture.


Courtesy of Kanak Gupta
“A Wonder in My Soul” touches upon the reality of gentrification and its effect on communities.

A Wonder in My Soul focuses on life in Baltimore

Marcus Gardley’s A Wonder in My Soul, which is showing at Baltimore Center Stage from Nov. 29 to Dec. 23, is the story of the strength of two black women and their unbreakable friendship. The friendship has survived six decades of hardships and is now faced with the trial of surviving Baltimore’s gentrification.


Courtesy of Rudy Malcom
Comedian Zack Bornstein gave students tips on getting a career in comedy.

Former SNL writer discusses his comedy career

Former Saturday Night Live (SNL) writer Zack Bornstein gave a talk about comedy writing for television in Hodson Hall on Friday, Nov. 30. The prolific writer, actor, director and stand-up comedian shared his industry experience, knowledge and advice as part of the University’s Film and Media Studies program’s ongoing 2018-19 Visiting Artists Series. 


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