Arts & Entertainment

Poet Simon Armitage bridges comedy and tragedy

March 6, 2019

Having read some of poet Simon Armitage’s works, I was excited to see him read his poems in person on Tuesday, Feb. 26 as part of the Albert Dowling Visiting Lecturer reading series organized by the Writing Seminars Department. Little did I know that ...

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Simon Armitage performed an array of poems at latest reading series.

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The singer Robyn is best known for the songs “Dancing On My Own” and “Call  Your Girlfriend.”

The joy in watching Robyn’s epic return to music

February 27, 2019

I first heard Robyn roughly six years ago as the opener for Coldplay on their Mylo Xyloto tour in my hometown of Charlotte, N.C. With her quirky costume, idiosyncratic choreography and dance-y tracks, she didn’t necessarily seem like a natural fit to go with Coldplay (who were just beginning to transition into their more pop-heavy phase). 

Peter Bruun exhibits 1000 love letters

February 27, 2019

Peter Bruun is a Denmark-born artist and current Baltimore resident. After losing his 24-year-old daughter Elisif Janis to a heroin overdose in February 2014, he turned his devastation into art with the overwhelming support of  those around him. His loss became the start of the development of a new exhibition, though he was working on his previous exhibition Autumn Leaves at the time of her passing. 

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Rami Malek took home the Best Leading Actor Oscar last Sunday night.

Best moments of first hostless Oscars in 30 years

February 27, 2019

I’d like to thank the Academy... and I’d also like to admit that I am not qualified to write an article about the 91st Academy Awards. First of all, I’m an uncouth piglet (never say “uncultured swine” again); RBG is the only film nominated for an Oscar this year that I’ve seen. (I am utterly disappointed that it didn’t win Best Documentary.) In a similar vein, when I told someone I was going to cover the Oscars for The News-Letter, he strongly implied that I wasn’t fit to comment on red carpet fashion because I don’t wear designer clothing.

As Told to G/D Thyself explores local music

February 27, 2019

Kamasi Washington’s film As Told to G/D Thyself screened at the Parkway Theatre on Friday, Feb. 21. The saxophonist, band leader and torch-bearer of contemporary jazz made the film following the release of his conceptual two-part album Heaven and Earth. Washington explained during the interview portion of the night how he decided on the visual accompaniment to the music.

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Kamasi Washington created the film to accompany his new jazz album.

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Ellen Page stars as Vanya in Netflix’s newest superhero-action series Umbrella Academy.

Netflix’s new super-series Umbrella Academy may be its best yet

February 27, 2019

Netflix is no stranger to the gritty superhero genre. If you’ve seen Jessica Jones or Daredevil (both of which were recently cancelled), then you know that the streaming service knows how to create compelling drama out of the spandex and superpowers that define the heroes of Marvel and DC. The first season of Umbrella Academy, which was released on Feb. 15, is Netflix’s best outing in the genre to date.

Throat Culture impresses with physical comedy

February 28, 2019

It’s strange to go to a comedy show and come out having discovered a new fear: the fear that the person sitting next to you is actually a part of the performance. I grappled with this fear for the first time when a surprisingly friendly Russian-accented fellow tapped me on the shoulder, asked if he could sit next to me, politely asked me how I was doing and asked me whether I had ever been to a Throat Culture show before. 

Courtesy of Benjamin Strauss

Courtesy of Charlotte Wood
Pinegrove, an indie rock band, performed at the Black Cat in D.C. on Thursday, February 21.

Indie rock band Pinegrove hits D.C. on tour of new album

February 27, 2019

When it comes to music, most people like to date around, listening to lots of different artists at once. My relationship with music is generally monogamous. I find an artist whose music I love, and I make a commitment. I’ll listen to an album for weeks at a time until I know all of the lyrics. But this doesn’t happen very often; so when I saw that Pinegrove, one of my most recent loves, was going to be playing at Black Cat in D.C., I knew I had to go. Even though I saw the tickets almost two months in advance, I still bought them immediately — I wasn’t going to miss this.

Car Seat Headrest celebrates re-release of their 2011 album

February 20, 2019

Indie-rock troop Car Seat Headrest, led by singer-songwriter Will Toledo, played at Rams Head Live on Feb. 17 as they continued the second North American leg of their tour celebrating the re-release of their 2011 classic, Twin Fantasy. As an avid music fan, to say I had never been to a concert in my life was near blasphemy. So when I saw my favorite band coming to Baltimore on the day before my 20th birthday, I had no choice but to book some tickets.

Courtesy of Tiffany Hu
G Jones toured his debut album The Ineffable Truth on Friday, Feb. 15 in Philadelphia.

G Jones’ tour smartly combines visuals and sound

February 20, 2019

On Friday, February 15, I traveled to Philadelphia to see G Jones on tour for his debut album The Ineffable Truth. I had seen G Jones live three times prior to this show, but this would be my first time seeing him headlining. I had been anticipating it for months.

Witness Theater’s I-show showcases student work

February 28, 2019

I got the chance to interview some of the writers and directors involved in the Witness Theater’s 2019 Intersession Showcase on Saturday, February 16. Every semester, the Witness Theater performs four plays, each written and directed by students, that gravitate around a central theme, idea or location. This year, the central location of every play was an art gallery. Even within those limits, the plays — The Importance of Being Terry, Art Isn’t Dead, Montana and Framed — all had styles that differed starkly from one another, ranging from comedy to drama and each expressing the unique voices of the directors and writers who worked on them. 

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New documentary Minding the Gap exposes personal stories of skateboarders.

In Minding the Gap, skateboarding is not just a hobby

February 20, 2019

I am neither an avid skateboarder nor a Tony Hawk skateboard fanatic, but in the past few years, I’ve grown increasingly interested in the subculture’s influence on fashion, arts and the community it holds together. Skateboard videos have claimed their own unique niche in the world of social media, where young, talented individuals showcase their tricks in oddly satisfying clips that are edited to match trending hip-hop songs. 

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Actor Suraj Sharma features in Happy Death Day’s new sequel.

Sequel to Happy Death Day is an unexpected success

February 20, 2019

From the writer of all those Paranormal Activity sequels comes yet another horror movie sequel, Happy Death Day 2U. It feels like an odd combination of the time-loop films we know fairly well at this point — basically, a crazed science project, countless physics theories that will register as alien to non-majors and a psycho killer in a baby mask equals a flood of weirdness, inconsistencies and a copious amount of blood.

Charli XCX disappoints crowd at Ram's Head

February 20, 2019

When I saw that Charli XCX was putting on a concert in Baltimore with tickets selling for only $22, that ticket was in my cart almost faster than I could read the offer. With so many of her songs topping my middle school playlists, it would have felt dishonest to do anything else.

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Charli XCX many of her popular hits on February 18 at Rams Head Live.

Isn’t it Romantic fails to fully subvert expectations

February 20, 2019

If Isn’t It Romantic was a character in a romantic comedy, it would be the first-act love interest: attractive, charming, generally a nice enough guy, but the protagonist isn’t going to burst into the church at the last second to stop their wedding. The parody of romantic comedies/actual romantic comedy has some good jokes and a lot of heart, but its attempts to subvert the expectations of the genre, though admirable, often feel underdeveloped — especially in the film’s final moments. Still, for all of its flaws, Isn’t it Romantic finds a lot of humor and heart in the clichés and is ultimately a fairly enjoyable, if shallow, satire.

Barnstormers impress with The Wolves

February 14, 2019

The Barnstormers presented their Intersession show, The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe, in Arellano Theater this weekend. The play — directed and produced by juniors Sydney Thomas and Maya Singh Sharkey, respectively — featured nine young women on a high school indoor soccer team. 


Cuarón’s Roma explores the complexity of womanhood

February 14, 2019

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma is the sensational masterpiece we are all — and should be — talking about. The film has also become the center of attention for the upcoming 91st Academy Awards, where it has secured nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Picture, Best Production Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Original Screenplay. And these prestigious accolades come just after countless other titles it has claimed over the few months since its 2018 debut at the 75th Venice International Film Festival. 

Astrale navigates a new sound with EP release

February 13, 2019

I have depression. At my lowest points, I physically can’t stop myself from crying, and working on music is the only thing I’ve found that rescues me from breaking down further. On a more regular basis, my depression manifests in the very typical form of being unable to get out of bed.

Courtesy of Trevor Higuera
Astrale’s EP, the things you cannot see tells his story of introspection.

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Actress Zazie Beetz stars as Sam in new sports drama film High Flying Bird.

New sports drama High Flying Bird soars high on Netflix

February 15, 2019

High Flying Bird is a film of contradictions. It’s a film about basketball, one of the most dynamic sports ever created, yet also one where the action primarily takes place in nondescript business rooms, hotel lobbies and living rooms. It is also one of many recent films shot entirely on an iPhone, but its stylistic trappings are more indebted to classic Hollywood than to any new stylistic possibilities the iPhone has opened up. It is both a film where Netflix (the film’s distributor) figures in as a major plot point and also one where men conduct backdoor business in saunas like it’s the slickest thing since buttered bread.