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Crime and History: A Review of To Die But Once

Despite the proverb, I shamelessly judged To Die But Once, Jacqueline Winspear’s latest novel in her Maisie Dobbs British crime series, by the cover. With its ominous opaque figure front and center, surrounded by airplanes, and the catchy title, I was already hooked. As the fourteenth novel in the series, To Die But Once reads almost mechanically. It’s as if there is a formula to the prose and all Winspear has to do is fill in the plot. But the ease of the novel is not to be construed as pedestrian or uninspired.

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GUEST ROOM | Masculinity in Music

Considering America’s current political climate and the media’s obstinate fixation on criminal motive, it’s not surprising some people might suggest that the U.S.’s broken conception of masculinity could have something to do with recent mass shootings. While attempting to link the two is a causal leap, and in the wake of tragedy comes the risk of sounding a bit tone-deaf, I believe it’s as good of a time as any to begin discussing masculinity’s modern definition. Further, we can use art as a lens to determine masculinity’s place in society. While many people would argue that women in the U.S. face far more pervasive disadvantages than men and, as a result, conversations on masculinity are subordinate to those of femininity, there is no implication that I am arguing that men face systematic disadvantage. Moreover, many of those who would argue that American women face systematic oppression would also argue that masculinity (the patriarchy, toxic masculinity, etc.) is at least in part to blame.

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BENITEZ | Half of Our Lives

There is a psychological theory that half of our “experienced lives” are over by the time we are 19 years old. This is not to say that everyone will die at 38, but that a person who lives until the typical old age would sense that their life prior to 19 elapsed a similar duration to their life thereafter. This asymmetry is believed to be the outcome of our constantly-increasing familiarity with time itself. To a 10-year-old, a year is a monumental 10 percent of their life. For my grandparents, a year is often how long they go without seeing some of their grandchildren.

Artwork from the Estudios de Tension exhibit in the John Hartell Gallery.

Cartographies in Suspension

Before entering the space, it is as if the exhibit still has yet to be curated. A space that is normally bursting with artwork appears startlingly bare to the passing gaze from the exhibit’s periphery. Yet examination is almost always a generative process of exposure and uncovering — in terms of both the viewer as well as the viewed. The exhibit in question, Estudios de Tensión, meaning “studies of tension,” is a study of the relational and symbolic interactions that shape and constitute the world. A product of the artist Nicolás Robbio, the works can be found in the John Hartell Gallery in Sibley Hall until April 19.

Nikita Khrushchev (Steve Buscemi), Goergy Malenkov (Jeffrey Tambor), Lazar Kaganovich (Dermot Crowley) and Lavrenti Beria (Simon Russell Beale) in The Death of Stalin.

Should We Laugh at The Death of Stalin?

I’d say we all enjoy political comedy now and then. Whether it’s making fun of Hillary Clinton dabbing or making fun of anything Donald Trump tweets, nothing feels as good as teasing those in power. So, when I first saw ads for The Death of Stalin, I was thrilled. It’s a British film based on the French comic La mort de Staline, and only recently opened here in the United States. The film has some weak points here and there, but manages to deliver plenty of laughs and has a good heart.

X Ambassadors performs at the inaugural Cayuga Sound festival at Stewart Park, September 23rd, 2017. (Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor)

X Ambassadors and Young the Giant to Headline the Second Annual Cayuga Sound Festival in Stewart Park

X Ambassadors and Young the Giant will headline the second annual Cayuga Sound Festival in Stewart Park. This year, however, the festival will last two days as opposed to the one last year and will take place September 21 and 22. Other artists performing will include Matt and Kim, Sofi Tukker, Talib Kweli, Buddy, Morgxn, Knew, Lady D and the Shadow Spirits and Cornell’s very own No Comply. More artists remain to be announced. X Ambassadors are the curators of Cayuga Sound Festival and were formed in Ithaca.

Source: Instagram of Jesse Hughes

JONES | An Artist’s Place in the Gun Debate

If you’re a fan of the rap group/radical-left hype-men Run the Jewels, you may have been surprised by the news this weekend. Rapper Killer Mike, who forms one-half of Run the Jewels with El-P, gave an interview with the NRATV host Colion Noir in which he seemed to agree with the NRA and guns-right activists that new gun-control laws are not a solution to gun violence, separating himself from the progressive left that he has often acted as a celebrity spokesman for. In the interview, Killer Mike accused guns rights activists of being “lackey[s] of the progressive movement,” adding that “I told my kids on the school walkout: ‘I love you — if you walk out that school, walk out my house.’”

To be fair, Killer Mike was not simply aping the NRA’s incendiary rhetoric — he was trying to make an argument about the need specifically for African-Americans in poorly-policed areas to be prepared to defend themselves against threats. Killer Mike apologized in two videos he filmed at home soon after the NRATV interview was posted online, saying that he had unintentionally allowed the NRA to post the video as a counter to the March for Our Lives on Saturday, March 24, a protest which he called “a very noble campaign that I actually support.” However, he has chosen to explicitly align himself with gun-rights activists in the past: he said on Tavis Smiley’s show on PBS last year that “White men don’t want to give up their guns, and I’m with that. If you don’t want to give up your guns, and I have that right — not privilege — but I have that right too, then I’m standing on your side of the room when they say, ‘Who’s for guns?’”

A less surprising attack on gun control activists came from Jesse Hughes, the frontman of Eagles of Death Metal.

Drawing by Sophie Zheng

Pacific Rim Uprising: A Feast for Eyes, Not Heart

Even with a Kanye West endorsement and an all-star cast, many believed Guillermo Del Toro’s mecha-monster film Pacific Rim would bomb when it was released in 2013. While it is unfortunate that the guileless thrills of seeing giant monsters brawl equally colossal robots no longer excites as it used to, Del Toro’s eye for detail and ability to bestow a haunting grace to his extraterrestrial and mechanical monsters alike elevated Pacific Rim above the typical creature features. A stellar overseas performance helped drag the sequel’s status from the depths of development hell and now, Pacific Rim Uprising graces screens five years later. However, the absence of Del Toro’s idiosyncratic and artful touch looms over this Steven DeKnight directed film. While Pacific Rim Uprising never quite “rises up” to the iconic nature of its predecessor, it is fast-paced and undeniably fun, delivering exhilarating and bright action sequences and crisp CGI spectacle that excites in the moment, even if it does not stimulate much afterthought.

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Sherlock Gnomes: Kids Deserve Better

Do you ever hear about something, and after a few words you already know it’s a terrible idea? That’s how I felt with Sherlock Gnomes, the sequel to 2011’s Gnomeo and Juliet. Now, I never saw Gnomeo and Juliet, but from what I know, I feel that it didn’t warrant a sequel. Audience reactions seem lukewarm at best. Its gross wasn’t particularly impressive, only turning a profit thanks to the small budget.

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COLLINS | Free Netflix? No Thanks

During my sophomore year, former Arts & Entertainment Editor Sean Doolittle ’16 wrote a polemic titled “I’m Mad as Hell, and I’m Not Going to Take This Anymore.” Doolittle put Cornell students on blast for failing to value the arts. “We don’t make time for art anymore,” Doolittle wrote, “There’s no urgency for beauty.”

I disagreed with Doolittle’s column. Ways to appreciate arts and culture were everywhere on campus. Every weekend, students presented a cappella concerts, dance performances, live theater and more. Even if you wanted to stay in after a long week, who’s to say that watching Netflix doesn’t count as engaging with art?