COURTESY OF HILLSONG UNITED

MEISEL | How to Play Christian Rock

From about age 15-17 I played bass for my high school’s in-house Christian worship band. Each Thursday once a week we would gather our gear in the chapel for a run-through of the classic standards our audiences had come to know with every Sunday of every month of every year. We jammed around. We sang pristine 21st century Christian music, which often sounded as if some type of cliché folk-indie band had encountered divine inspiration. It was usually fun, not to mention the shows.

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Blair Witch Casts a Comic Spell

For a sequel to a film that is credited with popularizing the entire “found footage” genre, Blair Witch (2016) is quite underwhelming. In the film, James (James Allen McCune) is looking for his sister Heather (the main female character from The Blair Witch Project) in the Black Hills Forest in Maryland. Like the first film, this has also been made in the “found footage” format, which can lead to some creative shots. I’m not a big fan of this style of filmmaking, but a good example can be found in the Paranormal Activity movies. The technology used in the cinematography, and how we witness the paranormal, is what makes the films unique.

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Café Society Is Short and a Little Too Sweet

Woody Allen’s latest film, Café Society stars Jesse Eisenberg as Bobby Dorfman, a Bronx native trying out Hollywood for the first time under the wing of his uncle, prominent film executive Phil Stern (Steve Carell). Bobby begins working for his uncle and meets members of the 1930s Hollywood elite. Along the way he falls in love with the cool and refreshing Vonnie (Kristen Stewart), his uncle’s secretary. Vonnie appears to reject the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, but when we learn she is having an affair with Bobby’s uncle, it becomes apparent that she wants to be a part of “Café Society” just as much as anyone else. Their complicated romance has a lasting effect on Bobby, and shapes the rest of his journey throughout the film.

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The Value of Arts

A palpable — though often unspoken — tension between the humanities and STEM festers on this campus. The humanities’ utility has consistently been questioned — and perhaps with good reason. Why would one ever need to relay the myth of Prometheus or know that Edgar Degas was a French Impressionist painter unless one was competing on Jeopardy! and had the potential to win hundreds of dollars? It is especially difficult to justify the relevancy of the humanities curriculum in times of economic upheaval.

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VAN ZILE | Stay Awake For Fun

Today I have a challenge for you. A simple one, yes, and maybe a pointless one too, but a challenge. For no immediate reason, try and stay up for as long as you possibly can. Most people, in my experience, do not want to do this. I like asking casual acquaintances how long they’ve ever stayed awake at a time, and after people tell me, they almost always say something like, “Ugh, it was awful.

A panel from Jeffrey Brown's Unlikely.

CHAZAN | What Ever Happened to the Graphic Memoir?

A few weeks back now, I was perusing the pages of the print edition of this very paper, when I happened upon a surprising sight. Among the crossword puzzles and the regular newspaper comic reprints was a cartoon I had not seen in the paper before, or any paper for that matter. The contents of the cartoon were unremarkable — apparently kids say the darndest things — but I was surprised to see that the artist was none other than Jeffrey Brown. Woah, I thought to myself, that’s a blast from the past. See, back in the mid-’00s, Brown used to be a high profile figure in the then-bustling genre of graphic memoir.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg

GOULDTHORPE | DreamWorks Dreaming

One of my favorite animated films of all time is DreamWorks’ The Prince of Egypt, and one of my favorite animated sequences of all time is the opening song “Deliver Us.” Right from the beginning the movie delivers a powerful and visceral experience, adapting one of the most famous Biblical stories in a sincere way that captures its heart and essence. With beautiful music and visuals, it holds a special place in my heart. That’s why it pains me to admit that I have mixed feelings about DreamWorks Animation: I admire a lot of work that they’ve done, and I feel like they’ve impacted the industry in beneficial ways. At the same time, their missteps have been many, and I feel like they’ve been losing their edge for a long time. Given the fact that they’ve been making the news lately, I want to take this time to meditate on DreamWorks and their importance.

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The Whiteness in Life: Wedding Doll at Cornell Cinema

Sometimes in our lives, there’s nothing sadder than looking down at the toilet paper roll in a bathroom stall and seeing only the empty cardboard ring. There’s no moment more lonely, no feeling so isolating, no issue equally pressing. Nitzan Gilday’s film, Wedding Doll, showing at Cornell Cinema this Wednesday, puts things in perspective. Because, there is something sadder than looking at that hopeless cardboard ring: A paperless roll in a toilet paper factory’s solitary bathroom. And, believe it or not, there are moments more desperate than that.

COURTESY OF DEF JAM RECORDS

SWAN | Legitimization or Appropriation?

2016 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Beastie Boys debut album Licensed to Ill, and in commemoration, the work will be reissued on vinyl, which is set for release on October 14. Licensed to Ill was wildly popular when it was initially released in 1986, and has since been certified diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). A quote by Chuck D of Public Enemy is included in Def Jam’s press release for the reissue: “The breakthrough of Licensed To Ill in 1986 paved the road legitimizing Rap to its USA masses… This record also expanded HipHop diversity allowing Public Enemy’s Takes A Nation to be its antithesis.”

Chuck D’s words here pose an interesting question: what exactly does it mean to “legitimize” an art form to the “masses” of fans in America and the western world? The answer to that questions seems to vary and possess its own degree of complexity. However, the case of Licensed to Ill is relatively simple.

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

PEGAN | Free Weezy: An Ode to an American Icon

Would I ever think about retiring? I look at retirement like… you retire out when you die out… because you never retire at what you do, meaning… if what you do is your life like mine… like my career is my life… I could never retire out… even if I stop rapping I’m going to be in some form or fashion in it, know what I mean? –Lil Wayne, 2006

It’s been a hectic month in Wayne’s world. It all started when the 33-year-old hip-hop legend took to Twitter to announce his retirement, declaring himself “DEFENSELESS AND mentally DEFEATED.” The tweet was just the latest in the ongoing saga of Wayne’s legal feud with former mentor Birdman: a disheartening, gridlocked dispute which is itself the latest in a long series of adversities Weezy has faced over the past eight years. The tweet doesn’t mark the first time Wayne has publicly alluded to hanging up the mic — it has been public knowledge since 2012 that his long-delayed album Tha Carter V will be his last — but it obviously came from a place of deep personal despair.