The world was a much simpler place when we were six. Our imaginations ran free. Six-year-olds can find beauty and excitement anywhere, and make any setting their personal playground. It is fun to be reminded how happy the littlest things could make us when we were younger. The Florida Project gives us that opportunity by welcoming us to Moonee’s world.
Over the summer, I had an ongoing debate with a friend at work about whether it is worthwhile, useful or even possible to try to “separate the art from the artist.” It covered the predictable bullet points this argument usually touches: whether art “ascends” to somewhere outside of the human sphere of its creators or whether it always bears the sign of the creator’s human hand; whether or not it is harmful to continue consuming art that was created by (generally) male artists with odious and/or criminal backstories; and whether it is ever useful or informative to apply an artist’s biography to their work. I was firmly in the camp that the art and artist are inextricable, and the Hollywood revelations of the past few weeks have only made me more sure of this. The relationship of biography to art was always impossible to ignore in Louis C.K.’s FX show Louie, and this was the way that C.K. intended it. The show’s main character was a reflection of its creator that never pretended to be much different than the man himself, but with his baggage and misbehavior exaggerated (it seemed). Louie was critically adored for seasons, and often praised as an incisive interrogation of masculinity and gender norms. There were some voices of criticism about the ways it depicted sexual assault and harassment — more than one episode features Louis C.K.’s character enduring some form of sexual assault by a female character, and there is a deeply disturbing scene in which he pushes and drags his “love” interest Pamela around his apartment trying to kiss her, an action which has absolutely no repercussions for their storyline.
Eminem is a walking contradiction, at once meticulous and utterly messy, both in character and in lyric. His politics are complicated, his rhymes often puzzling. The illustrious Marshall Mathers has without a doubt left behind a prickly portfolio that ranges from aggravating dark male anger to poppy bops to at times mind-bending twists of verse. He is, by most measures, one of the greatest and most problematic hip-hop artists of his era. Eminem has since more or less fallen out of the zeitgeist, nowadays reserved for workout playlists and the occasional surprise appearance on shuffle.
When I first listened to all-female Japanese trio Paranoid Void, I learned of the existence of math rock. At first, it did not sound fun, as anything having to do with math is just not fun to me. Math rock, though, is a genre holding some similarities to post-rock that utilizes unconventional time signatures, rhythms and dissonance. Paranoid Void, composed of members Meguri, Yu-Ki and Mipow, is unlike most music I have listened to, and it became evident that the trio put endless effort into their first full-length album, Literary Math. On Paranoid Void’s website, the band describes Literary Math as a “three-dimensional composition of the sound and words that the female sensibility unique to women creates.” Additionally, on the album’s release date, the band published a blog entry explaining what they wanted the album to convey.
In James McBride’s latest short story collection Five-Carat Soul, McBride tackles an era of history dominated by contentious social and racial dynamics through the a lens that humanizes the oppressed. Through each story, McBride reveals social truths about groups ranging from PhD students at Columbia University to war veterans to lower class African Americans in the wake of desegregation. Each story takes the reader through emotional, often heart-breaking encounters that demonstrate different pains of the human condition: love, trauma, injustice and acceptance, among others. Through his clear but poignant prose, McBride emulates the sort of rational and telling voices of historic authors whose literature exposed cultural norms, even if such norms were unflattering. His prose is didactic guised as charming, thus going beyond simply conveying the multiple personalities and experiences, but more broadly conveying an era of post-traumatic stress, whether it be racial, economic, political, or a hybrid of the three.
Cole Basta, known as Col3trane is a London native already starting to make a name for himself in the English hip hop scene at age 18. He released his first single “New Chain” on May 19 of this year. The vibe of this song set the stage for his entire debut album. It is slower than most rap songs we hear in the states, and has more of an R&B vibe to it. The beats, while very rhythmic, are relaxed and subtle, leaving room for his lyrics to come through.
You’re probably used to seeing Shakespeare plays with a twist: whether that means adapted into a musical, parodied upon or set in a different era or political context. In fact, these days it might actually be harder to encounter a Shakespeare play done in the strictly “classic” manner than one that takes on some sort of revisionist elements. But you probably haven’t seen an adaptation as bold as Hamlet Wakes Up Late. Written by renowned Syrian poet and playwright Mamduh Adwan, translated by Prof. Margaret Litvin, Arabic and comparative literature, Boston University, and directed by Prof. Rebekah Maggor, performing and media arts, Hamlet Wakes Up Late is a Syrian political satire set which had its English-language premiere at the Schwartz this weekend. Inspired by The Bard’s iconic tragedy, the play unfolds under a drastically different and intriguing premise: one in which Prince Hamlet is an narcissistic alcoholic, so absorbed in his own world that he remains unaware of the truth behind his father’s death and oblivious to the people’s suffering under his uncle’s dictatorship until it is too late.
The summer of their junior year of high school, David Cabuenas ’19 and his friend Matt Valdez established the band No-Comply in their hometown Queens. The band represented a crossover of interests in fashion, music and art. Once at Cornell, the band grew to include Charles Chatman ’19 and has evolved significantly. Looking back on those years, Cabuenas sees them as “an incubation period.”
In conversation with David Cabuenas, I learned more about the No-Comply’s overall vision and how the sound has grown since coming to Ithaca. Cabuenas stated: “I learned a lot here in Ithaca, in terms of expanding my taste palate and taking what I learned in the music scene and the community here.
If there is one word that is overused when describing concert experiences, it’s “magical.” Experiences and emotions are subjective, yet everyone seems to come back to that word. I agree that there is a certain atmosphere to be found at concerts that can’t be found anywhere else, but I believe that the affects found in a Girlpool concert are in a category of their own. Girlpool’s music takes emotions that are difficult to describe and puts them in an accurate, concise form of music that makes one think, “Wow. Why couldn’t I think of that when it’s so straightforward?” Taking those sentiments to a small venue like The Haunt makes the experience personal by forcing one to address neglected, bottled up feelings, creating a truly magical experience. Girlpool opened their show with “123,” the first track off their newest album Powerplant.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Nick Smith, Sun Staff Writer
I’ve diagnosed myself with the flu. I don’t have a cough or a runny nose but I did skip class yesterday morning and I’m pretty sure that means I’m deathly ill. In my defense, I did have a fever and I’m ready to forward my doctor’s note from Gannett (I’m not calling it Cornell Health) to any unconvinced readers (Mom). Similarly, Thor, at least in terms of solo movies, isn’t doing great. Though the character has faired well in various other Marvel Cinematic Universe appearances, Thor (2011) was alright by virtue of the character’s novelty and Thor: The Dark World (2013) felt like a clunker.