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Raw: What Are You Hungry For?

I should have known what I was getting into the second I bought my ticket to see Raw. The Cinemapolis employee handed my friend and I customized Raw barf bags and band-aids. Yikes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JfTnHHm3O8

I decided to see Raw without knowing much about it. As someone who is a borderline hypochondriac and easily freaks myself out at times, I do not often (ever, really) see horror movies.

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MEISEL | Hotlanta

“Hotlanta” is a groovy Allman Brothers track. It also nicknames a humid sprawl with an area of about 8,300 square miles which has generated its fair share of Confederate battle-flag toting libertarians and trap superstars. For the past 20 years, the city has risen in notoriety, mostly for its music culture. Outkast’s Southernplayalistikcadillacmuzik includes a tongue-in-cheek sketch announcing that despite its states’ racist flag, Atlanta is “the new Motown of the South.” I doubt Andre and Big Boi knew how true those words would 20 years later, when Lil Yachty and Migos top the charts with no signs of fatigue in sight. Donald Glover cemented a vision of Atlanta as a haze of concrete.

COURTESY OF INTERSCOPE

TEST SPIN: Kendrick Lamar — Damn.

“Is it wickedness? Is it weakness?” opens Kendrick Lamar’s long awaited fourth album, Damn. The question he poses in “BLOOD,” the album’s first track, is answered by the rest of the album, highlighting the failings of man to meet his own expectations, burdened by fame, and still trying to make sense of his country, community and self. Dropped on April 14, Good Friday (which has sparked rather desperate speculation of a followup album on Easter), the 14-track album is a stripped down version of Kendrick, whose vocals and rich lyricism do the heavy-lifting, a welcome deviation from the instrumental, narration-heavy critically and popularly acclaimed good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly.Though the album lacks the consistency of earlier concept releases, its purpose is to show the versatility of his storytelling, unbound by a single narration and style. In the face of a pre-release lead up that saw Kendrick checking his rivals, Damn.

COURTESY OF PRO ERA RECORDS

TEST SPIN: Joey Bada$$ – All Amerikkkan Bada$$

Joey Bada$$, Brooklyn rap phenom and founder of the New York hip-hop collective Pro Era, has released his long-awaited sophomore album, All-Amerikkkan Bada$$, and there’s a lot to be excited about. Joey has made a name for himself over the past few years by making music that truly emulates the vintage 90’s East Coast sound that gave way to the likes of Biggie, Nas and Jay-Z. In a world where the more trap-oriented, less lyrical breeds of rappers have taken the mainstage (think Migos, Lil Uzi Vert and Future), Joey Bada$$ remains wholly committed to bringing hip-hop back to its roots. With his profound, aggressive lyricism and classic boom-bap New York production, Joey Bada$$ has shown a keen ability to make music that reminds listeners of hip-hop’s roots without sounding too dusty. And at only 22 years of age, there’s reason to be hopeful; his debut mixtape, 1999, catapulted him onto the rap scene and drew immensely positive critical reception.

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JONES | Four Great Shows and One Nasty Joke

What do you do when your favorite genre becomes a meme? I grew up with indie rock, but I’ve been feeling pretty disinterested with what it has to offer lately. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the justified criticism of self-indulgent, guitar-strumming sadboys by former Arts editor Jael Goldfine ‘17. I’m experiencing general indifference for the most popular indie acts of the moment (Car Seat Headrest: fine. Parquet Courts: whatever.

COURTESY OF COMIX WAVE FILMS

Do Not Read This Review of Makoto Shinkai’s Your Name

For some reason, movie critics like to use the descriptor “the new Miyazaki” to refer to Makoto Shinkai, director of the blockbuster anime hit Your Name (titled Kimi no Na wa in Japanese). All questions of the quality of Shinkai’s movies aside, this is a completely bizarre comparison because there is very little in common between the work of these two men, besides the fact that they both direct animated Japanese films. Shinkai does introspective romantic drama, while Miyazaki (very, very broadly) does fantasy coming-of-age. Regardless, a combination of the enduring comparisons to Hayao Miyazaki and the film’s own runaway success has led the easily-embarrassed Shinkai to say, “I don’t think any more people should see [Your Name],” in a Japan Times article.  Perhaps Shinkai was glad that, despite its massive commercial and critical success, Your Name wasn’t nominated for an Oscar after all. The premise of Your Name is a body swap scenario: two teenagers, one a boy, Taki, living in the Tokyo metropolis and the other a girl, Mitsuha, living in the countryside, begin to inhabit each other’s bodies during their dreams, creating plenty of opportunities for romantic and comedic hijinks.

NEWTOWN, CT - DECEMBER 17, 2012:  Candles are lit among mementos at a memorial for victims of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, on December 17, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut.

Horror, Discourse and Art: Gun Violence in America

In turbulent times, art and its artists find themselves thrown into a space of ambiguity and with it comes a host of questions regarding their purpose. Artistic and political space inevitably intersect. Is this by accident or by unbending intent? More broadly, what is the role of the artist? For Kadie Salfi, a local Ithaca artist and an active member of the Alice Cook House community, these questions are addressed through an invitation for dialogue. Located in the Willard Straight Hall Art Gallery, Salfi’s exhibit Red Guns is part of a poignant and enduring conversation about gun violence in America.

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Sun Sessions with Conor Emerson

“I think of myself as your childhood imaginary friend come to life. When I am writing and recording music, I try to synthesize organic and natural sound, like actual sound from nature, as well as sound from space I am in, closing drawers and shuffling papers, like getting textures from that and then reorganizing and repurposing them in a way that takes them out of their original context. I don’t know where I exist musically but I just like to make music whenever I can.”

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The Decemberists at the State Theater

The Decemberists kicked off their tour with a performance at Ithaca’s State Theatre this Friday. Despite having a couple of kinks to work out, the band produced a beautiful sound that involved a variety of instruments. The Decemberists delighted the audience with songs old and new, and great energy that filled the entirety of the theatre. The Decemberists were introduced by Julien Baker, a young songwriter out of Memphis. Her soft but slightly haunting vocals were perfect for the night’s setting and tone: captivating and emotive.

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Alec Baldwin is “The Boss Baby” — And That’s About It

Imagine sitting down for your favorite meal. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, maybe just some homemade mac and cheese. Sounds good, right? Now, imagine sitting down for your favorite meal, but it comes with sides of ketchup, soy sauce and malt vinegar, while a clown casts candy sprinkles all over your food and a mariachi band plays trumpets into your ear. You may like some of those elements, but I’m willing to bet that it may be a bit overwhelming when you just want your dinner.