Kanye West’s comment about a “lack of male energy,” in both his childhood home and his current extended family, stood out to me, as I thought it might convey something about the formation of black, masculine identity at this point in the hip-hop era.
Sorry to Bother You presents a uniquely absurd story about finding meaning in a racially and economically unjust world. What appears on the surface as biting satire transforms into a thrilling but radical sci-fi about our rights as workers and as humans. Centered in an alternate-reality present day Oakland, Sorry to Bother You tells the story of Cassius Green (Lakeith Stanfield), who after discovering the key to telemarketing success rockets up the corporate ladder and is swallowed into a world of corporate greed. Meanwhile, his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) and his friend Salvador (Jermaine Fowler) attempt to organize the telemarketers Cassius once worked with and protest against the corporation Worry-Free, which specializes in providing modern-day slave labor to other companies. The movie opens with Cassius landing his much-needed job in telemarketing and being told to just “stick to the script.” For the first half of the film, characters seem to follow this role, as we move through the daily life of Cassius and his coworkers in their attempts to get by.
Two weeks ago, during an appearance as musical guest on the season premiere of Saturday Night Live, Kanye West delivered an unplanned pro-Trump speech to the audience as the credits rolled. Now you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking I’m either going to defend or bash Kanye on his speech and his twitter rants about the 13th Amendment. Well, I’m not going to do either of those things. There’s something else entirely that concerns me. This past Saturday, SNL cast member Pete Davidson discussed the incident during “Weekend Update.” Davidson urged Kanye to take his meds and said that while Kanye is a musical genius like “Joey Chestnut is a hot dog-eating genius,” he doesn’t want to “hear Joey Chestnut’s opinions about things that aren’t hot dog-related.”
Incidentally, the day before Davidson’s SNL appearance, Lady Gaga went on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and gave a defense of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford with regards to memory mechanisms and trauma, and her speech soon went viral on Twitter.
As a writer, there are few things that make me feel grateful to be alive the way poetry does. This past Thursday, the Cornell Department of English hosted author Gregory Pardlo as the first guest in the Fall 2018 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series. Pardlo’s collection, Digest, was the recipient of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2007, his first book of poetry, Totem, won the American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize. This past April, he published Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood, which was named one of “17 Refreshing Books to Read This Summer” by the New York Times.
At the recent New York Fashion Week, staff at Pyer Moss’ Spring-Summer 2019 show wore t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase, “If you didn’t know about Pyer Moss before, we forgive you.” This statement, rooted in bravado, was also prophetic, as the five year-old fashion house went on to put on what was arguably the most important show of the season. Founder and designer Kerby Jean-Raymond brought NYFW crowds to Weeksville Heritage Center in Brooklyn, the previous site of one of the first African-American communities in the United States where a 40-person gospel choir sang in models who strode past 19th-century wooden framed houses, creating what Vogue reporter Chioma Nnadi called a “tableau [that] was like something out of a Kerry James Marshall painting”. In an interview with Vogue, Jean-Raymond said that he wanted to use the show to “explore what Black American leisure” looked like in the face of structural racism, where simple existence is systemically deemed threat. The result was a collection that featured beautifully structured suits, silks printed with images from visual artist Derrick Adams and vibrantly patterned athleisure from the Pyer Moss x Reeboks collaboration. Kerby Jean-Raymond is no stranger to the fashion show as medium and embraces experimentation with social commentary and art, having featured a short film on police brutality and a Raphael Saadiq-directed gospel choir in previous Pyer Moss shows.
East Atlanta Love Letter is exactly what it’s called — a letter. Not an email, text or DM. 6LACK’s sophomore album works to escape from what he deems love has become. He brings us back some decades, even inviting fans to an authentic drive-thru album release event. In this new project, which he tells took over two years to complete, 6LACK steps away from the kind of subject matter that we find in mainstream rap.
Last weekend marked the second annual Cayuga Sound. Lady D & Shadow Spirits and Sofi Tukker kicked off the first night of action from Stewart Park. While both acts performed some of their more well-known selections and energized the crowd, their sets were limited by the threat of thunderstorms and relatively small audience. As it got closer to 7 p.m., Dan Smalls ’92 of DSP Shows, the company which organizes Cayuga Sound and most other concert events in Ithaca, came on to the stage to introduce Young the Giant and to let festivalgoers know of the impending bad weather. “We’re hoping to give you all an hour of music,” Smalls said before turning the mic over to Friday night’s headliners Young the Giant.
Being a teenager is hard. But making a movie about being a teenager is even harder. Sierra Burgess is a Loser is Netflix’s latest attempt at creating creating a coming-of-age romantic comedy, a genre they are desperately trying to break into. Sierra Burgess falls solidly middle ground compared to their other recent efforts. It’s certainly not nearly as bad as Netflix’s summer hit The Kissing Booth — an absolutely awful 110 minutes of my life that I will never get back.
The Cayuga Chamber Orchestra’s (CCO) performance at Ithaca College’s Ford Hall on Friday, September 21st, was aptly titled “A Heroic Beginning.” The orchestra began its 42nd concert season with a delightful evening featuring the overture to Christoph Willibald Gluck’s “Orfeo ed Euridice,” Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A Minor and Ludwig van Beethoven’s classic Symphony No. 3 with guest pianist Prof. Miri Yampolsky, music. A staple in the city of Ithaca, the CCO has been a premier institution of classical music performance since 1976. Opening the evening’s concert was the energetic overture of the renowned opera “Orfeo ed Euridice,” which first premiered in 1762 in Vienna. The piece is based on a Greek myth in which Orpheus makes a deal with the god of the underworld to resurrect his dead wife, but only if he can walk in front of her out of hell without looking back.