X Ambassadors performs at the inaugural Cayuga Sound festival at Stewart Park, September 23rd, 2017.)

Music, Ithaca, Activism: A Conversation with Sam Harris of X Ambassadors

If there’s anything we learned from last year’s Cayuga Sound Festival, it’s that X Ambassadors are more than just a band. They are expert showmen, skilled curators and philanthropists:  home-town-heroes in every sense. Cayuga Sound began last year as X Ambassadors’ homage to their roots and is hosted in Stewart Park — a place Sam Harris, the frontman of X Ambassadors, says holds tremendous sentimental value. “I was a camp counselor at Stewart Park Day Camp … it was a place where I would go to play soccer as a kid,” he described. He continued on to discuss how he “has a very deep emotional connection with the park” and how “it is insane to be able to put a festival on there.”

Harris notes that as a kid he “just wanted to get out” of Ithaca.

Elon Musk Smokes Weed on the Joe Rogan Experience.

LING | Free Grimes

At this year’s Met Gala it wasn’t Rihanna’s extravagant pope ensemble or a Kardashian’s ethereal interpretation of sainthood that grabbed the internet’s short attention span, but rather the debut of an unlikely couple: Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and experimental pop artist Claire Boucher, who goes by Grimes. The juxtaposition of Musk’s white jacket and priest’s notched collar with Grimes’ goth gown and silver Tesla choker underscored the sense of surreality surrounding their coupling. Musk, one of a new generation of tech titans, an elite group consisting of household names like Bezos and Zuckerberg, embodies a greater neoliberal push toward innovation at any cost, often accompanied by hazy ethical grounding. Grimes, on the other hand, is a counter-cultural synth icon who has gained a cult following by working with the avant-garde. The unlikely union is at once shocking for what seems like a bizarre mismatch in fundamental ideology, and completely logical.

YANG | Thoughts from the Subway

I worked in a research lab at a university in my hometown this past summer and, for the first time in my life, experienced what it’s like to have a long commute — an hour and a half each way standing in a hot, humid, insanely crowded subway car. Most of my fellow commuters spent these long and miserable daily trips on their phones, either scrolling through Weibo (think Twitter) feeds, watching viral videos, playing online games, binging the newest hit TV series or reading trending articles on Wechat (a Chinese amalgamation of Facebook and Instagram). Hundreds of commuters with headphones on staring down at their smartphone screens was quite a sight be behold but also incredibly frustrating, especially when I had to transfer lines at one of the busiest stations downtown, and had to follow a massive crowd of people up flights of stairs to another platform, a process slowed down significantly by those who were too absorbed in their phones to even walk properly. Despite my frustration, and because social learning is a natural thing that we all do, a few days into this commuter life, I also started killing time by spending it solely on my phone, going through my Weibo feed more times than necessary, replying to comments, reading Wechat articles that I normally wouldn’t care for and, when all that was still not enough, busted out my VPN to go through Instagram and Twitter. Yet, as you may have guessed by now, aggressively working my way through every social media platform every morning and evening did not make me feel “more connected” to friends and family, all the articles I read did not make me significantly more knowledgeable in certain areas or enlighten me on social or political issues, nor did the viral funny videos make me happier.

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor in To All The Boys I've Loved Before.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Is a Guilty Pleasure Without the Guilt

From the moment this Netflix Original begins, with Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) imagining herself wandering through an idyllic field with the boy of her dreams, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before screams “self-indulgent romance fantasy.” It’s the quintessential teen rom-com: there’s the shy main character, two pouty Hot Boys (Noah Centineo and Israel Broussard) and the crucial misunderstanding that forces her to pick between them. Every character is addressed by their full name and speaks in Tumblr-ready quotes (“Josh Sanderson, I liked you first. By all rights, you were mine.”) Add a fake dating plot, a hair-flipping jealous mean girl and a supportive rebel best friend, and you’ve got a full-blown cliché. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is tropey and cheesy and gooey, but in a good way. It revels in its purest rom-com moments because it knows exactly what it is.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Rock The Haunt

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong kicked off the month performing at The Haunt on Saturday. I arrived half an hour early to a crowd that nearly filled the venue to capacity. The mood was light and the venue was intimate. Concert-goers gathered around the bar, awaiting the night’s performance. As I pushed through the crowd, scouting out the area, it became quickly apparent that “The Flock,” the name of the band’s tour following, was ready to have a blast.

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Drake Gets Political on New Tour with Migos

“All of us are living in a country where we have to deal with people telling us we don’t understand, how divided we are, and how bad shit is getting and how we gotta deal with this fucking idiot that’s in office. They’ll sit there and tell us this country is falling apart because of us,” Drake said at his August 31 show. “But tonight we got 16,000 people from all different backgrounds inside one building and all we’re doing is chilling and having a good time. This is how the country should be.”

See that’s the thing about music. No matter where you’re from, what language you speak, what you are or who you are, you are able to understand.

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SWAN | Unpacking the Frat Aesthetic

During events like homecoming or reunion weekend, I love listening to the older alumni of my fraternity tell stories about their time at Cornell. I suppose that I’m a nostalgic person — an old soul — and I really enjoy trying to discern the similarities and differences between the campus dynamics of now and then. Some of them, the “’80s brothers,” share memories of their flippant college years, of wild parties, inside jokes and ridiculous traditions. All of their memories conjure in my mind an image of Cornell, 1984, like some Richard Linklater movie where boys will be boys and chase girls, Van Halen is always playing in the background, Ronald Reagan is president and it’s morning in America again – think Everybody Wants Some!!. Of course, this world excluded a lot of people, dismissed much of the agency of women, and cast away individuals of minority cultures to mere supporting roles.

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DNCE and Cupcakke to Perform at This Year’s Homecoming Concert

The Cornell Concert Commission (CCC) announced that DNCE and Cupcakke will be performing at this year’s homecoming concert in Barton Hall on Sept. 22. DNCE, who is led by former Jonas Brother Joe Jonas, has been nominated for several AMAs and MTV awards. They initially rose to fame in late 2015 with the release of their breakout single “Cake by the Ocean” and have since joined artists like Selena Gomez on tour. Their only full-length album release is the self-titled DNCE from 2016.

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Students Show Talent in Electric Buffalo Showcase

On August 25th, I found myself walking up to the porch of 604 East Buffalo Street for the 2018 Electric Buffalo Records Orientation Showcase. The house was quirky, with a humble charm that invited curiosity about the sound echoing from within it. With every creaking step on the wood porch came some overwhelming instrumentation. People meandered in and out of the rooms. Some danced on porch, and others watched the musicians rehearse

“Electric Buffalo Records is ready for takeoff this year and it starts here,” declared Adam Kanwal ’21, who is a Sun staff writer, co-president of the record label regarding the event. The night was EBR’s chance to ostend the talent that has sprouted from their ambitious, student-led record label.

YANDAVA | Rupi Kaur and the Rise of Instapoetry

Recently, as I was perusing the poetry section of a Barnes and Noble, I was surprised to come across a section containing volumes by Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, r. h. sin, and the like. My surprise was not at seeing these collections standing shoulder-to-shoulder with those by Keats and Lorca but at the fact that the sight so resembled the shelves of poetry I’d seen a few weeks earlier at an Anthropologie. These “Instapoets,” as they’ve been called, seem to be everywhere, like a plague of clichés, unpunctuated verse, and ill-timed line breaks. These poets have huge social media followings — take Kaur, for example, who with 1.5 million Instagram followers seems to be the most popular. Kaur first garnered attention when she posted a picture on Instagram of herself in bed on her period, menstrual stains on her pants and bedsheets.