Test Spins: Lucky

Since their 1996 cult hit “Popular” hit radio stations back when FM was good, Nada Surf has proven time and again they aren’t just another Marcy Playground. On Lucky, the band’s latest release, guitarist and vocalist Matthew Caws croons about loneliness and lost love. The album’s breadth and sonic dynamism keep Caws’ lyrics from sounding, well, too much like the One Tree Hill soundtrack. On the upbeat “Ice On The Wing,” a seemingly out of place brass section calmly brings the track to a close. The next song, “The Fox,” opens with an eerie and uber-reverberated guitar rift that ends with a healthy dose of jumbled string and guitar. One cannot help but feel simultaneously disoriented and satisfied.

The Great Shanghai Night Light

After a relaxing two-hour flight from Beijing to Pudong International, we made our way to the heart of Central Shanghai. Although our expectations certainly ran high now that we had entered a cosmopolitan metropolis, nothing could prepare us for the glitz and glam of the Shanghai night skyline — which, we concluded, made Times Square look like a haphazardly decorated Christmas tree.

Will You Join Us in This Photo?

Though the howling Beijing wind caused the temperature to consistently plummet into the single digits and below, it did not prevent this delegation of Sunnies from getting its 15 minutes of fame. At a number of tourist destinations, such as Tiananmen Square and the Summer Palace, the symphony of cell phone clicking in our direction could not go unnoticed. Sometimes the paparazzi in question would try and sneakily pass it off as a text message — but we quickly realized what was up.

Yao Ming: Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Though lines to get into Chinese university libraries form around daybreak — students have to scramble to get their work done by 11 p.m. before campus-wide electricity shut downs — plenty of time is reserved for Prison Break, Carrie Underwood and snooker tennis. One extracurricular obsession, however, seems to dwarf them all: basketball. At Southeast University’s central campus in downtown Nanjing, rows upon rows of basketball courts are packed with students scrambling to get a Saturday morning pickup game in. And at The Sun’s meeting with Southeast University students, nearly everyone told us that they played basketball everyday before class.

Convocation 2007 Preview

The Sun chats with Soledad O'Brien about media, speech

Interview originally published May 1

This weekend, Cornell will hold its 139th Commencement, with CNN special correspondent Soledad O’Brien giving the Convocation address on Saturday. The Sun spoke with O’Brien recently about her career, the media today and her upcoming speech.

O’Brien Chats With The Sun

Convocation speaker offers thoughts on the role of media

Soledad O’Brien will be the featured speaker at this year’s senior class Convocation ceremony. The Sun caught O’Brien while she was on assignment in Chicago for a brief interview on her perception of the contemporary media and a preview of her upcoming speech to the Class of 2007.

Clipse's Hell Hath No Fury

With Jay-Z proclaiming “30’s the new 20” and The Game speaking unrelenting praises of his West Coast forefathers, Virgina’s Clipse (brothers Malice and Pusha-T) have smartened up their drug-peddling tales, sneaking back into the lineup after four years to drop one of the most chilled out and cleverest hip hop albums of the year.

Armageddon Monks' Revival

On their prerelease album, Revival, Ithaca’s Armageddon Monks create a high-octane sound with sharp guitars and piercing vocals from lead singer Aamir Baseer. Drawing obvious comparisons to arena rock megastars Metallica and Velvet Revolver, the Monks demonstrate their song-writing prowess best with “Get Your Fill.”

Creating a Cult Classic

Daze chats with Snakes on a Plane writer John Heffernan

Daze: How did you go from writing blurbs for Cornell Cinema to writing the “cult hit of the summer?”
John: I always wanted to do something in film, which is why I worked at Cornell Cinema. I bought this big, blue child molester van with no windows from my neighbor for about $1200 and drove across country to California — it took about three months to get there. I had 500 bucks in my pocket, which was enough to move into this hotel in Little Moscow in Hollywood. I got a job teching, which led to a job working at USC as a production coordinator for about three years. From there, I got another job working as an assistant at DreamWorks, and one of my bosses then was a producer named Craig Berenson — he read some scripts of mine and really liked them. He had actually read a script five years before in which one of the subplots was about some snakes that got loose on an airplane. The script wasn’t really that good but I said (to Craig), “What if we make the whole movie about snakes on a plane?” and he said, “yeah, okay” so we pitched it around, developed the story line and finally we sold it as a pitch to MTV Films, which had a production deal with Paramount. Just when we were about to get green-lit to go into production, September 11th happened and that was devastating for so many larger reasons than just the movie. When I saw it on the news, I wasn’t even thinking about the negative effects it would have on the movie, which of course it did. Paramount put the film to turn around, which meant that they weren’t going to do anything with the script. Luckily, one of the executives who was working on the film, Don Granger, left Paramount to become a producer and co-president of Mutual Films — he bought the rights, asked me to do a few rewrites and we sold it to New Line. After that, everything started happening really fast.

A Cult-like Following

Your Cali-Bud

Even though Halloween has officially passed, the spirit of horror films is still in the air. I got a chance to chat with independent filmmaker Seth Landau, whose horror film, Brian Loves You, has already started to receive substantial media attention despite its low budget.