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Recognizing “Epic” Mumblecore

The 97-minute, 2016 film Free of Thought ends with John hunched over a sink in a dimly-lit kitchen. Through a doorframe, we see our protagonist doing the dishes and hear him whistling to himself: a quiet, unassuming moment almost all can relate to. What makes this particular, ostensibly-mundane scene so striking are the circumstances that led up to it. The film starts in Melbourne, Australia, where John is in a relationship with Mel. But by the film’s closing moments, John has become a habitual stoner, messily broke up with Mel and migrated to Montreal, Canada.

Courtesy of Entertainment Tonight

YANDAVA | On the ‘Brows’

Ramya Yandava ’21 breaks down the distinctions between high brow and low brow art in response to a friends question about whether or not she likes “trash.”

A Chinese woman in Dolce & Gabbana’s ad eating pizza with chopsticks.

LING | You Can Use Chopsticks To Eat Anything

Dolce and Gabbana is over. This was the message sent by the Chinese after a 24-hour social media whirlwind that resulted in public boycotts by Chinese celebrities, videos of Chinese fans and consumers burning D&G garments and ultimately, the cancellation of the brand’s Shanghai fashion show by the Shanghai Bureau of Cultural Affairs. All of this was in retaliation to Stefano Gabbana, designer and namesake of the Italian luxury fashion house, and his racist exchanges via Instagram in argument over blatantly racist advertisements for the D&G Shanghai fashion show. The advertisements are best described as a corporate “ni hao” catcall: unsettling, racist and rooted in a lazy ignorance, featuring a Chinese model who embodies the archaic caricature of a submissive and silent East Asian woman, giggling as she struggles to eat Italian foods with chopsticks. The discomfort is furthered as the Chinese game show host voiceover, whose mispronunciation of Dolce and Gabbana is emphasized as an element of “kitsch,” expounds condescending rhetoric that in direct translation varies from “use those two little sticks to eat the pizza” to “that’s too big for you to handle.”
These advertisements resulted in an immediate outcry and an Instagram DM showdown between Instagram user Michaela Tronova and Stefano Gabbana himself, where it was made clear that Gabbana was a racist as he issued tired insults such as “dog-eater” and “China Ignorant Dirty Smelling Mafia.” The Instagram account Diet Prada (@diet_prada), renowned for calling out fashion copycats, publicized these exchanges, inciting an outrage that swept across social media platforms. What followed was what felt like a testament to the power of the Chinese, a power that Gabbana had underestimated, forcing D&G to abandon its show and issue a half-hearted video apology.

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The Magic of Cirque du Soleil

For the first time, Cirque du Soleil in Cinema brought their live show, KURIOS- Cabinet of Curiosities, to moviegoers. The special, one-night-only cinematic experience plunged viewers into the fantastical world of the show in a far more intimate way than a live performance. However, this same proximity also lessened some the show’s overall impact. Last summer, I went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal, their first show to be set on ice. From 14 rows back, some of the details of each character were lost; their broad movements conveyed their emotions instead of their faces, and the costumes appeared distinct, but not as intricate as they must have been.

Stan Lee makes a cameo appearance in the 2016 hit film Captain America: Civil War.

YANG | An Ode to the Dream Makers

My mom told me that when she was sixteen she would work so hard on preparing for the college entrance exams during the day just so she could hide under the blankets and read Jin Yong’s novels before she went to sleep.

Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck and Zakir Hussain at a Nashville rehearsal.

Chemistry of a Trio: An Interview with Zakir Hussain

Powerhouse players Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain and Edgar Meyer have reunited once more and visited Cornell. Ahead of their concert, we were able to speak with Mr. Zakir Hussain, perhaps the world’s most highly influential and virtuosic tabla player. If you haven’t seen Zakir Hussain perform, search for a concert of his on YouTube. It is no mistake that his incredible skill, personality and charm have been praised; it really does put a smile on your face to watch him play. The “tabla is a percussion instrument,” Hussain explained.