Courtesy of Kitchen Theatre Company

Kitchen Theatre Company’s Girlfriend Is Thin on Plot But High on Feeling

Based on Matthew Sweet’s 1991 alternative-rock album of the same name, Kitchen Theatre’s first production of the 2018-19 season, Girlfriend, has everything you’d expect from a classic summer rom-com — the meet cute, the mutual pining, the awkward yet exhilarating first date, the inevitable challenges and their resolution. What makes Girlfriend different from the start, however, is that instead of boy-meets-girl, it’s boy-meets-boy, in a small, conservative, midwestern town. It’s the summer of 1993 in Alliance, Nebraska, and Will (Jonathan Melo) is still celebrating graduating high school and his new-found freedom when he receives a mixtape out of the blue from a classmate, Mike (Woody White). Unlike Will, a musical theater nerd constantly bullied at school for his sexuality, Mike is the golden boy of the football team with a (rather absent) girlfriend and a full ride to college, and it had seemed unlikely for their paths to ever cross. What they share, however, is a passion for music.

Rami Malek as the protagonist of Mr. Robot, Elliot Alderson.

GUEST ROOM | Why We Need to Watch Mr. Robot

The recent news that Mr. Robot’s fourth season will be its last signals the end of a show that redefines what it means to be revolutionary. The techno-thriller chronicles the story of cybersecurity engineer Elliot Anderson, a morphine addict who wants to save the world from corrupt corporate powers. The cybersecurity firm that he works for protects the data of conglomerates such as E Corp, a manufacturer of most of the world’s computers and phones and a provider of much of the world’s entertainment. E Corp, led by a power hungry board of directors, also covered up a toxic gas leak that led to some of their workers contracting leukemia — including Elliot’s father. Thus, despite the mission of his workplace, Elliot works to expose some of E Corp’s secure digital records with the hopes of diminishing their grasp over the global market.

Roomful of Teeth performed in Bailey Hall, pictured above

Hold On to Your Dentures: Roomful of Teeth at Bailey Hall

The small a cappella ensemble brought their big guns right away, with each member speaking in rhythm, creating a wall of chatter that in an instant, gave way to raucous polyphonic vocals. After a few iterations, rhythmic spoken word became interspersed with small vocal phrases. The piece was chugging along and it was clear that Roomful of Teeth had a very important message to share with the audience that evening. Roomful of Teeth, the Grammy-winning vocal octet, visited Bailey Hall on Friday night to kick off the Cornell Concert Series 2018-2019 season. The group was founded in 2009 with a goal to explore the expressive potential of the human voice.

Courtesy of Maggie O'Keefe

Maggie O’Keefe ’19 Creates Exhibit Filled with Intimacy and Humanity

Passerby, which ran from September 3 through September 8 in the Tjaden Experimental Gallery, displays work by Maggie O’Keefe ’19 that spans her time in New York, Ithaca, Rome and the Chautauqua Institute over the course of two years, from 2016 to 2018. The exhibit draws upon a theme of intimacy and liminality, featuring works whose subjects exude a sense of familiarity. A largely autobiographical show, the artist invites the viewer to participate in the works, drawing upon one’s own memories to understand this state of in-betweenness as passerby. The exhibit plays with scale, featuring full body, life-size portraits of family and friends of the artist that invite the viewer to come face-to-face with the art. One particularly striking piece is “Welcome,” which features the artist’s mother and grandmother sitting opposite of each other on a porch.

Courtesy of Domino Recording Company

TEST SPIN | Anna Calvi — Hunter

Anna Calvi’s career as a songwriter began with the release of her eponymous debut album in 2011. Garnering nominations for both the Mercury Prize and the British Breakthrough Act at the Brit Awards in 2012, Calvi quickly gained recognition for her reverb-drenched guitar riffs and drifting vocal runs. Her euphoric sound feels quintessentially Brit-punk, yet her illusory vocal inflection feels oddly operatic. Before any success as a songwriter and virtuosic guitarist, Calvi was a classically trained violinist and didn’t begin singing until her mid-twenties. Throughout her latest album, Hunter, baroque vocal harmony and ambient guitar riffs are masterfully integrated to create a space that feels more like a dreamscape than a compilation of songs.

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Releasing

Searching Is a Flawed But Wholly Original Thriller

Searching is a refreshing film. Although the plot isn’t as graceful as I expected it to be, the movie serves up enough novelties to redeem it. Unfolding entirely on a desktop screen, the movie is about a father, David Kim (John Cho), looking for his missing daughter, Margot (Michelle La), through a police investigation. It’s no typical search, though; Asian-Americans can imagine what it might be like if their father decided to set out on a mission to save his daughter. Google spreadsheets are happening.

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.

Courtesy of RLJE Films

Join the Legion: Interview with Legion M CEO on Upcoming Film Mandy

The Sun: What is Legion M’s involvement in the upcoming film Mandy starring Nicolas Cage? Paul Scanlan, co-founder and CEO of Legion M: We’re one of the investors, partnering with SpectreVision, Elijah Wood’s production company, and RLJ, who is distributing the film in the United States. Sun: What can we expect from Mandy? PS: Have you seen the trailer? Sun: Yes.

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.