Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Another Love Language: The Lost Art of the Mixtape

Haley Huett

A&E Editor

 

There are five love languages: physical touch, acts of service, words of affirmation, gift giving and quality time. However, as many love-struck teens might tell you, there’s another love language. Music, or sharing music with your beloved, is the sixth, under-appreciated language. 

The mixtape has lost its position in modern courtship. The act of curating a collection of songs for your significant other is an unparalleled way to express how you feel. Whether the tracks summon an emotion you cannot quite describe, capture the essence of your partner, or remind you of a special moment, to make a mixtape is to know your beloved. 

Now, in the age of Spotify and Apple Music, it is easier to create a mixtape than ever. Gone are the days where mixtapes are a labor of love. You needn’t carefully record music off the radio and gift your partner the cassette. Today, you can curate your playlist, adding and subtracting songs or diligently arranging the tracks, as many times as you want. Even then, you can share the link and keep adding tracks to your heart’s desire. 

A mixtape is something that is never asked for but is always appreciated. It should never be solicited. The gift that you’re giving, more than a list of tracks, is the implication that you have taken the time to think about your beloved. It says to them, “I know you and I know the things that make you special and I’ve thought about you a lot. Here is how I am choosing to express that.” 

Typically reserved for romantic relationships, mixtapes are equally meaningful when they are made for a friend. They are treasured for many of the same reasons. I still listen to playlists that friends made for me in high school. They make me feel special and they remind me of the person who made it, even if we aren’t as close now. It gives me a reason to think fondly of the people I care about and it makes me feel loved.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching. For those scrambling in search of something meaningful to give to their partner, a mixtape is an excellent idea. It’s free to make a playlist on a streaming platform like Spotify or YouTube. The cost doesn’t make the gift less meaningful. If you want to do something sweet for your sweetie, or show your friend how much you care, consider making them a playlist. 

Making a playlist shows effort, care, and appreciation for another person. In the age of the hyper-commercialized Valentine’s Day, a personalized mixtape is more meaningful than a box of chocolates or a bouquet of roses. All these traditional gifts associated with the holiday make no expression of true appreciation for an individual. They just mean to sell you a product. 

A mixtape goes above these emotionless gifts. Any day of the year, if you want to express your love in some way, make a mixtape. If your partner’s love language is music, a mixtape is an excellent way to speak to them. 

“Art Heals”: Ebert Art Center’s New Exhibit

Emma Shinker

Chief Copy Editor

 

As an artist who relies on in-person shows, the year 2020 threw Eugene Tapahe into the depths of COVID-induced uncertainty. It was a dream that finally brought him some clarity—standing in Yellowstone, he was surrounded by bison and the sound of the Jingle Dress Dance. In the morning, he couldn’t shake the sense of peace and hope it had given him, and while speaking of it to his wife and daughters, the idea for “Art Heals: The Jingle Dress Project” came to life.

Tapahe visited the College on Feb. 5 to speak about the project, which is on display until April 3 at the Ebert Art Center. With him came three of the dancers featured in his photographs: Dion and Erin Tapahe, and Sunni Begay. JoAnni Begay, another dancer, and Sharon Tapahe, their logistics manager, were unable to be there.

While the members of the “Art Heals” project are Navajo, the Jingle Dress Dance traces its origins to the Ojibwe people and the 1918 influenza outbreak. The story goes that a man saw the dance in a dream, and brought it to life in order to cure his young daughter. The Ojibwe have since given the dance to all indigenous tribes so that they can share in its healing power. 

“One jingle doesn’t make a sound but together they can heal,” Eugene said, not only of the power of the connections he tries to create in his art, but of the jingle dresses themselves. The jingles that adorn the dresses—not costumes, as Dion clarified—are not bells, as one might think, but thin, rolled pieces of metal. Dresses from the beginning of the tradition carried 365 of these, though dancers today don’t wear nearly as many. Even so, each dress weighs about ten to fifteen pounds. For the “Art Heals” project, the outfits are completed with a red scarf to raise awareness for missing and murdered indigenous women throughout America. 

During the event, Eugene, Dion, Erin and Sunni spoke about their first photoshoot on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. None of them guessed the endeavor would eventually take them across the United States, accepting the invitation of tribes around the country and dancing at a range of natural locations. The dancers, who are all recent graduates of Brigham Young University, emphasized the importance of being able to connect with so many different people. 

Before the end of the event, Dion, Erin and Sunni changed into their dresses and performed. Since the Jingle Dress Dance is a prayer, they asked that the audience stand for its three minute duration. During the performance, they explained, each dancer can choose who or what they want to think about.

Speaking after the event, Brianna Lyman ’23 was especially moved by the stories of people around the country who had asked the “Art Heals: Jingle Dance Project” to dance for their family members. With that in mind, she said “the performance itself was very beautiful to see,” and she was inspired by the dancers’ words about everyone’s ability to make an impact.

In his photographs, Eugene Tapahe tries to make his own impact by uniting the dancers and the landscape as a way to feel “the spirit of the ancestors who were there before us.” The project has helped him feel less alone over the last couple of years, and he wants to spread that hope, love, and happiness to others.

To learn more about the project, you can visit the exhibit in the Ebert Art Museum or check them out on Instagram @jingledressproject and @tapahe. 

Here is a link to the PBS short documentary about the project: https://www.pbs.org/video/jingle-dress-project-m4uw86/

Answer the Call: Stream Apple TV’s New Sci-Fi Mystery

Jonathan Logan

Editor in Chief

 

Audio drama and motion picture tell a story in two very different forms. The radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” is an audio drama that most people are familiar with, after its airing on CBS Radio in 1938 convinced many listeners Earth was under alien attack. Audio drama’s counterpart, silent films, make do without sound, just as compelling audio drama makes do without visual information.

Both mediums take advantage of sensory deprivation by going without either audio or visual stimuli. Apple TV’s “Calls,” directed by Fede Alvarez, merges both audio and visual drama by withholding exact visual information and restricting the viewer to hear only phone calls between two people. The nine episode series tells the story of an apocalyptic event through a series of phone calls that cross timelines and make viewers scream at their screens as a star-studded cast, including Rosario Dawson and Pedro Pascal, acts out their roles to a tee. The phone calls are played over visceral, synth-style visuals that allow the mind to build its own world.

The show starts out at the end. Time advances at a rate of one second per second for all of us together, but “Calls” wants us to ask questions about our own individual timelines. What if there is always a beginning and an end to our stories that could be accessed not via any direct experience, but by phone calls? Without direct experiences involving their five senses (or however many humans might have) the characters go through the same sensory deprivation we, the viewers, go through. A simple phone call from one character to another turns into a mind-voyage as an unexplained anomaly connects people to other timelines, to their past or future selves and to loved ones. They can only use words to talk to the confused person on another timeline as they both try to make sense of an end-of-times event that they don’t realize they are directly involved in!

Most science fiction stories today treat quantum mechanics and parallel universes like the Staples button (that was easy). When stories need to explain a phenomenon science can’t explain, they throw quantum foam onto an already sloshy ocean in the hopes that we’ll never see deeper than the surface. “Calls” does not do this. Instead of slapping the quantum Staples button and using parallel universe jargon, it asks us to believe in many worlds, in other possibilities. Instead of trying to prove that many worlds exist, the show, via character Dr. Wheating, gives viewers a simple thought experiment: imagine that a person’s entire life exists on another train (world) that left the station (being born) just before your train (your world) left the station. Of course, the same is true for past versions of their life.

“Calls” forces you to tap into a resonant sense you never knew you had in an attempt to make up for the lack of directly experiencing other train rides. The characters’ inability to directly access these other worlds can be explained by not being able to jump from one train to another. Trains can also accelerate, meaning our timelines get out of phase with other timelines. In some episodes, a character will call a loved one or a friend three or four times in the span of just 20 minutes for them, but because worlds can be out of phase, they end up talking to their loved ones or friends for what is to them 20 years or more.

To compensate for the anomaly that is connecting people to their past and future timelines, the Universe kills whomever they talk to. By the last episode, so many people have accessed their other lives via phone calls that the Universe (or Many Worlds, if you believe) becomes chaotic and threatens to eliminate the entire human race for breaking the laws of physics.

But that’s not what this show wants viewers to think. Physics is lame. Instead, it dives into the personal tragedies that lead the characters to make the decisions they do. They are museums of decisions. Their lives are ephemerides of emotion, and when they cross paths with another timeline via phone calls, they simultaneously recognize all of their mistakes while also changing the course of an entire world. Sure, we’re all just drops in an ocean, but “Calls” makes you feel like a ripple.

A Year in Review: Top Ten Movies of 2021

Colin Tobin

Chief Copy Editor

 

2021 was another interesting year for movies as it saw the release of several long-delayed projects and films produced during the pandemic. It was tough for me to make this list without leaving off some films that I really enjoyed from this year. Some of my honorable mentions include: “C’mon C’mon,” “Titane,” “West Side Story,” “Pig,” “The Last Duel” and “Drive My Car.”

 

  1. “Spencer” – Kristen Stewart carries this movie in the role of Princess Diana as she reaches her breaking point with her role in the Royal Family. Stewart brings home the themes of loneliness and restraint in her (hopefully not award-snubbed) performance.
  1. “The Tragedy of Macbeth” – Shot in black and white with impressive use of shadows and contrast, combined with a strong lead performance by Denzel Washington, this feels like the definitive adaptation of the iconic play. The biggest barrier to entry is the original Shakespearean dialogue that the film uses. I can see it being difficult to follow if you aren’t familiar with the source material.
  1. “tick, tick…BOOM!” – Say what you will about Lin-Manuel Miranda, but he was the perfect person to adapt “Rent” creator Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical, and it was refreshing to see him direct something that he didn’t write or compose. Andrew Garfield gives his best performance since “The Social Network” and deserves to be one of the Best Actor frontrunners.
  1. “The Green Knight” – Dev Patel stars in this trippy, hypnotic and visually striking adaptation of the Arthurian legend of Sir Gawain. Very much a slow burn, this film gives an introspective look into the psyche of Gawain and his commitment to his chivalric ideals.
  1. “The Power of the Dog” – This seems to be the frontrunner for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars and rightfully so. Packed with subtext and undertones, writer/director Jane Campion’s story feels like a completely different film the second time around. I didn’t think it was possible to make Benedict Cumberbatch intimidating but this movie pulls it off.
  1. “Judas and the Black Messiah” – Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield show, once again, why they are two of the best, most charismatic actors working today. This film serves as a powerful reminder of the shortcomings in the American education system when it comes to Black history.
  1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” – Some of the first movies I remember watching are Tobey Maguire’s trilogy and ever since, Spider-Man has been one of my favorite fictional characters. Watching this in a packed, opening-night theater is an experience I’ll never forget. I never thought anything like this would ever exist, but I’m thrilled that it does.
  1. “Dune” – Denis Villeneuve crafted the most immersive film of the year with his vision of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi novel, which should be a shoo-in for all the major technical awards this year. I’d been not-so-patiently waiting for this since it was announced back in 2017 and it delivered on my high expectations. “Dune” has anything you could ever want in a movie: witches, bagpipes, betrayal, desert hallucinogens and even a giant sandworm.
  1. “Bo Burnham: Inside” – When we look back at the pandemic years from now, I think this will serve as a perfect time capsule for the collective anxiety and isolation that most people felt. Burnham takes being an auteur to the next level, being the only person behind literally every aspect of production. The songs “All Eyes On Me” and “That Funny Feeling” in particular have stuck with me.
  1. “The French Dispatch” – Wes Anderson’s celebration of storytellers is a meticulously crafted and expertly directed piece of filmmaking. Containing everything you’d come to expect from a Wes Anderson film, like its symmetrical framing, ensemble cast and endless dry humor, I loved it even more the second time. I feel like I’ll never get tired of watching this movie and picking up on more of the overwhelming details on every rewatch.

What Does It Mean to be “Insecure”?

Byera Kashangaki

Contributing Writer

 

Raw, explicit, addictive. These are the three words I would use to describe one of HBO’s finest: “Insecure.” There is an unmatched intensity in the show that captivates the viewer from the first scene; immediately, there is an instant connection to the characters and their daily encounters. The show stars Hollywood’s Issa Rae who plays Issa, as well as her best friend Molly who are both juggling their careers and navigating relationships. 

The show starts off with Issa dating a Black man named Lawrence. They go through a series of intense love making, yelling at each other from across the room and break-up sex to make-up sex. Issa’s insecurity leads her to making decisions that she regrets — cheating on Lawrence with her ex-boyfriend. The regret chews her up inside even though she manages to keep it from Lawrence for some time. However, as expected, he finds out and the scene ruptures into an emotional turn of events when Lawrence, irate, yells at her in disbelief and their relationship comes to a dramatic conclusion. Issa resents herself for her actions and goes through internal conflict for a significant amount of time after the breakup. Her work suffers, and she confides in Molly about the situation. While Issa battles with her thoughts and tries to forgive herself, Molly continues making strides with her career as she figures out what she wants in a man. She is classy, sophisticated and intelligent yet seems to be struggling on the relationship frontier where she has a few flings here and there despite her insatiable desire for a man to see her as worthy beyond sexual intercourse.

This show tells an important story of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be Black. For many young Black women, it is a story that they can relate to because it encapsulates the reality of their lives. The show also challenges the notion that men are always the cheaters, demonstrating that women are capable of cheating as well, which is just as inexcusable. However, we do see that Issa’s self-worth is largely determined by how men perceive her which exposes how influential the male gaze is over Black women’s lives. It is beautiful nonetheless, to see the success of a Black woman like Molly who works in a senior position in her law firm. Black women watching this would be happy to see her succeed and have a significant voice of reason in her workplace, as there are not too many series that represent Black women in the same light. 

As a Black woman, I can say that it warms my heart to witness such powerful women on the screen, taking on such empowering roles. There is also some nuance in how the men are depicted in the show, where they are supportive and protective over women. Lawrence was loyal and caring towards Issa and was determined to make things work even when Issa gave him many reasons to leave. He fought for their relationship to last but was too heartbroken after she cheated which made him resent her—that was the ultimate turning point for his character. There is a sense of sympathy we feel for Lawrence as viewers, knowing that he did not deserve that. Overall, the show is comical, dramatic, intense and should be watched by suitable audiences who might relate to its content.

It’s a New Season, Playboy: “Euphoria” Airing on HBO

Malachi Mungoshi

Viewpoints Editor

 

Where to begin? Well, “Euphoria,” the HBO television show directed and written by Sam Levinson, and starring Zendaya and Hunter Shafer, among others, has been described as “phenomenal,” “harmful,” “realistic,” “unrealistic” and the list goes on. This article is not for the purposes of picking a side, if you will, because the way it appears is not quite the way it is. 

The series recently aired its second, long-awaited season, which has also been receiving mixed reviews thus far. I have had friends comment on how misogynistic the ideas and executions are. I have had friends tell me they loved those same ideas and executions. Where I stand is neither here nor there. I find “Euphoria” to be just the same as every nihilistic teen show: the teen angst, self-exploration, experimentation, dysfunctional family units, along with others. However, it is written and portrayed in such a way that it transcends that everyday existential drama. This is where I applaud Sam Levinson for taking a directorial stance I have not seen on television thus far. He transmutes feeling onto moments so well and I myself have had to question whether I am on the same drugs as Rue Bennett. The swift yet often jarring transitions keep the audience constantly on the edge of our seats. At first, I found this rushed. I found it messy and what I thought to myself as “too complex.” And that’s not to say I no longer find it this way—I do—but I also see that because the episodes are told mostly from Rue’s point of view. It makes sense that as she falls further into her addiction, her psyche becomes more warped and her unreliability as a narrator grows even more in this season. 

Season 2 has also introduced a deeper exploration of characters such as Fezco and Lexi, as well as a simmering love story between the two. One cannot help but to look at Angus Cloud, a man with no prior professional acting experience, and see in his eyes a very compelling depth. I remember how I just could not get the thought of “wow, he looks like Mac Miller” out of my head the first time that I saw him. Maude Apatow, someone who has grown up knowing well enough what celebrity life entails, becomes Lexi, a shrunken shadow behind her sister, Cassie. I remember feeling incredibly amused at the way Lexi described her life as a movie and the depth of her feelings of detachment from reality. For me, it really wasn’t about what she was saying, but more why. I related to that scene so much, and felt like she was speaking to me. Even the social commentary on the antithetical nature of body image as it relates to social media and society in the scene where Kat is feeling how almost everyone who struggles with body image feels at some point: ugly. For all its explicit content, the characters in “Euphoria” are so well-formed that they themselves become real within the imagination. 

Now, to address something that has been popping up all over Euphoria TikTok: is Sam Levinson sexualising teenagers? Yes. To say he isn’t is to deny the copious amount of penises, breasts and explicit sex scenes we have seen in this series thus far. The question I want to address rather, is “Is this inaccurate? Is it wrong?” The truth is that, as someone who spent a lot of time watching “Skins” when I was 14 years old, I can see the same reactions to it as I see happening with Euphoria in younger teenagers. There has been a resurfacing of the glorification of trauma, drug-use and sexual assault. The worst part, to credit a conversation I had with someone very wise, is that, as they put it, “the effects are two-fold.” Now teenagers and even pre-teens on sites like TikTok, Twitter, and Reddit, are slowly normalizing and romanticizing the aforementioned elements. 

So where do I see Season 2 going, you may ask? Well, I have no idea. All I can hope for is that the worst is behind us, as far as the violence is involved, but knowing this series, we are in for a very rocky, very shocking season.