“Skip into Spring”
Photo by Gabriella Pericone, junior
Taken in Cranford, New Jersey
March 19, 2015
“Taking advantage of the warm weather; skipping home from Girl Scouts,”
“Skip into Spring”
Photo by Gabriella Pericone, junior
Taken in Cranford, New Jersey
March 19, 2015
“Taking advantage of the warm weather; skipping home from Girl Scouts,”
“SXSW – White Label Collective Party with Headliner John Legend”
Event Coverage: Kyle Woodworth
It’s no secret that SXSW is arguably the largest annual musical and entertainment festival on the planet.
Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this collaborative event, is the eclectic entertainment its showcases represent. From HOV himself to up and coming artists such as James Bay, SXSW has something for fans from all walks of life. That being said, on Sat. March 21, SPIN magazine and AXE for men coordinated the exclusive AXE White Label Collective Party; a showcase made up of performers such as YG, ASTR, James Davis and John Legend.
The showcase took place at Cheer Up Charlies on Red River Street in Austin, Texas. With an outdoor space sizeable enough to accommodate supporters of all the featured acts, yet adequately intimate, ensuring everyone had a prime view of the main stage, and about 500 to 700 music enthusiasts made their way into the unique venue.
ASTR took the stage first. ASTR are an NYC-based electro pop/punk duo with dimensional female vocals over a male driven beat. Their debut project, the Varsity EP, inspired their addition to the White Label Collective party, but the spacey couple performed at least two new songs exclusively for their Texas audience.
With catchy hooks over simplistic beat drops, ASTR does a great job at making unique music with commercial appeal.
The king of current R&B himself, John Legend, introduced to the stage the five AXE White Label Collective artists that he himself has mentored. In tandem with SPIN’s mission to promote new music, White Label Collective itself is a music, fashion and talent hub that fosters the growth of emerging artists. Legend handpicked the up-and-coming talent that would take the stage at this showcase.
Alejandro Palma, who can be found on YouTube under the username pamapurple, sang one song while showcasing his keyboard skills. The song “Satisfied,” that he performed live, was the same song that initially caught Legend’s attention and ultimately landed him a spot on the Austin stage. With a good voice, cool hair and jazzy confidence, Palma used his time in the spotlight to show the SXSW corner of the world why he deserved to be heard.
Allison Mula, who can be found on YouTube under the username allison mula, said in her White Label interview that she realized she was “ready to #taketheleap” (the White Label hashtag for their talent scouting contest) when she got tired of standing still. With a funky appearance resembling a lunch lady from your grade school days and an eerie voice that would make Judy Garland seem current, Mula is bringing an old vibe to contemporary music.
John Rankin, who can be found on YouTube under johnrankinmusic, took the stage with acoustic guitar in hand. A short guy with a cool voice who, despite the pitchy areas of his set, mellowed out the anxious crowd and used his songwriting abilities to translate raw emotion. Reminiscent of an early Adam Levine, Rankin has the indie ability to transfer emotion with his music.
The favorite of the five seemed to be John Russell—self-titled on YouTube, this Detroit native brought the house down and was surely one of the only SXSW acts of the day to play the guitar in a black suit. Seemingly too young to have the raw vocals he portrayed, Russell brought truthfulness to his performance with no visible nerves. His musical influences shine through as notes of John Mayer and Ella Fitzgerald peak in between the lines of every chord progression.
A nice change of pace to the showcase was Jelani Sinclair (YouTube: jelanisinclairpro), a hip-hop artist from Pomona, N.Y. Clearly influenced by the greats such as Nas and Kendrick Lamar, Sinclair brought on head nods with his story rap stylization. On top of just saying the words, he made sure to feel them and show that emotion to all 500 people waiting to grasp his story.
John Legend capped off the White Label artists portion with a four-song set that actually made female fans pass out from excitement (it was either that or dehydration). Constantly encompassing new elements in songs we’ve heard a thousand times, Legend managed to perform “All of Me” and “Ordinary People” as though they were being heard for the first time. These are two classic Legend tracks that have been heard hundreds of times by every fan in the audience, yet he is able to evoke a deeper emotion every time. The classics never seem stale with Legend, which is most likely why AXE thought he would be the perfect role model for their brand new artists.
Music isn’t about constantly being innovative; it’s about reworking what already exists and making it more real. If it’s not broken, you don’t fix it; you just protect it. Emotions have been the same for years; they revolve around happiness, sadness, anger and love, changing on by variances based on situations and generations.
The same goes for music. A classic song remains classic because every time it is heard, it has the ability to speak to someone for the first time.
It seems that that happened a lot on Saturday with the emerging talent at the White Label Collective and I’m sure everyone is looking forward to hearing more from the artists who took that stage.Tweet
At the end of a long and productive day, many want to just kick back and relax with some music or their favorite television show. Now, thanks to the new app Viggle, users can use this time to be productive as well, earning points to receive prizes and discounts at a wide variety of stores. By tuning in to Viggle while you tune in to your favorite source of entertainment, you can treat yourself in more ways than one!
Viggle is an entertainment rewards program that encourages its users to explore new music and stay loyal to their favorite shows. By “checking in” with a song or TV show, you can earn points that can be redeemed in the rewards store. The interface of the app looks very similar to the app Shazam (for when you can’t figure out the name of that song playing) and requires only one tap of the button for the app to begin recognizing what is playing. There is a switch to shift to either “TV” or “Music” but from there the app really takes over.
You earn points from logging in a new song, watching a television program or participating in surveys or watching commercial ads. You could even earn trivia for bonus points when watching a TV show.
Depending on the week certain high profile shows, such as The Bachelor, have had point multipliers attached to their viewer points as well.
These points can be used in the rewards store for a wide variety of deals and products. You can make entertainment purchases, such as ebooks, movies and music that can be synced onto your device and later into your computer.
You can also use your points for products such as Viggle sponsored merchandise or other products from technology to health care or kitchen items. There are even options to enter sweepstakes, receive coupons, earn gift cards or give charitable donations all from the comfort of your couch. With so much to gain, what is there to lose? You can pick up the app for free through either the app store or play store and start earning points now! Happy listening!Tweet
March 27: Bright Night 16: Electro Glow Party
March 29: The Ghost Inside with The Acacia Strain, Gideon and In Hearts Wake
March 31: Curren$y with Tone Eyeful, Keyz Royal, Marquise Green and Dutch the Dreamer
March 25: Household with Molly’s Worst Enemy, Down with Rent, Paragon Theorem and Shane Slaughter
March 27: Maxx Explosion
March 29: The Stolen with The Press War, Kalimur, Midnight Madness, Keep it Quiet and Not As Planned
March 30: Catch the Break with The Potentials, Levelhead and Llama Tsunami
March 25: Kalin & Myles with Jacquie Lee and Anjali
The most recent trend for Walt Disney Studios has been to adapt classic fairy tales into big budget fantasies.
Continuing in the trend of Alice in Wonderland, Oz: The Great and Powerful, and Maleficent, Cinderella has been given the most recent treatment of being converted to a modern Hollywood blockbuster.
The past three aforementioned films are generally considered to be visually appealing but emotionally dry and bland. Well, finally a rich mix of the two has been accomplished with Cinderella.
Directed by Kenneth Branagh, the film stays close to the classic story of country girl Cinderella turned orphan and forced to play servant to her stepmother and stepsisters. Taking solace in her animal companions, she enchants the prince of her kingdom at a ball thanks to magical enhancements by her fairy godmother. Forced to return home to servitude, she leaves behind a glass slipper, which only fits her.
This leads to her discovery by the prince, and she escapes her enslavement to her stepmother and lives happily ever after. This is hardly a spoiler, as this timeless tale is almost as widely known as the tale of “Jonah and the Whale.”
Kenneth Branagh does an excellent job with this new adaptation, finding the perfect fit for all of the roles. Starring Lily James as Cinderella and Richard Madden as Prince Charming, Cate Blanchett stands out as Cinderella’s stepmother, playing the role with purpose, and not just fitting into the evil archetype that has been established over generations.
One understands why the stepmother abuses Cinderella, as she is driven by need and jealousy, derived from hard times she and her daughters have gone through. However, the viewer still feels for Cinderella’s plight against adversity.
Praise is also due towards Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Cinderella’s fairy godmother. Coming in at a time of desperation, she outfits Cinderella with a new dress, a carriage complete with horses and doormen, and a pair of glass slippers. While Carter’s role is brief, she leaves an impression as a genuine eccentric sorceress that lends to one of the most entertaining segments of the film in the creation of Cinderella’s magical enhancements.
On a technical level, the costumes and sets are beautiful. Everything from Cinderella’s country house to the royal palace vibrantly pops off the screen and create a picturesque kingdom that is the epitome of a classic fairy tale. I could easily see Cinderella being nominated for an Oscar for Best Costume next year, if not winning it. The royal ball is incredibly enchanting, with beautiful costumes and dancing. Cinderella’s animal friends are rendered in beautiful CGI, and are much more charming than the squeaking anthropomorphic mice from the 1950 film.
I feel no shame in saying that this film is better than the 1950 Disney classic. There is much more depth to the characters, the screenplay is richer, and it is just a better made film with more things going for it than its 1950 counterpart. Cinderella is another hit of Branagh’s run of good films.
While obviously not as great as Branagh’s high point, Hamlet, which is one of my favorite films, Cinderella’s charming visuals and performances will transport you back to childhood with a faithful retelling of the classic fairy tale.Tweet
As we come out of what is known as the dumping ground of film (January to March), many new and exciting films are coming out. So, in a week that’s short of movie news, here is a list of the top five most anticipated films of 2015.
The Fantastic Four (Aug. 7)
Many were upset with the two previous films adapted from the Fantastic Four comic books, released in 2005 and 2007. While I liked them as a preteen boy, they are admittedly hokey and have horrible screenplays. So, Fox is rebooting the franchise with a new film set to come out in August. The trailer, released in December, shows an Interstellar like premise of explorers going into another dimension where they presumably get their powers. Mr. Fantastic, previously played by Ioan Gruffardd, will be portrayed Miles Teller, who recently starred in the acclaimed film Whiplash. The four superheroes are all set to be much younger than their portrayal in previous films. Because of the rapid departure from previous films, the brooding atmosphere of the trailer, and the possibility that this new film will cross over with X-Men, Fantastic Four is set to be a very welcome reboot.
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 (Nov. 20)
The Hunger Games film series has been a rare case where each new installment improves upon the previous one. I was not a fan of The Hunger Games, but Catching Fire raised the stakes. The screenplay improved and the editing gave the film weight. All of these factors made the film much more relatable than the first one. Mockingjay Part 1 raised the bar even more, making Panem a much deeper political allegory of the current state even more than the second film. The action was great, and the character development gained further investment. The conclusion of Mockingjay Part 1 ends the penultimate film with a perfect sense of suspense, and the climax, if following in the trend of the past two films, should be the best Hunger Games film yet.
Jurassic World (June 12)
As a huge Godzilla fan, I can say that no one loves monster movies more than me. The first movie I remember seeing in the theaters was Jurassic Park III. Contrary to popular belief, I love the third Jurassic Park and feel it delivers exactly what a good monster movie should: action, fights, and an irresistible sense of fun. The second film, The Lost World, was not a good movie on any accounts. The first film is undoubtedly a masterpiece, satisfying both the urge for monster fighting and a powerful screenplay. I was fortunate enough to catch the first film’s rerelease in IMAX 3D. Seeing the dinosaurs on big screen was an absolute pleasure. So, this new film has me very excited. Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, the new film introduces cross breeding dinosaurs to create a super dinosaur, sure to be deadlier than the T-Rex and spinosaurus from previous films. I can’t wait to return to the island come June.
In the Heart of the Sea (Dec. 11)
Along with monster movies, I am a huge fan of historical epics, particularly seafaring adventures. Ron Howard’s In the Heart of the Sea is a dramatization of the true story of the whaling ship Essex, attacked by a whale in 1820, leaving the survivors adrift in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. A period peace along the lines of Mutiny on the Bounty and Master and Commander, the film will certainly have the triumph of the human spirit found in Castaway. Originally set to come out this March, In the Heart of the Sea was pushed back to December. Many speculate that this shows studio confidence for releasing the film so close to Oscar season. In the Heart of the Sea is the second most anticipated film for me coming this December.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (Dec. 18)
It comes as no surprise that Star Wars is the most anticipated film of the year. The first Star Wars film released in ten years, this film will be directed by JJ Abrams. After what Abrams did to reinvigorate Star Trek in 2009, he is surely the right man to start up Star Wars again after three mediocre prequels ten years ago. Starring mostly unknowns, the film will have the return of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fischer, and Harrison Ford, the starring trio of the original trilogy. Set 30 years after the original trilogy, The Force Awakens is sure to be a welcome comeback for the series.Tweet
By Samantha Mathewson, Senior
Taken in Wildwood, NJ
Summer of 2012
Mat Kearney has already established himself as a successful singer/songwriter with hits like “Nothing Left to Lose,” “Ships and the Night,” and “Closer to Love.” Now, nine years after he released his debut album, he released his newest project called JUST KIDS.
This is his third album to date and it definitely shows his character as a young artist. Combining pop and hip-hop styles of music, he produces a truly unique sound that is really great to listen to. You can see some influences from artists like Matchbox Twenty, The Fray and Ed Sheeran.
The album opens with a hip-hop feeling track called “Heartbreak Dreamer.” Kearney applies this slow talk-rap to make the song seem more modern but really works. “Moving On” is a really uplifting song about, well, moving on. It gives a sense of hope that is only reinforced by the music behind the lyrics.
The title track “Just Kids” has a sound very similar to Ed Sheeran and takes us back to Kearney’s roots and how they have affected him. It’s a slow jam that gives a look into the singer’s world. “Billion” is the most popular track on the album as of now. It is again a pop influenced track that features a rap verse by Mat.
“One Black Sheep” is another uplifting song about feeling that you’re a loner or an outsider. This song really spoke to me and is just another great part of the album.
“Ghost” is a slow track that is about having the memory of someone you’ve lost just hang around, mentally or physically. This song could be seen as an influence of Gavin DeGraw or even a Maroon 5 type style. “Los Angeles” is an ode to the esteemed city where Kearney busts out a rap on the verse, showing his diversity in style as an artist. “The Conversation” is a beautiful duet in which Kearney is accompanied by female vocalist Young Summer. The album ends on the ballad “Shasta,” reminding the listener that Kearney can rap, but also plug at your heartstrings.
JUST KIDS is just another step in the incredible journey of Mat Kearney and another testament to his unique style and talent. Kearney is an artist that redefines pop music in always keeping the listener surprised and wanting more. JUST KIDS is fifteenth on the top albums chart on iTunes and I definitely think it will be around there for a while, as this album is a milestone for Mat Kearney. I really am excited to see where he goes next.Tweet