On July 3, 2020, the world-renowned musical “Hamilton,” written by Lin-Manuel Miranda–who also starred as Alexander Hamilton in the original cast–made its way to Disney+. Families across the globe gathered around their televisions, turning millions of living rooms into “The Room Where It Happened.”
“Hamilton: An American Musical” debuted on Broadway in 2016, and quickly rose to prominence with an allstar cast of Leslie Odom Jr., Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs and Jonathan Groff to name a few. The production was so successful on Broadway that other casts began performing in Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Australia. In addition, traveling casts tour across the country and make stops in various cities, bringing “Hamilton” to all corners of the nation.
On May 12, 2020, Miranda tweeted a statement announcing that the film version of “Hamilton” would be released on Disney+ on July 3, 2020. “Hamilton” was originally supposed to be released in movie theaters in October 2021, but with the pandemic, its release occurred over a year in advance. Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman stated in a press release, “In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful.” Also, the release of “Hamilton” provided Disney+ with some new content to keep their customers subscribed, as well as encourage more people to pay for the streaming service.
The film production contains all of the performances, but some editing was required in order for it to be better suited to a younger audience. The main difference between the live performances and the film version was the removal of two curse words from the songs. Miranda wrote in a tweet that he literally “gave two f-cks so the kids could see it.”
Jackie Farnan (‘22) watched a performance of “Hamilton” on Broadway in 2018 and was supposed to see it at the Kennedy Center over the past summer, but all spring and summer productions were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Farnan stated, “I enjoyed seeing the original cast and being able to go back and watch it again and again, finding new and interesting things each time.” She also mentioned that she enjoyed being able to compare the film version to the Original Broadway Cast Recording with the same cast, and noticing the differences from the recording and the film.
As Farnan pointed out, one of the best parts of the film version was watching the original Broadway cast perform. Now, the original cast members have gone on to star in their own musicals, films and other productions, but Disney+ has brought Miranda’s original version to everyone. Farnan also noted that she enjoyed being able to see Miranda portray Hamilton, because he “plays such a raw version” of the character.
Disney+ has yet to state the planned removal date of “Hamilton” from its streaming service, so subscribers can continue to enjoy it. From Angelica Schuyler’s booming voice to the tear-jerking screams of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton, “Hamilton” is something that you will want to watch “Nonstop.”
One benefit of missing out on normal summer activities this year is having extra time to catch up on reading! Here are five of the best books of summer 2020, perfect to add to any reading list.
“Sex and Vanity” – Kevin Kwan, June 30
From the author that brought the world the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy comes another novel that promises the same levels of extravagance, humor and romance that readers have come to expect. A take on E.M. Forster’s classic 1908 novel “A Room With a View” the story follows Lucie Churchill as she balances the expectations of her family and her half-Chinese heritage, all while falling in love with a man she staunchly denies having feelings for. Described by Publisher’s Weekly as “the literary equivalent of white truffle and caviar pizza” this novel is sure to entertain.
“The Vanishing Half” – Brit Bennett, June 2
Anyone who keeps up with highly anticipated literary works should recognize this title, Bennett’s second. Receiving excellent critical reviews, the novel spans half a century, beginning in the 1940’s. Focused on the lives of twin sisters, one who makes the choice to pass for white, the narration switches between the sisters and their daughters, detailing the separate and complex lives they lead. Full of twists and suspense, “The Vanishing Half” will keep readers turning pages and dwelling on the book long after it is finished.
“A Burning” – Megha Majumdar, June 2
Majumder’s debut novel, a New York Times bestseller, was heralded as the “must-read novel of the summer” by the Washington Post. After a train has been firebombed by terrorists in contemporary India, three lives become intertwined. Majumdar paints a portrait of a society in constant upheaval and riddled with abuses of power without any signs of real change. Portrayed with sympathy for human weaknesses and the problems stemming from them, the novel provides ample food for thought.
“Luster” – Raven Leilani, August 4
Another debut novel, “Luster” follows Edie, a 23 year old New Yorker and aspiring painter dissatisfied with her life. Looking for excitement she begins an online flirtation with Eric, a man in his 40s with an open marriage. As the relationship progresses, she becomes entwined in the couple’s complicated personal life, eventually moving in with them and their daughter. Described by O Magazine as “an irreverent intergenerational tale of race and class that’s blistering and fan-yourself sexy” Leilani’s nuanced and witty style will have readers wanting more.
“The Pull of the Stars” – Emma Donoghue, July 21
From the author of “Room” comes an enthralling story set in 1918 flu pandemic. While the pandemic background allows for opportunity to draw comparisons with today’s pandemic, the primary focus of the novel is on the lives of three women, a doctor, a maternity nurse and an aide in a Dublin hospital. Based upon real circumstances and medical professionals, this engrossing historical fiction is centered in catastrophe but leaves readers with a faith in human compassion.
In the Supreme Court case United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., the Department of Justice (DOJ) took on eight corporations in the entertainment industry for “[conspiring] to control the motion picture industry,” as stated on the DOJ website. On Aug 7, 2020, the resulting decrees were repealed, causing change for the entertainment industry.
The DOJ filed their accusations of conspiracy in 1938, and in 1948 the Supreme Court found these claims to have merit. They released “The Paramount Decrees” in an effort to remove monopolistic practices. Each decree was settled individually for each corporation, meaning that the regulations that applied to one may not apply to the others, and any new businesses would not have such restrictions.The varying practices that were outlawed included “block booking […], circuit dealing […], resale price maintenance […], and granting overboard clearances.”
In addition, five of the defendants owned movie theaters as well as movie distribution companies, and these companies were forced to split themselves or sell off some of their assets. To engage in these practices again, they would need court approval. Over the 70 years since this legislation was filed, the film industry has grown with the increased capability to show movies. This is due to increases in the number of movie theaters, number of screens per theater, and the advent of streaming services. “As a consequence of all these changes, the DOJ decided to reevaluate the legislation they had fought to enact.
On Nov 22, 2019, the DOJ filed to remove “The Paramount Decrees.” The DOJ’s Antitrust Division stated that their efforts “undid the effects of that conspiracy on the marketplace” in reference to the monopolistic behavior their original brief addressed. However, they now believe these policies “may actually harm American consumers,” in the words of Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who said this legislation could interfere with the “innovative business models” corporations could otherwise implement. This claim was found to have merit by a federal judge in New York, who officially overruled “The Paramount Decrees” on Aug 7, 2020.
Analisa Torres, the District Court Judge responsible for the verdict, explained her reasoning. She said it was “unlikely that the remaining Defendants would collude to […] limit their film distribution to a select group of theaters, and found that “termination [was] in the public interest. In addition, she noted that streaming services like Netflix weren’t limited by these decrees- nor were any major players in the film industry that emerged after 1948. Different companies in the same industry faced different limitations, and it was this imbalance that Torres sought to remedy through her ruling.
The Independent Cinema Alliance (ICA) disagreed with Torres’ assessment. On Jan 17 of 2020, shortly after the Department of Justice proposed the removal of “The Paramount Decrees,” the ICA argued in a formal brief that they should remain, describing the DOJ’s work as having “a breezy and inadequate factual inquiry and literally no meaningful investigation.” In particular, they expressed concern over more major players entering the film industry, such as Amazon, that could take advantage of smaller producers.
G. Kendrick Macdowell, legal counsel of the ICA, explained how without the Decrees, independent studios would be forced to prove monopolistic behavior on their own- a difficult endeavor. He described this as the DOJ “shifting the burden” away from themselves. Only time will tell how much of this concern is warranted, but Macdowell cautions that such a change may “tempt big players into the kinds of predations that are difficult to detect and prohibitively expensive to litigate.”
The necessary and inevitable gush of women to claim their thrones at the mainstream Hip-Hop/Rap table has arguably been increasing in prevalence lately more than ever before. With new faces such as Megan Thee Stallion, City Girls, and Rico Nasty to name a few names of many talented women. The reclamation of the traditionally upheld and male-defined trope of women in this genre, has been led by none other than young Black women, which has resulted in empowering, exciting and even relieving music for listeners worldwide.
These songs are powerful messages that extremely assist in furthering the narrative of what women are capable of doing. To that same extent, it has also caused outrage at the sight of women in power enjoying their wealth, confidence, and sexuality – something that has been normalized for men to do without a second thought. The misogynistic and laughable criticism has only completed the critic’s opposite goal in garnering more well-deserved power and success for these women. Songs by these talented and respectable artists have instantly become popular on the video-sharing social media platform, TikTok, prompting immediate numerical increases in the listening, sharing and searching of these artists.
A debut album by one of these new faces recently dropped and all 12 tracks have been undeniably glorious. The 20-year-old, Tamia Monique Carter, also known as her stage name: Flo Milli, released her debut album, “Ho, why is you here ?”on July 24, 2020.
The ethereal Carter, who is the same age as many students at St. Mary’s, has already at her young age accumulated plentiful and well-deserved excitement, enthusiasm and attention for her album. She makes this fact prominent on her track, “19,” reiterating the fact that she “got rich at the age of nineteen.” This lyric is just the tip of the iceberg that is the album. The iceberg being the elaborate celebration of feminine wealth, success, power, sexuality and all while women have a good time doing it.
Lyrically, Carter is beyond gifted and is the definition of the captivating union of wordsmithing and rhythm. It is clear that this album was created with not only special care but extensive talent and knowledge of her craft. Part of this clarity is apparent in the example of gender-role reversing lyrics to claim space for women in rap. In the third track of the album, “Like That B*tch,” Carter takes the common metaphor in the genre “married to the money,” often used to show that men can and should choose to prioritize money over their relationships, usually with women. In the example verse, “I’m ’bout to get married and you already know that Benjamin Franklin the groom,” Carter reclaims this metaphor of choosing to prioritize the dedication, ownership and pride of self-earned wealth as a woman over a committed relationship to a man with the metaphor of the face of the hundred dollar bill, Benjamin Franklin, as the groom of her wedding.
“Beef FloMix” and “In the Party,” are currently the most listened to tracks on the album, both were released as singles in 2019 gaining renown on TikTok. They both set the mood for the rest of the album, a more-than-confident proclamation of self-precedence that transitions into the sphere of endless femme capability. Each song on the album exudes this addicting energy. A personal favorite off the album is the ninth track, “May I.” The fast-paced song is not only fun, intimidating and catchy but has the capability to transport the listener into the membership of Flo Milli’s girl-group, strutting exuberant determination and self-pride.
“Ho, why is you here ?” is a vital piece of the reclamation of the female narrative in Hip/Hop and Rap and is a record to play for feminine confidence and empowerment, as well as playful fun. As a young rapper fresh off this triumphant debut, the near present is sure to hold more impressive and defining albums as well as hopefully some exciting powerful collaborations with other accomplished artists in Carter’s inescapably successful career. Flo Milli is for sure one to look out for in the future as she will undoubtedly go down in history with her clever lyrics and dominating beats.
While stuck in quarantine, many people decided to relax and unwind, but Taylor Swift decided to take an entirely different path. Shocking the world, the singer-songwriter revealed on July 23, 2020 that she had written an entire album during lock-down and would be releasing it at midnight. She later revealed that this new album would be titled “Folklore.” Even more shocking, however, was how very different this album would be compared to Swift’s previous work.
While Swift’s older albums have been centered around her own trials and tribulations with life and love, “Folklore” focuses more on the stories of others. Swift explained in a personal essay that she chose to write “from the perspective of people [she has] never met, people [she has]known, or those [she] wish [she] had not.” Not only is the subject of her writing different, this album is a huge step away from Swift’s usual sound as well. Swift has been viewed both as a popstar for the majority of her career, and a country music star before that. “Folklore” is decidedly not pop or country, but can only be described as indie or, as Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield says, “goth-folk.” Many are calling “Folklore”Swift’s best work to date, and it cannot be denied that she has taken her song writing to a whole new level for this album.
Swift tries to tell as many stories as she can over the course of the sixteen-song album. From the tale of the rich widow Rebekah Harkness in “the last great american dynasty” to the story of a bitter and angry stalker at his obsession’s funeral in “my tears ricochet.” “Folklore”notably does not have as many bubbly and happy love songs as Swift’s previous albums, with “invisible string” being one of the few notable exceptions. This album instead takes the listener down more quiet and introspective paths, and seems to be introducing a new era of Taylor Swift.
Swift takes many chances to experiment in “Folklore,” and this can be seen most clearly in what Swift calls the “Teenage Love Triangle.” Rather than limit herself to one song, Swift creates a full storyline with three separate ones. “august,” “betty” and “cardigan” tell the story of James and Betty’s ill-fated summer romance after James cheated. Each song explores a different person’s perspective, from James’s regret in “betty,” Betty’s contemplation of their relationship in “cardigan,” and the other woman’s experience with James in “august.” The songs are all tinged with bittersweet nostalgia, and one or two of them might even trick a listener into thinking that they are happy songs if not for the rather depressing lyrics. The storyline is compelling and showcases Swift’s talent for song writing and story-telling in general.Releasing “Folklore” in the midst of a global pandemic was a huge risk, but it has definitely paid off for Swift. Critics and fans alike are calling the album one of her best, and she has been praised for using her time in quarantine so creatively and wisely. Billboardcalled “Folklore”“a song writing tour de force,” and The Independenthas decided that the album is “unconventional” and “brilliant.” There is no question that “Folklore”will go down as one of Swift’s best and most unconventional records, and one can only imagine what she will do next.
The year 2020 was supposed to be a big year for many movie companies. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has postponed those movies to a later date. The list of these movies includes “Jungle Cruise,” “Mulan,” “Minions: The Rise of Gru,” “Mortal Kombat,” “A Quiet Place 2” and “The Devil All the Time.” This list can and probably will continue to go on and on.
The movie “Jungle Cruise,” involves the ever-famous Dwayne the Rock Johnson and Emily Blunt. This movie is about the Disney World ride, but it is taken to life. According to Rotten Tomato this movie is going to be, “A rollicking thrill-ride down the Amazon with wisecracking skipper Frank Wolff and intrepid researcher Dr. Lily Houghton.” We will get to find out how their adventure goes in 2021.
Another movie that is coming out on Disney+ on September 4 is Mulan: the live action movie. Everyone is wondering if it will be the same as the cartoon or totally different. It sounds like it is just like the cartoon except with no songs, and it will be missing some main characters. Disney+ summarizes the movie like this, “When the Emperor of China issues a decree that one man per family must serve in the Imperial Army to defend the country from Northern invaders, Hua Mulan, the eldest daughter of an honored warrior, steps in to take the place of her ailing father.”
And of course, there is another Minions movie coming out beginning with the life story of Gru as a child. The original movie “Despicable Me,” explains his life as an adult, and how he came to love and adopt three children because of an evil past time. But this time the audience gets to learn his backstory as a child, and how he became so evil.
“Mortal Kombat,” a movie based on a game series, is supposedly coming out in January 2021. The internet movie database (IMBD) defines this movie as, “Three unknown martial artists are summoned to a mysterious island to compete in a tournament and their outcome will be decided on the fate of the world”. So many questions and yet we have to wait until 2021 to find them out.
After the first one people could not wait for the second one with the original title of “A Quiet Place 2;” unfortunately, it is coming out on April 23 2021. “The Abbott family now faces the terrors of the outside world; this movie is a sequel from ‘A Quiet Place.’”
Finally, the last movie under this review is “The Devil All the Time” with both Tom Holland and Robert Patterson. According to the internet movie database, “The Devil All the Time’ follows a cast of compelling and bizarre characters from the end of World War II to the 1960s.”This movie contains a lot of strange characters who endure many problems. This movie is actually a new movie on Netflix, so go ahead and binge this strange adventure of Tom Holland and Robert Patterson.
Hopefully, these movies will come out soon, but until then enjoy these other movie platforms like Disney+, Netflix, Hulu, etc.
The bright lights of Broadway have been shut off since mid-March 2020 due to the unprecedented COVID-19 epidemic currently wreaking havoc on the world. Theatergoers have been anxiously waiting to hear any news about when their much beloved shows will open again, but there is still a great amount of indecisiveness and confusion within the Broadway community surrounding opening back up. When it will be completely safe to allow theaters to open and what exactly Broadway will look like in the future are the subjects of heavy debate.
According to Broadway News, New York City has entered Phase Four of its reopening phase as of July 20 2020. Phase Four is the final stage of the city’s reopening plan, and still restricts museums, malls, indoor-dining, movie theaters and live theater. Live theaters were originally supposed to reopen under this phase, but this was quickly rethought as more information came to light. The elderly are some of the most at risk for COVID-19, and Market Watch has reported that more than 16 percent of Broadway theatergoers are over 65 years old. Additionally, one in five audience members at Broadway plays are from outside the United States, which means there would be a significant loss of money if Broadway were to in the near future due to strict travel restrictions.
The fact that a fair amount of the theatres are over a century old has also impacted reopening plans. It would be nearly impossible to keep up social distancing measures in the cramped seats and aisles of these older theatres.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Broadway will be shut down for the remainder of 2020, with many theatres looking at reopening sometime after Jan. 3, 2020. It is becoming very clear that Broadway will not be allowed to reopen for many months, but what will it look like when it can finally open its doors again?
Once the so-called Great White Way does open, experts say it will obviously look very different to what it once was. Plexiglass may be placed between each seat in the audience, and some theatres are even considering putting a plexiglass shield in front of the stage according to Jeff Whitling, the project manager of the largest studios in New York City. Whiting went on to tell NBC New York that this shield would allow the performers to not have to wear a mask while on stage, which could make attending a Broadway show feel slightly more familiar. In addition to these precautions, Whiting said that the audience will most likely be severely limited for shows, and members of the audience may have to have their temperature taken. Some theaters may also have their audience take a short questionnaire about their health before being allowed into any performance. There may be some beneficial changes for the audience, however. Various Broadway insiders told Fortune magazine that due to wariness that potential audience members might feel about traveling to New York City, Broadway shows will probably have to cut ticket prices severely to attract them. While cheaper shows may be a welcome change for theatergoers, this will be a very difficult step for Broadway to make, as it has already lost a substantial amount of money.
Broadway has a long and difficult journey ahead on its path to reopening. Audience members and cast and crew alike will have to accept and adjust to great changes in the coming months. If any of the precautions Broadway plans to use will be successful remains to be seen, but theaters have more than five months to set things in motion and to adjust to a new normal.
Many individuals have turned to online television for entertainment while stuck in quarantine. For some, quarantine is not over and for others, boredom is killing the extra time. Regardless, watching movies and shows have dominated our waking moments for the past couple months. In fact, in the beginning of March, streaming services viewership collectively increased by 34 percent in a matter of two weeks. Among the most popular services are: Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and Prime Video. With these services releasing new shows every month, it seems like there is an infinite number of them and that the possibilities are endless. There is no need to get overwhelmed, these are some of the possible shows that anyone can binge on next.
“Parks and Recreation” – This mockumentary style sitcom follows the activities of a parks department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Leslie Knope, as well as her other government working friends, help improve their dysfunctional town and meet with some comical encounters along the way. Each character is funny in their own way, possessing unique personalities, making them all together the perfect feel-good sitcom. Starring major stars like Amy Poehler and Chris Pratt, this show is filled with goofy humor, political satire, and heartfelt moments. If you enjoy shows like “The Office” or “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” should definitely be the thing you are watching next. Available on Netflix and Prime Video.
“Fleabag” – This British show follows the life of a woman, who is known as Fleabag, as she goes through the tragic yet amusing tale of adulthood in London. Fleabag narrates her experiences by consistently breaking through the fourth wall. Her life entails failed sexual encounters, a crazy godmother in love with her widowed father, an unnerving sister and her hopes of managing her own successful cafe business. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who created and wrote the series, got the idea from her own one-woman show she did back in 2013. Although only having two seasons, “Fleabag” keeps you wanting for more. There are points where it can get immensely funny, ridiculously dramatic, and painfully cringey. Its offbeat humor may not be for everyone, but if that is your thing or you are looking for strange odd comedies, give this show a shot. It did not win six Emmy awards for nothing. Available on Prime Video.
“Westworld” – Compelling science fiction series can really be a hit or miss. Westworld is most definitely a hit. Based off of Michael Crichton’s (writer of Jurassic Park) 1973 film, “Westworld” is set in a futuristic period in which a highly advanced park has been created. People can visit and explore interactively, doing whatever they please to do. However such human indulgences and advancements in technology do not come without errors and consequences. The show reveals an ugly and dangerous aspect of artificial intelligence and with it is provoking drama, each episode will leave you at the edge of your seat. The acting is phenomenal and they just released their third season this past spring and has already been renewed for a fourth. Available on HBO Max.
“Broad City” – Probably one of the most underrated comedies out there. This eccentric show follows a pair of young girls, Abbi and Ilana, and their misadventures while living in New York City. Abbi is a hardworking janitorial cleaner with the hopes of becoming a successful artist while Ilana is an unconcerned free spirited woman who likes to live life carelessly. They are polar opposite best friends, making them the most hilarious duo. Written and created by the two female leads, who took their real first names in the show, “Broad City” can be super cringey yet super relatable at the same time, it is perfect. There are only five seasons with each episode only being about 30 minutes, but once you finish, you will wish every day Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson could have written more. Available on Hulu.
“Demon Slayer Kimetsu No Yaiba” – For anime lovers, this manga based series depicts the story of a boy who has become a demon slayer after his family is slaughtered by them. His sister has turned into a demon and together they try to find a way to turn her back to a human. “Demon Slayer”has been praised for having a captivating story line and terrific animation. It does portray some gory violence and frightening scenes, but also does have an emotional touch to it. Available on Hulu.
“Insecure” – Created and written by Issa Rae, this comedy-drama follows the everyday life of two best friends living in Los Angeles. From relationship troubles to racial ordeals, “Insecure” focuses on the experiences of being young African American women living in the 21st century. Nominated for multiple Emmys and Golden Globes, this show, with the strong female leads, is a refreshing comedy that will always give you a laugh with every episode. Available on HBO Max.
“The Suite Life of Zack & Cody” – Nostalgia is real for some of us. Disney+ definitely allowed us to take trips down memory lane for months with the amount of childhood content that is on there. The Suite Life of Zack & Codywas one that gives vivid memories for most of us. This show follows Zack and Cody Martin, living in the Tipton hotel with their mother, and the antics and misbehaviors with their friends and other hotel staff. It is a cool funny show to watch even if you did not grow up with it. Available on Disney+.
“The Great British Baking Show” – Reality TV shows are not for everyone, but even for those who don’t enjoy them, this show is not like any other. While most reality shows put emphasis on dramatizing to the viewers, “The Great British Baking Show”is on the calm side. It is actually quite relaxing and low-key. The show consists of judges Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith, who replaced Mary Berry, and hosts Noel Fielding and Sandi Toksvig, who replaced Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc. Each season has a new series of contestants in which each week they have to complete different challenges. It can be quite educational too in the different baking techniques and dishes that they talk about. It is great for if you just want to just sit back and watch a simple show without anything too crazy. It is even pretty funny at times too. Available on Netflix.
“Unorthodox” – This miniseries drama is about a young Jewish woman who runs away from New York to Berlin after being in a forced arranged marriage. She starts a new life in Berlin, however her past may cause a problem with her leading a secular life. The show is based off of a memoir by Deborah Feldman, “Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.” The acting and storyline is so beautiful and powerful, tears will inevitably be shed. If you are looking for more serious heart wrenching dramas, “Unorthodox” is definitely worth a shot. Available on Netflix.
“Derry Girls” – Another highly underrated comedy out there. This show follows five friends living in Northern Ireland in a town called Derry during the 1990s. The creator and writer, Lisa McGee, based her own experiences of teenage life during the end of The Troubles. It is packed with quirky dark comedy while also being heartfelt in some moments. There are not a lot of episodes so it is perfect if you are not wanting to watch anything too time consuming. Available on Netflix.
2020 has been a wild ride, and one that has seemed to go on for way too long. A lot of extremely important and essential movements have been given the public recognition they deserve. We continue to battle a global pandemic as we await the 2020 election. And despite feeling like the world has overturned, artists have not held back this year in delivering monumental music. It has been six months since this pandemic came to light in the United States. From quarantining to social distancing, I have spent a good portion of my time discovering the new music that the pandemic has birthed during the past six months.
There are so many amazing albums that deserve a spotlight, but this article will focus on two, contrasting and equally beautiful albums. Starting in late March, Conan Gray released his album “Kid Krow,” which has songs that have taken over the popular social media app TikTok over the last few months. As Gray himself describes it; this album is chaotic neutral. With its share of emotional and vulnerable songs like “Heather” and “The cut that always bleeds,” this album definitely has its songs to listen to when you are in need of a long-overdue cry. “The cut that always bleeds” is seemingly about a relationship that he was struggling to move on from. He was trying to heal but that person kept breaking his heart over and over again. With lyrics like “I don’t love you anymore, A pretty line that I adore, Five words that I’ve heard before, ‘Cause you keep me on a rope, And tied a noose around my throat, You’re gone then back at my door,” you cannot help but feel his pain through his lyrics. The simple instrumentals, which mostly just consist of an acoustic guitar, complement his voice and his message, allowing for listeners to feel a connection to this tear-jerker and passionate track. If you have been on any social media app in the past month, you’ll see that the internet has taken a certain interest in Gray’s song “Heather.” Gray describes his song, saying: “‘Heather’” is the song on the album that I always cry to. I think it’s the most honest recount of my love life at the moment. It’s about a girl named Heather—I think everyone has a Heather in their life. The person that I really, really liked was in love with Heather. They were not in love with me, and because of that, I f**king hated Heather. I hated Heather with all of my heart and soul. I had no reason to hate Heather. Heather is a perfectly nice girl. She’s sweet and she’s pure and she smells like daisies—she’s perfect, but I hate her.” Throughout this vulnerable and beautiful piece about unrequited love, his emotions are tangible and even if you are not in a position similar to the pain he is feeling, you cannot help but shed a tear and hope in the back of your mind that maybe someone looks at you and thinks you are Heather.
If you are not looking for songs to cry to or angrily sing because someone you loved hurt you, then I do suggest you look elsewhere. Luckily, Chloe x Halle have your back. Their new album “Ungodly Hour” can only really be described using one word: chills. This R&B album is layered with beautiful and catchy lyrics that showcase the insane natural talent that these sisters have. The album has such amazing energy. When listening to it, it seems impossible to sit still and not jump up with your best friends and have a dance party. Their song “Do it” has an upbeat quality while still sustaining its R&B influences. It gives a cheerful message to listeners about having fun and enjoying life with your best friends by your side. Their title track song “Ungodly Hour” discusses sexuality and love. In an interview, they beautifully articulate the meaning behind the track saying: “we came up with the phrase ‘Love me at the ungodly hour.’ Love me at my worst. Love me when I’m not the best version of myself. And the song kind of wrote itself really fast. It’s about being in a situationship with someone who isn’t ready to fully commit or settle down with you, but the connection is there, the chemistry is there, it’s so electric. But being the woman, you know your self-worth and you know what you won’t accept.” The album is filled with so many amazing, empowering, electric and beautiful songs that I highly recommend to anyone who needs a pick-me-up or a song to dance around their room when it is late at night.
These albums both provide the perfect songs for two completely different mental states, and yet both albums still beautifully and emotionally express the highs and lows of young love, growing up and self-acceptance. If you are looking for your fall 2020 anthems, I highly suggest checking out these two albums.
The Class of 2022, currently sophomores at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, as a whole put together a massive cast for a musical rendition of the 2017 film and 2007 book, “Call Me By Your Name.” “The film was widely popular and inspired the entire class to get together and put their whole heart and soul into this production,” said a member of the class. “I would do anything for or in honor of Timothee Chalamet,” said an enamored sophomore.
Of course, the Theatre, Film, and Media Studies (TFMS) Department students took the lead in terms of directing, organizing and planning the musical entirely. Music Department students composed and wrote entire lyrical numbers for the cast while also incorporating the original score of the film. Dance department students choreographed dances for just about every scene. Visual Art department students created spectacular and accurate to 1980’s Northern Italy setting backdrops and props with special help from History, Anthropology, and Museum Studies students. Students of the English Department worked for many days and nights to edit and piece together a quality script based on the original film which would be appropriate for the stage. But, the ensemble of actors, singers and dancers was made up of students of all majors, and even included athletes. Believe it or not, every single member of the class participated in making this production a great success. There were even two understudies each for the characters of Elio, Oliver, the Perlmans and Marzia.
The musical ran for three weekends and was sold out each time. “I went every Saturday afternoon that they had it playing,” said an elderly member of the Leonardtown community who had nothing else to do. He claimed, “It awoke in me something that I had never felt before.” The first weekend alone brought the box office over two billion dollars, which was a pretty average income for fundraisers for both the class of 2022 and the College as well. The money will help go towards the events held at the end of this class’ senior year.
“I’m really impressed with these students,” remarked a sweaty professor outside of the theater, “The place was packed, I mean people were falling out of their chairs since everyone had to be seated two to a chair in there, it was such a high demand to see it.” The professor continued while wiping their forehead with a handkerchief, “it was just, wow. Really, really great to see those kids be so passionate about something other than the weekend. I am really glad they have finally found something else to do.”
“The Point News” waited three long hours for comments from the actors who played the lead roles of Elio and Oliver to comment, but they were still in the theater picking up roses thrown at them by the crowd when the musical was finished. Our team of journalists finally had to pack up and go home because they could not physically stand to wait anymore (their legs were numb because the person sharing their chair sat on them during the whole musical). We did happen to receive a brief comment from the student who played Mr. Perlman. “It’s been a whirlwind of an experience,” he said breathlessly as other students, faculty and adoring fans tried to get photos with or autographs from him “I hope my dad is finally proud of me for something,” he continued, laughing nervously with a tear in his eye.
“Call Me by Your Name, The Musical,” runs for one more weekend, so be sure to buy your tickets before they sell out!
Disclaimer: This article was published as a part of our April Fools Edition.