Artist Feature: Erin Moran ’20 Creates Art through Graphic Design

Written By: Olivia Sothoron

Erin Moran (‘20) is completing her major in art and a minor in anthropology. She has worked to focus her coursework on graphic design specifically within the fine arts field. Throughout her time at the college, she has created various artworks for the College, including creating the cover of the Fall 2020 edition of “The Mulberry Tree” and designing a t-shirt which is sold in the Campus Store. 

Moran came to St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) after completing her associate’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in graphic design. While she was enrolled in community college, she gained valuable experience with graphic design. She explained:  “A lot of my community college classes were digital media courses. I did a small internship with my community colleges athletic department where I was able to practice and learn new software.” This internship allowed Moran to gain experience working with various software programs and further developed her skills as a graphic designer. 

Although the SMCM Art Department does offer a few courses in digital media, many of Moran’s experiences come from her work around campus, creating digital art to promote the College. For the past year, she has worked as an intern in the Office of Integrated Marketing under Keely Houk (‘17) and has produced various publications used by the College’s social media sites as well as around campus. Moran stated that she found this position with Houk through a recommendation by one of her professors. She remarked, “Keely is the most amazing mentor and has taught me so much!”

Many artists have a creative process for producing their art, and Moran’s process is to sit down at a computer and jump right into the designing process. Her experience with various softwares allows her to have a firm understanding of which programs work best for certain artworks, and she is able to produce wonderfully crafted pieces through graphic design. In regards to her design process, Moran mentioned: “I skip right to the computer to sketch my designs. I think about what I want to do and just go for it.”

One of Moran’s more recent designs is featured as the cover of the Fall 2020 edition of the College’s alumni magazine, “The Mulberry Tree.” Moran brainstormed a cover page that demonstrates the various contributions and efforts of members of the SMCM community during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the main focuses of the cover is the impact of technology, which is something that has been able to keep people together during this uncertain time. Moran stated: “I brainstormed how COVID-19 has impacted my life and the lives of my fellow students. Technology has been a huge part of everyone’s lives and although we are all distant, the technology brings us together.”

After graduating from SMCM, Moran plans to pursue a career in graphic design at the professional level. She emphasized her willingness to work hard to achieve this goal. In addition, the best advice she has to give to others wishing to pursue a career in graphic design is “to never give up and to really pay attention to typography. Typography is everything.” 

Moran’s artwork can be seen around campus–including in the Campus Store on a t-shirt–on the College’s social media sites and in the Fall 2020 “Mulberry Tree” which was released on Friday, Sept. 18.

Museums and Galleries Are Finally Being Allowed to Reopen

Written By: Eleanor Pratt

Since March 2020, the majority of us have been stuck inside with little to do. As we enter September, however, more and more attractions are opening up to the public in both Southern Maryland and in Washington D.C.. While many museums and galleries are still closed to the general public due to COVID-19, there are some that have been allowed to open their doors again with new guidelines in place.

The Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center is open to the public, although new rules have been introduced to keep everyone safe and healthy. The Garden asks guests who feel sick to stay home. Guests with compromised immune systems are advised to seriously reconsider visiting, as some areas of the garden and galleries are impossible to disinfect and could pose a health risk. The sculpture garden and trails are open to the public, as well as the Murray Arts Building, although masks are required inside. The Garden’s current exhibit is “She: An Expression of Womanhood,” which focuses on the theme of women in art. Due to the COVID crisis, the Garden is following a “pay what you can” practice and simply suggests that guests donate a five dollar donation per person if possible.

The Calvert Marine Museum has also resumed its normal hours of operation from 10:00am to 5:00 p.m. daily. However, guests need to select a two-hour time window before visiting to reduce crowd sizes. Between each two-hour session, employees will sanitize all of the indoor and outdoor spaces to make sure everyone stays safe. When visiting the museum, guests can learn more about the history of Solomon’s island, visit the otter exhibit, and see the new exhibit “Waterside Music Series: The Sounds of Solomon’s,” which will be opening to the public soon.

As of Aug. 31, 2020, Washington D.C. is in Phase Two of recovery. Museums, galleries, and even the National Zoo are slowly being allowed to begin opening, however, there will most likely be a capacity for fifty people in exhibit spaces and rules about face masks and social distancing will be in effect.

In a more recent development, The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum are all planning on opening Friday Sept.18 with free, timed-entry passes required for each guest. The Renwick Gallery is also opening on Sept.18, but it does not require timed-entry passes at this time.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has also opened its doors and, like many other museums, has asked interested visitors to reserve tickets in advance because the museum is practicing timed admission. Current exhibits include a collection of more than 5,000 works of women-made art from the sixteenth century to today and “Return to Nature,” which show-cases the different approaches women photographers take to photographing nature.

The National Gallery of Art has opened its West Building and Ground Floor galleries from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The Gallery does require guests to secure a pass in advance, but admission is always free. The Gallery is currently featuring exhibits on open-air painting in Europe until Nov. 29, 2020 and on Degas at the Opera until Oct. 12, 2020.

For those looking for some American history, George Washington’s home of Mount Vernon is now open again. Visitors can take a journey through our first president’s home and learn about how life was lived during the late 18th century. Non-members should buy tickets online for guaranteed entry because capacity is limited, and everyone is required to wear face coverings.

As time goes on, more museums and attractions will open to the public, however, when absolutely everything will be open again is anyone’s guess. These museums and galleries that are beginning to open up can give us hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and we may be able to return to some kind of normalcy soon.

The Stakes are Higher Than Ever in The Umbrella Academy Season Two

Written By: Eleanor Pratt

Audiences were first introduced to the Umbrella Academy in February of 2019. The strange and whimsical show was based on a series of comics by Gerard Way and Gabriel Ba, and quickly became a hit for Netflix. The second season made its debut on the streaming platform on July 31, 2020, and the question on everyone’s minds was how it would compare to its first, highly successful season.

As of Sept. 17, 2020, the second season has a 90% rating from critics and an 89% score from the audience on Rotten Tomatoes. Some critics even went so far as to say that the second season was better than the first, and the majority noted that, although the stakes were higher, the show never lost its emotional core. Critic Brad Newsome of the Sydney Morning Herald praised the season saying that “the series’ wry sense of humor shines through striking a fine balance with the spectacle and the emotional oomph. Great stuff,” and Scott Bryan, a critic from the BBC, joked that “The less you think about the plot, the more you enjoy the ride, and the funnier and more interesting it is too.” 

This season is certainly a strange ride, and the stakes higher than ever before, with the Hargreeves siblings having to find each other after being flung back to various points in time thanks to Number Five’s quick thinking at the end of season one. Eventually, they manage to reunite in Dallas, Texas in 1963 where they must stop yet another apocalypse from happening. Like the last season, Number Five must convince his family to work together to stop the apocalypse, but this proves difficult when none of them take him particularly seriously. The added stress of three hitmen from the evil Commission coming to kill the Hargreeves siblings does not help matters either.

The show introduces several new characters this season, which adds to the feeling of the stakes being even higher than before. We meet Ray, Allison’s civil rights activist husband, who is not sure what to make of his wife’s incredibly strange family. Sissy, a housewife whom Vanya eventually becomes romantically involved with as the season goes on. Sissy’s son Harlan is introduced as well and becomes a very important piece of the apocalypse later on. One of the most important new characters is Lila, who Diego first meets during his stay at the mental asylum in the beginning of the season. Lila seems like any normal girl at first, but her true nature is one of the bigger and more shocking plot twists of the series.

Overall, the second season of the Umbrella Academy was just as fun and odd as the first season. We learn more about each character and come to care about them even more. These characters add heart and humor to a show that often has incredibly dark and depressing storylines. There is a surprise around every corner, and it is almost impossible to be bored when watching. Fans of the show will not be disappointed, and now the only thing to do is to hope for a confirmation of season three from Netflix.

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” Obfuscates Remote Audiences Everywhere

Written By: Kristina Norgard

“I’m Thinking of Ending Things” premiered on Netflix on Sept. 4 2020. The film is rated R and runs for 2 hours and fourteen minutes. It is based on the book with the same title written by Iain Reid. The psychological-thriller stars Jesse Plemons –known for “Black Mirror,” “Breaking Bad”– as Jake and Jessie Buckley –known for “Wild Rose,” “Beast”– as Young Woman, along with Toni Collette –known for “Knives Out,” “Hereditary”–as Mother, and David Thewlis –known for multiple “Harry Potter” films, “Big Mouth”– as Father. The film was both written and directed by Charlie Kaufman –known for “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.” According to IMDB the logline for the film is “full of misgivings, a young woman travels with her new boyfriend to his parents’ secluded farm. Upon arriving, she comes to question everything she thought she knew about him, and herself.” 

However, that description of the film is merely the tip of the iceberg, and some might say that it would not really captivate the true experience of the two-hours they just spent. The film is the opposite of textbook, but the definition of enigmatic, obscure and ambiguous. Kaufman explained in an IndieWire interview what might actually be a better description to really let an audience know what they are getting into, “This movie is dealing with somebody’s experience of absorbing things that they see and how they become part of his psyche.” Additionally, in the same interview, he said that he is open to all interpretations of what the film’s intent, “I’m not really big on explaining what things are,” the writer-director said in a phone interview. “I let people have their experiences, so I don’t really have expectations about what people are going to think. I really do support anybody’s interpretation.” 

Various critics have given their thoughts about “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Rotten Tomatoes currently sitting with a score of 83%, most of them are positive, for example, one from Luke Buckmaster praises, “It’s not the explosions of batshit craziness that most enthrall but the events leading up to them, when you can sense the walls of logic are going to collapse in on themselves but you can’t quite see the fold marks,” and from Sonny Bunch, “Your ability to enjoy or appreciate this will be directly related to just how willing you are to roll with intentional disorientation and obfuscation.” However, not all critics felt the same way, Adam Graham stated, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” is an unsolvable riddle where the only answer is mankind’s hopelessness, and we’ve been down this road before,” and Dennis Harvey felt as though Kaufman’s creativity had been completely spent on his previous works, “…there were already signs that his particular bag of tricks might wear out its welcome, and his features so far as writer-director have confirmed that hunch…”

Midway through the film, the Young Woman observes, “People like to think of themselves as points moving through time. But I think it is probably the opposite. We’re stationary, and time passes through us, blowing like cold wind stealing our heat leaving us chapped and frozen, and I don’t know, dead. I feel like I was that wind tonight.” This point, of many made throughout the film, was the one that elucidated aid in solving the riddles twisted and strategically placed by Kaufman. 

Like most story structures where the plot starts to become concrete and come together by the end, the audience for “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” most likely will just become more confused — especially if they have not read the book. If you read the book (or even a sinful quick online summary of the book’s ending), it will probably help you make much more sense of what just happened before you. However, as Kaufman said, he intends for it to still be up to your own interpretation in the end. Undoubtedly, the film is still very creepy, frustrating and even mentally taxing at times, but somehow very much intriguing and thought-provoking enough to make it fruitful and worth it the watch. Unquestionably, the film is well crafted and truly a treat for the mind. It is highly recommended that if you watch this, watch it with a friend or few as it makes great conversation if you enjoy conversing about all things psychological, meta and semiotics.

You No Longer Need to “Wait For It:” “Hamilton” Arrives on Disney+

By Olivia Sothoron

A couple eating Chinese food watching television

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.”

Best Books of Summer 2020

By: Maggie Warnick 

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.

  1. “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. 
  1. “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. 
  1. “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. 
  1. “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. 
  1. “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.

District Court Overturns “The Paramount Decrees” over 70 Years Later

By Nicholas Ashenfelter

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.”

New Rapper Flo Milli Debuts First Album “Ho, why is you here ?”

By Kristina Norgard

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 22: Flo Milli performs at the Kicksperience Stage Sponsored By Sprite during the BET Experience at Staples Center on June 22, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sarah Morris/Getty Images for BET)

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.

Taylor Swift’s “Folklore” Has Fans and Critics Raving

Eleanor Pratt

PARK CITY, UT – JANUARY 23: Singer Taylor Swift is seen on Main Street during the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2020 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Mat Hayward/GC Images)

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. Billboard called “Folklore” “a song writing tour de force,” and The Independent has 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.

New Movies intended for 2020

                                                       By: Maggie Bennett

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.