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Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)

Forever Thankful | Allison Perrine's Senior Goodbye

4.19.17 A P 1“Come take a tour of Monmouth with me,” said my childhood best friend, Jessica Porter. I originally did not want to tour the University at all; it was less than an hour from home and I did not want to hear the comments of how I didn’t get a ‘real college experience’ because I go to school ‘too close to home.’ However, she persuaded me to tour the campus with her. After that, I was sold. Fast forward four years, and I could not have made a better decision. With the help of so many people, my college experience has far exceeded any expectation I could have imagined for myself. So, thank you:

My family: There’s no way imaginable to fully express how grateful I am to have your support and help over these past four years. Especially to you, mom, for doing absolutely anything you can to help me out along the way. Thank you endlessly for helping me set up a better future for myself.

My housemates: I’ll start with Cassie Stiansen (Sandy); I really don’t think I could have made it through college without you. I remember that we both received bids to AOII and I (very uncomfortably) walked up to you and said, “I think we live on the same hall in Elmwood. I’m Allison.” And ever since, we’ve been inseparable. No matter what, I know that I’ll have you by my side for a lifetime and I can’t imagine it any other way. Thank you for always being there for me and for making me laugh. I’m looking forward to seeing you every Tuesday this summer for Bar A, for random visits once we’re older, and even in my bridal party.

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An Interview with Actress Daniella De Jesus

Interview Daniella De JesusTwo River Theater is showcasing the enduring strength of a group of Spanish women bound together by familial relationships, language, culture and heritage. In the new play, The Women of Padilla, the multi-talented poet, playwright and actress Daniella De Jesus portrays one of the characters whose story is intertwined with the other characters and here the actress talks about her passion, including performing in a play that centers around women.

I had the pleasure of reading a short bio on your artistic achievements as an actor and a writer, in particular playwriting and poetry. Do you feel more at home in performing or writing?

I feel more safe and comfortable in writing, the actual doing of it. But having my writing read aloud and performing are equally as nerve-wrecking and thrilling.

Is this the first play you are doing at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey? If so, what has the experience been like rehearsing for The Women of Padilla?

This is my first play with Two River Theater and my first professional production, so I’m learning a lot, and it’s been a great environment to learn in. The rehearsal process has been really collaborative, which is amazing. Ken Russ Schmoll, our director, has made each rehearsal feel safe and welcoming.

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Indie Games in Review

Indie Games in ReviewGamers are increasingly turning towards the growing indie games market for fun, affordable games. Unfortunately, for every diamond indie game, there’s a lot of rough.

One brief point before getting into the true gems, in a previous story I cautiously recommended Ark: Survival Evolved as a promising early access title. Unfortunately, I find myself regretting this recommendation, and, at this time, would like to caution potential buyers away from Ark. While they’ve certainly produced a very fun game, Ark’s developer, studio Wildcard, embodies several of the worst qualities that can be seen in the indie games industry. They ignore player feedback and regularly break their game, while hiding behind the fact that it’s an early access title. They also put a system in their game which promotes unhealthy sleep habits, sold pay-to-win DLC, and illegally poached another indie developer’s talent... So much of this is unethical, and believe me, I’m only scratching the surface, I could write a whole story on this dev’s questionable business practices.

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Persona 5 is a 10/10

Persona 5 ReviewQuick disclaimer before I get into this review: I’m a huge Persona fan. I’ve loved the Persona series since I first played Persona 3 in high school, and I’ve played every game in the series since. What makes Persona games great, in my mind, is three things. They all have excellent plots, incredibly complex/detailed character development, and they each have their own unique sense of style unlike anything else – past Persona games included.

In Persona 3, you played as “SEES,” ostensibly a school club, but in actuality the “specialized extracurricular execution squad.” This was a very dark game; core themes of the tile were death and decay, the game’s color palette of dark green and black represented rot. Every night at midnight, players went to war, fighting a losing against a superior, inexhaustible enemy. After Persona 3, Atlus (the game’s developer/publisher) did a complete 180 and released Persona 4, a game about happiness and enjoying the end of one’s childhood. I don’t mean to convey the impression Persona 4 was a bad game though; it was actually outstanding, and in many ways superior to Persona 3. The protagonist, Yu Narukami (or whatever players chose to name him) had to solve a murder mystery and catch the responsible party. At times, the plot got a little dark, but if you’ve ever seen Scooby Doo, you have a basic idea of what the game’s plot was like – lighthearted and idealistic. Many players preferred this sort of plot and as a result, Persona 4 won multiple game-of-the-year awards.

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Kellan Brennan Releases New EP

Kellan Brennan EPThey say some of the best music is made from the soul, but did they ever say the best music could be recorded in your own home? The king of "homebrew" jazz, Kellan Brennan, recorded his first EP (extended play) entirely in his living room.

Brennan has been working on these songs since his sophomore year of college. Now, he is a senior communication student who does the vocals, piano, and co-produced his EP, Kellan Brennan EP. Senior music industry student, Will Saulsky, did drums, co-produced, and mastered, while Jon Bass, junior music industry student, played upright and electric bass and Erin Holmes, MU graduate, added some more vocals.

Brennan said on recording in his living room, "We wanted this project to be completely independent. It's nice to record at home where there's no time constraints and everything is really comfortable."

As college students, it's hard to afford anything, let alone pay thousands of dollars to go to a professional studio. However, finances didn't stop Brennan and his band from making some awesome music.

Dave DePaola, senior music industry student and president of Blue Hawk Records, said, "Kellan and Will really know how to make the best of a home studio. They are capable of matching or even surpassing the sound quality of professional studios in the area."

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Nier Automata is Nier-ly Perfect

Nier Automata Nier ly PerfectNier Automata earns every bit of high praise that it receives. Honestly, Nier Automata was a game I expected nothing from, being an indirect sequel of Square Enix’s unsuccessful Nier. There are many standout features, all of which work together to make it a great game, but let’s start with my personal favorite: the plot.

The setting is a post-apocalyptic Earth, which was invaded by aliens and their machine soldiers several millennia before the events of the game. In that time, humans fled to the moon and created a space bunker in Earth’s orbit. This houses their own mechanical soldiers and androids who fight the machines on Earth’s surface. Basically, the whole thing starts off as a proxy war; you play as the human’s androids and fight against the alien’s machines, and neither the humans or the aliens are anywhere to be seen. Over the course of this massive, 60-hour plus game, deep philosophical questions are explored such as what humanity, sentience, and free will are.

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Nosotros: Beauty in Two Languages

Nosotros Beauty in Two LanguagesIn celebration of Spanish artistry and to showcase the upcoming new play The Women of Padilla, Two River Theater presented an evening of reading Spanish language poetry in English translation on Wednesday, March 29. The event was also honoring the playwright of The Women of Padilla, Tony Meneses. Meneses is a renowned Spanish-American playwright whose previous play, Guadalupe in the Guest Room, made its debut at Two River Theater.

The poetry event was moderated by Anika Chapin, a literary manager at Two River Theater. To warm the audience up, Chapin read a poem by the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca called “The Ballad of Black Pain,” in which she later on read an English translation of that same poem by Langston Hughes. Lorca was one of Meneses’ inspirations for writing The Women of Padilla, which is amazing considering that Lorca was also a playwright.

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Sold Screens at Monmouth

Sold Screens At MonmouthThe University hosted Newark’s International Women’s History Month Film Festival on April 3 in Pollak Theatre.

The film Sold’s goal was to advocate prevalent issues that women face globally. It is based on true events that highlights the story of a young girl who was sold to be a sex slave. The movie was followed by a panel of local professionals to answer questions from the audience and provide their insight.

The audience was attentive to Sold when Lakshmi, 13, was sold by her stepfather to work for a brothel in India. Lakshmi left her home under the impression that she would be cleaning houses, but soon learns the truth.

Audience members twisted uncomfortably in their seats when the woman in charge of the brothel tied Lakshmi’s feet together on a bed and disappeared behind closed doors. Shortly after, a drunk man stumbled into the room with cruel seduction in his eyes. He slammed crumbled up paper currency on the nightstand. His grimy hands caressed her naïve face; Lakshmi flinched, as did the audience. Can you predict what happens next?

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Tenth Annual Record Store Day

10th Annual Record Store DayRecord stores are not as popular and ‘hoppin’ as they used to be with the introduction of music streaming and less of a need for physical copies of music. However, Record Store Day is keeping the music alive. This year is going to be the 10th Record Store Day across the nation. Every April, record shops get special releases of some your favorite artists and they get their staff ready for the biggest day of the year.

This year, Record Store Day is Saturday, April 22. Some special releases for this year include newer artists such as All Time Low, Dave Matthews Band, and The Lumineers. There will also be special releases of live performances, unreleased music, or remastered music from legends like David Bowie, Prince, and The Beatles.

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MU Hosts Annual Black Maria Film Festival

MU Hosts Black Maria Film FestivalThe 36th Annual Black Maria Film Festival was held on Thursday, Mar. 30 at 6:30 p.m. in Pollack Theatre.

The festival takes its name from Thomas Edison’s film studio, called the “Black Maria” (pronounced “Mariah”). It was the first film studio of its time, built in 1892, and still remains; it is located in West Orange, NJ.

Associate professor of communication Donna Dolphin took the microphone and introduced the festival to the audience. She was pleased to announce that the University has hosted Black Maria 27 consecutive years.

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Kong: Skull Island is No King

Kong Skull IslandHard-nosed U.S. Army Colonel Preston Packet (Samuel L. Jackson) describes fighting the legendary ape Kong as “dealing with a monster from a bygone era.” King Kong certainly has a colorful, illustrious past onscreen, but Kong: Skull Island adds nothing new or exciting to its history. Dull, clichéd, and overly cheesy, the film strives to establish a new era for Kong, but unfortunately fails.

The film, directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer) and written by Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler), Max Borenstein (2014’s Godzilla), and Derek Connolly (Jurassic World), follows a band of mismatched ‘heroes’ and their journey to the uncharted Skull Island to find what secrets it holds. After receiving funding for the expedition during the final days of the Vietnam War, government official Bill Randa (John Goodman) and scientist Houston Brooks (Corey Hawkins) create a team to tag along. This group includes military escorts led by Packet and his goofy squadron of young men, photojournalist Mason Weaver (Brie Larson), and mapping expert and former British Special Air Service captain James Conrad (Tom Hiddleston).

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New Beauty and the Beast is a Must See

Beauty and Beast Must SeeDisney’s live action remake of Beauty and the Beast is both a visual spectacle, and a treat for fans of the original. The film is true to its animated predecessor, follows the storyline of the animated film almost scene for scene, and contains just the right amount of nostalgia and Disney magic.

While Beauty and the Beast stays almost identical to the original, both visually and narratively, Director Bill Condon manages to incorporate some modern concepts while simultaneously keeping the whimsical, old-fashioned camp of musicals that one would have seen in the 1960s. Belle (Emma Watson) is still a non-conformist in her small village, and yearns for adventure and excitement in ‘the great wide somewhere.’

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Local Cold War Surf Contest Postponed

Cold War Surf Contest PostponedThe Cold War surf contest, a team-based surfing battle, was recently set to run in Asbury Park before the end of March 2017. However, according to the event organizers said, “after much discussion with the surfers, sponsors and organizers, it has been decided that it is in the best interest of the event, to push back the 2017 Cold War to late fall/early winter of 2017.”

The second annual Cold War contest ran into inclement weather and improper conditions for months. said, “People have put in a lot of time and energy in putting the 2017 Cold War together and making this difficult decision. Sure, we are bummed, but at the same time, the team is excited to run the contest as fall turns into winter.”

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Does Drake’s More Life Need More Life?

Drake's More Life Need LifeThe highly-anticipated moment has finally arrived. On Mar. 18, popular rapper, Drake (and actor if we want to #TBT to his Degrassi days), released his new album, More Life.

As a Drake fan, I was really excited for this album’s release. Once it was out and I realized that there were now 22 new songs on the album for me to listen to, I had really high hopes. However, this album is quite trivial for me. Personally, I find that the album can be categorized into three sections: songs that I love, dislike, and am bored by.

There were definitely a number of successes on this album; I am not a hater of More Life. The album started out strong with “Free Smoke,” the first song on the list. It starts out with a 35-second introduction of a woman singing, accompanied by a piano intro. Suddenly, Drake speaks for a quick sentence and instantly hits us with a great beat drop; the energy at this part of the song was strong.

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Bravo Amici Performs at MU

Bravo Amiei Preforms at MUThe Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for a special benefit concert, featuring the vocal ensemble Bravo Amici, presented on World Autism Day, April 2.

At 8 p.m. inside the recently refurbished Pollak Theatre, the event represents an encore appearance for the touring sensation led by New Zealand native Geoff Sewell — the tenor, impresario and philanthropist who co-founded “the world’s first opera band,” Amici Forever. For the crowd-pleasing show’s return to the West Long Branch campus, Bravo Amici will deliver its signature mix of modern Broadway classics (Phantom’s All I Ask of You), songbook surprises (Dean Martin’s novelty That’s Amore), and favorite operatic arias (La Traviata’s Brindisi) — with an extra dimension of relevance to the Autism Day cause, and a special treat in store for the Monmouth audience.

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Come See the Rock N’ Raise Benefit Concert

Rock N Raise Benefit ConcertWhen: Mar. 31, from 3-5 p.m.

Where: Jules L. Plangere Center for Communication at Monmouth University, West Long Branch.

This is a benefit concert that will be broadcasted live on Hawk TV and WMCX. Performances include sets from bands Halogens, Shark Club, Jake Ewald of “Slaughter Beach Dog,” and Drive, Kid.

Tickets are on sale for $5. To purchase a ticket you can stop by the Hawk TV Office in Plangere or email

Sponsors of the event include American Cancer Society, Avid, ZTA, Relay for Life, University Subs, Bagel Guys Deli, The Outlook, Bubbakoo’s Burrito’s, Amy’s, and Scala’s Pizzeria.

Prizes will be raffled off to attendees. All money raised is donated to The American Cancer Society and Relay For Life.

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Record Club Reviews Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Record Club Review SPLHC BandTuesday Night Record Club took a look at “the act you’ve known for all these years,” The Beatles, and covered the album that inspired bands like The Who, The Beach Boys, and so many others to change their sound in a big way. Over 100 people – MU students, faculty, and other community members alike – met in Lauren K. Woods Theatre to discuss the influence of one of The Fab Four’s most iconic albums, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on Mar. 21.

Beatles fans were welcomed into Woods Theatre to dive into the stories, production, and musicianship behind the album. The discussion was led by the Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kenneth Womack, and professional photographer and Beatles enthusiast from New Orleans, Jason Kruppa. The two began by explaining how the making and release of the single “Strawberry Fields Forever” was a big turning point for the band. The single was supposed to be a part of the album, but ultimately was released in February of 1967, four months before Sgt. Pepper’s was released on June 1, 1967.

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Shadow Warrior 2 is a Success

Shadow Warrior 2 SuccessThe first Shadow Warrior title released in 1997, and is considered by many to be one of the best games of its decade. It is best known for its implementation of role playing game (RPG) elements within the first-person shooter genre. Shadow Warrioralso had something of an unusual and compelling plot, which helped make it a crowd favorite. The newest entry in the series, Shadow Warrior 2, attempts to create a successful, modern game from this classic hit, and, at least in my eyes, it succeeds with flying colors.

In the game, you play as Japanese mercenary Lo Wang. The story is character driven, and Lo Wang makes an excellent driving character. If you’re familiar with Deadpool, you more or less know what you’re getting with Lo Wang; he’s a wisecracking character with a tendency to both amuse and annoy friends, enemies, and Shadow Warrior 2 players alike. The game starts out with Lo Wang accepting a contract from the Yakuza (Japanese Mafia) to rescue one of their associates; unfortunately, Lo Wang is somewhat late with his rescue, and his target falls victim to a nasty case of demonic possession. Without giving too much away, the rest of the game is pretty much Lo Wang attempting to pick up the pieces from this debacle, while saving the world (again). Shadow Warrior 2 never takes itself too seriously, which makes the plot a pleasant and entertaining ride.

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Ed Sheeran Makes Comeback With Divide

Ed Sheeran ComebackAfter a year-long break, Ed Sheeran made a comeback with Divide, which dropped March 4. Since his 2014 release of X, Sheeran has accomplished a lot, including winning two Grammy’s. He has become one of the most popular male artists in the industry and has worked with big names like Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and One Direction. His fans were impatiently waiting for any of his new material and he came back with one of his best works yet.

The highly-anticipated album ÷ (Divide) was named the best-selling album on 2017 within its first week of being released. This record is definitely different from his previous records because of its diversity. Each track individually unique, which makes sense with the album title being Divide.

With “Castle on the Hill” and “Shape of You” being the two singles, it was just a preview of how different each song would be. “Castle on the Hill” takes you back to the English countryside in Suffolk where Sheeran grew up with an incredibly catchy chorus, and “Shape of You” is perfect for pop radio with its fun and dance-y beat; it was originally intended to be written for Rihanna.

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Teens Excel in Shakespeare at Two River Theater

Shakespeare Two River Theater 1When high school students are able to perform Shakespeare for young audiences and get them invested, that is a testament to the enduring quality of his plays. I was skeptical at first about the impact that Shakespeare’s plays can have on young people. My experience with reading Romeo & Juliet in high school was not a pleasant one, but after watching high school students perform in “A Little Shakespeare,” I underestimated the adaptability of Shakespeare’s plays which can be modernized and engaging to this young generation growing up today. It definitely speaks volumes about his artistic work imbued on posterity.

Two River Theater has been presenting “A Little Shakespeare” every year, apart from their regular scheduled productions, and it’s wonderful to see the outpouring of love and response to this endeavor for young people. I had the opportunity to see a talented group of high school students from around the Monmouth County area perform a 75-minute version of The Merry Wives of Windsor, which is currently running performances as well, except it has a cast of three actors. Thankfully, I was able to see both versions of this play -- one performed by adults and the other performed by teenagers. Although both versions are geared toward a particular demographic age group, it struck me that the humor in this comedy resonates with everyone who watches it.

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Three Decades of Final Fantasy

Three Decades Final FantasyFinal Fantasy is one of the longest running series of Japanese Role-Playing Games (JRPG’s); the fact that the core series just released its fifteenth title is testament to this. Each numbered Final Fantasy title takes place in a unique world, with new characters and plot elements, yet most titles have a number of features tying them together. Final Fantasy games are all fantasy titles, typically rife with magic and arcane technology; recurring elements in the series include powerful magical crystals, Chocobos (birds which are ridden like horses) and the idea of a “hero of light” (the player character who brings salvation to worlds plagued by darkness).

Final Fantasy, the series’ first title, was released in Japan in 1987, however, it did not receive a North American localization until 1990, and only experienced moderate success. Final Fantasy IV was the second title to receive a western localization in 1991, and to avoid confusion, it was titled Final Fantasy II. Ironically, the protagonist and first memorable warrior of light, Cecil, was originally a dark knight in service to a cruel empire before he went on a journey of self-discovery and developed as a person. This was the first Final Fantasy game I ever played; while I personally was not infatuated with it, I did enjoy it enough to complete it, and I can see why many in the west consider it the series’ breakout title.

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Final Fantasy XV is Worth the Wait

Final Fantasy XV Worth WaitFinal Fantasy XV is a game I, and many others, have been waiting to play for a very long time now. The game was originally announced as Final Fantasy Versus XIII way back in 2006, it spent about seven years in development before many elements of its core concept was scrapped and the title changed to Final Fantasy XV. FFXV released in Nov. of 2016, 10 years after it was announced. I guess at this point, the big question is, was it worth the wait? My answer would be yes, Final Fantasy XV is the core series first masterpiece since Final Fantasy IX.

Final Fantasy XV follows Noctis, the crown prince of Lucis, in a tragic story of brotherhood and loss. The story is multi-media, with parts being told via a movie, Kingsglaive, an anime webseries, and a demo (available for free via the Playstation store). The world of Final Fantasy XV is beautifully designed, and aside from linear narrative sections, the game’s experience is largely an open world one. At the start of the game Noctis’s father, King Regis, is killed, and his kingdom occupied by the Niflheim empire. Noctis had been on a journey to wed his childhood sweetheart, Lady Lunafreya, and establish a treaty with the Niflheim Empire, her captors. His father’s assassination changed the situation, forcing him to turn around and go on the offensive. Players spend most of the game traveling around, helping Noctis’s subjects and disrupting Niflheim in an open world environment.

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Political Commentary: Is It Effective?

Political Commentary EffectivenessWhether you know it or not, politics heavily affect your life regardless of your age, religion, or personal beliefs. It can be frustrating at times when decisions are made that affect your life that are out of your control, people have developed coping methods and ways to express their opinions to others; political satire is one of these methods. It breaks down the confusing policies and complications in government and makes it easier for citizens to understand, while making light of crazy situations through comedy.

Last Week Tonight is an example of one show that does exceptionally well in this area. In increments of 30 minute-long episodes, John Oliver discusses politics on his late n ight talk show, which has exploded since its premiere on April 27, 2014.

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An Interview with Zuzanna Szadkowski

Zuzanna Szadkowski InterviewZuzanna Szadkowski is making her debut at Two River Theater in The Merry Wives of Windsor this month. The professionally trained theater and television actress talks about her love of acting, the experience of performing on stage and what is most endearing about Shakespeare.


What do you love the most about being an actor?

I love that, as an actor, my job is to connect to an audience and to move people. We explore how life feels and tell stories. It’s sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, often impossible. Actors play and surprise themselves, each other and the audience. It’s my heaven.

I had the pleasure of reading your television credits. Gossip Girl and The Knick were both great tv shows. Do you prefer doing television and film over theater or vice versa?

I love working in both mediums. Acting on screen is pretending like no one is watching - the people in the room aren’t supposed to be there, and the audience watches an archive of the event. You don’t really have to work to share your performance. That’s very freeing. Conversely, theater can’t exist in a vacuum - it lives and breathes based on the exchange between actor and audience. That’s very invigorating.

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The Struggles and Successes of Local Bands

Struggle Success Local Bands 1We all know that Bruce Springsteen truly believes that, “Down the shore, everything’s alright,” but, our local bands are what really make the Jersey Shore so cultured, lively, and all the more entertaining. While there is a significant amount of well-known artists and bands that have originated from The Garden State, being a local band is nowhere near as easy as it may seem.

Anthony Trilli, a junior health studies student and lead guitar for the band More Than Acquaintances, said, “I think what makes a New Jersey artist is staying true to your roots. NJ people have a lot of pride in their state and where they live. Whether it be North Jersey or the shore, we are prideful of where we live and it is shown through our music.”

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The Emily Youth Project Releases Number 2

EYP Release Nov 2ndThe Emily Youth Project is junior music industry students Mike Grant and Jon Bass, junior business student Justin Murray, and recent music industry graduate, Andrew Jackle.

The band began their music career when Grant, Bass, and Murray auditioned as Ice House Gallery for Blue Hawk Records’ (BHR) 4th compilation album with their track “Out of Hand” with junior music industry students, Owen Flanagan and Mike Hause. “Out of Hand” is a rock song with some Jack’s Mannequin (the band) vibes.

Since the compilation album in the fall of 2014, the band has experienced some big change in sound and lineup. EYP now: Grant on piano, Bass on bass, Murray on guitar, and Jackle on the drums, has been rocking the Jersey music scene for over 2 years now and have produced 2 EP’s (extended play).

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An Inside Look at The Merry Wives of Windsor

Merry Wives of WindsorIf any avid theatergoers are curious about the process of making a stage play, I recommend going to see an open rehearsal at Two River Theater in Red Bank. Having free open rehearsals for upcoming productions has been a way to welcome the Monmouth County community. This is an event that Two River Theater has opened to the public in the past and this tradition continues.

Last week on Monday, I had the opportunity to see the director, cast and crew rehearse for The Merry Wives of Windsor play followed by a Q&A with the audience. The most rewarding thing that I learned from watching this rehearsal is that it takes a lot of time, patience and effort to put on a performance. It is incredible to see the kind of work ethic and dedication that actors, directors and crew members have because they do what they do non-stop. They live and breathe art and it shows through their passion for it.

The creative process of The Merry Wives of Windsor is interesting when you realize that only three actors, Nicole Lewis, Jason O’Connell, and Zuzanna Szadkowski, will be headlining the show. They will be playing several characters and switching between characters during scenes. The concept sounds pretty wacky, but the director Eric Tucker put the audience at ease by comparing his version of the classic play to a Coen Brothers film or a Quentin Tarantino film. In his words, “It takes place in a dingy, seedy motel room.”

The stage was set up to look like a motel room, with two twin beds and a nightstand, although a lot of the atmosphere was left to the imagination of the actors. Since the set was unfinished, it was a little difficult to gauge what the actors were trying to convey during some of the scenes, such as the lack of props onstage. From a viewer’s perspective, it is strange to see an actor holding an invisible cup or sitting on a chair that is supposed to be a toilet during a rehearsal, but the actors are dedicated to the performance so it gives a lot of insight into what the craft of acting is. It’s a transformative art form.

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Tyler Robinson Gets Signed To Blue Hawk Records

Tyler Robinson Signed BHRTyler Robinson, also known as Teddy, is the first rap artist to be signed to Monmouth University’s Student-Run record label, Blue Hawk Records. In the past four years that Blue Hawk Records has been operating, it has had a few rap artists represented on the various compilation albums. These artists included J Piff (James Porricelli, senior music industry student), Jax the Geenius (Jamier Gee, music industry recent graduate), and Trevon Bailey (sophomore biology student).

Blue Hawk Records has primarily been a label for indie rock bands and singer/song-writers based on the artists who have been on the past nine compilation albums. Robinson auditioned to be on the applied music industry class’ tenth compilation album a few weeks ago, and although the class did not see a place for him on the album, the e-board of the record label saw a great artist in the making.

“We are really excited to sign and work with someone who has already worked hard to make a name for himself as an artist,” said Dave DePaola, a senior music industry student and president of the record label. “We’re looking forward to advancing his career and marketing such a talented musician.”

Robinson is a sophomore music industry student and was a member of the MU basketball team last season; he was a big part of the iconic “Bench Mob” that became known nationwide. Robinson has played various events on campus since he began to focus on his career as a musician.

During his freshman year, Robinson was studying criminal justice and just recently changed his major to music industry. This new course of action was actually inspired by his inability to continue playing basketball because of his injuries. Music has always been a part of Robinson’s life. He said, “I’ve been writing forever and I grew up around music. When I told people  I wanted to be involved in music, they thought I was kidding.”

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Joey Affatato Shares New Music on The Ramparts Rebel

Joey Affatato The Ramparts RebelJoey Affatato, senior music industry student and vice president of Blue Hawk Records, has been a part of the Monmouth University music scene since the beginning of his freshman year in the fall of 2013. Now he has some amazing music to share with us on his latest album. Affatato’s first band in college was The Ramparts Rebel, which included himself and his uncle’s band, Crypt Keeper Five.

This album is self-titled The Ramparts Rebel, and if you have ever had a chance to see Affatato play live, you will be blown away about how some of your favorite hits are re-created on this album. As a frequent goer of Affatato’s shows, I was honestly surprised and super pumped by the artistic magic that I heard in the songs that I often hear live at his shows.

While he explained how he composes his music, Affatato said, “When writing an album, I usually start off by writing songs stripped down on my acoustic then eventually, I’ll come up with a cool hook or catchy melody and I’ll go off that. Then, I’ll demo the songs out until they sound good enough to bring to the studio to record.” This album definitely sounds like it was carefully put together and well practiced.

The opening track begins with a Green Day-esque bass riff that brings you back to 2005 and makes you feel so angsty in the best way possible. This whole track is just angry and honest, which is very refreshing compared to the many happy, go-lucky, love songs that some people may be used to now a days.

The second track on the album is “Faults,” which is a go to song for Affatato when he plays out. The perfect example of a hooky, fun, but still angsty song. Sometimes you can’t help but scream the chorus at the top of your lungs and pronounce it, “ MY FAAA-AA-WALT!”

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Six Top Vocal Groups Perform Acapella at MU

Six Top Vocal Group AcapellaThe Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are on sale for “Doo Wop Explosion II,” a March 4 concert event that showcases several generations of top vocal talent from Philadelphia, New Jersey, and NYC’s boroughs inside our flagship performance space, the Pollak Theatre.

A sequel to the first successful Doo Wop Explosion event in 2016, the Saturday evening serenade transforms the enhanced Pollak Theatre — a room that boasts nearly 700 new seats, improved sight lines, and a newly enlarged stage area — into a street corner from the old neighborhood. It’s that magical musical laboratory where the harmony-based vocal traditions of the urban African American communities coalesced into an exciting new sound in the postwar era; one that would soon come to be embraced by young audiences and performers of many different ethnic backgrounds.

More than anything else, the music known as “Doo Wop” draws its passionate power from the awesome glory of human voices working in perfect harmony. It is delivered acapella-style without benefit of instrumental accompaniment, and graces everything from the most heartbreaking love ballads and soaring songs of devotion, to the crazy rhythms of the wildest early rock and roll. More than mere artifacts from an oldies jukebox, the sounds of the great vocal soul groups continue to inform and inspire many of today’s top pop acts.

Headlining the powerhouse program of six premier groups will be Pookie Hudson’s Spaniels, inheritors of a legacy that began with their late colleague, Spaniels lead singer Pookie Hudson, and the signature swooner that defined the entire doo wop era, the 1956 million-seller “Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight.” Originating on the streets of Brooklyn, Vito & the Salutations scored regional hits in the early 1960’s with their recordings of “Gloria,” “Unchained Melody” and “Your Way.” Rick Anthony has been handling most of the group’s leads for the past 15 years, as the original Vito is no longer with them. The group also contains long time member, Shelly Buchansky, who sang on “Unchained Melody” and many of their other hits.

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MU’s Record Club Reviews Parallel Lines

MU Record Review Parallel Lines“If you don’t like something on this album, chances are you don’t like music,” said an audience member at the Feb. 7 Record Club review of Blondie’s Parallel Lines.

If you were to have wondered into Lauren K. Woods Theatre on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7:30 p.m., you would have found about 30 people gathered to discuss music. Monmouth’s Record Club invited the community to meet and discuss Blondie’s hit album, Parallel Lines. There were three panelists that lead the discussion that Tuesday night: Kenneth Womack, Ph.D., and Dean of the School of Humanities And Social Sciences; Michael Thomas, M.F.A., and Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and Nick Messina, Communication Instructor.

Blondie formed in 1974, but went rather unnoticed in the United States until Parallel Lines was released in 1978, according to Messina, who noted that this album was one of the most overlooked albums of the 70s.

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The CW’s new series Riverdale is a Game Changer

New Series RiverdaleThe tone of Riverdale, the new series from The CW based on the old-school Archie comics that premiered on Jan. 26, can be easily summarized in one quote from the first episode: “Game changer: Archie got hot!”

This breathless declaration perfectly encapsulates how this is not your childhood’s Archie Andrews, for better or worse. For fans of the original characters, or those just mildly familiar with the comics like myself, fair warning: this is not a faithful adaptation of the original works, but a CW-fied version of Archie and his pals. While these changes have some fun, inventive bright spots, the overall product in the first two episodes struggles to cohesively come together despite having some potential.

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Farewell, SURFING Magazine: A Questionable Future for Print

Farewell Surfing MagazineAfter more than 50 years of publication, SURFING magazine has been put to rest.

According to the Ocean County Business Journal, on Jan. 23 of this year, The Enthusiast Network (TEN) announced it would be disbanding SURFING Magazine. TEN plans to reallocate the deceased magazine’s resources into the network’s sole surf publication, SURFER magazine.

“I was actually pretty bummed when SURFING mag shut down. I’ve been getting that magazine in the mail every month for ten years so it’s a little surreal,” said junior English student John Waldron.

In an article on, the author underscores SURFING’s importance for surf culture. “They [SURFING] were a voice for the youth, the punks, the innovators. The place to go for a fix of no-bullshit surf clips, an outlet for the ‘core’ surfer.”

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A Recap of the 2017 Grammy Award Show

Recap Grammy Awards 2017There were so many things about this year’s 2017 Grammy Awards that made it interesting for both positive and negative reasons. We went through a roller coaster of emotions from artist to artist; it was certainly a sight to see.

The Grammy’s took place this year on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. There were several highlights of the evening, but the most notable was possible Adele’s acceptance speech after winning the category, Album of the Year. The other artists that were up for nomination in this category were Beyonce, Justin Bieber, Drake, and Sturgill Simpson. Adele won for her newest album 25. Once she got on stage, she immediately started crying. She told the audience about the last time she was there it was five years ago and she was pregnant, and she has had some struggles since then but has now pushed through them and created 25.

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The Merry Wives of Windsor Visits Red Bank

Red Bank Merry Wives of WindsorShakespeare’s farcical comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor will be coming to Two River Theater in Red Bank, and what better way to introduce this production than with free play readings? On Feb. 13 at 7 p.m., the cast of The Merry Wives of Windsor will be doing an open rehearsal for the upcoming play. Along with that, there will be a play reading group led by Two River Theater’s artistic director, John Dias, on the nights of Feb. 27 and March 6 at 7 p.m. If you attend, you will receive a sneak peek of what is happening behind the scenes of this delightful comedy; scheduled performances this season begin Feb. 25. These free events that will usher in The Merry Wives of Windsor production would be beneficial to high school or college students, adults and children alike, and here is why:

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Girl Power At It’s Finest: SweetSexySavage

Girl Power Sweet Sexy SavageOn Jan. 27, Kehlani Parrish dropped her first full length studio album. For fans that have been following her since her appearance on America’s Got Talent in 2011 with girl group, PopLyfe, they know that this has been a long time coming. A lot has been accomplished since then and Kehlani was even nominated for a Grammy for her mixtape “You Should Be Here,” despite the fact that it was a free mixtape on SoundCloud. She was also featured on the Emmy- nominated Suicide Squad soundtrack with her song, “Gangsta.” So it’s incredible to see how much she accomplished before she even had an album out.

If this album isn’t beautifully feminine, honest, nostalgic, empowering, old school and real R&B, then I don’t know what is. As a female listening to these songs, they make me unapologetically proud to be a woman. “Intro” is a poem read by Reyna Biddy and she refers to herself as a “superwoman,” “angry woman” and “crazy woman.” Perfectly describing the several layers that comes with being a woman which is what this record is all about.

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Lady Gaga Steals the Halftime Show

Lady Gaga Halftime ShowOn Sunday, Feb. 5, something epic happened, and I’m not talking about the close game between the Patriots and Falcons. Lady Gaga had one of the best halftime shows in a while. Jeffrey from the 102.7 Morning Show said on Monday morning, “The best moment in history happened for 13 minutes at the halftime show last night!” Lady Gaga is the first solo act to perform at the Super Bowl halftime show since Paul McCartney in 2005.

Lady Gaga began her performance on top of NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas, with a patriotic medley that consisted of “God Bless America” and Woody Gunthrie’s popular protest song, “This Land is Your Land.” Then, Gaga uttered the words, “…and justice for all” from our pledge of allegiance with such genuineness and grace.

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A Monster Calls is a Must See

Watch A Monster Calls Let’s just get right down to it. A Monster Calls, directed by J. A. Bayona, was the most under-looked, under-discussed hidden gem of the year. It is the one of the most beautiful and heart-wrenching films that has been released in the last decade. Yes, this is a fairly heavy statement, but to me, there is nothing about this film that was less than absolutely stunning. From the production, acting, and animation, to the genuine emotions it evokes from audiences all across the nation, A Monster Calls is the film you may never have heard of, but is certainly one that you should watch immediately. Without a doubt in my mind, it is going to hold a prime position in the coming of age genre for years to come.

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Hurricane Diane Wins The Crowd Over

Hurricane Diane Wins CrowdThe eccentric new play Hurricane Diane opened Jan. 27 at Two River Theater and I had the pleasure of seeing it performed for the first time. Theater is an immersive experience that awakens an audience and asks them to trust where the director, actors, scenes, and story line take them. This play makes you think past the existential experiences that shape human behavior in the funniest possible way, of course.

Playwright Madeleine George weaves together a satirical, yet enlightening play about the discord between humans and planet Earth. The show draws inspiration from The Bacchae, which is the Greek story of how Dionysus seeks revenge on those that openly defied her power as a god. Diane (Becca Blackwell) is the contemporary version of Dionysus who seeks to bring carnage while she poses as a gardener with experience in permaculture. Diane coaxed her way into the lives of four women living in a quiet cul-de-sac in Red Bank, which makes this play endearingly familiar. The setting is not a complete replica of Red Bank, but the sights and smells of Delfini’s, a restaurant in the area can be envisioned in this play and that is a reminder of the Monmouth County community.

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Hidden Figures is an Excellent Discovery

Hidden Figures Discovery“Every time we get a chance to get ahead, they move the finish line,” said the fiery Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) in the recently released Hidden Figures. This quote and more is what makes the film so poignant: even an early 1960s set story is still strikingly relevant today, for better or worse. Hidden Figures is a heartfelt, sometimes corny, but always inspiring story that is finally getting its opportunity to be told.

Directed and written by Theodore Melfi, and based off the book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, the plot follows the little known true story of three brilliant, female, African American mathematicians: shy Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), determined Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and outspoken Mary Jackson. The three friends attempt to move up the ranks at NASA, while the contentious Space Race between the United States and Russia barrels on, as does the continuing discrimination against not only African Americans, but women.

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Kevin Chambers Returns to MU

Kevin Chambers Returns to MUn March 13, 2015, the young musician, Kevin Chambers’ life was changed forever.

Scheduled to perform at about 7 p.m. at the annual 24-hour music festival on that day in March, Chambers was preparing in the WMCX studio, the University’s radio station. Just before he was about to go on-air for his solo performance, Chambers became ill and needed medical attention.

“I played my set, everything was normal, he was on top of it,” David Rothschild said in a press release, who is a friend of Chambers and a fellow musician. “He even ripped off this beautiful piano solo when I dropped my harmonica.”

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Neil Simon Visits MU

The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for Neil Si-mon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers, scheduled for the evening of Feb. 16 as part of the Win-ter/Spring Performing Arts Series of events.

Presented inside Pollak, the 7:30 p.m. show brings the assembled talents of Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre — America’s longest established stage company, founded in 1808 — to the flagship auditorium of the Monmouth campus. It’s a welcome engagement by the troupe that brought Eugene O’Neill’s Moon for the Misbegotten to Manasquan’s Algonquin Theatre last year — and with the Pollak’s newly enlarged performance area, improved sight lines and nearly 700 new seats, the stage is set for a fresh and funny look at a classic comedy from the era of “Mad Men” mores and manners.

The playwright who created Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple had entered the prime of his career when Last of the Red Hot Lovers opened on Broadway in 1969, during a time of fast-changing attitudes toward sex, gender roles and monogamy. The so-called ‘sexual revolution’ is very much on the mind of Barney Cashman, the play’s central character and a middle-aged, married man who yearns to get in touch with his long-suppressed “swinger” side.

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Pokémon Sun and Moon: Review and Retrospective

Pokemon Sun Moon ReviewAssuming one knows nothing about Pokémon: Sun and Pokémon: Moon, the most recent additions to the wildly popular Pokémon series, one might first ask, ‘what’s new?’ Well, Pokémon gyms are gone, mega-evolutions were put on the back-burner in favor of z-moves, the map is a collection of islands, the Pokémon professor is a tanned, ‘shirtless-stud’ who lets Pokémon test their attacks on him, and the new bad-guys, Team Skull, are a bunch of pun-cracking, delinquent, good-for-nothing kids who no one takes seriously. Pokémon Sun and Moon are certainly great games, however, I personally feel that this has little to do with any of the aforementioned changes, and more with the fact that they’re Pokémon titles.

Before I go into further detail about Sun and Moon, I’d like to talk a bit about my background with Pokémon. Pokémon Gold was the first video game I ever played, and at the ripe old age of seven, I spent an excess of 300 hours on the game. Since then, I’ve played at least one version of each core title and have always played the extended editions (Pokémon Yellow, Crystal, Emerald, etc.) whenever they released. I’ve played every remake of these core titles and I’ve even played most of the spinoffs with the Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD: Gale of Darkness titles being my favorites in the entire series. These two GameCube spinoffs, much like Sun and Moon, ditched traditional Pokémon game format, throwing away both gyms and wild Pokémon battles/captures.

Given that my favorite titles are spinoffs which radically changed series format, I am tolerant of such an approach, perhaps even more likely than most to appreciate it. This in mind, the question becomes, what is it about Pokémon Sun/Moon that makes them less appealing? In my opinion, the changes made by Sun/Moon are jarring enough that it doesn’t feel like a core Pokémon title, yet it bears enough similarities to core titles that it doesn’t feel like a spinoff. Consider the new z-moves, which essentially replace mega-evolutions (one of the previous generation’s standout mechanics), they’re certainly cool, and they actually do a lot to balance out mega-evolution. That said, many feel that they’re a lot less interesting than mega-evolutions. Innovation is all well-and-good, but in this case, even if series patterns were altered, I wouldn’t say that there was true innovation here.

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The CW is Thriving with Superhero Hits

CW ArrowThe CW is ‘super’ great right now, and the man at the center of it all is writer, producer, and creator, Greg Berlanti. The mastermind is behind The CW’s hits, Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow.

In 2012, the birth of The CW’s superhero takeover began. It started with a billionaire, Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), who was stranded on an island where he learned many different skills, which would turn him into the Arrow. After he realized he couldn’t fight off every villain who entered Star City, he enlisted a team to help him. The team consisted of John Diggle (David Ramsey), Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards), Laurel Lance (Katie Cassidy), Thea Queen (Willa Holland), as well as previous Roy Harper (Colton Haynes). The show originally focused on Queen’s struggle with letting people in, and realizing he can’t control every situation in his life. The show now relies heavily on the other characters and the relationships Queen has built over the years with these people by his side.

After the network got a glimpse of the adoration from Arrow fans, critics and viewers alike, The CW moved forward with The Flash, which starred the adorable, smart, super-nerd, Barry Allen (Grant Gustin). Much like superheroes before him, The Flash has a cover job (hey, even though they’re superheroes, they still have to pay the bills!) working as a CSI (crime scene investigator), where he works with a team of investigators who uncover his secret and help him fight off crime. His speed, willingness to help, and sometimes naïve nature sets him apart from other heroes. He isn’t aggressive or a tortured soul in a way; he’s extremely kind and very ordinary. The Flash protects Central City, and sometimes joins forces to help his friends in Star City as well as National City.

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The 74th Golden Globe Award Show Was A Success

74th Golden Globe AwardsThe Golden Globe Award Show first made its debut in January, 1944 and has been an annual success ever since. There are always new films and television shows that sweep the audience’s attention globally, and this year’s 74th Golden Globe Award Show was no exception.

One film that certainly stole the show was film director Damien Chazelle’s La La Land. The film successfully won a total of seven Golden Globe awards, which were: Best Actor in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, Best Actress in a Motion Picture  Musical or Comedy, Best Motion Picture of a Musical or Comedy, Best Director of a Motion Picture, Best Original Score, Best Original Song, and Best Screenplay of a Motion Picture. This was a big deal for the film, as it now holds the new record of winning seven nominations. The last picture to hold the title was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) and Midnight Express (1978), both of which had the record of winning six nominations.

 La La Land is about a struggling actress, Mia (Emma Stone) and struggling Jazz musician Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), who come together and try to pursue their big Hollywood dreams. If you’re a fan of musicals, you will most likely enjoy this film. Or, if you’re a fan of seeing Gosling dressed up in an old-Hollywood fashion (like me), you’ll enjoy this film too.

Thanks to the film’s songwriters, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the soundtrack has a beautiful Jazz theme to it. There are certain songs that are repeated various times, though it is done purposefully as a way to show nostalgic memories of certain characters. This holds particularly true with the song on the soundtrack, “City of Stars,” which is also my personal favorite.

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Refn Masters The Neon Demon

Refn Masters The Neon DemonThe Neon Demon, directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, is not a film with an agenda that is set to please the masses. It is a film where the director knew his vision and wanted to put it screen. He embodied his directorial style to create a story that only he could tell. He purposefully did this regardless of the anticipated reactions it would get from audiences.

I love that. Create art that you are proud of and if others enjoy it as well, that’s a bonus. All that being said, The Neon Demon is a fantastic film that is executed brilliantly, throwing the audience into the competitive world of Los Angeles modeling through the eyes of the gorgeous new girl in town (Elle Fanning) and her extremely envious competition.   

The Neon Demon is many things, but conventional is not one of them. Refn takes a fairly simple premise on the surface and transforms it into a psychedelic, visual masterpiece where his style is able to tell a greater tale of obsession and frankly, survival of the fittest in the modeling world. The film creates this very ‘still’ feeling, moving from scene to scene with little outside noise other than dialogue, making the audience hang onto every word the characters spoke.

From beginning to end it is unnerving and disquieting, which makes it difficult to turn away. Many of us are unfamiliar with the modeling industry at its core. As a result, Refn takes it upon himself to paint us a picture and create his own interpretation of this world. He presents us with this specific dimension of this unknown world to all of us and doesn’t stray away from that world or try to humanize the characters into being multidimensional. He kept them all pretty flat, in a good way, which made the characters seem more animalistic, feeling the same things and instinctually acting as a group. Various scenes present these girls not as humans, but as exotic beings or ‘animals.’ In that, making the characters flat and not giving them distinguishing traits to make them unique works well in this film.

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9 Lives Spotlight: Govel and Flores

Govel and Flores 1Every semester, Monmouth’s student run record label, Blue Hawk Records, creates and records a compilation album featuring various artists on campus. The Applied Music Industry class runs the whole production by making and producing this album. This process has many steps, starting by holding auditions in Lauren K. Woods theatre to releasing and promoting the album. This semester the class is working on their ninth compilation album, 9 Lives, which will be released Dec. 7, with a show of the album held in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. The album features six artists from varying genres. This week, I met up with the two female singer/song writers on the album to talk about their tracks and experiences as up-and-coming musicians.

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Troye Sivan’s “Suburbia” Is a Success

Troye Sivan Suburbia 2Less than year ago, Troye Sivan announced he was going on tour once again and even though I had already previously seen him live, I purchased tickets without a second thought. Sivan didn’t disappoint.

Before the show even started, there was a charity campaign to raise money for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, which set the tone for the show. Troye Sivan has always showed his support and passion for the LGBTQ+ community and always wants his fans to feel that his shows are a safe space and tonight was no different.

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Does ABC Approach Diversity Well?

ABC On Diversity 1While the American Broadcasting Company, also known as ABC, prides itself on being one of the most diverse networks, it’s slew of comedy series seems to lean into the ‘trying too hard’ category rather than groundbreaking. Shonda Rhimes, a popular ABC series director, crafted TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday), a lineup of strong, natural shows. There is nothing forced about it, nothing about the diverse characters seems planted or unlikely, but feels genuine and is done with ease. The characters on shows such as Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal are one of a kind and effortlessly portray characters that come from every walk of life.

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MU Students Perform Spring Awakening

MU Spring Awakening PreformanceMonmouth University’s Theatre Department completed a sold-out run of Duncan Shiek and Steven Sater’s Spring Awakening. The show was the first sold-out departmental show.

Based on a 1891 play by Frank Wedekind, Spring Awakening is a rock musical with music by Duncan Sheik and a book and lyrics written by Steven Sater. It is set in late 19th century Germany, where it tells the story of teenagers growing up in a strict, highly sheltered community and eventually revolting, as well as beginning to explore their own sexualities, something that they were heavily discouraged from doing previously.

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Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart’s New Show is Successful

S&M Potluck Dinner PartySnoop Dogg and Martha Stewart aren’t two names I’d instantly link. Snoop, whose birth name is Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., is a famous rapper who has been in the music industry for decades. Martha Stewart is a well-known cook, television personality, and businesswoman. So, where is the connection?

On Nov. 7, VH1 gave the duo their own show, Snoop & Martha’s Potluck Dinner Party. In this show, Snoop and Stewart will cook meals while also having special guest appearances, all while making jokes in the kitchen. In a nutshell, this show is, according to comedian and actor Seth Rogan, a guest in the first episode, “the weirdest group of people ever on a stage together.”

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A New Production of Finn and Lapine’s Falsettos is a Hit

Finn Lapine FalsettosA new production of William Finn and James Lapine’s Falsettos opened on Broadway on Oct. 27. The Lincoln Center Theatre production opened at the Walter Kerr Theatre and was directed by Lapine, the original director and co-book-writer. Finn also co-wrote the book and composed the mostly sung-through score.

Originally produced in 1992, Falsettos takes place in 1979 during act one and 1981 in act two. The revived production stars Christian Borle, two-time Tony Award winner, as Marvin, a neurotic gay man who divorced his wife, Trina (played by Broadway veteran Stephanie J. Block) and left his son, Jason (played by thirteen-year-old Anthony Rosenthal) to be with his boyfriend, Whizzer, played by Hamilton and Book of Mormon star Andrew Rannells.

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Young MA Changes the Game for Females in Hip-Hop

Young MA HipHop FemalesThe 24-year-old, Brooklyn native started self-producing her music back in 2014, writing her own lyrics, creating her own beats, and receiving help from friends to mix the track. In 2014 she released “BROOKLYN (Chiraq Freestyle)” featuring Rell & La Danger (RedLyfe) via her Sound Cloud profile. In 2015, she began to earn a following within the New York music world and also gained a presence on social media when she released her mixtape Sleep Walkin. The mixtape features 10 tracks with upbeat raps such as the highly emotional track, “Through The Day,” which is a personal track which talks about the murder of her older brother; his murder took place in September of 2009. This past May, she released her debut single “OOOUUU.” Since its release, “OOOUUU” has rocketed from a Brooklyn street anthem to number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100 list.

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Kenneth Womack Releases New Beatles Encyclopedia

Womack New Beatles Encyclopedia 2Kenneth Womack, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is set to release his new book, The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, on Nov. 30. The book is an updated version of the original, which was published as two volumes in 2014.

“The Beatles have been the subject of more than 2,000 books,” said Womack. “For this reason, they are the subject of intense scholarly scrutiny. Yet at the same time, they are often misunderstood or the subjects of enduring myths and misinformation. In my own way, The Beatles Encyclopedia is a means for getting the story right.”

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Blue Hawk Records Spotlight: Gee and Bailey

BHR Gee Bailey 1Every semester, Monmouth’s student-run record label, Blue Hawk Records, creates and records a compilation album featuring various artists on campus. The Applied Music Industry class creates and produces this album; this includes holding auditions in Lauren K. Woods theatre to releasing and promoting the album.

This semester, the class is working on their ninth compilation album, Nine Lives, which will be released Dec. 7 with a show held in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center. The album features six Monmouth University artists from varying genres.

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Vanderpump Rules Tanks in its Fifth Season Premiere

Vanderpump Rules Tanks Season 5Tears, screams, and rumors. Yes, Bravo’s popular reality show, Vanderpump Rules returned on Monday, Nov. 7 for its fifth season, and certainly without a shortage of drama. I’m typically a fan of reality shows; I find the scripted drama of “reality” to be entertaining, which is a quintessential quality of this series. However, the first episode was a mere disappointment, as looks the rest of the season.

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WMCX Celebrates National College Radio Day

WMCX National College Radio DayFrom 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 4, MU’s college radio station, WMCX, celebrated national College Radio Day.

College Radio Day is a day dedicated to the hundreds of college radio stations across the country and the students involved with them. MU’s own station, WMCX, took advantage of this day and celebrated in the Jules L. Plangere Center with twelve hours of live band interviews, performances, and of course, pizza.

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Indie-Survival Beyond No Man’s Sky

Indie Game SurvivalIndie survival games are an excellent option for consumers, particularly in terms of affordability; however, with the recent No Man’s Sky debacle, some might be feeling a little wary of the indie games market. No Man’s Sky, and indie/survival title, turned out to be an excellent example of all that’s wrong with the indie games market; the game was incredibly overpriced, it released in an under-developed state, and it employed deceptive marketing strategies. Steam has actually changed its store policy as a result of No Man’s Sky; there is a new rule that screenshots must represent footage captured in-game. Despite the disaster that was No Man’s Sky, consumers should not allow themselves to be turned off of the indie market by a single game. There are a number of other titles that offer both affordable prices and immersive gameplay of survival sims.

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MU’s Record Club Reviews Blonde on Blonde

Blonde On Blonde RevisitedFifty years ago, Bob Dylan released his album Blonde on Blonde, and it’s still just as epic today. So, on Tuesday, Oct. 25, the University’s Record Club celebrated this anniversary and hosted its second album review of the year at 7:30 in Pollak Theatre.

“There’s a lot of artistic risk on this album,” said Kenneth Womack, Ph.D., and Dean of the Department of English. He and two other panelists, Michael Thomas, M.F.A., and Associate Dean/Director of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, alongside Ronnie Brandt, a “Musician at Large,” gathered to discuss one of Dylan’s greatest successes.

The night began with a brief video of a live performance of Dylan’s “No Direction Home.” The video was from 1966 and showed various English people trashing the new style that Dylan was taking up. Some argued that all of his music was better prior to the new sound of this album and that he was going downhill. However, they seemed to have predicted incorrectly.

The first song that the panelists discussed in this hour-and-a-half-long record review, was “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” “This was a big commercial hit, but it took a while to get airplay because radios wouldn’t play it,” said Brown. He continued to say that radios wouldn’t play it likely because it was such a different style than before. “He went from being a successful folk singer to a new sound, but what some people don’t know is that Dylan was a Rock-N-Roll nut before he did folk,” Brown added.

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Grammy-Winning Shenandoah Visits MU

Shenandoah Vists MUThe Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for an Nov. 13 concert featuring the one of the greatest bands in Country music, Grammy winners Shenandoah, hosted in Pollak Theatre. Part of the 2016-2017 Performing Arts Series, the 7 p.m. concert is one of several fall events presented under a special partnership between the University and the L.A.-based Grammy Museum.

When country music lovers talk about the greatest groups in the genre, Shenandoah is always at the forefront of any discussion. Fueled by Marty Raybon’s distinctive vocals and the band’s skilled musicianship, Shenandoah became well known for delivering hits such as “Two Dozen Roses,” “Church on Cumberland Road,” and “Next to You, Next to Me,” as well as such achingly beautiful classics as “I Want to be Loved Like That” and the Grammy-winning “Somewhere in the Vicinity of the Heart” duet with Alison Krauss.

Today that legacy continues as original members Raybon and Mike McGuire reunite to launch a new chapter in Shenandoah’s storied career. It all began when the guys got back together to perform a benefit concert for a friend battling cancer.

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Young Thug Challenges Gender Identity in Rap Music

Young Thug 1Since the birth of rap and hip-hop, hyper-masculinity has been a constant trend, bleeding through the majority of songs under the genre. But in 2016, several rappers are starting to go against the gender norms that the culture of rap and hip-hop has created.

Since his debut in the music industry, Jeffery Lamar Williams, known by his stage name “Young Thug,” has never been scared to push the boundaries of gender norms. His uniqueness has shined through his fashion, language, and music leading him to wear women’s dresses in several print issues of magazines, as well as in his popular music video, “Best Friend,” where we wore several pieces of women’s clothing throughout the duration of the video. The rapper has been known to refer to close friends as “hubby” or “lover,” and his fashion sense has always been loud and flashy. This is especially true in comparison to hip-hop’s finest, such as Drake, Kanye West, and Travis Scott, whose more traditional style of manliness oozes through their style and music.

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Civilization VI is More of a Good Thing

Civilization VIAnyone who’s ever played the board game Risk would understand the basic premise of Civilization VI gameplay, and that of 4X strategy games in general. Civilization VI (or Civ VI) is the latest entry in the Civilization series of videogames. Like its predecessors, it belongs to the 4X subgenre of strategy games. In a 4X strategy game, the player is put in charge of a faction which they control through turn-based gameplay. Typically the goal of this is advancement/development of the faction despite competition from other factions. In the case of Civilization VI, players control a nation, like America or India, as a historical figure/leader, such as Teddy Roosevelt or Gandhi. What sets Civ VI and most other 4X games apart from Risk is the amount of overlapping in-game systems, which add complexity to the title.

The best way to explain Civilization VI would be to describe how a typical session plays out. Civ VI is session based, which means that when you want to play it, you select a number of options to create a match. You could set up a simple game and only edit things such as which leader/civilization you play, game speed (whether the game takes 2 hours or 50 hours to finish), AI difficulty (human opponents/multiplayer is also a possibility, and these opponents can even be mixed in with AI), and so forth. There is also “advanced setup,” which provides more options for game design, such as picking which leaders the AI plays, eliminating victory conditions (one could make a victory through religious prosperity impossible, for example), and further altering the world design (such as rainfall, world age, sea levels, and abundance of resources).

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I Am Teddy Who?

I Am TeddyMonmouth seems to be the home of many talented students, and I had a chance to talk with sophomore and music industry student, Tyler Robinson, also known by his stage name “Teddy,” who has become a popular musician amongst the students of the University. He’s performed at several campus events and will be performing at the school pep rally Oct. 28.

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Scream Queens Goes Hoarse in Season Two

Scream Queens Season 2“If it was possible for me to feel anything, I would totally be sobbing right now,” said Chanel #3 (Billie Lourd), which unfortunately reflects my attitude towards this season of FOX’s Scream Queens.

The campy, crass creation was a show I fell hard for in its killer first season. The story of the snotty, selfish, yet fabulous sisters of Kappa Kappa Tau, who not only have to deal with an vengeful dean, preppy fraternity “bros,” and, you know, just your everyday serial killer on the loose, was some of the most genuine fun I’ve had watching television in the past few years. Scream Queens wasn’t for everyone, and still isn’t, but it was full of endlessly weird and original characters, rapid-fire quips, and the perfect blend of horror and comedy. Now, it merely feels like a bad imitation that is desperately trying to find that first season shine.

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How to Game on Your iPhone

Gaming on iPhoneMobile games, such as ones on cell phones, have somewhat of a bad reputation, and in my opinion, largely deserve it. Mobile games are plagued by the pay-to-win business model that typically results in the death of PC or console games. Unfortunately, this model has somehow managed to thrive on mobile devices. What exactly pay-to-win is and why it should be avoided is something that every mobile gamer needs know. If you know what to look out for it is quite possible to enjoy quality games on your cellphone, specifically iPhones, even if the deck is stacked against you.

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Bethel Boyz Release New Mixtape

Paul MattAfter hearing word that Monmouth University had its own rap group, I headed over to Bethel Avenue in Long Branch. As I walked into the house, I was greeted by Paul Matt, a junior and communication student, and one of the four members of Bethel Boyz. Singing and rapping at the kitchen table, wearing a “Suh Dude” snapback, Paul resists the mainstream categorization that other rappers chase after, mainly because he’s a completely new breed of Jersey oddball, something the rap game has never experienced.

Last month, the 20-year-old rapper released a mixtape called “Potential/Summer 16” which features 13 tracks and includes features from other members of Bethel Boyz. He’s known for his rather juvenile sense of humor and his larger-than-life personality. This persona — one associated with lyrics like, “I’ve been known to goof around, sometimes called the clown, that’s cause I never let anything bring me down. So I’m gunning for the thrown and a fitted crown, cause I’m the king of my own life.” – King of My Own Life — has him far removed from the conventional visuals of big time rappers; Paul exists completely in a category of his own making. Meanwhile, if you want to know what’s next, as I did, you’ll get the kind of answer where the platitude of a rap group merges with interview ramble into semi-deep profundity:

Paul Tyler Matt

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Beyoncé Slays the Formation World Tour

Beyonce1On Friday, Oct. 7 our lord and savior, Beyoncé, blessed New Jersey with her radiant presence. On this day “Queen Bey” came to East Rutherford’s Metlife Stadium and brought her Formation World Tour to an end.

The show kicked off at 8:30 p.m. with an opener from DJ Khaled and his impressive lineup of guests. During his set he brought out August Alsina, Remy Ma, DMX, Ja Rule, T.I., and more. Each guest did about two songs and with such a great lineup, really got the crowd excited for Beyoncé.

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Harry Styles Shows Off His Solo-Fashion Style

Harry SittingIf you haven’t seen the pictures of Harry Styles for Another Man magazine, have you been living under a rock? Styles posted a bit of a warning on his Instagram on Sept. 25 with three completely blank pictures and put all of his fans (including me) in a panic. Something was coming but no one knew what. The next day, Sept. 26, is when the internet went crazy because he revealed his three covers for Another Man magazine. It was unlike anything he has ever done before and it is a completely different way to break out and start his solo career.

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MU Hosts a Next-Generation American Music Legend

The Center for the Arts at Monmouth University has announced that tickets are now on sale for an Oct. 21 concert featuring the standard bearer for one of the greatest legacies in American music: multiple Grammy winner Rosanne Cash.

Part of the 2016-2017 Performing Arts Series, the 8 p.m. concert is one of several Fall 2016 events presented under a special partnership between Monmouth University and the LA-based Grammy Museum. Hosted inside the recently renovated Pollak Theatre, the show finds the celebrated vocalist and songwriter joined on the newly enlarged Pollak Theatre stage by husband, musical director and guitarist John Leventhal and their full band, in a set that draws from the artist’s rich catalog of recordings, with a spotlight on the triple-Grammy album The River and the Thread.

Boasting eleven Cash-Leventhal originals, The River and the Thread marked an exciting new evolution in the long-playing career of a performer who made her first big splash with the 1981 mega-hit “Seven Year Ache” (and who netted her first Grammy in 1985). A cycle of portraits in story and song, the album sketches the lives of Southern people – from the thoughts of a soldier gone off to fight in the war between the states, to the struggles of a contemporary Alabama couple – with a paint box of Delta blues, Appalachian folk, Nashville country, gospel, and the myriad other styles that sprang from the fertile soil of Cash’s native Southland.

At the same time, the record speaks to the soul of the artist whose starkly compelling 1990 LP “Interiors” signaled both an emotional and physical move from music-row Nashville to New York City, and whose storytelling skills have been honed over the past quarter of a century via the publication of an acclaimed memoir, a children’s book, an edited collection of “Prose by Celebrated Songwriters,” as well as numerous contributions to The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The New Yorker.

RosanneGarnering three major awards at the 2015 Grammy ceremony — for Best Americana Album, as well as for Best American Roots Performance and Song for “A Feather’s Not a Bird” — the all-original River and the Thread serves as a fine complement to the award winning 2009 release “The List,” in which Cash and a cast of guest performers (including our own Bruce Springsteen) interpreted a dozen classic country selections by other composers — all of them drawn from a list of 100 essential country songs that her father, Johnny Cash, provided to the aspiring performer as a way of better understanding the deeply rooted soul of the music.

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Record Club Takes a Closer Look at Nirvana Album Nevermind

MU First Record Club 2Students and faculty gathered in the theater with three expert panelists to discuss Nirvana’s groundbreaking album, Nevermind as part of the Tuesday Night Record Club on Sept. 27 at 7:30 p.m in Woods Memorial Theatre.

“It’s like a book club, but with albums,” said Bob Santelli, Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum and University alumnus. The University’s student-run record label, Blue Hawk Records hosted its first ever “Record Club” event. Here, music lovers gathered to discuss and review albums of the past; the first review was Nirvana’s famous album Nevermind. Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Kenneth Womack, Ph.D., said that the idea came from Santelli.

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No Man’s Sky: Interesting Indie, or Triple-A Flop?

No Mans Sky Indie Or FlopIn the gaming world, there’s a commonly used phrase, “hype-train.” If you are on the hype-train for a game, it basically means you’re excited for it and believe it will be good. Many gamers and critics alike boarded the No Man’s Sky hype-train; this game received numerous best-of-show rewards at the E3 gaming conference, the cover for an issue of GameInformer, as well as air-time on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. This is all rather impressive, especially considering that No Man’s Sky was developed by a small indie team, Hello Games.

So, what is No Man’s Sky? No Man’s Sky is an open-world, exploration-based, sci-fi space-simulation. It’s described on Steam as “a game about exploration and survival in an infinite procedurally generated universe.” Procedural generation means that many elements of No Man’s Sky (planets, animals, plants, starships) are created by an algorithm, designed by Hello Games. So, the universe of No Man’s Sky has, in some ways, near infinite possibilities. That no two planets you visit, or two ships you cross paths with, will be exactly the same (at least in some respects).

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Spanish Guitar Master, Roni Benise, Visits MU

Roni Benise Spanish Guitar MasterGuitar master Roni Benise brings his 10th anniversary tour and an international troupe to Monmouth U’s renovated Theatre, with “Strings of Passion.”

The Center for the Arts at the University has announced that tickets are now on sale for “Strings of Passion,” an Oct. 15 concert event headlined by The Prince of Spanish Guitar, Roni Benise.

Presented inside the Pollak Theatre, the 8 p.m. concert promises to be a spectacular showcase for the recently refurbished flagship auditorium of the Monmouth campus. In addition to boasting improved sight lines and nearly 700 new seats, the Pollak Theatre offers guest artists a newly enlarged stage area — a space that is more than up to the task of accommodating Benise, his touring orchestra, and an international troupe of dancers in their coastal New Jersey area debut.

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Battleborn Has Died, at the Ripe Old Age of Four (Months)

Battleborn Has DiedIn gaming, if a game is dead it is no longer played by a sizable audience. Battleborn is a MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena)/first-person shooter game, developed by Gearbox Software (the renowned developers of the Borderlands series). I first heard of the game prior to its release, in 2015; I like MOBAs and shooters, also I loved playing Borderlands, so the game seemed like a must-buy. I managed to get into a beta-test while Battleborn was in its pre-release, during this test the game impressed me and I preordered it. It released in May, I played it, found it to be a solid MOBA/shooter despite some flaws, and reviewed it as 8/10. Just before this fall semester, when I was planning to run my review, I picked up Battleborn again, and immediately wished I hadn’t, because now I have to rewrite my review.

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The BreakBeat Poets Visit Wilson Hall

BreakBeat Poets WHA dash of cultural poetry, a pinch of eye-opening stories, and a spritz of new generation hip-hop all mixed together will get you The Breakbeat Poets. On Thursday, Sept. 15 authors from this revolutionary anthology performed in front of students at the University’s Wilson Hall.

The anthology featured 78 different poets from all over the country, born between 1961 and 1999. The book claimed to be the first poetry anthology by and for the hip-hop generation and attempted to create a unified statement by poets who have been shaped by the genre’s re-shaping of American prose. Angel Nafis, Nate Marshall, Kevin Coval, and Morgan Parker, four of the ‘Breakbeat Poets,’ performed a few of their most popular pieces, as well as told life stories and answered questions in a Q&A after the performance.

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“American Horror Story” is Back For a Sixth Season

AHS Season 6 1From a haunted house to a disturbed asylum and a freak show, FX’s American Horror Story (AHS) has captivated viewers time after time. Each season has a new theme and we slowly piece together one big mystery as the plot un-ravels. Now, AHS is back for its sixth season, “My Roanoke Nightmare;” a season that is already very different than the others.

The first episode began with the words, “The following story is inspired by true events.” This is already some-thing new for the show. In previous seasons, there have been characters based on real people, such as in season five, “Hotel,” when Lily Rabe played the role of Aileen Wuornos, a real person who was convicted of multiple murders in the early 1990s; however, this season, the true events stem from the Roanoke colony of the late 1500s; a colony whose people left to relocate but went missing. The definite whereabouts of those people were never resolved.

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NBC’s “This is Us” is a Success

NBC This Is Us 1When the previews for NBC’s latest drama This is Us aired, the premise looked pretty simple - four people who all share the same birthday. Those four people are Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), Randall (Sterling K. Brown), Kate (Chrissy Metz), and Kevin (Justin Hartley). They are all drastically different and are somehow all connected, which is what will be revealed later.

Jack is married to Rebecca (Mandy Moore); they are an adorable young couple who, when we meet them, are expecting triplets, or as they like to call them, “The Big Three.” The two of them are madly in love and have their world turned upside down when it is revealed that there are complications with her pregnancy.

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Mac Miller Releases “The Divine Feminine”

Mac Miller The Divine FeminineMac Miller is a 24-year-old rapper who has been putting out solo records since 2009. One of his first big songs, “Donald Trump,” generated some buzz about him and his music – including attention from Donald Trump himself. Now he’s out with his fourth studio album, The Divine Feminine, which was released on Sept. 16.

The first thing that caught my attention was the title itself. In an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio, Mac said that this album title was, “A concept that was told to me about just the energy of the world being a female energy, the energy of the planet… and just kind of like how that mirrors the soul of a woman, and you know, like Mother Earth and falling in love with the universe.”

There are ten songs on the album – many of which talk a lot about love and desire as he had mentioned. Of the ten songs, several big name artists were featured such as Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, Cee Lo Green, Ty Dolla $ign, and more, which gives a variety to the types of songs on the album from all of the different collaborating artists.

The most popular song on the iTunes charts from The Divine Feminine is “Daang!” which features Anderson .Paak. It’s a slower-paced song and the first time I listened to it, it reminded me of a remix to a song that you’d hear in an elevator.

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New Season of Dancing With the Stars

New Season DWSThe 23rd season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, which premiered on Monday September 12, began with new celebrities, elaborate dances and a little bit of chaos. The four judges, Julianne Hough, Carrie Ann Inaba, Len Goodman, and Bruno Tonioli, give their advice and critiques as 13 celebrities and 13 professional dancers compete to win the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Celebrities and their partners must dance 10 of the different ballroom style dances, which includes the salsa, Argentine tango, Viennese waltz, samba, paso doble, rumba, foxtrot, jive, cha-cha and quickstep. While the judge’s input is important, the fate of the celebrities ultimately lies in the hands of fans that vote through text messages. Each week, a celebrity is eliminated. The judges are there solely to give the celebrities constructive criticism so that they can improve and hopefully make it to the end of the competition.

On this season of Dancing with the Stars, there is a wide range of competitors, from country singers and actresses to Olympic medalists and politicians. Prior to seeing the season premiere, I was familiar with a few of the competitors. There is 60-year-old Maureen McCormick, formerly known as Marcia Brady on The Brady Bunch. After McCormick’s waltz to Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel,” she was surprised when her on-screen mother, Florence Henderson, paid her a visit - it was a very heartfelt moment amidst all the chaos.

Next, there is 32-year-old female country artist and actress Jana Kramer, known for her singles “Why Ya Wanna” and “I Got the Boy.” The last competitor I knew of was 32-year-old Ryan Lochte, the reason for all the chaos. The twelve-time Olympic medalist, over-exaggerated about an altercation that happened in Rio while he was intoxicated and claimed that he and three others were robbed at gunpoint and therefore filed a false police report. As a result of his actions, he has been suspended for 10 months and cannot participate in the world championship meet which will be held in Budapest next July.

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Is tlc’s “Love at First Kiss” Practical?

Love At First Kiss 1A first kiss can be a strange experience; you may go on a date and wonder, “Will it happen? What will it be like?” In many romance films, the post-first-date-kiss question is solved at the end of the evening, after the two lovers get to know each other a little better. But what if they had skipped that step? What if the kiss happened while they were still total strangers? Would it feel different, awkward or equally as comfortable if the chemistry was right? TLC’s new show Love at First Kiss attempts to answer these questions.

Love at First Kiss premiered on Aug. 3; since then, there have been seven episodes. It seems to get a rise out of most people who watch it, as they cringe but also can’t turn it off, myself included. Over the course of the hour-long episode, a complete stranger is placed in an all-white room and awaits a stranger to walk in. Once the person enters, the person must walk up to the other and kiss. If the kiss goes well, the two can choose to go on a two-minute speed date. If this goes well, the couple meets up for a regular date on a different day. Sometimes it works and sometimes people get stood up, which is part of the drama that keeps the audience guessing.

Certain people get paired up on the show and seem as though they could really be a couple outside of the production. These people seem to hit it off and engage in genuine and smooth conversation afterwards; other pairs seem to have been placed together for the audience’s entertainment. For instance, in the first two episodes of the show the audience was introduced to Josh, a 27-year-old who had never kissed a girl before; he was then sent Annalisa, a young woman who had plenty of kissing experience. The scene was uncomfortable as the young man stuttered and trembled, keeping his eyes open wide the entire time; he returns three more times and assures the audience that he’s more prepared because he has been watching videos online, but what’s to follow may show the audience otherwise.

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Nick Viall is the New Bachelor

The Bachelor 1Millions of people tune in to ABC on Monday nights from 8-10 p.m. to watch The Bachelor or The Bachelorette. It’s an addiction, really, and it’s hard to escape the never-ending cycle of watching “true love” unfold. Each season after the final proposal, one of America’s favorite rejected contestants becomes the newest bachelor/bachelorette for the next season, and that trend continues; that is, until now.

is a reality TV show where about 25 female contestants fight for the love of one bachelor. The season continues as the bachelor takes the contestants on multiple dates across the world, slowly eliminating contestants through “rose ceremonies” until the finale. Then, the bachelor will choose his “one true love” and have a grand proposal for the world to see. Once the season is over a new bachelor/bachelorette is chosen, and this upcoming season has taken a new twist by breaking tradition.

Nick Viall was chosen as the next bachelor even though he was not on the latest season, something that hasn’t happened in a long time.

Nick was the runner-up on both Andi Dorfman’s and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s seasons of The Bachelorette and was also on the latest season of Bachelor in Paradise, where former contestants from various seasons meet and live in a house for the summer to try and find “true love.” Unfortunately for Nick, he proposed twice on national television – both proposals ending in rejection – and had a messy breakup at the end of paradise. But, after the latest season of The Bachelorette, JoJo Fletcher’s season, America was shocked to find out that he would be returning for a fourth shot at love.

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Lady Gaga Puts Out New Album

Lady Gaga New AlbumFrom “Poker Face” to “Bad Romance” and “Applause,” Lady Gaga has put out numerous hits over the past few years that reached the top of the charts. Her last album Artpop was released almost three years ago on Nov. 6, 2013. Now she’s back and ready to put down new music.

Gaga’s new album Joanne will officially be released on Oct. 21. Her latest single from the album, “Perfect Illusion” was released on Sept. 9; so far the song seems to be a hit. When asked what “Perfect Illusion” is about, Lady Gaga said in a video on her Twitter page, “Well, this song has a lot of meanings for me. I think the most obvious meaning when you first listen to it… was to create a song about how love is the most intoxicating and powerful drug in the world. It can make you feel so high that you don’t even realize that you’re in a relationship that’s not even real; it’s just a perfect illusion.”

“I didn’t really love it at first,” said senior Marketing student Cassie Stiansen, “but once I gave it a few listens it started to catch on. Now I really like the beat of it.”

Alexandra O’Connor, a senior and Education student, seemed hopeful about the upcoming album. “I’m not a big Lady Gaga fan. I think she’s a weird person but I don’t mind her music. Her new single wasn’t that bad so hopefully her new album will be just as good.”

According to Victoria Day, a recent graduate of the University, this is one of her favorite songs by Lady Gaga. “When I first heard the song I loved it and had no idea it was her song. Her voice sounds amazing and the song is so catchy. It does have the usual Gaga feel but I think this is a stand-out amongst her other singles she has released. The lyrics seemed to have matured from her past songs as well.”

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Who Stole the Show at the VMA’s?

Kanye WestFrom Madonna’s infamous performance of Like a Virgin in 1984, to Britney Spears’ memorable performance with a python snake in 2001, the MTV Video Music Awards have become a global phenomenon that people wait all summer for, and the 2016 award ceremony was no different. On Sunday, August 28, celebrities, singers, songwriters, and more gathered in Madison Square Garden to set off the year’s greatest hits. This year’s show was quiet arbitrary - to say the least - filled with many memorable performances. The show opened with Nicki Minaj singing alongside newest pop-sensation, Ariana Grande, who sang her most recent hit, Make Me, while reenacting what appeared to be a cycling class on stage. Rihanna,  winner the Video Vanguard Award, performed four dispersed times throughout the three hour showing, while Beyoncé hit the stage for a 15 minute performance of songs pulled from her newest album, Lemonade. Aside from these unforgettable performances, Alicia Keys did something extremely unexpected. Rather than singing one of her own songs, she sang a poem honoring Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech that touched many people in the audience and ones watching at home.

The performances made during this year’s ceremony were definitely one for the books, but one in particular I found to be a long awaited, exciting performance. Hitting the VMA stage for the first time in nine years, Britney Spears made her return. Singing a song from her new album, Glory, Britney sang “Make Me” featuring G-Eazy. Rather than simply singing the song, Spears incorporated her talent of dancing into the performance, which made it more entertaining. Not only was this performance eye catching, but so was her outfit on stage. Britney’s yellow leotard covered in Swarovski crystals with matching boots lit up the stage.

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New Season of “Catfish” Captivates MTV

CatfishNev Schulman and Max Joseph, hosts of the MTV series “Catfish: The TV Show,” are reeling in what could be the worst catfish yet.

A catfish is a person who pretends to be someone they are not by using social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and dating apps to create false identities, mainly to pursue deceptive online romances and relationships, however, in episodes from prior seasons, some catfish used social media solely to get money from the other person and had no interest in a relationship.

The concept of “Catfish: The TV Show” began after Schulman himself was catfished back in 2010. He believed he was talking to a gorgeous, blonde, twenty-something when he was really talking to a married and middle-aged woman, Angela Wesselman. While that occurred, Schulman’s friend, Henry Joost, and sister, Ariel Schulman, documented everything and it later premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Once it was seen by the public, many contacted Schulman explaining that they had experienced very similar situations. “Catfish: The TV Show” was then created to follow the journey of hopeless romantics that have formed online relationships without meeting each other. It is up to Nev and Max to tell the stories of these hopeless romantics as they discover the truth behind these online romances and sometimes shocking revelations along the way.

“Catfish: The TV Show” made its debut on November 12, 2012 and the show recently began season five, which premiered on August 10, 2016 with two very intriguing episodes. In the first episode, former Playboy model and mother of two, Jayme Nelson, requests the help of Nev and Max when she discovers that her online boyfriend, Lucas, is not only fake, but is catfishing an insanely large number of other women as well.

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Summer’s “Stranger Things” Should Stick Around

Stranger ThingsIn just one moment, my carefully organized, meticulously timed television-watching schedule was turned upside down.

With the fourth season of Orange is the New Black untouched, half a season of the new AMC show Preacher on my DVR, and the entire series of Gilmore Girls that has been in my watchlist for as long as I can remember, and more, I wasn’t looking for anything new. Then there was Stranger Things.

Despite a backlog of things to watch, it became almost impossible to ignore the buzz around Netflix’s new original series. Articles popped up all over, exclamations of its greatness flooded social media, and it seemed that everywhere I turned, someone was raving about this unexpected summer hit. Who was I, a mere human trying to keep up with the best of what television has to offer, to ignore it? And thankfully I did not, since it ended up being one of the most fun and satisfying shows of the season.

Stranger Things, created, written, and sometimes directed by brothers Matt and Ross Duffer, is a summer delight that should not be forgotten even though classes are back in session and it is no longer the trending topic. It has all the mystery, suspense, scares, and unexpected fun that one could enjoy during not only the warm summer nights, but also during lazy fall afternoons.

In the small town of Hawkins, Indiana in 1983, things are predictable and tame. But when local boy Will Byers (Noah Schnapp), a geeky kid who plays Dungeons and Dragons all day with his three best friends, Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo), and Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin), things get strange, for lack of a better word. Joyce, the boy’s anxiety-ridden mother (Winona Ryder), Will’s three friends, and Hawkin’s chief of police, Jim Hopper (David Harbour) attempt to forge their own investigations into Will’s disappearance, with each beginning to unravel the mysteries behind a shady government laboratory in town, a quiet, on-the-run little girl that appears in the woods, and much more.

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Fifth Harmony Steps Up Their Game

Fifth HarmonyIn just four short years, the girl group Fifth Harmony has gone from singing competition frontrunners to a household name (most likely a household that is home to teenage girls). Their latest tour in support of their album, 7/27, is sure to wow fans and evoke plenty of awkward dancing and loud singing that should be reserved solely for shower purposes.

Opening up for the girls was 2005 teen icon, JoJo. Aquamarine herself sang songs old and new, mixing in some hits from her heyday as well as new hits, such as “F**k Apologies.” At first when my friends and I noticed she was opening we were slightly excited. We only knew her old songs and weren’t expecting too much. Then she came on the stage and completely owned it. She had a sweet moment with the crowd, where she explained why she had been gone so long and why she did not put out any new music. She then explained how she is back and ready for everyone to hear what she has been working on. Closing her set, JoJo gave the crowd the one song they had been waiting for, “Too Little Too Late.” The audience rose to their feet and the screams were deafening. From that, we were off!

The show kicked off with a flight attendant directing ticket holders to their seats, letting audience members know they are ready for takeoff. The girls open with a high energy party, “That’s My Girl,” followed by their first big single, “Miss Movin’ On.” The set list was broken into five parts, representing each part of the “flight”- Cloud 9, Fantasy Island, Mystery Island, Paradise Island, F.U.N., and then an encore. The set list for the talented singers featured songs from both Reflection and 7/27, singing hits like, “Sledgehammer,” “Worth It,” “Bo$$,” and “Dope.” Showing no signs of slowing down, the girls handled multiple costume changes and quick set changes like seasoned performers; fans would never know this was their first major tour. 

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication 
and Instructional Technology (CCIT) Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

Phone:(732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151