Last updateMon, 10 Dec 2018 4pm


Volume 91 (Fall 2018 - Spring 2019)

Christmas (Baby Please Release New Music)

Christmas New Music 1Everyone knows the iconic, traditional Christmas songs sung by stars such as Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, Brenda Lee, and Andy Williams, but what about new Christmas songs?

Many could say that most Christmas songs are overplayed even if the same song is sung by a different person.

You could get tired of the same old lyrics and sound so what about new original Christmas songs?

Is it possible for new tunes to catch on and make it to the radio? If people are so used to the normal traditional songs, could new originals be accepted?

Current music artists such as Ariana Grande and Katy Perry have succeeded at creating original Christmas hits.

Grande’s popular “Santa Tell Me” went to number 1 on Billboards Holiday chart as well as getting to number 39 on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40.

While the song received mostly positive reactions, some claimed that Grande was trying to create a holiday staple, but just fell short of Mariah Carey’s famous “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”

Perry has recently announced her Christmas music. Perry released her brand new Christmas single, “Cozy Little Christmas” exclusively on Amazon Music in early November. The song peaked at number 10 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart.

Original Christmas songs created by Stevie Wonder and Elton John back in the day, easily caught on with listeners.

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Does Hollywood Know It’s Christmas Time At All?

Hollywood Christmas 1The holiday season has always been an ideal time for the movies.

It’s cold outside and folks are always looking to survive the weather with some kind of indoor activities.

Christmas films always set the mood by filling the room with joy and cheer.

Just like the length of Santa’s naughty or nice list, there are tons of Christmas movies loved by many.

Whether it be the all time classic, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Christmas Vacation, there are a selection for all kinds of viewers.

Any movie to throw on with the fireplace burning is something we all look forward to during this jolly time of the year.

With a long history of great Christmas movies, there has been a dip in quality since the turn of the 21st century.

With the exception of Elf, starring Will Ferrell, and a few others, there hasn’t been a classic film good enough to revisit.

It isn’t necessarily that the movies are bad, but they haven’t been anything worthwhile.

Just this November, an animated remake of the The Grinch was released and performed well at the box office.

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Reading While Watching TV? The Stigma of Foreign Films

Reading Watching TV 1A foreign film or television series is an acquired taste.

I recently watched a new television show released on Netflix in early October, and reached a similar verdict when recommending it to my friends.

Met with expressions of disregard, discontentment, and disinterest, I’m left to wonder why subtitles are an inconvenience to most.

The box-office hit Call Me by Your Name, although not a foreign film, gave many people the opportunity to watch a film that does not possess your typical American flare.  Firstly, it is a gay romantic film, and secondly it takes place in northern Italy. 

Call Me by Your Name reminded me of Blue Is the Warmest Colour, which is French.

I watched this film in high school and while it touches on mature themes, I felt that it reflected on teenagers of our time.  The confusion and denial that comes from emerging sexuality realizations is prevalent regardless of culture.

People steer away from foreign cinema mostly because of subtitles.

Subtitles are met with dread and a drawn out “I don’t want to read while watching a movie!” (which, makes me laugh every time my mother says it).  It’s a shame, because foreign films have strong plots and talented actors continuously brushed under the rug in America.

Pamela Diaz, an adjunct professor of world languages and culture, further touches on why Americans are not initially intrigued by foreign films or television.

Diaz said, “I think people steer away from subtitles for the same reason why they steer away from books: lack of engagement; a desire for passive entertainment.”

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Don't Call it a Comeback

Call ComebackFollowing the controversial termination of WarnerMedia’s beloved FilmStruck streaming service, a new digital home for great movies has been announced.

 Criterion, on Nov. 16, released that the team will be launching a new subscription service, housing solely its famed Criterion Collection.

FilmStruck was given the ax on Nov. 29, and many film lovers were upset. Those impacted by FilmStruck’s services, from celebrities to casual watchers, took to social media and petitioned for a revival of FilmStruck, but it was to no avail.

This point was where Criterion stepped in.

The Criterion Collection was one main selling point of FilmStruck’s catalog, known for its beautiful preservation, restoration, and distribution of classic films both vintage and contemporary.

The Criterion service, in the wake of FilmStruck, will supposedly contain many on-screen and off-screen exclusives.

In a recent post on, the team released info about its service’s contents, including “programming director spotlights and actor retrospectives featuring major Hollywood and international classics and hard-to-find discoveries from around the world, complete with special features like commentaries, behind-the-scenes footage, and original documentaries.”

Nicholas Messina, a specialist professor of communication and a former FilmStruck subscriber who provided insight on FilmStruck’s initial demise, responded to Criterion’s announcement with, “While the loss of FilmStruck as a whole is detrimental, the creation of the Criterion Collection service is a brilliant alternative.”

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What Will Remain?

What Will RemainMetal icons All That Remains released their ninth album, Victim of The New Disease, on Nov. 9. It took me a few weeks to listen to it, because I knew there would be tears involved.

Surely enough, I was right.

The album came only a few weeks after lead guitarist and founding member Oli Herbert was found dead at the age of 44 in a pond in his backyard on Oct. 17. The cause of death was an overdose of sleeping pills and antidepressants; neither were prescribed to him. The authorities have not ruled out foul play and the investigation is ongoing.

 Now, the fate of the band is up in the air.

The lyrics on “Disease” are spooky considering how relevant they are prior to Herbert’s death.

In the song “Everything’s Wrong,” vocalist Phil Labonte describes the denial of a departure: “I don’t want to write this ‘cause if I do it might be true/ No I can’t fight this I’m never able to get through/ I can’t deny this and I’ll be damned if it’s not you who told me…And you left so none of it was true.”

 It was meant as a love song, but takes on a new meaning with the loss of a friend.

Another peak moment is the song “Just Tell Me Something,” featuring vocals from Asking Alexandria frontman Danny Worsnop.  Worsnop compliments Labonte’s higher voice with a raspy delivery.

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Order Up! The Success of Dine-In Theaters

Dine In TheatersDinner and a movie: that usual pair comes to mind when planning a date or night out with friends.

Everyone has had a time when you and another person argued over which restaurant to go to or film to see, which caused you to reluctantly cave into a decision that was not preferred.

However, dine-in theaters kill two birds with one stone, and dissolves that potential conflict.  

Dine-in movie theaters are gaining popularity across the United States. Cities such as Atlanta, Boston, and Chicago are upping the ante and creating a unique movie experience.

Many of these dine-in theaters are under the AMC movie theater corporation, and require reserved seating prior to arriving.

The set-up of the theater is like any other movie theater, filled with reclining chairs up and down the aisles.

Shelby Kopman, a criminal justice student and server at an AMC dine-in theater further explained the set-up in regard to the restaurant aspect.

“How sections worked was there was a server who would get six rows on either the right or left side of the theater. Within 10 minutes of the theater seating, bosses would recommend that you have food and drink orders in, because every 30 minutes you would have another theater seating (this was great because I would make a ton of money),” said Kopman. 

Not only is this a great experience for the customer, but it’s also consistent for a server.

The system is organized and efficient, making the server aware of whether they will make a decent amount of money during their shift. 

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The Drowsy Chaperone Roars through Woods Theatre

The Drowsy Chaperone 1A whirling kaleidoscope of vintage comedy, big band tunes, and twenties glamour: Monmouth University’s Departments of Music and Theatre transformed Woods Theater into the world of The Drowsy Chaperone; a campy 1998 musical written by Bob Martin and Don McKellar, with music and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison.

The production ran from Nov. 9 to 11 and 14 to 18, and left every witness to the spectacle carrying a happy little tune with them.

With direction from Sheri Anderson, choreography by Bob Boross, and musical direction from Michael Gilch, the immensely gifted cast and crew delighted patrons young and old.

A show-within-a-show, The Drowsy Chaperone follows a snarky, agoraphobic theater fanatic by the name of The Man in Chair, played by Nicholas Sewell, who whisks the audience’s imagination into the world of his favorite 1928 musical, Gable and Stein’s The Drowsy Chaperone.

Accompanied solely by his trusty record player and his original Drowsy cast recording, The Man in Chair sets the tone with vivid, quip-laden storytelling.

A romp in the 1920’s materializes on-stage, as the audience is tossed into hasty preparations for the wedding of renowned starlet Janet Van de Graaf, played by Samantha Ventola, and famed heir-to-an-oil-tycoon Robert Martin, played by Joseph Marano.

With a cast of bold characters complicating the wedding plans, including Janet’s confidant, The Drowsy Chaperone, played by Erin Clemente, hilarity, confusion, and plenty of songs ensue.

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Blue Hawk Records Debuts Superstition at the Doherty House

Debuts Superstition Doherty HouseUniversity President Grey Dimenna, Esq., welcomed students and alumni into the Doherty House Monday, Nov. 26, to celebrate the launch of Blue Hawk Records’ 13th album Superstition.

The reception was a wonderful way to welcome the six acts before their compilation album Superstition is officially released on all streaming services Dec. 5.

Joe Rapolla, Chair of the Music & Theater Arts Department and founder of Blue Hawk Records, established the student-run record label in 2013 after some time with his own successful music industry career.

Ever since, the label has released a student and alumni compilation album every semester, showcasing the impressive talent our students have to offer in the competitive industry.

Rapolla began the evening by telling Dimenna, “We can’t say thank you enough in regards to all the support you give all the students at the university, in all their endeavors. Not just here with Blue Hawk Records.”

“Thanks for having us here for this great event, and let’s listen to some music,” Rapolla finished before introducing the first musical artist featured on Superstition, Max Adolf.

Max, a freshman student who was born in Maryland but mostly grew up in Hawaii, recently returned home to the east coast to study music and the music industry.

Inspired chiefly by finger style guitarists like Sungha Jung and Tommy Emmanuel, Max’s intimate form and style on his original composition “Miles” shows the way he turned the dining room of the Doherty House into his own stage; a reaction he will draw out from every person lucky enough to listen to his song.

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Let’s Go Catch ‘Em All!

Lets Go Catch Em AllLet’s GO back to where it all started. The Kanto region is the place where the Pokémon series began back in 1996 with Pokémon Red and Pokémon Blue on the Gameboy.

However, I first caught onto the phenomena back in 2004 when I played Pokémon Firered and Pokémon Leafgreen on the Gameboy Advance.

Now, in 2018, Nintendo has brought the original journey we all loved back to the Nintendo Switch and it’s definitely something worth catching.

The release of Pokémon Let’s GO Pikachu and Pokémon Let’s GO Eevee finally brings the series to the Nintendo Switch and is a soft remake.

It has all the spots experienced players remember like Pallet Town, Pewter City, Cerulean City, Saffron City, and others.

Nintendo even brought back the original 150 Pokémon along with their Gym Leaders.

On the Switch, the Kanto area of the map looks gorgeous because you can see every strand of grass in the ground and ray beaming from the sun in the sky.

In this latest version of Pokémon, you notice every little detail because this is the first one to be released on a home console in high definition.

Another great feature is the battle sequences. There are new actions the Pokémon can take against each other, and being able to see wild Pokémon coming instead of the game getting interrupted when you don’t expect it is a great adjustment.

Getting Pokémon you can use to fight like Bulbasaur, Charmander, and Squirtle, was the original difficult choice to make in the older versions, but it’s one of the most exciting parts of this title.

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Swiftly Moving On

Swiftly Moving OnTaylor Swift announced on social media the shocking news that she has not renewed her contract with Big Machine Records on Nov. 19 and is now with Republic Records under Universal Music Group.

2006 was the start of Swift’s contract with Scott Borchetta’s music label, Big Machine Label Group. Borchetta found Swift performing in The Blue Bird Café in Nashville, Tennessee and was the first artist to be signed to Big Machine.

After six chart topping albums and countless awards, 2018 marked Swift’s 12th and last year with Big Machine. After her major transition from country to pop, Swift became the first pop artist on the country label.

Taylor’s most recent album, Reputation, was her last under contract with the label. By Nov., Swift had the option to stay with Borchetta and Big Machine along with renewing her deal or to seek out a new contract with a different label.

Big Machine, a label that has artists such as Reba McEntire, Rascal Flatts, and Thomas Rhett, heavily negotiated earlier this year with Swift in an attempt to have her stay.

Swift’s leave will definitely take a toll on Big Machine as a company. So far in 2018, Swift’s year-to-date sales and streaming come out to be 34.6 percent of Big Machine’s market share. Due to her major contributions to the company and the brand she has created, Swift had major leverage in this negotiation.

Swift made the game changing decision and announced her statement on social media along with pictures of herself with UMG Chairman/CEO Sir Lucian Grainge and Republic Records CEO/Co-Founder Monte Lipman. With her new contract, Swift now owns all of her master recordings, which lacked in her previous contract and future negotiations with Big Machine.

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Springsteen on Broadway: The Final Curtain Call

Springsteen BroadwayBruce Springsteen’s one man show “Springsteen on Broadway” at the Walter Kerr Theatre in New York City will conclude on Dec. 15 after a little over a year run.

This concert residency by Springsteen is another testament to the Jersey Shore rock star’s high energy and commitment. Springsteen performed five shows a week, Tues. through Sat.

From Oct. 3, 2017 to Dec. 15, 2018, The Boss played a total of 236 performances.

When the curtain closes, Springsteen will have raked in around $74.3 million for essentially playing a solo gig five days a week.

On Sept. 19, 2017, Springsteen performed an invitation only rehearsal show at the University before beginning his time on Broadway.

At the University, The Boss had an opportunity to see if his show would be well received, and it has been.

On June 18, Springsteen was awarded a special Tony Award for his compelling production.

His Tony Award for “Springsteen on Broadway” is another triumph for The Boss to add to his long list of awards.

Along with his Tony, Springsteen has sold more than 135 million records worldwide, and has been the recipient of 20 Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award.

But the true achievement Springsteen captures in “Springsteen on Broadway” is the bridge he so successfully builds between the concert scene and the traditional theatre scene.

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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

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