Last updateWed, 21 Apr 2021 3pm


Volume 92 (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Nothing is True & Everything is Possible Review

default article imageSt. Albans, UK genre-benders Enter Shikari released their newest album, Nothing is True & Everything is Possible, on April 17 via SO Recordings. The album is a follow up to 2017’s The Spark and the summer 2019 single Stop the Clocks. Now that Nothing is True is in the hands (or ears, rather) of listeners all over the globe, one might speculate that Enter Shikari did just that; for the most part, anyway.

Nothing is True is chock full of nostalgic sounds and references that would put a smile on any long-time Shikari fan. The synthesizers during the pre-chorus of “Crossing the Rubicon,” as vocalist Rou Reynolds belts the line “now we can’t turn back, it’s labyrinth,” is a cheeky nod to the classic track “Labyrinth” off the band’s debut LP Take to the Skies. Not to mention the short but oh-so-sweet interlude track “Reprise 3,” which revives the iconic Shikari war cry: “And still we will be here!” “Reprise 3” serves as a very appropriate segway into the single “T.I.N.A,” which begins with a pounding synth melody reminiscent of 2015’s The Mindsweep. Other tracks such “Marionettes,” “modern living…,” and “apøcaholics anonymous (main theme in B minor)” bring back the mean dubstep and drum-’n’-bass stylings heard on 2012’s A Flash Flood of Colour; tracks such as “the pressure’s on.” and “satellites* *” certainly wouldn’t sound out of place on The Spark.

However, if you’re a fan of the crushing breakdowns, brutal screams, and downbeat-driven metal that Enter Shikari has delivered over the years, you won’t find it on Nothing is True & Everything is Possible. This record certainly succeeds in reprising many of the sounds, themes, and emotions Enter Shikari has conveyed with their music over the years; but the more metal-centric aspects of their work are rather underrepresented on Nothing is True. It simply doesn’t feel like the all-encompassing smorgasbord of genres Shikari implied it would be.

However, the innovation on this record in terms of songwriting and musicianship, in conjuncture with the abundant social commentary within the lyrics, is enough make its lack of early-2010’s melodic hardcore virtually irrelevant.

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Are You a Celebrity? Then You Can be a Talk Show Host!

default article imageGot a phone, celebrity status, and millions of followers on Instagram or YouTube? Well congratulations! You got your own hit talk show!

Usually when it comes to talk shows, they have to be broadcasted on a big network with a studio audience and feature run-of-the-mill entertainment like games or musical performances. However, those standards have left the building ever since the nation has entered into quarantine.

Late night talk show hosts who used to work with the highest production standards are now filming from areas in their homes where children can’t crash the set. For instance, Seth Myers shoots Late Night in his attic with what looks like an iPhone. Meanwhile, Jimmy Kimmel has a higher quality camera and mic, but he’s broadcasting from his living room. Then there’s Real Time host Bill Maher, who has a monologue in his backyard, conducts interviews at his desk on the computer, then goes back outside by the pool for his closing remarks.

The style of all these talk shows have felt a lot more personable too. Kimmel no longer has a full band swinging him in, but instead his young daughter sings an intro song while she showcases cute drawings of her dad. Also, during one of Meyers' most recent Closer Look segments, his children stormed in the room for his sign off.

So if a network host can create a makeshift studio in their house, broadcast to the millions through the internet, and have any guest they want through video chat (because nobody else has anything better to do), why can’t other celebrities?

This has kicked off a trend where celebrities have created their own talk shows with absolute freedom. All a celebrity needs to do is either broadcast live or post a prerecorded video to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube. Considering they’re not bound by a network contract, they can host whoever they want, have whatever structure they want, and say whatever they want.

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Stressed? Try These Ten Relaxing Games

default article imageIn today’s world, one of the best ways to take your mind off things is through videogames. Sure, movies are great by transporting you to a completely different place for a couple hours, but videogames are much more immersive. Not only are you sent to another world, but you’re in control. And with more time than usual to kill, games can eat away at a lot of those lost hours quickly.

The drawback of videogames is how challenging they can be. Sometimes they get so tough that you can’t help but rage quit (like me with Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week). However, there are plenty of relaxing games out there that serve as a nice break from all the craziness and can clear your head. Below are games you can check out for common consoles. Some might be a little dated, so you can pick them up for cheap on eBay.

Nintendogs (Nintendo DS & 3DS)

Yes, with all this spare time you really have no excuse to check in on the Nintendogs you abandoned for years. With this game, you simply raise a few dogs of your own. When we were little, everybody had this game. It was so much fun to adopt, play, walk, and train a puppy. Considering Monmouth’s Destress Fest with therapy puppies is off the calendar, you owe yourself to destress with this game. Oh, and you also owe your pups a bath, food, water, and some love.

Animal Crossing (Switch, Wii, 3DS, DS, Gamecube)

Similar to Nintendogs, Animal Crossing is another simulation game with no definitive end goal. Here you play as a young character who lives in a small town full of cute animals. As a villager, you can customize your own place, go fishing, play mini games, discover new places, and so much more. The look of the game alone will make you feel warm and fuzzy. The best part is that you can play this game for hours, days, weeks, months, or years and still have something new to do every day. There has been an Animal Crossing game for every Nintendo console, so it doesn’t matter which one you pick up.

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Uncertainty at the Cinema

default article imageIt’s been about a month since the last time people were permitted in movie theaters and you can’t help but miss it. The giant screen, comfy seats, dimmed lights, ground-shaking sound, and the aroma of popcorn in the air is an experience you can’t replicate. While there’s so many movies to watch at home, it’s not the same with light cracking through the windows, people walking up and down stairs, a 32-inch screen, and the aroma of meatloaf at dinner circulating through the air instead. While we all miss moviegoing, we’ll have to get used to it because the news for theater survival is getting worse by the day.

In the past week, news has swirled around AMC Theaters, the largest cinema chain in the world, with executives considering filing for bankruptcy. Since the pandemic, AMC has furloughed their entire staff and does not have a penny of revenue coming through the door.

As AMC is on the brink of closure, so are other theater chains. Cinemark recently announced they’re raising $250 million in debt and Regal Cinemas’ parent company CineWorld is considering filing for bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, independent theaters are in the dark too. Many theater owners across the country are debating whether they can reopen and a lot of that rides on how effective the Paycheck Protection Program is, which is supposed to bring billions of dollars in relief to small businesses. In the meantime, independent theaters have asked patrons to buy gift cards and have ironically launched virtual cinemas, where customers can stream the latest indie titles for rent.

With the sky falling, it feels like the days of the cinema are on its last legs. But can they mount a return? Professor of Journalism and former film critic John Morano felt that the doors for cinemas weren’t completely closed, but there’s a lot up in the air.

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The World Cinema Series Presents: "Mustangs"

default article imageBefore Monmouth University closed because of COVID-19, The World Cinema Series (WCS) planned to screen two films for the remainder of the semester, one of which was “Mustangs” in March. Even though the screening was unfortunately cancelled, you can still screen the film for $2.99 on YouTube here. And to make the streaming feel a little more like watching a film at Pollak Theatre WCS Host Professor of History Thomas Pearson, Ph.D., shared his commentary for “Mustangs.”

Pearson thought “Mustangs” tied closely to this year’s theme: "Women: Power and Identity” because it deals with a group of girls going against traditional norms and oppressive societies. Moreover, considering the main characters are cut off from society, Pearson related to the film to what we’re all going through today in this COVID-19 world. “In the case of "Mustang" it is because five young girls are confined to their uncle's home because of a belief that their innocent encounter with some boys on the beach on the last day of school violated the norms of modesty and appropriate contact between the sexes,” he said.

Now picture yourself taking a seat in Pollak Theatre. The lights are dim, the large screen is touching the bottom of the stage, and out comes Pearson with a microphone facing the packed crowd ready to watch “Mustangs.” Pearson asks, “Is this thing on?” Then gives us his commentary:

“"Mustang" (2015) is the Turkish-French feature film debut of Deniz Gamze Erguven. Her film is set in the remote coastal village of Inebolu (about 600 km from Istanbul) and the beach scene and its impact is based on Erguven's personal life,” he says.

After giving the rundown, Pearson shares what you should look for in the film. “I think what viewers of this film should focus on is the strategies of the five adolescent sisters, who band together, to defy the extreme repression and home confinement imposed by their relatives, with varying results.”

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The World Cinema Series Presents: "Persepolis"

default article imageBefore Monmouth University closed because of COVID-19, The World Cinema Series (WCS) planned to screen two films for the remainder of the semester, one of which was “Persepilis” in April. Even though the screening was unfortunately cancelled, you can still screen the film for only $3.99 through YouTube here. And to make the streaming feel a little more like watching a film at Pollak Theatre WCS Host Professor of History Thomas Pearson, Ph.D., shared his commentary for “Persepolis.”

“Persepolis” tied closely to this year’s theme: "Women: Power and Identity.” Pearson thought the film was the perfect fit because it, “Focuses on the rebellion of a young girl against patriarchal traditions and oppressive societies and governments.” he said.

Pearson also thought our current circumstances relate closely to the film’s material too. “In the case of "Persepolis" it is because the Iranian Revolution of 1979, with the coming to power of Islamic fundamentalists, cut off the teenage Marjane from secular society and modern culture as Iran underwent a fundamental transformation in its politics and social and cultural norms,” he stated.

So let’s imagine here for a moment. You’re sitting in a packed Pollak Theatre with students, professors, and community members ready to watch a great international film. The lights go down a little, the screen is dropped to the bottom of the stage, and Pearson walks to the front with a microphone in his hands. “Good evening,” he says. “Welcome to the World Cinema Series, thanks for joining us.”

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World Cinema Series Host Professor Gac-Artigas Shares Her International Film Picks

default article imageEven though events were cancelled at Monmouth University for the remainder of the semester, the World Cinema Series (WCS) is still turning at home. Outside of the two films “Persepolis” and “Mustangs” that were supposed to be screened this semester, WCS Co-Host Professor of Spanish and Latin American Literature Priscilla Gac-Artigas, Ph.D. shared her favorite international films everyone should catch at home.

The first being 2017’s “A Fantastic Woman” from Chile, which won Best Foreign Film at the 2018 Oscars. You can stream it here. Gac-Artigas shared her insight on the film, “It is the story of a transgender woman, Marina, a waitress during the day, nightclub singer during the night, and the discrimination she has to endure when her older lover with whom she recently moved in, Orlando, dies of an aneurism and she is the prime suspect of his death.”

Gac-Artigas continued, “You can see the reaction of a homophobic society who denies Marina the basic human right of bearing farewell to the man she has loved for three years when his family forbids her to attend the funeral and how Marina manages to fulfill her goal of being with him one last time.”

Another excellent film to watch while at home is 2017’s “Niñas araña” or “Spider Thieves” from Chile. You can check it out here. Gac-Artigas gave her opinions on the film with, “If as many other people in the world you were surprised by the social explosion in Chile at the end of 2019 you may find some answers in this film based on real-life events from 2005. The film tells the story of three thirteen-year-old girls living in a slum on the outskirts of Santiago, capital of Chile. They long to escape poverty, and to do it they climb up balconies of empty rich neighborhood buildings to enjoy amenities, food, and clothing far from their miserable real-life conditions, sometimes stealing some valuable items as well.”

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The Clubhouse Streams Along

default article imageAfter COVID-19 put a temporary end to their live events, an up-and-coming Toms River music venue has moved their operations completely to social media, in cooperation with Governor Phil Murphy’s social distancing executive order. Jimmy Mura, Director of The Clubhouse of Toms River, has gone to great lengths to produce online content for the community during a time where live music events pose a public health concern.

“We had a couple sessions from our YouTube series “The Clubhouse Hangouts” saved up. These are high quality live sessions and interviews we do with bands,” said Mura. “People seem to respond well to those.” The latest installment of The Clubhouse Hangouts, featuring Asbury Park-based alternative punk outfit America Part Two, is now available to stream on The Clubhouse’s YouTube account. According to Mura, there have also been talks of launching a podcast bands can be interviewed remotely.

The venue has also been holding numerous “Instagram Takeovers,” where a band is provided with The Clubhouse’s login credentials and is permitted to post whatever content they see fit.

“We are having a different band take over the account every day,” said Clubhouse board member and doorman Matthew Christopher. “They host Q&A’s, perform live sessions, and talk about how they are handling the quarantine.” The Clubhouse is secure with alternative content for the time being, but like all organizations and establishments, COVID-19 has posed a financial threat. Fortunately, the Clubhouse team is keeping a level head.

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Keeping the Concert Dream Alive-Stream

default article imageFor many, nothing compares with the experience of going to a concert. The first time I went to a concert was when I saw The Smithereens, a New Jersey band, while they toured their Beatles cover album “Meet The Smithereens.” My family and I were in the second row, and I happened to fall asleep. It was not that The Smithereens’ music had a sedative effect on me, I was just a nine-year-old with a bad habit of falling asleep in public places. Since then, music has become a healthy obsession of mine, often accompanied by the compulsion to frequently check the tour dates of my favorite bands and artists.

With COVID-19 forcing tours on hiatus and venues to shut their doors, many music fans are left without the concert experience for months. That concert experience, as Monmouth University Music and Theater Arts Adjunct Professor Marc Muller described, can be euphoric. Muller is a studio and touring musician, who instructs a class entitled “Rock and Roll in American Culture” at Monmouth University. With conventional live performances temporarily derailed, it is likely that fans are currently burning through their favorite artists’ discographies. However, studio albums might not always satisfy the pining to hear your favorite song played live. Professor Muller relates the difference between studio recorded and live music to that of “reading the book and seeing the movie. You sit with the book by yourself, [and] dive in. It takes you places, creates pictures in your mind.” Much like a book, there’s a certain ineffable weight about listening to albums by yourself. Which leaves the question, what is going to happen to the other half of this analogy now that concerts have been postponed?

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Coronavirus Commecials: The New Normal

default article imageIn quarantine, our only outlets of escape are through our TVs and laptops. Whether it’s shows, movies, or browsing the web, both can serve as good time killers or something to distract you from the terrible news every day. But we can’t even escape the depressing news through our only outlets.

Friday night I was watching Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush: Dave Turin’s Lost Mine to obviously be entertained and keep my mind off of what’s going on, yet the commercials felt like watching CNN.

Most of the companies that advertised have changed their campaigns to address our current climate. Companies like Burger King, State Farm, Hyundai, Verizon, T-Mobile, and even Buick had messages catered towards the worried at home. Each commercial had a similar tone of, “In these uncertain times, one thing is certain: that we are always here for YOU.”

For Burger King, they took a serious tone and said their employees would run the food out to your car if you purchased through their app. Meanwhile, State Farm took a lighter tone with gospel music playing in the background and informed how their agents are still accessible digitally for any client needs. Then, to take the cake, Hyundai vowed to freeze any car payments to those who have lost their job to COVID-19.

The impactful ads didn’t stop at the companies because Discovery Channel had their own COVID-19 campaign. In one commercial, they had all of the channel’s biggest stars (who?) sending out a message that we can all get through this. Then in another ad, Mitch Blaschke, a mechanic on their hit show Gold Rush, filled viewers in on how he’s handling quarantine at home.

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Drive, Kid Keeps Their Foot on the Gas: The Virus's Impact on Small Bands

default article imageIt doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the dastardly COVID-19 virus has impacted countless lives and businesses all over the world. The music industry is no exception; musical artists big and small have been forced to cancel shows, postpone tours, or even reschedule studio time. If you’re in a band, chances are the novel coronavirus has brought whatever activities you’ve had planned to a screeching halt, regardless if you’re packing arenas or struggling to fill basements.

My band Drive, Kid has been no exception. If there’s anything we hate doing, it’s cancelling shows. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. We were booked to open for Pennsylvania melodic hardcore band Carousel Kings in Toms River on April 3rd; it was shaping up to be one of the biggest shows we’ve played in some time, and we’ve got our fingers crossed it’ll be rescheduled for a time when the world returns to some degree of normalcy.

Drive, Kid’s drummer, Connor Hastings, felt a strong double-whammy effect as the virus impacted the plans of his other band, Asbury Park-based hardcore outfit P.R.O.G.R.A.M. “COVID-19 completely postponed our tour,” said Hastings. P.R.O.G.R.A.M. was set to tour the northeast during the week of spring break in support of their new album, Wired to Kill. “The shows fell out like dominoes. We’re all very disappointed and hoping we can reschedule another one for June.”

However, P.R.O.G.R.A.M. was still determined to deliver a chaotic live performance of their new songs to disappointed fans, in spite of the show cancellations. “The only ‘show’ we played was a livestream from our band Instagram account,” said Hastings. “To be honest, being out and about is scary, especially since I’m working during this. But, it was really nice to shred out some tunes and be able to forget this mess, even if it was only 15 minutes.”

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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