Last updateWed, 16 Oct 2019 12pm


Leonard Cohen The Goal

default article imageThe legendary songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen may have left us nearly three years ago, but it’s moments like this where it feels like he’s still with us.

Cohen’s first posthumous Song ‘The Goal’ was released on Sept. 20 in anticipation for a new album, Thanks for the Dance. The song is more like a spoken word poem than a song (although many would say that a lot of his songs are like that).

Listening to it, you can see Cohen sitting in a chair, looking out the window, thinking back on his life, and knowing what’s to come. Cohen sadly says, “I’m almost alive, I’m almost at home.”

Towards the end of his battle with cancer, Cohen didn’t feel alive and “can’t leave my house or answer the phone.”

The song is short at one minute and 13 seconds. The music was composed and arranged by Leonard’s son, Adam, who also produced his last album You Want It Darker. That album was dark and sad, yet beautiful in typical Cohen fashion.

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Hella Mega Expensive: What's a VIP Package Worth?

VIP PackageDo you have a Hella Mega amount of dough? Because next summer, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, and Weezer will go on the Hella Mega World Tour together.

Fans have started purchasing their tickets and many noticed something strange about the VIP tickets. The admission only tickets range from $50 to $300 depending upon the venue size and seating location. It’s not cheap for a concert, but it’s to be expected with a show of three well known bands.

The four VIP ticket options cost $230, $279, $429, and $654, which arguably could be worth it to meet the members of one or all of the bands right? Well, you got to at least shake one of their hands at $654, right?

Think again, because in bold print on the bottom of the VIP package pages reads, “NO VIP PACKAGES INCLUDE A MEET & GREET. THERE IS NO ARTIST INVOLVEMENT WITH ANY OF THE PACKAGES.” Instead these packages include things like early venue access, a snack bar, pins, bandanas, water bottles, and commemorative laminates. As expected, fans flooded social media with their outrage fueled feedback. 

This flare up ignited a conversation that’s been going on since the dawn of priority tickets: what should a VIP ticket include and how much is it worth? 

First, let’s go over the basics. A VIP ticket to a concert gives you access to the show, along with perks like meeting the artist, taking a picture together, or merchandise. The price of VIP tickets are always more than those to just attend the show and the benefits included are determined by the artist, their management, and the venue.

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Girl's Night Out: Hollywood's Love for Female Ensemble Films

Hollywoods Female EnsembleWho run the world? Girls. And who does Hollywood want to run to the movies? Girls.

It’s clear that Hollywood wants to host a fun G.N.O.- not just here and there, but almost every other month. I noticed this while sitting through trailers at the cinema over the summer that every other movie featured a stellar cast of leading women. Then I thought these movies have become quite common in the past few years.

But where did this trend start? We can look back toward the classic female ensemble movies like 1980’s 9 to 5, 1996’s The First Wives Club, or 2004’s Mean Girls, but the success of Bridesmaids sent shockwaves through the theaters. The film that featured an incredible comedic cast of stars like Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCartney, and Rebel Wilson was an instant hit by earning over $288 million; almost nine times its budget.

The following year, a similar tune was hit with Pitch Perfect, which made over $115 million in the box office, almost seven times the movie budget. When Hollywood saw the success of these two films, it would lay out years to come of similar flicks.

In recent years, female ensemble movies have been churning out like shopping sprees. In 2017, we were graced with a third Pitch Perfect, Rough Night, Girls Trip, and Bad Moms Christmas, a sequel to 2016’s hit Bad Moms.

The following year, Hollywood released six female ensemble films, most notably with the stacked Ocean’s 8 and to appeal to AARP crowd, Book Club.

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Let's Hope It's Rambo's Last

Rambos LastIn 1982’s First Blood, John Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone, was a drifter Vietnam veteran mistreated by the law in his hometown. The sheriff’s cruelty toward Rambo triggered flashbacks to when he was a prisoner of war, which sent him on a bloody tirade.

Now 37 years later, he’s just an old dude sitting on his porch in Arizona waiting to kill some people. Unfortunately, this is the only arch Last Blood gives Rambo.

Rambo’s niece goes to Mexico to meet her father, but she’s abducted by traffickers. Surely enough, the action hero we’ve come to tolerate crosses the border to track down her abductors by any means necessary.

This fifth installment in the Rambo series is completely unnecessary with a stale plot, little action, and too short of a run time (but maybe that’s a good thing).

Just as the body count Rambo piles, the amount of revenge flicks like this are staggering and Last Blood is another forgetful edition. There’s really no difference to having Rambo in this movie; it could be anyone. The only link to Rambo is just a couple medals in the hallway (but who knows, they could’ve been for Stallone’s Razzie awards).

Despite the plot’s bare bones, there’s barely any action. Up until the last 15 minutes, it’s mostly just Rambo mumbling about something or tracking down people. I’m sure he was talking about something important like family or his nap time.

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The iHeart Radio Festival Gets a Lot of Love

Gets Lot LoveT-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosted tons of the world’s biggest artists on Sept. 20 and 21 for the ninth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival!

The first night’s lineup included acts such as The Backstreet Boys, Hootie & the Blowfish, Tim McGraw, Heart, and Steve Aoki. Many of the artists who performed the first night came back for the second such as Camila Cabello, Billie Eilish, Miley Cyrus, Chance the Rapper, Maren Morris, Def Leppard, Alicia Keys, and Green Day. 

The iHeartRadio Music Festival is known to bring artists of all genres together to perform in one venue for fans of all genres to enjoy. Artists that made the headlines were Miley Cyrus after she sang a mashup of her hits in addition to covering Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin.

Camila Cabello also made headlines when she debuted her new singles, “Shameless” and “Liar” as well as performing “Señorita” solo.

The Backstreet Boys made an emphasis on what they’re calling their “renaissance” with their recent success. The band performed some of their biggest hits like “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “I Want It That Way,” and “Larger than Life” in addition to their newest hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

Halsey also performed and had her live debut of her newest single, “Graveyard.” Hootie & the Blowfish captured the audience with some of their biggest hits such as “Only Wanna Be with You” and a cover of Kool and the Gang’s “Get Down On It.”

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Sea.Hear.Now Rocks Asbury Again

Rocks Asbury AgainThe second annual Sea.Hear.Now Festival happened over the weekend in Asbury Park, and it’s safe to say, it’ll be back for another year.

The festival was sold out for months, and a whopping 35,000 concertgoers flocked to the three stages in front of and adjacent to Convention Hall.  With headliners of The Lumineers and Dave Matthews Band, and thirty other bands including the Dropkick Murphys, punk legends Bad Religion, reggae heavyweights Steel Pulse, funky bands like Ripe and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, and much more, it was bound to be a fun weekend.

The festival was not solely about music, however.  There were also professional Jersey surfers showing their chops, surfboard shapers crafting from scratch, yoga sessions, and an art gallery.  The art gallery featured pieces from the festival’s musicians, and festival co-founder Danny Clinch.  The gallery also featured intimate performances from spontaneous performers, including Blind Melon and Lowlight.

Day one featured stellar performances from Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, English rockers The Struts, and indie Rainbow Kitten Surprise.  Following that, Bad Religion took the stage, and your humble narrator lost control of his inner punk.  Their set-list featured their hits, news songs, and deeper cuts like “Anesthesia,” “The Dichotomy,” and “End of History.” 

To wrap up Day one, The Lumineers serenaded us with their inspiring brand of folky-alternative.  Being in Asbury Park, they had to pay homage to Bruce Springsteen, by covering “Thunder Road.”  All of us held our breath for the appearance of The Boss, but we were left hoping.

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Pitt Shines Bright In Ad Astra

Ad AstraHow far would you go to track down your dad? I had to pick my dad up from the mechanic’s when his 2001 Buick LeSabre died (multiple times).

But Neptune might be pushing it. In Ad Astra, Roy, played by Brad Pitt, travels from Earth to Neptune to find his dad after a power surge from his ship rocked earth. Also, there’s been some shady space business happening on his dad’s project up there that the government wants to know about.

While Astra’s story is typical for space flicks, it has some gorgeous visuals and an out of this world performance from Pitt.

Astra’s plot isn’t a meteor that rocks the genre. It features typical space tropes like loneliness, the vastiness, and the great unknown.

But what makes it particularly hard to watch is how dull everyone is. Everyone speaks in monotone because the government controls their emotions (if only we could do that with people who tweet a lot).

That’s a tough crater to jump over, but it’s worth it for the visuals. With an IMAX theater you can see the attention to detail in every star and ring of neptune. I occasionally had to check down at my feet to make sure I wasn’t floating.

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The World Cinema Series Presents Women: Power and Identity

Women Power IdentityOne thing that bonds all college students together is the search for free entertainment. Free anything really, and not just any form of entertainment but one that is accessible, stress-relieving, and exciting. For students that live on campus, Monmouth Mall may feel out of reach, and for those who commute, it’s difficult to know what happens on campus, and all its hidden gems.

I recently found one of those hidden gems, which stares us in the face, literally. Walking across the underground tunnel to the quads, on the screen are displayed the dates for each movie presented by the World Cinema Series.

Professor of Spanish and Latin American culture, Priscilla Gac-Artigas, Ph.D. described the series as “Foreign, thought provoking films… that students will probably not see in any commercial theater in the U.S.”

Besides the entertaining and unwinding aspects of watching a film, Gac-Artigas further explained that the films will, “Put [students] in front of a unique experience that will engage them in thinking critically about global problems, intercultural interactions, world history, and issues of social justice and ethics.”

The series was founded by history professor, Thomas Pearson, Ph.D., with the purpose to showcase films that would provide educational value, and anthropology.

Pearson stated that the series, “Started back in 2008 while I was still the Provost, and the series was called the Provost Film Series. I’ve always used films in my classes, going back to 1980… [and] the Provost Film Series (like the World Cinema Series) focused on presenting films, from around the world, that were united by a particular theme.”

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Hustlers Can't Quite Make it Rain

Hustlers RainDrinks all around, strippers, dollar bills flying, and strobe lights: some may call this a “Thirsty Thursday,” but to Destiny, played by Constance Wu, this is her six days a week workplace.

Destiny is new to the club and is trying to step up her game. To catch some more dollar bills, she befriends Ramona, played by Jennifer Lopez, who is the top earner at the club.

The two form a bond over their success, but it’s broken apart once the 2008 financial crisis hits. After time goes by, the pair reconnects for a scheme where they drug wealthy men into the club and run up their credit cards.

While the film has an interesting story, its overwhelming amount of slow-mo montages and overhype for JLo’s performance doesn’t make it feel like the VIP experience.

In a way, Hustlers has the elements of a Martin Scorcese film: there’s crime, money, recklessness, language, and a musty New York backdrop.

But it doesn’t quite go there because the movie isn’t that dark and there’s more humor than expected.

What really works the pole is their reason for drugging the guys.

Most of the club’s clientele was Wall Street bankers and when the market crashed, their business was slow dancing.

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The "Starship" Flies: Nicki Minaj (Kinda) Retires

Minaj RetiresRapper Nicki Minaj shocked fans around the world last week when she announced her retirement via Twitter.

In a Sept. 5 tweet, Minaj stated “I’ve decided to retire and have my family. I know you guys are happy now.”

In an added note, Minaj left a sweet message to her fans: “To my fans, keep reppin’ me, do it ‘till [the] death of me, ‘X’ in the box ‘cause ain’t nobody checkin’ me. Love you for life.”

The message is in reference to the remix of her hit “Girl on Fire” in collaboration with singer-songwriter Alicia Keys.

James Donio, an adjunct professor of music who has worked with the rapper in the past, is skeptical of the announcement: “I’m frankly not sure the announcement is really true.”

Donio isn’t alone; the abrupt tweet left Minaj’s devoted fan base, coined “The Barbz,” blindsided because she had been working on a new album.

On the morning of Sept. 6, Minaj deleted the tweet and began replying to countless distraught fans.

“The tweet was abrupt & insensitive, I apologize babe,” said Minaj in a tweet to a shaken fan. She wrote that “in hindsight” it would have been more appropriate to announce her retirement via her Beats 1 station, Queen Radio.

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How Much Longer Can the Walkman Walk?

Walkman WalkNowadays, everybody’s got a smartphone. Many folks of our generation can still remember the iPods that were coming out periodically because technology in the mid-late 2000’s, and now though the 2010’s, has been changing quickly with more products released by different companies.

The original Walkman, released in July 1979, was the first personal and on-the-go music player.

Sony took the design of the Pressman, which was intended for journalists to use, and made it something marketable to the average person.

After adding a set of headphones, the Walkman became portable and easy for anybody to carry. It wasn’t instantly successful but became essential to many people in the following years.

Other companies began producing products that were also small and portable for music. Today, every smartphone can do everything a Walkman can without the batteries, wires, and tapes.

This summer, Sony announced that another version of the Walkman is going to be released by the end of the year in Europe and Australia for it’s 40th anniversary.

It has a new modern look with bluetooth compatibility. Also, it allows for music to be downloaded and streamed.

Unlike the original, no cassettes are required. The new Walkman has a 26 hour battery life, which eclipses smartphones.

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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