Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


HGTV is Everyone's Home For Entertainment

HGTV Everyones Home 1Ever wondered what the appeal of home renovation shows is?

There is such a variety of home shows out there and there’s even a whole network dedicated to them.

Founded in 1994, HGTV was originally called the Home, Lawn and Garden Channel. Fast forward to 2010, and the channel was called Home and Garden TV, or HGTV.

In 2016, the only cable channels that had more viewers than HGTV were Fox News and ESPN, making it the third most-watched.

But, what makes these shows so popular? What draws people into the lives of seemingly random people on TV who are buying or renovating a home?

Of course, these shows are for entertainment.

That’s the purpose of all reality TV and any form of media in general.

Robert Scott, a specialist professor of communication, referenced the length of the shows stating, “Producers would not be able to fit every aspect of purchasing a home into a 30- or 60-minute television program. I suspect too much detail would be challenging to edit and would significantly affect pacing so that the end result would be less entertaining.”

Christopher Otteau, MAI, an adjunct real estate professor and CEO of 3P Equity Capital, also acknowledged irrational parts of the programs.

Otteau said, “One of the unrealistic aspects is when [the hosts] assume [that] because you purchase a house for example $50,000 less, the buyer then has that much more construction funds.  That would only be the case if it were a cash deal.”

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Rewind the Tape: The Unlikely Cassette Comeback

Rewind Tapes 1Get out your winding pen and cassette player, because tapes are making a big come-back with modern musical artists and audiences.

The question is: why now, and why the sudden return of the vintage tape-recording device?

Also known as a compact audio cassette or musicassette, a cassette tape is an analog magnetic tape-recording format for audio capture and playback.

Developed in 1962 Belgium by Dutch technology company Philips, cassette tapes defined music listening habits of the 70’s and 80’s as an easy, portable change from the bulkiness of records and the unpredictability of radio.

Players like the Sony’s 1979 Walkman, stereo tape decks, and boom-boxes made selecting tracks for parties, leisure, or on-the-go listening even more popular.

The physical appearances of the cassette tape (with it’s compact, boxed shape and two holes), as well as that of the boom-box, became distinct marks of their eras in time: gold-chained hip-hoppers carrying big stereos on their shoulders and neon-sweatband-clad joggers with cassettes loaded into their Walkmen.

Now, who exactly brought back this taste of vintage life by resurrecting the cassette tape in the 2010s?

Well, pop princess Taylor Swift did, with her Grammy-award-winning album appropriately titled 1989 from 2014.

So did diva Ariana Grande, with her 2018 comeback Sweetener, which also nabbed a good deal of Grammy wins. Musical icon Björk is set to release all nine of her albums on multicolor cassette tapes for April 2019, joining the likes of Justin Bieber, NWA, She & Him, Weezer, and more.

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With Sails Ahead Discuss What’s Ahead

Sails AheadBrick Township progressive rockers With Sails Ahead, founded by vocalist Sierra Binondo in 2013, released a new music video for their song “Pixelated” on March 8.

The song hails from their latest record, Morning Sun, which was released the previous year.

On “Pixelated,” vocalist Sierra Binondo cheekily calls out fake friendship and insincerity within the local music scene.

The video, directed by Kris Khunachak, comically recounts some of the craziest things the band has encountered throughout their career.

The new video can be viewed on the band’s YouTube channel.

Morning Sun opens with the track “Disappear,” which features a dazzling cascade of amazing guitar work on behalf of guitarists Josef Warner-Reyes and Santino Costa; both of whom bring amazing solos and performances on tracks such as “Willow” and “Always Clouded, Never Clear.”

On “Disappear,” bassist Jaime Martinez dabbles with the cello during the bridge, creating a sound that is full and unique.

Drummer Ryan Venancio gives an infectious performance on the record, skillfully incorporating heavy punk and dance-pop drumming on tracks such as “Synapse Fires.”

“A lot of the lyrics on the record comment on how other people’s attitudes affect others, or (the lyrics) deflect fault onto others,” said Binondo when asked about the record’s lyrical content.

The title Morning Sun is symbolic for a brighter tomorrow, even in spite of past mistakes, according to the singer.

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Enter Shikari Enters Russia

Shikari RussiaBritish electro-rock giants Enter Shikari made their Russian late-night television debut on Evening Urgant on March 20.

The four-piece from Hertfordshire gave an explosive performance of their single “Live Outside,” from their latest album The Spark.

Host Ivan Urgant promotes their 2019 Stop The Clocks Russian tour, which ended on March 20 at the Heart Bar in Irkutsk.

The tour stopped in cities such as Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, and more.

Vocalist Roughton Reynolds delivered an electric performance, belting each note with passion and effortlessly two-stepping to the beat of the song.

Enter Shikari was founded in 1999 under the name “Hybryd.”

It  was not until 2003, with the addition of guitarist Liam Clewlow, that the band changed its name to Enter Shikari; the band name was inspired by a boat owned by Reynold’s uncle.

The band released their debut album, Take to the Skies, in the spring of 2007.

The album reached number 4 in the UK in less than a week following its release.

The band has been known to write about political issues of varying natures.

This includes climate change, our misuse of natural resources, the Trump Presidency, capitalism, and the United Kingdom’s Trident nuclear program.

When questioned about the band’s political voice, Reynolds told Kerrang! Magazine: “It’s what music is for.

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Steel Magnolias Steals the Show at Monmouth

Steel Magnolias 1Highlighting the interconnected lives of southern women as ‘as delicate as magnolias but as tough as steel,’ the University’s Department of Music and Theatre proudly presents Robert Harling’s touching 1987 dramatic comedy, Steel Magnolias, directed by Dr. John Burke.

Using the intimate Lauren K. Woods Theatre as its setting, this production of Steel Magnolias is deeply emotional, with an eye-catching set and a cast of intensely dedicated players.

According to the official University page for the 2019 spring production, Steel Magnolias “follows six Louisiana women as they gather in their small-town beauty parlor to gossip, complain, and share the joys and sorrows they face in their lives. Despite differences in age, backgrounds, and attitudes, their camaraderie and sense of humor help them grow through both good and bad times.”

The show opens on the preparations of the wedding of Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie, played by London Jones in the fictional northwestern Louisiana parish of Chinquapin.

Shelby is the daughter of driven career-woman M’Lynn Eatenton, played by Samantha Truglio, and her wedding is occurring later in the day.

They visit successful business owner Truvy Jones’, portrayed by Erin Clemente, in-home beauty parlor, which becomes the regular meeting spot for the subsequent cast of characters.

The play covers the span of occurrences over the next three years with Shelby’s Type 1 diabetes.

Highlighted are Shelby’s controversial decision regarding having a child, Clairee Belcher and her friendship with the ‘curmudgeon’ Ouiser Boudreaux, the personal and spiritual transformation of Annelle Dupuy-Desoto, and Truvy’s overarching relationships with men in her family.

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The Jonas Brothers Are Back But are we a “Sucker” for Reunions?

Jonas Brothers ReturnWhen I was nine years old, I walked hand in hand with my dad as I went to see the Jonas Brothers in concert.

It was one of the best nights of my life. There I was, in a venue packed to capacity with young elementary aged girls (and possibly a few boys who would dare to admit it) who also loved the dark haired boys who sang about futuristic themes.

Even my dad was having a ball. 

As a full-grown woman, you would assume that these passionate feelings about the Jonas Brothers have subsided.

I wish I could say you were right, but I still teared up when I saw the Jonas Brother’s make an appearance on The Late Late Show with James Corden for a carpool karaoke.

With their new single “Sucker” that just hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100, it seems that the Jonas Brothers are making a comeback.

And so are the hidden posters kept in dusty attics that younger girls gawked at when they were nine. 

The Jonas Brothers have a stable fan base, given the individual music experimentation done by younger brothers Nick and Joe.

Nick Jonas’s solo success in the pop charts includes “Jealous,” which stayed on the Billboard Pop Chart for 28 consecutive weeks in 2014, followed by collaborations with Tove Lo and Nicki Minaj.

Joe Jonas took center stage again as the front man of DNCE, releasing “Cake by the Ocean” in late 2015, which peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Pop Chart.   

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Mike Quon: The Art of a Designer

Mike Quon 1Bright, vibrant, unique and exciting are all of the words used to describe the style that Mike Quon paints, draws and creates.

The art exhibit, The Art of a Designer, that featured the works of Quon held its closing reception last Sunday, March 10.

The artist, Mike Quon, has been around the influence of art since a very early age.

Quon’s father was an animator and director at Walt Disney, who worked on a number of famous animated movies.

Quon said, “My environment was filled with magic markers, pastels, watercolor paints and more. As a master painter, [my father] was a big influence on me. I remember drawing from around the age of five or six.”

Born and raised in California, Quon attended UCLA where he graduated with a BFA, and furthered his education at the Art Center College in Los Angeles.

After graduating, Quon started a career as an art director at J. Walter Thompson and Young and Rubicam. Now, Quon lives in the New York City area.

His pieces have been in galleries and museums all around the world including Los Angeles, Paris, and everywhere in between.

His work is also in the Library of Congress, The New York Times office, the U.S. Air Force Art Collection and The New York Historical Society as part of their permanent collections.

Because of the bright and fun style of his work, Quon’s art has been used in campaigns and for logos, even promoting events like the Summer Olympics.

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CRJ: Our New Drug

CRJ New DrugFor those still craving a dose of bops since Carly Rae Jepsen’s 2015 album Emotion, the Queen of Pop is ready to give us a new fix.

The Queen released two new hit singles, “No Drug Like Me” and “Now That I Found You,” on Feb. 27, which has given people something to dance about.

The single with over 500,000 plays on YouTube, “Now That I Found You,” is a fun song that’ll make you “come alive” with its upbeat tempo right from the gate.

CRJ belts out at the chorus, “Cause there’s nothing like this feeling, baby/Now that I found you,” and you can’t help but feel the euphoria too.

When you have that feeling of finding the one, there’s no other feeling like it.

You “want it all” by being with that person at any moment you have.

Also, you “don’t wanna hide [your] love,” or “waste it;” you want to show it.

CRJ reminds us what it’s like to fall in love and the dance party you want to throw when you have it.

The artist also reminds us of how sexy some of her songs can be.

Her other single, “No Drug Like Me,” is reminiscent of her steamy deep cuts like “All That,” “Warm Blood,” or “Fever.”

It’s not so much of a throw down dance song, but more of a sway your hips and bite your lip type of tango.

Our eyebrows rise from the start when CRJ implores her lover to, “Take me to the limit, hold me down there.”

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Visiting Writer Hanif Abdurraqib

Visiting Writer Hanif Abdurraqib 1Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib read to a jam packed audience of fans, faculty, and students in Wilson Auditorium as part of the University’s Visiting Writers Series last Thursday, March 7.

Abdurraqib’s recent works include his first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, from June 2016, his first collection of essays titled They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, published in the winter of 2017, and his most recent book Go Ahead in the Rain, published this year, which debuted as a New York Times Best Seller.

However, there is always a significant difference in reading the works of a published artist versus hearing that artist read their own work to their audience, which holds true for Abdurraqib.

Abdurraqib is not only a writer who captures his readers through his poetic and critical words on the page, but also through his powerful presence and sense of hope and inspiration for all who have the opportunity to see him in person.

While in Wilson Auditorium, he read an essay from his collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us titled “Defiance, Ohio is the Name of the Band,” as well as a soon to be published poem titled “When Michael Jackson Walked on the Moon.”

As part of the Visiting Writers Series, Hanif Abdurraqib also participated in an entertaining and insightful Q&A with those in attendance.

When asked by a student in the audience what initially motivated him to start writing, Abdurraqib answered: “I was a music critic and writer before I was a poet, and I grew up in a house where music was often played a lot, but not often talked about a lot.”

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A Night with the Stars at The Oscars

The Oscars 2019 1After months of anticipation, we finally made it to this year’s Oscars last Sunday.

Annual viewers have been waiting anxiously to see how this will play out. Some of the drama surrounding this year’s Academy Awards included Kevin Hart’s stepping down as a host, which left the Oscars host-less, and rumors of awards not being televised.

Oh, and Lady Gaga recently broke off her engagement, hinting at rumors of an affair with Bradley Cooper.

Don’t worry, this year’s Oscars answered all of our questions and more.

We began our Academy experience with an opening performance from Adam Lambert and the remaining members of Queen.

It was a great way to begin the evening, especially with Bohemian Rhapsody nominated for various awards including Best Picture.

I was sitting on my couch, vibing with Queen, almost forgetting that we were lacking a host!

Not having a host was a little weird at first, considering the presenters in place of a host kept commenting on it.

The first  presenters, actresses Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph, and Amy Poehler attempted to make jokes out of it to release tension.

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Van Gogh: Of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies

Van Gogh Fields SkiesCelebrated for his enthralling works of art, Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh was a greatly tormented soul who was followed by a dull sting of ever-present loneliness, alongside strong bouts of mental illness.

The artist would have never known that years after his 1890 suicide, there would be a German woman, Helene Kröller-Müller, who would resonate with his sentiments and provide him with the love and devotion he had never received.

As the first installation of the Monmouth University Center for the Arts film series titled Great Art on Screen,  the Univresity presented Van Gogh: Of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies from 2017 is a stunning documentary directed by Giovanni Piscaglia.

It showcases a wide selection of works by van Gogh, 40 remarkable paintings and 85 drawings, from the Kröller-Müller Museum in Holland.

The film highlights priceless artistic treasures and the architectural beauty of the Kröller-Müller Museum set in De Hoge Veluwe Park in the Netherlands.

Dotted throughout Of Wheat Fields and Clouded Skies are visual extracts of the Milanese, Florentine, Roman and Palladian Renaissance.

Letter passages van Gogh wrote to his brother, Theo, set the pace in exploring Kröller-Müller’s collection.

The artist’s voice is loud, and those acted passages truly set scenes of the places van Gogh lived and stayed in, from Paris to Provence.

Van Gogh was someone who never connected with others around him but found temporary solace in landscapes and studying the natural [clothed] human form.

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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