Tue08042020

Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm

Entertainment

Students Tackle Real-Life Tragedy in Fall Play

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the tragedy against a member of the LGBT community, Matthew Sheppard, which took place in Laramie, Wyoming. In recognition of the anniversary, The Department of Music and Theatre Arts presents “The Laramie Project” as this year’s fall play.

“The Laramie Project” is a collection of interviews, gathered by members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, of family members, friends, neighbors, and more that were affected in some way by Matthew Sheppard’s death. The play was written by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Company. The play is brought to Monmouth by director Dr. John Burke, professor of Theatre Arts.

When picking the play, Dr. Burke not only did it due to the anniversary date, but he had his actors’ benefit in mind. He said, “It’s a very different style of acting that [the students] haven’t experienced, and they should have a chance at it.”

Dr. Burke has also taken on the challenge of working with a very big cast. Fourteen students will perform the 60 roles in the play, and whether big or small, each are a totally different character that the students will have to portray as their own. Burke said, “Every one of these characters gives you another perspective on what happened, and some of them give you a real sense of tragedy…and some of them give you a sense of prejudice that is still in the town.”

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Daring Docu-series Deals With Death

“She’s like not breathing and she’s blue and like stiff and like f***ing dead,” Nicole, a 25 year old woman, said to the 911 operator asking why she thinks her mother is dead.

This is the abrupt opening of Showtime’s new documentary series, “Time of Death.” If you’re looking for a good cry, this mini-series will do the trick. The premiere alone was hard to watch (I had to stop multiple times), but it’s amazing. Each episode follows two terminally ill people.

Every week we see Maria, a middle aged woman with three children and stage IV breast cancer. Statistically, Maria is alive well after what science would predict. She mentioned, “Don’t believe everything you read” after citing that the American Cancer Society predicts that someone in her position has about 18 months to live. She has survived four years with her diagnosis. It almost makes a viewer feel hopeful until you remember that no one on this show is getting a happy ending.

Each episode also follows a secondary person whose storyline is contained to just one episode. The premiere follows Michael, 47, a war veteran diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer usually found in pediatric patients. While Maria doesn’t look sick to the unsuspecting stranger, Michael is pale and gaunt, restricted to a wheel chair and forced to have a nasal cannula (a tube under his nose) for oxygen.

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Blue Hawk Records Fundraises Online

While some were trick or treating on Oct. 31, Blue Hawk Records was launching an online campaign to raise funds to record a new album. Bake sales are fun, but Blue Hawk Records, the University’s very own record label, realized there might be a slightly cooler way to raise money. The young label has been campaigning on Indiegogo.com to raise $500 for a new album.

Crowd sourced fundraising websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been proven to be successful, especially for artists trying to fund creative projects. Artists make a video selling their product and then ask for donations. Donors receive perks established by the artist, which can be anything from a free download to a personal concert.

Browsing through Indiegogo is kind of like watching an explosion of creativity. It’s just a collective of creative people with numerous ideas, all of which need funding.

Some artists are famous, such as We the Kings, a band who used Indiegogo to raise almost $150,000 for their fourth studio album (and first independent release).

Plenty are far from famous and just raise money based on a cool idea: Robert Morrison is a New York businessman who managed to fund his idea for wireless, waterproof speakers called Rebel Speakers.

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Katy Perry Spreads Light Through “Prism”

Katy Kats all around the country were roaring with excitement last Tuesday, Oct. 22. Katy Perry released her third album, “Prism,” in hopes of showing her fans a more vulnerable and mature side.

Perry is shedding her bubblegum, cotton-candy image that she created for herself with her 2010 album, “Teenage Dream,” to show everyone she is growing up and to spread the light of positivity.

Some may be sad that she burned her blue wig, but this is the Katy we’ve all been waiting for. She’s finally living in the present and acting her age.

“Teenage Dream” debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, and it became the first album ever by a woman to have five number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Can she top it?

According to Billboard, “Katy Perry is on course for her second No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as her latest release, ‘Prism,’ should easily top the tally next week with her best sales week ever.”

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Web Series Worth Watching

YouTube is a myriad of things to watch, from cats playing the piano to the philosophical argument of what sound a fox makes. However, scripted web series have been making a lot of waves in recent years. Figuring out what’s worth watching in the crazy smorgasbord of YouTube can be tough, though. So here the scripted series worth watching on YouTube.

1. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Guys, it won an Emmy for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media. A YouTube web series without any famous names won one of the highest honors in television. Needless to say, this retelling of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” has caused a lot of waves all over the internet.

Lizzie Bennet is now a twenty-first century communications student who created a vlog as part of her thesis project. Through the vlog, she tells us about her life. Lizzie reenacts scenes from her life with her sisters and friends, telling viewers about her crazy mother and her obnoxious new neighbor, William Darcy. It’s smart, funny and heartwarming.

2. WIGS This is technically not an individual series but an entire channel of fantastic scripted web series, to the point where I can’t just pick out one. Sometimes you can tell when a channel has a lot of money. When a channel has names like Jennifer Garner, America Ferrera and Anna Paquin, you know someone is definitely funneling a lot of money into this. This leads to professional quality, though.

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An Evening with Jake Shimabukuro and Keller Williams

The stage was lit up by dim, blue lights, and held a few guitars, a rug, and a loop tool machine. This was the setup for Keller Williams, when he and Jake Shimabukuro co-headlined at Pollack Theatre on Friday, Oct. 25.

The theater was about half full, with an audience that ranged from freshman college students to middle age adults. A lot of the audience members wore Hawaiian shirts or puca-shell necklaces, which fit with the atmosphere due to the headliner being famous for playing the ukulele. When I heard that the main act was famous for strumming the playful Hawaiian instrument, I assumed that the concert would be very chill and possibly a bit boring. I was completely wrong.

Williams walked barefoot onto the stage while playing his acoustic guitar and went on to play two songs. At the end of the second song, he introduced us to the glue of his entire act: his loop machine. A loop machine is a device that can record multiple instruments at a time and play it back to create layers for the song. Williams did this for us live on stage. His ability to use the loop machine was extremely unique, as were his songs.

Williams showed that he has a great sense of humor when one of his songs started with a loud “Oh no! I just remembered I left a doobie in my pocket…” His songs also consisted of a wide vocal range, although the higher notes were a bit pitchy at points. He used the levels of his voice as sound effects in later songs by using the amazing machine.

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Rapid Fire Recommendations

You’ve got 3 papers, a group project and 800 pages of reading. So I’ll try not to be offended that you don’t want to read 700 words on why an album was awesome or crap-tastic. To make your life easier, here is a quick list of songs you should be listening to.

“Going to Hell” by The Pretty Reckless is a rock song will definitely up the creepy factor if you’re looking to set the mood for Halloween.

“Sweater Weather” by The Neighborhood hit the alternative charts in the summer, but now it feels seasonally appropriate. Maybe that’s why it started to appear on mainstream charts.

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Student Spotlight: Sal Mastrangelo and Dan Robinson

If you take a walk across campus on any given night, you may catch freshman Sal Mastrangelo and junior Dan Robinson jamming out in the underpass that connects the academic side of campus to the residential side, a place they consider to have the best acoustics. Having grown up in musical families, the two cousins were bound to be musicians.

As children, both boys were forced to take piano lessons, and they didn’t enjoy it at all. Yet as they continued to learn how to play, their love for music grew.

Reminiscing, Robinson talked about how, as a surfer, he has always loved the beach, but his mother would make him take his piano lessons before he could go to the beach. What once seemed a punishment to him soon grew into a passion.

As the boys grew older, their involvement in music grew as well. Mastrangelo began playing the drums his freshman year of high school, and he is currently learning guitar.

Robinson began playing guitar about a year ago, and started singing about half a year ago.

The boys come from a close-knit family, so they have always had a good relationship, but their bond became stronger because of their love for music.

“That sealed the deal,” joked Mastrangelo.

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“Carrie” Is not Very Scary

We can all agree that being a high school student is tough. It is hard enough dealing with relationships, schoolwork, and finding your own identity. Then throw in telekinetic powers, a vengeful queen bee, and a religious fanatic for a mother and you have entered the world of Carrie White (Chloe Grace Moretz).

As a fan of horror movies, I was disappointed with this updated version of Stephen King’s novel “Carrie” which has been transported from the seventies to today’s society.

Director Kimberly Peirce said in an article from The New York Times that she “wanted to get inside this girl’s journey. And particularly her bond with her mother, which was huge for me.”

However, there are weird camera angles that made certain scenes appear, for a lack of a better word, awkward and brought me out as a viewer. For example, there are multiple times when the camera is facing upward, getting a lovely shot of Carrie’s nostrils instead of her face during key moments when she is breaking ground in her character development. Those points were made to be point-of-view to create the fly-on-the wall effect, but it did not achieve that goal.

Overall the plot moved at a decent pace. There were some stagnant scenes that were not featured in the original, which helped the plot move fluidly. However, most of the film seemed a little too light-hearted leading up to a few gory moments that left me nauseous, more than they left me on the edge of my seat. The comedic scenes did break up the little suspense the film had, but this movie felt more like a sequel to “Mean Girls” than a horror flick.

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Julian Sands Celebrates Harold Pinter

Julian Sands spoke at Pollak Theatre on Friday Oct. 18. The renowned actor presented “A Celebration of Harold Pinter,” his own lecture on the famous playwright.

Sands has been in Oscar nominated movies such as “A Room with a View” and various television shows, including “Smallville” and “Dexter.”

It’s easy to see why there would be a celebration of Pinter. The English playwright and actor won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005.

Sands referred to him as the “defining dramatist of the twenty-first century” (though Sands mentioned that, according to Pinter’s widow, Pinter would have given that title to Samuel Beckett). Pinter is definitely considered one of the great playwrights of the era, having written 29 plays and having won countless awards (including a Tony).

Sands came onstage in his suit to a stage that was almost entirely bare, with the exception of a small table with some books and notes for Sands to read from. Sands rarely read from his books and notes. He would hold them up, but mostly, he had the material memorized.

Sara Rimassa, junior English and education major, really enjoyed this aspect of the performance. Rimassa said, “I thought he was great. I mean, he’s so dynamic and just the way he read. I thought, personally, that he was just going to be reading from paper, but he was almost acting and engaging with us personally. It made the time fly by.

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Adult Swim Provides Adult Laughs

“Ladies and gentleman, it’s the ERIC ANDRE SHOW!” Consider these first urgent lines more of a warning for you to brace yourself than an introduction, as this latest Adult Swim (a section of Cartoon Network) oddity is one of the most chaotic, surreal, and captivatingly bizarre shows on television today.

Debuting last year and recently entering its second season, “The Eric Andre Show” is, like much of Adult Swim’s original programs, comedy not for the faint hearted, and last week’s episode, “Lou Ferrigno; Downtown Julie Brown,” was a perfect testament to the show’s dedication to outlier comedy.

Brought to you by the same production company behind the brilliant, divisive “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!,” “The Eric Andre Show” compares heavily to its predecessor with its jarring, occasionally gross-out take on comedy, but differs by focusing itself more into a late night talk show parody centered on the outrageousness of its titular host and dazed, straight-man sidekick, Hannibal Buress (who himself is a rising star in the world of stand-up comedy).

But this is less like a David Letterman/Jimmy Fallon kind of talk show and more like some strange, public access project where the cast thinks nobody is watching as the show slips into unorganized chaos quickly. On the set of “The Eric Andre Show,” nothing is off-limits, and practically nothing is impossible.

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Contact Information

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

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

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu