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Entertainment

Volume 85 (Fall 2013 - Spring 2014)

March Music Madness

March might be big for basketball, but it’s also big for music. The big South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is happening in Austin, TX for the next few weeks. SXSW is for music, film and interactive (apps, social mediaetc.) industries to show off what they’re working on and interact with others in their industry. The festival has been attracting bigger names recently (Coldplay, Lady Gaga and 50 Cent are all scheduled to play), but the festival is known for pushing some of the best new bands and artists into the spotlight. These are some of the bands that I’ll be looking out for in the future (you know, when I’m not crying about how far away TX is).

The Saint Johns are Louis Johnson and Jordan Meredith, a Nashville-based folk duo that  writes beautiful duets. His rock voice contrasts really wonderfully with her delicate, breathy vocals. Plus, their lyrics are incredibly honest and relatable. These two have the potential to fill the folk-duo void left from The Civil Wars’ breakup.

Download: “Your Head and Your Heart,” “Josephine”

PHOTO TAKEN from ventsmagazine.com

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MGMT Misses Mark on Self-Titled Album

How does one properly react as a musician when achieving unexpected fortune and fame with only one record and a few hit singles? It sounds overwhelming, but for MGMT, the answer’s quite simple: Run far, far away from it.

They’re not the first to do this, of course. In the past, artists like Nirvana, The Flaming Lips, and Radiohead have all challenged their early, unexpected fame with more adventurous and difficult releases. Though they risked alienating new fans and blowing record deals, some artists just can’t resist flexing their artistic muscles to prove that they’re real “artists.”

And boy does it seem like MGMT feels that they need to prove something. After all, success doesn’t come more abruptly and unexplainably than it did for MGMT, as their first album, 2007’s “Oracular Spectacular,” sold millions of copies, garnered countless enthusiastic fans, and spawned infectious singles like “Time To Pretend” and “Kids,” which still receive strong radio play. They were taking the pop music world by storm, and no one could stop them.

Except for MGMT itself, of course. Since their breakthrough, members Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser have tried avoiding pop music like the plague, choosing instead to indulge in more experimental, psychedelic influences on their 2010 follow up, “Congratulations,” and now culminating on their new, almost completely inaccessible album, “MGMT.” But at what cost does all of this come?

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All Was Well

How exactly am I supposed to say goodbye to the last four years of my life? My experiences here have changed me completely (for the better) and I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when I pack up my room, knowing I’m not coming back in a few months. There are also people I couldn’t imagine life without and who made my four years here some of the best.

First of all, thank you to my family for encouraging me to go to Monmouth and for putting up with a kid who always forgets to call.

Thank you to Amanda Caruso for being the best friend a girl could ask for. Four years ago, we moved into Beechwood, I took one look at your posters and told you we were going to be good friends. I think you thought I was crazy (which is correct), but I don’t think either of us thought we would be so close by graduation. I am so glad you’re the one I’ve gone through the last four years with.

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“Parks And Rec” Wraps Up

Over the last several years, Amy Poehler and a wonderfully nuanced comedy cast have made “Parks and Recreation,” a quirky mockumentary about local government in a fictional town, into an under-the-radar hit for NBC. The show, starring Poehler as Leslie Knope, an over-achieving and over-enthusiastic government employee, concluded its sixth season last Thursday, April 24 with a powerhouse episode.

The finale’s opening scenes find Leslie far from her beloved town of Pawnee, IN, and at a major crossroads in her life. She’s in San Francisco attending the National Parks Conference, but her mind is on a job offer that would uproot she and her charmingly dorky husband Ben (Adam Scott) to a new state. Despite the pros of the new gig, Leslie can’t bring herself to leave Pawnee - not when the town is in the process of a merger, and certainly not when she just found out that she’s pregnant with triplets.

Leslie’s inner turmoil, while being the focus of the latter part of season six, does not weigh down the final episode with unnecessary drama. Rather, it allows for realistic character growth as we watch the hero of the story choose her next path in life. A particular highlight came in the form of a cameo from Michelle Obama, who was the keynote speaker at the National Parks Conference. Though the First Lady’s guest spot felt rather like an excuse to promote her campaigns, watching Poehler’s comedy chops as Leslie reacts to meeting her idol is worth a rewind.

While Leslie grapples with her future, Tom (Aziz Ansari) is looking to officially open his new restaurant in time for the town’s Unity Concert, which Leslie has arranged to seal the merger of Pawnee and its neighboring communities. He’s enlisted the entire Parks department to help, but chaos ensues when the team struggles to pull together the opening on such short notice. After a disastrous first attempt, Ron (Nick Offerman) and the others convince Tom to give it another go, suggesting that he encourage celebrity attendees at the Unity Concert to stop by the Bistro after the show.

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The Energizer: Brooke McCarthy

Brooke McCarthy’s voice was pouring into the parking lot of Woods Theatre when I arrived at our interview. She was upstairs finishing a voice lesson before our interview, a hobby that clearly paid off when she won the lead role in the Department of Music and Theatre’s spring production of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

When the lithe brunette came down to meet me five minutes late, she greeted me with a huge smile and immediately started apologizing for her lesson. I can’t really imagine anyone getting mad at such a welcoming and upbeat personality. Immediately, though, I can tell that, despite her business major, McCarthy is a theatre kid. She’s outgoing with the ability to speak to strangers very well. Just sitting next to her, I can almost feel all the energy she has bottled up.

Despite this, she was just a little terrified when she was given the role of Audrey for “Little Shop”. McCarthy has been involved in the theatre department throughout her four years at the university, but still, she feared that other classmates would be angry that she wasn’t still in the major.

McCarthy said, “For the first couple weeks of rehearsals, I was literally like ‘Oh my god, everyone probably hates me. I’m not even a major…I hope that they’re not holding that against me’ …but I think it ended up working out really well, and I think it helps that I’m really good friends with a lot of the people [in the play].”

Brandon Wiener, a junior, played McCarthy’s love interest in “Little Shop of Horrors”. Wiener said, “When I learned that Brooke was given the role of Audrey I was ecstatic because we had played opposite each other my freshmen year in ‘Crimes of the Heart’ and I couldn’t wait to rekindle that flame in ‘Little Shop.’ I thought she did an incredible job, and I cried when I [killed her character] every night.”

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Springfest Artist Sammy Adams

On March 4, 2010, Boston’s own Sammy Adams released his first ever album entitled “Boston’s Boy.” Nobody really knew who he was or where he came from. But he has come a long way collaborating with Mike Posner and Pharrell Williams and will be performing here at the University on Sunday, May 4 at Springfest.

Adams had been accused of faking the numbers when the debut of “Boston’s Boy” topped the iTunes hip-hop charts in 2010. No one believed this underground college singer could be that successful so quickly. He did produce the figures to show he wasn’t lying and did not buy the records himself to get his album on the top of the charts. I think “haters” and critics are going to think twice about Adams now.

“Boston’s Boy” shows Adam’s skill as a pop-rapper. Any song on his album is good for driving around with the top down with your best friends in the summer time. His music and lyrics are very relatable to the younger generation as he sings about traveling, escaping the “haters,” girls, relationships, and just being young.

“Driving Me Crazy,” a single that Adams may be best known for, has a catchy dance beat and lyrics. You just want to sing along and have fun with your friends. While his songs are definitely hip-hop, they also can fit into the dance-pop category. I found myself listening to the feel-good “Coast to Coast,” and the party anthem “Swang Your Drank” multiple times.

Adams is very straightforward in his songs, allowing for many young adults to re¬late to his music. He says that he knows who is buying his al¬bums and recognizes his loyal college fan base. It’s said many college students prefer his sec¬ond big hit, “Tab Open,” about the college life.

Adams wants to be taken seriously as a rapper. He does come across as that geeky “white boy” but he raps harder than some of his competition. In 2010, Adams told popmatters. com, “College kids don’t want to hear about stuff they can’t relate to...they want the truth,” says Adams. “Chilling, hooking up with girls, getting hammered and waking up with a headache, these are things every college kid does every weekend.” He connects with his fans and I definitely could feel that as I was listening to his music.

 

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TAKING BACK THE PAGES: SELF PUBLISHING

There is a divide in the world of book publishing, and no, we’re not talking about the e-reader debate. Self-publishing is taking the internet by storm, and it has readers divided.

Self-publishing is when an author skips having a publisher and just prints their book themselves. This is a very expensive thing to do with physical books, and getting self-published books in actual stores is an even bigger hurdle. Then the internet went and changed everything, as it seems to do so often.

Now authors can submit their manuscript to a number of programs and have an e-book formatted and for sale in a matter of moments. They completely skip the traditional publishing process. The most famous self-published author is likely E.L. James, author of “50 Shades of Grey.” Many authors have been jumping on the self-publishing bandwagon in hopes of being another James (who was eventually picked up by Vintage Books, a subdivision of Random House), but have their hopes quickly taken away.

Kevin Holton, a junior, has self-published mystery novels through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program. It’s a choice he regrets. “Unless you’re a marketing major, you’ll likely find little to no success in self-publishing because there’s a huge stigma against it. Generally, such work (I found out after) is considered self-important, low quality, and not worthy of traditional publishing,” Holton said.

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Streaming Sensation: Twitch.tv

New Subscription Service Allows Gamers to Stream Each Other’s Games


After enduring a long commute back and forth from school, Tommy Dietz, 21, a Rowan University senior and lifelong video game enthusiast, likes to unwind with a nice game of “Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.” What’s strange about this, however, is that Dietz won’t be playing the game himself, but watching someone else instead.

He’s not alone, as millions of gamers around the world are putting down their controllers and logging on to Twitch.tv, a website which allows users to stream live video game content and commentary or watch and comment on other’s video game streams, all free of charge.

“I watch Twitch somewhere between two to three hours a day normally,” said Dietz, explaining how Twitch has become almost as big a part of his life as gaming has. “In a sense, Twitch has basically become TV for me.”

Twitch.tv was created by Justin Kan and Emmett Shear and launched in June 2011 as a gaming-centric subsidiary of live-streaming website Justin.tv, which Kan and Shear also co-founded. According to Twitch’s “About” page, the website currently garners more than 45 million visitors per month.

Dietz first learned of Twitch in June of last year through another popular video-based website you may have heard of: YouTube. It was there that a number of online gaming personalities, such as Criken and TotalBiscuit (both of which regularly garner hundreds of thousands of views per video), began posting links to their Twitch streams, introducing Dietz to his newest obsession.

“I remember the first thing I was a part of was a ‘WoW’ (“World of Warcraft”) stream done by Criken where a good couple hundred people ran around the game trying to invade enemy cities,” said Dietz, chuckling to himself. “It was goofy, but playing with someone you’re a fan of, plus being a part of a big community working towards some goal, was really fun.”

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Annual Landau Exhibit Impresses Again

At the entrance to the “A Judgment of War” art exhibit in the library, a quote by the artist, Jacob Landau (whose selected works have been on display there since April 10) reads: “I am interested in art as advocacy of the human, as revelation of the tragic, as hope of transcendence.”

With just 12 works in total, the exhibit may seem humble. But those 12 works by Jacob Landau, including his lithographs, wet pastels, and woodcuts, are all the exhibit needs to materialize the humanist artist’s aforementioned quote. Works touching on human existence, the tragedy of war, and the hope of peace each wield a unique ability to deliver a powerful, thought-provoking punch to the viewer.

A majority of the works in “A Judgment of War” depict images of the Holocaust (appropriate, considering Landau hailed from a Jewish family), as well as Dante’s circles of Hell. Most of the lithographs and woodcuts with these themes are rendered in black, white, or grayscale, which complement the dark material and comment on the black, white, and gray areas of good, evil, and morality.

One such work is a lithograph titled “The Geography of Hell,” from the Holocaust Suite of Jacob Landau. With overlapping clusters of bodies, haunting faces, and cavernous eyes, the artwork allows the viewer from the outside of the frame to look in on the chaotic scene and feel a kind of detached sorrow for the tortured, fearful subjects—the Jews during a terrible period in the world’s history.

A very different piece, a wet pastel titled “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” stood out most prominently in the exhibit for its large size and wide range of colors, which stood in stark contrast to monochromatic pieces like “The Geography of Hell.” Although the pastel does not betray any overtly religious images, it is actually a vibrant rendering of a story in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible in which Jesus opens four of seven seals on a scroll in God’s right hand, summoning riders on white, red, black, and pale horses. These horses are said to symbolize conquest, war, famine, and death, respectively, and their riders are meant to be the harbingers of the Last Judgment.

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Blue Mountain State Kicks Off Fundraiser

Blue_Mountain_StateIn a clip posted to YouTube on Tuesday, April 8, Alan Ritchson as his "Blue Mountain State" character Thad Castle announced that his popular television show will be made into a movie using a Kickstarter campaign. (The video posted is a tampered version of Jimmy Kimmel's interview with Kanye West, but still we get "BMS" back.)

"Blue Mountain State," which was broadcasted by the Spike TV, lasted three seasons before its abrupt ending in 2011. The show followed Blue Mountain State College quarterback Alex Moran (Darin Brooks), BMS captain Thad Castle and BMS mascot Sammy Cacciatore (Chris Romano) through their extravagant and highly inappropriate lifestyles while attending college.

Fans of the show were upset with the unexpected ending because they never got to watch Moran's senior year at Blue Mountain State and felt the show never properly concluded.

A junior communication major and avid fan of the show, Maggie Lowy, said, "I honestly felt a little empty because they cancelled it without answering so many questions. Right at the peak of the show, they took it away."

When the fourth season was cancelled in 2012, producer Eric Falconer tweeted, "BMS wasn't cancelled because of a drop in ratings. Season 3 was actually up 20% + in all male demographics vs S2. It was a budget issue."

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MICHAEL GRUBBS ROCKS RES QUAD

Sab Hosted The Wakey! Wakey! Front Man In Their Concert In A Tent


michael_grubbs_quadOn Friday, April 11, the university's Student Activities Board (SAB) held their Concert in a Tent event with artist Michael Grubbs, the frontman of indie pop band Wakey!Wakey!.

Grubbs was actually a replacement. Originally, Tyler Hilton had been scheduled to appear, but a movie role came up that he couldn't turn down. In exchange, the former "One Tree Hill" star sent Grubbs, also a former "One Tree Hill" guest star.

Krista Varanyak, a junior, was originally very disappointed by Hilton's cancellation. She said, "I originally planned on going because Tyler Hilton was playing, but a week or so ago, Meg McGowan said he wasn't able to come anymore. She said they had the option between Wakey!Wakey! and another act. I'd like to think that I'm the reason she ended up choosing Wakey!Wakey!. I've been a fan of his since he was on 'One Tree Hill' and bought his CD immediately after hearing it."

Rachael Brady, a junior, also came to the concert because of her familiarity with "One Tree Hill," which went off the air in 2012. Brady said, "My favorite part was him playing some of the songs that he performed on the show. It was a really cool experience to have these songs I originally saw on television be played for me live by the actual performer himself."

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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