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Volume 92 (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Your 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

default article imageIt’s holiday season, so that means it’s shopping season. How does one find the perfect gift for someone without overspending? This is crucial, especially for those broke college students living off the old mac and cheese packets they have stored in their dorms. Monmouth University’s Associate Accounting Professor, Linda J. Flaming, said that “Set a realistic budget for gifts, but allow some flexibility (over AND under) so that you can assure your recipient will enjoy your gift.” To help the cause, here are 20 gift ideas that are perfect for anyone, and are $50 and less!

Sleeping Eye Masks. This is for the friends and family members who love sleep more than anything. World Market has Faux Fur Eye Masks (set of 2) that are super soft. The price is $13.98.

Blankets. To continue the sleep-lover trend, a cozy blanket is essential. Potterybarn has a Faux Fur Cozy Throw Blanket in Ivory or in Charcoal and could be paired with the eye masks above! This is priced at $19.

Hydro Flask. Essential gift for those who are active. Hydro Flask Wide Mouth 32 oz. Bottle comes in several colors. This top trending bottle is meant to help keep drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours! This bottle’s price is $29.96.

Soup. Stuck on what to buy the grandparents? Harry & David has a gourmet soup basket with 3 different soups and crackers. It’s price is $39.99.

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Top 13 Best Taylor Swift Songs of the Decade

SwiftWith Taylor Swift winning the Artist of the Decade award at the American Music Awards on Nov. 24, it is safe to say that she has graced us with five brilliant albums in the past ten years. From Speak Now in 2010 to Lover in 2019, Swift has absolutely slayed the decade.

With that, here are my top 13 Taylor Swift songs of the decade:

13. Wildest Dreams- This is arguably the best single off 1989 with one of the best bridges. The song pulls you into a daydream as you make your way down the track list of Swift’s 2014 album. The melody never fails to follow you around and get stuck in your head.

12. Getaway Car- This is my go-to song from reputation. The lively key change in the bridge is a melodic masterpiece, while the song’s metaphorical lyrics say “goodbye” to Taylor’s ex in the best way possible.

11. New Year’s Day- This hidden gem blessed reputation with its raw, piano-filled sound and simple yet elegant lyrics. The best part of ‘New Year’s Day’ is that if you listen closely, you could hear the piano pedal in the intro, bridge and outro. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a song so memorable.

10. Better Than Revenge- This story starts when it was hot and it was summer. One of the only pop-rock songs on Taylor’s discography besides ‘The Story of Us,’ this jam became one of my favorites off Speak Now faster than you can say sabotage.

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Ryan Andersen: Monmouth’s Up-And-Coming Playwright

Ryan AndersenRyan Andersen, a senior music industry student, has many titles to his name; musician, songwriter, and, now, playwright.

Andersen combined his writing and music skills to compose an original 73-page screenplay called Pages. Pages is a hip-hop musical that is written in spoken word, a rhythmic form that is prevalent in the genre.

The play follows protagonist Ben, who is based on Andersen himself, and his experience meeting and opening up to his romantic interest Kassandra. Ben, who travels to New York City, experiences an instance of bullying before meeting Kassandra in Prospect Park and bonding over Kid Cudi—an artist that Andersen looks up to.

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Jojo Rabbit Doesn't Have Enough Hop

jojo 1At some point in our lives, we had imaginary friends. When times got rough where you couldn’t have that happy meal for dinner or weren’t allowed to go over Kevin’s because your room still needed to be spruced up, your imaginary friend was always there. Yeah, you looked crazy talking to a wall in your room by yourself, but they would always listen.

For Jojo, a 10-year-old boy growing up in Nazi Germany, that imaginary friend is none other than Adolf Hitler, played by Taika Waititi (who also directed the film, Jojo Rabbit). Hm, I don’t think I remember him from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.

With Hitler by his side, Jojo, played by Roman Griffin Davis, tries to be the best Nazi he can through practice at youth camps and absorbing all the propganda. However, Jojo comes to a crossroads with his nationalism when his mother hides a Jewish girl, Elsa, played by Thomasin McKenzie, in their attic.

In a political climate where politically correct culture takes some of the edge out of films, Jojo Rabbit presents a bold story that beckons back to when comedians like Mel Brooks took chances, with movies like The Producers. Unfortunately, the hopes I had for this to push the envelope were just imaginary.

Despite all of its hype and even blasphemous Oscar talk, Jojo Rabbit fails to produce any laughs. There are efforts by Waititi, but it’s much too safe. You’ll get the occasional chuckle, like when a group of gestapo officers come to a house for an inspection where they all say “Heil Hitler” individually, but for the most part it’s hard to crack a smile.

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Born Hot: Chris Farren's Hot Comeback

born hot 1After his first solo album in 2016, Chris Farren released his sophomore album, Born Hot, earlier this month.

A red billboard with a shirtless painting of Farren lounging made headlines in Los Angeles, where he resides. The sign used to promote his latest release, which presented the cover of his album along with the Born Hot-Line, 1-810-BORN-HOT. Those who called the Born Hot-Line received a preview of his single, ‘Search 4 Me.’

“I don’t think billboards have the power to say “let’s check out Chris Farren” but the idea was to make my fans excited for the record and I tried to make the presentation funny for them,” said the solo artist in a phone call interview.

“I took a few images of myself and thought they looked too sincere. So I fooled around with paint and drew an image of what the album was,” said Chris Farren about the self-portrait he illustrated that is featured on the cover. “I felt that I gave a very strange dead look and the unsettling look felt right.”

The 12 song album released through Polyvinyl Record Company followed his first album Can’t Die from OneSideDummy Records. Farren was inspired by French pop music from the ’60s as its arrangement differs from American music. He also drew inspiration from the bands he had toured with such as Adult Mom, Crying, and Diner. He wanted to incorporate similar elements from their sounds and styles through his music.

Farren recorded Born Hot in his Los Angeles apartment and worked on it by himself, which many credited him for following a DIY style. 

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Springsteen Brings Western Stars to Life

springsteen 1Strap on your cowboy boots, throw on your ten gallon hat, and ride your horse over to Bruce Springsteen’s barn for a full orchestra performance of his latest album Western Stars… in New Jersey.

It’s been quite a journey for Springsteen to reach this barn because the past five years have been a wild time at the rodeo. At his older age, he’s had a lot of firsts: the Boss wrote his first book, a memoir titled Born to Run, starred and created his long-running play Springsteen on Broadway, and now he’s behind the camera and mic for Western Stars.

And for his directorial debut with Thom Zimny, Springsteen seems comfortable on the saddle. It’s a well done first movie that serves as both a concert performance and documentary.

It looks like a weird format in the trailer, as the Boss spits deep poetry with moody shots of him in the desert, but the movie is definitely better than what it’s portrayed to be. Springsteen performs Western Stars in full with an orchestra, and even throws in a cover of Glen Campbell’s ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ at the end. In between songs, there are short segments where Springsteen explains his thoughts behind the upcoming tune or reads a poem that matches its message. For the segments, it features shots of Springsteen driving around the dusty Joshua Tree National Park or hanging out with cowboys at the bar.

The movie brings Western Stars to life by providing great visuals (looking past the close shots of Springsteen’s wrinkles) and an enhanced orchestral sound.

I’ve given the album a few listens and enjoyed it, but the orchestra adds another element to the songs. Springsteen’s sessions in the barn almost make the studio album sound flat, considering how much more life is put into the tracks. If you still haven’t purchased the CD yet, you should pick up the soundtrack to the movie instead because it makes Western Stars shine brighter.

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Artist Talk with Amanda Stojanov, M.F.A

assistant professorAmanda Stojanov, M.F.A., Assistant Professor of Digital Media, gave an Artist Talk at Edison Hall on Monday, Nov. 4. Stojanov spoke on her past works since she graduated from Monmouth in 2014.

Stojanov did several projects since graduating from the University, but after showing her several projects from the past, one thing stood out: all of Stojanov’s projects are different from anything you have ever seen.

Stojanov’s first project that she showed us involved taking scans of human bodies interacting. After taking these scans, Stojanov picked her two favorite and made 3D sculptures out of them.

When she brought the pieces to a gallery for display, Stojanov took the other scans and flattened them onto one another to animate and project onto the sculptures.

When the audience was shown the video, they were in awe because everyone can agree that they haven’t seen anything like this before.

Stojanov showed her art at every angle, and those watching her flip through her slideshow admired those ideas that went outside the box. When Stojanov moved to Los Angeles after graduation, she began to work with an organization that used custom-made dolls to promote safe sex through stop motion production.

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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