Category Archives: Culture
Beyonce shocked the world with the unexpected release of her self-titled album in December. The album consisted of 14 audio tracks and also a set of videos to go along with the purchase.
Songs on “Beyonce” are personal, uplifting, and very catchy. Each features a different tone and personality of Beyonce that listeners can get a sense of the different sides of her.
The first single “Drunk In Love” describes how she is overwhelmed with love for her partner and explores her sexuality. Beyonce describes sexual encounters that she doesn’t know how to respond to such as when she says “Oh baby, drunk in love we be all night/Last thing I remember is our beautiful bodies grinding up in the club.” The Arabic-style tones, chunky trap beats and repetition makes this song a slow jam that stands out each time its played.
“Pretty Hurts,” the first track on the album, begins with audio that is set at a pageant where Beyonce is presented as “Ms. 3rd Ward.” The song talks about how a person should be happy in their own skin and let happiness guide their life. Beyonce’s vocals make this anthem something girls can look to for empowerment, especially as see belts “Pretty hurts” each time the chorus sinks in.
“‘Yonce/Partition” starts off with Beyonce call-and-responding “Hey Mrs. Carter” and then a solid bass line begins. The lyrics are rap-like and sung as if it were one. The song then transforms to the track “Partition” with its snaps and quick, pulsing bassline. Each line helps embrace the idea of a woman exploring her sexuality rather than being seen as a sexual object. This song is one of the best songs on the album, with its dynamic nature of vocals and instrumentation.
“XO” begins with a sample from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. The love ballad focuses on Beyonce’s low register and highlights how wide her range is. In the chorus, there is a crowd echo to make listeners feel like they are a part of the song. This song focuses on how someone feels as they fall in love and the emotions attached to it.
“***Flawless” is a trap hip hop track that was developed around the speech “We should all be feminists” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The song begins with archived audio from when Beyonce appeared on Star Search with the group Girl’s Tyme. Its intricate use of techno beats and simple variation in vocals makes it a dominating feminist anthem.
The last track of Beyonce’s self-titled album “Blue” actually features her daughter laughing and talking. The soft-spoken ballad showcases Beyonce’s vocals and the passion she portrays in her voice. This song provides a more caring tone to complete her dominate, dynamic album of passion and confidence.
Ivanna Tucker can be reached at email@example.com
A fantasy smeared in neon, “Spring Breakers” brilliantly depicts an ugly American cultural narrative. I stayed away from Harmony Korine’s film for as long as possible, then spring break happened and boredom struck. Contrary to belief, I’m still in awe as to how unexpected it turned out to be. “Spring Breakers” has to be the most relevant depictions of our times and the sad thing about it is that so many people are reluctant to see it, hated it, or underrated it.
An amoral plot carried by explicit shots, hedonism and saturated colors paints the fantasy story of Cotty, Candy, Brit and Faith, four college friends looking to make the most of their spring break. The quartet is played by Rachel Korine, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Selena Gomez.
Using fake water guns disguised in ski masks, the friends, excluding Faith, rob a diner to fund the spring break they’re anticipating. They make their way to the beaches of Florida looking for a spring break to remember. After a crazy party, they find themselves in jail and that’s when Alien comes into the picture and bails them out.
Arguably in one of his most memorable role, James Franco is hardly recognizable with cornrows and a mouth full of metal, portraying Alien, south beach rapper with an obsession for guns, money and ‘hustling.’ Cotty, Candy, Faith and Brit decide to let Alien show them a good time and a hardly sexual relationship is built; which gives credit to the writer because what seemingly looked creepy and weird was actually pretty mutual. The bikini wearing antiheroes team up with Alien to rob “spring breakers” on vacation and find debauched pleasures in being bad. After the same hedonisms it is apparent why Alien sees these women as his “soul mates.”
This idea is reflective in the entire film. The movie appears creepy with the ingrained notion that it’s not ideal for young women to be going about as they did. The film carries this vibe as if something bad is expected to happen to these four friend, from the beginning straight to end, but nothing does making this movie unusual and scary for other reasons.
There is a direct jab at the values placed into spring break in popular culture. Spring break rituals have been ingrained in the minds of youth seen popularly on MTV and media outlets of the same criteria for far too long. Spring break promotes youth debauchery and the idea of living fearless of consequences of a moral behavior, and we get a week to live it up sort of idea. But who really is doing this? That’s a question that media should shine a little more light on.
Admirably Korine puts a mirror in front of the eyes of his audience with subversive material that critiques American cultural values, spring break rituals and youthful hedonism. “Spring Breakers” is one of the most underrated films I’ve seen in a while that is deserving of praise for its anti- glamorization of spring break and its quality cinematic uniqueness.
Special Lovincey can be reached at
The world seems a more obsolete place this since March 30, when AMC’s hit drama “The Walking Dead” went on hiatus until the premiere of its fifth season in October.
However, not all is lost for those of us who are unhealthily obsessed with the going-ons of the Ricktatorship, for the show is based upon a comic book of the same name, written by Robert Kirkman.
“The Walking Dead” comic series follows Rick Grimes, a police officer who wakes from a coma and finds himself in the midst of the zombie apocalypse.
He then sets out to protect his family from the undead masses as well as other survivors.
The comic was originally published in 2003 and has 124 issues and counting, so it would be tedious to go into more plot detail.
Rick Grimes the comic book character was ranked the 26th Greatest Comic Book Hero of All Time in 2011, perhaps because Kirkman can literally keep throwing horrible situations at him forever because the comic does not have one set path or one set ending (expect for possibly the death of Rick Grimes…)
“The Walking Dead” comic is available to read to many ways; currently, there are 21 trade paperbacks consisting of about six issues each, nine hardcovers of twelve issues each, four deluxe books of 24 issues including extra, and two 48-issue compendiums.
Or if you are poor or do not understand how libraries work, you can definitely find them online for free.
“The Walking Dead” comic series and “The Walking Dead” television show have a wide range of similarities, mostly they follow the same story map and run into the same bad guys, meaning both are set in Georgia and characters share names. But mostly the two are different.
Specifically, just because one character shares the name in both the comic and on television, does not mean they are the same in both.
And just a warning to those who would pick up the comic in order to stare longingly at the beautiful, Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus, our sweet crossbow shooting savior is not a character in the comics and will most likely never be in the comics.
However, basically every other show character is also a comic character, such as Glenn, Michonne, The Governor, Carl Grimes, etc.
In order to be able to enjoy “The Walking Dead” in both television and comic forms, one must be able to separate the two in his or her mind.
If not, the two with jumble in an inconsistent mess of sexy dads and zombies bits.
Paige Jurgensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
A performance artist painted the names of 100,000 Iraqis who have died in the war efforts on the walls of the Linfield Gallery.
As an Associate Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Wafaa Bilal incorporated his political based work as part of this year’s PLACE theme, “Legacies of War.”
Associate Professor of Art History and Visual Culture Brian Winkenweder introduced Bilal at his artist talk. The two met while attending the University of New Mexico.
Bilal lived on campus while hand painting the names in Arabic.
Students watched as Bilal painted the exhibit with a shiny white paint on top of the already white walls so that the names were only visible when reflecting sunlight.
“Sometimes art galleries aren’t about hanging a nice picture on the wall,” Director and Curator of the Linfield Gallery Criss Moss said.
“I Don’t Know Their Names” is Bilal’s latest project to promote Iraqi awareness. His goal is to “acknowledge the invisible.”
“It is a silent observation of the people we have lost,“ Bilal said. “A lot of emotions come to mind with every name, I think of their loss.”
Though Bilal’s exhibit is only temporary and will be painted over, he has a much more permanent piece tattooed on him.
In another one of Bilal’s projects called “…And Counting” he had a map of Iraq tattooed onto his back. To continue his theme of invisibility, the American casualties are tattooed in black ink while the Iraqis’ can only be seen under a black light.
Bilal has done other performance-based art in the past.
In 2007, Bilal did one of his more interactive pieces called “Domestic Tension.”
For the exhibit, Bilal lived in a Chicago art gallery for 31 days.
During that time, people had online access to a paintball gun that was controlled by the computer and could shoot Bilal at any time of the day or night.
He was shot a total of 75,000 times.
Bilal wrote a book based off of his artistic experiments with Iraqi racism in 2008 called, “Shoot an Iraqi Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun.”
Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. at the James Miller Fine Arts Center “I Don’t Know Their Names” will be shown until May 10.
Rosa Johnson/Copy editor
Bilal speaks about his painting process during his artist talk.
Rosa Johnson can be reached at email@example.com
Good concerts are like good athletes, they start out well paced, build on what they have done, and finish strong as was the case at a recent concert given by a world-renowned trio.
The works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Gasper Cassado, and Felix Mendelssohn echoed from the walls of Ice auditorium as the Trio con Brio Copenhagen composed of a violinist, cellist, and pianist played famous works of the three composers.
Mozart’s Piano Trio in E major, K. 542 was the first piece played and did not disappoint.
The first two movements allegro, and andante grazioso, shed light on the power of the cello and its deep tone.
Violinist Natalia Prishepenko who subbed for Soo-Jin Hong came together with cellist Soo-Kyung Hong in powerful unisons during the two movements. Pianist Jens Elevekjaer played musical phrases that soared and danced.
The third movement which was another allegro presented the violin and cello sharing entrancing arpeggios and came to a great end with the musicality captured by the trio.
The event, which was put on by the Linfield Lively Arts program in collaboration with Friends of Chamber music, took place at 7:30 p.m. on April 2, in Ice auditorium.
The award-winning trio has won the prestigious chamber music Kalchstein-Laredo-Robinson International Trio award that only four other ensembles have received. Based on their performance, it is quite obvious why they are the part of the epitome of great chamber music ensembles.
The trio continued with Cassado’s Piano Trio in C major which added more excitement for an intrigued audience.
Great pizzicatos were heard from the strings as well as cascading piano phrases from Elevekjaer in the opening movement allegro risoluto.
A mystery was created as the cellist played powerful pianissimo’s and harmonics as the violin answered her with phrases in the second movement tempo moderato e pesante – allegro giusto.
Cassado’s piece concluded with brisk moving notes, strong pizzicatos, and accelerated to the end leaving the players and audience winded, but longing for more.
“[I] Really liked how the three performers put emotion into the music through their facial expressions and movements,” Freshman music minor Galen Wash said.
Mendelssohn’s Piano Trio No.2 in C major, opus 66 concluded the concert with two strong first movements, the allegro energico e con fuoco and the andante espressivo. The movements started out slow and quite somber, but had a staccato push that carried them on.
Mendelssohn’s piano trio is concluded with strong unisons, quick notes, and great tremolos that lead up to the climbing grand finish in the third and fourth movements.
Audience members who came in tired left with a new energy from the captivating music played by the trio.
Jonathon Williams can be reached at
Rosa Johnson/Copy editor
Wafaa Bilal, an associate arts professor at New York University, paints Iraqis’ names in Arabic who have died. The names are painted in white on the walls of the Linfield Gallery so when the sun shines through the window you can see them appear.