If you tuned into the Emmys last night to escape the political hellscape currently dominating social media and the news, tough luck. The most talked-about moment at the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards wasn't Donald Glover's or "The Handmaid's Tale's" historical wins but Sean Spicer, who made a surprise appearance during host Stephen Colbert's monologue.
Rap and EDM. Those two things go together like peanut butter and spaghetti; I suppose you could convince me that it's a good combo, but only if you change one or the other until it's almost unrecognizable. Hip-hop and electronic music have always gone hand in hand, but you almost never see a full-fledged rap over a full-fledged, techno dance beat. Kanye West rapped over industrial beats on "Yeezus," but the result was more rage-fueled than danceable, and Drake has incorporated two-step and Afro-electro beats on the likes of "Passionfruit" and "One Dance," but he switches to his sing-song voice while doing it.
If the age-old concept that sadness has a physical presence, a sort of heaviness that weighs on your shoulders and could sonically manifest itself, the result would probably sound a lot like The National. Their songs seem bent on pressing down on you in the same way that pop music wants to lift you up; the piano and bass draw rich, long chords over you like a blanket, synthesizers and strings emit hauntingly mournful moans and lead singer Matt Berninger's signature baritone is the vocal equivalent of a defeated, weary sigh. Decidedly sorrowful since their 2001 debut, The National seems the rightful inheritor of that "Depressing Indie Rock Band" label that Coldplay has seemed so desperate to escape.
Certain artists manage to stay recognizable, if not relevant, as time passes. Everyone knows a Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston or Bee Gees tune, and some of them manage to fulfill the same purpose they had decades ago -- to get people on the dance floor. At the same time, generations of people can sing along to iconic choruses from the Beatles or big-hair bands like Journey and Bon Jovi. Those were popular bands that can be recognized as such now.
The arrival of September means the unfortunate combination of two phenomena: the beginning of classes and onslaught of fall television. It's difficult to find time to study for midterms or write that poly sci essay when there are so many new compelling programs vying for network approval. The fall schedule can be complicated to navigate, so no matter how you're trying to procrastinate, whether you're looking for an HBO megadrama or a silly late night comedy to binge through, a new hit or an old favorite, we've got you covered.
Just about everything you might expect to be annoying about an animated, 19th-century film about dueling Parisian child ballerinas cripples "Leap!" It's essentially a Barbie movie with twice the budget, worse characters and even less plausibility (but better pop songs.)
Television, which was once condensed to weekly programs on three or four channels, has expanded so vastly in recent years that it's impossible for a person to watch every show of note. In such a diluted market, the TV series-as-a-cultural-event, where, for the course of an hour, a large swath of viewers has their eyes on the same program, has essentially died.
Film-wise, this was the best summer in recent memory (no thanks to "The Emoji Movie"). Here are the top five films worth watching if you didn't manage to catch them in the last few months, plus the ones you should steer clear of.
The self-explanatory new Netflix series, "The Standups," features six episodes with six comedians, one of whom is Miami alum Beth Stelling.
There's no way to unpack a Kendrick Lamar LP in one listen. From his major breakthrough "good kid, m.A.A.d city," presented as a time-jumping short film, to his ambitious, eclectic follow-up "To Pimp a Butterfly" which garnered 11 Grammy nominations -- one short of Michael Jackson's record for "Thriller" -- a Lamar record is guaranteed to come loaded with multi-narrative character arcs, history-spanning musical cues and some of the most stunning vocal acrobatics in hip-hop. Even last year's comparably small TPAB companion piece "untitled unmastered." was among the best rap releases of the year.
For fans of rebellion, sexual liberation and general debauchery (basically the 1920s as an era), the Miami University Department of Theatre's production of "The Wild Party" is a thought-provoking feast for the senses that should not be missed.
As the bright, swirling Technicolor background lit up Hall Auditorium, the audience was instantly pulled in. Dancers in long, medieval gowns began to twirl from behind the curtains until they were interrupted by a young man in full 1970s hippie garb, carrying a boombox playing "Stayin' Alive"