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BLKS at Speakeasy Stage
Since the mid-2010s, we’ve seen a proliferation in media from diverse creators. Artists like Donald Glover and Issa Rae have created TV shows that center Blackness and the perspectives of our own experiences without attempting to explain it to white audiences. Spike Lee and Berry Jenkins have brought similar ideas to cinema for decades. This advancement, however, has been slow to come to the theatre scene. That is, until Aziza Barnes’ 2020 play, BLKS.
Ed Sheeran's Album =
British pop sensation Ed Sheeran returns with his eighth album =, a delightful blend of catchy choruses and intimate acoustic songwriting. Sheeran has won numerous awards including four Grammys, a People's Choice Award, MTV awards, a Brit Award, and more. Some of his biggest hits in the past have included “Perfect,” “Shape of You,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “The A Team,” and other chart-topping songs. After taking a hiatus from music in 2019 to spend time with his family, he has reemerged into the spotlight with his new album. Sheeran is a beloved artist because of his candid songwriting and virtuosity, and Equals reflects no different. It has already surpassed one billion streams on Spotify and is a must-listen album for anyone interested in pop music. Equals has currently gotten him 4 nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards including Video of the Year, Best Choreography and Best Art Direction.
The hit Netflix series Squid Game seemed to become an instant sensation overnight. During the following week of the show’s debut, social media platforms were swarmed with memes, clips, and spoilers. I was able to keep the show's premise a mystery until I saw for myself what all the fuss was about. The few reviews I heard about the show primarily focused on its predictability. What I discovered was a rather complex and thought-provoking show. The series offsets predictability with striking plot twists and enhances the story through the development of character relationships.
A road to hell was paved in the Citizen Bank Opera House for two weeks only. From Nov. 2 to 14, you could take a trip down to Hadestown to hear the story of Orpheus and Eurydice. It’s a timeless tale and an everlasting tragedy that has been passed down from ancient Greece. This modern retelling is told with jaunty songs and epic ballads and, like all legends and tales, takes on a new form from those telling it.
Dear Evan Hansen
“On the outside, always looking in/Will I ever be more than I've always been?” sings a lonely teenage boy in his bedroom. The iconic titular character seems to beg the question, will this adaptation live up to the hype? The highly anticipated film, Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky, premiered in Boston at an early screening on Sept. 21 to a full audience.
'Paper Stories, Layered Dreams' at the MFA
A lot of kids mess around with glue, old magazines, and scissors, yet few have their art mounted on the prestigious walls of the Museum of Fine Art (MFA). Then again, few are as talented as Ekua Holmes.
‘Valkyrie Mumbet’ at the MAAM
With many Boston art spaces still temporarily closed for the spring, some museums like the MassArt Museum of Art (MAAM) are striving to give viewers their daily dose of art through interactive virtual exhibits. For MAAM’s newest exhibit titled Valkyrie Mumbet by artist Joana Vasconcelos, the museum offers a 3D tour of the art along with a tour guided by a curator so that visitors can experience Vasconcelos’ vivid and extravagant pieces without the health risk of physically walking around the exhibit.
Spruce commits to creating a community for marginalized gender identities in the improv world and having some laughs along the way.
Monet and Boston
On the second floor of a newly reopened Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) lies a collection of Claude Monet’s oil paintings that have not been shown together in 25 years. Monet and Boston: Lasting Impressions not only brings viewers through a journey of Monet’s art and life, but also pays tribute to those collectors and friends of the French Impressionist that made it possible for America –or more specifically Boston – to be able to experience Monet’s work.
Virtual Museum Hopping
As art critics warn, there’s a difference between viewing art online as opposed to seeing it in person. We can examine the intricate details of each paint stroke, appreciate the full composition, be amazed by the art conversation — all from a relatively safe distance to not cause any alarms of illegality, of course.
In their most hands-on album yet, global sensation BTS not only reflects on the anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic, but also the determination to overcome it. BE is the story of us exploring both the highs and lows in this existential journey. The trim, 28-minute, album packs so much musical diversity, displaying the group’s obvious skill and unique fingerprint. The album is far from escapist, compelling listeners to face the idea that it is okay to just exist, to feel those feelings, and to simply be.
Rules of Play
Rules of Play: College Edition started brewing over a year ago, before Kate Franklin ever could have anticipated that she would be producing this performance piece during a global pandemic. Through a whirlwind of problem-solving, fifth-year theatre major Franklin has written, directed, and brought to life a filmed theatre piece seeking to enact change in frat and hookup culture, and on-campus sexual assault. Franklin describes the play as “a step-by-step guide of a typical night out on a college campus— from picking a bodysuit to blowjobs,” that sheds light on the “culture of abuse and inherent power differentials.” As a survivor, Franklin’s work seeks not only to cultivate discussions about the existing campus culture, but also to understand what a better future might look like.
Student Showcase: Briana Gil
Briana Gil, or Gilanares – her artist name – is a second-year student at Northeastern University. She has been writing songs since she was a child but only recently started sharing her work with others. The Husky Songwriting Club was the first place she felt safe enough to play her songs for people, and from there she decided to post them on the internet. In the last few months, she has gained traction on TikTok and released an EP called "There's Not Much To Know About Me." She is excited to continue pursuing her passion at Northeastern and beyond.
Student Showcase: Azra Schorr
Born into a family of photographers, Azra Schorr was given her first camera at the age of 6. Growing up, her rotation of cameras rarely left her hand. She practiced every chance she got, taking pictures of everything and everyone around her. Now a first-year Business and Design student at Northeastern, Azra works as an editorial photographer and the communications association for The Avenue, NEU's fashion magazine, along with some freelance portrait photography on the side. Throughout college she hopes to continue capturing her classmates and more on camera, celebrating them in an eternal format (a.k.a the jpg!).
Student Showcase: Maya Lucia
Maya Lucia is a musician and fifth-year student at Northeastern University. She is the co-reviews editor and a content writer for Northeastern's student run music magazine, Tastemakers Music Magazine. She’s also a member of NEU's Songwriting Club which brings songwriters together to create and give feedback on their work. Her music mixes influences of indie, rock and pop.
Student Showcase: Kaitlyn Wang
Kaitlyn Wang is a first-year student at Northeastern University (NU) from Pasadena, California with an intense passion for drawing. Although she is majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and Design, art is a hobby she has kept close to her heart since she was three years old. She is currently working on pieces for the Art Blanche Club’s sustainable art show, as well as the NU Animation Club and Live Music Association. She specializes in traditional painting and drawing, bullet journals, and creating digital art using applications like Procreate.
One Night in Miami
So, a civil rights activist, a professional boxer, a football player, and a soul singer walk into a hotel room. This seems like a setup for an age-old joke, but the talented Regina King’s engrossing directorial debut provides more than a sleazy punchline. One Night in Miami, at its core, is a conversation. It composes a powerful and relevant discourse that highlights Blackness in a racially-divided America during the civil rights era and today. Based on Kemp Powers’ play of the same name, One Night in Miami illustrates a fictional conversation between real-life best friends and Black superstars Malcolm X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge), and Sam Cooke (Leslie Odom Jr.), who, over the movie’s runtime, help showcase the hopes and fears of Black America in a single night.
RENT's 25th Anniversary
Growing up, my dad always played the same three musicals in the car. I would hop in, buckle my seatbelt, and wait for the first notes of either Chicago, Wicked, or RENT. Now I know what you’re thinking. RENT is not exactly a kid-friendly creation. But for five-year-old Rachel, that didn’t matter. I was too young to understand the suggestive lyrics, but I would tell everyone I saw that there were 525,600 minutes in a year.
SOPHIE, the Grammy-nominated producer whose hyperkinetic productions redefined the boundaries of pop and electronic music, passed away this January following a sudden accident at her home in Athens. She was 34. Those close to her at her label exclaimed how, “true to her spirituality she had climbed up to watch the full moon and accidentally slipped and fell. She will always be here with us.”
The Baby Album Review
“I only write songs about things that I’m scared of,” croons the voice of Samia Finnerty on the closing track of her debut album The Baby. This fear pervades the tone of the album, as Samia details uncertainty about the future, relationships, and the entertainment industry. Samia's self-exploratory record was written mostly on the road, as she notes “it was the most conducive environment to songwriting for me.” Samia has expressed that she didn’t quite understand what message she was sending with the album until it was done. However, she knew that it would highlight the struggle between the fear of being alone and the vulnerability that comes with taking part in a community. The fear of feeling needy is effectively encapsulated in her title, The Baby.
Discover endless possibilities at SoWa’s Artists Guild
SoWa’s Art and Design District in the South End – famous for its art galleries, food, and open markets – is home to the SoWa’s Artists Guild. At 450 Harrison Avenue, the heart of SoWa’s Artists district, you’ll find an eclectic collection of three winding floors of artists working in their personal studios. There is no limit on the media of art that exists here, with jewelry makers working alongside sculptors and painters.
Dusk shows how the night goes on
The 20-year-old singer mxmtoon, also known as Maia, released the second part of her EP, Dusk, in late 2020. As hectic as the year may have been, Dusk has come to show Maia’s capabilities and range over the past year. Best known for her hit song prom dress, mxmtoon has slowly built a name for herself in the world of indie and bedroom pop, a subgenre of music created by artists who write, produce, and create their own music in their homes. As she grows in the music industry, she’s also been gaining traction in the digital world, from Twitter, TikTok, and Twitch. All of her newfound fame online and on social media come up in her latest EP and contextualizes Dusk in both Maia’s life as well as 2020 in general.
In her debut album, Fake It Flowers, Bea Kristi, better known as beabadoobee, combines pop, rock, and alternative sounds to tell the story of making mistakes, growing up, forgiving the past, and learning to love yourself. After a year of being signed with Dirty Hit Records, opening in her first tour, and renewed interest in her 2017 song "Coffee" – after the remix became a viral TikTok sound – she released her album on October 16, 2020, all at the age of 20. beabadoobee is yet another artist who released an album during the pandemic. The appeal of her album is in the simple lyrics about familiar topics, making the songs feel personal, yet universal at the same time.
Student Showcase: Eli Olson
Eli is a 21-year-old musician based out of Boston, MA. He's a fourth-year at Northeastern, and is the current president of the NU Songwriting Club. He was raised on a farm in central Illinois, where his parents and donkeys still live. He began writing songs the summer before he went to college, and it has been a constant in his life ever since. His long-term goals include becoming an astronaut, becoming a rockstar, and purchasing an espresso pot. He has a lot to learn before he can be a rockstar, but I believe Eli can save the world.
Student Showcase: Justin Vega
Justin Vega is a third-year at Northeastern and Music Director of The Downbeats, an all-gender a cappella group on campus. He is the group's primary arranger, and is responsible for shaping the group's musicality and artistic expression. Justin and a few members spearhead every step of the process: from learning music virtually to the final mix. When he's not directing The Downbeats, he works on his productions as a singer-songwriter, crafting his lyrics and arrangements with a sense of sincerity and intention.
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