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“Our production highlights how women were and are treated in academia, and the footprint they leave behind for those you follow.” Sarah Salinger-Mullen’s ’19 director’s note rings true in her interpretation of Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” The 1993 British play was produced by the Undergraduate Theater Collective March on 14-17 in the SCC Theater. The play takes place in one room of a country house, Sidley Park, during two different time periods separated by 200 years: the early 1800s and the present day.
“My composing is inspired by movement and the contemplation of change,” composer Josh Levine began. He presented at the Music department’s composition colloquium, “Metaphors and Musical Means” on March 7 in the Slosberg music center, and music students lent an ear to Levine’s experiences at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies. Levine shared his fondness for the unity of memory and imagination, thinking about the physicality of musical performance and the way we as listeners identify with it emotionally. However, I was only available to attend the first half of the lecture, during which he discuss his thesis, a recorded flute and piano duet he played for students.
We did it, everyone. We solved racism. Inverse “Driving Miss Daisy” won best picture, finally giving two Oscars to the man who brought us Cameron Diaz using ejaculate as hair gel in “There’s Something About Mary” and Jeff Daniels violently pooping in “Dumb and Dumber.” Remember its sequel? Remember that Three Stooges movie or that god-awful “Movie 43?” Because I sure don’t. A movie with solid performances from Mahershala Ali and Viggo Mortensen has convinced baby boomers that we all just need to love each other, and we’re all the same deep down. How broad and lacking in nuance. “Based on a true friendship.” — What a horrible tagline. Judging by the characters’ actual families’ denuncation of “Green Book” as “a symphony of lies,” this tagline isn’t even true!
The Rose Art Museum opened up to the public for the first time in 2019 last Friday. The curators chose to honor Howardena Pindell, an underappreciated Black artist who innovatively used materials such as perfume and baby powder in her art and experimented with irregular canvases and unconventional techniques. Throughout her life, Pindell persevered in the art world despite facing the Jim Crow racism of 1960s and 70s. The Rose chose to display a collection of her work which spanned nearly five decades, ranging from homages to her father to work surrounding contemporary political activism.
Disappointment is inevitable when reading awards show nomination lists; it’s ridiculous to think that a film or a performance can win “best art.” These lists are less about honoring artistic achievements and more about recognizing valiant efforts. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these awards are determined by million-dollar campaigns and heavily biased against genre films, the nominations are still reliable indicators of quality — especially if they are determined by peers in their respective industries. Observe the recognition given by guilds: Screen Actors, Directors, Editors, Producers, Production Designers, etc. The Oscars ceremony is a culmination of these guild nominations, creating a compromise that mostly benefits the network by nominating and rewarding popular films in order to secure higher ratings.
Boris’ Kitchen held its annual Fall Fest two weeks ago at the Shapiro Campus Center, hosting four different sketch comedy groups from neighboring universities. They did two shows that weekend, one on Friday one on Saturday. I attended Friday’s, where Boris’ Kitchen shared Act One with Emerson College’s Jimmy’s Traveling All-Stars and Boston University’s The Callbacks. That following Saturday, they invited Skidmore’s Sketchies and Tufts’ “The Institute.” The sketches in Act Two were all written by Boris’ Kitchen members, with Perry Letourneau ’20 and Anderson Stinson ’21 serving as co-directors this year.
Earlier this month, the Introduction to Creativity, the Arts, and Social Transformation class hosted a screening at the Wasserman Cinematheque in place of a lecture. The Nov. 6 class screened “Because of the War,” a documentary about four female singers who immigrated to the United States to escape the civil war occuring in their homeland, Liberia. The war caused a mass migration of refugees toward the neighboring countries of Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. The four women, Tokay, Zaye, Marie and Fatu, all found themselves in Pittsburgh’s Liberian community. Anthropologist Toni Shapiro-Phim, who attended the screening, documented their individual stories as director of the feature.
To rubberneck is to get a better view of an accident out of morbid curiosity as you pass it by. Last week in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater, you might say I was rubbernecking. From Nov. 15th-18th, the Undergraduate Theater Collective produced “Godspell,” directed by Nate Rtishchev ’21. The 1971 musical was written by John Michael Tebelak, with music by Stephen Schwartz. It is structured as a series of parables based on the Gospel of Matthew, with lyrics borrowed from traditional hymns.
I never thought there would be bubbly energy in my biochemistry classroom. Everyone sitting in the audience was ready to have a good time as members of Brandeis’ improv troupe, To Be Announced, walked in along with the members of Bad Grammer in their joint show “Brains vs. Brawn.” While I wouldn’t normally agree to being in a science building more than I have to, I’m glad I did last Saturday. In all my time at Brandeis I’ve never attended an improv show, so I was anticipating something fun and new.
“Bad Times at the El Royale” is a recently released film with a stellar cast, an acclaimed writer and an intriguing 1970s aesthetic. The movie takes place at the titular hotel and features eight strangers: a young concierge, a priest, a blues singer, a sleazy vacuum salesman, a rebellious young woman, her sister and a cult leader. The group finds themselves trapped when a storm surges overhead, and their secrets are revealed in a hotel chock-full of its own secrets.
The Department of African and African American Studies (AAAS) hosted a screening of Spike Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman” at the Intercultural Center last Thursday. The movie is based on a true story about Ron Stallworth, an African American man, who joined the Colorado Springs police department in the 1970s. Once accepted, he infiltrates the local Ku Klux Klan chapter over the phone by impersonating a white man who feels enthusiastic about joining the nefarious organization. The chapter president then invites Stallworth to meet, prompting the officer to enlist his Jewish colleague’s help to be his surrogate. The two use their positions to prevent any violent acts against Colorado Springs’ growing African American civil rights movement, which is led by Stallworth’s love interest in the film, Patrice.
Last week, Brandeis’ sketch comedy group, Boris’ Kitchen, held its annual “Shit Show” in Mandel. The show reused sketches that had been performed in previous years and were written by former members, which meant that all of the sketches were at least four years old. Though the director, Claudia Davis ’19, prefaced the show with a warning about some sketches being a little tone deaf, they went over well with the audience.
The University’s Film, Television and Interactive Media Program hosted a screening in Wasserman Cinematheque of Paul Weitz’s “Bel Canto,” a film adaptation of its 2001 namesake thriller by Ann Patchett, on the eve of the movie’s release on Amazon Prime. Based on a real 1996-97 hostage crisis in Lima, Peru, the film takes place in a Vice-Presidential manor that is overrun by Latin American freedom fighters. The wealthy dinner guests are trapped by hostile guerilla fighters in a house with little to do. With their lives left in the hands of a Red Cross negotiator, sparks fly, relationships are formed and secrets are revealed. The screening was made possible due to producer and Brandeis alumna Caroline Baron ’83.
This was a year of box office records. “Black Panther” became the ninth-highest grossing film of all time with a $1.3 billion take; “Incredibles 2” became the highest non-PG-13 grosser of all time besides a list of box office records in the animation genre; “Avengers: Infinity War” conquered theaters worldwide with a claim on the $2 billion milestone. Additionally, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the deep dive into the life of beloved children’s entertainer Fred Rogers, became the top-grossing biographical documentary of all time at $20 million. Average per-screen grosses were also very impressive with the releases of “Eighth Grade,” “Sorry to Bother You,” “BlacKkKlansman,” and the 50th anniversary re-release of “2001: A Space Odyssey.”