Posted in Homepage

People, Places, & Things, and Endings

CINÉMONDAYWITHHARDIK:

People, Places, & Things

Playwright: Duncan Macmillan

Director: Jeremy Herrin

People, places, and things.

We are all powerless over these.

But, be it as it may, movies have a way of suggesting there’s always going to be a solution to it, our powerlessness. At least that’s what movies I watched last week seemed to suggest. That it’s either we’ll walk into doom, or come out of it by some strange miracle, say, by our writer’s afforded convenience.

These movies that I ended up watching (yeah, I just ended up watching five movies in one week) left me annoyed. Their endings did––they were too sure and easy a conclusion. What added to that annoyance was the fact that they followed a pattern: their characters weren’t society-favorites, say gay, or addicts, or this color or that, other minorities, and how their stories ended didn’t seem to matter to their makers, they had two ways out: happy ending, or a dog’s death. Why? Why that easy––heads or tail? By way of oversimplifying the ending, not only is it ripping potential complexities off of its characters but also it is saying that as audiences this is what we will be served, this what we deserve.

I have a problem with that, the way I have issues against stereotyping people.

So, when over the weekend, my family and I went to watch an off-Broadway play, People, Places, & Things, which my brother mentioned was about an alcoholic in recovery, I thought, here, we go again. Fives movies a week, then a play… I was sure I could predict the character’s fate. Sarah, her name. Or maybe, Lucy. Or maybe, Emma. You have to watch it and find out for yourself. All I will add is that, thanks to the writer’s efforts, the character doesn’t find an easy way out, doesn’t force us out of the theater frustrated. My weekend wasn’t spoiled.

It helps that as writers we aren’t powerless over people, places, and things, and how they end.

~ Hardik Yadav

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Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

White Knight: The Rebirth of the Joker

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #6

YOU HAD YOUR CHANCE

These words are vandalized atop Batman’s Batmobile on the cover of issue #1 of White Knight and surrounding the message is Joker’s signature HA HAs in matching red, green, and yellow. It’s a strange message to hear from Gotham’s notorious clown king, Joker, because it seems to have an underlying message that something good needs to be done and why would Joker want that? His message seems to say, “Well, if you’re not gonna clean up this city and make things right, maybe someone else will and maybe that someone else is me”. And that’s where our story begins in White Knight.

Joker has been a staple Batman character whose background story was a mystery until Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke entered the comic book universe, in which we were able to understand the whys and hows of Joker’s origin, but this first issue doesn’t so much revisit that as much as it poses something completely new (it’s actually already implied in one of the pages that the reader already has Moore’s Joker origin story in mind. There’s a page of art with pre-Joker as a comedian holding some notecards of bad jokes). What makes this comic issue so special is that it delves into the what-ifs of the Joker’s and Batman’s polar psyches. I found out about this comic because I am a subscriber of the Midtown Comics newsletter and the way it described this comic book was that the Joker becomes Batman and the Batman becomes Joker. Weird, right? I was so intrigued and had to check it out myself and the comic did not disappoint. Sean Murphy’s art and writing is an excellent example of how great a comic book can be if you put the right person behind the wheel. Matt Hollingsworth does a top-notch job with setting the depressing and dismal tone with the color palette of browns, blacks, and grays in this rundown urban setting plagued by crime and corruption. Best of all though, was one particular page that pretty much sold me on the comic because of its subversiveness. *SPOILERS AHEAD* It’s subversive because in this scene Joker has lured Batman into a warehouse filled with mysterious, unknown pills and the Joker spits out verbal vile at Batman. He refers to them as a married couple who never have make-up sex and even delves back into Batman’s dark past when Robin was killed. He’s doing his best to break the Bat and he, unfortunately, succeeds. Batman is sickened and sick of the Joker so he takes a bottle of the nearest pills and shoves the whole bottleful down Joker’s throat, forcing him to swallow them all. It’s a super intense scene (and this is just issue #1!).

From that point on chaos and disorder ensue. Joker turns sane and wants to sue Gotham City Police under the moniker, White Knight and then we get hit with that “To Be Continued…” I’m really curious to see where Murphy goes with this storyline. Mental illness is so misunderstood and I want to see from which angle he’s planning on approaching it from, especially with two iconic characters like Joker and Batman. He’s flipping everything on its head and I wonder what Gotham will be like now that the Joker is the one who stands for justice and Batman is out of control. Is the Joker really reborn anew or is this a charade? Has Batman finally been pushed too far? But most importantly, what was in those pills? I’ll continue the series and keep y’all posted if the storyline continues to progress in such a fascinating way in this journey through the psyche of hero, villain, and the in-between.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier

Posted in Arlinda's Newest Posts

The Road Less Traveled

The Road Not Taken- by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

We all have choices; while some choices are easy to make, others prove to be far more difficult. We begin to prioritize, restructure our daily lives, seek purpose in the tasks we complete each day each, and we search for the meaning behind our journey so far. It would be easy to state that things happen for a reason; the point of it all is to discover the reason and figure out how its meaning fits into your life. Whenever I have a difficult decision to make, I think of Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” and it usually inspires me with a newfound sense of clarity.

After reading Robert Frost’s “The Road not Taken,” I always begin to wonder about all the times I made a decision that was uncommon or under valued at the time. How did it make a difference? Can I look back now and say that the decision I made has helped shaped my life into what it is today? As the speaker in Frost’s poem states, “yet knowing how way leads on to way / I doubted if I should ever come back.” When you realize what is most important to you, and you make the decision to change the path your on it will set you in a completely on a new course and you may not be able to go back to the person you once were.

We learn something new each day; we grow, we gain experience, we perceive the world with a new wisdom as we continue on our journey in life. Decisions are always hard; when facing a choice or a challenge, think of the person you will become if you choose the road that not many others have taken. As the speaker Robert Frost’s poem “The Road not Taken” states, “two roads diverged in a wood, and I– / I took the one less traveled by / and that has made all the difference.”

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

Posted in Homepage

Mother: Intense, Not “Mixed”

CINÉMONDAYSWITHHARDIK

Mother!

Dir. Darren Aronofsky

Mother! is about the relationship of a couple, played by Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem, that, as IMDb puts it without spoiling it, “(gets) tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.”

If you were to take director Darren Aronofsky’s words about it, you’d too believe “it’s a recipe (he) won’t ever be able to reproduce… this serving is best drunk as a single dose in a shot glass.”

If you were to take my friends’ words about the movie––by the way, none of them have watched the movie, only heard stuff––you’d come home feeling, “yeah, they must be right: it’s got mixed reviews.”

Whereas, if you look for yourself before deciding to watch it or not, you will find that these reviews are not mixed: as in it’s not like, say, some reviewers thought it was a 3 on 5, some 4 on 5, some 1 on 5, but more along the lines of strongly felt conclusion where it’s either a low or a high 5.

Were these reviews “mixed,” I would have picked my friends’ hint (“avoid, unless you can’t”), but since these weren’t, I decided to persuade one of them to join me, and she did. When we walked out of the theatre, we were beaming with joy: we had finally found a movie we both liked, a movie that wore ideas we share.

I am resisting my temptation to spoil it for you, but I will not. Don’t talk to anyone about it, just go watch it, for if you’re really lucky, it should still be playing in the theaters.

And when you watch it, notice how it doesn’t have a single character named and works just fine. Writers among us should aspire to create something intense and smart like that, so intense you don’t realize you missed the names until you’ve walked out and talked to a friend, tried to explain them a character’s motive, without getting around their name.

~ Hardik Yadav

Posted in Kat's Newest Posts

Take Me: The Anthem for the Crushed

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner Vol. 2 Issue #5

I love corny and cheesy things and I’m not talking food (although I do enjoy foods of those varieties). I’m the kind of girl who enjoys a good rom-com film and it doesn’t even have to be good in any aspect; the cinematography can be hackneyed and the acting can be full of B-, non-Oscar worthy performances, but as long as you slather it in that  good ol’ fashioned person meets person and they fall in love I’m good to go. My personal favorite romantic comedy movie is Leap Year with Amy Adams and Matthew William Goode. It’s a story about a woman who tries to propose to her boyfriend under the old Irish belief that a woman can ask for her partner’s hand in marriage on a leap year, and who encounters a stranger and slowly gets to know them and well, not to spoil it, but feelings develop. That’s the kind of love that builds over a long/short period of time slowly, but even though it’s a process and takes time for development there is something present there. It’s a seed. A tiny entity that grows inside of you and crushes you from the inside out— a crush.

And that brings me to the anthem of this week’s blog post, Take Me by Aly & AJ. Oh man, do I love this song. I’ve been playing it over and over and over and it never ceases to grow old. It’s synth-pop, it’s a tribute to the 80s and its subject matter is so relatable. It’s a song for all those people who kept a feeling secret deep within and were internally screaming “I love you”, “I want you”, “I need you”, “please, notice me senpai” but were never being heard. The girls sing “When you gonna take me out Make a move and make it now” and this really hits deep because, to be honest with you, that’s me right now. I am that girl being crushed by a crush. And to quasi-quote a tweet from my cousin and all-around cool peep from my bad memory, Petra, “They call them crushes because they crush you.” What a painful truth to take in, but it’s so universal because haven’t we all felt at one point burdened by the burning feeling of liking someone and not being sure they like you or even worse, they don’t know you exist? It really sucks because you want them to know or want them to find out but you are stuck in crushed limbo.

But the cool thing about this song is it seems like Aly & AJ kind of have their priorities straight. They’re not going to spend all their time on this person waiting for them to appease their burgeoning feelings. They sing it right off the bat in the song “I’ve been spending my attention on you, on you. I don’t wait long. Cause I got better things to do.” These girls are aware of their own feelings but they’re not going to wait a lifetime and a half hoping that this person finally realizes their own feelings or the girls’ feelings. And I think that’s a pretty important lesson. Sure, it’s okay, to have crushes and want for affection, attention, and adoration, but sometimes what’s even better is just having the crush itself. Basking in it’s painful, aching beauty. But for those bold girls who want to take the initiative, do what Aly & AJ sing and “sink your teeth” into that crush and go for it.

– Kathryn “Kat” Fornier