FAST FORWARD:Things to do ‘til our next issue

by Christina Matthias, Press Play Reporter

Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Bleachers with Bishop Briggs and Amy Shark

Wanna get better? Alternative rock band Bleachers will be playing the Riviera Theatre and the Vic Theater Nov. 11 and 12, respectively. Part two of their Gone Now Era Tour began two months ago, and has since proved to be a lively celebration of the band’s past three years of hits; along with chart-successful songs such as “Don’t Take The Money” from their newest album that was released last June.

Saturday and Sunday Nov. 12-13, Vic Theater - tickets available on SongKick

 

Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Adler After Dark Ages

Every third Thursday of the month, the Adler Planetarium produces an immersively themed nighttime spectacle for a 21+ crowd. November’s event will bring museum goers back to medieval times; featuring poem compositions, wine tasting, Renaissance weapon demonstrations, and numerous presentations of this time period’s study of astronomy. Spots are limited, so buy tickets in advance to have a night fit for the Middle Ages.

Thursday, Nov. 16,  6:00 p.m. Adler Planetarium Chicago, $20.00

 

Internet Photo

Internet Photo

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Embrace the upcoming holiday season by spending Nov. 18 downtown. There will be food vendors in Pioneer Court such as Garrett Popcorn and Connie’s Pizza from 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., plus a multitude of pop-up tents offering various giveaways. Then at 5:30 p.m., witness Mickey Mouse and his friends lead the festival’s annual Christmas tree lighting parade down North Michigan Avenue; jam-packed with extravagant floats, jumbo balloons and mobile live entertainment from across the country.

Saturday, Nov. 18,  Magnificent Mile District, free admission 

 

NCAA releases names

Internet Photo

Internet Photo

EC has been caught red handed in violating NCAA bylaws from 2012-2016, giving financial aid awards to students solely based on if they play sports for the college. After 45 days of the report, the NCAA will be releasing the names of 26 students who received these illegal scholarships. Finding out alumni and current students who reaped the benefits, and a possible bloodbath ensuing over the information, will be a pinnacle of campus conversation.

 

Apple releases its two newest models including the long awaited iPhone X

By Lauren Vana, Staff Writer

Internet photo The iPhone X was released on Sept. 22nd.

Internet photo

The iPhone X was released on Sept. 22nd.

Apple recently released its newest iPhone, the iPhone 8, on Sept. 22, followed by the iPhone X, which was released Nov. 3, promising many new additions to the Apple products.  

The new iPhone 8, listed at $699 for the 4.7-inch display and $799 for the 5.5-inch, has several new changes from the previous model.

According to the Apple website, the phone is made up of “the most durable glass ever in a smartphone, front and back,” making it the first water and dust resistant model.

One of the biggest changes for users will be the wireless charging. Rather than plugging it into an outlet, users simply place the iPhone on a mat that charges the phone through the glass.

Apple also boasts of the improved display on the iPhone 8. “Dual-domain pixels give you a great view of the screen from almost any angle.”  

Internet photo The iPhone 8 was released on Nov. 3, marking the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.

Internet photo

The iPhone 8 was released on Nov. 3, marking the tenth anniversary of the iPhone.

In addition, the True Tone technology “adjusts white balance to match the lighting around you” and gives the “best color accuracy in the industry.”

Potential buyers may also care to note the camera improvements, including the optical zoom, larger digital zoom, and improved portrait mode.

Apple has also improved the chip, allowing for better battery efficiency and faster processing.

The iPhone X, priced at $999, has few improvements that differ it from the iPhone 8.

One main difference is the phone is completely screen, and lacks the iconic home button found on all previous models.  Instead, users will swipe up to get back to the home screen.

Apple has also included facial recognition to unlock the phone and to utilize Apple Pay.  The technology can adapt to user’s physical changes over time.

The camera includes “studio quality lighting effects” as well as a selfie portrait mode.  

Animoji is a new feature in which a camera mimics users’ facial expressions using an animal emoji or the poop emoji.

Though the new iPhones feature many improvements, not everyone seems to be so excited about them.

Holly Bachman, EC senior, has owned iPhones since she got the iPhone 4 model in high school and recently got the iPhone 8 when her old phone shattered. 

“I don’t dislike anything it just doesn’t have many new features,” she said.

EC sophomore, Alex Kaufman, got the iPhone 7 back in April when he switched from a Samsung Galaxy S6.

“I honestly would not upgrade to the iPhone 8 or X because I think the price is astronomical and wireless charging is idiotic to me,” he said.

Bachman had the same point on the pricing, saying she didn’t see herself upgrading to the iPhone X anytime soon.

“I will not get iPhone X unless it decreases to the normal iPhone price,” she said.

Julia Schwarzinger, EC sophomore, recently purchased the iPhone X, though she won’t receive it until December.  She currently has an iPhone 6s, and the iPhone X will be her third iPhone.

“I wanted the iPhone X because I needed a new phone and it seemed cool. I like how good the camera quality is,” she said.

As far as the money, Schwarzinger added, “the price was a little scary.”

Press Rewind : Pop culture from the week

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

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Kathy Griffin declares war on the industry

Kathy Griffin is back for round (idk … I’ve lost count) in her fight against Hollywood and pretty much everyone within it. Only this time, there is not a Trump head in sight. 

In her updated YouTube video, Griffin is seen looking very calm, collected, and only slightly desperate as she moves on to her next victims: BravoTV producer and host Andy Cohen and famous celebrity gossip site, TMZ, and the man in charge, Harvey Levin. 

Griffin not only publicly accuses Andy Cohen of offering her cocaine before one of their many interviews on his show “Watch What Happens Live,”  but she also played a voicemail she had received from Harvey Levin which included his personal phone number. Will this be the end to the Kathy Griffin “feel bad for me” crusade? Grab some popcorn and stay tuned.

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Selena Gomez and Justine Bieber reignite past romance

As hollywood virtually implodes with sexual harassment scandals and as our country may be on the brink of nuclear war, we all must come together and really focus on things that matter: so, like, are Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez back together, or what? 

After the quiet breakup between Selena and her former Starboy, the Weeknd, it seems she is on the market and the only thing she’s after is the Instagram selfie king himself, Justin Bieber. The former lovebirds have been seen hanging out all around Hollywood -- and all those other nauseatingly rich areas -- as “just friends.” 

Yeah, OK -- we see you, Biebs and Sel. Have they finally rekindled that puppy-love romance? Or was the Biebs’ trend of diaper-pants and orange jumpsuits too much to be forgiven? For all of us romantics out there, let’s hope it isn’t too late now to say sorry.  

Weezer tries and fails to produce radio hits once more with“Pacific Daydream”

Internet photo Weezer performs in London. 

Internet photo

Weezer performs in London. 

by Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief

Follow him at @krazo1

Leave it to Weezer, one of the most woefully inconsistent bands in the business, to follow up one of their best albums with one of their worst. 

Weezer’s entire discography has been hit or miss since they debuted their preppy yet endearing sound in 1994 with the “Blue Album.” They followed that up with their best album to date, “Pinkerton,” but in the nearly 20 years following that they dropped albums that sacrificed the band’s initial charm for poorly performed, wannabe radio hits. 

However, Weezer bounced back in a big way in 2014 and again in 2016 with their albums “Everything Will Be Alright in the End” and “The White Album,” respectively. These records returned to the band’s original appeal, with frontman, Rivers Cuomo, writing witty and loveable tracks that were reminiscent of the band’s initial brushes with greatness.

Despite the recent rebound, the band’s latest project “Pacific Daydream” disappointingly throws all of that out the window once more. Weezer seems to have gotten back in the business of radio play over all else, as they have released a collection of 10 awkward tracks that are just begging to be adopted as a catchy summer anthem. 

The first single from this album to be released, “Feels like Summer,” really set the tone for the entire project with its dreadfully out of place EDM inspired synth beat that does not mesh with Weezer’s sound at all. Songs like this are dominant on the album, riddled with typical 2010s pop clichés like vocal “wo-o-ahs” in place to cover up the abundant lack of clever songwriting throughout.

Other tracks like “QB Blitz” showcase an unusual case of truly poor writing on the part of Cuomo with cringey lyrics about not having friends to do algebra homework with. Keep in mind, this is a 47 year old man writing these lyrics.

Songs like these showcase one of Weezer’s most consistent problems. Despite being in the industry for 20 plus years, they refuse to mature. As popular YouTube music critic Anthony Fantano put it, “20 years as a band and Weezer is still singing about that feel when no gf.” 

Tracks like “Mexican Fender” guiltiest of this problem as the band tries to put out relatable tales of teenage romance. With lyrics about going to a guitar shop and hanging out with a girl at her boyfriend’s house, one has to wonder how distant of a memory Rivers is calling on here, and how sincere can he possibly be about the subject matter he writes his songs about.

In the year 2017, the best the band can hope for is to come off as a bunch of dads reminiscing about the good old days. But when they release albums like “Pacific Daydream” they come across more like a bunch of old dudes creepily trying to hang out with their kids’ high school friends.

COLUMN: Pushing back the predators of the theater

by Michael Shutack, Columnist

by Michael Shutack, Columnist

With the accusations against famed actor Kevin Spacey riding on the tails of the numerous accusations against Harvey Weinstein, the public has new insight on an old dilemma: Sexual predators exist in the theatre arts. 

When a phrase such as “casting couch” is thrown into usage, vintage images of actresses like Marilyn Monroe being pinned up against metaphorical and/or physical walls by producers may come to mind. Unfortunately, inappropriate and unwanted sexual advances occur relentlessly in the performing arts to this day. Why? From what I’ve experienced as a thespian, there may be a few reasons:

Artists are damaged. This may sound cliché but it is true. Insecure, temperamental, damaged individuals turn to the theatre in order to escape their everyday lives. 

 

Everyone, theatre artists and theatregoers, should make a greater attempt to stop the Kevin Spaceys, the Harvey Weinsteins, and the Bill Cosbys in the industry from obtaining and maintaining a flourishing career. 

 

Theatre allows them to work in another world and in other person’s story. It is no surprise that some of these people become sexual predators. They confuse what is real with the false perception of their working environment. 

Professional relationships are oddly intimate in theatre. Art is the expression of emotions and, therefore, artists constantly expose themselves emotionally. 

After getting to know another person on such an intimate level, a sexual predator may want to see them exposed physically. Also, depending on the performance, actors may have to work while physically exposed. 

Horror stories exist in which actors have been sexually harassed and assaulted during nude/sex scenes. Navigating around those types of experiences may be difficult for sexual predators because such situations do not occur outside of this particular profession.

Theatre is a career of connections. Sometimes it’s not about what you can do, but who you know. Artists often find themselves at the will of others in order to make a good impression and help their own career. Sexual predators are attracted to this power and use it to take advantage of desperate artists. In this case, fame isn’t a drug, fame is a weapon.

 

Artists are damaged. This may sound cliché but it is true. Insecure, temperamental, damaged individuals turn to the theatre in order to escape their everyday lives. 

 

Regardless of the reason sexual predators exist in theatre, sexual assault and harassment are inexcusable. Everyone, theatre artists and theatregoers, should make a greater attempt to stop the Kevin Spaceys, the Harvey Weinsteins, and the Bill Cosbys in the industry from obtaining and maintaining a flourishing career. 

That starts by not supporting their work and properly addressing inappropriate behavior in early, educational theatre. I’ve been to plenty of high school and college theatre parties that have gotten out of hand. 

Despite the success predators have accumulated, young thespians need to learn that sexual assault and harassment is unprofessional and will not be tolerated.

Blade Runner 2049 astonishes with a blend of style and substance

Main character 'K', (Ryan Gosling) is taken through the mass production center where replicants are made in "Blade Runner 2049" now in theaters.

Main character 'K', (Ryan Gosling) is taken through the mass production center where replicants are made in "Blade Runner 2049" now in theaters.

By Andrew Cripe, Movie Critic

“Blade Runner 2049” is less a sequel to the 1980 Ridley Scott film and more of a tribute to Andrei Tarkovsky's meditative science fiction films, “Solaris” and “Stalker.” Which is to say, holy cow, this is a good film. It is a gorgeous desolation-poem, boasting countless memorable scenes and performances that are nothing short of gripping.

This isn't just a special film; it is the rarest kind of film, one that may not be seen as the year's best but will probably be talked about, re-watched, and dissected more than any other released in 2017.

The movie is set in the not-so-distant future, where humanity has created android slaves that look just like humans. The ones that don’t adhere to a life of servitude are labeled Replicants, and are considered dangers to society. Their hunters are called Blade Runners.

In “2049”, we follow a Blade Runner named 'K' played by Ryan Gosling in a role so quiet and intense viewers may be reminded of his performance in 2011's “Drive.” 'K' is a loner and consummate professional. His boss, Lieutenant Joshi (played by Robin Wright), orders him to assassinate a rogue Replicant. From here, 'K' begins to unravel a tragic mystery, one that involves everyone from a prostitute, Mariette (Mackenzie Davis), to the man who mass-produces the android slaves, Wallace (a chilling Jared Leto) and his secretary, Luv (Sylvia Hoeks).

Of course, if you've watched the trailers for this film, you know that Harrison Ford reprises his role as Rick Deckard (the protagonist of the 1980 film), but Rick's real purpose in the story is something no critic should reveal.

The 1980 Ridley Scott adaptation of Philip K. Dick's novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” was praised for injecting moody noir elements into a genre that was typically known for space-fights and aliens. Now, decades later, director Denis Villeneuve kicks the darkness up to eleven.

This film is pitch-black, despairing, and incredibly depressing at points. But Dennis Villeneuve is a master of making troubling subject matter extremely compelling: “Incendies” (2010) dealt with torture, “Prisoners” (2013) with child-abduction, “Sicario” (2015) with revenge, and “Arrival” (2016) with humanity's possible downfall. “Blade Runner 2049” takes all of these themes and runs with them, and though it occasionally slips and falls, the audacity of its reach far exceeds its grasp.

The story is dense and unforgiving. Over the course of 164 minutes, it threatens to throw impatient viewers off the roller coaster, but those who stick with it will be rewarded. Devastation, love, loneliness, and the fabric of reality itself are all explored by screenwriters Michael Green (“Logan”) and Hampton Fancher (the first “Blade Runner”).

But what everybody is going to be lightning-struck by is the visual language of it; this is unlike anything else out there. Every frame of the “Blade Runner 2049” is painterly and awe-inspiring, leading a viewer to believe that cinematographer Roger Deakins (“Skyfall,” “The Shawshank Redemption”) sold his soul to get this film to look as good as it does. The visual effects team clearly crafted this fascinating world with a painstaking, borderline sadistic attention to detail. Everything about the look and feel of this film is expansive yet overwhelmingly claustrophobic in its loneliness, but it’s so well made that you'd be hard pressed to look away.

Between this and Darren Aronofsky’s “Mother!,” 2017 has been an extraordinary year for daring cinema, and whether or not “Blade Runner 2049” is a total minute-to-minute success is besides the point, the fact we are even getting movies like this is a cause for celebration. These aren't films that will send you on your merry way. Instead they challenge, provoke, and twist your expectations until something--anything--snaps.

In terms of ambition, Villeneuve is chasing the tail of Stanley Kubrick while still paying homage and even improving upon Ridley Scott's legendary first film. As bleak as “Blade Runner 2049” is, the overall experience is not despairing. The sheer magnificence of its craft will inspire anyone with even a passing interest in how real films are made. See it, then see it again.

Top 5 songs to jazz up your Halloween playlist

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internet photo

By Christina Matthias, Press Play Reporter

1. It's Almost Halloween - Panic! At The Disco

This song, unfortunately, was only released as a YouTube music video, but it’s a funky tune to play at costume parties, especially where you’re around a crush. Brendon Urie’s soulful voice in the chorus and “trick-or-treat” being used as innuendo makes the night so lively, the dead will turn undead.

2. Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Who knew references to the Queen of Hearts from “Alice in Wonderland” could be so scary? The indie rock sound with lyrics telling listeners to “dance till they’re dead” generates a chilling yet amusing enhancement to anyone’s Halloween playlist.

3. Get Ghost - Mark Ronson, Passion Pit, A$AP Rocky

 The sample of the “Ghostbusters’” theme with an inventive new take has served as an animated Halloween anthem since the reboot movie soundtrack released in 2015. The mix of Passion Pit’s and A$AP’s opposing genres builds intriguing dynamics playing off of one another.

4. My House - Pvris

White Noise was Pvris’ debut album from 2014, and fans were immediately attached to themes of aspirations and the paranormal woven into the lyrics. This song in particular is an upbeat enough selection from the band’s tracklist for a spooky affair, yet still features a tale of being haunted, either by someone or something of the past.

5. Bloody Mary - Lady Gaga

An introduction of echos and sharp harp-playing creates the perfect creepy ambience in the midst of a techno beat, proving an excellent choice for dancing on the 31st. Gaga has the reputation of turning heads, and her music is effective in serving the need for unpredictability.

COLUMN: Shaming of the Shrew

By Michael Shutack, Staff Writer

By Michael Shutack, Staff Writer

“I see a woman may be made a fool, / If she had not a spirit to resist.” These words silenced the actors and audience members like a gunshot. There was a realization that this small piece of dialogue from Shakespeare’s five-act comedy, “The Taming of the Shrew,” served as the thesis statement for this particular production and as the theatre company’s response to the actions of women in society today.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s current staging of “The Shrew” is deceitful. As the audience quickly learned within the first five minutes, it is a play within a play. Set in Chicago on Aug. 18, 1920 (mere moments before the 19th Amendment was ratified and women were granted the right to vote), a small but mighty women’s club is practicing their production of Shakespeare’s comedy.

Initially, the theatre troupe is divided by their opinions of the Amendment. While some of the society members desperately long for an equal right to vote, others are more than content in their roles as submissive, lesser wives.

However, as the women into the Shakespearean classic, often interrupting their own performance to comment on the play’s relevance to 1920s American culture, they learn a lesson opposite of that proposed by the British playwright: Women are not animals in need of taming.

The production was a delightful and inventive interpretation of Shakespeare. The additional dialogue from the women’s club was outrageously witty, but stung the contemporary audience. Ron West, writer of these suffragette scenes, consistently made connections between the 1920s time period and the present day.

These connections were always humorous but poignantly commented on the nation’s inability to make significant strides toward equality. For example, in one of the last moments of the play, one of the jazz era suffragettes ironically celebrates, “The right to vote today, equal pay tomorrow!”

Every aspect of the performance, from the work of the designers to the work of the actors, was beautifully assembled to support the vision of director Barbara Gaines. In alignment of her concept, the humor was diverted away from its original intentions.

Shakespearean jokes about the “foolishness” of women and their “necessary” abuse was downplayed. Instead, the complete cast of female actors focused their comedic abilities on portraying their male characters as overtly perverted, dimwitted, and clownish.

The direction of Gaines successfully destroyed the show’s 16th century values and put “The Shrew” to shame.

While I found the play to be an astonishing performance of protest theatre, some members of the audience did not share my enthusiasm. During intermission, several senior audience members expressed a disliking for the director’s interpretation.

Their complaints ranged from it being boring to it being excessively crude. The woman seated next to me did not stay for the second act. When the play ended, as the actors took their bows, the countless hours of effort, dedication, and passion to make this remarkable piece of art earned standing ovations from a dismal amount of theatregoers.

At this particular performance, the show was only well-received by younger, more progressive minds.

As I witnessed, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s current production of “The Taming of the Shrew” is not for everybody. Despite the play’s high production value and my glowing support for this interpretation, your enjoyment of the show is dependent on your perspective.

While I cannot guarantee a fun night out at the theatre, I promise you will get your money’s worth if you keep an open mind. The creative team of thespians provide countless valuable lessons about the lives of women past and present.

They have successfully transformed Shakespeare’s misogynistic comedy into a celebration of feminism, which is sure to entertain reformist thinkers and challenge patriarchal supporters.

“The Taming of the Shrew” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier performs until Nov. 12. Discount tickets are available online for select dates and times.

A midnight experience: A veterans guide for Rocky Horror Picture Show virgins

Fans dress up as famous characters Columbia, Magenta, and Riff Raff (right to left) at a midnight showing of the cult classic film "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Internet photo

Fans dress up as famous characters Columbia, Magenta, and Riff Raff (right to left) at a midnight showing of the cult classic film "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Internet photo

By Roxanne Timan and Ifrah Syed
Managing Editor and Staff Writer

Losing your virginity is messy, sometimes awkward, and life changing. In the same vein, losing your Rocky Horror Picture Show virginity is similar, but a lot more fun.

The movie is pretty absurd, but add an acting troupe, a half-naked audience, and a chaotic mix of callouts and prop-throwing, it becomes a whole experience that makes you shiver in aticip…….ation.

  • OVER AT THE FRANKENSTEIN PLACE: Although a lot of theaters present “Rocky Horror” year-round, Halloween is prime-time for the event. A few theatre troupes across the country put together the performance; in the Chicagoland area, the Music Box Theatre in downtown Chicago is the closest show to campus. 
     
  • TELL US ABOUT IT, JANET: Starting with the basics, your attire for the performance is key. If you question whether or not you’ll be charged with public indecency, you are doing it right. Fishnets, garters, corsets, and heels are some of the trademark attributes to the veteran showgoer, inspired by Dr. Frankenfurter and his residents.
  • DON’T DREAM IT, BE IT: Some choose to dress as characters from the show too, from men dressing in tighty whities and vintage glasses like Brad, to full on Dr. Frankenfurter in an army green lab coat and black perm wig. For the ladies, the options are pretty endless, with the main characters Janet, Magenta, and Columbia being the frontrunners for costume designs.

  • OH FANTASY, FREE ME!: If this is your first run, you are considered a Virgin. However, have no fear. It isn’t a bad thing as much as it is a badge of honor. Once you walk through the door, a doorman will be ready to smack a thick V on your forehead in bright red lipstick.

  • GREAT SCOTT!: Another main part of the event is the props. The list changes from each venue based on damage concerns, so going off of the Music Box Theatre regulations, the list excludes water guns, hot dogs and prunes, rice and toast. Don’t worry , the list is still large, including newspapers, flashlights, rubber gloves, noisemakers, confetti, toilet paper, party hat, a bell, and playing cards.
     
  • BRAD, DON’T BE UNGRATEFUL: All of these items can be bought beforehand at any drugstore, but the music box theatre also provides grab bags for three dollars at the door as well, with all the proceeds going back to the actors for costumes and props since it is completely volunteer centered.  The correct time to use each prop is available online if you want to be prepared instead of looking like a real virgin.
     
  • IT’S JUST A PARTY, JANET: If you haven’t already seen the 1975 film, it might be best to watch it beforehand. The actual midnight showing is unlike your regular trip to the cinema; yelling in the theatre is allowed, hell, it is even encouraged. A whole list of “call outs” can also be found online, including certain profane names for each time main characters appear on-screen and fill in lines to make the chaos even more comical.
     
  • GIVE YOURSELF TO ABSOLUTE PLEASURE: “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” is not for the prudish, but allows the general public to truly understand the quote “the freaks come out at night.” The Music Box Theatre will be running the show with the theatre troupe “Midnight Madness” over the Halloween weekend and the day of, Friday the 27th, Saturday the 28th, Tuesday the 31st. Each performance starts promptly at 11:59 p.m.. Tickets are on sale in advance for $15 on musicboxtheatre.com.

COLUMN: Ferdinand was Framed

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

 

Sometimes stories stick with you. Whether it be the characters, the emotion it evokes or the time and place where you felt this book connected with you on some grand level; they latch on like a bloodthirsty leech. For me, it’s been The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. For those who are unaware of this story, it depicts a bull, Ferdinand, that would much rather smell flowers and be chill than train to be in a bullfight. When it was published in 1936, it stood as your typical American children’s book.

This, however, is not the whole story.

Because of the adverse attitude of this amiable bull, this book was pegged as a story of nonconformist and was then banned, burned, and discredited under both Nazi Germany and the orders of the Prime Minister of Spain during that period, Francisco Franco. Naturally this causes me to think: what are they so scared of? The only answer I can truly come up with is that they did not want to promote nonconformity in a time when conformity was not only expected, but demanded.

This story with this history always makes me think about the censorship around us that goes unnoticed. Why do some believe that they know what’s best for us? I have grown fascinated with trying to decipher the hidden intentions that this act of banning would convey. I call to the stand, debatably the most challenged book in American history, George Orwell’s 1984. I can personally say that this was a book that was assigned to me in highschool. When it was written in 1949, however, this was most definitely not the case. Are we to assume that our mothers, fathers, teachers, board execs, libraries and whoever may have authority over our book choices are trying to shelter us from bad writing? Is this book going to physically pain me to read? Will a papercut kill me? Or, does it promote a metaphorical representation of the dangers of a “made up” country that has full control of censorship and illustrates the consequences of blind faith? I don’t know, you tell me.

How about, to modernize this a bit, we talk about Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This popular book turned movie became a bestseller years after its first release in 1999. According to the Marshall University library, in as recent as 2016, this book was taken out of the required reading list in the state of Connecticut's Wallinford high school. I’m sure you’re just as curious as I am about the reason behind the banning of this book in what I had hoped was a highly progressive era.

It was a parent.

This parent believed that it was an inappropriate book because of the influence of “‘homosexuality, date rape, masturbation, and the glorification of alcohol use and drugs.’" It is not any safer to shelter our children--especially in this case high school students. Its 2016, being homophobic is so off trend. As much as it is disgusting, things such as date rape, excessive alcohol abuse and drugs are part of our culture. By concealing the evils of the world, naivete takes place and although we all wish we were ignorant of these horrors, we cannot be. Also, in this story specifically, mental illness is painted both beautifully and painfully. But, then again, reading content on being aware and detecting signs  of mental illness doesn’t outweigh the “inappropriate influence” of homosexuality, right?

Censorship is flawed. It’s time we abolish all misconceived notions of literature and use the possibly risky content to change the world and manifest the kind of change these books are calling for.

 

PRESS PLAY REVIEW: Injury Reserve breathes new life into the hip-hop scene with new EP

Ritchie with a T of the Arizona rap trio Injury Reserve performs at the Velvet Underground in Toronto. Internet Photo

Ritchie with a T of the Arizona rap trio Injury Reserve performs at the Velvet Underground in Toronto. Internet Photo

By Kenneth Edison, Editor-in-Chief
Follow him at @krazo1

In an era of hip hop that is torn between the old heads of yesteryear and the hyper-energetic mumble rappers of the new generation, very few acts please both sides as effectively as Injury Reserve. The Arizona rap trio Injury Reserve has been an up and coming force in hip hop since their first full length project “Live From The Dentist Office” back in 2015, and their newest EP “Drive It Like It’s Stolen” will undoubtedly push them closer to mainstream recognition. 

“Drive It Like It’s Stolen” is a seven track EP that was released on Friday, Sept. 29 as a follow up to Injury Reserve’s 2016 debut studio album “Floss.” Though it’s only a 23 minute assortment of tracks, it still gives fans of the trio another dose of their unique jazzy style paired with a new-school trap influence.

The first two tracks illustrate what makes Injury Reserve so unique. The juxtaposition of low key lyric driven tracks like the EP’s opener “Ten Tenths” and energetic club bangers like the second track “See You Sweat” make Injury Reserve so easy to listen to. They can consistantly produce witty bars with an old school jazz rap charm while then transitioning into trap influenced singles that still manage to stand out amongst their contemporaries.  

These two seemingly incompatible styles mix most emphatically in the track “Boom(X3)” which features a booming bassline that blares over a soft piano melody. The song also provides a humorous take on the various ways in which modern rappers are viewed by critics. In the track, Ritchie with a T satirizes older rap listenersthat criticize new artists for having ghostwriters while pointing out that Ice Cube ghostwrote “Boyz-n-the-Hood.”   

And yet, despite the trio’s clear view of themselves as lively modern rappers, they don’t shy away from diving into somber territory with tracks like “North Pole.” This track features a quiet guitar melody backed with a slow drum beat and background vocals that almost sound ghostly. The lyrical content is some of Injury Reserve’s saddest stuff, with Groggs rapping about having his child taken away by CPS and Ritchie with a T dropping bars about his late father. 

Injury Reserve has been a unique act since the beginning, managing to put themselves in a lane of their own, but with this EP they’ve put another layer on their work. Aside from the witty jazz rap they’re known for, “Drive It Like It’s Stolen” introduces a new glitchy, electronic sound to their repertoire. Though this was not a full album release, this project sends a definitive message to the hip-hop world: there’s a new major player in the game.   

In the Ring with Jordan #2: Lesnar's hiatus leaves Raw without a world title once again

By Jordan Slonke, Online Columnist Follow him @JumbaDaniels

By Jordan Slonke, Online Columnist

Follow him @JumbaDaniels

Most wrestling fans love and respect Brock Lesnar for his contributions to professional wrestling. He’s essentially what he says he is: a “beast”. Lesnar proved this by demolishing anyone in his path over the years, whether it be The Undertaker, John Cena, Dean Ambrose, or even Triple H. He established his credibility as a top guy after he made his return to the WWE the night after WrestleMania 28. With Lesnar’s establishment, however, comes laziness. This laziness has been shown last night at WWE No Mercy when Lesnar defended his Universal Championship against Braun Strowman.

        Strowman, billed as “The Monster Among Men”, demolished Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in a fatal four-way match. Braun put Lesnar through two announce tables and threw the third one on top of him, leading to Lesnar getting stretchered out of the arena. Although Lesnar came back to retain his championship in that match, Strowman became the top guy on Raw during that match. He furthered his momentum by laying out Brock Lesnar with multiple running powerslams last night. Brock was left re-evaluating his strategy, as it usually revolves around german suplexes. Not with Braun. Instead, WWE protected Braun Strowman by having him destroy Brock Lesnar completely. But, like typical Brock fashion, he kicked out of all of them.

Courtesy of WWE

Courtesy of WWE

        Lesnar then delivered an F5, seemingly out of nowhere, which sealed the deal for Braun Strowman’s title aspirations. This booking decision will not do Raw any good for the next months, as Lesnar isn’t supposed to appear on WWE television for the time being. Once again Raw is left without a World Champion. Had Braun won the title, however, fans would have seen the continuation of the great series of matches between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman. Reigns defeated John Cena last night, so it’s obvious that he’d be eligible for a future Universal Championship match. If Strowman was champion, that match most likely would be booked for the TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs pay-per-view next month. But, like typical Brock Lesnar fashion, the champion sits at home resting while Raw will struggle without a World Championship.

        Raw not having an active Universal Champion right now forces random storylines for wrestlers like Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman, and John Cena--- wrestlers who would typically be chasing the Universal Championship and headlining pay-per-views. This renders Raw with the problem of building the Intercontinental Championship to be the top championship. SmackDown Live did it last year with The Miz and Dolph Ziggler’s fantastic feud, but Raw will struggle with it. The midcard on Raw doesn’t have many worthy contenders. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose are focused on the tag title picture, Jeff Hardy is injured, Bray Wyatt is focused on Finn Balor, and Elias is not ready for the title scene just yet. This leaves The Miz with a seemingly long feud over the title with Jason Jordan, which fans clearly are not invested in.

        If Brock Lesnar appeared more often (which he should, given his hefty paycheck) Raw wouldn’t be stuck in this predicament. A motivated Brock Lesnar is the Lesnar that fans want to see. He was invested in the feud with Braun Strowman, but it ended up with a lazy Lesnar finish, much like the WrestleMania 32 match between Ambrose and Brock. Braun as champion could have led to a feud with Bray Wyatt, who took Strowman under his wing initially. Perhaps a feud with Finn Balor could have been booked if Strowman was champion as well. All fans can do now is wait until the next time Lesnar appears on WWE television and hope for the best for the red brand.

 

COLUMN: How Rihanna slayed the makeup game

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

By Alexa Ash, Press Play Reporter

As someone who is ghostly pale, I struggle finding foundation to match me. I feel as though I always grab something too dark, too pink, or too yellow. And guess what: they're all overpriced. Seriously y’all, your makeup is not good enough to be worth $52 and my first born child. Sorry, but it's true.

Anyway, being an avid YouTube fanatic, I am constantly confronted with people complaining about the lack of shades offered by some of the top beauty companies in the industry. Not only does this grind our gears it ventures over into racial discrimination and exclusions.

THERE ARE NOT ENOUGH SHADES OF FOUNDATION TO FIT EVERY BEAUTIFUL GIRL.

Rihanna, singer, actress, dancer and our savior, has changed the game for us.

Rihanna, with the help of the newly established FENTY Beauty, created a makeup line geared towards anyone of any color. According to the list provided by FENTY on its website, not only has the collab produced highlighters, lip gloss, translucent powder and every other sort of beauty fabulousness, our girl Rihanna has provided us with foundation in forty different shades! Also, for everyone who is curious, the prices really aren't THAT bad as most products in the collection, according to the FENTY Beauty website, fall between the $20-$40 price range.

Sound the alarms, somebody in the celebrity world grew a brain.

Not only is this a huge step forward for the beauty industry but a huge step forward in the racial-equality battle. This, right here, other than being our “pretty girl swag”, is the kind of release we need not only as a makeup addict community but as a country. #girlsbeingnicetogirls #everywomanofeverycolorisbeautiful. I’m assuming you’ve at least read about these #hashtag movements and common phrases splattered all over the Interwebs. These issues are finally being spoken of and are gaining speed as our voices, both literally and metaphorically, get louder. I strongly believe that anyone,can do and wear what they want when expressing oneself through beauty. With both pride and pure awe, I can easily say that Rihanna has created a space for women of all color to feel inclusive.


But, Rihanna has done so much more than that: she is the epitome of Female Empowerment at this stage in pop culture. This is only one step--although a pretty bad-ass step--in Rihanna’s, and even the beauty community’s, fight for not only women, but  for everyone and anyone who has felt excluded from beauty standards that are impossible to meet. So, whoever may be reading this, can I get a slow clap for Rihanna and FENTY Beauty for a kick-ass collection which sends an even kickier-assier message?