Not All that Glisters is Gold, Cee Lo

 by Piero J Filpi
      If you didn’t happen to catch the circus show on CBS last Sunday, you’re lucky. You decided to skip out on the atrocity that is the Grammy Awards. Adele won every category she was nominated for, that’s five to be exact, everyone was sad because Beyonce didn’t win nine awards, and Cee Lo Green took a page out of The Wizard of Oz and Star Wars and became the tin C-3PO. An award show devoted to honoring artists for producing some of the best music of the year is a fantastic idea, in theory, but this is not the case.

Continue reading Not All that Glisters is Gold, Cee Lo

Yayomi Kusama’s Poetic Peace Through Pumpkins and Mirrors

By Daniela Sol
A new exhibit is opening this February 23rd at the Hirshhorn museum by the artist Yayomi Kusama named Infinity Mirrors. This opening will be thehe artist’s most significant tour in North America for over two decades.
The exhibit is being held in honor of the Japanese artist’s sixty-five years as an artist. The Hirshhorn promises this exhibit  “to be one of 2017’s essential art experiences.”

Continue reading Yayomi Kusama’s Poetic Peace Through Pumpkins and Mirrors

Haiti’s Revolution Through Silkscreen Prints

By Daniela Sol
      A new exhibit just opened this Tuesday, February 7th at The Phillips Collection, a small gallery in downtown D.C., named “The Life of Toussaint L’Ouvertue” by the artist Jacob Lawrence.

Continue reading Haiti’s Revolution Through Silkscreen Prints

One Cardinal Made it To The Super Bowl

By Piero J Filpi
     Every sentence of this topic begins the same: This year’s Super Bowl was like no other. The game itself was definitely a historic moment like no other in Super Bowl history — a quarterback winning five Super Bowl’s in his career, leading his team from a 19 point deficit in the final quarter of the game, ending the game tied and forcing the first ever  Super Bowl overtime — but besides the pandemonium that erupted at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas on Februrary 5th, the experience was the same: like no other.

Continue reading One Cardinal Made it To The Super Bowl

The Harlem Renaissance Through Portraits

By Daniela Sol
     In accord with Black History month the exhibit Harlem Heroes: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten at the Smithsonian American Art Mueseum promises a unique portrayal of the great minds that emerged from the Harlem Renaissance in a composition of intimate portraits.

Continue reading The Harlem Renaissance Through Portraits

The Age of Jazz at the National Portrait Gallery

By Piero Filpi
     A riveting and exciting sound the world had never heard before: jazz. The music defied traditional teachings that stemmed from Europe. When taken seperately, the use of “blue” notes, that is, a minor sound where a major note should be expected, improvisation, and deep emotion that came out of the musical genre, can be felt as chaotic. But just like chaos became the roots of the created world, arranged musical chaos became jazz.

Continue reading The Age of Jazz at the National Portrait Gallery

The Tower’s Guide to Inauguration Weekend

Courtesy of Getty Images

The Tower’s Guide to Inauguration Weekend

By: Piero Filpi
      With a slew of proud Americans sure to flood the streets of downtown D.C. come Friday morning, the city and all of its businesses have prepared appropriately for the 45th presidential inaguration. This means inaguration themed everything, crowded metros, and — the best part — cheap food and booze. Washington D.C. has its arms open and ready to accept the influx of tourism by creating a weekend packed with entertainment for ages ranging from eight to eighty. Richard Nelson’s trilogy of plays titled “The Gabriels” closes this weekend at the Kennedy Center, and maintains the theme of the weekend with a set of three plays that focus on a middle-class family and their reactions to the election night. The play paints a real reaction to how an average family deals with the selection of the President of the United States, and offers a show every U.S. citizen can relate to.

      If the theatre does not fit into weekend plans then maybe a show from the “Godfather of Neo-Soul”, Roy Ayers is the right event. The legendary singer has worked with famous singers like Erykah Badu and Fela Kuti and is in the District for only the weekend. The Vibrophonist comes second to James Brown for being sampled the most in Hip-Hop songs for his smooth voice and pleasant beats. “Roy Ayers returns to Blues Alley” is selling out quick with the first show out of eight already completely booked. Tickets range from 45 dollars and up, and he will be performing at the Blues Alley on Wisconsin Ave NW.

      Whether the inauguration brings happiness or sadness on Friday, a good laugh is always needed. The Drafthouse Comedy club has prepared for the weekend by inviting the hilarious Scottish comedian, Daniel Sloss. The comedian has been on shows with Craig Ferguson as well as Conan O’Brien and has toured the world selling out shows wherever he heads.

      One however cannot talk about the weekend without mentioning the Women’s March happening in Washington D.C. on Saturday. The National Museum of Women in the Arts will be free for the weekend, holding the special exhibition “Wanderer/Wonderer: Pop-Ups by Colette Fu” and their permanent collection. The museum opens at 10 a.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.

      For those not looking for entertainment but instead entertaining their friends, restaurants and bars will be holding deals all weekend for the festivities. On Saturday, Centrolina will be offering a free hot chocolate or glass of prosecco with a meal purchase in honor of the Women’s March. Ten percent of all the money made will go to Running Start, a program that trains women for political leadership. Del Campo will be offering free dessert with any entree ordered on Saturday with a complimentary hot beverage, dulce de leche caramel popcorn, and hand warmers. Graffiato will be extending their happy hour to 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in honor of the march as well. Lastly, Neighborhood Restaurant Group’s D.C. restaurants will be serving the Belgian-style beer, People Are People, for six dollars all weekend.

      The District will be crammed this weekend with people from all over the world to see the 45th President of the United States be sworn in, but the bars, museums, clubs, and theatres will do a good job dispersing the wave about to hit the city. Be sure to hop around downtown and get as much in as possible, after all, if not this year, then you’ll have to wait another 4 for the opportunity.

La La Land Lives Up To The Hype

La La Land Lives Up To The Hype

By: Katarina Ivancik
La La Land’s unique and artistic cinematography, acting, and script are what make the movie truly memorable. The vibrant and stunning opening scene sets the tone for the piece and effectively allows the director, Damien Chazelle, to introduce a vision of his La La Land. Throughout the entire piece the director makes use of gorgeous scenery and interesting camera angles, as well as impressive special effects. One of my favorite technical aspects is the lighting, which in my opinion has become a highly underrated aspect of movies. Nowadays, most films are only concerned about lighting the actors, however La La Land uses natural and artificial lights to set the moods for certain scenes. This includes an evening scene that, according to the L.A. Times, was only six minutes longs but took two days of filming in order to film. The scene was done at the time cinematographers call the “magic hour.” Additionally, the frequent use of spotlights alludes to the timeless traditions of live theatre and the old-fashioned movie musicals which inspired La La Land. The movie’s cinematography featured many distinct moments where the camera focuses solely on an actor’s face and the audience is able to watch emotions flicker through their eyes. This is another treat-rarely seen in large-scale American movies-which allows the actors to connect with the audience despite barriers of time and space.
If the special effects and cinematography were not enough La La Land also has a fantastic cast. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are already accomplished actors, but the honesty and creativity they bring to the film may not have existed with another pair of actors. Chazelle obviously cast the roles effectively and despite the fact that neither Stone nor Gosling are versed in singing and dancing they pull it off fairly well. Their emotional honesty and story-telling abilities more than compensate for their less than impressive song and dance skills. However, on that note I’d like to point out that Gosling is an exceptional pianist and he has stated in multiple interviews that he did not have any piano doubles which is an impressive feat. Music skills aside, both actors did some award-worthy work on this unique film and it will be on everyone’s radar as the Oscar nominations approach.

Although La La Land is advertised as a musical/comedy-drama, that aspect of the movie was the only part of La La Land that was somewhat lacking in artistry and excellence. The song and dance numbers were not the star of the piece in fact for the most part they served as decoration rather than enhancement. Undeniably the story is what makes the piece shine, it is nearly impossible to find anything in the theaters with a unique plot or concept but amazingly La La Land has both.

Even though some people perceive musicals as unrealistic or don’t appreciate stunning cinematography everyone can appreciate La La Land’s solely for its moving story and fantastic cast. Not every Golden Globe winning movie lives up to the hype and Hollywood critics can sometimes be biased, but in all honestly La La Land is an exceptional movie which deserves the high praise it has been receiving. Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling directed by Damien Chazelle have created beautiful, flawed, relatable characters who weave a masterful story that is more than worth watching.

Pinkerton Goes Platinum

By: Iain Higgins

Post-grunge alternative rock fans can always rely on Weezer. The White Album is Weezer’s new addition to their extensive list of albums, and it hits hard with catchy hooks and cohesive riffs. Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s slightly nerdy, yet somehow effortlessly cool front-man leads the charge in their explosive beginning. Their debut album, Weezer (The Blue Album), made serious waves back in 1994 for adding pop sensibilities to the heavy grunge made famous by Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder. The album charted well, sold better, and received critical acclaim.

Their sophomore album, however, was much more off the wall. It was still unmistakably Weezer, but the band had swapped the cool carelessness of The Blue Album for a more calculated approach to songwriting. Their second record feels tense comparatively, a surprising benefit. In fact, Pinkerton just might be their best release to date. Though the album debuted to horrible sales and reviews, (critical analysis pegged the album at around a 1/10 in some publications!) the music world has come around.

Pinkerton now finds a home on many critics “Best Albums of All Time” lists, and has been certified a platinum album, as of September 16th, 2016, by the Recording Industry Association of America. Junior Jake Donnelly reaffirms: “Pinkerton is debatably one of the best sophomore LPs in the entire alternative rock scene. I find it hard to skip any song on that album.” Coincidentally, the album also turns twenty this month. It was originally released in 1996 on September 24th. Weezer deserves every accolade they receive and more for their hard work, it’s comforting to see Pinkerton finally get the recognition it deserves- even if it is twenty years after the fact.

Red Hot Chili Peppers Continue Success

By: Iain Higgins

It’s been a big year for Anthony Kiedis and the gang. The Red Hot Chili Peppers dropped a new album this summer, their most recent record since 2011’s I’m With You. Their new album is entitled The Getaway, and it’s been divisive, to say the least. Fans have been loving it, but critics have doled out only slightly above average scores across the board. The album is so polarizing due to their new inventive sound. I’m With You, 2011’s album, felt bland and devoid of soul at times, but it was overall a fairly typical Chili Peppers record. Here, the Chili Peppers really go out of their way to embrace a new sound, due in part to a change in producers from Rick Rubin to Danger Mouse. The latter has recently produced albums for The Black Keys, Beck, and even A$AP Rocky.

To go along with the album, the Peppers have announced a fairly extensive world tour this week. The U.S. tour dates include most of the major stops around the country. Unfortunately, Washington, D.C. is not on the list. To go see the Chili Peppers, you’ll need to catch a ride up to Philadelphia on February 12th. Overall, the hype around the Red Hot Chili Peppers just keeps growing as the year comes to a close. Fans of the band have a lot to celebrate this year, and celebrate they will.

“I’m pretty big on their new album. Very dynamic, lots of different sounds, some are more modern and others are the classic style of the Chili Peppers we know and love,” said junior, Jack Darling. Thanks for weighing in Jack, we hope you can make it up to Philadelphia for the show. Get excited, the kings of funk rock are back.