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El Sistema: Advocating for Accessible Systematic Music Education (Jan. 9) 4:30 p.m. at 10 McCosh Hall. Sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, this panel discussion focuses on “El Sistema” — a publically funded music education program in Venezuela. One of the panelists will be Maestro Gustavo Dudamel — Princeton University Concerts’ first artist-in-residence.
XXXTentacion, or X, the hugely popular and controversial rapper who was shot dead in Broward County, Fla., in June 2018 at the age of 20, has at once horrified and inspired millions of Americans. The release of his posthumous album “Skins” last Friday has further intensified the debate over his cultural and moral legacy.
1. Searching for Ingmar Bergman (Dec. 10th-11th) at the Princeton Garden Theatre. Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish film director and producer. In this documentary, the director, Margarethe von Trotta, paints an intimate picture of Bergman that goes beyond how the public eye typically portrays him.
“A Star Is Born” is an emotional masterpiece. The film documents the tragic love story of Ally and Jack, two musicians played astoundingly by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Jack — an aging, severely depressed, hearing-impaired, washed-up, alcoholic rock star who dabbles in coke and pills when the booze can’t get the job done — meets Ally, a slightly younger, existentially restless waitress. They meet in a nondescript drag bar, where he is awestruck by Ally’s performance of a classic, playfully erotic French tune.
Thanksgiving has passed. November is in the past. Boxes upon boxes of candy canes line the shelves of overly bright department stores, meaning that time of the year has arrived, meaning the most wonderful time of the year, meaning the four-week oasis between Thanksgiving and New Year’s when Christmas music becomes socially acceptable to listen to.
Things have intensified since the cruise from the Black Arts Company (BAC)’s “On Deck” last fall. In “Stranded,” flight attendants go rogue. Kicking off the show with a crash, BAC performed with supreme confidence and humor to a full house on Saturday night. Few things generate more hype and support on campus than dance shows, and it comes as no surprise that BAC held audiences’ attention for a five-show run this weekend.
1. Algorithms of Oppressions: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism (Dec. 6th) at East Pyne 010 starts at 4:30 PM. Safiya Noble, a professor of communications at the University of Southern California, will discuss her work on data discrimination. The search engines that we use every day can be perpetuating racist practices against people of color, particularly women of color.
Arthur C. Brooks, the 10-year president of the American Enterprise Institute, one of the world’s leading conservative think-tanks, is a frequent lecturer. On campus last spring, he talked about “The Art of Happiness.” Students, faculty, and members of the local community filled twice as many seats as expected. A recording can be found online, but sitting feet away from him was a truly empowering experience. Brooks exudes confidence in the state of America and is able to relate his personal stories to a vast population smoothly.
What’s Christmas without some good British telly?
A nontraditionally cast and smoothly executed production of “Legally Blonde” enjoyed a five-night run this November at McCarter’s Berlind Theatre. “Legally Blonde” has held audiences’ attention over the years through its smart combination of outrageous pettiness and superficiality with a feminist storyline: A young woman named Elle Woods learns to find identity within herself and through sisterhood, instead of seeking validation from men. But in casting a woman of color, Jasmeene Burton ’19, as the show’s blonde lead, director Tamia Goodman ’19 prompts the audience to think more broadly about journeys of self-discovery.
“She was an expert at sautéing slugs,” said director Debra Granik, describing the wilderness expert who trained actors Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie for their roles as father and daughter in her 2018 film “Leave No Trace.” Though only McKenzie agreed to try the slugs, Granik assured the audience at a talkback following the film’s screening as the latest installment in the VIS Fall Film Series, “they were both willing to get dirt under their nails. There’s nothing prissy about this.”
Thanksgiving break is an interesting time to want to watch something. There’s not always easy access to a movie theater, the TV may be occupied by Uncle Gerald — who absolutely must watch the Detroit Lions lose to the Chicago Bears — and that’s without even getting into the endless rigmarole of political “debate” fueled by red wine. So when all is said and done, if you want to watch something over Thanksgiving break, you might have to take matters into your own hands.
“I would be the first person that would tell a joke about gay Americans and, uh, the word fag rolled off my tongue very easily.”
The stage of Frist Theatre bursts into a flood of pink fluorescent light. The audience immediately erupts into a deafening wave of cheers and screams. Onstage, the dancers of eXpressions Dance Company groove to “Vroom Vroom” by Charli XCX before the song switches to Billie Eilish’s “you should see me in a crown” and their undulating movements become sharp and staccato. Their bodies radiate energy and swagger, while their faces beam with confidence, fueled by the cheers of their peers. And as the show’s title “Transparent” suggests, the audience is quickly able to see through the dancing on stage to the passion and dedication of the dancers in eXpressions Dance Company that exist underneath all their movement.
This past weekend, Triangle Club’s fall show, “Night of the Laughing Dead,” transformed McCarter Theatre into the Doancomb Inn: a haunted hotel to satisfy the belated need for Halloween “spookitude” you didn’t know you had. Among the delightful clichés of cobwebs and Michael Jackson, the show does not shy away from the truly frightful. The thesis: “Journalism is Dead!” But as the world of journalism is overtaken by the undead, the real question becomes: are ghosts real?
Last month, pop artist Ariana Grande and “Saturday Night Live” comedian Pete Davidson ended their engagement and, in turn, their dreamlike, potently loving relationship. Their breakup came on the heels of the death of Grande’s ex-boyfriend, rapper Mac Miller, who died of a drug overdose this past September. Grande and Davidson’s short-lived relationship is an exhibition of our unsustainable desperation for love that heals and saves us from our debilitating pain and longings.
By PAUL PHILLIPS