Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week: Die Hard (1988)

It’s the holiday season, so I thought I would post about my favorite holiday movie. The cinematic masterpiece Die Hard features neither Santa nor Hanukkah, nor the Holiday Armadillo (if you don’t know who the Holiday Armadillo is, you should click here). Yet, Die Hard is a movie about what the holiday season should be about: killing terrorists by means of one’s own sheer awesomeness.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a detective with the NYPD, who is attempting a Christmas reunion with his estranged wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia). He finds her at a holiday office party in the high-rise Nakatomi Plaza. After a fight with his wife, McClane finds himself alone in a private bathroom. Before he can attempt to rectify the situation, a group of terrorists (the majority of which look quite a lot like Fabio) led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) seize the building. In the confusion, McClane is able to slip unnoticed into the building’s maintenance areas, but now it’s up to him to safe the rest of the hostages, including his wife.

Click here to see McClane spreading the holiday spirit.

Click here for the trailer.

Have a great winter break everyone!

Die Hard sadly cannot be found at any of the Princeton University libraries. However, it can be watched instantly on Netflix.

--Lolita de Palma '14


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Singles of the Week: December 22, 2010

Rap: “Roman’s Revenge” – Nicki Minaj ft. Eminem

What could Eli Manning, Aladdin, dungeon dragons, Roman Polanski, Lil’ Kim, S&M, the Vatican, and straightjackets possibly have in common? Well, they’re all somehow relevant in the eagerly anticipated collaboration “Roman’s Revenge” between provocative rap icons Nicki Minaj and Eminem. And it certainly delivers; Nicki’s more aggressive than most male rappers could dream of being, and Eminem’s crazier than a Brown student. It’s angry. It’s explicit. It’s twisted. This shit’s as cathartic as it gets. So whether you like it or not, listen, because it seems as though music like this has become a legitimate form of artistic expression; and to be honest, I think it’s brilliant. As these icons say, “when Shady and Nicki’s worlds clash, it’s high class meets white trash”, and I think they’re here to stay.

(Just for fun, try to determine which rapper is high class and which is white trash. I haven’t slept in days trying to figure it out. It’s driven me mad.)

-Michael Becker ‘14

Hip Hop: “Beast Mode”- B.o.B.

I should preface this by saying that I grew up watching “Beast Wars” and “Beast Machines,” the shows from which this song draws its central metaphor. So any song drawing upon that paragon of nineties cartoons had a direct line to my heart. But besides my own personal nostalgic satisfaction, “Beast Mode” is a great song. It’s the B.o.B. I came to know and love before “Airplanes” seized America’s radios by the throat and choked the general population, threatening to extinguish B.o.B. the up-and-coming rapper entirely. But with “Beast Mode,” that version of Bobby Ray is back. He brings the manic energy that made his Lawnparties show so live, and complements with an attitude of seething desire bordering on anger. And it’s awesome. This is the B.o.B. that got himself noticed in the first place, as “a beast unleashed, raging.”

The accompanying vid:

-Trap Yates ‘14

Indie: “Chinatown” – Destroyer

Why I decided to finally break my yearlong Pitchfork abstinence to pick this song is somewhat of a nebulous explanation. I was craving something smooth, and something modern, and this song by Destroyer turned out to be about as satisfying as a cream filling. The intertwining voices, acoustic guitar and rhythmic beat is sensually light, almost a seamless homage to Nico in “Femme Fatale” with the Velvet Underground. Then there’s this smooth jazz horn section from the 80s, something from an elevator or a sitcom, which makes you think first, “this is totally wack” and then immediately afterwards, “I kind of like it.” There’s a strange irony as I listen to Dan Bejar and Sibel Thrasher croon into my ear “I can’t walk away/you can’t walk away” whilst scrambling to finish the semester with one foot out the door. But this song, altogether too short and too sweet, is as soothing as a bubble bath. Let it be a reminder, it’s never too late to take a mental break.

-Lisa Han ‘13


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fashion Trend of the Week: Phone Cases

Since the holidays are right around the corner (or for some they have already passed), I thought this week's fashion trend should also be a great gift idea. After searching far and wide, there is one gift that is perfect for everyone and anyone, no matter their style, age, or gender. What is it? A phone case!

Phone cases serve many purposes. First and foremost, they protect your phone. Duh. A good phone case is worth its hefty price tag, considering it is MUCH cheaper than purchasing a new phone nowadays (a new Blackberry costs about $450). Also, phone cases can put your personality on display. Whenever you text, talk on the phone, or check e-mail, everyone around you can see what your phone says about you. For girls, phone cases serve them well on weekend nights when they go out to the Street. Some phone cases, especially gel skins, allow you to put your prox and some cash in them, which means you don’t have to bring a purse or wallet with you to the Street—you simply need your phone!

If you don’t want to make an extreme statement with your phone case, go for something like a gel skin or a plain hard case. Gel skins are VERY popular for Blackberrys. On E-bay, you can get 5 Blackberry skins for about $6, including shipping. There is nothing cheaper than that! However, you must be aware that every make and model of Blackberry is different—be sure to get a skin that is for your Blackberry!

Although gel skins are enough protection for a Blackberry, a touch-screen phone such as a Droid or an iPhone really require a hard case of some sort. This Talon case for the Droid X runs only $14.95 and comes in 3 different colors. For iPhones, there are many options, but Belkin and Incase are the two top brands. At Best Buy, these cases will run you about $30, but they are very durable and come in a multitude of colors. For all other phones, your best bets are SPECK cases. Although most stores don’t carry them, you can still find them online at

If you want to make a statement, go for a “blinged out” case. These cases are covered in rhinestones (or real Swarovski crystals if you REALLY want to go all-out) and will certainly draw some curious glances. These are most easily found at the little kiosks in the mall or at fashion-forward boutiques, such as Niko Niko in Princeton. You can get any design you like, from skull and crossbones to stars or leopard print. One thing you need to be aware of when purchasing a bedazzled case is that quality is VERY important. You want the sides to look as seamless as possible and you want the stones to be evenly spaced. Although you can get low-quality cases for as low as $15, a high-quality bejeweled case costs around $40.

If you have butter hands and can’t help but drop your phone ALL the time, then an Otterbox is a good option for you. Otterbox cases, meant for those who are very tough on their phones, are indestructible. Although the case just about doubles your phone in size, you literally cannot break your phone. Not only can you throw it across a tile floor, but you can throw it in the pool and your phone will be perfectly fine! It may seem ridiculous, but it works! Otterbox cases retail for about $50.

To be honest, phone cases never go out of style (I mean, who wouldn’t want to protect their phone?), but they are an integral part of your style choice on a daily basis. Make sure you choose a phone case you love and it will always be able to brighten your day. Cases make a great gift for friends, family, or even yourself!

--Lisa Fierstein '14


Monday, December 13, 2010

Mixtape of the Week: No Genre - B.o.B.

Dear Trap,

I just heard B.o.B’s new mixtape, “No Genre,” and it made me very sad. I feel like my upcoming mixtape is now irrelevant. Hell, my actual album doesn’t seem worth it anymore. What can I do to get back my self-esteem and make my career important?


Up-and-Coming Mixtape Rapper

Dear Up-and-Coming,

Honestly, give up. B.o.B’s tape is better than your tape and your album put together. From the bangers that it opens with, through it’s more introspective moments, and even when B.o.B gets weirdly paranoid like on “Dr. Aden,” “No Genre” is an absolute classic on every level.

His production would be inspired for an album, and is beyond brilliant on a mixtape. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t even know what to do with beats this good. His use of Coldplay’s, “Lost!” is a stroke of genius. I want to meet whoever put together the beat for “Shoot Up the Station,” one of the most creative tracks I’ve heard in a long time.

“No Genre” jangles, bumps, and generally just barrels through your headphones with palpable energy perfectly suite to Bobby Ray’s flow. He can mix double-time raps with actual singing. His lyricism is piercingly intelligent. And despite his recent commercial success and Grammy nominations, B.o.B sounds hungrier than the vast majority of other rappers, including you.

This hunger causes him to rap like he’s got something to prove. And he did have something to prove. He had to prove he is more than that one song. As it turns out, he is. He’s one of the best rappers in the game.

Good luck with your career,


The tape:

“Watchers” video:

--Trap Yates '14


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week: Gone with the Wind (1939)

Gone with the Wind has always been one of my favorite movies. I grew up watching it. I’ve secretly always wanted to be Scarlett O’Hara (probably not the best role model) and I’ve always not so secretly wanted Rhett Butler. Scarlett and Rhett are what make Gone with the Wind brilliant. These two characters are so real, so strong, and so magnificent that they are impossible to turn away from. And if you’re not looking at them, you’re looking at the bewitching backdrops that make this film so special.

The movie begins with Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh), the very pretty and very headstrong daughter of an Irish plantation owner, flirting with two twin boys. It is the South right before the Civil War, all is calm and idyllic, but the viewer can sense chaos on the horizon. She goes to a party at her neighbor John Wilkes’s house, where she confesses her love for his son Ashley (Leslie Howard) and learns of his impending marriage to his sweet cousin Melanie (Olivia de Havilland). She also meets Rhett Butler (Clark Gable), witness to her rejection. He ridicules Ashley and further enrages Scarlett (a not unusual state for Scarlett, who spends the majority of the film enraged, especially where Rhett is involved). Then, the Civil War breaks out and the peaceful picturesque world of the Old South is set on fire…

For a great Scarlett and Rhett scene, click here.

For the trailer, click here.

Side Note: The book is awesome too.

Gone with the Wind can be found at the Humanities Resource Center and Netflix.

-Lolita De Palma '14


Princeton Trend of the Week: Work Wars

Contestant A: “Ahhhh I have two tests, a presentation and a paper due tomorrow.”

Contestant B: “Mmhmm that sucks…I’ve got three problem sets due, a lab practical and an orgo test on Monday.”

Who wins? Your vote will probably go to A if you’re a humanities freak, like moi, and with B if you’re more scientifically inclined (but that’s just a guess). In any case, this little trend of subtle/passive aggressive workload one-upmanship is all the rage here at P-ton.

Ok, let’s be real, this is not really a super-“current” trend. Yes, Princetonians, you…okay we…have been playing this game forever. It’s par for the course at a university made up of some of the nation’s most competitive youngsters. Nevertheless, I think it’s high time we openly acknowledged this game we too often play.

The semester is coming to an end, which means more work and the best part of the year—post-break papers and finals!!! And this undoubtedly means that the courseload competition will only get worse.

So a plea to you (okay “us”!) all for the coming month: when your friend is in despair, even if he/she’s just rubbing in your face how epically genius they are that they can take three lab classes and two 500 level seminars, be understanding (also, you should just feel bad for them for being so dumb/masochistic when they signed up for courses). When you say “that sucks,” mean it. Give them a piece of chocolate and a hug. And if you know your measly two finals and one paper can’t match up, don’t try to inflate it just to make yourself look all macho-Princetonian. We know you’re a clever one (or clever enough).

And if your friend is a little pisher who’s just complaining over a “ton” of work that amounts to a fifteenth of what you’ve got in store? I suggest a death glare and blasting music. Actions speak louder than words.

Now back to my third all-nighter this week…

-Nava Friedman '13


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fashion Trend of the Week: Snug Sweaters

With weathermen predicting the first snow will fall at Princeton this week, Princeton students are scrambling to get together a winter wardrobe warm enough to survive the impending forecast. The most fashionable way to update your wardrobe for winter is definitely with some sweaters.

Sweaters are a classic. Sweaters can never go out of style as long as you go with one that is reasonably low-key, meaning it has a simple design and is a “safe” color, such as grey or black. Sweaters can be worn with leggings or skirts (for girls) or jeans (for guys and girls). There are so many different styles of sweaters out right now, but some are definitely more “in” this season than others.

As per my last post, eggplant purple and olive green sweaters are definitely great choices this season. These colors are really popular right now and you can find these colors at basically any clothing store you go to. Guys—no matter how manly you feel, you should not wear a dark purple sweater. Go for the green instead. There are a lot of options in terms of green sweaters out there. If you are feeling really adventurous, try an emerald green sweater, NOT an eggplant one. Girls—try to experiment with different shades of olive and eggplant. Try maybe a brighter purple or an army green to think outside of the box while still staying current. Also, if you can find a sweater that has a cool detail you like, go for it! I’m sure it will be a hit!

One thing you definitely want to avoid is the old-sweater style, meaning that it is pilling and looks as if it has gone through a war and back. If you have a pilling sweater that has seen better days, I would invest in a sweater shaver. This one, from The Container Store, costs only $7.99 and will keep your sweater looking brand-new.

Girls—one really awesome way to wear a sweater is on your feet. And yes, I do mean on your feet. Take a look at the Classic and Tall Cardy boots at! The boots take classic sweater colors and styles and revamp them into a whole new trend. These boots are just as warm as the regular UGG boots we wear on campus, but they definitely look a lot different. If you like them, I’d order them now—UGGs sell out pretty quickly during the winter months, and you won’t be able to grab them until next season!

Sweaters are all the rage on college campuses, especially here at Princeton! Take some time to find a sweater you like, considering they can last you forever. It’s worth the investment if you find one you love—the more you like it, the more you’ll wear it and the longer you’ll keep it. I can’t wait to go home and get some more sweaters!

--Lisa Fierstein ‘14


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Q & A with Vinnie Paz of Jedi Mind Tricks

Vinnie Paz, the lyricist behind underground hip hop legends Jedi Mind Tricks, was nice enough to let Intersections interrupt his dinner for a quick chat about his love for Slayer and the lyrical merits of late-night vodka.

Make sure to check out Jedi Mind Tricks at Terrace this Thursday (12/9). According to Vinny, they’re gonna “fucking tear the building down.”

You were just touring in Europe for a month. What’s it like doing a show over there versus in the U.S.?

I think they’re way more appreciative and knowledgeable about the old [Jedi Mind] Tricks stuff. Typically when you say someone is stuck in a “time warp” it’s a bad thing but in that case there, it’s a great thing. It’s kind of like the 90’s there, at least in hip-hop. We had 15 straight sold-out shows.

How did you like releasing your first solo album Season of the Assassin in June, and how does it compare to working with Jedi Mind Tricks?

It was the most fun I’ve ever had making a record. Very liberating. Being in a group is a great thing but there are pros and cons in every aspect of it. I’m very much a control freak and that’s not really conducive to being in a group. Doing a solo record allowed me to be the maniac I really am.

How has your creative process changed as you’ve grown older?

It hasn’t changed really since I was a kid. My creative process is weird—my creative process is a lack of a creative process. The only thing that must have evolved is that for my creative process today it has to be really late at night and vodka has to be involved.

How do you feel about your home city of Philly? What are your three favorite things about it?

I’ve been everywhere around the world so I think I can say better than most people that it’s the best city in the world. And for my three favorite things…my mom is the first thing for sure. Let me see, I guess my mom, the food, and the boxing.

You like Rocky?

[Laughs] Well, I like real boxers too, not just Rocky. Philly’s actually one of the most legendary fight cities in the world and a lot of the most amazing trainers are still here.

Since you started making music in high school and have now made it big…any words of advice for high school kids thinking about making music as a career?

I started before that in terms of writing but I first recorded stuff in ninth grade. I got no advice for them. I’ll tell them to quit – don’t do it. Go to college, get a job, and make legitimate money. You’ve got the same chance of making it in this game as you do of making it to the NFL or NBA. It’s one in millions that you can live off it. If you wanna do it for fun then God bless you, but as far as a career? Keep your head in the books

If you could tour with any artist or group right now, who would it be?

Slayer. They’re my favorite band of all time. I saw them live back in the day on their Rain and Blood Tour when I was 11 with my brother.

Have you ever met them?

I talked to [vocalist and bassist] Tom Araya on the phone once because we were thinking about collaborating. It didn’t work out but hopefully it will someday.

What can we expect from your show at Terrace next week?

High energy, man. From the beginning to the end. We come to fucking tear the building down. Some people stand there and rap but we don’t. We’re bringing that heavy metal shit. We’ll do our best to make sure it’s the best fucking show this college has ever seen.

Interview conducted, edited, and condensed by Sara Wallace ‘12


Mixtape of the Week: “Soul like Khan”

Soul Khan is a battle rapper trying to break into the rap world, and if not the mainstream, at least the underground stream that runs right below the attention of the general populace. His first major effort is his tape, “Soul Like Khan.”

What he served up is an interesting fusion of jazzy self-aware rap that sees itself as part of a larger society of hip-hop and straight up battle rhymes. Khan’s flow is pretty much unchanging, but this isn’t really a bad thing. He machine guns through every track, his mesmerizing voice pounding through bar after tongue-twisting bar. It is a verbal barrage, and you can either let it flow over your ears or try to pick it apart to see what is really going on.

The production matches Khan’s rapping, mixing booming bass with piano and horn loops. It is music both subtle and remarkably upfront, perfectly suited to Khan’s brand of lyricism.

But at the end of the day, Khan is a battler, so everything on the tape comes with the same tongue-in-cheek, punchline-heavy attitude that accompanies that brand of rap. This might best be captured by the intro to one of the songs, in which Khan requests that, “Ladies and gentleman, let’s get on some deep, intellectual, superscientific shit!” before giving way to the song’s hook (and title): “Suck my dick!”

At 41 minutes, and for a price of $Free.99, there’s no reason anyone interested in double-time rhymes and the battle aesthetic shouldn’t check out Khan.

Songs to get it for:

“Shot Glass Magnified feat. Sene” (the tape’s best track, and worth getting if you don’t get the rest), “For That, Soul Like Khan”

Incredibly creepy music video for “Fahrenheit” in which Khan kills evil clowns with a crowbar before going home to his wife who is, surprise, a clown:

Get the tape:

--Trap Yates '14


From Naked to Gloria: "Go," a Collaborative Dance Thesis Show

What can we define as “dance”? Where do we draw the line between “dance” and “performance art”? Fred Astaire is quoted as having said, “I have no desire to prove anything by dancing. I have never used it as an outlet or a means of expressing myself. I just dance. I just put my feet in the air and move them around.” I understand that sentiment. When I attend a dance performance I want to see dancing. I hope to be transported from my seat by the beauty of movement. I want to experience afresh how the body can play with space and time.

What does this mean for a performance like “Go,” where five out of the six pieces represent the thesis work of seniors in the dance department, asked to create something new and fresh for this final product of their time at Princeton? It’s a tough question when there’s so much pressure to create a masterpiece unlike anything before it, and I think it’s the wrong question to ask. I don’t mean to undermine any of the hard work and dedication of the students, but it’s clear to me that this pressure to over turn tradition in every sense of the word led to works that were in some cases far less successful than what could have been produced by such talented students.

Before looking at the seniors’ pieces more specifically, it might be beneficial to consider the last piece in the performance: “Gloria,” choreographed by Mark Morris in 1981 and staged by Dance Department faculty member Tina Fehlandt. A renowned modern dance choreographer, Morris is well known for his interests in folk dancing and forms of religious expression, which often inspire his choreography. “Gloria” is set to Vivaldi’s Gloria in D, a musical setting for part of the traditional Roman Catholic mass.

In “Gloria” Morris has created this full and joyous movement, born out of Vivaldi’s music and working within the world of “Glory be to God.” It is movement born of tradition and freed by its own artistic merit. The difference between “Gloria,” the final work in the performance, and the very first is striking. In so many circles, “tradition” is seen as some manifestation of the fear of change. And yet what it really represents, and what I think Morris is so fascinated with, is the expression of our humanness. While “Gloria” embraces this expression, “/.The Flower Child-- Forty Years Later /..” by Sarah Fingerhood seems both to reject it and also to willfully misunderstand it.

Throughout the piece, a dejected-looking woman in a frumpy dress meanders about the stage acting depressed. All around her dancers strip down to nude unitards and draw on each other’s breasts with marker. There are several sexual-looking vignettes, a little bit of dancing, and at the end the dancers spit water onto the dejected woman and leave her folding their discarded red dresses. After the show I was told that it was “one of those pieces you’re not supposed to get.” I think I got it, though. I believe I’m right that the woman—who begins the piece by playing the piano beneath a crystal chandelier and changing out her flower vase—in some way represents “tradition” and “society.” And yes, she was actually spat upon. By any definition, this aspect at least constitutes not dance but performance art.

Though rather high in shock value, this piece did not manage to steal the spotlight. “Internal Laws” by Jennifer Oswald featured live musicians and both live and recorded speaking, both of which added a unique dimension. “if/when” by Patty Chen was a fascinating exploration of Billy Collins’ poem Walking Across the Atlantic, although it could have benefitted from a little more attention to the principle of visual unity, and Kate Adamson’s “…within and without” left me both satisfied and curious from its playful juxtaposition of adult longings and childhood games. “5 Minutes to 3” by Bridget Wright was one of my favorites. The choreography was well thought out and showcased the dancers’ technique extremely well, and the ending was striking as a wooden hoop spins faster and faster in a spot of light before finally collapsing.

In all, the show was enjoyable, and many of the pieces were successful. However, the misguided idea that we must always have something newer than new to thrust in the faces of our unsuspecting audience will always lead us down an ugly path. If I wanted to see performance art, I’m sure I could find plenty to see in the City. I went to the Berlind to watch dance, and if it hadn’t been for Mark Morris and one or two of the Dance Department seniors I’m afraid I would have left it rather disappointed.

--Chloe Davis '12


Monday, December 6, 2010

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: “Floyd Collins” or “127 Hours”?

Before your next rock-climbing trip with Outdoor Action, you should consider seeing the new production of “Floyd Collins” which opened this past weekend at the Matthews Acting Studio at 185 Nassau Street. The well-acted musical, directed by Andrew Linz as his senior thesis, is based on the true story of cave-explorer Floyd Collins who got stuck between rocks and was unable to get out of a cave.

As I watched the musical, I was struck by how similar it was to the new film “127 Hours” that recently opened in the Garden Theatre. The film is based on the story of Aron Ralston whose arm was crushed when a boulder falls and pins it against a canyon wall. Directed by Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and starring James Franco (“Pineapple Express,” “Spiderman”), it tells an epic story of survival in the desert with no hope of help arriving.

But you’re busy, so which one should you go see? It depends on what you like. “Floyd Collins” is a lively musical, with some very creative musical arrangements. My favorite was a round made out of Floyd’s yodels when he first discovers the cave. Also, the setting of Depression-era Kentucky was very clearly established through the bluegrass music, period costumes, and strong performances.

“127 Hours,” being a film, is much more easily able to show what Ralston was thinking, remembering — or even hallucinating. Oh, and it could show him graphically cutting off his arm with a pen-knife (If you’re squeamish, either look away or don’t go at all). I liked the ending of “127 Hours” better than “Floyd Collins,” but to be fair, because they were both based on true stories, there really wasn’t much creative license to choose the endings.

Basically, if you’re usually a moviegoer and can handle seeing blood, I’d recommend “127 Hours.” If you typically like theater and musical acts more, go see “Floyd Collins.“ Or if you regularly go spelunking, go see both. I know I won’t be going into any tight squeezes for a while.

--Eric Hagstrom '13


Sunday, December 5, 2010

PSAT's "Dial 'M' for Marriage" - Comedy Theater Review

In a promotional video posted on the Princeton homepage, Myra Gupta ’12, co-president of Princeton South Asian Theatrics, describes reading about a murder at an Indian wedding over the summer and being inspired to write a play about it. The result is “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage,” a South Asian whodunit that is PSAT’s latest amusing original comedy.

The play opens at a lavish puja celebrating the impending marriage of two Princetonians who met as TA (Kashyap Rajagopal ’14) and student (Rachita Jain ’14) in a differential equations course. The local Panit played by Vikram Rao ’11 is officiating the ceremony when, after a few spastic convulsions, he abruptly drops dead, prompting a labyrinth of investigation and intrigue that occupies the production’s remaining two hours.

It is unfortunate that Rao, one of the company’s strongest actors, expires less than five minutes after the curtain goes up, but he makes the most of his brief appearance. PSAT has a strong tradition of showcasing the talents of performers not otherwise active in the Princeton theater scene, and “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage” is no exception in this regard. The freshman leads both turn in solid performances, competently handling a good deal of responsibility for first-timers. Brandon Bark ’13 is effective if a bit clichéd in his performance as the American detective called in by the bride’s family to investigate Rao’s untimely demise. Several cast members, including Sanchali Pal ’12 as the maid Pai and Joey Barnett ’12 as the heartthrob wedding planner Alejandro, turn in especially strong comic performances. Overall, the acting is adequate but unspectacular, appropriate for PSAT’s distinctive brand of off-beat and unvarnished (in the best way) farce. As usual, the accents are great.

PSAT shows, with their de-emphasis on realism and focus on creating an intimate, participatory theater experience for the audience, always play particularly well in blackboxes. The Frist Film and Performance Theater, where “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage” is being staged, feels almost too conventional and impersonal for PSAT. The greater resources available in Frist do allow for relatively crisp technical work and transitions, an important consideration for keeping up the energy of this production. Since this review is based on the dress rehearsal, I was not able to evaluate how heckles from the audience, which usually add significant vitality (and a lot of laughs) to PSAT’s shows, augmented “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage.”

PSAT deserves credit for the ambitious agenda of penning two full-length original plays each year. The writing in “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage” is generally strong, keeping a sprawling plot focused and moving forward, a few slow scenes notwithstanding. With their somewhat limited repertoire of topics, PSAT faces the additional challenge of striking a balance between recycling effective old material and keeping jokes and plotlines fresh. “Dial ‘M’ for Marriage,” which, in contrast to several recent PSAT productions, is not set at Princeton, accomplishes this well. As noted in the same video by Anjali Bisaria ’12, the troupe’s other co-President, structuring a play around an Indian wedding makes a wide range of material—from elaborate rituals and meals to crazy distant relatives brought together—available as comic fodder, all of which gets exploited effectively in the play.

In my last review for The Daily Princetonian, of the Program in Theater’s production of Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Person Of Setzuan,” I wrote about the difficulty of comparing a piece that received ample professional support to the work of an average campus theater group. For very different reasons, PSAT’s plays are also difficult to evaluate in relation to other Princeton performances. In the actors it features, the issues and perspectives it considers, and its irreverent approach to theater, PSAT is really unlike any other group on campus. I consistently find its work entertaining and valuable, and for that I’m willing to overlook the occasional flubbed line or sloppy acting.

3 Paws

Pros: Solid original comedy based on a cool premise.

Cons: Limited range in the acting.

--Joseph Dexter '13


Friday, December 3, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week: Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

I wake up Wednesday morning, roll out of bed, somehow clothe myself, rush downstairs, open the door, and…. THERE IS A MONSOON OUTSIDE!!!! Or at least that was my immediate response to this unexpected weather (I’m from L.A.; we don’t have unexpected weather). In any case, as I wrestled with the wind to gain some semblance of control over my umbrella, I couldn’t help wishing that the gales were gone, that I had no place to be, and that I was singing in the rain…

What is so amazing about Singin’ in the Rain is the happiness, the “glorious feeling” (as the tagline says), it brings to its audience. It’s why I can’t help watching it again and again. It’s why monsoons make me want to dance and sing, to try to recreate the pure joy Gene Kelly radiates as he splashes around with his umbrella in a rainstorm. However, there is more to Singin’ in the Rain than just that one musical number. It is the story of Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly), a silent movie star making the transition to talkies with his frequent costar Lina Lamont (Jean Hagen). Lina, however, does not have a voice suitable for sound, so they bring in the young and beautiful Kathy Selden (Debbie Reynolds) to dub over Lina’s lines. Lina thinks she is in love with Don, but Don falls in love with Kathy. And Don’s best friend Cosmo Brown (Donald O’Connor) is just spectacularly hilarious. Thus, comedy ensues.

If you are still not convinced that you should be happy and watching Singin’ in the Rain right now instead of dealing with lame real life issues, these are some of the great musical numbers in the film:

Singin’ in the Rain, Make ‘Em Laugh, Good Morning, and Broadway Music Ballet.

You can also view the trailer here.

Side Note: Glee’s mashup of Singin’ in the Rain and Umbrella was decently cool. It’s recreation of Make ‘Em Laugh was pretty pathetic in comparison to the original. Or am I being too harsh?

Singin’ in the Rain is available at both the Humanities Resource Center and the Mendel Music Library. It’s also available through Netflix.

--Lolita de Palma '14


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Movie News: Sucker Punch

What the f***?

Seriously, though, what the f***?

That was the first thing I thought after watching the trailer for Sucker Punch. There is some crazy stuff going on in that short two-and-a-half-minutes clip, and it took a few viewings (and some Googling) for me to figure out what was actually happening. Now, let me make it clear that I want to give Zack Snyder the benefit of the doubt. After all, he made 300, the greatest man movie of all time, as well as Watchmen, one of my favorite super hero movies of all time (if you didn’t like Watchmen because you thought it was too long and confusing, suck it up and watch it all the way through. In fact, some of the best movies ever made are three-plus hours long, so all you people out there who get bored after a 90 minute Adam Sandler movie should stop hitting shuffle on your iPods every five seconds and grow an attention span. I digress.) So yes, I do want to buy the premise of Sucker Punch hook, line, and sinker, and be blown away by its amazing effects, but I can’t. To be quite honest, it looks to me like the worst attempt at originality I have ever seen. Almost every aspect of the trailer and plot is lifted from a movie made in the past decade or so, in some cases movies that are out right now.

To be fair, I think it’s near impossible for any movie to be completely original. Most filmmakers have seen tons of movies, and when they’re not doing remakes or sequels they still subconsciously incorporate elements of the movies they’ve seen into their own work. It just frustrates me to no end how this movie wants to be original yet fails so miserably. With a tagline like “Close your eyes, open your mind, you will be unprepared,” they are clearly trying to make us think the movie will break some new ground. Funny enough, after watching the trailer a second time I could easily match elements of the movie to parts of movies still fresh in my memory. You may disagree with me, but see these incredibly blatant examples don’t change your mind:

Using your imagination to free yourself from a harsh reality, lifted from Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). Back when this movie came out the concept was quite novel, but not anymore.

A bunch of scantily clad, bad-ass chicks with guns, lifted from Sin City (2005). Now that was an original movie.

An old dude with karate clothes giving sage wisdom, lifted from Kill Bill Vol. I and II (2003, 2004). Seriously, that guy in the trailer looks EXACTLY like Bill as played by the late David Carradine.

A creepy insane asylum from the 50’s, lifted from Shutter Island (2010). It even looks the same.

Needing to find a bunch of random items to complete a quest, lifted from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. I and II (2010, 2011). You really thought you could slip this by us while the movie’s still in theaters?

The entire concept of entering a dream world, lifted from The Matrix (1999) and most recently

Inception (2010). Can we have a once-every-ten-years limit on this type of movie, please?

This dream world having vastly different environments where you need to complete missions, lifted from Inception, again. Alright, this is just getting ridiculous.

Dear Zack Snyder,

We know you’ve only made movies based other people’s material, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Not everyone has to be Quentin Tarantino. And you’ve made a big step directing a movie you wrote yourself, no one’s denying that. But, from the looks of things, it seems like original material might not be your strong suit. Don’t worry, we still want you to make a follow-up to 300 and direct the next Superman, but in return we’d appreciate it if you kept you ideas to yourself.


Me and anyone who agrees with me, if you’re out there.

--Benjamin Neumann ‘14


Terrace Preview: El-P December 4th Concert

When I asked how he discovered his musical talent, Terrace’s next performer El-P responded “I’m still not sure if I have any”. That’s certainly a modest response coming from rapper and producer extraordinaire Jaime Meline, the man that music critic Steve Huey once said is “one of the most technically gifted MCs of his time, spitting out near-impossible phrases and rhythmic variations that simply leave the listener’s head spinning”.

Perhaps it's the unconventional nature of his brilliance that makes his talent so elusive. As the son of a jazz pianist and a Brooklyn resident, El-P (short for El-Producto) was always surrounded by eclectic types of music. Although he took piano lessons at a young age, he was never passionate for the instrument, and he would constantly tinker with his father’s record collections instead. In retrospect, such habits seem indicative of his innovative work in recent years.

He cites George Orwell and LL Cool J in his rhymes. Each song is a diverse patchwork of samples and influences. He is the CEO of his own record label. He’s not afraid to offend his listeners with the truth, no matter how brutal or gritty his verses may be. He’s an iconoclast whose music is meant to offend, not to placate. The infamously picky and pretentious Pitchfork Media has favorably described his genius as “tense and paranoid…blending waves of cacophony over broken rhythms…haunted by the prospect of a dystopian near-future”. And it works for him; his raps are more taboo, witty, and provocative than most mainstream rappers could fathom. Isn’t that what rap should be?

So, if you want your head to spin from something other than Milwaukee’s Best this weekend, hit up Terrace to see El-P for what he claims will be a “dope and intense rap show experience”. However, the squeamish need not apply; El-P says he is going to have LOTS of fun, even it gets a bit loud and uncomfortable for us Princetonians. I say we show him that we know how to have a good time too.

For a taste of his latest and greatest creative endeavors, listen to “Habeas Corpses” off I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead and “Time Won’t Tell” from Weareallgoingtoburninhellmegamixxx3, available, of course, on YouTube.

-Michael Becker ‘14


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Singles of the Week: November 29

Hip Hop: “I Luv My Life”- Nitty Scott

Right from the title through the laugh it concludes with, Nitty Scott’s “I Luv My Life” lets you know exactly how Scott feels about her life. She loves it. But whereas most rap songs about how great the artist’s life is focus exclusively on all the shit they have that you don’t, making you feel small and insignificant, Nitty’s jam makes you feel good about your life too. Lyrically, she keeps it down to earth and relatable. You instantly recognize the feelings Nitty is talking about, even if you’ve never been in her situation. The beat is structured around a laid-back acoustic guitar groove interspersed with a synth hook and simple drumming that gives Scott plenty of room to work. And she goes to work. Scott can spit. Straight up. So take Nicki Minaj out of your rotation. A new femcee deserves time in your speakers.

Youtube it:

-Trap Yates ‘14

Alternative Rock: “Don’t Walk Away”- Sick Puppies

Sick Puppies was virtually unknown until their track “Maybe” appeared on NOW 36 as a NOW What’s Next Bonus Track. This Australian band’s new CD, Tri-Polar, was released last month and features the song “Don’t Walk Away.” Although classified as an alternative rock song, the song sounds like a rock version of Ryan Cabrera. A striking similarity to Ryan Cabrera is the somewhat unusual chord progressions that clash at the end of the verses and chorus. As a whole, the song is easy to listen to and has pretty good lyrics. This is definitely a band I’d follow in the next few months—they have star potential.

Youtube it:

-Lisa Fierstein ‘14

Electronic: “Inner Sanctum” – DVAS

Canadian duo Jered Stuffco and Darren Veres of DVAS recently dropped a fresh new album called “Society,” a compilation of club dance beats that hit the top of Canadian college radio charts. Now, “Society” is burning up across iTunes and radio stations in the states. Their single “Inner Sanctum” is just one of the many songs that has experienced exceptional success, invoking the synth pop sensibilities of notorious electronic musicians like Daft Punk with a disco twist. Whether or not you find yourself dancing to it, running to it, working to it, or just letting it wash over you, “Inner Sanctum” is a guaranteed stress-reliever.

Youtube it:

-Lisa Han ‘13


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trend of the Week - Princeton Air Edition: The Weather?

As a native New Jerseyan, even I am utterly confused by the bipolar weather the Princetonian atmosphere has been dishing out these past few weeks. Coming back from Fall Break, I thanked my lucky stars that I had remembered to grab my winter coat as I ran out to catch my train, and for two days was wearing it all times, while by week’s end I felt perfectly comfortable in just a T-shirt. This pattern has been continuing non-stop since our return from break—chilly to freezing to mild and back again, with rhyme, reason and seasonal propriety eschewed.

Usually, one can count on the cold to kick in definitively by Thanksgiving, but this year the universe (global warming? Voldemort?) seems to be whistling to its own tune. The most interesting effect this has had is the wide range of outerwear one can see on a walk down Elm—a scarf, hat and gloves can easily be followed by a thin, long sleeve T, and depending on the hour, they can both be right.

The only thing the air has yet to dish out is snow… and for that I eagerly await. Last year’s snow day still stands as a beacon of awesomeness in my freshman year, and I eagerly anticipate a repeat performance. Let’s just hope it stays cold enough for the flakes to fall!

If you think weather is boring, here’s a way to make it more exciting:

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Nava Friedman '13


Fashion Trend of the Week: Eggplant Purple and Olive Green

Walking around campus this week, I couldn’t help but notice two new popular colors—eggplant purple and olive green. They are everywhere, from sweaters to corduroys to everything in between!

Purple and green jackets are the most popular way to wear these colors right now. Most people choose purples and greens that are pretty dark in order to tone down the jacket, and this is definitely a good choice. A lime green jacket is a pretty big statement to make on campus. But more power to you if you would like to give it a shot! A lot of these jackets, considering they are pretty fashion-forward, feature cool details such as metallic buttons or interesting closures. If you are looking to get a gemstone-colored jacket, it is a good idea to look for something with an interesting detail or a unique style in order to set yourself apart from the crowd. Personally, I like this jacket from (right). Not only does the jacket feature metallic buttons, but the flaps by the shoulders, as opposed to a simple collar, offer a different take on a common style. Although a guy cannot wear the purple jacket below, there are definitely some great options out there. For example, the Buffalo Jeans Jacket below is a way to wear dark green while still looking cool (below).

If you want to be unique, colored corduroys are the way to go. Most people get that orange-rust color, navy blue, and black, but stand out by wearing olive green or purple ones. Stores such as the Gap offer a lot of different colors and styles of corduroys, giving you the ability to pick out a style and color that fit your personal style. The olive green pair (at right) even offer 5 pockets! Guys, this is the perfect style for you! Most of you already wear corduroys around campus, so test-drive a new color for a while—you’ll be glad you did!

These two colors have been all over the runway as stylish colors for this fall and winter. Designers such as Jill Stuart and Oscar de la Renta had models in purple on their runways back in October (you can see their styles to the right). Marc Jacobs and Burberry Prorsum had models wearing olive green, as pictured below, which illustrates the growing “military trend” of the past year or so.

Olive green and eggplant purple are highly fashionable this season. I would definitely take a look this weekend to see if you can find some great Black Friday deals on some of the trendiest clothes this season, especially if the item comes in olive or eggplant. Then you are good to go!

-Lisa Fierstein '14


Mixtape of the Week: Johnny Polygon - The Catch-Up

I have no idea why I’ve never heard of Johnny Polygon. He can rap. He can sing without Auto-Tune assistance. His lyrics are genuinely clever, defying typical mixtape convention. Some of the top mixtape DJs craft his beats. His hair is out of control. Maybe it’s because he’s from Oklahoma?

Whatever the reasons, the fact that Polygon is so far under the radar of the general populace is borderline criminal. This becomes clear across the sprawling thirty tracks on his new mixtape, appropriately called “The Catch-Up.” Designed for the still-sleeping to get up to speed on Polygon, the tape covers his career from the age of 17 to now.

It’s a scattershot career. The songs range in length, topic, style, tone, and musicality. They vary in quality. But despite the tape’s lack of a focus, the promise Polygon shows throughout it is undeniable. I feel like Polygon is one hit collaboration from breaking into the mainstream. He already made waves with “The Riot Song,” and a Nas collaboration. My prayer is that someone uses Polygon like Kanye did Kid Cudi on 808’s and Heartbreak, and Polygon will enter the mainstream cultural consciousness.

As for the tape itself, it’s hard to take away a single song as indicative of the talent involved. I’m partial to “I Been Runnin,” “Push It Back,” and “The Riot Song,” each of which shows a different side of Polygon. But get the whole tape, sift through it at your leisure, and keep an eye out for Polygon.

The tape can be found on Polygon’s site here.

The surprisingly clever video for “The Riot Song”

-Trap Yates '14


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Dramatic Reading of Noa Noa, the Script that Was Almost a Film

In the late 1800s, French artist Paul Gauguin epitomized the dramatic persona of a struggling artist. Upon his return from his first voyage to Tahiti, Gauguin not only came back with a taste for savage and mythical visions on canvass, but an intent to construct the myth of his own artistic facade. Gauguin’s Paradise Remembered is comprised of 32 works and ten revolutionary woodcuts, intended for his book, Noa Noa. Though the book failed to become published, the illustrations have remained as highly influential works to the creative community.

To introduce the exhibition, the Princeton University Art museum hosted a dramatic reading of a script that was almost a film on Thursday about Gauguin’s experiences, titled “Noa Noa,” and written by James Agee. Armed simply with stands and few props, the cast brought alive a powerful story in a matter of just two weeks. Check out the event in the video below:

--Lisa Han '13


Friday, November 19, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Long before Alec Guinness was Obi-Wan Kenobi (or Prince Feisal or Colonel Nicholson for that matter), he played eight characters in what is one of the best black comedies ever made. Kind Hearts and Coronets is the story of
Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini (Dennis Price), related to the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family. Louis’s mother married his father for love in spite of his lowly position as an opera singer and was promptly disowned. Even her dying wish to be buried in the family crypt is disregarded by her haughty relatives. Louis is disgusted by their conduct and decides that the only solution is to murder the remaining D’Ascoyne family members (all played by Alec Guinness) to avenge his mother and inherit their dukedom.

The whole twisted story is narrated with the greatest dry British humour by Louis himself and so, what could be a drama becomes a hilarious comedy. For example, after Louis unties a boat in which an older relative (played by Alec Guinness of course) was cavorting with his younger mistress and causes them both to fall over a waterfall to their deaths, he tells the audience, “I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.”

For a clip of a few extremely comical death scenes, click here.

For the trailer (which is not nearly as amazing as the above clip), click here.

Kind Hearts and Coronets is available in the Mendel Music Library and through Netflix.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mission Possible: MOMS Prepares to Launch its Debut Album

1 band, 1 month, 15,000 dollars. This is what it’s going to take for Princeton’s favorite orchestral alumni band, Miracles of Modern Science, to finally release their long-awaited debut full-length album. But as daunting as the figures seem, it takes no stretch of the imagination or even miracle to succeed in this endeavor.

In a world of Bittorrent, iTunes, and social networking, artists around the world are finding that spending months haggling with record labels and producers is a hassle, but it’s also unnecessary. This is where online crowd-fundraising services like Kickstarter come in. As indie rock musicians on the frontier of digital space, the members of MOMS are launching themselves on a new mission. Rather than put themselves at the mercy of traditional procedures, they have turned to fans to help them cover costs of mixing, mastering, pressing, packaging, distributing and promoting their album.

So far, the response on their Kickstarter site has been very positive. At $7,711 dollars and 143 backers, MOMS are already halfway to their goal, with an impressive 21 days left before the project ends.

“We’re hoping the Princeton community and alumni network will catch on and help us hit our target,” said Evan Younger ’08, MOMS’ lead vocalist and double bassist.

In fact, MOMS’ frequent concerts on campus means that their album is to many students both familiar and all the more exciting to look forward to. Part of the recording even took place in Terrace Club over spring break, where the vacancy allowed a good opportunity to record drums.

The 11 track album itself is a culmination of six months of recording and six years of writing and performing. But according to Younger, it’s been worth the wait:

“We’re really, really proud of how it’s sounding. This is the first time we feel that a recording really does justice to our live energy. Spaceman Sound did a fantastic job of capturing the natural sounds of the string instruments, drums, and vocals, so when you listen back it feels like the band is playing in the room with you.”

Before December 9th, you can go check out their Kickstarter and watch their informational video at: Contributions can range anywhere from $1 to over $3000, but if the $15,000 mark is not reached by the deadline the project will not be funded at all. Check it out! With Kickstarter, students and fans alike are given the opportunity to participate not only in the future of the band, but also the future of the music industry.

-Lisa Han '13


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fashion Trend of the Week: Fleece Jackets

It is mid-November, and it isn’t quite cold enough to warrant breaking out your puffy winter coat. However, you need to stay warm as you walk across campus. How can you do this? Simple: By wearing a fleece jacket.

Fleece jackets are all the rage on campus right now, especially because many residential colleges gave them to students this fall. This is probably the most useful free item will you receive on campus (other than food). These jackets are light-weight enough to give you full movement of your torso and arms, something you can’t say about puffy winter jackets. Fleece jackets are very warm, but are very thin as well, giving you the ability to comfortably wear a backpack around campus. Practicality is one of the best parts about fleece jackets.

By far the most popular fleece color is black. Black jackets are much more mellow that bright colors or even pastels, so a lot of people opt for black. Also, since black is a unisex color, residential colleges opted to hand out black fleeces to the incoming freshmen. However, black is probably the most boring color out there. If you happen to be wearing a residential college fleece, be sure to display your college’s shield with pride. There is no reason to cover up the shield with a scarf, backpack strap, or, for girls, your hair.

One great thing about fleece jackets are the zippered pockets. They are perfect for items such as gloves, your prox, your cell phone, and other small items. However, just because you have pockets does not mean you should stuff them to overflowing. It looks ridiculous when you have two tennis ball-sized lumps on your hips from overstuffing your pockets. If you really have that much stuff to carry, bring a bag (for girls) or a backpack (for guys).

One way to make a plain fleece more fashionable is to wear a scarf. Girls—scarves should make a statement. A plain knit scarf does not make the cut here, especially when you end up wearing the scarf in class. Knit scarves tend to be really bulky and look pretty ridiculous when you are wearing them in lecture. Try to wear a thin scarf that says something about you, whether it is leopard printed or covered in sequins. Guys—unfortunately, scarves don’t really work for you. If you feel you must wear a scarf, don’t. Wait until it is really cold.

Probably the most popular brand of fleece is North Face. North Face fleeces come in every single color imaginable and are very durable. Although a bit pricey, they are certainly well worth the money. The North Face, shown above, even features two breast pockets, which are great for cash or your prox when you don’t want to carry a bag.

Fleeces are the most popular jackets on campus right now. Whether it be from your residential college or from somewhere else, a good fleece is definitely worth its price. You can even wear it under your winter jacket when it gets cold! I wouldn’t be caught without a fleece on campus!

--Lisa Fierstein '14