Sunday, February 28, 2010

Singles of the Week: Feb 28, 2010

Electronic: David Byrne & Fatboy Slim — “Please Don’t (feat. Santigold)”

A concept album about the life of First Lady of the Philippines Imelda Marcos? Sounds like something only former Talking Heads front man David Byrne and renowned DJ Fatboy Slim could pull off. The full album, “Here Lies Love,” comes out in April, but luckily for us, the duo released the Act III track “Please Don’t” early – and you can get it for free on Byrne’s website. The song features Santigold’s signature vocals laid over a bumpin’, funky groove that’ll get you moving within the first ten seconds.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Indie: Portugal. The Man — "The Dead Dog"

When I first heard “Dead Dog,” I didn’t really believe I was listening to the much beloved, traditional rock band colorfully named Portugal. The Man. Normally, when a solid, well-liked band attempts to change its spots, it morphs into a disappointing, unpalatable piece of detritus. Not so, with Portugal. The Man. “The Dead Dog,” the first single from the band's new album “American Ghetto,” is a pure-bred, canine piece of glory. The tune is brilliantly conceived, from its swirling, digital ambiance to its catchy rock vocals. Based on this single it’s hard not to get your hopes up about the fresh, musically mature outlook that “American Ghetto” has the potential to offer.

-Lisa Han '13

Rock: Xiu Xiu — “Dear God, I Hate Myself”

No, despite the name, this is not the latest offering from My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy or any other band for whom the pejorative “emo” has been attached. But yes, it is just self-pitying -- or is it? Thing is, it’s never clear whether vocalist Jamie Stewart is being ironic when he croons: “I will always be nicer to the cat/ Than I am to you.” From the lyrics, you get the sense this guy’s life is in fact pretty miserable; and yet, the accompanying synthesizers and chintzy Nintendo noises render his solipsism too absurd as to be entirely sincere. Bottom line: this song is perfectly suited for those moments of emotional confusion when you’re not sure whether to laugh or cry. And if F*ckMyLife had a soundtrack, there’s no doubt that this would be on it.

- Cristina Luzarraga ‘11

Rock: Static Stamina — "Party Hands"

Fresh out of Wesleyan (you may remember it as the school you'd have more fun at than Princeton), Static Stamina's mission is to make savage romance with your ears. On “Party Hands,” the band's first single, frontman Will Feinstein spits rhymes with flow so tight you could bounce a quarter off it, which is especially impressive given the density of the wordplay. Not only that, he somehow manages to reference both The Misfits and Dragon Tales in the same song, a feat I'm not sure anyone else has yet accomplished. Throw in enormous power chords, raucous gang vocals, and the screaming-est guitar solo since “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” and you have what can't be described as anything other than a party anthem.

-Dan Abromowitz ‘13

Pop: Lady Gaga — “Speechless”

Lady Gaga's newest single, "Speechless," reassures us that she is a true artist and not just a freak-show. Coming off like a female Elton John, Gaga shows her sensitive side on this track (not to mention her skills on the ivory keys) and solidifies her status as a great singer-songwriter. She performed this track with Elton himself at the 2010 Grammy Awards last week, and while he was impressive, Gaga clearly outshone him. "Speechless" is one of the most impressive songs on "The Fame Monster" because it proves that Lady Gaga is, in fact, a musician - and not just a spectacle. Take a listen.

-Jess Turner ‘12


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Review: The Talents of Triple 8

The members of Triple 8 Dance Company have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Literally. With flowers turning into yards of ribbon and flowing fabric unfolding from fans, their spring show, “Phases,” is perfect evidence of this. But appropriately, the performance is more than just a magic show. Through pieces covering an array of genres, it is an opportunity for the company to show off their wide range of talents.

“Phases” is made up of an almost equal number of traditional East Asian, hip-hop, lyrical, and martial arts numbers, as well as a few dances that come across as a combination of these styles. All but one of the pieces are student-choreographed, and on the whole, the company makes an impressive use of space, lights, and costumes. The opening number, “Passion,” is not a good indication of this, as over 40 dancers cram onto the stage of the Frist theatre, wearing black leggings and ripped white t-shirts, in a generic hip-hop/contemporary piece to music from “Kingdom Hearts II.” But with the subsequent dances, this is quickly forgotten.

The second number, “OperaFace,” is one of the show’s highlights. Beginning with a cute representation of the Peking Opera, this piece morphs into a statement on female strength set to Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face.” It may seem like a strange premise, but the choreography is sharp and impeccably executed. The dancers really pull off this peculiar combination of masks, fans, and hip-hop.

Another striking number is “Elemental,” in which the dancers represent the struggle between fire and water to music from the video game “Chrono Cross.” Here, as in many of the pieces, they demonstrate a skillful use of props.

The traditional dances are a treat, and the martial arts pieces, although often incorporated into ridiculous plots, show that many of the company members are well trained in this discipline. Particular mention must be made of the incredible guest performance by Theresa Cho ‘GS, a Triple 8 alum, and Henri Velandia, who teaches salsa on campus and at Princeton Dance & Theatre Studio. With remarkable lifts and seamless coordination, these two give the audience a salsa that puts “Dancing with the Stars” to shame.

In recent years, Triple 8 has grown in size and skill, and “Phases” is a great tribute to that. In the company’s entertaining filler videos and the exciting “Closing Ceremony,” it is evident that there is a fun community behind the performance as well. All in all, a highly enjoyable show.

4/5 paws

Pros: The variety of talents demonstrated by the company members and unique choreography

Cons: A few generic hip-hop pieces and silly premises for the martial arts numbers

"Phases" continues today, Saturday, Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the Frist Film and Performance Theatre.

- Meghan Todt ‘11


Thursday, February 25, 2010

An Interview with Neil Fridd of the Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt!

Get excited…The Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt! will be performing at Terrace this Saturday 2/27. The band consists of 21-year-old Neil Fridd and a 10-person collective of his fellow students at SUNY Purchase. The show promises to be insane – Terror Pigeon often brings along costumes for audience members to wear and instruments for them to play.

But if you don’t believe me when I say the show will be awesome, here’s what Fridd had to say:

How would you describe your music? Any influences?

Otis Redding meets Dan Deacon. With 10x more feelings / yelling.

How’d the band get started?

I wrote a rock opera loosely based on Othello. It was mostly me and [my friend] Jesse throwing bowls of cereal at each other over dance beats...

What is your show at Terrace going to be like?

Have you seen the movie “Speed”? It's going to be twice as intense as the movie “Speed.” We're going to deliver a child.

What’s your favorite lyric from one of your songs and why?

Probably the bridge to "My Favorite Hair." It talks about a night that I went a little crazy on account of being rejected by a lady, and how she kept being hurt by this guy she kept going back to. Months later, she remarked that she didn't know what love was, but was sure that it existed and she wanted it in her life.

It clicked in my head: "that's because every boy you love treats you like shit." and later that night when I was writing, the lyric "and you say that you don't know what love is or how it grows but you do believe it's real and it's something you hope to feel. Well if darling that's the case then I'm inclined to say that you don't know love cause you've only had a man take away. So how 'bout you get with someone who can give?" came to me.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I feel like I jump off really tall things from time to time without thinking about it. Later I'll go back and be like, "Whoa, that thing is so tall! I can't believe I jumped off that!"

Can you tell me about the stuffed animal jumpsuit, or other sweet costumes you sometimes wear?

Have you ever seen that guy on that TV special or real TV or something who made the bearsuit? The suit that you could like get mauled by a bear or shot in the face in? Picture me watching that three years ago and being like, "Shit, I could make one of those!" Then I made that stuffed animal suit.

How did you come up with the band’s name?

I was thinking about the idea of a really harmless, fragile creature being terrifying as sort of a mockery of myself -- a loud, angry guy yelling about girls, who's actually totally harmless. Terror Pigeon was born.

Which band do you think is the most promising up-and-coming band out there today?

Here are a few: Blastoids, Math the Band, Ghost Mall, the Shakes, the Eskalators, and Jesse Cooper Levy. All of those bands are doing really exciting things, and fucking bring it live.

If you were having a dinner party and could invite three people -- dead or alive, fictional or real -- who would they be and why?

1. Jeff Mangum. I know this is like every college kid's dream ever but, like, come on! It is for a reason. If I heard him sing “Two Headed Boy” my brain would explode...

2. Jesus Christ. I'd like to figure this whole thing out...

3. Sydney Schutte. She's this really cool girl who likes Jeff Mangum a lot. She'd probably be pretty into Jesus too.

-Interview conducted, condensed, and edited by Sara Wallace ’12.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Trailer of the Week - Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

Do people actually find Shia LaBeouf credible as anything other than a nervy teen wimp? I guess Oliver Stone does, at least, which is why LaBeouf's been cast as the new Faust to Michael Douglas's Mephistopheles in "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps", the sequel to Stone's zeitgeist-capturing cheeseball original. The new film looks like more of the same - a half-hearted attempt at critiquing capitalism that's more about the soap opera lives of morally depraved billionaires. There are a few promising elements here: Douglas looks as compelling as ever reprising his most famous role, and radiant young actress (and current Oscar nominee) Carey Mulligan will no doubt hold her own. However, LaBeouf and his silly attempt at a Noo Yawk accent look to take center stage, totally rad motorcycle action is promised, and Stone hasn't done anything really worthwhile since the mid-90s, so it's hard to be optimistic. Nice cell-phone gag, though.

-Raj Ranade, '10


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Study Spaces: Architecture Library

My sister and I love to sketch floor plans. A few years back, when we had more free time, we would come up with designs for our future homes, studios, and workplaces. I always thought that it would be fun to take a course in architecture. Now, with departmentals, independent work, and an overabundance of courses that satisfy the LA requirement, it looks like the closest I will get to this field at Princeton is studying in the architecture library.

This library is located on the second floor of the School of Architecture, and as I climbed up the stairs this morning, rain dripped cinematically down the building’s modern glass walls. Inside the library, however, I felt transported. Despite the school’s modern renovations, its library is comfortingly old-fashioned, right down to the vintage ring of the front desk’s telephone.

The focus of this library is clearly on its non-circulating collection, as the few tables meant for studying are clustered near the entrance. But there is one tucked privately in the back, which is where I found my post.

The numerous carrels here are all reserved for thesis-writing seniors in the architecture school. So if you are not one of these seniors and are looking for isolation, this study space may not be for you. That being said, with the exception of the librarians chatting for a minute in a language that I didn’t recognize, this seems like a tranquil spot. There are armchairs next to the windows, where you can look out onto 1879 and Marx Halls, and it would be hard to find a library that is more centrally located.

But if you’re looking for a complaint, I will return to my outlet gripe. Why are the outlets in these libraries so inconveniently located? Oh well, I still have plenty of study spaces to explore. One is bound to have a place for me to plug in my laptop.

Architecture Library Hours:

Monday-Friday, 9:00 am-11:45 pm

Saturday, 10:00 am-11:45 pm

Sunday, 1:00 pm-11:45 pm

-Meghan Todt ‘11


Monday, February 22, 2010

Trend of the Week: Feb. 22, 2010

It’s official: purple is everywhere. And not just on the ladies … this week, Princeton’s most stylish guys are breaking out the uncommon color. Though purple may seem like a risky choice, these men have the confidence to rock it (albeit in small quantities).
Purple on men can be done in different ways. Most at Princeton have taken the casual route, opting for purple T-shirts, sweaters, or button-downs (though over the past few months I’ve also spotted several purple ties, at Winter Formals, for example). A purple shirt is a refreshing addition to an otherwise simple outfit, as the guys in these photos demonstrate.
Of course, there are many shades of purple to work with. The lighter tones are far less commonly seen on men, but those that do own pieces in light purples are still storing them away in closets until springtime (Spring Lawnparties, perhaps?). Darker shades of purple, including maroon-shades – like the color of the sweater pictured – are appropriate in the colder months.
Purple is emerging as a color of choice for men outside of the Princeton gates, as well. It popped up many times on the runways last month during Men’s Fashion Week in Milan and Paris. Gucci showcased several purple suits, Paul Smith put models in purple pants, and Bottega Veneta went for the purple blazer. These examples may not be very college-friendly (I look forward to the day I spot a Princeton male wearing a velvet purple suit), but I can assure you: if you take the purple plunge, people are bound to be impressed.
-Allie Weiss '13


Singles of the Week: Feb 25, 2010

Rock: 1, 2, 3 - "Confetti"

Pittsburgh newcomers 1,2,3 burst onto the scene this week with their new single "Confetti." In an age of synthesizers and computerized sounds, 1,2,3, take modern music back to its roots with strong guitars and tight arrangements that anyone can love. "Confetti," in particular, puts the power in "power pop" and is massive enough to really blow your speakers out. Mark my words: This band is going somewhere.

-Kiran Gollakota ‘13

Electronic: Massive Attack –
“Girl I Love You”

It seems Massive Attack has never really been in a good mood, but there’s something irresistible about those slow electronic drumbeats and somber vocals. “Heligoland,” released this month, is not the creative shocker that “Protection” was, but it stays true to the low, spooky trip hop we all crave. Listening to “Girl I Love You” for the first time is like watching a good scary movie unfold. The song has a meticulously crafted kind of suspense, exaggerated by the lazy synth background and a haunting vibrato. Once again, Massive Attack takes its rightful place as a trip hop pioneer.

-Lisa Han '13

R&B: Usher -
“There Goes My Baby”

I’ve always had a lot of respect for Usher, but since he introduced his protégé, Justin Bieber, to the music scene, it's hard to take him as seriously. I mean, what’s he doing backing such a high-pitched, squeaky little boy? (Sorry all you JB fans). Still, his new single "There Goes My Baby" reminds us why we liked him so much in the first place. It's a chill, on-the-slower-side R&B track that is still catchy, fun, intimate, and sexy. And, of course, it shows off Usher's awesome pipes. Not necessarily a club track, but certainly worth a listen, and perfect for nights in with that special someone.

-Jess Turner ‘12

Electronic: Phantogram -
"Mouthful of Diamonds"

Starting off the band's debut full-length, "Eyelid Movies," "Mouthful of Diamonds" expertly combines synth pop, shimmering guitars, and R&B rhythms with breathy female vocals for a catchy, eclectic twist.

-Gracie Remington ‘11

Rock: Bomb the Music Industry! –

At the beginning of February, literally without any prior announcement, Bomb the Music Industry! put out a six-song EP, “Adults!!!: Smart!!! Shithammered!!! And Excited By Nothing!!!!!!!”, which they recorded and mixed from start to finish in five days. Off of that album, “Slumlord” features one of the fullest instrumentations of any Bomb! song, piling on guitar, piano, horns, glockenspiel, gang vocals, and electronic riffs to craft what's either an incredibly bouncy punk song or an incredibly fist-pumping pop song; either way, it's unbelievably catchy. Frontman Jeff Rosenstock has never really been able to sing, but he can belt with equal parts earnestness and exhaustion to great effect. The lyrics, which focus on giving the finger to your landlord, may not be as relatable for the college crowd as the rest of Bomb!'s catalogue, but that’s hardly a problem.

-Dan Abromowitz ‘13


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spring Dance Festival: A Retrospective Review

This year’s Spring Dance Festival offered a wide range of styles within the realm of modern and contemporary dance, from contemporary ballet on pointe to modified folk dance. There was a striking air of professionalism in everything from the costumes to the level of preparation from each dancer, which made this performance well worth attending. Not every piece was a gem. Three were masterpieces, and a couple of others were downright boring. However, in this case the gems were worth waiting for.

“Pulse” by Susan Jaffe sparked an intriguing conversation about the possibilities for traditional ballet technique. The sharp, precise choreography required strong technique. The music—Junkman by Donald Knaack—was percussion heavy and sounded both tribal and contemporary at once. For most of the piece, the tone of the movement was rather detached. The second movement, however, a duet involving Daniel Cohen ’13 and Samantha Miller ’13, was refreshingly mysterious and human. Jaffe’s choreography offered innovative possibilities for the uses of line and momentum. The piece was grounded in classical technique but seemed to ask new questions about what that technique can accomplish choreographically.

The “Three Studies,” three short pieces choreographed by students, were rather underwhelming. None of them were attentive to geometry or space, and all three relied on elements outside of the actual movement to make an impression on the audience. It is only fair to say, however, that the technique was unfailingly high in quality. “Fáh Mài,” written and performed by Eva Marie Wash ’11, was almost equally unimpressive in terms of creativity. The use of space was infinitely better than in the aforementioned pieces, and the choreography held its own without the use of props, pantomime, or alternate media. However, the movements were rather cliché, and Wash never once looked up from the floor.

Choreographed collaboratively by students in the dance department, “Scratch Into Silence,” was the best of the student-choreographed pieces. Again though, I have to criticize the poor use of the Berlind’s ample space. The piece relied mostly on vignettes and lacked any true ensemble work, though most of the dancers were on the stage at any given time. This weakness most likely derived from the collaborative nature of the piece, ironically, since it clearly lacked the connected quality that comes with a central creative mind.

Mark Morris’s “Polka” was heavy, grounded, and much like folk dancing. Technique was lacking in a few of the dancers, which was unfortunately obvious. However, the synchronization of the group made up for this for the most part. My last thoughts were that I would have liked to see this performed with more emphasis on clean, expressive lines.

“The Fugue” by Twyla Tharp utilized absolutely no music. The dancers were dressed in men’s dress pants and shirts and character shoes. Despite these limitations, this was the most expressive in the entire show. It was very well executed—clean, fast, and perfectly synchronized. The dancers displayed both dedicated technique and a wonderful passion for movement. The choreography was especially impressive in its ability to create rhythm, tone, and emotion, even with no music.

“City of Rain” by Camille Brown was my favorite piece in the entire show. The music and the dancing alike were beautiful. It was the only piece that sparked my imagination and emotions with its use of line and energy. There was something deeply psychological in its essence. The technique was of course very strong. All of these elements combined to make it wonderfully successful.

Despite having some weak points, the overall impression I had of the Spring Dance Festival was very positive. The dancers’ impeccable technique is a tribute to the strength of the dance program at Princeton, and the pieces by Susan Jaffe, Twyla Tharp, and Camille Brown were spectacular.

--Chloe Davis' 12


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pearls of Wisdom: A Compilation of Prince Comments

The comments inspired by Prince articles are often well-reasoned and insightful, sometimes vitriolic – and often hilarious. Below are some…provocative reader responses to Charlie Metzger’s Wednesday column, “Going gaga,” as well as Will Saborio’s review of Lil’ Wayne’s latest.

“Going gaga”

wonderful article.....I am equally fascinated by her-what little I have glimpsed of err ....her...scandalous!I might go see her show if she ever shows up in my town! – Posted by gin, scandalized to the point of incoherence.

ha. i still love lady gaga with a heartbreaking passion, but this article was fab. made my day! thanks Charlie. also, you’re really, really tall. – Posted by 11, who shows us how to support an opinion with objective (completely unrelated) facts.

Excuse me sir, but it should be noted that the costume designer for Star Trek was in fact William Ware Theiss and not Gene Roddenberry as you fallaciously imply. I will be writing to your editor about the grievous error you have made as a result of the shoddy standards that typify this periodical. – Posted by AH, who tries a little too hard.

lol collegec – Posted by college.

right on! as an English major who graduated in 2006, I still love to overanalyze everything, and occasionally draw parallels where they need not be drawn. When I saw this video, the first thing I thought was: “Faulkner, ‘A Rose for Miss Emily.”’ Gaga is Great! – Posted by sarlove; I included this kindred spirit because that’s totally what I thought of, too.

“Lil’ Wayne’s ‘Rebirth’ makes a strong case for contraception”

your negitive words are only going to fuel your desire to be negitive which leads to only you to go down the wrong path
– Posted by wheelz…or Confucius?

Shut up your an idiot you suck at everything. Wayne is perfect you are a suckfest. He makes blind money, money you will never see.. Free Weezy –
Posted by Wayne...who might be seven given his use of the classic “Shut up you idiot” construction. Also I don’t get it – if the money is blind then it can’t see me, right?

I am a lil wayne liker and I thunk his freaking sweet so get off his back! – Posted by von von who has a distinctive voice

Rebirth is by far an awsome album.Your negativity shows your stupidness in the musical culture maybe you need more of Weezy's music in your life you dumb homo – Posted by Faith. What’s the difference between “stupidity” and “stupidness?” Only one is a real word. Also I like the random “no homo” interjection at the end there…is he defensively claiming straightness or did a gay man suddenly try to steal his keyboard?

Lil Wayne has done something that most people are afraid to do. He is a genius in himself and the music he has. Go learn something in school before u get into the journalism game, hopefully u never do cuz ur paper would probably be the worst selling one. Free Weezy!! His album Rebirth is a jump from rap to rock for him, give him a break most of the artists now a days cant even compete with Lil Wayne. Its sad cuz IM A WHITE CHICK whose into rock and im a big fan of his and I can even tell when its good or not so go take ur head outta ur ass cuz hes trying to make something of himself and ur a pathetic little journalist whose life is to try and ruin someone good. so please and thank u if u will never post anything again, change majors, go into something else. – Posted by ~*~missmiss~*~ I don’t think she goes here.

-Allie Shea '12


Street Poetry: February 20, 2010

According to a March 2009 article in Newsweek, poetry readership in the US is at a 16-year low – in contrast to a rise in general fiction reading. While I won’t lament poetry as a dying art form, I do think it’s an underappreciated one. Why do so few people curl up with a good poetry anthology on a rainy day?

Poetry is a no-pressure invitation to let your mind wander aimlessly in a richly visual collage of parallel universes. Not to mention the fact that finding a new poet – and maybe becoming their “fan” on Facebook – is almost as fun as finding a new band and proceeding to force said band on your friends.

This weekly blog series is for poetry. I love poems of every shape, size, color, texture, smell, taste, and language-of-origin. What makes a good poem, you might ask? Well, a “good poem” is, by definition, a poem you like. Approached in that way, how can poetry be anything but wonderful?

While realizing that some people just don’t like poetry, and never will – in the same way that some people just don’t like vegetables or hot weather or heavy metal – I maintain that everyone could benefit from some poetry in life. So this column is for poetry. Specifically, I will try to find poems that relate to features in each week’s issue of Street.

This week Street explored procrastination at Princeton. I had some difficulty thinking of poems connected to procrastination. It seems that few poets are inspired to write about wasting time – maybe because, in a sense, poetry is itself an exquisite and justifiable waste of time. I think many poets don’t see a problem with staring into space for hours on end, so anxieties about time-pressure don’t enter their minds or poems too often.

So I pursued a different line of thinking and decided to feature haiku. As almost every veteran of high school English class knows, a haiku is a three-line poem of seventeen syllables (divided 5, 7, 5). This Japanese poetic form – traditionally inspired by an image from the natural world – has taken root in English poetry on both sides of the Atlantic.

While it is hard to argue with PrincetonFML’s superiority when it comes to time-wasting, I would like to suggest haiku as another – and surprisingly similar – option. Leafing through a book or web site of good haiku is an ideal way to pass an hour or two before finally starting your problem set.

The beauty of a great haiku is its instantaneous, experiential quality. The same can be said of a great FML. If worded vividly and concisely, a great FML has the wormhole-like power to transport you to a specific moment in time that’s pin-point sharp. That handful of painstakingly chosen syllables hits a genuine nerve; or it can evoke an actual or imagined – but in either case oh-so-real – memory. This is the sort of intensely present hyperawareness that haiku cultivate in their readers. As American poet Archibald McCleish writes in his (non-haiku) poem, “Ars Poetica:”

A poem should not mean
But be.

Haiku are often the epitome of that truth. Here are a few of my favorite haiku (yes! a rhyme):

Haiku by Matsuo Basho (translated from Japanese by R.H. Blyth)

Yes, spring has come
This morning a nameless hill
Is shrouded in mist.

Ah, summer grasses!
All that remains
Of the warriors’ dreams.

The temple bell dies away
The scent of flowers in the evening
is still tolling the bell.

From Haiku: This Other World by Richard Wright

Crying and crying,
Melodious strings of geese
Passing a graveyard.

I cannot find it,
That very first violet
Seen from my window.

From “Hopewell Haiku” by Paul Muldoon


Bivouac. Billet.
The moon a waning of lard
on a hot skillet.


For I wrote this page
by the spasm…The spasm
A firefly…A cage.

-Allie Shea '12


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Trailer of the Week: Chloe

Director Atom Egoyan became a critical darling after his 1997 film “The Sweet Hereafter” earned him Oscar nominations and the Grand Prize of the Jury at Cannes. In recent years, however, he’s been more famous for dressing up sleaze with an imprimatur of art, as in his critically-panned erotic thriller “Where the Truth Lies” and its infamous threesome scene. With “Chloe”, he seems to be continuing the trend. The film stars Julianne Moore as a wife who worries that her husband (Liam Neeson) may be cheating and hires a prostitute named Chloe (Amanda Seyfried) to test his fidelity. When it turns out that the husband is actually faithful, Chloe (kind of hilariously) pushes him into sex anyway. Naturally, the wife is pissed, which in turn leads Chloe to go all crazy bitch on everyone, which apparently means that there will be lesbian make-outs involving knives, internet stalking with sexy pictures, and Amanda Seyfried seriously creeping everyone out with freaky bugged-out eyeballs. I guess it’s possible that this might actually be a serious film or whatever, but I know I’m hoping for some uber-trashy “Notes on a Scandal”-style ish.

-Raj Ranade '10


Heads May Roll: An interview with the Beets

The Beets are a band from Jackson Heights NYC with three members: Juan who plays guitar, Jose who’s on bass, and Jacob on drums. All three also sing. They will be playing at Terrace on Thursday, February 18th. I recently had a chance to catch up with them, and here’s what they said:

What is your performance at Terrace going to be like?

It's quite possibly going to be the best show Terrace has ever seen. Heads may roll, brains explode, people may smile, maybe even dance a bit.

Who are your main musical influences?

Los Chicos Electricos, Eduardo Mateo, The Ramones, The Velvet Underground, The Beach Boys.

You’ve just been on tour. Where did you play?

We are on a Northeast tour with Christmas Island and Beach Fossils. So far we've done DC, Philadelphia, Dorcester MA, Bard College in NY, and we're heading out to Virginia, NJ for your show of course, and also Wilkes Barr, PA. The tour ends Saturday with a show at Music Hall of Williamsburg with Crystal Stilts, and the GERMAN MEASLES.

What are your favorite venues to play?

There is definitely a nice feel to house shows — I guess it feels more like a communal thing, where you are on par with the people watching you (like they're just as important as you are for the show to happen). I think some of that gets lost when you play bigger venues. In terms of specific venues, we really like Dead Herring, which is actually someone’s apartment. Death by Audio and Silent barn have always treated us great. They are run by really passionate people who are so easy to get along with.

What’s the rock scene like in New York?

New York is chock full of scenes and different bands, I wouldn't know where to begin. As for the scene we seem to be a part of, it is adored. It's great to be able to play shows with a community of people that you don't just respect musically but that you can get along with on a personal level. Some people hate it, some people love it and that's how it will always be. The important thing is that we adore doing what we're doing and glad we have found a venue to do it.

What artists do you listen to? Do you see any bands of merit on the scene today?

YOU need to check out GERMAN MEASLES, and THE BEACHNIKS — they’re some of the greatest things going on right now. We also really dig what Tough Knuckles is doing. There are also a couple of kids from Fort Worth TX called Fungi Girls that are great too.

Who are some of the greatest live performers you've ever seen?

Brendan Morris of the band Eleanor leaves his blood and sweat at every show he plays. The kid has so much energy and you can tell he adores what he does. Eleanor is definitely a band everyone should check out.

New bands are popping up every day, but which ones do you need to check out?

Really look forward to listen to more stuff from the Coconut Coolouts, and the German Measles are putting out a full length that should be good. I really like the new songs the Christmas Island has been playing on tour, so I can’t wait for that either.

What do you think rock / alt. rock will become in the future?

No idea I'm afraid. I guess there will always be a band making good songs. No idea where the monster will end, if it will end.

-Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Raleigh Allison '11


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Study Spaces: Mendel Library

Blame it on study abroad. Last semester, I was sitting in the sole reading room of the school at which I was studying, when my mind drifted to Princeton. I know it may be cliché to ask this, but do you realize just how many study spaces there are on Princeton’s campus?

Freshman and sophomore years, I tended to study in the same spots every day. I gave great preference to my comfortable room and the lovely East Pyne. Now, back from across the pond, I realize that I only have a year and a half with which to explore this incredible campus.

So I have resolved to study in every library at Princeton before graduation, and I want to take you along for the ride. Sure, studying might not sound like the most thrilling of adventures, but when you’re changing the scenery and studying topics that you love, I think that it can be quite exciting. I’ll alternate between study spaces I’ve never been to and study spaces I think you may never have been to. And if you let me in on your favorite places to study, you might just find me blogging away from those locations.

Since these are my blog posts, I am going to be completely biased and begin with the reading room in my home department’s library. But in all fairness, I recently evaluated an Orange Key tour during which a prospective guide described this library as one of the more underutilized spaces on campus. I concur.

Just don’t you all go rushing here at once, because one of the great things about the Mendel Music Library is its solitude. Inside the library, walk up the very narrow staircase to the second floor. Turn left and enter the bright, open reading room. Here you’ll find ten carrels, a round table, a rectangular table and five comfortable armchairs, so if you ever get tired of studying in one spot, you can pick up, move five feet and feel like you’re in a completely different setting.

Windows cover an entire wall, so it’s great when the sun is out. Another wall is partially covered in glass, so anyone passing by can see you, but really, there’s not a ton of traffic around here.

There’s also a printer and a computer through which you can watch those assigned films that can only be seen in certain locations on campus. And on the first floor, the Listening Room has eight computers with noise canceling headphones, as well as three that are linked to keyboards and music-composition software (although that number seems far too small when practically everyone in MUS 205 wants to work on their composition assignments at 11 pm for a 12 am deadline).

The only real downside to this study space is that the outlets in the reading room are way too far from the tables and carrels, so if you want to work on your laptop for longer than its battery life, you may want to bring an extension cord. Other than that, I think this is a pretty great place to study. But then again, I’m biased. Let me know what you think. And next week, I’ll come to you from another location, ready to discover the best study spaces on Princeton’s campus.

Mendel Music Library Hours:

Monday-Thursday, 8:30am-Midnight

Friday, 8:30am-8:00pm

Saturday, 10:00am-6:00pm

Sunday, 12:00pm-Midnight

-Meghan Todt ‘11


Monday, February 15, 2010

Trend of the Week: Feb. 15, 2010

This week’s trend only applies to the females of Princeton (sorry, guys). All over campus, stylish women can be spotted sporting bright, colorful tights. Set against the white snow, these tights pop! Colored tights command attention without going overboard.

The secret to rocking eye-popping tights, as the lovely ladies in these photos demonstrate, is to pair them with neutrals. Blacks and grays work particularly well. If anonymous model #1 had worn her turquoise stunners with colored boots, or a colored dress, she would have ended up looking more like a clown than a stylish girl on the town (hey, that rhymes!). But she carefully chose black boots and a black dress (not pictured) to make the tights the focus of the ensemble. Anonymous model #2 got it right as well. Worn with a gray dress and short black boots, her purple legs grabbed all the attention.

In addition to the rainbow-hued, patterned tights have been making an appearance on campus. Stripes, polka dots, floral designs and even animal prints now can be found on tights.

If you’re feeling really daring, you might want to check out American Apparel’s tights that have two very different colored legs. You never know when you’re going to be in one of those “right leg yellow, left leg orange” kind of moods

-Allie Weiss '13


Concert Review: Hot and Sweaty with the Royal Bangs

Take a rowdy crowd of Terrace-goers, put them together in a small room with the Royal Bangs, and you have everything you need for a good time. The audience at last Saturday’s show was enthusiastic, to say the least, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the band’s charisma.

In one of the best moments of the night, wild-eyed and energetic singer Ryan Schaefer yelled out into the crowd: “I want you to sweat as much as possible on the person next you!” He then added, “this area right here: get disgusting!” The Royal Bangs played like anyone and everyone’s favorite hometown garage band that night, as their music seemed to vibe perfectly with the hot, claustrophobic room and the steady rise and fall of the crowd.

The dancing simply escalated throughout the night, peaking somewhere around a fantastic live rendition of the song “War Bells.” Personally, I had never been so happy to recognize a tune in that moment, only this time the band’s own presence radiated in a manner that made this version better than I had ever heard it before.

Granted, the concert was essentially a drunken debacle, evidenced by a few sporadic and misguided chants by the audience in the middle of the set: “One more song!” And then, a few minutes later, “You guys are great! You need to do ten more songs!” Yet, that contagious, mob-like atmosphere in the face of exciting music was exactly what made the show fantastic. To me and to the rest of the audience that night, I think its safe to say that the night ended in a manner true to the band: a Royal Bang!

-Lisa Han ‘13


Singles of the Week: Feb 14, 2010

Rap: Q-Tip - "Won't Trade"

Off his 2008 solo album Renaissance, “Won’t Trade” shows off Q-Tip’s signature laid-back but fast-paced flow. Atop Motown vibes and catchy soulful samples, Q-Tip’s lyrics use sports talk to describe everything that goes on in a relationship. While Q-Tip may be able to smoothly (and dare I say seductively) compare romantic decisions to baseball trade talks…boys, you probably shouldn’t try this yourselves this Valentine’s Day.

-Sara Wallace ‘12

Rock: Bon Iver - “Blood Bank”

In honor of this week’s blood drive, my single of the week is “Blood Bank” by Bon Iver. It’s safe to say that if you liked Bon Iver in “Skinny Love,” you’re going to love the sequel. This time, the band takes the crooning harmonies from “Emma, Forever Ago” and pours them back into the new EP. It’s hard not to be moved by the love story of “Blood Bank,” marinated in the delicate crescendos and heartbreaking falsetto of singer, Justin Vernon: “I’m in love with your honor/ I’m in love with your cheeks, what’s that noise up the stairs babe?/ Is that Christmas morning Creaks?“ Boys, beware. If you ever want to make a girl fall in love, you had better put “Blood Bank” on your Valentine’s day mixtape.

-Lisa Han ‘13

Pop/R&B: Beyonce - "Halo"

After Beyonce's massive haul at last week’s Grammy Awards it's only fitting that the song of the week comes from her masterful I am... Sasha Fierce. "Halo" was far and away one of the standout tracks on the 2009 album and must certainly be regarded as one of the best songs of the past year, if not the past decade. Beyonce's soaring vocals, crafted with the help of hitmaker and OneRepublic frontman, established the pop sensation as a force to be reckoned with -- one that won't be fading away any time soon.

-Kiran Gollakota ‘13

Indie: Frightened Rabbit - “Keep Yourself Warm”

When you're walking across campus, and you're drunk enough to feel your head humming, and it's so late you're going to sleep through brunch the next day, and you've just been hooking up with someone you barely even met, much less know, in a room you don't know the number of in a building you don't know the name of, which you thought you wanted because it might be the thing that would get you back on track, but it hasn't, it's left you drained and dirty, the whole thing, and you feel more alone than you have in months, turn on this song so that it can fix you.

-Daniel Abromowitz ‘13


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Richie’s TV Roundup: Week of Feb 4–10

Because I watch way too much TV (Spoilers ahead)

Fringe (Fox) Feb 4 “Jacksonville”

So, Fringe and I have something of a love-hate relationship. I adore the characters — stars Anna Torv (Olivia), Joshua Jackson (Peter) and John Noble (Walter) are all phenomenal — and any moments in which those characters are given some development really shine. But the series is often weighed down by the pseudoscientific monsters that seem to threaten mankind (or, at least, the United States) almost every week. “Jacksonville,” the season 2 finale, was not like that. The cold opening takes place in the New York of the alternate universe that has been the subject of much of the series’ intrigue as of late. Through a pseudoscientific manipulation of the time-space continuum (or something like that), the mysterious villain succeeds in opening a door between the two universes that results in the fatal merging of two versions of a building in New York City (along with everyone inside it). The gravity of this latest incident leads the team to Walter’s old lab in Jacksonville, where Olivia subjects herself to Walter’s experimentation in the hope that it will awaken her psychic abilities and allow her to prevent another trans-dimensional act of terrorism. The plot gets a bit complex, as you can probably tell, but fans of Fringe will be used to this and there’s enough action (and even a little romance) so that any viewer will be entertained. A finale is never a good time to jump onboard a new series, but for anyone who’s seen a couple of episodes of this season should definitely watch “Jacksonville”.

Smallville (CW)

Feb 5 “Absolute Justice”

Smallville is in its ninth season now, and it’s really grown up in the past decade. Gone is the nervous high school kid with superpowers who once headed this series about the origin of DC’s Superman. Clark is now an adult, and the characters and plotlines have matured accordingly. Last week’s two-hour special episode, “Absolute Justice” was a great example, with a hero-killer storyline that was reminiscent of Watchmen. The episode, in which Clark and company have to help the Justice Society of America when one of the team’s old enemies resurfaces, also shows how the overall direction of the series has changed in recent years. With an older Clark, well on his way to becoming the Superman he is destined to be, Smallville has positioned itself firmly in the world of DC comics. Super-humans (or “metahumans”) are all over, as are shady government organizations dedicated to controlling them. The episode used its longer time frame well, introducing new concepts and characters that will likely leave a lasting impression on Clark and company. Entering a nine-season-old series may seem intimidating, but Smallville is the kind of show that often recaps previous events in dialogue and “Absolute Justice” has enough elements of a standalone movie that anyone with basic knowledge of Superman could follow it (though they wouldn’t benefit from the episode’s many shout-outs to Superman and other DC franchises). I’d advise anyone who’s enjoyed Smallville in the past to check this one out.

Caprica (Syfy)

Feb 5 “Reins of a Waterfall”

Caprica is a prequel to Syfy’s award-winning (and totally frakking awesome) Battlestar Galactica, which was a significantly altered “reimagining” of the corny 1970s sci-fi show of the same name. The series can stand alone from Battlestar Galactica, but it certainly helps to be familiar with some of the universe’s terms and concepts. Now Caprica is definitely a science-fiction series, but don’t let that scare you off; the heart of this show is not the futuristic technology, but the character drama. In the first episode, Zoe Graystone, Tamara Adama, and numerous others are killed in a terrorist attack. Throughout the following episodes, the girls’ friends and families attempt to deal with their deaths. Meanwhile, Zoe’s technological breakthrough in artificial intelligence allowed her to create a virtual copy of her mind, which her father uploaded to a robot body. This thinking machine will become the first of the Cylons, the artificial humanoids Battlestar Galactica fans will remember as sworn enemies of the human race. The show revolves around these grand subjects but it doesn’t spend much time philosophizing over them. The core of show truly is the ways in which the characters react to major changes in their lives, their personal trials and tribulations. The show is new enough that you can still catch up and jump right in, so I don’t want to give too much away, but the last episode “Reins of a Waterfall” deals primarily with the Graystones’ plight after publicly revealing that their daughter may have been responsible for the terrorist attack in which she died.

Heroes (NBC)

Feb 8 “Brave New World”

You remember Heroes, right? It was that show about a bunch of random, ordinary people who suddenly found that they had extraordinary abilities. And it had that awesome first season that everyone loved … and then it just sort of disappeared. Well, though Heroes may have left its invisibility power turned on for the past few seasons (or “volumes,” as the prosaic producers like to call them), it came back with a couple of amazing episodes this season. The season’s penultimate episode, “The Wall” (broadcast Feb. 1), gave us some superb acting from Milo Ventimiglia (Peter) and Zachary Quinto (Sylar) and took major steps in moving the central story forward, setting us up for the season finale “Brave New World” (Feb. 8). But, as much of a Heroes fan as I am, the finale let me down a little. This season’s storyline about the carnival of super-humans was convoluted and hard to follow. The main villain, Samuel, had vague motives and even vaguer goals, not to mention a two-dimensional “bad guy” personality. The finale brought us back to New York City (which seems to be the series’ go-to spot for climactic events) where our heroes caught Samuel just in time to stop him from … doing something evil. It was never made entirely clear what Samuel planned to do, only that he would be revealing the existence of specials to the world. The real kicker was the last couple of minutes of the episode, when Claire jumps off a Ferris wheel and regenerates in front of a horde of press cameras, outing herself as a special and, ostensibly, ushering humanity into the “Brave New World” to which the episode’s title refers. It’s certainly a brave move on the part of the writers and I’m curious as to where they plan to go next, but Heroes’ ratings have been disappointing this season and, frankly, I’m sot sure that finale helped. If the series gets renewed I’ll definitely watch it, but I won’t be surprised if this is the end of Heroes.

The Rodeo (Richie’s Roundup Recap)

Because you don’t have time to read all of my comments

Syfy Channel’s Caprica deals with everything from artificial intelligence to racial discrimination and teen angst and is my favorite new show. It just started, all the episodes are available on Syfy’s website, and it’s frakking awesome, so you have no excuse not to start watching it.

Smallville (CW) gave us a two-hour special episode that was as mature as the actors have gotten over the series’ nine-season run. Check it out if you’ve enjoyed the show in the past.

Fringe (Fox) had recently fallen back on its old freak-of-the-week formula, but broke out of that with a season finale that finally tied up some of the series’ myriad loose threads. If you’ve watched a few episodes of this season, go watch the finale.

Heroes (NBC) had high highs and low lows this season. A few of the last episodes were really good, but they came too late to turn the season around; the finale felt rushed and I found it wholly unsatisfying.

--Richard Gadsden