In a city as bustling as Washington DC, and on a campus as lively as AU, it’s important that young students with a million things to do get ourselves out of the library and exploring the Nation’s Capital. The first coffee house and book store I dared to explore as a freshman, Politics and Prose, is still one of my very favorites a year and a half later. Though my list of coffee shops to visit is about a mile long, Politics and Prose always floats back at the top.
A For-Show Gallery of a Squeezed-Dry Place – “Chinatown”
Years back, in our middle school and high school days, dystopian novels were all the rage. The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched stormed the shelves of every bookstore. The audience of young book lovers were obsessed with seeing authors create new worlds with governments whose systems eventually lead to its own downfall. At the same time, our own government was and still is going through major change. Our minds swirled with the questions that started with, “what if...”
Art for all. That is what Rafael Lozano-Hemmer achieves with his new exhibition, Pulse, at the Hirshhorn Museum. Walking into the exhibit, visitors immediately enter a dark room that creates a serious, yet intimate, tone. Pulse begins by outlining what visitors should expect to see and hear as they walk around the exhibit: their own personal data. Additionally, the museum profiles Hemmer and provides information on his artistic background. Born in Mexico, Hemmer is internationally renowned for art that incorporates technology that visualizes human data. The museum goes the extra mile by creating a timeline of the influence of audiovisual and bio-technologies on the art world. This includes John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s song, Baby Heartbeat, which was built using their unborn son’s heartbeat, and Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, which ends with a heartbeat. After this introduction, viewers are left to explore the exhibit with no additional direction.
I am sure many people were forced to read Jane Eyre as a teenager, whether it be in high school English class or a college course. Most people view it as a romance novel, some hailing it as the greatest romance novel of all time. I am sure when Brontë wrote this novel in the Victorian Era, it was reasonably romantic, but in today’s standards…not so much. I see it as a comedy.
Islamic literature is deeply woven in long histories of spirituality and ideology for those who follow its faith. There exists an incessant misconception that Muhammad, and the Quran in entirety, disregard poetry as empty words. This claim commonly arises at the reading of Chapter 26 of the Quran (ash-Shu'ara), which writes, “And the Poets, it is those straying in Evil who follow them: Seest thou not that they wander distracted in every valley?/And that they say what they practice not?” To read this passage as a complete repulsion of poetry is to misinterpret the beliefs of Islam. Poetry that is inspiring, nuanced, and rich is celebrated in Islam- it is the poetry that makes a mockery of its own art that is denounced. The Quran holds art in great respect.
Don’t be afraid, the gunfire
The comedian Daniel Sloss is honestly kind of life changing. He was one of the first comedians I started to watch as I tried to cut back on media. He has a Netflix special called Daniel Sloss: Live Shows that contains two episodes: “Jigsaw” and “Dark.” The bit I want to focus on is “Jigsaw.” It gets you thinking about what your end goal is in life, and how we should treat ourselves in our relationships. This episode showcases his very dark humor. He covers a broad range of topics from tripping children to the meaning of life. His jokes are funny and current: “Facebook vegans are to veganism what ISIS are to Islam: a small but loud and persistent minority who missed the point of the original peaceful message and now for some reason are choosing to take it out on bacon.”
For as long as I can remember, I have always been a voracious reader. At two years old, I would dump out the big wicker basket that held my picture book collection, crawl inside, and read until I made it through all of my favorites: the entirety of the Berenstain Bearsseries, my worn copy of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, Sarah Stewart’s The Library, Yoshiko Uchida’s The Bracelet, and Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, to name a few. Many of these books I read several times in one sitting.
If you’ve never heard of him, ZHU is the stage name of Steven Zhu, an American DJ, singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. His music is hard to pigeonhole, since it sits in the pocket of a growing—albeit paradoxical—genre: electronic dance music (EDM) with an artful nod. In general, EDM is designed for people in clubs to bounce mindlessly to while touching a dozen strangers and sweating enough to ruin their shirts forever—not exactly a challenging listen. Art-pop, on the other hand, has the opposite connotation; it’s shrill, over intellectual, and most damning of all, not danceable. However, ZHU’s music breaks down the wall between mind-bending progpop and the catchy EDM we all love to mosh to. All that to say—compounded by the rave reviews I’d heard from friends regarding ZHU’s live show—I was biting my nails in anticipation of his concert in DC.
Let me start by talking about the aesthetics. I was infatuated by the color palette and compositions of the shots in this film. There was an overwhelming sense of balance in each frame. Most of them were center composed— especially the scenes that focused on individuals. Characters, especially main characters, were almost always center composed. There were a couple scenes, usually involving action, in bird’s eye perspective. I found that this added movement to the film. It took to viewer to a new angle, which made it feel alive.