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Mitski is nothing if not a viscerally enigmatic American poet. On stage, her venereal movements evoke a character that is unlike Mitski herself: soft–spoken and impenetrable. Slated to retire after Be the Cowboy, she surprised fans with her 2022 album Laurel Hell, as well as several songs for soundtracks. But her new record could be the first time she’s been making music for her own sake in a while: “I renegotiated my contract with my label, and decided to keep making records. Thank you so much for your patience and support while I found my way here. I love you!” she wrote to fans in a newsletter.
“Because things have changed, and we’re tired of it. More importantly, we’re tired of being lied to.”
In the realm of cinema history, it has become rare to be surprised by the superhero genre, especially by origin stories. Unfortunately, “Blue Beetle” adheres to a generic formula as it introduces Jaime Reyes, his family, and the alien scarab that grants him superhuman abilities. From initial reluctance to acceptance of the “call to adventure,” to personal tragedies, Jamie goes through all the commonplaces in his first live–action contact with the public. Still, the film based on DC Comics manages to stand out and disappoint at the same time, thanks to the “Latinidade” brought by director Ángel Manuel Soto.
This summer was, undeniably, one for the girls; the streets were swathed with all shades of pink after the release of filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s impossibly highly–anticipated Barbie, pop icon Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour brought colorful summer–camp–style beaded bracelets and frothy fantasy adult dress–up to the cultural main stage, and a TikTok–fueled tidal wave of trends hopped off–screen as we packaged our walks, dinners, and aesthetics under the umbrella of all different kinds of “girl”–iness. Female joy and community felt tangible this summer more than ever, and in many ways it feels like a relief a long time coming: Finally, the economic, cultural, and social space for women to express and enjoy themselves doesn’t require any kind of fight or justification. This time, the magnitude of the forces embedded in these creative and cultural celebrations of a collective girlhood experience speak for themselves.
By now, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie requires no preamble. The film has not only grossed over $1.4 billion at the worldwide box office but has become a cultural phenomenon of proportions not seen by a major studio film in years. “Hi, Barbie!” and “I am Kenough” have already entered the mainstream lexicon, and the film’s soundtrack has been successful, with Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice’s “Barbie World,” and Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” all charting on the Billboard Hot 100. Along with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, Barbie has been hailed as a saving grace for the film industry: an original story backed by a big–budget studio that features two movie stars and has delivered both critically and commercially.
Rage is a powerful thing. But way too often, when it is unleashed by marginalized folks, organizers, or even students, this rage is weaponized against those communities.
If one tuned into cable TV sometime in the past two decades, they might be familiar with a number of Western music competition shows. American Idol, where individuals compete for the attention of the American public, birthed stars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. Or X Factor, which created groups like Fifth Harmony, One Direction, and Little Mix that dominated much of the 2010s.
Born with a congenital heart defect, Megan Laubacher (N ‘24) spent the first few weeks of her life in the hospital surrounded by medical professionals. Yet among all of the surgeons, pediatricians, and cardiologists, one group always stood out to Megan’s family: nurses.
When put in the always–uncomfortable situation of sharing fun fact ice breakers, my go–to answer has always been, “My home town is obsessed with zombies.” It’s more than a little strange and, while not a lie, there’s more to the story. Night of the Living Dead, the horror movie credited with first bringing zombies to the big screen and putting an unexpected critique of racial tensions onscreen in the 60s, was filmed in my hometown’s cemetery. Moreover, that cemetery is right behind the backyard of my childhood home. As a kid, I could slip between the grave stones and envision hoards of corpses stalking me. I have a love–hate relationship with zombie media, because it's so integral to how I grew up and because, to this day, I still occasionally wake up in sweat and terror over a nightmare of living through the apocalypse. “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!” Oh, the amount of times I’ve heard that line.
The Cannes Film Festival is addicting. Not just because of the luxurious assemblage of the grandest and most star–studded films of the year, all demanding one's attention, but because it's combined with the frantic atmosphere of a carnival. Covering the festivity for a Chinese media outlet, I attended the 76th Cannes Film Festival this May. Every morning—even after a mere four hours of sleep—in a small apartment I shared with four other reporters, I was instantly energized by yet another day exclusively dedicated to a cinematic world: where every conversation, every chance encounter, belonged to a magical experience.
Late in the afternoon, July 4, 2023, just northeast of downtown Los Angeles. In suburban Pasadena, Calif., over 80,000 people file into the Rose Bowl. The stadium was originally built over a century ago, and has hosted hundreds of events, including Super Bowls, college football national championships, and World Cup finals.
Back from abroad, and I’m exhausted. My face keeps breaking out from a combo of soot and sweat, and I’ve got these lingering headaches from a summer cold I keep insisting wasn’t COVID. My body feels like it traveled the world in a cargo plane.
“I’m certainly not cutting open brains today, I’ll tell you that,” Jonnell Burke (C’18) laughs over our Zoom call in early August, almost one hundred days into the WGA strike. But her cog–neuro degree is, oddly enough, where she first got interested in entertainment. She tells me that one of her professors encouraged her to take classes that were “all the different building blocks of how your brain works,” like philosophy, logic, and anything else that helped Burke become “a more holistic person.”
Charlie Javice: "Embezzlement doesn't count if it's by accident."
For a select few, dreams of college travel conjure images of cold daiquiris on white sand beaches or never–ending cobblestone streets in far away cities. Instead, for most of us, travel is meticulously budgeting Amtrak tickets, sampling unfamiliar dining hall fare, and cuddling up to watch a movie in an unfamiliar twin XL bed.
I was walking through pouring rain when Bean called to see if I wanted to work with him this summer. I had promised my mom that I would come home, a prospect I wasn’t entirely excited about—it would mean reinstated curfews and the self–imposed house arrest of the 110 degree Texas heat. Bean had been a mentor for me throughout high school, and when he first offered me the job, I was tentative. In many ways it felt like a step backwards: I’d be working with a local nonprofit to help coach a youth slam poetry team, a program I’d been a part of all throughout high school. When I went to college I wanted nothing more than to move forward, to leave behind everything I once was as a teenager in Sugar Land and re–emerge a metamorphosed girl. But here I was back again after my first year, in the same lifeless town, in the same small life.
Elif Batuman writes in The Idiot that “everyone thought they were Dumbo." Even school bullies will cheer along with the pink–eared baby elephant as they watch the Disney classic. Nobody has the self–awareness to realize they’ve been the bad guys all along. But when I sat down this June in a chilly conference room at the ornate William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, reporter’s notebook in hand, I realized that some people are content to play the villain.
Editor’s Note: This article contains spoilers
No matter how shiny high–paying summer internships may look on our resumes or LinkedIn profiles, the reality of many of these jobs is less dazzling. But it isn't just the endless hours of Excel weighing us down. Unpaid internships continue to prevail in America, with over 40% of internships not being paid. This unsettling statistic is only another scheme of corporate America (again) reaffirming its capitalist agenda. This time, exploiting a pool of young workers—many of them college students—who may be stepping into the industry for the first time.
Attending screenings of Red, White & Royal Blue in New York and Philadelphia, I had planned to sit back and enjoy a light–hearted “romance of the summer." But this was no average romantic comedy. In a genre often plagued by surface–level meaning and limited representation, Red, White & Royal Blue emerges as a swoon–worthy yet culturally significant film that authentically explores an intersectional spectrum of queer identities and experiences.