Category: Entertainment

Sally Rooney’s new book will not be published in Hebrew

Ella M., journalist

Sally Rooney has recently come under fire for boycotting an Israeli publishing house. This boycott resulted in her new title, “Beautiful World, Where Are You,not getting Hebrew publication. The Irish author is well known for her books “Normal People,” which was developed into a hit Hulu series, and “Conversations with Friends.”

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Review: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

By Emma D., Arts Department Co-Editor

Photo courtesy of NBC.

If your life were a musical, it might look something like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist. The NBC dramedy created by showrunner Austin Winsberg (The Sound of Music Live!) recently finished its second season and has a dedicated fan base who are hoping it will be renewed for a third one.

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Netflix’s “Moxie” Gives Young Women a Sense of Empowerment

Paige P., journalist

On March 3, Netflix started off Women’s History Month with a bang! Moxie, Amy Poehler’s female empowerment themed movie was released. In the setting of a typical American high school, the main character, Vivian (Hadley Robinson) begins to notice and pay closer attention to the issues of sexism that occur on a daily basis all around her. Inspired by her mom’s and passion for feminism and observing the new girl in school, Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) standing up for herself, Vivian distributes copies of an anonymous pamphlet entitled “Moxie.” The pamphlet calls out unacceptable behaviors and actions towards young women in her school in an attempt to make female voices heard and it received a lot of traction. As a result, a group of students also called Moxie forms to protest injustices in their school, big and small, and work to empower not only each other, but everyone in their school (especially young women) who feel as though they are not being heard.

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A Lack Positive LGBTQ+ Representation in Modern Television

Kathryn Loschert, journalist

Television has become one of the most common American pastimes. Whether this means watching an episode of your favorite TV show or finding a new show to watch over the weekend, most people would agree that television is a strong part of their lives.  Despite the variety of shows available, the casts tend to be similar.  They lack diversity, especially characters who are members of the LGBTQ+ community.  It is important for us to increase television representation to educate audiences and give representation to minority groups.

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During a Difficult Year, Taylor Swift Releases Two Excellent Albums: folklore and evermore

Ella Mordarski, Journalist

30 Dec. 2020

During a Difficult Year, Taylor Swift Releases Two Excellent Albums: folklore and evermore

By Ella Mordarski

In late July 2020, after a year of hardships, Taylor Swift released a surprise 8th studio album titled folklore. The album was a huge success and is nominated for numerous awards at the upcoming 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, set to air on Sunday, March 14th, 2021. These include Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, and Best Pop Vocal Album. If Taylor Swift wins Album of the Year at the 2021 Grammys, she will become the fourth three-time winner in the category in Grammy history and the first-ever female three-time winner of Album of the Year. Swift certainly had a brighter 2020 compared to most people, including other performers. So, the question is: how could Swift end such a successful year with a bang? By releasing another album, of course!

The Year Without a Nutcracker: Reimagining Holiday Traditions in Unprecedented Times

Nastia G., Arts Department Co-Editor

TPG/Getty Images

The holiday season of 2020 is sure to be unique. With social distancing guidelines in place, many families are unable to gather for collective meals and take part in timeless traditions. Some have found creative ways to stay connected, even when apart. Thanksgiving went virtual on Zoom, where families were able to indulge in the scrumptious festivities from a safe distance. The video software even dropped its 40-minute time limit for unpaid subscribers in the spirit of the celebration. The holidays are meant to be a time of warmth and togetherness, and in a year like this, they are needed now more than ever, even if adjustments must be made. Indeed, 2020 will be the year to make brand new traditions as we all try to navigate this new world.

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The Christmas Spike Phenomenon

Cleo Cummins, Arts Editor

Every year in early November, I unearth my Christmas playlist as a guilty pleasure. My family all calls foul and tells me I can’t play it until after Thanksgiving. I’m not alone though, according to Google Trends, the week after Halloween is the first spike in Christmas music streaming, and it starts to go up even more without fail the week after Thanksgiving. Since 2004, the search “Christmas music” takes a drastic fall to zero on January first. Google search data, 2004-2020, reveal characteristic spikes every December even for quite famous artists who have other hits other than their Christmas songs. It mildly occurs with Kelly Clarkson and her recent hit “Underneath the Tree,” where bumps occurred in December 2016 and 2019 that correspond to her overall search popularity. Mining Google Trends site, I found this startling trend even affects John Lennon for his blockbuster Happy Xmas (War is Over).” The peaks for John Lennon searches correlate with the searches for his Christmas hit. 

The one Christmas hit wonder phenomenon is seen in Wham, which had the highest popularity when the lead singer, George Michaels, died on Christmas in 2016. The song, Last Christmas, continues to drive Wham’s search history, though they are not exactly the same curves. People do search for Wham outside of their Christmas music. Alone of the 20 or so Christmas hits I compared via Google’s tool, Christmas Wrapping, by The Waitresses, utterly copies the searches for the band. 

The cyclical popularity of Christmas music is attributed to the season and the holiday, no doubt. The fact that there’s no other holiday with a universally adopted, commercial soundtrack offers the possibility of having revenue and wealth come in once a year without fail, only if an artist crafts that Christmas hit. Those search hits create wealth, $500,000 yearly for Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.

Michael Buble famously has the voice of the crooner, much like Frank Sinatra. He defrosts every holiday season to play hits like “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.” His Google search hits respond evenly. 

This commercial success can be turned to support causes other than commercial shopping. A good example is the fundraising Christmas song, Do They Know it’s Christmas, created by supergroup Bandaid for the famine in Ethiopia and reprised twice for famine relief and once for Ebola funds by different amalgamations of superstars led by Bob Geldorf. 

An Insider’s Guide to K-pop

Keren Song, GW Chronicle Journalist

BTS, Blackpink, EXO, Girl’s Generation, PSY, and the list goes on and on. However, these stars and dramas come from a country across the ocean, in a faraway land called South Korea. Then why are Americans and the world fond of these foreign groups? Why is South Korea suddenly in the spotlight?

As a teenager living in South Korea, I can easily say that even Koreans were surprised by the attention. I believe Koreans’ start was in August 2012, when PSY’s Gangnam Style music video went viral on YouTube. Then American celebrities started tweeting about the song, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, and Tom Cruise tweeted about Gangnam Style, urging their followers to watch the video. We don’t know for sure how this song was a thing all of sudden, and even PSY himself replied to an interview question asking how the music video became so popular by saying that “it just happened.” We can only guess that this could be a display of social proof; the more people who watch the video and compliment it, the more people will come to check it out and believe that it is excellent. However, what we know for sure is that this was only the start. In 2019, a survey conducted in 17 countries around the world showed that around 37.5 percent of the respondents stated that the genre K-pop was “very popular” in their country. In about seven years, the popularity of K-pop has soared up.

Let’s get more into the actual reason why this happened. Many people try to find the reason for what people have liked in the past. However, if you’ve listened to K-pop music, you would know that it is different from what the world has enjoyed until now. I believe that that difference is what made K-pop so popular. As a person who lived in both America and Korea, the cultures are very different, from eating manners to fashion. I believe that these unique cultures are what attracts the world to Koreans. Korea’s culture is very different from Japan, which is only about 2 hours by plane away from us and is completely different from China, which is also very close. Most of the popular American singers have naturally learned to sing. For example, Ariana Grande has had no formal vocal training. On the other hand, singers in Korea, to be realistic, cannot become popular without vocal training and dance training in an entertainment group. That company will group the trainees up into groups or decide whether they would be better off alone. You could say that it is more hard-work than the talent you’re watching. However, there is no right and wrong in these systems. Also, dancing is as important as singing in K-pop stars. What can be seen with your eyes is part of the music. It applies the same to music videos. Gangnam Style’s music video was filmed in places around Seoul. This characteristic can make some talented people lose their chance to become an idol, but it matches Korea’s competitive culture. 

Also, Korean isn’t a widely spoken language. Only 35 million people speak Korean, and a big part of them live in North Korea. However, Koreans wanted to go out into the world. So, they needed to develop a scheme to make the world people listen to their music. They grouped the most compatible people into music groups like BTS and Blackpink, then gave them or made them compose catchy songs. It was a must to be catchy. No matter what story it had, it had to have a good, easy to sing-along melody. If they didn’t have these characteristics, it would have never succeeded. Also, 24% of Korean people can speak English, so they mixed English lyrics in raps or catchy phrases. However, that does not mean that Korea forgot about their own traditional culture. BTS’s song IDOL was based on a traditional Korean music beat that could only be heard in traditional plays. Also, BTS performed many stages in Hanboks, traditional Korean clothes. It even seems as if Korea just worked for its climax to display their culture.

Nonetheless, I congratulate BTS on their successful first 100 percent English song and hope that K-pop will present the world with more pleasant surprises.

“Live From New York: It’s Saturday Night!” — SNL is Back

Nastia G., Arts Department Co-Editor

In March, coronavirus swept through the world, leaving a destructive trail in its wake. Auditoriums, professional theaters, cinemas, and art galleries were forced to close down to prevent the spread of the virus, as the threat of exposure was high in tightly packed spaces such as these. The arts were essentially forced to shut down. For many, the only way to see other people and stay entertained was through cable television, Netflix, YouTube, and TikTok. While networks and media companies worked tirelessly to provide viewers with sufficient amusement with which to stay busy when the world shut down, this task proved far more difficult than most realize. Even the most well-known television series struggled to deliver entertainment with new episodes. Many networks placed strict COVID-19 regulations in studios to keep actors, technicians, and directors safe. Most shows were postponed until further notice. Live shows faced a particularly brutal beating. To survive, many live shows continued to air from hosts’ and guest stars’ homes via Zoom or Skype. Saturday Night Live’s 45th season ended in sketches recorded and designed by the stars from their own living rooms.

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