Category: Entertainment

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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Creating Art Together- Figuratively

Francesca R., journalist

As is common knowledge, COVID-19 was officially characterized as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.  Following this, emails and news stories announcing the cancellations of various performances, classes, and even the closing of studios as a whole flooded into artist’s inboxes. Before we all knew it, everyone’s calendar was emptier than a grocery store’s toilet paper aisle. However, rather than being excited and looking at this as an extended spring break, this brought about significant panic. Artists already get paid very little, would they be paid during this time? And as it is so difficult to “make it,” in a career in the art industry, every minute of practice is of the essence for students. How would they receive proper instruction and training? Fortunately, because of modern technology, continuity in training and a continuation of practice in the arts has been made possible.

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Art During an Epidemic

Hank T., journalist


On March 12, 2020 every Broadway show currently running was shut down by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. This was a response to stop the spread of COVID-19. Initially, the theaters were only supposed to be shut down until April 12. However, this date has been extended to June 7, the day the Tony Awards were supposed to be broadcast. Although this response is completely appropriate and helpful in stopping the spread of Coronavirus, it is leaving many people in the entertainment industry in need of money and supplies. So, many people with industry jobs are turning to an organization called The Actors Fund.

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The Weinstein Trial

A Timeline of Events and Key Takeaways

Jessica Mann (center), one of women who testified against Weinstein, leaving a Manhattan courtroom after Weinstein’s sentencing.

Alexa W., journalist

(GW CHRONICLE) — Harvey Weinstein.  This name–his name–could be seen on the credits of almost every major motion picture at one point in time, establishing his power and control that he had over Hollywood and the entertainment industry.  However, many failed to realize that as his name flashed across screens everywhere, it also elicited fear and anger from the many women whom he objectified, harassed, manipulated, and assaulted.  

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The Oscars Dilemma

A look into the ceremony’s diversity issue

Alexa W., journalist

We have barely stepped into the new decade and the new year, however it already seems as though we are going backwards.  Recently, the Oscars held its 92nd show to honor a myriad of films, however the spotlight fell onto its nominees or rather the lack of diversity present in the nominations.  While a lack of diversity in a nomination list for an award show celebrating elite members of society seems small in comparison to many other issues plaguing the world, this issue is much larger than it seems.  In fact lack of diversity in the Oscars led to popular trends such as #OscarsSoWhite and led many people to boycott the Oscars, celebrities included. Natalie Portman even showed up to the 2020 Awards show in a custom Dior gown which had the names of all female directors who were snubbed by the Academy.

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From the Big Screen to the Phone Screen: Leonardo DiCaprio’s Efforts to Bring About Change

Alexa W., journalist

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock (5343725bt) Leonardo DiCaprio during the show Screen Actors Guild Foundation 30th anniversary celebration, Los Angeles, America – 05 Nov 2015

Social media acts as a powerful force in spreading awareness to issues and events as they occur in the world.  Over the years, celebrities have begun to utilize their growing influence to help further raise attention to such information.  Leonardo DiCaprio is one star in particular who has utilized his voice to raise awareness about climate change in the world and its consequences. 

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