News of the Weird
By: Sophie Nikitas
Associate Arts Editor
“If we are your main source of news, then you probably have a warped sense of the world,” Simona Zappas ‘15 says into the mic in the WMCN studio. Zappas, along with Parker Field ‘15, have just begun their second semester of freshman year, and with it, their second semester of co-hosting their WMCN show, “News of the Weird”.
The show is centered around bizarre news stories of the week. They turn to websites such as The Huffington Post, NPR and the Star Tribune, to get the latest in the weird. “Our main critique is that we laugh too much,” admits Simona, while Parker concedes, “We need to work on our banter.”
But considering the topics they discuss, and the fact that they find them on the spot (in order to get “fresh reactions”), it’s not a surprise that they can’t help cracking up every so often. Nor does it inhibit them from coming up short of hilarious things to say. In fact, the stories are only the beginning of what has turned out to be one of the most entertaining shows in WMCN. A show starts off with, for example, a story about the extreme lengths one man will go to in order to find his beloved cow, Yvonne, and may end with a debate over the pronunciation of Reese’s, involving several guest speakers and online sources.
Music also helps fill the extended time slot that the show received, going from one hour last semester to its current two-hour time slot. The Austin Powers’ theme song serves as the opener for News of the Weird, while Parker and Simona dance around the studio (unfortunately invisible to their audience). They then punctuate their stories with individual songs— a combination of music that they love and music that they mock. Parker proudly claims ownership of every Now (That’s What We Call Music!) CD, which they often put to good use. Mariah Carey is a favorite.
By: Alana Horton
Have you heard about Stop Kiss? It’s the Macalester Theatre Department’s Winter production, and it opens this Friday. The play, written by Diana Son, focuses mainly on the relationship that develops between two young women living in New York: savvy, cynical Callie, and Midwestern idealist, Sara. That relationship is seriously affected by a horrific assault provoked by the couple’s first kiss that leaves Sara seriously damaged, and Callie struggling to make up her mind about her life, identity and love. The play continually flips in time from before to after the accident, providing the audience a unique window in which to understand the lives of the characters.
Despite its serious themes of trauma and hate crimes, humor and humanity shine though throughout the play. One notable aspect of Stop Kiss is that it is a recent play, set in the 1990’s, and its dialogue is performed in a naturalistic style. As Rob Gelberg, ‘14, who plays the character of George puts it, “This is the first time [at Macalester] that I’m playing a “normal” person, and it’s also the first time in my memory that Macalester has done a play about normal people acting normally saying normal things. But this play is anything but normal. It’s a very powerful, funny, poignant play.”
Stop Kiss is part of the Theatre Department’s season theme of “Voices of the Silenced,” which aims to give voice to “displaced persons, the poor, targets of hate crimes, and citizens struggling with trauma – in many instances showing how humor and solidarity are crucial strategies in giving voice and refusing silence.” Gelberg sees Stop Kiss as an important production in relation to this theme, noting “It’s about a homophobic hate crime, and we certainly don’t live in a society where homophobia is a thing of the past. People are still being discriminated against or even hurt and killed for who they are.”
Stop Kiss, Rob says, is “funny, and really sad at parts, but it’s the kind of play you’re going to be immediately drawn into. You’ll be drawn by the characters, by the story, by the way these people evolve.” His only qualm? “It’s set in the 90’s, so the only thing that might not translate well is some of the music. But that’s not even true. Ginuwine, TLC… people still listen to 90’s music.
mark yo’ Agendas//
Friday 17th @7:30 PM
February 18th @7.30 PM
February 19th @2.00 PM
February 23th @7.30 PM
February 24th @7.30 PM
February 25th @7.30 Pm
$5 for students
By: Sam Baker
Flynt Flossy, Pretty Raheem, Watchyamacallit, and Yung Humma took to the stage Thursday, February 9th at the Triple Rock Social Club above a crowd of young Twin Cities fans decked out in turquoise and in love with their group, Turquoise Jeep.
A YouTube sensation, Turquoise Jeep is a group of self-proclaimed “existing musical beings.” With songs such as “Shuyamouf,” “Fried or Fertilized,” and “Can He Move It Like This?” the Jeep does not take itself too seriously, but is always serious about the quality of their performance.
At Thursday night’s show, the Jeep came onstage one by one beginning with Raheem as they sang “Cavities.” They were sporting their own t-shirts, which many of the attending Macalester students were donning as well.
Tommy Symmes ‘13 said, “My opinion on the concert is perhaps best summed up in a Yung Humma quote: ‘mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’.”
Their fans, known as Jeep Riders, put most fan bases to shame on Thursday, knowing every lyric, dance move, and trying to touch the hands of Jeep members in order to come in contact with a little of that turquoise swag.
The group’s dancing was even better in person than in their hysterical music videos. The moves of dance master Flossy particularly awed fans, though Humma and Whatchyamacallit were spectacular as well.
Ellen Coble ‘13 described the group as “a well oiled machine.” Coble enjoyed Flossy’s dance moves, as she said, “his facial hair and pelvic thrusts… just…wow.”
When the Jeep introduced a new, unreleased song, “Do You Want To Touch It?,” the crowd really got involved. For the song,the Jeep asked the crowd, well, “Do you want to touch it?” which was followed by the female Jeep Riders answering “Yes, I do,” and the male Riders replying “Put your hands on it then.”
Sophomore Tanur Badgley was a fan of the new song, saying, “I liked how involved everyone was with this song and found the overtly sexual content pretty funny.”
Though one might want to call the group a satirical internet success, the Jeep feels otherwise. Flossy explains on their website, “Everything is not meant to be understood. You feel me baby? We don’t want to be categorized. We don’t want to be defined.”
Drew Mintz ‘14 said of the group, “Turquoise Jeep has become the standard to which all youtube comedy/music acts should aspire.”
Turquoise Jeep has certainly made its impact on the Macalester community, inspiring Symmes, Bo Scarim ‘13 and Freddy Kamps ‘13 to perform Slick Mahoney’s single Go Grab My Belt at last year’s Relay for Life (Mahoney was unfortunately absent at Thursday’s concert).
Flossy’s decision to end the concert with “Did I Mention I Like To Dance,” took the crowd’s dance enthusiasm to another level completely.
If you made it to the Dodos show last year during Springfest, you may remember a shout out from frontman Meric Long, who said, “Lemme smang it, girl,” in reference to Humma’s song, “Lemme Smang It.” Apparently, even the Dodos are fans.
By: Noah Koch
One of the smartest things I’ve seen ABC do since renewing “Happy Endings” is pull the steaming pile of hate/trash, “Work It,” off the air after two short, reductive episodes. The basic idea behind the show is that men can’t get jobs because women dominate the work force (hmmm). Two men consequently decide to dress up like women to get jobs as pharmaceutical sales reps (HMMMMMMMMM). Turns out that LGBTQ groups, along with anyone who doesn’t hate women, found the show offensive. While I, like anyone else with a soul, celebrated the premature death of this Mayan-Apocalypse-turned-primetime-show, I was secretly bummed for one reason; the show is a goldmine for a drinking game. After two episodes here’s what I had compiled:
Every time the “ladies” try to use lines from “S**t Girls Say”: “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” This is the type of quality coming out of this show. While I’m sure ladies have said this before, it’s still pretty base, even for ABC comedy. Take a shot.
Every time the ladies try to use lines from “S***t Girls Say”: Now here’s where this gets offensive. At least with the guys I could pretend that their lines were commentary on how oblivious the modern man is about how women think. When the actual women in the show are just as caricature-y as the men pretending to be women, I’m going to take issue. Women in “Work It” are just as poorly constructed as their “women” coworkers. They’re catty, they’re manic, and they only ever eat sushi or salad. I guess the reason nobody can tell they’re men is because they’re all crazily stereotyped (what a great lead-in to my next point). Chug it down.
Every time it makes no sense that nobody can tell they’re men: I have nothing else to say. Drink.
Every time they assume all women use sex to succeed in life: As all Disney princesses have taught us, the best way to get what you want as a woman is through seduction. Lee, our dashing protagonist, is taught this by his wife who casually informs him that when she wants a raise she doesn’t wear a bra and cranks down the temperature in the hospital where she works to blast her nips. Hopefully all the young girls who watched this were inspired to drop out of school, since they can get anywhere, providing they wear a thong and bend over a bit during the interview. GLUGGLUGLUGLUGLUG
Every time jokes are made at the expense of effeminacy: What’s the only thing that can make a show about men pretending to be women funnier? Apparently, a show about girly men pretending to be a woman. Poor Angel really takes the brunt of these tasteful bouts of whit, with his lavish gestures and questions about feminine upkeep while still in male form (since men never care about things like their weight or appearance). Ugg it.
Every time you laugh: Drink a lot. You should be punishing your liver for such a foul reaction to this show.
By: Noah Koch
A Few Passive-Aggressive Questions for “Two Broke Girls”
It isn’t the 90’s anymore, so why are you filmed like it is?:
Call me a snob, but at this point I don’t think that any shows should be filmed in multicam. For those of you who don’t breathe television, what this means is that the show’s set only has three walls, and a bunch of cameras are set up where the fourth wall would be to film from multiple angles at once. This gives actors the ability to run through a scene without having to pause every time the director wants a new shot. Basically it’s way simpler, but it also is way lower quality. The sets look like sets, actors ham up every line to cue the studio audience to laugh (even though most shows use a laugh track), and there’s way less room for artistic license. I’m pretty sure shows filmed like this are what my parents were thinking about when they told me television would rot my brain.
So people who aren’t white or American must me sassy/lecherous/dumb/ignorant, right?:
The trend in television these days is to look back on a simpler time. “Two Broke Girls” follows that pattern by fondly recalling racial stereotypes. First there’s Han “Bryce” Lee, the Korean immigrant owner of the diner. Han’s whole shtick is that he is trying really hard to assimilate into American culture, but can’t because he’s not from here (HAHA). And if that didn’t make you piss yourself with laughter, his accent’s so heavy that he speaks like Mickey Rooney did in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA). There’s also Earl, the Black cashier who’s always ready with something sassy to say like “that girl is working harder than Stephen Hawking putting on a pair of cufflinks.” Oh Earl… Lastly there’s Oleg the Ukrainian cook, who only speaks to sexually harass the girls, like all Ukrainians do.
Are rape jokes funny these days? No? So why do you keep making them?:
As Vulture kindly pointed out, rape jokes were all the rage this fall on television and ff all the shows out there, “Two Broke Girls” was definitely the worst offender. The first joke premiered in the pilot when sheltered Caroline gets startled on the subway by, and subsequently tases, Max. Caroline then defends herself by saying “I’m sorry, I didn’t know it was you. I thought I was being raped.” Max responds with the zinger “That’s not what rape feels like,” cue laugh track. Apparently rich girls can’t be raped. Who knew? Other than this the rest of the rape jokes are made mainly by Max, who’s sexually liberated spirit allows her to constantly joke about vaginas and masturbation. Rape jokes tie into that theme nicely, right? Don’t let my sarcastic tone confuse you. I actually find this quite disgusting.
In conclusion, what the hell?:
Seriously though, “Two Broke Girls.” This may be the ramblings of a self-involved television fanatic who thinks people want to hear what he has to say, but at least I’m saying it- You’re goddamn offensive.
By: Sophie Nikitas
Patrick Schmidt is a Political Science professor at Macalester, who was kind enough to share a playlist of his favorites with us. To alleviate the stress that this semester has already brought, listen to this playlist to enter a moment that is not here or now.
The Moody Blues
I played this constantly in Bigelow Hall when I was at Macalester’s debate camp for high school students during the summer of 1987.
I already liked this song when I learned of the Mac connection with Bob Mould.
I love songs with anthemic aspirations, and prog rock has some of the best.
The Grateful Dead
For the best road trip song ever, get an epic 13-minute live recording of this Woody Guthrie song.
Credit a student, Tim Erkel (‘11), for introducing me to Frank Turner. I haven’t been the same since.
A great track, both clever and catchy, from the Minneapolis-based hip hop artists.
The Sex Pistols
When you really need a shot of punk, go old school.
Commonly recognized as the theme song from the BBC’s Vicar of Dibley, it’s a jewel of contemporary choral music.
As much as “Layla” deserves a spot on this list, Clapton’s recent take on this classic offers both an electric and an acoustic solo, both of which are transcendent.
The Divine Comedy
Lyric-writing at Neil Hannon’s masterful best.
Spring Awakening (Broadway Cast)
The best, hopefully ironic song when you have a big paper due tomorrow but haven’t started it yet.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Any track from Rocky Horror could make this list, but this just beats out “Touch-a,
Touch-a, Touch Me”.
My favorite song ever. But then, I’m into politics.
Maya A. Weisinger
Sharon Van Etten//Tramp
With the release of Tramp, Sharon Van Etten brings to our palette a diverse set of characters, introducing us to a femme fatale and then taking us home to lie in the bed of a sleepyheaded chickadee.
Van Etten has been nesting in the recent scene, not only by letting us hear her unique voice ring once again on this second album, but by teaming up with the likes of Matt Barrick, Thomas Bartlett (aka Doveman), Zach Condon, Jenn Wasner, Julianna Barwick, and Aaron Dessner.
Perhaps this powerful collaboration lead to the great mix of acoustics with the occasional rocky punch (listen: Magic Chords), definitely showcasing Van Etten’s range of musical abilities. Songs like We Are Fine, featuring Zach Condon from Beirut, proved even further that perhaps she could use an extra dose of collaboration juice. On her own, we get a comfortable, worn-in feeling. But with the few songs that feature the vocal backing of Condon the fullness that immediately hits the ear makes me realize that introducing another voice or even another medium to the mix would enhance the listening experience of this album by at least 75%.
Though the lovely Van Etten takes us through what appears to be a tense night time adventure into the bleak hours of the morning, it seems as though she paints an intangible dreamscape; something only truly understandable to the one experiencing the dream, only a faint description of something great to someone else. This album is easy to fall into, easy to get lost in, easy to forget. I feel a spirit like Van Etten wasn’t meant to be treated as such. The rockier songs on the album prove she is more than someone who takes no for an answer.
Which is why the most appreciated thing about this album is that she delivers a truly honest performance. The fact that it sounds nothing like she was trying too hard to appeal to us makes it a precious listen. I see a stronger, more corporeal Sharon Van Etten heading towards us in the future, leaving this album as a striking promise.