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Derivative? Who cares. ‘Kid Krow’ is great anyway.

(03/27/20 6:52pm)

Conan Gray is lonely. A global pandemic has him isolated at home, surrounded by the comforts of musical instruments and Taylor Swift and Lorde posters. The real-life embodiment of #quirky, he has his long hair down and a guitar in hand as he jokes around with his fans on an Instagram Live counting down the minutes till his debut album, “Kid Krow,” is released. One thing leads to another, and before long, he’s singing his album’s singles acoustically for the camera.

An augmented reality app is bringing two Durham murals to life

(02/29/20 5:00am)

There are some relatively new murals, finished in September 2019, in downtown Durham. Head over to East Chapel Hill Street, right across the road from Ninth Street Bakery, and you’ll find them pretty quickly. On the right, Frida Kahlo gazes upward from her colorful perch on a parking lot garage door. To her left is a similarly vibrant scene with a monarch butterfly as its centerpiece. However, should you approach them closer, you’d notice an accompanying instructional plaque. 

Justin Bieber’s ‘Changes’ is dead on arrival

(02/21/20 5:03am)

I really tried to have an open mind when first listening to “Changes,” but Justin Bieber certainly doesn’t make it easy. Plagued by terrible singles, desperate promotion and an image in shambles, his new album had a lot to overcome. So when Bieber’s voice erupted out of nowhere one second into the album like an alarm clock gone off far too early, my stomach sank. Not a good first impression. 

Quadio wants to be the streaming site for college students

(02/14/20 5:02am)

It’s not easy being a new artist. Finding an audience and dedicated listening base requires a whole lot of networking and positive word of mouth. On Spotify and other music streaming sites, small artists get swamped by massive releases from the likes of Taylor Swift and Post Malone. Quadio, a brand new streaming platform, wants to change that power relationship by flipping the exclusivity to the small artists. 

Billie sweeps and Ariana’s snubbed at an uninspiring Grammys

(02/05/20 10:13pm)

The archetypal Grammy performance is a slow, sad piano ballad. It’s a relatively safe choice for an artist — at worst it’s slightly boring, but when done right it can be transcendental. So it’s fitting that the artist who gave exactly this kind of performance, Billie Eilish, is the one who walked away with all the biggest awards. Safe and well-deserved, it was no surprise that Billie had such a great night, but it made for an anticlimactic ceremony to say the least.

Go to the movies with DUU Freewater Presentations

(01/16/20 5:02am)

The organization’s homepage on the DukeArts website is clear: “We show movies.” And they aren’t lying — that’s exactly what the DUU Freewater Presentations does. With screenings almost every Friday and Saturday, Freewater Presentations regularly provides a free movie-going experience to Duke students and the public. The selections differ every semester, usually going for newer releases. These, however, cover a wide range of options, both the gargantuan blockbusters and the smaller critical darlings. With so many choices, there will almost certainly be something to please everyone.

Camila Cabello’s ‘Romance’ is one of 2019’s best pop albums

(12/18/19 6:31pm)

With her sophomore album “Romance,” Camila Cabello has provided a fantastically cohesive, entertaining work that is a thrill from start to finish. Throughout each song, Cabello focuses on the LP’s titular theme, and in doing so, she neatly ties the album together with a bow. But more importantly, she has crafted a wonderful photo album of romance at each of its stages, be it the first tinge of desire or the throes of a breakup. 

‘Frozen 2’ is both more emotional and funnier than its predecessor

(12/06/19 5:01am)

“Frozen 2” opens with a song about everything staying the same. Promptly, everything changes, tearing apart the happy ending the first “Frozen” movie provided in 2013. The result is a movie that is both more emotional and funnier than its predecessor. And, by forgoing a traditional villain in favor of a quest-driven plot, “Frozen 2” adds thematic weight for a children’s movie, which all makes for an engaging experience for adults and kids alike.

When Nasher director Sarah Schroth retires in May, she will leave a legacy behind

(11/21/19 5:03am)

Sarah Schroth would like you to know that museums don’t run themselves. It takes a lot of effort to get those paintings on the walls of the Nasher Museum of Art — 37 people, actually. And with her coming retirement in May 2020, the Nasher will have to replace one of the most important people in its history. 

Jeff Goldblum is making sure jazz finds a way

(11/10/19 5:01am)

“Jazz, uh, finds a way,” or so says Jeff Goldblum’s Spotify playlist. Even if this weak attempt at capitalizing on his movie star status makes you cringe, Jeff Goldblum would like you to know that he is a man of many talents. In his newly released album, “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This,” Goldblum introduces to the world 11 new jazzy tracks. 

North Carolina, Duke, Brody Theater? They’re all haunted by ghosts

(10/31/19 4:02am)

Duke is haunted. You can find ghosts everywhere you turn: there’s talking statues, whatever Brody Theater is and the spook-tacular Brooks Field at Wallace Wade Stadium (what else could be filling all those empty seats?). With this in mind, I decided to go on an exploration of the supernatural here at Duke and in Durham. I’m Jonathan Pertile, and this is my story. 

High frame rates in movies are a cheap gimmick

(10/27/19 4:01am)

With the recent resounding flop of “Gemini Man,” another movie boasting impressive technical achievements failed to make much of an impact on moviegoers. Despite its groundbreaking 120 frames per second (five times the norm), the movie will likely lose more than $75 million on a nearly $240 million budget. The movie garnered a dismal 25 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, largely due to a “frustratingly subpar story.” Problems plagued the movie throughout its decade-long production, from its carousel of actors and directors to its multiple script rewrites. All of this comes in spite of (because of?) using 40 times as much data as a normal movie. Why? Well, maybe it’s because high frame rates are gimmicky and not truly appreciated by audiences.

The viral ‘Untitled Goose Game’ is delightfully morally ambiguous

(10/18/19 4:03am)

The other night I had a nightmare. As I slept, the classic sources of horror came and went: past-due papers, terrifying heights and, uh, geese. Yes, geese.  That’s what happens when you spend several hours bothering a picturesque little town as a white-winged evil demon, as I did playing as the “protagonist” goose in the viral and fantastically morally ambiguous “Untitled Goose Game.”

The Avett Brothers’ ‘Closer Than Together’ is interesting but forgettable

(10/11/19 4:01am)

The Avett Brothers’ new album, “Closer Than Together,” is a musical roller coaster of ups and downs. On their ninth studio album, the Avett Brothers get political, but these attempts are incredibly hit-or-miss, suffering from several severe cases of whiplash along the way. However, “Closer Than Together” nevertheless manages to hit the jackpot on a few songs, salvaging an otherwise lackluster album.

How Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ became a fall classic

(10/04/19 4:02am)

As fall sets in across the United States, a peculiar tradition begins among one of the nation’s most rabid fanbases. With the sight of falling leaves and the arrival of crisp autumn air, Swifties will pull Taylor Swift’s fourth studio album “Red” down off of shelves and Spotify catalogues and back into their lives. With an album so thoroughly entrenched in themes of closures and conclusions, no time of year better matches the pop-country-rock fusion that is “Red” than autumn. So why not now for an exploration of the album that brought us the Taylor of today?

Sights and sounds from the Pittsboro PepperFest

(09/29/19 4:01am)

On the last day of summer, Pittsboro was ready to bring on the heat. At the intersection of downtown Pittsboro’s Hillsboro and Salisbury Streets, dozens of vendors gathered for North Carolina’s annual PepperFest. Their stock matched the balmy 90°F temperature outside and packed a spicy punch that elicited, for many, an anxious search for the water station. Set against the backdrop of groovy music, the event made for quite an enjoyable afternoon of sampling exciting food, meeting compelling people and interacting with the vibrant small town of Pittsboro.