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Sundance 2020: Duke alums feature prominently in this year’s festival

(02/24/20 5:00am)

Duke alumni made a splash at Sundance this year — many of the films in competition were acted, directed and produced by Duke graduates now working in the industry. Duke has one of the largest networks of alumni in the arts and entertainment industries in Los Angeles and New York, one that rivals even the University of Southern California’s. With so many graduates out in Hollywood, many have found success as actors or producers and have even worked on projects that have gone on to win awards. 

What’s your sign?

(11/07/19 5:00am)

One of the first things I consciously remember reading as a child was a book on zodiacs. Dec. 4, 1998 — I was born a Sagittarius, the archer, a mutable fire sign with a “penchant for travel and the outdoors.” The Sagittarius is often signified by a centaur holding a bow and arrow, and is, in general, “idealistic, adventurous and energetic.” Sagittarius is most compatible with Leo, Aquarius and Aries, least compatible with Capricorn, Virgo and Pisces. The corresponding constellation is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. In many ways, even though I was still young and highly impressionable, I identified with these traits — not on experiential grounds, but through a sort of intrinsic sensibility — and simultaneously internalized them.

Durham Pride is an unabashed celebration of identity and visibility

(10/05/19 12:07am)

Last Saturday, not even 90-degree weather could prevent crowds from celebrating Pride on Duke’s East Campus. Duke students, Durham residents and people from across the state showed up adorned in glitter and extravagant outfits, blasting pop music down Main Street and bopping along to drag performances throughout the afternoon.

Sacred rituals

(09/19/19 4:00am)

I arrived in New York a full week and a half before starting my new job. Just enough time to orient myself to my new landscape — a landscape much harsher than I had anticipated. The very first time I visited the city was just scarcely six months prior. It rained a fine mist on that first occasion in New York, and the grey clouds veiled the city with a sort of pleasurable melancholy — not the kind that leaves behind a dreadful ache, but rather a loneliness that is content and contemplative, perhaps a bit romantic. 

Screen/Society's fall lineup brings arthouse and international cinema to Duke

(09/05/19 4:02am)

Since its founding in 1991 by graduate students, the Arts of the Moving Images’ Screen/Society series has been the center of eclectic film programming on campus. Each semester, co-programming coordinators Hank Okazaki and Jason Sudak curate Screen/Society’s offerings. Free to both the Duke and Durham communities, the program’s selection offers an assortment of films, with an emphasis on international and arthouse films that are not otherwise easily accessible. 

Endings and beginnings

(04/17/19 4:03am)

I used to be an outgoing kid. Ask me five years ago, and I would have proudly identified myself as an ENFJ personality type. On my first day at my new school in fifth grade, I wore my best graphic tee, sat confidently at my table cluster and introduced myself to my new classmates. “I’m Sarah, I’m new here!” I began chatting with wide, eager eyes, desperate to make new friends and to reinvent myself. Although I was met with less-than comparable enthusiasm, I continued to assert myself in the group conversation. 

Sundance 2019: In conversation with ‘Hala’ director and star on representation in film

(02/28/19 5:00am)

Writer and director Minhal Baig’s coming of age drama “Hala” follows a Muslim-American teenager as she navigates her senior year of high school. For Hala, her culture and family are just as important as her American upbringing. As with any coming of age narrative, Hala’s interests further her development: She loves music and skateboarding and has a refined taste in poetry and its composition. As Hala (Geraldine Viswanathan) begins to explore her sexuality, her Pakistani background comes into direct conflict with her surroundings, and she must reconcile the opposing facets of her identity. 

A loss for words

(02/06/19 6:30am)

I’ve had to do an egregious amount of writing in the last few weeks. Not that much writing for Recess, admittedly, but writing for classes, internships, scholarships and the like. Now, I am tasked with writing this editor’s note — in an hour and a half, optimistically — and I couldn’t be less thrilled. Truth be told, I dread writing. Maybe it comes to me more easily than most, but it could be easier. But I have to do it. I need to do it. I often find my thoughts so convoluted and disordered that I turn to writing to make them at least somewhat intelligible and to make sense of myself. 

AMI Filmcraft series teaches amateur filmmakers practical skills

(01/09/19 5:35am)

For some, it can be difficult to engage in the arts at Duke. Heavy class loads, career-oriented extracurriculars and burgeoning social lives make it difficult to explore the vast array of screenings, exhibits and workshops around campus, all free to students. The Art of the Moving Image department is particularly unsparing in its offerings, often holding screenings of rare 35mm prints and recent limited-release films. Starting Tuesday, AMI will host the Filmcraft series, comprised of workshops designed to provide an understanding of filmmaking equipment and techniques.

Personal rivalries become political in 'The Favourite'

(01/02/19 5:45am)

Director and auteur Yorgos Lanthimos has captured the attention of critics for his audaciously peculiar imagery and unorthodox storytelling. His repertoire includes “Dogtooth,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and “The Lobster,” films that have split the opinion of viewers. Some call his work clinical and unrelatable, while others praise it as fresh and iconoclastic. 

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ evokes sympathy for estranged author Lee Israel

(11/28/18 5:25am)

In Marielle Heller’s film “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” 90s era Manhattan possesses a melancholy that seemed to seep out of its very being. In an ever-damp and ever-cloudy setting, we are introduced to the now-unemployed Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), a foul-mouthed and cynical writer known for her biographies of Dorothy Kilgallen and Estee Lauder. The film is an adaptation of the real Lee Israel’s terminal publication by the same name, one that she published late in her career before succumbing to cancer.  

An ode to Halloween

(10/31/18 5:00am)

There are 10 most commonly celebrated holidays in the United States — among those are of course Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day and Christmas. They all boast their customary frivolities: turkeys, trees, chocolates — but never have I been excited by these marked dates. Perhaps it’s because my family hasn’t celebrated Christmas in nearly 10 years, or because I have an aversion to turkey or haven’t bothered with a significant other to exchange void proclamations of love. 

Behind the Hollywood sign

(08/29/18 4:00am)

It wasn’t until I was some twenty-thousand feet in the air that I realized how green North Carolina is. The constant green, to me, was dull. Living in both rural and suburban North Carolina at points in my life, I longed to drive by illustrious mountains like those out west, see the grand Red Rocks in the arid parts of the United States or take a walk through an endless cityscape, as if I were instinctively cosmopolitan. Finally, I had the opportunity to dive headfirst into one of the nation’s highly-regarded centers of culture.

Hip-hop artists dominate charts, challenge norms in summer releases

(07/21/18 10:00am)

This summer, hip-hop artists are dominating the charts, claiming more than half of the spots in the Top 10. Radio listeners can’t seem to catch a break from Cardi B’s “I Like It” or Drake’s hit “God’s Plan.” In the past five days, I’ve heard “I Like It” at least twice a day, and I admit, her line about the Balenciagas that resemble socks is especially catchy. 

An introduction to the Triangle’s music scene

(06/04/18 4:00am)

The Triangle has become quite the musical linchpin in North Carolina. With countless music venues ranging from independent to commercial, musicians and artists across the country pass through the Triangle each year, leaving behind their mark in North Carolina music history. For the incoming freshman or the seasoned senior who would like to dip their toes into the proverbial waters of the Triangle music scene, here is an introduction to some of the best places around to see a show. 

Duke Arts Festival seeks to challenge the typical 'Duke experience'

(04/04/18 4:30am)

For many Duke students, the arts are an integral aspect of their lives — academic or otherwise. Often, though, there is dissonance between the numerous artistic disciplines on campus, and Duke’s artists are aiming to bridge that gap through collaboration. This year, the annual Duke Arts Festival will take place from Friday to next Saturday, April 14, in an attempt to unify the arts and bring together students of varying academic interests. 

The wretched bliss of The Smiths

(03/21/18 4:10am)

I clearly remember the crisp fall days of my first year of high school, waiting on the corner of my street for the bright yellow school bus to rattle up to my stop. I recall staring forlornly out of the window, watching the water droplets pool together as Morrissey’s haunting croon drifted through my headphones for the first time in a moment of striking euphoria. Since then, The Smiths’ acclaimed and quintessential “The Queen is Dead” has been a staple in my musical repertoire. The Smiths’ third and suitably named studio album underlines a group at the pinnacle of its career. Its discovery defined my musical tastes and marked a period of my own existential fascination. I stumbled upon The Smiths not of my own accord but as I read Rainbow Rowell’s “Eleanor and Park,” a story about an odd pair who enjoy listening to odd music together. Never has an album made me feel so dreadfully jovial, experienced such wretched bliss, as “The Queen is Dead,” and nothing truly has since I was first engulfed by the surging chorus of “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” 

Mortality by photography

(02/21/18 5:00am)

A few weeks ago, an order for 25 three-by-five Shutterfly photo prints arrived at my door. The photos were mostly Instagram photos that I needed to occupy my empty picture frames, which had sat vacant on my shelves all semester. Nearly all of them were posed photographs of me and my friends taken on an iPhone camera. Unlike film photography, iPhone photos are disposable, economical and ubiquitous, so printing them allowed the ephemeral digital renderings to possess tangible sentimental value.