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Justin Bieber’s ‘Changes’ is dead on arrival

(17 hours ago)

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. 

Tame Impala faces eternity on ‘The Slow Rush’

(02/20/20 5:03am)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen the jelly beans video reposted online. Exactly 28,835 jelly beans, one for each day in a lifetime. I scroll past it every time, only to have a “memory” of a photo I was tagged in a year ago flash on my screen. Keep scrolling. A trailer for the next “Star Wars” movie, out in just 47 days! The irony of the jelly beans, of course, is that we’re addicted to the high of sobering perspective. We’re hyper-aware of the passage of time, leading lives of countdowns and memories and nostalgia, and yet it’s in our nature to be overwhelmed by change.

The Strokes’ new single presents a promising start to their newest album

(02/19/20 3:01pm)

On Feb. 10, at the Bernie Sanders rally in New Hampshire, The Strokes announced the upcoming (April 10, to be exact) arrival of their newest album, “The New Abnormal,” and the release of a new single, “At the Door.” This is following their 2016 EP “Future Past Present” and their 2013 album “Comedown Machine.”

All-male drag troupe revamps the classical ballet world

(02/20/20 5:05am)

In recent years, the world of ballet has been increasingly scrutinized for its inaccessibility and lack of diversity, but Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo has been keeping the art on its toes since the 1970s. Colloquially known as the Trocks, the all-male, comic drag ballet troupe will perform Saturday, Feb. 22 at the Carolina Theatre in a co-presentation with Duke Performances. The Trocks officially began in 1974 as an outgrowth of Charles Ludlam’s Theater of the Ridiculous in Greenwich Village, where the Stonewall riots took place. In the nearly half-century since, attitudes toward drag in the mainstream shifted greatly, but the troupe’s commitment to inclusion and joy have remained consistent. The troupe’s comedic performances include parodies of classical ballets such as “Don Quixote” and “The Nutcracker.” In traditional performances of these ballets, principal female roles are typically performed en pointe, a technique in which a dancers’ entire body weight rests upon the tips of the toes. Pointe training, even now, is often reserved for female dancers, but the Trocks are at the forefront of a growing movement of blurring the form’s gender expectations. “I think times have changed. It seems to be more common now that guys are trying [pointe], because it’s really good for your ballet training. It really helps you find your balance and your center,” said Duane Gosa, a seven-year veteran dancer in the company. “So I think a lot of schools and male dancers have decided to give it a shot.” Gosa first encountered pointe — and the Trocks — while studying dance at the University of Akron. Joining the dance world relatively “late” at age 16, the university’s dance program was Gosa’s first exposure to what a career in the field could look like for him. “I kind of got a better perspective of … the types of roles that a male dancer would do, and [they weren’t] as interesting to me as female roles,” Gosa said. “I remember putting on a pointe shoe and wanting to see what that felt like.” After he successfully convinced the program to allow him into pointe classes, Gosa’s faculty mentors pushed him to look into the Trocks. But burnout eventually turned him away from ballet near the end of his college career, and shortly after graduation, he found himself in a contemporary-modern dance company. “I was like, ‘You know what, I am much stronger at other things, and I think I’ll be happier if I don’t torture myself with ballet.’ And then I was kind of in a rut with what I was doing and where I was, and I kind of felt stuck,” Gosa said. “So then I looked online and [the Trocks] had an audition, and I thought, ‘Let me just give it a shot — why not?’” Joining the Trocks meant performing in drag, something Gosa had limited experience with prior to auditioning for the company. “I think every gay man thinks about what it’s like to have a pair of heels and a wig on, so of course I was intrigued by it,” Gosa said. “It really helps when you’re with a group of people. When everyone’s doing the same thing, you feel a little more supported and safe.” 

Key three: Duke men's basketball's Vernon Carey Jr. must win the battle down low against N.C. State

(02/19/20 6:05am)

After a blowout win against Notre Dame Saturday, Duke travels to nearby Raleigh to take on N.C. State in perhaps the team's toughest road competition left on its schedule. The Blue Zone breaks down three keys if the Blue Devils want to come away with a victory and remain atop the ACC standings:

The responsibility asked of preprofessionals

(02/19/20 5:00am)

Two weeks ago, I tackled what I saw as a form of stigmatization that exists against the pre-professional track at Duke. I wanted to refute the idea that choosing a career for financial stability or other material reasons is a “shallow” way to live life. Although I feel I have worked to legitimate the choice to become a preprofessional, that does not mean there are no problems with the pre-professional track, especially as it exists at Duke. 

Advice for DSG presidential candidates

(02/20/20 5:00am)

As the Presidential Primary churns along, another campaign will soon sweep Duke—the race for the Presidency of Duke Student Government (DSG). Today marks the deadline for campaigns to submit 100 signatures from supporters so that they may enter the running. Then, from now until election day, a frenzy will ensue as each candidate conducts a relentless selfie stop campaign, traversing campus with canned rhetoric, ear-to-ear grins and well-timed daps. 

X-Factor: Duke men's basketball's Joey Baker looks to put pressure on stingy N.C. State defense

(02/18/20 4:55pm)

Don’t look now, but the Blue Devils are starting to peak at just the right time before March overtakes the college basketball universe. However, despite North Carolina State being viewed as the tiny third wheel in the intense hatred between Duke and North Carolina, the Blue Devils should not overlook an improving Wolfpack team. The Blue Zone is here to give you a couple key names to look out for in Wednesday night’s battle: