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At the end of each year going back at least to early high school, I’ve compiled a master playlist of my favorite songs of the year. Early on, as the aspiring music critic I was (at least in my head), these tended to be attempts at the definitive “best-of” list, the rankings dictated as much by what I felt I should enjoy as by what I actually did.
Over the summer, I attended a screening of Paul Thomas Anderson’s music documentary “Junun,” which featured a Q&A with the director himself along with some of his co-conspirators in the making of the film. Among them was Jonny Greenwood, who has become Anderson’s chosen composer, responsible for the scores for “There Will Be Blood,” “Inherent Vice” and, most recently, “Phantom Thread.”
In the course he teaches, “Introduction to Performing Arts Management & Entrepreneurship,” Eric Oberstein, Trinity ‘07, mentors Duke students in putting together the resources for a creative project, creating an ideal environment for artists and connecting with a network of alumni in the arts.
Last fall, the fourth season of “BoJack Horseman” landed — perhaps for the first time in the show’s run — on something like hope. Up to that point, each season had been a successive spiral for the titular protagonist, the narcissistic former movie star’s mistakes inexorably driving him, and those around him, further into darkness. But with the end of last year’s season, things seemed to be looking up for BoJack Horseman.
The death of Anthony Bourdain in June came as a shock to fans of the chef, author and media personality. For me, it was a particularly unnerving loss: At the time, I was just two weeks into an internship with a company closely associated with Bourdain’s CNN series, “Parts Unknown.” Although I never had the chance to meet him personally, I found that, in my work, I was drawn closer to what so many people found special in Bourdain.
Since its founding in 2012, the independent entertainment company A24 has quickly gained a reputation — at least among dedicated moviegoers — for putting out some of the most provocative and artistic films in popular cinema. This fall, the indie powerhouse is bringing its brand to Duke’s campus with a series of special events and screenings.
Summer tends to get a bad rap in the cinema calendar, full of blockbusters and superhero flicks. And, yes, we’ve got yet another movie that features Chris Pratt running from dinosaurs, but there’s no shortage of great cinema to be had this season. Favorites from the festival cycle are beginning to hit theaters, while films like “Hereditary” and “Incredibles 2” have garnered good favor from audiences and critics alike. During my stay in New York this summer, I’ve had the time to sample some of these new releases, so for those of you don’t have a MoviePass (if it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is) here’s a brief rundown of the best that’s out now:
The rollout of “ye,” the eighth album from Kanye West, followed the script that has come to define new releases from the artist. First came the rumors—corroborated by photographs and collaborators—that West was at work on a new record in Wyoming. Then came his inevitable return to Twitter, always a reliable indicator that something is coming soon. For an artist notorious for logging on and off of the platform in spurts, sometimes doing both within days, the posts were fairly typical, which is to say they were wholly indecipherable: screenshots of merch from the Saint Pablo tour, some designs for an ill-advised neck tattoo, motivational-poster platitudes and … wait, Candace Owens? Dragon energy? “Mental” slavery?
My vision of the '80s, a decade that began and ended years before my life did, begins and ends with “Age of Consent.”
Look at any of the bylines in the print edition of Recess, and you’ll notice we’re the only section of The Chronicle that uses this term for our staff: “writer.”
While talking with music instructor Pei-Fen Liu about one of her students, senior Jerry Chia-Rui Chang, a number of superlatives kept cropping up: “extraordinary,” “fantastic,” “dedicated.” But by the end of our conversation, Liu had settled on one word to describe the senior, whom she has taught piano since his first semester at Duke: “fearless.”
It’s been a long time coming, but Recess is finally dipping its feet (again) into the proverbial waters of podcasting. Our new pop culture podcast, Reel to Reel, launches today with Episode 1, “Tastemakers,” now available on Soundcloud and iTunes.
Although she releases music under the name U.S. Girls, Meg Remy is something of an outsider to her native country. Since moving to Canada in 2010, Remy has based her now-ironically-titled project in Toronto, and from that vantage point she’s turned a critical eye onto the political turmoil of her southern neighbor.
The Mamas & the Papas’ “California Dreamin’” appears for the first time in “Chungking Express” around the 42-minute mark of the film. From there, if my count is correct, it appears eight times in total, the second instance occurring not two minutes after the first.
In the middle of Steve Hartsoe’s debut solo album, “The Big Fix,” alongside a spate of original compositions, is a cover of Tom Petty’s “Trailer.” The deluxe edition of the album, released Dec. 1, came less than two months after the death of the beloved rock star, but for Hartsoe, Petty’s influence spans back much further.
Last week, we at Recess released our choices for the best arts and culture of 2017. As a lifelong devotee of end-of-year lists, though, I couldn’t pass up the chance to go deeper into some of my favorite music from the year. In a year that saw releases from Arcade Fire, The National, LCD Soundsystem, Beck, Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors and The War on Drugs, it wasn’t the veterans but the young, up-and-coming artists who made the biggest impact. A number of records on my list are debuts, and more still are sophomore efforts. Here, in a loose order, are just a few of the albums that stood out to me in 2017:
Watching Duke’s come-from-behind overtime win over Texas in last week’s PK80 Invitational awakened a familiar feeling in me, one I hadn’t felt in some time. This year, for the second year in a row, Duke men’s basketball had the misfortune of being ranked preseason no. 1. And as I sat in my family’s living room witnessing the young team give up dunk after dunk, digging itself into a 16-point hole midway through the second half, I shook my fist and reflected once more on the fact that to be a Duke basketball fan is to know so much bitter pain and disappointment.
Between 12 years at 20th Century Fox and her current position as the executive vice president of drama development at NBC, Lisa Katz, Trinity ‘95, has overseen the development of numerous hit TV shows, including “Bones,” “Empire” and “This Is Us.” Ahead of her keynote appearance Friday at DEMAN Arts & Media Weekend, Recess got on the phone with Katz to talk about her career and breaking into the entertainment world. The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Hitched between the birth and swift death of rock ‘n’ roll on one side and the frenzy of the British Invasion on the other, the era from roughly 1960 to 1964 has been incorrectly painted as a down period for pop music. To many, the death of Buddy Holly and the conscription of Elvis Presley left behind an empty landscape in the charts. Some of the criticism leveled on this period has undoubtedly sexist undertones — this was the peak of the dominance of girl groups — and recording innovations like Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” trace their origins to this time. But of all the movements in the early 1960s, one musician towers above them all: Roy Orbison.
For years, New York and Los Angeles have been the dual epicenters of the arts and media world. Duke’s DEMAN Arts & Media Weekend, which gets its name from the Duke Entertainment Media & Arts Network and connects students with industry professionals, tends to reflect this concentration of influence, regularly drawing executives from networks, streaming services and media companies based in the two cities.