Film Review: Young Adult

Young Adult directed by Jason Reitman written by  Diablo Cody ( (Paramount Pictures, Denver and Delilah Productions, and Indian Paintbrush, R 94 Minutes)  Starring Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt, and Patrick Wilson. The Glory Days, Or, A Period I’d Soon Forget In my opinion, high school is an odd sociological experiment. For most people, the high school experience is one soon forgotten. Some encounter intense rejection from “popular” groups; others find studying stressful fully understanding the importance of high grades on later success. For others, high school is the apogee in life. High school connects budding social beings in a focused group. Every high school has a “popular” crowd with the whole school orbiting around that social class. Interestingly, certain “popular” kids never find… Read More →

Album Review: Fear Fun

Fear Fun by Father John Misty (Sub Pop Records, 2012. 41 minutes) Father John Misty is the moniker of singer-songwriter and former Fleet Foxes drummer, Joshua Tillman. After dropping out of college, Tillman moved to Seattle and began recording demos. Damien Jurado, a Seattle-based singer-songwriter, discovered Tillman and took the budding songwriter on tour. Tillman has released 7 full-length albums under the name, J. Tillman. After four years of drumming with Fleet Foxes, Tillman has returned to solo work with Fear Fun. The Marketing Narrative  Sometimes, the marketing campaign surrounding a new album dives into the backstory behind said record. Justin Vernon of Bon Iver locked himself in a secluded cabin during a dark, Wisconsin winter to forge For Emma,… Read More →

Book Review: The Big Idea

The Big Idea by Robert Jones (Glasgow: HarperCollinsBusiness, 2000. 218 pp) Robert Jones was born in Gloucester in 1957 and studied Philosophy and English at Cambridge University. He is a director with Wolff Olins, one of the world’s most respected brand consulting firms, and has worked as a consultant in corporate communication for 16 years, with companies such as Andersen Consulting, Cameron McKenna, and the National Trust. He also lectures at Oxford Business School on the marketing of professional service firms. The Shifting Foundations of Business Especially in the latter parts of the 20th Century, the relationship between business and customer circled around an economic exchange. Certainly, factors of quality contributed to purchasing patterns, but above all else, the consumer… Read More →

Book Group: The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (New York: Harper Perennial, 2005; originally published in 1971. 288 pp) To Recap The Bell Jar details Esther Greenwood, a college student who travels to New York to work as an editorial intern for a popular magazine. While she should be thoroughly enjoying herself, Esther feels dead inside, largely disconnected from the world. As she lives in New York, she begins to question her abilities as a writer and her future in general, which only causes her to sink into extreme depression. Esther wonders if she should be a typical woman and marry, or pursue a career instead. Esther returns to the Boston suburbs, where she grew up, in the hopes to reawaken herself from… Read More →

Album Review: Beware and Be Grateful

Beware & Be Grateful by Maps & Atlases (Barsuk Records, 2012. 43 minutes) Maps & Atlases is Shiraz Dada, David Davison, Erin Elders, and Chris Hainey. The Chicago-based band blends pop and technical musicianship into a unique flavor of indie rock. In Praise of Songwriting  A good song requires an interesting rhythm and melodically rich instrumentation. Even more, a song requires a catchy melody, which soars over the well-crafted music. Perhaps most importantly, the song needs to say something. “Doo be doo be doo” lyrics might have a catchy melody but they do not provide a modicum of lasting depth. If, by chance, an artist succeeds in all three categories, an impeccable song is born. Good luck writing 9 more… Read More →

Book Review: Bossypants

Bossypants by Tina Fey (New York: Reagan Arthur, 2011. 288 pp) Born in a suburb of Philadelphia, Tina Fey graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A. in drama. After moving to Chicago, she started her comedic career with The Second City, an improvisational group. Later, she joined Saturday Night Live, eventually becoming head writer and co-host of Weekend Update. Fey currently writes and produces 30 Rock, a sketch comedy series on NBC. She has also adapted the screenplays for Mean Girls and Baby Mama for the big screen. Fey has won seven Emmy, three Golden Globe, four Screen Actors Guild, and four Writers Guild of America awards. Female Comedians “There are no funny female comedians.” Too often someone… Read More →

Film Review: The Five-Year Engagement

The Five-Year Engagement directed by Nicholas Stoller (Apatow Productions, R, 124 minutes) Starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Chris Pratt, and Alison Brie. What Makes Something Good? Is a hot wing tasty if it is sufficiently spicy? Is a murder mystery novel good so long as the murder is mysterious? Is a comedy good if it’s funny? My inability to answer this last question perfectly summarizes my thoughts on The Five-Year Engagement. Billed as a comedy, the movie executes; it is extremely funny. But is it good? I wish I knew. Another Romantic Comedy As a story, The Five-Year Engagementarises from the romantic comedy cookie-cutter-plotline: Couple meets. Couple experiences good times. Couple hits a rough patch. Couple works everything out. In… Read More →

Book Review: Cain

Cain: A Novel by José Saramago; translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011. 176 pp) José Saramago was a Nobel Prize-winning author from Portugal. He passed away at the age of 87 on June 18, 2010. Although Saramago did not receive widespread recognition until he was 60 years old, he has been highly prolific in the years since. Blindness, one of Saramago’s most highly regarded books was made into a major motion picture in 2008. He is survived by his wife Pilar Del Rio and a daughter from a previous marriage. Margaret Jull Costa translates Portuguese and Spanish fiction and poetry. For her work she has won the Portuguese Translation Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award,… Read More →

Album Review: The Lion’s Roar

The Lion’s Roar by First Aid Kit (Wichita Recordings, 2012. 43 minutes) Formed in 2007, First Aid Kit is Johanna and Klara Söderberg from Enskede, Sweden. A 2008 viral YouTube cover of the band, Fleet Foxes, gained the duo wide notoriety. First Aid Kit signed to Wichita Records in 2008 and released their debut record, The Big Black & the Blue, in 2010. A Starbucks on Every Corner of the Globe The world is shrinking. 100 years ago, an inter-continental trip was tedious and dangerous. Today, a jetliner connects us anywhere in the world within a day. This ease of travel, while presenting the modern world with the ability to engage in a myriad of culture, offers a melting pot… Read More →

Book Review: The Vanishers

The Vanishers: A Novel by Heidi Julavits (New York: Doubleday, 2012. 304 pp) Born and raised in Portland, Maine, Heidi Julavits attended Dartmouth College and earned an M.F.A from Columbia University. Julavits co-edits The Believer magazine. She has authored four novels: The Mineral Palace, The Effect of Living Backwards, The Uses of Enchantment, and The Vanishers. Julavits lives in Manhattan with her husband, writer Ben Marcus, and their children. Hell is Other People Jean-Paul Sartre famously said, “Hell is other people.” To him, a relationship with others creates, sustains, and empowers dissidence. To a certain extent, then, isolation emerges as a virtue. But do we actually enjoy existence in the prison of our thoughts? With The Vanishers, Heidi Julavits suggests… Read More →