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Has HBO Found its New Hit?

With a long list of critically acclaimed shows such as The Sopranos, Deadwood, and Game of Thrones, HBO has always been the standard-bearer for premium cable television. Shows like the aforementioned programs have undoubtedly shaped the television landscape into what it currently is. Now, a multitude of platforms and channels like Netflix or AMC respectively are producing a seemingly never-ending stream of quality shows. With the pool of shows to pick from much more heavily saturated than earlier, HBO has struggled to maintain its supremacy over the premium television market. Over the past few years, one could even argue that these platforms have overtaken HBO in terms of show quality and variety.  Granted HBO currently airs arguably the most talked about show Game of Thrones, but this is an exception rather than the norm as far as the rest of their lineup is concerned. Vinyl was supposed to be the next hit to replace Game of Thrones when it was released last winter. With big names behind it such as Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger along with high production costs, many had high hopes for the show. Unfortunately, these hopes were ill founded as Vinyl was met with middling reviews and a cancellation order after only one season. This flop caused many to question whether HBO had finally lost its touch.  More ...

Preview: Fallcoming Jazz Concert features Dick Hyman

This Friday, Oct. 7 from 9-11p.m., Hamilton will host its 23rd annual Fallcoming Jazz Concert in the Fillius Events Barn with “Pianos Extraordinaire.” The concert features Dick Hyman, an American jazz keyboardist and composer and Rossano Sportiello, an award-winning, Italian jazz pianist. In their spirited performance, the impressive duo merges jazz, classical, and improvised music, creating a cohesive product while still retaining the semblances of their own unique styles.  Improvisation is one of the major features that sets jazz music apart from other genres.  No other style of music relies as heavily on “composing in the moment” as jazz, though improvisation takes place in almost all other styles of music. Generating original content extemporaneously forces the musician to rise to a level of creativity that helps him or her become more attuned to his or her musical process. The educational benefit to the recordings of improvised jazz and to improvisation itself is undisputed. During live jazz performance, a palpable unification of performer, listener, and musical venue occurs, creating a multi-dimensional form of instrumental art. Audience members of “Pianos Extraordinaire” will undoubtedly have this experience.  More ...

Women to Watch: Powerful Female Characters on TV

TV Show: Supergirl  Network: CBS/CW  Seasons: 1-2  Actress: Melissa Benoist  Background Info:  It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a superhero TV show on a major network with a female lead!  In last year’s addition to the growing lineup of superheroes on TV, a woman finally got to lead the show, and she did not disappoint. The leading lady’s magnificent acting made every scene convincing whether she felt overjoyed or miserable. However, she’s not the only one who shines. Complementing her on the show are three other female leads, all with their own powers: Cat Grant, Lucy Lane and Supergirl’s adopted sister, Alex Danvers. Cat Grant is the “Queen of all Media,” the CEO of a major news organization and is confident, beautiful and egotistical. But more than that, Ms. Grant is aware of how difficult it can be to be a successful business woman. In a poignant episode, she describes her annoyance in having been forced to keep her composure at all times, so she won’t be seen as a complete maniac. This is a relevant example of our world today, where men can let loose but if a woman gets angry, she will often be viewed as insane or inferior. Ms. Grant is neither of these.  More ...

Penny Lane weighs in on her film, NUTS!, presented at F.I.L.M.

F.I.L.M.’s second screening this semester was NUTS!—an intellectually stimulating documentary that questions the validity of easily believing figures of popular culture and history. NUTS! is the creative vision of film director Penny Lane, assistant professor of art and art history at Colgate University, who introduced the film last Sunday, Sept. 25 at Hamilton. The film has been shown in 60 countries over the summer and was screened at many film festivals, including Sundance Film Festival. Lane is also the director of Our Nixon, another innovative documentary released in 2013.  NUTS! starts with the sweeping success of Dr. John Romulus Brinkley in Milford, Kansas as a genius who not only introduced surgical implantation of goat testicles as a cure to impotence, but also succeeded in developing the world’s most wide-spanning radio station, with a transmission of one million watts. Brinkley, a self-made man, faced the persistent attempts of the authorities to condemn him. He was almost a heroic figure to many Americans in the film.  More ...

Women to Watch: Powerful Females Characters on TV

TV Show: Parks and Recreation (2007-10)  Network: NBC  Seasons: 1-7  Actress: Aubrey Plaza  More ...

Jon F. West showcases powerful pipes while singing in his concert on Saturday night

I am not a connoisseur of classical music. I’m not even confident that I possess an average familiarity with the genre. Anybody reading this review who considers themselves an aficionado will most likely be struck by my staggering ignorance. However, staggering ignorance can be usefully applied to provide a completely outside perspective. Or, it might just make for an interesting read. I’m relying on the latter being true.  Entering this concert hall, the disparity in median age from the concerts I normally attend was evident. This isn’t a denigration of any kind. Everyone has felt isolated from the seemingly predominant tastes of their generation at some point, and I’ve always felt a lack of connection with contemporary trends (“Oh, like that snobby guy I hate?” you might ask. “Yes, that is me,” I respond). This was still the most extreme step into the past I’ve ever taken. Mid-show, while attempting to type a few notes on my luminous smart phone, I received an absolutely withering gaze from an older gentleman sitting in my row.  More ...

Tolles Lecture Series brings acclaimed author Anne Carson for staged reading of Antigonick

“Dear Antigone, I take it as the task of the translator to forbid that you should ever lose your screams,” Canadian poet, essayist, and translator Anne Carson said to close her introduction of Hamilton’s staged reading of Antigonick. Carson’s translation of Sophocles’ tragedy abouta woman’s choice to break state law in order to honor her dead brother began as a commission for Dutch director Ivo van Hove. The director refused to work with her version and asked that she rewrite it, claiming that Antigonick wasn’t faithful enough to the original text. It’s easy to understand why Carson’s translation seems to diverge from the ancient Greek original. Carson’s Kreon is reminiscent of a preening popstar; her Antigone could bring her passionate speeches from the throne room of ancient Thebes into the streets of modern day Chicago, New York or Atlanta and not miss a beat. The snappy dialogue sneaks in references to people who lived centuries after it was written, from Hegel to Virginia Woolf to Bertolt Brecht, who famously produced a version of the play where Antigone wore a door on her back. More ...

Ahn Trio returns to Hamilton for successful concert in Wellin Hall

Another weekend of arts and entertainment on the Hill. Some students partied in concrete cubicles on the darkside. Others rode the Bernie Bus to and from the downtown bars. Elijah Weisbrod ’17, G.P. Gernelz (a pseudonym) pursued a platoon of the Mohawk Valley’s Gray Army, filing into Schambach for a night of music, and I, hoping a performance by the world-renowned Ahn Trio could break up the monotony that reigned on Saturday, Sept. 17. At 7:35 p.m., G.P.’s brusque guffawing over an espied audience member’s reading material, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning The Sympathizer (2015), was cut off when the Korean-born, Juilliard educated Ahn sisters arrived on stage into a strip-light purple. They assumed the standard positions for a piano trio: Lucia in back on piano, at stage left her twin Maria and on stage right Angella on violin. More ...

WHCL brings paris_monster to Annex

You know it’s a good sign when you’re searching for a band comparison to make, but ultimately can’t find a fitting match. A pithy “The Weeknd is an R-rated Michael Jackson” type of proclamation might make me seem like a guy who knows what he’s talking about, even if I’m just lazily avoiding adjectives. I can’t think of any satisfying encapsulation of the “paris_monster sound” however, so sit back; I’m about to actually do my job and describe my experience. More ...

F.I.L.M. showcases The Sterile Cuckoo, shot on the Hamilton College campus in 1969

F.I.L.M. showed its first film last Sunday, Sept. 18 with the screening of The Sterile Cuckoo—a film adapted from a novel of the same name by Hamilton alum John Nichols ’62. Hamilton received a sixteen-millimeter print of The Sterile Cuckoo as a gift from alum David Shepard ’62. Most of the film’s shots were also taken on the Hamilton campus. Pookie, played by Liza Minnelli, is quite an unconventional girl, daring and passionate, although she initially seems nosy and terribly goofy. She approaches Jerry, played by Wendell Burton, a guy whom she sees at a bus stop. Jerry is awestruck by her energy and spontaneity, until they become close. Although Pookie feels she is socially awkward and is unable to appreciate her physical appearance, she achieves a secure sphere with Jerry. It is not clear what attracted her to Jerry in the first place, but it is quite tangible how their relationship is gratifying. More ...

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