The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College since 1873

Day: March 29, 2017 (Page 2 of 2)

Gala Review

Gala Review:

Ahh, Gala… What a wonderful way to end the horrific month of March. A Bates favorite by many of my friends, Gala is the classiest event on the Bates social calendar. As my last Gala came to an end last weekend, I decided to do a quick review for anyone who missed the event or wanted to revel in nostalgia for a little longer.

 

Ambience: 6/10

The ambience of Gala was rightfully dominated by the string lights that somehow made the Gray Cage a little less gray. Not too white, the lights provided an interesting yet satisfying setup for the Gala pictures we all can’t live without. As far as the Under the Sea theme goes, the wall decorations were very knock-off Disney, but I can’t complain because the lobster, clown fish, and flounder hats that the Bates Dining Staff were sporting were excellent. The photo booth and the funky hats really saved Gala 2k17 from being ordinary in my opinion. If the wall decorations stepped up the game a little bit more, I would give the ambience a higher review. Looking for some more creative liberty next time. Let’s get crazy Gala 2k18.

 

Food: 8/10

The theme of this year’s Gala food selection seemed to be dip and meat. Unfortunately for the vegans of Bates, the black bean dip was okay, but the steak and cheddar dip was frankly unbelievable. The gooey cheddar and hot and spicy flavors mixed in with smoky meat was everything I have ever desired in a dairy product. Personally, I prefer the dips paired with tortilla chips, but the mini baguettes also looked like a nice choice. Centering the app station was a grand meat contraption in which guests could grab shavings from. Not only was this meat incredibly juicy, it (wait for it) paired GREAT with the steak and cheddar dip. It’s almost like they were made for each other. Making a little nacho combination was more than gourmet. In terms of the other appetizers, I was less than impressed. The hush puppies were dry, the egg rolls had little to no flavor except for ginger, and I cannot tell you about the fancy Greek spinach filo pastry because I didn’t try it. But I heard that one was good. Moving to the post-meal stuff, the staple chocolate fountain carried the team. Unfortunately all of the chocolate covered strawberries were gone by the time I made my way to the dessert tables (that steak and cheddar went a long way, guys). Nevertheless, the ice cream cake and the Swedish Fish cupcakes were lifted up by the classic Gala chocolate fountain. Maybe I am just being nostalgic for Gala’s past, but the desserts definitely did not live up to the beignets of 2015’s A Night in New Orleans Gala. Overall, the melted dairy products of chocolate and cheddar quite literally took the cake, and for that I cannot complain.

 

Music: 6/10

The jazz ensemble swing dance playing brass instrument rocking music people in the main area killed it, which again is a Gala staple and truly no surprise. They made it simple yet entertaining: they gave us what we wanted, and they did it well. However, the “ratchet” room in Alumni was less than classic. The washed up (no pun intended) hits and lack of excitement in the crowd made for a subpar dance party. I would have enjoyed some experimentation, maybe some beats and a freestyle rap contest next time.

 

 

Wardrobe 7/10

As usual, I was more than impressed with the glamour of Bates students (sorry, I didn’t see any faculty there) all around me. I saw a few statement rompers which were very impressive, and some funky printed blazers that did not disappoint. At times I was in awe of those still wearing their heels as well. I have to say, though, in terms of wardrobe the theme was completely irrelevant. V disappointed I did not get the chance to see any shark girls (looking at you, Alexis).

Real Estate makes sure you keep them “In Mind”

In Mind, Real Estate’s fourth studio album, is the product of the band’s newest incarnation. After having split with founding guitarist, Matt Mondanile, the band has picked up Julian Lynch, an accomplished, productive musician in his own right, as their lead guitarist. Also new to the Real Estate lineup is the producer Cole M.G.N, who has worked previously on such projects as Dev Hyne’s Palo Alto OST, as well as Julia Holter’s prestigious 2015 release Have You in My Wilderness, both records diamond-bright with electronic flourish. Whether or not by Cole’s direction, Real Estate has made an interesting shift in their use of audial space, having in the past left conscious room in between their music. In Mind eschews emptiness for texture, every strata of the album filled with synth and sensation.

The album starts off especially strong, beginning with their lead single “Darling,” the most successful synthesis of their new styling. It begins with a sharp, cool synth introduction, giving way to Lynch’s guitar talent. Despite the modifications, Real Estate maintains their singular sound: clean, looping guitars, woven together, riding to lead singer Martin Courtney’s charming, pastoral lyricism. Good or not, In Mind begins with Real Estate’s best and most successful effort. That is not to say the rest of the album is disappointing, but rather, In Mind hits with its hardest earliest, the middle of the album occasionally slacking and dropping in its inspiration.

But it is a fine album with fine songs. The seven-minute movement “Two Arrows” begins as a drowsy march, moving deliberately but dreamily, its back-half fraying into a lush fuzz of synth squeals, reverb and resonance. It gathers sonic momentum and volume but cuts tightly and abruptly into silence, the structure of the song an apparent nod to “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” off of Abbey Road. Following, “Holding Pattern” is the sleaziest, jammiest song on the album, affecting Steely Dan-style guitar patterns, heavy on the ride cymbal, rolling at a pace just a tad faster Real Estate’s languid style of play and performance.

Just as the album began with force, it ends so, with the five-minute, multi-movement “Saturday.” The song begins with a lovely, hesitant piano intro, careful but warm, uncharacteristic of Real Estate’s guitar heavy modus operandi. Soon enough, however, the band returns to its old tricks: dueling guitars file in, and then a rhythm, supplementing but not overpowering the piano. At two minutes, the song kicks into pace, regretfully dropping the piano, transforming into a surf rock song, strumming and chuffing.

If there is any sort of thematic presence to this record, it would be an awareness of space and surrounding, both in the music as well as the lyricism.

As mentioned before, this album does the most to create landscapes of sound, full and stereo, focusing on encapsulation. There is a clean richness to this album unheard in the Real Estate discography. In the record’s lyrics, Courtney focuses most intently on the natural space around him, making mentions of the birds (“black and yellow finches”), plants and weather (“six AM rain”) that make him feel most at ease. In context, this makes sense: Courtney has left New York City to raise a family upstate.

Perhaps this is Courtney rationalizing his change of scenery, coming to ease with domesticity. But despite settling down, there is no sense of defeatism or stagnation but, rather, expectancy for good to come.

 

Beastly Narrative

On March 17th, the new Disney remake of the classic, “Beauty and the Beast,” starring Emma Watson was released in theaters.  For those of you unfamiliar with the story (there can’t be that many of you), “Beauty and the Beast” is the story of an intelligent, beautiful (hence the character’s name “Belle”) young woman who is an outcast in her town.  To save her father, she sacrifices herself to a beast that lives in a castle and eventually they fall in love and it is revealed that he was a prince under a curse all along.  Love allows him to transform back into his true form.

I saw the movie this weekend, not having considered or analyzed the story since I was about six.  The new film follows the plot and even many of the shots of the original Disney cartoon very closely.  Despite the similarities, I saw the 2017 film in a completely new light watching it as an adult. I think that Disney did many positive things as far as social messages, but aspects of the story are inherently flawed and these couldn’t be remedied unless Disney completely changed the whole premise of the movie.

My main issue with the storyline is the tired and potentially dangerous narrative of a girl ‘fixing’ a man.  ‘Beauty tames the Beast’ has become a tired trope in film and literature.  Of course, this cliché is the entire plot of the movie, so its inclusion is pretty much unavoidable.  I think I find issue with this because it seems to excuse abusive relationships.  No one should stay in a relationship with an erratic, violent partner because they feel obligated or even believe it’s possible to ‘fix’ them. Women face domestic abuse at far higher rates than men, and this message of ‘taming the beast’ isn’t a positive one to be sending young women.  In the 2017 film, the Beast never directly physically harms Belle, but he does yell at her and threaten her. After the two have a conversation in which they get to know each other, the Beast softens and never yells at her or threatens her again.  The origin of the Beast’s anger is also explained when the other residents of the castle tell Belle it stems from the loss of his mother, an abusive father, and lack of support from those around him.  Still, even when anger and violent outbursts have a cause, sufferers can inflict harm on those around them.

Disney obviously took steps to ameliorate this potentially negative narrative.  The inclusion of the explanation of the Beast’s anger, how early in the movie his anger disappears, and the development of Belle’s character all show their awareness for the potential effects their movie could have on its young audience.  Belle really is a great character—she’s caring, brave, strong, intelligent, and unafraid to be herself.  Despite the annoying rhetoric of “she’s not like other girls,” the movie is a fairly positive one in terms of social values, featuring a diverse cast and a brief depiction of two gay characters. Obviously that doesn’t make it as inclusive as it could have been, but perhaps the attempt at representation of a more diverse population is a step in the right direction.

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