By Cayden Royce
Last updated: 12/05/13 8:21pm
Eager for some holiday fun this season? Look no further. Concerts coming to the Detroit area during winter break are great options for releasing some post-exam steam and seeing superstar performers.
On Dec. 16, rapper Drake will headline the last leg of his 2013 North American tour: Would You Like A Tour? at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
After the release of his third studio album entitled “Nothing Was The Same,” Drake’s hit single “Hold On, We’re Going Home” quickly became the most listened to song on iTunes Radio with more than 11 million plays, according to the official Drake fansite, Word On Road.
It’s hard not to listen to the radio without coming across a Drake song. He has thrown himself into collaborating with other popular rap artists such as Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, and Kanye West.
His unique voice and knack for knowing a hit when he hears one makes him one of the top rappers of our time. I wouldn’t miss a chance to see him live.
If a hip-hop concert isn’t your scene, say cheers and open your ears to ring in the new year.
Zac Brown Band, a country music group, will be performing for two days in a row Dec. 31 at and Jan. 1 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
This will be Zac Brown Band’s second consecutive New Year’s Eve performance in Detroit. The band’s latest album “Uncaged” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart last summer, according to Billboard.com.
Their traditional country hit “The Wind” and romantically rhythmic blues track “Overnight” are proof of the band’s versatility when it comes to producing stylistically different, yet melodious tunes.
After seeing Zac Brown Band the summer of 2010, I can vouch that the band’s performance isn’t one to disappoint. Lead singer Zac Brown and his six band members captivate the audience with pure vocal and musical talent.
For a full list of events and concerts, check ticketmaster.com.
By Ariel Ellis
Last updated: 12/04/13 7:48pm
Looking for a break from the stress of finals? Here are some events in the Lansing area to help calm the panic leading up to, and during, finals week.
Wonderland of Lights
Potter Park Zoo has draped its animal exhibits in thousands of lights for the 21st annual Wonderland of Lights. Come out and enjoy strolling carolers, musical performances and enough lights to ignite the holiday spirit. Wonderland of Lights takes place 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, until Dec. 29.
Roial Players presents: “Almost, Maine”
Roial Players are putting on witty romantic comedy made up of almost a dozen short scenes about falling in and out of love in the middle of winter in the fictional town of Almost, Maine. The play, written by John Cariani, features several comical, disheartening and joyous moments that will help you step outside of mundane studying burdens. The play will be showing Dec. 5-8 at RCAH Theatre at Snyder-Phillips Hall.
“A Christmas Carol”
Mid-Michigan Family Theatre will be offering students and residents the opportunity to see the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The play, remaining faithful to the original Charles Dickens vision, tells the story of cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge who has a change of heart when the ghost of his deceased business partner, Jacob Marley, comes to warn him about the consequences of living a life of greed and materialism. The play will be at at 7 p.m. on Fridays and 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and will run Dec. 6-15 at the Alfreda Schmidt Southside Community Center.
East Lansing will be offering a free outdoor winter event that will include ice carving, a reindeer petting zoo, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus, horse and carriage rides, a special outdoor holiday farmer’s market, a heated music tent, a kid’s winter carnival, marshmallow roasting, merchant activities, roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and much more. The winter-inspired annual tradition will take place Dec. 7 in downtown East Lansing.
“Ghost The Musical”
“Ghost The Musical” is coming to East Lansing and is aiming to revive the iconic and magical moments from the Oscar-winning movie “Ghost.” The play tells the story of Sam, a man who is murdered and finds himself trapped as a ghost between this world and the next. Before he moves on, Sam tirelessly tries to communicate with his girlfriend Molly through a street psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer. “Ghost The Musical” offers the same heartwarming plot with additional music that will further bring out the emotions within the beautiful story about the power of love. “Ghost The Musical” will showing Dec. 10-15 at Wharton Center.
By Anya Rath
Last updated: 12/02/13 9:04pm
Regarded as the ‘bad boy’ member of the Jonas Brothers band, Joe Jonas was the heartthrob of countless teenaged girls. But, he recently shattered many illusions about his life that had been painted during his years of fame.
Jonas, a singer and actor who rose to prominence through his work with Disney, recently gave a tell-all interview that will be published in the Dec. 9 issue of New York Magazine.
The interview was not a glittery celebration of fame. Rather, it delved into Disney’s presence as a manipulative machine, the pressures placed on the three brothers as impressionable children and much more.
Jonas, 24, talked about his love life, past relationships with fans and an explanation of the promise rings that he and his brothers were so known for — coupled with admitting that he lost his virginity at age 20.
Furthermore, he discussed smoking weed for the first time with other former Disney stars Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato.
Jonas said in his interview, “They kept saying, ‘Try it! Try!’ so I gave it a shot, and it was alright. I don’t even smoke weed that often anymore.”
While the interview might come as a shock to Jonas’ starstruck fans, I believe it is necessary to rip away the glitzy veil that often appears on Hollywood stars.
Jonas’ interview was harsh and provided a much-needed perspective that those chasing stardom truly need to hear. Fame and fortune isn’t always what it’s chalked up to be, and often comes at a price.
By Cayden Royce
Last updated: 12/02/13 8:48pm
“And we danced all night to the best song ever.” Directioners, rejoice, because that’s what we’re about to do when One Direction goes on tour next year.
If you know what I’m talking about, then you know that I’m referring to one of America’s favorite boy bands, made up of Harry Styles, Louis Tomlinson, Zayn Malik, Niall Horan and my personal favorite, Liam Payne.
2013’s fastest-selling album, One Direction’s “Midnight Memories” flew off the shelves with 237,000 copies sold in its first week, according to an article in The Guardian.
One Direction really does have the “Best Song Ever.” As of Dec. 2, their album currently is No. 1 on iTunes and their single “Story of My Life” is No. 4 in the world on Spotify.
Even though the album’s official release date was Nov. 25, many fans already were listening to the track list when it leaked early, according to MTV.com. The full track list of 18 songs became available on YouTube, 8tracks and other music outlets a week early.
Fans can look forward to One Direction’s U.S. stadium tour Where We Are in 2014.
On Aug. 16, the band will be in Detroit at Ford Field. If you’re lucky, you’ll get close enough to the stage to feel Niall’s dripping sweat hit your face.
The word obsession doesn’t even begin to describe the feeling of what this means to fans. And for me, it might be an addiction.
Ever since my roommate’s got me obsessively watching One Direction YouTube videos last year, I’ve played their angelic voices on repeat. I played it so much that my mother thinks, “that’s called brainwashing.” I beg to differ.
In my defense, One Direction’s band members are the ages of college students ranging from the youngest, Styles, 19, and Tomlinson, 21. Listening to them makes me feel like a little girl watching ‘N Sync again.
Tickets for the 2014 stadium tour go on sale Dec. 7 just in time for the holiday season. Keep up-to-date on the Facebook group, Just Announced: One Direction Where We Are 2014 Stadium Tour North American Leg, for online pre-sale codes.
By Cayden Royce
Last updated: 12/01/13 8:20pm
Shattering box office records, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” left the old 12-year Thanksgiving weekend revenue record from “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” in the dust, according to an article in Forbes magazine.
The second part of “The Hunger Games” series notably earned the film the fourth-biggest non-opening weekend of all time, with $74.5 million — just behind “Avengers” at $103 million, “Avatar” at $75.6 million and “The Dark Knight” at $75.1 million.
In the film, Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen faces a new challenge when touring the districts after her recent win in the last hunger games.
She finds herself battling a romance triangle with real-life actors Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth who play Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne, respectively. A tough choice, right? Continually defying president Snow’s orders and the ways of the capitol, Everdeen continues to rebel against authority.
After seeing the film Friday night, I would be surprised if it hadn’t beat one of Harry Potter’s box office records. It was technologically sound, emotional, action-packed and ended with an intense cliff hanger.
The sequel houses even more action than the first film in the series and captivates the audience’s attention until the last second. After tearing up a total of three times during the film, I can’t wait to buy it when it comes out on DVD and then watch it at least five times.
With scene after scene of shocking, heart-wrenching drama, director Francis Lawrence captured the gloomy feel of the setting brilliantly. It is an enjoyable film for fans as well as movie-goers. Lawrence put those who hadn’t previously read the books at ease, without having to face confusion from the film’s turn of events.
According to an article in The Inquisitr, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is expected to pass the $500 million mark this weekend. “The Hunger Games” sequel already has made a name for itself with audience members around the world who are flocking to theaters.
The movie has left a worldwide impression on the public and it’s safe to say that “The Hunger Games” film series is here to stay.
By Anya Rath
Last updated: 11/25/13 7:23pm
With the long weekend, students might be looking for something fun to do with family and friends. Utilize the extra time before finals panic sets in and see a movie. Here are some movies running in theaters this week:
“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”
The sequel to the first “The Hunger Games” movie has arrived in full force and is sweeping critics off their feet. The film picks up where its predecessor left off with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark’s victory in the 74th annual Hunger Games. Now, Katniss and Peeta are on their Victor’s Tour and rebellion is in the air.
“Thor: The Dark World”
Set after the events of Marvel’s “The Avengers,” Thor is back on the big screen to fight an ancient race determined to destroy the Nine Realms. Not even Odin can protect Asgard against the approaching darkness.
As an animated Disney movie, this film is for the kid in all of us. Spunky and fearless Anna teams up with a mountain man and a reindeer to find her sister. Anna’s sister, Elsa, has icy powers which have kept the kingdom of Arendelle in an everlasting winter. Anna has to fight to save the kingdom.
Coming to theaters Wednesday, Nov. 27.
“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Based on the South African president Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, this film serves as a chronicle of Mandela’s early years, coming of age, education and his 27 years in prison before he began rebuilding the country.
Coming to theaters Friday, Nov. 29.
By Ariel Ellis
Last updated: 11/20/13 8:04pm
After 14 years, the highly-anticipated sequel to the 1999 romantic comedy-drama “The Best Man” has emerged and has done a lot better in the box office than many expected.
According to Time magazine, “The Best Man Holiday” had an estimated budget of $17 million. And, the film was expected to pull in just about that much during its opening weekend, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
However, the Christmas-themed film debuted No. 1 last Friday and brought in $30.6 million during the weekend, doubling its budget in only a few days and giving Marvel’s “Thor: The Dark World” a run for its money.
But what strikes me is why the film was underestimated.
The first installment, “The Best Man,” written and directed by Malcolm D. Lee and produced by his cousin Spike Lee, follows young writer Harper Stewart, played by Taye Diggs, who is asked by his best friend, fictional New York giants running back Lance Sullivan, played by Morris Chestnut to be the best man in his wedding.
Problems arise when friends finally read Stewart’s first novel “Unfinished Business,” an autobiography revealing that Sullivan’s, bride-to-be slept with Stewart once in college to avenge Sullivan’s many affairs.
Despite the dramatic plot, the film carries several comedic moments and features an all-star cast such as Sanaa Lathan, Terrence Howard and Nia Long.
The sequel reprises all of the same themes and drama from the first film; however, this time packing more emotion than the first — offering a magnificent plot that makes you question why the sequel took so long.
Malcolm D.Lee said he isn’t surprised that “The Best Man Holiday” had a huge debut at the box office during the weekend and neither were moviegoers who rushed to the theaters to see the long-awaited sequel opening night.
However, others were extremely shocked. Moviefone published an article titled, “How Did ‘The Best Man Holiday’ Open So Big?” Forbes published, “The ‘Best Man Holiday’ Lesson: Studios Still Surprised When Black-Centric Films Do Well” and USA Today provided the most remarked-upon example, dubbing the film “race-themed” in a headline that was later removed.
Although the film featured several well-known black actors, it had absolutely nothing to do with race. Instead, the film possessed themes of family, love, loss and forgiveness.
After reading articles that expressed surprise on the film’s success, it became clear why the supposed “race-themed” film was not expected to do so well.
In an interview with theGrio, Malcolm D. Lee called USA Today’s remark about the film as “ignorant and tiresome.”
“The Best Man Holiday” was a great film that I highly recommend. The film enables you to feel all emotions. You laugh, you cry, and you leave the theater thinking about what’s truly important in life. Those are the things that should be publicized about the film.
What’s sad is that all of these things have been overshadowed by race and surprise that a major “black film” could do so well.
By Anya Rath
Last updated: 11/18/13 7:48pm
San Francisco transformed into Batman’s Gotham City last Friday to fulfill the dreams of a 5-year-old boy who has battled leukemia for years, reported ABC News.
Miles Scott was called into service, and costume, by Police Chief Greg Suhr to help save Gotham City as “Batkid.”
With the help of an adult Batman impersonator, Scott rescued a woman from cable car tracks, stopped the Riddler from robbing a bank and saved the San Francisco Giants mascot from the notorious villain, Penguin.
At the end of the day, the mayor handed Scott a key to the city, much to the child’s delight.
All of this was possible through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, city officials and volunteers. ABC News reported that people congregated to show their support to Scott, often chanting, “Batkid,” while climbing trees and lampposts to get a better view of Scott’s adventures.
Even President Barack Obama posted a Vine video of him saying, “Way to go, Miles! Way to save Gotham!”
While Scott put on a fictional persona for a day, he is a super hero of his own. He was diagnosed with leukemia at 18 months old and it only recently went into remission.
It’s always wonderful to see when communities come together for something entirely selfless. The day could have resulted in something a little more lackluster for Scott. However, with the enthusiasm and love of countless strangers, Scott truly was treated like a superhero.
It’s easy to forget the compassionate side of human nature when looking at most media today. This community gathering shows that it still exists and that every small gesture can make a huge difference — even to tiny superheroes.
By Ariel Ellis
Last updated: 11/13/13 7:52pm
On the surface, it might appear that many black women have achieved the American dream — excelling in politics, business, academia and media. But when you think of media portrayals of black women, these images don’t quite come to mind.
Instead, labels seen most include baby mommas, gold diggers and homewreckers.
A survey, published in the November issue of Essence magazine, found that positive images of black women are far less common; even rarer are images of black women as community heroines.
The magazine surveyed 1,200 women. Some these women were asked to keep visual diaries for a week and a half and log the media images of black women they saw.
After keeping a diary for the 10-day cycle, the women said they felt saddened, disrespected and that the media failed to represent the women they know.
Reality shows such as “Bad Girls Club,” “Love & Hip Hop,” and “Basketball Wives” show negative stereotypical images of black women.
Even late-night comedy show “Saturday Night Live” managed to incorporate some of these common stereotypes in an episode hosted by Kerry Washington that aired earlier this month and received the highest ratings since Justin Timberlake hosted the show, according to NBC.
During the episode, Washington played a nagging girlfriend, a sassy eye-rolling assistant and an angry Ugandan beauty queen. There were no roles where her race and gender were not an issue.
The show has recently been called out for lacking diversity — made up of mostly white men and failing to include a black female since in the cast since 2007.
“Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson blamed the show’s lack of diversity on black female comedians, claiming they just were not ready for the show.
However, it seems more like “Saturday Night Live” is not ready, judging from the limited stereotypical roles Washington was asked to play on the show.
In the hit show “Scandal,” Washington plays Olivia Pope, a more intelligent, strong and complex black woman — the type seen too rarely in media.
Although I’m a huge fan of the show, it saddens me to say that even Pope carries negative stereotypes. She embodies deep paternal issues and weak-minded tendencies, and we can’t forget she’s the ultimate homewrecker — the president’s mistress.
Portrayals of black women in the media need to be reformed and redefined. However, that’s hard to do with trained stereotypes embedded in the minds of producers, writers and viewers. We accept these stereotypes and encourage the shows that produce them, and until we realize how disrespectful they are, we will continue to see them.
By Anya Rath
Last updated: 11/11/13 5:43pm
Gun violence has become a prevalent topic in today’s news media with horrific cases such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last winter and Trayvon Martin’s murder last year. Could there be a correlation between the media portrayal of guns and real life?
A study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania and Ohio State University found a spike in the amount of gun violence in the top-grossing PG-13 movies, reported Entertainment Weekly.
The study, titled “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” showed the overall rate of violence in top-ranked box-office movies has more than doubled since 1950. Additionally, it found that PG-13 movies created in 1985, the first full year of the PG-13 rating, had the same amount of gun violence in movies as the current G or PG-rated movies.
Entertainment Weekly also reported that critics of the Motion Picture Association of America said the components of what gives a movie a PG-13 rating are vague. While the study found that the number of movie scripts with gun violence sequences has not significantly increased or decreased in the G, PG or R rated movies, it has grown considerably in PG-13 movies.
The Motion Picture Association of America needs to remember all media has an influence on people. The PG-13 rating has an implication that the content of the film might not be as questionable as an R-rated film. Perhaps one of the best ways to fight gun violence is to look back and reconsider the way the action itself is framed in popular entertainment media.