letter from the editor
his past semester, the entire Artistry team has been working tirelessly to make the magazine you are holding in your hands. Through countless meetings, rounds of edits, and hours spent on layouts, we have made something of which we are truly proud. We are so excited to share it with everyone and we hope you enjoy the stories we have curated over the past few months. Artistry has changed a lot over the years, and this semester was no different. After an immense effort to restructure the organization, we found ourselves in an unprecedented period of transition — one that came with its own set of challenges but also with incredible rewards. We have proved that we can and we will; that Artistry will always find a way to leave its mark on campus regardless of the obstacles we face. For that reason, and for many others, we have decided to call this project The Renewed Issue. The theme of renewal is a creative thread we used to weave every aspect of our magazine together, and we are proud of the way it shines through in every piece, photograph, and illustration you see as you turn the pages. So many things had to come together to make this happen — so many creative minds had a hand in its creation — and I would like to take a moment to give credit where credit is due. Firstly, I would like to thank our president and our creative director for all of the time and energy they put toward making Artistry what it is today. Due to their efforts, we now have weekly creative workshops for designers and photographers to come and learn from one another, a new website that showcases our work and is representative of Artistry and its mission, and a cohesive creative community that gets stronger every day. Danny and Nadia, thank you so much for your efforts this semester. I am truly nothing without the two of you, and Artistry will be left better by your leadership. Next, I would like to thank our editorial staff for all the work they do behind-the-scenes to curate the best content for our magazine. Each and every article starts as the seed of an idea in their heads, one they entrust to our brilliant writers, who then translate it into something unique and wonderful. Asia, Olivia, Sanya, Anna, Sophie, and Sully — you have impressed us all with your sheer dedication to your sections and to our publication as a whole. Without you, none of this would be possible. Your talents amaze me each day, your insights guiding the ship without you even realizing it, and I will always be grateful to you all for that. To our creative team, who produces the incredible visuals that pair perfectly with our written content, I can’t thank you enough for the amount of time you spend making sure everything you create is without fault. In managing your teams, you cultivated supportive environments to not only demonstrate our members’ talents, but allowed them to grow as creatives both inside and outside of our magazine. Lauren, Norman, Dalia, and Cindy — you have made Artistry an even stronger community, and I will owe you for that always. A special thanks also goes out to Juliana and Khanh, who truly demonstrated support at every turn and helped us share our story. And last of all, but most certainly not least, we have our writers, designers, and photographers. Thank you for coming to our meetings, pitching your own stories, creating impressive designs and illustrations, and taking photographs that evoke powerful emotions. Your creativity never ceases to awe those around you and we are always thrilled to provide you with an outlet to let your talents shine. You put the art in Artistry, and we wouldn’t be what we are today without each and every one of you. So here’s to the members of Artistry! I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings us! All the best, Liliana, Editor-in-Chief
F A L L
03 – 40
05 – 60
07 – 80
09 – 10
11 – 12
13 – 14
THE BLACK KEYS
15 – 16
17 – 18
THE SKIN OF OUR TEETH
19 – 20
SNEHA SHRESTHA Q&A
21 – 22
23 – 24
25 – 26
TEAM AND WEBSITE
Renewed Fall 2019
The MFA’s Make Believe Capture Magical Realism at Its Finest Written and photographed by Xandie Kuenning Designed by Danny Tran
ollecting the work of five photographers from around the world, Make Believe at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) presents a bewitching world where girls levitate, men shoot paper birds out of the sky, magicians make boys disappear, and women weave cobwebs. While the photographs may portray fantastical realities, the social and cultural issues being critiqued are recognizable to all. Dutch photographer Hellen van Meene’s images will be the most recognizable to a Western audience. Taking inspiration from works such as Sleeping Beauty by the Brothers Grimm, The Princess and the Pea by Hans Christian Andersen, and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, van Meene’s intimate portraits examine adolescent girls on the verge of adulthood.
In Untitled #338, van Meene captures the “contradictory mix of confidence and painful self-consciousness that often characterizes the transition from childhood to maturity,” according to the exhibit’s wall text. In Untitled #468, van Meene visually melds the bodies of two young girls, creating a disquieting image that questions what it means to develop your own personality. The natural lighting intrinsic to all of her work emphasizes the ethereal nature of her images. In a similar vein, Iranian photographer Shadi Ghadirian’s inspiration comes from an early Persian folktale which she read to her daughter during the post-election demonstrations in 2009, during the height of the Arab Spring. In the story, a butterfly is caught in a spider’s web and imprisoned against her will in a dark cellar. The spider
offers to free the butterfly, but only if the butterfly agrees to capture another insect. Unwilling to sacrifice any other creature, the butterfly submits to the spider, only to be freed and allowed to return to the daylight. Ghadirian’s Miss Butterfly series turns this tale on its head by portraying Iranian women creating delicate webs across windows and doorways, their faces covered in shadows. It makes for a stark commentary on the traditional role of women in contemporary Iran and the dichotomy between a desire for autonomy and the wish to keep oneself and one’s family safe. While Ghadirian’s and van Meene’s images use folk and fairy tales to examine social issues, Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, from New York and London, respectively, invented their own world by combining a fictional narrative with
documentary photography. In their series Eisbergfreistadt (Iceberg Free State), the two take the historical and often overlooked 1923 incident in which an iceberg drifted into the Baltic Sea and ran aground off the German port of Lübeck to create a future in which said iceberg became its own sovereign entity. Part of their series includes notgeld (“emergency money” in German) belonging to the new nation.
Examining the effects of the climate crisis, the images question reality and ask the viewer to discern the line between fact and fiction. Last, but not least, Italian artist Paolo Ventura employs the narrative framework of children’s picture books — his father was a well-known children’s book author — to examine loneliness, isolation, loss, and abandonment. This theme is clearly visible in The Magician. In the first half of the series, Ventura, playing a magician, makes his son disappear. In the second half, the son wanders off, followed by Ventura who disappears into the fog. By placing himself as the protagonist, Ventura delves into his own subconscious emotions to create pieces that resonate with his viewers. The appeal of Make Believe lies in the photographers’ abilities to meld storytelling narratives with classic photography. Though a small exhibit, it provides plenty of thought for viewers to mull over as they wander through the rest of the museum. Make Believe will be on exhibit at the MFA until January 20, 2020.
Renewed Fall 2019
Fleabag at the Coolidge Corner Theatre Written by Audrey Wang Designed and illustrated by Hanieka Balint
hoebe Waller-Bridge never strays more than a foot away from her simple red chair throughout the whole show. She stays in a red jumper and black slacks, there are barely any lighting cues and no other actors. It’s simple, and overwhelmingly effective. Her intense energy, expressive eyes, and quick mouth never waver whether they are imitating a guinea pig named Hilary, head-banging to indie pop, describing a man called Rodent Face, who is only handsome “from the eyes up,” or going through the process of grief that comes with losing her best friend. Fleabag was first shown in 2013 at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it debuted as a one-woman monologue. It then went on to get picked up as a TV show by Amazon, gaining a large fanbase from the two seasons. After that highly successful run, it came back as a play at the Soho Playhouse in London. Now, thanks to the National Live Theatre, it is broadcast in cinemas all over the United States. The play has much of the same content as season one, with minor differences. Some storylines are eliminated while others are expanded to fit the new medium. Waller-Bridge smartly pens a 65-minute monologue on what it means to be a modern woman, a lost heroine wandering through life and wondering if this is really it. A place where people can disappear from her life as quickly as they came.
We open on a scene where Fleabag, the main character, is trying to get a loan for her struggling café. Waller-Bridge flawlessly replies with impeccable timing to a prerecorded voice of the interviewer. As we enter Fleabag’s world, we learn about her dysfunctional relationships with her family, her best friend’s death, and her guinea pig-themed café that she must keep afloat by herself. Throughout her daily life, she shamelessly lets the audience in on all her inner thoughts, both racy and humorous.
We see all of her — the good, the bad, and sometimes even the worst.
even more phenomenal writer. Waller-Bridge makes us laugh through our tears. She paints a modern portrait of loneliness while still finding the humor in dark situations. With a single line and a faraway look in her eye, she makes the audience shed tears. They don’t even have the chance to wipe them away before they’re laughing at her next quip, one she says so quickly that they’re not sure if they actually caught it or not. With this careful balance of emotions and heart-wrenching story, Waller-Bridge shows us that this is just how life is and that this is just how emotions are. Emotions are not black and white, and they all bleed into each other, coming together to form a beautiful watercolor. It’s messy — but it’s all we’ve got.
Most of the other characters, if they aren’t pre-recorded voices, are played by WallerBridge herself. Her hand motions to the sound effects readily, and she shifts from one character to the next as effortlessly as turning her head from one side to the other. The way she shifts her weight and furrows her brows adds to the depth of each character she plays. Her lit-up eyes are enigmatic and alluring, bringing levity and a sense of sincerity to the clever dialogue. Through the camera’s close-ups, you can see her every falter, every hint of a smile, every twitch of a muscle — all which can disappear just as quickly as they show up. As extraordinary as she is an actor, she is an
Renewed Fall 2019
JOKER Written by Lucia Tarro Illustrated by Lauren Aquino Designed by Norman Zeng
he newest iteration of the iconic villain, the Joker, has finally hit theaters in the form of director Todd Phillips’ film, Joker (2019). The film presents the life of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), a poorly socialized for-hire clown. Phoenix plays the role with incredible nuance, slipping into the character without any hesitation or pride to hold him back. Arthur’s life is a mundane one. He lives with and cares for his disabled, elderly mother, dresses up as a clown for a living–spinning sale signs or attempting to cheer children up at a hospital–checks in occasionally with a social worker due to his past stints at a mental hospital, and deals with constant mocking and beatings from people as a result of his strange demeanor. The film firmly establishes that this society treats Arthur like trash in every way, showing scene after scene of things going wrong for our protagonist, eventually resulting in him becoming “The Joker.”
Within the DC Cinematic Universe, this film is definitely a standalone story. It’s been confirmed Arthur won’t be appearing in the upcoming Robert Pattinson Batman movie or any DC films to follow, which is to the film’s benefit.
No plot points have to be jammed in to set up a sequel of the Joker’s appearance in another franchise — this is a single film exploring someone’s musings on how the Joker came to be. As a result, Joker had no obligations to even resemble a comic book movie in the first place. For a decent portion of the movie, you’ll forget it’s about the famous villain since he isn’t technically created until the end.
Combined with the unique cinematography, the real sets and locations, and the hand-held style filming, Joker felt more like an indie film rather than a big-budget superhero flick — something many will appreciate given a recent fatigue with the oversaturated genre. Another big difference to note is the Joker himself. We’re used to seeing the Joker portrayed a very certain way across his renditions, though to varying degrees. Smooth and charming enough to endear those around him despite his madness. Intelligent and cunning, always a few steps ahead of his adversaries. And, of course, mean-spirited and cruel enough to want to torture a whole city for his own sick amusement. The Joker in this movie is not that Joker. For one, we are given very little evidence that Arthur has any of those qualities. He’s
painfully awkward. His lack of charm is shown through his failed comedy routines, which elicit more cricket sounds than laughs. He certainly doesn’t come off as very intelligent, his only strategic moment taking place in a train scene when he disguises himself with a mask–not the most in-depth plot you’ll ever see on screen. Phoenix’s performance hints that Arthur may have some sort of developmental disorder or be on the autism spectrum, but this isn’t explicitly confirmed. As for this Joker being a cruel-hearted monster, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Arthur is portrayed as a caring man who tries to entertain kids he meets in public, wants others to enjoy his comedy, and cares for his mother despite it holding him back. When Arthur’s violence begins to emerge, it starts as self-defense and turns into impulsive retribution, which doesn’t feel entirely like a natural progression due to the overly simplistic writing and predictable plot structure. But there is an important distinction this film had to make between this Joker and the other Jokers. Arthur is a protagonist, not a villain. We don’t need to like him, but we need to sympathize with him enough to want to see where his story goes.
There is no Batman in this movie for the Joker to be ruthlessly evil against. There’s just a man versus his cruel society. This is where some of the criticism over the film’s moral ambiguity comes in. Many
saw this film as trying too hard to garner sympathy over a character who incites brutal violence and inspires an incredibly harmful anarchist movement in its simplistic politics. People also noticed a connection between the character and some violent incel-like figures (mass shooters, for example), in that a person is mad at society for wronging them, so they decide to take it out on innocent people with violence, using their victimhood to justify their actions. Arthur’s referenced mental illness ties into this connection even more. Some of this criticism is definitely justified in much of the symbolism and imagery of the film, but I’m not sure that’s the position the filmmakers were necessarily trying to take. They wanted us to look at this character in the same sense of many antiheroes in media, sympathize with their problems, and disavow their solutions. With nuanced writing and a more mature reflection on Arthur’s afflictions, this perspective would’ve been received better by critics and wouldn’t have caused as much controversy for the film, not that it’s actually hurting them financially in the slightest.
that tends to triple an actor’s chances of winning awards. Phoenix portrayed Arthur from his head to his toes, making sure that at all moments, he’s acting exactly how this tortured clown would have. His face twitches and falls in tiny movements that only could’ve been achieved with months of devotion. I can only wonder what he could’ve done with a better script, but if you need any reason to see this movie, it’s to see this man kill the role of a lifetime. Overall, this movie means good things for the future of the superhero genre. It might not have achieved everything it wanted to, but let’s remember that this is a DC movie. With the financial and critical success this indie-style, action-light movie has had, DC, and possibly even Marvel, might realize that taking risks with the genre is a viable option that won’t sink their ship. In fact, it may even make them millions.
The most important part of this movie, of course, is the performance given by the chameleon actor Phoenix. To be perfectly clear, without this man doing his absolute best in this role, this film would not be taken seriously at film festivals and dragging home awards like it currently is. There are few times in film history that an actor has so entirely put aside their pride for a role and committed to a character. And I don’t just mean the whole “Wow, he sure lost a lot of weight for that role. Such commitment!” ploy
Renewed Fall 2019
Daniel Caesar’s Seductive Vocals Shine at House of Blues Written by Juliana Tuozzola Illustrated by Norman Zeng Designed by Patric Song
&B phenomenon Daniel Caesar graced the stage at House of Blues on Sept. 23, with heavenly vocals and an undeniably seductive yet soothing energy. The minimalistic visuals and lack of additional performers allowed for Caesar’s artistry, emotion, and talent to be on full display. It was as though the entire room experienced a synchronized spiritual awakening as he performed. Mikayla Simpson, better known as Koffee, set the vibe for the night by opening the show with her lively presence and empowering reggae style. The audience swayed along to rhythmic beats and relished in the contagious positive energy that she emitted. After performing her original song Haffi Make It, Koffee explained its meaning: “It’s basically a cry. No matter what we have to do in life, we have to keep going, we have to make it.” The anticipation for the CASE STUDY 01 tour built up in the crowd as the bright venue turned to complete darkness.
Suddenly, all that could be heard was Caesar’s voice from a distance, singing softly and enchanting vocals from the beginning of his song, CYANIDE.
A white, atmospheric light shone solely in the middle of the stage, and Caesar walked as if he was on a path, perhaps alluding to religious undertones. His band performed with him live while standing behind a semi-sheer backdrop. This created a sense of awareness that they were contributing to the musicality, but overall, Caesar’s talents were the sole focus. Caesar’s stylish yet extremely casual outfit appeared to communicate that his music is to be experienced deep within, and that flashy gimmicks, dancers, or other potential distractions are not necessary for him to perform his art.
Caesar performed LOVE AGAIN, OPEN UP, and COMPLEXITIES off his second studio album titled, CASE STUDY 01. The audience sang along to these beloved tracks as Caesar moved back and forth on the stage. The lighting projected an array of blues, purples, grays, and whites. The spirit in the room was magnetic, and hearing Caesar sing his profoundly poetic lyrics aloud clearly affected the audience. To contribute to his relaxed, rhythmic set, Caesar performed Best Part, which is a song he collaborated on with R&B sensation H.E.R. He encouraged the crowd to turn their phone lights on and sway back and forth in conjunction with one another. He said, “Let me see you, Boston. Let me see those lights.” Caesar demonstrated his talent as an instrumentalist by playing guitar during his set and standing directly in the center of the stage, which created an intimate and emotional atmosphere.
Caesarâ€™s performance tampered with themes of sexuality, love, and sorrow. Dark visuals of dancing nude figures appeared behind him as he sang Get You. The song is intimate by nature, but his performance expressed the raw complexity and potential darkness in loving someone and feeling like they are all you need. He hypnotized the audience with his smooth vocals as he continued with his set and sang Blessed. â€œBoston, thank you for coming out and showing love tonight,â€? Caesar said as he lifted the guitar strap off of his shoulder and left the stage. Everyone was hesitant to approach the exit, hoping that he would appear for an encore. The crowd, still enticed, shouted their love for Caesar. In one seemingly candid moment, Caesar appeared back on stage and asked his band to return as well. He completed his set with Japanese Denim and follow with Entropy.
Renewed Fall 2019
Steve Lacy Takes Fans on a Dreamy Ryd at House of Blues Written by Olivia Oriaku Photo courtesy of Alan Lear and Grandstand Media Designed by Dina Kuanysheva and Joann Tannady
lternative R&B artist Steve Lacy mesmerized fans at House of Blues on Oct. 3, with groovy basslines and dreamy, harmonized chords. The young creator, who is a member of the Grammy–nominated band The Internet, and who has produced alongside Kendrick Lamar, Mac Miller, and Vampire Weekend, among others, is currently on tour for his debut solo album Apollo XXI. The album is a mix of R&B, hip-hop, and low-fi pop, showcasing Lacy’s laid back voice, which blends in perfectly with the record’s rhythmic basslines and mellow synth sounds.
awaiting what would be the opening beat of Only If, a song off of Apollo XXI.
Audience members shouted Lacy’s name as the stage’s lights went black, eagerly
Next was Like Me, another song off of Lacy’s new album. After the track ended, Lacy
Lacy’s soft vocals soared through the venue, and the crowd became flooded with pinks and blues as the stage lights overhead moved along with the song’s slow tempo.
turned to his audience and asked them to “act like they’re three,” clearly encouraging them to lose themselves in the music and live in the moment. In between tracks, Lacy frequently switched guitars — at one point exchanging his dark maroon guitar for a sparkly pink one. People danced along to the steady, jazzy guitar riffs on Basement Jack, Guide, and Playground, all tracks off of his new album. After a lengthy guitar solo, in which Lacy demonstrated impeccable instrumentalism, he transitioned into Hate CD, another song on Apollo XXI. Fans raised their arms above their heads and swayed back and forth to the song’s beat in perfect synchronization,
undoubtedly feeling a connection to Lacy and his music. Lacy experimented with exotic sounds on his synth machine during the performance, playing around with extremely high frequencies. The cosmic sounds, coupled with the stage’s dark backdrop and the spotlight, which illuminated Lacy, made it seem as if Lacy were on a spaceship, temporarily transporting audiences into another dimension. But the crowd slowly snapped out of their momentary trance as soon as the first chords of In Lust We Trust were heard. After another long and captivating guitar solo, which ended the song, Lacy left the stage, telling fans that he would “be right back.” As soon as he made his exit, the beautiful violin notes from Amandla’s Interlude began to bounce off of the venue’s walls.
on his SoundCloud, followed by the The Internet’s well-known track, which Lacy produced, titled Palace/Curse. The opener, Kari Rose Johnson, a rising rapper, singer-songwriter, and producer, better known by her stage name Kari Faux, pumped up the crowd with a captivating DJ set. She mixed a variety of songs, including Baby Bash’s Suga Suga and M.I.A.’s Paper Planes. Faux jumped up and down with the crowd during heavy beat drops, and even stepped out of her DJ booth to dance and twerk in front of audience members, hyping them up for the exciting headlining show to follow.
Before the audience’s eyes was a spellbinding light show. Running back on stage — now wearing a headband, a grey blazer, and a bright yellow shirt — Lacy reenergized audience members with a fan favorite, N Side. Following this, he played Outro Freestyle/4ever, a track off of his new album, right before turning to the crowd to ask them which song he should play next. At once, fans began to passionately shout out different song names as Lacy attempted to call on them so he could hear their individual suggestions. To the audience’s approval, the popular Ryd was the winner, a track off of Lacy’s first EP titled Steve Lacy’s Demo. Next, he effortlessly transitioned into Dark Red, followed by Looks, both songs off his EP. Fans sang each word along with him and expressed their love for his older tracks. Toward the end of his set, Lacy thanked audience members for coming to his show and told them to “make some noise for themselves.” He ended with an acoustic performance of thats no fun, an older song that can only be found
Renewed Fall 2019
BLACK KEYS MODEST MOUSE n e d r a g he rock t
Written by Sophie Cannon Photo courtesy of Alysee Gafkjen Designed by Lauren Aquino
e’re gonna keep moving right along,” said Dan Auerbach, setting the scene for the rest of the high-energy night. The lead singer of The Black Keys had no time for storytelling, and after thanking opening acts Modest Mouse and Jessy Wilson for warming up the crowd at TD Garden on Oct. 11, he powered through hit after classic-rock hit. The Boston visit was part of the Let’s Rock tour, and showed off songs from the namesake album that debuted in June of this past year, as well as showings from their previous albums, making sure to sprinkle in crowd favorites along the way. The Black Keys hail from Akron, Ohio, a small Midwestern town not usually associated with the fist-pumping crowd that the duo brought to the stadium. The main members of the Keys are frontman Auerbach and his long-time friend, drummer Patrick Carney. Never forgetting their roots, to preface the songs 10 A.M. Automatic and Thickfreakness, Auerbach spoke for maybe the second time the entire night, “We are gonna take you back to the basement. Some Ohio basement music for you!” The setlist was varied, a much-needed element in a rock show where necks can tire of headbanging if all of the songs are intense. The night started off with a classic, I Got Mine, which upon its release, climbed to number 23 of Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Songs of 2008. Launching through Eagle Birds and Tell Me Lies, the first half of the show was full of catchy beats and lyrics, known by almost every member of the crowd — singing along was both encouraged and expected. At the end of the third song, the stage went black, the neon Black Keys logo retreating back up into the scaffolding. Then, with the first note of Gold on the Ceiling, the white
backdrop was lifted, revealing a larger than life ring with lightning bolts carved into either side. The middle of the display was a projector, and throughout the night it would provide matching visuals for each of the preceding songs. For Gold on the Ceiling, the ring was fittingly lit up in brassy colors — close-ups of golden rust-colored cars and bronze fire on display.
His piercingly sweet notes were calming, but it was also a surreal moment — strange that just a second ago the same man was belting out a deep, soulful rock anthem. About three-quarters of the way through the set, when the audience had fallen into the groove of rock-and-roll melodies, an incredible change of pace took the show in a brand new direction. Everlasting Light featured Auerbach like never before in this show, with the sweetest falsetto and floating lyrics.
ET’S ROCK ET’S ROCK Cue the disco ball from the rafters of the Garden and the mood was set. Then the most recognized pump-up anthem started up, waking the room from the blissful vacation of high notes and taking them back to a rock show in less than a minute. As soon as the catchy chorus of “ba da da da da” started, the crowd knew exactly what to do, singing along to Howlin’ for You. As a knowing smile cracked across the lead singer’s face, the show transitioned to its powerful ending. The band rounded out the night with one more slow dance, Little Black Submarines, one of the most acoustic songs of the evening. With just one yellow light illuminating Auerbach, the song started as the crowd caught on, turning their phone flashlights into stars to carry this night through its penultimate song. Like the last slower song, the next one up went directly back to the classics. And for the final song, it was one of the band’s most popular. Prefaced with a coy, “You help us out with this one if you can, okay?” from Auerbach, the five-man band launched into Lonely Boy. After an encore of Lo/High, Go, and She’s Long Gone, the Black Keys faded into the blackness until their next stop on the tour. Rock fans left happy, as they had just enjoyed a night of not only the Black Keys, but also the two supporting acts of the evening, first Jessy Wilson and then a quite lengthy opening set by Modest Mouse. Wilson, in a fringed denim jacket, black lamé leggings and white Go-Go boots, treated the stage as her own personal dance floor — despite the fact that the crowd had just started to trickle in. Her high-energy set was littered with vocal punches fading right into
floating falsettos without missing a beat. Before closing her early evening set with her most popular track Clap Your Hands, Wilson made sure she showed Boston her love and appreciation.
“I’m a woman independent artist. I love you already, Boston. For real!” After Wilson urged the crowd to follow her socials and visit her in the lobby during the set change, Modest Mouse took over. Entering the arena, lead singer Isaac Brock took center stage in a light purple rain coat, fitting for the terribly wet evening outside the Garden. What was the reason for the attire? “I’m not a gambling man necessarily,” he said, starting to unzip his coat. “But I made a bet against someone I can win against — myself. I bet myself that I could play the whole show in a rain jacket. Halfway through that first song I realized it didn’t breathe. I am, myself, a climate!” After the quick change, newly buttondown clad Brock and his bandmates also launched into their set, not stopping to talk to the audience very much at all. What they lacked in conversation, they certainly made up for in the array of musical instruments featured. On the track Dashboard, an electric violin was used, Bukowski featured a banjo solo, and a euphonium even came out during the show. Making sure to include the cult favorite Float On, the band prepared the audience for the music to follow, making the Let’s Rock tour fitting of its name.
Renewed Fall 2019
Broadway-Bound SIX comes the American Repertory
Written by Gillian Brown Photo courtesy of American Repertory Theater Designed by Jenny Chen
ivorced. Beheaded. Died. Divorced. Beheaded. Survived. And tonight we are... Live!” All six of Henry VIII’s wives take to the stage to reclaim history and share their side of the story. They’re done with being reduced to “one word in a stupid rhyme.” The sold-out show, SIX, premiered at the American Repertory Theater (ART) on Aug. 2 and will be on Broadway in February 2020. Audiences are in for a pseudo-rock concert, complete with dramatic spotlights, flashing strobes, and an all-female onstage band. The show follows a singing competition, with each queen competing to become leader of the band by proving they endured the worst hardships at the hands of their famously volatile ex-husband.
The pop-rock musical, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, originated at the West End with critical acclaim, earning multiple Olivier Award nominations. The distinct style of each queen is influenced by a contemporary female pop icon, ranging from Beyoncé to Adele to Ariana Grande. The clever costumes fuse the styles of modern punk rock with the Tudor period, mixing miniskirts and bedazzled leather with corsets and big, puffy sleeves. Similar to the diverse casting of 2015 Broadway sensation Hamilton or the contemporary language of 2006 rock musical Spring Awakening, SIX makes otherwise distant historical figures and issues seem more relevant. It blurs the line between period piece and modern theatre.
The six queens point out that the only reason people know who they are is because of their husband. Women are too often the secondary characters to a story, only remembered for their relation to a man. SIX flips this trope, making the infamous Henry VIII only a mere mention in the show rather than a full character. Each cast member is electrifying and gives it their all with soaring harmonies that fill the theater. Adrianna Hicks brings a great energy and attitude to the sassy Catherine of Aragon. Andrea Macasaet shines as the flirty and unapologetic Anne Boleyn, who sings the dangerously catchy Don’t Lose Ur Head. Brittney Mack is unstoppable as the confident Anna of Cleves during the R&B infused Get Down. Abby Mueller gives a beautifully breathtaking performance as Jane Seymour during the emotional ballad Heart of Stone. Seymour explains that she stood by her Henry VIII, not because of weakness or fear, but because of love. Despite being the one queen that wasn’t scorned by her husband, she still took ownership of her life.
No matter the differences between each queen’s circumstances, they are still strong in their own right — and one woman’s experience isn’t more or less valid than another’s. Another clear standout is All You Wanna Do, sung by Katherine Howard and played by Courtney Mack. Amidst the rise of the #MeToo movement, this song is sharply relevant. What starts out as a fun, seductive earworm becomes an angry powerhouse anthem as she begs a simple question: “When will enough be enough?” The trials of a 16th-century queen seem disturbingly familiar to the injustices that still persist today. At one point, Howard innocently proclaims, “It was a different time back then,” a statement that’s so painfully ironic it garners laughs from the entire audience. Each repeating chorus highlights the vicious cycle of men in power taking advantage of
to Theater women. The deceivingly upbeat number reinforces the idea that we’re conditioned to accept this abuse as normal. I Don’t Need Your Love solidifies the message of the show by denouncing toxic takedown culture. Anna Uzele plays Catherine Parr, the final wife that survived Henry VIII, and serves as the voice of reason in the musical. It is Parr who criticizes the comparative nature of the competition, lamenting, “In history I’m fixed as one of six / And without him I disappear, we all disappear.” Despite all of her accomplishments, she is only remembered for her marriage. All the queens come to the same realization that society’s patriarchal structure forces women to be dependent on men and pit women against each other. Eventually, the queens rejoice in the fact that in this “historemix,” they can reclaim their agency.
endeavor. The show entertains audiences with witty banter and bubblegum pop while still addressing very serious topics. On the surface, this is a toe-tapping, headbanging pop rock musical with strong comedic punches, flashy choreography, and irresistible musical hooks — but behind all the glitter and confetti is a serious look at our society’s problematic and unfair treatment of women. SIX manages to rewrite history and give women, who are too often lost in the shadows of men, the spotlight. It showcases
all different types of women, emphasizing the importance of diversity. There’s not one cookiecutter definition of what a strong woman should be — she can be chaste or promiscuous, refined or outspoken, loyal or independent. Each queen takes full ownership of her own identity, rewriting the history that wronged them for so long. In one of the final songs of the show, all of the queens make a triumphant declaration that will stand the test of time: “We’re taking back the microphone.”
This empowering masterpiece highlights the cast’s stellar vocals as they confidently sing, “We’re taking back control / You need to know I don’t need your love.” Not many could shine a light on the uncomfortable topic of sexism with humor, but SIX completely succeeds in this
Renewed Fall 2019
The Skin of Our Teeth Written by Calvary Dominique Photo courtesy of Lauren Scornavacca Designed by Norman Zeng
f all your brain cells were to suddenly hop out of your brain, brazenly enter the world of theatre, and unload all their chaotic, scattered energy into a play, it might look a little something like this. Or, if you gave a mysterious existentialist kid — like one of the children in J.D. Salinger’s short stories — a canvas and told them to paint a play based on all of their inner anxieties, you might come close to describing this. Close, but not quite; for as an approximation, it would still fall short of capturing the full extent of its essence. This play is just one of those things you have to experience to believe, and even when you see it, you can’t help but ask yourself, “Wait, what did I just see?” In late October, Northeastern University’s theatre department ran The Skin of Our Teeth, a delightfully bizarre, hysterical, and timeless play written by Thorton Wilder in 1942. If you came into the theater expecting a linear, run-of-the-mill play, I am sincerely sorry. But if you came expecting a wild, surrealist rollercoaster ride, it certainly didn’t disappoint!
Creative, irreverent, and utterly brilliant, the play works because it fully embraces its subversive absurdism and holds nothing back.
When Wilder initially created his Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, he crafted it in the context of a world torn apart by World War II, but the questions he raised are still eerily relevant today. Though almost 80 years old, its sarcastic and satirical style seems tailor-made for both the 21st century and Generation Z.
The Skin of Our Teeth chronicles the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus (Matthew Hosking and Thedita Pedersen, respectively), a suburban couple from New Jersey who have been married for 5,000 years; their son Henry (Ben Harris), who may have murdered his brother; and Gladys (Elise Piliponis), their “perfect” daughter. Throughout the play, they face the Ice Age, a Great Flood, and the encroaching apocalypse. You know, just casual suburban life. Their kids have dinosaurs for pets. There’s a mammoth in there somewhere. Oh, and a fortune teller (Erin Solomon) who enjoys himself way too much and who tells the audience that interpreting the past is impossible but interpreting the future is his specialty. And there’s Sabina (Meryl Prendergast), the family’s loquacious and fourth wall-breaking maid who attempts to seduce Mr. Antrobus, now the president of the Fraternal Order of Mammals, away from his wife. If that sounds confusing, that’s kind of the point. So much is going on! It just might be one of the most peculiar, offbeat things I’ve ever seen, and it was all by design. It’s like The Flintstones if it were existentialist, meta, and written by Bo Burnham. Along the way, the Antrobuses create the alphabet, throw a cosmic beauty pageant, and even invent math. Somehow, through the chaos, this zany family always manages to make it through… by the skin of their teeth. You never knew what was coming next. At one point, audience members were directly asked to give up their chairs, but no one moved. At a few points in the story, Sabina, who was very aware she was in a play, told the audience she was quitting — only to have the stage managers come on stage and coax her into continuing. This play covers themes of climate change, religion,
sexuality, female empowerment, psychology, philosophy, and more. The Skin of Our Teeth is genuinely entertaining theatre, and you truly connect to the characters and want what is best for them — especially once you accept its unconventional storytelling methods.
It’s very much a thinking play, and very much open to interpretation, which is what makes it so timeless and beautiful. It asks bold questions that don’t necessarily have concrete answers. What does it really mean to be a family? To be a husband? To be a wife? To be human? Famed playwright Paula Vogel once called The Skin of Our Teeth “a remarkable gift to an America entrenched in catastrophe,” and it is incredibly accurate. As Minister of Magic Rufus Scrimgeour said in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, “These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today.” This quote can just as easily apply to the real world and to the human experience throughout the ages. Feelings of chaos, uncertainty, and fear were just as keenly felt in 1942 as in 2019. But we’ve always managed to survive, if only by the skin of our teeth.
Renewed Fall 2019
BEHIND THE SCENES WITH THE NEPALI STREET ARTIST Written by Asia London Palomba Photo courtesy of Sneha Shrestha Designed by Lauren Aquino
neha Shrestha can remember when she first began to fall in love with art. Growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, she used to watch her mother create fantastical drawings with colored pencils, weaving stories together through her sketches. Today Shrestha, who paints under the name Imagine, is an internationally renowned artist best known for her unusual style: painting mindful mantras using the Nepali alphabet that combine the aesthetics of Sanskrit scriptures with American graffiti. The Kathmandu native, who first moved to the United States for college in 2006, has painted murals all over the world, from San Francisco to Copenhagen to Bali. Both an artist and an educator, the Boston-based muralist strives to incorporate the mindful and peaceful practices she’s inherited from her childhood into every project. “Me, and along with the other people I was growing up with, we didn’t enjoy reading in Nepali. Now I do, and I think the aesthetics of the Nepali language need to be more appreciated. This is part of the message of my artwork, and it comes from how I grew up,” she said of her work. In 2013, she created the Children’s Art Museum of Nepal, the country’s first children’s museum dedicated to empowering
youth and teaching them 21st-century skills through art. Most recently, her combined passions and skills have led to the creation of Mindful Mandalas, a 12-foot-tall installation which was on display at the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston for five months. The installation was born out of a months-long collaborative effort between the MFA and 10 after-school organizations in the museum’s Community Arts Initiative program with the
intent to foster inner peace and meditation through creation. Shrestha, who has just returned from a mural festival in Michigan, sat down to discuss her inspirations, the genesis of some of her biggest projects, and how growing up in Nepal has shaped her as both an artist and an educator.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
How did you come about painting murals? Oh man, it’s a long story. I moved to Boston after college and then I was working at an organization where I met my mentor and he painted a lot and so I got inspired watching him paint.
What was behind the decision to use the Nepali language in your work? I was exposed to graffiti first, and graffiti is an art form based on letters. Once I started understanding the art form, I thought why not write it in Nepali because it came naturally to me.
Where did the name Imagine come from? From my mom. Her name in Nepali translated to English means imagination, or imagine. When it came time to pick an artist name for myself, I thought I’d take her name because my first and most memorable arts learning experience was with her.
What do you mean by your first arts experience being with your mother? I used to watch her draw. She’d get English books and translate them to Nepali and make a bigger version of them and draw and color the images. Growing up, there weren’t a lot of Nepali children’s books, and she’d make these books and I’d just watch her color and use little bits of crayons and colored pencils and create, what seemed to me, amazing drawings.
a younger me would have appreciated that, and kids need art because art helps in developing critical thinking skills and 21stcentury skills.
Is there a particular experience which has shaped you as both an artist and an arts educator?
Have you seen change in the community since opening?
I think it’s a collection of a million things, because this is what I do. I think the arts educator part developed over time. I never thought that I would be an educator… Being an artist wasn’t something I grew up thinking I’d be either. Actually, I just realized, I’d never seen a woman artist growing up. I wasn’t in those spheres, I wasn’t in those realms. Being an artist never occurred to me, because art is a luxury in Nepal.
I don’t know how to measure change in a community, because there are no ways to measure change. I think a better way of thinking about it is that there are benchmarks of success that a nonprofit can achieve. We’ve worked with over 10,000 kids, so 10,000 kids, since 2013, have had art making experiences. It’s a work in progress. I don’t think we’ll ever be done.
What was behind the Mindful Mandalas project at the MFA? Obviously mindfulness, and how I could show my work and use my process and share it with young people to help them create that peaceful space in their minds. I’m an arts educator too, so I think as adults and educators we’re always trying to create safe and peaceful spaces for children, but what if we could empower them to create these spaces in their minds as well? That’s a question that I ask myself often.
What did you hope for the children to get out of the experience? Just for them to know that they have powers over their minds, and it’s not easy to realize what a peaceful mind could look like… Of course, along with having fun and drawing and painting. At the core of it, I wanted kids to have fun every single time.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by art being a luxury in Nepal? Art is a luxury because people don’t have the basic needs to survive, the basic needs such as water and electricity. So when your basic needs aren’t met, art is a luxury that you’re probably not thinking about because you’re thinking about how to get running water and affording food. People don’t grow up thinking that they want to be artists.
Do you have a favorite art piece that you’ve done, or one that you’re really proud of? I think it changes over time. Different art works create different experiences. I just came back from Lansing, Michigan, I was at a mural festival called Below the Stacks and I had a wonderful time, a wonderful week being there and creating the work. I also made new friends that I think I want to keep for the rest of my life, and it was just an amazing experience. For me, being proud of a piece is a more wholesome thing that I look at, it’s not just the painting and what it looks like. The experience of it is what counts as well.
What was the inspiration behind creating Nepal’s Children’s Art Museum? Growing up in Nepal, I didn’t have a lot of art opportunities. There weren’t a lot of places where you could go and draw and paint and express yourself. Having visited and stayed in the U.S. and been exposed to children’s museums and also the place where I was working — I was working as the painting mentor at Artists for Humanity in Boston — I realized the impact that art can have on young people. I really felt like
Renewed Fall 2019
ss a a
To t he Written by Audrey Wang Illustrated by Norman Zeng Designed by Danny Tran
r a t S
d n o y e B d n
d Astra, Latin for “to the stars,” is an accurate translation, but not the best description. The protagonist Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) does journey through the stars — well, more toward Neptune actually — but the biggest journey is the one he makes within himself. Through a shift in his blue eyes, Pitt takes us on an odyssey, tackling generational trauma and masculinity in this visually stunning and introspective film. In the opening scene, we see McBride working on the outside of a space station when an antenna explodes and the entire station goes up in flames. McBride tries to save the system, but he loses his grip and starts plummeting toward Earth. As he hurtles through the air, he remains utterly calm and begins methodically trying to land. McBride is the embodiment of grace under pressure. The son of a famous astronaut (Tommy Lee Jones), his heart rate never rises above 80 beats per min. Through the depiction of McBride’s psych evaluations
and the film’s voiceover, director and writer James Gray gives the audience a look into McBride’s inner thoughts.
Calm and cool in life-ordeath situations, he comes off as removed and stoic with his ex-wife in various ashbacks. McBride dutifully goes on a mission to put a stop to the Lima Project with a nuke. He is chosen because the Lima Project is spearheaded by his father, and the government thinks that McBride is the only one person that can get through to him. Gray shows us a commercialized moon, a tense Mars, and ultimately a blue Neptune to illustrate the great lengths it takes for McBride to confront the greatest space he has ever known — the one his father left. There are really no other main characters except for McBride, and Pitt solely carries the audience through the film for the entire two hours and four minutes. Though the
character is often nonchalant, Gray’s direction gives us a glimpse into his inner emotions through extreme close-ups. Pitt doesn’t keep the audience away — they are able to see the moments of weakness he lets himself feel. The landscapes and breathtaking scenery by cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema are just as in depth as Pitt’s face, showing the magnitude of emotions beneath the surface. McBride has to journey farther away from Earth to discover more about himself. It’s an adventure of solitude and whether or not sons bear the sins of their fathers. The wonder of seeing rare sights comes at a great cost, and McBride discovers he can empathize with his father more as he faces defeat again and again. Ultimately, McBride must confront the question of whether there is life out there in the universe, or if we’re all alone. Which is more terrifying?
Renewed Fall 2019
Mahalia ENDS TOUR W I T H PA S S I O N A N D P R I D E AT THE SINCLAIR
Written by Liliana Piña Photos by Patric Song Designed by Cindy Zhao
lternative R&B singer, songwriter, and actress Mahalia enchanted the sold-out crowd at The Sinclair on Oct. 23, her smooth, soulful vocals alluring the audience at every turn. The 21-year-old artist, who was born and bred in Leicestershire, England, wrote her first song at just eight years old, and was signed to Asylum Records UK (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records) at 13. She released her first EP, Never Change, in 2015 and has dropped several projects since then, including her debut studio album Love and Compromise. Released in Sept. of this year, the album showcases Mahalia’s unique sound and features lyrics that explore what it means to love yourself and others as a young woman in our modern world. When Mahalia emerged onstage, clad in a black open-backed crop top and matching joggers, the crowd welcomed her with an uproar of applause. Several fans screamed, “I love you!” as Mahalia beamed her dazzling smile at the audience. As her accompanying band emerged onstage, Mahalia greeted the crowd with excitement, before making a disclaimer about the show. This being her last stop on her U.S. tour, she was beginning to lose her voice and was scared that it would affect her music, so she asked the audience to shout the lyrics to her songs and help her sing them. The audience cheered at this revelation, and after Mahalia encouraged fans to just be in this room with her — without the distractions of cell phones or the worries of everyday life — she launched straight into her first song of the night, Do Not Disturb. The crowd danced and swayed to the beat of the music as Mahalia effortlessly ran through the track, her body accentuating each and every lyric. Orange and red lights highlighted her feisty stage persona as she confidently strut in front of the audience, pausing to shake her hips every so often, much to the crowd’s delight. She ended the song with another show-stopping smile, before demurely telling the audience that she needed a moment. She disappeared
backstage and reemerged with a cup of tea to soothe her sore throat. The audience was endeared by this act, several “aww’s” emanating from the crowd, and Mahalia returned to her calming hot beverage several times during the show. As a preface to her next song, Mahalia talked about the strong women in her life. She expressed gratitude toward her mother, who played a pivotal role in both her music career and personal life. “This next song is one of my favorites of the minute,” Mahalia said as the tantalizing notes of Good Company trickled from the venue’s speakers. As the house illuminated with blue and green pulsing lights, Mahalia’s vocals turned sultry and sexy. She hugged herself as she sang the song’s meaningful lyrics, simultaneously demonstrating both her self-love and desire to be genuinely loved by another. The audience swayed gently to the beat, the small venue enveloping the intimacy of the song. Stopping between each song to address the audience,
Mahalia spoke about growing up as a “label baby” and told the audience how she spent years workshopping her sound. With powerhouse industry influences such as Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill, the selfproclaimed “sexy R&B princess” is more confident in her music than ever, and is excited to continue growing as an artist.
She then immediately dove into Simmer, a song off Love and Compromise that features popular Nigerian artist Burna Boy. The crowd began dancing in earnest as Mahalia whirled to the beat of the music, pausing center stage to move her body for all to see. After a brilliant acoustic performance of He’s Mine, also off Love and Compromise, she candidly addressed the crowd about her next song, saying “I had to have me cheeky moment on the album. I know she’s good, but I know I’m better” — a line which elicited an eruption of applause as the first notes of Karma played. She then ran through several fan favorites, including Sober, Consistency, and Square One. Mahalia rounded out her outstanding performance with none other than I Wish I Missed My Ex, her first and most popular single off Love and Compromise. Before leaving the stage, Mahalia thanked the audience for spending the night in her company, and expressed gratitude that she could end her tour with such a feelgood, upbeat performance — despite the challenges she faced because of her voice. She left the stage with one important message: “Don’t let people tell you who you are.” With that, she gave the crowd one last bright smile and bid the audience goodnight. But that wasn’t the end. A few minutes later, music blared through the venue as Mahalia emerged onstage again. She ripped off her wig before shamelessly shaking her body along with the remaining audience members, sharing a special and authentic moment with them before truly finishing off the evening — her unapologetic and fun personality on full display.
“I spend the majority of my life confused,” Mahalia admitted later in the show, receiving a few empathetic cheers from the crowd in response. After talking about something that she begged the crowd to keep a secret (I promise I’ll never tell!), she added on to her previous statement, saying, “But I don’t have time for you to be confused about what you feel about me.” With that, she began to sing What Am I? The mood of the entire venue changed as Mahalia’s buttery vocals vibrated throughout the venue, the seductive purple stage lights matching her sensual sound.
Renewed Fall 2019
PRESIDENT Nadia Naeem EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Liliana PiÃ±a C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R Danny Tran MANAGING EDITOR Sophie Cannon ART EDITOR Asia London Palomba SCREEN EDITOR Anna Tobin MUSIC EDITOR Olivia Oriaku S TA G E E D I T O R Sanya Mittal DEPUTY EDITOR Sully Barrett HEAD OF PHOTOGRAPHY Dalia Sadaka CO-HEAD OF DESIGN Lauren Aquino CO-HEAD OF DESIGN Norman Zeng DESIGN MENTOR Cindy Zhao C O M M U N I C AT I O N S A S S O C I AT E Khanh Vo A D M I N I S T R AT O R Juliana Tuozzola
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Renewed Fall 2019