14 Out of Left Field:
ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
By Ian Green and Cameron Keyani
Photo courtesy of raneko
Photo courtesy of Inudge.com,
Photo courtesy of vulture.com
Photo courtesy of harkavagrant.com
This online gem, which semi-accurately touts that “Everyone Can Create Music,” is an excellent but conspicuous time killer. This site is an interactive music maker, that features eight grids, some unique synthesizers and others drum and bass mixers, with 256 tiles each. By methodical or random selection of tiles, users can create catchy music in the style of Passion Pit or MSTRKRFT. This site, which is now a Smartphone app, is dangerously addictive and time consuming, but all the more endearing for A) being an outlet for the musician in everyone and B) not being Facebook.
Vulture is the definitive website when it comes to entertainment consumption. A blog stemming from New York Magazine, this site has a number of running features that are humorous and enjoyable to read, such as the parody of a celebrity as a stock which you can buy, sell or hold based on their future success. They recap the best TV shows, review new movies, write thoughtful editorials, interview celebrities, post funny videos and release exclusive photos. Vulture is basically Entertainment Weekly for English majors. It’s my entertainment oasis, and it should be yours too.
For those who like their web comics with a dose of classic literature, it doesn’t get better than Hark, a Vagrant. The sharp wit presented in their comics is laugh-out-loud funny, despite mainly being parodies of Shakespeare works and societal/artistic conventions. Their comics range from criticism of modern society to historical events dissected with a modern lens. The sketched art style and caricatured expressions are surprisingly endearing and add another layer of humor if the reader is familiar with whomever they are parodying. This web comic is the true destination for nerdy humor.
By Sophie Meade Arts and Entertainment Editor Walking through a thrift store last week, I veered into the shirt section and was blinded by the excessive amount of flannel taking up about 80 percent of the aisle. Of course, I had always noticed the flannel on previous trips, but I had never realized the strange correlation between the popularity of flannel and its abundance in secondhand stores. Despite the random piles of donated junk these stores aquire, there are certainly noticeable trends in the types of garments flung onto the racks. The dress section houses a million shoulder pad inserts, the jacket section is filled with neon and pastel windbreakers, and the sweater section favors chunky bigpattered crewnecks. Understandably, all of these cast-offs are from the ’80s and ’90s, and were probably dug out of the closets of now 30-40 year-olds. The parallels between modern trends and the thrift store selections are so striking that I wonder: Did thrift stores themselves direct current trends? It seems a bit of a stretch to believe that a retro return to late 20th century style was caused a bunch of hand-me-downs. But in respect to thrift store shopping, it makes some sense. The past few years have been strongly defined by the economic crisis, so an increase in thrift store business is understandable. Simultaneously, much of popular culture has begun to revert back to styles that were popular only 20-30 years ago: grunge military boots, plaid and flannel, acid wash and faded jeans, goofy crewnecks and cardigans, tops and dresses made of lace and velvet. Obviously, a significant portion of fashion-conscious individuals does not shop at thrift stores. So, for this crowd, the retail empire has created their own version of “retro” style, refining -and repricing- the leftovers of the ’80s and ’90s. Popular clothing stores like Heritage 1981, 80’s Purple and American Apparel have all followed suit, but the most obvious and successful is Urban Outfitters. The parallels between the garments in Urban Outfitters stores and those on thrift store racks seem too strong to be unconnected. Faux-vintage T-shirts, denim button-downs, big-patterned “Cosby” crewnecks and cardigans and of course those coveted flannels are among the many secondhand styles recreated by the clothing chain. And although shoes like Doc Martens and classic white Keds have been considered passé since the ’90s, Urban Outfitters insists on carrying them, and has made good money from shoppers who don’t think to buy the kicks at any Goodwill for an eighth of the price. Unlike big chains, helpless thrift stores have no means to advertise. So I must act as their valiant (and cheesy) spokesperson. Even if you’re a sucker for the untouched freshness of chainstore threads, don’t let yourself be fooled by their vintage imitation. If you want the real deal -at a fraction of the price- you’ll need to reach the roots of retro at your local thrift shop.
DECEMBER 17, 2010
By Daniel Fanaroff
>>Call of Duty: Black Ops
>>Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit
The seventh installment in the famed “shoot-‘em-up” series should be at the top of your list of must-have games this winter. The graphics provide a realistic experience that makes the trip from your couch to the power-off button more undesirable than visiting your folks in Nebraska for the holidays. The campaign mode presents a story developed around the Cuban Missile Crisis. The multiplayer mode provides smooth game-play and a few new additions, such as “Contracts,” which provides reward points, new “Killstreaks,” including “Gunships,” which allows you to pilot an attack chopper and “Blackbird,” a carpet bombing airstrike throughout the map. Consoles: Xbox 360 and PS3
From a long line of racing games comes “Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit.” The newest modification adds a twist to the preceding games. In this edition, gamers will have the ability to take two different career paths: a racer who escapes the boys in blue or a policeman tracking down gear heads and grease monkeys. The game features over 60 cars to choose from, including the new Lamborghini Reventon, the McLaren F1 and the Bugatti Veyron. “Hot Pursuit” also brings in power-ups that weren’t present in previous games, including spike strips to deflate policemen’s tires, roadblocks and helicopter skycams (police mode only). Consoles: Xbox 360, PS3 and iPhone
I know what you’re thinking, and the answer is no, Qatar does not have a team in this game. But new adjustments in game-play and career features provide a realistic simulation of professional soccer around the world (not including the dramatic “flopping” of Cristiano Ronaldo). New additions include the “Career Mode,” merging previous features “Manager Mode” and “Be a Pro Mode” into one. This allows players to go through the ranks as a player, coach and playercoach. For the jerks who like to run up the score in friendly competition, the game provides new and improved celebrations beyond the amateur acrobatics seen in previous versions. Consoles: Xbox 360, PS3, iPhone, PC and Wii
Photo courtesy of activision.com
Photo courtesy of needforspeed.com
Photo courtesy of ea.com
Dec. 17, 2010 The Pitch