On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink!
PPAC Kicks off their Broadway Series with Mean Girls
Did you know that the popular teenage chick-flick Mean Girls is now also a musical? Mean Girls: The Musical is currently on tour and hit the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) during the first week of October. The musical was written by a creative team who have collectively worked on Aladdin, The Book of Mormon, and Legally Blonde, as well as comedian, actress, and writer, Tina Fey, who played Ms. Norbury in the cinematic version.
For those who aren’t familiar with Mean Girls, it is a story about a teenage girl, Cady Heron, who grew up homeschooled by her zoologist parents in the African savanna and is now facing the most daunting moment of her life: American high school. At North Shore High, Cady quickly befriends outcast artists Janis and Damian, and secretly plots to take down “the Plastics,” an exclusive trio of it-girls. The Plastics consists of control freak and narcissist Regina George, her self-conscious side-kick Gretchen Weiners, and Karen Smith, the definition of “air-head.” As Cady becomes more successful at destroying the Plastics from within, she quickly loses sight of herself, and even loses the boy she’s pining for, Aaron Samuels, Regina’s ex-boyfriend. The ultimate question is: can Cady fix the mess she’s made and redeem herself? It’s truly a wild tale that features pink outfits, math geeks, Halloween costumes, and iconic lines, including “On Wednesdays we wear pink” and “On October 3rd, he asked me what day it was.”
Mean Girls: The Musical was unique with its diverse cast, which consisted of five out of the seven previously white leads cast as people of color. The musical was, in fact, hilarious. Morgan Ashley Bryant, the actress who played Karen, stole the show with her light-hearted voice and humorous lines. During the Halloween party, the entire house laughed at Karen’s opening song, and further at the ensemble members wearing Yoda and baby shark costumes. Perhaps the funniest moment, however, was when an actor in a full lion mascot costume took the stage. The lion began juggling his stomach to demonstrate how Shane Owen and Regina George have sex once a week inside the mascot costume. Overall, the show had many memorable moments that made it worth watching. My only critique would be the music. While the actors and actresses had amazing voices, some of the song lyrics were a bit silly, and not in a good way. At points, it felt like the characters were narrating obscure events like “picking up a pencil.” The lyrics could have been more thought out.
Mean Girls isn’t the only Broadway show coming to Providence; PPAC features the Taco/White Family Foundation “Broadway Series,” which consists of many favorite Broadway shows. PPAC will feature Tootsie from Oct. 25-30, Jagged Little Pill from January 17-23, Hadestown from March 21-26, Six from April 11-23, and Beetlejuice from April 25-30. In addition to this series, PPAC also has an Encore Series, featuring Les Miserables from Nov. 15-20, Annie from Jan. 31 to Feb. 5, and Come From Away from Feb. 21-26.
Now, the wonderful thing about PPAC is that there are a few tips that can help you see
your favorite show for a fraction of the price! The theater does rush tickets, which students,
military personnel, and seniors can purchase for 50 percent off two hours before showtime. Rush tickets are limited to two tickets per person and are not always guaranteed. Providence Coal Fired Pizza, among other restaurants, have dine-in deals, where if you eat at their restaurant, you can use a special promo code to earn 30 percent off your next PPAC ticket purchase. And, of course, you could always win free tickets by calling the local radio station during giveaway hours. However, when you wind up the eighth caller instead of the lucky tenth, definitely checkout the PPAC Facebook page and grab those student rush tickets.
Ugly Rumors and Pastel Berets
A Review of Netflix’s Do Revenge
On Sept. 16, Netflix released a new dark comedy titled Do Revenge. The movie’s cast features well-known actors from a variety of teenage rom-coms and dramedy series. The main character, Drea, is played by none other than Riverdale’s Camila Mendes, and her co-lead, a transfer student named Eleanor, is played by Stranger Things star Maya Hawke. Euphoria’s Austin Abrams plays the male lead, Max, and Outer Banks star Jonathan Daviss is his sidekick. Drea’s former clique is composed of 13 Reasons Why actress Alisha Boe, Alexa & Katie star Paris Berelc, and Nickelodeon actress Maia Reficco. The cast list tops off with Love, Victor’s Ava Capri, Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between’s Talia Ryder, Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner, and Sarah Michelle Gellar, who you may know as Buffy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and/or as Daphne from the live action Scooby Doo movies. The cast is practically a melting pot of various actors and actresses, which of course, brings in viewers.
Do Revenge is not for the faint of heart, as it casts a dark shadow on the psychological warfare of high school life, where status, relationships, and reputation are everything. The film takes place in Miami at the prestigious Rosehill Country Day High School, where all students are decked in Easter-egg-colored uniforms and pastel berets, and like in all teenage rom-coms, have unrealistic Ivy League aspirations where “spots at Yale” just happen to open up like magic portals.
Max (Austin Abrams), whose “pretty” face is also plastered on tabloids and social media platforms, is dating Drea. They are practically a celebrity couple, but arguably, Drea could do much better, even before we learn about Max’s toxicity. Drea’s life blows up when Max coerces her into filming a sexual video of herself and releases it to the entire Internet. Then, in comes transfer student Eleanor (Maya Hawke), who is haunted by a rumor that she forcefully kissed a girl at middle school sleepaway camp. The two outcasts team up and plot to “do revenge.” While Drea works on untangling Eleanor’s rumor by destroying the life of farmgirl Carissa (Ava Capri), Eleanor befriends Max and carries out some dirty deeds from behind the curtain. The story is full of twists and turns and unveils the manipulative tactics swirling in the ugly minds of high school teenagers.
Sophie Turner’s character Erica, a snobby rich girl at Drea’s tennis camp, stole the show in a one-minute scene where she throws a temper tantrum over a cocaine addiction accusation—a rumor planted by Drea. According to PopBuzz, the iconic scene may be an Oscar-winning performance. There is also speculation of whether Netflix could create a Do Revenge II that focuses on Erica getting revenge on Drea for trashing her future and landing her in a substance abuse facility.
It’s difficult to root for either Drea or Eleanor, as neither have the greatest track records or personalities. Essentially, there are no “good guys,” just one major antagonist in the character of Max. Also, the absence of adults is so abundant in the film that it’s abnormal whenever Sarah Michelle Geller’s character makes an appearance. The movie is chaotic, Hollywood woke, and has many plotlines. It’s worth a first watch, but maybe not a second one.
A Dinosaur For The Living Room!
Zephyr the Iguanodon Is up for Auction
Here’s something you do not hear every day: a dinosaur fossil is going up for auction in France this October! The skeleton is currently being held at the Giquello & Associés auction house in Paris, France. This is Alexandre Giquello’s sixth dinosaur fossil auction, and he says this new fossil “is a dinosaur for a living room.” The skeleton is roughly three feet high and is almost ten feet long; it is about the same size as a Bengal tiger.
The fossil dates back to the upper Jurassic period, an estimated 150 million years ago, and has been given the name “Zephyr.” The name was derived from “Zephyros,” the Greek God of “the west wind.” The name is an homage to the fossil’s location of death in Skull Creek. It just so happened that a team of construction workers were digging in Skull Creek when they struck a series of bones in 2019. Further inspection led to the discovery of Zephyr in 2019.
Zephyr is of the genus “iguanodon.” The name was invented by an English geologist named Gideon Mantell, who discovered an iguanodon in a quarry at Whiteman’s Green in Sussex, England in 1825. However, there is much debate over who found the first iguanodon teeth: Gideon Mantell or his wife, Mary Ann. Mantell invented the name “iguana-saurus,” as the teeth appeared similar to those of an iguana, and it was not until later that a friend convinced Mantell to change the name to “Iguanodon.
Iguanodons are equipped with huge thumb spikes, capable of fending off predators, and fifth fingers, used for gathering food. They are herbivores, which means their diets consist solely of plants and trees. Scientists also claim that Iguanodons had the ability to alternate between bipedalism and quadrupedalism—two legs and four legs, much like a monkey. However, research shows that as the Iguanodon evolved into a larger, heavier species, it began focusing on quadruped movement. The species also had toothless beaks and prehensile tongues, so they could grab tree leaves like giraffes.
Believe it or not, Iguanodons have made their way into popular culture. The character “Aldar” in Disney’s 2000 movie, Dinosaur, is an Iguanodon, as well as the characters Neera, Kron, and Bruton. The Iguanodon is also one of the three species of dinosaur that inspired Godzilla, along with the Tyrannosaurus rex and Stegosaurus. You can also see glimpses of Iguanodons in the cartoon movie series A Land Before Time. However, to much disappointment, the Iguanodon did not make the cut for the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World franchise.
Zephyr, the Skull Creek Iguanodon, will be up for auction on Oct. 20 and has an estimated worth of $495,000. Who will pay half a million dollars to have a full dinosaur skeleton on display in his/her living room come Oct. 21? Only time will tell.
Renaissance: The Rebirth of Queen Bey
A Review of Beyoncé‘s Latest Effort
Singer, songwriter, producer, and pop icon Beyoncé released her new album, Renaissance, on July 29, 2022. The album is Beyoncé’s seventh studio album as a solo recording artist. Before going solo, she co-wrote five studio albums with Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams—the trio made up the famous girl group Destiny’s Child. Some of Destiny’s Child’s most popular songs include “Bills, Bills, Bills,” “Survivor,” and “Say My Name.” The group was most popular in the 90s and early 2000s before disbanding in 2006 after 16 years together. After another 16 years as a solo artist, it is safe to say that Beyoncé is still topping musical charts. On August 13th, Beyoncé’s Renaissance hit number one on Billboard’s Top 200 albums chart, becoming the first album released by a female artist to reach number one in 2022.
The last album recorded by a female artist to hit number one was Adele’s 30 in December 2021. This seven-month stretch was particularly unusual and marks the longest female drought for Billboard’s Top 200 in over five years. Beyoncé hasn’t produced a full musical album in six years, her last being Lemonade in 2016. The long wait makes Renaissance all the more exciting. But Beyoncé hasn’t exactly been living in the shadows. She produced a documentary film titled Black is King, voiced “Nala” in Disney’s live-action movie The Lion King, and helped produce Homecoming, a concert movie documenting her “Beychella” set, which was largely inspired by Black American Performance.
Amplifying Black music and culture was also a driving force in the production of Renaissance. The album pays homage to Beyoncé’s late Uncle Johnny, whom she calls her “godmother.” According to Beyoncé, her Uncle Johnny was the first person who exposed her to “the music and the culture” that inspired her seventh album. Uncle Johnny passed away from HIV-related health complications when Beyoncé was only seventeen years old, but apparently, the two were inseparable during her childhood. Uncle Johnny’s influence has helped draw a direct connection between Beyoncé and the Black queer community. Beyoncé calls her new album a “safe place, a place without judgment…a place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking.” The album is largely a celebration of safe spaces, inclusive of clubs, churches, and venues made for Black women and queer people. This celebration is all the more important after Covid-19 shut down these lively, cultural venues. The album title references the Renaissance period (1300-1600), which marked a “revival of art and literature.” While the album is titled “renaissance,” it symbolizes Bey’s “rebirth.”
The term is very characteristic of Beyoncé’s album, which celebrates the rebirth of culture and music after the pandemic forced clubs to close their doors and concert venues to transform into medical sites. But despite the modern twist, Beyoncé still carries some history into her album cover, which mimics the famous Anglo-Saxon painting of Godiva. So, if you’re surfing through Spotify, and if you wish to listen to Renaissance, just look for Queen Bey posing on a holographic horse.
People Still Want Their MTV
Highlights of the MTV Awards
The MTV Video Music Awards were held on Aug. 28, 2022, at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ. The show featured award distribution for a variety of categories, including “Best Song of the Summer” and “Best Video of the Year,” and showcased performances by the nation’s top music artists. In case you missed the show, here are some important highlights:
The show had three hosts: Nicki Minaj, Jack Harlow, and LL Cool J. It was the first time the show has featured multiple hosts since 1986. With the location in New Jersey, the show also included appearances from several New Jersey natives: Queen Latifah, Fetty Wap, Wyclef Jean, Naughty by Nature, and Redman.
Host Nicki Minaj broke barriers for women by taking home the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award, which is a special merit award in homage to the King of Pop himself. Nicki also won “Best Hip Hop” for her song “Do We Have A Problem?” Her Co-Host Jack Harlow took home “Best Collaboration,” “Best Visual Effects,” and “Art Direction” alongside icon Lil Nas X for their song “Industry Baby,” as well as “Song of the Summer” for his song “First Class.”
Taylor Swift won “Video of the Year,” “Best Direction,” and “Best Longform Video” for her 10-minute music video “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version).” Thankfully, Kanye West wasn’t present to interrupt her acceptance speech this year as he famously did in 2009. Additionally, Taylor’s former beau, Harry Styles, who became famous for his membership in one of the most notable boy bands of all time, One Direction, is now finding success on his own. He won “Best Pop” and “Best Cinematography” for his hit song “As it Was” and “Best Album” for his new album Harry’s House.
Dove Cameron is currently making waves in the music industry after leaving her Disney Channel acting career behind. She starred in the sitcom Liv & Maddie as both Liv and Maddie, and played Kayla, a budding snowboarder, in the hit movie Cloud Nine, and most famously, she played the lead villain turned good, Mal, daughter of Maleficent, in the Disney movie trilogy Descendants. Now she’s MTV’s “Best New Artist” thanks to her new hit song “Boyfriend.”
To continue with the awards, the Red Hot Chili Peppers won their ninth MTV award for their new “Best Rock” song “Black Summer.” Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny edged out some big-name artists (Ed Sheeran, Drake, Harry Styles, etc.) for the “Artist of the Year” award. Billie Eilish won “Song of the Year” for her song “Happier Than Ever.” Lastly, Seventeen, a South Korean boy band, won “Push Performance of the Year.”
Other noteworthy moments of the show include Snoop Dog and Eminem’s live rendition of their latest collaboration “From the D 2 the LBC,” Kane Brown’s historic performance as the first male country artist to sing at the MTV awards since 1984, and DJ Khaled’s segment on parenting advice for new mother Nessa Diab. For more information on the 2022 MTV awards, please consult this generation’s “Best Search Engine:” Google.
Beasts, Beasts, and More Beasts
Beasts, Beasts, and More Beasts
Film Review: Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
By Abigail Levasseur ’24
It’s no secret that Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has been ranked number one internationally for three consecutive weekends. The film is the third installment of the Fantastic Beasts franchise, with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald being the first and second films in the series, respectively.
The Fantastic Beasts trilogy is a spin-off of the Harry Potter franchise written by J.K. Rowling herself, so The Secrets of Dumbledore is sure to delight Potter fans. In fact, a handful of Harry Potter characters, such as Albus Dumbledore, Aberforth Dumbledore, Ariana Dumbledore, and Minerva McGonagall, all make appearances in the new movie. The film also includes shots of Hogwarts and The Great Hall, two important locations in the Potter franchise.
However, The Secrets of Dumbledore has been in the news for reasons other than its ties to the beloved tale of the boy wizard with a lightning scar: actor Johnny Depp, who has previously portrayed the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise, did not return for this installment.
Depp has come under scrutiny as of late for his court case Depp vs. News Group Newspapers, so Warner Bros. asked him to resign from the production. He apparently filmed one scene in London before being pressured to leave the film, and was reportedly paid $10-16 million for these unused scenes. Mads Mikkelson stepped in as Depp’s replacement. The actor reportedly decided not to emulate Depp’s previous performance, believing that doing so would be “creative suicide.”
The plot of Fantastic Beasts: Secrets of Dumbledore centers around one fantastic beast in particular: the Qilin. Qilins are bambi-like deers with the special ability to detect pure hearts and honorability. The film’s opening scene sees two of these creatures meet very different fates: one is rescued by awkward protagonist Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne), lover of magical creatures, and the other falls into Grindelwald’s hands.
The main conflict point in the film is the 1932 election for the head of the International Confederation of Wizards. The candidates include Vicencia Santos, Liu Tao, and, most importantly, Grindelwald. Grindelwald aims to use the Qilin to show he has a pure heart so as to prove his political worth. However, since Grindelwald’s heart is corrupted, the Quilin will only bow to him in a resurrected form, so Grindelwald slaughters the creature and then revives it. Scamander, Dumbledore (Jude Law), and their friends work to discredit Grindelwald by revealing the living Qilin rescued by Newt, hoping to demonstrate that it will refuse to bow to the dark wizard.
Those keen on fantastic beasts more ferocious than the wholesome Qilin will enjoy another new creature that the movie introduces: the Giant Crab Manticore. In one memorable scene, Scamander and his brother must escape the Manticore’s snapping tentacles, acting like crabs to do so in one of the film’s most comical moments. Such comic relief is a welcome break from the movie’s intense plot.
For those interested in watching Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, it is worth researching the film on Wikipedia before doing so, especially for those unfamiliar with the franchise or the wider Wizarding World.
A Look at Marvel’s Latest Original Series
A Look at Marvel’s Latest Original Series
Moon Knight Offers Action, Adventure, and Egyptology
By Abigail Levasseur ’24
To the delight of Marvel fans everywhere, the creative geniuses behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe have released a new comic-inspired series, Moon Knight. The Disney+ exclusive’s first episode, “The Goldfish Problem,” premiered on March 30, followed by “Summon the Suit” on April 6, and “Moving Heaven & Earth” on April 13. The remaining episodes of the series will be released each Wednesday leading up to a May 4 finale.
The role of the titular Moon Knight is played by Oscar Isaac, who is best known for his roles in Star Wars, Addams Family, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse. Other featured actors include the late Gaspard Ulliel as Anton Mogart, Ethan Hawke as the villainous Arthur Harrow, and May Calamawy as Moon Knight’s love interest, Layla El-Faouly.
Moon Knight’s series premiere raked in 1.8 million views, tying The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, surpassing Hawkeye’s 1.5 million views, and falling short of Loki’s 1.9 million views.
What, exactly, is the premise of this buzzworthy show? Before this reporter answers that question, it is only fair to warn that there are spoilers ahead.
The premiere episode of Moon Knight, “The Goldfish Problem,” depicts the average day in the life of gawky social outcast Steven Grant (Isaac), a lonely man who is constantly tardy to his job as a gift shop salesman at the British Museum. From the first few minutes of the episode alone, it is clear that Grant is no superhero, especially in comparison to his fellow MCU Stevens—Steve Rogers, otherwise known as Captain America, and Doctor Stephen Strange. (Seriously, when will Marvel come up with names for its characters other than “Steven” and its miscellaneous variants?)
Just as quickly as viewers realize that Grant is not their average MCU Steven, however, they also realize that he is not an average Joe, either: his bed sits before a sand pit and contains foot shackles. These oddities owe to the fact Grant has an alternative identity, Marc Spector, who is a mercenary working under the name Moon Knight with the Egyptian moon god Khonshu. Spector’s role is unclear in the first episode, as his violent actions appear offscreen, left open to the audience’s imagination—likely to keep the Disney+ show family-friendly.
Nonetheless, by the end of “The Goldfish Problem,” viewers realize three major plot points: Grant and Spector occupy the same body, Harrow is the show’s “big bad,” and the episode’s violence, chase scenes, and overall action are centered around an instrument called the golden scarab. It remains to be seen, however, why this macguffin is significant. Although certainly enthralling, “The Goldfish Problem’s” dealings with multiple identities, invisible Egyptian jackals, and an alternate universe leave viewers wondering whether they are seeing the show’s reality, or if Grant is just dreaming.
The second episode, “Summon the Suit,” begins to offer clarity. It does an especially good job of advancing viewers’ understanding of the complicated relationship between Grant and Spector by introducing Spector’s wife, Layla El-Faouly. Yet this plot advancement raises another question: how real are Grant and his life?
El-Faouly and Grant begin working together to protect the golden scarab. She instructs him to “summon the suit,” which he royally messes up, refusing to allow Spector to take control over their shared body. The subtleties of El-Faouly and Grant’s relationship, including his refusal to finalize her and Spector’s divorce and their shared interest in Ancient Egypt, leads viewers to wonder: is a complicated love story brewing?
Overall, lovers of ancient Egypt, in addition to fans of the MCU, will certainly take an interest in Moon Knight and its action-packed adventure story. For those who have not seen its first few episodes—and for those who are already itching to rewatch them—Moon Knight is now streaming on Disney+.
The “Wordle” Craze
Hey Kids, Spelling is Fun!
The “Wordle” Craze
By Abigail Levasseur ’24
Every night when the clock strikes twelve, Wordle fanatics hit their devices, eager to play the new daily Wordle puzzle. The original Wordle, found on the New York Times’ games webpage, has been entertaining all generations, young and old, for the past few months. The object of the game is to guess a daily five-letter word in six or fewer attempts. With each attempt, the letters that players enter will turn one of three colors: green, yellow, or gray. Green signifies that letters are in the correct location; yellow signifies that letters are indeed present in the word, but in the wrong location; and gray signifies that letters are not in the word at all. While the game seems simple, users find challenges in uncommon words, double letters, and popular prefixes and suffixes. With Wordle inching toward its 260th daily puzzle, it might be time for Wordle fanatics to add some unfamiliar five-letter words to their vocabulary and further explore the world of spelling fun.
Wordle devotees who find that one daily puzzle is not enough for them are in luck: Wordleunlimited.com offers as many standard five-letter wordle games as one can imagine. In addition to Wordle Unlimited, there are several spin-offs of the hit game. One such spin-off, the daily “Dordle,” is similar to wordle, but contains two five-letter word puzzles instead of one. Players have seven attempts to guess both words. Another spin-off, “Quordle,” contains four five-letter word puzzles. “Quordle” gives players nine attempts to guess all four words. Those who are fans of multiple word puzzles should give “Octordle” and “Sedecordle” a try. The former consists of eight word puzzles with thirteen attempts, and the latter offers sixteen word puzzles with twenty-one attempts. The trick to any and all of these games is to focus on one puzzle at a time—whichever has the most green or yellow letters—and then continue on.
For the math lovers of the world, there exists a game called “Nerdle.” The object of Nerdle is to guess the correct eight-character mathematical equation in six attempts. The characters allowed are numbers zero through nine as well as the addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and equal signs. After each attempt, the characters will turn either teal, purple, or gray. Teal signifies that characters are in the correct location, purple signifies that the letters are in the equation but in the wrong location, and gray signifies that the characters are not in the equation. The trick is to never duplicate a number or character in the first equation—the game is easier than one might think.
Those who consider not math but geography to be their forte should give “Worldle” a try. The object of Worldle is to guess the correct country from its shape in six guesses. After each incorrect guess, the game will spit back a percentage, an arrow, and a distance in kilometers that tells the player how close their guess is to the correct answer. This game is sure to prove wrong those who think their geography skills were above par.
There are several other—and fairly lousy—Wordle spin-off games popping up across the internet: “Sweardle,” which consists of swear words, “Letterle,” which consists of one letter only, “Taylordle,” which is Taylor Swift-themed, and “Hogwartle,” which is Harry Potter themed, to name a few. For those anxious to discover more Wordle-like games, search the web, be wary of computer viruses, and do not say this reporter didn’t warn you about such viruses—and Wordle’s addictiveness. Happy wordling!