Donald Trump, Music, and Blade Runner

by The Cowl Editor on April 12, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff


One might argue that entertainment in the United States of America is a complicated construct that can be boiled down to two things: music and film. However, to actor and musician Jared Leto, American society worships six pillars of culture. These six focal points of every American thought, Tweet, and action are displayed in bold black text against a pink backdrop on Thirty Seconds to Mars’ new album, AMERICA.  

Five years since their last album LOVE LUST FAITH + DREAMS, Leto and his brother Shannon portray the general American psyche in six names: “Kim Justin Jesus Michael Mickey Donald.” Yet the theme which seems to run subliminally through every song on the album rests on the last name. 

USA Today asked Leto about his emotional inspiration for the newest project in which he responded, “Fear. Failure. Hope. Dreams. Love.” In the same conversation, Leto rightfully labels intolerance as the scariest portion of American conflict right now.   

Leto voices his anger and frustration with racial and political intolerance not only in the lyrics of each song, but also in the overall style of music. Single anthem “Walk on Water” is a passionate call for rebellion which fits the gospel, call-and-response format. Collaborations with A$AP Rocky on “One Track Mind,” Halsey on “Love Is Madness,” and Zedd drag Thirty Seconds to Mars further away from the stereotypical hardness of emo-rock into the modern world of electronica and pop. This underlying tone of hope and unity, according to Leto, is more necessary in America today than ever before.

The band’s progression and new experimentation certainly stems from Jared Leto’s numerous influences. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Leto cited the synthesizers of Depeche Mode and The Who and the distorted guitar of Pink Floyd as major influences on the album’s electronic sound. 

However, he also mentioned Kanye West as “an inspiration for his bravery” and the bold minimalism of Father John Misty in his track “Bored in the U.S.A.” He even names the Thirty Seconds to Mars tour “Monolith” in tribute to Hans Zimmer and the brilliance of soundtracks.

Also, Jared Leto managed to make this entire album while filming Suicide Squad and Blade Runner 2049. Sure, many argue Suicide Squad is a failure in every aspect of the word, but Jared Leto plays a creepily convincing Joker. More importantly, his portrayal of the creator Replicant Niander Wallace in Blade Runner 2049 is technically stunning.

To achieve such acting excellence requires effort alone, never mind also being a musician. Yet Leto told Rolling Stone, “When I focus on something, I’ll focus on it completely, and when I make music, I’m part manager, part marketer, part creative director, et cetera.… I enjoy it, and it drives me [expletive] nuts a lot of times.”

Although the music production process may be demanding, Leto values music over film. He told USA Today, “It’d be much easier to walk away from film than music.  Music is very personal my brother and I have shared this journey and this dream for almost our entire lives.”

Thirty Seconds to Mars will be rolling through the Northeast on their “Monolith” tour this June.  Tickets are available on Ticketmaster through the band’s website.

Members of Thirty Seconds to Mars pose for a promotional photoshoot for their new album.



“Inclusion Riders”: Women in Hollywood Continue Fight For Diversity

by Kerry Torpey on March 15, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Frances McDormand accepts her Oscar
Photo courtesy of

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

Unfortunately, in 2018, fantastic films have been overshadowed by unsettling controversies within the movie industry. So far, 84 women have accused producer Harvey Weinstein of inappropriate and criminal behavior including sexual harassment and assault, according to USA Today.

Former NBA legend Kobe Bryant took home an Oscar for his animated short film “Dear Basketball” despite being accused of rape in 2003.  More prominently, Gary Oldman won the Oscar for Best Actor for portraying Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour, despite being accused of domestic violence in 2001.  Even though the entire Dolby Theater donned #TimesUp pins to protest the recent atrocities, women still remained underrepresented and unappreciated at the awards show.

For one, Greta Gerwig, nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for her critically acclaimed Lady Bird, went home empty handed. The film provides its audience with an authentic coming of age story which touches on the issues of family conflict, social class, and identity.  Although movies like The Florida Project and Moonlight tackle the extremes of growing up in modern society, Lady Bird brilliantly immerses the viewer in the life of a typical suburban teenager and follows her development amidst emotional struggles and family relationships.

The fact that Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf did not win Best Actress in a Leading Role/Best Actress in a Supporting Role, respectively, is tolerable considering the quality of the competition in each category. Surely, however, Gerwig’s success in making a fictional story so realistic should have mertied at least a Best Director or Best Original Screenplay win.

Furthermore, only six women won Oscars this year, the second lowest number since 2012 when only four women won.  Although women were underrepresented, their performances and their messages were unparalleled.  The quirky Frances McDormand, winner of Best Actress in a Leading Role for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, left the audience with two words: “Inclusion Rider.”

According to The Guardian, “an ‘inclusion rider’ is a clause that an actor can insist be inserted in their contract that requires cast and crew on a film to meet a certain level of diversity.”  The originator of the concept, Stacy Smith, proposed this solution in a 2016 TED talk: “The typical feature film has about 40 to 45 speaking characters in it.  I would argue that only 8 to 10 of those characters are actually relevant to the story.  The remaining 30 or so roles, there’s no reason why those minor roles can’t match or reflect the demography of where the story is taking place.  An equity rider by an A-lister in their contract can stipulate that those roles reflect the world in which we actually live.”

Allison Janney won the Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress as Tonya Harding’s abusive mother LaVona in I,Tonya, joking in her acceptance speech, “I did it all by myself.”  Meanwhile, Darla K. Anderson won the Oscar for Animated Feature Film for Coco, bringing the world of animation to the neglected beauty of Mexico.  In the same vein, Kristen Anderson-Lopez won the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Remember Me,” also from Coco.  Lucy Sibbick and associates won the Oscar for Makeup and Hairstyling for transforming Gary Oldman into a convincing Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour.

Rachel Senton, winner of Best Live Action Short Film for The Silent Child, delivered another touching message in British Sign Language for the movie’s deaf star, Maisie Sly. Senton emotionally commented, “Our movie is about a deaf child being born into a world of silence.  It’s not exaggerated or sensationalized for the movie.  This is happening.  Millions of children all over the world live in silence and face communication barriers, and particularly access to education.”

Although women did not win out at the Oscars this year, they were instrumental in bringing the issues of racism, sexism, and discrimination  in Hollywood to light.

New Sound and New Looks for Providence’s Music Hot Spot, The Strand

by Kerry Torpey on March 2, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

The newly renovated Strand Theatre in Providence
Photo courtesy of

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

The iconic neon sign of Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel has been replaced by the plastic simplicity of The Strand, a collection of white letters against a basic black backdrop. The newly named music venue faced internal renovations as well when The Strand Ballroom & Theater introduced a brand new raised stage, state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, and a giant floor free of previous obstructions.  Overall, The Strand’s website promises “the ultimate event experience.”

On Thursday, February 22, The Strand delivered on this promise when they welcomed Portugal. The Man.  An array of different people, ranging from wild teenagers to older superfans gathered together to shout lyrics, jump uncontrollably, and mosh to the music of opener Twin Peaks and main act Portugal. The Man. The openers, friends since elementary school, boasted a ’60s garage-rock, garage punk sound from Chicago, reminiscent of the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, and the Beatles.

Listening to Twin Peaks’ most recent album Sweet ’17 Singles on any streaming service may lead one to think of this band as a producer of swaying beats, teenage angst, and mediocre lyrics at best. However, their live performance was a completely different animal.

Vocalist and guitarist Cadien Lake James screamed through guitar solos, hair flailing. Guitarist Clay Frankel stumbled onto stage, five beers in—the epitome of new-age disillusionment. The band soared through its hits, inspiring the crowd to mosh through “Blue Coupe,” “Wanted You,” and “Walk to the One You Love.”

Afterwards, the main act, Portugal. The Man, took the stage. The Lords of Portland, a psychedelic rock band from Wasilla, Alaska, placed front man, guitarist, and vocalist John Gourley next to bassist Zach Carothers as they transcended genre stereotypes.

After all, the band is famous for mixing hip-hop, hard rock, and psychedelic rock, to form a general attitude of musical freedom. Behind the instruments were strikingly distracting visuals: animated bodies multiplying rapidly, women in latex straddling beach balls, kaleidoscopic images melting into mountains. The only possible purposes for these pictures could be to imitate drug trips or make a joke out of other musicians’ over-the-top stage antics.

To add to the mockery, Portugal. The Man warned the audience on the projector screen beforehand that, “We aren’t really good at this whole stage banter thing so enjoy these slogans created by our management.”

These so-called “slogans” quickly became political and comedic: “Hey kids do you like to smoke weed?” “Do you enjoy talking politics at family gatherings?” “That’s right kids no computers here, only real instruments!” “We don’t usually like to talk politics, but this needs to be said: f—k.”

Opening with a long rendition of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” Portugal. The Man shook the floor with distorted guitar and heart-throbbing bass. Seamlessly, they transitioned into a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall,” which transformed into “Purple Yellow Red and Blue” off of the band’s 2013 album Evil Friends. 

For the most part, the performance consisted of relatively older songs with hits from their past two successful albums, Evil Friends and In the Mountain in the Cloud. However, tunes off their newest piece, Woodstock made cameo appearances: the album’s politically charged, nostalgic “Number One,” the happy, optimistic “Live in The Moment, the subtly true “Rich Friends,” the critical “So Young,” and the rebellious “Noise Pollution” made up half the set.

Of course, the performance would not have been complete without the song of 2017, “Feel It Still.” But the true crowd pleasers were singalong classics like “So American,” “All Your Light (Times Like These),” and “Sleep Forever” from In the Mountain in the Cloud.

The album Evil Friends was equally represented through “Plastic Soldiers,” “Evil Friends,” “Modern Jesus,” “Hip Hop Kids,” “Atomic Man,” “Sea of Air,” “Purple Yellow Red and Blue,” and “Holy Roller [Hallelujah].”

Through hypnotizing visuals, passionate playing, and songs catered to new and old fans alike, Portugal. The Man contributed to their increasing mainstream fame and the growing reputation of The Strand.

Honoring Black History Month Through Film

by Kerry Torpey on February 15, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

A scene from the movie Marshall of Chadwick Brown in court in front of an all white jury
Photo courtesy of Barry Wetcher/Sony Pictures

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

Lawyer Thurgood Marshall an outstanding United States lawyer, won 29 of 32 Supreme Court cases in the U.S., the most cases ever argued. He had a sarcastic sense of humor, a raging compassion for the innocent, and an unparalleled tact in the courtroom.

As the chief counsel for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Marshall lead the integration movement, landing the Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools. He won the Spingarn Medal in in 1946 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993. And as Solicitor General, Marshall won 14 of the 19 cases put before him, until he served as the nation’s first African American justice on the national supreme court from 1967-1991.

Elizett Pires, Assistant director of Student Activities and Cultural Programming, made sure to pay homage to this American legend in Moore Hall on Feb. 8, showing a screening of the 2017 film Marshall. Directed by Reginald Hudlin, producer of Django Unchained, and written by Michael and Jacob Koskoff, the film put actor Chadwick Boseman, into Thurgood Marshall’s shoes in the year 1941.

In the film, Marshall teams up with an unqualified, inexperienced insurance lawyer named Sam Friedman, played by Josh Gad, to defend Joseph Spell, played by Sterling K Brown.  Spell is accused of raping an affluent white woman, Eleanor Strubing, played by Kate Hudson, in Bridgeport, Connecticut and finds himself up against the forces of prejudice, deception, and social pressure.

When the white judge refuses to allow Marshall to argue the case, claiming it is because Marchall was not licensed to practice in Connecticut, but likely to send Spell to prison Marshall was not allowed to speak in court and can only work on the case behind the scenes.  The life of the defendant, and the rights of African Americans everywhere, rest on the reluctant, originally unmotivated soulders of Sam Friedman.

This film not only follows the development of Friedman as a lawyer and a human being, but also supports Marshall’s fame in history and sheds light on African- Aericans’  long struggle for equality in the justice system. During this Black History Month, Marshall’s example is not one to be observed and remembered just by a select few. No matter your skin color, language, ethnicity, or belief system, Marshall proves what it means to be a virtuous human being dedicated to securing justice for the innocent, no matter the cost.

He was regularly insulted, physically beaten, and separated from his wife as he traveled throughout the country, fighting for the legal rights of African Americans. Marshall courageously stated for the first time that in the film that, “the forces of tyranny have unified under the decisions of a master race…from now on we claim the Constitution as our own.”

In the United States and Canada, the movie ended up making 3 million dollars, in its opening weekend and over 10 million dollars total, finishing 11th at the box office alongside Happy Death Day, The Foreigner, and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women.  Rotten Tomatoes gave the film an 83 percent approval rating based on 125 reviews saying, “Marshall takes an illuminating, well-acted look at its real-life subject’s early career that also delivers as an entertainingly old-fashioned courtroom drama.”  Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers also praised the film with three out of four stars, noting, “Charged by Boseman’s dramatic lightning, Marshall gives us an electrifying glimpse of a great man in the making.”

Furthermore, the movie’s song, “Stand Up for Something,” is nominated for Best Original Song in the Academy Awards coming up in March 2018.

Yet this film encourages viewers to notice not only the art form and focus on the history. The brilliance of the actors and actresses, the realistic costumes, cars, accents, and the beautiful cinematography merely lay the foundation for the celebration of one of America’s greatest citizens and the resilience of African Americans which continues to this day.

And the Winner of PC’s The Voice is…: Providence College Students Compete for Gift Cards and Spring Concert Tickets

by Kerry Torpey on February 8, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Molly Powers, a junior Providence College student, performs at PC's The Voice competition
Laura Chadbourne ’20/The Cowl

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

On Friday, February 2, Providence College’s Board of Programmers (BOP) filled every single seat in McPhail’s, and then some, for PC’s version of The Voice.  By the time the setup crew handed host Fr. Dominic Verner, O.P., the mic, the excited chatter of the crowd began to quiet down and the competition began.

The three judges, Ryan McSweeney ’18, Shanice DaSilva ’18, and Ryan O’Keefe ’19 uncapped their pens and turned their backs to each performer, only turning around to see the face behind the voice when they had come up with an objective score.

Prizes were given to the first, second, and third-place winners once the judges’ scores were combined. First place received an Amazon gift card and a ticket to the Galantis Spring Concert while the two runner ups each received an Amazon gift card.

To open the night, Tilly Burzynski ’19 gave a soft-spoken rendition of Birdy’s cover of “Skinny Love,” strumming her acoustic guitar throughout the song’s melancholy chorus. McSweeney connected to the performance on a personal level, commenting that he had “cried multiple times to this song in the past.”

Molly Powers ’19 followed up with a passionate, strong version of Rihanna’s “Unfaithful,” while Lauren Wilson ’19 convinced O’Keefe that Lady Gaga herself was singing “Million Reasons” in the college’s bar.

Nate Jakaitis, a sophomore Providence College student, performs on stage at PC's The Voice competition
Laura Chadbourne ’20/The Cowl

Later, Will Best ’21 stunned the judges with his raspy, nerves-ridden journey through Hozier’s “Work Song.” After, Wini Kennedy ’20 gave the audience a dose of nostalgia with Young the Giant’s “Cough Syrup,” a tune which had spectators and judges alike lip-syncing the words and swaying their heads with the music.

McSweeney then told Fiona Pearlman  ’20 that she destroyed Taylor  Swift’s “All Too Well” in a “good way,” despite being on Team Kanye. This judgement led to Pearlman placing third in the competition.

Second place was awarded to Acklynn Byamugisha ’20 who covered Khalid’s catchy “Location.”  However, the highlight of the night, to judges and audience alike, was Steph Rizzo’s ‘20 near perfect replication of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.”

Despite Adele’s inhuman range and ridiculous falsettos, Rizzo conquered each moment of the song with confidence and courage.  All of the judges agreed that Adele is hard to live up to, no matter the level of talent or mastery one may have.  Therefore, they were all impressed that Rizzo was able to tackle the song with such perfection and boldness.

In the end, Rizzo ended up walking away with an Amazon gift card, a free ticket to the Galantis Spring Concert and the champion of PC’s The Voice. It is safe to say that PC has hidden singers all around campus; even Fr. Dom was able to show off his chords at the end of the competition.

PC Students Shine in Recent Premiere of “Hamlet”

by Kerry Torpey on February 1, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Jennifer Dorn and AJ Roskam rehearse a scene for Providence College's production of Hamlet
Gabi Dess ’18/TDF

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

When was the last time you went to a play?  In a world dominated by cinema and other digital distractions, the beauty and complexity of live performance has taken a backseat to its digital competitors. Yet, in the John Bowab Studio Theatre in the Smith Center for the Arts at Providence College, the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film played its part in preserving live production’s legacy by putting on an experimental version of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Whether one has read the play or not, the skill and tact of the actors eased the complexity of Shakespeare with genuine displays of emotion, guiding new Hamlet spectators through major plot points. According to the department’s box office website, the play begins when, “A king is murdered, and a son returns from school to bury his father and finds his mother newly married to his uncle.”

A ghost challenges the boy to avenge the crime that destroyed a family and stained a nation. The world’s greatest playwright weaves a stunning story of intrigue and passion in which young Hamlet confronts his destiny as the one “born to set it right.”

At the foundation, the theatre itself was an essential component of the play’s success. With a small, circular stage in the center, the Bowab Studio Theatre holds no more than 80 or so patrons at a time, guaranteeing a feeling of intimacy for each and every viewer, no matter where he or she is positioned.

Jillian Eddy, a member of Assistant Technical Director Trevor Elliot’s crew, brought characters and events to life in chalk on the four black walls enveloping the audience. However, these depictions did not just serve a passive role.

Throughout the play, actors would reference certain objects on the wall; Hamlet (Timothy Brown ’20) forced his troubled mother Queen Gertrude (Mireya Lopez ’19) to look upon the handsome face of his deceased father King Hamlet on the right wall and the villainous smile of his uncle, Claudius (Daniel Carroll ’18) on the left. Similarly, Claudius prayed to a cross drawn on the wall’s right corner.

From the setting established by these four black walls, the brilliance of actors, sound, and visuals shone forth. In moments of intense soliloquy, sound designer Paul Perry set the mood with subtly emotional music.

In other moments, the Providence College alum based in Chicago made the ghostly visage of King Hamlet (Daniel Carroll ’18) boom with a terrifying madness on center stage. Gunshots, thunder, and drums elevated the sensations of doom and death to a level of tangibility.

Furthermore, the innocent advice of murdered Polonius (Johnathan Coppe ’18) and the passionate love between Ophelia (Jennifer Dorn ’18) and young Hamlet encouraged the audience to form strong attachments. In doing so, all of the actors convinced the audience that the weight of guilt, the pain of love, and the grief of death were truly heavy in their hearts.

Watching young Hamlet’s melancholy descent into the abyss of madness, his grief over losing Ophelia, his vengeance in killing Claudius, his friendship with Horatio (Teddy Kiritsy ’18), the audience found themselves lost in the realm between story and reality.

The final scene of the play was a sword fight between Ophelia’s brother, Laertes (AJ Roskam ’18), and young Hamlet choreographed by Jim Beauregard, associate professor of theatre and dance at Dean College. By far, it was the most interactive part of the performance.

There are still four chances to see Hamlet, with performances Feb. 8 through 11. Due to the small size of the theater, tickets are limited and can be purchased at the Box Office in the Smith Center, online, or by phone (401-865-2218).

A ‘Fur’-ious Debate: Are Fashion Designers Pushing Animal Rights Aside?

by Kerry Torpey on January 25, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

Four Canada goose jackets
Photo courtesy of

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

Remember that short stint of time when everyone seemed to be an animal rights activist battling against the fur industry?  According to National Geographic, 15 or 20 years ago top models would pose for ads with slogans like, “We’d rather go naked than wear fur.’”  However, fur production has more than doubled since the 1990s, with about a hundred million skins created in 2015.  What used to be a target of shame and disdain has now become the premier option for modern winter clothing.

Look no further than Macy’s, for example.  A visit to the store’s online catalog will reveal “The Fur Vault,” currently filled with 173 items to choose from including a $2,795 printed fox fur coat of dazzling, white splotched with patterns of blue and red.  Furthermore, Macy’s offers a chinchilla-trim mink fur belted cape for $6,995 and a Persian lamb fur coat for $8,895.  Beyond the capes and coats lies an assortment of accessories ranging from backpacks, gloves, hats, headbands, and scarves to tech accessories and cases.

Even famous designers are taking advantage of the fur craze; Gucci sells a $34,000 printed mink fur coat with “slightly cropped sleeves for elegant appeal,” and “a breathtaking tiger design… printed to the back for a look that ensures you’re spotted and never forgotten.”  Fur products seem to grant the wearer an aura of class and nobility while providing the comfort of a bathrobe.

However, the fur industry still remains controversial.  According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), “Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages.  Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.”  In fact, more than half the fur in the United States comes from cats and dogs skinned in China and mislabeled for deceptive advertisement.

Moreover, animals caught in the wild are subject to blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, and gangrene as a result of a variety of crude traps.  For example, the Canadian seal slaughter occurs annually  in which tens of thousands of baby seals are shot for their pelts.  Also, in Canada, hundreds of black bears are killed to create the famous hats worn by Queen Elizabeth II’s Five Regiments of Foot Guards.

A more relatable example of animal cruelty can be found in the surge of Canadian Goose jackets being purchased by college students everywhere.  PETA details a step-by-step process of how “wild coyotes are caught in steel leg clamps, head-crushing traps, body-gripping traps, or neck snares.” Eventually, if the traps fail to kill the coyotes, “trappers will strangle, stomp on, or bludgeon them to death.”  The fur taken from these skinned animals is sewn into the hoods of Canada Goose jackets.  This dilemma leaves consumers wondering if a 2-inch goose patch on the left sleeve and a hood trimmed with coyote fur is truly worth $900 and the sacrifice of innocent animals.

However, Canada Goose has a “commitment to traceability” on its website which states, “We believe all animals are entitled to humane treatment in life and death, and are deeply committed to the responsible use and ethical sourcing of all animal materials in our products.  We do not condone any willful mistreatment and neglect of animals or acts that maliciously cause undue pain, injury or suffering.”  This program seeks to ensure that the company’s furs are sourced from a reliable provider which avoids “any unfair practices, willful mistreatment or undue harm.”

Finally, the business claims that it never purchases fur from fur farms, never uses fur from endangered animals, and only purchases fur from licensed North American trappers regulated by state, provincial, and federal standards.

Karl Lagerfeld, a Paris-based fashion designer and creative director of Chanel and Fendi, would most certainly defend Canada Goose in its production.  In an interview with the fashion icon, The Independent learned that Lagerfeld reconciled his known love for animals by recognizing the fact that, “A butcher shop is worse” and predicting the terrible bout of unemployment the world would face without the fur industry.

No matter which side one may take, no one can deny the jacket’s heavy presence on the Providence College campus.  A narrow survey of the population indicates that most people do not even know about the controversy behind the jackets.  However, once informed, people are immediately appalled.

For example, Nicholas Lamberton ’21 said, “After hearing how the hoods are made, I can’t imagine anyone actually buying and supporting the Canada Goose brand.”  Andy Carpio ’21 agreed, “It makes me sad that innocent animals have to be killed so someone can make a fashion statement.”

With the argument given from both sides, hopefully one can form his or her personal opinion on the morality of the fur industry and use it to influence the rest of the world, but until then fur in the fashion industry will continue to be a fashion statement for men and women’s clothing.

Festival Mania: Boston Calling Announces 2018 Lineup

by Kerry Torpey on January 19, 2018

Arts & Entertainment

A list of the official lineup for the 2018 Boston Calling Music Festival
Photo courtesy of

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

The past few weeks have brought an exciting surge of music festival lineup reveals. While big names like Coachella and Bonnaroo plan to draw the masses in through advertising headliners like Beyoncé, Muse, and The Weeknd, a local music festival, Boston Calling, attempts to solidify its standing.

Boston Calling which is he;d at the Harvard Athletic Complex from May 25-27, is a much larger and better developed project than the festival at its debut in May 2013. Originally, the festival took place in City Hall Plaza twice a year, in May and September. In May 2016, Boston Calling decided to relocate to the Harvard Athletic Complex and focus on one festival per year.

With these bold choices came a seemingly infinite pool of logistical nightmares ranging from long lines at food vendors and entrance gates to inconvenient stage planning. However, through the feedback from last year, Boston Calling organizers have promised lots of improvements.

Although the festival suffered some unavoidable difficulties due to a simple lack of experience, it has never let the people down as far as performers go. In fact, Rolling Stone and The Boston Globe have praised Boston Calling for its diverse lineup and quality of production.  Furthermore, the festival was placed in the Top 10 Festivals in the United States by Consequence of Sounds in 2017.

Much of the credit, therefore, must be given to Crash Line Productions, the Boston-based production company which makes this festival possible, and curator Aaron Dessner of rock band The National. Thanks to them, Boston Calling has boasted artists such as Sia, My Morning Jacket, Of Monsters and Men, Kendrick Lamar, Vampire Weekend, and Disclosure.

To the excitement of many, on Jan. 4, Boston Calling released the lineup for the 2018 event, adding more names to an already reputable legacy of musicians. The main attraction lies in the three big headliners: Eminem, The Killers, and Jack White.

Chance the Rapper performing at the Boston Calling Festival in 2017
Photo courtesy of

With the release of his album Revival, the controversial yet legendary Eminem has taken the hip-hop scene by storm once again. Without warning or hype, Marshall Mathers ignored accusations of misogyny and offensive lyrics to craft a narrative of reflection and human nature. Now, he plans to conquer the music festival scene by planting his crosshairs on Coachella, Bonnaroo, and Boston Calling, among others. Such a passionate resurrection from the graveyard of 2000s music should be motivation enough for a stellar performance.

Meanwhile, another band of the early 2000s, The Killers, is slated to headline the Boston Calling Music Festival after releasing Wonderful Wonderful in 2017. Finally, Jack White, guitarist and vocalist for the former White Stripes, will headline the remaining night.

However, equal excitement comes from the amount of quality undercards snagged for the festival ranging from Queens of the Stone Age, The National, and Portugal. The Man, to Tyler, the Creator, Bryson Tiller, Brockhampton, and Daniel Caesar. The festival, currently has a total of 45 artists.

Aside from the music, Boston Calling plans to host a sea of stand-up comedians, including Cameron Esposito and Jenny Slate, as well as a feature on political debate stemming from Pod Save America, a podcast consisting of four former aides to 44th President Barack Obama.  Moreover, Academy Award winning actress Natalie Portman is curating films for the festival after withdrawing last year due to her pregnancy.

With such a variety of genres and activities, Boston Calling has set itself up for a successful, well-attended festival. As of now, three-day general admission tickets are being sold for $289 on, a great price compared to Coachella’s $429 entrance fee. Hopefully, over time, Boston Calling will come to rival major festivals like Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza and the loyalty of traveling music lovers will be split between the coasts.

Love Your Melon, PC Style: The Cancer Foundation That Warms a Heart and a Head

by The Cowl Editor on December 9, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

Member of PC’s Love Your Melon Crew visit local hospitals in support of pediatric cancer.
Photo courtesy of Mary Kate Morrissey ’18

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

In the United States, over 15,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it is one of the worst diseases a child can face. According to the National Cancer Insititute, the number of new cases each year is 454.8 per 100,000 men and women based on cases from 2008-2012. Meanwhile, the cancer mortality rate is 171.2 per 100,000 men and women per year.

When looking at such an overwhelming, destructive medical phenomenon, the global community is eager to help the victims and families battling childhood cancer. In 2012, Brian Keller and Zachary Quinn, began the mission at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota to “put a hat on every child battling cancer in America,” founding one of Americas top pediatric cancer foundations, Love Your Melon.

According to the business’s website, the original goal of 45,000 hats was reached very quickly, providing every single child battling cancer in America with a warm knitted hat. Next, the group decided to set a new goal of giving $1 million pecifically for immediate support to children and their families.

A  unique part of the Love Your Melon brand is the Campus Crew Program. In communities across the country, groups strive to raise awareness of childhood cancer and represent the name through coordinating, planning, and running beanie donation events all year long.  Similarly, the Love Your Melon Campus Crew members are able to take children and their family members on helicopter rides and other outings pertaining to the child’s favorite activities and interests. Apparently, these therapeutic excursions have been proven to increase treatment success. Overall, the Campus Crew Program has grown to include over 13,500 crew members nationwide at 840 different institutions.

In fact, Love Your Melon operates a Campus Crew at Providence College.  The President of the Love Your Melon Campus Crew, Mary Kate Morrissey ’18, reported that the group now has 26 members and over 100 volunteers.  According to Morrisey, “Our job as a crew is to spread awareness about Love Your Melon and pediatric cancer research on social media and through events on campus.”

Such events this year have included the “Be the Match Swab Drive,” which provided students with an opportunity to add themselves to the bone marrow registry.  Furthermore, the team visited Hasbro Children’s Hospital on Oct. 18 to deliver hats and spend the day with children suffering from cancer. While the group does not sell products on campus, it regularly conducts raffles at promotional events to give hats away.

As promised by the fundraiser’s website, 50 percent of profit from the sale of all Love Your Melon products is given to Love Your Melon’s nonprofit partners who work in the fields of pediatric oncology, fund cancer research initiatives and provide immediate support for families of children battling cancer.  Some of the major associates listed on the brand’s website include St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Make A Wish Foundation, and CureSearch. To date, the company has given over $2.8 million and over 120,000 hats to those in need.

Most recently The Love Your Melon Crew at Providence College hosted an event on Dec. 4 in Slavin Center where students could decorate cards for children battling cancer. With the cold, New England winter bearing down on the community, nothing can be more fitting than covering up with a hat from Love Your Melon.  In doing so, warmth can also come to those children fighting against cancer.

U2 Releases Album That Was Made to Make a Difference

by The Cowl Editor on November 16, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

The band U2 do a photoshoot for their new album, Song of Experience
Photo courtesy of Sam Jones

by Patrick Fuller ’21

A&E Staff

Set to be released on Dec. 1, U2’s 14th album, Songs of Experience, has fans on the edge of their seats. So far, the band has provided the public with three single tracks amidst the chaos of The Joshua Tree anniversary tour.

The debut single for U2’s new experiment is “The Blackout,” released on Aug. 30. In a conventional manner, the band packaged the song with a video capturing the tune’s performance to an audience in Amsterdam. While the new piece introduces distorted guitar paired with heavy bass and drums, NPR concluded that, “…[Bono’s] melodies on these introductory songs have had a dulled sheen, like over-workshopped polemics.”

However, the lyrics describe a lack of order in the political realm, with the United States as a democratic beacon for the oppressive world. No matter how brilliant the writing, NPR warned, “they can’t sound like a modern version of their old selves without bringing to mind their blander imitators.” Supposedly, by working with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder instead of long-time contributors Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the band is working to avoid this problem.

The second single, released on Sept. 6, is titled “You’re the Best Thing About Me.” As mentioned by Rolling Stone, the song “is a joyous ear-worm about romantic dissatisfaction.” While Larry Mullen Jr. lays the foundation of the song with stuttering drum patterns, The Edge accentuates the chorus with “pretty shards of melody from his guitar.”

Over the top, Bono sounds younger than ever, gliding through high-pitched falsettos while detailing a contradictory depression. Creatively, a music video crafted by Jos Diaz Contreras and Santiago Carrasquilla of Art Camp accompanies the tune. The short film puts photographs taken by David Mushegain alongside handwritten lyrics, animating them one page at a time. Already the song boasts over 8.5 million plays on Spotify.

Finally, on Nov. 1, U2 released “Get Out of Your Own Way.” Spin calls the work “arena-ready,” with a chorus made to be shouted by millions of fans and an electric guitar backdrop crafted to hypnotize. Interestingly, the end of the tune features a spoken-word cameo by Kendrick Lamar who worked with U2 on his song “XXX.,” off the album DAMN.

Lamar’s monologue brings to light the importance of using successful people as examples to craft an individual morality. Along with the song itself, U2 revealed the album cover for Songs of Experience, featuring Bono’s son Eli holding hands with The Edge’s daughter Sian.  Both appear to be barefoot and wearing all black. Moreover, Sian dons the famous helmet worn by the boy on U2’s 1983 album War. Therefore, the album will have dark, political undertones.

With these three singles, U2 has given the world new hope in their continued greatness.  Hopefully, with the release of Songs of Experience, the Irish rockers of the ’80s may be able to reemerge as a popular force for a new generation.