Plan your weekend (4/20-4/22)

Looking to try something new this weekend? Peruse the events below and make a point to attend something outside of your comfort zone. For more offerings, check out Anchor Link.



What: VUARC Kit Building Session
When: Friday, April 20 at 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: The Wond’ry Room 212
Why: Vanderbilt students and staff are invited to come to VUARC’s workshop to learn how to build a simple electronic kit. The tools and parts will be provided, and you can keep your creation.
Who: Vanderbilt University Amateur Radio Club



What: #UNITY
When: Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Library Lawn
Why: Watch excellent performances, get a taste of real Nashville food and take part in fun cultural activities to celebrate the success of marginalized people on campus.
Who: Hidden Dores



What: Rites of Spring
When: Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 21 at 5 p.m.
Where: Alumni Lawn
Why: The annual Rites of Spring is here again! This year will feature DNCE, Gucci Mane, Born Animal and more. Gates open at 5 p.m., and tickets are still available for one or both nights.
Who: Vanderbilt Programming Board

What: Vanderbilt Gamecraft’s Finals Game Night
When: Friday, April 20 at 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Where: Commons Dining Upstairs
Why: De-stress before finals with Gamecraft’s wide variety of board games. Everyone is welcome!
Who: Vanderbilt Gamecraft

What: JCF De-stress Fest
When: Sunday, April 22 at 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Buttrick 201
Why: JCF will be serving coroquette and sushi roll and doing t-shirt printing to de-stress before finals week begins. Stop by Buttrick to learn more about Japanese culture and enjoy the end of the weekend.
Who: Japanese Cultural Foundation



What: Taalenated: A Fusion Concert
When: Sunday, April 22 at 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Sarratt Cinema
Why: Join Vandy Taal and Melanated A Capella for a joint end of the year concert with food. Additional special guests will also perform.
Who: Vandy Taal

Cover photo from Rites of Spring 2017 by Claire Barnett

Editor’s note: Sources of event information are Anchor Link and Facebook.

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Krasinski’s ‘A Quiet Place’ is a roaring debut

Be quiet and stay alive. That’s the name of the game in this spring’s latest horror movie, A Quiet Place. Best-known as Jim Halpert in NBC’s hit series The Office, John Krasinski directs and stars in this delightfully consummate horror/thriller.

A man and his family battle deficient resources and sound-sensitive monsters in post-apocalyptic upstate New York. Together with his pregnant wife Evelyn (Emily Blunt), deaf daughter Regan (Millicent Simmonds) and anemic son Marcus (Noah Jupe), Lee Abbott (Krasinski) must avoid these predators while foraging for survival and searching for their foes’ elusive weakness.

Monsters are the most evident threat, yet Krasinski uses the harsh conditions they imposeabsolute silenceto tell the story of family members struggling to understand and express their love for one another. An inexorably suspenseful tone, outstanding acting and superb writing come together to make this silently soulful story one unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Post-apocalyptic horror movies are a dime a dozen,and yet Krasinski sets his apart through an unprecedentedly character-driven story. By taking a familiar monster/apocalypse premise, A Quiet Place uses genre conventions to its advantage while simultaneously redefining those conventions. Krasinski’s film does employ a familiar horror premise, yet uses the framework to examine family struggle and heartbreak like never before.

The acting in A Quiet Place is phenomenal. Krasinski draws on years of subdued altruism from roles in The Office and Michael Bay’s 13 Hours. His offscreen wife, Blunt, becomes his onscreen partner in this creature feature, easily pulling her weight and lending discernible soul to the Abbott family. Simmonds and Jupe give inspired outings also, rivaling those that elevated 2017’s It to its deserved acclaim. A deaf girl herself, Simmonds uses her disability movingly as a character screaming for love in a world that demands silence.

The past 12 months have been busy for the horror genre. 2017 brought us Get Out and It, horror films that used the medium to examine racial politics and champion childhood friendships, respectively. A Quiet Place joins them as one of the most intelligently written and substantively deep horror movies made in recent memory. Coming in at a 9/10, A Quiet Place is a gripping, heartwarming horror that you cannot miss.

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Plan your weekend (4/13-4/15)

Looking to try something new this week? Peruse the events below and make a point to attend something outside of your comfort zone. For more offerings, check out Anchor Link.



What: The Story of I-40: Experiencing Past, Present and Future Nashville
When: Saturday, April 14 at 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Sarratt 216/220
Why: Associate Provost Ifeoma Nwankwo created this event to educate students about the history of African Americans in Nashville. Her initiative includes a bus tour that illustrates the story of Highway I-40 and showcases African American-owned businesses around Nashville through specialty foods. Register here.
Who: Vanderbilt Public Relations Society



What: Baseball vs. Ole Miss
When: Friday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Hawkins Field
Why: Grab your Cracker Jacks and join us at Hawkins Field to watch Vanderbilt take on Ole Miss.
Who: Vanderbilt Athletics



What: Camp Hillel Shabbat
When: Friday, April 13 at 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Where: Vanderbilt Hillel (Grins)
Why: Do you miss camp? Relive your middle school glory days at Hillel this Friday, April 13. Sing songs and swap camp memories over s’mores.
Services are at 5:30 p.m., and dinner is at 6:30 p.m.
Who: Vanderbilt Hillel

What: Pakistan Day 2018: Basant Mela
When: Saturday, April 14 at 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: Wilson Lawn
Why: The theme of this year’s Pakistan Day is Basant Mela, a festival that commemorates the start of spring. Join the Pakistani Students Association for an afternoon of free food, t-shirts, henna tattoos, kite flying, raffle prizes and dance performances.
Who: Pakistani Students Association

What: CSA Carnival
When: Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Alumni Lawn
Why: Carnival is a Caribbean festival for communities to come together to celebrate in colorful costumes, eat delicious foods, as well as dance to infectious island music. Join the Caribbean Students Association for great dancing, vivacious tunes and fun times.
Who: Caribbean Students Association

What: MESA Festival
When: Saturday, April 14 at 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: SLC Ballroom
Why: This year’s MESA fundraiser benefits those suffering from famine in Yemen. There will be festive performances, engaging speakers, cultural booths and delicious Mediterranean food. Funds raised will be donated to an organization supporting humanitarian efforts in Yemen.
Who: Middle Eastern Student Association

What: Vanderbilt’s Holi 2018 Celebration
When: Sunday, April 15 at 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Wyatt Lawn
Why: The South Asian Cultural Exchange and the Vanderbilt community celebrate Holi, the festival of color. Holi is a two-day Hindu spring festival, celebrated primarily in India and Nepal. There will be food, music and cultural events.
Who: Vanderbilt SACE



What: Kefi Makefest 2018
When: Friday, April 13 at 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Sarratt 361
Why: Kefi hosts a series of workshops that have art projects, fun activities and free Chick-fil-A and Noodles & Company dinner. There will be a comic-making presentation, a workshop by Professor Helen Shin, 3-D pen projects and more.
Who: Kefi Collective

What: Vanderbilt Gamecraft’s Game Night on Commons
When: Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.
Where: Commons Dining Center
Why: Welcome the weekend by playing board games on Commons. Vanderbilt Gamecraft has a large variety of board games from all genres. Everyone is invited to come play.
Who: Vanderbilt Gamecraft

What: West End Blend Vol. 5 Release
When: Friday, April 13 at 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
Where: 208 House
Why: The Vanderbilt Recording Studio is back again on a mission. This event is a free music show with free food and free pedestrian parking.
Who: Vanderbilt Recording Studio

What: Trip to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Gallery
When: Saturday, April 14 at 10:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Sarratt Student Center (Main Entrance)
Why: Join Kefi for a free trip to Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Gallery to enjoy relaxing natural scenery and contemporary art. Shuttle and tickets included. Limited spots are available.
Who: Kefi Collective

What: 9th Annual Puppy Play Day
When: Sunday, April 15 at 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Alumni Lawn
Why: Puppy Play Day is VPAWS’ major event of the year. Dogs from local animal shelters are brought to campus for students to de-stress before finals. Also, VPAWS hopes to increase awareness about homeless animals in the local area. There will be food, musical performances and representatives from animal rescue organizations to talk to students about volunteer opportunities.
Who: Vanderbilt Protecting Animal Welfare Society (VPAWS)



What: VSW Presents: An Open Mic with Kush Thompson
When: Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: Kissam MPR
Why: VSW hosts their final open mic of the year featuring artist Kush Thompson. There will be free food.
Who: Vanderbilt Spoken Word

What: Student Reading Series
When: Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Neely Auditorium
Why: Join VUT for a series of play readings done by Vanderbilt students.
Who: Vanderbilt University Theatre

What: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion
When: Friday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Where: Blair School of Music, Ingram Hall
Why: Vanderbilt Choirs are performing their interpretation of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. The work will be sung in multiple languages — English, German, French, Arabic — representing the universal appeal this work has held over diverse audiences for centuries. It will be performed with English supertitles.
Who: Vanderbilt Choirs

What: Voices of Praise 2018 Spring Concert
When: Saturday, April 14 at 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Benton Chapel
Why: VOP’s spring concert showcases what all five ministries have been planning for the semester. Come rejoice and worship, and cake will be available afterwards.
Who: Voices of Praise

What: Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra Spring Concert
When: Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Ingram Hall
Why: Come enjoy a wonderful afternoon of music with the Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra (VCO), the first and only student-run community orchestra at Vanderbilt. Themed “Music from Distant Lands,” VCO’s repertoire includes Symphony No. 5 “Reformation” by Felix Mendelssohn, Movement 3 of “Scheherazade” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and “Star Wars” Suite for Orchestra by John Williams.
Who: Vanderbilt Commodore Orchestra

What: Vanderbilt University Orchestra Concerto Concert
When: Saturday, April 14 at 8 p.m.
Where: Blair School of Music, Ingram Hall
Why: Enjoy a free concert featuring the winners of Vanderbilt’s annual concerto competition, accompanied by the orchestra.
Who: Vanderbilt University Orchestra

What: Harmonic Notion Spring Concert
When: Saturday, April 14 at 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: Sarratt Cinema
Why: Join Harmonic Notion for their spring concert of a capella music featuring guest performances by Melanated A Cappella, VIDA and Vitality Dance Company.
Who: Harmonic Notion

Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness

What: Go Figure at the NEDA Walk
When: Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Centennial Park Event Shelter
Why: Join Go Figure at the Nashville NEDA Walk for Eating Disorders. Students can register to join Vandy Go Figure’s team here.
Who: Go Figure

What: Beaman Park Nature Center Hike
When: Saturday, April 14 at 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Beaman State Park (Meet at Morgan Circle)
Why: RSVP soon to join the Nature Exploration Club on a hike at Beaman Park Nature Center. Be sure to bring some bars and water, and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.
Who: Nature Exploration Club

What: Vanderbilt BhangraDores Spring Clinic
When: Saturday, April 14 at 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Where: Memorial Gym Dance Studio C
Why: Forget about finals for a little bit and come out to the BhangraDores’ spring clinic to learn some Bhangra and dance. No experience necessary.
Who: BhangraDores

Editor’s note: Sources of event information are Anchor Link, Facebook and Blair’s website.

The post Plan your weekend (4/13-4/15) appeared first on Vanderbilt Hustler.

‘Red Sparrow,’ Red Alert

Red Sparrow, director Francis Lawrence’s spy-noire is a film rife with muddled plot development, a wasted acting corps, far too much violence and a questionable geopolitical statement.

Jason Matthews, a former operative and the writer of the novel Red Sparrow, was praised for his realistic depiction of surveillance operatives and the dangers they face. Absolutely none of this carries over to the film adaptation. Instead, the movie revolves around particular moments of torture and sex, and not the vital relationships that should power the narrative.

Even after heavy handed editing, Red Sparrow remains a serious contender for the most explicit R-rated movie to hit theaters since The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). Lawrence had to cut out some of the movie in order to appease the ratings board enough to get an R rating, since leaving the extended version of one particular scene would instead have earned the much more restrictive NC-17. The director claimed that the changes that were made weren’t substantial and had no effect on the overall messaging of the movie. With that said, the edits made Red Sparrow no more palatable.

Jennifer Lawrence, who has avoided roles that require nudity in the past, challenged herself by choosing the role of Dominika Egorova. However, the scenes did not add real plot value, instead serving as a brutal and carnal distraction from the already confusing storyline. It was almost impossible to track the loyalties and betrayals. These scenes could be an attempt at making a movie that mirrors the emotional disconnectedness that operatives need to feel, but instead produced a vicious and voyeuristic tone.

Red Sparrow, intentionally or coincidentally, came out at a strange time, seemingly to cash in on today’s top headlines. In an environment ripe for a contemporary espionage narrative, Red Sparrow cannot deliver an understandable storyline. Egorova (Lawrence), the protagonist, switches sides around four times. Everyone is a double agent, knows a double agent or is accused of being a double agent, which creates intrigue but grows tiresome by the end of the movie.

Unfortunately, Red Sparrow is a disappointing film, even though the set pieces are all there. The acclaimed supporting cast includes notable actors like Jeremy Irons, who has won an Oscar, and Mary Louise Parker, who makes a comedic appearance.

Red Sparrow is not a movie I would see if I were a queasier or more modest man. If you want to watch some assassinations, auto accidents, tortures and bloodbaths, go ahead and see Red Sparrow. If you want to watch a thrilling spy film, stay home and rent Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or Casino Royale.

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Acclaimed comedian Bill Burr returns to the Ryman Auditorium

Bill Burr, dubbed “the undisputed heavyweight champ of rage-fueled humor” by Rolling Stone, will be bringing his signature stand-up performance back to Nashville. His third show at the Ryman Auditorium will be on April 20 and 21.

“I know that being a moron got me here,” Burr said, “so I’m going to effortlessly be the same guy.”

Burr started his stand-up career in 1992 and has been going strong ever since. Previously inspired by the styles of Eddie Murphy and George Carlin, the unrelenting effort of guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan and the wise words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Burr now draws perspective from parenthood as well.

However, becoming a father presented a new set of creative difficulties. While writing his new set, Burr faced writer’s block. After being so involved with raising his daughter, he realized that he was falling behind on current events.

“I was just like, ‘Why don’t I have any ideas?’ And then I thought, ‘Oh, I know why, it’s because I have a kid now, and rather than paying attention to political stuff and what’s going on in the world or even just sports, I’m watching like Vampirina and Muppet Babies,” Burr said. “I was too lost in being a dad there for a second so I had to poke my head out of the ground there and get a little caught up, which I did, and then the jokes came and I was able to do them through the eyes of someone who was also watching Vampirina.”

That’s not to say that Burr approaches the realm of dad jokes. He still spits out his controversial ringers.

“I actually find this time to be one of the most fun times I’ve ever had as a comedian because there is nothing more fun than having overly sensitive people come out to a comedy show,” Burr said.

Burr finds amusement in pushing the envelope on what he can say, especially in an environment where comedians can take so many creative liberties.

“There’s so many things that you can go up there and say that need to be said, and if that doesn’t work you can just act like an idiot,” Burr said.

Bill Burr, along with his two openers Paul Virzi and Dean Delray, will be “bringing that vibe to Nashville” in their Ryman shows. Burr is confident that each night will be a “wall-to-wall killer show” and looks forward to returning to Music City, where his last special Walk Your Way Out was filmed. Tickets can be bought here and start at about $70.

If you want to hear Bill Burr perform from the comfort of your dorm, four of his sets are available on Netflix, along with his animated series F is For Family, and his Monday Morning Podcast, which is released twice a week, can be found on iTunes.

Reporting and writing assistance by Avery Muir. 

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‘Ready Player One’ boasts high concept with low execution

Think you’re an ‘80s buff? Think again. Steven Spielberg delivers an unprecedented combination of retrophilia and high concept storytelling with his latest sci-fi/adventure blockbuster, Ready Player One. Based off Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel, Ready Player One enlivens a future in love with the past, yet fails on a more basic level of storytelling.

The year is 2045. Society has fled its dystopian surroundings through virtual reality, specifically through a fully immersive and infinitely expandable platform, the OASIS. Follow Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) on his quest to find the immeasurable wealth of the platform’s idiosyncratic creator, James Halliday (Mark Rylance), and secure the future of the virtual world.

There’s something in Ready Player One for everyone. Sci-fi lovers will be hooked immediately by the film’s heavy use of virtual reality, ‘80s fanboys will rejoice over endless references and themes and suckers for romance will connect with the hero’s quest for forbidden love. Falling under the first two categories, I found myself giddy at some of my favorite movies making appearances in a story John Scalzi sharply calls a decided “nerdgasm.”

There are two main ways to look at this film: in light of its source material and apart from it. As an adaptation of Cline’s novel, Spielberg falls well short in his reprisal. The heart of the story, Halliday and Watts’ shared love for the 1980s, is only implicitly characterized in the film while spanning nearly a hundred pages in the novel. Watts, the protagonist, is also underserved in his characterization, as the film jumps right into the dizzying fray before ingratiating the viewer with the noble nerd from Columbus. Later parts in the story suffer from similar pacing issues, as Spielberg fails to adapt the 500-page novel into a measured, coherent film. Having recently read the novel and loved it, I was particularly disappointed with Spielberg failing to capture the magic that pervades every page of Cline’s original work.

Apart from the source material, Ready Player One is a visually stunning, occasionally clumsy sci-fi adventure. Sequences from some of the 1980s most iconic works are purely delightful. DeLoreans, Nintendo 64s and the Millennium Falcon are just a few of the relics that find their way into the movie. Those sharp enough will catch the more subtle nods in almost every frame, while I personally had the most fun in the Overlook Hotel.

Story elements do tend to falter apart from Cline’s novel as well. Any movie with such deficient setup and pacing will struggle to be compelling, especially given the avatar sequences that feel more like a video game than a film after a while.

All in all, Spielberg takes an expansive, delightful source material and condenses it down into a high concept, hurried two-hour adventure flick. The most faithful adaptation of Cline’s sublime novel would’ve been a 10-hour miniseries, as Spielberg’s film cannot possibly immerse us in the world of Wade Watts and James Halliday in two hours. Adventure lovers make haste to the theater, Cline fanatics beware: Ready Player One mixes the novel’s bold imagination and effusive retrophilia with Spielberg big budget bravado to achieve middling marks at 6.5/10.

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