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Archive for the ‘Arts & Entertainment’ Category

by Bridget Depew
The Montgazette Staff

I am a huge Marvel comics fan, so there was nothing that could keep me from seeing Marvel’s latest blockbuster, “Black Panther”. Superheroes? Action-packed fight scenes? Angela Bassett looking just as fly as she wanna be? Yes, please!
When I heard the movie was coming out, the draw for me was not the spectacular all-black cast. The draw was the spectacular cast, who happened to be black. The “Black Panther” movie resonated with many, but with black people in particular. One reason being is because some say it is not often that blacks are represented with such regality and poise. It is not often you see an all-black cast in a movie that is about their success, wealth, and un-matched intelligence. Additionally, if you see such a black character, it is usually somehow portrayed as the handy sidekick. In the film world, the term is called the “Magical Negro” – basically described as the black person whose focus and attention is set more to the advancement of their white counterpart. This movie was quite a coup for a lot of black Americans. For me? It was… a movie.
I didn’t see the movie as a coup. I saw it for what it is – entertainment. Some blacks felt inspired by it. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying that I don’t look to Hollywood for my inspiration, nor do I want my children to.
I catch a lot of flak for this amongst my black peers, but I don’t wear my blackness as a badge of honor. I don’t want someone to look at my successes and remark, “Wow, look at that black girl go!” I’m a wife, mother of two and a student maintaining a 4.0 GPA. I’m not extraordinary because I’m managing to do that all while being black. I’m managing to do all of that because I work hard.
Successful black people are not unicorns. And while most black people would agree, some take pleasure in showing us off as if we are. Don’t get me wrong. I understand where they’re coming from. It’s the fact that we are portrayed in such a positive light (for a change) that blacks are most proud of. I don’t disagree. I am always happy to see blacks in film where they’re not selling drugs or killing each other. Unfortunately, there are a lot of small-minded people who think that what is portrayed in the media is a mirror of the truth. But I’m here to tell you that blacks have been successful long before Hollywood was hip to it.
What I teach my children is that success IS the norm because they are intelligent and capable children who are taught by their parents that hard work leads to the success they seek. I teach them that it’s not necessary to wear their blackness as a badge of honor. I don’t want my children’s successes to be recognized because they’re black. I want it to be because they’re just that good.
“Wakanda Forever.” That was the phrase of solidarity amongst the Wakandans in the movie. Solidarity is important. But I want my children to stand in solidarity and pride amongst ALL their fellow man.

 

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Lucas Depew and Sienna Swanson in the Wakanda pose depicted in “Black Panther”. ~Photo by Bridget Depew

 

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by Justin Patrick Oakes
The Montgazette Staff

Every burnout, hippie, and reggae lover (a list I myself am not excluded from) for the past 30 years has owned a well worn out copy of Bob Marley’s greatest hits album “Legend”, an album packed with favorites like “Three Little Birds” and “One Love.” These anthems have taken on a revival in the age of Libertarian-minded millennials of other relaxing musicians who are less likely to… ahem… stir the pot, shall we say. This is “Legend’s” biggest flaw: it alienates potential Marley listeners and never even touches the surface of the revolutionary’s vast music catalog.
In the wake of yet another school shooting in America, I found myself listening to Marley’s album “Rastaman Vibration,” specifically the song “Johnny Was.” The song tells the story of a mother’s heartbreak as she finds out that her son, whom she describes as “a good man,” has been killed by a stray bullet in the streets, a victim of a system that slaughters too many of its youth. Even though the woman is presumably Jamaican, it’s hard not to empathize with her, or even envision our own American mothers’ collective lament over the wholly unnecessary and avoidable death of a child. In some cases, we’ve even seen it, such as the mothers and fathers of victims of the Parkland shooting who bravely spoke to the world about the changes that they sought.
Alas, “Johnny Was,” perhaps one of Marley’s greatest songs, is nowhere near a greatest hits album. After listening to “Rastaman Vibration,” I poured over the rest of my collection before throwing on the quintessential Marley album, “Survival.” Unsurprisingly, not a single song from this landmark album ended up on “Legend”. But, if given the opportunity to listen, “Survival” could hold a lot of weight with a lot of people. Each song carefully constructs the conditions that led to the black liberation movement of the 1960s and 70s and serves as a call to action to people of color all around the world to rise up and demand justice, not just in one’s hometown, but in the African continent continuously being ravaged by colonialism. Each word simmers in the brain like an ember ready to spark a massive fire that will burn down the entire system with words and peace over guns and violence.
I have yet to discover what it was that made a song like “One Love” more popular than songs like “Johnny Was” and “Africa Unite.” Perhaps it was marketability. Maybe record executives thought a wider audience would prefer a black man put in his place as opposed to a black man speaking out. Maybe it was easier to brand a Jamaican man as just “another dumb stoner” as opposed to a revolutionary figure whose words could move mountains. Maybe taming a poetic beast was more profitable than letting him out of his cage. Whatever the answer, if you only listen to “Legend”, you’re missing out. If you don’t think reggae is your thing, you’re missing out. If you want to participate in an everworsening political climate that will literally determine the future of this planet, I’d suggest you start listening to Bob Marley, the real Bob Marley.

 

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Bob Marley’s 1979 album “Survival” ~Photo by Justin Patrick Oakes

 

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The Writers’ Club is having its spring coffeehouse featuring local Montco poet Grant Clauser. The event will start at 12:45 PM in Science Center 214 on MC3’s Central Campus. Free refreshments provided. All members of the MCCC community welcome!

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by Rahul Thevar
The Montgazette Staff

The Philadelphia Eagles faced many obstacles throughout this season. First, they lost running back Darren Sproles to season-ending injuries of a torn ACL and broken arm early in the season. Then they lost one of their best left tackles, Jason Peters, in a Monday Night football game against the Redskins. They were also dealt a big blow with their star quarterback Carson Wentz going down in week thirteen against the Los Angeles Rams.
After Wentz went down with a torn ACL, many were sure the Eagles were done without him. Coach Doug Pederson brushed off losing Wentz in a postgame news conference by stating, “I hate [the injury] for the career and the season he’s been having. But at the same time, it’s been the ‘next-man-up mentality.’”
Once backup quarterback Nick Foles took over, no one picked the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. The Eagles proved all the doubters wrong. They were the only team from the NFC East to go to the playoffs. They gained homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
Their first playoff game was a close win over the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles held off a fourth-quarter drive to win 15-10. The NFC Championship game, their second in the playoffs, was where the Eagles shined. Nick Foles came up big against the Minnesota Vikings defense, throwing for 352 yards and scoring three touchdowns in 38-7 rout of the team whose home stadium hosted the Super Bowl.
The Super Bowl became a rematch from the 2005 Super Bowl against the New England Patriots, in which the Patriots won 24-21. The Eagles were underdogs once again against quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots. But the Eagles became “wonderdogs” as they made many incredible plays against the heavily favored defending Super Bowl champions.
One of the greatest plays in the Super Bowl was called “The Philly Special.” Eagles running back, Corey Clement, moves to the left; Nick Foles slides to the right side near his offensive tackle. Starting center Jason Kelce tosses the ball to Clement, who then passes it to tight end Trey Burton. Burton throws the ball to Nick Foles for a touchdown.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham came up with a huge play in the end of the fourth quarter by stripping the Patriots’ Tom Brady of the ball, allowing the Eagles to later take a lead the Patriots did not come back from. The final score of 41-33 ended a 52-year championship drought, giving the Philadelphia Eagles their first-ever Super Bowl win.
After the Eagles won the Super Bowl, many fans ran up to Broad Street to celebrate. The biggest celebration day for fans was on February 8, when the Eagles held a parade stretching from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. An estimated 2 million fans came to celebrate the Eagles championship.
William Martin, a Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) student and rabid Eagles fan, was at the parade. He said his favorite moment was when the confetti started coming out and Carson Wentz was holding the Lombardi trophy.
Jake Harrison, also an Eagles fan and student at MCCC, said his favorite moment was seeing all the Eagles fans together having a good time, listening to good music and seeing the players with the Lombardi trophy. Harrison said he hopes the Eagles repeat another win next year so he can go to another parade.

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The Eagles’ Super Bowl Victory Parade passed in front of Philadelphia City Hall. ~Photo by Rahul Thevar

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by Matt Silverman
The Montgazette Staff

The Communicating Arts Production Group (CAPG) is an extracurricular television club at the College that broadcasts a weekly student-run news show called The Buzz Update. Perhaps you have seen the show on the big screens in Parkhouse, the Advanced Technology Center and College Hall. The club meets on Mondays and Wednesdays in the production room (ATC114) at 12:30 PM. Mondays are when the club tapes the newscast, which means everyone is in their position, whether that be in the studio or the control room. Wednesdays are when the production meetings occur. In these meetings, the club fills all the positions that it takes to create a successful show and assigns stories to writers. CAPG relies on anchors, reporters, camera and teleprompter operators, audio technicians, etc. to make the TV magic happen. CAPG has a position for everyone, even if you are not interested in production. CAPG is always on the active search for news writers, who are responsible for the content that is read on the air by the anchors. However, if you enjoy being in front of the camera, then anchoring the broadcast should spark your interest.
It is important to note that everyone in the club rotates between positions, so one person is not always doing the same job. Although learning the equipment can be daunting, CAPG Secretary, Rachel Darde, says new members should not be anxious because, “We have many experienced members that will show you the ropes on Mondays during production!” Many small television stations combine jobs, so the reporter is responsible for shooting, editing and producing their own stories. This is what makes the club such a valuable tool for students interested in entering the television production field.
Allan Schear, communications professor and co-advisor to the club, says, “CAPG has helped numerous [communications, or] COM, students get their start in the broadcasting and TV production field by providing handson writing, shooting and editing skills in a real-time news environment. This cocurricular club has sent many successful MCCC graduates into entry level positions in the Philadelphia broadcasting community.” Schear co-advises CAPG with Jeff Asch, who is also a communications professor at the College. Both have an extensive background in the broadcasting industry. Schear has worked for FOX and NBC, and Asch can be heard regularly on KYW News Radio.
In addition to the weekly broadcasts, the club also puts together a compilation of all the communications projects students have produced throughout the semester. The spring semester screening will be held on May 8th in the Science Center Theater at 6:30 PM., and everyone is welcome to attend. CAPG provides hoagies and other light refreshments before the show begins. In fact, non-communications members are encouraged to attend. According to Darde,“Most of the Communication classes are required to attend for their final, but it’s good for other people who might be interested in the field to see what the Communications program is all about.”

 

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Matt Silverman reporting for CAPG ~Photo by Camille Hernandez

 

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by Alonso Barrantes
The Montgazette Staff

Ranging from a tale of romance with a mysterious sea creature in the 1950s, to a tale of a young girl attempting to go to college in the early 2000s, this year’s Oscars holds an incredible variety in genre while expressing the true art of cinematic and narrative magic that Hollywood can offer. The big conversation being talked about is this year’s nominees for Best Picture, which include nine different films such as Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Dunkirk, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, The Post, The Shape of Water, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.
While all the films are fantastic for their own reasons, The Shape of Water, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. Guillermo del Toro’s romance, The Shape of Water, follows the story of a mute woman who works as a janitor for a government facility in the 1950s as she falls in love with a strange creature being held captive inside the facility. The film captures a fantastic tone of adventure and love while the two individuals who fall in love never say a single word to each other. The tone of love and message of beauty inside every creature or human speak powerfully to its audience as del Toro has said himself that, “the monster in the film is a metaphor for the imperfections of the world while remaining to be beautiful.” The Shape of Water continues to show its strength, having the most nominees in the Oscars with nine in total. The film is my first “Best Picture” winner prediction, and it includes stars Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer.
The second film to possibly win is Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird. The film primarily has a focus on individuals who are still in high school or have just graduated as it follows the story of a girl in catholic school who attempts to get into a university across the country with little money and plenty of obstacles along her way. The movie has an amazing coming of age tone as you can easily relate to the lead actress, Saoirse Ronan, who portrays the character of Lady Bird.
The final film that I believe to have a strong chance of winning the Best Picture award is Martin McDonagh’s social commentary on women’s security and status, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri. While being the most controversial film of the three predictions, it follows a strong narrative tale of a mother finding revenge, redemption, and closure for her daughter who has been brutally raped and murdered, and as local law enforcement failed to bring the man or situation to justice.
Overall, the other films are just as incredible as the three I mentioned, and are all worth a watch by everyone. The beauty of film is that every movie is subjective, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has the Oscars to celebrate the diversity of films that the world is able to enjoy.

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by Alonso Barrantes
The Montgazette Staff

With Thanksgiving around the corner and Christmas right after it, there’s no better feeling than gathering up your friends and family to watch a good holiday movie. Hollywood has produced many classic films in the past few decades, but these five films are what many film fans call “Holiday Classics” that you must see this season.

At spot number five, we have a 1988 action classic: Die Hard, directed by John McTiernan and starring a young Bruce Willis. This film follows a New York city policeman, John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, on Christmas Eve as he visits the company where his wife works, played by Bonnie Bedelia. Eventually, a group of terrorists, led by Alan Rickman, takes over the company tower, and it’s up to John McClane to stop them and save his wife. This film makes excellent use of its festive tone as it is taking place a day before Christmas while executing an entertaining action flick in a world where The Predator and Robocop came during its time.

Creeping up at number four is Tim Burton’s 1993 film A Nightmare Before Christmas. This film is a cult classic in the eyes of many as it follows Jack Skellington, the Pumpkin King who becomes bored in his annual routine of scaring people in the real world. The film follows him in his adventure as he explores and discovers a new holiday that he tries to embrace, which turns out to be Christmas.

Jingling its way at the number three spot is Jon Favreau’s Home Alone. Kevin McCallister, played by Macaulay Culkin, is left home alone by his parents during a family trip, he finds himself protecting his house from two robbers during the week of Christmas. He uses an assortment of tricks and traps as he triumphs against the robbers, and Home Alone proves to be a comedic and entertaining holiday film for family and friends.

Finally, at first place we have the holiday classic, A Christmas Story, directed by Bob Clark. This film is seen as a monumental classic to many and tells a heartwarming family story set during Christmas time. A Christmas Story follows the adventures of Ralphie Parker, played by Peter Billingsley.

The beauty of film is that they are all subjective and create many opportunities to talk about important topics or to even share quality time with loved ones. All of these films are wonderfully crafted and deserve to be viewed by everyone as they all share the same positive tone of the holidays.

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