By Hannah Landers, Muse Editor
Sweet summer is almost here, which means it’s almost time for The Muse to take a vacation. But before we grab our flip-flops and short-shorts, we have a few final suggestions to make this summer the most Muse-tastic ever. Below is a list of movies to see, albums to listen to, food to nom on and lifestyle events to check out during the long, hot days. Enjoy your summer, Musies! And don’t forget the sunscreen!
Book adaptation: “The Fault in Our Stars” (June 6) — Sure, “The Giver” promises performances from the likes of Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges and, er, Taylor Swift. But “The Fault in Our Stars” has a beautifully tragic story and a fresh-faced cast. If the trailer alone doesn’t make you tear up, you are a monster.
Epic: “Godzilla” (May 16) — Walter White from “Breaking Bad” takes on one of film’s most infamous monsters. Need I say more?
Comedy: “22 Jump Street” (June 13) — If you liked Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as undercover cops in high school, you’re going to love them as undercover cops in college. Ja feel?
Superhero: “Guardians of the Galaxy” (August 1) — With a team of characters that includes a genetically engineering raccoon marksman and a “tree-like humanoid,” “Guardians” promises to be “The Avengers’” weird younger brother. The diverse cast is another draw, especially with a newly buff and mostly shirtless Chris Pratt leading the pack (am I right, ladies?).
Once in a lifetime: “Boyhood” (July 11) — Director Richard Linklater tells the story of a young boy growing into adulthood, but because he shot the film over a period of 12 years, the audience is actually watching young actor Ellar Coltrane age from 7 years old to 18 years old in a span of three hours.
Rock ‘n’ roll royalty: Jack White’s “Lazaretto” (June 10) — Jack White’s last solo venture was filled with a lot of good ol’ blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll. Here’s hoping that this album is more of the same.
Girl power: Lykke Li’s “I Never Learn” (May 6) — The ethereal Swedish songstress is back after three years, promising more subtle brilliance with her one-of-a-kind voice.
Indie comeback kid: Conor Oberst’s “Upside Down Mountain” (May 20) — Bright Eyes front-man Oberst usually injects a little more of his country-tinged Nebraska roots into his solo releases and vocal assists from folk duo First Aid Kit only sweetens the deal.
James Blake 2.0: Sam Smith’s “In the Lonely Hour” (June 17) — If you caught Smith’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” in March, you know the power of this Brit’s haunting and soulful melodies. At only 21 years old, Smith is slated for a meteoric rise.
Movie mix-tape: American Laundromat Records’ “I Saved Latin! A Tribute to Wes Anderson” (May 13) — This 23-track album features a diverse array of artists covering songs from Wes Anderson’s iconic films. Muted color schemes and Jason Schwartzman not included.
Chocolate chip cookie milk shot: From the genius who brought you the “cronut,” the chocolate chip cookie milk shot is exactly what it sounds like: a chocolate chip cookie in the shape of a shot glass filled with milk. It’s a magical update on a childhood favorite.
Infused ice: Ice cubes no longer have to be the boring frozen treat of your summer. Restaurants are starting to see the potential of infusing them with herbs, fruit and other goodies in order to spice up cocktails and other drinks. Cheers!
A spot of tea: From tea leaves in entrees to tea-based cocktails, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy tea without having to sip a steaming hot cup in the middle of July.
Ice cream sandwich smorgasbord: After enduring years of the cupcake’s reign as most popular dessert, it looks as though we’ll all be screaming for ice cream sandwiches from roaming food trucks soon enough.
Adult popsicles: Booze-infused popsicles aren’t a relatively new idea, but the fun flavor possibilities and their simple prep make them a no-brainer for summer.
Music festivals: For many, summer is equated with hanging outdoors and listening to their favorite bands. Muse did a blog post earlier in April with a list of the best music festivals across the country. All you have to do is pick one (or two … or five).
Get your drink on: You don’t have to be in traditional “wine country” to take a tour of a winery. Or, if beer is more your thing, check out a brewery. Sites such as Groupon offer great rates that include tours, food pairings and of course, tastings.
Stuff your face: Food festivals happen nearly everywhere, and they’re a great place to expand your palette and maybe even find your new favorite restaurant. Some of them are even tailored to a state’s signature dish, such as the Maine Lobster Festival.
Pay homage to your favorite author: Okay, this one is kind of a stretch, but if you happen to be in Florida this summer, why not remember a famous author who used to live there? Hemingway Days is a five-day festival in July that includes book signings, readings, a fishing tournament in honor of the author’s favorite sport and a look-alike contest (Google some pictures and thank me later).
Summertime means warm weather, no classes and — most importantly — the best music festivals of the year. Here’s a list of just a few of them, including where, when and, of course, who is going to be there. No matter what genre of music you like to jam to this summer, Muse has you covered.
When: May 23–25
Lineup highlights: Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, The Decemberists, Bastille, The Neighbourhood
Why you should go: Why venture far when there’s a great music festival right in Boston University’s own backyard? Boston Calling also offers the chance for concertgoers to get their fix twice a year — once in May and once in September. So if you’re leaving Boston for the summer, look out for that September lineup come move-in weekend.
When: May 23-25
Where: George, Wash.
Lineup highlights: Outkast, The National, Queens of the Stone Age, HAIM, M.I.A., Kid Cudi
Why you should go: Although Sasquatch! usually sticks to indie bands and singer-songwriters, it still has a rather varied lineup. It also boasts a pretty great view: The Gorge Amphitheater, carved right into the cliffs above the Columbia River Gorge, was voted “Top Amphitheater” in the 2013 Billboard Touring Awards.
When: May 24-25 (New York City), June 20-22 (Las Vegas)
Where: New York City and Las Vegas
Lineup highlights: Tiësto, Bassnectar and Afrojack are included in New York; the Las Vegas lineup has yet to be announced
Why you should go: For the electronic music fan, this one’s a no brainer: EDC Las Vegas is the biggest electronic music festival in the world. Last year’s festival certainly seemed to promise more good things to come too, and year’s EDC in Las Vegas has sold out before even releasing a lineup.
When: June 19-22
Where: Dover, Del.
Lineup highlights: Outkast (again), Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer
Why you should go: One of the smallest states is packing some major festival game. Firefly is a relative newcomer to the world of music fests, but has gotten everything right so far with its killer lineups and pleasant, woodland setting.
When: June 25-29, July 1-6
Lineup highlights: Neon Trees, B.o.B., A Great Big World and Pentatonix are all performing on the general admission stages; Bruno Mars and Lady Gaga are among those performing in the Marcus Amphitheater
Why you should go: Though those from the coasts may never have heard of Summerfest, it holds the title for world’s largest music festival. Last year, attendees could buy a pass for all 11 days of the festival for just $60. The pass offered admission to any concert on any day, excluding the performers in the headliner arena, the Marcus Amphitheater.
When: Aug. 1-3
Lineup highlights: Eminem, Lorde, Foster the People, The Kooks, Chvrches, Jacob Plant
Why you should go: Lollapalooza is one of the biggest music festivals in the country — and notorious for selling out before half of concertgoers even get a chance to look at the lineup. With those kinds of stats, they must be doing something right.
When: June 12-15
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
Lineup highlights: Kanye West, The Avett Brothers, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Elton John, Neutral Milk Hotel, Lionel Richie
Why you should go: Bonnaroo is the holy pinnacle that all music festivals strive toward. An extravaganza that can attract indie royalty like Vampire Weekend, hip-hop messiahs like Kanye West and kings of music in general like Elton John really needs no further explanation.
When: June 14 to Aug. 3
Where: Various cities throughout the U.S.
Lineup highlights: Less Than Jake, K.Flay, Bayside, Yellowcard, Anberlin, The Devil Wears Prada (lineup varies from city to city)
Why you should go: This year let the festival come to you! Warped may have strayed from its punky roots in recent years, but a diversified lineup has only made it stronger as it approaches its 20th birthday.
By Ross Hsu, Staff Writer
If you’re not already excited for Boston Calling, you can go ahead and get out of my face. For the upcoming festival this May, they’ve extended the festival from two to three days, which is awesome enough in that the fun will last longer. But the real benefit of the additional day is that more bands will be there!
The announcement was made via “Find the Vinyl,” a scavenger hunt that started on Monday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. and ended on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at noon. The acts were listed on 10 vinyl records (neat!) hidden around the city, and hints were distributed via Facebook and Twitter the day before. The winners scored three-day general admission tickets to the festival, as well as the jealousy of their entire city.
Admittedly, the announced acts are slightly underwhelming compared to September’s varied mix of indie rock and electro-pop and last May’s procession of alternative sweethearts.
And would somebody explain how Jack Johnson takes top billing on a list featuring Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros? How does that even…screw it, who can stay mad when the next two names are Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse?
The top of the poster should actually read “A Festival For Kids Who Were in Middle School During the Early 2000s.” There are plenty more obscure artists, too—alongside the dynamite live acts already mentioned are newcomers The Neighbourhood and The Head and The Heart, as well as the eclectic Tegan and Sara, the ever-soulful and mysterious Cass McCombs and a tantalizing banner that reads “Announcing Soon!” Who could it be? I’m on edge of my seat, holding my breath in anticipation.
Boston Calling will take place May 23-25 in City Hall Plaza. Tickets are available via the festival’s website.
By Meg DeMouth, MUSE Editor
SXSW starts tomorrow. For those who don’t know, it’s an annual music and film festival in Austin, Texas. I don’t remember when, exactly, I realized that SXSW and ‘South by Southwest’ were one and the same, but I do remember wondering, at the time, whether the abbreviated moniker was brilliant or ridiculous. ‘X’ as a symbol often comes loaded with (sometimes weirdly displaced) religious connotations – think of the ‘X’ in ‘Railroad X-ing,’ i.e., ‘Railroad Crossing,’ and then think of the ‘X’ in the rather obnoxious abbreviation of ‘Christmas’ to ‘Xmas.’ To be fair, I’m lining those two ‘X’s’ up rather misleadingly; the ‘X’ in ‘Xmas’ doesn’t actually come from the idea that ‘Christ’ becomes ‘X’ because he died on a cross, it comes from the Greek Chi-Rho symbol, which stood for Christ way back in the day. Thank you Art History 101.
The point though, isn’t that letters mean more than just the sounds they represent – it’s that humans have been messing with symbols and abbreviations for ages, long before Carnegie Mellon professor Scott Fahlman typed the first emoticon into a computer in the 80’s.
And it sort of gets me down. As I said, I still don’t know how I feel about that SXSW abbreviation. Ever-reliable Wikipedia tells me that SXSW got its name from a play on the title of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Does shortening the name to four block letters erase the juicy connotations that ‘south by southwest’ has when written out?
Yesterday I edited an article by MUSE music editor Lucien Flores that offers his insight on Brit-band alt-J, and I swear to Chi-Rho that I spent 20 frantic minutes – as the article’s deadline swiftly approached – attempting to figure out whether the ‘a’ in ‘alt’ was supposed to be capitalized or not. (Ok, it was perhaps closer to five minutes … but still.) The verdict? We don’t know. The band’s name is actually ∆, the sign Mac keyboards make when you press ‘alt’ and then ‘j.’ Is this very clever of them, or just kind of pretentiously artsy and annoying?
In that same article, Lucien references the band Why? as well. As in ‘Whywithaquestionmark.’ At which point the editor in me practically threw the towel in, quietly lamenting the appearances of little green grammar-error flags underneath all of the sentences with the band’s name in them. Whymewithaquestionmark?
How does one pronounce Why?, exactly? Or ∆? I’m tempted to call them ‘delta’ instead.
There’s a huge part of me that resents these clever little abbreviations. They seem gimmicky to me, vaguely avant-garde but with no substantive backing – and they often erase the meaning that written-out words have. They hearken to the society that produced them, a society where my roommate and I occasionally say ‘lawls’ instead of ‘lol’ instead of simply laughing – layers upon layers of condensing action – and then immediately hate ourselves for it.
I’m a self-pronounced fan of words. I like their complex connotations; I like that I can look them up in the Oxford English Dictionary and see that the collective scholarly world knows more about the origins of some words than it does about the bottom of the ocean floor. Words, like the ocean, and unlike this sentence, have a depth to them.
Yet, by erasing them, as in the case of SXSW of alt-J, do we find a meaning that transcends the limitations that words pose? By opting for letters and symbols, do we open up to more interpretation, to definitions unbound by the weight of words? Or do we simply fall for the gimmick?