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Left of the dial: tuning you into the not-so pop culture – Florida Flambeau

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is definitely bingeworthy

Catherine Buckler

Staff Writer

Having just binged through the first season of the multi-lauded series, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, I have a definitive observation it’s a great show and you should make an opportunity to watch if you haven’t yet. The plot line is a fictionalized character set in the real past-1958; similar to how Jake and Rose were not real passengers on the Titanic, and apologies if that just bummed you out. My takeaway from the series was the tertiary character, but real-life comedian, Lenny Bruce.

 Lenny Bruce plays an acquaintance-turned-confidant-and-comedy sensei to the main character, Midge (Mrs. Maisel, played by Rachel Brosnahan). In reality, Lenny Bruce was an infamous anti-establishment satirical comedian of the late 50’s and early 60’s, with a growing reputation for his subversive humor and prolific profanity in his stand-up comedy sets. Context: Jack Benny, Bob Hope, George Burns, and Milton Berle were The comics of the time, so taking their topics of their humor-feisty wives, fun alcoholism and obsessive frugality-in comparison to the f**k, mother***er, c**ksucker, and schmuck (Yiddish-look it up) references to sex, race, politics and religion that landed Bruce in jail four times, you get an idea of how influential he was on today’s comedy. His underdog, stick it to the man diatribes led to The People versus Lenny Bruce, a trial that set the precedent for later “blue” comedians like, Richard Pryor and George Carlin, as well as, contemporary artists like Sarah Silverman, Louis C.K., Chris Rock, and Dave Chappelle, who perform(ed) without worrying about serving time. Bruce died in 1967 of an overdose, but clips of his performances are available on the archives of our times. YouTube-check him out as you watch Mrs. Maisel.

 

“Sleep Well Beast” is the perfect winter album

Anthony Martinez   

Contributing Writer       

As winter in Tallahassee proves to be colder than expected, there’s no better music for braving 26°F walks to class than the latest album from Cincinnati indie rock outfit The National.

The National have become known for slow-burning rock anthems and soothing ballads about the struggles of relationships, marriages and adult life. “Sleep Well Beast” is the band’s seventh LP, adding electronic experimentation to their usually restrained and intimate sound. The album simply feels like a cold winter morning, layering calm vocals and intricate instrumentation to create a collection of songs that feel both calm and intelligently energetic.

Lead single “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” is a highlight of the album, trading The National’s Americana-influenced roots for anthemic guitar solos and programmed drum loops. “Day I Die” has quickly become a live favorite for both the band and fans, delighting listeners with an anthemic chorus and heart-pounding drum work from percussionist Bryan Devendorf. Delicate ballads “Empire Line” and “Guilty Party” describe a relationship in decay, two people who are growing apart with no obvious reason. The album closes with a six-minute title track, a hypnotizing electronic piece that recalls many lyrics and themes from the album, concluding in a glitchy disarray of sound.

It’s impossible to discuss The National without mentioning singer Matt Berninger’s iconic vocals. Berninger’s lyrics are cryptic and mysterious, offering shadowy vignettes of his own marriage matched with his signature baritone, sleepy performance. At the end of this 57-minute odyssey, listeners are brought into a world of confusion, desire and catharsis; culminating into a disarmingly honest portrait of life in 2018. 

“Moving Art” Brings The Exotic to Your Screen

Marc W. Grossberg

Contributing Writer

 “Moving Art” is an original series available on Netflix in addition to Roku and other viewing and streaming platforms.  It’s a collection of jaw-dropping cinematography that seeks to bring the most inspiring beauty in nature to digital screens as fine art.  Using time-lapse, high speed, and macro photography, producer, director, and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg puts together an episodic journey into the hidden worlds of nature.  Covering everything from oceans, to rainforests, to deserts in finite beautiful detail, “Moving Art” takes you away from your daily life in what Schwartzberg recognizes as a “visual meditation”. 

 

“You don’t have to think about it intellectually, you just have to let go and feel it,” says Schwartzberg at the start of the show, reflecting the way cinematography can move you. Soon the scene moves in closer and the motion is almost disorienting, feeling like you are flying into a land of incredible biodiverse elements, including flowers springing to life. Witnessing a flower come into bloom in a matter of seconds, or seeing a seedling sprout become a towering vessel of beauty, has a way of putting things in perspective. Suddenly the trials and obligations of everyday life seem minute; they seem to fade away.

While watching “Moving Art”, it’s easy to lose yourself.  An episode ends, and you feel as if you have lived a lifetime.  Not many shows can have that effect.  You can come away with an entirely new perspective on the world you live in, maybe you have a new appreciation for the tiny processes that make our world thrive with life.  Maybe you just thought all that plant stuff looked really cool.  Either way, watching “Moving Art” is a cinematic experience everyone deserves to see.    

Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas perfectly fuses metal with EDM 

Chris Wilkinson

Staff Writer

If there were two musical genres that divided the most people it’d probably have to be EDM and heavy metal music. Either you can get behind the intensely screamed vocals  and computer generated swings, or you might be more of a fan of prog rock. Regardless, if you can get behind both or even just one of the genres, you should listen to Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas.

In the U.S., “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” usually refers to the Hunter S. Thompson movie or the adaptation, however in Japan the name refers to the popular band that combines EDM with heavy metal. You can tell the difference by looking for the comma in the band’s name.

Fear, and Loathing in Las Vegas is best known for their songs “Let me Hear” and “Just Awake” among anime fans due to their use in the popular shows “Parasyte” and “Hunter X Hunter,” but their discography extends across five full albums, including their recent October release “New Sunrise” and their latest single, “Keep the Heat and Fire Yourself Up”.

There music can best be categorized by their combination of electronic synthesized sounds and traditional metal guitar riffs, as well as the difference between the vocalization of the two lead singers, So and Minami. So embodies the electronic style in his vocals that are heavily vocoded and auto-tuned; Minami’s screamo style has you fully listening to a post-hardcore band in those moments.

The lyrics are also notable for the primary use of English combined with a moderate use of their native Japanese tongue. This, meshed with the vocal style of the band, almost forms a new language that is equal parts interesting and indiscernible.

Overall, the band isn’t for everyone, but for the people that it is for, it is quite the experience.   

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