Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

Ultralight Beam in your Feed


It’s been a couple weeks now since Kanye West released his highly anticipated album, The Life of Pablo, and yes, it’s fire. After months of empty twitter promises and three name changes to the album, West partially streamed 10 of his new beats during the Yeezy season 3 event in New York City, which in all truth, was also fire. 

The whole album is now available on Tidal, a streaming service owned by his buddy Jay Z, and which most of us had no idea existed until The Life of Pablo. Tidal charges $9.99 a month for unlimited access, but it offers a free month trial (perfect for broke college students) where you can listen to Kanye’s new album until it hopefully becomes available in other platforms. 

The featured artists on this new album are superb. The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign, Rihanna, and Frank Ocean are just some of the collaborations he included. The Life of Pablo has more of a spiritual vibe than his previous albums, which reflects the recent interest Kanye has put into gospel music. This is better visible in tracks like “Ultralight Beam” and “Lowlights,” the latter one performed by a mysterious woman, who apparently is a Jamaican songwriter.

Since Kanye can’t stop being so Kanye, it was no surprise that some of his lyrics would spark some passionate debates on social media. The whole “Taylor-Kanye” conflict made headlines and is yet to be over, but at least we got some good tweets out of it, not to mention the epic shade Taylor Swift threw at Kanye during her Grammy speech. 

If you haven’t already, stop what you’re doing and listen to The Life of Pablo. Chances are you too will end up saying “I Love Kanye.”

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Alex Bustillos
Entertainment, Film, Uncategorized

Is Leo Actually Going to Win the Oscar?

The people have spoken, but what will the Academy say?


Since 1994 (before some of us were even born), Leonardo DiCaprio has been receiving Oscar nominations. In 1994, it was a Best Supporting Actor Nom for his performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. In 2005, Leo was nominated for Best Actor in The Aviator and then again in 2007 for Blood Diamond.

Seven years later in 2014, America’s favorite non-Oscar-Winner was nominated for Best Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street. There was some speculation that 2014 might finally be the year, but in the back of our minds, we all knew Matthew McConaughey deserved it for Dallas Buyers Club. (Come on, the man lost 38 pounds for the movie)

It’s 2016 now and Leo is once again nominated at the Oscars for Best Actor for The Revenant. People (the internet) really, really want Leo to win this time. So we decided to dig in to see if Leo is likely to bring home a little golden man on Sunday.



So far Mr. Dicaprio’s performance in The Revenant has won him a…

Golden Globe 

  • BAFTA Film Award
  • EDA Award
  • Australian Film Institute International Award
  • Awards Circuit Community Award

Critics Choice Award

  • Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award
  • Chicago Films Critics Association Award
  • Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award 
  • Denver Film Critics Society
  • Dorian Award
  • Georgia Film Critics Association
  • Kanas City Film Critics Circle Awards
  • Sierra Award
  • Nevada Film Critics Society
  • North Texas Film Critics Association
  • Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Awards
  • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 
  • San Diego Film Critics Society Award
  • Satellite Award

Screen Actors Guild Award

  • Seattle Film Critics Award
  • St. Louis Film Critics Association
  • Utah Film Critics Association Award
  • Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Awards

The award that’s most revealing in this long list is his Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award. 
For the past ten years, the actor who’s won Best Actor at the SAG Awards also won the Oscar for Best Actor. Every year. For the last ten years. This seems like a VERY promising sign for Leo. If he doesn’t win, it’ll be destroying a ten-year streak.

If you saw the movie, you can also safely conclude, Leo killed it in his performance!

He spent hours in a make-up chair everyday. He braved real elements (cold, snow, physical strain) to film this movie and he only had about one hour a day to nail his performance because the director wanted to shot using only natural light. Without giving anything away, for a good chunk of the movie all Leo can do is grunt and moan, and it’s the most passionate, pain-filled, believable and telling grunting and moaning ever. He steals the camera without saying a cohesive sentence.
The blogosphere and the past precedent seem to point to a clear Leo-Victory… but we will have to wait and see on Sunday. 

Let us know if you think Leo should take home the Oscar or if you are rooting for another leading man!


Watch Leonardo DiCaprio (fingers crossed) win on Sunday at the Oscars and watch his award-winning performance in The Revenant for just $3 at Grafton, March 16-19 at 9:30p.

Written by Film Committee Chair Brenna Cashen
Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

An Artist to Look Out For: Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt released his debut album, Phase, about a week ago and I have had it on repeat ever since. 

He has a music style that is difficult to categorize and once you listen to it, you will realize why. His songs have an electro-R&B sound with the use of the keyboard, guitar, and drums. The definition of a one-man-band, Garratt uses a loop pedal to layer all of the instruments and sounds in his songs. With his soulful, intense, and captivating sound, he brings something different to the table, or in this case, to the speaker. While the entire album is brilliant, “Surprise Yourself,” “Falling,” and “Fire,” are must listens.

There has been a lot of buzz for this guy with the release. Recently, Jack Garratt has been on Apple Music’s new artist spotlight and on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist. Most notably, he was named that #1 sound of 2016 on the BBC’s annual poll that is voted on by experts of the music industry in the UK. Garratt joins the company of Adele, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, and HAIM on the list, who were all winners in previous years so don’t be surprised if you see this name all over the charts soon. 

You can listen to his album on Spotify, Apple Music, or, better yet, buy it on iTunes! You won’t regret it.

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Laura DeLongis 
Film, Uncategorized

University Program Bat

We’ve all heard the stories of the Grafton Ghost. You may choose not to believe. You may have felt a slight chill on your neck that you attributed to the heartfelt “okay”s in The Fault in Our Stars or maybe when we learned to feel out all our emotions in the animated tearjerker “Inside Out”. Maybe we don’t believe in the supernatural and the most frightening thing to us is realizing we have no dining while in line at Dunkin during finals week or waking up to 30 missed emails from Kathy White of the Packsaddle Ridge Golf Club, a recurring nightmare of mine. You can doubt the presence of the Grafton Ghost all you want, but there is no doubting the presence of the UPBat. December 11th, 2015 UPB tweeted “Tonight, there sadly will not be any movies showing due to a bat in Grafton. Yes, we are being completely serious.” After a twitter poll was administered, the bat was affectionately named Eugene. He reappeared on UPB’s twitter feed January 27th. “Eugene is back you guys…” While there have been no UPBat tweets since, one projectionist can attest that she has seen the bat and believes it to be fluttering around Madison Union somewhere.

Written by Film Committee Member Jenna Stone

From Side Stage to World Stage: Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown

Last year as Misterwives left the Main Stage at Madipalooza, people began turning to leave and check out the rest of the festival until they heard the wall of sound that was Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown. Those who were on their way out immediately turned back and crowded the Side Stage as Tyler Bryant tore through guitar solos all while diving off the stage and climbing the speaker towers. While all of this was happening, his soon to be fans were asking each other “who are these guys?!” Most people knew by the end of the set, but for those of you who are still wondering…

Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown are a rock band out of Nashville, TN. Tyler Bryant is an up and coming guitar player known for his virtuosity of his Fender Stratocaster as well as his unique voice. He has toured and opened for Jeff Beck and ZZ Top as a solo artist but he really shines when he joins forces with the rest of the Shakedown. With Graham Whitford (son of Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford) on guitar, Caleb Crosby on drums, and Noah Denney on bass, this band creates a tight sound that seamlessly blends blues and hard rock.

Since performing at Madipalooza last year, Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown has released an excellent EP titled ‘The Wayside’ that has since become a staple on every playlist I make. They are also currently on tour with rock legends, AC/DC, and were just announced to be continuing this tour across the Atlantic Ocean to support AC/DC in Europe!

UPB is excited to be working with the Madipalooza committee again this year to provide excellent music selections for this year’s festival. Follow Madipalooza on social media for updates on this year’s festival, and follow UPB for updates on events all school year!

Check out these awesome websites about Tyler Bryant and the Shakedown and UPB at the following links:

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Eric Sites
Center Stage, Entertainment, Uncategorized

Everything You Need to Know About Ke$ha and Dr. Luke

This past Friday, February 19th, Kesha’s hopeful fight for justice came to a screeching halt and people are finally taking notice.

The Backstory: It has been 17 months since Kesha’s last visit to court when she sued her producer and founder of Kemosabe Records, Dr. Luke, for drugging, raping and abusing her shortly after her 18th birthday. This alleged verbal and physical abuse continued throughout the last 10 years of them working together, but there is no concrete evidence to validate this. Dr. Luke denied these claims and believed that Kesha and her team were falsely accusing him to extort money.

The Update: Kesha is contractually obligated to produce 6 albums with Sony which would require the singer to work in close quarters with the man who abused her. The purpose of Friday’s court ruling was to release Kesha from her contract, allowing her the freedom to make music with another record label.

The Verdict: The New York Supreme Court sided with Dr. Luke, refusing to free Kesha from her contract, binding her to create 4 more albums with Kemosabe Records. Thus came the birth of the hashtag #FreeKesha, which has taken social media by storm. Prominent musicians and celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Lena Dunham, Kelly Clarkson, Lorde, Ariana Grande and Demi Lovato have been speaking up in support of the pop singer. Taylor Swift has even given Kesha $250,000 in monetary support.

What’s Next: This is only the first ruling in the case, so Kesha fans will have to wait patiently for new music as this is likely the beginning of a long and grueling legal dispute.

Read more:

Written by Center Stage Member Julie Challender 
Entertainment, Spotlight Series

Important Concert Etiquette

It’s almost concert season, which means many of you will be traveling for shows and jamming out with other experienced concert goers as you all enjoy a marvelous show to the fullest, or at least try to.

In recent years, concerts and festivals have gained a large and continuously growing following, which is amazing for up and coming artists and festivals looking to get a jump start. However, many advertisements can be found on Facebook and even during television commercials, reeling in customers that are not concert regulars, nor aware of show etiquette. Now of course every concert is it’s own experience, and everyone enjoys the performance in different ways, but I want to talk about some actions deemed unacceptable at shows that is becoming a problem as attendance grows.

A continuous issue is what I’ll call “crowd cutters”. These are the people that arrive to a show after the performer has already started and pushes all the way through the crowd to reach the front. Now see, we all want to be close to the artist, but pushing everyone out of your way angers the crowd, bringing bad vibes to the once happy scene. If you want to be at the front, show up early when the doors open! I will also just say that no matter where in the crowd you are located, you are going to have a good time if you just let yourself enjoy the music and the moment. The crowd is a fluid moving body, don’t think you have to stick to one spot or that one place is better than another.

A problem seen at outdoor festivals is too much crowd surfing. Yes, it’s so much fun and everyone should experience it at some point, but know when it’s time to dance on your feet. We cannot all surf at one time either, so if you are going to jump on top, at least take a look around first to make sure it is still somewhat safe.

The biggest takeaway from all this is to please just be mindful at concerts. Do not be afraid to have fun but make sure you aren’t harshing someone else’s experience to heighten yours.

Written by Spotlight Sounds Committee Member Ally Engelbrecht


Entertainment, Uncategorized

A Recap of The 2016 Grammys

            This year’s Grammy Awards was quite the spectacle. In addition to its crowd stealing performances and (for lack of a better word) “interesting” red carpet outfits, there were some remarkable on stage occurrences that seem to have everyone talking. After receiving her “Album of the Year” Grammy for her critically acclaimed 1989, Taylor Swift gave a rather interesting acceptance speech. Almost everyone can remember back at 2009’s MTV Video Music Awards when Kanye West stole the microphone from Ms. Swift and proclaimed Beyonce’s Single Ladies video as the “greatest of all time,” virtually stealing the spotlight from Taylor during her moment of triumph. To add insult to previous injury, Kanye West on his most recent album The Life of Pablo proclaimed that he did Taylor a favor by interrupting her in 2009: ““I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. Why?/ I made that b**ch famous/ God d**m I made that b**ch famous.” In response to this, Taylor Swift denounced West in a thinly veiled acceptance speech at last night’s awards ceremony: ““I want to say to all the young women out there: there are going to be people along the way who will try to undercut your success, or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” Swift said. “But if you just focus on the work and you don’t let those people sidetrack you … you’ll look around and you will know that it was you and the people who love you who put you there, and that will be the greatest feeling in the world.” West still refuses via Twitter that he has a still-standing feud with Swift.

            Another onstage occurrence that has gained notoriety was Adele’s performance. Coming hot off the heels of her widely televised Adele: Live in London performance, Adele took the stage last night at the Grammy’s to sing All I Ask. However, the performance was plagued by faulty sound equipment including microphones that fell onto live piano wires. Alls well that ends well however because Adele wrote on Twitter that she decided to treat herself to an In and Out burger following her faulty performance.

            Perhaps the most attention grabbing performance of the evening came from Kendrick Lamar. Lamar, who virtually swept the rap and hip hop categories last night, gave a very moving performance of The Blacker the Berry complete with an on stage set resembling a Prison block and African-American background dancers in prison uniforms and chains. Obviously commenting on the proportionality of incarcerated African-Americans in American prisons, Lamar joins the likes of Beyonce, Spike Lee, and Jada Pinkett Smith who have all used their star appeal to draw attention to race relations in America.

            The Grammy’s were surely a sight to behold last night. Its celebrity feuds, unfortunate mishaps, and political undertones provided a unique spectacle for all who tuned in to enjoy, appreciate, and soak in. This year’s Grammys were a reminder to us all of the effects music can have on our culture.

Written by Center Stage Committee Member Jim Pomeroy 
Film, Uncategorized

A Personal Take on an American Horror Story Season Theme

American Horror Story: Sandman/Wonderland/Dreamers

The idea here is to delve into the realm of dreams and nightmares. And not wholly Nightmare on Elm Street territory, though Murphy is free to go there if he wants to. Here’s what I’m thinking: Fairies.

Why? Well, Fairies in the old lore weren’t so much Tinker Bell as they were like housecats with the destructive capability to literally shatter your mind. See, Fairies comes from the name “Fair Folk.” They were called so because, while some of them were very pretty and fair, the people back then didn’t want to call them anything bad because they didn’t want to piss Fairies off. If they did, Fairies would work their magic to smash things, bring roofs down atop a family’s heads, spoil food and drink, plague their vision with terrible sights, and even steal their souls away. Plus, these Fair Folk lived in an environment that wasn’t safe for any mortal to live in. Two examples would be 1) if you ate the food, you’d either be trapped in Fairy Land forever or lose all desire for human food and you’d eventually starve to death, and 2) if you happened to look into a mirror made in that Land, your soul would be sucked into in an instant and you’d die if it shattered.

Oh, and they had a habit of stealing away human babies and replacing them with one of their own babies. It was called a Changeling. How did they behave? Remember that little girl from Asylum? The near emotionless one that killed her playmate and mother? That’s how those Changelings usually behaved if they lived to be older than five. Only, they can bypass locked doors, they can read your mind, and they can call their real mommy and daddy if they’re in trouble.

Inspiration: Guillermo del Toro, Fairy Folklore, and Neil Gaiman


Written by Film Committee Member Michael Shipley
Entertainment, Monthly Events, Spotlight Series, Uncategorized

Prinze George: Concert Review

It’s the calm before the storm for Indie pop trio Prinze George. 

The three, originally from Prince George, Maryland, are sitting in the dressing room after their eleven song set. Changed out of their all white stage attire, the three look relaxed and clearly comfortable with each other. 

Naomi Almquist, the band’s main vocalist explains, “We’re basically waiting for something to happen…We’ve been working on our album this whole past year and now it’s really up to our management.” 

Prinze Geroge has seen success with their self-titled EP released at the beginning of 2015. Critics and music blogs alike claim that they are, “destined for indie pop royalty status.” 

When on stage, one can’t help but feel like they are in the presence of the next big thing. 

They started out with their most popular track, “Upswing.” An expertly crafted song, balanced between electronic samples and a catchy guitar riff. The pace was set for the rest of the night. 

It’s hard to place a front man for the band, since each member individually contributes to a individual unique sound. Kenny Grimm does production and instrumentals. During their new song “Freeze” Grimm showcased his musical talent by ripping a 30-second long solo on his Launchpad, effectively causing the entire 120-person crowd to get on their feet in appreciation. Then there’s Isabella De Leon on drums and vocals. De Leon’s use of the snare drum mixed with her electronic drum set is arguably what puts this band ahead of the rest. She wears a huge smile as she pounds away at the drums, creating a contagious beat. By the end of the night every girl wanted to be her and every guy wanted to date her. Finally there’s Naomi Almquist on vocals. Despite her small stature, she has a deep soulful voice that ties their unique sound together. During their track, “The Writer” she attributes her musical talent to her mother, “My mother taught me pretty much everything I know about singing.” Almquist’s mother’s vocals are sampled in “The Writer.” 

Too often bands seem rigid on stage. Not Prinze George. The beat seems to simultaneously run through the three as they nod their heads in synchronized motion. When claimed they were good dancers, the three laughed. Grimm commented, “I’ve got like three moves that I stick to that I just repeat over and over.” 

Next for Prinze George? Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The festival, happening this August, is hand picked by Aaron Dessner of The National and Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, two of the band’s favorite artists. 

Almquist explains, “It’s different than playing Coachella or Bonnaroo, it’s hand-picked and we were honored to be invited.” 

Once this calm is over, Prinze George does indeed have the potential and momentum to become indie-pop royalty. Which is fitting considering their band name.

Written by Spotlight Sounds Committee Member Marissa McCormick