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The Oberlin Review

Conference Addresses Intersections of Race, Aesthetics

Conference Addresses Intersections of Race, Aesthetics

October 6, 2017

“Exploring Beauty and Truth in World of Color,” a conference which took place over last Friday and Saturday, highlighted new and groundbreaking work on the subject of race and aesthetics from Oberlin academics and scholars from many other institutions. The two-day conference, which had wide community appeal, explored essential conversations about the role of Blackness and Black aesthetics in diverse art forms. For Associate Professor of Africana Studies Charles Peterson, the driving organizin...

“Deej” Highlights Interdependence, Challenges Assumptions

“Deej” Highlights Interdependence, Challenges Assumptions

October 6, 2017

The lights dim. An image of hands typing on a laptop keyboard appears on the screen. A digital voice narrates the scene as it dissolves into an animation of a poem. This is Deej, the autobiographical documentary by DJ “Deej” Savarese, OC ’17, whose art speaks to autistic civil rights and universal inclusion. Dye Lecture Hall was nearly full Sunday night, when the film made its Oberlin College debut. Afterward, Savarese answered questions about the film, his life, and work. Throughout the fil...

Queer Romance, Intimate Staging Elevate “Circle Mirror Transformation”

Julia Peterson, Arts & Culture Editor

October 6, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Circle Mirror Transformation, the first play in the 2017 — 2018 series of the Oberlin College Theater Lab Series, opened yesterday evening in Warner Main Space. The play tells a meta-theatrical narrative about five people in small-town Vermont who have come together for a community theater class. Over the six weeks that they are together, friendships are made, relationships form and fail, and the newfound classmates engage in some very silly acting games — telling stories where everybody can only add one word at a time, or “passing” words and motions around in a circle, changing them slightly every time. This exercise is where the name of Circle Mirror Transformation originates. “[The play] is so unique,” sai...

“Discovery” Takes Star Trek Franchise to New Frontiers

Indrani Kharbanda

September 29, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

Sunday marked the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery, the first Star Trek television program since 2005 and one of the most anticipated shows of 2017. Speculation has abounded as to whether it would live up to the standards set by past series and high fan expectations; fortunately, Discovery delivers. Though the pilot episode eschews the earnest idealism of previous Trek installments in favor of the darker fare that’s more in line with the rebooted films and the sociopolitical situation America finds itself in today, the new series is enjoyable to watch for newcomers and returning fans alike. The series was slated to debut in January 2017, but was delayed due to conflict between CBS and then-showrunner, co-creator Bry...

Successful King Adaptation “It” Combines Horror, Heart

Christian Bolles, Editor-in-Chief

September 15, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

It’s the great cinematic whodunit of the past few years: who killed mainstream horror? Despite critical darlings from breakout directors like David Eggers (The Witch), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), and David Robert Mitchell (It Follows) — all independent films that scored modest, unimpressive box office returns — the world of big-budget filmmaking has lately seen few horror movies worth their salt. Most of what has been on offer, such as Lights Out, Ouija, and Unfriended, rely on gimmicky premises designed to lure audiences into theaters without much caring if they enjoy the ensuing bloodbath. Gone are the Halloweens and Nightmare on Elm Streets of the world. The best recent mainstream horror has played with t...

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

Peanut Sauce Film Project Explores Thai Education System

September 8, 2017

The Peanut Sauce Project 2560, a documentary project with an eye toward the education system in Thailand and the marginalized groups within it, presented three documentaries in the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space Friday night. The project was organized by double-degree fifth-year Thanisa Durongkaveroj, who was joined by Matt Blankinship, OC ’17, Anna Treidler, OC ’17, and collaborator Bitong Suchritt. Durongkaveroj, Blankinship, and Treidler were all in attendance at Friday night’s ...

Nanjiani’s Big Sick Defies Genre Conventions

Jordan Joseph, Contributing Writer

September 1, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

The Big Sick, which trailers present as a sickly-sweet romantic comedy with a Pakistani-American protagonist, is currently one of the highest grossing independent films of the year — and for good reason. While the trailer might draw viewers into the theater, beneath its tightly-packaged exterior, The Big Sick is so much more. The film, a mostly autobiographical narrative written by Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon, follows Kumail (played by Nanjiani) as he reconciles budding comedic fame with getting older. Kumail comes from a traditional Pakistani family that expects him to marry a Pakistani woman, so Kumail’s mother sets off to find a wife for her son in her own way. Much to Kumail’s chagrin, this inv...

On the Record: Heather Marlowe, Playwright

On the Record: Heather Marlowe, Playwright

May 5, 2017

Editor’s note: This article discusses sexual assault. Playwright, actor and activist Heather Marlowe graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2009 with a degree in art history before moving to San Francisco, where she dedicated much of her time to theater classes. Motivated by her own experiences with the criminal justice system after being raped, Marlowe has worked with the survivor-advocacy organization People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws and produced a solo show, The...

Black and White “Fury Road” Re-Release Highlights Action, Scenery

Christian Bolles, Columnist

May 5, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

When beloved director George Miller first released the much-awaited follow-up to his cult classic Mad Max series, he teased that he had watched the new film in black and white and found it a superior experience. Now, after much fan buzz, the “Black and Chrome” edition of Mad Max: Fury Road has hit the big screen for a single day, as part of an ad campaign for its inclusion in the movie’s Blu-ray set. After all of the hype Miller generated around the remaster, one might question whether the film could possibly be that much better with a change as seemingly minimal as a rebalanced colour palette. Yet, when rendered in such contrast, the aesthetic brilliance of Miller’s mayhem-ridden masterpiece shines all the ...

OMTA’s “Assassins” Balances Levity, Seriousness

OMTA’s “Assassins” Balances Levity, Seriousness

April 28, 2017

When the legendary Stephen Sondheim and librettist John Weidman first debuted Assassins in 1990, it was one of the most controversial musicals in recent history. The musical compiles its character list from the select community of historical figures connected to the assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents. Several easily recognizable characters include Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot and killed President John F. Kennedy in 1963; Samuel Joseph Byck, who attempted to hijack a 747 and ...

Oberlin Alums Pen Enchanting New Musical

Oberlin Alums Pen Enchanting New Musical

April 28, 2017

A staged reading of The Enchanted, a new musical comedy in progress by John Kander, OC ’51 — who previously wrote music for Cabaret and Chicago — and prolific playwright and fiction writer Greg Pierce, OC ’00, was performed by a cast of student actors last weekend in the Birenbaum Innovation and Performance Space, marking the first theatrical production in the venue. The musical, based on a French play of the same name by Jean Giraudoux, is set in the provincial French town of Aubergine wh...

Chan-Wook’s “Handmaiden” Unpacks Sexual Power Dynamics

Christian Bolles, Columnist

April 21, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Theater & Film

“Of all the things I’ve washed and dressed, have any been so pretty?” This is the first question Korean handmaiden Sookee asks herself upon meeting her new mistress, a soft-spoken Japanese noblewoman named Lady Hideko. Sookee’s immediate attraction to Hideko is objectifying — even clinical — mirroring the aesthetic fascination that revered Korean director Park Chan-Wook maintains for the decadent imagery that defines his most recent work, The Handmaiden. The film is clearly about sex, but it’s also about the broader philosophical implications of the myriad power dynamics inherent in a sexual relationship. The film takes place during Japan’s annexation of Korea in the early 20th century and at its most...

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