Arts + Entertainment
St. Joseph’s Theater Company Has Strong Opening Weekend Of Musical Oklahoma!
by Brett Baligad, Senior Editor
Last weekend, St. Joseph’s High School’s Five Sisters Theatre Company presented their first musical of the year, Oklahoma!, with three more shows to come this weekend.
The St. Joseph’s and St. John Bosco go back in time with their rendition of Oklahoma! This musical marks Ms. Kateryn McReynolds directorial debut, as she has taken the reins from long time theatre director Mr. Larry Vandeventer. Ms. McReynolds is an alumna of St. Joseph’s and is a recent graduate of Princeton University.
The musical Oklahoma! takes place in the mid-1800s. A cowboy, Curly, played by senior Connor Sheehan and ranch hand, Jud Fry, played by junior Grant Hidalgo-Villanueva, both fall in love with the town’s sweetheart, Laurey, played by St. Joseph’s sophomore Gemma Villalobos. The classic western love story is chock full of romance, singing and hoedowns.
Oklahoma! is a unique and interactive play. The Five Sisters Theatre Company featured a stage in the round that had audience members sitting around nearly the entirety of the stage. The musical truly has no bad views, as the audience members witness the action from just a few rows back.
“A round has a couple of platforms in the middle and back for cast members to perform on,” said actor and senior Jack Scalas. “In the very front row, a lot of the actors could sit next to viewers of the play which is pretty cool. Throughout the play, we also call on people, which is pretty interesting as well.” FULL STORY
Bosco Theater Company Features Many New Faces In Peter And The Starcatcher
by Brett Baligad, Senior Editor
Last weekend, the St. John Bosco Theater Company presented their first play of the year. With many new faces on opening night, there is a lot to look forward to for the theater department.
Directed by Mr. Martin Lang, this year’s fall production, Peter and the Starcatcher, is an origin story to the iconic 1953 Disney film, Peter Pan. The production follows the orphan boy in green played by senior Alex Palmer along with the infamous Black Stache played by senior Connor Sheehan.
The play is filled with plenty of British accents, pirates and magic to keep all ages on the edge of their seat. Although the play is not considered a musical, there is still an enjoyable amount of choreography and live singing. Throughout the production, the cast was complimented by a live percussionist and pianist.
What made the play’s opening weekend stand out the most were all of the new faces in the cast. This production saw six new male cast members to join the St. John Bosco Theater Company, leaving only lead roles Alex Palmer and Connor Sheehan with prior experience. However, these actors did not fall short in talent nor chemistry.
One headline actor was freshmen Kai Maldonado. Kai has years of experience acting, and it showed. As a freshman, Kai still had to acclimate to the acting culture at Bosco leading up to opening night. FULL STORY
Bosco Theater Opens The Year Strong With A Thrilling Performance Of “Hands On A Hardbody”
by Brett Baligad
Following two years of COVID-19, St. John Bosco’s Theater Department hosted its first plays of the year last weekend, with more to come this weekend.
The Braves’ Theater Department kicked off the winter season with three productions of the musical “Hands On a Hard Body.”
Directed by Mr. Martin Lang, the story takes place in East Texas, as a small-town Nissan dealership hosts an annual car contest. The story follows a cast of ten Texans who learned what the prize truck really means to them. Over the course of the play, the audience sat at the edge of their seats wondering who will come out on top. The play featured plenty of catchy rock-n-roll, country and gospel scores for everyone to enjoy. On opening night, the nearly sold-out crowd stood in ovation as a musical encore concluded the heartfelt play.
“I was super excited to see the play. I haven’t seen one in person since my sophomore year. I thought it was really well done and I was happy to support the cast,” said senior and opening night viewer Kaimana Storch ‘21.
The first performance was on Friday, December 3, at 7:30 p.m. The cast was greeted by a filled crowd with students, family, friends and faculty. Alumni, such as principal Dr. Anderson ’04 and history teacher Mr. Cordero ‘97, even made an appearance on Friday. Following this successful opening night were two more performances on Saturday and Sunday evening. FULL STORY
A+E: Top Five Hip Hop Albums Of 2021
By Aydn Morris & Jeremiah Davis
As 2021 slowly winds down, we take a look back into the world of hip-hop and rank the top five hip hop albums of the year.
With the anticipation of album releases from both Kanye West and Drake, the attention given to smaller artists was slim to none. However, Carson native and cousin of Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem was an exception to this rule. Being related to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Lamar puts a lot of pressure on a performing artist, and Keem understood that and delivered.
On the singles “Family Ties” and “Range Brothers,” both featuring Kendrick Lamar, Keem undoubtedly held his own, while some listeners have even felt he had better verses than Kendrick. Both of these songs were featured on his album, The Melodic Blue, which got the approval of NBA legend Lebron James, who played songs off the album on his Instagram story.
Keem also was able to attract fans on all social media platforms garnering a viral sound off his new song “Range Brothers.” One could also say that the help of Kendrick Lamar played a vital role in pushing his album out there for the world to hear.
Whatever the case may be, one could not deny the amount of raw talent that Baby Keem possesses at young age. At only 20 years old, Keem still has what it takes to continue growing as an artists, which is why his album stands at number five on our list. FULL STORY
The Brave News Top 10 Songs To Listen To During Christmas Season
by Aydn Morris
Christmas, one of the most anticipated times of the year where the smell of hot chocolate and fresh baked cookies fill any room while cheerful tones invade any radio station for weeks.
It is no surprise that some of the most happy songs play during the Christmas season, a tradition many enjoy around family and friends.
Here is the Brave News Top 10 MUST listen songs to during this season of joy: FULL STORY
The Best Places To View Christmas Lights This Holiday Season
by Ryan Dwyer
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic having tremendous ramifications on the way people have lived, the joyous spirits of the Christmas season are still present to shed some light on people’s lives in what has been an otherwise grim, dark year.
This past weekend I took a ride around parts of LA County and Orange County to look at Christmas lights. With Covid-19 keeping us mostly in lock-down, I wondered if many homes would decorate their houses and yards with Christmas lights and decorations. I also wondered if COVID had killed the Christmas spirit, or if it made people want to decorate their homes to bring some joy back into their lives. FULL STORY
Xbox Series X Vs PS5
by Ryan Tavera
Two giants in the gaming industry will once again clash as both Microsoft and Sony release their new consoles into the market, while both are a force to be reckoned with. Which one is worth your money?
Once again the time has come where consumers are forced to pick a side in the dreaded battle that has clouded the gaming industry for years – Xbox vs Playstation. While there isn’t a particularly wrong choice to make here (depending on who you ask), it is important that when deciding which console to purchase, you know what you’re getting.
Sony’s PlayStation 5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X have hit the market and are ready to pave the way for the next generation of console gaming. The Xbox Series X arrived on November 10 and costs $499. A cheaper version, the Xbox Series S, is available for $299. The PlayStation 5 came out November 12 and is priced at $499, with a digital edition that removes the disc drive costing $399. FULL STORY
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, A Story Of Life-Long Lessons To Reflect On In A Time Of Despair
by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
The Saint Joseph High School theatre department along with the Saint John Bosco theatre department presents a play about life and the simplicity of it, and the joy of every little moment, in a very extraordinary manner.
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten is a play structured in a vignette/short story format, where a cast member interprets different roles in every scene tied into a single theme that relates to life.
After the incredible experience of the Saint John Bosco fall production of Coherence, Saint Joseph High School followed with their own production, a different outlook into a brighter and cheerful interpretation of everything going on around the world.
As the talented students in the show have been preparing for weeks, for a “production that could have met Cecil B. DeMille’s approval,” everyone from the tech crew to every castmate cannot wait for everyone to enjoy the show. FULL STORY
The Mystery Behind The Tragic Death Of King Von
by Aydn Morris
26 years old Dayvon Bennet, better known as King Von, a prominent Chicago rapper, died after being in the middle of a fatal shooting in Atlanta, Georgia.
Before fame, Von became involved in criminal activities that led to his first time in jail when he was 16 years old. Then in 2014, he was accused of shooting and killing another person but then was found innocent which led him to start rapping.
Lil Durk signed King Von to his record label, Only the Family label, which is famously known as OTF. Von then made his first hit single Crazy Story which put him on the map in the rap community. He made many hit singles and albums and certified himself as a mainstream rapper. FULL STORY
Coherence Play Preview: A Saint John Bosco Thriller Production In The Times Of COVID
by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
After halting the production of a spring play last school year, Saint John Bosco and Saint Joseph students are ready to showcase their talent on stage.
“Coherence” was originally a film production, directed by the acclaimed James Ward Byrkit. A great challenge was taken by the theatre department when adapting the film into a play.
Coherence deals with the fate of eight unique friends who gather in a dinner reunion as a comet passes by. What they never anticipated is that their lives would be turned upside down after the passing of such comet.
The theatre department had to become clever while producing the show, as they were never accustomed to doing anything outside of live theatre. FULL STORY
Broadway Not Set To Open Until 2021, What Theatre Companies Are Doing To Attract An Audience
by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause the country to be in a state of uncertainty, the main center for theatre around the world is not set to open until the Summer of 2021.
As many dates have been discussed about the future reopening of Broadway, the most proximate date would be somewhere between late-May and mid-June of 2021.
In recent data, according to Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin, 97,000 people rely on a recent reopening of Broadway for their livelihood. On top of that, Broadway is one of New York’s top tourist attractions, bringing in nearly $15 billion to the city’s economy, which has caused a great number of losses for the state. FULL STORY
The Brutality In Nigeria Brought To Mainstream Attention By Kanye West
by Ryan Tavera
As global focus begins to rise against SARS police brutality in Nigeria, prominent figures such as Kanye West have joined the battle against the injustice levied toward the Nigerian people.
US rapper and 2020 Presidential Candidate Kanye West ends his silence and joins a growing list of celebrities that are eagerly addressing the #EndPoliceBrutalityinNigeria movement.
West has become an influential supporter when it comes to endorsing movements against police brutality. Previously this year, he showed similar strength and support for the Black Lives Matter movement, contributing with a $2 million dollar donation to support George Floyd’s family.
In addition to West, celebrities like Drake, Trey Songs, Star Wars actor John Boyega and many more have come forward to show their support for the protests.
Falana, who is widely known as Falz, took it upon himself to create a protest in order to incite change as he fed up with the numerous acts of harassment and police brutality. FULL STORY
A Cry For Help, The Truth Behind “Cancel Culture”
by Joaquin Medrano, Managing Editor
Over the last few years, the infamous Gen Z – as well as Millennials – have “canceled” more celebrities than other generations in previous years
The term “Cancel Culture” has been used broadly amongst many teens and young adults over the last few years. The term itself, amongst the younger generations, is associated with the widespread desire to stop supporting major celebrities or corporations in order to protest or boycott them due to mistakes they made.
Many celebrities and YouTube stars such as Doja Cat, Ellen DeGeneres, Kanye West, Trisha Paytas and countless others have been canceled, but are also figures that show that Cancel Culture itself is a faulty system that has come with younger generations fully indulged in the pleasures of the powerful presence they hold on social media. FULL STORY
Online Music Festivals Have Taken Over Following Ban On Public Events
by Alex Rotter
Since the COVID-19 Pandemic, all events that were supposed to happen were canceled because of the outbreak. Since then, companies are trying to find a way to still do the events from home.
A few weeks ago, the Insomniac company hosted an online music festival that hosted different types of artists. The online concert was two days and it lasted from 8 PM – 12 AM. The first event got over one million people from all around the world to watch the Livestream. The best part about the virtual concert is that it is free to tune in. Since they got really good viewers on the first online festival they did, they have been hosting one every weekend so people have something to do. Insomniac wants people to have fun watching the stream since you are limited to activities at home. On May 15, 16, and 17, they will be hosting a three-day event for EDC Las Vegas and you will be able to watch different sets on different channels.
Another event called the Digital Mirage was hosted by Proximity and Brownies & Lemonade, this festival was able to raise up to 300,000 dollars for people who have the coronavirus. This concert was also free to attend but they recommended that you donate so they can raise more money for the coronavirus. The event lasted from 12 PM – 2 AM and they were able to gain over 4.1 million viewers in total for three days. Some really popular music artists are also hosting music events on Instagram live. The artists are playing a lot of their popular songs and they also play some unreleased music that people haven’t heard yet. FULL STORY
Roddy Ricch’s Newfound Fame and Publicity Draws The Envy of Former Superstars Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez
by Joshua Whitfield
Roddy Ricch has become one of the most popular rappers over the past couple of months through his intelligent social media tactics, and catchy songs.
In 2019 new upcoming rapper Roddy Ricch dropped his most successful album to date titled “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial”. This album featured 16 songs and was released on December 6, 2019, on all major streaming platforms. It would soon take the nation by storm and put his name on the map, thanks to the help of the second song on his album titled “The Box”.
“The Box” for two consecutive weeks held The Billboard Hot 100 spot above two other major artists namely Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” and Selena Gomez’s “Rare”. They were neck and neck, but neither of the artists could overtake Roddy Ricch’s new fame and publicity. FULL STORY
Marriage Story Review: Direct my Actions not my Love
by Matthew Ruiz
When watching a Romance Movie naturally they end in Matrimony, but what about a movie that begins with a Marriage ending.
When watching Noah Baumbach’s New film “Marriage Story” Starring Scarlett Johansson as Nicole and Adam Driver as Charlie, it’s intense to see their marriage falling apart. It’s a tear jerker, frustrating, and funny film at times the plot jumps around and shows the audience the realism and heartbreaks of families going through a divorce.
Nicole and Charlie are a very active couple who together have an eight year old child named Henry played by Azhy Robertson. They live in Brooklyn and both work in Charlie’s Film Theater. Nicole is a former Hollywood star, she’s very brave, competitive, infectious, and full of love. Charlie is a Director/Actor who’s a persistent man, self Sufficient, and a very good cook. As the film opens we see how each partner describes the other and we learn just who each of them are and what their internal feelings are before anything happens.
What follows is rage and awkwardness between them. Happiness is a very inexpressible and a very special privilege to have within a family. When they split, they find a new look for themselves with Nicole finding her own path in going back to Los Angeles and doing her own acting there. Charlie on the other hand stays in Brooklyn, but he will soon be traveling back and forth from New York to Los Angeles. The aftermath shows the misery of getting a divorce, the Lawyers. Nicole and Charlie become pawns in a drama filled divorce case neither want to be in.
Nicole goes with a very successful and well known LA Lawyer named “Nora”, who’s a published author and Lawyer. Charlie is stuck between two lawyers who want to crush Nicole and her lawyer in getting custody over Henry, while the other wants to go the safe route. If Charlie wants custody of Henry he needs to “Change the Narrative” and move the case to New York. FULL STORY
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Review
by Joshua Lucero
Marking the end to a 40-year story arc that the world fell in love with, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was released on December 20, 2019. George Lucas, the creator of the Star Wars series, was the sole creative director for the forever beloved, Episodes I-VI before selling Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012. Episodes I-III showed who the chosen one was prior to his fall to the dark side. The fan base was able to get to know Anakin Skywalker as a Jedi Knight versus his role in episodes IV-VI as Darth Vader.
Since Disney bought the franchise in 2012, the series has become nothing more, but simply a dollar sign to them. Episode VII gives followers a decent backstory for the new main characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Poe (Oscar Isaac), and Finn (John Boyega). The Trilogy first introduced to us with the main character Rey (Daisy Ridley), who is a force sensitive scavenger. She was abandoned as a young child, on a desert planet and was forced to live her life with no explanation of what she came from.
Episode IX is the final episode of the Skywalker legacy. This film is a prime example of what happens when money takes over a well-oiled franchise. The last episode of the Trilogy shows how Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is torn between the dark and light side. His goal is to find the sith planet Exegol and once he locates the planet he discovers Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), who has been pulling all the strings from behind the curtains since Episode VII. When Kylo found this planet he swore his allegiance to the dead Palpatine and would go on a mission to find Rey and kill her to solidify his role in Palpatine’s empire. On this planet Palptine had a massive army of Imperial Star Destroyers that he commands at will. Kylo sets out to find Rey and kill her to be part of Palpatine’s rule. They eventually encounter each other and have a fight similar to the one from Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, which takes place on the Death Star ruins. During the fight Kylo’s mother, Leia, reaches out to him one last time before she dies. He gets distracted and Rey stabs him and escapes with Kylo’s ship to the planet Ahch-to. Kylo then gets persuaded back to the light by his father’s essence.
Rey, now on her own, seeks to find out who her family… who she really is. During the midpoint of the movie she discovered she is of the Palpatine bloodline, the grand daughter of Darth Sidious. Further into the Episode, Rey and Kylo, who was turned to the light, with the help of the Resistance fleet, attack Exegol. During the siege on Exegol, the Resistance, in addition to the ships rallied by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams), fight Palpatine’s army head to head. While the Resistance is holding the fight in the air, Rey and Kylo fight Palpatine and ultimately win with the cost being Kylo’s life. The film concludes with Rey burying Luke and Leia’s lightsabers. FULL STORY
The Mandolorian Offers A Fresh New Look At The Star Wars Galaxy
by Ryan Tavera
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, there was a lone gunslinger known as the Mandolorian, played by Pedro Pascal, first appearing on November 12, 2019, on the launch of Disney’s new streaming device known as Disney+.
When Mando’s character was introduced, it is revealed that he is from a creed known as the Mandalorians, a group of people who are distinguished by their distinct armor and impressive combat skills. Mando is a bounty hunter for a living and takes up a job from a shady ex-empire official, who directs Mando to obtain an asset with the promise of a large fortune.
Mando is helped by IG-11 a bounty hunter droid and Kuiil a resident of the planet, as they shoot their way through countless guards to obtain the target. As Mando slowly creeps up to the floating orb at the climax of the mission, his device begins to beep faster and louder. He opens the orb to find perhaps the show’s most talked-about character, the notorious Baby Yoda that has spread through the internet like wildfire. Thus at the end of the pilot, a worldwide obsession with baby Yoda was born. FULL STORY
Oscar 2020 Predictions and Story Lines
by Timothy Levine, Executive Editor
With the Oscar Nominations being released this last Monday, the buzz for the Academy Awards has gone into full swing with as much excitement as there is controversy.
One of the biggest disappointments of the nominations is that there is not a single woman nominated in the Best Director category. With the Golden Globes having the same outcome in their nominations for this category, I did not anticipate the Oscars to follow suit. While I’m impressed with the current field and feel that none of the nominees are undeserving, there were many great female directors this past year in Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers), and Lulu Wang (The Farewell), just to name a few.
Another problem I personally had of the nominations was the complete shut out of Uncut Gems from any of the categories. While I found this movie to be quite polarizing in opinions, I thought it was one of the best films of the year and deserving of some recognition. I especially feel bad for Adam Sandler, who is not normally known for Oscar-worthy performances but delivered the best performance of his career and one of the best performances of the year in general. FULL STORY
Call of Duty Returns to Form
by Ryan Tavera
In 2007, developer Infinity Ward changed the video game industry for years to come and sparked an extensive amount of shooter games to be released, namely Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. The game exploded in popularity and was what many considered the glory days of the Call Of Duty franchise.
In recent years, however, the franchise has begun to take a dip in quality and originality. The majority of fans are simply not as excited for the new games as they used to be. This year Call Of Duty returns to its “modern roots” with a reboot that many are considering the franchise’s greatest moment.
Call of Duty is a military first-person shooter that continues to be one of the biggest franchises in gaming. Publisher Activision annually releases a new entry developed by different studios and it’s always one of the top-selling games for that year. FULL STORY