Category Archives: Arts + Entertainment

A+E: 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. 

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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.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is exactly what fans have been wanting for the past 5 years, simple boots on the ground modern military shooter. Modern Warfare ditches all the futuristic themes and weaponry seen in previous installments such as Black Ops 3 and 4 likewise the hero-shooter aspects of previous games have been removed, there are no more special powers cluttering up multiplayer matches.

Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare is a reboot of the Modern Warfare franchise. The game takes place before the events of the first installment Call Of Duty 4 Modern Warfare and since this is a reimaging of the franchise, Infinity Ward has plenty of room to reimagine previous events and create new ones, likewise, Infinity Ward can play around with characters how they see fit.

Speaking about the story one of Modern Warfare’s strongest aspects is the Campaign itself. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the Modern Warfare’s Campaign it is easily the strongest one I’ve played this decade.

Each level is constructed to play different and give a sense of variety one mission you play as a swat team raiding a house in the suburbs at midnight taking out enemies one by one silently with your squadmates, clearing each floor slowly and methodically.

The next you play as a marine sitting on top of a building fending off waves of enemy soldiers that slowly make it closer to the point you’re defending, yet you continue to hunker down and defend the point guns blazing.

Somewhat innovative, but effective, yes. This generation’s Call of Duty campaigns has a “thrill ride” reputation, a procession of set piece moments with no time to catch your breath. Modern Warfare is more deliberately paced, and better off for it

There’s an intimacy to Modern Warfare’s campaign that I find frightful and fascinating all at once. The game has a gritty realistic tone to it, Infinity Ward really nailed making the player feel as if they were in a real war.

There are only two cons that come to mind when thinking of Modern Warfare’s campaign, sadly its to short for its own good and lacks any real controversy. Modern Warfare hopes to garner prestige from its realistic weapons, great graphics, and lively landscapes but at its core, it tries to be a serious commentary on present-day conflicts yet falls short due to the lack of confronting anything that’s actually controversial.

Ultimately what I took away from the campaign was that Infinity Ward wanted to remind players that “modern warfare” isn’t black-and-white as it was in earlier Call of Duty games focusing on the heroes of World War II.

Neither the enemy nor the “good guys” tend to play fair. War is ugly and messy, and Modern Warfare is an attempt to replicate that. It refuses to gloss over the horrors of war and glorify it in the same way as the previous Call of Duty games.

Moving on to the meat and potatoes of the game, the multiplayer. Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare’s multiplayer comes with two halves: Competitive multiplayer and co-operative Special Ops. Progression carries over between these two modes, and bits of the story also cross over between the campaign and Special Ops, while multiplayer maps are often clearly inspired by levels in the campaign.

Modern Warfare’s multiplayer maps have changed quite significantly and possibly for the worst. For starters, Infinity Ward has essentially ditched the three-lane map layouts that players have become used to. Now the maps are quite large, maybe too large for the average six vs six-match, most maps are littered with positions for players to hunker down and sit it one spot. This combined with the very fast TTK (time-to-kill) can lead to a much slower and methodical way of playing.

Personally, I welcome the change of pace to the multiplayer, although at first, it was harder to get used to the slower gameplay and bigger maps. However, the more I played I began to adapt to the new gameplay and found myself having better games and more fun.

Although running and gunning may not work as well as in previous games there are plenty of ways the player is able to tweak their classes to the way they like to play. This brings me to my next point the customization that is given to the player.

Modern Warfare has introduced a new class system called the gunsmith which allows the player to choose up to 60 different attachments for each weapon. That may sound a little overwhelming but the game tells you exactly what each attachment will do to your gun and how it will change its performance.

Each attachment has a clear set of pros and cons, listing exactly what stats are affected and how. For example, you can change the stock of your rifle and gain ++ Aim Walking Movement Speed and + Movement Speed, but at the expense of — Recoil Control, — Aiming gun steadiness and — Idle Sway Control.

What this amount of customization means is you can precisely change and fine-tune your weapon to suit the way you play. The gunsmith opens up a whole other aspect to the multiplayer and way more replay value. As each weapon has up to 60 attachments this will allow players to grind the game and choose the weapon that best suits them.

All in all Modern Warfare is desperately what the Call Of Duty franchise needed. Its a return to form with added features and a great campaign, it’s really the whole package. I can easily recommend this game to anybody who enjoys FPS (first-person shooter) games. The community is excited to see what Infinity Wards plans are regarding Modern Warfare in 2020.

A+E: “Harriet” Offers Cinematic Look at Tubman’s Underground Railroad

by Che Womack, Contributing Writer

Although November isn’t recognized as Black History Month, film producers Gregory Howard, Daniela Lundberg and Debra Chase made sure American audiences could relive a major part of black history in America. 

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Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in 1820. She was one of nine children, all of which resided in Dorchester County, Maryland. Her mother, “Rit” Green, was owned by Mary Pattison. Her father, who eventually bought his freedom, lived in close proximity to Pattison’s plantation.

In the movie, Tubman is portrayed by Cynthia Erivo, a British actress, singer, and songwriter. Erivo won the part over a multitude of actresses who were rumored for the role, including Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.

The beginning of the movie included a key aspect of Harriet’s life that could have jeopardized her escape from slavery: her spells. When Harriet was a young girl, she was hit over the head with a stone that cracked her skull open and began a lifelong trouble of spells. However, the spells, she says, includes her communication with God, who guides her through troubled times. The movie demonstrates these spells a multitude of times that include when she’s running away from her farm, while she is in the North and while she’s rescuing slaves herself.

As she plans to escape her plantation, the movie exhibits an important aspect of slave-life throughout American slavery: negro spirituals. Negro spirituals were slave-made songs that carried tradition, along with messages hidden within the song. In the movie, upon her departure, Harriet sings a famous negro spiritual that acknowledges a slave is running away. In this case, Harriet was saying goodbye to her mother through song. It was an important feature of slave-life that the movie captured perfectly.

The movie also brought in other important aspects and people of the time. As the movie approached its climax, it acknowledged the beginning of the fugitive slave act. The Fugitive Slave Act was an act that was passed by Congress on September 18, 1850, which was part of the Compromise of 1850. The act required that slaves be returned to their owners, even if they were in a free state. The act also made the federal government responsible for finding, returning and trying escaped slaves.

In the movie, when the act was passed, people of color in the North scampered and scurried around and the individuals who ran the Underground Railroad, made it a priority to get Tubman to Canada. Then, leading to another one of her spells.

The Underground Railroad was a secret network organized by people who helped men, women, and children escape from slavery to freedom. It operated before the Civil War and helped end slavery in the United States. As shown in the movie, Tubman has a big part in the success of the railroad.

When Tubman finally captured full freedom, she became acquainted with railroad leader: William Still, portrayed by Leslie Odom Jr. As they became closer partners, Tubman started to make multiple trips to Virginia to collect slaves, including her parents and her brothers.

During her time as a conductor of the railroad, the movie exhibited the many ways Tubman stole slaves, which included the aforementioned spirituals, stealing slaves right off plantations, and hidden messages that only slaves could understand.

At the end of the movie, the film showed the audience Tubman’s time as a Union Soldier, where she freed over 700 slaves and became the most recognized African-American during the Civil War; followed by written facts of her contributions, accolades, and accomplishments while she helped free almost 800 slaves.

“Harriet” exhibited a true American hero through strength, courage, and fight for a greater cause. Erivo could not have been a better choice to show the definition of a truly strong, black woman in the time of American Slavery.

 

A+E: Mr. BBQ in Fullerton Offers Authentic Korean Cuisine for More than the College Crowd

by Aharon Colon, Arts and Entertainment Editor

Known primarily for being a collegetown and an area with an eclectic mix of things to do and eat, Fullerton, CA plays hosts one of Southern California’s best Korean BBQ joints. 

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You wouldn’t expect it. In an area that is primarily Latino and White  (36.4% and 33%, respectively, according to Data USA), not many would think of going straight to Fullerton to get authentic Korean BBQ. To be honest, even I was skeptical of how good this place could possibly be, considering it wasn’t from an area known for having many good Asian restaurants.

Despite this, Fullerton is, in fact, a pretty diverse city. To finish off the data I originally cited, after Whites and Latinos, Asians come next at 24.4%. As you can see, all of the numbers are very close, meaning if you look into it more, there are possibilities of finding delicious authentic food from every culture.

From a personal standpoint, however, I only saw Fullerton as a collegetown. Being that my sister is attending Cal State Fullerton and that my father and mother go there often for meetings, not to mention I want to attend there as well, all I thought about when taking Rosecrans and Imperial Highway all the way down from La Mirada was, “I’m going to college.”

Another thing I thought of when going to Fullerton was of their downtown area. This little strip of shops, restaurants, arcades and tattoo parlors was a favorite for my family to visit because of scenery and multitude of choices it provides.

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But after going to Mr. BBQ, that whole small world changed.

It is a hidden spot if you don’t already know about it, almost hiding behind a small court of other fast foods and a CVS. Though it’s hard to miss when you get behind those buildings, because of the line that goes out the door almost every night.

It is just that good. No matter when I go, a Thursday night at 5 pm for example, or a Sunday night around the same time, it is always packed.

As you walk into the restaurant after waiting your turn for a table, you notice the bright lights,the hip aesthetic scene and huge TVs all over the place. I’d say it’s almost like walking into a loud club where everyone is having a good time and the music is just blasting over everyone’s conversations. Some people might not like that, but that’s just part of the experience of going here.

You’ll also find great art on the walls and a waiting area with Jenga, Uno and other tabletop games. The exit sign is definitely my favourite piece though, as you leave the top of the doors say, “Payce!,” with hands making the peace sign.

Anyway, you’re now seated at a table with a very clean stove in the middle of it, already prepared with utensils and good spacing between you and your friends.

The waiters at Mr. BBQ are also a great point. They’re young, diverse, quick to serve and friendly. Every time I’ve been, they were always on par with my expectations.

They shine brightest, however, when it’s a birthday, where they drop what they are doing to sing and dance to (usually rap) music for the customer. When I say it comes out of nowhere, it comes out of nowhere. You will be in a good conversation with your party, then loud birthday music starts playing and your waiter goes to celebrate with the birthday boy or girl. All in all, everything about the service is just the tip of the iceberg.

When asked of what you would like, you are presented with a large menu of an assortment of different meats, seafoods, and stews. In total, there are 78 (yes, I counted) different items you can choose from those categories. If you can’t decide, they offer three different combos of different meats and seafoods that go the best together. Personally my family goes with the Bulgogi (marinated choice chuck meat), Thinly Slice Beef Brisket, Premium Marinated Beef Sirloin, Oysters, and Spicy Homemade Tofu Soup. It’s as much as you can eat, so we just get that lineup over and over again until we can’t eat anymore. On top of that, we get bowls of white rice to wash it all down after every round.

Before the meat comes out though, you are bombarded with different small side dishes, such as edamame beans, kimchi and others.

But the best part is the meat.

For one, it comes unprepared. For those who don’t know, Korean BBQ is basically a cook your own food style cuisine, and you can just smell the marinated beef as it lands on your table.

The best feeling in the world is seeing it slap down on the stove for the first time, because you waited all day to hear the sizzling of the meat and smell the steam that comes from it. Since you want as much meat as possible, I recommend you section off the stove to fit as much as possible on it.

Time passes, and your meat is now done. It’s veloptuious look and sizzling taste enters your mouth and melts like butter. When I say this meat is premium, I mean it’s premium. 

For us, the brisket usually comes first. This thinly sliced meat is the easiest to eat and the fastest to cook. I usually tend to marinate it in salt for a little bit to get more flavor. Picking it up with chopsticks, mixing it with rice, feeling the slight taste of charcoal and chewing it minimally is why this is one of my favorites.

The next one up is the Bulgogi, Mr. BBQ’s signature dish. As stated before, this is marinated choice chuck, so when you see the meat before it’s cooked it’s bathes in sauces and juices. Once cooked, the meat is almost sweet and a lot thicker than the brisket.

The last meat I recommend is the Premium Marinated Beef Sirloin, which when presented, is one full steak on a plate waiting to be devoured. One thing you might ask when cooking it is, “How do I cut this up?” You actually have to use scissors for this meat, and I confide that you do it while cooking the meat to cook it a little bit better.

As you might expect, this meat tastes exactly like an American steak. The juiciness is unreal, the taste is flavorful, and the meat is marinated. Like a symphony, all the right flavors come into place.

A+E: Disney+ Launches to Widespread Anticipation

by Alex Rotter

The release of Disney+ last week quickly became a wildly successful launch for Disney. On the first day of the launch, about 10 million people became a subscriber to the app. This far exceeded Disney’s initial projections for the first day.

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Disney+ is a subscription-based service that only costs 6.99 dollars a month or if you want to pay a whole year, it would cost you 69.99 dollars a year. If you pay 12.99 a month, you are given access to Disney, Hulu and ESPN+. This is a very good deal because you are given access to two really good streaming platforms and you are able to watch sports for a cheap price.

If you want to check out the app without paying the fee, they give you the ability to get a 7-day free trial to see if you will enjoy the app. This is a very good deal if you enjoy Disney movies and it has a large number of movies from the Disney catalog that you can watch.

What’s really amazing about the Disney+ app is that you are able to watch on all devices. You are able to watch on Apple, Android, PlayStation, and Xbox. This is really good for the app because you can use Disney+ and watch your favorite shows anywhere you go.

On the Disney+ app, there are a lot of movies to pick from the likes of Disney and all of their properties such as Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and short films. There are many movies to pick from so there will always be a movie that you will be interested in. Disney+ also has all of the old Disney shows that kids watched back then. Disney+ has a category called “Hit Movies” and this section displays all of the movies that were really successful for Disney. What makes this app very unique is that they have shows from each decade. Disney+ has shows dating back from the 1920s-1930s and this can bring in older subscribers that used to watch those shows when they were younger.

Disney+ is not just for kids, it provides a variety of films that can be viewed by all. The movie series that can bring in all ages are the Marvel movies. The Disney+ app has most of the Marvel movies that were shown in theaters. They also have lots of animated Marvel shows like Spiderman, Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man.

Pixar Animation Studios also provides many short films for Disney+ dating back to 1989 with a short film named Knick Knack all the way to short films made in 2019, overall consisting of over 50 short films.

Disney+ consists of a recollection of old memories of most people’s childhood that can be relieved through one app and can be accessed through multiple different platforms. At a price of 6.99 a month or 69.99 a year, it provides a lot of value and entertainment that everyone can enjoy.

A+E: New AirPods Pro Headphones Live Up to Hype

by Joshua Lucero

Last week, Apple released the next generation of earphones, the AirPods Pro. The next generation of AirPods is available now. The new AirPods Pro are for sale at $249 and are the newest addition to the AirPods family.

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New features include “active noise cancellations and superior, immersive sound in an all-new lightweight, in-ear design,” according to Apple. The new design is made to be lightweight, have Bluetooth audio, and an in-ear design that is created for comfort.

Rather than having the normal design of Airpods this new generation has an “expanded mesh microphone port versus the older AirPods,” according to AppleInsider. The new AirPods have a smaller design, each individual earbud is designed with soft silicone ear tips that are made to mold to a person’s ear. This provides both comfort and greater sound quality for the user. Not only have they provided a more comfortable fit to a user’s ear, but now they are both water and sweat resistant. This new generation of AirPods are being molded toward a more active lifestyle but are still able to be used by everyone.

Apple’s new and improved AirPods have adapted to the noisy walks of life. On an average day, someone would walk in a populated area where noise cannot be escaped. The AirPods Pro allows users to be able to listen to music, phone calls, and more from their noise cancellation improvements. They do this by using two microphones that adapt to each ear and fit, one microphone facing out and the other facing inwards which allow for the noise cancelation to work.

Apple added a more pure sound quality by combining it with an Adaptive EQ, “which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of an individual’s ear — resulting in a rich, immersive listening experience,” said Apple. The new design upholds itself on a better and clear sound quality.

With a new feature of “Transparency Mode,” Apple has added this so a user can still listen to outside noise. You can activate this by using the Pros directly or in the control center for any Apple device. Comparing this to past AirPods this new feature allows someone to hear their voice naturally, communicate with someone and many other possibilities that involve communication.

Compared to the last generation, the AirPods Pros have added some new features. Mainly the AirPods Pro has a customizable fit to a user’s ear, Active Noise Cancellation, an Adaptive EQ, Sweat and water-resistant capabilities and a $50 dollar increase on sale from $199.00 to $249.00.

Other than these changes these two AirPods have everything else in common, the only con that the AirPods Pro have is a user can listen to four and a half hours when the last generation had five hours of battery life.

A+E: NBA 2K20 Opens to Mixed Reviews

by Isaiah Holm

The video game NBA 2K20, released early last month to much critical acclaim, still faces its fair share of criticism. The gameplay this year is amazing. With the addition of 40 new badges, every player plays in their own unique way. While the game itself is beautiful, the fact that the game was unfinished and full of bugs left many of the game’s die-hard fans upset and wanting more.

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The staple of every 2K, Play Now, was left relatively unchanged. The mode itself is still the same, 5 v. 5 against a friend or the computer. The pregame show still has the familiar faces in Shaq, Kenny, and Ernie, however, the final member of the TNT crew Charles Barkley, is still noticeably absent. The commentators have new lines, although if someone plays the game a lot, they will still notice repeated lines and stories by them.

One of the new additions this year are the All-Decade teams. Players can now play against their friends using the best players of their chosen decade and settle arguments over when basketball was really “the best.” Another addition is the ability to choose the color of the accessories worn by the players during the game.

The most popular mode, MyCareer, has all sorts of new additions this year. The story mode is a completely unique experience this year. It features many high-level actors, such as Idris Elba and Rosario Dawson. While most NBA 2K20 MyCareer stories just have the basic story of a talented player working his way up into the league, this year’s story gives the player the ability to make choices that change the experience and also has a side story that has a greater meaning to it rather than just playing basketball, for example, when the main character sits out a playoff game to protest his teammate losing his scholarship due to an injury.

The online extension of MyCareer is the Neighborhood. Inside the Neighborhood, the player can go shopping for new clothes, play games in a neighborhood park setting, or play in the more competitive pro-am. However, since the Neighborhood last year received many negative reviews, many players wanted a new Neighborhood to play in.

Sadly, it is the same as last year which brought major critical backlash towards the developers and led many people to say that they would not buy the game just for that reason. However, once the game was released, the players realized that although the framework for the neighborhood was the same, there were many events throughout the week that changed how the neighborhood looked which resolved their complaints. The only new game mode that was added this year was 3-on-3 pro-am, which allows players to have a private matchup against their friends or hold a tournament, which was not possible in previous years.

Although the gameplay is amazing this year, the plethora of bugs has led to many gamers being upset that the game is unfinished. There have already been 5 patches and the game has only been out for less than a month. These patches have combined for over one hundred gigabytes which for people that have slow or metered internet, make it hard to even play the game. Although hasn’t received as much backlash when compared to the scandal in NBA 2K18, when gamer’s player files were being deleted, there are still a lot of bugs such as not being able to join a friend, getting disconnected from online play, and private matchmaking not working. The outrage has even gotten to the point where players are putting together a class-action lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive for false advertising.

A+E: Joker “Haunts and Amazes” Audiences

by Tim Levine, Executive Editor

Joker, directed by Todd Phillips, is an utterly dark and riveting origin tale of the quintessential Batman villain that will forever change perceptions of what a comic book movie can be.

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Set in 1981 Gotham City, Joker tells the story of Arthur Fleck. A man that works as a clown and wants to be a stand-up comedian. He suffers from mental illness, having to visit a social worker and constantly asking for a bigger prescription. He is not happy, but no one in this grim world he lives in seems to be.

Gotham City shows a gross and decaying society, one with rats infesting the streets and rich seeming to continue to prosper while the others are left behind. The setting seems to parallel the Wall Street society of New York but adding a much darker tone and shade to the landscape. People are getting angrier and it is only a matter of time before the city cracks.

Arthur Fleck feels as if he is one of those people, as though the world steps over him. He is isolated and only has his mother who he cares for in their small apartment, as he gets more and more delusional by the day. The movie depicts his quick and dark descent into madness where the lines of fiction and reality become increasingly blurred.

While not necessarily staying true to any prior origin stories of the clown prince of crime, the story is brilliant in its own right, perfectly encapsulating the spirit of the character, an individual haunted by darkness. Phillips breaks the norms of a comic book movie in a manner that truly lets the viewer look into the mind of not just a villain, but one troubled man.

Joaquin Phoenix does an excellent job of portraying the Joker, showing the transition of the character quickly yet with clear intent throughout the film. The shallow and shy shell that Phoenix portrays early on is juxtaposed with the final rebirth of the character near the end of the film, showing the Joker breaking out of his shell and become the character we all know.

While Phoenix’s acting does the character no faults, certain depictions of his mental state seem to show an oversimplification and exaggeration of insanity. Phillips feels as though he needs to spoon-feed the viewer that Arthur is becoming crazy in some scenes when the subtleties in emotion that Phoenix utilizes are more than enough for us to see this transformation. Outside of Phoenix, no one in the remaining cast really stands out as good or bad, but I think this is better for the film, as with the title, all emphasis should be on Joker.

Definitely the best movie I’ve seen this year, Joker does not hold back, and will leave the viewer with a movie experience that will both amaze and haunt. Look out for this film to be a prominent contender in the upcoming award season.

A+E: “Lend Me A Tenor” Play Preview

by Travien Sears, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

The St. Joseph High School 5 Sisters Theatre Company will be putting out their 2019 Fall play, Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me A Tenor, an intended pun on “Lend me a tenner” (a ten dollar bill), which was the title of Ludwig’s first Broadway production. The play was a nominee for 9 Tony Awards and wound up winning 3 and has since been adapted as a musical.

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“This is one of the most absolute comedic plays that I know of,” said Mr. Van Deventer, the Visual and Performing Arts and Theatre Director at St. Joseph High School.

Mr. Van Deventer, who says that he chose this comedy because the theatre students have been asking him to do a comedy, wanted to put out a play that didn’t have too much of deep meaning. He wanted to put out a play that brought laughter and joy among the crowd as well as among the cast.

“[This play] is extremely hilarious and in the times that we are living in, people especially need a good laugh,” Mr. Van Deventer said.

There is also a few Bosco students on the cast list and one of these students, Parker Deaton, who plays Tito Merelli, a world-famous Italian opera tenor singer who is known as ll Stupendo, had some influence on the selection of this play.

“I didn’t tell [Mr. Van Deventer] that I wanted this you know what, I did talk to [Mr. Van Deventer] at the end of last semester and basically told him that all the shows I’ve ever done with St. Joseph’s have been like really serious, so I told [Mr. Van Deventer] that I wanted to do a really funny comedy,” said Parker.

“The cast in general is pretty excited, but also kinda nervous, which is essentially every show. Overall, we’re just excited to perform it come opening night,” Parker added.

The cast list is a small one consisting of only three St. John Bosco High School students and eight St. Joseph High School students, a total of only eleven performers.

Despite a small cast list, the play is guaranteed to be hilarious and to give the audience a good laugh. A breath of fresh air is one way to describe this play, and you won’t be disappointed with the talents that the students will bring.

Opening Night for the play will be Friday October 11th, 2019; 7:30 PM at St. Joseph High School, in the Multi Purpose Room turned Black Box Theatre.

Other performances include:

Saturday October 12th, 2019, 7:30 PM

Thursday October 17th, 2019, Social Media Night, 7:30PM

Friday October 18th, 2019, 3:30PM and 7:30PM

Saturday October 19th, 2019, 7:30, Closing Night

Be sure to go and watch this hilarious comedy and support your fellow St. John Bosco Braves and St. Joseph Jesters!

A+E: Big Brother’s Twenty-Year Reign Atop the Reality Game Show World

by Aharon Colon, Arts and Entertainment Editor

As season 21 of Big Brother quickly comes to a close, it’s worth looking at the long-standing pop cultural significance of the groundbreaking reality show. 

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If you do not know what Big Brother is, allow me to explain.

Big Brother is a reality game show that is also treated as a social experiment, where producers put at least 16 random people in a house to compete for half a million dollars. Not only do they have to win challenges to gain immunity from being voted out or gain power ups, but they also have to survive mentally and play the social side of the game. What this means is that they have to have good relationships with the people around them in order to not be on the wrong side of the house vote, where one could be “evicted” from the house. The main goal is to be the last one standing.

There is so much thought that is put into this show that it is second to none. From the creativity of the games to how the show is run, no reality game show is like the genre’s godfather.

Contestants are recorded 24/7 by a vast array of live cameras throughout the show’s house, hence the name Big Brother (a nod to the surveillance state in George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984), and cannot have access to the outside world. They do not even see producers or anyone who works on the show, it is only them and the game.

Due to this, the cast is always worn down, images of adults crying like babies, injuries and mental breakdowns are all expected to happen the moment the game starts. No one is safe and no one can be trusted.

The house is also of importance, too. Despite the colorful themes and very nice decor, the house is usually the battlefield for the mental part of the game.

This is where the contestants cook food, get to know each other and share secrets to their trusted allies. Whatever happens in the house always trickles over into the games, where the stakes get higher as the weeks go on.

So, what makes this show important?

First, it is crazy to think that a show like this has been going on for 21 seasons. First airing on July 5, 2000, BB, as it is known for short, has great relationship with CBS. Racking up the ratings is not a problem, and even though this generation might not be into it as much, the show has genuinely good content despite it being a reality game show.

Not only that, but the show has a dedicated fan base. Just like the show The Bachelor, there are super fans and historians on this show documenting its every move and every season. The core of this fan base tends to be in between “45 to 50 years old,” according to an article by the BBC.

This following is mainly fueled by access to 24/7 live feeds via CBS All Access, where views can watch the contestants’ every move and see what they are doing at all times of the day and night. Not only can viewers tune in that way, but voting and “fantasy leagues” all take place as well. Due to this, fans gain more connection to the contestants, thus making them more inclined to watch and see how they do every week.

St. John Bosco religion teacher Mr. Ed Torre has a son, Grant Torre, who actually interned on the show. Due to his contract, some of the information expressed in the interview cannot be published here. However, he did share why he felt the show has had such widespread, consistent success.

“When it boils down to it, Big Brother is a social experiment above all. What happens when you put 16 different people in a house for almost 100 days with no contact with the outside world? How do communities form? How do alliances form? How do targets emerge?” he said.

Coming from a different perspective, Grant explained Big Brother’s psychological aspect perfectly, conveying how these contestants are put in a less than desirable situation and expected to thrive in it.

“Like Lord of the Flies, a book that explores this a long time ago, or a lot of reality shows now, or even the state of American politics, I think Big Brother does a good job of being a microcosm of society,” he said.

Simply put: no show does it like BB.

This season is no different, and the drama and action has continued. The backstabs, fallen allies and all the mental breakdowns that have defined the show to this point are all present in the current season, and it’s almost time to crown a winner. The show has reached episode 39 with only three contestants remaining.

Watch this show from start to finish on Spectrum On Demand or CBS All Access.

Around Bosco: Welcome New Band Director, Mr. Ramon Villanueva!

by Travien Sears, Assistant Arts and Entertainment Editor

The school year has begun and many students have noticed a new face around campus, our newly hired instrumental Music Director Mr. Ramon Villanueva. Coming to Bosco from our brother Salesian school, Don Bosco Technical Institute, he has big goals in mind for our music program as a whole.

IMG_1320.jpegMr. Villanueva, a French Horn player, has had some amazing experiences in his over 20-year musical career, from traveling to China, South Korea (twice), performing in Carnegie Hall, recording music for movies, and performing with pop artists in concerts. He is excited to share, encourage and inspire the next generation of musicians and students to work hard and to aim high.

Not only is he working with our students as an educator, but he’s also currently growing upon his own previous collegiate degrees by pursuing another Masters Degree, this time however, instead of being in Music Performance, this degree is one called Musicology. Musicology, literally meaning, the study of music is a somewhat broad subject, however Mr. Villanueva has a focus and passion in Latin American art music. This is a very different emphasis and study than the Western Art Music that is studied by musicians here in America as well as in Northern Europe. He also found a passion for ethnomusicology, which isn’t a focus of study in Western or Latin American art but pretty much encompasses all music as well as the researching of music so that the musicians are able to break down the music of which they are playing.

“[I want] to allow students to feel that they have a place where they can have another creative outlet aside from everything else offered at the school,” Mr. Villanueva said.

One of Mr. Villanueva’s main goals is to give a way for his students to shine creatively. He wants to add more groups to help with that goal. Currently we have the SJB Braves Marching Band & Color Guard, the Wind Ensemble, Liturgical Band & Choir, Jazz Band, Indoor Winter Drumline, Indoor Winter Guard , Percussion Ensemble as well as the beginning and intermediate band classes.

A new group that Mr. Villanueva is excited to add in the near future is a Pure Digital Music Class. This class would entail producing beats and understanding the concept of the music in what we hear in a lot of the songs on the radio in rap, hip-hop and pop(ular) music. Another very important part of Program Growth is “injecting some new blood [and] getting students excited for what we are going to be adding,” Mr. Villanueva said.

Another way that Mr. Villanueva plans on growing the interest and the numbers of the program is by introducing new music to the Marching Band, as well as maintaining and improving upon the traditional charts and standards that have been kept and played in the past. By changing this aspect, he can improve the program so that students don’t get discouraged from doing another group just because they aren’t interested in doing the marching band.

“[I also] want there to be a greater diversity so that people see that we do more than just one thing here,” Mr. Villanueva said.

So far, the Marching Band has put out a few new tunes at the football games and is currently focusing on the ideals of quality over quantity. They’ve put out some new chart-toppers like: “Turn Me On” by David Guetta and “California Love” by Tupac featuring Dr. Dre.

The future goals and possibilities for the Marching Band and Color Guard, according to Mr. Villanueva, include but are not limited to exploring the competitive aspect in greater depth than the program has in the past few years, including competitive parades and traveling to all the football games. This includes trips like Mililani, Hawaii, which the band will unfortunately not be able to attend due to some major logistical details that were way too tricky to work out at the last minute. This can set up the culture where they are on the forefront and have this presence around campus, and part of that will be supporting the athletic teams in various ways.

 

 

Mr. Villanueva also talked about his plans to sustain and build upon the legacy of Mr. Eugene Fabiero, Bosco’s prior full-time band director who passed away in February of this last school year. Someone who had an enormous impact on the music program here as well as on the school community at large.

“Honoring the music that he incorporated in the Marching Band [because] what ends up happening with a departure, there’s always a shift, and for me, we have to honor what he did, but implement what I do and I have to somehow adopt what he did and make it my own. It’s impossible to step and fill someone’s shoes because every person’s mind is unique. I also plan on working with local middle schools to see how they feed into the school and also helping grow the program that way,” Mr. Villanueva said.

The Assistant Music Director, Mr. Christian Fuentes, someone who works the closest to Mr. Villanueva, has a great impression about our new band director,

“I really appreciate his vision for the music program as an alumnus of the program, as well as someone who has been on staff as Assistant Band Director and Front Ensemble Caption Head for the Indoor Drumline Program going on 8 years now, and him and I work very well together in my opinion,” Mr. Fuentes said. “I believe that he’s a great addition to our music program.”

Around campus, everyone is excited and ready to see what is to come with this new look band, and Mr. Villanueva is excited to deliver.

“This is definitely one of the high points of my musical career getting to direct the program, getting to bring my perspective and my background in music to the school and helping students thrive, not just as musicians, [which is important, but] that’s just one of the bonuses, but ultimately creating great people, kind people, people who care. For me, that’s a number one,” Mr. Villanueva said.

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