Artist Spotlight: Christine Carey: Highlighting one of Eastern’s finest vocalists.

Christine Carey, a senior contemporary music major at Eastern has been spending the past few months gearing up for her upcoming senior recital.

Carey has been performing for as long as she can remember, and although she grew up playing multiple instruments, Carey’s go-to musical outlet is her voice.

While Carey’s main form of musical expression is through her voice, she also finds it difficult; “when emotions are a thing, sometimes singing isn’t really possible” said Carey. When emotions become overwhelming, Carey will then turn to her guitar or piano, or even writing her own music. 

Beyond singing, Carey has been playing guitar and piano since she was very young, and recently picked up playing violin as well. 

Carey likes to delve into music that matches her vocal tone. She specializes in singing blues, jazz, and folk music, which also affects the way she writes music as well. Although she tends to be influenced by the music that she listens to, she tends to sing where her voice feels the strongest. 

Carey has been working towards setting up her senior recital since July, when she had her jury to select her song arrangements for the recital. The recital will feature jazz, contemporary folk music, musical theater songs, and a few of Carey’s original songs as well. 

A jury for music majors can be seen as a middle point in a senior thesis; “ It requires a weekly rehearsal with a team of collaborators, a lot of research into songs, understanding text, where they are coming from, and knowing what the story is so I can better tell it,” said Carey.

There are a lot of things that Carey had to take into consideration while planning her senior recital. Everything had to fit within a certain time frame, she had to find a proper accompanist for each piece, and she had to make sure that all of her songs fit with the theme of her contemporary music major.  

Carey is also an active member of the music ensembles; Turning point, University choir and Eastern Winds.

Beyond music, Carey takes on an active role in several clubs on campus. Alongside her music endeavors, Carey is a third year Student Chaplain in Gough Hall. She is also the music coordinator for the swing club, Ethels.

All around, Carey has always been an artistic soul, in her free time she enjoys dancing and sketching when she has the time to do so.

“I like to read but I don’t get much time for it, practice takes a lot, if you really want to get good you have to give a lot of time to practice” said Carey. 

Practice is important for any musician to master their craft. However “you can’t practice too much vocal, not safe, even just listening/visualizing pieces, other instruments can spend hours practicing pieces” advises Carey.

Carey’s advice for anyone looking to pursue music as a career is “to keep trying, even if it feels wrong or like you’re not getting anywhere. Practice takes time, you can’t just rush through stuff, take it slow and muddle your way through it. It is not an easy art, it is a hard discipline, you just gotta keep pushing.”

Carey’s senior recital will take place on Oct. 15 at St. David’s Episcopal Church at 7 p.m.

The Art of Writing in Books: A look at why writing in your favorite books can be beneficial.

When one thinks about writing in books, they probably think about analytical, close readings of deep and difficult texts for academic purposes. While this is definitely one of the many instances in which one can write in their books, it is surely not the only one, and it is absolutely not most people’s favorite. There are a vast multitude of benefits to writing in the margins of texts and underlining and circling parts of texts, aside from just deeper analysis/understanding. However, because reading and writing are both different experiences for everyone, the benefits will vary for each person. Perhaps it could be a way to help someone pay attention to the text, to be able to stay focused and keep their mind active instead of having to reread the same sentence five times and still not grasp any meaning. Perhaps it could be a way to mark things down to remember them. This could be helpful if one is planning to have a conversation about the text with others; if they struggle to understand a large section and a quick summary in the margins is easier than rereading, or even if they just like to go back through books they’ve read before and get reminders of what is happening. 

My personal favorite benefit to writing in my books when I read, is for fun. I will underline and circle quotes that speak to me, things that are funny, or just anything that stands out to me. I love to put little remarks in the margins of my books, or just commentary and jokes I think of while reading. Then, when I come back to books I read in the past, I can look back and see where I was at that time and what I drew from each text specifically. 

For me, writing in my books has become an art for two reasons. First, it is a complex and yet also simple action that varies on how it actually looks for each person and on the benefits it has for each person. Second, for myself and those I have talked to who write in their books when they read, it has become a necessity. Just as a musical artist or a visual artist feels a desire, or even internal demand to create their art, there is an instinctual desire to continually write in texts once you start to. So whether you enjoy reading or not, whether you can make connections and comments in the text or if you just want to laugh at or throw a random smiley face in the text, it is always going to be beneficial to write in your books as you read. It is an art: there is no expectation, there is no grade, there are no rules, just allow yourself to look at books and read texts a little differently with a pen or pencil in your hand.

Movie Spotlight: “Uncut Gems”: A look at the 2019 thriller, “Uncut Gems.”

Looking for a movie with non-stop action that keeps the viewers on the edge of their seats? “Uncut Gems” is exactly that in the 2019 drama and crime classic.

Directed by the Safdie brothers Josh and Benny, and written by Ronald Bronstein, “Uncut Gems” displays the life of a 2012 New York jewelry store owner Howard Ratner (Adam Sandler). Howard is a fast-talking businessman addicted to the thrill of gambling. Unfortunately, his addiction gets him into more trouble than he could handle, and runs into collectors who have no patience for his antics, including his brother-in-law Arthur. On thin ice, Howard’s luck could take a change for the better, as a golden opportunity presents itself.

Howard’s partner Demany sets up a meeting with Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett; originally luring him in for a watch before a playoff game against the Philadelphia 76ers. However, a long-awaited package arrives from Ethiopia. Excited, Howard leaves Demany and Kevin for a moment to unravel the gem from the box. He then comes back to the front of the shop to show Kevin this gem. Kevin instantly gets hit in a trance from looking at this gem and then tells Ratner his desire for this gem. However, due to wanting the rock, Kevin asks if he can borrow it for the game. Kevin’s plea is reluctantly accepted by Howard, so Kevin gives his 2008 championship ring as collateral. 

The film explores more of Horward’s home life, including the highs and lows with family (including both his wife and mistress), debt, relationships, and business, eventually doubting himself. With his only hope being the gem in the hands of a star. From beginning to end, it is filled with twists and turns.

One great aspect of the film is that Sandler played his role well. Howard might be annoying, but his acting for this role was exceptional. He completely embodied the personality of a New York jewelry store owner, unfaithful husband, and gambling addict. Through all of the lows Howard hits, Sandler’s portrayal of emotion allows viewers to sympathize with a bad character. 

Another is how extremely unpredictable it gets throughout the film. Howard’s expectations and plans didn’t work or were stopped in their tracks. The story not allowing him to win stayed true to his character. He wants to rebuild relationships with his soon-to-be ex-wife and kids, pay off debts, and do business with Garnett. The buildup leads to a great climax towards the movie’s end, making Howard feel practically invincible.

Lastly, the great list of cast members outside of Sandler and Garnett in this film shouldn’t go unnoticed. Julie Fox, Idina Menzel, LaKeith Stanfield, Eric Bogosian, and more played their roles well. These characters’ antics make Howard’s world into a living nightmare.

“Uncut Gems” is timed at two hours and fourteen minutes, but it will keep you entertained as both a stressful and exciting watch. However, the movie’s popularity is significantly shown as its trailer has accumulated 12 million views at the time of this article on YouTube, and has been heavily featured on Netflix’s popular section. “Uncut Gems” also won critics over; currently holding  a 91% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes. Give Sandler credit, as “Uncut Gems” is the actor’s highest-rated feature-length film on the website by a wide margin (12% higher than “Punch Drunk Love”). 

“Uncut Gems”  is available to stream on Netflix. 

Sources: Netflix, Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube

AOC’s Met Gala Dress: Did AOC choose the right dress designer?

The Met Gala is known for being one of the biggest events in fashion and isn’t a stranger to controversy. Many celebrities use this publicity-rife event as a chance to leverage their voice, like Billie Eilish, who only agreed to wear Oscar de la Renta if the fashion label went completely fur-free, and she stunned in their Marilyn Monroe-inspired dress. However, other outfits, like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress generated far more discourse on both sides of the aisle.

Many conservatives criticized Ocasio-Cortez on the basis of false claims, accusing her of spending large sums of money to attend the event and buy the dress. However, though tickets for the Met Gala can cost anywhere from $35,000 to $300,000, Ocasio-Cortez was invited along with many other New York elected officials as guests of the museum who do not pay for their ticket. Likewise, the dress was borrowed, not bought. On the other hand, those on the left criticize Ocasio-Cortez for attending at all, given that she was rubbing shoulders with the wealthiest members of American society rather than serving the working-class people she often claims to champion.

I think Ocasio-Cortez knew exactly what she was doing when she wore that dress to the Met Gala. She wanted everyone talking about her dress and her platform, and that’s exactly what happened. To me, that seems like a well-played move, and it’s gutsy for her to walk into the upper echelons of the New York elite and start these kinds of conversations. If she’d paid for the ticket and the dress, I’d agree that that would be hypocritical, but she didn’t. Instead, she took the chance to boost her message and keep conversations that she cared about going. That, I can respect.

However, rumors are circulating that Ocasio-Cortez’s designer, Brother Vellies, may be in hot water regarding their own taxes. British tabloid Daily Mail, along with several other conservative newspapers, claims to have dug up information that indicates the fashion brand still has outstanding tax warrants from before the pandemic, along with six federal liens, meaning that the government has a legal claim against your property when you fail to pay a tax debt. Brother Vellies is not exactly low profile either; while Ocasio-Cortez said on the red carpet that “We really started having a conversation about what it means to be a working class women of color at the Met,” the brand she wore is known for dressing plenty of other celebrities such as Beyoncé, Meghan Markle, Zendaya, Rihanna and Lady Gaga (though it’s worth noting that almost all of these celebrities are women of color). The designer, Aurora James, is a woman of color who founded 15percent Pledge, a nonprofit that asks brands to devote 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands. 

While I respect Ocasio-Cortez’s political move to get people talking about her platform and her political stances, I do think she made a mistake when choosing her designer. Whether or not Brother Vellies does have outstanding tax warrants like several sources claim, the brand is not exactly a low-profile small business, and Ocasio-Cortez does not seem to be supporting the underdog as much as one might hope. As is often the case with controversy, Ocasio-Cortez’s “Tax the Rich” dress is not a black-and-white issue, and the ethical questions raised are worth discussing for people of all political leanings.

Sources: AOC’s ‘Tax the Rich’ dress designer’s firm ran up tax arrears of $130,000 | Daily Mail Online; AOC’s ‘Tax The Rich Dress’ – Ultimate Fashion Statement Or Display Of Hypocrisy (forbes.com); Why A.O.C.’s Met Gala Dress Made People Mad – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Which Jonas Era is Better?: Comparing the Jonas Brothers before and after the split.

Remember 10 or 11ish years ago? When we are jamming out to “Burnin’ Up,” and “Fly with Me” by the Jonas Brothers. From “SOS” to “Year 3,000”, the Jonas Brothers have created so many songs that the Gen Z generation knows and loves.  Some fans still know the songs by heart, while others smile when they remember the good old days.

         In 2012, the Jonas Brothers announced they were splitting up.  From that moment on, the Jonas Brothers did not release any more music together. Each brother went on to do their own separate projects.  Nick had a successful solo career, Joe’s band DNCE did exceptionally well, and Kevin was able to start a family.  During the hiatus, each brother worked hard to find what they were passionate about.  They were able to grow individually, so they could create things that represented who they were.

After a six-year hiatus, the brothers announced they are getting back together. Along with the announcement, the brothers released their song, “Sucker.” This song sounded completely different from the music they released 10 years ago.  Since the brothers spent time working on themselves, the music they made together was so much stronger.  Each brother had found the sounds that they love separately and were able to put it together to create something brand new.

There are different opinions on which era of the Jonas Brothers is better, and I believe it is the here and now. I still remember the words to every song from 10 years ago, but the music they are releasing now is so more well-crafted.  With each release, you can hear how each brother worked hard to bring their own style or flair to piece. In their new song, “Whos In Your Head,” you can hear the DNCE sound mixed together with Nick’s solo career sound. 

The brothers worked hard while they were on their own and they are bringing those skill to the band to make something astounding. 10 years ago, we received the songs of our childhood.  But now, the band we know, and love is creating the songs of our adulthood.  Their old music is something fans of the Jonas Brothers can cherish forever, but their new sound is unique to them.  When you hear their music, you hear the sounds of three brothers having the time of their lives.

Former Pennsylvania Institution Transformed into Haunted House Attraction: The dark past of Pennhurst leads to controversy after the former institution is transformed into a haunted house

Situated approximately 18.7 miles away from Eastern University, the remains of the Pennhurst State School and Hospital stand as a reminder of maltreatment and captivity. 

Established in 1908, Pennhurst State School and Hospital, originally known as the Eastern Pennsylvania State Institution for the Feeble-Minded and Epileptic, officially opened and admitted residents. In addition to many other institutions in the United States, Pennhurst aimed to segregate individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities from the rest of society. For over eight decades, a total of roughly 10,600 children and adults lived the vast majority of their lives, if not their entire lives, within the perpetual quarantine of Pennhurst. 

Although Pennhurst was established to care for people with seizure disorders and intellectual disabilities, the institution experienced overcrowding as many people without these conditions were admitted. Pennhurst also admitted people without parental figures, immigrants, people with mental illnesses, people who were blind or deaf, and people labelled as “delinquents.” Unclaimed by society, the individuals admitted to Pennhurst had no one advocating for their well-being or freedom. Upon entering Pennhurst, residents lost their right to leave and their ability to exercise the most basic of human rights. “Medical experimentation, cruel punishments, and the constant threats to physical and psychological well-being were part of the institutional culture,” The Philadelphia Inquirer explained. 

In 1968, Bill Baldini, a reporter, travelled to Chester County after receiving a tip surrounding the conditions at Pennhurst. Due to tight restrictions on who was allowed into Pennhurst, no reporter prior to Baldini had received such open access to the institution. Baldini was met with emaciated residents who were tied to their beds, locked in cages, and placed into solitary confinement. Immediately, the young reporter left the institution and returned with his camera crew. “And we start shooting, and my crew was mortified. I mean, I had trouble keeping them on the job, because they were literally getting sick from what they saw,” Baldini stated. 

“Suffer the Little Children,” — the title stemming from the Gospel of Mark — was a five-part series produced by Baldini and his crew regarding Pennhurst. The film depicted the neglectful and abusive circumstances that gave insights into how governmental systems can grow conditioned to the dehumanization of people. Although the release of the documentary ensued several advancements, such as the creation of early community support, the circumstances at Pennhurst continued to decline. 

On May 30, 1974, Halderman v. Pennhurst State School and Hospital was filed on behalf of former and present Pennhurst residents against the institution, its superintendents, and state officials responsible for Pennhurst’s operation. Pennhurst was officially closed as an institution in 1987, leaving a vacant building and traumatized former residents. 

In 2008, real-estate investor Richard Chakejian partnered with Randy Bates, who maintains a haunted-house business, in transforming Pennhurst State School and Hospital into Pennhurst Asylum, a Halloween attraction. Thousands of guests enter the former institution, yearning to be scared by actors dressed as bloodied patients and doctors. “PennHurst, the legendary haunted hospital complex, has opened its doors after 25 years and is accepting new patients!” the Pennhurst Asylum Haunted House website states. 

Pennhurst’s transformation into a haunted house has stirred controversy throughout the nation. “Haunted asylum attractions make people with mental illness into grotesque caricatures and perpetuate the spurious linkage between mental disorders and violence,” The Philadelphia Inquirer stated. Meanwhile, others have argued, “The public that comes through here know the distinction and the difference between making fun of something and a Halloween event,” NPR explained. 

The ethics of transforming a space of human suffering into an entertainment attraction has led to questions regarding how society views and treats those with disabilities. As the discrimination of individuals with disabilities and mental illnesses unjustly persists, activists ask haunted house attendees to think critically about what is being mimicked in the attraction and the history of the haunted houses’s location. 

Sources: The Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR, Pennhurst Asylum Haunted House, Antiquity Echoes, The Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia

U.S. Reviews Prison Housing Policies: U.S. Justice Department reviews policies regarding people who are transgender and experiencing incarceration

The U.S Department of Justice has recently begun a new initiative that will reevaluate issues that occur when incarcerating transgender people who are experiencing incarceration. 

A policy for housing transgender people who are experiencing incarceration was initially put into place under the Obama administration. The policy, known as the Transgender Offender Manual, recommended that  legal counsel take gender identity into account when recommending housing in deliberations. 

The policy was then changed under the Trump administration when the policy was altered to using biological sex for housing determinations. With this new policy, many transgender people experiencing incarceration were placed in housing that did not align with their gender identity. 

Due to issues that arose under the altered policy, the Department of Justice is now looking to alter the policy back in favor of taking gender identity into consideration, rather than biological sex. 

While no decision has been made as of yet, the discussions are still being had amongst a special committee appointed by the Department of Justice. 

Transgender rights have always been a controversial factor in determining housing for trangender people experiencing incarceration. 

According to the Department of Justice, of the 156,000 federal people experiencing incarceration residing in the United States, about 1,200 are transgender. 

The decision to re-evaluate the policy came after the recent sentencing of Emily Claire Hari, a transgender woman who bombed the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington, Minn.

Shortly after her 53-year sentence, Hari and her lawyer submitted a request to the courts asking that they take her gender identity into consideration while contemplating her housing placements. 

Hari has said that gender dysphoria and the actions of right-wing misinformation was her influence in the actions that she took leading into the bombing. Hari was found guilty of civil rights and hate crime charges. 

In the years since the policy change under the Trump administration, queer activists have been pushing back against the change. The policy has been labeled as a “double punishment” for trangender people experiencing incarceration to go through gender dysphoria as well as the intended punishment of prison time. 

The concept of housing for transgender individuals has been a hot topic of discussion among queer and criminal justice communities for a long while. “Jails and prisons have no control over the type of [people experiencing incarceration]—mentally ill, gang member, hard-core or first-timer—who comes in,” Gary Cornelius stated.

Due to the wide variety of people that come into the prison system, it is vital to have a system in place to accommodate every type of person experiencing incarceration. 

Sources: The Hill, USnews.com, NY Daily News, Penal Reform.com, Lexipol

Leaders of Europe’s Mediterranean pledge climate cooperation: Nine European countries on the Mediterranean address climate change and make promises of cooperation.

Summer heat waves caused forest fires to scorch Europe’s Mediterranean region, causing extensive damage to Greece. Greece experienced a record-breaking heat wave within the country, causing forest fires that extended firefighter’s resources to their ultimate capacity. The island of Evia and southern parts of Greece were immensely damaged by the fire, as 1,000 sq kilometres of Greek forest land were destroyed. The Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis blamed the fires on the increase of global temperatures. 

Following massive wildfires that tormented sections of southern Europe, leaders of Europe’s Mediterranean countries held a summit in Athens to discuss climate change. This summit took place on September 17th at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. Attendees included President Emmanuel Macron of France, Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, in addition to leaders and senior representatives from Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia, Malta, and Portugal. “Participants reaffirmed their commitment to goals set out under the Paris accord, the worldwide global climate pact, called for closer integration of climate change policies across Europe and further cooperation within the EU’s trans-national disaster response mechanism,” Euronews stated. 

Leaders pledged to broaden the joint effort of climate cooperation in opposition to environment modification. Specifically, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen affirmed the importance of taking action immediately due to the damaging impact that climate change is already having on the Mediterranean region. According to a joint statement, the leaders held a “strong conviction that urgent and ambitious global action (is needed) at national, regional and local levels,” Radio France Internationale explained. 

The summit also included discussions on the crisis in Afghanistan and immigration policies, as Greece, Malta, Italy, and Spain contain major routes for people to enter without documentation. Greece has intentions of enacting stricter regulations related to immigration by expanding border security and increasing land and sea patrols. 

Sources: Euronews, Radio France Internationale Euronews

“Eagle” Road for a Reason: EU Men’s Soccer beats Cabrini to claim the Eagle Road Derby.

Eagle Road “kept its name” after Eastern University Men’s Soccer beat Cabrini for the eighth contest in a row. Even though the Eagles had to cross the street for this contest, the lack of home field advantage didn’t stop the boys from rallying past the Cavaliers.

With an electric crowd behind them at Edith Robb Dixon field, the Eagles overcame two one-goal deficits in their rivalry win. One of these goals came in the early minutes of the game, where an Eastern player attempted to deflect the ball away from the goal. The ball took an unfortunate bounce into Eastern’s net, resulting in an own goal.

The battle was even for a good remainder of the half, but in the forty-third minute, a scoring chance for Eastern arose. Drew Johnson sent a crossing shot past the center of the goal and into the right edge of the box. Gabe Velazquez collected that ball and delivered a strong shot into the left side of the goal. The first half of the Eagle Road Derby ended 1-1.

A little over 10 minutes into the second half, Cabrini erased the tie on the scoreboard and fired a shot past Eastern keeper Diesel Fiore.

But the 2-1 Cabrini lead didn’t last long. Nine minutes later, Ryan Jammes netted his first career goal with a rocket of a shot into the top right corner of the goal.

Later in the half, Emmanuel Hewitt started a play that gave the Eagles their first lead of the game. Hewitt made a strong defensive play to knock the ball loose from a Cabrini defender. Derek Buhrman controlled the ball and passed to Jake Morales, who nailed a shot into the lower left corner.

The Eagles fought hard for the remainder of the half, preserving the lead that won them the game. With Eastern faithful parents, students and friends behind them, the boys overcame a pair of deficits to display their resiliency.

The Battle of Eagle Road dates back to 1982. Since the debut game, there have been 37 contests between the cross-street rivals. Eastern has won 20 of these games, while Cabrini has won 18. The matchups have always been tight, but the Eastern boys seem to be redeeming themselves. Eastern has won the last eight matchups with Cabrini, both at home on Olson Field and across the road on Cabrini’s home turf.

With an immense amount of young talent and potential and several key players remaining, the Eagles will continue to value these energetic wins as their program moves forward.

Settling the Debate: TikTok or Vine?: A student joins in on the Tiktok or Vine conversation.

I believe all of us here at Eastern are old enough to be familiar with the Vine app. For those who might not be, Vine was a social media app established in 2012 that allowed users to share six second video clips online. It did not take long for the app to gain a huge following, and in just one year it garnered over 100 monthly users worldwide. This social media giant held its place as one of the biggest social media platforms for a little over a year, but just as quickly as it rose to popularity, the app died shortly after when instagram launched its video sharing feature in June of 2013.

In September 2017, a new video sharing app was launched, TikTok. It included a lot of similar features that Vine had, such as being a video exclusive app and allowing users to edit their videos. This time however, instead of six second videos, users were able to upload thirty second videos while incorporating the sound feature. For those who are not familiar with the sound feature, this allows users to take a popular audio and place it over their video. The two compare in various aspects in function, but which one was better? 

As millennials and older Gen Z adults, we are all apart of the giant inside joke of vine references. Even today, we still hear a multitude of these references, with one of my favorites being “Road work ahead? I sure hope it does!” This, along with hundreds of other quotes have been engrained into the back of our heads. Why? Because they are simple and short. The simplicity of Vine has made these quotes easy to remember and still remain iconic after almost a decade later. TikTok on the other hand, does not include short and simple quotes. Rather, it seems as if the users are taking already existing audios and just creating video trends or challenges out of them.  We reference TikTok just as much as we reference Vine, but how many of those sounds are actually produced by a creator, rather than a movie or a song? I have to say, TikTok lacks originality in this aspect when it comes to creative content.

Aside from memes and trends, Vine and TikTok are very similar in nature. Although both platforms were used for sharing videos, TikTok seems far more advanced when it comes to the production behind these posts. TikTok allows users to use special effects such as a green screen or interactive games within their videos. The app also includes beauty effects such as makeup filters so users can change their appearances as they like. It is clear that TikTok excels in overall function and aesthetic as Vine videos were often uncut and without filters. 

Although Vine and TikTok are very similar yet different in nature, there is no clear say in which is better. One may argue that Vine is better because it is more iconic, while others may argue that TikTok is better based on the features that the app provides. Although some may argue that one is better than the other, it is safe to say that Vine was the iconic blueprint, opening the door for modern day video sharing apps, while TikTok is the newest, best, big thing, as it incorporates newer features in its app everyday.