Celebrating The New York Film Festival: Film festivals are back in full swing with the New York Film Festival occurring from September 24-October 10.

Festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, The Tribeca Film Festival, and now, the New York Film Festival have all returned this year. Thousands of movie lovers will gather between the many auditoriums of Lincoln Center to catch some of the best films of the year. From big films such as “Dune,” and small projects like “Bergman Island,” the New York Film Festival offers the best of the best of films that you will likely hear about when the Oscars roll around. 

Not being accredited for the New York Film Festival as a member of the press did not stop me from buying tickets to some of my most anticipated films of the year. I attended four screenings: “Bergman Island,” “The Lost Daughter,” “The Power of the Dog,” and “Dune.” 

While it was my first time participating in a film festival, I instantly could feel that there is something unique and special about film festivals; lights begin to dim, and audience members are fully focused on the film. How many times have you gone to the movies and people are on their phones, or talking with their friends? None of that is tolerated or seen at the NYFF. During my screening of “Dune,” they had security constantly wandering up and down  the aisles to ensure that everyone had their masks on and were not videotaping the film. Perhaps it is because “Dune” was still a few weeks away from being released to the general public, but it helped keep everyone focused on the actual film itself. It is like going to a Marvel movie on opening night in a packed theatre, but these films are well made and are likely to win awards. 

Following most feature films were Q&As with select filmmakers and actors and were usually moderated by some sort of critic.  “The Lost Daughter” had one of the most positively-received talks, and included cast members Olivia Colman, Dakota Johnson, Peter Sarsgaard, Paul Mescal, Ed Harris, and director Maggie Gyllenhaal all in attendance. The crowd especially popped for Colman akin to the wrestling fans in attendance when CM Punk debuted on AEW this summer. Even Wes Anderson—who is currently filming his latest film in Spain—checked in via live stream with other frequent collaborators to converse with some cast members of “The French Dispatch” who were in New York, including Jeffrey Wright and

Léa Seydoux.

All of this is to say, the New York Film Festival is a special experience. From foreign films, animated features, to Wes Anderson’s latest, the New York Film Festival gives movie fans all sorts of opportunities to expose themselves to great cinema. Very seldom do I feel like I just watched something special when the credits roll, especially with the slog of franchise films based on IPs that we mostly receive today, but seeing

a film at the New York Film Festival will leave you with the feeling that you just witnessed something special. Films like “The Lost Daughter” and “The Power of the Dog” will likely be in the conversation for awards from now until next spring, and you would be amongst the first to see films like these if you attend the New York Film Festival. Before the concern of a sort of elitism at the New York Film Festival, they are not completely against franchise films, as they are showing “Dune,” which hopes to get a sequel down the line. 

The atmosphere is also something to behold. It is extremely rare to find yourself watching a film in a theatre amongst people who are all there to closely watch the film. There is not the usual smell of popcorn and soda filling the air, and while that may not be ideal for a film as long as “Dune,” it helps keep you focused on the film. Plus, Lincoln Center is located in the perfect part of New York City with fantastic restaurants such as Rosa Mexicano, P.J. Clarke’s on 63rd, or Il Violino. 

Whether you are a casual moviegoer or a diehard “cinephile,” the New York Film Festival can easily wet your appetite with their variety of films. I cannot recommend enough that if you ever have a chance of attending a screening at any film festival, jump at the opportunity and experience it for yourself.

Podcast of the Month: A look at Chris Gethard’s podcast, “Beautiful stories from Anonymous people.”

The podcast “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People” begins each episode with their staple catchphrase: “One phone call, one hour, no names, no holds barred.” Hosted by comedian Chris Gethard, “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People” is a podcast that allows listeners from all walks of life to find authenticity and community. On a weekly basis, Gethard randomly enters the studio and tweets a phone number for people to call. The randomly selected caller is at the center of the conversation and can discuss whatever they choose. The show has no established schedule, no queue, and hardly any vetting, for producers simply ensure that the phone connection is clear. Each episode is barely edited aside from bleeping out identifying details about the caller. This allows for listeners to experience another person’s story entirely in their own words. 

Among the many participants, the podcast includes an exhausted customer service employee, a mother awaiting life or death test outcomes for her daughter, a sex toy designer, a former monk, a young woman about to turn herself in to the police for a serious crime, and over 100 others. The episodes range from deep and heavy to humorous and light-hearted, providing a wide range of emotions for the listener to experience. Gethard’s laid-back yet interested approach appears to make it easier for the participant to open up and veer away from surface-level conversation. This approach makes the listener feel as though they are overhearing a conversation between two friends rather than two strangers. 

In one particular episode, the caller is a person who is deaf and uses a sign language translator to communicate with Gethard. The caller shared how he engaged with podcasts, a typically audio-based experience, by reading the transcripts. Gethard noted this as being one of his most memorable episodes, as he truly believed the conversation embodied a glimpse of how it feels to walk in another’s shoes. 

To sit in the space of a stranger and listen to the ugly, beautiful, and average parts of their story is a truly thought-provoking experience. I recommend “Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People” because it echoes the value of every person and their story. . In addition to this, the active listening skills that Gethard demonstrates is another reason why this podcast is so valuable. He adds his own insights without decentering the caller and actively tries to understand what they are saying as best as he can. The caller, regardless of how absurd the conversation becomes, is talked to as an equal whose words contain purpose and meaning. As shared by the comedian himself, “I do my best to help and offer thoughts and advice, but I’m no therapist. I’m just a guy who is very willing to listen and who hopes that things turn out ok,” Gethard explained. 

 

The Art of Carving Pumpkins: A student reflects on the history and experience of this Halloween tradition.

It’s that time of year when families go to their nearby pumpkin patch to enjoy one of the nation’s most creative activities: pumpkin carving. The process begins with picking the perfect pumpkin, then cleaning it, and finally creating images on the pumpkin to capture the spirit of Halloween. 

Pumpkin carving dates back to ancient times when the Celtics first introduced these decorations. The “Jack-o’-Lantern” is originally named after the man “Stingy Jack” who drove the Devil. Due to him tricking the Devil, he ended up cursed, walking the earth in the afterlife. These small decorations are meant to keep Jack away from their homes.

When I think of pumpkin carving, the first thing that comes to mind is the mess. However, that’s also what makes it exciting and enjoyable as an activity, especially when surrounded by friends and family. My friends also enjoy it as it is a rarity that you can only enjoy once a year. I interviewed a few friends in particular about their experience in carving pumpkins. One friend explained what pumpkin carving means to her. She provided details of her first time performing this activity with her late grandfather when she was 10. Before starting the carving, the hard labor of cleaning was tedious, but this allowed her to show her creativity after completing the pumpkin cleaning. She got out of this experience by enjoying hard work; she has since participated in this tradition with loved ones around her. Another one of my friends had almost a similar story but with his siblings. He explained how pumpkin carving during his favorite month created a bond between him and his younger brother and sister—being the one looking over their pumpkins and helping them create what they wanted brought joy for him. He said, “It was amazing every time I could spend time with them creating something we can all enjoy.”

I have a very similar experience. I haven’t done an actual pumpkin carving in a few years, but when I did, I enjoyed myself. I carved pumpkins with my friends at a young age. Having the ability to create an image I could think of on this small object was remarkable to me. This activity made my love for Halloween more exciting. It wasn’t just the costumes, candy, or scary movies. Walking around at night and seeing each porch having a jack-o-lantern made Halloween fun. If it can make a child’s experience better on Halloween, then the hard work was worth it. So whether you do or don’t carve pumpkins, you can count on it being a tradition in many households during the month of October to capture the spirit of Halloween.

Source: Brunswick Forest

Open Letter: An open letter to my favorite artist, Paul McCartney

You may know me for wearing U2 shirts all the time, but before Bono and The Edge came into my life, Paul McCartney was my biggest influence growing up. Before losing my necklace in Iceland over this summer, I wore my Paul McCartney Hofner violin bass guitar necklace everywhere I went since I got it for Christmas a few years back. It is a reminder of my musical roots. I am by no means anywhere close to the same stratosphere of the great Paul McCartney, but it reminds me of those nights I would spend learning “Blackbird” or “Yesterday” on the guitar. I even wanted to force myself to learn the guitar and bass lefthanded. I even remember the time I went to the Allentown Symphony Hall to catch “Paul McCartney & Wings: Rockshow” with my dad when I was 12. Regardless of how much I have changed as a person, Paul McCartney and his music have always been a constant in my life.  

While I believe that it is unfair to really compare all four of the members of The Beatles for their full body of work, it is also hard to argue McCartney’s success. McCartney went from The Beatles to his self-titled solo album, “McCartney,” which includes one of the greatest love songs ever in “Maybe I’m Amazed.” His next group, Wings, was also a success and brought songs like “Band on the Run,” “Jet,” “1985,” “Silly Love Songs,” and “Listen to What the Man Said” to the table in just seven albums together. 

Even McCartney’s last three albums, “New,” “Egypt Station,” and “McCartney III” have continued his success. They are not necessarily filled with hits like his previous works, but songs like “I Don’t Know,” “Early Days,” “Queenie Eye,” and “Seize the Day” are all a part of my daily rotation. It amazes me that McCartney has matured so much in his writing, and the sheer fact that he can still put out full albums (including some where he plays every instrument) is incredible. 

Perhaps most importantly, McCartney has been touring for fans for decades. Say what you want about his voice in 2021, but he deserves credit for constantly traveling the world and bringing songs from The Beatles, Wings, and his solo albums to fans. I was lucky enough to see him on his “Out There” tour in 2013, a support tour for “New,” and I would say that this was one of the last years with his voice at full strength. It was a three-hour show of hit after hit, and I do not know if any concert experience will ever top that, especially given that the concert happened on Father’s Day that year, and my dad was the one who sat down and burned each and every album by The Beatles on my iPod when Apple did not have the rights to their music. 

So while I cannot act like McCartney’s lyrics are all as deep as the likes of U2 for example, but there is a timeless quality to McCartney’s music that has resonated with me since I was a child. With this crazy pandemic, I do not know if McCartney will ever tour again, but I am thankful for the opportunity I had to see him. Even though he will never see this, thank you, Paul, for all that you have done. I am far from the only person he has touched, but now at 79 years young, it feels appropriate to celebrate the one and only Paul McCartney, because I am amazed that he has been with me all this time. 

Movie Spotlight: “The Dead Don’t Die”: A look at a quirky zombie film like no other.

In the peaceful town of Centerville, “a real nice place,” the undead cause the unexpected. When the earth is thrown off of its axis because of polar fracking, the world is thrust into the zombie apocalypse.

Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny and Tilda Swinton headline this comedic cast in a Jim Jarmusch zombie flick that depicts the ghouls in a gruesome, graphic way. But subtle (then not-so-subtle) breaks of the fourth wall, hysterically dry lines and downright “what is going on?” moments keep the movie as light as a zombie movie can be.

Driver, Murray and Sevigny portray Centerville police officers that are tasked with keeping the town safe from the undead. Chief Cliff Robertson (Bill Murray) is an intelligent, rational and sympathetic officer that has his fair share of emotional outbursts. Officer Ronnie Peterson (Adam Driver) is perhaps the most collected protagonist, content in the apocalypse ending badly who also provides deadpan and dry comic relief.

Officer Mindy Morrison (Chloë Sevigny) embodies how any civilian would act in the face of this kind of danger. She’s grossed out, always on the verge of tears and eventually succumbs to emotion when she joins her zombified grandmother to become undead.

Zelda Winston (Tilda Swinton), the new owner of Centerville’s funeral home, is a samurai-wielding warrior that casually fights off the zombies that she needs to but then retreats to her alien spaceship in the end. An alien spaceship is just one of the several “what is going on?” moments in the film.

“The Dead Don’t Die” features one of the freakiest portrayals of the undead. On the surface, they looked as stereotypical zombies usually look. Green skin-toned, lame-limbed and mumble-mouthed, the ghouls looked as zombies are usually pictured. The R rating becomes a factor, though, when the true nature of the undead is shown: the cannibalistic attacks on living humans. This aspect of the film is definitely not for those with a weak stomach; there is no lack of blood and entrails.

Jarmusch, known for casting Adam Driver in his films, made another stellar choice in Driver for his role. Ronnie’s dry one-liners, like “I’m thinkin’ zombies” and “a little Class A (baseball)” could only be pulled off by Adam Driver. But if the audience is willing to appreciate the dry humor in the film, supplemented by Bill Murray, it’ll have some viewers chuckling.

“The Dead Don’t Die” not only breaks the fourth wall, it demolishes it toward the end of the film, but this break is alluded to in the beginning. At the end of the film, Ronnie hits his continuous “this is going to end badly” line. Cliff finally gets frustrated and asks Ronnie how he’s so sure that this is going to end badly. “I know because I’ve read the script,” Ronnie says, “Jim gave me the whole script.” “He only gave me our scenes. I never saw a complete script,” Cliff replies. Cliff expresses frustration with Jim (Jarmusch), which only makes the fourth wall break funnier.

“The Dead Don’t Die” is a horror comedy perfect for anyone who loves dry humor and isn’t afraid of some gruesome zombie depictions. The fourth wall breaks and appropriate casting allow for comedy in a movie that would otherwise only attract a niche audience.

 

Sources: IMDb, “The Dead Don’t Die”

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

Concert Spotlight: Phoebe Bridgers on her “Reunion Tour.”

Phoebe Bridgers’ “Reunion Tour” came to the Skyline Stage at the Mann in Philadelphia on September 22. The “Reunion Tour” is a support tour for Bridgers’ newest album, “Punisher,” which was released during last year while touring was not possible. It marked her second studio album, and was nominated for four Grammys in 2020 (Best New Artist, Best Rock Performance (“Kyoto”), Best Rock Song (“Kyoto”), Best Alternative Music Album (“Punisher”). 

After two opening acts including duo Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill and MUNA, Bridgers finally made her way to the stage, opening with “Motion Sickness,” a song off of her first album “Stranger in the Alps.” Despite being a relatively slow song, the audience went crazy for it and were dancing along. After the instrumental “DVD Menu,” Bridgers segued right into “Garden Song” as heard on the “Punisher” album. Then came “Kyoto,” perhaps the most up-beat song about having an identity crisis. Audience members were having a blast bopping along to a song that talks about payphones in Japan.

The momentum of the concert takes a slow turn after “Kyoto,” as the titular track off of “Punisher” was played, followed by “Halloween,” and “Smoke Signals.” The middle of the section of the set is far more ambient, thus the crowd was standing still but was very much into her music. It’s important to note that Bridgers’ music is not for everyone; the ambient and occasionally depressing tracks don’t make for a party-like atmosphere in a live setting, but her voice and backing band make up for the lack of excitement in her set. Most of the audience seemed content, filled with skeleton outfits like the ones being worn on stage by Bridgers and her band. 

The finale of the main set came with “I Know The End,” a track that features Bridgers belting out a blood-curdling scream at the peak of the crescendo. A fitting end to the main set, and the crashing crescendo had fans screaming in unison like it was a heavy metal concert. After a few moments, Bridgers and her band came out to play “Georgia,” a song from “A Stranger in the Alps,” and then ended the show with two covers, one was Bo Burnham’s “That Funny Feeling,” from his Emmy-winning pandemic comedy special “Inside.” The second cover was “Here Comes a Regular” by The Replacements. A set consisting of the “Punisher” album in full, five songs from her debut solo album, and two covers is a great start to a blossoming touring career. 

Bridgers’ current “Reunion Tour” is set to make stops all throughout the country before commencing in Atlanta on October 24. This is far from the end for Bridgers; in fact, this is only the beginning for the young star. It was a reported sold-out crowd by the Mann Center’s official Twitter, so let’s hope that Bridgers makes another stop in Philadelphia the next time she is making her rounds on tour. 

(Emmys.com, Grammy.com, The Mann Center)

A Night of Music: Coffeehouse: A student and fellow performer details Eastern University’s first Coffeehouse event of the year.

The Fall Coffeehouse was abuzz with chatter at the beginning. Performers and audience alike milled about with an excitable energy. But as the day turned into night, the frantic mic checks and lively conversation dimmed into the chill vibes that would characterize the rest of the evening. This event took place on the 24th of September at Walton Patio, closing the school week out with a vibrant and diverse beacon of Eastern pride. 

Two poets and nine musicians graced the stage for one evening. Even though most of the acts were music, the musicians themselves still made up a variety of genres and tones. Three performers sang cover songs of popular hits, but most of the acts were original content. I was surprised at how cleanly the acts transitioned into each other. Poetry, pop, funky guitar, emotional ballads, high-energy rap, and even actual worship music all melded together into a delightfully diverse lineup that was hard to look away from. 

I spoke with performer Caitlin Casey about the event after it happened. Caitlin performed a song of her own called “Lights” that held some delightfully similar elements to the Taylor Swift song it preceded, while still maintaining a unique flair. “I suppose I felt a little nervous, since I haven’t played in a while, but since I’ve done coffeehouses with SAB before I knew what to expect. I feel like it went well, and people enjoyed it, which is ultimately the important bit,” said Caitlin. 

Caitlin also commented on the struggle performers can face with audience feedback. “It’s hard when I don’t get quite the reaction I hope from the audience, but also it’s nice to be able to do what I love and have people enjoy it.”

This statement was something I resonated with. As one of the two poets to perform that night, I was also nervous about how original content would be received. This is what made the originality of the acts even more surprising; despite the possibility of rejection, these performers put out creative energy that showcased the unique talent at Eastern. 

It wasn’t just performers who had something to say about the event. Megan Schoenleb, an attendee of the event had this to say: “This was not my first coffee house, but it’s the one I’ve stayed the longest at,” said Megan. “Lance’s song about Eastern University stuck out; I thought it was fun and it was nice to see some campus pride.” 

Lance Lozada’s ballad about Eastern University featured many aspects of campus that were immediately relatable, such as the creative licenses the Dining Commons takes when calling their meals food, or the ever present fear of geese that plagues the campus. Even with these light jabs at the campus, it still felt like a song about the Eastern experience, with all its ups and downs. 

While Megan had comments on the event’s performers, Simon Kwilinski brought more insight to the experience as a whole. “I was pleased to see Zime was open, as a small hot chocolate was the perfect relief from the cold weather,” said Simon. I have to agree–Zime opened shortly before the performances began, and to the pleasant surprise and raucous cheers of the audience, the offer only to accept Flex Dollars was rescinded in exchange for a plan that allowed patrons to use meal swipes. 

Simon also noted the energy of the crowd during certain acts. “It was fun watching Simeon perform because of how excited the crowd got,” said Simon. Indeed, there seemed to be fan favorites. Though I can’t confirm these artists have performed at previous coffeehouse events, their loud and vocal fanbases made this evident. Since the coffeehouse, I’ve noticed posters with QR codes in Sparrowk hall that link to the Spotify and Instagram of two of these fan-favorites: Unc0mm0n1 (Simeon Walther) and Saladhead (Jacob Craig). Though small artists, (>1000 streams for either artist), they have clearly established a following of some kind. The Coffeehouse is a staple of Eastern University, and I wonder if in the future it will be a launching point for artists to make it big. But for now, it’s a delightful evening full of music, energy, and meal-swipe-bought hot chocolate.