Vengeance and… Cats?: A short review of “The Batman” (2022).

Having gone through multiple script-rewrites, directors and actors, “The Batman” eventually found itself in the hands of Matt Reeves and Robert Pattinson. But the trials were not over. The film’s production was cut short by the global COVID-19 pandemic, and the release date was pushed to October, 2021. Production eventually wrapped in February, 2021, and the release date was pushed back to March, 2022. 

All of that being said, “The Batman” struggled as all films being produced at the same time were to finish on schedule. And yet, having had to wait almost an entire extra year for this film, most of us would have been willing to wait even longer for the extraordinary movie we were given. Before this review goes further, I would like to warn readers that while I will do my best to refrain from major spoilers, “The Batman” will be discussed. So spoiler alert!

To start, I should acknowledge that I am an avid fan of the Batman character and I went into the movie with very high expectations. One of the common critiques of “The Batman” is its style and color-pallete. Director Matt Reeves, having clearly taken inspiration from the rest of his career as well as David Fincher’s “Se7en,” creates a Gotham City that is gloomy, rainy, desperate and as writer Nicholas Barber put it: where “humor is strictly forbidden.” 

Other critics have targeted Pattinson’s acting as him being even more “uncomfortable” than he was in the “Twilight” saga, and not as intimidating as he needed to be. However, despite these critiques, “The Batman” still finds itself topping domestic box-offices and pulling in $10.6 million as of Friday, March 18th.

My biggest critiques of the film surround the unsatisfying shift in the Riddler’s motivation and plan before the climax of the film as well as Riddler himself. Paul Dano gives a wonderful performance as the character, but the shift from a truth-driven serial killer to a whiney boy on the internet just wanting to flood the entire city was annoying. However, this film has certainly made its way into my 2nd favorite Batman film and one of my favorite films I’ve seen recently. 

While I went into “The Batman” with high expectations, I also went in worried that I would leave the 3 hour movie disappointed. My worries were quickly dashed in the first 10 minutes. The film opens with a narration from Pattinson’s Bruce Wayne as we get introduced to the most realistic and most comic-book accurate version of Gotham City and Batman. 

I was able to avoid the critics who aimed at the style of “The Batman” as it was the representation of Batman that I needed without being the over-told origin story. Additionally, Robert Pattinson has been growing on me as an actor after his performances in “The Lighthouse” and “Tenet”. Pattinson’s natural awkwardness mixed with his ability to fall into the moody and emotional Bruce Wayne made him the perfect fit for this younger reproduction of the vigilante.

Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell and Jeffrey Wright all deserve their own articles for their stand-out performances. Kravitz’s Catwoman provides a confident character to the film and a roadblock to Pattinson’s Batman. Wright’s Gordan gave us a relatable and realistic character in a different way than what Gary Oldman gave us in Nolan’s trilogy. And though he is hardly recognizable, Colin Farrell’s Penguin delivered the funniest lines in the film while also still very much being a mob boss.

Giacchino perfectly molds a score around the individual characters and the story of “The Batman” while also giving audiences the dramatic and gritty tone reflected on screen. Giacchino crafts Batman’s theme with inspiration from 90s band Nirvana, and Riddler’s theme from “Ave Maria.”

Much much more could be said in praise of “The Batman”, but this review ends here. For fans who were disappointed with a cameo of the Joker at the end of the film, there is an excellent Variety article that dives into interviews with Matt Reeves surrounding the character’s role.

Matt Reeves has teased 3 future spin-off tv shows of “The Batman.” I give “The Batman” a rating 29 cats out of 31.

Sources: BBC & New York Post

The Hound of St. Dominic: A look at the elusive mystery surrounding this painting and its painter, Juan de Pareja.

During a trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, I encountered an exhibit set back in a small room on the second floor of the gallery. The exhibit was called “Juan de Pareja: A Painter’s Story.” The room looked dark; the only light visible from afar was shining on the painting the exhibit focused on: “Dog with a Candle and Lilies.”

As I walked closer to this canine figure, I began to examine the work. The dog’s eyes seem to gaze deep into your soul if you stare too long. The candle, lit in the dog’s mouth, burns bright, its flame leaping upward. However, the dog lies still and doesn’t seem like a threat. (If a dog was running around with a lit candle in its mouth, I’d be a bit more worried.)

The lilies lie on the ground as well, next to the dog. But they’re not wilted. In fact, there are buds that haven’t even bloomed yet. The flowers are still very much alive even though they lie on the floor. The artist signs his name in brown ink underneath the dogs’ paws.

Juan de Pareja was born in 1606 in Antequera, Spain and was enslaved to Diego Velázquez, a court painter to King Phillip IV. After working under Velázquez, Pareja gained emancipation and then freedom in 1654. He began to work as an independent painter.

Pareja’s name is attached only to 30 works, but 19 of them are now lost. It might be a miracle that this painting has made it to the eyes of scholars and institutions.

According to art historians, this rare painting might even be a fragment of a larger painting of St. Dominic. The rest of the painting has not been discovered, if it does exist. In Latin countries, symbols of St. Dominic include a dog with a candle and, you guessed it, lilies.

Why is a dog with a lit candle representative of St. Dominic? There is a legend that says that St. Dominic’s pregnant mother dreamed that a dog lept from her womb with a torch to burn down everything around them. The image of the dog might also suggest the pun on the word Dominicanus, the name for a Dominican friar that aligns with the Latin domini canis, meaning “dog of the Lord.”

And the bouquet-esque bunch of lilies? These flowers represent St. Dominic’s notable chastity.

I don’t know why this painting captured me. Perhaps it’s the mystery of St. Dominic’s hound and the legend surrounding it. Perhaps it’s Pareja’s incredible story from slave to free man. Perhaps it’s the contrast of colors between the mysteriously illuminated painting in that gallery room at the IMA.

Whatever it might be, Pareja’s inspiration is profound to not only me, but artists and nonartists across the world. His story shows that although you might not be Renoir or Monet, someone will find your legacy and put it in the spotlight it deserves.

Sources: Destination Indy, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Museo del Prado, Newfields, Providence College, Robilant+Voena

The Art of Poetry: An analysis of the writing and studying of poetry.

What a task: to attempt to condense poetry as a skill, an area of study and a creative outlet in a couple hundred words. Indeed, the art of poetry is all three of these things, and more. 

Poetry is a writing skill like any other you practice, but the attention to detail that’s required sets it apart. This attention is microscopic. Synonyms don’t exist; no word means the same thing as another word. No word means exactly what you think it means. Each kind of punctuation is like a different kind of kitchen knife: they all cut up your phrases and sentences, but you have to discern whether you need to pare your phrase or hack your sentence. Even capitalization is its own kind of punctuation, its own tool of dividing words up. You’ve got to be near-obsessive about your words and punctuation. And, hardest of all, your poem’s message can’t alienate your reader. This seems impossible. But the best way of avoiding this, I’ve found, is to assume nothing about your reader other than that they’re reading and that they’re human. The best poetry sings to one impression of a tiny sub-aspect of human universality.

Poetry is an area of study too. If you put all of poetry together, you’d have for yourself a comprehensive history of ideas. No poem is comprehensive itself, but poetry is. If you study any culture from any place or any period of time, you’ll find poems. Humans have always told stories, always talked about what they’re feeling and seeing, always sung about their heroes. All that is poetry, and you’ll find it. And deducing clues about the poet’s work by examining words, meter, rhyme, punctuation (if any are present) is the thrilling work of the reader. Studying poetry is almost anthropological.

Lastly, poetry is a creative outlet. Not all of your poetry is fit for publication, but that’s not the greatest goal of poetry. It’s good and healthy to do on your own, alone in your room with a pen and paper. Playing with words is fun, and so is stretching your brain in a different direction with them. Reading poetry is creative too; it’s not just for consumption, it’s also for curious questioning and study. Stay wondering — and I hope you come away a little more energized to read or write one more poem.

They’re Not Just Emojis! It’s “Wordle”: Discussing the widely-popular word game.

Random squares have been gracing the feeds of multiple social media platforms, especially facebook. The growing trend is not some secret code, but instead this latest internet sensation that has taken the nerdy, word lovers by storm is none other than “Wordle”.

“Wordle” is a word game that was created by Brooklyn software engineer, Josh Wardle. 

The game begins the same every round: users have six guesses to guess a five letter word from scratch. For each word, if a player guesses a letter in the final word, the letter turns yellow. If they guess a correct letter and in the correct spot in the word, the letter turns green. Users keep going until they either guess the word of the day, or run out of tries. 

The word of the day resets every 24 hours, right at midnight, and each day the word is the same for everyone. The only day this was not true was the day “Wordle” switched from being its own website to being a part of the official New York Times website. That day many users still logged onto the original “Wordle” website, which can now only be accessed via a former active link for the website. It can not easily be searched as it was once able to be. 

“Wordle” was first released in October of last year, and has since amassed millions of daily users. What started as a personal project for Wardle has now become an internet sensation in a matter of months. Wardle sold the platform to the New York Times for an undisclosed but low 7 figure deal.

Since the spike in popularity of “Wordle”, many websites have been actively trying to recreate the experience of the simple game, and some even trying to intensify the game. 

One of the most memorable recreations are “Wordle Unlimited”, which is the same basic concept, just with unlimited words, so users do not have to wait until the next day to play again. This website also allows for users to create custom wordles which can be sent to friends and family, or posted on social media to share. 

“Quordle” and “Octordle” are two fan favorites as well. “Quordle” has users solving four words at once with nine total guesses, and “Octordle” has users solving eight words within 13 guesses. These websites are certainly for the more intense players as they are a much stronger challenge than the original game. Solving one word at a time can be tricky, but solving many words at the same time with a technically smaller number of chances per word is especially a doozy. For most people that do the puzzles such as “Quordle” and “Octordle”, they sometimes spend hours on the one puzzle, writing everything out and being able to make guesses meticulously. 

Some of the “Wordle” spin offs have little to nothing to do with the original game; for example: “Heardle” is a new version of the game designed for music lovers. “Heardle”, while it may be modeled after the ever popular “Wordle”, is more of a music guessing game than word guessing. It is played in rounds, and after each round the user guesses a song that will be from a list of already given songs. While “Heardle” may be riding on the coattails of “Wordle’s” fame, people that like “Wordle” because of the word game aspect may feel some disappointment towards “Heardle”. 

Regardless of what “Wordle” game you play, there is a version out there for everyone (even one called “Fartsle” if you are into toilet humor) and most people on the internet will tell you it’s worth checking out at least once. 

Sources: The New York Times

Old Films Are Gold Films: A student shares their opinion on what makes a film “great.”

Over the past semester I have written multiple movie reviews for this paper, and I am sure you have often wondered, “Why the heck does he always write about those stupid old movies? What is he, some old person?” First, I must confess that, sadly, I am rather eldery before my time, (I often wear khakis and white sneakers, and complain about gen Z). But, leaving my sad elderly state aside, I wish to explain to you why I like these “stupid old movies”; it seemed only fair after I plagued you with my opinions for so long. 

First of all, just because a movie is old does not mean it is better. Trust me, it can often mean the opposite. Pick a random movie from all the movies made in the 1940s and most likely you will watch a very boring movie filled with corny dialog, characters who seem to be no more than cardboard cutouts of a stereotype, stories that end in unrealistic happiness, generally all packaged in some cheesy moral message. To add to the misery, the movie will be filmed like a stage play, with the camera rotating back and forth between two or three angles. So let me be clear, I do not like old movies because they are old, and a majority of old movies can and should be forgotten forever. 

Now, I must explain why I dislike new movies. First, what people classify as a good movie today is very sad to say the least. One group of movies that are considered to be “good” are the action packed entertainment flicks. The other group includes any movie that has a feeling of artistic flair, that does anything different or has something different to say. I reject both these groups, since the first provides only a slice of what a movie should provide, and the second is considered great only on the false assumption that being different or new, always means great artistry.   

Just because our society values mediocre movies does not mean that great films are not being made. In fact, I would argue that this very year, somewhere in the world, there could be a movie being made that will rival the greatness of Citizen Kane, or Vertigo. But finding this movie could be practically impossible. Many great movies, such as the two previously mentioned, were flops on their release. It can take decades for a film’s true greatness to be understood, or for the movie to even be discovered. People will long debate what makes a great film and what films deserve this title, but I believe there is one judge superior to all of them, and that is time. Time has a clever way of weeding out the bad movies from the good ones. Twenty years from now, the greatest films made in 2022 may be films we have never heard of. 

This is the main reason I watch old films. Simply, because they have passed the test of time. An old movie can not be a short term trend. It can not live off of media hype or advertising campaigns. It can not live off a temporary political ideology. It must appeal to multiple generations and multiple decades. Put simply, what it says and what it shows must be universal and must be something of genuine quality if it wants to stand the test of time, and become known as a great work of cinema.

Video Games With Structural Stability: A brief analysis of LEGO video games.

Video games are perhaps one of the least praised and least respected medium of art and entertainment. Whilst they remain loved and enjoyed by niche fans and younger generations, they are never looked at in the same way as movies and television. Even within larger gaming communities not many kinds of games are popular aside from first-person shooter games like the Call of Duty franchise and sport games like the NBA 2K franchise. Additionally, video games and gaming is frequently looked down upon by those outside of gaming communities for various reasons, some being more true than others.

However, there is one franchise of video games that no one can look down upon; one that is enjoyed by people from all ages and backgrounds; one that has stood the test of time and has over 80 games in it. Being owned and created by perhaps one of the most well-known toy companies in the world, LEGO video games have been viral sensations ever since their conception.

The LEGO Group was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen in Denmark. The company was passed down from father to son and is now owned by the grandchild of the founder. The name LEGO comes from an abbreviation of two Danish words “leg godt”, which means “play well”. LEGO has been designing and producing their LEGO sets for over 70 years. But in the 1990s, LEGO recognized the growing popularity of video games.

The first LEGO video game produced was “Fun to Build” in 1995 but was only released in Japan. The first widely available LEGO video game was “Lego Island” in 1997 where players were a citizen on LEGO Island as they defeated crime and raced cars. Though LEGO kept creating original games, their most lucrative and popular games were yet to be discovered until 2001.

In 2001, LEGO made their first video game based on licensed content: “LEGO Creator: Harry Potter”. This video game was based solely on the first Harry Potter movie and was quickly a customer favorite. LEGO hit their jackpot when releasing “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” in 2013 as the Marvel movies were rapidly gaining popularity. “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes” remains the LEGO video game that sold the most copies despite now being released almost a decade ago.

In 2017, LEGO expanded what their video games could be with their first LEGO sandbox game: “LEGO Worlds”. LEGO also had their first video game made by a spin-off studio in 2019 with “LEGO Builder’s Journey”. 

Now, LEGO’s current major project is their most ambitious video game yet: “LEGO The Skywalker Saga”. This final culmination of the LEGO Star Wars franchise is set to come out in April this year. With the first LEGO Star Wars game coming out in 2005, fans of the LEGO video games will feel a sense of nostalgia as this final space operatic game is released. 

Other popular franchises within the LEGO video games include: Jurassic Park, Lord of the Rings and Batman. Essentially, if you have a favorite movie franchise, there’s a LEGO game for it.

The fact that LEGO video games have remained so widely popular across all ages despite being in a highly competitive pocket of media says enough about them. While battle royale games, sport games and RPGs (role playing games) tend to dominate the field, LEGO has stood its ground. While game companies have sold out to specific gaming consoles or even created their games around their own console (Nintendo), LEGO has opted to simply keep pumping out fun games for all to play on any console. 

New LEGO video games remain fairly high-priced but if you ever get the chance to own or even just spend a little time playing one I can guarantee you will have fun.

A Growing Child: A look at Grogu’s development throughout “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett.””

The “Star Wars” Universe was overcome with joy when the character formerly referred to as Baby Yoda made his debut in the Disney+ Star Wars series, “The Mandalorian.” Fans’ adoration for this character, now known as Grogu, has increased consistently throughout the two seasons of this show and the one season of the special series, “The Book of Boba Fett.”

It might be obvious that the Mandalorian, Din Djarin, is the character that carries this section of the franchise. However, Grogu is another key character that carries part of “The Mandalorian” and TBoBF on his back. His character has shown much growth and development during the timeline of these two shows.

Grogu starts as a fairly static character. I mean, how could he not be static? In the beginning of  the first season of “The Mandalorian,” he’s a small, green child who eats frogs and likes to play with the shiny top of a ship control stick.

Grogu does discover his Force powers during the first season of “The Mandalorian,” though, when he lifts a mudhorn into the air so Mando can defeat it, along with reaching out to other beings and even healing Greef Karga.

Grogu, although technically an infant, uses the force to protect and alert his friends. Despite the Jedi code that forbids emotional attachment, which Grogu isn’t a strict follower of yet, he uses his powers because he wants to help the ones he loves. This use was also for good, something Jedi are restricted to use the Force for.

In “The Book of Boba Fett,” spoiler alert, Grogu trains to be a Jedi with Luke Skywalker at his to-be Jedi Academy. Mando comes to visit him, hoping to see him, but since Jedi must forgo all attachment, Mando leaves him a gift: a shirt made of Beskar metal.

When Luke presents him with the shirt from Mando and Yoda’s lightsaber, Grogu is given a choice: if he takes Mando’s shirt, he is choosing to leave the Jedi order and be a Mandalorian foundling as he was throughout “The Mandalorian” seasons one and two. This was the choice Grogu made.

Even though he is a child, we see Grogu’s ability to make decisions that matter to him. Although he might not realize the long term effects that this decision not to be a part of the Jedi Order would have on him, he still chose an option that means something. Grogu knows that Mando has cared for him when he was abandoned by everything else. This decision implies that Grogu knows that without Mando as a fatherly figure, he would have been in serious danger.

Now, of course, Grogu was put in some pretty serious danger just going along with Mando and his adventures. But Grogu could have been snatched and taken to the Jedi Order when he wasn’t yet ready. He was still very much a child, and Mando always cared for him with the intention of one day returning him to “his kind,” where he could be properly trained as a Jedi. We see these post-training abilities in their prime after Grogu chooses to go along with Mando in “The Book of Boba Fett.” Grogu uses his Force abilities to defeat a Destroyer Droid in the Pyke attack on Tatooine. (Bonus: He also can jump significantly higher than he used to.)

Throughout the two seasons of “The Mandalorian,” Grogu’s Force abilities develop as he gets older. His training with Luke Skywalker helped, but his emotional attachment to Din Djarin, Mando, has proven to be the driving factor for his character’s growth.

The Art of Esad Ribic: A student shares their appreciation for a comic book artist.

I imagine many of us have seen Marvel’s latest movie “The Eternals”. In July 1976, Jack Kirby had returned to Marvel Comics to create the “Eternals” comic series, following his Fourth World saga stint at DC Comics. Kirby’s original series ran for 19 issues, including an annual (an extra issue). The “Eternals” is on its fifth iteration. At the heart of the newest series is an artist I very much want to tell you about, his name is Esad Ribic.
In 2004, Ribic’s illustrations for Marvel’s four issue mini series “Loki” garnered him much deserved attention and he became a fan favorite, quickly becoming one of the most highly sought after comic book artists in the industry. Ribic graduated from the School of Applied Arts and Design in Zagreb, Croatia as a graphic designer. In a 2019 interview with Anthony’s Comic Book Art at the NY Comic Con, which you can find on YouTube, Ribic speaks about his initial struggles as an illustrator working in Europe and the United States. Eventually, he found himself working at Marvel after an argument with management at DC Vertigo. What we learn from this interview is that Marvel was in debt and had filed for bankruptcy. Ribic was probably consider- ing another career at this point.
Fast forward 20 years, Marvel has used Ribic to relaunch several important franchises, including the Fantastic Four, Avengers and Conan. Some of his original comic book art is selling for more than $10,000. In 2019, Marvel published a fantastic collection of his work in a book entitled: “The Art of Esad Ribic”. Ribic’s pencil marks are clean and deliberate. His line work is delightful. The way he creates tone, value and contrast is unique, unlike other artists I have studied. However, he is better known for his painterly illustrations of Marvel’s Wolverine, Thor, Loki, Sub-mariner, Silver Surfer and most recently, The Eternals.
Ribic draws everything by hand, which is rare when most comic book artists today choose to combine digital techniques. In a 2008 interview with Body Pixel, Ribic tells us that he uses gouache, tempera and aquarelle for his painting due to acrylics and oils not being ideal for tight deadlines because they are slower techniques. Ribic’s figures are often times strange and frightening to look at; the faces he draws are grotesque— comically distorted or repulsively ugly. They speak to us on a subconscious level.
Check out Marvel’s “Thor: God of Thunder” (2012 – 2014)! It is my favorite of Ribic’s work. He teams up with writer Jason Aaron for the twenty-five issue run. They would work together again in 2019 on “King Thor”, issues #1 – 4. Ribic would paint the first twelve covers to Aaron’s “Conan The Barbarian” (2019 -2021) series at Marvel, ending on issue twenty-five. “Eternals” is Esad’s latest project with writer Kieron Gillen. It is an on-going series and issue #10 will be released on March 9, 2022.

Book Review: An introduction to Seth Holmes’s “Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies.”

In Fresh Fruit; Broken Bodies, the author, Seth Holmes, reveals the human suffering and injustice associated with the contemporary U.S. agricultural system. The themes that are heavily discussed within this writing includes healthcare discrimination, racism, global pressures versus individual choices, social hierarchy, immigration policy, and structural violence. Holmes’s main focus is the Triqui people, an indigenous Mexican community that has been engaging in newer and consistent transnational migration to the U.S. from Mexico. For this community, migration is necessary in order to fulfill basic livelihood necessities. Starting off, Holmes describes how he and multiple migrants cross the border from Mexico to Arizona, including his experience of getting detained and fined by the Border Patrol. During his detainment, Holmes was denied water and food for an extended period of time. Next, Holmes lived and worked among Triqui migrant workers at Tanaka Brothers Farm.

Upon arriving at Tanaka Brothers Farm, a family-owned farm in Washington, Holmes was met with a hierarchy that placed labor workers at the bottom. Although he noted that everyone on the farm is structurally vulnerable, the depth of vulnerability alters depending on where one stands within the labor structure. As berry pickers are typically migrant workers, they must pick enough to meet the weight requirements in order to not be fired, which would cause them to lose both their source of income and housing. Holmes discovered the physical pain and disrespect faced by the pickers. Through the stories of Abelino, Crescencio, and Bernardo, the U.S. healthcare system is shown to not help migrant workers, but instead frequently casted blame and suspicion on them for the injuries they sought help for. The cultural insensitivity and racism experienced by many migrants caused them to suffer within their bodies and within the larger society that they literally broke their backs for.

A Night of (Good) Dissonance: An impromptu jazz concert review.

It was supposed to be an opera. A group of friends and I had tickets to see “Fedeli d’Amore” at the Annenberg Center for Performing Arts on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus. But when we found out that the Italian opera singers couldn’t travel internationally and that the show was postponed until next year, we thought we made the trek to Philly for nothing.

That was, until jazz saved the day! We got our tickets “exchanged” (and I put that in quotes because we didn’t actually have to hand in our opera tickets) for a jazz concert that was happening in the Zellerbach theater: the Jazz Gallery All-Stars.

The Jazz Gallery All-Stars consist of six musicians: pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Matt Brewer, saxophonists Miguel Zenón and Melissa Aldana, drummer Kendrick Scott and guitarist Charles Altura. In this show, they also featured a vocalist, Renee Neufville.

In the 105-minute concert, the musicians performed some original pieces by each of the All-Stars and two classic jazz pieces by the Jazz Gallery’s founder Roy Hargrove. Each of these pieces were similar but unique, combining the same dissonant elements of jazz but experimenting with different instruments and tempos.

I was not sure what to expect when sitting down at a jazz concert. I had two images in mind: one was classic jazz music and the other was the jazz band that Ryan Gosling’s character plays with in “La La Land.”

The Jazz Gallery All-Stars shattered my few expectations. Their musical talent was immense. My favorite was Kendrick Scott’s ability to keep multiple beats and tempos with each foot and hand while drumming.

I enjoyed being immersed in jazz culture. With the exception of several other college students that were most likely present for extra-credit for a UPenn music class, my friends and I were the only people under the age of 50 in that theater. The ethnic diversity of the audience was incredible as well. Latin American, Asian American, Black and White human beings lined the cushioned seats.

I learned what I termed “jazz concert etiquette,” which is how the audience reacts at certain points of a song. Each song features solos for specific instruments, and after the solo was finished, the audience clapped for that musician. I trained my ear to listen for each of those solos and clap for the musician once they were finished.

Although unexpected, the Jazz Gallery All-Stars concert was an intellectual, cultural and musical experience I will never forget.