Shortly after learning that Breonna Taylor's murderers were not indicted, I decided to watch “Antebellum.” I’d been avoiding it because I had no desire to watch a gratuitously violent depiction of Black female trauma, but I reasoned that that was why I needed to analyze it. I needed to put my thoughts together for people as to why these kinds of films need to be handled differently. In the context of President Donald Trump working to erase the realities and implications of slavery from the American consciousness, I am firmly in the camp that slave films do need to be made, but they need to be made differently.
When plans to demolish the Rice Media Center were initially announced in April 2019, Vice President for Administration Kevin Kirby stated that the teardown process would occur before the end of 2020. Today, with those plans having been ruptured by the coronavirus pandemic, the Media Center faces an uncertain future. However, Rice’s recently announced plans for a new visual and dramatic arts building suggest that the arts community will remain alive and well on campus.
QFest, the annual Houston International LGBTQ Film Festival, began in 1996 with a mission of promoting communication and cooperation through art made by, about and for the LGBTQ+ community. Every year, local nonprofit media arts center Aurora Picture Show presents artist-made noncommercial films and videos that embrace and celebrate the diversity of experiences within the queer community. QFest screens short films, documentaries and feature films from around the world, and whether they’re narratives or abstract and experimental, they all share empowering messages of self-discovery, acceptance and expression.
The advent of smartphones during my middle school years led to a variety of viral hype rap being blasted in the back of the school bus. Most of it was standard mid-2010s rap fare (“Mercy,” “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” etc.) but one song stood out in particular. In it, a husky voice nimbly rapped over a harsh drum loop about gang executions and used a recently deceased celebrity as a cocaine euphemism. Like many young Houstonians, “Whitney Houston” was my introduction to the legend of Maxo Kream.
I currently have a Google doc marked “album review if MGK saves pop-punk” and another Google doc titled “album review if MGK doesn’t save pop-punk.” By the next sentence, you will know which was published.
Even Sufjan Stevens, known for his gentle voice and poetic lyrics layered over simple acoustic guitar, could not help but bow to the wave of technological dependency required of everyone living and working during the COVID-19 pandemic. His new album “The Ascension” starkly contrasts his previous works with the addition of what seems to be MIDI keyboard beats and electronically altered vocals paired alongside his classic angsty lyrics.
The beauty of podcasts comes from their convenience — plug in your headphones, press play and go about your day — you’ll find that more often than not, podcasts will fall seamlessly into your schedule. While plenty of Rice students have turned to podcasts to break up the monotony of their routine, a handful of owls have traded headphones for microphones and started shows of their own. If, like me, you’ve struggled to fill the empty stretches of silence of your days in quarantine, consider listening to these four podcasts created by your fellow Rice students.
What really is democracy? What does it mean to be a democracy and what does it entail? The Moody Center for the Arts’s new fall exhibition, “States of Mind: Art and American Democracy,” seeks to answer these questions, although perhaps not in the way you might imagine. Moody’s newest exhibit, organized by Associate Curator Ylinka Barotto, introduces new perspectives and angles from artists telling their own stories in their own ways, particularly focusing on national issues affecting Texas. Its goal is to drive new thoughts and deeper revelations in viewers. Art, after all, is not about giving direct answers, but coming to your own.
Any other year, Baker College’s P-Quad would be bustling with people gathering to eat, study, and socialize. COVID-19 restrictions this semester have subdued some of that energy, but recently, students and faculty across Rice have been flocking there for an unexpected reason. For the next month, P-Quad will be home to PANDEMIA: an outdoor art exhibit featuring students’ perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic.
Masked musicians, small groups and livestreaming equipment, all outdoors — the inaugural concert of the Hanszen Family Heart Chamber Music Festival showed us what performance looks like in a pandemic. The concert, held last Friday, Sept. 18 in Hanszen College’s quad, was the first in a series planned to recur on the third Friday of each month this semester, according to festival organizer and horn player Shawn Zheng.
One of the most influential experimental psychedelic rock groups since the 1980s, The Flaming Lips have never been a band to bow to convention. Their new album “American Head” continues the group’s tradition of strong narrative songs sublimated by ethereal vocals and psychedelic musical experimentation. It follows their 2019 concept album “King’s Mouth,” an effort inspired by frontman Wayne Coyne’s art exhibit of the same name and narrated by Mick Jones of The Clash.
NIKI, the rising pop sensation hailing from Asian-based music collective 88rising recently released her highly anticipated debut album, “Moonchild.” Dubbed as the “internet’s favorite R&B princess” from the start of her career, Nicole Zefanya, better known as NIKI, is a 21-year-old Indonesian singer-songwriter. Niki’s breakout EP “Zephyr” catapulted her on the path to stardom and put her name on the map of emerging pop sensations as she racked up millions of streams across songs.
In a world becoming increasingly dependent on dual-delivery, one has to ask how visual art, a mode of communication previously relegated mostly to the physical, is adapting to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. An example of this dual-delivery form of visual art can be found at the newly renamed, student-run Sleepy Cyborg Gallery in their first exhibition of the year called “quaranzine.”
The Texas Commission on the Arts designated Houston’s Third and Fifth Wards as cultural districts on Sept. 3. Home to historical landmarks, cultural diversity and notable figures in education, music, politics and art, these neighborhoods have played an influential role both in Houston and the Black community at-large.
You have to listen to "Água Viva" on headphones — it's the intended experience. The textures on this album are sonorous and immaculate, and Greek sound artist Daphne X weaves them into a membrane that fully encloses the listener's auditory space. In doing so, she offers a welcome escape into a world that facilitates the spatial and environmental awareness so often missing from our lives in quarantine.
“Detroit 2” is a feature filled homage to Big Sean’s hometown of Detroit, enlivened through spoken word stories and evocative lyricism. Although Sean had originally planned to announce the project on March 13 to coincide with “313 Day,” a celebration of Detroit, the announcement was postponed to later that month due to the COVID pandemic. Following months of anticipation, Big Sean’s passionate ode to his home dropped on the promised date of Sept. 4 along with a capsule of merchandise.