Archive for the ‘Arts’ Category

What Kinds of Music Are Beneficial to Students?

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

by Graham Glusman

Is music beneficial to studying? Students have asked this age-old question over the years, particularly in modern-day schools. Where workloads are particularly heavy and homework can stretch over a period of several hours, like at the Academy, students seek some sort of relief from the tedious work.

A common way to efficiently do homework is to listen to music while working. One can continue to work, without passing out from boredom or exhaustion. However, the question remains as to what kind of music is in fact helpful to learning.

A study done by Stanford University uses brain imaging technology to pinpoint what parts of the brain are functioning while listening to music. The music used was that of an obscure 18th-century composer. This music activated the part of the brain that focuses on paying attention, making predictions, and cognitive ability.

On the positive side, this shows that listening to music can improve memory and understanding of concepts. On the negative side, who listens to obscure 18th-century composers?

Another study conducted by the Center of New Discovery and Learning found that listening to classical or jazz music while studying can increase learning ability by five times.

However, music such as rock, pop, rap, blues, and country lull the aforementioned part of the brain to sleep with their repetitive meter. So unless you’re into Thelonious Monk or Brahms, you’re out of luck.  •

Encore Weekend’s 10+ Is a Roaring Success

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

by Kelsey O’Connor

Imagine laughing and crying until your face is streaming with tears, all in a matter of minutes. JC Svec’s Encore Weekend piece 10+ provided for both.

The collection of 10-minute plays was diverse in its entertainment value. The medley included five comedies: “Day’s Last Appointment,” “The Understudy,” “Have a Holly Jolly,” “Mr. Bloopers,” and “The Bloody Cow;” and two dramas: “The Girls and Mrs. Meyers” and “3:38.”

In the comedy “Have a Holly Jolly,” Santa and Mrs. Claus plot to exterminate the corporation that has taken over the North Pole by faking the deaths of the reindeer. There is tangible comedy in this piece, as well as in others, that left the audience laughing out loud. However, underneath the accents, the jokes, and the ridiculous situations lies a deeper message about what our       society is coming to.

In “The Bloody Cow,” a man tries to order a hamburger, but is thwarted by the inescapable path of technology. He cannot make a purchase without first creating an account, and he has to give his name several times. He cannot order exactly what he wants because he has to order only items that have codes.

These plays are funny because they are truthful; it’s really a dark humor.

The dramas, presented after an intermission, changed the tone of the collection entirely. J.C. both established and resolved a rape-murder story, a story about a girl who indirectly caused her parents’ death, and the story of a man who lost his child in ten minutes. These had some people in tears, but all were in shock at the 180-degree change in tone. (cont’d on p. 2)

Deetjen veterans Sarah Finn, Heather Milke, Sam Cleverley, and Kristina Bylancik, along with Thea Flurry and Matt Skolnick, both making their Deetjen debuts, seamlessly brought these stories to life. The group only had two weeks to put the production together, but you would never have known.

Each actor played two, three, and sometimes more roles, often with very different personalities, but each character had been well explored and wholly personified. The actors employed their vocal talents, including Sarah Finn’s hilarious Mrs. Claus impression, Krissy’s more-than-perky “The (cont’d on p. 3) Bloody Cow” adaptation, and Heather Milke’s nasal New York accent in “Mr. Bloopers,” not to mention Sam Cleverley’s enchanting voice, which will probably be its own accent one day. Perhaps the most poignant characters were Jenna (Sarah Finn) and Paul (Matt Skolnick). Each actor presented his or her character with a clarity that allowed for deep exploration in a short performance time.

Overall, 10+ was incredibly well-put-together. Every weekend should be Encore Weekend!

MKA’s Actresses Become All the King’s Women

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

by Sarah Finn

 

It’s that time of year again, folks. Touchdown season. Changing leaves. Sweater weather. Apple-picking. And most importantly, MKA’s Fall Play. For any of you music lovers, rock-n-roll fanatics, or poodle-skirt, saddle-shoe-wearing 50’s souls, this year’s Fall Play, “All the King’s Women,” should not be missed! Written by Jersey native and multiple award winner Luigi Jannuzzi, “All the King’s Women” is made up of five one-acts and three monologues that span Elvis’ legacy, from the late 1940’s up to the present. Throughout the course of the play, the audience hears stories from a saleswoman who met Elvis when he was eleven years old, secretaries who work for President Nixon, art promoters who work for Andy Warhol, a modern couple that works in Graceland, and many more. “All the King’s Women” is chock full of hilarious anecdotes, various Southern and Northern dialects, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s fashion and hair, and of course, a soulful, hip-shaking soundtrack.

This year’s Fall Play is directed by the talented visionary JC Svec, and stars a diverse ensemble cast.  Starring freshmen Emma Asher, Audrey Lane and Peter Colbert; sophomores Krissy Bylancik, Heather Milke, and Sam Cleverley; juniors Emma Hart and Madeleine Colbert; and senior Sarah Finn, All the King’s Women is sure to please. In the words of freshman Emma Asher, who is brand new to the Deetjen stage, “I am super excited and honored to be a part of it all!”

The cast has been and will be working tirelessly until opening night, in the hopes of putting together a marvelously entertaining set of performances. As per usual, the show will be performed six times in the Deetjen black box theater in early November: Thursdays, November 1st and 8th at 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays November 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th at 8 p.m. Look out for the booth in the cafeteria in late October and early November, where students and faculty can reserve tickets.  Come support your fellow classmates and students, and enjoy what is sure to be a wonderfully fun and electrifying show! •

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside: Your Winter Playlist

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Emily Greenberg and Madeleine Colbert

1) “Winter Song” – The Head and the Heart

2) “Winter Winds” – Mumford & Sons

3) “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” – Neutral Milk Hotel

4) “Creature Fear” – Bon Iver

5) “Little Black Submarines” – The Black Keys

6) “The High Road” – Broken Bells

7) “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie

8) “Feel Good Inc.” – Gorillaz

9) “Let’s Go” – Matt & Kim

10) “Madness” – Muse

Matt & Kim Draw Huge MKA Turnout at the Wellmont Theater

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Amy Parker

Matt and Kim are an indie dance music duo from Brooklyn, New York. Their music is fast, fun, and full of energy, and their live performances fully reflect this enthusiasm.

Recently, they performed at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair on November 17th. After the opening act of Oberhofer, another Brooklyn band, the performance began around 8:00 p.m. It was energetic and exciting, drawing a surprisingly large crowd of MKA students. Few students who attended the concert did not run into at least one of their classmates, even in the chaotic sea of teenagers from the Montclair area.

Adding to Matt and Kim’s performance, lyric videos for many songs were projected behind the stage, encouraging fans across the theater to sing along. Both Matt and Kim lived up to their reputations as vehement performers: their constant dancing, as well as their personal interactions with the audience members, had the crowd going the whole night. At one point, Kim stood atop the hands of cheering fans as she danced over the crowd.

Matt and Kim’s show at the Wellmont Theater was the final performance of their Lightning tour. The duo began the tour more than a month prior, starting the day after the release of their latest album Lightning. Their set list included fan favorites such as “Daylight,” “Let’s Go,” and “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare.”

Overall, the concert was a memorable event, full of great performers, great music, and even greater company. Let’s hope they perform at the Wellmont again sometime in the near future!

Movies According to MKA: Students Turn Film Critics to Review the Latest Blockbusters

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Skyfall is the latest installment of Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007 movies, celebrating fifty years of the Bond franchise. Up to his usual exploits, James Bond (played by Daniel Craig) defeats the villain and saves the world, all while looking fresh in a blue suit. As with all great 007 movies, it is full of plot twists, killer fights, and extended chases. In Skyfall, the British intelligence agency MI6 is under attack. Someone has found the list of all the MI6 secret agents, and is slowly revealing their identities, putting everyone, including M, Bond’s boss, in danger. Break out the popcorn, because Skyfall is a must-see movie. –Madison Rivlin ‘15, Staff Writer

 

Life of Pi is the 3-D movie version of Yann Martel’s book Life of Pi. It is about a boy named Piscine, “Pi” for short, from Pondicherry, India. Sailing from Canada to India with his family and the animals from their zoo, the ship sinks and Pi finds himself on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan, and a tiger. Personally, I preferred the book because the plot line and themes were more meaningful and heartfelt, but the cinematography and the musical arrangements in the movie are breathtaking. –Madison Rivlin ‘15, Staff Writer

Silver Linings Playbook is a movie for everyone. There’s a love story, a dysfunctional family, and a dance scene, not to mention Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, oh, and Robert DeNiro. While Cooper and Lawrence are both well-known for their principal roles in past films, The Hangover and The Hunger Games, respectively, both show their depth and range as actors in their portrayals of the slightly insane, but endearing characters of Pat and Tiffany. Tragedy and humor come together, leaving audience members in that familiarly uncomfortable area between laughs and tears, and this movie certainly delivers the best of both worlds. Put this paper down and buy yourself a ticket! –Sarah Finn ‘13, Editor in Chief

 

In Argo, the year is 1979 and the U.S. is in the midst of the Iranian hostage crisis.  As militants storm the American Embassy in retaliation for sheltering Iran’s former Shah, several workers from the Embassy escape. The C.I.A. must figure out how to save the trapped citizens (led by actress and MKA alumna Kerry Bishé) from the grips of an unstable revolution. Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) is compelling throughout as a C.I.A. specialist who takes a team (notable members played by John Goodman and Alan Arkin) to Iran as they use a movie shoot as a front to rescue the Americans before they are captured. Argo will have you on the edge of your seat throughout and is definitely a must-see. –Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ‘14, Sports Editor

 

“Four score and seven years ago,” are the famous beginning words to Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that ended slavery and brought our country into a new modern era. The movie Lincoln attempts to demonstrate the many struggles our great president encountered while trying to the pass the 13th Amendment. Though the movie is slow and a bit lifeless, it has its perks. The film is filled with interesting facts, remarkable history, and even a few surprises. Daniel Day Lewis’ performance as Lincoln is spectacular, along with those of Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Lincoln is perfect for all teachers and history buffs. –Gen Hughes ‘14, Staff Writer

Titus Andronicus Get Down to Business

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Anna Sheinaus

Oh, how to summarize the new Titus Andronicus album in 500 words or less? The Jersey rockers themselves do it best. Kicking off their new tour in support of their third album, Local Business, Titus bluntly and proudly announced through their Twitter, “PUNK IS BACK.” And oh yes, let it ring through the hills, it is.

After listening to Titus’s second album The Monitor, a Civil War concept album full of grandiose rock epics with layered bagpipe solos, this may seem hard to believe. After all, the band tends to avoid the standard punk formula of two-minute songs with straightforward lyrics.

Instead, they favor sprawling compositions that often approach 10 minutes and are embedded with literary references – without any hint of pretension whatsoever – which can be pretty hard to do when you’re named after an obscure Shakespearean tragedy.

But what they lack in punk credentials in terms of song structure, they make up for with their raw, unfiltered energy, especially on this new record. It keeps all the grit and grime of earlier albums, but is arguably the band’s tightest and most cohesive release.

Local Business bears some resemblance to the band’s earlier attempts, complete with exultant guitars, rhythms you can feel pounding throughout your body, and frontman Patrick Stickle’s trademark atonal and abrasive vocals. A self-professed nihilist, Stickles wails on the album’s opening song “Ecce Homo,” “I think by now we’ve established that everything is inherently worthless and there is nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose.”

So Titus isn’t exactly taking a break from the bleak outlook of The Monitor or 2008’s The Airing of Grievances, but nevertheless the band doesn’t want its listeners to whine and lay at home all day, mourning the futility of life.

No, Stickles has mused that the band chose to title the album Local Business to encourage listeners to celebrate punk, DIY, and local scenes. And it’s worth mentioning that the local businesses, the ones to which Titus is playing tribute, exist all around us—the band hails from Glen Rock.

So get out, put on your headphones and blast Titus Andronicus’ new album, explore your local scene, and maybe you’ll find that everything isn’t inherently worthless.

The Colbert Report

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

by Ariana Puzzo

As a lifer at MKA, and as an avid reader and writer, the Book Fair has always been an exciting time of year for me. I often reflect on past Book Fairs with nostalgia as I remember how excited I used to get looking through all of the new books, picking which ones I would purchase, and meeting some of my favorite authors. As I have gotten older, while I still look forward to browsing through new books, I have come to await with greater anticipation the announcement of the name of the visiting author. This year’s author, much to the excitement of the student body and faculty, was none other than Stephen Colbert.

 

Over the years, many of us have either met or seen Mr. Colbert around campus, as he is the father of three MKA students, including two Upper Schoolers, Madeleine and Peter. But still, as he walked onto the stage to the speaker’s podium, the auditorium bustled with cheers and enthusiasm. I could see, as he stood there surveying the audience, that those around me were already captivated by his presence. As he spoke to us, casually switching back between his character’s persona and his own, MKA students were able to see Mr. Colbert in a completely raw and unique light.

 

Mr. Colbert’s preview of his new book, America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren’t, was not only hilariously witty, but also intriguing to many students. It is without hesitation that I can say that I, and the entire Upper School community, immensely enjoyed Mr. Colbert’s visit to our school, and as always, experienced another wildly successful Book Fair at MKA.

Maddie’s Study Playlist!

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Madeleine Colbert ’14

  1. Two Door Cinema Club – “Sun”
  2. Childish Gambino ft. Yeasayer – “I Can Hear Your Feet (Sunrise)”
  3. Up and Away ft. June – “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop”
  4. Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch – “Sweet Nothings”
  5. He is We – “Pardon Me (Go Periscope Remix)”
  6. Adrian Lux – “Teenage Crime”
  7. Passion Pit – “It’s Not My Fault, I’m Happy”
  8. Yelle – “Que Veux Tu (Madeon Remix)”
  9. Two Door Cinema Club – “Settle”
  10. Citizen Cope – “Let the Drummer Kick That”

AP Art Students Take Art to New Heights

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

Alex Amari ’13

During the first few days of school, a peculiar scent began emanating from the Upper School Arts Wing. Students proposed several explanations for the unpleasant odor, ranging from the building materials involved in the recently finished art hallway renovations to some sort of forgotten foodstuff that had somehow avoided detection during the summer months. As time passed, however, the smell became increasingly rancid, so much so that students dismissed even the worst Flik mishap as a potential cause of the odor. So what was the cause of the putrid aroma, you ask? We are happy to report that it was just Preston Park’s AP Studio Art project, which was discovered and promptly disposed of in the first week of school.

What is AP Studio Art? Who is taking it? Should we expect more disgusting Art Wing fragrances in the coming months? The Academy News has made it a point to find out.

When students taking the course walked into the art classroom on the first day of school, they were met with a mixed welcome from Mr. Cuneo: “Welcome to AP Studio Art. You are officially two months behind.” A short briefing ensued before the seniors began working on their summer projects for the class.

The summer assignment for AP Studio Art, introduced to students last spring, was described simply as BUGS! When we asked Preston about the concept for his summer project, he replied, “I basically just put roast beef in a water bottle and let maggots grow in it. I was hoping it could work somehow, but the art teachers threw it out, so yeah…” The prospective sculptor has recently been spotted searching for new organic materials for his project near the dumpsters behind the school.

Like other AP courses, AP Studio Art follows a curriculum loosely regulated by the College Board, culminating in a final examination at the end of the year based on the AP grading criteria. In the case of AP Studio Art, students spend the year working on a portfolio that will be graded anonymously by a team of College Board graders during the summer. Portfolios fall under three categories: 2-D Design, 3-D Design, and Drawing. Within each of these categories, students produce artwork for three equally weighted sections: Quality, Breadth, and Concentration. Due to the sheer amount of artwork required for the exam, AP Studio is considered a yearlong, major course.

So who are the students willing enough to dedicate such a considerable amount of time and effort to their artwork? Are they, as one student suggests, “a mindless rabble of hipsters looking for résumé boosters and writing expressionist plays at Panera in their spare time”? I can safely say that this is not the case.

While AP Studio is a class full of gifted artists, some students (myself, specifically) possess more imagination than talent. This is a class of ideas, and certainly a class with a sense of humor. Technical artistic strength in drawing, photography, sculpture and other art forms is essential for successful AP portfolios, but in and of itself will not guarantee a good score. Not all ideas must be as quirky as Preston’s, but students are encouraged to pursue originality as they put together their projects. Portfolios are most successful, Mr. Cuneo likes to remind students, when a sense of personality shines through, when an exhausted team of College Board graders finds something that makes them smile in a sea of repetitive high school art.