Not Your Grandma’s Improv Show

Review of Boom Bap at ComedySportz Seattle

Written by TeenTix Newsroom Writer Spencer Klein, and edited by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes!

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My name is Spencer and what I’d like to do, is talk about Boom Bap with all of you! It’s my new favorite show at CSz if you wanna know, why read my review and see!

When you walk into Atlas Theater in Fremont, WA, the jokes start before the show does. Above their cash register is a dollar bill hanging on the wall with the caption “The First Dollar That CSz Seattle Ever Framed.” CSz Seattle, of course, refers to the Pacific Northwest’s iteration of what is a national league of competitive improv referred to as “Comedy Sportz”.

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Dance-Dance Deconstruction: Why FP2: Beats of Rage Is So Awesome

Review of FP2: Beats of Rage at the Grand Illusion Cinema.

Written by Teen Editor Joshua Fernandes, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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FP2: Beats of Rage at Grand Illusion Cinema reminded me why I love movies. So much character has been put into every shot—at one point I thought I could see the reflection of the filmmakers in the cinema screen. The screen, by the way, was tiny, but it was balanced out by the small size of the room. In fact, the whole theater had a sense of closeness, partially because the will call and concessions had to be managed by the same person, but also because the room was packed. The crowd was lively—they laughed at all the jokes, pointed out all the green screen flubs, and made me feel as though I’d stepped into a tight knit group of friends. Everyone seemed to know someone there; even the person introducing the movie called out a few regulars and had conversations with them.

The story revolves around a tournament for a video game called Beat-Beat Revelation, typically abbreviated to just Beat-Beat, which is absolutely not just Dance-Dance Revolution. That would be silly. This game is the primary way in which conflicts are resolved in this post-apocalyptic society, and the tournament serves as a way to determine who will rule over the FP (Frazier Park), which is filled with this world’s hottest commodity: booze. When the Beat-Beat player known as AK-47 threatens the freedom of all those who just want to have a good time, the legendary Beat-Beat ninja JTRO is forced to come out of hiding in order to secure alcohol for his people.

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Sound Off! Launching a New Generation of Performers

Review of Sound Off! at MoPOP.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Serafina Miller, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Sound Off!, a music competition hosted by MoPOP, showcases the talent of local artists and bands under the age of 21. The event’s atmosphere is enhanced by being hosted in the Skychurch, where the high quality space and materials allow for professional performances by the contributors. This year’s music came from a wide range of genres and exemplified the unique influences of each performer and how they will come to change the music scene in the following years.

The Finals consisted of three bands and one individual artist who advanced from the semi-finals held earlier in February. Of the talent presented in the Finals, each had a distinctive style and sound that drew upon and combined various different genres. The musical ability of each group was atypical of what is expected in such young artists, and the fact that the entirety of the material performed was original, was even more astonishing.

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When A Mother Outlives Her Son

Review of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater by Early Music Seattle and Whim W'Him.

Written by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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The Catholic Mass is generally structured around the reading and interpretation of a passage from the Bible. At many of the churches I’ve attended, there’s a service after the Sunday Mass for the kids, where they lead you into a classroom and break down the scripture, as well as teach you the general tenants of Catholicism.

It was in these Sunday school settings that I was first presented with an interpretation of the Virgin Mary. She was said to be a feminine ideal, a figure of compassion and mercy. A Jewish girl selected to be Jesus’ mother due to her openness to God’s will, the Virgin Mary is often held up as a symbol of purity and goodness in humanity, as she was born into an ordinary family and lived an ordinary life up to her “choosing.”

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Fire Season Uncovers the Brutal Realities of Rural America

Review of Fire Season at Seattle Public Theater.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Olivia Sun, and edited by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer!

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“What’s past is prologue.” We hear these words of Shakespeare spoken again and again throughout the play, but does it mean that tomorrow is a fresh start? Or does it reveal that history is doomed to set the scene for one’s inevitable fate? As Fire Season draws us into a series of interconnected narratives in a deserted rural Washington town, we are invited to interpret Shakespeare’s classic quote for ourselves.

Fire Season, written by Aurin Squire and directed by Kelly Kitchens, captures the bleak stories of a few residents in a forgotten rural town. Squire shines light upon the struggles of drug addiction, poverty, abortion, and racism that are so often overlooked in the thousands of rural communities across the country. Fire Season is the third production in Seattle Public Theater’s 2018-2019 season #Confronting America, which reveals our nation’s most pressing problems through diverse perspectives.

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Life and Death: A Modern Take on an Age-Old Tale

Review of "Everybody" at Strawberry Theatre Workshop.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Nolan DeGarlais, and edited by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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Everybody dies. While this fact should come as no surprise, the realities of death and what happens after it remains far more mysterious. The uncertainty and unpredictability surrounding death frame the central conflict of “Everybody,” a play written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins and presented at the Strawberry Theatre Workshop.

In dealing with these heavy, existential themes, which all must inevitably face, the play employs a great deal of comedy interwoven throughout the plot. The experience begins with a monologue by the humorous usher, who comically urges the audience to obey the common courtesies of theater, and details the development of this seemingly age-old story.

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Arty Gras

​Written by Teen Editor Huma Ali!

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March is notorious for Mardi Gras—the ritual where individuals indulge in rich, fatty, foods, and other pleasures before the fasting of Lent. But this month, the Teen Editorial Staff is acknowledging another holiday, to feed our unfathomable desire to see art. Enter, Arty Gras. This TeenTix-wide celebration of the arts scene starts right here. Right now.

We have curated eight shows that encapsulate the many mediums of art. From MoPOP’s Sound Off! Finals, “FP2: Beats of Rage” at the Grand Illusion Cinema, to Hugo House’s Literary Series—your craving for art, in all its forms, will be satisfied. These heavenly picks will make you want to smack your lips, and come back for more—be it the Moisture Festival or Boom Bap at Comedy Sportz, there is little wrong with giving free rein to your cravings for art.

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Stories through Movement, Stories through Expression

Review of CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work.

Written by Teen Editor Huma Ali, and edited by Teen Editor Anya Shukla!

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Going into CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, I wasn’t sure what to expect, and felt slightly intimidated. While I’m not entirely new to dance, having seen performances like the Nutcracker, I still classify myself as a dance newbie; I’m unfamiliar with the movements and lingo. However, I was pleasantly surprised to witness an event curated for people like me, with the purpose of presenting “accessible, creative work from artists that want to share their stories.” Bodies of Work offered an introduction to dance through eight captivating performances by various artists—allowing the audience to explore both the medium and their feelings regarding each piece.

The first piece, Lauren Horn’s Text Messages, consisted of Horn performing impressively rapid dance movements. She would elongate her arms and legs, crawling across the floor while intermittently reading text conversations between herself and her friends. It wasn’t exactly the dance movements that appealed to me in this piece, but rather the concept behind it. The story that Horn told—of texting her friends in a manner that would be funny (or weird) to anyone but those involved—was one that I could relate to on a personal level. I’ve undergone similar conversations that could only be understood by myself and the person with whom I was speaking because of both the oddity of the subject, and lack of context. As a result of such reflections, Horn’s work influenced the audience to think about technology’s role in their lives and their composure when behind a screen. Horn addressed the juxtaposition between face-to-face and face-to-screen communication by embodying dramatizations of topics over texts and emojis (through verbal and physical cues) in her piece. Although there were times in which the conversation was not understandable, the sheer weakness of the pronunciation a result of Horn’s breathlessness while dancing, the piece left a lasting impression and sparked a pondering question among the audience about our use of technology in this day and age.

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The Divide Between ‘Me’ and ‘You’

Review of M. Butterfly at ArtsWest.

Written by Teen Editor Hannah Schoettmer, and edited by Teen Editor Lily Williamson!

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To an English speaker, the letter ‘M’ is deceitful when placed alone. In our world, we base the assumptions of an unknown person entering a room on their prefix, the “Mr.” or “Ms.”. We shape our expectations of them on it. But, what if the preface is but a single “M.”? If an unknown person entering a room greeted you on paper only as “M.” who would you prepare yourself to see?

So it is in M. Butterfly, written by David Henry Hwang and directed by Samip Raval. We are told the story of Rene Gallimard (David Quicksall), a French diplomat in China and a man enraptured in his own incompetence. In his mind, and as reassured by his colleagues, friends, and wife, there is a meekness about him that robs him of what he may be.

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A Female Experience Along A Meridian

Review of One Girl at Northwest Film Forum's Children's Film Festival Seattle.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Mila Borowski, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Joshua Fernandes!

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One Girl is a raw portrayal of the varied lives of four individuals living along the same meridian in South Sudan, Romania, Palestine, and Finland. Shown as part of the Children’s Film Festival Seattle at Northwest Film Forum, the crowded, cozy theater hosting the documentary already gave me a taste of the lively, intimate show I was about to see. One Girl begins with a short introduction, voiced by the girls themselves, as we see them getting ready for school. The juxtaposition of snowy hills in Finland and sun glinting off ancient rooftops in Palestine was a perfect pretext for the rest of the film. As we were personally introduced to each girl, their honesty sparked a quick connection between the viewer and the characters. It was this continuous honesty throughout the film, shared by all four girls, that made One Girl special. The girl living in Palestine brought up her restriction from Jerusalem, a city she could admire from her home but never enter. A serious topic brought up as an everyday truth affected the audience with its informal delivery. Even when this honesty was portrayed as bored sighs during a long lesson, or an awkward expression after a hit to the face with an out-of-control ball during P.E., it was all beautiful. It was their openness, their willingness to welcome us into their lives for just a day, that endeared the audience to the girls.

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Githa Sowerby’s Rutherford and Son Defies Its 20th Century Setting

Review of Rutherford and Son at UW Drama

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Eileen MacDonald and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya Shukla!

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In 1912, Rutherford and Son, written by anonymous playwright K.G. Sowerby, was heralded as a masterpiece and placed on a list of the top 100 plays of the 20th century. When it was later revealed that the author was, in fact, the female writer Githa Sowerby, critics were shocked—yet the meaning of the piece became all the more profound.

Performed for the third time in the United States, the play is the thesis production of third year MFA (Masters of Fine Arts) directing student, Cody Holliday Haefner, and examines the life of a family overcoming obstacles in a sexist, classist, and racist society. John Rutherford (guest actor Brace Evans) is the patriarch of an upper class family on the brink of coming undone. As he desperately tries to save the family glassmaking business, he fails to recognize that his family has been torn apart by his actions and expectations.

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Stories of the Past Connect to our Future

Review of Lore Re-imagined at the Wing Luke Museum.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Eleanor Chang-Stucki, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Hannah Schoettmer!

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“i hope the honesty of my searching and unknowing feels like a palpable thing a viewer could hold. because my experience, this sensation, is not unique. it is, sadly, so many of ours to share. and i hope we can sit here with it, here, in the quiet of this room, with this work’s embrace of its precarity and incompleteness—its recognition of its own insufficiency as an archival object—and know that maybe we, in our flawed unbelonging and unknowing diasporic selves, are also enough.” -Satpreet Kahlon

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February Selections for Your Art Addiction!

​Written by Teen Editorial Staff member Joshua Fernandes!

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Pretty much everything is best in moderation. Yet, from phones, to Starbucks, to binge watching a dozen Lifetime original movies at 2 AM , it seems you can’t go far without getting hooked on something. However, we here at TeenTix believe you can never have too much art! Being the professional art addicts we on the Teen Editorial Staff are, we’ve come up with some recommendations to satisfy your art cravings this February. For improv enthusiasts there’s Everybody, where all members of the cast are assigned a random role at the beginning of the show, and Boom Bap, which joins the worlds of improv and freestyle rap. For theater fiends there’s Fire Season, which takes a more literal and sobering look at addiction (it centers on a 12-year old’s overdose on Oxycontin) and M. Butterfly, which uses the context of a French diplomat falling for a Chinese opera star to explore themes of how cultures perceive each other. Finally, for dance devotees there’s CHOP SHOP: Bodies of Work, a contemporary dance festival, and for classical music maniacs there's Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, one of Pergolesi’s most well known works. With so many unique experiences this month, it’d be a crime to stick to the monotonous patterns of our shared societal smartphone sickness. So break out of your seasonal Netflix addiction and go see some art!

The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog and manage the TeenTix Newsroom. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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Spontaneity Captures the Essence of a Wes Anderson World

Review of Yes Anderson at Jet City Improv.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Jaiden Borowski, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Huma Ali!

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Wes Anderson, the filmmaker of notable movies like The Royal Tenenbaums and Moonrise Kingdom, inspired the team at Jet City Improv to design the show Yes Anderson—based off of a social media following of Anderson’s called “Accidentally Wes Anderson.” After hearing about the basis of this show, the questions that arose weren’t “How would Jet City Improv accomplish this?” or “What led them to attempt this challenge?” Rather, my initial thought was, “What is ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’?” More commonly referred to as Accidental Anderson, as was revealed after a quick Google search, it’s a website where people post pictures of places that look like they could have been ripped straight out of an Anderson film.

Because I haven’t seen many of Wes Anderson’s works, I wondered if this show would prove applicable to an audience unfamiliar with the context, like myself. As the show began, I quickly realized it’s broadly relatable. From the beginning, the Anderson style wasn’t forced into the show and flowed well with the sudden, random changes in plot that improv provides.

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Edgar Arceneaux Provokes Thoughts on Race in America

Review of Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lies at the Henry Art Gallery.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Sofia Gerrard, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Lily Williamson!

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Sitting in an empty corner of The Henry Art Gallery is a small shack made from wooden slats no more than an inch thick. There are slivers of space between each board, and, despite the gallery's tall ceilings, the shack is hardly more than six feet tall. It seems almost like a relic of history, maybe the crowded house of a family on the frontier, or a shed containing hidden fugitives, but certainly not the exterior of "Library of Black Lies," one of the most thought provoking and unique pieces of modern art created by artist Edgar Arceneaux.

As you step inside the shack, you are greeted by a partially obscured mirror reflecting back an image of yourself. Shelves with books—some old, some wrapped in black tarps and tied together with string—create a labyrinth, one that is purposefully disorienting, but guides you to the center. As I walked through this labyrinth, the shack seemed to become larger, and my reflection peeked back at me, wondering where I would turn and where my path would lead. As I finally approached the center of the shack (shortcuts through the circuitous route are impossible), the books on display were no longer covered with drab tarps—instead, they sparkled, a warm yellow light glinting off the sugar crystals erupting from the pages.

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The Unspoken Geometry of Dying Languages

Review of Alonzo King's LINES Ballet at Meany Center for the Performing Arts.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Annika Prom, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya Shukla!

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Throughout the world, ancient languages are fading away at an alarming rate. Alonzo King’s Figures of Speech, performed by his LINES Ballet company, aimed to preserve these moribund dialects by conveying the struggle of maintaining each language’s culture. The ballet recently shared pieces of these dialects, which range from the provincial Hawai’ian language spoken by 27,200 people to the extinct Selk’nam language that has no known native speakers, with the Seattle community.

Bringing his San Francisco-based ballet ensemble to the UW’s Meany Hall, choreographer and artistic director Alonzo King collaborated with slam poet and linguistic advocate Bob Holman to present his latest pièce de résistance, Figures of Speech. The LINES Ballet explored the power behind lost languages, guiding the audience on a touching trek through the sound, movement, and shape of aboriginal languages.

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New Year, New You

​Written by Teen Editorial Staff member Anya Shukla!

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January. The first month of the new year and the perfect time for a new you. A clean slate. In other words: resolution time! If you want to read more or kick that procrastination habit, chances are you’re going to start this month. But here’s a secret: if your New Year’s resolution is to see more art—specifically art that celebrates new beginnings—the Teen Editorial Staff has got you covered. Interested in shows about youth? Check out the Children’s Film Festival at Northwest Film Forum. Want a show that was new over a hundred years ago? Go see UW Drama’s Rutherford and Son. And if you’re really craving shows that challenge societal stereotypes, we urge you to see Alonzo King LINES Ballet at Meany Center or Henry Art Gallery’s “Edgar Arceneaux: Library of Black Lies” exhibit. And if you’ve realized your resolution to run ten miles every day isn’t super realistic, you can always procrastinate by watching Yes Anderson at Jet City Improv or, to be honest, going to see any show in Seattle. Don’t worry, we won’t judge. We’ll probably be doing the same thing.

The Teen Editorial Staff is made up of 5 teens who curate the review portion of the TeenTix blog and manage the TeenTix Newsroom. More information about the Teen Editorial Staff can be found HERE.

The TeenTix Press Corps promotes critical thinking, communication, and information literacy through criticism and journalism practice for teens. For more information about the Press Corps program see HERE.

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A Night Full of Laughs, Holiday Cheer, and Way Too Much Fun

Review of A(n improvised) Christmas Carol by Unexpected Productions.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Sumeya Block, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Joshua Fernandes!

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A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens, is an already well known holiday story that makes its way around as a Christmas classic. Many are familiar with the ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future, teaching viewers about the values of being a good person through some funny characters, and of course, holiday cheer. Yet when A Christmas Carol turns into improv and Scrooge is the head of a meditation school, the story we know so well becomes much funnier, and maybe even better than before. The special thing about A(n improvised) Christmas Carol is that the audience are the ones who create the story. A half hour before the show, one of the actors came out to ask a series of questions that would impact how the rest of the night went. The audience got to choose things like the quirks of each character, such as playing with other people’s hair when stressed. He asked who was returning to see the show again. I watched from my seat as loud cheers and applause erupted from the crowd. More than half of the room, which was full, raised their hands with excitement and chatter. There was also us newcomers, silent at first, who also raised our hands, still excited for what was next. I loved that the audience had people of all ages. This made it a friendlier experience, which I appreciated since this was my first improv show. A favorite suggestion of mine from the audience was making Tiny Tim sick from laser eye disease. Later on this was incorporated into the show when we saw Tiny Tim walk out with huge goggles on his face to protect his eyes from lasering others. Some other suggestions that made it into the show that night included Scrooge living under the stairs, the Ghost of Christmas Past being a teletubbie, Scrooge having a stash of hidden gold bars, and Scrooge licking Cratchit’s toes. The ability each actor has to add their own special touch to a character is remarkable, incorporating the tiny quirks mentioned by the audience and adding their own ideas as well, such as how Scrooge liked to slam doors or the Ghost of Christmas Past liked to repeat “Your mom is dead!” and “Scrooge is sad!” over and over again. Even my own suggestion, taping pictures of people’s faces to a door to evoke joy, was incorporated multiple times into the show. I loved that feeling of accomplishment when your suggestion made people laugh.

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A Christmas Lesson

Review of A Festival of Lessons & Carols by the Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint! Seattle.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Sofia Gerrard, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya Shukla!

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Many families have a multitude of traditions during the holiday season: some bake cookies, go caroling, volunteer at charity, or go to church. But one tradition for many families is attending A Festival of Lessons & Carols, a concert performed by the Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint! Seattle. As divisions of Northwest Choirs, both groups aim to instill a passion for music and the arts in children and teens from the Pacific Northwest. These talented young men and women, between the ages of six and eighteen, perform alongside the Seattle Symphony in a classic Christmas service every year. This show is based on traditional Anglican worship services often held on Christmas Eve, and is a tradition that, this year, I participated in. The 90 minutes of readings, performances of traditional and modern Christmas carols, and heartwarming sing-alongs of classic Christmas favorites proved to be a jolly experience that exemplified the Christmas spirit.

The concert started with a luminous performance of “I Saw Three Ships,” which was followed by nine Bible readings, the titular lessons, and a varied and unique selection of carols. The ethereal voices of the Boychoir mixed well with the lower sounds of both male and female sections of Vocalpoint! Seattle, with an evident effort to enliven classic Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and “Hark The Herald.” Through new rhythms and consonant harmonies, these songs illustrated the diverse talents of the choir. Although some song choices were much more obscure than others, the songs included more modern arrangements and compositions, which helped to avoid the dreaded glaze of apathy which often covers an audience's eyes when faced with unfamiliar tunes. One particularly amusing performance was that of “Sweet Little Jesus Boy,” a Gospel song first written in the 1930s and arranged by the choir’s director Joseph Crnko; this song juxtaposed soaring, nearly incandescent melodies with upbeat, contemporary sounds. The female driven sing-alongs were less varied, more traditional carols, but had the same blend of expression, excellent sense of pitch, warm tonal quality, and crisp pronunciation.

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Writing About Music About Writing

Review of Jack Straw Writers Anthology 2018.

Written by TeenTix Press Corps Newsroom Writer Tova Gaster, and edited by Teen Editorial Staff Member Anya Shukla!

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Spotify Wrapped screenshots plaster social media as the year comes to end, users’ music tastes consolidated into neat consumable packages. It’s possible I’m just salty that they called me out for listening to 50+ hours of the same artist (love you Y La Bamba), but Spotify, Apple Music, and similar streaming services are changing the way we engage with music—digitizing, isolating, and directing our listening via depersonalized algorithms. Jack Straw Cultural Center’s collaboration with the Bushwick Book Club offers a different way to engage with art: genre-blending musical collaboration, in real time.

The 12 Jack Straw writers for 2018 have been producing and sharing work all year through the Jack Straw Cultural Center in the University District, an organization dedicated to providing writers and musicians with recording experience. For their annual end-of-the-year event, Jack Straw partners with Bushwick Book Club, a collective of musicians that draw their inspiration from literary works, and pairs each writer with a musician whose job it is to create a song inspired by their writer’s work. These 12 songs span a vast range of musical styles and themes, showing the meandering transformation of an idea filtered through a different consciousness and medium.

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