Archive for the ‘number sixteen’ Category

Supporting the Visual Arts in Beaver Falls

February 12, 2007

The Center for Creative Arts Expression is an open art studio created and run by Jerry McCorr, the Beaver Falls High School’s art teacher. Her vision for the center is to promote and support the visual arts within the community. The uniqueness of the center comes from its location, the previously vacant John T. Reeves Bank on Main Street, just half a block from the McCartney Library. Each teller window now offers a pallet of different art media, such as acrylic, watercolor, scrap booking, stamping, charcoal, pencil and ink. Two pottery wheels pose in the bank’s vault. Pottery, crayon batiking, quilting and other classes are available.

Jerry is a one-woman show, playing secretary, paying the electric and sewer bills, cleaning the toilet, buying the majority of the center’s supplies and making the coffee for the Café Art. She now awaits the artists. The center is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3:30-6 and Saturday 11-4, though more hours are available by appointment. A year membership for children and students is $15 and for adults, $20.

–Shayna Morrison

Nas – Hip Hop is Dead (2006)

February 12, 2007
I’m no expert of rap music, just a fan and observer of what might be the most important cultural movement of the last two decades. Nas being a big part of the development of rap with his debut album, Illmatic. Since then he’s released six albums, and ended up in a feud with Jay-Z who dissed him for having only one good album. Well that has all turned around for Nas. For Hip Hop is Dead, he has signed with Jay-Z’s label, DefJam, and written the funeral music to an era of hip hop as we know it. Making sure to end the album with a resurrection chant to ‘live hip hop live…I pray hip hop stays” (Hope).

Nas has always had is pulse on life in gritty urban life in America. Like in Hold Down the Block: “I gotta lay down the block, when the block is hot/I gotta use my imagination, to change the situation/Yea, Feds feast on street dons, look at their teeth showin’/Salivatin’ at the mouth, South to East Orange.” And commenting on the political in Black Republican, where he compares the current administration with dealing drugs and looking out for their “hood.”

Featuring great beats and melodies, this is a good listen. It also features collaborations with some of the biggest names in the game, including: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Snoop Dogg, Will.i.am, The Game, and Nas’s wife Kelis.

–gpv

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Damien Jurado – And Now That I’m In Your Shadow (2006)

February 12, 2007
Damien Jurado’s lyrics in And Now That I’m In Your Shadow cause mental restlessness, as the piano and guitar vitally express the intricacy of the often sad messages. Every word and note feels so purposeful in their emotional stories. It is an album that can be played while studying, hanging out in a coffee shop or falling asleep; though the messages really portray great stories that can be listened to and pondered. Some of the songs even remind one’s self of different songs that have been put to independent films.

In comparison to other Damien Jurado albums this one ranks as the favored, but that may be due to a temporary emotional inclination. Some words of advice from one’s interpretation of Jurado, “Come and rest, so quiet in the meadow” (There Goes Your Man) to this album and breath in the thoughtfully placed lyrics and notes. Otherwise you may find yourself, “broken jaw and all/crippled in your glory/restless till my death.” (Hoquiam)

If looking for comparative bands Damien Jurado are similar in ways to Pedro the Lion, Iron & Wine, Sufjan Stevens, Nick Drake, or Belle & Sebastian among others.

–jc

The Office – NBC

February 12, 2007
So Dilbert, funny comic strip right? Well take that comic strip and instead of making it a crappy cartoon (come on, UPN. That was AWFUL) make it into a sweet, single-camera sitcom. The first two seasons comprised what was quite possibly the funniest and most original sitcom ever (at least in America. Yeah, there was a British The Office first). The third season has descended from the realm of the earth-shattering to just being a solid, better-than-average sitcom. For laughs on a Thursday night (or any time) you could do much worse, and not really any better.

–nc

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Brand New – The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me (2006)

February 12, 2007
Life is serious. Love is serious. Religious struggles are very serious. And, above all, music is serious. This is the message that Brand New is trying to convey in their album, The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me. And they do a good job with that message. This album is full of dour, somber songs that are seriously lacking in hooks, and really, in much of a draw. Apparently they were so focused on how serious they were about everything, they forgot to make anything interesting.

The lyrics are fairly mundane, espousing the kind of struggles with meaning and life that you expect from angsty emo singers. The whole album reflects very well the trend in the crowd of emo/screamo/post-hardcore bands toward making “statement albums” that are intended to reflect the depth of their artistry and the seriousness of their souls’ torment. And while this album might be one of the more competent examples of that trend, one has to wonder what kind of statement is being made with the lyrics “I’d drown all these crying babies if I knew that their mothers wouldn’t cry. I’d lower them down and squeeze real hard and let a piece of myself die.”

–nc