When I first listened to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book, I thought it was a pretty lackluster save for one song. My judgment may have been a little harsh, since I was comparing it to Chance’s previous mixtape Acid Rap (which I’ve come to realize I’d romanticized and so had downplayed its flaws in my memory) and the two are very different albums born of different circumstances. I love Acid Rap’s consistent tone, I think that’s really what rewards listening to it all the way through and solidifies the album as one concrete thing to me. While the same can’t be said of Coloring Book, it was a major studio release while Acid Rap was just a mixtape, so it was obviously made over a much longer period of time and there was likely a much greater dispersal of artistic control. Chance also had access to new collaborators and so wanted to experiment with new sounds, which is admirable.…Continue Reading
What happens when you get five degenerate friends that own their own dive bar in Philadelphia? You get some raucous and off-putting situations with a tumultuous storm of dark and politically incorrect (but nonetheless hilarious) behavior. Such is the premise of the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Since the show’s inception in 2005, Sunny has become a major hit for its oxymoronically pitch-black and light tone.
Throughout the years, the show has acquired a pretty large fan base and FXX has recently renewed it for its 13th and 14th seasons. The show has spawned plenty of merchandise, a traveling rendition of one of the episodes, and a consistency to the show’s plot and nature. A big fan of the show, Max Rubinstein (former Dickinson graduate and my partner in crime) allowed me to interview him about his fandom. For him, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is more than just a source of entertainment; it serves as both a connective tissue for his social relationships and way for him to make new connections.…Continue Reading
During the summer months, Dickinson College’s campus is largely uninhabited, save for a small collection of staff members, faculty, and students. So when folks who saw me at the college then asked me to explain why I chose to spend my vacation from the academic halls and the library—where I exhausted countless hours studying, writing papers, and snacking on Kashi granola bars and Chobani yogurt cups (I admit that I am among the few who survives without caffeine)—back in those spaces, you might imagine, reader, that I felt motivated to offer some spectacular response. To satisfy most inquiries, saying very plainly “I’m doing research on comic books” was an exciting enough phrase.
In the presence of interrogators who possessed stronger senses of doubt, though, I needed to elaborate in order to show them that research on comics is a real thing; “Greg Steirer, a professor in the English department who taught of few of the classes I have taken, is writing a book with Alisa Perren, a professor at University of Texas at Austin, about the relationships between Hollywood studios and American comic book companies,” I would start.…Continue Reading