BTS at the Billboards

Was I screaming in joy Sunday night when K-Pop group BTS won their first American Award at the Billboard Music Awards? Yes. Yes I was. Loud enough to frighten my dog actually. Not only was this a major win for BTS but this marks the first time a K-Pop group has even been nominated for anything at the Billboards.

So here are some basics on the new K-Pop sensation; there are seven members, Jin, Yoongi, J-Hope, Rap Monster, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They’ve been active since 2013 in BigHit Entertainment, one of the smaller and lesser known music companies in South Korea. BTS’ widespread fame really picked up within the past year with songs like “Fire,” “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and “Not Today”. While their lyrics are stunning, their music videos are equally impressive.

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Boston Ballet: The Sleeping Beauty

Boson Ballet has brought a classic fairytale to life, with a performance of Marius Petipa’s The Sleeping Beauty. Like the story itself, the ballet was charmed, with lush period outfits, mesmerizing dances, and a spellbinding symphony.

“This is my favorite production of The Sleeping Beauty, and I am excited to share it with Boston audiences again. It is a fantastic introduction for the first-time ballet goer, as well as a true pleasure for connoisseurs,” said Artistic Director Mikko Nissinen in a press release. “The Sleeping Beauty is ingrained in ballet history, and I am proud that Boston Ballet continues this legacy. The tradition, emotion, and atmosphere created by the superb dancing, costumes, and sets have made audiences fall in love with it again and again.” 

The Sleeping Beauty is split into three acts with a total run time of just under three hours—I will admit that the time was a bit of an issue and left me fidgeting or yawning in my seat at times. Not a commentary on the performance itself, but just the fact that sitting that long in the dark is hard for me, let alone the gaggles of kids that come to see their favorite princess on stage.

Act I is to be expected, the christening ceremony of the baby princess. She is blessed by six good fairies—read six and not three, while reminiscent to the cartoon version we all know and love, the ballet is slightly different—which is outlined through an array of solo performances meant to express the personality of each fairy. Some were definitely more memorable than others; the Songbird Fairy in particular was cheeky and elicited several laughs from the audience.

This is all interrupted by the evil fairy Carabosse. She appears—in a magnificent (get what I did there, Maleficent) green hued gown—with her creatures and gifts the princess the curse of death by the spinning wheel.  But have no fear, the Lilac Fairy saves the day and turns the death sentence to a magical sleep, broken by true love’s kiss. The Lilac Fairy continues to drive the narrative and execute graceful solos.

One of the most impressive moments of the night was the Rose Adagio—which is famous in the dance world. Now a beautiful teenager, Aurora is presented with four princely suitors. She stands on pointe and spins as the princes take turns holding her hand as an anchor. The moments when they briefly let go stole my breath, afraid that when they let go she would wobble. But she executed the move with ease and only slight pause.

But then of course, Aurora pricks her finger and the whole kingdom falls into an enchanted sleep.

Act II includes Prince Desire—about like 100 years later—guided by the Lilac fairy to rescue Aurora, his true love. The ballet concludes with their wedding, which is attended by an ensemble of fairytale characters. Puss’n Boots and the White Cat quickly became audience favorites, with an extra-feline performance that left everyone smiling.

Boston Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty makes for an enchanting night. Its familiarity makes it perfect for ballet newcomers (or even children). And its beauty and masterfulness makes it a treat for dance aficionados. Never has this city been more magical.

“The Sleeping Beauty” will be presented by the  Boston Ballet through May 27 at the Opera House, 539 Washington St. $35 and up. 617-695-6955, bostonballet.org.

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Heart Map Series: Jess

1. Politics: I like to say that I love politics, even when I don’t like politics. The current political climate is obviously not ideal, but that doesn’t mean I have any less of an interest in the study of politics and government. I make an effort to learn as much as I can and to keep up with current events. If I could pick my dream future, it would be one where I have a career in which I get paid just to write about politics.

2. Netflix: I chose to highlight Netflix on this list because the majority of TV shows I watch are Netflix originals or at least ones available for viewing on Netflix. I’m an avid House of Cards fan and am anxiously awaiting its return this May. I also enjoy Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black. Just last week, I finished 13 Reasons Why and while I have some complaints about how the show handled difficult topics, I can’t say I wasn’t hooked on it.

3. HBO: Okay, I’m also an HBO fan. Currently, I’m a big fan of both Game of Thrones and Westworld. If you know me personally, there is a good chance I’ve already attempted to coerce you into watching Westworld, which I believe to be an amazing show. There are plenty of other HBO series I hope to tackle over the summer including Veep and at least the first season of True Detective.

4. Overwatch: I also talk about and play a lot of Overwatch. Overwatch is a first-person shooter game created by Blizzard, which I am currently and have been obsessed with. I love the game’s lore and how it involves superheroes and robots — two things loved by nerds everywhere. As the only video game I have ever gotten invested in, I can say that Overwatch holds a special and unique place in my heart.

5. Star Wars: At seven years old, I was introduced to the Star Wars series by my brother and my world changed. The original trilogy was my first true experience with genre, since the world of Star Wars is so fantastical. Soon, I began writing my own stories and crafting my own characters thanks to the example set forth by George Lucas. I remain an avid fan today, having seen The Force Awakens six times in theaters alone, though I don’t think that’s something to brag about. 

6. Stationery: I love stationery! Pens, paper, washi tape — if it can make organizing my school and work agenda more exciting, I’m into it. 

7. Coffee: Before college, I was never much of a coffee drinker. Now I drink at least a cup of coffee a day. I don’t love coffee to the point of obsession, but I do depend upon a warm cup of coffee from my suite’s Keurig to wake up each morning. I’ll usually treat myself to an iced coffee from Dunkin’ or Starbucks, regardless the season.

8. Writing: If I didn’t love writing, I probably wouldn’t be studying at Emerson with a major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

9. Theater: Before I arrived at Emerson, I was a theater kid. Performing in plays was a constant of my elementary, middle school, and high school years. My experiences with my high school drama remain some of my fondest and it is through theater that I was able to gain confidence and make my mark in my local community.

10. YouTube: When I’m bored, YouTube is my ultimate resource. I’ll find myself in a video black hole, where I keep watching random videos for hours. Casey Neistat is my favorite YouTuber, as I consider him to be the greatest vlogger to ever exist. No vlogger can ever match the talent of Casey Neistat. No vlog can ever match the superior quality of a Casey Neistat vlog. Casey deserved a special shout out on this list because although I am not a filmmaker or Casey Neistat, I find his videos and overall demeanor to be very inspiring. But, I still just love the site in general.

11. Art: I no longer draw as much as I should, but art has always been important to me. At an early age, I started drawing and it was the first talent that I was ever given recognition for. As the years have passed and my interests have expanded, I don’t devote as much time to making art anymore. However, I hope to change that this summer.

12. Dogs: If you know me, this isn’t surprising: I love dogs. Any type of dog, it doesn’t mad. Big or small, old or young.

13. Friends: The friends I have made at Emerson have genuinely changed my life for the better. I am not sure who I would be without them. I’m not the type to say this often, but I feel blessed that I’ve been able to find such incredible friends and confidantes. Even though I don’t have the time to hang out with them as often as I would like, the truth is that there is no place I’d rather be than in a common room (our choice hangout spot) with them.

14. Emerson: All of us here at Atlas are Emerson students, of course. But, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what the school means to me. I knew Emerson was my dream school as early as my sophomore year of high school. Since starting at Emerson, I’ve never doubted I made the right choice. I’ve learned a lot thus far in my Emerson career and I look forward to what my future at Emerson will bring me. 

 

Heart Map Series: Mia

I can’t believe we are at the final post of the semester. It has been a great time working with these people and I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything else. I not only learned so much about the other bloggers, but about myself. As a second semester freshman, I’m definitely the newbie on the team, the rookie, but I think this has allowed me to really explore a ton of topics and not feel caged into a routine. This whole year has really allowed me to be free and find what I truly love. Below, you can see a few things that I have found really make up who I am and what I love.

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Feminism: I have always been for women’s rights, but this last year at Emerson a new fire has burned within me. I am no longer afraid to call someone out for a sexist comment or speak up if I feel as though I am in an uncomfortable/unfair situation. I hold this close to my heart because my whole life I have been surrounded by strong women who broke gender boundaries even though they had so many obstacles in their way. My Mother was told she shouldn’t go to college because “women don’t need education”, but she is attending college and finishing up her degree right now because she realizes it’s something she wants dearly in her life. I hope to aspire to this level of dedication to my dreams and feminism has a huge part in that and in who I am.

Traveling: I have been lucky enough to have parents who could afford to take me on family vacations. I have traveled since before I was a year old and haven’t stopped. It is something that I could never give up in life, traveling is adventure and I couldn’t imagine living a life without adventure.

Minnesota: Half of my family lives in Minnesota and even though I did not grow up there myself, I feel as if it is a second home. It’s where my childhood soul resides. It’s where I rode bikes, played tagged, rode four wheelers, and explored the woods. It’s where I fell in love with the outdoors and I could never let go of that.

Running: Running is literally the only thing that can shut up my constant stream of thoughts. It allows me to just focus on the run and the beauty that surrounds me. I don’t have to think about the paper due that week, how much laundry I have to get done, or the drama I have going on with friends. I can simply focus on my breath and it reminds me that at the end of the day none of that other stuff matters.

Dad: This man is my rock. Through high school, I only lived with him and he helped me through all the ups and downs, all the boy troubles, all the friend drama, all the college apps. Basically, I couldn’t have gotten through it without him and his unconditional support. Even though he is across the country I still view him as my rock. He’s the first one I call when things go array and I don’t ever see that changing.

Writing: To process my emotions I have to write them out. So writing for me isn’t just something that brings me joy, but something I have to do, something that keeps me sane. It is the best form of therapy I could ask for. Nothing brings me more joy than my choice to study it in college. It was one of the first decisions that I purely made for myself. It was not to impress my family or to make money down the line. It was just for me. I really hope it stays that way.

Friends: THESE PEOPLE ARE MY SOULMATES. They are the ones that always have my back. They are the ones who give me unconditional love and support. They know me better than anyone on this earth and I love them for that. They aren’t afraid to tell me I’m wrong or tell me that I’ll regret something down the line. They are the only people I feel as if I have to share every single detail of my day with because it’s simply something they want to know. They are the only people I can sit in silence with and feel truly comfortable with. They are the only people whose sole touch can change my entire mood. They are truly life partners and I can’t see a world without them in it.

Corgis: If there is an animal to sum up who I am, it would be a corgi. They are crazy hyper, filled with joy/love, and sometimes just weird as hell. Those a characteristics that I not only pin for myself, but are constantly pinned by friends, coworkers, classmates, and even strangers.

Coffee: One of my friends ask me how much coffee I drink in a day. I did the math thinking it would be no big deal. But, apparently, it correlates to twice the recommended dose of caffeine the average person is recommended to consume. So, yeah I love coffee.

Food: Food is not just food. It’s a way to connect with people, food holds culture. It can tell you what that person grew up on and it can even tell you that persons’ heritage. I love food, I specifically love Mexican food and that has everything to do with who I am. I am half Mexican and hold that food so close to my heart. This love for Mexican food only grew when I came to the East Coast and left behind my community. I don’t think that is a coincidence. I think it’s a way of me holding onto my culture, trying to keep it burning inside me.

Musicals: As a writer, I inherently love stories and musicals just blow me away. It is hard enough to write a story in prose, so I can’t imagine having to write that story to a catchy beat that is also somehow still achieving a story arch, deep characterization, all while still trying to convey your overall message. It is so impressive and just so darn lovely to watch and listen to.

California: This is where I am from, simple as that. I grew up on the beaches of Southern California, grew up blasting music down PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, grew up with the backdrop of so many other people’s dreams. It definitely has it’s downsides, like no amazing season, horrible transportation, and it’s share of snobby beach boys. But, it’s still my first home.

Laughter: If you ever have met me in person you know I laugh a lot. And by a lot, I mean all the time. Practically every sentence. It’s not a dainty laugh either. It’s a laugh that echoes through the room and makes heads turn. It’s loud just like the rest of my personality. But, I love it. It means I’m happy and I personally, that’s my main goal in life. So, as long as I’m laughing I know I’ve reached the top.

Positivity: If you can’t tell by the end of this piece, I’m a pretty positive person. I always try to look on the better side of life because why look at the worse? Being negative just doesn’t motivate me and can ruin my whole day. Being positive pushes me to be the best I can be and makes my day far more productive than it would have been if I just mopped around. This wasn’t always true and of course, I still have negative days, but actively deciding to be positive has changed so much of my life. I have far more good than bad days, I smile way more, and I write way more. I strongly believe that positivity breeds positive outcomes and I’d rather live a life filled with joy than pessimism.

Heart Map Series: Jenn

After working on Atlas Blog all year, I feel absolutely honored to have worked with such an incredible team. Without the fabulous people on the Blog, I doubt I would have poured my heart and soul into each post.

This week, we have all created Heart Maps to give you all an insight into what we all value and love. Here is mine:

A lot of my heart map include parts that I have explored in past blog posts such as stationery, romantic comedies, Emerson College, Boston, food, my family, and dogs. Briefly, I love those topics so much – they are now a part of me even if stationery and food are inanimate objects. My family means the absolute world to me – I chose navy blue as it represents loyalty to me and I take my duty to my family very seriously. For me, I have made sacrifices to be with my family members not because I have to, but because I truly want to. They understand me through and through in a way that no one else can understand. Much like my family, dogs make me incredibly happy – they are cute, funny creatures that carry a super loyal bond to their families. I used metallic teal pen to label the dogs part as it makes that part of the heart regal. And if it wasn’t obvious, food is at the center of my world even if I once had a negative relationship with it.

For the rest of the heart map, I focused on these topics:

  1. Money
  2. Water
  3. The Sun
  4. Fashion
  5. Friends
  6. Music
  7. Comfort

I like to believe that these are my core principles nowadays. Although some of these might sound a bit superficial, there are real things behind each topic.

Money – I do not just want to get paid, I value working and my work ethic. I have been working and employed since the age of fifteen. Since then, I have just been used to working for my own money especially this year. I work 5-6 days a week and make enough money to support myself and to fund my trip to Japan in the summer time.

Water – I love drinking water, being in water and being near the water. I think there is a certain level of clarity and relative calm when you spend time by a body of water. Although that might be hard to find in the city, I have always felt my best by the water just because I seem to be the healthiest and calm when I get that interaction. Also, I get thirsty a lot and water is great.

The Sun – I am deficient in Vitamin D so I need as much sunlight as I can get. For me, the sun represents happiness and even if I hate sweating, I always feel best when the sun is high and shining. I think it makes everyone happy!

Fashion – I like shopping. I guess it’s a known fact but I like to see how everyone has a different sense of style. Being around people who are not afraid to show their personalities through clothing has always been an important factor for me. Even if I tend to have a pretty simplistic style, I like getting inspiration from those around me. And it has always been a dream of mine to go to New York Fashion Week – to watch the shows, take part of all of the promotional events, and to see the ins and outs of the one of the most important weeks in the Fashion world.

Friends – ugh, I love these people. I am someone who values close friendships and relationships. I like having closeness to my friends and having people to hang out with who lift me up, empower me to do better, and to make me laugh until I cry. I included the initials, ML, for my best friend Meagan — she’s the best and I adore her! (I would add more but let me not be extra)

Music – I like singing and dancing along. I really enjoy having music in my life because it lifts me up. I truly believe a good song has the power to change your entire day and to sum up how you feel on a certain day. Also, I think that a song can tell a story in a format that will change a narrative, a stereotype, a idea, and ultimately, the world.

Comfort – I LOVE MY BED AND MY COUCH. I think that being comfortable is a very important thing – if you are not comfortable with your surroundings, you will not be able to find a safe space for yourself.

I loved working on this heart map and loved my team even more! ❤

 

Can A Superhero Movie Really Be a “Good” Movie?

I love superhero movies, but I don’t love all superhero movies. For instance, although I’m a fan of most of the Marvel movies (as in, the films released by Disney-Marvel Studios), I was sorely disappointed by Avengers: Age of Ultron. I hated the romance added between the Hulk and Black Widow, which was a sub-plot that genuinely came out of left field. The movie, overall, felt like it was holding back from reaching its potential—because Disney was opting to save their best content for Avengers: Infinity War, set to be released in 2018. Though a fun movie that I enjoyed watching, Age of Ultron was a let-down, and that was the consensus I saw online as well.

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