Mic Check: J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar

Mic Check: J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar
What classifies as good hip hop these days? Is it the repetitive hooks and choruses? Lyrics that are dominated by violence, drugs, alcohol and women? Or singing the same sad ol’ autotuned song time and time again? No. Real hip hop seems to be sitting in the shadows lately. Although motifs like sex, drugs, alcohol and violence are present in all hip hop, in great hip hop these subjects are not simply thrown at you and they are not the primary focus. They are details of stories. Stories that give birth to thoughts. Thoughts that inspire and connect with you in some sort of way. That is what good music, of any genre, is all about. Two MC's who are doing exactly this are J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar. J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive from start to finish is...
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Review: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Review: New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
by Scott Mindel The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is the original Jazz Fest started from an intimate setting to now over 150,000 attendants on a single day. The festival started in the 70’s and the first year had an attendance of about 350 people and a lineup that included Duke Ellington, Fats Domino and Clifton Chenier. While jazz is still the focus; it has grown into a more traditional music festival with that New Orleans flavor. Whether you’re a lover of Jazz or not, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is a place to see bands from jazz and blues, folk, African beats, church hymns to some of the largest bands out today. The vendors offered an amazing array of foods from crocodile sandwiches to their most popular jambalaya and unusual crafts vendors throughout. The 12 stages...
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Must See Summer Flicks

Must See Summer Flicks
With the coming of summer we welcome not only warm weather but also new movies. When you need a break from the sun or the classic Seattle summer rain, duck into a theater near you and check out these upcoming summer movies. Enjoy. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Release Date: May 20th Once again, parents Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne) must battle the Greeks who have moved in next door. This time they are the unruly ladies of Kappa Nu. They are young, they are attractive, and they are scary. The couple’s best friends Jimmy (Ike Barinholtz) and Paula (Carla Gallo) join in the fight and also call in reinforcements from their ex-neighbor, Teddy (Zach Efron) and his fraternity brothers. Will they be victorious in shutting down Kappa Nu or will they only make the girls angry? Free State...
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Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War
It's May, and any Marvel fan knows that typically means the ushering in of a new summer blockbuster from the acclaimed studio. This year’s hero of focus is Captain America in the new installment to his trilogy. Even though the film bares the Captain’s name, it truly feels more like an Avenger’s piece than anything. That’s not a bad thing in this case. While The Avengers: Age of Ultron fell a little flat, Captain America: Civil War picks the franchise up by its bootstraps and breathes new life into it. Marvel spawns off some new heroes as well that may pick up their own movies (stay for the post credit features to see what’s to come.) Civil War picks up nicely where Winter Soldier left off. After the Avengers defeated Ultron, Thor and Hulk are nowhere to be found. Hawkeye...
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Movie Review: Keanu

Movie Review: Keanu
Opening date: April 29, 2016 Score: 4/5 What does George Michael, a kitten and a violent street gang all have in common? Well nothing really, except they all somehow coexist in the new movie, Keanu starring everyone’s favorite comedic duo, Key & Peele. After five amazing seasons of the Key & Peele Show , Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are heading to the big screen in their first starring role as a duo. While there have been sightings of either of the two in other movies, fans have been longing for them to get a shot at their own full length motion picture and they won’t be disappointed with what transpired. Keanu does what most recent comedies featuring two leading actors of the comedy space ( Daddy’s Home, Ride Along, Get Har d) all fail to do - creating comedy...
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Amazon Video Is A Prime Time

Amazon Video Is A Prime Time
Netflix forever changed how we watch movies and TV and for years it dominated without competition. Now other companies like Amazon are challenging the Netflix reign. They have recently upped their game with access to a wide variety of original series and major motion pictures through Amazon Prime. The original $99 a year service included free shipping as well as free streaming of video and audio. Now with Amazon video , users can stream all the series and movies they want at a cheaper price than Netflix. With this new deal Amazon sure seems to be chomping at Netflix’s feet. So if you are interested in the amazon hype, check out these three original Amazon series. The Man in the High Castle Did you ever wonder what the world would look like if Nazi Germany had won World War 2?...
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Inside Imagined Futures at Pivot Art + Culture

Inside Imagined Futures at Pivot Art + Culture
Imagined Futures celebrates the final frontier. Space has captivated hearts and minds since the beginning of time. It presents endless conquests and opportunities of discovery. If what lies beyond the clouds has ever interested you, then you’ll love Imagined Futures . This exhibit can be broken down into five sections; historic material, science fiction, fine art, artifacts and the Voyager One project. The exhibit’s curator, Ben Heywood, provided me with a detailed tour through each part. Ben hopes that although these five sections are different, they can all fuse together to give attendees an inside look into space and also invite them to conceive the inconceivable. We begin with Wernher von Braun. He was a leader in the German rocket science program. After World War 2, he was relocated to the United States where he developed the rockets that launched...
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Seattle Repertory Theatre Presents: Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray)

Seattle Repertory Theatre Presents: Brownsville Song (B-Side for Tray)
I would like to introduce you to Tray. Despite losing his father and his mother abandoning him as a child, he is doing just fine. He is working nights and weekends to support himself and save up for a car. He is an excellent boxer who is competing in the Golden Gloves competition. He also has the loving support of his quick witted Grandmother, Lena and sweet sister, Devine. The three of them live in Brownsville-a notoriously dangerous neighborhood located in east Brooklyn. Now, I know what you are thinking, “I’ve heard this story a million times. This is just like any other tale a kid from a bad neighborhood tries to rise above the crime and decay that surrounds him.” But let me assure you like Lena does the audience, he was not the same old story. Kimber Lee’s...
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SoundCloud vs Spotify

SoundCloud vs Spotify
Once upon a time, one couldn’t buy music; hearing it on the radio or live in some swanky dive was the only way. Then records came along, followed by cassette tapes, CDs and mp3s. Today, society mainly uses online streaming sites and apps for their musical fix. There are multiple options to tune into, but two of the best are SoundCloud and Spotify. Comparing these is like the “apples to oranges scenario.” Each one provides a special service that the other lacks. SoundCloud is a fantastic medium for new artists while Spotify is more reserved for studio albums, but both are vastly beneficial to the discovery and cultivation of music in their own way. SoundCloud SoundCloud is for underground artists looking for their break. That progressive metal disco group from Sweden no one has heard of? Guess what? They just...
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Nationally Festive

Nationally Festive
Festivals are a phenomenon - a cult like love where loyal attendees purchase tickets to their favorite every year no matter how far the distance. People transform into whatever character they want to play, wearing tutu's, glitter, body paint - letting loose for a weekend of an unforgettable time. Below are just a few nationwide festivals that draw the biggest crowds and book the biggest acts.  Coachella Weekend 1: April 15-17 / Weekend 2: April 22 - 24 Indio, California Tickets: Sold Out / Independent Sellers Only Beginning in 1999, Coachella is one of the premier festivals you must attend - if you can find tickets. In the last few years, Coachella has become so in demand that tickets sell out within minutes of going on sale - before the lineup is even announced. However, attendees know that the music lineup is...
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Taking a Trip with The Beatles

Taking a Trip with The Beatles
For seventeen years Jim Owen (John Lennon), Tony Kishman (Paul McCartney), John Brosnan (George Harrison) and Chris Camilleri (Ringo Starr) have been performing as The Beatles. They have rocked shows across the globe and played with over 100 orchestras. Now it is the Seattle Symphony’s turn on the Classical Mystery Tour. The concert began with an overture solely by the symphony. They turned some of the most popular Beatles tunes on their heads, blending and mashing up “Hold your Hand”, “She Loves You”, “Eleanor Rigby” and many more. At times like these one is moved by the immense power of the symphony. This overture alone was something I could have enjoyed for the entire show. Soon the clean cut, black suit wearing Beatles tribute band took the stage. They greeted the crowd politely and began with “Got to Get You...
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Scratching the Vinyl Surface

Scratching the Vinyl Surface
In HBO’s new series Vinyl , we are exposed to the raw and gritty world of the record business. We learn how labels make big coin, while artists make nothing. We learn how shady deals are made every day to keep records on the radio. We see the peak of Rock & Roll as well as the birth of Punk and Hip Hop. We hear the explosive sounds that captured the United States during the 1970’s. So, without further ado, let’s throw on the record, drop the needle and crank up the volume. Meet the man with the golden ear and silver tongue, Richie Finestra (Bobby Cannavale). He owns American Century Records. The year is 1973 and the place is New York. He is steps away from selling his label for millions of dollars but runs into a bit of...
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5 Perfect Valentine’s Day Movies

5 Perfect Valentine’s Day Movies
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Some people love it and others hate it. Whether you will be spending your night with someone special, a group of friends or just a tub of ice cream and a bottle of wine…here are some movies to make you feel all those terrific and terrible Valentine’s Day feels. Manhattan (1979) Isaac is a middle aged, twice divorced writer that resides in New York. His current girlfriend Tracy is beautiful, intelligent and also a teenager. Despite their brilliant chemistry, Isaac dumps Tracy and begins to date his best friend’s ex-mistress, Mary. When he realizes he’s made a big mistake, he comes running back to Tracy in hopes that she’ll forgive him. Woody Allen’s Manhattan lets us reflect on all the ups and downs we’ve all had in relationships and also reminds us that...
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A Night at The Opera: The Marriage of Figaro

A Night at The Opera: The Marriage of Figaro
When attending a comedy, you can expect some laughs. Most importantly, you know that although negative events may transpire, a happy ending is awaiting the characters. Seattle Opera 's The Marriage of Figaro is full of tricks, lies and lust all wrapped up neatly in a great comedic bow. The stage direction by the brilliant Aidan Lang gives the audience a unique perspective on this hilarious story. This is a marvelous show for first timers or veterans of any opera house. Be prepared to laugh and try your best to solve the mystery as the thick web of deceit is spun. There are many twists and turns in The Marriage of Figaro . Without divulging many secrets and going into too much detail, the general plot is as follows. Figaro is a valet to Count Alamaviva and will soon wed Susanna, the maid of the wonderful Countess...
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5 Artists to Look Out for in 2016

5 Artists to Look Out for in 2016
Sometimes as we age, we begin to appreciate the old and doubt the new. I believe that is especially true with music. It is so easy to get stuck on the music you grew up with and feel hesitant towards any new artists. Don’t spend your life in your dark, unwilling to explore! Here are 5 new & upcoming artists to shatter those old thoughts of yours and redefine modern music. *These are in no particular order, they’re all amazing* Tame Impala Tame Impala’s sound is infected with psychedelic rock influences. Their funky basslines, melodic guitar riffs, delayed and reverbed vocals are extremely refreshing and impressive. This Australian group’s albums have already gone gold and platinum in their home country, but they are now making big waves in America with their 3rd album, Currents. Currents is amazing start to finish...
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Movie Review: Daddy's Home

Movie Review: Daddy's Home
Release date: December 26, 2015 Rating: 3 / 5 The comfort level in watching Daddy’s Home  is like being in a fully reclined Lazy Boy this holiday season, which is one of the flaws if this is an attempt to capture the holiday movie crowds. While we all love Ferrell and dream of a day when his comedy greatness will reign true again, we are left with Daddy’s Home , a slapstick family comedy reuniting Ferrell and Wahlberg (T he  Good Guys ) together again to rekindle their almost exact identities from their previous foray together. The storyline is quite simple. Ferrel plays Brad, a kind and quite “vanilla” radio station executive who has taken on the roll of the stepdad to two young tykes Megan (Estevez) and Dylan (Vaccaro), and their mom Sarah (Cardellini). Dusty, the biological father of the two kids is played by Wahlberg...
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Seattle Symphony's Performance of Handel's Messiah

Seattle Symphony's Performance of Handel's Messiah
George Frideric Handel’s Messiah was composed in 1741 and first performed in Dublin on April 13th 1742. This piece of music is older than the revolutionary war! The language used in the piece are direct quotes from scripture. This composition is split into three parts, all focusing on Jesus Christ. The first uses Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah while also focusing on his loving nature. The second grimly explains his suffering and eventual death. The third centers on the resurrection. Handel wrote the music for the Messiah in a whopping 24 days. That is 53 individual pieces of music, spread across multiple instruments, completed in under a month. Handel continued to revise and edit the piece over 10 years and the first published score was released in 1767, 8 years after Handel’s death. The Seattle Symphony has been performing...
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Top 7 Holiday Movies For Holiday Cheer

Top 7 Holiday Movies For Holiday Cheer
Holiday movies are the best way to get you in the holiday spirit. Every year new movies come out right in time for the season, but there's nothing like the classics. So get in your lounging clothes, pop some popcorn, sit back and binge on these holiday treats.  1. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) George Bailey is an extremely generous man who lives in the town of Bedford Falls. He has spent his entire adult life trying to protect the city from the rich and corrupted Mr. Potter. It’s a constant battle and one day George reaches a very low point. He contemplates suicide and as he is standing on the bridge he is visited by Clarence, an angel in training, who hasn’t yet received his wings. Clarence shows George visions of Bedford Falls without George’s presence. The nightmarish town...
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Concert Review: 107.7 The End's Deck the Hall Ball 2015

Concert Review: 107.7 The End's Deck the Hall Ball 2015
The weather was cold and rainy the day of 107.7 The End's  Deck the Hall Ball , but the adoring fans waiting to get in were full of bright and warm spirits. As I found my seat, I watched people pour into the pit, anticipating the live music to come. Some were festively wrapped in Christmas lights or wearing Santa caps. Soon the lights dimmed and the seated mass of people arose like a wave as Deep Sea Diver walked onto the stage. The stage was painted purple by the lights above as they began to play. Deep Sea Diver definitely got the party started in Key Arena. They ended with a bluesy version of “O’ Holy Night” that captivated the crowd. It was such a pleasure to watch a local band play their first big show. X Ambassadors was next. Lead singer, Sam Harris, ran...
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107.7 Deck the Hall Ball 2015

107.7 Deck the Hall Ball 2015
On December 8th, the annual Deck the Hall Ball will commence in Key Arena. Since 1992, this winter themed concert has delivered some of the best bands from a range of genres that are sure to get you in the holiday mood and spread some “singing-along” cheer. Over the years groups like Everclear, Radiohead, Moby, Blink 182, Coheed & Cambria, Gnarls Barkley, the Shins and many more have blessed Seattle with their presence. More than ten years ago, I attended Deck the Hall Ball to see Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Keane and Snow Patrol. It was the first time I ever lost myself in live music. This year, Deck the Hall Ball continues its stellar reputation for great music and artists with yet another incredible lineup. 3:00 PM: Deep Sea Diver Deep Sea Diver’s front woman, Jessica Dobson,...
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