January 29, 2009 Volume CXXV Issue 1

Inaugural weekend gets artsy

President Obama uses his Inauguration to show renewed emphasis on the arts

By JACKSON SILVANIK, A&E Editor

If the events of the Presidential Inauguration weekend are any indication, the next four years will feature a renewed emphasis on putting the arts into the American spotlight. The arts and humanities were well represented throughout the entire weekend, making their presence felt at almost every ceremony and speech that was delivered. The crowning moment was undoubtedly the “We Are One” concert on Sunday afternoon, showcasing a variety of pop-culture icons and well-known recording artists in a celebration honoring President Obama. The frigid Washington D.C. air did not stop tens of thousands of Americans from gathering on the Great Mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial, whose steps would serve as the stage for a lineup of actors and musicians gathered to perform songs that would reflect the patriotic nature of the weekend. As the performers went about their show, President Obama and his
family watched with Vice President Joe Biden from behind a glass-walled viewing booth.

Both the President and his party seemed to revel in the festivities, watching intently, clapping and singing along in the spirit of the event. This prominence of the arts is something that many supporters of Obama would hope continues throughout his term in office. He has often stated his desire to more fully support the arts, and hopes to begin to re-open the White House to special performances and lectures by well-respected members of the artistic community. This is a practice that was often commonplace in the presidencies of the past, with records of Abraham Lincoln hosting musical performances in government settings. The practice continued until recently, but Obama looks to revive the spirit of the arts that thrived in the cultural explosion of the sixties.

The concert itself was a star-studded event, highlighted by a moving performance of “Pride (In The Name of Love)” by Irish rock band U2, a song that was especially fitting in the context of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The song was written in memory of the late Dr. King, and serves as both a spiritual anthem and reminder of the cost of the Civil Rights movement. The concert was opened by a blackclad Bruce Springsteen, appearing from behind a curtain with an acoustic guitar. He led a rendition of his song “The Rising” backed by a large gospel choir. Later in the show, he returned to the stage with folk legend Pete Seeger to accompany him on a performance of his well-known song “This Land is Our Land.” The moment was significant considering that Springsteen recently released an album that featured rerecordings of many songs that Seeger made famous, a collection of tunes rooted in the significance and importance of the American ideal. The crowd appeared to enjoy every minute of it. HBO, who did the broadcast of the event, frequently panned to shots of the energetic crowd, a group of people as diverse in race as they were in age and gender.

The arts focus spilled over into the actual Inauguration ceremony on Tuesday, as well. Popular vocalist Aretha Franklin performed a rendition of “My Country ‘Tis of Thee” and cellist Yo Yo Ma also performed in honor of the President. Obama asked poet Elizabeth Alexander to compose a poem for the ceremony, a tradition that has previously seen poets such as Maya Angelou and Robert Frost recite their works. Angelou recited an original poem for the Inauguration of President Bill Clinton, and Robert Frost recited a poem for the Inauguration of President Kennedy.

Obama has been both criticized and lauded for his supposed dedication to the arts. Previous Presidents, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy, were known to be benefactors of the arts and stressed their importance in keeping the morale of the nation at high levels. Opponents of Obama have stressed that his efforts will require more spending at an economically difficult time. Regardless, the artistic community seems excited about the possibilities that could await them under an Obama presidency.


“Bride Wars” storms theaters

By LEAH MCGRAY, Staff Writer

Life is about building relationships with the people around you. Sometimes we build faulty relationships and trust those who cannot be trusted. Sometimes we end up hurting people we never meant to hurt or judge a person too quickly. And yet, we build strong, lasting relationships with people who just seem to know us without words. We grow through our relationships by learning who not to trust, who to trust and who to lean on.

“Bride Wars” is a movie that is obviously about a wedding, but more importantly, the central theme is about a friendship between two women. Liv (Kate Hudson) and Emma (Anne Hathaway) were best friends from a young age who shared one dream: to be married in the Plaza in June.

When the two friends become engaged around the same time, the friendship initially seems to grow. Both women are happy for each other and are eager to plan their weddings. When a glitch occurs and the weddings are accidentally scheduled on the same day at the same time, the friendship becomes tense. Neither of the women plan on changing the day, causing them to begin plotting ways to ruin the other’s wedding. The problem is that your best friend should be supportive and helpful during one of the most stressful times of your life, not determined to ruin “your day.” The movie is filled with moments of laughter as the two women mischievously target each other. It is a romantic comedy that must be seen not only for laughs but for the lesson it teaches. No matter what, sometimes a relationship is just too strong to break.

The movie is worth the seven dollars and makes you realize what is important. In watching this movie, you can remember that college is about receiving an education but also about building a foundation of friends that you will hopefully know for the rest of your life!

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