Mexico Week- “Coco” en Español

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a screening of the Disney/Pixar film Coco as a part of the College of International Studies “Mexico Week” events intended to promote the OU study center in Puebla, Mexico.

For those unaware, Coco is a heartwarming tale of a young boy named Miguel who yearns to be a musician, but his family does not approve. On el Dia de los Muertos, Miguel goes on a journey to the “land of the dead” and learns of the importance of family and tradition while also exploring his love for music.

Though I had seen the film before in English, I enjoyed seeing it in Spanish since it revolves around an important part of many Latin cultures. I was also surprised at how much I was actually able to understand without reading the English subtitles, just from what I’d learned in my Spanish classes (which was good because I couldn’t actually read the subtitles from where I was sitting, but I digress). Overall, though I was initially hesitant to attend just because I was already tired from the week of class, I am glad to have gotten to see such an adorable movie yet again.

Movie Review- “Coco”

I’ve been meaning to write this for about a week now, but with finals and everything, I haven’t gotten around to it. The weekend after Thanksgiving, I saw the new Disney/Pixar film Coco, and, like its Pixar predecessors, was a visual masterpiece.

For those unaware, Coco is about a young boy who dreams of being a musician, but his family wants him to join their shoe-making business instead. He wants to perform at a local Día de Los Muertos celebration, but does not have a guitar, so he visits the gravesite of his idol, Ernesto De la Cruz. From here, he embarks on a journey that tests his passion for music, establishes a newfound appreciation for his family, and also leads to some self-discovery.

Though not the only “Day of the Dead”-centered film to come out in recent years, Coco feels more authentic than some of the others have, possibly due to its all Latino/Latina cast.

Overall, it was a very well-made film, as most Pixar films are, that I would recommend seeing.

Coco is in theaters now.

 

 

 

Who Knows Their First Amendment Rights?-Results of a Mini-Survey

In my Intro. to Media course, we have been discussing freedom of expression and the rights granted by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. To accompany this, we were asked to survey 5-7 people from two different age groups and ask them if they would approve of a new law, presenting them with the First Amendment without labeling it as such, then asking which freedoms they approve of or disagree with.

My sample consisted of three females ages 18-20, and two individuals ages 45-50, one male and one female. The results were nearly identical: All 5 subjects agreed with the freedoms, and all realized the “law” was actually a constitutional amendment. Only one, the older female, did not specifically state that it was the First Amendment when asked if she recognized the law, but she still identified it as being an amendment. One pointed out that he feels that some of these freedoms are gradually being taken away through the passage of certain laws. The only other major difference is that, when asked if any of the freedoms allow too much freedom, one of the younger females stated: “I think we have to be careful with freedom of speech and freedom to assemble because of hate groups. I support all in theory, but in practice not the ones that support hate of other groups.”

The similarity among the answers shows that my interview subjects are overall supportive of the First Amendment. One reason given was that “they [the freedoms] have been in place for hundreds of years and the exact rules and interpretations have been established to where it’s not excessive.”

As a whole, my interviewees seemed to be quite knowledgeable and aware of their First Amendment rights.

These results differ from recent national surveys regarding the issue. A 2017 edition (the results of which can be accessed here: http://www.newseuminstitute.org/first-amendment-center/state-of-the-first-amendment/) found nearly a quarter of Americans believe the First Amendment provides too much freedom. However, my sample was also significantly smaller, and though I did not ask for political affiliation, I am fairly certain that none of those I surveyed are strong Republicans; if any had been, that could have altered the results.

The Impact of MP3s on Music Consumption – “The Distortion of Sound”

 

In today’s world, we are completely surrounded by music. Everywhere we go, people are listening to music on their phones, and in their cars. However, what we are hearing is merely a shell of the original recording. This is because, in order to shrink the files down so that they can be stored digitally, the audio is compressed, and up to 90 percent of the original recording is removed. As a self-proclaimed “music junkie”, watching the documentary “The Distortion of Sound” and learning this was concerning.

Perhaps the most concerning aspect is that most music consumers don’t know that there’s a difference, or they know but don’t care, because of the convenience of digital services. For many people, digital is all they know, and they have yet to experience music at its full quality.

For me, watching this documentary also led to a realization: The compression of audio files is likely one of the main reasons I love live music so much. I have been an avid concert-goer since the age of 13, but I didn’t have much of a valid explanation as to why, other than enjoying the energy provided by being in a crowded room surrounded by other music fans. Now, however, I have realized that another reason I enjoy live music so much is because it is one of the only ways to hear songs as the artist intended, rather than a crappy low-res rendering.

To learn more, and to watch the film for yourself, visit www.distortionofsound.com

Movie Review: American Satan

*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!!!*

 

 

Yesterday was a day I had been waiting for since its announcement in early 2016: American Satan, a rock-and-roll thriller starring Black Veil Brides’ Andy Biersack and Asking Alexandria’s Ben Bruce, was released into theaters. Though it was only released in select cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, I was lucky enough to be able to catch a screening in my town. And I must say, the movie was well worth the wait. It was dark, sexy, and kept me on the edge of my seat for its entire just-under-two-hour runtime.

For those unaware, American Satan follows fictional rock band The Relentless as they move to Hollywood to pursue their dreams. However, they quickly learn that fame is not easy, and they will have to make some sacrifices. The band makes a deal with a man who seems to be following them, named Mr. Capricorn (portrayed by none other than Malcolm McDowell). However, this deal causes them to make some difficult decisions, such as whether or not to kill the douche-y singer of another local band, whom their bassist Lily (Jesse Sullivan) had some past relationship struggles with. After they fulfill their end of the bargain, their popularity explodes. However, they struggle with vices that come with high levels of fame, including sexual temptations and heavy drug usage.

What I loved most about this movie, aside from its kick-ass soundtrack, is the fact that, though the story itself was fictional, it was based in reality, and showed that fame and the music industry are not all glitz-and-glam. All of the actors’ performances were superb, so much so that I, someone who typically struggles to focus on one thing for a long period of time, was completely glued to the screen. Though my initial interest stemmed from Andy Biersack’s involvement, the film was so well done that I think I would have still enjoyed it had someone else been starring. The soundtrack was also perfect, featuring Remington Leith of Palaye Royale as the recorded vocalist for the Relentless. The film was nothing less than exhilarating, and the only thing stopping me from seeing it again is the fact that I can’t drive myself to the theater.

My only criticism is the amount of sex and nudity that appears in the film. While I understand that the purpose was to emphasize the indulgent nature of the stereotypical “rock and roll lifestyle”, I wish there would have been a little less. Regardless, though, it was still a phenomenal work that I would recommend to any fans of rock music, or anyone who wants to see a dark and sexy thriller.

My Career Aspirations-and Why I Want to Study Abroad (About Me)

Hello, all!

My name is Allyssa, I am a freshman journalism major at the University of Oklahoma, and I love music. More specifically, I love rock and alternative music. My favorite bands are Halestorm, Black Veil Brides, Nothing More, Stitched Up Heart and Palaye Royale. Whenever my class schedule allows, I love going to concerts. Unfortunately, college has made this more difficult to do; my senior year of high school I went to three concerts, whereas this year I’ve only been to one, with another possible over Spring Break, and a third set for May. I also love to watch TV, with some of my favorite shows being Rick and Morty, The Flash, iZombie and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

As a music lover, my dream job is to work as a live music photographer, or to work for a music publication such as Alternative Press or Kerrang. While in college, I am planning to study abroad in the United Kingdom. By going over there, I hope to not only see and photograph some of their beautiful historical landmarks, but I would also love to be able to intern for Kerrang or a similar publication while there. I know it will not be an easy profession, but hopefully by building connections and putting myself into the job market, and opening myself up to international opportunities, I can eventually make a name for myself in the world of music journalism and photography. (Edit 2/18/18: I am now also a photographer for The OU Daily on campus, and I am enjoying it so far. The Daily is a great place to get real-world journalism experience while still in college.)

This blog will be a place to chronicle my thoughts about pop culture, as well as global issues. Stay tuned.

(note: The original post was just the middle paragraph, everything else was added Feb. 18, 2018, in case anyone wonders why I refer to a concert in the past tense that, as of original posting, hadn’t happened yet.)

Lyssy

The Problem with “Fake News” (Blog Post 2)

It’s no secret that not everything that exists on the Internet is true. When I was growing up, I was taught not to believe everything that I read online. However, in our current media-centric culture, some people are doing exactly that.

Even though so-called “fake news” has existed for a while, its existence was brought to the forefront of media debate during last year’s United States Presidential election. In multiple scenarios, candidate Donald Trump’s team tweeted links to articles that were untrue, and were intended to be satirical, but many of his followers wrote them off as fact.

Part of this issue stems from the mere amount of information that the Internet has made available to us. How can we as consumers be expected to fact-check everything we read? Isn’t this supposed to be done for us by the publishers of these articles? Though most articles are still subject to traditional fact-checks and editing, if they come from established sites and sources, the rise in self-published media means that there are many sites that are purely opinion-based, and should be treated as such.

I see no harm in receiving news online. As a teenager in today’s world, I gather most of my news from social media, as do many of my peers. However, I have learned not to believe things that I see until they are confirmed by either a party involved, or else a reputable media outlet. I suggest that we all do the same.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/11/17/facebook-fake-news-writer-i-think-donald-trump-is-in-the-white-house-because-of-me/?utm_term=.6e965aa9752d&wpisrc=nl_most&wpmm=1

 

 

My Interest in Media (Blog Post 1)

In today’s world, we depend on the media more than ever for every aspect of our lives. However, the media industry is one that is rapidly changing.

The question that drives my interest in the media the most is simple: “Why do you want to pursue a Journalism-related career even though newspapers are becoming increasingly obsolete?” I haven’t been asked this directly, but I have had people tell me not to major in Journalism because there “isn’t much money to be made.” To answer the question, I will simply say that even though newspapers may be fading away, the need for good journalists has not diminished. In fact, they are needed now more than ever, especially with the increase in people falling for “fake news”.

In my pursuit of a media-related career, the question I hope to find the answer to is this: “Why is our society becoming increasingly dependent on the Internet, ignoring most other forms of data gathering?”