The impact Kpop has on the American music industry

Recently the Kpop Industry has made a rise to fame in the western music industry.

The popularity of Kpop has gone up tremendously since 2018. Since then, many groups have teamed up with American music record companies to expand their audience.

For example BTS, a well known Kpop group, has broken many world wide records on many platforms. On Youtube they have constantly broken records for the most views in 24 hours, their music video (MV) for “Boy With Luv” got 74.6 million views in 24 hours beating Blackpink’s, a fellow Kpop group’s, “Kill This Love” MV. The biggest accomplishment so far is BTS being the first Korean group to perform at the Grammys.

Being a Kpop fan is different than being an American music fan. In the Kpop industry you have different versions of Kpop albums. The album includes photo cards, which are pictures of each member of the group. Also, the album includes a photo book, which is just a bunch of pictures from a photo shoot, a poster, and a CD for the album.

Another thing that the Kpop industry does is have light sticks at their concerts so the artists can interact with their fans. Unlike many American boy and girl artists, they sing and dance during concerts with full choreography for each song.

Ever since Kpop has become a popular genre to listen to many artists have “borrowed” many ideas from the Kpop industry. For example, Taylor Swift has four versions of her new album lover and it includes different photos of her.

Additionally, Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran have given their fans flashlight attachments to go on their phone cameras so they can interact with fans during a concert.

Recently, the Jonas Brothers have made a comeback with their song “Sucker.” On Twitter they posted saying that “DNA,” a BTS song, inspired the music video for “Sucker.”

Theater arts

Theater arts is a very interesting concept. I mean, it tracks back hundreds and hundreds of years. You can learn so much about theater arts and you can have so many opportunities with it, like acting on television, being onstage, teaching, and so much more. 

Being in a production is so much fun if you like to act. You get to meet so many new people and do so many exciting new things that will make so many good memories. In certain productions you get to dance, sing, and play around. There are so many opportunities in the world of theater. You can learn to express yourself in so many new ways.

There are theaters all over the U.S. Some of the best theater programs can be found in New York, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and so many more places.

Theater arts isn’t just about being on stage it’s also about lights and sounds, it’s about the sets, the props, the scripts, and the dance moves. The possibilities are endless! 

Stage fright is a thing and it is really important to know that there are many professional actors, singers, and dancers that had stage fright when they began their careers and they decided that maybe it was time to overcome those fears. Mark Twain, Lorde, all the way up to Rihanna, and Adele had stage fright. 

Theater isn’t just dramatic shows like Shakespeare, no! There are so many new and interesting shows like the very popular Hamilton and Be More Chill. There are very modern shows that can be very relatable to many different people. There are some very old ones that can be fun to see or be in as well. 

Even if theater isn’t for you it’s always fun to support your community and your friends, seeing shows here at Highland or at the theaters near by. 

‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’

The Star Wars sequel trilogy has concluded, and just like with the last movie, fans’ opinions are as mixed as ever. Some say the most recent movie, The Rise of Skywalker is terrible, and others are in the completely opposite field. I personally enjoyed it, but can’t overlook some really dumb stuff that the movie includes for no reason. This is as far as I can get into the movie without spoilers, so leave now if you haven’t seen the movie yet.

Right off the bat, The Rise of Skywalker is filled with problems. It deals with the return of Palpatine, the BBEG (big bad evil guy) of the first two trilogies. First of all, I don’t mind the fact that they brought him back, but because they didn’t set up this twist in either of the previous movies, it feels like a cheap reveal. If you didn’t watch the trailers, where it was revealed he would return, then seeing his name in the opening title crawl would feel so wrong without any set up.

On a first viewing, the plot of this movie is hard to follow. It involves Poe, Finn, and Rey tracking down a Sith way-finder that can lead them to where Palpatine is hiding. Palpatine’s endgame is that he’s building a fleet of star destroyers that can destroy planets, and has sent Kylo Ren to kill Rey. The first two-thirds of this movie are about the heroes going to different planets and following leads to find the way-finder.

But when I say it’s incoherent, I mean that literally. J.J. Abrams, the man who directed the movie, doesn’t waste a lot of screen time, so it often feels like things just happen way too quick. There’s no time for any of the themes to develop as the characters are moved from one planet to the next so quickly. 

There is one moment where the plot slows down for a second, which is when Rey is in the desert about to confront Kylo Ren, the shot that was in the trailer. It takes its time to build up the tension before the confrontation, and is honestly one of the best scenes in the movie. If more of the movie had been like this scene, I believe that it would be a lot better.

One thing I really don’t like about this movie is how Rey’s backstory is treated. For two years, her parentage was a mystery, and just about everyone thought she was a Skywalker, or a Kenobi, or a Jinn, or basically a descendant of any other major Star Wars character. In The Last Jedi, it was revealed that she was a nobody, and I particularly liked that reveal, because it made the Force seem special, like anyone could use it if they believed in it. 

The Rise of Skywalker mostly threw that assumption in the trash. Partway through the movie, it is revealed that Rey is Palpatine’s granddaughter, and the reason she is so good with the Force is because of her blood. I hate this so much. They ruined most of Rey’s development in the last film, and the theme that anyone can use the Force, even random loners, like the slave boy grabbing the broom with the Force at the end of The Last Jedi.

However, even though I don’t like that they make Rey a Palpatine, I absolutely love how it plays into her character development throughout the film. It all starts when Rey accidentally uses Force lightning, which is a power that only Sith have, which foreshadows her origin. Then, later in the movie, she decided to run away from the fight and hide on the old Jedi temple because she believed she couldn’t fight anymore because she was a Palpatine. Then, Luke appears as a Force ghost, and his conversation with Rey is one of the best pep talks/motivational speeches in the entire saga, talking about how it doesn’t matter who Rey shares blood with, it matters where her loyalties lie.

On the flip side, Kylo Ren goes through an emotional arc that completes his journey throughout the films. Even though his commanding officers want to join forces with him or want him dead, he is intent on ruling the galaxy side-by-side with Rey. He tries to get her to join him by destroying the way-finder, meaning that she can only go to the emperor if she joins forces with him.

Rey rejects his offer, and from across the galaxy, Leia uses the Force to distract Kylo Ren, giving Rey an opportunity to stab him. I will admit, this scene is kind of shot in a confusing way, but since Carrie Fisher died before this film started and they were using previous footage of her with CGI clothes, I’m willing to overlook it.

Meanwhile, the last of Leia’s force powers connects Kylo to an active memory of his dad, Han Solo, in another great scene. Han isn’t a Force ghost or anything, but instead is just an active memory type thing. Anyways, they have a conversation that mirrors the one they had in The Force Awakens, with Kylo saying that, “He knows what he needs to do, but doesn’t have the strength to do it.” Han comforts him, and this time, instead of stabbing his father, Kylo Ren throws his lightsaber away and leaves to face the emperor with Rey. I feel these were the strongest scenes in the entire movie, and because they happen right before the climax, it recenters the focus of the movie and gets rid of all of the chaos and side plots.

So while the first half of the movie is kind of a mess with some cool scenes and character development, the finale is awesome. It features a giant space battle with the resistance going up against the hundreds of star destroyers called the Final Order while Rey goes to fight Palpatine and Kylo trying to catch up with her. 

This climax continues the underlying theme of hope that is prevalent throughout all of Star Wars by having Lando and Chewie going around the galaxy to spread the word that there is going to be a final attack on the Sith, and it culminates in a scene where thousands of spaceships from around the galaxy attack the Final Order. However, even though the ship battle is awesome, it pales in comparison to how Rey and Kylo beat Palpatine.

Simplifying a lot, it ends with Rey using both lightsabers to deflect Force lightning into Palpatine, and Kylo defeating the Knights of Ren, his former allies. This ending is great for two reasons: One, it sticks with the theme that Rey’s family doesn’t define her, and two, it actually had tension, and I didn’t know how it was going to end. 

However, once again, the movie pulls a stupid, and resurrects Rey using the Force heal ability. It would have been so much better if she died right there. Once she’s resurrected, they kiss for no reason at all, a scene I actually cringed at in the theatre, and then Kylo dies. Yeah, that was the grand finale of the two best characters in the entire saga. Pathetic.

Rey then goes back to the resistance base, and after hanging out there, goes to Luke’s home on Tatooine and bury’s Luke and Leia’s lightsabers in sand. A random passerby asks who she is, and she responds, “Rey Skywalker.”

I like this, because even though she’s a Palpatine, she can move on from her bloodline and decide who she is. It goes back to what Luke said in the film, about how your blood doesn’t define you, but your allegiances. It’s a good ending, and makes you feel like they name of the movie actually means something.

However, I think there would be a better way to end this film. Rey stays dead, and Kylo takes her place. Since he is a Skywalker, the ending still makes sense, and it doesn’t have to deal with the backlash of resurrection, which is kind of a stupid move to pull in any movie.

Anyways, those are my thoughts on The Rise of Skywalker. The ending would have been a lot better if Rey stayed dead, Poe and Finn were wasted throughout most of the film, and the entire first two thirds are kind of nonsensical, but if you can overlook that, the love is pretty fun. It’s just another Star Wars adventure about people tracking down a random object with a bunch of lightsaber fights. 

In that way, it’s a bit like Revenge of the Sith. A lot of people don’t like this movie, and some say the plot is stupid and confusing, but if you’re willing to overlook the stupid and just watch it because it’s Star Wars, it’s an enjoyable movie that any Star Wars fan can watch without feeling the need to watch the previous two movies.

My final rating for this movie is an 7.5/10

Which streaming service is best for you?

As we progress into a more tech-filled world, the way we consume our media is changing as well. More and more entertainment companies are moving their movies and TV shows onto streaming services, rather than keeping them on cable TV.

However, with monthly fees for each service, it can stack up to be an expensive bill, leaving many to decide between services. It can  be difficult to decide which one to choose and which is best for you, so today we will take a look at 5 very popular streaming services to see which one suits you best. These 5 streaming services are: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Disney+.

Starting off with the service that popularized the streaming service craze, Netflix. Netflix offers a wider variety of content than competitors, making it an easy choice for those seeking an all-around great subscription service. While it may be more expensive than other services, they also offer a lot of original series’ that can’t be found anywhere else, such as Stranger Things.

The service that is seen as Netflix’s main competition is Hulu. Hulu is a streaming service that also has a variety of movies and TV shows, plus it also has Live TV options (note, Hulu is now owned by Disney). The primary issue is that, unless you are willing to pay extra for a premium account, the service won’t provide Live TV, and it runs ads. Hulu also has fewer original series’ than Netflix.

Similar to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video also has many high quality original movies and TV shows, as well as a lot of other content. One major benefit to using Amazon Prime Video is that you are able to rent or buy movies and TV shows that you otherwise would have to buy as a DVD (or use RedBox or a service similar to it).

YouTube TV is a great replacement to classic cable. While it is much more expensive than other streaming services, it is doing something different. It is replicating cable more than the others, and is mostly made up of live content. YouTube TV offers an excellent lineup of sports, news, and entertainment channels, and is a top choice for people who still want the cable TV experience but want to cut the cord and don’t want to spend as much money as cable.

Finally, the most recent addition to the lineup is Disney+. Disney+ is a service similar to Netflix and Hulu, but offers tons of Disney owned content all in one place. We all know how much of a juggernaut Disney is to the entertainment industry, so having a service of most of what Disney owns is a lot of content. However, many people are complaining that there isn’t a wide enough variety of content. Most of what is on Disney+ is movies, and there is barely anything new to watch on the service.

Overall, you can’t go wrong with any of these services. Whether you’re looking for a replacement to cable, a service that you can watch with your family, or just something to watch your favorite TV shows on, all of these have something for you.

The television

Once upon a time there was a world with no streaming services. If you even had a television, you couldn’t binge watch all you favorite shows. You couldn’t just watch T.V. at anytime in any place. You couldn’t even decide what you wanted to watch. You would watch what was on. Your parents were the remote control for you grandparents. Before remote controls, there were buttons connected to the giant box we called the T.V. 

The first showing of a working television was on January 26th, 1926. There were three crucial inventors of the television: John Logie Baird, Philo Farnsworth, and Charles Francis Jenkins. It was first made in the Jenkins Factory. It cost between $1000 and $3000. It was a large cube with a screen less than half the size of the box.

The first advertisement for the television aired in 1941. 

The first television remote was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950. it was attached by a wire and had big and bulky buttons.

In the 1990’s ‘‘streaming’’ was first named as a demand service but never really became a thing until 2008 when Hulu first came out. Hulu was owned by NBC and Fox. 

There are so many streaming services that they really took business away from cable networks. There’s Hulu, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Playstation Vue, fuboTV, CBS All Access, Disney+, and so many more. Cable networks are slowly being shut down and suddenly you have a million Netflix and Hulu originals like The Handmaid’s Tale, Stranger Things, etc. 

The television is slowly getting bigger and bigger physically. The variety of shows is getting bigger as well.

Many people say that watching television lets them explore different perspectives and have a world away from our own. Others believe that the same thrill of escaping can be found in books. As people continued to make and buy televisions the new ideas for shows expanded. People began to become invested in a character’s life. 

*Disclaimer* I am not hating on any streaming services, just simply writing about the changes that have happened with television. Thank you.

Should you get Disney+?

I think it was no secret when Disney came out with Disney+ on November 12, 2019. But, though it sounds packed with an endless amount of shows and movies, should you get it?

First of all, Disney+ is a streaming service recently launched by Disney. It has a variety of shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. It is packed with hours of classic Disney movies and series from many years ago, as well as newer content. Specifically, it has about 500 movies and 7,500 TV shows. 

To be fair, Disney has done a really nice job at making Disney+ affordable for many people. At $7 per month or $70 per year, it’s less expensive than Netflix’s cheapest option at $9 per month. Also, unlike Netflix, they do not charge extra money for quality changes. 

Personally, one of my favorite benefits of Disney+ is its ability to download. All of the shows on Disney’s streaming service have a small button that you can click that allows you to download them. This means that for road trips or vacations where there may not be internet or a bad connection to WiFi, you could just download what you’d like to watch on the app and have it available any time, anywhere. 

Disney+ will also be adding content as it continues to be used. Many newer shows will also appear after their appearances in the theater and as a home-video, including movies like the realistic version of Disney’s The Lion King.

There is a good chance that there is something you will enjoy watching on there. After all, it was announced they reached over 10 million people that have already subscribed. 

So, in the end, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in the content that Disney produces. If you subscribe and pay the monthly fee, you can cancel at any time. If you don’t know whether or not you should, there is a seven day free trial that might help you to make up your mind. 

Movies to watch on snow days

Snow days are the days when school is cancelled because of heavy snowfall or other extreme winter weather. Here are a few movies to watch on those snow days: 

  • Home Alone is a great 90s movie. The movie is about an eight-year-old boy who protects his home from burglars when his family accidentally left him home alone on their way to Christmas vacation.
  • Ocean’s 8 is about a woman who gathers an all female crew to attempt to pull off the heist of the century at New York City’s yearly annual Met Gala.
  • The Hustle is about a girl named Penny who is a con artist and trap men into giving her money, whereas Josephine is a wise con artist who cons the world’s richest men into giving her money.
  • Almost Christmas is a Christmas movie starring Gabrielle Union. This movie is about a dad who invites his five grown up children, who can’t stand each other,  home for the holidays.
  • A Madea Christmas is one of Tyler Perry’s movies which is about Madea’s niece who wants Madea to come with her to surprise her daughter for Christmas at her new home in small town Alabama.

Trailers for the movies: 

Home Alone

Ocean’s 8

The Hustle

Almost Christmas

A Madea Christmas

The HPSH Theatre Program proudly presents: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Come fall in love with this romantic comedy featuring young lovers, a disapproving father, a band of simple-minded actors, and mischievous fairies.

Performances are this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 7:00pm and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 pm.

The running time is just under 2 hours with intermission.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults.

‘Joker’ review

Joker was released a month ago and has already become an icon to film history. It has made over 300 million in the U.S and even more in other countries. Joker has now been titled as the highest grossing film, with its rating, of all time.

Joker takes place in 1981 and is about a man by the name of Arthur Fleck, who is played by Joaquin Phoenix. Arthur suffers serious depression issues and problems with constantly laughing. He has a passion for playing as a party clown.

Many people see Arthur as a freak and often will poke fun at him, or even beat him on the street. Arthur takes care of his mother in his small apartment while he’s not at work.

When a coworker of his gives him a gun, his entire life changes and he soon starts doing things to people that causes debates and havoc around the city. He dresses as a clown which is seen as an icon around the city of Gotham.

When I first saw this movie, I was instantly impressed by the uncomfortable camera angles and blurred backgrounds; it really fit for the unsettling and eerie feeling to the movie. The film’s awkward feeling fit very well for the movie but often would get a little consistent and would get a little awkward in a bad way and drew out the scene for too long. Other than that, most awkward moments were fitting.

I believe that the acting in the movie couldn’t have been better. Joaquin Phoenix really made you believe he was psychotic human being. The side actors were also very talented and something that really stuck out to me, was the reactions to certain things that occurred to the film. Such as when a person was killed, they would respond in a way that would make you feel uncomfortable and feel like it was almost real.

This film also sets a very high message to real life. Whether it’s debates, the economy, or the way people are treated these days. It kind of makes you think about how awful individuals can be to each other.

Overall, I believe that this movie deserves the love it has been getting and I’d give it a solid 9/10

‘Coraline’ review

Button eyes and spiderwebs, Coraline is full of the stuff of nightmares.

Coraline was originally a novella written by Neil Gaiman, published all the way back in 2002. It quickly won many awards, which may I say, it deserved. In 2009 it was adapted into a stop motion film by Laika, which also appears to be quite well received. 

And in this one occasion, the movie may be just as good as the book.

Coraline is about a young girl, called Coraline, who has just moved to a new house. She feels as though her parents don’t pay enough attention to her, and she’s slightly ignored, not to mention bored. Then, she finds a small door in her house, which was originally boarded up, but suddenly one night, it is not. It leads Coraline to a fantastical world with two other parents and all the stuff she could ever want. But her other mother has more plans than just trying to make Coraline happy, and Coraline must fight not only for her own life, but also her parents’, to get out of the other mother’s world.

The book and the movie do have some differences though, the movie spends much more time exploring the world and characters, while the book is very fast paced. 

The book and movie are listed as horror, so while they are aimed at children, they are also full of ghoulish imagery. For example, the scene in the movie with Misses Forcible and Spink; trust me, you do not want to know that scene.

Neil Gaiman is also the author of novels such as American Gods, Good Omens, Anansi Boys, and more.

Laika, the studio that made the movie, also has made other movies such as Paranorman, Kubo and the Two Strings, and recently Missing Link.

I cannot recommend Coraline high enough. The book is short and a fun read, and I could rewatch the movie over and over again. If you are looking for a spooky movie to watch after Halloween, or just a fun time, Coraline is a must-see.