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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Culture Corner

The Art’s Desk Weekly Picks for Music, Movies and More


By SOFIA BOZZO — arts@theaggie.org 


Book: “Devotions” by Mary Oliver (2017)


On the heels of a cold, tumultuous and thoroughly exhaustive winter finals week, my mind craved tranquility, and what better way to achieve tranquility than with a nice book and a poolside seat? Over spring break I began “Devotions,” a book of selected poetry by American poet, Mary Oliver. The collection teems with illustrations of the natural world and the ways in which it impacts the human experience. The central thrust of the poetry within “Devotions” is charged with joy, hope and perspective, forcing introspecting with an outward regard for the natural world that surrounds us. Amidst the stress of the end of an exasperating winter quarter, and equally, the stress of the beginning of a new one, “Devotions” proved a thoroughly delightful and relaxing read, serving as a comforting reminder of the world around me. 


Movie: “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” dir. by Ben Stiller (2013)


Don’t be fooled by the subpar rotten tomatoes score, this movie changed my life. I was nine years old when Ben Stiller first blessed the world with the self-directed “Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and I’ve since come back to it throughout the most significant times of my life. The film follows a middle-aged man, initially paralyzed in his mundane job, searching for purpose and adventure. The film alternates between reality and fantasy as the main character, Walter, imagines himself amid intense adventure, ultimately making it a reality. I returned to this film again as school, sports and life became overwhelming and consumptive. The movie holds principles of courage and presents themes of faith, not only in the surrounding world, but in oneself. I return to this movie when my life feels monotonous, overwhelming or when I’m seeking some inspiration. For anyone who occasionally shares these feelings, “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” is for you. 


Album: “Morning Phase” by Beck (2014)


If you’ve heard the name Beck, you might be imagining nineties break-beats and lyrical irony, yet Beck’s 2014 folk-rock album “Morning Phase” reflects his Los Angeles roots, harkening back to a sound heavily reminiscent of the sixties musicians of Laurel Canyon. If you couldn’t already tell, much of my artistic preference is dependent upon the change of season. I find this album reflects the feelings surrounding the shift from dim, somber winter, to the impending joyous spring. The album opens with a hauntingly beautiful string overture, ultimately fading into an upbeat folk ensemble as the second song begins. Beck constructs melodies to parallel the feelings intended within each song, never shying away from emotion and ultimately resolving with themes of morning, light and hope. If you haven’t already gotten into the prolific anthology of Beck, now is the time.


Written by: Sofia Bozzo — arts@theaggie.org 


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