October Arts Desk Favorites

(Design by Daily Utah Chronicle)

(Design by Daily Utah Chronicle)


Oakley Burt

As I’m sure we’re all aware by now, COVID-19 has severely impacted a usually flourishing film industry. Major films such as “Dune,” “No Time to Die” and “Black Widow” have been pushed back multiple times, hopefully settling on 2021 release dates. However, the streaming giants — Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — have continually been supplying fantastic media for our consumption. One such film, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” released Oct. 16, quickly became my favorite for the month. Directed by Aaron Sorkin, the film is an American historical docudrama that centers on the six-month trial of activists Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne), Rennie Davis (Alex Sharp), John Froines (Danny Flaherty), Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen), Jerry Rubin (Jeremy Strong), David Dellinger (John Carroll Lynch) and Lee Weiner (Noah Robbins). Black Panther Party co-founder, Bobby Seale (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) is also tried alongside the seven. Charged by the federal government with conspiracy to incite riots — emerging from the countercultural protests in Chicago outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention — the trial captivated the nation and sparked conversations about chaos “intended” to undermine the U.S. government. While there are some inaccuracies, “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is an entertaining, crowd-pleasing film that leaves behind a timely message: the world is always watching.


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Parker Dunn

The month of October for me can be summed up mostly by a lot of Smashing Pumpkins and old Weezer — that’s not to say this past month has been at all dry in terms of new releases, however. Animated band Gorillaz dropped a brilliant, full-of-features seventh studio album reminiscent of famed record “Plastic Beach” in “Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez.” English musician James Blake put out my personal favorite release of the month with EP “Before,” which features some of the best production work I’ve heard from Blake yet. Overall, October, though still dimmed a bit by a global pandemic, was bright with regard to music.


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Jacqueline Mumford

These last few months, time has seemed to stand still. Throughout the quarantine, it’s been hard to find markers of time: the days blend together, doing the same isolated activities, seeing the same people, and feeling that same hope that someday the pandemic will end. This last month, I found something to look forward to, new music. The drought of new TV, music, and film from the spring and summer was broken by Machine Gun Kelly, Ty Dolla $ign, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Yungblud, the Mountain Goats, and more this fall. Every few weeks, we’ve received a near-perfect pop-punk album, a stunning rock single, a masterfully directed music video, or an out-of-the-blue upcoming release date. Through the darkness and uncertainty, I am so relieved to see people continuing to create and share their work with the world. I’ve been grateful to dance and sing along.


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Kate Button

My October arts favorite is the “Sucks to See You Doing Better” EP from Valley — the first breakup album in this Toronto-based indie-pop band’s discography. On the titular track, Valley chronicles the experience of witnessing someone move on and find someone better, whereas you’re stuck grieving the lost relationship and struggle to move on. Staying true to the Valley brand, each song is packed full of little details that emphasize the profound depth of experiences that we all encounter. Valley depicts being stuck “watching marathons of Harry Potter,” and at other moments citing, “Sleeping till two is my bible / lost in the internet black hole.” The “Sucks” EP grieves for the life we had before the pandemic, but this album marks a new thematic exploration for Valley, and they enthusiastically embrace their true pop influences and offer a reflection and reprieve from everyday stresses.


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Hannah Keating

I took the news of Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek sweeping all seven major comedy awards at the Emmys as a sign that I should start watching and, in the month that I have binged all seven seasons, it has become my October favorite. Telling the story of a wealthy family that suddenly finds themselves destitute, the show is the creation of father/son duo Eugene and Dan Levy, who star as Johnny and David Rose. Rounding out the family is Catherine O’Hara as Moira and Annie Murphy as Alexis. It is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek comedy, grounded in the division of the wildly wealthy and their rural roots. My favorite moments come in Season four and five when the Roses are more settled in their Schitt’s Creek home — Johnny works at the motel, Moira rises to stardom, Alexis grows up, and David develops a romantic arc with his new business partner.


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Cade Anderson

Everyone and their pet lemur-monkey loves “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and I’m no exception, but in October I was particularly obsessed with “The Legend of Korra.” The four-season “Avatar: The Last Airbender” sequel is certainly no replacement for the original show that I grew up with — and it has its issues — but it’s beautiful in its own way, from mystical folklore to character development that’s hard to pull away from. “The Legend of Korra” is colorful, simple, and always keeps me excited for the next episode, so it’s exactly what I needed to get me through midterms and a messy month for politics.


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