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December Arts Desk Recommendations

Check out these great pieces of art hand-picked by the Chronicle’s Arts Desk.
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Mary Allen
(Design by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

Happy December y’all, you made it. It’s finally getting cold outside so break out those sweaters, ignore your finals for a few hours and curl up with these December recommendations.

Films

For All Mankind

Life becomes pretty mundane once you begin to understand the world around you. However, when watching the 1989 documentary “For All Mankind,” that solid grip on reality slips. Scored by the ethereal music of Brian Eno, the film transports you to vast, foreign areas of the universe using unbelievably clear 60s and 70s NASA footage of the Apollo missions. Images of our small, blue planet from the great darkness of space are equally scary, comforting and uplifting. A reminder of the beautiful unpredictability of the future and the countless possibilities that can come if we dare to adventure into the unknown. End 2023 by leaving the ground and visiting the stars and moon with “For All Mankind.”

-Graham Jones

The Hunger Games

Ever since I saw “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes,” my Hunger Games obsession has been brought back to life. Everything about the series is captivating and nostalgic. I always love re-watching the movies. Especially during Thanksgiving because of the heavy symbolism of food. My favorite/best movie out of the series is “Catching Fire.” The production is amazing and the drama is addicting. I would definitely recommend looking into the symbolism of “The Hunger Games” and re-watching the series to catch any hidden messages you may have missed before.

-Eliza Delgado

TV

The Supermodels

The 2023 Apple TV+ docuseries “The Supermodels” is the best TV show I’ve seen. Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evalgalista narrate their lives and careers in front of the camera. Beginning as teenagers in the 80s and 90s to working in their 50s in the present day, these four women’s careers had many ups and downs. The show handles these with an educated manner and a well-crafted lens. And the show covers much more than just fashion so every audience member, outside of their fashion knowledge, can gain from watching. It’s eye-opening, empowering and very well-made. A great watch indeed.

-Haley Freeman

Albums

Cape Elizabeth” – Noah Kahan

Before Vermont entered “Stick Season,Noah Kahan took us on a journey to Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Kahan’s 2020 EP “Cape Elizabeth” is a no-skips collection of five songs reflecting on the love and uneasiness brought by growing up. This EP is a taste of Kahan’s folk-acoustic-pop music at a time when his sound was very upbeat and complex. His grounded sound achieved Kahan success with the album “Stick Season” earning him a nomination for the 66th Grammy Awards. I started as a Noah Kahan skeptic, but now I am a fan. “Maine” is my favorite track on the EP.

-Haley Freeman

Songs

Bless the Telephone” – Labi Siffre

I recently stumbled onto British singer-songwriter Labi Siffre. He released most of his albums in the 70s and 80s and hasn’t produced any new work since 1998. I’m still working my way through his discography, but so far, “Bless the Telephone” is not only his most beautiful song but one of the most tender and raw songs I’ve ever heard. The song is simple. Just an acoustic guitar pair with Siffre’s soft and honest vocals. “It’s nice, the way you say my name,” Siffre sings, “not very fast or slow, just soft and low.” So simply it captures the little things that make the person you love the most important part of your world. Bless the telephone? More like Bless Labi Siffre.

-Luke Jackson

Books

Balanchine’s Apprentice: From Hollywood to New York and Back

Whoever said ballet is boring doesn’t know about the drama. Whoever thinks ballet is all drama doesn’t know about the history. John Clifford, born to entertainer parents in Los Angeles, CA, became one of George Balanchine’s star pupils for the New York City Ballet in the 1960s and 1970s, choreographing, teaching, and performing for the company and its associated school, The School of American Ballet. As I work my way through his memoir, it has been fascinating to hear the many first-hand stories of Clifford working with Balanchine, choreographer Jerome Robbins, and other dancers at NYCB. He tells all in his memoir, opening the doors to the David H. Koch Theater wider than dancers have with biographies prior.

-Haley Freeman

Video Games

Spider-Man: Miles Morales

With the snow starting to fall, there is no better time to curl up with a great video game. What better game than “Spider-Man: Miles Morales,” the second entry in the Insomniac Spider-Verse. You may ask, “Why would we play Miles Morales when Spider-Man 2 is out?” I counter with this: Spider-Man 2 may be newer (and better), but nothing quite compares to swinging around New York City in the snow. “Miles Morales” takes place in the wintertime, right around Christmas. They do a great job of making New York feel real and snowy. Go get a cup of hot chocolate, grab a blanket, light a candle and stop some crime as the best Spider-Man.

-Ethan

With Those We Love Alive

Games that are classified as AAA typically garner more attention from gamers due to their high production value. “With Those We Love Alive” proves that a million-dollar budget and a massive production team is not necessary to create a compelling game. This interactive fiction game is available to be played in your browser and consists of text with hyperlinks to navigate a choose-your-own-adventure story. The writing is concise and descriptive as it details a monstrous world ruled by a cruel queen. You play as a servant to this queen while you try to break free from her influence. Evocative background music shapes the nightmarish atmosphere you play in. You’ll finish the game feeling simultaneously uncertain and hopeful.

-Grier

 

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About the Contributors
Luke Jackson is an arts writer for the Daily Utah Chronicle. He is currently pursuing a B.S. in games with a minor in creative writing. Since childhood, Luke has had a strong affinity for film and the arts. You’ll probably find him catching the latest movie or hanging out with his dog (and best friend) Theia. After graduation from his undergraduate studies, Luke hopes to pursue a career in video games or screenwriting.
Eliza Delgado, Assistant Arts Editor
(she/her) Eliza Delgado has written for the Chronicle since September 2022. She is a senior year at the U majoring in psychology with a minor in creative writing. Eliza joined the Chronicle to expand her writing abilities and has a new profound love for journalism. She is a huge Taylor Swift fan and loves to read, shop and practice hot yoga.
Graham Jones, Arts Writer, News For U Producer
Graham Jones was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and moved to Utah to study film. Despite his passion for cinema, Graham joined the Chronicle to engage with the University of Utah community and pursue his love for journalism. Outside of the student media office, Graham can be found buried deep into the pages of a graphic novel or lip-syncing to the greatest hits of the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Haley Freeman, Arts Writer
Haley Freeman is a sophomore mechanical engineering major at the University of Utah. She was born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, and now is based out of South Carolina, when not traveling or at the U. She enjoys all things ballet, film, photography, and literature. When not writing for the paper, you can catch Haley working sage tech at the Marriott Center for Dance, spending time with her Alpha Chi Omegas, or frolicking in the snow.
Ethan Blume, Arts Writer
Ethan is a senior in college majoring in English and minoring in Animation Studies. He always loved student media, even back in high school. He spends his free time reading, playing board games and hanging out with his cat, Yoda.
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.

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