Spring break 2009 kicks off tomorrow. Those of you stuck in wintry Goshen will no doubt be searching for activities to occupy your sudden burst of free time. Fortunately, we here at the arts page have a list of suggestions to help stave off boredom and make for a memorable break.
What to watch
According to most projections, “Slumdog Millionaire” will take home the best picture prize at the Oscars ceremony on Sunday. You can catch “Slumdog,” the movie that everybody’s talking about, right here in Goshen at the newly-expanded Linway Plaza Cinema.
But “Slumdog” is no “Departed.” This is not a best picture film you’ll need to run out and see before somebody gives away the ending. Most viewers will have a pretty good idea where the script is going after the first few frames of “Departed,” which is Danny Boyle’s new film.
However, this doesn’t keep “Slumdog Millionaire” from being one of the freshest, most exciting cinematic adventures to hit theaters in a long time. The first 30 minutes are spectacular: pounding music, colorful visuals, raw cinematography and a stunning cast of children pulled straight from the slums of India.
If you have seen any of Boyle’s other films, “Trainspotting” or “28 Days Later,” you will immediately recognize his characteristic visual style, this time bringing the streets of Mumbai to vibrant life.
While “Slumdog” has all the joys cinema has to offer, it also offers the usual pitfalls. Gangsters lurk around every corner, and love seems to conquer any conceivable snare. However, through all of the standard Hollywood narrative, Boyle still tells a compelling and important story about cultural alienation and the changing face of modern India.
But don’t let the strange game-show plot concept deter you. It works, and “Slumdog Millionaire” deserves the accolades it is receiving. Catch it before it’s gone – Saturday and Sunday matinees run at 2:00 p.m. and costs only $5.50.
3.5 out of 4 Maple Leafs
What to listen to
Despite their biblically-inaccurate name, Noah and the Whale are the real deal. Emerging from the vibrant English folk rock scene, the band released their first album, “Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down,” late last summer.
Success in Britain has yet to translate into exposure across the pond, though. The album was slammed by the hipster-music Bible, “Pitchfork.”
I’ve been listening to this album almost non-stop since discovering it two weeks ago and find it to be a charming and refreshing burst of energy on my iTunes playlist.
Noah and the Whale are best characterized by their catchy melodies, ample harmony and effortless transition from bubbly pop songs such as “2 Atoms in a Molecule” to sentimental slow-burners such as “Give A Little Love.”
But the two tracks sandwiched in the middle of the album have been both a blessing and a curse, offering me pure joy every time I listen to them but not leaving my head for days at a time. The slow, tick-tock “Second Lover” is a phenomenal duet, and “5 Years Time,” with its fun-in-the-sun lyrics and spectacular ukulele hook, is sure to be a major player on the soundtrack to my summer. Pick this track up if you are feeling the cabin fever blues over this chilly Spring Break.
3 out of 4 Maple Leafs
Where to go
Anyone looking for more local flavor in spring break entertainment can catch some live performance as New World Arts kicks off its 2009 season this weekend with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Art” by Yasmina Reza.
“Art” is directed by Sam Yoder, a 2008 Goshen College graduate, and stars Phil Stoesz, a Goshen College first-year and Mike Honderich, a 2008 Goshen College graduate. The show tells the story of three men whose lifelong friendship is tested after one of them purchases a piece of modern artwork.
Hilarious and dramatic, “Art” thrives on snappy dialogue, which has been translated from its original French into over 30 languages since its 1995 Paris premiere.
“Art” opens Friday evening 8 p.m. However, students leaving town early can catch a special, reduced price preview performance on Thursday at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the Thursday performance are $5 for students with valid I.D. All other tickets for the weekend shows, which also run Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m., are $10 for students and $15 for general admission.
If you miss this weekend’s performances, you can also catch “Art” next weekend at the same times. For more information, visit the New World Arts Web site at www.newworldarts.org.