The Berkeley Beacon

Jason Madanjian

Beacon Staff

Madanjian can be reached at

Media contributed

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Hellos, goodbyes, and Ghibli

Each film possesses a magical, lyrical quality and quickly proved to be the perfect bedtime story for a budding adult like myself.

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Influential documentary filmmaker Peter Davis visits campus, talks legacy

"I see the role of a documentarian in the plural. I’m not against a filmmaker making a film that preaches at you. That’s just a film that I’m personally not interested in. I’m interested in the psychological inquiry, like in Hearts and Minds."

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Recent VMA graduate illuminates life after Emerson, job prospects in LA

"I think Emerson to a certain extent is its own bubble and isolated from the harsher realities of the outside world. I don’t know if it’s something I expected or didn’t expect. I guess you hear the stories, and you hear there are going to be some less-than-savory types in the film industry."

The importance of film criticism

There’s something so problematic about boiling a film’s worth down to a percentage. I’ve seen plenty of objectively terrible movies that stir something in me that a number could never represent. No movie is above critical evaluation, but plenty are above a one-size-fits-all rating system.

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Dear White People At Emerson

“The movie is an opportunity to get into either the skin of someone who looks like you or someone who doesn’t,” said Simien. “It’s nice when white people can see themselves as black characters. That’s the power of storytelling.”

Nominated for nothing: the unsung cinema of 2014

We shouldn’t let the narrative of this year’s films be boiled down to an essential few. As Julianne Moore said while accepting her Best Actress award last month, “There is no such thing as a ‘Best Actress.’” I fully agree with that sentiment—being the best is subjective and arbitrary.

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The Beacon's 2015 Oscar Picks

See the films that Beacon staff members think should win Academy Awards.

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Atypical romance films for Valentine's Day weekend

For housebound couples looking for something different, here are five recommendations for atypical films to watch for Valentine’s Day weekend.

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Writing about writers: Emerson professor Miranda Banks discusses new book on Writer's Guild

"The more I learned about the history of the guild, the more fascinated I became."

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The Freshmen Four: New students form folk band Ben Mueller and the Low Ceilings

“It’s hard to dislike that kind of music,” said Mueller. “Intense music doesn’t make me feel as happy.”

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What to watch during the snow day

Nothing warms a snowed-in college student like the warm glow of a television. Here are The Berkeley Beacon’s picks for the best way to spend your day off.

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College cancels classes as Boston braces for blizzard

Emerson has canceled classes after 4 p.m. Monday and all classes on Tuesday. The dining hall will remain open Tuesday, with shorter hours; all other campus cafes will close.

King of the multiplex: how to truly experience cinema

With hits like Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent raking in globs of money in 2014, that statistic seems surprising. But for anyone who goes to the movies on a somewhat frequent basis, it’s not shocking. Going to a movie theater is becoming an increasingly less desirable option.

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Returning to the silly and smart world of Jacques Tati

When critics and magazine columnists compile a list of the greatest film comedians, the answers are always the same: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, maybe Robin Williams or Bill Murray. But there’s one name you almost never see: Jacques Tati.

One man's trash: The perks of 'so bad they're good' horror movies

There’s a decidedly less spooky horror movie that holds a special place in my heart this time of year.

Bridging the Gap

Modern filmmaking has been defined by extremes. Today, movies are either self-indulgent, money-grabbing blockbusters, or pretentious, award-baiting art house films.

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A tale of two fairs

With the school year officially started, now is the time to decide just how, and with whom, you want to spend your time.

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VMA students remember marathon with short films

“I wanted to put something into the evening that would help highlight a metaphor that helps deal with tragedies that were both within ourselves and larger than ourselves,” said DePaola.

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Short and sweet

On Wednesday night, RareWorks Theatre Company is giving audiences more treats than tricks with their latest production, Unwrap Your Candy.

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Being Benincasa

“That is incredibly affirming and rewarding because I get to look into the eyes of someone who is also struggling and tell them that it gets easier and it also gets harder,” said Benincasa “I just want to provide whatever answers and help I can.”

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Guess who's coming to dinner? Race relations.

A staged reading of the Pulitzer-winning play Disgraced is the latest example of The Office of the Arts’ effort to showcase stories with many perspectives.

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College announces residency with playwright Daniel Beaty

This past Tuesday night, Emerson College announced that Daniel Beaty will be the latest artist-in-residence. Beaty will be with the college for three years on a $350,000 grant.

The Beacon's Oscar Picks

The Beacon's in-house selections for Oscar gold.

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Q&A with grad, American Idiot star Mariah MacFarlane

The Berkeley Beacon's Art Editor Jason Madanjian interviews Emerson grad and American Idiot star Mariah MacFarlane.

The true significance of the Oscars

Without the Academy Awards, which have been going on for 86 years, the quality of movies would drastically decrease.

Film producer, alumna Jillian DeFrehn talks Vampire Academy

An exclusive interview with Jillian DeFrehn, Emerson grad and co-producer of the new film Vampire Academy.

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Resurrected club screens the unknown and unconventional

"Our goal is to highlight stuff that’s never been seen. Something that’s never been nominated for an Oscar."

Q&A with comedian, Emerson alumna Iliza Shlesinger

Arts Editor Jason Madanjian has an exclusive Q&A with stand-up comedian Iliza Shlesinger.

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Watching The Watchmen: Senior's photo exhibit examines Big Brother

Senior Rebecca Isenhart presented the creative aspect of her honors thesis, a photo installation, this past Monday night.

Playing Gay In Hollywood illuminates queer film history

EAGLE sponsors this Bright Lights event, which examines the depiction of gay characters in film from 1930 to 1970.

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Alum Julian Higgins stresses importance of storytelling

Emerson alum Julian Higgins returns to Emerson College to showcase three of his short films.

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A sit-down with Emerson alum Graham Wright

The Berkeley Beacon's exclusive Q&A with Emerson alum, and Morton Downey Jr. Movie producer, Graham Wright.

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The Father Of Trash TV

Arts Editor Jason Madanjian reviews Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie.

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columbinus: heartbreak worth reliving

Jason Madanjian reviews columbinus, ArtsEmerson's premiere show for their fourth season.

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Conservative Arts pledges hilarity, political satire

Ricky Downes III created Conservative Arts, a political satire television pilot that's part Colbert Report and part Spongebob Squarepants.

A glimpse into married life through California Suite

The almost two-hour show featured four vignettes chronicling various married couples who stay in the same hotel room at different times of the year.

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Freshman is named Rookie of the Year

On Sunday night, freshman Alex Frapech was browsing the Great Northeast Athletic Conference website when he noticed his name — he was selected as rookie of the year for his work on the men’s volleyball team this season.

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Will & Grace creator gives an inside look into network television

An audience of over 100 students and faculty filled the Bright Family Screening Room as Mutchnick held a candid discussion and presentation about his latest television show, Partners, which was canceled this past fall after only six episodes aired on CBS.

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Chocolate Cake City’s TED Talk

Like the Twilight Zone and Edgar Allen Poe-themed shows before, Chocolate Cake City anchored its latest performance piece around a continuous idea, this time spoofing the increasingly viral global conferences that focus on a myriad of subjects: TED Talks.

Rareworks’ 2013 Playwright’s Festival presents A Yellow Watermelon

Written by first-time playwright Lizzie Milanovich, a junior performing arts major, A Yellow Watermelon premiered Tuesday night in the Greene Theater as one of two plays selected for Rareworks’ annual Playwright’s Festival, which produces student-scribed texts.

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Former player now head coach of men's lacrosse team

Daniel Gold came to Emerson hoping to write screenplays and direct films. Now, less than a year after graduation, he is writing game plans and directing plays on the lacrosse field.

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Dream on: BFA film student creates cinematic nightmare

Aust describes the film — which follows one nightmare creator as he falls in love with one of his victims — as fast, loud, and out of control. It’s a dash of Freddy Kreuger mixed with Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible.

Strong Emerson presence at Boston Student Film Festival

After graduating from Northeastern University with a degree in communications and cinema studies in 2011, Kelly Soule said she found Boston to be a desert for the filmmaking community in a city brimming with a pool of talent.

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Kidding Around has a ball with Cinderella

Directed by junior marketing communication major Eric Maxwell, this tuneful take featured the standard tropes of the glass slipper, Prince Charming, and the pumpkin carriage. But Maxwell said he also wanted to leave his own visual mark on this timeless tale.

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Emerson student appears on the Oscars stage

I like those types of movies that have magical elements to the reality.

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Playing with light & language: experimental filmmaker

The resulting film Odysseus in Ithaca was screened alongside five other shorts on Tuesday night in the Bright Family Screening Room for the event An Evening With Experimental Filmmaker Peter Rose.

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Bombing in Beirut: Director talks about her film

Fox was only 21 when she traveled to Beirut at the end of 1981. For three years, she and her editor tweaked the script, creating a new cut annually. And then Fox spent years looking for distribution before finally breaking through at the Sundance Film Festival in 1988.

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Student show AMPED! will cover Boston music scene

Three Emerson students are looking to turn up the volume with a new television show on the Emerson Channel called AMPED!. It aims to be a music series that focuses on new albums, shows around Boston, and live performances.

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Ballads and blood: Shakespeare Society’s mash-up

Ballad will be performed on Feb. 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m in the Greene Theater of the Tufte Performance Production Center. This original marriage between two texts is the brainchild of senior performing arts major Kelsey Jayne Hogan and junior performing arts major Nicky Maggio.

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Student choreographers go footloose for X Dances

X Dance, held on campus in the Greene Theater, starts next Thursday at 8 p.m. and runs through the weekend.

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Iraq veteran bikes from Boston to D.C.

His ride raised $2,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that helps service members transition back to civilian life and provides relief and programs to wounded vets in America.

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Emerson prof honored with innovative teaching award

On Feb. 2, the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), in conjunction with the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE), will honor her achievements in innovative teaching with a ceremony held on Cape Cod.

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Birthday bash boasts 65 years for WECB

During the bash, WECB aired a snippet from an in-progress documentary about the station by Veltser. Since the spring, he has been conducting interviews with alumni, as well as gathering archival radio transmissions and old newspaper clips.

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Jimmy's lines up laughs on Black Friday

A time crunch sent Sender and the other Jimmys scrambling to make the best possible show in a short amount of time.

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MTS creates urban fairytale in Brooklyn

The musical follows the characters as they stagea play. Five homeless men and women present an “urban fairytale” of struggling musician Taylor Collins and Faith, the love of his life.

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The Cyclops and the one-eyed monsters

According to Blaszko, his production follows tradition for a show that was sexualy charged, even in ancient times.

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Emerson student produces parodies

Chamberlain writes, directs, edits, and often stars in his videos, which have gained notice among the Emerson community after his parody of LMFAO’s “I’m Sexy And I Know It.”

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Jimmy’s pomp chameleon comedians

immy’s eclectic team of writers and performers created a kaleidoscopic medley of jokes.

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Experimenting with celluloid

The second annual International Experimental Cinema Exposition demonstrated 12 16mm short films, projected in their original formats.

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Harlan Bosmajian talks Backwards

The family-friendly sports drama follows Abigail Brooks, a thirty-year-old rower who has trained for the Olympics her whole life and has learned once again that she did not make the team.

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Dear Mandela fights for South Africa

he documentary follows Mazwi, a South African who is the youth leader for Abahladi base Mjondolo, a protest organization formed to fight The Slums Act. Mazwi, along with the documentary’s co-director Dara Kell, took questions from the audience after the viewing.

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ArtsEmerson's 1871 expo

On Thursday night, ArtsEmerson kicked off its third season with investigative theater troupe The Civilians’ world premiere of Paris Commune in the Paramount Center Mainstage.

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The Wild and wonderful youth abscond West Virginia

The Tribeca Film Institute helped fund the project by awarding an undisclosed grant to the undertaking in August.

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Talking television with Tom Werner

The event was held in The Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center and hosted by Jonathan Wacks, professor and chair of the visual and media arts department. Werner served as executive producer on numerous television shows including The Cosby Show, Roseanne, and That 70’s Show.

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Hollywood Reporter ranks Emerson ninth for film

And for the second year, Emerson College found a spot on the list. The college placed at number nine, soaring past its position at number 18 during the inaugural year.

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Getting technical with The Uplink

The Uplink, which aired at 9 p.m. on Tuesday each month of this semester, is Emerson Independent Video’s only tech news show produced by and for geeks.

Writer Nick Flynn talks crossing genres during Ploughshares event

Fifty-three people filed into the Charles Beard Room in the Little Building April 4 to hear Nick Flynn’s sarcastic wit and to offer the writer a hodgepodge of questions.

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Swift simplicity in Under Milk Wood

Presented by Rareworks last Saturday and Sunday in the Piano Row Multipurpose Room, Under Milk Wood, written by famed poet Dylan Thomas, is about the denizens of a fictional Welsh town, Llareggub.

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Getting retro and raunchy with Pokémon

Childhood cartoons and pop culture of yesteryear spilled off the TV screen and into the Little Building Cabaret March 28 in Pokémon: The 90s Rock Show, a gaudy musical from the mind of sophomore visual and media arts major Andrew Barret Cox.

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Roughing it on EmStage: Student's dark survival comedy hits Black Box

A year ago, Patrick McDonald didn’t have an inkling of the idea that would become the black comedy Rough & Tumble.

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Q&A: Seth Grahame-Smith

The day after he spoke at his alma mater March 20, author/screenwriter/producer Seth Grahame-Smith talked with the Berkeley Beacon.

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Review: Wanderlust a rare misfire for both cast and producer

Apatow Productions, whose film Bridesmaids became the comedy event of last summer, has produced a rare misfire with Wanderlust.

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Gamers gather, go-kart, groove at Geekout

Saturday night, Emerson College’s avid gamers found their little slice of virtual solace in WECB’s event Saturday Night Geekout.

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No Kidding Around with Illiteracy

Imagine a world where you couldn’t read road signs, letters from your daughter look like gibberish, and bank bills are a headache-inducing riddle. This is the harsh reality for the patriarch of a family in Kidding Around’s performance of José Cruz González’s play Salt and Pepper.

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Oscar reviews: The Artist defies Hollywood conventions with charm and ingenuity

The Artist, a silent, black-and-white movie, has defied modern Hollywood conventions by becoming the breakout film of the awards season.

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Oscar reviews: My Week with Marilyn

My Week With Marilyn is about more than Monroe. It tells the story of her tryst with a member of her fan club, Colin Clark.

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Oscar reviews: In Darkness brings nightmares to life

Agnieszka Holland’s new film, In Darkness, offers a glimpse into a horror few have ever known. The film, based on the book “In The Sewers of Lvov” by Robert Marshall, takes place in Nazi occupied Poland during World War II. Its characters bring that nightmare to life on the screen.

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Emerson Comedy Workshop pushes some buttons

Emerson Comedy Workshop (ECW) celebrated their 35th anniversary Friday in the Cabaret with a 16-piece sketch show — suggestively and tellingly titled Love is in My Hair — that leaned toward the uproarious and racy.

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Broads and brogues in Mercutio’s Dancing at Lughnasa

In a dark theater, a film projector hums a family’s silent black and white home movies project onto a screen. Before any lines are spoken, it is clear the performers have embodied emotionally passionate characters. Monday and Tuesday in the Cabaret, Mercutio Troupe offered an uncompromising portrayal of family life with Dancing At Lughnasa.

VMA department kicks off Bright Lights series with "Visual Storytellers"

Through both fiction and non-fiction, local filmmakers showed what it means to be a visual story teller last Tuesday night during the first installment of the visual and media arts department’s Bright Lights Series.

Shakespeare Society blends Bard and Big Easy

The audience roared with delight this past Thursday and Friday night as the Shakespeare Society rocked the Cabaret with their two-night, four-performance tour de force in the Shakespearean Jazz Show.

A Fight to the Clef

After 26 acts submitted, it’s down to five. On the line: a one year recording contract with Emerson College’s student-run record label, Wax on Felt.

Show Times: The Descendants with producer and Screenwriter-in-Residence Jim Taylor

<p></p><p>Nov. 17, 7:00 p.m. | Bright Family Sc...

The funniest woman not in the room: Becastled Emerson comedienne to be roasted after nabbing gig on Archer

<p>, Beacon Correspondent/strong</p><p>Imagine ...

The funniest woman not in the room: Becastled Emerson comedienne to be roasted after nabbing gig on Archer

<p>, Beacon Correspondent/strong</p><p>Imagine ...