Category Archives: Features

QUIZ: What Instrument Should you Play in your Jug Band?

In today’s tumultuous economy, more musicians than ever are saving money by foregoing the man’s traditional instruments. DIY instruments are on their way back in a big way, and America’s seminal jug band is the next big thing of bands, trust me. If one of these sounds like you, get practicing. What will you do when the jug comes?

Jug
No jug band without a jug. Without a jug, your group becomes officially known as a “spasm band” which is cool I guess but probably not what you were going for originally. To uphold the jug you must be of strong will and conviction. You know how to take charge and get a rhythm going. You’re the face and neck of your jug band and better be prepared to lead with charisma. The volume of the jug you choose is critical, you only get one jug.

Washboard
Something you probably have lying around anyway. Washboardists are like the wacky one in the band and provide a really important tinny aspect to every performance. You could really to whatever you want with this instrument because its just like a piece of metal, but you’re the type to step up to that challenge and make the best of it. Tap on it, scrub on it, use it as a little personal roof, and above all, stay positive, stay individual.

Cigar-Box Banjo
Some would argue you invented American folk music. Many would say you need to get a little more self-aware and realize that your delightful contributions to country and bluegrass is rooted in one of many incidents of blatant cultural appropriation that shaped the American culture we know today. Appropriated or not, your sound is essential and you are both the star-crossed heart and deep-seated guilt of this organization.

Fake Kazoo (Tissue Paper and Comb)
You’re an individual. A true maverick. But you already knew that. You make things as well as music, as any renaissance-person must. This is just the way you exist. Innovative. You hardly even exist anymore, you just innovate, create, demonstrate, relate, abdicate, chelate, oscillate, transmigrate, palpate, and elucidate.

Real Kazoo
What a classic. Classy and understated is your M.O. Like dark gray and navy, and kazoos, you are perennially a touch of class, a sophisticated staple of any outfit. Keep on doing you, babe; even though you might seem a little overdone, square, or even basic to the untrained eye, you’re obviously a catch.

Spoons
If you have two spoons to spare this is the instrument for you. You have impeccable rhythm and a percussive personality that can’t be put into words, like a rousing spoons solo on the spoons. You’ll always be able to eat soup with both hands so that’s pretty nice. A lot of people tend to underappreciate you, but the humble spoonsist doesn’t mind. Practice modesty and wow them with your heaping spoonfuls of melodies.

Actually Coherent Movie Review: Stuart Little 2

Sixteen years later, the reviews are in. The second installment of America’s favorite clothed mouse trilogy is a blatant Hercules ripoff that still managed to amass 30 Oscars and an 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This exquisitely cast, concise, and all-around enjoyable film introduces the viewer to a terrifying universe in which mice with the
clothes and familial roles of an eleven-year-old kid can assume the full responsibilities of a driver’s license. At first glance, the Little family’s life seems almost idyllic; they all wear orange and live across the street from Central Park. After glancing a couple more times, however, Stuart’s world becomes darker. The film raises, and fails to address, several questions with dire implications for this bizarre universe. Most pressingly, does Stuart Little go to the doctor or the vet? He’s treated as the Little family’s son, and one gets the sense that his caring parents do everything in their power to make Stuart feel like a normal kid. He plays rec soccer, goes to middle school, and has a tiny red car. It’s hard to say if Stuart even knows he is a mouse—this seemingly obvious trait is never acknowledged by anyone. But how far can this illusion go? Normal doctors don’t really know how to treat mice, and at a certain point the need for lifesaving medical care might outweigh maintaining the façade of a human childhood. Alternatively, does the vet take human family health insurance, or are the Little parents just hoping Stuart will never question why his doctor’s appointments are paid for by pet insurance?

An additional concern raised by a mouse-sized mouse living in a human-sized child’s world is the constant risk of death that follows Stuart wherever he goes. Stairs are like the size of a three-story building if you’re a mouse, and you can bet those things are everywhere. You know what else is everywhere in a large metropolitan area? People with shoes and feet. Taxis. Strong winds. A young mouse-boy faces danger at every turn, yet we’re supposed to think that his mom is acting overprotective. Along with all these normal, size-related dangers, Stuart becomes a target of the bird mafia, which consists of his conflicted maybe-girlfriend (whose name is Margalo for some reason, voiced by the excellent Melanie Griffith,) and her boss, presumably the only falcon in the region, named Falcon.

There’s a lot to unpack in this movie, despite its modest 88-minute runtime. In addition to a star-studded cast, the mark of high-profile influences can definitely be seen in director Rob Minkoff’s stylistic choices. And it is stylish— scenes are

set with all the colors and precision of a Wes Anderson film, although the accompanying cinematography leaves some-
thing to be desired. An action-packed scene in which things happen at the top of a tall building, in a definite nod to Hitchcock’s Vertigo, makes up the climax of the film. All in all, Stuart Little 2 was a fun-filled interspecies rom-com with only one continuity error and only a few more disturbing implications. Words can only do so much to describe it—our best recommendation is to get out to the theater and see it for yourself. 8/10