2021 Fashion Predictions

By Claire Buran

January 21, 2020

In a year when everything seems to be changing, at least we can rely upon the stability of fashion. No, that does not mean that fashion never changes, it means that you can always have the stability of the repeating patterns in what is going to be trending and make certain predictions.This used to solely be based on what celebrities wore and what the top designers said. But recently, it seems to have shifted for teenagers who just see what other teenagers are wearing through social media apps. 

The leg warmer trend is an example. A year ago, if you told me that I just ordered a pair of leg warmers to wear, I would have thought you were crazy. But yet here we are with leg warmers becoming very popular among teens. I see people making super cute outfits with them all over TikTok and Instagram, but no celebrities I know of wear them. They are a super cute way to stay warm in the winter whilst still wearing shorter skirts or dresses. They make more basic outfits a bit more interesting without being too eccentric. They were fashionable in the 80s with neon colors, but now it’s more muted tones of black, brown, and white that are being worn. 

 A type of top that is growing in popularity, I can only describe as “funky, 60’s like, mesh top”. The designer Jean-Paul Gaultier’s is a big influence in this look. The popular look of the top is sheer with designs on it. The tops give a psychedelic feel. You can see many brands recreating this type of look. Another look that seems to be inspired by fashionable younger people rather than what mainstream celebrities are wearing. 

 I can see colored thighs making a comeback this year, having been popular on and off through the decades. They are very versatile and can be worn casually or in a fancier setting. They have also slowly been popping up around the internet. I think they can be super cute if you wear them right but could also be a total disaster if worn poorly. Truthfully, I will probably end up buying a pair at some point soon.

 Statement pants are also becoming more and more popular. This is a trend that has been made popular by celebrities and teenagers.  The bold printed pants can be worn in many different ways. They vary in color, pattern, material; they can be sweats or jeans. The way that this trend is so broad, leads me to believe that they will probably stay “in” for a while.  

 The color tone palette that I predict will be most popular this year are the earthy tones. Shades of brown and green are everywhere you look, giving a more neutral and earthy feel to the fashion of today. All the people I see on social media seem to be embracing these neutral colors, and I am here for it.

 I think this past year has really changed the way many view their fashion. Especially as a teenager, the way you dress is often just based on what others will think of you.  Standing out often is perceived as more negative rather than positive. However, quarantine has changed that, people had months to really reflect on the way they present themselves to the world without the worry of being judged by their peers. The app TikTok has also had a vital role in this new age of fashion. It’s a way teenagers are able to be exposed to so many different styles and clothes that they never would have thought about before and can connect people with others who dress the same type of way. 

The Gaming Industry During COVID-19

By Davis Newman

November 9, 2020

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic most industries are struggling to stay afloat. The gaming industry however is thriving, and with a new influx of people who must stay at home with time to burn, the gaming industry has a multitude of more potential customers. 

  Xbox and Nintendo have reported extreme growth, with a 130% increase in multiplayer engagement during March for Xbox, and 22 million copies of Animal Crossing: New Horizons sold since its release in March. Furthermore, streaming services such as twitch which primarily show gaming content have had up to 50% increase in viewership during the pandemic. Even an in game Fortnite Travis Scott event was able to gain the attention of 12 million viewers; more than any in person concerts. 

  The video game industry may  have gained permanent  customers as “ A person who was playing zero hours a week and they’re now playing one or two, you may have won them over forever,” according to the Washington Post. Furthermore, new releases such as Fall Guys and Among Us have sprung up during the pandemic, and have roped in new customers who typically do not play video games because of Among Us easy to play nature, simple rules, and graphics. 

  The gaming industry seems to be thriving in this pandemic, and may see a permanent growth in their market due to new players joining the fun. There are more new and returning players than ever and companies are thriving due to the stay at home nature of the pandemic. Streaming services feel the trickle down and the gaming industry as a whole has found a way to adapt to the new commercial environment.

2020 Music Review

By Joey Kurtz

November 9, 2020

2020 needs uplifting music more than ever. Luckily, most of the music being released this year has been uplifting. To start us off, “Holy’’ by Justin Bieber was released on September 18, 2020. It features Justin Bieber and Chance The Rapper singing about hardships and about being kind to one another by singing some gospel lyrics. According to NME, Justin Bieber performed the song by “Belting out his gospel-tinged lyrics in front of a cross lit in blue, Bieber took viewers to church, often closing his eyes and beating his chest”. The song has currently been played 1.35 million times on Spotify.

 There is also an unfortunate amount of songs that are centered around break ups. “Not Time To Die” created by Billie Elish, follows the troubles of a bad relationship. That song and many others have been awarded Grammys. Lady Gaga and 

Ariana Grande recently made a song called “Rain on Me”. Even though this song brings an uplifting message to the people of 2020, it still has been built off of the two artists’ breakups. Good Housekeeping explained that “Gaga and Ariana actually crafted the song based on personal hardships they’ve both faced over the last decade”.  Lady Gaga released another song this year called “Stupid Love”. The song is about loving someone just based on the feeling. The song is definitely uplifting and positive.

 “What’s Poppin”, created by Jack Harlow features Jack raping about his adventures with women. This song may not be very popular in the rap community, but it sure has grabbed the attention of Tik Tok. Vulture.com stated that “it jumped ten spots to No. 8 last week, earning Jack Harlow his first Billboard Top 10, and another six spots to No. 2 on July 6”. It even processed to be a very energetic song. Another song called “People, I’ve Been Sad” has also come out this year. It was recorded by Christine and the Queen’s People, who actually made the song about self-isolation. In my opinion, the song is quite beautiful and very relaxing. Now, we all know that this year has been filled with many different things. Why shouldn’t music be the same? 

  With that, I give you some playlists to listen to this year. “Practically Perfect in Every Way” created by Matt Etherington in my opinion is inspirational and yet very soothing. The “Ultimate Happy Playlist” by Jennifer Lee includes 40 songs filled with uplifting messages. “Rock Classics” created by Spotify has always given me lots of energy after a long day of zoom class. To end this list of great songs I give you “The Best Of 2020”. This is created by Spotify, but it’s actually full of inspirational and happy songs. 

The Scariest Video Games to Play for Halloween 2020

By Liam Moore

October 27, 2020

As the spooky season gets into full swing, people are looking for ways to enjoy the scary vibes from home. Most people will watch classic Halloween movies like The Nightmare Before Christmas or horror movies like The Shining if they are craving more of a fright. However, if you truly seek the biggest spook, horror video games are the mode of entertainment for you. 

First on this list are the Five Nights at Freddy’s games. First released in 2014, Five Nights at Freddy’s quickly gained popularity among gamers and the YouTube community. The game consists of the player controlling a night shift security guard in a Chuck E. cheese-esque pizzeria, appropriately named Freddy Fazebear’s Pizza. The main goal of the game is to survive against the bloodthirsty animatronic animals by using security cameras and mechanical doors all while maintaining the small amount of power left in the building. After the success of the first game, four more games were released afterwards and a virtual reality version was released on May 28, 2019. From personal experience, these games were very scary for the first handful of times playing them, but they do become predictable after a while.

Secondly is Subnautica and Subnautica: Below Zero. Although not a proper horror game, the 2015 release was another extremely successful and popular game. After crashing on an ocean covered alien planet your main goal is to survive on this while trying to find a way off of the planet. The game mainly takes place in the ocean and the player must collect materials from the ocean in order to craft gear to help them progress. Although it is a beautiful game in the shallow waters, once the player descends into the depths of the ocean, the creatures get drastically bigger, scarier, and deadlier. This game immediately sucks you in with its beautifully scary atmosphere, however, it is not for those with thalassophobia or a fear of the ocean because it is genuinely terrifying.

Next up is Folklore Hunter. Released February 20, 2020, this game was yet another that was quickly picked up by the gaming community. Armed with only a rifle, bear traps, and cameras, the player must survive against the wendigo, a mythological creature which resembles a deer humanoid, which hunts them day and night. As the player tries to find a way to kill the creature, they slowly lose their mind as they stumble across dead bodies, ruins, caves and more. This game really fits the Halloween spirit and is an incredibly chilling game.

The next game on this list is House on the Hill. Released July 29, 2020, this game is less popular than the previous games but is much more frightening . Playing as a jewelry thief, the player’s objective is to make their way through an old, dilapidated house and steal a certain valuable. As the player progresses, they quickly learn that the house is not a normal one; it is actually  haunted by the spirits of the family that used to live there. With chainsaw wielding corpses, mannequins, giant human spiders, and floating bodies, this game has it all to reach every type of phobia. Additionally, once you complete the game, you are thrown back into the house with a new storyline and enemies. This game is by far one of the best horror games released this year in terms of scariness and quality.

Lastly is Phasmaphobia. Released September 18, 2020,  this game is the newest on this list, and perhaps the most terrifying. The game consists of the player, or players, hunting down ghosts with appropriate  equipment. Basically, the game simulates how people in real life hunt for ghosts, similar to the ones on TV shows like Buzzfeed Unsolved. Also, the ghosts can actually hear what you say into the microphone and the player needs to communicate with them in order to hunt the ghost by asking the ghost questions like “are you here?”, or “can you write in this book for me?”. That is what makes this game so terrifying, it takes place in realistic places and scenarios and the ghosts can hear every word and say things back to the player. Combined with the fact that the player can barely see and the random creepy noises, this game is extremely scary. These five games are some of the best and scariest games to play during this October. Whether you’re looking for games to play by yourself or with friends, these games won’t disappoint. Among the games on this list, Phasmophobia is most likely the scariest game and should definitely be considered when looking for scary horror games to play this Halloween.

Your Guide to the Top Fall Fashion Trends

By Jacqueline Pernice

October 27, 2020

The end of summer has come, leaving the sunny days and warm weather behind. As the leaves start to turn, everything changes along with it. The new fall drinks and pumpkin-spiced items return to the menu, and the Thanksgiving shopping begins. The days are beginning to get cooler and sweater season is approaching. As the new fall fashion makes it debut, the new trends of the season start to appear. 

Starting with faux fur, Cruella DeVille makes her way back into the scene. The fur jackets and sweaters take bougie to the next level, giving your simple jeans and a casual shirt a confident yet comfy picturesque look. For a night out in LA, throw any faux fur coat over a monochrome outfit, or over a silk slip dress to give it some elegance. Up on the rise, during New York Fashion Week, there was nothing but faux fur, and better yet, brightly colored/patterned faux fur has even reached Vogue. If that isn’t enough to sell you on the idea, faux fur lasts longer than animal fur, it’s easier to clean, store, and overall cheaper. Faux fur, both environmentally friendly and fashionable.

Next up, fringe returns to the runway. The fringe trend was first created by ancient Mesopotamians. Fringe was used mainly in skirts and shawls, used to embellish garments. It came in a variety of styles; hanging straight, knotted, or tied into unique designs. In the later years of Mesopotamia, fringe became increasingly more elegant. Fringes that had been dyed in all kinds of shades, or layered in tiers, were introduced into the market. The fringe concept began to grow and develop, from becoming a part of Native American culture (used to help repel rain by traveling down the tassels, away from the body) to adding a strike of rebellion.

Even though fringe may be just a small detail, it adds the necessary touch to any outfit. If on just a plain pair of pants or a dull denim jacket, the texture of the fringe brings out your insurgent side.
Continuing with the autumn aesthetic, jewel tones and colors are coming back. Shades like citrine, emerald, ruby, and sapphire are returning to the scene. These darker, laid back tones attribute to the cozy feeling of fall, giving you a chic yet casual look. More neutral and nude tones are also back in season. Designers are finally beginning to take a hint and create pieces in nudes of all skin tones. From deep browns to warm camel hues, shades of nude are the colors to choose from this season.

Next up is the famous look first worn by Cher from every teen’s favorite movie, Clueless. Her preppy look, along with everything Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf would have worn, paves the way for this fall trend. This year, instead of sharp tailoring and muted colors, the style is taking its incentive from Princess Diana’s ’80s looks and incorporating sporty elements, pastel colors, and so on. The trend is more of a style trend with a wide variety of looks. For example, instead of tying a sweater around your waist, drape it over your shoulders or knot it over a basic t-shirt. Another styling tip for either would be to layer a crew neck over a collared shirt, leaving the collar exposed. To add to the look, wear a ribbed sweater vest over the collared shirt, giving you a preppy yet chic appearance.

Lastly, returning for the holiday season, metallics resurface. The gorgeous golds, silver, and bronzes bring the final touch. The extra pizazz gives an eye-catching twist, however, you must keep one thing in your mind; do not go overboard. Metallics are supposed to underline your individuality. By wearing a metallic top, pants, midi, or mini skirt, you create a statement expressing your character. However, if you want to show off your sophistication, try a metallic dress or blazer. The final look gives off a strong impression, both extravagant and “voguish”.

A Guide To Horror

By Lola Weber

October 27, 2020

It is crucial that the spookiest time of the year is accompanied by the scariest films there are to offer, and the horror genre might just have one of the richest histories and most extensive subgenres out of any other category. With countless styles and variations of horror films, it can be difficult to decipher which ones to choose this Halloween season, but this chronological guide can make things a little easier. 

For the classics, The Exorcist (1973), Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and Psycho (1960) are arguably the most important contributors to the history of horror films. Rosemary’s Baby tells the story of a young woman who moves to an obscure building in New York with her husband, and soon becomes pregnant. Through experiences with peculiar neighbors, she begins to build suspicion over what might be planned for her and her baby. 

Rosemary’s Baby doesn’t utilize the classic tropes of horror films involving gore and jump scares, but instead creates an eerie atmosphere through the psychology of society’s subconscious fears. This is exactly what makes the film such a masterpiece, and truly scary. Alfred Hitchcok’s Psycho is another great classic of the horror genre, portraying the story of a woman who ends up at the iconic Bates motel, where she finds the motel manager to be a true psycho. 

The Exorcist, which is one of the most profitable horror films out of these classics, details the story of a young girl who is possessed by an unknown entity which leads to the girl’s mother seeking help from a priest and an exorcist. When the film first came out, theater audiences had visceral reactions of genuine horror, reactions that still occur for many to this day due to the timeless terror of The Exorcist

Moving more towards the late 70s and early 80s, movies such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) and Friday the 13th (1980) had paved the way for the ‘splatter’ subgenre of horror. Splatter films place a deliberate focus on human mortality and gore, which stirred great controversy in its emergence. The iconic film The Texas Chainsaw Massacre tells the tale of a group of friends and siblings who go to visit a loved ones grave, and fall victim to the terrors of a family of cannibals. 

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is bound to leave your stomach turned with copious amounts of gore, and will satisfy anyone who craves the splatter aspect of horror. Friday the 13th which falls in the ‘slasher’ subgenre, also uses gore and violence in telling the story of a group of camp counselors who are terrorized at a haunted campground. 

The Halloween film series that began in 1978 is another noteworthy contributor to horror, and an overall cult classic. Starting with the story of serial killer Michael Myers who escapes from prison, this extensive and highly influential series will keep any horror fan entertained.

As the 2000s came along, the SAW series had set a new standard for horror in the 21st century. In SAW, two strangers awake in a bathroom and learn that they have been kidnapped by a sadistic serial killer, and they must escape before time runs out. This is another slasher film, made on a low budget which turned out to be a huge cultural milestone in the horror genre. 

Simultaneously, the lost footage genre had made its debut with hugely popular films like The Blair Witch Project (1999). Made on an extremely low budget, this movie shows the ‘lost footage’ of three film students who travel to a small town and try to document the town’s infamous murderer, the ‘Blair witch’. The use of the lost or found footage really helps make this film scary, as it gives the viewer the feeling as though everything they are watching is real.

Although many of the films maintain a relevance to current events and culture, you may want to watch something that pertains specifically to cultural events of today. The social thriller genre, which includes the previously mentioned Rosemary’s Baby has seen a huge resurgence in the last couple of years, with films such as Get Out (2017) and Midsommar (2019). Jordan Peele’s Get Out truly encompasses what a social thriller really is, and tells the story of a black man meeting his white girlfriend’s family who aren’t what they initially seemed to be. 

Of course, Get Out is so much more than that story, as it acts as a political commentary on social tensions and the subtle racism so prevalent in white communities. Midsommar is another horror masterpiece, and mixes psychological thrillers with the social messages of social horror. Although the sociological critiques in this film aren’t as apparent as in Get Out, through watching there are various truths that will come out. Midsommar will make you thoroughly uncomfortable. 

To conclude this guide, I think it’s important that I note my personal favorite horror films. Out of this list, my top two films would definitely include Rosemary’s Baby, and Midsommar. Rosemary’s Baby is such a classic film to me, and when watching it the viewer can really realize just how influential this film is. Midsommar is truly special, with an incredible score and phenomenal performances from Florence Pugh. I have never felt as uncomfortable and uneasy than how I felt after watching Midsommar. 

Although many of these aren’t ‘Halloween’ themed movies, they still are able to encapsulate the general theme of horror around this time of year. Even if you feel like horror just isn’t for you, you can always give one of the various subgenres a chance. Horror is a genre filled with variety, and there really is something for everyone! 

Theatrical Releases Delayed

By Joey Kurtz

October 19, 2020

The current worldwide pandemic that started on March 11th has put a firm hold on a lot of industries. One of the most well-enjoyed industries on hold is the film industry. The exciting sci-fi thriller Greenland’s release date was recently pushed due to the fact that LA’s movie theaters are closing once again. Variety states that “Studios have mostly vacated summer release dates in North America due to the COVID-19 health crisis, making it uncertain when movie theaters will reopen fully”

   Other movies are simply not being released because of the fact that releasing a new movie on demand is just not worth it. Mulan, the 2020 version was released on the streaming service Disney Plus for $29.99. According to Screen Rant,  “The problem is that, instead of releasing Mulan to all Disney+ subscribers as they did with Hamilton, the streaming service is testing out a premium tier, charging people $30 to watch Mulan ” They go on to say, “That price is too high for individual viewers, especially since “Mulan” will be free to all Disney+ subscribers in December, but it is worth it for families who either can’t or don’t want to go to the theaters.” 

   For most of the public, paying 30 dollars to watch a remake on the T.V  is just a waste of money. Luckily, there are some movies that have proved to be too big to not be released. The sci-fi thriller “Tenet” has actually been shown via drive-in movie theater. Though, it still has not been released to any streaming services.

   Now, the question “will movie theaters simplify not exist anymore” has probably come to the attention of most of the public. Even though this quarantine looks like it’s not going to end for a bit longer, movie theaters will still exist after the quarantine. It comes down to popular opinion that watching a movie in surround sound with some fresh movie theater popcorn is much better than staying at home and watching it from your everyday device. In fact, movie theaters will probably be more packed than ever. 

How Much are People Playing Video Games During the Pandemic?

By Luis Berg

October 5, 2020

   Anyone could have guessed that a pandemic forcing people to stay in their homes would cause an increase in gaming but no one predicted how much it would increase. Nintendo reported a 428% increase in this quarter’s sales, the Japanese company made 1.37 billion dollars in profit this quarter, smashing analysis estimates.

     Gaming has allowed millions of people to talk and compete with friends while social distancing. In 2020, more than ¾ of Americans play video games daily and 65% play on multiple devices. With hundreds of games with new characters and weapons to unlock, gamers are hooked, spending at least 14 hrs a week. Some gamers spend 10 hrs a day without even getting out of their seat.

    Across the world, there are double digit increases, and it’s not only people playing games; Twitch and YouTube have seen significant increases in viewership of gamers and streamers have never had so many subscribers and views on their videos.

     According to Verizon, during peak hours, the amount of people gaming has gone up 75% since the lockdown started and views and subscriptions to gamers have gone up 15-20%. Even competitive gaming, like esports, has seen a huge increase in viewership and demand for more competitions. Twitch, the biggest streaming site for gamers, saw 1.5 billions hours watched in one month. There has been so much success during the pandemic for these giant video game companies like Twitch, owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. People wonder will they be able to keep this succes up or if there will be a major decrease in video game consumption. MHS Students’ Garen Harper and Waylon Rose discuss how quarantine has affected how much they play video games They both noticed a significant increase in there time spent gaming saying “it’s just great when your bored and stuck at home play some games with my friends” 

   No one knows for certain where the video game industry will go, but most analysts predict a continued growth. While they might not see such substantial growth again, the people who got their first console or started playing again during the pandemic could be customers for life. With new games constantly being released, there is a never ending supply of new levels and new things to discover and collect. If one game on the Xbox or PS4 costs $60, then you can spend hundreds on upgrading your character or getting new equipment for your characters, and just when you unlock everything a new game comes out. It looks like video game companies will continue to make a profit and feed into the unquenchable hunger the world has for video games.

The #BoycottMulan Dilemma

By Ian Klane

September 29, 2020

  Since its announcement a few months ago and full release at the beginning of this September, Disney’s new live-action remake of Mulan has already faced harsh criticism for the exclusion of all song performances and the character of Mushu. The film’s Viewers are not only complaining about the film itself and its many inaccuracies, but are as well upset with the many other ethical dilemmas that were brought up, causing many viewers and critics to go as far as to boycott the film.

     Liu Yifei, who plays the main character Hua Mulan in the film is now under fire for some very controversial statements she has recently made regarding the horrific police brutality of protestors in Hong Kong. 

     “I support the Hong Kong police. You can all attack me now. What a shame for Hong Kong,” Yifei posted on Weibo in August 2019.

     The #BoycottMulan movement that began trending in Hong Kong on the Chinese social media site Weibo, and has spread to Twitter,  is not only trending due to the film’s many inaccuracies but is also due to the film’s shady filming locations and some controversial statements made by its leading cast member.

     Many of the locations and areas of China that Mulan is filmed in are being criticized for their controversial nature.

     Mulan, being a film about Chinese culture naturally is filmed in China, more specifically in Xinjiang, an autonomous territory in northwest China known as the home to many ethnic minority groups, including the Turkic Uyghur people. 

     Xinjiang is the location of many secretive so-called “re-education” camps where Chinese authorities have detained millions of  Uyghur people and many other ethnic minorities where they are forced to study Chinese communist propaganda through various means of psychological and physical means of torture.

     Mulan has a cast of some of China’s most popular movie stars, which would seem like a logical way to market the film to its Chinese audience. However, the film is very westernized and still features many orientalist stereotypes such as using Arabs as the invading Rouran army, featured as the dark-skinned dressed in black villains of the film.

    “Mulan feels like a watered-down version of a potentially captivating story. It’s not surprising to hear Chinese characters speaking stilted, accented English, which is standard practice for a Hollywood blockbuster set in an Asian country,” said Justin Chang in a review for NPR.

   There are many historical inaccuracies featured in the film including issues with the type of architecture featured as well as issues about Mulan’s origin. Many of the Chinese moviegoers who had learned about Mulan in the original poem about her took issue with the fact that Mulan who is from China’s northern steppe, could not possibly be living in a Fujian tulou as depicted in the film. This is because these are rural dwellings unique to the Hakka in the mountainous areas in southeastern Fujian, China.

     “The film portrays an imaginary version of China, and many Chinese audiences cannot accept this,” said Lu Hang, a Chinese film critic, and producer according to the New York Times.