Pop culture & arts criticism // Bylines @rottentomatoes @fandor @dailycal, @eastbayexpress, @hellogiggles, etc // UC Berkeley & USC Annenberg alum
This feature is by Rosemarie Alejandrino, the inaugural USC Annenberg-Rotten Tomatoes Digital Innovation and Entertainment Criticism fellow, a partnership with the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
Before Black Panther broke almost every conceivable box office record earlier this year, its impending legacy was foreshadowed by another great factor in the film’s success—its soundtrack. Since its release on February 9—one week before the film’s theatrical release—the 14-track manifesto curated by Kendrick Lamar has spent three weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart and currently remains in the top five.
During Bleachers’ concert last Tuesday at the Fonda Theater in Los Angeles (which was, coincidentally, the opening night of Lorde’s headlining tour in support of Melodrama in Manchester, UK), frontman Jack Antonoff took a moment mid-way through the set to encourage the audience to listen to silence in a crowded theater.
For more than ten years, Ballinger has played Miranda Sings, a YouTube sensation with over 8 million subscribers. She gives “vocal lessons” to famous singers, plays comical covers of today’s biggest pop hits, and even writes her own original music which she performs for thousands of self-proclaimed “MirFANdas.”
Stefanie Valentine flew to Los Angeles from Arkansas for two reasons: to visit her boyfriend, Jonathan Medel, and to see Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrored Room — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away" at The Broad Museum.
"The wait time says six hours, but I've waited years," Valentine said.
While there’s music you know you’d get in trouble for listening to, there’s also music that feels forbidden. Not because the songs were rife with racial epithets or over-the-top offensive slang; no, it’s actually the opposite. Songs that feel so intimate that even you shouldn’t be listening to them alone in the privacy of your own bedroom, headphones on, reverb surging through your body as you lie still on your back, in awe that you have access to the inner workings of an artist’s mind in this deep, excavating way.
Forty years and seven studio albums later, iconic Los Angeles punk band, X, still tours with its original lineup. Such tenacity and popularity are celebrated in the Grammy Museum’s current exhibit, “X: 40 Years of Punk in Los Angeles.” Ampersand reporter Rosemarie Alejandrino talks to X’s lead vocalists, John Doe and Exene Cervenka, about being immortalized as part of punk history – and seeing their artifacts enshrined. It all seems very counter-punk. Or is it?
An exploration of the Filipino-American immigrant story through ‘24K Magic’ and the music that inspired it (for The Secret History of America)
As a fairly undramatic child in the suburbs of Northern California, there was nothing I loved quite as much as spending hot summer afternoons lounging in my inflatable kiddie pool... I’d take my carefully-crafted “love letter” outside and lay it face down in the pool, swishing it back and forth just above the surface while my tiny voice crooned, “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” into the empty summer sky.