New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Staff Recs: HOT HOT HOT!

As the semester comes to a close, welcome in the warm weather with some of our summery staff favorites.
Teletubbies photoshop with WSN Arts Desk's heads photoshopped onto each character, including the sun.
(Graphic by Matt Petres)

The days are getting longer and the heat is turning up. Most of us have nearly finished our classes this semester and are fighting our way through final exams. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel — lazy, hot summer days are, however, still just out of reach.

To hold you over until then and keep you excited for the end of this semester, the Arts Desk offers you some of our favorite summery selects. Keep your heads up, soldiers.


“Island in the Sun” — Weezer

I was first introduced to this song through the 2006 film “Aquamarine,” where it was the super-hot beach lifeguard Raymond’s (Jake McDorman) favorite song. Friends Claire (Emma Roberts) and Hailey (JoJo) had a crush on him, and it was used in the soundtrack to reveal Aquamarine’s (Sara Paxton) makeover for the local dance as the girls scheme to get Raymond to fall in love with Aqua.

“Island in the Sun” a breezy alt-rock song that instantly reminds me of warmer weather and clearer skies whenever it comes on. It’s my own personal tradition to listen to this song on the first warm day in New York City — the day where everyone seems to emerge from hiding and lounge in the park or sip cocktails outside. It’s a quintessential summer song that never fails to raise my spirits.

— Julia Diorio, Music Editor

“Avant Gardener” — Courtney Barnett

I first came across this song “Avant Gardener” in the season two finale of “BoJack Horseman.” Though the show is famous for its depressing and gut-punching storytelling, the second season of “BoJack Horseman” ends on a rare note of optimism — the show’s other seasons’ finales tend to be much less uplifting.

Maybe that’s why this song feels so hopeful, like an aural embodiment of the first day of summer. Supported by the song’s lethargic sound, Courtney Barnett apathetically recounts her near-fatal asthma attack, echoing the way summer heat weighs you down — getting you in the mindset for a midday nap. Whatever the reasoning, “Avant Gardener” is a song I frequently turn to in the summer. I think it’s pretty good for that. See for yourself and listen to it. Or don’t, it’s your summer.

— Stephanie Wong, Arts Editor

“Mamma Mia!” — The movie AND the soundtrack

Disco-pop haters may disagree, but few things bring a smile to my face as quickly as a song by ’70s Swedish supergroup ABBA does. Combine that with a tale of summer romance and reconnection on the beautiful islands of Greece, and now we have “Mamma Mia!” Surely, it can’t get better than that.

In the film, bride-to-be Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) lives with her mother Donna (Meryl Streep) on a small island in Greece. Donna runs a hotel, imaginatively called Villa Donna, while preparing for Sophie’s wedding to Sky (Dominic Cooper).

Still, Sophie wants the one thing her mother can’t give her: her father’s identity. Sophie attempts to discover her real father by secretly inviting three men from her mother’s past to her wedding festivities, as she is determined to walk down the aisle with her real father. Aside from the thrilling plot, the movie’s soundtrack is filled to the brim with songs by ABBA.

Depending on your perspective, Seyfried running down the beach at sunset, grinning at the camera while belting “Lay All Your Love On Me” may be a nightmare or a joy. To me, it’s a joy. But I haven’t watched the second one.

— Clara Scholl, Arts Editor


“The Cowboy and the Frenchman” — David Lynch

Mick Gaw, Film & TV Editor

What better way to enjoy a warm summer evening than cracking open a cold beverage, switching on the television and watching a zany 1988 short film where cowboys abduct a confused Frenchman? As the sun hangs high over an unassuming ranch in the Wild West, partially deaf rancher Slim (Harry Dean Stanton), along with his friends Dusty (Tracey Walter) and Pete (Jack Nance), spot Pierre (Frederic Golchanm), a well-dressed, mustached Frenchman, cluelessly wandering the fields. Initially mistaking Pierre as a “gol dang alien spy,” the gunslinging trio tie him up with a lasso only to find that the man is carrying nothing but a seemingly endless supply of French delicacies, including a pocket full of escargot.

Unlike American filmmaker David Lynch’s other works, which often veer into the realm of abstract nightmares, “The Cowboy and the Frenchmen” is a surrealist slapstick short comedy, filled with ridiculous culinary hijinks and the most random cast of characters. Despite speaking completely different languages, Pierre and the cowboys build an immutable bond over food and drink. Lynch displays a heartwarming connection between the two seemingly disparate cultures, as it becomes evident that they both value, above all else, life, liberty and chilling with the boys. If this film does not have you shouting “howdy” and “vive la france” while skipping down the street in big leather boots and a beret, I don’t know what will.

— Mick Gaw, Film & TV Editor


“The Guest” — Emma Cline

I am a staunch believer that Emma Cline is one of the greatest writers of modern times, and “The Guest” is ultimately what led me to this theory. Readers follow Alex, a 22-year-old woman, after she gets kicked out of her rich older boyfriend, Simon’s, summer house in the Hamptons. The pair fight, and Simon buys her a train ticket, banishing her back to New York City. Alex, being a conniving woman with a rocky past, decides that despite her lack of funds or a working phone, she will stay on Long Island for the next week, leading up to Simon’s Labor Day party, where she will win him back. A true grifter, Alex is a fascinating character to spend time with. She lies and steals her way through the party planning, weaving her way in-and-out of the elitist community that Simon is a part of, while fending off ghosts from her past that are coming back to haunt her.

As readers laze through these hot summer days with Alex, many may find themselves unequivocally rooting for her, despite her many faults. The book is exciting, evocative and a little bit eerie, making for a thrilling read and an even more jolting ending.

“The Guest” was last summer’s hot new novel for a reason, and I think if you haven’t read it yet, the time is now, as the weather warms and the laziness kicks in.

— Alexa Donovan, Deputy Arts Editor

Contact the Arts Desk at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Julia Diorio
Julia Diorio, Music Editor
Julia Diorio is a sophomore studying journalism at CAS. When not reminiscing about 2000s pop-punk music, she can normally be found drinking copious amounts of Dunkin' iced coffee, curating hyper-specific Spotify playlists or struggling with the NYT crossword. Find her variations of all-black outfits and dog pictures on Instagram @juliadiorio_. Send song suggestions to [email protected].
Alexa Donovan
Alexa Donovan, Deputy Arts Editor
Alexa Donovan is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Art History and minoring in Creative Writing. Her favorite drink is lemonade and her party trick is listing the U.S. presidents in chronological order. You can find her in Bobst Library most hours of the day, on instagram @alexadonovan/@lemonadequeen5678 and on Goodreads @alexafdonovan.
Mick Gaw
Mick Gaw, Film & TV Editor
Mick Gaw is a junior double-majoring in History and Public Policy. When he’s not holed up in a cinema, he's probably perusing the aisles of an Asian grocery store, wandering around museums or taking ugly pictures of his meals. You can find him on Instagram as @gawmick and occasionally on Letterboxd as @micks_canon.
Clara Scholl
Clara Scholl, Arts Editor
Clara Scholl is a Gallatin junior studying philosophy, politics and economics. She’s from New York City and hosts a radio show on the Riot Grrrl movement. You can find her on X, formerly Twitter, @scholl_clara or on Instagram @cllscholl.
Stephanie Wong
Stephanie Wong, Arts Editor
Stephanie Wong is a junior double-majoring in Media, Culture and Communication and Journalism, with a minor in English Literature. In her spare time, she loves watching bad movies and curating esoteric Spotify playlists. You can find her at @_stephaniewong_ on Instagram, @normalstephanie on Spotify, and unfortunately, on Letterboxd as @emima.
Alisia Houghtaling
Alisia Houghtaling, Illustration Editor
Alisia Houghtaling is a first-year in Applied Psychology in Steinhardt and one of WSN's Illustration Editors. In her freetime, you can find Alisia drawing, painting, reading, eating pasta or autopilot walking around SOHO to window shop or stare into windows and say "I want to live there." You can find her on Instagram @_alisiart_ and send Italian restaurant recommendations or ridiculous real-estate listings in the city.

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