Washington Square News

Washington Square News

Washington Square News

Alex Cullina

Alex Cullina, Theatre & Books Editor

Alex Cullina is the Theatre & Books Editor for WSN. A native Clevelander, he is a junior studying English and History in CAS. Growing up in Ohio before coming to New York, he's very defensive of the Midwest, despite its many (many) flaws. Beside keeping up with the best in new film and TV, you can often find him curled up with a good book or the latest issue of The New Yorker.

All content by Alex Cullina
PEN America, the free expression nonprofit, presents the 15th annual World Voices Festival through May 12. (via Wikimedia)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: May 10 to 12

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
May 9, 2019

It’s the last week of class and my final column of the semester. To celebrate the end of the school year and/or Mother’s Day — this Sunday, don’t forget to call your mom!...

Left to right: guitarist Brian Robert Jones, Ezra Koenig, Chris Baio and touring guitarist Greta Morgan, of Vampire Weekend. The band played an impromptu acoustic show in Washington Square Park on the release day of their new album Father of the Bride. (Staff photo by Katie Peurrung)

Vampire Weekend Plays Surprise WSP Set

The Grammy-winning indie rock group played an acoustic set in Washington Square Park earlier today, the same day they released their first album in six years.
May 3, 2019

Indie rock royalty Vampire Weekend played an impromptu acoustic set this afternoon in Washington Square Park to a small, hushed crowd. The band played a mix of classics and...

The Brooklyn Museum. (via Wikimedia)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: May 3 to 5

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
May 2, 2019

The end of the semester — and finals season — is fast approaching. I’m sure many of us could use a little distraction from the stress of studying, so check out one of these...

The Tisch School of the Arts hosts many majors that require in person instruction. Students at Tisch and other schools have begun to worry about the possibility of a virtual fall semester. (Photo by Alina Patrick)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: April 26 to 28

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
April 25, 2019

Finals are just around the corner, and I know y'all are stressing — use one of these arts and entertainment events to get your mind off of that test stress and enjoy the wonderful...

Sharpay had some valid points, OK? (via Disney)

Unpopular Opinions: When the Villain Was Right

Our staff gives you some of their best hot takes on some of pop culture’s most notorious bad guys.
April 24, 2019

It’s one of the most fundamental, elemental tropes in storytelling — the good guy vs. the bad guy, light vs. darkness, good vs. evil. The examples are infinite — Harry Potter...

NYU’s Skirball Center of the Performing Arts (via NYU).

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: April 19 to 21

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
April 19, 2019

With 4/20, Easter and Earth Day all approaching back-to-back, I’m sure everyone’s weekend schedules are packed. But on the off chance you have some free time in the next few...

Molly Shannon and Susan Ziegler in Wild Nights with Emily. The new biographical comedy-drama depicts the love affair between poet Emily Dickinson and her sister-in-law and muse Susan Huntington Dickinson with warmth and humor. (via P2 Films)

Tisch Alum’s Film Shines New Light on Emily Dickinson

Writer and director Madeleine Olnek’s new dramedy “Wild Nights with Emily” uses relatively recent insights into the poet’s private life.
April 17, 2019

Everyone knows the story of the 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson: she was a spinster and a recluse, and she wrote her poems without intending for them to ever be published. “People...

The movie poster for Moonlight, an A24 film. (via A24)

Unpopular Opinion: A24 Films

Before you watch “Under the Silver Lake,” let’s revisit past A24 films and break down if they’re really as good as Tisch kids say they are.
April 17, 2019

Over the past few years, indie film studio A24 has taken over the independent movie zeitgeist, and certainly captured the love of the NYU community to the point where everyone...

“Turbulence is a theater piece exploring the “experiences of Black and People of Color (BPOC) in clinical settings and society at large.” (via nyu.edu)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: April 12 to 14

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
April 11, 2019

New York City is the cultural capital of the world, people! Go out! Explore! Do stuff! Like, for example, one of these arts and entertainment events? Steinhardt presents “Turbulence”...

Book cover of Its Kind of a Funny Story. (via Hyperion)

Unpopular Opinions: Young Adult Novels

The Arts Desk gives some fresh takes on novels for younger audiences.
April 10, 2019

A new young adult novel adaptation, “After,” hits theaters this weekend, and for once it’s not based on a book by John Green or Nicholas Sparks. But instead of needlessly...

The Gallatin Arts Festival runs April 8-12. The showcase of work by Gallatin undergraduates celebrates the schools unique interdisciplinary approach, focusing on work that straddles themes and media. (Staff Photo by Min Ji Kim)

Gallatin Arts Fest Embodies School’s Unique Spirit

The annual showcase of visual and performing arts work by Gallatin students celebrates the school’s interdisciplinary academics and community spirit.
April 8, 2019

The 26th annual Gallatin Arts Festival, a weeklong showcase of artwork and performances by students in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, kicks off tonight with a gallery...

The Fusion Film Festival. (via Facebook)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: April 4 to 7

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
April 5, 2019

Midterms are done with, and finals are still a ways away — or so I’d like to think. Why not enjoy the mid-semester lull — and the beautiful weather — by checking out one...

Activists Marcella Gilbert (Oohenumpa and Ihanktowan Bands of the Lakota and Dakota nations) and Madonna Thunder Hawk (Oohenumpa Lakota, enrolled citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe), in the documentary Warrior Women. (Photo by John G. Larson, courtesy of NMAI)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: March 28 to 31

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
March 28, 2019

Spring has finally sprung, people! This is not a drill! Go outside and do stuff! Steinhardt’s “Opera Now: Three to See” at Provincetown Playhouse, March 28 - 31 Come...

(via 20th Century Fox)

Unpopular Opinions: Animal Characters

No animals were harmed in the making of this list.
March 27, 2019

The live-action “Dumbo” remake comes out this week, and it got the Arts Desk thinking about the countless animal characters that have graced the silver screen, especially in...

Poster for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. (via Facebook)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: March 15 to 17

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
March 15, 2019

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday — if you want to escape the inevitable onslaught of intoxicated revelers this weekend, check out one of these arts and entertainment events....

Movie poster for Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (2019). (via Warner Bros. Pictures)

Unpopular Opinions: Children’s Book Series

In honor of the new Nancy Drew movie coming out, the Arts Desk is giving its hot takes on children’s book series.
March 13, 2019

If you weren’t already aware, “Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase” is coming out this week. Since it’s based on the popular children’s book series, the Arts Desk is...

Promotional media for the Philip K. Dick Film Festival. (via Indiegogo)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: March 7 to 10

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
March 7, 2019

This weekend is the famed Armory Show, a four-day modern and contemporary art fair in Hell’s Kitchen. The fine art extravaganza has inspired a full week of fairs and exhibitions...

A scene from Dinner for Schmucks, a remake of the French comedy Le Dîner de Cons. (via Paramount)

Unpopular Opinions: Remakes and Reboots

With A24’s “Gloria Bell,” the remake of the Chilean film “Gloria,” receiving a lot of early praise, the Arts Desk is looking at other remakes and reboots that are also up to par with, or better than, their predecessors.
March 6, 2019

From “A Star Is Born” to the upcoming live-action “The Lion King,” remakes and reboots have been mainstays in Hollywood for decades. Though it is easy to immediately discredit...

Sofia Alvarez, a playwright, screenwriter and professor in Tisch’s Department of Dramatic Writing. She co-founded the Blockchain Theater Project, a theater company that seeks to dismantle institutional barriers in theater. (Photo by Min Ji Kim)

Dramatic Writing Professor Brings Blockchain to Theater

Sofia Alvarez, a Tisch professor and the screenwriter of Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” is the co-founder of the Blockchain Theater Project, which draws on blockchain’s peer-to-peer model to dismantle the institutional barriers of the theater world.
March 4, 2019

It was late 2017, the height of the bitcoin boom, and Sofia Alvarez, playwright, screenwriter and professor in Tisch’s Department of Dramatic Writing, was looking for a way to...

A self portrait by photographer Diane Arbus. Her work is a partial inspiration for Fiction, a new experimental theater piece written and directed by 600 Highwaymen that questions fundamental assumptions about theater and art. (via facebook.com)

Tisch’s ‘Fiction’ Asks, ‘What Does It Mean to Be a Spectator?’

The new performance piece, written and directed by theatermakers 600 Highwaymen, explores the nature of art and spectatorship through the work of photographer Diane Arbus.
February 28, 2019

What is theater? What is performance? What does it mean to watch? To be watched? Tisch Drama Stage’s “Fiction,” running through March 2 at Tisch’s Abe Burrows Theater,...

Acclaimed poet Claudia Rankine, who will be speaking with Layli Long Soldier at the New School on Friday. (via facebook.com)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: Mar. 1 to 3

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
February 28, 2019

With Oscars season finally over and the first of the summer blockbusters still months away, we’re in a bit of an entertainment doldrums at the moment. If you want to keep yourself...

A view from the street of Steve Lockes “A Partial List of Unarmed African-Americans who were Killed By Police... Lockes work examines the intersection of the personal and the political, addressing his own inescapable connection to oppressive power structures like racism and homophobia.(Staff Photo by Julia McNeill)

Gallatin Galleries Show Meditates on Sexuality, Masculinity, Race

In “Steve Locke: in the name of love,” the multimedia artist ponders what it means to be black and gay in America today.
February 25, 2019

Steve Locke isn’t just angry. The artist’s work, spanning painting, sculpture, prints and other media, foregrounds the connections between anger, power, shame, desire and love....

Ellen DeGeneres hosted the 86th oscars. (via Youtube)

Unpopular Opinions: Oscar Hosts

The Arts Desk is tired of giving hot takes on snubs and surprises and have decided to critique a different aspect of awards shows: the hosts!
February 20, 2019

Well, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to forgo a host for this year’s Oscars, so what better way to ignore such a boring move than to celebrate the art...

Neshla Caplan and Adam Kashmiry in ADAM, running at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts Feb. 14 - 16. (Photo courtesy of the Skirball Center)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: Feb. 14 to 17

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
February 14, 2019

This Valentine’s Day weekend, whether you’re single and looking for something to take your mind off of romance or you’re having trouble thinking of a fun, outside-the-box...

Unpopular Opinions: Romantic Comedy Protagonists

Unpopular Opinions: Romantic Comedy Protagonists

Valentine's Day is coming up and the Arts Desk cannot wait! Thus, they’ve decided to critically analyze rom-coms in anticipation of the big day.
February 13, 2019

People generally tend to fall on two extremes with romantic comedies: they either desperately want to love them or they consider the plots just too cheesy to be appreciated. A...

Students in the production of “Rags”. (Courtesy of NYU Steinhardt)

Steinhardt’s ‘Rags’: A Tale of Trump’s America, 100 Years Ago

Steinhardt presents the newest version of an emotionally stirring musical tale of Jewish immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York City.
February 11, 2019

Immigrants seek a better life for their children in the United States Unsympathetic government officials attempt to separate a mother and her child. Xenophobic nativists demand...

Attendees of last years Black Comix Expo in cosplay. BAM is hosting the second annual expo this Sunday. (via Facebook)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events this Weekend: Feb. 8 to 10

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
February 7, 2019

Rather not spend this unseasonably warm weather stuck inside but in a bit of a budget crunch? Here are six fun ways to spend your weekend without breaking the bank. Phantom...

Danny DeVito in M&Ms Super Bowl commercial. (via Facebook)

Unpopular Opinions: Super Bowl Commercials

In which the Arts Desk gives hot takes on what is the most important of the big game, anyway.
February 6, 2019

The Super Bowl is one of the most watched TV broadcasts every year, but there is more than one reason hordes of fans tune in to watch teams lose to the Patriots year after year....

Terrance Hayes, poet and NYU professor, gave a reading at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writing House last Thursday. (Courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation)

Terrance Hayes Talks Trump, Teaching at NYU

At the Lillian Vernon Creative Writing House, the award-winning poet and NYU professor read published and unpublished work from a series he started after the 2016 election.
February 4, 2019

Terrance Hayes, the acclaimed poet and NYU Creative Writing professor, came to NYU’s Lillian Vernon Creative Writing House on Thursday for a discussion and reading of some of...

via flickr.com

Unpopular Opinions: ‘Black Mirror’

The first spring 2019 edition of one of the Arts Desk’s acclaimed weekly series deals out hot takes on Netflix’s Emmy-winning sci-fi series.
January 30, 2019

Technology in the 21st century: what’s not to love? From smartphones and supercomputers to virtual reality and artificial intelligence, technology has radically altered our way...

Still from Gatz the eight-hour-long theater adaptation of The Great Gatsby playing at Skirball until Feb. 3. (Photo courtesy of Elevator Repair Service)

‘Gatz’ at Skirball: ‘Gatsby’ Reimagined for the Stage

Elevator Repair Service’s staged reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is a great work in its own right.
January 28, 2019

Everyone knows the story of “The Great Gatsby,” one of romantic obsession, obscene wealth, free-flowing booze despite Prohibition — and that iconic green light. But you’ve...

Will Ferrell as Buddy in Elf, a classic Christmas film that promises to deliver laughs and holiday spirit year after year. (via facebook.com)

Staff Recs: Best Holiday Films

November 30, 2018

As November comes to an end and we recover from the pounds of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce consumed at Thanksgiving, the holiday season begins to close in. Whether...

Poster for the third annual Chanukahstravaganza: Twas the Night Before Chanukah. The event will take place at Union Hall this Saturday. (via unionhallny.com)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events this Weekend: Nov. 30 to Dec. 2

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
November 29, 2018

Temperatures are dropping and the New York City streets are getting less welcoming by the minute, but that doesn’t mean you should let the weekend pass you by. Whether you take...

Unpopular Opinions: Actors

Unpopular Opinions: Actors

November 28, 2018

Actors are the glitz and glory of Hollywood. Us commoners find ourselves fascinated not just with their performances, but with the juicy details of their everyday lives, cementing...

A scene from the play Chasing the New White Whale. A local play drawing inspiration from Moby Dick. (Courtesy of La Mama Experimental Theater Club)

In ‘Chasing the New White Whale,’ Heroin Ravages a Working-Class Community

November 27, 2018

All Robbie ever wanted was to be a fisherman. Fishing seems to be all anyone ever talks about in the coastal New England town where he’s lived his entire life — the accents,...

The cast of A Fish Called Wanda. (via flickr.com)

Staff Recs: Best Film Ensembles

Every so often, a movie ensemble absolutely blows audiences away and makes us ask ourselves, “How can one movie could contain so much talent and power?”
November 16, 2018

Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Daniel Kaluuya, Jackie Weaver, Liam Neeson and Robert Duvall — every so often, a movie ensemble, like the cast of Steve McQueen’s...

The poster for Tisch Festival of the Voices. (Courtesy of NYU Tisch Institute of Performing Arts)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events this Weekend: Nov. 16 to Nov. 18

How to experience arts if you're pinching pennies.
November 15, 2018

In the aftermath of the end of daylight saving time, we all need a little pick-me-up to get ourselves through 4:30 p.m. sunsets and rapidly dropping temperatures. To help tide...

From left to right, clockwise: “Lush” by Snail Mail, “Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel, “Magic Potion” by The Black Keys and “Collection” by Soccer Mommy. (via spotify.com)

Staff Recs: Best Albums for Fall

November 9, 2018

“Lush” by Snail Mail Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor I am not going to lie: I fell in love with the album “Lush” when I discovered Snail Mail early last spring. I was lucky...

Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet. (via twitter.com)

Staff Recs: Best Villains

Get your watch queue ready for the baddest villains of them all.
November 2, 2018

The spookiest day of the year is behind us, but you can still binge your favorite scary movies and television shows. Earlier this week, WSN staff gave their unpopular opinions...

A photo of Canstruction at Brookfield Place in 2014. (via artsbrookfield.com)

A Starving Artist’s Guide to Arts Events This Weekend: Nov. 2 to Nov. 4

Stay entertained this weekend for $20 or less.
November 1, 2018

It’s that time of the week again, and although Halloween is over, the city still has plenty to offer in the way of fun and entertainment. And even if your budget took a hit over...

Unpopular Opinions: Supernatural Villains

Unpopular Opinions: Supernatural Villains

This week we’re getting spooky niche with our unpopular opinions and taking a look at supernatural villains!
October 31, 2018

The spookiest day of the year is upon us: Halloween. All the ghosts and goblins come to play on this night of tricks and treats. Halloween is a pop culture phenomenon — the basis...

John Travolta and Uma Thurman in a scene from Pulp Fiction, which boasts one of the most iconic soundtracks in cinema history. (via facebook.com)

Staff Recs: Best Movie Soundtracks and Scores

October 26, 2018

When the year’s most anticipated albums like “Astroworld” or “Queen” finally found their release, not all of us were bingeing Travis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” on an...

Masked serial killer Michael Meyers in Halloween. (via facebook.com)

Staff Recs: Scariest Horror Movies

October 19, 2018

“Halloween” (1978) Ryan Mikel, Arts Editor I don’t care what anybody says: John Carpenter’s original “Halloween” is the best horror film of all time. It not only...

Unpopular Opinions: 20th Century Authors

Unpopular Opinions: 20th Century Authors

October 17, 2018

Ernest Hemingway. F. Scott Fitzgerald. Virginia Woolf. Philip Roth. Vladimir Nabokov. Undeniably, the 20th century birthed some of the greatest wordsmiths to sit in front of a...

The poster for the Karl Marx Festival. (Courtesy of Skirball Center)

A Karl Marx Festival in the Age of Late Capitalism

October 15, 2018

Ever since Jay Wegman became director of the Skirball Center for Performing Arts three years ago, he’s wanted to put together an event centered on the work of Karl Marx. This...

Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Doesn't Want to Be Relatable
October 11, 2018

Poet and performer Melissa Lozada-Oliva has never known how to keep her own secrets. “I have a deep need to confess things,” she said. “A big part of being a performance...

Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly in Chicago.

Staff Recs: Hollywood Movie Musicals

October 5, 2018
Celebrate the premiere of "A Star Is Born" with our personal picks for the best movie musicals.
Unpopular Opinions: Film & TV Protagonists

Unpopular Opinions: Film & TV Protagonists

Main characters we love to hate.
October 3, 2018

When it comes to central characters in film and TV, viewers can quickly develop deep, unshakable convictions. Everyone hates Joffrey. Everyone loves Daenerys. But what if you think...

Unpopular Opinions: Cinematic Classics

Unpopular Opinions: Cinematic Classics

September 26, 2018
Don't be shy about hating some of these classic films.
 Kali Uchis and Tyler, The Creator in the Perfect music video.

Staff Recs: Best Songs To Fall In Love To

Fall is the season when everyone wants to find in love — here are the best songs to indulge your inner romantic.
September 21, 2018
Fall is the season when everyone wants to find in love — here are the best songs to indulge your inner romantic.
Screenshots from some of the shows mentioned. From left to right: Alex Strangelove, Mudbound, Ozark, Nailed It! and Sacred Games.

Staff Recs: Best Netflix Originals

Netflix is the future of cinema and here's why.
September 14, 2018
Netflix is the future of cinema and here's why.
Movie poster from “The Wife.”

Sidelined on Screen, Glenn Close Shines as ‘The Wife’

September 4, 2018
Glenn Close turns in a career's best performance in the new film "The Wife."
Evan Rosado and Raul Castillo in We the Animals.

‘We the Animals’: A Portrait of Childhood

August 26, 2018
Jeremiah Zagar's new film "We the Animals" creates an emotionally and visually stunning narrative about childhood.
Matthew Broderick and Géza Röhrig in To Dust.

Tribeca 2018: A Complex Examination of Grief in ‘To Dust’

April 30, 2018
"To Dust" follows Shmuel, a Hasidic Jew, and the grief surrounding his wife's death. It won the audience award at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.
The Night Eats the World follows one mans story after an outbreak of flesh-eating zombies.

Tribeca 2018: ‘The Night Eats the World’ Is A Great Zombie Movie

April 27, 2018
“The Night Eats the World" follows one man's journey after an outbreak of flesh-eating zombies.
John Krasinksi in A Quiet Place.

Staff Recs: Intelligent Horror Films

April 27, 2018
In honor of "A Quiet Place" getting a sequel and "Get Out" winning an Oscar, WSN has compiled a list of the most intelligent horror films for your viewing pleasure.
Author Min Jin Lee spoke at this years launch for undergraduate literary magazine West 10th.

Min Jin Lee Talks Representation at ‘West 10th’ Launch

April 23, 2018
Min Jin Lee, acclaimed author of the bestselling book “Pachinko,” spoke at the official launch of this year's issue of "West 10th," the official journal of NYU's undergraduate Creative Writing program.
The Rise of Queer Cinema

The Rise of Queer Cinema

April 5, 2018
In the last few years, it seems like there has been an increase in the number of films both by and about queer people.
Phoebe Legere in Speed Queen at Dixon Place.

A Forgotten Queer History in ‘Speed Queen’

March 27, 2018
“Speed Queen” is a one-woman show starring Phoebe Legere and directed by Lissa Moira. It ran at the Dixon Place through March 24.
Performers in “RIOT,” an interactive dance experience showing in Skirball Center of Performing Arts.

The Politics of Joy in ‘RIOT’

February 20, 2018
“RIOT,” Irish theater collective THISISPOPBABY’s multi-genre theater piece, is 100 minutes of spectacle –– both joyful and political –– being deadly serious and ridiculously fun.
Novelist Zadie Smith being interviewed by New Yorker staff writer Doreen St. Félix at the Barnes and Noble on 82nd Street and Broadway last Thursday.

Zadie Smith Talks New Book ‘Feel Free’

February 12, 2018
Acclaimed novelist, essayist and short story writer Zadie Smith gave a talk at Barnes and Noble, where she covered a wide range of topics in her essays.
Joe Carman throws a punch in Jeff Unay’s new documentary, “The Cage Fighter,” now showing at the IFC Center on Sixth Avenue.

The Two Worlds of a ‘Cage Fighter’

February 5, 2018
Joe Carman has a secret. A retired mixed martial arts fighter and the subject of Jeff Unay’s new documentary “The Cage Fighter,” Joe has broken the promise he made to his family to stay out of the ring.
“A New Brain” is a 1998 musical based on the book of William Finn and James Lapine that follows the life of songwriter Gordon Schwinn who is diagnosed with a brain condition. Hosted by The Gallery of Players, the play runs until Feb. 18.

‘A New Brain’ Is a No Brainer

February 5, 2018
Drawn largely from creator William Finn’s own life, "A New Brain" follows a creatively blocked songwriter who is hospitalized with a mysterious brain condition.
The 2018 Oscars Awards presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, will honor the best films of 2017 on March 4, 2018 in Los Angeles.

NYU at the Oscars, Again

January 26, 2018
The Academy Awards' efforts to reform and diversify its membership shone a little brighter this year with wide-ranging nominees and multiple NYU alums.