Cadenza’s summer preview

As finals begin to consume our sanity, here’s what’s filling Cadenza’s delirium-induced fever dreams of warm weather and not spending all night in Olin:

“The End of the Tour”

The premise is tricky: late literary giant David Foster Wallace and Rolling Stone writer David Lipsky trade personal and philosophical barbs over the course of a five-day interview. Throw in against-type casting (Jason Segel plays Wallace), and the potential for self-conscious pretension runs rampant.

My faith in “The End of the Tour” lies primarily in director James Ponsoldt. His most recent film, 2013’s “The Spectacular Now,” attacked another dangerous concept—reckless charmer and cautious introvert must reconcile mutual affection with long-term incompatibility—wrapped in a cliche-driven genre—teen romance—with keen insight. Neither consumed by melodrama nor cynicism, the film possesses tremendous heart and the wisdom to interpret its emotions at a safe distance.

If “The Spectacular Now” is any indication, Ponsoldt will be able to bring a similar dimension to Wallace and Lipsky’s considerable intellects.

-Mark Matousek

Frank Ocean’s return

In the lead up to his second commercial album, likely titled “Boys Don’t Cry,” Frank Ocean has proven a master at building suspense. Not only did his first two releases—2011 mixtape “Nostalgia, Ultra” and 2012 album “Channel Orange”—provide enough transcendent moments to hint at an artist with vast potential, but the slow trickle of information surrounding “Boys Don’t Cry” has kept anticipation at a steady burn without peaking too soon.

Beginning in February 2013, when he revealed his new record would be a concept album featuring contributions from Pharrell, Danger Mouse and Tyler, the Creator, Ocean has struck just the right balance between frustration and intrigue. He’s since claimed the Beatles and Beach Boys as primary influences for the album, cancelled an April 2014 Coachella date to supposedly finish it, added Hit-Boy to the production roster and released both a snippet of a song that may make the tracklist and an Isley Brothers cover that indicate his gifts remain in fine form.

With an official single and tour announcement likely on the way, anticipation should be at a fever pitch by the time “Boys Don’t Cry” arrives. If he continues his upward trajectory, those Marvin Gaye comparisons will seem more prescient than ever.

-Mark Matousek

Binge-watching “M*A*S*H*” on Netflix

The existence of “M*A*S*H*” is far from recent. The Korean War medical-comedy’s legendary series finale aired in 1983, but all eleven season were only recently added to Netflix, which means it’s time to revisit the show I once watched endlessly on TV Land with my parents before dinner. “M*A*S*H*” was the perfect combination of slapstick comedy and telling drama stemming from the harsh realities of the Korean War. There’s just nothing quite so daring on television anymore.

Despite the many cast shakeups, “M*A*S*H*” was always an ensemble comedy that delighted in deep character development, anchored around Alan Alda’s rebellious yet good intentioned Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce. This was a show about people that cared for people, regardless of where they came from and the politics of the time.

-Noah Jodice

“So Help Me God”

Kanye wants to own the summer. He always wants to own the summer. We already know the new album, “So Help Me God,” is coming, and if the release strategy of “Yeezus” is any indication, it will be a surprise, and it will come sooner rather than later.

We’ve already heard “All Day,” “Wolves,” “Only One” and the Rihanna collaboration “FourFiveSeconds.” There’s also his recent verse on the Tyler, the Creator track “Smuckers,” which shows Kanye getting back to his “Late Registration” persona, partly at the behest of Tyler.

Each release has elaborated on a different personification of the man who would be God. It’s not surprising, then, that several of these tracks have come as collaborations with Paul McCartney, the man who currently embodies pop song Godliness. McCartney plays organ on “Only One,” and “All Day” was inspired by a McCartney throwaway whistled during a television appearance, which was itself inspired by a Picasso print the former Beatle saw at the hospital. I can only hope “So Help Me God” will contain more of these musical history gems. An artistically fulfilled Kanye, after all, is my favorite Kanye.

Kanye himself described the new album as his “Born in the USA” (the 1984 Bruce Springsteen album that represented his peak pop appeal). But Kanye never does anything just to please the fans, so look for “So Help Me God” to push boundaries in more ways than one. Yeezy season is coming. Prepare yourselves.

-Noah Jodice


Throughout the year, Chicago is a bustling city. From people chatting into cell phones down Michigan Avenue, car traffic lining the streets below towering skyscrapers and the L making its way around the perpetually circulating Loop, silence can be hard to come by in the second city that never sleeps. But on three particular days of the year, music fills the warm Chicago summer air and gives the city’s constant, hectic cacophony an audible cadence.

Those three days are Lollapalooza, the Chicago-based music festival that runs this year from July 31 to Aug. 2, presenting a handful of today’s greatest alternative and indie artists. Not only do headliners include the likes of Paul McCartney, Sam Smith and Alt-J, but the smaller, more obscure artists and one’s ability to discover some of music’s up-and-coming stars often makes for the best and most memorable of experiences. As you walk through the street swarming with scantily clothed teenagers and music gurus, you cannot help but smile knowing the joy felt among the many varying people in that small park shines brighter than the skyline off Lake Michigan on a cloudless night.  

I plan to make the most of my time and catch all of my favorite performers, including Sylvan Esso, Glass Animals, Hippo Campus and Of Monsters and Men.  The event will be for many of the performers a first opportunity to expose their most recent releases, such as Florence + the Machine’s new album, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” and Of Monster and Men’s “Beneath the Skin.”  

Even if music isn’t your thing, Lollapalooza includes Chicago’s renowned cuisine and a sidewalk sale filled with the city’s most unique and quaint retailers; there’s no doubt you will find some aspect that suits your fancy. Finding tickets and travel may be a burden, but a burden well worth it in the end. As your summer comes to a close and school gets closer and closer on the horizon, Lollapalooza may just prove to be your summer song’s perfect cadenza.

-Greer Russell

Sexy Sequels

A few fan-favorite films will be back for round two this summer, hopefully leading to as much enjoyment as the originals did. First, if you’re missing acapella after leaving Washington University for the summer, “Pitch Perfect 2” opens May 15 with even more of the aca-goodness you loved in the first. This time, the Barden Bellas strive for international fame, crossing paths with acapella groups from all over the world.

Almost 15 years after the last “Jurassic Park” film, “Jurassic World” tears into theatres June 12 with the help of leading man Chris Pratt. Don’t miss this long-awaited return of everyone’s favorite franchise; it’s certain to cause major buzz.

Everyone’s favorite talking bear (besides Paddington, that is) will be back and raunchier than ever with “Ted 2,” which focuses on the bear’s marital life. If your sense of humor is watching stuffed animals swear, head to the theaters on June 26 to catch this exciting opening. And on July 1, “Magic Mike XXL” gives us insight into what Florida’s best dancers/strippers have been up to since their move from Tampa. If you’ve never seen “Magic Mike,” here’s a hint: the title’s not referring to extra large T-Shirts.

-Kimberly Henrickson

“The Astronaut Wives Club”  

Based on Lily Koppel’s best-selling book of the same name, “The Astronaut Wives Club” tells the story of the women behind the spacemen: the media’s central focus when their husbands launched off on gravity-defying missions as America’s Mercury Seven. It seems like a nice twist on the basic housewives shows that currently fill daytime television with fluff—at least these ladies have some claim to fame. The women develop their own strategies for tackling the press with poise and grace, and of course their careful maintenance of attire and appearance play a key role in the show (not so different from America’s aforementioned not-so-beloved housewives).

Even so, the show will also delve into the struggles these women faced to stay grounded as their husbands died in training-jet crashes and the Apollo 1 fire. Similar to the book, the show will demonstrate how the women drew closer to one another through the unique trails of their circumstances (the wives have now been close friends for more than 50 years). “The Astronaut Wives Club,” adapted for television by the co-creator of “Gossip Girl,” Stephanie Savage, will premiere on ABC on Thursday, June 18 at 8 p.m. EST.

-Erica Sloan

Grateful Dead reunion

For all the Deadheads out there, what could possibly be more exciting? The four living original members of the Grateful Dead will be returning for a series of concerts this summer in both Chicago and Santa Clara while accompanied by Trey Anastasio of Phish to take the place of lead guitarist and singer Jerry Garcia. Three of the reunion shows will take place on Soldier Field, the same place where the Dead last performed with Garcia in July 1995.

Nearly 20 years after Garcia passed away from a heart attack at the age of 53, this reunion tour will remember the band’s last performance and celebrate 50 years of the band’s existence. Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann will not only perform these select shows; in fact, they will continue the tour with John Mayer in October. Mayer has mentioned the Grateful Dead as a heavy influence upon his guitar style, and the connections are definitely clear, evidenced by Mayer’s performance alongside Bob Weir on the Late Late Show earlier this year. For those seeking many great hours of psychedelic jamming, it is likely that the summer shows will be available on pay per view, and hopefully the band will tour through St. Louis in the fall!

–Tyler Friedman

Untitled Bruce Jenner docuseries

This summer, we’re going to see another transgender story on TV, but this time it won’t be fiction. Last Friday, we heard from Bruce Jenner that his public persona doesn’t exactly match who he feels he is. Although Jenner has requested male pronouns still be used, he publicly announced that he identifies as a woman in an interview with Diane Sawyer.

Despite months of speculation about whether a docuseries following his life as a transgender woman would air, it has finally been announced that on July 26, E! will air the still-untitled docuseries. The series will air in eight, one-hour segments and will definitely be something different to watch this summer.

So far, it looks like the series is taking steps to make sure it portrays Bruce’s journey in a positive and educational light. Several consultants have been involved in production, including Jennifer Finney Boylan, national co-chair of the board of directors for Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and Dr. Marie Keller, Ph.D., founder and director of the Los Angeles Gender Center. The docuseries will be an interesting, and hopefully well-done addition to the growing representation of transgender individuals on television.

-Caroline Gutbezahl

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