Heard on the Hill

3.04.2018

HOTH crop

  • “I’m sorry I got lipstick on your blunt.”
  • “Guys at K-State are so much hotter!”
  • “This dressing is dry, kinda like Hillary Clinton”
  • “Ah, he keeps bitin’ his wiener.”
  • “Yeah, I watch anime and I’m not ashamed of it.”
  • “You bit my ankle when you were blacked out last night.”
  • “I would say you and I must be watching different porn, but with the amount of porn I watch that is statistically unlikely.”
  • “It’s not probable cause if a dog’s sniffing your ass.”
  • Person 1: “Why should my tax dollars pay for your medical expenses?”
    Person 2: “Because, TODD, we’re trying to live in a fuckin’ society here so maybe be a team player for once?”
  • “Does your vagina ever fall asleep?”

 

The Mystery of Poppy

3.03.2018

Words and photos by Georgia Hickam

“I’m Poppy,” says Poppy. In one of her hundreds of videos on YouTube with 235 million total views, Poppy repeats those two words in childlike monotone for 10 minutes. Poppy and her art and video director, Titanic Sinclair, performed at the Granada as part of her Poppy.Computer tour on Sunday night. She invited all her “Poppy Seeds” to join her in her pastel parallel universe.

The stage screens read “initiating” as Titanic Sinclair, wearing a pink jumpsuit, drank from a pitcher of Kool-Aid and passed around more of the pink liquid to the audience. Though she claims to not be the leader of a cult, Poppy encouraged her followers to prove their love for her by literally “drinking the Kool-aid”, chanting her songs, and endorsing products she claims are her favorite, like Doritos and Monster Energy Drinks.
Wearing her signature long platinum blonde hair and dressed in a tutu and purple dress, Poppy sang songs about falling in love with a computer (Computer Boy), saying “hello” and “goodbye” online (Moshi Moshi), about losing her microphone (Microphone), and making a video (Let’s Make a Video).
Poppy’s songs are intentionally repetitive, simplistic, and empty, and I have become shamefully obsessed with the purest form of bubblegum pop imaginable.
Titanic Sinclair and Poppy’s mission seems to be satirical performance art commenting on how easy it is to become famous in a digital age. They openly mock and copy the things celebrities do to become famous, and Poppy is succeeding in becoming famous for it.
Who is Poppy? Is she real? Is she a robot? Poppy is mysterious. Poppy is abstract. Poppy is and isn’t. All I know is I am fascinated by someone I know nothing about, who might not even exist at all.

WILL 2018 BE THE YEAR OF BROCKHAMPTON?

2.18.2018

By Justin Hermstedt

No musical act has propelled itself into the new year with more momentum than Brockhampton. The eclectic hip-hop group released three albums in the second half of 2017, each one more successful than the last. They left Los Angeles for a national tour which includes a sold out stop at the Truman in Kansas City. Most importantly, the self-described “boy band” has garnered a devoted following on the internet.

Brockhampton comprises roughly 14 members, an assortment of rappers, singers, producers, designers and other artists. Whether there’s a hint of irony to the boy band label or not, thousands of online teens and former teens have taken it and ran with it. Brockhampton found their niche with young people who never fit in with a musical fandom before now. A large segment of young people who were once the target demographic of One Direction never identified with 1D’s catchy, fluffy, and apolitical teen pop. Brockhampton proudly subvert the typical tropes of a boy band in terms of subject matter. *NSYNC never rapped about armed robbery, and K-pop stars BTS don’t lust over Shawn Mendes.

But Brockhampton aren’t just an edgy boy band; they’re also on the cutting edge of hip-hop. Brockhampton are challenging how hip-hop should look and sound, inspired by predecessors like Odd Future, Kid Cudi, and Kanye West (some of the members met on Kanyetothe, a Kanye West fan forum). From Saturation to Saturation III, the group refined its vibrant DIY style into a cohesive product. It seems like these boys are poised to take over the world.

But how sustainable is this level of productivity? Isn’t a tragic breakup an essential chapter in a boy band’s life? As Brockhampton begin to earn more mainstream success, we’ll witness not only the birth of stars, but also the supernova of the group that got them this far.

Brockhampton’s new year isn’t going to look like this past year, but they’re more likely to evolve than to fall off. Throughout 2017, Brockhampton members have consistently been creating on an individual level, including music, film, graphic design, and fashion projects. These like-minded artists have cultivated an environment where individual artistry is encouraged, and where they can make music on a group level without the pressure of an overbearing record label. All their creative endeavors will continue and expand in 2018, along with whatever Brockhampton produce as a group. They even already teased a fourth album, aptly titled “Team Effort.”

Regardless of what the future holds for Brockhampton, now is the perfect time to check them out.

Larry Town’s Newest Brews: Lawrence Beer Co.

12.08.2017

Words and photos by Rebekah Swank

        Microbreweries and craft beer production is trending all over the country, and Lawrence is no exception. Lawrence Beer Co. opened in late August this year, and it is quickly becoming a new favorite in the community.

        Matt Williams, co-founder, had dreamt of opening a brewery in Lawrence for about a decade before Lawrence Beer Co. popped up. He drove by the building at 8th Street and Pennsylvania every day, and thought about how the space would perfectly facilitate the kind of brewery he wanted to give the people of Lawrence.

        “I wanted the community to be involved,” Williams said. He had a vision of building a space where people could sit outside in the sun, talk to each other and enjoy sipping on a locally brewed beer.

        Williams had experience doing marketing work for several different beer companies before he decided to pursue his own project. He knew the ins and outs of the industry, and he wanted to set up shop here in Lawrence. Originally, Williams had no intention of serving food at the brewery – he had no restaurant training – but he recruited a Lawrence chef and together they created a menu.

        With the “I’m with Larry” campaign, the company began to pique interest in Lawrence residents. Two years after the creation of the business, Lawrence Beer Co. opened its doors.

        The brewery and restaurant offers a selection of seasonal beers and dishes, which change every few months. Having been there for drinks and dinner many times since the opening (some would probably say too many times), I can confidently say that everything they offer is truly delicious.

        The two Saison beers on the menu are my favorite, closely followed by the Two Hands Anyhow English Ale. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to sit at the bar without ordering something from the food menu. I get a plate of Rice Fried “Chick-arrones” every time I return to Lawrence Beer Co., and it has become one of my favorite dishes in all of Lawrence.

        I can’t write enough good things about Lawrence Beer Co. and the people who work there. The establishment embodies everything that most residents love about Lawrence. I am happy to see it thriving, and I can’t wait for warmer weather to return so that I can sit on the deck, and sip a Saison Liaison in good company.

 

The Odd Charm of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival

12.05.2017

Words and photos by Caleb Hundelt

In the wooded depths of Bonner Springs, Kansas, hordes of costumed individuals quietly convene once a year to join in an uncanny gathering. People dance and twirl around maypoles in a pagan fashion, women entrance and seduce in garb that glitters and jingles with each sway of their hips, and shouting, bloodthirsty crowds hold violent fights to the death.

Yet this is no new-age hedonistic cult that follows in the footsteps of Roman gladiatorial spectacles: this is the annual Kansas City Renaissance Festival, open September through October to elders and infants alike. Despite its focus on fashions and trends of centuries past, the Festival stands as a socially progressive symbol of Kansas City, creating a place in which artists of peculiar skills and trades can go to throw inhibition to the wind, celebrate their craft, and be celebrated.

There is undoubtedly a period of cultural adjustment that one must undergo to fully enjoy the Renaissance Festival. Upon stepping onto the festival grounds, a wild assortment of sights, sounds, and smells bombards the senses. One can easily become disoriented. The attendees’s costumes range from Tyrion Lannister to Tinkerbell, musical acts range from professional harpists to part-time pirate shanty-ers, and food ranges from charred mutton legs to cheesecake-on-a-stick. Due to the festival’s countless anachronisms, “Renaissance” is a bit of a misnomer; however, this is no reason to view the happenings of the Festival as overtly low-brow or uncultured. Once a moment is taken to accept the Renaissance Festival for the pastiche of eclectic pleasures that it is, then one can begin to recognize the devotion and artistry of those for whom the festival is a way of life.

Take the case of Ginger, for example. On a small sign outside of her artisan stand, “The Bard’s Musik Shoppe,” we learn that Ginger has a degree in acoustical engineering, but rather than apply her unique skills in a traditional career, she chose instead to make wooden folk instruments. The precision and commitment Ginger works with is evident in each glossy golden flute or whistle, but it’s especially present in her saxophones. Ginger plays a few notes with one of her entirely wood-crafted versions of the usually brass instrument, and there is no denying the richness and quality of its sound. She creates irreplaceable art.

This art exists because Ginger and every artist at the Renaissance Festival possess a special trait: they love what they do, and they do it well. In the festival’s choreographed keynote performance, a royal joust between two knights turns into a deadly sword fight. When watching the joust, the initial instinct to laugh is quickly overtaken by total respect for the performers. These men have practiced extensively on horseback and on foot to make every thrust and stab appear realistic. They represent extreme dedication to one’s work, and the crowd joyously recognizes this fact. People playfully respond to the calls for support from the knights, rooting for their favored fighter and jeering at his rival. Any sense of awkward reserve is disregarded; both attendee and artist alike want only to revel in the special and strange glory of the festivities.

But the beauty of the Renaissance Festival is that only an outside perspective would view such events as strange. The citizens of the Kansas City Metro for whom it is beloved know the festival to be nothing more than a gathering of people expressing themselves in a way that is pure, unfiltered, and unapologetically authentic.      

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