Commentary

May 16, 2014

Fly Over: ‘American Horror Story – Season One’, and ‘Childish Gambino presents: Because the Internet’

Marcy Copeland and Devante Williams

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On FX and Netflix:

American Horror Story – Season One

American Horror Story, created by Brad Falchuk and Ryan Murphy, is considered an anthology series featured on the FX channel. The series features Evan Peters, Jessica Lange, Lily Rabe and Zachary Quinto, just to name a few. As the series expands beyond the first season, the writers use a majority of the original cast and place them in a new story line as different characters in different locations.
Season one takes place in Los Angeles when the Harmon family, Ben (Dylan McDermott), a psychiatrist, Vivian (Connie Britton), a cello player, and their daughter Violet (Taissa Farmiga), move from the East Coast to LA after Ben is caught having an affair by his wife. In an attempt to salvage their marriage after a miscarriage and to put aside Ben’s infidelity, they move and are swindled into purchasing what has come to be known as the Murder House. The realtor reveals that a murder-suicide took place in the home when the previous occupants, Chad (Zachary Quinto) and Patrick (Teddy Sears) are found dead in the basement. California State law permits disclosure of any death that occurred in the residence within the last three years.
The house, which was built in the early 1920s, has been host to numerous illegal abortions that took place when Charles Montgomery (Matt Ross) and Nora Montgomery (Lily Rabe) first built the house. By the time the Harmons take possession, an estimated 20 or more murders have occurred within its walls. The evil that occurred in the house did not vanish but manifested and grew, wanting more souls.
As time passes with each episode, the show will give a flashback of a murder that took place in the house. Every glimpse from the past plays a role in the current time and has a massive effect on the Harmon family. The people murdered in the house cannot leave, and their souls are forever trapped within it by the property’s brick wall being a permanent barrier souls cannot cross.
Voices echo through the halls, causing Ben to sleepwalk through the house and turn things on that create fires, but he is told it’s not yet his time.
Vivian has a romantic evening with Ben, but later that night as Ben disappears listening to the voices, Vivian receives a late-night visitor she assumes is her husband. Eight weeks later, another Harmon is incubating, but is it Ben’s?
Violet is bullied and beat up at school but finds comfort in one of her father’s patients, Tate (Evan Peters).
Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) makes an appearance as the Harmon’s nosey next door neighbor, but slowly it’s revealed Constance has a vested interest in the house more so than just being a friendly neighbor who drops by with cupcakes.
Adding to an already troubled and previously promiscuous Ben is the ghost of Moira O’Hara (Frances Conroy/Alexandra Breckenridge). In the eyes of men, she is a young, seductive maid, but to everyone else, she is an elderly bitter woman with one blind eye and set in her ways.
Further into the season, Vivian begins having complications with her pregnancy. An ultrasound reveals Vivian is carrying twins.
Being stalked by Larry Harvey (Denis O’Hare), a burnt former resident of the murder house, tortured by copy-cat-wanna-be killers, creepy crawling creations, trapped disgruntled ghosts and possible demon babies makes this an edge-of-your-seat series delivering cliff hanger after cliff hanger at the end of every episode.
Very simple use of makeup and the absence of computer animated graphics allows the viewer’s mind to wonder and create its own fear, which is why I give this show a 4 out of 4 rating.
Be warned, the plot of this show can have you watching episode after episode and not realizing hours have passed since you were sucked into the story.

 
album-cover-photo

In stores:

‘Childish Gambino presents: Because the Internet’

Hip-hop music nowadays is not what it used to be. Instead of rapping about positive themes, mostly all of today’s Hip-Hop music is about strip clubs, gangs and money. It seems as though there’s no one in the rap music industry that’s changing the game – except one. The actor turned rapper Donald Glover, also known Childish Gambino, released his third studio album titled “Because the Internet.”
This album is unlike any rap album I’ve heard in a while. In terms of creativity and originality, “Because the Internet” excels. The album comes with a 25-minute “Clapping for The Wrong Reasons” short film and a digital 76-page script that accompanies the album from start to finish.
The album flows flawlessly and takes listeners on a journey through Childish’s psyche and inner demons. The storyline follows a gentleman named The Boy on a trek through life using technology and relentless introspection. Will this tape wow you lyrically? Absolutely!
“Because the Internet” is an improvement from his debut album titled “Camp.” You can tell he took the time to make it captivating to listen to.
For those who have not heard of Childish Gambino, the song in the album that would get them interested is “3005.” This track is more radio friendly than most on the album, but it definitely shows both Gambino’s lyrical and singing ability.
Another standout track that will surely be heard on radio stations across the U.S. is “Telegraph Ave,” a song that finds him baring his soul through self-deprecating thoughts. This track is definitely good to listen to when you’re cruising down the highway with the window down.
Everything isn’t so introspective though. You can see Gambino’s comedic writing take shape with a song titled “Sweatpants,” where he pokes fun at middle-class individuals viewing rich people as obnoxious with ego problems.
“Crawl” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. Once the bass kicks in, you’re in for a treat. There is also a good amount of Gambino singing, which really works well with tracks like “Shadows,” “Flight of The Navigator” and “Urn,” where he channels his inner Maxwell.
“Worldstar” is another of my favorite tracks on the album. If you’re not familiar with “Worldstar,” it’s a website where fights are posted and the person taping the fight yells out “Worldstar!” The clips he puts in the track make it even more enjoyable.
But, Gambino does go left-field with some tracks such as “Zealots Of Stockholm (Free Information).” It starts off with a very calm, soothing tone and then suddenly goes chaotic. If you have a car with heavy bass, I highly suggest turning the bass down unless you want to become deaf in both ears.
“Because the Internet” shows off Childish Gambino’s vast array of talent and makes him stand out from the rest of the rappers in the industry.
If you pick up this album and listen to it randomly, it will be difficult to understand. My recommendation is to read the script while listening to the album. You will appreciate how Gambino puts in the time and effort to make it truly one-of-a-kind. If you’re a Gambino supporter, you will love this album, period. If you never heard of Childish Gambino, give this album a try. You’ll be surprised at how an actor turned rapper can put out incredible music.




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