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California Allows Concerts in April

California Allows Concerts in April As COVID cases decline, public events begin

Over a year later after the pandemic began, many of us are only just now getting vaccinated or signed up to be. As California continues to get vaccines out to people, the state’s Department of Public Health announced earlier this month that, beginning on April 15, indoor concerts, private gatherings and theatres may reopen. After a year of rescheduled concerts and online performances, there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel for.

While the state is still determining what these new restrictions and guidelines will be, they have made one rule extremely clear already: those in attendance will either need to prove that they’ve been fully vaccinated or get tested. 

These new restrictions will also affect the number of people allowed to attend an event, but this is entirely dependent upon which of the four-colored tiers a specific county is in. As of April 6, 2021, Fresno was in the red tier which allows for outdoor gatherings of up to 50 people. 200 are allowed if everyone is vaccinated, or otherwise has proof of a negative test, within indoor dining capacity limits

The state’s Department of Public Health has also recommended that venues with counties in the red tier continue to physically distance, offer advance ticket purchasing, create designated areas for eating/drinking and limit their events to only those living in the state. They noted that, as counties begin to move out of a lower tier and into a higher tier, restrictions may loosen and capacity will be allowed to increase. With vaccines now being made eligible to California residents of age 16 and up, along with COVID tests beng more easily accessible than they were a year ago, it brings hope that we can soon return to normalcy. 

With the state releasing this guideline of rules that counties must follow in order for venues to safely be used, Ticketmaster has also released a guide for what fans should expect. After the entire country faced setbacks the past year, Ticketmaster strongly encourages fans to invest in ticket insurance, allowing them to obtain their money even if waylaid by illness or cancellation. However, they’ve also calmed fans by noting their urging of venues to create healthy and safe environments, adopt social distancing guidelines and include frequent sanitization. They have now transitioned solely to contactless tickets, reducing the amount of exposure between fans and workers. 

However, one of their biggest changes is the addition of grouped seating. In order to  both prevent exposure and help venues with capacity levels, they’ve created a special seating option for those who will attend in a large group. It allows families and friends to stay together rather than being spread out.  

They have also warned fans that, while each venue is different, they can expect the following rules to be enforced when concerts begin: a mask requirement, clean venue, temperature checks, social distancing, hand sanitizer stations and timed entry. 

As many are looking forward to in-person concerts, Ticketmaster is also promoting drive-in concerts, which takes place from concertgoers’ cars. In areas where capacity is extremely low, a drive-in concert may be a fun alternative!

As April 15 has finally arrived, we can  look forward to June 15, which Governor Newsom has announced to be the day we can expect the state of California to officially reopen. We can only remain optimistic that by June venue capacity will rise, our favorite artists will begin touring and restrictions will loosen as COVID cases decline.

Author: Shyanne Mortimer | A&E Co-Editor

Captain America’s Wingmen Get the Spotlight

New Disney+ original series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” proves promising thus far

Just when you thought his story was over, Captain America’s back—well, sort of. Disney+’s latest original series, “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” follows Sam Wilson aka Falcon (portrayed by Anthony Mackie) and James “Bucky” Barnes aka the Winter Soldier (portrayed by Sebastian Stan) in a “post-Blip” world, a term used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to describe life after Thanos’ infamous snap in “Avengers: Infinity War.” Like “The Mandalorian” and “WandaVision,” Disney+ is releasing one new episode of “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” every Friday. This action-packed buddy series has proven to be promising thus far. Warning: spoilers ahead.

In “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” Sam and Bucky team up to fight the Flag Smashers, an antipatriot terrorist organization with the goal of tearing down national borders and creating a one-world civilization. Perhaps most worrisome is that the members of the Flag Smashers seem to have super soldier powers not unlike those granted to Steve Rogers aka Captain America in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” powers that were thought to have been his alone. 

    In addition to their battle with the Flag Smashers, Sam and Bucky also struggle to not only live up to, but also live out, Captain America’s legacy. Following Steve Rogers relinquishing his shield to Sam in “Avengers: Endgame,” Sam decides to give it up, much to Bucky’s dismay. However, the American government thinks differently, and decides to recast Captain America. The new Captain America is a soldier named John Walker (portrayed by Wyatt Russell) who humbly takes up the mantle of Captain America. Walker, joined by his partner Lemar Hoskins aka Battlestar (portrayed by Clé Bennett), attempts to befriend Sam and Bucky multiple times, despite the latter two’s constant rejections. Whether Sam and Bucky will befriend the new Captain America remains a mystery. 

    The series also spends time expanding the inner lives of Sam and Bucky. Sam struggles to support his family’s shrimping boat and experiences blatant racism at the hands of the bank and police officers. Meanwhile, Bucky wrestles with his PTSD and newly found freedom after being released from being a brainwashed HYDRA assassin for decades. Sam and Bucky, both of whom were blipped, struggle to reconnect with family and/or friends after having been gone for five years.  

    “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” currently ranks high with both the public and critics. As of March 30, the show holds a rating of 8.1/10 on IMDb and a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes.The writers at Den of Geek gave episodes one and two a rating of 3 and 4.5 out of 5, respectively, reflecting the generally positive attitude towards the series thus far with some reservations. Memes denouncing the new Captain America, often coupled with the hashtag #NotMyCap, have spread through the Internet like a wildfire, with varying degrees of seriousness and irony. 

Given such generally positive feedback, fans eager for Marvel’s signature high-speed chases and high-tech battles are likely to be thoroughly entertained by “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.” 

Author: Kassandra Klein | Copy Editor

Reopening the Happiest Place on Earth

What to expect at Disneyland

Calling all fellow Disney fans! After a long year without it, our happy place is set to open this April 30. Unfortunately, the return won’t be quite the same as before. There are several things to keep in mind, but not to worry; let this article be your guide. 

Expect tickets to sell out fast for the first few months. If you’re wanting to get one, you’ll have to purchase it online in advance. Tickets are currently not being sold. Disney will announce a day that tickets will go on sale, so keep checking their website for updates. Prices will also most likely be higher than usual. On the most in-demand days before the pandemic, a Disneyland ticket reached $154 each. April 30 is set to be the most in-demand ticket day in the park’s history.

It was definitely a disappointment when Annual Passports were retired, but there is some good news. Previous passholders will become part of a new Legacy Passholder program. If you qualify, you should have received an email or a notification by letter. Legacy Passholders receive special discounts, and Disney is  working to expand this program.

Disneyland will only be open to California residents, and it will have a 15% attendance cap at its initial reopening. Orange County could move to the orange tier next week though. If so, it’s likely the cap will increase to 25% soon enough. Disneyland’s hotels are also set to open, but at a limited capacity. The Grand Californian Hotel will reopen on April 29, while the Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier will remain closed. They will open soon enough, but no date has been set.

All visitors age two and up will be required to wear approved face masks. The masks must fully cover the nose and mouth and be secured under the chin. They must fit snugly against the sides of the face and be secured with ties or ear loops, allowing guests to remain hands-free. Neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind will not be allowed.

Even with masks, families are required to remain six feet apart from others. Masks may be removed when eating or drinking, but must be kept on at all other times, including while on rides.

Disney has also increased its cleanliness procedures, continually sanitizing high touch areas like seats and ride bars. Guests can expect to be temperature screened upon entry. If their temperature is at or above 100.4 F, they and their party will not be allowed to enter.

Experiences that draw larger groups like parades and firework shows will be temporarily halted. It is not yet known when they are expected to return. You won’t be able to have a meet and greet with your favorite Disney character, but they will still be roaming the park. Fortunately, you will at least get to see them, and who knows? Maybe they’ll perform some funny antics.

While this reopening isn’t everything we hoped for, it’s at least a start. Hopefully, as time goes on, Disneyland will be able to relax its requirements. Until then, be safe, be mindful, and remember, as Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother says: “Even miracles take a little time.”

Author: Emily Bogdanov | Staff Writer

The Battle for Tower Theatre

Adventure Church is trying to buy Fresno’s Tower Theatre

In early January, the City of Fresno made it public that Tower Theatre was being put up for sale, according to The Fresno Bee. Fresno-based Adventure Church has been hosting Sunday services at the theater and now seeks to purchase it despite backlash from community members. 

Despite reports of issues with zoning law from councilmembers Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias, Adventure Church announced in a press release on January 12 that it “intends to continue to serve the community through the purchase of Tower Theatre. Our plan is to not only keep Tower Theatre as an event venue but make it more accessible to the community by making it financially obtainable for use by non-profit organizations.” However, many members of the community are worried about this impending sale, and others have made their resistance known through protests and petitions. 

Tower Theatre, the historical landmark and namesake of the Tower District, hosts a wide variety of cultural events, sharing Olive Avenue with bars, pubs and tattoo parlors. Most opponents point to Adventure Church’s stance against LGTBQIA+ marriages and worry that events like the annual Reel Pride LGBTQ Film Festival and Gay Pride Parade will be affected or threatened by the church’s ownership, as noted by blogger Michael Martinez of Gay Central Valley. Many community members also feel that if the theater is bought by Adventure Church, the heart of the Tower District will be drastically  altered. 

FPU’s very own Brooke Aiello, adjunct theatre professor, has been heavily involved  in the fight to save Tower Theatre. Aiello noted that this was a multifaceted  issue, with many people upset that the church continued to meet early last year, when the pandemic first began, as businesses next door were closed. Additionally, a rezoning would remove the warm, welcoming and Bohemian atmosphere loved by those who live in the Tower District neighborhood, such as Aiello.

“The entire neighborhood has to change [if Adventure Church buys Tower Theater.]. What happens to Roger Rocka’s that’s across the street? What happens to the clubs down the street? We believe that as a community that nightlife, arts and entertainment are important and worthy of protection,” said Aiello.

Unless Tower Theatre becomes owned by a neutral, secular entity, such as a non-profit or even the city of Fresno itself, its zoning will be forced to change. While having a Christian church would change the neighbourhood tremendously, Aiello and many others are also concerned about what that means for those who are a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Protesters have reported run-ins with members of The Proud Boys, a white nationalist organization; such encounters, many individuals say, is already changing the neighborhood.

“Tower District is one of the few LGBTQIA+ friendly neighborhoods where you can hold your significant other’s hand and feel safe. We are proud of that. If you look at Adventure Church, their outlook about this community is backwards. Adventure Church has yet to say we condemn the counter protest people who are riling people up,” said Aiello.

Those fighting against the selling of Tower Theatre are concerned with what zoning issues could do to their beloved neighborhood. With a new organization, zoning changes would have to occur, potentially even changing those who are involved in Tower Theatre. Although the theatre is currently shut down due to the pandemic, it’s being sold to another organization has already halted events such as the Rogue Festival.

Judge Rosemary McGuire implemented a temporary restraining order over the sale of the Tower Theater. Judge McGuire stated that the ruling was made with the aim of gathering more information, witness testimonies and contract issues surrounding the sale. Some contract issues were addressed after the Sequoia Brewing Company made accusations against the Tower Theater for violating their right for first refusal, by not informing them about the sale to Adventure Church. The Sequoia Brewing Company resides in that lease of the Tower Theater which the owners claim “requires the owners be notified at least 12 days before the theater and its surrounding structures are up for sale” and that they “should be offered the right of first refusal of the sale and to the purchase their building.” 

However, as of March 18, a Fresno County judge ruled against the temporary restraining order, putting the sale of Tower Theatre back in motion. The sale is projected to close at the end of the month, and many protesters are refocusing their efforts to zoning issues to protect local businesses surrounding Tower Theatre. 

A community letter has been developed to support and stand against the rezoning of the Tower Theater with its sale to Adventure Church. Here is the link to the letter, which includes over 21,000 signatures from businesses, community and government leaders and other community members: https://munroreview.com/2021/01/19/more-than-2100-people-and-businesses-declare-tower-theatre-shouldnt-be-owned-by-a-church. Additionally, if you are interested in being added to a supplemental digital signature collection, here is the link. Be warned: it will not be included in letters sent to government officials: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScq2oROmnpaAn0aqSpL1a0KOKh2qoTefciG-c39tIkNIA8Z5g/viewform

For those who wish to take physical action against the sale of Tower Theatre, you can go every Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on the corner of Olive and Wishan, right across the street from the Tower District, and protest in person. A group puts up signs, posters and flags, and plays live music while protesting. Their mission is to gather the support needed to keep their neighborhood whole.

For those of you who would like to support the Adventure Church and their purchase of the Theater, you can sign their petition and letter to both council members and the mayor of the city of Fresno: https://www.change.org/p/city-of-fresno-support-adventure-church-in-the-purchase-of-the-tower-theatre?utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=custom_url&recruited_by_id=f5685610-64c6-11eb-96a3-079a23c20d4c. Its mission is to support the sale of Tower Theatre to Adventure Church

If you are interested in actively participating in this one-of-a-kind moment, you can sign either petition mentioned above. Remember: no matter your stance, make sure to use your voice.

Authors: Sheyla Castillo, Shayanne Mortimer, & Kassandra Klein | A&E Co-Editors & Copy Editor

The SHARE Blog

A virtual space to listen and be heard

Fresno Pacific University offers its students, staff, faculty and alumni a space to express their thoughts about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) through a blog called SHARE (Seeing, Hearing, And Respecting Everyone): https://blogs.fresno.edu/share/ 

We have all heard these terms. For many of us, they may sound interchangeable, but in fact they each cover something different. Diversity includes race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, status, education, gender and so many other possible groups. Equity is about guaranteeing fair treatment to all regardless of which groups they belong to. Inclusion is about bringing people that are typically excluded from the process or conversation into it; it is making sure they have a seat at the table.

Our current social climate has fueled feelings of loneliness and fear. SHARE offers a virtual space for individuals to communicate, learn and help each other. Interim Chief Diversity Officer Patty Salinas explained that “The blog was created as part of our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives to create a space where our FPU community could stay involved and up to date in the work that was happening in these areas.” 

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, many have voiced their desire to educate themselves on the issues it is involved with. Reading the SHARE blog is one way to do just that. They offer articles like “Challenged and Encouraged in Thinking About Racial Reconciliation” by Melinda Gunning, Director of Disability Access and Education. This example reveals Gunning’s encounters with African American works. She says they “challenged and encouraged” her thoughts about race.

Or are you seeking understanding and community during the pandemic? “Reflecting Back on 2020” by Elida Vargas, FPU Student and Junior Class Psychology Major, offers such insight, but also a call to action. She writes that “This issue directly affects members of Fresno Pacific University’s community. At the start of the Black Student Union Club, there was a racist incident that occurred online.” We often don’t realize these instances of hate can happen in our own backyard. Fresno Pacific is not exempt.

Is there an issue on SHARE that you feel isn’t being covered? Is there an opinion related to DEI that you want to express or, dare I say it, SHARE? (Insert winky face here). Well, you have the ability to do so. Anyone that is a part of the FPU community can write a blog for SHARE. It can be a personal reflection, a book/article review, an opinion piece, etc. The main requirement is that it must fall under the topic of DEI. Once an individual has submitted their draft, the SHARE team will edit it with an eye for spelling and grammar. Salinas then will post them weekly, usually on Tuesdays. 

Contact one of SHARE’s representatives listed below, and they will send you some more information about general guidelines:

Patty Salinas (Interim Chief Diversity Officer): patricia.salinas@fresno.edu

Miguel Montoya (ALAS Student Assistant): mam45@students.fresno.edu

Breanne Wyse (Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Spiritual Formation): Breanne.wyse@fresno.edu

Martha Fregoso (UDC Co-Chair): martha.fregoso@fresno.edu

Dr. Melanie Howard (UDC Co-Chair): melanie.howard@fresno.edu

Author: Emily Bogdanov | Staff Writer

Chris Harrison Leaves “The Bachelor” Amid Comments About Racism

Harrison removes himself after controversial interview

During the current season of “The Bachelor,” racially charged photos spread like wildfire through social media. People from Rachel Kirkconnell’s hometown spoke out, claiming that these accusations are true. On February 9 Rachel Lindsay conducted an interview on “Extra” where she brought then-host Chris Harrison on to speak about the racist actions, comments and posts of current “Bachelor” contestant Rachael Kirkconnell. In the fourteen-minute interview, Harrison appeared to be defending the racist controversy surrounding Kirkconnell.

Lindsay, an African American woman, felt that no topics were off-limits, and made a point of speak about the most important issues that have arisen from Kirkconnell’s controversy. Specifically, she asked about Kirkconnell’s attendance of an Old South antebellum-themed fraternity party when she was a college student. Harrison responded to the topic almost instantly. “Is it [not] a good look in 2018 or is it not a good look in 2021? . . . I’m not defending Rachael, I just know that 50 million people did that in 2018,” Harrison said.

Lindsay responded by pointing out the issues with Harrison’s defensive response towards the situation. “It’s not a good look ever. If I went to that party, who would I represent?” Lindsay asked. As Lindsay began pushing his answers to stray away from being defensive and compassionate of Kirkconnell, Harrison pushed back harder by speaking from his perspective. Each moment Lindsay tried to speak, Harrison would cut her off, talk over her and even speak at, not to, her. 

Harrison continued to emphasize that Kirkconnell is a young woman who doesn’t deserve any of the backlash, bullying and cancel culture that has been thrown her way. He believed that, until she had a chance to publicly explain herself, society should allow her “grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her behalf” before deciding to cancel her.

Shortly after being released online, the interview spread quickly all over social media. Fans were outraged at Harrison’s words, and within the hour had created various petitions, demanding that Harrison be removed from the franchise immediately and permanently. While there are currently multiple petitions, one from Change.org contains nearly 50,000 signatures from people all around the world.

The following day, after receiving such an incredible amount of backlash from fans, Harrison released a statement to his Instagram, apologizing for his remarks in the interview with Lindsay. 

“To my Bachelor Nation family — I will always own a mistake when I make one, so I am here to extend a sincere apology. I have this incredible platform to speak about love, and yesterday, I took a stance on topics about which I should have been better informed. While I do not speak for Rachael Kirkconnell, my intentions were simply to ask for grace in offering her an opportunity to speak on her own behalf. What I now realize I have done is cause harm by wrongly speaking in a manner that perpetuates racism, and for that I am so deeply sorry,” Harrison wrote.

Harrison also added that, while they have already shot the “Women Tell All” episode, he would be stepping away from the franchise for an unknown amount of time, leaving the producers to determine what would happen to the “After The Final Rose” episode set to premiere after the season finale. He also added that he did not want his actions to overshadow this historic season of “The Bachelor,” as Matt James is the first ever African American bachelor. On this note, he announced that ABC, Warner Bros. and himself have all agreed that Harrison will part ways with the show at this time.

Despite his apology, many fans are still extremely upset with his comments and refuse to believe that he will make an effort to educate himself. Rachel Lindsay is among them. The day after, she released an episode on her podcast “Higher Learning,” discussing  a private conversation between herself and Harrison prior to his apology. 

“When I finished that interview with Chris Harrison, he had no problems with it. He was fine . . .  It wasn’t until people start talking, people start demanding and calling for different things that he does that. He then apologized to me, and then apologized publicly,” Lindsay said.

Many fans see Harrison’s apology as little more thana ploy to save his career after the tremendous amount of backlash. Petitions are still being signed, and the producers appear to be listening to their demands. On February 27, ABC announced that author and former NFL player Emmanuel Acho will be the new host for the “After The Final Rose” special premiering on March 8th.

Acho wrote a New York Times bestselling book in 2020 titled “Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man,” which covers an array of important topics for those seeking answers and ways to mend the racial divide in our world. Aiming to work towards a world where reconciliation can be had, Acho understands the pressures and significance that lie uniquely within this episode, as mentioned on the Instagram post where he announced his hosting.

 “It’s been a pivotal season, and this episode will hopefully be one of the most storied shows in TV history. Empathy is needed and change is coming. Share the news! I’ll see y’all then!” Acho wrote.

Although it is currently unknown whether Acho will be the permanent new host of the show, both fans and former alums are excited for the conversations he will have in the final episode. As someone who has no prior connection to the show, Acho may be exactly the person needed to facilitate conversations of change in a franchise where diversity is sorely lacking. 

Author: Shyanne Mortimer|A&E Co-Editor

Jenni Rivera’s TV Series Review

A review of Jenni Rivera’s Mariposa de Barrio Netflix Series and its awareness of domestic violence victims.

Dolores Janney Rivera Saavedra, commonly known as “Jenni Rivera,” was a Spanish-American singer, actress, songwriter and entrepreneur famous for her work within the regional Mexican music genre. She unfortunately passed away on December 9, 2012 in a plane crash. The world continues to mourn and learn more about her life through her autobiography, TV series, family testimonies and her reality TV series “I Love Jenni”. 

In 2017, Telemundo, an American Spanish-language television network, aired the telenovela series Jenni Rivera: Mariposa de Barrio, which is based on her autobiography Unbreakable: My Story, My Way. Netflix recently released the series on January 1, 2021 showing all 91 episodes complete with English subtitles. Within the first week of its release on Netflix, the series hit the top 10 in the U.S. The series depicts Rivera’s personal life and her journey to becoming a famous artist. 

Although her impressive singing abilities attracted most of her fans, it is evident that her personal struggles and experiences with domestic violence and sexual assault make her more relatable to many women who have suffered similar experiences. The series highlights some of the obstacles that Hispanic women in the United States face when attempting to leave a domestic violence situation. 

According to a CDC 2017 report, “more than 34.4% of Hispanic women reported ever being a victim of an intimate partner’s sexual or physical violence or stalking.” Overall, 23.2% of women have been a victim of violence on behalf of their intimate partner nationally. According to an article in the Journal of Family Violence, Hispanic women encounter additional obstacles when attempting to report domestic violence abuse, such as religious beliefs, “machismo,” language barriers, lack of support, education and fear of deportation. 

The series begins by depicting her struggles with her first partner, Trino Marin. Rivera experiences physical and emotional abuse at his hands even after giving birth to “Chiquis,”  her first-born. During her relationship with Marin, she attempts to commit suicide and is eventually sent to rehab. Even after leaving, she continues to experience violent abuse at the hands of her partner. The series depicts the domestic violence cycle of abuse in its entirety as we see tension build, an acute explosion of violent events, the honeymoon stage and through it all consistent denial from her abuser. 

This series has definitely gained Jenni some new fans. IMBd reviews show how individuals who have never heard of Jenni are now intrigued by her life story:

“I do not speak Spanish, but I binge watched this entire show by reading the subtitles lol. I have a new love for Jenni Rivera after watching! Truly an inspiration. 91 episodes is a lot, but I loved every bit!”

“This story is well played by the actors chosen. I can relate to it too so much as I was also a teen mother in an abusive relationship. Many people might be able to learn a thing or two. I highly recommend it. Well done.”

The issues highlighted by the show can be sensitive to certain individuals and those wanting to watch should be cautious of various triggering events. Overall, the show provides Jenni’s fans more insight into her personal life and journey to fame, and provides survivors of domestic violence hope that they too can get out of abusive relationships. 

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, here is some pertinent contact information: 

National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

Marjaree Mason 24-hour Hotline: (559) 233-4357

Author: Sheyla Castillo | A&E Co-Editor

The Weeknd’s unique halftime performance at the Super Bowl

A halftime performance unlike any before

On Sunday, February 7, the well-known artist The Weeknd, real name  Abel Tesfaye, headlined the halftime show at Super Bowl LV. After a year filled with trials and tribulations, including being snubbed by the Grammys and the postponement of a tour to promote his new album “After Hours,” Tesfaye finally received the recognition he deserved when he headlined this year’s Super Bowl halftime show. 

Unlike most artists before him, The Weeknd chose to perform completely by himself, denying prior claims  that he would be joined by a guest artist. Having spent nearly $7 million of his own dollars to create such a spectacular performance, he was only joined on stage by background dancers and singers. 

Prior to the start of his performance, the NFL advertised that it would be donating $250 million over a 10-year period to “combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans.”. Beginning to speak out about the social injustices over the course of this year and having donated his own money to such movements, The Weeknd found a fitting way to combine entertainment and politics together.  

Opening his performance by sitting in a car set on a stage version of the Las Vegas strip, he began walking down a row, where the audience could see an enormous church choir singing one of his most popular songs “Call Out My Name.” Acting as the conductor and stopping the choir, he then begins singing his classic hit “Starboy” in a custom Givenchy, red crystal jacket that dazzled all the way to California. While he didn’t bring out his collaborator Daft Punk to perform with him, the choir, alongside The Weeknd, was seen wearing helmets that are identical to the one worn by Daft Punk.

During his fourteen-minute performance, he hopped between albums and sung a majority of his hits, such as “I Can’t Feel My Face,” “Save Your Tears,” an orchestra version of “Earned It” and the biggest sensation from his latest album, “Blinding Lights.”  While there were many at home who greatly enjoyed his medleys, there were some who in fact felt unimpressed by his performance as a whole. In an interview that occurred three days prior, The Weeknd explained that there were to be multiple symbolic moments within his performance.

The first moment of symbolism came as he walked within a mirrored room,“I Can’t Feel My Face” playing in the background. As he walked, nearly a dozen background dancers strode around him, their faces completely bandaged and leaving his face as the only “pure” one. Although viewers watching at home felt a twinge of motion sickness as the cameras spun around him for nearly a minute, this was important in highlighting that he was not like the rest. 

“The significance of the entire head bandages is reflecting on the absurd culture of Hollywood celebrity and people manipulating themselves for superficial reasons to please and be validated,” The Weeknd stated during the Super Bowl Pepsi Halftime Show Press Conference

While most viewers may not have seen this press conference prior to the game, it would have left them confused as to the beauty behind the madness. However, his fans have noticed that in his new album, “After Hours,” The Weeknd has inserted a recurring theme in each music video and performance. With each new appearance, he transforms: from a man with a bruised nose, to one with bandages and finally, in his recent music video for “Save Your Tears,” someone bearing a completely different look. For those who have not kept tabs on The Weeknd, it would have been confusing to understand the significance of the bandages worn by the back-up dancers. 

Despite the circumstances of performing during a pandemic, The Weeknd did an excellent job at creating a unique experience, with songs that everyone could sing along to. Having his back-up dancers wear bandages across their faces, with N-95 masks on top was both a nice homage to the theme of his album and a great way to ensure the health and safety of those dancing. Following safety guidelines and unable to have a traditional stage performance, The Weeknd used this opportunity as a chance to showcase his innovations as an artist. This led him to create a stage built completely in one section of the stands, a first for any artist at the halftime show. Going back to tradition, he closed with his sensational hit “Blinding Lights” as a multitude of fireworks erupted behind him in the distance. 

For those saddened at having to watch The Weeknd from your TV, fret no more, as he has announced his tour dates for 2022. As a part of his North American leg tour, he has added new performances, one being at Fresno. That’s right—on April 27, 2022, The Weeknd will be in town for one night only. Tickets began going on sale February 8, so make sure to buy your tickets before it’s “too late,” and you can “save your tears for another day.”

Author: Shyanne Mortimer | A&E Co-Editor

The best movies to watch for Valentine’s Day

Movies to get you in the lovestruck spirit

Does the air feel different to you? That’s probably because love is in the air as we enter the month of February. While, in the past, Valentine’s Day has entailed pressures and big plans, the pandemic has, naturally, changed this, and we are forced to instead stay home, exchange our fancy reservations for a night in and eat take-out from a carton. Whether single or in a relationship, though, there is one option that is sure to make you feel the love in the air this day: movies!

This year has proven to be like love itself: complicated. However, streaming services have made it a breeze, providing those wanting to get into the romantic spirit with a plethora of films. From romantic comedies,  romantic dramas, to chick flicks and even sentimental romances, there is something for everyone to watch.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect day for us to take a deep dive into our emotional feelings, while simultaneously binge-watching movies and eating candy. Those who are upset that their date night plans have gotten canceled no longer need fret! These films are enough to make a night in feel like more than your average day, reminding us as they do about the existence of true love. If you want to get more out of the night, you can also prepare a dinner, dessert or both that will pair nicely with them all!

So, grab a blanket and snuggle up on the couch as you celebrate the day of love with our top fifteen favorite Valentine’s Day movies. Whether you’re in the mood for a quirky high school romcom or desiring a passionate drama, we’ve got you covered. 

However you choose to celebrate, have a happy Valentine’s Day! 

The Syrinx’s Top 15 Valentine’s Day Movies

  1. 50 First Dates
  2. The Notebook
  3. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series
  4. 500 Days of Summer
  5. The Proposal
  6. My Big Fat Greek Wedding 1&2
  7. How to Lose A Guy In 10 Days
  8. Hitch
  9. Love, Simon
  10. 13 Going On 30
  11. Crazy Rich Asians
  12. Always Be My Maybe
  13. The Last Song
  14. 10 Things I Hate About You
  15. Valentine’s Day

Authors: Shyanne Mortimer and Kassandra Klein | A&E Co-Editor and Copy Editor

How Are Streaming Services Supporting Black History Month?

Some ways in which popular streaming services take part in this year’s Black History Month

This year marks the 45th annual, month-long celebration of Black History Month. It is significant each year for many reasons: it gives people a chance to reflect, recommit, celebrate and reeducate; it is a time for many to inform themselves on the contributions that Black people have made to our nation, their communities and every other walk of life. 

Black History Month is especially important this year for numerous reasons: the loss of many famous black lives, such as Congressman John Lewis, basketball star Kobe Bryant, actor Chadwick Boseman and rapper Pop Smoke, among others; as well as the victims of police brutality and other transgressions, such as Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prued, George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. After a racial justice awakening following the murder of George Floyd, many individuals have sought to reeducate themselves on these issues so as to better support the Black community. 

If you are seeking ways to reeducate yourself on some Black movements, important faces or other issues, look for movies and shows to watch on some popular streaming services that have special promotions for Black History Month. 

Disney+ has a new list of options entitled “Celebrate Black Stories,” featuring various relevant movies and shows, from “Soul” to “Hidden Figures,” “Black Panther” and “The Proud Family.” Many of them highlight the contributions Black people have made to the media industry. 

Hulu also has a new segment listed as “Black Stories,” with shows like “Grownish,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” “35 and Ticking” and “Across the Line.” These entertaining and educative movies or shows can provide new insight into Black culture and community. Amazon Prime Video is also listing a segment entitled “Celebrate Black History Month,” sporting movies like “Coming to America,” “More than a Game,”, “Sister Sister” and “Moesha.” 

There are also some options to get out of your home and watch some of the aforementioned movies from the comfort of your own car. Barb’s Drive-In theater in Fresno is showing many movies throughout the month of February in celebration of Black History Month. For more information about tickets and pricing, see the attached image. 

Fresno Pacific’s Office of Spiritual Formation and Diversity, as well as the ALAS Intercultural Center, are hosting various events throughout the month of February to celebrate Black History Month. There will be various opportunities to learn and celebrate the Black community in and around Fresno Pacific. Stay tuned to The Scoop to find out about events to come!

There are many opportunities all around you to celebrate, reeducate and reflect on the contributions of our Black communities to this nation. How will you celebrate?

Author: Sheyla Castillo | A&E Co-Editor

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