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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Shadow Folk: Alabama Shakes’ “Sound & Color”

Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor and Dania. Created by writer Zach Barr, they are a trio of friends who are always out experiencing the best of entertainment. Be it plays, films, concerts, exhibits, or games, they’ve learned that the arts are best when experienced together. They may not have the same opinions, but their conversations tend to make for an entertaining read. Recently, the Girls discussed “Sound & Color,” the 2015 genre-mixing album from blues rock band Alabama Shakes. Let’s listen in on their conversation…

 

Dania laid on her bed, headphones on, eyes closed. She was in a funk, and was attempting to de-funk herself the most effective way: music. American folk seemed the right pathway to follow, with the chill of Fall descending on the city – Gwen had already decked out the kitchen with decorative gourds. So Dania laid still, focusing her attention on the music of Alabama Shakes.

It had initially been a jarring experience. Following their début Boys & Girls, Dania had expected the more pure folk sound of that first album, which gave her the earworm “Hold On” in 2012. But the opening vibraphone sounds of Sound & Color‘s title track, immediately set an entirely new tone. What is this album? wondered Dania. It was calming, certainly. But it hadn’t been what she was expecting.

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Clear Blue Sky: Paul Greengrass’ “United 93”

Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor and Dania. Created by writer Zach Barr, they are a trio of friends who are always out experiencing the best of entertainment. Be it plays, films, concerts, exhibits, or games, they’ve learned that the arts are best when experienced together. They may not have the same opinions, but their conversations tend to make for an entertaining read. In honor of the 16th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, the Girls watched the first film to directly depict the events of that day. Let’s listen in on their conversation…

 

It had been a issue before that Gwen never cried during a movie. Admittedly, she had gotten choked up at films before, though she always managed to stifle the lump in her throat before it burst forth into sobs. This became a problem when she, attending these sad stories with her friends, had to field accusations of heartlessness, when her distress about the film did not manifest itself in runny noses and loud sniffles.

Worse still, she thought, as the final moments of Paul Greengrass’ film United 93 flashed before her eyes, were movies where she hadn’t even come close to crying. Especially since Eleanor and Dania – the former especially – were common criers at any emotional ending to a movie. And during the final shot of the film, the minimalist score from John Powell was accompanied by additional percussion from Eleanor attempting, loudly, not to weep. It was an emotional moment, certainly. One that Gwen felt, internally.

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The Fullbright Company’s “Gone Home”

Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor and Dania. Created by writer Zach Barr, they are a trio of friends who are always out experiencing the best of entertainment. Be it plays, films, concerts, exhibits, or games, they’ve learned that the arts are best when experienced together. They may not have the same opinions, but their conversations tend to make for an entertaining read. Recently, the Girls discussed the 2013 “walking simulator” game that took Steam by storm, and scared countless players. Let’s listen in on their conversation…

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Part of the appeal of Gone Home is its excellent story structure, which is best experienced with as little context as possible. In order to get the full experience, I recommend you stop reading after Dania exits her room the first time. Enjoy.

 

“I hate that,” Dania said. “You could at least tell me a little about the story or something.”

“I promise,” Eleanor assured her. “You have to go in completely blind. We shouldn’t discuss it until you’ve played through the entire thing.”

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In These Trenches: Brian Jordan Alvarez’s “The Gay And Wondrous Life Of Caleb Gallo”

Meet the Hanslick Girls: Gwen, Eleanor and Dania. Created by writer Zach Barr, they are a trio of friends who are always out experiencing the best of entertainment. Be it plays, films, concerts, exhibits, or games, they’ve learned that the arts are best when experienced together. They may not have the same opinions, but their conversations tend to make for an entertaining read. Recently, the girls discussed Brian Jordan Alvarez’s gay dreamscape of a webseries from last year. Let’s listen in on their conversation…

 

The credits flashed by under the sensual tones of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever,” as Dania lifted her head off the armrest of the couch.

“That’s it?”

“Yeah, basically,” Eleanor said. “He’s trying to get a longer series going on Netflix or something but for now it’s just five episodes.”

Dania rubbed her eyes. It was too late at night – “only five episodes” had seemed like a short enough length to watch, forgetting that at about 15-20 minutes each, the entire series was basically an 84-minute movie.

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