The Original American Genre Why we should bring Jazz music back into mainstream media — LISTENing December 2017 Print

Characterized by improvisation and syncopation, jazz has been moving audiences and music lovers since its emergence at the beginning of the twentieth century. Over the years, it’s as if jazz has gotten lost in the ever-changing, ever-evolving music industry. In today’s culture, a popular notion is that jazz is reserved for elevators, Christmas parties and your grandparents’ car. Recently, jazz has been making its way back into the popular atmosphere through people who love the genre and are ready to bring it into the spotlight.

Damien Chazelle, writer and director of the two widely successful hits, “Whiplash” (2014) and “La La Land” (2016) brought jazz back into mainstream music. “Whiplash” follows the story of Andrew Neiman (Miles Teller), a first-year jazz student studying drumming at a prestigious arts conservatory in New York City. There, he faces the famed conductor, Terence Fletcher (J.K. Simmons), who has an abusive teaching style. “Whiplash” was Chazelle’s foundation for his next masterpiece, “La La Land.” The musical romantic comedy follows an aspiring jazz pianist (Ryan Gosling) and an aspiring actress (Emma Stone) as they navigate their life in Hollywood, their careers and their relationship. After the film released in theaters, it was hard finding someone who hadn’t seen or didn’t love it because the movie does a great job of confirming that jazz music is cross-generational. Fans from older generations love the film for nostalgic reasons while millennials are convinced by the power and appeal of Ryan Gosling. “La La Land” is now critically acclaimed and boasts many different accolades including Academy Awards for best actress, best director and best original music score.

MSU’s College of Music offers a unique jazz studies program that “is committed to the highest level of performance, mentoring, education and community outreach.” The program allows countless students, including recent graduates Pierre Charles III and Eric Smith, to hone their craft in a space solely dedicated
to jazz.

Charles graduated from MSU in 2016, and has always loved jazz. “I grew up with jazz music playing in the house. My father’s roots are in New Orleans, so listening to jazz music was a big part of my childhood.” He began to fall in love with the genre when he decided to take up piano as a child. “Improvising and creating music on the spot – that is the essence of what jazz is.” To Charles, jazz is more than just a style of music. “Jazz is a completely American art form, and much of American pop music of today actually traces its roots to jazz and blues.”

Smith graduated as a piano major in the class of 2017, and like Charles, was introduced to the genre by his family. “My earliest memories associated with jazz are at my grandparents’ house listening to big band music and singers like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole.” He describes the importance of jazz as, “Jazz and blues are the foundation of so much of the music, art and culture we experience in America (and consequently, around the world). To truly enjoy, appreciate and understand where we as a society have come from, and why we as a society create and consume the things we do; we cannot exclude or understate the importance of jazz and blues music and culture.”

As for jazz making its way back into mainstream music, it is possible! The important thing is to educate people on music history and remind pop music fans of its foundations in jazz and blues. Charles believes, “If jazz existed in a mainstream space, like on the radio, more people would start to appreciate the music.” It helps that films like “La La Land” have mainstreamed jazz and shows people that the genre is cool, complex and intricate while teaching about its history and individuality. If other media outlets can show jazz in that light, the style has a chance of finding its way back into the spotlight.

Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in Professional Writing with a concentration in Creative Writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history, dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.

3 of The Best Thanksgiving TV Specials — BLOGGing November 2017

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Not only does it fall just when you realize that you’re in desperate need of a mental break, but it’s full of family, food and football. If you’re anything like me, curling up on the couch and watching some TV sounds like the perfect way to end the holiday. We here at ing love TV and Thanksgiving-themed TV episodes. Read on to see if your favorite made it into our top three!

How I Met Your Mother: “Slapsgiving”

There were a lot of things HIMYM did right during its time on television (except for that ending). Its “Slapsgiving” Thanksgiving Special is definitely one of those things. In the episode, Marshall reminds Barney of a bet they made in which the winner would be awarded five slaps to use on the loser whenever they see fit. In an attempt to scare Barney, Marshall begins referring to Thanksgiving as “Slapsgiving”, mentioning that he’d use his third slap during the holiday. The hilarity mixed with the torment Marshall puts Barney through makes for a perfect comedy.

Gif courtesy of How I Met Your Mother on CBS


New Girl: “Thanksgiving III”

If you haven’t seen New Girl you’re missing out. It’s the quirky comedy you absolutely need in your life. In the third Thanksgiving episode of the series, Nick decides that he needs to prove his manliness to his roommates by celebrating Thanksgiving in the woods, hunting for their dinner and surviving in the wilderness. Once they’re thrown in the woods, the gang goes crazy and Jess ends up eating a dead fish. It’s not the Thanksgiving celebration anyone would’ve expected, but it sure is entertaining to watch!

Gif courtesy of New Girl on Fox

Regular Show: “The Thanksgiving Special”

The best part of the cartoon Regular Show is that every episode is anything but ordinary, and the Thanksgiving special is no exception. Mordecai and Rigby ruin Thanksgiving by playing football in the house and trashing all of the food that their friends had been working so hard to prepare. In an attempt to save the holiday, the pair enters a contest to write the best Thanksgiving song and win a turducken—a turkey stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. Once Mordecai and Rigby write a song that truly captures the meaning of Thanksgiving, their competitors begin causing trouble. If you’re looking for a song to get you in the holiday spirit, this episode is the way to go.

Gif courtesy of Regular Show on Cartoon Network


As you prepare to stuff yourself with the best holiday food, log into your Netflix or Hulu account to cue up our top three Thanksgiving Specials. Sit back, relax and enjoy the holiday!


Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in Professional Writing with a concentration in Creative Writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history and dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.

Social Media in Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief How stories come together on social media — SUPPORTing October 2017 Print

On Friday, Aug. 25, Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas, wreaking havoc on homes, businesses and families. This tragedy has brought the country together in ways that only a natural disaster can. However, today, the support that is flowing into Texas seems to be measured in Instagram likes and Twitter retweets. This endless support looks good in theory, but is the coverage helping? Are those affected by this tragedy receiving the assistance they deserve?

To begin looking for answers, a quick trip to Instagram is a good start. By looking up #HurricaneHarvey, 642,053 posts are generated (as of late August). By scrolling through the feed, hundreds of photos display hearts or the shape of Texas. While positive thoughts and prayers are always appreciated in a time of need, what the victims of this disaster really need are food supplies, funding to rebuild and the donation of necessities such as clothing and toiletries.

Many celebrities, such as contestants from “The Bachelor” franchise the Kardashians and others used their platforms to raise awareness of the severity of Hurricane Harvey and asked their fans to donate to the American Red Cross. While they may mean well, these celebrities post once or twice and then go back to posting photos of their overpriced iced coffee and #throwbacks from their latest beach vacation.

On the other hand, some take it more seriously, such as the band Green Day; they kept up with their typical social media posts while also posting multiple displays of the damage done in Texas. The band also hosted a full performance through Facebook Live on Sept. 5, encouraging their fans to donate to Americares.

To further investigate how this social media coverage is affecting the disaster, we interviewed Kirsten Rockey, a junior studying communication with a minor in communication sciences and disorders at MSU. Rockey grew up in Katy, Texas, 30 miles west of downtown Houston.

“My hometown, Katy, was one of the hardest hit areas of Hurricane Harvey. My parents still live in the home I grew up in, and my sister and her husband live in the town as well. This is the place I grew up in. This is my home,” Rockey said.

While Rockey’s family home was not directly affected, she worried about the friends and relatives she has living in the area.

“Fortunately, my parents’ and my sister’s homes were okay. My high school is being utilized as the headquarters for the National Guard. It’s hard to not be affected by a storm of this capacity. My family wasn’t able to work for most of the week due to water levels on the highways,” Rockey said.

To keep up with hurricane news, Rockey turns to her mother for updates. Since the social media coverage is so widespread, Rockey believes that “people in Houston have done a fantastic job of using social media to fundraise since the hurricane occurred.” The use of social media has become a tool to fundraise and help the residents of Houston.

“I have an up-front and personal connection to the storm. I think [social media] is a great way to fundraise. The world is a much smaller place now due to platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram,” Rockey said. “It’s a great way to ask for help but also offer help to others. I saw many friends back home sharing numbers and shelters that were open to people in need.”

It turns out social media has played a remarkable role in disaster relief aid. For example, American football player JJ Watt has raised tens of millions of dollars for hurricane victims. Other celebrities, such as Kevin Hart, sent out a video encouraging people to donate to the cause.

The storm and its aftermath have been all over social media, so there’s no escaping it, and this encourages people to donate. Rockey and those affected by the hurricane — even those who were not — are eager to see the country come together.

“All I can do is encourage people to please donate to charities, specifically charities that will donate all proceeds to the relief effort,” Rockey said.

Charities and organizations that display notable effort and donate money to the cause include Americares, ShelterBox USA and All Hands Volunteers.

 Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in professional writing with a concentration in creative writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history, dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.

I Prize, You Prize, ArtPrize® — HAPPENing October 2017 Print

I Prize, You Prize, ArtPrize®

Spread the love

Michigan natives can agree, ArtPrize® in Grand Rapids is one of the Mitten’s must-attend fall staples. Founded by Michigander and entrepreneur Rick DeVos in 2009, ArtPrize is a public art competition. Locals and visitors alike are welcomed into downtown Grand Rapids for the festival where art is on display across the entire downtown area, free of charge. DeVos’ vision for the event was to combat ordinarily high-culture art shows and bring art to every member of society. A unique part of the competition is that the winners are voted on equally by the public and by an expert jury, so the event is not only accessible, but interactive as well.

Beautiful Michigan autumns are the backdrop to memorable pieces and exhibitions. MSU junior Drew Bartlett recalls his favorite piece from ArtPrize where “one man lived in a ball for all of ArtPrize. He wanted to show what it was like to be homeless in the city.”

Additionally, MSU junior Brianna Brennan’s favorite piece is from one of the first years of the competition.

“The Loch Ness monster was floating in the river,” Brennan said. “I can’t remember something talked about more in the city. It wasn’t the ‘wow isn’t the weather great today!’ conversation.”

This year, ArtPrize runs from Sept. 20 through Oct. 8, and plenty of MSU students are already planning on making the trip west to attend. Bartlett has only visited one year, but he loved it so much that he’s ready to go back. Brennan won’t be able to make it to Grand Rapids this year for the festival, but she’s been attending since the first year. Brennan went to school in downtown Grand Rapids and has fond memories of walking around with her class and her family.

“It’s a great community event that brings so much excitement to the city,” Brennan said.

Although Brennan won’t be able to go to ArtPrize this year, she will still be able to vote for her favorite pieces from this year’s competition. Brennan is excited to “keep track of the top 10 and vote” on her favorites throughout the festival from MSU. Voters can sign up online through the ArtPrize official website and vote either on a computer or through the app. By including convenient ways to vote online, everyone has a chance to be a part of the fun.

This year there are $500,000 worth of prizes available for the artists. While the competition is sure to be fierce, the inclusiveness and accessibility of the festival will bring together artists and art lovers from all over the world.

Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in professional writing with a concentration in creative writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history, dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.

What the Heck is Taylor Swift Doing — BLOGGing October 2017 (co written with Hannah Bullion)

It might not be the worst thing if you haven’t heard Taylor Swift’s latest singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” (LWYMMD) and “…Ready For It?,” but it is something worth talking about, especially considering Swift’s absence for the greater part of the past two years to write them.

Two ing Magazine writers sound off on what they REALLY think about “LWYMMD” and “…Ready For It?”

First up: long-time fan Maggie Morgan on how she learned to appreciate Taylor Swift’s newest singles

When I first heard “LWYMMD,” I was appalled. As a long (and I mean long) time fan of TSwift, I’d come to learn that Taylor has exceptional songwriting capabilities. This song was not what I was expecting or used to. I was used to sappy love ballads, break-up songs that I could cry to and power anthems that just make you feel good. Upon hearing LWYMMD, my initial reaction was that it was cringeworthy. The lyrics reminded me of when you’re breaking up with someone, and you’re throwing every single insult that you can think of out there. Then I listened to the song again. And again. And again.

Now I’m obsessed with it.

I’m a big fan of perfectly calculated responses, and this song, along with its music video, is just that. In my opinion, the song is TSwift’s response to the pressure that the media places on her, not only as an artist, but as a human being. I think that the “you” in “LWYMMD” is the media, not Katy Perry, Kanye West, Calvin Harris or any other celebrity who can somehow be linked to her name. Taylor has been pretty much MIA for the past year, avoiding paparazzi, skipping awards shows and planning her return. I’m almost positive that she has used the majority of this past year to write new music, create a new image and rebrand.

While her new single and its accompanying music video initially come across as petty and shady toward other artists, they’re actually deliberate digs at the media. The symbolism of the “death of Taylor Swift’s reputation” is not the actual death of her image or her message. It’s the death of the way the media perceives her, and the death of the way the media expects her to act.

As for “…Ready For It?” I was in love from the first time I heard it. The verses are almost rapped by Swift, and the chorus is reminiscent of “Wildest Dreams.” It’s definitely not the direction I thought she’d be going after “LWYMMD,” but I’m welcoming the change! I think if Swift follows this trend of making music she wouldn’t typically make (anyone else hoping for a death metal song?), fans will be pleasantly surprised! Overall, I’m excited to see what’s next in the Reputation era of TSwift, and I’ll always be a fan!

And finally, Hannah Bullion on why Taylor Swift needs to CHILL OUT

Honestly, I love Taylor Swift. I’m critical of her and the platform she (constantly) refuses to use, but mostly I love her music. Red is still the soundtrack of my favorite season, fall, and 1989 made me fall in love with my life again. But this new “era” of Taylor is unfathomable.

Everything about her new single was absolutely awful, except for the “I’m sorry, but the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead” line. It’s funny. It’s not smart, but it’s funny and I really like it.

Personally, with Taylor taking so many years to work on this album, I really just wanted things to be executed in a smarter way. She has truly become a joke and I think there are smarter ways to dig at the media, at Kanye, at Katy Perry, etc.

Though there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. Taylor Swift IS a performer, and this new era is certainly a performance. Her newest single, “… Ready For It,” was more of what I was hoping for. The rapping might be atrocious, but the the chorus is why we all love her. I’m hoping her album follows suit to be more “… Ready For It” and less “LWYMMD.”

Hannah Bullion is a senior professional writing major with New York City dreams. She is also the Editor In Chief of MSU’s fashion publication, VIM Magazine, and an intern for the College of Arts & Letters. Keep up with her on Instagram (@hannahbullion).  

Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in professional writing with a concentration in creative writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history, dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.

Healthy Dorm Snacks — BLOGGing October 2017

Eating healthy while you’re living in the dorms can be tough. When you can get ice cream in the caf until midnight, it’s hard to say no to tasty sweets. But then that “what have I done to myself” feeling sets in, and you decide to start making healthy decisions. My job in this post is to share a few ways to make healthy snack choices while you’re living in your dorm. I lived in the Snyder-Phillips residence hall for two years, and I follow a gluten-free diet, which isn’t exactly “caf friendly.” I had to figure out how to make snacks that were easy to prepare, filling, delicious and inexpensive. Here’s what I came up with.

  • Chocolate strawberry overnight oats
  • Almond butter toast
  • Krazy salt popcorn

For these recipes, you’ll have to head to your favorite grocery store. I went to Meijer with a $20 bill and determination. In total, all of the items below cost me $11.27.

  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dark chocolate
  • Frozen strawberries
  • Almond butter
  • Plain popcorn
  • Promise Butter
  • Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt

There are also ingredients that you can take from the caf closest to you! They include:

  • Choice of milk
  • Choice of bread
  • Honey

Some other tools you’ll need are:

  • A toaster
  • A fridge
  • A microwave
  • A jar/container
  • Silverware


Chocolate Strawberry Overnight Oats

Combine oatmeal and milk in your choice of container. Layer in cut strawberries, cocoa powder, and dark chocolate pieces. Secure the lid and place in a fridge overnight. In the morning, remove the container from the fridge, stir, and enjoy!

Almond Butter Toast

Place your choice of toast in a toaster. When it’s toasted to your liking, spread almond butter on top. If you feel like it, add strawberries or other fruit.

Krazy Salt Popcorn

Put a bag of plain popcorn in a microwave and press the button that says “popcorn”. Once the bag is done popping, add one or two teaspoons of melted promise butter and a generous helping of Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt. Shake up and dig in!

Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in professional writing with a concentration in creative writing. Her hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history and dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.