Boyhood, dir. Richard Linklater – Filming over 12 years could have turned out gimmicky, but Boyhood was a moving and beautiful story of family and growing up. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so emotional while watching a film.
Calvary, dir. John Michael McDonagh – The preview for this Irish film made it out to be a dark comedy, but despite actors such as Dylan Moran, Chris O’Dowd, and even star Brendan Gleeson (in maybe his best ever work), it’s a heartwrenchingly dark film with moments of humour.
The Grand Budapest Hotel, dir. Wes Anderson – I’ve loved every film I’ve seen of Anderson’s, but for some reason hadn’t watched one since The Life Aquatic. This was a good place to start back, with his typical aesthetic and great performances.
Gone Girl, dir. David Fincher – I read the book in one frantic weekend before seeing the film, and the twists and turns and madness of it all still shocked me. Though not as much as it shocked the person sitting behind us who couldn’t stop saying “What the fuck” at the end.
Obvious Child, dir. Gillian Robespierre – A sweet, funny little film about a stand-up comedian who gets pregnant and has an abortion. The characters feel like your friends.
The Antlers, Familiars – This album is one of those where the sound just fills the room when you listen to it. There are so many layers combining beautifully with strange, sad lyrics.
Alt-J, This is All Yours – Speaking of strange, among other oddities Alt-J’s second album samples Miley Cyrus, and somehow it really works. They also put on one of the top 3 live shows I saw this year (and in fairness, the top 2 are my favourite bands, The National and Arctic Monkeys).
St. Vincent, St. Vincent – I’m declaring this the year of the excellent self-titled album. And St. Vincent’s is the best of them, with an album that is both strange and wonderful.
Hozier, Hozier – You’ve probably been hearing “Take Me to Church” all the time for the past 6 months, unless you’re in Ireland in which case you’ve been hearing it all year. And it hasn’t gotten old yet.
Taylor Swift, 1989 – Part of me can’t believe that Taylor Swift of all people is bumping my forever girl Shakira off my Best Of list, but most of me thinks that “Blank Space” is such a jam I don’t even care.
Well, I’m back in the United States, and I’m looking back on the amazing time I had in Europe. This past semester in Sevilla has been my second study-abroad experience; last spring I studied with the Ithaca College London Centre in England. At the end of my semester there, I knew I was going to miss Europe when I went home, but I was also nearly positive that I would be studying abroad again this spring, so I didn’t worry too much about all the countries I wanted to visit that I had yet to see. However, this semester (with the CC-CS program in Sevilla) was different. Although I’m sure I will return to Europe someday, with my senior year coming up and who-knows-what on the horizon after that, I have no idea when I will find myself on the other side of the pond again. I tried to make the most I could out of the thousands of amazing things Europe has to offer and now that I’m home, I’ve been reflecting on my favourite places I’ve visited in the continent (in chronological order of when I visited).
Let me start by saying this: if you’re looking for an unbiased review of last night’s Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band concert at the Estadio Olímpico in Sevilla, go somewhere else. He could have played twenty minutes and done only songs from Human Touch and I would’ve still thought it was a great show. As it is, the three-hour concert featured old hits and new favourites. The show began just after 9pm with “Badlands,” (click to watch a video) and then two of the highlights from Springsteen’s latest album, “We Take Care of Our Own” and the title track, “Wrecking Ball.” The stage was simple, apart from the different levels to accommodate the numerous members of the E Street Band, and the effects mostly took the form of spotlights and the platforms in the crowd Springsteen often ran to for parts of songs.
(I’ve been on a bit of a Vonnegut kick lately, attempting to read everything of his that I haven’t already. Right now I’m on Breakfast of Champions, although the quote which titles this post is from my favourite novel of his, Cat’s Cradle)
Well, it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Last weekend I went to Barcelona (see below for pictures!), and met up with my mom and aunt, who were coming to visit for the week. Then we all headed back to Sevilla where we spent pretty much all day of every day, apart from when I had classes, sight-seeing. The week also brought Feria, Sevilla’s spring fair. Unfortunately, over the weekend it was time to buckle down and start preparing for finals, so I haven’t had much time for blogging here. However, I have:
I realized that in the chaos of Semana Santa, I never said anything about my trip the weekend prior to Granada! This one was organized by my school, and I’m glad because Granada is an incredibly important city in Andalucia, both historically and culturally. (It also had my favourite bar to date, a really cool little jazz bar where my friends and I, looking for a relaxed night out, drank Irish coffee and listened to a piano player in a room surrounded by bookshelves and photos of old Hollywood.)
01. Granada Cathedral
02. There was a lot of cool graffiti near our hotel
03. Walking up to the Albaicín to get a view of the Alhambra. The streets are winding and narrow and the climb is very steep, but the view is worth it!
04. Bars in Granada still practice giving tapas with your drinks. It gives you less choice in what you’re eating but makes your experience very cheap—and let’s face it, everything tastes good.
05. Here I am in the Alhambra, the palace and fortress of the Emirato de Granada, constructed during the 14th century.
06. Inside the Alhambra.
07. View of the Albaicín from the Alhambra by day…
08. …and by night