Eminem's first two albums were released in 1999 and 2000. The Slim Shady LP and the Marshall Mathers LP were (and still are) some of the most influential and important rap albums of all time. They both remain widely viewed as classics. They are also extremely vulgar and violent, to say the least, with many songs painting Eminem as a deranged serial killer.
In 2013, 13 years after the release of the Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem released the Marshall Mathers LP 2, and the first song on this long-awaited sequel album is called “Bad Guy."
“Bad Guy” is 7 minutes and 14 seconds long and goes through several thematic and stylistic changes throughout its duration. It begins with a conversation between two people, one of whom is stalking the other with the intent to kill. Not personally my favorite subject matter, but also not surprising considering the subject matter of the first Marshall Mathers LP. As the song progresses, it is slowly revealed that Eminem's role in the story is as the victim, and the song is actually from the perspective of an anonymous fan who is mad at him for the provocative things he had said in his past. This twist recontextualizes the previous lines and adds meaning to lyrics which may have originally seemed like they were no more than shocking imagery.
“We’re in the car right now… here comes my favorite lyric: ‘I'm the bad guy why makes fun of people who die’.....”
I think that this choice was made as a way to reflect on and, possibly apologize for, his problematic past. Eminem has always seemed to be able to achieve a sore of catharsis through his violent songs, and I think that “Bad Guy” is Eminem allowing those who have been affected negatively by his music the same type of catharsis.
The story concludes after about 5 minutes and 12 seconds, with Eminem, indeed, dying, and the last 2 minutes and 2 seconds are a much more explicit self-critique and analysis, in which Eminem explicitly states that the killer in the story represents all of the people who have been negatively affected by his music.
I personally do not really love the subject matter of old Eminem, and I am not really all that interested in his more recent pop-leaning albums, but I think this song is kind of brilliant and more people should listen to it.
The art of styling small trees has been practiced since about 700 CE in China. For many years after it originated, this art form was reserved for only the elite of society and had a strong connection with religion. The practice was first inspired by strange and contorted trees that were found in the forest. It was thought that, because these trees clearly were not created for a normal purpose, such as making lumber, they must be sacred, so they were carefully repotted and nurtured. This repotting practice evolved into Bonsai styling, using bamboo frames, weights, and brass wires to transform normal trees into what we now call Bonsai. The word Bonsai comes from the Chinese word pun-sai, meaning “tray planting."
The practice was adopted in Japan shortly after. By 1200 CE, almost everyone in Japan had multiple Bonsai trees. During this time, most of the modern techniques still used today were developed and Bonsai became deeply ingrained into Japanese culture. By the early 1700s there was a Bonsai show every year in the capital city, Kyoto.
A Bonsai tree is an heirloom that can be passed down through generations. The oldest confirmed Bonsai is over 1000 years old.
This tree is on display in the Crespi Bonsai museum in Italy.
The process of Bonsai is complex, and cultivation occurs over the course of many years. If started from a seed, it can take up to three years before the tree is ready to be styled. Bonsai trees are just normal trees that are potted in a way that keeps them small and then styled by pruning and wiring. Pruning is done with scissors (most commonly butterfly shears) and by hand. A tree needs to be pruned because trees like to grow their larges branches at the top to capture the most sunlight, which makes a tree look disproportionate and topheavy. Most of pruning involves cutting the top branches to a smaller size so branches underneath can grow bigger creating a nicer shape. Wiring is a way to alter the shape of the trunk.
Wiring is done by wrapping a wire around the tree and slowly bending it during growing season to create cascade effects like this one--
—and very contorted trunks like this 800 year old tree.
by Maia Wheeler
6:46pm on the fourth Friday in November. Back stage in the dressing room chaos. The red lipstick staining my lips, the fake lashes poking my eye. My feet cramping as I warm up them up in my newly calamine pointe shoes. Heart pumping, adrenaline rushing. It has been since August when I auditioned for the Nutcracker. I have done this show every year since I was given the opportunity to pursue ballet.
“Places, everyone!” says the scruffy man on the dressing room’s coms.
It is time. Opening night. The lights turn off. The audience, silent. I can hear the music from the orchestra to my dressing room. It is not my turn yet, but soon will be.
I step into my romantic tutu, unable to button it up myself. Hands pressed on to my ribs as I push back the bodus of my tutu.
“Loose or tight hooks?” a student asks as she helps me put on my tutu.
“Tight,” I reply.
She buttons up the last hook. I breath in and out. It is hard to take deep breaths, but I am tightly secured for stage.
I put on my head piece. Tightly secured to my head, close to my bun.
I leave my dressing room, down the long hallway and up the tall narrow stairs I walk. I get up to the stage. Clara and the Prince have started the snow Pas De Deux. I watch closely for my entrance. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: on count nine, I leave the wing.
Stage lights harsh on my face as all things leave my body. All I can hear is my mind counting the uneven music. On stage, off stage, on again within seconds. We follow each other to make all the dancers as one because we are the corps de ballet. In a system of dance so competitive we all at once come together as one.
We hold our tiring pose as the curtain closes. My feet are cramping and I can feel the pressure on my toes. Act 1 is finished. The adrenaline rush is over. It didn’t hurt then, but now I can feel the swelling deepening in my feet and knees like heavy weights.
Back down the steep, narrow stairs and up the long hallway to my dressing room. Now, I await Act 2.
by Maia Wheeler
City Not Spoken
City of sorrow.
It is turned to dust. Never seen, taken away.
Once love, but never grown.
You feel it, but don’t see it.
Stomped to pieces by the above.
To be taken care of, but destroyed out of pity to make the better, better.
Maybe forgotten, but seen daily.
Taken to waste.
Living among the rest of its kind.
The harder it tries, the higher the better goes.
Higher and higher, more and more.
It will never be replaced in sorrow, but in captivity.
The sun shines over the blue sky creating the golden crisp color over the melted mountain tips.
Swallowing the golden rays of the slightly crispy golden turned over biscuit sun.
Chasing butterflies by children’s skin darkened in the sun by the rays of the harsh sunshine.
Flowers peeking through to welcome the sun from its night's long rest.
Basking In the sun watching the clouds wisp away like moments happening.
Yellowing sunflowers hold the seeds the birds eat as the sun watches over its land.
The sun sits over us making the animals able to be happy with overwhelming joy.
You live for moments, you die for moments. You create moments of your own. You watch yourself draw closer to who you are. You lose your thoughts and move on. You lose touch of yourself. Getting farther to what being yourself is. You never feel right in your own skin, but feel right being you. It makes the air thinner and easier to breathe. It slowly is taken away, but all you can say is, how. How did it come to this—how did I become this person?
You are finally the person you are. The person you created.
Finally finding yourself and where you fit in. Your weapon in the battle of life is your willingness to be yourself and never give up.
All I can say is I am me. I am the person that I always wished was someone else, but I am myself and who I am willing to be.
You are you. No one can take that simple phrase away. You are who you are because you are unique and are embracing yourself in this battleground of life.
by Sela Corliss
I noticed everyone’s cool shoes and decided to take videos of them so other people could see them. I think that shoes are one of the ways that people can express themselves.
by Ty Mikuta
I started painting purely for the sake of art. I never want to become a washed-up artist, barely clinging onto relevancy by painting petty political jabs, or pieces using purely recycled meaning."
Art for the sake of art is a concept that has always interested me. Pieces with absolutely no meaning behind them other than being entertaining to look at. I used to get confused on whether or not I was painting to send a message, or if I was painting purely for the sake of art. As the political climate changed, so did the environment around statement art. Political pieces of art became repetitive, unoriginal backwash that everybody had heard a million times before. This is why I started painting purely for the sake of art. I never want to become a washed-up artist, barely clinging onto relevancy by painting petty political jabs, or pieces using purely recycled meaning. I don't want to pat myself on the back for making meaningless pieces about modern issues, acting as if I had caused any real change, or helped anyone in any way. I believe in art for the sake of art. I shouldn’t need a poorly-constructed message to be hidden behind every piece for it to be considered good. I’ve always believed in the concept of art for the sake of art, and these pieces are my contribution to that concept.
by Dani Cooke
It is 6:50 on a Tuesday night, and a group of idealists and romantics are gathered in a small room on the Hill. Bookshelves stocked with poetry line one wall, next to which exposed brick lines the backdrop for a small stage. Someone in the corner lazily tunes an old guitar; someone else scribbles furiously in a notebook; someone else orders a coffee. Every so often, an individual will approach the sign-up sheet—perhaps hesitating, perhaps standing with the confidence of ten thousand Jack Kerouacs, perhaps already strumming a ukulele—and put down their name.
Innisfree Poetry Cafe, an unassuming icon of Boulder’s creative scene, was founded in 2010—but it’s easy to feel upon entry that it has stood for many decades. As one of three poetry-only bookstores in the United States, Innisfree is a home-away-from-home for a community of artists whose connections extend well beyond their words.
I never expected to seek out stage fright on a weekly basis, but it’s on the Innisfree stage that I’ve come to find myself trembling each Tuesday behind a microphone. The open mic nights are truly that—open—and the lineup includes award-winning poets (Johnny Osi) and idealistic teenage girls (myself) alike. As the night moves on, stand-up comedy blends with ukulele solos between odes and sonnets and slam poems and ramblings and sips of wonderfully cold-brewed chamomile tea.
It is truly a place where people celebrate one another, whether in the overwhelming applause for someone performing for the first time or the echoed announcement of “New sh•t!” being shared. So, whether you’re a poet or an artist or a person in this (crazy, often disheartening) world, take two hours out of your week to hear something beautiful. And, if you’re feeling particularly brave (or particularly timid), get up on stage and try it for yourself.
Innisfree Poetry Cafe & Bookstore hosts open mics every Tuesday from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.