5 Timeless Life Lessons From Game of Thrones

Author: Danny Abriano, Entertainment

HBO’s massive hit, Game of Thrones, is a cultural phenomenon. There are many reasons for that, including the incredibly complex but addicting story, the performances of the actors and actresses involved, and the moments that make viewers gasp. But one huge thing with Thrones is that it resonates. While it takes place in an alternate world that would’ve been thousands of years ago had it actually existed, there are lots of themes that are timeless.


Love is love
In Thrones, love is love. Even if it’s between a high-born imp (his word, not mine) and a prostitute, an afflicted Knight and a Dragon Queen, someone who is already sworn to another and a woman he falls in love with via happenstance, or brother and sister. Okay, we’re drawing the line at brother and sister, though Thrones doesn’t. The point? In love, you need to go for it. Regardless of what anyone else thinks and regardless of the kind of person you have fallen for.

When it comes to power, size and gender don’t matter
There are more female characters on Game of Thrones who are powerful in mind, body, and actions than male characters who have the same traits. As is still the case today, which is absurd by the way, the female characters have to stand up for themselves and bust stereotypes along the way. Aside from the powerful female characters is the imp (again, his word, not mine), who may just be the smartest and most impactful character on the show.

Always think ten steps ahead
This can apply in any aspect of life, big or small. On Thrones, it could mean the difference between being stabbed in the back (literally) or surviving to live another day. In life, it could mean the difference between getting a promotion you’re going against a colleague for or being left in the dust. Thrones not only teaches us that things aren’t always what they seem, but that things can change in an instant. Don’t get left behind.

Humor is needed
Bracing for an invasion that might lead to your demise? Have a drink and laugh. Locked in a cell with a minuscule chance of ever seeing the light of day as a free person again? Crack a joke and smile. If Thrones characters can find humor during those times, we can do the same during much less stressful ones. Unless you’re actually facing an invasion or in jail (if you’re reading this from jail, at least you have internet access), try to inject a bit more humor into life.

Expect the unexpected
Life can change in an instant. And on Thrones, more important than what happens (assuming you survive what happens) is how you react and adjust after. On Thrones, it’s not about what happens to you that defines you, but how you respond. The same applies in the very real universe we live in.

Life Lessons From Hamilton

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Entertainment

There are many reasons why Hamilton is the Broadway musical it’s impossible to get tickets for.

Even two years after it’s debut on the Great White Way, the wait for tickets that cost less than your monthly car payment is still to be determined. And the tickets that cost the same as your rent are even few and far-between. Why? Because Lin Manuel-Miranda brings American history to life in a way that only he can through his remarkable performance and original music. Hamilton is bound to touch you and teach you a few things, and not just in the way of history.


Don’t forget who you are or where you came from. 

Remembering your humble beginnings will remind you of just how far you’ve come
(even when you’re rich and famous one day).


Not every piece of advice you’ll receive is good advice.

Sometimes you just have to take it with a grain of salt — and remember where it’s coming from.


Never throw away your shot. 

If it makes you happy and fulfills you, go for it. Always go for it.


And in that same vein, don’t give up on what you’re passionate about. 

No matter how ridiculous it may seem.


…but, don’t expect everyone to understand. 

Because to everyone else, it’s possible that it seems ridiculous. And they’re allowed to their opinion.


Love and hate are opposite sides of the same coin. 

(This doesn’t really require explanation, does it?)


Sometimes, we can all use a good reality check. 

Even when it’s not something we necessarily want to hear.


Even when you don’t realize it, someone’s always watching what you do. 

Whether it’s in real life or on social media, whether it’s your family or some little
kid who you don’t even know exists — people are watching. So, make it good.


And you have no control over…

… who lives, who dies, who tells your story.

Life Lessons From Young Adult Books

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

From a very early age, our educational experiences revolve around reading. We learn about our planet, our nation’s history, and get caught up in mesmerizing pieces of fiction. We are taught to embrace classic literature and find parallels between a time gone by and our modern world. But we would be mistaken if we were to believe that only George Orwell, Upton Sinclair, and John Steinbeck could present us with some literary food for thought. We may be out of our teens, but we still have a whole life to learn about, which is where these young adult books come in.

FACING DARKNESS WITH LIGHT from A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle
15-year-old Vicky’s life seems dominated by illness and death. After the death of a family friend, she spends the summer with her family on Seven Bay Island, and Vicky enjoys working with dolphins while caring for her terminally ill grandfather. There, she reunites with a love interest who attempted suicide after his mother’s death. During a visit to the hospital with her grandfather, a young patient Vicky knows dies in her arms, throwing her into a catatonic state. The only thing that can bring Vicky back from despair is her connection with dolphins, and her grandfather’s encouragement to focus on positives in life.

It’s quite easy for us to list all the horrible things going on in the world and all the little annoyances that make everyday life less wonderful. On the other hand, it is much more difficult for us to recall what is going right in our lives sometimes, especially when the bad is prolonged and seemingly never-ending. This is perhaps why gratitude lists are so popular and many people see the benefit in giving thanks for health, livelihood, and love. Even in our worst moments, there are still things worth living for and experiencing.

EVERYONE HAS A PURPOSE from The Giver by Lois Lowry
In a society where pain, suffering, and unpleasantness are replaced with “sameness,” young Jonas must adapt to his new role as the next “receiver of memory.” While every citizen is assigned to their own places in this dystopian world, Jonas’ job is completely unique — he is able to experience vivid color and negative feelings and then teaches other citizens, while he spares them from a harsh reality. When Jonas discovers the truth behind his father’s job as someone who cares for newborns before being placed with families, he escapes with the infant who is marked for death for not thriving in the same way as the other babies.

Yes, it’s true, if you want to buy things and get out of debt, you will need a job. But your purpose in life is so much more than the title on your name tag. You have talents and values that make you a vital part of the universe.

LOVE IS WORTH EVERY STRUGGLE from The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer
What could be better than a vampire meeting someone whose blood makes them irresistible? When Bella Swan falls in love with the mysterious Edward Cullen, she finds out not only is he old-fashioned. but he is actually over 100 years old and a vampire who lives only on the blood of animals. Throughout the four-book series, Edward and Bella question how much their relationship puts themselves and their families in danger, and they nearly sacrifice their lives for one another.

Love requires sacrifice (hopefully, not in the life-ending, blood-spurting sense that Bella and Edward often experience). It demands patience, quality time, and honesty, and is not always the easiest thing to endure. There may distant phases and questions of uncertainty but this, like any other emotion humans go through, is normal. Love takes work, but when it’s found, it’s worth all that comes with it.

THE IMPORTANCE OF STANDING FIRM from The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
To save her sister from a likely death, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her place in an annual competition, where one winner is crowned and the rest end up dead. When she refuses to kill her ally, Peeta, she sets off a revolution, which pits outraged citizens against the privileged capital, and their cruel government. In a world where many people are treated as disposable, their deaths and struggle for survival broadcast in a grotesque reality-show style, Katniss vows to put a stop to it… even if it means killing the corrupt President behind it all.

While violence should never be endorsed, the focus in this case is the importance of keeping and advocating for your values, and always doing what’s right. In an age in which we feel our rights may be infringed upon at any given moment and the debate about government control rages on, we must be unwavering. We must continue to value our differences and what makes us human, and we must fight for each other and not against one another.

Q and Margo live in a lovely subdivision in the sunshine state, Florida. Margo is mysterious — but despite being popular and worshipped by most, she is bent on getting revenge on classmates she feels wronged her throughout her high school years. When she goes missing after a night of pranks, Q goes on a quest to find her… but perhaps only to be the hero Margo does not seem to need.

We see this on social media every day, but we would do well to remind ourselves: we see only about a fraction of people’s daily lives. We share the perfectly angled, filtered selfies, the sweet posts about a seemingly perfect relationship, and the brand new toys we treat ourselves to. We seldom reveal to the world the nights when we are lonely and frustrated and fueling ourselves solely on Top Ramen and cheap alcohol. We need to learn to accept ourselves and every one around us for the people we are — flaws and all.

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE DEFINED BY ONE THING from The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth
To combat the problems of a troubled world, one society separates its citizens into factions defined by positive attributes: bravery, peacefulness, intelligence, selflessness, and honesty. Upon entering adulthood, young people must take a test to determine which faction they truly belong. They can choose to stay with their families in the group they grew up in, or leave to join a different faction. When Tris discovers that she does not belong to any one faction, she takes a brave leap into the world of a Dauntless (brave) initiate, while she keeps the details of her test away from the prying eyes of her superiors.

Diversity is what makes us human. No two people will ever live in the same exact manner no matter which time, circumstance, or area they are raised in. Human beings don’t fit into a box. In our differences, we find beauty, meaning, and purpose. But we should also embrace the differences within ourselves, including our changing views and passions, and our skills that we use to help us evolve. If it is important to stand up for what you believe in, it is equally important to stand up for yourself and make no apologies for who you are.

How Do DJs Make a Name for Themselves? That’s My DJ Tells Us How

Author: Elizabeth Zarb, Entertainment

Being a DJ looks cool and glamorous, right? Well millennials, thanks to a new series, we get a inside look at what it’s really like. 

That’s My DJ, a multi-award winning web series by D.W. Waterson (also known by her DJ name hey!dw), follows aspiring DJs as they try to break into the EDM scene. Yes, it’s just as awesome as it sounds.

The idea for the show came to Waterson based on her life as an EDM DJ for the past 3-5 years, knowing she wanted to bring this other world to life. “I remember when I was getting started just kind of looking around the room and being like ‘wow, there are a lot of interesting people here, and characters, and awesome music, and these flashing colorful lights, why isn’t anyone kind of telling that story?’” she said.  

The premise of the show goes beyond those colorful flashing lights, and into a world that seems glamourous on the outside — but is a whole different story on the inside. Mainstream media often shies away from showing the world of DJs for what it is.

Waterson wanted to change this. She was so inspired by the world around her that the entirety of the series’ second season is autobiographical, while the other seasons are based on people she has met and stories she has heard while being a part of the EDM scene. As a result, That’s My DJ’s scenes are shot clearly, without any sugar coating but rather, in a gritty reality. 

Season 3, however, is the darkest season of the show. “Sam (the DJ who is Season 3’s main character) is more of a producer, and he’s kind of being pushed into the DJ scene,” Waterson said. Sam’s “happy place” is making beats by himself.

“He’s constantly being pushed out the door to socialize, to drink with people, to stay up until six in the morning doing drugs in order to book his next gig, which kind of sends him on a downward spiral… it’s a very chaotic dark world.” Waterson wanted to use season 3 to show the consequences of drugs and alcohol, which are so present in the DJ world, and to explore where the line between doing drugs casually and becoming addicted falls. How does it end? Watch the series to find out! 

The webseries’ success came as a total surprise to the cast and crew of the show. It won awards at both the 2016 New York Television Festival and the 2017 Vancouver Web Series Festival, including Best Directing. “It’s cool to see when you pour your blood, sweat, and tears into something… and for everybody to react the way that they did to the [second] season was very humbling and grateful,” Waterson said.

When asked if she had any advice for people trying to break into the EDM scene or people trying to get a web series off the ground, Waterson offers advice that is applicable to the DJ realm and beyond.

 “You really kind of just have to do it,” she said.I know that sounds almost like a cop-out advice, but that’s kind of the advice that I got at the beginning. A lot of people sit on ideas and are like ‘oh but we don’t have enough money’ or ‘we lost this location’ or ‘I don’t believe in myself’ or ‘how do I get a DJ gig at a bar?’ You just kind of have to be like stupid confident… Just do it and finish it, and it you’re proud of it at the end then put it out there and really push and try to build your fanbase, because that’s how you build yourself career at the end of the day. And if you finish it and you’re not happy with it, then it was an amazing life lesson for what you want to fix next time and then go do it again.” 

How can the show inspire you? It is, (as other webseries are) is a shining example of a millennial with an idea brought to life. While not everyone can relate to the EDM scene portrayed in the show, the arcs the characters go through — whether it’s heartbreak or trying to make your mark on the world — are arcs that every young person goes through.

All three seasons of That’s My DJ are available to watch on YouTube and at thatsmydjseries.comYou can follow D.W. Waterson on Twitter and Instagram at @heydw_x. 

Movie Remakes That Never Should Have Happened

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

Over the last ten years, countless movie studios have sought to cash in on people’s love of nostalgia by producing remake after remake of some of cinemas most beloved films.

Some stray so far away from the original story line that they can hardly be interpreted as coming from the same concept, while others simply copy the first version and swap out the well-known cast for some fresh meat.

These movies never should have been remade. 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)

When Brad and Janet find themselves stranded with a flat tire, their search for a telephone leads them to a strange castle holding The Annual Transylvanian Convention and meet Dr. Frank-N-Furter.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
When you think of a cult classic, this film should immediately come to mind. Its fan base is so dedicated that screenings of the film are highly ritualized–movie-goers dress up, bring props and throw objects, and shout at the screen when certain lines are recited. In 2016, The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do The Time Warp Again was released on television to negative to mixed reviews. It should be noted that the TV-movie version pays homage to the popularity of the original by showing people attending such a viewing and including audience participation. But still, some things should be left as they are…

Grease (1978)

After a few dreamy summer nights together, Danny and Sandy discover they now attend the same high school. Sandy is poised and innocent while Danny is not quite the gentleman his summer love thought him to be. A nod to the naivete of the 1950s, the soundtrack to the film became the second best selling album of the year.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
Although Grease Live (2016) did well in ratings and was praised by many critics, nothing can live up to the original motion picture soundtrack. When a school dance or big party needs a sing-along it is usually this soundtrack (that of the original movie) that gets people shouting “Grease Lightning” and “You’re The One That I Want.” But who can recreate the performances of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John? Answer: No one. And we’re not even going to get into Grease 2 and how that never should have happened in general.

Annie (1982)

Who knew there was so much singing in orphanages? The titular Annie is a spunky young girl growing up without love and parents in New York City. Surrounded by her best friends but tormented by the owner of the orphanage, Miss Hannigan, Annie runs into a bit of luck after a thwarted escape attempt. When billionaire Oliver Warbucks sends his assistant to select an orphan to spend a few days with him at his luxurious mansion, it is Annie who is in Miss Hannigan’s office at just the right time and is ultimately chosen.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
Carol Burnett, Tim Curry, and Bernadette Peters steal every single scene that they are in. Although a TV movie (1999) and contemporary version (2014) have followed, both remakes have received more criticism than praise. The contemporary version’s soundtrack leaves out the hilarious and highly notable Easy Street, and Miss Hannigan turns out to actually be a nice person at the end. No. That’s not supposed to happen. 

Footloose (1984)

In a small town where dancing is outlawed, a newcomer from Chicago arrives and puts up a fight for the town’s first prom in many years after a tragedy killed a group of young citizens.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
This film’s 2011 remake was identical to the original — except where it mattered. The iconic songs had been retooled and frankly lost much of their charm. No matter how talented the leads are (Julianne Hough and Kenny Wormald are both professional dancers), it cannot make up for the loss of Eric Carmen and Kenny Loggins on the soundtrack.  Not to mention the fact that trying to put Footloose in the current era just doesn’t work — the dances work too perfectly with ’80s music and outfits.

Dirty Dancing (1987)

During a summer getaway at Kellerman’s resort, Frances “Baby” Houseman is immediately captivated by the enticing dance moves of instructor Johnny Castle. When his partner can no longer perform at a rival resort, clumsy, awkward Baby volunteers to fill in for her for the night. Baby learns the mambo but also lessons about love, honesty, and trust.

Why It Shouldn’t Have Been Remade
The 2017 TV movie “reimagining” was an utter disaster! Gone is the angry-competitive chemistry between Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. Gone is the memorable choreography by Kenny Ortega. Instead, audiences were introduced to many new elements which were received poorly by critics and Dirty Dancing fans alike. For instance, Baby’s parents are estranged in the beginning of the film, and at the end of the movie Johnny is revealed to have choreographed a musical based on a book Baby had written. The movie was also remade in 1988 as a TV series which, like this latest remake, failed.