Highlight reel: Top 5 arts articles of the semester

Disclaimer: Although Tommy Gillespie’s “Drag Race Recap” is featured, he had no part in the writing or editing in the description of his article.

As part of Daily Week, the Arts & Living section will be revisiting five of our most popular articles from the semester. Written by a cross section of editors, contributing writers and columnists, the articles that have had the widest impact thus far this year have covered a spectrum of pop culture ranging from drag queens lip-syncing to a Greek mythology musical.

By Contributing Writer Cole Friedman, the Feb. 11 review of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” (2017) is Arts’ most-viewed online article of the semester thus far. Friedman’s review of the musical, which showed at Worcester’s Hanover Theater, attracted a great deal of attention, garnering a retweet from the “Percy Jackson” (2005–2009) series author Rick Riordan and a cool 900-plus views. Pretty impressive for a first-time writer!

Editor Tommy Gillespie’s punchy Jan. 22 recap of “RuPaul’s Drag Race: All Stars 4” was the second-most viewed article this semester. Gillespie’s encyclopedic knowledge of the show shined as he reviewed each dramatic twist and tantalizing tension featured in the episode. In addition to the recap, though, Gillespie also addressed the differing fan arguments as to whether the show relies too much on drama, causing it to stray from its original purpose of exposing drag to a wider audience. However, he concluded, the drama is what makes the show great. Readers have looked forward to Tommy’s “Drag Race” recaps every week, and who can blame them? Thankfully, season 11 is just around the corner, and all of us can get our weekly dose of queens. Shantay, you stay.

The third-most viewed article of the semester, “The 2019 Oscars: predictions, discussions, the voting process,” was a collaborative effort between Section Editor Christopher Panella and Contributing Writer and Columnist Tuna Margalit. Published on Jan. 28, the article included a short history of the recent changes to the Oscars rules and regulations. The article was both very informative about the awards and also the movies that many readers may not have seen. In addition, Panella and Margalit reviewed their best-picture hopefuls “Roma” (2018), “The Favourite” (2018) and “BlacKkKlansman” (2018). Out of the three, “Roma” snagged three Oscars, and “BlacKkKlansman” and “The Favourite” won one each. “Green Book” (2018) won Best Picture, which is literally a national tragedy.

On Jan. 24, Section Editor Daniel Klain penned a dual review of Netflix and Hulu’s coinciding documentaries on the farcical failure that was 2017’s Fyre Festival. The review explored the different angles the two streaming platforms took on the Fyre Festival disaster, with Klain ultimately deeming Netflix’s effort superior. With Fyre Festival memes still popping up everywhere, one thing’s for sure — Klain’s essay was no flop with 448 views, so far.

The premiere of the Netflix film “Bird Box” (2019) was one the most talked-about pop culture events of January, but Section Editor John Fedak took the film to task in a Jan. 24 review. While praising the film’s opening, Fedak panned the movie’s cast, editing and effects, concluding that the film was uncharacteristically mediocre for usually high-quality Netflix originals. The film’s well-deserved criticism and its popularity made this article a surefire hit with over 300 views. Thankfully, no mention of the “Bird Box challenge,” which is a bit too embarrassing to watch.

Arts isn’t just limited to the scope of the articles mentioned, but they’re great examples of some of the best content the Arts & Living section has to offer.


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