Pop culture this week

Alexa Ash

ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Has James Charles been sister silenced?

If you are an avid Youtube-obsessor, or honestly if you’ve looked at Twitter at all the past week, you’ll know that sister influencer, James Charles, 19, has been dragged by fellow Youtuber Tati Westbrook, 37. This internet feud started after Charles accepted a paid sponsorship from a vitamin brand, Sugar Bear Hair, which is in direct competition to former friend and mentor, Tati’s vitamin brand, Halo Beauty. Amidst all the beauty community drama, Westbrook unloaded some information about Charles’ personal life, insinuating the he is using his power and celebrity status to sexually manipulate men. Whether or not the allegations are true, I don’t know, but I do know that with gossip this juicy, studying for finals is the last thing on my mind.

“Archie” glad she finally had her baby?

On May 6, weighing seven pounds and three ounces, a new royal baby was born. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed the birth of their son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor. Although it seems that Meghan has been watching far too much “Riverdale” in regards to that name, we (meaning all of us Sussex stans) couldn’t be more thrilled for them. I know for everyone it felt as though Meghan Markle had been pregnant for eons, but that is in due to the fact that she was late. Because Archie is seventh in line for the throne, the new parents have decided to raise him as normal and plebe-like as possible. I’m not sure how normal your life can be living on the grounds of one of England’s largest castles, but A for effort, you two.  

The Saint, the Psalm, and Northern Chicago

We’ve got baby fever over here at The Leader (or maybe it’s just me) so let’s keep this baby announcement train a’movin’. On May 9, super couple Kim Kardashian-West and husband Kanye West, hilariously referred to as “Kimye”, welcomed their new son, Psalm. As this is her second child delivered via surrogacy, Kim took to Instagram on Mother’s Day saying that, “Beautiful Mother's Day; with the arrival of our fourth child; We are blessed beyond measure; We have everything we need." Other than the odd choice of name, I’m sure Psalm will be just as adorable as every other Kardashian baby, all 273 of them.

Andy's upcoming movies

Andrew Cripe

FILM CRITIC

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“Rocketman” (May 22)

Prediction: Bad

I don’t want to speak too soon and call this a straight-up “Bohemian Rhapsody” clone, but it sure looks like one. By the looks of the trailer it hopes to follow the same beats as last year’s frustratingly crap Queen biopic, boringly gliding through the artist’s greatest hits, showing a montage for each, vaguely but never unflatteringly highlighting what was going on in the artist’s life… Rinse and repeat. From the trailer, the visual invention is not going far beyond what you could watch for free in Vevo music videos. Stay home for this one.

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“Aladdin” (May 22)

Prediction: Bad

Get out of here with this bull. It is transparent that all that Disney is doing is digging up the graves of its past properties and making them look somehow even worse with live action treatment. Will Smith’s Genie looks like a horrifying mistake. Nothing is worse than a boring movie, and this new Aladdin looks like it would bore even children. Do your and yours a favor and dust off your VHS copy of the original.

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“Godzilla: King of the Monsters” (May 29)

Prediction: Good

Critically, the 2014 “Godzilla” was applauded for its deft grasp of tension and tone, two things that are hard to maintain in a giant monster action movie. I thought it was very badass, but I had to agree with the admittedly apt complaint the fans had: “there’s not enough Godzilla in this Godzilla movie!” Director Michael Dougherty aims to remedy this by having Godzilla go fisticuffs with his rival Ghidorah, and from the trailers, their clash looks freaking epic and worthy of the big screen. Starring Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”) and Vera Farmiga (“Bates Motel”).  

Extra: Cannes Film Festival Radar

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“A Hidden Life” (May 15)

Prediction: Divisive

This is probably the most anticipated film of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Infamously polarizing filmmaker Terrence Malick, who won the 2011 Palme d’Or for “The Tree of Life”, returns to the festival with this German-Austrian period piece. Little is known about it, but what has been teased is that this is Malick’s grand return to focused, plot-driven films (ever since his shocking 1998 film “The Thin Red Line”, Malick has been making giant films with arthouse aesthetics). “A Hidden Life” is more than likely to frustrate and bore viewers who are not acclimated to Malick’s style of long, contemplative cinema, but for fans, this is one probably worth anticipating.

Meals on a budget: April 23

Noah Pearson

OPINIONS EDITOR

Baked Crispy Avocado Fries Recipe

If millennial trends appeal to you, but you don’t want to appear too basic, try this avocado fry recipe that makes the basic millennial inside you squeal, but lets the fake outer you pretend to be cultured.

Ingredients

2 large unripe avocados peeled, pitted, and sliced into 8 pieces

1/2 tsp of salt

1/2 tsp of pepper

1 egg

1 tbsp of milk

1 1/2 cups of tortilla chips, crushed

3/4 tsp of cumin

1/8 tsp of cayenne

1/4 tsp of paprika

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees

  2. Mix egg and milk in one bowl and spices and crushed chips in a separate bowl

  3. Coat the avocado slices in the egg/milk bowl, then coat each slice with the spices and crushed chips from the second bowl

  4. Place on a baking sheet and cook for about 10-12 minutes

  5. Enjoy

Recipe retrieved from evolvingtable.com

5 upcoming movies coming out May 2019

Andrew Cripe

FILM CRITIC


“Shadow” (May 3)

Prediction: Good

After the colossal failure of the 2016 action movie “The Great Wall”, Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou looks to make a huge comeback with “Shadow”, a historical drama that has already received rave reviews from around the world. Expect the return of Yimou’s awe-inspiring fight choreography and visual mastery that made films like “Hero” and “House of Flying Daggers” international sensations.

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“Long Shot” (May 3)

Prediction: Okay

From the trailer of this romantic comedy about a Presidential candidate (Charlize Theron) falling in love with a reporter (Seth Rogen), Jonathan Levine’s latest seems genuinely sweet, if not a bit formulaic. It’s not clear if Rogen will be playing his usual bumbling stoner or if he will be aiming somewhat higher, but the best can always be expected of Charlize Theron, one of the finest actresses out there.

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“The Hustle” (May 10)

Prediction: Meh

After the respectable success of this year’s “Isn’t It Romantic”, the delightful Rebel Wilson will soon be back in theaters for a heist film about two con artists that become partners, co-starring Anne Hathaway. “The Hustle” has great talent supporting it, but the question is whether the film itself will rise to their level, and from the looks of the lame jokes in the trailer, the odds are not promising.

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“Pokémon: Detective Pikachu” (May 10)

Prediction: Divisive

This is the first live action Pokémon movie, and it looks a little terrifying. Every major Pokémon from the popular anime and videogame series is represented, and from the trailers, some look adorable, like Pikachu (voiced by Ryan Reynolds). But there are others that are mind-bogglingly freaky, like the menacing-looking Psyduck and the taunting, nightmarish expression on Mr. Mime’s face. The production value looks stellar, and the whole package could very well be one of 2019’s most satisfying family films, but it could also be a disaster the likes of which we’ve never seen. Devotees of the series already know they’ll be seeing it, but for the casual moviegoer, Detective Pikachu will probably not be their cup of tea.

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“John Wick: Chapter 3” (May 17)

Prediction: Excellent

The last two John Wick movies were amazing. They were popular action movies that had the decency to tell an interesting story about a former hitman while still being jaw-droppingly violent and extremely badass. These movies are a cross between “Mortal Kombat” and “The Raid”, and this third entry promises to the titular character’s biggest, craziest, most ambitious adventure yet.

A look at the infamous grisly crimes near Elmhurst

Afaaf Amatullah

STAFF REPORTER

With the news of Ripper Crew killer Thomas Kokoraleis’ release from prison, a member of the sadistic cult suspected of slaying as many as 18 women, including in our very own Elmhurst, here’s five cases that you never figured would have happened in Elmhurst or nearby neighborhoods:


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1.             ‘Ripper Crew’ Murders.

Dubbed the “Ripper Crew” in a nod to London’s Jack the Ripper serial killer who slayed women in the 1880s, this satanic four man cult prowled the Chicago area in the 80s for unsuspecting females and ate their victims’ body parts. In 1982, police uncovered that these men committed up to 18 sexually motivated homicides, one of those victims being 21-year-old Elmhurst resident Lorraine Borowski. One man responsible for the crimes was sentenced to death in 2003 while two others face life-imprisonment. The fourth convicted murderer, Thomas Kokoraleis, who is now 58, was released to Aurora on March 29.


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2. Tylenol Murders

In September 1982, seven people from the Chicago suburbs, including Elmhurst, fell victim to poisoning by consuming cyanide-laced Tylenol. While FBI investigations found evidence of drug tampering, which occurred during the distribution process, the perpetrator who poisoned the pills was never named or found. The Tylenol terror, which frightened the nation for weeks and gained widespread publicity, influenced copycat crimes over subsequent years.

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3. The Killer Clown: John Wayne Gacy.

Between 1972 and 1978, serial killer John Wayne Gacy orchestrated the murders of 33 young men and boys in Norwood Park. Gacy became known as the infamous “Killer Clown” because he would host community get-togethers and dress up as as a clown to entertain children. In 1978, the disappearance of a high school student led to Gacy. When his place of residence was searched, police uncovered several corpses buried on the property. Gacy was immediately arrested and executed in 1994 by lethal injection. While the “Killer Clown” was found guilty for all 33 murders, six of his victims still remain unidentified to this day.


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4.  Bitcoin Murder-For-Hire Case

In 2018, a former Loyola University Medical Center nurse, Tina Jones, was accused of hiring a hitman through the dark web for nearly $11,000 in bitcoin to murder her former lover’s wife. The case had been uncovered through an investigation carried out by a CBS program into an illegal service website. The team had noticed a posting for the murder of a clinical social worker in Naperville and immediately involved local authorities. In the spring of 2018, an Illinois judge ruled that Jones must wear a GPS monitoring device as she resides in her parents’ home. If Jones is found guilty, she can face up to 40 years in prison without the possibility of parole.



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5. Lesbian Love Triangle

In a case that made national headlines because of its intriguing nature, Villa Park resident, Nicole Abusharif, 32, was charged with first-degree murder on July 14, 2009, after being convicted of the murder of long-time partner Rebecca Klein, 28. Klein was killed on March 15, 2007 after being smothered with a plastic bag and bound with duct tape. Abusharif claims to have been in an open-relationship with Klein and was seeing a 20-year-old woman on the night of the murder. During trial, Abusharif denied playing any part in the death of her long-time partner.

Pop culture this week

Alexa Ash

ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR

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Aca-Awkward!

Just two years after their gorgeous outdoor wedding, “Pitch Perfect” stars Anna Camp and Skylar Astin have separated. When their relationship began in June of 2013, all of us were decidedly annoyed that he had chose his absolutely beautiful co-star and not us (or was that just me?) However, paradise seems to have ended quicker than the “Pitch Perfect” franchise itself. On Friday, April 19, the former couple issued a comment to People saying: “We can confirm that we have decided to separate, and this decision was made mutually and amicably. We kindly ask for privacy as we navigate this transition.” Now that Skylar Astin is getting divorced, do you think it’d be aca-awkward if I slid into those DMs? Let me know.

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Orange is the new (Kodak) Black

The prodigal rapper has returned and with a few felonies under his belt to boot! After some shady business with a cancelled concert on Wednesday night and the mysterious disappearance of Kodak Black, the gossip websites have been in a tizzy trying to find him to get the scoop. Where in the world is Kodak Black? Well, Mr. Black was at the Lewiston-Queenston International Bridge border getting arrested for the possession of drugs and guns with an intent to bring them into the country. Yikes. However, the real kicker of the story is that Black is now blaming his GPS for accidentally directing him into Canada. You can’t make this shit up, people.

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April showers bring more drama

Can’t this just end already? The two most overrated people in the celebrity sphere seem to duking it out over the coveted date “April 26”. On April 13, Taylor Swift posted a very vague picture of a glittering, pink, diamond-encrusted heart with the caption “4.26”. Now that sounds like a teaser for an important event; I don’t think she posted that because she finds the number combination aesthetically pleasing. In a post to her own instagram, which has curiously been deleted, Kim Kardashian, law student and longtime frenemy of Swift, announced the launch of her new fragrance collection collab with sister, Kylie Jenner, which will be released on, you guessed it, April 26. Now, this could all just be some great coincidence, and it will all blow over soon. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ready for another diss-track from the queen of “writing about your feelings and exposing everyone along the way”. So we’ll see.

Pop culture this week

Alexa Ash

ARTS & CULTURE EDITOR

Billy Ray rides LIl Nas X “ ‘til he can’t no more”

Famously known as Hannah Montana’s dad (not so famously known for his career in country music,) Billy Ray Cyrus, 57, is featured on Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road - Remix”. This country-trap song that quickly took over the Billboard’s Hot Country chart just as quickly fell off. In an attempt to save face, Lil Nas X, 20, recruited the “Achy Breaky Heart” crooner to record on this quintessential country song about women and horses. Cyrus took to Twitter to fill us all in on his take on the song and how it will impact country music: “I thought, it’s honest, humble, and has an infectious hook, and a banjo. What the hell more do ya need?” I think I need another season of Hannah Montana instead of this weird cameo, that’s what.

Spoilers are Coming

Maisie Williams, better known as Arya Stark from the global sensation that is the “Game of Thrones” series gave fans somewhat of a shock during her interview with Jimmy Fallon on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon”. As this is the final season of a series that is famous for its blatant disregard for the lives of its own characters, fans are not-so-patiently waiting to know the fate of their favorite storylines. After blurting out that her character Arya would be dying in the second episode of the season, a very uncomfortable few minutes ensued that involved Williams running off stage and Fallon to be more awkward than he usually is. Fortunately for GoT fans it was just an April Fools joke and everyone went home happy. But, like, is this some kind of reverse psychology scheme and she actually DOES die? So many questions.  

And the Bride wore Marc Jacobs

Designer Marc Jacobs, 55, got hitched on April 6th to former model Charly “Char” Defrancesco. Although it has been dubbed an “intimate ceremony” by E! News, it is safe to say that us plebes want to know all of the “intimate” details about that star-(not rhinestone)-studded guest list for the reception held at the Grill Room in New York City. It’s not too surprising to see top models such as Cindy Crawford, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kate Moss show up in their finest designer couture. Queen and all around legend Anna Wintour also made an appearance in, yes, her signature black-tinted sunglasses. Between the A-List guests and what I would imagine to be a stunning ceremony, this may be the wedding of the year.