Sofia Villareal

“Ultraviolence” (Album)

Lana Del Rey’s album “Ultraviolence” doesn’t exactly summon feelings of excitement or joy, but, then again, not many of her songs do. However, it is fun to listen to the album in a weirdly gloomy and dramatic kind of way. Compared to her previous work, this album, for the most part, left pop behind in favor of smooth bluesy and rock-‘n’-roll  tones. Although not all of the songs are worth listening to on repeat, there are some solid ballads that showcase her range of vocals. You can watch her live this October at Austin City Limits.

John Mendiola

“Orange Is The New Black” (TV Show)

I love the second season of “Orange is the New Black,” an original Netflix series. OitNB, as the show is referred to, starts off with a very simple premise: the life of a somewhat average woman, Piper Chapman, in a women’s federal prison. I watched the first episode of the first season and was mysteriously drawn to the show. I could not stop watching, and I ended up finishing the season in two days. The same thing happened with the second season. Similarly to  “The Wire” or “Game of Thrones,” “Orange is the New Black” is great at making you care about the main cast, the side characters and even the characters you want to hate. It is funny and absurd, but it never forgets its settings. It has something serious to say underneath all the humor and drama.

Monica Clifford

“Sex Criminals” (Graphic Novel)

Here’s the premise: two twentysomethings, Jon and Suzie,  stop time when they orgasm. The “criminals” part comes when they decide to use their “powers” to rob banks in order to save their local library. I love this comic in large part because of Matt Fraction’s writing: he has crafted a story which takes a funny but fascinating view of sex and the way we talk about it and understand it. Filled with humor, drama, action and excitement, this is one comic that I think everyone can enjoy! Technically this series debuted last September, but the first trade paperback, collecting issues 1-5, was published this summer. So far, there are seven issues total.

Mason Walker

“The Immigrant” (Film)

I’m still not quite certain if “The Immigrant” is a cinematic classic for the ages. I’m not entirely sure if its haunting performances and evocative visuals will, in the long run, compensate for its shoddy, melodramatic plotting. But what I do know is this: “The Immigrant” turned me into a weary, teary, elated wreck, and I’m very glad it did. Anchored by typically staggering work from Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard, this tale of a love-hate relationship between a Polish immigrant and an American pimp shows us how cruelty and grace can co-exist within one person—and within one country. Plus, that final scene with Phoenix and Cotillard is just killer.