Megan’s Pop Culture Watch: November 2021

Media is messy. With countless social platforms and ever-changing trending pages, it is easy to miss the biggest headlines. The Messenger is back with the latest triumphs, trends and troubles of the pop culture world.

Disaster in “Utopia” — The Astroworld Tragedy:

To begin is a topic of the utmost sensitivity, unlike most of the other subjects of our discussion.

Music festivals are synonymous with happiness, fun and freedom; Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival on Nov. 5 gravely proved to be all but that. Over 50,000 attendees crammed into the sold-out festival, which took place in Houston, Texas, to see the aforementioned rapper perform alongside other artists, including Drake. A combination of the amount of people present along with the general energy of the crowd resulted in the trampling of hundreds of concertgoers. Eight people died by the end of the night and an additional two lives were lost in the days after the concert due to extensive injuries. The youngest victim was nine years old.

People in the crowd attempted multiple times throughout the concert to get Scott’s attention, even climbing onto the spotlight stands to alert his crew, who ignored the cries for help. Scott never stopped the concert to calm the crowd and get help for those injured, instead bringing out special guests and doing the robot dance, acting as if absolutely nothing strange was occurring right before his eyes. Scott put out an apology video on his Instagram the next day, but the lives lost could not be brought back. Many who saw the video believed that Scott did not care about the lives lost at his concert, as he did not take true accountability for his part in what happened that day.

Scott, his company and crew and even celebrity guests at the concert are now facing numerous lawsuits totaling over two billion dollars in reparations for the lives lost during Astroworld. The suits place the blame on Scott, Live Entertainment Inc, Drake and other guilty parties that saw what was going on and failed to take proper action. Scott has offered to cover the funeral expenses for the eight people who died that night, but despite this, the lives of the families of those lost and injured due to the festival will remain forever changed.

2) The King (and Queen) of Staten Island

A meme of Kim and Pete on their way to Campania (created by Megan Trapanese).

You know the story: the popular girl meets the awkward outcast and before they know it they are both head over heels for each other. Hollywood star Kim Kardashian and self-proclaimed outsider Pete Davidson are destined for this rom-com trope. The two had met numerous times over the course of their respective careers but after Kim hosted Saturday Night Live in early October, where Davidson is a regular cast member, they were spotted alone together much more often.

Staten Island is many things, but no one thought that it would be a place that Kim Kardashian would purposely seek out. Being courted around by her friend, the Skims founder spent the evening of Nov. 2 in the “Forgotten Borough,” dining with Davidson on the secluded rooftop of a local restaurant. The Italian-cuisine restaurant, Campania, is well-known as one of Davidson’s favorites in his home borough.. Locals, and everyone else, were dumbfounded to hear that the “Saturday Night Live” actor took the queen of media to a small, affordable restaurant in the center of what some people say is the worst part of New York City.

Since their island vacation, Kardashian and Davidson have been pictured more than once to be holding hands in the media. No formal statements have been made by either party but an anonymous source told E! News that the two are officially together. Social media users are convinced that the two are on the path to becoming the reigning couple of Staten Island.

3) Red (Taylor’s Version), Dead, No Redemption

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In her quest to reclaim her masters, Taylor Swift is not holding anything back. The 31-year-old singer released the “Taylor’s Version” re-recording of her fourth studio album “Red” on Nov. 12, and fans have been recovering ever since. The release broke the popular music streaming app Spotify for 13 minutes that Friday night and has since broken multiple records, including having the most streams for a female artist in a single day.

The album contains 30 songs, with 21 new adaptations of songs from the original album and nine “From the Vault,” which are unreleased songs from that particular time in Swift’s life and career. “Red (Taylor’s Version)” also features popular artists like Phoebe Bridgers and Ed Sheeran.

However, fans anticipated one song far more than the rest, with Swift dropping an extended version of her song “All Too Well.” “Red (Taylor’s Version)” contained a longer, uncut version of the track — the most emotive one on “Red,” written about the three-month relationship between Swift and former boyfriend and actor Jake Gyllenhaal.

“All Too Well (Taylor’s Version) (Ten-Minute Version) (From the Vault)” describes the anger, animosity and engulfing sadness that the young songwriter experienced during her relationship with the then-29-year-old actor while being 20 years young herself. To amp up this heart-wrenching song with even more emotion, Swift created a short film for the ten-minute song. Starring Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, it depicts the relationship as seen through Taylor’s eyes.

Swift still has a while to go before she officially owns all of her discography, having three more albums to re-record and release, but Swifties cannot wait to hear her new take on her old songs. Swift’s other exes should take “Red (Taylor’s Version)” as a warning that Swift takes no prisoners when re-experiencing her past loves and relationships.

4) Are Your Spider-Senses Tingling?

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Marvel and Sony finally heard the message that with great power comes great responsibility, resulting in the first full-length trailer for “Spider-Man: No Way Home” being released earlier this month. The three-minute video confirmed some fans’ suspicions about the film, such as the featured villains, and sparked even bigger discussions about the possible appearance of the previous two Spider-Men, Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield, alongside Tom Holland’s version.

A version of the trailer posted by Sony Brazil contained a slight difference to other countries’ trailers. In one particular scene, Spider-Man faces off against multiple villains at once. Oddly, the villain Lizard appears to get punched by absolutely nothing, being blown back as if something or someone had hit him. Fans ecstatically took this as proof that the other two Spider-Men are in the film but are being strategically edited out to save the surprise for theaters. This is not confirmed to be true though some fans wholeheartedly believe that this movie will briefly return Garfield and Maguire to their radioactive roles.

The third in the usual trilogy of solo-hero movies, “No Way Home” is bound to be the most action-packed Spider-Man movie in the series, especially if the other two Spider-Men have decided to reprise their roles. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will be released in theaters on Dec. 17.

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