Today’s issue is 767 words, a 6–minute read.
Isabella and Helene talk Taylor Swift’s Ticketmaster scandal, the tragedies and joys of this year’s Lunar New Year, musician Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega, and information sessions from the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.
Good morning! Helene here.
If you listen to Taylor Swift (or even if you don’t), you probably heard that ticket sales for her recently released “Eras” tour were a gigantic flop. Most people are pointing fingers at Ticketmaster and its parent company, Live Nation Entertainment. They’re giants in the live music world, and now, after their fumble of such a large demand for Taylor Swift tickets, an antitrust investigation has been opened up by the DOJ. (As a reminder: Antitrust laws encourage competition in the market by limiting and monitoring the market power of any one company or firm. They keep a close eye on company mergers and acquisitions to ensure that markets don’t get monopolized by one firm). In an ideal scenario, the DOJ would file a complaint, basically saying that Ticketmaster is monopolizing the market, and then in a trial they would be asked to unwind the merger they have with Live Nation Entertainment. That trial that happened earlier this week saw harsh criticisms across party lines, with many agreeing that something has got to change with ticket sales. Now, only time will tell what becomes of the ticketing giant and the world’s community of disappointed Swifties has grown by the thousands.
In much sadder news, I’m sure many of you also heard about the shooting during a Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California, that claimed 10 lives. The deeply tragic act was felt all across the country as Lunar New Year celebrations were in full swing. Monterey Park canceled the rest of their celebrations to allow the community space to mourn. Celebrations in the Twin Cities pushed on through fears of violence, hosting one of the largest and longest Lunar New Year celebrations the state has seen. The freshly constructed Asia Mall in Eden Prairie hosted around 20,000 visitors over the week-long celebration. Even in spite of the tragedy, the impressive Minnesota celebrations were a space for Minnesota’s Asian community to come together and usher in the new year.
In local talent this week, you know her as Latina Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega. But, did you know she’s also a Boricua singer, songwriter, actress, and rapper? From St. Paul’s West Side, she released a hip-hop EP called “Capitolio” under the stage name “Maria Isa”. You can find it available on platforms like Spotify, Youtube music, Bandcamp, Pandora and others. The album was released the day she was sworn into office. An eight-track hip-hop record with Puerto Rican influence and inspired by the campaign run. In an interview with The Current, Maria Isa shared how “Hip-hop is a culture of the people, and it is me. It is Puerto Rican, it is Black. It is all the shades of representation. It’s vogue, it’s diversity. It’s queer, it’s love. And it’s survival.” She believes that “Capitolio” embodies these feelings exactly. For those who aren’t familiar, Rep. María Isa Pérez-Vega serves District 65B (where she also lives) in the Minnesota House of Representatives. She is also the daughter of the first Latina appointed to direct the office of equal opportunity. You can listen to her album here.
The Minnesota Office of Higher Education is hosting a virtual financial aid series for students and families in English and Spanish every Tuesday evening starting in February. Also, on Thursday, February 16th they will be hosting an overview of the Minnesota Dream Act in Spanish. See more information below. The series, running February 7 through 28, will cover general financial aid information, details on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the Minnesota Dream Act for undocumented students, and other ways to pay for college. A fact sheet for schools is attached.
- All sessions will have simultaneous interpretation in Spanish, Somali and Hmong. Information for families about registering for the series is available here.
- Students who attend a session or watch one of the recordings will be eligible to win a $500 scholarship!
- These sessions are a collaborative effort between the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, Minnesota Department of Education, ECMC The College Place and Minnesota Goes to College.
Please help us tell students in your community about this opportunity.
To access materials to promote these events in your school or program, you can access the Ready Set FAFSA Promotional Toolkit, which includes a social media guide, graphics for school newsletters and blurbs for school communications to families.
One last thing from us this week! Here at NewPublica, we’ve been getting excited about the Chanhassen Dinner Theater performance of the musical “The Prom”, which follows alongside four Broadway actors that have fallen from fame as they help a lesbian high schooler bring her girlfriend to the prom in a conservative town. We’re super excited that a few members of our team will be attending and will be writing up a review for the show, which opens mid-February. You can check out more on the Chanhassen Dinner Theater website!
That’s it from us! Happy Thursday.
-Helene and Isabella