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September 23rd, 2023

clare dunn spolightCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


September is rapidly approaching, which means it will soon be time for the annual High Plains Music Fest at Hugoton’s Dirtona Raceway. This year’s fun is scheduled from 6 p.m. to midnight Saturday, Sept. 9. 

This year’s headliner, Clare Dunn, is no stranger to either Hugoton or the High Plains Music Fest, and she said she is excited to be back. 

“I'm really honored and really excited because I love playing in that area. I'm not from Hugoton originally, but I hauled a lot of wheat and cattle and other stuff into Hugoton growing up and working my way through college, so Hugoton's really special to me,” Dunn said. “Anytime I get to headline an event like this near Hugoton, it's really special to me and a big honor. We're going to be sharing all my new music and all the new singles, and we'll also be playing some of my hits and some great covers, so there'll be a little bit of something for everyone. I'm excited about sharing the new music, I think people will really like it. The show's gotten bigger and better throughout the years, so I'm excited to see people's response to the music and being back in the area.”

oppenheimer spotlightJ. Robert Oppenheimer (Cilian Murphy, right) and Albert Einstein (Tom Conti) have a conversation in this scene from “Oppenheimer.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


Last summer, I made my way to the movies to watch Jordan Peele’s newest movie, “Nope,” which I later ended up reviewing, as some might remember. 

Before that movie, however, there was a teaser trailer that caught my attention from the first seconds but also ultimately ended up frustrating me because the release date alluded to July 2023. That teaser trailer ended up being for Christopher Nolan’s newest movie, “Oppenheimer,” which was released July 21 and one half of the big “Barbenheimer” release phenomenon. The movie follows physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer's (Cillian Murphy) early studies, his direction of the Manhattan Project during World War II, and his eventual fall from grace after his 1954 security hearing.

To start off, I have to give praise to the cast of the movie, and I could tell there was legitimate effort put forth with that effort. Cillian Murphy leads the cast as the titular character, and he absolutely nails his first starring role in a Chris Nolan film. He shows Oppenheimer’s brilliance (and slight neuroticism) and excitement while working on the project for the majority of the movie and then also hows his regret and uneasiness about what’s been created and what the consequences could be. I’ve thought Murphy to be a rather underrated actor for a long time now, and I’m so glad he gets this chance to shine in such a big role in a project like this – if he doesn’t get at least a nomination come awards season, I’ll be very surprised. I also enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. as Lewis Strauss and felt he did a great job in a role that feels almost opposite of Tony Stark – I felt like he had the chance to really stretch his acting chops again, and he definitely didn’t disappoint. A minor complaint I have with the casting is there are almost too many people to keep track of throughout the three-hour movie, and I feel like it would have helped to trim down the amount of characters featured.

they cloned tyrone spotlightFontaine (John Boyega), Slick Charles (Jamie Foxx) and Yo-Yo (Teyonah Parris) share a theory on their mystery in this scene from Netflix’s “They Cloned Tyrone.” Courtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


If there is one thing that’s remained consistent throughout U.S. history, it’s the development/discussion of conspiracy theories, and there have been plenty that have come and gone throughout the years. Many have been proven false while some have turned out to be true, and many more modern ones are beyond crazy while some have been deemed plausible. All conspiracy theories, however, share the common idea that there’s some overarching force(s) colluding in hiding things from the general public because the truth is just too much for the public to comprehend/bear. 

Filmmaker Juel Taylor takes on this idea with his directorial debut “They Cloned Tyrone,” which follows an unlikely trio (John Boyega, Jamie Foxx and Teyonah Parris) as they’re inadvertently put onto the trail of a nefarious government conspiracy. It was released on Netflix last week and since the premise sounded promising, I decided to give it a chance. 

To start off with, there’s a very off feeling about the movie. Everything’s very bleak and dark, and to add to that feeling, the movie has an almost grainy look to it, which I felt was a really cool creative choice. Throughout the rest of the movie, the use of color is also very creatively done and does a great job of helping set the movie’s overall tone, so my hat goes off to the crew in charge of the lighting and coloring and all of that. 

Another aspect that really helps set the tone of the movie is the music used throughout. The thumping bass from the R&B/funk music meshes VERY well with the other parts of the musical score and there were a handful of moments when I was more unsettled with the music than with what was going on in the movie. The songs also help with foreshadowing what’s going to happen next, some of which I didn’t fully realize until after it happened in the movie. I didn’t quite catch who was in charge of the music, but they get my respect for how they used the music used in the movie.