Remembering the best times of Total Request Live
Feb07

Remembering the best times of Total Request Live

With many technological advancements happening over the last decade, long gone are  days of waiting in anticipation to watch favorite artists premier their newest video, or waiting in long lines to buy their latest CD, thanks to file sharing and YouTube. In 1998 one show came to MTV and for a decade defined a generation. VH1 aired a documentary last week about Total Request Live also known as TRL. It began as a music video shown on MTV in the late `90s. The show has helped to launch the careers of some of today’s biggest pop stars, such as Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Taking a look back into the `90s is quite amusing. It is interesting to see how the fashions have changed as well as the music, and how many of the artists have matured. Before iPods or Zunes, the top ten videos, which were being introduced by host Carson Daly, were the playlists of many teenagers. Over a short period of time, the crowds grew bigger, as well as fan feedback from the Internet. Viewers were able to call in by phone and had the opportunity to chat with various celebrities. Sophomore nursing major Shelby Ashley remembers rushing home from school so she could catch the show in time. “I wanted to marry Carson Daly. My favorite debut video was ‘Bye Bye Bye’ from *NSYNC and ‘Oops I did it Again’ from Britney Spears,” she said. Not only was TRL just an outlet for music, but the show covered many big events over the years, such as tragedies  and the deaths of celebrities. Sophomore nursing major Linda Rubio said, “The biggest TRL moment for me was when 9/11 happened. I just remember how quiet and how somber the audience was. I  remember being so surprised that it was even going to air and to see the debris from the window; I was just in awe. It seemed like even Carson was speechless.” Ashley said, “I was very young when the Columbine shooting happened, but I do remember coming home from school one day and seeing them cover this on TRL. It was weird because TRL was a feelgood kind of show. It was very happy. I never expected a show like that to cover real life news.” Unfortunately, with the popularity of illegal downloads of music, and with the generation who made TRL what it was turning into young adults,  fans and ratings for the show started to diminish in 2007, and by 2008 the show finally ended with a celebrity filled goodbye party on the air. This was the decade when MTV would play music...

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Hunger Games books point to a promising future for the film
Jan24

Hunger Games books point to a promising future for the film

If any film has the potential to live up to its literary counterpart, The Hunger Games is it. It’s a rare occurrence when a movie based on a book offers the same emotional and mental connection that reading the book does, but it might just happen with the release of the first movie in March. Its plot packed with action, adventure, love, depravity and deception, The Hunger Games trilogy is an easy read that’s sure to please even the most critical of readers. It’s set in the post modern world, with the country Panem divided into 12 districts all controlled by the strong hand of the Capitol. The Capitol holds the Hunger Games each year to remind the nation why they are in control. Two teenagers from each district are chosen to fight in a complex arena until only one remains alive. The nation is required to watch the televised event so citizens can clearly see the power the Capitol exercises over not only them, but future generations. The trilogy focuses on Katniss Everdeen, a young girl from District 12, a poor and overlooked area. Though she has never been accustomed to having an advantage over others, Everdeen’s skills of hunting in banned areas gives her a leg up on the competition. Her fight for her own survival, her family’s safety, her right to love and her dream to overthrow the governmental strongholds captivate the reader from the first few pages through the end of the struggle. The simple yet powerful words Suzanne Collins  writes paint pictures unlike other popular series. Readers find themselves going straight from one book to the next at a quick pace to ensure they discover the outcome of Everdeen’s life and the Capitol’s position. Perhaps one reason the books have become so hugely popular is that they tap into a diverse spectrum of human emotion, pushing each situation to the raw edge. The majority of the trilogy is dominated by war, strife and depravity, but themes of forbidden love, unlikely friendship and rebellious political activism stream underneath the bloody cover of futuristic battlefields. The books continue growing in popularity the nearer the movie release date comes. They hold the top three spots on Kindle’s book list. The first single “Safe and Sound” from The Hunger Games sound track was released Dec. 23 and already has more than two million views on YouTube. The song is performed by big names in the music business, Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars, giving it added attention from their fans. Even for those who are not particularly fans of science fiction, futuristic settings or nonfiction books in general,...

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All-American Muslim: Why the social uproar?

Over the years, TLC has developed a knack for highlighting groups in society that many viewers may not know  much about. From hoarders to pageant kids to little people to Gypsies, they focus on the abnormal, the unique, the rare, the quirky and often the most fascinating among us. While most of their programs are met with curiosity and intrigue, one of their most recent has been met only by controversy and closed-mindedness since it first aired in November. All-American Muslim documents five Muslim American families living in Dearborn, Mich., home to the largest mosque in the United States and one of the highest concentrations of Islamic followers. It shadows their everyday lives and some of the struggles they face as a religious minority. It is no secret that since 9/11, tensions have often run high in the United States concerning the Islamic faith, so when the show hit the television screen, it caused backlash not only among some of its viewers, but advertisers as well, including Lowe’s, which pulled its commercials from the program. While the company has every constitutional right not to support the show, and viewers have every right not to watch it, the measure of opposition is looking a lot less like First Amendment freedom and a lot more like religious hatred. Much of it comes from the Florida Family Association, a religious group that aims to “educate people on what they can do to defend, protect and promote traditional, biblical values.” But since when did bigotry become a “traditional biblical value”? The show is not promoting Islam. It is not trying to convert or preach or defend a religious set of beliefs. It is  merely doing the same thing all of the network’s programs do – document people’s everyday lives. In interviews, the founder of FFA David Caton claims that his problem with All-American Muslim is that it does not depict extremists of the faith. Basically, he’s mad because it’s not casting a negative image of a religion that so many Americans have come to fear. But perhaps if people took the time to understand it, they’d be less scared of it. And the fact is, all religions have extremists, but that does not make them the majority. Countless cult leaders and serial killers have used the Bible as a shield to hide their sadistic actions, but I’m sure Mr. Caton would not advocate programming that portrayed Christianity in the same light that he would like TLC to show Islam in. And what is even scarier than the minority of religious nut cases out there, is the fact that so many Americans are so...

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Perry play gives people more than just a laugh

Austin welcomed Tyler Perry with open arms Jan. 17 as he presented his play The Haves and the Have Nots at the Long Center.  Before the show, the audience sat in anticipation expecting a good laugh. After all, Perry is known for his colorful, over-the-top characters and his sometimes iffy story lines. But as the curtains went up and the play started, the audience soon realized that laughter was not the only thing being served. What the audience got was a well performed, heartfelt story filled with honesty, brutal realities, powerful music and, of course, comedy. The play focused on two families — one with wealth and one without. Grandma Haitie is the matriarch of the second family. She has let her daughter Rose, son-in-law Frank and grandson Wallie come and live with her. The opening scene starts with depressing news that their house is currently being foreclosed, and within three days they will be out on the streets. Frank is currently unemployed, and Rose works as a maid. Things start to look up when Rose’s boss, Louis, offers Frank a job to help him get on his feet. The scene is changed to the mansion of newlyweds Louis and Diane. He is a rich businessman, and she is a spoiled gold-digger who manipulates and lies to get what she wants. Rose has been Louis’ maid for six years, but things become complicated when Frank starts working for the wealthy couple. The lady of the house, Diane, starts making advances to her new employee and makes it her personal mission to break up his marriage. Meanwhile, the teenage son of Rose and Frank, Wallie, feels that it is his responsibility to raise the money to save their house from foreclosure.  He starts dealing drugs and finds himself in jail. As the story unfolds, audience’s hearts ache for the characters facing their own personal trials and tribulations. Frank, the husband, is overwhelmed with guilt because he cannot provide for his family. Rose, a wife and mother, who has always put her trust in God, is now faced with news of her husband’s alleged indiscretions and her son’s run-in with the law. Louis, a man rich with money and power, has to come to the harsh reality that money may buy a young, beautiful wife, but it cannot buy happiness. And finally, Diane, the seductive adulteress battles her own demons. Two characters soften the blow of the seriousness of the tough issues addressed. Haitie is the encouraging elder who has much advice to give and many stories to tell, while Floyd is a friend to everyone. He knows all, sees all,...

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Band is aiming for the big time
Jan24

Band is aiming for the big time

A band by the name of Hedley Grange is taking the Central Texas music scene by storm. Both KVET 98.1 out of Austin and The Ranch 95.9 out of Dallas currently play the band’s popular song “Church Signs.” The success for the quintet is quickly rising with appearances all over the state. They will be playing at Bum’s Sports Grill at midnight Jan. 27. The group members consist of lead vocalist and guitarist Kody Yeager, pot and pans player Charlie Lucko, lead guitarist Tyler Ralston, rhythm guitar and harmonica player Will Janke and bass player Will Gilley. The band’s name comes from a recording studio in Headley, England. Yeager, a former UMHB student, said the band simply began when he realized both he and a fellow co-worker had a common taste for music. “The band itself has been around for about a year and a half. I and the guitarist were working together at the same restaurant and in passing we found out that we both like music. We got together and started hanging out, and sure enough we hit it off pretty good,” he said. The band has not always had five members; two more people have joined since last year. “We just added Will Gilley and Charlie Lucko a few months ago. So the band with all five of us is new, and it has been about three months that we have all been together,” Yeager said. Music has been a part of Janke’s life for quite some time. Prior to the band, he played such instruments as the guitar, bass and harmonica. He said, “I have been a part of the band for one year. I was chosen after about a year of playing opening acoustic for them.” Janke also credits his mother and two sisters for introducing him to different genres of music. He is inspired by Bob Dylan, Reckless Kelly and The Band. When people come to attend his performances, he hopes the audience will leave with this message. He said, “If you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life.” For Janke, being in a band and juggling his everyday life may not be easy, but he does not mind since he is doing something he loves. Gilley caught the music bug early in life, and it is his passion. He enjoys all the success the band has acquired lately and looks forward to the future. “Everyone is very supportive thus far. As long as we keep our heads down and work hard, I believe the sky is the limit for Hedley Grange,” he said. “Hedley...

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Second ‘Highways’ rocks Hughes
Nov15

Second ‘Highways’ rocks Hughes

By Terryn Kelly The Schade Tree band, featuring art department Chair Hershall Seals, kicked off the Highways and Byways concert, performing an array of unique songs accompanied by soulful voices and acoustics. This was the second show in the concert series, which took place in Hughes Recital Hall Nov. 12. The concerts allow people from all walks of life to come together and experience different genres of music. Dean of the College of Visual and Performing Arts Ted Barnes said, “What we would like to do is try and bring traditional music to the campus in all kinds of various forms.” There was a small but enthusiastic crowd filled with older faces. Some clapped along to the music while others sang aloud. Barnes said, “The community in general has been a pretty good turnout. We certainly want more student participation. The reaction to the concert series campus wide has not been as big a turnout as we would like. We would like to give back a little more and give something for the students to do.” Barnes added that considering students’ budgets are often tight, the concert would be a fun campus event for them to attend for free and learn about traditional United States music locally. When searching for talent to bring to the school, Director of the Conservatory of Music Jonathan Gary uses different avenues to accomplish the task at hand. He said, “I will do my best to attend different venues especially in the Austin area, and I also do a lot of research online listening to recordings of performers. I get recommendations for other booking agencies, and we try to choose performers that can offer a variety of styles throughout the year.” Darcy Deville is a solo performer and a member of the Austin Lounge Lizards, a well-known group in Texas. She is also a part of Woody Says, which is a musical that tells the story of Woody Gutherie’s life and music. She just returned from touring in England with the Woody Says group, and they are up for a prestigious award in England similar to the Grammy Awards  in America. Deville performed many songs she wrote during the concert, and afterwards she shared which songs were featured on her CD. The crowd was informed of the history of the small guitar she played, whose fingerboard was originally made for Mick Jagger. Another artist appeared onstage alongside Deville named Jane Gillman. The two have worked in the music circuit for  over 15 years. Gillman’s favorite song of the night that she performed was titled “Elsa’s Tune.” She said, “The song was inspired by my...

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