First time winners take show
Jan25

First time winners take show

The 68th annual Golden Globes awards show took place Jan. 16, with the typical number of surprise wins and cliched “thank you” speeches. The biggest shockers of the night did not come from the award recipients, however, but instead from British comedian and movie star, host Ricky Gervais. This year was the first time Gervais had hosted the Golden Globes, and he came out of the gate running. His jokes were crass, his jabs were sharp and  the audience loved him. At least, those who could take a joke loved him. Gervais tried to spread the hate evenly, but some were more offended than others. While actor Johnny Depp cracked a smile at the jokes about the poor quality of his movie, The Tourist, actor Tom Cruise made his anger known after Gervais made a pointed joke about the movie I Love You Phillip Morris, starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. “Two heterosexual characters pretending to be gay,” Gervais said, “so the complete opposite of some Scientologists, then.” While some were surprised at many of the host’s harsher jokes, they were nothing compared to what did not make the final cut. Gervais revealed to Conan O’Brien that one of his original ideas was to walk on stage wearing a Nazi uniform and inform the audience that he got the suit from Mel Gibson’s closet. Compared to that, saying Gibson is “obsessed” with Jews is pretty tame. Instead of a Nazi uniform, Gervais started the night with a shot at Two and a Half Men star Charlie Sheen, saying “It’s going to be a night of partying and heavy drinking. Or as Charlie Sheen calls it, breakfast.” Few escaped the opening monologue, but Gervais got those who did while announcing the presenters of the awards. The big winner of the night was the movie  The Social Network, which took home four Globes, including the highly coveted Best Motion Picture Drama award. They also received Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Original Score. Natalie Portman and Colin Firth received the highest single awards of the night. Portman received Best Actress for her role in Black Swan, and Firth received Best Actor for his part in The King’s Speech. For the most part, first-time winners dominated the night. Chris Colfer (Kurt from Glee) seemed genuinely surprised to win a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Television Series. Glee co-star Jane Lynch received her second Globe for Supporting Actress for her role in the hit television musical show. Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) received his first Globe for Best Actor in a Television Series – Comedy. Actress Katey Sagal has...

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Daggers and scepters
Jan25

Daggers and scepters

Written by Ashley Ramirez and Lindsay Schaefer Art: a sunrise over a mountain, a perfectly frosted cupcake or paint splattered on a toilet.  To each his own. For artist and professor Phil Dunham, his paintings and drawings stem from abstract thoughts, surrealism concepts and the unfolding of a personal story. While his ceramics and handcrafted pieces are based on tribal influences, he ties it together by being involved with as many types of art forms as possible. His desire to create art began at a young age. “I was 5 years old,” Dunham said. “I was in love with my kindergarten teacher, and I made a bird out of clay. She told me I was going to be an artist and because I loved her, I believed her.” Dunham has continued to make art since his beginning in that elementary art class. He went on to receive a Master of Arts from Stephen F. Austin State University. “I always wanted to be able to make sure my skill level was on a growth pattern,” he said. “I thought that until the point of obsessive compulsiveness …. I was forcing it (art) to happen. Now, it just comes out.” As a professor, he encourages his students to “just make art and not to look at all that other stuff.” Senior art major Gail Allard took Dunham for four classes and realized that he is very philosophical. “(He) is definitely a brilliant mind, multifaceted, thorough and driven to make sure his students have a strong foundation to make their work great,” Allard said. “When you hear him talk, it makes you think how powerful the world around us is.” Sophomore studio art major Jasmine Knight has also learned from Dunham’s many years of experience. “He’ll teach us the basics and makes sure everyone has a mastery of that then lets us go off on our own creative process,” she said. He sculpted stoneware pieces and god heads and sketched graphite drawings ranging from cracked eggs in a nest to a crashed airplane captured in a jar. Dunham also displayed his skill of using many mediums by creating four daggers, a prayer wand and a wooden tribal scepter. Senior art major Helen Wong’s favorite piece is the “Smoke Jaguar’s Dagger,” which is created out of knapped glass, wood, ceramic and copper. “I really like the crystal part because it looks like a treasure, especially when it is placed in the box,” she said. In Dunham’s artist statement posted beside his work  in the Arla Ray Townsend Gallery, he wrote, “Some thoughts come from the conscious, some from the subconscious. Each choice marks...

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Black Swan a dramatic twist to Swan Lake
Jan25

Black Swan a dramatic twist to Swan Lake

In an intense movie from every aspect, Black Swan is definitely worth the high expense of movie tickets. Almost immediately it has the ability to suck the audience into a thriller that has not graced the silver screen for several years. Black Swan tells the story of an exquisite ballerina, Nina, played by the captivating Natalie Portman. The ballet company Nina dances for is about to come into its new season of performances in which the main ballet to be performed is the timeless Swan Lake. After winning the lead role as the Swan Princess, Nina becomes crazier and more insane in every scene. She feels threatened that the new ballerina to the company, Lily, played by Mila Kunis, is after her lead part. Nina is also exhausted from all the practice and time she puts in to it and not to mention a pretty insane mother at home. Nina is in a downward spiral through the whole movie which creates more drama. Black Swan is much like the ballet Swan Lake, just with a slight difference. The new rendition has a dark twist of an evil black swan. The story line of the new rendition is almost the same. However, the swan princess in the movie has an evil twin, the black swan. Though Black Swan shows what it is like for Americans to be competitive and the problems of pressure, this movie does have scenes that are not for the faint-hearted. Caution should be known when viewing this movie. One of the first mysteries laid before the audience is a marking on Nina’s back. Half of it resembles a scratch, but the other mark looks as if she has permanent goose bumps. It doesn’t take the audience long to figure out that she is actually becoming the black swan. As Nina becomes more paranoid, she ultimately embraces the evil black swan role instead of the sweet-hearted white swan. She gives the viewers some eerie and uncomfortable squirms in their seats during these scenes. On a whole, this movie is phenomenal. Portman completely embraces her role and has the audience believe that she is completely crazy. Not only her acting, but some of the risque scenes Portman has to do, should definitely put her in the lead running for an Oscar. The only negative about the film is that it is very sexual. Two scenes could make people cringe in their seats. Advice: if you choose to go to this movie, go with someone you are comfortable with while seeing certain things. Overall, the acting, storyline, choreography and music, which uses Tchaikovsky’s  Swan Lake, deserves every bit of...

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AMC adds brains to zombie genre

Zombies are alive. The television adaptation of Robert Kirkland’s graphic novel Walking Dead is turning heads and attracting a mass of viewers to the cable channel that used to primarily show classic movies starring actors who often had already died. It’s the perfect setting for a zombie takeover. AMC has already found success with dramatic hits Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but a show about the undead seems ambitious even for them. But with Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont and Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd behind the scenes, the show’s creative resume is more than impressive. Darabont’s Shawshank experience is not the sole source of the Stephen King feel the show gives. Instead of chaotic and constant barrage of enemies, Walking Dead is a show more about isolation than anarchy. As a character rides a horse on an empty highway into Atlanta, viewers familiar with The Stand and The Gunslinger can’t help but see a strong influence from those works. Dead is somewhere between a survival movie and a western, with the modern world turned into an untamable, desolate wasteland. The series follows Sheriff Rick Grimes, who awakes from a coma to find that the town he once had                                          jurisdiction over is now run by flesh- eating corpses. A gunshot wound in the first act causes him to sleep through whatever led to the mass spread of some horrible        disease. Viewers don’t know how the outbreak happened or how the vast majority of all people were killed, but, like the sheriff, they are thrust into the remains of the former life. Grimes’ biggest hope is to find his wife and son, who viewers learn is hiding out with his deputy Shane. The strained wife has assumed the sheriff is dead. She copes with her grief in the arms of the deputy, setting up a fierce and inevitable conflict between the lawmen. Grimes is portrayed by Andrew Lincoln, who told the Los Angeles Times that the desire to play a zombie-fighting cowboy was too strong of a temptation to resist. “I went to work, and I put on cowboy boots, a Stetson, a bag of guns, and got on a horse called Blade and rode into an apocalyptic Atlanta,” Lincoln said in his interview with the Times. “That was my job for the day, and it was    astonishing.” What makes Walking Dead special is that it is among a very small group of zombie works not so much about the zombies. They are a backdrop to more intimate stories – a broken family – a father and son grieving the loss of a mother – a racist’s life in the...

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Generation grows up with Potter
Nov16

Generation grows up with Potter

Written by Tanner Clarke Since the release of the first Harry  Potter book in 1997, a wave of fanatics has been following every twist and turn of the story. With the movies came an even greater number of people enjoying this story of a young wizard and his friends. Nov. 19 marks the start of the final installment of the film versions of this tale. For many students, this is the end of an era of something they have followed their whole lives. Sophomore business management major Ben Taylor read the books as a child and found a love of reading through them. “It was something that grew up with me as I grew up, and it allowed me to use literature as an escape from my own life,” Taylor said. Many believe that J.K. Rowling did a great thing for that generation by bringing the fun of reading back into their lives. Senior management and marketing double major Lewis Simms found an appreciation of reading through Harry Potter. He remembers getting the first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, from a book fair in elementary school and said it “was the first book that got me started reading.” For many young people, the characters were growing up with them and were going through the same everyday things. Freshman Christian ministries major Lindsay Harrell said, “I love the fact that it is a fantasy world, but you get the real struggle of an adolescent trying to grow up normal in this very abnormal     environment.” This combination of a magical world and true-to-life hardships of being an adolescent is what many find intriguing about the fantasy. Taylor, Harrell and Simms all agree that these themes play into the large popularity that the books and films seem to bring with them. Harry Potter really does reach a broad audience, and the introduction of the movies only increased that number. Now people who never grew up with Harry Potter or even read the books can appreciate this story, Taylor said. It is important to read the books before watching the movies. Harrell said that with the movies the audience, “truly loses the detail and important anecdotes.” Although many die-hard fans prefer the books to the movies, that will not stop them from  standing in line for hours to get into midnight premieres at local movie theaters to see the Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 Nov. 19. Part 2 of the film will be released in the summer. Many students are sad to see such a large part of their life finally ending, but are confident of the story’s...

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Reality show or campaign ad?
Nov16

Reality show or campaign ad?

The premier episode of TLC’s Sarah Palin’s Alaska featured the former vice presidential nominee and her family of five enjoying the long, sunny summer days of Alaska. Scenes of shooting skeet, white water rafting, rock-climbing, deep-sea fishing and dog-racing provided viewers with a sneak-peak of the adventurous attitude and lifestyle Palin lives. For eight weeks, the Palin family will be scrutinized by viewers all over the country; however, this time Palin’s calling the shots. She invites members of all political parties into her home where viewers get the first glimpse of what Palin is like on a daily basis. Although, there are several times throughout the show when most people cannot relate to her. In one instance she is filmed walking 20 feet to a studio to do a correspondent interview with FOX News before going to trek through Denali National Park. Palin is   mainly viewed as a mother who enjoys spending quality time with her family. Viewers watch scenes of  mother-daughter bonding over baking cupcakes,   family fishing trips and bear-watching, chiding her teenage daughter, Willow, for trying to sneak a boy upstairs, riding in an RV with her parents to mountaineering lessons and glacier-hiking part of Mt. McKinley with her husband, Todd. All of this is carefully edited and knit together perfectly by TLC’s family-minded editors, and of course Palin.  She is thought to have earned as much as $1 million per episode and is one of the executive         producers. TCL President Eileen O’Neill said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times, “Ultimately, the network has creative control and approval over the show, but really, across the production company and the Palin family, it was quite a collaborative effort.” And why was it a collaborative effort? Is Palin using TCL as a platform for the presidential election in 2012, or is she simply showing off her beautiful state and shedding positive light on her family for once? Some viewers could easily watch the show and see it as the latter, but most paid attention to every political analogy. At one point, Palin is in her backyard and the camera pans to a man sitting on his porch next-door reading a book. He goes unnamed throughout the episode, but not unnoticed.  She criticizes journalist Joe McGinniss for spying on her and her family while he conducts research for a book about her. Todd built a 14-foot wall to keep him out and Palin said, “By the way, I thought that was a good example, what we just did, others could look and say, ‘Oh, this is what we need to do to secure our nation’s borders.’” Perhaps the...

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