Cru Culture: Swift brings buyers ‘Out of the Woods’
Nov07

Cru Culture: Swift brings buyers ‘Out of the Woods’

“Where were you when…?”   People ask that question after significant events in a state, nation or world’s timeline.   So where were you when 1989, Taylor Swift’s groundbreaking album was released last week?   The country music princess officially traded in her cowgirl boots for red lipstick and Keds. Love her or hate her, the much-awaited track list took over social media, covering every part of iTunes on T-Day.   Her fifth contribution is the first album outside of the country genre she honed as a teenager. In the words of Tay herself, “haters gonna hate,” but the music world should be praising the star for rejuvenating the face of the entire industry.   In case you’ve been wrapped up in studying and going to class, a really big thing happened this month in terms of music.   No artists went platinum in 2014. Let that sink in for a moment. One Direction didn’t sell a million copies of their CD, the qualification of a “platinum” title. Even Beyonce, Queen B, couldn’t rake in enough purchases to make the lofty cut. The only one to achieve the big million was Olaf and friends in Disney’s Frozen soundtrack. Apparently, people want to build snowmen and buy the CD to sing along while doing so.   The last artist to sell 1 million copies in a week was Taylor with her previous release, Red.   And now she did it again.   So, over the course of hundreds of days, no artist hit a million. But T.S. did — she literally outsold the entire industry in one week. That deserves a little bit of attention, or a lot, depending on how much you love the blonde bombshell.   Crusaders purchased their own copies of the polaroid-inspired collection, posting selfies via social media and tweeting lyrics to their favorite tracks. Even those who would rather listen to “Let it Go” than “Shake it Off” knew about the big day. When you know, you know.   The collection as a whole provides nostalgic hints of the 90s and early 2000s, which appeals to Taylor’s young adult audience, Crusaders included.   And though several tracks have traditional T-Swift lyrics with an entirely new sound, the work disappoints in terms of originality. Yes, it’s original for Taylor. But very few songs provide anything different to pop music.   Sticking to what she does best, Swift pens lyrics about ex, Harry Styles in “Style,” a witty stab at the boyband star. Though it may hurt Harry a bit, the track is one of the best and does present a new side of Taylor that the...

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‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius
Oct23

‘Sader serves local ministry strokes of genius

Stoke by stroke, the artist layers rich colors of paint on a massive wall. Alternating between sitting, standing and climbing a ladder, he works for hours at a time on a mural of Jesus flanked by his followers.   Sophomore graphic design major Edgar Ortiz embarked on a daunting creative mission after being chosen by Hershall Seals, chairperson of the art department at the university.   “Dr. Chuck Taylor … former UMHB faculty member and volunteer for Christians Touching Lives for Christ called me … to consider re-designing the old mural,” Seals said.   Taylor presented a challenge: Creating a life-like depiction of Christ on the wall of CTLFC, a local food and clothing bank located in Temple.   The organization wanted a visual representation of their group’s mission and decided to commission a talented, local artist. They then decided an image of Jesus helping others would effectively convey their own purpose, as well allude to the faith behind their cause.   Seals said, “Edgar Ortiz made his talents known his freshman year, so his talent and proven work ethic made him an ideal artist for the mural.”   After being selected by administration, Ortiz followed the requirements set before him, choosing an existing work to model his own after, and taking the wisdom of Seals to heart.   “We collaborated on a design … and worked together one evening to draw it on the wall, and Edgar took it from there,” Seals said.   By adding more dimensions, changing the background and elongating the piece to fit his work space, Ortiz made the painting his own. And though he didn’t choose the subject matter himself, he effectively expressed his own taste through the work.   “I did have freedom in what style I wanted to paint it. I’ve always liked to be as accurate and realistic as I can, but have also liked to use lots of color, with dark shades,” Ortiz said. “Although I painted another painting, I still had lots of fun in challenging myself to make my own version of an already-excellent painting. I learned a lot by looking at the colors in the original work and how they were used.”   Ortiz began the project this summer and continued to work throughout the semester when he wasn’t attending class or working.   After a total of 15 days consisting of three to eight hours each, the Bible story came to life.   The 80 hours of work paid off, and Ortiz expressed his happiness with the product.   “The most difficult part of the painting was getting the right colors for the faces and...

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Gotham: Not to bat an eye at
Oct23

Gotham: Not to bat an eye at

The Fox hit show this fall is Gotham, and it has all of its newly-acquired viewers on the edge of their seats Monday after Monday.   The showed premiered on Sept. 22, and a few episodes into the season, it is evident that the story line is packed with countless twists.   The plot centers around a young James Gordon, who is new to the police force. As we all know, Gordon later becomes Commissioner Gordon and works side by side with Batman.   But in the Gotham television series, Gordon is trying to figure out who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. Wayne is still a child in the show, so if you were expecting to see Batman, you will be disappointed. But producers do a great job of laying out the back story of how and why Wayne became Batman.   Bruce Wayne, played by the young actor David Mazouz, is 13 at the time of the show and is already showing signs of being a hero.   He is amazed at the amount of effort Gordon gives in order to bring justice and safety to Gotham.   Viewers can see the light go off in the young Wayne’s mind when he asks Officer Gordon if there is even a chance that Gotham could be saved from the dangerous people running the city.   Gordon responds, “However dark and scary the world might be right now, there will be light.”   This show gives Batman enthusiasts a glimpse of how Gordon and Wayne came to be such loyal friends.   Officer Gordon seems to be the only law enforcement person who isn’t crooked or part of the mob that controls the city.   He promises Bruce that he will find his parents’ killer, and Wayne trusts Gordon, seeing him as almost a father figure.   The show is packed full of all the old players in the Batman movies.   For example, Penguin has already played a major role in the first three episodes. He continually causes problems for Gordon in the early stages.   To begin with, Gordon is faced with a tough decision: Kill Penguin or be killed himself.   Gordon decides to keep Penguin alive but forces him to leave Gotham.   Penguin is now back though, creating more problems for Gordon.   What makes this show stand out from the others is the detail that went into filming the. The producers did an excellent job portraying Gotham as a dark and dangerous city, run by criminals.   The show is casted perfectly, as well. Jada Pinkett Smith plays a dark, sadistic and manipulative mob boss...

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The Maze Runner
Oct14

The Maze Runner

Based on the first novel of James Dashner’s bestselling trilogy, Maze Runner presents a suspenseful and dark version of dystopian ideals found in films like The Hunger Games and Divergent.   The movie begins with 16 year-old Thomas waking up inside of an underground elevator. When he surfaces, he finds himself surrounded by dozens of other teenage boys in the middle of a meadow.   He doesn’t know where he is, why he’s there, or even who he is. Apparently, none of the boys can remember anything about their past lives, recalling only their names.   The group lives in a primitive camp built in the meadow, dubbed “The Glade” by residents of the dystopia. The men call themselves “gladers,” and have made a life in the primitive, green setting by building their own homes and growing their food.   Anything else they need is sent to them once a month through the mysterious elevator. Along with the necessities comes a new boy, who is introduced to the lifestyle and encouraged to adapt to the strange circumstances.   Some gladers have lived there for years, and many have died there as well.   But why are they stuck in The Glade, and why can’t they just leave?   Surrounding the camp on all sides and towering in all of its ivy-covered glory are the solid stone walls of The Maze. The only way out is through the maze, but very few enter it.   The brave men that volunteer for the treacherous task are called “runners,” and it is their sole mission to run the maze, mapping and charting all of the alleys and passages in hopes of finding the escape route.   However, there are few problems with running the maze. The “runners” must return to the Glade before nightfall, because the opening to the maze closes. No one has ever survived a night within the walls, thanks to the Grievers—large, grotesque creatures that haunt gladers’ nightmares.   To make things worse, the maze changes each night as walls shift and new pathways open, making the possibility of finding a way out even more challenging.   Shortly after the arrival of Thomas, everything changes.   Do they stay and die in the Glade? Or should they face the maze and all its dangers once and for all?   Sacrifices will be made, alliances will be formed, and many will die before the maze trial is complete.   Maze Runner proves to be both entertaining and thrilling. It’s a little slow in the beginning, but once the events start rolling, one after another, the audience is greeted with non-stop...

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The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books
Apr15

The Fault in Our Stars outshines recent books

THE BELLS – By Jessica Pitcaithly Soon to be released in theaters as a major motion picture, The Fault in Our Stars is not only a phrase from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, but also an eye-opening and touching novel written by John Green. People might expect the book to have been written in medieval times. Instead, it takes place in modern day and deals with a difficult topic that readers all over the country have appreciated. The plot focuses on Hazel Grace, a 16 year-old girl living with terminal cancer. She narrates the novel from a first-person point of view, showing the everyday struggle of the terrible disease. Forced by her mother to join a support group for her illness, Hazel reluctantly partakes in tedious sessions held in “the literal heart of Jesus,” (inside-joke book humor).  This ends up changing- her life forever. At first, Hazel dreads going until she meets Augustus Waters. Soon, the book speeds up as an unconventional love story unfolds. Augustus, or Gus for short, is a handsome boy. Initially, he is over-determined to get to know Hazel, and readers might be unsure of how they feel about the character. But as the book continues, readers intently follow the path of this couple’s relationship as they suffer from illness and a huge hunt for answers about Hazel’s favorite book: An Imperial Affliction, which plays a big role in the story. Green delivers a shocking ending that readers will not see coming. This unexpected turn furthers his message of the book about dealing with cancer. As a whole, The Fault in Our Stars is a fun and unique novel. Avid readers should carve out the time to delve into its honest truth about a difficult, real life topic. This book made me look closer at my life and count my blessings. On the other hand, it made me realize that I should enjoy the small things because of how short life is and take advantage of the moment. The popular novel is being adapted into a film and will star Shailene Woodley as Hazel and Ansel Elgort as Gus. With Woodley making a name for herself, the film has already gained a large following. It comes out in theaters June 6. But before sitting down to watch the film, get comfortable, open the book and read. Regret will not even cross your...

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God brings theaters to life
Apr15

God brings theaters to life

In an era when darkness and violence have come to be the thrills moviegoers seek, glimmers of light are flickering across the silver screen. Competing with blockbusters like Divergent, God’s Not Dead brought in viewers interested in a message of life-changing redemption. The plot is derived from various real-life stories of court cases and students who challenged the authority of professors and universities to force them to abandon their faith. The multiple storylines that are interwoven to build the plot are fresh and strong. Nothing is sugarcoated. The message of the gospel reached people where they were. Some accepted it, but others rejected it. Further, superb acting by Kevin Sorbo, who played Hercules in the 1994 series, combined with appearances from the popular Duck Dynasty couple, Willie and Korie Robertson and Christian rockers, The Newsboys, draw upon a wider demographic of moviegoers than some other Christian films. The story is set mainly on a college campus where a freshman needs to fulfill a philosophy credit. He ends up in the class of a professor who is a devout atheist. The instructor tells the entire class to write “God is dead” on a piece of paper and sign it. The young student, passionate about his Christianity, refuses. The angered professor issues an ultimatum. The student must prove in three lectures that God does, in fact, exist. If he fails, he fails the class. As the lectures go on, the true reason behind the professor’s unbelief begins to come out. In a heated exchange, he admits that he hates God, to which the student replies, “How can you hate someone who doesn’t exist?” Finally, after the final week of class periods devoted to the existence of a creator, a driver strikes the professor in an intersection. A pastor and a missionary who provide a side plot and comic relief are at the scene when it happens. The pastor prays with him, and he dies in the street reconciled with God whom he once hated. The movie ends at a Newsboys concert where Willie Robinson, who had heard of the freshman’s strong defense of his faith, encourages everyone present to text “God’s not dead” to everyone on their contact list. The movie audience receives the same mandate right before the credits roll. Because of the full range of emotions, the well-developed storyline and the call to action, this is a must see for Christians looking for practical ways to share their...

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