Wednesday, Nov. 19th from 8-11pm COR 401's Where Do Your Bags Go group put on a show in the upper union. Nathan Cooper, Caitlin Macri, Trevor Stinson, Catherine Burns, Kayla Wiersma, Anna Joy Griesbach, Nate Henricks&DaveLaws, Laura Stephens, The Baby Bats, Rusty Anderson, Kelly Latimore and Moriah Seaman all performed. Those who attended recieved a free bag and ate good desres and dranks. Above, The Baby Bats
Smith says Seven Pounds is one of his most powerful films yet.
Rams Football players walk the red carpet.
Chingy came out to support The Foodbank and Seven Pounds.
Will Smith greeted fans at a red-carpet screening held at the AMC Creve Coeur 12 cinema for the St. Louis premiere of his new movie Seven Pounds, which opens December 19. Included in the red carpet arrivals were St. Louis Rams’ players Chris Long, La’Roi Glover, and teammates. Fans that gathered that afternoon were encouraged to donate food items to win a ticket to the movie screening that evening, supporting the St. Louis Area Foodbank, a non-profit food distribution center feeding the hungry in Eastern Missouri and Southwestern Illinois. Will Smith reunites with producers and directors from The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) for the drama Seven Pounds. Smith plays Ben Thomas, an IRS agent with a fateful secret. His quest for redemption is unexpectedly complicated after he unintentionally falls in love. Ben discovers true love while forever changing the lives of seven complete strangers. The film also includes Woody Harrelson, Michael Ealy and Rosario Dawson.
For 22 years Greenville College professor Jorge Casas has collaborated and produced for Gloria Estefan. He arranged her Billboard number one single Anything for You and plays bass in Estefan’s band The Miami Sound Machine. Casas has 3 Grammy awards under his title, co-producing albums for Jon Secada and Gloria Estefan. On Wednesday, November 13th, Casas took the stage playing bass with Estefan and special guest Carlos Santana on the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards. Estefan played a historic performance of a medley of her hits. She also accepted a lifetime achievement award as the 2008 Latin Grammy Person of The Year. The event was broadcasted live on Univision, a Spanish language television network. Professor Casas has been at Greenville College since 2006, he is an Artist in Residence and Instructor of Music.
On Saturday November 8th, I attended a concert in La Due auditorium. There were four bands that played and three of them were on tour. The first musician who played that night was an awkward man seeming to be in his middle 20’s. I told him I wish I had the money to buy his CD and he said I could name a price. The sad thing was I had absolutely no money. So he just gave it to me for free. He told me that the CD didn't have any words on it. So I still didn't even know the name of his band. Luckily he gave me a sticker with Either/Or written on it. I told him he reminded me of a lot of bands on the Plan-It-X record label, a label he has never heard of. The first odd detail about Either/Or is that none of the songs have titles; well actually the whole album doesn't have any words included. It was a new concept though, and it really let the songs speak for themselves. The first track starts off with a few reversed notes and then a yearning voice with an acoustic guitar coming in for a few measures and then the full band starts. People who are looking for perfect production might find this album hard to listen to. The mixing on it is a little shaky but in my opinion that only adds to the album’s honesty. The first track has everything I want in a song: good lyrics, great music, and gang vocals. This whole album is filled with fun acoustic songs with a punk feel. There are a few surprises here and there, but overall this album doesn't mess with the familiar formula that works for James (the main man in the band) and whoever else might be a part of the set when they play. Acoustic guitar, vocals, a soothing synthesizer, bass, and drum are all companied by the all too honest lyrics. All the songs are short enough to make you repeat those two or three times. You get 16 songs in just over 24 minutes. You know you'll have to pay attention if you want to notice all the great qualities to Either/Or's music. On the exterior, Either/Or looks and sounds like just another run of the mill band, but listening to the record reveals that there is something new and refreshing here. So if you are looking for a change from all the cookie-cutter bands that you hear everyday; you should check them out. You'll be singing along before you know it. Myspace.com/eitherorr -Rusty Anderson, Junior
Every so often an anime will appear to me that turns out to be the stuff of legend! It will have just the right mixture of action, comedy, suspense, and romantic hinting that leaves my eyes sparkling with bliss. Well, this week it appears I have found one of those anime. It all started with my discovery of Yen, a magazine showcasing American, Korean, and Japanese manga. It’s a relatively new magazine, and I highly recommend it for those with some money to spare—it was while flipping through this collection of awesome manga that I noticed a bizarrely drawn moon with a frightening face that I discovered to be Soul Eater. Okay, so the title seems a little…corny? As if the manga itself wasn’t amazing enough with its groundbreaking style and creative premise, it turns out the series also had an accompanying anime to go with it! I was sold. The anime is surprisingly accurate to the manga and shares that same bizarre style, which looks very fluid in action. The premise is a bit hard to follow at first. Basically, it centers on the Shinigami Weapon Meister Vocational School (located in “Death City” in Nevada), and is run by Shinigami (which is translated “the God of Death:” think the Grim Reaper). The school is for human weapons, or rather, people who can transform into weapons and their meisters, or humans that are able to wield these weapons. Each of the meisters and weapons are separated into teams according to the compatibility of their soul. The teams try to regulate the peace and stop evil meisters who use their powers for evil and risk turning into Kinshin, the ultimate evil. Basically, each team must absorb ninety-nine “evil souls” and the soul of one witch to become part of the army of Shinigami. Sound complicated? Though the plot seems somewhat complex, the comedy makes the information easier to digest. The story focuses around three teams. First, there is Maka and the title character, who’s name is Soul Eater (or simply “soul” for short). I guess the creator of this series wanted to branch out and use some English names, but the names he chose are a little strange. Maka is your typical overachiever, a girl whose parents are pivotal to the shinigami and wants to make a name for herself as well. Soul is her weapon; he can turn into a massive scythe. His personality is laid back and his only aspiration is “to be cool.” As his name suggests, Soul literally eats the “rotten” souls they collect. Next there is Black Star and Tsubaki. Once again, I’m not sure why the creator chose the name “Black Star,” but he functions as a character that will do anything for fame and recognition. His skill is supposed to be based on ninja techniques, but he is so noisy that they rarely work. Tsubaki is his tall, voluptuous weapon; she can turn into a couple of different things, but her weapon of choice appears to be twin blades connected by a chain. Tsubaki is soft spoken and endearing, and somehow puts up with her ridiculous partner. Last, there is Death the Kid (another English name…go figure), and the Thompson sisters (arguably the best team in the series). Death the Kid (simply known as “Kid”) is the son of Shinigami. He is a bit obsessive-compulsive, adoring symmetry—in fact, symmetry is his weakness; he cannot bring himself to attack something that is perfectly symmetrical. The Thompson sisters can both turn into guns, and having one gun in each hand gives Kid the symmetry he so desires. As for their characters, Liz (the older sister) is the sarcastic, rational sort, while Patti (the younger sister) is annoyingly dense. As the teams strive to collect their quota, they are constantly attacked by witches, the main opposing force of the series. All in all, the anime is well thought out, looks interesting, and is extremely addictive. I highly recommend it to anyone that loves action, fantasy, and humor. -Katie Bogdanowitz, Layout Editor
There is a measure of comfort in going to a Bond flick. Trusting in the rich history of the series (though I'm still a little mad at George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton), I walked into the theater looking forward to an intriguing storyline, Vodka martinis (you know...), and Bond, James Bond. Given the expectations set by its 21 predecessors, I don't quite know what to make of Quantum of Solace. It was definitely a Bond film, keeping up the tradition of patriotic espionage in the face of a world-threatening crisis. The crisis was timely, too, posing questions about globalization, the environment, and the invasion of technology into our daily lives. This was a good move on the writers' part. I was getting a little bored of watching Bond thwart communism. In other ways, Quantum is a step in another direction for the Bond character. Daniel Craig reworks the mold by showing us a side of Bond previously only hinted at (in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, 1969): falling apart, vulnerable, maybe even weak. The woman he loves has been killed (no spoiler if you've seen Casino Royale, 2006), and he's left to pick up the pieces and live first, as always, for queen and country. Quantum further deviates from tradition in its heavy reliance on Casino Royale. The struggles Bond is left with at the end of Craig's first Bond performance are played out in this story, and it's no hard guess to say we'll see him in the next Bond film resolving issues this movie leaves open. Like I said, I'm not sure whether or not I like this one. Bond films tend to stand alone. If I hadn't seen Casino Royale (I still recommend Ken Hughes' 1967 spoof), I would have been totally lost. While I appreciate the new dynamic brought to the character, Bond's character has traditionally been marked by static charm and gentlemanly espionage. The question has always been: How will he deal with this one? Quantum asks the question: How will this one deal with him? It also seems that what the film gains in character complexity it loses in plot. There are a lot of explosions, fast-paced chases, and interesting gadgets. But the real 'spy stuff' could probably have fit in a half-hour TV special. So the jury's out on Quantum of Solace. As a final note, however, I do want to compliment Marc Forster for taking the sex down a notch. Don't misunderstand me, sexual implications come with the Walter PPK. But it was artfully downplayed, which was probably a good decision given that half of us are still in shock over the nearly pornographic role Halle Berry played in Die Another Day (2002).
Tuesday night, I attended the Twilight pre-screening at Ronnie’s Cinema in St. Louis. I was working, giving away Twilight memorabilia and radio station prizes. It was 5:30pm when I arrived to the cinema with Z1077, the Top-40 radio station in St. Louis. About seventy people (mostly female) were sitting in line for the screening that didn’t start until 7pm. I was nervous about what would happen when they let these girls into the theatre. Candice and I sat up next to the door, but along with us were six security guards. They did not know what to expect either. They had never heard of Twilight and were wondering why girls were going crazy about the film. Seven o’clock came and most of our radio station prizes disappeared in a matter of minutes. Everyone was summoned to a single file line as security guards checked their bags and took cell phones away. The cattle herding went without a hitch and I took my spot in the press section. Twilight is the film adaptation of the first book from the Stephenie Meyers’ four part Twilight saga. It’s the story of an ordinary girl who falls in love with a vampire. Just saying that line makes it sound silly, but the beloved book has sold over seven millions copies in the USA alone. It was only a matter of time before someone brought it to the big screen. The movie takes place in Forks, Washington, the rainiest part of America, perfect for vampires who can’t go out into sunlight without shining like diamonds. The color setting is cold; a lot of blues, greens and grays were used to set up the vampire love story. Twilight was directed by Catherine Hardwicke, who was also behind the dark teenage drama Thirteen. She used familiar camera techniques in Twilight, slight zooms you almost miss and shaky hand held shots gave an edge to the film. The story line moved along quickly, cutting out some of the book’s notable moments or re-arranging them to be cut down to two hours. In the first five minutes, we were introduced to Jacob Black, played by Taylor Lautner, who was perfectly cast for the role (his character screams werewolf in the sequel New Moon). Hardwicke did us a favor by cutting out a lot of Bella’s inner monologue. If she hadn’t, it would have been like watching a two hour vampire supermodel fashion show. The book is filled with lines like “Edward stood in a halo of the porch light, looking like a male model in an advertisement for raincoats.” We got a look of Edward without Bella’s descriptors. The film showed the side of a selfish, melodramatic and overprotective James Dean of the undead played by Robert Pattinson, familiar as Cedric Diggory from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Kristen Stewart’s character Bella was relatable, as if any ordinary girl could have been in her situation. You know, falling in love with a vampire, the prey among other vampires. The film was aimed towards teens, but the theatre was packed with male and female, young and old. The let downs of the movie were the scenes with Bella’s human high school friends, taking me back to my dreadful high school days with their nauseating teenage dialogue. The music selections for a few of the scenes could have been better. Once when Edwards was talking they played Rob Pattinson’s own music in the background. The infamous baseball scene where Bella meets the nomad vampires who are on a quest to kill her made me roll my eyes at how ornate the vampires’ superpowers were. Twilight was not a let down, but I wish Hardwicke included more parts from the book into the film. Edward and Bella’s relationship grew too fast and the entire movie should have been slowed down. No one clapped or cheered at the end, some were leaving a few minutes early, and we knew what was going to happen next anyway. Either way, Twilight will be box office gold this weekend. 500 cinemas have sold out opening night and Twilighters will finally see the beloved characters, whom they have read about so many times before, grace the silver screen.
It’s not a follow up book to an Olsen twin mystery series, nor is it an official biography of the twins. Mary-Kate and Ashley do not center their new book Influence on themselves really at all. So, what would the twins even talk about? I was expecting a fashion diary when I picked up the coffee table book, maybe Paris Hilton-esque, describing what they wore to a certain movie premiere or what Mary-Kate’s wardrobe included on her last date with Heath Ledger. I was very wrong. Influence is chalk full of interview with artists, photographers and fashion designers. If you had the desire to read up on Uncle Jesse, you got it all wrong, mister! The Olsens interview people who have influenced them the most through out their lives (Bob Saget not included). You will not find interviews with the most common names in fashion like Marc Jacobs or Stella McCartney. You will however, learn names like Francisco Costa and Karl Lagerfeld. Mary-Kate and Ashley let you in on the incredible minds of art and fashion that do not receive much public attention. I was surprised to learn the Olsens are excellent interviewers. They do not ask silly, nonsensical questions; rather, their inquiry skills are in-depth and revealing. Several pages are dedicated to each designer, with interviews and photography to go along. Later on in the book the Olsens interview each other, and more pictures of them spring about the pages, showing off their influencers’ work. It’s refreshing to see The Olsen twins, who have been in the media since they were babies, make a book that shows a different side. It gives a new perspective of their lives instead of the tabloid fodder that surrounds them. Instead of making a reality television show on MTV about finding their new BFF, Mary-Kate and Ashley exceed expectations with Influence. I recommend the book to the Michelle Tanner generation and the fashion forward. It is a great conversation piece when friends come over and ask why I would have a Mary-Kate and Ashley book. Then they start reading and find that their expectations of the book were mistaken, and the twins actually have a little something to say.
Walking into the main hall of the Maves Art Center, you’ll notice the interestingly complex ceramic sculptures done by GC alumnus Tim Wight. Wight has expressed his extreme gratitude towards the college for letting him put on his third show. With the main theme dealing with the issues of space, mostly internal to external, many of the pieces in Wight’s show expressions of exuberant contortions that are far from lackadaisical. Wight graduated in 2000 and has been working at Kaskaskia College for the past six years. Working primarily with ceramics, he started preparing for the exhibit at the beginning of second semester last year to create all the pieces. In order to make sure his sculpting is exactly what he has in mind, he first begins with a preliminary drawing, and then starts the long process of forming the piece. If the piece isn’t in accordance with the drawing, he hits the sketchbook to redirect his thoughts into what the piece is becoming. Wight cites Henry Moore and Barbra Hempworth as his primary influences. Both Moor and Hempworth have biomorphic forms present in their work. Wight has taken his art a step further by pushing into the recesses of internal forms. In his statement at the exhibit, he expresses: “The internal causes can be linked to many different conceptual approaches to art and life, but the best progression, I understand, is the internal evolves the external to become much more than what it was before, to make new an old stagnant form.” The idea of an ever-evolving world presents itself over and over in Wight’s art, continually reminding us that we should never get too comfortable with our current surroundings. Society, people, and our physical world are constantly changing. With these changes, we can either adapt to or reject outer influences. When asked about his feelings for the exhibit, he replied, “The show has been really fun, but at the same time, stressful. It’s always hard having your pieces leave the comfort of your cluttered studio to be placed on a pedestal for the world to see and perhaps criticize. However, working with Steve Heilmer [Head of the Art Department] has been really helpful because he criticizes when needed and helps me work through the process of formation.” The exhibit will be up until the November 22 and is completely free, so hurry, GC students, and be sure to make your way over to the art building to see the masterminded work of Tim Wight. London Novak, Junior
I suppose I’ve already covered two anime that are pretty shounen-esque (shounen meaning “intended for boys,” remember?), so I will now review an anime that is quite close to my heart—but it is also unabashedly girly. Keep in mind, I’m actually the type of girl that loathes chick flicks, but I am a girl and thus, some shoujo (“anime intended for girls”) do have appeal, even to me. The following anime is one of my favorites in the shoujo genre. It’s called a “gender bender,” which just means the main character is generally mistaken for or (as is often the case) is masquerading as the opposite gender. It’s called Ouran High School Host Club, and if you haven’t heard of it, you no longer have an excuse not to watch it! This addictive anime centers on Haruhi Fujioka, a “commoner” in an ultra rich private school (called Ouran). Through sheer brain power, Haruhi has made it into Ouran High School in her dreams of intellectual ambition. A bookworm by anyone’s standards, Haruhi finds little satisfaction in her somewhat drab physical appearance, and as she is looking for a quiet place to study, she is thrust into the world of the Ouran Host Club. A quick cultural note, in Japan, a Host Club is a place (usually a restaurant type setting) where you request a particular host (meaning an attractive person of the opposite gender) to entertain you (by pouring you drinks, offering flirtatious conversation, singing, dancing, etc.) and, in essence, you pay for them to spend time with you. Haruhi stumbles upon an array of six attractive gentlemen (the “hosts”) and succeeds in shattering an extremely expensive vase. As a consequence, she must pay back the enormous debt by working for the host club! It sounds disastrous (and it is), but Haruhi is a peculiarly androgynous character (with short hair and a thin frame) and is often mistaken as one of those cutely effeminate boys, so she becomes a host to raise the money to repay her debt. The series centers on Haruhi’s various misadventures with the crew of hosts, each a different sort of “romantic” interest for any shoujo fanatic. There is Tamaki, the “prince” and enormous flirt type; Kyouya, the “cool” type with glasses and a hidden agenda; Honey, the “cute” type (he looks a lot younger than he is); Mori, the “wild” type (I’ve still yet to understand what that means. Think super stoic for his character); and lastly, twins Hikaru and Kaoru, the “mischievous” type, who specialize in their brotherly love technique. The hilarity ensues as sometimes girls fall for Haruhi and also the hosts themselves take a liking for her, particularly Tamaki. The love tension is pretty great and also very cute, if you are into that kind of thing. I really enjoyed the anime series—it made me laugh out loud, clench my fists in suspense, as well as get a little misty-eyed when it was all over and done with. There is also a manga (graphic novel) which the series is based after. The manga is much longer and more detailed (and, unfortunately for fanatics like myself, not finished yet), and if you couldn’t get enough of the story in the anime (like myself, once again), then you’ll enjoy it. If you decide to watch the series, I highly recommend finding it in its original language (Japanese) with subtitles, the series was recently licensed by Funimation and dubbed into English and the new voices are deplorable and the opening and closing songs are even more horrendous. Then again, I tend to enjoy most anime in its original language, so if you don’t like to read subtitles, you might have to suffer through the onslaught of miscasting (once again, this is my opinion). So if you are a girl that loves all things romantic, or even if you just have a weird sense of humor and don’t mind watching a developing love story as well, you should certainly check this anime out right away, its well worth your attention. Sayonara and until next week! -Katie Bogdanowitz, Layout Editor
Pulling off a brilliant performance this past weekend, the cast from Greenville College performed William Gibson's The Miracle Worker: The Story of Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan, directed by Jill Cox. The play tells the story of an Alabama family during the 1880’s whose daughter is both deaf and blind. Even in Helen Keller’s practical joking and sense of humor, junior Tammy Yoder seriously presented her as a complex figure who, despite difficulties, enjoys her life with her family. The savior in the story is Helen’s teacher, Anne Sullivan, played by senior Stephanie Schanot. From the way she carried her body to the squint in her eyes, Schanot displayed how Anne Sullivan struggled with a sight-correctional surgery, bringing to her performance Sullivan’s in-depth back story. Schanot and Yoder threw their whole beings into their characters, often having to wrestle with each other in mind and body as Helen was challenged to learn about the world. There were recurrent flashbacks in the play, moments where Anne Sullivan recollected to a past that included her time in an insane asylum with her brother, Jimmy. These flashbacks haunted Anne and seemed to drive her further into her work, pushing Anne not to give up on Helen. The lighting aided the audience in understanding the flashbacks, thanks to David Ulmer, who choreographed the lighting for the show. There were several freshmen new to the Factory Theatre’s stage: Nathan Ondracek played the sarcastic and struggling half-brother, James; Brittany Restoff as the prying Aunt; and Andrea Lopez as Viney, the house-servant. The heads of the household, Captain Keller and Mrs. Kate Keller, were played by seniors Andrew Richards and Stephanie Thompson. Richards played the role of the Captain with a twist of a humorous character, lightening the heaviness of a challenging story, while Thompson sustained the role of a supportive and loving mother. The audience laughed with the quirkiness of the characters, felt the awkwardness of disagreements, grew upset over obstacles, and rejoiced when Helen finally realized that each thing has a name. Just as Anne Sullivan was able to give Helen the bridge to language, this cast gave us the glimpse into a world where life is more difficult than we can imagine. -Sarah Beth Meyers, Freshman
When Rock Band 2 was released, I grabbed the first copy on the shelves. I owe a great deal of gratitude Rock Band, its predecessor. Without it, last semester would have been unbearable. It was my hope that in the latest addition to the franchise there would be some massive improvements. An immense song library and a few more options to make game play quicker and more logical. But after two weeks, I found that my plastic guitar had been left in the corner gathering dust. Could it be school and work interfering with my rock schedule, or is something lacking in this version? The improvements in Rock Band 2 include a “No Fail” mode so players do not have to worry about hitting those colored notes all the time. There are also small changes that make the game easier to navigate. The overhauled song menu remains one of the better improvements. The new layout makes it easier to find songs and it also lets you know how difficult the song is for drums, guitar, etc. All in all, it really isn’t that different from the original Rock Band. I’m partial to Rock Band, primarily because it was the first music game I played. It also appeared to be more fun since it allowed more player interaction with the addition of drums, bass and vocals. Guitar Hero seemed unappealing without the added instruments. A few days prior to the release of Guitar Hero: World Tour, I spotted an article detailing the features of the game. The makers behind this game really seemed to have stepped up. Not only can you now design your own character right down to the shape and angle of the nose, but you can also record and share your own music. The new drum set with its two raised cymbals appeared to mimic drums more accurately then the Rock Band set. The fact that my Rock Band guitar, microphone, and drum set were compatible (although not completely) with Guitar Hero also really impressed me. Don’t get too excited, some of these “improvements” may not actually be so. As innovative as recording your own music sounds, the actual quality of the music is lacking. I did not purchase the drums with my copy, but reports on the internet say that the Guitar Hero design makes game play difficult. Another drawback is this inability to “save” your fellow band members. On Rock Band, if one player failed out then another band member could save him or her by going into overdrive (or star power for Guitar Hero fans). In Guitar Hero, if your vocalist sucks or your drummer has no beat then you are out of luck. Despite all of that, I play Guitar Hero much more than Rock Band 2. The primary reason would have to be the music. The first Rock Band was so enjoyable because it had some awesome music and it introduced me to tunes that are now on my mp3 player. What compelled me to purchase Guitar Hero in the first place was the inclusion of one of my absolute favorite songs: Band on the Run by Wings—possibly the closest I’m going to get to Beatlesque band play (that is until MTV releases the promised version completely devoted to the Fab Four). Looking past the gimmicks and various options, I believe it all comes down to those couple of minutes when you’re playing a song. Is it a fun arrangement? Do I like the song? Am I humming the music 24 hours later? In the case of Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour, I may have to choose Guitar Hero, but my loyalty will always remain with Rock Band. -Holly Davis
Last spring, we saw one of our favorite bands, Anathallo, play a show at the Billiken Club in St. Louis. At the time, we were impressed with the way the band incorporated the energy of the crowd into their set and invited everybody to participate in their performance by clapping, dancing, or singing along. This past weekend we saw them play again, this time at Schuba’s in Chicago. The venue was packed and Anathallo played well, but we weren’t thoroughly impressed with the overall show. Anathallo always puts on an amazing live concert, and this time was no exception, but we’ve found (especially with Anathallo) that audience participation is integral for a great show. We did our part by grooving, stomping and shouting, but besides our little group of friends at the back of the room, the crowd seemed dead. Perhaps it was because the band played so many songs off their forthcoming album “Canopy Glow” and few people knew the words, or maybe it was just because there were too many hipsters there who were too cool to dance. In any case, despite Anathallo’s epic songs utilizing full-band vocals, obscure instrumentation, and auxiliary percussion, the rest of the crowd failed to do their part. After discussing the show over bottomless coffee and greasy diner food the next morning, we concluded that Anathallo’s performance was great but the crowd was no good. It’s upsetting that something like that could lead to such disappointment, but it’s a good reminder that the best shows are the ones where everybody is dancing because they can’t help it. We were excited to hear that Anathallo is planning a full U.S. tour for the spring, so if they come anywhere remotely close to Greenville, we hope to see you there. Hopefully, next time they’ll engage the crowd beyond the point of just listening, but I guess that’s partly up to us.
Come one, come all, and join the glorious event currently sweeping the nation, called No-Shave November! It’s the month that you get to put down your razor and say, “No more, shaving utensil! You’ve made me your slave for far too long. This is the month that I shall denounce your name and put you down,” and then you don’t pick that baby back up until December 1. Rebel against those shaving advertisements that have a pretty girl showing off her smooth legs, or some macho guy caressing his freshly shaved face (who really does that?!). What started as a month just used as an excuse for guys not to shave their faces has grown into a world-wide event that includes both guys and girls. It sparks awareness in masculinity, how much time is spent when shaving, how much money is spent, finding out what your body looks like covered with fur, and has recently become a fundraiser for saving Darfur, Africa. This is the month to let your hair grow until you could take those beautiful long locks and form them into braids. How many girls on campus can do that with their armpit hair? I, for one, have not shaved since October 30, and let me just say that I’ve never had my armpit hair grow to this length, while my leg hair is at least a quarter of an inch long. Here are five great reasons for why you should participate in this painless event: 1. It is painless. 2. Less chance of cutting yourself (this goes hand in hand with it being painless). 3. You can spend time doing something else 4. Everybody has a cool beard. Now if you want me to inform you on some famous people who have some awesome beards, I can do that, too. Who can forget Chuck Norris, Abraham Lincoln, Karl Marx, Santa, Gandalf, Mr. Miyagi, and Iron &Wine’s very own Samuel Beam. Their envious beards should tell you something about the merits of the event. If you feel the urge to keep growing those hairs, do it! November isn’t the only month you can shake the vice of the razor, although this is the most common month people participate in. There’s Don’t-Shave December, Just Don’t Shave January, Forget to Shave February, Masculine March, Atrocious April, and Manly May. So start growing those hairs and try to look a little more like Yu Zhenhuan (the world’s hairiest man). Good night and get growing!
On Monday, October 27th Greenville College Student Development hosted an evening with non-profit organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). After the program GC assistant director of Public Relations, Annie Zeller, had the opportunity to interview the founder of the organization, Jamie Tworkowski, to help the community learn more about TWLOHA and extend the “conversation”. GC: Can you give me an overview of TWLOHA? How it started? What's the purpose? Who is TWLOHA? JT: "To Write Love on Her Arms" began in 2006 as a written story and an attempt to help a friend. We made a MySpace page and started selling t-shirts as a way to help pay for our friend's drug treatment. The organization was born from the response to those things. Today, we're a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. We exist to encourage, inspire, inform and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. In the last two years, our team has responded to 80,000 messages and those messages have come from 40 different countries. I'll give you two answers for "Who is TWLOHA?" TWLOHA is a small team of staff and volunteers based in Cocoa, Florida. TWLOHA is a worldwide movement of young people committed to hope, help, conversation and community GC: This story started with Renee's story. Was she the first person who raised your awareness to these types of issues and gave a "face and a name and realness" to the things people struggle with? JT: Renee was the first in terms of addiction and self-injury. There were other people in my life (prior to Renee) who struggled with depression. I lost my friend Zeke to suicide about a month before I met Renee. This is an excerpt from the TWLOHA interview. You can view the entire interview at the GC website. www.greenville.edu/content/view/1748/38/
“I'm going to send you something in the mail,” says the devout father to his son, Caleb, whose marriage is falling apart. “It's going to take 40 days.” Oh God, I'm thinking, an unabashed endorsement of Rick Warren in yet another choose-Jesus-and-he'll-fix-all-your-problems film by Christians who belittle the real suffering. What about Christians who get divorced? What about non-Christians who live long and happy marriages? This is ridiculous… But it wasn't Rick Warren, and I actually enjoyed Fireproof. Yes, its language was the “Christianese” of pulpits and devotionals, and the man's marriage did in fact get 'fixed' by his new-found faith, but despite that the film wasn't all that predictable (this was refreshing after the stock plots I've seen from Hollywood lately). Produced by Sherwood Pictures, a ministry of Sherwood Baptist Church out of Albany, GA, Fireproof is a story about personal transformation through Jesus Christ brought about by a devotional designed to fix broken marriages. I figured they'd get back together by the end (and in the mean time both become Christians), but the 'along the way' stuff was up and down, unpredictable, and, frankly, suspenseful. I actually laughed (almost a new feeling for me in a movie theater). I happen to think that theology and dating shouldn't mix, but if you do, or if you can bracket the theology and pay attention to the story, then I openly and honestly recommend Fireproof.
Its not often I get to blabber on and on about Anime that I really love, so Ill try to keep this simple, although I am very taken by this week's Anime Pick. TekkonKinkreet is not actually a series, but it is a movie (so I guess it still counts). It isnt your typical animw, but it is Japanese and it is animated, so Ill categorize it as such. The bizarre style is probably the aspect of the film that attracted me initially. It is based on the three-volume manga series titled Black and White by Taiy? Matsumoto. The series was adapted to film by the revolutionary Studio 4°C, which works hand and hand with the superflat (pop art) movement in Japan…but I digress. As I said before, the film doesn’t look like your typical anime. There aren’t any super deformed gags, and the perspective is pretty crazy, which adds to the fantastical element of the film. In this sense, it translates well from the manga by Matsumoto, although the plot was obviously much more detailed (as it is with most books-turned-film). The backgrounds are both epic and painstakingly detailed, contrasting nicely with the simplicity of the characters of the film. The music was all exclusively preformed by a British electronic genre-based band called Plaid. Even the English dubbing is pretty accurate to the original script and it doesn’t sound bad, either (and I’m fairly picky when it comes to dubbing). As if all this goodness wasn’t enough to make anyone happy, the plot is simply amazing. The film takes place in fictional Treasure Town overrun by yakuza (Japanese equivalent of gangsters), shady business, pessimistic cops, and cats. By cats, I don’t mean felines, but two street-dwelling boys (the protagonists of the story) aptly named “White” and “Black,” who patrol the town vigilantly and might be able to fly. White is young and very poetic. Although he seems dense, he is actually something of a prophet and the wisest character in the film. Black is oppositely tough and street smart, but relies on violence to carry himself in Treasure Town, “his town” he often calls it. Although they have a few brushes with the local yakuza, run by a strangely sentimental man named Rat, White and Black encounter more troubling problems when the town is taken over by a foreigner (who wants to turn Treasure Town into a theme park) and his three superhuman bodyguards (who might be aliens). The plot is very deep and very beautiful, although it comes off as very dark at times. White is constantly opposing Black, and Black relentlessly grapples with the power of his malice and struggles to retain self-control. Despite a couple of rather graphic scenes, the end of the film inspires hope and a positive message that is imaginatively presented in a surreal but clear way. TekkonKinkreet won the prestigious Best Film Award at the 2006 Mainichi Film Awards. It was also named the number one film of 2006 in the annual "Best of" roundup by the New York Museum of Modern Art’s Artforum magazine. In 2008, it received 'best original story' and 'best art direction' from the Tokyo International Anime Fair. It also won the 2008 Japan Academy prize for Animation of the Year. If these awards aren’t enough encouragement to see this film, just try to take my word for it, it’s definitely worth watching and, dare I say, worth owning as well. -Katie Bogdanowitz, Layout Editor
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full Knowledge and is well-acquainted (with all things).” As cited in the Qur’an-(Chambers :13) I think it is safe to assert that when faced with significant adversity or uncertainty, human beings are, at times, guilty of simplifying a problem in order to escape the complexities that lie therein. In recent times, our modern world has been faced with the problem of religious extremism and fundamentalism that seems to influence those of the monotheistic faith communities to think that our religions fail to have much in common. Moreover, with the recent interaction our nation has had with the Arab world, we have been exposed to a barrage of opinions regarding the religion of Islam that could be characterized as simplified and generalized. Not only do such simplifications of the Islamic world have negative implications for the health of our nation’s relationships abroad, but it severely hinders any widespread effort to discover common ground amongst the Christian and Muslim faiths for the sake of mutual understanding, cooperation, and an illumination of significant areas of agreement. Luckily, there are those within both the Christian and Islamic faiths that are currently attempting to reverse this tide of simplification steeped in misunderstandings, and are doing so by acknowledging common ground, but also key differences within the religions that necessitate more dialogue and clarification. At Greenville College we are privileged to have among us one such person who is contributing to the realm of common ground apologetics in order to bring about more successful cooperation amongst two of the most influential religions in the world- Christianity and Islam. Entitled The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity, Mathias Zahniser’s latest book seeks to carefully find common ground between the two monotheistic faiths before exploring thoroughly the historicity of the cross and its meaning as represented in both the Biblical accounts and in the Qur’an. Practically speaking, the book initially challenges the reader to consider significant moral values shared by both faith communities: “knowledge, faith, loyalty, communal solidarity, confession, forgiveness, family loyalty, social justice, economic security, and political order.” Moreover, Muslims and Christians not only share a similar belief in one God, but also a mutual respect for scripture that inevitably leads to a discussion regarding distinctive differences within such scriptures. However, as the book highlights, passages from the Qur’an emphasize not only the importance of mutual understanding between the faiths, but encourage dialogue acknowledging key distinctions in order to bring about greater mutual understanding. One key difference is the treatment of Christ’s crucifixion. For Christians, the story of Christ’s crucifixion is a relational event in which God, seeking to participate in the human story, identifies with us by experiencing all that is fully human, even to the extent of experiencing a sense of absence from God. On the cross, God illuminates the teachings and life of Jesus. However, Islamic tradition informs its followers that Christ did not die and was in fact spared by God and taken to heaven so as not to be shamed. Within the Islamic faith, Christ is viewed in a favorable light as one who served as a prophet of God in order to preach compassion and love to humanity. In tracing the origin of such tradition in the Muslim faith, the positive treatment of Christ and the apostles in the Qur’an, Qur’anic commentaries and the Hadith (collections of Muhammad’s life and teachings), Zahniser poses the question to his Muslim audience-“How could a person with the integrity both Muslims and Christians believe Jesus exhibited allow someone else to die for him when he made it clear that his death was certain and would be vindicated?” According to Zahniser, it is the Islamic tradition, or the Hadith, that is the main cause of the Muslim view that Christ did not die and was taken to heaven. Zahniser’s chapter addressing the Muslim tradition (Hadith) raises doubts based on Muslim sources about the reliability of the tradition used to support the interpretation of the Qur’an that Jesus did not die nor was crucified. As Zahniser stated in our interview, the chapter “is designed to raise questions about the authenticity of the sayings of Muhammad that Jesus has not died yet, but will return in the last days to live and then die.” For those of you who keep track of current development within the intellectual circles of Islam, there is presently a movement underway in Turkey by Muslim scholars from Ankara University who are beginning to revise and explore the Hadith and analyze its authenticity. Though largely controversial, the scholars argue that perhaps some of the statements found within the Hadith uttered by the prophet were in fact forged and have worked to obscure the original values of Islam instead of enhancing them. Mathias approaches his critique of the Hadith carefully, seeking not only to be gently persuasive, but primarily to find common ground at every point in his discussion over the treatment of Jesus’ crucifixion and death in the Muslim tradition. He hopes to provoke questions within Islam about the common tradition that is widely accepted. Though Zahniser makes clear his hope that such dialogue that searches for mutual understanding between the two faiths will foremost seek to build relationships, root out double standards, recognize the primacy of persons, and ultimately built solid relationships between those followers of both monotheistic faiths, it is also evident that such a discussion must address the issues the book raises about Islam’s treatment of Christ’s death. According to Mathias, his hope for his Muslim audience is that their reviews of his book will suggest what sections of the book are suited for a closer look at a reinvented understanding of the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.
Lights. Music. Short Shorts. I found these and much more at the Of Montreal concert on October 24 at the Pageant in St. Louis. Formed in (no, not Canada) Athens, Georgia, this indie pop band has been putting on amazing shows since 1997. The band includes Kevin Barnes, Bryan Poole, Dottie Alexander, Jamie Huggins, Davey Pierce, and Ahmed Gallab. The show began the same way it ended: with those in the audience wondering, “What is happening here?” With killer makeup, back-up dancers gallivanting among the band members, and costume changes galore, the show brought nonstop amazement from beginning to end. Of Montreal played a two-hour set, featuring songs from each of their nine albums. From a Christian standpoint, the show could be deemed by some as quite racy or offensive. The show included simulated sex scenes and included obscene lyrics. At one point lead singer Kevin Barnes even stepped onstage dressed as a Roman Catholic bishop with a female dancer at his feet…licking them. Whether this sounds like art or heathenism to you, it is definitely worth the 17 bucks to go and find out for yourself the next time they come through St. Louis.
From October 8th to November 2nd, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis put on a production of Emma, the Jane Austen musical. Yes, you read that right—as if Austen's original novel wasn't enough to make lonely hearts all over the world just a little more lovesick, someone had the bright idea to have those romantic heroes burst out in song. The musical follows the adventures of Miss Emma Woodhouse (Lianne Marie Dobbs) as she attempts to play matchmaker with those around her. Most of her efforts center on finding a mate for her clumsy companion Harriet Smith (Dani Marcus). While the rest of the town seems to be enamored with Emma, despite her slightly manipulative ways, Mr. Knightley (Timothy Gulan), the brother of her sister's husband (they proclaim in one of the numbers—"It's confusing"), sees through her schemes, and tries to warn her of the danger of playing with peoples' lives. Emma takes no heed of his warnings, and as a result, comes close to losing the one she comes to realize that she cares for the most. If the story seems a bit convoluted and confusing, just recall the storyline from 1995's Clueless, a modern-day retelling of the classic Austen novel. The Emma musical contains no flashy dance numbers—in fact, I can only recall one dance number at all—and only five instruments are used throughout the entire score. In modern-day terms, it might seem like a snooze fest. But when the time period and subject matter are considered, the music seems fitting. Over 80% of the dialogue was taken straight from the novel, and so some of the songs seem a little forced, but the actors still managed to shine through. For instance, Marcus, playing Harriet Smith, managed to steal the entire show in a number called "Humiliation". Overall, Emma works as a musical, but it undeniably caters to a certain group of people—those who love to watch lovesick men in britches sing songs about the girl they love, but just can't quite reach. However, that group is comprised of a larger number of people than you might think. In fact, the description seemed to describe most of the people in the theatre with me. Emma may not be the perfect musical for all, but it certainly struck a chord within the audience. In the middle of the last number, a grade school teacher watching the performance with her class burst into tears. She might as well have been giving the writers of the play and the performers a standing ovation.