Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Varsity Art XIV (Art St. Louis)

This weekend, Art St. Louis will be presenting the 14th annual exhibition of Varsity Art. The exhibit features art created by students from 19 different colleges in Illinois and Missouri. One to two students are chosen from each school to present pieces of different media. This year, Greenville College was chosen to select two art students to participate in this exhibition. Our recently graduated Tara Underwood and talented Hayley Sutton, both Art Majors, will be showing off their work. The opening reception starts at 6 pm this Saturday , February 27, and is open until 8 pm. Come out to support our art students and see some excellent art from other universities! The show will be open until March 11 for all to see and is located on Washington Avenue in St. Louis.

Superman Breaks Record

On Wednesday, Feb 22, the original first edition Superman comic—said to be the holy grail of comic books—sold for $1 million. Released in 1938 by Action Comics, the publication features Superman lifting cars, and originally selling for 10 cents a copy. Not only is this transaction significant for its rarity, but it also sets a new record for the highest price paid for a comic book (previous record stood at $317,000). Almost immediately after the comic was placed on, a collector placed the offer of $1 million for the comic, which rated an 8.0 for its optimal condition. Collectors claim an opportunity like this comes around only once every twenty years. So until 2030—faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, it’s a bird, it’s a plane—it’s Superman!

The Golden Archipelago

-Joshua Witchger

The music of the Austin based group Shearwater excels in evolutionary manner. Over an eleven-year stretch, their vision continues to unfold into something deeper and more refined than before. With help from the New York Times and NPR, the group’s 2008 release earned them wider attention, as Rook was praised one of the year’s best albums. The sextet’s newest release,
The Golden Archipelago, is no exception to the group’s genius.

In The Golden Archipelago (i.e. The Golden Islands), solemn and haunting music expresses wonder, bewilderment, and grief, towards some of the world’s most isolated and “on the edge” landscapes. Front man Jonathan Meiburg, who spent time in various islands as an ornithology grad student, uses his experience with biology and ecology as the main content of The Golden Archipelago. Themes of nature, wonder, and anguish, dominate as the group praises and laments nature through their signature sound. While not explicitly a concept album, the motif of man’s impact on nature and subsequent loss of identity lingers through nearly every track, compelling the listener to contemplate along with Meiburg.

Beginning the album is a recording of aborigine Bikinains chanting their struggle against globalization. According to The Golden Archipelago’s 52 page booklet, the Bikinains have been exiled to a nearby area, while their homeland is used as a testing ground for advancing weapons of war. Their plea translates to, “No longer can I stay it's true/ no longer can I live in peace and harmony/ no longer can I rest on my sleeping pillow/ because of my island and the life I once knew there.” Quickly after this chant, Meiburg delves into metaphor, comparing the echoes of crashing waves to the reverberation of memories from a former life.

At times, Meiburg’s lyrics seem less like 21st century song material, and more like naturalistic rhetoric from the Enlightenment era. In “God Made Me,” Meiburg seems to yearn with the outcast aborigines pleading, “we call back to the old familiar life… unchain me… I am life breathed in the radiant lie.” Then later in “Runners of the Earth,” the vastness of land and sea is explored further, ending with the line, “I learned a lie that power breeds/ regeneration.”

Finally, the singer takes on the persona of the outcast in singing lines in their native tongue, translated to mean, “The thought is overwhelming/ rendering me helpless and in great despair.”

The whole of The Golden Archipelago swoons and strides in a seamless rhythm. String arrangements, piano, and malleted drums tie the album together perfectly, producing an almost dream-like quality. Excelling in educated lyrical content, backed by music that suits their endeavor, the whole of the album succeeds. Certainly, one will be led to agree with Matador Records’ declaration that “Shearwater’s The Golden Archipelago is the band’s most absorbing and accomplished work to date.”

Show - Friday - Blackroom - 7:30

Up In The Air And Down To Earth

- Matt Stuttler

Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air is a depressing yet humorous look at the state of humanity in the current economic depression. Ryan Bingham, played by George Clooney, is employed by a company whose job is to do exactly what most corporations fear to do themselves: notify the company’s employees that they are fired. This occupation keeps Clooney in the air flying from city to city in order to perform his dirty deed most every day of the year. This means a life of hotel living, efficient traveling habits, and a general (yet clearly welcome) sense of isolation in Clooney’s life. His cycle of sky high living is interrupted by the introduction of two female characters: the first a fellow frequent flier that becomes a love interest Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga) and the second a recently graduated fresh face Natalie Keener ( Anna Kendrick) that tries to change the way Clooney’s company runs.

Based on a comic novel by Walter Kirn, the film analyzes Clooney’s character Ryan Bingham’s interaction with these two females. Bingham’s main conflict occurs when Natalie convinces the company’s director (Jason Bateman) to halt the flights of all employees, causing Bingham to feel utterly “grounded.” In one last desperate effort to maintain his flighty life, Bingham must take Natalie on his flights to show the need for his job. Up in the Air has dozens of scenes of people being fired by the protagonists, each one reacting in a different way. Some act on in anger, throwing things and threatening suicide while others simply weep. The deeper into the movie you go, the more empty the office buildings become due to the corporate downsizing. Bingham manages to console and even help some of these recently fired people into continuing on in their lives even without the stability of their former jobs.

The film itself is sadly beautiful, with hues of blues and sharp blacks protruding shot after gorgeous shot. Many scenes take place in airport terminals and office buildings, which are symbols of efficiency and business, but later become symbols of desperation and abandonment. Much of the film was shot in St Louis, so chosen by Jason Reitman because “…St. Louis has so many offices available to shoot in because all these companies have ceased to exist.” He went on to expound on why St Louis was the perfect choice for the majority of the filming, saying, “I love the extras in St. Louis. You know they're curious about the process, they love the process they are disappointed when the day ends. L.A. extras are disenchanted with the entire film business. But more importantly, it was a city that hadn't been shot by many movies and because of that I felt like I got to be one of the first to shoot a lot of locations and the people are lovely."

Another great part of Up in the Air is the realism it captures. Many of the minor characters were extras pulled off the street, and some of the firing scenes involved actual recently fired workers. Reitman had this to say about the process, “We put ads out in local papers in St. Louis and Detroit looking for people who had lost their job and were willing to go on camera and talk about their experience. From there we chose 60 people, 22 of which are in the finished movie. They would come in sit at a table, we would interview them about what it's like to lose your job and be searching for purpose in this economy and we would fire them on camera.”

Up in the Air presents a realistic, slightly optimistic look into the current state of the US with both wit and satire. Be sure to check it out this weekend at the Globe Theatre!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Local Natives Release Strong Debut Album

By - Joshua Witchger

When I go to a show, I have a tendency to impose a prejudice upon bands I’ve never heard before; maybe it’s my inner cynic, but I’m often inclined to hesitate on the first listen. That's why this past summer, when Blind Pilot was two hours late for their performance in Pontiac, MI— due to complications getting through U.S. customs— I wasn't too enamored about the extended set the opening group, Local Natives, would be playing.

From the moment they took the stage, I immediately wrote them off as just another proverbial spoke in the fixed gear bicycle of indie rock. Perhaps my personal bias, mixed with a crowd that appeared to be unfamiliar with their music, was the cause for my initial lethargy towards their performance. After the first few songs, however, more and more people entered the venue. Applause grew, dancing intensified, and people’s unfamiliarity didn’t seem to inhibit a good time. This free spiritedness was contagious, and by the end of their set, Local Natives were a hit. Admittedly, I ended up enjoying their performance more than I thought I would.

Now, six months later, I’m just beginning to listen to the music of the Los Angeles rockers Local Natives. As a new name to the emerging scene of rock music, Local Natives stand out as an intelligently minded and energetic quintet. With catchy melodies, a high level of energy, and multiple part harmonies, the group takes on senses similar to Grizzly Bear, Fleet Foxes, and even Paper Route, while also adding unique elements all their own.

Without a substantial fan base in the U.S., Local Natives ironically released their debut album Gorilla Manor in Europe back in November. Recently, however, the group was picked up by US label Frenchkiss, which released an expanded version of Gorilla Manor on February 16.

Despite US obscurity, their debut album is a praise-worthy enterprise, full of songs that grow. Local Natives have a knack for building powerful melodies from simple progressions, heightened by the clicks and clacks of energy-packed percussion. Through carefully constructed pop melodies, vocal harmonies, and even down tempo transitions, Gorilla Manor is music that capitalizes in exhorting joyous energy, yet still leaving adequate room for songs to breathe.

Besides an intelligent musical styling, Gorilla Manor is a lyrical journey. “Sun Hands,” one of the album openers, dives into a hopeful quest, centering on the oft-repeated chorus, “I’ll endure the night/ for the promise of light.” Combining lead guitar melodies with lively percussion, the melody heightens as the group shouts “And when I can’t feel with my sun hands, I’ll promise not to lose her again.” As the song culminates into a heavy rendition of the original guitar melody, it slows down, easing into a milder outro.

Another stand-out track, “Airplane,” opens on howling sounds, suddenly taking turns from loud to soft, as the singer recalls the memory of a friend, “I love it all/ I want you back.” As the song progresses, his voice seems to accept his friend’s fate while still remaining hopeful, singing, “I bet when I leave my body for the sky, the wait will be worth it.”

With a host of memorable lyrics, catchy pop hooks, and sporadic bursts of percussion, Gorilla Manor is a giant step in the band’s very young career. With the music of Local Natives finally releasing in their home country, give Local Natives some support and check out their new album Gorilla Manor. They’ve also got a great video cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Cecelia” on Youtube.

The Musical Journey of Zach Strout

By - Joshua Witchger

Byline: In anticipation of Zach Strout’s debut CD release, the singer-songwriter discusses his songwriting, recording, and partnership with Blackroom Records.

CCM Worship Arts major Zach Strout is gearing up to release his debut album Luggage Rack on March 9th. One thing’s for sure, he has a passion for folk music—but his ambitions haven’t always been such. “When I was younger I wanted to be in a screamo band,” recalls Strout. Over time though, his tastes have developed, almost exclusively, into favoring the metaphorical language of folk music.

“I was initially drawn to folk music through Bebo Norman’s album Ten Thousand Days,” says Strout, who admires the beauty of folk lyrics, melody, and composition. “But it’s the picking patterns that really drew me in. I would sit for hours replaying music just to learn the patterns.”

As Strout matures, his pursuit of conveying honesty in his songwriting is something he continually refines. Tipping his hat to the music of Jon Foreman, Derek Webb, and Tyler Burkum, Strout seeks to adapt a similar conversational, down-to-earth approach he admires in these artists. “What I see is honesty, they have a certain rawness in their approach to explaining their emotions. And while I’m not sure if people feel this way when they listen to me, my hope is that they feel like I’m talking to them.”

Strout’s journey of performing folk music began his freshman year, fall of 2008. Having just arrived at Greenville, Strout quickly teamed with like-minded individuals, forming a folk outfit known as Ellery Grange. “I had only played one or two shows before coming to Greenville,” recalls Strout. Over the time spent with Ellery Grange, he became comfortable playing in front of an audience and collaborating with friends. However, with two members having left Greenville, Strout decided that instead of looking for new band members, he would pursue his music as a solo artist.

Playing a handful campus shows, and open mics, Strout quickly exhibited a new repertoire of songs. “Breathe and 61 were some of the first songs I wrote back in 2007,” says Strout, who over the past few years has been building a collection of original material. “One of the songs I play [Mary Lou] was written with Ellery Grange, but most others are fairly new.”

Currently, his pursuit as a solo musician has taken several unexpected turns. Most unexpected was his partnership with Blackroom Records, which all began when Strout’s friend enrolled to take a new course, aptly titled Blackroom Records. The basic idea behind the course is to operate as a record label—signing an artist, recording, producing, promoting, and marketing. In order for the class to function properly, they needed a musician. Thus, due in part to Strout’s friend, his name was suggested as a possible candidate for this role.

Some time later, Strout ran into one of the coordinators for the course, who mentioned in passing that they would like to hear a demo of his music. Strout jokes of how he just happened to be carrying one with him at that instant. Forgetting he had given the demo away, he was surprised a few weeks later when class instructor David Shreiber contacted him, wishing to hear additional songs. Knowing the decision lie between him and two other artists, Strout was told to expect a call informing him of the group’s final outcome.

Strout describes his evening of unveiling while he was at work. “I’m not supposed to answer my phone while I’m working, but I was really anxious to hear their decision,” recalls Strout. It turns out that faculty member David Shreiber incidentally stopped by Strout’s workplace that night. Spotting him from across the store, he excitedly shouted to him, “Hey, did you get the message? You made it.”

Form there, Strout describes the rest of the process as a bit hectic. “Plans were quickly made to record the album during the fall and have everything completed by Thanksgiving weekend— but it took a lot longer than it should have,” says Strout, who was initially a bit hesitant towards the final product.

Eventually, Thanksgiving weekend came and the record was far from completion. “[One of the hard things was that] while recording I would only get to hear pieces of the songs, and none of it was mixed yet,” describes Strout. Hearing the raw sound of the recording process, contrasted with his hopes of producing an album that would fit comfortably in his folk catalogue, Strout was a bit disheartened.

But then it all came together. Peter Lokey, who recorded and mixed the album, finished the tracks, and right when the fall semester came to a close, Strout’s album was complete.

“I was given the tracks right when I got home for Christmas break,” recalls Strout. “I sat down in my room and just listened to the tracks… and was really pumped. Peter was amazing to work with and he did a great job finishing up the album.”

Partnering with many other student-musicians, Strout considers himself fortunate to have such a supportive community of people who worked together to complete his album. In addition to Strout, who writes all the music, sings, and plays guitar, a wide range of other instruments were utilized to present a fuller folk sound. Piano, drums, viola, and stand-up bass are featured on several tracks, played by Sarah Maitlen, Evan Sieling, Blakeley Woessner, and Nichole Graham respectively. Also playing on a few tracks are Blake Holderread with lap-steel guitar, Lucas Harger with banjo and guitar, Jay Wilde with trumpet, and myself with mandolin.

All in all, Luggage Rack contains 11 tracks with a final instrumental reprise. “The last one was all Blakeley’s improvised composition,” says Strout, who thinks it is a fitting way to close out the album. “And I think it might also be my favorite song.”

With the first shipment of CD’s just arriving, Strout is anxious to share his music with the Greenville community. Strout and Co. is preparing to offer a full band performance for the release show on March 9th in the Blackroom With the anticipation of more shows in the future—possibly even a small summer tour—Strout is fully embracing whatever direction Luggage Rack takes him.

Join the Greenville community on March 9th in welcoming the official debut of Zach Strout’s album Luggage Rack.

Eagle Scout Sprouts 'New Hands'

By Matt Stuttler

Greenville College’s own Eagle Scout will be releasing their debut full length New Hands on February 16. A culmination of four years’ worth of material, including re-recordings of “Kites” and “Spies Like Us” that previously appeared on their second EP Pandamonium!, Eagle Scout treads new waters and layers on New Hands.
The album oozes and aches with gritty distorted punk guitars (discovered since the last release) and quick punchy delay lines from guitarists Robert Varner and Ben Helman. The same intensity is there, but with an almost new vigor that comes along with the progression and tightness of a consistently maturing band. The hard hitting hardcore influenced dance beats (courtesy of drummer Kyle “Rocky” Collman) and sing-alongs (courtesy of the entire band) have also come along for the ride, but with a sharp intelligence to them, reminiscent to a more spacey and experimental Tokyo Police Club.

The album, produced by Matt Goldman (Copeland, Anathallo, Underoath), showcases vocalists Brandon Hunter and Hen Belman’s high/low dynamic, sometimes verging on voice cracking pronouncements to severe yelps of emotion bundled into man form. Keyboardist Jeremiah Clark finishes the line up out with his smooth and atmospheric lines, adding that extra layer that puts Eagle Scout above the level of most typical indie dance bands. “At Arm’s Length” opens the album with the scathing lyrics “we gave greatly to a cause we never knew/just to prove we did our part/despite my best efforts to stop the bleeding/my veins ran dry and I realized just where we went wrong” which sets the pattern for the lyrical content of the rest of the philosophical/cynical almost ironically joyful vocals that continue throughout the album.

“Currents” glides in with a nice little delay ditty that later bursts into a full out yell that embodies the water/waves theme of the song, complete with a pounding bass drum and synths that woosh. The most upbeat track of the album “Death Rays” races in a similar style to the movie Death Race, with malice on its nice trimmed college beard and spikes on its spinning tires of punk doom. The track doesn’t let up until it hits a metaphorical speed bump/breakdown that is sure to be a climatic moment in a live setting with the shout along “A space suit/can’t save us/won’t save us now”. The reduxes of both “Spies like Us” and “Kites” give both songs a facelift, with stronger vocal approaches and a realer feeling all around. The intro of “The Decay” despite its title brings in the listener in with a jangly little tambourine joint with a slick as butter guitar line. Probably the lightest/slowest song of the album, Eagle Scout still manages to get across their point, even if the song tends to decay itself a bit. “I Am Your Ghost” and “Weaker Science” both carry the listener on towards the end of New Hands, decked out with more smart lines and catchy hooks. “No Devil Lived On” and “Our Body is Walls” round out the experience with nods to the founding fathers of both punk and indie rock, keeping the toes tapping, the eyes reading the lyrics, and the head nodding in agreement.

New Hands is an exquisite release that is bursting with catchy, abrasive, atmospheric tunes. The band has grown in both popularity and maturity, leading them to be even more accessible to the ear of the current college music scene. The album art is sweet and icy looking. Not only does Eagle Scout keep the kids dancing, but also remind them there is something going on in both a local and global setting just below the surface that isn’t quite right. If you’re into Foals, Tokyo Police Club, Friendly Fires, or Los Campesinos, give these cool dudes a try.

Greenville College Alum Andre Anjos Scores 'Holy Rollers'

Three noteworthy films of Sundance:

Blue Valentine

Finding themselves amidst the complications of married life, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a couple that retreats to an unfamiliar place, seeking to revive their marriage. Directed by Derek Cainfrance, the film charts the history of a relationship in a unique and heartfelt way.

Holy Rollers

Holy Rollers sees Jesse Eisenberg playing a Hasidic Jew who is determined to become a Rabbi. However, through the influence of his Brooklyn neighbors, he is pulled into the world of illegal drug smuggling. This film being Kevin Asch’s directorial debut, exposes the true story of abandon faith and family. One of the coolest things about this film is that GC alum Andre Anjos composed the soundtrack for this film.

Winter’s Bone

Director Debra Granik tells the story of a young girl, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who is on a mission to uncover the truth about her father. With adversity all around her, Lawrence’s character teams with her friend and uncle to find her father and save her crumbling family. Taking several awards at Sundance festival, look for this award winning adventure story soon to be released.

March St. Louis Concert Calendar

3/2 The Rocket Boys 8pm $7 Cicero's
3/4 Via Audio w/ Pattern Is Movement 9pm Free Biliken Club
3/4 Montez 8pm $5 Lemp Auditorium
3/4 Paula Cole 9pm $25 Old Rock House
3/5 Those Darlings w/ Flaming Death Trap 9pm $8 Off Broadway
3/6 Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears 8pm $10 Off Broadway
3/6 The Magnetic Fields 8pm $26 The Pagent
3/7 Frontier Ruckus 8pm $8 Off Broadway
3/9 Rodrigo y Gabriela 8pm $25 The Pagent
3/11 Elevator Music Series presents: Califone 8pm $12 Luminary Arts Center
3/11 Willie Nelson & Family 8pm $45 The Pagent
3/13 G. Love and Special Sauce 8pm $20 The Pagent
3/14 David Bazan w/ Headlights 9pm $12 Old Rock House
3/14 La Diapute 8pm $5 Lemp Auditorium
3/20 Appleseed Cast (playing Low Level Owl I & II) 8pm $10 Off Broadway
3/23 The Cave Singers 9pm Free Biliken Club
3/26 Dr. Manhattan 8pm $5 Lepm Auditorium
3/10 Flogging Molly 5pm Free Vintage Vinyl
3/18 Project 86 w/ Flatfoot 56 8pm $12 The Firebird
3/21 The Aquabats 7pm $15 The Firebird
3/24 Saosin w/ Maylene and the Sons of Disaster 7pm $15 Pop's

Beyond The Bachelors (A Letter)

By - Steph Plant

Dear Jars of Clay.

I just wanted to write and say thank you for spending a little time in Greenville, Illinois. I could just kiss you right on your shiny, shiny foreheads for improving my life so much.

Back in high school I remember playing your cassette tapes all the time and wondering what kind of people you were. I dialed up the internet and went on a search for more information on how you’d become a band. I remember that fateful day when I read the words “studying Christian Contemporary Music at Greenville College in southern Illinois” and made the critical decision to send in my one and only college application and grow up to be JUST LIKE YOU. Thank you, Jars. Thank you for instilling the dream in me. The dream that many of us arrive here with: to one day complete our CCM bachelor’s degrees and go on to great and glorious CCM bliss.

It doesn’t bother me now that the dream was shattered that very first semester when I attempted to take Piano I with Dr. Kwon and realized that being a music major actually involved crazy hard WORK that I wasn’t at all prepared to do. Two hours a night in the practice rooms? Are you kidding me, Jars?! No wonder you dropped out and skipped right to bliss early on. I’m happy for you. I’m also happy for me.

I withdrew from a bunch of my music classes and perused the class listings to seek out some other interests of mine. I put my big plans for a CCM career on pause for a while as I took amazing classes with people like Rick McPeak, Ruth and Richard Huston, Daryl Iller, and Steve Heilmer. I learned so much from them all because of you, and I’m much indebted. Because of you I was exposed to the works of M. Scott Peck, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Annie Dillard. Because of you I got involved in lots of art classes and ended up changing my major so that I could devote more time to making lots and lots of woodcuts. Because of you I was challenged not to seek out what to think but how to think.

Because of you I live with a wonderful cat. (His name is Nunu, and he wants me to thank you for him as well.) Because of you, I ended up picking up my guitar again and started writing my own little songs (since that I wasn’t any longer intimidated by ambitions of being just like you)!

Because of your impeccable taste in Christian colleges, I met people who I’ll consider my bffs FOREVER. Forever, Jars. Do you understand how important you are to me?! You’re responsible for so much happiness in my life. Thank you for being the doorway to friendships with so many ridiculously wonderful people... Rachel Brown: delightful, dear, sister for life, Micah Jerrell: caring companion and boyfriend supreme, Katie Bogdanowicz, Krista Herring, Johannah Swank, Anna Nieves, Travis Hall, Anna Wagner, Joy Tsakanikis, Sara Miller, and Kelly Latimore, just to mention a tiny sliver of them.

Jars of Clay, you’re the best. I can’t decide who I’m more indebted to, you, or the U.S. Department of Education. My bliss didn’t come cheap, let me tell you. It was worth every penny I’m going to be paying off for the next several decades.
Anyway, thanks again to each of you, Charlie, Dan, Matt, and most of all Steve - I want to fall in love with y’all.

Your biggest fan,
Steph Plant

Steph Plant graduated from Greenville College in 2009 with an art degree. She currently resides in Greenville, filling her time with substitute teaching at the elementary school, playing with her cat Nunu, spending time with friends, making silly collages, and music shows.

Sun Chips, How Green Of Them!

By London Novak

One major corporation taking eco-friendly measures is SunChips, who recently announced they will start selling their chips in compostable packaging. The chip bags will be made of a plastic composed of renewable, plant based materials called polyastic acid (PLA). According to a SunChips press release, this is the first fully compostable snack chip bag made from plant-based materials. The change is designed to significantly improve the environmental impact of its packaging. Gannon Jones, vice president of marketing at Frito-Lay North America, said, “This is an important first step towards having a fully compostable chip bag in market by Earth Day 2010.” Now when we eat a bag of SunChips, we can put our trash in the compost bin. And that’s not to mention the full serving of whole grains and 0 grams of trans fats! SunChips snacks are available in Original, Harvest Cheddar, French Onion, Garden Salsa and Peppercorn Ranch flavors.

Another company combating the issue of environmentalism is the multinational automaker, Nissan., who has recently put out the company’s first all-battery electric car. Hoping to change consumer behavior, the company is taking charge for the markets in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. They’re planning on having service stations in many parking lots and shopping malls in which retailers will be offered the services for free. There are major efforts being put forth to deliver public charging. In Israel, the Renault-Nissan Aliance is working to deliver electric versions of the Renault Laguna with swappable batteries for longer trips. Unfortunately, this feature will not be issued in the US since many homes have multiple cars and trips are usually shorter. Reservations have already been in progress and orders can be placed in August while the car will be delivered by the end of the year.

Currently within our own City of Greenville, recycling bins are making their way home to proud new owners. After a long battle with many city inhabitants, the decision has been won over to start a curbside recycling program. Beginning on March 1, city inhabitants will no longer have to throw away reusable materials on their normal trash day and have the opportunity to make a difference in their community. Although people will not be able to throw away glass, other materials such as plastics, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum, and tin are able to be picked up. Because of the services, there will be an increase on the water/sewage bill, but it will not exceed $6.

The Oscars, A Night of Firsts

By - Matt Stuttler

The 82nd Annual Academy Awards ceremony kicks off on Sunday, March 7, and will be hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin. Commonly known as the “Oscars”, this will be a year of firsts for the historic night.

The biggest first springs from the obvious rivalry that exists between the pair of ex-spouse directors James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow. Both have nabbed nine Oscar nominations for their respective films Avatar (Cameron) and The Hurt Locker (Bigelow).

If Bigelow wins the Oscar Nomination for best director, she will become the first female to win the award and only the fourth to be nominated. When asked to comment on the possibility of being the first female director to win the Oscar, Bigelow responded philosophically with “I hope someday we can lose the modifier and that becomes a moot point whether the person is male or female and they’re just filmmakers making statements that they believe in.”

Another first comes from the Best Film nomination for Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, which features Lee Daniels as the first African American director whose film has been nominated. In the animated world, Up is the first CGI animated feature film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Another big first (in sixty years) for the night will be the broadening of the best picture nominees to ten, which is double that of the previous years. “Having 10 Best Picture nominees is going to allow Academy voters to recognize and include some of the fantastic movies that often show up in the other Oscar categories, but have been squeezed out of the race for the top prize,” commented Sidney Ganis, the Academy President.

Some films, such as the previously mentioned Avatar and The Hurt Locker (each nominated nine times), received several nominations. They are Inglorious Basterds ( eight), Precious and Up in the Air (six), Up (five), District 9, Star Trek, and 9 ( four), An Education, Crazy Heart, The Princess and the Frog, and The Young Victoria (3).

The nominees for Best Picture are Avatar, The Blind Side, District 9, An Education, The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire, A Serious Man, Up, and Up in the Air.

For Best Animated Feature Film, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells, and Up.

For Best Director, James Cameron (Avatar), Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), Lee Daniels (Precious) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds).

For Best Lead Actor, Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker).

For Best Lead Actress, Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidbe (Precious), and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia). For a complete list, visit the Oscars web site at