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Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Natasha Trethewey Captivated Listeners With Her Poetry

poetry-readingAfrican-American poet Natasha Trethewey visited Wilson Hall Auditorium last Thursday to read poems from her upcoming release titled “Thrall.” The event was presented by the University’s Center for the Arts Visiting Writer’s Series.

Trethewey, born in Mississippi, is a renowned writer with three collections of poetry released including “Native Guard,” which earned her the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. She is also the author of a creative non-fiction book titled “Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.”

Trethewey has been the recipient of many awards and honors and was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

The event was attended by many including undergraduate and graduate students, professors and fans of Trethewey.

Hannah Portnoy, an adjunct for the English department, who was attending the event with her class, said the students “really wanted to come” to this event and she thought it be great for them as well. “I just love poetry and literature. We’re in the English department and I think that it’s good to have [students] exposed to it,” said Portnoy. “It’s very important for the students to gain experience in listening; it adds another dimension. And it’s always wonderful to meet and hear the poet.”

Michael Thomas, Director of the Visiting Writer’s Series, started the reading with a great introduction, saying, “Without music, without art, without poetry, literature, we don’t survive, we don’t prosper. Also, we need you, our audience, scholars and listeners. We need your attention because without all of you, one might say the poems don’t have life, they don’t breathe.”

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I See Stars Has the Right Beat in Digital Renegade

digital-renegadeIt appears that everything nowadays is slowly making the move to become digital. One can shop, read the newspaper and even pay bills through digital methods.

Is it possible that even rock and metalcore are moving in a digital direction as well? With the release of I See Stars’ new album Digital Renegade, it certainly appears to be possible.

I See Stars is composed of lead singer Devin Oliver, unclean vocalist Zach Johnson, Jeff Valentine on bass guitar, Brent Allen on lead guitar, Jimmy Gregerson on rhythm guitar, and Andrew Oliver on drums.

Digital Renegadeis the band’s third full-length album and their strongest effort to date.

Many fans of the band were disappointed with their last release The End of the World Party which was released a little over a year ago. The band took a pop punk approach to the album that was considerably lighter than their first album, 3-D. Many fans were unhappy with this approach and wanted I See Stars to return to their heavier roots. I See Stars seemed to get that memo and Digital Renegade was exactly what the fans ordered.

The album kicks off with a song called “Gnars Attacks,” and it immediately hits you like a punch in the face. The speakers are invaded with the chanting of “Burn every bridge you ever built, how do you live with yourself,” accompanied with electronic beats and of course the usual metalcore/ punk sounds of I See Stars. The song focuses on the idea of keeping your friends close but your enemies closer and is a great way to start things off. Right away you pick up on how impressive Oliver’s vocals have become since the last album, not to mention the powerful screams of Johnson.

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A Citizen’s View of the Algerian Civil War

rachidaImagine living in constant fear that the ones who will rob your house and potentially kill you aren’t foreign terrorists or some enemy of the state but your neighbors from next door. This is the fear that characters in the film Rachida f eel o n a d aily b asis. A t one point, school teacher Rachida (Ibtissem Djouadi) even exclaims, “I’m in exile in my own country!”

Rachidawas screened in Pollak Theatre as the third movie in this year’s Provost Film Series. It is set during the civil war that affected the country in the 1990’s. If you were like me, you probably weren’t even aware that there was such a country called Algeria back then (if it’s for the same reason as me, then you were too young to know or care).

 Dr. Thomas Pearson, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, gave a quick history lesson about the Algerian civil war before the movie started. However, while it was very informative and gave good context for the film, it didn’t make the audience resonate with the Algerians nearly as much as the movie did.

Rachidabegins w ith R achida, a teacher, on her way to school. However, as she heads toward work, she is pressured into bringing a bomb into the school by former students of hers who have joined the revolting Algerians. When she refuses, they shoot her and leave Rachida for dead.

Right off the bat the audience is shown the torment the citizens felt during this civil war. Rachida makes a recovery physically, but the psychological scars still remain. Rachida moves to the countryside with her mother and begins teaching at a school there. However, the countryside is just as bad, if not even worse, than the city.

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The Hunger Games is a Well-Played Adaptation

hunger-gamesThe Hunger Games certainly did not disappoint fans as it hit theaters this past weekend. The first adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling book trilogy managed to stay relatively faithful to the source material without compromising the integrity of the movie.

The action-packed sci-fi film introduces audiences to Panem, a future version of North America that has been divided into 12 districts. The districts are closely monitored and regulated by the Capitol.

In order to prevent an uprising, the Capitol holds the Hunger Games every year. Here, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are randomly chosen and forced to enter a fight to the death, which is televised and considered required viewing for all Panem residents.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take the place of her younger sister in the games. She only volunteers to protect her sister, but the reality is that she does have a good chance at surviving because she illegally hunts. She has become the main provider for her family since her father died.

In the book, a lot of time is spent on Katniss’ role as the adult in her family, but the movie manages to get the message across very quickly. Though her mother is only in a couple scenes, the way Katniss speaks to her clearly conveys that Katniss is the caretaker.

Lawrence plays Katniss rather perfectly. In fact, she actually brings a certain vulnerability to Katniss that makes the movie version more likable than the character in the book. Josh Hutcherson plays Peeta Mellark well, but his job as the boy-next-door type wasn’t exactly hard. Woody Harrelson was great as functioning alcoholic and mentor, Haymitch Abernathy.

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The Power of Forgiveness is Explored in Fambul Tok

03.21.12_Page_12_Image_0002Could you forgive someone who committed atrocities to you, your family and your community? That was the question posed in the documentary, Fambul Tok, which was screened in Pollak Theatre on March 5 as part of On Screen In Person (a film series where directors present their films and partake in Q&A’s).

On Screen In Person was sponsored by the Department of Communication and Center for the Arts and funded by the National Endowment of the Arts’ Regional Touring Program.

Andrew Demirjian, specialist professor of communication, welcomed everyone and introduced director Sara Terry. He said Terry has won a number of awards and is founder of the Aftermath Project, a non-profit organization that allows photographers to capture images in post-war countries. Demirjian said, “I am excited to watch this with you and have a great discussion.”

Terry thanked the audience and said the film was “a very specific post-conflict story” and asked, “What does it mean to be human?” Terry added, “I think the film is best experienced the way it was edited.”

Fambul Tok focused on villages in Sierra Leone, Africa, where fambul tok, or family talk, is used to forgive people for actions committed during its civil war (1991- 2002). Performed around a bon fire at night, victims and attackers face each other in the hopes of amending relations. Individuals are also recorded talking about their past experiences before their fambul tok ceremony. The film also featured John Caulker, founder of Fambul Tok, as he traveled around the country and tried to help bring peace to these communities. (He’s presented as a strong worker and inspiration for fixing his country through this “old tradition.”)

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Prepare For Batman, the Apocalypse, and More at the Movies This Year

default article imageUntil John Carter (3-D) and 21 Jump Street arrived in theaters, the 2012 movie season wasn’t really packing a punch with a few exceptions (i.e. Chronicle).

Yet, with these recent releases, it appears as if this dry spell is ending as a number of exciting films are coming out. So, here are 10 films to anticipate for the next nine months.

1) 4:44- Last Day on Earth

(March 23)

End of the world movies are always terrifying by asking what would you do? Things get scarier when you know there’s a deadline like in 4:44- Last Day on Earth. While blockbusters like 2012 and Armageddon display large scales of disasters, this movie looks to use its intimate setting to grasp human drama regarding the end rather than the actual catastrophe.

William DeFoe, who always puts a 100 percent into his roles, seems set to do so again with his distinctive presence as an average Joe facing Earth’s demise.

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The Vagina Monologues Continued to Raise Awareness For V-Day

03.21.12 Page 13 Image 0002The University held its eighth annual performance of The Vagina Monologues in Pollak Theatre on March 6. The play was written to raise awareness of violent and sexual crimes committed against women.

The Vagina Monologues has come to support the V-Day movement by raising money, and garnering support for the issue of sexual violence. The “V” in V-Day stands for “all sorts of V words, like victory, but especially vagina,” said one of the performers. The proceeds of this movement go to local charities and shelters.

This particular performance of the play was to benefit the local charity, 180: Turning Lives Around. Sara Billings, a member of this charity, ran an information booth in the lobby. “Our mission is to end domestic violence in the community. The proceeds are going to our agency, so we really appreciate the support and assistance in raising awareness.”

The play, originally slated to commence at 7:30 pm, had to be held until 7:45 pm because of the throngs of people making their way into the Pollak Theatre. A cast of 14 women performed to a nearly-full house.

The performance was dynamic, engaging and, above all, fun. The actresses performed well and kept their composure during portions that would’ve made most others burst into laughter. One line that really left the audience in stitches was, “I don’t want my p***y to smell like rain!” Even the most conservative audience members began to loosen up as the performers got the crowd to let out orgasm moans and chant the “C” word.

All of the members of the audience, from men and women to old and young, could relate to the characters in this play.

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Say Anything Has a New Attitude With Anarchy, My Dear

anarachyIt’s been almost three years since Max Bemis has released any material from his alternative pop punk band Say Anything after endless touring, splitting from major record label RCA and getting married to Eisley vocalist, Sherri DuPree. Now they are backed by highly respected indie label Equal Vision Records and reteaming with producer Tim O’Heir who helped create Say Anything’s masterpiece album …Is a Real Boy.

Bemis is aiming to take back the crown as modern punk’s most creative, sarcastic and craziest singer/ songwriter with Say Anything’s new album Anarchy, My Dear. But does it have the potential to live up to their breakthrough album, or is it just more material to add to the pile?

“Burn a Miracle,” the first single released, sets the tone for the album with bright intricate melodies mixed with a rough edgy pulse as Bemis loudly proclaims, “I need a song meant to rally the devils.”

It sounds like any other Say Anything song with the middle taking an immediate turn into a darker tone as Bemis screams into the microphone, “Burn a miracle, burn America.”

This is followed by the second single, “Say Anything,” which sounds like a less distorted version of their older song “It’s A Metaphor Fool” off their EP …Was A Real Boy. It’s just as catchy but all too familiar.

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Comedy of Errors Has Audiences Laughing Across the World

Comedy of ErrorsWilliam Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, starring British comedian Lenny Henry, was performed at Royal National Theatre in London, England last Thursday with National Theatre Live broadcasting the performance across the world at 700 cinemas in 22 countires, including Pollak Theatre.

Alyssa Caporaso, a sophomore and an employee at Pollak Theatre, was attending the event for a theatre appreciation class and helping to collect sign-in sheets for the classes. She had high hopes for tonight’s production as she heard it was “very funny.”

“The shows are very cool,” said Caporaso. “[At] these kinds of events you will see a lot of people come out because obviously they’re all students. And Monmouth offers a lot of great programs.”

The play begins with Egeon (Joseph Mydell), a merchant of Syracuse imprisoned by Solinus (Ian Burfield), the Duke of Ephesus, for being in the city illegally and is to be executed unless he comes up with a thousand marks. Egeon begs for mercy as he tells a tragic tale of his wife giving birth to twins and buys a set of twins to “attend” to his sons. The family then set sail back home but the ship was destroyed, splitting the family apart.

Now Egeon’s son, Antipholus of Syracuse (Lenny Henry), is all grown up and goes out in search for his twin brother and mother along with his servant Dromio (Lucian Msamati). Egeon is worried he’ll lose his whole family, embarking on his own quest until he is captured. Duke sympathizes with Egeon, granting him one more day to find his son and come up with the fine or be killed.

After this sad but hopeful story, the errors and comedy begin immediately as Antipholus and Dromio arrive in Ephesus. Dromio is sent off to deposit some money as Antipholus considers how to spend his time, just as Dromio walks on stage sooner than expected. Yet, it’s not Dromio of Syracuse but his long lost twin brother, Dromio of Ephesus (Daniel Poyser) who works for Antipholus’s twin brother, wanting who he thinks is his master to return home to his suspicious wife.

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Don’t Fall Asleep While Traveling Between Parallel Universes

Don't Sleep Parallel UniversesThe pilot for NBC’s new drama “Awake” is phenomenal. The show does what most pilot episodes are incapable of: Giving you much more than what is in the trailer. Most new shows spend their pilot giving you an extended version of their trailer, but “Awake” goes through most of that footage in the first 10 minutes.

We see Michael Britten (Jason Issacs) get into a car accident with his wife and son, and it’s revealed that he is living in two realities. In one his son died, while in the other, his wife was the victim. Michael doesn’t know which is real and has no desire for either reality to disappear, but that was just the first 10 minutes.

Michael is also a homicide detective. In each world he has a different partner and a different case. Details from each case seem to slip into the other. The address 611 Waverly Place is important in the killing of a taxi driver while the parking spot 611 in Waverly Parking Garage is important in his kidnapping case.

Details like that go back and forth, which should indicate which reality is a dream, but don’t.

One detail will appear in the reality with his son and then appear in the reality with his wife. Meanwhile, another detail will appear in his wife’s reality and then slip into his son’s reality. Viewers don’t know which reality is real and neither does Michael.

If your head is spinning already, don’t worry too much. The show makes it really easy to identify which reality Michael is in, and understanding the premise is much easier to watch than read. The show flows really well so that it is fast paced but is still easy for viewers to grasp.

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There’s More Than One Reason to Stay Out of This House

More Reasons Stay HouseEditor’s Note: Recently, The Outlook attended the Associated Collegiate Press College Journalism Convention in Seattle, WA. While there, they had the oppurtunity to see an advance screening of the suspense-thriller, Silent House, opening on March 9.

“Remember what we went through?” asks Sophia (Julia Taylor Ross), the eerie-eyed childhood playmate of Sarah (Elizabeth Olsen), when she unexpectedly shows up at Sarah’s doorstep after a number of years apart.

Unfortunately, Sophia, Silent House is as forgettable as the mothballs, wicker furniture and broken folding chairs that sit untouched in corners throughout its dusty chambers.

Sarah is a blatantly bland and awkward college dropout who visits her family’s run-down lake house with her father John (Adam Trese) and Uncle Peter (Eric Sheffer Stevens), two brothers who maintain their childlike and idiotic bickering left over from their younger years. John is a seemingly tender and vulnerable dad who banters effortlessly with his daughter, while Uncle Peter is slightly more reckless and juvenile, easily falling into bouts of temper tantrums with his brother.

When Uncle Peter gets in yet another stint with John and storms off into the night, he leaves Sarah and John with the daunting duty of sorting through the family keepsakes that are scattered in heaps of plastic and piles. When Sarah hears a suspicious sound, she asks that John investigate, and when he doesn’t return, Sarah sets off through the house to try and find him. Like an episode of “Hoarders” gone wrong, this sends the characters in a scramble about the house that’s filled with moldy men, suspicious photographs, and wandering children.

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151