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Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Ray Michelli Remembered by Many

Beloved Member of the Communication Department Passes Away

Ray Michelli 1

Ray Michelli was someone you just couldn’t miss when you walked into a room packed with people. It had nothing to do with the fact that he was bound to a wheelchair; it had everything to do with an infectious smile, as described by many, which lit up everyone around him.

After living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy for all his 36 years, Ray passed away on Thursday, October 6. Remembered by a support system of family and friends, he was also cherished by several members of the University community. As a communication student, a sports talk show host and DJ for WMCX, and a statistician for the University football team, this former Hawk had his plate full, but enjoyed every bite of it.

“As anyone who knew him came to realize, he was one of the proudest and most courageous human beings anyone could ever meet,” Nick Mischelli, Ray’s uncle, said during the funeral’s eulogy.

Dr. Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, commemorates Ray’s smile and positive attitude. “He was so passionate about radio, he was passionate about sports, and he always had something funny or an interesting angle that made me see things a different way, so I always liked talking to him,” Dell says. He heard of Ray’s passing on the University’s alumni Facebook page.

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Paranormal Acivity 3The freakiest thing about Paranormal Activity 3 isn’t the lights turning on and off or doors slamming shut, but how these events took place in September 1988 when I was a month old. Beyond that, the third installment of this growing series still uses simple means to generate scares while expanding its narrative and the paranormal activity.

What makes Paranormal Activity interesting is the fact that rather than move forward, each sequel goes backward to present more information on characters and all their strange encounters. Instead of calling Paranormal Activity 3 a sequel, it should be a sprequel (a sequel that’s a prequel). This continues with the third chapter, which is an entertaining interlude that adds to the story but not as much fright.

Paranormal Activity 3 begins before Paranormal Activity 2 on March 2005 in Carlsbad, California, when we are reintroduced to Kristi Rey (Sprague Grayden) and her husband, Daniel (Brian Bolland) as they set up a nursery for Hunter, whom Kristi is pregnant with. Meanwhile, Katie (Katie Featherson) visits her sister, Kristi, and drops off a box of old home movies she found.

The film then transitions to Paranormal Activity 2, after the Rey’s house was broken into with Daniel recording for insurance purposes and noticing the only thing missing are the tapes Katie brought over (as if the demon is watching these films to reminisce about his hauntings).

The screen turns blue as the lost videos begin to play and sets Paranormal Activity 3 in motion with family videos from September 1988. These tapes contain home movies of young

Katie (Chloe Csengery) and young Kristi (Jessica Tyler Brown) growing up in Santa Reese, California with their mom Julie (Lauren Bitter) and stepfather, Dennis (Christopher Nicholas Smith). Things seem normal for this family with nothing out of the ordinary at first.

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New ‘Walking Dead’ Season Keeps Viewers Hungry

Walking Dead 1Before we dig into the sophomore year of AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” let’s give ourselves a refresher on some of the most important points from season one.

The main character, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), has no idea that his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) had an affair with his best friend, Shane (Jon Bernthal), and there is a bit of an underlying opposition between the two. Even worse, Shane still wants to be with Lori.

Andrea (Laurie Holden), who at the beginning of season one lost her sister to the “walkers,” as the zombies are called, attempted to commit suicide by trying to stay behind at the  Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) when it blew up, but she was rescued by Dale (Jeffrey DeMunn), who was not ready for her to die. She holds some sort of resentment for Dale for saving her, and may still be suicidal.

Just before the CDC blew up, the sole scientist there, Dr. Edwin Jenner (Noah Emmerich), told Rick something that was not revealed to the audience. We are supposed to find out what this inaudible whisper was this season.

Finally, Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) is still missing. Last season, in a heated argument between T-Dog (Irone Singleston) and himself, the group of survivors turned on him and chained Merle to a pipe on the roof of a building. Left for dead, he escaped, and we may see more of him this season.

Rick, who became somewhat a leader of the group in season one, struggles to keep himself from losing it as he and his motley crew of survivors push forward through this dreary world that they could have never imagined.

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Crimes of the Heart Coming to Woods Theatre

Beth Henley’s Play Will Run November 9 to 20

Crimes of the HeartIf you ever took John Burke’s, Associate Professor and Director of theatre arts, acting class, you probably heard a speech about happiness. “You have a right to be happy and the hardest time to remember that is when you’re sad,” Burke said.

So it should not come as much of a surprise that one of the main themes of this year’s play, Crimes of the Heart, is the search for happiness.

Burke is directing this play by Beth Henley about three sisters who come back together after some time apart to deal with their sick grandfather, the man who raised them.

They’ve all had their fair share of problems. They grew up with an abusive father and their mother committed suicide when they were children, so it isn’t surprising that the three women don’t really have perfect lives.

Babe, the youngest, shot her husband. Meg, the middle child, moved out to Hollywood but failed to become a star, while Lenny, the oldest, didn’t do much of anything at all. She was the one to stay at home and take care of their grandfather. 

Even though, the dramatic comedy takes place in the 1970’s in Mississippi, you don’t think that will stop one from relating to the play.

Michael Rosas, who will play Barnette, said, “Although this show is set in Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a completely different world from North Eastern USA, this show brings up topics that most could relate to. The main question that this show poses to the audience, in my opinion, is should your past dictate your present? Everyone has skeletons in their closet, but what if they were all exposed?”

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Have You seen This ‘American Horror Story’?

American Horror StoryLet’s be clear on one thing. “American Horror Story” is not in any way shape or form “Glee,” even though they do share creators, Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuck. There is neither a joke nor a jazz hand in sight.

What you do see is a haunted house, a creepy little girl, body parts in jars and overdone music. The show is aptly titled because it does truly embrace every classic American horror story fixture.

Each episode begins with a flashback tale about the house and its former residents.

In the pilot, two boys die in the abandoned house after a little girl, Adelaide (Jamie Brewer), warns them of their fate in 1978. Flash forward to 2011 and the Harmons are buying the Victorian house in an effort to start fresh. Vivien Harmon (Connie Britton) had a miscarriage and then found her husband Ben (Dylan McDermott) in bed with one of his students, calling for their family to move from Boston to Los Angeles.  The family moves into the house, knowing that the last couple to live there died recently in a murder-suicide.

The Harmons’ new neighbor turns out to be Adelaide, the little girl who warned the boys they would die. She tells the Harmons the same thing after she breaks into their house. Her mother Constance (Jessica Lange) takes her back home but gives Vivien sage to cleanse the house. Vivien actually does burn the sage in a cleansing, but it doesn’t help because Ben starts hearing voices. He has some fixation with fire that he can’t control. It seems as though he’ll eventually light the house on fire.

However the second episode lacks almost any reference to that bit of mind control and fire fixation, which forces viewers familiar with Murphy and Falchuck to wonder if “American Horror Story” will face the same inconsistency problems “Glee” does.

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On Screen In Person Journeys to Bethlehem

Journeys to Bethlehem“I didn’t write this script.  I listened to it,” writer/director Jim Hanon said about his documentary, The Little Town of Bethlehem to a crowd of young and old on October 10 in Wilson Auditorium.  Hanon was the latest filmmaker to present his work and participate in a Q & A in the new film series, On Screen In Person.

On Screen In Person began at the University September 12 when Nancy Kelly presented her documentary, Trust, at Pollak Theatre.  This films series continues to be sponsored by the Department of Communication and the Performing Arts Series; it is also funded by the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program.

The Little Town of Bethlehem focused on three individuals living in Israel, Sami Award (Christian), Yonatan Shapira (Jewish), and Ahmad Al’Azzeh (Muslim). 

Together, they talked about living in Israel or Palestine and discussed the difficulties they had and still face in this conflicted region.  They then discussed how each has worked to promote peace in the Middle East through non-violent demonstrations and organizations.

Chad Dell, chair of the Department of Communication, welcomed the audience and said On Screen In Person is a touring film series along the East coast and four more filmmakers are scheduled to visit the University.

Since the Auditorium is smaller than Pollak Theatre, Dell encouraged the audience to move up and said, “This screen is merely respectable.  The sound system is good.  Take advantage of the special seats up front.”  Dell also thanked colleague Andrew Demirjian, specialist professor from the Department of Communication, for bringing his classes to this event, Donna Dolphin, Communication professor for working with Dell on On Screen In Person, as well as Saliba Sarsar, professor of Political Science and Associate Vice President for Global Iniatives.

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Wilson Auditorium Gets a Visit From Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn Visits WilsonThe University’s Visiting Writers Series presented its second author of the year by bringing Nick Flynn to Wilson Auditorium on Thursday, October 6. The audience was comprised of students and professors alike, who were both eager to understand the mind and works of this accomplished writer.

Among Flynn’s published works are poetry collections like “Some Ether” and “Blind Huber” as well as two memoirs.

His earliest memoir, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City,” was published in 2004 and tells the story of Flynn and his unanticipated encounter with a father who, until then, has been in prison for robbery. In the upcoming year, this literary work will appear as a feature film, currently called Being Flynn, starring Robert De Niro, Julianne Moore, and Liv Tyler and directed by Paul Weitz.

While at the University, Flynn shared his thoughts about seeing his story reenacted on set and the inspirations behind many of his other works.

Michael Thomas, Director of the Visiting Writers Series and Assistant Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, was the first to welcome the crowd and introduce Flynn.

For those unfamiliar with the author’s poetry and memoirs, Thomas gave a brief introduction with high regard to Flynn’s writing and talked about the writer’s “renowned sense of poetry and fiction.”

The next speaker was Laura McCullough, a writer and professor from Brookdale Community College, who presented an eloquent introduction referencing one of Flynn’s poems from his collection, “Blind Huber.” “From bees come honey; from art comes sometimes a way to go on,” she said, characterizing the themes of his work.

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How to Succeed in Replacing Daniel Radcliffe on Broadway

Darren Criss and Nick Jonas to Take Over Leading Role Next Year

Succeed Daniel Radcliffe BroadwayLast spring, Broadway revived the classic musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying with much success. The musical centers around J. Pierrepont Finch, a window washer who works his way up the corporate business ladder with the help of a book aptly called “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.” Stars John Laroquette and Daniel Radcliffe have received much critical praise for their performances.

Although Radcliffe was overlooked for a Tony Award nomination (some even say snubbed), Laroquette was nominated and won for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical. However How to Succeed has to at least partly thank Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe’s fan base for the wonderful ticket sales.

With Radcliffe stepping down from the role of J. Pierrepont Finch on January 1, 2012, who has enough pull to keep the ticket sales up and attract the interest of a younger crowd? Why, none other than a “Glee” star and a Jonas Brother, of course.

“Glee’s” Darren Criss will first succeed Radcliffe and move his singing and dancing from screen to stage on January 3.

While this will be his Broadway debut, Criss isn’t a stranger to the stage. He has his own Chicagobased theatre company, Starkid Productions, which he started with his friends from college.

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Cooking Up Drama at Pollak Theatre

Cooking Up Drama PollakJust a few years ago, not many people in New Jersey would have thought about going out to see a live play, especially in London, England. With the revolutionary National Theatre Live, a company that broadcasts performances to cinemas all around the world, watching a live play in England without leaving Monmouth County is now a regular occurrence.

The Pollak Theatre at the University filled quickly with moviegoers of all ages the evening of Thursday, October 6.

From children and college students to parents and grandparents, they could not resist entering the auditorium in anticipation of the fall’s second National Theatre Live presentation, Arnold Wesker’s The Kitchen.

Set in 1950’s London, a seemingly mismatched group of chefs, waitresses and porters – comprised of English, Irish, German, Italian, French and Jewish men and women, struggle to maintain the sanity in their kitchen. The performance included 30 actors and actresses, and maintained a very intense, fast-paced story throughout the duration of the two-act play.

 The Kitchen, which has appeared in theatres in over 30 countries worldwide since its debut at London’s Royal Court in 1959, was performed live from National Theatre’s Olivier Stage in London. Combining the high-stress environment of working in The Kitchen of a highly successful English restaurant with the clashing personalities of the characters, the tension in the play was thick enough to be cut with a knife, drawing the audience right into The Kitchen with the staff.

Peter (Tom Brooke), a German cook in love with Monique, a married waitress, struggles to realize what it is he truly wants from life, while the woman he loves is not sure whether she wants to divorce her husband to be with him. Meanwhile, a new cook searches for a way to fit in with the ragtag group of kitchen staff while they bustle about during a typical work day of nonstop service.

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Gears of War 3 Rolls Toward Its Conclusion

Gears of War 3I have been waiting for Gears of War 3 for a good three years. This game has finally hit shelves and it’s time to finish the fight against the Locust.

This game is rated M for Mature and deserves this rating for all its gore and cursing.

Don’t pick this up expecting a fun family adventure (but then again, why would you expect that from a game called Gears of War?).

The Gears of War series has always had impressive visuals, but very often during cut scenes, you’ll see less detailed images. Basically, the game has to load the graphics and when the cut scenes start, it may not be finished. This is still a present issue in Gears 3, but it isn’t a big deal.

The audio is just as good as the other two. The characters have funny moments of dark humor and the music is representative of what is currently happening. However, the music doesn’t try to steal the glory, opting instead to compliment the action, or gloom, happening at the time.

The story is still very strong, and while I liked Gears 2 so much because you felt connected with Dominic Santiago’s quest to find his missing wife, here the star of the game is Marcus Fenix. Dom is in depression, the human army is falling apart, and Marcus’s father, Adam Fenix is revealed to be alive and has the solution to end the war.

The story does a good job bringing the player in and sympathizing with the characters, this time very much so with Marcus. You really feel like he and Delta

Squad are the last hope for humanity as enemies approach from all sides.

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La Bruja Drops Hispanic Poetry and Hip-Hop on University

La Bruja Hispanic PoetryThe stage was set with one stool, one music stand, and one microphone. On a small table sat one laptop and one water bottle.

Performing for students and professors at a packed Lauren K. Woods Theatre, La Bruja brought her one-woman show to the University last Thursday, September 29 in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Sponsored by the Office of Affirmative Action & Human Relations, the Office of Student Activities & Student Center Operations, and along with the University Library, La Bruja’s performance was a mix of comedy, slam/spoken word poetry, and songs from her multiple albums that infused hip-hop with Latin roots.

Nicole Martinez, the Freshmen Coordinator/Counselor for the University’s Educational Opportunity Fund Program, said La Bruja had a “great reception last year, so we brought her back,” as many students were left standing at the end of last year’s performance.

La Bruja was born Caridad De La Luz, which translates to “Charity of the Light.” “My parents were not playing around when they made me,” she said about her name. She chose the name La Bruja, or “The Good Witch” a superhero name, when considering W.W.M.D. (What Would Madonna Do?), until she asked herself “No, what would I do?”

La Bruja was raised in Bronx, New York, better known as “Boogey-down Bronx” or “Nuyorican” to its Puerto Rican citizens. She got her start “holding open mics” at her house at the age of five with her family as her audience. Her inspiration came from her great grandmother, who couldn’t read or write, “but had a memory of gold,” La Bruja said.

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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