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Volume 84 (Fall 2012 - Spring 2013)

Student Spotlight: Climax Race

Untitled-5Any students hanging out at Brighton Bar on Saturday night had the opportunity to see Cli­max Race rock out with their guitarist Mike Baranowski. The senior has been playing with his band for the last couple years and has been playing guitar for 12 years. We got the opportu­nity to chat with Baranowski about his passion for music.

“I owe it to my parents for my love of music. They introduced me to their music and I took it from there,” Baranowski said. “I first got into music when I was about 11 years old. The first band I fell in love with [was] the band AC/DC. My dad put on a their album Back In Black, and I instantly felt like rock and roll was calling me to join ‘cause I’ve been missing out.”

Baranowski cited 60s and 70s rock staples like The Doors, Led Zeppelin and The Beatles as his influences. Baranowski explained, “I felt like these art­ists were more than just making music. I felt that I could identify with their music and the culture they expressed. By age 14, I was completely in love with music. I was listening to a wide variety of artists from BB King to Nine Inch Nails.”

The Brick native was specifi­cally influenced by Led Zeppe­lin’s Jimmy Page’s guitar prow­ess. “The rock riffs Jimmy Page created just thoroughly ap­pealed to me during my begin­ning stages as a guitar player,” Baranowski said.

Baranowski has been dedicat­ed to his guitar skills. He took three years of lessons when he first started and continued to learn from professionals at the University. Baranowski said he has taken three semesters of guitar lessons with professor [Aaron] Leone. His talents also extend to the piano and drums, instruments he taught himself to play.

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Rising Stars Come to WMCX

stellaryoung2Stellar Young stopped by the WMCX studio this past Tuesday to talk about their tour and latest al­bum, Everything At Once.

John Glenn (Vocals/Keyboard), Erik Flora (Guitar/Vocals), Curt Mulick (Drums), Kyle Hatch (Guitar) and Dave Parker (Bass) pulled up to the Plangere Center for Communication in their white mini shuttle bus, ready to hit the airwaves hours before their show later that night at The Trash Bar in Brooklyn. The band was featured on the WMCX specialty show, “Al­ternative Riot”.

I caught the indie-pop group in the middle of their “Nor’East Tour” and when asked how the road has been, Flora replied, “Pretty good, you know so far we’ve had the two dates, one out in Oneonta, which is kinda like our home away from home, and our second one was down in Woodstock.” Originally from Upstate New York, Stellar Young explained they were keep­ing this tour within the New York area.

“Actually, the way this little tour came together, we were just try­ing to book shows around the area and they kind of all came together in the same week and we were just like, let’s call it a tour. I’m glad it came together the way it did so we can just hop on the bus and make a little trip,” said Parker.

“We all met each other in Al­bany,” explained Glenn. When Mu­lick, Flora and Glenn met in high school, they formed a band called The City Never Sleeps. Shortly after, they asked Hatch to join the band (who replied enthusiastically “hell yeah!”) and from there they were introduced to Parker, an ex-live keyboardist for Coheed and Cambria, at an open-mic.

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Award-Winning Poet Astounds on Campus

janice01The University was host to the renowned poet Janice Harrington on Tuesday, February 5, as part of the Visiting Writer series. The event took place in the Wilson Auditorium at 7:30 pm, where she recited her work and discussed the inspiration behind it to a nearly full house.

Harrington has written two books of poetry, the first of which is titled Even the Hollow My Body Made is Gone, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize from BOA Editions as well as the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Her second book is In the Hands of Strangers.

She has also published sev­eral children’s books, titled Go­ing North, The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County, Roberto Walks Home, and Busy-Busy Lit­tle Chick.

According to her website, she is also the winner of a 2007 Na­tional Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship for Poetry and a 2009 Rona Jaffe Founda­tion Writers’ Award for emerging female writers. In addition, she now teaches in the creative writ­ing program at the University of Illinois.

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Coheed and Cambria Ascends to New Heights

coheed-and-cambria2Although Coheed and Cambria’s freshly released sequel album in The Afterman series might be labeled Descension, this musical composition is proving to be far from a decline.

Coheed and Cambria, composed of lead vocalist and guitarist Claudio Sanchez, lead guitarist Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard, and bassist Zach Cooper, is recognizable to many and is usually found as a curious oddity amongst the wide span of musical libraries.

Despite their beginnings in 1995 as metal-headed rock group with pop-punk habituals, the band seems to have finally found a stable identity as a progressive rock group in their Afterman project and is flying high as a result.

Things were not always as positive as they are currently for Coheed. They were initially thought to have reached the glass ceiling with their hit 2005 record Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness and with the assistance of chart-topping singles such as “Welcome Home,” “Ten Speed (Of Gods Blood and Burial),” and “The Suffering.” Through critical opinion the band fell down with their following two albums, appearing to have run out of creative compositions with the 2010 release Year of the Black Rainbow. But with The Afterman, Coheed appears to be setting aside any past inhibitions and melodic faux pas.

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Warm Bodies Heats Up Theaters

warm2While movies and television have lately been plagued with the apocalyptic and zombie genres, few have really delved into the mind and emotions of the flesh-eating monsters. Rarely are the movies or shows ever written from their point of view, and they hardly ever have a zombie romance.

However, Warm Bodies, written and directed by Jonathan Levine, seems to have created a genre of its own-meshing together romantic comedy and zombie-horror in a clever way.

The zombies are not portrayed as the villains per se, but rather  are victims of a plague in limbo between their former human lives and their ultimate demise. The film is narrated by R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie, whose only memory of his human life is that his name began with an R.

During a routine feeding on some of the few humans who have survived the mysterious zombie-causing epidemic, R meets Julie and becomes immediately drawn to her after eating her boyfriend’s brains (romantic, huh?). R then adopts some of the late boyfriend’s memories with Julie and is inclined to protect her.

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Peter’s Picks: Video Games Coming in 2013

Bioshock-Infinite-previewGamers, we’ve finally made it to 2013, and now that we’ve gotten that whole ‘Mayan apocalypse’ thing out of the way, it’s time for us to shift our focus towards an exciting, interesting, and impressive looking year for video games.

There’s no doubt about it: this year will bring about some exciting advancements to the world of video games, as it seems that the next generation of consoles is right around the corner.

Both Sony and Microsoft plan to unveil their newest consoles at some point this year, and this also happens to be the first full year for Nintendo to prove the might of its latest console, the Wii U.

But while we can speculate and debate about the future these three new devices all we want, there’s a much more vital question to address first: how many games can we look forward to playing this year? The short answer: quite a bit, actually.

The video game industry is known for many of its high profile titles being sequels and reboots and, for better or worse, 2013 looks no different. With games like God of War: Ascension for PlayStation 3, Gears of War: Judgment for Xbox 360, and countless other titles like Dead Space 3, Dark Souls 2, Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Tomb Raider, and TWO Metal Gear games on the way, it seems like nearly every major video game series of the past few years is making a return to the limelight.

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Lumumba Enlightening Yet Tragic

LumumbabaThe Provost Film Series screened their second movie, Lumumba, on Monday, January 28, in Pollak Theatre.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Thomas S. Pearson hosted the event. The 2012-2013 Provost Film Series focuses on the theme of African Journeys: Haunting Legacies, Fragile Futures.

Lumumba tells the story of Patrice Lumumba, an ambitious leader whose powerful words were a threat to those who opposed his vision of an independent Congo from Belgium in 1960. It’s a tragic yet inspiring historical film surrounding one visionary man and country that received its independence 50 years too soon.

“I think tonight’s film could not be more timely,” Pearson said as he introduced the movie. He discussed the plot of the film along with topics of racism and colonial independence in today’s world.

Lumumba was packed with oppressive violence and an inspiring story told in a non-linear structure. Economic, social and cultural issues within the territories of the Congo were brought to light and the film touched on the themes of love and devastation.

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The Music of 1940’s comes to Pollak

1940Pollak Theater had a full house on Sunday when audiences came for a 1940s music revue, In the Mood. The revue has come to the University every year for the last three or four years, making it an annual event. The sold out show even had to add extra chairs as general admission seats to meet the demand for tickets.

The show took the audience back to the year 1940 and asked audience members to turn off all their electronics because, “They were not invented when this show takes place, and they are annoying. We’d also like you to take this time to unwrap anything in cellophane, which was invented during this time period, but is also annoying.”

The show had The String of Pearls Orchestra, a 13 piece band, playing with six singers and dancers. Each orchestra member got their own solo throughout the night and even contributed their voices to a couple songs. Each of the six singers and dancers got to show off their talents with both song and dance solos.

Unfortunately, the singers were sometimes hard to hear over the big band orchestra. However, their high notes were loud and clear all the way in the back of Pollak Theater.

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A Dark Fairytale Disappoints

Do you ever wonder what happens to fairy tale characters after the endings of their stories? “And they all lived happily ever after, the end” is a sweet little wrap-up for small children, but as I have grown older, I have become dissatisfied with this unrealistic sentence. I find myself wondering if Cinderella divorced her Prince Charming after finding him cheating with another, fairer princess, taking half of his money and shacking up with another prince half her age. The perfect world of fairy tales and children’s stories never appealed to me because they do not reflect what the world really is: imperfect and, sometimes, not so happy

So when I saw a preview for Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, a dark and violent extension on the classic Grimm children’s story, I felt compelled by curiosity to see it. Finally, a real-world (well, besides the witches) sequel to a classic fairy tale! There are no breadcrumbs leading the two little German children home to their perfect families and a happy-ever-after in this film.

Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) are abandoned in the woods by their parents, only to wander into the candy-crafted home of a hungry witch hell-bent on devouring the two children. After stuffing Hansel full of enough candy to give him diabetes (literally, his “sugar sickness” is a recurring character flaw throughout the film), the witch is stabbed and burned to death by an angry Gretel. The two children never see their family again, and spend their lives hunting down and killing every witch they can find, due to their mysterious immunity to black magic.

I was excited to see the movie for a number of reasons. First, I love profanity, violence and disturbing plot twists in films. What that says about my psyche, I don’t know, but I cannot turn down watching a nice bloodbath on the silver screen. As for disturbing plot, two innocent little kids who get lost in the woods spend the rest of their lives on a cold-blooded killing spree, using futuristic weapons like tasers and automatic pistols to brutally murder practitioners of the occult? I’m sold.

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Snow Means New Shows: Midseason Television Brings Hits and Flops

newshowsMidseason television is, for lack of better term, a crapshoot. Sometimes viewers get fantastic, long running cult favorites (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer”) and other times viewers scratch their heads wondering how certain shows get the green light (these shall remain forgotten). This season is no different.

Plenty of actors will be getting six degrees closer to Kevin Bacon on “The Following” (FOX, Mondays at 9 pm). This is probably the most buzzed about show this winter, but is it actually good? The pilot was actually really fantastic. Bacon stars as a former FBI agent who is called back to duty after a serial killer he originally caught has broken out of jail. The killer is concise and organized, planning every kill to relate to Edgar Allen Poe’s works. He isn’t working alone anymore though. He has developed a cult-like following on the internet. The thriller pushes boundaries for blood on network television. Be prepared to cringe. The acting is fantastic as is the writing. Kevin Williamson proved his knack for writing mystery with “The Vampire Diaries” and he brings that talent to “The Following.” It’s fast paced and creepy. It’s definitely worth watching.

“The Carrie Diaries” (The CW, Mondays at 9 pm) also has a lot of buzz but is not really worth the hype. The teen drama is a spinoff of the HBO hit “Sex and the City.” Viewers get to know Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) in 1980s Connecticut as she deals with her mother’s death and gets an internship in New York City at a law firm. The book series by Candace Bushnell are bestsellers, but the show falls flat. It’s missing the wit and snark of the original series, which is surprising since Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage (“The O.C.” and “Gossip Girl”) are executive producing. Also, there is a slight issue where the original series stated that Carrie’s father abandoned her and her mother when she was four, and the prequel series portrays him as a supportive single parent. The acting is better than usual for a CW show, but unless they figure out how to pick up the pace of both the plot and the dialogue, this spinoff will sink fast.

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Beating the Odds with Jon Kilik

jonkilikShortly before the winter commencement on January 18, 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Jon Kilik, the producer of The Hunger Games as well as 40 other major motion pictures, including The Limits of Control, Babel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Miracle at St. Anna.

Kilik is known for producing films that focus on giving voice to groups or people that otherwise have none. As such, his work tends to have passionate social or political themes. He had come to campus to deliver the Winter Commencement address as well as to receive an honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts.

When asked what inspired him to produce The Hunger Games, Kilik said that one of his friends, the director Gary Ross, had children who read the books. Ross recommended Kilik read them, and Kilik found them to be very enjoyable. Ross was looking to direct another film, and since he’d worked with Kilik on Pleasantville, they decided to team up once again. 

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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