Last updateWed, 16 Sep 2020 2pm


A Serious Look at a Practical Joker

ArCDozens of people filed into the Pollak Theater for Abel Raises Cain, the latest installment of the On Screen, In Person series on Thursday, March 14. The audience was varied, but due to some nu­dity, sensitive viewers and minors were encouraged to use discretion when deciding to attend.

The event began at 7:30 pm with a brief introduction from Matthew Lawrence, specialist professor of communication, followed by Jen­ny Abel, one of the co-directors, giving a short discussion of what the film would be about.

Abel Raises Cain portrays the life of Alan Abel, described as a “professional hoaxer,” who made a career out of pulling large-scale pranks on both the media and the public. However, the film didn’t just showcase his work. It also went into detail about what in­spired him, his financial hardships and his life today. Some of his major works were highlighted, in­cluding a satirical film he worked called Is There Sex After Death? Most of the nudity was confined to this portion of the documentary.

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Rejoice for Tomb Raider Reboot

Whether you’ve played the original games or not, you’ve probably heard of the “Tomb Raider” franchise. Made from nine games, two movies, three novels, a number of comic books and an animated television series, this wildly successful venture has always revolved around the protagonist Lara Croft, a young, female, British archeologist.

However, all of these have had a very similar outlook on the leading lady. She’s purported as a fiercely independent, able-to-handle-anything woman who can be shot at, blown up and stranded in a hostile wasteland without breaking a sweat. To top it off, she’s known for her disproportionate frame (huge breasts and a disturbingly narrow waist), which is squeezed into a v-cut tank top and booty shorts.

The “Tomb Raider” reboot doesn’t have any of these features, and I couldn’t be happier.

Throwing the player into the perspective of 21-year-old Croft, the game begins with her aboard the Endurance, a ship exploring the Dragon’s Triangle, a place that “makes the Bermuda Triangle look like a picnic.” She is one member of a team looking for the lost Japanese Kingdom of Yamati, home to the mythical sun queen, Himiko. Minutes into the opening sequence, a storm rips the ship in half, casting Croft into the surging ocean.

She wakes on a foreign shore, only several hundred feet from the other survivors, but they can’t see her. Moving to call out, she’s struck across the face, once again getting knocked out.

You get to control Croft when she wakes, having been hung by her feet from the ceiling of an ancient cave in preparation for sacrifice. Though you manage to free her, she is impaled in the fall when a small spike rams through her side. Gasping for breath, you guide her through the cave, lighting material that blocks her path on fire.

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Justin Townes Earle Rocks Pollak

earleThe soulful Justin Townes Earle made his way to Pollak Theatre at the University this past Saturday, March 9. The blues inspired country-alternative singer nearly packed the theater and the charming country artist Tift Merritt was there to open for his performance. The show was originally scheduled for November 4 and had been rescheduled due to Hurricane Sandy.

Merritt opened with her powerful yet soft acoustic song “Sunday” off of Bramble Rose. She appeared to be running off of nervous energy and halfway into her set she accidentally told the audience how great it was to be in Red Bank. Merritt bounced back and explained that she’s been on tour for a while so it’s been hectic keeping up with the names of different towns. She continued with a heartfelt performance and played some tunes off of her record Traveling Alone released back in October 2012. “It’s my favorite thing in the whole world to play in a theatre with well behaved people,” Merritt said to the crowd before closing with “Another Country.”

After intermission, Earle took the stage and was welcomed with a warm round of applause from the audience. He fired off with his quick guitar finger picking and began singing “They Killed John Henry” off of Midnight At the Movies. He performed a variety of numbers from his discography including tracks like “Maria” from his upcoming album Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now due for release on March 27, 2013 with Bloodshot Records. Earle also announced early on that he’s in the middle of writing a new record and will start recording this May.

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Irish Peace Activist Performs on Campus

sandsThe Irish folksinger Tommy Sands paid a visit to the University on Monday, March 4. The Irish peace activist performed here as the start of a tour across America.

Sands has been a peace activist for much of his life. Being the son of two musicians, he used his talent to write songs in order to bring to light serious issues such as The Troubles, a brutal religious and political military conflict that lasted for roughly 30 years in Ireland.

Sands also recently paid a visit to Reno, Nevada, and wrote songs for imprisoned juveniles to help appeal to a local judge.

Sands performed live in Wilson Hall with his son Fionan Sands. The Sandses performed many of their more popular songs, such as “There Were Roses,” a song about a friend of Sands’s being murdered during The Troubles.

Sands also stitched his songs together using various stories, such as a famous fiddler player he knew growing up who managed to heal his dad through music when doctors failed.

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Great Discussion Built from "The Ruined Cottage"

The University hosted a talk entitled Imagining Harmony: Loss, Literature, and Human Flourishing on Monday, March 4. The event took place at 4:30 pm in Wilson Hall as part of the Distinguished Speaker series, run by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The talk was led by Adam S. Potkay, English professor at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. He is also the author of a wide variety of articles and books, including “The Story of Joy from the Bible to Late Romanticism” which won the Harry Levin Prize of the American Comparative Literature Association. In addition, he had “Wordsworth’s Ethics” published through the Johns Hopkins University Press in 2012.

The intention of the talk was to discuss the strange correlation between loss and human happiness by focusing on William Wordsworth’s narrative poem “The Ruined Cottage.”

Wordsworth (1770-1850) is widely considered to be one of the founders of romantic poetry. He later attended Cambridge University. In 1838, he was given an honorary doctorate in civil law from Durham University, then received the same honorary degree from Oxford in 1839.

The poem is about a small house that has fallen into disrepair, since those who once inhabited it passed away some time prior. Despite seeing a formerly happy home overrun by nature, the narrator, Armytage, turns away in joy, a paradox that confuses some. Potkay would not only discuss this scene, but its extension onto literature as a whole.

After a brief introduction by Jeffrey Jackson and Dr. Lisa Vetere, both professors of English, Potkay stood in front of a full room to discuss and critique “The Ruined Cottage”.

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“Two Trains Running” is a Runaway Hit

Two-Trains-Running“Two Trains Running” came to its final stop this week after a successful month-long run at Two River Theater Company.

The play takes place in 1960s Pittsburgh and is part of playwright August Wilson’s 10-play cycle. The cycle depicts the lives of African Americans in each decade of the 1900s.

Taking place in the 1960s means dealing with the civil rights movement in a big way, but that does not mean the play is full of tears and angst. Wilson expertly demonstrates how characters find hope in an era of oppression.

Chuck Cooper shines in his sarcastic moments as diner-owner Memphis. Memphis is trying to prevent the city from buying his diner. Pittsburgh authorities hasn’t offered him nearly enough money for the building and he isn’t giving up what is his without a fight. He would probably keep to himself if it weren’t for the regular customers who keep him on his toes.

Wolf (John Earl Jelks) is a slick bookie who runs numbers in the diner while Holloway (James A. Williams) sits back and plays the numbers with his social security. West (Harvy Blanks), despite being the richest man in town, drops by often for a cup of coffee served by Risa (Roslyn Ruff), a quiet, depressed waitress.

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Songs for the Season

song-seasonWe’ve had three long months of winter, and it seems like it will never end. And suddenly, like the leaves on an oak tree, things begin to change. Cue the beautiful songbirds and bushy-tailed critters that got to sleep through that freezing mess. Spring has arrived, and it couldn’t have come sooner.

Now how do you approximate this feeling to an album’s worth of music?

It seems completely arbitrary to assign a piece of music to a particular season, but it’s not hard to see characteristics often identified with a season like spring emulated in an artist’s music. Excluding pieces by composers (sorry, Vivaldi), these six albums, ranging from a number of decades, are all very distinct from one another, yet all six manage to conjure up, through sound alone, the feelings, images and sensations associated with the pristine beauty of springtime. Those with strong seasonal allergies can rejoice, as there’s no pollen to water your eyes here, just blissful, unique music.

1) Van Morrison – Astral Weeks (1968) – How did Van Morrison choose to follow up his sunny hit single “Brown Eyed Girl?” He created the cosmic, groundbreaking wonderland known as Astral Weeks. Though it failed to make the commercial splash that his debut and subsequent albums would make, Astral Weeks is Morrison’s finest moment, an adventurous and challenging experience that blends blues, jazz, folk and pop into Morrison’s own unique swirling concoction.

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Welcome Back Fall Out Boy

falloutboyThey’re finally back. After a hiatus lasting a little over three years, which commenced promptly at the end of 2009, American pop-punk band Fall Out Boy has completely come out of the dark.

Consisting of 33-year-old bassist Pete Wentz, 28-year-old vocalist Patrick Stump, 32-year-old guitarist Joe Trohman, and 32-year-old drummer Andy Hurley, the members of Fall Out Boy have come and spoken out about their disappearance in the music scene; all which happened after their last musical showings with fellow musicians Blink 182 and Panic! At the Disco at their August 2009 show in Chicago.

The group started off by addressing the various rumors circulating about a very quiet break-up between the band members, stating on February 4 in a Tumblr post: “This isn’t a reunion because we never broke up. We need to plug back in and make some music that matters to us.”

Although the speculations about the relationships of the members were justifiably up in the air, primarily because of the individual works going on after the 2009 concert; including the side projects of Wentz’s band, The Black Cards; Stump’s solo album, Soul Punk; and at one point Trohman and Hurley’s collaboration with members of the band Anthrax to create The Damn Things.

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Student Spotlight: Dead Precedents

Dead-precedentsUniversity students Nick Ruroede, Dylan Maynard, Sam Maynard and Thomas Blaney brought the punk to the airwaves of WMCX 88.9 F.M. February 26 on the specialty show Alternative Riot. With Sam and Nick on guitar, Dylan driving the bass and Thomas on the drums, the four students formed the gritty hardcore punk band called Dead Precedents.

Although Dead Precedents might be a fairly new group to the New Jersey music scene, the members of the band certainly are not. Ruroede is also the current bassist for Lost In Society, a punk group based out of Asbury Park that has experienced the chaos of life on the road during Warped Tour 2012. Sam and Dylan Maynard shared the experience of performing in local venues and sweaty college basements in their previous band The Black Top Kids, while Blaney used to be a member of the progressive rock group Give Me Light.

The need for change came when Dylan and Sam started writing new music and wanted to find band members who could help drive their latest focus. Ruroede explained, “My other band, Lost in Society, and Black Top Kids played together for a lot of shows and then Dylan asked me about doing new music and then I was like, yeah alright I’ll find us a drummer.”

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PlayStation Preps for Round 4

PS4Sony officially unveiled their next-generation video game console, PlayStation 4, at their live “Future of PlayStation” press conference in New York City last Wednesday. The console is expected to be released this holiday season.

The system will be the first new home gaming console released by Sony since the PlayStation 3 launched back in 2006. Sony representatives stated that the console was to be the “most powerful platform ever” released by Sony, and it will have a strong focus on social networking in gaming. Currently, there is no official confirmation regarding price from Sony.

Andrew House, the current president and Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, said that the PlayStation 4 will offer the kind of multi-dimensional experience gamers deserve, and will “unleash imaginations to create next generation experiences that will surpass gamer’s wildest expectations.”

The announcement follows weeks of strong speculation after a teaser video popped up on Sony’s Facebook and Twitter page on January 31, which stated that “the future” of PlayStation would be revealed on February 20 at 6:00 pm eastern time. This was followed by a number of retrospective videos released by Sony chronicling the history of their previous consoles, as well as leaked information regarding the systems new controller design.

According to Mark Cerny, the lead system designer of the PS4, the console had been in development since 2008. The goal in developing the system, according to Cerny, was for it to be, “a consumer focused yet developer centric in its design,” with the hopes that the console would, “unleash the creativity and innovation that would result in a true next-generation experience.”

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Gender Bender at Woods Theatre

twelfth-nightThe Lauren K. Woods Theatre is a bit of a wreck right now. Actually, it’s a shipwreck. No, none of the winter storms threw a boat into the theatre. The spring musical, William Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” or “What You Will,” involves a shipwreck. It also involves mistaken identities, cross-dressing, fight sequences and plenty of comedy.

Forget the dramatic and depressing Shakespeare that was required in high school. Doomed lovers and cursed kings are nowhere to be found in “Twelfth Night.” Instead we have Viola (Alexandra Appolonia), a girl who is shipwrecked and must find work when she washes up on the shores of Illyria, believing her twin brother to be dead.

When it doesn’t seem like she can find work as a woman, Viola disguises herself as a man named Cesario to work for Duke Orsinio (Henry O. Siebecker). Viola starts to fall in love with Orsinio, but he needs Cesario’s help to court Olivia (Brooke McCarthy). However, Olivia is in love with Cesario who is actually Viola, and that’s just the beginning.

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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
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu