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March 10-16, 2010 \ Volume 20 \ Issue 10 \ Always Free

Film | Music | Culture



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Editor-in-Chief Jessica Koslow Managing Editor Yuri Shimoda Film Editor Jessica Koslow Cover Designer Sean Michael Editorial Interns Lynda Correa, Denise Guerra, Christine Hernandez, Marvin Vasquez




Contributing Writers Jonathan Bautts, Scott Bedno, Scott Bell, China Bialos, Erica Carter, Richard Castaneda, Joshua Chilton, Cesar Cruz, Nick Day, Natasha Desianto, James Famera, Ximena Herschberg, Zach Hines, Damon Huss, Becca Lett, Lucia, Ebony March, Angela Matano, Stephanie Nolasco, Samantha Ofole, Samantha Oltman, Brien Overly, Ariel Paredes, Sasha Perl-Raver, Parimal M. Rohit, Melissa Russell, Mike Sebastian, Doug Simpson, Jennifer Smith, Jessica Stern, Spence Stokell, David Tobin, Emmanuelle Troy, Mike Venezia, TJ Webber, Kevin Wierzbicki, Candice Winters Contributing Artists & Photographers David Tobin


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Campus Circle newspaper is published 49 times a year and is available free at 40 schools and over 800 retail locations throughout Los Angeles. Circulation: 30,000. Readership: 90,000. PUBLISHED BY CAMPUS CIRCLE, INC. 5042 Wilshire Blvd., PMB 600 Los Angeles, CA 90036 (323) 939-8477 (323) 939-8656 Fax © 2010 Campus Circle, Inc. All rights reserved.


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BLOGS Campus News Local News


John Lee/Chicago Tribune/MCT

Campus Circle > News > Campus News

Competition and tons of schoolwork push students to consider taking prescription drugs.


Are students using or abusing the drug as a study-enhancer? BY samantha oltman The first time Chase, then 16, tried some of his friend’s prescription Adderall, an amphetamine, he felt nothing. Then he saw the clock above his bed early the next morning and realized he had stayed up all night reading Moby-Dick cover to cover. Now in his second year at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, Chase uses his prescription for Adderall to pull off the 12-hour days he spends studying in the library to make competitive grades, especially during finals. As academic competition increases at colleges across the United States, students like Chase are using prescription mental stimulants typically used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a study aid to cope with the pressure, or to gain an advantage over other students. Some are using them just to get high and party. At some colleges, more than a quarter of the students are illegally using prescription stimulants, according to a 2005 study conducted by the University of Michigan Substance Abuse Center. A 2006 study published in the journal Pharmacotherapy showed that Adderall, an amphetaminedextroamphetamine combination drug, is the most popular mental stimulant used illicitly by college students. Three fourths of students using these drugs choose it over other ADHD drugs like Ritalin and


Campus Circle 3.10.10 - 3.16.10

Dexedrine. This illegal drug use is growing. At Purdue University in Indiana, a 2008 study showed that while students’ drug and alcohol use had declined over the past two years, their Adderall use had increased. Mike, a 22-year-old who attended the University of Chicago until taking a leave of absence this year, says the students there using Adderall or Dexedrine tended to fit into a certain category. “They were trying to make the grade,” he says. “They were met with this completely unlivable workload, so they took the drugs to get into med school or law school, to make their parents proud.” The University of Michigan study confirms Mike’s idea that mental stimulant users often fit a mold. White men, especially those in fraternities, are the most likely to take prescription mental stimulants. Women in sororities are more likely to use stimulants than women not in the sorority system. The study also noted, “Rates were higher at colleges located in the northeastern region of the US and colleges with more competitive admission standards.” Blaine, an undergraduate business student at the University of Southern California and a fraternity member, says that he and “a decent percentage” of men in his fraternity use Adderall without a prescription. Both he and Mike explain that it’s easy to get Adderall on their campuses – “a kid prescribed 60 pills will sell half the bottle,” Mike says. Depending on its dosage, one Adderall pill sells for $10 to $20. For Blaine, Adderall is worth the cost. “It guarantees an A with one night of studying, no joke,” he says. “You don’t move or eat. You love that book. You know everything by the time it wears off.” But he admitted using the drug to study can have a negative impact on his wellbeing. “I overdosed once,” he says. “You become really sensitive to light, and you have cold sweats; you turn white; the ground becomes like liquid. Because you’re never hungry, I’d barely eaten anything for three days; it was like three midterms back to

back. I was stressed and emotional. I yelled at [my girlfriend] for the first time. I studied probably 30 hours in three days. But I got three As.” Although Blaine has never used Adderall to get high, he says some of his fraternity members do. “I know a few guys who have drank on [Adderall],” he says. “They say you can’t black out, and you remember everything about the night. “The five-milligram instant one, which you can snort, lasts a few hours, and you can drink as much as you want,” he says. Mike, the University of Chicago student, also admitted to using Dexedrine to party. He has a prescription for it after being diagnosed with ADHD when he was eight years old. But Mike said he enjoys the euphoric high Dexedrine gives him. “One of my friends actually took Dexedrine, and turned it into meth. There’s no difference between drugs like these and illicit drugs,” he says. The University of Michigan study found that students who illegally use prescription drugs are more likely to use other illicit drugs. Mike and Blaine are not exceptions: Mike mentions using drugs like cocaine and ecstasy; Blaine says he smokes marijuana regularly. Kelsey, a fourth year Politics and English major at Princeton University, an Ivy League college that fits the University of Michigan’s criteria for a school with competitive admission standards, says she has never taken Adderall. “But oh my God, so many kids at Princeton use Adderall,” she says. “It’s not because they’re just trying to party; it’s just because there’s so much pressure, especially with the grade deflation. There’s so much competition. That’s why they do it.” In interview after interview, college students rave about the academic benefits of using mental stimulants, with or without a prescription. The culture of illegal mental stimulant use, especially that of Adderall, is pervasive on campuses. If you’re a college student, you most likely have either tried Adderall or you know someone who has. Even academics are embracing these mental stimulants. In a commentary in the academic journal Nature, two Cambridge University professors recently discussed the potential of cognitive-enhancing drugs, noting that several of their colleagues use prescription mental stimulants to fight fatigue and to improve mental potential. But James Swanson, a University of California at Irvine professor who specializes in ADHD research, says college students and academics who use ADHD drugs like Adderall as study aids have got it all wrong. “There’s no good evidence that shows that [mental stimulants] help college students who use them to stay up to study, or for competitive reasons,” Swanson says. “Stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall make you think you’re doing better, but you aren’t really. You can have a slightly euphoric effect, which makes you think you’re understanding and doing things better, but

it’s self deceptive.” He mentions a 2004 Journal of Investigative Medicine study that showed Ritalin doesn’t improve mental ability in healthy, sleep-deprived adults. “I wouldn’t recommend anyone to use [mental stimulants without a prescription],” he says, cautioning that unsupervised use of prescription amphetamine-based drugs can be dangerous. He estimates that about 20 percent of individuals using these drugs illegally could have problems becoming addicted to them. When taking them in higher doses, as Blaine did when he says he overdosed, “they might produce psychosis,” Swanson says. “Compared to [drinking] caffeine, there isn’t much of an advantage, but there are increased risks,” he says. “If you want to do better in school, drink coffee.” The large number of college students using Adderall and swearing by its academic benefits makes it clear that there’s a need for more research to explore the discrepancies between the anecdotal evidence and the results of scientific studies so far. If the cognitive enhancement of mental stimulants is an illusion, why are students succeeding enough on these drugs that they continue to take them? And what if, as the students who use them insist, mental stimulants do improve some individuals’ academic game? What are the ethical implications? Does it give them an unfair advantage over their law-abiding, non-drugging peers? Stevi, an undergraduate at the University of California at Santa Barbara, says she tried Adderall once but that it didn’t do anything for her. But she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with other students benefiting from it academically. “People do different things; people have different regimens,” she says. “A lot of people drink coffee. You should do whatever makes you focus.” Swanson is opposed to illegal mental stimulant use because, among other reasons, when used under medical supervision to treat ADHD, the drugs “have a tremendous benefit for some kids. But when you misuse them, it makes it harder and harder to maintain them for clinical use.” Shlomo Sher, an ethicist who works with the University of Southern California Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, is fascinated by discussions about the ethical implications of cognitive enhancement. If Adderall really improves academic performance, “is it cheating to take enhancers in pre-med courses where you’re graded on a curve? Maybe. It seems like a likely candidate,” he says. “Is it a good thing, students using Adderall? Probably not,” Sher says. “But all questions of enhancements are in a gray area. We shouldn’t treat the question of enhancement as wrong across the board in every situation.” [Ed. note: Several last names in this story have been omitted because students were uncomfortable discussing their illegal prescription drug use on the record.]


BY candice winters For cinema enthusiasts who work in the industry, want to work in the industry or who want nothing to do with the industry except enjoy the fruits of its labor, you’ve inevitably been to the New Beverly Cinema one time or another. With midnight screenings of cult classics like Harold and Maude or bimonthly exploitation Grindhouse films, the New Beverly Cinema has been serving the public at large since 1978. At least, that was the year the Torgan family first turned it into the successful movie house it is today. But in the mid-2000s the theater saw declining ticket sales coinciding with the rise of the DVD and the popularity of home entertainment. Family patriarch Sherman Torgan, who operated the venue, would have lost the business had it not been for a basterd. You heard me right: An inglourious basterd saved the New

Beverly Cinema. Famed writer-director Quentin Tarantino heard through fellow print collectors and projectionists about the theater’s financial woes and committed 5,000 big bucks per month to keep the 200-seat venue for independent, classic and foreign films afloat. “When I give, I like to give to something personal to me,” Tarantino tells Vanity Fair Magazine. “I just couldn’t live with myself if that theater shut down while I could do something about it.” And boy, did he do something about it. The famed director began cutting checks to keep the place alive. When Torgan passed away in 2007, the theater (originally built in 1929 as a first-run movie house) came up for grabs. Sherman’s son, Michael, was left in charge, but due to amounting debt, it wasn’t looking good for the house of movie auteurs and compatriots. The landlord had other buyers bidding for the space, which might have been developed into a Supercuts, as the clever Tarantino gesticulated. Thank goodness the famous name loves the theater as much as everyone else. Tarantino is now the proud landlord of one of Los Angeles’ few safe havens for retro, classic and alternative films. He bought the theater outright so that it would never have to worry about closing ever again because it is a historical site that has meant so much to Angelenos since its early days. The New Beverly was, at one time or another, a vaudeville theater, a night club owned by Los Angeles mobster Mickey Cohen and a porno shop that screened adult movies. Sherman Torgan found the little joint and transformed it into the “New” Beverly Cinema. Out with the pornography, in with the back-to-back double features, which the theater has kept as its mainstay since 1978. Conveniently settled in the Fairfax district, the theater became a place of nostalgia for many established filmmakers who relied on the screenings to act as

PAGES The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid from Chicago Fights Hezbollah – A Memoir (Free Press) One of the least funny things in the world is war. Which is why, despite the title, I pegged The 188th Crybaby Brigade as a drama. I was completely off. In this poignant memoir, Joel Chasnoff relates his experiences in the Israeli armored brigade; the cul–mination of a childhood dream for a skinny Jew from Chicago. But the difference is that while each stage of his training was rife with horrors and hardships, Chasnoff manages to tinge each situation with enough humor to keep you reading instead of recoiling in revulsion. While each anecdote is both funny and endearing in and of itself, they also paint a portrait of a man faced with redefining himself within an army fighting to defend a divided country. From a brutal and ultimately useless stint in a training facility to some slight (and sometimes not-soslight) pushing towards marriage from his girlfriend’s family, The 188th Crybaby Brigade is both hilarious and eye opening – and totally worth a read. Grade: A —Melissa Russell The 188th Crybaby Brigade is currently available.

Alabama Studio Style (STC Craft) Ever skim through a book and think, I would like to make

Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times/MCT


Campus Circle > News > Local News

Basterds’ Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent and Quentin Tarantino a classroom of sorts.. Tarantino was one such student. In fact, when Sherman Torgan began to regularly show Reservoir Dogs at midnight screenings, Tarantino was so honored that he brought the entire cast of the film for a spontaneous Q&A. Before filming his most recent success, Inglourious Basterds, he wanted actress Mélanie Laurent to really understand her role as a projectionist and get into character. He trained her in the New Beverly’s projection room on a classic 1940’s Simplex XL projector, going so far as to test her by having her prepare the film for a screening of Reservoir Dogs. Now that he’s the big man at the theater, does he see himself stepping up and taking on more responsibility, and will he make changes to the beloved landmark? The answer is: probably not. “Right now, I’m just the landlord,” says Tarantino to Vanity Fair about not ruining a good thing. “I like Sherman’s double-bill format. I want to keep that.” Next time you pop into the New Beverly Cinema to catch a Kubrick classic or a Jesse Eisenberg double feature, say a little prayer in thanks to Quentin Tarantino.

Campus Circle > Culture > Pages that? Well, get ready for 173 pages of it. Natalie Chanin offers everything from Eyelet-Embroidered Placemats & Napkins and a String-Quilted & Stenciled Tank Top to an Alabama Studio Autumn Brunch. Chanin is the founder of Alabama Chanin, a fashion and lifestyle company committed to Slow Design – defined as dedicated to handcraft, committed to community and having respect for the environment. Alabama Studio Style is the follow-up to Alabama Stitch Book, in which she introduced her stenciling and beading techniques. Now, she shares more techniques and projects for both clothing and home décor, plus three menus that she developed with Southern food expert Angie Mosier. My favorite is the Spiral Appliqué & Beaded Camisole Dress. It looks a little out of my league, but with patience and a go-getter attitude, maybe I can make that. Grade: A —Jessica Koslow Alabama Studio Style is currently available.

Point Omega (Scribner) No writer better captures contemporary American consciousness than Don DeLillo. His latest is a slim book, which is not to say that it doesn’t tackle some big ideas. The book follows Jim Finley, a filmmaker who goes to the desert to convince Richard Elster, a former government official to star in a documentary. Elster served as an intellectual consultant brought on to advise the administration on how to sell the Iraq war to the public. Now he has fled civilization. Finley finds himself unable to convince Elster but unable to leave the desert, as Elster discusses the Omega Point – the moment in time in which human consciousness will reverse its evolution. Bookmarking the novel are episodes involving

an art installation of the film Psycho slowed down to run for 24 hours. Amazingly, it was an actual art piece, since it’s such a DeLillo-esque idea, to take a mass culture phenomenon and show it in a new light, imbuing every small detail with larger meaning. Grade: A —Mike Sebastian Point Omega is currently available.

Wanted: Bear Cubs for My Children – One Hundred of the Weirdest Posts Ever Seen on Craigslist (Adams Media) Craigslist has got to be one of the best places for humor. I mean, the Web site even has a section called best-of-craigslist, where you can find a collection of the funniest, wittiest and sometimes just plain weirdest posts. But that’s not quite what Wanted: Bear Cubs for My Children is about. Instead, it’s a showcase of the findings of a social experiment by Gary Fingercastle, a writer who was curious to see how the public would respond to some very outlandish requests. For example, what would you do to see a donkey fight or own a Ronald Reagan tortilla? The posts can be clever, but most just sound contrived, even to the masses on craigslist. While every post has a response, most have the phrase, “This can’t be real,” and those that don’t tend to be a simple, “I want it!” What fun is that? The book isn’t quite the I’m-crying-from-laughing I was hoping for. It is interesting sometimes, if only to see what kinds of things the general public is willing to work for, help with, trade or buy. Grade: C+ —Melissa Russell Wanted: Bear Cubs for My Children is currently available.

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CULTURE EVENTS DVD GAMING SPORTS MEDIA BLOGS DVD Dish Interviews L.A. Faces Movie Reviews Projections Screen Shots Special Features TV Time


SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA BUSINESS FILM FESTIVAL BY lynda correa Sitting in Bovard Auditorium AT the USC campus, a hundred people are staring at a silent screen. “No audio!” shouts someone from the audience. The screen continues to play a film silently, when another shout comes: “NO audio! I would know … this is my movie!” The Macbook blip blip blip crescendos and the inevitable, “We are experiencing technical difficulties – Sorry for the inconvenience” screen appears. What eventually follows is a five-hour program that concludes a weeklong series of events, the third annual Southern California Business Film Festival. The SCBFF, sponsored by the USC Marshall School of Business and the Center for Investment Studies, is the product of over 50 students, professors and faculty. The festival is a tribute to all things business within the film industry, with the current economic climate as the focus. Filmmakers and

Campus Circle > Film > Special Features executives nationwide come together for the event, which explores the intersection of commerce and culture. This year the SCBFF extended its program to the fall semester, officially starting this past October, with a workshop giving students a crash course in filmmaking to give them the knowledge necessary for creating a film. A screening of Glengarry Glen Ross with a Q&A with director James Foley followed in November to keep appetites hungry. The week of Feb. 16-21, 2010, was the main focus of the program. On the festival’s agenda were panel discussions, screenings, lectures, networking events and a student film competition offering up to $20,000 in prizes. Tim Engler, a sophomore in Business Administration at USC, served as the Assistant Director of Operations this year. “SCBFF really expressed student interest,” says Engler. “It’s great to see a festival we were planning in the fall come together so well and allow students an opportunity to learn more about the relationship between business and film.” Feb. 21, marked the culmination of all the hard work that had been going on for months. Seventeen student-produced short films were selected from across the country to represent the future of Hollywood’s take on how business themes are present in our daily lives. The films covered a variety of the different types of business, including prostitution, slavery, contracted murderers, sales, entrepreneurship and even the “finder’s keepers” aspect of business. Some of these films were created by obvious beginners; with underdeveloped story plots and mediocre editing (Those were hard to sit through.). Others, however, created literal jaw-dropping scenes, had the audience laughing at “WTF” moments and (almost) brought me to tears. My favorite was a tie between Second Choice and Kavi. Apparently, I have good taste (I mean, duh) because Second


FAVORITE DRUG FILMS BY zach hines I’m one of those types of people THAT YOU would call “progressive” – which is an indirect way of saying I think drugs are awesome. I don’t think all drugs are good, and I don’t think everyone should take them, but what people who do or don’t use drugs agree on: Films about drugs kick ass! So, I’ve put together a list of my all-time favorite drug films.

Requiem for a Dream: Master filmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of the book by Hubert Selby, Jr. is a chilling and ultimately sympathetic portrayal of the effects drug use has on the lives of four people. It features incredible performances by Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans.


of boys who become addicted to heroin at the age of 16. DiCaprio’s performance is riveting, especially in a scene where he is locked in a room and experiences violent drug withdrawal. Lorraine Bracco gives an incredibly tragic performance as DiCaprio’s mother who has to watch her son’s life fall apart.

Jung, a man who made millions from smuggling and selling cocaine in and out of Miami in the ’80s. One scene that stands out is where Depp is in a hospital room standing in the back watching doctors deliver his child from Penélope Cruz. He’s been up for days doing coke, is shaking all over and can barely stand up.

The Salton Sea: This film stars Val Kilmer as a man who, after the murder of his wife, becomes addicted to speed. The film also features a crazy performance by Vincent D’Onofrio, who plays a drug dealer named Pooh Bear who has snorted so much speed over the course of his life that his nose cartilage has been completely worn away and all that remains is an empty cavity where his nose used to be.

Up in Smoke: The ultimate weed movie. Pot is a much less controversial drug than all the others, so the films about it tend to skew more on the humorous side. Cheech and Chong star in this hilarious flick about two stoners who do just that: get stoned. A lot. Why is it the ultimate weed movie? Because in one scene Cheech and Chong are driving around in a truck made entirely from weed.

Trainspotting: Before Danny Boyle won an Oscar for

Half Baked: Another lighthearted marijuana romp. Dave Chappelle stars as a janitor who starts up a pot dealing business with his friends to earn enough money to bail another friend out of jail who accidentally killed a police horse by feeding it junk food.

directing Slumdog Millionaire, he directed this intense British dark comedy about a group of heroin addicts. Most of you only know Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, but I’ll always know him as Mark Renton, the smack-addicted protagonist of this deliciously disturbing film.

Leaving Las Vegas: Alcohol is a drug, my friend. If you like

crystal meth. This meth-focused film directed by Jonas Akerlund follows an ensemble of characters ranging from drug dealers and drug users to corrupt policemen. While the film is packed with good actors who give great performances, it features a wonderful turn by the late Brittany Murphy.

The Basketball Diaries: This heart-wrenching tale starring

Blow: Speaking of blowing things, the next film on my list

Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Wahlberg is about a group

is exactly that. Johnny Depp stars in the true story of George

Campus Circle 3.10.10 - 3.16.10

Choice won “Best Incorporation of Business Elements” and Kavi won “Best Picture – Runner Up.” Second Choice is about an immigrant single mother struggling to make ends meet for her and her son. She teaches her son the lesson that there is always a second choice in life; that dishonesty should not be the only option. It was set in Los Angeles, and filmed in Spanish with English subtitles. After the showcase, I bumped into the actress, who won “Best Female Performance” and felt slightly starstruck. Yes, it was that good. Kavi is a 2010 Oscar nominee about a boy in India who just wants to be a normal school boy, but instead is a modern-day slave who is forced to work in a brick kiln. After social services come to investigate the kiln, his parents are taken away, and he must decide to take a chance with the slave driver or escape to his uncertain future. Kavi also won “Best Director” and “Best Editing.” In all, there were many things that happened during the week that were impressive, especially considering that it was basically a fully student-run production. If the festival was supposed to be a preview to what the future of cinema will hold, I’m feeling pretty optimistic.

Campus Circle > Film > Screen Shots

to drink but are anti-drug, you’re a massive hypocrite. Which is why this Mike Figgis-directed film starring Nicolas Cage as a man who decides to drink himself to death is on this list. The film is incredibly sad but equally brilliant, and features probably my favorite performance from Cage. If you’ve never seen someone drink booze like it’s water, this film will blow your mind.

Spun: This film will make you feel like you’re actually on

Kavi won “Best Picture - Runner Up,” “Best Director” and “Best Editing.”

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: This is the mother of all drug movies. Directed by master visionary filmmaker Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp as Hunter S. Thompson, this film is an adaptation of Thompson’s most iconic book of his career. The story follows Thompson and Dr. Gonzo, played by Benicio Del Toro, on a wild drug-frenzied quest through Las Vegas. All that needs to be said about this film can be summed up in the opening bit of dialogue: “We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold.” Send feedback to


Courtesy of FX


Timothy Olyphant stars in “Justified.”

FX IS ‘JUSTIFIED’ BY parimal m. Rohit There was a time when a U.S. Marshal’s deputy was allowed to shoot someone on sight. Too bad Raylan Givens did not get the memo that Marshal’s deputies have not been able to freely pull triggers on suspecting bad guys for more than a century. Perhaps the South Beach sunshine was too much for Givens (Timothy Olyphant) to handle. Perhaps the gunslinging deputy had every right to kill a thug on a Miami rooftop restaurant as he was eating lunch. Either way, Givens’ superiors are not at all happy about his newfound license to kill. His punishment? Being sent off to a modern-day Wild West – his hometown in the rolling hills of Eastern Kentucky, a place he vowed he would never return to when he quickly bolted at the age of 19. Alas, here he is in “Justified,” an FX original series chronicling Givens’ unwilling departure from the good life in Miami to his entry into the mining hills of Harlan, Ky., where his haunted past follows him like a stalking girlfriend who defiantly ignores a restraining order placed against her. Indeed, when he arrives at the airport in Lexington, Ky., it does not take long for Givens to stumble upon his old life, the very one he wanted to get away from when he was working the coal mines as a teenager. Almost as soon as he steps into the office of his old friend and new supervisor, Chief Deputy Art Mullen, Givens in thrust into a gritty-paced investigation involving the terrorist acts of long-time pal and mining mate Boyd Crowder (guest star Walton Goggins). So begins the pilot episode of “Justified,” which pits a defiant federal officer against an old friend. And of course, what fun is a battle between black and white hats without a buxom of a love interest. For Givens, he has to deal with two – the demure yet steady Ava Crowder (coincidentally Boyd’s sister-in-law and longtime romantic admirer of Givens) and Winona Hawkins (Givens’ ex-wife). With drama and cross-stories built into the early stages of the pilot’s plot, “Justified” is a modern-day Western film taking audiences deep into the mind of the show’s protagonist. Split into a series of episodes, the show is indeed an interesting tale of Givens’ life as a defiant federal officer who seems constantly in tune with his convictions yet still struggles to come to terms with some of the skeletons in his closet. Olyphant plays the sure-and-steady Givens, portraying the federal officer as cool, calm and collected, yet also vulnerable and troubled. The veteran actor’s rendition of Givens would make Elmore Leonard proud, as the accomplished crime novelist created the gritty character in his short story “Fire in the Hole.” Joining him on the cast are “CSI”’s Nick Searcy, Givens’ passively aggressive superior in Kentucky, Jacob Pitts (21) and Erica Tazel (“Life”), both of whom team up with Givens as fellow Marshal’s deputies in semi-rural Kentucky. Making a recurring appearance is Natalie Zea (“Hung”), who plays Givens’ mysterious ex-wife, while Raymond Barry (“Lost”) makes a guest appearance as the affably lovable villain in episode two. Also making a guest appearance in the show’s pilot is Joelle Carter (American Pie 2), playing the girl-next-door who lived down the street from where Givens grew up and confesses her longtime crush on him. With each episode presenting a fresh story line with even “fresher” villains, “Justified” in many ways pays homage to the cavalier law enforcement dramas of the 1980s, like “Knight Rider” or “The A-Team.” While it is not as revolutionary or breakthrough as other programs like “Nip/Tuck” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” ultimately the same fans who enjoy the FX productions of “Rescue Me” and “Sons of Anarchy” will also find something to hang on to in “Justified.” “Justified” premieres March 16 at 10 p.m. on FX.

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(Roadside Attractions) What would it be like if Encyclopedia Brown solved an actual murder, armed with nothing more than his curiosity and childhood naivety? Mystery Team is the comedy that delivers an answer to that very question. Jason (Donald Glover) was the “Master of Disguise.” Charlie (Dominic Dierkes) was the “Strongest Kid in Town.” Duncan (D.C. Pierson) was the “Boy Genius.” Together, the three friends solved innocuous neighborhood mysteries, things like missing pies and stolen toys. Only, as all the other kids around them grew up and blossomed into young adults, the Mystery Team got caught in a severe case of arrested development. Now, as high school seniors, they are still solving the same petty crimes, much to the annoyance of fellow students and adults, and no one will take them seriously … except the little girl that wants them to find out who murdered her parents. Mystery Team is the first feature film by the Derrick Comedy troupe, known mostly for their online sketch comedy shorts, and the film is largely a success. The movie starts off silly and slightly ridiculous, rushing through character introductions much too fast but becomes truly engaging, and often hilarious, once the boys start investigating a double homicide. The comedic bits range from witty banter to some pretty extreme scatological fare, but nothing worse than anything you’d see in, say, a Farrelly brother’s film. It probably helps that the protagonists themselves are often too innocent to know that the situations they are in are decidedly adult affairs. The cast is pretty strong, and the three leads certainly give the best performances in the film. The only flat performance is from Aubrey Plaza, who turns in a rather ineffectual portrayal of a young woman who has recently lost both of her parents. Unfamiliar with her work on the television show “Parks and Recreation,” I can only hope she adds a little more flavor to this year’s highly anticipated Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, wherein Plaza plays the character Julie Powers. Likewise, the visual aesthetic of the film feels flat, due most likely to budget restraints, though the first-time director, Dan Eckman, manages to get a lot of mileage by just setting up the camera in front of the skilled comedic trio. Not a classic, but a promising – and humorous – first feature. Grade: B —Nick Day Mystery Team releases in select theaters March 12.

Our Family Wedding (Fox Searchlight) The institution of marriage has proven ample fodder for some of Hollywood’s most beloved comedies. Our Family Wedding, starring Forest Whitaker and Carlos Mencia as two opposing fathers who must learn to get along before their children’s upcoming nuptials, is not a story we haven’t seen before. The film opens in New York City. Lucia (America Ferrera as a Columbia law student) and Marcus (Lance Gross as her significant other) are in love and plan to travel to Los Angeles to tell their parents they’re getting married. There’s only one problem: She never told her parents Marcus is black, not to mention the two dads already have a checkered past. From there the families embark on a series of mishaps and blunders as they try to accept one another and their cultural differences. Whitaker is at a point in his career where he can play nearly any role to perfection, and he’s effective and charming as Marcus’ playboy father. Then there’s funnyman Mencia, known for playing a variety of over-the-top characters on his Comedy Central program, “Mind of Mencia.” Although this is his first plunge as the imperfect but devoted father, he’s still too narrow for a comedic role that requires a softer side. There were parts where Mencia looked strained while attempting to extract emotion that even he knew he was incapable of producing. Perhaps he should stick to television. Grade: B —James Famera Our Family Wedding releases in select theaters March 12.



Toe to Toe







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(Strand Releasing) Following two teenagers on divergent paths, Toe to Toe depicts the struggles of girls at a school in Washington, DC. Tosha (Sonequa Martin) is an African American from one of DC’s most impoverished areas, while Jesse (Louisa Krause) is a wealthy but troubled white kid plagued by self-destructive behavior. Both are star players on their school’s lacrosse team, they click despite their differences, and a fledgling friendship sprouts, which begins to falter when they discover their shared interest in a local deejay. A contemporary indie flick focusing on female friendships, audiences might recognize its characters all too well, for Toe to Toe, although finely acted, is merely another modestly scaled look at the current realities of female adolescence. Grade: C—Samantha Ofole Toe to Toe releases in select theaters March 12.



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Hollywood blockbuster eventually, and here it is, courtesy of disaster film maestro Roland Emmerich. 2012 is an over-the-top special effects feast of global devastation. It stars John Cusack, Amanda Peet and Woody Harrelson as a disparate group of individuals trying to survive. Fans of Emmerich’s previous spectacles The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day won’t be disappointed. Megalomaniacal director Troy Duffy (see the doc Overnight) finally gets back in the ring with the follow-up to his cult hit of Irish vigilante brothers in The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. The sequel finds the MacManus brothers returning to Boston to settle the score when their beloved neighborhood priest is murdered by the mob.

The Vault: Vol. 13 of the Forgotten Noir series contains two little-seen gems that aren’t exactly noir in the strictest sense. Breakdown is a story of a boxer and ex-con (William Bishop) who, on the eve of his biggest fight, locates the man who can prove he was framed for the crime of which he was convicted. Eye Witness is a British courtroom drama directed by and starring Robert Montgomery. The Idiotbox: In Plain Sight: Season Two follows a U.S. Marshal (“West Wing”’s Mary McCormack) who is in charge of relocating people in the Witness Protection Program while juggling a complicated personal life and dodging bullets. It’s a smart blend of action, character and comedy. Premiering in 1982, Matt Houston: The First Season follows a rich oilman and cowboy whose hobby happens to be solving murders. Now a P.I. in Los Angeles, Houston uses his extensive resources and the help of his good-looking lawyer sidekick C.J. to bring the bad guys to justice. The classic TV western “Have Gun Will Travel” returns in the Fourth Season, Volume One. Richard Boone is Paladin, a gentlemen and gun for hire. Based in San Francisco, Paladin answers the call for justice wherever it takes him. Also available: Dalziel and Pascoe: Season One

Great Adaptations: Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland struck a chord with the LSD-fueled ’60s. It’s fitting then that one of the best versions of the book is the BBC’s 1966 adaptation starring Peter Sellers. Ravi Shankar provides the score! Also included on the DVD is the 1903 silent film version. Originally adapted by Hitchcock as a comic mystery, and soon to be an American remake, the BBC version of The 39 Steps is more faithful to John Buchan’s classic novel. Rupert Penry-Jones (“MI-5”) stars as Richard Hannay, an average man who finds himself in possession of a top-secret notebook on the eve of WWI and on the run from German and British forces.

In Toon: In a twist on the usual close encounter story, the human is the weird-looking and feared alien when he visits Planet 51. Unfortunately, the green creatures of Planet 51 think Chuck the astronaut (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is part of an invading human army. He teams up with an alien teen (Justin Long) to get back to his spaceship in one piece. It’s a fun family comedy. Gary Oldman and Seann William Scott also provide voices. Blu Notes: Before seeing the big screen update, check out legendary special effects master Ray Harryhausen’s original Clash of the Titans. The rollicking adventure based on Greek myth stars Laurence Olivier and Maggie Smith. But the real star is Harryhausen’s stopmotion wizardry. One of the best of the many fantasy films of the ’80s, The Neverending Story follows a lonely boy who stumbles on a mysterious old book and finds himself becoming a part of the story as he reads. Soon, he is transported to a mythical land where a mysterious “Nothing” is devouring the world and the only hope is a young Native American warrior. © 2010 The Island Def Jam Music Group

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ST. PATTY’S DAY BREW GUIDE BY david Tobin In order to make sure you are set when it comes to your favorite ale this St. Patrick’s Day, or any other drinking occasion, I set forth to taste some of the more common and, not so common, alcoholic brews to help guide you on your quest. First up is a well-publicized beer, but one that might be hard to find … Hite. Yes, that’s the name, Hite. If you’ve ever driven out to Vegas, I’m sure you’ve seen the billboards littering the desert. Tracking this one down was a must because of its strangely familiar name. After finding the beer at a local liquor store, I was pleasantly surprised to know that it was worth the search. Hite is made from spring water, which I thought was irrelevant, but it’s not. Not by far. This almost tastes refreshing. The crisp taste of the natural water makes a huge difference and pushes along the smooth taste. Reminiscent of a light beer, it still packs a punch, but doesn’t fill you up. The only caution with this is not to get too large of a pack. Due to its extreme drinkability, you might

Campus Circle > Culture > Bottoms Up find yourself halfway to the wind before you even know you’re there. Next up is a stark contrast: Smithwick’s. This red Irish beer comes from the original capital of Ireland, Kilkenny. Brewed by monks, this is Ireland’s oldest ale, and with that comes its roasted malted flavor. It leaves a slightly bitter taste in your mouth after, but once you go for the second pint, it all fades away. The alcohol content is a bit higher than normal beers and the taste is not for the faint of heart. This beer is good to start your night with because anything after it that looks light will taste terrible, and you will be forced to turn to whiskey, which we all know is the true goal on St. Patty’s Day. There are only a few other brews that can follow this one up in taste in the same night, and that leads us to our next one on the list. Guinness: the standard of all Irish pubs. Some say it’s the devil in disguise because of its low calorie count and wicked full-bodied taste. Or maybe it’s the fact that when coupled with a shot of Baileys mixed with Jameson, this Irish Car Bomb in the making is about as deadly as it gets. All concoctions aside, Guinness is truly a refreshing beer with a bad rap as a heavy hitting filler-upper. The initial taste is sudden, but the rest is light. Made with the freshest water on the planet, this beer won’t weigh you down and can keep you moving all night long. Keeping with the Irish theme I would be remiss if I left out Harp. The pale lager from the North end of Ireland is in complete contrast to those brewed in the center of the emerald isle. The taste instantly makes it easy to drink, and that makes this a top choice on any night of the week. Popular in Canada and Australia, it is one of the tougher beers to find stateside. However, if you do manage to track this down at your local alehouse, pound away my good man. The


paleyfest 2010

Now-March 14 @ Saban Theatre BY candice winters I’m a movie person. I love the cinema, the cushy seats, the strangers laughing or crying along with you. That is totally my jam. But I get it that many of you like your quality television. Not MTV’s “Jersey Shore” phenomenon or any of the other reality shows that plague the airwaves. I am referring to quality TV like “Mad Men” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or any HBO, Showtime or AMC show. I’ll even give NBC and ABC their credit where it’s due because they have some shows that are pretty darn great. This week, I am suggesting a few screenings that would greatly interest those of you who are movie’d out after the big Oscar weekend. As much as I love them, I understand your fatigue. This week, the 27th Annual William S. Paley Television Festival, informally known as PaleyFest 2010, is back for several weeks of showcasing some of the best new shows as well as some season veterans. The Paley Center for Media is


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David Tobin


Some say Guinness is the devil in disguise.

alcohol content isn’t too heavy and the aftertaste fails to leave a heavy beer stench on the breath. A unique fact about this particular beer is that it came from the house that built Guinness and Newcastle, and the only place you can actually find the bottles with the Harp logo are in Canada and the United States. Last on my list is Coors Light. Why? How come? What am I thinking? Well, after tasting several beers, drinking the silver bullet from aluminum is pure in an American sort of way. It tastes as sharp as the can itself, but also mixes well with almost any other liquor you can find on the shelf. A sure bet anytime you’re looking for a refreshing bit of booze when you can’t pick anything else. I hope this helped you in your quest for total beer domination on this American celebration with our Irish brethren. Erin Go Bragh, and may the luck of the Irish be with ya!

Campus Circle > Film > Projections known for this festival that, every year, features screenings of one or more episodes of the series, followed by a panel with the cast and creators. Named for William S. Paley, founder of CBS, the annual festival has been celebrating the creative process behind the art of television for the past 26 years. Wednesday, March 10, features the cast and creative team of “Breaking Bad,” AMC’s drama featuring Bryan Cranston as the antihero of the series who is diagnosed with terminal cancer and who falls into the drug underworld, producing and selling crystal meth. ABC’s first-year, sci-fi drama “FlashForward” will be screened on Thursday, March 11. The series details Joseph Fiennes’ character and his team who are forced to figure out why billions of people are simultaneously envisioning their lives six months into the future following a period when everyone in the world blacked out for 137 seconds. Based on the novel by Robert J. Sawyer, the show was created by David S. Goyer and Brannon Braga. “Men of a Certain Age” is coming to the Paley Center on Friday, March 12. Stars Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher will screen and discuss their newest show about three best friends who grew up living the American Dream but who have now reached a shaky midlife. The show is a comical look into how growing old doesn’t necessarily mean growing apart. This session is guaranteed to be laughterfilled with Ray Romano at the steering wheel. Finally, for all you Gleeks who have been waiting with bated breath since December for the return of Fox’s breakout hit “Glee,” the show will be featured on Saturday, March 13. Cast, including Rachel (Lea Michele), Quinn (Dianna Agron), Finn (Cory Montieth), Mr. Schuester (Matthew Morrison), Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch) and the rest of the glee club.

Courtesy of ABC


“FlashForward” at PaleyFest on March 11.

Incredibly successful in just its first season, “Glee” follows the William McKinley High School show choir as they seek to win competitions and the acceptance of their fellow classmates. Like a Broadway musical, the characters break out in song and dance, which surprisingly is not as cheesy as you would expect it to be. PaleyFest does require an entrance fee, and tickets are still available. More than anything, as a huge Gleek, I am really looking forward to hearing what the cast and crew of the Golden Globe-winning series has to say. Not only does the festival program allow viewers an inside look at hit shows, but you get to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Saban Theatre is located at 8440 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. For more information, visit


Ed Krieger


(l to r) Rico E. Anderson, Adenrele Ojo, Bernard K. Addison, Lorenz Arnell and Karen Malina White in “The Ballad of Emmett Till”

“The Ballad of Emmett Till” Now-April 25 @ Fountain Theatre The reason I like theater is because it feels like you are locked inside the television set and watching a story unfold. This story is called “The Ballad of Emmett Till,” and it’s about a 14-year-old African-American boy who, in 1955, was murdered in Money, Miss. Till wasn’t just murdered, however, he was severely beaten and had his eye gauged out before being shot in the head and thrown in the river. His only crime was whistling at a white woman, thus the shock and anger of this event was felt worldwide and has been said to be the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement. Till’s life inspired many, including playwright Ifa Bayeza and director Shirley Jo Finney, who, in dramatizing the boy’s life, offer up the human side of this historical figure. It’s an understatement to say that Bernard K. Addison, Rico E. Anderson, Lorenz Arnell, Adenrele Ojo and Karen Malina White, who play multiple characters, re-enact the last days of the civil rights icon in this fast-paced and greatly theatrical 90-minute play. Through lyrical language, bits of humor and a lot of fearless theatrics, the past is magically brought to life. The result is a talkative, swaggering, fighting Emmett Till, who shows us the fragility in our humanity and the potential we all hold for change – as he accidentally hits on his cousin and chews bubble gum. The whole play is powerful. It’s an incredible showcase of the human spirit and its resilience. At times, the play is emotionally wrenching. Unjust events will anger you while the overt racism and brutality that fueled them will horrify you. All the while, it’s important to remember that this dramatized account that Finney directs – this one day – actually happened here in the United States. So many times we forget that these things occur, and so to be virtually locked in a room (mind you, there is no intermission or changing the channel) and made to watch this play sort of unsettles you, but also leaves you with that feeling of power one gets only after facing a hard truth. —Cesar Cruz Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, visit

“The Unexpected Man” Now- March 28 @ Lounge Theatre 2 I was really looking forward to seeing “The Unexpected Man” for a few reasons. The first being that I had never been to the theater space before, which I found to be quite small, yet perfect for this particular play. Second, because of Yasmina Reza, the incredibly talented French playwright whose other play “God of Carnage,” currently playing on Broadway, won the 2009 Tony Award for Best Play. Third, the story of “The Unexpected Man,” which takes place on a train from Paris to Frankfurt, when a woman sits next to the famous author of the novel she is reading. She battles internally whether or not to take the novel out of her bag in hopes that he will start a conversation with her. The characters speak mostly through monologue about past events and how the novelist, Paul Parsley played by Ronald Hunter, has inspired and challenged Martha’s, played by Judy Jean Berns, life. The play itself, although quite melancholy, was beautifully written and poetic. However, I struggled with the performances. Hunter, already playing a sulky character, was monotone in his delivery, lacking versatility in his choices for his character. You loose interest in him rather quickly. Berns was better; yet their chemistry was hard to believe. The set design by Chrystal Lee, although minimalist, had a very warm and open feel to it. Still, the two panels in the background projecting images throughout the play were a distraction and used to overcompensate for the weak performances. As a theatre enthusiast, it is disappointing to see great potential fall short. —Ximena Herschberg Lounge Theatre 2 is located at 6201 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit

CATS25 • PANTAGES • 4.870” X 5.900” For $25! and Under Get Tickets CAMPUS PUB DATE: 3.10.2010 NowCIRCLE That’s• Something to Sing About Between the ages of 16 and 25? Love musical theatre? Want to save money? Then you are in the right place! Reprise’s Rush Club gives you the chance to get tickets to any performance for $25.

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Campus Circle > Music > Interviews

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s new album title borrows from Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Devil in the Belfry.”

BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB There was never a plan b. BY richard castaÑeda When a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song comes on, the world becomes black and white for a few minutes. Polyester sweaters feel like black leather jackets and the wall of sound Robert Levon Been, Peter Hayes and Leah Shapiro bring to their newest opus, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, can take you to a folky, psychedelic paradise. The album title borrows from Edgar Allan Poe’s 1839 short story, “The Devil in the Belfry.” Whenever you fidget your fingers to an annoying beat or tap your feet relentlessly on the ground, you’re beating the devil’s tattoo. Ironically, that sort of impatience doesn’t show on the album. Whether their songs are two minutes or 10, they end appropriately and take you somewhere new. “When you finally say it right, you usually know because you used the least amount of words to say the most. It’s like having a conversation, and maybe it’s in your own head, but some things get simple and that’s usually when lyrics start to form,” Been explains. “You’re in the groove with words so you wait for that feeling and until it comes, you just keep going.” For their sixth album, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, Been and Hayes bring back the vibe from the Howl era when making music didn’t feel like such a business. Been says it was important to find the spark of what made being in a band fun to begin with. With Shapiro as their new drummer, it was important to find that first before moving on as a band. “We were trying to be back to the roots of when we began. The feeling we had when we started and when we got together; when it was just really simple and fun and it wasn’t all complicated and muddled up,” Been explains. Tattoo seemed like it would never happen in the summer


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of 2008 when they fired drummer Nick Jago. The band struggled to find itself musically and emotionally. “Nick’s been on the fence for years so it wasn’t maybe as much a shock to us as it was to other people. Once he finally went his way and we went ours, we felt pretty lost,” Been admits. “We didn’t know where we were going to go, what we were going to do, if we were even going to keep the band going or keep it going with the same name.” During a scheduled European tour that same year, they enlisted the help of Shapiro, who was the tour drummer for the Ravonettes at the time. “When [Shapiro] came around, she just came in to fill in a couple shows. We had some dates that were booked a long time ago in Europe. Playing with her made us look at the whole thing differently. It felt like it fit. It felt right. I don’t think there was a plan b; if she didn’t fit, we probably would’ve called it a day,” Been admits. The parallels to Howl reach beyond band cohesion. To achieve the sound they felt Tattoo needed, they flew out to Philadelphia to crash with some friends who converted a basement study into a recording studio. It’s the same studio they used to record 2005’s Howl. Not only did recording there make sense because the vibe was so relaxed, but it also helped that it was all for free. “We were recording in the winter out in [Philadelphia]. We’re pretty thin-skinned California boys so we can’t really take the cold like that,” Been says with a laugh. “The vibe was to stay warm and stay sane and we only kind of halfway achieved both of those. It was a bit of a crazy winter. Cabin fever definitely came into play.” “[Our friends] let us stay in their house and become part of their family. It was pretty wonderful to get to make a record like that rather than punching in your time card at the studio and it costs this and that and you’re always worrying about time and money,” Been explains. Of the 23 songs recorded, Tattoo features only 13 of them. Been plans to release a couple of the 10 songs as b-sides while the rest will occupy a shelf until the time comes to record the follow-up to Tattoo. The possibility of a double album didn’t fancy Been. “We’re not going to get rid of ’em. They mean something to us. There was a question of putting out a double record, but it just seemed like it was too long. We don’t want to play that long,” Been says. All the tracks, except “The Toll,” were created during the blizzard that blanked the east coast over the winter. For the “The Toll,” which was recorded a year ago, Been and Hayes share vocal duties with Nashville singer/songwriter

Courtney Jay. Not very many bands can get away with slipping in broody ballads followed by rockers, but Black Rebel Motorcycle Club does away with conventions and plays by their own rules. The only one they follow is balance. “The only way you get any power from those kinds of songs is when you can slow down and appreciate that speed. So it’s neat to make a record where you can weave in and out of that,” Been points out. “It’s about as far from smash-myfist-into-a-wall, which is what full-on rock ’n’ roll tends to be like. It’s the other end of that story. Maybe after the fire tends to be the ballad.” One treads a fine line when composing a sad tune. The main themes in any Black Rebel Motorcycle Club song are struggle and redemption. Tackling those issues without coming across as tacky is a fear Been genuinely feels. “I can’t stand most music, and it gives me good perspective. We’re really critical of other people and that makes us twice as critical of ourselves, so it’s the only good thing that comes from that complex perfectionism,” Been admits. Perfection in the studio comes from experiences on the road. Some bands hate the road. There is driving, flying, interviews and other distractions that take away from the music. When you’re at a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show, you’re in a completely new atmosphere where the musicians want to disappear into the music, but the fans won’t let them. “Black always seems like the best color for disappearing. Until they make a better color,” Been muses. “We wanted to disappear in the music. Even the whole image thing was to let the music speak for itself. We found out the hard way that people don’t really see it that way. It’s an obsession in rock ’n’ roll with image. We tried to stand out of the way of the music, but in our attempts to do that, we kind of fell right into it.” Songs like “Rifles,” off their 2001 self-titled debut, feel like a score to a movie that hasn’t been filmed. Their film noir vibe and the their camera obscura approach to their band imagery would hint that they’re conscious of how they’re perceived, but in reality, it’s a dice roll. “A lot of our music feels cinematic. I get that feeling a lot, but I don’t know why. I’ve always been really into films so a lot of that creeps in here and there. It’s a happy accident,” Been says. “We didn’t want to be from any one place or any one time. There’s a lot of bands that look and feel like the time and they’re great, they’re exciting, but that moment goes as soon as the next fashion comes around and that music goes as soon as the new fashion season begins and it doesn’t feel right. I think music can mean a lot more than that.” Band democracy is easier to manage with three personalities. As their jams progress into songs, and the melodies in their head are translated into a microphone, it’s difficult to discern whether Been or Hayes sing at any given time. Their voices blend so perfectly that it almost doesn’t matter who sings. “Usually, it’s whoever can get to the microphone first and come up with a melody. We have this cool little competition when we start jamming on something and you start singing in your head [and] whoever gets to the mic first wins,” Been shares. “But it’s like you don’t step up to the mic until you’ve got something good, so it can be a while. It can be a Russian roulette. It’s all in good nature.” What’s represented on record isn’t the whole vision Black Rebel Motorcycle Club wants you to see. In their constant pursuit of perfection, a song is never really over. “I still work on ’em even from the first record,” says Been. “I’m still thinking about words and parts and places it can go. A lot of our songs change lives. A song is never really finished. It’s never really done until it’s done you in.”

Beat the Devil’s Tattoo is currently available. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will perform March 11, 12 and 14 at Echoplex and March 16 at House of Blues Anaheim. For more information, visit



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Groove Armada drift into Henry Fonda Theater March 21. Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders: How can you say no?

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club March 11, 12 & 14 @ Echoplex March 16 @ House of Blues Anaheim I was going to start off by making a joke that was something along the lines of the Twilight franchise wishing they could make dark and brooding look as sexy and cool as BRMC make it sound. Then, I saw they actually had a song on the New Moon soundtrack, and all logic escaped me. But hey, even generally talented and awesome people sometimes get attached to moneymaking juggernauts, and I can’t really blame them for that. They’ve got to keep gas in their tour buses, after all. And if it’s good enough for Thom Yorke to attach his name to, who am I to disparage it? Point being, BRMC makes some really solid atmospheric rock. Possibly best consumed under the influence of mind-altering substances (not that I would know firsthand or anything), the trio can write and play a psychedelic jam session like nobody’s business. Each of the three band members finds time to shine on specific tracks, depending on the pacing of the song, from the slower, more haunting, guitar-focal tracks, to the more aggressive, drum and vocal-driven ones. And if there was ever an appropriately dark and brooding-friendly venue to see these guys play at, it is undoubtedly the Echoplex.

Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders March 11 @ Viper Room Come on, y’all, it’s Taylor Hawkins – of the Foo Fighters. How could you say no to a guy like that? The dude’s been playing music forever, it’s about time he got out from behind the drum kit to do his own thing. Well … he is still on drums with this new project, so scratch that bit. But he is in charge of vocal duties this time out, so the bit regarding it being about time he got his own time to shine remains true. To be fair, any Foo fans will find a whole lot of reasons to like Hawkins as a frontman, as he takes a few pages from the Dave Grohl playbook for melodic vocals. Where Hawkins strikes out on his own and finds his strength is in his band’s classic rock stylistic influences. Upbeat and melodic with just enough grit to still feel raw and not overprocessed, Hawkins and his Riders could have easily been lifted from the iconic rock albums of our parents’ generation. The dude is easily one of the best musicians of our age and plays with nothing but the best fellow musicians. Do you really think he’s going to give you a half-assed show for your money?

Automatic Loveletter/Matthew Good March 13 @ the Troubadour Usually, when I’m showering a girl-fronted band with praise and turning into an unashamed fanboy over them, it’s in regard to a certain crimson-haired frontwoman and her band mates, but there are yet more I’ve not delved into nearly as much as I should. Case in point are the Florida natives of Automatic Loveletter, who just might be moving into the favored position for my current favorite girl-fronted band. Channeling a gritty growl as effortlessly as she can belt out a big, sparkling wail, frontwoman Juliet Simms is equal parts delicate, emotive songstress and no-bullshit rock and roller. She and her band mates make some definitively anthemic, epic rock jams, the kind that make you want to sing along without having to resort to juvenile kid-pop techniques. So while some other girl-fronted bands are busy trying too hard to be grownups and putting out albums that they’re far better than, these guys and girl aren’t afraid to bring the fun and the intensity to the fullest on stage. It should also be noted that even for as awesome as I make Automatic Loveletter out to be, they aren’t the headliner on this show. Matthew Good is apparently something of a big deal up in Canada, which would usually prompt me to make any number of snide and snarky remarks in response, if it weren’t for the fact that Good is actually quite skilled. Providing more big-sounding melodic jams of the epic and emotive variety, Good’s piano and guitar-centric songs are perfectly suited to small and intimate venues like the Troub.


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Groove Armada Float into Town: Andy Cato and Tom Findlay, better known as Groove Armada, are currently on tour promoting their February release, Black Light. The duo says that the new album is highly influenced by classic British acts like David Bowie, Gary Numan, New Order and Roxy Music. “I think even people who’ve hated everything we’ve ever made before could absolutely love this record,” says Cato. Black Light’s guest vocalists include SaintSaviour, Nick Littlemore of Empire of the Sun and suave Roxy Music frontman Bryan Ferry. Groove Armada play a show at Henry Fonda Theater March 21 and appear on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” show the following day. Surfer Blood: No, there hasn’t been a shark attack. And none of the four members of the Palm Beach, Fla.-based Surfer Blood are surfers, either. They do know a little bit about waves though; the music on their recent Kanine Records release Astro Coast is full of surges of hook-laden power-pop that soak you to the bone before you know what’s happening. The set of summery indie pop was laid down in a dorm room at Florida Atlantic University after the quartet pooled what was left of their scholarship money to buy recording equipment. No word on how the guys are doing with their college studies, but they’ve at least graduated to the national stage; Surfer Blood play music from Astro Coast during their March 27 show at the Echo. Lemmy Gets a Golden God: Motörhead’s Lemmy Kilmister is the recipient of this year’s Golden Gods Lifetime Achievement Award. Sponsored by Revolver Magazine, the Golden God Awards are given to honor bands and artists who have excelled in the hard rock and heavy metal genres. This year’s winner of the Golden God Award is Rob Halford; that honor is given to the person who “most embodies all that is metal” and will be presented to Halford by last year’s winner, Ozzy Osbourne. Fans decide who gets an award in nine other categories like Best Drummer, Best Live Band and even Most Metal Athlete; votes can be cast at The Second Annual Revolver Golden Gods Awards ceremony happens at Club Nokia April 8 and features a concert with Rob Zombie, Fear Factory, As I Lay Dying, the Devil Wears Prada and others. Metalheads who can’t make it in person can catch the whole shebang on VH1 Classic May 22. It’s a Wu Massacre! Wu-Tang Clan brothers-for-life Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon have collaborated for a new album called Wu Massacre. The centerpiece of the album is a RZA-produced song called “Our Dreams” that is an homage to Michael Jackson and samples the King of Pop’s “We’re Almost There.” Wu-Tang members Inspectah Deck and Cappadonna also appear as do Trife, Sheek and Bully, the Rhythm Roots Allstars and the ubiquitous Tracy Morgan on a skit called “How to Pay Rent.” Wu Massacre drops on Def Jam March 30. Mudvayne Video Banned: A statement from the Mudvayne camp says that networks are unwilling to air the band’s new “Beautiful and Strange” video off their self-titled Mudvayne album. The “banned” video is purported to portray acts of sadism and sexually explicit acts that take place in a graveyard. Of course, the fact that the video has been banned will make fans want to see it all the more. View director Frankie Nasso’s (Hatebreed, All That Remains) shocking cinematography at if you dare.

Perfume and What? It’s still very early in the year but legendary British punk band GBH has got to be a frontrunner for album title of the year. I guess after 30 years in the business, if you want to call your new album Perfume and Piss, you are certainly entitled. After three decades of playing smelly dive bars and bedding countless groupies, there’s really no need to explain the title. Suffice it to say that original vocalist Colin Abrahall swears that the new one is “the best album we’ve done in a long, long time.” Perfume and Piss drops April 6 on Hellcat.

Join CAMPUS CIRCLE CDREVIEWS Johnny Cash American VI: Ain’t No Grave (American/Lost Highway) “Oh Death, where is thy sting?” the late Johnny Cash sings in “I Corinthians 15:55,” the sole original tune on his elegiac final album. Indeed, death hangs over the entire work – which Cash was working on up until his final days – from the ominous Biblical portent of “Ain’t No Grave” to the philosophical questioning of “Can’t Help But Wonder Where I’m Bound” to the more hopeful “For the Good Times.” There are no Tom Petty covers or other jukebox reworkings as with previous Rick Rubin collaborations. Although there is one by Sheryl Crow (the anti-war “Redemption Day”), it’s a long way from “Leaving Las Vegas.” On the whole, the album is dominated by the spirituals that were interspersed in the previous American Recordings. It’s an affecting and ultimately inspiring swan song for a musical legend. Grade: A ­­—Mike Sebastian American VI: Ain’t No Grave is currently available.

Jamie Cullum The Pursuit (Verve) Despite the re-popularization in mainstream culture of jazz music in recent years, let’s be honest, some of the genre’s contemporary artists aren’t always terribly accessible. And even among the more accessible artists, there’s often a tendency to emulate classic musicians’ styles a little too closely, running a

Campus Circle > Music > CD Reviews fine line between homage and smarmy d-bag cliché. While he doesn’t get the same attention that some of his contemporaries get, English-born Jamie Cullum is one of the few who can pull it off effortlessly. For his fifth album, Cullum shows that his soulful voice and songwriting ability have only gotten sharper in the four years since his last release. From the infectiously catchy “We Run Things” to the soft and delicate “If I Ruled the World” to the legitimately welldone cover of Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music,” Cullum can do the big band crooning and just as easily show a more raw and vulnerable side when backed only by his piano. So if you’re looking to class up your playlist without sounding like you’re trying too hard, Cullum’s your guy. Grade: A —Brien Overly The Pursuit is currently available.

The Ruby Suns Fight Softly (Sub Pop) Sporting a more synth-y sound than on previous efforts, with the Ruby Suns’ third album, Fight Softly, Ryan McPhun scores some major points but also leaves the listener just plain confused. There are some really awesome songs like “Mingus and Pike” that layer great ambient electronic beats and sythproduced hooks with McPhun’s softened vocals. On the other hand, there’s “Haunted House,” which starts out like a dream and then starts to stutter and completely turns around about 30 seconds in. About half of the album is perfectly balanced between fuzzy softness and discordant digital notes, while the other half is, unfortunately, overwhelmingly noisy and lacking in direction.

Grade: B—Melissa Russell Fight Softly is currently available.

Rocky Votolato True Devotion (Barsuk) Returning to his stripped-down acoustic leanings for his latest album, Seattle’s Rocky Votolato shows with True Devotion that he’s set to be the reigning musical heartbreak king. And much in the same vein as fellow punk-to-acoustic converts Dallas Green, Dustin Kensrue and Chuck Ragan, Votolato knows how to use a minimum of instruments for the maximum aural impact. Sonically, Devotion feels a return to 2006’s Makers, with Votolato letting his soulful vocals do all the work to convey the complex emotionality of his songs. While Votolato’s artistry is indeed nearly unmatched when it comes to intelligent songwriting and emoting, the vibe of Devotion is a bit of a bumout from start to finish without any of the more anthemic and upbeat tracks that livened up his 2007 album, The Brag and Cuss. Just by the nature of Votolato’s tonality, each word he croons carries an implicative importance and urgency, making even the optimistic songs wrench your emotions for all they’re worth. But then, that’s kind of why he’s worth your while. Votolato has surely treaded this path before, but much to his credit, he knows how to navigate this path like a tatted up, indie-folk Bear Grylls. Grade: B+ —Brien Overly True Devotion is currently available.

LIVESHOWREVIEWS The Hounds Below March 2 @ Spaceland Think Peggy Sue from a 1950’s diner and Julian Casablancas from the Strokes had a band of babies together. A bit knarley, but the Hounds Below somehow managed to take the sock-hop and drag it along musical genres reminiscent of Chuck Berry and modern punk rock. It was simply marvelous, and Jason Stollsteimer of the Hounds Below altogether left me wanting more (The set was a mere five songs.). That’s alright, they are relatively new, with each member stemming from his (and her) respective own band. Headed by Jason Stollsteimer of the Von Bondies, he’s joined by an eclectic group of band mates, including the beautiful bassist Molly Jean Schoen (from the Decks), clean-cut guitarist Sean Lynch (800beloved), keyboardist Jeremy Freer (the Juliets) and drummer Brandon Macdonald (of Qualia/ Friends of Dennis Wilson). As Stollsteimer shyly admits to the medium-sized audience before him, “This is our first time in Los Angeles.” The response seemed to be ‘welcome,’ amazed at this new sound reverberating on the Spaceland stage. Stollsteimer’s dynamism is in his vocal range. Their rendition of the Pixies’ “Where’s My Mind” almost had me second-guessing if it was in fact a cover. Stollsteimer transitions into the falsetto easily. Four songs later, their final number, “Crawling Back to You,” had the band playing in a state of calm madness: somehow going nuts on their respective instruments but still maintaining the same brooding melancholy on their faces throughout. This tactic could be a double-edged sword performance wise. Though it places complete attention on their musical ability, a lack of attention and personal involvement with the audience makes you forgettable as a performer. This can be forgiven, but something the band should definitely work on. Next for the Hounds Below will be the SXSW festival in Texas. We hope they come back and play longer next time. —Denise Guerra






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EVENTS DVD GAMING SPORTS MEDIA BLOGS The Art of Love Books Fashion Food Gaming Fun For Less L.A. Faces Theater Travel



Give it all. Train Hard. Live Free. BY lynda correa I walk into A Long Beach Ballet Studio where I’m supposed to meet and interview a team of martial artists, and instead, I hear a piano, opera singing and thumping – the inevitable leotard prancing is sure to be behind door No. 1. To my bewilderment, I had shown up at the right place. I was steered into the room and saw three ballerinas – no surprise – and four guys in gym shorts, tank tops and sneakers, moving to the rhythm of the music. A brief break in the music and one of the guys, Danny, acknowledges me, “This is totally new to us.” Known professionally as Evolved Martial Concept (and affectionately called Evolved Monkey Combat by fans), EMC Stunts started about six years ago as two separate teams who met on a training ground to “monkey around.” They became one team of 10 in the end, with a mission to “save the universe, get the princess and defeat Bowser.” Thus starts my interview: “OK, put the cat down,” and a guy who was petting an invisible cat on his lap gently sets it on the ground and lets it walk away, only to be scared and stomped on by another member. (Author’s note: This was one of the weirdest, funniest interviews I’ve ever done.) Immediately I notice the chemistry between the team. They are like those twins who could finish each other’s

Campus Circle > Culture > L.A Faces sentences, except there are six of them, talking all at once. “Each individual – ‘is an individual’ [clips in someone else] – is highly decorated in their art,” says Xin, a senior member of the group, otherwise known by YouTube fans as the Urban Ninja. The four main arts of EMC are: Chinese Gung-Fu, Kickboxing, Tae Kwon Do and acrobatics. Aside from many years of technical training, each member has varying levels of performing experience, ranging from movies, commercials, live shows, expositions and touring with celebrities like Tina Tuner. Malay, another senior member, says, “We can do whatever – that’s just my philosophy.” However, Xin really wants to get back to their roots of performing at live shows and reconnecting to their fans. Their Web site reads: “Why do we do what we do? Why do birds fly? Why do fish swim? Why do monkeys throw poo? Because that’s what we were born to do!” Danny, the youngest member on the team, says, “There are a lot of ‘tricking’ teams out there, and a lot of stunt teams, but one thing is for sure: We are the coolest team you’ll ever meet!” While the monkeys like to have a good time, they keep themselves grounded. Especially being based in Los Angeles, they are surrounded by teams who put fame too high on their priority list. Malay says, “What sets us apart [is] we don’t do flashy stuff. We’re real. People are losing the ‘martial’ and putting too much emphasis on the ‘art.’’’ Xin agrees: “We’re not Hollywood. We don’t suck up and kiss ass just to get a job.” “We know what we’ve got, and we don’t feel the need to show off to other people,” Malay continues.


EMC Monkeys were influenced by the Ninja Turtles.

“When we were being taught, things were hard. Now, there’s no excuse to not train. If your ankle hurts, do sit-ups. If your arms hurt, work on your legs,” says Danny. This work ethic comes from their more than humble backgrounds. As Xin explains, “Seriously, we were so poor, the only way to learn martial arts was to watch Bruce Lee and the Ninja Turtles.” Danny explains that many of the members grew up in broken homes, but were able to rise above and make the most of it. But as Malay emphasizes, “Anybody can turn their life around, no matter where you’ve been.” “When I see our team and how we’ve risen from that, I’m proud,” states Xin. “It makes me feel like we’re invincible. For more than half of us, our let-out was martial arts to keep away from drugs and violence, and it brought us to where we are today – not dead … doing opera.” EMC will perform March 12 in the X Collabo Show at the Poodle Parlor and March 20 and 28 in “Nixon in China” at the Long Beach Opera. For more information, visit

Campus Circle > Culture > Fashion Focus


Justin Tranter becomes a fashion muse with Fetty. BY stephanie nolasco It’s difficult to ignore the Chicago-born Justin Tranter, even if he’s walking down the streets of New York City surrounded by gossip girls, punks and wide-eyed tourists. Aside from his tousled platinum locks and black couture that shows off his statuesque figure, he’s rarely seen without his leather booties with stiletto heels. Naturally, the singer of the garage glam band Semi Precious Weapons would dabble in fashion, but it’s no publicity stunt. Tranter, who calls Stevie Nicks and Jay-Z his influences, has been pursuing his love for jewelry even before he became a rock star, and it is the reason why he and his band have discovered fame quicker than trying to make ends meet. “My mom always made jewelry my whole life, and music is the reason I exist,” Tranter explains. “Or something gorgeous like that.” Long before he crooned about magnetic babies, Tranter


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Justin Tranter always sold jewelry at shows. began creating jewelry to sell during the band’s shows. “The first piece I ever made was the Fetty and Semi Precious Weapons signature gun/heart necklace, which is also my favorite, because it changed my life,” he says. What started out as a chic hobby became a surprise success for the band, with hundreds of growing fans going wild for his jewels. Fetty, the jewelry company based in Brooklyn, became the house of scandalous trinkets, including rose gold pistols and Lizzie Borden’s diamond-encrusted axe. With collections like “Love Bites” and “Butcher’s Wife,” Tranter’s designs became widely demanded by shoppers, eventually being sold in stores nationwide, including Urban Outfitters and Barneys. Today, supermodel Kate Moss and England’s Princess Beatrice are spotted wearing Tranter’s many charms, proving that he’s more than just a guy who loves eyeliner. “I met them both and forced them to wear my shit,” he

Fetty’s “Shot Through the Heart” design says. “Hard work and hair bleach goes a long way. Jewelry paid for me and my entire band’s life. We owe it everything. No regrets. Ever.” As Semi Precious Weapons continue to perform “filthy party rock ’n’ roll” while preparing for a new record on a major label, Tranter is always looking for new ideas. One of his line’s highlights includes “Fetty Signature,” or jewelry that pays tribute to Tranter feeling the braille on the elevator of a St. Louis hotel. In addition, fans can soon expect accessories inspired by “diamonds made of metal.” For now, he hopes to soon collaborate with tour mate Lady Gaga and spread the gospel of looking ultra glam to Los Angeles’ night owls. For more information, visit


CREATIVE SWEET SPOTS BY melissa Russell SusieCakes Bakery

Cupcakes from SusieCakes Bakery

If you keep up with the Best Cupcake in L.A. reports that periodically circle the foodie community, you’ve probably already heard of SusieCakes, whose Signature “Frosting Filled” Cupcakes have placed well on several Top 10 lists. For any frosting lover, this is really where it’s at. From Red Velvet to Strawberry and even a seasonal flavor, these cupcakes make it impossible to feel sad, especially with the injection of flavor in the center. But owner Susan Sarich and SusieCakes make so much more than just cupcakes. There are also custom-decorated cakes, seasonally shaped butter cookies, pies, puddings and dessert bars … and that’s just to start! The thing that really sets SusieCakes apart from the rest of the bakeries in Los Angeles, though, is absolutely her style. “I’m from the Midwest,” reveals Sarich, a Chicago native. “I really didn’t think anybody out on the West Coast was doing old-fashioned, straightforward desserts of Americana … a lot of the recipes are family recipes.” The chain is definitely a homage to Sarich’s grandmothers, with comfort food items like classic Whoopie Pies on the menu and retro interior design in all five SusieCakes locations. But what really makes SusieCakes so delicious? “We bake everyday on site from scratch. Everything is butter, sugar, flour, eggs and there’s no preservatives in our stuff. Nothing comes in the back door in a tub,” Sarich insists. Sarich is very proud of the sense of family and community you’ll find in her stores and the company even holds an annual recipe contest around Mother’s Day. “Because we are family focused, Mother’s Day is a great time to celebrate the great women in our lives who made an impact on us,” Sarich says. “People can bring in their recipes from their mothers and grandmothers and the winning recipe will be featured in all the SusieCakes for the month of May.” If you’re looking to enter a recipe, sign up for the SusieCakes newsletter for all the details, and in the mean time, drop in for a sweet treat. Susiecakes Bakery is located at 11708 San Vincente Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit


HIPPIE CHIPS by christine hernandez crunch your way to the ‘70s with Hippie Chips flavors like Haight-AshBerry Jalapeño, Lime Is On My Side Cracked Pepper and Chive-Talkin’ Sour Cream. After reaching the bottom of a Hippie Chips bag, grab another, because these flavorful snacks are low in fat and calories. After years of chowing down on unhealthy backstage snacks, musicians Dan and Jean Ehrlich decided to create all natural snacks with Rock-n-Roll Gourmet. Hippie Chips also help promote Rock Out Childhood Obesity NOW, which encourages children to engage in healthier lifestyles. You can score Rock-n-Roll Gourmet snacks at rocknrollgourmet. com, regional supermarket chains, natural food stores and convenience stores.



A.sweeT. As a female, two of my favorite things have got to be fashion and candy. So imagine my delight when I heard about Andrea Trujillo and her Beverly Hills store, A.sweeT., which combines the two. “These are two of my favorite things: fashion and candy. I’ve had a sweet tooth my whole life and there was nothing in L.A. that was like this. I was certain I was filling a void,” says Trujillo. Off the cuff, it might seem a little odd to mix these two products into one boutique store, but Trujillo certainly doesn’t see it that way. “The fashion portion came from the fact that I really think how you dress and how you present yourself represents a lot about who you are,” Trujillo says. “So bringing in the bright colors into the clothes and mixing those two things together brings out who I am.” While the dichotomy between the simple joy of candy and the luxury of fashion and jewelry may seem odd, between brand names like 32 Flavors and Sauce, tees with vintage candy prints and colors that are echoed in the candy in the back, Trujillo really manages to pull her theme together, even down to the music choices. “I think right now especially with the way the economy is, people are looking for that quick fix and something that’s going to make them feel good, so to do an impulse purchase – if it’s $2 worth of candy and a $200 pair of jeans, or a Swarovski crystal gumball machine – it’s that playfulness; it brings something casual to a luxury and that makes you feel good,” Trujillo explains. And the store really is fun, with a candy selection that ranges from seasonal candy to handcrafted chocolates to gummy treats to vintage candy (I mean seriously, where else can you find Chuckles bars these days?) and an interior design that seeks to both emphasize and soothe the inherent divide between the store’s inventory. A.sweeT.’s concept may seem a bit strange, but it’s definitely worth a look. You won’t be able to leave the store without getting something. A.sweeT. is located at 253 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills. For more information, visit


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MUSIC CULTURE EVENTS DVD GAMING SPORTS MEDIA BLOGS The Art of Love Books D-Day Fashion Food Gaming Get Up, Get Out Graphic Novels Fun For Less Theater Travel




S-E-X! BY ebony march Denise Guerra

BY denise guerra Minority and underrepresented students are angry, and some students are angry that minority and underrepresented students are angry. Does this make sense? For every argument, there is a counter argument. In my research and curiosity about the “Compton Cookout” debacle that has awakened a subconscious breed of racism that has been silenced and overlooked, it is extremely interesting to me to find a Facebook Group listed as “UCSD Students Outraged That People Are Outraged About The Compton Cookout.” This arena where white students, as well as minority students, stamp a “what’s the big deal?” sign over the national attention given to their school is alarming. It finds every way to devalue the situation as meaningless nonsense. Really, nonsense? Though many have stated that they agree the “Compton Cookout” was created in bad taste, especially in the wake of Black History Month, there is also a sense that people think that the outrage the Black Student Union (BSU) felt at UCSD is in some way a form of spreading a liberal agenda that is essentially racist because it benefits only black students. The person who seems to be the creator of the Facebook group named Lisa (though the group officially has no admins) explains primarily why she created the group: “First and foremost, I have heard the list of demands being made to UCSD in reaction to the Cookout, including ‘sensitivity’ classes and a ‘safe’ area for African Americans on campus, but the party was NOT sponsored by the school. We are in the middle of California’s most severe educational budget crisis, and now we’re supposed to direct our minimal funds to ‘sensitivity classes?’ In perspective, that does not make sense to me, especially considering the fact that our classes are already impacted and faculty members are already having their hours cut or are being laid off.” Nowhere in her whole explanation did she ever acknowledge the real reasons why people were offended and hurt by the “Compton Cookout” and the noose found in the library at UCSD. In psychology, when people are angry and hurt, a lack of empathy to their situation ignores something that is serious and important. You devalue not only the situation but, most importantly, the person. First understand why everyone is outraged so you fully understand their points of view, and then express your argument to the opinion. Debate 101. The mantra of UCSD’s BSU is “Real Action, Real Pain” because these were incidents specifically targeted at them. What I see in Lisa’s statement is a product of fear. She states that the demands for “sensitivity” classes and a “safe” space will cost California a lot of money with a concern for impacted classes and faculty employment. What she doesn’t see is the bigger picture. The demands created by the BSU, which were addressed by UCSD faculty on their Web site (, are long overdue for a school with only 1.3 percent blacks enrolled. Funding for these demands will not only be based on whether the state of California will increase funding to the UCs (which is another issue pertaining to why California’s budget crisis will affect all students), but also funds will be allocated to the school’s existing budget to HIRE a more diverse faculty. Also, the view of “sensitivity” classes is not an indoctrination of a liberal agenda, but an acknowledgement of the history and contribution of oppressed people in American society. This includes the role of immigrants, women, LGBT, those of low socio-economic status (which includes whites) and ethnicities, including Jewish, Asians and Latinos. So you think it’s a waste of time to learn this stuff? I guess traditional K-12 education and the media have taught you enough. In addressing a “safe” space, why would this scare anyone? UCLA and UC Berkeley already have a center for community outreach programs for access and retention of underrepresented groups. What is so wrong with that? Changing tradition and fear of the unknown are natural human tendencies, and as I try to see things from the shoes of Lisa and the group she has created, I find the same arguments as those opposing the original Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. I encourage this group to walk in the shoes of those protesting. Social change isn’t easy when you’re not the one being personally threatened or degraded.

“First understand why everyone is outraged so you can fully understand their points of view, and then express your argument.”


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Picture it: Valentine’s Day 2010. My phone rings at approximately 6:45 p.m. I’m watching “The Tudors” on Showtime (I figure, if I can’t have Jonathan Rhys-Meyers in real life, I can at least watch him on cable.). I answer to discover that my friend, Adam, is on the other line. He wants to come over. Hmm, interesting. Ten minutes later, 6-feet-2 inches of just about the cutest 24-year-old known to man shows up at my doorstep. Now, sparing you the gory details, I Stock up on condoms before you even think will say that some nooky DID go down. about hooking up. Yes folks, my Valentine’s Day consisted of three minutes of THE BEST LOVIN’ in history. In times of recession, it’s fun to enjoy a little naughtiness every now and again. Sure, mine wasn’t of the epic marathon variety. But as the saying goes: “Sex is like pizza; even when it’s not so great, it’s still pretty good.” When looking for some safe carnal fun, there are many cool avenues to pursue, even when money is tight. Now, before you get started, it’s imperative to have the safety thing taken care of right off the bat. You no longer have the excuse of not being able to afford condoms when they are readily accessible all over town, cheap to free. The Saban Free Clinic ( has several convenient locations, including Hollywood and West Hollywood. You can walk-in or book an appointment – your choice. Just ask them for condoms, and they will gift you with a bag of colored, flavored and even ribbed lifesavers to make shtupping a little more worry free. If you would prefer to buy yours, you can pick some up at the 99 Cents Only Stores. I know that there’s the consensus that things purchased at this discount mart are somehow lackluster. But when it comes to condoms that is not really the case. The manufacturer sets the standards for safety – not the store. Just check the date on the box and make sure they say “latex” on the packaging. Looking for a place to get busy? Well, I can’t promise you a thing in that department. However, there are Web sites out there that are making the casual hookup a huge part of the cultural lexicon. The elusive Sugar Mama and Sugar Daddy are the holy grail of Los Angeles. If you can nab a lover with deep pockets, you’re as good as gold. Imagine yourself with your new boyfriend or girlfriend, going to dinner in his or her new Maserati or sunning on a yacht off the coast of Catalina. You can find such a “friend” at Sugar Daddy for Me ( Registration is free and allows access to a database of thousands of wealthy singles looking for love. You can even answer ads posted by rich folks looking for Mr. and Ms. Right (now). AND the site is gay-friendly so no one is excluded! also offers the chance to hook up with someone a little older and perhaps more experienced. However, this site caters to those who want to nab a married lover. So if your heart tells you otherwise, stick to something that won’t weigh as heavily on your morals and ethics. I have a ton of male friends, and I don’t think there’s one of them who hasn’t been to a strip bar. While strippers are indeed the hardest working girls in town, the negative economy has been rough on them, too. Gone are the fierce sounds of Lucite heels strutting around clubs on the Sunset Strip. Many of these women have either lost their gigs or have taken to clubs in the suburbs. There is one strip club located in Glendale that seems to have a great formula for fun, despite the “hard times” (pun intended). Gentlemen’s Club (5175 San Fernando Road, Glendale) offers the chance to hobnob with all kinds of L.A.-based cuties. From Asian ladies to Latinas to blond kittens to Nubian princesses, you’ll find your brand of eye candy on tap. On the weekend, $20 (a bargain) gets you admission, plus two drinks. Private dances are $25 and most other beverages are $5 each. Parking is an additional $5. Of course, if you don’t mind crossing busy San Fernando Road, you can save yourself some dough by street parking.

Ralph Lauer/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT



WHEN I WAS YOUR AGE I was saving the world. BY scott bell Much has been said about the clichés that run rampant through role-playing games. Girls are fast and use healing, while boys are strong and use destructive magic. The villain forces you to travel through a desert, a forest and an evil temple, but his evil plan waits while you explore every corner of the world for some rare trinket. People can be brought back from the dead with less hassle than it takes to cure poison, but if it happens in a cutscene, then they’re dead for good. While modern RPGs have moved away from some of these classic clichés, one age-old gem seems to persist. When the world is in trouble and the lives of countless NPCs are in the balance, it is always the children who are hit the hardest. By that, of course, I mean that the children are the ones who have to overcome the evil and save the day. For some reason, it seems as if the only people who can stop some ancient evil from gathering the crystals they need to destroy all of creation are barely old enough to need to shave. Sometimes they have to pick up an ancestral sword and lead a ragtag group of plucky young adventurers, while

Campus Circle > Culture > Gaming other times they hunt down little furry creatures and try to trap them all in plastic balls. For whatever reason, these kids’ parents have no problem watching their offspring march bravely into almost certain death. One common excuse, as seen in “Ragnarok DS” for the Nintendo DS, is that young heroes often find themselves orphaned right when the world needs a sociopathic swordwielder with nothing to lose. In this case, our hero has just lost his mother to a broken heart. As an act of love for his departed mother and in defiance of the father who left them to become an adventurer, the hero decides to leave home and become an adventurer. Perhaps this isn’t the best thought-through plan, but he is a kid who just lost his mother, so you have to cut him some slack. Questionable motives aside, “Ragnarok DS” attempts to take the quick combat of the internationally popular MMORPG, “Ragnarok Online.” The touchscreen controls of the Nintendo DS work well with the click-to-kill controls that are so popular in online games. By clicking all over the screen with the stylus, players can explore the world, cast magic and stab monsters of all sizes. It may not be the deepest of RPG experiences, but it does make for some fun, quick action. There are some genuine shortcomings to trying to make a single-player experience out of a massively multiplayer game. In the DS version, the computer-controlled teammates are almost single-mindedly interested in killing everything and can only barely be convinced to do anything else. Leveling seems almost exclusively based on repeatedly killing the same groups of monsters and changing jobs reduces your level by half, two practices that are fine for multiplayer games but seem punishingly dull for a solo adventure. On the opposite side of the RPG spectrum, “Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment” for Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation

The young hero in “Ragnarok DS” leaves home to become an adventurer. Network is all about controlling every action of a group of heroes in a single-player setting.This light take on the tactics-based RPG model gives players an intense squad combat experience with a remarkable amount of story for a downloadable title. And, of course, the hero is an orphan who is still in school. Players with a long memory will remember this title from the 1997 classic “Vandal Hearts,” but this story of Tobias and the warriors who – for no obvious reason – follow the grossly underqualified pubescent hero is brand new. Players who don’t remember “Vandal Hearts” will still be able to enjoy “Flames of Judgment” without worrying about missing any of the plot. The story is simple and yet amazingly deep for a downloadable title, running just long enough to offer a break from the combat without boring the player. Of course, if fighting monsters by taking turns moving characters around a grid doesn’t appeal to you, no amount of nostalgia will get you to fall in love with this game. While this is a new title, the gameplay is purely nostalgic simplicity from a time when games couldn’t be as complex as they are today. Assuming you like nostalgia or just want an inexpensive RPG, “Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgment” is definitely worth the cost of admission.




I dated a guy a couple of times about a year ago. I was attracted to him, our dates went well, but I viewed him as a partying type. Since our last date, he called me about four times to touch base. He was having financial problems and had moved out of town. Recently, he contacted me again after having moved back. During this call, he told me he missed me, had been thinking about me for a long time, loved me and wanted to marry me. I told him that he had not called me that much over the last year for me to believe that [he] missed me. He said he had been moving around to get financially on track and he would start calling me again. The last few days, he has been calling, but it still feels strange. He talks about making a life with someone, being lonely, not wanting an uncaring or flighty type and feeling like he wasted the last 10 years of his life partying and spending money. I’m single and would like to have the right guy. I don’t want to date anyone who is insincere. Should I continue to talk to this guy if I suspect this is what is going on? I am feeling a little cautious about the whole thing. —Cautious Good for you for listening to your feelings instead of just going with the chemistry. When trying to figure out what to do, first look at what your gut feelings are, then look at the person’s actions and only then, look at their words. You are right in being cautious. His words are totally out of context with his actions. If you had been dating for at least a year in the same city and then he said he wanted to marry you, that would be one thing, but his marriage talk is currently out of left field. You can certainly continue to talk to him and go out, but until you’ve been dating consistently for a year or so, don’t take his marriage talk seriously. Write to Lucia at Read an excerpt from Lucia’s Lessons of Love at Listen to Lucia live every Sunday at 3 p.m. PST on Remember: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

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MUSIC CULTURE EVENTS DVD GAMING SPORTS MEDIA BLOGS Baseball Basketball Football Hockey Soccer The Sports Wanderer


KOBE OPTING OUT OF L.A.? BY parimal m. rohit This cannot be good. Kobe Bryant is free to leave Los Angeles in a few months. As the entire NBA universe is intently focused on where LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Amare Stoudemire will play next season, a dark horse product is making its way to the front of the store – and that prized package is the Black Mamba. Kobe Bryant can opt out of his contract at season’s end and become an unrestricted free agent, potentially altering the open market this summer. Do not be so quick to label such statements as blasphemy, but should the Lakers fall short of repeating as champions in June, Bryant might seriously consider leaving Los Angeles. Sure, it is only March, and it is way too early for Laker fans – and even Bryant – to hit the panic button. Yet, as the Lakers slowly begin lose their grip on the Western Conference, two things has been scarily apparent – the Lakers are playing opponents too close and losing too often to key rivals. So far, the Lakers are a combined 5-8 against the association’s five other legitimate title contenders: Cleveland, Orlando, Boston, Dallas and Denver. If the Lakers drop the April 8 game at Denver, then they will have losing season records with the Nuggets and Cavaliers, combining

Campus Circle > Sports > The Sports Wanderer for 1-5 against the two teams who give the purple-and-gold the greatest threat in its quest to repeat as champion. To put perspective on just how troubling this losing record is against the NBA’s other elites, the Lakers were 10-3 against those same five teams last year – including season sweeps against Cleveland, Boston and Dallas. Of course, regular season records against rival opponents do not necessarily guarantee success or failure against such teams in the playoffs – just ask Orlando, who swept the Lakers during the season but nearly had the reverse outcome in the finals. In such instances, a poor regular season record against one team can be labeled as an anomaly. Then again, when such poor performances are more widespread, it cannot be taken lightly. After all, it is one thing to be swept by one team in the regular season when you are 10-1 against the other four, just like the Lakers were last season. However, this season, the best the Lakers can hope for is a 6-8 record against title contenders, including a Cleveland sweep and season splits against the rest. The troubling thing is the losing record establishes a trend, one that gives confidence to Laker opponents that the purpleand-gold shield is penetrable. Suddenly, every team believes it can beat the Lakers. Such is the problem with being lackadaisical during the not-necessarily-meaningful regular season – it appears the Lakers just are not taking their opponents seriously. Add to the mix the Lakers have already played in 11 games decided on the last shot, and, well, it just makes one wonder what is going on in Laker Land. (While the team is 7-4 in such games, four of the last five were losses – including both Florida losses last week.) Long story short, a 5-8 record against title contenders and 11 games decided on the final shot does not strike fear


JOE TORRE AND SANDY KOUFAX A Chat for Charity BY dov rudnick They came in droves, a sold-out crowd of more than 7,000 packed the Nokia Theatre Feb. 27 to catch a glimpse of Dodgers manager Joe Torre and iconic pitcher Sandy Koufax in conversation. It was a charity event for Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation, which helps individuals dealing with domestic violence, an issue close to Torre’s heart as he himself was raised in a family plagued by abuse. The fact that Koufax agreed to take part was of special interest; the legendary lefty has famously avoided cameras and interviews for years. His reclusion has in many ways added to his mystique, and the promoters of this event capitalized on this. The event was marred, or colored if you prefer, by one unfortunate element, moderator T.J. Simers, the snarky L.A. Times sports columnist. Despite his best efforts, Simers had difficulty avoiding inappropriate comments, suggesting for example that Koufax was a “softy” and barbing Torre for failing to “try success” after leading the Dodgers just shy of a World Series appearance two years in a row. It was comments like these that made the conversation somewhat less than warm and intimate. One moment of humor occurred when Koufax was asked what his least favorite part of being in the Major Leagues was. “Having to deal with reporters like you,” Koufax answered quickly to loud applause. It was not, however, Simers’ irreverent comments that made the evening feel less than satisfactory. It was his failure to steer the conversation toward meaningful subject matter. For example, what was it like for Koufax to be the most famous Jewish baseball player in the world? The subject was touched on but with little depth. Thank God for Torre, whose ease and sociability brought the conversation back to worthwhile topics. One of the more profound moments took place when he opened up about his troubled upbringing, giving a sense of reality to what might have been an entirely surreal event.


Campus Circle 3.10.10 - 3.16.10

Hector Gabino/El Nuevo HeraldMCT


Will the Black Mamba (right) stay with the Lakers? into the hearts of opponents, nor does it give the Lakers the swagger and confidence to defend their title. Indeed, should the Lakers fall short of repeating as champions in June, Laker fans best start entertaining the idea of Bryant’s first game at Staples Center in the 2010-2011 campaign as a visitor – especially if the purple-and-gold’s season ends before the finals even begin. Of course, no team can give Bryant a better set of players than what the Lakers already have, and the Black Mamba may still opt out only to negotiating his final contract with the team. Yet, with Phil Jackson’s future uncertain and Bryant’s obsessing desire to win championships every year, his return to the Lakers next season is far from guaranteed, let alone certain. With the Clippers clearing crazy cap space to be a major player in this summer’s free-agent market, one could possibly envision a scenario where Bryant bolts down the hall while LeBron James ditches Cleveland for the Lakers. Then again, this whole thing could just merely be the most hyped offseason ever, and the only fireworks taking place are the ones lighting the skies three days after the free agent market opens.


ROAD TESTED BY TJ webber After suffering three consecutive losses during their trip to 32-31 Miami (111-114, in overtime March 4), 30-31 Charlotte (83-98, March 5) and 44-20 Orlando (94-96, March 7), the 46-18 Lakers return to the west to face three conference opponents on the road this week. First up are the Suns in Phoenix on Friday. So far this season, the Lakers are 2-1 against the Suns who are sitting in fifth place in the west at 40-25. On Monday, the Lakers head up north to play the 17-45 Golden State Warriors, featuring 2010 Rookie of the Year candidate Stephen Curry. The final match of the road trip is Tuesday against the 21-42 Kings in Sacramento. (All stats as of March 8.)


CAMPOS KICKS-OFF BY marvin g. vasquez The World Cup is nearly three months away, but the Mexican National Soccer Team is already prepping. Wrigley’s Extra gum hosted a Kick-Off party at the Conga Room March 2, the night before Mexico faced New Zealand at the Rose Bowl. Mexico, who has Extra as its official chewing gum, won the match 2-0. Retired soccer player Jorge Campos, who played as a goalkeeper with Mexico in the 1994 and 1998 World Cups, was the master of ceremonies for the event. The President of the Mexican Football Association, Justino Compeán, also attended. “Mexico has a difficult group,” Campos said. “It does not matter who is the strongest from the three opponents. What’s important is the first game.” Mexico has seven scheduled friendly games before departing to South Africa.


BY FREDERICK MINTCHELL TUESDAYMARCH 16 WWE Smackdown Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Downtown; The WWE invades Los Angeles with Under– taker, Batista, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, Christian, Jack Swagger, Kane, John Morrison, R-Truth, Matt Hardy, Cryme Tyme, Michelle McCool, Mickie James and more. 6:30 p.m. Tix start at $20.

WEDNESDAYMARCH 10 Pac-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament Staples Center, 1111 S. Figueroa St., Downtown; Whoever wins this could be the Pac10’s only representative in the NCAA tournament with many sports pundits projecting Cal as the only possible at-large selection. Runs through Saturday..

WEDNESDAYMARCH 10 Siren Assassins Avalon, 1735 Vine St., Hollywood; Suspenseful and sultry, witty and wicked, these 12 femme fatales captivate your attention and bring you into their own fatal attractions, as they are tested to become a part of the lethal female assassin team … Siren Assassins. 7 p.m. Tix start at $25.

THURSDAYMARCH 11 Pac-10 Women’s Basketball Tournament Galen Center, 3400 S. Figueroa St., Downtown; After running away with the regular season title again, heavily favored Stanford is out to defend its tourney championship and clinch a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Runs through Sunday.

FRIDAYMARCH 12 “Side by Side” by Sondheim Attic Theatre, 5429 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles; Hear songs from earlier landmark Sondheim shows that ultimately revo– lutionized musical theater from “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” to “A Little Night Music,” as well as classics from “West Side Story” to “Gypsy.” Runs through April 18. $25, $22 w/student ID.

SATURDAYMARCH 13 Huntington Beach Kite Party Huntington Beach Pier, 325 Pacific Coast Hwy; Some of the best professional kite fliers in the country converge on Huntington Beach to show their skills, not to mention their colorful stunt kites, for this annual festival. Also Sunday. FREE.

SATURDAYMARCH13 “Urinetown” Morgan-Waxman Theatre, 2627 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; How did this musical about pay-peruse toilets win three Tony Awards? Hint: It’s about more than just toilets. “Urinetown” hilariously addresses some of 2010’s hot button issues. Runs through April 10. $23, $18 w/student ID.

SUNDAYMARCH 14 Race for the Cure Dodger Stadium, 1000 Elysian Park Ave., Los Angeles; The 14th annual 5K Walk/Run raises thousands of dollars each year to fight breast cancer. The day’s activities include jazzercise, a survivor parade and an awards ceremony. Registration starts at 6:30 a.m. $35-$45.

MONDAYMARCH 15 Distinguished Speaker Series: Dan Rather


KINGS AIM TO RECOVER BY parimal m. rohit

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT


Jonathan Quick earned win No. 36.

Talk about a momentum kill – first, the Los Angeles Kings lost two of three games after winning nine straight, only to be interrupted by the Vancouver Games and a two-week NHL hiatus. When the Kings (38-22-4, 80 points) returned to work last week, things appeared to start on the right foot when netminder Jonathan Quick earned his franchise record 36th victory against Dallas March 2. Too bad the rest of the Kings’ body (of work) was about as lethargic as team announcer Bob Miller’s, as Los Angeles dropped four of six games overall since its nine-game surge. As the Kings look ahead to their final 17 games, they can only hope their recovery does not take longer than Miller’s, who has avoided the television booth the last three games since the NHL returned to action due to a case of the shingles. Just like winning – and losing – shingles is contagious, and the Kings are certainly trying to avoid the sister disease to the chickenpox like the plague. While a Pacific Division crown is all but out of the question, the Kings now find themselves in a dogfight of a playoff race – and every win matters now, especially with three games remaining against the Colorado Avalanche, the team Los Angeles is currently tied with for fifth place in the Western Conference. A favorable run in the final 17 games will not only allow the Kings to separate themselves from Colorado, but also pass division rivals, the Phoenix Coyotes, and claim second in the Pacific, third in conference and fourth seed overall. Such a finish would be among the best ever in franchise history, and Miller, more than anyone, desires his team to embark on a spectacular end-of-season run. The 37-year team announcer veteran just hopes the Kings recover faster from their slump than he is from the shingles. All stats as of March 8.

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Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, 1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd.; Rather served as anchor and managing editor of “CBS Evening News” from March 9, 1981, to March 9, 2005, the longest such tenure in broadcast journalism history covering everything from the fall of the Berlin Wall to 9/11. 8 p.m. Also Tuesday in Thousand Oaks and Wednesday in Pasadena.

SATURDAYMARCH 13 Celebrate Dance 2010 Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; This lineup of nine ‘knock out’ dance companies has won the Lester Horton Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement for Festival for three years running. 8 p.m. Tix start at $17. Discount with student ID.

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Campus Circle 3.10.10 - 3.16.10





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Visit Becca’s web site and sign up to play her Web Game. Answer the trivia questions and compete to win a chance to have Becca come play your school! WWW.BECCAOFFICIAL.COM


Campus Circle Newspaper Vol. 20 Issue 10  

Your source for college entertainment.