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December 1-7, 2010 \ Volume 20 \ Issue 46 \ Always Free

Film | Music | Culture

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05 FILM MOVIE REVIEWS 06 FILM KATE BOSWORTH Throws Daggers at Bad Guys in The Warrior’s Way 06 FILM SCREEN SHOTS 07 FILM PROJECTIONS 08 FILM BLACK SWAN Natalie Portman and Darren Aronofsky deliver a brilliant cinematic pas de deux. 08 FILM THE ASSISTANTS A group of film school grads finally get their Hollywood break. 10 FILM TV TIME 10 FILM DVD DISH 12 MUSIC SHAWN CHRYSTOPHER Put USC on Pause to Skyrocket onto Music’s Hot List 12 MUSIC REPORT 14 MUSIC FREQUENCY 15 MUSIC CD REVIEWS 15 MUSIC LIVE SHOW REVIEWS 13 CULTURE GET UP, GET OUT 16 CULTURE L.A. FACES 16 CULTURE GAMES & GADGETS 18 CULTURE PAGES 19 CULTURE CURTAIN CALL 20 CULTURE JET SETTER

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20 CULTURE COMEDY 17 SPORTS PIGSKIN BLITZ 20 BLOGS THE ART OF LOVE 22 BLOGS D-DAY 23 BLOGS THE WING GIRLS 19 NEWS COLLEGE CENTRAL 22 NEWS U.S. NEWS 23 EVENTS THE 10 SPOT Cover: Jonathan Melendez, bakemonster.com

campus circle Dec. 1 - Dec. 7, 2010 Vol. 20 Issue 46

Editor-in-Chief Jessica Koslow editor.chief@campuscircle.net Managing Editor Yuri Shimoda managing.editor@campuscircle.net Film Editor Jessica Koslow film.editor@campuscircle.net Cover Designer Sean Michael Editorial Interns Kate Bryan, Christine Hernandez

Contributing Writers Tamea Agle, Christopher Agutos, Jonathan Bautts, Scott Bedno, Erica Carter, Richard Castañeda, Kantreal Daniels, Nick Day, Amanda D’Egidio, Natasha Desianto, Sola Fasehun, Gillian Ferguson, Stephanie Forshee, Jacob Gaitan, Christian Goss, A.J. Grier, Denise Guerra, Elisa Hernandez, Zach Hines, Damon Huss, Arit John, Don Le, Danielle Lee, Lucia, Ebony March, Brendan M. Newton, Samantha Ofole, Brien Overly, Ariel Paredes, Sasha Perl-Raver, Eva Recinos, Brianne Schaer, Mike Sebastian, Doug Simpson, David Tobin, Abbi Toushin, Anna Webber, Kevin Wierzbicki, Candice Winters

Contributing Artists & Photographers Tamea Agle, Amanda D’Egidio, Jacob Gaitan, David Tobin ADVERTISING Sean Bello sean.bello@campuscircle.net Joy Calisoff joy.calisoff@campuscircle.net Jon Bookatz Music Sales Manager jon.bookatz@campuscircle.net Ronit Guedalia ronit.guedalia@campuscircle.net

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Become a CAMPUS CIRCLE Fan on Facebook http://bit.ly/dhFhEE MOVIEREVIEWS Barney’s Version

LAUREN SANCHEZ, EXTRA

(c) Sabrina Lantos, courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

(Sony Pictures Classics) Part comedy, part drama and all art house, Barney’s Version is a worthwhile little film that boasts an amazing cast, rich characters and a hearttugging storyline. The film stars the always-amazing Paul Giamatti in the titular role of Barney Panofsky, an offbeat, somewhat acerbic guy navigating his way through life and love over the course of several decades. Barney’s Version’s Paul Giamatti and Rachelle Lefevre When we first meet Barney, he’s a 30-something guy living in Rome, Italy, surrounded by artistic friends and engaged to a pretty – if not demanding – woman named Clara (Rachelle Lefevre, best known for playing fiery haired vampire baddie Victoria in the first two Twilight films). Barney has supposedly gotten her pregnant and, in good-boy nature, has decided to marry her. When we find out she’s lied about him being the father and soon after commits suicide, though, Barney is swiftly plunged into the next chapter – and meets the next woman – in his animated life. After leaving Rome for Montreal with the promise of a job, he is introduced to a statuesque and wealthy Jewish gal (Minnie Driver) at a friend’s party. She and Barney date for a bit, and, before long, they’re engaged. While things seem fine at first, Barney’s true schlub nature comes out on his wedding day, when this cigar-smoking, super-blunt, often foul-mouthed guy meets Miriam (Rosamund Pike, An Education), a guest at the reception, and asks her out on a date. It is at this point in Barney’s life that we begin to wonder how TWO beautiful women have fallen for this guy; however, we think it’s sweet that, even though he is still married – and now in a vile relationship – he continues to pursue Miriam via sporadic phone calls and a standing order for roses. Yes, he is definitely a schmuck; but, in some way – owed to the multifaceted nature of Giamatti’s performance – still somewhat endearing and respectful. After Barney finally wins over Miriam, the film settles into its long main stretch, where we see the relationship grow – and eventually begin to crumble – between these two people. Again, it’s due mainly to Giamatti’s performance that we continue to root for Barney, even though he’s clearly despicable in many ways. The supporting players are good, too, including Driver and Pike as well as Dustin Hoffman as Barney’s father, Izzy, and Scott Speedman (Underworld, “Felicity”) as Barney’s drug addict best friend, Boogie. The direction by Richard J. Lewis proves both peaceful and well paced, combining all of Barney’s adventures and marriages with an intriguing murder mystery involving him and Boogie. This is impressive, as Lewis’ main credits are a plethora of “CSI” episodes and a K-9 sequel. Grade: B+ —Abbi Toushin Barney’s Version releases in select theaters Dec. 3.

“THE MOST FUN YOU’LL“ ”HAVE THIS HOLIDAY!”

Night Catches Us (Magnolia) The politics of the ’60s resurface in director Tanya Hamilton’s debut feature film, which tackles the emotionally charged subject of racism and oppression. In Night Catches Us, Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) plays Marcus, an ostracized ex-Black Panther who returns to his hometown of Philadelphia after a mysterious absence. The year is 1976 and Marcus is back for the funeral of his father. Unfortunately, not only does his brother Bostic (Tariq Trotter) think that he’s an irresponsible absconder who abandoned his family, the rumor in the neighborhood is that he snitched on one of his ex-Panther buddies to the FBI and thus, his return isn’t met with any fanfare. Once word spreads of his return, Marcus quickly finds himself at odds with former members of the Panther organization as hostility and resentment festers in the neighborhood. When he moves in with his only ally, Patty (Kerry Washington), a former Black Panther comrade, and her daughter Iris (Jamara Griffin), the hostility combined with the explosive secret his return threatens to unveil sets everyone on edge. As the friction between the white police who patrol the Philadelphia neighborhood and the African Americans who live there escalates, the stability of the entire community is threatened. CONTINUED ON PAGE 7 >>>

A HIGH ENERGY

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FILMINTERVIEWS

THE WARRIOR’S WAY Kate Bosworth takes a stab at westerns. by sasha perl-raver Korean cinema has seen a boom in what might seem an unlikely genre; the ninja-cowboy picture. But westerns have a longstanding tradition in Korean filmmaking, dating back to the 1960s and ’70s, with movies like Shin Sang-ok’s The Homeless Wanderer (Musukja), a Korean version of Shane, and Six Terminators (Yugin-ui nanpogja) by Gweon Yeong-sun, which takes after The Magnificent Seven. Following on the heels of 2008’s brilliant Ji-woon Kim film, The Good, the Bad, the Weird, and the news that the Cowboy Ninja Viking comics would be adapted by Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese for Disney, The Warrior’s Way finds its way to theaters after 11 years in development. Written and directed by first-timer Sngmoo Lee, the movie follows the greatest warrior-assassin in the world (Korean star Jang Dong-gun), hiding out in a Dust Bowl circus town in the American Badlands after refusing to kill the last surviving member of his sworn enemy’s clan, an adorable baby girl he adopts instead. Playing his love interest, an aspiring knife thrower named Lynne, is Kate Bosworth, sporting a thick Southern twang and a head of fiery red hair.

Campus Circle > Film > Interviews Her hair returned to its corn silk blonde glory, wearing stacked silver bracelets from her new venture, Jewelmint.com (a subscription-based jewelry line she started with celebrity stylist Cher Coulter), Bosworth glides into a ballroom at the Beverly Hilton to discuss her first film since 2008’s 21. When asked why she was drawn to the role, Bosworth says, “There [are] so few good opportunities out there and even fewer for females. It’s about what’s interesting and unique; what terrifies to push me and allow me to learn, grow and be better. This was out in the stratosphere, unlike anything I’d ever read.” Inhabiting a character she describes as “wild and feral,” Bosworth needed her portrayal to stand up in a world of warriors, carnies and gunslingers. “Because the script was bold and all the characters were bold, I didn’t want to be ‘The Girl,’” Bosworth explains. “[Lynne] was raised by this band of misfits; she’s going to be rough and fierce. One of the moments when I found my character was in costume fittings. We didn’t have shoes figured out yet, but [the costume designer] said, ‘Just try on those shoes for shape. They’re men’s shoes.’ And I put them on and I said, ‘I’m wearing these.’ They were like four sizes too big but they had this clomping, boyish effect, a floppy quality and lack of refinement that clicked in that moment.” The wardrobe was just one part of the equation. For Bosworth, the film’s intense Crouching Tiger-in-the-Wild West style was incredibly challenging. She says that from the moment she landed in Auckland, New Zealand, where the film was shot on a massive green screen soundstage, she went straight into training. “I wanted to jump in immediately because I’d never taken any kind of martial arts and was completely unfamiliar with it,” she explains. “It reminded me of the training in Blue Crush when I’d never touched a surf board.”

SCREENSHOTS

HARRY POTTER AND ZOMBIES by zach hines

Today I’m going to be talking about Harry Potter and zombies. What does one have to do with the other you ask? Right now those two things have more in common than you might think. The other night I saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and aside from liking it the most out of all the Potter films, there was something else that separated it from the other movies. What separated it was the canvas that it was being given as a result of the seventh Potter book being split into two films. Because Deathly Hallows has four-plus hours to tell its story as opposed to the usual two-plus that the other Potter films (and most films in general) get, it can take its time and really tell a satisfying story and develop its characters. While I’ve enjoyed all the Potter films in general, this one felt richer to me, and it made me a little sad that the others can’t have multiple films to tell each of their stories as well. While I was watching Deathly Hallows: Part 1, there was a moment where I got that feeling similar to when I saw each of The Lord of the Rings films. That feeling that you’re taking part in a big epic story that transcends a quick two-hour spin in the theater. Almost like you’re … reading a book? Which is exactly my point. The reason everyone always says the book is better than the film isn’t because films are by default inferior, it’s because film adaptations have to summarize books because

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Kristy Griffin

FILM

Kate Bosworth stars in The Warrior’s Way. Bosworth reveals it was less about handling weaponry than the physical demand of something as seemingly simple as turning, which tested her limits. “When you have a sword in your hand and you have to swing around and then center yourself and move the other way, it’s so much harder than you think,” she says emphatically. “It seems so simple and then you try it. It’s really hard! I wish I’d had more of a background in dance. I took ballet a little last year and I thought, ‘Oh, God, this would’ve been so useful when I shot this movie,’ because it’s so much about an inner core strength and a certain balance you have to have. I don’t know that I’m the most coordinated person on the planet, so it was about honing that.” Asked what skills she was taking away from the role, Bosworth laughs. “I think I’ve sort of forgotten everything,” she smiles. “Yeah, I haven’t really kept up with the whole knife throwing, knife fighting thing. It’s like how I haven’t surfed in so long too. When surfers come up to me and they’re so excited, I feel like I’ve really let them down and say, ‘I’m sorry!’ It’s so disappointing! But I did at the time. I was so into it!” The Warrior’s Way releases in theaters Dec. 3.

Campus Circle > Film > Screen Shots they can only be around two hours. By widening the canvas you can achieve with visuals what you can only achieve with prose. Now, on to zombies. For the last few weeks I’ve been hooked on Frank Darabont’s adaptation of the graphic novel series The Walking Dead. So far there are like 13 collected volumes of graphic novels, and instead of adapting the property into a quickie film, Darabont turned it into a TV series for AMC. One of the great things about TV shows like “The Sopranos” and “Lost” was that they had the time to really develop their characters and tell an epic story that simulated the experience of reading a book. While those shows were originals, “The Walking Dead” is an adaptation, which means the filmmakers don’t have to summarize the story; they can take their time with it and really translate the story in all its epicness to the screen. I’m pleased to say that “The Walking Dead” has been a huge hit, and I’m hoping that this will set a precedent in Hollywood, encouraging more filmmakers and producers to adapt books for TV instead of film. While the Potter films have been great, I hope they aren’t the final interpretation of J.K. Rowling’s incredibly epic story. Just imagine if every Potter book was an entire season of cable TV, and instead of two hours, each book got 13 hours to tell its story. Personally, I would much rather see a fully realized epic version of a classic story than a two-hour quickie version. Don’t get me wrong, there have been plenty of great film versions of books before, but I think it’s time for a revolution. At the end of the day, what we’re talking about is storytelling. When you strip away the happy meals and the cell phone tieins, movies are stories. Books are stories in their rawest and most uncorrupted state. The possibilities of bringing books

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Harry Potter’s Emma Watson, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe and other long-form stories to TV are limitless, because that’s the only way to really tell the full story and capture the feeling of reading a book. I truly believe that if more pre-existing properties were developed for TV, it would cause an increase of quality in film. Filmmakers would have to reinvent movies to be just as rich and compelling and tell stories that work better as a two-hour thing. Anyone who is bitter about Hollywood taking their favorite book series and turning it into a quickie film intended to be fiercely marketed for a big opening weekend, only to tank because they didn’t do a good job adapting it should celebrate this moment. If all goes well, this will prevent other great books from being turned into cheap, quickie, diarrhea films. And if you’re not ready to be part of the revolution, well … you just might find yourself trampled and stomped on by those who are part of it. Send feedback to screenshots@campuscircle.net.


Follow CAMPUS CIRCLE on Twitter @CampusCircle JOE MANTEGNA

MOVIEREVIEWS

JANE SEYMOUR

STACY KEACH

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

THE ASSISTANTS

Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington in Night Catches Us

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<<< CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 Amari Cheatom plays Patty’s cousin Jimmy, who intends to recreate the violent protest of the Panthers against the police. And Wendell Pierce is David Gordon, the local detective and the only other person besides Marcus who knows the whole truth about the past. Hamilton gets the best from established thespians Mackie and Washington, who are engaging to watch as they deliver smoldering performances as the Afro-wearing, former gun-toting African-American revolutionaries. She also vividly portrays the reign of terror by the white police in black communities with great imagery. The cinematography, the pungent period details and a funky score by the Roots are all brilliant, but the problem with Night Catches Us is ambiguity. It appears scattered with several thoughts and stories at play as it floats between being a love story and a revolutionary tale, sprinkled with a little history lesson. The buildup is exceedingly slow as the story tries to weave together its several characters, and by the time anything has actually happened, it’s almost at the end of its 88-minute running time. Grade: B—Samantha Ofole Night Catches Us releases in select theaters Dec 3.

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CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT

WINNER

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GOTHAM AWARD NOMINATIONS BEST ENSEMBLE • BREAKTHROUGH DIRECTOR

Dec. 3-5 @ Old Town Music Hall by candice winters It’s that time of year. KOST 103.5 is playing Christmas music ALL day and going to the mall has become less pleasurable and more stressful. The holidays are here, and I never want them to leave. Inevitably a good slew of films dedicated to the season is marketed toward our love of the festivities. I wish I could say I don’t fall prey to the ploys, but I’m a sucker for anything related to Christmas at the movies. One that is particularly exciting is Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale, which is an untraditional Christmas story set in Finland. A boy is simultaneously fascinated by and scared of the original story of Santa Claus, one in which the jolly giant is described as the curmudgeon and an evil mercenary with horns. The boy’s father sets a trap and catches a man who might very well be the creature of the folklore. Granted, typical films being released this season are lighthearted, feel-good movies that bring Christmas cheer. For me, the best way to get in the spirit is to snuggle up to films that have been around for decades. It’s a Wonderful Life is the quintessential holiday tearjerker, but there are others that do the job. From Dec. 3 through 5, Christmas in Connecticut (1945) starring Barbara Stanwyck screens at the Old Town Music Hall. Made over 55 years ago, the film is a classic about journalist Elizabeth Lane who is a famous food writer. Making herself out to look like a hard-working farmwoman and excellent cook, she is, in reality, an unmarried New Yorker who can’t boil an egg. She must fool her boss who does not know that she cannot cook when he takes it upon himself to invite friends to her farm in order to taste her meals for himself. Elizabeth must learn to cook and host, or she will inevitably lose her job. Old Town Music Hall is located at 140 Richmond St., El Segundo.

GRADE: A. A KNOCKOUT.’’

‘‘

-Lisa Schwarzbaum, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

★★★★!

‘‘

ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST.’’ -V.A. Musetto, NEW YORK POST

POIGNANT, PERSONAL AND VERY FUNNY.’’

‘‘

-Richard Brody, THE NEW YORKER

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Black swan

Natalie Portman (finally) gets to use her Harvard degree. by sasha perl-raver In Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky’s new psychological thriller, Natalie Portman plays Nina, a young ballerina unraveling as she prepares to dance both the pristine, pure white swan and the manipulative, seductive black swan in “Swan Lake.” As the film’s director and star make their way into the lobby of the Pantages, their own white swan/black swan dynamic is evident. Portman, long beloved by audiences and critics alike, enters looking poised and regal in an indigo dress, a warm smile captivating all who behold her. Just behind her is Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream, The Wrestler), a director who has earned the reputation of being a gifted but difficult genius, swaddled in a sport coat, a long scarf circling his neck and a 1970s cop mustache winking ironically from his upper lip. They are the yin to each other’s yang. Sitting down to discuss their new project, Portman happily takes the back seat when asked how the two came together on the project, differing to Aronofsky who charges forward, all pistons firing. “I’ve been a fan of Natalie’s since I saw her in The Professional and it turns out her manager is an old friend of mine from college, so I had an inside line to meet her,” the director begins excitedly. “We met in Times Square, at the old

Campus Circle > Film > Interviews Howard Johnson’s, had a really bad cup of coffee. I had early ideas about the film, but she says I had the entire film in my head, which is a complete lie.” “No, it was so close to what you described to me,” Portman pipes up, offering Aronofsky a beaming smile of reassurance. “We talked a bit about it, and we started to develop it, but getting into the ballet world proved to be extremely challenging,” Aronofsky continues. “Most times when you do a movie and say, ‘I want to make a movie about your world,’ all the doors open up. The ballet world wasn’t at all interested in us hanging out. It took a lot of years to put it together.” Portman says there were a number of reasons she wanted to do the film but Aronofsky’s involvement solidified her interest, something the director still can’t believe. “I think I’m way too direct and have scared away a lot of A-list actors in my career,” he admits candidly. “In fact, Natalie Portman is the first A-list actor I’ve worked with. Everyone else was like, ‘You want me to do what? For how long? For how little money?’ And they walk away. I’ve lost a lot of movie stars along the way because I’m a little too straightforward.” Besides working with Aronoskfy, whom she says she “would do anything for,” Portman loved the idea of doing a dance movie, having taken classes when she was a young girl, but the role also gave her the opportunity to use the psychology degree she earned from Harvard in 2003 in order to understand some of her character’s destructive behaviors. “This was a case where something I learned in school did translate into something practical, which is very, very rare,” Portman admits with a chuckle. “[Nina] was absolutely a case of obsessive compulsive behavior. Ballet really lends itself to [OCD] because there’s such a sense of ritual.”

FILMINTERVIEWS

THE ASSISTANTS

Everyone started somewhere. A group of Hollywood assistants – 20– something wannabe actors, writers, directors, craftsmen – use their positions to lie, con and blackmail their way into producing their own movie. Here, the real people behind the players sound off about the state of affairs in Hollywood. This is a “funny” movie with grains of truth. What did you find especially truthful? Steve Morris (writer/director/producer/editor/distributor): I’m not sure if it’s a funny movie with grains of truth or a true movie, which is sometimes funny. For me, coming to Hollywood has been a long education in the reality that truth is almost always stranger than fiction. We work in an absolutely ridiculous industry, filled with bigger-thanlife characters and those characters are often self involved, greedy, vain and even cruel, but they also can have great passion, intelligence and occasionally even kindness. The goal was not to sometimes show a funny world and at other times a true one, but rather to show a world that was both funny and true at the same time. Reiko Aylesworth (one of the better-known “assistants”): I was struck by the truthful depiction of the struggles that people face in maintaining friendships, ethics and ideals as they start out in the world. In this story, it’s the entertainment

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Niko Tavernise

NEWS

Natalie Portman in Black Swan In order to embody her character, Portman had to subject herself to a similar physical ritual that involved six to eight hours of training a day, ranging from toning to swimming to ballet, a process she says was the best possible insight into Nina. “The physical discipline really helped the emotional side of the character, because you get the sense of this monastic lifestyle of only working out, which is a dancer’s life,” Portman explains. “You don’t drink, you don’t go out with your friends, you don’t have much food, you are constantly putting your body through extreme pain. You get the understanding of the self-flagellation of a ballet dancer. It is a devotional, ritualistic art, which you can relate to as an actor. When you do a film, you submit to your director in the same way. Your director is everything, and you devote yourself to create their vision. I’m not a perfectionist, but I’m obedient. I think it’s important to work your hardest and be as kind as possible to everyone you work with.” Black Swan releases in select theaters Dec. 3.

Campus Circle > Film > Interviews industry but so much of it is universal. 
 Have you personally experienced anything that happens in the film? Morris: Like anyone trying to make their way in this town, I have my share of battle stories and the scars that go with them. However, while the movie itself is about young people going after their dreams in Hollywood, in many ways, I think everyone can relate to that moment in life when you realize that it’s time to either settle for what life is handing you or risk everything on one last shot at your dreams. 
 Did the film change the way you feel about Hollywood and the filmmaking business? Morris: Fighting to make your way in Hollywood can depress even the most stubborn optimist, but the process of making this film reaffirmed that most people in this town simply want to work on projects that they can believe in, and if they are treated with respect they can be as kind, generous and dedicated as anyone in the world. 
 Do you think Hollywood can change? Peter Douglas (actor): Hollywood must change, or audiences will seek entertainment elsewhere.
 Morris: Personally, I think Hollywood has to change. Not simply because it is often wasteful, fickle, foolish and cruel but also because it too often fails to deliver either beautiful art or profitable business. There is simply far too much competition for our attention for Hollywood to continue doing things the same old way. It will have to change or die trying. 
 Do you think most people in Hollywood are good people

who do bad things, or bad people? Aylesworth: I don’t know. There IS a level of desperation I haven’t felt anywhere else. Morris: To be honest, I reject the premise that people are either one thing or another, good or bad. People are just people; ambitious, lost, lonely, prideful, petrified. Very few people think of themselves as “bad” and most of them can give very strong rationalizations about why they did what they did. Our job both as filmmakers and sometimes even as audience members isn’t to judge them but rather to try to understand them. Douglas: I think most people are good and do bad things everywhere, but in Hollywood the bad things make headlines.
 
 What would you like people to take away from the film? Morris: For me, the film has many messages. However, if I wanted an audience to take one thing away, it’s probably the opening line of the movie. “The thing you have to remember is, ‘It’s your life. You’re the one in charge.’” Aylesworth: I hope people can have a laugh at and see the flaws in the people who seemingly control their lives and hold all the power. So much of it is smoke and mirrors. Of course, it’s Hollywood. Was The Assistants fun to film? Douglas: It was a blast. Jane [Seymour] is out of control. Aaron [Himelstein] makes me laugh almost as much as I make me laugh. Morris: Directing a movie is grueling, stressful, overwhelming and terrifying, and I loved every single minute of it. The Assistants releases in select theaters Dec. 3.


STRONG BLOODY VIOLENCE

STARTS FRIDAY, DECEMBER 3RD AT THEATRES EVERYWHERE NO PASSES ACCEPTED


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TVTIME

JOHNNY PEMBERTON It’s Always Sunny on “Megadrive”

by stephanie forshee Comedian Johnny Pemberton has hit the road in MTV’s new show, “Megadrive.” Car chases, killer stunts, explosions and smarting off are what to expect. Pemberton travels the country on the show to mess up cars and meet interesting people. “None of it’s scripted, but obviously, stunts are planned,” says Pemberton. “I have the freedom to talk to people. I’m a comedian, that’s what I do. A horse gallops; I make jokes.” Each episode has three different vehicles involved in some way. And at the beginning of each show, they blow up a tiny car. “That happens in a lot of different ways. It’s very fun to watch. They just drag me around the country and torture me,” he tells. “I’m doing all of the stunts really, which is kind of scary. I don’t have a stuntman. I did have a stuntman, but he doesn’t look anything like me. He weighs about 150 pounds more than me. It was a joke on one of the episodes.” Pemberton says there were only a few restrictions on stunts with the Army and the SWAT team. “I just wasn’t able physically. There’s only certain things

Campus Circle > Film > TV Time they’ll allow you to do,” he explains. Pemberton thinks his lack of driving experience is what makes the show. “I’m not a professional driver,” he says. “I don’t have any idea what I’m doing. So that’s kind of the structure of the show is that the person like me who is only good at smarting off to people is doing things you’re really not supposed to do with these vehicles. It’s just me and whoever the driver or engineer is. So it’s constantly changing buddy cop except I’m always Mel Gibson. It’s absolutely a different thing than I’ve ever done or ever will do. It’s a totally unique experience.” So how does a stand-up comedian audition to become a professional driver? “They blindfolded me and showed me this piñata and a bunch of car keys,” he says. “And that was it.” “Then they asked my middle name and took my social security number. It was just sort of a normal audition process. It was kind of boring actually, the whole audition process,” jokes Pemberton. The show began filming in the fall and will last a total of five months. “I’m stoked. I’m very excited. It’s been a long time coming so [it’s] nice to see the insane amount of work and traveling work, sweat and tears come into fruition,” he says. Pemberton’s new action-packed and comedic show isn’t all he’s been up to. He recently appeared as Craig on a couple of episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” “That’s been one of my favorite shows since it first premiered,” tells Pemberton. “So I’ve been watching it, [and to] now be a part of that show is great.” “Craig is basically a smartass in high school, basically another version of myself in high school,” admits Pemberton. “Everyone who works on that show is brilliant. They’re

DVDDISH

SPECIAL FEATURES by mike sebastian

In Toon: Join everyone’s favorite mystery-solving dog and

Under the Radar: Metropia is a highly original animated

the gang in Scooby-Do, Where Are You!: The Complete Series. This set contains 16 hours of the classic cartoon and comes in a replica of the mystery van. Jinkies! Watch Charlie Brown’s perennial holiday favorites without commercials and in hi-def with the Peanuts: Deluxe Holiday Collection, containing the classic Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas specials. Spinal Tap for the Adult Swim generation, Metalocalypse: Season III is now available. Also available: Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, SpongeBob SquarePants: Legends of Bikini Bottom, Lego Hero Factory: Rise of the Rookies

film about a dystopian future where subway lines connect all of Europe and one man who hears voices. Johnnie To (Election) directs the Hong Kong revenge flick Vengeance. Exam is a tense psychological thriller about eight ambitious people and how far they will go for an in-demand corporate job. Ed Harris stars as a white supremacist in the crime drama Once Fallen. Also available: Don’t Look Back, The Lightkeepers, 16 Wishes

the original ’70s TV classic The Six Million Dollar Man: The Complete Series. When test pilot Steve Austin is paralyzed, the government rebuilds him with cybernetic parts, granting him superhuman strength. Lee Majors stars. One of the greatest shows in TV history, The Twilight Zone: Season 2 looks better than ever on Blu-ray. This season features classic episodes like “Eye of the Beholder,” “The Invaders” and “Long Distance Call.” Thirty-five years since it initially aired, the epic

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absolutely hilarious and super professional. It’s just nice to see a show that is so finely tuned and works so perfectly. It was great to be part of that equation,” boasts Pemberton. “It’s interesting because when they shoot the show they take their time and throw in a lot of things and really find something funny even if it’s off the script,” explains Pemberton. “That’s really fun to be a part of that.” “It was a great process,” he continues. “The possibility of a return would be very slim. I would love it, but I’m not going to put money on that.” Pemberton also is currently working on an unknown project for the Tim & Eric comedy universe. “We’re working on a thing together that people will find out about eventually,” he says. He also has a mini-series being released for Xbox Live. The show is about your everyday undercover hitman in high school. Pemberton will also continue doing stand up around SoCal. He has upcoming local performances around Los Angeles, or what he refers to as “the birthplace of mediocrity.” “Megadrive” airs Thursdays at 11 p.m. on MTV.

Campus Circle > Film > DVDs documentary series The World at War remains one of the definitive statements on WWII. Now this stunning, heartbreaking series comes to Blu-ray. Laurence Olivier narrates. The Fugitive: The Fourth Season, Vol. One is the final season of the classic series. Raymond Burr is the epitome of a defense attorney in Perry Mason: Season Five, Vol. 2.

The Idiotbox: Before the remake hits theaters, check out

Kevin Chung

NEWS

The Vault: Clark Gable and Charles Laughton star in the original Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) now on Blu-ray. Also included is a newsreel from the Academy Awards where the film won Best Picture and garnered Best Actor nominations for its two leads. Cult black comedy Pretty Maids All in a Row is by far the weirdest film Rock Hudson ever made. Hudson plays a ladies’ man high school coach who starts murdering his underage mistresses. Angie Dickinson co-stars. Lee Marvin and Jack Palance star in the end-of-the-west western Monte Walsh (1970). Marvin gives one of his best

performances as the last of a dying breed.

Funny Business: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore star as a committed lesbian couple whose children want to meet their birth father (Mark Ruffalo) in The Kids Are All Right. Bow Wow just won the lottery. Now he just has to survive a weekend in the projects after his neighbors find out in Lottery Ticket.

Stranger Than Fiction: Classic surfing documentary The Endless Summer comes to DVD in a new Director’s Special Edition. The two-disc set features remastered picture and sound to look better than ever as two California surfers travel the world in search of the perfect wave. Secret Origin: The Story of DC Comics features comic book greats like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison. Countdown to Zero is a frightening documentary that traces the history and escalation of the nuclear arms race. Best Worst Movie is a fun tribute to cult favorite Troll 2 directed by none other than the film’s child star, Michael Paul Stephenson. Also available: Los Angeles Lakers: 2010 NBA Finals Series, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert, Van Gogh: A Brush with Genius (IMAX)


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IN SELECT THEATERS DECEMBER 10 WWW.THEFIGHTERMOVIE.COM


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MUSICINTERVIEWS

SHAWN CHRYSTOPHER No Looking Back

by jessica koslow ‘When did you first fall in love with hiphop?” I ask in earnest, mimicking the film Brown Sugar. I was in eighth grade, Inglewood native Shawn Chrystopher begins, peeking into the Foshay Learning Center band room as they played “Mo Money Mo Problems.” He started rapping, and the teacher caught wind of him and asked him to perform in the next day’s assembly. Chrystopher was a hit, and it was then that he realized he had fallen hard. When it was time to apply to college, Chrystopher’s mom announced she was having a baby girl. So he applied to USC to stay close to home and was thrilled when he opened his acceptance package, which offered him a four and a half year scholarship. But by this time Chrystopher had been bitten by the music bug, producing his own tunes, writing his own rhymes and racking up a million views/plays on MySpace. “I put bulletins up once every hour and sent messages,” he relays. “Then I started my own blog and got 1,000 unique visitors a day. Good music finds people.” As his music career gained steam, his studies seemed to be losing air. “I was making mediocre music and getting mediocre

Campus Circle > Music > Interviews grades,” he says. So after three years, the college kid who could now play five instruments and was scoring his pal’s indie flicks, decided to jump ship and do music “heavily.” He deferred his scholarship for five years as a back-up plan. “But I loved college,” he states. “My high school was not diverse. In college I was exposed to different races and ages, and I learned how to network and converse with different people.” During this time, Chrystopher wrote and studied music, but he also surveyed the culture of music: what songs were hot, what artists were on the cover versus inside the magazine. Then came what could be considered his first big break. In 2009, he received a message from LRG that they loved his music and wanted to put him in an ad, which appeared in XXL and Complex a few months later. Even more interest followed the two-page spread. With a 2009 debut LP, A City With No Seasons, and 2010 EP, The Audition, already under his belt, Chrystopher is ready to drop his first EP, You, and Only You, on Dec. 7. Asked if it was hard to choose what the world would hear, he replies, “I love all my songs. I make human records. I don’t want to alienate anyone. I write for everyone. I think of every song on the album as if it might be the only song someone hears.” You, and Only You features rapper GLC on “I’m G.O.O.D,” which was first heard in August on Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Ass Mixtape. The first single, “Catch Me If You Can,” received a “Banger” co-sign from XXL.com and is now available on iTunes. Now an Atlanta resident, Chrystopher recently came to Los Angeles to do press and promotion for his upcoming release. As he drove around, “Catch Me If You Can” played on

MUSICREPORT by kevin wierzbicki Wanna Make Out? Formed earlier this year, Make Out features singer Leah Hennessey and guitarist Jesper Mortensen, formerly of Junior Senior. Playing fast, manic, condensed pop songs, Make Out eschews the fuzzed-out sounds its contemporaries are churning out. “If everyone around us was making short, sweet pop songs we would probably make intricate arabesques of sonic intensity, but it’s the opposite,” says Hennessey. “Everyone else is doing beautiful, interesting, conceptual music, so we’re gonna do something completely different.” The band, also including Anders Christiansen on bass and Olivia Alminiana on drums, releases their first single “I Don’t Want Anybody That Wants Me” on Dec. 14 and has an EP in the works for release in early spring.

Culture Clash Coming to L.A. After much success across the pond in London, Red Bull Music Academy Culture Clash makes its U.S. debut in Los Angeles Dec. 2 at Exchange L.A. Four Los Angeles-based but internationally known and well-respected music collectives participate and battle to be named winner by the crowd. The collectives are Dim Mak, Dub Club, Smog and Stones Throw. True to a traditional Jamaican sound clash, each collective brings in their own sound system and sets up shop on one of four individual stages and perform four rounds of 15-minute sets. Crowd applause, measured by a decibel meter, determines the winner. Dim Mak’s team features Them Jeans, Thee Mike B, DJ Fashen and DJ Funk while Dub Club brings it with Tom Chasteen, Boss Harmony, Dungeonmaster, Roy Corduroy

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Power 106. This was the first time he heard it on air in his birth city. The days of recording in his closet are gone. Today’s schedule consists of paid studio time and recording budgets. Will it bother him if critics compare him to Kanye, Lupe or Pharrell? “Not at all. I have to work harder for me to have my own thing,” he says. “It’s a compliment. They are all artists who changed hip-hop. Without gimmicks. They said, ‘I am who I am.’ They opened the door for me.” Riding around with a publicist, manager (one who worked with DMX from start to finish and broke Lil Mama), a label and a new CD, Chrystopher is feeling G.O.O.D. “I titled this CD You, And Only You because my friend asked me, ‘Would you continue to believe in your dream if you were the only person to believe in it?’ Yes. He said, ‘That’s how you know you’re supposed to do what you’re supposed to do. As long as you have you, you have all that you need.’” It’s been two years since he left USC – does he think he’ll return? “I think I’ll be fine,” he answers quickly. “I think I’m OK.” Shawn Chrystopher performs Dec. 7 at the Viper Room. You, And Only You will be available on iTunes Dec. 7. For more information, visit honourrolestudent.com.

Campus Circle > Music > Music Report and Jah Faith. 12th Planet, Craze and Juakali + Kemst represent Smog, and the Stones Throw collective features Peanut Butter Wolf, Mayer Hawthorne, J.Rocc and Dam Funk. The entire show will be streamed shortly after the event at rbmaradio.com.

Rock ’N’ Roll Fantasy Camp Heads to the Bahamas VH1 Classic debuted a new program called “Rock ’N’ Roll Fantasy Camp” last October, and the show turned out to be the most-watched series premiere in network history. Now they’re looking for people who want to participate in future fantasy camps, including one that takes place Feb. 17 to 20 at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Camp “counselors” for that event include Tommy Lee of Mötley Crüe, Ace Frehley of Kiss and Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. The whole idea is to turn amateurs into rock stars through a process that includes over 10 hours a day jamming in-studio, creating original music under the guidance of the counselors and meeting with industry insiders. The whole shebang culminates with a live campers-and-counselors jam, also set to feature Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, Kip Winger of Winger, Alan White of Yes and George Lynch of Dokken. For pricing and other details, visit RockCamp.com.

Badly Drawn Boy Gives It Away Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, is giving away album track “This Electric” along with remix versions by Beats for Beginners and El Diablo’s Social Club for the price of an e-mail. To get the free songs all you have to do is enter your e-mail address at BadlyDrawnBoy.co.uk. BDB must agree with the old adage that good things come in threes because he’s also in the midst of recording and releasing a

Make Out release their first single Dec. 14! trilogy of albums called It’s What I’m Thinking, the first of which, Part 1: Photographing Snowflakes is out now. Of live shows, though, there’ll only be two; Badly Drawn Boy appears at the Troubadour Dec. 15 and 16.

Yann Tiersen at CSULA After releasing a string of highly acclaimed solo albums and working on the soundtracks to the films Amélie and Good Bye, Lenin! Yann Tiersen has shifted gears slightly to a more modern sound for his recently released effort, Dust Lane. Incorporating elements of prog-rock, post punk and atmospheric post rock, Tiersen says the album is “a journey on the dusty lane that leads us to death. Not a sad thing, but like a colorful, sometimes painful but mostly joyful experience: life!” Dust Lane is Tiersen’s first solo album in five years and his first for Anti-, and you can hear him play the new music at a special show at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at CSULA Jan. 29.


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SANTA FUN RUN Dec. 4 @ Johnny Carson Park, Burbank by eva recinos

Courtesy of Variety The Childrens Charity

GETUPGETOUT

Holiday season is here. Christmas lights and decorations adorn almost every store window in Los Angeles. But for those longing for something more unconventional to beat the picture-perfect predictability of the Christmas season, the city of Burbank has something up its sleeve. Children and adults alike will head over to a local store and try on a Santa Claus costume for an event that provides not only a unique way to welcome the holiday season but also the opportunity to participate in the more charitable side of the Christmas holiday. Kick off the Christmas season early with the Variety Santa Fun Run. Santa impersonators can don red suits and fluffy beards and use any preferred mode of transportation on two legs to spend their Saturday travelling around Johnny Carson Park on Bob Hope Drive from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The international phenomenon which takes place in countries such as Australia and Portugal, heads over to the Burbank park in the hopes of not only getting together a considerable amount of people fully clothed in Christmas suits, but also raising a solid $15,000 for Variety – the Children’s Charity of Southern California. The organization strives to help children in various levels of need, whether they are neglected, abused or otherwise in need of outside support. Although this is the first Santa Fun Run in the L.A. area, the people at Variety envision it as a yearly happening. Adults pay $25 to participate while the little ones pay $15. The event also includes some free perks – food and entertainment. For more information, visit varietysocal.org.

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FREQUENCY KINA GRANNIS

DARKER MY LOVE • THE FLING december 8 » the music box

www.kinagrannis.com

december 10 » el rey theatre

by brien overly Brendan Benson/The Posies Dec. 3 @ Club Nokia There’s no possible way that an indie singer-songwriter could be so infectiously catchy, so completely void of elitist pretensions and yet still the furthest thing from what could be considered pop. Michigan native Benson channels retro mod-chic with his signature smooth crooning, mixing in the technical intricacy of modern indie’s instrumentation while he’s at it. Passion Pit: seriously handled musicianship The perfect mix of old-meetsnew-meets-awesome, Benson is as likeable as his music is catchy. Which is to say, a lot. While the two items are usually proportional to each other, the quantity of both is much lower among the rest of Benson’s scene. Give the man an acoustic guitar and a string section to back him up and he’ll do even better. Let him get in touch with his emotions, and Benson will make magic happen on stage. Seattle natives the Posies have much the same effect, pulling from the classic ’60s rock style and effortlessly modernizing it with indie artistry. As an added bonus though, they’ll give you a little musical taste of everything else that came in between then and now, just for good measure.

LoveHateHero december 12 » el rey theatre

december 17 » the orpheum

CHARGE: 800-745-3000 • TICKETMASTER LOCATIONS THE MUSIC BOX BOX OFFICE MON–FRI 10AM–6PM

Dec. 4 @ Chain Reaction First things first here, let’s address the elephant in the room: There are a lot of bands doing this kind of music right now, the whole hair-metal-emo thing. Like, a ton, I know. The vast, overwhelming majority of them are as forgettable and vapid as the majority of bands that made up their forefather genres. And while first look and listen might make it easy to lump the L.A. natives of LoveHateHero into the aforementioned bunch, these dudes bring something to the table none of their contemporaries do. While the other bands in their scene phone it in so halfassedly you’d swear it was on an iPhone 4, these guys actually put a little spark in their music. Sure, they look like All Time Low playing dress up as Guns N’ Roses, but these guys bring some very legit rock with them to the stage. With gritty melodic vocals that are emotive without being whiny and anthemic guitar shredding that’d get Slash himself stoked on who’s carrying the torch for rock these days, don’t let their scene associations fool you. These guys are anything but more of the same.

Passion Pit Dec. 4 @ Fox Theatre Dec. 7 @ The Palladium Please, attempt to say something bad about this band. Attempt to disparage them in any way, shape or form beyond the usual cliché attacks on electronic-indie. Actually, go ahead and try those ones too. These guys will disprove all of them. Seriously handled musicianship and instrumentation that can still be fun and lighthearted when necessary, the Massachusetts fivesome is a prime example of a band that’s completely dance-able but actually has sonic and lyrical layers that are worth picking apart. What that means is that, when people forget about whatever the current flavor of the week dance pop on TV and radio is about a month from now, these guys are still going to be around.

Photo Credit: Kevin Rolly

D.R.U.G.S.

January 7 – 30 www.CirqueBerzerk.com wwww.clubnokia.com

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Dec. 5 @ SLO Brewing Company I don’t care how far San Luis Obispo is from L.A. It’s Craig-Effin’-Owens. Y’know, that dude who was kind of the best thing about Chiodos? That dude who, after parting ways with Chiodos, is now the only one between the two parties who’s still making good music? Yeah, him. Despite the genre that he’s gotten lumped in with in the past, Owens is absolutely a masterful lyricist and songwriter. Whether destroying a stage while wailing over shredding guitars and concussive drums or delicately crooning by himself on stage while armed only with an acoustic guitar, the dude wears his heart on his sleeve when he performs. He lays his emotions out for his audience to see, for better or for worse, and makes no apologies for it. Emoting aside, and more power to him when he does, it’s still really good to hear his signature piercing vocals backed by some equally hard and heavy instrumentation, supplied by some other contemporary scene greats no less. I mean, when the rest of your band is filled out by From First to Last’s Matt Good, Underminded’s Nick Martin, Story of the Year’s Adam Russell and Matchbook Romance’s Aaron Stern, you have to try really hard to be anything less than awesome.


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Campus Circle > Music > CD Reviews

Ima Robot

Sleeping in the Aviary

Another Man’s Treasure (Werewolf Heart) Not a bad album. Really. It’s complete. This is another good example of why CDs have a special appeal. You can tell the story for the full 90 minutes if you want. This one only reaches 46, but it’s nice nonetheless. The songs are all well written and show something new. The vocals do resonate with a bit of Blur, but are done very well. The arrangements on the songs offer creativity and soul. The use of every instrument is so important, and most bands don’t have a clue what to do. So, coming across a set of guys that can do it for real is really great. Their previous effort was excellent, and this has done the same thing. It shows range and doesn’t sacrifice quality along the way. Don’t look for the intensity that came about in the first part of 2000. This collection is running on a much more subdued tone. The live show will be interesting to see if this is the new direction of the band or if they decided to really push themselves and grow into a band that can play instruments and create some much-needed quality art with a wider stroke. Grade: A —David Tobin Another Man’s Treasure is currently available.

Great Vacation! (Science of Sound) Admittedly it’s been a long time since Minneapolis had a “sound” that people looked to, and it’s sad considering the momentum that had built up in the city through the duration of the ’80s and early ’90s. Almost without explanation, the whole behemoth of a music scene just piddled out. It may take a group of transplants from Wisconsin to revive it, but here’s hoping that Sleeping in the Aviary are a sign of good things re-emerging. On this, their third album, their sound, which they themselves describe as “post-crunk,” has evolved to become more refined and less chaotic, but is still strikingly original and bold. On Great Vacation!, they demonstrate far more diversity than previous offerings and will no doubt appeal to new converts. The progression is clear from their previous release, so it’s not highly likely to alienate those who have been loyal to the band for the most part. Sleeping in the Avery has always been a band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously and although they may sound older and wiser, it’s clear that they haven’t removed the tongue from their cheeks just yet. A good read through the song titles alone will cue you in to that one: “Y.M.C.A. (No Not That One)” and “Axes Ground Looth Tooth” spring to mind. Their choice of subject matter is always bound to be interesting. Here the tales range from haunting by S&M bondage victim to convincing someone to make out with you as the ship you’re on sinks below the horizon. “Y.M.C.A” is an almost purely sweet tale of meeting a love at swimming lessons and features a rather nifty gargling section. Other songs are less out and out kitschy, like “Weightlessly in Love’,” which is as innocent as its underlying ukulele strumming with its delicate coed vocals. “You Don’t Have to Drive” and “Start the Car” harken back to ’50s driving anthems, and “Blacked Out Fun” swings like an “American Bandstand” song of that period, but both bear a modern frenetic edge. “The Very Next Day I Died” is silly, but likable with its banjo riffin and Jew’s harp sounding not a bit out of the ordinary. Stick around for the not very well-hidden track, which is fun lo-fi synth madness, that Ariel Pink fans will no doubt appreciate. Sleeping in the Aviary has matured, but I wouldn’t call them all grown up either. They’re more like an aged wine, with refined tastes but still thoroughly capable of being the life of the party. Grade: B+ —Natasha Desianto Great Vacation! is currently available.

Jazmine Sullivan Love Me Back (J) Jazmine Sullivan continues to make her mark with sophomore album, Love Me Back. The first track got me into the groove by borrowing classic ’90s hits from Mary J. Blige and Nas, which is perfectly fitting because Sullivan represents the passion and frustration put into digestible lyrics coupled with melodic and hypnotic harmonies that remind me of the classic mixtapes by Ron G and Kid Capri. The sensibility of her songs has always made her relevant. With her subject matter and powerful delivery one has to take notice. Always poignant and powerful, Sullivan doesn’t shy away with “Redemption,” a tale of love gone wrong from a man and a woman’s point of view. Ever since her debut, Sullivan has always kept great company, and she carries on with her continuation of “Bust Your Windows” with the help of Ne-Yo on “U Get on My Nerves,” a duet speaking about the regrets of a past relationship and what the relationship looks like on the other side. Under the watchful eye of Missy Elliot, Jazmine Sullivan is becoming one of R&B’s powerful new voices. Grade: A —Doxx Cunningham Love Me Back is currently available.

LIVESHOWREVIEWS Ballyhoo/The Supervillains Nov. 11 @ The Roxy Rock/reggae act the Supervillains launched a 30-city fall tour with Ballyhoo. Much like the music and atmosphere of the night, the “Ehh Brah Party” tour lived up to its name as it showcased the laidback attitude and feel-good ambience. To no surprise, a massive crowd arrived ready to dance the night away. Ballyhoo instantly had the audience on their feet as they took the stage. Lead singer and guitarist Howi Spangler apologized for feeling under the weather but showed no signs of wear and tear on stage. Much to the contrary, Spangler burst into a musical zone with the band flying on pure adrenaline. Although the music was heavily driven by reggae and ska, it didn’t limit the group from including short drum and guitar solos. They showcased their rock roots and added a decent layer with turntables in the mix. With all those elements, Ballyhoo’s songs easily became contagious as everyone sang the words.

Closing the night were the Supervillains with enormous praise from the crowd. Coming from the beaches of Orlando, this four-piece performed with infectious energy that caused insanity across the floor. Lead singer Dom Maresco sat behind his drum kit entertaining the crowd between songs. Saxophonist Smally added a unique ska sound to the band. They controlled the crowd all night, even causing a few mosh pits to break out. The tour mission was complete as everyone, including the bands, had an amazing time. A 90-minute setlist included catchy songs like “Little Girl” and “20 Excuses” that stuck in your head for days. —Jacob Gaitan

Over the Rhine Nov. 12 @ The Troubadour Ohio-based Over the Rhine had flown under my radar until quite CONTINUED ON PAGE 18 >>>

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L.A.FACES

THE BAKE MONSTER

Jonathan Melendez is cooking. BY lynda correa College students often flip over home– work assignments, deadlines, work and daily dramas. But selftaught pastry chef Jonathan Melendez, the Bake Monster, has all that and more on his plate, so to speak. He’s an entrepreneur who shares his passion of love and baked goods with those close to him. The Bake Monster has been in business for about two years now, but only recently has he expanded by adding a Web site – which he manages himself. With the added pressures of average college life, he has to cook, ship and promote his own products. Does he sleep? “Hardly,” is his honest reply. The Bake Monster has a menu of cookies, cupcakes, loaves, muffins, scones, cakes, pies and squares, with delicacies by request. Other products popular for Melendez are gift baskets and corporate gifts like cookie packages and cookie mugs. Each order is customizable to fit the customer’s needs, Melendez assures. So if business is running smoothly (and by smoothly, I mean stressful for this one-man show), why even bother with a formal college education? Melendez takes pride in getting his degree. “I’ve always wanted to go to college. It is a priority,” he says, adding, “It is something concrete to have, this piece of

Campus Circle > Culture > L.A. Faces paper. I already know I want to do this for the rest of my life.” Melendez is studying photography at California State University, Northridge. However, his degree is proving to be more beneficial than most would think. He photographs everything he makes, stating, “The way you display something induces people to buy it.” Most of the stuff Melendez knows, he learned by the seat of his pants. Yes, he did go to culinary school, but dropped out after a semester. “I thought it was constraining,” he says. “I don’t like being told what to do.” What better way to stick it to the man than to do things your own way, and do them well? There, he thought up the idea to become the Bake Monster. Though not going through a culinary program has its benefits (yay, individuality!), it also put a slight snag in Melendez’s stride. “I’m all self-taught, but since I’m not classically trained, sometimes I just have to keep trying until I get it right,” he says. “In my free time [what free time?], I watch the Food Network – I love it. I also like to read cookbooks. Every now and then I find something I like, and I try to find a way to make it my own. Like, I’ll add an extra ingredient or switch it up somehow.” For example, let’s take the basic pumpkin pie, really popular around the holidays, right? Melendez thought it would be a good idea to take this Thanksgiving staple and turn it into a cupcake. “It has all the classic features of a pumpkin pie, just, in a cupcake. I go crazy with pumpkin.” He adds that he has also tried making chocolate chip pumpkin cookies, but “people are a little standoffish … until they try it. Then they love it.” So running around greater Los Angeles, spending more time in a kitchen than at home, one wonders how a 21-yearold can handle it. Well, with the support of a good family.

“My parents are proud. My mom always told us to do something we really love, and I love this.” Melendez started cooking at age 13, but got his first baking experience through a job shadow program called Careers in Culinary Arts Program that his high school offered. There he was offered a job at Porto’s Bakery and worked his way up to cake decorating, which he claims was his favorite part. “It was the most fun, the most creative part of it,” he says. Since then his family has been very supportive of his passion. “They are great, they will always be encouraging,” he says with a grin. I guess with a support system like his, it is a little easier to avoid going crazy. Through word of mouth popularity, his chocolate cake has quickly become a customer favorite: “I can do it in my sleep.” He also adds that cake decorating is still his favorite part. He can make a cake look like just about anything. Personally, I recommend the chocolate chip cherry scones; they are bigger than the ones you’d find in coffee shops and have a thicker consistency matched with sweet chocolate and contrasting tart dried cherries. Yum. For more information, visit bakemonster.com.

GAMES&GADGETS

HOT GAMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS by mike sebastian The Horror! The Horror! “Borderlands: Game of the Year Edition” – “Borderlands” combines the frantic action of a first-person shooter with the reward systems of RPGs into an original mix. Choose from one of several characters with unique abilities and back stories to defend the colonists of a distant planet from the ancient alien monsters that live there. Grab three friends for intense four-player co-op action, with an insanely expansive arsenal of guns plus vehicular combat. Also included is a voucher for all four add-on packs. “Castlevania: Lords of Shadow” – An all-star voice cast, including Patrick Stewart, Robert Carlyle and Natascha McElhone, brings to life the latest installment of the longrunning gothic action-adventure franchise. As a member of a group of holy knights you must do battle with weapons and magic against the evil souls of the dead. The game features stunning environments from gothic castles to murky forests and a balance of hack-and-slash gameplay and puzzles. Plus, you can tame beasts, from spiders to warthogs, and ride them in order to advance. “Dead Rising 2” – Build crazy combo weapons out of

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Campus Circle > Culture > Gaming nearby objects, from a pitchfork-shotgun to a kayak paddlechainsaw, to fight off hoards of zombies and find a cure for your daughter. Plus, with new co-op play, you can take on the undead with a friend, or compete with three friends in a gladiator-style death match. “Fallout New Vegas” – The latest in the “Fallout” franchise is a kick-ass post-apocalyptic ride through the deserts of the Mojave to the neon lights of the Vegas strip. Fend off mutant creatures with an arsenal of new weapons and melee combat moves. Explore the expansive, open world and choose your style of play. Do battle as a lone wolf or chose a side in the rival factions of New Vegas. “Saw II: Flesh & Blood” – Step inside the gruesome and twisted world of the Saw movies with this second installment, set between the first two films. The game follows detective Tapp’s estranged son as he investigates his estranged father’s death and becomes Jigsaw’s next target. Solve Jigsaw’s diabolical puzzles to free others from deadly mechanical traps while battling off evil minions.

Rock Out “Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock” – Who doesn’t love “Guitar Hero?” This latest incarnation is tailored for the headbanger, with a redesigned guitar controller and over 90 tracks from the likes of Black Sabbath and Megadeth, as well as rock anthems from Queen and Kiss. In the new Quest mode, Gene Simmons narrates your journey, inspired by Rush’s 2112, to save rock ’n’ roll.

Sports “Lucha Libre AAA: Heroes del Ring” – How has there not been a Mexican wrestling game before? Well there is now, and it’s a blast. Wrestle as one of 30 real-life luchadores or

create and design your own character, choosing to be either a Tecnico (good guy) or a Rudo (bad guy). The game features high-flying acrobatic wrestling with signature moves and taunts. Pump up the crowd to unlock deadlier moves and win the match. “Pro Evolution Soccer 2011” – One of the most realistic soccer games available, “Pro Evolution Soccer 2011” features newly designed controls that stress total freedom of play and unprecedented control of passing, shooting and movement of players. The designers have added over 1,000 new motions. “Shaun White Skateboarding” – Change the world into a giant skatepark! Empty out fountains to create bowls and turn alleys into quarter pipes while mastering Shaun White’s arsenal of tricks, including his own invention, the Armadillo. “Split/Second” – One of the most fun racing games to come along in awhile, “Split/Second” comes to Sony PSP. The game takes your standard racer and mixes in elements of “Mario Kart” and the movie Death Race. You are a contestant on a game show, with each episode a race on a course designed to be destroyed. By executing expert moves you build a power bar, which when full can be deployed to blow up parts of the course, from airplanes to overpasses, creating alternate course routes and stymieing your opponents. This is a high-octane assault on the senses racer. Up to four people can play against each other in wireless local multiplayer.

Toys “LEGO Universe: The Massively Multiplayer Online Game” – Design and build your own world within a massive environment. Join the Nexus Force and save Imagination from the evil forces of Maelstrom. “LEGO Universe” is a massive, constantly evolving, online multiplayer for all ages. The software purchase includes the first month of play free.


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USC’s Robert Woods and Matt Barkley get set to face the Bruins Saturday.

Not much cAN be said of their respective seasons this year, but both USC and UCLA still have something to play for this coming weekend. It could be just for another victory in their records. It could even be for bragging rights of who is the best college football team in Los Angeles. Regardless of what anyone says, both programs are playing for pride and respect. This rivalry goes back years and years. Now, that Lane Kiffin is the head coach of the Trojans, one could argue that it is renewed this season for the mere fact that Kiffin could trash talk this entire week ahead before the affair kicks off. But Kiffin probably will not do that. Believe it or not, Kiffin is actually doing a good job at coaching the Trojans thus far this season even though the team’s record could indicate otherwise. The fact that the Trojans have struggled at times this season does not portray Kiffin as a bad coach. It simply states that the Pac-10 is a stronger conference now, especially since No. 2 ranked Oregon and No. 4 ranked Stanford, based on the BCS standings, have elevated their games of late. The Trojans (7-5, 4-4) are still a talented and deep team, but they’ve been in a rebuilding mode since Kiffin arrived. They are looking to defeat the Bruins for pride and respect. Why else? Although the Trojans have won over six games, which is the minimum for bowl eligibility, they cannot participate in any postseason play because of their twoyear sanction. UCLA, on the other hand, has had a disappointing season with their 4-7 overall record, with a 2-6 conference mark. Currently, they sit in ninth place of the Pac-10. Throughout the season, the Bruins showed signs of great light, especially with their wins over Houston and Texas. Yet, some of their losses this season have come very badly. The most prominent was at Oregon where they suffered a 60-13 defeat. But the loss to Stanford at home by a score of 35-0 may have hurt more. Bruin head coach Rick Neuheisel could simply motivate his players to win, and to just win for pride and respect. Therefore, this is definitely going to be one of those games that fans and cannot wait to watch. It will be a battle on the field. And for the Trojans, sophomore quarterback Matt Barkley could lead the attack. After the Trojans experienced a 20-16 home loss to the visiting Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Barkley told reporters that he would definitely play in the rivalry game. Barkley dressed but did not play against Notre Dame due to a sprained left ankle. In 11 games this season, Barkley has tossed 2,593 passing yards and 25 touchdowns. Of course, he has to play against the Bruins. And he will! On the rushing end, Marc Tyler has run for 868 yards on 163 rushes, including nine touchdowns. Allen Bradford has contributed 582 yards with four touchdowns on 82 rushes. Moreover, both Robert Woods and Ronald Johnson are solid receivers who can present dilemmas for the tough UCLA defense. Woods has 61 receptions, six touchdowns and 729 receiving yards, while Johnson carries 59 catches with 656 yards and eight touchdowns. The Trojans have a great, balanced attack on the air and the ground, but it is their defense that has struggled most often than the offense. In brief, solid defensive play from either team will probably determine the outcome of the affair. For the Bruins, it could be uncertain who will play the quarterback role, but that is not going to be a significant factor of the game’s result. This is precisely true because the Bruins are a running team on offense, who rely on their defense to decide games for them at times. Sophomore running back Johnathan Franklin has rushed for 1,018 yards, and he will be looking to add to that total. He has seven touchdowns, too. USC and UCLA meet on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff.

We Get You Ready To Play!

by marvin vasquez

Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times/MCT

TROJANS, BRUINS STILL HAVE SOMETHING TO PLAY FOR

Attentio

Campus Cir n: c Readers! le

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PAGES Hometown Police Blotter, Volume One: Nevada County, California (Author House) It all started with Andy Spurlock posting zany police blotter tales on Facebook. When his childhood friend Sean Michael Beyer suggested they compile some of the funniest stories together into one book, Hometown Police Blotter, Volume One was born. The 252-page bathroom-reading master–piece not only details actual calls to the police, sheriff and highway patrol in Spurlock and Beyer’s Northern California hometowns in Nevada County, many of the tales are accompanied by grotesque and almost too real illustrations by David “Star” Fields (envision tamer versions of Ralph Steadman’s graphics in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). You’ll be laughing from the get-go; even just looking at Fields’ cover art makes you chuckle. Family Matters kick off the madness with stuff like an intoxicated woman calling to report her husband hurt her feelings when he complained about dinner and loved ones throwing everything from flowers to cheese at one another in anger. Reports of public drunkenness and nudity dominate Under the Influence. One of my favorites from this section is an intoxicated man calling to report a “criminal” had entered his home, and the “criminal” picking up the phone to say that the caller was too drunk to realize he was a friend. The Delinquents chapter documents the silly things youth do and also showcases the calls that older folks make to alert authorities to kids’ bad behavior: a mom reporting her 8-year-old’s temper tantrum, skateboarding hooligans and boys “mooning” passing cars. Dumb Mofos and Cuckoo Clocks are perhaps the best sections since they shine light on the Nevada County’s best and brightest of dumbasses who call the police for a ride, to say they’re out of toilet paper or to check the time. You’ve got to love these crazies for making us laugh, as well as the actual law enforcement staff who have to deal with these calls every day. I can’t wait for the next volume of Hometown Police Blotter (Can you even imagine what insanity happens in bigger cities?), but make sure to get a copy of Volume One (available in hardcover, paperback and e-pub) because it not only makes you wet your pants from laughter but a portion of its proceeds fund scholarships and benefit arts and music in schools. Grade: A —Yuri Shimoda Hometown Police Blotter, Volume One is currently avaialble. For more information, visit hometownpoliceblotter.com.

Forbidden Knowledge – College (Adams Media) Ahh, to be skilled and knowing of all things college. Sounds like the kind of job that requires you to get that dusty thinking cap (No, we don’t mean the beer hard hat that holds two drinks.) out of the closet and back where it belongs – on your head, but there’s no need for that. Thank accomplished humor author Michael Powell, the man who not only has more than 65 titles published but who has always been interested in doing things he shouldn’t. In his book, Forbidden Knowledge – College: 101 Things Not Every Student Should Know How to Do, you will learn how to: • Spend zilch on your books (Yes, that means free books and extra cash for food.). • Get revenge on your roommate. • Stay awake during a lecture (You know you’ve taken naps or been thinking about catching some Z’s while sitting in the back row.). • Gain your very own band of brothers and start a fraternity. • Succeed and make it onto the dean’s list by cheating. • Keep yourself entertained in class by getting away with drinking. • Stand out at a career fair. It’s like Tony Montana once put it in Scarface: When you get the power you get all the rewards that come with it. Powell’s book happens to be the crash course in college survival that’ll help you attain some kind of power; it’s just your job not to get suspended or expelled. Grade: B+ —Christine Hernandez Forbidden College Knowledge is currently available.

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LIVESHOWREVIEWS <<< CONT. FROM PAGE 15 recently. Being from back east myself, I have friends that had been fans for quite some time. One such friend decided to make the trek from Ohio to Los Angeles for the show at the Troubador. I can say with confidence that she found the trip worth her while and a dream to see a favorite band in Hollywood come true. While flying across the country may be a bit extreme, I will say that their fan base is incredibly loyal and that is well Dessa of Doomtree wowed the Roxy. deserved. Their set was a mix of low-key, melancholy songs with great meaning and comedic, ice-breaking audience interactions with a few tongue-in-cheek songs. The band, consisting of duo Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist, is currently touring the nation in support of their soon-to-be-released album, The Long Surrender, due in January. During their set and encore they performed some of their new songs, which were very well received by the audience. With opening singers, including the iconic Lucy and Loudon Wainwright III, the show started out comedically musical and very light. For a quieter night out in your favorite intimate venue, this band would be a top choice, and I have to say they would be perfect for a date night. —Tamea Agle

Jacob Gaitan

NEWS

Doomtree Nov. 13 @ The Roxy Not many acts can match the energy that hip-hop group Doomtree creates. The sold-out crowd stretched nearly two blocks as they anxiously waited to enter the venue. Lazerbeak kicked off the show with a guitar in hand as DJ Paper Tiger mixed behind the turntables. Showcasing material from their individual albums, the music was enough to drive the audience insane. As P.O.S, Dessa, Mictlan, Cecil Otter and Sims joined the stage, the seven-piece crew received an enormous reception across the floor. Doomtree isn’t your typical rap group. They swerve pass the stereotypes of “guns and bling” that have sent hip-hop down a dark road. Each member’s lyrical delivery was precisely executed. Words traveled across the room like flying daggers cutting everyone in sight. The microphone rotated across the floor like a revolving door giving Doomtree a unique sound. “Rap won’t save you,” shouted MC Mictlan, leading into the song “Game Over” from the group’s self-titled album. Dessa’s contribution slowed the pace as she performed from her solo work with mellow tones. Still, she quickly wowed the audience with her speedy lyrical delivery. They alternated faster than the mind could compute while the crowd stood amazed at P.O.S.’ freestyles. Many verses lingered in the air long after they were pitched, much like the song “Prize Fight” that instantly became a shouting competition with the crowd as they sang in unison. The Wings+Teeth tour provided the perfect opportunity to capture the Minneapolis crew. It’s hard to catch Doomtree in its full lineup. With individual members tied to their solo projects, it’s no wonder everyone jumped at the opportunity to see one of the best underground rap groups. After witnessing Doomtree’s lyrical performance, it’s enough to prove hip-hop isn’t dead. —Jacob Gaitan

Junip Nov. 14 @ The Music Box Traversing across the Atlantic to Los Angeles’ eclectically adorned Music Box, Swedish indie rock band Junip played a set that was ethereally beautiful for a large audience looking for a type of coffeehouse smooth melody with a deep hard bass to keep things moving. Add in famed guitarist José González, known best for his solo work, and another five to six members channeling instruments from the organ to the conga drum, you might expect the night to be a long-lasting musical adventure, which like all journeys seem to get a little tiring at the end. The highlights of the show were the aesthetic of disco lights swirling behind the band as the room went dark. The sound was acoustically otherworldly; a perfect setting for nomads walking under a starlit sky in some galaxy far away, and González was on top of his game. Watching him tune his guitar on stage is like watching a master at work, fast finger plucking throughout the whole set, all with his eyes closed is pretty impressive. This goes for the rest of the members who brought such soft mystical beats doing the same fast strumming of their instruments. There were several shy remarks by Gonzáles to the audience, but other than that the band was mute, and this may have caused the listlessness by the audience at the end. I do want to include opener Sharon Van Etten who sounds a lot like Beachhouse singer Victoria Legrand, their voices soft and smooth like dark caramel. Her piece “Love More,” utilizing the harmonium, was pure ecstasy and brought about a myriad of beautiful emotions. Following Etten, Junip continued the same mood throughout the night, but instead of couples holding each other tight, Junip had us swaying in hypnotic motion. —Denise Guerra


Follow CAMPUS CIRCLE on Twitter @CampusCircle CURTAINCALL “Harps and Angels”

Craig Schwartz

Now-Dec. 22 @ Mark Taper Forum Randy Newman is a man of staggering genius and wit, whose music seemed the perfect fit to get the “Movin’ Out” treatment. Which is perhaps why it was so surprising and disappointing to discover “Harps and Angels” isn’t a fully realized theatrical experience, but rather a big-budget staging, Night of a Thousand Songs-style, from the Newman catalogue. Despite his music being intrinsically narrative, “Harps and Angels”’ Katey Sagal the songs are each stand-alone vignettes, sung as sketches rather than strung together to create a compelling plot. Sometimes the pieces are an odd, convoluted mess, especially when they’re politically charged, while other times, they have a delightful theatricality, like Storm Large and Ryder Bach’s hilarious version of “You Can Leave Your Hat On.” The cast, which also includes Katey Sagal and Michael McKean, are a capable bunch, but occasionally their voices seem challenged by the music. —Sasha Perl-Raver Mark Taper Forum is located at 135 N. Grand Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, visit centertheatregroup.org.

“The Graduate” Dec. 8-12 @ Skirball Cultural Center Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson. The cult classic novel and 1967 hit film The Graduate is back – this time as a radio theater recording for L.A. Theatre Works. Matthew Rhys (“Brothers & Sisters”) stars as the title character alongside Kathleen Turner (Mrs. Robinson). Rhys and Turner are reuniting 10 years after their run in “The Graduate” in the West End of London. The new adaptation plays at the Skirball for a five-day limited engagement radio theater series. “I’m excited about it. I was in my 20s when I played the role before, and I’m now past the point probably of playing a graduate,” says Rhys. “It’s a good thing it’s for radio.” —Stephanie Forshee Skirball Cultural Center is located at 2701 N. Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles. For more information, visit latw.org.

COLLEGECENTRAL

‘BENDER’S STUDY BREAK’

Dec. 6 @ Ackerman Union, UCLA In celebration of the Dec. 21 release of the Futurama: Volume 5 DVD and Blu-ray, “Futurama” is giving UCLA students a brief respite from the stress of exams with free “Futurama”-themed food and beverages such as Dr. Zoidbergers (Hamburgers), Panucci’s Pizza (Cheese Pizza) and Bender’s Blenders (smoothies provided by Jamba Juice). Students will also receive free massages from professional massage therapists during the event. What can we expect from “The Simpsons” genius Matt Groening’s animated series that’s truly light-years-ahead-of-its-time? Join Fry, Bender, Leela and the rest of the gang for 13 hilarious new episodes that tackle some of the most controversial subjects in the galaxy, including evolution, mind exchange, feline intelligence and even robosexual marriage. Bender believes it can happen! The Blu-ray edition will also be available on Dec. 21, and both sets contain hours of exclusive features, such as deleted and extended scenes, audio commentaries, featurettes including “Bend it Like Bender,” “Previously On…,” “Fry’s Crudely-Drawn Comic Book – The Crudely Animated Edition,” “Behind the Fungus: Makin’ a Hit Song” and more. It also features voice talents of famous people from centuries ago such as Coolio, Chris Elliott, Craig Ferguson, Al Gore, Matt Groening and George Takei. So make sure you don’t miss out on this out-of-this-world fun study break! The event will take place from noon to 2 p.m. Ackerman Union is located at 501 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles.

CAMPUS CIRCLE/WEST SIDE STORY 4.875” X 5.90” • B&W PUB DATE: 11.30/10

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JETSETTER

Music Calls It Home

by sasha perl-raver Watching Kings of Leon frontman Caleb Followill, attended by a single nonchalant bodyguard, slink into an auditorium that’s modestly hitting 20 percent capacity where he will discuss his rise to fame, from an acoustic performance just a few miles away at the Bluebird Cafe (4104 Hillsboro Pike; bluebirdcafe.com) to a show at Madison Square Garden that sold out in four and a half seconds, you realize this is the perfect example of what makes Nashville special. Relaxed and unassuming but brimming with talent and alluring beauty, Followill is the human embodiment of the city he once called home. Nashville has long been to country music what Holly– wood is to aspiring screen starlets or Broadway to belting babes. “There’s a lot of buzz in this town,” the locals say, “and you learn to never say never.” But in recent years, thanks in part to the success of Kings of Leon, pop-crossover Taylor Swift and the city’s current darling Jack White, whose relocation from Detroit validated the city as a thriving creative center with a serious rock scene, Nashville has lost the bedazzled, big-haired, country stigma it once carried and has been reborn as “Music City.” Still, no matter how much the music scene in Nashville evolves, the city’s roots are firmly planted in country and nowhere is that history paid greater honor than the Country Music Hall of Fame (222 Fifth Ave.; countrymusichalloffame.

com) where Dolly Parton’s handwritten “Jolene” lyrics, along with the back story of her inspiration for the song, are enshrined next to Swift’s home videos, Elvis’ gold leafcovered Cadillac, taxidermied squirrels shot and mounted by Hank Williams Sr. to resemble his band and walls of best-selling records, costumes, guitars and archival videos. Moving from the earliest recordings to videos currently airing on CMT, the Hall of Fame is a testament to the city’s unofficial theme song, quoted on the walls of the Hall; “May the Circle Be Unbroken.” Another pillar of Nashville’s musical history is on display, and for sale, at Gruhn Guitars (400 Broadway; gruhn.com). After “forty and three-fourths” years in business, owner George Gruhn’s obsession with certified and refurbished vintage guitars hasn’t wavered one iota. His “adoption agency for guitars” includes fans like Eric Clapton and Robert Plant, who happily splash down $100,000 to $200,000 for items like a pristinely restored Les Paul Sunburst. Taking a break from Music City’s auditory enjoyments, you’ll find incredible art of the visual nature as well. The Frist Center for the Visual Arts (919 Broadway; fristcenter. org), which is free to anyone 18 or younger, is as much about the architecture as it is the art housed inside. In 1933, President Hoover allocated $500 million to build post offices as a symbol of America’s rehabilitation after the Great Depression. One of the buildings that money funded is the Frist, a pristine example of art deco architecture that became a 24,000-square-foot art exhibition facility in 2001. On a smaller more indie scale, the Fifth Street Art District (which is more a block than a real district) hosts the First Saturday Gallery Crawl every month. For anyone used to Downtown Los Angeles’ monthly ArtWalk, this crawl can seem downright provincial, with a half-dozen galleries

Nashville’s Gruhn Guitars is an “adoption agency for guitars.” tucked between a Woolworth’s and a snoozy arcade, but it houses some real standout artists, especially John Hung Ha (johnhungha.com), a recent Brooklyn transplant whose feng shui-inspired work has a Run-DMC influence one might not expect to find in a Southern capitol. Similarly, who would guess that some of the best Thai food you’ll eat this side of Chiang Mai can be found at the International Market and Restaurant (2010 Belmont Blvd.)? Owned by Patti Myint, whose son Arnold appeared on the last season of “Top Chef,” two dollars will buy you coconut milk-laced chicken green curry and sticky rice or a plate of potently spiced rice noodles studded with bamboo shoots and bean sprouts. It’s the perfect place to grab a package of Hello Panda, crack open a can of roasted coconut water and scribble some lyrics about your woman leaving you but taking the dog or your sex being on fire. Gaylord Opryland Resort’s 27th annual A Country Christmas runs now through Jan. 2, 2011. For more information, visit visitmusiccity.com.

THEARTOFLOVE

COMEDY

Q&A

“After School Groundling”

by lucia I’ve just met another much younger guy (16 years), and we’ve both fallen for each other. I want to settle down, but I don’t think I have found the right guy. I can’t seem to be interested in guys my age or older than me. I had an earlier relationship with another guy 25 years younger, and he still wants to continue the relationship. I’ve kept away from him because he is too young, even though I still have feelings for him. I want a man to settle down with, and my honest feeling is he should NOT be much younger and at the same time he must be matured. I can’t see myself with an older guy. I want to know the difference between a “feeling” and “love.” —Chi Chi Many people get into trouble because they base their decisions only on their feelings. Think of your mind as the sky and feelings as clouds. Just as clouds change and disappear from the sky, so it is with feelings. They are always changing, that’s why you can’t use only feelings to make a decision about your future. Love is based on respect and admiration. You may have strong feelings or chemistry with someone, but you may not always respect them. There is nothing wrong with wanting to settle down with a younger man, however I would advise you to pick someone over 30 if you are looking for something that has a better chance of going the distance. As long as he is ready and willing to make a commitment, the fact that he’s younger should not be a problem. Write to Lucia at theartoflove.net. Read an excerpt from Lucia’s Lessons of Love at lessonsoflove.net. Listen to Lucia live every Sunday at 3 p.m. PST on latalkradio.com. Remember: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

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Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau

NASHVILLE

Campus Circle > Culture > Travel

Campus Circle 12.1.10 - 12.7.10

Now-Jan. 28 @ Groundlings Theatre I went into the Groundlings’ current Main Company show, “After School Groundling,” thinking I was in for a mainly improvised comedy show. What I got was more akin to “Saturday Night Live,” which famously recruits from the Groundlings’ school and company. The six-member cast started off with a sketch set in a movie theater filled with high schoolers watching a scary movie. The punch line of the sketch was pretty funny, but it made me wary when the lone female cast member (Ariane Price) was majorly objectified. But as the show went on, her roles were much more satisfactory, and I breathed a sigh of relief. The sketches were pretty decent in the beginning, interrupted every once in a while by very short, structured improvised scenes. The show really took off right before intermission with Alex Staggs’ sketch, “The Show,” where he played a goofy lounge singer. Amongst comedy-improv schools in Los Angeles, the Groundlings is known for its character work, and when it is shown off in “After School,” you get a feel for why it’s so famous. One of my favorite players on “SNL” is Kristen Wiig, a Groundlings alum who currently does the bulk of original character work on the show. I could tell while watching the Groundlings’ Main Company show that the cast each had a character that they were cultivating in the vein of Wiig’s work. The characters kept coming with Mikey Day (“Deadly Force”) and Price (“Queen Isabel”) contributing memorable work. I had only wished that the first half of the show was as great as the latter. It felt like the audience sat through a number of just-alright sketches and then got hooked right before intermission so that they would stay for the second half of the show. Thankfully, the second half was worth the wait. One great part of the night was the musical interludes while each scene was reset. Willie Eira, Howard Greene and Larry Treadwell kept the energy up with instrumental versions of current and classic pop-rock hits. —Kate Bryan The Groundlings Theatre is located at 7307 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles. For more information, visit groundlings.com.


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MUSCLE SHOALS

Has Got the Swampers (And a Whole Lot More) by kevin wierzbicki There’s a line in ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ the classic rock oldie by Lynyrd Skynyrd, that goes “Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers/They’ve been known to pick a song or two.” But just who were the Swampers, and why are they so revered that they’re immortalized in the lyrics of one of the biggest Southern rock hits of all time? Muscle Shoals is a small, unassuming city on the Tennessee River in northwestern Alabama. It is indeed just regular water that flows down the Tennessee but for all intents and purposes, in Muscle Shoals, it might as well be music. Any vinyl collector who is fond of reading liner notes has probably seen Muscle Shoals mentioned time and time again in the credits. Area recording studios have been responsible for an untold number of hit records; FAME Recording Studios (fame2.com) alone has churned out hits that have sold over 350 million copies. Aretha Franklin recorded some of her biggest hits at FAME as did other soul greats like Solomon Burke, Etta James, Wilson Pickett, Bettye LaVette and Otis Redding. Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and Duane Allman were just a few of the acts that built FAME’s legacy, encouraging today’s artists like Band of Horses, the Drive-By Truckers and Jason Isbell to records there. This environment gave birth to the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, a versatile bunch of studio aces that played on hundreds of songs cut in Muscle Shoals. It was during a recording session that producer Denny Cordell, for no apparent reason, referred to the band as the Swampers. The nickname stuck, and the Muscle Shoals sound that the band created is still being made today by the Decoys featuring original Swampers bass player David Hood, who also happens to be the father of Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers. The rest of the music scene in Muscle Shoals is going strong too; here are some places music fans won’t want to miss.

Left Photo: Small Natural Teeth (Before) Right Photo: Veneers, Teeth #5-12 (After)

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Start Here: Muscle Shoals is adjacent to Florence, Ala., and the Tourism Bureau is located at One Hightower Place, Florence. They’ll point you in the right direction for everything music-related in the area and you don’t have to go too far to get started. The legendary Sam Phillips, Sun Records founder and discoverer of Elvis Presley, was born here and there’s a historic marker on the grounds of the Marriott Shoals Hotel (marriott. com), directly adjacent to the tourism office. The hotel also has a Sam Phillips suite that includes a jukebox and Sun Records memorabilia and that is viewable on special request when the suite is not occupied. Swampers Nightclub with live music is also located here. The Studios: FAME, the Nutt House, Cypress Moon Studios (cypressmoonproduction. com) and NoiseBlock (noiseblockmusic.com) are all working studios where music fans are usually welcome to stop by and look at memorabilia, talk to staff and maybe meet some musicians. If there’s a big recording session going on then fans can’t be admitted; otherwise these are all great places to learn about the history of music in Muscle Shoals through an informal tour as well as to see how that legacy is being built upon today. Muscle Shoals Sound (muscleshoalssound.org), where the Rolling Stones recorded “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” and where Lynyrd Skynyrd cut their early sides, is now on the Register of Historic Places. Obtain directions at the tourism office. The Alabama Music Hall of Fame: Honoring all types of music and musicians with ties to Alabama, this large museum features exhibits that include a life-size statue of country music patriarch Hank Williams, an Alabama tour bus that you can climb aboard, Sam Phillips and Sun Records memorabilia and of course a whole section dedicated to the Muscle Shoals sound. There’s also a little recording studio where you can record your own “hit.” alamhof.org. W.C. Handy Home: The “Father of the Blues” was born in a log cabin home in Florence; tours are given of the restored cabin and adjacent museum where you can see many of Handy’s instruments and other memorabilia, including sheet music, personal papers and personal effects. Florenceal.org. And what about those Swampers? The Decoys with original Swamper David Hood remain very much in demand for recording sessions and live appearances, and when they’re not otherwise engaged they love playing shows in Muscle Shoals. Decoys shows include a set filled with hits the Swampers played on. Check for show dates at MySpace. com/therealdecoys. For more information, visit visitflorenceal.com.

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U.S.NEWS

AIR TRAVEL

Killing Your Right to Privacy? by EBONY MARCH, NEWS EDITOR In early November, TSA officials stopped a 61-year-old traveler by the name of Thomas Sawyer while he waited to board a flight to Florida. The man is a bladder cancer survivor and because of his condition, had to wear special equipment to collect his urine. Screening detectors at Detroit Metro Airport (where his flight was departing) discovered the equipment, and Sawyer was quickly whisked off to a private screening. While in the office, Sawyer asserts that the TSA officials were less than kind to him. The end result is that they allegedly paid no attention to his repeated requests for special treatment, resulting in his having to board his flight soaked in his own urine. Longtime critics of airport security measures are not the least bit surprised by Sawyer’s ordeal. Ever since the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, extreme measures have been taken to keep Americans safe in the friendly skies. But when international and domestic safety usurps other civil rights, is it really worth it? According to CBS News, Americans are quickly losing faith in the system. Aside from annoying sensors, there is the added frustration of racial profiling. This act occurs when an official stereotypes a passenger of a particular racial background and uses this assumption to impart strict but temporary investigation of the individual. Many members of the Arab and Muslim communities in the United

Campus Circle > News > U.S. News States have cried foul when it comes to being stopped and interrogated at flight terminals and checkpoints. This led to the Transportation Security Administration implementing guidelines in accordance with basic human rights, such as females being examined by other females and random searches of people numerically. But as this holiday season gets under way, scandal is the word on everyone’s lips. Men and women booking airplane travel are now looking for the best ways to stave off uninvited attention from officials. There are a few rules – old and new – to remember. First, arrive at the airport at least one hour before a domestic flight is scheduled to depart. This gives you and your party ample time to check-in and pass through security. If flying internationally, two hours in advance is a good rule for arrival to the airport. Next, pack smart. Again, no traveler is allowed more than three ounces of any particular fluid, such as lotion or soap, carried in a clear plastic bag (like a Ziploc). Women should remove jewelry and even bobby pins from hairstyles to ensure that security alarms and hand wands do not sound when waved over various parts of the body. Do not pack drugs or alcohol. These items are sure to get you investigated and in some cases, arrested. If arriving or departing during the Christmas or Hanukkah seasons, leave all gifts unwrapped so that you will not be forced to remove paper while going through checkpoints. If selected to receive a pat down (like Sawyer), there are also things to keep in mind. You have rights where this process is concerned. You may request your search be conducted privately. You are also allowed a detailed explanation of what is happening. Explain to the official on hand if you have any medical equipment, such as a stoma, that might require special treatment.

D-DAY

ANOTHER YEAR, ANOTHER FEE INCREASE by denise guerra Last year, the bedeviled number affecting tuition for University of California students was 32. This time last year a 32 percent increase in student fees led to massive protests on top of Covel Commons at UCLA. This year, that number is 8 percent, and although a smaller number, it is just the same – another increase that students can’t bear. The percentage roughly equals to an increase of $822 for California students and their families. A Nov. 8 meeting of the UC Regents also included expanding the Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan to include a one-year reprieve for the increase for qualified students whose family income totals up to $120,000. The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan has been championed by UC President Mark G. Yudof who stresses the plan’s aid for lower income students by providing full coverage of systemwide fees to students whose family income

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Campus Circle 12.1.10 - 12.7.10

Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times/MCT

NEWS

A TSA officer pats down an airline passenger after he passed through a metal director at LAX. Always have your boarding pass and identification at the ready, but stored safely so that it does not fall out of pockets. Quickly empty your pockets upon request for the proper officials and never exchange angry words with TSA workers. Not only will this slow down long lines, but it may alert you as a possible threat risk. Remember, these employees have, in some cases, been on the job for long hours. In the event that you feel you have been victimized in any way, calmly get the name (and badge number if applicable) of the officer, make note of the date and time, then call (866) 289-9673 (the TSA’s new whistleblower line). Travelers are encouraged to file the complaint as soon as possible. For up to the minute changes in travel rules and regulations, it’s also a good idea to visit TSA.gov.

Campus Circle > Blogs > D-Day is below $70,000. The expansion of the plan this year would hopefully provide help to middle-income families who fall in a specialized grey area of earning just enough to not qualify for financial aid. The trouble is Yudof ’s enthusiasm isn’t shared by the thousands of students whose individualized situations keep them from affording a higher education and a full investment in their future. As many of you know, I fell in to this specialized grey area and am paying over $30,000 in student loans from the four years I attended a UC. Not only that, my parents are also paying their portion of my student loans they received under a Parent PLUS plan. Sometimes I wonder if it would have been better to attend a cheaper college, but it turns out California’s budget deficit is affecting every educational institution from K-12, colleges and universities. The bandwagon to raise student fees has even affected Cal State Universities with an increase of 15 percent by next fall as reported by the Los Angeles Times, roughly translating to students copping $4,884 for a Cal State education. A main concern for the increase is whether access to higher education for minority students who generally fall within a lower income bracket will be hindered by the fee increases. Apparently this is not so, to a point. In October a study by the University of California titled “Undergraduate Access and Excellence at UC” analyzed admissions and diversity data within all 10 of its schools since 2008 and found a general increase of first-generation, lowincome and underrepresented (this includes black, Latino and American Indian) students. At UCLA, the increase for low-income students as reported by the Daily Bruin was a mere half a percent. This increase isn’t enough and is scary considering that opportunities such

as the Blue and Gold Plan exist. Just picture a graduating high school senior whose parents work full time looking at a basic UC undergraduate fee of $11,124. It’s enough to scare anybody into not even bothering to look for financial aid or help. The fact is what the UC Regents is implementing with each year’s tuition increase is extremely hazardous to the health of UCs and toward California’s future. Basically going to a UC is becoming a major turnoff. Even with the help given, the psychological seed is being planted that higher education is just too expensive, and we will have yet to see the true impact of the fee increases on UC enrollment. Already one consequence is that the UCs are considering limiting the amount of in-state enrollment, opting for the more lucrative tuitions of out-of-state and international students. And I get it, it’s not totally the UC system’s fault for raising fees; there’s a bigger picture involved with California’s growing budget deficit and all types of bureaucratic hullabaloo on spending. But there still remains the 8 percent. No matter who or what’s at fault, the repercussions on individual students and future students and their families are dire. No one wants to pay off loans after they graduate, especially in the thousands of dollars. Middle-income students and families are the ones getting wringed out. It’s no wonder students are screaming, getting arrested and protesting their hearts out. One reply on an Los Angeles Times blog likens it to whining, saying, “They care about their education so much that they’d rather violently protest having to pay more for it than attend class.” But what else is a student to do when magically all these percentage increases show up on their college tab?


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CALENDARTHE10SPOT

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BY FREDERICK MINTCHELL THURSDAYDEC. 2 Shecky’s Girls Night Out Petersen Automotive Museum, 6060 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; sheckys.com You’ll experience the newest fashion trends, delicious cocktails, plus sensational beauty treat– ments. Throw in their fabulous goodie bags, chock full of freebies, and they guarantee you’ll have a spring in your step in no time. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Complimentary general admission for a limited time, $20 with goodie bag.

WEDNESDAYDEC. 1 “Much Ado About Nothing”

SATURDAYDEC. 4 Red Bull Catalina Grand Prix

Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., Culver City; centertheatregroup.org This production of the William Shakespeare comedy is set in a grapestomping California vineyard, ripe with Lyle Lovett’s music and starring Helen Hunt, Tom Irwin, Stephen Root, Dakin Matthews, David Ogden Stiers and more. Runs through Dec. 19.

redbullusa.com The historic motorcycle race takes place on Catalina Island for the first time since 1958 and includes almost 800 riders in 12 races. Also Sunday. FREE.

THURSDAYDEC. 2 DWP Holiday Light Festival Griffith Park, 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles; dwplightfestival.com This magnificent display of millions of twinkling lights along a one-mile segment in Griffith Park has become a holiday tradition that attracts more than a half million visitors each year. 5 p.m.-10 p.m. daily through Dec. 30. FREE.

THURSDAYDEC. 2 Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian Borders @ the Westfield Century City, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles; borders.com The famous trio of beautiful reality show sisters sign their brand new book, Kardashian Konfidential, full of family stories, beauty tips, advice and personal snapshots. 6 p.m. FREE.

FRIDAYDEC. 3 Lingerie Football L.A. Coliseum, 3939 S. Figueroa St. Downtown; lflus.com Who knew that football could be so sexy? The lovely ladies of the Los Angeles Temptation take on the Dallas Desire. 9 p.m. Tix start at $29.

SATURDAYDEC. 4 “The Nutcracker” Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale; losangelesballet.org Join Clara and her Nutcracker as they journey to magical realms where mischievous mice battle toy soldiers, snowflakes dance and Clara’s dolls come to life. Also Sunday; Dec. 18 & 19 at Royce Hall, UCLA, and Dec. 24 & 26 at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center. Tix start at $30.

SUNDAYDEC. 5 Country Strong Singing Challenge Saddle Ranch Chop House, Universal CityWalk, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City; cmt.com/asm/country-strong Channel your inner Gwyneth Paltrow or Tim McGraw and sing a 60-second a cappella version of either “Country Strong” or “Silver Wings.” The winner will receive $500 and qualify for a chance to win a trip to Nashville to perform on CMT. Noon.

MONDAYDEC. 6 “Bender’s Study Break” Ackerman Union, UCLA, 501 Westwood Plaza, Los Angeles In celebration of the Dec. 21 release of the Futurama: Volume 5 Blu-ray and DVD, “Futurama” is giving UCLA students a brief respite from the stress of exams with free “Futurama”-themed food and beverages such as Dr. Zoidberg-ers (Hamburgers), Panucci’s Pizza (Cheese Pizza) and Bender’s Blenders (smoothies provided by Jamba Juice). Students will also receive free massages from professional massage therapists during the event. Noon-2 p.m.

TUESDAYDEC. 7 Bob Marley & The Golden Age of Reggae Book Soup, 8818 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood; booksoup.com Photographer Kim Gottlieb-Walker provides insight into the iconic artist with rare photographs of the musicians, artists and producers who brought reggae to the international stage. 7 p.m. FREE.

For more events, visit campuscircle.com/calendar. To submit an event for consideration, e-mail calendar@campuscircle.net.

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THEWINGGIRLS

BASIC ATTRACTION HIM: I’m starting to regret my lack of experience. I’ve done the “dirty” with a few girls, but I feel like they were flukes or I was in the right place at the right time and never with a girl I’ve had emotional attachment to. My problem is, on the two occasions I’ve been dating a “keeper” they have shown signs that they were interested in being more than friends (i.e. taking my hand, referring to themselves as my “lady friend”) the first time, [and] I didn’t exactly go in for the kiss, and the second time (a different girl) I did, and she wasn’t ready for it. On both occasions they seemed to suddenly lose attraction as if the date didn’t happen at all. What did I fail to give/say/do to them? WG: Hey dude! OK, so we think it could come down to something as simple as bad breath, bad teeth, chapped lips, greasy skin or just being a bad kisser. Something is happening as you make a move and you need to rule these things out first. You need your mouth to smell good from the inside out. Even if you think you’re fine in this department, you may not be. Sometimes there may even be something internal. So make sure that your mouth is in tip-top. Including your lips, make sure they are not dry. And with the skin, just make sure it’s something she would want to lay her lips on as well. Remember, you want to be as HEALTHY looking as possible in your face; this attracts women on a gut level. With kissing, make sure you aren’t coming on too weak or too strong and that you have the right level of tongue power. Also take breaks. You don’t have to say anything, you just have to look her in the eye before you put your hand on hers and lean in for the kiss, or at the end of the night hug her and then lean in for the kiss. You could also say something during the kiss like, “You’re such a cutie,” to keep her interested. Try these things. We know they’re basic, but they all gotta be in place so that the attraction is there first and foremost. For more information, visit thewinggirls.com

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Campus Circle Newspaper Vol. 20 Issue 46