Warner Bros.’ “Joker” smashed box office records with a $93.5 million debut last week, earning the biggest October launch of all time. The R-rated comic book thriller, serving as a prelude to Joker’s legacy as the main villain of the Batman films, garnered over $13 million in premiere night showings on Thursday, Oct. 4. Despite the film’s immense on-screen success, “Joker” has incited major controversy because of its depictions of violence and mental illness. Academy Award-nominated actor Joaquin Phoenix plays the film’s main character, Arthur Fleck, a hopeful standup comic who battles a rare medical condition that causes unmanageable laughter during life’s most gruesome moments. Fleck feels left behind by society and turns to violence, doing so in an unsettling way that tests the boundaries of a traditional comic book film. Within the context of our country’s current political climate, many questioned if the actions of Phoenix’s character would inspire those who feel isolated and alienated from society to start a violent uproar of their own, setting off some kind of violent movement or series of violent acts. Legitimate threats of violence impacted showings of “Joker” right here in Southern California, as the Century Huntington Beach and XD theater in Orange County cancelled two premiere night screenings after receiving a credible threat, according to Huntington Beach police. Elsewhere, documentation prepared at a U.S. Army base in Oklahoma stated that officials were alerted about disturbing online chatter regarding a potential mass shooting threat during the film’s opening week. Thankfully, no acts of violence have been recorded since the movie’s recent release. These threats remind the industry of 2012’s Aurora, Colo. shooting at a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” which left 12 people dead and 70 injured. Families directly affected by the 2012 shooting spoke out against “Joker” when it's trailer debuted in April and have since asked Warner Bros. to lobby for gun control. When examining the film itself, it’s important to note the source of some viewers’ feelings of uneasiness. Without question, director Todd Philips took a risk in releasing this film now, considering the ever-growing debate over gun control. It’s difficult to separate “Joker” from real-world violence because of how realistic the film appears. Some could even say it portrays concepts of loneliness and hopelessness as rationale for violence. When taking all of the above concerns into consideration, it’s also crucial to separate the artistry of the film from reality itself. One thing refreshing about “Joker” is its approach to politics. The film doesn’t take a stance, in an industry where pretty much everything else crosses political boundary lines. But, while “Joker” didn’t cross political boundaries, it may have toed the line in terms of its commentary on mental health -- insinuating that violence is a justifiable response to despair. “Joker” is certainly a film that brings mental health to the forefront, an important topic of discussion that’s emphasized here at Santa Monica College (SMC). SMC offers an impressive array of resources to assist the mental health needs of students through The Center for Wellness & Wellbeing, which is open in-person at the new Student Services Building five days per week. SMC also has a 24/7 emotional support phone number -- (800) 691-6003 -- that provides in-moment support to students from a mental health clinician affiliated with the Center for Wellness & Wellbeing. Faculty and staff can also call the emotional support phone number to consult about a student in crisis. What’s most important to realize here is that no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. There’s no need to turn to violence or negativity. Instead, lean on the people around you. Working to maintain good mental health is a struggle faced by many, particularly college students. With the stress of classes, work, relationships and other obstacles, things can feel like a bit much sometimes. Acknowledging that you need help is easier said than done, but SMC offers resources to help take the next steps toward self-care. By discussing the mental health needs of ourselves and others, we can aid one another to work through these trials and tribulations. Managing mental health is a complicated endeavour, but there’s no need to make the journey harder than it has to be by enduring it alone.
Pathways Redesign Team Presents Report to Board of Trustees
Martha Ramirez | Managing Editor
During this month's Board of Trustees meeting, several members of Santa Monica College's (SMC) Guided Pathways redesign team presented a report outlining the progress made toward implementing the new Pathways Framework to the Board. The meeting, which took place on Tuesday, October 1, featured Black Collegians Program Leader, Sherri Bradford, faculty co-leads Guido del Piccolo and Maria Muñoz, and Pathways project manager Irena Zugic. According to the written report provided to the Board, Pathways is "an inclusive approach to reimagine, comprehensively redesign, and equitize the SMC student experience." The main goals of the redesign are: to reduce or eliminate equity gaps, reduce the time that it takes for students to complete their educational goals, and increase the rates of completion overall. A Case Statement for Pathways, which was published in March of 2018, explains that although SMC boasts numerous academic achievements, most students do not achieve their self-defined goals. Less than 20 percent of SMC students earn a degree, certificate, or transfer to a four-year institution within three years of first attending college. Furthermore, the Case Statement draws attention to the fact that the rate of black and Latinx students that achieve said
success is less than half of the rate of white students. SMC has many programs it has been using to close equity gaps. Pathways is aiming to be one of the most comprehensive. "The goal of achieving equity has always been the driving force behind the redesign," Muñoz stressed. Bradford explained to the Board, "We discussed using inquiry-based research to inform equity-based decision making as a means to develop solutions that will best benefit, particularly, our most marginalized students." New students will be assigned a "Student Care Team" consisting of an academic counselor, a career counselor, a faculty advisor, a financial aid specialist, and a peer navigator. Beginning in the Fall 2020 semester, all black and Latinx first-time college students will have access to a Student Care Team. Pathways is designed to help all students achieve their goals, regardless of their level of preparation for college. "In essence," the Case Statement for Pathways reads, "we must serve the students as they arrive at our door and facilitate their success in a much more intentional and systematic manner. Most of our first-time-incollege students come to us underprepared for the social, academic, and personal requirements for success in college." Pathways representatives acknowledged there are some major setbacks in implement-
ing Pathways – most notably the lack of and Wellness; People and Society; and comprehensive, student-facing technology Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math needed for students to achieve their goals. (STEM). The representatives from the redesign team SMC is also offering workshops called were able to discuss some of their achieve- "College to Career: Uncover Your Strategy ments. for Choosing a Major and Career Pathway." One of the major changes that Pathways "Each week, there's at least one of these will implement are Program Maps. workshops offered on a variety of days and - Louisetimes Jaffe According to the report, all instructhroughout the semester," Bradford tional programs, including degrees, certifi- explained. The 75-minute workshops are cates, and preparation for transfer, will have meant to help guide students in making de"an adaptable program map with on and off cisions on which major to choose. ramps." "In order to reach our students before Del Piccolo stated that the so-called they even get here, there's an offering of a mapping days were some of the team's biggest Counseling 12 course, the Career Counselachievements. "Here," del Piccolo said, "we ing class, for our high school students at brought together teams of instructional faculty SaMo High School. This one is a particuin a program, a counselor, a curriculum com- larly popular course, and it was completely mittee representative, and a student. These full this semester, with the hope of expandteams develop the most efficient and effec- ing this offering in the future," Bradford tive course sequence based on the students' said. end-goal." Thus far, there have been five "There is much work, as you know, still different mapping days, which have re- to be done. Times have changed, and so must sulted in 90 programs being mapped. we," Muñoz said. According to the report, first-time college Del Piccolo added, "Times have changed, students will identify an Area of Interest at but by and large, we engage in teaching, the time of their application and will "select learning, counseling, providing services, and an Academic and Career Path by the end of trying to meet student needs much the same their first academic year." way we have in the past 30 plus years. The "We have seven Areas of Interest, which time to fundamentally change business as contain related academic and career paths," usual is overdue. To meet the equity goals Zugic explained. These areas are: Arts, Media, that we have adopted, we must comprehenand Entertainment; Business; Culture, sively redesign Santa Monica College." History, and Languages; Education; Health
Recovery Through A.A. Meetings
Markeis Jefferson | Staff Writer Despite the small group of students dealing with the issue of having to use the loud and ever-so-crowded Santa Monica College (SMC) cafeteria as a temporary space, they aren’t discouraged one bit. Once they settle in, everyone introduces themselves one by one, before admitting to a personal challenge that they all share – alcoholism. To cope with their addictions, they seek help through the Alcoholic Anonymous (A.A.) support offered at SMC. Tuesday may just be a regular school day for many students, but for members of SMC’s A.A., it’s a day for members to bond and seek emotional recovery from within the group. During this meeting, members pulled out a book about alcoholism entitled “The Big Book” by William “Bill W.” Wilson and promptly turned to chapter five. For 20 minutes, each individual took turns reading personal stories told by people in the book regarding their struggles with alcoholism. After these readings, the group then proceeded to give weekly updates about things
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 'Big Books' on a table in the Santa Monica College (SMC) cafeteria, during a relocated AA meeting for students and staff at SMC, in Santa Monica, California, on Tuesday, September 24th 2019. (Marco Pallotti/The Corsair)
that are currently happening in their life. These weekly updates included everything from school related issues to mental health struggles, such as coping with depression. One student, who wished to stay anonymous, discussed feeling safe with other members of the group during weekly meetings, saying, “I really feel comfortable, I feel more comfortable at these meetings than with my family.” In addition to feeling at ease during these meetings, the student also feels like life has gotten better since he started going to A.A. “I feel better; my life has turned around. My life had a lot of problems, but I’m better now,” the student said. “Just know A.A. is always there for you when you’re ready.” A.A. meetings are still fairly new to SMC, having only been on campus for slightly over a year. SMC A.A. meetings are open to all SMC students during the Fall 2019 semester. Meetings are held every Tuesday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in room 200 of the Liberal Arts Building.
California Governor Approves Bill Tightening Regulations on Vaccine Exemptions
Dorothy Alexanian | Staff Writer
California Senate Bill 276, signed into law on Sept. 9, 2019, places tighter regulations on medical exemptions given for children’s vaccines. The bill cements a deadline of Jan. 1, 2021, for the State Department of Public Health (CDPH) to create a standardized form system through California’s Immunization Registry for approving and tracking exemptions. As of 2015, personal belief exemptions for vaccinations are no longer valid in California. However, recent studies, such as those conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics, have shown an uptick in the number of medical exemptions issued. Currently, only a doctor’s signature on an exemption is necessary to enroll a child in school, though the state retains copies of the documents. The bill, which includes three amendments to the California Health and Safety Code and the addition of two new sections, would mandate investigations into doctors who give more than five exemptions in a year, schools with below 95 percent herd immunity, or schools that do not voluntarily submit reports on their vaccination rates. The required material for the submission of an exemption to the state includes background information on the treatment of the child, a detailed description of the reason for the exemption for each vaccine, and a statement certifying under penalty of perjury that all information is true and correct. It also adds an appeals process for denied exemptions. The bill arrives on the tail of rising out-
Percentage of kindergarten students with all required vaccinations in California, by county, 2016-17 and 2017-18 from left to right. Provided by Executive Summary California Department of Public Health, Immu-
Percentage of kindergarten students with all required immunizations, by school type and school year, 2011-2012 to 2017-2018. Provided by Executive Summary California Department of Public Health, Immunization Branch 2017-2018 Kindergarten Immunization Assessment.
breaks and falling immunization levels. The bill states, “By May 2019, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,022 cases of the measles nationwide. 51 of those incidences were in California.” A CDPH study of immunization in elementary schools found that a vast majority of Westside kindergartens fell short of the 95 percent acceptable rate of herd immunity. While there are no vaccine requirements for Santa Monica College (SMC) students, - besides a few exceptions for the Athletic and Medicine departments - the SMC Health Services Office offers seven major vaccinations, as well as the tuberculosis skin test. Students planning to transfer to a California four-year college are required to have, at minimum, MMR, Varicella, TDAP, and Meningococcal Conjugate vaccinations. It’s currently unknown how many SMC students are vaccinated as the college is not required to report on levels of herd immunity. However, with primary and secondary schools in the area reporting lower rates of vaccination, SMC may be susceptible to outbreaks comparable to those at the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles earlier in the year. According to SMC Health Services nurse practitioner Kasiani Gountoumas, “We have over 30,000 students, and we don’t know how many of them are vaccinated. It’s possible we could have an outbreak of measles, mumps, and rubella, or chickenpox.” Students interested in obtaining vaccinations may visit the Student Health Services Center, located in the northeast corner of the Cayton Center Complex.
SMC Focuses on Suicide Prevention
Marley Alaniz | Staff Writer Feeling disconnected from oneself may sound like an all too familiar sensation to some. In fact, according to the American College Health Association [ACHA], this detached state of mind relates to the notion of suicide, which has tripled its rate among college students since the 1950’s. This year, the hashtag #BETHE1TO has trended on online platforms such as Twitter, where those who have been or know someone affected by suicide can share their stories. The World Health Organization [WHO] dedicates its Mental Health Day this year to focus on suicide prevention with “40 seconds of action” meant to bring awareness to the fact that, every 40 seconds, a life is lost due to suicide according to the WHO’s website. The Center for Wellness and Wellbeing at Santa Monica College [SMC] recognizes
how serious suicide is by offering a robust schedule of workshops, special events, and trainings that cover suicide prevention as well as other mental health topics, such as anxiety, depression, mindfulness, relationships, and stress management. Dr. Alison Brown, a psychologist, can be found at The Center of Wellbeing and passes on a message for those who can relate to this isolated feeling: “You are not alone.” “We offer short-term individual counseling, crisis intervention, workshops and trainings, classroom presentations, mental health awareness events, and a 24/7 emotional support line for SMC students,” stated Dr. Brown. Karina Fuller, M.D. fights to debunk common myths associated with suicide by educating the public on the subject matter through The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ [NAMI] website.
“Debunking the common myths associated with suicide can help society realize the importance of helping others seek treatment and show individuals the importance of addressing their mental health challenges,” Dr. Fuller states. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline specifies a list of possible indicators related to suicide. This includes someone on the verge of suicide actively talking about feeling trapped, being a burden, and wanting to kill themselves. SMC will offer Mental Health First Aid training in October and November for students to train and develop skills needed to assist those in crisis. This includes those with suicidal and self-injury thoughts and behaviors to help either resolve the crisis or get connected with appropriate resources. SMC will be offering a workshop entitled, “What to Do When a Friend is Suicidal” this
December. “Suicide is preventable.” Dr. Brown adds, “If your family member is ‘on the verge of suicide’ and the threat of suicide is imminent, please get immediate help for your loved one by calling the Department of Mental Health Access Line (800) 851-7771, calling 911, or going to the nearest emergency room.” This year, the city of Santa Monica will be hosting the Out of the Darkness Greater Los Angeles Walk at the Santa Monica Pier on October 19. The walk is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention [AFSP] and is meant to raise awareness and funds for AFSP to invest in scientific research, prodivde resources for survivors of suicide loss, and advocate for policies and legilsation that impact suicide and prevention.
Even though their opponents were tough, The Corsairs were wearing smiles during their match against the SBCC Vaqueros at the Mt. SAC Mountie Classic Tournament hosted by Fullerton College in Fullerton, Calif. on September 28, 2019. Ruth Canales (8) in good spirits before the start of the second half. (Michael Waas / The Corsair)
Grace Knight, from Santa Monica College (SMC) women's water polo team, Scoring a goal during their scrimmage at practice on Monday, October 6, in Santa Monica, Calif. as they gear up for games this weekend at a Ventura Invitational tournament. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
UNSINKABLE SPIRIT Corsairs Won’t Give Up Search For First Win Deshawn Pouper | Sports Editor Santa Monica College’s (SMC) women’s water polo team is on the road to improvement for the 2019 season. Although the team has garnered an 0-11 record, their new official head coach Brian Eskridge remains optimistic on the future of the team. In a match against the Santa Barbara Community College Vaqueros, the Corsairs lost in a one-sided match where their inexperience showed at times. However, they also displayed grit in the last quarter, scoring some points that would only strengthen their confidence. After the match, Coach Eskridge stated that inexperience was one of the biggest reasons they lost against the much more experienced Santa Barbara team. Going forward, the theme for the rest of the season is improvement, and getting the water polo program up to speed with others. With 13 games left in the season for the Corsairs, they hope their spirit and determination will carry them to smoother waters.
Santa Monica College (SMC) women’s water polo team, during their practice on Monday, October 6, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
O’Rourke Visits Maximus Kohr | Staff Writer
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke, holds a town hall event at Casa del Mexicano, on Saturday, October 5, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke signing a picture of himself for a supporter at the end of the town hall event at Casa del Mexicano on Saturday, October 5, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
Beto O'Rourke, a 47-year old former three-term congressman representing El Paso Texas, now running for the 2020 democratic Presidential nomination, arrived at La Casa Del Mexicano, a historic hispanic landmark that has been around for 88 years, located in Boyle Heights. With a small turn out of supporters that came to the event on Saturday, O'Rourke used the moment to send a personal message to the crowd. Before O'Rourke spoke, Congressman Jimmy Gomez and State Senator Maria Elena Durazo endorsed O'Rourke to the crowd. They talked about the immense amount of passion and support that O'Rourke gives to victims of gun violence, how he understands the seriousness of climate change and understands the struggles of the families under the poverty line that have trouble making ends meet. After the introduction, O'Rourke came on and spoke about the Hispanic community and stories of triumph within that community in Texas. He also mentioned other stories of racial and social inequalities between Hispanic Americans and the laws of the time. O'Rourke proposed stricter gun regulations on weapons like AK-47s and a AR-15s, saying that he'd met a Republican that is the owner of an AR-15. That Republican said, “I have no use for that gun. I can’t hunt with it. I cant use it for self defense and the only thing that I can do is take it out to the range. I would gladly give it up because I have kids and I fear that someone else can buy the same gun and take it to my kids school.’’ O'Rourke mentioned the shooter in El Paso, who two months ago killed 22 people in three minutes with
Beto O’Rourke’s supporters, holding signs, during a town hall event at Casa del Mexicano, on Saturday, October 5, in Los Angele
s Boyle Heights a variant of the AK-47 assault weapon. O'Rourke offered a solution to the problem, explaining that if he were to be elected President, he would issue mandatory buybacks of assault rifles. “The time is ticking,” O'Rourke said, turning the conversation to climate change. He proceeded to tell the crowd a story of when his son discussed with him how if nothing is done to stop climate change now, his son at his age will not be able to live in El Paso. He also added that El Paso is one of the hottest places in the country. O'Rourke's stance on climate change was that there is only a limited amount of time to act before we face irreparable changes in the climate. Although he offered a lot of ideas about what we should do, he didn't go into detail how he would prevent further changes in the environment. O'Rourke was asked about how he plans to make college tuition more affordable for students if elected president. “I will make sure that the first two years of any higher education is free and I will make sure that a four year program is debt-free,” O'Rourke answered. “Not just for tuition, a lot of candidates are exclusively focused on that but tuition as well as room and board and books the full coast of higher ed.” O'Rourke added, “I will make sure that those that have outstanding student loan debt, if they dedicate any part of their career to public service -- so teaching or working at the VA or working at the local, state, or federal government -- then their student debt is wiped clean and clear so they can focus on that service.” Beto O’rourke is one of 12 candidates seeking the Democratic Presidential Nomination in 2020.
es, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
“I will make sure that the first two years of any higher education is free.” - Beto O’Rourke
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke, holds a town hall event at Casa del Mexicano, on Saturday, October 5, in Los Angeles, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
SMC Hosts California’s Former Poet Laureate Dana Gioia in Stromberg Hall Juliana Wingate | Staff Writer
Poet Dana Gioia reciti ng one of his poems to audiences in Santa Monica College’s Stromberg Hall on Oct. 3, 2019. (Kevin Tidmore / The Corsair)
At Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Stromberg Hall on Oct. 3rd, former Poet Laureate of California from 2015 - 2019 Dana Gioia introduced himself to SMC students and faculty as both a poet and a fourth-generation American with Mexican and Sicilian roots. Born and raised in Hawthorne, Calif., Gioia read poems that testified to authentic California livelihoods. Choosing to ditch his microphone and orate directly to the audience, Gioia presented testimonies to the art of experience and the passing of time. The poems Hot Summer Nights and Psalm of the Heights explore a tableau of the city; each experience is unique, including dynamic and entangled relationships. The poems meditate on the human condition from a point of observation and reflection. “Poetry is an art of memory and
has always been one of the best ways in which we understand our mortality,” said Gioia. In his tenure as Poet Laureate, Gioia visited all 58 counties of California, interacting with local communities and public spaces. “I learned that everywhere I went – including small towns, rural areas, and marginalized urban neighborhoods – there is an audience for poetry and local writers. Creativity is in the DNA of California,” Gioia said. With graduate degrees from Stanford and Harvard, Gioia, the first in his family to attend college, spoke about poetry as something he was inevitably attracted to growing up. “It brought me to place outside of ordinary life,” said Gioia, reflecting on experiences with his mother who would recite poems from memory. In The Ballad of Jesus Ortiz, Gioia performs the true story of the murder
of his vaquero great grandfather: “Three thousand head of cattle / Fording the muddy streams, / And then three thousand phantoms / Bellowing in your dreams.” As Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) from 2003 to 2009, Gioia advocated for arts education, expanding the audience that the endowment could reach. Implementing programs like Poetry Out Loud and The Big Read, the NEA was able to engage young people and help expose them to literature and creative outlets. “[Those programs] reached tens of millions of people and employed thousands of artists,” said Gioia. “For the first time in its history, the NEA reached all of America. It saddens me to see how far the Agency has retreated...I am proud that both parties in Congress resisted the Trump Administration’s attempt to close the agency.”
The ‘Golden Age of Arcade Gaming’ Visits Union Station for its Second Year
Sandi Garcia | Photographer
The Retrocade Experience returned for the second year in a row at Union Station’s ticketing concourse in Downtown Los Angeles for the weekend of Sept. 28 to 29. Retrocade Experience is an event that allows visitors to play a classic collection of over 50 arcade games and specialty pinball cabinets including many fan favorites such as “Mortal Kombat,” “Pac-Man,” “Asteroids,” and “Centipede.” Last year’s event had only about 40 arcade games available. Gamers purchased access to play two hours’ worth of games for $5. The best feature was that all the arcade games
Admission is $5 per two-hour gaming session and all games are set to “free play.” (Sandi Garcia / The Corsair)
were set to “free play” so there was no need to bring bags of quarters. According to officials, this year’s event expected over 2,500 visitors daily. This number is slightly higher than last year’s totals of 2,400 visitors. For competitive gamers, there were daily Pac-Man tournaments where players strived for the highest scores, with the winner earning a Pac-Man inspired trophy as their prize. Along with the arcade games, there were retro tracks from the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s filling the room with that arcade ambience. Visitors and arcade enthusiasts, like Sarah Giorgione, reminisced about how arcade games were a huge part of their lives. “I loved playing these games as a kid,” said Giorgione. “We had about 3 to 4 arcades where I grew up. I grew up in England. It was the place to hang out. I saw the ‘Popeye’ game and that’s the one that I haven’t seen in years and I had forgotten it existed. It was great being able to play that once again.” Throughout the day, the sounds of buttonmashing and pinballs crashing back and forth filled the historic train station. Continuing on with the theme of traditional arcade energy, classic snacks such as nachos, churros, and refreshments were available for purchase. For of-age gamers, arcadethemed cocktails were on sale at the site. Stephanie Goodell, a spokesperson for Break White Light – the company that did the marketing for Retrocade Experience – discussed the importance of bringing arcade games to a newer generation of
gamers. “The thing about gaming now, it’s kind of a solitary experience, right? Everybody does it from their consoles in their living room and so this concept of an arcade where you can kind of share this experience with other people, people sort of really seem to enjoy,” said Goodell. Goodell added that Union Station was the perfect venue to hold Retrocade because it brings a diverse group of people to the event. Whether one was jumping over barrels being thrown from a giant ape or running from colorful ghosts while munching on white dots, the Retrocade Experience was a nostalgia-filled time for the older and newer generation of arcade gamers alike.
Visitors can choose to play from a collection of classic arcade games and specialty pinball cabinets including “Pac Man,” “Donkey Kong,” “Mortal Kombat,” “The Simpsons,” etc. (Sandi Garcia / The Corsair)
The Return of IndieCade: Year Two
Dorothy Alexanian | Staff Writer
IndieCade Festival, an event showcasing independent games and their creators, will be occupying Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Center for Media and Design (CMD) for the second year in a row, from Oct. 10 to Oct. 12. Originating as an offshoot of Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in 2005, IndieCade’s longest running venue was downtown Culver City. When development took off in the area, however, Indiecade relocated to University of Southern California and then to Little Tokyo. A critical coordinator between IndieCade and SMC is David Javelosa, professor of Interactive Media. A proponent of SMC’s game development program and a longtime participant as an IndieCade juror and entertainer, Javelosa was involved in discussions of CMD as a possible venue for IndieCade in 2017. “The first concern was space, but the festival planners were already considering making it smaller,” said Javelosa. “[CMD] gave them a good rationale for shrinking down the festival itself. There’s actually room to expand.”
According to Javelosa, logistical challenges for the conference, such as a lack of nearby hotels and restaurants, were easily offset by the CMD’s proximity to the LA Metro and an abundance of food trucks. “The city of Santa Monica has also been very supportive,” said Stephanie Barish, CEO of IndieCade. “They’ve wanted us to come there for a while, but it was hard to find a location that was big enough. We were all really happy with the results last year, and hope that it can become a long-term partnership.” The types of gameplay that will be featured range from physical cards to animated universes. According to the IndieCade submission page, “all creators of interactive media are welcome to apply for inclusion at our events, regardless of experience, style, or background.” The festival’s awards ceremony recognizes outstanding games in a number of categories, including narrative design, performance, and adaptation. Awards will be presented to developers and companies from a variety of categories. For instance, the Game Changer Award will be given to individuals who cause a significant, positive change in the gaming world.
Among this year’s nominated games are Queering Spacetime, a roleplaying card game about queer dating, as well as NEScape!, an escape room style game compatible with Nintendo’s original NES system. Media professor and creator of SMC’s “Introduction to Game Studies” class, Dr. Julia Raz, describes Indiecade as the “Sundance of video games." “It was a great networking opportunity, and so fun to playtest a bunch of indie titles,” said Raz of IndieCade Festival 2018. “Any SMC students who are interested in going into a media industry, and the video game industry, in particular, should definitely check out this event.” Like last year’s iteration, IndieCade Festival 2019 will host programs ranging from "gametasting," an opportunity to test and review unreleased games, to IndieXchange, a summit for developers submitting to the festival that includes workshops, panels, and networking opportunities. The festival will also feature games
Screamfest, a film festival dedicated to terror, will be presenting an abundance of horror films throughout Oct. 8-17, purposely causing blood-curdling screams all throughout the night. The “largest and longest running horror film festival in the United States,” as per the festival’s website, returns to the TCL Chinese Theater located in the heart of Hollywood for its annual extravaganza. Known in the entertainment industry as the “Sundance of Horror,” film producers Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin brought the festival to life in 2001. Belofsky's passion for horror and desire to create a community to promote indie horror films inspired her to create Screamfest. "I wanted to provide a platform for talented filmmakers in the genre to showcase their work," said Belofsky. "Horror seemed to be an under-appreciated genre.” Up-and-coming filmmakers and writers in the horror and science-fiction genres network with notable producers and film distributors at the event. Festival organizers cite the supernatural franchise “Paranormal Activity,” directed by Oren Peli, as the most prominent example of how Screamfest can benefit aspiring film directors. “Paranormal Activity” gained recognition on its Oct. 14, 2007 debut from
Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a prominent talent agency within the motion picture industry. “When all other festivals were rejecting [Paranormal Activity], Screamfest was the first and only festival at the time that accepted us," said Peli. "We had a great premiere screening and got positive reviews as a result. It all started with Screamfest!” Screamfest encourages any aspiring director to send in their films, no matter their level of experience. Independent and student filmmakers are welcome to submit their work containing guts, gore, and so much more through the film festival’s website. Belofsky's experience as a producer has taught her much about the film industry, and she hopes that her festival will inspire others to increase their knowledge and experience. “Before beginning production, be sure to use a professional casting director and crew," Belofsky advised. "Production value is key. Also strive for an original story and don’t be derivative of other works.” Awards in the shape of a skull, designed by veteran special make-up effects artist Stan Winston, will be distributed to the winners of various film categories, including Best Picture and Best Musical Score. The ten nights of terror kicks off its opening night on Tuesday, Oct. 8, with a party followed by a screening of “Eat, Brains, Love” directed by Rodman Flender.
created by SMC students, which will be available to test in CMD's first floor computer lab. A screening of "In Bright Axiom" by Spencer McCall, a documentary-style film about a game that touches on ideas of reality and religion, will take place on Oct. 11 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Five tiers of tickets are available on the Indiecade website, from $15 tickets to Saturday evening’s “Night Games à la Carte”, which includes three-and-a-half hours of gameplay, to the $675 “Industry/VIP” pass, which includes complete access to all the resources offered before and at the event. SMC students can purchase tickets at a discounted rate. “[Students] don’t have to go to E3 or GDC, it all happens here,” said Javelosa. “For my money, IndieCade has always been my favorite game event. It reminds me of game development conferences 20, 30 years ago, when game development was still a niche industry."
Screamfest Set to Scare Horror Fans Marley Alaniz | Staff Writer
BY MONDAY, NOV 4
Photography Alumni Exhibition Raises Money For Hungry Students Aleah Antonio | Staff Writer As dark clouds and a light rain masked the setting sun over Drescher Hall, a warm light from the building invited guests inside. Upon entering the second floor, voices of reunited alumni, colleagues, and students buzzed in the foyer of the Santa Monica College (SMC) Photography Gallery. The SMC Photography Department and SMC Foundation hosted the opening reception of the Alumni Exhibition Silent Auction on Saturday, Sept. 28. The exhibition, running from Sept. 29 through Oct. 25, comprises selected submissions of graduated alumni. Before entering the gallery, a large glass window reveals the four works that preview the rest of the film, digital, and mixed media photographs inside. One of the photographs that hung in the window was Gabriella Carpello’s black and white nude titled “Self portrait (from series).” “When I was [at] SMC, I was doing a lot of nudes distorting [the models] with really long legs, arms, torsos … really natural forms not being sexualized,” said Carpello. “In this instance, I wanted to make a whole series with this dreamy soft lighting, kind of painting with light instead of flash.” The photographers behind each piece differed in their artistic processes and background experiences. 2012 SMC graduate Aldo-Rafael Cos is the photographer of
“Splash Dancer,” a portrait of a dancer midpose entrenched in water and blue light. Currently a seventh-grade science teacher, Cos took a two-year hiatus to earn his photography degree at SMC and plans to retire from teaching to become a full-time photographer. On the opposite wall, 2017 graduate Diana Parra Garcia’s “Untitled” depicted a small bird perched on a tree in Yosemite National Park. Parra works as an official photographer for multiple projects, including podcast PooseBoss and the Sierra Club Los Angeles Chapter. Alumni photographers took time during the exhibition to reconnect over their experiences as students while they caught up with their old friends and professors. “The professors in the photo department were super open and willing to talk to you after class or … just hang out as peers and talk about photography,” Carpello said. “I still feel close with a couple of the professors here… I can talk to them now as a professional and still feel like I have guidance, a connection, and support.” Alumni exhibitions take place every other year, alternating with faculty exhibitions. Last year’s faculty exhibition was the first to be turned into a fundraiser, with its proceeds benefiting the photography department. All proceeds raised from the silent auction will go towards SMC’s food security pro-
"Venice." The title of the work shown here is being enjoyed at Santa Monica College (SMC). The general population come to check out the Alumni Exhibition & Silent auction fundraiser for hungry students. Saturday Sept. 28th, 2019 on the 2nd Floor of Drescher Hall, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Randy Martinez / The Corsair)
grams, including the Corsair Market, Free Lunch Voucher program (FLVR), and the Galley Program food closet. All three programs give students access to healthy food options by offering free produce, non-perishable goods, and food vouchers. The SMC Foundation is a large partner in program funding. “We want to position our students in the best way to be successful,” said Photography Department Chair Josh Sanseri. “If we can
relieve a little pressure here, a little pressure there … hopefully they can get more out of school and be more successful in their careers. We’re just trying to help in every way that we can.” The silent auction will remain open to bids until 5 p.m. on Oct. 25. For more information on the college’s food security programs, visit SMC’s website or the Student Resource Office on the main campus.
Math Therapy for Black Collegians and Adelante Students Eline Millenaar | Staff Writer Sweaty palms, increased heart beat, paralysis of thought - all at the sight of a mathematical problem. These symptoms of math anxiety are familiar to many college students. Math Therapy is a combined effort of the Adelante and Black Collegians communities to specifically help African American and Latinx students at Santa Monica College (SMC). Math faculty, tutors and counselors meet with students every Thursday in the Letters and Sciences Building, Room 105 to eliminate math barriers, provide free math resources, and help prepare for math assessments and exams. The Math Therapy workshops are led by Dr. Tyffany Dowd, Dr. Kristin Ross, and Math Instructional Assistant Edwin Cruz. Every meeting starts with a mindfulness exercise such as a guided meditation, followed by a math strategy. They then break out into study groups of students and tutors. The program also offers supplies like books and practice exams, as well as lunch.
The need for Math Therapy is supported by a study titled ‘Decreasing Math Anxiety in College Students’ published in the College Student Journal, which mentions that approximately 85 percent of the students that participated in a small-scale survey claimed to feel “at least mild math anxiety.” According to the study ‘Spotlight on Math Anxiety’ published in the Journal of Psychology Research and Behavior Management in 2018, math anxiety and math performance influence each other. Math anxiety increases when math grades plummet, and the academic performance in math courses decrease when students experience math anxiety. Philosophy major Tyler Jackson-Zeno started attending Math Therapy recently. The mindfulness exercises make this different than his other math class, and he also likes that he can learn from his peers. “I just wanted to pass the exam, but my first experience here was like, ‘Oh, this is not just tutoring!’” said Jackson-Zeno. Both Cruz and Dr. Dowd refer to research that shows that math performance is his-
torically and systematically lower among black and brown students. Ross believes this is due to a lack of relatability; black students rarely see themselves reflected in the content. She says that communication is also an issue. Students told her that the learning techniques, words used, and the accents of their math instructors were different than their own, which made it more difficult to understand. Math professor and Math Therapy counselor Dr. Kristin Ross was the first black woman to join SMC’s math department. At the Black Collegians Community (BCC) welcome event in September, Ross spoke of the importance of mental confidence, as well as the importance of good math grades. According to Ross, universities often look at a student’s math grades as a gatekeeper to “get the cream of the crop.” “I’m tired of hearing that black people don’t do math,” said Dr. Ross during the BCC Welcome event. “At some point in time you had a very bad experience with math, for those of you that hate math...and then some of your parents reflected that into you,
too.” Math Therapy’s approach has been successful, according to Cruz. He noticed that a lot of the students that come on Thursdays continue to come to future meetings. Math Therapy is currently only available to students that are part of the Adelante or Black Collegians community, although the Math Department has expressed interest in expanding the program. “There’s been talk about trying to make this more scalable for the campus,” said Dowd. “We’re still trying to figure how to do that, but with the same notion that we want to keep this for Black Collegians and Adelante students.” Besides attending Math Therapy on Thursdays from 11:15 a.m. - 12:35 p.m. at LS 105, Black Collegians and Adelante students can also meet with Cruz on a drop-in basis. He can be found on the second floor of the Student Services Center from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. “My goal is to get everyone...an A in that math class,” said Cruz.
China Threatened by Massive Pro-Democracy Demonstrations supports democratic reforms, namely the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive In Hong Kong, pro-democracy camp’s and the Legislative Council as given by the Basic Law under “One protest marches C o u n t r y, Tw o have filled the Systems.” This is a streets for over one policy that allows hundred days. The Hong Kong certain often violent autonomy from the clashes between mainland PRC. Hong Kong citizens Political tensions and riot police are building because cracking down on the PRC is asserting protesters is a thorn the right to extradite in the side of sovereign Hong Kong Beijing. The aucitizens to stand trial thoritarian regime for legal charges — not on the mainland in the primary Hong desired to display Kong court system but the face of calm those in the more unity in its celebrasevere secondary tion of the 70th ansystem. This opens the niversary of the Illustration by Drew Andersen door to the arrest and declaration of the deportation of political dissidents to China People’s Republic of China (PRC) on Oct. on vague or specious charges as a means 1. A very different reality is unfolding each to intimidate and repress democratic values day, alarming global democracies. the people in Hong Kong hold dear. They The pro-democracy movement refers to want China to honor their “One Country, a political alignment in Hong Kong that Drew Andersen | Staff Writer
Two Systems” basic legal structure that forbids this extradition maneuver. Santa Monica College (SMC) attracts hundreds of international students from China. Saihin Wong is a 20 year old design student from Hong Kong. Wong was home in August and observed crowds of many “middle school students as young as 14 years old.” He explained the front line crowd wear masks to avoid being identified later on and being subject to arrest. A pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong, began organizing street demonstrations at age 14 years old. In a recent Dateline interview for Australian TV, Wong explained the movement meant much to young people because they are Hong Kong’s future and they do not see a future of hope should they allow China to undermine their current democratic rights. He refers to “white terror,” the current practice of arresting and detaining protesters regardless of their age under threat of ten years in prison for protest activities. The tech savvy young activists are armed with iPhones to record frontline clash with police. This measure taken together with today’s instant uploads to social media help
insure the whole world is watching their actions from the pro-democracy perspective. China has a major facial recognition program to identify people in public settings. Other frontline protest tactics include use of umbrellas to hide faces, ward off tear gas canisters and rubber bullets, and provide the cover necessary for activists to dismantle mounted police street cameras that record marchers’ activities. Nearly everyone in Hong Kong uses an umbrella each week because of frequent rain. Hong Kong is considered the ATM or cash machine for the Chinese economy because of its more free-wheeling capitalistic practices in terms of business and trade. Tourism in Hong Kong is down 40 percent since July, along with the economy off by 20 percent. Saihin Wong said, “I just want everything get back to normal. We get to do what we want and not get stopped. We can have different opinions. Not be told this is the right way. That is the wrong way. Let me mind my own business.” He predicts the activist movement is “not going to stop soon.”
Active Shooter Protocols Normalized Across US Marley Alaniz | Staff Writer It’s back-to-school season for kids across America. As the new school year welcomes prospective students, Sandy Hook Promise released a PSA video on Sept. 18. The video depicts cheerful school children parading ordinary school essentials for the academic year that may come in handy when fending off an active shooter. The non-profit organization was founded by parents of the victims who lost their lives in 2012 during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The video’s gut-wrenching message is meant to remind parents and students of the now-normalized tragic fact: the possibility of a shooting happening in a school setting. The United States has overlooked taking a stricter stance on gun violence for far too long. It has gotten to the point where bulletproof backpacks are added right next to pencils and paper on the back-to-school shopping list. For parents to have to think about what active shooter insurance best provides liability protection along with coverage on medical expenses and property damage is absolutely absurd. The public has almost become desensitized to the idea of someone massacring schoolchildren.
According to Everytown, a pro-gun fronting a violent intruder is the best method regulation group, there have been 142 shoot- for ensuring the safety of those involved. ings in American schools since 2013. Santa Counter is a strategy of last resort. Counter Monica College (SMC) made its way on focuses on actions that create noise, movethe list after the shooting that occurred on ment, distance and distraction with the intent and off campus on June 7, 2013 that left six people dead and four others injured. Since then, active shooter protocols are casually listed next to steps instructed to take in case of an earthquake or a fire on class safety information cards. “One of the things we like to promote is run, hide, fight,” stated the Chief of Santa Monica College Police Department, Johnnie Adams. He further explained, “Let’s say you hear gunfire in the distance or you see people screaming and running or whatever, you want to run. If you get trapped in Illustration by Chloe Geschwind a classroom he [the supposed active shooter] could gain access at some of reducing the shooter’s ability to shoot point in time where you have to fight.” accurately.” However, aggressive reactions towards Greg Cane, a law enforcement veteran the perpetrator(s) would not be wise ac- with over 30 years of experience, developed cording to the ALICE Training Institute. the institute after the massacre that happened ALICE, which stands for the acronym: at Columbine High School, Colorado in Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and 1999 where 15 deaths, including both perEvacuate, states on their website, “ALICE petrators, occurred. Training does not believe that actively conAlthough these safety precautions sound
great on paper, is all this really going to help the never-ending mass shooter epidemic across the United States? The short answer is no. President Donald Trump met with the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, Wayne LaPierre on Sept. 27 following Mr. Trump’s impeachment inquiry which was announced three days prior. According to New York Times journalists Maggie Haberman and Annie Karni, the meeting between Mr. Trump and Mr. LaPierre may have indicated that the president’s priority is his own political survival as opposed to making any progress towards gun control. Instead of any meaningful actions, our elected head of the country and his administration will continue sharing thoughts and prayers. As of now, that is all we can expect of him in terms of a concrete solution to gun violence.
Pacific Park Hosts World Taco-Eating Contest
Maritza Ibarra | Staff Writer Pedestrians, visitors, and curious tourists all stopped by at the Santa Monica Pier on Friday, Oct. 4 to observe the 2nd-Annual Pacific Park Taco Eating Championship at 11 a.m. Under the bright sky of an ocean morning, championship eaters consumed as many two-ounce carnitas tacos that they could ingest in eight minutes. This event was a “professional competition, one of eighty around the nation and one of three in Southern California,” according to Andy Perez, the event organizer. Among the competitors is Gideon Oji, an immigrant from Nigeria who resides in the United States and is the number one ranked competitor in Africa. As a selfprofessed “hard competitor,” he entered this activity, “to beat the best.” Oji actually prefers chicken wings to tacos. Reigning World Champion Joey Chestnut came back to defend his title of 62 tacos last year and hoped to eclipse 80 tacos this year. He beat Oji by 10 tacos last year and is the current holder of over 50 major professional eating titles in his highly decorated career. A few days before the competition, he eats “the competition food to acclimate his body,” and right after the competition he has, “a few beers and takes a nap.” Chestnut
Joey Chestnut eating a taco at the 2019 Taco Eating Champioship held at Pacific Park in Santa Monica, California. Oct. 5, 2019. (Fernando Duran/The Corsair)
also likes chicken wings. And finally, to emphasize the all-inclusive nature of this competition, Monte Cook, “Dr. Fantastic,” entered as a first and only time participant. A proponent of always trying new things, he admitted that this competition presented a new challenge. A large crowd stood next to the entrance of the south section of the pier to witness this event. Curiosity was the general feeling as most visitors never witnessed such an event in their lives. At exactly 11:10 a.m., competitors slammed tortillas, carnitas, and cilantro into their mouths. For the first three minutes, Oji held a narrow lead over Chestnut, with Cook far behind. As the fiveminute mark approached, Chestnut raced convincingly past Oji. Encouraged by the screaming, manic energy of the crowd, Chestnut stuffed trays of tacos into his mouth. By the final minute, Chestnut had furiously pounded taco after taco into his grinding jaw and distanced himself from his nearest competitors by over 12 tacos, setting a new world record of 82 tacos in eight minutes. The competition ended with Chestnut winning the $2,500 first place prize. Oji finished third, garnering a $350 prize for eating 69 tacos. Lastly, Cook ate 16 tacos and won nothing.
California First to Pay College Athletes
Jack Hughes | Web Editor
Last Monday on Lebron James’ HBO Show “The Shop,” California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill enacting major athletic reform in the state. Senate Bill 206 (SB 206) prohibits the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) from barring an institution the ability to compete in an event if athletes are paid for their names and likenesses. The bill passed through the California Legislature unanimously. Previously, young athletes on the college level were unable to receive financial compensation for their athletic talents. Advocates of the bill believe this will open doors for student athletes, particularly those of poor backgrounds. Many proponents agree: for too long, big-name universities have been able to profit off young athletes without those athletes receiving compensation. Although this conversation has been
underway for some time, the recent explosion of college superstars like Duke University’s Zion Williamson has added fuel to the fire. The men’s basketball phenomenon caused Duke’s viewership to skyrocket. According to ESPN, seven of the 10 most viewed games of the men’s season featured Williamson and company. In an article entitled “The Business of Zion,” Sports Business Journal writer Michael Smith focuses on the impact stars like Williamson are having on college sports culture. “The Blue Devils [have] the highest-priced resale ticket in the game, averaging $329, according to SeatGeek,” Smith said. “Kentucky ranks a very distant second with an average of $132 for resale.” When Williamson - the 6-foot-7, 245pound first overall pick in this year’s NBA draft - took his show on the road, other universities spiked their prices a whopping 194 percent above the season average. Duke reportedly saw increased ticket
Diego Hernandez, from Santa Monica College (SMC) water polo team, is so thrilled that California college athletes can now be paid and says “College athletes are going to be more motivated because now they push themselves to the field and also opens up more opportunities for them”. On Monday, October 6, in Santa Monica, Calif. (Yasamin Jtehrani / The Corsair)
revenue, a dramatic jump in jersey sales, and a noticeable growth in donations to its athletic department with Williamson in the program. All the while, Williamson didn’t receive a penny. When he announced and signed the bill on “The Shop,” Newsom received praise from all in attendance, including Los Angeles Lakers forward Lebron James and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. However, not all are in favor of the move. The NCAA has voiced its negative opinion on this legislation. In a same-day press release, the NCAA stated, “As more states consider their own specific legislation related to this topic, it is clear that a patchwork of different laws from different states will make unattainable the goal of providing a fair and level playing field for 1,100 campuses and nearly half a million student-athletes nationwide.” The association believes that by signing this bill, unfair advantages may be offered in certain states that could restrict the development of athletic programs in locations that have not yet passed similar bills. Furthermore, California schools - including the UC system, the Cal State system, Stanford, and USC - publicly oppose the bill. Governor Newson has left time for negotiations with the NCAA for the next three years, when the bill goes into effect, but the clock is ticking. Many Santa Monica College (SMC) student-athletes believe Newsom’s legislation is a step forward for California. Men’s water polo player Diego Hernandez says, “[athletes] are going to be more motivated,” because, “this opens more opportunities for them.”
“The Corsair” reached out to the governor’s office for an interview regarding SB 206, however we did not receive a response before the date of publication. Graphic by Deshawn Pouper
Unsinkable: Never Giving Up