Page 1

Beto O’Rourke headlines annual Denton Democrats dinner NEWS: PAGE 3

Serving the University of North Texas and Denton since 1916 NTDAILY.COM

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

VOL. 113 No. 3

Making Saturday mornings sweeter

New student earns millions in scholarships By Rebecca Najera @RebeccaNajera42

Monique initially tabled at the market to help spread the word. “My wife is blessed with cooking, and she’s from a family of nine,” Artiz said. “That’s where the inspiration [for Sweet Rolls] came from. She wanted to cater, so we did our first catering event in August 2013.” The cinnamon rolls unexpectedly gained a following, prompting them to return to the market after an absence and continue to appear on Saturdays during market season. “When we weren’t here during a lot of the 2016 season, people were like, ‘Where are the cinnamon roll people?’” Artiz said. “So that’s how it started.” Monique and Artiz run Sweet Rolls as a unit, but divide responsibilities so that both of them are working in things they’re individually good at. “It’s a husband and wife team,” Artiz said. “She

Incoming freshman Brassant Richardson has made UNT her university of choice after receiving nearly $3 million worth of scholarship offers from multiple colleges and universities. “I accredit most of my drive and hard work to my parents,” Richardson said. “They have taught me how to work hard and be driven because they have always put our well being first and have always tried to Brassant set us up with great Richardson opportunities. Even after my Mom had a stroke and my Dad’s kidneys were on the verge of failing, they provided best they could and didn’t step down one bit.” Though both of her parents’ health have improved, making sure they are both taken care of is part of what keeps Richardson motivated. “It was hard having one parent there sometimes instead of two,” Richardson said. “I have always felt a constant pressure to ‘make it’ with financial success to help cover their medical bills and help them have a stress free and adventurous retirement.” Growing up, Richardson always had a love for education and even skipped second grade. In high school, she attended Judson Early College Academy in San Antonio where she earned her high school diploma and graduated with an associate degree in liberal arts. “She was pretty persistent,” Richardson’s college prep teacher Christie Martin said. “She would take time that others had and did not utilize, and I know that’s why she was successful because she put that effort in.” With a letter showing she was on the free lunch program, Richardson’s application fees were waived when she applied to colleges. “At the end, all of the rewards started to come [in because] she created choices for herself,” Martin said. “She just put a lot of energy into her own future.” Richardson was accepted into the majority of the 62 colleges

SEE SWEET ROLLS ON PAGE 5

SEE FRESHMAN ON PAGE 3

It’s a husband and wife team. She makes the dough, I make the icing.

- Artiz Stroud, co-owner

Local bakery vendor Sweet Rolls brings family factor to market By Nikki Johnson-Bolden @nikkinikxo It’s Saturday morning, and the Denton Community Market is abuzz with vendors, families and a fair share of dogs. There is an infectious air of positivity in the market that compliments the early morning sunshine. That warmth extends to the Sweet Rolls tent where Artiz Stroud converses with everyone stopping by as if they were all his close friends. Stroud quickly sells out of the decorative cinnamon rolls that filled the table not long ago, leaving him to talk with the several other vendors he has become close with in the two years he and his wife, Monique, have been at the market. Their history with the Denton Community Market began because of a catering business they officially started in August 2015. Artiz and

Sweet Rolls offers a variety of cinnamon roll options, including a vegan cinnamon roll, at the Denton Community Market on Saturdays. Artiz Stroud started Sweet Rolls with his wife Monique in 2016. Photos by Anna Engelland

‘Nobody Knows’ podcast puts comedy on-air By Nikki Johnson-Bolden @nikkinikxo Joey Johnson is pretty serious about comedy. In the roughly four years he has been doing standup, the 27-yearold has become associated with the blooming comedy scene in Denton. In 2017, he added podcast host to his list of credentials with the start of his podcast “Nobody Knows” with Joey Johnson, which he co-hosts with his friend, magician and rapper Ritchy Flo. His journey of performing began when someone brought in a flyer to a backyard show while he was working at Denton Skate Supply. “I asked her if I could do time and she asked me if I had eight minutes,”

Joey Johnson is the host of the podcast “Nobody Knows.” Josh Jamison

Johnson said. “I lied and said yes and got on the show, and it kind of snowballed from there.” In his early days as a comedian, Johnson had to be self-sufficient when looking for ways to get out there and practice. His friendships with musicians gave him some experience with booking shows, so he used what he learned to get opportunities to perform. “I just started going and talking to places,” Johnson said. “White House, which is now Killer’s Tacos, used to have an open mic and I ended up taking over [as host]. It just kind of happened from there and it slowly grew.” The downtime he had during games as a baseball pitcher in high school is one of the situations Johnson feels

helped develop his ability to make people laugh. “I think I was a funny kid,” Johnson said. “I think stuff like sports, schooling [and] all kinds of terrible life-things helped make me funny, [or rather] I stayed funny. Maybe I just never grew up.” Music is a significant part of social life in Denton, and the growing comedy scene is on its way to equal prominence, though the two contrast in ways more than just content. “The way an audience receives [comedy] is very different,” Johnson said. “It’s spoken word — it’s not exactly hidden behind a lot of lyrics or deeper meanings. [With] standup, it is what it

SEE COMEDY ON PAGE 4

Denton County plans stronger response to age-old problem of mosquitoes, West Nile By Devin Rardin @DevinRardin During the summer months everyone wants to sit around the pool and have a good time, however, mosquito season is underway. From May to October,

those troublesome insects everyone seems to hate are out in full force, but the city of Denton and Denton County have a plan — which is updated yearly — to eliminate mosquitoes and the viruses they can bring. “What we want to make sure

North Texas Daily @ntdaily @ntdaily

is that people understand that West Nile happens every year,” said Juan Rodriquez, chief epidemiologist and assistant director for Denton County Public Health. “It happens in Denton County. We always want to increase the awareness this time

NEWS

of year.” Denton is currently in a risk level two out of five of mosquito surveillance, which signifies a low chance of West Nile outbreak and focuses on destroying mosquito populations. The risk levels are constructed based on the number

IN THIS ISSUE

Sage Hall renovations finished on first floor, starts on second and third floor pg 2 Sage Hall has been renovated to now include the Writing Center and Math Lab. This is the first part of a plan to make Sage Hall the center of all tutoring on campus.

of mosquito pools positive with West Nile. “From season to season, everything can change so there is no way to know how bad it will be,” said Jennifer Rainey, public information officer for Denton County Public Health.

The most recent findings from the Denton County West Nile case log lists 12 cases of West Nile as of Jan. 8 and 83 mosquito pools in Denton — 18 of which are positive for West Nile. In a wider perspective,

SEE MOSQUITO ON PAGE 2

ARTS & LIFE

OPINION

Denton Swing welcomes dancers, enthusiasts of all levels pg 5 North Texas is home to a little-known dance community that celebrates and mimicks the likes of old-timey moves during the swing era.

Pride Month in Denton is only the first step pg 8 Denton’s LGBTQ community is vibrant and thriving, but its Pride Month celebrations feel a little neglected.


NEWS Page 2

North Texas Daily Editorial Board Editor-in-Chief Alec Spicer @spicer_alec Alec.Spicer@unt.edu News Editor Parker Ward @parkerdfw ParkerWard@my.unt.edu Arts & Life Editor Kaitlin Pennell @k_itlinn KaitlinPennell@my.unt.edu Opinion Editor Rachel Herzer @coolrachdoritos RachelHerzer@my.unt.edu Visuals Editor Kelsey Shoemaker @kelesmis KelseyShoemaker@my.unt.edu

Production Team Design Editor Kelly Fox @kellythefox1 KellyFox2@my.unt.edu Designer/Copy Editor Kiera Geils @KieraGeils KieraGeils@my.unt.edu Designer/Copy Editor Parisa Nasiripour @risanasiri ParisaNasiripour@my.unt.edu Senior Staff Illustrator Austin Banzon @Austinbanzon99 austintroybanzon@my.unt.edu

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Experts give advice on how to avoid mosquitos MOSQUITO CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 the Centers for Disease and Prevention had 2,002 cases of West Nile reported across 47 states as of Jan. 9 and 121 reported deaths due to the virus. Texas had a total of 133 cases with five deaths. Denton and Denton County take charge of mosquito surveillance in their respective areas. They set up mosquito traps in undisclosed locations such as riverbeds throughout the city and county. The mosquitoes are then tested for West Nile and Zika. Zika is less prevalent with 55 reported cases in Texas for 2017. The disease is most promnent in Central and South America. If the pools test positive, then ground spraying commences. Deborah Vierra, assistant director of environmental services for the city of Denton, said they will use larvicide, which kills baby mosquitoes in stagnant water. “Mosquitoes need water to actually be able to go from baby to adult,” Vierra said. The city can treat mosquitoes on public property but are not allowed to work with private property. Citizens are encouraged to deal with mosquitoes on private property and eliminate stagnant water — a breeding ground for mosquitos — which is an important aspect of mosquito prevention.

“The main thing is standing water,” Rainey said. “A plate, old cups on the ground or old trash cans are all places where mosquitoes can start breeding very quickly.” One to two teaspoons of water can become a mosquito breeding ground, and they can form in a variety of locations including f lower pots, boats, pool covers, bird baths, rain gutters and pets’ water bowls. To help with prevention, Denton County follows three D’s that stand for drain, dress and defend, referring to eliminating stagnant water, wearing long sleeves and pants and applying repellent that contains DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Vierra also recommends being inside during early morning, dusk and dawn as well as wearing light colored clothing. Rodriquez said 80 percent of those infected with West Nile will not show any symptoms. If symptoms do occur, they can range from headaches to disorientation or vision loss. A full list of symptoms can be found here. “We want people to avoid being sick because it can leave you with life long symptoms, and sometimes it can cause death,” Rodriquez said. The first case of West Nile in Denton was reported in 2002. There are five to eight cases most years, but 2012 saw an outbreak with about 184 cases.  

By Devin Rardin @DevinRardin Jon McCarry, the new director of the UNT College of Business’ Murphy Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, hopes to bring more practicality to the program after its revival. McCarry, the former UNT graduate and veteran, has had more than 15 years of venture

capital and private equity experience and started his new position in March. “I’m very excited that Jon has joined us,” College of Business Dean Marilyn Wiley said. “He seems like the right person to lead the Murphy Center into the 21st century.” The Murphy Center supports entrepreneurship initiatives from students, faculty, alumni and the community. The

Director Adam Reese 940-565-4265 Adam.Reese@unt.edu

Faculty Adviser Randy Loftis 940-565-3495 Randy.Loftis@unt.edu

Trending on Twitter #Abortosesionhistorica

Wednesday night, Argentina’s congress debated decriminalizing abortion. Users used the hashtag and images of themselves wearing green to show solidarity with the movement.

#weirdthingsIvegoogled Twitter users in the DFW area shared their thoughts and gave examples of the less than brilliant things they have looked up. For example, “How much Play-Doh can a kid eat before its harmful?”

#WorldSoftballDay

Yesterday was a celebration of the sport of softball. People from the DFW area as well as people from all across the country shared some of their experiences and why they love playing the sport.

Infographic by Kelsey Shoemaker

New director hopes to rebuild entrepreneurship program

Business

To pitch a story or contact the Editor-in-Chief, please email northtexasdaily@gmail.com

NTDAILY.COM

Jon McCarry , the new director of the Murphy Center of Entreprenuership has more than 15 years experience as a venture capitalist. Courtesy UNT

program is designed to help people with ideas for startup businesses to structure the company and find capital. The Murphy Center collaborates with the Office of Commercialization and Innovation to help advertise the different ideas. McCarry said he had product ideas when he graduated from UNT but there was not a program like the Murphy Center to help him. “I see this as a means of providing that avenue for students and faculty,” McCarry said. “It does nothing but help the university and the state.” The center began in 1999 when Ken and Shirley Murphy provided a $1 million grant to UNT. The center saw a few different iterations in its history and was eventually shut down. It started back up in March with McCarry as the new director. He hopes to restart the program with more of a focus on practicality. McCarry said the program used to be academically centered. Wiley

and some students agree and believe the updated program will be a training resource for individuals. “I think it definitely would be helpful because I have a lot of friends that start their own businesses but don’t know what they are doing,” psychology junior Ayanah Abernathy said. “Their business could grow a lot more if they had help and a little bit of insight.” Wiley said the program can be helpful for students who have different majors and come up with a product idea or UNT professors who create a new device in the midst of their research. “The college of business is very excited in leading this activity, but it is very much intended to be a UNT wide experience,” Wiley said. “The resources at the Murphy center should be open to all faculty, students and constituents at UNT.” When someone comes to McCarry with a product idea he

asks himself if he would invest his money in it. He hopes to provide a different perspective on the product that will help grow the idea. “I spend about an hour shooting down the idea,” McCarry said. “You typically need somebody to throw ideas against, but also you need supportive and constructive negative feedback.” McCarry says the Murphy Center is important because it helps the local economy and is a recruitment tool for the university. He says most cities, counties and states prefer having business in different sectors. He thinks the Murphy Center can provide that because of the variety of startup ideas that are likely to go through the program. “It’s my opinion that the DFW metroplex does not have a university leader in the entrepreneurship area, and we think we can be that leader,” Wiley said.

Writing Center, more added as part of Sage Hall revamp By Matias Masson @matiasjmasson After being under construction for most of the last school year, Sage Hall’s first floor reopened with a specific focus on becoming an academic success center. Sage Hall began renovations last year in the first of three stages. The first stage — the first floor — is now completed. It is now furnished with new chairs, tables and remodeled offices. The first floor now hosts the tutoring services of the Writing Center, MathLab and Learning Center as well the Dean of Students and Office of Disability Accommodation. Director of the Writing Center Kimberly Moreland said the goal was to move these tutoring centers to one location to better help students. “[The new office] is nice and new, but also I think the proximity of being near other resources for students will increase our visibility,” Moreland said.

“Our location has changed so much. I know that there are a lot of students that don’t know that we exist, or if they know we exist, they don’t know where we are.” For most of the tutoring services, it was difficult to garner attention before the move. The Writing Center occupied the center of the third floor of the General Academic Building for most of the past year, while the MathLab was located on the top floor of Sage. Neither location received much foot traffic. “I didn’t know we had [a MathLab] until a friend made me go, and that was only like three months ago,” biology junior Garret Harding said. The three major tutoring services at UNT are now side by side on the first floor, with the Writing Center and MathLab flanking the main entrance. “The idea is that if somebody knows about one of those offices, it forces them to know about all of them,” academic outreach staff Elizabeth Berry said. Sage Hall’s first floor is now divided in two, with a wide studying space

for students on one side and tutoring offices on the other. The Writing Center and MathLab both have glass walls, which is intended to have the effect of normalizing the need for tutoring. “[We’re] hoping that means that students who maybe wouldn’t normally seek us out feel more comfortable doing so when they see how many people do use these resources,” Berry said. Those at the Writing Center are also glad to move for a different reason. Their previous location was in rooms with no windows and far from areas that students frequent. “Now we have windows, and we have an exterior wall, which is fantastic,” Moreland said. “It’s kind of a fishbowl effect, but after having no windows we’re thrilled to have the glass doors.” She added that the plan is likely to add some frost to the glass in all the spaces in the first floor of the Sage hall to maintain the sense of openness while minimizing distractions. Already, students are using Sage Hall

as a studying center. Berry hopes that if the trend continues, Sage Hall will become a hub for academics by this fall. The second stage of renovations have begun on the third floor and are expected to be finished next year. Berry also said that the second floor is being renovated into an area to help students after they graduate.

The previous location of the Writing Center in the General Academic Building. Emily Olkkola

NEWS AROUND THE US Yemen launches attack against Iranian-backed group A coalition backing Yemen’s exiled government launched an assault on the port city of Hodeida Wednesday, according to ABC News. This marks the biggest assault in the years-long conflict between the groups. The attack looked to take the Red Sea port from the Iranianbacked Hutis, who have controlled Hodeida since 2015. The U.S. offered the coalition targeting information but were not involved in the assault.

Judge approves buy-out of Time Warner by AT&T The deal to merge AT&T and Time Warner was approved by a federal judge Tuesday, according to The New York Times. The $85.4 billion deal comes during a battle between the Walt Disney Company and Comcast to acquire the majority of 21st Century Fox. The Trump Administration has stated in the past that they oppose the merger between the two media companies.

By Devin Rardin and Parker Ward

2026 World Cup comes to North America NPR reported that FIFA decided Wednesday that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The three countries won the bid over Morocco in a meeting of 203 FIFA members. The North American bid got 134 votes while Morocco got 65 votes. This will be the first time three countries have jointly hosted the World Cup, and the second time the U.S. has hosted it.

Donald Trump meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Federal Reserve raises interest rates for 2nd time this year

President Donald Trump met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a summit Tuesday where a joint statement was signed, according to The New York Times. The statement called for complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula without a timeline or plan of action. The meeting was meant to end the long-time confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea.

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday they will be raising the interest rates for the second time this year. Interest rates will be increasing a quarter of a percentage point, with the Federal Reserve also stating rates will rise at least two more times this year. According to officials, this signals that the economy no longer needs a boost from lower interest rates. Before this year, the Federal Reserve had not raised rates since 2008.


NTDAILY.COM

Page 3

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

O’Rourke stops in Denton as part of 254 county tour By Emilia Capuchino @e_capuchino Energy and unity was the message Beto O’Rourke conveyed at the 4th annual LBJ/Obama dinner on Saturday evening in Lewisville, Texas — a message that was echoed by Lupe Valdez, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor. The dinner was held by Denton County Democrats. O’Rourke gave a 30-minute impassioned speech as the keynote speaker for the 340 attendees. Throughout his speech, O’Rourke touched on issues such as gun control, healthcare and immigration as well as grassroots organizing and the current state of the United States. “When we focus not on the next election but the next generation that succeeds us, we are gonna be a better country for it,” O’Rourke said. He also called for national and local unity. “There is more that unites us than divides us,” O’Rourke said. “Before we are democrats or republicans, we are human beings.” That same day, O’Rourke hit a campaign milestone of visiting all 254 counties in Texas since the start of his campaign. “This is the most momentous election,” O’Rourke said. “The most important year — not of just our lifetime but perhaps for this country since 1860.” O’Rourke stated that he not only wants to represent Texas democrats but all Texans, as well. “You are one of our fellow Texans, and I want to fight for you, and I want to represent you,” he said. O’Rourke wants to invest in providing internet access to rural communities which he compared to the Rural Electrification Act that brought electricity to rural communities in the 1930s. He believes that making the internet more accessible could also make higher education more accessible for rural communities. Lupe Valdez spoke toward the end of the event where she arrived a few minutes late after making a campaign stop in Houston earlier in the day. Valdez is the former sheriff of Dallas County, a veteran and openly gay. She reiterated many of the same issues O’Rourke mentioned earlier in the evening. “We need to go back to giving a darn about how our healthcare and public education is handled,” Valdez said. “Our priorities should be our healthcare, our children and an economy that works for everyone.” Valdez also shared her experience growing up as a poor farm worker and being unable to afford healthcare. “Do we go to the doctor or a ver que pasa [see what happens],” she said. “A ver que pasa is not an affordable healthcare plan.” Valdez said she was tired of politicians only

Student offered $3M in total scholarships

Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke speaks about unity at the 4th annual LBJ dinner in Lewisville. The topics discussed during his 30-minute speech centered around gun control, immigration and health care. Jessika Hardy looking to get elected. “I get really tired of politicians who come to you and say all kinds of things then they go into office and they forget all the stuff they talked about,” she said. “We need to elect people who say, ‘I got mine, now let me find a path for you.’” Several people involved in Denton County politics attended the dinner including Andrew Morris, Will Fisher, Laura Haines and Democratic candidates for varying local government positions. By the end of the night, the message shared by Beto O’Rourke and local leadership was that of riding the “blue wave.” “We are all in this together, and let’s bring as many people with us as we can,” O’Rourke said.

UNT graduate student receives $20K stipend to study transracial adoptees

FRESHMAN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 she applied for. Scholarship offers typically ranged from $15,000$60,000 a year, which added up to nearly $3 million. “I chose UNT because they offered the unique program of [radio, television and film], and the campus was just beautiful when I visited,” Richardson said. “The university had an outstanding reputation, notable alumni, and many internship and job offers being so close to Dallas.” What solidified her choice, however, was the fact that she received a full ride to the university as a Greater Texas Foundation scholar recipient. “I’ve known Brassant since she was born,” Richardson’s pastor Debra Newton said. “She has always had a passion for getting it right.” Having watched her grow up, Newton believes that Richardson is wise beyond her years. “I believe she will be a catalyst for helping others to be victorious in what they endeavor to do,” Newton said. On top of taking college courses, Richardson helped create a choir for her high school and was involved in multiple organizations. “Being 14 years old in a classroom full of adults, that was kind of hard,” Richardson said. “At first I felt like I didn’t belong or that I was an outcast, but as the time went on, I felt myself just as worthy because I was able to complete the same amount of work, still get good grades and do what other classmates were doing. After a while no one noticed, and I didn’t feel targeted or bad for my accomplishments.” While she’s passionate about helping others, Richardson wants to pursue a career in the film industry. “I also want to prove to myself that I can make a career for myself that I love and that isn’t the ‘generic route,’” Richardson said. “Even though I’m scared of the unknown, I’m happy to move through it.”

By Vanessa McTillmon @vanessa_marie96 A UNT graduate student was awarded a $20,000 stipend for her research by the National Board of Certified Counselors Minority Fellowship Program Doctroal Fellow and was selected as a 2018-19 fellow. Charmaine Conner is studying the effective nature of play therapy on black transracial adoptees. Along with monetary reward, Conner also received an invite to attend the program’s foundation Bridging the Gap Symposium in Washington, D.C., in May 2017. “This award means I can carry out my dissertation without worry, and that is so meaningful to me,” Conner told UNT News. Conner began her education at Arkansas State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology. After receiving her degree, she decided to change her career path after talking to her psychology professors and began studying clinical mental health counseling. “In our conversations, we came to the conclusion that I identify more with the roles of a counselor,” Conner said. “Really wanting to have a handson approach with clients and being there in the day to day experiences to listen to them was really important to my professional identity.” After earning her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from the University of Memphis, Conner realized she wanted to center her next degree and research around children. “That’s when I started looking at counselor education programs,” Conner said. “UNT came up, and I was interested in play therapy because I was always wanted to work with kids. Kids have always been my focus.” While at UNT, Conner is studying under the mentorship of Natalya Lindo, counseling and higher education associate professor, who has guided Conner through both professional and personal struggles. “She has been a key mentor for

me in my entire doctoral process,” Conner said. “I have experienced quite a few trials. Back in my first year, my grandmother died and my car blew up. I’ve experienced a lot of crises over the last few years, and she has been the most supportive person.” Lindo met Conner for the first time when Conner interviewed with her for the doctoral program and has since been in awe of Conner’s character and achievements. “From the beginning, I was impressed by Ms. Conner’s poise, professionalism and clear counselor and research-practitioner identity,” Lindo said. “Conner is one of the most effective student leaders that I have known. She has channeled her passion for community engagement, advocacy and mentorship and has set a precedent for organizational level impact.” Conner said that as well as offering supportive mentors like Lindo, UNT also offers her the ability to utilize their play therapy training program and center, which is the largest in the world. The program and center studies the effectiveness of play therapy — which is counseling for children that incorporates the use of play to help them convey their emotions, according to the UNT Center for Play Therapy website. It is also the birthplace of the phrase play therapy which is a term coined by Garry Landreth who established the Center for Play Therapy at UNT. For her dissertation, Conner plans to research the effect of child-centered play therapy on black transracially adopted children. “Transracial adoption is a child who has been adopted by parents who are of a different race then they are,” Conner said. “So, my focus is going to be looking at child-centered play therapy which is an intervention and see how effective it is with black transracial adoptees.” Conner believes the transracial adoptee community is highly neglected despite how crucially they might require help. “Post-adoption services are not heavily utilized by adoption families,

yet there are so needed,” Conner said. “This is especially true with transracial adoptees who experience racism, discrimination and a lack of sense of belonging.” Sociology professor George Yancey who studies race relations at UNT agrees that transracial adoption includes some difficulties, but he also considers the practice to be a crucial part to the development of society. “Some people fear [transracial adoption] will steal the culture of people of color who are raised in white homes,” Yancey wrote. “I believe it will affect society because it can help us to understand those in different racial groups since they may become members of our families.” From previous research, Conner has concluded play therapy to be quite helpful. She hopes the results of her

study will prove the same for black transracial adoptees. “Play therapy has been proven to be effective with these types of issues — [self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and aggression] — in the past, and I want to see how effective it is with this population,” Conner said. With the aid of her award stipend, Conner plans to attend adoption conferences, develop a training for professional counselors pertaining to transracial adoption and visit Ghana for research into orphanages and mental health. “That’s the next step in my research agenda,” Conner said. “I want to take what’s happening domestically and apply it to what is done internationally to make sure people are on the same page.”

Charmaine Conner is a graduate student at UNT studying play therapy for transracial adoptees. She was awarded a $20,000 stipend for her research. Courtesy Facebook


ARTS & LIFE Page 4

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Technology, art combine in ‘Structured Light’ exhibit By Shane Monaco @shane_monaco Usually, a darkened room at a gallery means there is no artwork to see, but this is not the case at the Greater Denton Art Council’s Gough Gallery. Once inside this darkened room, visitors are able to make out the lights of roughly a half dozen light bulbs and three projectors hanging from the ceiling as part of the new art display “Structured Light.” “Structured Light” was made by Colby Parsons, a local artist and Texas Woman’s University visual arts professor, and is a combination of sculptures and the shadows produced by their accompanying lights and projectors. One thing setting this exhibition apart from others is its use of technology. Parsons used technology, such as animated lines that travel over curved sculptures or complex modeling software to create 3D printed sculpture molds, to create his latest art project. “I like how he uses traditional craft with modern technology,” said Vagner Whitehead, a visitor to the opening reception and fellow teacher at TWU who sometimes works with Parsons. “I think it is very smart and approachable.” Parsons said he was always a fan of art even when he was young, doodling and drawing in his spare time. It was no surprise he attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, for a degree in graphic design. While taking a varied range of art classes in an effort to see if any sparked his interest, he discovered his love of sculpture. It was after graduate school that he decided to look for a teaching job, using it as a pathway to do what he loved. What he didn’t expect at the time was that this decision would take him to Texas rather than to the East or West Coast where he felt more familiar. “When I got my graduate degree, there were 21 teaching positions that I could find to apply to in the country, and I just applied to all of them,” Parsons said. “At the time I was applying, I had two toddlers so I really needed to make it work. I needed to provide for my family, so I couldn’t be too picky.” After being hired by TWU in 2002, Parsons started working on the techniques and pieces of art that would go on to form the basis of his most recent exhibition: technology. Parsons credits this recent marriage of art and technology to his engineer father, who he said really shaped how he looked at technology. The first works Parsons produced with this new move toward technology-augmented art were animations involving ceramic models, reminiscent of claymation. These animations later evolved into works in which Parsons projected images onto his sculptures. Three of these projected works were put on display for the “Structured Light” exhibit. When computer-aided modeling and sculpting tools started to come onto the market, Parsons said his interest in technology overcame him once again, pushing him to understand how to use the new tools. While he said he didn’t particularly need them for

what he was doing at the time, he figured there were some pieces he could use this new technology for that he couldn’t make otherwise. The first of these new tools came in the form of a 3D printer — one the TWU Visual Arts department had received but was sitting in the box, unused. Then over the summer, he spent many hours working with the printer and teaching himself how to both practically and artistically use it. “It actually took a long time before I wanted to show [any artwork] from that new process,“ Parsons said. “That becomes difficult career wise: to have something where you are investing that much time with no output. People start to question if you should be doing that anymore.” In addition to the 3-D printed and projector related pieces, the last category work in Parsons’ latest show comes from a new tool the TWU Visual Arts department purchased: the CNC (computer numerical controlled) mill. The mill allows Parsons to cut and carve pieces of wood according to computer models, therefore allowing him to get exact angles for the lights used in some of his shadow-based pieces. Though Parsons said he knows other people may see various meanings while looking at his work, his artistic goal is to show the craft of the sculpture while also trying to convey the technological component behind the work. This drive to show the digital side of these artworks is where Parsons said the shadows come in, portraying an element of perfection that would be extremely hard to replicate without the help of the tool and programs he uses. Parsons’ “Structured Light” exhibit will be on display at the Greater Denton Art Council’s Gough Gallery through Aug. 25.

Colby Parsons discusses his artwork with art lovers at the opening of his collection “Structured Light.” Will Baldwin

Local comedian and podcast host Joey Johnson records his show at Discover Denton next to LSA Burger. Johnson wanted a stronger relationship with his audience. Will Baldwin

Comedy podcast finds following COMEDY CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 it is, and when you’re doing it in a college town with a bunch of people that are educated or full of many different backgrounds, that could be challenging, too.” Johnson said the common thread between the two is the appreciation and encouragement both communities receive. Johnson feels that Denton is a good place for artists to find their footing. “What is really cool about Denton [is that] Denton is very supportive of really any kind of art,” Johnson said. “They kind of give anything a chance. I’m sure people in Denton have seen great comedy out here, I’m sure they’ve seen bad, but what is cool about here is people are just naturally, inherently supportive of the arts because I think they realize how important it is to the community to keep Denton the cool little artistic bubble that it is in [Dallas-Fort Worth].” Finding a comedic footing With audiences come opinions, and there is no guarantee that everyone in an audience will be receptive to a person’s jokes. “[Any joke] you make, there is going to be a group of people

Campus is alive all summer your business?should be too!

Did you know?

00 d 0 , 0 2 ecte r e v O s exp t pus n e d stu on cam

Hun of cadreds this mps ho sum s mer ted

t u o b a 1 k r s A 2 fo

Ov at er 9, 19 00 ori 0 s en tud tat en ion ts s

Other discounts and enhanced distribution to rates may apply First Flight & Welcome Back

August 9th Back to School

September 6th

Career Guide

enhanced distribution to UNT career fairs & Career Center

Contact Today Summer 2018

NTDAILY.COM

May 17th - August 23rd Broadsheet Bi-weekly

North Texas Daily

PRINT • DIGITAL • TV • RADIO 940.565.3989 ntdaily.com NorthTexasDaily@unt.edu

that like it and a group of people who don’t,” Johnson said. A comic and audience feed off of each other, and though the outcome of the interaction is always up in the air, Johnson’s intention is always for everyone to enjoy themselves. “I also think comics have a sense and need for validation — that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing,” Johnson said. “When you hear someone who doesn’t like it, it would almost be a lie to say it doesn’t feel personal because at the end of the day, a comic never goes to a comedy club or to a bar with the intention of hurting someone or making them mad or just not making them laugh. I want them to have fun like I’m having fun.” Standing in front of several people with the goal of making most of them laugh will not always be a successful mission. Johnson has learned to deal with moments where his jokes fall f lat and accepts it as a key aspect of being a comic. “All in all, you can’t care, but you also need to,” Johnson said. “You toe that fine line because the audience is such a big part of comedy. Without the laughs, there is no standup. You have to do what is true to you, but you need to listen to the feedback that you are getting.” Stephanie Martinez, 25, met Johnson when he hosted last year’s Denton Arts & Music Awards. At the time, Johnson went by “Joe Coffee” — Martinez didn’t hear any more of his comedy until he resurfaced and started going by his real name. Martinez enjoys Johnson’s jokes but has noticed his comedic style can be revered by some and misunderstood by others. “He is kind of sarcastic, and I feel like his humor is kind of different for some people, but he is a pretty nice guy,” Martinez said. “I think that it’s just the humor some people have, and some people don’t get [it].” There is also the separate circumstance of people taking offense to comedians’ jokes or the topics they talk about. Now more than ever, there is a disconnect between what some find funny and acceptable to joke about and what a comic thinks is funny, making it a difficult space for comics to navigate. But Johnson said there is a distinct line between comedy and hate speech. “Any show I run or any show I’m on, if I hear comics spew anything that is absolute hate speech — that is never OK,” Johnson said. “In the same breath, I don’t think comics should be censored because some things do get taken out of context. Some bigger points that do tackle social issues sometimes get misconstrued because people hear certain words and then they immediately tune out the comic.” Rather than viewing the microscope that comedians have recently been under as an attack, Johnson sees it as an opportunity for them to improve. “What they call ‘PC [politically correct] culture’ I think is a good thing for comedy,” Johnson said. “I think it forces comics to write smarter jokes. If you are going to tackle something a little more taboo or what would be considered edgy, PC culture actually forces you to be more creative and clever about it. It forces the comic to work harder.” Johnson wants audiences to keep an open mind when they hear a joke that may be controversial because it may not turn out to be the insensitive punchline they thought it would be. “Again, it’s that symbiotic relationship between the comic and the audience,” Johnson said. “Let’s say you hear a guy who is about to talk about the Me Too movement, but as soon as you hear the man say ‘the Me Too movement,’ you immediately want to turn it off. [Comics] sometimes don’t get the chance to say something that actually

could be like, ‘Oh, he’s totally on my side with this.’” Johnson believes that context is very important in comedy, as is being open to critique. “There’s no right or wrong way — you just have to use your best judgement and you just have to learn from it,” Johnson said. “I’ve said things at times that have made people really upset, and then I’ve had to sit back and [say], ‘You know, I didn’t even realize where that was an issue.’ Then I’ve had times when I’ve talked to people after shows and I upset them and then [they say], ‘Oh, I totally see what you meant by that, I’m sorry.’” Podcast brings comedy to Denton Radio Johnson records his podcast at Discover Denton, located next door to LSA burger on the Square. Before teaming up with Denton Radio, he recorded at his house, even using his phone to record segments. He decided to start the podcast because he noticed other comedians do it and saw it as yet another outlet for creativity. “It’s just a time-waste thing,” Johnson said. “You think people care, and so you post it online and get 20 listens. All those podcasts [before Denton Radio] ended up failing miserably because I had to do the work myself. After I won the [Denton Arts & Music] Award in 2016, [Denton Radio] contacted me about doing a show, and that was really cool.” He no longer has to deal with the tedious technical side to podcasting now that he is affiliated with Denton Radio, which allows him the freedom to fully focus on the content instead of production. “Denton Radio is awesome because me and Ritchy, my cohost, just have to show up and do the show,” Johnson said. “They do the promo, they do the posting. I enjoy sitting with comics or just talking about comedy, so getting to do that recorded is pretty cool. Fellow comedian Monna, 26, has been a guest on the podcast and praises the personable quality to Johnson’s comedy and the chemistry between him and Ritchy Flo. “Him and Ritchy both provide different perspectives: Ritchy with the music and magic background works really well with [Johnson’s] comedy,” Monna said. Both Johnson and Ritchy Flo truly take the role of hosts, focusing on guests rather than putting themselves at the forefront. “He’s really good at remaining neutral,” Monna said. “They allow the stars to shine — their guests really get highlighted.” A highlight of hosting “Nobody Knows” is the positive response Johnson said he has received from other comics, some of them telling Johnson that they’ve learned some things from him or his guests. “[The fact] that someone would use their free time at their own house to listen to you has its own satisfaction to it,” Johnson said. As the veteran comics in town work toward building their own golden 30-minute feature sets and possibly move to bigger cities, Johnson hopes to see the comedy scene he helped cultivate continue to grow. “I imagine a lot of the comics here now who have been doing it a while — who are starting to work the clubs and get those 30 minutes — will eventually move to those bigger markets,” Johnson said. “What’s cool is there are always new comics coming in. I just hope it stays consistent. I hope that when some of us who have been doing it a while do go, some of the younger comics still book shows and we still have festivals and the audiences keep getting bigger. Who knows, maybe one day someone could open a club out here. A comedy club would be really sweet.”


NTDAILY.COM

Page 5

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Denton Swing puts welcoming spin on community By Kenya Menjivar @kenya_menjivar Feet tapped and jazz blared throughout the room just as it does every first Saturday night of the month for the Denton Swing event at the Hickory Inn. The swing dance community is one that is hidden yet loud. In the Denton area, a handful of board members keep the 1920s-era dance going twice a month. Ashley Lundgren, a current board member and teacher Denton Swing, has been dancing for about three years. Since she was little, Lundgren said she has always enjoyed the dance. She first got into swing dancing when a friend invited her and told her they desperately needed more girls. “I really didn’t have another hobby to go to and I [thought] this [was] fun and [a way to] get social interaction,” Lundgren said. After her first year of dancing, Lundgren quickly became sucked in. She began going to various local workshops and events in the DallasFort Worth area, including events hosted by The Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate, the Dallas Swing Dance Society, Southside Preservation Association and more. Prior to becoming a board member, Lundgren said she liked the thought of teaching other people how to swing dance. “I’ve always wanted to encourage people to dance more,” Lundgren said. “I like it when people [have it] finally click in their head what they’re doing,” Swing dancing began in the 1920s, when people would strum along to jazz music with different types of dances such as lindy hop, the Charleston and Balboa. Denton is big on art, which is why it’s no surprise there is a swing dance community. The thought of aerial moves, shimmying, flapper dresses and suspenders may come to mind when some think of swing dancing. Though the outfits are now out-dated, the atmosphere of swing dancing remains the same, the dancers said — there is always movement going around whether people are on the dance floor grooving or tapping their feet on the sides of the room. Bryan Ricci is another dancer who has been a part of the swing community. He has been dancing for eight years. In 2010, Ricci made a New Year’s resolution to go swing dancing with some friends. Despite never being into dance prior to taking a class, he made it his yearly goal. Ricci said his first class was terrible. He

wanted to leave because he was anxious about dancing with another person and said he felt very embarrassed. If it hadn’t been his resolution for that year, he probably would not have kept with the dance. “I guess it was a New Year’s resolution,” Ricci said. “I went back the second time, and I sucked, but I sucked a little bit less.” Ricci kept on with the dance for fun and never allowed himself to compete because he didn’t want to take it seriously. His favorite variation of swing became the Charleston — a variation of swing dance that is fast-paced and one Ricci said he is able to express himself most as a dancer. “Charleston was always my favorite because it was just the most fun,” Ricci said. “I like the kicks.” In addition, the swing dance community has allowed these swing dancers to make many friends. “I made so many friends in swing dance,” Ricci said. “The people were just so friendly — swing dance definitely attracts a nice community.” Lundgren said she has also been able to make lifelong friends within the community. She has gone to many swing festivals where she has met new people. Abril Carraballo Marin, a newbie to swing dancing, has been attending dance socials for two months. Like the Lundgren and Ricci, Marin was invited to a Denton swing social by a friend. Marin had in mind that the dance was like an old-fashioned dance. “I knew the moment that I saw two older people dancing that I loved it,” Marin said. Despite only having been in the community for a short amount of time, Marin has already taken it upon herself to take intermediate classes. “The first time my friends and I went swing dancing, it was scary,” Marin said. “We didn’t know anyone — we didn’t know what we were doing. But what made us stay was the sense of community and that it was [OK] to learn and mess up.” Marin said the dance is risky but that it pushes participants to put themselves out there. “I like that it’s very freeing and there is no one formula,” Marin said. “You can make it your own, but it’ll still be swing dancing.” Diversity in the dance community allows the community to grow, and Denton’s roaring jazz community has helped to add to its popularity. Denton Swing holds two socials a month, on the first Saturday and the third Friday of the month. They said they hope that their relocation on the Square at The Hickory Inn will bring in new faces.

Bryan Ricci enjoys swing moves with pauses and shifts in momentum. The Denton Swing Dance Club meets on the Denton Square to practice and dance. Josh Jamison

Sweet Rolls at-home bakery is about community, family SWEET ROLLS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 makes the dough, I make the icing. I also do the sales. We’re a team — we work together.” Artiz is a UNT alumnus who graduated in 2007 with a degree in business, while Monique is a Texas Woman’s University graduate with a degree in education. An interest in cooking is something that runs throughout Monique’s family. Her grandmother, mother, sister and brother have all worked in restaurants. Now, Monique and her husband operate Sweet Rolls as a cottage bakery, making their popular cinnamon rolls from the comfort of their home. “Food is — for a lot of people — very important, and for our family, it’s what they’re really passionate about,” Monique said. “I would stay it started with my grandma.” A family endeavor The Strouds stopped catering in 2016 so they could be at home with their three sons. “It doesn’t get hectic because what we have learned as business owners [is that] you have to compartmentalize things,” Artiz said. “We’re Christians, we’re big on family, so when we were catering we would be away on Saturdays cooking in commercial kitchens.” After deciding to work from home, they easily found a way to balance the duties of Sweet Rolls with their family life. “We could do that from our home and still watch the kids,” Artiz said. “The kids know not to come in the kitchen on Friday nights. They’re over [in another

room] enjoying themselves, we’re able to watch them and we’re able to do work as well.” Although they make sure to have their own space and time for work, they include their children by asking for their opinions on new recipes. “We’re always trying to make things better, so we tweak the recipes a little and let them taste it, and they give their feedback,” Monique said. When considering names for their business, the Strouds wanted to be as straightforward as possible while also letting customers know their cinnamon rolls stand out with the tagline “Cinnamon rolls with a twist.” “I think we just kept it simple and [about] what we were making,” Monique said. “We didn’t want to call it ‘cinnamon rolls’ because we wanted to do different variations, so Sweet Rolls was the next best thing.” There are plans to expand the menu and add other breakfast items that would compliment the variety of cinnamon rolls. “I have an idea that I want to start doing breakfast sandwiches,” Monique said. “They would be baked egg sandwiches with maybe bacon, jam or homemade sausage — I would love to do something like that.” Making connections at the market Monique and Artiz have positively influenced the Denton Community Market and those they have come to know through it. Honey farmer Christina Beck got acquainted with Artiz during her frequent visits to the market and has seen how it has impacted him and his family. “I think [the market] does provide that place for

people to buy from local people,” Beck said. “You’re keeping your money in the community this way and supporting people who are doing things to feed their families or enable them to stay home with their families. It’s really cool.” When photographer Matthew Anderson met Artiz, he was pulling his sons and the Sweet Rolls in a wagon. Anderson feels that displays like this show the dedication Artiz has for Sweet Rolls and his family. “You can tell by his personality and the way he articulates his product that it’s made with love and that he’s trying to make a difference in people’s lives — not just making a buck,” Anderson said. Forming connections with customers is something that has helped Sweet Rolls grow. “All business is about relationships,” Artiz said. “That’s where it starts — you build through a product and then you just get to know people more and more. Then you also grow as an entrepreneur and take in information and keep people updated.” Artiz said those relationships transcended business transactions and became genuine friendships. “People want to be a part of a story — they want to see progress, is what I’ve learned,” Artiz said. “They want to grow with you, and many of our customers have been doing just that.” The Strouds love the community feeling of the market and have become close with a few fellow vendors, especially Maria Samudio, the owner of Hot Tamales. Samudio’s tent stands right next to Sweet Rolls, which may have contributed to the bond she

and Artiz have. “[Artiz] would make our [Sweet Rolls order] special,” Samudio said. “We would always have a special order with him, and they had no problems doing them. We’ve done a lot of buying from Artiz.” Artiz said the Samudios were one of Sweet Rolls’ first clients from the market they were able to consistently call. “They were like, ‘Hey, don’t feel weird, but you can call me every other week and ask me for an order,’” Artiz said. “For about a year or two they were diehard, and I would call them every other week and they would support.” Another vendor Artiz is close with is Kate Amberson, owner of Pies by Kate. Amberson started selling at the market around the same time as the Strouds, offering pies made with her grandmother’s recipe. “He always sells out,” Amberson said. “His sweet rolls are pretty great. He had a cookies and cream one at one point — that’s my favorite.” Both Monique and Artiz feel they have found a home at the market because of the kindness they’ve experienced and the support for their business. “I would say the newfound community has been a positive change [and] just [seeing] how supportive everyone is,” Monique said. “You would think that it would be very competitive, but people kind of have this mentality that whatever is for me, is for me and what’s for you is for you, and we can both flourish together. That’s been one of the biggest things: to know we’re supported by other business owners. We’re just all trying to do it together.”

FOR YOUR

Vehcile MAINTENANCE

We Do State Inspections Sweet Rolls vendor Artiz Stroud shares his variety of cinnamon rolls at the Denton Community Market. Anna Engelland


NTDAILY.COM

Page 5

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Denton Swing puts welcoming spin on community By Kenya Menjivar @kenya_menjivar Feet tapped and jazz blared throughout the room just as it does every first Saturday night of the month for the Denton Swing event at the Hickory Inn. The swing dance community is one that is hidden yet loud. In the Denton area, a handful of board members keep the 1920s-era dance going twice a month. Ashley Lundgren, a current board member and teacher Denton Swing, has been dancing for about three years. Since she was little, Lundgren said she has always enjoyed the dance. She first got into swing dancing when a friend invited her and told her they desperately needed more girls. “I really didn’t have another hobby to go to and I [thought] this [was] fun and [a way to] get social interaction,” Lundgren said. After her first year of dancing, Lundgren quickly became sucked in. She began going to various local workshops and events in the DallasFort Worth area, including events hosted by The Fort Worth Swing Dance Syndicate, the Dallas Swing Dance Society, Southside Preservation Association and more. Prior to becoming a board member, Lundgren said she liked the thought of teaching other people how to swing dance. “I’ve always wanted to encourage people to dance more,” Lundgren said. “I like it when people [have it] finally click in their head what they’re doing,” Swing dancing began in the 1920s, when people would strum along to jazz music with different types of dances such as lindy hop, the Charleston and Balboa. Denton is big on art, which is why it’s no surprise there is a swing dance community. The thought of aerial moves, shimmying, flapper dresses and suspenders may come to mind when some think of swing dancing. Though the outfits are now out-dated, the atmosphere of swing dancing remains the same, the dancers said — there is always movement going around whether people are on the dance floor grooving or tapping their feet on the sides of the room. Bryan Ricci is another dancer who has been a part of the swing community. He has been dancing for eight years. In 2010, Ricci made a New Year’s resolution to go swing dancing with some friends. Despite never being into dance prior to taking a class, he made it his yearly goal. Ricci said his first class was terrible. He

wanted to leave because he was anxious about dancing with another person and said he felt very embarrassed. If it hadn’t been his resolution for that year, he probably would not have kept with the dance. “I guess it was a New Year’s resolution,” Ricci said. “I went back the second time, and I sucked, but I sucked a little bit less.” Ricci kept on with the dance for fun and never allowed himself to compete because he didn’t want to take it seriously. His favorite variation of swing became the Charleston — a variation of swing dance that is fast-paced and one Ricci said he is able to express himself most as a dancer. “Charleston was always my favorite because it was just the most fun,” Ricci said. “I like the kicks.” In addition, the swing dance community has allowed these swing dancers to make many friends. “I made so many friends in swing dance,” Ricci said. “The people were just so friendly — swing dance definitely attracts a nice community.” Lundgren said she has also been able to make lifelong friends within the community. She has gone to many swing festivals where she has met new people. Abril Carraballo Marin, a newbie to swing dancing, has been attending dance socials for two months. Like the Lundgren and Ricci, Marin was invited to a Denton swing social by a friend. Marin had in mind that the dance was like an old-fashioned dance. “I knew the moment that I saw two older people dancing that I loved it,” Marin said. Despite only having been in the community for a short amount of time, Marin has already taken it upon herself to take intermediate classes. “The first time my friends and I went swing dancing, it was scary,” Marin said. “We didn’t know anyone — we didn’t know what we were doing. But what made us stay was the sense of community and that it was [OK] to learn and mess up.” Marin said the dance is risky but that it pushes participants to put themselves out there. “I like that it’s very freeing and there is no one formula,” Marin said. “You can make it your own, but it’ll still be swing dancing.” Diversity in the dance community allows the community to grow, and Denton’s roaring jazz community has helped to add to its popularity. Denton Swing holds two socials a month, on the first Saturday and the third Friday of the month. They said they hope that their relocation on the Square at The Hickory Inn will bring in new faces.

Bryan Ricci enjoys swing moves with pauses and shifts in momentum. The Denton Swing Dance Club meets on the Denton Square to practice and dance. Josh Jamison

Sweet Rolls at-home bakery is about community, family SWEET ROLLS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 makes the dough, I make the icing. I also do the sales. We’re a team — we work together.” Artiz is a UNT alumnus who graduated in 2007 with a degree in business, while Monique is a Texas Woman’s University graduate with a degree in education. An interest in cooking is something that runs throughout Monique’s family. Her grandmother, mother, sister and brother have all worked in restaurants. Now, Monique and her husband operate Sweet Rolls as a cottage bakery, making their popular cinnamon rolls from the comfort of their home. “Food is — for a lot of people — very important, and for our family, it’s what they’re really passionate about,” Monique said. “I would stay it started with my grandma.” A family endeavor The Strouds stopped catering in 2016 so they could be at home with their three sons. “It doesn’t get hectic because what we have learned as business owners [is that] you have to compartmentalize things,” Artiz said. “We’re Christians, we’re big on family, so when we were catering we would be away on Saturdays cooking in commercial kitchens.” After deciding to work from home, they easily found a way to balance the duties of Sweet Rolls with their family life. “We could do that from our home and still watch the kids,” Artiz said. “The kids know not to come in the kitchen on Friday nights. They’re over [in another

room] enjoying themselves, we’re able to watch them and we’re able to do work as well.” Although they make sure to have their own space and time for work, they include their children by asking for their opinions on new recipes. “We’re always trying to make things better, so we tweak the recipes a little and let them taste it, and they give their feedback,” Monique said. When considering names for their business, the Strouds wanted to be as straightforward as possible while also letting customers know their cinnamon rolls stand out with the tagline “Cinnamon rolls with a twist.” “I think we just kept it simple and [about] what we were making,” Monique said. “We didn’t want to call it ‘cinnamon rolls’ because we wanted to do different variations, so Sweet Rolls was the next best thing.” There are plans to expand the menu and add other breakfast items that would compliment the variety of cinnamon rolls. “I have an idea that I want to start doing breakfast sandwiches,” Monique said. “They would be baked egg sandwiches with maybe bacon, jam or homemade sausage — I would love to do something like that.” Making connections at the market Monique and Artiz have positively influenced the Denton Community Market and those they have come to know through it. Honey farmer Christina Beck got acquainted with Artiz during her frequent visits to the market and has seen how it has impacted him and his family. “I think [the market] does provide that place for

people to buy from local people,” Beck said. “You’re keeping your money in the community this way and supporting people who are doing things to feed their families or enable them to stay home with their families. It’s really cool.” When photographer Matthew Anderson met Artiz, he was pulling his sons and the Sweet Rolls in a wagon. Anderson feels that displays like this show the dedication Artiz has for Sweet Rolls and his family. “You can tell by his personality and the way he articulates his product that it’s made with love and that he’s trying to make a difference in people’s lives — not just making a buck,” Anderson said. Forming connections with customers is something that has helped Sweet Rolls grow. “All business is about relationships,” Artiz said. “That’s where it starts — you build through a product and then you just get to know people more and more. Then you also grow as an entrepreneur and take in information and keep people updated.” Artiz said those relationships transcended business transactions and became genuine friendships. “People want to be a part of a story — they want to see progress, is what I’ve learned,” Artiz said. “They want to grow with you, and many of our customers have been doing just that.” The Strouds love the community feeling of the market and have become close with a few fellow vendors, especially Maria Samudio, the owner of Hot Tamales. Samudio’s tent stands right next to Sweet Rolls, which may have contributed to the bond she

and Artiz have. “[Artiz] would make our [Sweet Rolls order] special,” Samudio said. “We would always have a special order with him, and they had no problems doing them. We’ve done a lot of buying from Artiz.” Artiz said the Samudios were one of Sweet Rolls’ first clients from the market they were able to consistently call. “They were like, ‘Hey, don’t feel weird, but you can call me every other week and ask me for an order,’” Artiz said. “For about a year or two they were diehard, and I would call them every other week and they would support.” Another vendor Artiz is close with is Kate Amberson, owner of Pies by Kate. Amberson started selling at the market around the same time as the Strouds, offering pies made with her grandmother’s recipe. “He always sells out,” Amberson said. “His sweet rolls are pretty great. He had a cookies and cream one at one point — that’s my favorite.” Both Monique and Artiz feel they have found a home at the market because of the kindness they’ve experienced and the support for their business. “I would say the newfound community has been a positive change [and] just [seeing] how supportive everyone is,” Monique said. “You would think that it would be very competitive, but people kind of have this mentality that whatever is for me, is for me and what’s for you is for you, and we can both flourish together. That’s been one of the biggest things: to know we’re supported by other business owners. We’re just all trying to do it together.”

FOR YOUR

Vehcile MAINTENANCE

We Do State Inspections Sweet Rolls vendor Artiz Stroud shares his variety of cinnamon rolls at the Denton Community Market. Anna Engelland


NTDAILY.COM

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Page 6

Left: A display of some of the meals prepared by Fatihaat Ismail’s food service business, Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes. Courtesy Twitter @GOT_FED1

Got FED?: By Kenya Menjivar @kenya_menjivar Despite Denton’s diverse culture, the city does not have a restaurant that serves traditional African dishes. UNT business major Fatihaat Ismail is aiming to change that. Fatihaat has taken it upon herself to make African dishes through her business called Got FED, “FED” standing for “Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes.” Fatihaat is originally from Nigeria and came up with the idea to start her own business after cooking African dishes for her roommates. She said she got inspired to start cooking when she noticed she missed home-cooked meals. “I’m really picky about my food, so I just decided to make my food myself,” Fatihaat said. “I had a large group of friends, and we just all hang out every Friday, and I would make food. Someone [then told] me I could just make it for the African students on campus.” Fatihaat’s sister, Sumayyah Ismail, said they would get their Nigerian food from their cousin before Fatihaat started cooking. “[Fatihaat has] always liked to cook, but my cousin lived so far away and everyone just [wanted] to have some Nigerian food,” Sumayyah said. “I was

Right: Fatihaat Ismail is a business major at UNT who runs her own at-home food service that serves traditional African cuisines. Ismail is originally from Nigeria and learned to cook from her mother. Emily Olkkola

Student serves Denton community with traditional African cuisine, culture through at-home food service

the only one who could get some from my cousin, so she just decided, ‘Oh, I can make it.’” Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes found its following unexpectedly via social media. When Fatihaat would make dishes, she would upload them to her Snapchat not knowing she would get responses asking about pricing for her dishes. She said she would simply respond to requests by saying she only cooked for friends, but the requests kept coming, and people were suggesting she should sell her dishes. It wasn’t until fall 2017 that Fatihaat said she felt she could truly start a small business for her cooking. She said she wasn’t necessarily looking for a job at the time but was trying to make money. With her knowledge of business through her studies, Fatihaat pursued her passion and started Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes.  Though her pursuit in entrepreneurship through her food business is recent, her beginnings in cooking is not: this passion for cooking came from her childhood. When she was younger, her mom would make her and her siblings cook their own food. Fatihaat’s mom first showed her the basics to making Nigerian food but has since been doing a lot of cooking on her own. She said she has learned the rest by trial and error. Now, she is used to

cooking her own food, and she actually enjoys it. High demand, close proximity Because of Denton’s sizable African population and the presence of UNT African culture clubs, such as the African Students Organization and the Nigerian Student Organization, Fatihaat said the demand for African cuisine is high. However, the food is not easily accessible for those who are homesick. The closest African shop is in Arlington, something Fatihaat finds “outrageous.” Denton used to house its own African goods store on the Square but was recently shut down at the beginning of the year. Christine Laniyan, a UNT student and Fatihaat’s roommate, said she likes Fatihaat’s food, and the proximity factor is an added bonus.  “We don’t have any Nigerian restaurants here,” Laniyan said. “It’s really frustrating when you’re craving Nigerian food and you can’t get it from a restaurant around here.” Laniyan said that no one likes the idea of going to Dallas to eat African food, especially because it’s not an easy drive. “[Fatihaat said she] wanted to start it for convenience for students and just for everyone to have access to Nigerian food,”

Laniyan said. “[Nigerian food is] the best food, honestly.” Laniyan has tried all of Fatihaat’s dishes and can attest that they are amazing. Laniyan suggests that anyone try it, not just Nigerians. Something for every one, every budget Fatihaat’s normal business days are Fridays and Saturdays. On both days she is open from noon to midnight Nevertheless, she cooks every day, and if anyone wants what she’s cooking, she just tells them they can come pick the dish up at a certain time. Fatihaat said she likes to keep her prices reasonable, considering most of her customers are fellow university students. The price per dish last semester was $6 per plate. The dish Fatihaat currently sells the most is jollof rice. This dish is made up of rice mixed in boiled stew and meat stock. Her personal favorite dish to make is yam porridge, often known to Americans as Asaro. In addition to sharing food from her native country, Fatihaat said her small business is also allowing her to share a bit of her culture with others. By exposing her food to the Denton community, she said it gives people an opportunity to try

food from another culture. “I don’t think food will [necessarily] draw in a lot people [to African culture and history],” Fatihaat said. “There [are] some people who love making food, so that can be a way for them to get into the African culture.” When Fatihaat cooks, she sometimes gets prompted by some student organizations to make a dish or to discuss a certain cultural topic. She recently worked together with the Nigerian Student Organization. “I worked with the Nigerian Student Organization on campus, so it’s like a two-in-one thing,” Fatihaat said. “When [the organization has] cooking lessons, I teach them how to make their own food from [the members’ respective] cultures.” Fatihaat graduates in December and said she doesn’t have an end goal for her business. Nonetheless, she said she loves the fact that people in Denton can locally buy African food when they want. She knows many people on campus who would rather have this option as opposed to American food — herself included. “[Some people] just want to eat homemade African food,” Fatihaat said. To order from Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes, visit Fatihaat’s Twitter page @GOT_ FED1.

The Dose: ‘Action Point’ is dumb but just what we need

By Zack Helms @ntdailyZack

Shradda “Srada” Aryal owns and operates Perfectbrowz Denton, a local eyebrow threading business. Jessika Hardy

Perfectbrowz Denton stays on trend By Emily Olkkola @EmilyOlkkola Ever since the explosion of beauty fads and beauty gurus on Instagram and YouTube, perfectly groomed brows have been all the craze. There are a handful of ways to morph eyebrows from caterpillars to faceflattering arches, and eyebrow threading is one of them. Local small business Perfectbrowz Denton specializes in this technique. Located inside New Image Salon at 326 E. McKinney St., Perfectbrowz Denton is owned and operated by Shradda “Srada” Aryal, a professional aesthetician from Nepal. Aryal has been an aesthetician for many years but had to renew her license when she migrated from Nepal to the United States 13 years ago. She was required to complete 750 hours of additional coursework, which included cleaning, sanitation, proper customer care and how to wax. “I used to practice on my mom’s arms,” Aryal said. “That’s how I got really fast. Then by looking at the face, you can tell, ‘OK, she wants round brows or thin brows or thick brows.’ You can tell.” Originating from Persia more than 5,000 years ago and continued through India and its surrounding areas, eyebrow threading requires a different set of skills than waxing. Using two hands, an eyebrow threader places two pieces of thread between an eyebrow hair and then pulls the hair from the root using the

thread. Because it pulls from the root, once eyebrows are threaded, Aryal said the style tends to last longer than other hair removal processes. This process involves no chemical use, so it is safe for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

husband’s unibrow — something she said she’ll continue doing throughout the rest of her pregnancy. “My plan is to work until the [baby is born] and then have somebody cover for me for four to six weeks, and then come back again,” Aryal said.

Family matters When Aryal was 18 years old, her parents sent her from Nepal to the United States. Aryal said that studying was her main motivation to go to the United States. It has been nearly five years since she has been back to her home country. With a baby due in five weeks after this month, Aryal said in retrospect she thinks 18 is too young to venture to a new country like she did — especially from Nepal. “When I think about it, when I have my kid, I don’t think I can send her away when she’s 18,” Aryal said. “It’s like, that’s too young [for her to be] by herself, and Nepal is almost a 25-, 26-hour flight to get there. It is very far.” The baby on the way will be Aryal’s first child, a girl whom she and her husband have not picked out a name for yet. Though they haven’t settled on anything yet, Aryal said they both have a long list of possible names. “We go [from] traditional [Nepali] to [American], so it’s kind of mixed, and it’s very hard [to decide],” Aryal said. Aryal and her husband have been married for two and a half years and have been together for eight years after they met at a college party. Aryal threads her

Working while pregnant Aryal said that even though she wishes to continue to work for as long as she can until she gives birth, working while pregnant has been different. “Sometimes you just get cranky and moody, but my customers are very loyal,” Aryal said. “I have been doing [their eyebrows] for five or six years, so they never complain.” In the salon, there is a bedroom in the back so Aryal may rest, and because of the way Aryal schedules her hours, she does not see customers back-to-back. It was when she was working for someone else in an internship for her degree that Aryal realized she wanted to run her own threading business. For three years, she has been on her own. “You can make your own schedule,” Aryal said. “Tomorrow I have my doctor’s appointment, so I just posted on my Facebook page [saying], ‘I’m not working tomorrow, so just make sure you’re not there.’” In the future, Aryal said she hopes to open and run her own salon. “My plan is to have my own salon but with the baby coming in, it’s just too much to handle right now,” Aryal said.

Freakishly funny. That’s probably the best way to describe stuntman and concussion enthusiast Johnny Knoxville’s newest movie, “Action Point.” It’s a straight-forward movie with a weak plot to service the iconic groin punches and the occasional stunt that inevitably sends one of the crew to the hospital, but it’s got a whole lot of heart. And while the plot is pretty weak, it manages to capture some really strong, if painfully brief moments of nostalgia, teen angst and regretfulness as a father. Johnny Knoxville plays D.C., an amusement park owner who’s struggling to keep his park afloat, all the while another park is trying its hardest to get his land. During this struggle, D.C. must also learn to be a better role model for his daughter, whom he sees only once a year. Anytime you see Knoxville headlining a movie, you can expect pretty much the same thing every time: bodily harm, animals biting crotches and the crew just generally goofing off. While the “Jackass” franchise is over, it hasn’t stopped him from branching out into films constructed around those types of movies. “Bad Grandpa,” “The Ringer” and “Skiptrace” are by no means all that good by conventional grading scales, but they’ve all captured what “Jackass” did. You see a bunch of friends being too stupid for their own good and having a blast while they do it, albeit to a more tolerable degree that’s made for a fun, if pointless, outing. While this movie is not much different from any of those, it occasionally breathes subtle nostalgic feelings through unexpectedly strong camera work. It still makes you care about the characters despite not being all that developed or wellwritten and harkens back to movies from the early 2000s. It’s just plain fun. The stunts here are nothing new, but to be fair, it never gets old seeing Knoxville get punched in the head or kicked in the crotch. It’s all very predictable, but it’s almost

always funny as Knoxville has a charm with this sort of thing. We’ve all grown up seeing him do it, and when the inevitable crotch punch comes, we chuckle and roll our eyes, wishing we didn’t love this guy as much as we do. That being said, there are some really funny moments that involve wrangling a porcupine and being launched from a catapult into the side of a barn. God, we are truly blessed to say those things happen in the same movie. While the performances are basically irrelevant in a Knoxville joint, I will say in the 15 years of watching his movies, he puts forth some rare moments of real emotion, vulnerability and honesty here. It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy, but it’s cool seeing him show a more dramatic side of himself. And then boom. Another kick to the crotch. Ah, it never gets old. Chris Pontius, an original member of the “Jackass” crew, also has a pretty funny role, and it’s a shame we didn’t see some of the other guys from the gang make an appearance. It’s hardly a must-see, but “Action Point” is undeniably fun. It doesn’t have a hamfisted social message or much to say really, but I really enjoyed sitting there for the entirety of its 95-minute run time. While I hesitate to say we need more movies like this one, it’s a pleasant change of pace from all the universe-building and high stakes action of most summer blockbusters. Aaaaaand crotch punch. Classic. My rating: 3/5

Courtesy “Action Point” Facebook


NTDAILY.COM

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018

Page 6

Left: A display of some of the meals prepared by Fatihaat Ismail’s food service business, Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes. Courtesy Twitter @GOT_FED1

Got FED?: By Kenya Menjivar @kenya_menjivar Despite Denton’s diverse culture, the city does not have a restaurant that serves traditional African dishes. UNT business major Fatihaat Ismail is aiming to change that. Fatihaat has taken it upon herself to make African dishes through her business called Got FED, “FED” standing for “Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes.” Fatihaat is originally from Nigeria and came up with the idea to start her own business after cooking African dishes for her roommates. She said she got inspired to start cooking when she noticed she missed home-cooked meals. “I’m really picky about my food, so I just decided to make my food myself,” Fatihaat said. “I had a large group of friends, and we just all hang out every Friday, and I would make food. Someone [then told] me I could just make it for the African students on campus.” Fatihaat’s sister, Sumayyah Ismail, said they would get their Nigerian food from their cousin before Fatihaat started cooking. “[Fatihaat has] always liked to cook, but my cousin lived so far away and everyone just [wanted] to have some Nigerian food,” Sumayyah said. “I was

Right: Fatihaat Ismail is a business major at UNT who runs her own at-home food service that serves traditional African cuisines. Ismail is originally from Nigeria and learned to cook from her mother. Emily Olkkola

Student serves Denton community with traditional African cuisine, culture through at-home food service

the only one who could get some from my cousin, so she just decided, ‘Oh, I can make it.’” Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes found its following unexpectedly via social media. When Fatihaat would make dishes, she would upload them to her Snapchat not knowing she would get responses asking about pricing for her dishes. She said she would simply respond to requests by saying she only cooked for friends, but the requests kept coming, and people were suggesting she should sell her dishes. It wasn’t until fall 2017 that Fatihaat said she felt she could truly start a small business for her cooking. She said she wasn’t necessarily looking for a job at the time but was trying to make money. With her knowledge of business through her studies, Fatihaat pursued her passion and started Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes.  Though her pursuit in entrepreneurship through her food business is recent, her beginnings in cooking is not: this passion for cooking came from her childhood. When she was younger, her mom would make her and her siblings cook their own food. Fatihaat’s mom first showed her the basics to making Nigerian food but has since been doing a lot of cooking on her own. She said she has learned the rest by trial and error. Now, she is used to

cooking her own food, and she actually enjoys it. High demand, close proximity Because of Denton’s sizable African population and the presence of UNT African culture clubs, such as the African Students Organization and the Nigerian Student Organization, Fatihaat said the demand for African cuisine is high. However, the food is not easily accessible for those who are homesick. The closest African shop is in Arlington, something Fatihaat finds “outrageous.” Denton used to house its own African goods store on the Square but was recently shut down at the beginning of the year. Christine Laniyan, a UNT student and Fatihaat’s roommate, said she likes Fatihaat’s food, and the proximity factor is an added bonus.  “We don’t have any Nigerian restaurants here,” Laniyan said. “It’s really frustrating when you’re craving Nigerian food and you can’t get it from a restaurant around here.” Laniyan said that no one likes the idea of going to Dallas to eat African food, especially because it’s not an easy drive. “[Fatihaat said she] wanted to start it for convenience for students and just for everyone to have access to Nigerian food,”

Laniyan said. “[Nigerian food is] the best food, honestly.” Laniyan has tried all of Fatihaat’s dishes and can attest that they are amazing. Laniyan suggests that anyone try it, not just Nigerians. Something for every one, every budget Fatihaat’s normal business days are Fridays and Saturdays. On both days she is open from noon to midnight Nevertheless, she cooks every day, and if anyone wants what she’s cooking, she just tells them they can come pick the dish up at a certain time. Fatihaat said she likes to keep her prices reasonable, considering most of her customers are fellow university students. The price per dish last semester was $6 per plate. The dish Fatihaat currently sells the most is jollof rice. This dish is made up of rice mixed in boiled stew and meat stock. Her personal favorite dish to make is yam porridge, often known to Americans as Asaro. In addition to sharing food from her native country, Fatihaat said her small business is also allowing her to share a bit of her culture with others. By exposing her food to the Denton community, she said it gives people an opportunity to try

food from another culture. “I don’t think food will [necessarily] draw in a lot people [to African culture and history],” Fatihaat said. “There [are] some people who love making food, so that can be a way for them to get into the African culture.” When Fatihaat cooks, she sometimes gets prompted by some student organizations to make a dish or to discuss a certain cultural topic. She recently worked together with the Nigerian Student Organization. “I worked with the Nigerian Student Organization on campus, so it’s like a two-in-one thing,” Fatihaat said. “When [the organization has] cooking lessons, I teach them how to make their own food from [the members’ respective] cultures.” Fatihaat graduates in December and said she doesn’t have an end goal for her business. Nonetheless, she said she loves the fact that people in Denton can locally buy African food when they want. She knows many people on campus who would rather have this option as opposed to American food — herself included. “[Some people] just want to eat homemade African food,” Fatihaat said. To order from Fatihaat’s Exotic Dishes, visit Fatihaat’s Twitter page @GOT_ FED1.

The Dose: ‘Action Point’ is dumb but just what we need

By Zack Helms @ntdailyZack

Shradda “Srada” Aryal owns and operates Perfectbrowz Denton, a local eyebrow threading business. Jessika Hardy

Perfectbrowz Denton stays on trend By Emily Olkkola @EmilyOlkkola Ever since the explosion of beauty fads and beauty gurus on Instagram and YouTube, perfectly groomed brows have been all the craze. There are a handful of ways to morph eyebrows from caterpillars to faceflattering arches, and eyebrow threading is one of them. Local small business Perfectbrowz Denton specializes in this technique. Located inside New Image Salon at 326 E. McKinney St., Perfectbrowz Denton is owned and operated by Shradda “Srada” Aryal, a professional aesthetician from Nepal. Aryal has been an aesthetician for many years but had to renew her license when she migrated from Nepal to the United States 13 years ago. She was required to complete 750 hours of additional coursework, which included cleaning, sanitation, proper customer care and how to wax. “I used to practice on my mom’s arms,” Aryal said. “That’s how I got really fast. Then by looking at the face, you can tell, ‘OK, she wants round brows or thin brows or thick brows.’ You can tell.” Originating from Persia more than 5,000 years ago and continued through India and its surrounding areas, eyebrow threading requires a different set of skills than waxing. Using two hands, an eyebrow threader places two pieces of thread between an eyebrow hair and then pulls the hair from the root using the

thread. Because it pulls from the root, once eyebrows are threaded, Aryal said the style tends to last longer than other hair removal processes. This process involves no chemical use, so it is safe for those with sensitive or reactive skin.

husband’s unibrow — something she said she’ll continue doing throughout the rest of her pregnancy. “My plan is to work until the [baby is born] and then have somebody cover for me for four to six weeks, and then come back again,” Aryal said.

Family matters When Aryal was 18 years old, her parents sent her from Nepal to the United States. Aryal said that studying was her main motivation to go to the United States. It has been nearly five years since she has been back to her home country. With a baby due in five weeks after this month, Aryal said in retrospect she thinks 18 is too young to venture to a new country like she did — especially from Nepal. “When I think about it, when I have my kid, I don’t think I can send her away when she’s 18,” Aryal said. “It’s like, that’s too young [for her to be] by herself, and Nepal is almost a 25-, 26-hour flight to get there. It is very far.” The baby on the way will be Aryal’s first child, a girl whom she and her husband have not picked out a name for yet. Though they haven’t settled on anything yet, Aryal said they both have a long list of possible names. “We go [from] traditional [Nepali] to [American], so it’s kind of mixed, and it’s very hard [to decide],” Aryal said. Aryal and her husband have been married for two and a half years and have been together for eight years after they met at a college party. Aryal threads her

Working while pregnant Aryal said that even though she wishes to continue to work for as long as she can until she gives birth, working while pregnant has been different. “Sometimes you just get cranky and moody, but my customers are very loyal,” Aryal said. “I have been doing [their eyebrows] for five or six years, so they never complain.” In the salon, there is a bedroom in the back so Aryal may rest, and because of the way Aryal schedules her hours, she does not see customers back-to-back. It was when she was working for someone else in an internship for her degree that Aryal realized she wanted to run her own threading business. For three years, she has been on her own. “You can make your own schedule,” Aryal said. “Tomorrow I have my doctor’s appointment, so I just posted on my Facebook page [saying], ‘I’m not working tomorrow, so just make sure you’re not there.’” In the future, Aryal said she hopes to open and run her own salon. “My plan is to have my own salon but with the baby coming in, it’s just too much to handle right now,” Aryal said.

Freakishly funny. That’s probably the best way to describe stuntman and concussion enthusiast Johnny Knoxville’s newest movie, “Action Point.” It’s a straight-forward movie with a weak plot to service the iconic groin punches and the occasional stunt that inevitably sends one of the crew to the hospital, but it’s got a whole lot of heart. And while the plot is pretty weak, it manages to capture some really strong, if painfully brief moments of nostalgia, teen angst and regretfulness as a father. Johnny Knoxville plays D.C., an amusement park owner who’s struggling to keep his park afloat, all the while another park is trying its hardest to get his land. During this struggle, D.C. must also learn to be a better role model for his daughter, whom he sees only once a year. Anytime you see Knoxville headlining a movie, you can expect pretty much the same thing every time: bodily harm, animals biting crotches and the crew just generally goofing off. While the “Jackass” franchise is over, it hasn’t stopped him from branching out into films constructed around those types of movies. “Bad Grandpa,” “The Ringer” and “Skiptrace” are by no means all that good by conventional grading scales, but they’ve all captured what “Jackass” did. You see a bunch of friends being too stupid for their own good and having a blast while they do it, albeit to a more tolerable degree that’s made for a fun, if pointless, outing. While this movie is not much different from any of those, it occasionally breathes subtle nostalgic feelings through unexpectedly strong camera work. It still makes you care about the characters despite not being all that developed or wellwritten and harkens back to movies from the early 2000s. It’s just plain fun. The stunts here are nothing new, but to be fair, it never gets old seeing Knoxville get punched in the head or kicked in the crotch. It’s all very predictable, but it’s almost

always funny as Knoxville has a charm with this sort of thing. We’ve all grown up seeing him do it, and when the inevitable crotch punch comes, we chuckle and roll our eyes, wishing we didn’t love this guy as much as we do. That being said, there are some really funny moments that involve wrangling a porcupine and being launched from a catapult into the side of a barn. God, we are truly blessed to say those things happen in the same movie. While the performances are basically irrelevant in a Knoxville joint, I will say in the 15 years of watching his movies, he puts forth some rare moments of real emotion, vulnerability and honesty here. It’s not exactly Oscar-worthy, but it’s cool seeing him show a more dramatic side of himself. And then boom. Another kick to the crotch. Ah, it never gets old. Chris Pontius, an original member of the “Jackass” crew, also has a pretty funny role, and it’s a shame we didn’t see some of the other guys from the gang make an appearance. It’s hardly a must-see, but “Action Point” is undeniably fun. It doesn’t have a hamfisted social message or much to say really, but I really enjoyed sitting there for the entirety of its 95-minute run time. While I hesitate to say we need more movies like this one, it’s a pleasant change of pace from all the universe-building and high stakes action of most summer blockbusters. Aaaaaand crotch punch. Classic. My rating: 3/5

Courtesy “Action Point” Facebook

North Texas Daily 6/14/2018  
North Texas Daily 6/14/2018  
Advertisement