U Magazine Spring 2015

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Graduation and Life Nebula Award Winner

Dr. John Kessel

Worst Dates Ever A Life Changing Experience

10 Best Movies of 2014 The Triangle’s Student Magazine www.uthemagazine.com

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U the Magazine | Spring 2015


Table of Contents FEATURES Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Spring 2015 Volume 5, Issue 3



Moonstone Studio, LLC


Graduation and Life....Advice from your future self................................. 6 Nebula Award Winner: Dr. John Kessel...................................................10 Worst Dates Ever....................................................................................... 12 Risk = Reward: A Life Changing Experience........................................14 Decorating Your First Apartment.............................................................16 10 of the Best Movies of 2014................................................................. 17 A Memorable Trip: My Journey Through the Mediterranean...............22

Pamela K. Marsh



CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Russell Ash Christine Barba Anne Brenner Shannon Cutthrell Janine Eduljee Laura Greenstein Shantasia Hamilton J. Keith Jones Madison Miller Lauren Vanderveen

For information or to advertise contact Pam, 919-414-2760 pam@moonstone-studio.com U the Magazine is published by Moonstone Studio, LLC. All editorial contained within is the sole property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of Moonstone Studio, LLC. The publisher accepts no liability for the accuracy of statements made by the writers or advertisers. The opinions of the writers are not necessarily the opinion of Moonstone Studio, LLC. ©2015 Moonstone Studio, LLC

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U the Magazine | Spring 2015

DEPARTMENTS DINING: Seafood Treats—Without Leaving the Triangle.......................18 MUSIC: Pink Floyd—The Endless River....................................................20 ARTS: An Exercise in Diversity.................................................................. 24 TV SHOWS: The West Wing..................................................................... 26 BOOK REVIEW: Not That Kind of Girl......................................................26 MOVIES: Snowpiercer, Interstellar...........................................................28 COUPONS.................................................................................................. 29 Check us out online at www.uthemagazine.com for more great stories! U the Magazine is a college-lifestyle magazine published three times a school year, Back-to-School, Winter and Spring; featuring articles, written by student interns and guests, from fashion and careers to relationships. Valuable coupons from local merchants are featured in the print version as well as the online version of the magazine. U the Magazine can be found on college campuses, apartment communities, retail areas and restaurants throughout the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas. @uthemagazine.com

Graduation is a wonderful time. Read the article “Graduation and Life... Advice from your future self” on pages 6-9. Photo courtesy of North Carolina Central University

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Graduation and Life ..............Advice from your future self

With graduation growing near, as well as the start your working life, is it too soon to start thinking about retirement? Not if you want to retire while you are young enough to enjoy it. Also, there is more to retiring than just having enough money. You’ve probably had some great times and made really good friends. Some you will keep in touch with and others you may remember if you manage to reconnect in person later. Now, however; is the time when you will begin establishing friendships and activities that will take you through the balance of your lifetime. Now that I’ve tossed several concerns your way, such as finances, building new friendships and what to do with yourself when you are not working, I encourage you not to worry. The discovery and building process is most of the fun. First off, make a conscious decision right now that you will enjoy your life and dedicate yourself to being a happy person no matter what, right now. Life can be difficult and today’s economy makes that truer now than in recent memory. Even in the best of times, the 6

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

truth is, that happiness is really just a state of mind. Your job could be riding a golden Slip and Slide all day long and there would be something about it that is not fun. So you must decide to not let the negative aspects of your day spoil the good ones. Now back to that pesky money thingy. If you are like most people, coming out of school will constitute some of your most challenging years financially. In generations past you would go to work for a company, work there for thirty or forty years. Your retirement day would be greatly anticipated with the company throwing a nice dinner in your honor, giving you a gold watch then you would begin collecting a generous pension that would keep you smiling and taking annual vacations to the Caribbean Islands for the balance of your years. That was then. Now your co-workers might take you to lunch where one of your office mates may be kind enough to pick up your tab. Then you are off to try and stretch out whatever money you have managed to sock away in your 401k and hope that coupled with Social Security will be enough.

Believe me, I am not trying to keep you up at night worrying about these things. In fact, I wish someone had told me sooner what I am about to tell you. The most important thing you can do in your early years is save money. How much is less important than the fact that you are doing it. Decide right away that some portion of your paycheck will go into some kind of long term savings, preferably a retirement plan, but whatever it is, treat it as you would a sacred object. Don’t touch it until you reach that day when you are ready to walk away from the working world and ride off into that sunset of bliss and carefree days. Set a goal, not of what you want to end up with, but how much you are going to save from each paycheck. If five or ten percent is too much, then save one or two percent. If that is too much then save $25, but discipline yourself to save SOMETHING every time you get paid. If you leave it alone, you will be surprised how quickly it will add up. Contrary to what your boss may want you to think, there is more to life than just work. Throughout your working life you will be handed platitudes about family coming first and having more in your life than just work. Here is the truth, they are usually lying when they tell you this. Many of your fellow worker bees will figure this out quickly and score high points for becoming dedicated to their work. They will become so conditioned to this that work will be their whole lives. Once they retire, such people often have no plan of what to do with themselves once they no longer have an office to go to every day. Many of them struggle to have a purpose in life and that life is often a short one once that one thing that gave them

Courtesy of North Carolina Central University

Photo by Becky Kirkland, NC State

By J. Keith Jones jkjones1964@gmail.com www.jkeithjones.com


As the saying goes, life is not a spectator sport. Get involved with the world you occupy and it will get involved with you.


U the Magazine | Spring 2015


Whatever you do, it is important to cultivate activities and interests outside of work.

meaning—the job—is gone. You, however; are not going to let that happen. You are going to be smart by knowing when to knuckle down, but not letting work become your whole reason for living. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone. Let’s figure out how to form friendships and develop activities that will carry you through the balance of your life. Being in college, you probably have not given this much thought. You make


U the Magazine | Spring 2015

friends naturally, through classes or other school related associations. Now you will likely spend your days in an office. You will soon learn that forming friendships among your co-workers, while not impossible, can prove problematic and possibly even disastrous if things go wrong. One important step to happiness in all phases of life is to develop a hobby. Perhaps join an athletic league; adult

Courtesy of North Carolina Central University

softball or soccer, maybe. Not only will it keep you in shape, it will bring you into contact with a number of people you can get to know in constructive ways before committing to being alone with them. Join a group. Either a civic organization like the Kiwanis, Rotary or Jaycees; or perhaps something related to your hobby. If you are interested in history, you might start with the local historical

Photo by Becky Kirkland, NC State

society. As you get further into that, there are any number of organizations catering to specific historical periods and those who share like heritage. Join a book club—if you are a reader—or a writers group if you write. Many of these groups have regional and national conferences. Use these as an excuse to take a themed vacation where you will meet others with like interests. Take up a musical instrument. That may sound solitary, but it often presents many opportunities to become involved with bands or clubs where you may flex your new musical muscles and meet many interesting people. For instance, in recent years there has been a growing interest in Scottish bag piping. There are many pipes and drums bands forming all over and this will allow you to make the circuit of the Scottish and Irish festivals and really get to know those involved, not just walk through and look at a few things. Of course this is just one example. There are many such activities you may engage in. Find whatever fits your taste.

Photo by Becky Kirkland, NC State

If you are single, you might want to get involved in a singles group. Many of these are through larger churches, but not all are of religious affiliations. A lot of people have a false assumption that joining such a group means you are on the prowl for a life partner, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It can well just be a conduit to

Photo by Becky Kirkland, NC State

other people who are in the same place in their lives. Whatever you do, it is important to cultivate activities and interests outside of work. So often people devote their lives to their jobs and have difficulty adjusting to life in retirement. This will be an ideal time to begin the process of broadening your scope. Doing so can also provide you with the deep and rich friendships that will reward you with the kind of life you are seeking. As the saying goes, life is not a spectator sport. Get involved with the world you occupy and it will get involved with you.

U the Magazine | Spring 2015


Nebula Award Winner:

Dr. John Kessel By Laura Greenstein

Photo Courtesy of Dr. John Kessel


During the entirety of his life,

the 64-year-old professor, author, and Nebula Award winner has always complied with his need of expressing himself through the written word. John Kessel’s hobby began as simply a love for reading Sci-Fi novels and stories, but blossomed into a part of his life that would never wilt. “I always enjoyed writing, even as a kid I was always writing stories,” says Kessel, a New York native. In his 33 years of teaching at North Carolina State University, he has helped countless students learn about the art of Science Fiction. Being a professor taught him more than he had expected, “I learned my craft through teaching my students.” He also played a major role in creating a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at NC State. He facilitated drafting the proposal to create an MFA program, which was approved in 2004. “Dr. Kessel is the best professor I’ve ever 10

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

had at NC State, which is saying a lot because I don’t usually like literature courses. He is very witty and good at engaging his class and at facilitating discussion. He can be a bit scattered sometimes, but it shows that he is learning with us, which I think is a nice quality in a professor,” said one of his students, Stephanie Milosh. Kessel relays that he has thoroughly enjoyed his time teaching and knows that he made the right decision about becoming a professor, but teaching was not what he set out to do. “Writing is closer to my heart than teaching. When I retire from being a professor I will still be a writer,” says Kessel. While Kessel was receiving his education at the University of Rochester, his mind set for his career was not focused on either teaching or writing. During this time, he was an avid reader and writer as he had always been, but he simply thought of it as a hobby, not a stable career choice. His

plan was to be come a scientist because he was fascinated by physics and astronomy. He majored in both physics and English, but his grades in each major were a clear sign to his path as a writer. He let his passion overrule practicality, and decided to pursue a higher education in English. It was during his masters program at the University of Kansas that Kessel became serious about writing. He continued writing stories, and used the knowledge from his science education to contribute to the believability factor of his Sci-Fi stories. Fresh out of school, Kessel was ready to begin his career. He applied for a job at a wire service company called UPI even though this job had little to do with teaching or fiction writing. It was a journalistic job entailing copy-editing news stories. While he had no journalistic experience on his resume, he was an excellent grammarian. Due to this skill, Kessel was hired for the job. He spent three years editing for UPI and enjoyed this work for the most

“Dr. Kessel is not only a great writer with a tremendous passion for his craft, but he brings just as much enthusiasm as a teacher. He keeps his students engaged by telling jokes in class, makes a point to go beyond the curriculum so that students really understand the meaning of the text, makes literary discussions exciting as he wants students to apply themselves and think, provides wonderful advice to aspiring writers, and is devoted to helping his students succeed.” says another student, Kevin Shaefer. It was a personal goal for Kessel to become a role model for his students the way that his writing workshop professor, James Gunn, was for him when he was attaining his master’s degree. Having that type of role model encouraged him to become more serious about writing and he wanted to help his students do the same. During his upbringing, Kessel had a handful of Science Fiction heroes whose books were a staple part of his childhood. One

Photo Courtesy

Kessel is not someone who was willing to risk everything to devote his time to writing. He admits that for him writing novels is a slow process, and he cannot whip up novels quick enough to have a stable income solely from writing. “I became a professor because I’m a cautious person,” he says after explaining why he did not pursue writing as his main career. At the time, he thought about what job would best compliment a writer, and decided that becoming a professor was his best option. But even if being a professor was not his first choice, it does not mean that he put any less effort into helping his students.

of Dr. John Kess el

Photo Courtesy of Dr. John Kessel

part. But he knew that this was not the career path that he wanted to go down.

of these heroes was Ursula K. Le Guin, a famous Sci-Fi author. He wrote a short story that was included in a 2010 book written in Le Guin’s honor. Le Guin recently received a special recognition at the National Book Awards. Having the opportunity to contribute to this book and meet one of his Sci-Fi heroes was an extremely rewarding experience for Kessel. Other than having the privilege of meeting his Sci-Fi heroes, the most memorable experience Kessel has had as a writer is being nominated for the Nebula Award nine times and winning it twice. Both pieces that won the award are Literary Fantasies, which is one of his main writing styles. The first story that won the Nebula in 1982 is called “Another Orphan,” which is about a character that wakes up in the middle of Moby Dick. “One day I sat down on the couch in my living room, looked at the copy of Moby Dick on the bookshelf, and wondered what it would be like to enter into that world,” says Kessel. The second piece, “Pride and Prometheus,” won the Nebula Award 26 years later in 2008. This story combines

Pride and Prejudice with Frankenstein, two of Kessel’s favorite classics that he noticed could both be seen as representing the struggle of finding a mate. Kessel is currently working on a new SciFi novel that takes place on the moon, 130 years in the future. In this futuristic society, women have more power and influence in the government than men do. He spent a lot of time pondering what this would be like and how it would differ from current circumstances. “Would it be just roles reversed, or would it be a completely different situation? I decided that it would be different,” Kessel said. The book is all about what life is like in that premise, but draws inspiration from current events. Kessel has never given up his passion for writing and has assisted and inspired others in their pursuit to become a writer, but he admits that it does not always come easy. He always feels a bit guilty about the days that pass where he has not written anything. “Being a writer is not always happy times. It’s like a habit or a drug addiction, sometimes I wish I could forget about it and be a normal person.” “Nebula Award logo” by Source. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Nebula_Award_ logo.png#mediaviewer/File:Nebula_Award_logo.png

U the Magazine | Spring 2015


Murder, Grass Science, the Brady Bunch and Sister Wives

Worst Dates Ever He wore a tie-dye bandanna and carried a skateboard the night we met. Despite his garb, he was adorable. For several weeks, we texted until eventually, he asked if I wanted to go on a movie date. As we waited in line for our tickets, he paused mid-conversation, then asked, “So uh, what’s your name again?” The next question was nearly just as bad. When we reached the cashier he said, “I’m kind of broke. Can you spot me?” As we walked out of the movie, I was faced with another question: “I rode my skateboard here. Can you give me a ride home?” We were in high school so his lack of a permit was relatively acceptable. However, his comment that “The back seats in your car are so roomy, can you imagine what we’d do back there?” was not. This experience was only a warm-up for the date I went on several months later with another guy. Shortly before we planned to meet, he texted me, “Just gonna slab on some deodorant, then I’ll head over.” I was already wary of him after he told me he lost his Facebook password and wanted to make a separate account for his “new friends” since he was only visiting my state for the summer. Nevertheless, I gave him a chance. We went to see a horror movie. After the film concluded, I commented, “That was scary, huh?” He responded, “Stuff like that doesn’t faze me, though I am paranoid. When I was three, my father murdered my mother so I keep a sword in my trunk and sleep with a shotgun under my bed.” I felt sorry that he had such an awful experience, but as social penetration theory predicts—the idea that too much disclosure too soon frightens the listener— 12

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

I did not contact him again. When he must’ve realized there wouldn’t be another date, he accepted me on his original Facebook account. I learned he was in a three-year relationship. During the same time we corresponded, he commented on her photos, “Love and miss my princess so much!” I transferred any empathy I felt for him to his girlfriend. Luckily, because of the red flags waving before our date, I’d avoided any physical contact with him while on our date. Although these examples take my “worst date” gold and silver medals, several more followed. One guy texted me that he’d been fasting the entire week, then wrote, “Apologies in advance for the bad breath.”I stayed home. My junior year prom date said he’d never been to a prom before, wasn’t going to his own, and then asked me to be his girlfriend the night after my prom. I later discovered he’d been to three proms, went to his own prom with another girl, and was his prom’s photographer!

By Christine Barba

Yet she also said, “Everyone has at least one story, and each of us is funny if we admit it.” After interviewing others about their worst dates, I’ve realized I have competition. Below are my favorite worst date stories: “We went to the Rocky Horror Picture show. I let him borrow my clothes. After the first song, I glanced over and he looked wasted. I realized the ‘water bottle’ he was drinking from contained vodka. He went to the men’s room and I found him lying on the floor puking everywhere. The theater staff was furious and gave me a janitor cart of cleaning supplies. I spent the next hour and a half cleaning up his vomit. After he felt better, he confessed his love for me. The tenderness of this moment was mitigated by the fact he was wearing my clothes and covered in vomit, as was I. The relationship didn’t work out, but I’m the ‘best man’ in his upcoming wedding.” — Lauren, 24 “I was getting intimate with this guy, but he was watching the ‘Brady Bunch’ the entire time!” — Kristi, 22

Senior year of high school, I dated my first “real” boyfriend though we always “went Dutch.” One time, he asked me if I could pay him back the quarter I asked to borrow the last time we went out. On my birthday, he listed the price of every gift he got me. “These flowers cost $15!” he exclaimed.

“After I broke up with a dude in high school, he told me he wanted to see my whole family dead and it’s no wonder my dad doesn’t love me—a little intense for a three month relationship!”

Maya Angelou once remarked, “You have to admit you’re the funniest person you’ve ever heard of.” When I look back on these experiences, I sometimes think I am.

“He was eight years older than me and told me he’d always had a crush on me. He handed me a piece of Cinnamon Toast Crunch when I arrived because he said he remembered I used to like that cereal. When I didn’t contact him after-

ward, he messaged me telling me his two-year-old daughter really wanted to meet me.” — Emily, 22 “Another guy and I went to a hockey game. The third thing he told me was that he had Tourette’s syndrome in case he offended me. Next, he pronounced that he brought along his best friend who had just survived a long-term illness. I called my best friend for backup. The four of us watched the entire game in silence.” “My high school boyfriend went all ‘vegan organic’ on me. One day, I got a deli sandwich. He yelled, ‘this is processed meat!’ and punched my sandwich out of my hand. I ended up with no lunch. Another time, he refused to go to McDonalds, then gave me strawberries for dinner.” — Courtney, 25. “I arrived to pick her up for dinner and learned she didn’t speak English. Her roommate had messaged me for her. We still went to dinner, but sat there in silence.” — Mike, 25 “When he picked me up, I noticed what normal people would consider ‘weapons’ in his car, including cutting shears. He worked in construction and claimed he needed them for work!” — Rose, 22 “We met at a pub. He became tipsy and kept calling me his ‘fake girlfriend’

He then grabbed my hair as if envisioning a sexual fantasy. I immediately pulled his hand away. He told me he just wanted to see if my hair was fake.” — Jennifer, 24 “We went on a hike. His racist comments made me uncomfortable. He then slipped on a rock and face planted in a stream. He was completely soaked and dirty and people were laughing. He tried to play it off, but ended up with a broken phone and broken pride.” — Paulina, 22 “We were supposed to go to the driving range. Instead, he showed me where he grows his weed. He was a grass science major!” — Kimberly, 24 “Another guy talked about his brother being on house arrest for being convicted of investment fraud throughout dinner.” “The third guy kept asking me to rate things on a scale of 1-10: how excited I was for our date, how likely it was for there to be a second date, how much I wanted to see his band play, etc. It was so annoying.” “It was a first date. She kept saying things such as ‘We’re meant to be.’ The next night, I went out with friends and got two calls and eight texts from her in a row, but didn’t respond. Her last text was ‘I’m back with my ex. Thanks for wasting my time.” — Alexi, 26

“He was two hours late for our movie date. After I was about to go home, he showed up and we went to the last movie showing. I later found out that work hadn’t made him late. He had come from a date with another girl.” — Melissa, 22 “A friend and I made out with two guys who flirted with us all night. The next day, they told us they were engaged. The one I made out with was getting married in two months!” — Jackie, 23 “He was really intelligent and a professor. We talked about Ernest Hemmingway. Then we talked about reality TV. I brought up that show ‘Sister Wives’ and how weird it is for this guy to have so many wives. He got really serious and started avoiding eye contact. Turns out, he was in a polyamorous relationship with his roommate. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, he spent the next twenty minutes telling me how much he loved her. I just smiled and hoped I finished my huge fish bowl margarita quickly enough to get out of there!” — Rachel, 22 Jerry Seinfeld once said, “A date is a job interview that lasts all night.” Although most of the above candidates never made it through the first round, I hope they receive some praise for making us laugh. As Lauren commented, “I look back on the whole incident with humor more than anything else.”

U the Magazine | Spring 2015


an Concep

t Salon

By Madison Miller





As a highschooler, I wasn’t exactly directionless, but I was still in an exploratory phase of my life. It took me a great deal longer than it should have to find my niche, since I knew that I was good at writing and my school had a newspaper. As a child, I had always admired Lois Lane, a fictional reporter whose resume of accomplishments make her an equal with Superman, but as a highschooler I felt that being skilled at writing didn’t mean I would necessarily have a talent for journalism. I remember worrying during freshman year that my writing was too unsophisticated. This insecurity, coupled with a desire to dabble in other things, meant that instead of developing the skill I already had, I focused on things—like drama—at which it seemed I would never succeed. Around the time that I realized this was causing me an unnecessary amount of stress, and that I simply was not cut out to be some sort of Renaissance woman with skills in every area, I received an invitation in the mail to attend the Digital Media, Broadcast, and Journalism Conference hosted by LeadAmerica at Fordham University. I wanted to go badly, and indeed the opportunity seemed perfect. I would be able to learn about journalism in a one week, immersive setting, away from the constraints of academic pressure. I begged my family to let me attend, and even though my grandma was unemployed at the time, she paid for me to attend, and my dad flew with me to New York, since I had never flown by myself before.


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U the Magazine | Spring 2015

The conference itself was nothing short of life changing. Attendees were sectioned off into teams and told to create their own publications. I wrote two articles for an online publication called Cutting Edge Teen Mag, one of which covered the ghost stories that circulated about the Fordham campus. I took a skeptical slant when it came time to put pen to paper, but I really psyched myself out when collecting the eerie tales; in this way I got a taste of the bravery that a journalist must have when chasing certain stories. I also experienced the payoff that comes with such bravery when I won an award for most creative article, an honor that boosted my confidence immeasurably. Additionally, we sat through lectures and workshops in which we were taught skills, many of which pertained to journalism. Attending these lectures helped to give me an idea of what sitting in a college classroom might be like, I learned to meet deadlines, and I collected enough information that I was able to start a

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bound journal full of notes on journalism. The conference, along with the knowledge and confidence I gained from it, was enough to inspire me to join my high school newspaper staff in my senior year, something I would have been too hesitant to do prior to the conference. In a total of two semesters, I was able to work my way up from staff writer to editorials copy editor, and the journal of notes I started became nearly full, minus maybe twelve or so pages. I went from speaking of my prospective future in broad terms, that is writer, to a more focused goal: reporter. I have decided to pursue a career in journalism, and as an undergraduate student I am majoring in marketing communications and political science, since I hope to cover political news. I plan to enroll in a journalism graduate program. I doubt I would have made any of these decisions had I not decided to spend a week of my summer vacation pursuing this educational opportunity. It is amazing how a week, which is such a small chunk of time in the grand scheme of things, can help to shape someone’s life so drastically, and while many would like to decrease the amount of summer vacation given to those enrolled in the American Public School System, stories like this serve to exemplify the need to let students explore potential interests outside of a formal academic setting. Students are much more likely to try new things if they do not have to worry about watching their grade point average suffer if their attempt proves unsuccessful. Personally, I learned how rewarding taking risks can be, especially in regards to seizing new opportunities.

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Decorating Your First Apartment

By Shantasia Hamilton

There aren’t many young people that haven’t wanted to have their own apartment. Whether you are a college student or a person who decided they are ready to live on their own, almost everyone has envisioned themselves in their own place. Living on your own gives you that freedom to come and go as you please, not having to answer to anyone and being able to decorate your apartment the way that you see fit. One has also wondered how they would decorate their apartment, how they would make it comfortable and feel like home, the theme they could incorporate and also how they would budget their expenses to decorate. Budgeting is a big factor when choosing how to decorate your first apartment. This applies especially to college students who are already on a tight living budget. In order to make sure you are spending your money correctly, give yourself what I call the starter amount. The starter amount is how much you are willing and able to spend at that moment for the most needed items. Those items can include kitchen and bathroom necessities and basically anything you know that will be used on a daily basis or frequently. After the needed items are taken care of, you can start buying those items and pieces that will give your apartment that feeling of “home”. In order to make sure you are spending your money wisely and getting what you want, you should make a list. This list should consist of what you need and want in your apartment, such as bedroom furniture, wall décor, kitchen appliances, etc. An advantage for some college students is that there are student apartments available in the communities surrounding their colleges that include furniture such as a bed, a sofa and dressers. I would say that if you are in any form of schooling, looking for a furnished apartment may be best to avoid extra costs. If that is not the case, look for apartments that are in your price range and slowly add furniture to your place as you can afford it. They first necessity for an unfurnished place would be a bed and everything else can be added as you like. After you’ve chosen the perfect place, it’s time to decorate! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want wall décor such as stick16

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

ers, posters, pictures, a jewelry hanger, etc. Stores that sell items you may want for decorating are Wal-Mart, Target and craft stores such as Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabric and Michaels. You can also use the DIY method to create some pieces for your apartment. Many online sites such as Amazon and eBay sell apartment items for very inexpensive prices. When buying items to fill up your apartment, a key factor is to make sure that you are purchasing items that will be of use to you and will also last a long period of time. It would be a bad investment to purchase something that will only last a month at most. Make sure your investment in decorating your apartment will be one you can live with for a while. Another important factor in decorating your apartment is to have a theme. Whether it’s a color theme or an era theme, from room to room everything should work well with one another. In my first apartment, the color theme of my room was purple and black. My bedroom was in that specific color and even my bathroom. As for the living room, since I shared this apartment with two other individuals, we chose to leave it as is. As for my second apartment, my color theme was black and white which included wall stickers that were also in the color black. Since the furniture included in my living room was black, it worked well with my overall theme for my portion of the apartment. You don’t want to include too many colors or more than one theme in your apartment because it can clash and look tacky. For example, if the living room color theme is brown, the kitchen theme is green and the bedroom is red, there may be too much going and it may not look good. There is nothing wrong with having different color themes as long as one travels from room to room; each color or idea that the room incorporates compliments the others. Another place that has good inspiration for decorating apartments is your local thrift store. Thrift stores are good for those individuals who like vintage things and also

don’t mind having second-hand items. The best part about buying items from thrift stores is that those items can be revamped and made into your own. Choosing this route also helps to save money since most thrift store purchases are very inexpensive. There are also websites and phone apps that may be a good source for getting inspiration, ideas, and DIY projects. Pinterest can be accessed from one’s phone or online and offers inspiration and ideas for all sorts of things. Another great resource is Polyvore, which mainly offers fashion and beauty products but also has home décor. The Polyvore app gives individuals a platform to create sets of home décor with the items provided. The great part about this app is that if the item is available for purchase, it provides the website and the price so you can buy it if you really like what you added to your set. In the end, you should have the complete look and feel that you want for your apartment. Of course, there may be more added as you go along. Being able to take advantage of many inexpensive resources that are available to you is vital to getting the apartment look you want without breaking your bank account. I hope these tips are helpful to anyone that will soon have their own apartment.

10 of the Best Movies of 2014 By Lauren Vanderveen Who said film is dead? Because clearly they’re missing some serious gems from 2014’s repertoire. Here are looks into 10 of the very best cinema had to offer last year:


1. I heard a saying once, “If you’ve seen one Wes Anderson movie, you’ve seen them all.” It’s true his visual style is obsessively uniform, direct, and vintage or campy. But the aesthetic offers more than just a cozy niche of retreat from an increasingly modern world. The narratives of his more recent films allow for a dichotomy of sane youth versus unhinged adulthood—something rarely explored in tellings of growing up. Which is why The Grand Budapest Hotel is yet another Anderson home-run-slamdunk. Ralph Fiennes as M. Gustave and Tony Revolori as Zero the Lobby Boy are a comedic duo unparalleled in competition.


2. Guantanamo Bay has become synonymous with the War on Terror and torture tactics. It was a horrendous, cruel “other” place with nothing to anchor its reality—until the film Camp X-Ray directed by Peter Sattler. If Fiennes and Revolori are the comedic duo of the year, then Kristen Stewart as female guard Amy Cole and Payman Maadi as a gitmo detainee are the dramatic duo of the year. What these two are able to communicate about patriotism and humanity—with always a plate-glass window or chain-link fence separating them—is astounding. Even better are the dimensions brought to what a female soldier contends with in a majorly all-male zone. It’s an incredibly poignant film.


3. I saw the trailer for Ida in a Prague movie theater last summer and, in that brief two minutes alone, I knew I had to see this movie. After I was finally able to do so, the experience absolutely floored me. Ida is about a novitiate nun who discovers she’s Jewish after meeting her aunt and last living relative; they both go in search for answers to Ida’s lost lineage and, subsequently, her identity. Every shot in this film directed by Pawel Pawlikowski is perfect. It’s filmed in black and white, which seems created from the heavens just for Agata Trzebuchowska in the role of Ida. She doesn’t say much, but her dark, soulful eyes fill the screen and tell everything.


4. After viewing The Rover, there is no way to ever think of Robert Pattinson as “that guy from Twilight.” He is completely unrecognizable, torn from his star persona and cast into

the Australian outback. This modern western is simplistic at heart: global economic collapse and barren chaos. A group steals one man’s (Guy Pierce) car, which enacts him to do whatever it costs to retrieve it. By the film’s end, however, it’s clear his cause is anything but the car—if it ever was in the first place. Very apropos, the trailer for the film invoked this bit from a famous W.B. Yeats poem, “Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Indeed, The Rover is pure desolation and anarchy to behold.


5. Inspired by real events, Belle focuses on the restrictions and circumstances of a mixed race woman living in England’s high society during the 18th century. While Belle (Gugu MbathaRaw) is treated as an equal amongst her white family—though not quite so much that she may formally dine with them—she must contend with the social and political structures that hinder her because of her darker skin. And she does so with righteous integrity. At one point, Belle says, “My greatest misfortune would be to marry into a family who would carry me as their shame.” Belle even vocally contests the court case on the Zong massacre that frames the story. To say Mbatha-Raw carries and commands the weight of her character is an understatement. We bleed when she bleeds; her joy is our own.


6. If you want to be genuinely terrified or weirded out by a film, The Babadook is the one to see. Claire, a mother stretched too thin, reads her son a scary story before bed. He’s already a precocious sprite with a hellbent obsession to protect his mother – but it amplifies once the Babadook story is read. Bugs crawl out of the wall, paranoia sets in, and both the mother and son turn to violence to combat their fears. Seeing the Babadook clinging to the ceiling, breathing in and out like a parasite itself, still raises goosebumps on my arms. But what the film leaves you with is one nagging question—is the Babadook real or is it really a projection of a mother’s breaking point?


7. Julianne Moore is simply fearless as the lead in Still Alice, a film that follows one woman’s harrowing descent into Alzehiemer’s. Alice’s life is almost perfect; she’s a professor at Columbia, a wife, and mother of three. But suddenly, she can’t remember words or thoughts or where she is anymore. The inch-

by-inch heartbreak comes to full blows when she must tell her children that her particular Alzeheimer’s can be passed down genetically. Moore’s performance is gut-wrenching and should not be overlooked this award season (cough, cough Oscars).


8. Snowpiercer is the cinematic equivalent of drinking a cool glass of water after what feels like years of not quenching a thirst. There’s plenty of science fiction out there, and even more action films, but there’s neither texture nor movement that is central to them quite like in this film directed by Bong Joon-ho. Following the disbursement of a man-made substance into the atmosphere to resolve the global rising of temperatures, the earth is catapulted back into an ice age – but not before the last remaining humans are able to board a train that continuously circles the globe. Years later Curtis (Chris Evans) and others from the suppressed tail section lead a revolt to make it to the front. The train becomes an uphill battleground that will, without a doubt, keep you on your toes.


9. Nightcrawler truly surpassed any banal expectations I had for it. I was convinced I would be walking into a Drive knockoff, but was happily surprised to find a scathing film about violence and media. Jake Gyllenhaal portrays Louis Bloom—a slightly weird, interminably chatty, ladder-climber who’s just looking for any opportunity. He finds it in the morbid, voyeuristic work of night crawlers, or those who film the blood news broadcasts for networks. The film is ruthless in its portrayal of our society’s mixed obsessions with crime, entertainment, and success.


10. I almost want to invoke the ghost of the Bridge to Terabithia film when talking about St. Vincent. Both gave the illusion of being innocent, lovely stories, only to turn out being heartbreaking dramas. I won’t give away the devastating truths in St. Vincent, but the innocent/lovely backbone centers on a cantankerous old man’s (Bill Murray) relationship with Oliver, the kid next door (Jaeden Lieberher). Melissa McCarthy plays Oliver’s mom and, hallelujah, it’s the first real part given to her probably since Gilmore Girls. You’ll laugh, maybe cry if you have a heart, and finally, praise veteran actor Murray for such a touchingly grumpy performance.

U the Magazine | Spring 2015


DINING: Seafood Treats...Without Leaving the Triangle! By Anne Brenner

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For as long as I can remember, I have had a particular taste for any kind of seafood, probably originating from my upbringing on or near the East Coast. Growing up in central Virginia, my family made frequent trips to both the Virginia and South Carolina coasts, where seafood was a vital staple. Upon moving to North Carolina for college, my love for this kind of cuisine only grew—as many of you probably already know, fishing trips and oyster roasts are a vital part of the culture in this state, especially around the Outer Banks and Atlantic Beach areas. Now that warmer weather is right around the corner, so are these sorts of outdoor activities, which makes this the perfect time of year to enjoy a seafood dish. But you don’t have to necessarily travel to the shoreline to taste quality seafood; several places exist right here in the Triangle that make you feel like you’re right there!


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U the Magazine | Spring 2015

Squid’s Restaurant and Oyster Bar 1201 Fordham Blvd. Chapel Hill, NC 27514 919.942.8757 I’ll start, of course, with my now-hometown of Chapel Hill: Around here, my go-to spot for seafood is, hands down, Squid’s restaurant, conveniently located in the heart of the hustle and bustle of town, right off of 15-501, otherwise known as Fordham Boulevard. Whenever my parents come to visit me here, this place is one of their favorite spots as well, and for good reason: The dishes are nothing short of quality. You name is, this place has got it,

if you’re talking about seafood: oysters, lobster, and seafood-themed salads are just a few options, along with probably every type of shrimp you can think of. Personally, when I’m here, I generally keep things simple and go for the plain fish dishes, with the grilled salmon and mahi-mahi menu items being my two preferences. My favorite fish dishes are definitely those that I or my friends have caught on our own during a fishing trip, but aside from that, this place is certainly the next-best thing.


Shucker’s Oyster Bar & Grill 510 Glenwood Avenue, Ste. 100 Raleigh, NC 27603 919.307.8087 If you’re closer to Wolfpack territory, my best recommendation for underwater cuisine would probably be Shucker’s, nestled in the heart of what I believe to be the center of Raleigh day and nightlife: Glenwood Avenue. During trips to this place, my biggest problem is not being able to choose which appetizer to go for, because so many of them are good enough, in my opinion, to serve as a whole meal. If I absolutely had to pick a favorite, I would say probably either the signature crab dip or calamari dishes are the way to go. After the appetizer portion of the meal, if you still have room for a main course (and please, try to make an effort to save some room for one when you come here, because they’re certainly not something to miss), my best recommendation would be to go for the oyster bar; as the name of the restaurant implies, no matter what sort of oyster you’re looking for, you’ll find it here. My two items of choice are the Alaskan snow crab legs and the peel and eat shrimp, which are locally caught right here in North Carolina.


Blu Seafood and Bar 2002 Hillsborough Road Durham, NC 27705 919.286.9777

So, as the weather warms up and we all get ready to spend a little bit more time near the water—whether you’re traveling to the coast or keeping things closer to home by the lake—I’m sure you’ll all be a little bit more in the mood for treats from the water. Until you get the chance to actually make the fishing/boating trip, these favorites will certainly tide you over.

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And, of course, I can’t forget my friends in and around the Durham area who are cheering on the Blue Devils; I would point you folks in the direction of Blu Seafood and Bar, located just outside downtown Durham just off Hillsborough Road, only about a half mile down the road from Duke’s East Campus. Like Shucker’s, this place could almost make a full menu out of just the appetizers—they’re just that delicious. My favorite, hands down, is the crab macaroni and cheese. The appetizer menu also includes a daily selection of oysters on the half shell, so it’s worth coming back here multiple times to see everything there is to offer. As far as main courses are concerned, being the bornand-bred southern girl that I am, I tend to go for the shrimp and grits whenever I stop by here. The Caribbean-Style Cioppino is also a classic because it provides a little bit of many different under the sea elements, including fish, clams, and mussels. But, if for whatever reason you’re not in the mood for seafood, this place also has a number of other selections that are also worth trying out, including sirloin, chicken breast, and pork tenderloin dishes.

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U the Magazine | Spring 2015


Music: Pink Floyd’s swan song The Endless River has been well worth the wait In 1973, a relatively obscure British progressive/psychedelic rock band burst on to the music scene and gained international success with what is still today regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 2014, 20 years after their last studio album The Division Bell, Pink Floyd released what is confirmed as their final album, and if anything they have proven that one can never be too old to make album magic. For that is what these three (including the late Rick Wright) senior Brits have managed to do with The Endless River, an effort which has received nothing but praise and with good reason. It is 100 percent pure Floyd sound, a welcome treat for Floydians all over the world who feared there would never be another album for the group with such a tumultuous history. What sets this album apart from its predecessors for one is the sheer lack of lyrics, often a Pink Floyd album staple (especially during the Roger Waters era). In fact, only one track on the entire album has actual vocals. But if you think the instrumental makeup of the album in some way deters from its spectacularity, think again. If anything, it helps the listener to appreciate the ethereal, out-of-this-world, melodic nature of the music with greater depth than ever before. In many ways, this album is a fond farewell tribute to the pianist and grand composer of the group, Richard Wright, whose passing in 2008 was supposed to have spelled the end of any future ef-


U the Magazine | Spring 2015

Pink Floyd The Endless River

By Janine Eduljee

forts by Pink Floyd. It was guitarist and lead vocalist David Gilmour who along with drummer Nick Mason decided to take a previously unearthed treasure trove of unfinished works by the late Wright. It could not have been a better decision, as the album went into the Billboard 200 chart at #3, just behind Taylor Swift and the Foo Fighters. The Endless River begins with the absolutely mesmerizing “Things Left Unsaid”. It features sound bites from all three members of the band, all in reference to the song’s title. Another highlight of the album is the hymnal organ-fueled “Autumn ‘68” (perhaps the title is a reference to Rick’s contribution to the 1970 album Atom Heart Mother entitled “Summer ‘68”). “Allons-y” (the first part) is groovy and rhythmic, while “The Lost Art of Conversation” sounds more like a piano jazz session. It is by far “Louder Than Words” which shines the brightest, bringing the album to a powerful and climactic close. Just as on

The Division Bell, Gilmour’s wife Polly Samson penned the lyrics to this adieu to Wright, and the words are in many ways a tribute to the entire band and their ability to persevere amid stark creative and personality differences. Some people may note Roger Waters absence on this album, but it should not come as a surprise to any—after his acrimonious departure in 1985, any future collaboration would have been simply impossible. The Endless River is many things: a new Pink Floyd masterpiece, a jam session between old friends, a stellar example of Floyd’s mastery of sound; above all however, it is the body and soul of Rick Wright, a labor of love, and a chance for the world to witness the unfiltered musical genius of this great pianist. All in all, a superb effort, and not one to be missed.

Laurel Ridge offers a fantastic location that is in walking/biking distance to UNC & UNC Hospital, and is also on the J & D bus lines. Why pay for parking when you can live so close to school and work? We have a large sparkling swimming pool, 8 ft. in depth! There are additional outdoor amenities, such as tennis courts, sand volley ball and a large gated pet park. We are in a highly recommended public school district and have a playground on the property that is being upgraded in 2015! There is also a Free DVD Library, 24 hour smart card laundry facility and FREE access to an off-site fitness center.

The Apartment Homes and Town Homes at Laurel Ridge provide large square footages, plentiful cabinet and closet storage and full kitchen appliance package. Washers and Dryers are provided in select apartment homes, or you may choose to save some money in your utility budget by using our Laundry Facility! Laurel Ridge is professionally managed by Thalhimer.

1100 West NC Highway 54 Bypass Chapel Hill, NC, 27516 T (919) 967•6918 • F (919) 968•0616 laurel.ridge@thalhimer.com U the Magazine | Spring 2015


A Memorable Trip:

My Journey Through the Mediterranean By Russell Ash finally stumbled upon a McDonald’s. I insisted we eat there; it was familiar and a few of the employees spoke broken English so were able to order with relative ease. I ordered what any kid my age would have ordered, the 10-piece chicken nugget meal.

Photo courtesy of Russell Ash

And here came the painful lesson: if you’re in a foreign country, branch out and try something new. Avoid the familiar, because the familiar might just keep you up all night sicker than you’ve ever been in your life.

When I was 12 years old, I got the opportunity to go on a vacation that most people would kill to go on. My grandparents booked my family on a cruise through the Mediterranean in 2004, marking the first (and hopefully not the last) time I would ever travel across the Atlantic Ocean to the grand continent of Europe. It was the first time I had ever been on a flight for more than four hours. Most people I’ve talked to who have been on flights that long loathe them, and maybe I would too if I took them more often, but I loved flying. I’ve been in cars for more than 13 hours at a time. Eight hours on a plane was exciting to me. We arrived in Barcelona, Spain around noon the day following our departure from the United States, and my family already began to feel the transition. We were in a place where few spoke our language and we were exhausted from the flight. After lounging in our hotel rooms for a couple of hours, we decided to walk around. I learned a very important lesson on this walk, and a rather painful one at that. We walked around looking for a place to stop and eat. There were plenty of restaurants, but few places where anyone spoke English. We kept walking around until we 22

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After a night of pain, no sleep, and some anti-nausea medicine I joined my family as we went to the port of Barcelona to board the ship. We were in Barcelona for a little over a day and already we couldn’t wait to be somewhere we could actually interact with people who spoke our language. After leaving Barcelona, the true journey officially began. Our first destination was a place on the French Riviera called Èze. The first thing I remember here was looking out from the ship and seeing a big hotel with an English title, which struck me as odd. I recall my uncle explaining to me that just like many in the US consider restaurants and hotels with French names to be fancy and exotic, people in France thought the same about establishments with English names. I was never sure if this was the real reason or not, but the explanation always stuck out in my mind. Once we left Èze, our next stop was Italy. We docked and took a bus tour through Tuscany, and even at the age of 12, I knew there were two things to see in Tuscany: vineyards and the leaning tower we all know and love. I can say I’ve tasted Tuscan wine, but sadly I was too young to compare it to any kind of wine I’ve tried since. I remember seeing the Tower of Pisa and being somewhat unimpressed. It was a beautiful piece of architecture, but for some reason I expected it to be bigger and I walked away with shrugged shoulders. Unfortunately, this would be a common

theme for a few other landmarks that most would kill to be able to have seen. It wouldn’t be the case for next site, however, as the next stop on our trip was Naples, where we took a bus tour to Pompeii. This was the first place where I was struck with awe, even as a 12 year old who couldn’t wait to get back to the ship to his Gameboy. We got to see the charred remains of the villagers who died from the eruption. Two figures I distinctly remember were a woman shielding her pregnant belly and a dog mid-bark. It is truly fascinating to consider the scenes that can be preserved from catastrophic events. I had never seen anything like it before. After Italy, it was Greece and Mykonos that would be our first stops. Instead of going into town, we decided to take a tour of the island of Delos. I can’t say I remember much from the tour, but there were a few things here and there that I remember being intrigued by. For one, our guide said that the island was the birthplace of the Greek gods Artemis and Apollo, at least according to mythology. I remember being fascinated by considering what it would have felt like for a Greek citizen to step on what they would have considered to be sacred ground. We then sailed to Santorini where we mostly just looked around in the shops, not before an invigorating ride on a cable car of course. Next was Athens, and it is here where I must confess to being absolutely ashamed of myself. Here I was, standing in the streets where the great Socrates conversed with the Athenian public. Here I was, standing in the arena where some of the first Olympic Games were held. Here I was, staring at the Parthenon, one of the most incredible architectural sights in the world. And the kicker? I could not have been more uninterested. I had to get up early that morning and it was rather hot that day. I wanted a day on the ship to rest and relax after walking around all day in Santorini, and I didn’t get what I wanted. Instead of enjoying one of the most amazing cities in history, I decided to throw a pout party. All I can say is that 12 year old

Once we left Greece, we were off to a city I had never heard of in a country I had never heard of. We landed next in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and to this day I can say it was one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited. We went on a tour there as well, but it was a little later in the day, so I wasn’t quite so cranky. I can’t remember too much of the tour, but I remember seeing some neat fortress-like structures and what our tour guide alleged was the first ever pharmacy. My uncle was skeptical (very intelligent too), and I can remember him not letting our guide off so easy. After we left Croatia, we docked in Venice, the city where we would get off the ship finally to go on a two week extended vacation in three of Italy’s finest cities. Venice was incredible, though the water in the canal wasn’t much to be desired. We got the works there; we stayed at a nice hotel, got to see glass blown (which I didn’t even know was a thing at the time) right before our eyes, and of course, we took a gondola ride through the city with our host singing us beautiful Italian songs.

Photo courtesy of Russell Ash

me is lucky he never met 22-year-old me. We would not have gotten along very well.

We then took a train to Florence, a city I desperately want to revisit. If I could sum up my feelings about Florence in three words, they would be tiramisu, lasagna, and David. Seeing Michelangelo’s David standing tall in the east end of the Florence Cathedral is something that will likely be etched into my brain until the day I die. At 12 years old, I had no idea of the significance of this sculpture and I was still blown away. Seeing such a masterpiece in front of your face can easily cause one to come to terms with one’s own limitations, and yet simultaneously marvel at the work a set of human hands can accomplish.

The thing I remember most about Rome was the tour we took of St. Peter’s Basilica, where again I had to marvel at the master art work of Michelangelo. I remember distinctly walking around in Vatican Square as my uncle told me all the historical significance contained within our immediate proximity. I only wish I could remember more of what he told me. After three days in Rome, we took a cab to the airport and flew back to the States. The trip was one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had, and I marvel at the fact that it has been 10 years since I got to see things most would give anything to see. I hope to return, and should I have children when I do, I will most certainly try my best to help them appreciate what I, at many times, could not.

Photo courtesy of Russell Ash

The final stop of our trip was Rome. What can I say about the capital city? We saw the Coliseum. We walked the Spanish Steps down to the Piazza di Spagna. We visited the tomb in which St. Paul of Tarsus was alleged to be buried in. Crazily enough, we even ran into some folks we knew from the States.

U the Magazine | Spring 2015



Modern Art: An Exercise in Diversity

Photo courtesy of CAM Raleigh | Contemporary Art Museum

By Anne Brenner Another noteworthy recent exhibition that I find especially fascinating is the work of Mexican-born artist Gabriel Dawe, who is known for using textiles to create work that is specifically designed to highlight and explore fashion and architecture as artistic mediums—he is particularly interested in exploring the notion of gender identity through his creations. My favorite aspect of Dawe’s work is the kaleidoscope-like images that he creates; the gradients in the colors that he uses are a perfect blend of “warm” and “cool” colors that create a calming, almost psychedelic, effect. CAM also specializes in giving young people an opportunity to display their talents to the entire Triangle Puzzle Pieces, 2013, 30” × 20”, digital chromogenic print area; in addition to with collage offering a variety of classes for local students, the museum also My favorite aspects of modern art have hosts a monthly Urban Drawing Group, which always been the diverse nature of what it allows all ages to get together and explore can entail, along with the personal touch their skills and abilities related to the drawing each artist can bring to the table. It can mean field. Family Sunday events are also open to everything from painting to sculpture to the general public, with N.C. State College of photography, and there are no boundaries, at Design students granted free admission. least not in my view. During my visit, the museum’s collection This limitless approach to art is why I was completely devoted to Canada-based love the Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh artist Sarah Anne Johnson, in an exquisite (CAM), which opened in 2011 and is conshowcase, entitled Wonderland, of her five veniently located in the heart of Raleigh’s largest works over the past twelve years. downtown Warehouse District area, not far Her main goal in displaying her work is to from N.C. State. combine the trials and tribulations of the real The vast array of possibilities under the world with an ideal, perhaps unattainable, umbrella of modern art was particularly presversion of the world that she—and perhaps ent in a recent CAM showcase of the works also the viewer—wishes could exist. by Raleigh-based artist Luke Buchanan, an Johnson’s artistic expertise covers a vast N.C. State graduate. His specialty is the use of body of mediums, including photos, acrylic objects, often discarded, to create collageprints, and exquisitely crafted doll houses. style pieces. 24

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

One of those houses, a piece entitled House on Fire, depicts, as the name implies, a burning home—and there’s just something about the intricate design of the work that captures you at first glance and stays with you. Of all Johnson’s print works, my favorite is entitled Party Boat and is a chromogenic piece that depicts several bright, fireworkslike colors against a backdrop of a large body of water and several glaciers, with the image of a boat gliding in the background. I love this piece because it combines the calming element—the background—with the vibrant, noticeable element—the color splotches. Needless to say, both elements require a vast skill set, but putting the two elements together, in my view, highlights that diverse, limitless nature of modern art that I have always loved; it creates a visual example of just how up and down the spectrum modern art can and should be. Combining the different styles also highlights the idealistic world that Johnson aims to showcase in her works—it illustrates the idea of anything, no matter how farfetched, being possible. I also particularly enjoyed an image entitled Group Portrait, which is from Johnson’s collection that she worked on from 20022005 and is called “Tree Planting.” The piece depicts a group of people posing, as the title of the piece states, for a picture together, with a scenic outdoor background. There are two aspects of this piece that struck me the first time I saw it: first off, the way the subjects are all dressed. All of the subjects are shown as wearing very different kinds of attire, and yet they are all posing together for the same portrait. If you think about it, this really sends a real-world sort of message to the piece’s audience about unity in spite of differences in style, taste, or appearances—and one might also take that message a step further in thinking about solidarity regardless of things like race, religion, or ethnic background. The second aspect of this piece that struck my attention was the amount it leaves to the viewer’s imagination. Yes, we know that it’s a group portrait, and yes, we know that it includes many different types of people, but it also leaves numerous details up to the imagination of the viewer; for instance, what is the occasion for the portrait? Why is this particular group posing together? Is there any significance to which people are sitting

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next to one another, and if so, what is that significance? To me, all of these questions really define what modern art is all about— making things limitless and without any kind of boundaries. Along those same lines, I’d also like to mention one of Johnson’s works called Family Tradition from the 2009 group of works called “House on Fire.” The acrylic piece depicts an older man holding two young children; a girl who looks to be about six or so, along with an infant—we don’t know whether the younger child is male or female. Again, this leaves more to the imagination than not; it’s up to us, as the viewers, to decide what this “family tradition” is and how it came to be. Is this a tradition that comes with a particular time of year, such as a holi-

day, or does it occur more frequently? Are the only people involved those people in the piece, or are others also part of the story? The answers to these questions are infinite, which is exactly in line with how modern art should be. And, on top of that, this particular piece gives viewers the chance to add the family traditions from their own lives to the story should they choose to do so, which gives the work a special personal touch. For more information on CAM and its upcoming exhibitions, projects, and programs, just stop by their location at 409 West Martin Street or visit them online at camraleigh.org.

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U the Magazine | Spring 2015


TV Shows

“What’s next?”: Why you should be watching The West Wing

By Janine Eduljee Before NBC’s political dramedy The West Wing, there had never been a popular television show about politics. In 1999, Aaron Sorkin’s masterpiece was released to the public and it was an instant hit, picking up multiple Emmy and Golden Globe awards. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s why you should. The fact that Aaron Sorkin’s name is on this project should be incentive enough to watch—you will not find wittier, sharper, whip-smart dialogue anywhere else. West Wing invented what fans like to call the “walk and talk” scene, where conversations take place on the move, to give the show a very realistic feel of what it is like to really work for the President of the United States. That sense of ‘real-life’, the sense that as an audience member you are being given a rare glimpse behind the curtain of the inner workings of our political system, is one of the key merits of the show. Sorkin’s hysterically funny, sarcastic, almost unbelievably intelligent script is another. By far though, the greatest part about this show is its cast of characters, a motley crew of individu-


als, all impeccably written and intricately characterized. Jed Bartlet, Leo McGarry, CJ Cregg, Josh Lyman, Toby Ziegler, Sam Seaborn- these are all names that will inevitably find a special place in your heart, as each character has his/her own compelling storyline that makes you feel as if you’ve known him/her your whole life. They each have their own host of problems and struggles, in addition to a role in the president’s staff. Sorkin’s ability to take these very visible, high-ranking officials, and humanize them to the audience, is very notable. These are real people that you see on C-SPAN and major news networks every day: the press secretary, the chief of staff. You probably would never have known just how difficult, how stressful, but also amazingly rewarding their jobs are. With this show, which has several writers who themselves were in politics at one point, viewers are given a very realistic and true narrative of the fast-paced world of government. Yes, it may be idealistic to make the President an ultra-liberal, Nobel Prize-carrying,

Ph.D in economics, virtuous man, but then again, so is a murderous Democratic congressman from South Carolina (I’m talking to you Frank Underwood). Not much about the workings of the White House is over-sensationalized in the typical manner of Hollywood. Sorkin is particular to highlight issues with government and politics that viewers might not have even been aware were issues unless they had seen that particular episode. Take for example the season 3 Thanksgiving episode “The Indians In The Lobby”, a favorite of mine not only because of President Bartlet’s glee over discovering that there is a Butterball hotline phone number, but because of its unflinching commentary on the unjust treatment of Native Americans in America. It’s an episode that makes me laugh hysterically one minute, and feel like sobbing the next. That’s a good summary of the show itself: when it’s funny, it’s really funny - but when it’s sad, it can really tug at your heartstrings. Fair warning: keep a box of Kleenex handy because emotions will run high at some parts. All in all, West Wing is not one to be missed.

Not That Kind Of Girl: Lena Dunham’s Collection of Outrageous Experiences

By Shannon Cuthrell Lena Dunham, founder, director and star of HBO’s Girls, released her reputable, yet critically acclaimed memoir in October of last year. Not That Kind Of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” was a muchneeded Fall treat, issued between seasons of the beloved HBO show, a favorite of female twenty-something’s everywhere. As the sweetheart child of two loving, prominent artists and the girlfriend to songwriter/guitarist Jack Antonoff of the band Fun, Dunham has had a charmed life. She got her professional start at a young age by launching her debut film Tiny Furniture before turning 25. Subsequently, her career went nothing but uphill, recently earning her two Golden Globes, one of which was Best Actress for her leading role as Hannah on Girls. Dunham, though relatively open about herself in the media, reveals shocking and unexpectedly strange secrets from her life in her memoir’s pages. She speaks from a tone of deep, relatable self-loathing, exposing herself in a charmingly unassertive way. She jumpstarts the book of life experiences by reflecting in the introduction, “No, I am 26

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

not a sexpert, a psychologist or a dietician. I am not a mother of three or the owner of a successful hosiery franchise. But I am a girl with a keen interest in having it all, and what follows are hopeful dispatches from the frontlines of that struggle.” The memoir is cleanly divided into five sections: “Love & Sex,” “Body,” “Friendship,” “Work” and the “Big Picture.” Unlike other recent memoirs by American women of top cultural and social power, such as Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, the book is more expressive than didactic. Dunham shares her stories in a magnificently blunt way, including lists, footnotes, correspondences, diagrams, figures and stunning illustrations by Vogue-featured artist Joana Avillez. The book serves as a life-source for her eccentric voice, which is presently unparalleled and unique. The series of potent essays chronicles episodes that are sympathetic to the female experience: dealing with jerks, internet boyfriends, bed-sharing, education, relationships with parents and death. She concludes the vibrant set of essays with the powerful “Guide

to Running Away,” which, simply says, “Don’t put yourself in situations you’d like to run away from,” a sentiment that is easier said than done, and familiar to everyone. The writing style of the book is very characteristic and specific to Dunham—neurotic. Native consumers of Dunham’s work describe her mannerisms as contagious. Over the course of reading this book, I didn’t laugh out loud. I sighed, giggled and smiled, thinking, “That is exactly what I would do.” After I would finish reading a few essays and put the book away, I found myself going through the motions of my day thinking, “What would Lena do?” After finishing it, I felt as if I could rule the world, but also that I could simultaneously build a tent made of Christmas lights, hunch over in it and write my own story, never seeing the light of day for hours. Dunham offers a great, implied contradiction in her writing: it’s okay to be insecure and lose control, but you must know that you can hone that sense of self-hatred to a greater good of self-understanding and proclamation to the world that, as she states, “I am real!”

Movies Snowpiercer

By Lauren Vanderveen Science fiction, because of its nature, can do a great many things. But one of the best singularities is its ability to suss out fear and disillusionment about how the present’s actions will inflict future generations. As the new millennium continues to spin out, more and more sci-fi thrillers, teen fantasies, and futuristic noirs are being produced—and it’s understandable why. In our day and age, it is assumed we’re at the height of civilization. Breakthroughs in engineering, medicine, and technology have transformed the very landscape to how we live. Meanwhile, our social structures, to the misinformed, are thought to be better than ever. But the influx of modern science fictions plunge all that we know to be transformative and civilized into an abyss. Apocalyptic devastation, teenagers fighting wars, and social collapse is just the tip of the iceberg. Director Bong Joon-ho’s film Snowpiercer is one of the best of these science fictions to come out since Children of Men (Alfonso Cuaron, 2006). The originality and subtle fervor of perfectly mixed action and dialogue jumps off the screen, presenting the viewer with the raging conflict of why they ever tolerated the desensitizing effects from major action blockbusters before? If the Transformers saga is the virus, then Snowpiercer is the cure. Through various news broadcasts at the film’s beginnings, we are told global warming is no longer just a potential threat or a myth, but a full-blown reality—one that is met with a man-made substance called C-W7 to lower global temperatures. It fails, and the world submerges into an ice age. The film’s setting is different from many of its kind. It takes place not in space or a previously nuked city scape, but on a super train that circles the entirety of a frozen-over earth. This is perfection—what better way to metaphorize social stratification than to place the last survivors of the human race on a train, the epitome of class (im)mobility? The thrust of Snowpiercer’s entire plot derives from the disgruntled, suppressed people of the back end of the train attempting to force their way to the front where the conditions are astronomically better. Chris Evans portrays Curtis, one of the tail sectioners who everyone looks to for leadership. It’s no wonder why Evans is cast in roles like this or Captain America, or any of his prior roles for that matter. There’s a quality to his voice alone that has a reassuring effect. But 28

U the Magazine | Spring 2015

through the manner and point in which we learn Curtis’s backstory, it becomes clear that you can never really trust or know the demons of the people you worship. More than anything, the film plays out environmental ethics theories to the extreme. Who lives and who dies, doing what’s right for the greater good—these decisions become even more complex when you/they attempt to follow it through to the end. Rest assured, though, Snowpiercer’s final scene testifies that youth, the next to come, will be enriched if we attempt such efforts to do better. The physical struggle of bodies heaving and striving forward transforms many scenes in Snowpiercer to unadulterated art. My absolute favorite is the scene where Curtis and the others come across a section full of men in masked hoods and axes. The music here is hard to describe, but to say the least, composer Marco Beltrami had me quite literally trembling. One of the hooded men steps forward with a slick and immobile fish dangling from his hand; he then takes his axe and tears it into the underbelly. First blood drawn. Sacrifice. Impending doom. All these thoughts rolled through my mind from this single image. It’s brilliant filmmaking. The onslaught that erupts is just one of many Curtis and his friends must face – and they are spectacular. Marxism 101 as an action ballet might sound absurd to some, but Snowpiercer executes it to dazzling effect.

Interstellar By Janine Eduljee

Breathtaking. That was the first word that popped into my head when I thought of how to best describe Christopher Nolan’s latest effort Interstellar. Another word might have been “gripping” or “stunning”, even to go so far as “Oscar-worthy.” One thing is for sure: Interstellar is unlike any movie you have ever seen, and likely will ever see for a long time. This movie is set in a vaguely defined, almost dystopian future. The specific parameters of the world are not set, but it appears that due to years of environmentally unsustainable practices, mainland America has lapsed into another ‘dust bowl’ scenario reminiscent of the 1940s epidemic. Powerful storms ravage the farmlands, threatening crops to the point of extinction—the only surviving crop is now corn. Matthew McConaughey stars as Cooper, an ex-pilot turned reluctant farmer, but his most important role is as the father of two children, Murph and Tom. By chance he stumbles upon the last

safe house of NASA one day, and they give him a mission: explore a new galaxy to find a habitable planet in order to save mankind. And so begins a whopping three hour long journey into the farthest depths of space. What sets this film apart from its spacethemed counterparts (think Gravity or Apollo 11) is the sheer magnitude of the visuality (especially in IMAX). From the space shuttle’s lift off, the audience is thrust head first into the heart of the action. The effects are so incredibly lifelike, the sound so all-encompassing, that it truly feels as if you as a viewer are right there beside Cooper and the astronauts as they travel through time and space and discover new planets. The pace of the film doesn’t slow for a second. A good majority of the time is spent in space (hence the name) and every moment is filled with heart-pounding tension, as you perch on the edge of your seat, hands grasping the chair in suspense. Never before has a film been able to hold me in its grips like this onemy heartbeat racing, my breathing shallow, my hands clenched- talk about one intense experience. That’s the magic of the film however: its ability to pull you in so deep that for all intents and purposes, nothing else exists for you except that fictional world. You are right there with them, and that is not an easy featcinematography on this one is outstanding. Props also go to McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain, Ellen Burstyn, and the entire cast for all delivering excellent performances. Another aspect of the film that was surprising to me was how oddly poignant and emotional the story got at times. I will admit that a few of McConaughey’s scenes later in the film had me quietly sobbing at the depth of emotion they conveyed. But what else should we expect from a cast that leads with two Oscar winners? The only possible critique I have is regarding the rather intricate plot—as it unfolded, towards the end of the movie, things became more than a little confusing at times. It is a head-scratching, mind-boggling conundrum of a storyline, and to be honest the ending left a little to be desired. But only a little, and that didn’t exactly deter from the superior quality of the rest of the film. After all, this is a Christopher Nolan project, and I should expect no less from the master of psychologically intriguing narratives (i.e. The Dark Knight and Inception). All in all, my final word on the film is this: in the end, I felt that it wasn’t just a movie. It was an experience, and one that everyone should embark on before it leaves theaters.

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