October 5, 2009
Volume 12, Issue 2
Financial aid need increases Fifty percent more students applied for aid than last fall Trevor Goodchild Staff Writer
This semester, there was an unprecedented increase in applications for financial aid. Last fall, 11,609 students applied for financial aid at Austin Community College, compared to this fall’s, 17,470 applicants. This is a 50 percent increase. “We’ve had to work weekends, and we’ve had to definitely alter schedules to compensate for additional student body,” Financial Aid Supervisor Jason Briseno said. There is indeed a larger student body, with over 40,000 students enrolled this semester in credit classes at ACC. Of all the students that applied for aid, 51 percent more students than last year were granted aid as of Aug. 25. ACC awarded 9,990 students aid this year, compared to last year’s 6,611. One explanation for this recorded enrollment and record application for aid could be the state of the economy and rising levels of unemployment. “It’s a well known fact that college enrollment goes up during economic downturns. People feel they have to improve their education and skills to compete in a tough job market. And when there are layoffs, people use that time to attend school,” Counselor Jorge Lynch said. Briseno agrees with Lynch. He also mentioned that the return of Iraq veterans who are coming home to a competitive job market could also be adding to the growth the college is experiencing. “The increase of financial aid applicants definitely had to be because of the economy. People that used to be able to afford their own tuition can no longer afford their tuitions, and people that used to rely on their parents no longer can rely on their parents because their parents can’t afford it anymore,” Briseno said. Lynch has been teaching at ACC for over 12 years and counseling for more than two years. He has talked to many students about financial aid. Some students he spoke to complained about not receiving adequate notification of the payment deadlines. Not
knowing this affected how and when they were dropped from their classes. Lynch said that although it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to know drop dates, increased communication between the cashier’s office and the students could not hurt. “When I was in UT Grad School, I had to attend a mandatory financial aid orientation that reviewed polices and procedures. Maybe ACC can benefit from a financial aid orientation as well,” Lynch said. “If you failed to pay on time, that is not a sufficient reason to be reinstated, but I offer solutions,” said Davis. One of the solutions Davis stated was to look for another class in a later session. After the initial 16-week session there are eight and 12-week semesters students may enroll in if they offer classes on their degree plan. “Students have the sense that I’m just being arbitrary and that I’m not following rules and regulations, but the reasons this department is like this is that we want to be fair and treat everyone equally,” said Davis. Another ACC office that is aware of the increase in enrolled students as well as the increase in financial aid applicants is the office of Support Services and Student Success Systems. The Vice President of Support Services and Student Success Systems, Kathleen Christensen used different methods to handle the increase from 35,798 credit students last fall to this year’s 40,248. She acknowledged some students getting dropped for missing payment deadlines. “We felt as though the information was adequate, but given what the students were saying, we are going to look into more and better ways to inform students on when their payments were due,” said Christensen. Christensen is not the only one concerned about the students dropped this year. The Financial Aid office is developing ways to inform students about deadlines too. “We’ve been trying different things all four years I’ve been here. I think this year we’re really going to impact this; we’re bringing in a specialist to review financial aid literacy, and getting the word out to students that if you apply early you have few worries,” said Briseno. The Director of Financial ȩȩ see Students pg. 3
Teodora Erbes•Staff Photographer
LET'S ROLL— Roller girls warm up by skating some laps around the practice arena at the Thunderdome, on Monday Sept. 28, 2009. In the middle, current ACC student April Lowery has suffered many injuries due to her skating.
Roller girl finds her tribe Christopher A. Smith Campus Life Editor
The thunderous roar grows louder with each lap the pack of 14 roller girls take around the track. Padded elbows and knees knock and bump into the tightly packed bodies. ACC student April Lowery, or Apeschit as she is known on the track, is in the middle of the pack shoving and pushing the women around her. The violence is quick and dangerous. People fall, girls slam into the railing, and the roar of thunder continues to grow. “We wake up and feel like we’ve been hit by a truck. We’ve got track rash all over us. In two years, I’ve cracked both my hips, knocked out my tooth, tore my ACL and had random other bumps and bruises,” said Lowery about what it feels like after a roller derby bout. In her two years as a roller girl, Lowry has had her share
of bumps and scars but none as memorable as the injury she suffered in her first derby. In her very first match, Lowery tried to jump over a girl splayed out on the track. Lowry didn’t make it all the way over Curly Suicide, the fallen skater, and instead landed on her face, knocking out her front tooth. Most people might be upset about losing a front tooth, but Lowry was not. At practice on Monday Sept. 28, Curly Suicide and Lowry joked about the knocked out tooth. “I just stood up, spit my tooth out… and kept skating,” said Lowry. “That was awesome,” said Curly Suicide. The tough, brutal side of roller derby is what is on display at a match, but at the Lonestar Rollergirls’ practice arena, known as the Thunderdome, the big crowds and fierce personas are left
ȩȩ see Roller pg. 8
Teodora Erbes•Staff Photographer
HELMET ON — April Lowery carefully listens to the
next drill instructions given out by her coach.
College fire cadets prepare for Fire Challenge Christopher A. Smith Campus Life Editor
The ACC Fire Academy began its first semester at its new home at the Austin Fire Department’s training facility. The Academy had been located in Taylor, Texas for 19 years. Taking advantage of its new facilities, the Academy is training cadets for the Firefighter Challenge held every year at the Buda Fire Fest. “We are like a division two team going up against a division one,” Paul Menches told the six cadets that huddled around him at the base of the fire tower a week before the Fire Fest. Cadets Jonathan Gonzales, Christian Scacco, Brain Yeasley, Jacob McBride, Andrew Marsh, and Chris Sukup had three extra
FIRE CADET — Christian Teodora Erbes•Staff Photographer
Scacco trains at the AFD center on Friday Sept. 25, 2009.
practices during the week to in order to get ready for the Firefighter Challenge held Oct. 3. The six cadets were chosen by their peers out of the class of 33 to represent the ACC Fire Academy. The Academy is a 17 week program that qualifies cadets for the state certification necessary to get a job as a firefighter. “We’d like to make it an annual thing for this academy,” said Menches of the cadets’ participation in the Firefighter Challenge. Preparing for the Challenge has been integrated into the Academy’s physical fitness program by Lisa WattsMadolora, a marathon and triathlon runner. She has been designing the cadets’ workout program over the last two semesters. “Our goal this year is to compete, have all six members finish, and to improve from our time last year,” said Menches. “We’re competing against firefighters from all over the state,
and we’re also competing with the Oak Hill Fire Academy,” said Menches. Many fire departments use this competition to prepare for the national fire challenge held in Las Vegas in November. The ACC cadets who competed in last year’s Firefighter Challenge had never participated or practiced for the event which consists of five stages meant to test skills and physical fitness. The stages involve running up and down a four story tower, hoisting a bundle of hose up the four story tower, dragging a 75 foot house, moving a 160 pound steel beam a distance of five feet, and finally dragging a 165 pound Rescue Randy mannequin a distance of 75 feet. Menches met with his six man team to begin a series of special practices a week before the event. The cadets this year hope to be better prepared than last year. ȩȩ see Cadets pg. 6
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Accent | October 5, 2009
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House passes Financial aid bill
Open textbooks Karissa Rodriguez Layout Intern
In 2004 I was a freshman at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I wanted to feel the full experience of being in college, so I lived on campus in a dorm, enrolled in a full load of courses, and bought all brand new possessions including textbooks. I ended up tallying up a bill of over $8,000 in my one and only semester at UTSA. Freshmen make that kind of mistake all the time, and I’ve certainly learned from my experience at UTSA. If I could go back, I would definitely spend my money more wisely. The number one place I could have saved money was textbooks. I naively believed that in order to get the best use out of my textbooks that I would need to buy brand new books for all five of my classes. I ended up charging over $800 to my credit card just on brand new, plastic wrapped textbooks. I did not even use four of them once in any of my classes. Transferring from a university to a community college obviously has significantly lowered my spending costs in nearly all ways. However, the one expenditure that has carried over is the price of textbooks. I am happy that the national government has taken the initiative to make textbooks tax-free through the American Opportunity Credit, an expansion of the Hope Tax Credit. However, I think ACC should step in and help students alleviate the costs of textbooks. Buying used is not enough.
In a school of over 40,000 the chances of purchasing a used textbook in stores is pretty slim. Online is great, and you have numerous choices, but a lot of times you end up receiving your book well past the first day of classes. The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) has helped community colleges all over the country, including nearby Houston Community College, gain access for their students to open textbooks. ACC should become a member of CCCOER because it provides beneficial free educational resources for students and faculty. The CCCOER’s Community College Open Textbook Collaborative project by itself is fantastic. The project is funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation from July 2009 through June 2011 and focuses on increasing the number of free high-quality textbooks available online as alternatives to expensive printed textbooks sold by publishers, according to an Aug. 10 press release. The collaborative also will train community college instructors in how to get the most out of free digital textbooks to meet the learning needs of their students according to the press release. ACC students could benefit greatly from the collaborative as would the school itself. Joining the organization helps the school continue to provide affordable quality education and best of all, being a member of the CCCOER is voluntary and free.
Devon’s Sake Over the limit
Devon Tincknell Staff Writer
Congratulations to everyone who attended Austin City Limit’s seventh annual outdoor music festival this weekend. I hope you had fun. I hope your three day badge was worth it’s $180 price tag, and that the $4 bottles of water were cool and refreshing. I really, really hope that Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthew’s Band rocked your socks off. Congratulations on your good time. This article is not for you. This article is for everyone else, all the other Austinites who didn’t feel like cramming into overcrowded shuttles with out-of-towners or walking the length of Zilker Park until their feet blister. For those who stayed home, but worry that they missed out big time, I am writing to assure you that you did not. You made the right choice. Here is why. Truly great live music can be a transcendent experience. Even without the assistance of illicit substances, the energy of the crowd, the manic dancing, and the sound waves blasting out of the 20 foot speakers combine to lift the listener out of their humdrum existence into a different world. Dancing until your toes turn black and blue is probably the closest us civilized folk come to the primal, ritualistic gatherings that bound our ancestors together. It’s odd to imagine reaching that sort of tribal epiphany in the midst of a Crystal Castles concert, but since modern drum circles tend toward antirhythmic Eeyore’s Birthday obnoxiousness, people have to work with what is available. When Dr. Timothy Leary first began proselytizing the
benefits of LSD, he stressed the importance of set and setting. Set is the state of mind of the experiencers, their thoughts, feelings, and emotions going into it. Setting is the surroundings, the other people wandering about, and the vibe in the air. While a concert is by no means equivalent to hallucinogenic drug use (though the two have crossed paths rather frequently) it is useful to heed Leary’s words of wisdom. At a festival, especially a large one like ACL, the bands and music only provide a fraction of the setting. Heat, dust, massive crowds, vendors, and whatever the day’s weather is add up to a larger portion of the experience than watching the bands. Some people love it. They enjoy the overpriced food stands and long waits for the port-a-potties, and be it rain, sleet, or snow, they will stand in the field and sing along to every song. However, other folks tend to get bogged down by these inconveniences and their set ends up being cranky, exhausted and aggravated. Ignoring the problems of parking, cost, walking, heat, and every other minor annoyance, there are still issues surrounding the colossal size of the crowd. Odds are against your favorite bands all playing on the same stage, so in order to catch every act you are going to have to do a lot of walking, pushing, shoving, and ‘excuse me can I get by?’ ing. Whether you push your way to the front row or linger toward the back, the crowd will be a distraction. Being immersed in a sweaty throng means having to elbow for stability constantly, an effort that detracts from the music.
Karen Kuhn • Staff Artist
Bigger loans with no middle man -Staff EditorialThe United States Congress passed a bill with a 253 to 171 vote that will eliminate the wasteful Federal Family Education Program (FFELP) and use the savings to increase funding for the Pell Grant Program, fund direct loans from the government to students, and help better fund higher education programs. Opponents of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (SAFRA) are calling it a job killing government takeover of student lending. However, this bill can potentially help fix the higher education funding system in this country. The naysaying is more likely attributable to the hyperbolic, hysterical reactions that the right is having to any legislation that furthers the Obama administration’s goals rather than a legitimate fault within the bill. FFELP is an outdated and inefficient Watching from a distance means looking at the Jumbotron more often than the tiny figures prancing about on stage, and if you are going to stare at a screen you might as well be watching a DVD in the comfort of your own home. There is an intangible quality to live music that can not be replicated in recordings, but DVDs do offer certain benefits. Multiple cameras with zoom lenses let viewers experience far more of the action on stage than a stationary position in the crowd without the distractions of second hand smoke and incessant chatter. But, sometimes it is the energy of the crowd that makes the experience, and Austin offers plenty of chances to encounter
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program that is carried out by private lenders. That would be the same private lenders that started the economic mess with their irresponsible mortgage loans. With the rising cost of tuition, families not being able to contribute as much because of the economy, and the rising cost of living, more students need more money to get through school than ever before. It is more than time for the student loan process to be overhauled. This legislation, if passed, will generate almost 90 billion in savings over the next 10 years. Ten billion of which is going to go right back into the indebted US Treasury. Four billion will go to repair and renovation projects on campuses. There will also be funding for the success of historically black colleges, and for programs that help children go in to grade school with all the skills they need. SAFRA will also create an easier to use FAFSA form, expand the Perkins
that without surpassing critical mass crowd capacities. As residents of the “Live Musical Capital of the World,” we benefit not only from great local groups, but also frequent visits to smaller venues by many of the acts playing ACL this year. So, if you are bumming because your favorite band played Zilker Park this weekend while you were stuck at home, do not sweat it. They will be back again in a couple months, playing a tiny bar for a tenth of ACL’s ticket price. You will be able to stand two inches from the stage and revel in every moment, getting the real rock experience that you deserve. And if not... well, there’s always SXSW.
Corrections In the Sept. 21 issue story “36.5 acres could lead to 200 new spaces for Pinnacle Campus which could relieve some parking problems,” we reported that the newly purchased land near the Pinnacle Campus would create 200 new spots. The article should have read: “The land will be the home to two more parking lots, creating an additional 438 parking spots for students.”
OFFICE OF STUDENT LIFE RGC, 1212 Rio Grande St., Room 101.1 Austin TX 78701
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Loan Program to every college campus, and increase the amount of money that can be rewarded through Pell Grants. The biggest change in this legislation is a move away from private lenders. If passed, all new loans after July 1, 2010 will be under the direct loan program. These loans, unlike bank loans, are completely unaffected by the economy, insuring that students do not have to worry about the market to get a loan. There is some concern about the government taking on such a big role, especially one that previously had been filled by private industry. As the Senate adopts its version of this bill, what should be a lively and educated debate will begin. It is important that everyone keep in mind that this bill is not an attempt to socialize education, or the beginnings of a government takeover that will destroy the nation. It is a bill to help out taxpayers and improve college funding.
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Editor-in-Chief..................................................................................................................... Sarah Neve Assistant Editor.......................................................................................................... David Rodriguez Photo/Web Editor...............................................................................................................Hanlly Sam Layout Editor.........................................................................................................................Chris Scott Layout Intern............................................................................................................Karissa Rodriguez Campus Editor..................................................................................................... Christopher A. Smith Office Intern................................................................................................................... Teodora Erbes Accent Adviser........................................................................................................ Matthew Connolly Accent Coordinator.......................................................................................................... Lori Blewett Student Life Director................................................................................................... Cheryl Richard Writers Trevor Goodchild, Jennifer Guerra, Jason Haydon, Jenesa Hernandez, Matt Iserman, Shiphrah Meditz, Michael Needham, Shawnte Samuel, Devon Tincknell, Sarah Vasquez Photographers Brock Caron, Teodora Erbes, Jose Padilla, Caleb Polacheck, Tina Schumacher Artists Karen Kuhn ACC President Dr. Steve Kinslow Board of Trustees Ms. Nan McRaven– Chair; Ms. Veronica Rivera—Vice Chair; Dr. James McGuffee—Secretary, Dr. Barbara P. Mink, Allen Kaplan, Mr. Jeffrey Richard, John-Michael Cortez, Tim Mahoney, Raul Alvarez All rights reserved. All content is the property of Accent and may not be reproduced, published or retransmitted in any form without written permission from the Office of Student Life. Accent is the student newspaper of Austin Community College and is printed by the Texas Student Publications. Accent is published biweekly. ACC students may submit articles for publication in Accent to RGC’s Office of Student Life Room 101.1; e-mail articles to email@example.com or fax submissions to 223‑3086. ACC does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation or disability. Accent offers ACC’s faculty, staff, students and surrounding community a complete source of information about student life. Accent welcomes your input, as well as information about errors. If you notice any information that warrants a correction please e-mail accent@austincc. edu. Individual views, columns, letters to the editor and other opinion pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Accent.
Accent | October 5, 2009
News Briefs Emergency money now available for veterans Starting Oct. 2, student veterans can sign up in person or online to receive up to $3,000 to be issued immediately and deducted from future education benefit payments. “No veteran should have to dip into their savings or postpone buying needed books because of backed-up claims or red tape. I hope that Central Texas’ veterans will take full advantage of this program,” Congressman Lloyd Doggett said. Doggett spoke at ACC on veterans’ issues when new benefits were added to the G.I. Bill over the summer. Veterans must bring a photo ID and evidence of their enrollment like a class schedule. For students who need assistance, there is a volunteer driven van that will shuttle veterans to the closest VA office. To register online visit www.VA.gov
Obama plans visit to A&M President Obama will hold a Presidential Forum on Service at Texas A&M University on Oct. 16. The event will be hosted by former president George H. W. Bush and the Points of Light Institute at the George Bush Presidential Library. The contributions of 4,500 Daily Point of Light award winners will be honored as well as former president Bush’s legacy of service and civic engagement. “This is a significant moment in history as these two leaders come together to celebrate their shared vision of service and volunteerism in America,” said Michelle Nunn, chief executive officer of the Points of Light Institute, in a press release. The Forum is scheduled to take place from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m..
News | page 3
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Students get dropped for missing deadlines
ȨȨ cont. from pg. one
Aid, Terry Bazan shed some light on other contributing factors for why the Financial Aid office was especially taxed this fall semester. “Summer increase backed up processing for fall and spring, so you see what I’m saying? Dominoes for the increase of summer onto the fall,” said Bazan In regards to the many students who were upset about not receiving their funds from Financial Aid, she stated that if students had applied in time, the funds were there. “The issue we have found is that students aren’t reading the literature we send them when we award them loans. Minor details. It wasn’t an ACC error. I’ve talked to irate students and
irate parents where students are crying saying ‘Oh I didn’t read the letter.’ There’s only so much we can do and the students have to take responsibility,” said Bazan. What Bazan refers to is the award letter that comes from Financial Aid after a student has been approved for loans and Pell Grants. After students receive this letter in the mail, there is a Web site where they need to go to and approve their loans online. This is called activating their loans. Even if awarded the money, if students don’t go online to activate their loans, they will not receive funds. “Believe it or not, even today we ran a list and there are 96 students that haven’t activated their loans or paid their tuition, and we’re like do they want it or do they not want it?
Because we’re second guessing if they really don’t want to activate their loans, then they should come up with the tuition money, and if they get dropped, they’ll come up to us and say it’s Financial Aid’s fault,” said Bazan. A source of possible confusion may also lie in the “Steps to Apply for Financial Aid” handout located in every Financial Aid office. It lists priority deadlines, which are deadlines students have to meet to apply for financial aid and to make sure they receive funds before the semester begins. It does not list drop dates. These are the dates that students have to pay tuition by, or they’ll be dropped from their classes. These dates change every semester and are located in the Course Schedule book.
Students who, as counselors say, are responsible for knowing deadlines, still have concerns. “Why aren’t you told anywhere when your drop date is when you register for classes online or on the phone, and when you have to pay for classes? It doesn’t make sense,” said Paul Bland. Due to the number of students late on applying for financial aid, funds to students were late in coming this year. Lynch said this is where a lot of students were dropped for nonpayment because their applications took longer to process. Whether it is due to military discharges or the economy, regarding the increase this of students, Lynch remarks “Well let me just say this, the numbers aren’t likely to go down.”
Financial aid step by step
Author, translator read at ACC Cristina Garcia, a Cuban-American writer and National Book Award Finalist gave a collaborative reading with translator and Austinite Liliana Valenzuela on Oct. 1 at the Rio Grande Campus Mainstage Theater. Garcia is one of the first Cuban-American women to publish a novel in English. Valenzuela is an acclaimed Spanish-language translator who worked with Garcia to translate Garcia’s last novel “A Handbook to Luck” into Spanish. The event was sponsored by the Creative Writing Department and Arts and Humanities Division as part of The Big Read. “She is a very impressive writer, with an impressive publishing history, and she is also very accessible as a speaker,” Charlotte Gullick, chair of the Creative Writing Department, said. “Having her in connection with the big read is a way we are trying to create bridges with the Hispanic community.
Green parking not ready, program launch coming soon
Apply for a PIN number at www.pin.ed.gov, and submit for a free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA at: www.fafsa.ed.gov
Fill out ACC’s Financial Aid Applications, either the fall/ spring application or the summer application.
Approve your loans online. After Financial Aid approves your loan, a letter is mailed with your loan amount. If you don’t go online to approve this amount you will not recieve any funds.
Submit your high school transcripts.
Step 5 Remember to contact Financial Aid before withdrawing. You might need to pay back some Financial Aid. Brock Caron•Staff Photographer
GO GREEN — The green car parking signs at RGC have been covered over. The Green parking program may begin in Nov.
Students with fuel efficient cars should have better spots in Nov. Shiphrah Meditz Staff Writer
The Green Car Preferred parking program is not quite ready. The signs signifying the green parking spots are up and the list of approved cars is available online, but on Sept. 25 the Green Car Parking signs at the Rio Grande campus were covered with plastic bags. “The tentative date for opening the spots for use is early November, but that is subject to change,” said Andy Kim. For now, only the ACC staff can use the allotted spots, and any students found parking there will receive a fine. Five parking spaces are reserved for fuel efficient and low emission cars in the parking lot adjoining the Annex on the Rio Grande campus. Other ACC campuses will have between five and ten spaces. Due to ACC’s desire for every campus to start the program at the same time, the parking spaces are not available for use at this moment according to Marilyn Lee-Taylor, the Rio Grande Campus Manager. Once the program gets
started, students and staff alike will soon be able to park in specially designated spaces if they drive a fuel-efficient, low emissions vehicle. “ACC prides itself on environmental friendliness. We encourage people to try every means possible to help keep our environment clean,” Taylor said. “In addition to these parking spaces, car pooling, bicycling, walking, or taking the bus are also highly encouraged. The parking spaces are a way we can encourage people to choose an environmentally friendly car.” “The parking spaces are an incentive. I believe they are the start of something that needed to be done in the first place,” according to Tanya Hainey, a student at the Rio Grand campus. ACC hopes this will be a reward for the environmentally conscious according to Taylor. Taylor warns students not to park in the green parking spots until they get a special permit from the cashier’s office which will be available in early November. A list of cars that qualify for green car parking passes is available on ACC’s sustainability Web page.
Financial Aid Office: 512.223.4243
Make sure to apply before these dates to get funds to pay tution: Fall - April 1st Spring - October 15th Summer - March 15th
Don’t Get Dropped
Drop dates are in the schedule under “When to pay” “Paying Tution and Fees” just visit the Cashier’s Office. Source - Steps to Apply for Financial Aid Handout
page 4 | News
Accent | October 5, 2009
Students debate the Constitution Michael Needham Staff Writer
Hundreds of ACC students trudged through the rain to the LBJ Auditorium on the UT Austin campus on Wednesday, Sept. 23, to take part in ACC’s Constitution Debate Day Celebration. The event, hosted by The Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS), was geared toward helping students see the impact of the Constitution on their own lives. “Now that I know how it can affect me, I need to read up on it,” Jon Garcia, a criminal justice major, said. Garcia had his eyes opened to the importance of the Constitution. “I don’t even know how many times my rights have been violated,” said Garcia. William “Peck” Young, CPPPS director, hoped the event would spark students’ interest in the Constitution. “The Constitution isn’t something made up by guys who are dressed funny, but has application to your life,” Young said. Norma Cantú, a visiting professor of law at the University of Texas at Austin, was the keynote speaker for the event. Cantú spoke of role-models in her life that stood up for constitutional rights, and then urged the students to better understand the Constitution. “In the next few years of your life, you will see the Constitution come into your lives every day,” Cantú said. She explained that there are splits in courts because the Constitution was written by humans and interpreted by judges, and sometimes smart humans disagree. She closed by telling the audience that they will be the deciding figures of such splits. “You will be my Constitutional heroes, and I will see you in court,” Cantú said. After the speech, ACC Faculty
Karissa Rodriguez•Staff Photographer
CONSTITUTION DEBATE— Students from group one gather on the stage steps to begin debating their assigned constitutional amendment. Twelve groups of at least 20 students each weighed the pros and cons of how each amendment applies to topics from current events such as the Patriot Act. Member Jeff Millstone turned the time over to the student groups. “Look around you,” said Millstone. “It’s your turn. It’s your turn to get to work.” The students were divided into 12 groups upon entry to the event. Each group was assigned an expert and an issue question. The experts consisted of professors, attorneys, judges, an assistant attorney general, an ACC board member, a colonel of the United States Army, and Cantú. Together they discussed a political topic straight out of today’s headlines, Young said. For example, one group
ACC honored for programs promoting diversity on campus
debated whether small caliber handguns should be protected under the Second Amendment. Another group discussed if a teacher should have been fired for promoting intelligent design in her biology class. The groups deliberated on their assigned topic for an hour, and then everyone met back in the auditorium to discuss the group decisions. ACC student Alice Geaccone enjoyed the group discussions. “I thought it was really interesting to have a hands-on experience,” Geaccone said. “It was more of an exchange than a one way feeding of information.”
Some groups formed a unanimous decision on their topic, but most were split into majority and minority groups. Each group chose a spokesperson who reported to the entire assembly. The majority of one group determined that allowing citizens to own small caliber handguns was a misreading of the Second Amendment. Another group’s majority felt wiretaps on cell phones and e-mail for purposes of national security, but without a warrant, violated the Fourth Amendment. The group discussing the fired biology teacher felt that she was
not protected by the First or Fourteenth Amendments. Cantú was proud of the group she worked with. “This exercise in the group of well considered advocates was a success,” Cantú said. Assistant Attorney General John Worley thought highly of the group of students he worked with as well. “I was very impressed with how the people in my group grasped the legal concepts,” Worley said. Self-titled grandfather of the event, and ACC Trustee, Allen Kaplan explained that all colleges are involved with Constitution
Day in some way. “Every college has to do something for Constitution Day by law,” Kaplan said. “A lot do something small.” ACC went big. Kaplan explained that ACC is the only community college in the country with a center for public policy and political studies. Last year’s Constitution Day celebrations won an award for excellence from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). The award is CASE’s second highest honor. “This time we hope to make first,” Young said.
Constitution Day art at HBC spurs interest, controversy Award winners disagree on diversity of belief, message on display Jenessa Hernandez Staff Writer
Caleb Polacheck•Staff Photographer
ACC DIVERSITY — Ambassadors stand next to the poster
designed by Julio Mares for the campaign against prejudice. The slogan of the campaign was “Avoider, you can run but you can’t hide.”
Diversity programs at ACC help minorities succeed in college Shawnte Samuel Staff Writer
At the 10th annual National Role Models Conference in Washington D.C., Austin Community College was honored for its programs that support diversity by Minority Access Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit that works on recruitment, retention and advancement of minorities on campus. Minority Access includes over 170 institutes of higher education. “This award recognizes the college’s innovative and comprehensive efforts to promote higher education among traditionally under served populations,” Richard Armenta, ACC vice president for Student Success, said in a press release. Programs like College Connection, which navigates high school seniors through the college admissions process, and Men of Distinction that focuses on the needs of African American students
were identified as some of the ACC programs that encourage diversity. “ACC is fully committed in honoring the rights and needs of all people equally. As you can see through the past, current and soon to be developed programs, ACC believes in the retention and recruitment of underrepresented persons,” Student Life Coordinator John Jacobs said. ACC experienced a 19 percent increase in African-American students and a 14 percent growth among Hispanics between fall 2008 and fall 2009. “The programs ACC is building are breaking down a lot of misconceptions on educational outcomes, goals, potentials and dreams of many underrepresented students,” Jacobs said. “Every week I am fortunate, through ACC, to provide them with resources that will encourage, uplift, inspire and educate them to be everything that they dream they can be.”
This year’s second annual Constitution Day Art Exhibit was on display at Highland Business Center from Sept. 8 to Sept 30. Winners of the competition were announced at a reception that took place Sept. 17, 2009. “Many of the pieces exhibited great passion for the subject matter, using images meant to illicit strong emotional reactions from the audience. Many pieces seemed to focus on the frustration Americans (and clearly the artists) feel about the influence of corporate America on politics, the corrupting power of money, and the traditions of bigotry and social inequality in America,” Sean Williams, who placed third in the research essay category, wrote in an e-mail. “I would like to see more people participate in this event. The techniques were above average, and I liked some of the statements. The pieces were all well executed,” R. Mark Gay said. Gay received an honorable mention in the 2-D art category. While some artists expressed their delight with the exhibit and contentment with the political viewpoints, others were dismayed by the uniformity of viewpoints. “Unlike my strange hodgepodge of views that can at least be considered semi-balanced, I saw no variation in beliefs in any of the people around me. Either this was due to the cowardice of the minority Republicans, or the judges really did not let anyone win that thought
Teodora Erbes• Staff Photographer
CONSTITUTION ART— Candice Clark’s ‘untitled’ and Michael Vela’s ‘Drillin’-n’Killin’, Weapons of Mass Destruction’ respectively won Second and Third place in the category (foreground). differently from them. The judges say they chose entries that were thought-provoking and controversial, but what’s so controversial about letting a mob of people win who think exactly like you do? The essence of controversy is in the conflict. There was no conflict. There were no clashing viewpoints. There was just a massive collection of entries that shared the same ideas, and for that I am disappointed,” Lorena Lenth, who placed second in the research essay category, stated in an e-mail. Emily Furdon, an ACC student who attended the event, felt enthusiastic about the art on display. “There were many pieces that seemed to embody emotion and strong discontent with present day America. Overall I liked a lot of the art and hope that next year they will be doing it again,” Furdon said.
Teodora Erbes• Staff Photographer
ART PIECES— Visitors examine art pieces as presented at ACC’s 2nd
Annual Constitution Day Art Exhibit in the foyer of Highland Business Center Sept. 30, 2009.
Accent | October 5, 2009
News | page 5
Proposal for ACC bus passes up for vote Jason Haydon Staff Writer
Starting in January, student bus passes could be available for Austin Community College students. The Student Government Association along with the ACC administration have a committee working on a proposal to begin offering bus passes to all ACC students, faculty and staff. That proposal will be heard at the Oct. 5 board meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Highland Business Center. As proposed, the passes would be good for one semester and the intersession before the summer semester begins. Students would be able to ride for free. They would scan the passes and the college would be charged a reduced fare rate.
This would be funded by the higher parking fee that went into effect this semester. “It will start with a $250,000 deposit that we hope will cover all fares between January and the fall semester of next year,” SGA Vice President Mike Reid said. If the initial $250,000 is not enough money, additional funding will come from the sustainability fee that is going into effect in the spring. It will be one dollar per credit hour. “Fares would be at a lower rate agreed upon by Capital Metro and ACC. The passes would be scanned and tallied, and the total at the end of every month would be deducted from the deposit if the plan is approved,” Reid said. The lower rate, 40 cents per trip, would be charged
Mexican American Cultural Center host Big Read event
Tina Schumacher•Staff Photographer
HISPANIC LITERATURE— Amparo Garcia Crow, creative writ-
ing teacher, reads “The Shunammite” by Inés Arredondo from the book “Sun Stone, and Shadows” with her highly expressive voice and mannerisms at the MACC, Wednesday Sept. 23.
Actors read short stories at gala event Matt Iserman Staff Writer
The Division of Arts and Humanities hosted the event “Revolutions: Personal and Political” at the Mexican American Cultural Center on Wednesday, Sept. 23. The well attended event was part of the National Endowment of the Arts Big Read program which kicked off earlier in September. “Revolutions: Personal and Political” showcased two short stories from the book, “Sun Stone and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories.” The first story read was “The Shunammite,” by Ines Arredondo, read by Amparo Garcia-Crow, a multidisciplinary artist who acts, sings, directs and writes plays, screenplays, and songs. “I thought that as a reader and a performer it is the most dramatic,” Garcia-Crow said about the story she read. “When
you go into a story you go for the drama.” Garcia-Crow teaches play writing at ACC. Her theatrical background was readily apparent through her reading. Following Garcia-Crow’s rendition of “The Shunammite” was Rupert Reyes who read “Permission Granted,” by Edmundo Valadez. A graduate of the University of Texas Department of Theater, Reyes is currently the artistic director of Teatro Vivo of Austin. Among the guests of honor in attendance was Jorge F. Hernandez, editor of “Sun Stone and Shadows.” Hernandez was born in Mexico City, but grew up in Washington D.C. where he lived until 1976. After completing his graduate studies in Madrid, Spain, Hernandez became a novelist and short story writer. He currently serves as a creative writing tutor at the Fundacion par alas Letras Mexicanas, A.C.
to the pass every time it is used. Passes can be used for all Capital Metro bus services including MetroRail once it is running. Students will swipe their pass, and the ride will be logged, every month ACC will make a retainer payment to Capital Metro out of the $250,000. Along with the new passes, students would also have to present the driver with their ACC ID. Lost passes will cost $25 to replace, but damaged passes will be replaced for free. Previously, student passes have been available from Capitol Metro at a discounted monthly rate per. The passes were discontinued because of abuse, including non-student purchases, and because of the raise in fares in Oct. 2008.
University of Texas students still receive free bus fare when they present UT student ID because of a contract the University has with Capitol Metro. Currently, approximately 5,000 ACC students, faculty and staff use Capital Metro. “We are hoping that this program will help to increase the use of Capital Metro (bus) services,” said Ben Ferrell, executive vice president of finance and administration for ACC. The bus pass program is one of several new programs proposed under the sustainability initiatives that were approved in February of 2009. Ferrell will be presenting the plan for the pass program at the Board of Trustees meeting.
BUS PASSES — The SGA and the ACC administration will propose a bus pass plan to the Board on Oct. 5.
Intramurals draws crowd for bowling Trevor Goodchild Staff Writer
Bowling might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Austin Community College, but students enjoyed bowling at Westgate Lanes Thursday, Sept. 24 courtesy of the Intramural and Recreation Program. About 50 people attended. Free food and white T-shirts with an Intramural design were provided. “I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be a lot of fun,” said Chelsea Ponders, a political science major that attended this event. The Intramural and Recreation Program is part of Student Life and was created by Jennifer Flowers, the South Austin Campus Student Life coordinator. So far this fall semester, Blazer Tag and bowling have been offered, and there are ten events scheduled for next month. Golf, two more Blazer Tags, the beginning of the soccer league, and a volleyball tournament are among the events scheduled. “Turn out is absolutely amazing. We have over 500 students participating in Intramurals. It’s gratifying to see students coming to these events. They are quiet and shy, but by the end of the night they are chatting and talking about the next event,” said Flowers. Nicole Harris, a business management major who recently moved from Pennsylvania to Austin because she thinks the economy is better here, participated in the bowling event. “This is the second time in my life I’ve ever bowled. I
Trevor Goodchild•Staff Photographer
BOWLING — ACC student bowls at Westgate Lanes on Sept. 24 as part of Student Life’s
Intramural Program. Students were provided with a free T-shirt as well as free food at the event.
love it. It’s awesome. Should we do this again? Are you kidding me? ACC needs to do this every week,” said Harris. Having fun, although certainly an aim of the program, isn’t the entire scope of it. There are other benefits to participating in Intramural and Recreation Program events according to Flowers. “Students who participate in the recreational events tend to develop positive self images, awareness of strength, increased tolerance and self control, stronger social interaction skills and maturity because they learn to work with other students while having fun,” said Flowers. It is an opportunity for students to network with other students as well as connect with college, enhance leadership skills,
and improve retention. It seems to be working in that aspect according to those that attended. “I met a lot of cool people,” said Ponder. Student Life wants students to get more bang for their buck with these events. The student activity fee of $2 per credit hour funds these events and has already been charged to all students. “Whenever we have activities on campuses, students need to know they’ve paid for these events already. It’s like you paid for a gym membership but don’t use it. That’s why we try to get students to participate. We (Student Life) are the greatest department,” said Flowers. Tyler Stangeland participated and experienced some of the benefits of what the fee already paid for. He is doing a certificate program
to be a firefighter and then getting an Associate Degree in Fire Science based out of East View Campus. “I’m from Chicago, so getting out and being able to meet new people, that was nice. It was competitive, but no one got too serious. We were throwing the balls between our legs and acting like goof balls,” said Stangeland. For all of these events, ACC has had to go to other facilities, off campus. This is especially true for sports like basketball or volleyball, and SL has to find accommodations at places such as the Virginia L. Brown Recreation Center and the Austin Sports Center. Flowers suggests another option: “Maybe that would be a great story, why don’t we have a nice recreation center with a gym just for ACC?”
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Accent | October 5, 2009
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Diversity Series encourages dialogue Jennifer Guerra Staff Writer
Austin Community College’s Student Life Office and the Student Diversity Ambassadors created the opportunity for students to engage in healthy dialogue about diversity at the Common Experience: Diversity Lecture Series, “You can run but you can’t hide”. During the lecture that was held on Sept. 29 at the Riverside Campus, speaker, Kate Messer, who works for the Austin Chronicle and heads the Gay Place column, discussed various conflicts and diversity circumstances that arise on a daily basis. Students were encouraged
to participate during the question and answer session that followed the lecture. Students and ACC professors also spoke of their own experiences and strived to gain insight over how to handle different situations. “I was excited to take part in this event and was surprised that ACC had this kind of lecture series,” Messer said. “It is important for these students to understand that it is not until you have the humility to approach someone that you will be able to begin to understand that we are all the same.” Student Julio Mares, who attended the lecture, said that he enjoyed hearing the stories of conflict that others have gone through and how they
handled them. Mares was also the artist who designed the flyer that was used for the lecture. The students were also able to participate in the Game of Oppression and watch a movie that was created by Texas State University students, “Why I Write.” Terrill Shawn, the current Face of the CW Austin television station also attended. Student Life Coordinator of the East View Campus, John Jacobs, expressed that with this lecture they want to help students and community members know what diversity is and provide them with the resources and information needed so that they can decide for themselves what to believe.
Caleb Polacheck•Staff Photographer
DIVERSITY SERIES — Guest speaker of diversity series, Kate Messer, shares with students how we have all been victims of prejudice. Messer is a column writer for the Austin Chronicle.
Cadets network with, compete against other firefighters Left: Chris Sukup performs one of the five training challenges while Jonathan Gonzales cheers him up.
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“I want to win!” said Cadet Andrew Marsh. Beating the Oak Hill Fire Academy was one of the cadets’ goals for this year, but they also recognize the positive effect the event could have on their future careers. “As far as networking and meeting people, meeting real firefighters,” said Cadet Jacob McBride, “that’s what I think is going to be the most important thing.”
Right: The peer-
selected ACC firefighter’s crew huddles at the end of practice at the AFD center.
To find out how the cadets did at the Fire Challenge and to see videos and pictures of them in action go to theaccent.org. Teodora Erbes•Staff Photographer
Auto dept. continues to grow
Hanlly Sam•Photo/Web Editor
CAR SHOP— Students Charlie Sprague and David Moreno work on a GMC pickup at the
Riverside car shop. ACC’s automotive department has earned a good place at major car shows.
Popularity of program leads to more classes Travis Chapman Staff Writer
ACC’s automotive program has experienced heavy growth since it first began on the Rio Grande campus. Fifteen years ago it was relocated to the Riverside campus for extra space, and has since expanded to several other campuses and many High Schools in the Austin area including Eastside Memorial High School at the Johnston Campus and Crockett High School. Crockett High recently opened it’s own auto repair and repaint department. While currently under ACC, it will soon be it’s own department. “It’s not growing, it’s exploding,” said administrative assistant Wanda Pierce. When classes recently opened at ACC’s San Marcos center, all nine classes were filled within
two weeks. Senior Lab Assistant Felix Ybarra, Sr. represents ACC programs ranging from welding to jewelry to automotive technology at career fairs and car shows all around town. “Technology is big here at ACC,” remarks Ybarra. Ybarra is frequently invited to car shows to represent ACC. The car shows started small. Ybarra would team up with car clubs and bring eight cars. They would have a good turnout, and next time they would have 10 cars and so on. “Car shows bring people in. They see ACC and ask questions,” Ybarra comments. The next big car show is in Buda on Saturday, Oct. 3, and ACC will have approximately 75 cars there. Ybarra advises taking a course just to learn about a vehicle. “Students will sign up for a course, find they like it
and take another, before they know it they have a certificate.” According to Ybarra, “It’s great to know whether one actually needs what mechanics say. That’s how the industry is, they sell you everything they can.” Many auto mechanics take courses just to learn about the new hybrid cars. “It’s a whole different world,” said Pierce. The auto industry is constantly changing. Ybarra compares cars to computers, “Every three months there’s something new…You could have a mechanic for 30, 40 years and you think, ‘Oh, he knows everything.’ He doesn’t.” Pierce and Ybarra agree that engines are becoming computerized. A new car may have 86 computers in it. In 1995 a car may have had 20 sensors, now they have as many as 200. That is one of the reasons why seasoned mechanics still take classes.
Teodora Erbes•Staff Photographer
Accent | October 5, 2009
Fair promotes water awareness
s u p Cam Li fe Cypress Where To:
Campus Life | page 7
Creek Campus Shop?
Not Just Mail
1525 Cypress Creek Road # H
Just as the title states, this little shop offers more than just mail services. While you’re waiting for your copies to be made, you can rummage through the variety of gift items such as purses, pillows, and wind chimes for that special lady. A perks for students is that you can sell those unwanted textbooks to this store. And for those moments when you’re running late and forgot to print out that important paper, you can hand them your thumb drive and they will print it out for you in the store.
Brock Caron•Staff Photographer
WATER AWARENESS — Bryce Ramsey, president of Students for Environmental Outreach, talks about water conservation.
Students for Environmental Outreach club host fair at RGC Christopher A. Smith Campus Life Editor
The ACC Students for Environmental Outreach club hosted the Water Awareness Fair on Sept. 24 at the Rio Grande campus student lounge. The Lower Colorado River Authority, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, City of Austin Watershed Protection Development Review, and ACC’s Environmental Science Department were all present at the event and representatives spoke to students about the environment in and around Austin as well as job opportunities. “We want (students) to get an awareness of actually how much water we have available to use,” said Bryce Ramsey, president of Students for Environmental Outreach. The fair was part of the Student for Environmental Outreach’s Water Awareness Week. Laurie Dries, an environmental scientist with the city of Austin, spoke to students about the importance
of protecting Barton Springs. “It’s a natural site, but it’s in the middle of the city and a park, and there is stuff built all around it,” said Dries about Barton Springs. Dries talked to students about the Spring and about the endangered salamander that can be found there. “The city is so big now that there are people who have never even been there. They know it’s there, but they don’t know what it looks like,” said Dries. “Hopefully they get an idea.” Students also got a chance to talk about job opportunities in the environmental science field. “They’re giving us information about internships, career opportunities and what to do to get your foot in the door at these places and apply for a job,” said Ramsey of the various organizations at the fair. But, the most important topic of the fair was about the water that feeds in and out of Austin. Ramsey wanted students to understand that, “if we don’t protect that very limited amount of water, we are going to lose it to either pollution or inadequate availability.”
1525 Cypress Creek Road Cypress Creek campus is surrounded by strip malls with recognizable food chains to satisfy students’ hunger with cheap fast food. However, this family owned Mexican restaurant offers a large selection of meals and specials that is easy on the wallet but also fills the tummy. When I showed up during the always busy lunch time, I was immediately asked to sit down at a table with no wait, so you can get your meals in a timely manner.
Hang? Roasters Coffee Haven 2011 Little Elm Trail #110
Across the street from campus, you can find a quiet place to study during those in-between down periods. Although there is a Starbucks within walking distance, the trip to this place is well worth it. The abundance of couches and tables give a welcoming atmosphere for hanging out or getting work done. When an all-nighter is needed, Roasters Coffee Haven has you covered with the 24 oz. Longhorn size coffee that will get you through the night.
Life & Arts
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Accent | October 5, 2009
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Roller girl finds empowerment on track Movie Review
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behind. Within the cocoon of rolling thunder created by the track, it is friendship and camaraderie that matter most to the roller derby girls. When Lowery went to her first practice, she thought she was signing up to play a sport and nothing else. She was surprised at how close the bonds have become with the other roller girls. “You get here, and you realize these girls are a lot like me,” Lowery said. “And, I never thought I would find girls who would want to do the extreme sport thing.” Once practice is under way on the track, the girls travel in a close-knit pack. They bump and shove, but they also help each other up and lean on each other as they grow tired. It is a sisterhood forged through bruises, adrenaline, missing teeth and broken bones. Lowery is a pre-nursing student at ACC and was a medic in her four years in the Army. She knows full well the risks and possible pain involved in roller derby, but that doesn’t keep her off the track. With the Drew Barrymore movie “Whip It” coming out about banked track roller derby and with the Rollergirls’ championship bout on Oct. 10, Lowery hopes other women find the same kind of friendship and extended family she has. “Becoming a roller
Whip It good Jennifer Guerra Staff Writer
Teodora Erbes • Staff Photographer
AT PRACTICE — Lonestar Rollergirls await the start of the next practice drill at the Thunderdome, Monday Sept. 28, 2009. RELAX TIME— April Lowery takes a break from roller derby practice. Grueling practice sessions can sometimes last hours.
girl, you become a little more empowered. We are a self-owned, self-run business. So, you’ve got 80 to 90 women running the business,” said Lowery. “You realize you have 90 sisters to help you with whatever you have going on in life.” “It’s good to have this expanded family: a group of girls that you can get along with,” said Lowery. “It’s much like a family. Like they say in the movie, you find your tribe.”
Teodora Erbes • Staff Photographer
Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is a success. Whip It takes its audience into the unfamiliar world of Texas Roller Derby, and is a fresh look at friendships and perseverance while keeping within the cliché plot of a small town girl that is trying to find herself. Working from a strong script by novelist Shauna Cross ( Taking 5 ), the movie is more than just girls covered in bruises, though the bruises are blazoned as if they are badges of honor. Whip It is a sweet story that manages to remain light hearted and easy, even in the emotional scenes. Bliss Cavender, played by Ellen page (Juno), is a pretty and intelligent girl with a rebellious streak from Bodeen, Texas. She is on a precarious trip to Austin with her mother when she stumbles across a flyer for Roller Derby tryouts for the “Hurl Scouts,” and on a whim, she lies to her parents and takes the first bus back to Austin for tryouts. While this film does have its own punch for a come from behind, loser wins it all sports movie, I found it difficult to believe that a 17 year old could join a derby team and get away with it. However, the strength she found pervasive in the roller derby subculture was one that was rewarding and enjoyable to watch. Cavender’s team, and especially her teammate, Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig from Extract ), is at first judgmental, but quickly becomes her new found friend. The girls, along with the love interest, played by Landon Pigg , are the sparking flame that help Cavender find herself. As far as the comedy goes, it does exist, but Page falls short of distributing it well, and if it was not for her ringer, Wiig, their scenes would have had no chance of extracting a grin. Overall, Barrymore, who plays an accident prone, ditsy character, does a decent job at maintaining a consistent tone and throws in just enough derby matches to keep the film exciting and fun thanks to Jimmy Falon’s (Factory Girl) constant comedic play by play announcing. Whip It after the skates are unlaced is entertaining with a healthy serving of comedic value, while still staying cute and relaxed.
Accent | October 5, 2009
Death Rattle visualized First place Chronicle short story winner transformed into award winning film after more than a decade. Shiphrah Meditz Staff Writer
Death Rattle, a short film based on a dramatic short story sprung from the creative talent of ACC creative writing teacher Amparo Garcia-Crow and directed by A.J. Garces, has been stirring hearts and minds since it won first place in the Austin Chronicle’s Short Story contest in 1993 up to its exciting 2009 nomination in the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF) Its first competition was the San Antonio Film Festival, where it was chosen by jury selection for Best Director, a stunning achievement, punctuated by the fact that its competition was fulllength films. The twenty-two minute film highlights the coming-of-age story of Victor, a high school senior, who must balance his mother’s relationship with the local sheriff, love for the beautiful Carmen, and a job as a part-time mortician’s assistant; all during the Annual Rattlesnake Roundup in Freer, Texas. Victor witnesses the ancient ritual of death and love develop into a new, shocking meaning that could change everything he believes in. Death Rattle reveals a crosssection of society in the mid 70s, depicting what it was like to be raised in a small, South Texas community, rife with misunderstanding and gossip. While working as a freelance graphic artist in 1993, Garces was commissioned to create an illustration to accompany the publication of “Death Rattle,” this was his introduction into what has now culminated into an internationally acclaimed short film. “I remember thinking, this could make a great short film,” Garces stated.
It was not until ten years later, with a focus on film creation, that Garces decided to act on his plans for the story. Garces called Crow and discussed the idea of turning Death Rattle into a short film. She was enamored with the idea and the transformation began. “Soon we had assembled a crew of actors, including my son Alejandro Rose Garcia (Desperate Hippies), a talented professional actor, and Amanda Vaez Phillips ( Friday Night Lights the television series)” Garcia-Crow said. Though Death Rattle is fictional, Garcia-Crow, the executive producer, drew heavily upon her experiences growing up in a small community in Texas. She explained, “When I think back to how beautiful and rugged the land was where I grew up; full of animals, fascinating people, and such a rich life, I just think of how intense it all was. That, I think, really influenced my perception of the story.” Now, after a successful short story and short film, she is looking to extending the story of Victor’s triumphs and struggles within her novel-in-progress, “Had There Been Snow.” The film was shot mostly in Freer, Texas, but scenes were also shot in Austin, at an elementary school, Zilker Park and I-35. The editing took two years and by January of 2009, Death Rattle was completed. Next stop for Death Rattle is the LALIFF where, if it wins, it will become automatically a contestant in the Academy Awards within the Short Film nominations. LALIFF is a high-profile event, drawing a crowd of 20,000 people on average, and with many illustrious people to help organize it, such as the General Consul of Spain, Inocencio Arias, Antonio Banderas (Desperado),
Rodriguez resuscitates aunt Garza’s ballads
Literature “American Rebel,” the newest biography from bestselling author Marc Elliot, examines the face of Sergio Leone’s epic spaghetti westerns, Dirty Harry and the once non-partisan mayor of Carmelby-the-Sea, California, Clint Eastwood. The biography will be available Oct. 6 from Crown.
Film still courtesy Inspirit Studios
DEATH RATTLE- The short film is a finalist at the Latino International Film Festival.
Angelica Huston (Seraphim Falls), and Andy Garcia (Hero), to name a few. The event is a non-profit affair with a focus on discovering and nurturing Latino talent, as well as helping bring awareness to the richness of Latino cultures in a promotion of their talent for the film industry. Death Rattle is scheduled to show between Oct. 11 - 16 at LALIFF. Garces has lent his skill to the film world as an art director, composer, writer, and editor. From growing up and helping his actor/director father on the set, to illustrating, writing, and directing his own films, he has learned to hone his style so that every frame has a timeless quality. Accenting his style, Death Rattle is shot in black and white to better convey the vintage quality of the story. For Garces, working with film is something he prefers above other art mediums. Garces: “Film has all those components; sound, music, an epic story line, wonderful acting, visuals…and these all contribute to make film my favorite tool to express my ideas for many years.” When asked about the film‘s message, he replied, “I really identified with Victor because of my memories from high school. Gossip really can destroy lives, and this is even more true,
because some of the things mentioned in our film were not discussed in the 70s. Thus, I am glad we’re addressing these important issues.” There are some interesting parts in the film that explore the heritage of Texas, such as the rattlesnake roundup which is presently in practice in Freer, Texas. “I was very pleased with how A.J. kept the film true to my story,” Garcia-Crow said. “Even though I would not mind one day to have the story broaden out to include more about this character (Victor), he really worked (hard) to make sure the film reflected the exact voice of my story.” Crow summed up her experiences; “You can make great things happen if you find the right people to collaborate with. A.J. and I each worked to make this film go smoothly. We understood our separate strengths and I think that was a key to our success. A.J., being a professional illustrator, was a master at photography and was responsible for editing the footage. I, with a lot of experience as an actor’s coach, searched for the right actors and helped them discover their roles. Through working together, diligently and creatively, and with a lot of wonderful help from friends, we made it happen.”
Sea monsters bite, rendition does not Staff Writer
Boleros singer — Dancer and songwriter Leticia Rodriguez
performs at El Sol y La Luna on Saturday Sep. 26 in a night of boleros and dancing. Leticia has been performing since she was 13 years old. Her singing career began as a backup singer and she continues a family tradition of singing boleros.
Bolero’s transcend generation gap, thrives in Austin’s cafes Sarah Vasquez Staff Writer
Boleros are a tradition among the Latino culture. Using the universal theme of love, whether it be eternal love, unrequited love or lost love, the tempo of the bolero compliments the sincere emotion. Austin’s Leticia Rodriguez brought this culture to the restaurant patrons of El Sol y La Luna on Saturday, Sept. 26. Performing a three hour set, Rodriguez entertained the crowd with Spanish and English renditions of classic boleros from the 1920s to the 1950s. She shared anecdotes in between songs about her personal recollections of how the boleros influenced her Latino heritage. She chose to perform boleros to share the culture with the Austin community. Her aunt,
Eva Garza, was an international singer from the 1930s to the 1960s, which Rodriguez affectionately refers to as “La Novia de Los Boleros.” “I was introduced to boleros though my aunt’s music that my mother used to play on records,” reminisced Rodriguez. “So it was a logical choice for me to begin sharing that particular style because it connected to my family and my heritage.” With a background in music, dance and theatre, Rodriguez was a natural on stage, singing with a smile on her face and charming the crowd with her incredible vocal range. She encouraged the crowd to dance along with her during the more upbeat songs. People will get the chance to partake in this cultural experience as Rodriguez will perform more shows in the future. More information can be found on her Web site at www. performanceencounters.org.
Notable, w and L i v e e N David Rodriguez
Jose Padilla•Staff Photographer
Life & Arts| page 9
A quick release following up to the unsuspected best seller “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies;” “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” was released on Sept. 15. The authors of the works are listed as Jane Austen and Ben H. Winters. From the title, there does not seem to be much sense about it. The new “mashup” in the Jane Austen and Monsters series from Quirk Classics is a pure delight though, and a classic Regency England romance will never be the same again. This time around, the Dashwood sisters are sent to Pestilent Isle, and England’s coast is full of a myriad of ravenous sea creatures; squids, octopi, giant lobsters and Kraken that attack without mercy, filling almost every page with laughs. Elinor, Marianne and Margaret all play their original roles, but with generous additions, and some changes as to why they behave the way they do. Marianne falls for the dashing Willoughby not from the effects of being rescued from a sudden rain shower, but from a depraved octopus that attaches itself to her face when she heedlessly leans too close to a small stream. Of course, the heroic Willoughby harpoons it, and she is splattered in octopus blood and gore. Elinor befriends the heart broken Colonel Brandon, who has tentacles that cover the lower half of his face, that wiggle wetly when he is nervous. And Margaret, who grows increasingly nervous in her correspondence because of smoke rising on the island and the chanting of the natives, both of which grow ever more frequent. Mrs. Dashwood attempts to explain away Willoughby’s departure as an urge to hunt treasure, and Mariane explains
“Crossers,” a far reaching and pertinent novel of the violence and beauty of life on the Mexico-Arizona border, is Phillip Caputo’s most recent and intensely dramatic effort. “Crossers” will be available Oct. 6 from Knopf.
Music Every Wednesday, We Don’t Need No Water presents DJ Pyro @ Chupacabra located at 6th St. and Trinity, 78701. DJ Pyro features hip-hop, funk, afro beat, reggae, 80’s, dub step, bhangra and more. There is no cover (21 and up only), the show begins at 9 p.m. and goes till last call. $1 Beers till 11 p.m. and dancing is encouraged. Local troubadour Mike Alford and his band Shed Alford and the Outstanding Warrants will be performing Thursday Oct. 15 @ Lovejoys Taproom and Brewery (yes they brew their own beer!) located at 604 Neches St., 78701. Opening up will be Spot (produced the Descendents, early Black Flag and Flipper to name a few) playing untraditional Irish music and Mariachi Estrella playing traditional mariachi music will also be performing. The show is free, all you have to do is drink a few adult beverages (or coffee) and tip your bartender. Legendary Atlanta quartet Goodie Mob is having a reunion tour. Cee – Lo (Gnarls Barkley), Big Gipp, Khujo and T – Mo (the Mob hails from rap pioneers the Dungeon Crew consisting of Outkast, Cool Breeze and Sleepy Brown to name a few) are all slated to be there. Goodie Mob’s style and songs are classic and were highly influential southern gangster rap. They will be performing Saturday Oct. 17 @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater on 801 Red River St., 78701. And not to be forgotten, Houston legend Scarface (Geto Boys) is the special guest. The doors open at 7 p.m., the tickets are $30 and $35 and it is an all age’s show.
Theatre Austin Playhouse presents Frost/ Nixon Peter Morgan’s (screen writer for The Last King of Scotland) Tony Award winning play. The play is about the infamous, controversial and lengthy interview conducted by the then thought to be soft British journalist David Frost, interviewing the then disgraced former President Nixon (Nixon handpicked Frost for the interview unbeknownst to him that Frost could match wits with him). The Playhouse is located at 3601 S. Congress bldg. C, 78701. Show times are Thursday, Oct. 8, Friday, Oct. 9, Saturday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. Thursday and Friday’s admission is $26 and Saturday and Sunday’s admission is $30. All student tickets are half price and there is a $2 discount for seniors over 65.
Movies Bronson premiered at Fantastic Fest on Saturday Sept.26, and it is a biopic in the vein of Chopper (Eric Bana). A sociopathic criminal played by Tom Hardy (Rock n’ Rolla) is convicted of armed robbery of a post office with a sawed off shotgun and within prison he chooses to reinvent and rename himself after the action/adventure star Charles Bronson, his now alter ego. Bronson opens to the greater public at select theaters on Oct. 9. Jason Haydon•Staff Photographer
her distaste for Edward comes from his lack of emotion when reading her favorite pirate diaries aloud to them. Instead of going to London we are treated to a trip to the ocean floor city, Sub-marine station Beta, obviously inspired by Jules Verne (“20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), where scientist look for ways to genetically alter humans to help fight off the attacking creatures of the sea. Purists will complain that “Sense and Sensibility...” and its predecessor should never have been written, but one of the best things about them is that Austen’s work still exists. Her florid description and all the emotion, along with the social commentary still reign within the plot. With Winters’ attempt at rewriting/updating the classics, he has done a superb job of imitating Austen’s original language, and with a much higher monster count than what was offered to readers within “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” it flows even better. “Sense and Sensibility...” lacks the flotsam and jetsam that was tacked on to the original, but moves along swimmingly with the remainder of the story. The novel is full of wit, pirates, a sea witch and an orangutan valet. The sea monsters may bite, but this novel certainly does not.
Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman chronicles the life of the late Shulman, the premiere architectural photographer of the 20th century and most of this past decade. He documented every premiere architect from frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gerry with a specific emphasis on Southern California’s modernism. The documentary opens Oct. 9 at select theaters. Black Dynamite is a retro blaxploitation film written and starred in by Michael Jai White (The Dark Knight). It is the 70’s, orphans are selling drugs and there are Cain and Abel undertones. Black Dynamite opens Oct.16 at select theaters. New York I love You is a collaboration of 11 directors including Natalie Portman (The Professional) and Allan Hughes (Menace II Society), one half of the Hughes brothers. New York… has a wealth of talent involved with it, including James Caan (The Godfather), Orlando Bloom (The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King) and Christina Ricci (Buffalo 66). It is a story of love lost, gained and misunderstood in the greatest city in the world. The film opens Oct. 16 in limited theaters.
Events and Features Be on the lookout for the Accent’s Halloween feature on Oct.19 of everything spooky to do the week of Hallows eve. House of Torment, Mansion of Terror, Scare for a Cure and Austin Ghost Tours: Halloween Ghost Tour is a skeleton of what will be featured. Accompanying the events will be suggestions on where to purchase or rent costumes and accessories. Plus there will be a film feature highlighting zombie films, vampires and torture porn. Austin Museum of Arts (AMOA) annual La Dolce Vita food and wine festival will be happening Oct.15 from 6 – 9 p.m. at Laguna Gloria. This, so far, is the premiere food event in Austin and has been for 20 years. The festival features most of the local wineries around Texas and quality restaurants such as Driskill Grill, Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, Parkside and so much more. The admission is $100 and a cigar and scotch lounge edition can be purchased for an additional $20. This sounds pricey, but it is a fund raiser that directly benefits the collaboration between AMOA and some of ACC’s fine arts classes. For more notable, new and live suggestions visit theaccent.org