February 1, 2010
Volume 12, Issue 7
College might move add/drop days Christopher A. Smith Assistant Editor
Changes to the registration schedule that would move late registration and the add/ drop period to the week before the first day of class are being considered by the ACC administration. Currently students have three days after the first class day to register for class and make changes to their schedule by adding and dropping courses. If the new schedule is approved, students would have to register and make all changes to their schedule before the first day of class. The changes could be made as soon as fall 2010. Currently, the proposal is being reviewed by the Academic and Campus Affairs Council (ACAC), and, if approved, the proposal will be sent to ACC President Stephen Kinslow for final approval. If the changes go into effect, registration for next fall would begin on May 17 for current and former students. Registration would continue until Aug. 13. Late registration would begin Aug. 14 and run until Aug. 20, and the add/drop period would run from Aug. 18 to 20. Classes would then begin on Aug. 23. Once classes have begun, the only changes that would be allowed under the new schedule would be level changes for foreign language classes, math courses, some science classes, and ESOL classes. Changes could also be made for documented college error and extenuating circumstances. The Student Government Association (SGA) discussed and voted against the possible schedule change at their Jan.. 22 meeting. “SGA is against the add/ drop changes,” said Mike Reid, SGA vice-president. Reid said he believes students “should still
have our academic freedom to pick and choose our professors after meeting them.” SGA will begin taking student comments on the possible registration changes on Feb. 1. Surveys will be available at Student Life offices at each campus and from the SGA at sga@ austincc.edu. Once SGA has collected student opinions, they will present them to the administration. The ACAC will have its second reading of the proposal at its next meeting on Feb.. 5. If the council unanimously supports the proposal, they will take action and send it to the president. If there are concerns or objections, the proposal will stay in the council for further review. Kathleen Christensen, vicepresident of Student Support and Success Systems, said the purpose of the possible registration calendar change will be to increase student academic success at ACC. Christensen pointed out that the proposal references a number of studies that explore the success rates of students that register late. Some of the research articles show a correlation between late registration and poor student performance, but others do not. One study referenced in the proposal, conducted at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA, even states that students who registered on time but then “fine-tuned their schedules during the late registration
TEACH grant still not available for students, college working on deal with four year schools Jason Haydon Staff Writer
Austin Community College’s Financial Aid office is still unable to offer the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant to students. The federal grant provides up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families. The grant was created in 2007 by Congress as part of its College Cost Reduction and Access Act. According to ACC Financial Aid Specialist, Sharon Reynolds, ACC is not able to award the grant because the college is still waiting to make a deal with a fouryear college or university that would accept credits earned while pursuing a teaching associate degree at ACC. “Things tend to move rather slowly and take time with something like this,” said Reynolds. Currently a contract is being sought with Texas Tech University, however it doesn’t mean that a student would have to go to Texas Tech if receiving the TEACH grant. “Once we have a contract with one university, then we can offer the TEACH grant, and a student can actually transfer anywhere that offers it, not to just the school we have the contract with,” Reynolds said. Reynolds said she has a waiting list to contact students who are interested in the TEACH grant when it becomes available. The TEACH grant requires an applicant to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), however according to their website, it says nothing about demonstrating financial need. The TEACH grant requires that after finishing college, the grant recipient must teach for four academic years in a high needs field in a school that meets income qualifications. There are penalties for not meeting the teaching requirements for the grant. The money from the grant converts to unsubsidized loans if the individual doesn’t follow the required teaching guidelines within eight years of graduation. For students interested in being teachers after college, the TEACH grant is a possible
period, had the best chance of performing well.” “If students are in class on the first day, this allows for a stronger start for the student,” said Christensen. She added that the proposal still has not been approved and that students and faculty still have time to voice their concerns. “[The Student Service Council] is claiming that students who register late have a higher rate of failure, but
the research they provided [the faculty senate] with shows no causal relationship between late registration and failure,” said Devorah Feldman, president of the faculty senate. Feldman has been gathering faculty comments on the issue and said that the full-time faculty are considerably divided in their views regarding late registration.
Chris Scott • Layout Editor
Feldman spoke to the ACC Board of Trustees on the issue and said that she supports both her colleagues who are for the changes and those who are against them. Personally, Feldman said she is “strongly opposed to the elimination of late registration and add/drop.” Feldman believes students should have the academic
freedom to go to the first day of class “read the syllabus, meet the professor, meet your classmates, and make an intelligent, adult decision about your education.” The changes to the registration calendar were first proposed in the Admissions and Registration Committee in September 2009. After being approved there, the proposal ȩȩ see NEW ADD-Drop pg 3
Space Aces chosen for NASA microgravity experiment studying new free weights Trevor W. Goodchild Staff Writer
The Austin Space Aces, along with fourteen other groups from schools around the nation, were chosen to test an experiment starting June 16 at Johnson Space Center in Houston. Astronauts living in space have an issue of losing bone density, and the Austin Space Aces’s experiment called Smart Resistive Exercise Device (SRED) for free weight simulation in microgravity is designed to alleviate that problem. This project has been underway since 2007, media relations of Space Aces and physics major Drew Doggett said. “Word was sent out at the Microgravity University so a bunch of people came and listened to the spiel and we started hobbling our way to success,” Doggett said. Microgravity University or The Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program (RGSFOP) is a NASA program allows undergraduate students to do microgravity experiments. Doggett works with five others in the student club: Chad Kassem, Billy Baccam, Kerry Jordan, Daniel Acosta and the group’s principal investigator, Krissy Vasquez. After detailing a proposal of the experiment to NASA, they found out they were chosen on Dec. 9 of last year. “I was checking my e-mail and found out. It was exciting and as well as kinda overwhelming to think of all the work we have to put into it but now is when the real work happens; building the experiment and testing it. We have to label every single bolt and nut,” engineering major and President of Austin Space Aces
Bacccam said. “It was definitely anxious for me. I was over at my job at ACC Northridge where I work as a physics lab tech, and my phone had internet access then, so I got the e-mail. I was ecstatic about being accepted into this program,” engineering major and the club’s financial arbitrator Kerry Jordan said. The program they will be working in for ten days is NASA’s Trevor Goodchild • Staff Writer Reduced Gravity Student Flight SPACE ACES — From left: Space Aces’ members Drew Doggett, Physics major, Opportunities Billy Baccam, Kerry Jordan, Krissy Vasquez, Engineering majors and Daniel Acosta, and Systems Programming major. The group’s experiment to simulate gravity for astronauts was Engineering chosen by a NASA program to be tested in June at the Johnson Space Center. Educational Discovery (SEED). They will Acosta, the club’s webmaster said. go through some of the astronautical test out the SRED in a modified C-9 “We’re trying to get sponsors like testing that pilots go through. jet which simulates weightlessness Boeing, Applied Materials, maybe The Austin Space Aces still have a through around 30 climbs and dips. Apple, Texas Instruments, Dell, and little bit of work to do before they go “NASA already has a device called others that are specifically local. We to Houston. Besides preparing their ARED. It uses fly wheels to simulate don’t have any sponsors yet, but we’re experiment, they also need to do a inertia, but doesn’t do it as accurately looking,” Kassem said. little fund-raising. to recreate the behavior of free Once they return from the “The Microgravity University weights in earth’s gravity. Essentially Johnson Space Center the Austin pays for the flight of the actual we’re trying to do that but better, Space Aces have other goals. experiment and fuel but we have to and lighter. The ARED uses free “A large part of this is after we pay for our stay and transportation to weights to simulate inertia but we’re come back,” said Kassem, “we have Houston,” Baccam said. doing it electronically,” mechanical In addition to travel and lodgings, activities set up with local schools to engineering major Kassem said. encourage young students to pursue the club is researching ways to raise Once the Austin Space Aces careers in the area of math and money for equipment. arrive at the Johnson Space Center, science.” “Basically we’re holding a sign NASA engineers and scientists will like bums saying we will work for interview them. The students will also money,” programming major Daniel
Karissa Rodriguez Design Intern
Credit cards and college students don’t mix. Sure there are some students that are financially responsible and are able to keep themselves out of debt, but I definitely wasn’t one of them a few years ago when I turned 18. A great new credit card law, dubbed the Credit CARD Act of 2009, will take effect on Feb. 22 and will prevent naïve college students (like myself five years ago) from falling into the greedy grasp of the credit card industry. The law will have significant multiple effects on college students across college campuses nationwide, all of which I find beneficial, and will prevent students from causing themselves to enter into debt. The change that will affect most students at ACC will be the ban on credit cards companies from issuing credit cards to anyone under the age of 21. Preventing students under 21 years old from receiving a credit card is a great idea because they are not financially responsible enough to handle a credit card. Student bills already are enormous enough if you pay tuition, textbooks and living expenses, so adding a credit card bill is foolish. However, there are loopholes. According to the law, Title III, Section 301 of H.R. 627 (the Credit CARD Act) states that the only way those under 21 could receive a credit card is with “the signature of a cosigner, including the parent, legal guardian, spouse, or any other individual who has attained the age of 21 having a means to repay debts incurred by the consumer in connection with the account.” Providing proof that you can pay off your debt is another way to obtain a credit card. If you are able to sign up for a credit card before you turn 21, be aware that you must have your cosigner’s permission to increase your credit limit. Other changes that will affect college students concern the
marketing strategies credit card companies use to attract students. For example, ACC will have to inform students and alumni if they give a credit card company access to their contact information. I think it’s terrible that no one has made this a law before. The law will also ban companies from offering freebies (e.g. pizzas and T-shirts) if students sign up for credit cards on or near campus or at college-sponsored events. It’s a shame to think that those kind of marketing ploys worked for so many years. I mean really, free pizza in exchange for debt? How does that make any sense at all? Aside from the actual laws that will take effect later this month, Section 304 of H.R. 627 includes an appeal from Congress to colleges and universities to create their own policies and procedures concerning credit card companies. Congress urges colleges to adopt policies limiting the number of campus locations where credit card marketing events take place, requiring credit card marketers to alert the school when they are conducting on-campus marketing events, and requiring that students receive credit and debt management courses as a routine part of new student orientation. I’m sure that I haven’t seen credit card companies marketing on any ACC campuses, but I believe the college should adopt these policies just in case. Opponents of this bill could argue that the government is just being overprotective of college students. This may be true, but I believe that the Congress’ actions are justified. I’ve witnessed firsthand how credit card companies can take advantage of college students. Whether you are for or against this new law, my message to you is the same: Pay attention to your finances as soon as you turn 18, and safeguard yourself from incurring unnecessary debt that could cause you to struggle in the future.
Devons ’ Sake
One more for the road Devon Tincknell Life & Arts Editor
The last time NBC replaced its “The Tonight Show” host, the behind the scenes wheeling and dealing was interesting enough to make a movie about. The Late Shift, the TV movie about Jay Leno and David Letterman’s struggle for Johnny Carson’s coveted seat, aired on HBO in 1996, four years after the dust had settled on the debacle. In 2009, however, media moves a bit faster, and the Internet
has been lit up for the past few weeks with Youtube videos, nonstop Twittering and Facebook campaigns covering every aspect of the Conan O’Brien-Leno primetime shuffle. Whatever side you were on (for the record, I’m with Coco) the real core of the quagmire was never about Leno or Conan or any of the other late night hosts hopping on the NBC bashing bandwagon. No, the big issue is about bowing out gracefully, and American’s frequent failure to do so. These days, thumbing through
w w w.the Accent.org
February 1, 2010
New policy drops common sense, adds on headaches
Art by Karen Kuhn
Add/drop week changes punish over burdened students Staff Editorial The administration is considering moving late registration dates back and making the add/drop week end before classes even start. Under the new schedule, students who register late would not be able to change their schedule after the semester starts in order to get the classes they need. Also, students who register on time and then arrive at the class only to find that it is not the right fit for them, will not be able to replace that class with one that works better. It’s hard to see any way that this policy would actually promote student success. A small handful of studies have made correlations between students who register later for class and student success. However, it is silly to think that late registration is the reason these students might be less successful. Let’s assume that missing the first day of class has less to do with students failing than the fact that many of them have kids, and jobs, and the bills that they are trying to juggle. Studies have also shown that men aren’t performing well in college these days, and it’s easy to find studies that prove that black and hispanic students are not having such an easy time.
TV Guide is like shopping at a shifty, third-rate grocery store: most of the products on the shelves are well past their expiration date. “The Simpson’s” just replaced “Gunsmoke” as the longest running TV series, an honorable accomplishment if it wasn’t so painfully obvious that the show has long since passed its creative peak. The American Idol franchise/ phenomenon is entering its final season with creator Simon Cowell judging, but all sources indicate the show plans to soldier onwards despite Simon’s absence. Back at NBC, the same studio suits who couldn’t commit to Conan’s new style of late night comedy plan on replacing the failed “Jay Leno Show” with yet more episodes of the infinitely spun off “Law and Order.” Some say that our culture has finally run out of new
Perhaps in the name of success, we can barricade these “at risk students” so they don’t drag down the rest of us. Those who support this change also say that it will help professors minimize the shuffling around of classes during the first week of school. With technology like Blackboard which allows teachers to post their syllabus online where students who miss the first day or two can look it up, and the office hours and work e-mails that professors use to communicate with students to answer questions about what they have missed, it would seem like a small price to deal with three days of add/drops to insure that students are not kept out of classes they need to be in, or forced to stay in classes that wont work for them. Whether a student has responsibilities or conflicts that make switching schedules around necessary, or they simply attend the class and realize that it won’t be a good fit for them, this policy is not going to help. Being stuck with a schedule that isn’t right won’t make anyone more successful. An obvious side effects of this policy would be the inevitable scenarios in which students either have to drop classes and not replace them, thereby dragging out the time it takes them to
ideas, but maybe it’s just hard for new ideas to take root when the old ones refuse to step out of the limelight. The problem of knowing when to quit is by no means a phenomenon unique to television. Movie franchises mill out endless sequels until finally the fans stop caring, and one hit wonder bands from the seventies continue to tour, despite having only one original member. Rather than preserve some sort of legacy, these institutions sink lower and lower until any hint of the original quality is lost. Today, Rocky is remembered more for being a source of crappy sequels than a high caliber American film classic. If the Beatles had ever reunited, there is a good chance we’d be making fun of their most recent money grabbing comeback tour
get a degree, or they will stick it out in these classes they don’t want and not do as well as they would in the right class, dragging down their GPA, or lead to an unnecessary withdrawal that, due to the six drop rule, could create massive problems in the future. The bottom line is that we have students that are drowning. They are sinking in an ocean of bills that can’t be paid, a job market that has no room for them, mouths they need to feed, and a college that is passing by them, unwilling to save them, because they might weigh down the boat. This policy is not a life line; it is a brutal dismissal of the students who, in the past, have found hope, a second chance, and often redemption from a darker past at this school. Students come here to escape the mediocrity of the lives they would have been forced to lead without an education or job training. It is time that as a community we demand that this college, which is wholly ours, provide students with resources instead of restraints, and that policies to increase student success actually foster successful students instead of slamming the door in the face of those who most need the opportunities that this institution could be providing.
instead of fondly remembering the profound effect they had on modern music. Perhaps Neil Young said it best when he sang, “it’s better to burn out, than it is to rust.” Most unspoiled legacies are the products of tragedy and early deaths, rather than a conscience decision to retire at the right time. For every James Dean who died young and left behind potential and promise, there are a dozen Marlon Brandos who slowly decay in the public eye. It takes a lot of guts to quit while you’re on top, but one only has to look at the world of syndicated comics to see the benefits of doing so. Reading the funnies in today’s newspapers isn’t so funny thanks to the tired gags of Garfield, Cathy, Hagar the Horrible, and countless other comics far past any sort of relevancy. The classic
strips that we remember fondly, like Calvin and Hobbes and Farside, retired before they lost their spark, leaving behind an unblemished portfolio of quality work. Even though NBC decided to give Leno his old spot back at “The Tonight Show,” he’s still the one losing out. Odds are good that Conan and his talented staff will go on to pursue some new project. But however many seasons Leno has left in him, it’s obvious at this point that his best work is behind him. Sure, the money is still there, but don’t pride and quality count for anything these days? Rather than stepping aside and being fondly remembered for the unique touches he brought to “The Tonight Show,” Jay Leno is destined to become the butt of jokes, rather than the one making them.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett addresses ACC
Guest Columnist Welcome to another semester at ACC. As I have noted to recent graduates, when I delivered my first ACC commencement speech in 1977, the entire graduating class could sit on the front ledge at Symphony Square. This illustrates how many more students are choosing to “start here to get there.” At its current rate of growth, sometime in the not-sodistant future, the ACC student body will likely outnumber that of the University of Texas. Lowering the Cost of Higher Ed. — Helping more students “start here” at ACC, especially in this economy, means ensuring higher education is affordable. In 2009, when
President Obama announced his economic recovery package, he invited Congress to help make his plan better. I offered a proposal to help college students that the President accepted. In the legislation Congress passed and the President signed into law, students can share in a $13 billion tax cut targeted to higher education. That is “billion” with a “b.” What does this mean for college students? It means that for those students whose families paid up to $2,500 for tuition, textbooks and course materials last year will get the same $2,500 taken off their tax bill now, and if they don’t have that much in taxes can receive up to a $1,000 refund anyway. The same is true again for expenses incurred this year for taxes owed next year. What does this mean for you? For ACC students, this Doggett Tax credit could make the entire cost of an ACC education tax free. Furthermore, an estimated 346,000 more Texas families, who previously received no higher education tax credit, will benefit
from this new law. I also voted to approve the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which expands student loan programs and which contains my amendment to simplify application forms to ensure students can afford the education for which they qualify. The bill adds $40 billion for Pell Grants and $3 billion to bolster college access and increase completion rates—and all at zero cost to taxpayers. A Boost for Green Jobs — On of my priorities has been ensuring that those pursuing higher education get the help they need to make it affordable. In January, it was announced that ACC would receive $1 million in federal economic recovery or stimulus funds that I voted for to be used to help local students develop new skills useful in the emerging green economy— helping boost our environment, cutting our dependence on nonrenewable fuels, and eventually helping put more green in students’ pockets.
Expanding Health Insurance Coverage — I have heard from many students concerned about health insurance reform. This comes as no surprise as young adults are the most likely to be uninsured, less likely to be offered coverage through their first job, and less likely to be able to afford costly care. I have worked to put a cap on what insurance monopolies can force you to pay in out-of-pocket expenses, co-pays, and deductibles. I continue working to guarantee that students can remain on their parents’ health insurance plan until their 27th birthday. Please let me hear from you. You can visit me on Facebook or my website at www.house. gov/doggett, where you can find helpful information about internship opportunities in my Austin and Washington offices. I stand ready to assist you in matters of a federal nature. Have a safe, productive, and memorable year here at ACC and let me know what I can do to help you “get there.”
OFFICE OF STUDENT LIFE RGC, 1212 Rio Grande St., Room 101.1 Austin TX 78701
Editor-in-Chief..................................................................................................................... Sarah Neve Assistant Editor................................................................................................... Christopher A. Smith Photo Editor.................................................................................................................... Teodora Erbes Layout Editor.........................................................................................................................Chris Scott Design Intern............................................................................................................Karissa Rodriguez Life & Arts Editor ......................................................................................................Devon Tincknell Campus Editor................................................................................................................ Sarah Vasquez Web Editor...........................................................................................................................Hanlly Sam Accent Adviser........................................................................................................ Matthew Connolly Accent Coordinator.......................................................................................................... Lori Blewett Student Life Director................................................................................................... Cheryl Richard Writers Rob Cohen, Trevor W. Goodchild, Michael Needham, Jason Witmer, Jason Haydon, Diana Leite, Adrienne Sparks Photographers Jorge Solares Artists Karen Kuhn ACC President Dr. Steve Kinslow Board of Trustees Nan McRaven– Chair; Dr. James McGuffee—Secretary, Dr. Barbara P. Mink, Allen Kaplan, 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 Austin American-Statesman. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
February 1, 2010
Former mayor, Reps, speak at CSPS welcome back event The Center of Student Political Studies (CSPS) will be hosting their welcome back event on February third. The program will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Eastview Campus Multi-Purpose Hall in Building 8000. The theme for the night is to inform ACC students on how to get involved in clubs, organizations, and charities in the community, and the benefits of being involved. The CSPS have invited guest speakers such as Texas Rep. Diana Maldonado, former Austin Mayor, Bruce Todd, and Peck Young, Director of Center of Public Policy and Political Studies. Along with these guest speakers, the CSPS will also be announcing the introduction of their charity, the Silver Star Foundation. This foundation has been formed to advocate children’s literacy. Attendees will also be provided with free food and refreshments and a chance to win an iPod. The CSPS will be announcing which national recording artist will perform at the Silver Star Foundation’s end of year concert.
Noyce Scholarship offers $31,000 for math and science Students with a passion of math and science have a new opportunity for financial assistance through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program. Austin Community College has partnered up with St. Edward’s University to offer scholarships for math and science majors with at least 60 undergraduate hours. Students studying for an associate of arts in teaching at ACC are also able to apply. Other qualifications students will need for this project include a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and the minimum required hours standard by the beginning of the 2010 fall semester. Recipients of the Noyce Scholarship will receive up to $31,000 of assistance while the student is enrolled at St. Edward’s University and will also receive mentoring from university faculty and master teachers. Recipients will be also expected to teach in AISD highneed schools after completion of their degree. Applications are currently being accepted for consideration. The application deadline for the 2010-2011 academic year is March 1, 2010. Applications can be downloaded from the St. Edward’s University’s Web site: stedwards.edu/noyce/.
Student Life wins International Gold Award for ad campaign The Student Life media team has earned an international Gold Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals. With almost 5,000 entries from throughout the United States and several foreign countries, the team’s “Student life Stories” campaign made an impression with the judges. The campaign kicked off with in an ad campaign in Life4U Magazine and the new student orientation during the 2009 Fall semester. The campaign features student leaders within the Student Life programs at ACC explaining on video and in print why they chose to get involved. T-shirts, USB drives, and mugs were designed to incorporate this marketing and were entered in the Campaign/ Promotion/Materials category. The team consists of Student Life Communications Coordinator, Lori Blewett and Brandon Stephens, Matthew Thompson, and Kelli White. Student Life Stories can be viewed on each program’s page on the Student Life Web site: austincc.edu/SL.
Mandatory orientation policies still being ironed out Student orientation policies are still being changed and reworked as Student Life begins gearing up for the fall semester that will mark the beginning of mandatory three hour orientations for all new students. Last semester proposals on how to accommodate this new policy included everything from dissolving certain Student Life clusters to simply cancelling traditional Student Life events. Now that the spring semester has started it looks like no clusters are going away. And, the formally proposed rule that would have students dropped from classes for not completing orientation by the first day will likely be more relaxed. “Instead of having students get dropped from their classes for not complying, they will have their first semester to take care of the orientation requirement. A hold won’t be put on their account until the second semester starts,” Director of Student Life Cheryl Richard said. The preliminary announcements of who will be in charge of running which clusters has been made and the schedule for orientation is being finalized. “This semester is all about gearing up for how we are going to accommodate orientation in the fall,” SL Communications Coordinator Lori Blewett said. The fall orientation schedule is being finalized. Orientations will start on Aug. 3 and run until Aug. 21. It will also be available online.
Gospel Extravaganza to be held at Eastview To help in celebrating Black History Month, the Tenth Annual Gospel Extravaganza will take place on February 6th at Austin Community College Eastview Campus. The performance starts at 1 p.m. in Room 8500. Local talent is scheduled to perform include Christian Soul group, Spirit Truth & Praise, and Christian Rap artist Chris Spivey. B.L.U.E. and the Sweet Home Praise Dancers will also take the stage. The Gospel Extravaganza is free and open to the public. Refreshments will also be served to the guests.
New semester of Austin Java Lit Gatherings starts this month On Feb. 8, the Creative Writing Department will kick off its Spring 2010 Semester Literary Gathering. Students, whether they are in the Creative Writing Department or generally interested writers, are invited to attend this event at Austin Java Café at 12th and Lamar. Any form of writing medium, poetry, fiction or non-fiction prose is welcomed to be shared. Even non-traditional creative writing such as screenplays and song writing is welcomed to be read. The first Student Literary Gathering begins at 7 p.m. Those unable to make this event will have opportunities to catch these events as these gatherings are held once a month.
Bike blvd. paves way for student cyclists Proposed plan would make biking near Rio Grande easier and safer Michael Needham Staff Writer
The City of Austin is currently reviewing a plan that that would turn Nueces Street from W. Third Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard into a bicycle boulevard. A bicycle boulevard is a road that caters to both cars and bikes. Recently, plans for such a road have been discussed at two open houses. The third, and possibly last, will be taking place on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at Pease Elementary School. New findings about how traffic will be altered by the bike lane will be discussed. “It’s going to be great for ACC students,” Austin City Council member Chris Riley said. “It would be like rolling out a red carpet from West Campus to ACC.” Currently, HDR Engineering is looking into probable traffic concerns that could be caused by unrolling such a carpet. Riley explained that the biggest problem is the area between Sixth Street and 12th Street where there is a stop sign or stoplight at each corner. “This is not the most bike friendly place,” Riley said. “If we take out the stop signs, we have to do something to mitigate the traffic.” Nueces Street faces some limitations as a bike boulevard, Riley said. These restraints include a fire station, the Criminal Justice Center, and a jail which has two to three busses entering and leaving
Trevor W. Goodchild • Staff Photographer
NUECES BIKE BOULEVARD — A bicyclist crosses the intersection of 13th and Nueces around 6 p.m. on Jan. 21. Nueces Street has had a lot of bicycle traffic, and the City of Austin is considering making it a bike boulevard with barriers and signs that discourage automobiles from using this route.
every day. This could result in the bike boulevard being moved to Rio Grande Street instead. Students who bike to RGC have mixed opinions about the bike boulevard. Student Gabriel Tellez thinks that it is a good idea, but didn’t care much about removing the stop signs. “I usually don’t stop anyway,” Tellez said. Fellow biking student Tamara Moyse would be more comfortable riding on a bike boulevard. Currently, she worries about getting hit by a car. “I hardly ever ride in the street,” Moyse said. “It would be safe, and I would be safer. Also, I wouldn’t have to run
over pedestrians anymore.” Project Coordinator for the City of Austin Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Nadia Barrera explained that ACC has been part of the planning process. “We have met with internal staff at ACC to discuss if it fits in with their current plan. There will be a representative from ACC on our working group,” Barrera said. City’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program Project Manager Annick Beaudet explained that the idea for a bicycle boulevard has been around since the late 1990s. Nueces Street has been looked at as a good area because of the lack of retailers, Beudet said. The businesses
currently on the street might not be hampered by a bike boulevard, many of them being law offices. “Businesses can still thrive there with a calmer street,” Beudet said. Beudet feels that ACC Rio Grande will be better because of the bicycle boulevard. “Parking and mobility at the ACC campus has always had its challenges; I was once a student there,” Beudet said. Before the bike boulevard can be built, the city council will need to take action, Riley said. “I feel very hopeful that we will fulfill the goal set out in the bike plan, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it is a done deal,” Riley said.
Board of Trustee spots up for election Christopher A. Smith Assistant Editor
The Governmental and Community Relations office will begin taking candidate applications beginning Feb. 6 for the May ACC Board of Trustees elections. Board Place 3, Place 5, and Place 6 will all be up for election. These Trustees are elected at-large to oversee the entire ACC service area. Potential candidates can already file an Appointment of Campaign Treasurer form that would allow them to legally begin raising funds for their campaign, but a candidate is not officially on the ballot until they fill out an application for a place on the ballot. Linda Young, Special Secretary to the President for Governmental and Community Relations, will be accepting those forms from Feb. 6 to March 8 at her office at the Highland Business Center. Young said potential candidates have already begun to show some interest in running. “I’d say generally we have a
couple of folks running for each position. Sometimes we have had as many as four. I mean it is not impossible to have as many five or six for one position or seat on the board,” said Young. According to the Texas Education Code, “Any resident, qualified elector of the district may have his or her name placed as a candidate on the official ballot.” Candidates must also be 18, U.S. citizens and a reside in the district for six months according to the Texas Election Code. ACC employees can run for a place on the Board, but employees are not allowed to serve as members of the Board, said Young. “So let’s say that a person is employed as a full time professor of Austin Community College District and he or she decided that they want to run for the Board of Trustees, they would need to resign their position or at least make a plan so that if they are elected they would definitely serve and stay elected,” said Young. ACC employees are also not allowed to use their time at work to campaign, said Young.
Although ACC has centers and classes at many different locations throughout central Texas, only registered voters within the ACC taxing district can vote for Board members. Of the three seats up for election, two have incumbents who are allowed to run again if they wish. Place 3 is currently held by Jeffrey Richard and Place 6 by Raul Alvarez. Veronica Rivera formally held Place 6. Rivera stepped down in September of 2009 and the seat is open until the 2010 election. Young also said ACC students are eligible to run for a Board seat if they wish but she added jokingly, “If a student ran and they wanted to use running for office as their excuse for not going to class, it is highly unlikely that the professor would take that as an excuse.”
Candidates running for a seat on the ACC Board of Trustees can contact the Accent at email@example.com or 2233111 for an interview.
Follow the Accent for ongoing cover of the 2010 ACC Board of Trustees race • Three seats are up for election. Place 3, currently held by Jeffrey Richard, place 5 held by Raul Alvarez, and place 6, which was formerly held by Veronica Rivera who resigned, will be up for election. • Candidates wanting to run for one of those seats have to fill out a Secretary of State Application. • Candidates should turn applications in to ACC’s Special Assistant to the President for External Affairs Linda Young’s office in the Highland Business Center between Feb. 5 and Mar. 8, 2010. • Register to vote by Apr. 8, 2010 • Early voting starts Apr. 26, 2010 and the election is May 8, 2010
New add/drop policy up for debate ȨȨ continued from page one
was sent to the Student Services Council (SSC) and finally to the ACAC in November 2009. If the calendar changes were to be implemented by fall 2010, a decision would need to be made early enough in the spring so that students could be informed of the new schedule in the course catalog, student handbooks, and when new student and fall registration information goes out, said Christensen. “I think it will be helpful for students overall and for the college,” Co-Chair of the SSC Patti Singleton said. Singleton, who is also a professor and counselor at ACC, believes moving late registration and the add/drop period to the
week before classes start will help students. “In my work as a counselor, I have noticed that many students who show up at the last minute and want to register don’t tend to do well. They end up not having financial aid ready, they have a problem getting books, they get behind; they start behind. Many of them end up dropping classes,” said Singleton. Singleton did acknowledge that one possible drawback could be that students will not have the ability to get out of a class they didn’t want or that they found was not right for them once classes begin. “Whether it is the best way? I’m not sure yet because we haven’t tried it,” said Singleton. Glen Hunt, Government Department Chair, believes
allowing students to register late and make changes to their schedule while classes have already started is a “disservice to the students and to the faculty.” Instructors go over the syllabus, discuss class policy and how grading will be handled during the first days of class, said Hunt. Moving late registration and the add/ drop period to the week before classes start will make it so that a “student goes into a class that is ready to go and get moving. When a teacher goes into class they have their roll, they know who their students are, and they can immediately begin,” said Hunt. “Everyone starts off on an equal basis,” said Hunt. History instructor David Lauderback acknowledged that while it may be inconvenient
for instructors to have students come into class late “adds and drops as we do it now gives students a chance to adjust their schedules in meaningful ways.” There may be many factors that could lead a student to register late and to be unsuccessful in a class said Lauderback. He thinks the college could research the many other possible variables that could be causing students to be unprepared for class and to eventually fail. “My concern is that moving adds and drops to the previous three days won’t improve our student’s ability to succeed,” said Lauderback, “but will in fact impede our students’ ability to succeed.”
Campus Life w w w.the Accent.org
ant n’ ave
What do you think about the new free ACC Green Pass?
February 1, 2010
Hickerson’s art uncovers blocks Professor’s artwork now on display at Cypress Creek Campus
Student and Staff Opinions at Eastview Campus
“I think it’s pretty cool that ACC is giving free bus passes to the students. It is a reliable way that the students now have to go to school. If I didn’t had a car, I would definitely get a pass” -Monique Vincent, undecided major that doesn’t have a free bus pass and drives her car to school.
“The new free bus pass will help the students that don’t have cars and make it easier for them to get to school” - Lupi Aleman, biology major that doesn’t have a free bus pass. She drives her car to school.
“I think it was a marvelous idea, because it gives the students a way to get in school, especially during traffic hours” - Vanikea Tilmon, occupational therapy assistant major who has a free bus pass.
“I think it’s cool, especially if you need to go to different campuses and it also helps to lower the school’s carbon footprint” - Michael Spear, biotechnology major who drives his car to classes but approves the initiative.
“I have a pass, but I haven’t used it yet. I ride my bike, but I have the pass just in case my bike breaks on the way. It’s a great idea.” -Steve Self, library services. He is enthusiastic about the green pass initiative.
All photos by Diana Leite
In the halls of the Cypress Creek Campus’s Building 1000, many will notice that a majority of the pieces all contain one key element, a solid cinder brick wall, or “aggregate concrete blocks,” as artist Melanie Hickerson calls them. “It’s like a way of thinking about nothing,” said Hickerson, an adjunct ACC professor and artist. “You know, how you think of nothing but you’re not thinking of nothing, and the imagery that kept coming to me was cinder blocks.” In 2001, after the events of 9/11 and a few personal tragedies, Hickerson began to use cinder block walls as a recurring theme in her artwork. “We had a house that had a cinder block wall behind it that I used to go and sit on,” she explains. During the stressful period of her parents’ divorce after 22 years of marriage, Hickerson, at 14, would use the brick wall as a solace from the bickering. “As an artist, we have touchstones; images we go back to... and it became my touchstone.” She viewed the blocks as a foundation. “It’s that old thing about how your limitations are also your strengths. Family and all
Adrienne Sparks • Staff Photographer
ART EXHIBIT — ACC Adjunct Professor of Art, Melanie Hick-
erson, stands with her artwork in the halls of Cypress Creek Campus’s Building 1000 on January 21. the problems in the world are barriers. They get in your way, but they also give support.” The cinder block theme continued in her artwork until 2009, when, after the untimely suicide of her sister, she painted a piece called “Cynthia.” “After that event, I didn’t want to paint the wall anymore,” Hickerson reflects. “Cynthia”, named for her late sister, “was about healing and understanding what she what she (my sister) was going through”. “I was so mad at her, and I was so guilt-ridden,” Hickerson said. “And, you know, you have to forgive her. But, boy, it shoved
me into a different place. And it’s a gift, and it’s a punishment, and it’s a horror, and a blessing. And you have to go and look for the blessing.” Hickerson’s art will remain on display at the Cypress Creek campus until May 16th. “All paintings are abstract at first,” Hickerson said. “Mostly I try to make compositions with mystery and skill. I hope people enjoy looking at my work.” Hickerson will hold a reception for the opening of the gallery on February 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Cypress Creek Campus Commons area.
Welcome week offers help and s’more ACC mascot search down to the semi-finals Sarah Vasquez Campus Editor
Diana Leite Staff Writer
What do Armadillos, Jaguars, Firebirds, Vacqueros, Stars and Chupacabras have in common? They are all student suggestions for the future Austin Community College mascot that made into an exclusive list of 57 favorites. This last September, ACC Board of Trustees began an ambitious search for the ultimate ACC mascot. “It will give the student body something they can identify with: a symbol that will help to build an ACC culture, and to which the students can relate with and create a sense of student identity in the ACC community” said Mascot Search Committee Chair, Avy Gonzalez. The committee started the Web site: austincc.edu/ mascot, on which more than 1000 suggestions where made by students last semester. The committee is taking several steps toward a final decision. Twenty semi-finalists will be made public in two or three weeks. The mascots were chosen by the Board of Trustees in cooperation with the Mascot Committee. “The first step consisted in eliminating the options already taken by nearby universities and high schools in respect to those institutions. The second was to drill the mascots that represent ACC’s essence. That’s where we are at right now,” said Brette Lea, Executive Director of Public Information and College Marketing. The students will be able to vote online only once for their favorites. The committee will eliminate the less popular choices gradually until there are only three to five finalists. Lea encourages the students to participate and vote.
“The whole process will be available online. We want the students to be part of the choice,” Lea said. The final decision though lays on the hands of the Board of Trustees through a process that will involve focus group researches and a student vote. The board and the committee will chose the winner and reveal it to ACC students in April, but the design won’t be revealed to the general public until the fall semester. “After the mascot is chosen, the design process will take at least three months,” Lea said. “Intramural sports require T-shirts and uniforms. We don’t have anything to put on them yet, but we soon will,” Gonzalez said. “The mascot is going to give ACC sports a whole new community feel.” But the motivation behind the search for a mascot goes beyond team spirit. For Lea, it is all about starting a new ACC tradition that will hopefully affect the ACC community throughout it’s seven campuses. “We think of the mascot not only as a wonderful way to build school spirit, but more important, as a way to tell the high school students that college is an option,” Lea said. The semi-finalist suggestions are still top secret. “We don’t want to influence the students opinions, so I’ll keep that information,” Gonzalez said. Students will have to wait a couple of weeks before the finalist election starts. Gonzalez does, however, eliminate some options. “The zombie wasn’t a popular option,” Gonzalez said. “There were a lot of suggestions that wouldn’t stand a chance, because there is not much people can relate with as far as Austin and the ACC community goes.”
The Office of Student Life hosted Welcome Week to ease current and new students’ anxiety into the 2010 Spring semester. Each campus offered a variety of activities and refreshments such as Frito chili pies and s’mores to be enjoyed in between classes. Student Life staff members also answered any questions students may have had about Austin Community College. Student Life Assistant, Dot Dearinger, reported that over 1,500 students received assistance within three days of Welcome Week at the Rio Grande Campus. Two students were also randomly chosen to win free iPod shuffles, courtesy of Student Life.
FIRST S'MORES TASTING — Physical Therapy student Shirisha Thadvai tries s’mores for the first time on Jan. 21 during the S’mores Roasting event at South Austin Campus organized by Student life for Welcome Week.
ABOVE — Faith Murry, foreign language major, and another ACC student, roast marshmallows on January 21 during the S’mores Roasting event at South Austin Campus, organized by Student life for Welcome Week.
LEFT — Jennifer Flowers, SAC Student Life coordinator,
helps animate the S’mores Roasting event at South Austin Campus, as part of Welcome Week on Thursday, Jan. 21
All photos by Teodora Erbes • Photo Editor
Eastview Michael Needham
ACC is unbelievably huge. With more than 40,000 students spread across seven campuses, the ACC system is still growing. Remarkably, with Dallas and San Antonio each nearly doubling Austin’s population, and with Houston nearly tripling it, ACC is on track to eventually have the largest community college system in Texas. Something this gigantic has to be important. Eyes across the nation will study ACC to see how it thrives, and eventually copy it. Let it be on record that ACC community knew our own strengths and weaknesses. Let us name our best campus before they do.
With a commanding 94 total programs, EVC clearly wins the category.
Campus manager Juanita Mendez said that most of the general classes are small with a capacity of 20, but there are several that go up to 60, and probably another eight that go up to 40.
ACC is made up of seven campuses. Some are better than others, and one of them is better than the rest. Let’s guess at the future of the entire community college structure by finding our best campus. We’ll start by comparing two campuses side-by-side, starting in alphabetical order, and choosing winners as we go. Parameters will be set and will not be deviated from. This is all in good fun, but completely serious nonetheless. First up, Cypress Creek Campus will battle it out with Eastview Campus to see who advances to the next round.
Brandishing only 56 programs, CYP is a little light on classes.
Campus Manager Linda Haywood said that the small classrooms seat 24 to 28, and the larger classrooms seat 36 to 40.
Though the lot is big with 907 parking spaces, it’s still overshadowed by CYP’s lot.
There is nothing immediate or on the books in terms of planned growth, Executive Director of Facilities and Construction William Mullane said. “We do have a little bit of ground space available. There is a portable building there; we could expand it to a multilevel,” Mullane said. Mendez knew of some desired changes to the campus. “I know that they want to expand the culinary arts,” Mendez said. “They want to add another biology or chemistry lab, and maybe additional parking.”
Opportunities galore. Mendez explained that right now EVC has all of the health science programs and the only childcare program with a daycare.
Which is the better campus? Clearly, both campuses edge each other out in different areas. CYP has more parking spaces, and EVC has more programs. Overall, it seems that EVC has more to offer students than CYP. Still, being able to find a parking spot goes a long way. If parking is your thing, then go with CYP. EVC advances to the next round.
With a massive 1,161 parking spaces CYP has the second largest ACC parking lot.
Mullane said that there is a not a whole lot of room available to work with, but there is a little room. “I can tell you that there is a section in the parking lot that was designed to accommodate a parking garage. If we can build one there, we can use some of the parking lot to build something else,” Mullane said. There are no real plans right now, Mullane said.
It’s gorgeous to look at. Haywood pointed out that it is a newer looking campus due to an expansion a couple years ago. This expansion also filled it to the brim with the latest technology.
Life & Arts w w w.the Accent.org
Movies Legion in need of divine intervention
My Son delights in bad behavior
photo courtesy of Sony Pictures USA
Quality gets left behind in lack luster apocalypse action flick Jason Hayden Staff Writer
Like so many modern films, Legion put its best foot forward, meaning its best scenes are in the preview. The film starts off well enough, but quickly tumbles into a bottomless pit, not of fire and brimstone, but of tedium. Legion takes place in a world where God has abandoned hope for the human race, but Arch Angel Michael (Paul Bettany) hasn’t. He disobeys orders and goes to Paradise Falls, a dingy little desert diner, where an unwed and unsympathetic, pregnant, chain smoking waitress is supposedly carrying the hope of humanity in her womb, although how or why is never explained. The writing is less than divinely inspired, and plot holes abound. If one is even remotely religiously inclined, then this film is guaranteed to offend.
photo courtesy of Defilm
Herzog’s latest twists a true story into an intense portrait of a madness and matricide Devon Tincknell Life & Arts Editor
Roger Ebert has a rule that states “no movie featuring either Harry Dean Stanton or M. Emmet Walsh in a supporting role can be altogether bad.” It’s about time someone added Willem Dafoe to that list. In legendary German director Werner Herzog’s latest film, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done, Dafoe uses his impressive abilities to be a stabilizing anchor in a purposefully unhinged film. Dafoe plays it straight as Hank Havenhurst, an L.A. homicide detective struggling to comprehend what leads Brad McCullum (Michael Shannon) to murder his mother and enter into an armed standoff with the police. In between tense exchanges with Shannon, Dafoe interviews his fiance (Chloe Sevigny) and friend (Udo Kier.) As the flashbacks unfold, it soon becomes clear that Shannon’s sanity as been deteriorating for some time, and his erratic behavior gives Herzog ample room to add strange, surreal flourishes to what could have been a straightforward film. Presented by David Lynch, whatever “presented” means, My Son, My Son walks
the delicate line between Hollywood simplicity and art house obliqueness. The usual strangeness one would find in a Lynch or Herzog film is here: diminutive actors, purposefully stiff acting, metacommentary on the film’s themes, and strange rambling asides about giant roosters and other such nonsense. In a more traditional art film, those flourishes would eventually derail the narrative, leaving a muddled ending and confused audience. But My Son, My Son, keeps returning to Dafoe and the armed standoff with Shannon, giving it a center of gravity and a more linear structure. In contrast to Willem Dafoe’s grounded stability, Michael Shannon imbues his character with an unnerving edge that brims over with manic intensity. A traumatic experience in Peru left Shannon convinced that he should follow the voice inside him, and living with his overbearing, flamingo obsessed mother certainly didn’t help matters. Most of the film takes place in flashbacks related by Sevigny and Kier, who stood by helpless and confused as Shannon’s grasp of reality unraveled before them. Shannon’s unusual passions and delirious speeches sync perfectly with Herzog’s artistic
intrusions. There are moments in the film when time slows down or the actors awkwardly freeze, and Herzog builds them into a frenzy with choice selections from obscure musicians like Caetano Velooso, Washington Philips, and Chavela Vargas. Though it lacks the iguana cam, break dancing ghosts, and the crack smoking Nicolas Cage of Herzog’s recent reworking of Bad Lieutenant, both films share a similar sensibility. Though disguised as more traditional fare, Herzog smuggles in an element of straight-faced insanity, like the one exhibited by Shannon, that stares you down and dares you to question it. My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done treads the thin line between chaos and order, and then personifies those qualities in the fantastic performances of Michael Shannon and Willem Dafoe. Shannon’s captivating craziness might be what makes the film soar, but it is the underrated Dafoe who keeps things from falling apart.
My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done Opened Jan. 29 at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
Legion has a pretty high body count, and what else could one expect for the apocalypse? The problem is that since no real connection is made with any of the characters, the viewer probably just won’t care. For a biblical action film, there is surprisingly little original material here. The only memorable scenes stick in the brain because they are so unbelievably bad. Overall it’s a largely forgettable film. The second time a character said a line such as, “Why did God change his mind and stop caring?” it was hard not to think that it was probably because of movies like this.
Legion Opened Jan. 22
Feb 2 - Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man Alamo Drafthouse Ritz 7PM, $8.50 Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi go at it as the titular titans of terror. This classic restarted Universal Studio’s monster movie franchise. Feb 3 - Along Came Kinky: Texas Jewboy For Governor Studio 4D 7PM, free Kinky supporters still reeling from his decision to run for Agricultural Commissioner can take solace in this free documentary screening. Feb 6 - Cinema Club Brunch: Ninotchka Alamo Drafthouse Ritz 1:45PM, $6.50 The Alamo’s new highbrow film appreciation series, Cinema Club, shows this Greta Garbo comedy classic. Feb 7 - Hecklevision: Cool as Ice Alamo Drafthouse Ritz 9:30PM, $8.50 The only thing more insufferable than Ice’s acting is bound to be Hecklevision’s “text to screen” audience submitted insults. Feb 15 - Amelie, Charade, and Gone with the Wind Alamo Drafthouse $75 Valentine’s Day feast and film pairings at all three drafthouses. Feb 6, Feb 13 - Breaking Bad Spiderhouse 9PM, free Malcolm’s dad cooks meth. Get caught up on one of the best shows on TV.
w w w.the Accent.org
page 7 | Life & Arts
February 1, 2010
Spoon’s latest serving Feb 2 - The Residents Stubbs 8PM, $20/$23 Anonymous, experimental weirdos The Residents descend on Austin for a concert that promises to be anything but ordinary. Feb 4, 5, 6 - Casual Victim CD Release Beerland 10PM, $5 Gerald Cosloy of Matador records celebrates the release of his love letter to Austin compilation with three nights of must-see Austin acts including Follow That Bird!, Woven Bones, and Harlem. Feb 5 - Prototype Fashion Freakout Mohawk 8PM, $10/$12 Expect good looking lads and ladies showing off apparel that’s more eccentric than American. The runway vamping will be interrupted for a rousing set by girl group The Carrots, and then descend into a DJ dance party later in the evening. Feb 6 - I Luv Video 25th Anniversary United States Art Authority 9PM, free From I Luv Video, the store that brought you Free Beer Tuesday, comes this quarter century anniversary party celebrating cinema with sets by a delightful spread of employee affiliated bands. Feb 11 - Ringo Deathstarr Mohawk 8PM, $1/$5 Starry eyed shoe gazers Ringo Deathstarr team up with hipster dance party masterminds Learning Secrets for a show guaranteed to have you alternately shaking your ass, and staring at the ground listlessly. Feb 12 - The English Beat and Fishbone Emo’s 7PM, $18 British Two-Tone pioneers English Beat join forces with nineties Ska stars Fishbone to help garner support for the fourth wave ska revival, which should be coming any day now. Feb 13 - RJD2 Emo’s 10PM, $16 When his debut album Deadringer dropped in 2002, RJD2 seemed poised to inherit DJ Shadow’s title as king of hip hop turntablism. But the rest of the decade saw him shift towards a more poppy, song based sound. Whatever style he takes this Saturday, it’s sure to be entertaining. Feb 14 - Screaming Females Emo’s 9PM, $8 Only recently have New Jersey’s Screaming Females started getting the attention they deserve. Energetic, go for broke punk lead by the band’s token screaming female, Marissa Paternoster, who not only screams but shreds hard.
Sarah Vasquez Campus Editor
Spoon has been one of Austin’s hometown heroes for years. After vocalist Britt Daniel initially teamed up with drummer Jim Eno in 1993, the band quickly started earning critical praise from press and music fans for their easily accessible hybrid of indie and post-punk rock. Spoon achieved commercial success as songs from their 2005 album, Gimme Fiction, provided the soundtrack to a variety of movies and TV shows. The involvement with popular TV shows like The O.C. and Veronica Mars, and movies such as 17 Again and Cloverfield attracted even more aficionados to Spoon’s minimalistic rock. When a Japanese robot, Keepon, showed off it’s dancing skills to the songs “I Turn My Camera On” and “Don’t You Evah,” Spoon’s fandom went viral. According to YouTube, the two videos created by Marek Michalowski of Carnegie Mellon University have received over three million views combined. Daniel even made a brief cameo in the “Don’t You Evah” video. To celebrate the release of their newest album, Transference, Spoon performed at Waterloo Records on January 25th. According to Waterloo Records, 2,000 fans crowded around the small parking lot to enjoy the free performance. If one thing can be said about Spoon, it’s that they’re
consistent. Transference gives listeners the satisfying fulfillment of more tunes, but hardly updates what Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga did two years ago. Spoon has been charming music fans with their formulaic indie rock for years. Some people might see this as a sign of unoriginality, but why fix what isn’t broken? With Spoon being one of the heavy hitters in the indie music scene for the past 15 plus years, there is no denying that their distinguishable music works for them. Transference was recorded without the help of a producer, so there are some small but noticeable changes to the standard Spoon sound. Gone are the blaring trumpets of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s popular single “The Underdog.” Instead the guys decided to strip down to the solid guitar rock foundation that was formerly buried underneath extravagant production add-ons. Though Spoon hasn’t added any startling innovations, Transference is proof that a band can still allure fans with the same musical formula, as long as their consistency remains this captivating.
RIGHT — Fans
gather in front of Waterloo Records and Video on Jan. 25, to watch the free Spoon concert to promote release of their new album ‘Transference’.
BELOW — Spoon musicians Jim Eno (drums), Britt Daniel (vocals, guitar) and Eric Harvey (guitar) perform in front of Waterloo Records and Video on January 25, 2010. Photos by Jorge Solares • Staff Photographer
Spoon Transference Merge Records 01/19/10
Vampire Weekend Bites Back The Ivy League indie rockers return with another album of eclectic influences Rob Cohen Staff Writer
In 2008, a band of clean cut Columbia University students came into prominence with a highly acclaimed self-titled debut. Calling themselves Vampire Weekend, the preppy ensemble took some elegantly clean indie rock, and then spiced it up a bit with a broad palette of ska and afro pop allusions, creating what they called “upper west side Soweto.” But just like Paul Simon, the last epically “white” artist to mine African influences, controversy and backlash soon followed the initial tidal wave of praise. Two years later, Contra finds the group expanding their influences, borrowing elements from reggaeton, hip hop and world music as needed. Band member Rostam Batmanglij retains his role as producer, bringing with him the ingredients of his electro-hop side project Discovery. Stripping away the peppy string arrangements that highlighted their debut, this
time around the boys adorn their songs with a mix of bubbly keyboards, drum machines and assorted bells and whistles. But what starts as a welcome sign of progression, unfortunately ends up cluttering the record. Vampire Weekend’s signature aesthetic, a questionably ironic embrace of Ivy League prep culture, returns in full effect on Contra. Those turned off by overly literate lyrics and semipretentious affectations will not be won over, but those who enjoyed the first album’s buoyant, snappy songwriting will be pleased to discover more of the same. While less accessible than their debut, Contra’s fussier, idiosyncratic sound is a strong statement that stands firmly against the group’s naysayers. Though Vampire Weekend may lack humility, there is no denying their talent for creating a catchy, cross-cultural tune.
Vampire Weekend Contra XL 01/08/10
photo courtesy of Hit Singularity
The Name of the Game
Mass Effect 2 hits stores, GT5 hits delays Jason Witmer Staff Writer
This last January was a huge month for gaming due to all the fantastic single player titles that donned the shelves. To kick things off, Bioware released the highly anticipated sequel to their 2007 smash RPG hit, Mass Effect. Mass Effect made waves with its amazing storytelling and awe inspiring worlds, and this long awaited sequel surpasses its predecessor in both graphical and technical standpoints. The space-oriented action role playing game features a very flexible third person combat system, which combined with an interesting storyline and diverse side characters, makes this is a game you are going to want to pick up. Plus, you can have crazy alien intercourse, always a welcomed addition.
Mass Effect 2 is in stores now. Man, how did I get halfway through this column without mentioning Darksiders? Darksiders hit stores in early January and has blown the gaming community away. I’ve spent some time playing this monster of a game, and I have to say it took my breath away. Before I picked it up, I kept hearing that “it is a mix of Legend of Zelda and God of War,” and boy does that description fit. Darksiders takes the magnificent combat system from God of War (why mess with perfection?) then adds the puzzles and intricate details of Legend of Zelda, mashing them together into a delicious behemoth of a video game sushi roll. Inspired by the battle of Armageddon described in the Book of Revelation, the game lets you play as War, one of the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse. You certainly feel the biblical power of the character as you destroy and annihilate everything in your path! Vigil Games’ Darksiders is available on PS3 and Xbox 360. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news in January. Sony announced that the fifth installment to their beloved driving simulation series, Gran Turismo 5, is being delayed yet again. The former release date of March is now being pushed back to “To be decided.” It’s ironic that the players eager to drive Gran Turismo’s newest set of virtual automobiles are now being driven insane by Sony and its endless delays. This is beginning to be more frustrating than a rush hour commute up I-35! Anyways, expect GT5 out near the end of 2010 on Playstation 3. Fingers crossed.