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Western’s Snapchat gets out of hand, p. 5 The road to fit following social media, p. 6 Last laugh: Where respect & comedy meet, p. 8 Vol. 29 #22 4.1.2014

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Welcome to Spring Quarter! Graphic Design by Keghouhi Bedoyan // AS Review


MAKING YOUR LIFE BETTER, ONE PAGE AT A TIME Viking Union 411 516 High St. Bellingham, WA 98225 Phone: 360.650.6126 Fax: 360.650.6507 Email: @TheASReview © 2014. Published most Mondays during the school year by the Associated Students of Western Washington University. The AS Review is an alternative-weekly that provides coverage of student interests such as the AS government, activities and student life. The Review seeks to enhance the student experience by shedding light on under-represented issues, inclusive coverage, informing readers and promoting dialogue.

4 Outdoor Center

Remembers Merrill In the month after his passing, the OC memorializes Jake Merrill with safety packs

5 Western

Gets Snappy Viking Snapchat raises controversy, makers get more than they bargained for

STUDENT LIFE 8 The Last Laugh Members of Western’s standup community address offensive content and its place on campus

12 Life Stats Take on learning these skills to improve your well-being

MUSIC 10 Tuesday

Night Fever Catching up with a few Underground Coffeehouse Open Mic Night regulars

11 Chillwave in Space

Meet Nate Braks, the student behind Student, Bham’s new electronic project

We welcome reader submissions, including news articles, literary pieces, photography, artwork or anything else physically printable. Email submissions to We welcome letters to the editor. Please limit your letter to 300 words, include your name, phone number and year in school, if you’re a student. Send them to Published letters may have minor edits made to their length or grammar.


REVIEW Cade Schmidt Kylie Wade Isaac Martin Trevor Grimm Kelly Mason Andrew Wise C Hayley Halstead Dominic D’Angelo Designers Kristina Huynh Keghouhi Bedoyan Adviser Jeff Bates

Editor in Chief Assistant Editor Lead Photographer Photographer Copy Editor Writers

“I’m the new black girl on Saturday Night Live!” Sasheer Zamata yells as she takes the Performing Arts Center Concert Hall stage, kicking over the microphone stand on March 12. The newest SNL cast-member told the audience about adjusting to life in the Big Apple, inviting her mother to meet the show’s producer, Lorne Michaels and about receiving unwanted letters from admirers about her feet. The event was a part of AS Productions Special Events. Read more about comedy at Western in “Laughing within the lines” on p. 8. Photo by Trevor Grimm // AS Review

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Monkeys and jellyfish: Transformations across campus

Portraits by Western graduate Rhys Logan are displayed at the 20th Annual Employee Art Show, which ran from March 10 to March 21 in Viking Union 567. Photos by Isaac Martin // AS Review

Jellyfish created by students Ella Lamont, Jayla Mills, Bonnie Smerdon and Kimberly Williams swim in the Western Gallery. Art students transformed the gallery during the John Grade Workshop that ended on March 17.

These Sock Monkeys for Kids in Crisis were made by employee Kim Cunningham were part of the 20th Annual Employee Art Show. The show showcases work from staff and faculty throughout the university.

Students in the Department of Fine Arts and Seattle artist John Grade created installations with environmental themes inside the Western Gallery.

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RIDE FOR JAKE: Outdoor Center remembers Jake Merrill By Andrew Wise It’s been over a month since the news of former AS Outdoor Center Assistant Excursions Coordinator Jake Merrill’s death shocked and saddened the Western community. Merrill was caught in an avalanche while backcountry skiing in Oregon. He graduated from Western in December with a degree in Outdoor Recreation and was interning as a ski guide for Wallowa Alpine Huts on the eastern-side of the state. The avalanche occurred on the third day of a five-day trek in the Wallowa Mountains and also killed 30-year-old Shane Coulter of Seattle, as well as injuring two others. “I don’t think I’ve ever lost a close friend like that to an avalanche. You hear about avalanches and deaths as a result of avalanche incidents and it doesn’t have the same impact as when it’s someone you are close with and know very well,” said Outdoor Center Assistant Excursion Coordinator Jason Davis, who had known Merrill since middle school. Merrill was a Bellingham native and even attended the Child Development Center as a youngster. His mother Jill Hackerthorn is a senior instructor in the Physical Education, Health and Recreation Department. He also worked as a sales associate for local outdoor equipment shop, Backcountry Essentials and for Mt. Baker Mountain Guides. During his time in the Associated Students, he worked with his fellow Outdoor Center staff members to make excursions as accessible as possible. Many incoming freshmen also had the opportunity to get to know Merrill while he worked as a WOOT [Western Outdoor Orientation Trips] leader. “It was hard to come to terms with, for sure. It was hard to be here and in Bellingham and at Mt. Baker and all the places that I would run into him. The memories kind of stay in those places,” Davis said. In the past month, the Outdoor Center staff has been working to memorialize him. Davis, along with OC Marketing Director Brian Bates, have been putting together three rentable avalanche safety equipment packs to incentivize avalanche education. The funding for the project was approved at the AS Board of Directors meeting on March 11. “Right now, we have three avalanche beacons which were provided to us from the Suzie Green memorial fund which are designated to be rented to any student who has taken an Avalanche 1 class, so they can rent those beacons out for free. What we’re hoping to do is put together the entire package that you need for avalanche safety. So shovels, probes, and also backcountry skiing backpack with an airbag,” Davis said. The avalanche airbag packs consist of a system produced by German

company ABS and compatible backpacks made by Osprey. They function by increasing the skier’s volume when inflated during an avalanche, ideally causing the skier to float on top of the avalanche as it moves down the mountain. ABS claims that its system has a 97 percent survival rate to date. “It’ll help incentivize avalanche education because you can say ‘hey, I can take this $225 course and have the opportunity to use this thousand dollar package for free,” Bates said. The idea to put together the packs came pretty quickly after the OC employees were informed of Merrill’s death, Bates said. “A lot of people deal with these things in different ways and we just instantly knew we had to give him some sort of everlasting presence in the Outdoor Center. This was just such a perfect project that Jake would have really supported,” he said. In order to make the project happen, Davis put together an email talking about Merrill’s life, what he meant to the Outdoor Center and the importance of this effort to memorialize him. ABS responded within a day, and offered to provide the systems at a less than wholesale cost. Osprey, a company to which Bates has a close connection, also committed quickly. Merrill’s legacy in the OC is one focused on positivity and education. Also a scholarship in Merrill’s memory, the Jake Merrill Outdoor Leadership Scholarship, has now been created through the Western Foundation. “Jake was always smiling and always upbeat. He was an incredibly wonderful, goofy guy that brought an incredible energy to every interaction. He was a natural leader in a way because people gravitated to him and that positive energy, and it was easy to follow someone like that,” Davis said. AS Personnel Director Nidia Hernandez remembers when she first met Merrill while recruiting for Spring Hiring in the Viking Commons. “He went over to the cashier and was like, ‘Can I grab a plate of food?’ And they were like, ‘You’re already here, go for it.’ So he goes in and brings back a huge plate of just french fries and ketchup and puts it on the table between us,” Hernandez said. His passion for his job, the outdoors and sharing the outdoors with others was evident, Hernandez said. “He left us with this passion for [this work], at its most basic level. He wanted this to be a way for students and the Western community to experience the outdoors in the best possible way,” Davis said. The packs will be available for rent through the Outdoor Center by next winter. The Outdoor Center is also looking to make patches saying “Ride For Jake” available for sale at its facility.

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Western gets a Snapchat, creators see more than they bargained for By Kelly Mason Western has conquered nearly all forms of social media. You can find it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Foursquare, Flickr, Youtube, LinkedIn and even Google Plus - with the 10 other people who use it. However, its most recent social media outlet is causing quite a stir. Western is reevaluating its use of the app Snapchat, after receiving controversial content. Snapchat is a free app available for iPhone and Android owners. Users can send pictures or videos called “snaps” lasting from one to 10 seconds which, once seen, these snaps are deleted. Its user demographic ranges from ages 13 to 24 years old and is most commonly associated with perpetuating the “selfie.” Following the creation of the Facebook page WWU Snapchats on March 17, which features snaps from students and is not affiliated with the school, Western decided to join in on the Snapchat fun. Instant regret soon followed. Though Western’s Snapchat policy only included adding snaps to “My Story,” a feature which allows all followers to view the snap, it has no control of what snaps were being received. What started out as innocent snaps of Fischer fountain and selfies from Bruce Shepard with his beloved dogs - Andy and Lucy - soon grew into a big, hairy monster. Shortly after creating the Snapchat, Western received an influx of controversial and unmentionable snaps from its followers. The pictures and videos sent to Western’s Snapchat confused, shocked and saddened the staff members responsible for running the app and subsequently, received these unmentionable images. The snaps, sent by students who will remain anonymous, included evidence that may be incriminating, as well as being genuinely concerning. The amount of inappropriate snaps received by Western is causing officials to reevaluate the decision to have a Snapchat account in the first place. Unlike other social media outlets, once a picture is viewed on Snapchat, it is automatically deleted - however, the images sent to Western’s Snapchat have left emotional scars on the viewers that can never be deleted. It will be a sad day for Western and “Ghostface Chillah,” the name of the ghost in Snapchat’s logo, if Western’s Snapchat account has to be deleted because some people couldn’t keep their drunk snaps to themselves.

*In response to this controversy, the AS Review offers these words: April Fools! Western doesn’t have a Snapchat and will hopefully never get one. Everything in this story is untrue and made up by yours truly.


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SOCIAL MEDIA & THE ROAD TO FIT By Kelly Mason Though society typically focuses purely on the “before” and “after,” the journey to weight loss is often a long and trying one. Without motivation and a strong support system, it’s easy to get lost along the way. However, two Vikings have found a solution which not only keeps them on track, but inspires others to as well. After deciding to make the change towards a healthier lifestyle, former Western student Tasheon Chillous and sophomore Elizabeth Colescott took to social media to share their weight loss journeys. Chillous, who has been recording her weight loss through her Tumblr blog and Instagram, decided to make the change after a visit to her local gym. “It started when I finished at Western, I came home and had nothing to do. It’s kind of a boring story really,” she said. “I joined a gym because I was bored. I started working out and I started loving it. Knowing that I was as big as I was, I really did need to change. I needed to work out, I needed to change my life.” This small decision snowballed into a huge lifestyle change. After working for the free fitness app Cody, which aims to create a community for fitness lovers, Chillous began posting her journey on Tumblr and Instagram. Two years and over 150 pounds later, she’s become an inspiration to her over 7,000 blog followers. “When you have a blog, you don’t want to brag and be like ‘Hey I have a blog with this many followers’ but there’s over 7,000 people who follow me. It’s kind of crazy, it’s kind of weird,” Chillous said. “I get messages all the time and I’ve talked to a few people from Washington. I’ve met up with a few of them and we’re Facebook friends and help each other.” Utilizing social media to share her journey has not only gained her a huge support

Tasheon Chillous in April 2010 on the left and March 2014 on the right. Chillous uses Tumblr and Instagram on her fitness journey. Photos courtesy of Tasheon Chillous. system, but also a newfound passion and direction in life. “I went to school for design. I think I found my love and what I want to do, and that’s combining fitness and design,” Chillous said. “It goes hand-in-hand for me because I love to create posters of how far I am. I have a lot of inspirational quotes. I found the passion that I was missing. I totally see myself, in like a year or two, becoming a physical trainer or a group fitness instructor, because I want to see other people do the same thing.” Elizabeth Colescott followed Chillous’s social media fitness campaign after deciding last year to make a change in her life as well. “The summer before I came to college I was at my highest weight and I always thought, ‘Oh it’s not that bad.’ But then you watch shows

like the Biggest Loser and you’re like, ‘Oh my weight is the near some of theirs. This is awkward, I could be on a TV show to fix this,’” Colescott said. “Then also just coming to college, I know it would be all on me to change. I have the opportunities to do it because of the Rec Center and I control everything I eat. I think that’s when I had the initial ‘Okay it’s time to change something’ thought.” Colescott began training with Kacie Fischer Cleveland of Kulshan CrossFit, a local gym in Bellingham’s Sunset District. As she met her fitness goals, Colescott began sharing her accomplishments on Facebook. “I had posted some things originally on my personal Facebook, like when I lost seven pounds, and when I beat a certain time on the row machine my trainer took a picture and

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it got a lot of likes,” Colescott said. “I realized having that support, even just somebody clicking the ‘like’ button, it’s actually really nice to know that people think what I’m doing is impressive.” She decided to create a separate Facebook page and Instagram to focus entirely on her fitness journey, entitled “Elizabeth Gets Fit,” where she continues to post her accomplishments. “I can keep track of myself and have others motivate me. I know that if I have this going on I can’t just be like, ‘Oh, I’ve stopped working out’ or anything like that,” she said. “It keeps you accountable.” Colescott, just beginning her fitness campaign, says the hardest part is making healthy choices when eating. “Being in the dorms, well, I call the food on campus an obstacle, but my trainer was like, ‘It’s just something you’re going to have to change, it’s not an obstacle,’” Colescott said. “It’s just food, you’re going to eat no matter what, so it’s just something you’re going to

learn how to change.” Both Colescott and Chillous noted that making healthy eating choices is often overlooked when making this lifestyle change, yet eating the right foods is essential to the process. “One of my favorite things that my trainer Kacie has said is, ‘You can’t out work a bad diet,’” Colescott said. While social media helps keeps the girls on track, true motivation lies within. Chillous and Colescott stress the importance of making this lifestyle change for oneself. In addition, the girls always keep how much progress they’ve made fresh in their minds. There are good days and bad days in a fitness journey. A key factor Colescott noted, is embracing your body. “Body positivity is really important. I could go my whole life hating what my body looks like... but you actually can’t go through life like that... So instead I make myself see the good things about my body. Stretch marks? I’ve grown, gained and lost weight, and those are a sign of it. Big thighs? Do you know how

strong my thighs are? Pretty dang strong, and that’s because they’re big... I can’t say I never see the negatives about my body, but it’s a matter of FORCING myself to see the positive,” she said. Having the Facebook page allows Colescott to keep her goals in perspective. “There’s always going to be off days but people don’t really want to read about that so you kind of have to figure out how you can turn it into a good thing, which is good mentally too.” For those who are struggling through those “off days,” both offer this advice: focus on smaller goals rather than an end goal. “I don’t think there is an end. The thing you have to realize is that this is a lifestyle change,” Colescott said. “You know, you can’t just say, ‘Oh I made it to 160 pounds, I can start eating bad or stop working out.’ No, you have to keep doing what you’re doing, not to lose weight, but to keep being healthy.”

[Left] Sophomore Elizabeth Colescott in June 2012 and March 2014. [Right] Colescott shows her 12th Man pride while working out at Western’s track. [Far right] Colescott wears a shirt from Kulshan Crossfit, where she often trains. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Colescott.

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LAUGHING WITHIN THE LINES WHERE POLITICALCORRECTNESS & COMEDY MEET By C Hayley Halstead // Photo Illustration by Trevor Grimm & Isaac Martin In 2011, the well-known host of Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, Daniel Tosh, performed at the Mount Baker Theatre. While he landed a spot on Forbes’ list of top-earning comedians of 2013 with a net worth of $11 million, AS Productions Special Events didn’t invite him to perform at Western. One of the reasons being for offensive trends in his performances. Western has seen an array of comedy acts on campus, whether it’s a popular comedian welcomed by AS Productions Special Events, Special Events’ Last Comic Standing, Open Mic Night in the Underground Coffeehouse or even club-hosted performances. Standup comedy is often offensive in nature, but the question at hand is how the campus community may respond to these performances and if Associated Students programming offices have responsibilities to curb offensive humor in accordance with the organization’s values on inclusion. Last month, Saturday Night Live’s newest cast member, Sasheer Zamata, was brought to campus by AS Productions Special Events. Special Events has a history of bringing popular comedians such as Nick Offerman and John Oliver. Besides comedy, the program also hosts the annual VU Late Night, dances, laser light shows, laser tag competitions and an array of other “special events.” Special Events Coordinator Darioush Mansourzadeh felt that Zamata was a great pick for Western’s student body, given the quality of her work, her escalating career and the fact that there’s no controversy surrounding her comedy. “Booking comedy is hard because you don’t want to offend people and a lot of stand up is offensive,” he said. “There are a lot of shock co-

medians out there who find humor in things that are offensive. I don’t like that kind of comedy and majority of Western students don’t find humor in those kinds of jokes.” Casey Hayden, Student Activities Adviser and staff adviser to AS Productions, said that AS Productions has never booked a comedian who uses shock value. “We just try to book comedians who will fit okay with our community,” he said. Hayden elaborated on the process of inviting performers to campus, including musicians and artists. In the brainstorming phase, AS Productions staff comes up with names for possible guests based on its annual Taste Test Survey which canvases students’ choices in entertainment, as well as Facebook and surveys collected at AS Productions events. The coordinators then view material online see how an artist performs and their values. In some cases, the team may contact other campuses that have hosted a performer to gather how students reacted, ease of working with them and if there were any remaining concerns. In 2009, Special Events and the AS Sexual Awareness Center brought Sue Johanson, a well-known comedic sex educator. However, one of the concerns with the event was that she mostly used hetero-normative examples, focusing on mainly relationships between a man and a woman. While this may not have been as bafflingly offensive as other performances, it wasn’t inclusive of many sexual identities, which falls outside the AS’s values on inclusion, diversity and respect. Another tier of Western’s comedy is Special Events’ Last Comic

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Standing which takes place every fall. Typically 12-15 student comedians compete for the top spot to open for a popular comedian later in the year. Current S.U.C.K. [Stand Up Comedy Klub] President and three time Last Comic Standing participant Jake Foerg said that although Special Events staff don’t censor performances, the event’s judges critique the performances based on a comedian’s ability to remain tasteful instead of depending on shock value. “It’s hard to know what you’re going to get because we don’t have their set beforehand,” Hayden said. “It’s a bigger risk as an event planner, but we do have a meeting with all comics beforehand where we talk about the judging criteria.” Mansourzadeh said that at this year’s performance, he warned the participants not to tread too far into controversial content. “If [Last Comic Standing participants] want to win, they should be appealing to the judges and appealing to the crowd, not offending them,” Hayden said. Aiming for the win, student comedians may sometimes use offensive material to increase their appeal and take risks. “Comedians think it’s important to stand out from the crowd, and they will flirt with that line of good taste sometimes. We encourage them not to offend anyone,” Hayden said. The winning student from this fall’s Last Comic Standing, Isaac Sommers, was the opening act for Zamata. Seattle comedian Michael Malone also opened for Zamata on her March 12 performance. “The audience doesn’t know anything about you. They only know your set. They only know what you’re putting in front of them. If you’re putting material that’s objectionable in front of them, they are going to think you’re an objectionable person. It’s a natural consequence of how things work,” Sommers said. Sommers graduated last quarter and is the outgoing vice president of S.U.C.K. “I also generally try to stay away from a joke that makes me uncomfortable. Because if I’m uncomfortable saying it, or even thinking it, then I don’t want to share it,” Sommers said. Many of the members of S.U.C.K. perform at Open Mic Night at the Underground Coffeehouse, also hosted by AS Productions. “Open Mic is probably the toughest crowd because people aren’t ready to be offended,” said John Lee, member of S.U.C.K. and winner of Last Comic Standing 2012. Before Mansourzadeh was special events coordinator, he remembers watching comedians make fun of sensitive issues and fall flat at Open Mic Night, while the nature of the event is often performers testing the waters. Lee said that most performers usually find where the lines of offensive content lie while performing on stage. “You would think the audience just sitting there in silence would be convincing enough to that person to net tell those jokes anymore. But

that’s not always the case,” he said. “At a S.U.C.K. show, people are ready for comedy and ready for whatever material. At Open Mic, it’s like, ‘I’m here to see my friend cover Jason Mraz.’ Then a comedian gets on, and they are shocked and didn’t expect that,” Lee said. Hayden mentioned the AS has standards in regards to physical risk management, but it lacks regulations toward emotional risk management. Foerg said the club has two topics members aren’t encouraged to delve into: rape and race. Any content that disparages a community isn’t encouraged for S.U.C.K. members. Though comedians may be able to delve into sensitive topics in an intelligent way and bring joy to the audience regarding the issue, instead of perpetuating stereotypes and relying on shock value, Foerg said. “I use comedy as a way to deal with things in my life, and those things are dark. You can still use comedy to explore that subject, but not to insult people within whatever group you’re talking about,” Foerg said. Foerg once made a joke about how he felt he was a bad person for accidentally killing a covey of quail with his car and had no regrets. After his performance, an audience member approached him and expressed disgust with the line. Lee said that using more “clean” humor limits the material a comedian is able to share, but the trade-off is an expanded audience. “If you’re going to a S.U.C.K. show, that’s inherently implying that there will be some content that might be found objectionable by some people,” Lee said. Foerg, Sommers and Lee all feel they understand where lines are drawn when performing their jokes. Foerg and Sommer said they can feel the atmosphere change when the audience is offended. At a recent S.U.C.K. show, a member crossed the club’s boundaries into distasteful content, which resulted in them being dismissed from future performances until they can demonstrate an ability to remain respectful and demonstrate taste. If a S.U.C.K. member were to disobey club standards and use blatantly offensive content in their routine, Foerg said he would “absolutely” intervene on stage. Though if a performer “bombs” during their routine, he said it’s the job of the event’s emcee to tell a few jokes in between comics to lighten the crowd moral. “I would like our club to be represented in a certain light, and sometimes people don’t perform within that range of representation. I’m not going to subdue anyone’s voice because it does bring up the subject of freedom of speech,” Foerg said. Foerg said that S.U.C.K. strives to provide a safe environment for its members and even students interested in checking out their meetings. “We’re all comedians and understand that jokes bombing and not working out is all part of the process,” he said.

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Tuesday night fever: Open Mic Night regulars By Kelly Mason Every Tuesday night on the third floor of the Viking Union you can hear music, laughter and rhymes coming out of the Underground Coffeehouse. Open Mic Night, put on by AS Productions, is a chance For all aspiring performers to demonstrate their talents, but for some of these performers it becomes just a weekly routine. Freshmen Cory Briar, Will Redford and Ted Kornegay are frequent Open Mic Night performers. If you’ve been to any Open Mic Nights this year, you’ve most likely seen at least one of their performances. Redford and Kornegay make up the performing duo, Will and Ted. Between the two of them, they have over a decade of musical experience. Kornegay is trained in playing guitar and bass, while Redford

much as his counterpart does. “I usually write more serious stuff, I love Led Zeppelin and The Beatles,” he said. “I think my main focus with music, rather than with an instrument, is songwriting.” Like Will and Ted, Cory Briar is often spotted in the Underground on Tuesday nights. Briar plays original songs and covers on his mandolin and says he finds the atmosphere of the Open Mic Night refreshing—which keeps him coming back. “Most Open Mic Nights you go and even while you’re playing there are people chatting,” Briar said. “Here you come and it is dead silent, people are there to listen. If you’re doing comedy, they’re there to laugh at you, if you’re playing music, they’re there just to hear you play music, which is so nice. It’s like getting to put on a concert every week.”

Open Mic Night regulars Ted Kornegay [left] and Will Redford [right]. Photos by Trevor Grimm // AS Review plays guitar, mandolin and drums. They use their musical background to play original music ranging from serious to comedic. “I like playing comedy songs because I don’t like being serious most of the time. Music is supposed to be really fun and it gets boring when

“I’ve developed this theory that everybody has a world inside of them and art is kind of a manifestation of that world, screaming to get out.” you play serious stuff most times,” Kornegay said. “Whenever you do comedy it’s a lot more shocking - especially if it’s crude.” Kornegay draws his comedic style from influences such as Flight of the Conchords and Tenacious D, though he says his favorite subject to write about is Macklemore as he is “really fun to make fun of.” The other half of the duo, Redford, doesn’t focus on comedy as

Briar, who has been playing mandolin for five years, describes his music style as a mixture of jazz, folk and classical. He creates his own pieces, which focuses more on instrumentals rather than songwriting, and derives his inspiration from the Punch Brothers, Bruce Hornsby and Radiohead. While Briar typically performs solo, he has also collaborated with other artists in the Open Mic Night community. “It’s a community here. The more you embed yourself in it, the more you’re going to get out of it,” he said. Briar said he uses music as a way of expressing himself and connecting with others and he believes Open Mic Night is the best way to do so. “I’ve developed this theory that everybody has a world inside of them and art is kind of a manifestation of that world, screaming to get out,” Briar said. “It’s sort of a creative release - but it can be more than that too. It’s a way of connecting.” To see Briar, Kornegay, Redford and plenty of others perform, come to Open Mic Night every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on the third floor of the VU.

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Chillwave in Outer space: Nate Braks is Student controller and plays around with the buttons, knobs and faders. In general, he remixes and Having too many things to do and not plays over songs that he has written and will enough time to do them is a challenge that fazsometimes sing. All the music that he plays es many college students. In psychology senior at his shows is original, though he sometimes Nate Braks’s case, after moving to Bellingham uses snippets of drum samples from other from Spokane he realized he would be too busy artists. to be in a band despite his passion for music. “Usually as I’m writing, depending on the He needed some avenue to follow to enable music, as it starts to form, it reminds me of him to continue writing music and found himstuff in my life and more emotion is being emself forming Student, a solo music project. bedded into it,” Braks said. Braks classifies his music as chillwave, A lot of what Braks has learned has come which he describes as a mellowed-out version from other local musicians. of classic electronic music, lacking the upbeat “I feel like I’m a little bit of a product of the kicks that electronic dance music would typiscene, but I’m okay with that because it’s a cool cally have. In order to create his beats, Braks scene,” Braks said. “I’ve been mentored, espeuses a program known as Logic. cially by Grant Eadie of Manatee Commune “A lot of the time what I will do is look at and Michael Remington of Vision Field. They synths on the computer I haven’t used before. I have showed me everything I know about mixtry to mess with it and use a new sound and try ing and how to use Logic.” On the weekends, there will often be “sucker-free-Sundays” where local musicians will gather and show their beats to one another and receive feedback. “This project has been very directly friend-supported. Even though I’m a solo artist, I’ve had a lot of help from a lot of friendly awesome friends,” Braks said. One of the challenges Braks has faced is staying true to his own music and not letting others influence him too much. “It’s really easy to let people influence how you start writing something, especially after you release something. You want it to be an enjoyable experience for your listeners,” Braks said. “At the same time, you have to keep a balance between being true to what your original statement was.” In the future, Braks wants to perform more in Bellingham and hopefully some in Seattle. After graduation, Braks is considering going to graduate school for philosophical Nate Braks, known on stage as Student, says his music is inspired by outer space. neuroscience. To listen to his music, check His stage name is a play on his own nerdiness. Photo by Isaac Martin // AS Review out By C Hayley Halstead

to work off one chord I like, or I’ll find something on the guitar I really like,” he said. He started playing guitar in the fourth grade and in the fifth grade he was introduced to the viola. Upon entering high school, Braks became interested in metal core. “I moved over here and didn’t have time to be in a group but really wanted to play music. I’ve always loved chillwave, so that’s how Student came about,” Braks said. Braks said the project’s name is derived from what is most salient to him. “I’m really intense about school. My first and foremost thing I do is be a student,” he said. Braks has only recently started performing, mostly at house shows and the Make.Shift. Over spring break, he performed at a show in Spokane with two other Bellingham artists, Vision Field and Infinite Penz. During performances, Braks uses his mini-

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Live long & prosper: Skills to elevate your life By Dominic D’Angelo // Graphics By Kristina Huynh

College is a time of new experiences, quick changes and excitement, but everyone knows that someday the excitement we call our twenties will come to an end and life will begin to revolve more around work rather than academics and recreation. Like in a video game, your life can be determined by the actions you take now. Here’s a guide to some experiences and skills that if you take the time to build them now, can have huge pay-offs later on in life.


boost your life stats

Boating, flying, fishing, hunting, skydiving, etc. Although you This may be something you’ve already been forced to do as a might not be able to currently afford whatever activity you are necessity of living on your own, but knowing new recipes and trying to get into, consider it an investment for a time when understanding international food and culture can have benefits you will. Many license opportunities are actually quite cheap beyond improving your diet. Exploring new cuisines will allow and getting one offers an instant bragging factor. you to develop your palate and will definitely sound impressive WHERE TO LOOK: Command Aviation [airplane and helicopter], at any party [or more importantly, on any date]. learn BASIC Bellingham Aero [airplane], Skydive Snohomish [skydiving], There are aBASIC ton of greatarecipe collections learn learn WHERE TO LOOK: learn earn SURVIVAL SKILLS Fish Whatcom [Local Fishing and Boating License WILDERNESS Information]. online, such as Pinterest, Allrecipes, Foodnetwork, etc. to COOK SURVIVAL SKILLS LICENSE


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While a love for the outdoors is boost often seen as a part of the culboost boost ture at Western, how many of us would know what to do in an one is up to you and your own level of eccentricity, but I avalanche or another serious emergency? Many of these skills your your your This bet you could come up with something you’ve seen before that can also translate into civilian life, allowing you to not only take you’ve always wanted to try. more risks safely but also help others around you. life life life WHERE TO LOOK: Your own imagination! WHERE TO LOOK: Head to the Associated Students Outdoor take on an learn learn learna a earn learnearn earn to a learn learn BASIC Center to learn aboutlearn quarterly wilderness medicine courses, take on an take on an to join a take on an pick up an join a INTERESTING be CLASSY stats to COOK WILDERNESS LICENSE stats stats LICENSE to COOK LICENSE WILDERNESS SURVIVAL SKILLS or check out the offerings through the American Alpine Institute. ADVENTURE INTERESTING beADVENTURE CLASSY HOBBY SPORTS LEAGUE INSTRUMENT SPORTS LEAGUE HOBBYHOBBY

pick up an INSTRUMENT




boost Instruments are great for social situations, personal recreThis one is a bit more difficult, but extremely fulfilling. If you ation and meditation. Everybody has their own musical taste, your have a passion for risk and adventure try picking up mountainso consider diving further into the music you like and learning eering, rock climbing, rafting, kayaking or many others. life a couple of songs. WHERE TO LOOK: Can be found in earn many diverse learn a places, but for WHERE TO LOOK: Try looking at 3six0 in Bellingham or recommendations and equipment try the AS Outdoor Center. take on an take on an pick up an join a pick up an take on an take on an learn to join a Bellingham Academy for Music. stats to COOK LICENSE ADVENTURE HOBBY INTERESTING INSTRUMENT SPORTS LEAGUE ADVENTURE HOBBY ADVENTURE HOBBY


Knowing basic survival skills can not only improve your ability to act in a wide variety of situations, but can also make you a fun person to talk and hike with. Plus, if the apocalypse ever happens you’ve already got an upper hand. WHERE TO LOOK: Check out Wilderness Awareness School.




A great way to stay fit, have fun and hone your skills at your favorite sport. Plus, you can meet a ton of great new people. WHERE TO LOOK: There are a number of seasonal intramural sports leagues at Western. The Bellingham Sportsplex also offers drop-in and intramural opportunities.

pick up an INSTRUMENT



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