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The Current Magazine Four seniors on graduating during a pandemic:“Couldn’t be more proud.”

Also in this issue.. Joe Methner on the campaign trail in Iowa Caroline Groff reviews Post-Animals Wes Baucom on Crime and Fitness


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In this issue 3

Cover Story: Celebrating UMSL Grads

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Gorillaz Empire

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Remembering Kobe

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A gun pulled at the Rec

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Gorillaz Family

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Smoking on Campus

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A Gun pulled at the Rec

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Hollywood’s “Bongslide”

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Caroline Groff reviews Glass Animals

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A NY Yankee from East STL

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On the Ground in Iowa

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Film Reviw, “The Lodge”

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Food Review, “Sodexo”

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UMSL Student Art The Current is Editorial: Stephanie Daniels, editor-in-chief Emma Pardo, news edtior Joe Methner, features editor Tristan Johnson, A&E editor Wesley Baucom, opinions editor Tori Foster, sports editor emeritus Evan Fornachon, art director Raylynn Swift, copy editor Staff writers: Beth Binkley Steven Duong Caroline Groff Jacqueline Simon Vaun Reed

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“The New Normal” original artwork by Evan Fornachon THE CURRENT

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Graduating on a Positive Note BY EMMA PARDO, NEWS EDITOR

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ello everyone! As you can see my name is Emma and I am in my last semester of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. I am also, along with the rest of the world, facing sacrifices and heartbreak during the COVID-19 pandemic. I could easily use this platform to complain about my college experience starting my freshman year in 2016 when Trump was ushered into presidency and not on my vote, to current day, my senior year, when my and many others’ graduation ceremony has been postponed amid uncertain times. There are plenty of things to complain about--especially being stuck at home--but I would like to take this time and in a reasonable amount of characters to explain why I, as well as the graduating class of 2020, should not complain. I have always pictured a commencement ceremony as a time to reflect on the accomplishments that I have achieved to be able to earn a diploma. Why wait until December to do this? I have had a lot of time on my hands. Why not reflect when I have all the time in the world? Although I am proud of my accomplishments there is some credit I need to give to some of the best people who deserve it. First off, I think about where my academic career started at a small parish in St. Peters, Missouri, Sts. Joachim and Ann. In my time there I completed grades Pre-K through 8th with a graduating class of 25 students. This is where I would like to thank some of my favorite teachers. Thank you Mrs. Manuel, my kindergarten teacher I will never forget Eat, Eat, Eat, Epples and Benene’s with my vowels. Thank you, Mr. Tramont, for showing me the mind behind Alfred Hitchcock in Rear Window. Thank you, Mrs. Bolton, (for being friends with my mom and showing me how to properly enjoy concerts) for making me Ursula in the 8th grade play, I didn’t know at the time but she is actually my spirit animal. After my time at Sts. Joachim and Ann, I attended Francis Howell North Highschool, where I made more than a few mistakes and probably should have applied myself a little more. During my time in high school I played a lot of sports and enjoyed some of the best and worst memories I can think of. Thank you, Mrs. Just. Not only are you a fantastic cook, you showed me that it’s not impossible

to cook. Thank you, Mrs. Keil for letting me discover my love for journalism; it has led me down a pretty cool path. After Francis Howell North, I attended Jefferson College and St. Charles Community College, both for one year, and ended up at my final destination, the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Although I can’t name too many people, the few I can name have pushed me to be the best I can be: Tristan, Tori, Stephanie and Ryan. Thank you, Tristan for pushing me to join The Current and meet some of the best people. Thank you, Tori for always checking on me and making sure I get my stories in. Thank you, Stephanie and Ryan for pushing me to think outside the box and explore creative options. Along the way I have always had my family and they have been my biggest support system but without the people mentioned above along with many others I would not be where I am today. I would not be graduating. I would not have a work ethic. I would not be me. While most of my accomplishments are materialistic, the people I have met along this journey are irreplaceable. With the tough times we are living through, I am proud to say I am GRADUATING ON A POSITIVE NOTE.

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Graduating Proudly in All My Agency BY STEPHANIE DANIELS, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

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hh, to be a Senior in your last year of college. To be able to look back on all the moments spent managing fulltime work, the responsibilities of school and an appetite for some sort of life outside the two. Friendships made, accomplishments achieved, and nights not sleeping. Not to mention, that time when you went to Starbucks during finals and asked for seven shots of espresso in your latte and watched the look of concern gradually spread across the face of your barista. You smiled back in a sleep deprived stupor. Such feelings of endearment shower over me when looking at how far I’ve come and how much I’ve sacrificed to call myself one of the members in society who have traversed the sometimes tumultuous yet gratifying challenge of academia. I must say that as I look back on what all I’ve accomplished, I couldn’t be more proud. My career began with a rough start. I was homeless early on in college and had to drop out of school as a result. Being faced with the challenge of just trying to survive and keep what little sense of normal I desperately was able to hold on to, thoughts of returning to school and graduating remained firm in my mind. I knew that I wanted to excel and give myself something to be proud of. I knew that not only did I want to complete my Associate’s, but also go on to acquire my Bachelor’s degree. Reflecting on the fact that I am now at the finish line of my satisfying yet challenging path, I realize how much I’ve been able to accomplish while in school. Being honored with the opportunity to be Editor in Chief for our school’s newspaper, achieving publication, and growing evermore as a creative. Working with such outstanding talent with a passion for sharing their works with the world around us was such a great experience. I really was able to see the kindness in other people, and the true light that can come out of a group of people whose eyes are set on the same target. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without the help of our faculty advisor Ryan Krull. He helped shepherd me through the terrain of being a journalist. This piece wouldn’t be right without shouting out my team--thanks guys for all your hard work! I also think about my journey as a student of Sociology. To learn how to decipher fact from fiction, to be able to be a part of the scholarly conversation around what’s occurring in our world is an opportunity that I will forever be grateful for. It really makes me feel like I can make a difference, and that I have the ability

and skill to define myself as credible in the truth I strive to uncover. Two professors come to mind when I think about my success, Dr. Rachel Craft and Dr. Stephanie DiPietro. For those of you reading who are still in school, I highly recommend them! They helped me really carve out my sociological mind and build the confidence to speak to the world and its state all the while keeping it as real as it gets! It doesn’t get any better than that! Lol. Yet still, as I look back on all the things I’ve accomplished, friendships made, and professional strides, it saddens me a little that it’s all coming to an end. I’m not going to lie. But the closing of this chapter makes me extremely excited and hopeful for the future, even in the midst of what’s going on around us. I look at it like this: life might not be normal, and graduation may be pushed back to December, but things will always be what you make them. The times we are in now are showing me once again what I learned to be true through every adversity I’ve faced in life thus far; that you wield the power to create the life you want, the only one standing in your way is you. Congratulations class of 2020!!! Now to create the lives you want.

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“AS I LOOK BACK ON WHAT AT ALL I HAVE ACCOMPLISHED, I COULDN’T BE MORE PROUD.”


Can’t Stop Won’t Stop BY EVAN FORNACHON, ART DIRECTOR decided to return to college in 2014. I was My journey to higher education began

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all the way back in 2012 also known as When the World Should Have Ended. I barely made it through high school, but begrudgingly resigned myself toto college because as my parents said, “Nowadays you need a degree even to work at McDonalds.” Oh joy… Anyway, I started at a community college and I had a plan- be there for two years and then transfer to an out of town university with a couple of buddies. That plan quickly fell through when my semesters were made up primarily of arts and performance electives and I regularly flunked out of Gen Ed courses. I was a terrible student. I’m still not great but that’s a different issue. After two and a half years of floundering in entry level math classes, I was put on academic suspension. This forbade me from stepping foot on campus as a student for a full year. By this point my life was going through a few personal changes. I had a group of friends I had made through performing and we all had similar goals, so we banded together and started planning a move up to ol’ Chi Town! The Windy City, that’s right Chicago! Home of Da Bears and hot dogs with too much going on! With my pack of starry-eyed dreamers, I set new plans into motion. I applied for a job at a packing and shipping company. It was a sweet gig. It paid well and the company was international so I could transfer anywhere. Smart move given my intentions to move. My plan was to work there for about a year, save up for a nice apartment then request a transfer. That is right, I was planning to just ditch school entirely and chase the impossible dream like every other actor before me. It was the perfect timing. As the saying goes, I was young, dumb, and full of- well you know the rest. And if you don’t, good for you, stay innocent forever. So, I continued to work and save money as my friends and I sent each other apartment listings and compiled lists of necessities. Things were going smoothly until one of the members of our party, my then girlfriend, left me and the rest of the group and moved to one of the Carolinas, I can never remember which. Lesson learned, don’t move with significant others unless things are one hundred percent solid, but I digress. When after she left, I was shaken, and I left and the moving party fell apart. I kept my head down and continued to work and save. I thought that maybe I’d just move by myself and start fresh, but slowly and surely, I got back into the local theatre scene. I continued to work on more and more shows and meet new people. Then as I was working on a production of Legally Blonde I met a new love interest. She went to Lindenwood and I lived nearby so we were able to spend a lot of time together and things were going well. We had been dating for a year and a half when I had a minor revelation. I could see myself marrying this girl and I wanted to prove to her

family that I would be a good man, able to support her as she chased performance. I felt I could give up performing myself and still be completely happy watching her succeed. That is when I decided to go back to school. It had been roughly three years, but I finally returned to that community college, this time with new motivation to succeed, which I did. My grades improved over the next year and a half and I started preparations to transfer to UMSL. It was scary, but I had love and a mission. Unfortunately, the best laid plans can be torn to bits. She was nearing graduation and had sent out applications for her future work. We should’ve seen this coming. She was accepted into the Disney College program and would soon be leaving for Florida. A series of long painful discussions followed as we plotted our next steps. This wasn’t something that either of us wanted to happen, but I had enrolled at UMSL with goals to finish and she was packed for Florida, so we decided, instead of torturing ourselves over long distance, it’d be best to shake hands and part ways with fond memories.

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That was undoubtedly the worst emotional pain I’d ever been through, but it didn’t stop me. While I may have returned to school for her, I continued for myself. With each passing semester, my grades improved, and I was filled with pride and further motivation to finish what I started! So I kept plugging away, doing a proper mix of academic classes and classes to keep me having fun, until I reached this final semester, where I am taking a fiction writing course, a media theory course, two marketing courses and a comic book art course. I was set for the easiest final semester I could possibly imagine, but then we were all rocked by COVID-19. Now every day is a blur and all my classes are online and I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. None of this will stop me though. I still wake up every day, granted at very odd hours, and stare at my screen plunking through different online discussion boards and online assignments. With the finish line in sight, I may shamble and stumble like Simon Pegg in Run, Fat Boy, Run but I will finish. No virus will ever stop me.g yeAlthough I had heard of it happening in Chin


2020: The Pandemic Class BY JACQUELINE SIMON, STAFF WRITER

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decided to return to college in 2014. I was middle-aged, recently divorced, and depressed. I figured I needed to accomplish something meaningful in my life. I didn’t feel as though I had anything to lose. I decided that I was returning to college to pursue nursing. I spent my first semester at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, and I jumped right into courses such as chemistry. I failed nearly every class. I didn’t fit in at SIU-E because most of the student population was young. There wasn’t much diversity in that regard. It was then that I decided that a community college was best, so I transferred to Southwestern Illinois College for a year. I also decided to focus on completing general education courses before declaring a major. I took advantage of tutoring services because I realized my long-term memory was really bad. In 2007 I was diagnosed with Colon Cancer so I attributed some of the memory issues to medications. I began to see my grades get better and my confidence improve. I was ready for university life and chose to attend the University of Missouri St. Louis-UMSL. The University of Missouri is where I soared academically and gained my confidence. I didn’t feel ashamed of my age because there were people of all ages all across campus. I also felt comfortable because of UMSL’S cultural diversity. I met some of the most amazing professors and students. I started seeing my true strength in writing and declared myself an English Major. In December of 2019 I visited my guidance counselor to discuss classes and she assisted me with applying to graduate in 2020. That was an emotional moment for me. I finally made it!! It started off difficult and there were many times that I wanted to give up. I am so glad that I didn’t. I couldn’t wait to share the news with my mom, sons, family, and friends. I immediately started working to lose weight so that I could take graduation pictures to commemorate the occasion. I think I finally had a bit of peace and self-gratitude in my life. I was proud of myself. But the joy was short-lived when the Coronavirus started dominating the news. Although I had heard of it happening in China, I honestly didn’t pay it much mind. It wasn’t until the virus started wreaking havoc globally and now in the United States that it caught my undivided attention. We should have been paying attention and taking extreme precautions when the virus was devastating China. I believe many lives could have been spared. In the beginning of this pandemic I was

selfishly sad and angry that all my plans were ruined. I had to do a self-check, that involved me being grateful to God that I am still here to be able to graduate because I could have died in 2007 from cancer. I never in a million years could have imagined the state of the world right now. I am in total disbelief, but I see it as a message from God that we were all moving too fast in life. Always doing this or doing that. Not much quality time spent with our families, etc. Now we are forced to buckle down. I know what it’s like to be really sick and I don’t ever want to experience that again so postponing a graduation ceremony is a small price to pay in order to save lives. The biggest accomplishment is earning my degree. I’ve owned my own daycare facility for 12-years, so I have that to fall back on. My goal in life was to always work for myself. I just can’t imagine what it will be like for new graduates entering a work world with a collapsed economy. This is a new way for all of us and we will figure it out together. We will be better, stronger in the end.

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“I HAD TO DO A SELF CHECK, THAT INVOLVED ME BEING GRATEFUL TO GOD THAT I AM STILL HERE TO BE ABLE TO GRADUATE. ”


EDITORIAL

His Celebrity Goes Beyond Basketball BY TORI FOSTER & EMMA PARDO

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n Sunday, January 26th of 2020, the world received the most shocking news as it was reported household-, classroom- and basketball court legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. This incident left no survivors on the site. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others had been aboard that day. The aircraft was headed towards Thousand Oaks, California where the passengers planned to attend a basketball event at the Mamba Sports Academy. The pilot was given special permission to fly that morning, despite foggy conditions. As a community we remember the nine lives lost that day... John Altobelli, 56; Keri Altobelli, 46; Alyssa Altobelli,13; Christina Mauser, 38; Ara Zobayan, 50; Sarah Chester, 45, Payton Chester, 13; Kobe Bryant, 41; and Gianna Bryant, 13. Bryant will always be remembered as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and his records hold this truth to be self-evident. Kobe Bryant played in 1,346 games in the NBA. Within these games, Kobe had an average of 25 points, 5.2 total rebounds, 4.7 assists, 44.7 field goal percentage, 32.9 3-point field goal percentage and 83.7 free throw percentage, but, overall, he had 172.7-win shares. The 6-6 small forward was drafted in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1st round as a 13th pick 13th overall. Kobe’s debut was on Nov. 3, 1996 against the New York Knicks. The Hornets conquered the Knicks in a final of 113-86. Kobe was one of the greatest players of all time. He was an 18-time All Star, 5-time NBA Champ, 12-time All-Defensive, 4-time AS MVP, 2007-08 MVP, 2-time Scoring Champ, 15-time All-NBA, 1996-97 All-Rookie and 2-time Finals MVP. Kobe’s father Joe Bryant was also in the league. He played for the Philadelphia 76ers, San Diego Clippers and Houston Rockets. Joe Bryant was originally drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the 1st round like his son Kobe even though Joe was a 14th pick. He played 606 games in eight seasons from 1975-1983. Kobe was a storyteller, a mentor and most importantly a dad. His hustle and drive created the beast in him. Kobe’s dedication and passion made him the best player to ever play the game. Kobe created and embodied the Mamba menta-

lity. In Kobe’s words, “Mamba mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most,” he said. “It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit. It started just as a hashtag that came to me one day, and it’s grown into something athletes—and even non-athletes—embrace as a mindset.” To extend from Mamba Mentality there is the Mamba Way. The Mamba Academy is a facility designed to educate men, women and the youth about human performance, giving participants the opportunity to unlock their full potential. Bryant shared his love for the game with anyone willing to learn and, being a part of the Mamba Academy, he had all the resources to do so. Kobe has left his mark in basketball and left the NBA heartbroken. Many athletes and reporters spoke out about the tragedy, sending their prayers and reflecting on Kobe’s influence on them. LeBron James said: “Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! There’s so much I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life.” Allen Iverson: “We are not okay. But we will find the strength to pull through this together because that’s what Kobe would want us to do.” Michael Jordan: “Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe-He was like a little brother to me.” Shaquille O’Neal even broke his silence and decided to open up the recent loss of Kobe. Shaq: “I’m not doing well. I’m sick...I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I’m looking at all the tapes, but I’m sick right now. This one gonna hurt for a long, long time. There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my friend, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie.” Shaq hadn’t talked to Kobe since 2016 (Kobe’s last basketball game before retiring) due to their differences. The impact of Kobe’s death has moved him to delete his beef with anyone. Most importantly, we can’t forget Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, and her excruciating pain she feels from losing a husband and a daughter. Vanessa stated, “...It’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way.” The week of Kobe’s

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death the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers were set to play at the Staples Center that Tuesday, Jan. 28, but the game was postponed out of respect for the Lakers organization since the players and Lakers franchise were mourning the death of Kobe Bryant. Many players just couldn’t play after hearing the news. It was as if everybody just lost their life-long best friend. Kyrie Irving walked out during the game that Sunday after hearing the news and didn’t return. Across the league many players and teams paid tribute to Kobe Bryant by wearing No. 8 or No. 24, scoring 24 points in a game, or taking a 24 second penalty while playing. The Dallas Mavericks personally paid homage to Kobe. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has decided no Mavs player will wear No. 24 again in honor of Kobe Bryant. Neymar Jr., a professional football player who plays forward for Ligue 1 club Paris Saint Germain and the Brazil national team, honored Kobe following a goal he scored after hearing the heart-breaking news. Nick Kyrgios, an Australian professional tennis player, entered his Australian Open match in a Kobe jersey No. 8 and wore it for his entire warm up to pay tribute. Kobe Bryant’s death has left a hole in the sports world, especially in the world of basketball, but Kobe’s legacy will live through the generation of NBA stars. Many NBA players looked up to Kobe. Athletes wanted to be like Kobe. They studied his game tapes and imitated him on the court. Kobe’s early explosiveness is Zach LaVine ‘s current explosiveness. Kobe’s mid-range game is DeMar DeRozan’s mid-range game. Kobe’s post-up game is Kawhi Leonard’s post-up game. Kobe’s footwork is Jayson Tatum’s footwork. Kobe’s defensive opportunism is Paul George’s defensive opportunism. Kobe was a gunner and Devin Booker along with Kyrie Irving are gunners now. Kobe Byrant’s spirit will live on forever through those players and, even more so, through his millions of fans across the world.

“Mamba Forever! Mamba Out!


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FEATURED

Family of Gorillaz Build an Empire BY EMMA PARDO, NEWS EDITOR

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he basic definition of a family is a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household. For the Angry Gorillaz of St. Louis, that definition is far from the truth. The Gorillaz are a group of St. Louis residents who share memories, their love for sports but never blood, and are creating an empire for slow pitch softball and bowling around Missouri. Niel Williams, the pack leader, has been bowling and playing softball since the late ‘90s and continues to grow his “family” each season that goes by. With over 15 championship titles and over 50-60 team members, through the years, the Gorillaz make a statement when they walk in. Williams participates in these sports with his blood brother Lamarr Williams and “brothers” Antonio Hopkins, Justin Sutterfield, Dareon Nicholson, Sauce Williams, and Hughie (Pookie) Wilson, as well as many others. Williams started playing slow pitch softball in the year 1997 with the Salvation Army team and in 1998 he formed a co-ed team, with his close cousin Greg, named Cruel World. “It’s a cruel world, and it truly is,” states Williams when asked how the name came about. These men have been friends for over 20 years as Sutterfield and Lamarr Williams graduated highschool together in the year 2000 and have been bowling and playing ball ever since. In the year 2001, Cruel World was renamed the “79ers.” This is the same year that Hopkins and Sutterfield joined the team, which would change their family forever. In the year 2008 the 79ers would then become the Angry Gorillaz and since then the pack has always remained and continues to grow. “These guys are closer than real family,” states Hopkins. “Antonio is one of the best pitchers in the NSA, ASA,” mentions Lamarr Williams as he speaks about his brothers. “ He is the heartbeat of the 79ers and Angry Gorillaz without his pitching their is no heartbeat, no life. Justin is the powerhouse that keeps the

heartbeat going.” When sharing some of his fondest memories, Sutterfield exclaimed, “Every year in Columbia we rent a big house and drink cold beer, eat good food. It is really all about family and growing together.” Lamarr Williams then chimed in, “We are black and white and family through it all.” Hopkins shared some words about their leader Niel Williams, “He’s the leader, the head of the snake, man.” Sutterfield also spoke on the topic, “He is the most giving and loyal man you will ever meet, it doesn’t matter what you have been through, he takes you under his wing and takes care of you.” After reflecting, Niel Williams simply stated their purpose, “It is all about family, nothing but family.” This family cares more about each other than a ‘W’ or ‘L’ on the standings. It’s about sharing a love for sports with each other and an unbreakable bond. This is what the definition of family is to this group of unforgettable people.

“It’s all about family. Doesn’t matter where you have been or what you have done.”

*Far Above: Antonio Hopkins, Lamarr Williams, Neil Williams, Justin Sutterfield and Ondray Tucker (left to right) photographed after league night at Shrewsbury Lanes. **Lower right: A tribute to Wayne, a former teammate that passed, hung in the dugout during their softball season. ***Lower right: Antonio Hopkins photographed mid-pitch during a slow-pitch softball game.

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OPINIONS

Clearing The Air: UMSL’s Smokers BY WESLEY BAUCOM, OPINIONS EDITOR

BUTTING OUT OF

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Bad

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POLICY

espite having a no smoking policy, the University of Missouri–St. Louis has loads of smokers on campus. If you walk by the Social Science Building, or even at the staircase at the bottom of Lucas Hall, you can see or even smell the smoke in the air—and the butts on the ground are there to count. Some group of smokers even have their own bucket on the outside patio beneath the bridge, and it’s soaking in its own brown, tar-filled water. People are going to smoke and do whatever they want, one way or another. Some sorry souls have literal holes in their neck and still can’t help but to puff out the rest of their lives in raspy haze. Now, I’m not saying that it’s healthy, or should be put up with. Rather, it’s just that UMSL lacks any sort of authoritative backbone in order to enforce their own policies. Maybe they’re worried it’ll make students leave if they strong arm them. UMSL’s official policy states that you can’t smoke on any UMSL-owned property, and that you can only smoke in your car with the windows rolled up. Let’s be honest here though, unless someone’s smoking weed, there’s no chance that they’re going to suck on a cig inside their car, which of course is only going to make smokers find a discrete spot to do it. The Partners in Prevention statistics, available on the UMSL policy website, show that over 80% of students prefer smoke-free campus spaces. At the same time though, the whole policy is hindered by the fact that it needs regular enforcement, and frankly, the Campus Police isn’t doing much of that when it comes to smokers. So combined with a lack of authority, and no cleaner alternative on campus, smokers at UMSL will continually defy all the rules and keep puffing in everyone’s faces. There is another option however. If UMSL doesn’t want to lay down the law, there has to be another way for smokers to get their fix. If they were given small and secluded spots equipped with ashtrays for proper disposal, then they could smoke in peace, while the other students can breathe clean air away from the unhealthy habits. It’s not letting them win, or a weakening of the law, but it’s a compromise that must be made because the first solution just isn’t working, and it lets an open secret have a little bit of honesty. Even if this designated smoking space is small and out of the way, it’s better than right upfront where everyone can see. Hell, you could even give them those stairs at the bottom of Lucas Hall if you wanted to, or the outside patio which is already popular with some smokers, and they can see what they’re doing to their lungs in that murky bucket. This whole world will go out with a cigarette in its mouth. Even when someone is lined up to die with the red blindfold, there’s still that little white fella dangling from the condemned man’s mouth, burning until the very end. Policies that completely ban something hardly ever work. I mean, you’re supposed to be 21 or over to even buy cigarettes, but that doesn’t stop your average St. Louis highschooler from going down to their local corner store, or waiting outside a QT gas station so they can beg for Juul pods. If the law were loosened up just a hair, with actual enforcement present as well, UMSL can truly be a healthier place. THE CURRENT

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x Guns, Treadmills, and Money— The Rec Center Dilemma by Wesley Baucom, opinions editor

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he Recreation and Wellness Center is one of the University of Missouri–St. Louis’ shining features. From its sleek, chromatic stature to its vast amenities, it not only looks nice, but it embodies some of the best things UMSL has to offer. Due to a large amount of support from a student referendum back in 2011, it was decided that the Rec Center would be built. It took two years to build, starting in 2013 and finishing in the fall of 2015. This impressive building was designed with students in mind, with student money from tuition, and with student input in every part of the process. If you haven’t visited the place, you’re missing out. In the three floors, you have a huge pool, a track with two different lengths, a massive basketball court and more workout machines than Santa could ever fit in his bag. This is only some of what the Rec Center has to offer. However, within the first few weeks of the semester crime has visited this place that a lot of people have come to love. On Sunday, Jan. 26, a Clery alert went out warning that a weapon was flourished on the Rec center grounds. A full report couldn’t be found (we’ll get to this), but the incident is pretty clear cut. It took place on the glossy basketball court floors, and during a heated game the perpetrator flashed a weapon from inside his bag. Following this, the other players reacted intensely—shouting at him to put it away and warning everyone around them. At this point the armed and gutless person quickly fled the scene before anyone could catch him. The Rec Center staff were informed, and Campus PD came to the scene, and at that moment everyone’s phone buzzed with the Clery alert. This is something deeply urgent for UMSL. Even though bringing a gun isn’t anything new to American schools, it’s still completely unacceptable. This threatens the safety of everyone at UMSL, and if anyone can bring a weapon to the school it sets a bad precedent for the future. What caused this? Where is it coming from? Why was this allowed to happen? For more information, I made my way past the busy parking lot of the Millennium Student Center, and straight for the UMSL PD station. When I was waiting in the lobby, I could see the whirring Metrolink train passing by carrying both people from UMSL and from all around the region. At first, I was turned away. During my first at-

tempt to reach someone, I waited for about 20 minutes as the receptionist behind the security glass eyed me, and people came and went to her after I asked for information. Then, I was greeted by a friendly police woman, and was told the detective “just went out.” I made an appointment further in the week, and had to come back then. A few days went by and my wait in the lobby was cut in half to about 10 minutes. Then I was greeted warmly by Lieutenant Cedric Carr. He led me to a grey and silent interrogation room. He gestured and had me sit by the door, while he sat back by the wall—switching the usual roles of interrogator and interrogated. At the same time however, there was this rising feeling like I was the one being asked questions, just from the way he seemed to eyeball even my slightest gestures or even the way I positioned my hands. I went on with the questions. What happened that day? Lt. Carr stressed that: “These people are not affiliated with UMSL.” He stressed it so much in fact, that after listening back to the recording, I heard more than three times, even when I didn’t even prompt him. “Based on the leads and information we received, we hopped on it immediately. Somebody recognized him. So we looked in the computer, he checked in at a certain time, then we got his picture and got all his information. Lt. Carr continued: “The suspect was part of a pilot program at the Rec Center. What they’re doing is letting kids come in, enjoy the benefits of the gym for thirty days. If they like the gym then they’ll try and get a membership.” This seemed strange to me—my budding journalist instincts began to spark as my wheels were churning, and I had to wonder—isn’t the Rec Center for UMSL only? If the Rec Center was paid for using student tuition and other school funds, wouldn’t that make it something strictly for school use? That’s not to say that anyone couldn’t bring guests, but I’d hope that a student or anyone else who was actually affiliated with UMSL would be smart enough not to carry a weapon on campus. In my mind, I knew that UMSL registration and overall enrollment was down. My suspicion was that the Rec Center had difficulty sustaining itself, thus creating a need for outside funds. So of course, the root of this had to be money. It just had to be. THE CURRENT

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CAMPUS

Carr stressed that: “These people are not affiliated with UMSL.”

This is where I left Lt. Carr. On the way out, still mystified at the realization, I asked him about obtaining a police report. He looked hesitant, giving one of those long “Aaahhs,” as if that was territory with a clear boundary line, even though UMSL PD’s policy is obliged to give out written records to students and faculty when asked. He ended up giving me a name and contact information, and I even followed up on this and contacted Normandy PD and the prosecutor for the case, but no one got back to me. However convoluted this trail seemed, I was determined to see it through. So I followed it and went straight for the source: the Rec Center directors. I scheduled an appointment with them and we met up at the Rec Center on a chilly Friday morning. After a brief wait, Emily, the co-director, met me in the store and led me to a stark white meeting room where I met Yvette, the director in chief, and we all got to talking. They both worked at other facilities in the past, Emily even worked at Harvard for a time, and they looked over the center since its inception. “It was great to come on board and create a new department,” Yvette said, “and everything from a policy and procedure stand-point.” What was really on my mind, however, was this “Pilot Program” that Lt. Carr informed me about. Emily was the first to answer: “Every January we do what’s called a ‘Resolution Jumpstart Promotion.’ This is the fourth year we’ve done it. It opens up our facility to allow community members to come in and test the facility before they purchase a membership. This is also the first month we had severe issues with it, so we are re-thinking what we’re doing with the program next year.” It was also revealed that the program was immediately cancelled following the incident. So, where does this re-thinking lead them? “We still accept new members, obviously, we’re not going to shut down membership sales. We’re thinking of making it less of a free-for-all, instead new members would come in with someone else,” Emily said. Let’s be frank here for a moment. I could go into the “inclusion of the community” rhetoric that the directors wholeheartedly believe in and told me about at length, but that desire has to be balanced with student safety. I mean, everyone gets those Clery alerts warning everyone about a crime that goes down.

Also, it’s my understanding that the Rec Center was and still is paid for using student tuition. Is it really low enrollment causing all this? “I would say it’s a factor.” Yvette says. “It’s something that doesn’t affect our daily operations, just yet, but we’ve been extremely diligent about making sure we’re being fiscally responsible.” It seems like things are stable for the time being, but with the continual downward trend of enrollment, that could rock the boat even more. It’s important to mention that the Rec Center employees did everything they could in the situation. All that they were trained to do in the case of an emergency was handled promptly and professionally. The fault isn’t on them. As for what the Rec Center is doing to prevent the possibility of future danger, Emily had this to say: “It’s never going to be one-hundred percent preventable. There are people out there that have weapons.” Nonetheless, the Rec Center is still equipped to deal with danger, but if only that danger was preventable. Then again, while I was sitting there, staring at the erasable graffiti on the whiteboards, I had to wonder: where are all the students in all this? It was just my luck that Joe Methner, features-editor for The Current, is also the the SGA spokesperson on the Rec Center council. So we met in one of The Current’s own offices and talked and talked about how much say students have on a

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A weapon was flourished on the Rec center grounds...on the glossy basketball court floors, and during a heated game the perpetrator flashed a weapon from inside his bag.

building we pay for. “We talk about different promotional things they’re doing,” Joe says. So it looks like the council is strictly a promotional one. How much does he know about the memberships? “I’m not one-hundred percent familiar with it. It’s something they’ve done to promote memberships.” And what about the policy regarding the future of the program? After all, student lives were endangered when this happened. “The only thing we really talked about was that they immediately shut down the program, but we didn’t talk about the future of it though. I’m not really sure if they plan on bringing that back next year, or if they’ll fully shut it down.” Interesting, so what does the council know about money, and if the Rec Center can support itself? “I’m not sure on that. We haven’t really talked about it.” This is a damning case. Though it’s not on Joe— he’s a good guy. What the issue really is here, is that even if students voted on it, helped plan it, and even have some advisory role, students have virtually no sway on things that really matter. I think this bad promotional gig might have ended up biting everyone in the ass. Money shouldn’t get in the way of student safety. There’s a simple solution though. Give students a larger voice. The way in which they go about their ideas makes it look like only a small number of people come up with ways to support the Rec Center. The thing is, if students were given a larger role, that means more ideas are put on the table. Even if they don’t have any previous experience in gym operations, student voices have always been a part of the Rec Center, and maybe that’s what makes it so great in the first place. Students and other UMSL-goers have made this Rec Center a reality, and they deserve better representation in a way that matters. All in all, the Rec Center is still a great facility, and it’s operators are well trained and have a lot of experience in what they do. Maybe this whole incident was just a fluke, a one in a million chance sort of thing. Even if this were the case, as it stands, students deserve a larger role in the scheme of things. This is our safety, our lives, our education, and our school. Until we all can come together as one whole unit, faculty, staff, students, amongst others, UMSL will always be at risk of being completely blindsided by the unpredictable. So keep working it out, mile by mile, inch by inch, rep by rep—and hopefully we’ll make this school a better place.

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“Bongslide” shocks Oscars and the world BY STEVEN DUONG, STAFF WRITER

The Oscars last month ended in a landslide, more specifically a “Bongslide,” led by Bong Joon Ho winning four awards, one being in the ultimate “Best Picture” category. This caught many by surprise, leaving us to question whether or not this is a sign of the changing industry or just a fluke. Bong Joon Ho won in three other categories, too: best director, best original screenplay, and best international film. This is the first time for a foreign film to ever receive a nomination for a main category, much less actually win. When an Asian-American film studies student, Thomas Beck, was asked for his thoughts on Parasite winning, he responded, “It feels like we, as Asians, are finally being recognized and taken more seriously. It’s crazy because it came out of nowhere. I am extremely proud and hope this leads to many more opportunities down the line too.” This win means not only so much to aspiring Asian filmmakers but also any person of color who is looking for a career in this historically white industry. On Sunday night, Bong tied Walt Disney for winning the most Oscars at one time. However, the question remains: how will this actually influence those top key players within this industry moving forward? Are we looking at not just inclusion, but will people actually begin giving all creators their due credit and view them on a level playing field? 1985. That is the last time an Asian brought home an Oscar. No Asian woman has ever won an Oscar, but Merle Oberons was nominated for her role in “The Dark Angel” in 1935. Asian underrepresentation in the film industry is getting more light shed upon it, but Bong winning this year will only be remembered if it is the first of a chain of events to come. Because, honestly, how many people even knew an Asian actor won an Oscar before? That’s right—not many. People are buzzing and talking about the huge win, but how long will this win actually last? Will it just become another fad that ends up fading away like so many other things on social media nowadays? “I honestly have no idea. The people at the top...if they decide not to nominate any foreign films next year for major awards, then there’s nothing we can really do. We are just so stuck in old ways of thinking and doing things; it is not easy by any means to bring about change,” explained George Harrison, an avid film-watcher who dabbles in film reviews. However, many Asians are simply ecstatic because “an Oscar is still an Oscar.” Sabrina Nguyen, an Asian-American freshman at Webster exclaimed, “Yes, I am so freaking proud. Like, I just wanna cry if I think about it too hard… Because of the fact that it is literally the first foreign film to win in the main category like that. It was an Asian film too! Asians have always been stereotyped and their skills downplayed. That’s why this is such a big deal. It opens up the doors for so many new opportunities.”

(P

Parasite fan Sean C Jackson made this maze based on the film. Check out his work at SeanCJackson.com and his book, “From Here To There: A Book of Mazes to Wander and Explore”

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ALBUM REVIEW

“The album’s success is due to the band’s ability to take on the complex, existential ideas without taking themselves too seriously in the process.”

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The Highs and Lows of Post Animal’s “Forward Motion Godyssey”

BY CAROLINE GROFF, STAFF WRITER

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ollowing up their first full-length album from 2018, “When I Think of You in a Castle,” Post Animal released their first album as a five-piece band, “Forward Motion Godyssey” on Feb. 14. The Chicago-based, psych-rock group searches for depth and ambitious grandeur in a soundscape littered with twists and turns, and matched with lyrics that take a pensive glance at the questions of the universe. While such a hefty endeavor could leave a project feeling unactualized or overblown, Post Animal shows they’ve got the stuff to take it on. Part of the album’s success is due to the band’s ability to take on the complex, existential ideas without taking themselves too seriously in the process. Guitarists Javi Reyes and Matt Williams, bassist and vocalist Dalton Allison, guitarist and keyboardist Jake Hirshland, and drummer Wesley Toledo showcase their strengths in creating a singular sonic theme. Combining the band’s growing lyrical clarity and genre-bending tendencies brings out the mystical elements of the project. The album starts on a similar foot to its predecessor with the slow and dreamy track, “Your Life Away,” but is quicker to get to the meat of it. This album’s introduction begins to ask the question “Where have you been and where are you going?” Fans of the band are primed and ready for songs like “Post Animal” and “Damaged Goods,” reminiscent of the best aspects on their previous album. Heavy-hitting drums and basslines lay out the carpet for a headbanging excursion. Combined with the track “In a Paradise,” they work as a trio of songs that offer a pick-up of the tempo between the slower, more psychedelic explorations. A surprising offer of pop-rock danceability co-

mes in standouts like “Safe or Not” and “Schedule.” Both showcase lyrical intimacy and dance with synth-fueled keyboard sections. In an interview for Atwood Magazine, guitarist Matt Williams said, “We just like when things are full and keyboards and synths and sub-bass are just kind of fun ways to experiment with making a song. Just have another layer of fullness.” On “Schedule” the musical giddiness collides with its somber lyric: “Now it’s harder to enjoy the view/Feels like I stole it away from you.” There’s love, loss, and most obviously isolation, interwoven in the songs hopes to move forward. In her review for Consequence of Sound, Jennifer Irving said, “Post Animal worked to overcome the occasional filler lyrics on their last release and, along the way, found a way to express their vulnerability without compromising their playfulness.” In an album that glistens with vast space and conscious mysticism, there’s bound to be a song or two that gets lost in the scope of it all. They are seeming to take their time getting to where the album is heading, sometimes to its disadvantage. The one track that shows a more prominent weakness is “Private Shield.” As the third to last track on the album, the lyrics don’t seem to gel as well while it musically feels repetitive and on the verge of unenthusiastic. At its worst it’s forgettable, at its best it’s overly analytical. The album’s overall effort shows the band’s maturing ability to fully realize the intent of their music. For the listener unfamiliar with the band’s experimental nature, the first listen may seem like more work than it is entertainment. The best advice is to have a little faith, and the replay of the album shines with an eclectic breath of energy. Post Animal’s sophomore effort takes a trip across sonic terrain to reveal their consistent progression, ever in motion, always forward

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NOTEWORTHY

Homer Bush: Hometown Hero and 1998 World Series Champion BY JACQUELINE SIMONE, STAFF WRITER

E

ast St. Louis, Illinois gets a lot of news coverage for its high crime rate, but what doesn’t get a lot of news coverage is the number of sports talents born and raised within the short 89 blocks who turn professional. When compared to large major cities within the U.S., East St. Louis, with a current population of 26,662, punches above its weight. It’s no surprise that it’s one of the first places college and professional scouts look for sports talent. One such talent is retired professional major league baseball player Homer Bush. Homer Bush was born and raised in East St. Louis. Bush was the fifth of eight children. His father was murdered when he was five years old. Bush says his love for baseball began at an early age when he and his friends played the sport in the alley behind his home. He began playing organized baseball at the age of eleven. Bush attended Morrison Elementary, King Junior High School and East St. Louis Senior High School where he became a stand-out athlete in baseball and football. He was named the Illinois State High School All American Football Player for the most receiving yards in a season and the most touchdowns scored by a wide receiver. He still maintains those titles. Bush was also named the All District Player in baseball. During high school Bush felt compelled to excel in either football or baseball so that he could help provide for his mother, who was on a fixed income, and his siblings. Although he was great at both sports, he felt he was always better at baseball. Bush was even recruited by the University of Missouri to play football, put opted for a career in baseball. Bush’s big break came during his senior year of high school when he was drafted during the seventh round by the San Diego Padres. He played with the Padres from 1991-1997. Bush was then traded to the New York Yankees in 1997 and won the World Series in 1998. After the World Series win Bush was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays where he was guaranteed more play time and a higher salary. Bush averaged .283 in his years in Toronto. Bush returned to the New York Yankees in 2004 but retired in 2005 due to injuries. The Bush baseball legacy might not be over yet. Homer Bush Jr. is an eighteen-year-old high school senior playing Centerfield in Texas.

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WORLD SERIES CHAMP As part of the 1998 New York Yankees he helped win 114 games and the World Series

EAST ST. LOUIS NATIVE Homer Bush was born just east ofx the Mississippi in 1972


“I was in my liberal bubble in California watching the news and history pass me by and then I saw Elizabeth [Warren] speak.”

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FIRST PERSON

THE 2020 PRIMARY

ORGANIZING IN IOWA BY JOSEPH METHNER, FEATURES EDITOR

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owa, for one reason or another, has traditionally been the first state to vote in the Presidential Primary process. Being the first state makes Iowa a hotbed for campaign organizers doing the work it takes to get their candidate to win the nomination. An extra caveat is thrown into the mix as well, as Iowa is a caucus state. In a primary, people go to their voting station and cast their vote on a ballot in secrecy. However in a caucus, people gather at their caucuses and literally stand in the corner of whichever candidate they support. Being a caucus makes Iowa a much different state for organizing. With many caucus precincts being small in size, quite few with only a few hundred people showing up, organizing becomes even more personal. Every connection made and voter swayed can have a major impact on the results within that precinct. Organizers will spend their days, usually working late into the night and getting up early in the morning, getting as many people to commit to their candidate and volunteer for their candidate as they can. I was able to spend a few weeks organizing in Iowa. I organized for Elizabeth Warren’s campaign, a senator from the state of Massachusetts. Organizing has many different facets to it. Much of the day is spent knocking on people’s doors and making phone calls, trying to show voters why your candidate is the best fit for the country. I spent much of my days doing these very things. I organized in Dubuque, a town on the eastern side of the state right on the Mississippi River. Dubuque is a decent sized town, with a population of 57, 637. I knocked doors in the town along with the surrounding rural areas. Knocking doors can be a very nerve racking experience. You can never be sure how you will be received by the person on the other side. You may only have a very brief conversation or you may even have the door slammed in your face. However, many Iowans are very welcoming to canvassers. I was often invited into the house to have a conversation about my candidate. These conversations can be very moving and I learned a thing or two about what the people on the ground and in communities really wanted. These conversations can be the backbone of a campaign. The people that really drive a campaign are the organizers. These are people, often young, who pick

up their lives and move to whatever state they are assigned to advocate and organize for their candidate. This is no different with the Elizabeth Warren campaign. The Dubuque field office was full of passionate organizers, all in their 20’s, who were ready to do whatever was needed for Elizabeth Warren. They were people who truly believed in their candidate. Two of these organizers, Aeshna Sarkar and Sandy Henshaw-Greene, I got to know very well during my brief time in Iowa. They were both very passionate about Elizabeth Warren and the vision she has for our country. After graduating college, Aeshna went and got a job as a consultant in San Francisco. She was in a job that was often shielded from the news, but as she found herself delving into the headlines and coverage of things going on in our country she became saddened and depressed. “I was in my liberal bubble in California watching the news and history pass me by and then I saw Elizabeth speak,” Aeshna said, speaking on what brought her to the Warren campaign. “You hear in stories all over the country about her and how you’re helpless, you’re hopeless and then you hear her speak and you see her passion, you see her principles, and you see her policy and you are filled with hope.” “When I saw her speak I decided I didn’t want to just stand by on the sidelines and watch history happen. I wanted to fight and I wanted to fight with her.” Aeshna explained how it was the perfect time for her to get involved. “There is no other time then when you’re in your 20’s to pack up your life in a moment’s notice and go where you’re most needed… the Iowa Caucus to help Elizabeth win the Democratic nomination for president.” Aeshna had been working in Iowa since the summer. She was there all the way through caucus night. After Iowa, she told me she would be going to California to continue to organize for the Warren campaign. She explained what it was like to organize in Iowa. “At the beginning organizing was really making yourself a part of the community.” She explained how organizers were really there for more than just to get people’s vote. They were THE CURRENT

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there to become members of the community. She went to a lot of community events and had a lot of 1 on 1’s with community members. She then would take these relationships she created and get these people to do more for Elizabeth Warren. This includes canvassing, door knocking, and phone calls. As the caucus night got closer, they moved into a phase of mobilizing people to go out and vote. Sandy, an intern for the Warren campaign, added in about his experience working Iowa. “It’s been a really good experience for me. It’s the most important state in maybe the most important election ever and I’m working for a candidate who I think is our best chance of winning and the best candidate we have. To be able to just go knock on doors and talk to people who make these decisions and are the people who will be caucusing is a really interesting and cool opportunity.” These organizers are truly some of the most hard working, dedicated individuals you can ever meet. They are willing to do whatever is necessary to help the campaign and not just because it is their job, but because of a belief in their candidate. They truly believe their candidate is the best for the job and want to ensure they can get them there. While organizing can be hard and challenging work, these people are there, ready to rise and meet the challenge. The future of our democracy is in good hands with these people leading the charge.

“These organizers are truly some of the most hard working people you will ever meet....The future of our democracy is in good hands.”


“THE LODGE” CREATES HOPELESS HORROR IN THE SNOW By Caroline Groff, Staff Writer A trip to a snowy cabin in the middle of nowhere with a woman and her soon to be stepchildren seems to be tense enough. Add in a cult and some suspicious activity in the house, and you’ve got the isolating paranoia of The Lodge. Writer and director duo Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, known for their 2014 film Goodnight Mommy, seem to have a connecting theme of familial tension and delusion in both projects. This entry is much more influenced by setting but brings the talent of the actors to the forefront. In the briefest of explanations, The Lodge follows Grace, played by Riley Keough, as she goes on a trip with her boyfriend Richard, played by Richard Armitage, and his two children. The older brother Aiden, played by It star Jaeden Martell, and the younger sister Mia, played by Lia McHugh, are not keen on the idea of the trip, especially after the recent suicide of their mother. Along with the discovery of Grace’s past involvement with a cult and the looming implications of her mental health, the children are weary of the perceived outsider. Especially after Richard reveals they are planning to get married. After Richard gets called away on business, Grace is left to watch over the children and hopefully get to know them. The plan doesn’t pan out and strange occurrences and a power outage strike the trio as the days drag on in their solitude. It’s easy to compare this film to some of the most recent additions to the horror or horror-adjacent genre. Most obviously on display is its resemblance to Ari Aster’s Hereditary, with its dissection of a family dynamic, unclear source of the creepiness taking place, and the set design itself. Both films take great care in offering up a house to represent more than just a shelter but showcase the relationships of the family. The main difference here being the remoteness and confinement brought on by the backdrop of snowstorms. Even with the clear similarities, they verge into completely different trips about halfway through. The Lodge’s tighter consistency marks it as the finer of the pair in many ways, a film that mana-

ges to burrow its way under your skin and stay there right through to the horrifying end,” said Benjamin Lee in his review for The Guardian. As the audience begins to question the sanity of the film’s characters as they are stuck in the cabin, it’s unclear exactly who we are supposed to be afraid of. This film solidifies itself as an entity outside of those before it. It’s also easy to find great things to say about the movie, but the performances of its actors are the most important. The acting is attention grabbing and unnerving. Keough’s performance as Grace is the shining gem of the film. Her ability is perfect in the sense that she is never willing to give much away. “Her stoic face is too difficult for the children or audience to properly get a sense of her intentions,” says Monica Castillo in her review of the film. This detachment is hard to define as either sinister or simply aloof and adds to the confusion and mystery the film creates. The performances of both children bounce off her subtle mannerisms well. Lia McHugh in particular is able to give an emotionally complex and impressively intriguing performance as a daughter yearning for the presence of her mother and, consequently, resenting what feels like the replacement. This film builds so much tension and doubt that by the final shot, you feel almost in a state of shock by the time the credits roll. Yet, even when the ending hits you in the gut and refuses to let up, it still feels as if there was something missing. Something not explored in the last 15 minutes that would have elevated that last notch. The ending is devastating, but somewhat sadistically predictable about 40 minutes into the movie. Even with this minor indicator, seeing the ending coming doesn’t make it any less disturbing. Without giving anything away, the verdict is to go see this movie, but just know that your darkest suspicions are probably right

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“A trip to a snowy cabin in the middle of nowhere with a woman and her soon to be stepchildren seems to be tense enough. Add in a cult background and some suspicious activity in the house, and you’ve got the isolating paranoia of “The Lodge”.


THOUGHTS ON SODEXO’S AND UPCOMING VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN OPTIONS By Beth Binkley, Staff Writer

“ I’d like to stress that while Sodexo isn’t perfect, it’s not the local staff’s fault. “

If you’re at all familiar with the menu within The Nosh, dining halls, or even The Southside Cafe at UMSL, you’ll know that around eighty percent of the options are sourced from a food service company called Sodexo. With that being said, it’s likely that the reviews you’ve heard of the company’s services, whether they came from a student or faculty member, expressed something along the lines of wishing there was more variety in the menus, especially for individuals who might be vegan or vegetarian. Thankfully, they’re doing just that, and as a current Sodexo employee, I feel inclined to share my opinion on the matter. The short answer is; heck yes, I agree that the options Sodexo provides are pretty limited where they stand now. I say this not because every other student on campus and their dog believes this, but because I serve that exact demographic every Monday through Thursday, and every Monday through Thursday I have at least one customer order a side of broccoli in the place of an entire meal because their diet restricts them from ordering anything else. Nonetheless, here’s a longer “heck yes”; From a business standpoint, I feel that Sodexo will easily profit from simply providing more inclusive options, as I know for a fact people will purchase them, or at least appreciate the effort. From a student’s perspective, however, I have to admit that though I’m neither vegetarian or vegan, having a choice that’s a bit less...greasy will be nice here and there. (i.e., I’m slowly getting turned off of the same yogurt and humus combo I resign myself to most days, and I can’t be the only one.) No, I’m not saying the vegan and/or vegetarian options are always inherently healthy for you, but when given the choice between a vegetable wrap and an order of chicken tenders, for the sake of myof my cholesterol and acne-prone skin type, I have to admit THE CURRENT

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the wrap would be my choice nine times out of ten. That freshman fifteen can forget about it. Let’s face it, though: I’m preaching to the choir here. We’ve all been eating the same ten-or-so dishes from the Nosh for at least a couple of semesters now, so when a change to the daily spread is made, the community typically rejoices and the buzz about it is loud. In fact, just yesterday a faculty member who came into the Southside did a little dance to himself when he saw we were serving roasted carrots. Yet, as much as I agree that the change we’ve been promised is a good thing, I’d like to stress that while Sodexo isn’t perfect, it’s not the local staff ’s fault. Sure, you can argue that I say this to cover my job, and who am I to stop you from believing that? Regardless, I’ve been on the inside of the company to what I’m willing to bet is a larger extent than the average consumer, and because of this I can tell you with total honesty that the people who cook, manage, and serve the food are not the root of the issue. In fact, my team is one of the sweetest bunches of people in my life, and I’m proud to get to work with them. My coworkers and I go through precaution after precaution to ensure that the environment the food is cooked and kept in is clean and organized. In fact, I’ve never seen one of them do something the wrong way because it’s easier, and that’s because they care. Truly, the staff does not reflect the menu, they simply bring it to life. Until the launch of the new items, though, I can assure you that at least half of the student body and faculty members will be waiting with hopeful hearts and growling stomachs as this new phase of our collegiate cafeteria is brought to us all. I know I am.


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