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See what rising director Luc Murphree has been working on.

Will senior Molly Kroeger lead the swim team to the top this season?

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superintendent

8701 Pacific St. Omaha, NE 68114 Volume 56 Issue 5 February 3, 2011

HELLO

District hires firm to assist in search; students provide input through student interview panel By Maddie Goodman MANAGING EDITOR The energy in the room buzzes. Curious comments are exchanged about the next candidate. How much experience does he have? Why is he interested in Westside? Does he support technology in schools? The anticipation grows until it reaches a dull roar, and then all is silent. A man in a suit and tie with a wide smile stands at the door. Current Westside superintendent Jacquie Estee announced her plans Aug. 8 to retire at the end of the 2011-12 school year. The Board of Education then chose to hire the executive recruitment and development service, McPherson and Jacobson, to find Westside’s next leader. “The board, in an open meeting, defined what we saw as our key objectives — what are the criteria? What are the qualities we would like to see in our next superintendent?” said Scott Hazelrigg, one of the directors on the Board of Education. Hazelrigg has headed local organization of the search process for the board. McPherson and Jacobson used the criteria the board established and the Stakeholders input report to select certain individuals to encourage applying. Westside received 28 candidate applications; Jan. 3 the school board worked with the search firm to narrow the candidates down to five finalists. From Jan. 16-20, Westside hosted the five finalists of the superintendent search for a series

of interviews. Each day, a different candidate was welcomed into the Westside community by a coffee with school board members. The candidates then went on to participate in interviews with students, community members, teachers, administrators and the Board of Education. “We know on paper every one of our five finalists has the potential to be an excellent superintendent,” Hazelrigg said. “The questions we want to ask are the things that we wonder about — which one of the candidates would be the best superintendent candidate for Westside at this time?” Though the board will ultimately make the decision about who the next superintendent will be, students received the opportunity to be involved in the process. “One of the things we liked about this consultant was that they historically engaged a student group in the process,” Hazelrigg said. Every morning a small group of juniors and seniors gathered in the conference room to meet the candidates. These students were chosen on the basis of being prominent leaders at Westside. The questions the student panel asked included, “Why/how do you feel the input from students is necessary when making choices?” and “How do you make sure all students’ needs are met with so much diversity?” Junior Maddie Ryan led the student panel. Ryan prepared for the interviews by compiling questions suggested by the search firm in addition to those students requested, and doing pre-

see SUPER SEARCH page 2

my name is...

Jacquie Estee

The student panel interviews the superintendent of Haysville Unified School District in Kansas, John Burke. Burke withdrew his application from the superintendent candidacy. Photo by Sara Guo

Sign language impacts lives of students at home, in school By Ali Tomek EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Where senior Jennifer Buirst comes from, it’s a little quieter. Buirst’s mom is deaf and her dad is hard of hearing. Buirst learned baby sign language before she could speak, and often acted as the intermediary between her mom’s silent world and her own, full of sounds like her keyboard and banter among her four siblings. “I think people definitely take hearing for granted,” Buirst said. “Sometimes, when I’m talking to my mom, I feel terrible.” According to the Gallaudet Research Institute’s compilation of federal data, about one million people over 5 years old are deaf in the United States. At the high school, eight students are either deaf or hard of hearing. Three of these students use translators who are fluent in sign language.

A decade ago, these students might have attended a specialized school for the deaf. Today, Alison Winkler, the district’s deaf education instructor, said the movement is towards inclusion. The Nebraska School for the Deaf closed in 1998, and Omaha Hearing School closed this past summer. Some public districts send their students with hearing loss to the same elementary, middle or high school, where they are shuffled from one interpreter to the next. At Westside, students are spread throughout the elementary schools and stick with one interpreter. Because of this one-to-one approach, Winkler has seen some deaf students form bonds with their translators. “The interpreter and the student get to know each other very well,” Winkler said. “Sometimes the interpreter will even form a bond with their student’s family. Additionally, if the student joins an after school activity, such as a club or a sport, the interpreter will often interpret for them there as well, thus supporting the student both inside and outside of school.”

Freshman Danny Glazer met his translator, Ann Schoening, on the first day of fifth grade. Like Buirst’s mom, Glazer was born deaf. Schoening has traveled with him from grade to grade for five years, and they said they know each other well. Although Schoening translates Glazer’s classes into sign language, Glazer prefers not to sign himself. He likes to speak and engage in a verbal, rather than visual, conversation. “I like to talk and have a real conversation, but some other deaf people don’t really know how to talk as well or they can’t read lips or they stutter,” Glazer said. Occasionally, he has found himself in challenging situations. In sixth grade, Schoening accompanied Glazer to Outdoor Ed. In the planetarium, the lights went out so students could get the full effect of the stars. Glazer, though, couldn’t see Schoening interpreting the information about astrology. “Didn’t we have a flashlight or something?” Schoening said. “That was hard. Once in a while, we encounter those kinds of

see WITHOUT SOUND page 7


news

2 l February 3, 2011

BRIEF BOX Famous trumpet player gives concert, clinics Yamaha performing artist Wayne Bergeron came to the high school Jan. 30 to workshop the bands of 18 schools, including Westside’s Concert Jazz Band and Stage Band. Bergeron has been featured in over 300 movie and TV soundtracks including Toy Story 3, Star Trek and the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. “More than likely, everyone you know has heard Wayne play more than a few times,” band instructor Roger Groth said. While here, Bergeron worked with each band for 40 minutes and performed with Concert Jazz Band and the Omaha Big Band Jan. 31.

Drum majors selected Seven students auditioned Jan. 19 to lead the band in the 2012-13 school year. Sophomore Colleen Hacker and juniors Carolyn Hanus and Shay Maulsby were selected as next year’s drum majors. The new drum majors will work throughout the spring and summer in preparation for band camps and the following marching band season.

Art contest opens for submissions The Omaha Young Artist Exhibition is now accepting entries for the 2012 Omaha Summer Arts Festival. This exhibition features work from students in grades K-12 from the Omaha metro area. To enter student artwork, art educators can contact festival coordinator Ashley McNabney by Feb. 3.

Board of Education Caucus held The Westside Community Schools Caucus was held Thursday, Feb. 2 in the auditorium at 7 p.m. The Caucus gave candidates for the Board of Education an opportunity to give speeches to rally support. Other candidates could also have been nominated from the floor of the Caucus. The top four candidates will be placed on the general election ballot in May. After the statewide general election, the top two candidates will be appointed to a six-year term on the Board of Education. “Our Caucus, in simplest form, is Westside’s primary election,” said Kent Kingston, the administrator in charge of the Caucus. “This process is very unique, and I know of no other school district in the state that conducts a selection of Board candidates this way.” Early voting was open from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the high school, and regular voting took place at the Caucus. The three candidates who were placed on the early voting ballot were Mark Drabik, David Williams and incumbent Rosie Zweiback.

Quiz bowl team wins big The quiz bowl team, consisting of sophomore Emma Johanningsmeier, juniors Andrew McVea, Mac Mikkelsen and senior Jake Poots, won first place at the Educational Service Unit 3 tournament Jan. 30. The team beat its rival, Elkhorn South, and was undefeated throughout the tournament. This victory qualifies the team for the state competition in Holdrege.

BIOS candidates superintendent

Andy Rikli

Current school district: Westside District 66 Current position: Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Operations Views: Rikli does not see Standards-Based Reporting at the high school. He believes in the 360o method for decision-making. Rikli would like to see iPads introduced in the elementary schools.

Current school district: Westside District 66 Current position: Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Views: Weber hopes to see early childhood education available for all kids in the district. He is generally in favor of Standards-Based Reporting, but believes the administration must come to a concensus. Weber hopes to have parent and student involvement when making decisions for the district.

Blane McCann

Current school district: Shorewood in Shorewood, WI Current position: Superintendent Views: McCann supports individualized education. He wants to implement student and teacher focus groups. McCann also supports building a culture of safety and compassion.

Current school district: Park Hill School District in Kansas City, MO Current position: Deputy Superintendent Views: Miles is interested in getting to know the Westside community. He is committed to checking in at all the schools in the district. Miles recognizes the need to balance views of students and parents.

John Burke

Eric Weber

Mark Miles

Current school district: Haysville Unified School District in Haysville, KS Current position: Superintendent Views: Burke wants to be transparent to the Stakeholders in the district. He has a reputation of being an innovator. Burke also has ideas to support students who want go directly into the work force. *Burke withdrew his application from the superintendent candidacy.

SUPER SEARCH: students

interview superintendent candidates continued from page 1 -liminary research on the candidates. “I think that it’s a really great opportunity that they are asking students, and I hope that whoever the superintendent is will continue to have student involvement,” Ryan said. During the interviews, all students were engaged by asking candid questions and diligently taking notes. “Everyone is pretty engaged; they are asking really intelligent, thoughtful questions,” Ryan said.

While the student favorite was a tie between McCann and Rikli, the board will take all focus groups’ opinions into consideration. Other focus groups include teachers, key community members and members of the Westside Foundation. The student interviews allowed the board not only to get insight into what the students thought of the candidates, but also provided the candidates with an opportunity to hear from the students. “There aren’t any adults there, which is really nice because I think students are

more open, and I feel the candidates are more receptive because you’re not worried about what sounds good or what would offend someone,” Ryan said. The conclusion of each interview was just as lively as the beginning, with candidates and students shaking hands as the interviewee left for a day of four more interviews and extensive tours of the district. “I think it gives [the candidates] really good insight, and us a really good insight too,” Ryan said.


news

February 3, 2011

I pledge allegiance

l3

Senator introduces bill for pledge By Nick Seline A&E EDITOR For years, Westside has had the same morning routine: homeroom announcements, attendance, grade checks. In the following school year, Westside, along with every other public school in Nebraska, might have to add another task to its todo list: the Pledge of Allegiance. Nebraska State Senator Tony Fulton, along with several other Lincoln citizens, has proposed a bill that would require all public school students grades K-12 to say the Pledge in every classroom every day. The bill was created because Nebraska is currently one of seven states that don’t require the pledge to be recited in all public schools. “Nebraska is behind the curve,” Fulton said. “We have modeled this bill after other state bills of similar proportions, so this is not new to anyone.” The bill would require all students to say the pledge, but would also allow certain students to opt out for religious purposes. “When we wrote the bill, we made sure that it did not infringe on anyone’s constitutional right,” Fulton said. At the high school, the pledge is rarely recited, and at the middle

school, it’s recited once a week. Administrators don’t see a change as bad. “I don’t see how it would have any negative effect on our schools,” Assistant Principal Trudi Nolin said. “I know the elementary schools already recite it daily.” For Westside, this would not be a significant change, but for other schools across Nebraska, it might be something new. “There are schools across the state that do not recite the pledge at all,” Fulton said. “Getting them to abide by the bill is the main goal.” Schools that don’t recite the pledge don’t have flags, according to Fulton. However, schools still can receive flags through donations. “If the schools cannot afford flags, we’ve already talked to several American Legions and veteran associations who would be more than willing to donate flags to the schools,” Fulton said. The bill does not have a set hearing date, but Fulton said he wants to put it into action as soon as possible. “The Pledge of Allegiance is a quick and easy way of instilling citizenship in our kids,” Fulton said. “It’s an American tradition that kids should learn about and participate in.”

Educational assistant Louise Rasmussen and first graders Jackson McIntyre and Aaron Ostdiek recite the pledge at Swanson Elementary School. Photo by Sara Guo

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opinion

4 l February 3, 2012

Lance The Lance is a schoolsponsored publication of Westside High School, Westside Community Schools, 8701 Pacific St., Omaha, NE 68144. The Lance office is located in room 251. Phone: (402) 343-2659. The Lance is an in-house publication. The paper is distributed every month to all students, except in vacation periods. Subscription rates to others are $25 prepaid. The Lance is printed by White Wolf Web, in Sheldon, IA. Advertising rates are available upon request. The Lance editorial staff reserves the right to edit all ads for clarity and grammatical errors. The editorial staff reserves the right not to publish any ads that are libelous or that contain non-factual information. The Lance editorial staff also reserves the right to nullify contracts at any time without prior notification. The Lance also refuses ads that promote activities illegal to a majority of the student readership. Reader response is welcomed in the form of letters to the editor. Letters should be less than 300 words, signed by the author and sent to room 251. Names may be withheld upon special request. Lance editors will decide whether to honor such requests. The Lance editorial staff reserves the right to edit letters for clarity and grammatical errors. The editorial staff also reserves the right to not publish any letters that are libelous or that contain nonfactual information. The Lance is a member of the Nebraska High School Press Association, the Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the National Scholastic Press Association and the Quill & Scroll Society. The Lance staff recognizes that the administration of Westside Community Schools controls the curriculum and, thus, sets the parameters of the production process of school publications. The Lance staff also recognizes its own responsibilities to inform, enlighten and entertain its readers in a way that reflects high standards of journalism, morals and ethics. Editors-in-Chief Allie Fisher, Ali Tomek; Managing Editors Maddie Goodman, Sara Guo; Business Manager Kate Durst; Copy Editor Emma Johanningsmeier; Graphics Editor Kate Laing; Design Editors Sophie Goldberg, Casey Seline; News Editor Aaron Calderon; Opinion Editors Zane Fletcher, Colette Rector; Feature Editor Joe Hack; Sports Editor Matt Sockrider; Arts & Entertainment Editors Andrew McVea, Nick Seline; Staff Writers Ari Juster, Skylar Harris; Columnist Tom Schueneman; Photo Staff Aaron Boyle, Dalton Taylor; Adviser Rod Howe.

FIRM DECISION

Graphic by Kate Laing

District hires unbiased executive search firm

The school district hired the firm McPherson and Jacobson to assist in the search for our next superintendent. The firm specializes in executive searches and has helped with both the advertising and interviewing processes. Out of 28 candidates, the firm and school board selected five as finalists who went on to complete indepth interviews. Five different panels ­— a student, Westside Foundation, volunteer, teacher and administrative panel ­— interviewed each candidate separately. All five panels submitted a formal write-up detailing their opinions of the five candidates. The school board will take the panels’ opinions into consideration when making the final decision. When Jacquie Estee was hired in 2008, the decision-making was done internally, mainly through the school board and administrators. The Lance has no criticism of the method used to hire Jacquie Estee. That being said, we believe hiring an experienced firm to help with selecting our next superintendent was a great idea. The hiring of a superintendent is arguably the most important decision a district must make. A superintendent is the head honcho. Choosing him or her should take time and careful consideration. The selection should also be made without any bias.

McPherson and Jacobson was responsible for bringing in 28 candidates from all over the country, giving the district greater variety than it would have had choosing a superintendent internally. The firm also oversaw a more extensive selection process. It suggested the district create the five panels to interview each candidate, helped choose the panels and provided questions the panels should ask the candidate. The superintendent deals with the entire community, so it is only logical that the decision is a community effort. The five panels have different ideas on the desirable qualities in a superintendent. “They all have their own agendas,” Principal Maryanne Ricketts said. “My thoughts, as an administrator, about what I want in a superintendent are probably different from those of a community member.” The Lance is especially excited students were able to offer input through the student panel. Because the sole purpose of a school district is to educate students, we need a superintendent who looks out for our best interest. The opinion of a student panel will help better inform the school board of what we, as students, want. “[The school board] gained a student opinion, a

thoughtful, careful consideration of us and what we want in a superintendent, which they can’t always get themselves,” senior and student panelist Jacob Lehr said. This process allowed each group to offer its unique perspective and will encourage the school board to choose a well-rounded candidate. “I think they wanted to embody the whole district,” junior and panelist leader Maddie Ryan said. “It feels really good just to know that the [students] can experience a great school district because of our input.” In addition, this extensive process will hopefully produce an unbiased decision. “I was very pleased with how it went,” Ricketts said. “I liked how all the Stakeholder groups were involved. I liked that we had a student group who met with each candidate. Everybody took this very seriously. The groups gave the school board good feedback.” Every part of the process went through the firm, and, as a result, the process went smoothly. The Lance believes the school board made the correct decision in hiring McPherson and Jacobson to assist in the superintendent search — now it must make an even tougher decision: choosing a superintendent.

thumbs up

Intramural sports are a good thing. It’s fun to be on a basketball team composed entirely of your friends, where things like “skill” and “athleticism” don’t matter. Even if you aren’t on an intramural team, it’s always interesting to hear about vaguely sports-related antics the next day. There should be more intramural sports than just basketball. Soccer and ultimate frisbee would be good places to start. There will always be dissenters, but it seems the majority of students are happy about the Warrior Hut’s recent switch from Pepsi products to Coke products. Coke is delicious, and Pepsi is far too

sweet. It also means that next holiday season, there will be pictures of adorable polar bears on the sides of our beverages. The coldest drinking fountains in the school happen to be the two most conveniently placed: the one in the weight room and those in the locker rooms. You can never have too much water during a workout and it’s difficult to have too much after one. Whether it’s on purpose or purely coincidental, the presence of the coldest water fountains in the places where they are most needed is nice. There aren’t many positives about the beginning of a new semester, but there is one notable exception. For the first three to four weeks, teacher don’t assign that much homework. There is very little actual work to be done, and as long as you do reasonably well on the few assignments you do have, there is no reason to worry about grades. If you can avoid being lulled into a false sense of security, it’s one of the best parts of the year.

tragedy has come to pass.

down

iPrism has been a fairly constant annoyance for the past several years, but those with smartphones used to be able to get around it if they needed something in a pinch. Now, though, iPrism seems to be tied to the school’s wi-fi, meaning even non-school computers and smartphones are subject to its limitations.

Most days, there is at least one mod in which any attempt to get food at the cafeteria ends in a line that stretches to the entrance. It makes sense that lunch mods are busy, but sometimes the number of people in the checkout line is just absurd, and it can be a little claustrophobic.

Whether you’re struggling to find space in your schedule for another class, or wishing you didn’t have to take as many as you do, pretty much everyone can agree guidance classes are unnecessary. The information they contain is of little interest to the majority of students, yet everyone has to sit through them.

For months, students have refrained from exposing the website Reddit to teachers, out of fear that any attention brought to it would lead to a Tech Support ban. But once iPrism reared its ugly head following winter break, it was only a matter of time before Reddit was blocked, and now this

The weather this winter has been surprisingly mild, which is nice, but it would be great to have a snow day or two before the end of the year. It probably won’t happen given how late in the winter it is, but it can’t hurt to hold onto a little hope.


opinion

February 3, 2011

RETAKES

l5

Graphic by Kate Laing

Idea creates bad habits

Drop the SOPA

Bill threatens Internet freedom Picture the Siberian tundra. Mile after mile of flat, depressing landscape. Now, think about the Internet – supremely interesting and home to seemingly endless websites with incredible variety. Where would you rather spend your time? Under proposed legislation, the Internet as we ZANE FLETCHER know it would quickly opinion editor morph from the carnival that it is into the frozen tundra of Siberia. Facebook. Wikipedia. Twitter. Reddit. Four of the most popular websites on the Internet that could be rendered unusable by two pieces of proposed legislation: the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). These aim to crack down on copyright infringement laws (and therefore, many such websites) and ultimately reshape our Internet. SOPA is a bill proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives by Lamar Smith (R-TX). The purpose of the bill is somewhat logical — to eradicate copyright infringement on the Internet and fight online counterfeiting. The problem with this bill is that it includes a zero-tolerance policy — websites with any content that violates copyright laws would be taken off search engines and blocked by Internet Service Providers. The second bill, PIPA, was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Patrick Leahy (D-VT). It is similar to SOPA in its goal — to restrict access to websites that infringe on copyright laws or host reproduced content. This bill would also force many user-generated websites off the Internet almost instantaneously. A system administrator on Reddit.com, Jason Harvey, put it eloquently when he likened these bills to “killing a basket full of kittens in order to defeat a lion.” I, as well as many other teenagers of my generation, am a Facebooker. I am a heavy user of Wikipedia. (How else would we pass our classes?) I also frequent Reddit, perhaps a little more than is healthy. These bills are an affront to

me and to our generation. It can’t be up to a room full of older, less tech-savvy men and women to make a decision that would affect our lives so greatly. The repercussions of these bills’ passing would be enormous. If one single person posted a copyrighted image or saying (including song lyrics) on Facebook without written consent of the content’s creator, the website could be instantly blocked. User-driven websites like Reddit and YouTube would last a grand total of 30 seconds under these bills. Even worse, it is widely known and accepted that these bills wouldn’t stop Internet piracy. These bills focus mainly on domestic website domains, leaving foreign Internet alone. Ironically, the U.S. State Department has installed tools to circumvent the very forms of Internet restriction proposed so people in oppressive regimes can enjoy unlimited Internet access. When all is said and done, piracy will still exist, and the U.S. will merely have descended into an increasingly Orwellian society of government regulation and censorship. Recently, websites have begun protesting these bills. Jan. 18, Reddit and Wikipedia, among others, went dark in protest of SOPA and PIPA. They said their goal was to show people what the Internet would look like should these bills be passed, and I for one am not pleased with the prospect. We live in America, the “land of the free,” the land of democracy, of free speech. We hold certain truths to be selfevident: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These bills infringe greatly upon these rights, rights which web surfing readily provides. The vote on SOPA has already been tabled for later discussion. The vote for PIPA was Jan 24. I have already called our senator Lee Terry to ask him to remove his sponsorship of the bill, and due to the large volume of these requests, he has done so. However, we can’t stop there. Should PIPA and SOPA be passed, we will enter an age of government regulation that Big Brother would be proud of. Our creativity would be weakened, our initiative destroyed, all to stop something that wouldn’t even be slowed in the least. Fellow Internet users, I leave you with this: my vision for America and our Internet in the future is one of hope and one of prosperity. The legislation put forth in the last few months combats my vision and the vision of millions of other Americans. Stop SOPA and PIPA. Sign the petition. Save our Internet.

It’s ten o’clock the night before a huge exam. You sit at your desk with three cans of Redbull and a half-eaten bag of Doritos. You turn on your favorite Pandora station and spread all of your notes from the past month and a half over your bedroom floor. Stress begins to saturate the air as you struggle to retain the inforthat was taught while COLETTE RECTOR mation you were snoozing in the back opinion editor of the classroom. The hours creep on with little luck and increased frustration as your hope for success dwindles. Suddenly, from the back of your mind you recall one crucial piece of information. A sigh of relief escapes your lips as you think to yourself, “It’s okay…I can retake this.” For many students, retaking tests has been an option since elementary school. Teachers promote the idea to give students a second chance to test their knowledge. However, how would someone have a legitimate reason for doing better on a test two days after taking the original test? Students create any number of excuses to deceive their teachers into allowing them to retake tests. They conjure up any number of diseased relatives or bad signs from horoscopes and other star alignments. These translate into “There was a Gossip Girl marathon last night and I didn’t feel like studying for your class.” The most common reason for poor results on tests is a lack of preparation. With the knowledge that a second chance will be offered, anyone would naturally be more lax with his first attempt. School is no exception. Many of the lessons and skills we learn in our classes are not solely meant to be applied in the walls of a high school. Teachers and administrators use different tactics to equip us with experiences and knowledge to apply in the real world. Retakes are not practical tools for life beyond high school. When people make mistakes in life, they seldom get the opportunity to go back and fix them. “Gee, officer, I didn’t intend to drink a bottle of vodka and then get in the car. Can I go back and do it again?” “Sorry, patient, I didn’t mean to completely cut off your leg during that surgery. I’m just going to redo it.” “Oh, honey, I didn’t mean to sleep with that other woman! Let me go back and undo that.” While these examples may seem extreme and ridiculous, the general concept can be paralleled. I do think there are some exceptions in which retakes should be allowed. In every English class I have taken, I have been given the opportunity to redo out-of-class essays. In classes such as math and social studies, the information students are tested over is specific, and the questions have only one answer. However, essays are much more creatively involved. By rewriting an essay, students are encouraged to expand their understanding of a book or story and to think beyond the surface level. While students may find retakes to be the perfect solutions to procrastination, they are not practical for high school or the real world. If at first you don’t succeed…too bad.

VOICES from the student superintendent panel Who’s your favorite superintendent candidate and why?

BLANE McCANN

BLANE McCANN

BLANE McCANN

BLANE McCANN

He has lots of ideas, lots of experience. Seems like a good guy to run Westside well.

He was very personable, He’s professional and per- He had a good idea of what the students needed and I thought he could sonable. He’s both stuimprove school spirit. dent- and teacher-driven. and­­a lot of experience.

CAROLINE ROCKMAN

Senior

Junior

LIBBY SLOSBURG

MAX KASLON Senior

JACOB LEHR Senior


feature

6 l February 3, 2011 The Nation’s Crisis

Aspiring director creates short film By Joe Hack FEATURE EDITOR Senior Luc Murphree hoped his summer internship answering calls at Lee Terry’s office would launch his political career, but he came away disenchanted. “I didn’t do a whole lot,” Murphree said. “The congressional office is a lot of nothing. I took a lot of calls, and they went nowhere. Afterwards we’d say that they were going to the congressman, but half the time I’d come back to my desk and there’d be the same calls there the next day.” However, Murphree mined those eight weeks of bureaucratic drudgery for creative inspiration. As a theater student and film enthusiast, he decided to make a movie. “What I took out of it was that there wasn’t a big purpose in the office, so I channeled that and took some of my personal experience with absurdism and incorporated it into a movie,” Murphree said. The movie, “The Nation’s Crisis,” follows a young intern, played by senior Alex Glow, through his first day of work at a political campaign office. When he walks in, he’s met by a stern administrator, played by senior Dana Cassling, who promptly orders him to get cracking on the “national crisis,” which is never explained. People bustle about the office while the intern puzzles over the contents of the folder at his own desk — pages of binary code, a list of herbs, an advertisement for strippers. Frustrated and confused, the intern has an unnerving coffee break with another worker, played by junior Michael Keefe. In the absurdist monkey metaphor that follows, he’s compared to a new monkey reaching for a banana. Nothing makes sense, everything is circular and confusing, and he’s the new monkey in an office of mindless drones. Finally, he meets the intern supervisor, who leads him to a room. The final shot features another mesmerizing absurdist image — an American flag with the Soviet sickle and hammer pasted over the blue stars. The film is reminiscent of Brazil, the 1985

dystopian classic, with its Orwellian undertones and flat characters. It seems to be a criticism of bureaucracy and mindless compliance, but Murphree didn’t write it with an agenda. “It’s always been my opinion that what people take away from film is what they take away from it,” Murphree said. “It’s not really the author’s place to speak for a film, because the film should speak for itself. Whatever they think it is becomes the message.” Besides, Murphree had enough to worry about as a first-time filmmaker. Murphree banged out his first draft in two hours at the beginning of August, but the script wasn’t ready for production until October. He cast the movie with students from the theater program and arranged to shoot at his

Senior Luc Murphree created a short film, The Nation’s Crisis, starring senior Alex Glow as an intern in a political office. Murphree submitted the film to the Omaha Film Festival. Photo illustrations by Aaron Boyle

gave a lot of great notes and direction.” mother’s office. While some of the shots are shaky, most of After three weeks of rehearsal, the film them are staged well. There’s even a close-up shot for two days around fall break. With a week of film school, one $400 Sony of coffee being poured, an homage to one of camera and a copy of How to Shoot Video Murphree’s favorite directors, Quentin TarThat Doesn’t Suck, Murphree had to teach antino. Fischer thinks Murphree made up for his technical inexperience with initiative and himself how make the movie. “Little things that you don’t think about I independence. “I was simply a very minor go-to person,” had to learn, like the amount of time between cuts, the average number of shots in any Fischer said. “Truly, it was very self-driven. given scene, and how to position cameras to I’ve had students who go on to pursue film, capture a good scene of dialogue,” Murphree but none who have been so proactive. He’s the most active, ensaid. gaged film student I’ve Murphree estimates ever had.” he shot each scene at Murphree finished least ten times, amassthe movie in time ing six and a half hours to submit it to film of footage. It took him a schools. His top choicmonth to edit the matees are New York Unirial into a seven-minute versity and the Univerfilm. sity of Southern Cali“In film, you have to fornia. The film can do everything in thealso be seen on Youater, but you have to Tube under the title be the audience at the “The Nation’s Crisis: same time, and it sucks LUC MURPHREE Lucian Productions.” because sometimes you Senior Murphree has endon’t know what angle tered “The Nation’s to come at it from,” MurCrisis” in the Omaha phree said. As a theater student directing other theater Film Festival, and plans to stage one of his students, Murphree had to adapt and direct plays, “The Bikini Islands,” this spring at his actors to act in a different manner, ac- Westside. Like “The Nation’s Crisis,” this play has abcording to theater instructor Terry Fischer. “The style of acting is different,” Fischer surdist elements. “The whole thing is about memory loss said. “When you’re film acting, you have to be more realistic because everything is inches from radiation, the misconduct of the military,” Murphree said. “It’s about the insanity away.” When people walk into a theater, they’re of time with an absurdist take.” Absurdism has been a major artistic influwilling to suspend their disbelief, but with ence in Murphree’s work thus far. Tom Stopmovies, they expect a greater level of reality. “I am most definitely a stage actor where I pard, the acclaimed absurdist playwright, is have to be over the top a lot,” Cassling said. one of his greatest creative influences. While Murphree has looked to the Stop“But on camera there are close-ups, and the camera can be right in your face and you have pard in his writing and Quentin Tarantino to pretend it’s not there. It’s a bit daunting to in his directing, ideally he’ll be the next Tina Fey. jump from stage to camera.” “I would much rather be a director and To ease the transition, Murphree had to make a dream come true,” Murphree said. precisely articulate his vision to his actors. “Overall I think Luc did a great job di- “I think it is possible for me to spearhead an recting, especially in the rehearsal process,” idea on television and make a TV show hapCassling said. “He knew exactly what he pen. I feel like it’s possible if I work really wanted from every scene and every line — he hard. That’s my dream job.”

What people take away from the film is what people take away from it.


feature

February 3, 2011

l7

WITHOUT SOUND: student signs with mom continued from page 1 things.” Classes can be awkward. Students often don’t know how to approach Glazer if they don’t know sign language, but Schoening points out the obvious: Glazer can easily write messages back and forth. “They feel that they can’t talk or they have to talk really slowly or really loud and move their lips a lot,” Glazer said. “That kind of gets annoying.” Sign language is an art that intrigued Winkler as a high school student. Most often, students in the district learn Signing Exact English (SEE II) or American Sign Language (ASL). SEE II follows English word order, grammar and structure rules, replacing spoken words with signs. ASL, like a foreign language, has different grammar. “Sign language interpreters are incredible in what they do,” Winkler said. “In seconds, they have to take in information auditorially, make meaning of what is said, and figure out how to effectively convey the message with their hands. They almost never are able to hear what is said and simply match each word up with a sign. It’s more like conveying a message they hear, into a picture.” Schoening has worked as an interpreter for 24 years. She learned sign language to communicate with her best friend, who was deaf. “Her parents refused to let her

sign,” Schoening said. “I saw her struggle so much. She was really behind in school. It was awful. I thought, ‘Wow, there has to be a better way.’” Schoening’s friend ultimately became successful, and Glazer doesn’t think there’s anything he can’t do. Buirst said her mom has sometimes struggled, but Buirst and her siblings rallied to help her growing up. As a 6-year-old, Buirst translated doctor appointments and later, parent-teacher conferences for her mom. Her role as the intermediary forced her to mature faster than her peers. Until recently, she wasn’t sure whether she belonged more to the hearing or deaf world. After “a bit of an aha moment,” Buirst decided she is a part of both. “I think people think [being deaf] is basically exactly the same as being hearing, the only difference is you can’t hear, but it’s not,” Buirst said. “There’s a whole culture. There’s a whole language. There’s an intimacy to it.” For years, Buirst begged to get a keyboard for Christmas. “When I finally got it, my head might’ve hit the ceiling, I jumped so high,” Buirst said. “I’ll play it, and my aunts might come over and they’ll hear me play, and they’ll talk about how beautifully I can play. My mom’s always saying, ‘I wish I could hear it.’” Now, her music doesn’t seem as important as what she has cared about her whole life: her mom.

TOP: Freshman Danny Glazer works in the Social Studies IMC during an open mod. Glazer was born deaf and is one of three students at the high school who use interpreters. BOTTOM: Senior Jennifer Buirst demonstrates the signs for love, school and work. Buirst often signs at home with her mom, who is deaf. Photos by Dalton Taylor and Ali Tomek

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sports

8 l February 3, 2011

Sophomore Jacob Spaulding prepares to catch the ball during a four-corners drill. Rugby practices start in February. Photo by Emma Johanningsmeier

Rugby team works on unity By Andrew McVea A&E EDITOR

Senior Molly Kroeger swims butterfly during practice. Kroeger has signed a letter of intent to swim for Xavier University, a Division I school. Photo by Sara Guo

Swimmer lands scholarship By Sara Guo MANAGING EDITOR

ing by example can produce victories, and ultimately a state title. Last year, Kroeger placed third at state in the 200 freestyle, 500 freestyle and two freestyle relays. She also holds a school record in Chlorine-bleached hair, pruney fingers and goggle imprints. the 200 freestyle relay. “[Molly] excels in our relays,” Lincoln said. “Relays are double These features have become a part of senior Molly Kroeger’s life. When she was in second grade, Kroeger enrolled in stroke the points, so they are important points that our team needs. She also has the potential to score really high in school. Soon after, she joined the Swim her individual events this year.” Omaha program and established her pasCurrently, Kroeger is in the top 10 in six sion for swimming. events, and Krecklow said she is a frontrunner “It’s fun to race people, and it’s fun to for several events at the state level. compete,” Kroeger said. “I think competiThe highlight of Kroeger’s swimming career tion is my favorite part, and that’s why I love occurred at last year’s Lincoln Southeast Invi[swimming].” tational. Westside was behind Millard West by Now, Kroeger excels in the water with five points going into the last relay. The team the help of varsity swimming coach Doug had to win the relay to win the meet. Krecklow. In his five years of coaching “We get up on the blocks. We are so pumped Kroeger, Krecklow has spotted many posiup and we just want to win,” Kroeger said. tive attributes. “The first leg goes and we’re pretty much tied, “Molly’s greatest strengths are her abilMOLLY KROEGER second leg goes and we’re a little bit ahead. We ity to press her teammates to stay on the Senior are a second ahead, and people are screaming, intervals and to train at the level they need going psycho. I dive off the blocks and I was to train at in order to get better,” Krecklow just kicking my legs as fast as they would go.” said. “She understands the importance of As the fourth leg of her relay, Kroeger needed to maintain the training and what she has to do in order to make sure she’s prelead to win the race and the invite. pared, and that helps drive everybody else.” “The thing that I said to myself was, ‘It can either hurt now, or According to Kroeger, her most important duty is to motivate her teammates. Kroeger hosts movie nights for team bonding and you’re going to feel terrible after this when you lose,’” Kroeger said. With a positive mindset, Kroeger was the first swimmer to touch shares inspirational quotes. Senior Katherine Lincoln recognizes Kroeger’s important posi- the wall, and Westside returned home with a victory. Kroeger has signed a letter of intent to swim for Xavier Univertion on the team. “Molly’s motivation, hard work and consistent effort are her big- sity. With the help of her family, friends, teammates and coaches, gest strengths,” Lincoln said. “She also encourages us to perform she hopes to be successful in the future. “I think she is capable of becoming a collegiate all-American,” to our true potentials.” In addition to motivating her teammates, Kroeger believes lead- Krecklow said.

It can either hurt now, or you’re going to feel terrible when you lose.

A warm-up passing drill, a couple of laps, a scrimmage and lifting: nothing particularly interesting or unique appears to be happening as the rugby team begins its practice. That is, until one hears the singing. Every rugby player down on the field sings before practice. “In the games, we yell a lot so it really helps to sing,” said senior Sean Burns, rugby captain. “The singing helps with cardio and is fun.” Burns, along with the other captains, seniors Janak Wall and Trevor Ford, looks forward to the season and hopes it will help the team improve on last year’s 2-9 record. “Last year, our team was made up of people who had never played before,” Wall said. “This year we have returning players making up 70% of the team.” Experience in rugby is important. A more experienced team can run more advanced plays, is less likely to foul and can spend more time working on more difficult techniques. According to Wall, the most important thing that comes out of having experience in rugby is team chemistry. “Team unity is a big deal,” Wall said. “You have to be prepared to hand off the ball to everyone — you can’t be the hero.” Many of the first practices of the team’s season revolve around fostering team unity and acquainting new members with the game. Although considered tedious by more experienced members of the team, the captains agreed the first practices are among the most critical parts of the season. “[In practice] we focus on camaraderie,” Ford said. “We try to make practice laid-back. We joke a lot.” This laid-back attitude has helped Westside become one of the largest rugby schools in Nebraska. The Warriors compete against mixed-high school teams, such as Omaha United and Lincoln United, but is one of only a few schools in the state with enough rugby players to form its own team. Despite large numbers, the team is always looking for new players. “We need numbers,” Ford said. “Rugby is a sport for anyone. We will take literally anyone and make them a rugby player.” Experience and numbers are a winning formula that has worked for the Warriors in previous years, and the team is optimistic for the upcoming season. “My freshmen and sophomore year we did really well,” Burns said. “Those guys had played together all through high school and knew each other really well. By the end of the season last year, it was obvious that we knew the game and could win.”


sports

February 3, 2011

l9

BRIEF BOX Boys swim team works hard With only two individual state qualifiers this season, Westside’s boys swim team is working hard during the last few weeks of the season. “Our relays are strong,” coach Nick Joslin said. “We just want more individuals to qualify to help us earn points and place higher at state.” The state competition will be held at the Devaney Center in Lincoln Feb. 24-25. “As a team, we averaged 84,000 yards in six days for hell week,” junior Matt O’Dell said. “[Coach Krecklow and Joslin] see our potential to do well and want us to finish the best we can.” The team’s effort was seen at the Westside Invitational when it took third place, only 19 points from first place. Westside won the 200-meter freestyle relay with Cody Andrews winning the individual 200-meter freestyle race.

Wrestling places at Metro Sophomore Darren McGuire defends freshman Karim Ereikat during practice at Hillside Elementary School. Lacrosse is a non-sponsored school activity and has a coach from outside of school. Photo by Sara Guo

LACROSSE

Little-known team promotes sport By Emma Johanningsmeier COPY EDITOR

When senior Jeff Dirks started high school, he needed a sport to play. But football and basketball weren’t for him. He saw the lacrosse table at Club Fair Day and decided to check it out. Dirks said he fell in love with the sport on the first day of practice. He’s been playing it ever since. Dirks described lacrosse as a fast-paced game that’s always exciting. “It has the contact of football and hockey, the speed of basketball and the endurance of soccer,” Dirks said. “It’s just a big smorgasbord of everything, and it’s just a blast to play.” Westside’s lacrosse team has almost 30 players this year. It practiced at the Westside Community Conference Center field this past fall, and in the Hillside Elementary School gym in the winter. Practices will start in earnest in the spring. The season starts at the end of March and lasts until the beginning of May. The end-ofyear tournament to determine the state champion is in May. Not every high school has a lacrosse team. Westside plays five teams from Omaha, as well as a Lincoln team and one from Des Moines. “When we travel, we tend to do round-robin sorts of things where it’s not really a tournament with a champion, but a group of teams all meet up and we all play each other in a pretty short period of time,” Dirks said. Since its founding about five years ago, the team has had several coaches, none of whom have taught at Westside. “It’s been that our former coach, as he’s left, he’s cared enough about the team that he’s found another coach to help our team,” Dirks said. “We’ve been blessed enough to have a nice line of coaches that have done a pretty good job coaching the team and making sure it stays a team.” Current coach Rob Ross moved to Omaha two years ago and started a lacrosse team in Bellevue. When the former Westside coach, whom Ross had worked with, left to coach for Creighton Prep, Ross took over. This is his first full season as coach. Student leadership has also changed through the years as different players assume the role of captain. “This year it’s mostly been me,” Dirks said. “It just depends on who the team looks up to, who’s capable of organizing things.”

Key players include Dirks, junior Dustin Ecklebe and sophomore Darren McGuire, all of whom are on the all-state lacrosse team. Dirks said the Westside team likes to have fun, and practices are relaxed, but players care about doing well in competition. “We all like to win,” Dirks said. “We don’t want to sacrifice that for the cause of fun. We do have fun, but I think our main goal is to win.” Athletic Director Tom Kerkman said the Nebraska School Activities Association (NSAA) does not sanction lacrosse. As a result, he can’t help the team schedule games. He has, however, allowed it to use the Westside field at times. “I’ve helped them out by allowing them to play their home games on our field,” Kerkman said. Since lacrosse is a school-affiliated group that does not have a faculty sponsor, it relies on Club Fair Day and word of mouth to recruit new players. “We very seldom have players who have any prior experience, so that’s always one of the challenges,” Dirks said. “But I think part of the fun thing about lacrosse at our school is that it’s so new and fresh that when people start playing, they get pretty excited about it.” Still, Dirks said the team hasn’t always had enough members to do well. “In the past, we’ve had issues with getting enough players, and so stamina’s a problem,” Dirks said. “Teams have been able to run a lot of guys at us, so we’ve been having a hard time winning lately.” Like Dirks, Ross said it can be difficult to find enough members for a team. He and a group of other coaches are starting a youth league that will feed into the high school teams. He’s concerned about next year for the Westside team, which will lose several key seniors. Kerkman thinks the only way lacrosse will really grow is if it becomes NSAA-sanctioned. So far, he hasn’t heard anything about this happening. Still, Ross is optimistic for the future. “It’s going to be an uphill battle, but I think a lot of kids at the school will see how much fun it is,” Ross said. “Soon high school lacrosse will become a regular part of the programming. With people like myself pushing the sport, it’ll grow on its own.”

The wrestling team’s strength and skill was on full display at Metro Jan. 13-14, but so was its unity. The team worked together to place 10th. Individually, juniors Antoine Tureaud and Erik Vargas placed third and second, at 152 and 126 pounds, respectively. Senior Marcus Pierce placed second, as well, at 160 pounds. “Our Metro and district competition are tough, so I am happy with how well the team did,” junior Antoine Tureaud said. The district tournament will be held Feb. 11, and state will be held Feb. 16-18. “It has been a good season, and a lot of people have been able to redeem losses,” Tureaud said.

Girls basketball works as a team Thanks to its focus, the girls varsity basketball team had an 8-6 record as of Jan. 27. Though head coach Steve Clark said the team needs to become more consistent, the leadership and concentration on the team are always strong points. “[The players] work extremely well as a team,” Clark said. “They play with heart, and aim to inspire each other every game.” The team plays its next game at home Feb. 3 against Omaha North, followed by another home game against Lincoln Southwest Feb. 4.

Boys basketball propelled by defense The boys varsity basketball team is ranked 10th in the state after its defense helped lead it to a 9-7 record. Assistant head coach Jim Simons thinks the team’s toughness has helped both the players and the team. “[The players] like each other and play hard together,” Simons said. “We play our best as a group.” Although it plays well, Simons said the team still needs to run the offense more consistently. The team plays its next two games at home: Feb. 3 against Omaha North and Feb. 4 against Lincoln Southwest.


arts & entertainment

10 l February 3, 2011

Best Picture Graphic by Kate Laing

By Andrew McVea A&E EDITOR

Best Actress

This year’s Best Actress field is looking very familiar. The five nominees have been previously nominated 24 times collectively, and only Rooney Mara is a first -time nominee. Of those 24 nominations, a whopping 16 come from Meryl Streep. Streep has one of the longest award droughts in history. The last time Streep won an Oscar was for Sophie’s Choice in 1982, before her main competitor Michelle Williams was walking and before Mara was even born. Streep’s career aside, she had an amazing performance this year playing Margaret Thatcher, showing the vulnerability, but ultimate strength, of the former Prime Minister. She looks to be at the front of the pack again with a Golden Globe win, but Williams, whose portrayal of Marilyn Monroe also won a Golden Globe, is a definite contender too. This is a good pack, though, so the other nominees, Mara, Viola Davis and Glenn Close, could pull off an upset on Oscar night.

My Pick: Meryl Streep

Best Supporting Actress

While the Best Actress category is dominated by experienced actresses who are no strangers to awards shows, the Supporting Actress category this year is exactly the opposite. Of the nominees, only Janet McTeer has ever received an Oscar nod, and her nomination came over a decade ago. Not that the nominees are complete unknowns. Melissa McCarthy, who is nominated for Bridesmaids, won an Emmy this year, and Jessica Chastain starred in The Debt and Best Picture nominee The Tree of Life, along with her nominated supporting role in The Help. Although she is not as well known in the United States, Bérénice Bejo, who is nominated for The Artist, is a star in France, and for good reason. Bejo is an incredibly versatile actress, and her superb talents are showcased throughout The Artist. In the movie, she plays Peppy Miller, an aspiring movie star who gets her break from a silent film star whose fame she later eclipses. Unlike more conventional roles where the character’s emotions are expressed through speech, Bejo had the daunting task of expressing everything through her body language and facial expressions, and she is very effective at this. She is also a wonderful dancer, and her performance went beyond the usual Oscar bait that can dominate awards season. Bejo deserves the win, but look for a showdown between her and Golden Globe winner Octavia Spencer on Oscar night.

Best Actor

The Academy awards have gone international this year with the Best Actor category. Three of the nominees, Gary Oldman, Jean Dujardin and Demián Bichir, are not from the United States, and each is nominated for the first time. Of the nominees, from America or otherwise, Dujardin’s performance in The Artist tops the list and should win the Oscar. Dujardin plays George Valentin, a silent movie star whose art form suddenly becomes obsolete and who drinks himself into poverty and depression. Dujardin manages to skirt the line between great acting and the overacting that was so prevalent in the height of the silent movie era. Dujardin’s face is so expressive he can convey his character’s every thought and feeling to the audience while still maintaining the subtleties of a modern powerhouse performance. Plus, his smile is so magnetic — it’s hard not to root for him. He’s already won a Golden Globe, and an Oscar could be coming his way too. The two other favorites are perennial contenders, George Clooney and Brad Pitt. It will be a close race, but Clooney will probably end up taking home his second Academy Award this year for his Golden Globewinning turn in The Descendants.

My Pick: Jean Dujardin

Best Supporting Actor

Sadly, out of all the major categories this year, the Supporting Actor category is the weakest. None of the nominees had an outstanding or career-defining performance, and because of this, there is no clear frontrunner. Some might say this means a category with little excitement, but there is some local interest. Nick Nolte, a Westside High School graduate, scored a nomination for his work in Warrior, in which he plays the alcoholic father and coach of a mixed martial arts fighter. Another nominee to root for is Jonah Hill, best known for his comedic movies like Superbad and Knocked Up. Hill was nominated for Moneyball. The Academy often rewards comedians who take a dramatic role, and I would love to see Hill take home the award. The most likely winner this year, though, is Christopher Plummer in Beginners. Plummer plays a father who comes out as gay in his 70s. He has already won a Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice award for his performance.

It has been said that silence is golden. Never has this been more true than at this year’s Academy Awards, where The Artist, a silent film, looks poised to win a golden statuette for Best Picture. Of all the movies this year, none is as innovative, moving, funny or simply enjoyable to watch. The story itself is very simple. The Artist follows George Valentin, a silent movie star who is the toast of Hollywood and can do no wrong. While at the top, he helps a young starlet named Peppy Miller get her big break, and as they begin to fall for one another, the talkies are introduced in cinemas across the country. Suddenly, Valentin is a washed-up nobody slowly drinking himself to death while Miller rises to superstardom. Miller hasn’t forgotten about Valentin, though, and the remainder of the movie is spent with Miller trying to help Valentin back to the top even as he self-destructs. As feel-good as that sounds, it is actually a comedy, and the humor of the film mixes seamlessly with the drama.

Best Director

During multiple scenes in the movie, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh or cry. Despite being set in the ‘30s, having no sound and being in black and white, The Artist does not feel dated at all, and the audience can instantly connect to it. Everything about this film comes together amazingly, with wonderful acting, a great screenplay, a stirring score and even a dog. Normally, a film featuring a dog as one of its stars would make me groan, but it was handled so perfectly I felt like Uggy the Jack Russell terrier should be given an acting nomination. With a Critic’s Choice Award, a Golden Globe and a Producers Guild of America Award, an Oscar is the next logical step for The Artist. The Descendants, directed by Omahan Alexander Payne, looks to be a contender too, after a Golden Globe win. Martin Scorsese’s film Hugo is also in the running, but ultimately, it will be the creators of The Artist giving their acceptance speech come Oscar night.

My Pick: The Artist

movie of the year. That being said, I also would not mind seeing Scorsese win for Hugo. This is such a huge departure from the type of movie he usually makes it’s surprising, but ultimately rewarding. Some have dubbed Hugo a “kid’s movie,” but just because it is a movie appropriate for children to watch does not make it a film for 7-year-olds. It is a movie everyone can enjoy because of its beautiful visuals and lovable characters. Scorsese is currently favored to win his second Oscar for Hugo after his Golden Globe win, but Hazanavicius, Woody Allen, Payne or Terrence Malick could steal the show.

Of all the categories in this year’s Academy Awards, the award for Best Director seems like the most competitive and least predictable. As the awards season has progressed, just about every awards show has chosen someone different as the best director, and I, like most critics this year, am torn. Best Director and Best Picture usually go hand in hand, so Michel Hazanavicius should win for The Artist. He deserves it too — the title of The Artist is as much a reference to Hazanavicius’ great filmmaking as it is to anything in the actual film. Nothing in the movie feels forced or dated, and because of Hazanavicius’ direction, The Artist wasn’t just a gimmick, it was the best

My Pick: Martin Scorsese

Best Adapted Screenplay

Best Original Screenplay

It seems like in this category, it isn’t who is going to win the Oscar — it’s who is going to win his second one. Past winners Payne, Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian are all nominated this year. Even George Clooney, who has previously won for his acting, is nominated in this category for his political film The Ides of March. He also stars in The Descendants, which should win. At the beginning of the film none of the characters in his movie are really likable, yet as Payne’s story unfolds, something wonderfully human begins to form, and by the end, it is difficult not to feel for the dysfunctional clan. The Descendants is the definite favorite to win in this category, with only Hugo posing a significant challenge.

It is amazing how a film with so little dialogue can be so moving. The Artist had far and away the best story this year, and deserves the Oscar. Hazanavicius managed to tell a story that was compelling, poignant and surprisingly funny without saying a word. What little dialogue is included in the film is pithy and filled with wit. After his Golden Globe win in this category, Woody Allen is the favorite to win for Midnight in Paris. However, the fact that he shuns awards shows like the Oscars could hurt his chances. It would be a stretch for the other movies to win, but the Iranian film A Separation could be a dark horse for the award.

My Pick: The Artist

My Pick: The Descendants

My Pick: Nick Nolte

My Pick: Bérénice Bejo

The Departed

2007

for Old Men No Country

2008

Slumdog Millionaire

2009

r The Hurt Locke

2010

eech The King’s Sp

2011

Graphic by Kate Laing


arts & entertainment

l 11 Doomsday Playlist February 3, 2011

LISTEN BEFORE

YOU DIE

By Skylar Harris STAFF WRITER

The sun explodes and fireballs rain from the sky. Dismembered, rotting corpses wander the streets in search of brains. There is one question everyone must be asking himself in preparation for the predicted 2012 apocalypse. What will be playing on the speakers as you witness the last sunset? Here is the rundown of the top ten songs that must be included on your doomsday playlist:

1. “Stairway To Heaven” – Led Zeppelin As cliché as it sounds, “Stairway” is an amazing song. Zeppelin hasn’t received all the hype its gotten over the years for nothing. Not only is “Stairway” a good apocalypse song, but it’s also fairly easy for beginning guitarists to play. The soothing back riff by Jimmy Page builds and climaxes with Robert Plant’s squealing vocals. If you haven’t listened to this audio roller coaster yet, check it out.

Graphic by Kate Laing

2012 DOOMSDAY

APPROACHES By Andrew McVea A&E EDITOR It’s time to dust off the gas masks, restock the fallout shelter and brush up on our survival skills. With 2012 already here, yet another possible apocalypse is on its way. After Harold Camping and Y2K, it is understandable if you would prefer to just ignore 2012, but this possible doomsday is actually much more scientifically plausible than most previous doomsday predictions. The basis for the myth is the fact that 2012 is the end of the 5,000-year Mayan Long Count Calendar, one of the first accurate ancient astrological calendars. The end of the world isn’t actually supposed to happen until Dec. 21, but many 2012 apocalypse believers are preparing themselves for multiple disasters throughout the year, culminating on the actual date in December. The first month of apocalypse has been pretty tame so far, but perhaps it will pick up later in the year. Although the date of the predicted apocalypse is known, the actual catastrophic event that will destroy humanity is still unknown to believers. Possible scenarios include a massive solar flare that would fry our atmosphere, an asteroid smashing into the Earth’s surface or a new planet throwing us out of orbit. The most plausible would be a shift in the Earth’s magnetic poles. The scientific community is not in agreement on what would happen if such an event occurred, but 2012 believers are expecting

lots of death and destruction. Not surprisingly, the 2012 apocalypse has been widely depicted in the entertainment world. Many of the possible catastrophes have been referenced in pop culture, but the most well-known way for the Earth to perish comes from the movie 2012. In this movie, earthquakes, tsunamis and floods abound. Los Angeles falls into an abyss and somehow Mount Everest is sucked into the ocean. Yet for whatever reason, Africa manages to survive, and all the survivors head there, a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal film. Musically, 2012 has also become a hot topic with songs such as “2012 (It Ain’t the End),” in which Jay Sean and Nicki Minaj rap about partying like it’s the end of the world. Perhaps a safer bet for a doomsday playlist would be the aptly named song “2012” by Gossip, an urban-sounding punk-rock group, and of course R.E.M.’s classic song, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” With all the rumors and misconceptions surrounding 2012, it may be difficult to sift through the ramblings of the crazy believers to find out what is actually plausible. Fortunately, 2012 has its has own website, December2012endofworld.com, which includes tons of background information on the idea, along with links to chat rooms and blogs for people to follow. Whether you believe it is the end of the world or not, 2012 has become a big deal. Soon all of us will have to deal with its effects, whether the world ends or not.

U PCOMING SHOWS Orpheum Theater: • Peter Frampton 3/31/12 $86-$349 The Sandbox: • The Decatures 2/11/12 $5 The Slowdown: • Cursive 3/3/12 $13 in advance, $15 at the door • G. Love and Special Sauce 3/13/12 $20 in advance, $25 at the door • Lost In The Trees 3/13/12 $10 Sokol Auditorium: • Chevelle 3/14/12 $25 in advance, $25 at the door

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Testament 2/13/12 $22 in advance, $25 at the door Twin Sister 2/15/12 $10 Mayday Parade 2/27/12 $17 in advance, $18 at the door Chris Webby 3/1/12 $15 in advance, $18 at the door Elliott BROOD 3/6/2012 $8 in advance, $10 at the door Eisley 3/11/12 $13 Nada Surf 3/30/12 $16 in advance, $18 at the door

2. “Imagine” – John Lennon In the event a nuclear war breaks out, “Imagine” would be the ideal song to listen to. “Imagine there’s no heaven/It’s easy if you try/No hell below us/ Above us only sky/Imagine all the people living for today/Imagine there’s no countries/It isn’t hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/ Imagine all the people living life in peace.” Even in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust, these lyrics would be comforting soundtrack to close your eyes to and escape to a better world. 3. “Dirty Harry” – The Gorillaz This isn’t the last song you should listen to before you die. This is the scouring-barren-wasteland-looking-for-supplies song. The mellow beats are offset perfectly by the chorus singing quietly in the background about despair and fighting to stay alive. It’s perfect for the struggle for survival everyone will surely be facing. 4. “The Number of the Beast” – Iron Maiden After obtaining supplies, there’s sure to be a terribly gory zombie-extermination fight. Now, running through the city, fending off brain-thirsty corpses, there will be a need for a song that inspires bodaciousness. A number of Maiden songs allow this, but none better than “The Number of the Beast.” When Bruce Dickinson rips into the chorus screaming, “SIX! SIX SIX! The number of the beast!” and Steve Harris pedals a driving beat on his bass, it’s next to impossible not to feel empowered. 5. “Children of the Grave” – Black Sabbath Now, after other survivors have been found, we’ll need a song that unites the tribes. “Children of the Grave” tells of revolution with lyrics like “Children of tomorrow live in the tears that fall today/Will the sun rise of tomorrow bring in peace in any way?/Must the world live in the shadow of atomic fear?/Can they win the fight for peace or will they disappear?” 6. “Violet Hill” – Coldplay Bad news. A toxic zombie has bitten the love of your life. He/she has only a few hours to live as a human before transforming into part of the legion of the undead. Coldplay’s “Violet Hill” will be the mellow song playing behind your final discussion, with him/her begging you to let go. It’s for your safety, after all. Now you must either listen to your significant other’s command, get infected or watch him die. The lines, “When I’m dead and hit the ground/A love back home, it unfolds/And if you love me, won’t you let me know” will help you through this difficult time in your life. 7. ”Riders on the Storm” – The Doors More bad news. This just hasn’t been your day. The tribe’s discovered a traitor in your midst, and you have no idea who it is. Who would turn against mankind and join the animated dead? The Doors’s “Riders on the Storm” will lead you into the depths of your mind to find the culprit. Once he’s found, feed him to his precious zombie brethren. 8. “Monkey Gone to Heaven” – The Pixies You don’t know how to feel anymore. Everyone you’ve ever loved is either mutilated beyond recognition or lusting for your brains. Staring bleakly at the wall, your thoughts linger on the faces of the zombies you’ve ended. These monsters were once human like you. Faintly, in the background, you hear “Monkey Gone to Heaven” by the Pixies. “The creature in the sky/Got sucked in a hole/Now there’s a hole in the sky/And the ground’s not cold/Everything is gonna burn/We’ll all take turns/I’ll get mine, too/This monkey’s gone to heaven” are some of the lyrics that eerily fit the scene at hand. You accept your fate and find a spot on the roof to watch the final scenes of your life. 9. “Violence of the Sun” – Wolfmother “Look into the sky/Never wondered why/The violence of the sun.” The opening lyrics of this score, accompanied perfectly by Andrew Stockdale’s beating guitar, match your thoughts. Listlessly, you watch the sun start to burn darker and darker, until it almost blends with the black sky. 10. “Dark Star” – Grateful Dead Suddenly, the world falls into the darkest night, the blackest black imaginable. You can’t even see your hand in front of your face. It’s cold, freezing. You know if you don’t freeze to death, you’ll starve. You’re going to die. “Dark Star” by the Dead lulls you to sleep as your aching body relaxes to the soothing guitar and harmonies. This dark star that’s going to end your life is also lolling you to sleep.


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