Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hey, local people.

It may be a shameless plug, but hey, it's arts, and it's informal. 

Anyways, Asylum Lake Magazine, a local Kalamazoo publication, is going through a restructuring, and they're looking at the college crowd for submissions!

What sort of submissions, you ask? 

Well, there are all sorts of things that you could submit. It could be art, prose, poetry, music articles, and any journalism you would like to do in the arts. 

While they won’t be taking submissions for a little bit, it’s always good to have a way to get your work out there, and this is a great way to start. Currently, there are the aforementioned sections, and they are currently working out on finding a staff editor for LGBTQA writing.

If anyone is interested in writing about music, you’re more than welcome to contact me at If anyone is interested in an editor position, you can talk to Zac Clark, whose email is

It would be great to see anyone’s work featured in the magazine, and it’s another easy route to publishing.

The magazine’s contact email is if you’re interested in pursuing this any farther, or you could talk to either myself or Zac Clark in person if you’re on K’s campus.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

From Riches to Rags

          “Nothing makes me happy these days. I’ll be happy when I can find a solution to this.”

            For a documentary that chronicles the lavish lifestyle of Westgate Resort owner David Siegel and his family, Lauren Greenfield’s The Queen of Versailles provides an emotionally turbulent journey through the rise and fall of the timeshare magnate.

            While it claims to be a documentation of Versailles, the largest single-family home in the United States, it reaches much deeper than that. It examines the effect of economic recession on every aspect of life, and therein lies its true success.

            The film focuses on one of the richest families in the United States; their tale touches a poignant chord that affects anyone who has had financial struggles. Family life is hit the hardest, and Greenfield’s masterpiece portrays the universality of the point hard.

            It is hard to decide whether to sympathize for or despise the Siegel family, but that is part of what makes the film so wonderful. The level of opulence the family displays is sickening, but Greenfield still manages to depict every argument and strife in a manner that everyone can relate to.

            The soundtrack, composed by Jeff Beal, is marvelous, and it covers every range of emotions from elation to futility seamlessly. His compositions blend effortlessly with the fall of Versailles, and in turn the fall of the Siegel family.

            The combination of Beal’s soundtrack with vignettes of economic despair truly represent the seemingly unattainable American Dream after the 2008 economic collapse, which is what makes this film a success.

            Unfortunately, watching the film is sometimes painful to sit through, whether it be from viewing the absurdly lush living of the family or seeing the pain felt by those around him, like from Virginia Nebab, one of their nannies.

            “I need to go home,” she says, revealing that she hasn’t returned to her native Philippines in eleven years. She left her family there, including her now fully-grown children and recently-deceased father.  The same conditions that left the Siegel family with a crumbling empire and home have left her almost destitute.

            In the end, it is hard to decide how to react to the Siegel family themselves. Greenfield portrays them in an unabashed light, and she manages to create an enthralling chronicle that nonetheless appeals to all walks of life. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Crowd-Funding Instead of Crowd-Surfing?

There comes a time when every child must split away from their parents in order to go out into the world on their own. They need to see the sights, spread their wings, and -- wait, when did that ever cost THAT much?

When the moment arrives to actually pay for things themselves, it's a huge shock.  Unfortunately, the same holds true for the recording industry, and that's where the record companies come in to cover the cost.

Source: New York Daily News

However, the progressive metalcore band Protest The Hero has decided to take things into their own hands.

Using the crowd-funding site IndieGoGo, the band aims to fund their fourth full-length album in addition to providing perks for donations above a certain dollar amount.

These perks start at ten dollars, which provides the benefactor with a digital download, and can range from a pizza party with the band to having them cover a song of your choosing.

In addition to this, they provide their budget for creating the album at the bottom of the page, plus anything they spend on the perks, so that anyone who donates gets exactly what they're spending the money on.

At the time of this post, the band has almost reached double of their requested amount, and the band has specified that the money will be used to create their best album yet. They wrote that part of their goal in this was to "prove that making a top notch record comes at a price."

This could mark a slow change in the way the music industry runs, especially with the split from a record company after a 13-year run with them. Only time will tell.

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Irrelevant Look to the Golden Globes

Welcome to the Golden Globes, where everything is made-up and the awards don't matter.

Well, maybe Quentin does.
Ha! You thought we were going to talk about the Golden Globes?
No one cares about the Golden Globes.
Onto our real article.

Ben Brantley’s theatre review of “Picnic” by William Inge oozes style and panache.

But that’s really all that he oozes. Giving the reader a five-paragraph long description of a walking, hairless torso, perfectly chiseled as if it were a mobile “marble statue” is sure to tickle jollies, though we wanted something more than just the waist up.

Mr. Brantley wrote his biography backwards, if that says anything. Oh, and he is also single.

Brantley admits that “objectification is a major theme of ‘Picnic,’” which excuses his own ogling (he also pays dues to lead actress Maggie Grace’s “exquisitely shaped pair of legs” and her “not-so-bad face” if we are to be fair), however his analysis is only skin-deep.

Though dropping to slightly more serious tone to address the sexual themes of the play in the latter half of the article, highlighting “the role of prettiness as both a burden and an aspiration” as a major undertone to the play, it seems that his own ‘but’ only addresses the chemistry of the actors in the play.

Who is just ogling now, Brantley?

Co-written by Zac Clark and Jon Husar

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Shock and Awe in a Theater Near You

Zero Dark Thirty

            A black screen with the words, “September 11, 2001” opens the film, and silence fills the theater for a few seconds. Sound bites, all of them recorded 911 calls, layer over each other as callers incredulously express that two planes have struck the Twin Towers. The frenzied noise draws to a climax as one final clip begins playing. This one is of a woman trapped in the World Trade Center. As it plays out her final moments, it leaves the stunned operator to only say, “Oh my God.”

            These last moments set the tone for the entirety of Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, a spy thriller that chronicles the hunt for Osama Bin Laden from September 11, 2001 to Bin Laden’s death on May 2, 2011.

            Although the film examines the darker side of United States involvement in the Middle East, exploring issues such as CIA torture techniques and other war atrocities, it still manages to be a gripping thriller. Leading actress Jessica Chastain gives a cold-as-steel performance as CIA agent Maya, the driving force behind the investigation that culminated in the death of Bin Laden.

            It is perhaps her characterization that helps propel the film into such greatness, exploring her roles in both the interrogation room in addition to multiple attempts on her life. It is in the moments in which she does break down that truly spotlight her fantastic acting ability, transitioning from ice-cold agent to a broken human being after witnessing the deaths of multiple coworkers and friends over the course of her career.

            It is an extraordinarily well-made film, sporting wonderful cinematography, pacing, and actors. Even so, no work addressing topics such as these are without controversy. The torture scenes that take place in the first 45-or-so minutes of the film are extremely graphic and present the practice as effective and even key in the Bin Laden investigation. This has led to multiple allegations of the film taking a pro-torture stance.

            However, the gritty and gruesome scenes were necessary to tell the whole tale. Bigelow looked to tell the entire story of the chase, even if it included the CIA torture practices. The film itself was physically stressful to sit through, but it was captivating the entire way. For a film that addresses one of the most controversial manhunts in American history, Bigelow hit the mark with a film that both shocks and awes.