Wrestlemania 32 fails to connect with avid fans

wrestle Wrestlemania 32 took place at AT&T stadium in Dallas, Texas on April 3 with WWE reporting an attendance record of 101,763, breaking not only its own attendance records, but numerous records in both attendance and revenue in the building. Wrestlemania is a yearly event that features a culmination of multiple wrestling feuds that get settled in nearly a dozen wrestling matches, oftentimes with numerous of the companies championships on the line. The draw of Wrestlemania, and professional wrestling itself has always been the suspension of disbelief that accompanies the atmosphere and feeling of watching larger than life characters take center stage. At wrestling’s perfection, it combines elements of storytelling, athleticism, and an in-ring psychology that can be one of the best displays of performance art. Wrestlemania 32 provides an interesting look of the state of WWE today, with an obvious irony attached to its success. The irony of Wrestlemania 32 is that for such a high attendance record, mainstream acceptance and interest has hit a period where it has reached a noticeable low. Coming back from Texas, I was often approached with questions such as “how was your wrestling thing,” or felt I was basically asked “How was that carnival show you went to see”. Wrestlemania 32, in its attempts to become the largest Wrestlemania and sell out AT&T stadium, focused more on making Wrestlemania an entertaining spectacle in order to appeal to a larger mainstream audience thereby sacrificing many elements of what makes wrestling great to the fans who recognize this. Based on the attendance records that was set it’s assumed thatfocuinsg on making Wrestlemania as more of a spectacle WWE worked, and as a show, can be rated as one of the best Wrestlemanias and not just the biggest. The crueler irony was a surprising disconnect WWE had with its viewers and what to provide them with, as the building was filled with the more passionate of wrestling fans, the type of fans who came to watch more than over-the-top violence and qualities that wrestling had at its peak of its popularity. Wrestlemania was met with scathing criticisms by the majority of people who reviewed the event, namely, wrestling journalists, sporting websites, and wrestling critics who have a notable voice in the industry. The mainstream media and audiences did not clamor over the appearance and victory of wrestling veteran Chris Jericho, the return of The Rock disposing easily of promising talent, a world title reign of another wrestling veteran Triple H, and the unnanounced appearnce of Shaquille O’ Neil in a battle royale. There was even backlash with the more violent matches that most in the industry praise such as the easy disposal of fan favorite Dean Ambrose by Brock Lesnar or Shane McMahon’s attempt at jumping off a 20 ft cage on The Undertaker (an attempt, because Undertaker rolled out of the way in the last second). Let it not be mistaken, though, that everyone in attendance enjoyed themselves. Wrestlemania 32 featured a seven man ladder match that paved a path for a rivalry that will captivate viewers in future years between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. The match also included it’s the victor of the match, Zack Ryder, providing fans with a happy underdog story. Audiences saw the Wrestlemania debut of “The Phenomenal One”, AJ Styles, an industry legend who wrestled all over the world. Styles made his WWE debut last January and made an impact that cemented his place on the Wrestlemania card with a quality match. The greatest upside to Wrestlemania 32 and, in professional wrestling in general, was the death of the term “divas” and the “divas championship” as a result of an almost yearlong effort in revolutionizing women’s wrestling. As a result the women’s match for the “WWE Women’s Championship” between Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte stole the show. It was this match that brought together everything that both a passionate wrestling fan and casual viewer can enjoy with the entrances of each wrestler being a spectacle that let everyone know that this match had larger stakes, arguably the best display of athleticism displayed that night, and an atmosphere and in-ring psychology that keeps viewers on the edge of their seat as the referee counts to three to signal a victory. Overall, however, Wrestlemania may have drawn a 100k attendance but this was done because of the explosion of interest by wrestling fans with a never before seen explosion of independent wrestling promotions, and the rise of wrestling show Lucha Underground. Wrestling the night after Wrestlemania was as popular as it was the night before making WWE’s efforts a wasted one, sacrificing the quality of what makes wrestling objectively good. Overall, Wrestlemania 32 is an enjoyable Wrestlemania to any casual fan or even someone who has never watched it, which is the underlying problem, it’s not going to be watched by a casual or uninterested fan. Wrestlemania 33 in the Citrus Bowl at Orlando, Florida next year on April 2, 2017 better be WWE’s new wakeup call if they still care about increasing its mainstream relevancy. For this to happen they will need to create a new formula for success as its old formula has become outdated.

"Kate and Sam" is more than just a comedy

Imagine screaming at your best friend at the top of your lungs, hitting them, shooting them, and then going out to coffee the next morning, as if nothing happened.If this sounds fantastic to you, that’s because it happens only in the theater, the realm of the strange, wonderful, and unbelievable. The events described above all take place in the show “Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up,” which will be shown at the Mill Theater on April 21-24 and April 28-30. It will be the culmination of much hard work on the part of all involved: be they actors, directors, or stage hands. For many of those involved, work on the play began a couple of months ago when the actors auditioned for their roles. Each actor prepared two monologues—a comedic one and a dramatic one—for their audition, just as they would for a professional show. “Over the years, actors build up a repertoire of monologues to use in their auditions,” said Isabella Yanke, who plays Becky Park in the show. “These monologues give the director some idea of what each actor is capable of.” After the preliminary auditions, a few actors are called back for a second round of auditions in which they are asked to read a monologue from the play so the director can get an idea of which actors would be best for which role. He then chooses the lucky actors—four in this case—who will act in the play. Next, all the actors meet with the director for a read-through. “We basically just sat around a table and read the script so we had an idea of what the play was like and who the characters were,” said Yanke. “This particular play moved pretty fast through this stage for a school production. We had to be off-book by the third rehearsal, when we got back from spring break.” The rehearsals moved to the Mill Theater where the actors did some informal blocking. Props were chosen, and scenery was designed and built. This is where the stage-hands came in. “Kate and Sam is the first time I’ve ever been backstage for a play,” said Mary Margaret Tarsitano, the assistant stage manager. “During rehearsals, I had to help with props and scenery and prompt the actors if they forgot a line.” For the most part, Kate and Sam is your average play except for one thing—the fight scenes. For these scenes, the director hired Dave Gonzales, a fight choreographer, to work with the actors. “Fighting on stage is all about timing and positioning,” Yanke said. “The actors have to position themselves so the audience can’t see what’s going on, and each separate part has to be done in the right sequence at the right time. For example, there’s one scene where Karly Hannah (Kate) gets slapped by Danny (Bill). Danny pushes his hand towards her, she moves back, and Lukas (Sam) claps his hands for the slap noise.” The show also includes fake blood, some knives, and a prop gun. “I had never fired any gun, real or fake, before this show,” Yanked commented. “I was surprised at how hard it was for me to pull the trigger. I have to use both hands to do it.” For most of the show, these “weapons” will be backstage with Tarsitano. “We do this thing called ‘fight check’ where we check all the weapons before production to make sure nothing will happen to hurt the actors. They will stay by me during the performances until it’s time for them to go onstage.” Handling a gun, albeit a fake one, does not worry her. “I’m from the South, so I’m used to guns,” she laughed. The play has certainly developed from the beginning, where it was just four actors sitting around a table reading a script. However, many of those involved would say that the greatest development occurred in the actors’ portrayal of the characters. Hannah noted that her perception of Kate has changed since they started production. “It’s easy to play Kate as a ‘stuck’ character, someone who fits a particular mold or stereotype. I had to work to make Kate complex; she’s a bluffer, someone who puts up a brave front despite being terrified. This show may be a comedy, but it has real depth to it, a depth which needs to shine through our acting.”

"Hardcore Henry" is far from hardcore: 1/5 stars

hardcore “Hardcore Henry” marks the beginning of something of a filmmaking revolution. The film is presented entirely from a first-person perspective, making it one of the most technically impressive and innovative action films in years. After generating over $250,000 in Indiegogo hype money based on a sampling of what the film would offer in a 2013 music video (now viewed over 33 million times on YouTube), “Hardcore Henry” was poised to revolutionize the modern action flick… But didn’t. In fact, it failed miserably at revolutionizing anything. The film does succeed, however, in being a shockingly misogynistic and derivative snooze-fest. So how does a film with so much technical potential ruin its chances of becoming a cinematic hallmark of innovation? Let’s start from the beginning. The film opens and we are given our first look from the titular protagonist’s (Henry’s) perspective: A shot of a woman awakening him from cryogenically induced sleep and filling in all the gaps in his memory. The woman, we learn, is his wife, Estelle. She is a scientist who has been forced to work for a generic Saturday-morning-cartoon villain (Akan) in order to save him after a terrible accident. The whole process of which has left Henry with cyber-genetic enhancements and no memories of how he got there. However, before Henry and Estelle can get too comfortable, Akan and his soldiers burst in, kidnap Estelle, and leave Henry for dead. To save his wife, Henry teams up with an eccentric (and mysteriously unkillable) sidekick, Jimmy, who knows more about Henry’s past than he lets on. As all of this plays out, Henry kills more and more of Akan’s goons (a cornucopia of non-descript Russian grunts) in a series of visually stunning first-person action sequences. Like I mentioned before, the entire film is presented from Henry’s perspective. What we see is what Henry sees. A facet which is no doubt the most impressive and notable feature of the movie. Yet all of “Hardcore Henry”’s technical achievements are eclipsed by the generic, two-dimensional nature of its plot and characters. The story is what you would expect of any generic action movie: A hero has to save a damsel in distress from an evil villain. The situations are just so dull. Yes, they’re shown in a visually unique and interesting way, but the audience is never given any real reason to care about what happens to the characters. Speaking of characters, you’ve got your standard array of action movie tropes here. There’s the badass hero and his wacky sidekick Jimmy, played in a highlight performance by Sharlto Copley. They fight against the over-the-top villain Akan, played in a ho-hum turn from relative newcomer Danila Kozlovsky, to save the damsel in distress, played by rising star Haley Bennet. Most of the actors do a fine job, but given material this lifeless it’s hard to elevate performances past anything other than a living breathing trope. The damsel in distress trope is the main motivator in “Hardcore Henry” and keeps the plot moving. Without Estelle, Henry would have no reason to continue to chase Akan. However, Henry’s damsel-driven determination seems pretty standard and would not in itself ruin the film, but it is the other instances of blatant misogyny that elevate this film from being merely boring to outright disgusting. Countless examples of women being objectified can be seen throughout the film, as the first person camera locks on to any instances of roaming cleavage or naked breasts. I’m usually inclined to give filmmakers the benefit of the doubt, but every single woman in this film appears in a sexual context. As a result, “Hardcore Henry” is a display of innovative and technical filmmaking and not much else. The most disappointing thing about “Hardcore Henry” is the potential it had to be brilliant. What could have been a revolutionary benchmark of immersive filmmaking now more resembles a fifteen-year old’s monster-induced fever dream.

Sex in the Suburbs - Questions answered

The sex lives of college students are intriguing, yet slightly ambiguous so we would like to help you out along that perilous journey you’re embarking on. Check out more answers to any of your questions about sex on our website or on our tumblr http://lets-talkaboutsex.tumblr.com/. Feel free to ask us your own questions as well via the tumblr page or on the Leader’s website, ecleader.org.

Q. “People say they like it rough, but how rough is too rough?”

You have to set boundaries for yourself and your partner. If you’re trying BDSM make sure each of you have a safe word and have set limits beforehand. Actions such as scratching, biting, hair pulling, and ass slapping are usually okay. When it comes to things such as choking, gagging, nipple clamps, or anything along those lines you have to rear on the side of caution. Even though a person might agree initially, halfway through they can realize how much they don’t like it. Being observant and responsive is key. If you get encouragement, keep going. Any hesitation at all, you stop. Remember, sex is supposed to be fun, not painful. On a personal note, I’ve noticed a theme with guys that I’ve dated in the past. It deals with the question, how are penises and political ideologies similar? Don’t know? Well, it’s great that you have one, it’s great that you’re proud of it, but for the love of God please don’t shove it down my throat. I understand that men see this all the time in porn, and it turns them on for whatever reason. But really guys, take my advice: if someone agrees to go down on you, do not force their head down. It could turn them on, but on the other hand they have their mouth on a very precious part of your body and you probably don’t want to piss them off when you’re that vulnerable.

Q. “I’ve always been curious about BDSM. How does it work? How does pain equate to pleasure?”

Ah, BDSM. BDSM stands for bondage and discipline (BD), dominance and submission (DS), and sadomasochism (SM). Now if you’re wondering exactly what BDSM entails rather than what it stands for, here we go. Dominance and Submission: The most mild. In a D/S relationship, one person is the dominant (top) and the other the submissive (bottom). However, D/S relationships, unlike others, are not solely based on physicality, but rather focus on the emotional aspect of relationships (one person controlling the other). Bondage and Discipline: The happy medium. If you’ve ever tied someone down / been tied down or blindfolded someone /been blindfolded, you’ve engaged in bondage and discipline. Sadism and Masochism: The most extreme. This is probably what most of you think of when you hear the term BDSM. This type of relationship is what focuses on the torture / humiliation aspect of the BDSM lifestyle. So if chains and whips excite you, this one’s for you. When engaging in a BDSM relationship, communication is key. While I’ve never gone the whole nine yards, I’ve been romantic with a man who enjoyed engaging in certain parts of this lifestyle. Whenever people hear the term “BDSM” their minds generally go to “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Don’t think that’s what it is. BDSM relationships are about pleasure and excitement for both; it’s not about an emotionally damaged man wanting to beat his partner because it gets him off. If this is something that you think you would be interested in, do your research. There are countless sources to give you all the answers you need. Make sure you know what you want, and make sure your partner understands this as well. As far as the pain equating to pleasure, everyone’s different in that regard. It depends on how sensitive your body is, and how mentally prepared you are for what’s happening. Here’s a basic example: you’re walking down the street and someone smacks your ass. First, That’s sexual harassment and you should call the police, it’s not going to turn you on and it’s probably going to sting a little. However, when you’re having sex and your partner smacks your ass, I’m going to assume most of you like, and/or encourage it. Or, when you have sex after a fight with someone. Is it going to be sweet and romantic? No. It’s hot, it’s passionate, and it’s rough. It’s really all about your mindset here. Now that you have the basic information, really consider what this is before you engage in it. Sure it’s hot to think about, but not everything is as great as you imagine it to be. Like I stated earlier, I’ve been with men that enjoyed engaging in certain aspects of this lifestyle. Sometimes things like this are better left as a fantasy. Not saying that it can’t turn you on to be tied down, but I’m assuming most of you don’t want someone to pour hot candle wax on your chest. Nothing screams “sexy” like second-degree burns on your nipples.

Featured Artist: Gina Carlson

ginaC As Kelly Clarkson’s words filled the room, young Gina Carlson’s voice filled the house and drew the attention of her mother. With camera phone in hand, she recorded her daughter’s private performance and realized Carlson had talent beyond her years. Now as Carlson approaches her college graduation, she is working towards a summer release for her debut EP. From the hairbrush to the recording studio microphones, Carlson has come a long way. In the midst of the process, she sat down with The Leader Underground for an inside look at her music career. Below is an abbreviated transcript of the interview, with additional information available online alongside Carlson’s exclusive performance.

The Leader: Tell us who you are and what you do.

Gina Carlson: I’m Gina Carlson and I am a super duper senior here at Elmhurst. I’m a musical theater major with a minor in music, but it’s more like music business because all the music courses I’ve taken have been in music business. I sing a lot of different styles, and I’ve worked very hard to kind of get where I want to be mastery-wise in various styles — which is why I’m doing this EP!

L: What styles are you trained in?

GC: I would consider myself strongest in musical theater. There are so many underground cabarets where people will just write music for people who sing in that style. So it’s not necessarily always singing songs from musicals or being in musicals. Instead, it’s singing that style of music. I’ve also spent a lot of time here singing jazz. Also gospel, R&B, pop, and I love country. They are all very different, but I think of myself as a chameleon that puts on many hats to make things different.

L: What made you decide to make an EP now?

GC: I’m graduating; so the purpose for me is to have a way to showcase the various things I’ve learned and can do. It’s basically a job application in the form of music. I have to as a musician go to bars, clubs, and music management companies and say ‘this is what I can do’. It’s to show people, not just friends and family who have heard me sing a thousand times, who I am because I’m a brand new face to the scene. It’s like a kick starter, no pun intended, into the career field.

L: What brought you to Elmhurst College?

GC: It’s a really entertaining story, actually. After a musical theater production I was in, Susan Monniger grabbed my arm and was like ‘you’re coming to Elmhurst College’. I already went to school and I went to school for free, because my mom taught there. But I said if she could make it happen for free, then I guess I could. And then three weeks later she called me and said: ‘We’re recruiting you and we are going to give you a full scholarship because we want you to come here and think you will influence other students and be a good leader here. And we are really excited to see what you can do. We want to see you leave this program having done that’. So I transferred and it’s been the craziest ride ever. When you get recruited you have to appreciate your education that much more, because someone plucked me out of a crowd and said they’re expecting a lot from me. There were things that were expected of me in natured, but also thinks that I wanted to do. But it definitely created a busy atmosphere with a lot of pressure to really be on top of my stuff and know my music. It’s been awesome. I would never ever have imagined that I would be here.

L: What advice do you have for someone hoping to pursue an art for their career?

GC: I would honestly say that you really need to evaluate, like you would with any major, if this is something you want to do for the rest of your life. Especially with the arts because it is very hard to make a career out of the arts. You’re going from gig to gig to gig, you don’t have a common 9-5 job. So you really have to be passionate and be able to light the fire under your own butt. You have to be super passionate about what you’re doing. You also have to work really hard at honing in on your skills because no one is going to take you seriously and no one is going to support your dreams, even if you love it, if you don’t take it seriously and work your hardest to be the very best you can be at it. You need to be always working, always practicing, and always taking advantage of every opportunity. It will show people that you’re being successful and working at getting better, so they will eventually be on board with your dreams. Carlson’s producer is EC alum, Shelly Bishop. The EP is set to be released in late summer 2016. If you would like to assist Carlson in funding her EP, you can do so at gofundme.com/hte5zxxk.

The Leader Underground: Because a stage is overrated. The Leader Underground provides a medium for local talent to showcase their work in a uniquely intimate setting. Exclusive performances and interviews are posted to youtube.com/ElmhurstLeader and ecleader.org Performers interested in joining the list of Underground Featured Artists can contact us at leadernewsec@gmail.com

Batman V. Superman: Cinematic Injustice

“What makes a movie bad?” It’s a surprisingly difficult question to answer. There are many subjective reasons as to why a person wouldn’t like a movie: Maybe they’re uninterested in the genre, perhaps they think the plot too confusing for their taste or the characters too unrelatable to themselves, or maybe it’s because of the distracting elderly couple incessantly babbling to each other in the seats in front of them. Regardless, some movies are just objectively bad, and Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice is one of them. The film opens with a bang, as a group of giant alien robot monsters destroy the city of Metropolis while attempting to kill Superman. Both of the titular heroes are present for this five-minute opening, saving numerous citizens from the widespread destruction. These action-packed moments filled with collapsing skyscrapers and explosions are at the very least visually interesting. The sequence ends and things slow down. A lot. We are transported to a Metropolis eighteen months in the future, rebuilt and attempting to deal with the destructive ramifications of Superman’s and Batman’s heroic endeavors. The two are seen as vigilantes, one a god from an alien world, and the other a man from the underworld.

After setting up this main premise, the film spends about two hours exploring it (kind of). The film never really scrapes any further than the surface surrounding the bigger questions it raises like What responsibilities does a super hero have to the people? When is a hero justified to kill? Should a hero represent the judgement of the people as a whole rather than making decisions on his own? Unfortunately, the film drops these intriguing questions as soon as it raises them, instead choosing to confusedly switch between the point of view of Batman and Superman in a series of horribly bland and unoriginal sub-plots.

As a result, the all-star cast is barely given any material to work with. Ben Affleck’s batman is barely distinguishable from Christian Bale’s in the Dark Knight Trilogy. Henry Cavill’s Superman is dull and uninteresting. Gal Gadot, known for her part in The Fast and Furious franchise, gives a stand out performance as Wonder Woman. Amy Adams is dreadfully disused as Lois Lane, here to give the audience explanation of the overly-complicated sub-plots regarding Jesse Eisenbergh’s Lex Luthor and his cliché attempts at ruining Superman’s heroic name. Eisenbergh, known for his breakout role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network is the only member of the cast who is overtly mediocre, choosing to portray Luthor as a demented over-the-top Saturday morning cartoon villain, despite the film’s overall serious tone.

The film’s trouble with tone may be representative of its most major misstep. In attempting to encompass all types of super hero film in one, the film is a complete mess of confused intentions. It never really seems sure of what it wants to be, meandering between being a slick and serious super hero drama, while at other times an over-the-top action comedy. Director Zack Snyder can’t even seem to decide which superhero it’s about. He not only includes Batman and Superman, but also adds in cameos from the Flash, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman, building hype for the upcoming Justice League revival (that I frankly wish I was able to watch instead). As a result, Batman V Superman is an objectively bad movie, proving itself to be nothing more than a cash-grab, carelessly forcing two separate superhero franchises together into a two and half-hour monstrosity.

Michael Engelhardt sits down with The Leader

engl On Thursday, Mar. 10, composer Michael Engelhardt paid a visit to Elmhurst College.

He has collaborated with Ben Folds and has refined choral arts through merging groove and video production.

He gave a seminar to the composition students, worked with Late Night Blues on one of his compositions, and ended the day by working with Women’s Chorus on a song the group commissioned from him.

Despite his busy schedule, Sara Groppe of the The Leader managed to get an interview with him.

The Leader: How did you first get interested in composing?

Michael Engelhardt: I guess I first got interested in composing when I was in high school. I was in an a’capella group where I did arrangements of pop songs for the group to sing. I continued doing this when I went to college, and just went on from there.

L:What inspires you?

ME: I mainly compose in two different styles: I either take historical material and re-work it with modern elements, such as taking a chant song and adding a drum groove to it; or I’ll write it in a contemporary Gospel style. When I am doing a historical piece, I usually find some sort of historical material that inspires me. Sometimes, though, I just sit down at my computer, press record, and start singing, just to see what I come up with.

L:Who is your favorite composer?

ME:It’s impossible for me to choose just one, because there are just so many that I like. I guess if I did have to pick one, I would choose Leonard Bernstein. He had a classical background in music, and if he wanted to, could write music for classical buffs that would be way over the heads of the general audience. But he chose to make his music accessible to the common listener. He really inspires me.

L:What is your favorite song?

ME: (Thinking really hard) Oh, that’s a tough one… I just love so many songs… You know, I can’t really pick just one song, because each song has its own situation and music that it applies to. My favorite dancing and happy song would not be my favorite song for themes of love or piece. Trying to pick my favorite song would be like trying to pick my favorite emotion—there is just too much variation. Each one is beautiful in its own way.

L: Do you have a favorite style of music?

ME: I generally gravitate towards things with a groove or pulse, something that’s really moving. I still like some music without a pulse, music that’s fluid, but I really like it when I can feel the groove in a song.

L: What is your favorite food?

ME: I grew up in Woodstock. Even though I live in St. Louis now, I am a real Chicago guy. I would have to say my favorite food would be Hebrew National Hot Dogs at Wrigley Field. The hot dogs lose a certain quality if I get them anywhere else.

L: So you’re a Cubs fan?

ME: I sure am. I carry a Cubs hat with me wherever I go. Last October was great; I was at the final game in St. Louis when the Cubs beat the Cardinals. That was fun. I can’t wait until this season starts.

L: What is your favorite movie or TV show?

ME: My favorite TV show would probably be “Seinfeld”, although I am getting into “Scrubs” again. My favorite movie would have to be “Blues Brothers”. You just can’t beat that car chase.

L: Thank you for your time, Mr. Engelhardt.

EC puts on Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

tempest These past two weeks (Mar. 10-13 & 17-19) the Elmhurst College Theater Department put on a production of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” a story of love, revenge, and wizardry, directed by theatre professor Janice Pohl.

For those who do not know the story, it takes place on a magical island where Prospero — or in this case, Prospera — the Duke of Milan and her daughter have been exiled by the duke’s scheming brother (in this production, her sister).

A series of fortunate events enable the duke to use her magical powers to create a tempest that casts the passengers and crew of a passing ship onto the island.

With the aid of a magical sprite, Ariel, the duke causes the castaways to go through a series of strange and comedic events in an attempt to redeem herself and her daughter, snagging the girl a husband in the process.

If you think this sounds complicated, it is.

I had read the play in high school, so I knew exactly what was going on, but many of the people I was with had trouble understanding the plot.

This was by no means the fault of the Theater Department; Shakespeare is just difficult to understand.

I suggest that anyone who wishes to see this play, or any other Shakespearean play, read a synopsis of the play before they go and see it.

You can find them on sites such as Sparknotes, and even Wikipedia has some fair plot summaries.

Most importantly, make sure to know the character names as the constant change in characters could also lead to some confusion, thus leading to a less enjoyable experience while watching this classic Shakespearean piece.

That being said, the Theater Department put on an excellent production of “The Tempest”.

The scenery, designed by Professor Richard Arnold Jr., made excellent use of the somewhat limited space in the Mill Theater; and the costumes, designed by Grace Bellino, fit the characters very well.

All of the actors performed very well; however, the performance of Isabella Yanke, who played Ariel, especially stood out.

Yanke said her lines clearly and put a lot of emotion and feeling into them.

Her petite frame fit the image of a sprite perfectly. She certainly looked and acted the part as she danced and sang around on the stage.

The only part of the play that needed some work was the opening scene, which takes place aboard the ship during the tempest.

The thunder and other sound effects drowned out most of the actors’ words, making it difficult to understand what was going on.

All that said, I enjoyed the Theater Department’s production of “The Tempest,” and highly recommend that readers of Shakespeare’s works go see some of their other productions.

The next play will be “Kate and Sam Are Not Breaking Up,” which will run April 21-24 and April 28-30. Tickets cost $5, a small price to pay for good acting.

Second City continue to help upcoming comics

2city Second City: The jumping point for some of the greatest names in American comedy, including Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, and many, many more.

Founded in Chicago in 1959, the theatre created its self-deprecating name after The New Yorker published an article naming Chicago the second best behind, unsurprisingly, New York City.

Since this point, though, Chicago has lifted itself up in theatre, comedy, and utter magnitude, especially for homebred locals.

At Second City—located on North and Wells in Old Town—shows are constantly running on the theatre’s multiple stages throughout the building.

One show that runs through this weekend is “Age Against the Machine,” a sketch revue written and performed by Chicago’s sketch troupe, The Luminaries.

“Age Against the Machine,” a fun 52-minute show that finishes its four week run this Saturday at 7:00 p.m. on Second City’s DeMaat Studio Theatre, takes the audience on a thoughtful and hilarious journey through stories about Chipotle dying and trying to get to heaven, a dating website called WeAre75.com, and lazy millennials who screech hypocrisy wherever they go.

One of the youngest members of the troupe, Kellie Ruiz, currently attends DePaul University and graduates this spring for Environmental Science.

Even with her science degree Ruiz intends on approaching the comedy world with an open mind, hopeful that it could become something great, with “Kellie Ruiz” in flashing lights a la Amy Poehler or Stephen Colbert.

“It is truly a surreal experience,” said Ruiz. “A year ago if you would have told me I would be doing this I would simply laugh it off and continue reading my environmental science text books.”

The nature of jumping into a career in comedy is not only exhilarating, but also absolutely terrifying as performers like Ruiz jump into the unknown.

It’s a growing industry, with thousands just in Chicago attempting to make a career for themselves through the many stages throughout the city like iO or the Annoyance Theatre.

“It was exciting and scary because there’s so much more to discover,” said Ruiz about the beginning of a prosperous career. “It all began with a leap of faith I took about a year ago. Feeling like I needed to live life fuller, I decided to take improv at Second City.”

Improvisation, or improv for short, involves short-form or long-form scenes that often begin with a suggestion from the audience leading to a full game or scene that builds on that original idea.

“The basic concept of improv is ‘yes, and’, accepting what is given to you and building on it. That improv concept spilled into my own life,” said Ruiz. “I began saying yes and taking things further leading to more opportunity that led me to this sketch show, not to mention I’ve built absolutely wonderful friendships along the way.”

The idea of improvisation helping people in their everyday lives is not a new concept. Tina Fey writes about this in her book, “Bossypants”:

“In improv there are no mistakes, only beautiful happy accidents. And many of the world’s greatest discoveries have been by accident. I mean, look at the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, or Botox.”

Ruiz would like to believe that this journey is no mistake and that it will be a trail of “happy accidents.” As for the near future, Ruiz has hope:

“Well, I have a music improv show coming up! That should be entertaining. I also am taking my improv experience and am going to start a Web series. Writing and such is just days away now that my schedule is clearing up. Stay tuned.”

"Zootopia" addresses current events

zoo1Walt Disney Animation Studio’s is revolutionizing the way we connect to social justice issues with their latest release, “Zootopia” directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush. The film showcases discrimination, oppression, and injustice through a creative tone that general audiences will find both compelling and eye-opening. The story focuses on Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a bunny who achieves her dream of leaving the carrot farm to be a cop in the big city. When she gets her first assignment as an officer she learns that the city wasn’t all she hoped it to be.

Thankfully, she doesn’t have to face the shocking new experience alone. Hopps befriends Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a cunning fox who survives by being a con artist, and relies on his support throughout her struggles.

Specifically, Wilde helps Hopps to take on a larger case than she ever imagined, and ultimately finds that the big city is full of lies, greed, and corruption.

Through her investigations, Hopps learns that corruption has caused many predator species to “go savage” for no apparent reason.

As she digs deeper into the reason for these erratic violence behaviors, Hopps uncovers secrets about the inner-workings of Zootopia’s local government. The film shifts focus from the dreams of a single bunny to the experiences of an entire city divided by their differences.

The storytelling offers a fresh take on anthropomorphic animals. These creatures have evolved to live a life that is nearly identical to modern humans.

Not coexisting with modern humans or using their voices in the wild, but rather living an autonomous existence in a world without humans. Typically, this has not been the case in films featuring talking animals.

Yet the magic of Disney scenery and animation allows viewers to accept this reality as alternate to our own, observing a universe without humanity.

As a result, the audience is initially suspended in a nonexistent spectator state, able to freely understand the strange confines of reality that the film constructs.

We can juxtapose these two worlds or simply enjoy the one set in front of us. Initially, it’s easier to choose the latter. But once the potent themes start to shine through each event, audiences are drawn into the almost eerie comparisons.

At the start of the film, Hopps’ parents aren’t supportive of her police officer dreams and instead suggest she be a farmer like the rest of the family.

Although the audience will feel some sense of remorse for her predicament, it’s easy to nod in agreement — a bunny rabbit can’t be a police officer, they’re too small and defenseless! But when she decides she will prove the others wrong, it’s a simple transition to unconditional belief. This is a children’s movie, you think, and that’s why she is going to achieve her dreams.

Anyone over the age of ten will be pleased to learn that the feel-good “believe in your dreams” message isn’t handed to audiences on a silver platter. Instead, Hopps’ world is filled with grim realities that humans face daily.

Issues such as discrimination and corruption are brought to the surface in very real ways, but the aforementioned observer perspective creates an interesting dynamic for the audience. When viewers are met with human examples of dark concepts, we tend to shy away. Those who are not engaged in the topic already will turn a blind eye or feel personally attacked.

It’s difficult for a white man to watch “Roots” and confront the facts of historical enslavement. In a very different way, a black man might find it too painful to watch those experiences on screen. And, hopefully, no one is sitting their six year old down in front of the TV and asking them to comprehend those weighty themes.

But when the issues involve rabbits, foxes, tigers, and otters they are suddenly within reach. It’s not about you and me; it’s about the inhabitants of Zootopia and the surrounding regions.

It’s about the systems of inequality and injustice that are perpetuated in the largest and smallest ways, all of which combine to create a compelling story.

Without fully realizing it, audiences will begin to examine differences through the relationships of Hopps and Wilde.

Their slight discomfort with a fox and a rabbit forming a friendship will coexist with their uncertainty about a cop and a criminal spending so much time in the same vicinity.

Some will take note of the “fox spray” Hopps carries, while others will wonder how Wilde plans to take advantage of the well-meaning cop in more dangerous ways. Suddenly, this fictional land brings out the biases in every viewer.

The defining moment of the film is a potent scene depicting prejudice in an everyday context. When anti-predator sentiments are at their peak, a bunny and her son are sitting on the train when a tiger sits beside them. In a moment of shocked fear and disgust, the mother pulls her child in closer, ensuring he doesn’t get too close to the possible savage.

It’s a scene that feels all-too common in a world where first judgments are based on outward appearance and stereotypes.

This is significant because it depicts animals acting humanistic, which turns our expectations on its head, allowing us to feel ashamed of the times we have been that bunny mother.

That’s a reaction rarely cultivated by a movie intended for audiences of all ages, let alone an animated Disney film.

The timing of this release feels almost prophetic. Overstated? Yes. Out of the question? I don’t think so.

History books will reflect on this era as one that challenged prejudice, while simultaneously lifting up a United States presidential candidate known for his no-nonsense dislike for certain groups.

When Assistant Mayor Bellwether (Jane Slate) grimly claims, “Fear always works,” I swear her sheep wool became a toupee and her once oppressed status was lifted up — almost like there’s a Bellwether Tower looming over Chicago. Again, the distant position of the audience is used to compare this alternate universe to our own, giving us a direct connection without forcing us to immediately confront these injustices on a personal level.

Without spoiling too much more of the film, I can assure you that the conclusion is not the color-blind, “we’re all animals,” “we’re all one” clichés that overrun children’s movies and essentially erase the diversity of our world.

Instead, it implores viewers to ultimately see where they can connect with the universe of “Zootopia” and analyze where the messages interact with their own reality and the reality of those around them.

It’s not clear-cut, and viewers will find themselves identifying different human comparisons for each character and instance. Such calculated ambiguity makes the film a relatable discussion starter for people of any walk of life.

After all, unless you’re a fox or a bunny you’ll be initially impartial to the outcomes. But unless you’re living under a rock, you’ll immediately start to draw lines of comparison.

New twists on classic childhood games

Internet PhotoYour party has hit its lull. Everyone’s Beer Pong elbow is getting sore, your Pandora radio station has drifted off into the land of weird indie dance music, and you’re pretty sure someone puked on your favorite rug. Don’t worry, The Leader has the solution — new drinking games!Nothing will bring your guests together like their favorite activities mixed with booze as an afterthought. But before you pick drinking games at random from a shitty college blogger’s page, check out our review of some drinking games. If you pick the right ones, you could have the best St. Patrick’s Day bash imaginable, just don’t mention our name when security shows up to crash your rager.

Get Tanked (Go Fish for College Kids)

If you don’t know the rules of Go Fish, you need a time machine, not a newspaper, to experience a true childhood. But if you want to make it rated 21+, you need to create books, not pairs. That means you match all 4 of each number or face card before placing it in front of you. When you get a book, your opponents all drink. Every time. And don’t forget to replace the childish “Go Fish” phrase with the far more adult “GET TANKED!” This is the most enjoyable version of Go Fish I can possibly imagine, but it isn’t party worthy. By my third turn, I was tired of chugging due to the luck of my friends. I wanted something that required more skill, something that set this night apart.

(Aim for the) Garbage

Garbage is a card game, with rules far too complex for me to fully explain. But the basic premise of the game is that each player has ten facedown cards in front of them, with each one representing a number one through ten. Each turn begins with drawing a card and placing it in the space that corresponds with the number, then picking up the face down card and hoping it isn’t “garbage”. Any face card that isn’t King is simply a piece of trash, so you discard it and end your turn. In true patriarchal fashion, the King card can go wherever it wants, and can even be reused when a number card replaces it. The drinking comes in when the round ends, or when a player has filled their ten spaces. The winner chooses one loser to take a drink, and the next round begins. This time, the previous winner only has nine spaces to fill. This continues until one of the drunken idiots has only one spot to fill, and successfully places the Ace or King in that location. To be honest, I can’t review this game in its entirety. I tried it with just one other person, and the results might cause permanent damage to my liver. It’s a fun card game in and of itself, but if you’re perpetually drawing shitty cards (like I always do), then you’ll end up aiming for the garbage.

A Game that Gets You Drunk, Starting with an “S” (Scattergories)

If you own this classic childhood party board game, in which competitors quickly fill out a list of items beginning with a randomly selected letter while attempting to maintain originality, then you need to pair it with your favorite wine or hard liquor. I suggest wine because, honestly, it will have you drinking every couple minutes. After each round, when the timer sounds, players go around and read their answers to each question. If two or more people have the same answer, everyone who wrote that answer does not get a point. If the majority of the competitors vote the answer is not directly related to the topic provided, no point is granted. And, obviously, blank spaces don’t give you a point (just a ton of money, if you’re T.Swift). In this dangerously exciting version, you drink for every question that you don’t receive a point for. After one three round game, I had drank twelve times, and I consider myself a well-rounded Scattergories competitor. Granted, I had just played Get Tanked and (Aim for the) Garbage, so I wasn’t in the most academic state of mind. However, that’s what makes this game stand out from the rest. It truly takes wits to answer the questions in a way that secures points.

Drunk on Politics This is a pretty classic example of a party game, but it’s particularly pertinent with the upcoming elections. If you want your next kicback to be both informative and intoxicating, this is the game for you. Below I’ve provided a list to get you started, with the front running candidates in each party being represented. If nothing is on TV that you can watch live, stream a video online and get to throwing back those beers! Donald Trump: Drink if he... • Mentions “borders” • Talks about his company/his money • Says any variation of “Make America Great Again” • Makes that face he makes when he’s angry • Personally attacks another candidate

Hilary Clinton: Drink if she... • Creates a numbered list • References her “emails” • Is asked about Benghazi • References husband Bill’s presidency •Restates Sanders’ thoughts and slightly changes it to be more moderate • ex: $12 minimum wage instead of $15 These are just a start, so get to watching! Learn about the future of your country, and destroy the minds of future American leaders (AKA your own). Just be safe, you might be important enough to have people take shots in honor of your quirks too.

Keep Drinking and Everybody Explodes

With the right equipment and the proper crowd, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (KTANE) is my favorite drinking game. It’s technically a computer game, available through the Steam network, that requires teams (of at least 2) to complete a series of puzzles needed to diffuse a bomb. The catch? Only one person can see the bomb, and everyone else has the manual describing how to save the day. In its ideal form, this game should be played using multiple computers that have the software, with pairs competing against one another. A little friendly competition never hurt anybody. The game itself pushes people to communicate directly, express concerns, and adapt to other’s learning styles. But when you’re drunk, it’s like someone gave James Bond a few too many martinis and hoped for the best. In other words, it’s hilarious. You drink for every module you successfully complete, but the end goal is to complete all the modules in the fastest time. It’s a tough spot to be in, with your competitive spirit torn between coherence and quickness. By the end of the night, my KTANE partner and I could barely work through modules we’ve nearly memorized. And yet it was the most fun we’ve had since the first few days after purchasing the game, when the newness of the beeping explosive was enough to keep us up for hours mastering each module. Even if you’re not a drinker (Why have you read this far?), I highly recommend KTANE for anyone looking to bring people together.

Be Creative and Make Up Your Own Game

Well, there you have it — some drinking games to try out next time you reach the plateau of party excitement. Clearly, not all drinking games are created equal, and some are more boring than life bringing, but they’re all a blast to try with the right crowd. And if you have any ideas, always feel free to share your invention that will change the drinking game market. Just be sure to drink responsibly. And, hey, if you can’t diffuse a bomb with someone while getting plastered, they’re probably not the kind of person you want around in the case of an emergency anyway.

EC student direct "The Other Side"

Photo courtesy of Rick Arnold.Imagine what it is like to be the director of a play.There is the stress of succeeding and proving that you could be a leader in an intense environment. Imagine doing all this and being a full-time student at Elmhurst College as well, and you will begin to picture the challenges Amanda Baker, the director of “The Other Place”, had to face. Baker is not the kind of person you would imagine when you picture a director. She does not wear a beret, or speak with a foreign accent, or fly into fits of emotion at the drop of a hat. Baker is the kind of person you know you can trust in command. A director has to worry about many things, from making sure all the actors know their lines, to deciding what kind of lighting and scenery to use, to finding the true meaning of the play. Baker had an extra component to add to all that — a grade, for “The Other Place” was Baker’s senior capstone project. “This semester is my last semester involved fully in the theater program,” she said. “I wanted it to be my big hurrah before I leave.” A big hurrah requires a lot of preparation, something Baker learned firsthand. She started working on her Senior Capstone in the fall semester of her junior year. Her first task was to find a play to direct. “I found the play by accident,” Baker recalled. “I was on a search engine where you go to look for plays, and Sharr White [the author’s] name popped up based off my previous searches. I was intrigued by the little blurb on the website, and bought the play on a whim.” It was one of the best spur-of-the-moment purchases of her life. Once Baker read the play, she knew she had to direct it. “’The Other Place’ is a story about a woman’s journey with dementia, from denial to acceptance and healing,” Baker said. “The story itself is powerful, but it had a special meaning for me because my great-grandmother is currently suffering from dementia.” This closeness to the topic worried Professor Richard Arnold, her faculty advisor for the project. “Sometimes when a director chooses a topic that is too personal, they can become too focused on their personal relationship with the play and lose perspective of the big picture. Amanda did a great job of this, though and kept the play in focus.” Once she chose her play, Baker then had to get the play approved by the faculty in the theater program. This is to ensure that the students understand the components of a play, such as what the play is about and how to convey that meaning, something a director in the theater world would have to do on his or her own. “Usually when students are going through this process, we are continually seeing drafts of their proposals and are helping them work through their ideas,” said Professor Arnold. “With Amanda, it was different. She wanted to do everything independently.” Independence was a major goal for Baker in this project. “I knew that once I entered the theater world, I would not have anyone looking over my shoulder, constantly checking my work to see how I am doing,” she said. “I wanted to use this project to gain that experience. It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but it was a great experience for me.” The play was approved in Spring 2015. Baker could finally start to put her vision into action, starting with auditions for actors. “For me, this was the hardest part of the whole process,” Baker said. “So many of the people I auditioned were my friends, and I only had five roles to fill. I had to remind myself to set aside personal friendships and give everyone, best friends as well as strangers, the same opportunities.” For three weeks there were rehearsals five days a week for four hours each day. Sets had to be built, costumes chosen, lines memorized and technical difficulties ironed out. Although it was a lot, she said it was worth it. “I loved working with Amanda in this play,” said Sarah Eckel, one of the actresses. “In the other plays I’ve been in, the directors have all been faculty members. These rehearsals feel more like a class. With Amanda it was different. It was a collaborative project; she was very open-minded and trusted our judgment as actors and actresses.” Opening night finally arrived, and Amanda was able to see all her hard work pay off. At about fifty people per show, it is rare for student-directed shows to have an audience this large. “I think people were really drawn to the subject of the play,” said Amanda. “So many people know someone suffering or who has suffered from dementia, or some other mental illness; it was easy for them to connect with the story.” After completing her project, Amanda has no qualms about her career choice. “It was hard, but I have no doubt now that directing is what I want to do.”

Social change harmonizes with hip-hop

Internet Photo - Kendrick Lamar uses his lyrics to speak about the oppression of the black community in the modern context. The saying goes, “the revolution will not be televised”.What if, instead, it’s played on the radio? Some of today’s biggest hip-hop artists, such as Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé, and J Cole are using their music to do just that. The Leader sat down with the Black Student Union’s (BSU) Executive Board to get their opinion on the impact of black artists creating politically charged music. They also discredited the notion that these artists are anti-white, as has been a prevalent response on social media. BSU president Perode Charles shared a simple response to this backlash. “It’s not anti-white,” he said. “It’s pro-black. It’s not about bashing another race; it’s about black success, black heritage, and black art. That’s it.” BSU secretary Tristan Duff criticized the logic behind these assumptions. “All you have to do is look at the lyrics,” he said. “It is not at all about white people. They do use imagery about police, but that’s like saying all police are white. They are talking about systems of oppression.” Some critics have reacted harshly to the imagery of Lamar and Beyoncé’s lyrics in particular. Lamar’s single “Alright” contains the line: “And we hate Popo, wanna kill us dead in the street for sure.” Callen Williams, BSU’s vice president, offered an explanation for this charged language. “We don’t like that the police are discriminating against us,” he said. “We don’t need to show affection towards our oppressors.” Although music about social justice is not a novel concept, it has recently reached a peak as a result of recent events across America. The night before her Super Bowl performance, Beyoncé silently dropped her song “Formation” at midnight. The video includes potent scenes of Beyoncé lying atop a sinking police car, conjuring up memories of Hurricane Katrina. Another scene depicts a young black boy break dancing in front of a line of heavily armed police officers, prompting the officers to hold their hands up in the iconic “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture used in protests of the killing of Michael Brown. Although his music is less well known, Christian rapper Lecrae has also been making waves with his powerful lyrics regarding the state of America today, particularly for the black community. His story and lyrics were recently discussed on NPR, and his most recent album “Church Clothes 3” delves into the intricacies of racism, poverty, and oppression with potency. In his single “Gangland” featuring fellow Christian-artist Propaganda, Lecrae says, “Are you gonna sell drugs or are you gonna be homeless? Cause the government’s not paying attention,” when describing the paradox of urban life. Thomas Baity, BSU’s advisor and EC’s telecommunications manager, applauds the hip-hop community for speaking against these systems. “This music is about more than bling and women,” he said. “It’s about telling our struggles and trying to get people to join us and help us get what we are due — equal rights.” Beyond EC, professors and high school teachers across the country are turning to lyrics to teach about oppression, empowerment, and protest. At the recent Chicago protests surrounding Donald Trump's Mar. 11 rally at University of Illinois Chicago, protesters were heard chanting the chorus of Lamar's "Alright". The demonstration ultimately led Trump to cancel his rally altogether, citing safety concerns. Social media is packed full of articles, opinion columns, and video responses to the direct activism being employed in today’s entertainment industry. Some of it, like the sentiments expressed by BSU, reflects an empowering response. Others, like the #AllLivesMatter and #PoliceLivesMatters posters, view these as anti-white sentiments. Regardless of the response, one thing is clear — these artists are starting a revolution.

Anti-Hero breaks box office records

dedGritty, yet hilariously dark, “Deadpool” is not your ordinary everyday super hero movie.Unlike most of the big-budget blockbuster super hero epics in recent memory, there is no hero to be found here. However, there is something more human, more entertaining — and not to mention a hell of a lot funnier — under this film’s mask. As a result, “Deadpool” opened to a record breaking turn out and just recently crossed $673 million in box office sales worldwide. Look out Marvel fans, there’s a new antihero in town. Said antihero also happens to be the film’s protagonist under the alias Wade Wilson, who takes up the badass superhero moniker Deadpool. Played by a loveably snarky and irreverent Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool is an ex-special forces mercenary turned immortal mutant desperate for revenge. The film’s first half recounts Deadpool’s origin story in a series of masterfully paced flashbacks. His transformation from man to unkillable mutant is surprisingly dark and involves implied and explicit scenes of graphic torture that leaves Deadpool scared, maimed from head to toe, and utterly indestructible. The second half shows Deadpool’s journey to regain his lost good looks in order to resume his life with his lover. If his behavior sounds incredibly vain and narcissistic, well, that’s because it is. Deadpool, like many other superhero’s, is flawed. He’s so proud and selfish that he refuses to return to his longtime girlfriend, who believes him to be dead, until his looks are returned to normal. A flaw like this would normally be treated as a serious and touchy subject. Here, it is used as fodder for a wide variety of self-deprecating jokes. If Deadpool is anything, he is self-aware. He is so self-aware that he knows he is in a movie, often addressing the audience directly and even physically moving the camera. Deadpool takes any form of a fourth wall and gleefully demolishes it with a wrecking ball of sarcastic irony, never taking himself too seriously. Although Deadpool himself is the main draw here, with Reynolds carrying the film through almost every frame, there are also a few highlight supporting performances. T.J. Miller is excellent as Weasel, Deadpool’s sidekick and source of comic relief. Morena Baccarin, known for her reoccurring roles in television series such as “Homeland”, plays Vanessa, Deadpool’s strong, independent, yet realistic love interest. Some of the film’s best comedic moments revolve around Reynolds and Baccarin’s romantic and often hilarious chemistry. As a result, Deadpool will undoubtedly be one of the funniest movies of the year. It’s snappy pace, deftly directed by first-time feature length director Tim Miller, and witty dialogue provided by screenwriters Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick make it a winning comedy. However, there are also plenty of choreographed fight scenes and surprisingly gory action sequences to quell any desire for high octane thrills. But be warned, the clever, yet unabashedly raunchy dialogue, and the violent action scenes add up to a well deserved R rating from the MPAA. However, Deadpool’s self aware R-rated comedy causes the film to never take itself too seriously, which establishes a more realistic, down-to-earth, and ultimately human hero. Deadpool is a welcome breath of fresh air in Marvel’s line-up of blockbuster franchises, one that makes any half-sane adult question whether to bring their child or not.

EC Seniors’ Artwork Displayed at Capstone Exhibition

Elmhurst College provided a platform for senior art majors Nikki Smith, Vincent Lotesto, and Jon Glabus to display their artwork with the Fall 2015 Capstone Exhibition, which was held in the Accelerator Art Space on Dec. 5th. Nikki Smith’s collection consisted of 10 canvases designed to represent various definitions of art.

“My Capstone is all about addressing the question ‘what is art?’ because that’s something that has been asked to students in every art class but never really well defined. For me, art is different to each person,” she said.

Smith used “five holistic key terms [to] collectively explain what art is” to her. They are: auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, visual, and cognitive. Smith said it was the first time her work had been publicly displayed.

“It’s definitely strange seeing people looking at my work,” she said. “I’m not used to it, but it’s an interesting experience”.

Vincent Lotesto, who has contributed to The Leader, credits his fascination with Hinduism as the inspiration for his art. He described his work, a collection of 11 paintings that make up a series titled ‘Dashavatara Evolution’, as “an evolution series that melds concepts of evolution and the 10 incarnations of the Hindu god Vishnu”.

"I noticed that the way Vishnu’s incarnations follow kind of mirror Darwin’s theory of evolution,” he said. “I tried to see if there were any meaningful depictions of that connection, and there weren’t, so I decided to make one.”

To supplement his paintings, Lotesto displayed his sketchbook, which consisted of notes and original sketches, as part of his work.

“It shows the progression of each piece and gives explanations as to what the avatars are and why they’re depicted in the way they are or what they mean in Hinduism,” he explained.

Jon Glabus’s ceramics collection, titled “Off the Wall”, was inspired by the idea of uniqueness.

“[This collection] is supposed to get you to slow down and feel the cup in your hand and notice that it’s something unique and that there’s no other cup out there like it,” he said.

The collection, which took Glabus all semester to create, consists of 63 pieces. However, Glabus made over 120 pieces throughout the semester.

“In ceramics, they say if you want to make two good pots, make ten. You get better with each one, and sometimes one pot will just be a little better than the next,” he said.

Glabus, who is represented by Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago, said the exhibition was the largest one he had been a part of.

“I’ve entered into juried shows with different cups or plates or bourbon bottles, but I’ve never done anything with this big of a set up”.

Suellen Rocca, Curator and Director of exhibitions at Elmhurst College, described the process students undergo when preparing for the Capstone exhibition.

“They work with an advisor that they select, they do a proposal, and they create a consistent body of work with faculty reviews throughout the semester,” she said. “They also take a class called Capstone 491 in which they discuss the installation of the work, write an artist’s statement, learn how to document their work, and write a paper. It’s a really intensive process and I think it’s great in terms of developing as an artist”.

Rocca expressed her pride with the quality of the work shown at the exhibition.

“I feel extremely proud of the work that’s being shown tonight. To see students being able to create and show work at that level is very, very rewarding as a teacher, because that’s what we work for,” she said.

Peter Flockencier, an EC alum in attendance at the event, also spoke highly of the work that was shown at the exhibition but was unimpressed by the turnout.

“I’m really glad Elmhurst still has a great art program and I know that the students put a lot of hard work into it, but it’s a little smaller than most shows, which is kind of a shame,” he said.

Flockencier, who advocated for the continuation of the art program when it was rumored to be shut down last spring, wants the programs to grow larger.

“There are a lot of talented people at Elmhurst College that are interested in the arts, so I want the program to get bigger, because there are a lot of people who can do a lot more things”.

Photo by Hannah Jasinski

Photo by Hannah Jasinski

Photo by Hannah Jasinski

Photo by Hannah Jasinski