EC students learn the art of fine dining

Patricia Cook, a professional business consultant, explains the etiquette behind proper napkin use to students during an interactive din- ner on Wednesday, Oct. 5. (Photo by Annie Williams)

On Wednesday, Oct. 5, around 45 professionally dressed students filled the Prospect room in Founders for “Which Fork Do I Use?” an annual event where students learn dining etiquette all while enjoying a complimentary meal.

The event hosted by the Center for professional Excellence (CPE) is designed to teach students how to avoid social blunders while dining in a business setting. To do this, the CPE brought in professional business consultant Patricia Cook.

Cook believes that in today’s competitive job market you need to be the best, look the best and do the best, and this starts with making a good first impression. She said that you only have about seven seconds to make a strong first impression. She further expressed her dismay with gum chewers, teeth pickers, and over-sharers and she strongly believes in a firm handshake.

“I got six bad handshakes earlier this evening,” she said. “Keep your thumbs up. A weak handshake makes you look like you have no self-confidence.”

As the evening progressed, students learned many other important tips to use when dining out. Cook encouraged students not to be overwhelmed by a confusing place setting, but to work from the outside in and to watch those around them.

As the students enjoyed their dinner — which consisted of soup, salad, Chicken Marsala, and a cannoli for dessert — Cook continued to give them pointers to help avoid embarrassment in the future such as keeping your napkin in your lap instead of using it as a bib and setting it down on your chair if you have to leave the table.

Even chewing matters when it comes to dining etiquette. Take smaller bites than you normally would, for as Cook pointed out, “the whole cow doesn’t need to fit in all at once,” meaning that no one looks professional when they have a mouth full of food.

Although the event did cover many traditional etiquette practices, such as passing food to the right around the table, Cook shared some more modern etiquette practices regarding gender etiquette.

A firm believer that today’s society is gender neutral, Cook explained that as a man you do not have to pull out a woman’s chair and that it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to hold the door for a man.

Rafiya Dadar, a senior who attended the event found it both enjoyable and enlightening.

“The dinner retaught many aspects [of dining etiquette] that are often forgotten, and these skills will definitely place me ahead of the game in any setting.”

Burton stays peculiar with ‘Miss Peregrine’

Tim Burton’s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” out now in theaters, delights audiences despite a few disturbing moments. (Internet photo)

When examining his filmography, Director Tim Burton comes across as a very peculiar man. Known for kooky, off-kilter classics such as “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissor- hands,” Burton has established himself among the proud ranks of Hollywood’s resident weir- dos.

So it is only appropriate that he be the director to helm the screen adaptation of Ransom Rigg’s bestselling young adult novel “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” Burton’s take on the story brings the enchanting — and oftentimes dark — world to life in this memorable action-adventure.

The film follows Jacob, a sixteen-year-old who sets out to uncover the mysteries surrounding the strange murder of his eccentric grandfather.

A clue found at the scene of the crime leads Jacob to believe the answers lie within his grandfather’s childhood home, which he described as an orphanage for children with supernatural powers. One girl, he said, was lighter than air and would float away if not weighed down. Another had the ability to bring inanimate objects to life.

After years of writing these stories off as a symptom of his grandfather’s unhinged imagination, Jacob decides to travel to the orphanage in order to finally discover the truth.

Upon his arrival, Jacob stumbles into a journey through time that leads him not only to discover the truth behind his grandfather’s bedtime stories, but also to take his place defending the children in an on-going supernatural battle of life, death and immortality.

Child star Asa Butterfield (“Hugo”, “Ender’s Game”) stars as Jacob. Ella Purnell plays Emma, the girl who’s lighter than air. The two young actors handle their starring roles well, bearing the majority of the film’s two-hour-and-seven-minute running time on their shoulders. Samuel L. Jackson makes a surprising turn as the villainous Barron.

But the standout performance here is given by the up-and-coming Eva Green as Miss Peregrine. Green’s on-screen presence is immediately captivating and magnetic. She effortlessly gains our attention and never lets us go. Green, seemingly floating through each shot in her elegant navy blue ensemble, brings an understated motherly warmth to the character giving a feeling of intimacy to the film while simultaneously humanizing an otherwise larger-than-life persona.

In fact, one of my few gripes with the film is that the titular caretaker is absent for almost the entirety of the humdrum, by-the-numbers third act. As a result, Green’s performance — one of the film’s best features — feels criminally underutilized.

However, the film works to make up for it’s narrative failings with a slew of whimsical and captivating visual effects. Burton is truly a master of world building, and Miss Peregrine’s fascinatingly peculiar world is no exception.

But be forewarned, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” might be a bit too peculiar for some, especially young children. The film is filled with several disturbing images, including corpses with missing eyes and some rather disturbing malformed monsters.

The film feels like a children’s film at heart, packed with whimsy, adventure and an epic battle between good and evil. However, Burton can’t seem to shy away from his weird and peculiar instincts long enough to make the PG-13 feature suitable for young children.

As a result, “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is a memorable journey, and one worth taking, if you can handle some of the film’s more peculiar moments.

Myths and Legends tour showcases the spooky history surrounding EC landmarks

Mark Wakeley tells students the history of Old Main’s bell tower during the Myths and Legends Tour on Tuesday, Oct. 4. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Students filled Kranz Forum on Oct. 4 to participate in the Myths and Legends Tour at EC.

The first stop on the tour, which was led by Service Manager Mark Wakely, was the bell tower in Old Main.

To get to the bell tower students walked up to the third floor of Old Main and entered room 303, the photography studio. In the room is a corridor with a door leading to a spiraling staircase.

As the group climbed up the spiral staircase, Wakely pointed out the names written on the walls and carved into the wooden railings. The names were dated as recent as 2016 to as early as the early 1900s.

The students then walked to the other side of campus to the Accelerator Art Space to see the particle accelerator EC students built in the 1950s when the space was used as a physics lab prior to being converted into an art gallery to house student work.

After the Accelerator, the next stop on the tour was the Mill Theatre, where the students heard the story of the ghost of David Payne as told by Department Chair and Associate Professor of Theatre Alan Weiger.

According to Weiger, during a dress rehearsal for “The Marriage of Figaro” during a January term in the 1960s, a student went to the scene shop to get information on the set design.

The student was met halfway up the staircase in the scene shop by David Payne, the technical director of the play at the time, and had an in-depth conversation with him about Payne’s plans for the set design or the play.

When the student rejoined the other students in the production and told them about the conversation, they thought he was making a horrible joke as Payne had been killed by a drunk driver the previous day.

To this day students claim they feel a chill in the air as they walk up the stairs in the scene shop where the conversation occurred, and odd noises are sometimes heard coming from the upper floor of the shop, said Weiger.

After hearing the story, the students were able to walk up and down the staircase and see if they could experience the chilling air created by the ghost of Payne.

Unfortunately, one of the most highly anticipated stops on the tour, the tunnels running under EC’s campus, could not be visited due to the amount of students who attended the tour, said Office Administrative Assistant Carol Raveret.

She said that the high attendance would have made it difficult for everyone to be able to see the tunnels in the time allotted in addition to creating a potentially dangerous situation.

Junior Jentry Schirmbeck expressed her disappointment at not seeing the tunnels.

“I came the see the tunnels,” she said. “I mean, when would I get another opportunity like this?”

Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art

An EC student views an installation by Chicago-based artist Claire Ashley at the Elmhurst Art Museum. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Art is normally not a word associated with inflatable objects, such as balloons and bouncy houses, yet these objects have made their way into the art world. This can be seen in “Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art,” a traveling art show based out of the Bedford Gallery in California that is currently on display at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

Both Jenny Gibbs, the executive director of EAM, and Lal Bahcecioglu, EAM’s exhibitions coordinator were thrilled that the museum was chosen as one of the exhibit’s stops. Both felt that the inflatable art is something all ages can enjoy.

“Everyone from grandparents to children to students can find something fun and interesting in this exhibit,” said Bahcecioglu. “There is no need to be an art person to enjoy this exhibit. It is extremely accessible.”

Gibbs noted that it is the very nature of the inflatables that make them appealing.

“The exhibit reminds many people of things they know and they want to interact with it,” she pointed out.

As the show is a traveling exhibit, the way the pieces — which range from abstract art to realism — are displayed has varied from place to place, Gibbs acknowledged.

“The superheroes are normally displayed standing, but they are superheroes so we made them fly,” Gibbs acknowledged.

She also mentioned that “Somehow I Don’t Feel Comfortable,” a piece by Momoyo Torimitsu comprised of two enormous pink inflatable bunnies that tower intimidatingly over museum patrons, is sometimes placed in a much larger room. However, to make people feel more uncomfortable, the choice was made to put them in the smallest room the bunnies would fit in.

Another notable section of the exhibit is made up of six pieces by local artist Claire Ashley. Her pieces are made of hand-sewn PVC-coated canvas and spray painted in a graffiti style, adding a touch of whimsy to the inflatables.

Although most of the pieces are not interactive — meaning that running around and bouncing on the art is not acceptable — there are a few pieces which provide patrons with some inflatable interaction.

For example, “Birth Death Breath: An Inflatable Opera,” a companion exhibit by Chicago artists Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning, is made up entirely of inflatable Christmas lawn decorations. The exhibit depicts three different scenes visitors are encouraged to walk through as the decorations go through a cycle of inflating, singing and then deflating.

Another interactive exhibit is “Little Blow Peep,” a community project by Donna Castellanos where people of all ages can decorate a latex glove, blow it up like a balloon and tie it to either Little Blow Peep or her sheep, adding their own inflatable art to the exhibit.

“Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art” will be at the museum from Sept. 10 until Nov. 27. The extension, “Birth Death Breath: An Inflatable Opera,” will be at the museum from Sept. 22 until Nov. 27.

Chicago artist brings ‘carnival’ feel to EC

Chicago artist Glen Davies describes how his artwork is influenced by carnivals at a reception in Founders Lounge on Sept. 19. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

On Sept. 19, EC opened “Revelations: Banner Paintings,” with a public reception and artist’s talk. Those who attended the reception had the opportunity to meet Glen Davies, the artist behind the eye-catching banners that span the walls in the Founders Lounge.

The featured artist, Glen Davies, was born in Chicago and attended the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in the late 1960s. During this time, he began to develop a love for the Chicago Imagists, a group of Chicago artists who specialized in surrealism and the grotesque

While in school, Davies would go out and mine the city to find inspiration, whether it be in museums, storefronts, or even in the people he met.

In 1973, Davies began to work for a burlesque show in a carnival after hearing you could get a free ticket if you helped set up the big top. For Davies, this was a momentous point in his life. Not only was his job at the carnival the fulfillment of his childhood dream of traveling with a circus, but the carnival opened him up to the world of sideshows and attractions.

This opportunity introduced Davies to many sideshow banner artists. Through his interaction with these artists, he eventually came to the realization that he should start using banners as a way of presenting his own personal artwork. He thought it was important that his art be accessible and the imagery recognizable, just like carnival banners are.

“[My art] is for everybody,” he said. “[The paintings are] like gaudy, theatrical, advertisements; like posters, or tarot cards, and I ask that you take the time to understand your reaction as your own. You are welcome to your own opinion”. Symmetry also plays a role in Davies’ artwork.

“My use of symmetry is about centering things and creating a balance,” Davies said. “I’m not a religious man myself, and so using symmetry in art helps [me] create balance.”

Those attending the event seemed to appreciate the exhibition. Freshman Petra Kyriakopoulos, who attended the event with her mother and sister, said that the artwork was “very enjoyable.”

Mr. Davies’ art work will be on display in the Frick Center until Nov. 11.

‘Blair Witch’ follows trend of bad reboots

Blair Witch, the sequel to the Blair Witch Project, arrives in theatres 17 years after the original, disap- pointing many fans. (Illustration by Alexandra Ehrler)

17 years after the release of “The Blair Witch Project” (and nearly 16 after the release of its deservedly lesser-known sequel, “Book of Shadows”), the franchise is back for another trip into the dark woods of the Black Hills Forest. Only this time, director Adam Wingard (“You’re Next,” “V/H/S”) brings along boringly over-the-top clichés, leaving all of the freshly-clever creativity of the original back in the car.

The first Blair Witch Project follows three student filmmakers who mysteriously vanish while making a documentary about the Blair Witch, a local legend in the small town of Burkittsville, Maryland.

17 years later, the brother of one of the missing filmmakers, James, sees a video posted online with what appears to be his sister running through a dilapidated house in the woods.

Consumed with the idea of finding more information that could lead to the whereabouts of his sister, James gathers a group of friends to go out into those woods in hopes of finding the house and his sister.

Once the group sets up camp, however, strange things begin to occur. They wake up to earth-rattling rumbling, strange noises, and cultish symbols strung up around their tent.

Oh, and one of those friends just happens to be filming all of this for a class project, equipped with a professional digital camera, high quality ear clip-on cameras for each of her friends, and a camera attached to a drone of all things.

Said drone is emblematic of “Blair Witch’s” most glaring fault: It’s not 1999 anymore. Ideas that were new and interesting back then have been done to death by now.

In this way, the film is sleek and modern, which ironically works against the reboot. The low-budget quality of the original doesn’t translate, and it is immediately apparent that the film is a studio-driven endeavor, making it almost impossible to buy into the found-footage style and premise.

Even the shaky cam isn’t as vomit-inducingly shaky, and where’s the fun in that?

The fabrication continues with the acting. Whereas the actors in the original film were students at the time of filming, the remake sports a cast of sexy twentysomethings straight out of B horror casting heaven.

James, played by James McCune (known for his guest work on “The Walking Dead”), and Lisa, played by Hollywood up-and-comer Callie Hernandez, are likeable enough as protagonists, but their characters and their development are dreadfully dull. The film even tries to shoehorn in a nauseatingly obvious will they won’t they romance between the pair.

All of the actors do a solid job, especially given the tediously-formulaic material they’re given to work with. , and the ensemble seems to have good chemistry overall. But once again, anything the actors bring to the film is outweighed by the archetypal nature of their characters.

As a result, “Blair Witch” is as bland and uninspired as most of the other found-footage films that ripped off the original. The freshness of the original in the nineties has become increasingly played-out, predictable, and boring.

The engrossing homemade tone of the original doesn’t translate at all thanks to the over usage of CGI (the entire ending sequence is CGI, and it shows) and professional-quality cameras.

The original works and arguably remains a classic because of its emphasis on subtle, psychological horror, and its revolutionary invention of the found-footage subgenre.

A genre, which, though fresh in the nineties, has become so transparently gimmicky it seems almost impossible to do found footage well anymore.

So let’s not.

And besides, how appropriate that the found-footage genre not only begin with a “Blair Witch” film, but end with one as well.

Pilot Pete’s soars beyond expectations

Pete Thomas, owner of Pilot Pete’s Coffee & Treats, chats with an EC student at his coffee shop in the Elmhurst Metra station. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Most pilots spend their days flying above the clouds, getting coffee served to them by flight attendants. Pete Thomas spends his days in the Elmhurst Metra train station, serving coffee to hundreds of commuters each day.

Although he loves flying, Thomas, who owns and operates Pilot Pete’s Coffee and Treats, has decided to make coffee his life.

“Coffee is my way of making the world smile,” he said.

A lifelong Elmhurst resident, Thomas has used his coffee shop to bring Elmhurst commuters an experience beyond that of your average coffee shop.

Pilot Pete’s is a place that plays a different vinyl record each day, where the insulators on the coffee cups have inspiring quotes such as, “If you want to fly, you got to give up what weighs you down”; a place where the tip jar is full of thought-provoking “tips” to give the reader a positive mind-set; a place where you get a free pastry complete with a candle on your birthday.

In Thomas’ words, Pilot Pete’s is a “coffee family.”

“People come to me and vent when they’re having a rough day,” he said. “It’s possible that I know more about some of my customers than their significant others do.”

Thomas started the coffee shop in 2011 to pay his way through aviation school. Although he was only 20 years old, Thomas had plenty of experience working in cafes.

“When I was 14, I got a job at Chocolate Moon coffee shop [a coffee shop that was replaced by Elijah’s],” he said. “I told them I was 16 and just never gave them my social security card and I.D. Eventually they just stopped asking.”

After his job at Chocolate Moon, Thomas worked at Starbucks and then helped one of his friends open That Coffee Shop. Eventually, Thomas decided to open his own business, and he petitioned the city to let him open a coffee shop inside the Metro station. The city approved, and Pilot Pete’s was born.

Thomas has certainly touched his customers with his coffee. Reviewers for Pilot Pete’s on Yelp and Facebook highlight not only the quality of the products — the restaurant is the only coffee shop in the Western suburbs with a full five-star rating — but Thomas’ attitude as well.

“Pete makes delicious coffee, offers great pastries, has an amazing tea selection, and serves it all with a big smile,” wrote one Facebook reviewer.

A Yelp reviewer wrote, “I honestly thought Pilot Pete’s was a small vendor ‘brewing’ coffee from a Keurig machine. ... [But] in the 60 seconds that it took him to make my espresso, my perception about him and his tiny cafe completely changed. I actually looked inside and noticed this guy wasn’t messing around when it comes to coffee. On top of that, he was so incredibly nice. ... Not only did he genuinely ask how I was doing, he told me to have a ‘marvelous’ day.”

Thomas puts a lot of effort into making his coffee, an effort both noticed and appreciated by his customers.

“If I were to die today, I would probably have 99 percent of my customers at my wake,” he laughed. “I probably get more Christmas cards and gifts from my customers than I do from my own family.”

For Thomas, his “coffee family” extends beyond his customers and out into the broader community. For example, he is responsible for the production of “Pilot Pete’s Coffee & Treats: Elmhurst Morning Grind,” a free newsletter highlighting various events in the Elmhurst community and sponsored by local businesses.

Community service is another way Thomas engages with his “coffee family.” Every other Friday he sponsors a local charity chosen by a customer. He places a collection jar on the counter in addition to donating 20 percent of the day’s proceeds to the charity of choice.

During Chicago’s cold winters, Thomas runs a program calls “Pilot Pete’s Faith in Humanity,” where he asks his customers to bring in winter clothing donations for the homeless. Every two weeks, he is joined by some of his customers as he brings the donations — and coffee, of course — to homeless shelters across the Chicagoland area. Last winter alone, Thomas and his customers collected and delivered 3,700 jackets.

Thomas has big plans for Pilot Pete’s in celebration of the shop’s 5-year anniversary on Dec. 5. In addition to a new website, he plans to add on a coffee delivery service for the Elmhurst area. There are still a few details to work out before it can be put into place. However, as Thomas tells his customers, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”

‘AHS’ explores new story-telling realms

American Horror Story, the hit FX television series, returns for its sixth season as a horror mockumentary. (Illustration by:Michael Horwath)

Teeth that rain down from the sky, knives moved by unknown forces, and murderous nurses; all of these can be found in American Horror Story: Roanoke, the latest installment of the hit television horror series.

Hype for this new season began last month when FX released a series of strange and confusing promotions. Fans instantly began to speculate about what the theme of the current series was going to be, as each season is independent of the last.

The show seems to seriously be changing its pace this season by imitating the style of paranormal television shows and the true story of a group of colonists who mysteriously vanished from Roanoke, NC.

The most noticeable difference between this season and previous seasons is in the formatting of the show. American Horror Story: Roanoke is written in a documentary style, with the main characters Matt and Shelby Miller (played by Andre Holland and Lily Rabe, respectively) describing events while “reenactors” (Cuba Gooding Jr. plays Matt and Sarah Paulson plays Shelby) recreate the story.

This new style is a very effective way of telling the story. The only downside is that viewers can tell that the narrators survive the haunted events. This ruins some of the more suspenseful moments in the show and is something of a spoiler.

In addition to the new formatting, the writing of the show is on point, weaving in the traditional aspects of a horror story — such as a big deserted house the bank cannot wait to get rid of — with new twists and turns — such as Matt’s discovery of a dead, bloodied pig on their porch.

The show also discusses racial issues. Matt and Shelby originally think the strange events at their farmhouse are merely an attempt by their hillbilly neighbors to scare the interracial couple away.

There is one scene that is particularly poignant in which Shelby (played by Paulson) screams at her husband that the neighbors are racist, begging him to call the police. Both Paulson and Gooding do a phenomenal job at displaying the confusion, anger, and hurt that victims of racism experience.

The acting for season six is on par, especially for the actors who play Matt and Shelby. While all four do a phenomenal job, Holland and Rabe’s performances as the “story-telling” versions of Matt and Shelby are especially notable. The pair do an admirable job of creating Matt and Shelby’s emotions without the added benefit of scenery and staging.

This season is also said to have actor Evan Peters in it, which created a ruckus when he was not in either of the first two episodes. His name even trended on Twitter during episode one because so many people were asking where he was. He is still yet to be seen but it is keeping viewers watching just to get a glimpse of his red hair this season.

Overall, American Horror Story: Roanoke seems to be living up to its fans’ expectations, pushing the boundaries of past seasons' scares and taking frights to the next level to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

If this trend continues through the rest of the season, American Horror Story: Roanoke may end up being the best season yet.

‘Plays Live’ returns to AC Buehler Library

EC student Taylor Dorband acts out a scene from a play written by EC student Leslie Daley titled ‘Holy’ on Sept. 10. (Photo by Stefan Carlson)

Twenty students, faculty, and alumni gathered in A.C. Buehler Library at 9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 to participate in Plays Live/Live at the Library. Over the course of the night and on into the next day, the group worked to write, direct, and produce a total of eight 10 minute plays around the theme of authority. The event concluded with a performance of the plays at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10.

Late Night Blues auditions: the freshman experience

late-night-blues

Emily Cooper fidgets as she glances around the choir room in Irion Hall. She is auditioning for Late Night Blues, the top vocal jazz ensemble at EC. Although she is sitting down, her movements betray her nervousness — she is swinging her legs and playing with her hands.

Emily is not alone in her nervousness. Each of the approximately 30 students in the room displays varying degrees of anxiety, from the frightened freshman Emily to Tracy Ibeling, the veteran junior who has been through the audition process many times.

The chatter in the room suddenly ceases as Sue Moninger and Gayle Bisesi — the directors of Late Night Blues and Blue, respectively — enter the room. Bisesi adjusts the music stand in the center of the room and accidentally pops the top part off, evoking a ripple of laughter from students in the room.

Approximately 100-300 student go through the audition process every year, whether it be for Philharmonic Orchestra, the Jazz Band, or Concert Choir. Depending upon the ensemble, auditions can be very competitive and demanding. Because of the limited size of the ensembles and the style of the music, the auditions process for the vocal jazz groups is very rigorous. Being in an ensemble one year does not guarantee that you will make the cut the next.

“The initial auditions for Late Night Blues and Blue are held on the Tuesday of the first week of school,” said Bisesi in an interview. “Students sing two pieces of their choice — pop songs, musical theater, jazz — for Sue and myself, and then we have them “scat,” or improvise. Tuesday night, the callback list is published along with the music we have them learn for Late Night’s final auditions on Thursday. The final auditions for Blue are the following week.”

After the room quiets down, Moninger begins to speak.

“The purpose of this callback audition is to see how well each of you can sing in an ensemble. Each one of you has a beautiful solo voice, but what we need for this ensemble is singers who can blend,” she said. “We want to see how well you’ve learned the music you were given three days ago. We want to see if you can feel the pocket and groove of the music and keep the beat. Treat this like a professional audition.”

Moninger has all the students form a circle in the center of the room, and they begin to sing “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing),” an upbeat, bouncy song. Several of students, including Emily, begin to dance and sway to the beat as they sing.

Moninger has them sing it several times, adjusting volume and tempo until she is satisfied. Then she and Bisesi walk around the circle as the students sing, listening carefully to the qualities of each voice.

Next Moninger selects four or five students from each part — soprano, alto, tenor, and bass — and has this group sing the piece alone. They stop, she switches out a few singers, and the new group sings the song. As this is happening, Moninger is listening for blend.

“The group really picks itself,” said Moninger when interviewed. “When their voices are blending, I can see it in the singers’ faces that they know something has clicked. Jazz is one of the hardest styles to sing, especially a capella. With just your voice, you represent a whole ensemble from the flutes, to the bass, to the trumpets. ”

Moninger has the students sing “Spain,” a ballade, and then “A Time for Love,” a slow, very melodic piece, so she and Bisesi can hear how the students sound singing different styles of jazz. For each new song, she has the group sing all together and then selects individuals to sing in small groups, just as she did for the first song.

Finally, Moninger has the students return to their seats while she and Bisesi talk quietly for a few minutes.

Emily collapses wearily in her chair. She’s still smiling, but it’s a tired smile.

“That was so hard!” she says. Then she sits up straight as Moninger begins to speak.

“I will post the final list for Late Night Blues on the board before I leave today,” she says. “Callbacks for Blue are on Thursday.”

When she hears this, Emily groans. “I’m gonna vomit.” Moninger concludes, “Thank you all for coming today.... Gayle and I have had a wonderful time listening to each and every one of you sing.... Auditions are always nerve wracking because it’s like you’re under a microscope, but I hope you learned something from this experience.”

The students file out of the room and disperse while Moninger and Bisesi head into Moninger’s office. About 15 minutes later, they post the final list for Late Night Blues on the bulletin board outside the choir room.

Word gets around that the list has been posted. One by one, the students trickle back to the choir room to look for their names. Some leave elated, while others turn quietly away.

Emily runs up the stairs to look at the list. She is still smiling, but you can tell she is disappointed when she fails to see her name. She sees the name of someone she knows, comments on how excited they will be, and then leaves.

“I don’t have any experience singing jazz,” she said later. “I just tried out because I wanted a chance to experience all the different ensembles [Elmhurst College] has.”

Even though she did not make either vocal jazz groups, Emily’s schedule will be crowded with rehearsals, as she is a part of Concert Choir, Chamber Singers, Women’s Chorus, and a jazz combo in which she plays trumpet.

Emily shared her advice for students considering auditioning next year.

“Just relax because it’s a lot easier than you think it’s going to be,” she said. “If you don’t make it, don’t be too hard on yourself because there are always opportunities to be involved in music.”

Standout performances bring Netflix original series ‘Stranger Things’ to life

(Illustration by Amarelis Morales)

As modern TV shows move away from traditional cable networks in favor of streaming websites such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, the shows continue to increase in quality. Netflix’s original sci-fi thriller “Stranger Things” is no exception.

“Stranger Things” premiered on July 15 and gradually amassed quite the following without much in the way of traditional advertising. Instead, Netflix relied on word-of-mouth advertising through social media. And it worked.

The show revolves around the disappearance and search for Will Byers (Noah Schapp), a 12-year-old-boy from the fictional town of Hawkins, IN.

Will’s three best friends conduct their own search for Will. During their investigation, Mike, Dustin, and Lucas (Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, and Caleb McLaughlin, respectively) meet a strange girl with a shaved head and psychic abilities named Eleven.

The boys believe that the appearance of the girl, who speaks in one-word answers, loves Eggo waffles, and has a tattoo of the number 11 on her arm, is connected to Will’s disappearance.

The boys’ characters discover more about each other and themselves as they face the mysteries separating them from their friend. The young actors’ performances, which could have easily been reduced to caricatures, add a surprising amount of depth and innocence to the show.

Especially notable is Millie Bobby Brown’s performance as Eleven. The 12-year-old actor delivers her performance with the skill and maturity of a seasoned veteran.

Winona Ryder’s all-out performance as Joyce Byers, Will’s mother, signals something of a comeback for her career, and Natalia Dyer, who plays Mike’s older sister, seems prime to become Hollywood’s next it-girl.

However, the performances would be nothing without a strong script. Matt and Ross Duffers’ writing shifts from colorfully quirky to incredibly dark often in the span of a single episode, reminiscent of other cult shows like “Twin Peaks.”

The visual effects in “Stranger Things” are also impressive.

The darker notes of the show often come from the plot’s otherworldly elements and leave a lasting visual impact.

In the end, “Stranger Things” will endure as a classic series not because of its journey into darker dimensions, but because of the complex, human characters that inhabit its world. Its well-written characters and performances give “Stranger Things” a refreshing missing element from other sci-fi mystery shows — hope.

‘Don’t Breathe’ pushes horror conventions

Jane Levy stars at Rocky in “Don’t Breathe”, a horror movie out now in theatres. (Internet photo)

An elderly man drags a young woman across an abandoned city street at sunrise. Although she is clearly alive, her body leaves a continuous bloodstain running across the pavement.

This opening shot to Fede Alvarez’s surprisingly cinematic new horror film “Don’t Breathe” sets the tone for the gruesome horror that follows.

The film follows Rocky, Money, and Alex, three Detroit-area teenagers who rob rich people in hopes of escaping poverty and living large in L.A.

To secure the luxurious lifestyle they desire, they decide to rob a blind man. Sounds easy, right?

Wrong.

After the heist begins, the teens discover that the old man is hiding a lot more than money, and that he isn’t willing to go down without a fight.

This premise works, as the viewer is left almost immediately conflicted.

Rocky, played in an all-out performance by Jane Levy, is incredibly easy to identify with, as her motives are pure. The sole reason she refuses to abandon the heist at the first sign of trouble is because she is desperate to take her younger sister away from their unstable home.

The blind man, played by Stephen Lang, is at first pitiable. He lost his sight in combat, his daughter was killed, he lives alone, and is seemingly defenseless.

As the film continues however, we learn that the blind man is not as helpless as he first appears, and is able to efficiently pursue the teens through the tight corridors of his home despite his lack of sight.

Audience sympathies continue to waiver after a wickedly clever plot twist (although one that is unfortunately spoiled in the trailer) adds another disturbing layer to the plot.

Things take a dark turn, quite literally, as the blind man kills the power and leaves the thieves wandering through the dark.

Shot entirely in night vision, the camera twists and turns in front of the teens as they try to feel their way through the foreign territory in one of the film’s most memorable sequences.

Ultimately, the film is at its best — and its scariest — when tapping into this feeling of claustrophobia. Cinematographer Pedro Luque makes full use of the effect by gracefully maneuvering the camera through the house’s tight corridors while following the action.

Luque takes advantage of the film’s constricted set by having the blind man appear quickly and without warning from around a corner or just out of frame, resulting in some refreshingly effective jump scares.

The lighting also adds to the film’s overwhelming atmosphere of dread and claustrophobia. The orange-tinted antique lamps adorning the walls blend with the green fluorescents flowing through the windows to create a sickly shade a green that overtakes almost every corner of the set.

“Don’t Breathe” is a fantastic exercise in horror cinema because almost every single detail works to either conflict or put the viewer on edge. The only fault with the film is that the ending runs a bit too long, abandoning the confined corridors of the house for the wide-open streets.

Overall, “Don’t Breathe” is a smart, original, and highly effective horror film that develops modern horror conventions by pushing them to their extremes. Alvarez knows what horror fans want, and he knows how to treat them with respect. As a result, “Don’t Breathe” is sure to become a classic of modern horror cinema.

Breaking free from boredom on a budget

(photo by Stefan Carlson)

On a small campus like Elmhurst’s, it can be difficult to find things to do during your free time that won’t break the bank. Parties are usually reserved for weekends and if you don’t know the right people, they can be hard to find. If you’re not napping, eating, catching up on homework, or binge watching Netflix, you might not know what to do.

Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Here are a few things you can do on campus and in downtown Elmhurst to help cure your boredom on a budget.

On Campus: 1.) Founder’s Lounge:

The sitting area located on the main floor of Elmhurst’s student center, The Frick Center, is a great place to kill time. Founder’s includes a Starbucks, a fancy fireplace, rotating art exhibitions, and lots and lots of comfy chairs.

Student organizations are always meeting in Founder’s, and it’s not difficult to find at least one person from Greek life sitting at the tables near the coffee shop.

If you’re looking to join a club but are unsure of what the clubs actually do at Elmhurst, hang out in the Founder’s Lounge and catch a glimpse of what they’re actually like when they think no one’s watching, which might be pretty entertaining in and of itself.

2.) AC Buehler Library:

The library on campus is a great place to kill time, whether you’re catching up on homework that’s due Monday or chatting over coffee with a friend between classes in the library’s café. The library also has one of the best Wi-Fi connections on campus, which means you are free to binge-watch Netflix to your heart’s content if your dorm’s Wi-Fi just isn’t cutting it.

The upper and lower floors are designated quiet study floors, so make sure to stay on the main floor if you forgot your headphones or feel like talking. Please don’t be the douchebag that breaks this rule. Your peers trying to cram for a test or finish a paper will appreciate it.

3.) Faganel Hall

Do you feel sluggish and exhausted? Have you been eating nothing but pizza and bacon burgers from the cafeteria? Did you just top it all off with a weekend of hedonistic binge drinking at some senior’s house off campus?

If this sounds like you, or if this sounds like your plans for your first weekend at Elmhurst, then you might want to take the next weekend off and stop by Faganel Hall instead. Faganel Hall offers a wide range of both strength training and cardiovascular equipment. There’s also basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts available for student use.

4.) Irion:

The tight corridors of Elmhurst’s music building are home to Elmhurst’s most musically gifted students who practice during all hours of the day. If you’re looking for a free concert, find a nice seat outside of Buik recital hall or one of the practice rooms and take in the music.

Off Campus:

1.) Elmhurst Public Library:

The Public Library offers students a place to get coffee and enjoy the impressive modern architecture of the library. With a large selection of books, movies, and a cozy coffee shop, the library is a perfect place to sit, relax, and have some alone time.

2.) The York Theatre:

You can enjoy the latest mainstream releases at the local cinema without having to go far as the York Theatre is located in the heart of downtown Elmhurst. If the normal ticket price of $9 is a bit too steep for your pockets, the theatre offers tickets for $5 all-day every Tuesday.

3.) Brewpoint, Elijah’s, and Pilot Pete’s

Owned and operated by locals, these mom-and-pop coffee shops offers a cornucopia of caffeinated beverages, pastries, snacks, and sandwiches.

Brewpoint offers special event nights, which can range from knitting to a board game night.

Elijah’s embraces its local roots by always keeping its walls packed with upcoming Elmhurst events. The community reciprocates by devouring its homemade scones, a local favorite.

Pilot Pete’s may look small, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. From its quaint

shop in Elmhurst’s Metra station, owner “Pilot” Pete Thomas has been brewing up specialty coffee for commuters since 2011.

4.) Portillo’s:

If you’re not from the Chicagoland area, you might not know about this regional fast food franchise. Portillo’s offers hot dogs, burgers, beefs, fries, and legendary chocolate cake at arguably reasonable prices. (It’s a bit pricier than McDonald’s, but not as expensive as traditional restaurants.)

Eating at Portillo’s at least once is regarded as a Chicago-land right of passage, but chances are you’ll be coming back here again and again to forget about just how bad months of nothing but cafeteria food can be. Luckily, Elmhurst’s Portillo’s is just a 10 minute walk from campus.

Songs to get through week one at EC

We here at The Leader know that if you’re reading this, you probably already have your Spotify playlists figured out, but level with us here. You’re an incoming student. You came to this school to experience something new.

So we’ve provided a list of seven songs for the first seven days of the semester. We’ve also given you alternative choices because we know everyone has different tastes. You’re in college now. You’re here to expand your interests, so give these songs a chance. You might find something new that really speaks to you.

Day 1. “Naïve” English rockers, The Kooks,

provide the perfect title to start the week because every new student at Elmhurst is clueless about what is to come this year. This song is also a great way to pump yourself up for your first 8 a.m. class.

Alternatives: The Chainsmokers- “Closer”, David Bow- ie- “Heroes”, Nirvana- “School”, Utada- “Exodus ‘04”

Day 2. “Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl”

This song by Wet, an indie pop group from Brooklyn, has a very relaxed vibe to it. It’s a good song to fall asleep to or to do your first batch of homework to. This song gives you a chance to take a deep breath, relax, calm down and fight that initial bout of homesickness.

Alternatives: David Bow- ie- “Young Americans”, Regina Spektor- “Small Town Moon”, Simon & Garfunkel- “The Sound of Silence”, SZA- “Child’s Play”

Day 3. “Lay it All on Me” (feat. Ed Sheeran)

This quiet song by English drum and bass band Rudimental has more of an upbeat tone to it. This is a good song to listen to when you need a little push to finish homework or when you’re feeling extra tired in the morning.

Alternatives: All American Rejects- “Gives You Hell”, The Beatles- “Norwegian Wood” Bleached- “Wednesday Night Melody”, Kendrick Lamar-“Money Trees”

Day 4. “Talk”

This song, by DJ Snake and George Maple, is quite a bit more energetic than the others. It is a good song for driving to school or walking to class, or it could be a good Thursday night song to jam to.

Alternatives: Chicago- “25 or Six to Four”, Tommy James & The Shondells- “Crystal Blue Persuasion”, Ying Yang Twins- “The Whisper Song”, Katy Perry- “Waking Up in Vegas”

Day 5. “Higher”

This song by The Naked and Famous, a New Zealand based indie electronic band, is a very catchy song that is a good pick- me-up if you’re feeling down or overwhelmed by school. This song is a good mood-booster to get you ready for the weekend.

Alternatives: FIDLAR- “Cheap Beer”, Jimi Hendrix- “All Along the Watchtower”, Lissie- “Pursuit of Happi- ness (Kid Cudi Cover)”, P!nk - “So What”,

Day 6. “Headlights”

Tor Miller is an up-and- coming indie pop singer from Brooklyn. We enjoy the tempo of this song but the main reason we chose this song was because of the lyrics. The lyrics describe the pressure college students experience from the high expectations of friends and family.

Alternatives: J. Cole- “‘03 Adolescence”, J. Geils Band- “House Party” Talking Heads- “Once in a Lifetime”, Company of Thieves- “Pressure”

Day 7. “She’s American”

This song by the 1975 is an essential for the first week of school because we could all use a song that helps us handle the stresses of beginning a new journey.

Alternatives: The Beatles- “Blackbird”, Crowded House- “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, The Last Shadow Puppets- “Avia- tion”, Traffic- “Glad/Freedom Writer”

We hope that you find at least one song on this list that will stick with you. At the very least, we hope you enjoy giving something new a chance. After all, that’s why you’re here. Try new things, like them––or don’t–– and learn from the experience.

A guide to staying safe on the CTA and Metra

(file photo)

Many students coming from other states have no doubt heard stories depicting Chicago as the murder capital of the country, or even dubbing it “Chiraq.” The vast majority of Chicago is a wonderful place and completely safe, but it would be disingenuous to say that there are not dangerous places in the city. It’s important to be smart, informed, and confident while still feeling free to discover the city for yourself.

While public transportation such as Chicago’s CTA and Metra trains are great ways to navigate the city, there are some trains that are best avoided. Some of the city trains have had passengers get mugged or harassed while on board. With that in mind, here are the trains that you should probably steer clear of and the ones that are safer to take.

What to Avoid

It is widely known among Chicago natives that the CTA Red Line can be pretty dangerous when going south of downtown Chicago, especially at night. Chicago native Alex Cordero spoke about his own experience on the Red and Green Lines, warning of the potential dangers of taking it.

Avoid the Red line south of Sox/35th Street and the Green Line south of Roosevelt. I’ve gotten jumped on both trains,” he explained. “Some dude asked [me and my friend] if he could use our phones and we said no because he had a phone in his hand. He got up and asked again, all of a sudden three other dudes are with him and they forced us in that little section of the train where the driver sits.”

This highlights one of the problems of the CTA: there’s no driver or conductor in the cars where the passengers are sitting, so a lot of wild things can go on. Luckily for Alex, he didn’t have anything the men attacking him seemed to be looking for.

“They started pushing us and tried going through our stuff. They didn’t find anything on me but Pokemon cards though,” he said.

Hector Saldana, a student at Harold Washington, spoke about a similar experience with a different train: the Pink Line.

“The Pink Line gets sketchy past Central Park. They’re not the best neighborhoods past that point. There’s Little Village and so on,” he said. “A lot of people who either are drunk or gang members come on there at night. I was on the Pink Line one night and got bopped on the head by this crazy drunk guy on my way home from work. It just gets kinda dangerous at night, not necessarily saying to be afraid of it, just be cautious.”

These are the three most widely recognized lines to be avoided in the city. While other lines such as the Blue, Purple, Orange or Brown might have problems of their own, the ones previously mentioned seem to stand out as places that aren’t necessarily the most welcoming.

What to Take

As a general rule Metra trains tend to be a pretty safe option as there is a Metra conductor in the car most of the time and they’ll generally remove unruly passengers. It will cost much more than a CTA train, though. Metra tickets start at $3.50 and can be as expensive as $7.75. CTA train rides anywhere in the city only cost $2.25.

Once in the city, the aforementioned Blue, Brown, Purple, and Orange lines are all reliable ways to get where you need to go. Use caution, but don’t feel the need to be afraid. Chicago is an amazing town, so get out there and experience it.

Pokemon Go: Bringing Elmhurst together

(photo by Stefan Carlson)

Pokémon Go, the free-to-play mobile game that soared to worldwide popularity upon its release in July, has landed in Elmhurst. Already, there’s a growing community of local players based on campus, and the semester hasn’t even started yet.

These players, the most dedicated of which refer to themselves as trainers, have strategically flocked to EC. Pokémon Go rewards players bonuses for being in close proximity to local landmarks, over 30 of which are located on campus. (See cam- pus map on pg.14 for specific examples.)

The resulting influx of visitors has caused quite the spectacle. At peak playing times, there are groups as large as 20 people walking through campus together, all of them intermittently looking down at their phones as they search for Pokémon.

Although some might think this fascination with cartoon creatures bizarre or a waste of time, the players adamantly disagree. To many local trainers, Pokémon Go is more than just a game. It’s a community-builder.

Pokémon Go is strengthening the relationship between the college and the larger community of Elmhurst according to Madiha Ahmed, an EC student ambassador, who has seen this aspect of the game first-hand.

“I always see kids [from] the neighborhood ride their bikes around the campus,” she said. “I also know of people that have come here late at night just to play the game so you’re [going to find] a lot of dedicated trainers around.”

One such dedicated trainer Frank Cesario, an undergrad at College of DuPage, ran into an old friend one night while playing on campus.

“It was nice to catch up with him over something we still have in common,” he said. “We used to play Pokémon together all the time when we were kids.”

Pokémon Go has done more for Cesario than to rekindle old relationships, it’s helped him make new ones.

“For people like me with social anxiety,” he added “Pokémon Go lets us go out and meet new people because we know everyone playing the game has a common interest.”

With the new semester on the way, it will be interesting to see how these newly-formed communities affect life on campus. But one thing’s for sure — if you want to make a friend this semester, or even become a part of the Pokémon Go community on campus for yourself, all you have to do is look for someone staring down at their phone and start talking to them about Pokémon. You might be pleasantly surprised by what happens when you team up with strangers while trying to catch ‘em all.

Finding Your Clique in One Quiz: The Leader Shares Five Tips to Navigate Campus Life

We all want to belong. Picture this: It’s your first day of school as you walk through the cafeteria. Football players in one corner, dropping food faster than a three-year-old toddler. In another corner, the self-proclaimed hipsters are hard at work instagramming their food and adjusting the eyeglasses they don’t need. Among the wild crowd of computer science geeks, mean girls, and polysci majors, where should you sit? We’ve got you covered. (See bottom for answers)

A. WHILE POLITICS MAKE MOST PEOPLE SICK, DISCUSSING THE LATEST UPDATES ON THE MAP GRANTS MAKES YOUR HEART POUND WITH EXCITEMENT. MEETINGS ARE A STAPLE OF YOUR LIFE. YOU ARE...

B. YOU CAN OFTEN BE SEEN WEARING A HOT PINK T-SHIRT, SIPPING FROM A STARBUCKS PUMPKIN-SPICED LATTE. THERE IS A 90 PERCENT CHANCE YOU’RE WHITE, AND A 75 PERCENT CHANCE YOU’RE BLONDE. YOU WEAR YOGA PANTS WHENEVER YOU CAN, BUT HAVE NEVER DONE YOGA A DAY IN YOUR LIFE. YOU ARE...

C. YOU ARE FREQUENTLY SEEN SPORTING A JERSEY WITH A NUMBER ON IT. “P**SY” IS ONE OF THE VERY FEW WORDS IN YOUR DICTIONARY. THE CAFETERIA AND LANGHORST FIELD ARE YOUR NATURAL HABITATS. YOU ARE...

D. YOU MOST LIKELY HAVE LONG HAIR AND CAN BE FREQUENTLY SPOTTED HAULING A BLACK CASE AROUND CAMPUS. YOU’RE OFTEN DESCRIBED AS “DEEP” AND THE FEDORA IS A STAPLE IN YOUR WARDROBE. YOU ARE...

E. THE ADMINISTRATION, AND PRETTY MUCH EVERYONE ELSE, HATES YOU. YOU CAN OFTEN BE SEEN BEGGING PEOPLE TO LET YOU TALK TO THEM. YOU DESPERATELY TRY TO STAY RELEVANT ON CAMPUS, AND TRY TO GET STUDENTS ON CAMPUS TO READ YOUR SHIT. IN YOUR FREE TIME, YOU ENJOY DESTROYING PEOPLE’S REPUTATIONS. YOU LIVE ON COFFEE AND PROCRASTINATION IS YOUR FAVORITE RUSH. YOU ARE...

F. YOU’RE A NERD. YOU MOST LIKELY WEAR GLASSES, AND ARE OFTEN SEEN ON CAMPUS WORKING AT THE LEARNING CENTER. AT PARTIES, YOU FIND A DISCUSSION OF THE “CLASSIFICATION OF FINITE SIMPLE GROUPS” THEOREM WAY MORE INTERESTING THAN A KEG OF BEER. YOU ARE....

G. YOU ARE A VERY WELL-INFORMED PERSON. YOU KNOW ABOUT AND HAVE AN OPINION ON ALL THE HOT TOPICS ON CAMPUS. YOU KNOW WHO’S WHO IN THE FACULTY AND ADMINISTRATION. YOU ARE AWARE OF ALL THE EVENTS THAT HAPPEN AT ELMHURST. YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT PRESIDENT VANAKEN’S FAVORITE COLOR IS. YOU ARE...

H. YOUR BACKPACK WEIGHS 300 LBS. YOU FIND YOURSELF FRANTICALLY DRIVING AROUND CAMPUS BEFORE YOUR FIRST CLASS OF THE DAY LOOKING FOR ANY LEGAL PLACE TO PARK ON CAMPUS. YOUR RADIO IS YOUR ONLY FRIEND. YOU ARE...

I. NINETY PERCENT OF YOUR WARDROBE CONSISTS OF CAMO AND AMERICAN FLAG UNDERWEAR. YOUR WET DREAM IS TO HELP BUILD A WALL AROUND MEXICO, AND IRAN WHILE YOU’RE AT IT. YOU HAVE COMPLICATED FEELINGS TOWARD CHINA AND BROWN PEOPLE. YOU BELIEVE AMERICA’S WORST ENEMIES ARE POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, LIBERALS, EXTREMIST ISLAM, BLACK LIVES MATTER RADICALS, POOR PEOPLE, AND....THE LIST IS ENDLESS, BUT YOU’RE WILLING TO DEDICATE YOUR LIFE TO SAVING AMERICA RIGHT FROM YOUR MOTHER’S BASEMENT. YOU ARE...

J. YOU GET ALL YOUR POLITICAL INFORMATION FROM NOWTHIS AND MEMES ON FACEBOOK. THERE’S A 90 PERCENT CHANCE YOU’RE NOT A STRAIGHT, WHITE MALE. YOU’LL VOTE FOR ANY CANDIDATE WITH A VA- GINA. YOU’RE EASILY OFFENDED: EVERYONE’S A RACIST AND SEXIST EXCEPT YOU. YOUR WARDROBE CON- SISTS OF NO BRAS. YOU FEEL THE WORLD WOULD BE A BETTER PLACE IF MEN CEASED TO EXIST. IN YOUR FREE TIME, YOU’RE ON TWITTER TYPING UP HASHTAGS LIKE #HISSMALLHANDS.

 A. An SGA Member, B. A sorority girl, C. A jock, D. A music student, E. A writer for The Leader, F. A math major, G. A reader of The Leader, H. A commuter student, I. A Donald Trump supporter, J. A Hillary Clinton Supporter