All posts by Corey O'Neill

Don Rickles: The Passing Of A Comedic Legend

by Anthony Rivera

On April 6, comedic legend Don Rickles unexpectedly passed away. Unfortunately, most reading this article do not know who he was. For those who did or didn’t, this article is a tribute.

Born in 1926 in Queens, NY, Don Rickles was a tough young man raised in a Jewish neighborhood, which shows in his style of comedy.

After a few attempts at becoming a dramatic actor and serving in the United States Navy, he starting performing at comedy clubs in New York, Miami and Los Angeles, slowly gaining a great amount of recognition.

Even early on, he was labeled an eccentric insult comic and was being recognized and encouraged to go to shows by Frank Sinatra.

With Sinatra’s support, Rickles became a successful headline performer in Las Vegas and was frequented at roasts of celebrities, including Dean Martin. He earned multiple nicknames like “The Merchant of Venom” and “Mr. Warmth,” all lovingly applied to a man who enjoyed poking fun at all ethnicities and walks of life to show how human we all are.

His first debut film, “Run Silent, Run Deep,” was a big success that lead him to dozens of other films over the years. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, Rickles made appearances on several television programs including “Dick Van Dyke” and “The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Shows” to name a few.

Over these decades, along with two to follow, Rickles would make appearances and do comedy shows all over the country and the world.

Although an insult comic and common T.V. personality, Rickles participated in innumerable projects over the next thirty years that included television shows, voice-overs for video games and animated films, while still performing at comedy clubs and events. He was a regular on late night talk shows, including Johnny Carson and David Letterman.

The main role that our generation knows him best as, is the voice of Mr. Potato Head from the Toy Story series. Although he was not a traditionally clean comedian, his love for laughter and comedy spread over many generations, which is why his presence on those projects was a joy to have.

Rickles won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in the Variety of Music Program. Among other nominations, were Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and David Letterman. His speech was heavily correlated with his character: “Stephen Colbert’s a funny man, but he’s too young. He has got plenty of time to win awards, but this may be my last year and I think that I made it count.”

In addition to this man’s success and admiration, Rickles was honored at a Spike TV special called “One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles.” Jerry Seinfeld was the master of the ceremonies with an array of celebrities, including Johnny Depp, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Jon Stewart, David Letterman and many more.

Sadly, he passed away only just a few short days ago. Rickles died of kidney failure at the old age of 90. Since his death, multiple talk show host including Jimmy Kimmel and Seth Meyers have paid their respects.

David Letterman noted that Rickles “was always a highlight for me. Just endless mischief and nonsense, and a guy who would make the audience go completely crazy.” To a legend, a comedian, an actor and a friend, I wish the best to Don Rickles wherever he is; most likely cracking jokes on the entrance line to the pearly gates.”

Jude Law’s Upcoming Portrayal of Dumbledore Raises Eyebrows

 

by Anthony Rivera

The Harry Potter series has been a monumental shift in the re-ignition of the love of reading. The movie series does its best (with artistic liberties) to represent the book series in the best light. You have people defending both the books and the movies, but in the end, it has truly changed the world for many across the globe. Harry Potter fans, however, are curious to the extent of which J.K. Rowling’s second part to her new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series will stay true to the books.

Any avid Harry Potter reader knows that Dumbledore is represented in the books as a homosexual. Although it does not come through in the original Harry Potter film series, the younger version of the wizard is known to show affection towards his rival, Grindelwald. The movies have been relatively good representations of the books, with some minor details and events that were not outlined. This leads to the obvious question: is Dumbledore going to be shown as a homosexual?

Jude Law is set to play Dumbledore, while Johnny Depp is to play Grindelwald. With such notable actors, this has clearly raised so many questions and rumors about the outcome of what the movie is to represent. Speculations have been made on both ends; there is the possibility that a level of intimacy or sexuality will be left out, or a potential public affection between the two characters could be present. It is possible that a blend of the two occur, showing the level of affection Dumbledore has with Grindelwald, but not showing it in a public or direct way. So many different directions can be taken, and yet the beauty is… we will all have to wait to find out.

According to J.K. Rowling herself, she revealed that Dumbledore was infatuated with Grindelwald. When they had to duel, Dumbledore won, but was “horribly, terribly let down” and that his love for Grindelwald was referred to as his “great tragedy.” People have said since her statement that this struggle may define what the producers of the new movie would choose to show, depending on Rowling’s and the studio’s behalves.

Fans of the Harry Potter book series are die hard, to the point where they dislike the movies enough to point out every mistake or detail that may not be in the book. Other movie goers have simply watched the movies, but do not know the depth of how much symbolism and plot lines there are that may not show up on the big screen.

Nevertheless, fans and critics alike cannot wait to see the results of what is to come of this when Fantastic Beast and Where to Find Them 2 debuts on November 162018.

Meet The A Capella Society: Chromachord

by Jacob Carey

Chromachord, founded in the Fall of 2015, is Central Connecticut State University’s newest and only co-ed A Cappella group. The group was founded on the concept “equality for all”.  They want to be a place for anyone to feel welcomed, despite race, gender or sexual orientation.  The group strives for a group dynamic that could make anyone feel at home.

Within their brief period of performing, they have already proved to be an excellent group.  Originally starting the group with eighteen people, they have drastically downsized to nine members.  Even though this may seem like a bump in the road, the group was ready for the challenge.  They were able to take the opportunity to work on becoming more vocally tight.  That is why they perform like groups that have been around for a lot longer than them.  This makes for a very promising future for the group, as each concert they give, they have grown exponentially.

As a co-ed group, they have the ability to sing in a much larger range than other groups.  They can sing a larger variety of songs, as they have soloists in multiple ranges.  This means they are not limited to picking songs with primarily male or female vocalists.  This gives them opportunity to appeal to a much larger audience than other A Cappella groups.

They are looking forward to going to Boston Songs (BOSS) next year to learn more different aspects of A Cappella, in order to grow as a group.  This workshop event will hopefully lead them to an even brighter future than already promised.  They hope to keep as much of the work “in house” as possible.  Primarily, this means getting arrangements for songs from members within the group.  They also hope that this will eventually lead to competing in competitions, and eventually the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella.  Before they get that far, they want to try out smaller competitions first.

Unfortunately, Chromachord is losing a lot of members from their small group next year.  They are looking to grow the group a bit and encourage anyone to audition.  Their next concert is Saturday, Apr. 22 at 7:30 in Torp Theater in Davidson Hall.  It promises to be a great show with incredible music. They will also be performing, as well as Fermata the Blue (another one of CCSU’s A Cappella groups), at the Beecher Condom Carnival Wednesday Apr. 19.

As of right now, the group has no official recordings on iTunes or Spotify. However, the members of Chromachord are all very interested in the possibility to recording an album or EP.  They have no solid plans set for the future, but are eagerly looking into what it will take to get something recorded for their fans. They can be found on Facebook and Instagram, and be sure to check them out on YouTube.

The Secrets Of Stanley Park

 

by Kayla Murphy

Picnics, sports, or just a new nature setting for the next selfie, Stanley Park is the place for you. Located across the street from Maloney and Davidson Hall, Stanley is just a short walk away.

If students have grown too accustomed to the repetitive scenery on campus, they should stretch their legs and head over to the park. Stanley Park offers fishing at the pond, a playground, jogging track, state-of-the-art trails, skateboard park, sports fields, basketball courts and tennis courts.

Stanley Park is home to excellent trails. The more well-known one is the jogging trail around the pond. While on the trail, there are man-made workout stations that help tone and strengthen muscles.

For more of a true nature hike, follow the trail that goes behind the skate area in the very back of the park. Check out bridges, wide spaces, babbling streams and the teaming wildlife, including squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, turtles, ducks, geese and on rare occasions, deer. Don’t worry, one can’t get lost, although I would not recommend going on any trails after sunset.

Looking for something just a bit more athletic? Bring a frisbee, soccer or football. There are several large fields for recreational use. Bring a bat and ball and have some fun at one of the baseball fields, or bring a racket and some tennis balls and take a few swings at one of the tennis courts. Want to play a game of basketball? There are several courts for basketball as well.

Looking for more extreme sports? Strap on some roller blades or bring a board and cruise around the skate park. With ramps and rails, one can perfect all their tricks on their bikes or motorized scooters.

Stanley Park can be a budget-friendly and a cute date idea. Head to Stop & Shop and pack some favorite fruits, or grab a $5 sandwich from Subway and sit at one of the many benches throughout the park. Even for some chocolate or chips, head over to the Central Gas station across the street from Stanley Park.

As nice and friendly as Stanley Park is, there is one minor setback: the amount of trash. When visiting Stanley Park, make sure to pick up after. If bottles or big pieces of trash are seen lying around, it can’t hurt to pick it up. A little goes a long way in helping maintain a clean environment for the wildlife that thrives at Stanley Park.

Opinion: Why Everyone Needs To Watch ’13 Reasons Why’

by Trizy Garcia

The new Netflix’s series “13 Reasons Why” is taking the world by storm, and for a good reason. The series addresses various topics that are all too common for the reality of teenagers, yet never properly represented on screen.

The series is based on Jay Asher’s novel that tells the story of Hannah Baker, a teenager in school who leaves behind seven tapes explaining who influenced her suicide. The tapes are dedicated to each person in her life that has wronged or treated her poorly, revealing 13 reasons why she took her life.

In the series, the tapes make their way to Clay Jensen, who was a close friend of Hannah’s. Clay is terrified and confused as to why he would be on the tapes, as he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

Clay must listen to each tape to find out what he did, and through this, he finds out dark and disturbing secrets from his other classmates mentioned in Hannah’s tapes. The problem is, the people mentioned in the tapes want to protect themselves and keep their secrets from getting out, which means making sure that Clay keeps his mouth shut.

“13 Reasons Why” is more than just listening to see why Hannah Baker killed herself, it’s an unsettling truth about what teenagers are forced to deal with during the years where they’re trying to find themselves and figure out who they are.

“The whole issue of suicide is an uncomfortable topic, but it happens and we have to talk about it. It’s dangerous not to talk about it, because there’s room for hope,” mentioned Jay Asher, the author of the novel, in the documentary “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons.”

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming, and suicide are among the uncomfortable topics depicted throughout the series. Hannah’s life, which was turned upside down by a single photo taken out of context, is the reality of the impact technology and social media have on the lives of teenagers.

That photo meant more than just the bullying of a teenage girl. It became the beginning of what many teenage girls face; being over sexualized and objectified regarding their bodies and their selves.

The producers of the series weren’t shy about portraying difficult and graphic scenes in order for an honest depiction of what teenage girls experience. This made for some unsettling and uncomfortable scenes, but each one necessary to authentically and truthfully showcase what happened. There is, however, trigger warnings just in case it may be too much for a viewer.

In the “13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons” documentary, Justin Prentice, who played Bryce Walker in the series, stated that, “As a society, we tend to shy away from these hard topics sometimes. In cinema, we do that too, and I think this is great because this says ‘no, this is a problem and it needs to be addressed.”

Although some of the scenes may be difficult to watch, it’s something everyone needs to see to understand what drove Hannah over the edge, why she felt so alone and isolated from everyone around her.

Hannah is no different from millions of young teens in high school. The thing is, everyone has met someone in high school or middle school, who was self-harming, or depressed – or was that person. Its too common for teenage to be harassed and objectified.

“There’s nothing about this story that’s polite. You can really tell a story that’s going to start a conversation,” said Brandon Flynn in the documentary. Flynn played Justin Foley, or in Hannah’s words, “the beginning to my end”.

An important takeaway from “13 Reasons Why,” is that what people say to one another really has an impact on how someone perceives themselves. A negative remark towards someone, although unintentional, could drive that person to the edge. While, a positive compliment could make that person stop and think for a second before they decide to do something drastic.

Bullying, mental illness, rape, ‘slut’ shaming and suicide are things that “13 Reasons Why” took seriously in developing to make it an eye-opening experience. There’s a reason why the series is trending all over social media quickly within the short week it’s been on Netflix.

Clay Jensen seemed to sum it all up perfectly. In his own words, “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other, it has to get better somehow”.