All posts by Kevin Jachimowicz

Duke Graduate ‘Mike Stud’ Rocks Toads Place

By Ariana D’Avanzo

“Its Mike Stud Homie” chanted hundreds of rowdy fans who were lined up outside of Toads Place in New Haven, on Saturday, April 19.

Die-hard Mike Stud fans began lining up in the cold at 6:30p.m., while the doors for the sold out show did not open up until 8; an hour before the opening act began their performance.

Mike Stud, whose legal name is Michael Francis Seander Jr., is an upcoming rapper who graduated from Duke University. At Duke, he was awarded a full athletic scholarship for baseball. Stud had a promising start to his collegiate baseball career, but unfortunately, Tommy John surgery had him watching his teammates from the sidelines.

With a lot of free time on his hands, Stud began writing music relentlessly, eventually being encouraged by his peers to release some of his songs publicly. Once a few were uploaded on YouTube, he began to create his own fan base.

Since graduation, Stud put more and more focus and emphasis on his musical career, gathering more and more fans. He began producing music videos, selling merchandise and doing what he now loves most: performing.

The fans swamped Toads Place wearing Stud’s merchandise hoping to be the closest ones to the stage. Fans were crowd surfing, dancing and reciting the lyrics to Stud’s songs at the top of their lungs.

Stud first walked on stage around 10:30p.m. after his opening act “I-Am-G”. The enthusiastic Stud supporters began chanting the ‘Stud Call’. This noise “Uhyuuu” is used by Stud and his team members to signal to one another where they are. This noise became a phenomenon and now all Stud admirers use it.

For around two hours Stud performed his hit songs and he took request from the audience. Periodically, when he was out of breath, he would hold out the microphone to the crowd and the crowd simultaneously rehearsed the next line in the song. When this occurred a smile formed on Stud’s face. At one point in the show he explained to the audience that he can’t put into words the joy that his supporters bring him.

The concert ended around 12:30a.m. and the security started filing people out the door as quickly as they could manage to do so. Some fans stayed after the concert to try and snap a quick picture with Stud. When all was said and done, Stud and his crew packed up their equipment and headed home to Rhode Island to spend Easter with their family.

Respect the Classics: “The Great Escape” (1963)

By: Joe Suszczynski

Whenever I write this column about a classic movie I usually choose a theme, which is usually a genre of film or a specific person—something of that nature. One theme I have yet to touch on is personal favorites. It just so happens that my personal favorite movie of all time is also a classic movie, called “The Great Escape,” which was released in 1963 and directed by John Sturges.

 

The movie takes place during World War II in Germany at a Prisoner of War, POW, camp where allied pilots are brought in and held. The Commandant of the camp, Colonel Von Luger (Hannes Messemer), is tasked with overseeing the camp, which attempts to house prisoners who are known escape artists. After trying to make quick escapes that end up failing, the allied flyers settle in, until Squadron Leader Roger Bartlett (Richard Attenborough) of the Royal Air Force, RAF, is brought into the camp. Bartlett is known as “Big X”. He starts to make plans to have three tunnels dug, the intention being to set free 250 prisoners with the help of many other officers in the camp, most of whom are British, with the exception of three American officers, (Steve McQueen, James Gardner, and Jud Taylor).

 

One great aspect of the movie is the acting and the fact that there is an all-star cast is fantastic. Steve McQueen steals the show as Captain Virgil Hilts, whose quick quips and frequent escape attempts land him in the “cooler”, eventually dubbing him the “Cooler King.” As much as McQueen steals the show, my favorite character is Hendley, played by James Gardner. He is known as “The Scrounger”, who steals items for the other officers; Gardner’s role is an extension of himself when he had served in Korea and was considered to be a scrounger. Every other actor in this movie did an excellent job—the roles just fit every actor like a glove.

 

John Sturges did a great job in directing the movie. He doesn’t try to make the movie a high-action film, filled with explosions and excessive gunfire, but takes a route utilizing a slow, but well-paced drama that contains the proper amount of action. It should also be noted that McQueen did most of his stunts in the movie in regards to his character driving a motorcycle, as McQueen is a known motorcyclist, which were brilliantly shot scenes.

 

The writing was also well done. The film was based on a true story where allied flyers attempted to break out of the German prison camp Stalag Luft III. The characters are well developed and the story flows nicely. There’s even humor injected in the story; along with being engrossed in the story you can have some comedic relief as well.

 

I love this movie because the acting is well done, directed brilliantly and well written. I would recommend this movie to anyone who likes war related movies or any famous actor who’s in the movie. And for that it needs to be respected.

Showcasing Tension and Tranquility With Music: The 2014 CCSU Annual Honors Recital

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

 

The CCSU Department of Music presented their Annual Honors Recital this past Wednesday night in Founders Hall, beginning just a few minutes after 7:30, and opening to a large crowd that nearly filled up the entire room.

Upon arrival, audience members were greeted by a man and a woman at the door, both students, and were each handed a program for the event. The first piece was a Ferdinand David Piece, “Concertino,” which featured Adam Twombly on the trombone, and Carolyn Halsted played the piano. The piece began with haunting decrescendos from Halsted’s piano, and this lasted for a solid minute, more or less. The trombone finally enters the piece at the perfect time, with reverberating, resonating and strong crescendos. As “Concertino” continues, the piano returns to its initial haunting decrescendos, and finally reverts to the trombone again, as the piece finally stabilizes, once and for all. Halsted’s part was played well, and her hair swayed sometimes as she rapidly changed focus from her sheet music to her hands on the piano. Although her part did seem to be the dominant portion in the piece, it was long and left room for a clean trombone sound that completely filled Founders at times throughout the song.

There was no time wasted in between pieces, hardly a moment passed between the first performers leaving stage and the next ones walking onto it, making for an impressive and efficient showcasing of skills.

Next up, was a Samuel Zyman piece: a Sonata for the flute and piano. Andrea Shabazian was on the flute and Simon Holt was on the piano. The piece immediately sounded reminiscent of something that belonged in a movie scene involving a character either being chased by some type of authority, or endlessly trying to escape some sort of threat. This feeling lasts for a good minute or so, eventually drifting its way into a much more soothing and peaceful piece, as opposed to the earlier chaos — which wasn’t gone for good yet. The piece did return to it’s more intense roots, but to nowhere near the same degree as in the beginning of it. The piece received a big applause, and at this point the audience was giving praise and applause before and after each and every piece. Once again, no time was wasted between pieces, and this continued throughout the night’s event.

The first vocal piece of the night was that of Joaquin Rodrigo, titled “¿Conqué la lavaré?,” sung by Symantha Morales, with Simon Holt on the piano once again. This was by far the shortest piece performed yet at the event. But for some reason, this felt correct for the type of piece it was and the feelings it provoked. A complete translation for the piece was available in the program handed out upon entry.

“Passacaglia in g minor” was the following piece, and as Robyn Buttery performed the piece solo on the violin, Dr. Carl Knox nodded approvingly and peacefully at the soothing, sincere and defiant transitions the violinist would utilize for heavier notes. This piece was very impressive, and was definitely a crowd favorite. This was the first and only completely solo piece of the night, and Buttery performed flawlessly and beautifully, completely maintaining her composure throughout the solemn piece. This piece was quite captivating and was a highlight of the performance overall.

The next performance was a Jindra Necasova piece, featuring Andrea Shabazian on the flute, with Rachel Rubino on the trumpet. The piece was coached by Daniel D’Addio and was a quiet, somber piece. This was interesting, because it was very a quiet piece to include a trumpet for more than 50 percent of the time. Just as it seemed the two were going to flip their sheet music to continue playing for another page, the piece ended abruptly, and the two women bowed in unison.

The finale was a Trio in G Major: I. “Andante” II. “Poco Adagio” III. “Rondo Ongarese.” This was performed by Robyn Buttery on the violin, Allysa Peck on the cello, and Yin-Chen Lin on the piano. The three women bowed to the audience before they began the show’s finale. The piano is very bouncy in this piece, and remains this way throughout. The violin and the cello balance out perfectly amongst the somewhat erratic piano sequences that were present in the first part of the three-piece. The second piece was much more relaxing, while the third returned to the hyped-up, fast-paced tempo, but still managed to not feel overly rushed. This finale was quite impressive, and definitely engaged and interested the crowd, more-so than most of the pieces performed throughout the night.

Overall, the Annual Honors Recital was an impressive showcasing of skills, a great event to attend on a Wednesday night, and a great way to see some of CCSU’s student’s hard work this semester come to life.

Futures “Honest” Lacks Despite Star-Studded Tracklist

By Kevin Jachimowicz

 

Originally titled “Future Hendrix” multiple years ago, Future’s newest album has arrived, now titled “Honest.” The album brings along a host of featured artists and producers, such as Kanye West, Pusha T, Drake and Mike WiLL Made It, the Executive Producer of “Honest.” The album marks the 30-year-old and Georgia-native rapper’s second major label effort.

 

“At first it started as ‘Future Hendrix,’ and ‘Real And True’ was one of the songs,” Mike Will said. ” Then we were working on other music, more focused on our core audience…We saw what the people wanted. [Future] hosted my mixtape and we released a couple of exclusives… and people were responding to those just as well. Everybody was asking when the album coming out.”

 

In his recent interview with XXL, Mike Will discussed “Honest,” which he thinks will “change the game.” “[Honest] is going to be a classic album. We went into the studio, and the approach we took on this album is that we have to make this a new classic,” Mike Will continued.

 

One of “Honest’s” standout tracks is the incredibly original and unique “Benz Friendz (Whatchutola),” which does a superb job of showcasing Future partnered up with the legendary OutKast member, Andre 3000. Future and Andre 3000 make for quite the song as they trade verses and hooks back and forth continuously. The chemistry seen here is surprisingly impressive and works for the better of the album; the tracks serve as a pleasant surprise and breath of fresh air. As always, 3000 steals the show with his perfected guest spot.

Four slow-tempo tracks later, “Honest” heightens in exuberance and pace, as the vibe becomes much more hyped up. “Covered N Money” is an OK song, but is really lacking in the content and substance departments. The song is way too repetitive, but the producer of the track, Sonny Digital, holds the track up as much as possible, with the bass-heavy beat playing continuously as Future sputters the same couple of words over and over, which gets boring far more fast than one would prefer.

 

The Drake-assisted, “Never Satisfied” is a ballad that falls just short of two minutes. The song is produced by Mike Will and is another one of the better tracks on the album. The array of features on the album becomes more clearly intended at this point, and it becomes more obvious that Future could not necessarily perform to the type of caliber he does, without some of the very talented artists he has surrounded himself with.

 

The album’s title track was the first single, which was released months ago, quickly becoming a popular hit on radio waves. The song features Future utilizing a mixture of his raspy singing and rapping, notably delving into a cringe inducing, yet respectable (for the attempt) falsetto. The song is just as weird as the concoction of an album is itself.

 

Following the decent first half of “Honest,” Future continues the hype music with the Wiz-Khalifa featuring track, “My Momma.” The chorus features a somewhat strange refrain which could have been executed much better, and the track feels it would be better without Future’s presence. This song honestly belongs on a mixtape for either Wiz Khalifa or Future, himself.

 

The album’s biggest record is “Move that Dope,” which also features Pharrell, Pusha T, and Casino. Future is rapping here to his fullest extent and also excels on the hook. Despite Pusha T stealing the song, due to his great verse, the song would not be the same without the presence of Future or Pharrell.

 

Overall, “Honest” is a good effort from Future, but it seems he has not fully pinpointed what sound he wants to create, or what his true fans are looking for and expecting from him.

Netflix It: “The House I Live In”

By: Kevin Jachimowicz

The ‘war on drugs’ is a term that I recall hearing since I was just a kid in elementary school, probably thanks to the D.A.R.E program, either that or one of those ‘this is your brain on drugs’ adverts. In a perfect world, the war on drugs is a highly respectable and responsible concept, that would successfully function; in the real world, it appears the policy creates far more systemic problems than it solves. “The House I Live In” is a heartbreaking film documentation of our nation’s drug laws and the damage they can cause, and have caused. The front of the DVD’s cover bears the quote: “The war on drugs has never been about drugs.”

The director of “The House I Live In”, Eugene Jarecki, began his journey of filming this documentary with an urge to show people how hard drugs ravaged a family close to his heart. In the end, he decided to unhinge some of the America’s greatest misconceptions of the incessant drug problems that exist in the United States. Many voices are featured as spokespeople to support the various claims Jarecki is making throughout, including the creator of The Wire, David Simon.

The discussion begins as a Grandmother discusses how drug abuse hurt her and her family, ultimately either imprisoning or taking the lives’ of her children. Other people of importance are featured throughout the documentary to offer their own explanations and experiences. These people include everyone from an Iowa Judge whose specialty is drug cases, to those involved in the illicit drug trade themselves. These additional voices are pivotal to Jarecki’s goal – providing a full-circle perspective in regards to the institutions built and jobs created due to the illicit drug industry. The serious need to look at drug use as a health problem and not a crime is also discussed repeatedly. “The House I Live In”, in its final argument, seemingly claims that those in positions of power have created a system designed to imprison subsets of the population.

What makes “The House I Live In” really hit home, more-so than your typical documentary, is in the way that it facts alone are weaved throughout the overall story. These laws that are sometimes arbitrary, also highlight just how systemic the war on drugs has become.

“The House I Live In” is a successful showcase of the numerous facets which make up the world of drugs, from the foot soldiers to the policy makers. The disconnect between those who create laws and those who live with the consequences of them is a real concern raised by Eugene Jarecki and his co-narrator David Simon.

“The House I Live In” is a great documentary due to the way it engages the viewing audience, keeping them interested, and sparking them to ask more questions, and push the debate even further.