Category Archives: Entertainment

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.

Dave Chappelle’s Exciting Reappearance Raises Questions

by Anthony Rivera

After a decade-long disappearance from comedy, famous comedian, writer and actor Dave Chappelle has made a huge comeback with his new debut specials on Netflix.

The 43-year-old, D.C.-based comedian grew his comedy career from minor comedy club circuits in New York City, to broadening his career by performing as Anchoo in Mel Brooks’ “Robin Hood: Men in Tights.” Since that role, Chappelle’s career skyrocketed to performing in front of mass audiences that followed and supported him for years to come.

During his time on his Comedy Central show, “The Chappelle Show,” he gained support and created a loyal fan base. The fans had been maintained for quite some time until an unfortunate incident with some conflict between fans that were heckling his recording of the shows, while Chappelle also felt mistreated by the management. After long deliberation, Chappelle chose to leave “The Chappelle Show” and retreat into a more self-reflecting state, spending time with his wife and three children.

Two specials were released on March 21 to reignite Chappelle’s career. The internet, radio, various other media outlets and people have different views as to how his demeanor has changed after his decade-long absence.

In his early years, Chappelle was heavily focused on race-driven comedy, along with the inclusion of current political issues, including police brutality and civil rights. Given that his reputation has naturally been a black and satirical comedian, the revival of his stand-up was anticipated with his natural prowess; high energy, quick bits, heavy political issues and black humor. Between two performances, however, he is very different from the young man who stood in front of a microphone to tell jokes at the young age of 19.

In the two-episode season released on Netflix, the first one was titled “The Age of Spin” and had a lot of transitions between jokes that represent his comedic style, especially his four anecdotes of meeting O.J. Simpson, which received high controversy due to the nature of the nation’s view of him. On one occasion when the allegation was first made, Chapelle shook his hand. When one of his representatives said to him, “How dare you shake hands with that murderer?” In Chapelle’s defense against his former representation, he responded by saying, “Miss… that murderer ran over 11,000 yards”.

Along with other jokes that reveal his inappropriate behavior that has been heard before, Chappelle has presented a side of himself that many have not seen. Chappelle truly revealed the intellect and wisdom that he has obtained over the years by expressing his social views. Multiple times during “The Age of Spin,” he chose to express his views on the homosexual community in a way that did not go against their sexual identities, but discussed the legal issues involving the recent laws and movements towards same-sex couples. By comparing it to the black community, Chappelle clearly outlined some very convincing and simply truthful points about asking for too much too quickly in the judiciary system.

In Chappelle’s second show, “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” Chappelle furthered views on certain social standards. During one bit, he speaks about when he attended a gallery and a transgender man was having trouble as he was under the influence. Chappelle came up to the group and asked if “he” was okay. Without skipping a beat, one of the men trying to assist the intoxicated man, who was wearing a dress, rudely responds to Chappelle saying, “SHE… is fine.” He prefaced his next part to the joke by reinstituting that anybody should be allowed to be whoever they feel as though they are on the inside. This lead the well-known comedian to respond to the men by saying, “Look, I’m sorry guys because… she looks terrible. She just fell off the bench… it appears her d*** is popping out of her dress.”

At the age of 43, Chappelle has a family, has diversified himself in more ways than one can imagine and shed some light on some of the very hard-to-talk-about topics that are current in American society. His acts of speaking freely and discussing his struggles along with those of Hispanics, homosexuals and women has shown his amount of growth and the dedication he puts into being genuine both on and offstage.

In regards to politics, Chappelle, like many others, believe that there will be a time where it will be nice to not have to talk about President Donald Trump simply because he won’t be on everyone’s minds. It will be very interesting to see Chappelle’s career evolve from this stage and hopefully, for fans like myself, it will bring great returns.

A Very Grimm Curtain Call: Grimm’s Season Finale

by Nicolette Tartaglia

On October 28. 2011, the series “Grimm” premiered on NBC. Now, 6 years, 123 episodes, 131 Wesen and one Emmy later, the series has come to a close.

“Grimm” centers around a detective from Portland, Oregon named Nick Burkhardt. In the pilot episode, Nick’s dying aunt Marie Kessler comes to tell him about “the misfortune of their family.” He’s one of the last descendants of the Brothers Grimm, who wrote morbid fairytales about terrifying monsters. However, these stories were not fairytales, but rather warnings about real monsters called “Wesen” (pronounced “Vessen”).

When calm, Wesen look just like anyone else. When emotions run high, they transform into different animalistic beings or their true form. This is called a “Woge” (pronounced “Vogue”). No matter if they are trying to hide their Woge or not, Grimms can always see. Before Marie dies, she tells Nick that he “has to get the bad ones.”

Over the years, Nick learns about the Wesen world as he explores Marie’s Grimm books and befriends different types of Wesen. Legends such as El Cucui, La Llorena, and Krampus become a reality, and Nazi Germany is revealed to have been an attempt at a start to a world run by Wesen. He encounters different evil forces and organizations that kill Grimms. Because the Brothers Grimm were German, the overseas parts of the show are located in Germany and Austria.

An interesting aspect about this show is instead of taking out a chunk of the show’s timeline in between seasons, the upcoming season always starts up at the exact moment when the previous season ended. This leaves all of the issues that were occurring in the season before, the opportunity to continue right where they left off.

The stories within the show occasionally got lost, as Nick continued fighting Wesen. But the mysterious keys that were seen in the pilot episode finally circle back at the show’s 100th episode, “Into the Schartzwald,” when Nick and his friend Monroe travel to Germany to find the lost treasure Nick’s ancestors buried during the Crusades. From then on, the show takes a turn for the darkest and most important story yet: The End. Everything that had been happening came around in full circle in the final season. An ancient apocalyptic prophecy was coming to pass, and Nick was in the center of it all.

There was a fight that looked like it would leave Nick alone, but then the show had its final plot twist: the potential depressing ending turned into a happy one. This now leaves speculation for the show to continue with Nick and his family, or a spinoff with some of the supporting characters.

Whatever the future holds for the show, it will always be remembered by Grimmsters who valued their Friday nights sitting down and watching what their favorite Grimm was going to do next.

59th Grammys Recap: A Year of Firsts

by Matt Balogh 

While Connecticut had a very snowy and hectic weekend, the biggest names in the music business were preparing themselves for the 59th Celebration of the Grammy Awards.

This year, the beloved James Corden had the honor of hosting, bringing his usual comedic elements featured heavily throughout his late-night show. During his introduction, Corden demonstrated his comedic style by falling down the stairs as the opening song progressed. In a shift of feeling, Corden began to rap a summary of upcoming events planned for the night, accompanied by a beat for his well-rehearsed itinerary rap.
The show was filled with many exciting moments, but also had its fair share of technical difficulties and political influenced speeches. Being a celebration of music, the show was jam-packed with performances from many artists, including some of the nominees.

After Adele’s show-opening rendition of “Hello,” many artists followed with their acts such as Daft Punk with The Weekend, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and Chance the Rapper. Some performances were more minimalistic than others, such as Ed Sheeran’s stripped-down looper pedal performance of “Shape of You.”

Sheeran had used the guitar pedal technology to record live loops on the spot, and built them up as he sang and played guitar over the backing, making for a very interesting display. As for the more elaborate performances, the widely acclaimed artist Beyoncè had a massive display, paying tribute to themes such as motherhood, love and civil harmony. The act brought out over two dozen back up dancers, and featured special effects to bring a surreal element to the imagery of the routine.

The night also paid tribute to recently passed musical artists George Michael and Prince. Adele led the George Michael tribute with a performance of “Fastlove,” to which she had requested to restart while looking rather disappointed in herself. Later on, Bruno Mars had collaborated with The Times to bring an energetic dedication to Prince.

In a more political influence, A Tribe Called Quest took the stage with Anderson Paak, Consequence and Busta Rhymes to both pay tribute to their fallen member Phife Dawg, and to use their performance of their song “We The People” to slam President Donald Trump. In an excellent message of equality, they made the message clear to resist to “President Agent Orange.”

There were some interesting collaborations throughout the night, most notably the Bee Gees tribute and the unusual pairing of Lady Gaga with Metallica. In a medley of the Bee Gees’ classic hits, Demi Lovato, Tori Kelly and Little Big Town set the stage merging all their own styles, blending the segments fairly well. On the other hand, the chemistry with Lady Gaga and Metallica felt rather forced, and very odd. Their performance of Metallica’s new song “Moth Into Flame” made Gaga look like a winner of a “Sing with the band” contest, as it unraveled itself as more as a karaoke tribute. James Hetfield’s mic had not been working, adding to the uncomfortable environment of the situation, however, Gaga at least maintained very high energy to keep the song going, appropriately ending with a stage-dive at the song’s end.

The Awards themselves brought history, as there were many first-time winners and records set. One of the more interesting of the winners was Chance the Rapper, a fully independent artist that took home 3 awards last night. Considering Chance releases all his music for free, this meant that he had been awarded more Grammys than the total amount of songs he has sold.

Chance also beat out Kanye West for Rap Album of the Year with his mixtape “Coloring Book.” First time winners Twenty One Pilots had accepted their award for best Pop Duo in a peculiar fashion: with their pants off. Singer Tyler Joseph had explained to the audience that they had promised themselves that ever since they once watched the same event on TV while dressed in a similar outfit. David Bowie had certainly left his mark on the musical world, as he posthumously won all 5 awards that he had been nominated for. Many different artists and family members came up to accept his awards in his honor.

One of the most anticipated face-offs of the night went to Beyoncè and Adele. Both highly acclaimed artists, but went head to head on several awards. While being widely praised and essentially hyped up over everything she does, Beyoncè was expected to have a clean sweep through all of her 9 nominations. However, for both Record and Album of the year, Adele had claimed victory, but tearfully gave a shoutout to Beyoncè as she felt that her album had deserved it instead.

The night had been a very shocking and entertaining collection of artists, certainly made for an interesting event.

Torpe Theater Celebrates Italian Culture Month with ‘A Touch of Sinatra’

 

by Kaitlin Lyle

Sitting in the audience of Torp Theater last Sunday afternoon, members of the Central Connecticut community enjoyed an enriching musical experience in observing “A Touch of Sinatra,” a show dedicated to presenting the life and music of Frank Sinatra and his companions in the music business.

Presented by the Italian Resource Center in cooperation with the Elihu Burritt Library, the occasion on October 16, 2016, was made possible through the suggestion of Dr. Maria Passaro of the CCSU Department of Modern Languages, who had seen “A Touch of Sinatra” at a library event over the summer. The performance took place at 3 p.m. in Davison Hall’s Torp Theatre and gathered a crowd of Sinatra enthusiasts. Following an introduction by Dr. Passaro and Dr. Carl Antonucci, Director of Library Services, the show commenced with Joe Gilligan narrating the well-loved singer’s story and Donnie Fararro providing musical talent from Sinatra’s broad music career.

“We’re going to show the good and the bad, the people he loved and the people who loved him, and his enemies,” said Gilligan at the start of their performance. “We’re going to do a bit of everything.” With that brief foreword, the duo brought the audience back in time to Sinatra’s early days, beginning with his birth on December 12, 1915 in Hoboken, New Jersey. As the audience began to settle into the ambiance that Gilligan and Fararro designed to tell Sinatra’s story, the theater was soon echoing with the familiar songs of the late artist, beginning with Fararro’s delivery of “New York, New York.”

With each account of the notable moments in Sinatra’s life, the theater lights would illuminate both the stage and the audience, subsequently lowering as the stories gave way to melody. In combining the words of his story with the lyrics of his music, the performers incorporated specific works that aptly depicted the trials and tribulations in Sinatra’s life: from his divorce from first wife Nancy Barbato (“All the Way”) to the moment of his first big break in 1939 (“Fly Me to the Moon”). With each celebrated song, the audience was enraptured as Fararro crooned the lyrics in the familiar style of the late artist. Along with their celebration of Sinatra through Fararro’s musical renditions, it was through Gilligan’s narration that the audience received an education of little-known details in Sinatra’s personal life, including the unfortunate eardrum injury he underwent at birth.

Between the anecdotes and the musical performances, Gilligan and Fararro shared a few jokes from their experiences that had members of the audience chuckling in their seats. However, their routine onstage was not entirely limited to narrating the life and music of Frank Sinatra, but also included the individual stories of Sinatra’s acquaintances during his music career, such as Perry Como, Johnnie Ray, and Dean Martin. In their renditions of Dean Martin’s melodies, the duo encouraged the audience to join them in singing the lyrics, succeeding as the crowd began singing “That’s Amore” with gusto. Yet it was during the grand finale – in which Fararro and Gilligan dedicated the song “My Way” to the memory of Sinatra’s beloved mother Dolly – that the audience members, regardless of age, joined in singing along with the popular ballad before replacing their singing with a standing ovation for the talent onstage.

Following the performances by Gilligan and Farrarro, there was an intermission outside of the theater that served Italian-style refreshments before the Italian film “Stanno Tutti Bene,” (Everybody is Fine) commenced.

Among the audience was Professor Gil Gigliotti of the English Department who was present along with the Western Culture II course that he co-teaches with Professor David Blitz of the Philosophy Department. Around the campus of CCSU Professor Gigliotti is especially known for his avid interest in the life of Frank Sinatra, as was referenced by Dr. Passaro in her introduction. As a professor in the English Department, he has taught several courses on Frank Sinatra throughout his time at CCSU, including a course abroad entitled “The London Sinatra(s)” during the winter semester of 2015. In addition, Professor Gigliotti has written two books that incorporate the musician’s life story, “Sinatra: But Buddy I’m a Kind of Poem” in 2008 and “A Storied Singer: Frank Sinatra as Literary Conceit” in 2002, both of which can be found at the CCSU library. Since December of 1993, he has hosted a radio program entitled “Frank, Gil, and Friends” on Tuesdays from 8 to 10 a.m. in affiliation with the CCSU Radio Station 107.7 WFCS, where Gigliotti is also the faculty advisor. At the heart of the professor’s time on the air is the music of Sinatra, from his contemporaries to the music that Sinatra inspired in today’s genres.

As a whole, Gigliotti remarked that he admires the late singer’s persistence and hard work throughout his music career. “He started off as a hit among young teenage girls and his career should have ended shortly thereafter, but for any number of reasons, he managed to come back and he stayed on top for the rest of his life.” said Gigliotti. With regards to “A Touch of Sinatra,” Gigliotti stated that he hoped that his students would be able to observe the performance with a critical eye, given the knowledge they attained over the past two months. “I’m not looking for them to take away anything specific as much as hearing someone else tell the story and perform the music,” said Gigliotti.

Needless to say, those who attended the performance in Torpe Theater this past weekend were treated to a well-rounded cultural event that celebrated the lives of notable Italian musicians as well as the music that has bonded their impact throughout generations.

iPhone 7, I Think I’ll Wait

 

by Lauren Lustgarten

Apple has done it again. They have made our generation, for the ninth time, go insane over the most recent announcement of the iPhone 7. Though everyone still goes goo-goo-ga-ga over every new iPhone every year, sales of the smartphone have recently been declining, according to the company; and I can see why.

I will admit, in the past I have gotten the most recent iPhone as it was released, but I never lost my mind over them or bought one immediately once it came out. I wait until the price gets significantly lower and all of the glitches are worked out. But, fellow iPhone users, I am sure you can back me up when I say that those glitches never get completely fixed. There have been times that I have contemplated throwing my phone against a wall just so I can revert back to circa 2007 and start communicating through my flip phone again — at least they let me use my phone without a “Storage Almost Full” message popping up every hour.

While I am big on technology in the sense that it is basically my life, I am not very good with understanding or fixing it when something goes wrong. I get impatient and angry very easily and iPhones have done nothing but feed into my anger. I only heard about the upcoming release of the iPhone 7 because of social media and all of the talk had me wondering exactly what more could they add to this iPhone that wouldn’t make it totally irrelevant. Once I researched it, I quickly came to the conclusion that this generation of the iPhone is the most unnecessary piece of technology there is.

For starters, no headphone jack? Really? No, thank you. I would lose the wireless, $159 AirPods in a blink of an eye anyway. There is an adapter that you can use to plug your old, normal headphones into the Lightning port, but then you can’t charge your phone while you’re listening to music and it all seems like one big hassle.

There are other improved features like better camera quality (which they say every year when they announce the new iPhone) and water resistance. While I think the weatherproofing is the best feature this phone holds, I am going to stick to my guns and remain stubborn. I’d much rather buy a bulky, drastically less expensive water- and life-proof case than buying the phone itself. Nowhere in the phone description does it say that the iPhone 7 is fall-proof either, so the LifeProof case is a much smarter investment in my eyes.

I am clearly not a fan of this phone and I don’t even have it. I am just going to stick with my iPhone 6, with my LifeProof case and my normal headphones until I have to listen to all the buzz about the iPhone 8 this time next year.

A (Pop Culture) Recap of Summer 2016

by Corey O’Neill

Sorry to break the news to you all, but summer is over. With the calendar officially showing September, The Recorder would like to take a quick look back at the biggest pop culture moments of Summer 2016.

The most talked-about event this past summer was the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games. The U.S. dominated this year’s games, finishing first place with an astonishing final metal count of 121, 51 more than China, who took second place.

The U.S. Women’s Olympic Gymnastics Team won the hearts of us all. The Men’s Basketball Team won their third consecutive gold metal and Michael Phelps proved his greatness once again.

Phelps’ teammate Ryan Lochte had a successful Olympic games, although his performance was shadowed by his now infamous fabricated robbery story.

In movie news, Disney released the highly anticipated “Finding Dory”  and shattered the box office. Fans of the original “Finding Nemo,” regardless of age, were more than satisfied with the sequel.

Another highly anticipated summer release was DC’s “Suicide Squad,” starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie. Although not well received by critics, fans tried to defend the film. In the end, everyone can agree that Jared Leto’s Joker needed more screen time.

It was a big summer for music. Popular bands such as Blink-182, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Radiohead all had successful releases. It had been a long wait for fans of these bands to hear new music. However, fans of Frank Ocean may be the most patient ever. Ocean toyed with fans all summer long, teasing continual release dates. Everything he hinted was followed with an empty promise. Outraged fans tweeted their anger. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he released two full-length albums. The virtual album entitled “Endless,” as well as the LP “Blonde,” both were critically acclaimed and fans instantly regretted turning their backs on Frank.

This summer has gone exceptionally well for Drake. His album “Views” topped the charts for nearly the entire summer. He capped off the summer by professing his love to Rihanna in front of millions.

Kanye West had an interesting summer to say the least, with his irregular album release and his odd tweets about his financial problems. In May, he was a guest on Ellen and gave a speech that left everyone scratching their heads and questioning what they had just watched. He followed the interview up with the release of his music video for the song “Famous” in June. The video features what appears to be the naked bodies of celebrities, including Rihanna, Donald Trump, Ray J, and Taylor Swift, that Kanye claims influenced his career. Swift, who is mentioned in the song, was not happy to be featured in the video.

It’s going to be tough to top this past summer. Good luck, summer of 2017!

Pokémon Go

by Heriberto Resto

When the summer of 2016 began, many people planned on out-of-state vacations, trips to the beach and days at local amusement parks. However, people traded in all their summer attire for a Pokédex and Poké Balls.

Pokémon Go, the newest Pokémon game, has been a hit and has taken the entire globe by storm.

For those that may not be familiar with Pokémon Go, it is an app available for Android and iOS that connects your phone with real-world locations, to allow you and your friends to go around and catch Pokémon.

Having been able to play Pokémon Go this summer allowed students at Central Connecticut State University to get away from real world responsibilities and live their true childhood dreams of catching Pokémon.

Pokémon Go was initially released on July 6, with the expectations of having a respectable amount of downloads. Within days, the game was the most popular app in the world, easily surpassing the number of users from many popular social media apps. Pokémon Go currently has more than 50 million users and the numbers continue to increase.

What made this game an instant success is the ability to step outside your house and within minutes of opening the app, Pokémon appear on your map and you have the ability to catch them. In addition, there are Pokéstops in the game which are real-world sites that you can go to and use to stock up on any Pokémon equipment you need.

Many who watched the Pokémon television series as a child enjoyed this game even more because of the many types of unique Pokémon there are.

The game also made it mandatory for users to leave their houses and walk around whatever town they may be in. This part of the game made it fun to go outside and walk, run and simply be more active.

With the many positives of this game, there were also some minor dangers to it. There were cases when users would trespass on property or go into areas that were not safe for them to play the game.

“It is endangering the lives of younger people that cannot understand the fact that you don’t need to get into dangerous situations to find Pokémon,” said Ramon Hernandez, a senior at CCSU.

The truth of the matter is that the game is very enjoyable, with the fair warnings to not engage in anything dangerous while playing the game. Make sure to always be aware of your surroundings when playing Pokémon Go.

Pokémon Go has been an enjoyable game all summer and will continue to grow every day. With school back in session, there are multiple Pokéstops on campus as well as a few gyms where you can test your Pokémon training skills to beat the best. The start of the new semester is the best time to get out of your dorm, meet some Pokémon trainers on your own and go try and “catch ’em all.”

Local Specials for Valentine’s Day

by Lisa Massicotte

If you college students continue to procrastinate and don’t make reservations for Valentine’s Day, you’ll be out of luck.  But if you give yourself a little time to plan, this Valentine’s Day could be the best yet.

The National Retail Federation concluded the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day spent nearly $142 in 2015.  So if you get through the 14th and end up spending around $100, you did pretty well.

According to Hallmark Cards, “Approximately 131 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged industry-wide.” My personal favorite gift has always been receiving a handwritten letter filled with memories and jokes only my partner and I will appreciate.  Making a thoughtful, homemade card will warm the heart of the receiver and save you some extra cash to go out and have some more Valentine’s Day excitement.

The New Britain Museum of American Art is hosting “Sweet ‘H‘Art Valentine’s Day at the Museum” from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 14th.  It includes a private champagne reception where you and your date can share love-themed confections followed by a private romance-inspired tour, and then enjoy a variety of love songs performed by Monika Krazewski and Natasha Ulyanovsky. Non-member tickets are $30 while member tickets are $25.

The Bushnell Theatre in Hartford is putting on the play “Love Letters” from Feb. 9th to the 14th.  A story about “first loves and second chances” dives into the lives of two people who are kept apart by fate, but live and love each other as they pour out the secrets of their hearts through letters for 50 years. The play stars Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, who were paired in the hit movie “Love Story,” based off the best-selling novel by Erich Segal. Tickets range from $24 to $70.

“Romantic Willimantic” will be hosting its 12th Annual Chocolate Festival on Saturday, February 13th.  Local businesses on Main Street will be giving out a variety of chocolate samples and will be offering special deals to customers. If you love baking, register for the cake baking contest by Feb. 7th and drop off your cake at the Kerri Gallery.  The festival will run from 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

If you’re feeling anti-Valentine’s Day this year bring a picture of your ex to Hooters, which is located on the Berlin Turnpike, and they will shred it before your eyes. Then you will get ten free wings once you buy your first ten.

Who needs love when you have drag queens? On Valentine’s Day Tisane in Hartford will have a special menu for two. The day after, Tisane will be hosting its annual Anti-Valentine’s Day Drag Show.  The show will start at 10 p.m. and there is a $10 cover charge.

Now you have a bit of information on the Valentine’s Day events happening around Connecticut. So if you do wait last minute to plan out a date, at least you have some ideas now! As the day gets closer, many businesses will be updating special offers so keep an eye out for some great deals.

Poetry by “G” Ties Tradition and Innovation

by Sheridan Cyr

Spoken word artist George “G” Masao Yamazawa, Jr. visited Central Connecticut’s Devil’s Den on the first night of Central Activities Network’s “Alice in Wonderland”-themed welcome week of the Spring semester. G took center stage over a murmuring crowd of seemingly apprehensive students and blew away all doubt with an electrifying, compelling evening of in-your-face poetry, sprinkled thoroughly with a comedian touch.

“Poetry is not like golf,” G said, peering over the crowd. “Ain’t gotta be all quiet!” With that opening, tension fled the room. He made some conversation, warming everyone up, then transitioned suddenly from typical conversational voice to rhythmic. G’s first poem discussed “ten things you should know about being Asian in North Carolina.” G blended traditional heritage with some of the stereotypical opinions made regularly in popular culture.

Coming from a background in which his parents were strictly traditional to their Japanese culture, while growing up in a modern American city, G’s path to adulthood had been confusing at times. He found himself fighting off plenty of common misconceptions about Asian culture: some innocent and curious, and some that did not come from such a good place. All his life, he was compared to characters like Bruce Lee and Jet Lee; names G admitted to being strong and admirable characters, though a sure sign of misunderstanding of culture. It seemed as though few had the desire to get to know George Yamazawa, but were instead interested in placing him into their image of an Asian American teenage boy.

Once in class, he was asked what race he is. “Japanese,” he replied. “Oh, I thought you were Asian,” said the classmate.

G talked about his father to great lengths to share with the audience the manner in which his family stayed true to their traditions. Oddly enough, when G spoke of him, he used a thick, stereotypical Japanese accent, one which he did not possess naturally. He described the day his father gave into one of the most American things around. His father called him one day and told him it was a very special day. “Why?” asked G. “It’s a secret,” his dad said before laughing and announcing, “Today, I get… iPhone!”

While there was a fair share of humor that night, G made sure to dabble in the rougher topics in his poetry. He had a particular style of blending both lighthearted stories and personal hardships, making for an entertaining yet informative look into what those from foreign cultures endure in our roughly-edged American society.

Reserving G for a night at Central was not exactly a simple task for CAN. Samantha Rowe, head of CAN, explained that a handful of program board members attended an NACA conference prior to the event where dozens of entertainers’ information was displayed in personalized booths. Board members wander through the room and examine each potential candidate. They go through something called “blackbooking,” where several Connecticut universities join together to get one entertainer reserved in the Connecticut area for a certain time period. George Yamazawa happened to be quite popular at the conference.

G is widely considered to be one of the most popular young spoken word artists in the country. He is a National Poetry Slam Champion, Individual World Poetry Slam Finalist, Southern Fried Champion, and has toured in over 50 American cities and five European countries. If you missed him in Devil’s Den, the best chance you’ll get to see G in your lifetime is probably online.