Category Archives: Lifestyles

Steve Aoki Takes The Cake: Sold Out Show Thrills CCSU

By Danny Contreras

He has many nicknames and is part of dance music royalty—Steve Aoki rocked the house this past Friday as part of the CCSU Spring Concert which he co-headlined with Kendrick Lamar.

The small, long haired DJ and producer opened up with support of Will Brennan, the first hip-hop act to be signed onto Dim Mak, Aoki’s own music label.

It was a short set that lasted about ten minutes, but it didn’t foreshadow Aoki’s craziness. His set was very well put. He constantly switched back and forth between electro and progressive house, and of course played his club hits to the delight of his hardcore fans. But it was ultimately a fun, catchy setlist that satisfied both old and new fans.

Aoki’s set focused on hard hitting, loud bass-kick tracks that have been trending in dance music for the past 6 months or so. Breakthrough producer Showtek made a couple of appearances with “Slow Down” and “Crunk.” He quickly added some bootlegs and remixes of his biggest song such as the Tommy Trash “Sunrise” mash up of “Ladi Dadi” from his 2011 production, Wonderland.

He kept the crowd on all systems go with constant mic work. Aoki yelled at CCSU for energy, with the crowd obliging to his request. His ground and pound tracks kept coming as everyone in attendance jumped up and down to beats.

Unfortunately, at the very beginning of the concert some technical malfunctions ruined the light show for about 15 minutes. Somehow the video screen was stuck one a single image for approximately 15 minutes, until it was turned off, and fixed later in the show.

It didn’t hinder Aoki, who just kept churning out club hits like “So Freaking” with Chris Lake, and the banger “Jump” with Dutch DJ R3hab. Thirty minutes into his set he brought the first of many champagne bottles to spray at the crowd.

Aoki’s sets are not only known for their intensity but also for the amount of props he adds to the performance. He is known to add inflatable props in addition to the constant spraying of champagne and some edibles.

He continually supported the artists signed to Dim Mak. The label is largely an electro label focusing on dutch house releases, but also delving into some dubstep and drum & bass. A fan of any of those genres could hear Dimitri Vega & Like Mie, in addition to Booka Shade and Kill the Noise.

To say Aoki has an overabundance of energy would be an understatement. The set was not only energetic, but so was his performance. He kept jumping up and down between the booth and the front of the stage where he interacted with the crowd. One of the highlights was when Aoki summoned his inner vocalist for “Warp 2.0”. One of his biggest hits to date, he grabbed the microphone to yell the drop live to the clamoring crowd.

“1,2. WOOP WOOP!” yelled Aoki from the ground on the stage, as the crowd just destroyed the ground in Kaiser.

A brief interlude gave the crowd sometime to catch their breath before the conclusion of the show. Aoki returned with his trademark inflatables and a good amount of cake. It was a show where you see everything. He began the end the show with arguably his biggest song “No Beef” which he produced with another Dutch DJ, Afrojack.

The inflatable mattress made its cameo when Aoki followed up with the incredibly psychedelic “Cudi the Kid,” one of his singles from Wonderland two years ago. The dubstep song preceded “Beat Down” his latest release featuring Iggy Azalea. The Dutch house inspired song  with an overly compressed sub-kick and hard hitting lazer lead that managed to capture the intensity of the whole show in 5 minutes.

To say the least, Aoki did not just impress in his set, he completely destroyed the CCSU crowd. It was an incredible set that had prog house, electro and dubstep. Just about everything that the crowd was looking for. A minor visual setback did not detract from the controlled chaos the DJ set upon the Kaiser crowd.

2013 Spring Drag Show

By Chris Pace

The second drag show at CCSU was held in Alumni Hall on Thursday April 18 where drag queens from all over campus participated in the flamboyant show.
At the fundraiser for True Colors, the queens would go up and sing and dance while audience members shelled out donations on stage.
The first queen to perform was, Electra Shock, was dressed like a peacock with a beehive-like hairdo. Her green and blue sequin dress played with the lighting around the room making everyone focus their attention on the performer.
Essence was up next and sang “Diamonds in the Sky” by Rihanna. She wore a cream colored glittered dress and strapped up heels. After her first performance, she ripped her dress off revealing a camouflage print.
Chanel Couture came out last before the amateurs. She danced and sang to a compilation of songs by Beyoncé. Her pants resembled the suit Beetlejuice wore with an added corset.
Between the fall show and its most recent they combined brought in around 200-300 attendees. Everyone that attended was involved in dancing on the stage and along with the performers.
Adam Cormier, secretary of CCSU’s LBGT group, PRIDE said that the Drag Ball went just as planned.
“It was a fulfilling experience,” said Cormier. “We had been planning this since the beginning of the semester and it was a little frustrating getting performers but everything turned out according to plan. A lot of people showed up and we expect a lot of donations.”

 

Dishin’ It! Potato Gnocchi

By Alyssa Pattison

On my most recent adventure abroad, I found myself in Florence, Italy, attending the most entertaining cooking class of my life. There, I (along with my fellow CCSU travelers) learned how to cook bruschetta, tiramisu and our favorite: gnocchi. After a week of sampling gnocchi from each restaurant we visited, it was safe to say our homemade batch turned out to be quite the competitor. The follow is a revised edition of the exact recipe, from Italy straight to your kitchen.

1 kg. of white potatoes (2.2 lbs or around 4-5 whole potatoes)

90 g. of all-purpose flour (2/3 cup)

40 g. cornstarch (1/3 cup)

30 g. durum-wheat flour (1/4 cup)

2 egg yolks

Pinch of ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 325 °F. Wash and dry potatoes. Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper, add a thin layer of course salt and add potatoes. Place in preheated oven for 45 to 50 mintues (depending on size of the potatoes). Similar results may be achieved by boiling potatoes, starting in cold water. Remove from oven or pot an cool completely.

Peel potatoes and cut in half. Using a ricer, mash the potatoes on a clean, lightly floured counter or in a stainless steel bowl. Incorporate the remaining ingredient and knead the potato dough very quickl so that it does not become sticky. Add flour as necessary.

Divide dough into pieces and, on a floured surface, roll pastry into a thick string and cut into smaller pieces (about the size of the first digit of the thumb, or 2 cm). Be sure to cut the gnocchi the same size in order to cook evenly.

Roll each gnochhi in the palm of your hand using the back of a fork and pinch lightly between the thumb and index finger to puff (the fork indentations serve to better hold the sauce). Lightly flour prepared gnocchi so they don’t stick to each other.

Cook gnocchi in boiling salted water in small batches for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from water with a skimming ladle as gnocchi begin to float.

Serve immediately with sauce (prepared separately).

Special thanks to Dr. Karen Ritzenhoff, In Tavola cooking school of Florence, Italy, as well as the Café Fernando blog for all ingredient conversions.

Spring Allergies

By Kevin Jachimowicz

Allergy season is finally here. While some people will argue that the season is year-round, it is safe to say that people get them worst in the spring. The factors are multiple but pollen is generally the primary antagonist. Everyone is exposed to allergies;but not everyone has the same reactions. Yet, it is clear that allergies brings not only tears to people as a symptom—but also because of how much they can affect us.

Being on or living on campus, having a job that requires you to work outdoors and, owning a couple of pets are all things that could expose you to allergy irritations.  Although there may be many times where you may find that bothersome situations just cannot be avoided, there are some things that you can try for some relief.

Over-the-counter remedies like green tea, for example, can be helpful with alleviating  symptoms.

“Green tea has become very very popular for its antioxidant values, and one of the things that it’s been connected to recently is allergies and helping alleviate some of those allergies, so that’s one of those things out there thats sort of an over-the-counter remedy,” says Marisol Aponte, Associate Director of the CCSU University Health Services.  “Lots of hot tea, honey and hot fluids are usually great, the recommendation is taking you workout indoors if your suffer from allergies, taking a look at some of the things that you are eating and try to eat as healthy as you can.”

Antihistamines can also be helpful if taken before exposure to allergens, for they block histamine production.  Histamines cause most of the symptoms of allergies, likerunny and itchy nose or red and swollen eyes.  Some may cause side effects such as drowsiness or dry mouth, but these vary from person to person.  Decongestants can bring good short-term relief, but have the opposite effect if overused.

The upcoming allergy season this April is expected to be more severe, for a number of reasons.

“When we’re coming out of winter and plants are waking up, leaves are mildewing, even if your not technically allergic to whatever it is, everybody’s a little sensitive,” said CCSU psychology professor Kevin Kean.

Along with allergy season comes the wrapping up of the Fall semester, which can be a fiasco of its own at times, with all of the presentations, projects, exams and studying.

“Add the stress of ‘oh my gosh there’s four weeks left in the semester,’ so you’re going to get your immune system hit in two places; your going to get it from the stress and from the allergens.” said Kean.

Aponte agreed with Kean:

“When you have a cold you tend to feel sicker for the most part,” said Aponte. “Although allergies can really come down hard on you as well.  Particularly because in April you already have your immune system in overload.”

Although it can be very difficult to differentiate the similarity in symptoms at times, there are a few ways you can tell whether you are experiencing either symptoms of a cold or of allergies.

“Colds typically will last two weeks, no more than that,” said Aponte. “A cold is an illness that’s caused by different viruses and germs, whereas allergies are really an overreaction of the body’s immune system to some trigger; like the pollen, the ragweed or the dust mites.”

“With a cold the two symptoms that are inevitably cold related and not allergy related-are a fever, or symptoms of a fever, like chills, and night sweats, or a temperature that you take with the thermometer-not tactile, and the other piece that is common with a cold that is not so common with allergies is body aches,” Aponte continued.

Allergies can affect people at any time of the year, not just April. But April is the time of year where you have a lot of tree pollen coming down, and then in May there is pollen from grass, which can both be triggers to those experiencing allergies

As the weather gets warmer and the trees and flowers begin to blossom, more people will begin to experience the itchy eyes and throat. As technology advances we will adapt better to allergies. For now, stack up on vitamin C and Kleenex.

Facebook: A Hat-trick Villain

By Danny Contreras

Facebook and founder Mark Zuckerberg must either hate themselves or hate the people who use their services. Zuckerberg can be compared to  George Lucas in terms of the web. Lucas should not be a role model for anyone, and neither should Zuckerberg. When Lucas re-edited the original Star Wars’ trilogy, his fans were outraged. And with reason; the first movie wasn’t flawless, but that was exactly what made it such a great film. Lucas felt the need to edit it to the point where he’s just hurting the product.

Zuckerberg started similarly. He created Facebook in 2004 with simplicity in mind and its root can still be observed. The page is white, boring and has a blue bar at the top. Eventually, a newsfeed was added to the center of the page. Then people were able to upload their pictures and eventually it just caught on with everyone. Now, society can’t exist without Facebook.

But Zuckerberg has a big enemy he’s been facing from the start: himself.

Prior to today’s Facebook, the one ten years ago was vastly different. It was a Harvard-centric website. When it expanded it only allowed students with a valid university/college email to register, mainly ivy league universities. Then it became public to anyone with a computer and a lot of spare time.

Unfortunately, his fan service has caught up to him. He finally registered his company publicly. As a result, he now needs to cater to investors and not users. This has started a fall from grace for Zuckerberg and Facebook.

About eight years ago, it was revealed that Facebook had been collecting data from its users and selling them to advertisers. Not illegal, but not correct. His actions were dismissed as nothing more than a guy trying to keep his company alive. After all, it had been only five years since the rupture of the dot-com bubble.

While users reacted negatively, they eventually let it go and allowed Facebook to sell one’s data. The damage was done, however.  On a bad decision scale of one-to-five with one being “not worrying” and five “a catastrophe,” this ranked in at number three. People decided to let it go and move on.

Zuckerberg faced some backlash so he decided not to interfere with data that may put his users at risk. He devised another plan to reel his lost users back in. The website then went through an aesthetic surgery by Facebook’s workers. What arrived annoyed everyone in the world. The layout was far too simplistic and minimalistic to be usable. Zuckerberg stood his ground but he made another bad decision that resulted in hundreds of thousands of users to stop the services on Facebook.

He then scored a goal that literally forced people to stop using Facebook. The aesthetics remained the same, but now he was beginning to place ads on his user’s personal profile. Some investigation revealed that the ads would appear after a person wrote a term that related to the ad.

He completed his hat-trick recently when the new Facebook was unveiled in February. With investors on their backs about making a profitable, free website, Zuckerberg decided to put more ads on people’s newsfeed, while also increasing the amount of data sold to companies.

While complaining on Facebook’s aesthetical changes is sort of stupid, this time the users finally have a real reason to complain. More and more data is being sold and the company changes their Terms of Service almost weekly, leaving users powerless.

Overall this is a double edged sword for Facebook and Zuckerberg. Users have been unhappy with Facebook for some time now. Though Google launched their social networking platform, Google+, in 2011 it has underwhelmed. The product is fantastic and idiosyncratic, but its reach is fairly limited. The intuitive website has launched multiple campaigns in efforts to draw users from Facebook, but it has not borne fruit yet.

Facebook is in a precarious position and is responding with escalating alacrity. The social platform is by far the king of networking, and social interaction in this age, but now faces the expectations of investors—and with memories of the dot-com bubble still fresh—they do not want to take any risk.

On the other hand, Facebook is benefitting from their monopoly on social networking. Though the website is centered on a “person’s” life, they are receiving top dollar for personal information, that can only be gathered through the changes that Facebook has implemented over the past three years (the ones aforementioned).

But much of life is very binary, and when one wins, others lose. And this is the perfect example. Facebook is a lot like soccer. In a nutshell, when the website and its user are against each other, there will be winners and losers. The users aren’t losing because Facebook is better than them, it’s because their defense is broken, and until people stand up to Facebook, expect Zuckerberg to score yet another hat-trick.