Brian Jonestown Massacre and Asteroid No. 4 Pair Up for Psychedelic Performance

Matt Kiernan / News Editor
The psychedelic experience of the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Asteroid No. 4 was performed at the Pearl Street Night Club in Northampton, Mass. where fans were able to see the reuniting of some original members of the Massacre band.

Leader since the beginnings of the band, Anton Newcombe was accompanied by guitarist Matt Hollywood and tambourine player Joel Gion who tour with Massacre when time allows.

Hollywood and Gion seemed to have not forgotten their old songs they helped to write during the 1990s as they played with ease, even with the new songs Newcombe wrote after they left the band.

Hollywood and Gion originally left the band in the late 1990s when Hollywood got into a physical fight with Newcombe and Gion felt the band couldn’t be taken further as seen on the 2003 released documentary Dig!

The documentary followed Massacre and their rivals the Dandy Warhols over several years and showed the loss of friendship between the two bands and eventual destruction of the original lineup of the Massacre.

“Servo”, “When Jokers Attack” and “Nevertheless” were highlights of their performance and Massacre even included songs from the shoegaze days of their first 1995 album Methodrone including “That Girl Suicide”. A collective “woo” sound filled the room when “That Girl Suicide” reached the ears of ecstatic fans.

Hypnotizing guitars paired with Gion’s dance and tambourine shaking in front of the microphone provided psychedelic jams with a ‘60s feel where fans slipped into peaceful head nodding of approval.

The concert was either helped or worsened by the fact that Massacre and Asteroid decided to drink onstage including beer and from a bottle of Jim Beam in between songs. Gion showed love for the audience by saluting them with his bottle every time he took a sip.

Massacre’s buddies of the Asteroid No. 4 group gave a strong performance that was very similar to sound that the members of Massacre strive for.

While performing psychedelic and 1960s feeling songs, they seem to lack the originality and strength that Newcombe and the other members of Massacre have when writing songs.

Asteroid’s performance included a light show and background of various things such as passing cars and dancing fairies.

Both theatrics did well to set a mood in the club along with their “nod your head” music.

Eco-Artists Reach Out to CCSU Students

By Ginny Winters-Troche / Special to The Recorder

Eco-friendly artists displayed their works in the Samuel T. Chen Fine Arts Gallery at CCSU on Thursday, Mar. 19 before answering questions before an audience in the gallery.

The panel of five Eco-Artists gave short lectures about their nature friendly creations and then opened the floor for attendees to ask the small panel questions about their endeavors as artists and about their work.

The first artist to speak, Joy Wilky, was inspired by nature as she was forced to “watch things disappear in the smog” while living in California. She has been inspired by nature since then, but claims it is “bittersweet, since it’s never the same from moment to moment.”

“We always thought the earth would repair itself, and we were wrong,” said Wilky. Dealing with natural materials such as glass, sand, leaves, and even animal bones, her sketches and sculptures of frozen waves and tides are reminiscent of geology and of the frailty of nature.

She was also involved in the creation of a 20-year photo essay. She says her favorite part of putting the photo essay together was being able “to watch the climates and landscape change around her.”

Another artist, Kate Chappel brought up the fact that, as children, people tend to feel more as if they are a part of nature then simply looking upon it. In making a piece of art, she tries to make people feel as if they are connected to the Earth. She, like most of the other eco-artists, wants people to take a stand and turn things around.

Chappel’s art mostly deals with the extinction and unnatural deformities of animals across the globe.  In the series “Earth Envelope” the paintings are positioned and maneuvered so that, to look at them, one must cast a shadow onto the piece, thus incorporating the viewer into the painting.
In Chappel’s opinion, art viewers are drawn in by beauty, and made to stop, look, and think by oddities.

Xavier Cortada presented his work on a Powerpoint presentation titled “Art to Address Global Climate Change”. He was asked whether or not he thinks saving the Earth is possible or if it is too late.

To this he answered that he knew there would be a lot of suffering, that “we’d be showing pictures to our grandchildren of animals that will have gone extinct by the time they were born,” but that he was convinced eventually we could fix the Earth’s problems, if we worked together.

The final artist to speak was Bob Johnson. Some might call him an activist, although he mused that he was an instigator while introducing himself. He is known for creating the River Cube. Focusing on getting people involved with the community, Johnson collects trash from rivers, shapes them into cubes and then displays them in the community in which they were found as a reminder to the citizens and neighbors of the town.

All of these artists were desperate to get people involved, and Johnson gave an in to all attendees of this panel Q&A:  He invited anyone interested in helping the River Cube project for CCSU to meet him outside of the Samuel T. Chen Fine Arts Gallery on April 24 at 10 a.m. to clean the Park River Watershed, and get involved in the fight to, as Xavier Cortada put it, “reclaim the land for Earth.”

Stipend Controversy Deepens: SGA Refused ‘Treasurer’ Stipend

By Colette Gallcher / Copy Editor

Recent disputes within the Student Government Association led to internal and external pressure on several senators to rescind or a motion that prevents the SGA’s finance committee chairperson and acting treasurer from being paid this semester.

Arguments against the full $1,000 stipend for Senator and finance committee chair Christina Liudvinaitis and her duties this semester include the fact that she is a part-time student, and does not pay activity fees herself and has not fully completed the responsibilities of an SGA treasurer.

A special meeting was been called of the stipend review committee, which is responsible for overseeing the granting of stipends each semester, for Tuesday, March 31.

According to sources within the SGA, it was expected that the meeting was called in order to reverse the decision and to pressure certain senators to grant Liudvinaitis the full stipend.

According to one senator, the Student Activities and Leadership Development Office and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, who has the power to reverse Senate decisions, would both like the Senate to reverse their decision.

In the process where all senators who are full-time students are eligible to receive a stipend each semester, varying between $400 and $1400, Liudvinaitis had petitioned the Senate to grant her the full treasurer stipend of $1,000 per semester.

As of the March 18 SGA meeting, Liudvinaitis was denied the full stipend by the SGA stipend review committee and the full Senate, but the Senate said that she would be eligible for the $400. The SGA cited her standing as a part-time student and her duties as finance committee chair as the reasons.

The debate over whether Liudvinaitis should receive a stipend for her duties stemmed from the Dec. 10 meeting of the SGA at which she was appointed to finance committee chair by President Alexander Estrom and then voted in by a simple majority of the Senate.

Following the appointment of Liudvinaitis, questions arose regarding her stipend payment, to which SGA President Alexander Estrom responded that it would be at the discretion of the SGA stipend review committee.

In an open letter to the Senate, asking that she be granted the full stipend, Liudvinaitis claimed she has fulfilled the duties of both an SGA Treasurer and senator, which means chairing the finance committee meetings, maintaining the financial responsibilities of the SGA and consistently served five office hours a week.

According to the SGA’s constitution, as the document that defines membership and eligibility, only full-time students qualify to be a senator and to receive a stipend. But SGA senators have said that Liudvinaitis was elected through a loophole as an at-large senator without clear restrictions on eligibility.
Restrictions on treasurer also dictate that, “the Student Treasurer of Central Connecticut State University shall be a fulltime undergraduate student at Central Connecticut State University.”

SGA Senator, Peter Krol believes that senator Liudvinaitis was merely “elected as chair of finance committee, nowhere does it say she’s treasurer.

“We voted her in as chair of finance committee; in no way did we vote her treasurer,” he said.

Liudvinaitis said that she fulfilled the responsibilities of the treasurer position and should be granted the money.

“The $1000 is what I deserve, given the jobs and tasks which I have completed and am completing,” said Liudvinaitis. “If you are doing the job, you should get the money regardless of the title.”

SALD’s Associate Director Susan Sweeney believes that the CCSU university administration was happy to accept Liudvinaitis as the treasurer, despite her part-time status.

She said the university allowed latitude by allowing her to be a part of the Senate. Sweeney added that the university felt it was making a responsible decision by following the SGA lead, which appeared to be to appoint senator Liudvinaitis as acting interim treasurer.

Sweeney felt that the senators are going back on their word if they deny Liudvinaitis her full stipend, as they passed the motion to appoint her acting interim treasurer and also passed the minutes to approve the motion.

Financial Aid Limitied: TEACH Grant Not Offered

By Tonya Malinowski / News Editor

Education students looking for new options in federal grant assistance this year will find themselves out of luck at CCSU.

The campus is not participating in the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education program, which grants up to $4,000 per year to students who intend to teach in a public or private elementary or secondary school that serves students from low-income families.

“We just don’t feel it’s in the best interest of the students,” Assistant Director of Financial Aid Keri Lupachino said.

The grant, offered for the first time this academic year, requires recipients to meet specific conditions, including teaching in a high-need field for four years within eight calendar years of completing their field of study.

If the student doesn’t meet the requirements, the grant turns into an unsubsidized Stafford Loan. Many students are upset about the university’s refusal to participate in the program, including graduate student Sarah MacKiernan.

“They kept telling me to call back and finally said they weren’t participating,” MacKiernan, a secondary English education major said. “They are making the decision for the whole student body instead of giving us the choice.”

Thirty-nine percent of master’s degrees and 12 percent of bachelor’s degrees awarded by CCSU in 2008 were in the education field, according to the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

“The problem is we would give this TEACH grant to students, then two years later they may change their mind and be stuck with an unsubsidized loan, which accrues interest from the day the grant was given,” Lupachino said.

The grant is available through FAFSA and requires students already be enrolled in an education program as well as maintain a 3.25 GPA throughout the year.

Undergraduate elementary education major Nicole Flanagan said she has only recently heard of the grant program.

“I can understand some of the reasons why Central won’t participate in the program,” she said, “but ultimately I think it should be up to the student to decide.”

Flanagan, one of 464 undergraduates currently in the school of education, said the university should give student the option but with fair warning of the conditions.

Students who change majors or fail to meet the requirements will be responsible to pay back the grant with interest charged from the date it was issued.

“I don’t feel they need to protect us from it,” MacKiernan said. “It makes me question if they’ve really taken the student body’s opinion into account.”

Feminist Icon Gloria Steinem Visits CCSU

By Tonya Malinowski / News Editor

American feminist icon Gloria Steinem spoke to a packed Torp Theatre in Davidson Hall about her involvement in the social movements of the past 40 years.

Steinem, the founder of Ms. magazine and author of four bestsellers, helped establish some of the most pivotal organizations and alliances of the women’s rights movement.

The self-proclaimed “hopeaholic” discussed the state of contemporary American feminism and social equality to an audience of almost 400 on March 19.

“It’s important to remember how recently men of color and all women were owned, like tables and chairs,” Steinem said. “Now, together, we are in a second wave and striving for legal, social and political equality.”

Steinem stated that feminism, “the longest revolution”, is 40 years in to its second 100-year wave. She believes the next step is domestic equality as well, citing that no popular television shows depict a stay-at-home father.

“Young women on campuses are still saying, ‘how can I combine career and family?’ and I’ve yet to see a man who worries about that,” she said. “We have been convinced women can do what men can do, but we are yet to be convinced that a man can do what a woman can.”

One of the spotlighted topics of Steinem’s discussion was domestic violence, a term she said makes the issue seem small and is working to change to “original violence”.

Among attendees at the lecture was Shepaug Valley High School senior Arielle Johnson-Leahy, who is working on a yearlong project with the Susan B. Anthony Project on raising awareness about violence in the home.

“It is such an honor to be in the presence of someone who has been such a role model to me,” Johnson-Leahy said. “You feel like you’re part of the bigger issue just being in the same room.”

During the open forum portion of the lecture, Johnson-Leahy asked Steinem for advice on accessing larger platforms and was applauded for her commitment to the cause.

“We are still at the point where we’re on the river plucking out people who are drowning,” Steinem answered. “We are just beginning to go to the head of the river and keep women from falling in.”

The lecture, sponsored by The Ruthe Boyea Women’s Center and several others, included a book signing after the open forum.

Steinem also discussed her current projects, which includes work on helping stop the sex trafficking industry and creation of the Women’s Media Center, which focuses on making women a more powerful part of the media.

Using her signature wit and humor, Steinem charmed audiences while simultaneously encouraging them to actively participate in the continual fight for equality.

“We should not be afraid of this energy that comes from friction and from us being our real selves,” she said. “I’m going to make a button that says ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.’”

AIG Deserves Something, but Not Bonuses

By Charles Desrochers / Asst. Lifestyles Editor

The House of Representatives passed a 90 percent tax on bonuses given to employees of companies receiving more than five billion dollars in government bailouts.

The tax, which was passed by vote of 328 to 93, only applies to employees who made more than $250,000 a year.

The main argument against this tax is that it singles out a small and specific group of people as well as their families.

Alan Johnson, a managing director of the compensations consulting firm Johnson Associates told the New York Times, “it’ll impact tens of thousands or maybe hundreds of thousands of people,” and that, “if you’re a receptionist and your husband is a doctor, your $5,000 bonus just vaporized. It’s not just the C.E.O.’s.”

Now that view may seem fair if this weren’t in reference to a company like AIG who has been financially hemorrhaging, despite being given well over 300 billion dollars. That’s billion, with a B.

To that I say, “you’re still making $250,000!”

The government does have a right to say whether or not these employees deserve these bonuses.  The government owns an 80 percent share of AIG, so it’s probably best to think of this tax as the boss’ stamp of approval.

These workers are lucky they get to keep 10 percent of their bonuses; the fact that these traders got to keep any of their bonuses is amazing.

The company’s excuse for handing out $165 million in bonuses was that they were trying to provide incentive to keep the employees that were doing a good job.

So, the same people who lost $61.7 billion in one quarter are the same people that deserve a raise? Even though $165 million is only a drop in the bucket when compared to the money given to them by the federal reserve, it still comes off as irresponsible.

To put $61.7 billion in perspective, AIG has lost 197,124,601 brand new Ferraris.

Edward M. Liddy, Chief Executive of AIG, suggested on March 18 that all employees who have a salary of 100,000 or more should give back half of their bonuses. But even this is ridiculous.

A bonus implies that the employee did their job up to or beyond expectations. If that logic is put into place then what was AIG’s goals for 2008? Did they expect to loose $600 billion? A roaring applause is deserved if they managed to dodge that bullet.

The sad thing is that the government has targeted a specific group of people. It may seem like a good idea now in the wake of the outrage but all it really amounts to is a majority’s decision to discriminate against a few.

The bonuses were handed out without seeking permission from the party signing the checks. It wasn’t AIG’s money to give. And that’s the one redeeming fact about the whole situation. It’s an employer reducing its employees’ bonuses after reassessing their success, a bonus it didn’t know it gave.

EDITORIAL: Targeting AIG Alone is Unconstitutional

Recently there has been an outrage by the public and by Congress because of the fact that insurance giant AIG was handing out huge bonuses after receiving money from the stimulus bill. A law was proposed and passed by the House of Representatives last Thursday that would tax the bonuses given to AIG employees by 90 percent as an attempt to recover the money paid out.

The idea by Congress to tax AIG employees at such a high rate is unconstitutional. Article I, Section III of the US Constitution clearly sates that “No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed”. Taxing AIG bonuses falls into this category.

A bill of attainder is a law that punishes or fines a specific individual or group. By singling out AIG employees who received bonuses Congress is targeting a specific group, and they are fining them in the form of taxes.

Broadening this idea to involve all companies who took stimulus money, it does not make sense for Congress to tax bonuses from those employees. The first problem that arises is the fact that the stimulus bill has already been passed, and legislators cannot continue to make rules and stipulations after the stimulus bill has already been passed.

A company may accept stimulus money based on the conditions outlined in the original bill, but may disagree with a provision that is added later. As an example, AIG may not have accepted stimulus money in the first place if they knew that bonuses were going to be taxed or rescinded. But thanks to Sen. Christopher Dodd, contracts that employees had with their employers (including bonuses) were guaranteed to stay intact because of an amendment added into the stimulus bill before it was signed into law.

Now Congress is deciding after the fact that bonuses are not acceptable. Changing rules as time goes on like this will deter companies who are severely in need to stimulus money from accepting it in the future. Companies will not risk taking money from the government when they fear that the government may add on additional rules and policy initiatives after they have already accepted money. By that point, companies who accept stimulus money will already be at the mercy of the government.

Another problem with the government taxing bonuses on companies that received bailout money is that we are deterring the brightest minds from joining or remaining at companies who need the best help that they can get right now. The most brilliant and intelligent businessmen will not enter companies in which they know there is no possibility of gaining bonuses. They will expend their energies at companies where there is a greater potential for them to earn money.

We originally gave aid to companies because we believed that they were so significant to our nation’s economy that we could not afford for them to fail. If this is the case, then we need to make sure that we continue to recruit and give incentives for the most talented workers to join these companies.

Actions taken by the government such as taxing bonuses at enormous rates will not ensure that these struggling companies will thrive in the future.

Album Review: Into the Moat’s ‘The Campaign’

By Nick Viccione / Asst. Entertainment Editor

Let me start off by saying, The Campaign is a technically sound album. It keeps listeners on their toes and has enough creativity to satisfy fans that have been waiting for this album since 2005. However, let me follow that statement up with a short one about the amount of time bands take between the releases of their albums.

Four years is too long between albums for any active band. Period. What winds up happening are fans either forget, stop caring or their expectations are set way too high. We think that if the band has had four years to prepare an album, that it needs to be absolutely amazing, and if it is not, it is immediately cast off as a disappointment. And in the case of The Campaign, this is exactly what I hear when I listen to this album.

When Into the Moat’s previous full length, The Design, was released in 2005, it blew me away. And there are still instances that I find myself listening to it now. However it could be a combination of me being four years older, or my aforementioned theory on bands taking their sweet time putting out an album, but The Campaign just does not spark my interest in the way The Design did.

I will now politely ask you to re-read the first sentence of this review. The Campaign has all the makings of a good album. From a technical standpoint, the guitar work stays interesting throughout the album, while the drum work is on par to what it was on The Design. I find myself really liking certain “parts” of songs, instead of the songs themselves as a whole. But, then again, with any tech-metal band, this usually is the case.

Into the Moat is a good band. But, from a personal standpoint, this album falls short of my expectations. If Into the Moat decides to write another album, I hope it doesn’t take them another four years. Until then, I will spin The Design occasionally, and still enjoy it.

Album Review: Andrew Bird’s ‘Noble Beast’

By Ginny Winters-Troche / Special to The Recorder

“I’m really an instrumentalist who sings words and if you care to pay attention you might enjoy them,” claimed Chicago-born singer/songwriter Andrew Bird in an opinion article he wrote one year ago while he was composing his fourth solo studio album, Noble Beast, released in January of this year. Of course, he was right-on in describing his music.

A rare thing to hear in the age of synthesizers, Andrew Bird’s newest album is a mixture of sound you’ve probably never heard before. An avid musician, Bird has been known for looking deep into the music of different periods in history – his last solo album, Armchair Apocrypha, was very blues while the album before that, The Mysterious Production of Eggs, was varyingly post-punk. Throw into the mix the fact that he is a classically trained violinist and there’s really no reason that every music major or lover wouldn’t own this CD.

Except, sadly, if you like to hear whiny vocalists “sing their hearts out” and completely overpower the background music, then this CD probably isn’t for you, considering that one disc out of two doesn’t have lyrics or words at all.

Simply sampling the songs on the Internet is all anyone would need to know that Andrew Bird meticulously worked on and revised his songs to make sure no instrument (first disc vocals included) overpowers another unnecessarily or randomly. Keep in mind that just because the music blends, doesn’t mean these songs are lullabies either.

In the very first song, “Oh No”, Bird begins whistling and scatting; two of many background instruments. Ultimately the song builds to a climax in which he combines light acoustic guitar plucks with every day whistling and expert violin chords. And even better, it all works; you want to keep listening.

Another track on the album, “Masterswarm” is full of built-up tension, awkward chords to accentuate words and beats, and full on pauses that instruments take one at a time to sort of stutter the music into focus.  But then again, with over eighty songs under his belt, one might get the feeling Andrew Bird knows what he’s doing.  Proof of his composition talents most definitely lies in Noble Beast.

Album Review: Franz Ferdinand ’s ‘Tonight’

By Sean Fenwick / Staff Writer

When Franz Ferdinand first burst into the scene in January 2004 with their single “Take Me Out”, they were viewed as revolutionaries, the band that would set pop music ablaze, showing the world that pop can be intelligent in addition to being fun.

Tonight, Franz Ferdinand’s third album has in no way accomplished that. Tonight falls flat, nestling itself in with the boring music that is all too common to our ears, something they once set themselves apart from.

Franz Ferdinand has evolved their post-punk sound into a combination of hold funk and R&B. This gives their music a different pace and style, but for some reason it sounds like the same music they’ve been pumping out for years. Their song “Ulysses” sounds pretty close to “Take Me Out”. In fact after a few listens “Take Me Out” can easily be sung on top of “Ulysses” and you wouldn’t even notice the change.

Franz Ferdinand expressed its concerns with toning down the guitars to make a more danceable record. In their attempt they have created a record that is void of any real depth and emotion.

“Ulysses” is a song about getting high out of boredom, and in “Twilight Omens” Kapranos, the front man and lead vocals sings “I typed your number into my calculator/ Where it spelled a dirty word when you turned it upside down”. Really? Is that the best that Franz Ferdinand can give us? The entire album is plagued with dull lyrics that stress no real meaning other then drugs and sex. I was expecting a little more soul and artistry from a band that held such promise.

Tonight’s biggest problem is all the songs sound too familiar to one another and to previous Franz Ferdinand songs. No songs stand out form each other. When you go back to give a certain song a listen you’ll end up listening to a track you hated, and you won’t notice until half way through.

It seems clear that Franz Ferdinand is comfortable where they are; they have stopped pushing the envelope and are happy being cartoon pop stars rather then the artists. Franz Ferdinand are a band lacking in this generation of music.