Zeleza Talks from the Amistad to Obama

How do the events of the Amistad connect to the election of Barack Obama nearly 170 years later?

Dr. Paul Tiyambe Zeleza was on hand for the sixth Annual Amistad Lecture to make that connection.

“My argument is quite simple,” said Zeleza, a distinguished professor of history and African studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. “The saga of the Amistad and the election of Obama are connected – from civil rights to national independence.”

The lecture, which was organized by the Amistad Committee, covered the history of the Amistad to the election of Barack Obama, as well as the African struggle for empowerment.

“This is an important tradition [the Amistad Committee has] established to remember the Amistad. It’s important that we keep alive the memory of those important events and link them to events today,” said Dr. Carl Lovitt, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at CCSU, during the opening remarks.

Dr. Moises Salinas, chief diversity officer at CCSU, also expressed the importance of the lecture by saying it provokes critical thinking, empathy and multicultural ways.

“It makes for a better community at CCSU and makes us become better human beings,” said Salinas. Zeleza, who is also the president of the national African Studies Association, discussed how the road to President Obama’s victory in office was paved by civil struggles.

“The country entered an unprecedented contest,” said Zeleza of the most recent presidential race. “The Obama presidency brings the question of U.S. and African relations into particular relief,” said Zeleza.

Zeleza discussed four possible reasons that made Obama a viable candidate.

“It was a vote against Bush, it was a vote against Bill and Hillary Clinton, it was a vote for Obama himself and it was a reflection of fundamental transformation for us, particularly connected to the youth,” said Zeleza.

Zeleza also broke the Obama phenomenon down into the ways which different constituencies voted for different Obamas. These included the black man racial aspect, the son of the migrant, the biracial identity and the transnational experiences.

Dr. Walton Brown-Foster, professor of political science at CCSU, discussed the Obama election and how to measure its results after Zeleza’s lecture.

“It’s too early to measure results,” said Brown-Foster. “The success and the meaning will be contingent on the collective positive action of the collective communities.”

Brown-Foster noted the impression on her young son’s peer group, who questioned why a black man can’t be president

“This is truly a generational measure. The historic significance isn’t missed, but the exceptional nature of it and the lack of impression that my son’s peer group has is one perhaps measure of success.”

“I feel like [Brown-Foster] put into words what we’re all thinking,” said Casey Casserino, a junior at CCSU. “To not measure Obama’s success early and to not get our hopes up,” Casserino said.

The lecture was preceded by a slideshow of Amistad sites in nearby Farmington, Conn. presented by Dr. Katherine Harris, adjunct professor of history at CCSU. The presentation showed churches where captives were taken and the home of the Porters, one of the strongest abolitionist families in the area, among other sites.

“This area we sit in is apart of Amistad history,” said Harris. “We have come a mighty long way from the days of the Amistad and a lot still needs to be done,” said Zeleza closing his remarks. “The struggle indeed continues.”

Watchmen Sets New Standard In Graphic Novel Adaptation

By Michael Walsh / Asst. Entertainment Editor

It doesn’t really shock me that one of Alan Moore’s main influences when writing the Watchmen book was the great and unique novelist William S. Burroughs. Both Moore, with Watchmen, and Burroughs, with Naked Lunch, are the minds behind two of the more unfilmable source materials, eventually turned into films.

Long before Zack Snyder took the challenging task of bringing the celebrated graphic novel to life on the big screen, the concept of a Watchmen film had been attached to different production companies and many names, such as heralded directors Terry Gilliam and Darren Aronofsky.

Nearly 23 years after the film’s initial rights were given to 20th Century Fox; the Watchmen film has finally come to fruition. All that now remains is the question of whether the film was worth the wait and whether the choice to film the once thought to be unfilmable, was a smart idea.

Watchmen, which follows Rorschach’s investigation of the death of an ex-superhero, is a tough film to review. Considering the different windows the audience could be looking through when viewing the film makes me fully realize what this film is to one might not be for another.

For starters, you’ve got your obsessed fanboy who has read the novel countless times picking detail after detail from the book’s deep subtext. Lower on the awareness chain are the viewers of my kind. These are the ones that read the graphic novel once after being mesmerized by the original trailer last summer. Last but not least are the members of the audience who are totally oblivious to the subject matter or the characters (don’t worry, that isn’t a sin in my book, just a fact).

For most films, making this distinction wouldn’t be important. But, folks, this isn’t The Dark Knight. Watchmen is a violent, gritty, strange, sprawling and extremely in-depth piece of work. This isn’t a film chock full of action. What it is though is a story, and a complex and complete one at that. It’s a mesmerizing period tale set in an actively catastrophic, politically challenged and tense threat of nuclear world war, ready to explode at any minute.

A diehard fan would hold this novel in the highest regard. It’s one of the most important graphic novels ever made. A one-time reader like me would be hard-pressed to find themselves caring too much about every little detail, worrying mostly about the large plot turns and devices. A newcomer to the deep story might just end up slightly confused.

Watching Watchmen was like watching the graphic novel come to life in a way I didn’t think was possible. Zack Snyder hit it spot on. His previous films, the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead and the 2006 graphic novel adaptation of 300 seem like child’s play in comparison to this sprawling superhero saga.

One of the most important reasons for this film’s success is the perfect casting. Each character turned out exactly as I imagined they would when I was reading through the graphic novel. It would have been very easy for Warner Bros. to give a part to a big named actor rather than dishing out roles to the most fitting contestants.

The important thing to understand about these impressive performances is that they aren’t incredibly jaw-dropping in terms of acting ability, but flawless in terms of producing an accurate and believable portrayal of each character. None of these performances will win awards, but they don’t have to for this type of film to succeed. The film is undoubtedly fronted by Jackie Earle Haley’s fierce and sympathetic performance as Rorschach. The stand out performance gives absolute justice to the gritty character.

I can’t possibly touch on every performance but I will add that Billy Crudup played Dr. Manhattan in a never overbearing fashion, Patrick Wilson was an excellent Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II), Matthew Goode was a perfectly cunning and deceptive Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan was ever so brutal as Edward Blake (The Comedian).The cast as a whole was entirely impressive and made this film what it was.

The most challenging part of translating Watchmen to the silver screen was bringing such a complex narrative jam-packed with philosophical themes and meaning down to a 163-minute film. Moore covered it all in robust fashion in 416 pages in his original text.

The first screenplay was written in 2001 by David Hayter before being handed over to Alex Tse to make revisions and rewrites. For all intents and purposes, these two faithfully captured all that was needed to be told.

The backstories of characters that intertwined with the films present day events such as Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan were executed perfectly and Snyder handled them beautifully on screen. The mood of the film was ever-changing, but with good reason. While not all the details are as you will find them in the graphic novel, you would be troubled to find a more faithful and spot on adaptation of Watchmen than this. The talked about tweaked ending is simply a different plot device that results in the same outcome.

Visually, Snyder excelled. His keen ability to produce such visually impressive films brought the vibrant and colorful pages of the Watchmen graphic novel alive. He didn’t so much put his stamp on the film as much as he translated the story over. Snyder created a true Watchmen world as far as I’m concerned. Costumes and sets were impressive and truly helped engulf me as a viewer.

My one complaint about this absolutely satisfying film comes from the odd and strange musical decisions. Rather than opting to use just the original score by Tyler Bates, Snyder decided to use songs from the likes of Jimi Hendrix and others. While I particularly liked the use of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changing” in the opening credits, something about Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” didn’t fit the role. It was strange and out of place, an overlook by Snyder and the rest of the crew perhaps. I can see newcomers not liking this film.

I can see hardcore fans being obsessively picky. Not to say that if you fall into either of those two categories you’re doomed of not enjoying this film the way I did. While others might have found the film too long and over encompassing, I personally am itching to get my hands on the future director’s cut DVD.

Watchmen by all means isn’t perfect, but it is spectacular. For me, it sets a new standard of brilliance in graphic novel and comic book adaptations. The Dark Knight was one thing, but Watchmen is something of a different breed.

Bipolar Disorder Explained: Author Tells Her Story

By Matthew Kiernan / News Editor

Estimated to affect five million Americans, bipolar disorder is impacting many lives in many ways.

Lizzie Simon, author of “Detour- My Bipolar Trip in 4-D”, came to Torp Theatre last Wednesday to discuss her life growing up with bipolar disorder and advise people on how to treat it while promoting her book.

“If it’s left untreated, it can be really destructive,” said Simon. She said that the media misconstrues what bipolar disorder effects are and that the stigma of bipolar disorder lives within the individual.

The National Alliance of Mental Illness, which organized the event, was praised by Simon as being something all families and students could use as something to learn more about bipolar disorder as well as other disorders and find ways to treat them.

After treating a mental illness, Simon advised that people continue working with others to keep themselves positive and healthy. She said that if she could have it her way, she’d have it so that insurance companies provide insurance for mental therapy and said that it’s just as important as other aspects of a person’s health.

Simon had members of the audience come up onto the stage to read excerpts of her book “Detour”, which described times in her life when bipolar disorder had negative effects on how she functioned in what would seem to most people as normal aspects of life.

“I didn’t ever imagine that I’d be disabled,” she said.

She found that as she grew up, she became successful while attending Columbia University and later going on to work with MTV and HBO on shows about bipolar disorder. “I had been a powerless teenager and suddenly was consulting these major media organizations.”

She spoke about her life as a youth – suffering through bouts of mania and depression, going through high school, but believing that she hated it like every other normal student and ultimately pushing her mental illness aside to become successful while she attended college in New York City.

At 17 years old, Simon had been writing about suicide and was sent to a therapist by her family, even though she explained that they had been loving and very supportive. After lying to the therapist to avoid seeing them, she was taken to a doctor where she was misdiagnosed with depression and was given the wrong medicine.

Simon described her years surviving most of high school and a trip to Paris that followed. She explained how her disorder was interfering with her life as she detailed a night when she thought she was a cat and the Central Intelligence Agency was chasing after her.

Simon went to Paris to finish her senior year of high school where she thought she could put memories of suffering from bipolar disorder in the past.

She said that throughout her life she was in destructive relationships that weren’t healthy for her. To make up for suffering from bipolar disorder, she would achieve greatly in other areas in her life such as academics.

“Making the most of your mind is your life’s work,” said Simon.

NAMI has a support group at CCSU that meets every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the Blue and White room in the Student Center. The group meets to share stories with each other and have others to relate to who may have a mental illness or know someone who does.

As advice to families, Simon advised that families see therapists and said that she sees it as an important step in treating a family member with a mental disorder. She said that family members need therapy in dealing with mental disorders as well as the person suffering from it.

From Flying to Jiving: Ornithopera, AVIARY’s Final Migration

By Karyn Danforth / Lifestyles Editor

Set up in one corner of Maloney Hall’s second floor art gallery were four tables of piano harps: the gutted insides of the giant grand instruments.

“It’s a pretty amazing invention,” said Wesleyan University graduate student Max Heath. As his hands rested upon a large block of glass, Heath moved it across the piano strings as a camera projected the glass and strings onto the wall behind him. “I hardly have to move the glass to create sound,” Heath said.

This was only an element of Michael Pestel’s multimedia installation, Ornithopera, a closing performance of his exhibition Aviary, which drawn upon the lost voices of endangered and extinct bird species is also a celebration of the ones still alive. In the orchestrated event, it is scored for a minimum of 31 sound and a couple movement performers with additional participating members of the audience.

Students and faculty from Central Connecticut and Wesleyan were aligned against each side of the galley with different instruments, the majority being handcrafted by Pestel. Opposite to the piano harps was slate drawing tables and an upright piano; the other two contained of a row of typewriters and slate writing podia, which consisted of a board of holes with a mixture of stones in each.

The audience lay inside these four walls of sound and eight performers with assorted string and wind instruments are inside of them centered around a bird cage atop a circular moving platform.

Explaining the background of Ornithopera’s significance, Pestel spoke to the audience outside the center of the circle he’d eventually step foot in. “The most important thing about this is listening to the lost voices, the voices of extinct birds species that have disappeared,” he said. “These species have been eradicated since the 1500s by the United States. Fifty percent of all animals will be endangered and extinct by the end of the century.”

Pestel urged audience participation with slates and chalk to create their own additional noises. The slates weren’t ordinary however. Dan Yashinsky, a Toronto based storyteller, told the audience a tale of his mother and the slates were saved from her roof; they were perched on by eight decades of birds.

Two Butoh Slowalkers (movement performers) slowly made their way around the perimeter of the room; as they crossed an instrument, it signaled the noises initiated by each student. On the upright piano Brian Parks, a concert pianist and composer, pounded down random patterns of notes at the same time; each note represented a letter in the Latin spelling of the species of birds.

Briskly typing away bird proverbs into the old-fashioned typewriters, CCSU art history professor Dr. Elizabeth Langhorne’s eco-art class also chanted little utterances under their breath.

And just like that, Pestel was moving back and forth, using various instruments as he strolled around the room; his two-year old daughter Josey dawdled around holding a baby doll, ran to Pestel and, still playing his instrument, swiftly scooped her into arms and carried her around.

He then stepped to the center and sat down with the eight performers, which was the invitation for the audience to partake. Chalking it up, some did rhythmic beats with straight lines, some went more free-form and curvaceous onto the slate. While the performers inside the circle kept to one instrument, Pestel used several bite sized items; mixing the melange of noises in the air. Pestel pulled out a traditional flute, Josey crawled into his lap with a doll still clutched in her hand.

All of the different sounds did seem a little intoxicating, enhanced by glancing at the videos projected on the walls of Pestel’s various close up experiences with birds; playing an instrument as the bird chirps back at him.

The sounds lasted for a couple Butoh Slowalkers rotations; about 20 minutes worth of ears ringing with high, low and clinky-clanky noises. For what was seemingly a grand finale of sorts, Pestel arose from his seat, walked over and stood next to a gong, and shot an object out of his flute, symbolizing the end.

Magician Pulls In Audience, Hits Big At CCSU

By Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

Loud music is booming, a full house is chattering away, filling the Torp Theatre with a hurricane of energy. Then, all of the sudden, Norman Ng bursts onto stage, smiling bright and ready to perform.

What is it exactly that Ng will be doing? Magic of course. Before you get ready to sigh and yawn, know that Ng isn’t the typical magician we’re all used to. His philosophies on magic are far different than that of shock magicians like Chris Angel or the slick tuxedo wearing gimmicks of the Las Vegas magic scene.

“Most guys in Vegas are too flashy and guys like David Blaine are douchey,” said Ng jokingly after a well-received performance at Central Connecticut State University.

So what kind of magician is Ng? Well, first off, he’s a good one. The audience had nothing but enthusiasm for the young performer. If members of the audience didn’t have their jaws dropped in amazement at his illusions, they were laughing at his hilarious stories and improvised jokes.

“I would say that 70 percent of my tricks are original, the script however is all me, 100 percent. I write all of my own material,” Ng said. “That’s because for me it’s all about relatability. Some of my script is about my life; it’s easier for the audience to get into it when you share yourself with them. What I’m going for is conversational magic, I like to get the audience as involved as possible.”

Ng accomplished involvement right at the beginning of his act by offering up some cold, hard cash to audience members in exchange for assisting him in his tricks. He did the same later on in his on-stage game show.

Participation also seemed high because the audience really seemed to like him. There’s a certain amount of charm in his act that other magicians lack. He injects many stories about his life and his own personal interests into his act.

“I’m an artist. My art comes all from me, my story. The best way to derive emotions from people is to relate to them. That’s why I have the stories about Maine and the restaurant chain and hockey,” Ng said.

As most artists know, doing what you love isn’t always an easy gig. Most people entering a career in the arts face tough times, old and young.

“It’s wasn’t easy. Right out of school, when I was 18, I moved out to California with only $500 in my pocket and started my own entertainment company. I was living in Oakland, in poverty,” Ng said. “I would recommend magic as a career to people who have a passion for it, but let me says this, it’s hard. There are under 20 magicians who make a good living touring and doing what I do.”

Ng knew how to work the crowd. It seemed like making people happy was the most important thing in the world to him. There’s a certain type of passion we attach to soul-singers and actors, people who perform for a living.

Even comedians can often capture our hearts. Rarely would you think that a magician puts every ounce of his heart and soul into a performance – on Ng’s face it can be seen from when the lights go down to when the lights come up.

Instead of exiting, leaving his crowd satisfied and separate from him, he dives into the audience instead, offering answers to their questions and spending as much time as possible talking to them. Someone this passionate has a mission and Ng’s is clear, unlike the tricks behind his illusions.

“The new wave of magic is coming. It’s got to be brought back, magic is cool. So spread the word, because it’s my mission to help make it mainstream again. I want people to be inspired by magic,” Ng said. “After all, making someone truly amazed is what magic is all about.”

Spring Break to Mexico Not Worth the Risk

By Shauna Simeone / Asst. Opinion Editor

Spring break is just around the corner and many CCSU students are planning for relaxing activities or are preparing for exciting vacation destinations.

Mexico is a hot spot for many spring break travelers, but considering the recent violence and unrest taking place there right now, students should reconsider going to our neighbor to the south for their fill of the spring break experience. Mexico is an attractive vacation spot for a lot of students because of the warm weather, gorgeous beaches and the lower drinking age. Tourist areas are a vacationer’s dream, but outside of the seeming paradise there is a lot of violence and serious issues taking place.

As of Feb. 20, the State Department issued a warning to U.S. citizens going into Mexico. Part of the statement said, “U.S. citizens traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Mexican and foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places.”

The warning emphasizes that most of the problem areas are along the border, which is far away from Cancun, a popular spring break destination. Regardless, the risk of traveling to Mexico for spring break may not be worth the reward.

Take the story of Yvette Martinez, which was brought to light by TV host Glenn Beck. Martinez crossed the border with a friend to go to a concert as a birthday celebration, but never made it back. Martinez’s step-father later found her car abandoned and missing valuables like the stereo and battery.

Stories like this are occurring more frequently with the escalation of wars between rival drug cartels. America’s Most Wanted posted the following statement, “Mexico’s lawlessness – an outbreak of kidnappings for ransom, brutal gunfights among rival drug cartels and escalating violence – has now crossed the border and touched many American families.” According to AMW, 31 Americans have been reported as kidnapped across the Mexican border.

Traveling into Mexico at a time like this requires heavy precautions to be taken. It does not seem sensible to go there as a vacation spot when there are plenty of wonderful tourist spots right here in the United States such as Miami. Areas in Florida have the warm weather, and the spring break atmosphere. The only thing that is missing for some people is the availability of alcohol. But honestly, attaining alcohol doesn’t seem to be a huge problem for most college students. It makes sense to travel to a destination inside of the United States where the worry of violence is minimized and you can pump some money into the economy while you are at it!

Other universities are catching on to the probable violence and schools such as Winona State University are sending warnings to their students who are planning to travel across the border for their breaks.

It is important to fully understand the violent climate that is taking place in parts of Mexico right now before you decide to travel there for vacation. If you are planning on traveling to Mexico for your spring break make sure you ask yourself: is it worth the risk?


Editorial

As students of a public university, which is directly tied to the success or financial demise of the state, we expect that sometimes our needs will come second.

We understand that during the current economic climate, departments around campus are probably expecting pressure for staff cuts, budget cuts and pulling back on services. Consequently the secondary goals of the higher education system will probably take a back seat to the singular purpose of graduating students from CCSU.

Many of the CCSU students are non-traditional and most are attending because, frankly, CCSU is a less expensive option for college in the area; the average student commutes, has a part time job, or two, and most save money to pay for their own education.

CCSU is a university by which students have become complacent with a lack of organization. The students simply accept that receiving student loans from the Bursar’s office takes more time than seemingly plausible, obtaining graded papers is near impossible within the time zone of a week and ResLife, who seem adamant on securing students’ housing deposits within strict deadlines are seemingly unorganized when students move into halls.

Yet CCSU has little to no reserve about doling out late fees if students miss a tuition payment by a day and that apparently should simply be acceptable. But why should students meet the demands of the university, when the university does not meet the demands and needs of the student?

A university, which is notoriously lax in providing anything to its students in a timely fashion, should not simply have the right to continue to hold numbers such as 15, 20 or even 30 percent over our heads in tuition hikes.

Firstly, in today’s economic situation, how can a university that is dominated by students who are financially strained in the best of times, expect students to keep their heads above water when ridiculous late fees are added to accounts?

Secondly, if the Bursar’s office is openly adding late fees to accounts, can students therefore start ‘punishing’ other aspects of CCSU – surely ResLife would love to be charged for the amount of hours students waste gaining the correct keys and room information on move in day.

On the other hand as student we would like to at least be informed and be prepared when, for example, the Bursar’s office cannot organize itself to create individual payment plans for students who are having a similarly difficult time keeping financially afloat.

It’s not that students won’t sympathize with a Bursar’s office that may be struggling to keep staff around to provide their usual level of service and care; it’s just that students are not aware of the situation – if there even is a situation.

When major budget cuts threaten to increase tuition or decrease the normal level of service provided to students, we need to know about it – if students are not making payments on time, the Bursar’s office would ask questions – we as students are simply asking questions in the same respect – why has the service and communication taken a turn for the worse at CCSU?

Better lines of communication between the administration, the faculty and the students need to be established, especially when each party is suffering equally under the weight of a deteriorating economy.

The school cannot expect students to stand idly by while the cost of their education continues to be pushed higher and higher with no end in sight.

Speculation does not help the self-sustaining student prepare for the economic rigors that await them in the coming months and years.

Students naturally will bite the bullet; most have little or no choice. But we do deserve the right and courtesy of knowing how much it is going to hurt.

Kindle Fails to Light Fire to World of Text

By Charles Desrochers / Staff Writer

The online mega-store, Amazon.com, has released Kindle 2.0, a follow up to last year’s successful e-book reader of the same name.

Instead of letting buzz snowball to a climactic exhale like many other gadget’s ad campaigns, Amazon chose to release its new device merely months after its announcement.

Why did Amazon do this? One reason could be because they didn’t need the publicity, since the original Kindle was still on back order at the time of the Kindle 2.0’s announcement.

Much to the delight of those waiting for their Kindle 1.0, Amazon automatically updated their order to the newer device, making them the first to receive it. The new Kindle sports several new features but at this point most of them are labeled as “experimental.”

The feature that has attracted the most attention as of late is the Text-to-Speech feature. Unlike traditional audio books, the Kindle generates audio without a prerecorded narrator. The result isn’t the smoothest speech but does get the job done for listening to the New York Times on the commute to school or work.

The reading aspect of the device is good, not great. The standard of quality for these devices isn’t set high. Eyes don’t strain while looking at the screen and the matte finish deters most glairs. But the screen isn’t back, front or any kind of lit. The Kindle requires an outside source of light. But this is all intended to ease the reading so the result feels very natural.

Offering 13 shades of grey, the Kindle can accurately replicate most newspaper pictures. This statement sums up the Kindle 2.0 perfectly: It’s hard to imagine anyone who would get excited over 13 shades of grey, let alone pay $350. The device does have an online feature under its “experimental” category, which works great if you like the slow Internet.

Another “experiment” Amazon ventured was MP3 playing capability which seems pointless considering most people own an MP3 player or don’t plan on buying one. Amazon.com offers an extensive E-book library along with subscriptions to popular newspapers and magazines. Kindle’s wireless capabilities, now running on a 3G network that requires no Wi-Fi hotspots to update, sets it apart form other e-book readers like the Sony e-Reader.

The rate at which the Kindle changes pages isn’t very fast, but it’s supposed to simulate a book – take that fact with a grain of salt. Also the Kindle offers checkpoints in books and periodicals so a large amount of flipping isn’t necessary.

The buttons are simple, minimalist, offer a Qwerty keyboard and the whole thing is as thin as a pencil. Doesn’t it seem like every gadget is thriving to be as thin as a pencil these days? The best way to utilize the keyboard would have been to type full rich text files but the user is limited to only typing Post-it type notes in the digital pages.

So what does the customer get for $350? Well, that’s a tough question to answer and it depends on how much it’s used. Here in lies the main problem with the Kindle, and other e-book readers. In order to get your money’s worth the customer has to buy and house several books and periodical subscription at once. The Kindle 2.0 is a means to spend more money. The books are cheap with many costing around seven dollars and there is no shipping or sales tax attached to them.

But without the books the Kindle does nothing on its own. The customer’s are paying for the opportunity to pay money. You could buy the iPhone and pay $20 for a data plan and get everything the Kindle offers making it seem obsolete if one can put up with looking at an illuminated screen for an extended period of time.

The last complaint about the Kindle is that it seems to be marketed towards someone who has to buy books semi-annually and has to carry them around. College students fit into this demographic perfectly. Yet there are no college textbooks offered on Amazon’s digital library. Imagine carrying all your text books in one light, easy to read device that seldom needs charging.

I can’t recommend buying the Kindle 2.0 to anyone who reads less than two books a month. Newspapers, like the Washington Post, are much easier to read than their real life counterparts. This, and the possibility that Amazon.com will realize that there is a huge market for E-textbooks, would lead me to strongly recommend it. It’s a gamble though. If you honestly don’t have anything to do with your tax return, then buy the Kindle 2.0.


Tapes ‘n Tapes: Still Kicking Out the Jams

By Jason Cunningham / Entertainment Editor

Tapes n’ Tapes has been pretty busy. Though we haven’t heard much about any future releases from the band, we’ve seen them push through quite a few tour dates in support of their second LP, Walk It Off, which was released in April of 2008.

Fans had mixed feelings about Walk It Off, but initially supported the band’s effort and flooded venues to catch their infamously fun live shows. I was one of those fans, making sure to catch the April 18 show back in 2008 at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Though he had a throat cold and could barely sing through most of the set, Josh Grier pumped up the audience all the same, and the crowd appreciated his humor and intensity on stage. The set was long, the place was jam-packed, and the feelings of support were through the roof.

A little more than ten months later I returned to the Paradise Rock club for their show on Feb. 24. The venue was about half full this time around, with fans’ enthusiasm cruising at mild at best.

What was the deal? Wasn’t anyone excited to hear what new stuff the guys had been working on? Didn’t they want to hear Grier with a full, healthy voice? I was nothing but confused. When they took the stage you could almost see their disappointment at the turnout.

So what did we get? That night we were treated to a fantastic performance. Though the crowd was small, Tapes n’ Tapes still gave it their all, and blew my mind away.

There wasn’t a spectacular light show; there weren’t any corny antics, only a rock band, playing rock music. There’s a certain amount of honesty presented when we see a band play a fantastic show with nothing helping them along except their talent and personality.

The set was a tad shorter than the rest of the previous dates on the tour, but what we got in exchange was some new material, tight performances and a band who clearly enjoys playing their songs to an extent beyond the crowd’s satisfaction. I appreciate that their solider of soul attitude pays off big in a live setting. This allows most of their studio material to translate into fantastic live shows.

My head is still filled with excitement even now for what Tapes n’ Tapes will give us with their third release. It’s a shame more people didn’t make it out that night.

If you get the opportunity and you love live music, please check Tapes n’ Tapes out. It’ll be a worthwhile investment of your time. Personally, I can’t wait till they come back this way, I’ll be encouraging as many people as possible to make it out and support them.

Cool Kids to Play Toad’s Place Friday

When the Mikey Rocks and Chuck Inglish, also known as the Cool Kids, popped up on The Recorder’s radar back in the winter of 2007, they had just released their Totally Flossed Out EP and had never played anywhere near Connecticut. A few months later they were the opening act for Wesleyan’s Spring concert and ready to release their now-acclaimed The Bake Sale EP.

What do two twenty-somethings from Chicago have to offer that makes them so popular with no full-length albums recorded? The Cool Kids have pure talent and a flare for throwback rhymes with infectious beats. After getting their name and music out to the public via their MySpace page, tons of people starting seeking out their presence. Pitchfork Media booked the duo to their 2007 Pitchfork Festival and they were also book for performances at the College Music Journal Music Festival in New York City.

With two high profile appearances, the Cool Kids blew up to their current status of the premier indie hip-hop group. Throughout 2008, the Cool Kids continued to tour lightly and start making fans across the country. During 2008, the group also became one of the most popular to mix and mash amongst DJs and mashup artists. Girl Talk, E-603 and The Hood Internet all mixed the Kids’ songs amongst other Top 40 and hip-hop tracks.

This week the Cool Kids are hooking up with Kid Cudi, a Cleveland-based electro-hop artist who has been featured on Kanye West’s Sky High Mixtape as well as his video for the track “Heartbreak.” Their show at Toad’s Place in New Haven starts at 9 p.m. and tickets are going for $30.

It doesn’t look like either act is playing any more shows in the area according to their Web sites, so it’s a no-brainer that heading to the Elm City for this show is a great way to spend a Friday night outside of New Britain. Oh right, get ready to dance too, because this will become a party before you can finish your first drink.

-Edward Gaug, Photo editor: ccsurecorder.photo@gmail.com