Book Review: Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
The book begins with the true story about two Mormon brothers killing their younger brother’s wife and infant daughter. When the brothers were asked why they did something so horrible, they replied that they had direct orders from God to do so. Jon Krakauer, also the author of Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, began exploring the Mormon religion and the mentality of the followers.
The book had a number of different chapters including a brief history about John Smith and Brigham Young, the men who made the Mormon religion what it is today. Krakauer also goes into detail about the violent and horrific accounts concerning other Mormon fundamentalists such as the young Elisabeth Smart’s abduction (which happened less than a decade ago). In 2002, Smart was taken from her own bedroom at the age of fourteen. Her abductor was a Mormon fanatic. He performed a ceremony of marriage and then raped her. Nine months later, she was found walking with her kidnaper in a disguise.
Polygamy and statutory rape were highly emphasized in the book. Large communes in Utah and the bizarre practices are revealed. Door to door Mormons converters are depicted and surprising statistics that make the Mormon religion the fastest growing religion in the world are exposed.
Krakauer’s book is a page turner! His in-depth research makes “Under the Banner of Heaven” chilling and surprising. The detail that he goes into draws a mental picture of Mormons, religious fanatics and a part of America.
Book Review: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
With the hectic schedules of college students, it’s difficult to incorporate reading for pleasure, rather than just class, into your schedule. However, reading for pleasure could be adapted as nighttime ritual. Instead of watching reruns of Teen Mom and Real World right before bed, you could read. I know some people think that this is absolutely crazy, since most college classes require you to read countless pages on material you may not always be interested in, but reading for your own enjoyment could help you unwind better after a long day. Getting wrapped up in the intricacy of novel could have a more calming effect then watching people fight on MTV. Think about it... get comfy for bed, curl up with a good book, a fuzzy blanket and cup of tea and for a short period of time focus your mind on a book- instead of the stresses of everyday life. Trust me, reading will definitely have a calming effect on you and it may even help you fall asleep faster after you put the book down and decide it’s time for beauty sleep.
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is an addictive read. This novel is an intense thriller which combines mystery, corruption, family disfunction, and lust. Larsson takes time at the beginning of the novel to set up the characters and explain their backgrounds. It is helpful that he takes the time to do this, because once the drama begins, you will have a better understanding of the driving factors behind the characters actions. Once the mystery, involving the disappearance of young girl many years before, begins to reveal itself, this book is hard to put down. But, do not worry about finishing this novel too fast, because it is the first novel in a three part series. So once you finish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, you can start reading The Girl Who Played With Fire and then The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest.
Your new nighttime ritual of reading before bed could begin with this series. Happy reading!
See PARAMORE through Brand New Eyes
“Brand New Eyes,” the latest of Paramore’s three albums, is a compilation of very well written songs with a wide range of themes like love, independence,hope andlearning life's lessons. While each song has its own personal message they’realso related in the sense that deep down they’re really saying, ‘be yourself’ and ‘accept what I am.’
3. Playing God
4. Brick by Boring Brick
5. Turn it Off
6. The only Exception
7. Feeling Sorry
8. Looking Up
9. Where the Lines Overlap
10. Misguided Ghosts
11. All I Wanted
“The same tricks that once fooled me, they won’t get you anywhere/ I’m not the same kid from your memory/ Now I can fend for myself,” Hayley Williams sings during ‘Ignorance,’ a song about a separation between once very good friends where changes take place for the better. The victim of the battle,Williams, develops a sense of independence and inner-strength, causing her to move on. This sassy tone continues in ‘Playing God,’ when Williams sings, “next time you point a finger I might have to bend it back or break it, break it off/”referring to someone who thinks they’re perfect and blames Williams for all that goes wrong.
In ‘Feeling Sorry,’ the female vocalist sings of not seeing someone she was close with often anymore, but that she doesn’t feel sorry. “I feel no sympathy, you live inside a cave/ You barely get by, the rest of us are trying/ No need to apologize, I’ve got no time for feeling sorry.”
Williams' tune changes with track six, ‘The Only Exception.’ This slower-melody tells of a girl who decides she won’t ever make the same mistake like her parents and get married, until one guy comes along. “And that was the day that I promised I’d never sing of love if it does not exist, but darling you are the only exception/”
Between Williams' strong vocals and the men behind the music, Josh Farro (who helps Hayley write the songs), Zac Farro, Jeremy Davis and Taylor York, the band creates fun, energetic and meaningful music that can be enjoyed by a vast range of people. All of this is found in their new album, “Brand New Eyes.” This CDis definitely worth checking out, whether it’s online (legally) or at a local music store.
State College Band Lemonsoul Brings Unique Sound to the Live Local Scene
By Molly Levine
The band combines eclectic influences with the turnover in band members to change and test their sound. With so many changes in their lineup, Lemonsoul has many individual musical influences. In terms of the band as a whole, they work to combine all musical inspirations.
“Our stylistic influences are the culmination of the past five years of the Lemonsoul sound: southern rock, reggae, jazz and world music,” said Vidmar.
One thing that helps their music come together is the interactions between the band’s members.
“We’re all really tight friends and we interact with each other musically,” said Evak.
The band has been playing weekly at the Phyrst for over two years. Lemonsoul’s usual playing time lasts around three hours. The band also plays at other venues including Bar Bleu, Earth Day events, the Central Pennsylvania Arts Festival and Moving On.
Unfortunately for their weekly fans at the Phyrst, Lemonsoul will probably be playing its final show at the end of this school year.
“For us, it is a natural endpoint,” said Vidmar.
While Lemonsoul may not still want to be together as a band, Vidmar doesn’t want fans to think this is the end of the member’s musical endeavors.
“It is very likely that many of us in Lemonsoul will work together in another group or groups in the not so distant future,” said Vidmar.
Head over to the Phyrst on Tuesday at 10 p.m. to hear Lemonsoul live.
“Since we do jam a bit, you never know what can happen dynamically,” said Vidmar.
For more information about Lemonsoul, check out their website at www.lemonsoul.net or www.myspace.com/lemonsoul6.
Book Review: Bell Canto by Ann Patchett
By Annamarie DiRaddo
International artists and business professionals are kept hostage for five months only to uncover certain truths of genius in themselves. The novel takes place in a turbulent country in Latin America. The hostages originally gathered at the Vice President’s house for a birthday party he was hosting where a famous opera singer entertained.
Terrorists, unhappy with the government and expecting the President to also be at the party, sneak into the event and stir up trouble. With few freedoms but limited aggressions, the group of terrorists and hostages are able to fall in love, form friendships and families, communicate and discover talent.
For a novel rich in the romance languages and filled with intimate controversy, Bell Canto is the perfect read!
Movie Review: Atonement directed by Joe Wright
With the wide-angle shots of the picturesque English countryside, and close-ups of the always-poignant Keira Knightley-once again portraying a historical woman who falls in love with a man she's completely at odds with for a good portion of on-screen time-Atonement has all the makings of the romance, movie studios are mass producing to tug at both our heartstrings....and our wallets.
However; there seems to be an interesting trend emerging in popular culture: any movie set in Britain that has been based off a book, starring Knightley, is sure to become an instant classic. While Atonement has been stereotyped with fresh-from-the-Austen-movie hype of both "Pride and Prejudice" alumni, Knightley, and director Joe Wright; the darker overtones of the movie seep into the subconscious as the tale of how basic human needs require acknowledgment, unfolds in an epically tragic manner.
What has the audience moved beyond words at the conclusion of our tale is how essential the emotions are to each and every one of us. As Robbie Turner (played by James McAvoy) the consequences of a young girl's honest mistake.
The typical protagonist and antagonist doesn't exist in this movie. Most of the time spent involved in these characters, and the lives they must lead after the turmoil, is spent cast adrift in their own sense of morality. It's nearly impossible to be stoic after this movie, when the line between right and wrong becomes dimmed.
Book Review: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
"You're exactly my brand of heroin."
Not exactly the typical romantic statement but, nonetheless; one that draws our protagonist into a world of fantasy and, at times, horror.
When Bella moves from sunny Phoenix, Arizona to dreary Forks, Washington; she unexpectedly finds herself feeling at home. However; after meeting and falling in love with the mysterious Edward Cullen she finds herself tied to the area and the man, even when she finds out that he is a vampire that thirsts for her blood.
Unfortunately, when Edward's "family's" game of vampire baseball attracts a coven quite unlike their own, Bella is forced to go on the run and is scared not only for her own life, but for those of her family and her new friends as well.
"So the lion fell in love with the lamb."
With writing such as this, its no wonder that romantic and literary enthusiasts everywhere have fallen in love with Twilight. The drama, suspense and at some points, even horror, weave a story that moves along at a fast pace making it hard to put the book down.
Two more books, New Moon and Eclipse have followed and the final piece to the story, Breaking Dawn will be released on Saturday August 2. This will end the epic love story that Stephenie Meyer gave birth to years ago.
Twilight has been translated to a screenplay and the buzz is picking up at a rapid pace. Robert Pattinson is booked to portray the fascinating Edward Cullen and Kristen Stewart is our heroine Bella Swan, in the much anticipated movie that is scheduled to premier in December.
Soulja Boy is not Talking About Superman
I thought it was a new rage when Soulja Boy came out with his #1 hit song “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” along with the lean and crank dance that swept across the nation. It was almost like the new “Macarena” of the 21st Century. I admit, I liked the dance and I thought the song had an awesome beat. Like most rap songs, you don’t understand the lyrics the first few times you hear it.
Then, the lyrics started to become a little clearer and urbandictionary.com helped to understand them. Be prepared for a shock if you go on the website to find out the meanings for “Superman,” “Robocop,” and “Super Soak.”
“Crank That” has some of the most disgusting and degrading lyrics against women I have ever heard. I switch the radio channel if I hear it. In the club, I will never do the dance. The whole song is demeaning to women and should never be allowed to be broadcasted over the air waves. I am sure Soulja Boy could have come up with some other bad rhyming lyrics to go in place of his disgusting thoughts about women. It is repelling that Soulja Boy is capitalizing off degrading women and that the song was #1 on Billboard for seven weeks!
The next time you feel like busting out the moves to Soulja Boy’s terrible song, listen to the lyrics. Go on Urban Dictionary and find out the true meanings. I guarantee you will have a whole new perspective of the song. I get fed up if I hear it anymore. I am a fan of a lot of music, including rap, but Soulja Boy has as much respect for me as the gum on the bottom of my shoe.
Decosmo has been involved with music since he was in 7th grade. He’s participated in numerous jam bands playing the guitar, bass, and drums. Decosmo joined the marines after graduating high school and is now a sophomore here at Penn State looking to start up another band. He has experience in multiple sounds like metal, punk, and rock.
If interested please contact Jim at email@example.com or 570-578-2649
Canner is a sophomore performance major in the integrated undergraduate program that allows her to work for her masters in music theory. She is from State College and has been involved with music with the help of her parents’ and brother’s inspiration. She’s played the piano for 14 years and played the horn for the12 years.
“The horn was just one of those things I did,” Canner said. “It became a part of me. It became me.”
Canner loves classical music because of its “pretty and passionate melodies.”
“It really speaks to me. I can express myself through it,” said Canner.
Canner likes all music except Country. She said that even pop music has its place with getting people into music.
Canner has played for different groups like the Nittany Valley Symphony, the Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra, and the Altoona Symphony.
“Some weekends are better than others,” Canner said. “Music is my cause of stress and my stress relief. I love it so much so I play whenever I can.”
In the future, Canner would love to play in some major cities like LA and NYC. She said she would also like to be a professor of horn and music theory. Either way, Music is huge part of the essence of what Christi Canner is.
Fitzgerald is a music education major who has been playing various instruments like the violin, guitar, and drums all throughout her childhood. Fitzgerald’s mother had also played in a band during the 70's and 80's and influenced her decision to participate in music.
“There is nothing that makes me happier than performing,” said Fitzgerald about her active role in her band.
The band, Leaving Cash, is a fusion of musical elements from pop, rock, and alternative. Leaving Cash has played at some local parties in State College and numerous places in Philadelphia. Fitzgerald’s brother is also in the band and has produced some of his own hip hop music. He performed with the Foo Fighters this past year at the Grammy’s.
Leaving Cash has produced about 10 or 11 of its original songs that can be found on its myspace page.
Each member of the band is able to play different instruments. Their songs are composed with the intention that each member will actively be switching instruments during the performance. Leaving Cash has appeared on ABC’s “The 10 Show” and was also live on Philadelphia’s radio station, WMMR.
Leaving Cash hopes to get more involved with shows up at State College but has found it hard with Fitzgerald’s brother in Philadelphia and more opportunities to perform in Philadelphia. On April 17 Leaving Cash will play at Dr. Watson’s Pub in Philadelphia.
Fitzgerald said, “music has a place in everybody’s life whether its as an outlet, calming or soothing, or for different effects."
A few of Fitzgerald’s favorite artists are Pat Benatar and No Doubt. Her biggest dream is to just be famous.
“It’s the biggest rush just to be performing professionally in front of a crowd,” said Fitzgerald.
To listen to Leaving Cash check out www.myspace.com/leavingcash
Dobbins has played the guitar and drums for the past 10 years and hopes to learn how to play the violin and drums. He has been in different metal and alternative bands when he was younger and now tends to draw his inspirations from folk music and artists like Chris Rice and Project 86.
Dobbins can be found playing anywhere local from coffee shops to churches. He rarely plays covers but has his own songs that can be found on his myspace page.
Dobbins says that music can be highly important to anyone regardless of whether they play an instrument or not.
“I appreciate paintings and enjoy painting but I am not a painter,” said Dobbins.
Dobbins dislikes only one type of music “where the lyrics are superficial, cocky, or arrogant”. He says that there is no one artist that constantly produces music like this but he dislikes the few songs by various artists with this content.
“Why listen to someone who thinks they are better than everyone else” said Dobbins.
Dobbins is working on the final touches of his CD and is expecting to have a CD release party sometime towards the end of April.
To listen to Joel Dobbins, go to www.myspace.com/joeldobbins.