Kevin Granados-Aguilar

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Weekend movie tracker: May 9

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures
Seth Rogen and Zac Efron in “Neighbors.” Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

The semester is coming to a close, so why not celebrate by seeing a good movie this weekend? With a triple-whammy landing on Friday, movie-goers will have a new diverse selection for the weekend to add on to the already appealing films available in theaters.

“Neighbors”

Starting things off is “Neighbors,” a comedy starring Seth Rogen, Zac Efron and a slew of other big names including Dave Franco, Rose Byrne and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. In the movie, a married couple moves into a quiet neighborhood with their newborn baby. Shortly after, a fraternity moves into the house next door and things start to escalate pretty quickly. Soon the two houses start pulling pranks on each other and the situation becomes dangerously funny. The perfect movie to unwind after a long study session, “Neighbors” promises to deliver some good laughs and might even remind some people of a weekend or two of parties here on campus.

“Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return”

Another interesting movie slated for this Friday is “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return.” This animated film is a family musical following the story of Dorothy, who wakes up after a tornado hits Kansas. As she witnesses the devastation, she is magically transported back to Oz where she helps her old friends, meets new ones and saves them all from a new villain – the Jester. Glee’s Lea Michelle will star as the voice of Dorothy, using her extensive Broadway experience to breathe new life into her character. If musicals or family fun is your preference, this movie is definitely worth checking out.

“Moms’ Night Out”

Closing out our list is “Moms’ Night Out,” a comedy just in time for Mother’s Day about a mother and her friends who simply want to enjoy a peaceful evening in girl’s night out fashion, without worrying about their daily responsibilities. After the moms decide to let their husbands babysit the children, they quickly realize anything that can go wrong, will. A cute story about parenthood and appreciation, this movie defines the realities of parenthood – and does so expertly. Whether laughing or crying, this movie will help students get motivated to make their mommas proud!

Movies coming to campus this Thursday and Friday are “About Last Night” and “Pompeii.” For showtimes, visit the UNC Charlotte Student Union Movie Theater’s website.

Lily and the Tigers bring southern soul to Charlotte

Lily and the Tigers. Photo courtesy of the band's official website
Lily and the Tigers. Photo courtesy of the band’s official website

Themes of friendship and love, fostered with the sounds of southern soul forms the essence of Lily and the Tigers. The indie folk band materialized in Atlanta, Georgia with the unlikely meeting between vocalist Casey Hood and bassist Adam Mincey in 2010. Together, the duo released their self-recorded debut album, “Sojourner.” After introducing guitarist Jared Pepper in their second album, “Hiding ‘Til Dawn,” Lily and the Tigers became a trio of permanent members while still inviting other musicians to contribute in their fervor of profound and dynamic music.

Their newest project, “The Hand You Deal Yourself,” embodies a warm rock and roll presence that blends effortlessly with their soulful sounds to manifest a contemplative mood. Focusing on personal concerns and experiences, tracks like “The Last Mosquito” reveal much of the internal struggles with family issues dealt by the members of the band. Other tracks like “Home”, inspired by the travels and journeys of the trio, details the challenges and rewards of such an undertaking. “Honey” and “All Hearts and Hands” exemplify a much more sonorous tone, providing an undercurrent of acoustic melodies about subjects of love and intensity.

Lily and the Tigers have dedicated their time to truly capture the essence of nature and the world around them and transcribe that emotion into their music. Having recorded “The Hand You Deal Yourself” in isolation, they did so in the woods of Vermont – waking up to the sound of the rivers and the trees innocently quivering around them. They expose those insights to the cities they tour in, immersing their audiences in the raw experience of making southern soul & folk music.

Lily and the Tigers will be playing at the Snug Harbor on April 22, with Ted Hefko and The Thousandaires. Show starts at 10 P.M., must be 18 or older for admission. Ticket and show information available online on the Snug Harbor website. 

Poverty is Real presents classic rock showdown at the Double Door Inn

The Double Door Inn is hosting the Beatles v. Rolling Stones event. Image courtesy of Poverty Is Real official webpage.
The Double Door Inn is hosting the Beatles v. Rolling Stones event. Image courtesy of Poverty Is Real official webpage.

Organizations like the Urban Ministry Center in Charlotte make an attempt to deter poverty, educate young adults on the realities of this problem and help those who are currently suffering these conditions. They offer food, shelter and medical aid among other things to those in need. With the aid of the Georgia-based organization Poverty is Real, the two organizations have come together to form a battle of the bands. The event will be held to raise awareness and gather donations to further the Urban Ministry Center’s efforts to help end poverty, one life at a time.

Performing on Saturday, April 19 at the Double Door Inn – eight bands will battle it out on stage, covering their favorite tracks by either the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. The show begins at 7 p.m. and tickets are available for $12 in advance on the Double Door website or $16 at the door.

Bands already signed up to compete include School of Rock Charlotte, Reeve Coobs, Dead End Parking, Little District, Yaddatu and Toleman Randall. Support the fight against poverty while enjoying a spectacular show of classic rock and roll. For more information, visit Poverty is Real and Urban Ministry Center.

Desert Noises on tour for new album “27 Ways”

Album art for "27 Ways." Image courtesy of official Facebook page
Album art for “27 Ways.” Image courtesy of official Facebook page

From Utah Valley, Utah, Desert Noises frontman, Kyle Henderson started the project in the basement of his parents’ house after finishing high school.  Tyler Osmond, Patrick Boyer and Brennan Allen later joined. Henderson left his career and Mormon faith behind and set out with one goal in mind: to make timeless music. Inspired by bands like Led Zeppelin, Tame Impala, Modest Mouse and Bob Dylan, the band has been heavily influenced by beat-oriented soul, folk and classic psychedelic rock.

Having released three albums, “Desert Noises”, “Mountain Sea” and “27 Ways,” as well as an EP, “I Won’t See You EP,” Desert Noises has adapted their style considerably. They’ve incorporated tempestuous rhythms, melodic blues and jangle-heavy accents into their music. Their newest project, “27 Ways,” focuses on a classic rock and folk sound, governed with unfaltering vocals.

The album contains the single, “Dime in My Pocket,” which exemplifies the vitality of the band’s rhythms coupled with telling lyrics, disclosing a kind of contemplative wisdom. Other tracks like “Mice in the Kitchen” and “Follow You Out” house bracing vocals, backed by vigorous drums and bass – all woven neatly together by the thread of resolute riffs from guitars. “Shiver” injects diversity with waves of alternating tempos and a more tribal sound, including persistent percussions and focused beats reinforced by the subtle bass.

Desert Noises are carrying their comprehensive sounds across the country on a tour, coming to Charlotte at the Evening Muse on Saturday, April 12. Opening for them will be Roadkill Ghost Choir. The event begins at 10:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 10 p.m. Tickets are between $10-12 and are available at TicketFly.com.

Devolution Project offers students a chance to start their own apparel line in new contest

Photo campaign for the Wildheart Los Angeles line- one of the apparel lines made with the help of Devolution. Students have the chance to make their own apparel line through Devolution by entering in the 2014 competition. Photo courtesy of DevolutionProject.com
Photo campaign for the Wildheart Los Angeles line- one of the apparel lines made with the help of Devolution. Students have the chance to make their own apparel line through Devolution by entering in the 2014 competition. Photo courtesy of DevolutionProject.com

Creative ideas and designs often start in the minds of many independent artists with little or no resources to get their creations widespread. Especially on a campus setting, many students with unique concepts might not know where to start. Organizations like the Devolution Project specialize in providing early-stage designers with a low-cost entry into a related marketplace – in this case, the graphic apparel industry.

Devolution Project offers a simple way for new designers to submit their creations and start their own brand by providing production, marketing, sales and distribution services. Their 2014 Student Design Competition, which started in February, provides students the opportunity to win their own apparel line. The winner will have access to Devolution Project’s resources for free and will receive the same assistance provided to paying users to help students launch their brand into a successful business.

The process to enter the competition is simple: design a six piece graphic apparel line using the blank apparel templates available on the Devolution Project website. Entries must include the entrant’s name, school, year of study and the major/minor the student is in. Submitted entries will be displayed on the Project’s Facebook page until April 20, where the top five up-voted designs will enter the final round. There, Devolution Project will post the designs across various social media platforms and collect votes to determine the winner – which will be announced May 1, 2014.

The winner’s brand will be produced and placed on sale June 1, while also receiving 50 percent of the gross profits. Details for this year’s competition can be found here.

Railroad Earth coming to Charlotte on the heels of the release of their new album

Photo courtesy of Railroad  Earth's official website.
Photo courtesy of Railroad Earth’s official website.

Music incorporates a plethora of genres that differ in even the most subtle ways. Some genres are more obscure than others– especially when artists combine them. While finding the right amalgamation is challenging, it is a particularly tasteful and creative concept – one that Railroad Earth performs expertly.

The New Jersey-born group consists of six members, Todd Sheaffer with lead vocals and acoustic guitar; Tim Carbone with violin, electric guitar and vocals; John Skehan with mandolin, bouzouki, piano and vocals; Andy Goessling with acoustic guitars, banjo, dobro, mandolin, lap steel, flute, pennywhistle, saxophone and vocals; Carey Harmon with drums, hand percussion and vocals; and Andrew Altman with upright and electric bass.
Each member, having mastered multiple instruments, creates an incredibly diverse and unique sound – and rightfully so, as stated in their bio, “the members of Railroad Earth aren’t losing sleep about what ‘kind’ of music they play – they just play it.” Setting out to create acoustic music in 2001, the band has come a long way since then. Having released their newest album, “The Last of the Outlaws,” on January 14, 2014, it has become the seventh in an interesting blend of celtic, folk, rock, bluegrass and jazz.

The 15-track album contains sonorous and warm tracks like “The Last of the Outlaws,” which start with slow percussions and ease vocals in with acoustic chords. The simple instrumentals and soft vocals illustrate the sad, yet accepting stories told within the lyrics. Other tracks that are appropriately titled like “Chasin’ a Rainbow” and “When the Sun Gets in Your Blood,” introduce a much more upbeat and fast tempo that houses persistent drums, fast chords and jittery riffs that all but move with a spirit of their own.

Regardless of what music one prefers, Railroad Earth finds a way to gratify even the most dubious listener with their skillful blend of various colorful acoustics and penetrating vocals. You can see them perform live in Charlotte at the Fillmore Thursday, April 3 at 8 p.m.. Tickets are available for $20 via The Fillmore Charlotte website.

DIY: Knights templar armor

This Halloween, wow your friends with your DIY skills.  Though this may seem complicated and time-consuming to make, it is well worth it.

The materials are cheap and easy to find.  As college students, we often don’t have a lot of money to spend on costumes. Costumes from Halloween stores range from $30 to $50.

This costume proves there is no need to break your budget to have the perfect and unique Halloween costume.  You can customize the design on the front of the costume to guarantee an original look.

Materials: 

  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Knife/Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • One cardboard box 22 Ωî x 30î for torso armor piece
  • One Metallic Silver colored spray paint can
  • One red colored spray paint can
  • Duct Tape
  • A friend 

Step One:

step1

Grab the torso cardboard piece stand it up vertically.

Draw a circle for your head at the height of the box in the center, making sure that it is large enough for your head.

Once you are comfortable with the placement and size of the circle, cut it out with the knife or scissor.  Place your head through the hole to make sure it is the correct size.

If you need to make adjustments to your headpiece, mark with your pencil and cut accordingly.

 Step Two:

Put on the poncho-shaped box and have a friend mark your waistline around the box.

Cut off the excess cardboard from below the waistline.

Your friend will also need to make markings on the box for your armholes.

Make the armholes at a comfortable level so they are neither too small nor too large.

Once the arm holes are cut, you should have a tank top shape.

two

Step Three:

After cutting the waistline off, begin bending the box slowly around your torso.

You want to make sure it contours to your body shape.

Be sure that you are still very mobile and if necessary, feel free to cut off more cardboard for your head, neck, arms and waist.

Step Four:

Duct tape the side flaps of the torso piece together to seal the poncho into a tank top.

Once taped, try wearing the torso piece again to confirm the dimensions one last time and test out the mobility of the armor.

Repeat steps if it does not fit comfortably.

three

Step Five:

If you choose to add shoulder pads to your costume, here would be the appropriate time to do so.

They are not necessary, but it is recommended to make your armor unique and creative. Try out your own methods for adding these to make your costume your own.

Step Six:

Now that you’ve created your torso piece, it’s time to spray paint it.

Go outdoors in a well-ventilated area and place your costume on another piece of cardboard or table with a cover cloth.

Carefully paint the torso armor piece with the Metallic Silver color one horizontal stroke at a time.

Do this repeatedly until you’ve covered your torso armor in one coat. Make sure you take your time with this process but don’t overdo the paint.

Use your spray paint sparingly in order to have enough for the other armor pieces.

Once completed, let your armor sit and dry for about 15 to 20 minutes.

fourStep Seven:

The last step is to add the Templar Knights’ cross to the front of the armor.

This step can be skipped if you want a simple knight’s armor, or modified if you would rather paint your own symbol on the armor.

Start by creating a stencil of the design you want to spray paint on the front. You can use spare cardboard for this step or a large sheet of paper.

First, draw your design on the cardboard or paper.

Once complete, cut your design out and tape the stencil on the front of the armor using the duct tape.

Make sure you are careful with this as the duct tape can strip the paint.

Once the stencil is secure, proceed with painting over the stencil using the red spray-paint using the same horizontal strokes as the silver color.

When finished, let the armor sit and dry for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Actors from the London Stage bring Shakespeare’s “Othello” to UNC Charlotte

"Othello" brings talent from abroad to UNC Charlotte. Photo courtesy of the College of Arts and Architecture.
“Othello” brings talent from abroad to UNC Charlotte. Photo courtesy of the College of Arts and Architecture.

A Moorish general in the Venetian army, his wife, his lieutenant and his trusted ensign – all part of a tale involving themes of love, jealousy, lust, revenge and betrayal. These themes echo with familiarity, but Shakespeare’s “Othello” shines a brightly calamitous light on the dangers of these matters. It explores the tragedy of a forbidden love, exemplifies the corrupt nature of jealousy, and defines one of the most wicked villains in Shakespearian history – all brought to life by the Actors from the London Stage here at UNC Charlotte.

Opening at Robinson Hall on Oct. 16, the Actors from the London Stage bring “Othello to provide students with an enriched Shakespearian experience for a fraction of the price of a regular theatre ticket. At only $6 for entry with a student ID, it is one of the most inexpensive shows on campus. The five classically trained actors, coming from prestigious companies like the Royal Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the Royal National Theatre of Great Britain, put on a show worth far more than the cost of admission.

Students can expect to see these five actors play two or three roles on stage simultaneously. By using small costume props, stepping sideways or constantly changing the direction they are facing, the actors instantaneously and seamlessly transition from one character to the next, effectively demonstrating the talent and passionate dedication these actors bring to the stage. Lon Bumgarner, assistant professor of acting at UNC Charlotte, explains that audiences in the past have found this to be the most awe-inducing feature of the play, often gaining the respect of the viewers for the flawless execution of such a difficult feat. Bumgarner admits that it might take a moment or two for the audience to get used to the acting, but also assures us, “The commitment this company has to that style of work quickly brushes aside all confusion and possible uncomfortableness, opening the imagination of the audience in a way most members have not experienced.  Plus it’s fun.”

For less than the price of a Chick-fil-A meal, students can immerse themselves in a culturally rich experience, full of tragedy and vengeance, which is sure to deliver more than an evening of Netflix ever could.

Shakespeare’s “Othello,” performed by the Actors from the London Stage, plays on Wednesday, Oct. 16 through Saturday, Oct. 19 in Robinson Hall at 7:30 p.m. each night. Pricing includes $18 for general admission, $9 for UNC Charlotte faculty/staff & seniors and $6 for all students. Visit www.unccboxoffice.com or call (704) 687-1849 for ticket information and purchase.