Farewell From The Front Page’s Managing Editor DJ Lincks

As humans, we often find comfort in communities, as historically it was through communal relationships that we continued to evolve and grow. The definition of community, however, has changed over time. From what was a initially a means of survival, to now exhibiting feelings of fellowship with others due to common goals or interests. This, in my opinion, epitomizes my experience at Front Range Community College, and more specifically, working for the student-run newspaper, The Front Page.

By DJ Lincks

As humans, we often find comfort in communities, as historically it was through communal relationships that we continued to evolve and grow. The definition of community, however, has changed over time. From what was a initially a means of survival, to now exhibiting feelings of fellowship with others due to common goals or interests. This, in my opinion, epitomizes my experience at Front Range Community College, and more specifically, working for the student-run newspaper, The Front Page.

Often times, I feel as though community colleges, such as Front Range, are looked and talked down upon. I had my initial hesitations, as no mention of it was ever made in my K-12 experience as being a viable option for a higher education. Those hesitations proved themselves arbitrary. Front Range not only provides a quality education at a reasonable cost, but also an intimate experience found in the classroom, student life affairs, and more.  

The only journalism course Front Range offers, is Introduction to Mass Media. I was fortunate enough to have taken this class with Katie Spencer, who was at that time a faculty advisor for The Front Page, along with Robin O’Connell. It was only my second semester attending Front Range, but the class provided numerous revelations. First, that journalism is very much still alive. Second, there are guidelines that journalists must follow, of course dependent on what type of journalism is being enacted. Third, and most importantly, journalism is an accessible career choice.

Like many, I had no idea what I wanted to achieve beyond graduating college. We live in a society that places heavy emphasis on having a “plan,” which can be an intimidating idea if one has not had the opportunity to explore options. Initially, I took my time at Front Range as a means of discovering what I enjoy, so to speak. I knew that I had a certain affinity for English literature; however, the only writing I ever attempted was academic, which felt far too mechanical for my own personal interests. I never felt as though I was excelling in anything, until attending Front Range. This was a turning point in my life, going from someone with little ambition or desire for the future, to someone who felt that they could do the things they had always wished to do, and do them well. This, of course, was amplified by my working for The Front Page.

A well deserved thanks goes to all faculty members at Front Range who provide their students with a safe and encouraging environment. I believe they are aware of the false associations of Community College, and that is why it is one of their goals to show their students that they are taking it seriously, as should everyone else. More personally, I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the English department, for it is because of their devotion and guidance that I found confidence in my writing. They are one of the most thoughtful, respectful, and encouraging group of professors I could have ever dreamed of having. It was not without their support, specifically that of, Tino Gomez, Jonathan Montgomery (current faculty advisor for the paper), John Sullivan, and Michael Zekonis, that I could have achieved this current position of Managing Editor, and personal writing goals. Each of their instruction guided me in ways I didn’t think were possible and has been much of the foundation from which I made the decision to further my education at Metropolitan State University, with a degree in English and a concentration on writing.

I could not have succeeded in my position without the help of Student Life faculty and staff. Mindy Kinnaman, director of Student Life at the Westminster campus, has been one of the most influential supervisors that I have had the pleasure to look up to and learn from. Her journalistic background has not only provided me, but the entire paper, with the resources necessary to bring the paper back after losing much of its staff and transferring to an online platform. She has been one of the most understanding “bosses” that I have ever had, always ensuring my workload was manageable. The Front Page would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Mindy and Jonathan.

This is not the first managerial position I’ve held, however, it has by far been the most rewarding. I have been incredibly privileged to work with a staff of talented and hard working photographers and writers, who always ensured that they met deadlines and brought unmatched positivity and support to the paper. Frankly, they have made my position quite easy.  I am forever grateful for the wonderful staff I have had the honor of working with, and I am proud to say I held a role in their hiring. I have no doubt that these individuals will go on to accomplish great things, both in their studies and outside. The Front Page is being left in very capable and willing hands.

FRCC has provided for me something that I had always longed for: community. Working in Student Life for The Front Page has been one of the most formative times of my life. The experience I have gained, beginning as a writer, then working my way to Managing Editor, and the people I have been so fortunate to get to know and call friends, is one that I do not believe I would have found elsewhere. When I first began working with The Front Page, I was intimidated. Getting paid to write had always seemed a distant dream for me, and my lack of experience contributed to a lack of confidence in my writing that almost prevented me from applying in the first place, but I am forever thankful that I did. This by far, has been one of my favorite points in my life, as I have grown more in the past two years than any other period.  

It is a bittersweet time, as I feel ready for change, but not to let get of FRCC as the second home I have come to know it as. I realize that change is always necessary in order to grow, and I am leaving FRCC as a beautiful memory. I know the connections I have made here will not unravel anytime soon. There is not much else I can say to those who have supported me in my time at The Front Page and Front Range, except thank you. I’m thankful for this experience and what it has it has taught me.

staff photo.jpgFRCC Student Newspaper, The Front Page Staff. Photo by Ezra Ekman 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs Review

On Aug. 31, 2018, Netflix released the original movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which is currently playing in a few select theatres and is also available on Netflix.  The film, written and directed by the Coen brothers, is an anthology of six short films that all take place in the post-Civil War settling of the West.  It features numerous A-list actors, such as Tim Blake Nelson, Bill Heck, James Franco, and Liam Neeson. The film’s message seems to be stories never die but people do. This is an intriguing thought on its own but is poorly executed in this movie.

By Matt Cunningham

On Aug. 31, 2018, Netflix released the original movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which is currently playing in a few select theatres and is also available on Netflix.  The film, written and directed by the Coen brothers, is an anthology of six short films that all take place in the post-Civil War settling of the West.  It features numerous A-list actors, such as Tim Blake Nelson, Bill Heck, James Franco, and Liam Neeson. The film’s message seems to be stories never die but people do. This is an intriguing thought on its own but is poorly executed in this movie.

The film’s stories never intersect at any point, as they all feel like they are their own thing. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the movie’s genre is a comedy.  When I was watching the film, it seemed as if it had no idea what it wanted to be, as the opening story presents some dark comedy, as unfunny as it may be. For example, Buster Scruggs sings a country song while he continually smacks another guy in the face with a plank until he dies. The dark comedy style is fairly common with Coen brothers’ movies.

Joel and Ethan Coen have shown to be extremely talented in the past, with such films as The Big Lebowski, True Grit, and Hail Caesar! and I’m floored at how The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a total failure. When the film is attempting to be a comedy, it is painfully unfunny, making it awkward to watch. Then, when the movie attempts to be serious, it is nearly impossible to tell whether or not they are going for dark comedy or drama. Usually, there’s at least one chuckle in a bad comedy, but this had zero laughs. Comedy is subjective, but I am struggling to find any humor in this movie.

the ballad of buster scruggs.jpg

 

All six parts of the anthology have different plots, ranging from a happy-go-lucky gunslinger to a sideshow that is struggling to make enough money to live. They all feel extremely inconsequential, because the audience is given such little time to care about characters it gets to see for about 20 to 30 minutes. In terms of an overarching plot, there is none. There is an attempt to have an overarching theme, as mentioned previously, stories never die, but people do. However, this didn’t resonate with me until I saw the film’s poster.

An example of this film’s incompetence is shown in one unforgettably stupid scene. When an old man strikes gold, he goes into his hole that he dug to retrieve it. He is then snuck up on from behind and shot in the back. He lays ‘dead’ in the hole for 3 minutes, while the guy that shot him smokes a cigarette. Finally, the robber goes into the hole to retrieve the gold. Shockingly, the old man is alive and shoots the robber in the head. How was the old man able to lay there perfectly still for 3 minutes after having a bullet fly through his body?  

The actors give acceptable performances. The talents of Liam Neeson are not used in a suitable fashion, as he barely says a word in his chapter.  James Franco is trying, even though the script he has been given is pitiful. Tim Blake Nelson’s accent is grating, but at least he seems to be enjoying his role as Buster Scruggs.

The Coen brothers have made far better films that I have preferred over this. Films such as The Big Lebowski, and Suburbicon (screenplay credit) were more enjoyable than Buster Scruggs.

The most unforgiving part of this disaster is that it’s unrelentingly boring. There are drawn out sequences of people randomly singing extremely poorly. There is no explanation for this. It seems as if the only reason they had characters randomly sing was because of the movie’s unmemorable title. The movie sits at roughly two hours and 15 minutes. Double that length, and that’s how it feels to watch this atrocity.

Netflix has brought lots of strong, successful entertainment to us all over the years. Sadly, one of its newer films did not bring any whatsoever. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is 2018’s cinematic melatonin, because I felt sleepy after watching it. This is not worth anyone’s time. It takes a lot for a movie to receive this grade from a film lover, but I have to give The Ballad of Buster Scruggs a well-deserved F.   

Princess Mononoke Review

By Madison Otten

To see with eyes unclouded by hate” is the premise of Hayao Miyazaki’s second highest grossing film, Princess Mononoke, a 1997 animated Japanese film that has been subbed and dubbed for US viewers. This movie won 13 awards and 6 nominations, including the Japanese Academy Prize for Picture of the Year and a nomination for the Annie Awards, for it’s brilliant storytelling, exciting soundtrack, and beautiful animation.

Studio Ghibli is often known for its light hearted and child friendly movies like My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Ponyo. This film was one of Studio Ghibli’s most mature and gritty works, being rated PG-13, that pandered to teens and adults in a story set during the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573) of Japan.

Miyazaki explored the cycle of hatred and its inevitable tragedy within this movie and beautifully orchestrated a three-act structure.

 

Princess Mononoke

 

Hatred in this fantasy world manifests itself as writhing, maggot-like creatures that cover the body. They feed off anger and fear and turn the host into a mindless force of destruction, a demon who scorches the land. It’s the catalyst that begins our adventure by consuming a god.

Prince Ashitaka, our main protagonist, is cursed when defending his sister and village from a boar god turned demon. He is banished from his village and is tasked with discovering the origin of the demon and perhaps lift his curse. In doing so, Ashitaka is then dragged into a long-running conflict in the West.

In the West, Iron Town is run by the ambitious yet compassionate Lady Eboshi, who has waged war against the spirits of the forest. While Eboshi can be cruel and cunning, she takes in lepers and buys up contracts of women within brothels and puts them to work smelting mined ore into iron.

The conflict between humans and the spirits of the forest began when miners were assaulted by the local boar tribe, but the boars only attacked when the humans began cutting down trees and tearing up the mountain to get to the iron. The guardian of the forest was then shot by Lady Eboshi, who had come to the miners’ aid. Ever since that day, Moro of the wolf tribe and her pups have been assaulting Eboshi’s men. Eboshi returned in kind with killing animals and cutting down more trees.

On the other side of the trees, Moro and her adopted human daughter San have been fighting nonstop to protect their home, the spirits who reside there, and the Spirit of the Forest. The Spirit is also the god of life and death. The wolf, ape, and boar tribes are all doing their best to survive in a time when man no longer fear gods and instead seeks destructive industrialization.

The back and forth trade of revenge escalates the fighting to fever pitch. Ashitaka is forced to become the bridge between the conflict and to try and stop the fighting before it destroys them all.

This movie has a lot going on all at once. The second act feels like it drags on a bit in between the fast-paced action and dialogue-heavy scenes, not to mention a shoehorned romantic subplot that doesn’t affect the story in any serious way.

This movie succeeds in making it feel like the characters are actual people with history, differing personal beliefs, and morals. In all of Miyazaki’s movies there is no real villain; everyone is flawed and contains a bit of good and bad in them. Eboshi may be waging war with the forest, but she takes in those who have been cast out by society and gives them a purpose. Moro may be disdainful of humans, but she raised an abandoned human child alongside her pups out of the kindness of her heart.

Miyazaki’s strengths have always been with character depth and development, but in this movie he struggled with keeping the pacing even. I found my attention wandering a bit in places and wishing to get back to the action, but the third act finished the movie strong. It’s hard to find good animated movies that have a strong story, exciting action, and good characters. This movie is a real gem for movie and story lovers. Out of five stars, I give this movie a 4.5.

An African American’s Past, Present, and Future

I wandered into the Newman Center of Performing Arts at the University of Denver on a somewhat chilly Oct. 4 night. Upon arriving, I immediately saw my dance teacher, and she suggested that I could go find my seat.

By London Clarke

I wandered into the Newman Center of Performing Arts at the University of Denver on a somewhat chilly Oct. 4 night. Upon arriving, I immediately saw my dance teacher, and she suggested that I could go find my seat.

I was very eager to be a part of the events that were taking place this evening: a dance performance by Camille A. Brown and Dancers, choreographed by Brown, herself. There was an announcer who programmed more anticipation into the crowd; from there the stunning deep blue velvet curtains retracted, and the pianist, Aaron Diehl, set the mood.

There was an animated opening on a projector screen on the stage; the pianist continued, but no dancing had started, and no dancers had emerged quite yet. The opening was giving credit to the performers, stage directors, lighting managers, and everyone who helped make this happen, with humorously animated, popular-in-media African Americans in the backgrounds of the scenes. A few moments later, African American television shows and influenced dance acts started to play, and then arrived a dancer, alone. He started by moving from high to low vertically with an extension in his arms, illuminating where we African Americans were, where we are now, and where we want to be.

The movements began to flow universally onto the stage, large and low, high and slow, everywhere. He was then joined by the other dancers, and they continued to move with the drive the original had already built. It was an impressive way to show the audience that this would be a performance of the outlandish and the bizarre, of real deep feeling, and of real deep meaning. I was far from prepared.

There were two pieces that genuinely resonated with me, more than I was personally equipped for. The first piece I was struck by was “(New) Second Line.” At this time, the pianist was playing, but there were also more audio sounds participating as well. The dancers gently meandered onto the stage, dressed in black. They all went to the casket, saying their goodbyes to their beloved.

After prayers and tears were exchanged, there was upbeat dancing that involved a lot of leg work and high to low movement. I adored this piece very much, because it symbolized New Orleans, which has always had such a massive influence on dance and music in African American culture, and it was just enthralling to see such a celebration of the people of the city.

The second piece that vibrated within me was “Black Girl: Linguistic Play,executed by dancers Catherine Foster and Brown. About a week or so before this day arrived, my teacher presented to the class a TED Talk given by Brown, educating the audience on African dance influences and how, as slaves, they were able to keep their culture with them and in them by clapping their hands and stomping their feet to imitate the sounds of drums.

This was precisely what these two divine women were doing. I am half African American, and I’ve hardly been the one to like learning about my ancestors and what they went through in history because it is all so very hurtful and dismaying. So, when these two ladies conveyed this dance in my forefront, I wept because I felt so devoted to them and to who I recognized they were dancing for; for our ancestors, for our brothers and sisters today, for our brothers and sisters tomorrow, and most significantly, for ourselves.  

This performance was beyond belief. Some things might have been slightly challenging to smooth the meanings out of, but occasionally, rationalizations aren’t destined to hold words but rather just feeling alone. I know what Camille A. Brown and Dancers were trying to tell us through the actions of their bodies, to “see black people as superheroes because we keep rising,” (Question Bridge: Black Males in America). This was a performance of esteem and vigor and love, and I am extremely pleased to have had a place within it.

 

Chrysalis by Sophie Meiers Album Review

By Scheyenne Vue

Sophie Meiers is a rising artist from Durango, Colorado, with an experimental discography spanning genres from R&B soul, indie pop, to hip-hop, and electro. On Nov. 7, 2018, she returned with a new EP, Chrysalis.

The collaborative project features three songs: “Moment,” “Silver Water,” and “Broken Toys.” The EP offers itself as a self-reflection of Meiers’ personal experiences and recollections in life through a psychedelic and soft-spoken electric beat. Meier sings in the title track, “Moment”…  

And I fell in love from the moment I saw you/but I always saw the way you talked about her

There is a clear and dreamy tenor in her style of music that resonates a mellow and nostalgic atmosphere. Characterized by slow tempos and smooth tranquil vocals from Meier, Chrysalis does not suffer as an uninspired duplicate of other songs or EPs. It distinguishes itself, and more specifically, it distinguishes Meier as a promising installment to the music industry.

sophie meiers

 

A common theme throughout the EP seems to unravel as unrequited love and betrayal. This is complementary to Meier’s style of singing, which is nonchalant as well as delicate in tone and delivery. Reminiscent of her past, she evokes a sense of bitterness and melancholy in response, that of which most people who’ve experienced young love can relate to.

It’s too sudden to suggest Chrysalis be a far cry from other typical songs of the genre. Or that it is on the same level as top charting hits. However, one thing that is sure, is that it is no work of an amateur or fraud. Meiers delivers another great set of tracks to add onto her musical career and she seems to be improving as time goes on. The Chrysalis EP is a project worth a listen and Sophie Meiers an artist to look into.

Shannon Mcduff: FRCC Talent Show Winner

Some prime benefits of attending community college include the cheaper cost, smaller class sizes, flexible schedules, and a diverse community of students and staff alike.

By Drew Lascot

Some prime benefits of attending community college include the cheaper cost, smaller class sizes, flexible schedules, and a diverse community of students and staff alike. With great diversity comes a great array of talent, which was showcased at the Oct. 30 Talent Show. There were singers, instrumentalists, a dancer, and… a beatboxer? The unassuming 20 year-old Shannon McDuff was a crowd and judge pleaser alike, bringing in first place and an Amazon Kindle with her beatbox remix, “All About the Beat.”

She debuted her uncommon knack during her sophomore year at her high school talent show, but before that she had rough beginnings.

“I started to do the ‘boots and cats’ thing, mostly practicing for myself, or I had headphones in doing homework around my friends,” said McDuff. “And I was doing really bad when I first started doing stuff. They were like, ‘Shannon, that’s annoying. Stop doing that.’”

But the boots and cats marched and meowed onward, and this coming summer marks her sixth year beatboxing.

Inspiration first struck McDuff when she heard acapella sensation Pentatonix and took away more from their vocaloid percussion than the harmonies. After messing with some basics herself, she looked up more beatboxing ‘tools of the trade’ to add to her repertoire.

When it comes to developing a sound, McDuff said that “each beatboxer has their certain sounds, then other beatboxers pick it up.”

McDuff demonstrated a few common sounds she and others use, such as throat bass and lip rolls.

“Most beatboxers know how to use them,” said McDuff. “It’s how certain beatboxers develop them into their their own drops and styles. It’s a lot like singers.”

Perhaps surprisingly, McDuff’s musical background stemmed first from beatboxing and not the other way around.

“After I discovered beatboxing, I joined theatre and choir at my high school and joined the acappella group there called Octave,” said McDuff.

Developing a beat out of those sounds comes from a little something borrowed and something new.

“I listen a lot to EDM, house styles, trap, so you can take it from songs but other things… you just freestyle here and there, then you’re like, ‘That sounded good!’” said McDuff. “It just depends on the day, honestly.”

On top of listening out for inspiration, and bouncing beats off a beatboxing buddy, McDuff spends plenty of time experimenting.

“I probably practice at least 4 hours a day,” said McDuff. “I just think about beats in my head, beatbox in the car, and when I’m just doing things around the house.”

Performing brings its own mix of planned melodies and freestyled tangents; it all depends on what she’s feeling in the moment.

Standing out in any medium can be difficult, so McDuff works hard to distinguish herself in a few key ways. The throat bass mentioned earlier – a low, rumbling sound almost like an engine starting up – isn’t a sound commonly found among woman beatboxers, but it’s one that McDuff uses. She’s working on sounds to call her own but admits it’s hard with so many beatboxers out there.

Regardless, McDuff has clearly worked hard to get the level she’s on today and is in touch with what beatboxing scene she can find, but wants to find more. She uploads beatboxing videos to her YouTube channel and on Instagram. McDuff wants to encourage more people to let those boots and cats flourish.

“Anybody can beatbox,” said McDuff. “It may sound stupid at first, but a stupid sound can sound really cool in a beat!”

FRCC Westminster and Boulder Creative Writing Club Collaborative Reading

By Madison Otten

On Tuesday Nov. 13, the Creative Writing Clubs of the FRCC Boulder and Westminster Campuses came together to share written works with the first cross-campus’ open mic. The open mic was hosted at the Boulder Campus; any and all were welcome to participate and were allowed to read any variety of pieces, be it poem, autobiography, or a short story.  

“One of the most exciting things for me personally is I know how my campus writes, but I don’t know how Westminister writes,” said Patrick Kelling, one of the event organizers and the faculty advisor of Boulder’s Creative Writing Club. “To actually get to see that and to open up the students’ eyes to not just what we do but what can be done, and it’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone. ”

The creative writing scene has always been a collaborative setting for critique, laughter, and ideas, as Marc Smith, one of the founding members of the Westminster club, can attest. Smith, who told a comical tale of a girl selling her soul to the devil for a sandwich, spoke about how the club helps fuel his inspiration.

“Probably one of the best things about being in the Writing Club is not only sharing and writing with other people, but getting to hear others writing as well,” said Smith. “ It’s really fulfilling to be able to meet with like-minded people and hear their work and laugh and talk about literature. It also helps the students who are currently in writing classes, because we can help them critique and edit their work. It really makes everyone’s work better.”

Having such connections between campuses only fuels the creativity among students explained  Letta Cartlidge, a former FRCC student, who read a fictional piece.

“Anytime there’s a connection made between sister campuses, then there’s value,” said Cartlidge. “If we build a greater community through writing there are more people that come to it, and there are more people exposed to our own creativity, and it gives us energy to continue to write. One of the fun things about working with younger people is that they’re coming into it from a whole new genre of work. I learn all the time from what the younger generation is writing now, too, because it’s a completely new medium that they’re exploring, like from some of the more traditional ways that we’ve written”

At the end of the open mic, some participants won an issue of respective literary magazines Plains Paradox and  HOWL and some books from a raffle.

On April 18, 2019, there will be a party where members of the Westminster Creative Writing Club will be reading their published passages in HOWL. Also, in the spring semester of 2019, the Boulder Creative Writing Club will be visiting the Westminster campus for another open mic.

Lettuce Goes All Out with the Colorado Orchestra

By Conrad Sperosen

On Nov. 10, at the Boettcher Concert Hall, the jam-band Lettuce took their amazing funk sound and stepped it up by playing with a full symphony orchestra. On Saturday evening, they played a two set concert with a full string, brass, percussion, and woodwind sections. This concert was funk-a-delic with some amazingly well done covers including Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up.”

A staple of any Lettuce concert is soaring and extended solos and improvisation. Even with more than 30 musicians on stage, including a conductor, there was no shortage of the free-flowing jam sessions. Unlike previous Lettuce concerts I have been to, the pace of this show was progressive and a little faster.

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Lettuce playing with the Colorado Orchestra at the Boettcher Music Hall in Denver, Co., Nov. 10. Photos by Conrad Sperosen 

The first set played lasted about 50 minutes, it’s tempo overall was faster and more upbeat, bringing a handful of audience members out of their seats. People were getting down in the aisles and throughout the hall. The first set held heavy bebop jazz and soul influences, and fast and ever changing chords dominated the vibe.

The second set slowed down for a more funky signature Lettuce style. Some slower jams coupled with epic songs like “The Force” and “Phyllis” really brought a more groovy downtempo sound that incorporated the hip hop inspired urgency and jam band sound aesthetic of their albums, Crush and Mt. Crushmore.

Overall, the show was excellent. Die-hard Lettuce fans peppered the auditorium side by side with suit and tie wearing symphony enthusiasts. The crowd, itself, was one of the most diverse I have seen in Colorado.