About two weeks ago, Ohio University Police Department, OUPD, sent an email to students and school employees containing a message from Chief Andrew Powers regarding a suspicious note they found “mentioning a violent act”.
Even though the note didn’t mention a specific place or person, it was enough to make the Police Department express concern being only six days removed from the tragedies in Paris.
Chief Powers later described changes in security measures that recently happened as a result of “world events” (likely meaning the attacks on Paris and elsewhere) and advised that university employees and students “be attentive to their work spaces and observant of their surroundings.”
Although there was no threat expressed in the note and the risk was “very low”, OU police still investigated it. However, since then there have been no announcements or updates and Chief Powers could not be reached for comment on the OUPD investigation.
In all, there’s no reason to believe that anyone was or is in any danger, but this just goes to show the effects that acts of terrorism have on the mindsets of everyone all over the world, regardless of place of residency.
During Thanksgiving break I was able to sacrifice enough of my hard-earned free time to watch not one, not two, but three new feature films in theaters right now.
I’ve also used said free time to briefly review these movies. So without further ado, here are three decent movies you can watch in cinemas near Athens or your hometown.
THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 2
An overall satisfying conclusion to the series
Mockingjay Part 2 is the fourth and final Hunger Games installment and is a thoroughly enjoyable action film. After seeing all the previous Hunger Games films each previous year, it’s safe to say this film was a satisfying conclusion to the series. But it really had to be after last year’s Part 1, which felt unnecessarily split. The franchise made like Harry Potter, Twilight and The Hobbit by splitting its final film into two movies. Yet while the previous film felt devoid of plot and action, Part 2 was full of it. The film contains many enjoyable action sequences perfect for popcorn-munching blockbuster fun. The plot moves along quickly and never slows down until the movie’s conclusion.
Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and does a great job portraying Katniss once again, but the same can’t be said for the film’s other actors. Though this film is an adaptation of a novel, it seemed like it kept adding random characters the audience really doesn’t care about and isn’t emotionally invested in. On top of that, after four movies, the “love triangle” with Gale and Peeta seems very forced. The only other thing I disliked about the movie was its ending. It seemed that it adopted the Return of The King ending disease in that the film’s ending dragged on and on. This is a *spoiler*, but the final scene in the meadow with Peeta seemed like way too much of a cliche “happily ever after” ending for something that’s trying to be a dystopian political film. Regardless, Mockingjay Part 2 is still a very enjoyable movie and, all in all, a satisfying conclusion to the series.
This film receives 3/5 Athens bricks.
THE PEANUTS MOVIE
A well-done homage to the beloved comic strips and cartoons
I went into this movie as a diehard Peanuts fan with high expectations, and left extremely satisfied with what I had seen. I read the Peanuts comic strip all the time growing up, and the Halloween and Christmas holiday specials are an annual tradition in my family. When I saw the trailer for the film, it looked like another cheesy adaptation that ruins its beloved source material. However, in this case, I was proven wrong.
The Peanuts Movie is an extremely well-done homage to Charles Schulz’s original comic strip. Though you might expect that the classic feel of the comics and classic animated specials would be lost with 3D animation, it actually worked pretty well. Though the movie is in 3D, most of the scenes are set up like an actual comic strip because much of the movement is two-dimensional. For me, the film really had the look and feel of reading the comics. Besides aesthetics, however, the story was sufficiently entertaining. It combined several popular storylines from Shulz’s comics into one cohesive movie. The plot is centered around Charlie Brown trying to impress the little redheaded girl, and combines the stories of other well-known characters, such as his dog Snoopy, who embarks on a love story of his own. If you go into this movie looking for nostalgia, cuteness, and classic humor, you won’t be disappointed.
This film receives 4/5 Athens bricks.
THE NIGHT BEFORE
An extremely hilarious comedy that will get you in the Christmas spirit
I’m a sucker for raunchy comedies. For most movies, I’ll be trying to analyze it as much as I can to come to some kind of conclusion. But with hilarious, inappropriate comedies I get distracted and can only conclude that such movies were very, very funny. The Night Before was one of those movies. Though it’s definitely not the funniest movie I’ve ever seen, nor has is surpassed Elf in the world of Christmas comedies, it was still thoroughly entertaining.
The film follows the antics of three friends (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Anthony Mackie) who have an annual tradition of fooling around in New York City each Christmas Eve. Seth Rogen’s character was particularly hilarious. He plays a Jewish father-to-be whose wife gives sample of literally every drug as a Christmas present, and he proceeds to be insane for the rest of the film. This happens in most movies he’s in, but “Seth Rogen on drugs” never fails to be funny, in my opinion. The film’s themes of friendship and growing up stay pretty consistent throughout the story, which serves as a satisfying Christmas tale. If you’re looking for a laughter-inducing holiday comedy, this movie is right up your alley, but certainly isn’t anything groundbreaking.
It pays to love a cook, especially when all you know how to make is canned soup, spaghetti and hamburgers (kind of).
During the two and a half years that my fiancé Joey and I have been together, he’s always had a knack for creating tasty home dishes. He’s taught me several little tricks to making the simplest of meals a delicious treat. I never would have thought to add vegetables, egg and various spices to ramen without him showing me first.
I’ve watched him go from working fast-food, to serving, to dish-washing to holding a position as a line cook. I’ve watched him return to school to pursue a degree in biblical studies, theology being one of his passions, but it wasn’t until he began cooking for a living that he discovered his true calling (besides being a devout Christian and a great future husband).
The restaurant industry is challenging, and line cooks are certainly not excluded from this truth. It can be difficult, stressful and strenuous work, but it can also be incredibly satisfying.
After working for just shy of two years at the Marietta Brewing Company in Marietta, Ohio, otherwise known as “the brewery” to locals, Joey moved an hour away to live closer to me while I went to school and got a job that would inevitably further his cooking experience and food expertise.
He was hired at Sol Restaurant in Athens, Ohio as a line cook and just after a few months of working there is the lead cook during the dinner hours. His excitement about learning how to make new dishes and foods is strikingly apparent and often carries over into his off-time (he made a killer sauce for Thanksgiving that was very similar to Sol’s “Island Sauce”).
As I pursue a career as a journalist, Joey works hard to improve his cooking skills with the goal of one day becoming a chef and opening a restaurant. But enough gushing from me, it’s time to hear from the turd man himself.
Who taught you how to cook?
I was taught by many people throughout my life and continue to be taught by people at every moment along the way. My dad and uncle were great cooks when I was growing up, and my mom has always been an influence in her light and fresh foods.
When I started cooking at the brewery it was Jason Morgan and Nick Farley who poured themselves into me, continually telling me they saw promise in me and that if I applied myself I could go places in the culinary world. I owe the discovery of my love of cooking to these guys first and foremost. I do continue to learn from everyone I can along the way still.
When did you start cooking for yourself?
I started cooking for myself in junior high with after school snacks being simple things like home fries or nachos. Really simple stuff at that point. It wasn’t until I started working in a kitchen that cooking for myself, but mostly for others, took a spin to the more fun endeavors of raspberry glazed fish tacos and steak fondue.
At what point did you realize that you loved cooking?
The moment I started cooking in a restaurant setting. The high paced work, the attention to detail, even the stress and then the end result being a piece of art that every single person in the world appreciates, resonated with my soul immediately and I knew this is what I loved doing.
That doesn’t mean I don’t get fed up at times though. The bureaucracy and politics of the restaurant world are frustrating and a waste of time personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone around you will try to get into them instead of being the best cook they can.
Who would you say is your biggest influence when it comes to cooking?
Influence? The person I’m cooking for is the biggest influence as I will try to cater to what they love. Inspiration? The two guys that introduced me to this world and had my back from the very beginning.
Sol’s Cuban themed menu is quite different from the pub food sold at the brewery. Was the change from the brewery to Sol drastic?
For the most part the menus are incredibly different. I went from cooking pub styled food where over half the menu is heavily breaded and either baked or fried to cooking with tropical fruits and pan seared fish for a good portion of the dishes. I’ve cooked more fish in two months at Sol than I probably cooked in two years at the brewery.
I wouldn’t say the change is drastic though. At the end of the day cooking is cooking is cooking. In the heat of a dinner rush, you aren’t thinking about ingredients used in a specific dish but instead about getting the food cooked to the correct temperature and consistency to make the dish right. So I guess when it comes to prep it’s two different worlds, but when I’m actually cooking, it is exactly the same.
How has working at Sol expanded your culinary knowledge? What are some major lessons that you’ve learned?
The way it’s expanded my culinary knowledge isn’t even in the major lessons. I’ve learned a lot of cool things about Cuban cuisine, mostly in the realm of smoking meat and the ability to incorporate decadently sweet tropical fruits into almost any dish.
The major lessons I’ve learned from Sol though are management abilities. I’ve actually got a team of people cooking underneath me on any given shift now and that’s a little bit daunting. It’s so daunting that I actually fought the idea that I was in charge until I started getting in trouble for not managing the kitchen during a shift.
I started into this field a very short time ago and now I’m in charge of training more people how to cook. The only thing I can hope is that I have the same effect on someone that Jason and Nick had on me.
Have you decided on what type of food will be sold at the restaurant that you’ll one day open?
I really like your everyday American foods. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, pizza and definitely wings are all fun to make, satisfying and people love them. I’m not really decided on a style of food as much as my dream pushes me to find a way to get the freshest ingredients available. If you make a grilled with fresh and natural ingredients, more people will love it than a frozen New York strip from a major food supplier.
What is your ultimate goal?
My ultimate goal is to use my gifts and talents to bring glory to God. Whether that means I keep cooking for the rest of my life or start working in a different field, I want people to know where my allegiance lies. He’s given me this life and my talents and everything I do is for His glory.
I’m guessing we are all in a food coma right about now and thankful that our awkward family dinner conversations are over.
Now we must make our most important decision: what do we do with all those Thanksgiving leftovers?
Personally, I get sick of eating just turkey and stuffing for a week straight after Thanksgiving. Well, what’s easier than just taking things out of your fridge and mixing them in a bowl to make it even more delicious! It’s time to shake things up to get whole new meals out of our holiday feasts.
1. Pumpkin Bread French Toast
It’s the morning after and all you see in your fridge is the pounds of food that you ate just hours before. A simple breakfast recipe is to take leftover bread and make a simple french toast!
For 89 years, all of America has shared in one Thanksgiving tradition: watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It is broadcast on NBC for three hours and takes up about 2. 5 miles of New York’s streets.
The 2015 parade featured 17 giant balloons, 12 marching bands, 27 floats and close to the same number of celebrities.
Watching the parade isn’t my personal family tradition, but I sat through the broadcast to see what all the hubbub was about. Here are my thoughts:
1. Loving that the first hour of the parade is actually dedicated to Broadway and not the actual parade. Is that so the rest of it can catch up on the 2.5 mile walk?
2. As much as I’m all for an hour of Broadway, the Macy’s parade isn’t the greatest outlet to showcase something rooted in live performance. The performances really lacked the luster they typically have. Even Something Rotten!‘s fabulous “A Musical” number was tarnished by lip sync.
3. The casts of The King and I, Finding Neverland and School of Rock the Musical didn’t even have mics on. At least pretend, you’re not lip syncing.
4. NBC really capitalizes on the event. It not only had the cast of The Wiz Live! perform a sneak peek, but it also had random interviews with the celebrities of its upcoming shows Telenovelaand Superstore, in addition to already-airing Blindspot.
5. What other time do you get to hear Matt Lauer explain the premise of Spongebob Squarepants as the giant square balloon floats by? Magic.
6. Who decides which artist is paired with which float? As in, who decided Daughtry would best pair with the Avocados from Mexico float? And Shawn Mendes on Pirate’s Booty?
7. While we’re talking about the acts, who picks the lineup? Since when have the Plain White T’s or Daughtry been relevant? How about Christian rock group MercyMe? Shout out to whoever got Pat Benatar though. That was outstanding.
12. Matt Lauer and Al Roker, for whatever reason, found it hilarious that Savannah Guthrie said “nut mobile” when Planters had its turn in the parade. Either that’s an inside joke or they are just as immature as the masses.
13. The adults dancing on the floats are living life right now with their corny-as-hell moves while the actual children look rather miserable.
14. The puns are out of this world. Thank you Savannah for this gem: Pikachu has an “always electric” personality.
15. Instead of having dozens of lip syncing artists, feature more performance groups, such as the 610 Stompers and the Kruti Dance Academy. Those are acts most people don’t typically get to see and they can actually display their talents and not just mouth along to it.
If the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade isn’t a longstanding tradition in your family, you probably won’t get why it’s such a big deal. It’s quite a spectacle. Macy’s spends an undisclosed amount on it, and it shows. It’s not something viewers need to dedicate three hours to, but it’s worth it to have it on in the background while you prep Thanksgiving dinner and set the table.
Friendsgiving is a roaring trend. People all over the country reserve a day for a second or maybe third, Thanksgiving celebration.
Janet Smith, Chi Omega House Cook, helps the 160 sorority sisters celebrate their Friendsgiving accordingly by preparing and cooking a full blown Thanksgiving meal a few days before the women leave to return home for their family Thanksgivings.
Cooking on such a large scale can be overwhelming and time consuming. But, Smith is here to give us a few tips on how to make our very own Thanksgiving meal.
Make sure to take the packet out of the neck cavity that has the giblets in it. Don’t bake it in the turkey… It will ruin it.
Bake your turkey in a cooking bag. It will brown nicely and will not dry out.
When the turkey is done, take it out, set it on the counter, cover it with kitchen towels and let it sit and it will carve nicely.
Bake the pies the night before. Makes it easier so you don’t have to wake up as early.
Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work? What’s the UCM?
Religious institutions have the reputation of being exclusive and righteous to a fault. The United Campus Ministry in Athens couldn’t be more different than that.
Supported entirely by a few local congregations and personal donations, it accepts people from any faith or non-faith. Their mission is to engage the community in spiritual growth, community service and work for justice, guided by socially progressive and interfaith values.
UCM facilitates cooperative activities and discussions among people of varying, sometimes contradictory, faiths. How can a Christian and a Satanist agree on anything about religion? Rev. Evan Young, Campus Minister, says it’s all about open discussion. “We encourage understanding each other and in doing so, we understand ourselves better,” he said. “We all have the same questions: What happens to us when we die? Why do we suffer?”
The United Campus Ministry would love for you to participate in these discussions and/or get involved in their volunteering efforts this holiday. Here are just a few ways to contribute.
Thursday supper and Saturday lunch
Student and community volunteers work together to plan, prepare, set-up, and serve free, hot, nutritious meals for low-income community members. Every Thursday and Saturday.
Interfaith impact student organization
Interfaith dialogue facilitated by Rev. Young, every Thursday night (7:30-9)
An award-winning campaign that focuses on environmental justice and food insecurity in Athens County. Students have raised money and awareness for local and international organizations including Charity Water, the SE Ohio Foodbank, and Community Food Initiatives.
Alternative break trips
Winter break trips have included Witness for Peace delegations to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela; Pine Ridge Reservation, post-Katrina New Orleans, US-Mexico border, and Washington D.C. Available to all students.
Editor’s note: In a nod to the Thanksgiving holiday, reporters for the Shopping section of Court Street Stories have decided to “shop” for a local charity. What better way to say “thanks” than to find an organization worthy of a donation or volunteer work?
The holiday season brings people together.
Thanksgiving, in particular, enables family members across the United States to gather around the same table to enjoy a smorgasbord of fall-inspired delicacies, to celebrate their gratitude for one another. This Thanksgiving, Court Street Stories wants to place the emphasis on showing thanks by giving back to those in the community who appreciate it most. Passion Works Studio is one place where your presence and time is valued.
Passion Works Studio is a nonprofit organization— located at 20 E. State St. in Athens— that employs adults with and without disabilities as artists. And volunteers are always needed.
“We love the student volunteering aspect of this place,” says Alyssa Cardwell, the lead production artist at Passion Works Studio. “Our artists love that they get to meet new people, share their stories, artwork and a few laughs even. It’s a great connection.”
Cardwell says the studio serves three specific purposes:
1. It’s an art therapy program.
“It allows our artists to express their creativity and get their expressions out there for the community to see,” says Cardwell.
2. It gives artists a sense of individualism by offering the opportunity to make money.
“When their artwork sells here, they get 50% of the profit,” Cardwell explains.
The other half goes toward the studio to fund materials and operating expenses. Artwork can range from a painting or drawing on canvas, paper, sculptures— you name it. Another way artists can make a profit is by working on the Passion flowers that are displayed all across campus, most notably in coffee shops like Donkey and Front Room. Cardwell best describes this intricate piece of art as an involved process.
“Each step is done by one of our artists, and they get paid an hourly rate,” Cardwell says.
They work, hands on, from start to finish. All she does is drill the petals into a wooden block and the rest is the artists’ creation.
Artists also can make money earning a designer fee. Their drawing or painting can be mass produced and printed onto products like jewelry, mugs and tiles if they create a stellar image.
“When we see a strong piece like that, we think it would be cool to make multiples of it by putting it on a magnet or mug [for example],” Cardwell says. “We pay those artists a designer fee for that image so we can use it over and over again — they get a pretty decent compensation for that image.”
3. Community integration.
“Here at Passion Works we are very much involved with the community. We have a lot of art installations on Court Street, buildings at the university and the Essence of Athens, [which] pushes for this beautification of Athens through the arts,” says Cardwell.
The studio invites members of the community in to boost awareness about the group of people who are bringing this art to life. Just recently, a group of home-schooled children came in to assist the artists in making holiday cards. Together, they made cards to send to their relatives. They also formed friendships in the process.
At Passion Works, volunteering most times just means sitting down with artists, helping them however they may ask and then walking away having a made new friends. Building genuine relationships is what makes artists’ spirits thrive, even if it’s just for an hour each week.
Madeline Keener, junior in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Ohio University, began volunteering in the middle of September 2015, initially because of a story she pitched to Backdropmagazine.
“I was working on a story for a publication, and it was about a man who is actually one of the artists at Passion Works. [Volunteering] was another way to get to know him and observe him,” explains Keener.
That story was submitted in the beginning of October and Keener still goes to volunteer every Monday she can from 8-10 a.m. She says it’s the feeling she gets after spending some time with the artists that keeps her coming back.
“After I volunteer at Passion Works, I feel happy. I have a sense of accomplishment and gratitude for these people that always welcome me with smiles and high fives,” Keener says. “It just really brightens my day to be able to just hang out and get know these artists.”
Getting started at Passion Works Studio is quite simple. Visit the website and click on the “Get Involved” tab and then select “Volunteer.” Print out the one-page paper, fill it out and then bring it into the studio for a brief orientation. You could start that very day.
“To me it’s [just about] being there for them and providing them a way for their voice to be heard and feel like they are a part of this community,” says Cardwell.
Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing recently received the Ohio University Theater Division treatment. Director Dennis Lee Delaney reimagined this classic tale by setting it in 1945 instead of the traditional Elizabethan Age in which it is usually set.
Audiences entered the theatre had the scene set for them right away: the scenery suggested an Italian town that had been touched by World War II, and Don Pedro and his men are among a group of World War II soldiers returning from war. Jazz music is naturally thrown into the mix at various points throughout the play. Overall, this twist lent itself nicely to the tone and plot of the play.
The highlight of the story was the romance between Benedick, a companion to Don Pedro, and Beatrice, the niece of Leonato, the Governor of the seaport where the story is set. Hilarity ensues when Benedick’s companions and Beatrice’s family decide to make the pair realize their feelings for each other. The scenes in which these two groups arrange for Benedick and Beatrice separately to overhear them raving about how madly the other one is in love with them are the highlight of the show; the auditorium was filled with nearly ceaseless laughter for a matter of minutes. This romantic couple starts off butting heads with each other but of course fall in love by the end of the show, and this is portrayed to excellence by Brian Epperson and Ellie Clark. Epperson in particular has an easy comedic presence on stage; his timing and physical comedy were superb.
Another romantic plot is brought into play by Claudio, another companion of Don Pedro, and Hero, Leonato’s daughter, portrayed by Jake Sabinsky and Bri McCabe. These two lovers fall in love at the very beginning of the play but run afoul when Claudio is falsely informed that Hero has been unfaithful to him and he cruelly leaves her at the altar. Then, because this is Shakespeare, Hero’s family helps her to fake her own death. Claudio learns of his mistake and deeply regrets his actions, so he agrees to marry Leonato’s niece to make up for it, who is revealed at the wedding to be the live Hero. Sabinsky and McCabe pulled off this complicated plot with just the right amount of angst and sweetness.
The set, which began in a dilapidated state after the war, was slowly restored throughout the show, and the lighting was arranged to suggest a warm and inviting atmosphere. Overall, the production made for a relatively lighthearted and amusing night at the theatre.
There is a reason Shakespeare’s plays are still told hundreds of years after his death, and this production reminded its audience why.