Archive for: February 26th, 2013

‘American Idiot’ : Green Day’s “American Idiot” musical hit rages into Chrysler Hall.

Rachel Balsley

Do you want to be an American idiot?
Well, neither does the cast of Green Day’s musical “American Idiot,” or so it seemed when they came to Chrysler Hall in Downtown Norfolk in late January.
The Chrysler hosts incredible show after show, and this was no exception. “American Idiot” hit the stage with force, appropriately starting with “American Idiot” and showcasing the entire company on stage at some point chiming into the anarchy inspired chaos.
What was more impressive than the singing or the brief bits of acting was the set itself, which completely stole the show. Most plays at the Chrysler in the past year have had intricate and breathtaking sets that enhance the shows overall. The stage length structure was complete with stairs, doors, windows and upwards of 20 television screens placed in within the walls. The screens flashed images and logos as the singing and dancing took place down below the spectacle. The images reinforced the lyrics as they buzzed by.
Though the effects were phenomenal, there was a slight disconnect in the integration of music into a comprehensive plot. The songs, all collected from various Green Day albums, usually connected to the very limited dialogue in between each number. The characters’ back-and-forth and asides acted more as introductions for each song, and less as an actual plot. It felt more like a concert with random talking than an actual play. Even so, it was definitely a sight to see and a powerful performance.
While all of the singing, dancing, lights and televisions play on stage, so does a great band, which is present for most of the musical. They slam away on the guitar and even on string instruments, which adds a nice touch, even though the onstage band is not a practical addition. However, without them, it wouldn’t have been as powerful. All of the components of the show added up to something great that was more than just a show; it was an experience, be it hard to follow or not.
The premise of the show is a group of pathless young adults trying to figure out what to do with their lives that have no direction. We follow Johnny, played by Alex Nee, Will, played by Thomas Hettrick, and Tunny, played by Casey O’Farrell. They start out bent on getting out of the “City of the Damned” and escaping the suburbia they seem to resent so much. All is well until Will’s girlfriend Heather, actress Kennedy Caughell, gets pregnant, forcing him to stay behind.
Johnny and Tunny make their way to the big city where they met St. Jimmy, a drug-pumped, grunge hero who acts as a symbol of everything Johnny wishes to be. They sing and praise St. Jimmy, especially after Tunny finds his calling, turning his back to their anti-government lifestyle and joining the military.
Johnny, abandoned and betrayed by his two best friends, takes comfort in St. Jimmy and, as a result, various drugs. But he also finds Whatshername, the unnamed female neighbor he falls in love with.
The plot, now separated into three locations (Will in suburbia, Tunny off to war and Johnny in the city) always seemed to connect on stage, especially with “Give Me Novacain,” one of the best numbers in the entire show. Despite any issues with story clarity or minimal acting efforts, this piece was phenomenal. While it started off a tad strange with a lengthy onstage sex scene, by the end of the number, the soldiers in Tunny’s platoon are on stage doing an incredible floor routine with lots of jumps and impressive passion. Most of the dancing in this show was very contemporary and involved a lot of abstract or unfamiliar movements, making it all the more captivating. Besides the stage, the dancing was really the centerpiece of the experience.
After this scene, we see the three men’s lives start to slowly fall apart and the climax start to form. Heather and Will are struggling after the baby is born. Tunny is injured in the war, though he has met an “Extraordinary Girl.” With St. Jimmy’s help, Johnny is slipping further and further into addiction and nothing seems to pull him out, not even Whatshername.
The show climaxes with “21 Guns,” where big decisions are made for many of the characters. Heather decides to “lay down her arms, give up the fight” and finally leaves Will, taking their child with her. Tunny struggles with the loss of his leg and takes comfort in his new girl. Johnny and Whatshername fight violently over his heroin addiction as St. Jimmy convinces him to leave her, a regret he holds onto long after he returns to being the “Jesus of Suburbia.”
A powerful female performance from the women of “American Idiot” takes place and we hear the last of Whatshername when she finally exits Johnny’s life, leaving him a vengeful mess. After St. Jimmy’s somewhat unexplained death, he pulls himself together and gets a mainstream desk job, but his move home is inevitable.
The three friends meet in suburbia with somewhat open arms, lots of stories and broken hearts, though you get the feeling it will all be okay in the end, as most stories end.
They close with “Whatshername,” a very powerful number that was performed beautifully with more exceptional dancing by the company and great lighting to match the intensity. Johnny speaks to us briefly about how much of an idiot he is and he doesn’t know whether this is just the start or the end. He leaves us with one final passage to sum up the experience that was Green Day’s “American Idiot:”
“This is my rage, this is my love, this is my town, this is my city, and this is my life.”

Now trending: #campusdeals

Kayla Brown
Staff Writer

As college students we’re always trying to find ways to save money. Besides gaining an education and possibly having a cool job in the future, being in college actually does have other benefits, especially when it comes to deals. All you have to do is show your school I.D.
Some have already taken advantage of these benefits. Sophomore Andrew Petrey uses his I.D. at the Regal Columbus Theater near Town Center, to receive a discount before seeing a good movie. Movie tickets prices are continuing to increase, so be sure to pull out your I.D. when you’re purchasing a ticket. After ordering your meal at Qdoba, all you have to do is show your I.D., and you’ll receive a free drink with your order. Sophomore Amari Agee, ensures she receives her free beverage whenever she goes to Qdoba, since that’s the only place she’s aware of that gives student discounts.
“I wasn’t aware that you could use your student I.D. to receive discounts, If I did, I would’ve used it,” said Sophomore Melissa Powers.
For those who weren’t aware of being able to receive discounts by using your student I.D., then hopefully you’ll start to take advantage of some of these opportunities. Also, if you’re unsure of a location giving discounts, you can either look online or just ask when you’re making a finally purchase. Just remember to always carry it on you.
For current hot deals, be sure to frequently check The Marlin Chronicle Facebook page and Twitter account @MarlinChronicle.

Study abroad success and stress

Kaci Parker
Staff Writer
As the winter holidays came to a close, opportunities for students began to bloom. One amazing course offering, to study abroad in Spain and Morocco, became the talk of the campus. This trip not only provided students with a once in a lifetime experience, it also ensured that they brought back many memories of their travels. The trip was filled with terrific educational aspects that drove the students to thirst for more knowledge. They were able to make cultural comparisons not only between Spain and Morocco but with the United States as well.
“It was humbling to see how privileged we are because Americans don’t see how much we really have,” said freshmen Melissa Argabrite.
The group was able to observe some very exceptional scenes unfold before their eyes. While in Morocco they saw the downside of a public sanitation and stayed with a local family in a rural house.
“In Morocco there were piles and piles of trash in the street because the trash workers were on strike,” said Argabrite.
“We experienced other lifestyles. We stayed in a rural house with a local family where chickens were running around outside and there was no running water. The family cooked for us and we all sang songs and did henna together,” said Dr. Aubrey Westfall, assistant professor of Political Science who helped lead the trip along with Dr. Murrell Brooks.
“My favorite part of the trip was Morocco because it was so different; it was a culture shock. The food and the way people carry themselves was amazing to see,” said senior Ashlee Stinger.
While traveling the students saw first-hand that modern technology was non-existent due to the country’s financial crisis.
“We had to learn to use Turkish toilets, expect the water to be cold, and know that they hand wash and hang dry their clothes; we had to be open-minded,” said Stinger.
Being able to personally see the cultural differences is a great way to grasp a better understanding of the varieties of lifestyles from culture to culture.
“I encourage students to study abroad because you gain a new perspective on life that is intriguing and educational,” said Argabrite.
Engaging in these comparisons beyond the walls of the classroom makes a major impact on the on an individual.
“It was a unique, valuable experience where I learned just as much as the students,” said Westfall.
“I never thought I would have the opportunity to have a wonderful, life-changing experience for just $3,000,” said Stinger.
However, for Stinger in particular, this trip had more in store for her than what she had bargained for. As with any adventure, also came the unexpected. Ashlee Stinger, will never forget her time abroad because the unexpected is exactly what happened; Ashlee’s passport was lost on the day of their departure back to the U.S.
“Unexpected experiences make you stronger because you learn more about yourself and the kind of person you are,” said Stinger.
While it seems unfortunate that this happened to Ashlee it is not uncommon for travelers to find themselves in the same predicament.
“What is important to understand is that this unfortunate event is a risk of travel and there are procedures in place for scenarios like this,” said Westfall.
Fortunately, Ashlee did not have to face this dilemma alone. The Embassy of the United States in Spain ensured she had completed all the documents necessary to return home.
“Since the Embassy closes on weekends, I went to the police station to file a report, called the airport directly and bought a bus ticket for 30 euros,” said Stinger. “I took the bus for six hours to Madrid where I stayed in a hotel for three days and was able to explore the city. I went to a famous art museum in Madrid and got in free.”
One valuable piece of knowledge that is always stressed when traveling abroad is to have all of your documents on your person.
“Without any documents, you are essentially no one,” said Westfall. “You have no identity.”
“Keep your passport in your bag and keep it safe because I had to get an emergency passport for $135,” said Stinger.
Even with the loss of her passport, Stinger still had a great time and wants to continue to travel the world.
“Traveling is the most effective classroom and by studying abroad students will become better global citizens,” said Westfall.
All the travelers agreed that overall the trip was worth their time and money because they gained knowledge that they would never be able to grasp from a textbook. It all becomes more of a reality when you can see it with your own eyes.

One fish, two fish, new fish!

Jessica Mackey
Staff Writer

We now have our very own Oscars on campus–of the fish variety.
They are our new aquatic creatures in the Batten Center aquarium. We even have an Albino Oscar, which the RecX staff members have named “Creamsicle,” because it looks like an orange creamsicle.
While the Batten staff members may be excited for the new friends, they are not the only people who appreciate the new fish in the tank.
“I think the new fish are really cool looking,” said sophomore Kevin Wolfe. “I enjoy taking time to stop and look at them.”
These fish join the two Brazilian Pacus that survived the water pipe mishap that occurred during summer break. This incident occurred when a pipe that regulates the circulation of water throughout the tank burst during a filter repair. As a result, the school is trying to enhance the fish tank so it represents the aquatic life native to our region.
The ultimate goal as Jason Seward, director of the Batten Center and Recreational Sports, described is to have our campus community go out and catch local fish, such as largemouth and smallmouth bass, bluegill, freshwater catfish and aquatic vegetation from local streams and lakes, and to place these finds in the aquarium.
However, in order for that to happen, permits must be obtained through the Virginia Wildlife and Fish Services Department. Administrators are submitting the application to obtain the permits, which can be a timely process. Seward plans to have the permit by summertime.
In the meantime, the school wanted to have more than two fish swimming among us. Thus, Seward and his team did research to see what fish would get along with the Pacus. The result: our four new Oscars.
“The new fish in the aquarium are beautiful and I’m glad they get along with the Pacus fish that were previously there,” said sophomore Keren Dixon. “Otherwise we’d all be in for a treat.”
The school wants to purchase more fish before the tank is converted to the Virginia-based aquatic tank.
Seward says that the maintenance of the current 5,000 gallon tank is extremely difficult and requires multiple weekly tests, such as water checks. In fact, the school works with an outside company that comes once a week to regulate the tank. Therefore, the tank will continue containing freshwater, even after the conversion, because it is easier to maintain than saltwater.
“If the school were to have a saltwater tank, the school would have to a hire a full-time staff person just to monitor and regulate the tank,” said Seward. “We would have to make sure that the saltwater fish would not try to eat each other, as well.” Seward also thinks that freshwater fish are more hearty and more attractive than saltwater fish.
When the school finally makes the full conversion to the Virginian-based aquatic life aquarium, they will find new, big, well-maintained aquarium homes for the Pacus and Oscars to thrive. 

Twins take over campus

Lex Higbee
Staff Writer

While Pauly D from the Jersey Shore may have coined the word twinning, VWC actually is. Virginia Wesleyan is home to at least five twins, some of whom have come to school together and others who decided to part ways.
“We both thought that 18 years was a long time together. We wanted to go out and find our own friends and identities.” said junior Nathan Johnson, who decided to go to a different school than his twin brother Nathaniel. “We probably wouldn’t run in the same social circles. I’m the more preppy type, and he’s more of a thug,” says Nathan, who is a member of Phi Kappa Tau and the cheerleading squad.
For Nathan and Nathaniel, going to colleges three hours away from each other is a positive. They get to see one another, but the space they get has let them grow more as individuals.
“We’ll probably keep the distance, but only like three hours max,” Nathan said about his post-graduation plans. “I’d like to stay here and he’ll probably stay in Richmond.”
The Ladyman twins, Brooke and Taylor, decided to both choose Virginia Wesleyan for a couple of different reasons.
“Because we do everything together, and I would miss [Taylor] way too much,” Brooke said.
Going to the same college is not the only activity the Ladyman twins do together. They are both members of Sigma Sigma Sigma, are in the same classes and have the same job as lifeguards in the Batten Center.
“It just makes things easier. We only have to buy one set of books, we always have a partner and we always have someone there” said Taylor.
Another set of twins that made Virginia Wesleyan their home, are the Asburys. Both Lindsey and Nicki decided to come to VWC after being recruited for soccer, and even though Nicki decided not to come back.
“When we were in school together, we were inseparable the first three years,” Lindsey said. “We played soccer together, ate together, went out together. We did not go out without the other because we felt safer.”
This inseparability was not a new thing either, growing up they were extremely close and didn’t go anywhere without each other.
“I absolutely miss Nicki now that she is gone,” Lindsey commented about not living together anymore. “I live with Tom Caskey and a few other roommates now, which means I don’t see her every day. I talk to her every day, but it is definitely not the same as hanging out with her.”
After graduation though, these four twins don’t plan on straying far from their other halves. For some, a bit of space is needed, but for others, they will stick together forever.

Helping hands for the homeless

Rayven Davis
Staff Writer

About 170 students, faculty and staff started the year off by volunteering their time for the 7th Annual Homeless Shelter. The shelter was held on campus for one week during winter session, hosting a total of 57 guests in the CMAC.
This year, the shelter leaders consisted of junior Lawan Brown, librarian Patty Clark, sophomore Brian Drake, and seniors Rebecca Thokar, Ainsley Foster, Meaghan Groah and Amy Smith.
Operating Manager Diane Hotaling, director of Community Service, advised and led shelter leaders.
“When a guest who was especially happy about the dinner meal and foot soak lingered so long in the warm bath that it was almost lights out, his mat was not down yet … I secured his mat and blankets for him,” Hotaling explained, recalling the new, fond memory. “As I knelt to sanitize the mat, the gentleman, snug beneath his blanket on the floor beside me, said softly, ‘You people are so nice.’ I said, ‘We think you are, too.’ He smiled and drifted off to sleep.”
Hotaling believes that the experience of shelter makes a true Marlin and can think of few people who graduate without participating in the homeless shelter at least once. It is an opportunity that shapes the lives of everyone who has experienced it and taught them a new understanding of the world.
Smith has been participating in shelter for three years. This is her second year as a leader. She began preparations for the shelter hoping to make a small difference.
While staying at the shelter, guests participated in various activities and were provided with a warm meal every evening. Not only did guests enjoy a place to sleep for the evening, but they looked forward to the joy of pleasant company and nurturing community.
“One of my favorite stories from shelter was this past year,” said Smith. “On our last night, I was talking to a guest named Erik. He told me he has been in the shelter for a while and gone to many different places that have hosted them. He looked at me with grateful eyes and said, ‘You can tell when someone does this kind of volunteering because they have to, or because they want to, and when I come to Virginia Wesleyan, you can tell you do it because you have the biggest hearts.’”
As with many volunteers, Smith treasures and appreciates the lessons the guests have taught her over the years.
“It was so amazing knowing [Erik] felt so welcomed,” Smith said. “This is what we strive for, a family-type atmosphere.”
The emotional connections with others in the community and the opportunities for personal discovery are some of the greatest results of volunteering for the shelter.
“One guest said, ‘You may forget what someone has done for you, but you’ll never forget how it made you feel,’” Foster said. “I think that this sums up my whole shelter experience. Not only did I learn about the guests, I learned about myself. So often we take things for granted and spending a week devoting my time to people who have just come across unfortunate situations really put things into perspective. Working the homeless shelter is such a humbling experience.’”
“The shelter experience brings the campus together in many ways to engage and support the individuals in our communities,” said Clark. “While the shelter is open for only one week, the experience lasts the entire year due to the interactions that we all have during that week.”
The shelter is powerful in its ability to strengthen the school’s community.
“VWC people get to know each other in amazing ways,” said Clark. “Contributions come from so many people: coaches, staff and faculty in all departments, students and their families, alumni and VWC administration.”
Participants in the shelter hope that it can affect the campus and the community, and make a difference.
“On campus, I hope that the shelter will always be an experience that knits us together, dispels stereotypes about the homeless and inspires some students to pursue careers in which they improve conditions for this population,” said Hotaling. “In the community, I hope our interactions with the homeless individuals make each of them feel loved and creates in them optimism about their future.”