Author: Nicole Luchaco

February 4, 2012 Nicole Luchaco

You have probably seen the posters hanging in every nook and cranny of the UAA campus. The bold black font imploring the passerby: “We need submissions!” These posters are in reference to “Understory.”

“Understory” is an annual collaborative arts magazine overseen by undergraduates and distributed by UAA. It is written, compiled and features exclusively selected work from the undergraduate student body showcasing poetry, prose and visual art; each piece selected from hundreds for its uniqueness and excellence.

January 31, 2012 Nicole Luchaco

The first things to appear on the black screen are these intriguing words: “Once upon a time, there was an enchanted forest filled with all the classic characters we know. Or think we know…” Growing up in America, we were spoon fed Disney movies concurrent with breakfast; and as we grew, learned that in the…

January 31, 2012 Nicole Luchaco

Thursday night marked a special occasion in Anchorages music community. The Anchorage Music Co-op premiered its 2012 artist showcase, hosted at the Out North Contemporary Art house.

January 24, 2012 Nicole Luchaco

Taylor Swift has been center stage in contemporary country music for roughly five years now. Originally a Myspace music phenomena, Swift skyrocketed to fame when she won the CMT “Breakthrough Video” award in 2007. Since that time Swift has built quite the empire for herself: repeatedly topping the charts with such songs as “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me.”

Swift’s newest single “Safe and Sound” will be featured in the much anticipated movie “The Hunger Games” set to premier nationwide on March 23. Accompanying Swift in this song is the band The Civil War’s, an alternative-folk duo comprised by the talents of two-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriters Joy Williams and John Paul White.

The song is lulling and melodic with an uncomfortable sense of tragedy and remorse. It seems to fit nicely with the prospective feeling of the movie. However, Swift’s voice lacks the depth and resonance needed to convey the magnitude of such emotions credibly; a singer with this depth would have better emphasized “The Hunger Games” compelling story line and character.

All in all she has done her job well though, and the primary age group that follows her career will be thrilled. It’s just a shame that after all of these years, Swift’s range has yet to grow up.

January 24, 2012 Nicole Luchaco

The signature catchphrase “Always on. Slightly off;” sums up the feel of this off-beat TV show quite nicely.

Originally on a budget of less than $1 million, Portlandia is a television series that debuted its first season, ultimately consisting of six episodes, on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) on January 21, 2011.The original short-based comedy was created, written by and stars Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein (formerly of Sleater-Kinney and current vocalist/guitarist for WILD FLAG).

Produced by Andrew Singer and Jonathan Krisel, each 22 minute episode is comprised of character-based shorts detailing amusing, boring, absurd and extraordinary activities in the everyday life of a true Portlandian. Armisen and Brownstein appear in each short-segment, time and again channeling a different set of characters involved in a new scheme and sporting innovative hair.

In keeping with the cities remarkable dedication to “keep it all local” the show is set and filmed in and near Portland, Oregon. And to spite its satirical humor towards their way of life, the show has, surprisingly, been fairly well received by Portland locals.

Episodes in the first season are chock-full of guest stars such as Sarah McLachlan, Aimee Mann, band members from The Shins, The Decemberists and even Portland’s own mayor Sam Adams playing the role of assistant to his fictional counterpart: the mayor of Portlandia.

Now in its second season, Portlandia has built up quite the reputation. This quirky show has especially captured the heart of those longing for the good ol’ days of handle-bar mustaches, fixed-gear bikes, roaming chickens and suspenders.
In the coming episodes you can expect to see guest appearances by such icons as Andy Samberg (SNL and Hot Rod) and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam.

The episodes often lack content and resolution of any kind, but if bizarre dry humor is your cup of tea, then this is the show for you.

December 6, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

A year and a half after Blackboard Inc. released Blackboard 9.1, the company’s most recent version of their long-standing education software, UAA has finally decided to make the switch

November 29, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

Traditional artists roam the isles of art supply stores seeking canvas and pens to free an image that is trapped within their minds eye. But artist Dallas Wildeve would prefer to roam a construction site. This is where she finds her inspiration and the materials that bring that inspiration to life.

“There is joy for me in taking discarded materials and giving them new life,” said Wildeve. “I find myself collecting construction materials, packaging and all sorts of odds and ends.”

November 15, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

In case you thought that UAA women’s basketball team was all homegrown talent, think again.

“Everything is different here, from people to basketball. Even the electrical outlets and bathrooms,” said senior basketball player Hanna Johansson of Sweden. This is a sentiment that has been echoed by all five of the international women on the UAA basketball team.

November 7, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

Tensions ran high at the last USUAA meeting as 11 ROTC Army cadets sat poised and resolute, attentively anticipating their opportunity to address the board,

JOTC cadets await their turn to speak at last Friday's USUAA meeting

to petition them for a precious commodity: time.

More specifically, the proposed resolution put forth by Senator Cody Kelsoe on behalf of the Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC), would grant Air Force and Army ROTC “contract cadets” three days of priority registration. The same amount that UAA athletes and honors college students currently receive.

“We should be the trend-setter university with this change, and then hopefully other universities will follow suit,” said Kelsoe.

Contract cadets have four years to complete their entire degree and each cadet signs an agreement to graduate within the time required. If a cadet fails to finish within the specified time constraints, they can lose their scholarship and are required to repay all funds that they have received. They could also be forced into the Army as a private in order to fulfill their contract with the government and lose the ability to commission as an officer in the armed services.

Along with the regular credit requirements for a Bachelor of Arts, the (current 22) ROTC contract cadets participate in a mandatory 15 to 20 hours a week of ROTC program functions. Three days of priority registration would aid cadets in scheduling the correct classes accordingly.

“Next to money, the best thing that you can give a cadet is time,” said Cadet Little.

“Time is very precious in college. Early enrollment would give them a little bit of time.”

In order to contract into ROTC, cadets are required to fill out a 104R form. The 104R is a proposed academic plan that dictates each class that the cadet will take until the day they graduate, in the order that they will take them and every pre-requisite lined up correspondingly. Four years completely mapped out on one sheet of paper.

“We don’t want to be considered special, that’s not what we’re here for,” said senior ROTC cadet Joya Meyers to USUAA. “We just need your help, that’s all.”

Freshmen and sophomores are especially at risk for scheduling conflicts. Juniors and seniors receive a 24-hour priority and that has aided some upper-class ROTC contract cadets, but does nothing for the contracted freshmen and sophomores facing the same daunting requirements.

“We sign a contract, we absolutely have to fulfill these obligations,” said cadet Rebekah Williams. “If we don’t get into these classes in time, it is four years out the window.”

If USUAA votes to pass the ROTC resolution, it will then be submitted to the UAA administration for consideration. The resolution would indicate that USUAA sees this as an issue, and that it is a concern that has been raised by students as a whole. A resolution requests the administration to review said issues and determine if something can be done to help the contract cadets be successful in the future.

“We all have different majors,” said Williams. “There are only 20 contracted cadets. You will hardly see any [negative] impact on the student population as a whole if we receive this priority.”

November 1, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

The average Alaskan resident who attends UAA full time, pay’s a minimum of $806.00 in student fee’s each year. Therefore if a student attends college for four years, that total grows comes out to $3,224.00. This money amount is made up of smaller amounts such as $108.00 for the Athletic fee, a $96.00 fee for the Health center and a $10.00 fee for the Concert Board.

October 25, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

The air is thick with the smell of sickly sweet cotton candy. The lights, a murky glow through the simulated fog, cast eerie greenish shadows; taking on any and every shape from your childhood closet.

October 18, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

Nadine Lefevre was rudely shaken awake last Tuesday morning, when an SUV came crashing through her living room wall, missing the Anchorage homeowner and her pugs by mere inches.

October 18, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

This Tuesday began rather unpleasantly for many campus residents, as they woke to an unusual sound. Most thought that they were hearing distant car alarms, while others didn’t hear the sound at all until the blaring noise hit their own room, and firm staff members came pounding on doors.

On drill day, the alarm sounds, followed by an officer who performs a sweep of every residence room, closet and even the mechanical rooms. The fire drills are an annual test that the University emergency response unit coordinates to create safety awareness.

October 11, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

We are a month into school and new romances are the thing about campus.
Step into my office.
The girl you have been making eye contact with all night comes over and says “Hey.” Go ahead and cue the heavenly anthem, because oh baby, it’s magic. You’re cute, she’s hot, and though she is totally out of your league, you’re into all of the same things! Ok, maybe not “all” but hey, you were looking for some new hobbies anyway right? This is all pretty standard, but prepare yourself, we are about to get a little heavy, and not in a “here’s what went down last night,” kind of way.
Forgive me for being cliché, but what happened to dating someone because you actually like them? The problem with legitimately “dating” someone, simply because they are hot, is that after a very short while, no matter how nice her ass is, you get bored. And though it’s not imperative to check his credit score before you agree to grab coffee, it is important to confirm that you’re on the same page; you deserve to be with someone who actually likes you.
If you are a one-night-stand kind of a guy, don’t lead her on, call it like it is; don’t worry, you will find girls who are looking for the same thing. And if you are a girl looking for commitment, make sure you’re fishing in the right pond. Do you want a ring, or no strings?
Figure out what you’re looking for and go from there; it will save you a lot of time and Kleenex.
So often there are really great girls who end up with some guy that reduces them to “arm candy,” and nothing more. And on the opposite end, there are awesome guys who have become pets; submitting to a female who is so controlling that his cell phone is more like a leash than a communication device.
Guys, there is a very big difference between being involved and being owned. You are a man; know where to draw the line. And girls, there is a huge difference between caring about how your relationship is going, and obsessing about every-minute-detail. Not to be a downer on our gender, but the truth is, sometimes you just need to let it go.
PS. If you cry bi-weekly about your relationship, there’s a problem.
To all of those mistreated significant others out there, I want to ask you a question:
What do you like about your boyfriend or girlfriend? Not what “did” you like about them; what “do” you like about them? Sadly a lot of the “long-termers” I have spoken to can’t answer this anymore.
They got involved with the expectation to “have fun,” but somewhere along the road two months turned into two years and they simply started to co-exist. There is a point where familiarity becomes your nemesis and dearest friend; when you have been with someone for so long that even if you are unhappy; it is more comfortable to be with them than without them.
If you reach a point in your relationship where you’re not sure if you actually like being around the person you are dating anymore, and you loathe having a conversation because it’s “always the same thing,” it’s time to re-evaluate what the word “relationship” means to you. If it feels like a ball and chain, it’s time to let it go. It may be hard now, but you will thank yourself later, and honestly so will they; no one wants to be loved out of obligation.
And though relationships are a lot of work, if you genuinely care about the person you are dating and they really care about you, it won’t weigh you down; it will just come naturally.

October 11, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

From college hockey to the professional ranks, there is one thing that every athlete agrees on: rolling out of bed in the morning takes every ounce of stamina that they can muster; especially after the first day of practice, but having a sore muscle now could prevent have a torn one later.

“The morning is the worst,” said senior gymnast Kaelei Spoor. “You wake up in the morning and everything hurts.”

October 5, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

A far cry from the choreographed duels you see on film and the stage, fencing is fast paced combat.

Because of the speed of this sport it becomes incredibly difficult for the director and the audience to keep track of valid and invalid touchés.

September 28, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

What strikes you immediately about the band Turquoise Boy is the atmosphere that surrounds them: they are friends.

Bands that have been together for years usually begin to jive this way.

Bands that are created by high school buddies out of they’re parents garage, usually have this atmosphere.

But an affluent band that was brought together through the usual auditioning process (a mere six months ago) generally doesn’t enjoy being together outside of shows.

TB, however, may prove to be the exception.

“For me it really is a matter of loving to play with these guys,” said bassist Marc Bourdon. “I don’t have to worry about them pulling their own weight, I really can’t say that of many other bands. This is the best performance band that I have been in.”

Turquoise Boy, a local Anchorage band, is the brainchild of lead guitarist and singer Derek Mangrobang.

Rounding out the quartet is bass by Marc Bourdon, drums by Kelsey McGee and on guitar and keyboards, Winston Montecillo, (along with regular appearances by fill-in drummer extraordinaire James Glaves).

None of these guy’s are rookies.

Montecillo has played piano intermittently for upwards of seventeen years

“Really, forced. My mom used to sit and watch me play for an hour a day.”

Michael Jackson classically inspired Mangrobang at a mere five years old.

Bourdon became inspired to pursue guitar while on exchange in Norway.

And McGee… “He is probably the most affluent drummer I have ever worked with, he is incredibly talented,” stated Mangrobang.

Considering their short career, TB has met with notable success. Their first show was opening for St. Vincent at the Wendy Williamson back in April, and they have no plan to slow down.

“We play pretty regularly and all of our shows have been for national act’s. If we got the chance to make it big, we would.

“We identify with Alaska so in that sense we love this for home base, but if we got the chance, we would go,” said Montecillo.

Influenced by such bands as The Rolling Stones, The Strokes and Bruce Springsteen, Turquoise Boy falls into the categories of indie pop/rock.

And while many bands in our generation shy away from the term “pop” as a reminisce of the boy-band nineties, TB embraces it with style.

“We don’t think of ‘pop’ as a bad word. We embrace happy and poppy sounds more than weird one’s. We are actually trying to be likeable,” stated Montecillo.
One of the surprising things about Turquoise is that each member is involved in more than one other musical venture and/or band.

In the beginning, TB wasn’t necessarily the main band for each member, but their love for playing, mixed with the group dynamic and growing performance schedules keeps pulling them together.

While Mangrobang is the main lyricist, they hinted that new music is definitely in the works, and that in the future all of them will be contributing to the content.

“We are starting to write a lot more, we are really excited,” said Mangrobang with a smile.

On campus, there seems to be a consensus that this is a band to watch, that they could make it big.

With their attractive music, talented members and over-all charm, Turquoise Boy seems in no danger of extinction.   

September 20, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

At only 22 years old “Audri” is the Station Manager for the UAA radio station KRUA. A well known personality on campus, you have probably seen her “creeping” around, seeming to pop up anywhere and everywhere at once, always entertaining and well informed on whatever is going on in your office.

September 7, 2011 Nicole Luchaco

The man, the myth, the musician, Andrew Bird is coming to town and it has created quite a stir among the alternative music community.

His music is a mesh of soft blues, folksy charm, choral, electronic and last but not least those sweet signature whistles.

Andrew Bird will be performing at the Atwood concert hall on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m.