Category: Uncategorized

June 12, 2017 Chance Townsend

The UAA track and field teams have completed another successful indoor and outdoor season, bringing home two men’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference titles and an outdoor GNAC title for the women.

Starting with the indoor season, the men won their third-straight Great Northwest Athletic Conference title, while the women finished third collecting their fifth consecutive top three GNAC finish. The UAA men’s team garnered an overwhelming win over Western Oregon, 154-82, while Northwest Nazarene finished third with 78 points.

Before the GNAC championships started, the Seawolves combined for 19 NCAA times/marks in three weekends of competition throughout the season – including 16 with top-20 rankings. Both Seawolf teams were ranked 24th nationally going into the conference championships. In the top 20 of the women’s side were the women’s distance medley relay who ranked fifth (Tamara Perez, Mary-Kathleen Cross, Danielle McCormick, and Caroline Kurgat), while the women’s 4×400 meter team ranked 8th (Jamie Ashcroft, Vanessa Aniteye, Hayley Benzanson, and Cross).

For the men’s team, the Seawolves’ highest ranking came from senior Dominik Notz in the 5K at fifth. Notz posted a season-best time of 14:03.95 and ranked 11th in the 3K at 8:11.10. The men’s 4×400-meter relay ranked sixth at 3:13.75 (Nicholas Taylor, Liam Lindsay, Darrion Gray and Adam Commandeur), and senior Travis Turner ranked at 19 in the heptathlon at 4,951 points.

Before the season started, senior Tevin Gladden outlined his season goals.

“For me I set forth the goal of getting four All-Americans and jumping seven feet,” Gladden said. “In the indoor season I only got one All-American, but as long as you’re setting a bunch of goals and achieve one of those goals I’d feel satisfied with that.”

Gladden competed in jumping events throughout the season. At the GNAC Indoor Championships, he took fourth in high jump (6-7), sixth in triple jump (45-4.5) and ninth in long jump (22-0.75), earning him two All-Conference honors.

Gladden described the event as one his best of the season.

“Our conference meet at indoor was pretty good. I started to get back into my form in the high jump, and in long jump I beat my personal record by a foot,” Gladden said.

The Seawolves concluded the indoor season when they sent 14 athletes to the NCAA Division II Championships in Birmingham, Ala, and finished with seven more NCAA qualifying times/marks. UAA returned home with a program best with 12 All-American honors. Seniors Ashcroft (200m, 4x4mR) and Kurgat (3K) were two recipients of those honors.

“The indoor season went great. I felt good about my improvements throughout the season. I wasn’t that fit at the beginning of the season but worked hard and got much better,” Kurgat said. “I was excited for more competitions, but unfortunately had to red-shirt for the outdoor season.”

The Seawolves landed 18 members on the All-West Region team, collected eight conference titles and 30 All-Conference honors. Ashcroft was named NCAA West Region Track Athlete of the Year and the GNAC’s Most Outstanding Track Performer, while head coach Michael Friess was named NCAA West Region Coach of the Year for the men’s team.

With the indoor season over, the Seawolves transitioned to the outdoor season.

For the outdoor season, the Seawolves had a combined 24 NCAA times/marks, including two automatic NCAA qualifying times/marks (ANQ). Leading the way with an ANQ in the heptathlon was senior Karolin Anders who ranked fifth in Division II. The other ANQ went to Notz in the 10K with a time of 29:12.23 at the Mt. SAC Relays and was ranked sixth in the nation.

Leading into the conference championships the Seawolves looked to defend their outdoor championships.

The women combined for four individual titles and 16 all-conference performances throughout the event, while the men’s team added five titles and 15 all-conference accolades.

The Seawolves swept the GNAC Outdoor Championships as the men’s team defended its title and the women’s team won its third in five years.

Gladden also broke a decades long school record in the high jump with a leap of 6-11.

“This conference meet was pretty good for me. I didn’t get the long jump as well as I wanted to but I got decent marks,” Gladden said. “Triple jump was pretty good, I got a personal best in the high jump which I haven’t done in while and I got us some crucial points to win us another outdoor title.”

To conclude the outdoor season, the Seawolves sent 13 qualifiers to the NCAA Division II Outdoor Championships in Florida.

Anders qualified in the high jump and heptathlon, and Aniteye qualified in the 400 meters and relay in her NCAA debut. Notz qualified for both the 5K and 10K for the men. McCormick qualified for the 800 meter and making up the men’s relay was Commandeur, Turner, Lindsay and Taylor, while Aniteye, McCormick, Bezanson and Cross will be the representatives for the women’s relay. Gladden qualified in the high jump and would make his NCAA outdoor debut.

Competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase was junior Edwin Kangogo, while junior Mariah Burroughs represented the women in the race.

Burroughs described her thought process going into the 3K steeplechase

“At the beginning of the season, you have barriers and [a] water pit to jump over, so at the starting line you’re kinda like am I going to remember to jump and go over these especially without the dome, cause I don’t really anywhere to practice,” Burroughs said. “Farther on in the season though its a lot more focused. So at nationals I didn’t have exact thoughts it’s more of a blank mind.”

“I was seated 21st in nationals, which is last, but I ended up finishing 16th which was four places away from finals,” Burroughs said.

Kangogo, on the other hand, did make finals. Kangogo, who was new to the 3K steeplechase, finished sixth with a time of 8:56.21, earning him another All-American honor.

“I am happy with this season as a whole and with the challenges presented to us,” Kangogo said. “This season I’ve been trying to stay focused and just forget about anything going on outside. This was my best meet and earning an All-American in the steeplechase was amazing.”

Combined, the Seawolves garnered eight First-Team, All-American honors and two Second-Team All-American awards throughout the NCAA championships.

The Seawolf men, ranked 21st nationally ,headed into the weekend and finished the championships with 15 points to tie for 13th. Meanwhile, the 25th ranked women’s team, finished tied for 62nd with two points. St. Augustine’s won the men’s competition with 58 points for their fifth straight, while West Texas A&M earned the women’s crown with 64 points. The 64 points are the most points scored by the winning team since Lincoln University scored 64 back in 2014.

The team has lost a significant number of strong contributors after this season to graduation. With many gone, the track and field team will look to add many strong new faces to the program to continue UAA’s dominance in the GNAC.

June 12, 2017 Ammon Swenson
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"He Threw His Medals In The River But They Sunk Alone" by Levi Oyster. Oyster's show will be on display until Wednesday. Photo credit: Levi Oyster

Recent UAA computer science graduate Levi Oyster, wants people to not only take a hard look at the state of America today, but to do something about it. His show “Vibrant Violence,” currently showing at UAA’s Hugh McPeck Gallery, intends to inspire conversations about subjects we would rather avoid.

Oyster’s oil on canvas pieces pop with colors that are at times borderline psychedelic. The subject matter, though, delves into darker territory. The topics range from waterboarding to improvised explosive devices to reactions of the Edward Snowden leaks.

One piece, titled “Johnny Terrorseed: Drones,” was inspired by America’s extensive use of drone strikes and how this method of warfare has become the new normal. Oyster wants to show the idea that the country is fueling a cycle of violence by causing those affected by drone strikes to take up arms against the U.S.

The painting shows a tree comprising what could be skulls or screaming faces in its bark, rising from an acid green cloud. In the tree’s branches hang explosive suicide vests and weapons like AK-47s and grenade launchers.

Oyster served six years in the Alaska Air National Guard and said some of his views about the subjects of his art go against the mainstream opinion in the Armed Forces.

“A lot of these topics are a little hush hush or a little — it’s the dissenting view, so you get a lot of clap back when you try and bring stuff up about this,” Oyster said.

When he was serving in the Guard, Oyster was part of an air crew on a C-130, the workhorse of military aircraft. His team’s job was to get supplies, troops and weapons to where they needed to go. During his six years in the Guard, Oyster was deployed overseas twice, once to Afghanistan and once to Kuwait.

It was during these deployments that Oyster began questioning his role in the violence of America’s military action. He would wonder who would die as a result of the troops or bombs he was helping transport.

“I had joined because I wanted to make a difference and try and help out,” Oyster said. “And as I deployed, I realized I was — I didn’t really feel like I was helping out. Every now and again you’d do something really meaningful, but a lot of the times, you felt like you were adding to the violence.”

Oyster has been drawing since he was a child, but during his time in the military, he started to take his art more seriously. He’s never taken an art class, but taught himself to paint by studying art magazines, books and going to museums.

“[I’d] just stare and stare and pick up their techniques; see where they’re creating shadows, where they’re adding value,” Oyster said.

He started off painting for fun, but as he started to research how the U.S. was treating detainees and the civilian deaths caused by military action, Oyster wanted to examine the “jingoistic revenge culture” that seemed to be present in America.

“To deal with how I was feeling about it, I just decided to use art as my outlet,” Oyster said.

By using exaggerated colors that explode off the canvas, Oyster gives the viewer a sugarcoating which helps the bitter content go down smoothly. He’s influenced by socially conscious musicians and artists like Shepard Fairey, who manage to make questioning the status quo part of the mainstream.

“I wanted these horrible things to be more consumable so that people can actually start thinking about them instead of just blocking them out and turning off the news,” Oyster said.

On June 2, Oyster hosted a First Friday reception for “Vibrant Violence.” Recent UAA graduate Michael Notti has known Oyster for years and was there to show his support.

“I think it’s always important to have a broad spectrum of ideas and views of the world,” Notti said. “And especially if some of the main ideas are fueled by extreme passion — that’s when it’s most important to have a dissenting opinion and that’s what I believe this artwork is in a sense. It goes against the mainstream.”

Oyster doesn’t think the situation is hopeless. He’s seen how people around the country have been taking a more active approach in their local politics and how that can make all the difference.

“Taking ownership at the individual level is, I think, what’s most important and I think that will overcome a lot of these awful things,” Oyster said.

“Vibrant Violence” closes on Wednesday, but Oyster’s work can be found at facebook.com/levioysterart.

June 12, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy
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Photo credit: Skip Hickey

After 33 impressive seasons of coaching, it was announced in May that Paul Stoklos has retired as the Seawolves’ head gymnastics coach. UAA’s Head Athletic Director Keith Hackett made the announcement, which came as a surprise to everyone in the community.

Stoklos started the program in the 80’s and has led it through many changes and success — including the transition into NCAA Division I status in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.

Stoklos has always referred to UAA as his “home.”

“When I came to UAA for the job interview in 1984, I knew that this was where I wanted to stay. I saw an amazing opportunity to start a program from scratch and to build it,” Stoklos said.

Stoklos oversaw over 100 gymnasts during his career, including 13 USAG All-Americans from 1985-2005, including national champions Elena Tkacheva, Jessica Simmons and Dominique Ingram.

“[The] most rewarding part of coaching is the see young athletes mature into adults as they purse a great education while training and competing in a sport that we all love,” Stoklos said. “[We guide] them to attain a fantastic education, train them to compete to their greatest potential and providing them with life skills, we send them into the real world where they become contributing members of this community and countless others. It’s this opportunity to make a difference in the lives of these young adults that I will miss most.”

Stoklos and his gymnasts have acquired many qualifications and awards throughout the past 15 years in MPSF.

In his program, 17 of the athletes have qualified for the national NCAA finals, in addition, 82 all-academic awards have been produced on this team, an amount that towers over all the other schools in the MPSF. In addition, Stoklos was also voted the MPSF Coach of the Year in 2004 and 2016.

It hasn’t always been easy, Stoklos mentioned. Dealing with a group of young, college girls sometimes comes with challenges.

“The most challenging part [was always trying to] keep the student athletes from being distracted from all that is going on around them,” Stoklos said.

Regardless of his departure from the team and from the UAA athletic community, Stoklos still hopes for the best and prepared the team for the first season without him.

“Next season, [they] will see an increased squad size to make up for the loses of team members, [which could let] them have a more successful season.” Stoklos said.

UAA athletics will have a fill a large gap that will be clearly seen from the athletic community. Hackett commented on the immense contribution that Stoklos has put into his teams.

“He was strongly committed to ensuring that his student-athletes excelled in their studies first and foremost, and we are grateful for all he did for our institution and community. We wish him all the best,” Hackett said.

It was announced by Hackett that the UAA Athletic Department has already begun a search to replace Stoklos before the commencement of fall 2017.

June 12, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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It may be tempting to call “A Dark Song,” the first feature from director Liam Gavin, a supernatural drama instead of horror. It has all the gravitas and character development of the best drama and some of the most subtle scares to come out of any horror movie in years. But to call it a drama is a disservice. “A Dark Song” is horror and has drama, not the other way around. And it’s one of the leanest and most profound horror movies out this year.

Its driving force, at first, is grief. Sophia (Catherine Walker) lost her son three years ago and turns to the occult to speak to him again. She hires the reclusive cultist Joseph Solomon (Steve Oram) to conduct a ritual to allow this, and he reluctantly accepts. The ritual, he says, will last months and drain her in the process. By the end, they will meet their guardian angels and wish for anything. His only rules are that she does what he says and is always honest. Ominously, he says that every lie has a consequence, big or small.

Regardless, Sophia follows neither rule completely and the consequences come quick. Gavin navigates how this changes her relationship with Solomon deftly, making both her and Joseph’s flaws apparent while never overstating them. These are both damaged people looking for God or something like it for some assurance. As they are broken down, their relationship takes on a deeper significance, one of sacrifice and transformation.

Now, I don’t mean to exaggerate. Sophia and Joseph are not religious icons or martyrs. If anything, their passage emphasizes their own spirituality and capacity for forgiveness more than any higher power. Gavin draws a distinct line between religion and spirituality, here. Joseph doesn’t believe in the supernatural so much as he knows it’s real, something Sophia struggles with. In an apt moment, she asks him why he does he what he does: “To know,” he replies.

What’s notable is that Gavin, despite his heady content, prefers to keep it simple. Joseph wants to know, and Sophia wants to see her son again. Neither drifts from their purpose, though the road to them is a twisted one. Walker and Oram’s performances emphasize this steadfastness (or stubbornness). Singling either out, however, is disingenuous because their chemistry makes the characters.

Front to back, “A Dark Song” is an airtight shocker with strong performances and even stronger direction. It’s not just a singular horror movie, but a singular movie. There’s precedent for one-house flicks like this, but none achieve what “A Dark Song” does. This may seem like an overstatement, but no one part of the movie falls short. All of it simply works, from the understated beginning to the audacious ending. It won’t have you singing along, but “A Dark Song” deserves any ears that find it.

May 30, 2017 Sarah Tangog

Summer brings a slew of activities for Alaskans to enjoy. This summer, six big-ticket performances are coming through to Anchorage.

June 10: The Shins, Moose’s Tooth

The Shins

From Portland, Oregon, this indie band was founded in 1996 and has been going strong since. They have released six albums starting in 2001. Their latest album, “Heartworms,” was released earlier this year.

“The fee is $55 per ticket, the show is a 21-and-over show,” Burt Ward from Moose’s Tooth said. Ward mentioned that though the doors open at 6 p.m., the actual performances do not start until 6:45.

“I don’t know if there’s an opener or not,” Ward said. “There typically is for bigger shows.”

If an opening band is to perform, The Shins won’t play until 8 p.m. An I.D. must be presented upon entrance, and tickets can only be paid via cash.

June 24: Tech N9ne, Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center

Tech N9ne

Aaron Dontez Yates decided to call himself Tech N9ne at the peak of his career. He founded the Strange Music record label in 1999 with Travis O’Guin, though he is more commonly recognized as a rapper. He has released 23 albums since 1999, his latest being “Dominion,” which was released in April.

Tech N9ne will be performing on June 24. The show starts at 8 p.m., and general admission tickets start at $45.

July 15: Bush, Alaska Airlines Center

Bush is bringing their tour promoting the new album “Black and White Rainbows” to Alaska for the first time. The London-based band is one of the most successful rock bands of the 1990s, selling more than 10 million records in the United States.

Tickets are available now, and start at $39 before fees. The mid-July concert starts at 8 p.m.

August 1-2: Luke Bryan, Sullivan Arena

Luke Bryan

This country singer has released six albums since 2007, when he started his career. His most recent album is “Kill The Lights,” released in August of 2015.

Bryan’s performance at the George M. Sullivan Sports Arena will begin at 7:30 p.m. on August 1 and August 2. Tickets are selling anywhere from $28 to $693.

August 4-6: Jewel, Salmonfest

The Kenai Peninsula festival, advertised as “Three days of fish, love and music” is welcoming a variety of local bands, as well as bands from the Lower 48, including headliner and Homer local, Jewel.

The festival is three days, and tickets are available on salmonfestalaska.org, starting at $69.

August 11-12: Zac Brown Band, Alaska Airlines Center

Three-time Grammy award winners Zac Brown Band kicked off their Welcome Home tour on May 28, and will be performing for two nights in Anchorage. With number one hits such as “Chicken Fried” and “Loving You Easy,” the band has topped the charts in both country and rock genres.

The supporting act has yet to be announced, but tickets start at $69 before fees and are available now.

September 25: Miranda Lambert, Sullivan Arena

Miranda Lambert

Country singer Miranda Lambert has released seven albums since 2001. Her newest album, “The Weight of These Wings,” was released last year. She’s been touring since.

“In Miranda Lambert’s case, she is specifically on the Highway Vagabond Tour,” Tanya Pont, director of marketing at the Sullivan Arena, said.

Lambert is holding one performance, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are selling anywhere from $49.50-$300. It is an all-ages concert, though persons under 21 must have an adult or guardian to sit in the wet section of the arena.

May 30, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy

Alaskan summers are the best time to be outside and take advantage of the short span of warm weather. Road races and triathlons are some of the sporting events that Anchorage residents get to enjoy over the next three months; The Gold Nugget triathlon being the first of many.

The Gold Nugget is a unique triathlon that specifically targets young girls and women to get out and stay active. The goal of this race is more than just focusing on a one day event; The Gold Nugget Triathlon Board of Directors wants to promote year-round healthy lifestyles and relationships.

Kristyn Turney, who competed in The Gold Nugget as her first ever triathlon, appreciated that the triathlon is all-female.

Traditionally, including the 2017 Gold Nugget, the triathlon features a 500 yard swim, followed by a 12 mile bike and finished off with a 4.1 mile run. This year the race was kept around Bartlett High School, with the swim in the school’s pool, with the bike and run taking place in adjoining areas.

“They were able to section off the pool so you could see the elite/competitive athletes on one side and the newbies [and] more chill ladies like me on the other. The bike and the run were really pretty, the majority of the time the mountains were out of the clouds,” Turney said.

Alexis Williams, a UAA student, also participated in the triathlon. It is the only triathlon that she has ever competed in, but she has done it four different times.

Williams also enjoyed the course of the 2017 triathlon, although she said the pool could get crowded and the bike and running trails could get a bit confusing, the whole event was well worth it.

In addition, the triathlon had a variety of different entry types and result categories, including overall winners by age group, most improved, school teams, tri-generation, mother and daughter team, business team and open team.

The individual results ranked everyone by age group, with a total of 1,449 entries, the youngest competitor was just 10 years old and the oldest being over 80 years old.

In her age group of F25-29, and overall for the entire triathlon, Kinsey Laine of Fairbanks took the title with a time of 1 hour, 4 minutes and 23 seconds. This beats her previous win and record set in 2016 by just 19 seconds.

Lane swept the race with an swim pace of 1:24 min per mile, an average bike pace of 23.39 mph, and a mile pace of 6:18. She beat the second place winner by nearly five minutes.

Per age group, the following people took the individual titles, Alyssa Hargis (F10-14, 1:16.24), Ellie Mitchell (F15-19, 1:13.11), Emma Tarbath (F20-24, 1:12.06), Megan Cheif (F30-34, 1:10.47), Amber Stull (F35-39, 1:09.04), Sara Miller (F40-44, 1:12.32), Danelle Winn (F45-49, 1:11.47), Dianne Prince (F50-54, 1:21.09), Natasha Bergt (F55-59, 1:15.23), Melinda GreigWalker (F60-64, 1:20.33), Ellyn Brown (F65-69, 1:32.38), Rita Miller (F70-74, 1:54.09), Diane Mohwinkel (F75-79, 1:48.40) and Millie Spezialy (F80+, 2:14.42).

In the second results category for most improved, returning competitors had their previous finish time compared to their current finish time. With an impressive 35.28 percent change, Jenni Marcell, a Nome local, improved her time by almost an hour.

In 2016, Marcell finished with a time of 2 hours and 21 minutes, this year she finished with a time of 1 hour and 31 minutes.

For the third category, two teams were entered in for the school team results. Romig Middle School (Hargis, Donley, Lapkass, Dorris, Smith) had five athletes, as well as Southside Triathletes (Meeds, Hellmann, Armbrust, Reynolds, McLeod). By 50 minutes, the combined time of 6:47.42 for Romig beat Southside’s total time of 7:37.15.

The tri-generation category is unique to this race, including a mother, daughter and grandmother. For 2017, seven different entry teams qualified for this category, two teams even containing the same mother and grandmother, but two separate daughters.

The winning tri-generation cumulative time of 4 hours, 46 minutes is held by Cassie Smith (mother, 1:25), Payton Smith (daughter, 1:28) and Susan Bradley (grandmother, 1:52).

Similar to the tri-generation teams is the mother and daughter teams, that was much more popular, with 162 entries. The top time of 2 hours, 32 minutes was won by the duo of KC Kent (daughter, 1:12.15) and Lynn Kent (mother, 1:20.30).

The second to last category was the business teams. Only two teams entered into this category, one being ConocoPhillips (Sind, Simek, Whitworth, Bremont, Bottrell) and the other being Team SCF (Cutting, Chapman, Cummings, Tansey, Taylor).

ConocoPhillips took the win with a cumulative time of 7 hours, 36 minutes, with an average time of 1 hour, 31 minutes. While Team SCF had an average time of 1 hour, 47 minutes which put their cumulative time behind by nearly an hour and a half.

The final category was that of the open teams, which included 36 different entries. The winning team named themselves the “Girdwood Girls Gone Tri.” With an average time of 1 hour, 26 minutes, the Girdwood girls took the overall title by just twelve minutes.

Overall, the whole event has a beneficial aim for women and young girls.

“I loved that it’s an all woman’s race. There is such an awesome history behind the race. I think it’s the atmosphere and camaraderie that has made it that way. Every person I was around was super supportive and encouraging the whole way through the race,” Turney said.

To view more information about the event or to view the results of the 2017 race, visit their website at www.goldnuggettriathlon.com or the Facebook page Gold Nugget Triathlon.

May 30, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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Just because something is singular doesn’t mean it’s good. “Yakuza Apocalypse” is a perfect example of this truism. Truly, there’s nothing like it out right now, in form or content, and thank God there isn’t. It’s an often exhausting exercise in cartoonish absurdity. At the same time, bless Takashi Miike, the prolific director of “Audition” and “Zebraman,” for letting loose like he does with “Apocalypse.” Sure, it’s overlong and lax in structure, but it’s more good than bad.

This is thanks to Miike’s considerable chops. Averaging about three movies a year since 1991, he’s cultivated a style that can turn the stupidest script to something enjoyable. The script in question starts out strong, but gets weaker as it goes. It opens to Kamiura (Lily Franky), a yakuza vampire mob boss, slaughtering a rival gang. This spectacle brings two vampire hunters, Killer Priest (Ryushin Tei) and Kyoken (Yayan Ruhian), to town, who make quick work of the seemingly immortal killer. Before he dies, he sires his right-hand man Kageyama (Hayato Ichihara), who goes so mad with power that he turns the whole village into vampires.

Thought it’s the crux of the movie, vampires are a smaller portion of it. A diverse of mythical Japense creatures and a man in a frog suit fill up the rest. Their function in the story, however, is tenuous. There are a lot of characters to consider here, and each just shows up with no real importance. The most aggregious case of this is Aratetsu (Kiyohiko Shibukawa), a bumbling yakuza thug. It’s clear from his introduction that he’s generally perplexed and ineffectual. By the end, however, he ends up taking out someone far above his pedigree. It’s inexplicable and feels like the biggest cop-out of the movie.

Strangely, it’s when “Yakuza Apocalypse” is not trying to be an action movie that it succeeds. It’s a disparate blend of comedy, absurdism, horror, and cartoon that never really gels. Yet, it devotes the most time to its weakest aspect: fight scenes. They’re not bad. They’re good. But in comparison to the ridiculousness of the rest of the movie, they feel standard, even boring. The highlight of the movie is seeing how insane it gets.

That’s both good and bad. It’s good because it’s an unpredictable experience. It’s bad because you can only have that experience once. “Yakuza Apocalypse” is a one-and-done movie that, speaking from experience, only gets worse on rewatches, because its biggest flaws are even more glaring. The weakest characters survive without explanation and the editing plays loose with any kind of resolution. To be fair, some things in the movie can’t be resolved. But some things can, and they rarely are. Before you consider watching, ask yourself this: am I willing to wade through crap just to be surprised? For me, it’s only worth it once.

May 4, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy

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At the end of the school year, the Athletic Department hosts an end of year banquet for all of UAA’s intercollegiate sports teams. At this event, held on April 28 was the announcement of the 33rd winner of the Bill MacKay Athlete of the Year, Morgan Hooe.

Hooe was nominated for her impressive All-American honors and her role as team captain for the team that made it to the NCAA Div. II National Title Match. Hooe was the 2016 GNAC player of the year, for the finish of her four years as a leader and setter for the Seawolves.

For the current year, 13 athletes were nominated for the prestigious title, including one athlete from each gender for each sport.

The first nomination was presented to the gymnastics team, naming Kendra Daniels to the list for her top performances on the team in the 2017 season. In balance beam, she set a UAA record at 9.9, and also competed in floor and vault. Daniels was the first Seawolf to get four or more beam scores of higher than 9.825 in a season.

The next nominations were for cross-country running, for the women’s side was Caroline Kugart and Edwin Kangogo for the men’s side.

Kugart performed exceptionally in the 2016 season by finishing third at the NCAA Championships in her individual race. The Eldoret, Kenya local was also the NCAA West Region runner-up and GNAC individual title winner.

Kangogo, also from Eldoret is a two time All-American. He boasts an impressive individual title at the GNAC Championships as well as a fourth place finish at the NCAA West Region Championships.

For skiing, Tony Nacuik made the men’s nomination and Charley Field for the women’s.

Nacuik is part of the alpine skiing team, originally from Calgary, Alberta. In the 2016-17 season he finished as the Seawolves’ highest scorer and top finisher at the national championships. Nacuik placed 20th in the slalom and the giant slalom.

Field is also on the alpine team and originally from Pemberton, B.C. Field earned the title of Second Team All-RMISA honors. She also finished runner-up in the women’s giant slalom at the RMISA championships. Field earned four top-10 results during her season.

The men’s and women’s basketball nominations went to Suki Wiggs and Kiki Robertson, respectively.

Wiggs proved to be the highest scorer in GNAC for the second year in a row, averaging 24.4 points per game, also the fifth highest in all of Div. II. In addition, Wiggs earned First Team All-West Region honors, First Team All-GNAC honors and a spot in the top-25 of the Bevo Francis Award.

Robertson, originally from Hawaii, ended her senior year with an impressive career of 700 assists, 382 steals and 116 total wins. She finished off her career ranked with her team as No. 2 in the nation while also being the GNAC Defensive Player of the Year.

For hockey, Matt Anholt, a junior, was nominated for the award. Anholt, a Saskatchewan local, contributed 22 points and 17 assists for the Seawolves this year. Anholt was also a team captain.

The final nominations were for both track and field seasons, indoor and outdoor.

Jamie Ashcroft and Dominik Notz made the list for indoor track and field, while Joyce Chelimo and Cody Thomas were nominated for outdoor track and field.

Ashcroft, a senior for Shawnigan Lake, B.C was nominated due to her 2017 performances in indoor track and field, including a seventh place finish in both the 200m and 4x400m relay at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In addition, Ashcroft won her fourth straight GNAC title in both the 60m and 200m.

Notz was named for his exemplary performances in his distance events. He earned his third and fourth indoor All-American honors and also placed fifth in the 5k and 7th in the 3K at Indoor Nationals. Notz also holds the UAA and GNAC records for the 3K.

Chelimo, a Kapsowar, Kenya local, was named due to her previous 2016 outdoor performances. She was named to the second team All-American in the 5K as well as earning a GNAC title in the 10K. Chelimo also holds the UAA record in the 5K and 10K; her 10K time is also a GNAC record and the fifth fastest ever in Div. II.

The final nomination before the winner, Thomas, a national Decathlete champion — and the first ever Seawolf to do so — was nominated for his 2016 outdoor performances. The New Zealand local won the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the decathlete, also breaking the GNAC record in the event. Thomas earned the USTFCCCA’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year award for the 2016 outdoor season.

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Morgan Hooe goes for the set in a home game at the Alaska Airlines Center. Hooe made All-American honors in 2016, and also led her team to the NCAA Division II finals. Photo credit: Marc Lester

Last, but exceptionally not least, is Morgan Hooe, the official nomination for volleyball and the 2016 Athlete of the Year.

May 4, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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Here’s a good litmus test for average movies: a day after the credits roll, how much can you remember? I’ll tell you what I remember from “The Ones Below.” I remember an awkward dinner party, too many knocks at the characters’ door to count, and a botched ending. It’s frustrating to watch overqualified actors try to make a stale script fresh even though they succeed time and time again.

Adding onto the frustration, director David Farr has a good sense of tension and atmosphere. He’s got a claustrophobic style, chock full of close-ups and some intricate framing. He follows simple set-ups through beautifully, like the titular neighbors shoes outside their door, and constantly plays with what those images mean. But the script is an unexceptional, faux-Hitchcockian bore.

Clemence Poesy as Kate and Stephen Campbell Moore as Justin deserve meatier material. They’re talents are mostly wasted here. Same goes for their co-stars David Morrissey as Jon and Laura Birn as Theresa. Morrissey’s Jon is an explosive presence, crafting tension with eyebrow raises and steely glares. His relationship with Theresa is deeply messed up. Both yearn to be parents, and, after months of trying, they’re successful.

They move in below our protagonists, the soon-to-be parents Kate and Justin. To welcome them, the couple invites Jon and Theresa over for dinner. It’s one of the best scenes in the movie, so I’ll leave the details scant, but Theresa ends up falling down the complex’s stairs and suffering a miscarriage. They leave soon after to grieve, only to return a few months later. After their return, Kate and Justin’s life begins falling apart, and neither knows why.

The answer is obvious. That’s the worst flaw in the movie. It plays like its secret is well-hidden, but no misdirection is even attempted. Everything points to Jon and Theresa. Past a point, the movie accepts that the viewer knows what’s up and changes directions. Spoiler alert: Jon and Theresa gaslight Kate to the point of her relationship crumbling. But it’s so lazy that it throws the movie off-balance.

Finishing the job, the terrible ending turns the whole thing over. Without spoiling anything, there’s an abrupt change in perspective right at the end. It acts like what’s happening isn’t obvious, and drags the viewer along to the least surprising “reveal” in a long time. “The Ones Below” acts like it’s clever, but really, it’s just another missed opportunity.

April 23, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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The age of Looney Tunes is long gone and with it a class of slapstick comedy that defined a generation. Stephen Chow is one of the few filmmakers working to keep that very class alive. “The Mermaid” is an unapologetically goofy, sometimes visually clumsy, live action cartoon with a wavering sensibility. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s incredibly dark, other times it’s just hard to watch.

So while Chow found broad appeal as an actor and director in his previous two features “Shaolin Soccer” and “Kung-Fu Hustle,” “The Mermaid” is much more hit-or-miss. There are a number of cringey overlong gags that rely on even clumsier CGI to work, for example. They break Chow’s characteristic momentum often, but when a bit works, it really works. One thing the movie suffers from is ambition. Sometimes, Chow self-consciously avoids what makes his comedy great: ludicrous violence and misunderstandings.

Instead, we get a much darker, angrier Stephen Chow. “The Mermaid” has earnest moments of horror peppered throughout, often bloody and heartbreaking. It pits a wealthy businessman Liu Xuan against a colony of mermaids, including the octopus man, Octopus (Show Lo). Liu Xuan (Deng Chao) and his business partner Ruolan (Zhang Yuqi) has purchased the mermaid’s home, Green Gulf, to reclaim the sea around it. With a bloody history with human beings close behind them, the mermaids lure him to their house using Shan (Lin Yun). Some complications force Shan into Xuan’s life, and the two fall deep in love.

Despite its fantastical exterior, “The Mermaid” is, by far, the grittiest of Chow’s work. In an exemplary scene, the mermaids’ matriarch recounts their history of contact with man using only the water, crafting it into boats and airplanes. What she relays is brutal and bloody, but it’s presented in a beautiful way.

The beauty comes in spats, however, most poignant moments are underserved by some flat performances, especially Lin Yun in the lead role. It’s strange. Sometimes she’s on, but most of the time she’s not. Alongside Deng Chao, her performances feel monotonous. That being said, she does have the second best bit of physical comedy in the movie. It’s a wonderfully choreographed and painful dance sequence that recalls the famous knife gag of “Kung-Fu Hustle.”

The movie’s slapstick can sometimes feel sloppy or too willfully goofy, but you can’t help but smile watching it. It’s a feel-good movie, at least for a while. Then it shifts gears into something far more tragic. While that could be a good thing if it was utilized well, it’s not utilized well here.

It ends up feeling emotionally jarring to start the movie with archival footage of waste disposal and animal slaughter and expect viewers to laugh at the grilling and mutilation of Octopus later.

In fact, the movie seems to get less funny as it goes along. It doesn’t muster enough viewer goodwill to earn those abrupt shifts in tone. They just feel abrupt, and in a movie as wild as this, the last thing you want is to feel lost. Chow’s earlier efforts strike a balance between those qualities, but “The Mermaid” overreaches and ends up falling short. When the credits roll, it was admirable to watch it reach at all.

April 23, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy
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Madeleine Arbuckle performs her floor routine at the Alaska Airlines Center. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

With the countless hours of training, weekends spent traveling and evenings taken up with second practices, it might seem like a difficult task to balance classes while also balancing a sport. With the commencement of the 2017 gymnastics season, six Seawolves stood out for their impressive grades.

For the 2017 gymnastics season, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation executive director, Al Beaird, announced the final MPSF All-Academic Scholar-Athletes.

The list consisted of 35 gymnasts from six different schools including the Air Force Academy, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Seattle Pacific and UC Davis, in addition to UAA.

Not only did six UAA gymnasts make the list, junior Madeleine Arbuckle had the second highest GPA overall at 3.91, up from fourth highest in 2016 having a 3.92. Arbuckle only followed the top GPA athlete from Seattle Pacific by 0.01 grade points.

Arbuckle is in her junior year at UAA studying environmental sciences. She just completed her third season in gymnastics as an all-arounder.

“I chose this degree because I am interested in attending law school to practice environmental law. I figured having a background in environmental issues and policies would be helpful for me before diving into law school,” Arbuckle said.

With such a rigorous degree and courses, balancing life with school might seem like a daunting task, but Arbuckle has spent most of her life doing just that.

“I have always been used to balancing school and athletics. By grade three, I was training 20 hours a week, and in grade six, I had to start leaving school early to go to practice. At this point, I think it would be weird to not have a full schedule and constantly have to prioritize things,” Arbuckle said.

Arbuckle has found that pre-season is often the most time consuming with rigorous training schedules. Luckily, the gymnasts finish their competition season in mid-march to have the remainder of the semester to focus on school.

Joining Arbuckle on the All-Academic standing is junior Morgan Ross, who made it to the top 10, with the sixth highest overall GPA at 3.75.

On top of Division I gymnastics training, Ross is pursuing two separate degrees: a B.A. in Spanish and a B.S. in environmental science.

“I am an avid outdoor lover and I took AP Environmental Science in high school and loved it. I decided on Spanish because I grew up with Spanish speaking neighbors and I realized how valuable it is to know another language,” Ross said.

Ross explained that the team manages by having mandatory study hall sessions on the road. During the season, as well as off-season, the gymnastics team implemented a GPA rule to help everyone succeed.

“Our team rules state that if an individual does not receive a 3.3 GPA or higher each semester, they have to do nine hours of study hall per week,” Ross said.

Evidently, the rule seemed to help the team as a whole.

For a third consecutive time, senior Nicole Larkin achieved the honors with her GPA of 3.48. Larkin is studying to get her degree in biological sciences. Sophomore Kaylin Mancari made the list for her first year of eligibility for the academic team. Mancari is studying natural sciences and holds a GPA of 3.44.

The fifth gymnast to earn the MPSF title is junior Kendra Daniels. With her major in technology, Daniels holds a GPA of 3.42. Senior Brice Mizell rounds off the end of the list. Mizell is studying nursing and sociology and made the list with her GPA of 3.35.

To be eligible for this award, the student-athlete must have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better, as well as having sophomore standing, completed a full academic year prior to receiving the award and competed in 50 or more percent of the athletic season.

April 18, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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You’d think a movie with “Stranger” in its title might have something new to offer. This isn’t the case in “The Stranger.” Guillermo Amoeda’s amateurish bore of a horror movie plods on and on to a conclusion that’s as gory as it is hard to care about. The sensibility is try-hard, the performances forced, and the premise contrived. As I type this, I am rewatching it just to see if anything about it was decent. Not good, just decent. And it turns out, Amoeda, as a director, has potential.

In a truly uninspired turn, “The Stranger” follows Martin (Cristobal Tapia Montt) who’s returned to an unnamed town in rural America. He’s slow to reveal his motives, and it’s hard to know if watching to find them out is even worth it. After he’s stabbed by Caleb (Ariel Levy), the son of the local police officer Lieutenant De Luca (Luis Gnecco), a troubled crack-addicted kid (Nicolas Duran) takes him in and nurses him back to health. After that, a lot of things happen, events engineered for maximum cruelty, and “The Stranger” loses all purpose.

Let’s start with the basics: the storytelling is a nightmare. There are at least three major narrative reveals that happen in flashbacks. Most of them involve Martin’s relationship to other, equally lifeless characters. Amoeda plays these moments like grand revelations when they’re anything but. How can you be surprised by characters you don’t care about? From the writing to the performances, nothing makes the hour and a half less of a brutal slog.

What makes it even worse is that Amoeda has some inspired moments. To properly capture what watching “The Stranger” is like, it’s best to describe how watching it feels. There are shots in here that are almost beautiful, Peter pedaling across the street at sunset, for example, that make you feel like it will get better. It inspires hope in a way few horror movies do. And at every turn, it rips that hope to shreds.

The bulk of that disappointment lies in the performances. Montt, in the lead role, Levy, Gnecco and Duran in the supporting ones, to be fair thought, they don’t have much to work with. The script is a thin excuse for a movie. Any character-building is mostly accidental and serves to bind each needless moment of violence to the next. And even in those moments, there are no stakes whatsoever. Amoeda is well-versed in this kind of horror, having written Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno, yet he still falls short.

If you have “The Stranger” on your must-watch list, X it out right now. It’s a preposterously boring, slipshod nightmare barely held together by bloodless acting and a sloppy script. Amoeda has potential as a director and provocateur, but he ultimately falls short on both counts. Sitting through it is like swimming through molasses except there’s no chance of drowning. Only finishing a sad excuse for a horror flick and wondering where all that time went.

April 9, 2017 Madison Mcenaney
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Anchorage Community Works, located in downtown Anchorage, serves as a creative center that hosts events, concerts and art exhibits. ACW will be hosting several events for Anchorage Rocks for Autism this month. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

With the help of the organizations Anchorage Rocks for Autism and Family Tree Presents, the month of April is stacked with concerts featuring local musicians, all wanting to help a cause. Every Monday in April, various artists will be featured in the Anchorage Rocks for Autism acoustic nights, and every weekend shows will be hosted at Anchorage Community Works or Hard Rock Cafe. The profit made by all these concerts will go directly to FOCUS Outreach, an organization based in Eagle River.

This is the sixth year that Anchorage has had Rocks for Autism shows, with each year showing growth in the music community. Sarah Pederson, the owner of concert commission company Family Tree Presents, has witnessed this growth and seen what the community can do to help donate to FOCUS.

“Between the musicians who donate their time, the venues who give their space and the people who attend and give their donations, it always shows how Anchorage cares for the music community and the Rocks for Autism shows. We’ve raised around $40,000 total in the last six years, and hope to only keep that number growing,” Pederson said.

So far this month, two shows have already been held for the Rocks for Autism event. The all-ages concert featured bands Atlas, Old Hounds, Bad Friday, Bottlecaps for Dollars and Bulletproof Jay at ACW last Saturday. Also, Koots’ first acoustic show featured The Eternal Cowboys and Diana Z & Shannon Marie.

“I’ve been attending Rocks for Autism shows for probably around four years now. It’s really great to see the music community grow and have more people attend these shows to support a really great cause,” Kevin Kuhn, a show attendee at the ACW concert, said.

While these shows have passed, there are still two acoustic shows at Koot’s and one at Hard Rock Cafe that can be attended and given support to. On April 17, Jared Woods and Robb Rood will play an acoustic night at Koot’s, and on April 24 the Rebel Blues Band will play. Along with those, Hard Rock Cafe will host a benefit concert on April 29, with ATF, Transitions, The High Pets, Granddad, Devilwitch, Griffith and RunLikeHell performing. Tickets cost $10, but any donation amount further is accepted as well.

“We are more established now, with having held the same event in the same month for six years in a row so people know it’s coming. People in Alaska are very generous, and I hope to see the Rocks for Autism shows only get bigger and better,” Pederson said.

At the end of the month, Family Tree Presents and the Anchorage Rocks for Autism committee will announce the amount of money raised for FOCUS in 2017. With multiple shows still yet to happen, there is an opportunity for anyone to attend and donate while enjoying some of the local music that Anchorage has to offer.

April 9, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy

In addition to UAA’s successful division I and II sports, the university also implements and promotes a successful program of intramural sports. Since many students like having opportunities to stay active and be social outside of class, there are many sports that are offered and many ways to join and stay active.

The sports range from flag football, basketball, volleyball, indoor soccer, broomball, hockey, inner tube water polo to special events that take place randomly throughout the school year. All of these sports are coed, which many of the participants enjoy because it gives the games a more competitive appeal.

Participants such as Eric Barragan, a sophomore in biological science at UAA, who competed in intramural soccer, enjoys the fact that all the sports incorporate a standard minimum of how many males and females can be on one team. Basketball specifically requires that each team must have six members overall, but there must be a minimum ratio of three males to one female.

Other sports that implement that same policy include basketball and volleyball, whereas the other sports require more than one female on the starting line up.

The intramural sports at UAA and most other public universities instill similar gender equality policies such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association. The NCAA requires an equal number of female and male teams in each division at each university, similar to that, UAA requires each intramural team to have general equality rules to make sure everything stays fair.

Other students enjoy the coed aspect as well, such as Michael Giles, a culinary arts major at UAA. Giles plays on the “Aurora” team in basketball.

“It definitely makes [the game] more fun and more exciting,” he said.

Giles’ team is a mix of five males and three females. However, players such as Giles and many others don’t just play in intramurals to have fun but also to help stay active during the long Alaska winters. He admitted that there is always the option to work out individually, but the intramurals at UAA provide a good outlet for many students.

“This is my third-semester doing intramurals and the reason I got into it was to stay in shape while in college because I was no longer doing school related sports competitively. UAA definitely does provide a good intramural program, but like any program, it’s not perfect and has its flaws, but I think they do a good job and it’s a successful program,” Giles said.

As far as flaws in the program, other athletes find that the facilities for specific sports aren’t ideal. Barragan, from indoor soccer, voiced that it would be more enjoyable if the games would have available turf to play on rather than the gym floors.

“Playing soccer on the gym floors definitely isn’t the best, but I don’t see how or where there would be any turf to play on. Also, the referees aren’t the best [which makes it difficult to play], but it’s still worth it,” Barragan said.

Barragan isn’t the first to notice that some of the referees aren’t the best option for some sports, but it has never been a large problem in the UAA intramural program.

Regardless of any differences or flaws that the program has, intramural sports is a healthy way to get out and stay active while also being social and staying involved on campus.

April 9, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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There’s nothing sentimental about “The Lobster,” but that doesn’t mean it’s cold. There’s a warmth somewhere deep in its damaged heart, and it only shows when things are about to get chilly. For a movie about state-sanctioned monogamy and the toxicity of relationships for relationships’ sake, that bleakness is earned.

From the first frame, watching “The Lobster” is like walking into a freezer. Walking out doesn’t mean you’ll thaw. Chances are, you’ll stay frozen long after the credits roll. It’s detached and quiet, rhythmic and operatic, in all the best ways It’s ambitious in a way few movies dare to be. Part of the movie’s appeal is how eagerly it follows its premise. Newly single people are sent to the Hotel, a place where they have to find love in 45 days or they’re turned into an animal of their choice.

David (Colin Farrell), after his wife of 12 years leaves him, is the newest check-in. If he fails to find a partner, he chooses to turn into a lobster. They live for 100 years, remain fertile their whole life and live in the ocean, which he loves. With him is his brother, now a dog, a failed resident of the Hotel. He meets Robert (John C. Reilly), who has a lisp, and John (Ben Whishaw), who has a limp.

The story expands far beyond that, but I won’t spoil it. It’s a long journey, and more expansive than it seems at first. What starts out as a quirky, if despairing, low-key comedy becomes a brutal exploration of meeting your “match.” The movie peels its quirk back slowly, building to a darkness that will rightfully turn some viewers off. But there’s a reason to fight through.

“The Lobster” is an absurdist epic with layers upon layers of meaning. Combing through its dense surface only leaves deeper, more complicated avenues to explore. Viewers with the mettle to pull through will be richly rewarded. As an example, most of the characters connect based on their perceived flaws. Rob has a lisp, John a limp and David is short sighted. There’s little else to the relationships they form.

If it wasn’t clear already, those relationships are as shallow as can be. But everyone fights to stay in them. The question becomes, is being turned into an animal any worse than breaking off parts of yourself to fit with another broken person? “The Lobster” is a movie so thematically divided that the answer could be either ambiguous or clear as day. No summary or review will help you understand. Instead, here’s some advice, watch it now and decide for yourself.

April 3, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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At times, it can feel like “Evolution” isn’t moving at all. The camera lingers on each gooey detail for a little too long, the characters are slow to react and the story takes its time coming together. At only 81 minutes, you’d think the movie moves at a steady clip. It doesn’t. Having started as an editor, director Lucile Hadzihalilovic engineers every shot to be as gut-churning and ponderous as possible. With the steely eye of her cinematographer Manuel Dacosse. “Evolution” can sometimes feel unbearably sick.

But that’s the point of body horror, the visceral thrill of transformation and death. Hadzihalilovic taps into this spirit but puts a twist on it. “Evolution” isn’t so much about death as it is life. It opens in the womb of the world, the ocean. There, the barely pubescent Nicholas (Max Brebant) finds the corpse of a young boy, a starfish crawling on his body. He runs to tell Mother (Julie-Marie Parmentier), only to hear her say that no corpse exists. Nicholas’ suspicions about his home, an island inhabited only by young boys and older women, begin to mount. When he’s taken to an underground complex for a mysterious medical procedure, those suspicions are confirmed.

If that premise raises questions for you, you’d best make peace with them. “Evolution” answers few, if any of them. What answers it does provide only raise more questions. Dacosse’s sickly color palette and eye for darkness amplifies those reveals. What’s laudable is how unsettling every moment is whether or not it’s violent or disgusting. Though violent and disgusting moments are here in spades. Truthfully, when those moments hit, it’s hard to tell what’s going on. The shadows are heavy, and the context is barely explained.

This also works in the movie’s favor. Nicholas is just hitting puberty when “Evolution” starts, and he knows just as much as viewers do. Here are the basics: only women and children live on the island, they eat one type of food (a green, vaguely aquatic sludge), and the Mothers gather on the beach at night for some reason. From beginning to end, you know just as much about these things as Nicholas does, not much.

Sometimes, it feels self-consciously obscure, deliberately side stepping answers to no narrative end. This becomes especially clear in the movie’s last stretch. So much happens and so little of it is explained that it feels alienating, even if the lingering final shot beautifully grounds what came before it. In the end, this is a small complaint. From top-to-bottom, “Evolution” is a stomach-churning opus. The only catch is that you have to be brave enough to look.

March 28, 2017 Madison Mcenaney

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With the help of the Alaska Film Forum and Bear Tooth Theatrepub, filmmakers of all skill levels have the opportunity to see their work aired on the big screen during an event called Open Projector Night. Since the first projector night in 2010, Bear Tooth has allowed the Alaska Film Forum to use their theatre to host a night featuring short films from filmmakers around Anchorage. There is no specific theme the films must meet, with the only requirement being that the film is under three minutes.

Joshua Lowman works for the Alaska Film Forum, and currently runs open projector nights. Since the total run time for open projector night is 90 minutes, there is a first come, first serve system in order of choosing which films make it. Lowman and other members of the forum receive films and accept them until the time allotment is filled up, which usually happens fairly quickly.

“We get all kinds of applicants, students just getting into filmmaking and professionals who have been doing this for years. It’s always a variety of films, but that keeps the night interesting and serves as a good learning experience for anyone who attends,” Lowman said.

While there are other opportunities in Anchorage to get a film on the big screen, the difference with open projector nights is that there is no feel of competition. The films are shown here to be viewed along with other fimmakers’ products and nothing else, which makes the event much more relaxed and easy going.

“I like that OPN gives someone who wouldn’t normally get the opportunity to see their work displayed on the big screen the chance to do so, and get that reward. It’s a really cool way to give back to the community as well, anywhere from 200-400 people always show up and support the films that are shown,” Lowman said.

Open projector night is beneficial to all filmmakers, but for students who are still learning the ropes of filmmaking, this is a very worthwhile event. Dikeos Foudeas is a journalism student and member of film club at UAA, hoping to get into documentary filmmaking once graduated.

“I like how OPN serves as a hub for local filmmakers, and lets us show our latest works while being able to network too. I meet different filmmakers every time I go, and am always introduced to new ideas that help me improve my filmmaking,” Foudeas said.

The next open projector night is happening on Saturday, April 1, at Bear Tooth beginning at 10 p.m. The event is all ages, and films of all skill levels and themes will be shown.

March 28, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy

The Iditarod has long since been a famous sled dog race in Alaska, dating back to the start in 1973. The race has been run every year, with only a handful of those years resulting in zero deaths.

Animal activists have been arguing that the race is cruel by forcing the dogs through the harsh Alaskan conditions. In under two weeks, the mushers and their teams of generally 16 dogs have to cross 1,000 miles of Alaskan terrain, including blizzards, -50 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures and 40 mph winds.

In the recent conclusion of the 2017 Iditarod, the public and animal rights organizations, such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have been in outrage over the lack of treatment and care that wasn’t put into place to prevent the deaths.

According to a spokesperson for the Iditarod Trail Committee who preferred to remain anonymous said that the majority of the deaths throughout the races could have been prevented with proper treatment and preparation. In the last decade alone 18 dogs have perished:

2017: Five dogs; a majority collapsed on the trail and died, while one overheated in an airplane from Galena to Anchorage

2016: One dog; struck by a drunk snow machine driver

2015: Two dogs; both dogs collapsed on the trail and died

2013: One dog; suffocated in a snow drift in result of being dropped

2009: Six dogs; two died of hypothermia after being stranded in -45 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, one death on a turbulent airplane ride and three died to causes unknown

2008: Three dogs; one snow machine related death, one death due to pneumonia, one death unknown

PETA Vice President Colleen O’Brien examined the situation and realized the extent to which the race overworks the dogs.

“The human winner of this deadly race gets a trophy, the dogs get an icy grave. Enough is enough: The Iditarod must end,” O’Brien said.

However, there has been controversy around PETA statements and arguments. While there is ample evidence that the dogs are dying more than they should, Iditarod organizers have argued that all the dogs go through excessive screening and health checks before the races.

To reflect and show the controversial treatment, Toronto film director Fern Levitt took up a project to expose the behind-the-scenes of the Iditarod.

“I was absolutely shocked. To me, it looked like a concentration camp of dogs… I couldn’t turn away,” Levitt said.

More and more individuals and organizations have been trying to confront and end the tradition that Alaskans and people all over the nation look forward to every March.

PETA has started a petition with already close to 75,000 signatures at the time of this writing, with only 25,000 left needed. Iditarod officials haven’t publicly responded to any of the backlash, but the future isn’t looking great for the famous Alaskan sled dog race.

March 28, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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It doesn’t matter how you feel about the uniquely strange Swedish comedy “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence.” The movie will suck you in whether you hate it or love it. Its style is a recognizable mesh of absurdist and surrealist influences, but it maintains an air all its own. Its sensibility is dark and its humor is dry. Too dry for most viewers perhaps and understandably so.

Characters are dressed in pale colors and corpse makeup. They look deathly pale, always on the verge of some great tragedy, and that tragedy comes often. “A Pigeon” has a habit of stretching funny things to their logical end: despair. Gags as beautifully surreal as the king-in-the-diner scene become horrific, and gags that should be sad are hilarious. Needless to say, watching a movie like this is a trip.

It’s a series of surreal, loosely-connected vignettes, each of which is unpredictable. They could be about a man browsing a museum or slaves being loaded into a Dali-esque reimagining of the brazen bull. Viewers’ only real throughline in this chaos are two traveling salesmen. They sell novelty items door-to-door, vampire teeth with extra long fangs, and a new product they have a lot of faith in, Uncle One-Tooth. They live in abject poverty and gradually decline. Through their story, the movie’s method becomes clear.

There’s not a significant bit in here that isn’t stretched to its logical conclusion. In Andersson’s view, that logical conclusion is a tragedy. It’s a true test of the comedy genre to push it this deeply into horror, and, as I watched it, it just didn’t work for me. The grim sensibility and self-conscious attention to theme made it hard to enjoy “A Pigeon” as a movie. It’s absurdism, so it begs to be poured over despite appearing meaningless. But what could’ve been a bearable macabre comedy feels like an exercise in patience. Like “How little action and repetitive framing can one viewer take?”

The answer: not much. Vignettes sometimes have a title card, and sometimes don’t. I’m sure there’s some significance in that, but it’s hard to ruminate on a movie this exhausting. Every aspect of it is engineered to be as bleak as possible. It recalls Ingmar Bergman at his darkest (see “Through a Glass Darkly”) and early Wes Anderson. The camera never moves, the vignettes are oblique and often unsettling with a few hilarious ones here and there. But “A Pigeon” feels like a stretch: one joke that got far more play than it should have.

March 20, 2017 Sarah Tangog

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Too often we find ourselves caught in the whirlpool of life and revert to our fantasies. There are plenty of geeky universes out there to keep audiences entertained and fans on their toes. Hiding in our fantasy worlds seem like a simple escape, but sometimes we get caught up in the ins and outs of other worlds that we forget to address our own.

“Imaginary Worlds” recognizes that and strives to bridge the disconnect between reality and fiction. Hosted by Erin Molinsky, “Imaginary Worlds” is a podcast that focuses on why we choose to believe our fictional universes more than our own.

The podcast launched its first episode, “Origin Stories,” in 2014. Since then, Molinsky has brought in writers, directors and fellow die-hard fans to discuss, indulge and answer questions about universes we think we already know. Addressed within the episodes are stories similar to the Star Wars universe, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and even J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.”

“Imaginary Worlds” releases episodes bi-weekly and leaves listeners craving more. Each episode is laced with the origins of the universe, the complexities of conflict and the questions that fans all ask. Molinsky himself is a relatable narrator and isn’t afraid to display his obsessions and interests to the audience.

Fans of fiction and fantasy will easily relate to how big of an impact these universes make on our lives and, more importantly, listeners will see how vital the juxtaposition between real and imaginary really is.

March 20, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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Making something as straightforward as “The Red Turtle” is no easy task. Making something so simple and as incredible as “The Red Turtle” is even harder. Although, somehow it meets the challenge. It’s about a nameless man who, set adrift by a storm, washes up on an island’s shore. He gets his bearings and starts to explore, gathering resources for food and shelter. Once he’s settled in, he makes three rafts, all of which are destroyed by what he finds out to be a red turtle. That red turtle comes on shore one day, and the man makes a choice that has, to put it lightly, unpredictable consequences.

I assure you, those consequences aren’t what you think they are. This movie has a fascinating tension to it because, without dialogue or explanation at all, it’s hard to know what’s going to happen. Some moments are more transparent, but all of them are tearjerkers. “The Red Turtle” is one of those animations that’s beautiful enough to make viewers tear up on sight.

That’s thanks to the animation and music equally. Studio Ghibli co-produced, so the visual sensibility is familiar. It’s soft and warm, even in the roughest moments. However, when coupled with director Michael Dudok de Wit’s style it looks like the perfect marriage between Japanese ink wash painting and Chinese watercolor. Animation like that calls for quietude, and “The Red Turtle” has that in spades.

Without spoiling too much, more characters show up eventually. Even then, there’s no dialogue. The most moving moments in here, especially the drawing-in-the-sand scene, are built on silence. At points, it feels like “The Red Turtle” taps into the kind of communication we knew as children but have forgotten. In those days, everything was big, and everything was fascinating.

The stunning landscapes will have viewers feeling just that way: eager to hunt the frame for every minute color shift. The characters themselves are so organic on the island that differentiating them, narratively speaking, is impossible. With its magical realist edge, the man and his companions are drawn even closer to the land. Above that, however, “The Red Turtle” is an exercise in setting. Through subtle framing and parallax, the island’s dominance of its inhabitants is clear. De Wit is careful to assert that dominance in every small and large way he can.

There’s a timely discussion here about our place in nature and how we find meaning in it. Going that deep, though, doesn’t feel quite right. The movie’s magic comes from its matter-of-factness. It’s a compact tale where everything viewers see on screen happens. The story finds meaning for its own sake: the images and what they mean are one in the same. Analyzing that is dangerous because its meaning isn’t in the interpretation, it’s in the feeling.

The music, on the other hand, adds a lot but threatens to overstate the point. Everything about the movie is so quiet that fluffing it up with a swelling score sometimes feels like a disservice. When it works, though, it really works. When it’s comfortable being as simple as the movie, the whole feels transcendent. In those moments, getting lost in “The Red Turtle” is easy, and finding your way back feels like a disappointment.

March 20, 2017 Lauren Cuddihy
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Sophia Hyderally performing her first place routine. Photo credit: Skip Hickey

After a relatively quick and generally successful regular season, the Seawolves’ gymnastic team took on the last meet for the majority of the women. UAA has only been in competition since Jan. 11 but has managed to compete in nine different meets in the eight-week period.

With many individual and team records and accomplishments, the Seawolves aimed to reach their season-high score of 192.700, a large improvement from their season-low of 188.950. In addition, many individuals were set on their goals of improving season personal records.

UAA had returners such as 2016-17 season standouts Madeline Arbuckle, Kendra Daniels and Kallie Randolph made appearances at the meet to work on personal scores. In addition, many freshmen joined them in the meet, and senior Nicole Larkin wanted to make the meet worth it for them.

“For the freshmen who didn’t really know [what to expect], we hoped to bring in some energy and competition in to the meet for them,” Larkin said.

A part of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, UAA competed in the league championships on March 18 in San Jose, California. The Seawolves entered the meet with a regional qualifying score of 190.635 while they had an average team score of 190.133, which is good for the No. 6 seed. However, with only six teams in the conference championships, the Seawolves and head coach Paul Stoklos knew they were starting off at the back of the pack.

“We knew we were going in last, and our goal [was] to move up in the lineup. It would take the meet of our lives and some critical errors from the other teams,” Stoklos said.

The standout performance of the meet on UAA’s side stands with a first place tie in beam for freshman Sophia Hyderally. The Alabama local was able to secure the school-record in the event with a 9.925. This also increased her personal record in the event from her previous one of 9.825.

Hyderally’s individual MPSF title became the first one in UAA history to ever be earned on beam, as well as being the ninth one in any event.

The second high individual scorer on the Seawolves side was Randolph in floor. She tied for 16th with a 9.725.

The only all-arounder on the Seawolves’ side was Arbuckle. The Winnipeg local finished with a total score of 36.850, with top scores in bars (9.6) and floor (9.475).

In addition, the Seawolves managed to surpass their former team high score of 48.650 in beam to a 48.950. Top scorers that contributed to the new record included Hyderally (9.825), Daniels (9.675), Randolph (9.650), sophomore Kaylin Mancari (9.650) and Larkin (9.625).

“The team really stepped up and we had the high score of the season… we were able to get some good quality training time in and some rest [beforehand],” Stoklos said.

Overall, the Seawolves finished off the meet at No. 6, with no change from their entry seed of No. 6. However, the team isn’t entirely disappointed.

“We wanted to focus on our attitudes and energy and focus on ourselves rather than focusing on the outcome,” Larkin said.

No individuals from the team are expected to qualify for the NCAA West Regional Championships, therefore officially ending the 2017 gymnastics season for the Seawolves.

March 5, 2017 Jacob Holley-Kline

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There’s no way around it, the 3-D CG action flick “Gantz: O” is nuts, just like the manga it’s based on.

“Gantz,” the movie is a fearless work of imagination, chock full of beautifully rendered creatures and brutal violence. Unlike the manga it’s based on, “Gantz: O” is limited by the medium. A movie can only fit in so many set pieces and monsters, so the movie opts instead for a few memorable sequences over a hodgepodge of smaller ones.

There are enough terrifying monsters in here to change that, but director Yasushi Kawamura wisely uses them as a backdrop for the real big bad. Even then, a problem arises: how do you explain all these monsters? Thankfully, everyone in the movie wonders the same thing. The most asked question is, ‘What’s going on?’ and it has a beautifully simple answer: There are monsters from outer space running around wreaking havoc. Even then, the sheer number of them can get overwhelming.

Ending this chaos, though, has a not-so-simple answer. Our heroes, called gamers, are recently deceased people forced by an autonomous 8-Ball to kill those monsters in a set amount of time for points. Once someone reaches 100 points, they can either return to their life or resurrect a dead teammate. The movie follows Masura (Daisuke Ono) after he’s murdered on his little brother’s birthday. He wakes up in a small room (“Gantz: O’s” version of a loading screen) with the model Reika (Saori Hayami), the old man Suzuki (Shuichi Ikeda) and the young hothead Nishi (Tomohiro Kaku). As their name implies, they’re usually sent to Tokyo to fight, but this time, they’re sent to Osaka. There, they face a threat unlike any before, Nurarihyon, a monster in the skin of a small old man.

If that premise sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. Most of the violence is over-the-top enough to not feel alienating, but there are some genuinely unsettling moments. The line between those kinds of violence is thin, and the movie walks it well, exploiting death as much as it explores it. Blood here is measured in gallons, and bodies are counted by the thousands. When something happens in “Gantz: O,” it’s big by design. Even smaller character moments, however weak they might be, operate on a massive scale.

“Gantz: O” is more like a video game than a movie, except the people and monsters are very real. It’s not explained clearly how the gamers operate in the real world. They’re essentially zombies with “Crysis” suits and energy-powered weaponry who can take a serious beating. Its main problem is that it builds a fascinating world and doesn’t explore it nearly enough, certainly not as much as the eponymous Manga series. For an adapted franchise like this, that’s not a bad problem to have.

March 5, 2017 Madison Mcenaney
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Ives Viray takes the floor during practice with crew members at Express Studio. Photo credit: Jay Guzman

Express Studio is currently Anchorage’s primary break-dancing studio, located downtown on fourth Ave. The studio opened its doors for the first time last month and has been working to bring in new students since. Ives Viray and Jermine Bulaong are the two owners of Express Studio, and they have a very clear vision of what they want the studio to become.

“We want to attract people who really want to learn about breaking, people that are eager about the sport. As long as they have that drive, we will teach them,” Viray said.

To help bring people into the studio, Viray and Bulaong have begun to host monthly events that they call Room 100. Anchorage’s best breakers battle each other, showcasing their talents. The best breaker wins money and a trophy. Each month’s winner must defend their title at the following battle, and attempts to stay the winner of Room 100. The second round will happen on March 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Express Studio.

“Room 100 kind of looks like a big dance party, we had a lot of fun with the first event last month. Around 30 people came and watched the whole thing go down, so we hope that this month we get even more people to come out,” Viray said.

The break-dancing scene in Anchorage is small, and people like Viray and Bulaong are working to help make people interested in the sport. They started a crew, with members of all ages and skill levels who are passionate about hip hop. When open classes aren’t going on, they practice at Express Studio, improving on their breaking skills as well.

“This crew is brand new and we are still trying to work out some things, but every single member cares a lot about breaking and feels passionate about it. We all love working with each other and helping each other improve too, so I think we’re gonna do some cool things in the coming months,” Viray said.

Express Studio has open doors for anyone who is interested in break-dancing themselves, or even for people who just want to watch. Room 100 is one of the ways to find out about the talent at Express Studio, and the owners hope to hold even more events similar to that in the future as the studio grows.

April 7, 2016 Shay Spatz

On April 1st, several first response groups got together to simulate a crisis. This training helps first responders better understand what to do in an active shooter situation to keep UAA a safe place.

November 4, 2015 Nolin Ainsworth

There has been no shortage of questions surrounding this years’ Seawolves since they first took the ice last month. Will they rebound from last season? How quickly will the freshmen mesh with the rest of the team? Can the Seawolves score consistently? Will Oliver Mantha be everything he was last season, i.e., a brick wall?…

June 30, 2015 Nolin Ainsworth

The University of Alaska Anchorage Seawolves hosted Alaska’s most popular marathon and half-marathon event June 20. Several thousand runners competed in the race. It seemed as if the only one who forgot to show up to the Mayor’s Marathon was the sun, which shines for a boastful 20 hours during summer solstice. Instead, overcast skies,…

March 24, 2015 Victoria Petersen

Student Nicole Sola might be seen around campus studying chemistry or at Bear Tooth Theatre Pub serving pizza and beer. A UAA graduate in international studies with minors in German and political science, 24-year-old Sola is back at school on a new path studying biology. “(I) Decided I wanted to come back and study biology….

March 4, 2015 Evan Dodd

Well it finally happened. Much to the surprise of every cynic, including myself, marijuana legalization passed in Alaska and reefer madness quickly ensued, destabilizing any remaining morals in our depraved society.

Well, not exactly. Actually the day passed with little to no fanfare, with Anchorage Police issuing only three citations for the public use of cannabis, and Wasilla (widely held as the hometown of grass-growing miscreants) had exactly zero citations. In fact, without the local news agencies posting about the subject to Facebook every five minutes, I probably would have entirely forgotten about the big day.

Like it or not, though, it looks as if the devil’s lettuce is legal, regulated and here to stay. So here are a few tips for those of those looking to responsibly enjoy their newfound freedoms.

If you live on campus, don’t smoke or store cannabis in your room. Those “fire drills” they do are often more about making sure you haven’t left a smoldering blunt in a roach clip on your desk than they are about ensuring that a group of adults can properly respond to a fire alarm. And your resident advisers aren’t idiots, either — they know damn well why your dorm smells like incense or why you’ve shoved towels up against the crack in the door. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level, and because this is a public university, don’t expect to legally light up during your time here.

Secondly, for the love of all rational thought, don’t drive stoned. I don’t care how many times you’ve seen Cheech and Chong do it, or how good you are at the weed mission in “Grand Theft Auto.” If you drive high, you’re getting a DUI — and that’s the end of it. Remember: Alaska is on the forefront of marijuana legalization. Don’t hurt your own cause by becoming a statistic to be used in arguments for prohibition. As much as Taco Bell loves the increased consumer base, they’d much rather have repeat customers than have a one-time order because you stupidly got your license suspended.

Finally, be careful how (and with whom) you share your love of trees with. While it may be legal in the eyes of the state, there is absolutely nothing keeping your employer from testing, and subsequently kicking your ass to the curb if you come up hot. That risk-benefit analysis is going to be different for every person and something you need to determine on your own — so don’t be so cavalier about your plant preferences before you’ve figured out how it may affect your career.

Notice that there’s a common theme here: Don’t let pot get in the way of your life. You know those people that drink excessively or seem to always have a beer in hand? We call those people alcoholics, and all the mental gymnastics in the world can’t rationalize why it’s a good idea to do the same with some Mary Jane.

I’ll admit, there are a lot of “don’ts” in this article, so before I get accused of harshing anyone’s mellow, let me outline what you can do in this new age of green: You can enjoy your herbs responsibly and revel in the fact that no one is going to bust in your front door over it.

If you own your own property, then feel free to grow a plant or two (though no more than six if you’re trying not to run afoul of The Man), or just enjoy your bud responsibly with some good friends. Stay home, order in some pizza or Chinese food and queue up that Netflix playlist you save for the weekend — you know, the one filled with old cartoons, wild nature videos or campy B movies like “Big Trouble in Little China.” Listen, if you want to watch “Fantasia 2000” three times in a row while feasting on Doritos and donut holes, then as an Alaskan you’re now entitled to do that.

Most importantly, as that guy who makes the rice once told his spider-nephew, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Don’t harass or pressure those who don’t smoke, don’t burn one at the expense of those around you, and don’t become a nuisance that gives people a reason to hate your newfound freedoms. There is a substantial stigma against potheads, stoners and jolly green giants alike, and if you’d like to help overcome that, then you better act accordingly. Be polite, be courteous and most importantly, be excellent to one another.

So go out, do your own funky thing, enjoy yourselves responsibly (note the repetition on that point?) and be ever-thankful that you live in one of the few states that grants you that right.

Finally, I just want to thank the voters of Alaska for giving me the opportunity to get paid to write a column using as many different euphemisms for cannabis as I can reasonably imagine. I can only hope that you find this as funny as I do.