Category: Uncategorized

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.

March 4, 2015 George Hyde

A deck building dungeon-crawling rogue-like with “Arkham Asylum” style combat and visual novel elements, with a narrator reading everything you do — that is the simplest way I can explain “Hand of Fate.” It sounds like an incomprehensible mish-mash of different ideas. But all of the elements actually mix and blend together quite nicely to…

February 26, 2015 Nolin Ainsworth

Twitter has drastically changed the relationship between fans and sports teams. It has allowed fans to not only follow their favorite teams, but be in the loop with their favorite players in live time.

Fans and teams are more connected than ever before. Win-win, right? Not so fast.

One of the consequences of this new relationship reared its ugly head a week ago.

Seattle’s favorite quarterback, Russell Wilson, has amassed over a million followers on Twitter. He stays in touch with his fans by sending them Bible verses, motivational quotes, and inspirational photos.

But on Feb. 13 he sent out a tweet that irked some of his followers. It was the opening weekend of the sexy, controversial drama “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Wilson tweeted he had gone to an early premiere of the film. “Great movie,” the tweet said in part.

Then the stones were thrown:

“COME ON MAN!!! THAT MOVIE IS MORAL FILTH!!!”

“if you call yourself a follower of Jesus then you should have never seen that movie. Makes you look like a hypocrite.”

“lots of respect for you… but why endorse this movie? Disappointing.”

The responses were overwhelmingly negative.

It created enough of a stir that that Wilson sent a follow-up tweet: “Saw a movie filmed in the town I call home. Provocative/disturbing no doubt but that does not make me less Faithful. Have a blessed day!”

I claimed earlier this is one of the ugly consequences of fans being able to directly correspond to athletes and now I’ll explain why.

As a result of being able to keep up with Wilson’s day-to-day thoughts, ideas and activities, a certain intimacy formed between him and followers. That is, after all, what Twitter was designed for. But is that intimacy actually real? By clicking “follow” next to a picture of Wilson, do we really become best buds with him?

I don’t think so. There are serious limitations to social media and how close you can be with someone else through it.

Whether it was going to see an R-rated film or something else, the Twitterverse has no business judging someone’s actions. It is hurtful, shameful and unfair to the person who gets the brunt end of it — which, in this case, was Wilson. In order to accurately judge anyone, you need to have a relationship with that individual.

And being a follower is not the same as being in a relationship with them — period.

 

February 18, 2015 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde I laugh at your methods of transportation. We have great warships that travel at light-speed, and what do you humans have? A clunky, large, gas-guzzling box that, more often than not, doesn’t have the guts to move at anything faster than thirty miles an hour. If I had…

December 5, 2014 James Evans

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yVkvTj7VF0″ autoplay=”yes”] After two years in the Professional Studies Building with a temporary lab downtown, UAA’s Anthropology Department is returning to the newly-renovated Beatrice G. McDonald Hall. By James R. Evans Photo Editor The Northern Light [email protected] UAA Anthropology: http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/anthropology/ The Northern Light | The student newspaper for UAA: http://www.thenorthernlight.org http://www.facebook.com/northernlightuaa @TNL_updates Inquiries: [email protected]

November 20, 2014 Kierra Hammons

Last Thursday and Friday, the newly remodeled ANSEP Academy Building buzzed with excitement as 48 middle school-aged students made empty computer towers come to life. This activity is part of a free 10-day program put on by the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, which immerses sixth through eighth graders in science, technology, math and…

November 7, 2014 James Evans
[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F38ROY5uxwA” autoplay=”yes”]

By James R. Evans

More than 1,000 people cast their votes at the UAA Student Union during the midterm election. Volunteer election worker Bill Gee did his best to help and entertain every one of them.

Connect with The Northern Light:
www.thenothernlight.org
www.twitter.com/TNL_Updates
www.facebook.com/northernlightuaa

Election 2014 Results:
http://www.ktva.com/43580/

October 30, 2014 George Hyde

By Klax Zlubzecon Translated by George Hyde I saw a picture on Facebook that summed up my opinions on this whole Ebola thing quite nicely: “More Americans have been married to Kim Kardashian than have died from Ebola.” That’s a pretty sad way to look at it, but I don’t think Ebola is going to…

October 7, 2014 Stephen Cress

USUAA has officially established a rules committee as of its Sept. 26 general assembly meeting. According to the bylaws of the USUAA constitution, a rules committee should be formed within the first two weeks of the new semester.

The members of the rules committee — Jonathon Taylor, Samantha Reischer, Amanda Boger and Parker Dahl — were appointed Sept. 19 and will serve on the newly formed committee. The USUAA Rules Committee will primarily be responsible for establishing standing rules for the assembly while ensuring that all USUAA rules are followed according to the USUAA constitution.

In addition to creating and interpreting rules, the rules committee is also responsible for making sure senators are doing their respected jobs; examining conflicts between the constitution and bylaws to ensure both documents work in harmony; working on and dealing with any charges filed against an assembly member that pertains to his or her job performance; and lastly, appointing assembly members to other committees.

USUAA has faced obstacles during its fall 2014 meetings due to ambiguities concerning how to properly interpret certain bylaws in the USUAA Constitution. USUAA hopes to avoid such hang-ups in the future with the new rules committee in place.

Senator Stephen Warta said the newly appointed committee will make USUAA’s general assembly meetings more efficient than they have been this semester.

“We don’t want to spend valuable time discussing issues that could probably wait until another day,” Warta said. “Ideally, the rules committee will establish how to properly interpret things so we don’t waste a lot of time with personal biases. Also, with the committee in place, we can start to move ahead within our discussions of the needs of students and concentrate more on finding solutions.”

Senator Samuel Doepken said a rules committee is typically appointed within the second week of school.

“The establishment of a rules committee was a little delayed, but I’m glad they’re up and running, so now we can have the rest of the committees actually working towards their assignments and get the ball rolling on other things.”

USUAA general assembly meetings are held Fridays at 3 p.m. For more information on how to get involved with USUAA, please contact USUAA at 907-786-1203, or stop by the Student Government office located in room 201 in the Student Union.