- Global gorillas honored at dinner
Marcus Clem | editor in chief
When they arrive, Pittsburg State’s international students tend to be confused, nervous and flatly lost. One student who came in January said, “It was so cold it made me cry.”
Yet, many internationals were united in reflecting what they say is an everlasting bond to the university and the community at International Programs and Services’ graduation dinner on Monday, Dec. 2.
“Thank you for being here for all of us and believing in us,” said Cecilia Idika-Kalu of Nigeria, graduate student in business. “I know that here, you will succeed in meeting your greatest dreams, or at least you will have tried.”
The dinner, where Cathy Lee Arcuino, director of international programs and services, served as master of ceremonies was held in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of Overman Student Center. It had a capacity attendance.
Idika-Kalu was one of two internationals who delivered speeches after receiving honors for their accomplishments at Pitt State. The other was Miguelangel Diaz of Venezeula.
Mirth, centered on what several speakers characterized as the internationals’ unique situation at this institution, was a common element of the night.
“When I got here I didn’t expect that Pitt would be as tiny as it is,” said Diaz, senior in mathematics. “Yet, we have teachers and an environment to compete with bigger schools.”
Lynette Olson, university provost, emphasized the program’s mission to bring people and cultures together.
“We hope that you take with you a better understanding of America, Americans and in particular those of us who live in this faraway land of Southeast Kansas,” she said. “We want more people to come from your country to help us continue to learn and share these valuable experiences with them.”
Alheli Aranda of Paraguay provided piano music for the evening.
“Most Americans, when they graduate, have a house party or something,” said Aranda, senior in musical performance. “(Internationals) usually just go home and pack. This is the perfect closing. It gives us a perfect opportunity to see those we will not see anymore.”
The close of the evening’s events featured the distribution of International Knowledge and Experience (IKE) and Global Leadership Institute (GLI) awards.
Thirty-nine IKE and 12 GLI certificates were presented to a combination of American and international students.
- Catch this fire
Logan Qualls | reporter
With the bar already set high from the huge success of the first film in the trilogy, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” blazes forward with a degree of ferocity and excellence that matches the girl on fire herself.
With the addition of a new director, Francis Lawrence, the trilogy’s sophomore effort proves to be a stunning success. Fans of the book series, by Suzanne Collins, can appreciate the care that went into creating an accurate and entertaining adaptation of the book.
Following Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence; “Silver Linings Playbook,” “X-Men: First Class”) victory in the previous games, she has returned home to grapple with piecing together her life before and after the games. Her struggle with reconciling her feelings for Gale while battling with the complicated relationship between her and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson; “Red Dawn,” “The Kids Are All Right”) after the cameras have left provides the film’s strength, but not the focal point, allowing the audience to draw conclusions of their own.
Following a surprise visit from President Snow, Katniss is made aware of the repercussions of her victory, and defiance toward the Capitol. Given an ultimatum to convince the people of Panem that her actions were inspired by love and not rebellion, Katniss must travel across the country to each district and act blissfully in love with Peeta, or her family and loved ones will die.
The film incorporates the key elements of the book without dragging down the plot’s momentum. The film adaptation maintains the tense plot while providing audiences insight into the inner thoughts of the characters.
The visuals and cinematography are breathtaking. Much of the film was captured using IMAX cameras, the scenes in the arena using it extensively.
The score, composed by James Newton Howard, complements the rise and fall of tension as the movie progresses. The score also features songs from many contemporary artists, including Imagine Dragons, The Weeknd, Lorde and Of Monsters and Men, to name a few.
Phenomenal performances from the entire cast with Jennifer Lawrence reprising her role as Katniss Everdeen. Lawrence’s performance demonstrates the effect of extreme physical and mental burden her character is subjected to and the challenge to stay whole when all of the pieces are falling apart.
Audiences of both the film and book could not ask for a better sequel. The culmination of the elements of production are expertly balanced and executed. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is a perfect example of the importance of process in a production. It is no surprise the film succeeds on every level.
- Out of control
Consoles commence next gaming generation
Jay Benedict | reporter
Sony and Microsoft have unleashed their newest gaming consoles just in time for them to kill students’ productivity during the busiest time of the semester.
Sony’s Playstation 4 (PS4) and Microsoft’s Xbox One were released a week apart, with Sony striking first. Since then, PS4 sales have exceeded 2.1 million units as of Dec. 1. Microsoft has yet to release official numbers, but a spokesperson said it sold more than 1 million in the first week.
“What console you own has become a little like political parties,” said Anthony Marcano, master’s in communication. “We go back and forth over which one is better, but it all comes down to personal preference. I was raised on Playstation, so that’s what I bought, but there were other factors.”
Several PSU students contributed to those sales and factors like hardware, brand loyalty, price, console exclusives, social features and versatility were deciding factors.
Jeff Linville picked his Xbox One up at the midnight release.
“Both consoles sold more in 24 hours than previous generations did a month,” said Linville, master›s in business. “It’s a much bigger customer base now and this shows the power that the medium has gained.”
Linville says he went with Xbox for several reasons, but the versatility was one of the biggest.
“I’ve always had an Xbox, most of my friends play Xbox, but this console does so much more,” Linville said. “They’re reaching into the living room. This isn’t just a 10-year-old playing Mario. The whole family can use it.”
That’s where the difference between the consoles really is. Many of the specifications are similar. PS4 has a slight edge in processing power, graphics and Wi-Fi capabilities, and costs $100 less, but Microsoft tried to make a machine that could rule your living room.
Michael McFarland, freshman in political science, echoed Linville’s brand loyalty, but to Sony.
“I’ve always had a Playstation, and it was cheaper,” McFarland said. “The hardware capabilities and the controller were a real selling point. It feels amazing and it has a touch pad.”
The hardware advantages are important to Jordan Bailey. He says the current games don’t fully showcase the potential the PS4 has, but looks forward to seeing it.
“The increased fidelity of the games is instantly noticeable and the fluid gameplay feels amazing,” Bailey said. “Battlefield 4 has so far been the most impressive, with PC-sized 64-player matches and no hitch in the frame rate.”
Marcano agrees to an extent.
“‘Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag’ is beautiful on the PS4,” Marcano said. “The hardware in the PS4 is better, so why would I pay more for an Xbox that isn’t as powerful?”
Linville says the graphics on his Xbox are fine.
“‘Ryse: Son of Rome’ really showcased what it can do and it was gorgeous and immersive,” Linville said.
Both systems come with a Blu-ray player and have online services that allow access to services like Netflix, Hulu, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The Xbox One goes beyond this, though. Every new console comes with a new generation of Microsoft’s Kinect that enables user recognition and voice command. It also allows the user to run its cable box through it. Linville says this is the Xbox’s coolest feature.
“I can say ‘Xbox, watch Comedy Central’ and it switches to that channel. If you are playing a game, you can watch TV at the same time in a smaller screen on the side,” Linville said. “If you play fantasy football, Microsoft made a deal with the NFL. You can watch football, and have browser window open on the side with your team and live updates.»
The bottom line here is that video games have become a huge cultural and economic force. The most recent Call of Duty game sold more than $1 billion in the first 24 hours. No other title in any other medium can boast anything close to that.
These early adopters at PSU will be joined by countless others, and slowly, but surely, video game consoles are expanding beyond being just the box the “10-year-old playing Mario” that Linville mentioned. They’re multimedia social devices entire households invest time in.
“I’ve been playing games all my life, and it’s insane what’s going on now,” Linville said. “Each console has its strengths, but both are huge steps forward.”
- Recital in the rough
Hastings, York bring Colonial Fox, PSU Department of Music together to entertainment
Logan Qualls | reporter
Despite the chill from the cold outside, the Colonial Fox’s backstage was soon warmed by the wonderful voice of Stella Hastings accompanied by the brilliant Barbara York on piano during the Backstage Series, Recital in the Rough on Friday, Nov. 15.
The third installment of the series is the first collaboration between the Colonial Fox and PSU Department of Music.
The night began with an original piece from Barbara York and ended with featured selections from the musical “Colette.” Next, the duo performed a series of religious chants interspersed with cabaret-esque tunes. An interesting matching, as it required Hastings to seamlessly transform from a pious, somber monk to a sultry and flirtatious cabaret singer, quite literally, without missing a note.
The next selection “Four Personal Ads” by Dan Welcher, was especially entertaining. Four songs, performed as four different characters proved to be no challenge for Hastings as she captivated the audience with each glittering personality.
The next two songs, “No One is Alone” from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and “Nature Boy” by Eden Ahbez, were personal favorites of Hastings and performed beautifully.
Hastings says careful consideration was put into use when selecting material for the performance.
“We started rehearsing with the Welcher songs and built the rest from there,” said Hastings.
PSU alumna and avid supporter of the Colonial Fox renovation, Megan Caprice says she greatly enjoyed the evening.
“It was fabulous, a lot of fun,” she said. “The cozy, personal setting was different from your typical concert with so much distance between the audience and the performer. This allowed for a unique interaction with Hastings moving throughout the audience during her performance.”
Hastings says she has a personal connection to the theater.
“I love this space, I love everything about it,” she said. “The feeling I get when I’m in here, the look, the potential that’s here, the memories it holds, the acoustics, and I could not have done a concert like this in the more traditional setting of a recital hall.”
With high hopes for more performances in the future, the Colonial Fox presents a great opportunity for the Pittsburg community as an avenue for the arts and entertainment.
“I hope that this theater continues to entice different acts and different audiences, because everybody that walks through these doors will respond differently to the space,” Hastings said. “Being a member on the board of trustees for the Colonial Fox, it’s important to bring as many people in here, and share our story.”
Sarah Jenson, pr/marketing director for the Colonial Fox, agreed with Hastings.
“One of things we’ve been hearing most from the community is, get people in the building.”
The fourth concert in the series will be on Friday, Nov. 22. Titled “Folk Alley,” the night will feature performances from the Vogts Sisters, Frank Butorac and J.T. Knoll. The concert will start at 7:30. Space is limited and tickets are on sale for $10.
- Movie, game inspire themed party
Audrey Dighans | copy editor
It wasn’t raining, the guests, for the most part, all knew each other and the weapons were far from lethal during Sigma Tau Delta’s “Clue” party on Friday, Nov. 15.
The event was held at the home of Jamie McDaniel, assistant professor in English and adviser to Sigma Tau Delta, PSU’s Honors Society, for an authentic appeal to the game.
“We all, including Dr. McDaniel, have a great love for ‘Clue,’” said Lori Dyer, graduate student in English and president of Sigma Tau Delta. “If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly suggest watching it.”
Dyer added that Sigma Tau and the English club always hold an end-of-the-semester party.
“During a slow period of our book sale last semester, some of us started watching the movie, which gave us the idea to make this year’s party themed after the movie and game,” she said. “We’d already had the party planned for that semester and waiting gave us more time to prepare for this one.”
The evening began with pizza and snacks while guests continued to arrive, just as happens in the film. Also in keeping with the theme, many guests chose to dress up as characters from the movie.
“Why not?” said Hannah Walker, graduate student and member of Sigma Tau. Walker came dressed as Mrs. Peacock. “It adds to the fun.”
Others attended for the entertainment of the evening.
“’Clue’ is one of my favorite movies,” said Courtni Dillard, senior in communication. “I saw the flier and got super excited about it.”
After the film, guests played a real life version of the game.
“I did my best to provide the weapons for the game,” McDaniel said.
To assign roles, players each draw a single card from a deck. The card designates who they will be. The weapons – candlestick, rope, dagger, lead pipe, revolver and wrench – are then dispersed among the players and the lights are turned off.
“It’s really exciting for us,” McDaniel said. “The game is fun to play and the movie is great. If you’re a lover of “Clue” then tonight is great in every way.”
McDaniel added that he hopes the club will turn the party into an annual event.
“I’d come back every year for that,” said Dayne Riley, lecturer in English and member of Sigma Tau. “You can’t do ‘Clue’ without Col. Mustard,” Riley said of his character.