PittCulture

  • On the Hunt

    As I was digging through all the clothes in the Career Services Career Closet, I pulled an outfit that was fit for a business professional interview. I wanted something that looked as close to a suit as possible, so I chose a black blazer and black slacks. Then I added a little color with a modest pink undershirt.

    Alexis Jackson, junior in fashion merchandising with a minor in mathematics, shows off her outfit that she constructed from clothes in the Career Closet for this week's look of the week.

    Alexis Jackson, junior in fashion merchandising with a minor in mathematics, shows off her outfit that she constructed from clothes in the Career Closet for this week’s look of the week.


    Solid colors were my main focus for this look because you want something that lets the interviewer know you are serious about the job. Lots of designs can be distracting (save the cute patterned clothes for when you get hired). I also decided on this outfit because it is about to get chilly outside and the outfit is best suited for the season.
    I had a little bit of help from a friend designing this outfit because interview wear is not my strong point and business wear is not an area of fashion that I want to pursue. I am looking more into the sportswear industry. I have not gone on too many interviews and I am not following trends of business professional at this point in my life.
    But graduation is right around the corner and it will be time for me to go on the big job hunt. The career closet can help college students like me. A lot of options are available for job interviews. How you dress is important, no matter what career you are pursuing or how casual the dress code is at the job.
    Each of the looks featured in this article is available in the Career Clothes Closet, on the second floor of Horace Mann.  All the clothes in the Career Clothes Closet are free to students.  
    The Look of the Week is brought to you by the partnership between the Office of Career Services, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Fashion Merchandising program, and The Collegio.   

  • For better or worse

    Fall TV’s highlights and flops

    | Jay Benedict reporter |

    It’s officially fall, and that means cooler temperatures, colorful foliage, pumpkin-flavored everything and TV networks throwing pilots at audiences.
    Networks find it increasingly difficult to put hits on the screen. Most of last year’s show were forgettable, and there may have been a record set for shows canceled after just a few episodes.
    Fortunately, this year looks a little better. The charge for better content this season is driven by DC comic book adaptations. DC seems to have temporarily admitted defeat to Marvel in theaters, so the company is trying to stay ahead on the small screen. With Marvel doubling down on its “S.H.I.E.L.D.” franchise on ABC in January 2015 with “Agent Carter,” DC has three series based on its characters debuting this fall.
    DC found success with a surprisingly good and dark retelling of Oliver Queen’s Green Arrow origin story on CW’s “Arrow” series. Now, it’s the Flash’s turn. The series received a bit of a backdoor pilot in Arrow’s season two, but there’s a full-fledged premiere coming in October. So far, it looks to be a bit lighter than “Arrow,” but not as goofy as the recent installments of Spider-Man have been. It, and the return of “Arrow,” are both worth looks.
    FOX and DC are hoping that they can build a series around DC’s most popular character without actually including him. “Gotham” premiered Monday, Sept. 22, and centers on a young Jim Gordon, the character that will eventually become commissioner of Gotham PD and one of Batman’s greatest allies.
    “Gotham” starts with Gordon (Benjamin McKenzie) as a rookie detective who is tasked with navigating the corruption of the city’s police force and political structure through organized crime while investigating the murder of a young Bruce Wayne’s parents.
    The pilot plodded along for the first two-thirds or so, but really showed promise in the final act. We’ve seen Batman’s origin story before, but this is a chance to see everyone else’s. It’s definitely worth giving the series a chance.
    Finally, there’s “Constantine.” The source material comes from DC’s “Hellblazer” series. It’s an interesting blend of the occult, supernatural and superhuman powers. The 2005 movie “Constantine” starring Keanu Reeves did not do it justice. NBC brought in writers from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, Showtime’s “Dexter,” and a director from HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” There’s a lot of talent and promise here, so keep an eye out for this series in October.
    Most of the other fare this fall comes in the standard formats of political dramas, crime procedurals and family sitcoms, but that’s what people watch. “NCIS” was a clone of “CSI” and now it’s got two spinoffs. CBS recently premiered “NCIS: New Orleans.” At least it’s got Scott Bakula (Quantum Leap) as its lead.
    ABC’s most promising crime drama comes in the form of “How to Get Away with Murder.” The show comes from the creators of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” and they all air on the same night. Viola Davis (“The Help”) stars as a criminal-professor who asks her students to analyze murders, and eventually the students are practicing what they learn to cover up their own misdeeds. It seems a little ridiculous, but Davis is a solid anchor for this series to build around.
    “Madame Secretary” is a political drama starring Tea Leoni whose old boss, who just so happens to now be the president, calls her up and asks her to be secretary of state. She’s an outsider who wants to shake things up; a maverick, if you will. The series is slightly less corny than the trailers and taglines would have you believe (“Protocol? I’m not a big fan of protocol.” and “You don’t just think outside the box, you don’t even know that the box exists!”) Ugh.
    CBS serves up another political/espionage thriller called “State of Affairs.” Katherine Heigl brings her questionable romantic comedy chops to lead role as a  CIA agent with a complicated personal life, so there’s a good chance this will be terrible.
    Kate Walsh (Private Practice) plays the lead role in NBC’s dramedy “Bad Judge.” The premise of a judge with questionable ethics is interesting, but would be served better on cable, where the rules are a little more lax. The plot devolves into well-tread ground; a flawed authority figure has to become a decent role model.
    Sitcoms and premium cable are entirely different from the drama/crime covered here. Check out the Collegio next week to see more about what’s in store this fall.
    There’s a handy guide at http://www.metacritic.com/feature/tv-premiere-dates that displays the dates, channels and times of all new and returning series

  • Raucos audience in sync with ‘Rocky Horror’

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Katie Morgan learned what it meant to jump to the left and then step to the right on Friday night at the annual showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the Colonial Fox Theatre, Friday, Sept. 19.
    Morgan, junior in political science, says she was a “virgin” to the show. She had never seen the film or witnessed a live showing at which, she discovered, dedicated fans are not shy and often dress up as their favorite characters, dance along to the music and even yell profanities at the screen.
    “I was really confused at the beginning,” Morgan said. “But I really liked it. It was a good movie and it was a blast with all the people there.”
    As part of the evening’s entertainment, new viewers, such as Morgan, were subjected to the “Wheel of Virgin Misfortune” before the film started. After a spin, the spinner was required to perform a number of tasks such as reading a predetermined selection of the movie’s script, playing the “Transylvanian Twist” on a Twister mat or slinging a bra through a hoop.
    For Ellen Wieberg, the theatrics of a live showing of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” were not new, but still entertaining.
    “This is the third time I have seen ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ live,” Wieberg, senior in communication, said. “It was the first time I got to experience the ‘virgins’ being ‘sacrificed’ at the beginning and it definitely added to the fun. You can tell the Fox Theatre put a lot of effort into making it a full experience.”
    Mary Butler, senior in psychology, says she has seen the movie before, but never a live showing … until Friday night that is.
    “This was my first time going, but I would honestly go again just because it’s such a unique experience,” Butler said.
    Often shown at midnight, the movie debuted as a bust in 1975, but in 1977 fans began participating in the movie by singing along with the song, dancing in the aisles of the theaters and now the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” is the longest running theatrical release in film history.
    “RHPS is an experience that everyone should give a try at least once,” Wieberg said. “It is the one time that you are going to be able to get together with a group of strangers and be encouraged to yell during a movie. You can wear whatever you want and act however you want without judgment. RHPS=total acceptance.”
    Many fans who dressed up also bought prop bags, which contained rice, newspapers, water pistols, toilet paper, toast, confetti and noisemakers along with various other items, used throughout the show to further interact with the movie.
    “All of the props were fun,” Morgan said. “The whole experience stands out in my mind. It’s pretty different from anything else.”
    The audience also had the chance to win CDs containing the film’s music from when it aired on the popular television show “Glee” and the grand prize of the evening was a movie poster of the film.

  • Look of the week

    Professional look can be unique

    Darryl Holland, senior in fashion merchandising, models his look of the week made from clothes within the Career Closet located on second floor of Horace Man.

    Darryl Holland, senior in fashion merchandising, models his look of the week made from clothes within the Career Closet located on second floor of Horace Man.


    In choosing my look of the week I went for professional business attire, mainly because it’s about time for me to graduate. Since I want to work in the corporate world, I need to look more professional. There’s something about being professional and unique that stands out to me. Going in to the corporate side of things, you mainly see the traditional type of suits, but I feel it’s important that you are able to include your unique style with a professional look. This is why I chose the blue dress pants, with the red button up, and a neutral. 
    I started out as an advertising major, but I’ve always worked with fashion – teaching myself how to sew, doing little DIY projects, and styling my friends from time to time. It was basically like a calling because I love what I do and I have a lot of passion for it.
    So doing something I love is how I got into this field. My tip for those who are interested in fashion: Always have your style but know how to be professional with it. It’s important that you are able to do what you love while looking great doing it.
    Follow your dreams, do little projects, create mood boards, and inspirational boards. This helps enhance your knowledge of the fashion industry. Remember that you can choose to be in fashion, but what you do with fashion is completely up to you.
    Each of the looks featured in this article can be found in the Career Clothes Closet, located on the second floor of Horace Mann.  The Look of the Week is brought to you by the partnership between the Office of Career Services, the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences Fashion Merchandising program, and the Collegio.   

    Darryl Holland is a senior fashion merchandising major and is the president of the Fashion and Merchandising Entrepreneurs club.

  • Writer finds inspiration from Dickens

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    About 75 people heard the first guest of the PSU English Department’s Distinguished Visiting Writers Series on Thursday, Sept. 11, in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom of Overman Student Center.
    In collaboration with the Student Fee Council, Pitt State’s English Department invites writers from the local, area, state and nation to read, discuss and present their writings and novels to the Pittsburg community.
    Thursday’s speaker was Thomas Fox Averill.
    Averill currently serves at the writer-in-residence at Washburn University in Topeka. He is also a professor of English at Washburn and teaches courses in creative writing, Kansas literature, folklore and film.
    Besides teaching and writing, Averill also helped to found the Washburn Center for Kansas Studies, an organization dedicated to the study of history and culture of Kansas, and served as the center’s first director.
    Washburn’s library includes a substantial collection of novels, plays, collections of poetry, fiction, histories, biographies, memoirs, letters, articles, folklore and other material related to the history of Kansas, which have all been named the Thomas Fox Averill Collection.
    Averill is a previous winner of the O. Henry Award for fiction. He brought and read excerpts from his latest book, “A Carol Dickens Christmas,” during his presentation Thursday evening.
    While reading passages from his book, which took 10 years to write, Averill paused to discuss his ideas behind different story plots within the novel.
    Averill says much of his motivation for his latest piece came from the road trips he took for the Christmas holidays from Topeka to Dallas as a child.
    “A perfect amount of time to read ’A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens,” Averill said.
    In later years, Averill traveled to London during the Christmas season to experience Charles Dickens’ version of Yuletide bliss.
    “I wanted to create a character that was like me,” he said. “I created Carol Dickens, who is a librarian in a small university in Topeka, Kansas. She studies and is interested in transitions, like when the Victorian age ended and the modern age started.”
    Averill’s story takes place from Dec. 12-Jan. 6 during the festivities of Christmas and tells of the hopes, fears, loves and losses of each of his characters.
    Averill’s study of and knowledge of Charles Dickens were intertwined between excerpts, and Dickens’ influence was felt throughout the background of Averill’s stories.
    After the readings, the audience asked questions of Averill’s work. A reception followed the event where Averill sold and signed copies of his book.

  • Laugh out loud

    2nd annual Comedy Week delights audiences

    | Audrey Dighans copy editor |

    Francisco Ramos offers a humorous take on a serious issue:
    “We should make the test to become a U.S. citizen a game show; you lose, you go back,” said Ramos during his set on the first night of Comedy Week, Tuesday, Sept. 16, in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom.
    Ramos bantered about the differences in the cultures of the U.S. and Venezuela, his birth country.

    PSU students watch comedian Francisco Ramos as he performs in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom in the Student Center Tuesday, Sept. 16th. Student Activities Committee hosted the event.

    PSU students watch comedian Francisco Ramos as he performs in the Crimson and Gold Ballroom in the Student Center Tuesday, Sept. 16th. Student Activities Committee hosted the event.


    “I love it when people come and ask me stupid questions,” Ramos said. “They’ll be like, ‘Hey, do you have electricity over there?’ and I’ll be like, ‘I don’t come from the past, asshole! Of course we have electricity … Mondays and Thursdays.’”
    Ramos double majored in finance and management at the University of Maryland. He says he became a comedian because he wanted to find the passion in his life.
    “I was always the funny guy, you know,” Ramos said. “I sat down and really started thinking about what I wanted to do and it all led to comedy.”
    Ramos is one of three comedy acts and five comedians to be presented during the Student Activities Council (SAC) Comedy Week. This is the second Comedy Week to be hosted by SAC.
    “It was a great show,” said Dustin Trenberth, senior in music education.
    Laura Holthus and Katelyn Roth agree.
    “The physical comedy he did was great,” Holthus, senior in graphics and imaging technology (GIT), said.
    “Oh, the batman villain laugh, that was the best,” Roth, senior in English and psychology, added.
    Roth and Holthus added that neither is able to attend the other performances of Comedy Week due to work and class schedules, but would if they could.
    “I can’t, but I want to, I really want to,” Roth said.
    Comedy Week is being overseen by Bobby Gill, junior in graphics and imaging technology and club entertainment chair of SAC. Normally, SAC hosts “Fall Frenzy” during the fall semester but this year decided to switch things up a bit.
    “We wanted everything to be the same genre, not such a large variety of acts like in previous years,” Gill said.
    Gill says he is pleased with the night’s turnout of about 50 students and expects more to attend Thursday night’s performance, when Frangela appears.
    “One of the women in Frangela played Roxie on ‘Hannah Montana,’” Gill said. “She’s a bit more known, so I think that will increase attendance.”
    Frangela will feature Frances Callier and Angela V. Shelton, real-life best friends who have polished their talents as writers and comedians.
    Wednesday, Sept. 18, saw a show entitled “Preferred Parking,” featuring Drew Lynch and Samuel J. Comroe. The duo are both subjected to a variety of unwanted situations as Lynch has a ‘stutter,’ an injury paralyzed one of his vocal cords, and Comroe a ‘twitch.’ He has had Tourette’s syndrome his entire life. The two have turned their disabilities into an uplifting show, challenging audiences to think twice about the complaints in their lives.
    Gill says that even though he did not have a hand in selecting the comedians, after Tuesday’s performance he is nothing but confident the rest of the week will finish with great results.

  • Standing out with business casual

    | Look of the Week |

    The look I created is a business casual look.
    The reason I chose this style is that it is good to stand out in terms of what you are wearing. Also I took into consideration that not everyone owns a suit and would like to be as casual as possible.
    I have on a navy blue Ralph Lauren sweater with a white dress shirt and black dress pants. I have the white dress shirt tucked in simply because the style of the dress shirt is not one that should be exposed as it is typically worn in a formal or professional setting.

    Bryan Henley, senior in fashion merchandising, models his look of the week for a class project.

    Bryan Henley, senior in fashion merchandising, models his look of the week for a class project.


    It is always important to make sure your garments such as dress shirts and undershirts are tucked in because you want to look as neat as possible.
    One way you can expand this outfit is to remove the sweater and add a tie and black suit jacket in order to create the full suit. Another tip when picking out professional wear is to make sure that you try to incorporate your personality into the outfit while also being mindful of the employer.
    I chose fashion merchandising as a major because I have always found fashion interesting. What really made me want to be a fashion major was the desire to one day own my own store and my own brand.
    This is a field where things change daily and it’s always possible to do something different on any given day.

  • Bungie delivers with ‘Destiny’

    | Jay Benedict reporter |

    “Destiny” is the most hyped and one of the most anticipated releases of year, and it mostly lives up to the hype.
    “Destiny” is the newest game from revered developer, Bungie, which is best known for the creation of the Halo franchise. Bungie’s work with Halo earned them a reputation for multiplayer action, game mechanics, in-depth storytelling and lore creation.
    “Destiny,” at its core, retains most of the formula that made Halo so popular. The most polished aspect of this game is simply how well it works. It’s hard to describe, but movement-hopping on vehicles, traversing terrain, swapping weapons, unleashing special powers and shooting-all feel like second-nature. This game does exactly what you tell it to.
    However, it’s not just Halo in a different skin. Bungie took what it did really well, made it better, and then tacked on pieces from other genres. The game is a weird combination of space science fiction, massively multiplayer online game (MMO), first person shooter (FPS) and role playing game (RPG) genres. Think Halo meets Borderlands and Mass Effect, with bits of Diablo and any MMO ever thrown in.
    It sounds like an odd combination, but it works. The negative knee-jerk reactions that will arise are going to mostly be responsible for the marketing campaign.
    “Destiny” tells the story of the last city on Earth. Long ago, a giant sphere called The Traveler came to Earth and humanity entered the Golden Age. Several hundred years later, The Traveler’s nemesis, The Darkness, arrived in our solar system and nearly wiped humanity out, save for one city built directly beneath The Traveler.
    The player takes on the role of a Guardian. These individuals have the power to fight back against The Darkness and its minions by receiving gifts, in the form of special powers, and a sidekick called a Ghost (voice by “Game of Thrones’” Peter Dinklage) from The Traveler. Guardians protect the city and try to push back The Darkness.
    It’s an interesting setup that I don’t think the summary really sells. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t either. It lays out a reason for doing what you do, but there isn’t much of a narrative to drive it forward. Most of the story comes from exposition that Dinklage drops while the player is walking around. He’s kept on a short leash for that, too, because his on-screen presence is limited to a small floating, tiny cube.
    Another concern is longevity. The campaign, aside from being plot-shallow, is short. It’s extended by grinding for levels, loot, multiplayer, raids and sheer difficulty. As players near the maximum level and complete the campaign, the game opens up more play options, gear, and gets harder. Playing missions on the harder settings are particularly punishing, but more rewarding.
    Gear that’s dropped might not be useful, but instead of just bypassing it or selling it for currency, it can be broken down to upgrade gear that you currently use. On top of that, everything you do regardless of game type or efficiency positively affects the gear that you have equipped, opening up new options and perks.
    The rest of the presentation, however, is great. Bungie’s not known for making beautiful games, even though some of the vistas in the studio’s Halo swansong “Halo: Reach” were breathtaking. They deliver here.
    “Destiny” pushes the Xbox 360 to its limits and looks great on Xbox One. The visual effects and detail combine seamlessly with the legendary Marty O’Donnell’s fantastic score. Each planet differs in ambiance almost as much as they differ visually.
    The best comparison that can be drawn is to Mass Effect 3. The RPG elements of “Destiny” aren’t as robust, the story isn’t nearly as deep and the powers aren’t as diverse. “Destiny” surpasses Mass Effect in core gameplay and effectively combining various game modes into a unified gaming experience.
    Players looking solely for an MMO, RPG or plot will be disappointed because it’s not exclusively any of them. “Destiny” doesn’t stand out for doing any one thing besides being fun; and that’s why we play games.

  • The Art of Listening

    PSU kicks off 2014-2015 Solo & Chamber Music Series

    | Kelsea Renz Editor-in-Chief |

    Music is a language that has been around for as long as man can remember. It is woven throughout life, in small ways and big ways. To truly understand it, people must learn to listen.
    The Solo & Chamber Music Series, which features six artists throughout the year beginning Sept. 12, helps teach people to listen and learn from a live concert.
    This year’s series has a Canadian ensemble, a solo pianist, a women’s vocal ensemble, a vocal soloist, a string quartet, and a brass quintet with an accompanying organist.
    “We have students come in here from many different backgrounds and, for a lot of them, this is a brand new experience to be able to be that close to a live performance by a major artist of some sort,” said Susan Marchant, professor of music and interim chair of the PSU Music Department. “It’s a great educational opportunity; it’s not just entertainment.”
    Students will have a chance with two or three of the artists to do workshops with them and learn from them this semester.
    “When somebody from the outside comes and performs, we see what it’s really like. We get a taste of what real life as an artist is,” said Alheli Aranda, senior in piano performance. “When we are we, we don’t see that so much.”
    Each of the artists featured in the series will perform mostly classical music interspersed with other unique styles.
    “Today many so-called classical artists will include a bit of crossover when they perform for a general audience,” Marchant said. “We often find that the program will include some things that go off that path a little bit, though not always.”
    Sometimes the program is intentionally riddled with different styles. This year, the opening artist is a Canadian ensemble that performs predominantly Celtic folk music.
    “That’s going to be a little different, and we thought that’d be a great way to open the season,” Marchant said. “That music is just so attractive and reaches a broad audience.”
    The committee that puts together the series tries to create as much diversity as possible to give the students a chance to learn.
    “We are particularly committed to that for the sake of our students who, across the space of their career here, have the opportunity to hear so many different things,” Marchant said.
    Many students must go to some of the concerts for class credit. Some who go find they enjoy the experience much more than they thought they would.
    I can’t tell you how many times after a concert I’ve had a student who had to come to it … find one of us and say, ‘Wow, I never could have imagined how exciting this sort of a concert could be,’” Marchant said.
    Some students continue coming even after they have gone to the required number.
    “Even after that I still keep coming and I keep being present because it is an incredible experience where you develop the art of listening,” Aranda said.
    Through this series, the Department of Music finds emerging artists, including some that eventually become internationally known.
    “We catch them when they are still starting out,” Marchant said. “We really love to do that because we catch a glimpse of the future.”

     

  • The sidekick’s dark side

    | Daniel O’Rear reporter |

    Many young people enjoy comic books, but Samuel Bruch has a special interest in the genre: He wrote one.
    “I always enjoyed the B-list characters,” Bruch, senior in justice studies, said. “Ted Lord, the Blue Beetle. There are only so many times you can write Superman.”
    His love for the lower rings of villainy instead of top list Injustice Gang influenced Bruch’s creative choices. His comic book Magilicutty was born from such lower characters.
    “Someone must be on guard duty,” Bruch said. “Notice how the henchmen wear the more ridiculous outfits. Why would someone dress up like that?”
    Bruch took this question and mixed it with his personal history of working minimum-wage jobs to get through college to create Magilicutty. The title character, Frank Magilicutty, begins the series working for Dr. War, a supervillain. The book follows Frank as he balances his home life with a hazardous work life.
    Bruch’s comic book started as an assignment for a screenwriting class.
    Originally, Bruch says, he envisioned the story as a film. He later decided to switch it to a comic book format because financing a book is much easier and because of his own lifelong love for the art. There was just one small problem.
    “I couldn’t draw,” Bruch said.
    With drawing such an important, if not the most important, aspect of a comic book, Bruch says he wrote the storyline and turned to craigslist.com, the popular online classified ads website, to find an artist. Magilicutty’s artist, who is based in Boston, works through correspondence with Bruch to create the books.
    Bruch’s second problem, with the school assignment left far behind, was raising funds to finance the first real tangible issue. He again turned to the Internet, this time to kickstarter.com, an online fundraiser company. Bruch’s success led him to launch a second campaign on kickstarter to finance a second issue.
    Despite its original goal, Bruch has another use for kickstarter nowadays.
    “Kickstarter is more of a marketing tool than a means to raise money,” he said.
    Each donor gets a gift. Low-level donations include Magilicutty issue No. 1 to catch a new reader up on the story or Magilicutty-themed memorabilia.
    High-level donations move up to Bruch’s band playing a show for the donor for free.
    The current campaign has raised $805 of a $1,000 goal.
    Despite writing from the perspective of villains combatting masked vigilantes, Bruch does not see a lot of applications from his major to his writing.
    Right now Bruch is living life day to day waiting to see if the comic can take off

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