PittCulture

  • Creativity trumps limited options

    When picking out an outfit to wear to an interview, your options are sometimes limited, especially if you are tight on money.

    Merrick Rhodes senior in fashion merch

    Merrick Rhodes senior in fashion merch


    The Career Closet is a resource you can use. It provides free business attire, but it is limited by what donors are willing to give away. That sometimes forces creativity.
    In this picture, I chose a tie that I liked first, and went from there. If you choose a patterned tie, it is safest to go with a solid-colored shirt. Because there is green in the tie as an accent color, I used a green shirt. I didn’t want to use a prominent color from the tie as the color of the shirt, because that takes away from the tie. You still, however, want it to coordinate well. For the pants, I chose khakis because they went better with the color scheme than black slacks would.
    As a fashion merchandising major, I know that clothes are important. Although outward appearance isn’t all that matters, it does give others a first impression. What you wear sends non-verbal messages to others. Being in the fashion industry, I hope to help others make those impressions and non-verbal messages positive.
    If you have been in the Career Closet before, you know that some of the donations aren’t the trendiest or most up-to-date. Join Fashion and Merchandising Entrepreneurs in helping Career Services with a business clothing drive to provide more desirable clothing. Bring your unwanted, fashion-forward business attire to Career Services in Horace Mann or to the Family and Consumer Sciences building‘s front office. Help your peers make a lasting first-impression.

    Taylor Daniel is a junior in fashion merchandising.

  • ‘Gunman shoots blanks’

    | Kyleigh Becker reporter |

    With more drama than action and tired clichés abounding, “The Gunman” played itself out to be well executed, but mediocre.
    Directed by Pierre Morel, “The Gunman” stars Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Javier Bardem and Jasmine Trinca.
    The film has some decent action scenes and well-composed cinematography, but the plot and script (co-written by Penn) bring it down. Coming from the director of “Taken,” it’s not surprising that there are similarities: The “should-probably-be-retired” mercenary (Penn) falls in love with a pretty girl (Trinca), oblivious to his profession. He then disappears and reappears in her life after she’s moved on, and they fall in love again.
    In the film, Jim Terrier (Penn) is a mercenary and “security guard” working in the Democratic Republic of the Congo protecting non-government organization workers from rebels. Terrier meets Annie (Trinca), a doctor working for an NGO he has been hired to protect; thus the cliché begins.
    Terrier’s co-worker Felix also falls for Annie and thus designates Terrier as the triggerman for their next mercenary mission, which ends with Terrier fleeing the Congo.
    Enter again, eight years later, Terrier is back in Africa digging wells for an NGO. Years of head trauma have resulted in early Alzheimer-like symptoms and, lo and behold, someone tries to kill Terrier. Slowly our hero pieces everything together, Annie is kidnapped, the villain has a symbolic death, Terrier evades jail and gets the girl.
    “The Gunman” fails to form a bond between the protagonist and the audience; I felt no sympathies toward Terrier whatsoever. Overall, the plot, dialogue and stereotypicality of it all was simply too much.

  • Illusionist wows crowd over and over

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    Levitation, sleights of hand and swords through boxes with a human inside was only part of what Reza’s audience witnessed during the illusionist’s performance at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts last night, Wednesday, March 25.
    One of Reza’s assistants was the lucky human being to be speared in the box. This was one of the assistant’s first performances and though the audience saw her enter the box and saw the long, pointed spears enter that same box, the assistant managed to disappear. Once the spears were removed, she successfully reappeared to the audience’s delight.
    Giving credit where its due, Reza began his career as an illusionist at the age of 7, when he saw a magician at his school perform the illusion of connecting solid steel rings. Reza received a set of rings for his birthday and began practicing. He performed the ring illusion, his first, in front of his first audience, his mom, who made him promise to perform it at every performance he did in the future.
    “I started very young and turned into a dream when I realized that it could become a profession,” said Reza. “I took it very seriously and very slowly, built a business out of it and every year I would just try to grow and develop the show as I was able to.”
    Reza and his crew perform near 250 shows a year, traveling throughout the United States. They rehearse and create their set in a warehouse in South Dakota.
    “We start with an idea, then a sketch and build a model of what’s necessary for the props,” Reza said. “From there, we start rehearsing in the warehouse. The idea itself can evolve quite a bit from that rehearsal period. And then it goes in front of an audience. It’s a process just like anything else.”
    Reza says all of his acts are original but there are certain acts in his shows that have inspiration from other illusionists, such as Houdini.
    Though Reza has his own assistants, he still gives the audience a chance to participate. Zach Denton, freshman in biology and chemistry, turned out to be the audience member with the largest dollar bill in the audience and thus was selected to witness Reza’s skills up close and personal.
    On stage, Reza autographed Denton’s bill, then instructed Denton to fold the bill four times and hand it back. Reza took the bill, waved his hand over it, at which point the bill disappeared.
    “It will be in your right pocket,” Reza said.
    Denton reached into his pocket and the bill wasn’t there. As a consolation prize, Reza offered Denton a Cracker Jack box of his choice. When Denton selected and opened his prize, his signed bill appeared in the sealed packaging.
    “It was very impressive,” Denton said. “Obviously he’s a good illusionist. I was confused how he got that bill into that Cracker Jack box and I couldn’t figure it out. It was just amazing.”
    Brittany Mundy says she loved watching the show and Reza’s enthusiasm for what he did.
    “I thought he was a very entertaining person and did a fantastic job of engaging with the audience,” Mundy, freshman in chemistry, said. My favorite part was when he invited the young, inspiring magician on stage. That was really neat.”
    Another highlight of the evening involved Reza escaping from a four-padlocked box, while tied up inside the box in a sack, with his hands chained together. Not only did Reza escape, he switched places with his assistant.
    “The illusionist was a lot of fun,” said Megan Peabody, sophomore in psychology and legal issues. “I’m glad that students at Pitt State get opportunities to see performances like this.”

  • Look of the Week

    Closet offers versatile wardrobe

    This experience was my first in the Career Closet and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I work in a retail store with a laid-back dress code but I still like to keep it professional-looking. I was searching for the perfect business-casual outfit.

    Sierra Burkybile

    Sierra Burkybile


    I was nervous that I wouldn’t find a skirt of appropriate length to accommodate my height, but to my surprise I found one almost immediately. It wasn’t long before I had an armful of options to try and several different looks put together.
    I knew I wanted to create a higher waistline so I set out for a top that would easily tuck into the skirt. I decided on a neutral-colored sleeveless boatneck top with black detail at the neckline and paired it with a knee-length black pencil skirt. The combination creates a professional look while staying simple and would still look great with the addition of a cardigan or blazer. I loved the versatility of both pieces and especially the look they created together.
    One of the great things about the Career Closet is that I was able to keep the top and will be able to continue mixing it with other pieces to create new looks. I would recommend that anyone needing an outfit for an interview or other business affair should take advantage of the Career Closet and add some of these professional pieces to their repertoire. As a sophomore with a major in fashion merchandising and a minor in business I will definitely be back to add more interview and work-appropriate pieces to my closet.
    Each of the looks featured in this article are available in the Career Clothes Closet, located on the second floor of Horace Mann, free to all 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.
    Sierra Burkybile is a sophomore in fashion merchandising.

  • Choir weaves its magic

    | Audrey Dighans, copy editor |

    More than 200 people attended the Spring Concert, held Sunday, March 8, at the Bicknell Family Center for the Arts.
    Choirs from both Pittsburg State University and the community dressed in signature black attire, sang a variety of musical pieces to welcome the new season.
    Many in the audience said the concert was a real treat.

    The university Choirs present the Spring Concert in Arts Center on Sun, Mar 8.

    The university Choirs present the Spring Concert in Arts Center on Sun, Mar 8.


    “I loved listening to the choir,” said Jordon Oh, international student in mechanical engineering from South Korea. “They made me feel so relaxed and calm. I haven’t gone to many choir performances but I am certainly going to go to more in the future.”
    Susan Marchant, professor of music and choir director, says she wanted to offer a cross-cultural experience for the audience.
    “We brought together music from Finland and India,” Marchant said. “Usually the pieces are English, Latin and sometimes German, but this time we wanted to do something different.”
    Choir members also say they enjoyed the challenge the music pieces presented.
    “Singing songs from different countries is an enriching experience,” said Jianyin Kong, graduate student in vocal performance. “My friends in the choir helped me with the pronunciation. The choir has different bits like soprano and bass but we all work together as a team.”
    The opportunity to perform in the campus’ newest venue, the Bicknell center, also added some excitement for the choir members.
    “I am so excited to sing here in the new venue,” said Pengcheng Su, graduate student in vocal performance. “The new building is so beautiful and I love it when the lights fall on us. Having a large audience smiling at us when we sing keeps me motivated to work harder and improve myself. I never got that chance in China.”
    Marchant agreed the arts center added a bit of excitement to the performance.
    “We had a few opportunities to try it out and I think we are getting good feedback on this,” she said. “A lot of thought went into making the center and performing here has been an easy experience for the students, given the large space.”
    Tingting Han, international student in business from China, says the music was perfect for the change in season.
    “I am so glad I came because it was totally worth it,” she said. “The first part, the jazz, was so good. The Indian music in the end was such a good idea. I am glad they put music from different cultures together. Listening to music of this quality helps me forget about all my problems and just enjoy.”
    Alumni were also in attendance and proud of the performance.
    “I was a part of the choir 46 years ago,” said Charlotte Swaim of Fort Scott. “And I can say that the standards have only improved. I’m glad more money has been put in this field. Back then, we didn’t have so many different types of resources. Seeing the students play a beautiful piano is such a pleasure.”
    Swaim’s husband, Larry, says attending concerts like this helped him connect with music.
    “I loved being a part of PSU choir. Who doesn’t?” he said. “Music is an integral part of my life even now. That’s what PSU choir does to you.”

  • Jazz concert hits all right notes

    | Gretchen Burns reporter |

    The 41st annual PSU Jazz Festival, held Friday, March 6, in the Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium, drew high school jazz bands from across the state and region for events and performances that led up to the final performance of the evening.
    High school students crowded the upper balcony and left little seating to spare while PSU students, faculty and Pittsburg residents sat in the lower floor sections while they all enjoyed the music together.
    The PSU Jazz Ensemble opened the evening performance with a jazz arrangement of “America the Beautiful,” followed by three other pieces, featuring solos by various students.

    Diva Jazz Orchestra present at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium on Fri, Mar 6.

    Diva Jazz Orchestra present at Pittsburg Memorial Auditorium on Fri, Mar 6.


    When Sam Ortiz stood and played his solo on the tenor saxophone, the audience could see the sweat dripping down his face. The audience loudly cheered after he finished, bringing a quick grin to Ortiz’s face.
    “Performing was an absolute blast,” said Ortiz, sophomore in music education. “It was really cool to hear the cheers when I finished.”
    Robert Kehle, director of the PSU Jazz Ensemble, laughed when the piece was over, saying that conducting was the easy part for him.
    “All I do is stand up here and wave my arms around,” Kehle said to the audience while laughing. “It’s these guys who have the sweat dripping down their faces.”
    Alex Weideman, senior in music, also soloed during the performance and laughed afterward, saying he felt obligated to stand for his solo.
    “After Sam stood up and everyone screamed, I thought, ‘Man, now I need to stand up or it’s going to be lame,’” he said.
    After the Jazz Ensemble finished its performance, there was a short intermission while the feature of the evening, the Diva Jazz Orchestra, set up its instruments and readied the stage.
    The Diva Jazz Orchestra isn’t a jazz ensemble that is seen everywhere. It’s an ensemble of 15 versatile musicians who are all female.
    The night of the performance, four of the performers were stuck in an airport on the East Coast and couldn’t make it. The clinicians of the day’s activities stepped up and sight-read the music to help the women out.
    The crowd cheered for the women as they played songs ranging from Duke Ellington to a jazz version of “76 Trombones.” Each woman in the orchestra had her own solo on her instrument, be it a trombone, saxophone, trumpet, percussion, piano or cello.
    Woodwind player Camille Thurman brought the crowd to a standing ovation after singing an intricate scat song, and trumpet player Tanya Darby earned a smash of applause and whistles with her solo.
    “The Diva Orchestra stood out to me the most; it was inspiring to see such strong, talented women doing what they love and performing confidently” said Lauren Jenkins, junior in psychology. “You could tell they were having a blast and they got the audience excited about their music, too.”
    Jenkins said that what she thought she would remember the most about the performance was the ability of the alto saxophone player for the Diva Jazz Orchestra to rebound from her small mistake while playing.
    “Even though she made a small, but obvious mistake, she didn’t let it hinder her performance,” said Jenkins. “She kept playing, and the song was still beautiful and smooth.”

  • Bringing cultures together

    | Charles A. Ault reporter |

    The smells of Paraguayan empanadas, meat pies and bubble tea, a tea with milk and tapioca balls, filled the basement of Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, March 7, when PSU’s International Student Association (ISA) hosted the International Food and Culture Fair.
    “The basement of Memorial Auditorium…is a small place,” said Igor Gorn, president of ISA and sophomore in English language and literature, “but it’s not small today.”
    The students offered a variety of dishes from a variety of the countries they represent.
    “It’s a good blend,” said Jordyn Bollinger, junior in English literature. “The way that they set it up is nice. You get to pick and choose so you’re not spending a whole bunch for one; it’s great for college kids.”
    Many students enjoyed the opportunity to express a part of their culture to the community of Pittsburg and the university.
    “I think this is a good way to show our culture, show our food and to show all the international peoples and Americans what we can bring to the United States,” said Alessandra Lima, PSU alumna from Paraguay.
    The turnout for this year’s event nearly filled the basement to capacity. Those in attendance had to stand shoulder-to-shoulder for much of the event.
    “I expected that there would be a lot of people, but not this many,” Gorn said. “It’s absolutely wonderful that this event is so popular in the community.”
    Kuralay Kussainova, graduate student in human resources development, agreed.
    “I’ve never seen so many people in one place since I came to Pittsburg,” she said, “but I really like that so many people came.”
    The event was not just an opportunity for American students and residents of the area to be exposed to new and different cultures, but for the international students as well.
    “As far as I’m concerned, this is a blessing because you don’t get to see these kind of things every day, at least not where I’m from and not even in America,” said Opeyemi Olomola, graduate student in international business from Nigeria. “This is one of the opportunities to experience the international community.
    “I have been in America for some time; I know what American food tastes like, but this time around, I get to see everything. Chinese, Saudi Arabian, it’s all here.”
    George Fiedrich, freshman in business from Germany, was encouraged to attend the event as part of his transitions class.
    “Even though we Germans (did) not have food here, for us it’s really great that we can share experiences and culture with other countries,” he said. “The food from the Brazilians is really awesome. I had no clue what to expect; I am kind of overwhelmed.”
    In addition to showcasing their food, people were also able to demonstrate their culture through dance and song on stage.
    Some of the performances included six students from the African Student Association who danced to a sampling of African songs, some Taiwanese students who danced to music popular in Taiwan, a group of Arab students who danced a traditional Arab dance and an Indian student and Kazakh student who danced together.
    “The guy from India and the lady from Kazakhstan’s dance was really romantic in the way that they were bringing the two cultures together,” said Caitlin Martin, freshman in psychology. “You could tell the different song changes were from each of their cultures.
    The crowd packed in to watch a Paraguayan student dance to music alone while balancing one and then two wine bottles on her head.
    “That was absolutely stunning and incredible and just beautiful,” said Lauren Geiger, sophomore in history. “I’ve seen dances like that on YouTube, but live, in person, it was incredible.”

  • Look of the Week

    Taking advantage of resources

    My inspiration for my design is how I envision fashion in the corporate world.

    D'ANdria Blow, junior in Fashion Merchandising

    D’ANdria Blow, junior in Fashion Merchandising


    Although I know it is professional for a woman to wear a nice skirt suit with a crisp white blouse and a black or brown heel, I feel that that wardrobe is too constricting. So I went with an outfit that was still appropriate for the workplace, but edgier, versatile and provided me with a little style.
    I chose a pair of sandy brown slacks with a flared leg and coupled it with an orange, tan and navy blue button-down sweater top.
    The reason I chose this look was because it works well for the winter and spring seasons, the colors balance each other out and it is comfortable enough to be in for eight hours a day.
    This project reflects my major because it shows the way fashion majors perceive fashion in the corporate world compared to others.
    Fashion to us is all about expressing yourself and embracing your individuality. That is the reason I chose to major in fashion. I like to set myself apart from everyone else. I do understand the concept of uniformity in the workplace, but I also do not see anything wrong with wanting to add a little flair to your wardrobe.
    My experience in the Career Closet was not bad. I found several nice slacks and a couple of tops that would help anyone in stocking up their closet with business attire.
    My tip to the students here on campus is that you should take advantage of the resources that are given to you. The Career Closet has a plethora of options to choose from; you never know what you might gain from going in there.
    Each of the looks featured in this article are available in the Career Clothes Closet, located on the second floor of Horace Mann. All clothing in the Career Clothes Closet is free to all 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.

    D’Andria Blow, junior, fashion merchandising

  • Just do your thing

    Club presidents speak about pros, cons of their clubs

    | Tyler Koester reporter |

    Birds of a feather flock together.
    This common saying can be especially easy to see on a college campus, as many young birds are living far away from their nests for the first time and have to migrate into a new flock, or two.
    The binding aspect of these new flocks? Interests.

    Students play the Magic poker in the student center basement on Friday, Feb 27.

    Students play the Magic poker in the student center basement on Friday, Feb 27.


    While some may not see the adventure in joining the Pitt State Live Action Role Playing (LARP) club, where members chase each other with foam swords and dress up in a variety of medieval to gladiator gear, others can’t wait to join.
    Those who go LARP-ing, on the same hand, may not understand why others choose to pledge for a sorority or fraternity.
    In these cases, beauty is definitely in the eye of the beholder.
    Lucas Epler, junior in biology, is the president of the 30-member LARP club and oversees a majority of the club’s LARPS, from fashioning foam replicas of historically based weaponry to costumes to organizing local events.
    Epler says most of the enjoyment derived from LARP are members working to accomplish a common goal as well as the physical and mental exercise that come as a result of the collaboration.
    “I find the practices to be not only great physical experiences but mental as well,” Epler said, “through the formation of strategies and use of skills to fit specific scenarios created by members.”
    Live Action Role Players conform to a strict list of rules, rules available on the club’s website, to keep the LARP-ing “real” and safe.
    “There’s an overwhelming sense of accomplishment when a team works well together and uses its synergy to win,” Epler said.
    Despite having 30 members, Epler says there is a stigma surrounding LARP that leads few people to join or be interested.
    “Very few people enjoy the thought of being seen hitting people with foam swords,” Epler said. “I think the club isn’t popular because it’s a question of insecurity. They fear what others will think of them despite having fun with the rest of us on the field.”
    Another club that falls under the radar of campus life is the Anime Club.
    Club members discuss and view anime (animated Japanese shows/movies/books) while learning and exploring Japanese culture.
    Cynthia Bardelli, sophomore in English and club president, says she feels the members enjoy the activities because of the comradery.
    “I think what makes the club enjoyable for people is the feeling of companionship and being able to explore your interest with other like-minded people,” Bardelli said. “We spend a lot of time outside of the club together and we are easily as tight-knit as any of the Greek life on campus.”
    The Anime Club also travels annually to Naka-Kon, an anime convention in Kansas City, where many ele ments of Japanese culture are displayed.
    Bardelli says she thinks the main reason her club is not as popular as others is due to poor promotion.
    “Part of the reason we aren’t mainstream is possibly because our ability to advertise isn’t as strong as other clubs on campus, although we are trying to change that,” she said. “I’ve had many people tell me that they didn’t even know we have an anime club at PSU.”
    For more information on the LARP and Anime clubs, as well as any Pitt State student organization, long onto www.pittstate.edu/campus-life/groups/.

  • Vulcans don’t cry

    | Kyleigh Becker reporter |

    Leonard Nimoy passed away last Friday, Feb. 27, at the age of 83.
    Nimoy, best known for being “Spock” in the original Star Trek series, also acted in various TV shows and movies including the Mission Impossible series, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “Fringe.”
    Leonard Hudson, professor of communication, says he grew up watching Star Trek reruns and his mother was a “Trekkie.”
    “There’s a rumor that I was named after Leonard Nimoy,” he said. “I watched it from an early age, all the movies, too, even the bad ones. Spock was always my favorite.”
    Star Trek wasn’t the only thing Hudson watched Nimoy in, however.
    “I also saw him in all of his episodes of Mission: Impossible and in the remake of ‘The Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ in the 1970s,” Hudson said. “He’s always been an actor in the way he embodied the characters … no one else could have played Spock the way he did. He’s a true icon.”
    Shirley Drew, professor of communication, calls herself a “Trekker.”
    “Trekkies are a little out there,” she said. “Trekkers know it’s fiction.”
    Drew says she is a big fan of the show and became hooked on it when she was in college.
    “Spock’s character was just the rational side of humanity,” she said. “I found his relationships with the other crew interesting.”
    Nimoy’s death, Drew says, was an icon dying and now the only original main cast members left alive are William Shatner and George Takei.
    Drew also added it was a “pathetic mistake” that New York’s WABC news made when they announced Nimoy’s death. They called him a Star Wars actor.
    Though the professors knew him longer, students are also upset by Nimoy’s death.
    “It’s tragic, but I only remember him from ‘Columbo’ and ‘Big Bang Theory,’” said Jacob Barkley, senior in automotive technology.
    Barkley added he has seen only a few Star Trek episodes.
    Like Barkley, Rebekah Houser, senior in communication, says she didn’t grow up watching him either.
    “But it was interesting to see all his fellow actors’ reactions,” she said.

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