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Look! Up in the Skype — it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Andre Gardner!

by Meghan Rogers

April 21, 2010 — WMGK DJ Andre Gardner visited Neumann University yesterday to speak with communication majors.  Neumann has had guest speakers before, but Gardner’s presentation was special; he never set foot on Neumann’s campus. In fact, he never left his station microphone.

Gardner came to Neumann using Skype, an online video telecommunication software that allowed him to see, speak and interact with Neumann students while he was on the air from his Greater Media studio.  Gardner shared his life and career in radio, while pausing every so often for to do a live talk break.

This unique experience gave students the opportunity to do more than just hear about how a radio DJ works, they actually got to see it. Gardner was able to show students a little bit of what goes on behind the scenes during an afternoon drive shift. Students were able to see his music log, and get a view of the board and digital system, while Gardner provided an explanation and background of what he was doing while he worked.

Gardner also tackled questions from the audience which ranged from what has been the greatest experience working for WMGK (meeting Paul McCartney), discussing the challenge of finding new ways to introduce old songs, to the constant evolution of the radio industry. Gardner provided thorough answers for every question, and did so until every question had been asked.

            Gardner hosts the afternoon drive (2:00 – 7:00PM) during the week, and Breakfast with the Beatles on Sunday mornings.

            This event was presented by the students of the Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honors Society as the first annual Communications Forum. Be sure to keep an eye out next year for another exciting speaker.

Review: Alice in Wonderland

By Kristopher Hodge

In this exciting rendition of Alice in Wonderland, time has passed since the events that took place in the book and previous film versions. Alice, now nineteen, is taken to a party, where she is expected to marry the son of one of her late father’s business partners. Alice soon becomes distracted when she spies a rabbit with a waistcoat running past her and rushes after it. She follows the rabbit to, you guessed it, a hole in the ground and falls in headfirst.

  Twisting and tumbling, she arrives once again in Wonderland where all her old friends are desperate for her help. The Red Queen is more vicious than ever before and only Alice can save the day. The Red Queen is played by famed actress and Burton’s girlfriend Helena Bonham Carter. From interviews with the media you can tell that she is a nice person but she is so good at playing wicked characters. This especially holds true for her role as the Red Queen. The story could use some help but Tim Burton’s directing and Johnny Depp’s acting save the film from being a total flop.

  There has been a lot of arguing among critics concerning Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the Mad Hatter. Don’t listen to these mad haters. Depp is perfect for the role. He won’t be winning an Oscar for it any time soon but he really did bring the character to life, making him crazy, lovable and mysterious all at the same time.

 The film spent weeks in the top five hits at the the box office and that has a lot to do with the fact that Burton is incredibly imaginative and it’s fairly certain that he lives directly on the fine line between genius and insanity. He tried to take Louis Carroll’s topsy-turvy world of “Wonderland” and make it his own, in which he succeeded. I’m convinced that he is the master of 3-D entertainment. Yes, I know there has been a surge of 3-D movies from Hollywood lately but Burton’s 3-D adventures always have a little something extra.

 If you’ve seen Coraline and/or The Nightmare Before Christmas in 3-D then you know what I am talking about. Producers at Disney are no fools. They knew that the Burton/Depp combination has been a longstanding formula for box office gold. The film is carried on the backs of Burton’s little surprises and Depp’s little facial nuances. If only Disney didn’t build up so much hype for Alice in Wonderland, it would have been ten times better. Because of the previews that began so far in advance, we expected a cinematic powerhouse like Avatar, which is still in theaters since its release date on December 18 and is currently seventh at the box office.

  Don’t let disappointment set in my friends. If you pretend you have been living under a rock for the last year and only look at the movie for face value then I’m convinced you will enjoy it. Don’t let other critics get you jaded. It’s a fun movie. Take great grandpa, who may have seen the original silent film version that came out over a hundred years ago. I’m not imploring you to go out and see this movie, but if you do, I honestly believe you will be entertained. I give it 7 height inducing mushrooms out of 10.

Agree with this review? Let’s hear your opinion!  Leave comments, below…

Review: NU Players Spring Production

By: Bill Guarino, Special to the Joust

Just seeing the show’s name on a promotional poster can spark debate. When taken literally, the play’s subject matter seems crude.  But viewing the live production of Urinetown: the Musical at Neumann University was a great relief (pun intended).  The University Players spring production  had audiences laughing hysterically with bizarre satire and outstanding performances by the cast.  With all of the amusing humor and references to urinating, I almost…well, let’s just say I laughed pretty hard.

The foundation of the play presumes an unrealistic world, in which the people of the city suffer from an endless drought, and consequently, they’re required to pay a fee in order to relieve themselves in public (private facilities have been outlawed).  The evil corporation, Urine Good Company (UGC), headed by the greedy Caldwell B. Cladwell, controls these public amenities and forces the people to live under his rules and regulations. Those who refuse to abide get sent to “Urinetown” (a word the police use to prevent the people from knowing its true identity). They’re forced to live with the understanding that, according to caretaker Ms. Pennywise, “It’s a privilege to pee.”  But after his father is sent to Urinetown for a public infraction of the rules, young Bobby Strong starts an uprising among the poor, and a chaotic revolution follows.

The comedic brilliance of the play is formulated by its ability to poke fun at traditional plays — and itself.  Each set of dialogue and each song are ripe with puns, exposition, and parodies.  The play even breaks the fourth wall, addressing the audience directly, most notably in conversations between the evil Officer Lockstock and the poor, innocent Little Sally.  A play-on-words also occurs frequently as a recurring joke: the song “Urinetown” refers to the city, but also a second interpretation welcoming the audience as, “You’re in town.”

  The plethora of satirical jokes and spoofs captivated the audience’s attention, and kept them roaring with laughter. The audience identified with the show poking fun at other famous plays.  For example, as Bobby Strong and Hope, daughter of his enemy Caldwell, predictably fall in love,  Urinetown uses their relationship to expose the cliché of young lovers defying the social boundaries as in the Fantastiks.  Since Bobby is mortal enemies of Hope’s father, the revolution interferes with their dreams, similar to the family feud in Romeo and Juliet or the racial tension in West Side Story.  The uprising of the poor plays a cathartic role, similar to Les Miserables.  The cast did a great job amusing the audience during the revolt through colorful characters like Tiny Tom, Josephine, and Soupy Sue.  Their fight against the powerful Caldwell and his corrupt associates was heroic, but ended with tragedy.

Urinetown definitely brought a new style of comedy to the theatre, but it also portrayed important social-injustices.  Political corruption and homelessness force a rebellion, but the death of the protagonist and antagonist categorize it as a tragedy.  And instead of an ending where the rebels prevail and form a happy society, the free consumption of water quickly dried up the water supply and doomed the city.  This may have been a funny musical, but just as Officer Lockstock says: “This isn’t a happy musical.” 

From cast to crew, costumes to choreography, music to make-up, everyone involved in Urinetown: the Musical should be flushed with pride.