Tag Archives: Entertainment

Beaches and Beer

   Everyone wants to have an enjoyable spring break, and for many of us at SC4, this year could very well be our first college spring break experience. Why not make it memorable?

   I personally have many years of travel experience under my belt, and have recently returned from a venture to Cozumel, Mexico aboard the “Royal Caribbeans’ Grandeur of the Seas.”

   For those of you looking for a fun, safe and exciting adventure this spring break, I’d like to share some of my experiences with everyone and dispense some advice, to make this spring break memorable, enjoyable and even affordable!

   The first and most important step in planning a spring break vacation is planning. Flights, cruise bookings, transportation, passports, shore excursions, all need to be accounted for.

   Spring break doesn’t need to be expensive to be enjoyable. Currently cruises around spring break cost as little as 250 dollars, plus fees, all depending what you want to do.

   Most spring breakers, are looking for a party, and in my experience, I can suggest no better place than Cozumel, Mexico.

   Cozumel is a great place to start for those who are less traveled, but still want to go somewhere exotic, and in search of a good time. If you take the cruise option, you can expect to be in port for nearly 12 hours, which is plenty of time to have a blast.

   For those unfamiliar with Cozumel, it is a Mexican island in the Caribbean Sea, off of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is roughly 30 miles long and 10 miles wide, and has a population of around 75,000 people.

   The island is rich with Mayan cultural history, and is host to some of the most breathtaking scenery that one can encounter. Palm trees, white sands, and clear azure waters await visitors.

   When in Cozumel and some other tourist prone cities like Cancun, on the mainland to the North, there are some things American tourists should be aware of.

   The native language of Mexico is Spanish, but most of the locals in Cozumel speak English to some extent. The reason for this is rather simple. “Tourism,” Jose Carlos, my tour guide in Cozumel said, “is our industry. It’s not ‘an’ industry it’s our ‘only’ industry.”

   This is convenient for Americans who do not know Spanish however it should not be abused, and assumed that the person you are talking to understands everything you are saying to them in English. Be courteous, and if necessary speak slower and clearer so that what you’re saying is understood.

   Knowing some Spanish doesn’t hurt either. Though it isn’t expected for tourists to know the native tongue, doing so will earn you much more respect and it will not go unrewarded.

   Haggling is a common practice for store owners, and if you negotiate in their language, you might walk away with some better deals than your strictly English speaking companions.

   Transportation is a factor that should be taken into serious consideration. After experiencing it firsthand, I can say that driving is something best left to the professionals.

   Rental vehicles are available on the island, but many of the places that you will want to visit, unless you are going on a tour, or to one of the remote beaches, are in close proximity to each other.

   Taxis are very inexpensive, in many cases less than 10 dollars for four people to go anywhere on the island. Traffic in Cozumel runs rather quickly and if you are unprepared, or intoxicated, as you may find is the case, you may find yourself in trouble.

   Plus the dust on the country roads is a considerable nuisance if you are exposed and should be avoided.

   Speaking of which, as I said before, Cozumel is a great place to have fun and be safe at the same time. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, and therefore judgment is really in your own hands.

   Drinking is not a taboo in Mexico, and tequila and cerveza (Spanish for beer) are less expensive and easier to find than safe drinking water.

   As you walk past or into shops, many times you may be offered free tequila, or margaritas, or even cerveza, as a ploy to get you to step inside, see what the store has to offer, and hopefully take home a bottle of their finest (most expensive) tequila.

   If you’re looking to save some cash, this is an easy way to do it, and you may (if you’re 21 or older) find something you like to bring home with you. Cruise line policies on what you can bring back on board with you vary, so it is always good to ask.

   Remember to be responsible no matter where you go, and not to drive if you’ve had too much.

   For the less party hardy there are many more, equally-fun things to do on the island, from pristine beaches, Eco reserves, gift shopping, tours, dolphin encounters, and some of the best SCUBA diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean. Cozumel is home to a coral reef that can be reached by swimming from shore, and isn’t to be missed.

   The water in Mexico typically is far warmer than in Port Huron, so don’t be dissuaded if the locals tell you it’s cold. Be mindful of your travel, if you’re a SCUBA diver, of course don’t dive within 24 hours of a flight, and always be cautious of the coral which can be very fragile.

   The shopping can be some of the most fun you have on the island, with shops selling wares not typically available in the United States, but one must be cautious as to what they are buying.

   There are many “Cuban cigar” shops on the island, and even more jewelry stores, and either may have questionable merchandise. The Cuban cigars, besides being potentially fakes, are still not to be bought by Americans due to the trade embargo.

   Until this changes, buy at your own risk. The jewelry stores sell many pieces of silver jewelry, but the questionable merchandise is the black coral jewelry.

   Black coral isn’t technically illegal, but one can never be too sure of the harvesting methods with which they are made. It’s best to stay away from either of these if you are unsure.

   Finally regarding Cozumel is the food. Authentic Mexican is much different from the “Taco Hell” as Jose Carlos called it in America.

   Tortillas, beans, rice and chicken or another meat can be expected at a typical meal. The addition of salsa can add some spice to the dish, and authentic is usually very good. I, however, against the advice of the waiting staff, tried some green habanero sauce.

   “Oh you don’t want that, man, it’ll make you cry,” the local warned me. I tried it. He was right.

   As fun and exciting as Cozumel can be, you may find, as I did, that the cruise, itself is even better.

   In my 5 days aboard the “Grandeur of the Seas” I had more fun and met more cool people than I have in years. There is never a lack of things to do at sea, and you may find that there are not enough hours in the day to do everything you want to.

   Between the handfuls of bars, the casino, two restaurants, the rock wall, six hot tubs, two swimming pools, various clubs, arcade, gym, dance floor, library, card room, lounges and the theater there is never a dull moment.

   And even when there are worlds of things to do, you may find that the best and most memorable times are when you are doing nothing at all with some newfound friends.

   If you do what I did and spend most of your time lounging about in the hot tubs, you’re sure to meet some interesting people from all over the world.

   Donald Smith, 17, of Atlanta, Georgia; Candace and Caroline McCarthy, 16 and 14, sisters from New Jersey; John and Cody Consul, 20 and 17 of New York, all became part of my sort of misfit cruise family, along with Flor Zozaya, 15, and Macy Randrup, 14, of Argentina.

   We were all complete strangers at the start of the cruise, but quickly became the best of friends.

   Somewhere between the Quinceanera group from Argentina, Paul the belly flop contest gold medalist from Kitchener, Ontario, and the cruise staff from every island nation imaginable, I began to see the big picture and the world as a global community.

   When everyone is together trying to have a good time, you’d be surprised how much we have in common.

A couple pieces of advice for the cruise ship; bring clothes. This may seem rather obvious but there are times on the ship when to be dressed up is definitely a plus, and to have pants is a “requirement” to having dinner in the restaurants.

Multiple restaurants may end up having the same food, so if you don’t want to wait on being waited upon just head to the buffet. Sure it’s less “classy” but it will let you eat at your own schedule.

Use your towels in your bathroom, and then throw them on the floor when you are done, if you want housekeeping to keep you entertained every day. When housekeeping replaces your towels, many of them will leave them in the form of a different animal every day, always something to look forward to.

  There is a bottle opener affixed to the wall in the bathroom on some cruise lines. Look for it and you may be surprised.

   Be nice to your cruise attendants. You’ll likely have the same ones for the duration of the cruise and knowing them by name is a great way of showing them you appreciate what they do and they might let you get away with more.

   Courtesy is key on board. Asking politely for something may result in better results than anticipated. My group had a waiter who would bring us drinks in the hot tub so we didn’t have to move to get them.

Listen carefully and be aware of everything your ship has to offer. I was unaware until the end of the cruise that the indoor pool had a pizza snack bar in the back corner. Special events like dance classes, comedy shows, parties are happening all the time and will definitely make the trip worth the money.

   With careful planning, consideration and common sense, enjoy your spring break this year.

Rock N’ Roll: Alive in Cleveland

Breigh Edmondson     

Staff Writer

   It’s a plane, there’s no bird, and it’s… a flying hot dog-mobile?

   The Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame, located along Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio, rocks the socks off any visitor that walks into the doors, young and old.

   Walking downtown Cleveland to the secluded building, once visitors reach the Hall of Fame, they hear a blast of sheer rock n’ roll music, ranging from Pink Floyd, to The Doors, and everywhere in between.

   Tickets cost 22 dollars for adults, according to the Hall of Fame’s information services desk, and tickets include a full tour of the museum’s six floors.

   According to the Hall of Fame website, a special exhibit on the sixth floor called “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen” features classic guitars used by Springsteen, handwritten lyric sheets, and the butt-shot from his “Born in the USA” album cover.  

   Employees at the Hall of Fame said the exhibit would close Dec. 31 this year.

   Other exhibits include “500 songs that shaped rock n’ roll,” giving visitors a chance to listen to a jukebox with over 500 rock n’ roll songs varying from the 1920’s to the 1990’s.

   Space in the museum also featured that of Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison. Those and more specific showcases display drawings, costumes from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” and even baby pictures of Hendrix, born in 1944.

   Walking through the museum, anyone looking at these exhibits gets a taste of what rockers were like in their time.

   Ranging from 1920’s folk, to emerging genre rockabilly in the 1940’s and 1950’s, it’s a history lesson for those who didn’t know how rock music came to be.
   Also featured in the Hall of Fame museum are an extended history of sound and the evolution of record players, to “iPod’s” in the 2000’s.

   Hours of operation for the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

   With spring break coming up for SC4 students, keep this in mind. It’s a great way to spend the day in downtown Cleveland, and if students are into rock, than the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame museum will surely rock your face off.

Ralphie May to visit McMorran

Breigh Edmondson

Staff Writer

   Comedian Ralphie May will be visiting McMorran Arena, March 10.

   Winner of the former NBC show “Last Comic Standing,” Arkansas native May has since been a regular on Comedy Central, and has been on various talk shows.

   According to McMorran Arena’s website, all tickets for May’s show are $29.50.

   Known for his combination of comedy, hip-hop and topical themes, May will surely crack up the arena.

   Since his win on “Last Comic Standing” May released his first comedic DVD in 2004, “Just Correct.” According to his official website, the DVD went platinum. In 2006, he released another comedic DVD, “Girth of a Nation.”

   May has opened up for comedians such as Sam Kinison, whom he said in his biography, was a dream of his to open up for Kinison.

   May will perform his comedic show at 7:30 p.m. on March 10.

   To find out how to get tickets to see Ralphie May, visit www.mcmorran.com, or call (810) 985-6166, and visit the box-office.

L.A. Candy

If you are looking to escape reality, look no further than “L.A. Candy,” written by Lauren Conrad. I know what you are thinking. Lauren Conrad can write? Well, the girl can write.
If unsure about whom Conrad is: star on the reality TV show “The Hills” on MTV. She first got her start on the MTV reality TV show “Laguna Beach.”
The book is about four girls who star in a new reality TV show called “L.A. Candy on PopTV.” This changes all their lives. The girls go from being unknown, to can’t walk down the street without being recognized.
As the drama unfolds, so do their lives. Conrad does use places like “Les Deux” and “Cabo Cantina” in her book that are found in L.A.
First there is Jane. She is a relatable, petite blonde from Santa Barbara. She moved to Los Angeles with her best friend Scarlett. Scarlett is tall and slender with exotic looks, who puts up a front to new people. Then there is Madison your typical heiress. Thin, fake and trashy. And let’s not forget Gaby, the ditzy one of the group.
Each chapter follows like an episode of “The Hills.” This book is season one. It starts with Jane and Scarlett moving to L.A., then being discovered and then becoming famous.
I liked the book. I thought that it was clear and flowed really well. Conrad did a good job of switching back and forth from each character’s perception. She also did a great job on the details. She really painted a clear picture for the reader.
A clever thing that Conrad did was make each chapter title a line from the chapter. Although the book is a little bit predictable, it is a fast and fun read. The book makes the reader wonder how much of the book is based on Conrad’s experience. One thing is for sure the book will leave you wanting more.
Conrad’s next book “Sweet Little Lies, An L.A. Candy Novel” is out on Tuesday, February 2.

Avatar Mixed Bag

Avatar has won numerous accolades, broken world records and pioneered new special effects technology, but movie goers hoping for revolutionary writing will be disappointed. Written, produced and directed by James Cameron (Titanic, The Terminator Series), and starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang.
Cameron’s latest offering sees Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation) play Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-marine who ships out to the alien world Pandora to take part in an experiment started by his dead brother.
On the lush jungle world, a nebulous and unnamed corporation harvests the poorly named, extremely expensive and rare element ‘Unobtanium.’ The corporation hires military forces, led by Stephen Lang (The Men Who Stare at Goats) in a turn as transparent antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch to fight the dangerous Native creatures.
The world is home to a myriad of wonderfully designed and animated creatures and scenery, and a large blue humanoid native race. The natives revere nature, which stands at odds to the corporate interests.
Jake Sully soon finds himself between the two worlds, when he inhabits the body of a genetic hybrid between the two species. Sigourney Weaver (Ghostbusters II, the Alien series) guides him as Doctor Grace Augustine, a cynical, but caring scientist.
The film takes much from tales like “Dances with Wolves”, “Pocahontas” and other similar tails, without adding anything substantial. Often times the characters seem flat, and the dialogue stilted, with slower scenes tending to drag on dramatically.
It does, however, showcase remarkable special effects and visual design, reminding us why James Cameron is so lauded for his films. The action scenes where masterfully done, if sometimes overly long, with a climax that is breathtaking. Those who go expecting a thought provoking film will leave disappointed, but those who know what to expect from Cameron hopefully won’t regret having seen it.

Battle of the Bands Rocks Campus

210 people packed into SC4’s Fine Arts Theatre when SC4 held the first annual “Battle of the Bands” Thursday, Jan. 28.
Bands playing the concert were Walking Past Nowhere, Reckless Ambitions, Gasoline Gypsy and Bishop’s Collar; also making a special appearance were bar-rockers Straight Shooter.
Profits went to SC4’s baseball team, who sponsored the show. Students paid 5 dollars per ticket while non-students paid 10 dollars, and each person that bought a ticket earned a vote for their favorite band. Additional votes were one dollar and ten votes for five dollars.
The first band of the night was newly-formed Walking Past Nowhere. According to lead singer Cody Harnden, it was the bands “first show as a group.” While backstage, Harnden, 15, of Fort Gratiot, also said the band has been together “for only four months, so we’ve been working our butts off.”
Reckless Ambitions was the second band of the night. Brian Forstner, 18, of Kimball Township, said, “The guitarist (Joshua Hoffman) reminded me of a young Eric Clapton.”
Winner of Battle of the Bands, Gasoline Gypsy, featured a trio that was a resemblance of The Black Crowes. When it was announced Gasoline Gypsy were the winners, the crowd stood up and cheered and the band got on stage to thank the crowd for being there and thanked fans for “all of their support.”
According to Denny Dwyer, the winning band won $500 in cash as “the band with the most votes.”
Bishops Collar was the last band on stage. According to the band, it was their last “hometown show” before they re-located to Buffalo, NY.
Straight Shooter, a band more known around the bar scene, played a few songs while the votes were being counted, playing the well known “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
“This is probably the youngest crowd we have played for in a long time,” said bassist Rick Langolf to the crowd.
According to Denny Dwyer, the baseball team raised “$2,000 which includes ticket sales and vote sales.”

The Diary of Joe Louis Arena

The “Diary of Jane” opened one more time as Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, and Flyleaf rocked the Joe Louis Arena stage Saturday, Jan. 16.
Flyleaf, a Christian rock band out of Texas, opened for co-headliners Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace. Lead singer Lacey made the stage her own with her soaring vocals on songs such as “Again,” and her epic screams in “I’m So Sick.” The band proved they could handle an arena stage, and play in front of fans that continuously scream for the next band.
Hard rockers Breaking Benjamin were second on stage. Opening up with their latest single “I Will Not Bow,” the first words of the song spawned one crazy crowd: “Fall.” Performing older singles such as “So Cold,” and “Polyamorous,” Breaking Benjamin treated the audience to newer songs such as “Into the Nothing” and “Hopeless” from their 2009 release, “Dear Agony.”
To top off the set, they covered “Dream On,” by Aerosmith, which started out acoustic, then turning into a full on pyro-fest. Closing with their hit “The Diary of Jane,” fans were left starving for more, and wanted to open the diary of Breaking Benjamin one more time.
Last but not least, Three Days Grace performed soon after Breaking Benjamin also opening with a newer song, “Break.” The lights and sounds of sirens made you feel like you were in an ambulance. Singing everything from “I Hate Everything about You” to “Never too Late,” Three Days Grace kicked butt on the Joe Louis Stage. From the drummer’s replica of a Tommy Lee drum solo, to amazing vocals by Adam Gontier, even of a cover of Apocalyptica’s “I Don’t Care,” the band solidified their spot into one of the best live acts in 2010 so far.

Late-night Debacle: Who will prevail?

A heated debate has been taking place over the last few weeks.
This debate doesn’t involve powerful world leaders or state politicians; it involves two late night TV heavyweights: Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien.
According to CNN.com, it all started Sunday, January 9 when NBC announced that “The Jay Leno Show” would be removed from its 10pm time slot effective February 11th due to poor ratings.
Chairman of NBC Universal Television Entertainment Jeff Gaspin came up with a plan in which Leno could host another new, half-hour show at 11:35, pushing “The Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien to 12:05, and pushing “Late Night” with Jimmy Fallon to 1 am.
But, O’Brien wasn’t having it.
After a few days of NBC trying to negotiate with both parties, O’Brien released a statement on Tuesday, January 11.
He said, “My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the legacy of ‘The Tonight Show’. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is destruction,” O’Brien said. “Some people will make the argument that with DVRs and the Internet a time slot doesn’t matter. But with the Tonight Show, I believe nothing could matter more.”
In his statement, O’Brien explained that bumping the time forward into the next day would damage the franchise and that it would be unfair to Jimmy Fallon, the new host of “Late Night”, to make his show start at 1 am.
O’Brien also went on to dispel any rumors of him moving to another network.
In a recent poll conducted by TMZ entitled “Who is the Bad Guy?” the numbers reveal that most people are on O’Brien’s side with only 25% of the vote. Leno got 26%, and President of NBC Entertainment Jeff Zucker was voted the “bad guy” with 49%.
SC4 students seem to be on O’Brien’s side, as well.
“I love Conan and I think what NBC is doing to him is completely wrong,” freshman Brittany Detloff said. “Jay had his time.”
SC4 student Alex Meyer agreed, saying, “I think Jay Leno is a guy who was bored not having a show. He didn’t need the money; he was just bored. And since he has so much celebrity weight, all he had to do was say, ‘Hey, I want my show/time back.’ And the networks were like ‘Yeah! Alright! LOL!’”
To decide what side you are on, you can catch the Jay Leno show weeknights at 10pm and “The Tonight Show” with Conan O’Brien at 11:35 pm on NBC.

Eli Brings Enlightenment

In a society where all you have to guide you is believing “The Book of Eli” enlightens you.
Directors Albert & Allen Hughes (Menace II Society, Dead Presidents) return with “The Book of Eli” starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.
In the Hughes Brothers’ latest screen spectacle Denzel Washington (American Gangster) plays Eli, a man trying to survive in a post apocalyptic world where people have forgotten what is really important: having faith.
In this world it has come to the point where even the most basic of resources are fought for and people will do anything in their power to get what they need, this includes even going as far as killing for water.
Eli is a lone wolf, but when he meets up with a girl played by Mila Kunis (That 70’s Show, Family Guy), he changes his ways. The young lady is being forced to do unspeakable things, and after much pleading by her mother, Eli agrees to do what he can to save her so that she won’t have to cope with everything her mother is forced to endure.
“The Book of Eli” has the same look to it at times of classics from the past such as “Mad Max,” but with a deeper plot and better character development.
If you have liked other titles from The Hughes Brothers go into this movie with an open mind. The “Book of Eli” has the same trademark dialogue and scene feel, however it breaks new ground in the sense that it deals with a subject that is different from what they have done before.
“The Book of Eli” gives a whole new feel to the idea of religion; you have the fanatic religious leader but he takes his beliefs and tries to make his followers do everything for him and not for what they should.
Some people will go into this movie and come out feeling offended and others will get the deeper message that it tries to convey in that you don’t have to “see to believe.” This movie may not win any awards or other accolades, but hopefully you can go in and come out not feeling like you have wasted two hours of your life.
I give it 3.5 out of 5.