Art for the People

1 The Floating Lab Remuseum


An object “re-installed” from the Remuseum

By Rachel Newdorf

Museums usually stay in one place.

But the Remuseum travels around the Washington D.C.-area in a converted food delivery truck.

The Floating Lab Collective is a group of artists collaboratively working together to create art that involves the viewers and make people look at their environments in a new way using all art forms to convey their message.

The Floating Lab was the brainchild of Edgar Endress, a professor of New Media at Mason in the School of Art. He was interested in bringing art to the public and how that affected contemporary art of today. Bouncing ideas off of other professors at the school, Endress brought them together for the 2007 art festival called Multimediale. Along with fellow Mason professors Sue Wrbican and Sean Watkins, and graduate students Blake Turner and Peter Lee, they created Protesting on Demand, and they have continued to work together ever since.

While the professors, Endress, Wrbican, and Watkins get the grants and funds for the projects, students and graduate students are welcome to contribute to any project they are currently working on. In fact, an idea from an art class sparked the group members interest in starting a collaborative group like The Floating Lab.

“Students learn how to professionally create a show,” Sean Watkins, a professor of New Media and a member of the group explained. “It is important as hell to learn, and it is easier to learn when doing so they are better prepared in the real world.”

From performance art, sound compositions as well as video and photography, The Floating Lab works in any medium to bring art to the public and encourages viewer participation.

One such participatory project was their most recent, the Remuseum. Taking ordinary objects that have value only to the people who owned them, the collective took the objects, their owners statements about them and created copies of the objects out of plaster molds. This could be anything from a coffee mug or a hairbrush, as long as there was a connection between the owner and the object.

Placing the molds in the adapted food delivery truck, the collective would pass the copied objects onto the viewers who were encouraged to take the molds with them and place them in a new environment such as in a building or somewhere public.

“We wanted people to re-install the objects,” Watkins explained. Just like a museum installs a show of objects considered as important, the collective wanted people to take the ordinary objects and do the same thing.

“It is an interaction with the public,” Watkins continues. “We want people to discuss what belongs in museums and become more involved in art.”

Through their work, the collective has become a fixture to the area and has become more and more recognized over the years.

“Being a presence in D.C. makes us ambassadors to the School of Art as well as Mason as a whole,” Watkins explained.

For more information about the floating lab, please visit their website at


It’s Shear Madness

By Samita Mason

Shear Madness has been playing for 22 years — yet the Kennedy Center is packed as guests file in for another performance of the D.C. who-done-it.

The set has been the same for 22 years and involves a barber shop where a murder occurs. Using clues, the audience is asked to help figure out who the murderer is. The story changes for every show which brings guests back for a new show with a new ending.

“This is my third time attending the show. I laugh every time and it’s great the cast makes a way to bring the audience into it,” said Cheryl Dawson, 51, a technical writer from Bethesda, Md.

Dawson first attended the show five years ago and loved it. “I’ve seen several plays on Broadway and a few here at the Kennedy Center when I can’t make it all the way back to New York. I have never been disappointed,” she says.

Christy Lewis, 35, financial analyst, from Leesburg, Va. was with her friend Kelly O’Bryon, 34, marketing coordinator from Rockville, Md. “The cast members approached a few audience members asking them who they thought committed the murders. Some were trying to recite the story line to the cast in order to figure out who would be found guilty,” said Lewis.

While there is the general story line, actors actually do ad lib at times. “At one show, a guy turned around and gave another guy a kiss on the lips. This was clearly not a part of the script as everyone basically stopped what they were doing. After a few minutes, they worked it into the story and continued on with the show,” says Dawson.

An added bonus to the show is that the cast invites guests to congregate outside the theatre for a question and answer session. This is beneficial to those who missed any part of the play and requested clarification. “I would definitely go see it again and again. It is a great evening of clean entertainment,” said Lewis.

“Eagleheart” Season Two Premiere, Don’t Ever Change, Chris Mosanto

Eagleheart tv show photo

By John Gilloly

Debuting last year with little to no advertising, Adult Swim’s live-action scripted show “Eagleheart” caught viewers and critics by surprise. Produced by Conan O’Brien’s production house, Conaco, in its first venture into the world of scripted television, the “lone soldier cop” satire gained eyeballs through word of mouth. What has been described as “Nash Bridges meets Walker, Texas Ranger on a bad acid trip,” “Eagleheart” stars the supremely funny and overlooked Chris Elliott as U.S. Marshall Chris Monsanto, a single-minded, gung-ho marshall that either luckily fumbles or violently destroys his way through his missions. Rounding out the cast are the overlooked Maria Thayer and Brett Gelman as straight-woman Suzie and man-child Brett, respectively, his partners in the Marshall’s office. Thayer and Gelman are almost pitch-perfect foils for Elliott to bounce his charmingly insane character off of, this quite possibly is the best starring and supporting cast in TV and definitely underrated.

The season two premiere, “Gaby, Calvin, and Stu,” picks up thematically and structurally right where season one left off. The best “Eagleheart” episodes are the ones that best satire police procedurals of the past two decades. After yet another brilliant costume by Mosanto, the marshalls all quit in order to avenge the mysteriously related deaths of their loved ones.

As with any good episode, there are twists and turn you’ll never see coming, and it ends with a glorious reveal involving a cake maker that becomes some mind-bending meta-textual stuff.

Kudos and tipped hats really go to the creative team of Michael Koman and Andrew Weinburg for coming up with a show so comically simple from a satire level that I personally can’t believe it has been done to this great of an effect before.

Writer/Director Jason Woliner, whose credit lists include other great yet overlooked shows such as “Human Giant,” “Jon Benjamin Has A Van,” and another Adult Swim live action show “Delocated,” does exceptional work here too. It’s a combination of low-brow satire, over-the-top violence with cheap effects, and the brilliant comedic styling of Elliott that make this show an actual gut-busting laugh riot.

“Eagleheart” has not skipped a beat, in fact, it’s probably stronger than its first season. Cartoon Network/Adult Swim could greatly benefit from some stronger promotion for this show. It can be tough for underground comedies to reach a larger audience, especially on a late-night cable network. However, this is one of those shows, despite glaring strangeness, that could probably reach to a higher audience with just a touch more exposure. And trust me, it’s well worth the watch.

“Eagleheart” is on Thursdays at Midnight on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.

“Eagleheart: Season One” is available on DVD

Grads Move into the “Big Leagues” With $5 Nats Game!

photo credit:

By: Jessica Farley

There’s no better way to usher in the summer months than with baseball; relaxing in the stands with a cold beer, a hot dog, and your team winning seems to be the highlight of many people’s warm weather days.

Unless of course you’re ushering in summertime with a brand new college diploma- that’s pretty cool too.

What’s the only thing better than saying “Sayonara!” to a semester of term papers, all-nighters, and a sea of scantrons and blue books with one of these two things? Both, of course! And, thanks in part to George Mason University Life, graduating seniors will have just that.

Graduating seniors are eligible for a maximum of two $5.00 tickets to this Saturday’s Nationals vs. Phillies game taking place in Washington National Park. Tickets are being sold at The Office of Student Involvement in The Hub on a first-come first-serve basis, with 100 tickets available.  This $5.00 Nats game is just one of many events provided for graduating seniors through “GradFest,” a series of different events and activities compiled for graduating seniors and grad students with the help of University Life, Alumni Association, Career Services, and a committee of students and staff alike.  A complete list of their other events, which includes a “Career Lunch” and a “Graduate Student Happy Hour,” can be found online or through their Facebook page.

Graduate Student Valerie Skinner, 22, with a degree in Curriculum and Instruction, has already scooped up her Nats tickets, saying “I’ve always loved going to baseball games, so it’s awesome that Mason has done this for us. It’s a great reward for all the hard work we’ve put in over the years!”

So, GMU’s graduating class of 2012, reward yourself! Pick up your tickets before they run out. And don’t forget to “root root root for the home team!’

ALBUM REVIEW: Brendon Small’s “Galaktikon”

By John Gilloly

Brendon Small is made of metal.

The co-creator of Adult Swim’s “Metalocalypse” and it’s cartoon death-metal band Dethklok, Small has proved his shred-ability multiple times over  recording Dethklok’s very real, very brutal songs. Small has somewhat ventured on his own, creating a new metal venture outside of the confines of his cartoon personae. His “solo” debut, “Galaktikon,” is somewhat sadly a mixed bag, with great highs and mediocre lows.

“Galaktikon” is a love letter to the “cosmic” side of metal that metal bands like Dream Theater have done before, making metal music more about the vast reaches of the cosmos more so than the occult you’ve come to expect from. The album cover, shown above, is testimony to the content within. For the most part, he gets the job done.

Small has great chops when it comes to guitar. Soaring, high-pitched shred fests, such as “Prophecy of the Lazer Witch” and “On My Way” are great examples of what he is capable. Driving drums provided by Gene Hoglan, widely regarded as a technical master of the skins, only help to boost the power of these tracks.

The star track here is  “Dangertits.” An all instrumental song, Small really shows technical mastery of the electric guitar, buoyed by several solos within the song. While very metal, the song is a tribute to some of the best guitarists to dabble in and around the genre. It almost sounds like shred masters Steve Vai or Yngwie Malsteem recorded parts themselves.

The best parts of the album do not make up for the disappointing mediocrity of the rest of the album. “Truth Orb and the Kill Pool” and “You Can’t Run Away” are so middle of the road that I really found myself avoiding them on repeat listens.

It’s somewhat disappointing that “Galaktikon” as a whole can’t rise up to the to the quality of its best tracks. This is a perfectly fine album, but it really could have been great.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Tracks to Download: “ Triton” “Prophecy of the Lazer Witch” “Dangertits”

“Cabin in the Woods” Gives “Bad Trip” a Twisted New Meaning.

By Donovan Hall

Trippy. Brutal. Intense. Insane. Nightmarish. These are the only words I can think of to describe the latest slasher flick, “Cabin in the Woods.”

It was like a bad trip — packed with paranoia, powerful hallucinations and overall bad vibes, man.

“Cabin in the Woods”mixes that with a touch of conspiracy, a dash of nightmares, and a heaping amount of gore. To top it all off, the movie ends with one Hell of a twist that you will never see coming.

I have to admit that I am a self-proclaimed horror fan. I firmly believe that the more gore, the better. Unfortunately for me, it’s been forever since I’ve seen one that didn’t make me want to hunt down the director and murder him myself.

When I saw that “Cabin in the Woods” got great ratings, I was ready to prove them wrong. No one is safe from my sarcasm and snark! There was no way that some played out, campfire massacre could be any good. Boy, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I went to the latest show possible on a Monday night. Thankfully, my friend is equally obsessed with gore, so he eagerly joined — especially after I offered to pay. Choosing the late show was the perfect time to see a movie of this caliber. I could enjoy it without the obnoxious peanut gallery barking in the background.

When we got there, the entire movie theater was empty. It was actually pretty sweet, until my buddy decided to go get popcorn and left me alone with my suddenly heightened sense of paranoia. After a few minutes, I was convinced there was someone hiding behind one of the seats, just waiting to stab me.

After the first 15 minutes, the movie had us.

The movie was funny. I mean, like really funny. It was much better than any of the humor they usually carelessly toss into horror movies. At one point, I almost choked on my popcorn and I thought to myself, “A pot head wrote that.”

That’s why I wasn’t surprised when the stoner friend joined the group on screen. What did surprise me, however, was that he was so sensible. The group also included the basic stereotypes: the good looking jock, the slutty blonde, the uptight virgin and the token black guy, with a twist. The jock was actually smart, the blonde was just good looking, not actually slutty. The virgin had to been having sex and the black guy was mixed. Ha!

The film had pretty decent acting, which was a relief. I mean, sure, there were a handful of corny moments, but what scary movie doesn’t have those? There were times when I felt that it was getting to be a bit too much, but then I realized that it was supposed to be like that, which won’t make sense until you see it.

The most impressive thing to me was the story. I was expecting your basic, kids go to the woods and get slaughtered story. That was not the case with this movie. It almost seemed like it had changed genres halfway through the flick, which was surprisingly a good thing.

I actually spent the last 40 minutes of the movie with my jaw hanging wide open. I was pretty much in shock at what was taking place on the screen.

If you plan on seeing it, I suggest not reading any spoilers or asking your friends about it. It’s definitely the kind of movie that you will want to see without any expectations at all.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie, quite a bit. I thought I had the movie pegged before I even watched it, and it proved me wrong. So hats off to the people who wrote this movie. And an even bigger hats off to crazy amount of drugs that they HAD to have taken to come up with this.

As my friend and I left the theater, we didn’t speak until ten minutes after we got in the car. Neither one of us could explain what had just happened to us. Then I realized it. We had both experienced the bad trip that is “Cabin in the Woods.”

DJ Fresh Air Takes New York City

by Karina Schultheis

Aaron Conyngham has wanted to be a lawyer since he was 6 years old. His father was a lawyer, his grandfather was a lawyer. His great-grandfather was a lawyer.

Conyngham is comfortable speaking his mind and his voice is frequently heard during class discussions and debates. His words often leave the room silent.

“I was a natural born-and-bred lawyer,” Conyngham says. “I have the ability to tear other people’s arguments to shreds.”

But, law school might be on hold for him.

Three weeks ago, Conyngham signed a contract as a disc jockey with New York record label Stagematter Electronics. The electronic-dance music company is offering Conyngham the opportunity to tour New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Conyngham is currently a 22-year-old junior at George Mason University.

He excels in his classes, but has more fun on stage than at school.

“That euphoric feeling you get when you drop a track and the whole room goes, ‘Oh Shit!’ and starts dancing is something indescribable,” says Conyngham. “I remember listening to mixed CD’s [my mom] had that some of her friends made her when I was a kid. From that point forward, I decided that’s what I wanted to do. Play music for people to dance to. To live through.”

He always thought it would be something he did for fun, but now, it may be a career.

Conyngham, or “DJ Fresh Air,” burst onto the district’s electronic dance music scene less than one year ago. He has been producing music independently for more than three years, but only recently started performing at clubs, raves and bars.

“I first started spinning at house parties for my friends, to get practice and learn how to read the crowd,” says Conyngham. “I wanted to become really good at it and know how to keep the vibe of a room before I started to get paid doing it. I found I was really passionate and pretty soon I was taking any gig I could find. It paid really well, and I loved it, so I figured…Why not?”

His first paying gigs took place in early 2011 at GMU sorority and fraternity formals. By November of last year, he was asked to perform at Ultrabar.

He performs once a week at various clubs in the district and gets paid anywhere between $300 and $500 each night for approximately three hours of performing. Sometimes he is more in demand; two weeks ago, he performed on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night.

“I learned to not be afraid to take a chance on myself,” says Conyngham. “I put everything I have into being a DJ and producing, and so far it has been working out pretty well for me.”

He is still considering law school, but is waiting for the next year to unfold before making any definite decisions.

“That is one of the new philosophies I have adapted,” says Conyngham. “If you want something bad enough, then do anything you can to get it.”


Comic Review: “Earth 2”

“Earth 2”
Writer: James Robinson
Artist: Nicola Scott
Publisher: DC Comics

By John Gilloly

Parallel worlds are a tricky business. It’s such a uniquely science fiction concept, moreover comic book concept. The idea that something in the universe that changed that made it different then the world you live in is really the stuff of nerd fantasies.

DC Comics has a long history with alternate and parallel earths. When the company decided to reboot their universe last year in order to make their characters seem younger, there became an issue with World War II era comic heroes the Justice Society of America. DC’s answer is to put them in their own separate universe, and create a whole new mythology.

And boy, it did not disappoint.

“Earth 2” is the new adventures of the Justice Society, taking on a different Earth similar to the main universe and yet all the more different. About ten years ago, James Robinson, the man who made the Justice Society relevant for the first time since the 80’s, has crafted a brand new world that feels and looks similar to the Justice Society of old, and yet puts new twists to make it seem all the more fresh. The story opens with a war not so different than the one taking place in Geoff John’s “Justice League,” but with a sacrifice that sets this world in a new and exciting direction. After the war, we are introduced to our main players, familiar names but not so familiar places. The issue is a lot of set up, which obviously will pay off down the road, but I would have loved to seen some of the heroes in their alter egos more than the slow building civilian set-ups.

Rendering this world with great aplomb is Nicola Scott. “Earth 2” really gives Scott a big stage to shine. She does wonderful facial work, making characters seem more human then the drawn page usually can convey.

In one issue, “Earth 2” has skyrocketed to the top of my read pile. I’ll be looking forward to the continuing adventures, provided that Robinson can move the plot along faster than he did in issue one.

Story: 4 out of 5
Art: 5 out of 5
Overall: 4.5 out of 5, Critics Choice

Hey Fairfax, I’ll Meet You at the Turtle!

By John Gillooly

The Greene Turtle, a bar/restaurant famous for its location within the Verizon Center in downtown D.C., has open a new location right smack dab in the middle of Fairfax, between University Blvd. and Route 123.

I went to the grand opening of the restaurant two weeks ago the night of the 

Washington Capitals playoff game against the Boston Bruins. The building was packed wall-to-wall in a sea of red. It was a fantastic atmosphere for a sports bar, the staff was very energetic and friendly and the crowd was all in an upbeat attitude.


“The Turtle,” as it’s affectionately called by its staff, plays host to more than 20 beers on tap and and at least 25 TV screens, not including personal TVs at every table.

“The atmosphere is electric,” says

Christian Klopfer, a 24-year-old subsititue teacher from Fairfax and avid Capitals fan.


“The Turtle is not simply a bar but the epicenter of something far greater. It is the great meeting hall of man’s desires, fears and whims. It is a forum for his greatest achievements and his crippling failures. For the Turtle is not simply the bar that Fairfax wants. It is the bar that Fairfax needs.”



Dancing for Life

By Tabby Hardman

Susan Artz isn’t shopping inside Forever 21 — she’s dancing. She’s flapping her arms and shaking her rear as customers mill around her. And, while she dances, someone records it.

This, is a Dance Dare a la Ellen DeGeneres. In case you aren’t a regular fan of the afternoontalk show, Ellen regularly has people secretly dance behind her guests undetected.

So, Artz, a 25-year-old Social Media Events Consultant and George Mason University alum who graduated in 2011 with a degree in tourism and events, ran around Fair Oaks Shopping Mall and filmed herself secretly dancing behind unsuspecting shoppers.

She did this, to raise awareness to Mason’s annual Relay for Life — which raises money to fight cancer by bringing more involvement to the race and also saw it as an opportunity to remain involved in the Relay for Life organization at her Alma Mater.

“I thought by doing one of these videos it would be a great vehicle for Relay, it is something that reaches a large audience and anyone who is interested can participate,” said Artz.

After the Relay for Life committee approved the concept, the committee created their “Dance Dare” film over spring break (the one in which Artz dances in) as a starting point for the challenge.

“We are going to release [the committee’s] video on YouTube and Facebook, which will be our way of challenging the community to send in their “Dance Dare” videos and get the publicity ball rolling,” said Artz.

She thinks her dance video will give a more inspirational, uplifting tone — and encourage more people to participate. It’s fun, and different, and not a “sad depressing film about cancer.”

“We think it’s more powerful to see the human spirit thriving in the face of the devastating realities of cancer,” she says.

And,  who knows, eventually, maybe Ellen will see the video herself.