Jack White Strikes Again

“Missing Pieces,” the lead track on Jack White’s new album, expresses a theme of people taking a piece of you when they leave.  Now, after a career of giving more than just a piece of himself to a variety of musical efforts, White gives us all he has to offer on “Blunderbuss.”

For an artist who has been praised for so long on an individual level, it’s hard to imagine that White hasn’t released a solo album until now.  The beauty of “Blunderbuss” is that it takes his identifiable sound that has made so many albums whole and puts it on stripped-down, solitary display.

After breaking ground with The White Stripes for over a decade, White moved on to The Dead Weather, a darker, raunchier concoction that alludes to the old days of metal with a bluesy twist.  Along the way happened The Raconteurs, adding to the trifecta of White’s success as a freelance rock ‘n’ roll icon.

“Blunderbuss” further solidifies White’s place in modern history, as he continues to spin his unique blend of downhome blues and straight-ahead Detroit rock.  “Sixteen Saltines,” one of three singles from the album, brings the heavy-handed energy of a wide open Stripes-esque guitar riff.  Much of the album, however, makes use of piano, conjuring up a ballad-like feel on songs like “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” and “I Guess I Should Go to Sleep.”  Interesting things happen when these ends of the spectrum collide, whether it’s the slick segue of “Take Me with You When You Go” or the argumentatively-layered solos in “Weep Themselves to Sleep.”

With a name that alludes to a short predecessor of the shotgun, one might have expected a somewhat more eccentric collection of songs, considering the heaviness of White’s work with The Dead Weather.  Rather, the theme of the album’s first single, “Love Interruption,” suggests a more intimate weapon of choice, with White describing a type of love that will “stick a knife inside me and twist it all around.”  This is indicative of the type subversive darkness that seems to be something of a signature for him and is especially prevalent in the music video for “Sixteen Saltines,” which features a group of children in blue paint artfully executing his elaborate death.

Jack White’s type of blunderbuss may not be as violent as the real thing, but it is nonetheless a thing of power, just in a deliberate, blues-rock fashion.  As with nearly everything that this evolving artist gets his hands on, “Blunderbuss” creates an instant anticipation to see what’s next.



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.

Rodrigo y Gabriela rocks D.C.

By Zohra Alnoor

I went to Cuba last night. With my sister…and a few other DMV residents. And no, I’m not writing this from a prison cell.

On Wednesday, April 25, 2012, Rodrigo y Gabriela, came to the Warner Theater in Washington D.C. to perform hits off their new album, Area 52, with the 13-piece Cuban orchestra, C.U.B.A.

C.U.B.A. is featured heavily on their last album, and although I didn’t enjoy the album as much as their previous ones, when they performed live, my ears were in heaven.

The performers revisited nine of the duos songs off of their past albums, infusing it with a Cuban flavor. I didn’t completely love the Cuban feel when I first bought the album, mostly because I was so use to the original songs and didn’t like them being tampered with; but at the concert last night, I was in love.

The night started out with performances from the full orchestra and duo, and after 30 minutes the mood switched to Rodrigo y Gabriela being left on stage for another 30 minutes to perform pieces on their own. One of my favorite parts of the concert, surprisingly, was when the artists from C.U.B.A. had their own solo’s much later in the concert and each were given the spotlight and two to five minutes to belt out a tune or play like they’d never played before, and it was exquisite. At one point, the night became so mellow and serenading that I was almost lulled to a peaceful sleep before flute, trumpet and trombone solos by the Cubans lifted me up with energy.

It was a night I won’t forget, and one I’ve been waiting for, for quite some time.

Thank you to Pandora.com for introducing me to this wonderful group many moons ago (last June), and allowing me to finally see this amazingly talented band.

How to “Think Like A Man”

By Karina Schultheis

Steve Harvey’s 2009 bestselling book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” was transformed into an entertaining, though predictable, feature film chronicling the lives of four men and their romantic counterparts through the whirlwind battle we affectionately call relationships.

“Think Like a Man” was released in theaters last Friday and grossed more than $30 million opening weekend. Boasting an extremely talented cast (including Gabrielle Union, Kevin Hart and Meagan Good), the actors make up for what the plot lacks with their acting and inherent chemistry. Their relationships are believable and relatable despite the foreseeable arguments and scenes.

The men are introduced first and categorized by their “type” or personality: The Player. The Happily Married Man. The women are also labeled: The Girl Who Wants the Ring. The Woman Who Is Her Own Man. The complications that arise from the age-old controversy of male vs. female is the underlying theme of this film, but while this subject has been overplayed in nearly all rom-coms, the insight from Steve Harvey’s advice provides a unique twist.

The drama unfolds much like “Valentine’s Day,” or “He’s Just Not That Into You” — the men get together to play basketball and complain about their “ladies” while the women bond over drinks and dinner…and complain about the men. Advice is shared and nothing really changes.

That is, until the women discover “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man.”

As soon as the women learn the “secret” to making their certain type of man fall in love, thewar is on. Strategies and manipulations ensue, and for a period of time the women seem to finally be in control of their relationships. But inevitably, the men discover the reason behind their lovers’ changed attitudes and refuse to back down without a fight. As the women pretend to be less needy and attached, the men pretend to be more chivalrous and committed. As the women withhold sex, the men pretend not to want it. It seems to be a recipe for disaster, but as many in the “dating game” can attest, these war tactics are often successful.

There is not much down time in the film, and chatty banter keeps its momentum. Plenty of witty one-liners are interwoven into the script to spark laughter, but overall the characters are too type-casted to be believable. Perhaps this was the intention, considering the labels deployed on each person (after all, Kevin Hart is “The Happy Divorcee,” not “The Happy Divorcee Who Actually is Still in Love and Hasn’t Realized Yet that His Own Insecurities Are The Root of the Issue and He Might be Making a Huge Mistake”).

I definitely laughed and enjoyed the hysterics; it’s not a bad date-night movie. But if you are watching your pennies and only go to the movies on special occasions, I would save this film for Netflix. Go see “Hunger Games” instead.

My overall rating? B+.


The Avengers and Hulk

By Anthony Jamison

Hulk Smash! Hulk Smash!

I love the combination of those two words. Now only if there were some kind of way to

make a movie where Hulk came to life and didn’t suck.

It looks like  “The Avengers” — while not third installment of the Hulk, but might be the best screen rendering of him.

The Hulk is my favorite superhero (I drink out of a Hulk coffee mug and have three different pairs of Hulk boxers).

I am so hyped, so amped up, so geeked up about the “The Avengers” — a movie star studded to the max. Usually this formula correlates that it will be a shitty movie (think:  “New Years Eve” and “Valentine’s Day”).

I will bet everything I got (which is not much) that this defies that rule.

As you watch the trailers you are already in a deep trance where you must see more. Every trailer just gives you a little bit more to what you should be expecting from “The Avengers.” You see all of the right depictions of the Avengers members from the intelligent, flashy Tony Stark (Ironman) to the cunning and heroic Steve Rogers (Captain American). From the looks of things the movie is following the comics as close as possible. Hulk is destroying everything, Thor is fight Loki, Ironman is being a playboy, while Captain American is trying to save everyone.

There are two clips I think showed the movie is on par with the comics. Specifically, the dialogue between Tony Stark and Loki where Loki brags that he has an Army, but Tony counters him by saying “Well, we have a Hulk,” (and a good Hulk could outfit an Army). And the other clip is when Cap looks at the Hulk and says “Hulk smash” then the Hulk laughs because you know that is all he wanted to hear.

I know where I will be on May 3rd at midnight, with my Hulk fist and Hulk t-shirt on. I can’t wait.




George Mason Panelists Make Sense of Senseless Tragedy

By Daniel Shyti

Two months later, the nation is still reeling.

The death of Trayvon Martin, an African-American Florida teenager, has sparked nationwide concern over the lingering traces of racism in American society.  Last Wednesday, GMU held a panel discussion to examine this subject.

Hosted by Dr. Joseph Williams of the Counseling and Development Program, the event featured six panelists from GMU providing various points of view.  Many of the panelists are currently professors or assistant professors and hold doctorates in fields such as psychology, sociology, and communication.  As Williams said, it is important for the GMU community to gain a “stronger understanding of the larger implications of the death Trayvon Martin.”

Florida state law includes a “stand your ground” provision, which states that the use of lethal force can be justified if an individual feels threatened.  But as Dr. George McMahon, another Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Development Program asked, “What society do we want to live in?  Do we want to live in a society where your ungrounded fear absolves you from guilt?”  In this case, the panel agreed that shooter George Zimmerman’s fear was ungrounded, because the only thing remotely threatening about Martin’s presence was the fact that he was a young black male wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

GMU doctoral student and Fairfax County Public School psychologist Reston Bell weighed in on this matter, describing the way African-American youths are pressured into believing that it is their own fault if another individual finds them intimidating.

“We’re pushing our young men into boxes,” she said.  “We’re asking them to contort themselves to appear less threatening.  How detrimental is it to teach someone that they have to feel small to live?”

The full scope of Martin’s death encompasses a number of issues in American society, and GMU is doing its part by encouraging this hot-button dialogue.  It was impossible not to come away from the discussion without a heightened sense of social awareness, which is a step in the right direction to create the social change necessary to put an end to racial injustice.

Cool Story Bro, Tell It Again

By Kayla Cohen

Behind the designer sunglasses, clean shape up, and diamond encrusted necklace is a young man who has suffered from anxiety for several years.

That man, better known as Jersey Shore’s Vinny Guadagnino, tells his struggle with anxiety in his new book titled “Control the Crazy: My Plan to Stop Stressing, Avoid Drama, and Maintain Inner Cool.”

Guadagnino shares his story of how his battle with anxiety started when he was a freshman in high school. Despite the fact that he looked like a white version of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air with acne and braces, he had a normal life until one day in English class when he suffered his first anxiety attack.

From that point on, his anxiety turned into depression and ultimately took control of his life. Thankfully, he was able to get help for his anxiety and how he was able to regain control of his life, his anxiety, and his depression.

Guadagnino’s story is filled with hope, encouragement, and quirky humor. Rather than feeling like you are reading a self-help book, it feels as if Guadagnino is sitting across from you, sipping on a coffee, just conversing with you about his life.

It might come as a surprise, Guadagnino’s story is exceedingly well written. On television he might appear overly confident and superficial, but underneath his MTV-image he is a normal person, just like everyone else. He knows how to write to connect with the reader on a personal level.

This book is really written for every audience. If you suffer from anxiety, it will show you ways to deal. If you don’t suffer from anxiety, you will hear the journey of one of Hollywood’s hot celebrities.

It was definitely a cool story bro, tell it again.

The Real Housewives of New Drama

By Tabby Hardman

Considering myself a “Real Housewives” psychopath, who watches every season and picks every aspect of every show apart with a
fine-toothed comb as if I know these women on a personal level—I have to admit my ‘Jersey Girls’ have proved me right once again.

“The Real Housewives of New Jersey,” which aired its fourth season on April 22 at 10 p.m. on BRAVO, is up and running with a whole new twist to the show. As well as darker tans, thicker make-up, and enough diamonds to pay off the National Debt.

In previous seasons there was an unbreakable pact between the philosophical Caroline Manzo, the sweetheart Jacqueline Laurita, and the ever entertaining and my personal favorite Teresa Giudice against anyone who tried to take them down—i.e. Danielle Staub (former castmate).

Now the tables have turned all because of Teresa’s infamous cookbook in which she said mean things about all of her cast mates — including calling Caroline as Italian as the Olive Garden. Teresa says it’s all in good fun — it’s a joke, funny, ha ha, get it — but her cast mates aren’t laughing.

It’s Caroline, Jacqueline, Melissa Gorga (the hot young wife of Teresa’s brother), and Kathy Wakile (Teresa’s cousin)—against Teresa.

Albeit I feel terrible for my main girl Teresa, the drama is positively mouth-watering and to anyone who has never seen the show it’s
impossible to switch stations.

Between Teresa apologizing every five seconds for her cookbook, Jacqueline’s battle to kick out her freeloading and moronic 20-year-old daughter Ashlee, Melissa yelling “Thank you Jesus” every time she reminds us of how wealthy she is, Caroline’s overly philosophical remarks about “the Italian culture,” and Kathy crying every two seconds about God knows what—it’s enough to transfix a hamster.

I project this season to be stellar once again—but if my ‘Jersey Girls’ don’t cut it this time around, I may  have to take a trip to see my other Jersey favorites along “The Shore” courtesy of MTV.








Zac Efron took a walk to remember in “The Lucky One”

By Kayla Cohen


“The Lucky One,”  is the story of a sergeant in the Marines, Logan (played by Zac Efron,) who finds a photograph of a beautiful girl named Beth (played by Taylor Schilling) in the rubble after a night raid. After keeping the photo as a good luck charm, and narrowly escaping death on numerous occasions, Logan promises himself he is going to find that woman and thank her for saving his life. And that is exactly what he does.

Like most of the Nicholas Sparks’ novels turned into films, “The Lucky One” does stray a bit from the original storyline.

In the novel, the photograph of Beth is with two men in front of a ferris wheel. Also, the back of the photo says “Keep Safe, E.” In the film, Beth is standing by herself with a lighthouse in the distance and the back of the photo says “Keep Safe, X.”

The location also differs. In the novel, the story takes place in North Carolina, but in the movie it is located in Louisiana.

A huge difference is that in the novel Logan’s dog saves Beth’s son’s life, but in the movie the son is saved by his father.

My only big complaint is that the film also lacks the chemistry between the main characters as shown in the novel. The lack of intimate scenes is understandable, since the rating was PG-13. But, this film just didn’t show the heart-wrenching chemistry like in the other Sparks’ movies. Efron and Schilling’s romance just didn’t cut it this time.

Is “The Lucky One” one of Nicholas Sparks’ best adaptations? Sadly not. But then again, every movie can’t have a love like in “The Notebook.”


Free Gourmet Food On Campus Today and Tomorrow!

By Jessica Farley

Fancy, gourmet foods aren’t usually associated with most college campuses.

But, George Mason’s “Crazy Awesome Food and Entertainment” club is working to change that. Today and tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Southside’s professional kitchen and Parking Lot L, Crazy Awesome Food and Entertainment will be providing free gourmet food in honor of Mason Day.

The student-ran group, which has a core membership of about 70 volunteers, will prepare, cook, and serve all of the food to those who work up an appetite celebrating their school spirit. What’s on the menu?  “Chicken burgers marinated in Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce, ‘top-shelf’ hot dogs, sauerkraut made from scratch, hand-formed beef burgers seasoned with basil and fresh herbs, vegan veggie burgers, and ‘enough sweet, juicy  watermelon to feed a small army,’” says founding president and senior Mark Feghali, 32, majoring in Computer Science.

Hungry yet?

This is the second year that Crazy Awesome Food and Entertainment has offered free grub to students on Mason Day. Last year, they prepared a gluten-free menu. Among the  featured food items was the suggestively titled “better-than-sex pancakes” which, according to Feghali, “didn’t even need syrup they were so good!” Even more impressive than the erotic pancakes? “Last year, everything we prepared was funded out of the pockets of our own members,” says Feghali, who added that his club hosts myriad events throughout the year, including “DIY Chipotle Night.”

This year however, Crazy Awesome Food and Entertainment was fortunate enough to receive funding from Student Government, Program Board, and Mason Dining Services for their gourmet affair.

“We’ve been told that Mason Day can attract anywhere between 6,000 and 7,000 students,” Feghali said.  “We’re preparing enough food for about 1,600 people, and that’s not accounting for people taking seconds- which I know they will!”

Well, if that’s the case, I’ll be the first in line.