Nicholas Cage and an acid trip through hell

Alec Ematrudo –A&E Editor

It’s no secret that Nicholas Cage, a former Oscar-winner for Best Actor, has been deep within the hole of straight-to-DVD movies for the better part of the last decade. The once celebrated actor, has become a meme, the face of countless B-grade and even C-grade films, and has almost entirely descended into what many might call a series of mental breakdowns. If he had just stolen one more historical declaration, or just decided to not play Ghost Rider, things may have been different for Cage these last several years.

Graphics courtesy of infamoushorrors.com/film

That being said, Panos Cosmato’s “Mandy” which debuted last year to audience and critical acclaim, may have just launched Cage’s career into a cult-hit renaissance. Hold my beer and let me explain.     “Mandy” premiered this past year and swept film festivals by storm. Critics hailed it as a masterpiece and possibly one of Cage’s best performances in years, if not ever. This film, which you almost certainly have never heard of, pits Cage’s character; Red Miller, against a fanatical hippy cult, and several interdimensional demons who ride quad bike and motorcycles. Sounds insane right? It most certainly is. Once you add in a moody synth-wave soundtrack and an incredible use of color and psychedelic/gothic imagery, you’re in for a wild ride. There’s also a tiger and a chainsaw battle… but we don’t need to get into that right now.

“Mandy” is most certainly not for everyone. I don’t want to mislead you into thinking this is a fun action flick. It’s a slow-burn color orgy for around seventy percent of the film. However, against all odds, this movie is satisfying and legitimately really good from both a filmmaking and narrative perspective. On top of all that, Cage does in fact give his performance his all. There’s a scene where the camera doesn’t cut away and allows Cage to have one of his signature freakouts all in frame and it’s incredibly well acted and equally as engaging to watch.

In other news, Cage is currently filming and starring in a film adaption of H.P. Lovecraft’s “Color out of Space.” All signs are indicating that this film will, like “Mandy,” be another beautifully chaotic cult hit amongst film buffs and dedicated H.P. Lovecraft fans alike. I will provide more info on that movie as it comes out but expect it to be released either later this year or first quarter of 2020.

Nicolas Cage might be making a comeback and I’m all here for it. Regardless, I highly recommend that you all should watch “Mandy.” The director has a sequel idea in mind, where it would have Cage fighting Nazi punks in a bombed out city and I for one really hope that comes to fruition.

Mandy is available for purchase on Amazon Prime and iTunes, as well as as available for streaming on Shudder.

An interview with Rhode Island-based duo, Soul Babe

Esther Watrous –Anchor Staff

Photo courtesy of Soul Babe

Local music artists, Mary Gipson and Helena Widmann, have been performing as Soul Babe, an R&B, Hip-hop, Funk, and Neo Soul group, for almost two years. Besides performing together, Widmann is a 2018 RIC graduate and a voice instructor, and Gipson is a cosmetologist and radio personality at 101.1 WBRU.

The Anchor: You’re both very talented musicians, how did you meet?

Helena Widmann: We were both a part of a showcase called, “The Wave,” curated by BO8 Studios, and we were the only two women who were a part of the show. We exchanged information and that’s how we met.

Mary Gipson: Yeah, we networked a little bit. I was really impressed. When you go to showcases, especially the hip hop and R&B community, everybody is singing over a track, but she had a guitar player, and she just brought a whole different vibe.

The Anchor: What is the meaning and purpose behind Soul Babe?

Mary Gipson: When you’re an artist, you put your soul out there to view and see and criticize. That’s one thing that I wanted to incorporate in the name of Soul Babe. The fact that she does her own thing, and I do my own thing, I thought, let’s use this as a platform together and let’s do some live stuff.

The Anchor: Are you working on any originals together?

Mary Gipson: Not yet. We both live crazy lives right now. I think this year we’re really focused on getting at least a couple originals, even if it’s just basement tapes where we’re just vibing.

The Anchor: How do you choose cover songs to sing together?

Helena Widmann: There needs to be attention put towards popularity, so, what people like. My type of vibe is much more like an acoustic setting. People want to hear upbeat dance music. They want to drink and have fun. We have to focus on incorporating music that is soulful because that’s part of the band name, but it needs to be something that people are going to recognize.

The Anchor: Who has the most stage confidence?

Helena Widmann: Mary all day. I’m just more introverted and I don’t always like people watching me like a fish bowl, but I like performing. I like to sing, but I’m not as good at entertaining.

Mary Gipson: I’m awkward too but I just make fun of myself half the time. I think I’m funny, and I was always one of those kids who was like, look at me, look what I can do. So it just comes naturally with me.

The Anchor: Helena, How did you get into teaching voice lessons?

Helena: When I was in high school, I had developed this habit of pushing when I sing and it really made my voice hoarse all the time, and limited my ability to perform and use proper dynamics. It took away a love that I had because it was painful to sing. Over time, I had to learn from different teachers to sing in a healthy way. I like to help people achieve their best sound through what I’ve learned.

The Anchor: Mary, you released the single, “Therapy” recently. Do you have any more singles coming soon or any bigger projects?

Mary Gipson: I have another single coming out very soon. I want to release a video at the same time because its a fun track and I feel like with the video and some dancers it would gain a lot more attention than just releasing the song.

The Anchor: How do you find inspiration for both your group projects and your independent projects?

Mary Gipson: We all have separate lives. We all do what we need to do, especially with the band, it’s hard keeping everyone together and on the same page. You just have to keep that inspiration alive. I would say other bands that we go and watch inspire us to keep what we have going.

Helena Widmann: I write poetry a lot. That’s something that I enjoy doing because there’s no pressure. But I know that if I can take something that I wrote and turn it into a song, then I’ve already done half my work.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” fulfills every fans wishes

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda –Senior Layout Editor

After over a decade-long wait, one of the most anticipated conclusions in videogame history, finally arrived. Closing the door on the “Dark Seeker Saga,” “Kingdom Hearts 3” reinvigorated the series with the new title, while still having room for improvement.

The series is a combination of original and Final Fantasy characters, joining forces with Disney characters.

After being stuck in the Playstation 2 era of gaming, the Kingdom Hearts series made its way onto next-gen consoles, with this title being the first available to Xbox owners. However, as the series faces an incredible challenge with having so many games on different consoles, the finale may leave many confused on what is going on. Luckily, the new title has options to look back at synopses of previous games so new players can be somewhat in the loop.

The series is known for its semi-open Keyblade combat, where you basically mash the attack button until the enemy is dead. As the series progressed, the mashing and occasional magic attacks got more complex, and this new edition proves its evolution further. Despite the elimination of quick-timed events for an attack, the player now has a list of action commands that pop up after using certain abilities like magic or the typical attacks. The dynamic team attacks, magic attacks, and attractions that can be used throughout a fight can be extremely fun and keeps the player engaged, using each move strategically rather than sporadically.

The game falls flat in some of the world design, with some of the best design coming from the open platforms, like in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Monsters Inc.” worlds. However, the world of “Frozen” was one of the biggest disappointments. Already not being a major fan of “Frozen,” the world felt shoe-horned in for Disney to build more hype around it. After the announcement of the second movie, I knew for certain that it was just a well-timed advertising move. The world was bland and with so many better Disney properties to choose from, it truly slowed down the games momentum. Even the world of “Big Hero 6” was not as impressive as I expected, with verticality preferred over discoverable expansion.

The main story did feel dragged out, as the most important things to happen throughout the game were in the beginning and then in the last few hours. However, when the last few hours of the game came along, the build-up from the previous titles showed as all the stories from each game tied together with the final fight.

The finale left most longtime fans satisfied; however, it isn’t a Kingdom Hearts game without making the plot more confusing. As the last few frames of the ending still haunt me, and the secret ending left me confused and wanting more, the series has a blank slate to do anything they want. Hopefully, though, it won’t take them another decade or longer to make the next one.

“Apex Legends” and the gaming industry stuck in repetitive mediocrity

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Senior Layout Editor

The gaming industry often floods its audience with mediocre games and false promises throughout the year. Countless first person shooters (FPS) are released, with the occasional game rising above the rest, and providing players with a new experience.

EA is no stranger to publishing shooters, with games such as “Star Wars: Battlefront,” “Battlefield,” “Titanfall” and the newly released “Apex Legends.” “Apex Legends” is sweeping the industry, collecting over 25 million players in the first week of its release. As people wonder whether it will kill “Fortnite,” the battle-royale juggernaut that had everyone hooked since late 2017, there are few who see the bigger picture.

The game “Apex Legends” is actually a mediocre cash-grab by EA, that was forced onto Respawn; the company behind the “Titanfall” franchise. EA had directed the company to make a battle-royale game instead of working on the next installment for “Titanfall,” which led to the company using lower end assets to put together their take on the battle-royale subgenre. The company managed to sneakily include lore of the “Titanfall” world in this new game, which works to their benefit to keep the series relevant.

However, “Titanfall” was known to add mobility to the FPS genre, bringing a fresh take on a consistently rehashed genre. That mobility is still there in “Apex Legends,” but is severely downgraded for the new game. At the end of the day, the game, like several others, consists of getting a gun and killing the enemy. There is not much thought put into it, thus making it just another mindless shooter. It is not “God of War” and it is definitely not “The Last of Us” in which combat was enhanced. Specifically,“The Last of Us” managed to incorporate stealth, strategy and close combat to make each enemy encounter feel fresh, yet dangerous.

As much as the game had been over-hyped, “Fortnite” grew immensely because of its new take on a shooter, by building your own cover against enemies. While other innovative games were released, EA published “Anthem:” a shooter that includes a suit of armor that lets you fly around the map. This was a colossal failure due to the promises of what it could be, and the delivery of a much worse product.

The FPS genre has been filled to the brim with the same game over and over. The same problem is now occurring with attempting to make a battle-royale mode with every game. Meanwhile, the same typical shooter, reskinned and named something different, remains near the top of people’s attention.

This only makes people more eager for an engaging story, a new take on an existing combat style, and/or a fun game to play with their friends that isn’t the same thing over and over again.

Sophie Kahn: Machines for Suffering

Abigail Nilsson –Anchor Staff

This past week, Rhode Island College once again hosted another incredible art installation. Sophie Kahn’s “Machines for Suffering” are 3D print models and designs based on the choreography of hysteria.

Photos by Thomas Crudale

These models are eerily stunning. Kahn uses a laser scanner to help create her work and captures dancers and performers reenacting poses from pictures that were used to diagnose women in the 19th Century of illness that truly could not capture the underlying psychological cause of their distress. Kahn essentially takes a model, digitizes their emotion, and renders it a 3D print to bring it back into the world in an altered form.

Kahn’s prints demonstrate the physical and emotional brokenness that torture women. The models on display exhibit hysteria in different poses. Her printouts possess both archaic and futuristic characteristics to them. They are industrialized in the sense that they look like pieces of robots that have been weathered and broken down, then put back together with what was left of them. Kahn stated that they are painted in “creepy grey” and resemble “death masks” to capture the emotional resonance of suffering.

Her work industrializes hysteria and takes a grave look into the negative space that holds the emotion together. Her work raises questions such as, what does the border look like between nothing and something? What is holding this person and emotion together? What broke this person and emotion apart?

These models have Victorian and Greek traits with a modern twist. The suffering and madness is clear in Kahn’s work and depicts that humans are “Machines for Suffering.”

Sophie Kahn: Machines for Suffering is facilitated by Professor Frank WANG Yefeng and is on display in the Bannister Gallery in Roberts Hall from Feb. 28 – March 22. Exhibition hours are Monday-Friday from 12 – 8 p.m., or by appointment.

There’s no place like Nowhere

Jonathan Weaver –Asst. A&E Editor

Something many college students look forward to during the week is, naturally, the weekend. There’s few ways better to start off the weekend than with Thirsty Thursday. This past Thursday, I left the Anchor office with a few friends, setting out to find a bar to start my weekend in. Luckily, one of the best options to a RIC student is also one of the closest spots to campus.

Camp Nowhere located on Smith Street, no more than a 4 minute drive from campus, is a wildly popular spot for a college crowd, and rightly so. Do you know any other bars that close to RIC’s Campus?

Between $3 drinks, $3 food, and a couple $20 fish bowls, it doesn’t cost much to have a good night. I’ve been to many places around Providence where for three times the total I only received a fraction of the alcohol. Camp Nowhere may be inexpensive, but they don’t skimp on your drinks.

The servers are awesome, and if you treat them right they’ll take care of you. This is a group of people who know you’re out to have a good night and want to make sure that happens.

Beyond the prices and awesome service, the spot and vibe are great too. Everytime you walk in, the place is always packed full of people having a good time, good music playing, and games on the TVs. In addition to never being dull, Nowhere is always hosting some type of special or event. A highlight of these would be trivia on Monday nights. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never enjoyed trivia before in my life. That being said, this trivia has a twist, so bring friends at 9pm on a Monday, get a few drinks, and see how much you ACTUALLY know.

Camp Nowhere has something for everyone: an awesome craft beer list, $3 glasses of wine, shots for $3 (top shelf is $5), bloody marys for people who like to drink ketchup (Alec, our A&E editor), cheap but delicious food, and their iconic fish bowls complete with a rubber duck floating inside. So be sure to check them out, they always have something going on, the spot is great, and remember; you’ll always have a great time, so make sure you tip your servers well.

A noisy effect on brain health

Britt Donahue –Photo Editor

In 2017 Alzheimer’s disease was the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. An estimated 5.7 million Americans are currently living with the disease. Currently, there is no cure.  

This issue is personal for me, as it is for many people in our country. My best friend’s mother, an amazing woman who was loving and supportive to me all through my teenage years, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about four years ago. Watching her memory continue to fail her and her quality of life decline has been heartbreaking.

Scientists are unsure of the exact causes of Alzheimer’s, apart from aging and possibly genetics as risk factors, but a recent study out of China may point to another possible answer: chronic noise exposure.

The team of scientists studied the effect of gut bacteria on cognition, and whether or not noise could have long-term effects on the gut microbiome and the brain by using genetically modified mice that are prone to accelerated aging. They had an interest specifically in the gut’s effect on the brain. In order to test their theories, the scientists trained the mice for a variety of spatial and memory tasks before exposing different control groups to varying volumes of noise.

They found that the mice who were older and exposed to higher volumes performed their tasks more slowly, and had reduced levels of two chemical messengers which are produced by friendly gut bacteria and are essential for maintaining the brain’s cognitive function. The changes in the guts microbial makeup also led to a deterioration in the gut lining itself.

More research is required before these findings can be confirmed and applied to humans, but researches are hopeful that this will lead to a deeper understanding of this disease and the ways risk factors can be mitigated.

Bishop Joe Walker III and Dr. Stephanie Walker discuss what makes a relationship work

Erica Clark – Assistant News Editor  

Harambee, a multicultural student group focused on promoting cultural and social awareness of African and Caribbean students, held an event discussion Monday night in Gaige Auditorium with the co-authors of “Becoming A Couple of Destiny: Living, Loving and Creating A Life That Matters” Bishop Joseph Walker III and his Wife, Dr. Stephanie Walker.

Joseph Walker is highly renowned for being the charismatic pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church located in Nashville, Tennessee. His wife, Steph, is a former Assistant Professor of Neonatology at Vanderbilt University.  

The overall theme of Monday night’s discussion was the question, “What makes a relationship work?”

When most people are asked that question they think loyalty, consistency, honesty. Though, in the simple words of the couple, “Because if you know, you know.”

Bishop Joe and Dr. Steph bring the audience into detail on why they think we can’t be selfish with who is brought into our lives.

“We are never brought together by our own pursuits,” said Dr. Steph, who believes she met Bishop Joe to come together to inspire people about religion and their book.

The Walkers started their discussion on perspectives of women in relationships and the expectations they have, comparing it to being a little girl playing with Barbies.

“When you play, you idolize the idea of a white picket fence, a dress… Then there’s Ken.”         

Women going into relationships, overall, mature at a faster rate than men, especially in their early 20s.  This is a time in many women’s lives they realize how different men are wired.

The Walkers also discussed the reality many college students deal with on a daily basis—seeing and creating images online that are not based in reality.  

“When you meet a person who is not serious about perception, they begin at integrity” Dr. Steph made the audience conscious of how much work it truly takes to understand someone’s reality, that isn’t always easy to relate to.

One thing that many college students find it difficult to bear with is the lack of commitment in 21st-century relationships.  

Though, The Walkers recited how important it is to work towards yourself and when you find that self, you will come together when you find that purpose.  

The Walkers specified the theme of what you are looking for, is looking for you.  As some people may not have faith in this statement or have lost hope, Joe and Steph also express that, “It’s not always bad to wait. Don’t feel pressured in the wait. I’m waiting while I’m still grinding.”

“It can be your time, but not your turn” Bishop Joe said shortly after relating the idea of waiting for something to happen that you are unsure of.  

“There is a reason and a season for relationships” Bishop Joe pitched, hearing the audience filled with snaps, claps and woo’s of breath.

The Walkers gave the advice to people in the audience listening in their 20s to “Take your time, and give yourself room.” The whole idea of once you realize it is not about you, it forces you to keep going.  Each one of us, as human beings, can determine what we want, and respect each other’s perspectives.

It was also emphasized the importance of, during heartbreak, to make sure you’re healing correctly.  “Always deal with isolation in community” Bishop Joe uttered. The process of giving yourself time to heal helps us transform into a better understanding of self.  “Once you know who you are and your worth, it will dictate how everyone will treat you.”

Cornel West delivers a message of love in Black History Month lecture

Tim Caplan –News Editor    

Anticipation filled the air as every seat in Roberts Hall Auditorium filled on Thursday night in anticipation of renowned intellectual, author, and civil rights activist Dr. Cornel West.

Dr. West is a Harvard Professor who has been active in public life since 1979 writing books, giving lectures, making TV appearances, and participating in social and political activism.

West was invited to speak for the culmination of the Black History Month celebration by the RIC campus club Harambee.

The Anchor caught up with Dr. West before his speech to discuss politics, his philosophy and some of his influences.

Dr. West was a very vocal supporter of the 2016 Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaign, and has once again thrown his support behind the democratic socialist from Vermont for 2020, “But his time he’s going to win.”

“I think people are hungry for the real thing, many fellow citizens they thought they were going to get it with Trump, but now it’s backfired in a number of different ways, but you have to have someone who can generate real passion and enthusiasm for something bigger than them, and Bernie has an integrity that’s hard to find among politicians, most politicians say one thing and change their mind in two years, Bernie has stayed consistent,” says West, “People can see the authenticity.”

West publicly campaigned for former President Barack Obama in 2008 as well, however over the years has expressed his strong discontent for several Obama Administration policies and practices, such as drone strikes in the Middle East and a what he sees as a suspicious relationship with Wall Street. When asked if he was worried a Sanders presidency would produce a similar disappointing result, West was unbothered.

“Bernie is a different kind of person, he’s got a stronger backbone, he’s got a stronger determination to fight against very entrenched interests of Wall Street… [Obama] already had a lot of Wall Street folks in his campaign,” says West, “It was clear his whole economic team were in the back pocket of Wall Street.”

West’s philosophy centers around the ancient Greek concept of “learning how to die,” or letting your ideas change all the time based on new evidence, this, based on the socratic and what he calls the “prophetic legacy of Jerusalem” form his philosophy on life. West talks about the difficulty “learning how to die” in the politically polarized social media age of America has become.

“People are fearful of being vulnerable, everybodies defensive, and when you have that kind of fear on the one hand, and the sense that you can’t really trust the other person, so you have fear and distrust together, then paideia doesn’t have a lot of space to operate.”

He began his speech the way he always does, thanking various members of the community including Harambee President Mariama Coker-Kallon, and saying that his greatest honor after 65 years was still being the son of his parents, and that “I am here because someone loved me.”

West’s lecture focused on love while observing Black History Month. He referred to the works of James Baldwin and Aretha Franklin and most notably “A Love Supreme” by John Coltrane, which West feels was the embodiment of facing cruelty and injustice with love. His speech focused on his influences in music and literature, referring to a wide range of works and quotes from Plato to Frederick Douglass.

This was the last in a series of events held this past week held by Harambee for Black History Month.

From the archives

Catherine Enos –Opinions editor

This archived article is from the February 26, 1979 issue of The Anchor.

People like to think of college as a time where students take on more mature roles and start their transition into adulthood. Apparently, this didn’t seem to be happening in 1979, when food fights in Donovan Dining Center started to become commonplace.

Authors Bill Hardman, David Medberry and David Gorham didn’t seem to enjoy the frequent flinging of food in the dining center and told The Anchor as much in a letter to the editor 40 years ago. In the letter, they express their contempt for their fellow students (or “animals,” as they refer to them) and ask for the administration to create a more high school-like environment, asking for repercussions such as suspension.

On the one hand, times seem to have changed––luckily, no one in the dining center is throwing food at others. A curious, somewhat unrelated ending to the letter shows us that maybe things haven’t changed so much: “RIC does not want to become another URI.” It seems as if URI had already obtained its status as a “party school” as far back as 1979. Though it’s a minor part of the article, it shares with us a part of Rhode Island’s history.