Jeff Dunham makes a return to Netflix

Sara Massa-Anchor Staff

If you love to laugh and don’t have a crippling fear of Ventriloquist dummies, you should check out one of the new comedy specials on Netflix: Jeff Dunham’s “Relative Disaster.” The comedian has been working with ventriloquism since he was a kid and now at age 55, we get a look into his life with help from “the little people in the boxes,” as he calls them. Dunham’s gang of ventriloquist dummies consists of Walter, Bubba J, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, and Peanut. There’s also the appearance of his newest member Seamus, an Irish baby who has quite the fondness for alcohol.

The special takes place in Dublin, Ireland that Jeff chose specifically because he had just learned about his Irish heritage. Dunham’s family and the fact that he is adopted takes a huge role in the special; there are some surprises that you don’t see coming as we learn more about what exactly happened for Jeff to be who he is today. I laughed the most during Achmed’s and Peanut’s appearances on stage. With Achmed and Dunham’s forgetfulness of the puppet’s lack of skin and the constant excitable state that Peanut kept up to annoy him, I was laughing loud enough for my dad to tell me to be quiet from the other side of the house. Even with the small amount of confusion on some jokes, it seemed like the show was a success and will hopefully open the door to more Netflix specials in the future.

Ingrid Goes West: Dark Comedy at it’s Best!

Mary Ellen Fernandez

If you are having problems removing yourself from the social media world, just watch “Ingrid Goes West” on Netflix. This summer’s dark comedy, starring sarcasm queen, Aubrey Plaza, left a weird taste in a lot of people’s mouths. The film uses cringe-worthy comedy to expose what feels like another dimension, also known as Instagram. Director Matt Spicer gives the audience a chance to understand the complex and bizarre world of fixation and perfection. O’Shea Jackson Jr. gives an outstanding performance, balancing his love interest’s obsessive tendencies with comedic relief.

I am always a sucker for a film that can poke fun at a generation immersed in a technological world of social media–where lives can be boiled down to images of avocado toast and compulsive desires to document every move. This film hits the nail on the head, following the story of a girl who becomes infatuated with a prominent Instagram figure, played by Elizabeth Olsen. Throughout the film, it becomes clear that what you see online may not be a reality, but rather a façade of what a user wants you to see. The characters are delightfully deranged, each in their own right, whether it be their uncomfortable, phony fake laughing, or their kidnapping of small dogs in order to establish a friendship.

This movie will make you never accept a follow request from someone you don’t know again. Interestingly, it makes viewers wonder what the difference is between being obsessed with a person, and being obsessed with social media. Ingrid Goes West is a must see for all of my millennials out there who can’t put down their phone! After watching this film, I promise that you will think twice before logging into Instagram.

Artistic Expressions-Allison Raymond

Britt Donahue-Asst. A&L Editor

One of my favourite things about Rhode Island College is our amazing art department. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design, RIC awards B.A and B.F.A. degrees to talented artists and art educators every year. Hailing from the art department is Allison Raymond.

Allison, the Anchor’s Senior Layout Editor, is planning on graduating in May 2018 with her B.A. in Studio Art, with a concentration in painting, and a Minor in Art History. I sat down with her to talk about about her art and her time at RIC.

Allison told me that she originally wanted to be an interior designer, but her advisor Richard Whitten inspired her to pursue her Studio Art degree.

“Richard was the one who told me I was good enough, and gave me the confidence to do this.” When I asked if there was a particular teacher who helped her grow as an artist, she names John Rapczak.

“John almost harassed–well maybe harassed isn’t the right word,” she laughs. “I guess he helped me explore new ways of viewing art and pushed me out of my comfort zone.”

So what is Allison working on now? “I’m doing a series on the stages of grief, using color and environment to convey these different emotions. I am starting a large piece that uses mainly yellow, this is usually a happy color but I am hoping to juxtapose the cheerful color with the negative emotion of the subject matter.”

After 5 years at RIC, Allison is looking forward to graduation, and hopes to continue to work in a creative field. “After graduation I think I would like to work for a newspaper, or maybe on the artistic side of marketing.”

Good luck, Allison! I hope you enjoy your final year here at Rhode Island College.

If you are an art student planning to graduate in December 2017, or May 2018 and would like to be featured in a future issue, please email asst_lifestyles@anchorweb.org.

Winter is here

Alec Ematrudo-Editor

“Game of Thrones” season 7 is over. Winter has fallen upon Westeros. Millions of viewers all over the world are about to hunker down for The Long Night. The longest wait between seasons is upon us. The 8th and final season of Game of Thrones will not return until mid to late 2019. While we have over a year to wait for the final batch of episodes, there is plenty to review about the unnaturally fast paced 7th season.

Photo courtesy of digitalspy.com

The 7th season of the show, saw our beloved and most hated characters all converge in climatic battles and tense discussions throughout the season. Some of these characters and storylines hadn’t shared screentime since the very first episode of the season and others had never even heard of one another. Moments like these all  led to fantastic fan service experiences for viewers. Some people, however, consider fan service to be a bad thing, especially for a show fueled by challenging the norm and creating controversy amongst fans and critics alike.

I personally loved the 7th season of this show because it delivered on everything I wanted to see as a viewer. I was not bothered by the breakneck pace that has never been a part of this show. Some viewers were bothered by the seemingly teleporting characters this season. However, with only 6 episodes left of this show, I appreciate all that we were treated to this season. The large scale battles were as impressive as ever. The special effects have reached a point where they look better than most films these days. The characters who we love are, for the most part, at the top of their arcs, doing what they do best.

My only complaint about the season was not getting enough of certain characters. (I am looking at you, Varys.) With all of the characters coming together this season, we did not get much of those intimate character moments or arcs that stretched whole episodes and even whole seasons. There just was not enough time for that.

Although it is only 6 episodes, I am so excited for season 8. Rumors say that each episode will be around 2 hours long. If this is true, we are looking at the longest season yet with 12 hours of story left to go. The long awaited battle with the White Walkers is coming; Jamie has finally set himself on the right path; most importantly however, CleganeBowl is happening. Valar Morghulis.

Tips for balancing college classes and fitness

Sophie Costa-Anchor Staff

As a student returning to school adjusting to your new schedule is never an easy task. Deadlines are already creeping up, and you can’t seem to find time for yourself. Working out is the last thing on our hectic minds. However, carving out just thirty minutes to be active will transform your chaotic day into a productive one. Here are 5 tips that will help you to find the time and the motivation to stick to a workout schedule while also keeping up your grades. As a college freshman, attending a new school with a more intense schedule and a completely different atmosphere can be stressful and it may seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day to even think about taking a break for yourself. So, my first tip: plan your days out on a calendar. Having specific times for workouts will keep you responsible for them. Also, the act of writing out your task will ensure that you don’t forget.

Another tip: bring your study materials with you to the gym. If you can’t seem to pry yourself away from your study guides or required readings, opt for cardio so that you can read while you break a sweat. Not only is multitasking a key component for being successful in college, but studying while being active will also take your mind off of the actual workout. Just remember that breaks from the books are important,too. You retain the information best if you study in 45 minute increments.

Another helpful hack: try and park as far away from your classes as possible. Most college students try to park as close as they can when they are trying to rush to their 8 am’s, but by taking the time to get in a short brisk walk, will really boost your metabolism. This small step will clear your head, reduce stress, and provide you with a much needed energy boost before classes. This ensures that your metabolism is running even while you’re sitting, which in turn burns calories.

Another disastrous mistake that people make is not drinking a sufficient amount water or not eating enough throughout the day. The greatest tip for any occasion is to carry around a bottle of water with you wherever you go plus a few healthy snacks. Eating and drinking properly throughout the day will provide your body with the energy required in order to pay attention in class and get your body past the point of crashing. A few snacks that are easy to eat in class are trail mix, veggies and hummus or a healthy protein bar.  

Photo courtesy of flicker.com

My last tip: get a workout buddy. Working out is much easier when you have a friend to do it with. Just make sure that you find the right person to accompany you during your workout, someone that will give you the incentive to work hard and reach your fitness goals. This is a great tool for keeping you motivated and will greatly benefit the both of you. Having someone around while you’re active keeps you accountable for your workouts and doesn’t give the opportunity to skip or skimp out on your workouts.

These five guidelines are just a few of the many vital tips to secure a well-balanced day of classes and fitness. Fitness is an imperative component to being successful and confident in your everyday life. Make sure that you take the time to listen to your body and take breaks. Pushing yourself too far will only hurt and add unnecessary stress to your life. However, if you follow these few tips you can easily manage both college classes and fitness stress free.

Superhero Central – The Sequel

Sara Massa-Anchor Staff

Hello again Rhode Island College! Superhero Central is back for the 2017-2018 school year and I hope you are all as excited as I am. For those new readers out there, Superhero Central is the Anchor’s place for anything superhero related; that includes television, movies, comics, and maybe even video games this time around. The idea of superheroes has been around since the 1930’s but it was not until the early 2000s that they really started to make an impression in almost every kind of media.

This year in particular has been abundant with heroes: we have had five blockbuster films so far this year, the continuation of DC’s television shows on the CW and Marvel’s on Netflix, and the release of “Injustice 2”, a video game that has the brutality to match “Mortal Kombat.” But the year is not over just yet. We still have the releases of “Thor: Ragnarok” coming out Nov. 3, “Justice League” being released Nov. 17, and the sixth annual Rhode Island Comic Con that same month. So, don your capes and masks, we are in for a great super-powered year ahead.

When poetry breathes

Louisa D’Ovidio-Editor-in-Chief

On a Monday night in mid July, a crowd of people gathered in the Chace Center at RISD to listen to poetry in a language unknown to many of those present, but powerfully felt by all.

The event which drew the crowd was “When Poetry Breathes”—an Arabic poetry reading by award-winning Saudi poet Abdulatif Yousef. Yousef’s first-ever performance in Providence was accompanied by the music of Ahmed AlShaiba, a Yemeni musician who strummed an oud—a type of lute found in Arabic countries—as Yousef spoke. After Yousef delivered each poem in his native Arabic, actress Jessica Damouni recited an English translation.

Graphic by Keane Patino-Cyler

Yousef opened with a poem entitled “Longing,” which evoked an astounding sense of yearning not for some particular object or individual, but for a state of existence and a land still present but somehow changed.

“I long for longing itself,” Yousef read, beginning the final stanza of his piece. This proved a fitting opening, as much of Yousef’s work contains this element of longing, or at least reverence, for Ancient Arabia.

“My inspiration was always people who are very very old,” Yousef said in an interview with The Anchor following the performance. “I read a lot of old Arabic literature.”

“I am always trying to tell what is here,” he went on. “This is why you will not see a lot of flowers in my poetry.”

Yousef writes primarily in a classical poetic register of Arabic which draws upon the rich poetic history of Saudi Arabia, a country which Yousef described as having a great respect for the art of poetry. The register is bound by many rules about how poems can be written, similarly to traditional poetry from familiar authors such as William Shakespeare. Yousef described feeling that the rules forced him to be more creative in his writing, as the strict framework channeled his work into something more focused than it might otherwise be. He also credited his engineering background with further drawing him to the classical register, because he saw both engineering and structured poetry as requiring similar problem-solving skills.

Abdulatif Yousef explained that his love of poetry began before he was even born, when his mother took a class in Ancient Arabic literature while pregnant. However, he didn’t begin writing poetry until he was in college.

“It was just sitting and trying to go deeper into yourself and understand yourself more,” Yousef said, describing his time in a Saudi Arabian university while most of his friends were studying abroad in America. “At that time, I felt very alone … and at that time, I wrote my first poetic verse.”

From there, writing poetry became a personal hobby of his, until some of his poetry was passed along an unlikely string of friends and relatives starting with his mother and ending in the hands of the man who “established the biggest institute for poetry” in Saudi Arabia. Suddenly, Yousef found himself invited to an annual Spring Poetry Festival hosted by the institute.

“After this, people knew about me,” Yousef says. And that was that.

Abdulatif Yousef is not currently scheduled to return to Providence in the near future, but keep an eye out. This is a breath of poetry worth waiting for.