Blown away by the wind ensemble

Thomas Yakey Jr. – Anchor Staff

Last semester, the wind ensemble truly blew the music department away with their fantastic sounds.  They were under the direction of Joseph Foley who has not conducted the group in a few years. Under his direction, the group performed pieces in two concerts, one of which commemorated civil rights icons including Rosa Parks and John F. Kennedy in a truly “All American” night.  

Due to the growth of the group under his direction, they were able to perform a difficult wind ensemble arrangement of Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition” which demonstrated the group’s technical and artistic abilities; the result was a graceful sound. The group continued the same drive and ambition from last semester, already being given a larger number of difficult pieces, ranging from marches to other great works.

Alec Ellsworth, a freshman B.A. music major with flute as his primary instrument commented, “[The RIC Wind Ensemble] has super good energy and many of the players, as well as myself, are excited to perform the pieces we have been given.  You should all come to the concert, because I know and promise it will be fantastic!”

The wind ensemble’s first concert of this semester is titled “Around the World” and is programmed with works for wind ensembles which have been composed globally.  This concert will show various sounds from different areas of the world, bringing a little touch of different countries to RIC. It will be performed Friday, March 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. in Sapinsley Hall, located in the Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts.  

Their second concert will be on Friday, April 19, 2019 at the same time and same place.  However, this concert is entitled “Homegrown and Hindemith” and their future performance of Paul Hindemith’s 1951 “Symphony for Band” is worth noting.  This piece originates from Germany and is truly “epic.” If you need more reason to go see their second concert, this piece will be worth the trip. For both concerts, general admission is only $10, and tickets are free for RIC students.

For more information about these concerts, including ticket pricing, please visit RIC’s website or check out future editions of The Anchor.

“That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” and its unlikely mash-up of elements

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Senior Layout Editor

Friendship and fighting are typically on opposite ends of the spectrum until a show like “That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime” comes along and proves otherwise.

Released in October, the show has amassed a large following in a short amount of time, especially with the anime streaming service “Crunchyroll” promoting it in the U.S. The show starts off with a huge twist, but as the title suggests, it is about reincarnation, so the first few minutes set-up the main character’s new life as a slime monster.

Graphic courtesy of Crunchyroll

In the world of video games and the show, slimes are regarded as low-tier monsters. However, throughout the slime’s journey, he learns more abilities just by eating, swimming and fighting other monsters. For those fans of video games, the slime learns abilities that mirror popular RPG (role-playing games) titles like “The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt” and “God of War.” Unlike those games, as the slime encounters others that can communicate with him, he tries to avoid being immediately hostile. As the slime progresses and learns, the power of the slime continues to grow, which does not go unnoticed by others.

An unexpected virtue of the series is the precise animation with every move the slime makes, including his big fights. The choreography of the fights and the creative ways that the team behind the show devised the slime’s fighting style never ceased to surprise me.

The show consistently seems as though it is going to go in one direction, but the absolutely pure and fun mind of the main character always takes it in a unique and creative direction. The balance of an incredibly powerful being and someone who just wants everyone to get along makes the main character’s inner monologues somehow incredibly relatable.

Having a healthy mix of great fights and constant plot development, there are barely, if any episodes that do not move the plot forward. The show is currently streaming on Crunchyroll with subtitles, or on Funimation for the English dub.

“Graphic Design: Konkuk University,” a global interpretation of promoting ideas

Abigail Nilsson – Anchor Contributor

Whoever said “a picture is worth a thousand words” must have been talking about the artwork on display at Bannister Gallery in Robert’s Hall at Rhode Island College, which is on view now through Feb. 15. The show, “Graphic Design: Konkuk University” was facilitated by Professor of Graphic Design Heemong Kim and features selected works by graduated students from Konkuk University in South Korea.

Photos courtesy of Thomas Crudale

Upon walking into the gallery, I noticed a small display of carefully placed bath salts alongside transportation packaging, pictures hanging from the walls and ceiling and a few other products on display tables. I immediately knew I walked into a gallery full of messages to reach the masses. Instead of subliminal messages, this show puts advertising at front and center. As final projects, students at Konkuk University in South Korea developed graphic designs to demonstrate views of everyday products and global issues.

One piece that caught my attention was a simple design in three colors: black, white, and blue. At the top is an outline of a weeping polar bear whose tears are dripping from one polar bear and melting into another. The graphic design demonstrates the effects that global warming has on wildlife, which has been conveyed for years by the World Wildlife Fund.

Another piece that I found intriguing was a vintage photograph of two people. In the image, their bottom halves are intact, but their top halves are being whisked away. The caption may be in Korean, but the message is obvious: Alzheimer’s is an ever-present and devastating disease.

The Bannister Gallery provides hosts who help guide you through the translation. Some of the pieces hanging on the walls are ads ranging from everyday products such as yogurt and aspirin to global issues such as obesity, Alzheimer’s, global warming, and sexual violence. Other work consists of photo displays of product positioning and carefully placed products on display. Even with the language barrier, the message in the show is clear, poignant, and worth a look.  

“Graphic Design: Konkuk University” is on display at Bannister Gallery in Roberts Hall through Feb. 15. Gallery hours are weekdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

An Interview with RIC Alumni and Music Artist, Roz Raskin

Esther Watrous – Anchor Contributor

Rhode Island College graduate, Roz Raskin, began a solo project in 2017 called “Nova One” and released the EP “Secret Princess” in June 2018. You might have seen Raskin’s iconic hot pink hair in the local Providence band, Roz and the Rice Cakes. During a decade of touring and recording music, Raskin graduated from RIC in 2016 with a degree in gender and women’s studies.

The Anchor: You started Roz and the Rice Cakes in 2008 and Nova One in 2017. How do you think the music industry and scene has changed in the past decade?

Roz Raskin: I think things have changed a lot. I would say, you know, I feel like it’s such a cliché at this point to say the internet changed things, but it definitely was MySpace, PureVolume, all that sort of communication and type of interaction on the internet when I was first playing music. A lot of my connection to the scene was through social media stuff. When I first started, I felt like I wasn’t sure how to move in the community. A lot of the music was super cisgender white dude dominated stuff. So it was very challenging to feel like I had a place to go with my music. My band and I decided that since it felt that nobody wanted to play with us, we needed to dig out our own scene and our own community of people who didn’t feel welcome in certain spaces.

The Anchor: What inspired you to begin a new project with a different style of music?

Roz Raskin: If you can imagine writing music when I was 17, and then being 28 and 29 and singing songs that I wrote when I was 17, it felt like I was in a transition in my life and I needed to move forward with my art in a different way. A lot of people called it a “band break-up,” but I would always try to correct people and say, well it’s really a hiatus, it’s just, right now, this doesn’t feel like the right thing to be making. I had some extra material that didn’t feel like it fit with the Rice Cakes and it felt like it was becoming its own thing. So when I made the record, it was one of the highlights of my life in the last ten years.

The Anchor: What was your idea behind the pink wigs and the black uniforms?

Roz Raskin: So for this music video I made for a song called “Your Girl,” the vision of that was to be me dancing with two other versions of myself. The original idea was to have people look like me. The wig thing is kinda funny because I had ordered another wig and it didn’t come on time because they ran out, but they had this other wig. I wanted a pink wig but this was a peachy kind of wig.

The Anchor: So the peach wigs were an accident?

Roz Raskin: It was an accident. When it came, I fell in love with it and I thought, this is the one. I really had a strong vision for a black silhouette and it seemed easy and that all sizes could fit into this big black tee shirt. The vibe of Nova One really exists in Nova One. It feels like Drag when I perform in it. It’s this hyper feminine version of myself.

The Anchor: What’s something new that you’ve learned about yourself and your music through creating Nova One?

Roz Raskin: I think that probably one of the larger movements of my life, in a really positive way, was acknowledging that I’m a non-binary person. Putting on this costume in this particular performative way, there was something that was super therapeutic about it. A lot of what I was going through at that time was analyzing how I really felt about myself, my sexuality and my gender. So I think Nova One was a vessel for a lot of that thought.

The Anchor: Are you planning anything new in the upcoming year?

Roz Raskin: Yes. I’m starting to make a new record, February first, and I’m going to be doing a tour in March.

The Anchor: You were a student here at Rhode Island College. How did school affect your career as an artist?

Roz Raskin: Going to RIC was a very important step for me because it made me realize how much I wanted to stay in Rhode Island, specifically stay in Providence, and cultivate a career and community here.

The Anchor: Do you have any advice for current students who’d like to go into music while they’re in school, but don’t know where to start?Roz Raskin: There are so many ways to approach music these days. Some people record songs and put them on YouTube and that’s it. Some people want to tour. Some people want to go to local shows and meet local bands. The most important thing is for people to go to shows. That’s the way I started, I’d go to shows and talk to bands afterwards. So much of it is really just going and putting yourself out there.

“Kingdom Hearts 3”: Why long-standing franchises mean so much

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Senior Layout Editor

In December 2005, I was eight years old, without a care in the world. That Christmas, I was unaware that being gifted “Kingdom Hearts” would leave such a lasting impression on me into 2019.

Throughout the years, media has continuously evolved into something people can latch onto for entertainment. Whether it is the older generation still excited about “The Young and the Restless” or the younger generation excited about the next Marvel film. For me and many others, this month marked an important milestone for gaming, with the release of “Kingdom Hearts 3.”

Released in 2005, “Kingdom Hearts 2” the game was exciting for an eight-year-old like me who was familiar with the crossover Disney characters that were in it. I received a Playstation 2 with both “Kingdom Hearts,” which I proceeded to play for days. After spending hours on the games, I realized that I went into the games excited for Disney and came out loving the original characters. Explaining to someone the idea of “Final Fantasy” characters and Disney characters in a full-fledged story together is crazy enough; the fact that it works well is even crazier.

Thirteen years later, the next full installment has been released, while the last sub-game was released in 2012. Fans have been clamoring for a new release to push the overarching narrative to its next chapter, while it was confirmed that this game will finalize the “Dark Seeker Saga.” Announced in 2014, the knowledge of a new game and the finale for this story led fans aching for the new game. After development hell, fans patiently waited until now.

The meaning behind films, games, and other media being so important to someone boils down to nostalgia. However, despite nostalgia being a factor and blinding fans to the sometimes corny writing for the game, ideals are a large part. The game is a constant battle of darkness vs. light, good and evil, right and wrong.

In a society so divisive, the idea of shutting everything out to play a hero whose strengths are love and friendship is exciting all over again. The inclusion of Disney and Pixar, companies that are known for creating heartfelt animated films, bring people back to their childlike innocence.

After waiting years, the fandom wants to return to a familiar place where everything feels right, and for at least a few days, pretend like Sora, Donald and Goofy’s journey are their only problem.

“Kingdom Hearts 3” is now available for Xbox One and Playstation 4.

“God of War’s” triumphant return reinvigorates the franchise

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Layout Editor

As “God of War’s” Kratos made his return to Playstation 4, the change in the franchise’s typical game formula blew fans away, resulting in capturing “The Game Awards” coveted award, Game of the Year. With games like “Red Dead Redemption 2,” “Celeste,” and “Marvel’s: Spiderman,” 2018’s Game of the Year category was a close race.

In this game, Kratos, along with his son Atreus, make a pact to spread the ashes of his wife, Faye, atop the highest peak of all the lands. Despite its simple overarching story, the pair meet incredible characters along the way that have their own stories to get invested in. Whether its a mother that has nothing left but the memory of her son, or the story of two brothers that no longer speak to each other, “God of War” creates compelling stories that bring an experience like no other.

One of the pillars of a “God of War” game is the fun fighting, which is easily at its peak in this soft reboot. Wielding the Leviathan Axe, Kratos has one of the most fun and satisfying weapons I’ve seen in a video game in a long time. Throwing the axe into an enemy’s legs to topple it, targeting multiple enemies and watching the axe fly around as you proceed to beat them up with your bare hands is nothing short of feeling like you are in complete control. Atreus also contributes to the damage as he assists Kratos with his bow and arrow, which the player controls.

The game provides an atmosphere like no other, especially as you explore the different worlds you can visit throughout the game. The game can be dark and foggy, and bright and vibrant, but every environment feels unique. Combining this with the games incredible controls, beautiful, heartfelt story, and new formula for the franchise, “God of War” truly hits its stride with fans anxious for the next one.

Netflix’s The Punisher: a compelling return

Alec Ematrudo – A&E Editor

I have to be honest. When I originally tried to watch the first season of the ”The Punisher,” I gave up after an episode and a half. The show just wasn’t all that interesting to me. I love Jon Bernthal and I think he’s the best Frank Castle we’ve gotten thus far. And while he stole the show during Daredevil’s second season, he wasn’t really given anything interesting to do for the first half the season of his own show.

That being said, I can happily say that I may have judged the show too soon. Upon seeing the really kickass trailer for the second season, I decided to give the show another shot. Upon seeing that the second season was airing a week away, I quickly binged the whole thirteen episode season to catch up. Let me just tell you now, the second season is well worth the crawl through the first season. The standout actor and character from both seasons is without a doubt, Ben Barnes as Billy Russo. You may recognise Ben Barnes from his memorable role as Logan in “Westworld” season one and two. Even further back than that, he played Prince Caspian in the “Narnia” films.

For those who haven’t seen season one yet, I won’t spoil anything but Billy Russo as a character is definitely the most compelling character in the show. Not to take anything away from Frank Castle, The Punisher himself, because he too, is given a much better character arc in the second season. The second season tackles the issue of whether Frank is actually a good guy at heart or actually a psychopathic murderer. This is a theme throughout the season and we even see Frank’s allies question whether being his ally is beneficial or not, due to his murderous nature.

After a shaky season one, Netflix’s “The Punisher” really finds its footing in the second season and delivers a pretty satisfying ride. In a time where Netflix is seemingly cancelling all of it’s Marvel shows, “The Punisher” needed a great season with higher viewership. If reviews are any indication, we’ll be treated to at least one more season.

Marvel’s The Punisher is available now to stream on Netflix!

Theatre’s dynamic shows

Thomas Yakey Jr. – Anchor Staff

“The Marriage of Bette & Boo” by Christopher Durang is Rhode Island College’s first theatre show of the spring semester. Connie Crawford, a professor of theatre at Brown University, is signed on as the director of this show. The show will run at the Helen Forman Theatre, RIC’s own black box theatre, from Feb. 20-24. Despite the play starting with the marriage of Bette and Boo, a seemingly great ceremony,  time goes on and the marriage does not work out as planned. This show is both a funny and creative way to discuss marriage and family in America today.

Unlike most of the theatre shows at RIC, the next production of the company will take place in the Auditorium in Roberts Hall. RIC will put on Richard O’Brien’s “The Rocky Horror Show.” This show is truly a cult classic, where lovers Brad and Janet stumble upon the creepy mansion of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. The sweethearts go inside to meet an assortment crazy characters including a creepy butler and rocking biker. Using powerful rock songs and great dance choreography, the doctor reveals his latest creation, Rocky. The head of RIC’s Theatre Department Bill Wilson is the director of this play, and it is choreographed by Angelica Vessella, with Anthony-Alexander Torelli as the musical director. The play will run from April 11-14.

The student-directed growing stage production this year is also an interesting one. Written by Greg Allen, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” will be directed by student Michael Greene. This play is a collection of ninety different two-minute plays in which the audience has a hand in the line-up, choosing a different combination of thirty plays, meaning sixty will go unperformed each night. This makes every night a different experience, so it could even be worth coming back for more. The show will run May 3-5.

Letterkenny: Canada’s comedic accomplishment

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Layout Editor

Maple syrup, Steven Ogg and the incredible Ryan Reynolds––all great things gifted to the world from Canada. Then there’s “Letterkenny,” a show created by Jared Keeso. Keeso combined his Canadian experiences from his childhood town of Listowel, Ontario with exaggerated Canadian stereotypes.

Comprised of three factions: the skids, the hicks and the hockey players, “Letterkenny” makes sure to bounce between all factions providing a healthy balance of all the characters. The show is not only a hilarious interpretation of Canadian country living, but it has heart and soul when you least expect it.

Despite the constant joking and making fun of each other, the show hammers home that despite people’s differences, in a small town like Letterkenny, everyone has each others backs. Even after having fights with each other, they always invite each other to parties and hang out on special occasions. It’s reminiscent of being with your closest friends and making jokes about each other. It’s all in good fun.

The show does a great job with catchphrases and one liners that will get ingrained into your head and have you eventually saying them. Every episode starts off with a story told by the main character Wayne (played by Jared Keeso) which normally has little to nothing to do with the episode, but is hilarious on its own. Wayne and his crew of hicks talk about several different things they find weird or funny, ranging from the grossness of the word moist to discussing different colognes and perfumes that are appropriate for a man to wear.

As the show is now on its sixth season, with only 40 episodes, it is easily a binge-worthy show that will only leave you wanting more. There is one thing that’s certain, there will be several more seasons to come, almost as sure as God’s got sandals. “Letterkenny” is available to stream on HULU!

The Game Awards versus The Gamers’ Choice Awards

Enrique Castaneda-Pineda – Assistant Graphics Editor

Television has taken to video games, as “The Gamers’ Choice Awards” launched by CBS, becomes the first televised video game awards show. Unfortunately, its lacking knowledge of gaming and clear attempt at a ratings-grab has backfired incredibly.

Geoff Keighley is a video game journalist and television personality that has created one of the largest video game awards show to date. “The Game Awards” has slowly grown over the last five years, garnering an 11.5 million live viewership last year. If history has anything to show for it, this year should show another increase in viewership. “The Game Awards” have slowly cemented its position as the premiere game awards show, with many having worked together to build it to what it is now.

Graphic courtesy of GamingBolt

As CBS enters the fray with the “Gamers’ Choice Awards,” gaming fans are opposed to it doing well, because it goes against the amount of work the community has done to build “The Game Awards.”

Comparing the categories of the two shows, “The Game Awards” separates the genres, but the winners of each category are decided by both a panel of judges and the fans. The biggest difference between the two shows is “The Game Awards” uses “Best” and “Game of the Year,” while “Gamers’ Choice Awards” exclusively uses “Fan Favorite.” The worst complaint of the categories so far is that the “Gamers’ Choice Awards” includes outdated games in categories that should solely include games new to the year.

As the week of both shows near, audiences are supporting “The Game Awards” with everything they have to fight against the CBS cash-grab. This includes companies that are premiering exclusive trailers and content at “The Game Awards” that are ignoring the “Gamers’ Choice Awards,” including the Russo brothers who directed the latest “Avengers” films.

Only time will tell which will prevail, but if the internet has anything to say, “The Game Awards” will remain on top.