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A quick scan through the fare of commercial radio stations yields a variety of results and genres of music. Listen to one station for an extended period of time" however and many listeners begin to experience some deja vu.That's why many turn to noncommercial college radio which focuses on diversity in programming and fresh rotations.At least that's the goal said WXYC's station manager" Lauren Brenner.""We educate people through exposure to different types of music and trying to draw connections.""WXYC 89.3 FM" UNC's student-run radio station" is funded by student fees. It is one of three student organizations whose funding is guaranteed by the student government's constitution.""In a lot of ways" college radio is in a unique position similar to that of the University" Brenner said. It has the ability to make decisions about its mission statement and its programming independently of private groups or individuals.""This freedom is embodied in the largely free-format style of WXYC's programming"" which offers very little restriction and gives a lot of power to DJs in deciding what music to play on their shows. But a lack of guidance in programming has led some to believe there is a disconnect between the station and the majority of students.UNC student body presidential candidate Kristin Hill said WXYC has ""kind of lost touch with student interests.""Her campaign platform includes plans to work with the station to help it cater to more students"" especially by working with other student organizations. She met Monday with Brenner regarding their potential collaboration.""They don't want to be detached from the student body - they're looking for a way back in"" she said.Hill also is a student representative for WEA, the parent company of Warner Bros. Records.But she said her affiliation with the label has nothing to do with her interest in helping to make changes with WXYC.Her interest in radio, she said, existed before she came to UNC, even though she has been working with WEA since only October.And Hill said she doesn't see this as a conflict of interest; she is open to the possibility of collaboration between WEA and WXYC.Whatever we can do at Warner without overstepping boundaries of what WXYC can do - we can collaborate that way.""Regardless of her motivations"" Hill said the station should be more accessible and sees future changes at the station as an important step.""They'll bend as much as they feel is morally in line with their mission and their goal" she said.Her meeting with Brenner left Hill feeling confident.Their leadership shows they are excited about what students are doing on campus she said.Brenner said that changes are inevitable but that predicting them is entirely impossible.We'll definitely preserve our commitment to diversity and good music" Brenner said. But our direction is just as unforeseeable as the direction of music in general.""The primary focus of WXYC is educational" Brenner said and the station achieves this by exposing listeners to new music.While playing unique music of all kinds is important to college radio" stations also must compete with commercial radio for listeners.Finding a balance between accessibility and highlighting music off the beaten path is difficult for most independent stations.""We certainly have our listeners in mind at all times and actively strive to keep things fresh and engaging"" Cole Goins, a music director at WXYC, said in an e-mail.You can't educate people if they're not listening" Brenner said. If people turn on the station even if they haven't heard something before" we hope they're going to like it.""Brenner acknowledges that the station has developed a reputation for playing weird music in the past" but she said programming is always shifting with the DJs and music staff.WXDU 88.7 FM the student radio station at Duke University" also focuses on educating its listeners by broadcasting unique music.""We've debated about this in the past. You know"" how obscure do you want to be?"" said Meredith Newmark"" general manager of WXDU.""We don't try to exclude something because it's a little bit more well-known"" but we are trying to be an educational station and provide stuff that's more obscure.""Newmark doesn't see anything wrong with this philosophy"" either.""I like that we're playing stuff that nobody's ever heard of"" Newmark said. Our passion for music - I feel like that's sort of our identity.""N.C. State University's station" WKNC 88.1 FM on the other hand" features the ""All Rock Afternoon"" between noon and 6 p.m. every weekday.Other genres of music" including different kinds of specialty shows including segments devoted to hip hop and heavy metal" are programmed at other times.Steve ""DJ Stevo"" Salevan" local music director at WKNC admits that the station plays music that while not all mainstream" is probably more mainstream than WXYC and WXDU's programming.""(Those stations) aren't as interested in the listenability aspect"" he said. They're more interested in exploring tangents and different genres of music. ""Which is perfectly OK.""WKNC tries to avoid very obscure tracks while also playing music that doesn't get airplay anywhere else"" Salevan said.""It's kind of a way to seduce people into music that they haven't heard before by presenting it in a listenable context.""At WXYC" Brenner said the station tries to play a diverse selection of music for everyone" ""rather than playing one genre of music that's more interesting for the average college listener.""According to the station's mission statement" as written by then-station manager Jason Perlmutter in a 2002 WXYC newsletter the station focuses on drawing connections between different kinds of music.He wrote" ""You might be humming along to the chorus of your favorite Jay-Z monster" only to hear it followed by the very Bobby 'Blue' Bland mega-hit from the '70s from which the sample was lifted offering an example of the type of connection a WXYC DJ should attempt to create.Getting listeners to experience new music is a passion for Salevan at WKNC.There is just so much horrible stuff that gets played on commercial radio" Salevan said. People our age are getting sick of music.""He said that by promoting alternatives to the Top 40" with local and alternative styles of music in general" college radio is part of an important musical revolution.""It's serving as a catalyst movement in the soldiering force fighting against the crappy forces of commercial radio and commercial music interests.""Salevan makes sure WKNC's rotation includes quality music from the Triangle's music selection"" which he considers to be ""the best damn music scene in the entire world right now.""In addition to inserting local music into its normal rotation and a couple of local specialty shows"" the station hosts events promoting local bands and even records local artists themselves.""We really want to expose people and say" 'Hey there are these bands that are gonna freaking rip your heart out and rock you out and it's happening a couple miles away right now"'"" Salevan said.WXYC staff echo this focus.""We think that college radio has a major role to be a force for local artists"" Brenner said.One way of doing this is WXYC's Backyard BBQ, which airs 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays and features live interviews and music from local artists.We definitely strive to highlight the healthy music scene around us"" Goins said.Salevan added, I really think the media around here should all be working together to promote this.""Helping" he said" can do wonders.""We can get people into music around here and get people going to shows" and in doing so" really help our local music scene.""Contact the Diversions Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tracking the Trends at the Top of the ChartsWXYC1. V/A - Disco Not Disco: Post Punk" Electro" & Leftfield Disco Classics 1974-1986 (STRUT)2. Jackie-O-Motherf--ker - Vally of Fire (TEXTILE)3. Henry Flynt - Nova'Billy (LOCUST MUSIC)4. Dinosaur L - 24 -> 24 Music (TRAFFIC/SLEEPING BAG)5. Ghostface Killah - The Big Doe Rehab (DEF JAM)6. Franklin Thompson - Planet Jumper 12"" (STONE'S THROW)7. Bass Invadurrz - Bass Invadurrz 12"" (FREQUE NC)8. Ahleuchatistas - Even In the Midst ... (CUNEIFORM)9. Red Krayola with Art & Language - Sighs Trapped By Liars (DRAG CITY)10. Andy Moor - Marker (UNSOUNDS)WKNC1. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (XL)2. Hot Chip - Made In The Dark (DFA-ASTRALWERKS)3. Radiohead - In Rainbows (ATO)4. Liam Finn - I'll Be Lightning (YEP ROC)5. Whitsundays - The Whitsundays (FRIENDLY FIRE)6. Tulsa - I Was Submerged (PARK THE VAN)7. Ungdomskulen - Cry-Baby (EVER)8. Decomposure - Vertical Lines (Blank squirrel)9. Band of Horses - Cease To Begin (SUB POP)10. Hammer No More The Fingers - Hammer No More The Fingers EP (POWER TEAM)WXDU1. Clarence ""Gatemouth"" Brown - Bogaloose (Sunnyside) 2. Dengue Fever - Venus on Earth (M80) 3. The Breakups - Eat Your Heart Out EP (Bait Shop Pop) 4. Polynya - Polynya (Childhood Pet Records) 5. Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers - Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers (Smithsonian Folkways) 6. Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free) 7. Whitsundays - The Whitsundays (Friendly Fire) 8. New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom (Modular) 9. King of Prussia - Save the Scene (Kindercore) 10. The Button Pushers - Music for 8-Bit Video Games (self-released) CMJ (National college radio charts)1. Radiohead - In Rainbows (ATO)2. Daft Punk - Alive 2007 (Virgin)3. Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals (We Are Free)4. V/A - I'm Not There OST (Columbia Sony)5. Ween - La Cucaracha (Rounder)6. Bonnie ""Prince"" Billy - Ask Forgiveness (Drag City)7. The Hives - Black and White Album (Interscope)8. Band of Horses - Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)9. Sigur Ros - Hvarf-Heim (XL)10. Grizzly Bear - Friend EP (Warp)
One could say that a strong message of togetherness exudes from "Rambo."
While things like race, religion or social status might divide us on the surface, we all look the same when we're being pointlessly blown to pieces.
Of course, that might be giving "Rambo" a little too much credit.
Sylvester Stallone reprises his iconic role as John Rambo, the all-American ass-kickin' Vietnam vet who won his way into the hearts of American audiences by perfecting the time-honored national tradition of killing anything that moves.
Here, the audience finds Rambo living a life of solitude and glistening muscles in the jungle of Thailand.
After a naive group of American missionaries goes missing in war-torn "Burma" (apparently, Hollywood isn't aware of Myanmar), Rambo must single-handedly defeat every man between the ages of 17 and 60 in Southeast Asia - and all with his bow and arrows.
OK, that's probably giving Rambo a bit too much credit again.
There are a few mercenaries on his side, and perhaps he uses one or two (or 70) other weapons in the process.
But that's just to keep his enemies guessing.
I mean, Rambo outruns an atomic bomb.
There's really not much more to be said.
Stallone - obviously hard-up for cash - recently added to the "Rocky" series with a gritty and successful performance.
"Rambo," on the other hand, fails to follow suit.
The film tries to add depth and emotional tug by highlighting pointless slaughter for the entirety of the film.
An attempt to bring to light humanitarian crises is a noble cause, but there are ways to achieve this without incessant violence.
A decent plot, for example.
But when Stallone himself co-wrote the story, is anyone really surprised?
And while John Rambo could probably make Chuck Norris cry (thereby curing cancer), don't expect much character development out of Stallone.
You can't blame the supporting cast - actually, come to think of it, do blame them. They were bad.
However, those who enjoyed the high body count of the first three "Rambo" movies probably will enjoy this hyper-violent action flick too.
The excitement will send blood pumping through their veins - almost as fast as it pumps it out of the bodies of the film's seemingly disposable extras.
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"Hitman," which had all the promise of a sleek video game series and an intriguing trailer featuring a haunting choral Ave Maria, falls unfortunately flat in its delivery.
Agent 47 (Timothy Olyphant), bred by a shadowy organization as an ultra-elite assassin, must survive all kinds of mayhem as his employers turn against him.
He also must protect an attractive Russian prostitute caught up in the mix - who never fails to show her breasts at every opportunity.
The fact that the movie's storyline is dangerously similar to the "Bourne" trilogy isn't a fault by itself.
Unfortunately, "Hitman" falls short in every category that the "Bourne" movies excelled in.
The problem starts with Olyphant.
The relatively unknown actor won't gain any credibility from this starring role, as he tackles it with all the emotional subtlety of a rock.
While the script tries to inject character into Agent 47, Olyphant fails to contribute anything other than two hands to hold weapons.
And his supporting cast doesn't help much, either.
When the movie's lifeless characters shut up and start shooting, the stumbling film actually catches its stride, keeping viewers on the edges of their seats as "Hitman"'s body count rises exponentially.
But French-born director Xavier Gens fails to create a story compelling enough to make this film anything more than a mindless action flick.
"Hitman" had the potential to be a smart and exciting film. But as might have been predicted, it caught the unfortunate under-achieving virus that plagues many video game-based movies.
Exciting combat and pointless nudity can only do so much.
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Based on the second book of the kid-lit series by Susan Cooper, "The Seeker: The Dark is Rising," isn't really that bad.
With the recent success of certain fantasy movies, the inevitable slew of mediocre peer films has begun clogging your local box office.
Just before Christmas, in a quaint English town, 14-year-old Will Stanton (Alexander Ludwig) realizes that with his recent birthday he's gained some interesting abilities.
Naturally, with great power comes great responsibility, and Will must find six signs of light to fight an impending darkness.
Now, there's no way to get around comparing this film to the Harry Potter movies, so let's not avoid the obvious.
Whether you like them or not, the Harry Potter films take a ridiculously imaginative world and make it very accessible.
"The Seeker", on the other hand, has a much harder time with this concept. The film makes it clear that Cooper's literature series illustrates a deep and creative world.
And successful book-to-movie translations have shown that while you can't fit everything into a movie, what you choose to add and what you choose to leave out is crucial.
"The Seeker" tries to cram loads of lore into 100 minutes of movie.
Director David L. Cunningham is unsuccessful at giving the audience a simple snapshot of another world and integrating a compelling story within that framework.
On that note, the presentation of the film is pretty well done.
Ludwig has real talent and convincingly portrays a confused youth with powers and a perilous quest.
The Rider (Christopher Eccleston), Will's arch-nemesis and the bringer of all that is dark, adds some surprising humor and variety as he switches between his roles as apocalyptic bad guy and the outwardly cheerful town doctor.
It's hard to feel there's anything special about this film, and it can't help but seem a little goofy at times, but "The Seeker" avoids the painful execution of similar works ("Eragon," for example).
Difficulty in integrating a lot of fantastical information into a believable story line hinders this film from being anything other than another mediocre fantasy movie.
But kids will love a story that gives them hope that those superpowers they can't quite harness might be waiting for their 14th birthdays.
And post-pubescent viewers will be surprised not to find themselves rolling their eyes throughout the film - and might actually enjoy it.
Even if they don't want to admit it.
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Um, excuse me, Professor.
I know we have that state governments paper due this week, but, you see, there's an obvious problem.
Through I'm sure it was simply an erroneous oversight on your part, you scheduled this assignment only a mere 18 days after the release of Halo 3.
I know, I know, you're probably kicking yourself right now for this.
But that's really no excuse. I mean, this syllabus must be from last year or something, right?
I suppose at your age, you weren't aware that this due date would be just after the release of, arguably, the most exciting creation since DNA.
But there's no way you weren't aware of the release of the flagship of the new Xbox 360.
No, no, you must have just not realized what this game means to my generation - nay, to the world.
I don't have time to research the Pennsylvania legislature when the alien Conclave is bearing down.
Hasn't anyone told you what Halo 3 has to offer?
There's no way you haven't taken the reigns of the new and improved Master Chief, the hero of Halo 3.
I mean, it's not like I haven't beaten the entire single-player mode on the Legendary difficulty setting a couple times over by now.
I currently spend my time sipping Mountain Dew Game Fuel as the Elite Arbiter reigning justice from my studio apartment, which I call The Mothership.
As a member of the "Wizards of Righteous Dominance" (WoRD) clan, I have to practice for hours every night just to stay on top of our league's competition.
How 'bout that clan name? It explains our godlike potency while the acronym gives us street cred.
You've probably heard of me - "Eliteasaurus Rex."
You haven't? Well, it's probably because your clan is full of n00bz!
What's that? Do I have a girlfriend? Interesting that you ask.
I actually just asked out a tantalizing but deadly rival clan member two nights ago. Her name is C@ss@ndr@, but she goes by Cassie in real life.
She's a 24-year-old model who lives in New York City and is about to make it big. She's totally cool but doesn't have a microphone yet, so I haven't actually talked to her.
Her phone must be messed up, too, because she won't let me call.
But whatever. I'm too busy exploring the vast potential of new items such as the Bubble Shield and the Flamethrower to worry about such petty things.
So, I'm sure you understand. I mean, it's Halo-freakin'-3.
Your poli sci paper means about as much to me as a Covenant Grunt with a Plasma Pistol means to the Master Chief.
Which, in case you didn't know, is approximately nothing. N00b.
Contact David Berngartt
Let's get one thing straight. Michael Davis, writer and director of "Shoot 'Em Up," is no Tarantino.
So should we really trust him to make a pulp-action parody featuring the talents of Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti? No.
"Shoot 'Em Up" follows a man known only as Smith (Owen) as he is forced to deliver and protect a baby in the middle of a shootout, all while trying to figure out why he's doing it.
Sound ridiculous? Oh, that's only the beginning.
Smith grimaces his way through over-the-top action sequences as the stereotypical no-nonsense superhero who, in addition to being an expert marksmen, is also apparently bulletproof.
Smith's nemesis is the creepy FBI-profiler-turned-criminal gun dealer Hertz (Giamatti).
Both actors are clearly talented, but the script doesn't let the audience take them seriously.
In the film's defense, this is the point. "Shoot 'Em Up" is obviously making fun of every movie labeled with the title.
With specific nods to Bond films, Smith ruthlessly guns down every baddie in every situation with amazing precision and ingenuity, then follows his kills with a cheesy quip.
And it certainly is exciting. Stylish production and an appropriate headbanger soundtrack gets the pulse going for each outrageous scene
I mean, seriously, he kills more bad guys with a carrot than most action heroes manage to take out in an entire film.
Unfortunately, this movie just isn't fun enough. It blatantly attacks every possible sensibility the audience could even think of having and likely leaves all but the most die-hard action fans sickened.
While "Shoot 'em Up" does have some creative and exciting action sequences, its attempt at satirizing the genre fails when you realize you're not really enjoying yourself.
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Jason Statham and Jet Li face off to exciting effect in "War," the fast-paced action movie by rookie director Philip Atwell.
A need to avenge the death of his fallen partner drives FBI agent Jack Crawford (Statham) to find the assassin known only as Rogue (Li).
Navigating the politics of the rival crime families of the Chinese Triads and the Japanese Yakuza, Crawford attempts to find the brutally effective killer.
This movie, like others in its genre, looks slick and moves quickly. It features plenty of explosions, chases and has a high body count. It delivers what action fans are looking for.
What exceeds expectations is Atwell's ability to flesh out complexities in the plot and get real emotional investment from the audience.
Other movies in the Hong Kong- meets-Hollywood action genre avoid carefully crafting a believable story, but "War" actually accomplishes this and avoids cheesiness in its emotional high points.
And rather than using a contrived story line simply to set up amazing fight scenes, the majority of the action in the movie actually fits well within the film's context.
But there is a downside to this.
Aiming for a level of realism uncommon in the genre, fight choreographer Corey Yuen ("Romeo Must Die" and "The One") doesn't deliver the amazing martial arts that fans of Li and Statham have come to expect.
Li seems especially uncharacteristic in this film. While he certainly sells his role as a fearsome adversary, he primarily uses firearms instead of the martial arts skills that made him the action star he is today.
It's fair to assume that a film called "War," featuring two of the most talented martial artists in the movie industry, would feature countless exciting fights between the two, but there is only one mediocre fight scene pitting Li against Statham.
The lack of combat between the two stars of the movie is an unfortunate oversight, likely to leave viewers disappointed.
The plot also suffers from being too confusing to completely follow. While it doesn't leave the audience clueless, it's difficult to figure out exactly what's going on.
Regardless, this plot is surprisingly devoid of the hokey one-liners and unlikely character development typical of peer films.
It even features a truly unexpected plot twist at the end that almost merits applause until it is squandered by a shoddy ending, which turns out to be the movie's biggest flaw.
"War" delivers on some expectations but disappoints on others.
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An eerie and truly interesting take on a more subdued kind of alien invasion fails to overcome a disjointed plot in "The Invasion."
Yet another remake of 1956's "The Invasion of the Body Snatchers," this "Invasion" centers around psychiatrist Carol Bennell (Nicole Kidman) and friendly doctor Ben Driscoll (Daniel Craig) attempting to stop a cosmic goo from taking over the minds and bodies of humans.
The capable premise pits everyday, emotion-filled humans against a microscopic alien organism from a wrecked space shuttle.
Once infected, the victims become politely detached drones, spreading the infection by vomiting into the faces or drinks of others.
The best part of the film is this idea: Contrary to the vast majority of alien invasion movies, there is no violent takeover, no cinematic battles and (thankfully) no Tom Cruise.
Those that realize that something is wrong must quickly learn to conceal their emotions or else be caught by the growing hordes of civil zombies. The film's atmosphere alone makes it intriguing.
But the film's action sequences feel tacked-on, perhaps because saying the movie was directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, (whose credits include the acclaimed "Downfall") is only partially true, as studio execs apparently didn't like his version.
Several other big-names were called in to rework Hirschbiegel's efforts, including the Wachowski brothers ("The Matrix") and James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta").
The unfortunate effect is similar to a frat party when too many people arrive - everyone only gets a half cup from the keg.
The editing exposes the film's troubled childhood. The plot jumps in an unconventional manner that is ultimately tiresome and confusing.
Kidman's forgettable performance and out-of-place southern accent, and Craig's uninteresting character don't add anything to the movie, either.
The movie also attempts to convey relevant social message with scattered shots as contemporary allegory, but it seems to be confused about what exactly the message is supposed to be.
At one point, a television set in the background shows news of peace accords worldwide as a consequence of governments under alien control.
Other than this moment, the majority of the references don't add to the film.
The movie could have finished as an eerie but flawed sci-fi thriller if it weren't for a disgustingly tidy and quick ending tainting the overall experience.
A bit of cohesiveness would have served "The Invasion" well, and it would have been nice to have seen where Hirschbiegel meant for the plot to go.
Instead, we're stuck with a forgettable sci-fi thriller with great ambiance that even scratches the surface of being socially conscious, but one that is inherently defective, leaving viewers staring at the credits as blank and unemotional as the aliens.
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Elgar, Mendelssohn and Mozart will provide a three-course musical feast on campus tonight, courtesy of the N.C. Symphony.
Frequent visitors of Memorial Hall, the symphony has put together a show that will feature some heavyweights of the classical music world.
"It's a very well-known kind of program," said Scott Freck, general manager of the symphony. "We return to what we do best and what has really stood the test of time."
The performance will feature violinist Brian Reagin with a solo performance of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto.
"It's a real standard - every student has to know this piece before they leave the conservatory," said Reagin, who received his musical education at the Cleveland Institute of Music, a feeder into the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra.
It was at the Cleveland Institute that Reagin's history with the concerto began.
"This actually is the first solo piece I was ever paid to play," he said. Reagin won a competition playing it in college.
He's played it several times since then, including filling in for the world-renowned Itzhak Perlman at a N.C. Symphony performance two days after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when flight cancellations forced Perlman to stay in Detroit.
"It's very virtuosic, with lots of fast running around, and it lies well," he said, explaining that this means it is well written for the instrument.
Other pieces to be performed at tonight's performance are Mozart's Symphony No. 38, the Prague Symphony and Elgar's Enigma Variations.
The concert will be conducted by musical director Grant Llewellyn.
Llewellyn is an especially collaborative conductor, Freck said.
"If you think of sort of conductors of the 19th and 20th centuries, you think of a very severe, white- haired stern looking guy," he said.
"That's not Grant at all."
His attitude creates a great musical environment, Freck said.
"It's a warm and welcome kind of process. Audiences respond to him because he is so human and genial," he said. "That comes through loud and clear."
Symphony performers are especially excited about returning to Chapel Hill because it is where the group was founded.
The official date of the anniversary is three weeks away - May 14.
"Playing at Carolina is a very special thing for us," Freck said. "There can be a really very vibrant energy to playing in a university setting."
Students are encouraged to attend the show, Freck said.
"It allows you to visit another culture from another time, without ever leaving the comfort of your campus," he said.
"I think the modern symphony orchestra is the greatest instrument created, capable of producing any sound imaginable. I really believe that - that's why I love going to our concerts."
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Spending eight months in Baghdad during one of the most volatile periods of the war in Iraq was a harrowing experience for documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras.
But she said it was nothing compared to what the Iraqi people have to go through every day.
Poitras, director of the critically acclaimed documentary "My Country My Country", will be presenting her film and speaking about her experiences at 7 p.m. today in the Hanes Art Center Auditorium.
A Best Documentary nominee at the 2007 Academy Awards, the film tells the story of the first Iraqi national elections through the eyes of a Sunni doctor running for office, Dr. Riyadh.
"I met him at Abu Ghraib," Poitras said. "He was conducting an inspection of the prison for the Baghdad City Council."
Poitras said she was intrigued by his passion while he was advocating on behalf of detained Iraqis.
The screening is being hosted by Durham's Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Carolina Union Activities Board.
The Full Frame Institute sends festival winners to universities around the state, and Poitras' film won the Full Frame Inspiration award in 2006.
The festival will kick off Thursday.
"It's not a story of the United States, not the story of our military, what we should be doing," said Andrew Carlberg, chairman for both CUAB's film and public figures committees.
"It's simply a look at the people and how they're responding to the activity that's going on there."
Carlberg purposely avoided seeing the film earlier so that he could watch it with the audience and Poitras tonight.
"I think it's valuable to see it in that light," he said.
Poitras, who was in Iraq from June 2004 to February 2005, said she saw the American democratic process in a new light after witnessing the national elections in Iraq.
"People risked their lives to go and vote," she said, pointing out that turnout was higher than in recent American elections.
"I wonder sometimes how many Americans might vote if they thought that they might die.
"There's a lot taken for granted here."
As an American living with an Iraqi family, Poitras knew her life often was in danger, as well.
"What do you think? I was in Baghdad, working alone without security," she said of her conditions.
"There were a whole lot of people I knew in more danger, though."
Through her experience, she was able to tell a story not often told about the war.
"It's a really intimate portrait - it transcends a lot of news coverage," she said.
"It fills in a lot of peoples' gaps of knowledge."
Instrumental in bringing Poitras and her film to campus was professor Gorham Kindem, the school's liaison to the Full Frame Institute.
"It's very important, I think, for students to obtain access to this kind of information that you don't see in the mainstream media," he said. "It's an extremely important film to view if you want to get a better understanding of Iraq today."
Kindem added that the film shows many sides of the conflict.
"It's very revealing in terms of the different avenues of resistance to American occupation."
Poitras said her goal was to shed some light on the war and its issues for Americans.
"The debate about the war is a debate about America. We lose sight of Iraq and what's going on there," she said.
"Hopefully, it's a film that challenges both sides of the political spectrum."
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A thriller full of suspense and mystery, Lab! Theatre's "Wait Until Dark" features an exciting plot with the interesting twist of a blind main character.
The story follows Susy, a blind woman who is the target of con-men, attempting to earn her trust while secretly putting her in danger.
The show opened Friday night at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the Center for Dramatic Art, with successive performances on Saturday and Sunday. The final shows will be today at 4 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Admission for all shows is free.
"It's a very suspenseful show," said Ryan Tumulty, a sophomore who plays the role of Mike, one of the con-men. "Everyone I know that's come to see has it has talked about how, throughout the show, they've just become more and more engaged in the story."
He said the style of the play heightens the suspense. "Every little line or movement contributes to the advancement of the plot in a very interesting and subtle way," Tumulty said.
Senior Janie Bullard, decided to direct and produce the play because of its technical features.
"It's very light-, sound- and scenically oriented, as opposed to other shows, which are more literature based," she said.
"I wanted to do a show that was a realistic piece."
Part of this, Bullard said, was because of her background as a scenic designer.
"I enjoyed working on a show that cannot only let the actors explore, but also let lighting and sound and scenic designers explore," she said.
The play, originally written by Frederick Knott, enjoys a 1967 film adaptation, which starred Audrey Hepburn. Bullard was afraid that viewing the film would taint the originality of the performances, so she told the actors not to watch it before the show.
"When you watch the film, you tend to second-guess your first instincts," she said. "You'll find a way to say a line that is very real, but then watch the movie and it's different, and then you think maybe that's the right way."
One of the most challenging elements of the show is the blindness of the main character, Susy. Played by junior Caitlin Rain, the role required extra preparation.
"I did quite a lot of stumbling around in the dark," she said. "I have very bad vision, so sometimes I didn't wear glasses or contacts."
Rain even rehearsed every scene at least once while blindfolded.
"I tried to use my ears and my sense of touch much more than my sight to get around," she said.
"I learned how to listen for footsteps and voices, instead of as I usually do, looking at other people for expressions."
Rain, who is performing in her first leading role with Lab! Theatre, did not shy away from the difficult character, saying that she often looks forward to preparing for a show more than performing it.
"It's been great experience learning-wise, and it's been really fun getting to explore something completely different that I wouldn't get a chance to anywhere else but in theater," she said.
Friday's opening night had a great turnout, said Tumulty, whose experience in Lab! Theatre has shown him that comedies and musicals tend to draw bigger crowds than dramatic plays.
"Sometimes people are more inclined to laugh or be entertained by dance and music than go to a show that requires them to think a little bit," he said.
The strong turnout, he said, proved that this isn't always true. Feedback he's received from Friday's audience shows that they were not only willing to think, but were entertained as well.
"At the end, they said they found themselves on the edge of their seats, which is almost more than we can ask for," Tumulty said, noting that getting the audience so involved is the best part of theater.
"The best feeling in the world is when a friend or co-worker or someone you know, at the end of the show they say, 'I really, really enjoyed that. I can't wait for the next one.'"
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Singer/Songwriter Night is gaining traction as a means to connect music on campus to the local community.
The Carolina Union Activities Board hosted an evening of solo musical acts for an in-and-out audience of about 30 people in the Union Cabaret from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday.
"It was phenomenal," CUAB member Stephanie Stewart said after the event. Stewart now is the organizer of the event.
The showcase was in limbo after the Carolina Union Activities Board graduating class of 2006 left the event without a leader.
Stewart stepped in as an organizer and a performer, and the open mic night has been growing ever since.
"We're just trying to create a kind of set pattern with it, something that people know about and really look forward to," she said.
That pattern has increasingly focused on including a diverse group of performers, composed of both undergraduates, graduates and members of the community.
This look beyond the campus community is important to the event's future success, Stewart said.
John Fallon brought a style of music to the event bred in his native Ireland.
A post-doctoral candidate at the UNC School of Pharmacy, Fallon only recently came to the United States, but finds performing here and near his home to be comparable.
"It's similar everywhere, really - you just play," he said.
One nice thing about the evening, Fallon said, was the attentive audience.
"A young, intelligent student audience is a bonus."
While his music hasn't changed much from what he played overseas, he has also found inspiration for his music locally.
His first song, "Mother," was about a man he met at The Cave on Franklin Street who lost his mother in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I've never played it for anyone before," he said.
"It felt good."
Amber Dutton, a UNC graduate and music teacher at Smith Middle School, also performed.
Teaching children and performing to an older crowd has its similarities and differences, she said.
"It's kind of like a daily performance with kids, except your feedback is louder," she said.
While Dutton graduated with a musical performance major, she said she loves playing guitar and singing because it is more expressive.
"You can do whatever you want."
Writing and playing her own songs in a relaxed environment is a luxury Dutton did not always enjoy while practicing flute in college.
"I wish that I had thought of things like that when I was practicing on my flute for hours in the basement of Hill Hall," she said.
Even though she's only been playing guitar and writing music for a couple years, she has found it to be a hobby she can't give up.
"Even if I try to not do it, I can't help it," she said.
"I have to do this - it's a part of me."
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Students, teachers and community leaders, armed with poetry, music and passion, gathered Tuesday night to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Sonya Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History hosted "He Was A Poem," an exhibition of poetry inspired by the late civil rights leader.
The event featured a diverse selection of performances, ranging from traditional religious storytelling and gospel singing to contemporary looks at King.
Among the contemporary readings was "Lil' Kings" by Frank X. Walker, which was performed by UNC sophomore Donovan Livingston. The piece posed the question of how King would be perceived if he took up a modern, "street" persona.
Livingston painted a picture for the audience of a King "Listenin' to Dr. Dre/ Wu-Tang/ And the Notorious B.I.G.
"Could he still be king?"
The annual event is in its third year, and organizer Raquel Von Cogell said it was a great success - about 80 people attended.
"I think it went fabulously," she said. "I was really pleased with everyone's performance."
Cogell, the Stone Center librarian, fostered connection between her love of the written and spoken word and the legacy of King.
"The program honors Dr. King through poetry," she said.
"It really speaks to everyone."
Helping to honor and illustrate the life and death of King was Durham poet Kim Arrington.
Arrington grew up watching the 1978 movie "King," which led her to draw comparisons between its subject and her father.
"He was always larger than life," she said of King. "I was always attracted to his desire to do things in a different way."
While honoring the legacy of King is very important, Arrington said this event was especially important because it embraces a new kind of leader.
"Artists are the new leadership," she said, citing that they have more work ahead of them.
"I believe there's still much we have to learn about being with each other in our community."
Arrington, a professional artist, said she really enjoyed seeing the other performances.
"I believe everyone is a poet, everyone is a performer," she said. "It's natural - we all have something that we want to say that's important for us to tell."
UNC sophomore Aisha Forte, who attended the event, is appreciative of the activities on campus to commemorate King.
"I know a lot of people are just glad to get out of school," she said. "I'm also glad that we actually do things to celebrate his legacy, to recognize what he's done for us as individuals, as a campus and as a country."
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Students studying in the downstairs lounge of the Student Union were given an unexpected pleasure of live music drifting out of the Union Cabaret.
From 8 to 10 p.m., the Carolina Union Activities Board hosted a Singer/Songwriter Night, an intimate gathering that showcased student musical talent in the performance space.
About 20 people attended the event, sitting in the dimly lit area. Songs ranged from a simple ditty about a day off work to an ode to a Croatian underwater organ, an instrument that plays music with the waves.
The tune about the unusual instrument was played by Jeremy Lev, a local and UNC alumnus.
"I like being able to play in front of my peers," he said. "I like playing the Cabaret."
While the venue certainly didn't draw the kind of crowd typical of most CUAB concerts, Lev said the atmosphere was just what he was looking for.
"People are quiet, responsive and listen, as opposed to being in a bar or music venue where people are drinking and talking," he said.
He said he chose songs for Tuesday night that complemented the atmosphere.
"I played songs with an interesting musical complexity," he said. "That gets noticed better than in a noisy sort of venue, where some of the nuances in the song might go overlooked or unnoticed."
The Singer/Songwriter Night also was held last year, but there was no leadership to head it up again this semester until senior Stephanie Stewart got the ball rolling.
"Everyone liked the idea again, so we just went with it," she said.
While she is a CUAB member, Stewart is also a singer-songwriter herself, and used these connections to draw performers.
"There's so many local artists, not just outside of the campus, but within UNC as well," she said.
As Stewart saw it, the event's goal was not just to entertain students, but also to help musicians.
"Here's a place where they can express their talent and meet other singer-songwriters," she said.
"It's kind of a community."
While the majority of the music was solo acoustic guitar and vocals, Stewart said she is open to other kinds of music being performed at the next event in January.
As a performer, Stewart said she enjoyed the event.
"Being up there tonight really feels like where I belong," she said. "It means a lot to me to share what I enjoy to people who mean a lot to me."
Quietly sitting in the audience while doing schoolwork was junior Laura Anders, an exchange student from London.
"It's nice to listen to live music and get some work done," she said.
Anders said the intimate environment only made the performances more enjoyable.
"It seems really personal."
Stewart said the appeal of the event was that some of the performers also are students.
"It's really inspiring just to see what talent people have," she said,
"People I go to class with, people I see walking around, people I don't even know - it's great."
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The University's first all-male a cappella group, the Clef Hangers, will open the curtains Sunday on one the fall season's more anticipated performances.
The group's annual fall concert is scheduled to begin 7:30 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Hall. Tickets went on sale the morning of Oct. 11, and were sold out three days later.
"After the second day, I went to Memorial and got a printout of ticket sales," said junior Pablo Vega, concert manager and member of the group.
"I was completely shocked - I thought there had to be some kind of mistake."
The Clefs were worried about attendance for the fall show, as they were forced to schedule it on a Sunday. The shows have traditionally been performed on Saturdays in the past.
"We were really worried about not selling enough tickets," Vega said, "because of people having class the next day, not wanting to come out."
The tickets went on sale at the same day as tickets for the Homecoming act, The Roots, which may have had something to do with the high demand.
"People in that line were also in line for our tickets, I guess," said junior David Mikush, president of the Clef Hangers. "We sold about 530 on the first day, which was huge."
Offering block-seating to sororities might have been another cause for the success in ticket sales. With the concert on Sunday night, there were no conflicts with sorority functions, Mikush said.
Before the tickets went on sale, however, the group was unsure about attendance. Faced with the possibility of sparsely-attended show, the group put extra effort into publicity.
"We went around early in the semester and visited dorms," said Daniel David, a senior member of the Clef Hangers and director of the video interlude for the show, a tradition that began in 2003.
The video allows the group to show their other talents, he said.
"It's a fun way to rest our voices and to show our comedic sides. We don't just sing."
The video will feature three fictional movie previews to follow the concert's theme of "Movie Night."
The Clefs, who typically visit South Campus dorms and sing to listeners on outdoor balconies, expanded their publicity by knocking on doors and drawing crowds at indoor locales such as Joyner, and Cobb residence halls and Granville Towers.
The visits have other benefits in addition to getting the word out.
"It's a good experience for the new guys to be right in front of an audience right away," he said. "They show their commitment - to still have energy (after practice) to go down and put on a good show for 30 to 40 people sitting in their dorms and studying."
While these visits are not new to the Clefs, the group never has made this many visits, David said.
David encouraged those who didn't get tickets for the fall show to attend a free holiday show at 5 p.m. on Dec. 6 at the Old Well.
The Clefs typically spend the week before the show trying to sell remaining tickets, but with the unprecedented demand, they were able to focus more on practicing.
David said he hasn't seen a group as prepared as this one in his time as a Clef.
Vega agreed, saying he thought this year's group is especially well-versed.
"It's going to be a great show."
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The fancies of both art and music lovers will be tickled Saturday at the Nightlight bar and club in Chapel Hill.
"Audible, Visible: A Night of Electronic Music and Abstract Art" will showcase regional talent in both visual art and music.
Hosted by record label Broken Fader Cartel, the event attempts to combine abstract forms of the perspective mediums of music and visual art, creating an artistic experience that focuses equally on both.
"It's just an art gallery with an electronic music concert going on," said Brian Miller, who runs the label.
"It's eye candy and ear candy."
Miller met and collaborated with many of the artists who will be featured Saturday during his college years at UNC-Asheville.
"All these people are my friends," he said. "I've known them for half a decade now."
Miller said he got the idea for the program because of an inherent problem with the record label-produced shows - the lack of a visual element.
"I come from a rock 'n' roll background," he said. "I'm used to having that visual association to music."
Because electronic music is primarily digital, an audience often has little more to watch than artists sitting at their computers, he said.
Brian Flanders, who performs under the alias Nauseous Youth Future, agreed that the visual aspect of live electronic music isn't the primary attraction.
"People come out thinking it's going to be like a rock concert," he said. "The only thing I do is stand there, twist knobs and parameters, dance a little bit - there's not a whole lot of flash to it."
Flanders, who will be debuting his new album, Dosage, at the event, is excited about the show's potential to bridge the gaps between two kinds of arts enthusiasts.
"It'll get a lot of people that don't necessarily have any relativity to come out, get involved and check us out," he said.
"I think everyone who loves art and loves music should come out."
Hayden Wilson, a senior art major at UNC-A, often combines auditory and visual aspects in his artwork by creating neon art displays that respond to sound.
"The nicest thing about these pieces is not only is it visual, but if you interact with it, you can actually kind of dictate what happens with the piece," he said.
Wilson, who will be showcasing his art at the event, never has shown his work in an environment that incorporated live music.
"I think when I get there, I'll play around with it until I get something that's really interactive, so it'll react to the music more."
Wilson said he is glad to have found a venue that is so appropriate for his artwork.
"I'm excited to see how people react to it," he said. "It's a good interaction - it makes the music a part of the piece as well."
The event begins at 9 p.m. and admission is $5.
Miller said he hopes it will cater to the tastes of all who attend.
"You can come in and watch the live performances without even knowing the art's there," he said. "Or, you can look at the art gallery and just appreciate that.
"We hope the eyes and the ears will stay occupied."
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"I'm completely surrounded by morons - morons that I love nonetheless," said the drill sergeant to his soldiers.
This line - one of many from the improvisational comedy scenes at Dirty South Improv's 24LIVE - likely would describe the sentiments of the actors who volunteered to perform for 28 straight hours Friday night.
The event kicked off at 7:30 p.m. Friday and lasted until 11:30 p.m. Saturday, and it featured eight core performers who stayed on-stage almost the entire time.
The event was composed of DSI's own performers, but UNC's CHiPs and Chapel Hill High School's improv group were among the numerous guest performers.
"The scenes are all starting to blur together after maybe 12 hours in," said Chris Gethard, a visiting performer from New York City.
Gethard teaches improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in New York City, but he came to the area to participate in 24LIVE at the request of some local friends.
"Everybody I've met from this theater has been so weirdly nice," he said. "It's such a good, positive place."
Gethard has seen acts from all over the country, but was impressed by the success of DSI.
"I think New York, Chicago, L.A. are all places you traditionally think of theaters like this existing," he said. "Then you see how fast DSI has grown - to me that's pretty remarkable."
Gethard's favorite scene he had done as of 6 p.m. Saturday involved a ghost that smelled of bread.
While most audiences members attended intermittently, Eitan Lees, a sophomore at CHHS, was one of the few committed to staying for the entire event.
"When you stay for so long, you're in a different state of mind," he said.
A member of his high school's improv team, Lees viewed the experience as a good way to hone his improv skills.
"When you get to see a lot of improv, you learn a lot - the more you watch it, the more you understand it."
Nearing the end of the event, Lees checked his watch.
"Five hours left? That's nothing."
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Improv comedy can save lives.
Dirty South Improv will begin 28 straight hours of improv Friday to raise money for the North Carolina Children's Hospital.
DSI's fifth annual marathon comedy event, 24LIVE, is scheduled to start at 11:30 p.m. and will run until 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
The event follows two regularly scheduled DSI shows, which begin at 7:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
"A lot of people can do fundraisers, build awareness and raise money," said Zach Ward, founder and executive producer of DSI.
"We're excited to be able to do that, invite an audience and make them laugh at the same time."
The event will feature eight core performers, who will be awake and on-stage for almost the entirety of the time.
"Everyone reacts a little differently," Ward said. "Some get really giddy - some have gotten sick - some have said some of the most surreal things."
Though not a member for this event, Ward has been part of the core group of improvisers in previous years.
"With four hours left, you have no idea what's happening," he said. "It either opens up this creative place that you never knew was there or it takes away all reason."
24LIVE also will include acts from numerous other DSI performers supporting the core group.
"Your mind isn't in your body after the first hour or two," said Corey Brown, one of the founding members of DSI. "It's battling between excitement and exhaustion."
Brown, who is a supporting cast member this year, has performed for the full marathon in the past.
He listed a number of amenities essential to improv-marathon success: a change of clothes, extra socks, grains and carbs, lots of water, a toothbrush and Red Bull - which he drank about 20 of last year.
"It's probably not a good thing for you body, but it gets you through," he said, referring to drinking copious amounts of the energy drink, which helped sponsor the event.
Also participating in the event are several guest performers, including an improv group from Chapel Hill High School and CHiPs, UNC's improvisation organization.
David Greenslade, a member of CHiPs and DSI, was an audience member last year for almost 24 hours straight, and he will be a supporting cast member this year.
"It's a real test of your own endurance - your own emotional fortitude . regardless of what's going on," he said.
The event raised about $2,000 last year, and Ward hopes to double that amount with the use of the new DSI Comedy Theater in Carrboro's Carr Mill Mall.
Single-show tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. For the same price, you can purchase marathon bracelets, which will discount ticket prices to $10 in advance and $15 at the door.
All proceeds will benefit the general fund of the North Carolina Children's Hospital.
"You lose energy for a little while toward the end of the entire thing," Brown said.
"Then you realize you're doing a good thing for people who need it, and the excitement helps you finish."
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While UNC student organizations help students find their niche in campus life, the organizations themselves are having difficulty finding their places on campus.
For those yearning for a year of visual art on campus and a bevy of performing arts groups to take in, this year might be of note.
The Arts Advocacy Committee, one of 12 committees within student government, is gaining traction on accomplishing many of its goals after only a short time of work this semester.
Among other projects, the committee is focusing on the Carolina Student Arts Grant.
The grant draws from a fund of about $10,000 provided by the Office of the Provost, awarding a $1,000 maximum to either individual students or organizations.
"It's for helping you or your organization do something for the campus," said Elizabeth Peacock, co-chairwoman of the committee. "Hopefully we'll help students find cool ways to do that."
The grant is the first at UNC specifically for students, said Massie Minor, co-chairman of the committee.
"We've got a good bit of money," he said. "But if we don't get a good turnout, we're going to lose the grant."
A requirement of receiving grant money is to be an active member of the student arts forum, a brainchild of the committee.
The forum, which will meet at 5 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month in the Student Union beginning Sept. 14, will receive input from the student body about how to improve the arts at UNC.
The committee is hoping to hear from all students, ranging from the most involved to the mildly interested, Peacock said.
Another work-in-progress for the committee is the student arts festival "Carolina Performs."
"We want to continue the tradition of having students perform in Memorial Hall," Peacock said.
The festival will be held Oct. 28.
The committee also had plans to collaborate with Duke University on an upcoming arts festival. But contacts at Duke failed to return phone calls, Minor said.
"They seemed to be willing to participate in the festival, just not to do any of the work."
Since its inception three years ago, the committee has been growing in scope, said Student Body President James Allred.
"They're seeing more interest," he said. "Arts groups are coming to the table more interested in working through student government."
The committee is collaborating with Allred's administration to complete some of his other platform objectives, such as getting more student art around campus and on Franklin Street.
Peacock also commented on initiatives to get visual art in South Campus residence halls after hearing complaints that walking through one of them is like "walking through a hospital corridor."
For those interested in joining the committee, an open house of student government is being held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. today in Union Suite 2501.
"We're looking forward to seeing art in places it hasn't been before - performers doing things they haven't done before," Peacock said.
"We're looking forward to having a really diverse, vibrant and passionate group."
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