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Members of the student dance troupe Modernextension brought a palette of modern dance performances to the Memorial Hall stage Thursday night in celebration of the group's 20th anniversary.
They are slated to perform again in Memorial Hall today at 8 p.m.
Modernextension dancers were accompanied by UNC faculty member Marian Turner Hopkins and a renowned professional dancer Shain Stodt.
In addition to the impressive collection of student pieces, the group opened its performance with Stodt's rendition of the dances of Isadora Duncan, a pioneer of modern dance.
"At the turn of the century, Isadora's movements were considered very new and risqu
Fans of the band might not be aware that its name, Mae, is an acronym for "Multisensory Aesthetic Experience." But as soon as the Norfolk, Va., pop-rock quintet took the Memorial Hall stage Monday night, the audience eagerly jumped into all the aesthetics the band offered for experience.
About 500 tickets were sold to the concert, which also featured The Old Ceremony, an orchestral rock group that hails from Chapel Hill.
Mae's sound revolves around powerfully catchy melodies that flow in the pop vein, accompanied by crashing frenzies of drums and electronic interludes. The band played against a backdrop of flashing colors that added a vibrancy to its set.
Robert Gurdian, Carolina Union Activities Board music chairman, hoped the group would bring out a different kind of audience than other rock shows featured in Memorial Hall this year, such as Sufjan Stevens.
"Each year we try to bring events that every student at UNC will want to see at least one of," he said. "We try to cater to all UNC undergrads, grad students and alumni."
Gurdian, a self-proclaimed "supporter" of The Old Ceremony, said he hoped its presence would generate student interest.
"I wanted to welcome them back to UNC because so many of them went here," he said.
The group performed a quick set dressed in suits that perhaps fit in well with the concert-hall setting of Memorial Hall and the orchestral-style rock it plays, dubbed pop-noir.
"It was like The Beatles playing for the queen," said Django Haskins, singer and guitarist for The Old Ceremony, of performing at the venue.
However, some were less pleased about the locale.
"They sounded good, but Memorial Hall killed the mood," said Adrienne Atkinson, a junior, who, along with several of her friends, jumped up and down throughout Mae's set.
Atkinson said her actions reflected what everyone else at the show wanted to be doing but chose not to because of the mood created by the venue.
Dave Elkins, lead singer and guitarist of Mae, echoed similar remarks during the band's set.
After a lengthy applause following "Someone Else's Arms," a definite crowd pleaser, the singer said, "Maybe the setting is a little bit awkward, but we're having an awesome time playing."
Luckily, Mae chose to play entirely upbeat, high-energy songs that kept the crowd clapping, singing along and bobbing their heads in agreement.
Sophomore Jason Rome had never heard of Mae before his friend invited him to the show, but he said that didn't stop him from enjoying himself.
"It was a good time," Rome said. "People were definitely rocking out - I'm glad that I came."
By the time Mae returned for an encore after lengthy applause and chants, the crowed appeared completely won-over and tuned in to the band's last offering of buzzing pop.
While The Old Ceremony might have preferred its fans to remain seated during its set, Mae seemed appreciative that everyone rose and surrounded the stage, giving off a more typical rock atmosphere.
"They were everything I expected," Atkinson said of Mae's performance.
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Think you can't be taught how to crack a joke? Some would beg to differ. This weekend, the Carolina Union Activities Board hosted the third consecutive Carolina Comedy Festival. In addition to performances, multiple workshops and seminars led by successful comedians, writers and animators broke down the nuts and bolts of humor. The festival concluded Saturday night with a Memorial Hall performance, "Lewis Black and Friends," which featured Alonzo Bodden, Kathleen Madigan and Black. Though it's difficult to ignore the huge draw of Black and other comedy A-listers, UNC junior Mallory Cash, CUAB's festival chairwoman, said she hoped to put a new spin on this year's events by focusing on the festival's educational element. "We hoped that the shows would become like ads for the seminars," she said. "Learning how to do the skills needed for these careers and being able to get advice from people who have gone through it all is invaluable." Most of the performers led a workshop or a seminar before they took the stage, giving students the opportunity to learn about the processes involved. UNC alumnus Anthony King, returned to lead an improvisational acting workshop Friday afternoon with two other colleagues from the New York City branch of the Upright Citizens Brigade improv troupe, where he serves as creative director. The workshop showed students with varying experience how to control scenes by playing off each others' ideas to create situations that seemed effortlessly funny. "Improv is about building things with the people on stage with you," King said. "If you aren't in sync with the people you're performing with, it all falls apart." Sophomore Abbas Rattani, one of the workshop's 11 participants, said he was impressed by King's advice. "I thought he would tell us how to be funny, but instead, he let us be funny on our own and showed us how to let the humor come out on its own," Rattani said. "I was surprised at how well it worked." The festival also allowed students with stand-up comedy experience the chance to show off their talents and receive feedback. Winners from Thursday's Student Comedy Showdown were given the opportunity to perform in front of audiences at either the Carolina Comedy Club in the Union Cabaret or a sold-out Memorial Hall audience as one of three openers for the festival's capstone event. Sophomore Russell Johnson, junior Keegan de Lancie and Duke senior Damian Denoble opened for Black and company Saturday while juniors Leland Timmons and Katie Keenan served as opening acts for Friday's Cabaret showcase. "It's great that I can get a good feel for my act," Timmons said. "And being able to get big laughs on stage is the greatest feeling." Bodden, Madigan and Black led a question-and-answer session Saturday afternoon covering everything from getting started as an artist to how to handle annoying hecklers at a show. "I sure could have used this when I was in school," said Black, who now is in his fourth year of involvement with the festival. Black also expressed interest in seeing the festival both continue and expand in the coming years. "I'd like to see this evolve into a bigger festival and have rooms all around," he said. "I have more interest in people getting up and spending time with folks like them and learning something useful." Contact the Arts Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happened when Madeline Walter, a UNC senior, decided to write a play?
From a concoction of ideas involving a faked pregnancy, a family of zany characters and a protagonist who thinks her life is utterly boring, "I am Writing a Memoir" was born.
The play opens tonight at the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre and runs until Tuesday.
It is presented by The Playwriting Studio.
Tonight Grammy Award-winning opera star Susan Graham joins the growing repertoire of performers who've brought their acts to Memorial Hall as part of the Carolina Performing Arts Series.
Graham and her accompanist, pianist Malcolm Martineau, have chosen a program of 24 French pieces that are arranged chronologically - beginning in 1850 and concluding in the 1960s - to give audience members a taste of opera history.
"This selection of songs is sort of like tasting all different items off a menu at a gourmet restaurant," Graham said. "It's a sample of many different French composers, but each song has its own wonderful story."
Emil Kang, UNC's executive director for the arts, said he chose to bring Graham as part of the series for many reasons, one of which being that she has never performed in the Triangle.
"We wanted to bring in someone who hadn't performed in the region," Kang said. "Someone who people around here might not have heard about but is still a recognized classical vocalist."
Graham began her monthlong, eight-city tour Monday night in Florida.
Memorial Hall is her second stop before continuing on to venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and Carnegie Hall in New York City.
The versatile singing actress performs not only in French but in German and Italian, as well. Graham's extensive work with French pieces drew Carolina Performing Arts to feature her during this special tour.
"We provide translations for audience members, so it's easy to understand what is being performed," Graham said.
"Many of the songs are little operatic scenes, so I think all people will find them very interesting and entertaining."
Graham also said her work has been well-received by students in the past.
"I always find that student audiences are particularly open-minded and really embrace the pieces."
Kang said Martineau, who played a major part in selecting and arranging the pieces in tonight's performance, is one of the most famous piano accompanists.
"Malcolm is more than an accompanist," Graham said.
"He's a partner."
Although Graham and Martineau are both big names in classical music, the performance is slated for the first day of classes, leaving student attendance in question.
"It's an amazing opportunity for young people to see such an incredible star who is also a nice person," Kang said.
"If you want to have a nice evening of beautiful music, it's a very easy, relaxing way to come back to class - I can't see how anyone wouldn't like it."
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June 22 - Even for skeptics of global warming and its implications for Earth's future, "An Inconvenient Truth" - the cinematic adaptation of Al Gore's traveling presentation of his theories on the issue - is extremely effective, thanks to a convincing structure and thoroughly researched ideas.
Although "An Inconvenient Truth" is reminiscent of a college lecture with the coolest PowerPoint presentation any student has ever seen, director
July 6 - From T-shirts to toiletseat covers, there's hardly anything that hasn't already been colored Carolina blue and stamped with a UNC logo.
And if it's been made, odds are you can find it on Franklin Street - and that you can find someone who's willing to buy it.
Shelton Henderson, owner of The Shrunken Head Boutique, located at 155 E. Franklin St., sells some of the staples of Chapel Hill sports - blue and white buttons that read "Beat UVA," "Beat Duke" or "Beat" all other teams UNC plays in football and basketball.
But the boutique also specializes in the unusual side of UNC merchandise.
"We sold 39 of these last weekend," Henderson said, displaying a barely-6-inch handheld fan that, when turned on, blinks "GO TARHEELS" in bright red letters across its spinning blades.
The fans also come in the colors of other ACC teams.
"It's just something you don't find everywhere - that's what people want," Henderson said.
Carolina Pride, located at 151 E. Franklin St., takes a more traditional approach to its business, as the store offers long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts yearround.
"Price is a big thing," said Jenny Gundersdorff, a 16-year-old who works in the store. "Presentation, too - people like to see things looking nice when they buy."
However, the stores do have a few items, such as baby apparel and Christmas hats, that are not found elsewhere.
"It's not just students who come into the store," Gundersdorff said. "Alumni, tourists and students at summer camps at UNC are here all the time. It's a mixed
Schoolkids Records, located at 144 E. Franklin St., offers an alternative to traditional UNC apparel through T-shirts designed by The Merch.
T-shirts that read "Jackie Manuel has a Posse" are still popular, despite the fact that Manuel left the basketball team two years ago.
Ric Culross, the store's manager, continues to sell the shirts because "they always sell very well and are inexpensive for students."
Some items stand out on the roster of UNC memorabilia not for their quirkiness, but for their price.
Last fall, Student Stores sold women's tracksuits for more than $100.
And Chip and Pepper, a California-based company famous for its high-quality jeans,
has started a line of college T-shirts for men and women that start at around $60. UNC, Duke and other universities' logos are
printed on ultra-soft shirts and
are distressed to give a vintage
Uniquities, an up-scale boutique located at 452 W. Franklin St., carries the UNC and Duke Chip and Pepper shirts.
"They're extremely weathered, so they're super-soft and broken in," said Paige Gunther, a UNC junior who works at the store.
"The Duke shirts sold just as quickly as the UNC ones. I knew they were going to be gone quickly, so I bought one as soon as they came in."
Uniquities sold out of the shirts, but Gunther said they will become available again in the fall.
"They're expensive, but people will pay for something that looks cool and is very comfortable, especially something that they can wear often," she said.
"I've gotten more compliments on that shirt than any other shirt I wear."
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The Carolina Theatre, located at 309 W. Morgan St. in downtown Durham, is traditionally more famous for its live events - but it's quickly making a national name for itself when it comes to film festivals.
The North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival will take place at the theater from Aug. 10 to Aug. 13.
The festival is the second largest of its kind in the Southeast and will feature 60 short and feature-length films from around the world.
When the festival first took place at the theater in 1996, it sold around 800 tickets. Now, 10 years later, the festival has become so popular - attracting 10,000 patrons last year - that it has snagged famous bisexual comedian Margaret Cho as its opening act.
Gay actor and singer Tab Hunter will also appear to host a screening of his movie "Lust in the Dust."
"The idea of Margaret Cho coming to the festival was unheard of five years ago," said Jim Carl, senior director of the theater. "But as the festival grows locally and nationally, we found out that Margaret had actually heard of the festival before and that Tab was actually planning to attend on his own - he contacted us and asked what he could do."
The festival's films range anywhere from four to 99 minutes in length, some with strikingly bizarre titles such as "Lesbian Grandmothers from Mars," "Fraternity Massacre at Hell Island" and "The Young, the Gay and the Restless."
"We only screen films that do not yet have a North Carolina distribution," said Elisabeth Branigan, the theater's marketing manager.
"The films are quite different - many of them deal with families, the young and the old, women and men. There's something for everyone."
This year, in addition to its traditional repertoire of gay and lesbian issues, the festival will feature films dealing with families and transgendered individuals.
"The festival draws all kinds of people," Branigan said. "Not just gays and lesbians - it's a mixed bag because the films are so different."
Because of the success of events like the film festival and the Full Frame Documentary Festival in the spring, the Carolina Theatre has been able to shift some of its focus away from live-action events.
"The films playing in the Gay and Lesbian Festival are both big- and low-budget," Carl said.
"They're also really no different in storyline than what is playing at the multiplex this summer - it just so happens that the characters are gays and lesbians," he said.
"If you enjoy those types of films and understand that the characters just happen to be gay, then you're absolutely going to have a blast."
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"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"
It seems ludicrous to think that Disney wouldn't have made a sequel to 2003's monster hit "Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl."
Unfortunately, in the wake of the first film's huge success, "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" sinks into the depths of film failure.
"An Inconvenient Truth"
Even for skeptics of global warming and its implications for Earth's future, "An Inconvenient Truth" - the cinematic adaptation of Al Gore's traveling presentation of his theories on the issue - is extremely effective, thanks to a convincing structure and thoroughly researched ideas.
In 1997, a group of three UNC students started a small film festival with the help of the University and few local businesses.
Now, nine years later, the Hi Mom! Film Festival has grown into a significant community event for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.
Hi Mom! is a three-day affair, featuring a variety of short films that average just more than five minutes each.
The films are arranged into blocks, such as the "Friday Night Outdoor Block," which will take place atop the Wallace Parking Deck on Rosemary Street, and the "Midnight Madness" block geared toward adult audiences.
Graceful direction, lyrical imagery and a near-perfect cast make Deepa Mehta's "Water" one of the most compassionate and humanistic films in recent years.
Set in India but filmed in Sri Lanka because of Hindu protests, Mehta uses India's gorgeous settings and rich cultural heritage to contrast with the dark fundamentalist practices that oppress her central characters.
The narrative begins in the late 1930s and follows the young child Chuyia (Sarala), who becomes a widow during the film's first few minutes.
"The Good Person of Setzuan," a play written by Bertolt Brecht and adapted by Tony Kushner, will continue its run at the Deep Dish Theater in University Mall through May 27.
Paul Frellick directs the cast of 14, all of whom play multiple roles.
The play, a fable, tells the story of a Chinese woman who finds herself in financial trouble because of her good nature and must assume an alter ego in order to recover.
"The general issue in the play is one of what makes a good person," Frellick said.
Frank Warren wants to hear something you've never told anybody else. He wants your secrets so he can share them with the rest of the world through his popular blog.
The creator of PostSecret.com delivered a talk Monday in the Student Union art gallery, which opened an exhibit of many of his popular postcards including confessions such as "I wish my parents would reach out to me," and "I actually enjoy being an outcast."
"I feel like the idea found me," Warren said. "The whole project just captured my life."
The secrets have been mailed to Warren on decorated postcards by anonymous sources from around the globe.
His blog, updated weekly with new secrets, has become so popular that Warren recently published a collection of them in a book titled "PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives."
"The book is like an archive of secrets," Warren said. "It's a story of compassion and understanding in a narrative form."
Since the book's publication, PostSecret.com has gained a lot of press. Secrets from the blog were featured in the All-American Rejects "Dirty Little Secret" music video.
But it hasn't always been that way.
Warren began the project by distributing blank postcards to strangers in public places, requesting that they share a deep secret, one they'd never shared with anyone else - and then mail him the postcards.
He displayed the first secrets he received in a Washington, D.C., art gallery, expecting the exhibit to be the end of the project. But the secrets never stopped pouring in.
And they haven't let up to this day. Warren receives hundreds of postcards weekly and selects 10 to 20 of them to be displayed on his blog for a week.
He receives 100 to 200 cards daily and estimates that he has collected 35,000 postcards from the start of his project.
"I post secrets that people can relate to, but are expressed in a different way," said Warren.
Freshman Tom Martin came to Warren's talk after having seen PostSecret.com for the first time that afternoon.
"What's remarkable is how candid some of these people are," he said.
It's no wonder that Warren is called "the world's most trusted stranger" in his book's foreword.
"The postcards really show that everyone's an artist in their own way," said Brooke Riley, a sophomore who attended the event.
The exhibit is filled with cards hand picked by Warren, many of which were chosen because they deal with issues familiar to the college-age crowd.
"I feel this project has started something I don't understand," Warren said when asked about the long-term goals of PostSecret.
"But I hope it illustrates the possibility that we can change our dark, desperate secrets into something beautiful."
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Paul Weitz leaves no stone unturned in his new flick, "American Dreamz."
The film, a collage of post Sept. 11, 2001, politics and pop culture, pokes fun at everyone from President George Bush to previous contestants on the real-life "American Idol."
Unfortunately, the film never gets that funny.
Although the cast of characters seems hilarious in its outrageousness, Weitz tries to mesh all of their small stories together, making the film seem jumbled and chaotic.
"LKN," aka Lauren K. Newman, emerges as one of the most rocking female musicians since Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth on her new album, Postulate I.
The 13-track repertoire features tracks such as "Close the Door," which sounds like a familiar folk song with a twist of Sonic Youth's famed dream-pop, and "I Can Think of a Better Question," which screams with rage.
It is in Postulate I's variety that the album shows its true power. Newman writes, sings and plays every instrument used in each track on the album.
Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
Jenny Lewis proved she can hold her own Friday in her first solo tour.
The lead singer of famed Rilo Kiley recently released her first album, Rabbit Fur Coat, a blue-grassy parade of songs. Accompanied by the Watson Twins (two sultry Kentucky-born songstresses), Lewis did not disappoint the sold-out audience at Cat's Cradle.
Opening bands Whispertown 2000 and Dan Sartain were moderately successful in gaining the crowd's attention.
'V for Vendetta'
The Wachowski brothers have done it again.
"V for Vendetta," while not as groundbreaking as the brothers' mega-blockbuster "Matrix" trilogy, entertains with an incredible display of action tied together with enough plot twists to send audiences home a little bit smarter.
That's quite a feat for a hyped-up, name-dropping, mainstream Hollywood picture.
"V for Vendetta" originated as a graphic novel written by Alan Moore in the '80s as a reaction to Margaret Thatcher's conservative policies during her terms as Britain's prime minister.
All My Rainy Days
Is there anything remotely original about Lucky Day's EP, All My Rainy Days?
Has that ever kept any pop-rock band from charming pretty much anybody who tunes into the group's relatively un-ambitious yet catchy sound?
Of course not, and All My Rainy Days is no exception.
The Washington, D.C.,-based trio offers a sampling of pop perfection in its first record - a six song EP.
Measles Mumps Rubella
Unless you're a music brainiac familiar with the dance-punk genre, most of Measles Mumps Rubella's new album will not echo its title, Fantastic Success.
While there are some genuinely catchy and dance-inspiring songs on the album, latter tracks inspire feelings more often than not of an experiment gone horribly awry.
But that isn't saying Fantastic Success is devoid of good music.