UTC Hosts Chattanooga’s Best Dance Crew Competition

By: Louise Elliott

Chattanooga (UTC/TheLoop) – UTC’s Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity hosted the first annual Chattanooga’s Best Dance Crew Competition at the University Center Auditorium.

Five crews participated in the competition including, The Untouchables, Tennessee Rockaz, C@ution Crew, Final Destination, and Retro Swag. The crews consisted of members from Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis, and Atlanta. Two of the crews, The Untouchables and Final Destination, included UTC students as members.

The Final Destination crew were the night’s winners. They walked away with a $1000 cash prize.

“The event was very successful,” said Porscha Boyd, one of the event coordinators. “It brought out a diverse crowd and we were very pleased.”

A canned food item donation was requested from those who attended the dance competition. Boyd said a substantial amount of food was donated to the Chattanooga Food Bank.

“I felt for our first dance competition, the show was well organized and was successful,” said Johnny Lester, a coordinator from Alpha Kappa Psi.  “I am pleased with all the performances and I look forward to seeing everyone back for Chattanooga’s Best Dance Crew 2010.”

Financial sponsors of the event included Dr. Victor Blake & Morehouse School of Medicine, Eric Buchanan & Assoicates, and the Alpha Kappa Psi chapter.

A Musical History of the White House

White House (AP/THELOOP)-

MELANCHOLY BALLAD

The first East Room concert for an invited audience took place on Feb. 23, 1883, when Chester Arthur had more than 100 guests hear members of Her Majesty’s Opera Company sing Mozart, Verdi and Wagner. The star of the evening was famed Canadian soprano Emma Albani, who sang “Robin Adair” as her final selection. The song had special meaning for Arthur, whose late wife Ellen had sung the Irish ballad many times at Arthur’s request.

THE LION SHINES

Theodore Roosevelt’s White House was the first to feature a Steinway piano, and great pianists soon followed. Ignacy Jan Paderewski’s first appearance at the White House in April 1902 was recounted by portrait painter Cecilia Beaux, who wrote: “The yellow head of the Lion shone gloriously against the satin of the Blue Room. … I think it may have been better than hearing Chopin himself.” Paderewski described the president’s reaction: “The president listened with charming interest and applauded vociferously and always shouted out ‘Bravo! Bravo! Fine! Splendid! — even during the performance.”

NO THANKS

Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt brought in professional dancers to the White House for the first time. They featured black vocal artists, the first staged opera, women’s organizations, ethnic groups and an array of American folk singers and players never before seen in the mansion. Offers to perform in the Roosevelt White House came in at the rate of 250 a season during the 1930s. Some who never made it: a young man who demonstrated the “Theremin Wave — a scientific musical mystery,” a woman who played the piano wearing mittens, and an 18-month-old baby who directed music in perfect time.

SONG OF AN EXILE

Famed Spanish cellist Pablo Casals played in Theodore Roosevelt’s White House in 1904, but he stopped making American appearances in 1938 because the United States had recognized the Franco dictatorship. Casals lived in exile, vowing not to return to Spain until democracy was restored. When President John Kennedy sent him a letter inviting him to play for a November 1961 state dinner, Casals accepted because of his admiration for the president. The hour-long concert was serious, featuring works by Mendelssohn, Robert Schumann, and Francois Couperin, and closed with a powerful encore. “You might know this song,” Casals said, almost weeping. “It’s a Catalan folk song, ‘The Song of the Birds’ — but to me, it’s the song of the exile.”

KENNEDY’S CUES

Kennedy was caught more than once clapping at the wrong time during classical numbers, and sometimes was uncertain when a concert was finally over. Social secretary Letitia Baldrige worked out a secret signal to cue him on when to clap. “As the last piece was almost finished, I was to open the central door of the East Room from the outside about two inches — enough for him to glimpse the prominent Baldrige nose structure in the crack. It worked beautifully that night and for all future concerts,” Baldrige said.

NIXON’S BLUES

Five months before Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace, he hosted governors in March 1974 at the White House, where blues great Pearl Bailey provided after-dinner entertainment. Bailey persuaded Nixon to play the piano, telling the president he could choose any number he wanted. But when Nixon began playing “Home on the Range,” Bailey complained, “Mr. President, I want to sing a song, not ride a horse.” Then the two of them had trouble finding the same key. “I don’t know whether I’m finding him, or he’s finding me,” Bailey said. Vice President Gerald Ford said he’d never laughed so hard. Nixon said: “I just want to say to our distinguished guests that this piano will never be the same again and neither will I.”

SALT PEANUTS

The Carters loved classical music, but also wanted to showcase ethnic and folk traditions as well. In June 1978, the White House hosted a jazz concert on the South Lawn in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Newport Jazz Festival. The concert featured nine decades of jazz performers, including 95-year-old Eubie Blake, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, Stan Getz and others. Carter, sitting on the lawn in his shirt sleeves, asked Gillespie to play “Salt Peanuts” and joined in with repeated chants of “salt peanuts” in the breaks.

CLOSE CALL

Frank Sinatra didn’t have much time to rehearse when the Reagan White House asked him to perform for a state dinner for Sri Lanka in 1984. Security at the White House was tightened in the aftermath of the bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, and so bomb-sniffing dogs had to check out everything coming into the mansion, including musical instruments. On the day of the dinner, the dogs became too exhausted to work anymore, and Sinatra’s instruments were stranded outside the East Gate until replacement dogs could be called in.

VELVET UNDERGROUND

When the Clinton White House welcomed Czech President Vaclav Havel for a state dinner in 1998, the former playwright made a special request for entertainment by rocker Lou Reed, a founding member of the former rock group Velvet Underground. The group had helped inspire Havel’s leadership of the “Velvet Revolution” that brought democracy to the Czech Republic. In halting English, Havel told about getting his first earful of Reed’s music during a visit to Greenwich Village in 1968, and said, “I’ve been listening to it for 30 years.” Reed’s band for the White House gig included Milan Hlavsa, a bass player from the Czech Republic whose music was inspired in part by Reed.

___

Sources:

—”Musical Highlights from the White House,” by Elise K. Kirk.

—”Entertaining at the White House with Nancy Reagan,” by Peter Schifando and J. Jonathan Joseph.

—AP files

Review: Halloween 2

by Louise Elliott

CHATTANOOGA (The Loop/UTC) – Full of sick and twisted slaughter scenes and substantial doses of suspense, Halloween II, or H2 to separate it from the 1981 sequel, offers what is expected from a film that continues the “grab and stab” series of Halloween movies.

Local Theater Show Times for Halloween 2

This film is rated R for bloody violence, language, nudity, disturbing graphic images, strong brutal violence and crude sexual content.

The second of director Rob Zombie’s takes on the horror classic franchise offers a peek into the psyche of the giant, knife-wielding murderer, Michael Myers.

Beginning where Zombie’s last film left off, Myers, along with his dead mother and the image of his childhood self, trudge their way from the psychiatric ward toward Michael’s hometown. There, Myers goes on a quest to find his sister Laurie, who discovers well into the film that she is a descendant of the murdersome Myers family.

Full of psychological imagery and overtones, this episode in the Halloween series delves into the man behind the mask. Instead of portraying Myers as the usual white-mask wearing, undead stabber, Zombie attempts to show us the more human side of the killer, both physically and psychologically.

Myers appears as more of a giant-sized vagabond compared to his normal masked-mechanic look. Zombie, in an interview with slashfilm.com about H2, said that he saw Michael as a forgotten man living on the fringe of society. “For me, that was the only realistic way to play it,” Zombie said. “I think it’s pretty ridiculous that this guy would just disappear and then pop up, and he’s wearing his brand new white mask and his brand new mechanic’s overalls.”

This film also offers a new driving force behind Michael’s series of killings. He has the company of his dead mother’s ghost, his childhood self (dressed as a clown of course), and a white horse representing his rage. These figures fuel the psychological fire that is Michael’s drive toward his sister Laurie. By using additional characters to push along Michael’s quest, Zombie pulls the inner child out of Myers and places it front and center. After a while, it starts to seem that it is really the clown-costumed child that is the true murderer; we just see his grown up shell.

Students around the UTC campus have varying opinions about the movie.

Daniel Bishop, a sophomore from Chattanooga, said that although he has not yet seen the film, he thinks he will enjoy it. “He’s a real guy who goes out and kills people, that’s what makes it so scary,” Bishop said. “I’m getting goose bumps just talking about it.”

Chris Williams, a Chattanooga freshman said he was not very impressed with this latest in the Halloween series. “It’s not that scary,” Williams said. “The first (Rob Zombie version) was better than this one.”

The film lives up to its expectations. Following a steady pace of alternation between flashbacks, brutal murders, Michael’s sister, and the ghost of his mother, it somehow manages to be both suspenseful yet never reach its climactic potential.

Overall, it rivals the scare factor of the previous Halloween films and also offers the audience more of a connection to the character making it a good Halloween-time experience.

I give this movie 7 out of 10 Choo-Choo whistles.