Steiner at Dreamland Theater

Konrad Steiner’s performance at the Dreamland Theater in Ypsilanti, Mich. was other-worldly, opening with an experimental film in the cramped space.  It was abstract, confusing at times, but his fusion of a creative voice over with great visuals made the experience bearable, if not enjoyable.

Next was Steiner’s presentation of Minority Report. To move from such an experimental film to a more modern and well known one was jarring, though nice, especially with the slightly edited scenes to depict a more political stance.  Steiner visited class and discussed his approach and politically charged edits.  His edits were streamless and very professional. If he wouldn’t have mentioned the edits, most would have gone unnoticed, at least to me.

Steiner’s next piece was Blade Runner, which was less political and more lyrical and covered four scenes edited together. Instead of reading alone, Carla Harryman joined him, sometimes speaking separately and at other times they overlapped one another.  Together Steiner and Harryman performed a poem, with the film in the background serving as secondary element.

Steiner’s most intriguing performance was where he dubbed over an old Nazi film.  Steiner wore a white dress and moved in front of the screen, becoming the screen himself.  The possibilities of this type of medium has the ability to take the written word and performance to a new, almost unlimited, level.

Having Steiner available for a local performance was riveting.  His deep discussion into the medium was insightful along with everything that is possible with it.  This was my most enjoyed Bathhouse reading because of his approachable art.

Zombie Awareness Week Kicks off Monday

The story can be read here on the Eastern Echo website, or in the Thursday, October 20th, 2011 issue.

If you hear the tired moans for brains across campus next week, do not be alarmed.  The shuffling of the recently reanimated dead is part of Zombie Awareness Week, a week long event put on by Outbreak: Eastern.
                 
The week long awareness event offers games, haunted houses and an obstacle course; all with the zombie touch.
                 
Monday starts off with “The Dead Walk!”  It starts at 3 p.m. at the Ann Street parking lot with make-up prep beginning at 2 p.m. for those that need to look a little more George A. Romero-esque.  The walk crosses campus to the Tower Inn Café for the enjoyment of “The Walking Dead” Season 1 TV series.  The event is free. 
                
Monday’s zombies will also be handing out flyers to raise awareness to the upcoming week’s events.
               
The Zombie Squad of Southeastern Michigan is helping with the walk to keep the event organized and keep the zombies on the correct path through campus.
                 
Tuesday offers “Undead Game Night” in collaboration with Coupe de Gras, a student gaming organization, turning up video and table-top games of the zombie flavor.  The event will be held in the Student Government breakout room located on the third floor of the Student Center building.
               
Bring you games for this free event, which lasts from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.  
                 
The cost of each event is on the cheap side of things, staying under $4 for the entire week.
               
“The week starts out for everyone and the people who want to keep doing it, it’s just a couple more dollars each day,” said Dustin Miller, an Eastern Michigan University senior and President of Outbreak: Eastern.
                 
Wednesday is the “Zombstacle Course.”  It is an obstacle course for the dead. Instead of racing against an opponent over obstacles, you will be chased by zombies instead.  The Bowen Filed House will be turned into the Zombstacle Course, opening at 7 p.m.  The event ends at 10 p.m.
               
“The Zombstacle course should be the best event, personally,” said Garry Mundy, an Eastern Michigan University Senior and board member of Outbreak: Eastern.
                 
The cost of entrance is $2 or one non-perishable food item.  Food and money donations are going to the Food Gathers of Ann Arbor, though Outbreak: Eastern and Food Gathers of Ann Arbor are not performing a direct collaboration for the event.   
                 
Thursday night is set for “Southern Discomfort,” a haunted house on the first floor of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house at 411 Ballard St.  Tau Kappa Epsilon approached Outbreak: Eastern about doing a haunted house this year.
                 
“We are basically filling it with actors and blood-gory awesomeness,” said Miller.  It should be a combination of House of a 1,000 Corpses, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Deliverance.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and the cost is $3. 
                 
Friday night is “Dead Gallery,” which has been a haunted house in the past, but this year will be a haunted show in the Sponberg Theatre, starting at 7 p.m.  There will be crowd participation as the Players at EMU put on the freak show.  
                 
$4 gets you in the doors.  They will not be accepting $20 or $50 at Dead gallery because of its low cost as they may not be able to make change for people.
                 
“Somebody showed up last year with a $100 bill and we actually had to turn them away,” said Miller.
                 
Saturday is the kill shot for the week long Zombie Awareness event.  This is the first time that “Outbreak” is being advertised to the public.  All five floors of the Rec/IM building are being taken over by zombies.  And where there are zombies there is always those trying to survive them.
                
Participation is open to whoever shows up.  Those that do attend need to dress up as either a zombie or a survivor.  Zombies can come as is, while survivors need to pack a Nerf gun.  Both need to bring eye protection.   The event is free with the briefing starting at 7 p.m. and the hunting at 8 p.m.
                 
Like any awareness week, Outbreak: Eastern will be selling Zombie Awareness Week ribbons for a suggested $.75 donation. 
               
“If people wear them, its advertisement,” said Miller. 
                
 Visit Outbreakeasetern.org for the latest on the event.

A latte a day keeps financial gain away

The published version can be read here on The Eastern Echo’s website or Monday’s issue can be picked up on campus.

Are you the type of caffeinated machine that thinks a Red Bull is an alternative to Ambien?  Have you ever attempted to attach a baby bottle nipple to a can of Monster for easy bedtime accessibility?  Or are you a milder latte-a-day kind of person?

A latte is a coffee drink made with espresso and steamed milk; an inexpensive pick-me-up for those who have a complicated relationship with mornings.

For those that live on the mild side, let’s say the average latte runs around the $4 mark; tax, title, and licensing fees included, along with whatever else you toss in…one shot, two, shot, three shot, four –  of espresso. 

This kind of latte dedication (addiction?) does add up.

One latte a day at the predetermined $4 price for 365 days equates to $1,460.  Is this figure realistic? No, no one gets a latte every single day of the year, but there is somebody currently sifting through receipts trying to add up how close they come to the high-end watermark – don’t forget to carry that seven.

A more realistic number would be a latte five days a week, right?

A latte a day sans the weekends should be what a normal person needs to shake the morning cobwebs off by noon, ringing up at a milder $1,040 a year in spending.

$1,040 a year, you’re thinking, but it’s just a latte?

Yeah, well, lattes are Italian, and Italian things are fancy, and fancy things are expensive, like a Ferrari or a Fiat.

So, what else can $1,000 and some change net you over the course of a year?

Actually, a decent amount.

$1,000 can buy a year’s worth of Sprint’s Everything Data plan with 450 anytime minutes, which retails for $69.99 (plus tax and fees), and you would have money left over.

$1,000 can buy a Sharp Quattron 40-inch 1080p 120 hertz LED-LCD HDTV for $649.98 new on Amazon with some change left over for the cable sports package and some brewskies if you want. 

You can never forget the brewskies.

For the more adventurous type, a vacation on the cheap can be had if you stay in the states, but you may need to bring an exterminator, too.

But where does this fit in for a college student who needs a double shot of espresso intravenously to wake up from a study-induced coma before a 1pm class and their idea of spring break is working?

For the espresso fiend it means having enough money to pay for a three credit hour class in cash, if you are a paying tuition as a Michigan resident, which runs $246.95 according to Eastern Michigan’s website.  This includes the usual technology, $11.55, student union, $3.45, and general fees, $24.40, with enough left over for the class’s books – usually.

“I’d probably pay for tuition or put it in a savings account,” Ricky Hurston, a freshman at Eastern Michigan University said.

If you are a non-Michigan resident student you will have to give up more than lattes to cover a three credits class.  This would put you back $727.35 a credit hour plus fees.

Cutting $1,000 out of your financial need for college will help you avoid those nasty student loans that rack up like, well, your latte spending.            

With the cost college being anything but latte-esque in price, a smart move would be to spend it on tuition or books.

“I’d save some of it for school because I have to start paying myself next year,” Taurie Davis, an Eastern Michigan University sophomore said.

Yes, giving up a latte a day sounds wonderful and easy, but can a caffeine addicted Starbuk-aholic really give in?               

“I’d probably not give it up,” Darnell Bostic, a freshman at Eastern Michigan University, said , even with the proposition of an extra $1,000.

Commuter Students in Michigan

UPDATE: Edited and published story can be read here.

BEEP…BEEP…BEEP…

You roll over and the clock reads 9:15.

Class starts in fifteen minutes.

You live thirty miles away.

And you have a final exam.

This is a thing that leads to restless nights and horrid, sweaty, nightmares for commuter students.    Just a minute of over sleeping can lead to felonious speeds on the highway, suicide dives for parking spots on campus, and fighting against handcuffs as you beg with the officer to let you go to class before you go to jail –a once in a lifetime plea.

But why take the risk of living off campus and potentially end up being late?

“It’s cheaper and I have someone to live with,” said Jackie Bass, a junior at Eastern Michigan University.  She lived on campus the previous two years and enjoyed living on campus to avoid the parking fiasco, but now enjoys having a plethora of food options that comes with living off campus.

“I lived in Hill and it was awesome to walk downstairs and across the front yard and there was food hot and ready for you,” said Kevin Murray, a former Eastern Michigan University and then commuter who was on campus with a friend.

Living on campus for many is not an option simply due to cost, but living off campus can come with its own surprise surcharges. 

Vehicle maintenance and gas can quickly add up, especially for those that live a good distance away, or those without the sturdiest of wheels.

Gas prices aren’t the only thing that can hurt a student.  With Michigan’s weather being about as unpredictable as U of M’s defensive abilities, some students are faced with tough decisions during the winter months.

For many it’s a split-decision call of heads or tails – or a press of the snooze button – on whether they come into class when the weather turns nasty.

Bass, living only five minutes from campus, doesn’t have to make those kinds of class-participation damaging choices.

Murray said his sub-compact car wouldn’t have made the hour drive through the snow.

“I would have tried, but probably would’ve gotten stuck,” he said.

Michigan isn’t known for temperate winters, with bright sun and moderate temperatures, so for many students driving in the worst conditions is unavoidable. 

Even if you have an oil well in your backyard, and the toughest vehicle to tackle any terrain in any weather, there is still one nail that can be driven into your automotive coffin: reliability.

Climbing into your car at nine in the morning and turning the key over to hear the weak click-click-click of the starter is as about as dreadful as failing a class.  Vehicle maintenance never comes cheap, and the high costs can quickly add up.

What starts as a simple issue, can snowball into thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs, if the problem isn’t fixed.

“You have to keep up on things like checking the fluids, belts, and tires, to avoid the costliest of repairs,” said Jerry Clark, a retired mechanical engineer from Ford Motor Company.

“If something major like a transmission is going to fail, it’s going to fail.  There isn’t much you can do, but keep up on the easiest of things” Clark said.

Not everyone can afford a car made to take a bullet, or barrage for that matter, but if you keep up on the basics, the car, like the body, will keep trucking.  You don’t need a heart transplant, when a simple blood transfusion will work just fine. 

“Changing the oil on a regular basis is the best thing you can do to keep your car running,” Clark said.

So like anything in life, there are pros and cons to go with commuting as there are to go with living on campus.  Which way the scale tips depends on the person.  Some enjoy the close proximity of everything while living on campus, while others enjoy the thrill of beating the clock to get to class.

The question is what will stop you from getting to class; gas prices, a dead battery, the snowpocalype, or a few set of stairs and a walk across campus?