Fans Survive 13-Hour Horrorthon

Newly crowned Mr. Horrorthon Steven Wong made his way up to the stage of the Aero Theater to receive his prize: A wearable cardboard box covered in Funyun chip bags, a DVD of 1997’s “Dangerous Ground,” a soda cup and an ear of corn on a string. A first dance with the Corn Gorn was in order.

This bizarre scene was the epitome of the Aero Theatre’s 7th Annual Dusk-To-Dawn Horrorthon. The event attracted everyone from die-hard horror movie fans to people who just want to do something unique for Halloween.

The movie line-up for the night had something for everyone. If you like inanimate objects coming to life and killing people, 1983’s “Christine” is for you. If it makes you giddy to watch the undead use blood of the innocent to regenerate, 1987’s “Hellraiser” is a good choice. Ancient Indian medicine men being birthed out of a woman’s back catch your fancy? You needn’t look any further than 1978’s “The Manitou.”

Grant Moninger, creator and organizer of Horrorthon since 2006, is a programmer for the American Cinematheque, which owns the Aero Theater. He decides what movies are going to be played during the marathon every year.

“It takes me hundreds of different line-ups until I find the right balance of spooks and scares, laughs, freak-outs, gore, chills and magic,” Moninger wrote in an email. He also made sure the films were available in their release print.

Even though the movies are the main event of Horrorthon, Newt Calkins gives a different reason why he likes coming back every year.

“The crowd is very vocal. They’re chatty, they’re really hyped up and by the end of the night, it’s like we’re all friends,” he said.

Short films comprised of various clips from movies, commercials and other sources are shown before each feature. Horrorfest veterans yell out certain lines from shorts they were familiar with, including an old Red Roof Inn commercial and a video of a gopher that repeats the name “Alan.” Moninger collaborated with his brother David to program the short films.
“We find odd bits from movies we see, things we discover online, things we remember from our past–we find them all over,” Moninger said. “We don’t edit it together until the evening before.”

To introduce the short films and rile up the crowd, Moninger came out and yelled “Who wants candy?!” and tossed various types of treats out into the crowd. Other giveaways consisted of movies on DVD and Blu-Ray, books and costumes.

Costumed volunteers from the Aero also helped to keep the crowd awake during the 13-hour movie marathon. Randy Wyatt, who was in charge of candy distribution, heard enthusiastic “candy from Randy” calls from the crowd.

Another volunteer was dressed as a Gorn– a creature from the Star Trek television series–who’s job was to hand out candy corn and edible ears of corn. He was aptly nicknamed “The Corn Gorn,” a new addition to this year’s Horrorthon, Moninger said.

Horrorthon first-timer Chris Johnson stayed awake through all six movies, saying he maintained good energy throughout and didn’t nod off once.
“It was awesome,” said Johnson. “I’d do it again.”

When the final film ended, half of the original audience was still in attendance, proving how far true horror fans will extend themselves for their love of the genre.

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Endeavour’s Final Mission: Home

We believed it could fly, we believed it could touch the sky. It was on the move both night and day. It spread its wings, and crawled its way through the streets of Los Angeles, at two miles per hour at a snails pace for more than 56 hours.

In a massive parade lasting two-and-a-half days, the space shuttle Endeavour traveled 12 miles through the streets of Los Angeles this past weekend, rolling through the communities of Westchester, Inglewood and Baldwin Hills, before finally arriving at the California Science Center Sunday morning.

Endeavour’s historic move began at 10 p.m. on Thursday, as it crept out of a hanger at LAX airport in the chilly night air. The shuttle arrived at its first public viewing on the corner of La Tijera Blvd and Sepulveda Eastway at around 7 a.m. Friday morning, meeting loud cheers and excited onlookers.

Spectators awaited the arrival of Endeavour for several hours. Frank Lazares, a resident of the city of Downey, arrived at his spot along La Tijera at 3 a.m Friday. His reason for being there so early in the morning resulted from a yearlong love of astronomy and the space program, he said.

Richard Stock, a local marriage and family therapist and former professional photographer, was looking to take the perfect shot of Endeavour. “You never know when the shot is going to be there, he said. “You stay as long as you can and hope for the best.”

The next destination of Endeavour was the world-famous Randy’s Donuts in the city of Inglewood. Spectators gathered to see the massive shuttle next to the larger-than-life donut affixed atop Randy’s. While not as iconic as Endeavour, the restaurant is a familiar sight in film and television productions.

Not only was the showing at Randy’s another opportunity for the public to witness the shuttle, but it also the site of an upcoming Toyota commercial where a Tundra pickup towed Endeavour across a bridge over the 405 freeway. Uproarious cheers and chants of “USA, USA!” filled the air during the three-minute moment that had to be seen to be believed.

While waiting for the shuttle to be towed, Santa Clarita native Paul Cardey expressed his feelings on the significance of Endeavour’s stroll through the city streets.

“The people paid for this,” Cardey said. “I have paid thousands every year in tax money to wherever it goes. So I think it’s great to put it out for the people to go view it.”

NASA astronaut Mike Fincke, Commander of the International Space Station who flew on Endeavour, shares Cardey’s thoughts on the shuttle’s potential lasting impact on the city of Los Angeles.

“I think people are going to be inspired. Not just the little ones, but even older people.  It’s going to bring to their minds a little more about science, technology and exploration,” Fincke said.

For the remainder of its journey, Endeavour was met with various unexpected delays.  Slated to arrive at the Baldwin Hills mall at 2 p.m. on Saturday, the shuttle did not arrive until five hours later.

On numerous occasions, the shuttle was stopped completely in order for city workers and engineers to trim tree branches, disassemble streetlights, and to fix a hydraulic malfunction.

Endeavour’s original arrival time at the California Science Center was estimated to be 9 p.m. on Saturday.  Most people who were waiting for the shuttle to arrive went home upon hearing the arrival time had been pushed back to 6 a.m. the next day.

However, Robert Haymond, who arrived at the museum on Saturday afternoon, did not follow the crowd. Instead, Haymond waited overnight for the shuttle’s arrival the following day.

“This is kind of a big deal,” he said.  “I think it’s worth waiting it out and seeing it show up to the Science Center.”

At 10:40 a.m. on Sunday, Endeavour made its final turn onto Bill Robertson Lane, breaking through caution tape, symbolizing the end of a slow but steady race to its new home. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, President of the California Science Center Jeff Rudolph, and others present at its arrival welcomed the shuttle.

Obtaining the space shuttle Endeavour was no simple feat for the California Science Center. The process was a one-year, national competition that saw the center competing with 29 other institutions vying for the opportunity to adopt the shuttle.

Rudolph reflected on the events leading up to the beginning of Endeavour’s final mission.

“Every step of the way, it’s still hard to believe. When we first got the announcement from NASA 18 months ago, it was amazing. When it landed at LAX, it was another amazing feeling,” he said. “And then, when we left the hangar, emotionally it’s like ‘Wow, this is real. We’re on the way, our last journey,”

Dr. Ken Phillips, Curator for Aerospace Sciences at the California Science Center, hopes that Endeavour will positively influence young students’ education.

“If we do our homework right, if we do our job right, we can use this vehicle not only to inspire some real science learning, but to empower kids; to actually help them do some real critical thinking and problem solving,” Dr. Phillips said.

Such a monumental task could not be completed without some casualties. Many local businesses closed their doors on the days Endeavour crept by, resulting in lost revenue.

Candance Blankenship, owner of Delian Music in Inglewood, stated she would take “a huge loss” on the day the shuttle was supposed to pass by her store. “It’s great for the community, but for business, not so good,” she added.

Loretta Gordon, owner of a beauty salon named A Style Of Your Own on Martin Luther King Blvd., was so upset about the closing of the streets that she did not want to participate in viewing the shuttle.

“I’m pretty sure I can watch it on TV,” she said. “I don’t want to be in all that crowd.”

Endeavour’s transport through Los Angeles was part of the $200 million budget to improve the CSC, which also includes the construction of the new Samuel Oschin Air and Space Center.

But even with a delay stretching Endeavour’s journey by 17 hours, Mayor Villaraigosa was proud of the events that unfolded, calling Endeavour’s journey “a resounding success.”

“Mission 26, mission accomplished,” Villaraigosa said.

Endeavour will go on display at the Samuel Oschin Display Pavilion, open to the public on Oct. 30th.

CDs: They’re Not Done Yet

You scream out of excitement and joy as you hear that your favorite artist or band is recording a new album. It’s been a while since they’ve put out new music, and even longer since you’ve seen them in concert. So, with every intention of getting that album in your hands—caressing it as if it were your most prized possession—you wait for its release like the dedicated fan you are.

You wonder if you can somehow, against all odds, get that artist or band to sign their new CD for you at their show, and add it to your CD collection.

But therein lies the problem; because of the rise of digital music downloads and the changed landscape of the music industry, CDs just aren’t popular anymore, and it’s rare to find people who become excited over holding an album in their hands. It’s even hard to find an actual retail music store these days.

Obtaining music digitally has grown exponentially ever since the release of Napster in the late 1990s. Nowadays, music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify are making it easier to instantly listen to that new Coldplay or Lady Gaga song with the tap of an app. It’s obvious that buying, downloading, or streaming music online is easier, more convenient and increasingly more cost effective than the alternative; an actual CD.

The error that most people don’t seem to understand that they are doing is that they are choosing convenience over substance. Going to your local record store and picking up the CD of an artist you love is an unparalleled experience of satisfaction and joy. The feeling of ripping open the plastic covering and opening the case to reveal great artwork and liner notes, interestingly designed lyric sheets, artist or band photos, and touching words of gratitude and thankfulness is lost in digital media.

Alyssa Mallen, a Santa Monica College student, still remembers her first CD purchase. It was her seventh birthday, and she had been waiting for the day she could buy the brand new Spice Girls album.

“I was so excited to buy my first CD and was like ‘I’m one of the cool kids now!’”

Another great thing about CDs is that they often are re-released as deluxe editions of a previous release. For example, if an album had 10 songs on it, it could be re-released at a later time with extra songs that were not on the original album. In addition to more songs, there may be a DVD documentary about the artist or band making the album or going on tour. These extras are normally not available in a digital release. Deluxe editions of CDs often come with unique packaging, custom-made with the collector in mind. You won’t get any of that good stuff on iTunes or Pandora, so a physical album is your best choice.

Santa Monica College student Sam Green said he downloads music online “99 percent of the time.” But he understands the value of getting a physical copy of a CD, compared to an online version. “I think CDs absolutely still have a place in the world, if only just for nostalgic value, and to have something physical to hand to an artist and say ‘Will you sign this?’” Green also said that if he really likes a band, he will go out and buy their CD.

Even with digital music on the rise, CDs are still going strong. In the first half of 2012, 61 percent of all albums sold were CDs, according to a report by the Nielsen Company and Billboard. This could potentially mean that people like SMC student Ashley Reese, whose trips to the record store have sentimental value, still have hope.

“I remember going to the record store all the time,” Reese said. “That would be our thing when my parents got divorced. My dad would take us to the record store and the book store. He’d buy us a book and a CD.” Reese often goes to the record store and buys multiple CDs at one time, stating that she buys CDs from artists that she knows will deliver an album worth listening to in its entirety.

CDs are not just something a person buys. They represent memories that we hold in our hearts, and reflect on the time we listened to that album for hours, basking in its glory. They remind us of a simpler time when we sat on our beds and sang at the top of our lungs, along with our favorite bands, while reading the lyric sheets that came in the CD case.

In a digital world of ever increasing vastness, it would be nice to have some things stay within the tangible. Even if CDs were to be replaced one day, let it be for something similar but better, the way Blu-Ray succeeded DVDs. Otherwise, we lose the little things that hold deep value and meaning.

Men’s Soccer Sports Brief

The sun is shining on the SMC men’s soccer team once again.

The Corsairs got back in the winning column yesterday, coming out on top over the College of the Canyons Cougars 2-0.

In the first 45 minutes, the Cougars were not able to score on the Corsairs, setting the tone for SMC’s defense.  Coach Tim Pierce made that an emphasis going into Tuesday’s game.

“We put five defenders in the game, and attacked with our other five.  Our five [defenders] sat home and did a job and concentrated on executing that game plan,” Coach Pierce said.

Late in the second half, the Corsairs got to work offensively.  Just under the 18-minute mark, forward Alessandro Canale scored the first goal of the night with a header during a free kick.

Not long after, forward Rafael Silva was able to score off an assist from Canale, essentially ending the game.

SMC allowed a whopping five goals during their last game against Citrus College.  This game, they didn’t’ allow any.

“The defense had an outstanding game today,” Canale said.

Last night’s win puts the Corsairs at fourth in the Western State conference.  Their next game is Friday, October 12 against Oxnard College.  Oxnard is currently undefeated in conference play, putting them at first, but SMC is confident they will come out with a victory.

“I think if we come out with a similar strategy [as Tuesday’s game], we can come out with a win,” Canale said.

Coach Pierce feels his team can match up well, stating that SMC is the only team that has been able to play Oxnard to a draw.  “We’re going to give them hell.”

Men’s Soccer On Two-Game Skid

A loss is a loss.  Back-to-back losses are a concern.

The SMC men’s soccer team suffered their second straight loss yesterday, falling to the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros.

According to head coach Tim Pierce, defense has been an issue for his team lately.  They have given up a total of 7 goals in the last two games.

“Our defending on set pieces is not good right now.  We’re scoring enough goals to win soccer games, we’re just letting up too many.”

SBCC scored their first two goals only 11 minutes into the first half.  At halftime, the Corsairs were down 3-1.

SMC came out of the locker room determined to get back in the game.  Pierce said he felt his team was still in it, and came out in an attacking formation in hopes score quickly.

Instead, SBCC was able to score before the Corsairs, making the score 4-1.  “That kind of took the wind out of our sail,” Pierce said.

Although the outcome was pretty much decided, SMC played better during the second 45 minutes.  Pierce stated that he felt his team outplayed SBCC, but was disappointed that they didn’t win the half.

Team captain Christian Marcial points to another reason for the team’s loss on Tuesday.

“We didn’t play with enough passion.  We weren’t being physical.  We weren’t winning balls in the air.  We were just waiting until the opponent made their move,” Marcial said.

To make matters worse, the Corsairs lost another goalkeeper to injury Tuesday with Danny Medina straining his MCL during warm-ups.  Medina was unable to play the entire game and was replaced by Josef Somera at the start of the second half.

SMC hopes to get back to their winning ways this Friday, October 5th against Citrus College at 2pm.  Their record is 6-2-2, putting them at third in the conference.

Tammy Duckworth Speaks at SMC

As her Black Hawk helicopter was heading to the Iraqi ground after being shot by an RPG, Lieutenant Colonel Tammy Duckworth had only one thing in mind:

“Do my job and land the helicopter,” she said.

Challenge completed. Little did she know that an even bigger challenge was waiting for her when she awoke in the hospital almost a week later.  Duckworth’s 2004 accident cost her both of her legs, and much of the function in her right arm.

Despite this horrific ordeal, Duckworth’s lust for life remained. She recovered from her injuries and involved herself in public policy, holding an administrative position at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. She vied for congress in 2006 and lost by 2 percentage points. But Duckworth didn’t give up, now she’s campaigning again.

Duckworth stopped at Santa Monica College’s Main Stage to speak last Thursday. The seats of the auditorium were packed with students, faculty, staff and military veterans eagerly listening to Duckworth’s heroic tale.

From the beginning, Duckworth captivated the audience “One of the benefits of losing both your legs is you can be any height you want to be,” she joked.  “If I can’t be supermodel thin, I’m going to be supermodel tall.

Duckworth’s speech was sprinkled with anecdotes about life as a military woman. She spoke about the “battle buddies” she didn’t know but was expected to share every experience with.  These buddies, she said, ended up saving her life following the helicopter crash.

Duckworth also urged the audience participate in community service. She urged students to “do something to serve this nation,” calling her visit to SMC “a call to serve.”  She suggested that non-veterans could volunteer at their local VA hospital and for student veterans to seek out organizations such as American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars after they graduate.

Her encouragement at SMC was in step with her message to the nation during her endorsement of Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention on September 4th.

“[This election] is also about whether we do for our fellow Americans what my crew did for me; whether we’ll look out for the hardest hit and the disabled,” she stated.

SMC student veteran Anthony Torrez agrees with Duckworth’s message of community service, stating that he feels it’s very important for everyone to be involved in the community and to be more aware of what is going on around them.

Student Samantha Gomez said she didn’t have to be a military veteran to feel moved by Duckworth’s personal experiences.

“It made me feel like I was there,” she said.  “It’s very inspirational because it makes us want to help [veterans] more because we understand their point of view.”  Gomez also supported helping veterans in the community. “It’s the minimum we can do because they are defending us with their lives,” she said.

Veteran’s affairs have been a major part of Duckworth’s life since recovering from her life-altering injuries.  According to an LA Times article in 2006, she decided to run for congress the first time just 4 days after being released from the hospital, telling her husband, Army Major Bryan Bowlsbey, “I like to serve.  It’s part of who I am.”

In 2009, President Obama appointed Duckworth as the Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the Department of Veterans Affairs.  She resigned that position to run for Congress again in 2011.

Duckworth, who is campaigning as a Democrat, says she plans to cut defense spending if elected, according to her website. “I believe that we need to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent, crack down on big corporations who avoid paying taxes, and speak out against those who would go to war for the wrong reasons,” she said. “We need to create jobs, reform our tax code, and make sure that everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang commented on the veteran. “[Duckworth] may have been severely injured, but she is not disabled.  Although she has lost both of her legs, she still stands tall,” he said.  “While her body was badly maimed, her spirit remains undaunted.”