Monthly Archives: December 2010

Trick-or-Beat: A “Rave to the Grave” Retrospective

By Jared Cline

Halloween at Truman is a time I look forward to year after year, almost entirely for this reason: you get to see just how crazy your fellow students are. On any other day, that guy or gal in the SUB is your typical college-age specimen: a sweat-pant wearing, backpack hoisting schoolwork slave wandering from one food station to another, trying to decide whether they want the pile of grease that looks like a pizza or the pile of grease that looks like a hamburger. The only way they might stand out to you is if they were to collide with you directly on their way to the cash register, spilling the armful of sides and condiments they were attempting to balance onto your favorite sweatshirt. Come Halloween, however, the situation is refreshingly different; drab garments are abandoned in favor of elaborate Mad Hatter outfits that look like they were purchased off the Mad One himself; ghouls and goblins wander the streets, texting; and blood-spattered, somnambulist zombies cut you in line at the cafeteria, emboldened by their gruesome getup. But what’s even better than seeing all these festively adorned folks meandering around campus, as entertaining as that is, is seeing about 100 of only the most enthusiastic among them willingly cramming themselves into a living room to groove to your beats.

This past Halloween, I had the opportunity to experience this first-hand, at the party aptly named “Rave to the Grave.” The combination of the multi-colored headless horseman photo on the Facebook event page, perfect weather for traipsing hither and thither, and the promise of a dancing ‘til dawn drew in one of the most packed houses I have seen in my college experience. Music began at the stroke of midnight, so I was there at 11:30 to set up my equipment and enjoy a brief moment of tranquility. The host of the party was expertly disguised as David Bowie, so I kicked things off with “Dance the Magic Dance” from Labyrinth, and then followed it up with some Halloween favorites – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s “I Put a Spell on You” and Bo Diddley’s “Bo Diddley Meets the Monster” – to generate a spookier mood.

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Impressionism: Genius or Nearsighted?

I sometimes marvel at the multitudes of people who flock to museums every year to see what they call “art.” Museums are supposed to display artifacts of cultural value, but I can never find any.  All I do find are a bunch of blurry, misdirected paintings by old Frenchmen who called themselves impressionists.  I got the impression that 4-year-olds painted these with scrawny, post-infant fingers.  It reminds me of my own childhood.

I’ve had glasses since before I could talk. In fact, I recall coming out the womb with specs and a five-piece Italian calf-suede suit.  Whenever my parents would get drunk and forget about me I would wander into the woods behind our Indiana single-level ranch-style home pretending I was negotiating legal contracts or trading stocks with the trees. (It was a bull market if I’ve ever seen one)

One late-autumn afternoon I came across an old hippie camping in the woods.  He told me that the Vietnam War was a plot by Satan to destroy the world and that Nixon was sending kids like me out to the jungles.  Now he was dirty and probably high on the grass but I disagreed with him, saying that Nixon was a God among mortals and if he did start sending kids to Vietnam it was the best for America, freedom and capitalism.  That’s when that stoned old bastard grabbed my brand new lead-framed glasses and threw them against a sycamore tree.  I said “Fuck you old man, I hope the bears find you before the cops,” and started the long walk back home.

It was then, while wading through the knee-high piles of recent-fallen leaves, that the evasive beauty of the forest struck me. Blurry.  Without my glasses, all I could see were splotches of red and brown, and an occasional orange, propped against a fleeing shadow.  Nothing more than a terrible-fucking finger painting.  This is what I see in “impressionism.” Continue reading

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