Category Archives: Reviews

The Insanity of Hooch One Acts

CarolineKurzawa, Staff Reporter

The Chattahoochee High School One Acts took place Oct. 12-14 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium. The One Acts showcase included two shows: “It’s a Wonderful Neverland” by Patrick Greene and “The Insanity of Mary Girard” by Lanie Robertson. A One Act is not the same as a musical in that there are no musical interludes or large song breaks. Additionally, One Acts run about an hour long, but for competition pieces, the time must be shaved down to fifty-five minutes.

The first show of the night, “It’s a Wonderful Neverland,” was a blend between the classic tale of Peter Pan and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Tinkerbell’s cousin, Stinkerbell, played by Gavin Van Beveren, leads Peter Pan through what his life would have looked like if he had never come to Neverland. The show was light and heartfelt, and Van Beveren’s performance as Stinkerbell stole the show with his quick wit and deep character development.

The second show, “The Insanity of Mary Girard,” contained very mature content such as domestic  abuse and rape, and young members of the audience were asked to leave before the show began. “Mary Girard” is based on a true story and takes place during the 1700s at a mental asylum in Pennsylvania. Mary Girard is declared mentally insane after her husband discovers she is pregnant with another man’s child, confusing the symptoms of pregnancy with those of insanity. Throughout the show, figments of Mary’s imagination play past patients of the asylum and ghosts of her past. The show reaches its climax when Mary has a confrontation with her husband in which he accuses her of never properly filling the role of a wife and bearing his children. A pseudo-rape scene occurs, and Mary seems hopeless and defenseless. However, Mary stands up for herself and tells her husband that she was unable to bear his children because he is impotent and void of feeling. Mary eventually submits to her hallucinations, going insane, and ends the show manically laughing in a torture chair while the lights dim and the stage fills with an eerie red glow.

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“Mary Girard” was riveting from beginning to end. Kayleigh Cook’s portrayal of Mary Girard was hauntingly beautiful, raw and incredibly well done. The entire cast seemed to share a special chemistry that allowed them to immerse themselves in the show and create magic, even with the darkest of material.

However, the cast of “Mary Girard” is not finished yet. They go to competition with this piece on Oct. 28 at Johns Creek High School. Teema Yassine, who portrayed a nurse, feels “really good” about their chances at competition and believes that there were “several small things” that brought the show to “a completely different level.”

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The Modern Sirens of Coast Modern

TaisFerreira, Staff Writer

When one is asked what their definition of a concert is, the answer most likely describes an upscale venue, hundreds of people and a well-known band performing. And while many do prefer a large-scale concert, numerous others lean towards smaller venues. Smaller venues provide the audience with a more intimate feel with the performers and calmer environments that allow the sound to be clearer. Smaller venues in Atlanta usually consist of The Tabernacle, The Loft, Vinyl and Terminal West. These venues host a variety of aspiring bands and artists.

On September 30, Coast Modern, an American indie band that originated in Los Angeles, California, performed at The Vinyl. The band is a duo of Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp as lead singer and guitarist respectively.

Due to the concert taking place at the Vinyl, tickets were only $15 per person and all ages were welcomed. Arriving to the venue was an easy ride through a few highways, and parking was located within the same building as the concert room. Upon walking into the concert room, a bouncer checks identifications to permit entrance into the concert. The room had a relaxing environment to it with the lights dim and the stage paired with soft blue lighting along the curtains.

The concert started off with an opening show by Trash Panda, a three man psychedelic rock band. After a 40-minute opening rock performance, Coast Modern started setting up their drums on stage before coming out. They started off with singing their most popular songs from their most recently launched album. Both singers were accompanied by an extra guitarist and drummer that added to the overall rich and deep toned bass. Coast Modern sang for about an hour and when the crowd requested an encore, they quickly ran out and happily provided a final song. Overall the artists performed with clear voices and took advantage of the intimate atmosphere the small venue provided and it created a captivated crowd.

Freshman 15, More Like Freshman 50

Cookout- Here’s the thing, Cookout is possibly the best thing since sliced bread. If you are a broke college student, this is one of the best places for you. Why you ask? Because of the $5 Cookout Tray. This tray consists of one entrée aka burger, two sides, and your choice of drink. It’s an extra dollar for a fancy shake, but it’s well worth the splurge. The serving sizes are a bit on the smaller size, but whose complaining when it costs five dollars. Little suggestion on my end…get the cheer wine!

Wendy’s- Hold the phone because things just got interesting. Wendy’s changed the game a couple years ago by introducing college students to a little something called the 4 for $4 meal. What does this include you ask? Well this godly deal gives you a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, four all white-meat chicken nuggets, small fries and a drink. Ask any college student and I guarantee they are obsessed with this deal. Also if you want to mix it up a little I would highly suggest spending a little extra money on a frosty and dipping your fries. And for those of you who aren’t about to have such a plain meal, you can head to the Right Price Right Size Menu. There they have cheeseburgers, chicken sandwiches, nuggets, salads, chicken wraps, frosty’s, tea and lemonade. All-in-all no human college student can resist a Wendy’s.

Sonic- My last money saving fast food restaurant is none other than Sonic. During the afternoon Sonic has what they call “Happy Hour”. From 2:00pm-4:00pm enjoy half off drinks, teas and slushes. You can also grab your choice of corndogs, mozzarella sticks, onion rings and tots for just $0.99. Not to mention the Late Night Happy Hour that goes on after 8:00pm. This includes half off on all shakes at the Sonic Drive-In after eight. Sonic also constantly has new deals, the most current being Sonic Tuesday Special. Starting May 1, 2017 every Tuesday from 5:00pm-close all single-patty cheeseburgers are half price. My final deal that makes me fixated on Sonic is their $3 Breakfast Before 10am. You can get a breakfast burrito and a cup of Green Mountain Coffee or a fountain drink for $3. Not only that but it’s guaranteed to be ready for you in two minutes. What more could you ask for?

Buffalo Wild Wings- Let’s be real, I’m crazy about fast food. Sadly, I can’t write down every single restaurant that I would visit on the weekly. This is one of my favorites though. So why do I love Buffalo Wild Wings so much you ask? One thing…WINGS! Who doesn’t like some buffalo wings late at night? Plus, not trying to be the girl to tell you that cheap food is the best food, but ½ Price Wing Tuesday is an existing thing. For those wing haters, they also have salads, burgers, wraps and a little something called Buffalo Loaded Tots. They also have some of the most interesting drinks like any Red Bull you can think of, blueberry mint lemonade, black cherry limeade and something they call ginger lemonade. This place has it all and there isn’t a lot I need to tell you to convince you that this should be your new craving.

Panda Express- Buckle your seatbelts because you are about to be cultured. Sure, Panda Express isn’t exactly “real” Chinese food, but it’s as close to being Chinese as Taco Bell is to being Mexican. I’m not even in college yet and I already go to Panda Express on the weekly. They have plates and bowls for food. A plate consists of two entrees and your choice of side and a bowl has one entrée and one side. And let me tell you right now, just looking at the menu online makes me crave some orange chicken and tea. Panda Express literally goes all out with the Chinese theme. They have milk tea, fruit tea and lemonade tea (isn’t that just lemonade). I for one think it’s great to prep college students for what their twenties’ dinner will be like because I guarantee you’re going to want to get use to yummy take out now. Plus, this is like ramen that tastes good and you can never go wrong with that.

Latin Convention Review

I’m never prepared for anything, so it doesn’t surprise me that I’m frantically scrambling around my bedroom at five o’clock in the morning throwing the only pair of leggings that don’t have a hole in the thigh into a duffel bag. I’d worked until eleven o’clock the night before and exhausted doesn’t even begin to describe how I’m feeling. I should have packed earlier. It’s alright, no one wears a different pair of pants every day anyway.

I drive an illegal—but not unreasonable—fifteen miles over the speed limit and arrive just in time to throw my bag on the back of a bus headed for Rock Eagle. Junior Classical League, informally known as Latin Club, holds a state convention at Rock Eagle every year and despite being Vice President of the club, I still have yet to attend. I’m excited, even though I’m foregoing my junior prom and a best friend’s birthday dinner to devote three days and two nights to my love of the classics.

The packing list, curated by Mrs. Rossino herself, advised students to bring flashlights, phone chargers and a white sheet for the famous toga party, most of which I had forgotten in my haste. Nevertheless, I hunker down for the two hour long bus ride. After a quick stop for delicious Publix sub sandwiches, we arrive at the Rock Eagle campgrounds.

Boarding is, interesting, to say the least. For some reason, despite the fact that the historian for the National Junior Classical League attends Chattahoochee and our sponsor is nearly five months pregnant, we’re still assigned to one of the more dated cabins further away from the dining hall. Chattahoochee students are resilient and so we take it all in stride. Luckily, I’d been paired with a roommate who had no qualms with killing the spiders found crawling on every single surface of that room.

The weekend is initiated with General Assembly, in which all of the school sponsors and their students crowd into the auditorium to meet our President, Vice Presidents, Historians, and so on. One of the most entertaining aspects of the weekend is that each day is an ongoing competition between the schools to show the most latin pride. The Chattahoochee attendance was meek and sparse but we made up for it with obnoxious bells and whistles, literally. The chanting of the schools accompanied by the noise of the blow horns and megaphones created the most deafening volume you could imagine.

After an hour long pow wow, students are relinquished to do whatever their hearts desire. Each day is broken up into multiple subsections: General Assembly, Workshops, Testing, and Certamen, the Latin version of High Q. Those who’d rather watch Ludi, athletic games, are able to, while some students can battle against other schools in Latin Quizbowl teams. Schools sell their cleverly designed shirts to those who wish to buy them.

On Saturday night, the majority of our already sparse chapter headed toward prom, but those who stayed behind had the option to participate in another string of tempting activities including team trivia, a very selective talent show, and chariot races. The entire weekend was so jam packed with activities that students would need to make a conscious effort not to find something that interested them.

The majority of the weekend served to reinforce one thing: my love for Latin club.  I enjoy the classics (Latin and Greek) and the JCL because it teaches youth that without the foundation lain by those who came before us, we’d be unable to adequately appreciate the world around us today. Latin Club does more than provide students with an exceptional outlet to express an interest in something that may differ from the status quo, but it also brings a myriad of different people together who appreciate the world as it once was. I want to be involved in a club that teaches unity, camaraderie, and understanding, and Latin Club provides me with all of those things. For these reasons, I look forward to participating in Latin Club not only in my senior year, but in college as well.

REASONS WHY I’M OFFENDED

AllieBartlett, Staff Reporter

If there were a list of ways not to portray suicide, “13 Reasons Why” would hit the mark on each and every one of them. The plot line centers around a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who takes her own life. In the wake of her death she leaves behind cassette tapes addressed to 13 people she believed contributed to her fatal end. These tapes explain in depth the relationship she had with each of them and what they did that hurt her so deeply.

The tapes play out some sort of revenge fantasy, allowing the audience to believe Hannah got the last word; that her death had somehow achieved something that her life never could have. Hannah’s suicide is depicted as a rational and legitimate response to the challenging experiences that she was facing. It permits its viewers to believe death was the only answer and that even though she was the one taking a blade to her wrists, the blood was on someone else’s hands. By the end of all 13 episodes the viewers are supposed to understand why she did what she did. No doubt that the producers aimed to spread awareness to young teens on how their words and actions can affect someone else, but I believe this message was overshadowed by the romantic portrayal of a death by one’s own hand.

Suicide and suicidal thoughts are not uncommon amongst our culture; therefore, the relevance and importance of diving deeper into the subject is not misguided. However, the show contains an obscenely graphic scene of Hannah slitting her own wrists and bleeding out into a bathtub. The viewers are violated with this, along with two other disturbing rape scenes. The intent of this production was undoubtedly to reveal how horrifying these acts truly are, but the directors seemingly forgot the susceptibility teens have toward anything projected by the media. The graphic suicide could almost serve as a “how to” guide for anyone contemplating taking their own life. I strongly believe the message this show was aiming to get across could have been achieved more appropriately had the graphic cinematography been cut out.

The show’s most infamous line, “Welcome to your tape,” has made its mark on society and become a trending topic on several social media sites. This phrase was Hannah Baker’s opening address to the subject on each of her tapes. What was supposed to be a suicide prevention message has now become another serious social issue trivialised by the media.

The show’s most tragic flaw is the way it characterizes suicide as a feeling, rather than the act of something final. It glorifies suicide; depicting it as a way Hannah could bring justice to all the people who wronged her, somehow bringing her life to some peaceful end. However, the reality is that ending your own life leaves nothing but chaos. Maybe it’s OK to take advantage of the media’s power to shine light on bullying and teen suicide. Maybe it’s important to act out the painful and horrifying scenarios that high schoolers may be experiencing; but for goodness sake it shouldn’t be so enjoyable to watch. The show takes at a thrilling pace that hooks its audience and keeps them wanting more, ultimately leading them to forget that suicide should never be an option in the first place. There was an excitement that came along with each episode, a feeling that was only intensified by each revelation of another heartbreaking tape.

To have the audience searching for the culprits in Hannah’s death is to misinterpret suicide altogether. Hannah was a victim of bullying and rape, and maybe her death could have been avoided had someone heard her cry for help, but in the end Hannah Baker was not a victim of her own death. Her actions were her’s alone, nobody pressed that blade against her skin. Suicide is a choice and an act that results in more pain than what you started with and that sort of tragedy should never be glorified and manipulated into entertainment.   

Unmasking the New Masquerade

JourneySherman

Editor-in-Chief

After driving around Downtown Atlanta in search for the new Masquerade, I finally spotted a folded sign scribbled with “Masquerade 3rd Floor” outside a parking garage. The exhausting search was finally over or so I thought. If you enjoy scavenger hunts, finding this new venue will be right up your alley.

The Masquerade is well known by music lovers across the state and was formerly located at  DuPre Excelsior Mill until it was sold in 2006. Recently the venue was moved to the lowest level of The Underground Atlanta. The original locations featured three different stages that were named after three destinations in the afterlife heaven, hell and purgatory. Heaven was above,  hell, go figure and purgatory was off to the side. At the new location each of these stages are all on one floor with three different entrances.  

After parking on the third floor of a nearly vacant parking garage, more helter-skelter signs are scattered directing me to across a ramp and into The Underground. Right away, visitors are hit with a stench that lets them know they’re in for a good show. I’m almost certain I could have closed my eyes and followed the “aroma” in order to find the venue.

If it weren’t for the two arguing beatnik’s on the stairs, I would have presumed I was walking into a rave in an abandoned building. They explain that at the bottom of the stairs is where I’ll find the entrance.

And there it is! Literally a whole in the wall in the middle of a closed mall. The venue is intimidating at first as the “too cool for school” crowd stumbles outside. I’m barely of age to get in as I look over my ID to check my birthday a few more times.  The woman who sells me my ticket couldn’t  care less about my age and asks for my wrist. “Purgatory” was then stamped on my wrist, and I feel like I’ve completed gang initiation.

As I take my first steps inside, a mixture of smoke and fog hits my eyes and ears all at once. The stage is small, but intimate. The venue offers great sound and lighting for any up and coming performers in Atlanta.

Local High School Bands Unmasked at The Masquerade

LeahZarzour, News Editor

This past Wednesday, Chattahoochee’s Christian Touchet (SR) and his band, “Baba and the Vangas,” performed an astounding show at The Masquerade. Several high school bands including “Anti Trance,” “Changing Names” and “Deep V Dean & The Boys” created an electrifying atmosphere at the Purgatory Lounge.

Each packed performance carried a different vibe and stylistic sound onto the stage. The first group, “Anti Trance,” evolved into a bass spectacle that sounded like a typical hard rock power trio with a modern twang. They truly blessed the audience with a fantastic cover of “Black Rain” by Soundgarden with plentiful pedal work, in which their performance was even better than the original; the heavy sorted bass filled the atmosphere and took the crowd by surprise. The brief performance ended with their lead female bassist and head guitarist/singer leaving the stage, making the crowd shouting for more.

Even after the incredible openers, the second band, “Changing Names,” did not fail to uphold the expectation and energy of the relentless crowd. They began the show with a cover of “Another Brick in the Wall” by Pink Floyd and “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz; without hesitating, the audience came to life once again. With a fantastic choice of covers, they quickly got the crowd to sing along for the first time of the show. During the beginning of their performance, drummer, Jackson Rifkin, attempted a stick trick though failed to grasp on to it. One of the sticks even landed a few feet away from the drum set causing a brief pause with no drums. Rifkin jumps out of his seat and quickly retrieves his stick, then jumps right back in with only a momentary pause, leaving it as a minor transition that flowed perfectly. Although this was their only obvious mistake, each of the members continued to play coherently without drawing attention to the absence of drums. Near the end, It seemed that the relentless crowd was about to dismantle before they closed with yet another cover by Rage Against the Machine, in which then turned into constant pushing against the squage stage.

Pushing was certainly not the end of it; with the third performance, “Baba and the Vangas,” it turned into an instant mosh-like, jumping excitement. Lead singer, Touchet, and bassist Cole Smith came onto stage with an 80’s style, extra large, black trench coats and swimming goggles while the drummer snuck onto stage with a spray painted motorcycle helmet. Unlike the previous bands, the opening song started out with a slow, opening passage; five seconds later, a sudden hit of heavy bass and screaming got the crowd more alive than the previous bands combined. The stage was hit with rage and madness as Touchet led the audience in what turned into a scream-off. The setup, however, was even more awkward than Touchet’s swimming goggles and trench coats; their lead guitarist Kyle Smith was deep within the shadows in the corner of the stage, almost hiding from the colorful lights beaming onto the floor. Despite the overpowering shadows, Cole jumped out and interacted with the screaming teens at the edges of the stage showing the passion the crowd had been waiting for. Kyle was using a classic overdriven tone with a tube amp and pedal while Touchet and Cole were both using a heavier, dirtier fuzz; together, they gave off a thick distorted mass of sound. The vocals were strong and powerful; Touchet’s vocals matched his talent on the guitar as well, eventually the intensity was so strong on both the stage and with the crowd that one of the strings on Touchet’s guitar snapped entirely. With a quick guitar switch up, they were once again ready to perform and give it their all. After multiple songs, it became clear the energy was running low with only a few minutes to spare. After their main drummer (Rifkin) did not show up for their last song to switch with the current drummer (as planned), the three came together and came up with a song to play. It was not entirely clear whether their last song was performed on a whim or if it was actually planned. Either way, no one can go wrong with a cover of The White Stripes, “I Fell In Love With a Girl.” The uneasy, shaking Cole showed a similar punk vocal style as Touchet; just watching him can get anyone into the performance, proving that he presented pure passion and rage singing every word to mimic Jack White. The powerful ending brought the entire crowd together, again eagerly pushing trying to get a photo of the relentless performers for the last couple of minutes. Once again, another tough performance to top off.  

Last but not least, Deep V Dean and the Boys had quite a bit to keep up with. Though they had a slow and steady beginning, their crowd grew rapidly. The smooth rock feel added to the mellow ambiance; nevertheless the audience at this point was at its peak with even more energy and togetherness.

Perhaps it was the order of performances that were off, or maybe it was the setlists; nevertheless, each of the bands performed their best and even that was good enough. From the tiny bubble of high school, these students are far beyond the talent they are depicted of. Despite a few harmless errors, at least one of them will make it into the big time.