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Advanced screening for “Dumb and Dumber To” gives more than a sneak preview


Article by: Michael Balzano, John Hummel, Falynn Lannert

The Normal Theater will be hosting a free, advanced screening of Universal Pictures “Dumb and Dumber To”for Illinois State University students.  However, the students are not the only ones benefitting from the showing.

Emily Stopka, Universal Pictures student representative explained how Universal gets a boost from letting ISU students see the movie for free.

“We’re having the showing to promote the release of the movie to get people talking about it to others so more people will go see it,” she said.”

The Normal Theater also benefits. The cinema has been looking for ways to increase the amount of ISU students attending their screenings, so when Universal Pictures approached the theater about hosting advance screenings, the offer was too good to pass up.

The opportunity to screen  ”Dumb and Dumber To”was a matter of ”good luck and good timing,” said Pete Moore, Normal’s theater and civic arts director.

Due to these advanced screenings the Normal Theater has seen a greater number of ISU students attending the other films.  Last month, on the weekend celebrating the 20th anniversary of the theater re-opening, the Normal Theater showed  ”Forrest Gump,”and “Singing in the Rain.”

Before the start of  “Singing in the Rain,” Moore asked the audience to raise their hands if it was their first time seeing a show at the Normal Theater.  About one third of the audience raised their hands, many of which were college aged.

Because of this, the Normal Theater may start to show some more well-known films.  ”We’d still like to show many of the classic and foreign films,” Moore said, “But we might start showing some more well-known films and pairing them on the same weekend as the others.””

“The Dumb and Dumber To” screening will be held Tuesday November  11 at 7 p.m.  Ticket information will be posted on the Facebook event page closer to the date.

For more information about “Dumb and Dumber To” click here.

The Normal Theatre has seen more student audience members due to advanced movie screenings.

The Normal Theatre has seen more student audience members due to advanced movie screenings.

Take Back the Night

October 30th, 2014

By: Kelsy Brewer, Tracy Conoboy, Shaunda Brooks


Students take part in the Take Back the Night march through campus. Photo by Tracy Conoboy

“It was incredibly moving seeing the women who went through something so horrible speak out and raise awareness,” said Maddy Reid. “After the walk and the entire event, I felt stronger and I think that’s important.”

Maddy was one of many ISU students who took part in the annual effort against sexual and domestic violence through an event called “Take Back the Night”. This is an international occasion held by different organizations that seeks to raise awareness about those aggressive occurrences and to promote change.

Studies show that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined (domesticviolenecestatistics.org).

The event typically includes a safe space for survivors to share their stories, followed by a march that empowers women to “take back” the night. It concludes with a candlelit vigil to honor those who suffered from domestic and sexual violence.

Take Back the Night began in the 1970s as a response to violent crimes against women during late hours. Today, it is most commonly put on by colleges around the world as a tool for education and empowerment.

ISU organization, the Feminist Lead Activist Movement to Empower (FLAME) held its own annual Take Back the Night event in Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center on Oct. 21.

Illinois State University President Larry Dietz addressed the importance of this event on ISU’s campus.

“You know, I’m in this room for various meetings and events all the time. I’ll be in here tomorrow for a meeting. However, I can say that no time spent in this room is as important as the time spent on this particular day and the topic we are discussing,” said Dietz.

Take Back the Night has been a staple affair on ISU’s campus since 2008 and has grown to become FLAME’s largest event.

People who attend each year receive information about resources related to sexual violence prevention in their community and on ISU’s campus. This year, partner organizations such as PRIDE and Stepping Stones had tables in the room to offer information.

Take Back the Night is just one of the ways ISU continues to address sexual violence. Additionally, the university now requires students to take a mandatory online Consent and Respect Course and has introduced a “Friendly Faces” campaign that offers assistance to those suffering from domestic violence from certified faculty, staff and students.


President Dietz and students light candles as part of the Take Back the Night vigil. Photo by Tracy Conoboy.

Combat Club does not Larp

By: Stephanie Fisher, T’Keya Hicks, Eileen Ehrlich

Medieval Combat Club members practice on the quad.

Medieval Combat Club members practice on the quad.

Battles between members of the ISU Medieval Combat Club are a common sight on campus. But when outsiders say participants are larping (Live Action Role Playing), it stings worse than the blow from a broadsword.

“It’s offensive, because we aren’t larping,” said club member Stephanie Schwartz. “We are grown adults, for the most part, hitting each other with foam sticks,”

“It looks like larp because most people get really into it by dressing up, but there are no characters.”

The Combat Club is associated with Belegarth, a medieval fighting society. It focuses on fighting and is split up into realms based on location, with each bearing a name given by the founding fathers and mothers. The realm at ISU is known as Wolf Pack.

Stephanie Schwartz has been a fighter in the Medieval Combat Club at ISU for two years. Her involvement, she says, is “just a fun way to break the ice and make new friends. It takes away the awkwardness of small talk and makes you insta-friends by hitting each other.”

Participants can choose to be character with a combat name but it is not necessary and there are no advantages or disadvantages in doing so. People take part in in for the combat, not the story line.

Schwartz cannot pick one over the other since she has not larped, but finds enjoyment participating in combat and playing RPG games. Before coming to ISU she had not participated in real life.

“It is a compilation between art, fighting and a work out because everything you want in IMG_0703just a little time,” experienced fighter Nathan Sigler, who goes by Aroodo      said. When it comes to Belegarth, “we do the full contact version, my fighting style against yours.”

In Live Action Role Play, each participant selects a character and plays as such throughout their experience. It can be anything from a scholarly dark elf to a temperamental half ogre. Each selection comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, participants can choose to be a magical character who can cast spells to do anything from forming a temporary river to healing themselves and even teleporting. “I saw a video where a guy said ‘fireball’ and that was my first introduction to larping.”

Combat Club can be found on the quad Tuesdays and Thursdays 4 p.m. until it gets dark and Sundays 2-5 p.m.

Milner Library Lets in the “Freaks”


By Bridget Truskey and Jon Pachura

Roll up, roll up…see a ring worn by a sideshow giant and the tiny shoes of of Tom Thumb’s diminutive bride, and all without setting a foot off campus. Milner Library is set to venture under the big top and into the unknown as they unveil an exhibit featuring circus sideshows. “One of Us: Sideshows, Freaks, and the Unexplained,” will take place in the library’s Special Collections section on the sixth floor from October 27th until December 12th. It features artifacts, collections, speakers, and other circus-related attractions.

While the exhibit is bound to attract those interested in the abnormal and taboo, the Special Collections section itself is one of Illinois State’s hidden treasures. “Not many people know about it,” said Megan Dowling, Milner Library employee. “It’s a shame because it’s so interesting. They have books in there that are hundreds of years old, exclusive to Milner.”

True to Dowling’s words, Milner’s Circus and Allied Arts section of Special Collections is interesting in and of itself, being one of the largest collections of its kind in existence. It holds 8,000 volumes of books, along with photographs, posters, programs, band scores, and so much more related to carnivals, sideshows, circuses, and vaudeville.

“They make you wash your hands before you go in,” said Emily Meadow, frequenter of the Special Collections section. “That’s how protective they are of the content.”

The exhibit couldn’t have come at a better time. With Halloween just days after the opening, students are already in the mood for the macabre. Not to mention the monstrous popularity of the television series American Horror Story with its current season about a 1950s freak show. “I really didn’t have any interest in freak shows before watching this season,” said Kevin Oboikovitz, avid American Horror Story fan. “They make it in a way that ties old history and superstitions into it. It’s pretty interesting. I’d be curious to see if the exhibit had any information to back those up.”

“One of Us” is set to explore the division between so-called “freaks of nature” and the “normal” people who viewed them as a form of entertainment. Highlighting this at 4 P.M. on November 4th will be Kate Browne, an Illinois State doctoral student who will be giving a talk at the exhibit titled “What You Can Tell By Looking: Disability, Language, and the Power of Description.”

Browne, who has studied disabled women’s life writing, circuses, and sideshows, will describe how shunning bodily differences affects more than just the person.

Browne is just one of many draws to the sixth floor of Milner over the next couple of months. Artifacts dating the 18th century to the present will be displayed, including a ring worn by a sideshow giant and the wedding shoes of Tom Thumb’s wife. The exhibit will undoubtedly unveil an interesting, controversial, and sometimes overlooked portion of history.

Students ‘drop pants’ to help communities in need


Holly Petrovich, Ryann Hoffenberg, Maggie Ziemann

Think your old blue jeans just keep your legs warm? Now they can serve as insulation for entire houses in communities in need.

Blue Jeans Go Green was developed by Cotton Incorporated as a denim recycling program that collects blue jeans, new and used. All the denim is then converted into house insulation.

Last month (October) organizers of a denim drive at Illinois State University set out to collect 500 pairs – enough to insulate an entire house. As of October 27, the total stood at a heart-warming 919 pairs.

“It’s great that we are almost at two houses,” said Elisabeth Reed, event coordinator and faculty advisor for the Apparel Merchandising and Design Association (AMDA), the group spearheading the drive locally. “I come into my office every day to find a new pile of jeans, it’s amazing.”

ISU is one of four universities chosen this year to lead the drive. “A student told me about it about a year ago … I went on their website and there was this big application process, so we applied,” Reed said.

“I think we were chosen because AMDA is a very active club on campus, with our annual fashion show and different field trips.”

In addition to ISU’s commitment – with Drop boxes are scattered around campus for students and faculty members – the Blo-No community has also been throwing its weight behind the cause. State Farm, Country Financial Insurance and Illinois Wesleyan University have made collections, with donations also coming from local schools.

On campus, AMDA has hosted table events, where members were available to answer any questions, take donations and hand out freebies.

“It has been truly inspiring to see how willing people are to help others. They could sell their unwanted denim, but instead choose to give it to families that really need it,” said AMDA vice president Kelsey Stiegman.

Along with Stiegman, there are about 50 other students in AMDA, while six of them are in charge of promoting and running the donation drive.

“I think [Blue Jeans Go Green] is a great way to give back to the community and reuse items that might otherwise sit in a landfill. The fashion industry is responsible for a lot of environmental destruction, so giving back is very important to us,” said Stiegman.

ISU students are getting in on the program. Rebecca Whitcomb, senior sociology major donated three pairs of her old blue jeans to the drop-off center in Uptown Normal.

“I saw on social media that there was a program collecting old jeans for a good cause and I knew I had a bunch of old ones laying around, so I thought rather than letting them take up space in my room, I could donate them to help others,” Whitcomb said.

Whitcomb feels it is important to give back to the community in whatever way she can.

“It’s hard sometimes when you’re a college student without a lot of funds to donate money to worthy causes but this way, students can still help the community,” Whitcomb said. “Everybody has old jeans.”

So far, the program has received over 1 million pieces of denim for recycling and has diverted over 600 tons of waste out of landfills, resulting in approximately 2 million square feet of UltraTouch(TM) Denim Insulation,  according to press release.

To donate a pair of jeans, visit Turner Hall, Milner Library or the Coffee hound locations in Bloomington and Normal.