Opinion: Clarence Brown Theatre helps students, Knoxville residents get in the holiday spirit

The winter season is upon us. Weather is getting cooler, lights are going up all over town and finals are just around the corner. To help get everyone into the holiday spirit, the Clarence Brown Theatre is producing their annual rendition of “A Christmas Carol.”

“A Christmas Carol” is an age-old holiday story following Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve to change his life. While there are many versions of “A Christmas Carol,” such as the Mickey Mouse version from the 1980s, the Clarence Brown production stays very close to the classic story line of the show.

Jed Diamond, professor in the theater department of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, returned this year as the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, with a performance to wow any audience. The rest of the cast also helped to create an astounding performance. This show features many children playing young roles, and each of them were “real” and mature actors when on the stage. “A Christmas Carol” features a truly amazing cast this season.

The crew for “A Christmas Carol” blew away the audience with its elaborate set for this year’s show. Every scene featured intricate sound and lighting effects and unbelievably realistic set pieces. One recurring feature that I really enjoyed was the use of a trap door in the stage. In just a few seconds, a bed could arise from or descend into the stage.

At one point in the show, the ghost Marley, Scrooge’s late lifetime work partner, made his entrance by coming up from the floorboards of the stage, and his exit by descending back into the stage. The added fog effects made it really feel like a ghost was entering the theatre that night.

If you get the chance, make your way to the Clarence Brown Theatre sometime before this show closes. The Clarence Brown is conveniently located on campus, in between the music building and the Humanities and Social Sciences building. Shows are just $5 for UTK students to see. “A Christmas Carol” runs from now until Dec. 17.

 

Featured Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez

Opinion: ‘Loving Vincent’ Offers New Outlook on Famous Painter

Vincent van Gogh made a name for himself as one of the world’s best painters in history– but only after he had died.

“Loving Vincent” is the world’s first ever feature film to be completely animated in oil paints. A team of over 100 artists worked together over the course of several years to create the film, with over 65,000 oil-painted frames, according to Loving Vincent‘s website.

While most people would think that a movie about Vincent van Gogh would be about his life, “Loving Vincent” highlights the events that occurred the year following the painter’s death. Armand Roulin, the son of van Gogh’s postman, serves as the protagonist in the film, with his original goal to deliver a letter to Theo van Gogh, Vincent’s brother.

In the process of searching out Theo, Armand learns that the late painter’s brother passed away half a year after Vincent. This leads Armand on a journey to find out who exactly van Gogh was, and the story is different with every person he speaks to.

“Loving Vincent” offers insight to the life, death and theories of Vincent van Gogh. Was he suicidal? Or was he murdered by one of the many people who decided to torment him throughout his lifetime? While the film does not cover how Vincent actually died, since the public still does not know exactly, it illustrates his relationships with individuals leading up to his untimely passing.

“Loving Vincent” takes the style of and references several of van Gogh’s famous paintings, which makes the experience truly unique. There is some intermingling of pieces, such as when the postman, Joseph Roulin, a common subject for van Gogh, is set with his son in the “Cafe Terrace at Night” painting. The film also utilizes one of van Gogh’s self portraits as its tag image and for the film poster.

Overall, “Loving Vincent” is a fresh perspective of the life, relationships and works of Vincent van Gogh. As an avid fan of the late painter, I was incredibly pleased with this film. It felt genuine and like it came from a place of respect from the director, actors and all of the artists involved. “Loving Vincent” takes some of the world’s most renowned paintings and transforms each piece into living, breathing works of absolute art.

 

Edited by Vanessa Rodriguez 

Featured image Van Gogh Museum, courtesy of Creative Commons

The Ultimate Fall Bucket List

October may be coming to a close this week, but fall technically isn’t over until late December. That leaves plenty of time for anyone and everyone to mark off everything from their fall bucket list.

Here are a few ideas for what to do before the season ends.

Corn Maze

There is nothing like getting dizzy with a group of your friends while surrounded by miles of corn. Some options close to Knoxville are Oakes Farm, Deep Well Farm and Kyker Farms Corn Maze. All are relatively low-cost, and feature other activities such as a pumpkin patch, hay rides and petting zoos. Be sure to check this activity off of your bucket list soon, since most of these farms close their fall events at the end of the month.

Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream

My grandmother always said to eat ice cream when it gets colder so that it takes longer to melt. Which is a great ideology, in my opinion. If you haven’t had the chance to visit Cruze Farm’s new permanent location, you now have a great reason to go. Cruze Farm is offering a pumpkin spice flavored ice cream in celebration of fall. It pairs nicely when swirled with the cake batter ice cream the restaurant also offers. All of the ice creams at Cruze Farm are made fresh daily, so check their website to see what flavors they are offering that day. You can also take a pint of your favorite flavor back to your dorm to help get you through late night studying.

Carve a Pumpkin

Pumpkin carving should not be an activity reserved strictly for Halloween. Why not Thanksgiving pumpkins? Find a cute pattern like this one or this one.  Fall is also a popular season for elections, so remind your roommates to vote with this pumpkin pattern. There is honestly so much artistic and creative freedom with pumpkin carving, so feel free to run wild with the idea.

Relax with a Show

On campus, there is almost always a production running at the Clarence Brown Theatre. Currently, The Blue Window is showing at the Lab Theatre until Nov. 12. Beginning Nov. 22, the annual production of A Christmas Carol will begin at the Clarence Brown. Students can see shows for $5 or free on Preview Days (the first Wednesday and Thursday of a show’s run).

Want something to remind you of your childhood? Disney On Ice is coming to the Knoxville Civic Coliseum with their Reach for the Stars show beginning Nov. 1. If you go on the opening night, you can score tickets for just $14!

Go to a U-Pick Patch

Knoxville is full of different agricultural joys. One of the many is U-Pick patches where you can pick your own fruits and veggies. Some popular choices of the season are apples, apricots, brussel sprouts and carrots. You can spend an afternoon picking your own produce, and then spend the evening making apple pies and warm soups. Learn more about picking your own produce on Pick Your Own’s website.

Take a Hike

Right in UT’s backyard are the Smoky Mountains, and fall is one of the best times to visit. The 816-mile state park has plenty to offer to any outdoors enthusiast. Try the Andrews Bald Trail, a 3.5 mile hike in the Clingmans Dome area with a marvelous view of what nature has to offer. Cades Cove is also fun to drive though to see different types of wildlife. If you’re feeling up for it, try biking Cades Cove’s 13 mile loop. You will have a better chance at spotting any bears at close distances (and you’ll be able to brag to your friends about biking 13 miles for fun).

Root for the Vols

Nov. 4 is UT’s homecoming football game against Southern Mississippi. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. in Neyland Stadium. Get a group of friends together and cheer on the Vols. It is also a perfect wrap up to homecoming week, which began on Oct. 29.

 

Hopefully this list of fall activities has something for everyone. Fall is one of the most magical times of the year, so why should we stop celebrating at the end of October?

 

 

Featured image by Randall Billings, courtesy of Creative Commons

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo

Arab Fest celebrates diversity, showcases Middle Eastern cultures

Over the weekend, the Arab American Club of Knoxville and the Religious Studies department at the University of Tennessee held its fourth annual Arab Fest on pedestrian walkway.

The two day festival showcased food, dancing, crafts and various demonstrations of Arab and Middle Eastern cultures.

Erin Darby, assistant professor in the Religious Studies department at UT, is the co-coordinator of the event.

“It began when my students came back from their study abroad tour [in Jordan] in 2013, and they were frustrated that they didn’t have the ability to share their experience with the rest of the UT community,” Darby said. “So, between UT and the Arab American Club of Knoxville, what was a tiny, little baby idea sort of jumped forth into this crazy festival, and it’s gotten bigger every year.”

“It’s basically a way to share the best of Arab culture, not just with UT students but the whole community,” Darby said.

There were several booths lining the circle of pedestrian walkway. Authentic Middle Eastern food from Yassin’s Falafel House, Mirage and other individuals were available to attendees. People could also smoke hookah, get a henna tattoo or purchase authentic beaded home decor and clothes.

In the middle of all of the vendors was a stage for people to sing, dance and play Arab music. On Friday, there was a musician playing a doumbek, which is a style of Middle Eastern drum. Students were encouraged to come up and learn the Arab group folk dance dabke. There were plenty of smiles in the chain of individuals dancing around to the music both days of the festival.

Among guests at the event was the City of Knoxville Mayor, Madeline Rogero. When speaking to the attendees of the festival, Mayor Rogero admitted to this being her first year attending the festival.

“I love coming to our ethnic festivals in our city,” Rogero said. “Thanks to UT, and Tennessee Valley Authority, and Oak Ridge National Lab and a lot of our businesses here we are a very diverse city and I think it’s really important that we celebrate the diversity we have here.”

Some students like junior Jasmine Parks attended the event as a volunteer for extra credit.

“I just love cultural things,” Jasmine said. “Professor Darby asked that we all come out, and I did, and it is a lot of fun.”

For future Arab Fests, Darby would like to see more people come out and learn about Arab and Middle Eastern cultures.

If you have any interest in being involved with or helping plan future Arab Fests, you can email Darby at edarby1@utk.edu.

Featured image by Nima Kasraie, obtained through Creative Commons

Edited by Kaitlin Flippo