Mount Hood

3 Leg Torso to perform on campus

By: Declan Hertel
Entertainment Editor

Friday, Oct. 7, 2015 in Rice Auditorium, Smith Fine Arts will welcome award-winning quintet 3 Leg Torso to Western.

The Smith Fine Arts Series is all about bringing the best in performing arts to the Western’s campus, and 3 Leg Torso looks like they will uphold that mission admirably.

Originally formed in 1996 as a violin, accordion, and cello three-piece, 3 Leg Torso has since expanded to five members, and their unique brand of modern chamber music is sure to delight anybody who enjoys music from supremely talented performers.

I have listened to the band’s 2010 release “Animals and Cannibals” (Meester Records) several times since learning of the group, and I absolutely love the cinematic, gypsy aesthetic.

The opening track, “Akiko Yano”, feels like setting off on an adventure through the European countryside. Several songs on the record have a tango influence to them, and you can’t help but imagine the band off in the corner of some small pub, playing their hearts out as the patrons dance around.

Despite being an instrumental act, each song tells a little story, along with the music. And really, who doesn’t want to know the tale implied by “The Life and Times and Good Deeds of St. Penguin”?

3 Leg Torso plays Friday, Oct. 7, 2015 at 7:30 p.m. in Rice Auditorium, and tickets are free for students. It certainly looks like it’s going to be a great time, and for the low, low price of free? Check out 3 Leg Torso. You’ll be happy you did.

For more information on tickets or the performance, please contact 503-838-8333 or visit The Cottage at 342 Monmouth Ave. North.

Nightmare Factory brings terror to Salem

By:Ashton Newton

With Halloween just around the corner, children everywhere are preparing their costumes to go out and trick-or-treat all over the country.

For those of us who are too old to take candy from strangers, we’re still searching for ways to get absolutely terrified. Luckily, the Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD) has you covered with their annual haunted house, The Nightmare Factory, which started back up on Oct. 2, 2015 and runs to Nov. 7, 2015.

With the help of student and outside volunteers, the OSD puts on a truly scary and memorable haunted house.

This Salem-based haunted house, put on as a fundraiser for the OSD, has a new terrifying theme each year that promises to keep you up at night in fear. This year is special though, with two haunted houses in one.

The two themes are a zombie infested “Warehouse 27,” and “Mr. Boogers Fun House.” If you’re feeling extra brave though, the last two nights of the haunted house, Nov. 6 and 7, will be completely pitch dark, with only a single glow-stick provided for light. And if even that isn’t enough for you, you can have yourself strapped into a wheelchair and taken through the haunted house with “Mr. Booger’s Wild Ride.”

Kristin Galvin, sister of co-director Kivo LeFevre, helps run the Nightmare Factory alongside her son Riky and other co-director Ed Roberts.

“Nightmare Factory started 28 years ago with boy’s dorm school counselor Ed Roberts and 13 year old student Kivo LeFevre,” says Galvin. “Ed, aka Candy in this year’s haunted house, directs the zombies and Kivo, aka Mr. Booger, directs the clown area,” Galvin said.

In 2010, the Nightmare Factory received national recognition when the OSD was on Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

Each year, the Nightmare Factory changes themes and floor plans. The themes are decided on by directors Roberts and LeFevre. After the theme is decided on, the walls are moved and painted and preparation for the haunted house begins.

When asked what her favorite part of doing the Nightmare Factory was, Galvin said, “For me personally, being involved with the haunt gives me a chance to spend some great time with my brother Kivo and my son Riky. I’ve also discovered an acting side of myself that I’ve never explored and love the evolution of Dr. Howlina.”

She jokes that a family that haunts together, stays together.

Taking Stage: Why Theatre Needs Punk

By: Declan Hertel
Entertainment Editor

Back in the seventies, disco was king: meaning it was grandiose, self-important, and by the late seventies had metastasized into an elitist ball of sonic suckitude that engulfed popular music.

But then punk happened. Punk was raw, messy, and caused a massive shift in the world of music, taking everything that disco represented and smashed it beneath a hundred moshing feet. It brought meaning and humanity back to music.

I bring this up because there is a problem with a different artistic medium that is near and dear to my heart: theatre. Here it is, folks: the modern theatre is disco.

Disco was the predominant popular music of its time. Sure, there was interesting, non-sucktastic stuff happening beneath it, but it was beneath it. So to with theatre. The contemporary face of theatre is dominated by the blockbuster musical and revivals of blockbuster musicals; “Wicked”, “The King and I”, and their ilk.

Not that there is anything wrong with those, they fill the same niche as “The Avengers” does for movies: it’s a big, bombastic, fun spectacle. I saw the Broadway touring company of “Wicked” in 2012, it was dope, and anyone who left that theatre thinking that it wasn’t was wrong. But these shows are, unfortunately, indicative to the same unsettling trend that the Marvel Cinematic Universe exemplifies in cinema: style over substance.

The other big issue with the modern theatre is that it is perceived in the mainstream as being inaccessible, as an art form for the old and powerful. Audiences are dominated by the old, the white, and the rich; in other words, the people who have the least impetus to change the world.

The old aren’t going be here for long, the white have it good, and the rich have it better. It’s out of reach to the average American, or at least it looks like it. The average middle class American needs to use the money they would spend on tickets to pay rent; this reality combined with the fact that the “cheap” end of professional theatre tickets is generally over $20 only pushes theater further away from the lower end.

I can hear you thinking: “Why should I care?”

You should care because, friends, theatre used to be dangerous. As Western’s own Dr. Michael Phillips says in his Theatre History class, people have been killed because they were theatre artists. Theatre strikes fear into tyrants and has been known to lead, sometimes directly, to their demise. Why? Because theatre is human.

Theatre, at its best, is the pulse of a culture. It is an inherently visceral art form. In theatre, you are in the same room as these people. You are directly witnessing their struggles, their passions, their loves and hates and triumphs and failures, with nothing more between you than an implicit divide between actors and audience. There’s nowhere to hide from the truth.

No other art form has such ability to create empathy. This unique property is wasted on huge, feel-good musicals. Sure it’s saddening to see the injustices perpetrated on a green-skinned witch, but it’s downright devastating when a play shows you the injustices suffered by your fellow humans every day. Theatre does more than tell you what’s going on, it slaps you in the face and dares you to do something about it. It shows you exactly what’s wrong with the world you live in, and makes you care.

There needs to be a punk rock revolution in the theatre. Too long has it languished in the clutches of the elite, too long has it been an inaccessible art form, unavailable to the common man. Theatre has always been a voice for change throughout the world, a voice for those who have no other voice, but not in the America of today.

Important works are being written and premiered regularly, but the “high-class” perception of theatre has relegated their viewership to those who have no stake or vested interest in what they stand for, and those who do have an interest are put off by the saturation of blockbusters homogenizing down the form.

In these troubled times, we need all the help we can get. What I ask of you is this: seek out shows that tackle today’s issues, and support them. Support small, underground theatres. Go and experience the unbelievable power that theatre holds, and let it fuel you to change the world you live in, in whatever way you can.


Original Play by Western Students Takes “Flight”

By Nathaniel Dunaway
 Entertainment Editor

The best word to describe Western theatre’s spring play, “Frankie’s Flights of Fancy” is this: magical.

An original – or “devised” – work created by a group of Western students, this family-friendly show is an exploration of what it means to be a child, when adventures of the imagination and “flights of fancy” are delightfully common, and can be propelled by something as simple as a favorite toy.

The play will run May 27-30 and each performance will begin at 7:30 p.m.

“Frankie” opens with a little girl, the titular Frankie, entering a cobweb-blanketed room decorated with faded posters and paintings. The wallpaper is water-worn and sagging; crates and boxes of all sizes add to the clutter.

It’s not long before Frankie, who is played by third-year theatre major Belladina Starr, wearing a full-head character mask designed by the Portland theatre company Wonderheads, soon discovers that one of the aforementioned boxes is different than the others; this box is a portal to the imagination, to a world of dreams.

With the help of this magic box, Frankie is transported to an assortment of different worlds, all with their own unique characters and dangers.

Through the use of masks, marionettes, shadow puppets, projections and animations, Frankie chases a Wild West villain, conducts an orchestra, does battle with a Japanese demon and more.

The process of creating “Frankie” has been a year-long endeavor which began last fall. A class led by Western theatre professor Michael Phillips started from scratch to “build” a show from the ground up.

Starr, no doubt the star of the show, has been involved with “Frankie” since the beginning.

“Devised theatre is hard,” Starr said. “It’s so much about working together and being a team every step of the way. But when everyone comes together — designers, actors, tech, crew, everyone — and get past the uncertainty, and the challenges that arise, it’s rewarding.”

This isn’t the first time Western’s theatre department has explored original work. In 2013, a similar class, also led by Phillips, created and performed the devised show “Half a Block From Home.”

Once the story outline and general script for “Frankie” was completed, a new class, held in winter term, carried the project closer to its completion, establishing the specific logistics of the puppets, animations, props, and more.

The music for the show, a complete original score, was designed by music composition major Ian Knowland. This score was central to the magic of “Frankie,” helping to transport both the little girl and the audience to locales that include a rollicking old-timey circus, and a dimly lit, noir-soaked interrogation room.

Once the show was cast, it was up to the nine cast members and director Phillips to bring “Frankie” life.

“I have never used puppets,” said first-year theatre major Edgar Lopez, who, among other roles, portrays an old circus custodian who is secretly a master of shadow puppetry. “It takes a lot of team effort to make [puppets] work. I’ve learned to be able to move as one in a group. I’m also glad I took the movement class, [it] has helped tremendously, because this show is all about movement.”

The end product of this yearlong undertaking proves to be a touching tribute to the magic of childhood, as well as the magic of theatre.

“Getting to see something you helped create is beautiful,” Starr said. “It’s not like anything else.”

Student tickets to “Frankie’s Flights of Fancy” are free. Tickets for faculty and non-students can be purchased at the Rice Auditorium Box Office or over the phone at 503-838-8462.


The NBA Finals Playoff series is set to start in Oakland on Thursday, June 4 with tipoff at 6 p.m. PST. The Golden State Warriors are favored to win the series with in-form Stephen Curry coming in off the back of game three against the Rockets where he broke the record for most three-pointers scored in a playoff season at 67 and counting. Klay Thompson is also heating up for the Warriors sinking 20 points in the final game against the Rockets. This is the Warriors first finals appearance since their last NBA title win in 1975.

The Cavaliers and Lebron James are arriving to the big stage battered and bruised. With at least four players experiencing day-to-day injuries (including James), the Cavs played one less game but are still feeling the physical side. This didn’t stop James’ trophy-hunting side from putting up a triple-double in the overtime game three, and a respectable 23 points in game four against the Atlanta Hawks. Looking for a boost, Kyrie Irving returned to the starting line-up after missing two games and posted an efficient 16 points and 4 rebounds in 20 minutes of play.

Buy games; help kids: The Humble Bundle

By Declan Hertel
 Staff Writer

Games are expensive. This is the sad truth of all gaming, be it video, board, or roleplaying: it is a costly hobby. However, efforts to make gaming more accessible have been made.

For video games, Valve (Team Fortress 2, Portal) has the Steam platform, a program that allows users to buy and download games, along with providing support for multiplayer gaming and a social network based around games.

Steam is known for its massive sales, especially during the winter and summer, where they mark down every game on their marketplace by a significant percentage and offer bigger deals on popular games day to day. But these huge sales are rare, and gamers are still on the lookout for cheap games.

Enter the Humble Bundle. Every few weeks on, a bundle of games is put up for sale, and customers can pay what they want for them. You must pay at least $1, but the more you pay, the more you get.

The Humble Bundle typically offers several tiers of games; the first tier is “pay-what-you-want,” and the second tier requires that you beat the average price (at the time of this writing, the current Bundle has an average of $5.51).

The second tier is generally where the better, more well-known games lie. Relatively recently, Humble Bundle introduced more tiers with fixed prices for a third tier, generally around $15-$20 to get the biggest name games in the bundle. If you pay their highest asking price, you’ll receive all the games from every tier, often getting $250+ worth of games for $20.

“How could this possibly be,” you say? Well, dear reader, it can be because it is for charity.

The proceeds are split between the game developers and one or more charities, which have included Child’s Play, a charity that provides gaming consoles to children’s hospitals; Electronic Frontier Foundation, a “non-profit digital rights group”; Charity: Water, which provides clean drinking water to developing nations, and the American Red Cross, among many others.

Customers are given the opportunity to split their money between the developers and the charities however they want, with a default 10 percent going to charity.

When I first heard about the Humble Bundle, after the initial excitement of 10 games for a dollar, I thought, “How could this possibly be a success? Why doesn’t everyone just give the minimum and be done?”

It turns out that many people are very charitable indeed, even when it would be very easy not to be. In the current bundle, the total amount given (with six days left at the time of this writing) is $462,963.85, and the biggest donation is $1,000.

Since its start in 2010, the Humble Bundle has also introduced Weekly Bundles, Book Bundles, Mobile Bundles for Android, and the Humble Store, which functions like the Steam store, but with a charitable angle.

Humble Bundle is a service that is well worth taking advantage of. You get your cheap games, and the rest of the world gets a little bit brighter. I think the world would do well with more such services, but for now, Humble Bundle will do.

Diversity in books still a work-in-progress

By Emily Pate

Literature can be an escape from everyday life, a place to retreat from reality. And yet, for many, these retreats are not as accommodating- or as representative–as they should be.

In 2012, Roxane Gay, writing for the Rumpus, surveyed books reviewed by the New York Times in 2011. She discovered that 90 percent of these books were written by white authors.

“That is not even remotely reflective of the racial makeup of this country,” Gay said, “where 72 percent of the population, according to the 2010 census, is white.” In addition, nearly 67 percent of the books were written by men.

It’s not just in adult books that this lack of diversity is found. Also in 2012, the Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) did a survey of 3,600 books for children. Of all these books, only 7.5 percent were about non-white characters.

CCBC also reports that, over the last two decades, the percentage of children’s books written by or about people of color has remained near 10 percent, instead of the 37 percent that would more accurately reflect the population of the United States.

However, CCBC’s data indicates that the percentage of these books rose in 2014, up from 10 percent to 14 percent. It’s a small step, but still in the right direction.

There are improvements in other areas as well. According to Diversity in YA, at, 47 LGBTQ+ books were published by mainstream publishers in 2014, a 59 percent increase from 2013, a number is still distressingly small considering the huge volume of books published every year.

And yet, like the percentages on racial diversity, the numbers are improving.

There are organizations that strive to take progress even farther. One such organization is the We Need Diverse Books Campaign, created in 2014 as a result of the lack of diversity in literature, especially in books directed towards young people.

On their website,, the campaign defines itself as an organization that “advocates essential changes in the publishing industry to produce and promote literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people.”

Representation is, as the We Need Diverse Books Campaign says, essential. Even aside from the desire to see oneself reflected in the pages of a book, diversity in literature, especially in books directed towards children and young adults, can teach empathy and self-confidence.

Better representations gives readers a broader, and more accurate, view of the world. Diversity is also something that anyone can contribute to. Through readers purchasing diverse books and encouraging better representation, the publishing industry can be directed towards literature that better represents all readers.