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Hail to the Queens, Kings

April 4, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Photos by Ana Bundy/The News Kara Bell performs for the crowd.

Photos by Ana Bundy/The News
Kara Bell performs for the crowd.

I am going to tell you about Murray State’s Fame Drag Show, but first, let me take a selfie.

As I stood in line, I had second thoughts. I had never experienced a drag show and never really thought that I would want to.

Each second leading up to the introduction I grew more nervous. I was just there to cover the event for The Murray State News, but how could I properly explain a culture I was not emersed in?

I saw students, community members and LGBT members with pockets full of dollar bills flocking to the Curris Center Large Ballroom Thursday night for the Murray State Alliance’s biannual drag show.

And finally, the show began. For the rest of the night, I sat and absorbed the high-energy performances.

Six queens and four kings performed to popular songs like “Talk Dirty to Me,” “Drunk in Love” and “Let Me Take a Selfie.” The lights, the music, the performers and the crowd all brought a certain karisma to the room.

Photos by Ana Bundy/The News Aubrey takes a dollar bill from Stephen Offut, senior from Madisonville, Ky.

Photos by Ana Bundy/The News
Aubrey takes a dollar bill from Stephen Offut, senior from Madisonville, Ky.

Through the first half of the drag show, I wasn’t sure what to think, but as intermission came around, they invited those who had never been to a drag show on stage to dance. You know, I never pass up “The Cupid Shuffle.” I danced on stage and from there, I was more open to the experience. I even handed one of the lovely queens a dollar bill.

Opening myself up to this experience was something I advise most people to do at least once in their life.

Although this event was out of my comfort zone to cover, it taught me that there are microcultures we may not understand completely, but seeing the interaction can change a perspective.

I have mad respect for the kings and queens who are comfortable performing on stage and to the crowd and LGBT community who joins together to have a good time.


Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor

Hadfield to perform in Murray

March 28, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Photo courtesy of Sam Hadfield Sam Hadfield will be performing April 10 at Fidalgo Bay.

Photo courtesy of Sam Hadfield
Sam Hadfield will be performing April 10 at Fidalgo Bay.

The smaller music venues in Murray offer the community a unique, up-close and personal concert with some of the best musicians in the region.

Sam Hadfield, singer and songwriter based out of Nashville, Tenn., is coming to deliver a little country, blues and bluegrass to Murray April 10.

He will make an appearance for an in-store performance at Terrapin Station from 1-1:30 p.m. Hadfield will also be perform at Fidalgo Bay from 6-8 p.m.

Hadfield grew up in Paducah, Ky., and attended Lone Oak High School. When Hadfield graduated he attended University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

“I skated by as much as possible,” Hadfield said. “I like to say I ‘passed’ college but that’s about the extent of the work I did there. I was more interested in Louisville’s music scene.”

Though Hadfield immersed himself in the music scene in college, his interest in music developed at a young age.

“My dad was in the Navy in San Francisco in the 70s and he’d tell me stories about seeing crazy rock ‘n’ roll bands out there,” he said. “That captured my imagination for sure. I was a basketball player at the time and I grew out my hair and started showing up to practice wearing a Grateful Dead T-shirt. It was all over after that.”

Hadfield’s passion for music led him toward an interest in music journalism. He said he always thought he was a decent writer, but not much of a musician.

Hadfield’s ever-growing interest in music had him digging into discography of legends such as Bob Dylan and John Prine. These influences shed some light on the songwriter’s potential career path.

“You don’t have to be a great singer or a virtuoso guitar player,” Hadfield said. “If you can write and capture a feeling you can be a musician. It’s all about making a connection with your fellow humans.”

While staying true to his beliefs, Hadfield pursued his music career and created the sound he has today. The music he plays is inspired by his surroundings and experiences in everyday life including moving from the country to the city, past relationships, traveling and late nights on the town.

Regardless of the nature of the song, Hadfield says he is true to himself by writing about these life experiences.

“My family plays a big part in my music (because) we’re really close,” he said. “I try to write about what I know and what I’ve grown up around.”

For seven years, the musician has played live gigs, but this is the first year Hadfield will tour, which he says is bittersweet. Although touring is exciting, there are disadvantages for any traveler.

“When you’re starting out like me you run into new responsibilities every day,” he said. “You have to act as your own manager, booking agent, accountant and publicist. And after all of that you write and play. It’s really just a constant grind but to me the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Getting to travel and meet new people every night is very appealing to me.”

Hadfield also works fulltime to save money for his travels so he can continue to meet new people and book more gigs. He said he looks forward to visiting Murray not only to meet new people, but to reunite with old friends as well.

“I can’t wait to visit Murray,” he said. “Since Paducah is so close a lot of my friends and family have moved to Murray to go to school. So it’s kind of going to be a little reunion of seeing old faces. I’m expecting a wild good time that evening.”


Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor

Tyson’s first stage performance

March 28, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Jenny Rohl/The News Briana Tyson performs one of her original songs during Lovett Live, Tuesday.

Jenny Rohl/The News
Briana Tyson performs one of her original songs during Lovett Live, Tuesday.

Leather couches, ceiling lights, fog machines, crew and audience members filled the stage Tuesday night as rising star Briana Tyson performed with her band in Lovett Auditorium.

Tyson and her band were welcomed onto the stage by local radio station Froggy 103.7, who also broadcasted the entire show.

Tyson’s show was a part of the Lovett Live concert series.

Lovett Live is a concert series that brings a mixture of artists to Murray for an intimate concert setting.

“Thanks for coming out tonight,” Tyson said. “I’ve never actually been to Murray so I’m very excited.”

The band opened with one of Tyson’s original songs called “Never Been Better” and ended the night with a cover of Miranda Lambert’s “Baggage Claim.”

Tyson also sang one of her idol’s songs “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer and Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You.”

Tuesday was the first time Tyson performed live with the full band, although they had practices beforehand. Also in the band was Tyson’s sister, Sabrina Tyson, who sang backup vocals.

“One of our sorority sisters who works at the CFSB Center, posted on our sorority’s (Facebook) wall to come to the show tonight,” said Sarah Mattison, freshman from Bowling Green, Ky.

Mattison attended the show with two of her Alpha Omicron Pi sorority sisters, Katherine Dawson, freshman from Henderson, Ky., and Holli Gromelski, junior from Mattoon, Ill.

The sorority sisters also met with Tyson and her band after the show where they got their tickets autographed by Tyson.

Tyson’s next performance will be in Nashville, Tenn., where the band will continue working toward a tour this summer.


Story by Brandon Cash, Staff writer

‘Winter’s Tale’ inspires belief in miracles

February 21, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Photo courtesy of fandango.com Winter’s Tale was released Feb. 15.

Photo courtesy of fandango.com
Winter’s Tale was released Feb. 15.

“Magic is everywhere around us. We just have to look … closely.”

When I first sat down in the theater, notepad and pen in hand, I expected “Winter’s Tale” to be a hokey love story about magic and everlasting love. However, I was mistaken.

The film is about miracles, destiny and doing something for the good of others rather than for yourself.

Peter Lake is an orphan who made his living dancing and singing in the streets for coins and pickpocketing. One day, a man named Pearly recognizes his talent for stealing and hires him as a jewel thief, but when something goes wrong, Pearly puts a price on Peter’s head.

On one particular mission, Peter breaks into the home of a wealthy family. He finds the safe and begins to break it when he realizes that he’s not alone. He spots a woman, Beverley Penn, and immediately falls in love.

Now Peter must decide to either leave town to escape from Pearly or stay with Beverley.

Peter comes to find that inside everyone is a miracle. Each miracle is meant for one person. Once you become that miracle and fulfill your destiny, you die and become a star to be with the ones you love.

The premise of this film is chillingly beautiful. It left me feeling hopeful (and crying in the back of the theater by myself). It is full of passion and love.

I will say that the film started out a little shaky. It took me a while to figure out what was going on and where the story was heading.

Some scenes were choppy and the dialogue didn’t feel natural, but the characters worked well together.

On the other hand, the cinematography was stunning. The director accentuated the light in every scene, making the movie a work of art rather than a portrayal of a fictional story.

The movie also had reoccurring symbolism, especially the emphasis on light and stars.

Although most of the scenes were based on love and passion, it was not all mushy-gushy.

The constant battle between good and evil gave the film an edge. The “demons” led by Pearly and Lucifer try to thwart Peter’s miracle throughout the entire film. Therefore, the drama balances with the action of the fighting and conflict.

Overall, the film inspired me and made me want to bawl my eyes out, but I won’t tell you why because no one likes a spoiler.

I would recommend this movie to men and women of all ages.

Whether you need some inspiration to go find your purpose in life or you just need a good cry, this movie will appeal to everyone.


Story by Madison Wepfer, Staff writer 

Popular app ruins self-esteem

Photo courtesy of gameskinny.com Creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, launched the application for the iPhone in May 2013. It took Nguyen only two days to create the game.

Photo courtesy of gameskinny.com
Creator of Flappy Bird, Dong Nguyen, launched the application for the iPhone in May 2013. It took Nguyen only two days to create the game.

It was a cold Jan. 27, another dreary Monday after classes curled up in bed when I made the worst decision of my short life.

Scrolling through Twitter, I saw an update on my timeline indicating Apple’s most downloaded app of the day. I decided to give it a try and see what the hype was all about.

The name of the game: Flappy Bird. The object: guide a small fish-looking bird through the air without so much as grazing the pipes that come from both the top and the bottom of the screen.

I downloaded the app and immediately began playing.

My first few attempts at the game were sad and seemingly hopeless. However, as a moderate gamer, I understood learning to maneuver this bird correctly might take a few tries.

I kept tapping away, each time almost making it through that first pipe, but not quite.

On my fourth or fifth attempt, I made it through the first pipe. I was so overjoyed, I almost forgot I had to keep going. Within a matter of seconds my flappy bird fell and I became instantly frustrated with myself.

What better thing was there to do on a Monday evening? I kept playing and the frustration of such a simple-minded game took over every sense in my body.

My roommate can attest to the profanity that echoed through the hallways of Elizabeth Residential College that evening. For those of you who need an example, it was reminiscent of a Lil Wayne song.

Even worse is that this escapade lasted close to two hours, drained my phone battery and my highest score remained at five. That’s all.

Shortly after, I deleted Flappy Bird because I realized it was ruining my self-esteem and the quality of life of those around me with my anger.

I am one of the few who got out in time, so I guess my bad decision could have been much worse.

In the end, Flappy Bird became a sensation and people were actually earning scores higher than five. I saw posts of screenshots on Facebook as high as 153.

Maybe I’m a little bitter, but my first thought was, “Where them cheat codes at?”

Anyways, the game is a rip off of Mario World with a difficulty level that tests your patience. It is amazing to me how Dong Nguyen, the creator, didn’t face copyright infringement charges.

Despite that, the game has been removed from the app store because the creator said it interferred with his “simple life.”

Whatever the reason, Flappy Bird may be gone, but it is definitely not forgotten just yet.

Those who downloaded the game before the app was pulled from the store are still able to play the game. Some people are even selling their phones for more than $90,000 on eBay. It gets worse. People are actually buying them.

I find this ridiculous, but like I said I am bitter. The game is challenging. It requires patience and determination.

Consider this a Public Service Announcement. Though the game may be gone for good, I encourage every person not to try Flappy Bird.

However, I should probably tell you the opposite. After all, the only reason I downloaded the game was because someone else told me it would be a bad idea.

Listen to the reviews. If you are already addicted, there is still hope. Check into Flappy Bird rehab now. Otherwise, enjoy the other games created after the Flappy Bird sensation such as Splashy Fish, Flappy Fish, Flappy Unicorn and Flappy Plane.


Story by Hunter Harrell, Features Editor 

Oh, Sweet Murray: Zac Brown Band energizes CFSB

Megan Godby/The News Zac Brown performs “Southern Wind” to open the show at the CFSB Center Saturday night.

Megan Godby/The News
Zac Brown performs “Southern Wind” to open the show at the CFSB Center Saturday night.

Mother Nature decided to cooperate Saturday night for the Zac Brown Band concert. Several students broke out their cowboy boots for the occasion, while others were rocking the Zac Brown beard and sock hat.

Around 6 p.m. the CFSB Center began to fill up. Although the show was not sold out, children, college students, high school students and community members filled seats all the way up to the nosebleed section.

Promptly at 7 p.m. the A.J. Ghent Band from Atlanta, Ga., took the stage.

“I enjoyed the A.J. Ghent Band because it was energetic and upbeat,” said Stephanie Tapia, sophomore from Danville, Ky.

The band also did covers of “Purple Rain” by Prince and “Boondocks” by Little Big Town.

Levi Lowrey followed the A.J. Ghent Band. The atmosphere of the concert shifted from soul and intricate guitar solos to classic country-bluegrass with an edge.

Lowery started slowly with “December Thirty-One” and picked it up with his second song, “The Problem with Freedom,” during which he had a unique electric violin solo.

After Levi Lowrey and his band cleared the stage, the audience waited in anticipation for the Zac Brown Band.

Finally, the lights dimmed and a translucent curtain that covered the stage lit up, revealing the silhouette of a band member.

Static came through the sound system with the occasional fragment of a song, much like an old radio tuner. The static cleared and the seats buzzed with the reverb of the bass.

Zac came out from underneath the curtain with his guitar and played “Southern Winds.” After his solo, the curtain dropped and the entire band was revealed.

The next set of songs went back to country roots. The curtain behind the stage lit up to look like stars as the band performed “The Wind,” followed by “As She’s Walking Away” featuring A.J. Ghent on guitar, “All Alright” and “Whiskey’s Gone” featuring a trio between the guitar, violin and banjo.

“(Zac Brown Band) was always so energized,” said Alex Pologruto, from Murray. “They kept the good vibes going throughout the whole concert.”

In contrast to the bluegrass-like sounds of the previous set the next song was a cover of “Enter Sandman” by Metallica.

The song was completely true to form with no country or bluegrass twists. When that iconic guitar riff started, the crowd went nuts.

“(Zac Brown Band) played a variety of different tastes,” said Aaron Clayton, from Murray. “It was a true live concert. It literally had something from every genre of music.”

The band then seamlessly transitioned from heavy metal to the acoustic “Sweet Annie.” Following the transition, the band performed “Toes.” Everyone in the stands instantly stood up and began to sing along.

Next on the agenda was a cover of “Can’t You See” by the Marshall Tucker Band that included solos by each band member. The performance morphed into an on-stage jam-session.

Following that performance, each band member sat in a semi-circle. Zac Brown dedicated the next song to a friend of theirs who died in a car accident.

“He was one of the best souls and musicians we’ve ever known, so we wrote this song for him,” Brown said. “This is called ‘Lance’s Song.’”

“Lance’s Song” transitioned into a cover of “Piano Man” by Billy Joel. Cellphones were up, friends swung their arms around each others’ shoulders, swayed to the beat and sang along. Finally, to close the concert, they performed “Chicken Fried.”

“Raise the roof off this bitch,” Brown said as he sang the first chorus.

The band said its goodbyes and walked off stage. As people exited the CFSB, monotonous music began to play.

Suddenly, a skeleton face appeared on the screen and the band walked out wearing neon skeleton suits and masks which lit up under the blacklights. Even their instruments lit up.

“The skeleton part at the end was my favorite,” said Kaitlyn Walker, from Murray. “I loved all the fireworks in the background.”

Zac Brown also performed covers of “Cashmere” by Led Zeppelin and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” by Charlie Daniels during their eerie encore.

“Overall, it had a good musical texture,” said Alex Brumley, from Murray. “Many genres were played which proves it’s a good song if it can be played in any genre.”

According to students, Zac Brown Band kept up the energy the entire show and never let the audience down. The band played favorites and threw in a couple shockers to keep the audience on their toes.

Also, attendees who bought tickets donated a dollar to Zac Brown’s new camp called Camp Southern Ground for children with special needs.

The universal theme of the concert rang true in every song as stated by Zac himself.

“Let it rain,” Brown said. “Let all the bullshit come and go.”


Story by Madison Wepfer, Staff writer

Playhouse in the Park produces a “Holy Grail” of a spoof

February 14, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Fumi Nakaruma / The News The Playhouse in the Park cast rehearses for its upcoming performance of “Spamalot.”

Fumi Nakaruma / The News
The Playhouse in the Park cast rehearses for its upcoming performance of “Spamalot.”


“Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?” “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries!” “Huge tracts of land.” and “It’s just a flesh wound.” These are some of the most quoted lines in the play “Monty Python’s Spamalot” presented this month by Playhouse in the Park.

The play is based on the Monty Python movie, “Monty Python and The Holy Grail,” a parody of King Arthur and the Round Table.

It is co-directed by Lisa Cope and William Jones and has approximately 27 people in the cast.

“We describe it as absolute lunacy,” Cope said. “The characters are way over the top … It just seemed to fit nicely into this season, which is titled ‘Something For Everyone.’”

The musical premiered on Broadway in 2005, directed by Mike Nichols, and won three Tony Awards, including the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season.

“Anyone who is a fan of the 1975 cult-classic ‘Holy Grail’ film who comes to see the musical at Playhouse in the Park will not be disappointed,” Jones said. “Everything you expect to find is there: coconut-clacking servants, piles of ‘not-quite-dead’ people on carts, to name a few.”

The rights to the play were made available in 2013, and Playhouse in the Park bought the rights and had “Spamalot” as part of last season’s shows.

“Spamalot,” however, was bumped to this season when the rights to “Shrek, The Musical” became available.

Still, Playhouse in the Park is one of the first community theaters in this region to put on “Spamalot.”

Though the movie only has two songs, the play incorporates several silly, upbeat songs.

A few new characters are introduced as well, for example, The Lady of the Lake, which is played in the production by Joanne Robertson.

“The musical is great fun for Python fans,” Jones said. “But you don’t have to know the film to enjoy this silly, raucous, hilarious show.”


Story by Brandon Cash, Staff writer 

Super Bowl commercials stir controversy

February 7, 2014 Features, Media Reviews
Photo courtesy of budweiser.com Puppy meets Clydesdale in Budweiser’s commercial.

Photo courtesy of budweiser.com
Puppy meets Clydesdale in Budweiser’s commercial.

America’s favorite Sunday finally arrived complete with snacks galore, Bruno Mars and the best commercials aired on television. Of course, watching the game and the halftime show is great, but what the majority of viewers look forward to the most is the commercials. However, according to Murray State students, the commercials this year were a little disappointing.

“I thought the Super Bowl commercials this year weren’t very good compared to previous years,” said Kelsey Henderson, senior from St. Louis, Mo. “There were no shockers.”

Past Super Bowl commercials have shocked and awed their audiences. That is how they got their reputation of being the best commercials aired all year.

The commercials are oftentimes one of the main reasons why people watch the Super Bowl, especially if their favorite team is not playing. Of course, the Puppy Bowl is a close second. This year, students agreed it was sad to see the commercials lacking.

“Overall, they could have been better,” said Erin McCallon, sophomore from Kirksey, Ky. “I was upset they leaked the commercials beforehand, which took the surprise out of it.”

However, there were definite diamonds in the rough.

According to students, some of their favorite commercials either tugged at their heart strings or made them laugh.

“My favorite commercial was the time machine one from Doritos,” said Lane Northcutt, junior from Frankfurt, Ky. “It was funny and didn’t really push the product, but it was a memorable commercial.”

Others enjoyed the return of the Budweiser Clydesdale. Last year, the horse befriended a child and the commercial portrayed the child growing up and the bond between the two. This year, Budweiser took a cute and cuddly approach.

“My favorite would be the puppy and the horse one because it was cute and I’m an animal person,” Henderson said. “Also, Budweiser makes me think of home because I’m from St. Louis.”

Other students enjoyed the celebrity endorsements and found them more entertaining and creative than the other commercials on game day.

“The Tim Tebow commercial was by far the best,” said Lena Hartlage, junior from Lousiville, Ky. “He talks about not having a contract and he runs through fire carrying puppies. He’s a rock star and a doctor. He basically does everything you can do without a contract. Plus, he’s hot.”

According to news sites, the top five commercials are similar to the ones that students chose. The media chose commercials such as the Muppets driving a Toyota and Budweiser’s to salute our troops.

Although some commercials pulled at viewers’ heart strings or got a good laugh out of them, this year had some controversial commercials, too.

Social media posts regarding the controversy surrounding Coca-Cola’s “America is beautiful” advertisement in several languages caused more of an uproar than expected. However, many students found it creative and inspiring.

“My favorite was the Coke commercial with the different ethnicities singing ‘America the Beautiful,’” said Tyler Burch, Senior from Belleville, Ill. “It is basically a song about how awesome America is.”

The languages that showed up in the commercial were the most common immigrant languages used in the U.S. including German, Irish, English, Spanish, Tagalog, Senegalese, French and Hebrew. The commercial served as a tribute to the diversity of America in religion, culture and language.

“We pride ourselves on being diverse and being a melting pot of different cultures,” said Olivia Dreckman, junior from Louisville, Ky. “I liked that they used #americaisbeautiful and that it highlighted what makes (Americans) most beautiful.”

Although the commercials had their high points, they also had some flops. The worst commercials, according to students, were GoDaddy and CarMax.

Viewers have high expectations each year, but this year students agreed the commercials were almost as disappointing as the game. Sorry fans, maybe next year.


Story by Madison Wepfer, Contributing writer

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