By Brenda Magana
The Los Angeles County Art Museum is a great place to be at one with art. It’s located by Wilshire Blvd and Fairfax Av in Los Angeles.
Anything one can think of as art can be found at LACMA such as sculptures, pottery, architecture, film and much more.
It holds over more than 120,000 art works. The museum contains works from the very famous: Picasso, van Gogh, Diego Rivera, and many more well-known artists.
Without a doubt, visiting the museum should be a must if one ever happens to be around Los Angeles.
By Brenda Magana
California University of Bakersfield held is annual Campus Celebration. Even though it was sprinkling, that did not put an end to the festivities. On the campus grounds were booths set up with information about different degrees and also clubs offered at CSUB.
Also, there was delicious food, and entertainment. The event attracted people from all ages. Anyone who went to the event could agree that it was a success!
The highly anticipated sequel to 2012’s The Avengers released last Friday to critical praise and the second highest grossing weekend in box office history, second only to its predecessor. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, however. Despite enjoying enormous financial successes, as well as a legion of adoring fans, many critics have acknowledged what the movie does well while still pointing out that the film is not as enjoyable as our favorite heroes’ original outing.
Age of Ultron is a decidedly different affair altogether in that it sees the Avengers post-origin story. From the jump, the film throws us into the mix and we get to see the heroes engage in a wholly satisfying battle with the few remaining HYDRA squadrons, as we’re informed that they’ve already disposed of the others handily.
The opening sequence does much to establish the camaraderie between teammates and new relationships that have begun to blossom. We can credit the first few minutes of the film with introducing us to the Black Widow and Hulk’s budding and tension-filled romance, as well as setting up Captain America’s aversion to vulgar language, which happens to be one of the film’s most enjoyable running gags.
Early on in the proceedings, we’re introduced to “the twins,” as they’re often referenced. The powerful siblings, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, are portrayed by Elizabeth Olson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson respectively and effectively hold their own on screen against the likes of Robert Downey Jr. and even James Spader, who employs equal parts humor and cunning in his portrayal of the titular villain, Ultron.
To be certain, Ultron’s motivations are clear. He was born from Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s desire to build an artificial intelligence that could simultaneously retire the Avengers and protect earth from global threats, domestic and abroad. However, things go awry when Ultron asserts that humanity’s extinction is the only path to earth’s salvation.
Spader brings Ultron to life and lends him a sense of sophistication and grandiosity, which happens to be a theme throughout the film, from the inclusion of new characters with mind bending (literally) powers to the globe-spanning adventures that our team finds themselves on.
Paul Bettany, a mainstay of the Ironman franchise, is allowed the opportunity to flex his acting chops as one of the newest Avengers, Vision. Without giving away too much of one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most fascinating introductions to a hero, Vision is an ultra powerful android who’s “birth” is the culmination of Tony Stark and Bruce Banner’s efforts, along with a little help from Thor, to revive an old friend and create the perfect antithesis to the sinister Ultron.
Movie goers who complained about the limited run that Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye got in the first Avengers will be pleased to see that he enjoys a more fleshed out and nuanced performance this go around. Audiences, and even Hawkeye himself, see exactly why these gods, monsters, super soldiers, and assassins need him around. It can be argued that Tony Stark and Steve Rogers are the heart and soul of the team, but Clint Barton is undoubtedly the glue that holds the team together and is a daily reminder of their humanity and vulnerability. Barton is the everyman among larger than life characters. The chaotic final battle showcases his ability to lead by example and inspire those around him to be the best versions of themselves. After seeing what keeps Barton busy when he’s not defending the planet from alien invasions and killer robots, its no wonder that he’s a natural leader.
Black Widow also has a bit of her back story teased through Wanda’s mental manipulation of the Avengers. We’re allowed a brief glimpse into her past and in a rare heart to heart with Bruce, she explains one of the far reaching consequences of her time in the “Red Room,” as a Soviet assassin in training. The scene is the most dramatic and heart wrenching in the MCU to date and offers further depth to Bruce and Natasha’s already turbulent relationship while allowing Scarlet Johansson to showcase a different side of the typically cunning and self assured Black Widow that we’ve come to know and love.
Mark Ruffalo portrays the troubled Bruce Banner, who continues to be antagonized by his alter ego, the Hulk. While the Hulk has seemingly proven himself useful in certain life threatening situations, the team understands the need to hold Banner back and only activate him in the event of a “Code Green.” The imminent threat that he poses to those around him is on full display after he goes on a rampage through the fictional nation of Wakanda, a location that ties into the creation of one particular Avenger’s famous shield and serves to set up another anticipated hero who’s yet to appear on the big screen. Ruffalo easily translates Banner’s pain and the internal struggle that he faces on a daily basis and leaves the audience heartbroken with his decision at the film’s end.
Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth once again portray the Big Three, if you will, of Ironman, Captain America, and Thor. They are the only Avengers to this point to helm their own franchises and they continue to turn in one satisfying performance after another. Thor is pivotal in this film, being that he’s the only Avenger with any kind of knowledge or understanding of the greater universe and the beings that exist beyond earth’s scope. In what may turn out to be the most prophetic of the Avenger’s Scarlet Witch-induced nightmares, Thor realizes that someone may be orchestrating events in favor of a dangerous endgame. His investigations may yield universe-altering revelations for the entire team. Expect his next solo film, Thor: Ragnarok, to further explore these elements. Especially noteworthy is how Tony Stark and Steve Rogers have continued to evolve over the course of their solo films, as well as their outings as Avengers. Despite some longstanding ideological differences and even a physical altercation here or there, the two maintain a strong friendship through the end of the film. This is all set to change next year, however, when Cap and Ironman face off against one another in a battle that will almost certainly destroy good will and pit teammates and friends against one another. With Antman the only film on Marvel’s slate left to be released before next year’s Captain America: Civil War, we could very well witness the seeds of discord and animosity being sewn either in that film or at the commencement of Civil War.
While Age of Ultron is an entirely different affair as opposed to its predecessor, its an entertaining spectacle nonetheless. One of the many positive aspects of AoU is that it isn’t a necessity to have seen any of the previous Marvel films. While there may be a nod here or a reference there, the film is largely self-sufficient and is an excellent point for any casual fan to hop aboard the unstoppable freight train that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One thing is for certain: this is Marvel’s age and their reign doesn’t appear to be ending anytime soon.
The Aviators, founded in the Fall of 2008, are a rock band out of Bakersfield, CA. Citing influences such as Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and the Rolling Stones, they have blended many styles and sounds into one uniquely their own. They epitomize the tenets of rock and roll and are garnering some major attention, helping to put their hometown on the map with a slew of live performances throughout California. The band is continually looking to aim even higher and they have even begun to venture into international performances.
The original members of the group, Daniel Reynoso and August Young, have remained the core of The Aviators over the past six years and counting; those two are the heart and soul, if you will. Young was a natural fit for the band given his impressive vocals and the fact that he and Reynoso have known each other since 2003, when the duo were in the seventh grade.
As told by Reynoso, the band started as a joke for his Aunt Bernice’s Halloween party. Bernice suggested that Reynoso get a group together to play a set out at her hangar in Shafter. From that night on, the rest was history. “We played two nights in a row out there… somebody was there that wanted to see us for a Toys for Tots Christmas [event] and we played that show and ever since then, it’s been people seeing us and wanting us again,” says Reynoso.
Over the years, the group has certainly seen its ups and downs, losing certain members and gaining others. Two recent additions include Sherwin Smith-Raggio and Will Slikker. For their part, the two more recent members are all in on The Aviators and their enthusiasm was palpable as they spoke about their experiences since partnering with the two mainstays of the group. Smith-Raggio brought his talent on the drums to the group about three years ago, in April 2012. Slikker joined in on the fun a year later when he was just 17 years old and still in high school. He looks back on the past two years of his life with The Aviators as a period where he experienced a lot of growth and as he stated “everything’s been going good.”
The most recent addition is bass player, Matt Reid. Reid joined The Aviators last April and has greatly enjoyed his time with the group, consistently engaging fans on social media and even taking time to shoot an Instagram video or two during a live performance.
When asked where the group saw themselves headed in the not too distant future, as well as long term, they answered without hesitation; “more countries, more shows, more states, more money, more records, more people, more beer, more whiskey, more scotch, more bourbon, more cigarettes.” As far as countries go, The Aviators can make the claim that they have performed internationally, as they recently enjoyed a trip to Canada to perform for our neighbors to the North. However, Kern County residents can still catch the band at local venues like B Ryder’s and Trout’s. It is clear that the group is showing no signs of slowing down and these Aviators will be flying the friendly skies for the foreseeable future.
California has an interesting an enthralling past that may be found if it is sought out especially in a classroom or a library. An additional place where a student of history might discover introductory information about the events surrounding Mexican-American history is surprisingly located in the Taft College cafeteria.
Dr. Altenhofel requires her students to create and give a lecture every semester on different ethnic groups. Students have used plays, monologues, and standard powerpoints in the past, but interestingly enough, a few students this year decided to make a documentary.
Daniel Contreras, Alejandro Carillo, and Fernando Flores collaborated to create a documentary on the Mexican-American history in the era of 1848-1975. This period covers from the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the later years of Cesar Chavez, and the driving force of the League of United Latin American Citizens (L.U.L.A.C.).
The documentary is in a style reminiscent of Ken Burns with voice-over and a compilation of photos. It is well made, and the history is explained clearly in the time available with the overall length being about twelve minutes. Sadly though, the audio is hard to hear in a busy cafeteria, but if a student wanted to view it, it may be good to visit the cafeteria between classes not during meal times, take a load off, and lend ear and eye to our South-Western American history.
The annual Art Department Faculty exhibit is currently on view in T-11 M-R 9-4, Friday 10-12. You will love the variety of this year’s exhibit. We have work from Anna Dimayuga, Jon Elsdon and Erin Kaczkowski who are the newest members of our team. Suzanne Acosta is not new, but has returned to teach online sections of ArtH 1500 and you would remember her as Suzanne Bothwell when she taught studio classes for us before. We have some video clips by Jon and some samples of work for Ann’s clients so you can see what working artists create for your viewing pleasure.
Please join us for the reception for the artists Monday, May 4th for the reception. At 3:30 Brian Jean will play the guitar as if it were a piano and Leigh Golling will do a dramatic reading about 4:15.
The Taft Abilities Partnership Team (TAPT) held its annual Wine and Cheese Tasting event at the Fort, a Taft landmark, on April 30. The charity event benefits the Fort Preservation Society and the Transition to Independent Living program at Taft College.
The event was catered by Taft College’s own Chef Geoffrey Dunham. Featured were hot dishes including meatballs, ribs, and mac and cheese bites, cold items including bruchetta, quiche, veggies with dip, and much more. The dessert table featured white and milk chocolate covered strawberries, crème puffs, churros, and fruit.
Entertainment was provided by the Taft Union High School Jazz Band who performed classic jazz favorites throughout the evening.
Various wineries provided wine for tasting offering a variety of wines allowing patrons to sample their wares. Soft drinks and water were also available
The event also had a silent auction and a bidding auction. Many items were donated by local people and businesses. The evening was relaxing and enjoyable allowing goers to partake of good food, good wine, good conversation, and good company.
TUHS Jazz Band
Ken Knost tries Chef Geof’s famous meatballs.
Billy White, Darcy Bogle, and Cal Vaughn enjoy the event.
Monday, April 27, 2015, the Rolling Chariots Basketball Team stormed into town to face the Taft College All Stars. The All Stars consisting of faculty and students fought heroically against the oncoming tide of the Rolling Chariots. The game was played using wheelchairs.
Hundreds of fans supported both teams with chanting and foot stomping. Most of the audience consisted of elementary school students and Taft College students The event was held to bring disabilities awareness to the people of Taft. The game was sponsored by the Taft Abilities Partnership Team (TAPT) which is an oversight committee to advocate for people with disabilities
The game was won by an overwhelming margin of 8 to 0 (zip, nada, zilch, big fat zero!) by the Chariots devastating their opponents before a rowdy crowd in the Taft College Gymnasium.
On April 22, 2015, Taft College held a Fitness Day in the quad.
They had rock climbing, a mechanical bull, and an obstacle course. Many people participated in Fitness Day. Athletes, non-athletes, and even a couple teachers decided to have some fun. They also had a health table to promote healthy aging. It was fun to watch students race each other in the obstacle course to see who would win, watch them ride the bull to see how long they could stay on without falling, and watch students rock climb to see if they could make it to the top.
This was definitely a successful event that took place at Taft College. You can sure that this event will return to Taft College in the future.