The Columbia Chronicle

Spicin’ it with Serrano

By Bertha Serrano

April 27, 2009

While many people in this country will be casting their votes on Election Day, I will be part of the percentage who won't be.Before you call me unpatriotic, I think I have a pretty good reason. In fact, I have one of the few good reasons why people in this country shouldn't vote. The truth is that if I do vote, I will be breaking the law and I can get charged for perjury.As I have said in an earlier column, I am only a legal resident. In other words, I can live in this country legally, work with my own social security number and I am able to travel back and forth. It also means I can say no to jury duty, and I won't be voting until I become a citizen, which won't be in time for this election.It's awkward trying to explain to people that I won't be voting, especially when most don't know I can't. It's very frustrating seeing people like my grandpa who can vote but chooses not to. I've given up trying to give him all the reasons why he should. Even my grandma, who is a legal resident, tells him that he should vote, and all she knows is that there's a black guy and an ugly white man running.As ironic as it might seem, I worked for a nonpartisan nonprofit organization for more than a year registering people to vote. I applied because I thought it would be easy money, and the organization didn't mind that I couldn't vote. Sure, I was preaching something I couldn't follow, but it was for a great cause.I would attend the naturalization ceremonies where people become citizens and register them there, or I would stand on State Street and Jackson Boulevard, and compete with other groups trying to get people to register. I had to lie to them when they asked who my vote was for. I would simply tell them I wasn't sure and change the subject right away. There was no way I could tell them that I couldn't.The legal process to become a citizen is really intense, and did I mention expensive? Once you become a legal resident, you have to wait four years and nine months to apply for citizenship. Everyone has a different experience with their process, but it took my family and me 13 years to become legal residents. We had to hire a lawyer, and we ended up paying more than $1,000 each to get a green card.I can now say I have been a resident for five years, and I am ready for that next step. I am not worried about the criminal background checks they do or the interview to make sure one has a grammar school reading level and a clear understanding of American democracy. I'm more worried about how much it's going to cost me.I would have to pay $675 plus the cost of a lawyer to apply for citizenship. Being the poor college student that I am, I'm not sure if I can afford to apply anytime soon. I just hope that by the time the next elections come, I will be casting my vote.

Sci-fi thrillers hitting stage

By Megan Ferringer

April 27, 2009

It's the year 2156-a volatile time when humans have exhausted most of Earth's natural resources-and a crew of seven is forced to search elsewhere in the universe for a rare element that just might bring Earth back to livable conditions. Once the crewmembers set foot on an uncharted asteroid, it's clear they're not alone, and are instead in the presence of all things ghoulish and extraterrestrial.It's not quite a scene from a...

Theater applies itself to iPhone

By Bertha Serrano

April 27, 2009

Although there are countless applications for the iPhone, one company managed to find a need for one and fulfilled it by creating a newly launched application.18On April 21, Broadway in Chicago became the first theater company to launch an application for iPhone users. This new app allows people to receive all necessary theater information without having to  look online.Eileen LaCario, vice president at Broadway in Chicag...

New film explores homosexuality in Bible

By Jim Wittmann

April 20, 2009

A new documentary by a local filmmaker to be released in May, Fish out of Water, intends to draw a correlation between homosexuality and the Bible. The crew plans to show the film at a number of film festivals.Seven Bible verses are examined in the film that directly deal with homosexuality and how Christians should react to it, said Ky Dickens, writer and director of the film.The film breaks down these verses and simplifie...

Happy sound doesn’t help Pomegranates’ mediocre record

By Evan Minsker

April 20, 2009

My listening patterns seem to change with the seasons. In the fall, Neil Young's more folk-inspired records are on rotation. By the end of the winter, it's loud punk and lo-fi music. When it starts getting a little warmer outside, it's nothing but indie-pop records. So it seems that the new album by Pomegranates has arrived just in time.Pomegranates are an indie-pop band from Cincinatti. Everybody, Come Outside! is their second full-length albu...

Flat Iron Left Behind

By Megan Ferringer

April 20, 2009

Several years ago, Wicker Park's art scene was burgeoning. Studio space was cheap, and yearly art festivals cluttered Milwaukee and Damen avenues with abstractly painted canvases and hopeful artists waiting to catch a passer by's attention. The vibe was tragically hip and the creativity infectious-at the height of Wicker Park's art festivals, more than 800 artists filled the Near West Side neighborhood, and at the center of all th...

Pine, Quinto talk ‘Trek’

By Evan Minsker

April 20, 2009

Since 1966, "Star Trek" has sparked dozens of variations-TV shows, movies, cartoons and merchandise, to name a few. The name of the short-lived and iconic show brings to mind a subculture, not just three seasons of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy.On May 7,  "Star Trek" will be revamped by "Lost" co-creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. Star Trek looks at the origins of Captain James T. Kirk, Spock and the crew of the USS...

A gentleman’s opinion

By Evan Minsker

April 20, 2009

Music festival season is drawing nearer. Every week, a new festival's lineup is announced. The lineups for Coachella, Bonnaroo and SXSW have been revealed and, within the next couple of months, the initial lineups for Lollapalooza and Pitchfork will head our way.Staring at these lists, I started to recognize something about myself: I'm a huge sucker for great band names. A great name is like the picture of Spider-Man on your birthday cake when you were 7-you're interested because Spider-Man is awesome, but what you really want is the delicious cake. Look at Ladyhawk, Mastodon and King Crimson. Those names are way cooler than The Doors, Can or Yes.At this college, students are meeting other students and forming bands all over the place. But before you name your band, take into consideration the damage a bad band name could do to your reputation.There aren't any "rules" for naming a band, but the name is what entices listeners in the first place. If your creative side isn't guiding you toward a killer name, consider these excellent guidelines.Use somebody else's name. No, don't name your band Huey Lewis and The News. Name yourself after a B-List actor or old football player or something. Look at Abe Vigoda, the band that took the name of the B-Lister from the first two Godfather films. I only paid attention to them because of the name. Example: John Turturro.Lose the "the." The Vines/Hives/White Stripes/Strokes did it, and so did dozens of others. Just drop the "the."Avoid the common indie themes. There are a few terms that have imprinted themselves into frequent use. The big two are "black" (Black Lips, Black Keys, Black Kids) and "wolf" (Wolf Parade, Wolfmother).(Name) and his/her (blank). Within the past year, I was instantly charmed by two different band names. First, there was Gentleman Jesse and His Men. Then, there was Dent May and His Magnificent Ukulele. It's an excellent decision for a name. Example: Carl and His Handsome Weathers.Make your own word. And make it an awesome one. If Superchunk can do it, so can you. Example: Lemontron or Wafflestomper (the latter is actually a real word and an awesome Steven Seagal caricature on Nickelodeon's "Doug").Three-word names are awesome. Neutral Milk Hotel and Creedence Clearwater Revival got it right. Three-word band names are definitely superior (possible exception: Fall Out Boy). Example: Seven Empty Urns.Adorable is in. If you can name a band Sparklehorse or The Unicorns and gain a following, then cute stuff is fair game. Example: Tiny Puppy Express.Misspell or revamp someone's name. Just as The Juan Maclean ruined Mr. American Pie's name, you should capitalize on the success of an old singer-songwriter. Example: Chat Stevens.Obviously, I'm not an authority on naming bands. Still, heed my words: If your band name sucks, you'll never end up on the lineup for a big festival. Those spots are reserved for names like Eagles of Death Metal or Times New Viking.

Rogen, Faris talk mall cops

By Megan Ferringer

April 13, 2009

Within the past few years, comedy has seemed to find its new legends, and right now, a dynamic handful of loveable men and women are fearless in the world of creating all things lewd, nude and witty.It's no surprise then, to see two of comedy's freshest faces partnering up for a comedy barely tiptoeing around the line of NC-17 territory-Observe and Report. The then-plump Seth Rogen, appearing on screen with his signature ...

CHIRP no longer tuned out

By Evan Minsker

April 13, 2009

It's been seven years since Chicago gained its first inner-city record fair. Every April for seven years, record collectors, music enthusiasts and artists gather at the Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) Record Fair and Other Delights for vinyl, handmade items and, well, other delights.The record fair takes place on April 18 and 19 at the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. This is the first o...

Snuggie pub crawl gets cozy

By Bertha Serrano

April 13, 2009

Many consumers can't get enough of products like Chia Obama, The Slap Chop and foot alignment socks. Someone out there felt something was missing in their life and decided to create things like teddy bears to relieve the pressure from a seat belt, a male enhancer and the latest phenomenon-Snuggies.A group of Chicagoans decided to take these oversized blankets with sleeves  beyond the couch and to the outdoors. On April 1...

Don’t ‘Observe’ new Rogen movie

By David Orlikoff

April 13, 2009

Often in art, certain ideas and practices become so pervasive that they define the vast majority of production. This is especially true for film, where studios are wary of risking too much money on a new idea and would much rather churn out an action sequel from an established franchise. From a consumer standpoint, it all starts to look like the same old garbage with each piece getting progressively staler. There have been s...

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