Holiday movie guide to get in the festive spirit Friday, Nov 29 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

It’s that time of year again–nights by the fireplace while sipping eggnog and hot cocoa. The time of year where we think of others more than ever and give gifts. It’s time for holiday parties and cold nights with friends and loved ones. This also means it’s time to snuggle up in the living room and watch holiday movies that remind us why this time of year is so special. The Cardinal has prepared a list of five of the most festive films to make it easier for students to get in the holiday spirit.

1. Planes, Trains and Automobiles – John Hughes (1987)

John Hughes is a legendary filmmaker often regarded for many things, but his greatest gift was in casting the spotlight on the lives of small-town middle Americans in a sympathetic and forward-thinking manner. He is an auteur of the classic “coming-of-age” story in film history, but his 1987 holiday film “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” might be his finest comedic work. Featuring the likes of comedic geniuses Steve Martin and John Candy at the height of their careers, the movie is a wholesome story about two irreverent characters heading home for the holidays. Inevitably, the two characters butt heads due to their incredibly different lifestyles and personalities. But what “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” teaches is to appreciate people who are different than us and to embrace the holiday sense of giving and charity. It is a film that sheds sympathy for the downtrodden, the forgotten and the eccentric people in this world, and it reminds us that helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

2. A Charlie Brown Christmas – Bill Meléndez (1965)

There are few names as well known as “Charlie Brown” when it comes to naming classic holiday films. The Charlie Brown series has its name attached to a number of different holidays over the years, but without a doubt, “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is the best of them all. This is a film that captures the spirit and essence of the holidays, as well as the nostalgia and child-like wonder that accompany the holidays. It’s a film about friendship, togetherness, selflessness and caring about people. It also happens to have one of the most recognized and well-regarded soundtracks to any holiday movie.

3. Elf – Jon Favreau (2003)

Just when it seemed like Hollywood was running out of ideas for holiday films, “Elf” came along in 2003 and cemented itself as a modern holiday classic. Sure, the film is filled with clichés and some of Will Ferrell’s goofiest comedy to date, but it’s also an undeniably charming, funny and wholesome holiday film. It’s a film that reiterates already well-known themes of the holidays and why they’re important, but it’s the way “Elf” executes its ideas that makes it an endearing film. Ferrell is hilarious as Buddy the Elf, and as a character, is someone who forces others to reevaluate their selfishness during the holidays.

4. A Christmas Story – Bob Clark (1983)

“A Christmas Story” is a holiday classic in every sense of the word and a film as synonymously American as apple pie. It’s a film that nearly everyone mentions as the quintessential holiday film and one that tells a familiar story of the holidays in small-town America. It’s a funny, endearing and amusing story that shows how an entire family handles the holiday season. From Ralphie’s insatiable desire to have the newest and greatest gifts under the Christmas tree, to his father being overworked and jaded about the holidays, and his mother being overworked and stressed during this time of year, what “A Christmas Story” does best is show us that the holidays can be both full of wonder and worry depending on who you are. Furthermore, “A Christmas Story” manages to tell these stories through a lens that is relatable and undoubtedly hilarious, making it one of the best feel-good movies of the season.

5. It’s a Wonderful Life – Frank Capra (1946)

“It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film that has been called the greatest holiday movie of all time year after year, and there is a reason for that. Not only is “It’s a Wonderful Life” the best holiday film ever, it’s also one of the greatest films of any genre ever made. Yes, this is an old movie, and yes, some younger viewers may be thrown off by the original film’s black and white cinematography, but it’s also a rare film that can resonate with people of all ages. It’s a film about learning not to take what you have for granted during the most important time of year. A film that exclaims that no matter how stressful or hard your life may be, you should take time to understand the importance of being thankful for what you do have. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a film about compassion, acceptance, togetherness and, as the title implies, life.

Festive Mentions: “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (1967); “Home Alone” (1990); “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” (1989); “The Santa Claus” (1994); “Miracle on 34th Street” (1994); “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (1993); “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (1964).

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal 

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How-to turn a bland dorm into a festive getaway Monday, Nov 25 2019 

By Haley Snyder —

It’s hard being away from home around the holidays. If you’re living on campus, celebrating the season can feel lonely without the comforts of home. Here are a few ways to get your dorm or apartment ready for the holiday season.

Cook a Cozy Meal

Tis’ the season to eat ALL of the food you want. Being home means the aroma of fresh-baked treats and meals wafting through the halls. Take a page from your momma’s book and cook yourself a meal. Turkey, pumpkin pancakes or a pot of chili. Any of these classics can make you feel much more at home.

Add throw blankets

“I have too many blankets,” said no one ever. Add a few throw blankets to your couch, bed and chair because wrapping up in a blanket is almost as good as a bear hug from your loved ones. Not to mention a fall colored or textured throw can act as a decoration for your space.

Candles. Everywhere.

If you can’t bake, fake it until you make it. Adding candles not only adds a pretty, dim light to the room but a delicious smell to come home too. Not to mention, candles can add decoration to any size space. Maybe burn a candle that you brought from home. Burn responsibly!

Holiday Treats

Take some time to bake cookies, a pie, or brownies–whatever your heart desires. If you’re not the baking type, grab a few treats from your local store to keep at home. When you’re feeling down, remember there is nothing that a slice of pie can’t fix.

Host a ‘Friendsgiving’

If you miss being close to family, consider planning a Thanksgiving dinner for your group of friends. The holiday season is all about spending time and giving thanks to those closest to you, and what better way to fill your heart than by spending time with your best friends over a cozy holiday meal? Make it a tradition.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Porter Scholars accept donations for homeless at Thanksgiving dinner Monday, Nov 25 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

The University of Louisville’s Porter Scholars group gathered Nov. 21 to throw their seventh annual Thanksgiving dinner. The group collected winter accessories for the homeless community in Louisville as part of the event.

The Engage Lead Serve Board (ELSB) partnered with the Porter Scholars to serve dinner for a multitude of students both within and outside of the Porter Scholars organization. Leondra Gully, the advisor for the Porter Scholars, has been a part of their annual Thanksgiving dinner since its fruition in 2013, and she’s seen it serve a wide array of people in the community while also having an impact on students.

Gully said, “We can still come together, have fun, and have a social piece, but also incorporate some sort of service in giving back to the community. You don’t have to be rich, you don’t have to be of a certain status, and you don’t have to look a certain way; anybody can benefit from giving back.”

Gully said a big part of starting the Thanksgiving dinner was not only so that people could get together before leaving campus for the holidays, but also so people who weren’t able to travel home for Thanksgiving would have a place to go for a good dinner.

“Some people don’t get to go home for Thanksgiving,” said Jalena Slaton, the vice president of the Porter Scholars. “So this is as close to family as they get, whether it be with the Porter community or just the campus community as a whole.”

Taris Smith, the president of the Porter Scholars and board member of ELSB, worked to get the sock company Bombas to donate 2,000 pairs of socks to help give out to the homeless community. They also received donations from U of L’s School of Dentistry such as toothbrushes and toothpastes to put in care boxes. “Our goal is at least 100 care packages. Every year we try to accommodate more people and do a bigger service aspect,” Smith said.

As far as the dinner itself goes, local restaurants like Boss Hog’s BBQ and Lucretia’s Kitchen served food that included turkey, chicken, dressing, green beans and stuffing.

Donations for the winter accessories drive will continue through December. Goods such as scarves and mittens can be dropped off in bins dispersed around campus.

Photo by Jordan Geisler // The Louisville Cardinal 

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New Music Festival allows audience to experience music in new ways Friday, Nov 22 2019 

By Zoe Watkins —

Last week, the University of Louisville’s School of Music held their fall New Music Festival with a plethora of concerts highlighting unique forms of music.

The festival began in 1998 to show how music can be made in creative and innovative ways. Students would take classic pieces and interpret them in a way that was unique and modern for the current time.

This year’s New Music Festival included all different types of concerts with performances from the University Percussion Ensemble, the Faculty Chamber concert, the New Music Ensemble, the Longleash trio and the Elysian Trombone Quarter.

Krysztof Wołek, director for the Electronic Music Concert, said the pieces chosen were classics of the electronic medium. “They were the first pieces that really did take the medium to larger forms,” he said. “They used technology of the times to the full extent.”

The final event of the week was the Electronic Music Concert.

Most of the pieces played during the performance were from when electronic music was just being introduced to the music world. During the performance, the pieces “Bicycle Built for Two” by Harry Dacre, “Gesang der Jünglinge im Feuerofen” by Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Symphonie pour un homme seul” by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry, “Bye Bye Butterfly” by Pauline Oliveros and “Silver Apples of the Moon” by Morton Subotnick were played.

Derek Carter, third year graduate student and event organizer, said they chose these pieces was because they act as a staple to the electronic music world.

“Pretty much everyone on this program made a large contribution to tape music. They’re kind of like the grandfathers and grandmothers of this genre so we’re paying homage to them,” Carter mentioned.

In an interesting twist all five pieces are a live spatialization of themselves.

“So essentially, we are going to be playing these pieces through all of these speakers in the hall and we’re going to be sending the audio to different speakers, so you can hear the sound move around,” Carter explained.

First year graduate student Gunner Basinger included a lot of the spatialization element in his interpretation of “Bye Bye Butterfly”.

“There was a moment where there was a recording where a full orchestra comes in and I tried to reserve that moment for fading all of the faders in and so that moment would hit louder for example,” Basinger said.

Though there was a lot of memorizing and trying to find focal points, he found it to be a great lesson in acoustics and how sound diffracts in a space. “I love the event, it was fantastic. I think it is great that U of L is doing an electronic music concerts,” Basinger exclaimed.

If you didn’t have time to make it to this semester’s New Music Festival, there will be another one held in the spring for people to see how many other ways music can be adapted.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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CAMT’s production of “Next to Normal” captivates U of L Friday, Nov 22 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

If you happened to miss the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre’s (CAMT) production of “Next to Normal,” there’s only one thing I can say: I’m sorry for your loss.

CAMT brought to life a transfixing, mesmerizing experience that leaves the viewer feeling equally affected and connected by its brilliant writing, its nuanced, multi-faceted acting and its masterful direction.

“Next to Normal” is a story that has already achieved critical acclaim, but it’s the way in which CAMT reimagined this modern classic that makes it such a remarkable triumph.

This is a story about an abundance of heavy, complex themes like family dysfunction, mental illness, trauma and drug abuse.

These are themes explored with understanding and a steadfast conviction. Yet one of the key concepts many people seem to have missed is how meticulously “Next to Normal” dissects and analyzes the human condition, the essence of what makes so much of our lives so very absurd.

CAMT succeeded in bringing all of these themes to the light, and given the choice, it would be difficult for me to distinguish the CAMT’s version of “Next to Normal” from a Broadway production of the musical.

The performances of the central cast cannot be understated. The actors commanded the stage for three or more hours while acutely understanding their characters and what their stories have to say.

Jess Harris Stiller played the troubled and deeply depressed Diana. She elevated an already sympathetic character. Trent Everett Byers played her husband Dan. His performance provided a subtle and understated evaluation of the complex emotions of a conflicted man.

Clara Wilson and Geoffrey Barnes also delivered dense and complex performances as the couple’s children and helped further demonstrate the ramifications of deep family dysfunction and generational neuroses. Benjamin Horman provided necessary comic relief with the character of “Dr. Fine,” while Nicholas Long brought an endearing and charming touch to the age-old story of teenage romance.

It goes without saying that the music in CAMT’s “Next to Normal” was also excellent. Each of the actors in this production helped elevate the word “musical.” Sarah Thomas’ direction of this production cannot be understated. Her use of lighting strengthened and enriched the writing and performances. She helped orchestrate what can only be described as one of the greatest student productions to ever grace the University of Louisville.

Witnessing “Next to Normal” firsthand is one of those experiences that only comes around every so often, but once it does, it stays with you. Its an affecting, impactful story that has the potential to resonate with every person who sees it. If you get the chance to see it, you simply need to hear what this story has to say.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Students and staff find time to holiday shop at Holiday Bazaar Thursday, Nov 21 2019 

By Zoe Watkins —

Even though it’s November, it is never too early to start Christmas shopping. University of Louisville students and faculty had a chance Nov. 13 to purchase gifts for themselves or others at the annual Farmers’ Market Holiday Bazaar hosted by U of L Dining and the Sustainability Council.

The bazaar featured unique booths, selling goods which ranged from local artisan crafts to farm fresh produce. Vendors sold hand-made soaps, jewelry, holiday decorations, honey, baked goods and ice cream.

One vendor present was Noonday Collections and Simple Gifts. Noonday sells handmade jewelry created by female artisans living in third-world countries. The sales, said independent ambassador Chesson Hazelwood, lead to a good cause.

“Every time I sell a piece of jewelry, it empowers a woman in another country to be able to provide for their family and I love to get the name of Noonday out there,” Hazelwood said.

Simple Gifts employee and U of L alumni Amber Schlegel and her partner sold hand-made arm knit scarfs, handcrafted earrings and heating therapy bags which have aroma therapy inside at their booth.

She enjoyed being able to come back to campus for the Holiday Bazaar. “I just really appreciate the opportunity to get to be here today and to get to return to campus where I had a lot of great memories. It’s always fun to come down here and see all the kids who are currently in college experiencing things that helped change and form their lives,” Schlegel said.

Students enjoyed the break from classes and busy schedules to fit in some holiday shopping.

Mariah Tinnell bought dark chocolate covered cherries and a leather journal while at the event. “I’m buying a bunko gift for some girlfriends and I’m getting something for one of my boys,” Tinnell said.

“I think it is a great idea to bring something like this onto campus because it’s something I would love to visit but don’t usually have the time to do,” said Anna Vanderboon, a second year masters student.

Graphic by Shayla Kerr // The Louisville Cardinal

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Preview: “Next to Normal” reminds us we are not alone Sunday, Nov 17 2019 

By Blake Wedding —

Students at the University of Louisville always have a wealth of options when it comes to finding on-campus art and entertainment. This fall, the Cardinals for the Appreciation of Musical Theatre (CAMT) is offering something different for students that is both uniquely thought-provoking and thematically complex.

The CAMT’s fall production, “Next to Normal,” is a re-imagined story that nearly any and every person will be able to relate to on some level. “Next to Normal” is a powerful depiction of mental illness and how it affects those afflicted and the people around them.

This groundbreaking production asks important questions about how we face these issues, how we can learn to live with them and how we can eventually move past them to find our own path in the universe.

“Next to Normal” is a Pulitzer-Prize winning musical that explores the age-old story of family dysfunction through a new and forward-thinking lens. The plot centers around the character of Diana Goodman, the mother of this family, whom actress Jess Harris Stiller insightfully brings to life.

By extension, the CAMT’s take on “Next to Normal” features an all-star cast and production team, comprised of talent from both the University of Louisville and across Kentucky.

Director Sarah Thomas believes “Next to Normal” is an important story that will emotionally resonate with viewers. She believes it is a story that everyone can relate to in some way.

“As I’ve argued many times, people don’t go to the theatre for escape; they go for connection. To make sense of the world around them and their own lives, to be reminded that we all go through essentially the same trials, that we are not alone,” Thomas said.

Students who are interested in seeing the CAMT’s thoughtful rendition of the contemporary musical can email UofLCAMT@gmail.com to reserve seats.

Prices are $5 for students and faculty. Your last chances to see the show are Nov. 15 and 17 at 7:00 p.m. at the George J. Howe Red Barn.

Photo Courtesy / U of L CAMT

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Show up and show out with U of L’s student section Wednesday, Nov 13 2019 

By Jordan Geisler —

The University of Louisville’s official student section, the Ville’ns, is working hard to represent campus and show support for the sports teams.

President of the Ville’ns Andrew Wiemels has worked hard to raise awareness about the student section.

“It’s a project I’ve carried on from when it was basically nobody to now when we have a pretty good following,” Wiemels said. “We do a lot of marketing on social media. We’re very active at orientation, doing events and stuff like that.”

Since it started in January 2016, the Ville’ns have expanded from a small group of 10 guys to a solid group of 50 students. The group, which does receive some assistance from the athletics department via give-away items, is mostly funded out of members’ own pockets.

Most schools have a heavy student presence at football and basketball games, but the Ville’ns raise the bar by also attending games for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s basketball, club hockey, softball, baseball, volleyball, rowing and cross country.

“You’ll go around the country and find some student sections where they won’t acknowledge soccer games or other sports, but we try to have somebody at just about everything,” Wiemels said.

The more underrepresented teams are grateful to have the support of the Ville’ns. Wiemels recalls multiple occasions where teams reached out to say thanks for coming to their games.

“We went to a cross country meet that our school’s team hosted last year and they were incredibly grateful to have us and get that little spotlight shown on them,” he said.

The Ville’ns focus is on attending home games, but Wiemels plans to initiate trips for away games in the coming year. He also plans to continue expanding the student section to further fulfill their mission statement: to support U of L athletes and make us the toughest place to play in the country.

For anyone looking to be part of the Ville’ns, you can reach them on Facebook or Instagram or find them at sporting events.

File Photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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Key players to watch in men’s basketball Tuesday, Nov 12 2019 

By Luke Graham —

Last year, there were no expectations for the Cards. Head coach Chris Mack impressed during his first year and seems like he will get the best out of his players.

Mack has real talent now and players are expected to perform.

Forward Jordan Nwora is the most talked-about Card and will be the scoring leader. He shot 45 percent from the field last year and 38 percent from behind the arc.

In his first game against Miami, he picked up right where he left off with 23 points and 12 rebounds.

His biggest issue last year was his defensive abilities. If he can improve his defense and ball-handling abilities, he has first-round NBA potential.

Freshman and McDonalds All-American Samuell Williamson looks like he will play a big role as well. He has the ability to be an infamous one-and-done, but if that’s the case, Cards fans hope to remember that one year as spectacular.

It seems that after the first game, he will get every opportunity to play and be a big player in Mack’s second year. He has already shown flashes of good offensive talent with an eye for the court and good defensive abilities.

Junior Malik Williams and senior Steven Enoch look to protect the basket and cause damage to it on the other. If Williams can come back from a broken foot, and Enoch can stay healthy and out of foul trouble, then they could be the key to advancing deep in “The Big Dance” in March.

This can only happen if they both stay healthy and aggressive.  They are forces down low and can determine a game by their defensive presence and offensive capabilities to finish and score.

The Cards need the McDonalds All-American to live up to the hype, Nwora to be the leader of the team and the big men in the paint and Williams and Enoch to stay healthy and on the court.

If all goes well, Cardinal fans could be in for an exciting year. The country has already taken notice of a No. 5 national ranking.

With teams like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky on the schedule, Louisville’s key players will have to step up and play like some of the best guys in the country.  North Carolina top recruit Cole Anthony versus Williamson will be fun to watch this year.

Freshmen Matthew Hunt and Vernon Casey from Duke will be show stoppers too. This is the game that Enoch and Williams must show their experience and lockdown both young freshmen and show the country why Louisville should be on high alert.

The Cards look to face off against Youngstown State in their next game on Nov. 10 at 2:00 p.m. at the Yum Center.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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California professor illuminates the Hubble telescope’s history Tuesday, Nov 5 2019 

By Jordan Geisler — 

The University of Louisville’s Astronomy department welcomed astronomer Robert Williams to the Rauch Planetarium Oct. 31 as part of the Bullitt Lecture Series.

The annual fall lecture series brings in celebrated scientists to enlighten the U of L community on happenings within our universe. Students from all fields of study are welcome to every installment of the lecture series at no charge.

Williams is a professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz and is a former director of the space telescope institute. He spoke at the planetarium about the beginning of the Hubble space telescope and how it has evolved over time.

The telescope, which he said cost approximately two billion dollars (courtesy of taxpayers), is the most expensive science project the United States has had. The telescope has needed five servicing missions for maintenance since its launch in 1990.

Williams said the telescope needed repair shortly after being launched, but the cost to move it would be too much, meaning astronauts would have to perform maintenance in space.

“Of all the sciences,” Williams said, “astronomy is the only one where you can look into the past. It’s always important to know what preceded the state that you’re studying.”

He said that whenever we look at the sky, we’re seeing how it was in the past.

He also talked about the expanding universe. “The universe is in a state of uniform expansion,” Williams said. This expansion is due to an unknown source of dark energy in the universe which is counteracting gravity.

“The galaxies themselves don’t move, but the space between the galaxies is expanding in a uniform manner,” he said.

Williams then discussed Einstein’s theory of relativity. “He demonstrated that light could be bended by mass,” he said. He showed photos taken with the Hubble telescope to demonstrate the concept, and the concept could be seen as arcs of light.

“I had no idea about the problems with the Hubble space telescope mission in its beginning and how they had to go into space to fix it,” astronomy major Courtney Bolt said.

After hearing Williams lecture, Bolt became intrigued about the future of the Hubble telescope. “I’m sure they’re going to build a stronger telescope and we’re going to be able to keep seeing more.”

Regardless of if we create a new telescope or not, things will surely continue to change within the universe and the Bullitt Lecture Series will help keep us all up to date on all things out of this world.

Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal

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