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Venture “Into the Woods”

November 11, 2009

Tonight, I watched an ambivalent Cinderella argue with an infertile Baker’s wife over possession of a golden shoe. Oh, I also witnessed Little Red Riding Hood pull a knife on Jack – you know, the one with the beanstalk – when he said something about her cape. No, I wasn’t experiencing some strange, fever induced dream; rather, I was watching MCCTA’s production of Steven Sondheim’s “Into the Woods,” premiering this weekend in the Nelly Goletti.

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Photo by Amy Wheeler

Now I’m no theater buff; in fact, aside from watching a dinner theater production earlier this semester, I’ve never been to an actual MCCTA show. That being said, I can tell you what I expected going into the performance: lots of showy musical numbers, some over enthusiastic actors and dry material. I was wrong.

Though I was only able to stay for the first act, I can honestly say that I was in awe of the power of the performances on stage. How college students can manage to work on capping projects, attend five classes a week, study for exams and memorize lines, songs and blocking for a musical is beyond me; I can barely find time to update this blog on most days. But I could tell from my seat in the back of the Nelly G. that everyone on stage really loved what they were doing. That alone made it worth watching, though I didn’t need much convincing once the show actually started.

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Photo by Amy Wheeler

The concept of pulling some of Grimm’s famous tales into one comprehensive story seems slightly overwhelming, but the MCCTA players do a splendid job of sticking to the storyline but using subtle humor to keep you interested. And if the humor in the body language, facial expressions and vocal tone of the actors isn’t enough to keep you entertained, their singing chops sure will. WOW. I thought my karaoke skills were brag-worthy, but they pale in comparison to what I heard tonight. And though I thought everyone was phenomenal in all categories, I have to say it: Kelly O’Rourke (The Baker’s Wife) – you sure can sing, girl.

You can all sing. And act. And crack jokes. You can probably ace a microeconomics test, too. I tip my hats to you, stars of “Into the Woods” as well as the crew (what a BEAUTIFUL set!) . And Marist community, “Into the Woods” will be running all weekend; check the cost and times below. You owe it to yourself to find out what happens in this fractured fairytale, and to see some of your peers showcase their outstanding talents.

Thanks for inviting me, MCCTA – I look forward to seeing Act II this Sunday!

Show times (all in the Nelly Goletti)
Thursday, Nov. 12th @ 8pm
Friday, Nov. 13th @ 8pm
Saturday, Nov. 14th @ 8pm
Sunday, Nov. 15th @ 2pm

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 General Admission

You can pick up tickets at the Nelly Goletti box office or reserve them by calling the box office at 845-575-3133

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Photo by Amy Wheeler

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Schmooze with the Prez.

November 4, 2009

This one might be hard to add to your personal bucket lists, but I’m going to make the suggestion that if the opportunity so arises you should seize it no matter what; have lunch with President Murray.

Every year, Dr. Murray asks editors of The Circle to lunch at his home in Poughkeepsie. The Student Government Association is invited annually, too; I’m not sure about any other clubs. The visit is a chance for President Murray to see what direction the newspaper is taking, as well as ensure that faculty, staff and administration are working together with us to bring news to the student body. We never have any problems to report, but love being able to say we dined with the President.

I’ve been to this luncheon once before, but this was my first time as Co-EIC. I got to sit right next to President Murray. Celebrity Status.

You might not think having lunch with the President of Marist College is a big deal, but when you take into consideration all he has done for our campus and our college’s nationwide representation, it’s nice to listen to him speak to you personally about where the college is going, and have him answer questions about anything on campus.

Seniors: I asked him what the Hancock Center construction site would look like come graduation time — I don’t want an eyesore just beyond the green. Dr. Murray assured me that everything was on time (and within budget), so it looks like the frame of the building will be up come our time to walk in May. Relief.

Aside from a delicious Sodexho meal, we received a mini tour of his home and the opportunity to meet his lovely wife, Marilyn. Senior ladies, at the end of this year we will be able to attend an afternoon tea with Marilyn in their home, so there is something to look forward to! The house is beautiful, and full of history — be sure to ask about the mantle and check out all of President Murray’s photos with famous people in  his den.

And even if you don’t get the opportunity to dine with the President, when you see him on campus walk up and say hello. Shake his hand. You’ll be glad you did.

Be Someone Else.

October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween! While tonight will find me sitting in my home, cursed by the duty of being an RA, I hope you all take the time to take advantage of the simple pleasure we are often not awarded: the chance to be someone else.

Of course, I don’t mean this in a literal sense. Rather, Halloween provides us with the opportunity to dress up as our favorite celebrities, historical figures, movie characters, etc. for the night and forget about who we are. The most successful costumes are a result of a person truly embodying all that his or her character possesses.

That being said, I am partial to humorous costumes myself. Unfortunately such is not the case for the majority of the female population at Marist College (and the rest of the world). As Cady Herron stated in Mean Girls, “Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”

All of that aside, since I can’t go out tonight, I’ll post some pictures of costumes past while listing some of the best costumes I have seen so far this. Have fun and don’t cause any ruckus — I don’t want to have to write you up.

Freshman Year: Zombies

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halloween freshman 1

This costume was awesome because it was cheap. I’m talking dirt cheap. All we had to do was go to Target and buy a pack of Hanes white T-shirts (which conveniently come in packs of 3), some really pale face makeup and some fake blood. Once the cost was split three ways, it ended up being less that $10 each. Much more affordable than the $50 naughty nurse costumes they try to pawn on you.

All we had to do was cut some holes in the shirt and stain it with the fake blood. The makeup went on our faces, obviously, as well as some dark eyeliner and spots of blood. Thats all there was too it. It went over really well, too, aside from the person who asked us if we were being used tampons. I didn’t think that was very funny.

Sophomore Year: The Blue Barracudas

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Wanting to do a couple costume, my then-boyfriend and I went with the Blue Barracudas of Legends of the Hidden Temple fame for several reason: first, because they were awesome and always slaughtered the silver snakes. Second, they weren’t too expensive and didn’t have any hidden or inappropriate sexual innuendos tied to them, unless you count the moaning sound made when Olmec lowers his gate. But anyway…

We ordered the shirts online (I can’t remember the Web site) and they only cost about $15. The helmets were more expensive, especially factoring in the gold spray paint we bought to cover them with. Keeping cost in mind, we opted to skip out on the knee and elbow pads. The costumes were a hit, only once did we get a negative comment, and I think that kid was too drunk to remember his own name.

Junior Year: Heavyweights

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Again in search of a couple costume, my then-boyfriend and I went with one of our favorite movies:Heavyweights. If you haven’t seen this movie, you won’t understand the costume one bit. But we were fans, and decided to go as counselors from Team Perkis. We found the logo “Perkis Power” online, as well as the slogan “We’re Perkisizing” which went on the back of the shirts. We bought black shirts at Target and some iron on sheets and made our own costume. The bandanas were only $1 at a local craft store, so overall we barely spent anything on our outfits. And for anyone who had actually seen the movie, they were an absolute hit.

As for Senior Year, in the spirit of being on duty, I bought a cop hat and tried to find the best in the situation. No pictures to share, but I can mention that my favorite costumes thus far have been Alan from “The Hangover” and Joe Jonas, complete with purity ring. All of the Lady Gagas were pretty good too, albeit overdone considering the sheer amount of imitators I witnessed.

Scream.

October 30, 2009

Well, I did it. After a month of anticipation and dread, I finally did it, and I managed to come out alive.

We finally went to the Headless Horseman in Kingston.

After my trip the the Double M Haunted Hayrides upstate earlier this month, I thought I would be pretty well prepared for what I would face at Headless Horseman. What I failed to realize is that the two do not even compare; all they have in common is a ton of hay.

Whereas I found myself laughing often at Double M, I was legitimately frightened for the first half of the hour-long adventure through all of Headless Horseman’s attractions. Yes, attractions as in plural. The night starts with the hayride, but moves on to a haunted house, a haunted greenhouse and cornmaze, then two more haunted houses. Five places filled with creatures lurking at every corner, waiting to pounce upon the first person who shows the slightest hint of fear (typically, that was me). I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth.

I won’t bother going into too much detail about each of the five haunted attractions; every year, the theme of Headless Horseman changes, and the hayride and houses change along with it. You’ll never get the same experience twice. What you will see each year, however, are some of the best costume and set design I’ve ever encountered in haunted houses. I’d love to take a walk through each house with the lights on; then I would get a better chance to appreciate the detail of the decor. The actors blended right in with the intricate set, as well. As we were walking through the greenhouse, I did my best to anticipate what would be behind every turn. Little did I know, the plant I was standing next to as I thought out my next move was actually a person. Needless to say, he succeeded in scaring the crap out of me.

The effects used during the hayride were amazing as well. At one point, as we rode down a hill waiting for the next actor to pop out from a bush or a tree, we were taken by surprise when the next fright happened above our heads — a man, cloaked in black, jetting across a zip line, screaming at all in his sight. Completely unexpected. The trees even came alive (sort of). Again, the costumes were so amazing that the actors had no trouble at all blending in with the trees; we even went so far as to complement them on their outfits as they were chasing after our tractor.

Perhaps the coolest part of the night was our actual encounter with the Headless Horseman himself. We could practically feel the warm breath of his horse as he chased us, that’s how close he came.

By the end of the night, I was much more brave and found myself laughing more than I found myself screaming. But regardless, I had an amazing time. Even when we were finished with the haunted attractions, the area is set up like a small village with gift shops and cafes to browse while you wait. And as we wandered through the shops, I found myself peeking around every corner to make sure nothing was waiting to jump out at me.

The best advice I can give you is to go with Marist; every year the Student Life Council organizes a trip right before Halloween. That’s what we did, so rather than paying the full price of $32, we paid a mere $10.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to share. Why? Because as soon as we rolled in, we were threatened by security — yes, they have security all around the place — that if we even attempted to bring a camera, it would be confiscated. And we wouldnt’ be getting it back. Luckily, there is a video available for your viewing pleasure. It doesn’t even begin to encompass the fear and fun of the night, but it’s definitely a start:

Support a Local Brewery

October 26, 2009

OK, I know I’ve already mentioned the Gilded Otter and the Hyde Park Brewery in previous posts, but I have yet to focus on their major appeal: freshly brewed beer.

As a Marist student, I’ve had my fair share of Keystone, Natty and Bud Light; cheap, watery and difficult to stomach, I haven’t had too much experience with other beers during my stay in the Hudson Valley. But once I turned 21 and had the option of choosing my own beer rather than dealing with whatever the hosts of a $5 house party opted to serve, I experimented a bit; the results have been delicious.

Please bear in mind that I am no beer connoisseur. In fact, I have no idea what additional hops will do for flavor, or what inspiration from a German region will do for taste. I just know what it looks like and, more importantly, what it tastes like.

Hyde Park Brewery

If you’re used to beer of a light variety, start with the Big Easy Blonde. I know a lot of people — females especially — who can’t stomach a dark beer, so this will be a much easier adjustment, albeit somewhat boring in comparison to other options. I’ve also tried the Rough Rider Red Lager. It’s name comes from it’s reddish tint; definitely one you don’t see too often in beer. But it’s got a malty flavor, and is a favorite among other Marist students I know who attend trivia night. I’ve never tried their S.O.B. (Special Old Bitter) or the Barrel 9, but have had a sip of the Winkle Lager, so named for Valley legend Rip Van Winkle.

If you aren’t sure from my poor descriptions which you should try, they offer a decently priced sampler that gives you a few ounces of each beer being offered that day. If you want my opinion, however, steer clear of the light beer and try something darker — the Rough Rider Red is my personal fave.

Gilded Otter

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If you look at the photo above, you can see that on the afternoon of my visit to the Gilded Otter in New Paltz, 9 unique beers were on tap. Several of them were seasonal and/or Hudson Valley themed. What you can’t see is the wall behind the actual bar, which had at least 25 more selections that, though the weren’t currently being brewed/served, had been offered in the past and would be again in the future.

That being said, there is no way that during my one visit I sampled 9 different beers. But man, I wish I could have. Choosing what to order was incredibly difficult, especially considering that while they were offering the 9 beers above, they also had their everyday beer menu to boot.

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My friend and I opted to share our drinks; we went with the Coconut Cream Stout and some Rasberry Draft Cider. We chose the draft cider because it was familiar, and we knew at least one of us would like it. All of us liked it. It was sweet, although kind of a girly cop out considering all of our options. We chose the Coconut Cream Stout because of it’s description on the beer menu, “A creamy smooth stout made with coconut milk and lactose for a somewhat sweet coconut finish.” It was definitely darker than we were accostomed to, and my friend wasn’t a huge fan. The coconut flavor wasn’t as strong as I had hoped, but I still loved it and had no problem finishing off the glass.

I wish I could tell you more. That being said, I’d love to go back to try some seasonal options and extend even further beyond my girly-beer norms. If you’ve got a favorite drink from either of these breweries, leave it in a comment. This post is barely enough to do a brewing company justice.

But I can tell you one thing I learned from my visits, aside from the fact that breweries always have awesome decor: stereotypical college beer pales in comparison. You don’t drink a brewery beer to get drunk; you don’t cringe as it makes it’s way down your throat. These brews are best enjoyed while slowly sipped and savored, and are not to be used for pong or flip cup. Seriously.

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At the Gilded Otter

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At the Gilded Otter

Snag a Free Dinner

October 24, 2009

Sad, sad news, friends. Remember that time I suggested you Go Nuddy for Nadda? Turns out you can’t — apparently Nuddy was unhappy with the amount of traffic they were getting for their Happy Hour and shut the operation down. At least that’s what I heard through the grapevine. Such a shame, because after the publishing of my capping project, that place could have really taken off. (OK, I could be giving myself too much credit there)

Lucky for us, we’ve still got Noah’s for all of our happy hour needs.

Located on Mill St, Noah’s offers half priced drinks and a free buffet of ziti, wings and garlic bread from 6 to 7:30 p.m. every Friday. And though pitchers aren’t as cheap as they are at Nuddy’s, the food is far more superior.

I recommend getting there early; we arrived right at 6 this week and still had to wait in line for the buffet. Luckily we were able to save a table, though. Those who arrived any later were waiting around 40 minutes for food, and found it nearly impossible to find a place to sit.

I don’t find Noah’s to be a good environment for mingling; it is saturated with familiar Marist faces, so you won’t discover any new friends at happy hour. But if you’re lucky enough to score a table, it’s worth it to sit with your friends and chat over a delicious and free dinner. Just make sure you get a full plate on your first trip to the buffet — there may be nothing left if you dare attempt to get seconds.

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KP likes to stock up on wings; Mindy likes to give KP death stares.

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Remember, you’ve got to be 21 to drink. And at Noah’s you’ve got to be 21 to enter, too. Don’t even try to pull a fast one on the bartender — she may be tiny, but she’s intimidating.

Explore: New Paltz (By Night)

October 20, 2009

Unfortunately due to busy schedules and lack of designated driver, I haven’t had the chance to experience New Paltz nightlife yet this fall. But, I can speak from some experience, as my summer housemates and I spent one Thursday night wandering around Main Street in search of cheap beer and local men.

Unfortunately, after hopping around to a few bars we ended up just driving back to a Poughkeepsie bar due to lack of crowd at any of the bars we went to. But I’ve got a theory — SUNY New Paltz wasn’t in session at the time of our visit; I’m positive that if we were to go back and hit some of the same spots right now, we’d have a much better time. That being said, here are two of the bars that we didn’t mind so much during our romp around town.

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The owners of Darby O’Gills and Hatters also run a bar in New Paltz — McGillicuddy’s. Much like Darby’s, Cuddy’s is a sports bar where you can watch the football game while shooting pool, enjoying some Irish themed food (Irish Nachos are on the menu) and enjoying an alcoholic beverage or two… or six. There is more seating at this bar than at Darby’s, which is a definite plus.

Drink specials include: $12 fishbowls; happy hour featuring 2 for 1 draft beer and a $1 discount on wine and spirits.

If you don’t want to head all the way to New Paltz to mingle in an environment you can find on our side of the river, check out P&G’s. Conveniently located right across the street from McGillicuddy’s,P&G’s offers some better drink specials, but is much smaller and thus more crowded. I haven’t been since the summer, but from what I can remember I was more of a fan of Cuddy’s.

Drink specials include: Vodka Tuesdays — $2 drinks; Friday happy hour $2 mixed drinks, $4 pitchers; Friday $2.50 Heineken bottles; Saturday $2.50 Corona bottles.

Note: If you have any other New Paltz night life suggestions, please leave them in a comment. This is in no way a full look at the spectrum of bars and clubs in town!