Archive | Arts & Entertainment

FNL Review: A recipe for laughter

How do you make an auditorium full of Indiana Wesleyan University students laugh? Affectionately bash our most beloved neighbor, Taylor University. Seriously, do it a lot. They will laugh every time; it never gets old.

Paul Hooker (sr) and Josh Davis (sr) host this semester's FNL. // Photo by Wendy Brown

Paul Hooker (sr) and Josh Davis (sr) host this semester’s FNL. // Photo by Wendy Brown

Friday Night Live, the student-run comedy show on campus, has this golden rule of IWU humor down to a science. True to what is quickly becoming an FNL tradition, Taylor was made fun of repeatedly, and it was really funny.

As a sophomore with only two other FNLs under my belt, I can say this comedy show has never failed to provide me a delightful night of entertainment. As a matter of fact, I find myself desperately gasping for breath quite often. This semester was no exception.

This semester’s FNL was a switch from the past ones I have experienced. This year, the videos were generally not as funny as in the past, and the skits were considerably better.

I used to space out through a lot of the skits, just waiting for that moment when the videos were played. Instant classics like “I Got Points” and “Things Not to Say at an Interview” (another example of effective Taylor bashing) are the ones that really stand out in my mind from past shows. The only one that really met the standards of videos in the past was “The Purity of the Rings,” which had this “Lord of the Rings” fan practically rolling on the ground with laughter.

The skits really raised the bar this year. In contrast to past shows where the skits were either to die for or incredibly awkward for everyone involved, the skits this semester were consistently amusing. This means fewer amazing ones, but fewer really bad ones.

The change in FNL cast may account for less ridiculously hilarious moments. The classic Facebook and Twitter segments were lost along with their protagonist, Kyle Davidson (alumnus ‘14), this semester.

In past years, Davidson would read what were already hilarious Facebook posts in ridiculous voices. The Twitter segment was similar to this, except Davidson would sing the posts to the audience while playing a quirky tune on the piano. I spoke to more than one veteran FNL attendee who seemed to be mourning the loss of what was once the highlight of the night.

The beauty of being in college is, however, that as old talent graduates, new talent comes in. Stephanie Charles (fr) particularly stood out.

As a freshman, Charles was not center stage very often, but I can’t think of a single time when she was up there that I and those around me were not laughing. Of all of these, the one that stands out the most is her being dragged off the stage kicking and screaming as Miss New Jersey in the Miss America skit.

Paul Hooker (sr) and Josh Davis (sr) were excellent hosts to the show. Hooker especially stood out in his role as a man giving birth to a football, in a painfully awkward yet somehow amusing skit “Chi Bear Prep.”

The first skit of the night, “Faculty Jeopardy,” was definitely one of my favorites, taking advantage of the comedic opportunities LearningStudio has offered. Dr. Jim “Umfundisi” Lo, Dr. Wilbur Williams and Dr. Chris Bounds were played to perfection by Derek Anthes (so), Nic Kursions (fr) and Hooker, setting the mood for the entire night.

The traditional FNL news segment fell a little flat this year compared to past years. Though there were a few good moments, like a reference to the fountain’s grave and Yik Yak, much of the “news” was met with awkward grumbling from the crowd.

There were several weaker moments throughout the night (though a lot less then I had ever seen before). The only skit that really fell under par was Pi day. By the end, there was a collective “awwww” of pity from the audience, instead of the desired roars of laughter. It almost felt mean to laugh at the ending “punch line,” which made me feel sorry for the person at whose expense I was supposed to laugh.

A definite improvement from past years was the opening dance of the FNL crew. What was once a clumsy yet somewhat amusing dance number is now a hilarious yet well-thought-out and masterfully delivered choreography.

The house band, which is always one of my favorite parts of the FNL experience, was stellar. I especially enjoyed the vocals this year. It is rare to come across a show that can make the time in between skits almost as enjoyable as the main attraction of the night, but FNL managed to do just that.

As usual, FNL was worth every penny of the three dollars out of my broke college student pockets and continues to be one of the things I look forward to the most every semester.

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Everybody has a story

A new Facebook page, Humans of IWU, features pictures of people around the Indiana Wesleyan University campus with quotes to go along with them. Created Sept. 23, the page already has more than 650 likes and has featured 18 people.

Inspired by the Humans of New York facebook page, Humans of IWU is run by two sophomore girls who have requested their names aren’t published in The Sojourn.

Ryan Scull (so) sits down for an interview with one of the Humans of IWU administrators. // Courtesy Photo

Ryan Scull (so) sits down for an interview with one of the Humans of IWU administrators. // Courtesy Photo

“We’re not in this to bring attention to ourselves,” one of the administrators said. “We’re not super secretive about who we are, because people are going to find out, … but we’re not here to broadcast that. … We want the page to be authentic, to be about the humans of IWU.”

The page started up when one of the administrators ran into who she calls “ironic headband man,” also known as Michael Herrick (fr), at McConn.

“I immediately was like, ‘This is the beginning,’” the administrator said.

She had been thinking about starting up the page for a while before this, drawing ideas from HONY and similar pages on other college campuses.

This first picture featured Herrick wearing a headband with the word “gangster” knitted into it, accompanied by the quote, “I knit ironic headbands.”

“Most people are really willing to talk to you. We tend to have this fear of rejection, and nobody’s said ‘no’ yet. They really open up to us,” the administrator said. “It reminds me that we’re all humans, and we all have that common ground.”

Though the page has many similarities to HONY, the administrators said they didn’t want Humans of IWU to be exactly the same. For example, the administrators do not intend to use the  typical HONY slogan “Today in Microfashion,” which features little children in cute outfits.

Humans of IWU is about focusing on things that bring together the campus community, according to the administrators. For this reason, they have decided to avoid topics that will cause disunity. The administrators have already come across a situation where they had to focus on a different part of a human’s story to avoid starting controversy.

The administrators said so far they have received very positive feedback from fellow students.

“We are reaching an audience that hasn’t been reached with any of the other [IWU] pages,” they said. “The people who maybe don’t get noticed as much, the ones that don’t get written about in [IWU] Secret Admirers or aren’t going to say the witty things that go up on Overheard [at IWU], the quiet kids in the back of the class.”

Ultimately for the administrators, Humans of IWU is about helping people get to know each other’s stories.

“The whole idea behind the page is that everyone has a story, and you can’t just label them by one thing,” said the administrator.

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Michael W. Smith Homecoming Concert Photos

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Audiences blend at Homecoming concerts

Contemporary Christian artists Michael W. Smith and Shawn McDonald are making their way to Indiana Wesleyan University Homecoming weekend, and their audiences are overlapping in ways they haven’t before.

“We try to select our artists based on age demographics,” Lance Percy, associate vice president for Advancement and Alumni Relations, said.

Smith’s concert is geared toward the middle-aged and older alumni, he said, but this year, more younger people are interested in attending.

“Michael is unique in that way. He kind of crosses over a lot,” Percy said. “A lot of freshmen parents were planning to come back and go with their student. We don’t always have the benefit of selecting an artist with that broad of an appeal.”

The Student/Young Alumni Concert, on the other hand, is created to appeal more to the students and younger generation of alumni — hence, the performance of Shawn McDonald, who began his career in 2004.

The Shawn McDonald Concert, featuring Jordan Brown and Josh Lavender (alumni ‘12), will occur at 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Phillippe Performing Arts Center Auditorium.

The concert order will be Brown, Lavender, then McDonald. Brown said she plans on performing a couple of covers of secular pop songs and then three of her originals, including her single “Grace Unexpected,” then probably end on a worship song.

Having talked to Lavender and hearing that he’d be doing a four-piece band style, and knowing McDonald’s recent music as being more pop-sounding, Brown decided to try and balance out the musical stylings. Though her band is typically more electric drums driven, she opted for more of an acoustic feel.

“Imagine Mumford and Sons meets Adele meets Katy Perry — [that’s] the sound we’re going for,” Brown said.

Her band consists of herself on acoustic guitar, Daniel Rife (alumnus ‘11) on accordion, Anthony Francis (alumnus ’10) on banjo, Alex Krupp (alumnus ’13) on cajon, Adam Butler (sr) on percussion, Chelsea Jensen (sr) on glockenspiel, Stacey Fisher (sr) on piano/keys, and Dan Strope (jr) on bass.

“It’s always an honor to play anything at Indiana Wesleyan,” Brown said.

And with Lavender’s May 2013 EP “The One My Soul Loves” and upcoming EP “Hope in Jesus,” Brown says she is excited to reconnect with him as well.

The Homecoming Concert with Michael W. Smith, who came to Marion once before in 1987, featuring IWU Chorale, will occur the following day at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Chapel Auditorium.

The Chorale, made up of 100 student members and 80 alumni members, will be singing as backups for four songs with Smith, according to Percy.

Percy said IWU might get the chance to hear Smith perform some of his more recently recorded music, such as songs from his worship album, “Sovereign,” released this past May, and his first-ever album of traditional hymns, “Hymns,” released in March.

With Smith attracting various age demographics, students and alumni have a better chance to connect this year.

“Indiana Wesleyan is a fantastic university, but the people are what make it the greatest,” Brown said. “Just seeing the people, seeing old friends, reconnecting that way is probably what I’m looking forward to most.”

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