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Why do people love comic books?

A Humboldt Junior High investigation of why comic book fans can’t put down their super-hero-filled stories.

Rock out with your cause out

On Labor Day, the Service Employee’s International Union held its first “Take Back Labor Day” concert on Harriet Island in St. Paul, a concert the union hopes to make an annual event.

Featuring a notable set list that included Grammy-winner hip-hop artist Mos Def, and former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, the union hoped to raise awareness about the problems currently facing labor unions in the United States while the Republican Party took center stage at the Xcel Energy Center across the river.

“Labor unions are a fundamental component of democracy,” folk-country musician Steve Earle said, which was followed by immediate applause.

Summer's here. Whatcha gonna do?

Catch some rays and chill.
Go to summer school.
Get a job.
Travel and go places.
Sleep till noon.

Deciding not to go

This year me and my girlfriend decided to not go to prom. It wasn’t an easy decision to make. We had to decide did all the good things about going to prom outweigh the bad things. We broke down our reasons for wanting to go and not wanting to go. Here’s how it went down.

Walker teen council makes things happen

A bag of Doritos, a child’s purse, and an award given to an Enron employee a month before the energy company’s collapse. A group of Twin Cities teens has linked them together in the Corruption Collection, which is on display at the Walker Art Center’s Bazinet lobby until June 29.

The Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC), a group of 14 teens who meet every Thursday, assembled the collection after learning about the art of collecting from artists David Bartley and Matthew Bakkom.

Since 1994, the Walker has supported a small group of art-minded teens as part of teen programs designed to attract high school students and young artists. It’s one way the museum seeks to train and inspire the next generation of artists, connoisseurs and art lovers. Teens interview artists, organize events and post blogs, music reviews, upcoming concerts, and their own work to WACTAC’s Web site

Transformational theater

“We are called to speak – as artists!” chanted members of Central High School’s Touring Theatre as the beat of drums echoed across a bare stage in the black box theatre. As they fanned out in perfect formation, the room reverberated with the sound of rhythmic clapping and stomping. With some on vocals, others on percussion instruments, and the rest moving to the beat, the students, all in matching red t-shirts, began their performance with a blend of rhythmic singing and hip-hop dance.

Central Touring Theatre (CTT) is an extra-curricular acting troupe at Central High School, the largest urban school in St. Paul with a diverse student body of about 2,000. For the past three decades CTT, has provided students of all backgrounds the opportunity to channel issues into original student-produced theater. Led and founded by theatre and CTT Artistic Director Jan Mandell, the program aims to create a “safe space” that breaks traditional barriers of race, ethnicity, family, relationships, and teen issues.

Juno keeps it real and serious

Juno is set in the ever-changing seasons of Minnesota and follows teenage Juno (Ellen Page) throughout her nine months of pregnancy and the choices she makes. Everything about this film was perfect, the script, the actors, even the, attitudes of the actors. Juno’s persistent jokes give the film a light-heartedness. She is familiar, like a friend. Although strong and clear about what she wants, she faces problems that she has no control over. The film is set in Minnesota reminding everyone that unplanned pregnancies do happen. Juno just adds a funny twist to make.

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MacPhail Center's battle of the bands attracts teen musicians

High school bands from Wisconsin, Minneapolis and Wayzata battled Jan. 6 for a chance to open a Jan.

Sweeney Todd is bloody brilliant

An adaptation from Steven Sondheim’s 1979 Broadway musical, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, directed by Tim Burton (Big Fish, Edward Scissorhands) is fantastic and bloody brilliant. The film takes place in nineteenth century-London, where Sweeney Todd aka, Benjamin Barker (Johnny Depp), seeks his revenge on Judge Turpin (Alan Rickman) who viciously tore Todd and his family apart, causing his wife to poison herself and his daughter to be adopted by the judge.

Will Smith is Legend. Movie isn't.

Robert Neville is the last man on Earth. Three years after a supposed vaccine for cancer was discovered, more than 90 percent of the world’s population becomes infected with the virus that turns humans and dogs into nocturnal zombies. Neville, played by Will Smith, is one of less than one percent who is immune to the virus. A military scientist, he frantically looks for a cure to the disease while avoiding the darkness where the infected dwell.

American Gangster delivers the goods

American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott of Blade Runner and Aliens fame comes through on a gangster movie that is violent, harsh AND a good story. The same themes from gangster films like “the godfather” are here: violence, action and good versus bad. The acting of the leads, played by Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, are intense. But don’t forget the action and violence. Two minutes into the movie, the audience is greeted with a struggling man, drenched with lighter fluid, lit on fire, and bullets piercing his head. Violence sets the tone but so does the acting.

Battle of the Bands to rock MacPhail Center

Musicians are gathering their best lyrics, assembling their instruments, and practicing their hit songs in preparation for a Battle of the Bands showdown put on by the MacPhail Center for Music.

As part of the week-long Grand Opening celebration for its new Minneapolis location and building, MacPhail is hosting a Battle of the Bands on Sunday, January 6, for rock musicians ages 12-18.

All you could wish for This Christmas

Imagine your feelings of joy and laughter wrapped into one package: the joy of going home. “This Christmas,” a Sony Pictures film, is a story of The Whitfield household, a close-knit African American family, reuniting for the holidays. All seven of the Whitfield siblings and guests, some unexpected, have found their way home for the first time in four years.

The Gossip Girls: a guilty pleasure

It is 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday in a University of St Thomas dorm, freshman Kate Hallock’s eyes are wide; her attention focused on the latest CW TV teen drama- Gossip Girls.

Kate lets out a dramatic gasp, her hands covering her mouth. It’s the episode about the masquerade ball and Serena’s ex is masked hottie guy #1.

He whispers, “Serena, I still love you.” He grabs and kisses her and runs off. The girl takes off her mask, revealing that she is not Serena!

Golden Compass lacks direction

Let’s make one thing clear: The Golden Compass is New Line Cinema’s last-ditch attempt at milking all it can from the epic fantasy franchise. Desperately hoping to make Philip Pullman’s The Dark Materials trilogy into another successful Lord of the Rings, this recent attempt falls flat on its back, inspite of the movie’s ferociously cuddly polar bears.

Fred Claus; Christmas fun both naughty AND nice

Like Christmas songs and Christmas cookies, Fred Claus comes from the same cutter as the Christmas movies before it. Mixed with themes similar to 2003’s Elf, and 1994’s The Santa Clause, director David Dobkin’s blends this generation’s holiday favorites into a naughty but nice holiday.

Bringing Burma Home

When the bus pulled away from Sangkhlaburi, Thailand, filmmaker Michael McCaffrey, 28, found himself 8,300 miles from home, drenched by rain, in the middle of a remote street with no idea what to do next or how to communicate with the locals.

This was only the beginning of his journey to capture on video the issues facing persecuted refugees from Burma.

Want free music? How to download legally

With the Recording Industry Association of America cracking down on illegal music downloading, many buyers have resorted to using iTunes to purchase their music. The RIAA has already sued sites which provide illegal music downloading such as Napster, Kazaa,and Gnutella.

According to the RIAA, American record companies lose $300 million to pirated music each year. If caught illegally downloading music, downloaders can be fined between $750 and $150,000 if the infringement was willful. However, there are alternative sites for music downloading which are cheaper and most importantly-legal.

Summer 2006 Workshop Articles

Fourteen students from Minnesota high schools spent two weeks in June 2006 at the ThreeSixty summer workshop at the University of St. Thomas. The result: four pages of stories published in the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press.

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