New photography exhibit opens in Curfman Gallery

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Jan 282009
Authors: kelly bleck

Leighton McWilliams found his passion for photography in the many parts of the trinket toys of his childhood. But it wasn’t until adulthood that Erin Antognoli found hers.

And it wasn’t in disassembled miniature cars and airplanes. It was in the cracks of D.C.’s sidewalks and the images of the city’s alleyway trashcans.

And after the two found their passion, CSU found them.

Both artists applied to be featured in the Curfman Gallery in the Lory Student Center over a year ago, and their exhibit opened on Jan. 23 to bring yet another variation of art to the student body.

Each artist studied photojournalism, but Antognoli strives to combine the documentary style with her art and McWilliams follows a more hands-on approach by creating physical objects, such as collages and sculptures, with his photographs.

One of McWilliams’ photographs, which he displayed for a lecture but did not put up in the exhibit, shows a little child alone in an all-night laundromat.

“I took this picture in the late 70s, when it was a whole different world,” said McWilliams. “Nowadays, you see a little kid in an all-night laundromat and take a picture, you’d be arrested. I look at low art, bad art and good art and reconcile all that; It’s surreal, sometimes sick, creepy or funny.”

Antognoli’s photography has an inconsistent quality, as each photograph has multiple others overlapping and blending in with each other. The photographs are either of the same thing at different angles or completely separate items that somehow coincide with each other.

“I have a warped way of seeing with everything kind of meshed into one,” said Antognoli. “I go to museums, where tourists would go, or where no one would go. It’s all the same with putting things together to say something different.”

Stan Scott, manager for the LSC arts program, helped decide on the artists and the mechanics of the show.

“There’s a committee that reviews submissions, professors, grad students, undergrads. People that offer a variety of backgrounds, viewing the art through their own lens,” Scott said.

The exhibits are balanced across all mediums, having a photography show following a sculpture or painting show.

“We want as broad of view as possible. We don’t want pretty art without substance, we want it with depth,” Scott said. “The purpose is to provide an education in art to the student body. So if it’s someone’s first experience in a gallery we want them to be intrigued and have their view of art questioned.”

Even though Antognoli and McWilliams had not met before the collaboration of their show, their art has a similarity that each described as “eerie.”

Things that go fast

As the other half of the exhibit, McWilliams describes his work as “combining creepiness and beauty.”

Often using an old, plastic camera like Antognoli’s, McWilliams focuses on aspects of collage, along with sculpture collages and projects.

“Digital is very hands off, you don’t actually get to get in it,” McWilliams said. “But with collage you do. And with the plastic camera, the Diana, it’s mechanically terrible but artistically wonderful.”

McWilliams is fascinated with Las Vegas, he said, roadside attractions and “things that go fast, like cars and airplanes.” As a teenager McWilliams would take apart and rebuild cars and his collection includes parts of mechanical items, images that give the impression of movement and speed.

“I use whatever feels right at the time for what I’m envisioning,” he said. “I like to see the beautiful in these not so beautiful, rather disparate things.”

Boxes are also an artistic approach for McWilliams, with a combining picture on the lid while the inside brings together items that complement it. One box consists of a shooting range target, shot through on the lid, with the inside containing bullets.

“The artwork that I do is about me, it’s an obvious and crucial idea: Do the art for myself rather than for someone else,” McWilliams said.

McWilliams uses a single image with multiple exposures, paralleling the work Antognoli creates. He has also created photo sculptures, pieces of various frames printed on photographic paper, and photograming, which is photographing something, placing an object on top and shining a flashlight through to silhouette the overall intended image.

His experiments don’t take precedence over his photography life as McWilliams teaches photography at University of Texas at Arlington.

He usually shows at universities, looking “for venues that appeal to you. I send my work in hoping it will be well received. You know places where you think ‘I’d like to show there’ and ‘God I hope I never show there.'”

A Holga camera

and trash cans

Antognoli works in Washington D.C., searching alleys and museums or setting up shoots to capture a unique image. The Holga camera she uses is an old, plastic camera that is often unreliable, she said. Through the unexpected results that the camera has produced, Antognoli has found an artistic output that presents a visual of her interpretation of the world.

“I get funny looks when I’m out photographing trash cans and cracks in the sidewalk,” Antognoli said. “I have a warped way of seeing, with everything kind of meshed into one. I create my own little world, kind of where I fit in my life.”

Antognoli explores all of Washington D.C. and also takes photographs on road trips. She does not often arrange or look for a certain shot, instead she photographs anything she finds.

“Sometimes I plan it out, sometimes it happens as I find it and sometimes there are happy accidents,” she said.

Because she does not plan things out, Antognoli often takes only one photograph, leaving the outcome to chance. The shoots she sets up are an exception and she takes her time on these.

“A set up is a big deal and I may take a photograph twice, or a few more times,” she said. “The models are there specifically for the artists, so I tend to take more while I’m there.”

The Holga allows her to take multiple exposures, overlapping images to create a collage, “making me slow down and appreciate the details.”

Antognoli picks out a certain image or theme as she explores, but she does not plan the photographs. She merely goes off of what was shot last.

When she reviews her rolls, she does not alter the photographs, hoping to capture it with the camera. “I try to get it right on camera. One shot and that’s all,” she said.

Unlike some artists, Antognoli names her photographs very generically, usually after something material that is in the photo.

“I see something very specific in the photos, but I don’t want to pigeonhole that for people,” she said. “I want everyone to see it how they will and see it in their own way.”

The photography she is displaying is a side hobby as she also runs a wedding photography business called Halo Photographic.

“The business is totally out of my control. I can’t set things up,” she said. “I try to capture the energy, the rituals that happen. I challenge myself on ways of presenting it.”

Antigonoli said that, artistically, she tries everything she thinks up, forcing herself to experiment with ideas and opportunities she previously thought impossible.

“I challenge myself and set up ridiculous goals,” Antognoli said. “If you don’t try you automatically won’t succeed. If you do try, you still may not succeed, but you could.”

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

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‘The Shack’ connects readers to viewers

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Jan 282009
Authors: kelly bleck

In an unexpected twist of sadness and searching, W.M. Paul Young’s “The Shack” breaches the idea of God and humanity’s interactions.

When a young girl is abducted during a family trip her father and mother, along with her siblings, must learn to cope. Her father, Mackenzie Allen Philips, receives a note, seemingly from God, asking him to return to the area where evidence of his daughter was found.

Enthralling the readers in a story that crosses religious boundaries, “The Shack” puts God, Jesus and the Holy Ghost into everyday figures and places them alongside Philips during his time of pain.

For non-religious readers, Young effectively avoids preaching, instead presenting his views in an easily understandable way. Despite the effective characterization however, the entire story seems a tad unbelievable.

As Young characterizes the religious figures, he places them into everyday moments, with God cooking and Jesus creating things in the woodshop. There is a flourish of biblical references, obviously, but they do not add much credibility to the story as they follow preset assumptions.

Rather than persuading readers, Young focuses on placing the religious figures on a personal level, connecting them to a pain that is very human. This presents a way to interpret religion aside from the stereotypes that are generated, coinciding with church and worship.

Philips is coached through his hatred of his daughter’s killer, with the overlaying assumption that a father so wronged could not forgive such a crime. But as Christianity asks, Philips is drawn to forgiving and accepting.

As he continues through his religious journey Philips is able to question God, answering some of his life issues. Throughout the novel, Philips seemingly adopts a caring and forgiving outlook on life.

“The Shack” is an unpredictable novel, leaving unsuspecting readers surprised throughout the first pages. This changeup allows the reader to stay interested in the story.

Despite the language and unique story, it does not persuade one to actually believe in Christianity, or religion in general. I don’t believe Young wanted to convert readers; instead he wanted to use the story as a way to encourage open-mindedness when considering it.

Living a character’s pain and the moments when he could confront someone he believed had caused it creates a powerful connection to the character, as well as a deeper understanding of a human’s emotions.

Young efficiently emphasizes his points, portraying a story that pulls at emotions, but which is left up to each reader for interpretation.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

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‘Gran Torino’ one of the best recent films

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Jan 282009
Authors: kelly bleck

Clint Eastwood, who plays a Korean War veteran, embodies a man caught between future and past, war and acceptance and sudden loss in a superbly developed movie, “Gran Torino.”

The lifestyles of a stubborn old man and a hopeful young boy are intertwined in an epic movie that moves viewers between extremes. Comedic bantering intermixed with drama and action makes this movie one of the most praised of the year.

When Kowalski’s beloved wife dies, he is faced with the shock of living alone. Kowalski’s children have moved away and are not involved in his life. His religious views are challenged when his wife makes the local priest, Father Janovich (Christopher Carley), promise to make Kowalski go to confession.

The continuing confrontation between the priest and Kowalski gives insight into the issues and events Kowalski was exposed to during his life. Also, the juxtaposition of church and Kowalski’s racist views makes them all the more obvious and obtrusive.

Kowalski’s stubborn prejudiced views are challenged when his neighbors are no longer all white and the neighborhood is faced with gang trouble. He undertakes the reformation of a Hmong teenager, Thao (Bee Vang), from next door when the youth tries to steal Kowalski’s prized 1972 Gran Torino as a gang initiation.

The first impression of Thao is a quiet, underprivileged teenager who is condemned to a life filled with gangs. He does not have the opportunity or the means to go to college. Kowalski groups all Hmong family members together, believing Thao belongs with the reckless troublemakers.

After the burglary incident, Thao’s mother brings him over as a peace offering, making Thao work for forgiveness. The youth and Kowalski generate a precarious balance, one of mutual dislike, yet friendship.

Thao’s sister is placed in a dangerous situation, and Kowalski decides to help her as well. His portrayal of a stubborn old man is soon undermined as he is drawn into life of Thao’s family.

Eastwood plays his role extremely well. And combined with the seemingly inexperienced acting of Vang, the script is played out very efficiently. The supporting actors add character, bringing the script to life and dramatizing the movie.

The conflict between the Hmong gang and Thao’s family increases, and Kowalski’s influence does as well. As each scene unfolds, viewers move from laughter to suspense to awe.

“Gran Torino” is definitely one of the most ingenious, most well played scripts that has hit screens recently.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

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Geocaching: A hight tech scavenger hunt [VIDEO]

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Jan 282009
Authors: Glen Pfeiffer, Ryan Gibbons

What do you get when you mix elements of scavenger hunting, hide-and-go-seek, treasure hunting, hiking and a handheld global positioning system? No, not an anti-social landlocked pirate … more like: A fantastic high-tech sport that appeals to a wide variety of enthusiasts!

And also a great way to mix two species: The computer geek who has trouble getting into the outdoors and the outdoorsy geek who packs technology./

Geocaching, a word derived from the prefix “geo”/meaning earth and the french word “cache” meaning to store or hide, began in 2000 when the U.S. government allowed public use of GPS to be accurate to within feet.

New possibilities arose for GPS users with the new level of accuracy, ones that are more fun than just not getting lost. The first cache was placed by a man named Dave Ulmer in the woods near Beaver Creek, Ore. But what is a cache, exactly?

A geocache is generally a small container containing trinkets such as coins, stickers or anything small enough to fit in the container, plus a logbook.

They range in size from a “microcache” — a tiny metal container only big enough to store a rolled up paper logbook and usually found in more urban areas — to ammo cans, found in more remote forested areas and able to hold larger and more interesting treasures. So how can you find these caches?

A vast database of geocaches is kept on the official Web site As of Monday the site had 719,464 active caches worldwide, and a quick search of the Fort Collins area will yield hundreds of nearby caches.

Once you register for a free account on the site, you will have access to the coordinates of the majority of these caches (a very few are available for paying members only).

The Web site supports handheld Garmin GPS units, so if you plug one into your computer via USB, you can download the coordinates of caches directly from the Web site to your device./

Once you know where you’re going, you can find the coordinates with your device — ranging from easy finds on a street corner near your house to hard ones at the top of a mountain.

Our GPS usually gets us to within five feet of the cache — and once you find it, make sure to sign the log book, and if you wish, take a trinket and replace it with one of equal or higher value.//

So what’s stopping you from heading out right this instant and embarking on the largest scavenger hunt in the world? Chances are its because you don’t have a GPS.

Look up Garmin’s Web site — basic handhelds range between $100 and $200. If you aren’t ready to take that plunge, don’t worry: you can get hooked on the sport initially with your GPS-equipped phone.

Any phone with a GPS-like capability (meaning, you can input latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates) can serve to find caches. The only downfall is that most cell phones use cell towers to triangulate your position rather than actual GPS satellites, so you have to have decent cell service for this option.

Despite the level of technical know-how this sport seems to require, it is actually extremely easy and fun. We didn’t even own a GPS until this December, and it only took an hour or two one night to become familiar with using the unit, and the next day we were off caching like pros./

Columnists Glen Pfeiffer and Ryan Gibbons can be reached at

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‘Working on a Dream’ Springsteen’s greatest hits

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Jan 282009
Authors: Nick Scheidies

Barack Obama may have proven that anyone can be president of the United States, but who would have guess that a 59-year-old man could be the biggest musical act of 2009?

Consider the facts: on Jan. 11, Bruce Springsteen won a Golden Globe for best original song; on Jan. 18, he opened for Obama’s inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial; and this Sunday, he’s headlining the Superbowl halftime show. In the midst of all of this, he has released a greatest hits disc in addition to a brand new album called “Working on a Dream.”

The Boss hasn’t been this relevant since “Born to Run.”

And he may never have been more content. Unlike his two critically acclaimed post-9/11 albums, “Working on a Dream” finds Springsteen focusing less on political turmoil and more on lighter, personal stories of overcoming everyday struggles.

Through the barroom beat and sassy guitar licks of “What Love Can Do” — a song that Bruce has described as a contemplation on “love in the time of Bush” — Springsteen admits that he “can’t stop this train,” but offers up love as a solution.

Then there’s the album opener, “Outlaw Pete,” an eight-minute epic of the old-west propelled by ominous strings, harmonica and spaghetti-western electric guitar. Springsteen spits, drawls, and yelps through the tall tale of a renegade so hardboiled that, “at six-months old he’d spent three months in jail.”

The lyrics are delightfully absurd, but unfortunately some of the album’s lyrics are absurd in a less pleasant way: In “Queen of the Supermarket” Springsteen coos “A dream awaits in aisle number two,” then on “Tomorrow Never Knows” he rasps lazily “Where the green grass grows / tomorrow never knows.”

Unfortunately, the simple folk-rock arrangements of these and a handful of other tunes on “Working on a Dream” feel just as stale and contrived as the lyrics.

So when Springsteen unleashes his hound dog howl on the rumbling, vital “Good Eye” it’s a bluesy, breath of fresh air — and he doesn’t sound half his age either. The only problem is that “Good Eye” wouldn’t feel like such a stand out if the rest of the songs didn’t get lost in their own muddy, folksy layers of guitar, organ and horns.

Bruce Springsteen has long been seen as a champion of the working class and “Working on a Dream’s” homebrewed songs of guarded optimism capture the emotional pull of blue-collar America in 2009 perfectly. It’s just too bad that it sounds more like a work in progress than a dream come true.

Staff writer Nick Sheidies can be reached at

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Want to stimulate the economy? Try wearing a condom

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Jan 282009
Authors: Caleb Thornton

I can tell already that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to be good to me for the next couple of months.

She is just so easy to pick on. Let’s face it, the woman is terrifying to look at — rivaled only in her appearance possibly by Emperor Palpatine and maybe even Carrot Top. But most importantly, the speaker has a habit of making statements so nonsensical that even those on her side of the isle can’t help but squirm a little.

For example, let’s take the recent statements made by the speaker in an interview with George Stephanopoulos.

During the interview which aired over the weekend, Speaker Pelosi was asked by Stephanopoulos about her plan to include millions of dollars of assistance to family planning services in the economic bailout package, specifically how such action would stimulate the economy.

Her answer?

“Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children’s health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those — one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.”

If you don’t realize just exactly what the Speaker is saying here, then let me clear it up for you.

In her infinite wisdom, the speaker of the House has decided that in order to stimulate the economy, the government should fund services that promote contraception, thereby reducing costs to the state, presumably by limiting the amount of children taxpayers have, thus lessening the state’s burden to care for another individual within society.

Put simply: Wear a condom, stimulate the economy.

But honestly, this logic should not surprise anyone. Time and time again, when the government is given a blank check, and told to go fix a problem you can just about guarantee that at the federal level some of that check is going to be spent on something that has absolutely nothing to do with actually solving the problem.

Of course as I write this on Monday night, reports are already surfacing that House Democrats may be backing down on this idea entirely, perhaps under the pressure that simple logic might bring, but don’t let that fool you.

Regardless of whether or not this plan actually goes through, this small instance gives us all a quick hint at where Speaker Pelosi and her Democratic House allies’ priorities lie.

The economy might be in the tank, the federal deficit may continue to break records, and we may still be dependent on foreign oil, but House Democrats will be damned if they don’t get us our free condoms.

And if there is one thing I can guarantee will happen in the upcoming congressional session it is this: The federal government will spend your taxpayer dollars on programs and pet-projects that will have very little, if nothing to do with actually solving the pressing issues that this country actually faces.

It’s government spending at its finest. And to think, it’s only been a week.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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Our View: Take up the torch, CSU

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Jan 282009

CSU students, we encourage you to follow student government rep. Dan Palmer’s example — except for, of course, the part that includes his not running for City Council.

Palmer, student government’s director of education, has been a leader at this campus and a significant influence in his ability to empower young people to take advantage of the opportunities accessible to them. As of November of last year, those prospects include the ability to run for state house and senate at the age of 21.

While Palmer, due to his feelings of inexperience, has recently announced he most likely will not run for City Council as he previously planned, there’s nothing more we’d like to see than another young person take up the torch for CSU students.

By passing Referendum L last year, Colorado proved its faith in the capacity of young people to complete tasks reserved for its most exceptional leaders, charged with representing Fort Collins as a whole.

There are so many unresolved and unacceptable issues still left to be taken care of in this city — the U+2 ordinance is just one of them — and the youth voice is one that’s vital to making sure we are duly represented.

Palmer is one of many inspirational student leaders in this city, and we can’t wait to see who steps up to take his place in running for City Council this year. Make us proud, CSU. We’re keeping our fingers crossed.

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Save the planet, save yourself

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Jan 282009
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

I’m officially scared now. Is it still okay to admit to that? I’m scared!

I might have to also admit to being a “doomsdayer” too. But let it suffice to say that at the very least I’m no longer worried — just scared.

I’ve nearly come to the conclusion that we’re doomed, and it might be smart to begin hoarding all the natural resources we can and hunker down for impending doom.

I have little doubt that many of you reading this heard the same report on National Public Radio this week about newly published research that global warming is “irreversible” making it official — we’re screwed.

So much for all the hope the elections, now come and gone, instilled in us — we can now come down from the high and make plans for the end.

However, there is good news. We know who is to blame: It’s you! It could also be your friends, family and neighbors and me, too. But mostly it’s you.

How many times have you left the lights on all day, wandered the kitchen with the fridge door hanging open, left your car idling in the parking lot, continued to get your lunch at that place that still uses Styrofoam or taken that plane ride without purchasing the appropriate amount of carbon credits?

Yeah, the list is long and there’s plenty of evidence. You’re guilty. Guilty of not being enough of a hippie.

No worries, though, we’re all in the same boat now. Kyoto didn’t pass either, and that’s not really your fault, right? I mean, both the Clinton and Bush administrations rejected protocol, so no matter whom you voted for (if you voted), it’s not quite your fault.

Who won by not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol? We did, because legally binding benchmarks would have disrupted the American way of life.

You know: money, power and the charmed life of Americana — never negotiable.

It’s all good, though; It’s not as if we had much of a warning.

We thought we were making some progress. Our work places installed a few recycling bins around the office, we all went to see — voluntarily or not — Al Gore’s movie and eliminated ’80s hairstyles.

The news reports about the ozone layer deterioration in Antarctica seemed to be less frequent and no one seemed alarmed by the bad tidings of the four editions of the Global Environment Outlook reports.

We don’t care about the planet or the environment. Or rather, America doesn’t care about the environment.

The state of the Earth and ecosystems are only as important as the TV shows we’re driving home to see. We’re only as green as that witty t-shirt lets us be. Toxic dumps only matter if they’re in your backyard. And I don’t really give a damn about air pollution unless I have to live in it.

With this attitude, the Earth doesn’t stand a chance against the American way of life. But maybe this isn’t the whole story.

There are people dedicating their lives to the task of improving the planet and the outlook. Is it a lost cause? Maybe, but perhaps they just like a challenge.

I’m looking at the “Global Warming is Irreversible” article alongside a university announcement of “A close look at climate change solutions” series slated for Feb. 4-5 and skeptical as I am, I hope to see you all there.

The age of “We can’t do anything about it” has apparently passed to the age of “Yes we can.”

I wonder if it will be followed with the time of “yes we did” or “I wish we would have” or “probably could have.” Or maybe it’ll just be “I know you didn’t”?

Phoenix Mourning-Star is an environmental health graduate student. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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Panel to discuss mail-in ballot pros and cons

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Jan 282009
Authors: Jessica Cline

Questions dealing with the advantages and disadvantages of mail-in ballots will be addressed tonight from 7 to 8 p.m. in the City Council Chambers as a panel of community members and city officials invite inquiries and input from the public.

The panel, which runs as a part of the monthly forum CrossCurrents sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Larimer County, will follow how the panelists feel about mail-in ballots on both a state and local level, said panelist and community member Wanda Mayberry.

“It is important to talk about how Colorado votes and to make sure that the community is well informed about what is going on and what are all the benefits and consequences of having all mail-in ballots are,” said Jenny Flanagan, executive director of Colorado Common Cause.

The panelists include a variety of people, including Flanagan and Mayberry, along with Larimer County Clerk and Recorder Scott Doyle and Jenny Mark Shaffer, a Fort Collins attorney. Barbara Rutstein of the League of Women Voters will moderate the panel.

The community will be able to ask specific questions of the panel at the end of the discussion.

The panelists were asked not to prepare specific responses to the questions but will be answering based on their experiences and knowledge of each topic.

Doyle said he favors switching to all mail-in ballots on a local and state level because they make voting cheaper and easier.

“The pros of mail-in ballots are they save money by making voting cheaper with the skyrocketed price of elections, most voters already use mail-in ballots and they give voters an easier option because they take the complexity out of voting,” Doyle said.

The Fort Collins City Council Chambers are located on 300 East LaPorte Ave., and the panel will also be televised on Fort Collins Cable Channel 14. Audience members are being asked to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early, as the broadcast will begin at 7 p.m.

Staff writer Jessica Cline can be reached at

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 Uncategorized  Comments Off on FLASH MOB FREEZE
Jan 282009
Authors: Ariel SenaCavillo

At 11:55 Wednesday morning, a siren blared across the Plaza, its persuasion and purpose leaving approximately 100 students froze in time. Some gave the person next to them chokeholds. Others whispered. Some kissed.

Shocked by the sight, passing students weaved in and out of their peers — now students-turned-statues — looking puzzled.

Three minutes later, the siren sounded again and the frozen crowd resumed with the day’s activities as if nothing had happened.

The group, dubbed the CSU Flash Mob, froze in an act of performance art called a “flash mob,” which calls for a group of people to assemble in a public place, receive a cue, perform a specific act and then disperse.

After the group recruited enough people for the flash mob through the social networking Web site Facebook, freshman civil engineering major and creator of the group James Brundage and others brainstormed ideas until the terms of the flash mob — time, date, place and action — were chosen.

The idea for Wednesday’s flash mob was formulated before the end of last semester after Brundage was inspired by several YouTube videos depicting similar events around the country.

Brundage likened the act to a well-known freeze mob by New York’s Improv Everywhere, saying the group “froze Grand Central (station).”

Freshman biological science major Eric Rithmer gathered with friends and froze in the act of playing chess.

“We just wanted to play,” Rithmer said of the reason why he and his comrades turned out for the event.

Brundage said planning is under way for the next flash mob and ideas revolve around a variety of different places, situations and numbers of people.

Old Town could be the next victim of the CSU Flash Mob, Brundage said, stressing, “There will be something.”

Staff writer Ariel Sena-Cavillo can be reached at

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