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An article for The Season Special Events Blog posted on November 2, 2011.

 

A Sweet Celebration at Oak Hill

 

The beautiful sunset seemed to emphasize the loveliness of Oak Hill’s formal garden as Abbie walked down the aisle to Canon in D performed by a violin and cello duet. Because the gardens were naturally so full of color, the black dresses of the bridesmaids and classic tuxedos of the groomsmen were an elegant contrast to the backdrop. That lovely combination of black and white with a touch of green was later carried over to the reception, which was held in the garden behind the house. Interestingly, this was also the site of the almost-wedding ceremony in the film Sweet Home Alabama.

When guests first arrived to the reception they had the opportunity to sign the guest book and see the sweet favors that were both displayed on the veranda. These setting-appropriate favors were small jars of jams and preserves adorned with monogrammed labels, fabric squares, ribbons and pearls. Not to be forgotten there was also a special birthday cake for the maid of honor located on the guestbook table.

The guests’ tables on the lawn continued the elegant look with a variety of centerpieces utilizing differently shaped vases, white roses, white hydrangeas, and several forms of greenery.

Once the new Mr. and Mrs. Bannister were introduced, the members of the wedding party and the family were more than happy to lead the way in enjoying the delicious looking buffet provided by Harvest Moon Catering. Included in the menu was a thoroughly southern spread of pork tenderloin, pecan crusted chicken, sweet potato soufflé, squash casserole, and several other delectable southern delicacies.

 

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Biography written for Artist Amanda Lovett.

 

Amanda Lovett Artist Biography

 

Amanda Lovett’s family recognized there was a creative career in her future when her childhood doodles were actually detailed sketches of her father’s horses.

Amanda attended the Atlanta Portfolio Center where she studied Art Direction, Graphic Design, Photography and Illustration and joined the advertising firm of McDonald and Little as an Art Director at the young age of 19. She thrived in her creative role and gained invaluable experience and education in the position, giving her the confidence to start her own successful agency when McDonald and Little was later purchased and moved to New York.

In 1998, Amanda attended a watercolor landscape class with Frank Broadhurst, who she would later credit for starting her on a path as a painter. In 2004, after recently switching her focus to oils, Amanda made the commitment to become a full time artist.

With a never ending desire for growth, Amanda has studied under some of the country’s top professionals. This love for learning has driven her to continue her education at every opportunity and has translated into the desire to share her knowledge with others.
She currently teaches workshops at venues across the southeast with a series of subject matters developed to build the core skills necessary for growth at any level.

Amanda has been accepted into numerous national and regional shows and organizations. She is currently represented in several art galleries across the country.

Through her art, Amanda captures the vibrancy and energy most people miss in the simple moments of life.

 

A news article written for my reporting and writing class at Berry College.

 

Emergency Preparedness at Berry College

 

When a bathroom caught fire on the second floor of Clara Hall in 2009, Hether Sheel did as she was trained and called Campus Safety to inform them that it was not just a burnt bag of popcorn.

“Campus safety came up immediately,” said Sheel.

Contrary to Sheel’s positive comments, some on campus have doubts about how prepared Berry really is for an emergency.

It is mandatory for all residents to evacuate their dorm when the fire alarm is going off. According to Chief Bobby Abrams of the Berry College Police Department, students adhere to this rule 100 percent. However, this is certainly not everyone’s opinion.

“If the fire alarm is going off, you should probably leave the building,” said Laura Baker, an East Mary RA, “But a lot of the times people don’t leave because they don’t think it’s real.”

Some students claim the frequency of fire alarms to be the reason behind this lack of reaction.

“The fire alarms in Morgan went off four times in one day, so I don’t pay attention to them,” said sopho- more Jeremy Johnson.

In case of a tornado, resident assistants can only recommend safe practices. Lindsey Taylor, director of residence life, expressed her worries about student’s reactions to such recommendations.

“We can’t make them go to the basement, and it’s amazing how many students do not want to take shelter,” said Taylor.

With such a lack of attention from students, the efforts of those attempting to keep Berry, as well as its inhabitants safe may very well be hindered.

The Campus Safety page of Berry’s web site recommends students call the 24-hour on-campus emergency number when they witness an emergency situation on campus. However, many have wondered why they would not just call 911. The delay that occurs between 911 receiving the call, the dispatch calling campus safety, and the Berry Police Department responding is the reasoning behind this according to Abrams.

If students call the emergency number first, “we’re probably gonna save 2, maybe 3 minutes,” said Abrams, “it’s about time.”

The Berry Police Department has two of its state certified police officers on duty at all times. Therefore, officers can usually reach most locations in three to four minutes as long as something else is not going on, said Abrams. Sheel agreed with Abrams’ times.

“Campus Safety was there in like three minutes, I mean it was really really quick,” said Sheel, “It was maybe another five or six minutes before Rome Fire Department got there.”

Scotty Hancock, the director of the Floyd County Emergency Management Agency, said the department has “a quick response time, very quick” to respond to an emergency at Berry College. He also had positive sentiments about Campus Safety’s ability to handle a situation.

“Them being their own police department, they have the ability to handle an emergency on campus,” said Hancock.

While the debate over Berry’s emergency preparedness continues, some claim that proper microwave etiquette and less burnt popcorn may resolve many of these problems.

A textual analysis of the film Moulin Rouge! written for a class on Visual Media Criticism.

 

Moulin Rouge! Textual Analysis

 

How can one period piece incorporate Marilyn Monroe, Nirvana, and turn-of-the-century Paris? Although they may seem an unlikely combination, they are all key points in Baz Luhrman’s 2001 film, Moulin Rouge! Through the film’s numerous forms of reflexivity and excessive use of intertextuality, it is clear the audience is not meant to think of the film as “reality.” The scene in which the audience is first introduced to the Moulin Rouge and its inhabitants, exemplifies how Baz Luhrmann was able to utilize these elements in order to create a highly postmodern film.

After meeting the Bohemians, Christian, played by Ewan McGregor, is taken to the Moulin Rouge and introduced to its wild, fast-paced style. With a parade, led by Harry Zidler, the “Diamond Dogs” make their first appearance singing “Lady Marmalade.” This is then met by a parade of male patrons in uniform tuxes, singing the Chorus of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” who begin to dance with their entertainers. Soon after, the show changes to a performance of a modern, upbeat can-can by the dancers and culminates with both performers and patrons in a wild commotion on the dance floor. The fast-paced scene is filled by varying camera speeds, quick cuts between short takes, computer animated views of the dancehall’s exterior, as well as glimpses of the many strange characters that inhabit the Moulin Rouge. All the while, the camera frequently reverts back to show Christian’s changing emotions.

Baz Luhrmann has said himself that he wished for Moulin Rouge! to be “audience participation cinema” (The Making of Moulin Rouge). Through the use of several of the film’s dissonant characteristics as well as particular moments of reflexivity, he creates a film that rarely, if ever, allows the audience to think of the diegetic world as “reality.” The film’s very genre, the Hollywood musical, causes a high level of artificiality. Obviously, it is difficult for audiences to think of the story as reality when the characters break out into song in order to tell their stories.

The make-believe world of Moulin Rouge! is greatly exaggerated by its landscape. The fact that nearly the entire film was shot in soundstages lends itself well to the use of miniatures and computer animated graphics to create a warped and distorted landscape. Although instances of this can be seen throughout the film, there are several shots that reveal this reflexive tool within the first scene at the Moulin Rouge. The first of these instances appear directly before the chorus of “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” when a quick, shaky shot moves from an alley directly into the entrance of the dance hall. In this shot, the mise en scéne, except for the Moulin Rouge itself, appears to be monochromatic. In a similar moment, Harry Zidler stands outside in the rain surrounded by black and white. However, the sign and doors behind him, as well as himself, are still in color. Soon after, he moves from his unrealistic location above the Moulin Rouge, and flies through the courtyard, and through the doors. Such computer manipulations of graphics are a certain way to jolt an audience member out of a normal viewing experience.

Although one could assume Moulin Rouge to be a period piece because of its setting in turn-of-the-century Paris, it truthfully has no place in history. Within the first scene at the Moulin Rouge alone, the film combines the costumes of a Parisian can-can dancer with music from the 1970s to the 1990s. References to such a wide range of time periods can be found throughout the film and are able to continually create a sense of temporal dislocation. Once again, this is meant to keep the audience from ever truly falling into the world of the Moulin Rouge.

The combination of such instances of reflexivity that can be detected throughout Moulin Rouge! make the film quite unique. These moments are constantly removing the audience from the “film world” back to reality. Due to this fact alone, the film would certainly be categorized as postmodern.

Yet another tool Luhrmann uses to create his “audience participation cinema,” is his zealous use of intertextuality throughout Moulin Rouge! In doing this, he allows the audience to bring the significance of the referenced text into the meaning of the moment to which it alludes to create a higher level of symbolism to the instant. The most common form of intertextuality in Moulin Rouge! is the use of music in the film. When a single song is sung, or simply referenced, it is not only providing the meaning of it within its current context but it may also bring forward the significance of its artist, lyrics, origin or its place in history. Within the first scene at the Moulin Rouge, there is a wide range of music from Disco to Grunge. Through their intertextuality, these songs are able to characterize characters as well as the dance hall.

“Lady Marmalade,” with its infamous verse, “voulez-vous coucher avec moi ,ce soir?” (“Do you want to sleep with me, tonight?”) is an appropriate song to introduce the “Diamond Dogs.” Originally made famous by Labelle in the 1970s, the lyrics described a New Orleans prostitute. However, its setting was changed to the Moulin Rouge when Missy Elliot produced a modified version of the song for the film. As the first song they sing, it is certainly a quick and sufficient way to characterize the “Diamond Dogs” as prostitutes.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” was first released in 1991 by Nirvana, the quintessential grunge band, who, for many people, brings to mind a rebellion against society as well as the grimy side of life. When the male patrons first enter the Moulin Rouge, they parade in singing the Chorus of the song. These lyrics, which state “here we are now, entertain us, I feel stupid and contagious,” are certainly appropriate for their singers. Obviously they are there to be entertained, in more ways than one. However these lyrics seem even more appropriate when one remembers Satine, the leading lady of the Moulin Rouge, and her illness. It is reasonable to believe she was exposed to Tuberculosis while working. Thus, these lyrics simply remind the audience of the underside of the extravagant dance hall. The thought of the song’s artist is yet another way it is able to characterize these patrons. Nirvana was known to have an unclean, grunge look. In contrast, the patrons are all wearing uniform, pristine tuxes. Through their reference to Nirvana, they are able to portray the filthiness that lies underneath their facades.

Intertextuality appears throughout Moulin Rouge! and extends to music, costumes and even character names found in the film. Once again, this tool is used to interact with the audience and asks them to call upon their cultural knowledge to interpret the film. In doing this, the film is able to bring the audience out of the “reality” of the film. The repeated use of this tool is yet another way in which Moulin Rouge! appropriately fits under the category of postmodern.

Obviously, Moulin Rouge! is a very unique film. It is not often one finds Disco or Grunge music paired with turn-of-the-century Paris. By filling his film with reflexivity and inertextuality, Baz Luhrmann was able to create a film that does not allow its audience to think of it as “reality.” The scene in which the audience is first introduced to the Moulin Rouge and its inhabitants greatly exemplifies how these characteristics were utilized to create an exceptionally postmodern film.

 

Works Cited

 The Making of Moulin Rouge. Dir. Baz Luhrmann. 2001. DVD-ROM. DVD-ROM.