By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
When I first heard that there was a new Restaurant opening called “The Armadillo Grill,” I will admit that I was having doubts. I suppose the reasoning behind that is because I have been hoping that since Blairsville is now able to serve alcohol, that we would get some popular food chains’ restaurants, but instead we get another locally owned place with a name that makes you suspicious of what they serve. However, I stand corrected. Eating at “The Armadillo Grill” was actually a very satisfying dining experience.
When I first pulled up to the restaurant, I was not extremely impressed due to the lack of parking options and landscaping; although I am willing to forgive that, acknowledging that they are brand new and are no doubt still making important decisions. It should be noted that the place was packed, cars parked in the adjacent field, and many groups of people waiting to be seated.
Upon entering the establishment I thought it had an altogether pleasant atmosphere. Multiple pieces of local art adorned the walls, which are painted a dark red contrasted with natural wood trim, and dim lights hover over the well-spaced tables and booths that are all centered around a rustic fireplace.
About 25 minutes passed before I was seated, and I thought the service was great. Our waitress was polite and well-spoken and ensured that our glasses remained full and our table clear of dirty dishes. The food came out surprisingly fast considering how they busy they were at the time.
The menu consisted of a large variety of items including seafood, pastas, burgers, steaks and an assortment of selections with a southern flare, and some that were refreshingly unique.
I indulged in the “Pecos chicken Parm” which consisted of a large flour tortilla shell full of penne pasta with Alfredo sauce topped with three large portions of fried chicken and provolone cheese, served with an assortment of other spices that made for a delicious and filling meal at a decent price of $11.99.
Altogether, I had a very enjoyable experience and left full and content. The “Armadillo Grill” appears to have a bright future ahead of itself, and based on my personal dining experience I give it an A and look forward to going again soon.
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art. I don’t do that so much anymore.” These are the closing words of the famous, maybe infamous, Banksy, in his new documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop. For those of you who do not know what is going on out in the art world (yes, one exists), Banksy is foremost a street artist from England. Now, he may or may not also be a genius film-maker.
Your first impression is you think this film is going to be about Banksy. Instead you are introduced to Thierry Guetta, who is not an artist, and then proceed to learn his life story and how he is obsessed with filming everything that moves. Guetta becomes Banksy’s new shadow, filming him do everything art related. Banksy ends up having an extremely successful show, and he makes a lot of money. He figures now might be a good time for Guetta to make use of the hours of footage he has and make a documentary. Guetta obliges and ends up making the worst documentary ever, resulting in Banksy “encouraging” Guetta to go home and start working on some of his own street art.
Guetta takes Banksy’s request very seriously and starts hiring people to make the art for him. This leads to tons and tons of art that suspiciously looks like the art he has been filming for years. Guetta starts working on an extremely large art show that ends up having a mind of its own, which leads Guetta to nickname himself “Mr. Brainwash.”
Now there are two options as to what the purpose of this documentary might possibly be. The first option is to view this film literally. It’s about a guy who gets a lucky break. The second option is that Banksy is awesome. I am more inclined to believe the second option. I think, and so do many others, that this entire documentary was a hoax, a piece of art in and of itself. So if you believe that art reflects the artist, then my first impression of this documentary was correct. It is all about Banksy and the message he is trying to drill into our skulls.
The best part of this documentary is that it is so ambiguous, and I think that ambiguity is what truly makes it a piece of art. It is open to interpretation. If anything, it at least opened up many conversations about art on a large scale, which I believe, is always a plus. So with that in mind, watch this movie and try not to think too much. Also, it’s important to remember that with all art, you may not like it, but you can still appreciate it.
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
The Civil Rights movement has had an incredible impact on virtually every aspect of the entertainment industry including music, movies, books and much more; but one of the best ways to actually see and understand the transition that African Americans experienced throughout this movement is by observing the iconic television series that aired throughout this time period and revolved around the lives of African American families for the first time in history.
The Civil Rights movement generally began in the 1950s, but the first time viewers at home watched a television show with an all African American cast did not occur until the late 1960s. These are shows that, today, any family is familiar with and are simply another aspect of our society’s culture; however, when they originally aired, these shows represented the changing times taking place in America.
Some of television’s earliest examples include the premiere of “Julia” in 1968, which the first show to depict an African American woman in a role other than a servant, or Fred and Lamont Sanford and their dubious money-making schemes in “Sanford and Son,” broadcasted in 1972.
One of the earliest TV series to air that concentrates on the fictional home life of an African American family, also serves as a reflection of the effects the Civil Rights movement. “Good Times” originally aired in 1974, and focuses on the struggles and obstacles of the Evans family as they try to get by while living in the infamous and impoverished projects of Chicago. Despite having a limited income, the Evans represented the eventual benefits that result from determination, perseverance and the importance of sticking together through hard times.
Soon after “Good Times,” a new show premiered in 1975 that would be a turning point for television sitcoms. “The Jeffersons,” which lasted for 11 seasons, holds the record for being the longest running TV show with a predominately black cast. Where the Evans had been a family struggling to make ends meet, the Jeffersons were an upper-middle class family not unlike any other family in America.
The main difference between “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons” is that “Good Times” was about a black family trying to live their lives. “The Jeffersons” was more about a family living their lives.
The progressive pattern continues with the premiere of “The Cosby Show” in 1984. The show is about an affluent family living in Brooklyn. The famous comedian Bill Cosby portrays obstetrician Cliff Huxtable who is married to attorney Clair Huxtable, resulting in a very lucrative lifestyle.
Unlike its predecessors, “The Cosby Show” barely mentions any issues of race, rather focusing on comedic material and some more serious issues including teen pregnancy, dyslexia and the obstacles that come with raising a family. Many more shows have followed “The Cosby Show” into the nineties such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Family Matters” and many more continue to surface in the 21 century with no particular emphasis on race such as “Lincoln Heights” and “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.”
Now, the later shows focus more on entertainment, but through the television series like “Good Times” and “The Jeffersons” the bar was set for a brighter future in the entertainment industry.
UPDATE1 (11:18 a.m.) — Added hyperlink to “Julia” from Museum of Broadcast Education.
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
Since 2003, the Byron Herbert Reece Society has worked diligently to commemorate the man whose life and legacy continues to have an impact in the lives of those who have an appreciation for the rich cultural history and tradition in the mountains of North Georgia. The society also celebrates anyone who enjoys reading poetry and rural fiction inspired by the dynamic and agrarian qualities of the area.
Reece was born on September 14, 1917, near Blairsville. His birthplace is nestled in the very bottom of the Appalachian Mountains; and at the time, it was such an isolated area that Reece never saw a car until he was eight or twelve years old. Due to these circumstances, Reece grew up in an agricultural cocoon, where he developed a strong connection with the land around him.
After graduating from Blairsville High School, Reece did not wander very far and decided to attend Young Harris College, a school located in the neighboring county for the next several years. Reece would write many poems that would gradually gain him popularity among many of the journals and newspapers of the area. While at the same time, he was teaching and taking care of the family farm due to his parents’ recent illness.
Although Reece’s works never brought him much financial stability, he won various awards and honors for his contributions to literature, including the Georgia Writer’s Association’s literary achievement award five times, the position of poet-in-residence at Young Harris College and Emory University and a nomination for a Pulitzer’s Prize in poetry for his work, “Bow Down in Jericho,” in 1950.
Due to contracting tuberculosis, the same disease that his parents suffered from for several years, and continual financial instability, Reece plunged into a deep depression. On June 3, 1958, Reece ended his life by shooting himself in the lungs, which is where his disease was festering. This occurred in his dormitory room on the campus of Young Harris College where he was currently teaching.
In order to preserve Reece’s legacy, The Byron Herbert Reece Society was officially founded by various distinguished members of the community including Lamar Paris, Dr. John Kay, the chair of the society, and Dr. Bettie Sellers.
According to Debra March, recently elected recording secretary of the society and associate library director and head of special collections at YHC, the society’s general goals are to “keep his name out there, continue to commemorate his writings and to simply keep people aware.”
One way the society plans to do this is by taking Reece’s home farm, located near Vogel State Park, and turning it into a Heritage Center including a visitors center, displays about farming, a group pavilion, amphitheater and walking paths highlighting the sights that had such an impact in Reece’s life. If all goes well, the center is expected to open in 2012.
Other methods of keeping his legacy intact include a school program called “Reece in the Schools,” in which public schools around the area will incorporate Reece’s works into their curriculum. Young Harris College has also done this by encouraging professors to incorporate some of Reece’s poetry in their own literature courses. Trails have been named after him, and even a play inspired by his works called “The Reach of Song” was created and became the official state drama in 1990.
When asked why Reece is such an important figure to study and be aware of, March said, “he conveys the message that anybody can succeed. It doesn’t matter where you are or where you come from. When you’re from the middle of nowhere, that [message] has a lot of significance.”
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Editor
When I first started my college education at Young Harris College, I thought I had it all figured out. I was majoring in English, and that was final. Naturally, a semester later, I was now both an English and art major. It was not a decision I took lightly, and I did not decide to do it on my own either.
My decision making process was aided by the art department of YHC; and although I will not say I regret making that decision, it has certainly not made my life any easier. In my opinion, of all the degree programs at YHC, the art program is the most neglected, and changes need to be made.
Since the school has become a four-year institution, huge transitions have been initiated, but the art department is being left behind in the dust. Even before YHC was a four-year school, the art department paled in comparison to the music, English and science departments that are fully staffed and offer many different opportunities and new directions for students to take their majors.
This year, as nice as the new recreation center is, I thought our school’s motto began with “To Educate.” When I read that, I thought it meant that it was the school’s primary goal to provide the best education it can offer to its students. I guess the art students did not make the cut.
As of right now, there are currently only two professors who teach art classes and one professor who teaches art history. Not only does this put a large amount of pressure on them, but it also makes scheduling classes very difficult because each class is only offered once. If you decide to be an art major your second semester, like I did, count on graduating late.
The classes offered are also very limited. The school offers two drawing classes, two design classes and one painting class. It has yet to offer a graphic design program, which is unfortunate considering graphic design is probably the most applicable and profitable field an art major can enter with today’s economy.
The college has been working towards offering more four-year degrees. And, when I decided to major in art, I, and many other art majors, were told that art would have a four-year program by the time we were finished with our sophomore year, in which we could continue to work for a Bachelor’s degree. Now, in the first semester of my sophomore year, I am being told that no such degree will be offered for the benefit of the sophomore art majors. If I had not additionally been majoring in English, I would be forced to transfer to another school.
As it is, I can either stay at YHC and be content with only an Associate’s degree in art, which will not benefit me very well, or transfer to a school where I can continue to pursue art and English. Many of my fellow art majors are in fact planning on transferring to other schools.
I was under the impression that Young Harris wanted to convince as many students as possible to stay four full years, but now it is losing several students who will no doubt encourage other prospective art students in the area to choose another college.
As a liberal arts college, Young Harris should strive to improve the quality of all its areas of study. As of right now, it is failing to do so.
By Sara Botinelli, Staff Writer
Every year, the Young Harris College Choir exceeds expectations by displaying exemplerary vocal ability in each of its performances. Many have heard them perform, but now the choir has the opportunity to deliver their music to a much broader audience.
At the end of next semester, students will be traveling overseas in the choir’s first European tour. Those who attend will be given the chance to not only sing for a culturally diverse audience, but also to explore and appreciate the many wonders that can be found across Europe.
Jeffrey Bauman, professor of music and director of choral and vocal activities at YHC, has been working hard to plan this trip for students who will find themselves visiting the cities of Prague, Vienna and Munich.
Bauman says, “Although many wonderful cultural trips have been taken by various groups over the years, this is the first European performance tour for Young Harris College.”
Students have already begun rehearsing for their performances which will be held in historical and cultural landmarks such as Melk Abbey, Salzburg Cathedral, St. Michael’s Church in Munich and the gothic St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
The ten-day tour will begin shortly after graduation in May 2011, and the choir will be spending approximately three days in each of these historic cities.
“We are all very excited about this opportunity and the choir is making this trip the focus of our entire academic year.” states Bauman.
When asked what the purpose of the trip was, Bauman replies, “there are many reasons for making this trip, however, the chief among them is experiencing the culture, history, art, architecture and musical heritage of western Europe.”
Students are looking forward to this opportunity. Marvin Hemphill, a sophomore choir member from Dacula, describes this trip to Europe as a chance to “gain a better understanding of the world around him.”
This experience is not only for the musically inclined. The college has officially opened the tour for community members interested in going on this trip. The anticipated cost for the entire trip is $2,700; however, this number is tentative and depends on the final number of participants.
YHC students are working diligently to be ready to perform at their fullest capacity.
The trip is two semesters away, but students interested in going should act now. Anyone having questions or wanting more information should contact Jeffrey Bauman.
UPDATE1( 4:35 p.m., 09/30/10) Corrected authorship.
By Kyle Huneycutt, A&E Section Editor
Not many people who attend Young Harris College are aware of its rich, cultural history or the men and women who helped shape it. Among these individuals was a man named Byron Herbert Reece. Reece was an alumni of YHC, and later taught from 1935 to 1942. Eventually, he would become a professor at YHC until the time of his death in 1958. He was an incredibly talented poet, and the beautiful Appalachian Mountains served as a wellspring of inspiration for his many works.
Reece’s life was marked by tragedy, first, through the death of his parents and then from the illness that would lead to severe depression and the eventual decision to take his own life. His contribution to poetry and the impact he had in Union County will not be forgotten. In order to preserve Reece’s memory and legacy, The Byron Herbert Reece Society was formed by James and Frances Mathis who were given ownership of the Reece property in Union County several years ago.
The society originally sought to preserve the property that had such a profound impact on Reece’s life and provide a means for anyone interested in him or his poetry to have the resources to discover more about them. In 2002, the Society made Dr. John Kay, professor emeritus of religion and philosophy at YHC, the chair of the organization. Through this appointment the society has flourished by means of reaching out to various members of the community, and the firm determination to immortalize Reece and his works.
Although Dr. Kay is unavailable for an interview at this time, the society’s mission statement is displayed on their website, www.byronherbertreecesociety.org. Its purpose is “to preserve, perpetrate, and promote the literary and cultural legacy of the Georgia mountain poet/novelist, Byron Herbert Reece. In addition to enhancing both knowledge and appreciation for his writings, efforts will be made to honor his way of life, with particular emphasis on his love of nature and his attachment to farming.” Through the efforts of YHC and the Byron Herbert Reece Society, Reece’s voice will continue to echo through the valleys of the Appalachian Mountains and beyond.