Wind down Wednesdays: Adult coloring books

With the rise of social media culture and the stress of college and work putting people under constant pressure, many young adults are bogged down by social life daily. One of the newest and trendiest ways for adults to wind down after a stressful day is to let their creative side show by using coloring books specifically designed for adults.    From “Secret Garden”

Adult coloring books differ from children’s coloring books because the patterns are designed to be intricate and allow people to use a variety of colors. They remind adults of their childhood and provide a comforting sense of nostalgia that reminds them of their carefree days of having no worries except which colors to choose. Similarly to the book used as a child, adult coloring books allow people to relieve stress and feel a sense of accomplishment after completing a picture.

The first adult coloring book, published in 1961, was a satire of business life called “The Executive Coloring Book,” which had captions underneath pictures such as “This is my suit. Color it gray or I will lose my job.” In 1962, Mort Drucker’s “JFK Coloring Book” spent 14 weeks at the top of the New York Times bestseller list. That year, sales of adult coloring books reached $1 million.   From “The Executive Coloring Book”

Today’s adult coloring books are not subversive or satirical, but are used to provide a therapeutic feeling. Johanna Basford’s “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest” coloring books have sold over 10 million copies since 2013. Many of Amazon’s top-selling books over the last couple of years have been adult coloring books.  From “Secret Garden”

Like other forms of relaxation therapy such as meditation and yoga, coloring lets people switch off their brains and focus on the moment, which helps alleviate anxiety. It is especially effective for people who don’t normally consider themselves artists, and feel that they are bad at drawing and sketching things themselves.

Picking up coloring as a hobby is easy and affordable. Books run anywhere from five to 15 dollars, depending on the size of the book. Amazon has a huge variety of coloring books in stock. They can also be found at craft stores such as Michaels and Hobby Lobby, bookstores like Books-A-Million and Barnes and Noble, and general entertainment stores such as Hastings Entertainment – whose Longview location currently has one in stock based on BBC’s Sherlock television series.  From “Sherlock: The Mind Palace”

Although any medium of coloring instrument may be used, colored pencils are recommended over crayons, which are normally too thick for the detail needed, or pens, which can bleed through the paper.

After your items are purchased, all that needs to be done is to sit back and let your creativity take hold! Your stress levels will be reduced, and you’ll have a book full of wonderful art to show off after its completion.

Top Ten Tuesdays: Top ten favorite films of 2015

In my opinion, 2015 wasn’t a strong year in film. Much of my favorite films list was influenced by the awesome experiences I had watching films in theaters with a great crowd of fans. Nevertheless, here are my top ten favorite films of 2015.

10. Sisters – This opened the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so going into it all I thought about was watching TFA afterwards. Those thoughts were hampered a bit as Sisters was able to hold its own as a refreshingly fun comedy. It earns its place on my top ten films list mainly because it does not patronize its female leads, played by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. It presents them as fun, a bit over the top but ultimately relatable. The plot is thin, but unnecessary anyway as the enjoyment of the movie comes from Fey and Poehler’s interactions.

9. Kingsman: The Secret Service – I almost forgot this was released in 2015, as it came out in January. Colin Firth and newcomer Taron Egerton star in this wonderful satire of British spy movies. Samuel L. Jackson steals the show as an over-the-top villain. Firth does many of his own stunts, which include impressive work in a massacre at a church that became an instant classic scene thanks to Internet praise. This underrated gem deserves more recognition from film fans.

9. Creed – The Rocky film series spinoff stars awesome actor Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, son of boxer Apollo Creed, once opponent of Rocky Balboa, reprised by Sylvester Stallone. Balboa must train Adonis, who aspires to be a fighter on his own terms and escape the inevitable legacy set by his father. Creed echoes the best parts of previous Rocky movies, and will leave viewers on the edge of their seat rooting for Apollo’s victory. Stallone’s role recently won him the Best Supporting Actor Golden Globe. I am hopeful the Creed series will continue with another film.

8. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – A small independent film I discovered while browsing Redbox, this film tells the story of a high school senior who can’t find his place in life, his best friend, Earl, with whom he films their own versions of classic films, and a girl from his class he is forced to hang out with after she is diagnosed with cancer. I was astonished at how real and moving the performances and script were. The scenes where the film parodies are featured will make any true movie geek smile. An under the radar gem that is definitely worth checking out.

6. Raiders! The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made – This documentary, which premiered at the 2015 SXSW film festival (where I got to meet the cast and crew), is the true story of a group of kids who, in the 1980’s, set out to film their own adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark shot-for-shot. The film is lovingly nostalgic and will remind film fans of their childhood.

5. The Walk – An amazing movie that is best experienced in IAX, it is the true story of Phillipe Petit, played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who in 1974 wire-walked illegally between the World Trade Center towers. The movie follows the documentary about the event Man On Wire very closely, and perfectly complements it. Director Robert Zemeckis uses 3D to his advantage, and the scene of the primary wire walk is astonishing to behold on an IMAX screen.

4. The Hateful Eight – Quentin Tarantino’s eighth film, a western set a few years after the Civil War, has all the great elements expected of s great Tarantino film: amazing dialogue, character actors, superb cinematography, a Golden Globe winning score and tons of cursing and violence. All of it is breathtaking, especially in the roadshow edition, which includes an overture and intermission and was released on 70mm film in select theaters. Seeing it in the roadshow edition was a unique film experience in today’s digital age, and is a format more directors should return to embracing.

3. What We Do In The Shadows – This New Zealand mockumentary about the daily-or should I say, nightly- lives of a group of vampires is one of the most quotable and hilarious movies I have ever seen. It may be funnier if you are a fan of classic horror films already, but is definitely not a requirement. Everyone can find something to love about its quirky cast of undead vampire roommates, and will be able to rewatch it again and again and find new bits of humor every time.

2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – If was a true joy going to see this on opening night with s group of avid fans who, like me, have been patiently waiting for director J. J. Abrams’ entry into the Star Wars canon. As he did with the 2008 Star Trek reboot, he reinvigorates the Wars film series and Lawrence Kasdan’s script treats its characters with love and a sense of honesty and true to heart realism not seen in many films nowadays. The returning cast and new actors both equally shine and help make this film deserving of being the top grossing film of all time.

1. Love and Mercy -This biopic of Beach Boy musician Brian Wilson will forever hold a special place in my heart. Aside from being an amazing, unconventional biopic with an awesome soundtrack consisting of wonderful Beach Boys tunes, I got to first see or at SXSW with Wilson himself, star John Cusack and director Bill Pohlad in attendance, which made the movie more special to me. Wilson’s story is depressing and inspiring, and will make both music fans and those who have never heard of him appreciate the struggles he has had to overcome in his life.

Music Mondays:  Soundtrack of my life – David Bowie

January 10, 2016. In the darkness of the cold morning, I patiently wait for the bus to take me to school. Headphones eternally prepared around my neck, I put them on and ready for the eternally comforting sounds of the song “Rock and Roll Suicide” to enter my brain.

 Photo from RCA music


2002.

I do the exact same thing. There are differences. I am in high school, not college. A CD player is in my pocket, not an Iphone. My hair is short, spiked and red, and my face is plastered in bright blue, pink and white makeup.

But the music is the same. David Bowie’s guitar and vocals melt into my eardrums, letting me know that if nothing else in my life is going right, the music will always be there to comfort and soothe me.


January 10, 2016. 5:30 a.m. Waking up, I notice a text from my sister at 1:36 a.m. It just says “Kaaaat.” Groggily wondering what she wanted, I routinely check my Facebook. All I see are posts about David Bowie’s death from cancer at age 69. I go completely numb.

2002. I’m 14 years old. The year prior, I had started to fall in love with “good music” – The Beatles, The Who and Queen in particular. It’s a Saturday, and I’m on a mission to spend all my allowance money on things my younger sister Kelly and I need for what we call our Chill Room. As budding musicians, we decided to combine our bedrooms, using the Chill Room as a makeshift recording studio and shrine to our musical influences.

We walk into an art gallery and poster store. While browsing, I come across something that would change my life – a poster of Bowie’s “Aladdin Sane” album cover. I had heard of Bowie’s music casually, but seeing his brightly made-up face intrigued me. His style was so different from anything I’d come across before. I know immediately that I will be a fan.


Photo from RCA music

I buy the poster, and the “Best of Bowie” DVD set at the FYE in the mall and eagerly go home to watch it. The DVD set quickly becomes worn out. The visual style of the videos and performances hold as much importance to me as his music. His androgynous, beautiful look influences my personal style, and his music inspires me to continue learning guitar.

January 10, 2016. That text. “Kaaaat.” Hating having to talk with Kelly about the deaths of celebrities we love, I text back, “I wondered why you texted me at such a weird time at night. Then I checked Facebook.”


2002. I skip school a lot. Suffering from depression, sometimes I stay home because of it. Many times I stay home to help take care of my mom, who suffered a major stroke the year prior.

Other times, I take “pop culture days” off from school. Usually, it’s because a classic film I’ve never seen will be showing on TCM, and to me, watching it was more important to my future than going to school that day.

This day is a pop culture day, and a day to explore Longview. I skip school and decide to see how long it will take to ride my bike from my house to Hastings Entertainment store. It took me about 45 minutes. I found treasures waiting for me: The Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders rom Mars live concert DVD, and the Bowie CD “Hunky Dory.”

 Photo from RCA music

Unbeknownst to me, Kelly also is missing school with eye pain after leaving her contacts in too long. Nearing my house, a police car stops me on the street. Kelly had called 911 to take her to the hospital, and the police had shown up instead of an ambulance to take her. My mom and Kelly hadn’t known where I was, only that I was not at school.

Worried about Kelly, I frantically take my bike to my house and get in the police car. Upset that Kelly is in pain, I give her the CD and DVD I bought as a gift. After going to the hospital, we go home and watch the DVD. I get worn out quickly too.

Throughout the years, I listen to all of his albums, with “ The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars” becoming my favorite because of my love of concept albums. My favorite look of his is the character The Thin White Duke, with his tri-colored hair and fancy suits. I am ecstatic when one of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson, uses Bowie’s music for his film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,” with songs interpreted in Portuguese by musician Seu Jorge. Perfection in my mind is achieved when he portrays one of my other favorite people, physicist Nikola Tesla, in the film “The Prestige.”


January 10, 2016. Today will always stick in my mind as the day one of my favorite musicians left this world after being in it for half of my life. His pop culture presence will stick with me forever, and keep me company on the days when I need it the most.

‘Rock The Square’: The awesome life of a journalist

When the guard at the gate walked away, we made a run for it, opened the gate and snuck backstage. As we made our way to the tour bus, we kept in the shadows and out of sight from the police officers. Every time a guard or officer came near by, a surge of adrenaline ran through us. Finally, we saw .38 Special exiting the smoke-filled stage. Before we knew it, the lead singer was coming toward us and we almost tripped over ourselves running up to him. We thought to ourselves, “Wow, this is really happening!”

Fellow Flare staff member Hunter Lohr and I covered the music event Rock the Square in Tyler on Saturday, Oct. 17. We were warned we probably couldn’t get to the bands because they were under contract. However, that didn’t mean we weren’t going to try. Journalists will not give up just because they’re told no.

The experience overall made for one of the most memorable days of my life. Rock the Square consisted of a classic car show and a concert. It began with the car show which boasted dozens of classic beauties including a Chevy Chevelle and several ’60s Mustangs in mint condition. It was a classic car enthusiast’s paradise. Once we finished touring the car show, we realized there were a couple of food trucks on the square and we could not help but wander to them. We opted for a burger from a food truck called Rock n’ Dawg. It was absolutely delightful. The patties were savory and hand pressed while the fries were flavorfully seasoned. They also had interesting names for the food relating to rock, such as the ‘Fall Out Boy’ and the ‘ZZ Top’.

After lunch, we had a couple of hours to kill before the concert started so we decided it would be a good idea to walk to a record store. Bad idea. Not only did we not have proper walking shoes, but we also ended up in a shady part of Tyler. On the upside, I did find some rare records and we made it back to the festival alive just in time.

Special guest Jimmie Vaughan and his band were the opening act. They played mellow tunes featuring amazing guitar solos. It was a perfect transition between the car show and .38 Special. While we were walking around looking for good angles to take pictures from, Hunter and I discovered an opening that was not guarded. It lead to Jimmie Vaughan’s tour bus. We quickly slipped in and watched the rest of the show from backstage. When the show ended, I noticed Jimmie coming off the stage towards us. I turned to Hunter and yelled, “Jimmy’s coming! Hurry, take out your camera!” While he fumbled to take out the camera, I ran up to Jimmy and introduced myself. He was very nice and cool about letting us take pictures. He even took out his guitar. After, it took us a while to process what had happened. We were overjoyed.

We then made our way back beside the stage to capture .38 Special’s epic performance. By this time, the place was packed. Energy was high and people were dancing. The band played several of their most popular songs including ‘Rockin into the Night’ and ‘Caught up in You’. They had the crowd going wild.

About halfway through their performance, we decided would try to go backstage like we had for Jimmie Vaughan. Unfortunately, our secret spot was now completely blocked off and guarded. The number of police officers had doubled as well. We were not discouraged, though. I told Hunter that we would walk around the block all the way behind the concert. When we got there, we were faced with a gate and a guard.

Amazingly, the guard left and that is how we found ourselves sneaking in and hiding while freezing to wait for .38 Special. We had an amazing spot to witness their closing song, all time favorite ‘Hold on Loosely’. Most of the band was on the bus before we could even say hello. But it was just our luck that lead singer Don Barnes was walking our way. I jumped up faster than I’d ever have with Hunter right behind me and we went up to him, introduced ourselves, and got some great pictures with him. He was also very nice and I feel like he would have talked to us more if the policies officers had not discovered us and asked us politely to leave.

And that my friends, is what you call a great ending to our night. Now you have some insight into the life of a journalist. Pretty awesome, right?

Barry

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Danny

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Doctor Who in cinemas with season finale ‘Dark Water/Death in Heaven’


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Doctor Who, the classic BBC show, took almost 50 years to find a mainstream audience in the United States. Now, the show has become so popular in America, the two part finale of its most recent season will be shown in 3D in movie theaters Sept. 15 and 16 at 7:30 p.m. at Regal Cinemas in Longview.

For the uninitiated, Doctor Who has always had a cult following in the US, with its science fiction themes and time travel. The main character, called The Doctor because of choosing his power of time travel and near immortality to help others, has the ability to regenerate, changing the look of his body. This allowed the show to cast a different actor as the character when necessary. Partially because of this and Doctor Who’s constant creativity and presence in British and American culture, the show celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013, and is the longest running science fiction television show of all time.

The episodes that will be shown in theaters, ‘Dark Water’ and ‘Death in Heaven,’ are the two final episodes of season (or, as they say in the UK, series) eight. This season is actor Peter Capadi’s first as the iconic, regenerating, time-traveling character The Doctor who replaced Matt Smith after his very successful two-season run that made the show more mainstream to American audiences.

In the two part finale, The Doctor will face off against his old foes the Cybermen as the they terrorize the streets of London once again.

The event will also include a prequel scene to season nine called The Doctor’s Meditation and an exclusive interview with actors Capaldi and Jenna Coleman, hosted by Star Trek: The Next Generation star and geek icon Wil Wheaton.

Tickets are $19.49 and can be purchased at www.fathomevents.com or at Regal’s box office.

If you are a fan of Doctor Who, this is definitely an event that cannot be missed. The opportunity to view the show on the big screen does not happen often, much less in 3D. Experiencing Doctor Who in theaters with fans will be an amazing experience.

Keep an eye out for a review of this event in this week’s print issue of The Flare.DW-3D-Cinema-Poster-US-in-Fathom-Frame darkwater

Kilgore Fall Film Festival brings independent cinema to East Texas

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Kilgore’s 4 Star Cinema’s anual Fall Film Festival begins today and will run through Oct 1. A variety of independent features that did not receive a wide theatrical release in movie theaters will be shown.

Mr. Holmes is directed by Bill Condon and stars acclaimed actor Ian McKellan. It is a crime/drama/mystery film that centers around a 93-year-old version of the famous fictional British sleuth Sherlock Holmes, played my McKellan, as he struggles to recall the details of his final case. It is based on the 2005 book A Slight Trick of the Mind. It has received very positive reviews, with website Rotten Tomatoes saying “Mr. Holmes focuses on the man behind the mysteries, and while it may lack Baker Street thrills, it more than compensates with tenderly wrought, well-acted drama.” It is rated PG and will be playing Sept. 9 – 12.

Iris is a documentary about fashion icon Iris Apfel. At 93 years old, the film shows how Apfel still continues to be creative, inspiring, artistic and busy even in her advanced age. Director Albert Maysles has made many famous documentaries, including Grey Gardens, Gimme Shelter, and When We Were Kings. It is rated PG-13 and will be playing Sept. 13 – 15.

I’ll See You In My Dreams stars Blythe Danner as a widow and former singer who rediscovers the joys of life, along with the help of her three best friends. This drama/comedy explores the theme of taking chances and having new beginnings at any age. Actor Sam Elliot plays her new love interest, and actress Malin Ackerman plays her estranged daughter. It is rated PG-13 and will be playing Sept. 16 – 19.

The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out The Window and Disappeared is a Swedish comedy film about a 100-year-old explosives expert escaping from a retirement home. It is the third highest grossing Swedish film of all time, only being surpassed by the first two installments of the original Girl With the Dragon Tattoo films. It is rated R and will be playing Sept. 20 – 22.

Testament of Youth is the true story of World War I nurse Vera Brittain, based on her memoir. It stars young actors Alicia Vindaker, lead of the recent film Ex Machina, and Kit Harrington of Game of Thrones. The book was previously adapted as a BBC five part miniseries in 1979. It is rated PG-13 and will be playing Sept. 23 – 26.

Infinitely Polar Bear is a comedy film starring Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana. Ruffalo plays a manic depressive father trying to win back his wife by taking full responsibility of caring for the couple’s two young daughters. Director Maya Forbes based the film on her own experiences growing up with her bipolar father in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Rolling Stone magazine Peter Travers said “The movie is a small miracle, lifted by Ruffalo and these two remarkable young actresses.” It is rated R and will be playing Sept. 27 – 29.

Best of Enemies is a documentary about the televised debates between intellectuals William F. Buckley and Gore Vidal in 1968. Actors John Lithgow and Kelsey Grammar star as the off-camera voices for Vidal and Buckley respectively. An article entitled “18 Best Films From Sundance 2015” said “This might have been both the most entertaining and the saddest film of this year’s Sundance: a riveting gabfest that slowly becomes a lament for the Republic.” It is rated R and is playing Sept. 30 – Oct. 1.

 

 

 

 

“Marcus Thornton Day” to be held in Kilgore Aug. 29

  
Houston Rockets NBA player and KC alum Marcus Thornton will be returning to his former college on “Marcus Thornton Day,” Fri., Aug. 29. He will be recognized for his induction into the KC Athletics Hall of Fame.

A meet-and-greet with Thornton will be held in Masters Gymnasium from 3 to 5 p.m. Kilgore Mayor Ronnie Spradlin will be in attendance and will recognize Thornton at halftime of that night’s KC football game.

Thornton attended KC from 2005-07. He played basketball under head coach Scott Schumacher and earned All-American Honors.

Thornton is a native of Baton Rouge, LA. His first season at KC, he averaged 19 points per game, and the following year he netted 27 points per game.

After attending KC, he became a member of the LSU Tigers in his hometown. He averaged 21 points per game and won the Southeastern Conference player award. 

Thornton was then drafted to the Miami Heat but was immediately traded to the New Orleans Hornets. He made a franchise record by scoring 23 points in a single quarter and made the NBA’s all-rookie team. He officially signed with the Rockets on July 25, 2015.

Thornton is active on Twitter, and can be followed @OfficialMT23.


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Texas Frightmare Weekend offers scary fun in Dallas

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Fans of horror cinema, culture and celebrities will gather for the 10th annual Texas Frightmare Weekend convention May 1 – 3, at the Hyatt Regency at the DFW Airport in Dallas, Texas.

According to Texas Frightmare Weekend’s website, it is “arguably the largest horror convention in the nation.”

Loyd and Sue Cryer began the convention in 2005 as a three day horror event. It was first held at the Grapevine Convention Center. As attendance grew, it was moved to the Hyatt Regency in 2012. The venue has 93,000 feet of event space.

Texas Frightmare Weekend’s goal is “to provide fans with an unrivaled experience by celebrating all aspects of genre films.” Over its three day celebration, it hosts celebrity appearances and autograph signings, film screenings, panels, visual artists and memorabilia vendors.

Kelly Agee, horror movie buff, said she is going “because I love horror movies, but mainly to meet Udo Kier. When suggesting who they should have as guests a couple of years back I actually suggested him and I am just so thrilled to get to meet him.”

This year will be cosplayed Courtney Varnado’s first to attend. “I’ve mostly been wanting to go because of the 80’s action stars they usually get. This year, I’d have to say I’m excited to meet the Scream cast. I was always a huge fan of them growing up in my tweens.”

Horror fan Bryan Patti said, “I have been attending conventions for years, but this year will be my third attendance to what I have noticed to be the best ran convention in all of the South: Texas Frightmare Weekend.”

Celebrity guests attending will be signing autographs, offering photo ops and holding panels. Tis year’s guests include Neve Campbell, Malcolm McDowell, Brad Dourif and Elvira.

Films that will be screened at TFW include Bind, Bloodsucking Bastards, Clinger, Despite the Gods, Doll Factory, Dreadtime Stories, Gutterballs 2, Killing Mr. Right, Lost Soul, Midnight Abyss, Sacrament and Wolfcop.

There will be special screenings of the films Phantasm, Spider-Baby and Scream on Thurs., April 30. Stars of the films will attend and hold Q&A sessions after the movies.

“I am really excited about the screening of Spider-Baby,” Agee said. “It is awesome that Sid Haig is going to be there and it is a great opportunity to see such a rare, classic, cult black and white horror film in theaters.”

“I’m just looking forward to be in an environment that I thrive off of and meet such wonderful, like-minded fans and celebrities,” Patti said.

Convention hours are 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Fri., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sat., and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sun. Tickets can be purchased at the door. Go to www.texasfrightmareweekend.com for more information.

 

75 years of Rangerette history celebrated

The 75th annual Rangerette Revels will take place at 7 p.m Wednesday through Friday, and at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Rangerette’s show this year will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the award winning dance team. A select number of past Rangerettes have been selected to perform as 75th Anniversary All-Stars in a routine with current dancers in this year’s production.

The influence of the Rangerettes since their creation in 1940 is unprecedented. KC’s Rangerettes were the very first dance drill team in America. Founder Gussie Nell Davis was hired by KC Dean Dr. B. E. Masters. His mission was to create something unique that would increase female enrollment and also keep fans in their seats during half time at football games. In establishing the Rangerettes, the halftime show was also created, which has now become a tradition during football season all across the United States.

Revels began in 1948 as a talent show and fund raiser called Ranger Roundup. Davis combined all of the Rangerette’s half time routines, the KC band and twirlers to create the annual spring show. The show was moved to a local football stadium and renamed The Rangerette Revue as it grew in popularity. It was then moved to Dodson Auditorium on the KC campus and given its current name.

This year has been an eventful one for the dance team, as they have been recognized for 75 years of performing their famous high kicks and jump-splits.

On Aug 22, 2014, the Rangerette Show-Offs celebration was held. The 36 freshmen added to the team performed for the first time at the celebration, and a member in the audience from the first line in 1940 was recognized.

The Rangerettes danced in their 65th straight appearance in the Cotton Bowl Classic on New Year’s Day. They were featured performers in both the pre-game and halftime.

The Texas Cultural Trust honored the Rangerettes with the Texas Medal of Arts award on Feb. 25. It honors Texans who have made contributions to the arts locally and aroung the word. They were inducted at the Capitol in Austin along with famous Texans such as Jamie Foxx, T. Bone Burnett and Dan Rather.

In March, the Rangerettes took an 11 day tour of Scotland and Ireland, visiting famous landmarks and cities. They performed in Ireland’s national St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, which had over 700,000 attendees.

Sweethearts of the Gridiron, a documentary by filmmaker Chip Hale, was filmed over the course of a year in anticipation of the Rangerette’s 75th anniversary. It examines the dynamics and relationship between Rangerette directors Dana Blair and Shelley Wayne, returning Rangerettes, and the tryout process for hopeful dancers. It is currently on the film festival circuit, and will be screening at the USA Film Festival in Dallas on April 25.

With all they have accomplished over the past 75 years, people can only wonder what the future holds for Texas’ most famous drill team.

Fandoms unite for Kilgore Geekend

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Geeks and nerds of all walks of life will come together in their common love of fandom in Kilgore. The second annual Killgore Geekend will be May 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in downtown Kilgore on Commerce Street.

Kilkgore Geekend is being held to celebrate National Free Comic Book Day, which is held annually on the first Saturday of May. Jennyfer Keohane of Tours of Tyler said, “It’s a promotional event for the geek-minded and nerdy-minded. We held it for the first time last year. Saturday it was packed, but Sunday wasn’t. We had a two day event for May the Fourth.” May the Fourth is known in geek culture as Star Wars Day. Last year, May the Fourth and Free Comic Book Day fell on the same day.

RC Comics in downtown Kilgore was a huge partner of last year’s event. When it closed earlier this year, the future of the event was uncertain. “We weren’t going to do anything this year,” said Keohane. “We weren’t sure how it was going to go over, but it went over so well that Kilgore Main Street contacted us to have the event again this year.”

There will be vendor booths, artists and activities that the whole family can enjoy. Keohane said the vendors at the event will include “comic bookstores, anime related booths, video game stores, soap and body lotions and face painters.” Charlie’s Sno Cones of Kilgore will also be there providing treats.

Anyone attending will be sure to see attendees dressed up as their favorite comic book, anime and pop culture characters. “We’re still lining up performers,” said Keohane, “but so far we have an electric violinist. There will be tons of cosplayers, and a costume contest.”

Kilgore Geekend is being put on by Tours of Tyler. It is an event planning company that also holds the Tyler Rose City Comic Con, Tyler Paranormal Conference, Tyler Record and CD Expo, and many different tours of the city of Tyler.

There is no cost to attend or enter costume contests. Vendor spots at Kilgore Geekend are $25 for a 10 by 10 space. Free space is also available for a limited number of nonprofit organizations and art departments.

For more information, contact Tours of Tyler at 817-715-2925, at www.toursoftylercom, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/KilgoreTXMayTheFourthBeWithYou.

Meerkat leading social media’s future

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The age of technology has opened doors that weren’t even a thought just a few years ago. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2013, 80 percent of Americans owned a smartphone.
Along with smartphones have come the rise of the app. Daily, people use popular apps such as Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. One of the newest apps that is sweeping the social media scene is Meerkat.
Meekat is an app that connect to a user’s Twitter feed. It allows the user to live stream a video feed to their users, showing what they are doing in that exact moment. The app was launched at the South by Southwest festival in Austin at the beginning of March. Meerkat viewers can hold conversations with the streamer via a text chat, while the streamer can respond either by text or verbally. This allows people from all over the world to share an experience that would not be possible in the real world.
A viewer in Canada can share a car ride with someone in England. Users from all over the world can watch a concert together via live stream. People can watch comedians like Jimmy Fallon and Jim Gaffigan make jokes directly to the camera that are spontaneous and exclusive to viewers. Apps like this are changing the way we experience both entertainment and social media, and will be a huge and important part of the future.
David Grossblatt is a popular featured streamer on Meerkat. He is the CEO and founder of Founder’s Dojo, based in San Fransisco. It is a collaborative start up company founded in 2008. Their website states, “We believe that diversity is a vital element of success.  We are a mix of established companies and new companies helping each other under the hood.”
They are personally connected with Product Hunt. Founder Ryan Hoover  “was friends with the Dojo, and then he started Product Hunt,” said Grossblatt. Product Hunt is a website that showcases the best new apps, websites, hardware projects, and tech creations daily. “Meerkat kind of popped up on Product Hunt, and I would say that our little clan of friends were amongst the very first people to start using it.”
“The first few days, it was just me and guys I know very well. We were just on there doing silly chat room stuff,” said Grossblatt. “I don’t remember when I started broadcasting and it became interesting enough that people started watching.”
He has become well known on Meerkat for his car and bike rides around San Fransisco. He receives up to 1,000 viewers at a time. “I love talking about San Fransisco,” he said, “I was realizing that I was getting a lot more exercise. So I was like, okay, I’m just going to keep doing this because it’s giving me more exercise.”
Many people may be skeptical about the idea of having so many people knowing where they are at any given time. However, most of the social media networks that people use already share their location with their friends.
Grossblatt “questions how much more it really increases risk. I mean, I’m pretty out there already. All the places I work and live are listed online, and I’m active on Facebook.” Any person can type a name into Google, and things such as addresses, phone numbers, work places, and social media profiles will immediately be at the top of the search results. “It’s pretty easy to find information on anyone,” he said, “and I know how easy it is to track down anyone from a perspective of using third parties like databases.”
“The question is not do people know, but am I relatively secure?,” said Grossblatt. “I do think about that a little bit for my kids, but my kids have grown up watching families on YouTube. I also think the reality is everyone is being recorded at all times anyway. So the question really is, is this any less secure than what’s going on around us all the time anyway? I think the answer is no. I don’t think it increases risk. “
The way society views security is changing. With increases in technology, being secure doesn’t mean living in fear and shutting people out, but using the technology to connect and trust each other. “When I’m walking around at night, I like streaming,” said Grossblatt. “I have 20 to 30 people walking around with me. If something crazy went down, I know my viewers would be like, “911!” There is a lot of security in that.”
Meerkat could be a great asset in protecting oneself. A person can stream their walk alone to the dorms and feel safe knowing that they are not alone and are on camera if anything bad was to happen. If someone is getting verbally or physically harassed, all they have to do is turn on Meerkat and the criminal would be broadcast live. Many civilians feel awkward about being on camera anyway, so seeing a person with a phone held up recording would make them less likely to even consider doing anything illegal.
People stalking others on Meerkat is an unlikely scenario. Online profiles allow scammers to create fake people who can only be represented online, by stealing other’s pictures and information. On Meerkat, you have no choice but to be yourself on camera.
Grossblatt thinks people’s concerns about safety is a case of “megalomania, if you think people actually care. I see that in my Twitter feed. Just comments flying all around. When you stop streaming, it’s silent.”
Meerkat’s rival app, Periscope, came out only a few days after Meerkat. While Meerkat has the advantage of being the first live streaming app released, user friendly design, and a memorable name and logo, Periscope was directly created by Twitter. Only time will tell which app will be the most popular one to use. The possibility of Facebook releasing their own live stream app cannot be ruled out. With Meerkat being ahead of the game, many people may have already integrated live streaming as part of their daily routine before Facebook jumps on the bandwagon.
In today’s fast paced age, people have no time to socially connect with others. The only way to  combat this unfortunate byproduct of technology integration and overload is by using it to connect with others in a positive way, if only for a moment, and if only through a computer or phone screen.
 “The world is so noisy,” said Grossblatt. “I’m only in most people’s consciousness while I’m streaming. As soon as I cut off my stream, no one cares. The fact that we can just connect for a second, that’s the miracle.”

Marijuana legalization a complex issue

With the legalization of marijuana becoming a hotter issue by the day, I wanted to get an interview with someone about it. Luckily for me, I saw that rapper/marijuana enthusiast/amateur philosopher Mod Sun was coming through Dallas on his tour to support his debut album Look Up. I got the chance to talk to him after the show where he granted me the privilege of doing a short, email interview.

What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington?

I agree with it to certain degrees. I don’t think people should get in trouble but I also don’t want the government to have their hand in the marijuana I smoke.

Do you support the legalization of marijuana for either medical or recreational use in America? Why or why not?

The answer above applies directly to this question. I want people to feel safe but I don’t want this to become a tobacco industry effect.

 

Lawmakers in Texas recently proposed a bill to legalize cannabis oil to treat epilepsy, which is believed could lead to the plant being legalized for recreational use as well. Do you see Texas legalizing marijuana or either medical or recreational use in the near future?

Yes, I see everyone decriminalizing it, but what that means as far as “over the counter” sales that will be told by time.

 

The Flare also conducted a survey of 100 KC students and staff through Survey Monkey asking how they would you use marijuana if it were legal.Below are the results.

Marijuana chart