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


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.

The Flare takes Sweepstakes at TCCJA competition


The Flare’s 2014 – 2015 newspaper staff.


The Flare newspaper won Sweepstakes in the Division II newspaper category at the Texas Community College Journalism Association’s annual fall meeting and competition held at the end of October in Austin. The newspaper also received first place in Overall Excellence. The Flare Magazine got an honorable mention in Overall Excellence The event was held in conjunction with the Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Association’s national convention.

KC students received awards in all but one of the newspaper categories, as well as several awards for magazine. They also brought home a few on-site contest awards.

The publications were judged from the fall 2014 and spring 2015 semesters. Rachel Stallard and O. Rufus Lovett were 2014-15 publications advisers. Tory Van Blarcum and Kathryn Agee were editors of The Flare. Sara Holmes was editor of The Flare Magazine.


The Flare’s 2014-2015 newspaper staff.


Kathryn Agee: Second place, Newspaper Column Writing; third place, News Writing; third place, Newspaper In-Depth Reporting; honorable mention, Newspaper News Photo

Daniel Brown: Third place, Newspaper Cartoon

Michael Brown: First place, newspaper Sports Photo

 Leah Bryce: First place, Newspaper Feature writing

Max Cervantes: Third place, Newspaper Column Writing

 E’Lexus Hodge: second place, Newspaper picture page; Third place, newspaper feature photo

 Sara Holmes: First place, Newspaper Picture Page; second place, Newspaper picture page; third place, Magazine Photo

 Tiffany Johnson: First place, Newspaper News Photo; second place, Newspaper picture page; honorable mention Newspaper Sports Action Photo

 Julianna Kendall: Honorable Mention, Newspaper Feature Writing

 Sumeyee Samento: First place, Newspaper Feature Photo

 Tory Van Blarcum: First place, Newspaper Sports Action Photo

 Victoria Whitwell: Honorable Mention, Sports Feature

Newspaper staff: second place, Newspaper Layout/design; third place, Editorial Writing; third place, Newspaper Website; third place, Newspaper Advertising; third place, Newspaper Headline Writing; honorable mention; newspaper in-depth reporting; two honorable mentions, Magazine Layout


The Flare’s 2014 – 2015 photography staff.


The staff  also won numerous Gold Circle Awards through the national Columbia Scholastic Press Association competition.

 Kathryn Agee: Third place, Sidebar Writing; honorable mention, Personal Opinon/Off-campus Issues

Leah Bryce: Honorable mention, Non-fiction Article (The Flare Magazine)

Sarah Holmes: Second place, Photo Story; honorable mention, Photography Portfolio of work (The Flare Magazine)

Tiffany Johnson: Third place, Photography Portfolio of work; second place, Photography Portfolio of work (The Flare Magazine)

John Nieto: Third place, Photo Illustration

Tory Van Blarcum: Second place, Typography – A Designed or Art Headline

Staff: First place, Op-Ed or News Analysis Page Design; third place, Single Subject News or Feature Package, Single Page Design Portfolio of work

Page 7B 4-24-15

The Flare’s first place winning Op-Ed or News Design Page from its April 24, 2015 issue.

‘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?







KC students affected by construction on campus

KC students were interviewed about their opinions of the construction going on around campus. Their answers reflect the many thoughts people have about the changes taking place.

Below is a layout of the plans for the Lee Mall area of KC. It provides a glimpse of what the future central gathering spot of KC will look like.

KC Central Mall

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

View on YouTube

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 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


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.

View on YouTube

Henderson ISD Higher Education Center opens soon; Community invited to open house Aug. 20




Kilgore College is excited to announce the opening of the Henderson ISD Higher Education Center this fall at the former Central Elementary School building in Henderson.

For the first time, all of KC’s initiatives in Henderson will be hosted in the same building: dual credit academic and workforce classes, Adult Education and Literacy (including GED and ESL classes), continuing education classes, and eventually regular college evening classes.

Dr. Bill Holda, KC president, and Keith Boles, HISD superintendent, have been working together since last fall to make this a reality.

“The opening of the HISD Higher Education Center is an incredible opportunity for our students as well as for the entire Henderson community.  It is the direct result of the outstanding relationship among HISD, Kilgore College and HEDCO,” Boles said.

HISD is planning an open house set for 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 20, so community members can tour the renovated facility.

The facility was renovated thanks to the financial contributions of HISD and the Henderson Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO).

HISD budgeted $100,000 to remodel the building with new paint, new flooring, laptop computers and multimedia projectors in each room.  There is also a 20-computer lab for instructional use.

HEDCO donated $134,000 for the equipping of a new welding facility and the old gymnasium is being transformed by HISD into a welding lab for both dual credit and regular college classes.

“This is really an initiative by the HISD, but we have collaborated all along,” said Terry Booker, KC’s dual credit coordinator. “In exchange for our use of the facility at night for all our programs, including the welding lab, we will scholarship the workforce tuition for HISD students taking those dual credit classes.”

Holda said the project has lots of potential for economic growth for Henderson and it helps solidify KC’s relationship with the city of Henderson.

“We hope to eventually expand workforce training like our Lineman’s School to better serve Henderson’s technology and workforce needs,” Holda said.  “Everybody benefits.”

Holda said there is also hope that a senior college or university would agree to partner with the HEC to offer upper level courses toward a bachelor’s degree.

Longtime Henderson High School counselor Ronnie Hardin will be the HISD Higher Education Center’s coordinator.

The address of the HISD Higher Education Center is 101 Mary Street, Henderson, Texas, 75652.

Classes at the center will begin Aug. 24.

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


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

REVIEW: ‘Love and Mercy’ makes me SMiLE

Bill Pohlad, John Cusack, and Brian Wilson answer audience questions after the screening of "Love and Mercy." FLARE PHOTO BY KATHRYN AGEE.
Bill Pohlad, John Cusack, and Brian Wilson answer audience questions after the screening of “Love and Mercy.” FLARE PHOTO BY KATHRYN AGEE.

Anyone who knows me knows my favorite band is The Beach Boys, and my favorite musician is their leader, Brian Wilson. I first got deep into their music last November when I heard their album SMiLE, an album which wasn’t officially released until 45 years after its conception and recording. It was worth the wait, as I consider it the best album I’ve ever heard.

I found out that a biopic of Wilson was in the works, and would be screening at SXSW with Wilson in attendance. I knew I had to go and see this film. The experience is one that will stick with me for the rest of my life as one of the most emotionally powerful events I have been a part of.

Love and Mercy is the story of The Beach Boys’ founder Brian Wilson. The film chronicles his rise to fame in the 1960’s and the his decline into mental illness, and his escape from the control of his therapist in the 1980’s.

Paul Dano plays Wilson in the 1960’s scenes, and John Cusack plays him in the 1980’s. It also stars Elizabeth Banks as Wilson’s future wife, Melinda Ledbetter, and Paul Giamatti as his therapist, Eugene Landy.

Paul Dano exudes the boyish look of young Wilson perfectly. He relearned how to play piano for the role, and sings much of the music in the film. Highlight scenes include Dano playing and singing the Beach Boys classics “God Only Knows” and “Surf’s Up.”

His performance is hard to watch at times because of how depressing it is seeing him devolve from an energetic, fun young man into a tortured, drained artist. Dano handles the role with passion and care, and his performance never feels forced or fake.

When Wilson begins to suffer a panic attack, anyone who’s had one will feel deeply for him. When he starts to have physical symptoms of depression after years of physical and mental abuse from his father and disapproval of his musical direction from fellow bandmate Mike Love, Dano portrays the hurt that comes from those events with subtle facial expressions and natural transition.

John Cusack looks less like Wilson physically, but his performance may be even more complex. His Wilson has been to the bottom, and he brilliantly portrays how challenging it is to rebuild your life after going through mental and physical anguish.

Elizabeth Banks has a great departure from her more well known comedic film roles, and as Ledbetter, she shows her strength and respect for the man she loves through actions and subtle expressions instead of overt, over the top dialogue.

Paul Giamatti has the most campy role in the film as Eugene Landy, but this is unfortunately how Landy was in real life. He was as violent and controlling over Wilson’s life as the movie portrays, so his abusive, manipulative, angering performance is highly accurate.

I may be biased because I am such a big fan, but Love and Mercy is one of the best biopics I have ever seen. Everyone involved has an obvious love and appreciation for the material and subject. One thing I hate about many films based on a true story is the need of filmmakers to change aspects of the subject to try and make the film more marketable or entertaining. One of the best things about Love and Mercy is that it doesn’t exaggerate or make up events to make the film more interesting. The filmmakers trust the strength of its source material is interesting enough to make for a great story.

The storytelling strutcure of the movie is interesting and risky. The film jumps from the 60’s to the 80’s without warning, and it works. The slighly askew technique allows the audience to experience the downfall and uprising of Wilson’s life simultaneously, and allows the movie to end on a happy note.

One complaint many people have is that the film skips over the 1970’s, Wilson’s most tumultuous period in which he weighed 300 pounds and spent the majority of three years in bed, crippled by depression and drug addiction. I think it is an intersting choice that the filmmakers decided to not show this portion of his life. It allows the audience to examine the reasons for his downfall and redemption instead of indulging in the horrible escapism Wilson turned to.

Cinematographer Robert Yeoman, best known for creating the look of Wes Anderson’s films, blends stylistic tone with realistic camera work, creating a sense of false nostalgia that is surreal yet inviting and intense.

Beach Boys fans will appreciate the movie more than the average filmgoer. Mike Love in hats, dancing, and mentioning “the formula”? Check. Drug tent and piano in the sandbox in WIlson’s living room? Check. The infamous “Fire” session? Check. Everything is on point, from the scarily accurate wardrobe down to recreating the “Sloop John B.” and “Surf’s Up” promo videos shot for shot. It’s these moments that show the film was made by fans with an attention for detail.

Almost every song on the album Pet Sounds is featured in the film somewhere. Seeing Wilson’s unorthodox recording techniques is such a pleasure for music nerds. A great moment is when bassist Carol Kaye questions why the baseline of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” is in a different key than the rest of the song. “It sounds good in my head,” says Wilson, and of course, his musical instincts prove to be correct.

Composer Atticus Ross works wonders with the score, using a great wealth of Wilson’s music in different ways and choosing songs that fit with the emotional tone of the scene brilliantly. Hearing the instrumental version of “Don’t Talk” play as Wilson takes LSD for the first time is haunting. Witnessing the song “Til’ I Die” play over a surreal, Kubrickian scene in which WIlson has an epiphany made me cry because of the powerful combination of imagery and music.

The film is being released on June 5, to capitalize on The Beach Boys music being a staple of the summer, but it feels more like a Thanksgiving release to me. The cinematography, acting, script, and score are all Oscar worthy in my opinion, but the film may get lost in the race to other contenders, which is a shame.

Love and Mercy is an awesome, unorthodox biopic that takes risks with form and narrative that has strong performances, script, cinematography, and of course, an amazing soundtrack. It will expose millenials to the brilliance of Wilson’s music and give older fans an insight into why Wilson is the poster boy for using creativity as an escape and an outlet from the pain of life and mental illness.

Brian Wilson’s music gave me a different perspective on life, and his method of coping with depression by using his creative gifts made me feel like I wasn’t weird or alone by doing the same thing. If just one person seeing the movie feels more understood by seeing it, then in my opinion, Love and Mercy has done its job.

And seriously, listen to the album SMiLE.