The Los Angeles Riots: Civil unrest and violence

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

The Los Angeles Riots are one of the most contentious and heavily debated events of the civil rights movements in the 90’s. In the United States, there has been a history of tensions between law enforcement and ethnic minorities, and that issue is once again coming to the forefront of American politics. Often times, when we look back into history we are able to clearly define people and events as good or bad. The Los Angeles Riots are a grey area of recent American history and a sad reminder of why civil rights are so important.

Excessive force

Anyone who keeps up with recent news has heard this debate quite frequently as of late—how much force is too much force? This was the cast in the arrest of an African American man named Rodney King in 1992. Rodney King had been beaten continuously for over a minute by four officers. They claimed they had already tried to subdue him once and that he had thrown them off. The beating was the only part that was caught on video, however, and the jury, which was mostly white, chose to acquit the officers on April 29, 1992. Soon, over three hundred individuals had gathered outside the courthouse to protest the acquittal of the policemen.

Deadly force

Tensions between the police and the African American community were just one of the causes of the riots. In 1991, a Korean shop owner shot a young African American girl that she believed was stealing a bottle of juice from her store. The  shopkeeper shot her after the girl struck her, killing her before the police arrived. It was an example of deadly force that was used against minorities for minor crimes. The shopkeeper was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and fined $500, serving no time behind bars.

This was one of the many things that led to tension between the African American community of Los Angeles and the growing Korean population. It also demonstrated the failure of the law to protect the African American community. The tensions these events caused were just two small parts of a much larger web of injustice. The lack of conviction of the police officers was just the final straw that broke the camel’s back.

The Riots

The riots included looting, assault and arson among other crimes and much of the violence was law enforcement against African Americans and African Americans against Koreans. The circumstances that led up to the riots were just as awful as the aftermath. 63 were dead, over 2,300 were injured, and over 12,000 were arrested. Koreans experienced unprecedented levels of violence directed at them in the days of rioting and received little protection from the police. The California National Guard and military were both called to put an end to the rioting.

The Los Angeles Riots are an example of why police-minority relations are still strained. The failure of communities to address this issue and bring about change can end in disaster. The riots only occurred after tensions finally boiled over.  The Los Angeles Riots are an emotional reminder that ethnic minorities in the United States have had a long and difficult history in our country and that the demand for change cannot be ignored.

“Eurydice” is a heartwarming tragedy

UW-Parkside puts on Sarah Ruhl’s spin on the Greek tragedy of Orpheus

eurydice
Eurydice played by Christiane Laskowsky (right), and her father played by Jarrod Langwinski (left) COURTESY OF UW-PARKSIDE THEATER

HOLLACE VILLARREAL
Villa068@rangers.uwp.edu

“Eurydice” debuted in UW-Parkside’s Black Box Theater on the April 20 and it was a smashing success. The sets, the acting, and the music all worked together to make a nice end to the 2017-2018 theater season, and it was a perfect way to kick off finals.

The story is set in a vaguely 1950’s scene, with telephones, elevators and mini bicycles to modernize the myth, but it has a timeless feel to it. Orpheus (Kyle Racas) is a famous musician and, indeed, he seems more interested in his music than his bride-to-be (at least while she was alive), and he hears it played out by his muse (Kimberly Hetelle). Eurydice (Christiane Laskowski), the star, is his fiance and she loves him, though she seems to feel unappreciated and is distinctly more book-smart than he is. She is mourning the loss of her father, who will not be there for her wedding, though she is happy to be married.

Eurydice’s father (Jarrod Langwinski) is in the Underworld writing letters to his daughter and trying to devise a way to get them to her. The Lord of the Underworld (Ryan Zierk) finds one and makes his way up to the world of the living. He taunts Eurydice with the letter and leads her to his house, away from her own wedding party. She dies, seemingly from being pushed down his stairs.

In the Underworld, Eurydice does not remember anything. Her father recognizes her and, as he regained his memory by remembering her name, he sets out to protect her and keep her safe in the Underworld (though the Stones (Alexa Uselmann, Joe Schwaller, and Destiny Kent) disapprove).

Meanwhile, Orpheus is going mad with grief and trying every way to get messages to Eurydice, trying to save her from the Underworld. He sends her a letter and a book, showing that he really does care about her.

When Eurydice remembers everything, she is anxious to see Orpheus, but she is enjoying her time with her father. The Lord of the Underworld (dressed as a child) tells her she is to be his bride and she refuses, but we know that he is not going to take that “no” lightly.

Orpheus manages to get to the Underworld by following a note. The Lord of the Underworld tells him that he can have Eurydice back, but only if he does not look at her. Eurydice is reluctant to leave her father, but he walks her away (an echo of a traditional walk down the aisle).

Eurydice cries out for Orpheus. He looks back. They argue for a moment before they are ripped from each other. Eurydice returns to the Underworld to see the room her father constructed for her gone, and that her father dipped himself into the River of Forgetting. She too dips herself in the River, after writing a note for Orpheus.

Orpheus arrives to see them both by the River, asleep, and to find that he too has forgotten.

Memorable moments

The play was amazing, and the actors were great, but the set stole the show. The raining elevator that brought the dead into the Underworld and rose from the floor was, of course, incredible, but the stationary scenery–the floating candles that glowed like stars when the spotlights were down, the mosaic tile that was reminiscent of the Greek myth–it was the little details that really brought this play to life.

Christiane Laskowski and Kyle Racas had amazing performances with a great command of the comedy and drama that the roles required, but the best moment for me was when Jarrod Langwinski was alone on the stage. After attempting to send a letter to his daughter, he “walked down the aisle” with his arm out, pretending to be there with her. After such a heartfelt reading of his letter, I was almost in tears by the time he ran offstage to his job. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen at UW-Parkside.

Overall, the play was amazing and I highly recommend everyone attend next-year’s plays.  

Eurydice: a new spin on an old myth

eurydice-Thumb (1)
via UW-Parkside

HOLLACE VILLARREAL | villa068@rangers.uwp.edu

UW-Parkside’s soon to be premiered play

Finishing off this season of the UW-Parkside theater department is “Eurydice”. “Eurydice” is a new take on the Greek myth of Orpheus, the man who ventured into the Underworld for his wife and could not resist the temptation of looking back.

 

This version of the story promises to be more focused on Eurydice, the wife of Orpheus, as she goes through the Underworld and tries to adjust to her new situation. Written by Sarah Rhul, it has been nominated for several awards and was lauded by The New York Times as “a weird and wonderful play”.

 

Interview with Gabriella Ashlin

 

The Ranger News got an opportunity to talk to the one of the co-scenic designers of the play, Gabriella Ashlin, about her thoughts on the upcoming production. When asked about what a potential audience could look forward to, she said, “There are definitely some surprises in this set to look forward to, plus […] Jarrod, who is playing the father, says the transition going into the Underworld is an anticipating moment.”

 

Ashlin also said that some actors to look out for were “The two leads, Christiane Laskowski and Kyle Racas, who are playing Eurydice and Orpheus. They’re very up and coming, and these are both their first leading roles at Parkside. Hopefully you’ll see more of them next year.”

 

Themes

“Eurydice” is a poetic play that re-examines our perspective on different kinds of relationships, love and death. A huge part of the play is the themes, and Ashlin claims that “the scenic designer, Keith Harris, and I really focused our efforts on the theme of ‘messages’ and the efforts we have as humans to communicate with other layers of reality; in this case, the dead. The set details this theme in several aspects, which I look forward to our audience experiencing in this production.”

 

Ashlin designed and painted the River of Forgetfulness, featured in the play. Be sure to check it out when you see Eurydice next week, premiering April 20th. The show will run April 20-21, 27-29.

“Jumanji 2” and the “Temple of Doom”

ROSEMARY SCHWEITZER | schwe035@rangers.uwp.edu

From Robin Williams to “The Rock”

As someone who grew up watching and rewatching “Jumanji”, I was cautiously

Jumanji
COURTESY OF WWW.SPACE.CA

optimistic at the thought of a reboot, because in recent years, film and TV have not had a stellar record in the reboot department. Granted, when revamping old favorites, it is impossible to satisfy everyone, but one surefire way keep fans of the original happy is to keep what made the original good while adding a fresh spin.

 

In the beginning, there was a board game

The original “Jumanji”, released in 1995 and starring the genius that was Robin Williams, introduced audiences to a vague and dangerous world hidden inside of a seemingly innocent board game. However, those drawn in by the pounding of drums soon realized that Jumanji itself is not so harmless. Complete with killer mosquitos, African bats and the looming threat of being sucked into the game itself, “Jumanji” was a thrill ride for the ages. That being said, I have a feeling that a heavy cloud of nostalgia may be influencing my opinions, to a point.

At its core “Jumanji” was about finding your inner strength, learning to trust the people around you and finishing what you start—and yes I might be reaching here, but just go with me for a minute. Assuming I am not over-romanticizing one of my favorite childhood movies, and there really were deeper themes of self-realization, it is time to see how well the 2017 reboot stands up.

Was it lost in translation?

The first point to evaluate would be the plot. The original movie was not too heavy on plot, which was to finish the game. The reboot expands this by turning Jumanji into a video game and giving it a rough story about retrieving a powerful jewel. Giving the game an actual story and setting opens up the possibilities of extended universes and future sequels, though I think perpetuating the “Jumanji” franchise could have “Final Destination”-like effects.

The second point would be the characters. In the original, the relationships between characters start off shaky and become more cemented as they help each other survive. “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” followed the same principle, only the characters were all the same age and had a basic knowledge of each other before the game began. Their personalities, while relatively generic and stereotypical for teenagers, were fleshed out well enough, and this made their being trapped in adult bodies rather amusing. The chemistry between actors was fluid and each had their own funny quirks, but by far, the best performance had to be from Jack Black. I’m sure it is not the easiest thing to play a teenage, technology-obsessed girl trapped in an overweight man’s body, but if anyone can do it, high-pitched voice and all, it is Jack Black.

It was also funny to see Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson almost making fun of themselves and the types of characters they would normally play. Most notably when Johnson, as Smolder Bravestone constantly flinches away from danger and makes use of his smolder, or when Hart as Franklin “Mouse” Finbar constantly complains about his short stature.

The delicate reboot balance

My final note for the time being would be the references to the original film. Reboots and sequels walk a fine line between paying tribute, blatantly copying and totally diverging from the source material. The 2016 “Ghostbusters” simply recycled the first film’s plot and added in some new jokes, making it predictable and a little disappointing. The 2016 “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” abandoned the original show’s style and went for explosions over the ninja-like stealth. But “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”, in my personal opinion, managed to walk the line well, paying homage while still keeping it fresh.

This Week in History | The Titanic

RORY LARSON | larso066@rangers.uwp.edu

 

Artist Rendering of Titanic Sinking
Artist Rendering of the Sinking of the Titanic

 

A Tragedy at Sea

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the most famous shipwrecks in history, occurring early in the morning of April 15, 1912, and resulting in over 1,500 deaths due to improper safety regulations. The Titanic’s construction lasted two full years, spanning from 1909 to 1911, and was heralded as the most advanced ship to date, a true luxury vessel. It contained new technology, such as watertight bulkhead compartments, and could carry nearly 2,500 passengers each trip with almost 900 crew members. So what went wrong?

Departure

The Titanic departed from Southampton, England, on April 10, 1912. It was set to make several stops along the way to its destination of New York and was all the buzz, being the largest ship ever built. Many of those aboard the Titanic were wealthy elites, officials and celebrities, though out of the three classes, the third class passengers made up the bulk of the riders, totaling over 700. When it departed, the number of souls on board, crew included, was about 2,240.

Spotting the ice

The first three days of the voyage were calm and presented little problems. It was not until April 14 that the Titanic crew began to receive reports about ice from nearby ships. Around 11:30, out of the fog, the crew spotted a large iceberg and sounded the alarms. The ship made a quick turn, and to the passengers on the deck, it appeared that the danger had been narrowly avoided. Unfortunately, beneath the surface of the water, the iceberg had caused a nearly 300-foot wide slash below the waterline of the ship.When the captain and crew went to investigate the damage and saw what had happened, evacuation began.

Evacuation was haphazard and poorly planned. There were 16 lifeboats and four inflatables on the ship, which could only carry 1,100 passengers if loaded to full capacity, which was far less than the number of passengers on the ship. Despite it being woefully inadequate, this did surpass British safety requirements at the time. The first lifeboat was lowered with a mere 28 people out of the 65 it was designed to fit and multiple boats after also faced similar capacity problems. The captain estimated that the boat would only stay afloat one and a half hours maximum, but luckily for those on board, it floated for three.

Safety Hazards

The Titanic’s state-of-the-art watertight bulkheads were faulty, as the walls that separate compartments from one another were only a few feet above water level, meaning that if the ship tipped, water would pour over the top of one wall and into the next compartment. The front of the ship became unbalanced when this exact scenario occurred and began to sink faster than the rest of the ship. At 2:20 am, the ship finally sank with some crew still left aboard and many of the lower class passengers having never escaped to the lifeboats. When those who had escaped to the lifeboats were rescued, only 705 survived. The Titanic serves as a sad reminder of human error and the importance of safety standards and regulations.