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Not even a missing shoe could deter Adam Smith, who pushed through the pain to finish in 53rd place despite lacking sufficient footwear for much of the race. (Photo courtesy of Adam Smith)

Adam Smith’s Shoeless Feat

Redshirt junior Adam Smith ran four miles of the WCC Championships cross country race missing his right shoe.

What happened? Where’d your shoe go?

I lost my shoe about three quarters of a mile into the race, and it was a five mile race…it was hectic and somebody stepped on my shoe. I got a flat tire, and it was kind of half-on and half-off. I thought about stepping off to the side to fix it, but the group was so tight and it was going so fast that if I had stepped off it would have been a bad situation trying to get back into the race. So I thought I would see if my shoe would stay on for a while. About half a mile later it was at such a point where I had to kick it off.

So how long were you running without a shoe?

About four miles.  At first it wasn’t too bad because the top loop of the course was very flat and downhill and grassy, so it felt okay. There’s a certain loop on the course that was dirt and gravel, it was pretty rough. It wasn’t too bad running on it, but I could feel that it wasn’t going to be fun. By the third and fourth loops I was trying to run on the side of the course where there was a little bit grass, I was pushing spectators out of the way.

Did anyone say anything to you as you ran by?

They just said stuff like “stay strong, don’t give up.” And apparently the announcers got wind of the fact that someone had lost their shoe, because it has a [tracking] chip on it. I went back and re-watched the race and they exclaimed that “Adam Smith from USF has lost his shoe, and ‘I wonder if he’ll try to kick off his other shoe to even out the feeling on each foot.’” There’s no way I could have done that. It was really painful to run just without one [shoe].

So it did hurt a lot while you were running?

Yeah, it was pretty painful, my foot is pretty cut up. Also when you run without shoes, your foot uses different muscles, or uses them in different ways, so my foot is pretty sore right now. But it’s not at the point where I can’t run. I’m still practicing, but it’s just painful.

Are you happy with your decision to run shoeless or do you wish you had put it back on?

In the moment, I didn’t think it was a good idea to stop and put it back on. But looking back, I probably should have. If I could go back I would definitely have tried to put it back on.

How did you do in the race? Did you do worse because you were missing a shoe?

Yeah, I probably could have raced about a minute and a half faster I feel like. We came in fifth place as a team. I feel like if I had run to the level I would have been at if I wasn’t in a lot of pain, we probably could have place third or fourth at the very least. So that kind of sucks.

Do you think it was the hardest race you had to do?

It was hard because I wasn’t able physically to run as fast, but I’ve had worse races from my own standpoint because I wasn’t as focused or mentally in it. This race I was in a good mentality and was pushing myself the whole time as much as I could. So I think I’ve had worse races than this past one, it might not show on paper, but [I have].

Q&A with Danny Trejo aka Machete

Century San Francisco Centre 9 and XD theater hosted a special screening of “Machete Kills” on Oct. 3, followed by a discussion with actor Danny Trejo.

The sequel of “Machete” continues with Trejo playing an indestructible Mexican cop turned spy. The film opens with gruesome violence, fire, and hilarity — typical of all Robert Rodriguez productions. Aside from Trejo dominating the screen, stars like Charlie Sheen (credited as his birth name, Carlos Estevez), Mel Gibson, Sofia Vergara, and Alex Vega made appearances throughout the film. Unlike most action movies, “Machete Kills” has the confidence to point out the clichés of mainstream flicks. The movie does not try to be something that it is not, but rather embraces the campy qualities and forced dialogue.

Throughout the Q&A portion of the event, one of the main things Trejo stressed was the importance of going to the movies for fun, stating, “This ain’t no art film!” The actor, who started out as a boxer, talked about how he began his career as an extra and later progressed to starring in his usual action roles. Although Trejo has acted alongside many A-list stars, including Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro, he appeared humble before the audience at the screening. He was excited to answer questions and spoke about his family and relationship with director Robert Rodriguez — who undoubtedly helped him rise to fame.

Based on the audience’s enthusiasm as Trejo entered the theatre, it is clear that the actor has become an icon of cult films throughout the years. The closing of the movie promises a future “Machete” via spoof trailer — a signature of Grindhouse productions. Stay tuned for the next action-packed riot!

Keaton Henson: A Quiet Storm of Talent

Despite his reclusiveness, English musician Keaton Henson has managed to charm his way into people’s hearts — even if it was never his intention to do so. Henson wrote over 100 songs before putting out any content for the public. It was a friend who encouraged him to upload tracks online. Since then, Henson has accrued a cult following. His rise to fame may have been accidental, but I would say his success truly stems from pure talent.

Due to stage fright, Henson rarely puts on live performances. Fortunately for me, I had the chance to see him at the Chapel on Valencia St., on Oct. 9. The venue was very intimate and resembled a small church. In fact, the building served as a mortuary in 1914.

The set-up of the show was unlike anything I had ever seen. There were chairs lined up, and ushers seating guests; it felt very formal and serious. I also thought it was fitting since Henson’s music has melancholic tones that hit the core of the human soul. His songs are about heartbreak, loss, and death: beautiful music that requires one to just sit down and absorb it all. With the haunting feel of the Chapel and Henson’s emotive tunes, the performance was a memorable one. Even with his stage fright, his trembling voice and guitar playing made the music — and the experience of watching him perform — all the more raw and pure. I got the chance to speak with Henson before the show, and he added a rather interesting twist to our interview. Rather than the traditional Q&A, Henson responded to my questions in illustrations (another talent of his).

Foghorn: We can listen to your new album “Birthdays” (2013) but what does it look like in an image?

KH:

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Foghorn: On the rare occasions that you do perform live, how do you prepare yourself to be in front of an audience?

KH:

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Foghorn: What makes a good day? A bad day?

KH:

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Foghorn: How would you describe your art (music, illustrations, poetry)?

KH:

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Foghorn: What makes your head spin?

KH:

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Foghorn: If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?

KH:

Keaton Henson q6

 

 

Rodney Ascher’s “Room 237” has been screened at both Cannes and Sundance Film Festival in 2012. (Courtesy of IFC Films)

Now Showing: ‘Room 237’

USF Professor Daniel Plotnick discusses his screening event of Rodney Ascher’s film

    Documentarian and director Rodney Ascher plans to visit USF on Oct. 18 to present a screening of his latest movie, “Room 237.” The film, which made a successful theatrical premiere last year, revolves around Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining” and its perceived meanings. “Room 237” consists of clips from other Kubrick films and voice-over interviews with passionate Kubrick enthusiasts. While many view “The Shining” as a simple horror/thriller flick, Ascher’s documentary aims to shed light on the possible conspiracy theories that result from the typically enigmatic Kubrick film.

I recently had the pleasure of discussing the film with Professor Daniel Plotnick of the media studies department, who is hosting the screening event on campus.

Foghorn: What is “Room 237”?

Plotnick: “Room 237” is a documentary about Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” and it’s one of those films that people are quite obsessed about. Rodney interviewed five people that are totally obsessed with “The Shining” that have all these interpretations of how to analyze the film and the secret messages embedded within the film. Like there’s one person who thinks that if you look at the film carefully, it proves that Kubrick faked the moon landing. There’s someone else who says it’s a commentary on how the Americans took the country away from the Native Americans. So the film is really about the people that get obsessed with any particular text. He uses lots of clips from “The Shining” and other bits from film history to visually construct the argument. And you never see the interviewees; you just hear them.

Foghorn: So the film focuses more on “The Shining” as an art film more so than a thriller or horror.

Plotnick: Yeah, and it’s got this whole postmodern edge — because even if Kubrick didn’t intend for it to be seen this way, this is how people are reading into it. And so it’s really a question of art and how we interpret a piece of art, and does the intentionality of the artist even make a difference or is it really just about how the audience receives it?

Foghorn: Does the film talk about Stephen King’s motives, or does it mostly focus on Kubrick?

Plotnick: It mostly focuses on the film. There are definitely moments where “Room 237” talks about the adaptation and how it did things to piss Stephen King off — but then again, this is a person’s interpretation and them ascribing motives to Kubrick. Like, “the color of the car is not the color of the car in the book,” or something like that.

Foghorn: How did you get involved?

Plotnick: Rodney is an old friend of mine, and he’s been a part of the underground film scene for years — and he’s originally from Miami, but he’s lived in San Francisco for a while where we became better friends. He lives in L.A. now, and he’s just someone who’s been making really great, fun films. And this film had great reviews: It made a theatrical release, and hopefully it’ll get nominated for an Academy Award. It’s been definitely one of the bigger box office documentaries of the year.

Foghorn: Would you say that watching [“The Shining”] again gave you this motivation to really delve into “Room 237” when watching it?

Plotnick: Yeah, absolutely. And part of the thing that “Room 237” riffs on is that “The Shining” came out during the dawn of home VCRs. Like, let’s say you were watching “A Clockwork Orange” for example, when it came out — and the only time you’d be able to see it again would be if it showed again in the theaters. So people didn’t study movies back then as closely as they did post the advent of the VCR. Once the VCR came out, you could watch “The Shining” over and over again. People of your generation grew up with DVDs, so there were movies that you probably had when you were a kid that you could watch a hundred times, which is a totally different experience if you grew up in the 60s or 70s.  Now, there was “The Shining” that people could get obsessed about because they could watch it over and over again. And I think part of Rodney’s reasoning for picking “The Shining” is that it coincides with that advent of the VCR, and people could read into it like text. Like, “the positioning of Calumet cans in ‘The Shining’ proves things that Kubrick is trying to do!” If you just watched it once in the theater, you wouldn’t pick something like that up.

Foghorn: I feel like with Kubrick’s movies, he definitely goes all out in everything.

Plotnick: Yes, he’s really meticulous. And one of the things that gets brought up in the film is that, because Kubrick is such a meticulous filmmaker, everything the audience sees is there for a reason. That can of Calumet is there because Kubrick put it there; it isn’t there by chance. So therefore, what does he mean by that placement of that object by that object in that frame at that moment in the film? I think that’s another reason why people get obsessed over something like “The Shining” rather than something that’s more of a pop hit: because of the idea that this filmmaker is in total control.

Foghorn: Have you brought up “Room 237” or “The Shining” in any of your classes?

Plotnick: I often show a lot of Kubrick clips in my class to talk about cinematography, so there will be times when I’ll show something from “The Shining” — but it’s not a film that I spend a lot of time looking at or talking about, because I had just recently seen the film again. To me, it was always that I love Kubrick, but “The Shining” was always way down on my list.

Foghorn: Do you have any closing words about “Room 237”?

Plotnick: I think it’s now out officially, and you can watch it through iTunes or rent it online. I would check it out, and I would check out “The Shining,” and I would come to the screening next week because Rodney is someone that’s done a lot of cool, animated stuff — and he’s someone that’s super fun. He’s gonna show a lot of clips, and he’s gonna break down the film, and I think it’ll be a pretty exciting opportunity.

The screening of “Room 237” with the director Rodney Ascher will be on Friday, Oct. 18, 11:45 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., in Fromm Hall 115 (Berman Room).

SKATERS

NYC Band SKATERS on ‘Breaking Bad,’ Usher, and their EP ‘Schemers’

Plasma punk band, SKATERS, hails from the wild streets of New York City with influences ranging from Los Angeles to Boston. Michael Cummings (singer/songwriter), Noah Rubin (drummer), and Joshua Hubbard (guitarist) may not be skaters now, but remain intrigued by the culture and its youthful rebellion. The trio recorded their first EP “Schemers” (2012) featuring five songs that scream post-punk influences with a spin of modern rock. This interesting clash makes the band fresh and shows they are bringing something new to the table. After releasing their EP, the band released two singles with stimulating music videos, “I Wanna Dance (But I Don’t Know How)” and “Armed.”

Before SKATERS perform a free show at UC Berkeley on Oct. 18, I got the chance to catch up with lead singer Michael Cummings and talk about “Breaking Bad” and his goals for the band — as well as its side project, YONKS.

Foghorn: So I heard you like “Breaking Bad.” Did you happen to watch the finale and if so, what did you think of it?

MC: We were actually filming a music video, and we stopped filming and drove into the city to our friend’s house to have a party. It was, hands down, probably the best episode of television ever! They really wrapped it up and tied all of the loose ends together.

Foghorn: How did you and Noah convince Joshua to move from England to Manhattan and start the N.Y.C. band now famously known as SKATERS?

MC: It was pretty random. We had met in Los Angeles and he said, “I think I might try to play in your band,” and I said “okay.” So then I moved to New York, and he said maybe he will come by in November. So on Oct. 31, he sends me a message saying, “my flight gets there at four tomorrow.” He ran on a plane and came to New York, and the next morning we booked three shows. We didn’t really anticipate it happening like that or so quickly.

Foghorn: What happened on the eve of July 19, 2013 in N.Y.C., and why was this significant to the band?

MC: It was my goal when I was a kid to play Bowery Ballroom headlining. Playing and headlining a show there was pretty amazing. We sold it out, and that was a bonus!

Foghorn: Do you have any specific goals for what venue or event you would like to play in the future?

MC: That’s funny because I don’t really know now because we would make these three-month plans. By this point, it’s “let’s sell out this room.” Then Bowery was our thing, you know? We thought we would sell out the Bowery eventually, then we did it! Now, I don’t know — where do we go again? Do we play the Bowery again? [Laughs]

Foghorn: You have a side project called YONKS. Can you tell me more about this?

MC: Yeah. It’s a zine, and you can only get it at our shows. We handpick all of these artists that are friends of ours, and we showcase their work in this magazine — and that’s called YONKS. YONKS is British slang for “a long time” — like ages, I haven’t seen you in YONKS or whatever. The zine started as a project because, you know, when you start a band, you have a lot of friends that help you with your art direction, photography, and all of the different aspects you need [in order] to have an operating band. We started this zine as a cool thing to bring artists together, so all of our friends from different parts of the city could meet each other and were all featured in the same zine. It really strengthened our community of friends.

Foghorn: What was it like recording your first debut album at Electric Lady?

MC: It was pretty amazing. It was a real studio. I have recorded in a lot of studios, but this is probably the most legit operation they have going on over there. You have interns to go get whatever you want whenever you want any time of night, you know? You want a pizza from the other side of town, and they will go get it. It just makes things super, super easy, and you can just focus on the record. That building is a cool, inspiring building because there is always a session going on — because there are so many studios. One night, we were recording across the hall from Usher and he’s singing from outside of our door. And we’re talking inside the studio and he is right outside. Just walking through the halls and saying “hi” to Yoko Ono and Arcade Fire — it’s inspiring. It makes it feel like you’re making a record that delivers a level of importance to your recording process.

Foghorn: Your music is described as: “non-traditional punk music; upbeat, weirdo punk with hooks but not pop hooks — with daggers, claws and bearings.” How does this translate into your live performances?

MC: I think it is kind of similar. We try to be as tight as we can. There is definitely an element of mayhem. Sometimes we get very visibly angry if a show is not run right, or if we are too drunk. You just never know what you are going to get. There is a level of spontaneity, which is good for the kind of music we play.

Foghorn: The music video for your first single, “Schemers,” can be said to be comparable to a 1980s acid trip. What was the inspiration for taking the video’s visual aesthetic in this direction?

MC: I grew up on MTV and since that has gone away, there have been two types of music videos that have been done — and they are both boring. One is just performance: a performance video where you just look at dudes playing along to their song. The other one is a narrative where you have to actually follow a character, and there is a big reveal at the end or something. It is more cinematic than it is a music video. One thing I really liked about old MTV music videos was when people didn’t really know what they were making them for except accompanying a song and entertaining. There was an element of psychedelic visual work that people were trying new things in music videos because they hadn’t been done — because music videos were new. I think that is something we all aesthetically really enjoy watching, and we think other people do too. We think other people are bored with how music videos are, you know?

Foghorn: The band decided to release the first EP “Schemers” for free. Did you expect the great response when you reached over 10,000 downloads?

MC: No. We kind of just put it up there to show our friends what we were working on, and it came so quick. Josh literally flew into New York, and we booked our shows. Then the next weekend, we flew into L.A. to mix the EP. I was just finishing it when he got there, so it was pretty unexpected that so many people ended up downloading it. But I guess that’s the Internet for you. If something is good enough and word of mouth spreads it, you know people check it out. It was free, so it was easy for people to get.

Foghorn: You are due for a full-length album soon. What can the fans expect to hear on this album?

MC: It is coming out on Feb. 24. They can expect an interesting, post-punk record. There is going to be a lot of sides to it: a lot of different kinds of songs on it, and it’s definitely not going to be what people are expecting in the best way possible.

Foghorn: Any last words for your fans that are coming to see your performance at UC Berkeley on Oct. 18?

MC: Go nuts, man; go crazy! Say hello to us; hang out with us. Have fun. It will be a great show!

Don’t forget to make your way to the free SKATERS show with Palma Violets on Oct. 18, 5 – 7 p.m., at Upper Sproul in UC Berkeley. For more information, visit: skatersnyc.com

Los Locos is ‘Revamping Everything’: An Interview with Los Locos President Laticia Lonon

laticia

What exactly is Los Locos?

Direct translation: The Crazies. Los Locos is the school spirit organization of the University of San Francisco. So basically I like to think that we encompass what it means to be a Don. Just having passion, and some pride in your school. We obviously spend a lot of time with Athletics, but more than that, just school spirit in general, being proud of the school you go to and supporting your peers.

What do you do as Los Locos President?

Los Locos president just oversees all that is Los Locos. This summer, for example, I ordered all the cool stuff we’re going to hand out and the stuff for the events we’re planning. We also taught GO Team the fight song and just…if Los Locos is in it, I’m in it.

Why do you think that’s important?

I think it’s important because one, it can be fun. It’s a fun thing. And you know, we all chose to go to this school. It’s fun and easy to harp on all the bad stuff; the overpriced food in the Caf, and like, going up LoMo is the worst thing that can happen when you’re making your schedule, but at the end of the day this is one thing we all share, and once we have our degrees it’s going to be the thing that binds us all together. If you aren’t proud of your school I’m not sure why you chose to attend there, so I think it’s an important, overall good feeling, camaraderie with people who go to your school.

What are your goals for the upcoming year? 

Los Locos is revamping everything. If you didn’t notice us before, you definitely will this year. We added more events, we’re having more tailgates before games, we have our classic Green and Gold Day coming up right at the beginning of the school year.

What happens at Green and Gold Day?

Green and Gold Day is our tie-dye event. So if you are complaining that you don’t have enough school spirit stuff, if you show up to Gleeson Plaza we will have tie-dye and t-shirts — you don’t even need to bring a t-shirt — and you can tie-dye it green and gold. So for upcoming soccer, volleyball, basketball — all the upcoming games — you’ll have some green and gold to wear.

What changes are you hoping to see?

We’re going to be more of a presence on campus really. Because I think it’s pretty important to support your school in all aspects, and sports is a fun avenue to do it through. Yeah, I just want us to be a presence on campus — I want you to see me and be like “Oh yeah, that’s the president of Los Locos! I don’t remember her name or anything, but I remember her wearing that outfit, the green and gold.” I spent a small fortune at the bookstore, so I have a lot of outfits now, all my getups.

What’s your favorite sport to go crazy at?

Freshman year it was definitely basketball, but last year I had a lot of fun going to volleyball games. I’ve played a lot of sports, but volleyball…I didn’t know as much about it. And then I was going to the games and I realized it was a lot of fun. I was learning more about it; it was a lot of fun to watch. The players themselves are hecklers as well, so it was fun to join in with them on the cheers and stuff.

What do you want to see USF students doing differently this year?

Like I said, basketball is definitely the forefront of the athletic department. It’s what they advertise and whatnot, but you know, you get free tickets to every home game. There’s men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, women’s basketball — they need some love. Come springtime there’s baseball, baseball had an excellent season this last year, made it to NCAA, you can go and cheer them on. I am personally on the track team, not a very watchable sport necessarily…but as an athlete — they love the sport and they’ll play it anyway — but it does feel good to know you have supporters.

Can you describe to me what is going to happen at a tailgate?

Yeah, so this is the first year we are doing these as officially Los Locos. Basically, before the game we’ll have food, maybe some sort of spirit competition, some raffles, some face painting, mostly just getting jazzed up for the game to come.

And it’s all free?

Of course it’s free. For my fellow Dons…anything you want!