This Week At Grafton

Another week has passed and we are one step closer to Spring Break… hold on JMU- it will get here! To keep you from overloading on classes, Grafton has brought two great movies!

At 7:00, we are showing The Princess and the Frog. The first animated Disney movie since Home on the Range in 2004, this film was nominated for many awards, including ‘best original song.’ The story follows Tiana, a young girl working as a waitress in order to save money to start a restaurant- her father’s dream before he passed away. She was struggling until an old friend hired her to cater a party in which Prince Naveen is supposed to be attending. The money received from the friend, Charlotte, is enough for Tiana to buy a place to start her restaurant. However, the realtors tell her that someone else is looking at the property and offered more money. Distraught, Tiana walks out onto a balcony only to find a talking frog. Featuring the first African American “princess,” “The Princess and the Frog” may prove to be one of the best modern Disney movies.

At 9:30, we originally had The Blind Side scheduled. However, the film company decided to have an extended release with the Oscars fast approaching, so colleges won’t be able to show the movie until March. However, we are able to bring Brothers Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Toby Maguire and Natalie Portman, the movie tells the story of two brothers, Sam (Maguire) and Tommy (Gyllenhaal) who are complete opposites. Sam is a Marine about to embark on his fourth tour of duty in Afghanistan, married to his high school sweetheart, and has two young daughters. Tommy is a drifter, fresh out of jail, and getting by on wit and charm. When Sam’s helicopter is shot down, he is presumed dead and Tommy steps in to fill the void in Sam’s family. Through his maturing, Tommy and Grace (Portman) begin to feel a mutual attraction. But Sam is not dead, he was captured by Taliban fighters who tortured him within an inch of his humanity. His unexpected return throws the family for a loop- especially with his new withdrawn and volatile personality. Eventually, the two brothers must confront each other, a challenge that they may not walk away from.

So depending on your mood, you have two great movies to choose from. Grafton tickets are only $2.50 with 50 cent popcorn! If you were able to get one of our free Grafton mugs from Crazy Commons on Tuesday, you can bring that in to get ½  off popcorn- only 25 cents! Who can pass up a deal like that?

– Christine

Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi: From the Shore to the Valley

UPB strives to bring a diverse selection of programming to the JMU campus. This year alone we have provided a balance of motivational speakers such as Jamie Tworkowski’s To Write

TWLOHA was a suicide, depression, and addiction awareness and prevention program

Love On Her Arms, groundbreaking, mulitcultural comedians such as Erik Griffin and Jason Stuart, health awareness events such as Maria Falzone’s Sex Rules, and educational events such as the newly implemented “How To” Series. Not only have we planned these events, but we’ve also contributed funding and promotional aid to many other organization’s events including disaster relief in Haiti, a canned-food drive to support the community’s food bank, self-esteem and healthy body image promotions, cancer research, etc.

However, it’s crucial not to neglect any one aspect of your development throughout your college experience. Growing up, my mother never missed an opportunity to tell me to have “everything in moderation,” and that includes a social life. UPB provides (sometimes controversial) entertainment venues for the local community as an alternative to the stereotypical college extra-curriculars.

We are constantly seeking new and different programs, and attempt to plan for as many different personalities on campus as possible. Fans of reality television are one of these JMU factions. After widespread media attention (and not always the most flattering or fair) we wanted to be the first to bring Nicole Polizzi and hear from her directly. Those who have enjoyed seeing Snooki for the past few months on television and those who may want to see her in a different light can rejoice. The reality star is making her first ever college appearance at James Madison University. A professional comedian will be hosting a late-night style interview with Nicole, and will lead into a light-hearted question and answer session involving the audience.

It’s your opportunity to hear Snooki’s side of the story and get the real deal of what happened behind the scenes. If there’s a lesson to be learned from the TV personality it’s to never take life too seriously. No matter your stance on the show, that sentiment is something truly worthwhile and that every person can value.

– Stephen

Interview with Corey Smith

Being interviewed is the last thing that any normal person would want to do after a long day of preparation, performing, and meeting fans. Corey Smith; however, is no ordinary person. He’s a rarity in show business because he truly puts the fans first, and he has an abundance of personality that pervades all of his conversations. I had the pleasure of sitting down with him after his concert last Thursday night and quickly came to find him to be one of the most humble and collected people that I’ve encountered. Here’s how the question and answer session proceeded:

What’s your pre-concert routine?

It’s pretty simple. I just will do some vocal workups, try to get myself psyched up and forget about whatever’s bothering me that day, whatever’s stressing me out, just try to focus on the show.

I used to drink a lot before the show. We’d take shots before we went on stage, but that’s not really conducive to having a long career.

So you’ve been performing since college…

Yeah in college, and even right out of high school I started taking some cover gigs, I never thought of it as performing really, more like being a juke box that you pop quarters into. I’ve been doing this full time for four years.

You were a social studies teacher before that?

Exactly. I taught high school for four years before that and picked up gigs on the weekends and it gradually got bigger and bigger and it got to the point where eventually had to make a choice.

So how’d you first get into playing music and decide to do it full time?

I’ve been around music since I was a kid, singing was just second nature. I never thought “oh I’m gonna start singing”. I’ve just always been doing it since I was in church or chorus in school.

I started writing songs right out of high school. So its been a very gradual sort of thing. I’ve always been a pretty cautious person. I don’t like taking risks so I never wanted to just throw all caution into the wind and give up my day job and be a rock star. I went to school and got an education so I figured I’d have a backup plan, something to fall back on.

You give a lot of your music away for free on your website. How did you come up with this strategy?

When I write a song I want to share it with as many people as I can as quickly as I can because its close to how I’m feeling at that time – its up to date. Giving the songs away for free is a way to take away all the barriers and make sure that as many people that can experience the song experience the song. As an artist I don’t care so much what the people are paying for it. The song itself isn’t really worth anything – there’s nothing physical to it. Artistically it fills a need for me.

You don’t like to be defined as just a country artist. How would you describe your music to someone that’s never heard it before?

I have to start with country because it’s more country than anything, but its unprocessed country. Its unrefined, it’s more free than popular country. It’s really more a blend country and rock and blues and folk. The main reason we have these ideas of genres is so folks can pitch towards certain radio formats. It’s important in that world in the mass media to make a record and pitch it as either a rock record, as a top 40 record a country record, a blues record, but because I’m not plugged into that world I have a lot more freedom and I can write one song that sounds very traditionally country and I can write one that sounds more rock and roll or blues. I’m not forced to be in one of those molds.

Where were you able to find you inspiration for the new album Keeping Up With The Joneses?

It’s really the same as my other records. That one thing that’s stayed constant. I’m a very introspective person and a lot of my songs are personal and they are usually my way of resolving some sort of internal conflict I have. I find that my growth as a person is something that goes hand in hand with my growth as a writer. its really me just maturing as a husband writer father whatever. As I mature I get better at writing and communicating.

What’s your favorite song to perform for a crowd?

My favorite songs to perform are the ones that are most recent because they’re the closest to me at the time so I liked performing the songs off the new records like “$8 Bottle of Wine”, “Keeping Up with the Joneses.” At the same time its cool to play “Twenty-One” or if “I Could Do It Again” because you can feel the energy it creates in the crowd.

What’s the most bizarre moment you’ve had with a fan?

….Hmmm there’s been a lot of them. OH! I got bit. I’ve gotten bit a couple times actually. Apparently theres a whole subculture of people who like to bite. Women especially. Cougars. I got bit in Arkansas doing a meet and greet, taking pictures, like I was doing out here. And this drunk lady came up to get here picture taken and just reached over and bit me right on the chest. I had to get security to kick her out. It drew blood and stuff. I had a mark and had to explain to my wife… ‘yeah I got bit.’

You’re a long way from where you’ve started in Athens, Georgia. How would you sum up your experiences so far?

Its gradual, cautious, calculated. That’s the way I am. Sometimes, I wonder if I just dove in I might have had even more success. I might be able to go to California and draw a crowd like this. But you know its easy to ask a lot of what ifs. The reality is I feel pretty good about the choices I’ve made with what I’ve had to work with and the hand I was dealt in life I’ve done pretty well and set a good example for my kids.

– Stephen


In lieu of the upcoming matinee showing of New Moon this Sunday at 3pm, I thought long and hard about which team to join. Since we will have Grafton split with Team Edward on one side and Team Jacob on the other, the decision became even more important. I don’t want to end up sitting in the neutral zone just because I couldn’t make up my mind.

After much debate over which team to join, I came to the realization that the perfect character of the Twilight saga is not quite so obvious. Edward Cullen seems to be the perfect guy, but he does have some flaws. I mean what kind of jerk leaves the woman he loves and steals every form of evidence that he was ever in her life?! (Also, for a vampire, the character in the movies seems to be very hairy. Did anyone else notice his strangely dark-haired chest in New Moon?! Not to mention the monstrosity of hair on top of his head!)

Jacob Black is a pretty sweet guy except that he is slightly immature and hot headed. He also has some pedophilic tendencies, which would concern me when choosing a man. The whole concept of imprinting pretty much sets him up to love multiple women which I guess would make him a polygamous pedophile… CREEPY! Why fall in love with a man who could potentially leave you for another woman… or child?! I mean I’m not complaining that his clothes tear off every time he phases, but if I’m going to completely side with one character, I need to have a really good reason.

Ok now if you ignore the fact that Carlisle has had a wife for hundreds of years, he can really be the perfect candidate! Or you can even look at this fact as a personality trait of dedication and commitment to one woman. Think about it. Carlisle is the mastermind behind the entire “vegetarian vampire” movement. Without him, well, Edward would not exist as a vampire and Jacob would not exist as a werewolf. He practices perfect self-control and has an incredible gift of compassion, which allows him to completely resist human blood—even with his chosen career as a doctor. He is one of the only mature characters who isn’t filled with drama, and the actor who plays him in the movies is also not too shabby. After thinking about it, can anyone honestly not like Carlisle?!

I at least have a little relief now that I have chosen my team…can a team even be a team with only one member?! Please let me know if you’d like to join Team Carlisle by commenting or visiting me at Grafton Stovall Theater on Sunday, Feb 14 at 3pm. I’ll be the one sitting all alone in my own section of Grafton.


Team Edward

There have been debates in every century and of every magnitude. Nothing is off the table to be discussed. One mammoth of a debate is Twilight. After the final 4th book came out in 2008 teenagers and adults alike saddled up to one team that rivals the Team Angelina versus Team Jennifer times. It was Team Edward or Team Jacob.

No the decision was necessary for me when I read this series because it was always Team Edward. I know some of you may gasp but Edward was always the one for Bella. Maybe I am a sucker for torn lovers but from that first science class I knew it was meant to be.

Jacob is the friend Bella needs to balance her life away from Edward because occasionally she is obsessed. Jacob is her friend and it does not make sense to her for it to be anything else. Also Jacob is only 16 in this series! He is new to his abilities and new to his feelings. Don’t worry though Jacob finds someone in the end to make things interesting.

You can definitely find me on the Team Edward side of Grafton tomorrow at the New Moon matinee.

– Angela Marino

Team Jacob

Jacob Black is surely a fan favorite.  He has it all, from his rugged good looks, to his perfectly chiseled body, to his witty sense of humor.   What’s not to love?

– Edward is cold and pale, but Jacob has the perfect golden complexion and the toasty body temperature to keep you warm on the coldest nights.

– Jacob is also someone who could make you laugh and whom you are guaranteed to have fun with.  Edward is so serious, all he would want to do is protect you from everything and gaze at you in silence.  That’s no fun!

– Edward, come on, can you say “corny”?  Some of those lines he throws out are just a bit overboard.  On the other hand, Jacob has the romantic aspect going on but he doesn’t push it.  He’ll tell you all the cute things you want to hear without over-doing the cheesiness.

Basically Jacob is the perfect package.  He can be your best friend and the perfect boyfriend all at the same time. You know I’ll be on the Jacob side of Grafton at this Sunday’s matinee showing of New Moon.

– Jessica Romeo

For Love, For Haiti

The devastation in Haiti has hearts around the globe reeling. Coordinated relief efforts have tried to show the millions affected by the tragedy that they are not alone in their struggles. As a nation we have reached out to offer any aid that we can, and here at JMU we are proud to support one of the most worthy causes that most of us have seen in our lifetimes. As Valentine’s Day approaches, UPB wants to remind the student body to continue to extend their love to those that truly need it. Please come out to the For Love, For Haiti event sponsored by many of the organizations here on campus.

SGA provided a description of the benefit gala tomorrow:

Maybe you’ve found the perfect valentine already, or maybe your still on the last minute prowl, or perhaps you’re just planning on spending the day with friends… whatever your plans are you should come out and do some good while having a “ball”!  The For Love, For Haiti Charity Ball is happening tonight from 7:30-11:30 in our very own Festival Ballroom.  Get all dressed up and throw on your dancing shoes because there will be demonstrations from both the Latin Ballroom and Swing Dance clubs. DJ Masked Man-Ty Walker will dropping the latest hits along with some oldies but goodies.  Not only will there be dancing but there will be delicious hors d’oeuvres and mocktails (so essentially this is a pretty cheap date boys ;-])!  So come on out in your semi-formal attire, have a fantastic evening, potentially find a valentine and make a difference in the world at the same time! We can’t wait to see you there!

Hope to see you all there tomorrow – tickets are available for $3.00 at the Warren Box Office and at the door.

– Stephen