The City That Never Sleeps

From Virginia to Connecticut by car takes one day.  Followed by a MetroNorth train the next, and you’re in a new world.  Although I’ve been to New York City more times than I can count, it always has something new to offer.  Emerging from the underground tracks of Grand Central Station, we trudged through the streets with our bags to our mid-town destination. Fifth Avenue dripping in lights, Sixth Avenue littered with vendors, and Seventh Avenue spotted with street goers. So much to take in and such little time! Navigating the city grid, we weaved in and out of an explosion of people at every corner, barely breathing in the smell of trash, gasoline, and countless other invisibles. It was then that I realized how country I’ve become!

It’s a kick to think back on all the times I visited the city with my family. Every time I would proclaim my need to live in an apartment by Central Park. Well, there I was, an apartment a block from the park, and all I wanted was to get out!  Funny how the things you want change as you grow.  Manhattan is definitely not for everyone. After four days of city life, we packed our bags and crawled back underground at the corner of 42nd and Lexington. There, I settled into my train car and wished my way back to the fresh countryside air. This is where I will remain, with only occasional visits to the crazed havoc that is the City.

~Amy Remmer, Director of Special Events

Modern Holiday Desserts

An important part of the holidays is of course the food. (Yes family, friends, good health, good tidings, these are all important but lets be real, we all love food). With Thanksgiving being yesterday and Christmas now less than a month away, I want to share a fun way for traditional holiday favorites like Pumpkin Pie and Pecan Pie to be incorporated into cupcakes in honor of UPB presents Cupcake Wars to take place on December 1 at 8pm in Taylor Down Under.

Spiced Pumpkin Cupcakes

Prep Time= 40 minutes

Total Time= 1 hour 35 minutes

Makes= 24 cupcakes

½ cup finely chopped pecans

3 tablespoons sugar

1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix

1 cup (from 15- oz can) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
½ cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 container Betty Crocker Rich and Creamy cream cheese frosting

1. Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups.
2. In heavy 8-inch nonstick skillet, cook pecans and 2 tablespoons of the sugar over low heat about 8 minutes, stirring constantly, until sugar is melted. Spoon and spread pecans onto sheet of waxed paper. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar; toss.
3. In large bowl, beat cake mix, pumpkin, water, oil, eggs and pumpkin pie spice with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups (about 2/3 full).
4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

5. Frost cupcakes with frosting. Sprinkle edge of frosted cupcakes with pecans; press lightly into frosting.

~Katelyn Diehl, Executive Assistant

Muggles Gather for Moment of Magic

As everybody at this point knows, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows premiered the other night.  The event was widely popular at the Regal Harrisonburg Theater, where the typical dress of JMU was replaced with the typical dress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

I personally was in attendance, accompanied by a group of students from my SMAD 101 class. Upon pulling into the parking lot the first thing we noticed was the amount of people already outside. There were several groups of people already waiting outside (at 9:15 for a 12:00 showing, mind you) discussing everything from tests they should be studying for the following morning to how inferior the Twilight series was to the Potter series.

If you happened to have been discussing the premiere with anybody a few days prior, you’ve likely asked the question “Are you dressing up?” Judging by the turnout at the Regal, it’s safe to say that the answer to this question was frequently “YES!” Every character imaginable was featured, including Harry Potter, Luna Lovegood, Hagrid, Bellatrix Lestrange, and even a mandrake.

The movie itself was incredibly well received.  People laughed, people cried, people were even inspired to draw the mark of the Deathly Hallows on the commons, ISAT steps, Godwin steps, and D Hall entrance. What now unites all Potter fans even further than a love for the wizarding world is the burning anticipation for the release of part 2 in July.  If you haven’t seen Part 1 yet, what are you waiting for?

~Matt Corbett, Film Committee Member

Harry Potter Part 7 Premieres Tonight

In packing for my Thanksgiving break, some things are vital. Along with shoes, jeans and some hoodies I rummage my room for my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows book. As the movie premieres TONIGHT I am ready to stop being a muggle student and put my wizarding best on. I have spent my time procrastinating with my favorite Harry Potter site, reviewing pictures and watching trailers.  As a 21 year old JMU senior, I feel a little silly that I am still dressing up.  But these books have been with me since 4th grade I can’t pretend that I am not whole heartedly into it. I can barely hide my excitement and I know most of fellow JMUers are feeling the same. So judge away those of you who do not find yourself wishing they were at Hogwarts.

I will be at Fairfax Corner with my ticket and Ravenclaw tie patiently waiting for Hedwig’s theme to play and the WB logo to zoom onto screen. 12:01 am is approaching; get pumped!

JMU quidditch!!/group.php?gid=457749295023

~Angela Marino, Center Stage Director

A Book and a Movie

As an SMAD and English major reading is naturally a huge part of my life.  But even before college, I was always the nerd with her nose buried in a book. (Don’t worry, I loved it!)  So this summer I found the perfect job.  The restaurants around my hometown weren’t hiring and since retail is essentially cruel and unusual punishment, I took over the job my sister had the summer before; I worked at a bank. I know you’re thinking besides pay above minimum wage, there doesn’t seem to be much of a benefit to this job.  This is where you’re wrong.  As a summer floater, I went to a different branch of the bank everyday and besides my bagged lunch, the one thing I always had with me was a book.  My summer was set- I was getting paid to do my favorite thing in the world, read. Usually getting through about three books a week, I made a huge dent in my “To-Read” list.  And one of the books I had the pleasure of reading was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

My love for books and movies is basically equal.  I always read the book before seeing the movie, and this book was no exception.  Knowing that UPB would most likely bring Eat, Pray, Love to Grafton-Stovall at some point in the year, I eagerly read the book and feel in love with the story.  Elizabeth Gilbert writes this autobiographical story of her travels through Italy, India, and Bali and quickly spread to me the travel bug. Take the opportunity to read the book and definitely go see this movie!

~Maggie Moran, Creative Director

What I’m Thankful For…

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as we pull into our home stretch, I figured it would only be appropriate to write about a couple things I’m thankful for.

It goes without saying that I’m thankful for family, friends, and food (I’m so excited for the Thanksgiving feast that I think I can smell it already), but apart from that, I’m thankful for music. More importantly, I’m thankful for this year’s Rumble Down Under.

Rumble Down Under is JMU’s equivalent to a “School of Rock”-esque Battle of the Bands. While Jack Black will not be making an appearance tonight, there will still be awesome music AND delicious goodies (FOR FREE). Come out tonight to hear some of JMU’s finest talent, including SUTG, Adam in America, Andrew Rohlk & many more! The best part of Rumble Down Under is that the audience gets to play a part in selecting the finest talent, so round up all your friends so you can help pick the best band!  The winner of RDU this year gets hooked up with student-run record label Madistrophic, a professional photo-shoot, and their very own Spotlight Series in January.

~Elyse Krachman, Spotlight Series Director

Let The Battle Begin…

Are you ready for the cupcake battle of the year?!! Well it’s time to start preparing for battle since there’s only two weeks left until Cupcake Wars: JMU edition! In order to “prepare,” this past weekend I munched on some cupcakes and caught a rerun of Food Networks Cupcake Wars, which I can only describe with one word; INTENSE! Not only do competitors have to create cupcakes with really odd ingredients, they also have to make and decorate 1,000 cupcakes in only 2 hours! Luckily JMU’s edition of Cupcake Wars won’t be as intense; in fact it will be quite relaxing (for those who aren’t competing and can therefore feast on holiday treats). The showdown will take place in TDU from 8:00 – 9:00 PM on Wednesday December 1st. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s best efforts in our three decorating categories; JMU, holiday and freestyle. We’ll supply your weapons (cupcakes and decorations) and you bring the fight (your creative prowess). So this week as the holidays approach, don’t be afraid to release your creative spirit. You may just win something sweet.  And did I mention it’s FREE?!

 See you there! Let the battle begin…

~Jordan Lawson, Special Events