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Taylor Shortal

This Valentine’s Day weekend, St. Louis will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of its founding by French fur merchants Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau. Festivities will include the “Burning Love” festival n Forest Park where a 25-foot statue of a heart will be lit on fire during a mass public engagement ceremony with 250 participating couples (all to the tune of an Elvis tribute artist). “Cakeway to West” will also begin that weekend, where several cake statues will be placed in significant St. Louis locations. A downloadable app will be available for those wishing to find the various points of interest. The Missouri History Museum will also be hosting multiple events.

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The outrageous Comedy Central series Workaholics is not exactly realistic but it is scarily relatable. The show follows three twenty-something male telemarketers who live together. They are inarticulate, irresponsible, immature and in active denial of both their age and social ineptitude. While still chasing idealized visions of adolescent coolness, they are actually much smarter than they act and much dorkier than they wish. Because of this, they are utterly relatable to guys across America in the same age range. The ones who grew in the mid-2000′s surrounded by rap music and air soft guns, only to realize the ridiculousness of their tastes and behavior later in life. But while we grow up and adapt, the characters of Workaholics see the foolishness in their actions and stay the course, refusing to change, and acting just as illogically as they always did. And somewhere deep down, we admire them for it.  In this way, Workaholics is a suitably pathetic Generation-Y update on Peter Pan. A story of eternal youth and all its glorious idiocy.

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Castle, ABC’s hit series, deftly blends mystery and comedy. The amusement starts with the premise itself. Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) is a best-selling mystery writer who joins NYPD detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) as a consultant on a series of criminal investigations. Beckett served as the inspiration and model for Castle’s most iconic fictional character. He is allowed to tag along with her simply because he loves a good mystery story, real or fictional, and he is personal friends with the mayor. The appeal of the show rests in the relationship between the lead characters. The stoic Beckett is contrasted with the witty, goofily enthusiastic Castle, who sees everything in life as a pulpy genre story waiting to happen. The series revels in this same ideal of storytelling. Plots shift week to week from ordinary law & order murder investigations to CIA counter-terrorism conspiracies to undercover mob infiltrations to Halloween-themed mock vampire attacks. All of them  are loaded with lovable pop culture references and puzzles that manage to both twist and charm. It’s worth a watch for anyone who loves a good whodunit and wouldn’t mind seeing a lead character who shares their passion.

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Playwright Lillian Hellman

Last Thursday night I was able to able to attend Fontbonne’s production of “The Children’s Hour,” the 1938 play by Lillian Hellman. The script was inspired by the true story of two female boarding school teachers who were accused of engaging in a love affair and the tumultuous aftermath they were forced to endure. This intense tale of fear and intrigue is brought to life with marvelous acting from Fontbonne’s versatile thespians and a wonderful assembly of period props and costumes.

The pleasant experience of the production was enhanced by the comforting accommodations in lobby (located on the second floor of Southwest Hall). The lobby staff made a special effort to provide a warm and inviting atmosphere with complimentary coffee and cookies for each guest. I definitely recommend following the Fontbonne theater schedule to learn of upcoming productions. Admission is also free for students leaving no excuse for Fontbonne kids interested in watching good stories unfold in a friendly, live environment.

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Movie Comment – The Death of the Whodunit?

by Taylor Shortal September 30, 2013

Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman in “Prisoners” After watching the recently released film Prisoners, an incredibly suspenseful kidnap mystery, I could not help but long for a time when these types of stories were a rule of mainstream American film rather than an exception. While the popularity of thrilling “airport novels” is still derided by [...]

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