Watch With Me: West Side Story (2021)


Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor

This 2021 remake, directed by Steven Speilberg, is a visually stunning renewal of a classic musical.

The movie centers around two lovers, Tony and Maria, played respectively by Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, as they are caught in the midst of a gangwar between the Jets and the Sharks. With incredible vocals and choreography to match, it is no wonder that the movie had been nominated for several oscars.

As well, the way the movie was directed made the viewer feel as though they were watching the movie on stage. There were times during the movie where the lighting would either be focused on the eyes of a character, or be spotlighting a character. This would make the character or certain features of said character stand out to the audience. 

This was also key to the main story, like when Tony went looking for Maria and she was given a spotlight to make her stand out more among the alley way of hanging laundry. 

What one would infer from watching this movie is that it is another retelling of Romeo and Juliet. There are two people who fall instantly in love with each other, being kept apart by their two families. And this would be mostly correct. However, while it is a retelling of a classic play, it still takes it in a different direction.


Nerd Factor: Phases of the Moon Knight

Dr. Mike ~ U.L Communication Studies Professor

Moon Knight Promo Image – https://screenrant.com/moon-knight-poster-costume-design-oscar-isaac-details-image/

When I was younger, superhero movies and television shows were very risky propositions. Fans could find their favorite characters significantly altered by movie writers and TV producers before they reached the screens. For that reason, there was always a certain anxiety that came with the arrival of a new project. 

In modern times, that trepidation has been replaced with a giddy anticipation. Characters may be changed, but they are largely still in the spirit that made them so exciting to the fan in the first place. Sure, problems still occur. But when they do, it’s more a matter of narrative tone or performance rather than overall concept. The essence of the superhero was there. 

So, when Marvel talked of making an Ant-Man movie or DC started talking about Shazam, I was reasonably sure we’d get a new take on a favorite character. 

Yet sometimes a character comes along that really makes me wonder what version of the character we will get. Moon Knight is the perfect example. 

I love Moon Knight. I did not read many of his comics when they were first being published, but I became a great fan of the character later when I binged some collections of stories. When the Marvel Netflix series started up, I was constantly saying “Y’know who they should do next? Moon Knight!” So, I’ve been waiting for Moon Knight for a while now.


Mystic Magic: Imbalance of Feminism in the Witchcraft Society

Photo by: Adobe Stock Images 

Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

Wiccan, paganism, and witchcraft for centuries have been practiced mostly by women. There is a reason there is a strong resonation between witchcraft and the moon. The connection between women’s menstrual cycles and the phases of the moon has been a connection of interest since the beginning of humankind. Why, out of all the domination that men have had in the development of the patriarchy, does it seem that witchcraft is predominantly women? 

It is a possibility that there are many causes to the deterrence of witchcraft to men. At the center of nearly all forms of witchcraft, there is a balance of masculine and feminine energies. It is possible that in modern day society, it is seen as more acceptable for women to be in touch with their masculine side, rather than men to be in touch with their feminine side. Reaching out to men in witchcraft, you would see an incline in the ideology of masculinity being rough and rigid. 


My Life as A Student Worker

By Maya Patterson – Senator for Library Services

The Knight Carpon Library at the University of Lynchburg. Photo by Maya Patterson.

I have worked as a student employee for the University of Lynchburg since my freshman year.  I have worked in the Knight-Capron Library since January 2019. 

Much of my responsibilities included cleaning and shelving books. I thought it was a bit strange that the books needed to be cleaned,  however, given the age of some of the books it is understandable.  


Hang In There, Hornets


Written by Hunter Epperson ~ Copy-Desk-Chief

This upcoming Friday evening will be the official start of the spring semester break for the University of Lynchburg’s 2021-2022 undergraduate academic year. 

During this time of the semester, many students including myself may begin to feel a sense of being overwhelmed with midterms, exams, projects, or assignments due causing a sense of burnout.

As a result, leading to mental burnout for the second half of the semester.

Here are some causes and signs of mental burnout, and some ways that I do, as a senior, to finish the second half of my spring semester strong after spring break. 

According to WebMD, burnout often occurs when we often overschedule ourselves where we often neglect to perform self-care, neglecting to take a step back and rest. 


Why the Lord is my Shepherd

Baa https://www.cherokeefcc.com/the-lord-is-my-shepherd/

Assistant Editor ~ Faith McCray

Psalm 23 is a Psalm of David. 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

There are many cross references, lessons, and stories within Psalm 23. God is described as a caring shepherd in Psalm 23. Yet no one today knows what the job of a “shepherd” is. What exactly is it they do? And why is god depicted as such? 


The Batman: What to Watch Out For

The Batman Logo

Back in 1989, when the Tim Burton directed Batman debuted, the Caped Crusader was risky business. Most of America still thought of Batman as the delightfully campy character played by Adam West in the ABC television series (1966-1969). The success of the 1989 film established the darker version of the character that only comic book fans had really known up to that point. Including the 1989 film, audiences have been treated to ten live-action film appearances for Batman, some animated films, and a host of television and video game appearances. We live in a new Golden Age of Batman and we are quite used to the vagaries of changes in the franchise. 

With the newest film, The Batman, about to debut, the Nerd Factor advises these things to watch out for:


Love and Learn: The Love in the Mirror 

Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

I am worthy of good things https://zoella.co.uk/2020/09/02/50-positive-affirmations-to-calm-an-anxious-mind/

The theme of the month still stands. If you have been following Mystic Magic, you know that this month is focusing on forms of love and connections. When we think about love, one of the most important connections we can have is a connection with ourselves. Self-love and appreciation is one of the most rewarding forms of passion that someone can be gifted to have. There are many ways to improve your view of self-love. 

The most common way to strengthen self-love is with mantras and affirmations. Many times the biggest mistake to manifesting self-love through affirmations is using certain words. First of all, do not use negation. No, not, none, don’t, shouldn’t, can’t, and won’t simply will not work. The universe does not hear negation and will only put out the opposite of your intention. Other words to avoid are future words like will, going to, tomorrow, someday, and coming. When the universe hears that your manifestation is in the future, the universe preserves this idea into the future and the manifestation will never come. 

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to feel good about yourself is to physically feel good. Simple ways to improve your physical being that impact your self-love is small workouts and yoga


SGA Corner: Being a Senator

By Caitlyn Freece ~ Third-Year Senator

Being a Class Senator has been the highlight of my time at the University of Lynchburg so far. It all started when I was invited to the Leadership Dinner and talked with the VP at the time, and all the sudden I was hooked.

I was not quite sure what I wanted to do with being a senator as a first year student, I did not know the school much at that point, all I knew was that I wanted to be the voice for people that were too afraid to speak up. 

I knew classmates in my dorm who wanted to see change but did not know who to go to or what to do, and I was proud to be able to be that outlet for them.

Being a class senator seems like a big task, and while it might be difficult at times, it has been a rewarding experience. 

I like how I can do a lot of different activities and propose a lot of different ideas to the senate, that most people might not be able to do. For example, as a Third Year senator I was able to propose ideas that contribute to inclusive excellence and diversity on campus, along with help write legislation for new activities including leisure and mental health. 

With my three years of being in the Senate, I have also had the opportunity to be a part of voting for change at the university, from new clubs to seeing the beautiful rainbow chairs becoming a reality on Westover Hall.

I am so proud of everything that the Senate has done so far and I am so excited for the campus to see everything that we have planned for the remainder of the academic year. I have loved every minute of having a seat in the Senate, so if you are even thinking about joining, my vote is yes!

Nerd Factor: What, Me Jurassic Worry?

By Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

Where Did the Dinosaur-Killing Impactor Come From? - The New York Times
The best image in the universe – from: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/15/science/dinosaur-extinction-kt-comet-asteroid.html

At the end of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the dinosaurs were finally set loose into the world. That was the moment we had been waiting decades to see. Unfortunately, giving the dinos the freedom to roam also exposes a problem at the core of the franchise. The denizens of Jurassic Park are not quite the threat that we expected. 

In several movies and on a few other projects, we have been told time and again that dinosaurs are dangerous. We certainly know that at an individual level, dinosaurs are terrifying. Many people have been eaten after all. However, we are also told, usually by Jeff Goldblum’s Dr. Ian Malcolm, that dinosaurs pose an existential threat to our species. Through the hubris of careless scientific endeavor, humans have returned an awesome natural power to the playing field of survival. We face competitors that we may not be equipped to deal with. 

Except that we are equipped to deal with them. After all, we have things like M-1 Abrams tanks and Apache attack helicopters. Dinosaurs simply lack the numbers of the other extinction level threats introduced by science fiction. Dinosaurs cannot reproduce as quickly as zombies nor do they arrive en masse as a horde of alien invaders. Simply put, in the battle of dinosaurs vs. humans, the dinosaurs are outgunned and outnumbered. 


Lynchburg’s eSports Room & the Aspiring Gamer

By Caroline Gilmore ~ Multimedia Editor

Photos captured by Tyree Kennedy ’22. Caption 1: iRacing Virtual Reality Simulators in the esports room.
Caption 2: An array of gaming setups available in the esports room in the Rainsford townhouses under Domino’s.

The Lynchburg esports room, located under the Rainsford Townhouses, right next to the Domino’s, will only be a year old at the end of this semester, but it already has a lot to offer towards Lynchburg students

The room offers many resources to those who enjoy gaming competitively or just as a hobby, especially if you’re on a budget. 

The eSports room on campus only charges a general access fee of $30 per year for security and upkeep purposes (the competition fee is $60). Meanwhile, if someone wanted to purchase their own equipment of the same caliber, they could easily be looking at upwards of $1000 in PC costs alone, without taking into account peripherals like a headset, a gaming mouse, or a keyboard. 

Even still, gaming without a proper chair like the ones in the esports room can be detrimental to a player’s physical health. 

Tyree Kennedy ’22 said of the esports room, “When we got a dedicated space, it was one of the best things ever because I don’t have to worry about my housemates barging in on me or being yelled at for being too loud.”


SGA Spotlight: Westover Honors College

By Sydney Nolley ~ Senator for Westover Honors

Photo of Westover President Sophie Tully, ‘23 and Westover Honors Freshmen

After the selection of a new board at the end of the fall semester, the Westover Executive Board discussed in our first meeting of the spring semester revisions and updates to our goals and mission for the coming year. In the spring of 2021, the revision introduced the goal of reinforcing our connection with other organizations on campus, wherein we focused on collaborating with those organizations for events and programs. 

This goal has continued into this spring, but the program has added a new set of focuses, the next level for Westover: the hope to highlight Westover as a social program as well as an academic one and (partially within this first goal) to connect Westover upperclassmen with underclassmen. 

Westovers are incredibly involved on campus and often leaves little time for them to casually connect with other Westovers. 


Movies for Singles

How To Watch A Movie Alone And Have The Best Time Ever

Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor

Being single on Valentine’s Day is a very common trend. While no one wants to be single on this day of love, it is sometimes unavoidable. This could be due to the fact that we are living through a pandemic, or because we are just better off on our own.

Regardless of the reason, the concept of relationships is constantly shoved down the throats of those of us who happen to be single at the time. This is mostly done through the use of movies and tv shows that constantly show these loving relationships in action.

Luckily, there are also movies that just so happen to be Anti-Valentine, and are perfect for those of us who are taking the holiday to love ourselves.

How to Be Single follows Alice(Dakota Johnson) after she decides to take a break from a long-term relationship. She moves to New York straight out of college and takes up a job at a law firm where she meets a woman named Robin(Rebel Wilson). The pair are polar opposites, yet with Robin’s advice, Alice begins to embrace her single life and learn more about herself.


Nerd Factor: What is the Book of Boba Fett?

This column contains spoilers for Disney+ series The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett.

Everything We Know About The Book of Boba Fett << Rotten Tomatoes – Movie  and TV News
Image from: https://editorial.rottentomatoes.com/article/everything-we-know-about-the-book-of-boba-fett/

Dr. Mike ~ UL Communication Studies Professor

For many years, streaming services have been breaking down how we traditionally view television programming. Gone are the days of appointment television, when everyone was compelled (or at least felt compelled) to be watching a specific show at a specific time. While many shows still drop an episode per week, streaming technology also gives power to the binge viewer. The classic idea of a television season is changing. The Book of Boba Fett is breaking up how we think of an actual series. 

Boba Fett is a fascinating example of a cult character in popular culture. For decades, the allure of the original Star Wars trilogy’s dangerous bounty hunter was largely based around mystery. His reputation came from only a few minutes of screen time. He was a compelling figure because we knew so little about him. Yes, there was that cartoon that introduced the character for The Star Wars Holiday Special, but fans were often unsure how official that was in terms of series canon. Really, we just knew him as the guy who captured Han Solo but who also died an ignominious death in the Sarlacc pit on Tatooine

Later, Boba Fett’s story became a backstory. Great efforts were made to fill in his past. Some of this was done in novels and comic books that are no longer considered official history. The character was seen as a child in the Star Wars prequel trilogies, various cartoon spin-offs, and video games. 


Love and Learn: Twin and Karmic Flames

Painting by James R. Eads

Written by Em Maxey ~ Assistant Editor

Social media has had a recurring word the past couple of years: twin flames. It seems like now everyone has to have a twin flame. The truth of the matter is that it is likely that very few people currently on earth actually have a twin flame. 

Twin flames occur when the same spirit divides into two halves. These two haves then proceed to earth in which they will find each other. There are a lot of criteria to check if you believe that your partner is a twin flame. 

Typically twin flames find an immediate attraction to one another. This may not be a romantic attraction right away but there is usually a strong infatuation when you first meet. Twin flames have a sense of familiarity and comfortability. 

If you have a relationship with a twin flame you may find yourselves thinking and saying a lot of the same things, even from the beginning of the relationship. 

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