Category Archives: A&E

Maleficent: Mistress of Evil proves to be a beautiful disaster

Story and art by Scarlett Hatton

The 2014 film, Maleficent was a fantastic retelling and origin story of the beloved Disney classic Sleeping Beauty told in the villain’s perspective. The film captured the dynamic character development of Maleficent [played by Angelina Jolie] and the magical world she lived in. Throughout the movie, Maleficent became a motherlike figure to Aurora [played by Elle Fanning], ultimately being able to save her from her eternal slumber with “true love’s kiss.” This character shift made for a very happy ending to an amazing, complete story. Then, Disney decided to give us a totally unnecessary sequel that seemingly no one asked for.

Theoretically, a continuation of this story could have been interesting. However, in this instance, the film was barely a continuation of the first movie at all. Not only did it have an entirely unrelated storyline, but the writers seem to have forgotten the ending of the last movie. While the first film ended with Maleficent rid of her evil ways, the second movie began with her as the villain. This came as a surprise because the entire first movie was about the character growth and development of Maleficent. Ultimately, it was not necessary to have any prior knowledge of Maleficent to understand this movie. Whether that was their intention or not, the film was less enjoyable to watch and felt unnecessary to the original story. 

As mentioned previously, the storyline of this film was lacking. The movie began with Prince Phillip proposing to Aurora, Queen of the Moors. Once Maleficent heard of their engagement, she argued with Aurora against this future marriage. After some convincing, Maleficent agreed to have dinner with Phillip’s parents, King John and Queen Ingrith. During dinner, Ingrith began insulting Maleficent by bringing up her past and even claiming that she was not a good mother for Aurora. By this point of the movie, it was painfully obvious that Ingrith was the main antagonist. Unfortunately, the entire movie was badly written in a predictable manner. Maleficent got so mad at Queen Ingrith that she cursed King John in a fit of rage. Because the main antagonist needs to be conscious for the entire movie, the writers chose for King John to be cursed instead of the logical choice of Ingrith. This is one of the best examples of poor writing choices. 

After the dinner scene, the plot became very messy. Maleficent was shot by the Queen’s iron bullet, fell into the ocean, and was rescued by a fairy. The fairy took her underground, where she encountered many creatures just like her. This storyline is redundant, predictable, and can be found in many kids’ movies. The last main portion of the movie was the battle scene. This lasted for a long time and was quite different from the first movie which did not have as much violence. Coincidentally everything worked out in the end. It was a happily ever after, somehow, despite the death and destruction that the battle caused.   

Despite its flaws, the movie was stunning to look at. The incredible special effects and detailed costumes showed throughout, proved the high budget and effort that was put into the film. Compared to the first Maleficent, the visuals improved tremendously. Each setting and character were so much more believable and realistic in this movie. The beautiful visuals even distract from some of the strange dialogue. It is a shame, however, that the writing could not live up to its image.

No one else could play the role of Maleficent better than Jolie. Her character was convincing and had depth, which most characters lacked. During the movie, it was clear who was written as a main character opposed from a background character. Small roles were very one-dimensional and did not really add much to the storyline. It seemed like the movie introduced almost too many new characters for the writers to handle. However, even smaller roles had incredible detail that did not go unrecognizable. 

With its mainly younger audience, the predictability and plot holes are forgivable. Yet there was so much that could have been done to improve the story. There is no doubt that the film was full of different side plots and characters. As a whole, the movie was unnecessary.  However, Jolie’s talented acting and the beautiful visuals were its redeeming qualities. 


Acting: A-

Writing/dialogue: C




Handbell students take on New York City

Story by Destiny Love

A chorus of handbells ring through Central Park as the bustling sounds of the city are temporarily ignored for the enjoyment of the holiday music.

“This trip is going to be exciting, but also crazy. We have packed a lot of stuff in the span of three days for our multiple performances,” said senior Aaron Seay. 

All of the arts programs have their own trips that they take for performances. However, this trip for the handbells holds many new experiences for the group.

“We will leave Thursday, Thanksgiving morning early. We will arrive in New York City Thursday afternoon. On Friday we will be performing at Radio City Music Hall as a pre-show to the Radio City Rockettes,” said choir and handbells director Angela Hampton. 

Fifteen students will be attending the NYC trip with Hampton and assistant director Briston Hatchell for their performance. Many of the students have been in handbells for several years, but this performance could be a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

“I am most excited about getting to experience NYC for the first time with a great group of friends and playing with so many ringers,” said senior Delaney Agnew. “We are performing a bunch of the common Christmas songs like ‘Joy to the World,’ ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas,’ ‘Deck the Halls,’ and ‘Jingle Bells.’

The trip to New York City will have many other new opportunities for the young musicians. 

“It will be a really great experience for us. Not only for being able to play there, but we will be playing with a lot of ringers from the New York area and beyond. We will also be conducted by one of our favorite conductors for handbells: Kevin McChesney, so the kids are really excited to meet him and play under his direction,” said Hampton.

A lot will be going on this Thanksgiving weekend in New York City, but the handbells group is ready to take on this new performance opportunity.

“The handbells have never gone to New York before. We travel every other year. Being there Thanksgiving weekend, that is a really big time in NYC with the Thanksgiving Day Parade and the shopping and just being New York. This is a really different opportunity,” said Hampton. 

This will not be the first time a music group from FC have performed in New York City, but it is another to add to the books with more planned in the future. 

“It is every musician’s dream to either say they have played in Radio City or Carnegie Hall,” said Hampton. “I think it is something they will be able to look on later in their life and say ‘I got to do that.’”

Theatre classes provide new perspective

Art by Abby Brown

Story by Kennedy Page, Jasmine Hodapp, and Chloe Davidson

When walking into a theatre class one might be overwhelmed by the energy of the students. The atmosphere is certainly a unique one. Though a class like theatre is not as rigidly structured as a typical one, there is still a need for effort and creativity. 

Typically we see theatre through a completely different lens. When the subject is mentioned, generally one thinks of dramatic performances on stage, but a lot more goes on in the class than what people perceive. 

It’s a more creative class than most because we do our own blockings for scenes and there isn’t one specific way we have to do everything,” said sophomore Samantha Temple. She like many other students find that to be a key draw to the class among other things.

 It is not all fun and games, but involves a lot of hard work. “The atmosphere of the class is different as it requires discipline and work ethic to keep things working,” said theatre teacher Robbie Steiner. Performance, like anything else, is improved with practice. 

The students are involved in all aspects of theatre, and many students report enjoying giving their all. Besides just acting, the students do public relations, help with sets, learn about famous playwrights, and even write scripts of their own. Everyone is given an opportunity to explore what they want to learn. 

The class structure changes with new events and sections of the curriculum. This allows for students to be able explore roles in a unique and prepared way. “I really love getting to explore a whole new person while still being myself,” said junior Charlotte Brown. 

The impact on teachers and the FC community of students has been very positive. It, to many, has fostered a sense of purpose and love for giving back. “I love the feeling I get when I’m on stage. It’s this feeling where you know all the hard work you have put in is being put into the world,” said junior Trevin Chandler.

Some students even report that theatre has impacted their life outside of the class. Some may use their new skill set to explore more theatre extracurriculars, and some may use their newfound love for theatre even later on in life for serious career choices. I’d like to teach theatre as a career,” said Brown.

“I’m a little more confident in my acting and in the actual world,” said Temple. Many others like her find the class is open to all students. It works to provide an intimate and emotionally vulnerable time for all those that pursue it. 

But more than that, theatre is a community. “The friends you make though the program and the experiences and memories you make are amazing,” said Chandler. 

That’s why this class, to many students and teachers, is unlike any other. Why so many people are drawn to it and why there’s such strong feelings towards it. Many that are a part of the program feel that theatre creates genuine connection within a unique experience, and people will never stop loving it. “The class is a good way to get away from reality and clear your mind. Give it a try. Don’t judge it too fast,” said senior Jason Corrado.


Following Highlander Band: Sun sets on SynchroniCITY at Bands of America Grand Nationals

Photo by Tori Ables

Story by Gracie Vanover

Last weekend was the biggest marching band competition in the nation, but the Highlander band did not shy away from chasing the gold. Bands of America [BOA] Grand Nationals hosted 91 bands this weekend before narrowing it down to 38 and then to 12. 

Overall the Highlander band placed 46 out of 91 and 5th in their class, which included bands like Columbus North High School. This was the first time in the band’s history attending BOA Grand Nationals. Knowing how well they scored, the band is hopeful for their future in Grand Nationals. 

“It was a really cool experience to be the first group to represent our band at a national level,” said sophomore trumpet player Reece Ausmus. “I’m glad we got the experience to go and hopefully over the next few years we will move up in the ranks.”

With this being the band’s last performance they felt confident in their show and abilities. 

“I felt great. I was just having fun and felt super confident,” said freshman bari sax player Kimmy Fraley. 

For the seniors this was their last run of the show, especially in a competing atmosphere.

“I really enjoyed the competition and it was fun to be able to compete on the national stage. With it being the largest competition in the nation it makes you look at competing differently, like how we’re able to say that we’re the 46th best marching band in the country is a pretty nice feeling,” said senior trumpet player Eli Moody. “It was a really fun way to end the season and I’m glad we took the opportunity to go to this competition.”

While the season may be at its end, band is only just starting. This weekend marks the start of pep band for both boys’ and girls’ basketball games. The band also has many concerts throughout the year so be sure to check their website for the dates. 

Highlander band website:


A Return to the Crimson King’s Court

By Daniel Anderson

It was supposed to be a day of remembrance, of mourning. I suppose it is true what they say: with death comes new life.

On July 5, 1969, more than 500,000 attendees gathered at London’s Hyde Park to see The Rolling Stones play live after a two-year concert hiatus, and only two days after guitarist Brian Jones had fallen. What preceded their act, however, was something that almost no one had anticipated.

Opening for them was a band that the majority of the audience had never heard of up until that point; they had not even released a single record. As they viscerally and furiously play on, there is applause for sure, yet most attendees had no idea of what to make of them.

And to think, just months earlier, that same band had merely been playing for local pubs.

All of it started with just three young men: Micheal and Peter Giles and Robert Fripp, the latter of which was the brains of the operation. Together, these three brought together a myriad of musical influences ranging from blues, contemporary pop and jazz.

This incarnation was short-lived as Peter soon bailed, leaving Michael and Fripp with guitar and drumsticks in hand, but no direction to take.

That is, until they were lent a few hands from lyricist Peter Sinfield, vocalist and bassist Greg Lake, and multi-instrumentalist Ian McDonald.

On January 13 1969, the group held their first rehearsal, and thus was born King Crimson.

The band’s name, coined by Sinfield, was not thought of as an allusion to Beezelbub or any demonic figure for that matter, but rather as a term used to describe tyrannical rulers or monarchs. As he jokingly put it, “Anything was better than Giles, Giles, and Fripp. King Crimson had arrogance to it.”

Regardless of however you interpret it, the name matches the sound of the band down to a tee. Simply put, nothing else sounded quite like them.

Now, that is not to say there weren’t other artists who played and in a similar vein. Contemporaries such as Yes, Soft Machine and Jethro Tull had all previously began indulging in fusion and experimentation of psychedelic rock, blues, jazz and classical elements and theory to form what we now know as progressive rock.

But there was an essence that made King Crimson truly emerge from the rest of the pack. One key element lies in the angst of their music. The band had a tendency to play far more aggressively and unpredictably in comparison to their peers.

This was especially the case for their live performances, as Fripp and company could go from deafeningly loud and abrasive in one minute, to subdued and atmospheric in another. Polarized, often quiet audiences were commonplace throughout the first few months of their careers— until that fateful day in Hyde Park.

With a sudden twist of fate, King Crimson almost immediately became hot property. Soon enough, they were signed to both Island and Atlantic, two of the biggest labels in the entire music industry, for U.K and American distribution respectively.

And with their new deal, King Crimson were primed and ready to release what they already had concocted earlier that year. On October 10th, 1969, the band’s full-length debut was unveiled: In the Court of the Crimson King.

Stiff is not enough of a word to describe the competition that this album faced, as it was a time directly in between the releases of both the Beatles’ and Led Zeppelin’s seminal records Abbey Road and Led Zeppelin II. Despite being at the crossroads of music history, the album sold quite well for a debut, charting at No. 5 on the U.K. Albums Chart and No. 28 on the U.S. Billboard 200.

It should be worth noting that it was met with mixed critical reception upon release. Looking back, I guess that would be a somewhat fitting entrance for King Crimson. When compared to most records popular at that time, In the Court of the Crimson King sticks out like a sore thumb, both in sound and attitude. 

That immediately becomes apparent with the iconic opening track “21st Century Schizoid Man” (which, to me, still remains one of the coolest song titles ever). After an eerie, wind-swept intro, the listener is met with a torrent of pummeling, distorted guitars, drums and ascending saxophone leads. Around the two-minute mark, the instrumental switches to a fast-paced section of sporadic guitar solos and manic drum fills before it eventually returns to the previous section.

Meanwhile, Lake viciously belts out lyrics of a mad, dystopian world, “Blood rack, barbed wire / Politician’s funeral pyre / Innocents raped with napalm fire / Twenty-first century schizoid man.”

The pessimistic nature of both the lyrics and instrumentals are quite a blatant contrast to anything “peace-and-love” related in psychedelic music at the time. So much so that this track is often referred to as an early example metal music (mind you, artists like Black Sabbath and Budgie had not yet burst onto the scene at that time).

However, the album’s nature soon performs a 180° spin with the following track, “I Talk to the Wind.” As previously stated, the band knew how to transition sonically from one area to another, and this track exemplifies that flawlessly. Immediately following the mayhem of the track prior, we are then thrust into a serene environment with McDonald serenading listeners with his masterful flute skills.

Instead of a menacing snarl glazed with distorted post-effects, Lake greets our ears with a soft-spoken and far more melodic voice as the lush instrumentals compliment him in the mix.

It should be worth noting that, despite how many pretty bells and whistles that are presented (such as McDonald’s astounding flute solos), Sinfield’s lyricism still convey the essence of a fearful world. Here, they seem to portray a man who is questioning his faith in the world around him, “I’m on the outside, looking inside / What do I see? / Much confusion, disillusion / All around me.”

With this in mind, an elephant in the room remains: the reason for such lyrical and sonic pessimism. Thankfully, considering the time in which this record was released, context becomes easy to piece together. The year 1969 was in the midst of a tumultuous era for global affairs— most notably the height of the Cold War and the Vietnam Campaign.

It would only make sense for a group such as King Crimson to reflect the ever-present darkness in the world around them. And that darkness is unfurled in all its glory with the third track “Epitaph.”

Following a brief drumroll emerging from the fade of the previous track, “Epitaph” emerges with an awe-inspiring soundscape of grandiose, apical proportions. All throughout, there are acoustic guitars (both gently picked and monstrously strummed), varying drum fills and woodwinds accompany Lake’s desperate vocals and Sinfield’s apocalyptic lyrics. Each of these elements are as doom-laden as the other, “When every man is torn apart / With nightmares and with dreams / Will no one lay the laurel wreath / When silence drowns the screams?”

But most important of all, this track heavily implements use of a mellotron: a device which would come to define not only this band, but most of the prog rock genre in general.

Oftentimes cited as a precursor to the modern synthesizer, this key instrument, when played, will give off sounds akin to orchestral samples. This would allow songs with its inclusion to have an almost symphonic appearance.

During production of this album, McDonald spent much of his time overdubbing layers upon layers of mellotron recordings, so its presence would always be unmistakable. His efforts become front-and-center on “Epitaph” as the mellotron swallows the mix and elevates the track to cataclysmic levels, especially during the crescendo towards the last minute-and-a-half. 

Many have tried to emulate the feeling of the end of days that this track presents, some have even come remarkably close (namely artists like Sunn O))) and Godspeed You! Black Emperor). Still, I find that, for lack of a better description, the bleak and paranoid atmosphere achieved in this song has yet to be replicated.

But alas, we then recede once more to a softer place with the proceeding track “Moonchild.” Easily the quietest, most reserved song in the tracklist, Giles’ percussion (mostly cymbals) takes up most of the space in the mix as McDonald’s woodwinds and mellotron eerily linger in the background. Meanwhile, Lake gently sings the most abstract lyrics on the album; they wonderfully compliment the track’s tone of isolation “Sailing on the wind in a milk-white gown / Dropping circle stones on a sundial / Playing hide-and-seek with the ghosts of dawn / Waiting for a smile from a sun child.”

This goes on for about two minutes before the song transitions into a bizarre, 10-minute free improv session. The band members seemingly take turns, either one after the other or occasionally contrasting, playing whatever instrument they have in hand without any specific time signature or meter. Perhaps it is filler, but that is something I can easily overlook, as this band was known for doing these sorts of things— both in-studio and in live settings.

Once the track abruptly ends, we at last arrive at the iconic closer: the title track. King Crimson truly pulls out all the stops here, combining just about every element that made all the previous tracks so memorable. You name it, this song has it: unbelievable drum fills from Giles, McDonald’s majestic flute soloing and overpowering mellotron, Fripp’s acoustic guitar appearing gargantuan in the mix, and of course, Lake’s imposing vocals and bass work.

The lyrics, while surreal once more, point in a far more sinister direction, reminiscent of the dystopian themes inspired by the backdrop of Vietnam, “The yellow jester does not play, but gently pulls the strings / And smiles as the puppets dance in the court of the crimson king.”

Once the track seemingly ends around the seven-minute mark, McDonald mysteriously and subtly starts playing his flute and mellotron once more. All of the sudden, the drums come back and we are met with a grand instrumental reprise of the chorus melody. The mellotron here is just as powerful as it was on “Epitaph” as each member gives it their all, especially Giles as he mercilessly pounds the drum heads to a pulp. I could not ask for a better curtaincall if I tried.

Thus concludes an undisputed musical epic, all within a timespan under 50 minutes.

What a shame that these men did not follow through with any projects together. After disputes revolving around the band’s creative direction, the members of King Crimson split up. Ever since then, this band has gone through a plethora of lineup changes; Fripp has remained the only constant member.

On the other hand, the legacy left behind by this group is practically immortal by now. Several of its members go on to have successful careers (most notably Greg Lake taking part in fellow seminal prog rock act Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Ian McDonald in Foreigner) but the amount of influence that this record alone holds on future acts is absolutely staggering.

King Crimson have gone on to inspire artists in a vast array of genres. From later prog acts like Rush, Tool and Porcupine Tree, to modern psychedelia like The Flaming Lips, punk groups like Bad Religion (the band’s own record label, Epitaph, is named after the song of the same title), to metal, as previously mentioned (especially bands like Mastodon, Voivod, Yob, Opeth, Neurosis, etc.), and even genres as far reaching as noise (namely Merzbow).

Not only that, but this band and record have somehow managed to find ways of staying relevant outside the music realm. Several memes have been and are still being made across the internet in light of King Crimson. Perhaps the most popular of all is a niche trend called “getting Fripp’d” where Youtube users upload videos containing audio clips and samples from King Crimson’s discography (especially from In the Court of the Crimson King), only for others to comment on how long it takes before Fripp’s label takes the video down.

Considering how poignant the rigorous and colorful compositions and lyrical themes of a fearful world still remain, I suppose all of this should not be very surprising. But once I look back and compare this album to whatever else was hip at the time, I can’t help but sit back and smile at how long it has stayed fresh.  

The fact that an album now over half a century old can still be embraced by far younger generations should serve as a testament to the longevity of this band and album. Not even fine wine ages that well.

Here’s to another 50 years of sonic magnificence, and counting.

Link to Album:

Link to Hyde Park Concert:


  1. 21st Century Schizoid Man
  2. I Talk to the Wind
  3. Epitaph
  4. Moonchild
  5. The Court of the Crimson King