Author: Nadia Ashtawy

A conversation with Christina Perri

Recently, the song “Jar of Hearts” has become stuck in the heads of many a pop music listener. The writer of that song, Christina Perri, took time to answer a few questions about her fast rise since her song was used on So You Think You Can Dance. Perri is currently touring the United States and will make a stop in Salt Lake at the Avalon on May 1. Tell us about your early life and your influences. How did they lead you to music? I grew up in Philadelphia and started singing pretty much right when I was born, I think. I was always singing in plays and at the church. I was always performing for my family, Christmas carols and stuff. So, I started doing that from a young age. I did theater growing up– little theater camps, stuff like that. It wasn’t until I fell in love, when I was 15,  that I started writing my own music and playing guitar. I got super inspired by love and needed an outlet of some kind. Instead of writing a diary, I would write little love songs. So, I taught myself how to play the guitar and the piano. I had taken piano lessons when I was really little. I just picked up where I left off and just went for it and haven’t stopped. What is your...

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Questions surrounding the Alta High racial incidents

The State tests its students on English, science and mathematics each year. Social tact and cultural sensitivity are generally things teenagers pick up as they develop, but it’s not something they’re tested on. If there were such a test, however, one Alta High School student would fail horribly. During a “Spirit Bowl” assembly at the school on March 17, an unnamed student wore a white pillowcase over his head with holes cut out of the eyes. The visual looked similar to the hood members of the Ku Klux Klan ceremonially wear over their heads. Why he thought doing it was a good idea is very unclear and, now, has set the community on edge. Lars Cosby, a bi-racial student at Alta High School in Sandy, wasn’t pleased at his schoolmate’s actions, and he created a blog of his account. Apparently, Cosby saw the student wearing the pillowcase and pulled it off of his head. Cosby claims the hood, however, reappeared during the assembly and, additionally, the student had been “hailing Hitler” during the event. “We all know that racism is a problem and I had heard a series of stories underlying race problems in Utah,” Cosby said in his post. “I am now convinced that this is true. Who in their right mind would plan to blatantly enforce their hate for others in a large gathering in a public...

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Story Problems

Newspaper clippings make up the cover of English Professor Robert Carney’s newest poetry collection, Story Problems, including one clipped photo of salmon crossing the road during a flood in Washington state. The eye moves over the different layers of information scattered on both the front and the back of the book. It’s almost representative of the ideas explored inside the covers. Carney pulls the poetry into different sections similar to the way a newspaper may be segmented. “Op-Eds and Parables,” “Want ads and Personals” and “News and Haikus” are some of the different categories poems are found under. Carney explores different aspects of politics, people, animals and what this world is in this collection. The poetry isn’t terribly difficult to understand, but at the same time, it’s not a collection that talks down to its audience. A lot of the forms in the poetry contain fairly simple couplets or triplets, but others go outside the formal and into innovative new shapes. It isn’t as though you would need to immediately look for a dictionary after reading any of these poems. The collections could easily be understood by someone that isn’t at all familiar with poetry, but is still engaging for avid poetry readers. Some of the people referenced, such as the namesake of the section “Fables of Faubus,” may induce more research into individuals like Arkansas’ longest-serving governor, Orval...

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See? Even the mayor gets tested

John Curtis, Mayor of Provo, is getting an HIV Test on Mar, 31. Don’t be worried though. It’s for a good cause, and, as far as we know, everything will be fine. Curtis’ test results will be kept confidential. Curtis’ test is part of a biannual Health fair as well as an HIV prevention and education program hosted by Centro Hispano, a non-profit organization that offers services to Spanish-speaking immigrants in Utah County. The testing isn’t limited too him. Centro Hispano will be offering free and confidential testing to the public as well. “We thought it would be a good idea to show how anyone could be tested for the virus,” said Angélica Nash, Health & Wellness Program Coordinator with Centro Hispano. “Being tested doesn’t mean that you have the disease. It should be a health assessment that you have every year.” HIV testing has become an increasingly necessary think to check in the realm of health concerns. Since the State Department of Health began keeping record of HIV and AIDS, there have been at least 1,062 reported cases of HIV, 2,476 reported cases of aids and 1,189 reported AIDS related deaths. In Utah County alone, there have been 55 reported cases of HIV and 133 reported cases of AIDS at least. Mayor Curtis’ plan to get the test done will be high profile, at least for this community,...

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Your constitutional right to be a jerk

The Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church parishioners have spent years shamelessly voicing their opinions of the country, all around the country, including a protest at West High in Salt Lake City this past January. Apparently, we are all going to hell, but the Westboro Baptist Church has the right to tell us that. The WBC has voiced their anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-catholic views in their protests. In 2006, they picketed the funeral of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, a soldier killed in Iraq. The Snyder family’s reaction to Wesboro’s picketing eventually took the groups to the United States Supreme Court in Snyder v. Phelps. Snyder filed a tort at the state level claiming “intentional infliction of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy” according to the opinion document provided by the court. Westboro Baptist Church, however, “challenged the verdict as grossly excessive and sought judgment as a matter of law on the ground that the First Amendment fully protected its speech.” In an 8-to-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Westboro Baptist Church. “The court reviewed the picket signs and concluded that Westboro’s statements were entitled to First Amendment protection because those statements were on matters of public concern, were not provably false, and were expressed solely through hyperbolic rhetoric,” according to the court document. The real issue is that they can say what they do, but they...

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