Spoken-word orator a ‘Bush hater’ but supports troops

Henry Rollins delivered blue “Shock and Awe” Wednesday night to a crowd packed in the kind-of clinical setting that is the polished Bell Memorial Union Auditorium.

The 44-year-old lead singer of Rollins Band doubles as a spoken word artist commenting on what he sees in the world, especially what he saw during his trips with the United Service Organizations. His spoken-word is called “Shock and Awe My Ass.”

Rollins is anti-Bush yet pro-troops, a combination most people can’t wrap their minds around. He recounted a conversation with a woman who was recruiting him for the USO.

“I went, ‘Ma am, do you have any idea who you are talking to? I am a Bush hater with great discipline and a sense of exactitude. I can tangle with him on issues foreign and domestic. He is fucking my country up.'”

“She said, ‘Well we saw some of your DVDs. My God you have a mouth on you.'”

” I said, ‘Yeah, I learned it all from my mom.'”

The woman asked why Rollins supported the troops and not Bush, he went on to say.

” I said, ‘They’re good men and women, they go where they are told and they’re well-trained. I am sure they’d rather be at war in south Florida with a surfboard, a joint and a hot chick.'”

Rollins recently went to medical hospitals in Washington D.C. where the most neglected soldiers have someone patch the wounds that can never heal.

One soldier was hit by a mortar in the war and lost his arm. He ended up carrying it in his other hand back to the base where surgeons reconnected the arm from nerve fibers hacked out of his legs, Rollins said.

“I go into a room and there’s this big guy and his right arm is in this massive cast. It’s leaking fluid and his legs are shaved and there’s massive sutures all over his legs and he says, ‘Whoa, I’m glad to meet you, sir.'”

Another soldier Rollins met lost both of his legs and had his eye mutilated to the point he could only see light and dark.

“His mother shows me this three-ring notebook of photos of this young, handsome, tall guy with his girlfriend,” Rollins said. “(The girlfriend) was one of the hottest, slamminest women. They looked like they were a great couple.

“And you have to think there is no way she can handle this relationship anymore. They had just started their lives. If she left him tomorrow, can you really blame her?

Chris Cagle rides into Crazy Horse

The Crazy Horse Saloon will be a little crazier May 25, as the California Cowboys perform with headliner Chris Cagle.

The California Cowboys will be recording their first video for “The Party’s Over” at the beginning of the night.

A crew from Fox 30 will film the video to repay a debt from station owner Chester Smith. The Cowboys performed at a Christmas party for Smith and his wife and now, as it begins promoting its third album, the band has hopes of gaining national notoriety after being a regional act for most of its existence.

“We’re able to make a living as a regional act,” lead singer Robert Smith said. “It’s kind of an anomaly–being signed to a major label.”

Smith plans to use another connection to get the video to air. Chris Conn, host of Great American Country’s “Fast Forward,” promised if Smith could get a video together, then Conn would get it on the show, which features up-and-coming artists.

Smith said the Eagles and the Steve Miller Band heavily influenced the band members as children. As a result, they’re not the typical, laid-back crooners most people associate with country music.

“We’re country with an edge,” Smith said.

While the Cowboys are plugging along as a regional act, Chris Cagle has gone national with an authentic edge to his music. Cagle has taken the country music world by storm with his first two CDs, “Play it Loud” and “Chris Cagle.” He topped the country music charts with his hit “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.”

Cagle is currently wrapping up work on his third album, which is yet to be titled. His first single, “Miss Me Baby” will be released to radio stations at the end of the month.

Cagle’s publicist, Judy McDonough, described him as an authentic artist that isn’t country just because of the money.

“He is a country artist’s country artist,” McDonough. “He wears a cowboy hat because that’s what he does, not what the music dictates.”

This show will continue the Crazy Horse’s tradition of bringing out the best country music has to offer. Previous artists include Ty Herndon (“Steam,” “No Mercy”), Michael Peterson (“Drink, Swear, Steal and Lie,” “From Here to Eternity”), and The Charlie Daniels Band (“In America,” “Simple Man”).

General Manager Brian Buckley said the Crazy Horse’s atmosphere at concerts is like nothing you’ll see in a larger venue.

“The artists are pretty hands-on with the crowd,” he said. “They come here as a night off. Most of them will come up afterwards, have a beer and hang out for the night.”

The Crazy Horse boasts an intimate setting for its concerts that allows people to get closer than ever to their favorite acts. In order to create this atmosphere, fewer people will be let in, Buckley said.

“I hate it when people drive from way out of town, or even locals that are regular customers, show up at the door only to find we’re sold out,” Buckley said. “When we’re sold out, we don’t let anybody else in because it makes the show unenjoyable for the other people.”

Tickets can be purchased in Chico at Diamond W Western Wear, Corral West, or the Crazy Horse Saloon. Buckley said ticket prices typically change as the date of the concert draws near, but general admission is $39.

Stand-ups take on tough crowd

Never provoke a comedian.

It doesn’t matter if the show started late or if the microphone wasn’t on — or when it was turned on, it was too loud. Comedians are like mountain lions–corner them and they will leap for the throat.

When their ears could take no more of a shrieking microphone, some of the crowd at the comedy show headlined by Zach Galifianakis in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium on Friday night took it upon themselves to let opening act Ryan Stout have it. The sound technicians scrambled backstage and fixed the problem, but the gauntlet had already been thrown down.

Stout went on with his act without another distraction, but when the next comedian, Tig Notaro, started to ask about three-way sex, a man hooted in approval.

“Really?” she said. “You sound alone.”

She continued, “Have you ever been involved in a ménage a trois where you ended up being the ‘nah.'”

Eager for his 15 minutes of fame to continue, the same man let out another hoot. He slowed when Notaro asked him if he hooked up, and he said no.

“Looks like this was a good time to lie and interrupt,” Notaro said. “I’ll probably do it again later, too. It’ll be equally as anti-climactic.”

When she mentioned she was from Los Angeles, Notaro was greeted by a warm chorus of “Dodgers suck.”

“I know,” she said. “I’m on my way here and I was thinking, ‘God, I hope they want to talk about baseball.'”

Finally, Galifianakis took the stage with the visor he once used for panhandling pulled over his head. He described the look to his stylist as “The Amber Alert.”

“When you look like I do, it’s hard to get a table for one at Chuck E. Cheese,” Galifianakis said.

Most of his act circled around understated, self-deprecating one-liners snapping after the applause faded.

“I had to gain weight for a part–that’s a complete lie,” Galifianakis said.

He quickly turned to an upright piano and started twinkling a melody as background to fill the silence between his jokes.

“For five years now I’ve been addicted to cold turkey,” Galifianakis said. “I always tell people I’m quitting cold turkey and they ask me, ‘What are you quitting?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m quitting cold turkey.'”

“The only time it’s good to yell out, ‘I’ve got diarrhea,’ is when you’re playing Scrabble ’cause it’s worth a shitload of points.”

He took a moment to step away from the piano and indulge the audience with a few of the characters he has developed over his career, like the 5-year-old who hates having a beard, the dumbest guy on earth and the forgetful vegan.

“Man that sure was good pepperoni pizza,” Galifianakis said.

There were no reprisals from the audience during Galifianakis’ act. Unlike Notaro did at first, he didn’t engage the audience members head on. Instead, he took a page out of Stout’s book and distracted them with his act.

Before Galifianakis’ act, Stout started with a common problem people have–you buy something and then somebody else finds the exact same thing for less.

“My friend just started supporting one of those third-world kids and he’s paying 47 cents a week,” he said. “I started supporting a similar kid–36 cents a week. You can’t buy love.”

Stout went on to describe another thrifty opportunity he had at an STD clinic where it costs $10 to be tested, but if they find anything, it’s waived. Unfortunately somebody stole his wallet, so a clean test would be embarrassing. He needed help from above.

“I’m just praying that I had syphilis or gonorrhea,” he said. “And you know what, the good lord came through.”

Singling out one man’s top 20

Radio playlists suck.

Almost every radio station uses them like gospel, when they”re really just toilet paper music companies pay for.

Now, with services like iTunes and Napster 2.0, the chains on music fans have been loosened. Listeners pick their songs and leave the trash where it belongs. No longer are you confined to albums. Now it”s time to fill out your collection with real music, not corporate crap.

Here”s what I think … in no particular order.

‘Tears in Heaven (Unplugged)’
Eric Clapton

If Elvis is king, then Clapton is God. Clapton completely retooled his hits for the ‘Unplugged’ album and made them great … again.

‘Come on Eileen’
Dexy”s Midnight Runners

Indecipherable lyrics blow your mind for days while you try to sing along. Of course, you could just look them up on the Internet. It has nice fiddle work though the song.

‘Strokin”‘
Clarence Carter

If we ever need to be reminded how much we have in common, then it”s time for the doctor to counsel us on how stroking brings us under one umbrella.

‘Silence on the Line’
Chris LeDoux

LeDoux died last month and this song about an old beat-up rodeo star that nobody appreciated in the end eerily puts his career in perspective.

‘(Don”t Fear) The Reaper’
Blue …yster Cult

Cowbell. I need more cowbell. This live version of ‘Reaper’ doesn”t have enough, but the instrumental solos make you forget the lyrics.

‘I Am the Walrus’
Styx

This is an energetic, live cover that shows a light at the end of the tunnel for Styx since they ditched Dennis ‘Mr. Roboto’ DeYoung.

‘Pancho and Lefty’
Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard

Willie and Merle do a duet on the sunset of an outlaw–priceless.

‘Keep Me in Your Heart’
Warren Zevon

Tough times bring out the best in people and dying from cancer brought about the poignant retrospective ‘Enjoy Every Sandwich.’ This is the only entire CD I recommend.

‘Once in a Lifetime’
Talking Heads

The Talking Heads are awesome enough, but this live version is so different from the original and so different from anything on the radio that it had to be on the list.

‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ Hayseed Dixie

This bluegrass homage to AC/DC is similar to Bon Jovi”s ‘This Left Feels Right’ in the way it tweaks a melody just enough to create a new song.

‘Mission Temple Fireworks Stand’
Paul Thorn

Sawyer Brown may have covered this song, but which would you rather hear, a guy whose hits include ‘Joanie The Jehovah”s Witness Stripper’ or some group talking about ‘Six Days on the Road.’

‘Devil Comes Back to Georgia’
Mark O”Connor

This song is the epilogue to ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia.’ Mark O”Connor”s fiddle skills have fallen off, but the song is good enough to be pushed into your collection.

‘Cotton Pickin” Time
The Marcy Brothers

This is the best thing to come out of Oroville until me. Billy Ray Cyrus was gracious enough to yank out his big single from them, but this song”s a lot catchier.

‘Ball of Kerrymuir’
Jim Croce

Beautifully scripted debauchery with a catchy tune is an unbeatable combo. ‘Four-and-twenty virgins come down from Inverness, and when the ball was over, there were four-and-twenty less.’

‘When We Were Kings’
Brooks & Dunn

The song is the tale of friends who are split by the Vietnam War, yet it seldom makes reference to it. I”m sure the war in Iraq prevented its release, but that shouldn”t keep you from hearing it.

‘Tee Tot Song’
Hank Williams, Jr.

This acoustic tribute to Hank Sr. is downright amazing. It digs into the man that introduced him to music and how once ol” Tee Tot disappeared when little Hiram got big, the downward spiral began.

‘Could”ve Been Me’
Billy Ray Cyrus

I ripped on him for his big hit, so I might as well give him a spot on the list. This song has a first verse that takes up almost half the track. That”s got to count for something.

‘(They Long to be) Close to You’
The Carpenters

Karen Carpenter”s voice is beautiful on this haunting melody that is the eeriest love song I”ve ever run across.

‘You Never Even Called Me by My Name’
David Allan Coe

If you get this song, make sure to get the extended version. You will not have the ‘perfect country and western song’ until you do. Now get it. I”ll be waiting …

‘Cadillac Jack Favor’
Clint Black

Based on the true story of a rodeo rider who offered two men a ride that changed his life forever.

“Hedwig” inches into Chico

If you go see “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” expecting a nice, little play, please deposit your ticket in the trash can by Collier Hardware.

This is a rock show people. The instruments are live, only some of the offstage singing is taped and the lead singer has a short, little surprise up her short, little skirt.

Crew members were scampering through the Blue Room Theatre lobby Thursday night asking every available person where the wigs were. Souvenir sales were bustling with various pieces of “Hedwig” paraphernalia. Beer bottles were in every other hand, the place was packed to near fire code levels, and did I mention the show started late?

Matt Hammons turned in an amazing performance in the demanding role of Hedwig (formerly known as Hansel). I hesitate to say he was dressed in drag simply because of the sexual dynamics of the character, but he completed the look amazingly well. His body was devoid of any blatant male characteristics, his clothing suggested something effeminate, yet his face left just enough doubt as to the character’s sex. The heavy, sky-blue eye shadow and the shimmering, ruby lipstick layered on his face was accented most notably by his martini glass, colored to match every outfit he had.

Throughout the performance, there are monologues and slides that give more insight into Hedwig’s life and how she got where she was. It all started at birth, when Hedwig’s mother chose to make the sexually ambiguous baby a girl. Hedwig’s travels have brought her from the east side of the Berlin wall to Chico where she plays on with the angry inch, the remnants of her botched sex-change operation, described in a song as “6 inches forward (went) 5 inches back.”

The band was simply amazing for a theatrical show. Its look was straight out of the ’80s synth-scene with a hint of Gothic. The guitarist character, Skzshp, was played with a high degree of musical ferocity. His characterization of a quiet man deeply in love with grinding his electric axe was clear in every drop he made to his knees and every fleet-footed move from stage left to stage right to the stairs. The only hint the audience has at his thick eastern European accent is when he leads the band in a customary “one, two, three” to start a song. Did I mention he was playing live the whole time?

But since the show is called “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” most of the action revolved around Hammons’ performance. He seemed to follow the script well, but there were some fabulous improvisations that put his face practically in a man’s lap and even spewing vodka on some of the older members of the audience.

The ending seemed a little underdone with the offstage transformation from Hedwig into Tommy Gnosis. In the theater version, the two roles are played by one character; in the movie, they’re two different actors. Hammons as Tommy looked like a ghostly Billy Idol in black spandex shorts that stretched to mid-thigh with a silver cross on his forehead. His acting, however, was lacking as it seemed he drew little from a separate characterization and merely played himself as a singer looking for a contract.

If, after hearing this, you choose to see “Hedwig,” please make sure to hit the restroom early as there is no intermission in this 90-minute performance. They do provide a tiny, little “piss cup,” but most people opted out of using it and instead bolted for the restroom and took away from the action on stage.

“Hedwig” plays at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday until April 23. Tickets are $12 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. Shows on Thursdays are only $6.

Two-day concert jams Feather River

At the edge of the Feather River an 800-year-old African xylophone will kick off the self-proclaimed “first fresh-air full-moon freak-out of the year,” or simply The Bobolink Music Festival.

This two-day tour of music genres will be played out on two stages Friday and Saturday at the Belden Town Resort, about a 90-minute drive from Chico. Tickets are $20 for one day, or both days for $40 and camping.

Acts range from the bluegrass of the Mad Cow String Band to the latin of Delta Nove to the techno and trance stylings of Zilla to the African xylophone rhythms of Mandeng Djeli.

The one thing that won’t be lacking in this show is talent. Show coordinator Azariah “Z” Reynolds said these bands were selected from a larger pool, which helped ensure the quality.

“Every single one of the bands that we booked is some of the best musicians you’re going to find on the touring scene,” Reynolds said.

Another common quality these acts have is their lack of corporate ties in the music industry.

“None of them are pushed by any big labels or anything like that,” Reynolds said. “They’re totally independent and take care of their own business and in control of their own future.”

The festival is in its first year and takes its name from the bobolink, a bird that has a high-pitched and dynamic sound.

According to the National Zoo Web site, the bobolink’s song is “a mad, reckless song-fantasia, and outbreak of pent-up, irrepressible glee.”

One band with its own distinctive song is Delta Nove. What sets it apart from the mainstream is that all the band members are schooled in Brazilian percussion.

Guitarist Bobby Easton said that spring is when these kind of indoor/outdoor festivals come out and open up people’s eyes to the full music spectrum.

“This kind of musical diversity brings people together,” Easton said. “It gives them a chance to hear what they wouldn’t hear from their favorite band.”

Another group that will be performing is Spindrift. The band has been together nearly five years and recently released its first album. Spindrift’s musical repertoire covers “pretty much anything that suits our fancy,” said Matt Lauer, acoustic guitarist.

Spindrift has more of a tight-knit family atmosphere compared to most bands.

“A lot of the time when we’re out on the road we’ve got our ladies with us and it ends up being more of a vacation than a tour,” Lauer said.

Lauer said he hopes to achieve one of his goals in the near future. His plan for world domination by acoustic guitar is in its final stages.

“It’ll be fun though–a peaceful world domination,” Lauer said.

Veering back toward the festival, Lauer said he is anticipating the group’s role on Saturday.

“We’re going to get the second day of the festival started right, get people boogying out of their tents and have a good time,” he said.

Whether the festival is a success will be settled at the ticket booth, Reynolds said.

“We feel that every time we get a good amount of people together, they’re kinda creating something out of this,” he said.

“By buying a ticket, they own it–whatever they put in as far as their own energy as far as dancing and being social or just being able to get away a little bit from what they do in everyday life.”

Media spotlight slights serious stories

Every day, all over the world, news stories fall through the cracks. And every year Project Censored picks 25 and gives them new life in a book called “Censored: Media Democracy in Action.”

Peter Phillips, the director of Project Censored, will be speaking about the group’s work and “New American Censorship” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Harlen Adams Theatre.

The speech will address how media consolidation has made the media more dependent on corporate and government sources for the news they provide and how this has affected coverage.

Phillips, the sociology department chair at Sonoma State, said a decline in investigative reporting has turned the corporate media into stenographers for the people in power and keeps important news from being reported. One fear the press has is losing an important source.

“If you’re writing a critical story about the Pentagon, you risk (losing) continued access,” Phillips said.

Another concern is the amount of space that’s taken away from hard news by stories like the Scott Peterson trial, the Michael Jackson trial or Congress investigating steroids in sports.

None of that is covered in “Censored.” Instead it covers 25 stories ranging from President Bush’s censorship of science, to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s meetings with Ken Lay, to Wal-Mart’s spread of low prices and low standards of living to the rest of the world. Later chapters update stories from previous editions and what has been done.

“Usually about a third of our stories go on to get some kind of national coverage,” Phillips said.

Another focus is called “media democracy in action,” or what independent media sources are doing throughout the country on the Internet, television and radio. These smaller sources focus on filling the gaps that corporate media are ignoring.

A critical focus for the next edition, due out in September, is the 9/11 attacks and certain inconsistencies in the 9/11 Report. These include stock options, pre-warnings and discrepancies in photos of the plane that hit the Pentagon. The most troubling inconsistency, Phillips said, was the collapse of Building Seven in the vicinity of the World Trade Center.

Building Seven was a 42-story building that was one block away from the twin towers. It was farther away than Building Five and Building Six. All three buildings caught fire after the center collapsed. Five and Six had the worst fires, while Seven only had smaller fires on the 13th and 14th floors.

Building Seven, however, was the only one to collapse. News reporters at the time said it looked like a demolition, but there is no record of one being ordered. This left engineering experts baffled.

“They can’t explain why a steel structure with a small fire collapsed,” Phillips said, “other than it was detonated and brought down deliberately.”

Another instance that troubled Phillips was the 80 million people who didn’t vote in the last election.

He said, “They choose not to vote, literally — because it’s very easy to register and actually vote.”

Phillips said the media steered clear of important issues in the campaigns and chose to focus their attention on how the candidates looked and what they did in Vietnam.

“I put this on the head of the corporate media,” Phillips said, “They didn’t even talk about the draft until the last month.”

The draft issue was critical in Phillips’ opinion because there was an actual increase in funding to the Selective Service program and the boards were filled so the government would be ready in case a draft was needed. This, Phillips said, is one reason why the media needs to be monitored and is the purpose of Project Censorship.

He said, “(Being) without a valid media keeping us informed of the world is a threat to democracy.”

Man on a mission

What if Jesus ran for president?

Before joining the campaign, think about it. Maybe after 2,000 years, society has overblown his perfection and the only way we can learn the truth is if the messiah was just an ordinary person with vices like the rest of us.

That’s the path local author and former politician DNA treads in “Memoirs of the Messiah: A 98 Percent True Story.”

DNA said “Memoirs” is a “factional” account of the coming of a messiah to Chico in the not so distant future. DNA said “faction” is 98 percent factual knowledge with 2 percent fictional narrative.

When the messiah is discovered, people treat him like a celebrity and worship him like the perfect person they believe he is.

This messiah, unlike Jesus, has to contend with the media and more than 2,000 years of hype.

“As soon as you’re built up, you’re torn down,” DNA said. “Is that the way we should relate to anyone?”

The memoir of a fictional figurehead who happens to share the name of the author seems like a self-gratifying mess. However, DNA said, he has kept a historical perspective in his book, rather than relying on fiction.

The fictional Jesus is the one in the white, flowing robes that everyone falls to their knees and worships while angels sing, DNA said.

“The historical guy is a revolutionary that you might not have wanted to hang out with,” DNA said. “He might be flipping over tables and getting in people’s faces.”

This is the first work by DNA the writer, but the second as DNA the messiah. Since this book takes place in the future, “Messiah’s Journal,” a book mentioned in “Memoirs,” hasn’t been written. DNA is eager to eventually write it.

“I can’t wait because it really does well,” he said.

Focusing on the newly released “Memoirs,” DNA sees this short novel as something for mature 15-year-olds and older, especially for people whose lives don’t allow for a 300-page behemoth.

“I wanted a quick read,” DNA said. “You might have ADD, you might be on Prozac. Certainly everyone is busy out of their minds.”

Ironically, the book was originally 300 pages long, but a hard drive crash shortened his work to zero. Luckily, he had an old copy that he could work from. As a result, DNA said this book is better because of the rewrite.

“The problem with memoirs is they can go on forever,” DNA said.

He found some of the memories that were recalled took too long to address and ended up taking away from the story.

“Memoirs” brings a new trick to the old art of book reading. At certain points there are references for information on the book’s Web site, www.messiahinc.com, and vice-versa. DNA said the Web site is being updated each week with new interviews, art, songs and even a blog.

With a name outside the typical realm, DNA is asked frequently about the story behind his name. It started in 1990 when he wanted to see one of his favorite comedians perform in a comedy competition at Chico State.

“I didn’t have any money,” DNA said. “I wanted to see the host, Will Durst. They said if I entered then I’d get in for free.”

The only thing he lacked was an act. He always knew his initials spelled DNA, so he used that to create a stage act outside of his normal life. That same year he went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and paid the $15 to have his name legally changed.

DNA’s future is fixed on writing the next two books of this series. “Memoirs” takes place in between 2005 and 2008, while the others will take it to a climax in the year 2012.

Another project DNA is currently working on is the film adaptation of a recent Blue Room Theatre play, “Jimmy Zhan and the Flying Mortician.” He hopes he can translate the experience from Zhan to his trilogy.

“One of my goals is to make this (book) into a screenplay,” DNA said.

One thing not in DNA’s future is another run for Chico City Council. He said he’s learned a lot from the experience of losing four elections.

“I don’t believe the political process is about winning,” DNA said. “I broke the mold in a lot of ways and I don’t think I’ll be running again.”

DNA also said his book will likely be as well received by readers as his political career was by voters.

He said, “I’ll either mail it to them or just hand it to them.”

Inside the mind of a mural

The smell of spray paint engulfed both floors of Taylor Hall Thursday afternoon while artist Christopher Benfield brought his latest creation to life in front of the public’s eyes as part of the two-artist exhibition, “Welcome to My World.”

A spritz of orange and a blotch of black were released onto a piece of cardboard as he slowly pieced together the layout for his palette. Masking tape was placed at the base of the wall in hopes of keeping it stain-free.

Then the corner turned dark. The mountain of black Krylon was growing higher and higher, until Benfield pulled away and whipped out the orange. It coupled with red to accent the wet, colorless streak.

These were just three of the colors he had to do his work. Six Krylon, one Rust-Oleum and a few silver cans were waiting. His white pants were decorated with a rainbow of dots, streaks and splotches from his previous works.

Next, he took three plastic cases, like the ones in a cell phone box. Instead of throwing them away, Benfield took four clear pushpins and pulled a Martha Stewart, turning them into shelves. He took a step back and asked himself if the shelves sat right.

After walking to the other side of the room, Benfield turned around and took a break to look at some of the works of the other artist whose work is also on display in the University Art Gallery. “Welcome to My World” will be on display until April 13.

Felix Macnes has taken his palette and made it a part of the painting. Around each work, he left enough space to clean off his brush. Those strokes became an abstract border. One of his pieces, “KO/OK”, is a human figure painted across two palettes. It has been displayed both together and apart.

When together, the pieces act as one solid work that stands on its own. When they are split, as they currently are, the human eye jumps the gap, nearly eliminating the empty space.

To keep with the theme of the palette as art, Macnes made sure the size of the finished piece was the same as the unfinished piece.

Once he was refreshed, Benfield went back into his artistic groove. The shelves he put up were for a small bronze-colored toy collection, which had kazoos, Super Saiyan Goku and even Flit, the hummingbird from “Pocahontas.”

The toys hinted at a room of a person who had just passed the years of their childhood, and their memories have been bronzed as mementos.

Then the walls needed posters.

Benfield picked up a trimmed piece of paper from a Save Mart grocery bag. An eagle sitting in front of the red, white and blue print said, “Proud to be an American.” At the top of the eagle’s head, Benfield placed a simple, small circle that said “Justice Not War.”

With the toys and posters in place, it was time for graffiti and Benfield had a stencil that read, “Get Some!!” with a nice, big underline. But where to put it? After another survey of the room for perspective, Benfield reflected on his other works.

In one of his pieces, Benfield had an astronaut with an air hose curling throughout the page. The hose wound its way past a worm-like being, complete with a human head, mullet and sideburns, a green-eyed pink hippo with pouty lips, a human head spewing water into the base of a skull, and a rubbery human with a flat-top, belly button and long, floppy arms who just passed the Mars rover on a barren snowscape.

It finally ends inside a freshly cut fishtail with the fish somehow still attached. If the air hose hadn’t ended in the fish, it would have been in the freshly squeezed liquid from the bull that’s readying itself to charge the wall.

Benfield took the stencil and peeked it out from behind the trimmed American pride bag. A mutter here, a flip there and the red paint screamed “!!emoS teG.”

Now the other part of the corner needed some stencil work. Some silver flames were pushpinned and blacked over.

“Shit,” Benfield hissed.

He wasn’t pleased when the flame slipped just a little bit. However, he filled in the white wall left from the flames with orange to give them life and covered them with another cut-out.

An unsalted-butter box here, a paper previewing his work dripping with black paint there and a new Benfield piece was on display.

Spice up spring break

Spring break is seen as an escape to Cancun or some other place where it isn’t safe to drink the water. For those students who don’t want to force themselves into debt for a week-long vacation, here’s a chance to catch up on TV shows you might have missed while you were busy studying or simply weren’t born in time to enjoy.

Playmakers: Complete Series

Buena Vista Home Video

A gritty male drama following one season of an imaginary pro-football team in an imaginary league. The show covers drug testing, homosexuality, doublespeak from management and many more hot-button issues. The series was so intense and realistic that it only lasted one season until the NFL demanded ESPN pull the plug.

Extras: Commentary by show creator on first episode and a 12-minute, behind-the-scenes documentary.

Inane Fact: This show was turned down by FX and sat in a desk for more than a year and a half until ESPN picked it up.

The Greatest American Hero: Season One

Anchor Bay Entertainment

“Look what’s happened to me. I can’t believe it myself. Suddenly I’m on top of the world. It should’ve been somebody else.” A high school teacher takes a field trip into the desert and is given a suit with Superman-like powers. Unfortunately he lost the instruction book.

Extras: Interviews with the cast and show creator. Watch for the editing gaffes along the way (especially the obituary page in “The Desk Job”). No closed captioning.

Inane Fact: The main character’s last name was changed from Hinkley to Hanley, because of John Hinckley Jr.’s attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan.

Night Court: The Complete First Season

Warner Home Video

A well-written comedy about a young judge appointed to New York arraignment court on the last day of a mayor’s term. The episodes are well written and hit the issues of the time, but the comedic timing is a little awkward.

Extras: Just episode commentary and a “Making of … ” documentary. Insightful, but inadequate.

Inane Fact: Three female baliffs were used over the course of the series because the first two died.

Sealab 2021 Seasons 1 & 2

Warner Home Video

This spoof of a short-lived Hanna-Barbera cartoon follows the activities of the crew in an underwater laboratory (hence the name Sealab). There are plenty of farcical situations to keep you from thinking too hard. The show is great, but slightly repetitive at times.

Extras: Commentary from the creators and crew on most episodes of Season One and all of Season Two. Alternate endings and the original episode pitched to Cartoon Network is also included. Anyone who does commentary at a shooting range deserves bonus points.

Inane Fact: When the voice of Captain Murphy, Harry Goz, died, the show introduced a new character named Tornado Shanks who was voiced by Harry’s son Michael.

SpongeBob SquarePants Season 2

Paramount Home Video

The second season of the sponge with the square pants that lives in a pineapple under the sea. Follow SpongeBob’s nonsense whether he’s frying burgers at the Krusty Krab or spending time with his starfish friend, Patrick, who literally lives under a rock. It’s smartly written, but wears thin after a few episodes.

Extras: Commentary on several episodes, storyboard layouts of two episodes.

Inane Fact: Season Two marked the switch from cell shading to computer animation.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Volume 3

Warner Home Video

Master Shake, Frylock and Meatwad, a pseudo-Happy Meal, deal with life in suburbia as they enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, go to hell and even change the birthday song to “Spirit Journey Formation Anniversary.” Every episode is a smartly written and utterly ridiculous 10-minute ride.

Extras: No commentary, but still really good with answering machine messages, TV promos, deleted scenes and karaoke.

Inane Fact: When the Latino janitor tries to pocket Dr. Weird’s chain, Weird shoots actual tacos out of his mouth.

Family Guy Volume 2

Twentieth Century FOX Home Video

This offbeat and irreverent comedy follows Peter Griffin and his family complete with caring wife, stupid son, conflicted daughter, homicidal baby and talking dog. It was pulled from FOX, sent to Cartoon Network and will soon be revived on FOX.

Extras: Great commentary tracks on certain episodes (two or three per disc), one unaired episode, and deleted scenes.

Inane Fact: Unaired episode made FOX worry about anti-Semitism, even though most of it came from Peter’s mouth in an Archie Bunker fashion.

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Season 2

Showtime Entertainment

Famed magicians tackle their greatest trick – life. Targets include profanity, PETA, hypnosis and the Bible. The show is very well edited and pulls no punches. It’s the antidote to the Federal Communications Commission.

Extras: Photo gallery, filmographies of both Penn and Teller and trailers to other shows coming to Showtime. No commentary, no subtitles, a couple of trailers and pictures.

Inane Fact: One episode explains how recycling costs more than creating stuff from scratch.

The Best of SNL: Christopher Walken

LionsGate Home Video

There are about a million and one “SNL” DVDs, but this is the only one dedicated entirely to a host. See Walken as the man behind the cowbell in “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” as the southern war hero “Colonel Angus” and the stalker next door in “The Continental.” Watch for the look in Walken’s eyes after he pranks his co-worker to death in the “Pranksters” sketch and you’ll know why he got his own DVD.

Extras: Two unaired skits and behind the scenes of “The Continental.” Could have used commentary, but the unaired scenes are good enough.

Inane Fact: Walken has hosted the show five times.

South Park: The Complete Fifth Season

Paramount Home Video

The foul-mouthed kids in Colorado finally make it to the fourth grade. The highlights of this season include “Cripple Fight,” the permanent death of Kenny (until they brought him back later in the season) and 162 instances of “shit” in one episode. The cheap vulgarity is some of the most thought-provoking social commentary available.

Extras: Mini-commentary by the show’s creators is fascinating, but doesn’t stand on its own. No subtitles.

Inane Fact: Kenny died for good because the writers were tired of coming up with ways for him to die.