Lit&Local with Samantha Haas (HAAS)

Local singer-songwriter Samantha Haas (HAAS) joined WGMU’s Jackie Reed in the on-air studio on Friday, December 8. From Manassas, Virginia, she’s done covers from WALK THE MOON, Harry Styles, and Lukas Graham, all while creating her own music too. Her rock and pop-alternative covers are inspired by artists like Fleetwood Mac, PVRIS, and Paramore. Haas stopped by to talk about her upbringing in music, the stories behind her songwriting, and her upcoming EP.

Interview with DJ Jackie Reed
“Never Let Me Go”
Behind “Home”
“Home”
 Follow Samantha Haas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

 

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews Talks #RealNews At Mason

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Host of MSNBC’s Hardball Chris Matthews opens up this year’s Mason Communication Forum. Photo By (Kaitlyn Koegler/Office of Student Media).

On Tuesday, October 24, host of MSNBC’s Hardball Chris Matthews opened this year’s Mason Communication Forum with a conversation addressing “fake news” and journalism today.

The conference, named #RealNews2017, was an interactive event that enabled students to exchange insight about today’s “social-mediated world”, first illustrated by Matthews. Though “fake news” has become a hot topic circulating throughout social media platforms, news outlets, and even in 3 a.m. tweets, it is not a new concept. It has always been here.

Today, consumer-run, unedited content initiatives contribute to the disparity among opinions and a misinformed populous. Driving unfiltered ideas and revealing raw content is an unprofessional yet tempting move, all of which can lead to deviance away from the truth. And that is what makes up the role of a journalist today. They strive to repair consensus, expose the absolutes, and inform the public with honesty and clarity.

According to Matthews, there are three rules to journalism. One, is to peer-review and edit. “This is what separates journalists from B.S.”, Matthews said. Second, is to embrace diversity. Viewpoints are no longer linear, and tending to multiple audiences should be made a priority by professionals entering the journalistic field. Last, is “to have to want to make it.” Quality writers attain a passion driven by the truth.

Following Matthews’ keynote address was a panel discussion and speed table sessions from distinguished media professionals. His introduction set a foundation that continued the on-going conversation of what journalism is now. Modern coverage means unveiling the truth, checking the facts, remaining honest, and tuning out outside forces which populate the inter-web today.

Video coverage brought to you by Mason Cable Network: https://youtu.be/pmD61iMYTbM

Lit&Local With Venn

dcShoegaze spinsters Venn joined WGMU’s Jackie Reed in the studio for an epic interview. Hailing from Woodbridge, Virginia, Venn takes their VA roots to shows and brings a blend of undeniable energy and smooth rhythm to the D.C. music scene.

Venn is Jon Fetahaj, Holden Cihelka, and brothers Julian and Gabe Earle. In February 2017, they launched their self-titled EP after a year of playing shows, writing music, and curating their own, unique sound. Their dreamy set is layered and multi-faceted. Their tracks take listeners on a trip, typically to an intangible dimension that goes above and beyond music expectations today.

Interview:

Follow Venn on YouTubeFacebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

TEDxGeorgeMasonU “Revival” and Recap

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Attended by Basma Humadi (Fourth Estate), Igor Stojanov (OSM Media Fellow), and Jackie Reed (WGMU Radio). Photo Courtesy of Igor Stojanov.

After months of planning and collaboration, the re-scheduled TEDxGeorgeMasonU spring conference was hosted in Dewberry Hall on September 10. With great patience and organization, the board of members crafted a remarkable conference that embodied the idea of “Revival”, referring to both the event and the conversations enveloped within the afternoon meeting. Several students and faculty gazed their attentions to intimate presentations set forth by prolific speakers across Mason’s many disciplines. The underlying questions arose: What is revival, and how can we cultivate change in a proactive way?

Concepts ranged from topics in politics, education, technology, culture, and beyond. The afternoon kicked off with an introduction from co-directors Rohma Hassan and Aisha Shafi. Though the conference was postponed, their hiatus helped the TEDxGeorgeMasonU board members fixate on the “Revival” theme. Hassan and Shafi were elated to share that after months of coordination, they are prepared to reinstate the conference’s return in following years.

Dr. Richard Rubenstein opened up the conversation with his presentation, working to resolve destructive conflicts. The university professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs explained “partisan moralism”, an idea in which people of separate parties will invest in their own beliefs to make judgements about others. Rubenstein said that there is a natural tendency to “demonize” opponents, and because of this, coming to agreements typically will become violent. The professor believes that “non-violent radicalism” is the way to promote significant change in conflicts. Not just to represent a sense of diplomacy and resolution, but a sense of character, too.

Following the university professor was singer-songwriter Brian Bui, a member of GMU’s Music Production Club. His sensitive aura was complete with original songs like “Rollercoaster” and sing-a-long head-bobber “Wanna Get To Know You”. The soft guitar and honest lyricism are rooted in his experiences. His singles on relationships and self-love awakened listeners, leaving all inspired and gratified.

After a brief break, the discussion continued with Dr. Julie Owen, and her talk about how identities can shape leadership into efficacy. The associate professor of Leadership and Integrative Studies emphasized that leadership should be taught in the classrooms. “If we don’t teach leadership, what’s the alternative?” she asked rhetorically. But a part of teaching leadership is also teaching efficacy, which means building confidence and doing meaningful work. To reach satisfaction in work, it would require having a “vicarious experience” and identity awareness, exercising “active mastery” through case studies and community engagement, and understanding physiological states and the meaning of well-being.

Leadership can also be seen as continuing on despite limitations, whether physical, mental, etc. That is something that photojournalist Giles Duley elaborated on in his video presentation, “How a reporter becomes a story”, showed on a projector after Owen’s gripping conversation. Duley is a journalist who got tired of celebrity shoots and switched over to photographing in conflict zones, like Ukraine and Bangladesh. As a triple amputee, he expressed that “losing your limbs does not mean losing your life.”

Another break, but this time, with lunch. Sodexo provided attendees with a catered lunch, coffee, and Turkish treats, like baklava.

Then, Dr. Beth Cabrera took center stage. The author, scholar, and “First Lady” of George Mason shared her stories of mothering in Spain, alluding to her family and its impact on her well-being. 1 in 3 Americans are lonely, according to Cabrera’s research. A multitude of situations factor in, like digital dependency, societal pace, family dynamics, and more. To deviate from feeling lonely, Cabrera suggests that positive relationships will contribute to our well-being proactively. It is a “survival instinct” to look for conflict or negate something, but ultimately, “our well-being is up to us.”

Lyndsay Mikalauskas, another member of GMU’s Music Production Club, serenaded the audience after Cabrera’s invigorating speech. Her inner strength really showed through in originals like “Perpetual” and “60 Milligrams”. Her dreamy vocals and reverbed guitar riffs connected to her experiences with mental illness and sexuality, all of which captivated listeners. 

The last live speaker was Dr. Feras Batarseh, a research assistant professor under the School of Geography and Geoinformation Science. With historical context, he described how artificial intelligence can be used to transform policy making. Because the government handles information through federal agencies and big businesses, given information has an unspoken bias and may not fully account for the opinion of the American people. With angst, he suggested that the federal government can govern the public transparently through data collection and analytics from open source domains.

The conference ended with a video of “The pursuit of ignorance”, led by neuroscientist Stuart Firestein. He used wittiness and unaltered comedy to explicate the importance of active curiosity. Drawing from his work as a professor, he learned that “we don’t talk about what we know, we talk about what we don’t know.” He compared concepts like the iceberg theory, the onion theory, the “magic well” theory, and even the “ripples on a pond” theory, to mark his own definition of knowledge. With more knowledge comes ignorance, and with ignorance comes more questions, leading to more discovery.

Across multiple disciplines, speakers and attendees drove conversations that encouraged critical thinking. There is no linear answer that defines “revival”, because it can be considered within separate contexts. The conference activated collaborative discussions which acted as catalysts for change among several social issues, ideologies, and concepts.

Special thanks to board members Rohma Hassan (co-director), Aisha Shafi (co-director), Huong Cao (marketing director), Mouniker Nauduri (treasurer), Sabrine Baiou (discussion leader), and Sara Heming (faculty advisor), Sodexo, and production crew for putting on a insightful conference.

 

 

Ryan Cam Interview (June 2017)

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Ryan Cam is an upcoming Hip Hop/Pop artist from northern VA who just released his first project titled “No Pressure.” With his smooth beat selection, combined with his diverse flows and melodic hooks/choruses, Ryan is bringing a unique sound to the table right out of the gate. With a debut project like this, the young artist has set the bar high and is looking to grow. Ryan sat down with WGMU host Matt Dotson to talk about the EP, his NOVA roots, inspirations, and their old connection. Follow Ryan on Twitter at @ryan_cam_.

 

 

Listen to the interview HERE:

Opening track: “Visions”. Closing track: “College Casa”. Hear full songs and EP here.

 

 

Matt Dotson is a 3-year radio host and general manager at WGMU, as well as its resident narcissist. Hear more of Matt’s work here and here. Follow him on Twitter at @ImmortanDotson.

 

 

The Capitals Head to Pittsburgh for Game 3

Nick Colletti

WGMU, Sports Blogger

Monday May 1, 2017

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Game 3 will pose as great adversity for the Capitals and their Stanley Cup aspirations as they face the Pittsburgh Penguins in the hostile PPG Paints Arena. To have a chance, the Capitals will have to play their hearts out for sixty minutes and find a way to beat Marc-Andre Fleury who has performed exceptionally well so far in the series. The stars have shined for Pittsburgh in D.C and now have a chance to ignite their hometown fans into a frenzied celebration with every goal they register.

The Steel City is one of America’s most passionate sports markets full of rabid passionate fans that demand excellence from all three of their professional sports teams. While the Steelers are the city’s most beloved franchise, the Penguins are not far behind despite facing bankruptcy twice in their history. Mario Lemeuix would save the team as a player and then again as a businessman by purchasing the team. In 2005, prized prospect Sidney Crosby was drafted by the Penguins and cemented a new successful era for the Steel City’s hockey club. Since then the Penguins have won two Stanley Cups and the Washington Capitals have faced them twice in the playoffs in both of their Cup years.

Caps fans everywhere hope that this history will prove irrelevant tonight in Game 3 as their Capitals face a 2-0 series hole. As hard as it is to say, the Penguins had simply out-skilled the Capitals in the first two games. Speed, great goaltending, and precise passing plays overwhelmed the Capitals at home and the Caps must find away to slow down the Penguins high-octane offense. It begins with Braden Holtby.

Holtby self-admittedly did not play well in Game 2. The third goal given up was uncharacteristic of Holtby as he remained too deep in his crease and gave up too much net for Jake Guenztel. The poise we saw in Braden Holtby throughout the whole regular season was absent in Game 2 and he would eventually be replaced by Philip Grubauer. Holtby will play tonight and he must perform better for the Capitals to have a chance to get back in this series.

All of the blame can’t be placed on Braden Holtby alone. Kevin Shattenkirk has got to be better and play like the player we bought a lot for before the trade deadline. Broken coverage and a costly penalty cannot be repeated if the Capitals are going to take Game 3.  The lack of scoring in the bottom six is unacceptable at this crucial part of the season as Daniel Winnik and Jay Beagle must dent the twine to ease the pressure on the top six.

It is not time to despair for the Capitals just yet. The series is still winnable and a victory tonight can shift the momentum of the series for the better. If they do lose however, the Capitals chances of winning their first Stanley Cup will prove dismal and bleak.

 

 

The Capitals Even the Series in A Pulse-Pounding Thriller

Nick Colletti

WGMU, Sports Blogger

Thursday April 20, 2017

tom wilsonThe heavily favored Washington Capitals have faced an opponent in the Toronto Maple Leafs that many predicted would be eliminated with ease by a D.C hockey club that has played some of its best hockey in franchise history. Three games into this series, the Maple Leafs have surprised hockey fans and audiences everywhere. Their ability to challenge the Presidents Trophy-winning Capitals with nifty goaltending from Frederic Andersen and a potent offense led by Toronto’s premium young talent has abruptly disturbed Caps fans everywhere.

Heading into a pivotal Game 4 in the rambunctious Air Canada Center full of passionate hockey-mad Ontario citizens, the Capitals needed to be at their best to quiet the chaos. Two quick goals from the sticks of TJ Oshie off a rebound and a laser slap shot from the hashmarks by Alex Ovechkin steered momentum in favor of the visitors, at least for a little bit. The puck luck for the Maple Leafs would continue to frustrate Washington as Zach Hyman deflected a pass from the point past Braden Holtby and resurrected the Toronto faithful. At this moment, Caps fans felt a familiar “here we go again” feeling and braced for another blown lead that has eviscerated significant games in recent past. But it would be two quick goals from an unexpected hero in Tom Wilson that allowed Caps fans to exhale heading into the first intermission.

Toronto would score first in the second stanza off yet another lucky bounce to cut Washington’s lead into two, courteous of James van Riemsdyk. The rest of the period would remain scoreless but at the end the Capitals started to play with fire. After a slashing penalty from Brooks Orpik, the Capitals faced a difficult 5-on-3 penalty kill heading into the third period.

The Capitals would be successful in killing the penalty and gave them much needed momentum any road team strives to obtain. That momentum would be strained after Auston Matthews buried the puck into the net off yet another lucky bounce. Less than a minute later however TJ Oshie would find himself a narrow lane of ice heading right toward Andersonn and made no mistake in striking the back of the net with a gorgeously executed five-hole goal. The crucial insurance goal would make the contest 5-3 in favor of Washington and it would be up to the defense and Braden Holtby to stand tall and close this game out. The Capitals resilience would be tested again when Tyler Bozak notched a late goal with 27 seconds left in the final period, but it wouldn’t be enough as Washington fought and tied the series heading back to D.C.

Many have been surprised so far on how competitive and difficult the Maple Leafs have been to the heavily favored Capitals. As Game 5 approaches, fans should expect this to be a long series and extend to seven games. In recent years most Game 7s on home ice have not treated the Capitals favorably. Even though this is a different team since those last season-ending disappointments, you really can’t blame any Caps fans for worrying if history will repeat itself.

Crystal Fighters @ Black Cat 04/14

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Sasha Toophanie, Music Director

On April 7th, 2017, Washington D.C.’s Black Cat was humming with anticipation for Crystal Fighters! The electronic/folk band hails from London and their third studio album, “Everything is My Family” released October 21st, 2016. Crystal Fighters have gained a loyal following since their first album release in 2010, and much of their DMV fan base supported the UK band.

Machineheart opened the show with a phenomenal set, including tracks like, “Stonecold”, “Best Thing”, and “Speak”. Electric energy poured from the artists into the crowed and the pit could not get enough of Machineheart! They used the smaller stage to make the set more intimate between themselves and the audience. Despite one minor technical difficulty, Machineheart created an incredible atmosphere for Crystal Fighters.

After intermission, six men and women dressed in Native American garb began chanting as they took the stage. Sebastian, the lead male vocalist, waved a bundle of leaves at the crowd and began their set with, “Follow”. The interesting approach to their set stirred an outburst of adrenaline among the audience, and a surge towards the stage encouraged Crystal Fighters of their support. That opener was followed by 15 additional songs like, “LA Calling”, “I Love London” and “Everything is My Family”, and an encore. The unmistakable energy the audience produced for Crystal Fighters will be one for the books!

Lit&Local: Electric Heart

Electric Heart

Based in Sterling, VA, Electric Heart pulls at the strings of music lovers everywhere. The duo consists of Padi Goudarzi and Sean Ghosh, two childhood friends who mix soul, folk, alternative, and indie into their own distinct genre. They reach out to the D.C. and Virginia area by playing at open mic nights and local gigs. Almost a capella, Ghosh adds to the soulful vocals by switching it up with some raspy guitar, wispy and acoustic at its finest. Much of their music is rooted in optimism, very much alike the works of local artists Cinema Hearts and Nemes. Sometimes a guitar and a voice or two is all you need, and they show listeners the endless possibilities of music, simplified and amplified. Electric Heart duets with passionate melodies, wagging instrumentals, and a la-dee-da energy that goes beyond the typical Kumbaya vibes.

Interview with DJ Jackie Reed

Surrender – unreleased track

“Wanderer” – from their Be Alive EP (2017)

 

For a full setlist of their Be Alive EP (2017), check it out on Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0REQkGerEKHhaDQl30ObBo

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/electric-heart/id1122232737

Bandcamp: https://electricheart.bandcamp.com/releases

Check out Electric Heart’s Facebook for news and updates.

Electric Heart will also be playing at Epicure Café, Friday, April 28. Free copies of their Be Alive EP (2017) and merch will be handed out. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/235404703595716/.

The Capitals Defeat the Jackets at Home in a Thrilling OT Victory

Nick Colletti

WGMU, Sports Blogger

Friday March 24, 2017

caps-bjsIn what was the most significant game of this long season, the Washington Capitals win an OT thriller against Columbus to remain as the top seed of the Eastern Conference. A nail-biting contest between two heavyweights in their fierce division was a low-scoring feud and perhaps a first round playoff preview. A chess match ensued when both teams fought for every inch of ice and zone time and whoever blinked first would give up that crucial first goal.

It would be the Caps that blinked first, surrendering the first tally off a Seth Jones snapshot from the point that rose above a sprawling Braden Holtby and quieted the Red House faithful, but not for long. Dmitry Orlov would answer with a slap shot of his own from the blue line and made Verizon Center loud again, tying the game at one and forcing overtime.

3-on-3 play commenced for five minutes with both teams getting high-grade scoring chances. But within the frenzy of OT play, neither Vezina trophy candidate in Braden Holtby or Sergei Bobrovsky gave up a goal. It would have to take a shootout to determine the victor. T.J Oshie, who tormented Bobrovsky in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, outwitted the phenomenal goaltender with a five-hole dart that almost pierced the through the back of the net. It was a rather simple shootout play with very little stick work but the shot was executed brilliantly, proof that if you give Oshie just an inch of the five-hole, he will bury it.

The Blue Jackets would fail to score in any of the three rounds of the shootout and a vital two points was earned by the Caps. The Capitals now have a 3 point lead ahead of Columbus and a 2 point lead ahead of Pittsburgh. As the Stanley Cup Playoffs loom closer and closer, home ice advantage will be coveted and fought for until the very end of the season. Each team treats having a Game 7 on home ice as a significant commodity and worth fighting tooth-and-nail to obtain. The Capitals are no different. If the Capitals clinch home-ice advantage throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, a Game 7 in their barn may make their quest for the Cup a little easier and the immense pressure placed on them a little lighter.