Paint night with a side of wine

By Amy Vurganov

Canvas painting has been on an accelerated ride towards being one of the most popular night-in social events. Companies have been sprouting up across the nation to host wine and paint nights in local studios, banquet halls, and even private homes. Paint nights have been used for birthdays, bridal showers, bachelorette parties, charity events or just a simple night of fun with friends.
There are a plethora of companies available, such as Wine and Canvas, Cocktails and Canvas, and Bottle & Bottega. The events feature local artists who teach participants how to create their own artistic masterpieces through step by step instruction with the added delight of socializing with friends. Participants enjoy sipping on a glass of wine or a cocktail and the opportunity to allow their inner artist take the lead.
As if wine and friends weren’t enough of an appeal, these canvas nights have an additional special trait: creative education. These sessions are an inexpensive way to learn how to use a paintbrush or sharpen artistic ability already in practice.  Canvas nights are also much cheaper than art school or private lessons without strict structure or drawn out lectures.  There are no lengthy commitment requirements. One night could be just enough for an intermediate artist to hone in on their signature style or for a curious newbie to find fresh passion.
Canvas parties are fun and a chance to try something new in a relaxed and encouraging environment. The only lesson to be learned here is that every person has an inner artist just itching to stretch their wings! Anyone can do this.
Wine and canvas events run approximately two and half to three hours, allowing for instruction time and a small break for drying. All participants receive a gallery wrapped canvas, easels, brushes, paints, aprons and paper products. The costs are generally set by venue, but usually average around $30-$35 per person. Some companies allow the host to choose the image to be painted, while others come with art work pre-selected, especially if the class has a theme to it. Refreshments are usually agreed upon between host and instructor, but each party is different and unique.
Canvas parties have become incredibly popular over the last five years and will most likely continue to do so. These parties are a great way to raise money for a fundraiser, celebrate a birthday or special occasion, or to simply shake up weekend activities. So if you’re looking to try something new and tap into your inner creativity, canvas parties may be just what you need!

2016 woke up on the wrong side of the bed

By Amy Vurganov

Actors and musicians have long been idolized for their talents, charitable contributions, style choices, and appearances. Many celebrities have left their mark on the hearts and minds of fans around the globe. When these famous beings pass on they not only leave their legacy behind, they leave an ache in the heart of those who worshipped them.
2016 barely begqn and we have already experienced the loss of many famous individuals. In a world of conformity and standards, these daring individuals stood out among the flocks. Great music, great acting and lasting imprints.
David Bowie, aka Ziggy Stardust, passed away on January 10. Bowie began rocking the world in the late 1960s. His flamboyant style and adventurous endeavors kept him at the forefront of innovation and paved the way for future creativity in the music world. Bowie’s eclectic musical stylings earned him an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame in 1996. Bowie was also known for his acting in the films The Man Who Fell to Earth and Labyrinth, as well as his Broadway performance in The Elephant Man. Bowie has been described as a true original, shamelessly creative, and an extraordinary artist.
Alan Rickman, best known for his role of Professor Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films, passed on January 14. Rickman’s languid voice was his calling card and made him a perfect fit for the villainous roles listed above, as well as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Rickman received a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his lead role in Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny.  Rickman also spent time on Broadway and London stages in pursuit of his love for theater. In an outpouring of tributes after his passing, Rickman was described as a magnificent, hypnotic actor, gifted director, and a rare, unique human being.
The Eagles front man and founder, Glenn Frey, passed away on January 18. Famous for classic hits like “Take It Easy” and “Hotel California,” the Eagles had been present on the rock and roll scene since the early 1970s. The band earned an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998; an enormous honor for any musician. Frey has been referred to as a brilliant songwriter and one of the greatest voices, musicians, contributors and collaborators to rock and roll music. The Eagles debut album, Eagles, is still listed on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Abe Vigoda, most famous for his role as Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather films, was also among the greats the world lost this year. Vigoda was also known for his stage role in The Man in the Glass Booth, as well as a television role of Detective Phil Fish on the comedy Barney Miller, which later spun off into Fish starring the late actor. Vigoda also made small appearances in several other films including Cannonball Run II and Look Who’s Talking. During the aftermath of his passing, tributes from family and friends depicted Vigoda as being full of grace and humor and talented with a capital “T.” Vigoda passed away on January 26 at the age of 94.
To die hard fans, losing an icon is devastating. There are mourning periods and tributes to greatness lost. These celebrities will live on through their work, just as Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Michael Jackson, and so many others do. Fans will hurt for a little while, but will still have a lifetime of memories.

Bullying Behind Screens

By Makinzi Hinkle

Staff Writer

“Cyber-bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology” (www.stopbullying.gov). Some examples are rumors that are posted on social media, rude text messages, embarrassing pictures and fake profiles. Also, cyber-bullying happens 24/7. The effects of cyber-bullying are the use of alcohol and drugs, one would skip school, one would have lower self-esteem and more health problems than someone who isn’t a victim of cyber-bullying. Other than cyber-bullying, there’s cyber-stalking, trolling and the traditional bullying. “Cyber-stalking may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft and damage to data or equipment”. (Wikipedia) Trolls might be engaged in harmless mischief. But trolls and cyberbullies don’t have the same goals. The electronic bullies can stay anonymous by using email accounts, instant messaging, text messaging, etc.

Cyber-bullying ties into social media very well. Cyber-bullying can take place on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. In the past year, “one million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyber-bullying on Facebook” (Wikipedia). On Facebook, there was a memorial page for young boys who took their life via suicide due to anti-gay bullying.  Along with social media, cyber-bullying can happen with online gaming. Men have experienced more harassment on online gaming, while women have experienced harassment on social media. Sexual harassment that occurs in gaming, towards women, involves slurs, “sex role stereotyping, and overaggressive language” (Wikipedia).

On a more personal note, I’ve experienced cyber-bullying all throughout high school and it didn’t stop until I was in college. Around the time when the cyber-bullying started, I was a freshman in high school. Midway through the year, I started dealing with depression. Both of them didn’t pick up until the last couple of months on my sophomore year. I had days where I didn’t want to go to school and I didn’t know what to do. I asked one of my best friends what I should do and she told me to seek help immediately. I took her advice and went down to this place called LINK, a place where you go to seek help and its kind of like therapy. The depression and cyber-bullying got so bad that I wanted to take my life via overdose but thankfully I didn’t. I went to LINK about three times a week and the therapy didn’t stop until I was 90% better. Now that I’m a sophomore in college, I’m thankful that I’m still here.

Got Kik?

By Makinzi Hinkle

Staff Writer

When Pew Internet and American Life Project did a study back in 2009, it was confirmed that “sexting is a teen reality that’s here to stay” (CNN). According to CNN, teens sext because its to show off, to entice someone, to show interest in someone, or to prove commitment. Girls sext as a joke, to get attention, or they were pressured by a guy. For guys, they would blame it on being pressured from friends. Also, it’s a form of flirting, being cool or becoming popular. Nowadays, most teens are interested in sex. The more interest teens are in sex; the easier sexting is. Living in a generation where technology is a big hit, anything can be copied, sent and posted.  When teenagers send nudes, they never think about the consequences. Depending on what state you live in, there’s a potential for legal consequences. “A teen could face felony charges for texting explicit photos or even have to register as a sex offender” (www.kidshealth.com).

Other than humiliation and embarrassment, teenagers can experience bullying, the end of friendships, guilt, shame and the feeling of hopelessness. Along with Jessica Logan, Amanda Todd committed suicide at the age of 15. Both teens had their picture sent around and then got bullied for it. They were called rude names online and in person. Many friendships are broken up by one picture. This can lead to the teen feeling betrayed and/or alone. “Friends often distance themselves from the person being targeted because they fear they also will be bullied” (www.bullying.about.com).  Teenagers often regret participating in sexting. Their self-esteem will be impacted and it leaves them feeling vulnerable and exposed. Along with bullying, teens will become depressed. While feeling hopeless and depressed, the teen might contemplate suicide.

In 2008, Jessica Logan was found hanging in her bedroom. It was said that she had sent a nude to her boyfriend and he decided to send the picture over the internet. She was only 18 years old. In 2012, Amanda Todd sent a topless picture to an anonymous person on Facebook. A year later, the picture went viral and Todd began to get bullied and teased. It was so bad that Todd had to change school’s multiple times. She had no friends, classmates beat her up and she even tried drinking bleach. She was saved at the last minute. Todd took her life months later.