Photo by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter

By: Alannah DeAngelis, Contributor

Dates can be a fun way to get to know your partner better and try new things together. Between school, catching up on all your Netflix shows and hanging out with your friends, it can be tough to make time for date nights. Try out these five date ideas where you can stay on campus and avoid breaking the bank! 

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Planetarium Show

The W. J. McCallion Planetarium, in the basement of BSB, is an out-of-this world date idea! Shows run Wednesday nights and there is a new theme each week. Learn about outer space, stars, planets, comets and more. For more information, check out the McMaster Planetarium website.                                                                         

Cost: $7 per person.

 

Photo by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter

Video Game Room in Lyons New Media Centre 

Get your game on in the Video Games room on the 4th floor of Mills to find out which of you is the “Mario Kart” champion! There are five game consoles that you can choose from: Wii, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3 and PS4. They offer many games to play, all of which are available to rent for free. Bookings for this space can be made for up to 2 hours per day for all McMaster students.

Cost: Free! Just bring your student card to rent the controllers and games.

 

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McMaster Museum of Art

Check out some cool art with your partner at the McMaster Museum of Art right on campus. The museum is recognized internationally for its European paintings, drawings and prints. It is also known for its specialist collection of early 20th century German prints. This highly notable museum is just steps away from the Student Centre.

Cost: Pay what you can (suggested donation is $2).

 

 

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Trivia Night at the Phoenix

Test your knowledge at the Phoenix Bar and Grill’s Trivia Night, which happens every Tuesday at 7 p.m.. The theme changes each week, so you are sure to never be bored. Top teams will win gift cards to the Phoenix; perfect to use for another date night! 

Cost: Free when you purchase food or drinks.

 

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Hike at Cootes

McMaster is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails with breathtaking views. Go for a hike at Cootes (start at the trail behind the Alpine tower) and explore what nature has to offer in McMaster’s backyard. Notably, the Sassafrass trail includes a lookout platform onto Lake Ontario. Who knows, maybe you will even see some deer along the way! 

Cost: Free! 

 

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Photo by Kyle West

By: Natalie Clark

When the quaint and beloved Westdale Theatre closed down in early 2017, residents of the Westdale community and many McMaster students were especially upset. Although fairly run down, the Westdale had been the community’s hot spot for Friday night dates, Hollywood’s must-see films and the best popcorn in town for as long as anyone could remember.

On Feb. 14, the Westdale community celebrated the long-awaited re-opening of the Westdale Theatre. Guests were told to dress in period attire for a special event accompanied by cocktails and a screening of the 1942 classic, Casablanca. The event also featured a silent auction, where guests could explore the new and improved venue while admiring local Hamilton art.

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With searchlights lighting up the night sky and a red carpet gracing the floor of the doors of the theatre, the Westdale certainly dressed to impress for their grand re-opening. The 350 ticket event sold out in two weeks.

For the past 30 years, the Westdale was owned by an elderly man in Toronto. It wasn’t until he passed away that his family put the theatre up for sale, allowing new owners to claim the theatre, known as the Westdale Cinema Group.

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“An enormous amount of changes were made… the theatre was in terrible condition, we spent 2.5 million dollars restoring it,” mentioned Fred Fuchs, chairperson of the Westdale Cinema Group.

“Besides equipping it with state-of-the-art projection, screens, new seats, new sound, new acoustic panelling, we also had to completely redo the air conditioning and the heating, the electrical system, the roof, the bathrooms — it was a complete overhaul of the entire theatre,” said Fuchs.

About two years later, the Westdale Theatre is back open for business, and the community is thrilled. Westdale resident and Silhouette alumnus, David Simpson, had one word to describe the re-opening event, “fabulous”.

“I think that the re-opening will be great for Westdale and for McMaster too, creating a hub for the community,” said Simpson.

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Members of the Westdale community are thrilled about the re-opening of the theatre but are also admiring the other advantages that the theatre welcomes to the community.

“It’s wonderful to see it revitalized, and to see hundreds of people in the theatre is great,” said Vivian Lewis, a member of the Westdale community.

“I think that the theatre is going to bring a diversity of films to the community,” mentioned Lewis. “Right now in Hamilton we just have lots of box theatres that are showing the same thing on every screen, and so this theatre will be our chance to see more art films and more alternative films that aren’t currently available in Hamilton.”

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Aside from standard film movies, the Westdale Theatre will also be hosting frequent live music shows, talks, performances and other special events.

“I’m excited about the idea that it’s not just a movie theatre anymore and that it’s also performance based,” said Sue Trerise-Adamson, another Westdale resident.

“I think that is a really good idea, and it expands all the possibilities of the theatre… I think it’s a real anchor for the whole community of Westdale,” mentioned Trerise-Adamson.

Westdale locals have already begun visiting the theatre for their regular screenings and are grateful to have the theatre back in the community.

Experience the new and improved Westdale Theatre on your own and check out all available screenings and shows on their website: https://www.thewestdale.ca/now-playing/

 

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Photos C/O Suzanne Steenkist

On Feb. 16, the Hamilton Aerial Group is inviting the community to witness a story of wanderers with its sixth annual Winterfest cabaret show, La Nuit du Vagabond. Both one-hour shows will take place at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the third floor event space of the Cotton Factory.

The troupe wanted this year’s cabaret to be current and thus the performance’s individual aerial, acrobatic and puppetry acts weave a story of migration to a better place. Founder and artistic director of Hamilton Aerial Group, Lori Le Mare, was influenced by the displacement of people from war-torn countries.

In particular I read about the exodus of people from Central America… and how it gained strength as people were moving and why they were leaving their homes… [I] guess just having that as a loose space for the story but not… preaching. You don't want to preach but we just want to sort of reflect [on] what's happening in the current times and then have people make up their own mind about how they feel about that,” Le Mare said.

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The group brainstormed how to represent this underlying theme and came up with imagery such as emerging out of a tunnel. Le Mare instructed the individual performers to put themselves in the shoes of someone struggling to reach a better place so that the component acts form a narrative.

The cabaret was not always a narrative piece. When it started in 2014, the show took on a more traditional cabaret format with 5-minute musical and circus acts. It began as a way to raise funds to move into a new space and buy new equipment. From the first year, there was a strong positive response with over 500 attendees.

After a few years of a cabaret style show, the Hamilton Aerial Group changed the fundraiser to be more a narrative-driven theatrical performance without as many musical acts. The change was driven by viewers saying they wished to see more aerial acts.

“[I]t's my love really to create a story… [W]e'd have a really interesting beginning and an interesting ending… but then we have all these other musical acts that didn't really go with the sort of story that we were establishing by having a beginning and an ending… [W]e thought that if we could take out the musical acts and just have those aerial acts… we could have more of a narrative storyline throughout it,” said Le Mare.

The narrative is also supported by the elaborate costumes that the performers wear. The costumes are made by Hamilton Aerial Group member Tanis Sydney MacArthur and usually evolve out of ideas that were not used throughout the year.

Le Mare also likes to work with local artists in the creation of costumes for the show. She has a long-time collaboration with Hamilton activist, artist and puppeteer Melanie Skene who has made puppets and masks for the aerial group over the years. This year, local artist Colin Christopher Palangio will also be making headpieces for the stilt costumes.

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Le Mare founded the Hamilton Aerial Group when she moved back to Hamilton after 23 years in Toronto. She became an aerialist while in Toronto and when she returned to Hamilton, began teaching classes through the Hamilton Association for Residential and Recreational Redevelopment Programs.

Teaching at HARRRP led to people asking Le Mare and those she taught to perform. This group of performing aerialists eventually developed into the Hamilton Aerial Group. People have come and gone over the years but the community that the aerial group created has endured.

I think it's a really good place for people to… deal with any kind of issues they might have… [W]hen you become really strong physically and you're also in a group of strong, not physically strong but I think emotionally strong, women — and we are pretty much all women — then we just really support one another,” Le Mare explained.

Anyone is able to join the Hamilton Aerial Group as long as they have a passion for and willingness to learn the circus arts. Le Mare also recognizes that many viewers may not be able to see a large scale Cirque du Soleil show and strives to make her shows accessible.

Poster C/O Gord Pullar

The annual cabaret used to be pay-what-you-can but after having to scale down the number of attendees due to fire regulations, the show is now $28. However, there are a block of 30 tickets that are free for children under the age of 12. Le Mare hopes that in the future the annual cabaret will take place in a larger space so more people will again have access to the aerial storytelling of the Hamilton Aerial Group.

 

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Cartoons have been on the rise lately. Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Gravity Falls and Over the Garden Wall have gained substantial followings in the past year, and this audience doesn’t look like it will be going anywhere any time soon. Sailor Moon got a reboot in commemoration of its 20th anniversary, and Digimon got a direct sequel. Tumblr has also witnessed the return of older cartoons, and bloggers are revisiting shows like Scooby-Doo, Danny Phantom and Totally Spies!. The curious thing, however, is that majority of the participants in this Cartoon Revolution are older than the target audience.

I’d thought of it as a byproduct of the Tumblr-hype. People on my dashboard like to reblog pretty gif sets, cartoons get pretty gif sets, so therefore these people reblog these gif sets. There was nothing wrong with being an adult and still liking “kid shows” — they have short episodes, and their entertainment value is its own category. Sometimes, it’s a casual attachment that you’ve retained from childhood. Sometimes, it’s just really good, as is the case with me and Avatar: The Last Airbender. That’s all.

My weekend at ComiCon begged me to mull this over once more.

I’ve barely gotten off the GO Bus last Saturday when I spot a pair of cosplayers huddled on one side of the terminal, fixing each other’s masks. Having gotten sucked into the hype of the show and found myself a fan three trial episodes later, I recognize the characters from Miraculous Ladybug. The show is primarily broadcast in French which made the vast contingent of its fans at this year’s ComicCon a surprise. Even more surprising to me was that these people, clearly avid fans, didn’t seem to be much younger than me, if at all.

Then again, I have been religiously watching the show every week since getting into it. The encounter with the cosplayers brings into mind a text conversation I’ve had with a friend weeks back, having just gotten into Miraculous Ladybug and confused over what we actually like about it. “Kids shows are so much nicer than ‘adult’ shows,” my friend had said. “Instead of saying that there is no good in anyone, it focuses on proving that there is. If that makes sense. The messages are always so much nicer.”

We concluded that the appeal, then, must be purely escapist.

This doesn’t explain the emotional attachment I witnessed at ComiCon. My first panel of the day belonged to the cast of Sailor Moon, and not having been attached to the show as a child, I was in there as an objective spectator. Many of my peers, however, some dressed up and others just looking excited to be there, are not. There was a crowd — groups of excited girls, whispering about favourite characters and talking fondly about their memories of the show’s original run. It wasn’t something I understood, perhaps because I had none of these memories to speak of, but they hadn’t been the only group to do this.

I stopped by as many merchandise booths as I can, and for each one, I experience almost repeats of the conversation between those Sailor Moon fans. A girl in the poster booth would excitedly point out having watched Digimon as a child, and gush about how much it meant to her. A boy at the T-shirt booth waves his newly bought Adventure Time shirt, talking about how the show makes him feel a child again. Most significantly, clustered around the food court were a number of families — parents indulging their kid’s interests, or parents sharing their own childhood interests with their children.

It was an odd sight, seeing adults happily telling their kids about the first comics that they read and the first shows they’ve ever watched. Somehow, though, it made me feel guilty for having been so quick to make assumptions on people’s interest in what we categorize as children’s shows.

What I learned from ComiCon is this: we never really forget the things we love as children. These superheroes are our first role models, and these fantasy worlds are often our first encounters with the beauty of fiction. There will always be emotional attachment to something, even if we deny it, because at one point we’ve wanted to be Spiderman or, like those girls, have been inspired by the kind of female character Sailor Jupiter is. We’re shaped by our childhood experiences, and that includes the things we watch. It’s a well-grounded emotional attachment, and that’s why, when shows like Digimon and Sailor Moon get reboots and sequels, people are more than happy to gob it all up.

Is it an escapist appeal? Sure. I like Miraculous Ladybug because its superhero world was something I’ve become attached to. That said, we need to stop equating escapism with inferiority to ‘more serious’ shows. Just because she’s watching a show about Parisian superheroes and he’s rewatching the older Justice League episodes doesn’t mean they’re any less than loyal Tarantino fans. At the end of the day, a lot of us are into media and pop culture for the entertainment and distraction factors, and if that means watching singing crystal gems to forget about life’s woes for ten minutes, then so be it.

The most important thing, however, is that today’s shows are sporting what we never really got in cartoons of the previous generation: diversity in characters, prominent strong female characters, and, like my friend pointed out, more positive messages.

If the future of the next generation can be built on this foundation, if these kids can grow up with these characters as their role models, then by all means, I’ll be more than happy to see Cartoon Revolution flourish.

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