Columbia

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

When Austin musician Elizabeth McQueen was growing up in Columbia, Maryland, she thought she would become a professor. She didn’t expect to make a living as a musician and certainly never thought she would one day perform a live duet with Willie Nelson.

“I never thought I would make a living as a performer because I didn’t know anyone who did,” McQueen said. “It didn’t even seem like that was something you could do.”

McQueen developed a love for performing when she was young but didn’t decide to pursue it as a career until after she graduated from college. She wanted to escape the East Coast’s fast-paced lifestyle, so she headed to Austin in 2000.

“I came down here thinking, ‘I want to be a musician,’” McQueen said. “That was my plan.”

McQueen spent eight years as the front woman for the Grammy-nominated band Asleep at the Wheel. During this time, she performed with Willie Nelson, released three solo albums and had two children.

Her latest project is recording an album as EMQ, a band she formed with old friends — guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo and multi-instrumentalist Lindsay Greene. On Thursday, EMQ and local artist Jerome Morrison will launch an exhibit at the Museum of Human Achievement called “Infinity + Infinity.”

Infinity + Infinity is an interactive art project in which audience members’ body movements control holographic images projected onto structures Morrison built. EMQ will play live music while spectators walk through the projections.

McQueen said the project is conceptually complex because it combines electronic music, jazz and 1920s songbook-style writing with holographic art.

“I don’t know exactly what [the music] is, and I don’t know how to describe it — but I like it,” McQueen said. “And I like playing it.”

McQueen said she has always been a fan of experimenting with her approach to music. On her previous albums, she explored a variety of genres including Americana and pub-rock. She asked Gurgiolo and Greene to form EMQ with her so that they could experiment musically. 

“I just keep expanding and changing,” McQueen said. “I guess I’m just not the kind of person who is going to make the same record over and over again.”

In addition to writing and recording her own music, McQueen is a DJ once a week for KUT. In her podcast, “This Song,” she asks artists about songs that have had an impact on them.

“It’s not your favorite song — it’s the song that made you realize you could become a musician, or play an instrument, or what influenced your latest project,” McQueen said. “It’s about who inspired us and whose shoulders we are standing on.”

McQueen said the most important song to her is “Empty Cans” by The Streets. She said the song taught her it is possible to be emotionally honest and open with her music.

“When you get really emotionally honest with your music, you are opening up the door for people to really feel something,” McQueen said. “I don’t think I’d ever thought to really attempt to try something that emotionally honest until I heard that song.”

She said her goals for her music career are always changing, but, for now, she wants to focus on emotional honesty.

“My ultimate goal as a musician is to make music that makes people feel something  more than just having a good time, but makes them really feel,” McQueen said. “But that’ll probably change next week.”

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The pitching staff continued its dominance this weekend, but it was the Texas bats that stole the show against Columbia.

No. 19 Texas played nearly flawless baseball this weekend, sweeping Columbia in its three-game series. The Longhorns tallied 24 combined runs, showcasing a new element that the team has been searching for all season.

Game 1 was the closest of the weekend, but Texas used timely hitting to defeat Columbia 7-3, behind six strong innings from junior pitcher Dillon Peters. The Longhorns started a rally in the fourth inning after junior outfielder Collin Shaw tripled to score sophomore shortstop C.J. Hinojosa, before scoring himself on a double by freshman catcher Tres Barrera.

Texas pounced on Columbia again in the next inning when Shaw singled with the bases loaded to put two more runs on the board, making the score 5-0. Shaw finished the game with three hits and three RBIs to lead the team.

“[Shaw] is making it look easy,” head coach Augie Garrido said. “You don’t always get a hit. The weakest ball that Ben Johnson has hit in a week was a hit. So this business of hits, I told Ben it is just about luck — maybe hitting is about being lucky. But, Shaw did a great job.”

In Game 2, Texas pulled out in front in the first inning with an RBI groundout by Hinojosa. Columbia answered with a run of its own in the top of the second, but it would be the only run the Lions could push across against the Longhorns.

The Longhorns ended up taking the game 6-1 behind 7.1 strong innings from junior pitcher Parker French, who struck out six while allowing just six hits. Junior second baseman Brooks Marlow buoyed the offense with a 2-for-4 and two RBI performance while Hinojosa added two RBIs of his own.

Game 3 was the most lopsided win of the weekend, and perhaps of the year for Texas. Senior pitcher Nathan Thornhill starred with his eight innings of scoreless baseball on the mound. When the dust settled, Texas had compiled 11 runs on 13 hits, taking the game 11-0.

The biggest surprise of the third game was the 4-for-5 effort by Barrera, who has struggled at the plate all season. He, along with three other Longhorns, posted two RBIs a piece in the blowout.

Texas will look to keep the offense firing on all cylinders when they host Texas State on Tuesday night.

Monday at 11:59 p.m., fans of the video game series “Bioshock” will be closer than ever to getting their hands on a copy of the series’ much-anticipated third installment, “Bioshock Infinite.” Many of those fans will be gathered at launch parties in GameStop stores throughout the United States and Canada, including select GameStop locations in Austin. 

Shayla Mattson, assistant manager of the Ben White Boulevard GameStop location, said she expects more than 150 people to attend the store’s midnight launch for the game. 

“It’s gotten over 85 awards and it’s supposed to be amazing,” Mattson said of the game. 

The game, which The New York Times reported earlier this week took a team of 200 more than four years and $100 million to complete, swept up every award it was nominated for at the 2012 E3 game convention, including Best in Show. Though Irrational Games, the studio behind “Infinite,” has released a series of trailers for the game, the reviews are just now trickling out from gaming sites including IGN, and they are so consistently gushing that it’s hard to tell the difference between promotional materials and press. 

Though it’s only thematically connected to the first “Bioshock” game, the success of the original title has left “Infinite” with big shoes to fill. “Bioshock,” which, like “Bioshock Infinite,” is a first-person shooter, literally submerges players in an underwater world where they navigate a dreary, highly stylized fallen city called Rapture. The plotline of the game culls inspiration from Ayn Rand — one of the main characters is even named Atlas — and deals with themes of class warfare.    

If that all sounds a little heavier than what you expect from a shooter, then you understand the pressure on Irrational Games to create an interesting and intricate game. The original “Bioshock” was praised for its morality-based plotline, which took into account a player’s actions toward other characters in the game. In other words, shoot a good guy to get ahead, and the game’s characters and plot will treat you like you’ve made a morally dubious choice. Defend an innocent character, and you’ll be treated as if you’ve made a good choice. 

If the trailer is any indication, “Bioshock Infinite” doesn’t stray away from the themes of the series’ original title. Set in the fictional floating city of Columbia circa 1912, the game follows a former Pinkerton agent, Booker DeWitt, on a quest to save Elizabeth, a young woman with supernatural powers who has spent her life imprisoned by a creature called Songbird.

“Bring us the girl, and wipe away the debt. That was the deal,” a grizzled voice says at the beginning of the trailer, which goes on to showcase several minutes of colorful violence inflicted with steam-punk-inspired weapons. All this, in typical “Bioshock” style, happens against a richly realized city stuffed with detail. 

Ken Levine, the Creative Director of “Bioshock,” seems to have fully realized the city of Columbia, which in the game was created by the U.S. Government as a showcase for the World’s Fair but seceded after political turmoil broke out on board. Lost for years, it has simply floated away into the sky. 

Levine, however, doesn’t seem to have put much thought into breaking the annoying “damsel in distress” trope that so often defines videogame plotlines. In a promotional trailer about the making of the character Elizabeth, Amanda Jeffrey, a level designer at Irrational Games, points out that one of the most impressive things about the character is that “she will be by your side, no matter what you end up doing,” Levine said. “She really is the emotional center of the game.” 

Whether or not that emotional center rises above the familiar cliches is, like the city of Columbia, up in the air. 

Published on March 25, 2013 as "Much-anticipated Bioshock Infinite expected to thrill gamers". 

Women's Swimming & Diving

After four days of trailing behind Texas A&M in the lanes and on the boards, Texas placed second in the Big 12 Championships in Columbia, Mo.

The Longhorns arrived in Missouri to start racing on Wednesday, ending the day a mere two points behind A&M. Karlee Bispo, Katie Riefenstahl, Leah Gingrich and Samantha Tucker nabbed first place in the 800 freestyle relay with a time of 7:04.09. Tucker’s sweeping finish as the final leg helped UT steal the race by over three seconds.

Bispo scored UT’s first individual title at the meet on Thursday with a win in the 200 IM, finishing with a time of 1:56.05. Sophomore Ellen Lobb won the 50 freestyle with a time of 22.56, while Kelsey Amundsen, last years’ winner, followed in second place with a time of 22.71.

By Friday, Texas clung on to second place but couldn’t quite pass A&M. Lily Moldenhauer, Laura Sogar, Lobb and Bispo combined for second place in the 400 medley relay, their time just below the NCAA qualifying standard.

Strong performances popped up throughout the day, as Moldenhauer placed third in the 100 butterfly and second in the 100 backstroke, while Sogar swam her quickest 100 breaststroke race of the season with a time of 1:00.31.

Two Texas divers competed in the 3-meter competition on Friday. Shelby Cullinan placed fourth with 335.75 points and Diana Wilcox took seventh with 311.75 points.

On the final day of the meet, Sogar nabbed her first NCAA qualifying standard with a 2:08.36 in the 200 breaststroke. Gretchen Jacques swam her fastest time of the season for fourth place, a 2:13.65.

Wilcox placed second in the platform diving competition with 298.30 points, and Cullinan took third with 282.60 points.

Bispo, Tucker and Amundsen dominated the 100 freestyle race with times under 50.00, placing second, third and fourth.

Freshman Kelsey LeNeave swam her season best in the 1650 freestyle with a time of 16:16.41 and placed second overall. Another freshman swimmer, Kaitlin Pawlowicz, followed close behind in fourth place with a time of 16:27.87.

The Longhorns finished strong with a win in the last event, the 400 freestyle relay, a race Texas has claimed three of the last four years, with swimmers Bispo, Amundsen, Hooper and Tucker finishing with a 3:16.42.

Texas finished the meet with 873 points, second to rival A&M’s 1,019 points.

On Thursday, swimmers will have another shot at achieving NCAA qualifying marks during the All-American Invitational, which runs through Saturday.

The women’s swimming and diving team competes in the Big 12 Championship in Columbia, Missouri today.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Eighteen members of the women's swimming and diving team will grab their swim bags and head to Columbia, Mo. for the Big 12 Championships on Wednesday with thoughts of rivalry tucked beneath their caps.

A four-day meet with preliminaries and finals will bring together the best of the Big 12, including long-standing swimming rival Texas A&M.

“It's highly contested, usually between A&M and us,” said head coach Kim Brackin. “Missouri brings a lot of good swimmers and there are swimmers from other teams that will show up in the top eight. It's a pretty good battle between us and A&M and we're excited to go head-to-head with them.”

Key Longhorns to watch include Karlee Bispo in freestyle, Lily Moldenhauer in butterfly, backstroke and freestyle and Samantha Tucker in freestyle.

Brackin also said All-American breaststroker Laura Sogar will face one of the top breaststroke swimmers in the country hailing from Texas A&M.

The freshmen competitors will be particularly exciting to watch, Brackin said.

“They're just eager, they're excited and they're wanting to get to this meet and contribute. They are really excited about contributing for a Texas win,” she said.

Several members of the team have already qualified for the upcoming NCAA Championships, while others hope to qualify with times earned at this meet.

“I'm really excited about it,” senior swimmer Bispo said. “I think since it’s getting closer, it's getting more real, and watching other conferences have their conference meets is getting me more and more excited to race and watch my teammates race. This is what we prepare for all year.”

Brackin said the team as a whole feels solid heading into this meet.

“They're energetic about it and I think they feel united about this particular meet,” she said. “They have so much pride in the University of Texas and what the history of the program is, and they want to continue a winning tradition for Texas.”

Preliminaries begin on Wednesday and run through Saturday with finals set for Sunday.

Printed on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 as: Rival A&M stands in way of title hopes for Horns

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Yale sophomore Andrew Hendricks has gotten used to receiving strange looks when he crosses the Ivy League campus in his Air Force uniform.

Hendricks, the only Air Force cadet at Yale, wears the uniform on days he drives to the University of Connecticut to train with the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, a program that had been barred from his university until faculty agreed to welcome it back beginning next fall.

Four decades after Vietnam War protesters cheered the departure of ROTC programs from some Ivy League universities, their return is bringing little more than a symbolic change to campuses where students are neither protesting or enlisting.

Yale, Harvard and Columbia all signed agreements this year to bring back ROTC. The antagonism with elite universities faded with the end of the draft, and much of the lingering opposition to the military dissolved with last year’s repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that banned gays from serving openly in the armed services. The universities said the policy violated non-discrimination rules for campus organizations.

A tiny number of students at these schools pursue ROTC — a total of three at Yale and five at Columbia do so through off-campus arrangements — and those numbers are not expected to rise dramatically. But the agreements to revive ROTC are important to the schools, which once produced many of America’s most decorated military officers, and the armed services, which are regaining a presence at some of the country’s best-known universities.

Officials are excited about ROTC because it offers students another path to national leadership, the dean of Yale College, Mary Miller, said in an interview.

The change is likely to be minimal at Yale, as well as at Harvard and Columbia, where Naval ROTC gained formal recognition but students are expected to continue training at nearby campuses. At Harvard, which has nine midshipmen training at other Boston area schools, the Naval ROTC director said it would not make sense to create a new detachment.

Regardless of the numbers, advocates said it is important to the military to be represented on elite campuses.

“Symbols matter, and the symbolism of America’s leading universities declaring or even implying that there is something illegitimate about serving your nation in uniform was shameful,” said Graham Allison, director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and a former U.S. assistant secretary of defense.

But there is still some resistance in the Ivy League. Brown University’s president, Ruth Simmons, said this week that she continues to back the school’s policy of denying ROTC recognition as an academic program.

A music professor at Brown, Jeff Todd Titon, said many faculty feel there is no place for the military at a liberal arts college.
“The military is a chain of command organization where obedience is required, and that’s just antithetical to our ideals and goals,” he said.

Hendricks is looking forward to dropping the three-hour weekly commute to Storrs when ROTC comes to New Haven, and he also thinks it will make him feel more at home on his own campus.

“Knowing that I’ll be doing this for Yale, I’ll feel more school pride,” he said.

Mack Brown addresses the media on the first day of the 2011 Big 12 Media Days.

Photo Credit: Thomas Allison | Daily Texan Staff

As the coaches from five Big 12 schools answered questions on day one of Big 12 Media Days, there was one topic that none could avoid — the Longhorn Network. The unprecedented $300 million deal has fans and the media from College Station to Columbia up in arms. But what do the coaches think about the deal?

Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman was the first to encounter the inevitable questions. Recent stirrings about the airing of high school games on the Longhorn Network have some schools worried about an unfair advantage, but Sherman didn’t seem too bothered by it all.

“I’ve got enough on my own plate,” Sherman said. “I’m focused on my job, and winning that first ball game.”

Baylor head coach Art Briles faced the media next and, lo and behold, he too was asked if he thought the network would bring an unfair advantage to Austin.

“Not a bit,” Briles said. “They’re pretty hard to recruit against anyway.”

Briles went on to praise Texas head coach Mack Brown.

“Mack has been great, and that’s a fact,” he said. “In the recruiting world, facts are all that matter.”

Others, like Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy, chose to sidestep the ethical question regarding the showing of high school games on a college sports network.

“I’ve got faith in our athletic director Mike Holder and [Big 12 Commissioner] Dan Beebe to sort things out,” Gundy said.

Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel had a decidedly firm stance on the Longhorn Network, citing a “lack of common sense” for the network to even attempt to show high school games on air.

“Showing high school games, it’s absurd,” he said.

Last but not least, Mack Brown shared his thoughts on the network’s arrival. Brown mentioned that stations like ESPN currently air high school games, even including several teams from the state of Texas. While noting that players that play on a major channel like ESPN get noticed by bigger schools, Brown remained confident that airing high school games would have no ill effects in terms of ease of recruiting or otherwise.

“The communities in Texas and their athletes that would otherwise not get noticed or receive any recognition will become accessible through this new network,” Brown said.

He still acknowledged the outrage.

“If I didn’t have it, I’d be mad,” he said.

Women's Golf

Texas players (from left to right) Madison Pressel, Katelyn Sepmoree, Rebecca Lee-Bentham, Nicole Vandermade, and Haley Stephens celebrate after winning the Big 12 championship with a combined team score of 8-over par.

Photo Credit: Texas Athletics | Daily Texan Staff

Madison Pressel won the first tournament of her collegiate career Sunday, finishing atop the individual leaderboard at the Big 12 Championship in Columbia, Mo., and propelling Texas to its first conference title since 2004.

It was also the team’s first tournament win of the season and the first under four-year head coach Martha Richards. Previously, the highest the Longhorns had finished was tied for second at the Dale McNamara Invitational back in October.

Pressel shot a 1-under in the final round but finished at 8-under for the weekend, thanks to three eagles and 10 birdies over three days.

“We worked really hard all season, and we came here to win,” Pressel said. “Everything has built up to this moment. I knew that if I could go out there and do what got me to this point, then I would be able to help our team in the long run. We weren’t leaving Columbia without fighting as hard as we could.”

The Longhorns took the lead Saturday and never looked back. Texas finished 8-over for the tournament, with Texas A&M in second at 11-over and Missouri in third at 16-over. As a team, Texas shot a subpar round on Saturday — propelled by Pressel’s tournament-record score of 6-under — and then finished Sunday’s final round 1-over.

“This is special, to win our first tournament here, and to endure a different golf course every day due to the elements is a real testament to the character of this team,” Richards said. “They dug deep, weren’t afraid to roll their sleeves up and get a little bit muddy and dirty, and it paid off.”

On Sunday, junior Nicole Vandermade eagled on the 17th hole just minutes after Pressel accomplished the same feat on the 14th. It helped Vandermade finish the final round at 1-under, and she was 5-over for the tournament, good enough to tie for 12th overall. Freshman Rebecca Lee-Bentham also shot a 1-under Sunday to finish tied for 14th.

Josephine Janson of Oklahoma State and Katerina Ruzickova of A&M finished tied for second individually at 3-under.

“We’ve made a big effort since the fall to really be there for each other and to hold each other accountable in addition to being each other’s biggest cheerleaders,” Richards said. “When you have that kind of support, that’s when you have great teams.”

Later today, the NCAA will announce the seeding for the regional round of the national tournament. The sites include Daytona Beach, Fla., South Bend, Ind., and Auburn, Wash.