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also in issue college

03.06 The Pulse’s Top Ten Spring Break Destinations

By Kevin Hyzak.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through another New England winter! There’s only one way to celebrate ~ get the hell away from here. Spring break is calling. Never been? Go. You’re already missing out ~ there’re parties going on as we speak. Right now someone is lying in the sun. Some guy is drinking on the beach. Some girl is going wild. Not unless you win the lottery will you ever have the chance cut loose so gratuitously again. So cash in while you can.The options are pretty much endless, but some parties are better than others. “Spring Break: Connecticut” never really took off, so you might want to stick to one of these mainstays.

Cancun is the place your mother warned you about, thereby making all the more attractive. It’s Absolute Hedonism. Spend the day soaking up margaritas on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Packed nightclubs keep their doors open later than Denny’s. If you need a break from the action there’s Playa del Carmen ~ a more isolated beach ~ nearby, and Cozumel and is only a ferry ride away.

Acapulco has long been a popular destination for students, so you’ll definitely have company. Set up shop at an affordable hotel along the main drag, La Costera. During the day, check out Playa Pie de la Cuesta if you’re into the rave scene from “Matrix Revolutions.” La Condesa on the Sand offers a more relaxed getaway where you can rent a hammock for the day (just $5). Around 11pm, head over to Palladium, Baby ‘O, or Mandara ~ the top clubs. Thirty bucks will get you in and cover your booze for the night. Be sure to dress up.

Panama City, Florida. A tropical beach that you don’t need to get shots to visit? Not bad. And just because it’s still part of the homeland doesn’t mean it’s boring ~ it was rated the best beach world in 1998! The warm emerald water of the Gulf Coast is perfect for swimming and there are tons of opportunities for parasailing, surfing, and jet skiing The drinking age is 21, but parties still abound. PC is a great option for those of us too lazy to get a passport.

Lake Havasu, Arizona. Apparently there’s supposed to be a lake. Brochures and pamphlets sing the praises of the ‘”water sports.” I’m sure if you look hard enough you’ll probably find some water, but don’t wear yourself out. All those boats tied together with a major Mardi Gras going on? That’s why you really came. Camp out, partake in the revelry, and ponder what London Bridge is doing in the middle of Arizona (yeah, that London Bridge, the one that fell down. It’s on Lake Havasu now. God bless eBay.).

Nassua, Bahamas. Sure, the locals make the French look like friendly hosts, but Nassua’s white sand beaches and crystal waters make it worth it. Enjoy some decadent drinks in the shade, grab some great food at Smiley’s, check out the clubs, or venture over to Paradise Island if you have the gambling bug.

Daytona Beach, Florida. Can’t decide amongst all the exotic places? Do what all the other lemmings (albeit very cute and tan lemmings with a hearty sense of fun) do: Go to Daytona Beach. Every March and April this Atlantic Ocean beach in Central Florida gets overrun with Spring Breakers. If you love tons of people and mayhem, this is your milieu. If you needed to look up the word “milieu,” it’s DEFINITELY the place to go. You’ll love it.

Las Vegas. Nevada. Um, if I need to explain this one to you’re better off just hanging out in your parents’ basement for Spring Break. You could sit on a bench and people watch for hours. Vegas is proof that there is a hell and people are going there. Partying with these hedonistic animals is well worth the three-hour lecture you’ll get from mom before getting on the plane. Vegas, Baby!

South Padre Island, Texas. The Bush twins would be considered prudes on this island ~ it’s that crazy. Sure, the weather’s always warm, the beach is nice, but no one is going to Corpus Christi for the sand or heat. Lots of people, good food, and plenty of shenanigans ~ it’s hard to beat a Texas-sized party.

Negril, Jamaica. Negril, with its Carnival-like atmosphere, has been attracting Cancun-sized crowds in the last few years. Beach-side contests and concerts keep the party going all day long. The night clubs are packed from late night until early early morning. Ok, so some of the hotels don’t have warm running water, big deal; they’re cheap and on the beach. For the price it’s hard to beat Jamaica.

Colorado Ski Resorts. The beach isn’t for everyone ~ just ask my pale Irish cousin. Steamboat Springs, Crested Butte, and Winter Park in Colorado all attract large crowds of students more interested in fresh powder than sandy beaches. Concerts and after hour clubs offer some great distractions for après-ski. Look for the college specials and events these resorts offer and then get your ski on.

Categories
also in issue entertainment

03.06 Jada Pinkett Smith & Wicked Wisdom

Kickin’ Ass and Takin’ Names – By Sean Corbett.

 

You know she’s hot because you saw her in The Nutty Professor and you know she’ll kick your ass because you saw her in the Matrix films. In a way you’re prepared for Jada Pinkett Smith’s new band Wicked Wisdom. But in another way, you’re really not. Just ask anyone who was lucky enough to catch their recent show at The Palladium in Worcester.

Openly insisting that “This ain’t no R&B sh*t,” Wicked Wisdom is currently making waves in the metal community, having just finished a tour with Sevendust. They played at Ozzfest last year and Ozzy has said he was “…blown away.” Many Ozzfest-goers had heard about the band and expected another Evanescence. But that’s because they hadn’t heard Pinkett Smith scream yet.

Donning a larger-than-life Medusa-esque hairdo, Pinket Smith crouched over the edge of the stage, screaming much louder than you’d ever expect for her five-foot frame. Back stage or at the merchandise table after every show, she’ll smile, gently shake your hand and thank you for coming, but on stage she’ll stare you down, swear at you and make you want to punch the guy next to you. She’s backed by fierce band members Pocket Honore (musical director and lead guitar), Phillip “Fish” Fisher (drums), Rio Lawrence (bass guitar) and Cameron Graves (rhythm guitar & keys).

After the show I was able to warm up in the back room of their tour bus with them, and Pinkett Smith made very clear that she’s not just playing another one of her tough girl movie characters. “Out there,” she said, “that’s me. Period.”

To help explain why she’s moved form the screen to the stage, Pinkett Smith offered, “This instant exchange with the audience, nothing beats that… [while] just sitting there, and people watching the image of you on the screen, and it’s not really you, or whatever. It’s good, and it is what that is, but I love this.”

She also loved Worcester. And even though on tour WW “…stay up all night and pretty much sleep all day,” she feels that “every city has its own vibration and that’s really cool,” and that Worcester’s vibe was right up there with other major cities’. About the Palladium Pinkett Smith said, “I prefer that size, it creates an intimate experience with the audience. It’s what I enjoy about doing this music.” And good news for WW’s growing local audience: “Worcester’s the haven of hardcore metal, we’ll come back.”

After seeing their live performance, it’s clear that their live show is still in its beginning stages, but the band is realistic about the caliber of their sound.

“Right now,” Honore said, “We’re just scratching the surface as far as the sound.”

Pinkett Smith agreed. “Right now it’s just about getting out there and creating a fan base,” she said. “We’re still very new.” What does husband Wil Smith think? Well, Pinkett Smith said that’s where most of their support came from initially, but that the band prefers to keep the focus on their music and less on Hollywood relations.

Wicked Wisdom’s self-titled debut CD dropped on Feb. 21 and rocks hard on some tracks and stays melodic on others. You’ll hear a slight NIN influence on the terrifyingly titled “Bleed All Over Me” and a Rage Against the Machine, 90’s grunge metal feel on “Cruel Intentions.” The CD recording places a large emphasis on the vocals, unfortunately taking away from the drums and bass. Also, some songs are a little difficult to get used to and they border on the repetitive. But with that said, you’ll get much more from Wicked Wisdom than you’d expect from a high profile movie star trying her hand at music.

Teenagers will buy this album and really like it. The strong female vocals, the intense guitar riffs and the soulful catchy melodies of “Something Inside of Me” and “Set Me Free” will be very attractive to those who like a poppier version of metal. As far as originality, it’s lacking slightly even though the grunge metal mixes well with tiny bits of hardcore here and there. The mostly positive lyrics will draw a crowd for sure and in this way, Wicked Wisdom serves as an excellent segue into heavier rock music.

Some people won’t like it though. And all Wicked Wisdom asks for is, as Honore said, “…an open mind toward music.”

Why do they go from here? “We’re gonna play stadiums one day, honey,” Honore said. “The sky’s the limit,” Pinkett Smith agreed.

Bottom line, as Pinkett Smith put it herself, “When you see that chick on stage…it’s not the award show, red carpet lady.”

Wicked Wisdom Photos by Teresa Hill.