• Review: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ a Master Class of Story and Animation

    Review: ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ a Master Class of Story and Animation

    Swinging into theaters on June 2, “Spider-man: Across the Spider-verse” is the hotly anticipated sequel to the 2018 smash hit film “Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse.” This film stands as part one of the finale of the “Spider-verse” series.

    Many laud “Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse” as one of, if not, the best animated movies ever created for its animation, themes, and story and how do you beat that — by being its sequel.

    The story picks up about a year after the events of “Into the Spider-verse” with Gwen Stacy (Hailee Steinfeld) and Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) separated into their own spider-verses. The movie opens with Gwen fighting the classic Spider-Man villain The Vulture and meeting Miguel O’Hara (Oscar Isaac) and Jessica Drew (Issa Rae). 

    It then jumps forward four months and into a new universe, now following Miles trying to defeat a new villain, The Spot (Jason Schwartzman). The battle is filled with jokes and banter, but ends with The Spot declaring himself as Miles’s archnemesis. Soon after Miles jumps headlong into the spider-verse after a mysterious visit from Gwen.

    The movie is the first real introduction to the wider spider-verse with hundreds of cameos from the different spider-men and women that inhabit the thousands of different universes. It is also incredibly long for an animated movie, sitting at 140 minutes, making it the longest American animated film in history. Even with the length it never drags because of the pacing and amazingly choreographed action sequences.

    Among the returning characters, like Miles, Gwen, and Spider-Man (Jake Johnson), plenty of new ones are introduced as well such as Miguel O’Hara, Jessica Drew, and Spider-Punk (Daniel Kaluuya). All of the spider-people run an organization to keep the multiverse in check so that it doesn’t collapse. This organization is what creates the main conflict surrounding Miles.

    Every actor and actress gives an outstanding emotional performance with Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, and Oscar Isaac being standouts as the main leads. In addition, Jason Schwartzman plays The Spot in such a way that he smoothly transitions from haphazard villain of the week to a terrifying force of nature by the end of the movie.

    The music once again creates a standout soundtrack just like its predecessor from 2018, with a soundtrack entirely composed by Metro Boomin with many artists collaborating on it, including A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, Nas, and Swae Lee.

    The animation is some of the best in class, seething with glorious mixed media, almost every character is animated in their own unique way to represent the comic, show, or movie they originally came from. Like Spider-Punk who is animated in a punk art style that is reminiscent of punk rock album covers and Gwen who’s universe is drawn and shaded in a way that is very similar to her original comic run. The fight scenes are unbelievably fluid and choreographed so beautifully that you just can’t take your eyes off of them. The entire movie is imbued with a creative style, from its animation to its choreography, that many larger studios seem too afraid to use.

    In a review written by Maya Phillips in The New York Times, she writes, “This isn’t just another multiverse slogfest but a bildungsroman. Because what else is adolescence but a confrontation with the various possibilities in life, the infinite selves you can be? It’s about figuring out one’s identity — superhero or otherwise — and finding a place to belong.”

    The film is currently holding a critics score of 95% and an audience score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, along with a 9.1 out of 10 on IMDb. With an incredible opening weekend of $120.1 million domestically and $88.5 million overseas, it is clearly a massive hit and doesn’t show any sign of stopping.

    A beautiful and poignant continuation of Miles Morales’s story, it intertwines an emotional narrative of family and finding who you are with an exciting superhero adventure. Outclassing the first movie in nearly every way, it is definitely one for the history books. This film will create a lasting impression on the world of animation for years to come in both its creativity and storytelling, especially when part two, “Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-verse,” releases next year.

    At a Glance:

    Spider-Man: Across the Spider-verse

    Starring: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac, Daniel Kaluuya, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Brian Tyree Henry, and Andy Samberg

    Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Justin K. Thompson, Kemp Powers

    Writers: Chris Miller, David Callaham, Phil Lord

    Duration: 140 minutes

    Age Rating: PG

    Rating: ★★★★★

  • A Conversation with LBCC Poet Laureate Sarah Prieto

    A Conversation with LBCC Poet Laureate Sarah Prieto

    What is the first thing you think of when you hear the word “poetry”? You may think of a way of rhyming or maybe some famous authors you’ve heard of. For some people, poetry means a way to escape reality, to pour your heart out when you are feeling at your lowest or maybe even your highest. For some, it is a way of life.

    Every Tuesday in LBCC’s Office of Institutional Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, the Poetry Club hosts their weekly meetings. In charge of those meetings is Poet Laureate Sarah Prieto, a freshman at LBCC. She is in charge of leading the weekly meetings and creating fun and creative events each term. In the past, she has put together a Valentine’s Day event where they had poetry workshops with different prompts and loads of snacks! They have had a table at the campus Welcome Day in the fall, Spring Extravaganza, and the Pride event.

    This fall, Prieto hopes to put on an open mic night where guests can sing, recite poetry, or tell short stories. She wants to include published poets at the event as well. They are currently collaborating with the Creative Writing Club to come up with other fun events.

    Where do you find your inspiration for your poems?

    Some really terrible relationships with some crappy boys who broke my heart. I struggle a lot with my mental health so that is a big factor as well and plays a big part into my writing. I take a lot of inspiration from music from my favorite artists especially when I am in an inspired mood.

    What made you start writing poems in the first place?

    I started writing when I was 13. I was depressed and needed an outlet for my feelings. As the years went by, I got more depressed and wrote more about my feelings. I needed an outlet for my feelings in a healthy way and my therapists told me to start journaling but I cannot do a “dear diary” to save my life.

    Do you think the poem should be read aloud or experienced silently on the page?

    I think that it’s both because when reading a poem aloud it can have a different impact than when reading it on a page.

    What’s the best advice someone has given you about writing poetry?

    I had a teacher once tell me that I sucked at writing and reading poetry so it fueled me to keep writing and try to turn everything I go through into a form of art.

    How often do you write poetry?

    As often as I can, sometimes I go through months of writer’s block and can’t write more than two poems in a month. Other times I have so much inspiration that I can write ten-plus poems in a month. Some may take me a year, but sometimes I go back and adjust poems I wrote when I was 17.

    What theme comes up frequently in your poems, and what poetic devices do you think you use most often?

    A lot of heartbreak but also so much love. In the Poetry Club, I am known as “the love poet” because I write a lot about love because it is a beautiful thing to experience. I write a lot about mental health as well because I think that there needs to be more awareness and I want people to know they are not alone. As for poetic devices, I have been working with rhyming recently but I mostly use metaphors and personification because it is a beautiful idea to imagine yourself and your muse as flowers or the stars.

    In what ways has your poetry changed since you started writing and do you often write your poetry for yourself or others?

    I write for both. I write what I feel but I also let others interpret it the way based on how they feel because all poetry is contextual and so personal to each individual. My poetry grew up with me, it matured as I did. I still go back and edit some poems from when I first started writing but I always keep the originals to make sure I never forget where I started.

    What have you been working on lately and what are you looking forward to?

    I have been working on some fun events for the Poetry Club for the 2023-24 school year to share and highlight the beauty of poetry around campus. I have been working on some poetry to hopefully have some publishing opportunities. I am working on poetry that represents more of myself as a Latina poet and learning to embrace that side more often in my poetry and even writing in Spanish more often.

    Is there a poet that has inspired some of your work?

    When I was around 13 years old I discovered a poet named R.H. Sin and his amazing books that inspired me to write my feelings in a more poetic way instead of spilling out words on a paper and hoping it’s coherent. Another writer that I fell in love with was Rupi Kaur and I remember the excitement I felt walking into a Barnes & Noble to buy my first poetry book.

    What has it been like as LBCC’s poet laureate?

    Being the poet laureate is stressful at times because I am in charge of a lot of events and networking and as an introvert it gets hard but it also feels so rewarding to have accomplished this in my first year at LBCC. Down the road, I think it can help me to have more success in finding employment no matter what career I go into but I am looking forward to learning more about the opportunities this position can offer me over the next year. I do plan on writing books in my life but I know it isn’t always a stable career especially when starting out so I plan on becoming an English teacher and writing and publishing books on the side.

    What is your favorite poem you’ve written?

    I have two poems that I call sister poems because they reflect my struggles dealing with bipolar depression that are titled “this sounds better in my head” and “self-destruction”

    At a Glance:

    Sarah Prieto

    Occupation: Student Poet Laureate at LBCC

    Age: 21

    Hometown: Palmdale, California

    Former Education: Got her GED from LBCC

    Education: English Major at LBCC, going towards her bachelor’s to be an English teacher.

    Grade in LBCC: Freshman

    Other Interests: Writing, reading, and Taylor Swift.

    this sounds better in my head

    i have sat in dark corners of every room i enter

    i have reduced myself into an atom so i don’t take up too much space

    i am always forced to make room for everyone else

    “please don’t interrupt me” will not be heard from a mouth that’s taped shut

    i should not have to prove myself to anyone

    why am i trying so hard to prove myself to me?

    the emotions in my head should be getting paid overtime but it’s too late

    they all quit and i do not have a bing bong to take me to the moon

    but i have cotton candy skies and my god they taste so good

    there is so much to be said about me but nobody asks

    when they do it’s an “are you okay?” and every time i lie

    why tell anyone the truth if it’s not what they really want to hear?

    my god, why does everyone call me boring?

    when will my efforts be appreciated instead of my ego disintegrated?

    i try and i try but it’s never enough

    scientists say that our cells regenerate every seven years so,

    it’s like they’ve never touched me

    your fingerprints are tattoos that i must have gotten in my sleep

    i didn’t think judgment day was so soon

    but every day will be until i stop the world from burning

    the weight of the world is on my shoulders but i can’t let it be a burden

    maybe this sounds better in my head

    but i need to say this out loud


    you put me on a pedestal as if i was a goddess

    would i be the product of life or destruction?

    i try to walk the tightrope between it but i lose balance and my impact breaks the silence

    the buildings are crumbling

    the cities are burning

    the people are yearning

    all because i couldn’t stop hurting

    maybe i’m to blame for it

    others shouldn’t have to pay for it

    maybe it is my fault that i cry

    maybe if i didn’t lie the trust wouldn’t die

    i loved you until i couldn’t breathe

    from children to adults, we watched each other grow

    and now we have to reap what we sow because we both let go

    i thought that if i pushed hard enough, i could be the one that everybody loves

    i thought that if i loved harder i wouldn’t have made everyone such a martyr

    because i am their god but little do they know i’m just a fraud

    i ruin everything i touch

    sometimes i like the rush

    i love because i enjoy the warmth of my blush

    i didn’t ask to be put on this pedestal

    but i will make my own way down

    and hope you’ll learn that my perfection is miniscule

  • Photojournalism Spring 2023: People and Places

    Photojournalism Spring 2023: People and Places

    Photojournalism students feature classmates, staff, hometown visits and a UFO festival.

  • LBCC Hosted Farm Bill Listening Session on June 2

    LBCC Hosted Farm Bill Listening Session on June 2

    ALBANY — Linn-Benton Community College will host five members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, June 2, to solicit feedback from the local agricultural community about the Farm Act revision. The event begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Forum on the Albany campus.

    The Farm Act is currently being revised for the first time in over 10 years. This free event is open to the public and will be live-streamed.

    “LBCC is a leading community college in agriculture education and I am proud that we were chosen to host this event,” said LBCC President Lisa Avery. “Thanks to Rep. Chavez-DeRemer’s efforts to bring this event to the Mid-Valley, elected officials from around the country will have an opportunity to experience our region’s agricultural diversity and economic influence.”

    The officials who will be in attendance include:

    • Chairman Glen Thompson, U.S. representative for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district
    • Doug LaMalfa, U.S. representative for California’s 1st congressional district
    • Lori Chavez DeRemer, U.S. representative for Oregon’s 5th congressional district
    • David Valadao, U.S. representative for California’s 22nd congressional district
    • Andrea Salinas, U.S. representative for Oregon’s 6th congressional district

    LBCC continues to expand its support of agricultural education. With funding from a bond measure that was passed in 2022, LB is growing its agriculture footprint to include a multi-species livestock facility in Tangent and a Veterinary Technology partnership with Oregon State University.

    Proposed revisions to the Farm Act have a focus to invest in community colleges’ agricultural education. Read more here about the updates to the Farm Act and how community colleges can benefit. Here is a link to learn more about the House Committee on Agriculture

  • Roadrunners Season Ended After Falling to Lane in NWAC Championship Tournament

    Roadrunners Season Ended After Falling to Lane in NWAC Championship Tournament

    LONGVIEW, Washington – The Linn-Benton Baseball teams season ended in the third round of the NWAC Championship after falling to Lane Community College 3-2 on Saturday, May 27. 

    The Roadrunners end the season with an overall record of 29-17, and 23-13 in the NWAC South Region. 

    The Titans will move on to play Spokane Community College on Sunday,  May 28, in an elimination game. The winner of that game will await the results of Tacoma vs. Lower Columbia to determine the opponent. 

    The Roadrunners picked up their two lone runs of the game in the bottom of the first inning after a single from freshmen Spencer Sullivan and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Pruitt. 

    Roadrunners pitcher Dylan Rush went 7 innings allowing 3 earned runs on 9 hits, and striking out 2. Camden Stephens was perfect in relief of Rush going 2 innings and striking out 2. 

    Titans pitcher Cole Calnon shut down the Roadrunners offense after the first inning, going 9 innings allowing 2 earned runs, on 7 hits, walking 2, while striking out 6. 

    Although the Roadrunners fell short of the elusive back-to-back championships, the program still has plenty to be proud of. Winning the NWAC South Region Title for the sixth consecutive time, while having seven different players make first or second team all-conference, including Most Valuable Player of the South Region Titus Dumitru. 

    The Roadrunners will head into the offseason losing 12 graduating sophomores, but having already signed 10 different athletes from the class of 2023.  

  • Roadrunners Fall Short in Thriller Against Tacoma

    Roadrunners Fall Short in Thriller Against Tacoma

    LONGVIEW, Washington — The Linn-Benton Baseball team sits on the brink of elimination in the NWAC Championship Tournament after falling short in the second round to Tacoma Community College 4-2 on Friday, May 26.

    The contest remained scoreless for four innings before Roadrunner Daniel Pruitt picked up his first tournament hit and drove in Aidan Dougherty. Pruitt went 0-4 with 4 strikeout’s in the first round against Bellevue College. 

    The Titans answered right back in the top half of the fifth with Kamana Nahaku double down the left field line brought in Noah Fields. Nahaku had himself a day going 4-5 with 3 doubles, and an RBI. 

    A two-out single by Dougherty in the bottom half of the fifth gave the Roadrunners a 2-1 lead. Brady Baltus went 7 innings for the beaks, allowing 1 earned run on 9 hits, walking 2, while striking out 5. 

    After the Roadrunners elected to go to the bullpen in the eighth inning the Titans were able to tag Ever Lamm for two runs and take the lead for good. One more insurance run in the ninth sealed the deal. 

    The Roadrunners did threaten in the bottom of the ninth, with runners on first and second with red-hot hitter Titus Dumitru at the plate, but were unable to capitalize. 

    Next up, the Roadrunners will return to David Story Field for early morning action, with an 11:05 a.m. matchup with south region rival Lane Community College. Winner will move on in the elimination bracket, and the loser will head home. The Roadrunners took the NWAC South Region Title after the Lane Titans finished 2-8 in their last 10 games, falling to second. 

  • Roadrunners Open with Win at NWAC Baseball Playoffs

    Roadrunners Open with Win at NWAC Baseball Playoffs

    LONGVIEW, Washington – A two-run blast in the third inning by Titus Dumitru gave the Beaks an early lead that they wouldn’t relinquish, defeating Columbia Basin Community College 5-0 in the first round of the NWAC Baseball Championship Tournament. 

    Roadrunner Chase Reynolds threw a gem on the mound, going 6 scoreless innings, allowing 2 hits and walking 4, while striking out 2. Kellan Oakes was near perfect in 3 hitless innings of relief, striking out 3 while walking 2. 

    In the fifth the Roadrunners were able to load the bases and walk in a run to extend their lead to 3-0. A two-RBI single by Kyle Perkins in the eighth gave the Roadrunners two more insurance runs. Seven different Roadrunners picked up at least one hit in the contest. 

    Next up the Roadrunners will face Tacoma Community College at 4:35 p.m. on Friday at Story Field on the campus of Lower Columbia College in Longview. 

    More information and the complete tournament bracket can be found on the Baseball Championship can be found on the NWAC website.

  • Artist Spotlight: Mary Catala

    Artist Spotlight: Mary Catala

    I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. It has been a very prominent part of my life, and allows me to portray any emotions I may be having. I was a student at LBCC in the year 2019-20 but I took a two-year break during Covid. During that time, I rarely made any artwork, as I went through major artist’s block and was working full-time. Since coming back to school, I have worked on trying to make more pieces. However, busy school and work life can make it a little difficult at times. I want to continue to make more and more art as time goes on. I hope to expand my skills and get better at doing more portrait work. You can view more of Mary’s work soon at @a.fish.with.legs on Instagram.

  • Roadrunners Tune Up for NWAC Baseball Playoffs

    Roadrunners Tune Up for NWAC Baseball Playoffs

    LONGVIEW, Washington — The Roadrunners baseball team begins their quest for back-to-back NWAC championships this Thursday, May 25, when they take on Columbia Basin in the playoffs. They play at 12:35 p.m.

    The NWAC Baseball Championship runs May 25-29 at David Story Field at Lower Columbia College in Longview. 

    The Roadrunners (28-16, 23-13 in South Region) are the number one seed from the South Region and earned an automatic berth into the Championship Tournament. Columbia Basin (34-18, 19-9 in East Region) earned its spot by winning the East Super Regional with two wins over Pierce College. 

    Should the Beaks prevail in their contest against Columbia Basin, then they will take on either Bellevue or Tacoma on Friday, May 26 at 4:35 p.m. The tournament, which is double elimination, gives each team an extra shot to take home the trophy via the consolation bracket. Whoever wins the consolation bracket will have the chance to fight in the championship bracket in Game 14. 

    Either the championship is determined in Game 14, or a Game 15 is played for all the marbles.

    The Roadrunners drove home 208 runs in 44 games, had a batting average of .266, crushed 5 home runs and had an on-base percentage of .346. Columbia Basin had 328 runs in 49 games, a batting average of .260 and an on-base percentage of .383 with 10 home runs of their own. 

    In conference play, Columbia Basin averaged 8.31 hits per game while the Beaks averaged 8.17. 

    It is a close matchup on paper, though the Roadrunners swept Columbia Basin during the regular season 2-0 with a combined run count of 17-8. 

    LB will need a strong performance from its pitching staff if the college wants to advance. In wins, the Roadrunners posted an average ERA of 1.61 while allowing 4.22 in losses. 

    In addition to this, the Beaks will be hoping to steal bases, one of the most powerful predictors of the team’s performance this season. In wins, LB stole an average of 2.32 bases per game, while stealing only 0.88 bases per game in losses. That three-fold difference may well be the difference between going home early and another NWAC trophy. 

    The team will be led at home plate by LB’s Big Four: hitters Titus Dumitru, Trey Nelson, Cole Cramer and Aidan Dougherty. Together they accounted for 97 of LB’s 174 RBI for the season. Contributing more than half of the RBI for the team means that they will be needed to produce. 

    They also scored more than half of the team’s 208 total runs for the season, reaching home plate a combined 118 times, or 56.73% of the Roadrunner total. 

    Displaying their value further is the fact that the Big Four suffered only 78 of the team’s 218 strikeouts on the season, or about 35%. Incredibly, they also tallied 63.29% (50 of 79) of the team’s stolen bases for the season. Finally, the Big Four tallied more than half of the team’s total hits, 192 of 368, or 52.17%.

    With only 43.25% of the team’s at bats, the Big Four certainly punched above their weight in getting to home plate and getting others there as well.

    Baseball is a team sport, and if the Roadrunners want to win and keep winning, then they will have to empower one another to advance to extra bases, have the pitching staff throw plenty of strikeouts, and get a postseason to remember from the Big Four.

    As the defending champions of the NWAC, the sky’s the limit for the 2023 Linn-Benton baseball team. 

    All games will be available via pay-per-view broadcast on the NWAC Sports Network. More information and the complete tournament bracket can be found on the Baseball Championship can be found on the NWAC website.

  • Steven’s Review: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’

    Steven’s Review: ‘The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom’

    “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is the latest game in the long-running “Zelda” series. Arriving six years after the highly-acclaimed bestseller “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild,” this sequel has more than lived up to its hype to deliver both a worthy sequel and a groundbreaking game in its own right.

    The story’s events pick up roughly where those of “Breath of the Wild” left off. As Link and Zelda try to help Hyrule recover from the Calamity, the kingdom ends up divided across the land, water and sky. Link must then reunite with Zelda to help reforge the Master Sword and face off with his old enemy Ganon once again.

    Building on the gameplay and visual precedents set by “Breath of the Wild,” the game contains a host of new mechanics and special abilities. In addition to remixing how exploration and discovery play into the story and world design, the new abilities to create have opened up a multitude of possibilities for combat and puzzle-solving.

    As well as expanding upon existing characters from the franchise’s lore, the game introduces a host of new additions to the cast. One standout example is the Zonai, an ancient race of people who serve as both friend and foe during your quest.

    Though the core gameplay and presentation don’t stray too far from what was established in “Breath of the Wild,” this sequel introduces the right amount of new material while also refining the key aspects that made the previous game in 2017 work. The sheer flexibility of the creation abilities will keep players engaged far beyond completing the main story. 

    Much as “Breath of the Wild” did for the system’s launch (and the waning days of the Wii U), this sequel is a perfect fit for the Switch (talk persists of the console’s in-development successor).

    Overall, “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” is highly-recommended as another must-own title for the Switch. It builds on everything that worked in “Breath of the Wild” and forges an ideal blueprint for the series’ future.

    The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

    Publisher: Nintendo

    Developer: Nintendo EPD

    Platform: Nintendo Switch

    ESRB Rating: E10+

    My Rating: *****/5