On Friday, Jan. 20, Amazon Prime Video released the first three episodes of the second season of “The Legend of Vox Machina,” animation studio Titmouse Inc.’s adaptation of the wildly successful Dungeons and Dragons actual-play show “Critical Role.” Though impressive in scope and showing plenty of promise for what’s to come, season two so far is underwhelming, if not as an adaptation, then as a story on its own. This season, “The Legend of Vox Machina” follows titular adventuring party Vox Machina as they track down legendary magical items to help them defeat a cadre of villainous dragons dubbed the “Chroma Conclave,” bent on ruling the world. If it sounds played out, that’s because it is — mostly.
As students and faculty return to the University of New Mexico main campus, it can be harder than ever to find a nice, relaxing place to unwind with a good book. To help readers get back in the swing of things amid the bustle of a new semester, fifth year student Arely Ortega shared five of her favorite places to read on campus. El Centro de la Raza As far as study spots on campus go, you can’t get more welcoming than the various student resource centers on campus. To Ortega, the most relaxing of these is El Centro de la Raza, located in Mesa Vista Hall.
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” brings back the fan favorite legendary cat from the “Shrek” franchise for an adventure filled with delightful storytelling and nostalgia. A surprisingly delightful movie, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” shows that Dreamworks Animation Studios can still produce films comparable in quality to the “Shrek” and “How to Train Your Dragon” movies of old. With the spring semester starting up and the thoughts of graduating or simply moving on to the next year of college hanging over many of us, the movie helps one escape with a nice dose of childhood nostalgia.
When Brian Jay Jones graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in English literature, his aspiration to be a novelist was dashed by a realization that he was a terrible fiction writer. Now, with a decades-long career as a legislative staffer and four biography credits in tow, UNM President Garnett Stokes’ official speechwriter has found his own voice in writing by breathing life into others’. As Stokes’ executive communications manager, Jones helps to coordinate all written and spoken correspondence from the president and gets “last pass” on any speeches to be given by her. Prior to coming to work at UNM, Jones worked as a legislative assistant for senator Pete V. Domenici and later senator Jim Jeffords.
On Sunday, Jan. 15, HBO released the first episode of the highly anticipated “The Last of Us” series, based on the critically acclaimed game of the same name created by publisher Naughty Dog. The TV show comes one day after the game's 10th anniversary, originally released on Jan. 14, 2013. A big challenge with any video game adaptation is trying to create a series that will be engaging for the incoming viewer but faithful enough for fans of the game. It feels like most of the time with adaptations like this, the writing falls flat and is inaccurate to the game — with “The Last of Us,” fans have nothing to worry about.
Morris Udeze is a graduate student and a forward for the University of New Mexico men's basketball team. Udeze, who currently sits at third on the team in scoring, is graduating in the spring and is currently finishing his last semester playing with UNM; he previously earned his undergraduate degree at Wichita State University and is currently taking classes to continue playing basketball. Udeze transferred to UNM from Wichita State in May 2022 for his last year of eligibility for college basketball. He has been incredibly valuable to the Lobos, where he is currently third on the team in scoring with 15.7 points per game, grabbing 8.3 rebounds and guarding the opponent's forwards and centers of defense.
The Associated Students at the University of New Mexico Southwest Film Center, located on the first floor of the Student Union Building, is a student-run organization that showcases films for free throughout the semester. The upcoming spring semester includes a line up of film screenings and returning annual events. The main purpose behind the SWFC is to connect the larger student body with film, according to Emma Harrison, the program’s assistant director. “The purpose of the Southwest Film Center is to present new, experimental, classic and student-made films for free to the UNM student body, and to provide fun opportunities for students to engage with and learn about film,” Harrison said.
Well, it’s official: we’re gonna see a whole lot more “Avatar” in the next 10 years. With “Avatar: The Way of Water” poised to make its money back, essentially confirming that we’ll see an “Avatar” 3, 4 and 5, we can rest easy knowing know that the original “Avatar” truly did have some sort of cultural impact and naysayers were just wrong. This begs the question, though: what about its impact on filmmaking, or rather, lack thereof? At the time of writing this article on Saturday, Jan. 14, the sequel is poised to reach $566.7 million at the US domestic box office over Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend which will put it at number 13 for the highest grossing films of all time in the US and Canada, according to Deadline.
On Jan. 13 and 14, the Rio Rancho event center sold out every seat in the house for the Toughest Monster Truck Tour. And my god, were they tough: the flips, the stunts, the cars smashed are all enough to attest to that — and the crowd ate up every moment. The trucks featured included Dozer, who made their indoor arena debut, Buckshot and the corvette Rat Attack. Dirt Crew, my personal favorite truck, looked like a dump truck (monster-sized, of course). Also present was Tailgator, who rivaled Dirt Crew for best aesthetic with a gator-themed truck, and Maximus, a brand new truck who made their debut.
This past Friday, Jan. 13, Albuquerque Comic Con began at the Albuquerque Convention Center. The event — which brings fans of comics, movies and TV shows together from all over New Mexico — ran until Jan. 15. This year, Albuquerque Comic Con brought in guests ranging from Ari Lehman, the first Jason Voorhees from “Friday the 13th,” to Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants. A complete list of guests from the event can be found on their website. Also in attendance this year was local comic book artist David Harrigan, also known as the “Art Assassin.”
In 2019, Robin Babb, a senior at the University of New Mexico, opened her own independent bookstore Harvest Moon Books in hopes to highlight stories written by underrepresented communities. In the three years since opening, Harvest Moon Books has gone from an online shop to an in-person shop as part of the And Stuff Retail Collective. Babb strives to make Harvest Moon Books a place where new and local authors can have a platform. She especially wants to focus on queer and transgender authors along with newly translated English pieces — most importantly, she wants to provide what other stores can’t.
On Sunday, Jan. 8, New Mexico high school student Anistacia Mia Aragon organized a fashion show entitled “I Am;” to “illuminate and raise awareness of the mass epidemic of suicide and using fashion to bring awareness, as well as empower those who attend,” according to the Menual School website. The show and benefit was hosted at the National Hispanic Cultural Center with all ticket proceeds going toward local suicide prevention programs in New Mexico Aragon is currently a senior at Menaul School and this was her first time organizing an event like this. She’s also the current titleholder of World Latina Teen USA with the platform of teen suicide awareness, according to the event’s website.
Two years ago on Jan. 6, 2021, a group of right-wing pro-Trump rioters stormed the capitol building in Washington D.C., marking the violent culmination of a historic cultural and media frenzy around the polarizing 2020 election cycle. This event, and the frenzy leading up to it, are the subject of journalist and documentarian Andrew Callaghan’s new documentary on HBO, “This Place Rules,” which premiered Dec. 30, 2022. Though laudable, the filmmaking is surprisingly shallow, making “This Place Rules” an ultimately skippable watch.
The spring semester is about to begin at the University of New Mexico and with that, a new set of seniors and another wave of burnout. UNM’s Student Health and Counseling and the Women’s Resource Center came together to give us five tips to prevent and survive senioritis. “Stress is an inevitable part of college. But it's definitely (on the) high-end your senior year. This is where you are feeling that burnout; you have a lack of motivation. Maybe you're a little bit lazier than you were previously. You can have feelings of hopelessness. You can have thoughts of giving up. You may also feel panic and anxiety and worry as well,” Tiffany Martinez-Durant, Education and Outreach Manager from SHAC, said.
For most people, the new year brings a fresh chance to start over with a clean slate and implement changes into one’s life. However, each year, New Year’s resolutions create the opposite of resolve. Instead, they serve only as another thing to do in a world full of short-lived trends. I don’t have a problem with the idea behind resolutions. In fact, I like the idea of having a long-term goal for the year — it seems to me as if they can only provide benefits. However, as we often see, that’s not quite the case.
One of the first things you might notice about upcoming University of New Mexico graduate Tayler Suazo is her loyalty to place and to family. Graduating this fall with a Clauve Outstanding Senior Award and a bachelor’s of science in biology with a double minor in chemistry, and health medicine and human values, one might expect frequent and numerous parties and celebrations to be in order. Suazo, at the time of her interview with the Daily Lobo, however, is back with family in her hometown of Abiquiu: a small town in northern New Mexico. It was here that Suazo first realized she wanted to be a doctor — and she knew she wanted to stay in New Mexico to do it.
This semester, the University of New Mexico ROTC program has four cadets graduating with their undergraduate degrees: Victoria Anderson, Daniela Ortega, Steven Canales and Zachary Ninneman. Anderson, Ortega and Canales will all be leaving the program this semester, while Ninneman will be entering his master's program and has three more semesters of ROTC to go. Anderson discussed how graduating from the program this semester created a bond between her, Ortega and Canales.
With a mortar board covered in newspaper clippings, University of New Mexico senior Michaela Helean is graduating this fall semester with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a full-time job at the Rio Rancho Observer. Helean started her internship at the Observer through the New Mexico News Fund, a fund created to foster journalism in New Mexico that places college students and recent grads in state newsrooms. Four days after starting her internship, she was offered a full-time job, fulfilling a childhood dream. “I've always been a writer. Ever since I was able to write, I would write short stories for my parents,” Helean said. “I would watch the news with them. I grew up watching Gwen Ifill on PBS.”
Upcoming University of New Mexico graduate Micaela Pacheco will be closing this chapter of her life with a bachelor’s degree in theater, a career in spiritual healing and a love of sharing her creativity with those around her. Having done theater ever since she was young, Pacheco initially wanted to go into film. Now, she cannot see herself pursuing a traditional theatrical route at all. If she does get back into theater, she wants to use it as a medium to share her own creations in the form of devised work and performance art.
With winter break approaching for students and staff at the University of New Mexico, a large number of us might find ourselves with much more time on our hands than we anticipated. Thankfully, new films galore await you under the Christmas tree to keep you busy through those long, winter nights.