UT Austin

The Grimm Truth

Oz Perkins’s latest horror project reignites a Grimm look on life

Oz Perkins, director/writer of horror films “I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House” and “The Blackcoat’s Daughter,” released his latest project in the genre on January 31st with “Gretel and Hansel.” It’s an even darker spin on the original Brothers Grimm tale that follows brother and sister, Hansel and Gretel respectively, as they get lost in the woods and stumble upon a house made of candy. Perkins’s film focuses more on Gretel’s story (hint the name) and her strange attachment to the eerie woman that has taken them under her wing.

“Hansel and Gretel” is a household name but how many people actually know how the story goes? Are people aware that the witch that lured the children into her home to fatten them up intentionally so that she can feast on their flesh? Do they know that Gretel turns the tables on the witch and pushes her into the fiery oven that was originally meant to cook the children?

Hopefully this makes you curious as to what other grisly facts lie in the stories told by the famous German brothers. I can tell you know that they don’t all end in “happily ever after…”

The Pied Piper

If you’re familiar with “Shrek: The Musical,” then your interpretation of the Pied Piper is a grumpy man that just wants his rats to dance. Unfortunately, the truth is not nearly as endearing.

“The Pied Piper of Hamelin” is supposedly based on true events. In 1284, a mysterious man dressed in colorful clothes promised the town of Hamelin, Germany that he could rid them of their rodent problem. Hoping the man was telling the truth, the town struck a deal with him. Later that night, the man played beautiful music from a fife, luring all the mice and rats to follow him. He led the rodents into the River Weser and the animals drowned in the water. Now free of their problem and regretting the promise of a large sum, the townspeople refused to pay the piper.

The piper grew angry and returned with a vengeance. When he came back to the town, he played his fife once more. Only this time, it wasn’t animals that were drawn to his sounds; it was the town’s children. Their mothers screamed and cried bitterly but the children only had ears for the music. 130 children are said to have followed the pied piper through the streets and into the faraway mountains. They were never seen again. To this day, the street that led the children through the town gate is called bunge-lose (drumless, soundless, quiet) because no dancing or music is allowed to honor the missing.

Read it here!

Rapunzel

Fans of Disney’s “Tangled” will be delighted to know that the legendary Mother Gothel was originally in this old tale.

In the story, a couple is expecting a baby when the wife gets a desperate craving for a neighbor’s crop. The husband sneaks into the neighbor’s yard to steal some of the plants for his wife. He eventually gets caught by the owner of the house, Dame Gothel. In order to appease her, the husband must promise his newborn to the woman. Once the baby is in her possession, the enchantress locks the child in a tower.

Baby Rapunzel grows into a beautiful young woman, one that the king’s son falls in love with. He makes frequent visits to her tower, climbing her long hair to reach her window. Dame Gothel eventually finds out and enacts her revenge on the lovers. Gothel cuts Rapunzel’s hair, throws the prince from the tower, blinds him with the thorns in the rose bushes and banishes Rapunzel to the desert. Even though all hope seems lost, the prince eventually finds his way to Rapunzel and her tears magically heal his eyes. A charming happily ever after, if your idea of “happy” is marriage.

Read it here!

Rumpelstiltskin

Rumpelstiltskin has made his way into pop culture on more than one occasion. In “Shrek 3,” he was an angry man who enjoyed wearing wigs and in the television show “Once Upon a Time,” he was a strangely sexy Robert Carlyle in crusty gold makeup. As you could’ve guessed, both adaptations are not true to the Grimm facts.

There once was a miller who swore to his king that his daughter could spin straw into gold, for reasons unknown; he was probably just a bad dad. The king was intrigued and decided to test the girl to see if it was true. Locked in a room full of straw and her life on the line, the girl cries bitter tears because she knows she cannot do what has been asked of her. A creature-like man makes his way into the room and claims that he can help the girl. He will spin the gold for a price: once for a necklace, twice for a ring and thrice for her first-born. She agrees and relishes in her “success.”

Over time, the girl marries the king and they have a baby. Upon the baby’s arrival, the girl, now queen, obviously doesn’t want to give up her baby. The man promises she can keep her baby if she can guess his name within three days. After the first two days, things didn’t look too good. However, a townsperson overhears the man speaking his name and tells the queen. The queen tells the man that his name is Rumpelstiltskin. He grows so enraged that he tears himself in two. Happy ending for the queen, not so much for the trickster.

Read it here!

Cinderella

Ah, our beloved blonde princess. Lots of renditions have been told of this poor servant girl, including the fantastic live-action with Lily James, but none are as bloody as the German version.

Much of the premise is the same as the Disney retelling. Cinderella is a sweet young woman that is stuck living with her evil stepmother and snotty stepsisters. They make her do horrid chores around the house and torment her with emotional abuse. One day, the family is invited to a festival. Excited to go, Cinderella begins to get ready but is stopped by her stepmother, who claims Cinderella would be an embarrassment if she shows up. Upset, Cinderella runs to the tree that stands guard over her mother’s grave. She begs the tree to help her look presentable for the festival. The birds in the tree give her beautiful clothes, she dances with the prince, loses her shoe, blah blah blah.

When the royal party arrives to try the shoe on the women of the house, the stepsisters rush to put it on. After it doesn’t fit either of the sisters, the stepmother slices off one of their toes and hacks off the back of the other one’s heel in an attempt to make the shoe fit. Cinderella is proven to be the true owner of the shoe and is finally free of her wicked family. As punishment, the birds that aided Cinderella peck out the eyes of the sinister stepsisters. Gotta watch out for karma, right?

Read it here!

The Three Snake-Leaves

This odd, basically unheard-of tale makes the love and betrayal in “Game of Thrones” look like a preschool game.

It begins with a young man that wins the hand of a princess through his success in battle. The princess has one rather unusual demand; when one of them dies, the other must be buried alive with their body. The man reluctantly agrees, sure that it would be quite a long time before they’d have to worry about that. Soon after, the princess falls sick and dies. As promised, the prince is buried alive with his deceased wife. While waiting for death in the crypt, the prince is attacked by a snake. He chops the serpent up but another snake revives his dead comrade with magical leaves. The prince suddenly gets the idea to use the leaves on his beloved princess. It works and the princess comes back to life; a happy ending, right? In the words of Cher Horowitz: as if.

After the couple is reunited in the land of the living, they take a sea voyage to visit the prince’s father. Unfortunately for him, the princess falls in love with the sea captain and they plot the prince’s murder. The diabolical new lovers throw the prince off of the boat, drowning him in the sea. One loyal servant rows after his prince’s body and saves him by using the leaves. Alive once more, the prince teams up with his savior and they report the attempted murder. The treacherous princess and problematic new boyfriend are captured. They are executed for their crime against the prince. Happily ever after?

Read it here!

Although these legends don’t always leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling, they certainly make you thankful for the mundane problems of our own grim world.

The Oscars: South Korea’s Biggest Night

The 92nd annual Academy Awards, or Oscars, took place last Sunday night and featured surprising wins, historic moments and rap.

2019 saw an amazing year in film with gems like “Jojo Rabbit”, “Knives Out” and “Parasite”. Hollywood’s biggest and brightest filled the Dolby Theatre to celebrate these amazing films and hopefully win the industry’s most coveted award. The hostless show kicked off with an energetic number from Janelle Monae, and then the star-studded night was underway.

The first award of the night went to Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor, a win that surprised no one who’s been following this awards season. The “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” actor has been winning that award all season.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Other anticipated wins went to Joaquin Phoenix for Best Actor, Renée Zellweger for Best Actress, and Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress.

However, the true stars of the night were the “Parasite” team.

“Parasite” swept the ceremony taking home, Best Screenplay, Best Director and the top award of the night — Best Picture. Making history as the first non-English language film to win the award.

Director Bong Joon Ho thanked fellow director, Martin Scorsese, for being his inspiration and said he would celebrate the night by drinking a lot.

Producers of “Parasite” also thanked the Academy for the historic win and shared their respect towards the Academy for voting for their film.

There were some comedic standout performances of the night from Will Ferrell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Maya Rudolph and Kristen Wiig.

James Corden and Rebel Wilson presented the award for Best Visual Effects in cats costume. A fitting decision to make a joke about their roles in the critically panned film, “Cats”.

There were also a few musical surprises throughout the night, most notably from Eminem who took the stage to perform “Lose Yourself” from the movie “8 Mile”.

Overall this year was a very different Oscars, and it showed their attempts to be a more relevant ceremony in the eyes of the youth. As well as show their ability to truly celebrate film regardless of its origin and the 1-inch subtitles.

Yoga tips for beginners

Although yoga began thousands of years ago in India, there is no denying its popularity and growth in the United States over the past several years. The rapid increase in studios, online classes, and influencers have all helped to boost the popularity and awareness of yoga. With numerous health benefits, including muscle toning, increased flexibility, and ability to lower stress, it can be a beneficial practice for a wide variety of people. Because there are multiple styles of yoga and a seemingly endless array of poses, figuring out where to start can be tough. Here are 5 tips that I have for yoga beginners or those looking to expand their practice.

#1: Don’t Focus on What the Pose is “Supposed to” look like

This is a trap I think almost everyone falls for- myself included. When you first start practicing or learning about yoga, it can be hard to not shoot for whatever your teacher or inspiration photo looks like. Forcing your body too deep into a pose too soon can lead to injuries that will only delay you further. Because all bodies are different, they all look different in poses whether or not someone has been practicing yoga for ten minutes or ten years! My suggestion is to take it slow and find modified versions of more complex poses to do until you get there. 

Courtesy of Unsplash


#2: Try Multiple Styles of Yoga

It’s impossible to know what you’re going to enjoy unless you give all of your options a chance. Vinyasa, Hatha, Yin, Ashtanga, and Kundalini may not mean anything to you yet, but they are a few of the more popular types of yoga that you can find in studios or online. For most people, Hatha is what comes to mind when they hear the word “yoga,” but it is by no means the only option out there. Vinyasa yoga, for example, is a fast paced and dynamic practice. For some people it “feels” more like a workout. If you’re someone that is looking for something more fast paced, Vinyasa is definitely one to try. For those who are wanting to blend yoga into other types of workouts or principles, look into bodyweight training. Like a yoga practice, breathing and remaining present are vital, but inspiration for the workout is drawn from Animal Flow, dance, and other types of physical fitness. Francheska Martinez has a bodyweight training program with events in Austin or online at francheskamartinez.com. Your yoga practice can be as traditional or unique as you want depending on your body and preferences. A quick post-run flow, bodyweight training, pilates yoga fusion, or nightly mediation with only a few postures are some examples. Keep trying new things and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! 

Courtesy of Unsplash


#3: Use YouTube

YouTube is a great place to start because it’s free, you can easily try multiple styles of yoga, and it can be more comfortable for those who feel uneasy in a studio setting. Two of my favorite channels are “Yoga With Adriene” (who is based in Austin!) and “Boho Beautiful.” Yoga With Adriene has a lot of yoga challenges, videos for beginners, and an overall welcoming demeanor that makes her videos a delight between classes and other responsibilities. The Boho Beautiful channel is equally as wonderful and not only will Juliana, the channel’s owner, give you serious travel FOMO, but she also has everything from guided meditations to hardcore pilates fusion workouts. 

Courtesy of Unsplash

#4: Start Short and Sweet

Yoga is all about breath and the mind/body connection, but quieting your mind and learning the proper alignments can be challenging. Especially if you are looking to strengthen your practice, setting unrealistic goals for how often or how long you can commit to being on your mat can get discouraging very quickly. If you’re taking classes, start with one or two a week. If you’re using YouTube or something similar, try doing morning wake up call videos or a relaxing session before bed. Both YouTube channels I mentioned earlier have effective and short videos. Starting small will allow you to improve your practice without putting stress on your mind and body.

Courtesy of Unsplash

#5: If It Hurts: Stop!

Stretching is good; tearing a ligament is not. It should go without saying that if your body is truly in pain that you should stop what you’re doing but this can sometimes be a hard call for people to make, especially if they’re too focused on getting the pose to “look right.” Tenderness, a stretching sensation, and sore muscles during or after are normal just like if you were to lift weights or go on a run, but you shouldn’t feel like you are in agony! A few tips to keep in mind are to make sure your weight is supported evenly in whatever limbs are touching your mat in a particular pose, engage your core, and to modify poses to your ability/accessibility level.

Yoga has grown rapidly in popularity and is something that can offer multiple benefits to your mind and body both on and off the mat. Like trying any new thing, knowing where to start can be tricky. Focusing on your individual practice and trying different styles while not being too hard on yourself is the best advice for those looking to begin or deepen their practice. 

a new era of fitness

New technology has revolutionized the way we go about our daily lives. From the comfort of our phones we can consume media, make money transactions and now monitor our fitness.

According to Phys.org, one of the first electronic waves of fitness was with VCRs and Jane Fonda’s video series on the “ideal” body in the 1970s and 80s. Along with the addition of electronic treadmills and exercise bikes in gyms, electronic fitness was underway. Now in the 21st century, we have more personalized and convenient ways to track our fitness with the development of Fitbits and Apple Watches. As well as built in fitness trackers on smartphones, now it seems easier than ever to get in shape.

Courtesy of Unsplash


In September 2009 Fitbit released their first fitness tracker with the capability to track the users movements, sleep patterns, and calorie consumption. Since then, Fitbit has grown to become one of the leading companies in fitness with a net worth of $1 billion. 

In September 2019 the company launched Fitbit Premium, an app that takes data from the users smartwatch and turns it into personalized guided programs. 

With 11 different smartwatch models, and two smart scales, it is safe to say that Fitbit has come a long way from the original clip-on trackers.

While Fitbit appears to be growing each day, they still have some competition.

In April 2015, Apple joined the fitness industry with the release of their Apple Watch. The watch had the ability to not only track the wearer’s fitness but also make payments, send texts and receive calls.

Courtesy of Unsplash

The watch was an instant hit, landing on Time Magazine’s list of the 25 best inventions in 2014. According to Know Your Mobile, Apple sold 33 million watches in 2015 and became the #1 best-selling wearable technology in the world. Since then Apple has gone on to make five Apple Watch series. The newest models include new additions such as noise alerts and can track menstrual cycles.

Along with all these watches are fitness apps, since the release of smartphones in the late 2000s the amount of health and fitness apps has grown exponentially. Some of the most popular being, Nike Training Club, Carrot Fit and My Fitness Pal, according to Digital Trends. These apps include features such as heart rate monitors, calorie intake and meditation.

In a 2015 study done by the Journal of Medical Internet Research, it was discovered that fitness apps can increase exercise levels and a user’s BMI. Researchers also concluded that the apps can help those looking to exercise to overcome the barrier of exercise and increase belief in themselves.

As beneficial as digital fitness can be, there are downsides and concerns.

Fitness apps put emphasis on weight loss which can contribute to stigma against overweight bodies and in turn causing overweight individuals to reject a more healthy lifestyle, according to JMIR

Courtesy of Unsplash


In a 2019 study, JMIR discovered that for young people, fitness apps can result in the development of poor body images and inadequate eating and exercise patterns. To combat this, JMIR recommends app developers to encourage long term behavior change and self-reflection when using the apps.

Fitness apps can be a good tool for users, but they are not to be taken lightly. In order to truly reap the benefits, it is important that users take it as a chance to become more educated about their health. With the right mindset and behavior these apps can help users take back control in their lives.

5 ways to stay motivated to workout

It’s the start of the new year which means most of us set ambitious resolutions, such as going to the gym more or losing weight. Most people, however, quit pursuing their resolution by February.  

It’s incredibly difficult to stay motivated, especially when there are countless variables that prevent you from achieving your goal. Here are five tips to help you stay motivated in the new year:

Courtesy of Unsplash

# 1 Set a SMART goal 

SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. This is the most important step in maintaining motivation because it forces you to hold yourself accountable. 

Specific means having a clear goal. For example, a goal of “getting healthy” is too ambiguous because there are too many options that could fall under this category. However, the goal of “running a 10K” is more specific. It clarifies exactly what you want to achieve. 

After setting a goal, you need to track your progress and have an endpoint for your goal. In other words, your goal needs to be measurable. To attain this, your goal should include a number. So setting a goal of running a 10K isn’t enough, you need to include a specific time of when you want to finish it. For example, stating “I want to run a 10K in less than 45 minutes” is a measurable goal. 

Next, your goal must be attainable. For example, if you’ve never run a mile in your life, then obviously running a 10K (6.4 miles), is not realistic. Adjust your goal to ensure you can achieve it while also challenging yourself. 

Furthermore, make sure you have all the resources and time to actually achieve your goal. In other words, ensure your goal is realistic. For example, make sure you have access to a treadmill or road so you can practice running for the 10K. If you don’t have the facilities, then you may need to rethink your goal. 

Lastly, make sure your goal is timely. You need to create a time limit to give yourself an endpoint to achieve your goal. For example, “By the end of a two-month training program, I would like to run a 10K in less than 45 minutes.” Nothing happens overnight, so make sure you give yourself an appropriate amount of time to maximize your training to accomplish your goal. 

By creating a SMART goal, you are working towards something, increasing your overall motivation to complete it. 

Photo by Jesus Angel

#2 Work Out with a Partner 

It is so easy to lose motivation when working out on your own. You may skip a set of crunches or cut your run short because no one is holding you accountable. 

Working out with someone else whether it be a friend, classmate, boyfriend, or girlfriend; however, not only enhances your motivation to actually go to the gym but challenges you to push yourself as you are exercising.  

“It holds me accountable because like, for example, when I agree to go cycling at 7:45 a.m. with one of my friends, then I have to go,” says Elaine Avshman, a senior public health major. “I can’t just leave her there, you know? Because if it was just me, I’d just go back to bed.” 

Photo by Jesus Angel

#3 Schedule your Workout Times 

It is important to designate a specific time of the day to workout. This will fluctuate from day to day depending on your class schedule and club meetings, but by carving out a definitive time, you hold yourself accountable. 

By setting a reminder on your phone or writing your workout on your calendar, you organize yourself around potential barriers. Eventually, this will become a part of your daily routine and feel as effortless as going to class. 

Photo by Jesus Angel

#4 Have a Variety in your Training 

Utilizing the same workout four or five times a week can get old real quick. It is important to have a variety to maintain motivation. 

Exploit different equipment, for example, if you’re used to running on the treadmill 24/7, try cycling, rowing, the stair stepper, or swimming to get the same cardiovascular advantages.  Also, implementing different training programs on the same equipment can still create a variety such as executing interval, continuous, fartlek, or circuit training. 

Having a variety decreases your tendency to be bored and keeps you on your toes. It enhances motivation allowing you to explore new options. 

#5 Take Classes 

Exercise classes are a great way to incorporate all of these factors. They provide a set time for you to attend, forcing you to go, a variety of classes and workouts to keep you motivated, they can help you achieve your SMART goal, and you can go with a friend. It’s a win-win-win. 

At UT, RecSports offers TeXercise passes to a variety of classes to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. The pass costs 96 dollars for the whole semester.

“Our friend group bought the TeXercise pass this semester and we’ll post in the group chat whenever we’re working out,” said Dani Gross, a senior exercise science major. “My time at the gym has definitely increased since I got the pass.” 

Hopefully, with these tips, you are motivated to attain your goal in the new year.