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Photo Gallery: Thunderdome Arts Competition makes smashing return to TJC

By Colton Hollis

Multimedia Journalist

After a two-year hiatus, the Thunderdome Arts Competition took place Wednesday April 27 in front of the Vaughn Library. Often associated with the tag line “two pieces enter, one piece leaves,” the Thunderdome pits two submitted art pieces together, with the loser getting destroyed by volunteers known as annihilators. 

To determine the winner of each round, three selected audience members vote on for their favorite piece. Volunteers present each piece to the audience in a round-by-round style tournament, as the judges deliberate. The losing work gets handed off to the annihilators to destroy for the crowd. 

This year, over 40 works of art were destroyed in both the faculty and students rounds. 

Like winner’s past, Cagle was then presented with a choice, walk away with two hundred dollars and their art intact or go double or nothing with their piece on the line. Four envelopes were given to Cagle, three containing papers with the word “double” on them, and one marked “destroy.” 

Cagle chose to risk their piece and go double or nothing, knowing there was a chance for his piece to be destroyed and that the money won would have to be returned.

Cagle ended up with the “double” envelope, taking home their piece, the winning faculty piece, and $400.

Photos by Chris Swann, Marie Salazar and Madi Grimaldo

The Thunderdome Arts Competition returned to TJC’s Arts Festival on Wednesday, April 27. Volunteer “annihilators” displayed and destroyed a variety of pieces submitted before the competition.

The DrumBeat: The final jam

By Brooklyn Gundling & Colton Hollis

It’s finals season at TJC, and it’s time to study, study, study. Students know picking a playlist can be just as important as making sure you have the right textbook out. The DrumBeat staff also knows this, and we decided to compile our favorite study songs into one playlist. These songs, while mostly romantic, are slow and soothing. They let your mind focus on the material you’re studying, instead of getting distracted by fast-paced word-heavy ones. Happy studying!

Courtesy of RCA Records

“Leaving On a Jet Plane” – John Denver

Denver says goodbye to his lover in “Leaving on a jet plane.” Like the title suggests, Denver sings about leaving on a plane and not returning for a long time. He hopes his lover will wait for him, but the folk guitar coupled with Denver’s slow and breathable lyrics tells the listeners they are saying goodbye for good. 

Courtesy of Tamla Records

“When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You”Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye’s smooth jazz-feel backs him as he looks back on his relationship. A love has ended despite both trying to stay together. His longing voice remembers all the bad times, but all the good times the same. While this relationship is ending for the two of them, Gaye states how no matter what, he will never love someone the same again.

Courtesy of MCA Records

“Baby Blue” George Strait

The second folk song on this playlist is also a heartbreaking ballad of love lost. Strait looks back upon the love he once had, and now the only thing he has to remind himself of her is the baby blue color of the sky that matched her eyes. The backing track seems to swallow Strait’s voice but gives his vocal a wistful tone as he fades into the background, just as he did with his love.

Courtesy of MMG/Warner Bros

“Lotus Flower Bomb”Wale (Feat. Miguel)

Rapper Wale pairs with RnB singer Miguel to deliver a soulful plea to a woman in his life who got into a relationship with him. Wale offers rapped verses detailing the reasons the two should get together, while Miguel sings an almost heartbreaking chorus, begging her to be theirs. The spaced-out tempo and somber vocals give plenty of room for studying while listening.


Courtesy of Sire Records

Cavetown promises to protect their love in the alternative song “Home.” The tempo is perfect for a slow partner dance, and the singer Robin Skinner, known as Cavetown, tells his partner he will take them away from the people around them and taking them somewhere else. He spends the song focusing on his partner, but also remembers the hurtful words of their community reminding the two why they need to leave. The quiet song found its match on this playlist, also featuring vocals that are soft in sound but powerful in meaning.

Courtesy of Republic/Whispering Pines

“Secret of Life”Lord Huron

This Indie song by Lord Huron has an upbeat sound even as Huron faces what seems like an existential crisis. He begs the listener to stay with him and to never leave him alone. The person he is talking to has shown him the secret of life, and now he can’t live without them. Huron’s voice goes so well with the backing song that they seem to be made for each other.

Courtesy of AVIE Records

“The Four Seasons – Winter in F minor rv. 297 I. allegro non molto”Antonio Vivaldi

The pacing of this song makes it easy to take notes while listening, with a repeating melody growing into a crescendo before the frantic-paced middle section of the song erupts in. The song is almost akin to a roller coaster, with peaks and valleys in the music and an exhilarating close. 

Courtesy of 1166557 Record DK

“Waltz in E-Major, Op. 15 “Moon Waltz” Cojum Dip

The first part of this song will catch a first-time listener off-guard with the melodic and slow instrumental being replaced with an energetic and fast-paced guitar riff. The chorus is operatic, with the music changing back to the opening orchestra beat. The song then shortly returns to the energetic riff heard earlier. The tempo of the background instrumental with the soulful nature of both singers makes this piece easy to listen to while focusing on putting together or reading over notes prepping for a big exam. 

To find a playlist with all songs mentioned visit, https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1g0RFqWPCIoSJaBnv2oU8X?si=24554b2730684d77.

Crema Coffee pours into Tyler 


By Asia Johnson

Managing Editor

Crema Coffee Co. is a new coffee company that rolled into town. This shop, owned by Michaela and Eric Ta, is located in Three Lakes Parkway Suite beside Little Caesars. 

Crema has an inviting and modern atmosphere that has attracted many customers, as Crema employee and dental hygiene major, Cesceily Jennings explains.

“The atmosphere at Crema is definitely different than most coffee shops I would say, compared to traditional shops like The Foundry. You instantly walk into a fresh, modern atmosphere,” Jennings said. “Upbeat music, laughs and good feelings are all present as you walk through our door. My coworkers, along with myself, are ready to greet you and make your experience worthwhile.”

Crema sells their own merchandise like custom cups ranging from $20-$24. They also serve many different items such as espressos, teas, frosted drinks, signature drinks and a variety of food. They recently launched their spring menu, consisting of five spring-themed drinks, which include: “Cloud Nine,” “Maple Blossoms,” “The Honey Bee,” “Vanilla Sky Latte” and “Flower Power.” Their specialty menus have caused much rave on social media and within the community.

crema coffee worker making an expresso
Photo by Chris Swann

Another component sparking much consumer interest is all items are gluten free and vegan options are available, which is the key to the company’s all-inclusive purpose.

“Customers come in and are so excited to finally eat a muffin, brownie or even have toppings on top of their drinks because they know it will all be gluten free,” Jennings said. “Michaela, who has [Celiac] Disease, wanted to make an atmosphere where others with the same condition or other intolerances could safely indulge in their favorite desserts and treats.”

Their menu can be described as distinct which attracts some consumers’ taste buds. 

Tyler resident Ashley Crerend said, “The fact that people who are gluten free can go there and not have to worry about anything on the menu is fantastic. The variety of drinks they offer is far better than a lot of coffee shops I have tried. There is literally something for everyone.”

In March, Crema introduced “The Sunflower” drink, which is a dulce de leche toffee nut latte topped with a cookie butter cold foam, in support of the Ukrainian War. Out of all proceeds, 50% will be donated to Save the Children Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund. The owners of Crema have agreed to match all donations.

Creating and cultivating the community is imperative to Crema and its employees. Their donations to causes like the Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund helps the global community, but employees are also dedicated to keeping local consumers satisfied.                  

“My favorite part about my job is the interactions I have with our customers. Whether they are regulars, first-timers, or even just stopping by to say hello and grab a fresh cup of coffee, no two interactions are the same,” Jennings said.

Business hours are from 6 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends.

For more information or to view their menu, visit their Facebook page at Crema_Coffee Co.